Wednesday’s Leaf: Rodney Earl Lundquist

I wrote about Rodney Earl Lundquist (my grand uncle) last year. Rodney was born on October 16, 1923 in Smithfield, Utah. On January 4, 1943, Rodney enlisted in the U.S. Army as a Private.

Recently, I stumbled across some wonderful photographs and documents pertaining to Rodney’s time in the military. Of particular interest was a letter written by Rodney to his mother (Eugenia Harris Lundquist) while serving in Belgium. Here is a transcript of the letter:

Thanksgiving Day 1944

Still in Belgique

Dearest Mom,

I am still in Belgium and I am well and happy. It is getting colder over here but I am warm. I have plenty of clothes and believe it or not, I have a nice warm bed. I guess I was a little luckier than those great guys in the infantry. I hope that on this day you are feeling okay, still smiling, and the same for Charles and all my friends. I haven’t had a letter from you in quite a while. I guess there is something wrong with the postal service. I guess I just don’t deserve any letters because I don’t write much, but as long as I get a letter from you, I don’t care much about anyone else.

The proper Sunday after you receive this letter, I would like you to bear my testimony in behalf of me. Now-after all these months overseas, I know that there is a God and His son Jesus Christ and that Joseph Smith is the true prophet of the Lord and that on this Thanksgiving day, I was thankful to be an American soldier and above all, Mom, I am thankful for you and to you for everything that I have been or ever will be.

Today for our dinner, we have [a] nice young turkey, sweet and mashed potatoes, gravy, apple pie and some good cake. Gee, it’s going to be swell. I hope I can have my next Thanksgiving dinner with you, Mom.

Well, Mom, I must close now, give my love to Charles and everybody at home.

All my love to the best mom in all the world.

Your son,


P.S. A Merry Christmas and a Happy, Happy New Year.

God bless you.


Rodney Earl Lundquist (1923-1944)

Rodney was killed on December 23, 1944 in Belgium. He was 21 years old. His obituary was printed in the January 8, 1945 Salt Lake Tribune.


Obituary of Rodney Earl Lundquist

Rodney received the Purple Heart medal for his service.

Wednesday’s Leaf: James Alonzo Holman

Today we feature James Alonzo Holman, my third great uncle. James was born on September 1, 1835 in Beaver, Pennsylvania. As the oldest boy in the family, he developed a sense of responsibility at an early age. This was particularly true when the family was driven from their home in Nauvoo, Illinois.

In 1851, James and his family settled in Santaquin, Utah. During this time, James became a minute man and member of the cavalry. He also met and married Sarah Ann Mathis.


James Alonzo Holman and Sarah Ann Mathis

James was also involved in different enterprises, including grading and building railroads. In fact, he was present when the famous Golden Spike was driven at Promontory Summit, Utah.


James Alonzo Holman (third from the left) and His Brothers

James died on September 24, 1920 at the age of 85. He was the father of 13 children and 78 grandchildren.

*Wednesday’s Leaf celebrates ancestors recently added to a growing family tree.

Wednesday’s Leaf: Sarah Earl

Today we feature Sarah Earl, my third great grandmother. Sarah was born on July 2, 1835 in Scarborough, York, Ontario, Canada. Sarah’s grandfather, Henry Earl, belonged to a group of Loyalists who left America in 1783 to found New Brunswick, Canada.

Sarah Earl

Sarah Earl (1835-1927)

Around 1836, Sarah’s family joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and moved to Kirtland, Ohio. Eventually, the Earl family moved to Nauvoo, Illinois, where Sarah was baptized in 1843. After being driven out of Illinois, Sarah and her family arrived in the Salt Lake Valley on September 11, 1850.

In 1843, Sarah married Alma Harris and eventually settled in Logan, Utah. Sarah was often described as sweet, gracious, and intensely interested in life. She also had a deep love for music.

Sarah passed away on June 19, 1927 in Logan, Utah.

Obituary_Sarah Earl

Sarah’s Obituary (June 20, 1927)


Sarah Earl Headstone

Sarah’s Headstone (Logan Cemetery)


Wednesday’s Leaf: Hiram Swinfield Large

Today we feature Hiram Swinfield Large (1908-1968), my first cousin three times removed. Hiram grew up in Virginia and was a miner by profession. In October 1931, Hiram married Garnet Mullins (1910-2002).

Hiram Large and Garnet Mullins

Hiram Large (center) and Garnet Mullins (right, with guitar)

Hiram Large

Hiram Swinfield Large (taken in 1954)


*Wednesday’s Leaf celebrates ancestors recently added to a growing family tree.