I find it intriguing to think of the excitement in the church in Canada 100 years ago.
The Alberta temple had been announced on June 27, 1913. It was now 10 years later and construction was complete. President Heber J. Grant, Elder George Albert Smith and Elder James E. Talmage made the journey north to preside at the dedication on August 26, 1923.
A picnic was provided in August 1923 for the visitors from Salt Lake City who came to Cardston, Alberta for the temple dedication ceremonies.
Elder James E. Talmage is pointing at Bear’s Hump [a popular hiking mountain].
President E.J. Wood is tall with a moustache [no hat].
President Heber J. Grant [wearing a hat] has his arm around his wife, Augusta Winters.
Elder George Albert Smith is beside the automobile [wearing a hat].
In preparation for the dedication, four of the stalwart Latter-day Saint communities were asked to form choirs: Cardston, Magrath, Raymond and Taber.
1.Iretta Cahoon Head, 2. William Tyler, 3. Luella Steed Smith, 4. Edwin Leavitt, 5. Ibey May, 6. Unknown, 7. Unknown, 8. John Smith, 9. Bert Cure, 10. Rolley Jensen, 11. LaVon Hudson, 12. Ben Hugh May, 13. Unknown, 14. Will Steed, 15. John Merrill, 16. Unknown, 17. Dewey Smith, 18. Anne Steed Green, 19. Arthur Henson (chorister), 20. Dever Hunt, 21. Alice Baker Kraft, 22. Unknown, 23. Lucille Woolf Pilling, 24. Alma Coombs Hansen, 25. Sophas Skriver, 26. Irva Pilling, 27. Unknown, 28. Hattie Baker Jensen, 29. Sylvestor Low, 30. Lucille Hunt Stewart, 31. Unknown, 32. Lillian Bates O’Leary, 33. Edward Leavitt, 34. Lenora Sheffield, 35. Chris Jensen, 36. Doris Hunt Pilling, 37. Lula Anderson Snow, 38. Lexie Burton, 39. Blanch Olsen Low, 40. Unknown, 41. Rose Savage Hensen, 42. Vergi Thorpe, 43. Unknown
My grandfather John Finlay Hamilton sang in the Magrath choir. Of this occasion he wrote:
“Had the honor of singing at the opening of the Temple at Cardston which was a red-letter day for me in 1923. My good wife and I and family of that time went through the temple January 2, 1925, and were sealed together for all time and eternity, something we are very proud about. Also had the honor of going with our Church choir, along with three other choirs from Alberta, to sing in the Great Tabernacle at Salt Lake City in 1930.”
I had read this in his history but had never seen the picture of the choir. How excited I was to discover the Magrath Choir picture on FamilySearch. After finding it and knowing there were 3 other choirs, I found those pictures and added them to FamilySearch, tagging the choir members.
Back Row (1)
Levi Harker, Jim Harker, Fred Palmer, Charles Matkin, Adrian Coleman, Alf Ririe, Marion Merkley
Sadi Babcock, Norma Alston, Margaret Fletcher, Ira Fletcher, Bill Blumell, Jack Hamilton, Vern Bennett, Jack Rasmussen
John Gibb, Elva Harker, Annie Gibb, Emma Bennett, Lily Naylor, Lydia Watson, Cleo (Jensen) Ririe, Alice Wooley, Ella Toomes Blumell,
John Steele, Grant Crookston, Leonard Ririe, Jack Bridge, Earl Tanner, John Head, Nephi Head
Edith Hacking, Ireta Matkin, Mildred Bradshaw, Afton Keeler, Emelia Briggs, Eva Hodges, Dora Coleman, Annie Matkin,
Front Row (6)
Orson Bridge, Vera Merkley
***Maude B. Rasmussen sang in this choir but had gone to nurse her baby, Rachel, and was gone while the picture was taken!
After finding the Magrath choir and knowing there were three other choirs, I found those pictures and added them to FamilySearch, tagging the choir members.
Front Row: Chris Tollestrup (choir director), Heber S. Allen, Lorenzo Mitchell (organist)
Second Row: Angeline (O’Brien) Nalder, Adelaide Perks, Delma Peterson Fairbanks, Martha (Holmes) Mitchell, Emma (Holt) Dahl, Fern Dahl King, Lura Redd, Edith Woolley, Emma (Nalder) Burr, Madge (Stevenson) Fairbanks, Myron Holmes
Third Row: Ethel (Mahew) Tollestrup, Eva (Dahl) Salmon, Dettie (McBride) Buckwalter, Mary (Stevenson) Rodeback, Elizabeth (Eames) King, Gwen Bryner, Sarah Earl, Clara (Selman) Rolfson, Florelle (Love) Palmer, William (Bill) Rouse
Fourth Row: Emma (Gould) Nilsson, Joseph Nilsson, Unknown, Alan Erickson, John F. Salmon, Parley Meldrum, Edward Hancock, Floyd Wilde, Ira McBride
Fifth Row: Rudolph Tollestrup, Riley Clark, Lief Erickson, William Clark, John Blackmore, Melba (Kirkland) Holmes, Blanche (Fisher) Scoville, Duncan Weaver, Paul Redd, Spencer Wilde, Mae Tollestrup, Emil Wood
Sixth Row: George Laycock, Wilford Meldrum, Will C. Stone, Aziel Stevenson, Frank Shaw, James H. Walker, Valerie (Nalder) Allen
I have tried to visualize and hear those mighty choirs as they sang in the celestial room of the Cardston Alberta Temple. The power of those voices and the instruments they were playing would have been overwhelming.
The legacy of these stalwart pioneers lives on in thousands of Latter-day Saints throughout the world.
Back Row (1) J. Easthope, A. Russell, G. Birch, B. Russell, B. Bullock, Lou Conrad, Milt Conrad, N. Anderson
Row (2) T.W. Harris, Nellie Lee, Zora Holman, Minnie Lee, Em Harris, Gwen Wright, Sister Falls, Helma Barton, Eva Francis
Row (3) Roy Easthope, G. Robinson, Warren Russell, C. Peterson, N. Anderson, Ezra Layton, Wilf Grant, Ted Francis
Row (4) Bro. Larsen, Doris Andersen, Ann Harris, Cleone Bennett, Lucill Jensen, Font Russell, Melba Bennet, G. Holman, W. Anderson
Row (5) Sister Bennett, Elsie Johnson, Stella Smith, Dolly Haynes, Lillis Birch, M. Haws, Princess Russell, John Haynes
Row (6) Sister McMullen, Sister Johnson, Emma Russell, Ida Wood, Mrs. Emily Andersen, Roxie Harris
Front Row (7) Stake Presidency: George W. Green (Counsellor), Hugh B. Brown (President), John Johansen (Choir Director), Asael E. Palmer (Counsellor)
“We’ll make the air with music ring,
Shout praises to our God and King;
Above the rest these words we’ll tell-
All is well! All is well!”