ROSE BANKS TOLMAN
29 Oct 1903 – 19 Jan 1993
Daughter of William Henry & Alice Harvey Banks
Rose Banks Tolman was born in North Perth, Australia 29 Oct 1903 to William Henry Banks and Alice Harvey. Her father died when she was 4 1/2. Following are her own words:
“Soon after the death of my father, my Mother bought a small new home further north on Mabel St. It is here that all my childhood memories are… we soon got to know our neighbors and enjoy their friendship.
It was necessary for my mother to go to work to provide for her little family and pay for the house. I remember Mother saying they were only permitted to read religious books on Sunday. This contributed to her having such a good knowledge of the bible and her desire to have her children have religious training. We knelt at Mother’s knee at an early age.
It was a great sorrow when during” a typhoid epidemic in Feb. 1910 our darling brown-eyed, baby sister, Mavis, died.
Many happy hours of my childhood were spent in the bush gathering the wild flowers which grew in abundance. . . As Christmas is in the summertime we celebrated this season in a different manner from here in Utah. Christmas day was a religious holiday and we went to the Methodist Church to sing carols and receive a Christmas message. We adorned our homes with the orange blossoms of the gorgeous Christmas tree which comes into bloom at Christmas season andwhich belongs to the mistletoe family. The day after Christmas was the day to celebrate; it was called boxing day. Most people flocked to the beaches for swimming, boating and other water sports and for the children building sandcastles. How often when my children were young I longed to take them to the beach to build sandcastles or roll down the white sand hills at Cottesloe or Scarborough.
Our school year was longer than here in the States, and we started school at an earlier age. Our vacation time consisted of 5 weeks at Christmas, a week at Easter and an occasional holiday on special occasions such as the King’s birthday.
I attended North Perth grade school until I was 12 and then for 2 years went to Perth Girl’s School qualifying me to attend Perth Technical School to further my studies in shorthand, typing, commercial English and bookkeeping.
Some time in 1913 while I was still in grade school the Mormon missionaries began tracting in our area. We were drawing on the boards in the hall when the word was passed that these terrible people were in town. So when Elder Kimball called at our home my mother was reluctant to invite him in and when she said, “Come another time,” (hoping he wouldn’t come back) he was quick to make an appointment and asked if he could come the next evening and hold a pottage meeting. Although she didn’t want anything to do with their religion she consented. He certainly seemed a good man. The Elders arrived at the appointed time and were pleased to see some of our neighbors also present. No one seemed relaxed. The Elders sensed the tension and decided to sing “Oh My Father” and as the words and music filled the room everyone relaxed. In testifying later of this evening the Elders said it was as though the spirit of the evil one was there and couldn’t be dispelled until they sang this beautiful hymn which became a favorite with my mother. A couple named Archer took us to a Church service several miles from our home. I was not impressed. The missionaries prevailed upon my mother and she consented to hold cottage meetings in our home. On Feb 20 1915 my mother, my two sisters and I were baptized.
Sometime in 1916 or 1917 Elder King gave me a blessing promising me that I would become a mother in Israel. As I learned more about Celestial marriage I knew I wouldn’t be happy unless I was married for time and all eternity in the Temple of the Lord.
As soon as my brother, William, was old enough, he was apprenticed to the printing trade. Just as he was getting established and able to be a help financially to my mother, World War I broke out and he, with many of his friends, volunteered to serve his country. He was killed in France Aug 12, 1916. This was a great shock and sorrow to us all especially Mother. These war years were sad years – most of our neighbors and friends had a husband or sons in the army and there were many casualties—our sewing classes were turned into knitting classes as we knitted for our soldier loved ones. Another adopted brother, Ivan Williams Banks, a WWII pilot of a British Lancaster Bomber, was shot down over the English Channel after 11 successful missions over Germany. His body was found on the coast of Holland.
Since we girls were all working and had vacations at different times we were unable to take our summer trips to the beach together. After I joined the W. E. Hales staff I had many long vacations during the court recess. My employer and his family rented a bungalow on Rottnest Island and invited guests and I was one of them.
Our Branch in Western Australia consisted of about 50 active members and as the missionaries weren’t permitted to dance and there were few members our age, there was little social life.. As I was the only one in the family now active in the Church my chances for coming to Zion seemed remote. However, I still saved part of my salary and prayed that the Lord would open up the way and we would come as a family. Often when the Catholic boys came to pick up my sisters they brought a friend with them who hoped that I would join them but I declined the invitation. This association with these Catholic boys turned out to be a blessing. Dorothy was considering one and often on returning home we discussed religion with the boys. As my sister defended Mormonism she realized now important her religion was to her so she commenced going to Church again with me.
On 5 June 1926, although I had been planning and saving for so long for the time when I could join the Saints in Zion, I found it very hard to say goodbye to loved ones and friends.”
Soon after arriving in Utah Rose met Claudius Tolman who had been on a mission to Australia in 1922. They were married 21 Dec 1926 in the Salt Lake Temple, and moved to Honeyville, Utah. They were blessed with 6 children, Alice, (Mrs. Reuel E. Lamborn), Sterling, Valmai (Mrs. J. Gordon Vaughn), David, Harvey and Melvin. Roses’ excellent bookkeeping skills assisted her husband in operating a mercantile business for 15 years and in keeping the many records needed in farming.
Her faith and strong testimony of the Gospel influenced many church organizations throughout the years. She taught her children by precept and example to trust in the Lord, follow the living prophet, work and serve others.
Before her husband died 14 June 1972, Harvey was killed in a helicopter crash 11 Oct 1957 at age 21, and Melvin was killed in a sleigh riding accident just three months later on Jan 24, 1958 at age 13. Though she fasted many many times and prayed daily for her son David to win his ten-year battle with cancer, her faith never wavered when he passed away 19 Jan 1985. She always trusted in the Lord and asked that His will be done.
At age 85 she still is more concerned with others than her own pleasure or comfort. She is concerned about those poor in health, those with much heartache, those in need of emotional comfort. She is very happy to be able to get breakfast each school morning for David and Letty’s youngest daughter, Leanna, and send her happily to school. She has 25 grandchildren whom she remembers and is very much interested in. She has 42 great grandchildren and one great, great grandchild.
Does anyone know the posterity of Elder Wilford Bailey? or Delbert Chipman? or Elder Kimball? We, as children of Rose O. Banks Tolman would like to thank them and let them know what a difference their ancestor has made in the world for going to far-away Australia, finding, teaching and baptizing and confirming our dear mother.