Courtship, 1940-43

Newlyweds, 1940-43 –>

Walter LeGrand Whipple (who at that time went by “LeGrand”) was a freshman at the Utah State Agricultural College —the AC — during the 1939-40 school year. He describes his first meeting of his future wife this way:

The whole affair started at a Saturday night dance, the last Saturday in February [February 24] 1940, at the “Dansante” in Logan Utah. That day a group of engineers had been on top of Mount Logan on a snow survey and took in the dance to round the day off. We were “snow blind.” Well, that was a good line, and how the girls fell for it — one girl, in particular, who was Erline Atkinson.

1940 being leap year, she popped the question, as was the custom in those days. Finally, in three years, I mustered up enough courage to say “yes.”

LeGrand and Erline first met at the Dansante. The Dansante is now the administrative headquarters of the Utah Festival Opera. In the foreground are son Weldon and daughter-in-law Barbara. This photo was taken in July 2009. The Dansante is  located at 59 South 100 West in Logan.

Erline was living with her widowed grandmother, Anine Mantine (Deem) Law, at 79 East 400 South in Logan. She had attended one semester at the AC, and was at the time working at Logan Knit. (The 1940 U.S. Census gives her occupation as seamstress at a knitting factory.)

Erline’s Grandma Law’s home at 79 East, 400 South, Logan, Utah, as it appeared in July 2009. It was within easy walking distance (about three blocks) of the Dansante, where LeGrand and Erline first met.

The photos below show LeGrand and Erline on the Logan Temple grounds.

Erline at the Logan Temple Grounds, probably April or May 1940.
Walt and Erline together at the Logan Temple Grounds, probably April or May 1940.

The photo below might be the earliest “dated” photos showing LeGrand and Erline. It shows the pair in Logan Canyon three months after they first met, on May 30, 1940. Both were still twenty years old. (They appear in Walt’s photo album after the above Logan Temple photos.)

Walt “LeGrand” and Erline in Logan Canyon, May 30, 1940

The next two photos show LeGrand and Erline sitting on the “A” at the Utah State Agricultural College (the “AC” — today’s Utah State University in Logan). The photos were taken on June 1, 1940, two days after the Logan Canyon photo. The car in the background — nicknamed “Henry” (for Henry Ford) — is LeGrand’s Model “A”  Ford.

LeGrand, sitting on the “A” at the AC, Logan Utah, June 1, 1940


June 1, 1940: Erline sitting on the “A” at the AC, Logan, Utah

Following his freshman year, LeGrand went to work, first driving a bulldozer for International Smelter & Refining in Tooele, then in Wendover.

This is what the IS&R lead and copper smelter looked like in 1927.

1927 aerial view of International Smelting & Refinery, Tooele, UT.

The photo below was taken in Wendover on December 15, 1940.

LeGrand in Wendover, December 15, 1940

LeGrand and Erline corresponded regularly by U.S. Mail. They looked forward to periodic visits during that time. LeGrand visited Erline’s family in Dayton Idaho on his birthday in 1940.

LeGrand and Erline in Dayton, Idaho, September 29, 1940.

On January 16, 1941, LeGrand left to serve in the North Central States Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Although the mission was headquartered in Minneapolis, he spent most of his time in Montana.

On May 30, 1941. LeGrand was transferred from Minneapolis to the city of Baker, in eastern Montana near the Montana/North Dakota border.

By November of 1941, LeGrand had been transferred to Roundup, Montana, about 50 miles due north of Billings. The following shows his companion, Elder Lyal Millett.

Lyal Millett (left) and LeGrand, Roundup, Montana, November 1941.

LeGrand also served in Billings and Columbus (and possibly other places), Montana. He is shown ironing a shirt in March 1942 in Billings.

Although far apart, it is clear from the letters between LeGrand and Erline that they were very much in love.

LeGrand returned from his mission on Thursday, January 28, 1943.

Newlyweds, 1940-43 –>

Photo Album 1940-2005