Dec 25, 2012

2012 Christmas Eve

For Calvary Chapel St. George's Christmas Eve service at the Dixie Center, I got to play piano [OK, keyboard] prelude. I'll post photos of the event.

(1) Me
(2) The Band
(3) Children's Choir
(4) Setting up the convention hall

Dec 14, 2012

Learning New Techniques

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While playing with different photo programs, this capability really captured my interest.  The photo editor that I liked so much disappeared with my old computer and isn’t offered anymore – nor will the old program play nice with my new computer.  So once I figure out how to recreate this and which program introduced it, maybe I can cause people to think I’m my own grandma!!

Nov 26, 2012

Toole Thanksgiving

We had a wonderful trip (outside of an allergy to cats!!) to the Bay Area for our annual pre-Thanksgiving celebration with several kids and their families.  For our photos from that event, go to this photo album:  Toole Thanksgiving

Nov 5, 2012

Genealogy Surprise

I have received a notification of a 37 of 37 marker match to the Parks DNA project by Carey Parks.  Carey’s oldest proven ancestor is James Parks born about 1796 in Tyrone, Ireland (five years after my James Parks was born in Virginia) who emigrated from Ireland around 1821 to Pennsylvania and died in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania in 1861.  DNA results this close suggest a close relationship within five or fewer generations.  It is possible James Parks 1796 and my James Parks 1790/91 were cousins, but there is a 1-5 generation possibility.  I don't feel it is likely these two James were first cousins, but we will sure try to find out.  There is still much to research, which hopefully will be enhanced by Carey’s plans to travel to Ireland in the spring.  I have a cousin, Sonya, also a Parks genealogist, who is visiting in Washington, D.C.  She will see if she can locate anything on this connection at NARA. 

Following is information sent by Carey on his findings on this ancestor:
From History of Westmoreland, Pennsylvania:
James Parks (William B. Parks father) was born in Tyrone, Ireland, where he was reared and educated, attending the common schools adjacent to his home. When twenty-five years of age he determined to seek a new home for himself amid new surroundings and accordingly emigrated to the United States, settling in Allegheny county Pennsylvania, where he spent the remainder of his days. At the early age of fifteen years he married , and the death of his wife occurred nine months later. He married a second time, this wife dying one year later, survived by one child, and at the age of twenty-five years he married his third wife, whose maiden name was Mary Ann Woods, in Allegheny City, Pennsylvania, and they had eight children: Alexander, deceased; Martha, Nancy, Alice, deceased; Ann Jane, William B., mentioned hereafter; Thomas, and James, deceased.  It appears that Carey's James' father was William Parks, born about 1778 in Ireland.

A reference I found on Accessible:
HISTORY OF ALLEGHENY COUNTY. Thomas Cushing. A. Warner & Co, 1889, p. 128.
January 16, 1850, Robert Logan, Thomas Davison and Daniel Beeber were appointed by the court to view the boundaries of a new township to be formed from the northern part of Wilkins. July 8, 1850, by decree of court, a division of the latter was confirmed agreeably to their report, and the territory adjoining the Allegheny river erected into Adams township, the other portion retaining the name of Wilkins. August 31, 1850, the action of the court was reconsidered, and the name changed to McNair, but the records are silent as to the time when the present name was adopted. How often the name may have been changed in the meantime is matter of conjecture.  Among the settlers here prior to the Revolution was Thomas Wilson. He secured a patent for four hundred acres under the name of Wilson’s mount in 1788, but had made his first residence here in 1770, removing to Fort Pitt in 1776.

Other early settlers were:
Thomas Sampson and sons John, James, William, Thomas, David and Alexander; John Johnson and son James; John Duff and sons James, William, John, Alexander, David, George and Samuel (the last now living at the age of eighty-one); William Parks and sons James, John, David, William, Robert and Thomas; Alexander Damster and son James; William McQuay and sons John, Samuel and Thomas; Charles Johnson and sons John, James, William and Andrew; Henry Morrow and sons John, James, Henry and Hugh; Robert Donaldson and son Hugh; Samuel Ferguson and sons Enoch, Samuel, Isaac and James; 

Fun, Fun, Fun!!

It was so much fun surprising Bill with special guests at his 80th birthday party.  The ballroom at SunRiver was an elegant backdrop for our party plans.  Five of our six kids attended, Mike gave a wonderful toast to his dad, we got to introduce our kids to our friends, Kendra presented a slice of cake and candle to her grandpa, the food by Players and cakes from Harmon's were extra special and our special guests were the 94 year-old St. George "flagman" Lee Warren, past Speaker of the House for Utah, Dave Clark, Representative Don Ipson, and Col. Ray Blum who came in from California's headquarters to represent Devil Pups, Inc.  It was definitely an overwhelming time for The Big Guy and we thank everyone who attended, including Col. Dave Houston for his excellent M.C. duties.

You can read Mike's toast and the tribute from Devil Pups, Inc. in the documents attached to the photo album, link below.

Here is a photo of the octogenarian and some guests, plus a link to all the birthday photos. 

Terry Dunne, Lee Warren, Bill and Donna Toole, Mr. and Mrs. Foster Johnson; Speaker Dave Clark in background.

Bill's 80th Birthday Photos

An interview about the new Veterans Nursing Home project:
Bill Toole Interview

Oct 15, 2012

Mystery Children - McDougalls??

Here's a photo, possibly circa 1890's of three children and one ratty dog!!  This photo was in my aunt's possession but she doesn't know who these children are.  For years she has been the repository for our family photos and now she is the last of her generation.  I am rebuilding her photo album/scrapbook and we'd like to discover who these children are.  

In a prior posting, I included a group photo that includes Persis McDougall Phelps.  A careful review of that group photo shows three children, at a slightly older age than this photo, who could well be these three children.  They are spread throughout that group shot, with the little girl close to the middle and the boys on each end.  Given that these three faces "could" be in the group shot, I am wondering if these are the children of Persis' brother, George McDougall (1853-1905) of Heart Prairie, Wisconsin.  His children were two boys, Colin (1883-1945), Shirley (1886-1951) and one girl, Nellie (b. abt 1889 - death unknown).  There is no identification of the photo whatsoever, other than a photographer's studio name which appears to be "Hoaglund and Anderson."  I've been unable to discover where that photographer was located in the timeframe of this photo.

Mystery Group

Here's a photo that's been in our family for decades.  We can identify four or five people in the photo.  I would love to know who the rest of the individuals are and possibly where.  Given the age of my grandmother, Bessie Mae Phelps Parks, in the front row, third from right with a middle part and braids, the photo is around 1895.  

The pretty lady in the middle row near the left end, with puffy sleeves, is Persis McDougall Phelps, the only daughter of William and Sarah Tucker McDougall.  William McDougall came from Canada and settled and raised a family of 8 children in Wisconsin.  Persis married Anson Decatur Phelps in 1865 in Wisconsin. By 1880, Anson and Persis were settled in Corning, Tehama County, California, engaged as fruit farmers.

In the back row, second from right with a small "x" that someone has written above her head is a woman who is said to be my great grandmother, Mabel Libby Phelps.  The man on the end may be her husband, Adelbert Anson Phelps, son of Persis and Anson.  In this timeframe, Adelbert and Mabel lived in Cherokee County, Iowa.

Not recognizing the majority of people in this photo makes me wonder if this is a McDougall reunion of some kind, with a few Phelps relatives thrown in.  If so, some of the males could be Persis' brothers and some of the women their wives.  Some of Persis' brothers, living at that time, were William, Edwin, Edgar and George.  I will post another mystery photo of three children that could possibly be children of George - who are also possibly in this large group photo.  Please contact me if you have any idea whose faces are in these photos.

Oct 12, 2012


Here's a site to search now and then.  People post photos they have of people they don't know.  I've got a few photos posted there.  Hopefully someone who knows who they are will eventually contact me.  Cute name for a genealogy site.
Dig Up Your Relatives at - The Original Genealogy Photo Archive

Oct 8, 2012

Guess who is turning 80 on October 19th!!!  No, not Grammy, though at times I feel that age.  Bill was born in Rochester, New York in 1932, the only child of Richard and Gladys (Beck) Toole.  We are celebrating with a big birthday party at the SunRiver St. George ballroom on Saturday the 20th.  Lots of birthday cake and lots of fun, family and friends.  Five of our six kids plan to attend, along with lots of people from the St. George and surrounding area, many of them involved with Bill in various veteran-related matters.  A big Happy Birthday to my dear hubby!!!

Here are words from Dave Houston regarding William of Toole:  "I had the pleasure to serve and counsel with Bill as the Senior Vice Commandant for the Marine Corps League, Utah Dixie Detachment #1270 as he pushed to create the league here in Southern Utah. Bill is driven by his passion for the Marine Corps and Devil Pups. Once he got the ball rolling there was no stopping this force till the mission was complete. After serving as the founding Commandant for the Marine Corps League he saw another void in the Veterans organizations within Southern Utah and quickly came up with the idea of creating a collective group now know as the “Veterans Coalition of Southern Utah.” This group proved to be a valuable resource as the multiple veterans organizations came together concerning veterans issues. One of the first battles fought and won was that of the Veterans Home now located in Ivins. Bill’s drive and devotion has had a positive influence on our community and the veterans in our area. His devotion to the “Devil Pups” program has also had an influence in our community by including both young men and women in this time honored test of our youth. The feed back from parents and youth has been nothing short of remarkable in the transformation of attitudes and desire to become productive adults. As we all know, the success of any man can be attributed to a supportive and loving wife, and Donna has contributed to every step taken in the progress Bill has achieved.  To that extent this couple has contributed significantly to our community. God bless Bill and Donna as they continue to make our lives and community a better place to live.”

Oct 7, 2012

Sep 2, 2012

A Genealogy Moment

I've had a real genealogy moment this week!  I have received some old cards from a cousin and the package included my aunt's scrapbook to scan and use in my scrapbooking.  Most are photos I've never seen - how exciting.  Here is my great grandmother, Mabel Libby (Phelps), as a teenager, with her sisters.  How can you not love these old photos!!??

On GGrandmother's birthday and 50th anniversary in 1939, the family got together to celebrate.  One of the fun parts of the evening was a wedding re-enactment, starring two of my older cousins, Mary Ruth and Ralph.  I'll include their photo here - so cute!

And here is great grandma's obituary:

1954 Jan 14, The Milford Mail, P1, Milford, Iowa
Last rites for Mrs. Mabel Libby Phelps were conducted from the Friends church in Arnold´s Park, Wednesday afternoon. Rev. Baiotto, pastor of the church, was in charge of the services, with arrangements by Leysons. Mrs. Phelps passed away Jan. 11, 1954, at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Bessie Parks, in Arnold´s Park. She was 86 years of age. Pallbearers at the funeral were Kenneth Orr, Jim Read, Martin Read, Loren Weise, Paul Mansmith and Glen Pugh. Loren Wiese was vocal soloist, singing "Beyond the Sunset" and "Face to Face." Mrs. Guy Hedrick was in charge of the flowers.  Burial was in Winner, S.D., on Thursday, today, beside the grave of her husband.

Mrs. Mabel Libby Phelps, daughter of Angeline P. Riley and S. Appleton Libby, was born Oct. 9, 1868, at Hopkinton, Iowa, and  died Jan:11,1954.  She was united in marriage to Adelbert Phelps of Cherokee, on Oct. 9, 1889 at Larrabee. To this union, four children were born.  They are Mrs. Bessie Parks of Arnold´s Park, Irwin of Union Grove, Wis., Lawrence of Winner, S. D., and Robert who passed away March 11,1943. Left to mourn her passing are one sister, Annette Libby of Arnold´s Park, one brother, Eugene, of Portland, Oregon, the daughter and two sons, 15 grandchildren, 34 great-grandchildren, besides the number of friends she has made during her long life.

Jul 30, 2012

2012 Devil Pups

2012 Devil Pup camp was another big success.  Seven St. George area pups graduated.  Chance McPhie was guide-on bearer for Platoon 3.  Each pup made it to the top of Ole Smokey, the final challenge of umpteen challenges throughout camp.  We are proud of each one of them!  Here's a photo of five of the pups digging into a bag of chips.  It probably took a lot of hamburgers to fill them up after 10 days of rigorous training.  For more photos see

May 5, 2012

Roses in May

Probably because of my pneumonia during the month of April, the roses weren't as glorious as they could be, but they've got pretty good color now that I'm taking a little better care of them. Back to front, we've got 12 rose bushes.  Best thing about them - very little care, just some feeding now and then.

Mar 15, 2012

Blue Angels

The Blue Angels are scheduled for an air show here in St. George Saturday and Sunday, March 17 and 18. Bill is on the security detail for both days so he'll get to see the show up close and personal. Right now the Blue Angels are "practicing" out of the new St. George Airport, and we can see and hear them going overhead here in SunRiver. Awesome!!

Mar 7, 2012

March Weather

It's been a mild winter. Looks like this may be the only snow we'll have this year. Rain when we went to bed last night was a light dusting of powdered sugar this morning. Since we can't see Pine Valley Mountain this morning, there may be more white stuff on the mountain top in a day or two.

Mar 6, 2012

My Park/Parks In-Laws

I’ve been working on my “cousin-in-law” ancestors for a couple weeks now. It’s been a fun hunt, but those ancestors know how to hide. Basically, I’m hunting for ancestors of James A. Armstrong and his wife, Mary Ann Wilson. There is quite a famous branch of Armstrongs in Pennsylvania, one of which had the military background to merit the naming of Armstrong County, Pennsylvania. I haven’t been able to tie James and his wife into that line – yet – but I sure would like to learn who James and Mary Ann’s parents were.

James A. Armstrong appears to have been born about 1800 in Pennsylvania and spent most of his life in Fayette County, the last few years in the Springhill area. He died about 1852 or 1853 (supposedly in a sawmill accident) in Fayette County. Mary Ann Wilson Armstrong was born about 1812, according to the 1850 census in Maryland. Her death occurred in Upper Hillville, Clarion County, Pennsylvania according to Findagrave Memorial #13337192. This move was after the death of her husband.

The Armstrongs had six children that I know of:

Andrew “Jackson” Armstrong (1839-1926) (78th Reg. Penna. Inf., during the Civil War);

Robert A. Armstrong (1839-1907) (Civil War in Co. E, 168th Regiment of PA Volunteers);

Charles Martin Armstrong (1843-1915) (78th PA Volunteers);

Elizabeth Armstrong Cimmons (1846-1932) (tireless knitter for the Red Cross);

Esabelle Armstrong Jackson (1849-1933) (her obit claims she was a great great granddaughter of Colonel Armstrong); and

Ellen Jane Armstrong Fowzer (1851-1920) (died at the home of her daughter in Venango County).

I just need to tie James A. Armstrong and Mary Ann Wilson to their parents!
There is a possibility that John S. Wilson (1823-1900) who married Mary Ann Mossburg (1822-1889) is a brother to our Mary Ann Wilson. Sure would love to bust through this brick wall.

Jan 30, 2012

Wedding Scrapbook

A few pages of a wedding scrapbook for Pastor Rick's daughter:

Card Making

Card making isn't necessarily my favorite thing to do, but fun nonetheless. Here are some of past years' Christmas cards. I have several sets of Graphic45 papers, so I'll likely be making a bunch of cards to play with various ideas for other events.

Jan 29, 2012

Golf Card

Here's a fun stamp, especially now that we live in a golf community.