Arnold Westover

Several weeks ago Kevin Cook shared a real gem on FamilySearch: a voice recording of Arnold Westover.

I am not certain how old the recording is or exactly when it was made. But in the 19 minute clip below you can hear Grandpa Arnold talk of family history, including small bits of information about his parents and grandparents.

This clip is exactly as it was shared on FamilySearch save some minor editing done to reduce the noise level and improve the audio quality.

While there is not any information in this audio clip that we do not know — in fact, I venture to say we likely have more detail today than maybe Arnold had at the time this was recorded — it is a thrill to hear his voice. I don’t have any memory of this great-grandfather of mine so I am grateful to have this record.

Arnold was born in 1895, the 6th child of the nine children of William and Ruth Westover.

Arnold was only about 8 years old when his father passed away. The family had always known difficult living but the passing of Arnold’s father really placed the family in hardship and forever shaped the character not only of Arnold but of the entire clan. In the audio he speaks a bit of the influence of his brothers especially and of how the family was affected during these early years of his life.

Arnold came of age during the time when the automobile would change transportation. He literally straddled two eras, having spent time in the horse-and-buggy era and living well into the age of modern air travel. Through out it all he knew hard work from the youngest age.

In 1914 his mother passed away and he later married Mary Ann Smith that same year. Within a year, their first son, my grandfather Leon Arnold, would be born. The Arnold Westover family would in time grow to 9 children.

Arnold with his brother Ray purchased additional shares of what was left of their father’s farm and worked it themselves for several years, stuggling to make it support two growing families. They raised several crops and had some livestock. Both Arnold’s and Ray’s histories note several side businesses and activities they pursued in trying to provide for their families.

They were both active in the Church, and likewise served as sextons of the Rexburg Cemetery. Arnold also had some training as a carpenter and used this to build a career for himself for most of his adult life.

Arnold’s was a life of continual service. He was noted for aiding the sick and helping to prepare the dead. He served in various leadership capacities at Church and was called upon again and again to render aid. In 1926 he left his family to serve a short term mission in the Eastern States Mission.

When World War II began Arnold was hired to work in the shipyards at Bremerton, Washington. After the war, thinking of his sons who would need work when they returned from their military service, Arnold looked nearby to build a business the family could all work together. That effort led to the establishment of a successful business that left quite a mark on the community of Quincy, Washington. Arnold went on to become a noted citizen and a leader in the community, serving for a period of time as president of the local Chamber of Commerce as well as continuing service in Church leadership capacities.

A full history of Arnold Westover can be read at

We’re excited to announce the addition of the Sam Westover Collection to our photo archives. Sam is Arnold‘s grandson (Gordon is his father). This is the bulk of photos taken by Arnold and Mary Ann Westover during their lives.

Mary Ann was an avid family historian who did a LOT of work. In fact, much of the history we have on the Westover and Smith lines comes from her or is confirmed through her archives. These images are well organized, mostly identified, and well cared for. It is an exciting collection to have.

Almost all images have been uploaded although I’m still grappling with a few huge files that I have to resize. They will be added as soon as possible.

If you’re new to our photo galleries you should know that as you click through the pages to see each “album” as Mary Ann organized them you can click on any particular image. That will open a “filmstrip” that will give you a larger size of the image against a dark background. If there is data embedded that provides identifying information of people, places and dates that information is shown at the bottom of the screen. You can right click to “save as” on any image.

You can also add comments to any photo and we encourage you to do so. We are hoping folks who see and recognize some of these images will share new information that maybe we don’t know about a person or a situation in the image. Any kind of memory should be added, if possible.

While we put these images behind a security screen we DO encourage you to copy and keep these images as part of your private collections. The more people who archive these images the longer they will survive.

I did get that question the other day: How are we “saving” this information on the website? I keep a backup of all files. But I am counting on people copying text, video, pictures and files for their own records. As before, the more people who do this the longer this information lasts. Hard copy duplication of these records are also being worked on and will be part of the efforts ongoing just so that we can access information in the days ahead if we no longer have access to digital venues.

As for the image at the top of this post — I just love it. I’m too young to have a living memory of Grandpa Arnold Westover but in discussing him recently with my father he told me of a time he spent working with Grandpa Westover when he was in his teens. I thought Dad would appreciate this image — I think it just tells his story well based on all I’ve read and learned about him. Here is the full image:

Arnold Westover and Branch President, bob Reis