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Lewis Fry Donnelly "Van" Massey
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Birth: Apr. 1, 1886
Boone County
West Virginia, USA
Death: Mar. 9, 1981
Utah County
Utah, USA


Van and May were married in December of 1906. (Later to be sealed in the Salt Lake Temple in 1908) and thus began a family unit that would suffer many trials, receive untold blessings, clear and settle virgin areas, rear 14 children and populate a fair size portion of Vernal and surrounding areas.

May, the youngest in her family, was reared in Daniels, a small community just northeast of Heber, Utah. A part of her heart always remained there. She was a lovely young girl, with silken hair, a beautiful alto voice, and a natural talent for the piano. As a child you'd often see her at the local dances perched up on a piano stool, heightened by a stack of books, providing the only music for the entire evening. At fifteen, when the romance began, it was always a question of who courted whom, for it was May's prize surrey and horse that they were seen in during those times.

At the age of 20, Van had crossed the country before he and May had met. He had left Virginia with his parents as a toddler, and had grown to manhood in the San Luis Valley, Colorado. He loved that area, often saying, "It has one of the most beautiful spots in the world." He appreciated the mountains and streams, the vegetation and all the habitat that lived in it. Almost every hour was filled with rigorous pioneer labor, but he still found time to enjoy boyhood concerns. He raised pigeons and rabbits. He fenced in an area and put his rabbit hutches below ground. He crossed tame ones with wild ones. He raised burros. He had one special burro, Smokey, that he'd run against any horse. He also had a horse he loved dearly; they were inseparable. Van taught it to swim the rapids and deep waters. He had a bicycle repair service and had his own bike. He played baseball on the town team; always pitched. It's said that he developed curves that they never heard of. One was called a "drop-dart" ball.

It was decided that the Massey children should start attending school. Of course he, like all the Massey boys, was an excellent fighter. The following is an account from Van's history: "I was 8 or 9 years old and had never seen a school book. No hillbillies ever surpassed us. When we went to school, Ira, being left-handed, tangled with Isham Brady. He broke and ran into the school and Ira threw a rock and hit him. The next day Ira and I and Lee Allen got a fight with the Camp family. I tangled with John Brady and bit him so hard I pulled my teeth out. I was just ready to shed them at eight years old. They put me in the second grade. I couldn't read or figure. Talk about sweating blood in a strange place." Of course some of the sparring partners were the Harrison boys. (Jack Dempsey's family.) They remained in touch for many years.

After Van's and May's wedding, they lived in Daniels for two years where Roy and Sewell were born. During the latter part of this time, Van worked in the Park City mines and May stayed with her parents. Later, they moved to the "Old Hartie Place" in Vernal for two years. Mable was born while they were here. They then moved on to Dry Fork in Upper Canyon, where they lived until just prior to the birth of Lois. They moved into the Ruple home for a short time and Lois was born then. They bought the home on Main Street where all the rest of the children were born and raised and they lived until after the death of May. When May died, Van sold the place "because it held too many memories," and bought the property on First North, where he lived out the remainder of his years.

From Daniels to Vernal, through all the moves and years, two very wonderful, but different, individuals grew and developed into the parents and grandparents their posterity dearly loved. May respected Van and his "word" was the gospel and the law. She always remained a solid homemaker, excelling in all its dimensions. Her left hand could take the humblest of flour sacks, bits of material and threads and create works of art.

Her potato salads, cracklins, home made bread and butter and buttermilk, jams and pastries were hard to match. Her table was always set for many, for Van never let anyone go away hungry. May loved her cows, daily helping her sons milk them. She enjoyed her garden. In her early married years, her sweet alto voice used to hum the "old time melodious tunes," in the evening hours as her busy hands folded the clothes or dusted her spotless floors. Her health was very poor; especially after her seventh child; mainly from diabetics and other related complications, but she always remained the "homemaker" until she died. Many neighbors and friends admired her quiet beauty and her helping hand. Her daughters loved to show her off in her pretty home spun clothes and her sons, in their own ways, appreciated the security of her constant presence. At her funeral, the chapel was filled, as was the over-flow and much of the cultural hall, an indication of the many lives she touched in her 62 years.

Although Van lived a common life among common people, he was never a common man. His Veterinarian license came after a completed correspondence course. There were no subjects, ancient or current, he couldn't discuss with you. He read endlessly in the evenings and his photographic mind held the scriptures and his favorite poetry for quick recall at any moment. He even wrote some of both. He was an industrious, hard working man. He farmed and ranched and trapped.

He served as a veterinarian all over the Four Corners. He was always in great demand at this trade, retiring from it only because of the days it kept him from home and the many whom he helped that could never pay him. He contracted fencing. He ran boxing competition. He even went into the realty business for a short time and then into the metal business. In all his ventures, he was considered one of the "valleys" most honest and fair individuals.

In their early married years, Van's discipline could be harsh, but when epidemics or an illness hit the family, it was always his tender hands that cared for the sick throughout the night and back to health. Although his "wrath of indignation" could burn your ears, he was just as powerful in convincing you that you were a child of God and of a chosen lineage that you should take pride in. He was always poor, mainly because he always gave; often to those with greater circumstances than he. During the depression years, he managed to feed his family and hold them together, support his mom's family and help keep many of his friends and neighbors from going under. Above all, he knew the power of the priesthood that he held and he used it often to heal the sick and to protect his family. He had an unmoveable faith in the Lord amd an undeniable testimony of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young.

When Van was in his 70's. His last home burned down. He lived in his work shed behind the home for some time. Later, Edwin rebuilt it. During the time that he was living in the shed, one or more persons caught him by surprise, hitting him on the head with the butt of a gun. They beat him severely, particularly in the head area. He was always so free with his money, the police concluded someone thought he must have a bundle buried and was searching for it. He was hurt so badly they had to take him to the Salt Lake Hospital, where he remained for some time.

Van remained in his home until his last two years, when he required constant care. He died in the Provo Hospital in March of 1981, a credit to his mother and father, whom he revered so much and also an inspiration legacy to his posterity.

Uniting of the Jarrells and the Masseys
The Massey Family Association

Lewis Van Massey will celebrate his 85th birthday April 1, and will be honored at an open house Sunday at his home, 313 East 1st North in Vernal.

He was born April 1, 1886, in Boon County, West Virginia, the fourth of 15 children. He moved with his family to a section of Colorado which was open for homesteading, a location called Fox Creek.

From there, the family moved to San Louis Valley in Manassa, Colorado where agricultural conditions were better, then to Utah in 1905 where the family settled at Heber City.

Mr. Massey attended the Brigham Young University in Provo and later completed his schooling while attending night school and received his degree in veterinarian science.

In Heber he met and married Maybell Thacker who died April 2, 1953. The couple and other members of the Massey family moved to Vernal from Heber and settled in Dry Fork where they continued farming and Mr. Massey practiced veterinaran science.

Mr. Massey worked in the fur business with his father in Vernal, and the family returned to Vernal to make their home. Fourteen children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Massey, all of whom are still living.

They include Roy, Sewell, Mable, Pearl, J. D., Otis, Lapreal, Lois, Zelpha, Edwin, Wanda, Norman, Monda and Doris.

A farmer, rancher, government trapper, fur dealer, veterinarian and junk dealer, Mr. Massey has enjoyed a busy and industrious life. Most of all, he has been a lover of plants and trees and has never stopped planting since first home as a boy.

Mr. Massey has 56 grandchildren, 59 great grandchildren and four great great grandchildren.

Anita and Kenny Ashby Collection
The Masseys were married December 1, 1906 in Daniels. The marriage was later solemnized in the Salt Lake Temple, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, the trip from Daniel being made with horse and wagon.

They moved to Ashley Valley shortly after they were married, where Mr. Massey practiced as a veterinarian.

After residing in Vernal for some time they moved to a homestead in Dry Fork where they spent many happy years. It was while living in Dry Fork that they made their first trip back to Daniels to visit Mable's parents, whom she had not seen in ten years.

Many people were entertained at the Massey home. Mrs. Massey was a good cook and it is said that more relatives, friends and strangers have been served meals at the Massey home than any other place in the valley. It was not uncommon for 16 to 20 people to be served at one time.

* * *
Lewis Massey was born to Cynthia Francis Jarrell and John "D" Massey.

He married Mabel Glennville Thacker on December 1, 1906.

Some of their children are: John D. Massey, Mona Rae Massey

Son in law: Jerry Myers Hatch 
Family links: 
  John Delmar Massey (1858 - 1920)
  Cynthia Frances Jarrell Massey (1864 - 1957)
  Mabel Young Glenville Thacker Massey (1891 - 1953)*
  Lewis Leroy Massey (1907 - 1998)*
  William Sewell Massey (1908 - 1974)*
  Mable LaVera Massey Neiberger (1910 - 2003)*
  Sarah Pearl Massey Stubbs (1912 - 1990)*
  John D. Massey (1914 - 1989)*
  Odis Massey (1916 - 1977)*
  Lapreal Massey Southam (1918 - 1999)*
  Joseph Zelph Massey (1922 - 2012)*
  Edwin Massey (1925 - 2005)*
  Mona Rae Massey Brady (1931 - 1973)*
  Ira Delmore Massey (1880 - 1952)*
  Elbin Lee Massey (1882 - 1882)*
  George Ova Massey (1883 - 1960)*
  Lewis Fry Donnelly Massey (1886 - 1981)
  Lois Viola Massey Pope (1888 - 1937)*
  John Norval Massey (1890 - 1963)*
  Charles "Millard" Massey (1892 - 1969)*
  Arthur Scotty Massey (1894 - 1970)*
  Jessie Massey Wall (1896 - 1967)*
  Susie Massey (1896 - 1896)*
  Sewell Massey (1899 - 1978)*
  Annie "Merle" Massey Ross (1902 - 2003)*
  Everett Earl Massey (1905 - 1978)*
  Hazel Massey Gurr (1908 - 1985)*
  Thelma Massey Whitney (1910 - 1974)*
*Calculated relationship
Vernal Memorial Park
Uintah County
Utah, USA
Plot: BH122.75_L 1_S1
Created by: Rhonda
Record added: Apr 30, 2007
Find A Grave Memorial# 19158088
Lewis Fry Donnelly Van Massey
Added by: DanNette
Lewis Fry Donnelly Van Massey
Added by: DanNette
Lewis Fry Donnelly Van Massey
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Tom Todd
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Never to be forgotten!
- Gary Mowrey
 Added: Jul. 1, 2015

- Angel of Flowers 🎃
 Added: Nov. 28, 2014

- Rhonda
 Added: Apr. 30, 2012

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