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, March 10, 2024

The Full Story of Mom and Dad's Wedding Service and Reception From the Lead Daily Call

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello All,
     I subscribed to Newspaper.com recently because that is where you'll find the missing stories of our ancestors. It's expensive, no doubt about it, but worth it because look at what I found. 

     This is the full newspaper article covering the wedding of Charles and Luella Williamson as printed in the Lead Daily Call on June 23, 1956.  The marriage took place on June 17, 1956.  

     The song "Believe" was sung at the wedding. It was one of dad's favorite songs. He loved the version sang by Mario Lanza.  Below is Mario singing Believe.

     There will be many more discoveries to come.  



Thursday, November 23, 2023

Happy Thanksgiving. The Family Prepares to Feast

Charles and Luella Williamson's First Thanksgiving as a Married Couple at the Mattson home in Spearfish, South Dakota. November 1957. Sitting at the table facing us is Elda Williamson (dad's mother), Luella Williamson, and Charles Williamson.  Kim is there somewhere. She was 4 months old at the time. I'm there as well but not visible (if you know what I mean). I was born in June 1958.

From the Fortress of Solitude

Pleasant Grove

Happy Thanksgiving!

     It's 9:47 A.M. here at the Fortress. I'm at my computer passing the time as I wait for the big feastorama about to take place at Ashley and Mike's home in Highland. 
     The family is growing in size as the years pass. We're expecting between 55 and 65 to be there, all decked out in their finest sweatpants with expandable, elastic waists.  
     Table discussions can turn heated with both the political right and left wings of the family under the same roof; not to mention the High Mormons, Middle Mormons, and Lost Mormons.  At such gatherings it is important we remind ourselves that we are a loving family that respects and cherishes diversity because diverse is what this family is, like so many others in our modern world.  I also take a moment to remind the political active that NO political discussions are allowed around Great Grandma Luella. Failure to comply will result in banishment from the dessert table and time out in the Decompression Room. 
     This year's Decompression Room will be the Costa's rarely used living room just off the family room. Diffusers will scent the room in a special DoTerra blend of fragrances tailored for family events like today's; think a green pasture surrounded by Ponderosa Pines with just a wisp of sunshine lingering in the air to help you ease quickly into your happy place.  Candles will decorate the room in dancing light. Music will tug at the ear with celestial melodies selected from tracks recorded by the Sisters of the Abbey of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. We didn't have a Decompression Room last year.  It made for a tough afternoon, leaving only the bathrooms or the cars as places of refuge. 
    This year we're taking a risk and letting the family choose where they sit to eat.  Normally we separate based on several factors. Conspiracy theorists, High Mormons, and those with an open mind usually make for good table fellows.  Democrats, Middle of the Way Mormons and the unaffiliated are good together.  The little ones have their own table, but tend to ignore the plates their mothers prepare. I see them sneak their way to the dessert table once the adults have their noses squarely in the feed trough.
     Today's choose where you want to sit approach will test the family's civility.  The standard used to judge whether the seating decision was a wise one or not will be based upon who is not speaking to whom at the end of the day. 

I'm looking forward to today's circus.


Monday, September 4, 2023

Uncle John Mattson. Great Man. Great Memories. A Son of the West.

In the heartland of America, under the vast and unending skies of Montana, a legend was born. John Mattson, a man of humble beginnings, would go on to leave an indelible mark on everyone his life touched. His story is a testament to the resilience and determination that defines those touched by the spirit of the frontier. Born in a simpler time, John took his first breaths in Montana, where the open plains stretch as far as the eye can see. He was raised on a dry sheep ranch. His childhood home was a converted chicken coop nestled in a quiet draw. It was a place where hard work and grit were as much a part of life as the sweeping vistas and the whisper of the wind through the sagebrush.

In those formative years, young John attended a one-room schoolhouse, a place where education was simple but enduring, much like the values instilled in him by his parents. It was here that he learned the importance of community, self-reliance, and the potential that could be unlocked through hard work and determination.

John Loved the Black Hills of Dakota

As he grew older, the Mattson family moved to Spearfish, South Dakota and to the Black Hills he grew to love. In this land of towering pines and pristine streams, John built a life with his beloved wife Bev by his side. Eventually their journey brought them to Utah where they raised their family. John was a devoted father and husband. He taught his children the same values he had learned on that sheep ranch, instilling in them a respect for the land, a strong work ethic, and an unwavering commitment to family.

Today, we pay tribute to John Mattson, my uncle. He passed away last week at the good age of 80. He walked the rugged path of life with courage and integrity. His life reminds us that the spirit of the West lives on in those who dare to dream, work hard, and love deeply - and in that legacy we find inspiration to carry on the traditions and values that have shaped us into who we are.

In the end, John was ready to "Fly Away". Waiting for him on the other side were his parents, his sister and brothers, and so many others wanting to celebrate his homecoming and to hear those stories of the ranch we all know so well.

I don't have many pictures of my uncle. I put what I do have into a slide show as a tribute to a life lived well and full.

Saturday, December 24, 2022

The Williamsons at School. A Few Interesting Documents that Haven't Seen the Light of Day in a Few Decades and A Holiday Remembrance for Those Who've Gone Up the River.

 From the Fortress of Solitude

Pleasant Grove

While working at my desk this Christmas Eve I grew board with the task at hand and opened the FHSPF (Family History Still to Post File).  The FHSPF is where I keep the odds and ends of family history that haven't made their way into this blog.  The school records below stood out asking to be officially recorded for posterities sake, and so here they are. Be sure to either call or text your belated congratulations to the family members highlighted below. Although it's been a few decades since the report was issued, a hearty "Well Done!" is always appreciated. Plus it gives you an excuse to contact them to wish them a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.        

Congratulations Lisa on earning the "Doing Much Better" classroom award.  Remember this award when you feel down in the dumps and need a quick pick me up.  Draker, please print this and place it on the refrigerator at Creekside. Lisa will insist it not be on display but being the owner of the home, I insist.  

Who says Kevin hasn't accomplished much in his 61 years of life.  Look at these statistics!  On the down side, shall we all agree that Kevin peaked physically that year and it's been downhill ever since. 

As if Jilane hasn't enough to brag about, now we get to hear her boast ad nauseam over these academic stats.  Yes Jilane, I see you were 76th out of 409 students.  Yes Jilane we see you had a 3.06 GPA.  What gets me are the lies.  Why would teachers add such comments to Jilane's 7th grade report card as "Pleasant, Cooperative, Courteous, and Assumes Responsibility Well?"  OK, I'll give her the "Assumes Responsibility Well"  but the others were clearly meant for someone else because they don't describe the Jilane we all know and love today.   

And finally we honor Lisa once again by publishing her 3rd grade end of year report.  I'm sure Lisa will blush with embarrassed pride when learning of the release of this official transcript but the crimsoned cheeks are well earned.  What more could a child want than to have her teacher write,"I've really enjoyed having you in my room this year," on her year end report.  Being a teacher myself, I know the teacher meant what she wrote.  How do I know?  I write "I've enjoyed having you in class this year," on all of my student's final reports but reserved the use of the word "really" for special students who I actually enjoyed having.  You see the subtle difference?  

And Finally, a Remembrance of Those Who've Recently Passed. Kevin, Charles, Forrest, and Marvin.

I was looking through old Christmas photos and found several pictures of four beloved family members who've recently passed.  I put them in a slide show set to a song I really like (note the word really).  It's a sad song but it fit my melancholy mood so I used it.  I suggest you turn down the sound and just enjoy the photos. 

Merry Christmas to Everyone!  


Sunday, September 4, 2022

Our Family's 5 Generation Photo. Grandma Logan to Grandma Violet to Grandma Luella to Kim to Forrest.


Rapid City.  1974

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

     The photo above is our family's one and only 5 generation photo taken shortly after the birth of Kim's son Forrest.  In the photo are:
1. Great Grandmother Logan (Forrest's great great grandma)
    GG Logan is Luella's grandmother and Violet's mother.
2.  Grandma Violet Mattson.  Violet was Luella's mother. (Forrest's Great Grandma)
3.  Luella Mattson Williamson (Forrest's Grandma)
4.  Kim. (Forrest's mother)

     Everyone looks so young.  Luella is only 35 years old. Grandma Violet is 56 years old.  Grandma Logan is 84 years old.
     The picture was taken in Rapid City.  Grandma Logan was visiting from California.    

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