Stella May Cheney Robinson Eggleston

Stella May Cheney Robinson Eggleston

Stella’s Life in Her Own Words

I, Stella May Cheney, was born 13 Nov. 1905 at Wilson, Teton Co., Wyoming. (This was Uinta Co., then Lincoln and now Teton County.)

I was born in a log cabin on Fish Creek, near Uncle “Nick” (E. N.) Wilson’s home. I knew him and his son, George, was my childhood play mate.

My father was Selar Sylvester Cheney, a son of Selar Cheney who was a son of Elam, whose Father, Aaron Cheney, joined the L.D.S. [Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints] Church in New York in 1831.

My mother was Edith Vivian Nethercott; she was born 28 April 1885 in Corning, Tehema Co., California. Her father was Alfred Nethercott, born 20 March 1856 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Alfred Nethercott’s father, Alfred Alexander Nethercott, his mother Charlotte Pearce and his grandparents, James Nethercott and Rachel James, were from England. They lived in Utah and Calif., and later Alfred Alexander, his wife, Charlotte and Alfred Nethercott, his wife, Ida Ann Thompson and children went to Wyoming about 1900.

My mother’s mother was Ida Ann Thompson – born at Trenton, Grundy Co., Missouri. The family went to California when my grandmother was a child. John Alexander Campbell Thompson and his wife, Amanda Caroline Williams – parents of Ida Ann Thompson.

My father went to “the Jackson’s Hole” country with his parents and grandparents when he was 9 years old. Gr. grandmother, Mary Wood Wilson and Aunt “Tillie” Matilda, wife of uncle “Nick” Wilson, were the first white women to live up there in that new country. The Wilson’s and Cheney’s took up homesteads. My uncle, Howard Cheney, was the first white boy born in the “Jackson’s Hole” country. At the time, this was Indian country.

I attended school at Wilson, Wyoming, Jackson, Wyoming and a very short time “Cheney, Wyoming” and Rexburg, Idaho. My grandfather, Selar Cheney, had a Post Office in his home. It was known as the Cheney Post Office. This was about 7 miles south of Jackson known also as South Park – this section south of Jackson, Wyoming.

I married Orin LeGrand Robinson 20 October 1924 at Rexburg, Madison Co., Idaho. He was a widower, with a son, Milton, a daughter, Phyllis and a son Weldon. We lived at Rock Springs, Sweet Water County, Wyoming for 17 years. Mr. Robinson was employed by the U.S. Department of Interior as a trapper and field agent. We were the parents of 4 children, Lorin LeGrand, Lawrence Dell, Edith Estella and Lee Cheney Robinson.

We were divorced in May, 1941. Mr. Robinson re-married on May 27, 1941 at Manila, Utah. Our home in Rock Springs, Wyoming 333 “P” Street was destroyed by a gas explosion, Feb 1941. The children and I rented until school was out in May and then we moved to Logan, Cache County, Utah.

The home at 354 West 2nd South, Logan, Utah was a beautiful brick home. It had been previously purchased for us, but we had not seen it until the day we moved there from Rock Springs, Wyoming. The boys went to Wyoming to spend the summer on the ranch at Bondurant, and to visit with my parents at Wilson, Wyoming. (Their father had the ranch there). We spent our summers there but during most of the time we lived in Rock Springs, Wyoming.

Edith, my daughter, and I came to Eden, Weber Co., Utah to work for Uncle Joseph Smith Eggleston. He was a widower. His wife, my Aunt Cuma, had died November 1941. She was my father’s sister. There were 5 of his children home and a grandson.

Mr. Eggleston and I decided we would make one home instead of two so we were married 20 August, 1941 at Eden, Weber Co., Utah by Bishop C. Alex Hogge. I sold my home in Logan and paid off his mortgage. We have spent 20 years of happy married life together, and hope that we will have many more.

While in Rock Springs, Wyoming, I worked in the Primary and Relief Society. Since I have been in Eden, I have been a Primary teacher and Primary Counselor. Fifteen years were spent as Counselor in the Relief Society under three Presidents. Also served twelve years as Ward Genealogy Secretary. At present I teach a Sunday School class, a Primary class and am a Relief Society Visiting teacher, the latter position I have done for many years.

Stella with Alice and Joseph

Stella and Grandpa Joe










Alice, Joe, Mel, Stella and Lola

My Memories of Grandma Stella

Stella was my Grandma – the only Grandma Eggleston that I knew. I remember as a child visiting her and Grandpa at the farm in Eden. The large kitchen was Stella’s domain. I remember the old coal stove which she still used, even though she had a more modern one. She made butter with the fresh milk from their cows. She had a nice garden and many bottles of canned food.

We had some Family Reunions and gatherings at the house and one I remember at a nearby park in 1962.

Grandpa Joe, Stella, Alice Lola Orland, Doc, Wesley and Mel at a Family Reunion in 1962

Stella was very good with her hands and made some beautiful things. We had a number of quilts that she made, including this one that I used on my bed for many years. I have some things she embroidered including this table runner in the photo with the quilt.

A quilt and embroidery made by Stella

After Grandpa died, Stella sold the farm and moved to another house in Eden. She lived there alone for many years. We continued to visit her occasionally. I especially remember the visits on Memorial Day. We would also stop at her house when we went up to the Eden Cemetery.

As Stella’s health declined in her later years, she eventually went to the Weber Memorial Care Center in Roy. I remember visiting her there, particularly one visit at Christmas time. She was always pleasant and glad to see us.


Stella at the Care Center where she passed away

Stella’s Death

Stella passed away on July 12, 1982 at the Weber Memorial Care Center in Roy. Her funeral was held in the Larkin Valley Chapel which used to be the Eden Ward building where she attended church for years. It was the same building where Grandpa’s funeral was held many years before. I particularly remember the Relief Society Sisters who served us a wonderful meal after the service and had many nice things to say about Stella.

Stella was buried in the Eden Meadow View Cemetery next to Grandpa.


Annie Christine Johnson Eggleston

Annie Christine Johnson Eggleston

Annie Christine Johnson Eggleston

Christine’s Early Life

Annie Christine Johnson Eggleston was born November 7, 1864 in Salt Lake City, a daughter of Peter Johnson and Ane Maria Madsen. Her parents had immigrated from Denmark separately just a few years earlier. They married September 27, 1862 in Salt Lake City. Annie Christine was their second child and was born before they moved to Eden. She was known as Christine, probably because her mother was Ane Marie and her older sister Annie Marie. She grew up in Eden on the family farm. Her father died in 1878 when she was 14 years old. She probably helped to care for her seven younger siblings.

Marriage and Family

On February 10, 1881 Annie Christine became the third wife of Orson Hyde Eggleston. She was 17 years old and he was 41. Orson had moved from Ogden to Eden and served in the Bishopric there with Christine’s father, Peter Johnson.

Christine gave birth to her first child, David Orson, on June 15, 1883 in Eden. He passed away November 3, 1884 at the age of 18 months. A second son was born July 5, 1885 and was named Joseph Smith Eggleston. In November of that year, Orson left Christine with her new baby and traveled to Star Valley, Wyoming. She and baby Joe joined him there the next summer.


Family Bible entries of the children of Orson and Christine, beginning with David Orson on the right

On July 30, 1887 a daughter Mattie Mae was born in Afton, Wyoming. Another daughter Florence was born on May 10, 1893. Christine’s last child, Theron Johnson was born June 12, 1905.

Christine was a plural wife. Orson had first married Constance Ann Stephens and then married Mariett Orinda Farley. He eventually moved them all to Afton, Wyoming. Orson built three separate houses for his wives in Afton. A biography of Vedia Eggleston, a daughter of Orson and Mariett, gives some insight into the polygamous lifestyle. Veda had told her daughter Fern that her father “would alternate staying a week with each family until polygamy was outlawed, then he stayed with his youngest wife until she no longer wanted the relationship.”

I have some questions about the accuracy of that statement. Actually polygamy was against the law the whole time they lived in Afton. Orson’s first wife Constance Stephens divorced him. She married Ether McBride in 1904. Vedia was born in 1897, so she would have only had memories of 2 wives during her young childhood. After Christine’s death her mother Mariett was Orson’s only wife.

The polygamous lifestyle may have been difficult for Christine. Accounts indicate that the three wives got along well. They apparently lived near each other. The 1900 Census shows Orson as head of household with Merry [Mariett]. Christine with surname Johnson was next door, as head of household with her children and Connie Eggleston in the next household with her sons. All the wives are listed as married. This may have been the usual living arrangement, or the Census may have been taken when it was Marriett’s week.

1900 Census Afton, Wyoming

Christine’s Death

Sadly, most of what I know about Christine’s life is comes from what was written after her death. She died way too young, on August 13, 1909 at age 44. This must have been a shock for the family. Joseph was living in Jackson Hole at the time. Mattie Mae had married Harold Stock in 1905 and they were living in Afton. Florence would have been sixteen. Theron was just four years old when his mother died.

Death Certificate of Annie Christine Johnson Eggleston

Death Certificate of Christine Eggleston

Christine’s obituary and funeral report were published in the Star Valley Independent, August 20, 1909. Orson probably was working for the paper at that time and may have actually written or typeset this article. This document gives us the best information about Christine’s character and her life.

Mrs. Christine Eggleston

Just as we started printing last Friday word came that Mrs. Christine Eggleston had passed away. She had been quite sick for nine weeks and during the last three weeks she had at times shown signs of being very near death’s door. The ward has lost a faithful worker, and the Relief Society a faithful secretary.

Sister Eggleston, was born in Salt Lake City, Nov. 7th, 1864 and the next year her parents moved to Eden in the Ogden Valley where she remained until she came to Star Valley in the Fall of 1886. In the meantime she was married to Orson H. Eggleston in February of the year 1881.

She was the first Secretary of the Relief Society in Afton, and has held that office since that time until her death, with the exception of two short intervals. In addition she had held the office of Treasure at times.

She is the mother of five children, the first one died when about 18 months old and the others are here, the youngest being a boy four years old.

She has lived a worthy life and died as she had lived a faithful Latter-day Saint, and in her death is deeply mourned.

The funeral was held at the Afton Meeting house at 2 p.m. Monday and a large crowd assembled to pay their last respects to the departed. Appropriate hymn: “Sister thou wast mild and lovely” and “Shall we meet” were sung and then Patriarch C. D. Cazier spoke for some time in words of love and kindness, and read a very appropriate verse from the hymn book.

Sister Mary Gardner, one of the Stake officers of the Relief Society, spoke at length on the character of Sister Eggleston and praised her for her good works, bearing testimony to her mild temper, her faithful performance of duties, and her punctuality.

Mark Hurd and Mary Yeaman sang together, “It is well with my soul.”

Elder N.J. Christopherson, Pres. Burton and Pres. Geo. Osmond each, spoke for a few minutes of the high character of the departed, and uttered words of love and sympathy to the mourners and exhorted those present to live that they might be worthy of the Celestial glory.

Bishop Osborne Low told how Joseph Eggleston, son of the deceased, had heard of the sickness of his mother on Thursday, while in Jackson’s Hole, and as the people there were very busy with their crops, he was unable to procure a horse with which to make the journey, and so in answer to the call to come to his then dying mother, he had walked 75 miles to the lower end of the Star Valley where he had been furnished with a horse, and had ridden into town, arriving only just a few moments before the funeral procession left the house.

In speaking of Sister Eggleston he told of the careful way in which she had paid her tithing, regarding it as a sacred duty and carefully computing the amount she would add a little more for fear that she had forgotten something.

The service was closed by singing the hymn, “Now we lay thee down to sleep:”

This card was probably given to family at the time of Christine’s funeral

Christine was buried in the Afton Cemetery, where Orson was later buried next to her.


Joseph S. Eggleston’s Autograph Book

My father has collected a lot of stuff during his life. He has also inherited a good deal of family history records and memorabilia. I have gone through boxes of stuff at his home a number of times. On one occasion, we found this little Autograph Album which had belonged to my grandfather, Joseph Smith Eggleston. His sister Mattie May apparently gave it to him in January 1901, though his mother’s entry was dated December 26, 1900. His parents and sister were the only ones who wrote in it, but their sentiments are precious. It is also a treasure to have something in their handwriting.  It was probably May who added the decorative stickers.

Cover Page and inscription: Presented to Joseph S. Eggleston by his sister May Eggleston Afton, Jan 19th 1901

Joseph’s Father gave him an interesting warning.

Afton, Wyo. Jan 20th 1901 “My Son, forget not my counsel Enter not into the path of the wicked and go not in the way of evil men. For the ways of the wicked are darkness Your father O. H. Eggleston

Joseph’s Sister Mattie May with Friendship and Love

AFton Jan 19th 1901 Dear Brother Joseph Amongst those of most esteem be sure Your place forever is secure Your dear Sister May Eggleston

Simple thoughts from his Mother

Afton Dec 26th 1900 May happiness be forever thine Your Mother Christine Eggleston



The Life of Joseph Smith Eggleston

A life sketch of Joseph Smith Eggleston adapted from one written by his son DeLoss which was included in my book.

Joe’s Birth and Childhood

Joseph Smith Eggleston was born on the July 5, 1885, in Eden Weber Co. Utah, to Annie Christine Johnson and Orson Hyde Eggleston. There was some question as to the date, maybe because the 4th of July was often celebrated on his birthday. His father Orson’s journal and his death certificate place it on the 5th.

Birth of Joseph Smith Eggleston

Birth date of Joseph Smith Eggleston in the middle of the right page.

Joseph was the second son of Orson and his third wife Annie Christine Johnson. The first child, David Orson was born June 15, 1883 and died November 3, 1884. Annie’s father, Peter Johnson, was a counselor in the bishopric with Orson. He also was working on the bridge over the Ogden river at the head of Ogden Canyon. He got caught in a storm and came home cold and wet, caught pneumonia and died December 17. 1878. Orson lived in a home they bought from Richard Ballantyne.

Orson H. Eggleston’s home in Eden, where Joseph may have been born

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Talitha Cuma Cheney Eggleston

My grandmother, Talitha Cuma Cheney Eggleston died at a young age. At least from my present perspective it seems a very young age. I never had the privilege of knowing her. When I was compiling histories for the Cheney Wilson Family History Book, I realized that she was the only member of that family no one had written about. So I set out, as one who had not known her personally, to write a history of her life. This is taken largely from that account, with some additional photographs.

Early Life in Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Talitha Cuma Cheney was born May 3, 1893 in South Park, Wyoming. She grew up as on only daughter, with several brothers, all but one older than her. Her parents, Selar Cheney and Mary Alice Wilson, had another daughter Mary Ellen, but she had died as a child in Wilsonville, long before Cuma was born.

family of Selar and Mary Alice Wilson Cheney

Talitha Cuma is sitting on her father Selar’s lap. To the right of her is her grandmother Talitha Cuma Garlic Avery, whom she was named after. Other family members are Howard, David, Mother Mary Alice holding Fleming, and Selar Sylvester and Ralph standing in the back.

Talitha Cuma was named after her grandmother, Talitha Cumi Garlick Avery Cheney, though she went by the name “Cuma”. In some places it was written Cumi or Cumy, though her daughter Alice said she preferred Cuma to Cumy.

Fleming, Talitha Cuma and Howard Cheney

Cuma with her brothers Fleming and Howard

At the time Cuma was born, the South Park community consisted mostly of her extended family, so her childhood would have beenspent with her brothers and several cousins.

Education was very important to this family. The first school was organized in Jackson Hole in 1896. Cuma was too young to attend when the school first started, but was privileged to have this available from the time she was ready to start school. A 1899 souvenir card of School District No. 37 in Jackson lists 16 pupils with Cumy Cheney listed last, as she was probably the youngest.

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Joseph Eggleston’s Postcards from Jackson Hole

A handful of postcards from Jackson Hole give us a glimpse into life on Mormon Row a century ago.

Joseph S. Eggleston grew up in Afton, Wyoming. In about 1910 he went to Jackson Hole where he homesteaded in a place known as Mormon Row. He sent these postcards from Jackson Hole during that time. There are no addresses, stamps or postmarks indicating when and to whom or where they were sent. They may have been inserted into packages sent back home to his family in Afton. Or possibly, since Joe carried the mail on a postal route in Wyoming at that time, he did not need to address them. He could have carried them himself to Afton or included them with other mail.

Cousin Don shared these postcards with me. They had been with boxes of photographs he inherited from his mother, Evelyn Barbara Stock Lee. She got these from her mother Mattie Mae Eggleston Stock, who was Joseph Egglestons’s sister.

These cards were produced showing scenes from the area. Joe may have purchased a number of these. We had another one of this family skiing, but there was nothing written on it. The view from Joe’s homestead would have been very similar. He apparently knew this Sheffield family.

Sheffield family Moran, Wyoming


skiing Jackson Lake

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Family Reunion 1952

I inherited photographs of an Eggleston Family Reunion which I did not attend. These are dated 1952 and are of a gathering of the family of Joseph S. Eggleston.  I assumed the occasion was Grandpa Joe’s Birthday and/or the Fourth of July – they were celebrated together. We have come a long way with photo-documenting such events, both with the number of pictures we take as well as the quality. These photos are poor quality and identifying people has not been easy. I have not been able to identify everyone and may not have the ones I have identified right. It does look like they all enjoyed a good meal.

Wesley and Margaret are sitting on the left then Lola. Grandpa Joe is sitting on the right back. It might be Phil standing with the child. Joan and DeLoss are standing in the back. Stella is standing on the right side of the table.

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Doc’s Memories of Melvin Eggleston

Melvin Eggleston was born April 7, 1922 in Eden, Utah, the son of Joseph S. and Talitha Cuma Cheney Eggleston.


Melvin at age 6

Melvin Eggleston was born and raised in Eden and went to the same schools as the others. Melvin’s special talent was his personality, almost everyone liked him. He did have one fight, but that person became a friend. When he was going to Huntsville he tried to get Dale and me involved with his girlfriend’s sisters. He was active in sports.

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Doc’s Memories of Alice


Alice was born on Mormon Row and was still a child when they moved to Eden. She went to school in Eden and Huntsville and graduated from Weber High School in Ogden. She was a good student and made many lasting friends. As a young lady she babysat for several families. Because our mother was not in good health after I was born Alice did a lot of raising me and we were very close. A friend of hers moved to California and invited her to come down there and be a nanny for a family. She thought that would be interesting, so she went to California. While there she enjoyed many things including dancing. Continue reading

Doc’s Memories of Lola


Lola was born on Mormon Row and was just a baby when the family moved to Eden. My first recollection of her was that when I was born she wanted a little sister and treated me like I was. She curled my hair and treated me like I was Shirley Temple, who was my age. She went to the same schools as her brother and sister – Eden Elementary, Huntsville Junior High and Weber High School. She was friendly and was well liked in school. I don’t really remember how she got acquainted with Phil. But I do remember them getting together at the house. They were married and moved in to a house just to the west of his parents place. I was so busy with my own life that I do not remember a lot about them growing up. I do remember the joy she had when after three boys she got a girl(a beautiful girl)the prize of her life. Continue reading