In the winter of 1918-1919 a devastating flu epidemic spread throughout the United States, affecting even rural communities like Richmond, Utah. In this small Cache Valley town Lorin Asa Merrill was one of the first victims of the dreaded influenza. On January 26, 1919, Lorin passed away, at the age of 42, leaving his wife Laura and seven children: Milton, Asa, Harold, Dean, Laura, Lorin, and Liona.
Lorin Asa Merrill was born April 4, 1876, to Marriner Wood Merrill and Almira Jane Bainbridge in Richmond, Utah. As a convert to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Marriner had moved from Sackville, New Brunswick, Canada to Salt Lake City, Utah in 1853. Seven years later he left Salt Lake City under assignment by the LDS church to help settle Richmond, Utah. In 1865 Marriner married Almira and she became his third wife. Marriner helped build the Logan LDS Temple and served as its first president, and in 1889 accepted a call to be an Apostle in the LDS hierarchy.
Lorin grew up on the family farm in Richmond and later attended Utah State Agricultural College (USAC). Following graduation he worked as an assistant in the college dairy. Through associations at USAC, Lorin met his future wife Laura Liona Reese (6 Feb. 1876-13 May 1963). After serving an LDS mission to California, Lorin returned to Cache Valley and in June 1900 married Laura Reese. Together the Merrills had eight children. Lorin worked in a variety of jobs, including managing a dairy in South Salt Lake and later a saw mill in Richmond. When the mill shut down Lorin served as Assistant Recorder at the Logan LDS Temple. Eventually he hired on as a Farm Demonstrator in the Extension Service at USAC. From this experience, and years of personal farm management, he obtained the position of Farm Agent over Seiver County Utah. Lorin was active in religious and civic matters, and filled the position of Bishop and Highpriest in the LDS church and served for many years as a Logan City Councilman.
After Lorin's death in 1919, Laura assumed the care of her family. From profits earned by selling milk and eggs, Laura and her children were able to support themselves on their farm in Richmond. As the children grew older and reached college age, Laura sold the farm and moved to Logan. For a number of years Laura worked as the Cache County Recorder and later obtained a job as librarian at the Logan Jr.-Sr. High School. Laura also served as librarian at the Topaz Internment Camp in Southern Utah during World War II. She fulfilled two LDS missions and served in various religious positions in the LDS church. The true scope and content of this collection revolves around Laura. From her experience through the challenges of life Laura influenced not only her husband and children, but the whole community as well. The love that Laura had for her family and others are expressed in family correspondence between children and friends. For more information on the Merrill children and extended family see the Lorin Asa Merrill and Laura R. Merrill and Family book (929.2 M552-M).
The Lorin Asa Merrill Family Papers consist of four boxes containing notes, correspondence, newspaper articles, genealogical data, and religious documents related to Lorin Asa Merrill, his wife, children, and posterity, covering the years 1876 to 1986. The collection is of importance to Merrill family history, Utah State University history, and Cache Valley history.
Box I contains genealogical data on the Lorin Asa Merrill family, including information related to Lorin Asa Merrill, Laura Reese Merrill, and Milton Reese Merrill. Box II consists of documents pertaining to Asa June Merrill, Harold Reese Merrill, and Dean Reese Merrill. Box III is a continuation of Dean Reese Merrill's collection, and also includes Laura (Dot) Merrill and Lorin Christian Merrill's files. Box IV contains Liona Merrill's material and also includes information collected from family histories, notes, and sketches used in preparing the Lorin Asa Merrill and Laura Reese Merrill family book (a copy of the book is included).
Other Merrill family material can be found in MSS # 90 and MSS # 119, especially information on Laura Reese Merrill. Family histories pertaining to Lorin Asa Merrill, his wife, children, and posterity are available in the Lorin Asa Merrill and Laura R. Merrill and Family book (929.2 M552-M). Also, material relative to Lorin Asa Merrill can be found in a book he coauthored with R. J. Evans and Lorin Asa Merrill entitled County Agent and Farm Bureau Work in Utah, 1918 (University Archives 19.4, Vol. 7, No. 3).
A separate collection of photographs, albums, and scrap book materials pertaining to the Merrill family (some of which were included in the Lorin Asa Merrill and Laura R. Merrill and Family book) can be found in the Photograph Archives, where they are housed for preservation purposes.
Restrictions on Access : Restrictions
Open to public research.Restrictions on Use : Copyright
It is the responsibility of the user to obtain permission to publish from the owner of the copyright (the institution, the creator of the record, the author or his/her transferees, heirs, legates, or literary executors). The user agrees to indemnify and hold harmless the Utah State University Libraries, its officers, employees, and agents from and against all claims made by any person asserting that he or she is an owner of copyright.
Permission to publish material from the Merrill family papers must be obtained from the Special Collections Manuscript Curator and/or the Special Collections Department Head.Preferred Citation :
Merrill family papers, 1920-1985. (COLL MSS 117). Utah State University. Special Collections and Archives Department.
The material is arranged in chronological sequence, first for Lorin Asa Merrill, then his wife, Laura Reese Merrill, followed by their children: Milton Reese, Asa June Reese, Harold Reese, Dean Reese, Laura (Dot), Lorin Christian, and Liona. (Note: The Merrill's second child, Virgil Reese, died as an infant and is thus not included in the collection).
Detailed Description of the Collection