4 Nov 1879 – 18 Jan 1955
Son of Joshua Alvin & Mary Jane Gorringe Tolman
written by his own hand

William Alvin Tolman born Nov 4, 1879 Salt Lake City, Utah, son of Joshua Alvin Tolman and Mary Jane Gorringe. His parents lived in Salt Lake City until their 2nd son was born.

In the spring of 1881 my father came to Oakley, Idaho. He took up a homestead and built a one room log house. In the fall he came for mother and the two children, myself and brother Owen. Landed in Oakley Oct. 19-1881. They took all their earthly belongings in a wagon. They were happy and desirous of making a permanent home. Before leaving father bought a new stove, and two cans of powder. In those days they had to mold their own bullets for their guns. Father placed the cans of powder down the flue of the stove.

They arrived in Oakley. It being very cold they hurriedly unloaded the wagon in order to put the stove up. A big fire was built in the stove. Mother made a bed back of stove for me, as I had always been very frail. The powder in the stove had been forgotten. As soon as the stove become hot the powder exploded. The stove was utterly blown to pieces, pieces of iron were driven into the logs (and) remained there as long as the house stood. The two cats lying beside me were killed. The roof of the house was raised and came back on the house in a zig zag position. The chinkin between logs in the house was pushed out by force of the explosion. The windows they brought with them for their house were set inside of house and quilts were put up to windows. Mother said, “My little boy!” Apparently dead and as black as coal. She held (me) in her arms. Every dish, window and glass ware of any description was broken into bits, except a bottle of olive oil, which was used to administer to me, every one who saw me said he could never live.

My (mother’s) testimony, my (father’s), his father, his brother William and Bishop A. G. Smith, who were present, testified many times it was only through the power of Priesthood and their faith and prayers that I was saved. My mother said many times she knew the Lord would not forsake her in the hour of her great need. Although no one never gave her much hope, she never gave up or had a doubt in her mind but what I would live. No Dr., no drug store only hundred miles away, mother always felt the bottle of olive oil saved my life as she applied it to my body.

As I was frail looked like many times I would never grow to manhood. Mother was sick all during the raising of her family and I stayed inside and helped her while Owen helped father on the farm. When I was in my teens I commenced to get stronger and feel more like other boys, up to that time I never knew what a well day was. Mother had 3 boys and then her first daughter Alice was born and she was awful sick, looked like she couldn’t live. I remember well when she called us three boys to her bedside and had us kneel and pray for her so that she might get well and the next morning when the midwife came she was surely much better. I had six brothers and six sisters. At this time there are six boys and six girls living.

As boys growing up we took turns going to the mountains with father to get venison for our meat. It was the only kind we had for many years. I have went barefooted through the timber to drive the deer out. At that time when they would take meat to the valley it was divided amongst the neighbors. We were one big family.

All our entertainment we had to make for ourselves. Many times we would meet in different homes and have a dance with harmonicas for our music, but we had lots of good times. My parents taught by example. Father was a counselor to Adam G. Smith in the bishopric for many years. Mother a counselor in Relief Society. She served many years in helping the sick and needy. I was taught early in life to attend Sunday School and Primary, also mutual and Sacrament meetings. I went to church many times barefooted as there was very little money to buy with. As a young lad I spent a lot of my time in the mountains. All my life (I) have enjoyed hunting and fishing, seems it was our greatest sport.

(I) made many trips back to Utah with my mother to get dryed fruit and provisions for the winter, the trip usually took three weeks. I remember when a small boy going to Albion horseback to get medicine for my mother, a distance of 50 miles there and back. When I got out of 8th grade went to academy at Oakley. After I graduated I went one year to B.Y.U. at Logan. Then I was called to go on a mission to the Northern States, left Salt Lake Oct. 9, 1900.

I went to Bountiful, Utah during my holiday while attending school at Logan as my mother had a sister living there. I met Miss Hattie Tolman, a third cousin and I felt she would some day be my wife. I never seen her again till next October when I left for my mission. I spent two very enjoyable years on my mission. When I returned in November, we were married November 27-1902 in Salt Lake Temple. She returned to Oakley with me. We lived in Marion Ward for 37 years. My with was active in all church work, was in Relief Society Presidency 16 years. We were blessed with a family of 11 children, 5 girls and six boys all alive and active church workers of which we are both very grateful. We both worked hard to provide for their needs, to give then a chance in life to make good. It wasn’t always easy but the Lord always helped us in the hour of need.

We moved to Pocatello May 31-1939 and are now living in 11th ward and the past year has been a very enjoyable year to me as I have had the privilege of doing 150 endowments in Idaho Falls Temple, a work I really enjoy. The Church has always been a joy to me and I have in my weak way tryed to work in all the callings that have been mine. (I) was a mutual President in the Marion Ward, a counselor in the Sunday School to Brother Albert Hale, also a ward theacher with Brother Hale for many years. Had to go a distance of 10 miles with horse and buggy.

At this date, January 1953, we have 42 grandchildren, 8 great grandchildren, all fine boys and girls.

On Nov. 27-1952 we celebrated our golden wedding. Out of 78 posterity 70 were present so it was surely a day of rejoicing to all present. My greatest desire is that they will all remain true to the faith and always be willing to serve in the church because I am sure it will bring more real joy to their lives than all the wealth of the world.

I have had my prayers answered many times . Remember if you ever need help, the Lord will help you pay your tithing and will have the desires of your heart granted. It is for your good. Be honest with yourself, your neighbors, and your God. I love all of you and want you in Eternity.

Visit FamilySearch to learn more about William Alvin Tolman..  Also visit the Thomas Tolman Family Organization to find out how you can get more involved in family history.

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