(Bessy is the sister who wrote all the sketches of her siblings and half siblings)
Written 17 Mar 1952 by BLKF in North Hollywood, California
It is with pleasure I recall my early life and childhood happiness in Lehi, Utah, my home, with my dear family and relatives the Russons and Kirkhams and childhood friends and school mates. Those were indeed happy days. My father and mother, George Kirkham and Sarah Russon were both born in England, coming to Utah in the early days of the Church. Father crossed the plains by ox team and hand cart while a boy of seven, 1859. Mother family, the Lott and Eliza Russon family came to Utah in 1871 from England when she was fourteen and settled in Lehi where Father family had moved from Salt Lake City. I was born in Lehi, Utah, 2 Mar 1897. I was given a name and a blessing 2 may 1897 by father George Kirkham, and was baptized when eight years of age, 2 Mar 1905, at Saratoga Springs, near Lehi, by father. Thus began a happy and eventful life.
I began my education in Lehi, Utah, in the old Ross Building, lst and 2nd grades then to new Grammar School until 8th grade and graduating there. At this time Uncles James Kirkham gave me my Patriarchal Blessing, January 8, 1909. But the most enjoyable time of my life was during High School in the Old Central High School building, where in 1917 I graduated. I recall, with pleasure that I reported school doings for year books, that I was a member of the High School Ladies Band (drums) member of the High School Ladies Quartette and Chorus. Graduation exercises were held in the beautiful old Lehi Tabernacle. I later graduated from Brigham Young University Commercial Department. There, I was on the staff of the Blue and White, the school paper.
My first position was stenographer for the Utah-Idaho Sugar Company, Lehi Factory and was there for seven years until the factory closed own. During one of my vacation periods I went to Independence, Missouri to meet my brother Denzil who was released from his mission. We visited Chicago, St. Louis, Nauvoo and Carthage together and enjoyed the Church historical places.
My first Church position was teaching primary in the Fourth Ward, Lehi when my mother was President, then primary grade in the Lehi Second Ward Sunday School from 1918 to 1925 with an unbroken record of attendance in teaching. From this class eight of the young men filled missions for the Church. I was also active in the Young Women MIA in the Ward, also Choir Member.
I had been stenographer for the Sugar Company for seven years and in 1925 went to California for vacation and while there the factory closed down making it a necessity for me to get work in Los Angeles; this I did and started work for the Pacific Indemnity Company, staying with them for eight years. At this time I belonged to Adams Ward, Los Angeles Take and lived close to the Church which was a great comfort to me. I was secretary to the Gleaner Girls in the Ward, also Log Angeles Stake Gleaner Secretary, years 1926-27. I was a member of the Los Angeles Thrift Chorus, as it was called, comprised of young people of both Hollywood and Los Angeles Stakes, with a regular attendance of three years, 1926-29/ I was a member of the Board of Directors. I met Leonard while attending this Ward, he was Sunday School Superintendent at the time (1927) and I was secretary of the Sunday School Stake Board, 1927-30, Los Angeles Stake. It is interesting to note here that we were members of the first Ward and first Stake in California.
In 1930 our recommends were approved and signed by Bishop Joseph A. West of Adams Ward, and Stake President Leo J. Muir of Los Angeles Stake and we were married in the Salt Lake Temple 30 Apr 1930, by Apostle Melvin J. Ballard. Then we were members of the Wilshire Ward, Hollywood Stake, and Leonard was occupied with his Stake Mission work and Seventy Quorum and I was a member of the Wilshire Ward Choir for three years. Our son George Leonard Fillerup was born 7 Jul 1939. The Wilshire Ward was divided and we then became members of the La Brea, Arlington and La Cienega Wards, at successive divisions. It is interesting to note here that during the twenty one years in our home at the one location we had belongs to the four wards, and Los Angeles, Inglewood, and Santa Monica Stakes, owing to the tremendous growth and division of Wards and Stakes of the Church.
My work in the La Cienega, Santa Monica Stake, was Children Friend Magazine Representative, 1949-1952. In the 1950s I was representative in the Primary and Relief Society Teachers Co-coordinating Chairman, Inglewood Stake.
In 1952, we moved to our present home in North Hollywood, Studio City Ward, Burbank Stake, where we went on with our duties in the Church. Leonard in his Priesthood duties and in the Bishopric and in our Temple Work and Genealogy Work.
At the present, 1972, Leonard in enjoying his retirement and we have together been on many trips around the world, the Holy land and ancient Mid-east being our favorite one.
The last few years I have read and copied excerpts from my father (1852-01923) daily writings, in journals he called them, and mailed to members of his family, my brothers and sisters and their children. We have had his Journals microfilmed and placed in the Genealogical Library and his books-journals in the Church Archives, Salt Lake City, notifying family members where George Kirkham history can be read and studied. This has been my most enjoyable labor of love.
Child of Leonard & Bessie LaVerne Kirkham Fillerup
George Leonard Fillerup