Annie Helen Lindsay                       Mini Bio



Annie Helen Lindsay Nebeker

Born in New Zealand of an Irish father and an English mother, Nellie Lindsay grew up working hard along side her father and brothers to cut a large dairy farm out of the jungle and grass lands of a wild country recently claimed from the cannibalistic Maoris.  She was the third child and oldest daughter of this large family.  She remembered her mother often needing help as she continued to add new babies to the family in fairly regular succession.  Therefore, much of the housework and the raising of her younger siblings fell on Nellie’s shoulders.

As a young girl, she loved horses and raced them in her community, often winning first prize.  She loved the outdoors and was a hard worker.   But she was also very much a lady, and raised her children to recognize the appropriateness of their decorum. 

At the time of her marriage in 1907, the State of Oregon would not recognize LDS Temple marriages.  Therefore, it was necessary that she and Wiley Nebeker be married in a recognized service in Oregon.  This marriage was performed by her Father on April 1st, 1907.  Then the couple traveled to Salt Lake where they were married in the Temple on April 4th.  However, in her mind, the first ceremony was only a necessary prerequisite and she never considered herself married until they had been sealed in the Temple.  She only recognized April 4th as her wedding date.

She was expecting her eighth child when her husband, Wiley, died from pneumonia, on 8 Sept. 1920.  She retained the farm, and continued to raise her children there until each was fully-grown.  Despite the Great Depression and other financial hardships, Nellie never gave up and her story is a remarkable one of strength and endurance.  She was a widow for 32 years, until her death, from cancer, on July 6th, 1952. 

Every one of her children, and all of her grandchildren who knew her, had the greatest love and appreciation for this wonderful woman.  Her commitment to the gospel of Jesus Christ and to the Church and to the Prophet was never questioned.  In 1915, when the Prophet asked the members to begin holding Family Home Evening, she began immediately and that was an expected and unbroken event in her family from that time forward.

The following brief biographical sketch of her life is given here in her own words.  We owe a lot to Grandmother Nebeker.  This wonderful woman, a convert to the Church, is responsible, as much as anyone, for the way that “Nebekers” have come to live our daily lives as committed members of the Church of Jesus Christ; and also as hard working people who take care of our own needs.

“Annie Helen Lindsay Nebeker, born 8 June 1882, at Otanga, Whangarei, New Zealand.  When six years old, my Father, Alexander Lindsay, moved to Rama Rama Valley, Bay of Islands, New Zealand, where we made our home for many years.  There were twelve children in Father’s family, six boys and six girls.  Here we all worked together to help build our home.  Father had a big dairy ranch of 900 acres, milking from 10-30 cows so we all learned how to work.  When I was nine years old I milked from 6-8 cows every day and sometimes up to 19 at a time.  I loved to milk cows and ride horses and do outside work.  I took great pleasure in gathering beautiful ferns and pressing them in books.  I love all kinds of animals and birds but the horse is my favorite.  I had a little black mare of which I thought a great deal.  She was so gentle but could run like a deer.  This little pony first belonged to my brother Keysell and I gave him my cow Myrtle for her.

When I was about 14 years old, two Mormon Elders came to my folk’s home.  Father and Mother, not being home, we children invited them in and gave them something to eat.  After supper we all gathered around the fireplace and the Elders talked to us on the Word of Wisdom, which we had never heard before.  It seemed so reasonable my brother Walter and myself said we would stop drinking tea and coffee, and from that day to now I have never drunk tea or coffee and I am now 56 years old (1938).  The Elders’ names were Bartlet and Markham.  When I was about 15 Elder Markham baptized me, September 18th, 1897.  Father, Walter, Will and myself were all baptized the same day.  A little over a year after, my Mother was baptized by Milo B. Andrus.  My oldest brother, Keysell did not join the Church until about two years after we did, and the smaller children were baptized, as they got old enough.  We were the only family for 30 miles that belonged to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  For two years after we joined the Church our friends would not have anything to do with us, but after a time they came around and were real friends.  Two more families joined the Church by the name of Talbot, two brothers and their wives and children.  We had a nice Sunday School, which was held, in Father’s home, he being Superintendent.  We learned the Articles of Faith, the Ten Commandments, the Word of Wisdom, the Three and Eight Witnesses to the Book of Mormon and many other things.

In 1901 there was a very sad thing happened in our family.  My little sister, Gertrude was burned to death when she was two years and two days old.  She was a lovely little darling, so sweet and good.  Her birthday is the 9th of October 1899.  She was buried in Rama Rama Valley, New Zealand.

In 1903 Father and Mother with their eleven children came to America and settled in the Grande Ronde Valley where we have lived ever since.  It took us three weeks to make the trip and cost Father 812.00 (doesn’t say what currency) for our fare.  New Zealand is a beautiful country with warm climate, I never saw snow until I came to America.  We came here for our Religion and I can truthfully say, I have never wanted to go back to New Zealand to live.

It was here in LaGrande, Oregon that I met Wiley Nebeker and we were married 4 April, 1907 in the Salt Lake Temple and we have lived around LaGrande ever since.  We raised a family of eight children, three boys and five girls, all of whom are living at this time.  My Husband passed away on 8 September 1920 and is buried in the L.D.S. Cemetery in La Grande, Union County, Oregon.

To my children one and all, be true to the Gospel of Jesus Christ above all else.  Don’t forget to pray and ask His guidance in all things and He will surely help you.          

Annie Helen Nebeker”