Itha J. Galbraith Bieler was born February 16, 1900 in Colonia Diaz, State of Chihuahua, Mexico to Christopher Layton Galbraith and Mary Heva Johnson. Itha's great-grandfather Christopher Layton had been sent to Mexico by the Presidency of the Church in 1885 to find and settle land which would serve as a haven from polygamous persecutions for the Saints. The climate in Mexico adversely affected Itha's father's health which initiated the family's move to Idaho when Itha was 2 years old. Itha's father and mother farmed and ran the post office and general store while in Lorenzo, Idaho. On September 5, 1908, Itha was baptized by Brother Zera P. Terry and confirmed by her father on September 13 in the Lorenzo Ward, Jefferson County, Idaho. Two coal houses near to the canal were used as dressing rooms for this occasion. When Itha was 12 years old, her family moved to a dry farm south east of Idaho Falls and several miles above Ammon, Idaho. In 1915, Itha slipped on icy stairs and injured her back. This was the first of two back injuries for Itha which later contributed to her arthritic back. In 1916, Itha's family moved to an irrigated farm in Ammon which enabled the children to more consistently attend school. Itha and her sister, Heva, attended one year at Idaho Falls High School. In 1919, Itha's family sold their farms and moved to Ogden, Weber county, Utah. Itha enrolled at the Weber Normal College, and worked every day after school during the fall at the Last and Thomas Department Store. She quit the Weber Normal College after contracting pneumonia and bronchitis, and worked full time at the Last and Thomas Store until it burned down in 1923. Itha then worked at the Utah Knitting Factory and clerked at the Golden Rule Store until she was married. Itha's future husband, Paul Samuel Bieler entered her life on November 28, 1922 as a boarder in her family's home. Itha was careful about her involvement with Paul as he was a Baptist, and she would not be married anywhere but the Mormon temple. After Paul Samuel Bieler was baptized on January 25, 1923, they were married in the Salt Lake Temple on June 19, 1924. They made their home in Ogden and worked hard to earn a living and stay out of debt during their marriage. Itha was especially frugal and helped the family survive during difficult times. Itha had four daughters and was a devoted wife and mother throughout her life. She was faithful to her testimony all her life and served diligently in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Itha held callings in the Relief Society, Sunday School, Primary, and also served as a Stake Missionary and was involved in Genealogical work. Itha was musically talented and performed in many productions as well as being a member of the Relief Society Singing Mothers. Itha was also an active member of the Daughters of Utah Pioneers organization. Itha suffered greatly towards the end of her life from an arthritic back, high blood pressure, and an enlarged heart. She diligently held on to life until March 1, 1967 when she passed away at the hospital in Ogden. Itha was described as an optimist and a loyal wife, mother, and saint.
This collection includes 151 typed pages written by both Itha and her husband Paul. The manuscript is bound in book form and includes an alphabetical index. Included are both Itha and Paul's ancestral photo charts followed by a portrait pedigree ancestry of their four daughters and a number of family pictures. Itha wrote, 'Truly I have been abundantly blessed in my heritage as a descendant of Ephraim through my noble parentage.' Itha included many stories about her pioneer ancestors and expressed gratitude for the legacy they left. Itha's patriarchal blessing and 'comfort blessing' are included. Itha wrote consistently of the blessings she had received from the Lord throughout her life. Itha recalled that her favorite job in Colonia Diaz, Mexico, was helping the women who would contribute milk to a community supply. She also remembered sneaking drinks of potato yeast she picked up from a neighbor for her mother. On their trip to Idaho, the family rode 200 miles in a covered wagon with Grandfather Johnson to El Paso, Texas, took a train to Utah, and traveled on to Lorenzo, Idaho. Itha's childhood was exciting and happy. Itha wrote of the two room school house at Lorenzo and the rubber hose which was used to discipline. One time, Itha and her sister Heva dug big pieces of honey from a five gallon can and ate it like candy after which she was sick for days and said, 'For the next five or six years I shuddered whenever honey was mentioned.' Itha enjoyed springtime on the farm and speaking of the birds, grass, flowers, and sun said that her 'heart [was] filled with these blessings from our Father in Heaven.' When Itha was about 8 years old and getting ready to attend a play, her mother noticed that she was placing straight pins in the front of her dress. When asked what she was doing, she replied, 'that if Joe Blodgett, an eleven-year-old neighbor, tried sitting on my lap tonight, I'd stick him with the pins.' Itha's family participated in hard physical work to farm and make a living. The family's first home on their dry farm was a 16 foot by 20 foot tent until their house was finished. Itha wrote of the girls' involvement on the farm which included, 'milking cows, plowing, harrowing, drilling, weeding, and helping in the garden.' She wrote of difficult times and mistakes that were made. She said, 'Father really had a lot of help though, as there were eleven of us, and we were a close knit family. We worked together, and played together; we went to Church together. We sacrificed for each other and we shared everything.' Itha wrote of miracles that occurred and the blessings her family received while working hard in Idaho. When Itha was a young girl, she tore up a check her father had written to her because she knew her family needed the money more than she did. Itha's personal history ends just before she was married, and her husband continues the story from there until her death. Itha's husband wrote of her frugality during the great depression. She lived the saying from her pioneer ancestors, 'Eat it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.' Itha canned and preserved thousands of fruits and vegetables and used dandelion leaves instead of lettuce for salad. Her husband wrote that whenever he would get cross or criticize, Itha would respond sweetly and say, 'I can't hear a word you say.' Itha was selfless in her marriage and supported her husband in his scouting duties and work. She was an excellent seamstress and made clothes and costumes for her girls. Itha hiked miles to and from her Primary and Relief Society meetings with her girls even when suffering from ulcerated ankles. Itha was active in the community and well loved by all who knew her. After their daughters were grown and gone, Paul and Itha spent time traveling and visiting their children and grandchildren. Itha was anxious to help her daughters after they gave birth and apologized when her health was failing and she couldn't help anymore. Itha's husband kept precise records of her doctor visits and their experiences with her health. Itha suffered from ankle ulcers, high blood pressure, an arthritic back, and eventually passed away from a number of problems relating to her heart and lungs. At her funeral, President S. Dilworth Young, a general authority and close family friend said, 'Itha Bieler, in my opinion, never had any doubt the principles of the Gospel she espoused' After Itha's death, to celebrate her birthday, her family would attend an endowment session in the L.D.S. temple together. This was where they felt closest to their mother. The collection concludes with events that took place after Itha's death recorded by her husband Paul.