S: The History of the Maurice Armstrong Toler Farm
FC: The History of the Maurice Armstrong Toler Farm
1: To the Farmer and His Wife From a wilderness they created a home. A century ago these pioneers faced tremendous hardships, privation, heartache, loss, and tragedy. They kept their faith in God. They worked hard and endured. Let us remember their story, that their legacy may extend to all generations that follow. | Maurice and Helen Toler newlyweds in 1942 in front of the "Old Log House"
2: John William Toler and Laura Tina Nuckols In Goochland County, VA, near Richmond, John, a blacksmith, and his wife, Laura, had a 250-acre farm and blacksmith shop amidst rolling hills and lumber rich forests. They were the parents of 11 children. Despite opposition, they joined the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints after listening to missionaries who taught at cottage meetings and were filled with the desire to move to the West. Laura would study the Book of Mormon while churning butter so she could defend the church to the Baptist preachers who came to attack their decision. John died March 29, 1902 before their dream to move West could be realized.
3: Cora Bell, John and Laura's 3rd child, married Dewey Wood ,a missionary from Brigham City, on March 12, 1902. Her letters from Utah encouraged her mother to move West after John Toler's death. In 1905, Laura had a dream about Joseph Smith where he told her to "follow in my footsteps." So, Laura sold her 250 acres to her brother, Archer Nuckols, for $750 and sent the money to Bishop David Armstrong in Robin, who had married Laura's niece. He bought her the 74-acre "Henry Thacker place" for $800.
4: Laura's farm was in Section 9, Township 10, Range 36 East of the Boise Meridian. She owned the 74-acre North half of the SE 1/4, that was homesteaded by Henry Thacker, except for the 6 acres that were deeded to the state for the Robin Cemetery by Patty Thacker in 1901. | Laura left Virginia March 1906 with her four youngest sons: Gregg, Lemuel, Tyree, and Orion as well as Ella and her husband John William Bear.
5: Laura lived on her Robin farm until her death at age 86 on May 25, 1939. Her funeral was at the Robin church and she was buried in the Robin cemetery. During her life, she collected poems, loved to read, enjoyed having a vegetable garden, raised chickens, and helped milk the cows. She was active in the church in the Relief Society and as a visiting teacher and did temple work for over a thousand of her relatives. | The house was two rooms above and two rooms below and when Laura was gone, Tyree and his wife Zella lived there and it was converted to only one story. Ty died of a heart attack in 1958 while soaking and relaxing at Lava Hot Springs after a long day spreading cow manure. Calvin Monson and his wife, Cherie Lynne Blanchard, bought Laura's 74 acres some time after Ty's death. Cal worked in Alaska with an oil drilling company and sent home money that his wife used to buy the land. They bought a mobile home a few years later so no one lives in the house now. | Laura also successfully filed on a 320+ acres homestead in 1915 close to the mountain south of the Gap. In later years, as more desirable land was claimed, larger claims than the standard 160 acres were allowed.
6: The dates William Jenkins, Sr.'s land changed hands are not available, but we do know James Perse owned it after Jenkins. Perse, desiring to dry farm, then traded his farm for George Glover's, located north of Robin on Robin Road, so that Glover could milk cows. William Jenkins, Sr. came to Idaho in 1876, the first family to come and settle on Garden Creek. He organized the first choir in Marsh Valley and served as one of the superintendents of the Sunday School in Robin for the Marsh Valley Ward, which was split in 1887, and became in Robin, the Garden Creek Ward. | Patents Filed at Blackfoot Land Office
7: Ownership of the West 1/2 of the NW 1/4 and the West 1/2 of the SW 1/4 Section 11, Township 10, Range 36 E. of the B.M. | 1. William Jenkins, Sr. (1841-1931) patent filed December 15, 1902 | 3. Margaret Lucinda Jenkins daugther of William Jenkins, Sr. (1876-1938) m. George Elmer Glover (1872-1962) October 1896 | Ruth Glover was a notorious flirt. Ben Clark drove the school bus and every morning he stopped the bus at 231 E Glover to have a cup of coffee with Ruth. According to Beverly, she and the other kids tired of this arrangement, and impatient to get to school, they persuaded Dewayne Henderson, a high school student, to drive the bus on to school. Ben never stopped for coffee again. Ruth and George got a divorce in 1948 and St. George had to sell the farm and divide the proceeds equally. | 5. Maurice and Helen Toler Fall 1948 | Selling for $21,500 at 1.75%, the sale included the house, the barn, a team of horses with equipment, chickens and a coop, and a new John Deere tractor. | 2. James Edward Perse (1875-1914) m. Nancy Jennings Armstrong (1878-1934) sister to George Washington Armstrong August 22, 1912 | 4. Ruth Glover (1904-1995) daughter of George Elmer Glover m. St. George Armstrong (1900-1983) June 1922
8: William Jenkins, Sr. originally built his homestead cabin near the "Big Spring" located south and around the hill from where it sits today. When Glover Road was built in 1921, the logs were numbered, dismantled, moved and reassembled to their present location so as to be closer to the main thoroughfare. | In 1948, Earl and Anna Preslar, as newlyweds, rented the log house and were the last human residents. Years later, the great-grandchildren call this the "Haunted House." They loved to go there and look for "treasures."
9: Marvin, Helen's younger brother, remembers candling and sanding eggs in the wooden egg house that once housed an electric generator. Ardean remembers cleaning eggs while listening to soap operas on the radio. The concrete outbuilding originally stored the milk separator but later stored empty egg cases and chicken feed when they had chicks in the log house. | Since it didn't freeze and stayed cool, Maurice used the egg house to keep his eggs until Thursdays when he took 300 dozen to Rand's Cafe in Arimo, stores in McCammon and Inkom, and ran a residential route in Pocatello. He traded 2 dozen for a silver dollar .
10: George Washington Armstrong and Etta Woodson Frances Lawrence George's older brother David was baptized in the fall of 1891. David emigrated to the West with his family in 1893 and in the spring of 1894, he borrowed a team and wagon and traveled from Salt Lake until he recognized the hills and valleys he had seen in a dream before he left Virginia. George and Etta received missionaries in their Richmond, Virginia home in 1907. David came back to Virginia for a visit and encouraged George to be baptized and come West to live the Gospel in its fullest. George was baptized in January 1908 and came West in 1909 with his family of six children escaping anti-Mormon sentiment and leaving behind family and possessions. Goldie remembered how her mother cried as each piece of fine furniture was sold at the auction sale. Then, while visiting relatives, the children caught whooping cough which progressed to pneumonia. Goldie's baby sister, Virginia died, and so amidst their grief, the family left Virginia by train on April 14th, 1909 arriving in McCammon with 50 cents in their papa's purse.
12: When the family first arrived in Robin, they stayed withUncle David Armstrong for six weeks. He helped them find a place to live and the necessary things to keep house including a cow to milk and twelve laying hens. Their first home was on the Perse place, which Goldie says that George Glover owned and for which he didn't charge them any rent. | George Washington filed on a 160-acre homestead in the fall of 1909. According to Bureau of Land Management records, he filed a patent on September 18, 1916 for the S1/2 of the SW1/4 of section 20 and the N1/2 of the NW1/4 of section 29, Township 9, Range 36 E of the B.M. This is located high on the east side of Old Tom Mountain. He finished this little frame house that they moved into when warm weather came in 1910. George was hired at the George Gittins Ranch in the fall of 1909 and the family alternated between the homestead in the summer and a log house on the ranch until 1915. Goldie stayed with her papa on the ranch in the summer to cook for him. Etta maintained their claim at the homestead.
13: Back: Etta Armstrong holding baby Hatton, George Washington Armstrong Middle Row: Goldie, David, Richard, St. George Front Row: Walter, Mary, Roberta | George Washington Armstrong's family Winter 1914
14: In 1917, George Washington Armstrong bought the Eli Wolverton place and the Marley place, 200 acres, for $4,000. He also bought the Larsen place, 160 acres, for $1,600. In 1933, George bought 160 acres located in Section 3 and 10. Lemuel and Tyree Toler bought the 2nd car in Robin together, a 5-passenger 1916 Overland Chandler with a canvas top. Tyree took out the battery to charge it and left the brakes disconnected. On October 17, 1917, Goldie and Lemuel left Laura Toler's house to go to town. Lemuel says, "We got to the top of the hill south of the store, and killed the engine. I couldn't get the car into gear. It started rolling back down the hill, and I discovered there were no brakes. I missed the road and tipped completely over and up onto the wheels. My chest was crushed and I had a dislocated hip." When the doctor said he would never walk again he bought 160 ares of pasture for cows that had belonged to Josiah Wheeler. Though he would walk with a limp for the rest of his life, because of faithful prayers, he was walking without crutches by Christmas that year.
15: Ownership of George Washington Armstrong's farm located in Section 2 and 11 Boyd C. Porter and Dora Porter August 31, 1944 Harvey "Hub" Larsen and Kendall "Tuck" Larsen April 30, 1946 Tuck and Donna Larsen August 13, 1947 Maurice and Helen Toler May 12, 1955 Tuck and Hub were brothers from Preston. When Tuck got married, he bought out his brother and lived there with his wife. Tuck and Maurice had a partnership going in Arbon Valley. After several years, they agreed their adjacent farms in Robin were too small to support their families and whoever found another place first would sell to the one who stayed. Tuck found a dairy farm in Ovid and Maurice bought him out.
16: 1919 - George W. Armstrong built a new home (later known as "The Summer Home" to replace the cabin that stood on the property close to this spring that is now dry. 1923 - May 23, 11-year old Walter is dragged to death by a team of horses in the field. | 1924 - The family buys their first car. A "built-in, 1-ton Dodge truck" that they used to haul produce and eggs to Pocatello. 1926 - George is baptized into the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints 1935 - October 20, Etta dies of strep throat
17: George Washington Armstrong and his children Back: Mary, Ruphenia, George Washington, Roberta, Goldie Front: Hatton, Wesley, Richard, David, Jack | Beverly remembers Grandpa would tell her riddles on the way to school and she would tell him the answer on her walk home. "Ten, ten, double ten, forty-five and fifteen. What is the number?" Maurice remembers Grandpa Armstrong would be passed out drunk in his car stopped at the gate late at night and he would have to open the gate and wake Grandpa up so he could drive home when he was returning from dates. Theron remembers being scared of his great grandpa's great, booming voice when he would visit him. Ruphenia and her family lived in his Pocatello home with him until he died of cirrhosis February 17, 1951. | St. George
18: Lemuel Massie Toler (1891-1965) m. Goldie Ann Armstrong (1897-1992) June 20, 1917 | Goldie said her first automobile ride was with Lemuel. Jimmy Amos dated Goldie and Lemuel once drove them to McCammon for Jimmy to catch the train. As he was leaving, Jimmy told Lemuel to "Take good care of Goldie," and when the story was retold, Lemuel would say, "I been doin' my best ever since." Goldie went to 8th grade, but Lemuel only finished 5th or 6th grade. Despite this lack of formal schooling, Lemuel was always reading and studying the scriptures. After farming, Beverly said, he'd come in and stand over the large furnace grate in the hallway and read.
19: Back Row: Vera, Helen, Dorothy, Maurice Front Row: Goldie, Beverly, Lemuel | Gone Home... Helen Gunter March 27, 2009 Dorothy Parkinson Barger October 29, 2010 Vera Hall June 12, 2012
20: Lemuel and Goldie lived at Laura Toler's for a year after they were married in 1917. Lemuel had filed on a homestead in Crystal in 1912 which he worked until his car accident. Afterwards, he purchased 160 acres from George Allen and the couple lived in the 50-year old log house with the sod roof built by William Marley for 10 years. It had four rooms--a kitchen, two bedrooms, and a wash room where they kept the cream separator and where the cellar door was located. Four rooms were spacious in that day and dances were held there to the melodies produced by local musical talent. The home was located only about 10 feet away from what has been called "..the best water I ever drank in my life." Dorothy, Maurice, and Helen were born in this log house. | ~late 1923 Back: Goldie, Maurice, Lemuel Front: Helen, Dorothy | The "Best Spring" once flowed freely and a nearby tree contained a tin cup for thirsty passer-by.
21: Lem and St. George combining 1918 - Lem bought his first 8-horse combine 1946 - Bought first self-propelled combine | Hauling logs August 1940 Lem's first tractor was a Ford | Maurice Born on the Fourth of July 1920 | 1924 - The family had cows, horses, chickens, and pigs. They hauled hay and grew wheat.
22: Lemuel started a new frame house in the fall of 1925 and the family moved in March 1926. It had six rooms and a full basement. It was the first house in Robin with indoor plumbing. The novelty meant every visitor had to have a chance to flush the toilet. Lois was born in this new house and died of whooping cough before she turned one. | Vera and Beverly were born in Downey. | Maurice, Helen Gunter, Helen, Goldie, Lemuel
23: Goldie was an immaculate housekeeper, and she canned, sewed, quilted, crocheted, and served in the Relief Society. She needed very little sleep and was always anxiously engaged caring for her family. | Lem was bishop of the Garden Creek Ward from 1941-1949. Though his nature was easy-going, he was a dedicated farmer who paid his debts and took good care of his equipment.
24: Ownership of homestead first filed by Theodore C. Henderson November 23, 1914 Estus N. Hammond (and Hans Sorenson) January 22, 1919 John L Coburn November 12, 1924 Pacific Loan and Investment Company, Ltd. (England) bought at foreclosure auction February 27, 1926 | Aerial photo of Lemuel and Goldie's farm 1964
25: Lemuel was pressured for some time by the Pacific Loan and Investment Company to buy the land adjacent to his. Eventually, they gave him an offer he couldn't refuse. It included a homestead, the adjacent fields, and another 40 acres that could be the SW1/4 of the NE 1/4 of section 2, for a total of about 200 acres for $2,800 November 4, 1929. The next season he planted winter wheat and the high price of wheat and a bumper crop paid the whole mortgage. Since Lemuel was milking cows and didn't have a lot of time to farm, some years he leased this land to St. George Armstrong. | Living on the side of Old Tom Mountain in the winter was harsh. Frank and Lula Hicks spent one winter on a homestead there and then asked Lemuel if they could stay in the "Old Log House" the next winter. They ended up staying 14 years without paying rent (to the consternation of the owners). | The "Old Log House" once sat here with an outhouse, a barn and a granary. | This spring supplied water for the homestead.
26: Goldie and Lemuel were called to the Southwest Indian Mission and entered the mission home November 1964. A year into their mission Lemuel had an operation on a blood clot. The doctor in Roswell, New Mexico made a mistake and Lemuel died from the complications of a second, corrective surgery at 75 years old, on November 12, 1965. His first great-grandchild, Kerri Sue Loertscher, was born the same day, resulting in an emotional roller coaster. The unexpected tragedy devastated loved ones left behind.
27: In a letter from the First Presidency, signed by David O. McKay, Goldie received condolences from Church headquarters. They sympathized that, "He might have lived many years, but he could never have been engaged in a more worthy service or in one more acceptable to the Lord than that in which he was laboring when he died." | Goldie and her siblings, November 16, 1965 Back row: Wesley, Richard, St. George, Hatton, Dave Front row: Mary, Ruphenia, Roberta, Goldie, Jack
28: March 1926 - Lemuel finishes their new frame house November 1964 - Goldie and Lemuel leave for Southwest Indian Mission November 1965 - Lemuel dies 1969 - When Maurice buys the farm, Goldie moves to a trailer at Vera and Wayne's farm in McCammon March 1972 - Goldie marries Joseph Ball and moves to his Rexburg home | 1973 - Goldie's house is sold to Dale and Sally Evans (Jimmy and Helen's daughter) and moved to the south side of Arimo across the railroad tracks off Hwy 91. | Jimmy Gunter, Helen's husband, built the foundation the house rests on today as well as the foundation for the Summer Home after its relocation to Arimo.
29: June 1988 - Joe dies and Goldie is living with her children. Goldie's daughters would knock themselves out taking good care of their mother, but every day she wanted to go to Maurice's house. Finally Vera stated, "He's your favorite, Mom." Goldie smiled and said proudly, "Yeees." They all knew that he was and they finally got her to say it. December 1992 - Goldie dies a few days past her 95th birthday in her daughter Helen's home. | Randy and Barbara Morris parked their mobile home near the foundation of Goldie's home from about 1982-April 1988 while leasing the farm from Maurice.
30: Maurice Armstrong Toler m. Helen Gunter June 10, 1942 | Maurice met Helen when she began as a freshman at Arimo High School and he was a sophomore. They dated all through high school. He would ride his horse to Arimo to see her. He taught her to shoot, took her to open air dances playing big band music, and took her to movies including taking her out of school to see a matinee of Gone With The Wind in 1940. While on his mission, Maurice once asked Helen in a letter if she would like to be a farmer's wife. She must have liked the idea because they got married thirty-three days after he arrived home.
31: Maurice served on active duty in the US Army during World War II from October 1942 until December 1945. Ardean was born Arpil 9, 1943 while he was away. Helen lived in Arimo where her father, Rufus Gunter, built her a little house on his property during Maurice's military service. | August 1943 Ardean is 4 months old.
32: Theron was born April 8, 1946. The family lived in the "old log house" north of Goldie's house. | This is the blind chicken that Ardean carried around like a doll. | Theron's love of dogs began early in life.
33: Maurice began helping milk his father's cows when he was 6 years old and was driving the 5-horse plow at about 12 years old. After he got married and returned from the Army, he went back to helping Lem milk cows and raise hay. Cutting and hauling hay was done a lot differently with horses. Maurice would get pulleyed up to the top of the haystack by hanging onto the Jackson fork which hung from a derrick pole to stack the hay.
34: 1948 - Maurice purchases St. George Armstrong's farm He continues to farm with Lem, sharing equipment. 1952-1955 - Maurice and Tuck partner 1500 acres in Arbon Valley but quit after a few years 1955 - Maurice buys Tuck's farm (formerly his grandfather, George Washington Armstrong's, farm) for $35,000. ~1969 - Maurice buys Goldie's farms after Lemuel's death in 1965 At this point, Maurice owns his uncle's, father's and grandfather's farms. 1986 - Maurice buys Lowell Howell's foreclosed land from the Downey Bank (later became Ireland Bank) for $32,000.
36: The house had a front porch until Maurice's son, Theron, went on his mission in 1964, when the porch was enclosed and the interior was remodeled to make one big living room on the east side of the house. The walls in the kitchen were also changed and the door to the kitchen was moved. | Every year, Helen cultivated beautiful flowers around her house. A lot of hard work went into making her yard and garden bloom. | This picture was taken in 1949, shortly after Maurice and his family moved in. Theron worried where he would hang his coat in the new house, which led Maurice to place a special nail in the back porch. He hung his coat there even when it grew long enough to reach the floor. The house was built by St. George Armstrong in the early 1940s. He and Ruth had only lived there a few years before they got divorced and sold it to Maurice.
37: The house had a lot of trees around it, but they "made a mess" and slowly Helen ordered most of them pulled out. | Grandma Goldie poses with the house after it acquires its siding and new windows in 1987. | Maurice and Helen pose with house before siding is installed in 1987. | Many grandsons have learned the value of work on the farm. Doug Loertscher, a grandson, leased the farm for a year after his mission beginning in the summer of 1988. In recent years, when Maurice and Helen needed extra help, Troy Loertscher, another grandson, volunteered his services fixing fence, spraying weeds, and cleaning ditches.
38: This barn was built by Benny Goodman for which George Glover paid him a team of mules. It was built sometime after 1908. Hay was pulleyed up with a Jackson fork through the top window on the north side. The middle section of the barn is a hay loft.
39: Also, on the north side, there is a shop with a workbench and a place to park a carriage or a car. On the west side was a tack room and two stables for Maurice's team of draft horses--Bally and Duke. Maurice milked eight to ten cows on the east side.
40: Aerial photo June 1992 The little granary which stands between the milking barn and the loafing shed was brought down from the side of the mountain on two wagons pulled by horses. It has since been torn down.
41: The loafing shed was built by Lemuel and Maurice ~1958. The other buildings--milking barn, chicken coop, Tuck's machine shed, and Lem's machine shed were built by Jimmy Gunter in the early 1950s. The outhouse was built by the CCC during the depression for George Glover. Still operational.
42: "The Summer Home" or "The Honeymoon Cottage" Arland and Marjorie Hawkins 1955-1957, 1959-1962 Marty and Ruby Evans 1957 Reed and Nola Capell 1958 Bruce and Darlene Wheatley summers 1964-1965 Lora and Curtis Ellsworth (Helen's mother) summers 1965-1968 Theron and Ingrid Toler summers 1969-1971 | Built 1914 by George Washington Armstrong Boyd Porter 1944-46 Tuck and Hub Larsen, brothers from Preston 1946-1947 Tuck and Donna Larsen 1947-1955 | Ernie and Kristine Gunter 1972 Layne Gunter bought the home and moved it to Arimo 1975
43: Tammy was born to Theron and Ingrid on August 21, 1970 in Downey and came home to this house. Theron came back in the summers to help Maurice farm while attending BYU. | Present day (2012) The foundation still stands next to the crabapple tree and across the road is the foundation for the chicken coop and the spring that is dry. The house is still inhabited in Arimo on 480 High Street.
46: Maurice Toler was born, grew up, found his wife of now 70 years, Helen Gunter, while living in Robin, and worked this farm his whole life. He only left to go on a mission to the Northern States, for his Army service, and for two missions with Helen, one to Rochester and one to Salt Lake City for a family history mission. This is their farm. | I put together this book to answer some questions I had about the old buildings on the farm and ended up learning about the amazing lives of my grandparents and great-grandparents and great- great-grandparents. It is a great privilege to have these pioneers as my ancestors. Theirs is the faith that moves mountains and blesses the lives of their posterity. Jacquie Toler Allen, Maurice and Helen's granddaughter. July 2012 | Living on the farm 2011-2013
47: Four Generations of Toler Men | Lemuel Massie Toler Southwest Indian Mission 1964 | Maurice Armstrong Toler Northern States Mission 1940 Rochester, New York Mission 1985 Family History Mission, SLC 1990 | Theron Lance Toler New York New York North Mission 2000 | Theron Maurice Toler New England States Mission/ Eastern States Mission 1965 | A fifth generation to follow...