Picture: Joshua Alvin Tolman and Mary Jane Gorringe Family

By Rulon Ramsey  (Grandson of Joshua and Mary Jane Tolman)

I would like to tell a heartwarming family story that was happening when I was growing up from ages five through ten.

My Grandfather, Joshua Alvin Tolman, and my Grandmother, Mary Jane Gorringe Tolman, lived in Marion, Idaho and were the parents of thirteen children, one of which was my father, Rulon Burl Tolman, born 26 February, 1898. He was the number twelve son of my grandparents. He died 14 February, 1922, when I was just two years old.  

My grandparents lived on a farm and they lived in a very nice two story home with a front porch and a large full-length back porch, all covered and enclosed as part of the house. Built into the wall between the kitchen and the back porch was a large built-in wood box with a lid on the porch to put wood into the box, and another lid in the kitchen to take the wood out. Each year on Labor Day weekend, after most of the crops were harvested and most of the summer’s work was done, people started preparing for the long winter months ahead.

On this weekend all the Tolmans in the valley headed for Grandpa and Grandma’s home. Both women, men and children, of all ages. They all came to help Grandma and Grandpa prepare for the winter. The men worked outside fixing fences, patching leaks in the barns and granaries. Some hauled manure from corrals to the fields, some sawed wood, and split it and the kids, all ages, carried and hauled the wood in little red wagons to the house and stacked it in the back of the house. The men and boys then pulled weeds, raked all the yards and completely cleaned the place all over. Some of them even painted the outside of the house where it was needed. While the men worked outside, the women and girls cleaned and painted the house from top to bottom. In the evening, the women had brought food from their homes and grandmother roasted a big turkey, and everyone enjoyed a wonderful meal. I remember it was customary for the adults to eat first and all the kids had to wait until they were finished. You know adults, especially a family of brothers and sisters talking over family joys and problems, after they finished eating, they sat there and visited forever, so the kids thought.

Eventually, we all got to eat and there was always plenty and more. After cleaning up the meal, everyone went home feeling very well pleased about their days efforts and happy that most of the work was done for Grandpa and Grandma. This is something I have never forgotten and I have never seen such a family show of togetherness since then.

Before I close this story, I should tell you my Father, Rulon Burl Tolman died when I was two years old. When I was four years old my mother married a very good man, William Benjamin Ramsey or Bill to all who knew him. Later he adopted me and that changed my name to Rulon Ramsey. I will always remember the Tolmans and their very strong family ties.

Visit FamilySearch to learn more about Joshua Alvin Tolman and Mary Jane Gorringe. Visit the Thomas Tolman Family Organization to find out how you can get more involved in family history.  


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