Written History of Bert N. Whitney


She was born 7 Feb 1902 in Key West, Nevada near Bunkerville. (present Clark County) She died 6 Feb. 1985 at approximately 2:30 p.m. while she was sleeping on her couch at her home in St. George, Utah (Washington County)

The youngest of her children, Keith, was sitting nearby at the time and noted that her death was quiet and peaceful, such that he was not really aware of the exact time she died.  She had been ill with the flu for a week or ten days, but had not complained or indicated that she was experiencing too much discomfort, except for being very tired.

All of the family members worked out funeral and burial plans under the direction of the oldest son Calvin. There seemed to be a peaceful cooperative atmosphere during the planning and carrying out her farewell service.

All of her living brothers and sisters were present, as well as all of her children and many grandchildren and some great-grandchildren.  All was very appropriate and beautiful.  Grandsons acted as pall bearers.  Special prayers, the eulogy, a talk, and grave dedication were given by her sons and daughters.  Each member of the family contributed much in easing the burden of the loss of one who was such a special part of each of our lives.

A special thanks is needed and heartily given to you daughters and grandchildren who sang at my mother’s funeral service.  It was a beautiful rendition of that special hymn selected by inspiration.  I really appreciate that each of you were willing to honor Mom’s request that you sing at her funeral.  I know that there was considerable inconvenience experienced by most of you in doing so.  Much credit goes to your husbands and children also and I sincerely thank them.

The discovery of my mother’s written request that “Lead Kindly Light” be the selection for you to sing, after you had already planned to do so, is evidence of how in tune your lives must be with spiritual things.

May 1985 Glimpses

In the month since I have been back in Logandale, probably more than 500 miles of desert and mountains have tooled under the four wheels of my Honda All Terrain Vehicle.

On most of the excursions, Jack Nelson has been with me, or rather I have been with him as we have re-visited some of the places he had previously searched out.  We have explored in an ever widening circle around Logandale.  Several of the more interesting sites have given us incentive to return and poke around a second or third time.  Probably the trip that stands out above the rest is the one to Grand Gulch Mine east of the Gold Butte road.  We left very early on a Saturday morning and cooked our breakfast in a Dutch oven at Grand Wash Bay on Lake Mead about 8:00 a.m.  We still had our vehicle loaded in the pickup and trailer so we drove a short way further and unloaded on a hill near Tassi Ranch to which we first rode and also did the back country in the immediate vicinity.  (This nearly proved to be a luxury that we should have forgone.)  When we got around to studying the maps in pursuit of our main goal it was already 11:00 a.m.

Threading our way across the hills and washes was intriguing as we never knew what we would come to next.  After correcting only one wrong turn we approached what appeared to be a dead end canyon in a steep mountain range, but it proved to be the beginning of a meticulously fashioned pioneer dugway up and over what seemed to be an impenetrable incline.

All the way up the terraced switchbacks my gas gauge was bouncing on empty, and when I caught up with Jack at the summit I suggested that we had better turn around while there was still a chance for me to get back to the truck.  We were several thousand feet in elevation and Jack had built a fire for warmth.  Neither of us wanted to turn back when we felt we were so close.  So we stood around the fire and thought of ways we could outsmart the fuel shortage.

Finally we decided to go on and transfer gas from Jack’s cycle when I ran out.  It was only a few more miles when we came up over a ridge and were looking down on what at first appeared to be an active mining community; two large hard rubber tire trucks ready to be loaded, buildings, machinery, a tall brick kiln, and many other signs of industry.  A closer examination revealed that they had been abandoned many years ago and were waiting patiently for the miners to return just as the toy tin soldiers waited for little Boy Blue.

We spent an interesting hour or so exploring everything we had time for, but it was about 3:00 p.m. by then so we reluctantly started back, still facing the petrol problem.

It was a little easier for me to descend the steep grade than it was for Jack as my wide tires gave more braking power. I got ahead of him and proceeded to follow the faint road leading from the foot of the mountain.  The road got better, and I picked up speed, knowing that Jack would catch up to me as he always did.  But many backward glances revealed no one coming down the road behind me.

I finally realized that I had missed a turn and was on the wrong road, was lost and nearly out of gas, and had gone off the map, which I now stopped to study.  I decided it would be folly to turn back with my fuel situation, so I continued conservatively forward on the road which seemed to be heading in a roundabout general direction of our take off place.

Then it happened-the motor stopped-no more fuel-except I had remembered to turn the reserve gas valve before we left, so I knew I still had .3 of a gallon of gas.  I turned the lever and stared to travel again.  There was nothing recognizable as far as I could see in every direction and no signs of any civilization.


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