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Eliza Jane Williams and Frederick Adelbert Penfold – Marjorie White’s Grandmother and Step-grandfather

Eliza Jane Williams was born on October 10, 1872, at a home located on the northwest corner of K Street and South Temple in Salt Lake City. She was the eighth of ten children born to Robert and Emma Williams. She attended St Marks School. She was not fond of her given name; as she grew older, she became known as Lyle.

Pastor Robert G. McNiece married Samuel and Eliza Williams on March 19, 1892, 6 at the First Presbyterians Church in Salt Lake City. Upon their marriage, they rented a home from Walenspiel on Gerard Avenue. It was here that Ruth Glass was born on March 17, 1893. Utah was still a territory, unable to gain statehood because of polygamy.

The young family traveled to Leadville, Colorado where Samuel had been promised a job, but the position became unavailable. A Samuel Glass appears in that city’s directory for the period of 1882 to 1890. The family then moved to Chicago, Illinois, where Samuel continued to make cigars. Ruth attended first grade in Chicago. In 1899, Lyle was expecting her second child and was homesick. The family returned to Salt Lake City and lived with Grandma Emma Nancy Williams. Laura (Lol) was born on August 10, 1899, at her Grandmother’s home at 170 L Street. Ruth remembered Samuel as a kind father who read to her. 2

The Ogden Standard Examiner reported on August 22, 1903, the divorce of Eliza and Samuel on the previous day; the cause was desertion and non-support. Upon divorcing Samuel Glass in 1903, Eliza became responsible for supporting herself and her two daughters. She worked as a milliner making hats and as a seamstress at Walker’s Department Store. George Williams, Eliza’s brother, temporarily helped the family, as there were many needs after the divorce. George had a large family of his owns, so he was most generous, as was his wife, Ada. Eliza and her two girls then moved into Eliza's mother's home at 170 North L Street.

Lyle was waiting for the Third Avenue street car when she first met Frederick Adelbert Penfold. Petty legs and fine shoes caught his eye. They were married by a Justice of the Peace on August 11, 1910, in Farmington, Utah. They honeymooned at the old rock hotel in Farmington. Their only child, Helen Louise Penfold, was born November 19, 1912, and died February 2, 1913.

Frederick Adelbert Penfold was born March 10, 1881, in Eureka, Nevada. His Grandfather, Standing Penfold was born in Chester, Sussex on April 1820. His father, Frederick W. Penfold was born at Lockport or Rockport, New York, August 10, 1851. Frederick W. joined the LDS Church and migrated to Utah, but later left the Church due to polygamy. Frederick W. worked for ZCMI as a traveling salesman. Frederick A. married later in life because of suffering the effects of rheumatic fever. He was employed by Utah Fuel, a coal company for forty¬-seven years, and took many trips to Castle Gate, Utah. He was an auditor and chief clerk and made a good living. Frederick A was known as “big dad” to his grandchildren because of his tall stature. He was a fine, dear man, and loved his wife, her two girls, and their families. His nickname for Eliza was Duch. He was an active member of the Argent No. 3, Free and Accepted Masons. Frederick died on November 28, 1948, due to a heart ailment. His funeral services were held at the Masonic Temple in Salt Lake.

Lyle and Frederick lived at the Hillcrest Apartments located at 1st Avenue in Salt Lake. The apartment was lovely and well furnished with Turkish carpets and overstuffed furniture. Eliza was well organized and an excellent cook. The house was well kept and orderly. She was thoroughly modern, driving a car when most women didn't. Eliza didn't like having anyone living above her. They moved to the top floor of the apartment, in spite of Frederick’s weak heart.

Lyle was helpful to family when in need and enjoyed needlework. She made beautiful clothes for Marjorie White out of old clothes. She visited her elderly mother daily, preparing daily meals. During World War I, she raised canaries in their back bedroom and sold them; canaries were primarily imported from Germany prior to the war and were in short supply. She and Frederick took vacations to Seattle and San Francisco to visit Lol. Lol was friendly and loving and had a special place in everyone's hearts.

Eliza, her mother, Eliza’s sisters, and Eliza’s daughters grew up being contentious. Fred White called them the fighting William’s Sisters. In spite of this contention, they often came to each others aid. Eliza loved to dress fashionably and was critical of those who were shabby. She and Ruth would shop together nearly every day in downtown Salt Lake City. Eliza disliked the LDS Church and would frequently complain about it, causing contention with the in-laws the Whites. Likewise, Ruth was wary of the LDS Church and was not eager to have Jack, her son, join the Church. Eliza and Ruth had frequent and fiery arguments. Those around them tried to stay out of their arguments but were hurt by the continuous contention. Those of us who loved Grandma Ruth were saddened by her nervousness and her lack of confidence; we should understand that she grew up under challenging conditions.

Shortly after Frederick's death in 1948, Eliza sold most of her possession and moved into Lol's home in Palo Alto, California. Being home sick and suffering from dementia, she returned to Salt Lake. She rented a small apartment in Salt Lake and lived there until her illness worsened. She was unable to care for herself and was placed in a state institution in Provo. She died from pneumonia on April 16, 1955, in Provo, Utah, and was buried at Mt Olivet Cemetery in Salt Lake next to Frederick Penfold.

Lol marries Hap:

Laura (Lol) married Hap Holman on June 30, 1920. Hap was the son of John G. Holman who was born in 1859 in Holkhurt, Sweden and Josephine Hawkins Holman who was born in 1864 in Malmo, Sweden. Lol was greatly missed when she moved to Coeur d'Alene, Idaho with her husband. Lol was very loving and kind. They later moved to Seattle, Washington. Hap became an insurance company executive. A son, John Alford and a daughter, Janet were born in Seattle. The family in Utah rejoiced when Lol would return to Salt Lake on vacations. John attended Stanford University where he met and married a girl from San Salvador, El Salvador. He later moved to El Salvador where he died.

Written by Marjorie White Thomsen

Eliza’s signature
Eliza’s signature
In 1909, Eliza and Frederick became friends on the Third Avenue street car.  From a 1913 picture, this is a street car in front of the trolley barns located at 500 South and 700 East in Salt Lake
In 1909, Eliza and Frederick became friends on the Third Avenue street car. From a 1913 picture, this is a street car in front of the trolley barns located at 500 South and 700 East in Salt Lake
Hillcrest Apartments in 1917 where Eliza and Frederick lived.
Hillcrest Apartments in 1917 where Eliza and Frederick lived.
Eliza Jane Williams, age 16
Eliza Jane Williams, age 16
Eliza Jane Williams in 1920
Eliza Jane Williams in 1920
Eliza Jane Williams
Eliza Jane Williams Picture used in obituary notice
Roger Thomsen and Eliza in front of Thomsen’s home on Douglas Street
Roger Thomsen and Eliza in front of Thomsen’s home on Douglas Street
Frederick Adelbert Penfold
Frederick Adelbert Penfold
Frederick Adelbert Penfold
Frederick Adelbert Penfold
Hattie Combs Penfold and Frederick W. Penfold
Hattie Combs Penfold and Frederick W. Penfold Parents of Frederick Penfold
Frederick Penfold and Eliza Williams
Frederick Penfold and Eliza Williams Front of Lol’s home in Seatle