Life Story of Carl Alois Nemelka
Salt Lake City
December 1934 and June 1936
(some misspellings and most grammar errors found in the source documents have not been corrected in order to give the reader a greater sense of the written record.)
Life story of Carl Alois Nemelka son of Adolf Nemelka, Tetschen Bohemia, and Johanna Kosticska (sp) Nemelka
The purpose of this life story should be to show my descendents how the Lord kept his hand over me and guided his children back in his presence.
I was born in the year 1877 December 7 in Tetschen on the river Elbe, a City with a population of about 6 thousand souls. It is a beautiful City surrounded with forests and mountains. Many people come from far away in the summer time to see the beautiful scenery and mountains nearby called the Bohemian Saxon Swiss.
It is a wonderful trip along the Elbe on fine Steamboats from Leitsneritz (sp) to Tetschen (3 hrs) and Tetschen to Dresden (3 hrs). It is to me a blessing to be born in a place like Tetschen where as children we could roam around in meadows and forests, mountains and on the river, not only in summer, but we been outdoors all around the year even in snow and ice had we large furs (sp), skating and the sleigh. Sometimes we break through the ice, and had a cold bath. We were always the first and the last to try the ice if it was strong enough.
My parents were honest people, my mother very religious, but my father did not go much to church. He had not much use for the Catholic priests. My mother went to church regular and we as children had to go too.
Even during the week once we had to gather early in the morning in the school and march to church. But we had not much interest in it. Later we had to go at least once a year to confess our sins to the priests. Before going to confession we had to go to our parents and ask forgiveness for our wrongdoings. It was always a hard task. My brother would not do it. But I knew I could not receive forgiveness from God any other way. The next morning we should not eat anything and go to Communion (Partaking of the Holy Sacrament). We did not get this every Sunday like in our church now. We took this very seriously.
I remember once I came home from confessing my sins to the priests (we had to kneel down before the priest, he sitting inside in a closed chair, and whispering our sins through a hole. Then he would tell us to speak a certain prayer a number of times) and felt I was purified and without sin. My father ask me something to do which I thought it was impossible for me to do. I cried and said “Now you make me sin again, for I had to be disobedient. How could I go next morning to partake of the Holy Sacrament.”
This learnt me a good lesson. Now in my older days I pray each Sunday while partaking the Sacrament that the Lord will help me to keep myself pure and clean and free from all sins and ill feelings, that I may be worthy to partake next Sunday. I feel the greatest blessing are coming to us from partaking the Holy Sacrament worthily every Sunday and when possible twice.
My parents were industrious people. My father went to High School and prepared for something higher. But his father insisted that he learned his profession with his father as a Tailor. My father was 29 years old when he married. My mother was but 19 years, her parents had died. My father worked hard and established a nice business. He had at one time a big men’s clothing store and many men working in his tailor job.
My mother was married August 1868 and in October 1869 she had the first child then one always every two years, 8 boys and one girl. This caused much sickness for my mother and my father had to hire extra help. Through big doctor bills and dishonest people he lost much money. He gave much clothing on credit. Besides this, raising a big family it ruined him financially. In his later years he had a hard time to make a living.
He died when 55 years old of Dropsy in Teplitz, Bohemia. I was then 17 years old working in an office.
My oldest brother Alfred and my only sister 2nd child had a good education. My sister was educated as a music teacher on piano. But when the family got bigger my parents could not spend so much money for the children.
Even the food was not plenty. I remember as a small boy one evening we were all waiting for father to come home and bring some money to buy bread for supper. Father was out collecting. But he came home without getting money. So my bigger brother was told to go to the bakery and get a big loaf bread (they were most 4-6 pound) on credit. But he was ashamed and afraid he would not get it because we owed some already.
He said to me he would carry me on his back (I was a little fellow) and I should go in the store. But the men in the bakery refused, said we owe too much already. So we had nothing that night. When we got bigger we know how to make a little money, we did all kind of business, especially in summer. We waited on the steamships and trains and carried packages for the passengers. The tourists liked us for guides in the surrounding mountains.
One of the finest trips was to one of the highest place in the country. It was encompassed with the mountains here like a big hill. But from this hill called Schneeberg (snow mountain) on the top from a tower we had a fine view.
It took 2-3 hrs to walk there and we had to carry people’s hand bags or coats. People stood there most over night or traveled on to Saxony with the stage. Many times we received good tips and with great joy we run home to tell our parents how much money we made. It took us on the home trip only 1 hrs. We helped out with this money our parents many times. This way we had always something to eat.
In the fall we had our greatest fun going to the orchards and looking for fruit that was left on the trees. Some were so high the pickers could not get it. We saw this apples or pears with their nice colors because full ripe way up on the tops of the tress and with sticks or stones we get them down. When possible we climbed on the trees.
When the fall the farmers brought loads of fruit with their wagons to the river to be shipped away by big boats on the Elbe way to Berlin, we had a good time. When they carried on their backs the sacks from the wagons to the boat many times some fruit fell in the water and we fished out. In the school we had to go without lunch to take with us. In the morning we had 2 small rolls and coffee. But we had a good old teacher. The farmer boys had big sandwiches, he called them and took some of their bread and gave to them that had nothing.
I always liked to save some money. I hide some change away but some boys that watched me stole it from me. I felt terrible but started again. One time I digged some little box with my change in an old river bed. IA big flood came and changed the place, so I could not find it anymore. Later I got so far that I had my first bank book, I had 5 Guilder. My father had to move from the house and needed money for down payment on the new place he was going to rent. Of course he wanted to give it back but was not able to do so.
When I entered in the office job I had to walk about 1/2 hour over the river. There was a big hanging bridge and I had to pay each way 2 pennings (sp). Many times I did not know where to get that money. My mother tried to give me some money so I could buy some food at noon. Most the time I had to walk home and found not much to eat. My mother felt very sorry and had much worry.
On the beginning of my learning I had 5 Guilder per month. Most of the boys had nothing. I went to school in Tetschen from 1884-1892. With 14 year 1892 I entered in the Office of a great Coal Company. Had many mines. Ossegger Kohlenbergverke in Bodenbach on Elbe, just opposite Tetschen on the river.
While working in that Office I had to visit twice a week Business College in the evening. For a time I visited Sunday afternoon a course in the French language. Soon this office was transferred from Bodenback to Teplitz, Bohemia a pure (sp) place with hot water wells like Warmsprings (Sulphur). Many people came from all parts of the world to cure their rheumatitis. I like Teplitz very much, found good people to board with. We had fine concerts in this town free in summer in beautiful parks. I did not care for church at that time but kept good company so far we understand.
Later my parents moved to Teplitz where my father died 7 November 1894.
I was helping my mother to raise the other children and the manager Mr. Plundrich who was custodian over us children gave me a responsible job and good salary 75 Guilder per month so we could get along. This was a great blessing from the Lord, for a boy of 17 years to get a man’s salary. I did my work well as Bookkeeper.
Soon the business was sold and moved to Aussig on the river Elbe to the Bruxer Kohler Bergbrau (sp) Gesellschaft. My brother Adolf Nemelka became a job with the same company and we took our mother to Aussig with the children.
It was always a trial for me to work inside in an Office especially that I was so young put on the desk and I had a great desire for outdoor work. After I been 7 years at on job a quit in the sprint 1899 because my health was not so very good. I liked to travel and saved for that purpose. I went to Bavaria, Steiermark, Austrien and Italy (Venedig).
Visited my brother Hugo in Gorizia (sp) who was working as Dentist and had a good time. I traveled by foot and train and through wonderful forests and mountains. After a few moths in the summer 1899 I came over Triest and Budapent to Wien (Austria). In Triest I took lessons in the Italian language. Liked it very much.
It was no easy matter in a big city like Wien to get a job as bookkeeper. But I was blessed again to find a place in an export business. But they paid not more than 45.00 Guilder per month, very little for a big city. But I managed so I could even send a little money each month to my mother.
I lived in Wien with my aunt Anna Ehrmann, she was poor too and rent was very high. I had a sleeping room with no window outside. Many people live that way in big cities, if you want sunshine in the room you have to pay more. How much different here in Utah. Our children cannot appreciate.
It was not very long I worked for that cheap money. In February 1900 I learned from my brother Adolf Nemelka that a Stenographer and Typewriter was wanted in Dresde Saxony. In my former branch (Coal Branch). I accepted work in Dresden with A. W. Schoenherr, Kohlen Grosso as a Typewriter and Stenographer for 125 Mark per month. This was good salary about twice as much as in Vienna. But it took courage to accept this job. I had no experience in shorthand. Some years ago I had attended an evening club in shorthand. For some years I had not worked on a typewriter.
After work I went in the evening in a coffee house and took my lesson book in shorthand to practice. In Vienna you can drink for 6 Krentzer (sp) a cup milk or anything (2 1/2 cents) and sit there all evening just drinking water. Sometimes I sit in bad weather all Sunday afternnon drinking water and reading papers.
So I kept on for some weeks and with fear and trembling I started to work in Dresden 1 Mark 1900. Beginning was very hard. He the manager spoke Saxon dialect and was hard to understand and some of his business I did not know. I was also slow in taking down in shorthand and left much out. So I had to guess many times. But soon I got along.
Conditions in our home were not like today here in America. We were buying flour, milk, coal, everything else in small quantities. I remember how often we had to go and tell coal women to hurry up and bring the coal, we were out. The woman carried a wooden box on their backs which contained about 30 pounds of coal. This lasted only a few days. Only once can I remember that we had a load of coal for the winter.
Flour and sugar we bought a few pounds. Everyday a big loaf bread for the evening and some lard. We watch our mother thick she cut the slices. We received big slices each and when she was finished to cut for 9 people there was hardly any left from that big loaf. Fruit was a luxury. How different in this blessed land. We buy flour and potatoes, yes even sugar by 100 pounds.
I am surprised to hear the children say they are ashamed to take thick slices of bread and butter to school. I remember when we came out of school at 4 o’clock we went home, but seldom and bread. One neighbor boys he became always big sandwich with butter, how glad I was when he gave me a piece. Honey we became only at Easter. This was a great day. Meat was very little. We buy honey 60 even 100 pounds at once. One fall I bought 25 bushel apples all piled up in the room. The boys ate them all. Especially Joseph was a great lover of apples.
My wife is a very good cook. I think she is one of the best cooks. Fine whole wheat and white bread, also good cake you can find most the time in our home. Milk, honey, and eggs also good butter always plenty.
The first year we came here I walked every day a mile to get good milk for our Joseph. Later we had always our own cow so the babies get good milk. If this is not a blessed land I don’t know where you will find it. The Lord has promised that if we keep the commandments of the Lord the good things of this earth shall be ours.
I must not forget the hundreds of bottles fine fruit which my wife puts up almost every year. Cherries, peaches, pears, plumbs, apricots, and berries of all kinds, and how many bushes and boxes we ate fresh. If we as children had such fine food we would have thought it is heaven on earth. I am thankful to my heavenly father for all. Even the wonderful sunshine and the fine water.
I remember in Germany I wanted to rent some rooms with sunshine on East or South side, then I was asked a higher price. North was cheaper. Now we have a beautiful home with plenty sunshine, shade trees, and flowers. My wife is a great gardener. She raises the best vegetables and finest flowers.
Her greatest joy is to make others happy with her flowers and especially to beautify the meeting house. We raised so many tomatoes almost every year that we could even give away some. In Germany, tomatoes were only for rich people.
I remember once we had missionaries to dinner and I was going to give them something special so I bought one pound tomatoes for 30 pfenning, that was quite expensive, we would do it for ourselves. Now in this land of plenty I could find out how the boys from America missed this things in Germany. I will learn them more to appreciate more what they have at home.
Just now we have springtime and we have plenty of strawberries with milk and sugar or even honey. Such a luxury we never had as children in Austria and Germany. One blessing for us was that we lived in a small town close to a big forest. In vacation time we went sometimes all day to pick berries. Little black berries, sometimes strawberries, and other berries. We had to walk first some miles and then lived all day in that fresh air eating nothing but berries kept us very healthy. So we can see that the Lord blessed with many blessings, if we only could appreciate more.
The Lord has favored me to see a little of this beautiful earth. I was born in a land the Bohemian Swiz where people come from all over to see. Then I traveled to Vienna Austria. Triest where I saw first the ocean Venezia in Italy. Tyrol with its beautiful mountains. Bavaria (Munich) and its lakes and mountains.
Later I traveled to Brazil 28 days on Steamer, Argentina with its wonderful climate. Capital Argentina Buenos Aires, city like Berlin in Germany. Over to New York, Chicago, Omaha, Salt Lake City. Back to Germany 1914 over Baltimore – Bremen. Back over Rotterdam – London – New York. San Francisco – Los Angeles – Long Beach – San Pedro.
Isaiah Chapter 2:2
And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountains of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains and shall be exalted above the hills and all nations shall flow unto it.
And many people shall go and say “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths…”
Travel to the United States
January 9 Saturday 1909 we sailed from Hamburg to New York. My wife, myself and Walter and Emil Wolf, brother in law, with his family. Ocean was quiet first day, but many people sea sick the first day.
My wife was on the table the first day once and not anymore the rest of the voyage. She was awful sick. Few days later Johanne Wolf got sick too, even Emil Wolf, who was always on the table left one day at once the table and saw him feeding the fish.
The Lord blessed me wonderful because I had taken care of Walter who was not a year yet. Wanted always to be on deck. He just tried to walk, people had much fun with him.
I had to do much washing for Walter almost every day. My wife could not move around.
January 15 we had quite a storm. All the dishes fall from the table. Walter was laying flat on his stomach so he would not fall out. To me the big waves were from great interest. I was not afraid because we knew we were in the hands of the Lord. I fasted and prayed that the Lord would protect us.
Monday January 25 we arrived in New York (17 day journey). It was late afternoon and people only from I & II Class could embark. III Class had to wait about 20 hrs for inspection on Ellis Island. Many other steamers arrived before us.
In the afternoon we were meet by my wife’s sister Helene who was married in Brooklyn. We stopped 3 days so my wife get strong for the train to Salt Lake City. January 28 6 pm we left for Chicago. January 29 9pm arrived Chicago. We had to transfer to other station, it was just a terrible snow storm. We had to take Pullman Car for the wives in Chicago. 30 January arrived Omaha 6pm instead 12:35 noon on account of snow. 31 January am 11:30 Cheyenne, arrived Salt Lake City early Monday 2 o’clock am February 1. Stayed on Station until morning.
At the time the new Union Pacific Station was not built yet, it was an old wooden shack. North of the now beautiful building. The watchman stirred the fire so we could keep comfortable.
Early in the morning it was yet dark. I walked up South Temple Street to see what Sale Lake City looked like. But could not see much. About 5 o’clock am looked around again. Prayed to the Lord to guide me. We had no place to go, but trusted in the Lord.
First we thought that everybody in Salt Lake was a good Mormon. Soon we found out that there was about 50% Gentiles and not all Mormons were Latter Day Saints.
Next to the Station I found a man with a truck unloading bread for a bakery. I ask him if he could speak German. He did, and he was Latter Day Saint. First he ask me: “Are you Mormon?”
“How long have you been in Church?”
“One year in June.”
He said, “Oh, you come too early.”
We found out he was afraid we could not stand the trials and disappointments that await us. We were not founded yet in the faith. It was brother Philip Tadje (sp?). He told us to wait at Station, he had to work but would send somebody. After some time one young man Brother Martin who worked with Br. Tadje in Royal Bakery (he worked nights) came and took us to Brother Biletters home. Here we had fine breakfast and felt real brotherly love. People that never knew us before.
In the afternoon when Philipp Tadje was through with work he came and took my family to his home (817 S. 8th East). My brother in law Wolf Emil with his family found another place. We found a good home with Tadjes but wished to find a home. Walter was very noisy at night and we felt bad about it.
Tadjes treated us very nice for 14 days, after that we found a little shack to rent next Fair Ground (236 N. 9th West / 250 N. 9th West). We paid $7 to rent per month. But no work yet, I had about $50 to live on.
Joseph was born through faith 6 months later. This man (Philip Tadje (or Tatje?), his son Fred was later Joseph’s Mission President in Germany.
Our neighbor, Br. Bushmann were Mormons too. Helped us in many ways, spoke German. Another neighbor, Wunderlich who worked in Lumber Mill. I went to his boss and he ask me if I ever painted a house. I said not, but could try it. But he was afraid. He gave me later a job to unload lumber from the railroad car on wagon and haul to yard. I worked very hard, was not used to this kind of work.
The man that worked with me made some remarks. I understood him I should work faster. But later I found out he meant I should not work so fast, take my time. I was ambitious to keep the job. But was only for few days.
Posterity of my Kingdom if each of my children (5) had five again and their children and children and children each five.
My own 5 5
II Generation each five 25
III Generation each five 125
If you figure each Generation about 40 years, that means from now 1936 until about 520 years later quite a population. The promise is to the faithful that the Holy Priesthood should be upon their posterity forever. It is worthwhile to live for this blessings.
In 1907 we my wife and myself we sometimes came in Chemnitz to a Vegetarian Café to eat. There we meet sometimes some young men which made quite an impression. We found out they were Americans. The owner of the Café told me they come here to preach a new religion without pay. I did not believe that because I knew that all other preachers from America did get pay.
I worked together with some in South America which put me in as School teacher for the Lutheran people. They got their pay and told me so. So did the Catholics. I kept school for both Religions at the same time but got along peaceful. Had to be wise.
So we did not pay any more attention to the missionaries. Little would I dream this time that my son should be about 20 years later like this missionaries go without pay and I work for to keep him. How could I do this if the Lord give not a strong testimony that this was his church. Oh how thankful I feel that we both could understand the truth at once when it was brought to us. My sheep hear my voice.
One day in Summer 1908 went on train to Leipzig to visit Hugo my brother. On the station I meet a friend who told me that a big businessman in Nurmberg Bavaria wanted a Salesman in the Coal Branch with experience. He wanted to introduce his Coal and Coke in Saxony and told me to write to him.
First, I did not wanted because I though this man would waste his money. But he was Millionaire (his name (Devil) German Teufel) and he did not care to spend and try. I wrote to him my experiences, he called me to Nurmberg and hired me for 3 month trial. 150 Mark per month. 10 Mark expenses per day. This was fine pay.
I made but short trips and was home every night. Spent little for expenses and save soon several hundreds Mark by which I was enabled to go to Zion and even helped my brother in law Wolf, who paid me later back. He joined the church soon after us and went with his family to Zion same time.
Brother Fuellenback (sp?) (Missionary) sent us nice letter Sept 1908 and said that he like to see us go. The Rule was not to preach emigration. But the Spirit of the Lord prompted us right.
Before we joined the church we had no children. We wife always lost it before the time. I was anxious to have children. While in Altenberg I suggested to my wife that we adopt a baby. Later in Chemnitz in winter 1908 my wife meet on the street an old lady old friend (Kumath (sp?)). She felt to go to her and talk with her.
In course of conversation found out that they were in very poor circumstances and that her daughter expects soon a baby, but they don’t know how they could take care of another baby. My wife told here that she need not worry, (she felt like an angel told her so) and we would take care of the baby when it is born.
The mother and daughter felt happy. In March 6, 1908 in the Clinic in Dresden Johannes Walter Nemelka (Kumath) was born. We soon took both in our home while the Baby was of the breast.
The Spirit came upon us soon, we accepted the Gospel to look for Zion. But we did not think it would be so soon. We had not the money, had spent most to make us a home, paid close to 500 Mark for furniture. But the Lord opened a way. I did not like to run business except it could be done honest, so I looked for something else. This was truth. Because we were always out on Sundays in the forest to enjoy nature. But when we found the Church our joy was much greater in meetings where we could enjoy the Spirit of the Lord.
Sometimes we went out with the missionaries on Sundays in the forest and had our meetings. We received great testimonies from the Lord in healing of the sick in Chemnitz. My wife was once very sick in bed too weak to be up. Her sister Ella was there to take care of her.
One afternoon Ella was out. Br. Serge Baliff Mission President came in with many missionaries, my wife in bed. Just before the President came my wife was administered by the Elders.
When she saw all the Elders and Pres Baliff coming, we could not hold her in bed. She got up and prepared meal for all and felt good after.
We had many missionaries in our homes and enjoyed their visits. Some were living with us. We also went to Leipzig visit broth Richard Kretschmar who was to us like a prophet. We send him the money and let him come to Chemnitz. He did much good in Chemnitz.
Coming of the Gospel
When we married I did not believe much in Churches. Had left the Catholic Church as soon as I was out of School. Could not believe that God would condemn little children if died before they was baptized.
I argued with my mother who was strong Catholic about it, also if this was the Church of God, how could they kill people because they believed different. For instance when they killed the Hugenots in France by thousands because they was Protestants. I could not believe in such a God and lost all my Religion.
When I was in Brazil 1902 riding on my mule through the tropical forest, blue sky above me with all the Beauty around me, I felt to thank the Creator of all this things. But I did not know God and did not believe in Jesus Christ as the Savior of the world. But as soon I married I felt something missing and looked for God.
My wife was always religious. She had a great book from Martin Luther and we started to read every day. This was in Wolfsthal l. Rosswein. In the fall 1907 we moved to Altenburg where I had a job.
The feeling came over me to have a church again. I went alone to Catholic Church but could find no satisfaction. Went with my wife to other Churches but did not join any. It was last Day in the year 1907 my wife was alone and she prayed for the Gospel.
Business I worked for in Altenburg was sold that time and I had no job. In February I traveled to Bohemia to look after a Tourist home to buy or rent for my desire was to always to live on farm or forest. I found a nice place in Hennersdorf l. Bohm Komnitz up in the hills. I would have liked to buy it and the owner wanted to make it easy for me. But it was too high in price because I had very little money.
On the way to this place I meet a farmer taking a cow to the butcher. I felt very sorry. I did believe in Vegetarianism, not killing animals for eating. I cried out “O Lord when will such condition have an end?”
Soon I came back to Chemnitz. I found a letter from my wife in Altenburg that she had a visit about this same time I was on that road from a man and a woman (Seven Day Adventist) who preached the Gospel to her and said I should come home they would make me a worker in the vineyard of the Lord. Their ideas about killing animals and mine was the same so my wife was very interested.
Same time I traveled to Steinpleis, my wife’s home town to meet her. My mother in law told us about a sect that believe not to eat pork and they have meetings in the village. I got interested at once and said let us go there tonight and see what they preach.
The meeting was in an old farmhouse. Family Hanber and Gustav Wolf lived there. There was in the meeting two young men (Missionaries from America) their name Hovey, Merlin, and Smith. Besides my mother in law Pauline Lucas my wife and myself there was 5-6 more people present. It was a Bible class. The first son “Hoeret ihr Voelcker Licht bricht heran” sounded wonderful to me and made a good impression. In English “Hark ye people, Light is descending.” We spoke about John in the wilderness, preparing the way for the Lord. His food was wild honey and locust. I had my doubts about it, but the missionaries used wisdom and said locust may be a plant or flower. That satisfied me.
After the Class my wife told the missionaries about 7 Days Adventist, but they soon convinced us that Mormonism was the right church.
We stayed after the missionaries left late in the morning and talked about the Gospel explained to us by the members. We were very much interested. We came home to Altenburg and talked to the people that visited my wife before (Adventists) about Mormonism. They tried to make us afraid about Mormons, but gave us good advise, to pray to God and ask him about it.
I took that advise and though I had not real prayed for years I went on my knees and ask God to show me the truth. I had never before read the Bible. The Scriptures were strange books to me. Same night voice came to me, John 4:18.
In the morning was first to search in the Bible and read:
“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casteth out fear; because fear has torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.”
After reading this I knew at once that the Adventist were wrong, because they made me afraid. As soon I told the Adventists about and that we believe the Mormons have the truth they get mad at us.
From this time on we studied. I could read all the time everything was new to me. My wife knew more. We spend the money to go every week to Steinpleis from Altenburg to hear the Missionaries. Our joy was great. We could give everything for the Gospel.
Before we understood much ourselves we tried to preach to all our friends. We wanted them to have the same joy. There was no question to us that Mormonism was the truth. We invited Elders to Altenburg to teach us.
We went also to Zwickau for Meeting. Remember well the first fast meeting in Zwickau this was sometime before we were baptized.
Song: “Redeemer of Israel”
I loved this Song and do ever since. The Spirit rested upon us and both my wife and myself stood up and gave thanks to the Lord for the testimony He had given us. We were not permitted yet to partake of the Holy Sacrament because we were not members and we wished the time would soon come that we could be baptized.
Soon we moved to Chemnitz and I started Business in Coal for myself but it did not agree with my religion. It was not possible to stick always to the truth.
Wherever I went I preached the Gospel and it was my desire to set an example by living it. I was a better preacher than Salesman. I had one brother in the Church as Companion but he proved untrue. He continued my business after I left for Zion and sold it later when he left for Zion. But I did not get a cent. But I overcame every ill feeling and the Lord blessed me for it.
We were baptized in June 19 1908. Before this we paid our tithing. The missionaries were very strict and ask if we were willing to keep the commandments of the Lord before they could baptize us. We went before Baptism to many meetings and Bible Classes in Chemnitz and had great joy. We were singing at home the Songs of Zion and reading holy books.
Coming into the Church
While in Chemnitz and Zinicka we worked with our relatives to bring them to the Church. But they were opposed to us. Especially my mother, she was too much Catholic and did not like to see me join another church. We took her once to meeting, it was a small room and my mother said she could not understand how I can spend my Sundays in such bad ventilated places, for I was always for fresh air.
Luther Martin said something like this.
“If the Lord has destined two for husband and wife so will they come together.”
This I have found out to be true when I think how I was guided to my wife.
I had many opportunities to marry and would have done so just out of sympathy. I had a fine girl who loved me and wrote me I should marry her or she would go in a convent and never marry. I had not promised anything and did feel like to marry. So I had other girl much I liked. But none of them could move even to think on marriage.
When I was in Brazil 1902, 25 years old, as school teacher for the Germany people they tried to keep me there, promised me land and home and good marriage. But it should not be. I had the feeling I must go home again to Germany.
I came back to Germany 1903 but had a strong feeling to go to North America. Went to Hamburg but could not make money enough for the fare neither could I get a job on a steamer. So I had to stay and found out later why.
It was about this time that I had a desire to get married, but had bad financial condition.
Easter I meet in Pelzmischle (sp?) (Resort next Chemnitz) a lady which I felt to invite to have a walk with me through the nice forest. I did not like to be in a smoky dance hall. She was willing and we had a pleasant time. We returned to Chemnitz and I took the lady home.
We did not see another until Pentecost at the same place. I paid no attention anymore until I saw her with my brother Adolf. She had seen me and inquired of my brother about me. I found out that she was interested in me.
We went home together. Soon I found out that she was a noble soul, but yet I paid not much attention to her.
I received a letter and we had a date. The more I knew her the better I liked her. But still I had no idea of marrying her, in fact my financial condition made me not think such a thing. But she gave me much encouragement. We came together often and I could not wait for the hour to see her.
We exchanged many nice letters and I felt I was greatly in love. Although I had not proposed any marriage I found out that my sweetheart was thinking about strongly. I felt that it would be a great disappointment to her if I should not marry here. In fact she told me so.
I had some doubts yet about it, but one day in Libochowa (sp?) while walking along the river Elbe alone in the evening and meditating about it, the Lord made it very plain to me that Elizabeth Helene Lucas should be my wife.
And I am very thankful for it. Today after 29 years marriage I have not regretted once.
April 1, 1907 we were married by a Lutheran Minister in Rosswein il Sachsen. It was a wonderful Spring morning Saturday when we walked from our home Wolfsthal to Rosswein. We felt very happy even were not much blessed in earthly goods.
Our beginning was very humble. I started Business for my own, but things when wrong. After I worked all summer to get orders for Coal in Carloads, we had a big strike in the coal mines and I could not deliver my orders.
I found out later that other dealers in coal send the people any kind of coal even very cheap qualities, but I could not do such a business. People felt terrible for such dealings, had to pay big price for poor coal.
But soon the Lord blessed me other ways. I tried to be honest, but you can’t make money this way, you have to lie, my boss said, to make business.
I know I don’t appreciate not enough the good wife the Lord has given me. It is through my wife that I have made quicker progress in the Church. We both have understood the Gospel at the same time.
My wife was very religious all her life, and she knew much the Bible. If I wanted to know something I just need to ask her.
We as Catholics had no Bible in the school, while my wife as Lutheran was teached from the Bible in Childhood. My wife was willing to keep the commandments of the Lord.
It was under great sacrifices and with much faith that she had her children but she took them gladly and thankful, even fasted for them. When it was difficult for me to provide, she was willing to help. I think it a special blessing for a poor man to have such a wife, else how could we raise a family in such a way. We could feed our children always well, else they would be not so strong.
My wife always helped the poor. She always paid her tithing. The Lord has given her many spiritual blessings for it.
I was always interested in languages. In school we learned German, our mother spoke good Czecho Slovakia and wanted to learn us too. We disliked it, but later I learned some in books.
Germans did not like Czecho people, but I know now it was wrong.
I went to school later on Sundays afternoon to learn French. Later when I was about 20 I get much interested in Italian. Went to Italy for some time to get better results but had not money enough to stay very long. When I was 26 (1903) I went to South America (Brazil and Argentina). Studied Portuguese and Spanish.
When I became acquainted with Mormons I learned little from books in English. After one year on the train to Sale Lake I could make me understand a little. I had a little Dictionary always with me. When I worked nights I went the first year to LDS Business College twice a week to learn English, took a course in the Book of Mormon. In a few years I could speak fairly well.
It is awful if you go to meetings and can’t understand, now I am thankful to the Lord that I can read and write if yet not perfect. I always have great joy when people travel and can’t speak the language, when I could help them out.
I was greatly interested in my Genealogy and when I learned that brother Oswald Seifert who was Genealogist for Germany wanted to come back, I decided with my wife that I should ask the Authorities in the temple if could go to Germany to take his place. The answer was yes.
So I prepared for it. When I was about ready to go, Oswald Seifert wrote that he changed his mind. But I had made up my mind and went anyway. Many people had made down payments to me to gather their Genealogy. I had no citizen paper yet and did not want to wait. But brother Ramseyer (sp?) Recorder in the temple warned me something might happen and will feel sorry. So I made my examination first and ask the Government to send my papers to Germany. I found out later how wise it was to take this advice.
So in May 1914 I went to Germany. I had a nice farewell give me by the German people about $100.00 and another farewell in the Cannon Ward with about $60.00. I had about $200 in down payments. So I left money enough for my wife to get along for some time. Because on account of great war I was not able to accomplish much in gathering Genealogy for myself and others. Came back in October.
Through prayer and fasting found work in Church School, same time my wife found work. We had some debts on account of my going to Germany. Paid high interest 10%.
I made great efforts to get our Genealogy in direct line, but was not so successful as I wished. First we got about 800 names on my wife’s line Dassler. After that we found about 1000 names Lucas in the books which are not connected with us. Then we did several hundreds on Reinholds line which really comes from a side line.
After this was finished I read about a Mr. Rohdewald in Hannover working on a Rodewald Record. I had tried for a long time to find my Grandmother’s line Rohdewald which came from Rawicz in Posen now Polen. Could get only few names from there. So I was glad to hear about Mr. Rohdewald in Hanover.
After writing with him for some years I received a fine book with many names and History also pictures. I bought two copies and gave one to the Genealogical Library of Utah. They said it is one of the finest books they received. But I could not make direct connections.
For years had tried and send money to get my own line Nemelka, Bohemia. Was not successful. When Josef was on Mission 1931 he tried it. Put one advertisement in paper. After some time a school teacher in Mies, Bohemia wrote me that he is very interested in my work. He send me fine Genealogy Nemelka and asked no money. I send him some money and received more names. This was an answer of my many prayers. We must learn to have patience and hold on in faith. It comes not always easy and the harder it is the more will we appreciate.
Word of Wisdom
Long before I came to the church I tried to find out how to live wise. For 10 years I was Vegetarian, one who eats no meat, drinks no alcohol, tea or coffee.
I feel it was a preparation from the Lord so I could better received the Gospel when it was preached to me. It helped me very much to live a better life. I liked the church very much for the Word of Wisdom.
I had very little sickness, but my stomach was very poor because I started as a boy with 14 years to work in an office. I did not develop much. About 20 years old I had yellow sickness, bad liver.
When I took the job with the Oregon Short Line 1916 cleaning windows in a big building and on big annex 8 floor high for $45 a month, nobody wanted it. I found out others were afraid also not enough money. At this time, there was nothing for safety and people often wondered how I could do it. But I had no fear, I know the Lord was with me.
I am grateful to the Lord that until today 1936 almost 60 years from my birth that no accident of any kind though many times I was in danger. As boys we were reckless did all kinds of dangerous tricks. Even later I climbed mountains with great danger. In sport on the ice we were courageous same in swimming. I was in danger with Automobiles but the Lord blessed me.
In Austria and Germany I had most the times good jobs, but when I came to America 1909 it was some big change. I could not speak the English language so was not able to get a job in a office. First big job in the Linen room of the Pullmann Co. about $60 per month. Soon I became job with the Utah Light Power Co (Streetcar) made about $65 per month. Worked there from 1909 – 1914 nights. Everything was cheap and our family small so we get along alright. At that time we could buy 50 pound flour for 80 cents, bushel potatoes 60 and 40 cents milk 18 quart for one dollar. We had no debts this time, made always our tithing and donation.
About 1912 bought a brick house on Fayette Street for $1200 got money from Building Society. Paid $14 per month.
Miscellaneous Journal Entries:
February 18, 1927 Journal Entry: Joseph was accepted for the navy except for his tonsils, he would not consent to have them taken out so he was refused. This was in answer to my prayer. I asked the Lord if it is not good for him to join the navy so put something in the way. (He went on mission two years following.)
February 1, 1929 Journal Entry: About 50 missionaries bound for Europe. Joseph left for Germany. Pappa, Mamma, Nephi, Ella Lucas, Marianne Fritsch, Sister Dormet all at the Union Pacific Station. Walter went to Ogden to say good-bye to Joseph. Great crowd at the station. It was wonderful. The Dutch had an organ and big choir there. This was the same day we arrived 20 years ago February 1, 1909 in Zion. How little did we dream that this child which my wife carried at this time under her bosom would in 20 years go on a mission back to Germany.