Here, gathered in our beloved South Dakota, are a few members of our Williamson / Mattson Clan. Charles and Luella are to be blamed (be kind, they didn't know what they were doing). We're generally a happy bunch and somewhat intelligent (notwithstanding our tenuous grasp on reality). I'm also proud to say that most of us still have our teeth.

Sunday, April 24, 2022

New Dates for Uncle Stanford Charles Williamson

From the Fortress of Solitude

Pleasant Grove

Hello All,

After a bit of digging I found more information on Uncle Stanford Williamson, the last child of Grandpa Charles and Elsie Williamson (dad's step mother).  Up until today I didn't have his exact birth and death dates.  I have them now.  Below is a photo of that information from my family tree:

Stanford was born premature and developed pneumonia. He lived 7 days before passing away.  He was buried in Potter's Field at Mt. Moriah Cemetery in Deadwood South Dakota in an unmarked grave.  Charles and Elsie didn't have the money for a single plot and headstone.  The cemetery has a record of his burial but no exact location.  For that we must rely on the memories of those that may still know.  


Friday, December 31, 2021

A Change to Grandma Mattson's Birthplace

From the Fortress of Solitude

Previous family trees give Torrington Wyoming as the birthplace of Grandma Mattson (Luella's mother).  Today I found the WW1 draft card of her father, Walter Pierce.  The card was signed in September 1918. Grandma Mattson was born in June 1918.  You'll notice the card indicates the family was farming in Sioux County Nebraska.  The card states that Morrill was the address town.  

Morrill is not located in Sioux County but close to it.  I'm assuming then that the family farm was in Sioux County very close to Morrill.  

The farm must not have worked out, because the 1920 census shows the family living in Goshen County, Wyoming.  Torrington is the county seat for Goshen County.    


Great Grandma Vesta Logan's Burial Marker. Vesta Was Mother to Violet Mattson.


This is the burial marker for our Great Grandmother Logan, mother to Grandma Mattson.  Vesta is buried at the Crestlawn Memorial Park Cemetery in the city of Riverside, California.   

Great Grandma Vesta

Learn More About Grandma Elda's (Mother to Charles Williamson) Trojan, South Dakota

Elda Vercellio, mother to our dad Charles, who later became our beloved Grandma Leissman was born in Trojan, South Dakota in 1905. Trojan doesn't exist today.  Trojan was six miles outside of Lead. Later the family moved to Lead itself and build a home just below the current site of Lead / Deadwood High School.  

This is a short 4 minute video on the history of Trojan, South Dakota.  

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Williamson Lines: Newly Surfaced Photos of Our Great Great Grandparents Nancy Morris and Whitty Victor

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

      Brent Heeren is a cousin related to us through Nancy Morris, wife of Whitty Victor (both pictured above). Brent was kind enough to forward this photo of our Great Great Grandparents he recently received from another cousin in the Morris family.  

     This family history blog has several posts with more information on the life and times of the Victors.  Do a search in the blog using the search feature located within the right side bar of the blog. 
     Would you like access to the Family Tree?  My extensively researched tree which accompanies this blog is hosted on Ancestry.com.  For access to the tree please send your name in an email to:  Director@SpaceCampUtah.org.  It would be helpful if you state your interest in the tree or how you are related to either the Williamson's or Mattsons.

Victor Williamson 

Mattson Family Documents of Interest. Mortgage on the Spearfish Home. Walter's Discharge from the CCC's. Oil and Gas Lease on the Mattson Ranch. Walter Mattson's Burial Expenses. Divorce Papers for Grandma Mattson and Merle Dame.

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Here are a few more documents found in Uncle John's old desk and pulled from oblivion by Kirk.

The Mortgage on the Mattson Family home in Spearfish

The document below is the mortgage on the Mattson home in Spearfish, South Dakota.  336 N. 5th Street. 

The old Mattson home in Spearfish as it looks today.
Grandma Violet in front of the home shortly after purchase.

The home in the late 1950's or very early 1960s.

Grandpa Walter Mattson's Discharge from the Civilian Conservation Corps

     Grandpa Mattson worked for the CCC in the 1930's.  The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was a voluntary public work relief program that operated from 1933 to 1942 in the United States for unemployed, unmarried men. Originally for young men ages 18–25, it was eventually expanded to ages 17–28. He signed on when he was 23 years old.  The release document stated he was an excellent worker and excellent team leader.

Documents Related to the Burial of Grandpa Walter Mattson in Belle Fourche.

Grandma and Grandpa Mattson's Tax Returns for 1971. 

     Very humble people living a simple life. There is something to be said for that.

Oil and Gas Payment for the Mattson Ranch in Montana. 

Apparently the land was sold when the family moved to Spearfish but the oil and gas rights stayed with the Mattsons.

Grandma Mattson's Divorce Papers Against Her Second Husband, Merle Dame

Sunday, April 12, 2020

The Mattson Line. Newly Discovered Items: Last Will and Testament. 1947 Taxes on the Family Ranch. Grandpa Mattson's Baptismal Recommend Etc.

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Happy Easter!

Kirk Mattson called last week. He'd found several things in Uncle John's old office desk he thought would be of interest to the Mattson line of our family.  Porter dropped them off at Jilane's and she made the harrowing journey one block to my home, risking corona virus and all, to safely deliver the papers to me.   I'll be posting them in the next few blog posts.

Item 1:  Grandpa Walter Mattson's Last Will and Testament

Walter Mattson 1942

Item 2:  Grandpa Mattson's baptism and Confirmation                         Recommend into the LDS Church. November 1966

Violet and Walter Mattson (1960's)

Item 3:  A letter to Grandma Violet Mattson from a Pierce cousin living  in Alabama seeking help in tracing the Pierce family line. 

Item 4:  The 1947 Tax Statement for the Mattson Ranch at Hammond Montana.  Of interest in the exact land survey of the land and the amount Grandpa Mattson owed in back taxes.  Ranching wasn't profitable for the Mattsons.  

The Mattsons of Hammond Montana.  1944

Item 5:  Grandma Violet Mattson's Certificate of Recognition for 7 years an employee of the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in Rapid City. She worked as a cook in the school's cafeteria.

Grandma Violet Mattson working in the cafeteria at the South Dakota School of Mines Cafeteria.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

A Few Recent Finds for both the Williamson and Mattson Line.

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello All,
     Just a few recent finds to publish today.  These are also in my Ancestry.com tree.  

1.  This is the death certificate of Walter Ernest Williamson, a brother to our Great Grandfather William Jonathan Williamson.  So if there are Williamson's in Billings Montana, we may very well be related.

Walter Ernest Williamson was the undersheriff of Treasure County Montana.  He was a cowboy in his younger years riding the range for many of the larger brands of South Dakota and Montana.

2.  Item number two in today's discoveries is the World War II draft card for our grandfather Charles Williamson.  Notice how his signature resembles dad's.  

3.  Item three. a picture from the 1955 Spearfish High School Yearbook.  Luella was in the Glee Club.  "I didn't like the director, Mr. Theland. He had a beautiful wife but like to flirt with the senior girls. Not me, I was a junior".  

4.  Item 4  The baptismal record of our grandfather Walter Mattson (Luella's dad) into the Swedish Lutheran Church in Lead.  His parents were not members, so the baptism was sponsored by his Aunt Sand.  

5.  The death certificate of Samuel Pettit Williamson, another of our great great Uncles, brother to  our Great Grandfather William Jonathan Williamson.  That means we have Williamson cousins in 
Coeur d' Alene Idaho.  

Sunday, October 20, 2019

The Family Gathered for Grandma Mattson's Funeral. September 1987.

There is a certain melancholy one gets when perusing old photo albums.  Those of us showing age marvel at how quickly time has past.  We look at our faces in the photographs and compare them with what answers back in the mirror every mornings.  We curse the passing of time and its ravages on our youth.

"If I could only have those years back," some mutter, wanting to relive those happy days long gone, forgetting that the passage of years has an effect on memory's reliability.  We forget that time can gloss over the rough spots. 

Others mutter, "If I could only have those years back," out of regret for poor decisions made and the wish that what was done could somehow be undone and a different path taken.

I remind myself that today is the day I'll look back upon in the future and ask, "If I could only have those years back."  Well, we have those years now.  We are not dead and buried, the sun shines and oxygen moves in and out of our lungs, so never forget the preciousness of the present. Today there are decisions to make and people to love and places to visit - so make every hour count.  Pull up the regret anchor weighing down on your soul. Take the thought that your best years are behind you out with the trash.  These things belong in the past. The past has already been lived.  Its the future that waits to be written.

Grandma Mattson's Funeral.  September 1987

     Our beloved Grandma Mattson died in September 1987 in Rapid City, South Dakota.  Violet Pierce Mattson was the mother to Luella, Linda, John and Marvin Mattson.  She was preceded in death by her husband Walter.  Grandpa Mattson died in February 1973.
     Most of the family gathered in Belle Fourche, South Dakota for her funeral and burial. 

     Grandma Mattson's grandchildren are pictured above.  Kirk is the tallest.  I'm standing next to Kirk; and thank you for commenting on my distinguished appearance.  Kim Williamson DelGrosso, Grandma Mattson's eldest grandchild (and my sister), stands next to me. I won't labor the length of this paragraph to list the others.  I've mentioned the most important, so let's leave it at that - shall we?

     Grandma Mattson's Great Grandchildren at the funeral.  I'll list them for you and let you identify them in the photo based on the descriptions. Amber, the sweater of many colors.
Autumn, in her calico 'done gone to Sunday Meeting dress'. Ashley, always so photogenic.
Jazmine Burrows, shy and feeling very embarrassed because of her sister.  It's all she can do to keep from giving Nicole "something to cry about!" She bites her fingers instead.  It is a coping mechanism. Nicole Burrows giving her best attempt to wake the dead.  It was a funeral; you got to give her credit for trying. Brandon DelGrosso. It's just Brandon.  He's the kid that always looked so innocent.  It was important to know where Brandon was at all times. Seen and heard was good a good thing for that boy. Forest DelGrosso holds Sierra Burrows.  Best Smile of the bunch belongs to Forrest, and he managed to pull it off even with the smell from a very dirty diaper.

     Luella Mattson Williamson, Grandpa Emerson Leissman, Charles Williamson and Grandma Elda Vercellino Leissman at the funeral luncheon.  Emerson was stepfather to Charles. Elda was his mother.   

     Elda Vercellino Leissman with her grandchildren.  Janice Williamson Burrows, Kim Williamson DelGrosso, Annette Williamson, Lisa Williamson, Victor Williamson and Grandpa Leissman.

     Here we are at Grandma Mattson's graveside.  I remember how we struggled with Grandma's coffin from the hearse to the grave through the wet soggy marshland Belle Fourche calls a cemetary. It was all poor Uncle Ray could do to stand upright.  I struggled behind Uncle Ray, carrying my share of Grandma and his.  I know Grandma took great delight is watching us from the other side.  Her sense of fun was all too present that day.
     Notice the flowers in the childrens' hands?  Both the grand and great grandchildren thought to liberate Grandma Mattson's flowers and distribute them to several of the other graves nearby. I suppose it was a kind gesture and perhaps welcomed by the spirits at hand. It started when Luella gave permission for a few flowers to be taken to Walter Mattson's grave (Violet's husband) and things got out of hand.  
     I was all good in the end.  Grandma's coffin was flowerless, but at least she made a good first impression on her new long term neighbors.  Wouldn't you agree? 

Family and friends gathered around Walter Mattson's headstone

Uncle John filming a prairie dog at Custer National Park

     Before and after the funeral we toured the Black Hills. 

Another stop was to visit other family graves at Hot Springs

Saturday, July 6, 2019

The Williamson 10 Visit the Deadwood Photo Emporium. July 2018.

Miss Luella and the General (Charles Williamson)
     Gettin' the General and Miss Luella together to get their picture took weren't easy but we done it. We got 'em together in Deadwood's Portrait Emporium just beyond the smell of the Chinese laundry. Miss Luella sat proud with cigar in hand and an ace or two up her sleeve. The stage was due in and she was itchin to get a game goin' so we had to hurry it up - and that's somethin' the General don't do. He, and the town's other old timers, like to start their day by chewin over the latest news hot off the Daily Pioneer's telegraph outside Saloon #10. 
     At 11:00 he finds his way to the stage depot to wait on the Cheyenne Stage from Custer. He dispenses a warm "Welcome to Deadwood!" to the weary travelers as he helps them down to the dusty street. With a crooked smile he gives directions at no charge. Those heavy with silver are encouraged to find Miss Luella in the Silver Spur where she's waitin' with cards in hand to ease their burden. Others get his ponderin' word for the day and directions to the hotel. "You can never tell which way the pickle’s goin’ to squirt" was his thought on picture day. 

The Williamson Ten

     "Back off." Miss Luella was one to always speak her mind to the General. "Two hands NO. You can put one hand right here," she pointed to her shoulder. "And let there be no thoughts about anything else." Miss Luella was not happy with the General. "That dandy you sent over yesterday was a dry well. Hardly worth my time." She snorted, spit, and missed the spittoon.
     "Woman, you're missin a good chance to shut up," the General answered and changed his pose by puttin' one hand on her shoulder and the other on his belt pistol. His index finger stroked the trigger. His crooked smile gave away his thinkin'.
     Miss Luella grunted. "If you got somethin' to say, say it, but you better have a fast horse awaitin'" The General and Miss Luella bantered back and forth while the photographer powered the flash-pan. There was the sound of horses in the distance.
     "That's the stage," Miss Luella sat up. "Take the damn picture, I'm low on cigars and I smell silver."
     "Silver and gold," the General corrected Miss Luella's observation.
     "Nobody asked you so close yer mouth, yer breath smells like a cow pie on a hot day."
There was a flash and the picture was took...

The Williamson Gals. Not too happy if the gold diggers ain't spending

The Williamson Gals with Miss Luella after a winning night in the saloon

The Williamson Twins (Janice and Jon) just in on the Cheyenne Stage

The Williamson Boys with the General and Miss Luella