Wednesday, April 28, 2010


We were attending a Reunion for the Williams family in Vernal, Utah. There were Bascom family members from as far away as Canada in attendance. Grandma Williams was a Bascom before marrying. We had met at the Colton Pavilion. They were calling the roll. With my spiritual eye I could see Grandma Williams and where she was standing with her spiritual family. But, when her name was called, I couldn't see her and the spiritual family members gathered around her. I was so disappointed. I was standing by my cousin Ted Williams. He was a little short fellow. I leaned over on the top of his head and let out a whimper. It was such a special moment I had an over whelming desire to cry. Why couldn't I see my grandmother? I knew exactly where she was standing.

We had taken my granddaughters, Michelle and Stephie, to the Reunion with us. The next morning we drove to Salt Lake City. We found a nice hotel to stay in. That night we took the girls on a tour of the city in a horse drawn cart. We had a great time. The next day we drove on to Alamo where home was, at the time.

During the night an angel came to me and took me on a long flight high in the dark, cool sky, going towards Tonapah, Nevada. Soon we started to descend in pine trees and the country side of a mountain. We came to a beautiful valley. The angel and I lay flat on our stomachs as we watched Grandma and all of her family who had attended the family reunion in Vernal. I knew everyone there. I was so close to them, I wondered why they couldn't see me. Grandma was wearing a beautiful long white dress and a large broad rimmed white hat. Beautiful! Grandpa was dressed in a white suit. All their children were there. Eight boys and four girls. We watched for a long time and finally the angel and I started our flight home to Alamo. I was permited to see all the family that was in attendance at the Family Reunion, after all. One of the important things I learned from this experience, the family members in the Spirit World are in attendance at the Reunions whether we can see them or not. I've thought of that many times and I came home knowing why it is important to have family Reunions....

Friday, April 23, 2010


I was writing the history of my dad's life. I was desperate to learn anything I could about Kentucky, the state where my dad was born. I couldn't find any information whatsoever. One night I was in bed asleep. I felt the presence of someone. I opened my eyes and looked and lo and behold there was an angel. He motioned me to go with him. I got up, and leaving my body, I hooked arms with him and we began to fly. The night was so dark and it was so very cold. I found myself wishing I had a pair of long-jons to protect me from the cold.

We flew a long, long distance. I still didn't know where we were going. Then we came to a wooded area of maple trees. I left the angel and floated through the clump of trees 'til I came to an opening. There before my very eyes was the little farm the Nickell family lived on. I could see their little cabin in the distance. The cotton field in front of me looked like it had just been cleared as there wasn't a stock of cotton standing. I watched as my Grand parents and their three children walked across the barren field. I couldn't help but notice, the clothing the family wore was all the same color. Material my Grand parents had made from the cotton they had grown. History says they had scutched the cotton before it had become yards of material.
The word scutched left the dictionary, years ago. It was a word the country folks used.

Grand father wore pants and shirt and his outfit was topped off by wearing a homemade hat. Grand mother was wearing a skirt and blouse that was called a middy. Milton, about 12 yrs. old was a blond. He wore nothing but a long shirt past his knees the way the boys dressed in those days. Zinnie was about 10 yrs. old and she wore a middy dress. She was a beautiful girl with long dark ringlets hanging down her back. Ambie was 8 yrs. old. Her hair was blond and her hair was also in ringlets hanging down her back. Jim was 6 yrs. old. He was wearing his long shirt the same as his brother. He had a full head of black wavy hair. I watched as he lagged behind picking up rocks and anything he saw he could play with.

As the family left the little valley, I floated back to the thicket of maple trees and hooked my arm with the angel and we began our cold flight home. As I arrived home I stood at the north window in the living room and looked out at the blue sky and all the stars and thought about where I had been and my family I had seen. It was just midnight. The next day I began writing my dad's story.....

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


This is one of my mother's favorite stories of the old days. When people first started to settle in Vernal, Utah, they built their houses anyplace they wanted to. One liked facing the east, another liked building on a hill or on the creek, etc. When the county came in and began building roads, I guess it was a feasco. Mother would start laughing telling the story of the county roads. Some roads would go by your Out House, between your house and your garage or between your pig pen and your cow shed, by the back door. Of course it helped her story to know all the neighbors. You can just imagine what Vernal looked like. Grandpa tore their house down which was standing in the toolies and replaced it with a big brick house facing the road. I spent my teenage years living in the lovely brick house....


One night in my sleep, I heard a knock at the back door. I got up and went down stairs and answered the door. There stood Fred Thompson. He was married to my cousin Hazel. They had married in the temple. We had heard they were getting divorced. The had lived apart for quite sometime. By now, both Hazel and Fred had passed away. He said to me," I just got word today Hazel and I can be together." He was so happy. He came in my house and sat down at the piano and began to play some pretty dance music.

The next day I got in my truck and scurried to St. George to tell the family my experience. I found all the cousins visiting on a sidewalk. God bless little St. George. Cousin Verona and her husband had just arrived home from an extended trip they had taken across the USA to learn from each family member what should be done about the sealing of Hazel and Fred. They came home with the family blessing that the children should get a temple divorce for Hazel and Fred. After hearing my story they changed their minds. I had delivered Fred's message to the family just in the nick of time.....


My father's full name was James Nickell, but everyone called him, Jim Nick, even his kids. Jim Nick died in the year 1970. That was the year I decided I would get serious and do my family genealogy and write the family history. I was living in Las Vegas at the time. One night, I was awakened by my mother and she spoke to me and told me she and my dad had gotten together and talked and he had asked her to be sealed to him. I said, " he did?" I was surprised because they had been divorced for years before either of them died.
The second night I was in the spirit world with my mother. Angels were gathered around her curling her hair and fitting her with a beautiful white dress. She was preparing to go to the temple. She was so happy
The third night I was in the spirit world with my father and my older brother, Clifton. I could see a temple across the street from the big building we were waiting in. My dad said, "hell! I wouldn't know what to do without my kids!" So, they were sealed in the St. George Temple and the serious part of the family genealogy work began.
It was my dad's birthday and I was on my way to the temple to celebrate his birthday. It was raining and suddenly a huge ray of sunshine hit the dashboard of my truck. I ducked my head and looked out at the sky and there was Jim Nick in the clouds. I saw so much in those clouds in the years to come.
My genealogy soared into doing temple work for thousands of family relatives. I'd go to the temple once a month and do ordinance work for as many as 400 family members in two days time, many times over. Often, coming home from St. George I would come upon a beautiful cloud sitting in the road waiting for me. It was a very exciting time in my life.
One night I awoke to see multitudes of angels gathered around my bed. Walls of the house had disappeared and I could see angels for two miles down through the valley. I could hear the voice of a man talking and he was saying, "God has told us now is the time to get the family history written and I know she will do it!" I knew they were talking about me. The man turned towards me and it was non-other than Jim Nick. He told me exactly what I was to do with the book right down to having it bound in red leather.
I started the history by going to the big library in Salt Lake City. There I learned Jim Nick's descendents came from Russia. These people knew Christ was coming for the second time and they started on the move to where they thought that place would be. They moved by caravan to England, then to Ireland and ended up coming to America. In America they settled in Virginia and Kentucky. That was pretty close. Almost the bull's eye where the Saints were. They met the missionaries in secret and they helped my dad's family move to Vernal, Utah. My dad missed the murder of Prophet Joseph Smith by about 10 years. This is where I came in. Even as a little girl, I'd hide behind my mother's chair and listen to the older parents and what they had to say about the family. I remembered what they said with clarity. My brothers and sisters and cousins would be outside playing Cowboys and Indians and whooping it up. I'd be inside getting filled with knowledge of my family.
I've been working steadyily for the past 45 years on the family genealogy. My Book Of Remembrance is a big one. I am up to 100,000 names I've done the temple work so far. I can't carry the book anymore it is so heavy. One day I had a call from Mick, my faithful genealogist. He said, " Lela, I think you have done enough genealogy. Why don't you quit?" I thought about it for a moment and then I answered, "I think you are right. I'll quit." That night I found myself in the spirit world. People were gathered all around me. One young woman was crying and screaming, "YOU CAN'T QUIT! YOU QUIT AND THEY WILL NEVER FIND ME!" I thought of what she had screamed to me and I knew there will never be a "quitingtime" for me. I told the young lady I wouldn't quit. I would keep doing my genealogy work 'til I died.
In a couple of months, Mick sent me a batch of names. Among the names was a Craig family. As I was preparing the cards to take them to the temple, I was sitting a lone at my kitchen table and a man with a gruff voice spoke to me, "PAY ATTENTION!" I looked and I was holding a card of a young women born in Virginia in 1830. I had the strange feeling this was the young woman I had hoped for. Since then, all has been quiet. I've never had an experience like that before nor since..... .......


My mother would laugh herself silly when telling this story of my frugal grandfather. His car had a few ticks in it so he took his car to a garage in town to be repaired. Later, when he went to get his car he was charged $4 for the cost of the repairs. Being frugal, he decided to leave his car in the garage over night to get his money's worth. He walked 5 miles home. The next morning he walked the 5 miles back to the garage to get his car only to find they had charged him $8 for having stored his car over night.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


I was just a little girl. Just tall enough to hang on to the window ceil and look outside. This one Sunday I was standing at the window as a jelopy came down the road. It was just the frame of a car, 4 wheels and the steering wheel. As many boys as the jelopy would hold, that's how many boys were clinging on to the car. I thought, "oh! oh! someone could get killed." They had just passed our house and a boy fell off and was run over and killed. The little boy was my cousin Denile Williams. I remember attending the funeral. Aunt Lizzie and Uncle Levi sat huntched over and looking so sad. I was such a little girl but I felt so sad for them.

Aunt Lizzie and Uncle Levi sold everything they owned and moved to Delta, CO thinking if they moved to a new area they would get over losing their son, but they didn't. Forty years went by and I didn't hear anymore of my Aunt and Uncle. I was living in Las Vegas. Our home was open to the missionaries and one day a pair of missionaries came to our house. One of the boys was from Delta, CO. So, I asked him if he had heard of my Aunt Lizzie and Uncle Levi. He had. The couple had lived across the street from them for many many years. He said in order to avoid seeing anyone, my aunt and uncle would do their work at night. They were known for their beautiful vegetable gardens but no one ever saw them work outside. They hadn't changed in all those years. They suffered over the loss of their young son 'til the day they died.
I want to write about my Grandmother Williams. We lived only 8 miles from each other but not having cars in those days, we could have lived on another planet. I remember being at her house one Christmas Day. She made sandwiches for us to eat. We had a few short minutes to gether and I showed her my baby doll Santa had brought me. Another time it was summer. Grandma and Grandpa's family had all gathered at their home to celebrate what we called Decoration Day. The women sat in the kitchen and made tubs of paper flowers. We all went to the cemetery and decorated the graves. Then we met at Grandma and Grandpa's house and ate dinner. The adults ate first and the children last. I knew Grandma was sick and she was in her bedroom but I never got to see her. I would hear the adults talk about Grandma and the big egg shaped cancer she had on her head and how she suffered. Spring came and Grandma's illness became worse. It was mother's Day. I stood out by their gate in the front yard and watched my uncles and aunts scurry around in so nervous. I could hear the screams of Grandma from the pain she was in. Uncle Henry, her oldest son, gave her a blessing and soon all was quiet. She was gone. She had passed away. By keeping out of sight and watching I stored all the happenings of the day in my mind and I'm able to write about the events today.
I have to tell you about Grandpa. He was finally able to buy a car. A big long Dodge. On this day that the family gathered to celebrate Decoration Day, Grandpa drove the entire 8 miles to Maeser to get our family and bring them to the farm. Grandpa wasn't much of a driver. He drove like a snake crawls. Weaving from one side of the road to the other. Finally, we arrived and Grandpa had to drive up a little incline to get in the yard. Try as he did, he couldn't give the car enough gas to make it. Finally, the car rolled back wards across the main highway and down into a gully. By then, my dad had lost it. We could hear some blankety blank cuss words from his direction. I was sitting on a coffee can behind the drivers seat and was I scared. After sitting in the gully for a while, Grandpa finally got us out of our perdicument.


I'm so mixed up. I don't know if I've begun or ended. I grew up in a little town in Utah called Vernal. There were nine of us children. Can you imagine? Each child had their own talents and mine was to entertain my dad. I was a little bit musically talented all by ear. I had good rythum. My dad had to leave home at 3 o'clock in the morning to get to his sheep before they awoke and scattered on the mountain. It would be 2 o'clock in the morning, he would wake me up and have me play the piano one more time so he could dance and sing ,all by himself, before leaving for the mountain. The house would shake with all the racket we recreated. It was fun and made fun memories for me.

My dad would always participate in the Fair the town folks would put on. He rode race horses and drove buckboard wagons in his races. He always won.

On his birthday, Mom always threw a big party for dad. The kids would be taken to the Bill Murray home so spend the night while the party went on.

We have always been a Mormon family. Our Ward was building a new chapel. A big dinner was served to make money for the affair. I knew my folks were in the church somewhere. I was just a little girl. I went walking through the church to find them. I found mother in the kitchen dishing up big plates of dinner. She was laughing and having the best time. I felt so proud and full of love for my mother. I walked on further down the hall and found my dad. He was sitting at the end of a long table doing what he did best. He was telling his jokes and had everyone laughing. I felt a deep love for him that I felt would last forever and ever.

The special Sunday came when the chapel was going to be dedicated. All the sheepherders came off the mountain to attend church that morning. President Heber J. Grant was there. I remember one of the sheepherders had a full head of white hair and his hair stood straight up on his head. It was funny. The men did the best they could with what they had to work with.

One time he took us fishing in Green River. We had caught several fish and dad came running back to the truck, yelling at us. He had seen the Game Warden and we didn't have a fishing license. He threw the fish under the seat and we took off spinning wheels and making the dust fly. When we got home and took the fish out, the springs of the seat had made mince meat of our fish, so we had none. We had a good laugh.

More about the Sheepherders daughter

stubbling along with the blogger.trying real hard to be excited about blogging.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


That's me...just beginning blogging. I will be slow to start until I get the hang of this but I have great plans to write and write and write:o)

It donned on me how thankful I am to be getting involved in this blogging. I've always wondered when it was that I had my first miracle. It came to me as I was blogging this morning and writing about our little Maeser Chapel and President Heber J. Grant. The morning of the dedication of the new chapel, President Grant along with about twenty other men marched into Sunday School. I didn't know any of the men, but I knew President Grant. I was no more than 4 yrs. old. I remember it as the most beautiful morning. The sun was shining so bright. I remember I wore new black patent leather slippers and white anklets trimmed with lace. My mother had made me a pretty voile dress. My hair had been wrapped in rags the night before and I felt pretty special to have curly hair. As President Grant walked past me I felt a warm feeling touch my heart. I've felt that warm glow every since. I've never been without that feeling. It was about 81 years ago to be exact. That makes me 85 yrs. old today. I learned years and years later, the men with President Grant that special morning were the High Counsel men.