Zola Adams was born March 8, 1889 to George Albert Adams and N. Evelyn Mortensen. She was born in her grandmother's cabin in Sanford, Colorado. Her mother was there visiting her family when she went into labor, so a few weeks after Zola was born, when her mother could travel again, they went back home to Monticello, Utah. As a young child, Zola spent her time playing with her brothers and sisters, and their neighbor Parley Butt. They loved to hike, climb, search for wildflowers, and wade in a nearby stream. They would also drive their cattle up to the mountains and back down to their ranch each day. They farmed hay, grain, and potatoes. When Zola was little, she loved to talk and was punished in school many times for doing so. She was also known for passing on family secrets to visitors when they would come over and had to wait awhile for her mom to get home. When Zola was nine, her father was called on a mission in the Southern States, leaving her mother with six children at home. In 1906, Zola went to Brigham Young University to study Home Economics. She served as the Vice President of the Student Body at BYU during her 4th year. In 1910, Zola applied for and got a job teaching at a school in Bluff, Utah. It was through that experience that she realized how little she knew, and continued her education through summer courses. That same year, George Albert Smith and Hyrum M. Smith were staying at her house (her family often boarded visiting church and state leaders), and asked Zola to move to England and take over the mission home there. She was waiting for a missionary to get home, so they told her that if she stayed home and got married, they wouldn't call her on a mission. On December 11, 1912, Zola Adams married Lyman Nielson. With Lyman, Zola had five children, only two of whom survived past a couple of months. On February 9, 1920, Lyman passed away after battling with the Spanish Flu. Zola was now, at the age of 27, a widow with two children. Zola remarried on November 28, 1929 to Peter Petersen of Alamosa, Colorado. Zola and Peter had a son, Richard Petersen, born August 11, 1931. Only seven years later, Peter and his mother died in a car accident on a trip to California. Zola moved back to Sanford, Colorado to settle Peter's estate, and then moved to Provo, Utah in 1940. In December of 1948, Zola traveled to New York City with some friends, and while there, her son Richard was killed in a car accident. In April of 1949, at the age of 60, Zola was called on a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She was called to the Southern States Mission and served in Atlanta, Georgia; Vidalla, Georgia; Hartsville, Darlington, and Florence, South Carolina; and Miami, Florida. Zola passed away November 18, 1971 in Salt Lake City and is buried in Blanding, San Juan County, Utah.
This collection is an autobiography of Zola Adams Peterson. It is one folder, containing two typed copies of the 42-page document'one most likely an original, the other a copy. The autobiography is well-written, and reads like a story. It also includes reflections on her many travels. At the end of the biography, there is a copy of her funeral program, as well as a poem by Hazel Loomis, a family friend. It is helpful to look through both copies, as some of the dates differ. At the end of her autobiography, Zola writes her testimony of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and important lessons she has learned throughout her life.