THE NAY FAMILY IN UTAH AND THE WEST

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Further information about the spiritual life of this family is contained in a history by Olephia (Leafy) Nay King, the daughter of Joseph Brigham Nay, Jr. Leafy recorded an extensive oral history that is on file at the University of Nevada. Love for nature as well as good will and integrity towards others was a part of their life. Although she makes some references to her father having been a “Mormon” in the past, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints wasn’t really part of her life until she was converted and baptized in her later years, while living in Tonopah, Nevada. As family members lived a frontier lifestyle farther from the centralized Church, their religion was not readily available or well-regarded.[48]

Leafy gives us another glimpse into Amanda’s life as she describes an incident in 1934 when she received an unexpected letter from her Grandmother Nay.

There was a little radio station. . . . we’d go down every day there for a week or so, an’ spare an hour or so an’ go down an’ play an’ sing! An’ they named us the “Tonopah Wranglers.” An’ it was kinda’ fun. . . Even got a letter here from Mrs. Howard, Blair Junction, Nevada, an’ you can read here, if you want to, what she said,

Blair Junction, Nevada, November 9, 1934.

Dear Friend: Your grandmother and I have been listening in on the broadcasting over KZZO. It sure comes in just fine here. Your grandmother, Mrs. Nay, would like to have you sing the song you composed about the deer you got out on the mountain, and if you can find time, I would like very much to hear you sing “When the Lupine Blooms Again” [another song Leafy composed]. Your grandmother is just fine. We are going to go and visit at Coledale [Coaldale] sometime soon.

With best regards, to the Tonopah Wranglers.

Your friend, Mrs. Howard, Blair Junction, Nevada[49]

Leafy’s daughter, Wanda King McNair, recalls that her mother cared for this grandmother in her later years when they were both living in Tonapah, Nevada. Wanda describes her great-grandmother as tall and white-haired. In her later years she lived just two houses up the street from Wanda and Leafy, with Lottie Stimler Nay (Amanda’s son John’s wife) and Lottie’s daughter Berniece. According to Wanda, she, her mother Leafy and her Aunt Lottie were all there at Amanda’s home on the day this pioneer woman, nearly 90 years old, left this earth.[50] The obituary record of Amanda Ellen Nay records her death in Tonapah, Nevada as 12 April 1940.[51]

The life that Leafy describes in her family history is one of family warmth and simplicity. She and her immediate family members may have been uneducated in the ways of the world, but very knowledgeable in their rural lifestyle. One can imagine that her grandparents’ lives would have been similar. Her description of her father’s talents may have also reflected that of her grandfather of the same name.

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