Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Saying Good-bye and the Beginning of a Promise

On August 7, 1940, Price, Utah eulogized Lorimine Christine Nielsen, known to her community as Minnie. She had moved to Price in 1895 to work at L.M Olsens Mercantile.  Where she was a buyer and bookkeeper.  Her daughter Isabelle recalls,
"Mom was a beautiful penman and at one time her copy book was used as a writing manual."
Sometime during 1895, Minnie was introduced to Thomas Fitzgerald.  By October of 1896 the couple had eloped to Salt Lake City where they were married by a Justice of the Peace. 

Newspaper clippings record many of Mrs. Fitzgeralds activities. Everything from births of new babies, to trips out of town.  Mrs. Fitzgerald was also a dedicated hostess.  Entire columns are written about the games
played, the home decor, often with a guest list included. 

"Mamma's hands were always busy."  Many of the "prize ribbons won at fairs" belong to Mrs. Fitzgerald. In the areas of stitchery and home canning she succeeded multiple years in winning blue ribbons.  In 1914 she added a state fair ribbon to her collection.

As a civic leader Mrs. Fitzgerald may have been second to none. 
"On July 4, 1904, she directed the first sidewalk parade ever to be presented in the state."
In her obituary we read the following:
"...being a talented actress and dramatic director.  In 1912 she gave the first benefit performance for the L.D.S. tabernacle, which was constructed that year, and the same year directed a similar production for the newly constructed Community church."
Her number one joy though was her husband.  In a brief family history written by Isabelle she shares,

"I'll always recall how happily in love my parents were.  I remember how on Valentines we kids were warned not to answer the bell at certain times.  My dad would leave a bouquet or candy with a Valentine at the door for Mom.  She'd run to look for him and laughingly catch him.  Then she'd reverse the act on him."
As romantic as their lives sound Mamma faced challenges, too.  Papa was struck with recurring rheumatoid arthritis.  Sometimes he would be gone for extended periods to seek treatment or take ill on a trip and not be able to return. 

Mrs. Fitzgerald was also strong and independent.  In 1921 Mrs. Minnie Fitzgerald purchased the families last home for $1000 deed.  She is the only purchaser.  No mention of Thomas exists.  The next time the deed was recorded in 1922 Mr. and Mrs. Fitzgerald's name are listed.  The year before she died the property was deeded to Minnie, Thomas and Thomas H. Fitzgerald.  The home still stands today and is happily occupied.

After Minnie's service the Fitzgerald children returned to this home.  Here they opened the five trunks that held the mementos that fueled the story outline. That outline eventually became the book series, we all love.


  1. So interesting! I just love John D. Fitzgerald's books and have always wondered how much is true etc. Thank you for this blog!

  2. Hi Mary,
    I thought I posted a reply but it got lost.
    I'm glad you love the blog. I love the way John wove his stories together and how much you can trace back to find the history behind them.

    Please come back often,