THE NAY FAMILY IN UTAH AND THE WEST
Miracles in Compiling a Labor of Love
by Luella Kurtz Faucett
When I was asked to join the Nay family group in writing about my grandfather, Elmer Carr Nay, I was thrilled at the opportunity. I never knew Grandpa, and I knew that I would surely know him by the time I was finished scouting out the files on him and his family. At the same time, I offered to write what I could find on Elmer’s brothers, George John and Ormun Russell “Tim” Nay, because none of their descendants could be found. I already had a few items in my family history files on all of them, but the miracles that came about in the process of writing those time lines and histories has expanded my files greatly, and the knowledge of each of those men has also expanded.
The first thing I did was to put out the word to all cousins on anything that they might have gathered over the years on their mothers and fathers, (my blood aunts and uncles). Some are double related to me, so finding more of their individual histories was very pleasurable for me. Also, the excuse to call some of my cousins that I ordinarily don’t call very often, was a real treat. That was a rewarding experience in itself, and I now intend to call them more often or visit with them when possible, for the rest of our lives.
I guess the biggest miracle of all and the most important, was the fact that “the veil” is thinner when you concentrate on your ancestors. I have felt the pleasure of their company, many hours, while I wrote away on the computer. Sometimes I felt like I had them leaning over my shoulder, grinning and encouraging me with a pat on the back. Many times I did become discouraged because there was not enough material on them in my files to build their time lines. I would say another prayer and sure enough, those ancestors would push me to call a certain person or request from another, to see if I had wrung out their files or memories to the fullest.
One such person was my cousin Wilma Nay, wife of Robert “Bob” E. Nay, who is now deceased. I knew that Bob and Wilma had been doing intensive research on the Nay family for several years. So I called Wilma again, and asked her if they might have come across something about George and Tim in their research travels. Sure enough, our first miracle came forth——-.A Mr. Dennis Casebier, a historian for the Eastern Mojave Desert region, in Goff, near Needles, California, had made contact with Bob, before he had died. That contact was one of those miracles in itself! Dennis had been hospitalized in Needles, with a heart attack and was later removed to the Sunrise Hospital in Las Vegas, Nevada. While there, he was in a lab for an Angioplasty.
A nice young man in a green pajamas was rolling me down the short hallway to the operating room. He had a badge fastened to the top of his outfit. I noted his surname was Nay. Now Nay is not a common name. And there were two brothers named Nay (Tim and George) that were prominently involved in the mining and cattle business in the East Mojave beginning at least as early 1884 and continuing until at least the early1920′s. I’d never made any progress tracking down descendants of that family.
I quickly explained all this to the pleasant attendant in the green pajamas. Sure enough, I had the right family. He told me I needed to talk with his father. Just before the doctor came in and the whole world went away, I made him promise that he’d go out in the waiting room, approach the nice lady who looked like she was scared to death, and give her his name and address and for her to give him my address and phone number. He did that.
The angioplasty was successful and I was soon released from the hospital. There was a period of recovery. I forgot about the Nays for awhile. Finally the father of the young man in the green pajamas called. We had a nice chat and I sent him material we had on George and O.R. “Tim” Nay. I was expecting a response, and of course hoping for a photo of these men and perhaps family information, but instead the years passed and I never heard from him again.
On 6 January 2002, my phone rang. It was a lady named, Luella Faucett, of the Nay family, calling from Virginia. The Robert Nay I had established contact with had been distracted at the time and hence the explanation for his not getting back to me. Then, she said, he died last year in an automobile accident.
Of course, I have thanked Mr. Casebier over and over for his contribution of the extracted histories on George and Tim. I have shared pictures and the needed family information he wanted for the Historical Museum, that he and others have established in an old schoolhouse, restored, in Goff, California. Another miracle, to me is finding the undocumented sources of items and unmarked pictures that have been in my files for quite a few years. With the history of Tim and George coming from Dennis Casebier’s files, we have been able to come to some conclusions on identifying some snapshots that I have had in my picture box. I thought one was our Grandpa, Elmer Nay. But the cousins I had shared it with, and an uncle that was alive at that time, said they did not think it was Grandpa. Later, because of the history on mining on the desert, we could see that one of those pictures is of George and one is of Tim.
One day while writing about my Aunt Delia Nay Smith, I thought I should go through her file to see if I had written about each item I had on her. Her daughter, Joline, had sent a poem that someone had written about her mother. None of us knew who had written the poem, as there was no signature on it. But, there was a place and a date, and the poem tells us exactly where Delia was at the time. The historical newspaper articles on Tim, extracted by Dennis Casebier identified that place. I consider it a miracle that so many of the cousins descending from Elmer and Jane Nay, have the curiosity and family interest to seek out other people that might have known our grandfather and grandmother when they were young. That curiosity caused my cousin, Duane Nay, the son of Fay and Ella Nay, to go to the old timers of Monroe, Utah, to ask about their knowledge of our grandfather. Because of his stories of Elmer Carr Nay, and the memories of his sons, Reu and Lester Nay, there was enough personal history to write about Grandpa. The miracle of it all is that we will ALL know him from these writings.
When I started I had only names of Elmer’s brothers, and the personal knowledge from family group sheets of their marriages, but no families were stated. With the advent of computers, large indexes furnished from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, The Family History Center and all of its microfilm for use, the California Birth Index, the Social Security Death Index and others, I was able to fill in families for both of these men. I marvel at the timing of this project. It truly came “in its own time.” The modern equipment we have at our disposal to put the information on paper, and the scanner to enable us to share our photos, are miracles in themselves. Another miracle has come about since the time lines have been written, and even while the book is coming to press. With all of the material that each person had being compiled together to make more sense of it, we now had a more clear way of trying to find descendants of Tim and Flora Nay. With the notes in hand, Dennis Casebier has been able to find descendants of the couple and we have now called several others to tell them of our project. It has been the icing on the cake!
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