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Bruce Black History of the Bern Ward, Bern, Bear Lake County, Idaho
(Compiled by Kate Buhler)
In 1875, John Kunz II moved from Ovid to the townsite of Bern, having been called here by Brigham Young. He named the new settlement after his native town in Switzerland. In 1876 he hired Ephriam Jones to come to Bern to teach his children to read and write the American language. That was the beginning of the first school teaching in Bern. All of the instruction, as well as church services, was held in private homes. In the fall of 1884, the first public school was organized with Alvin Rich as the first teacher. The school and all church services were held in a one room log house, located on what is now the Anthon Kunz place. John Kunz II, (my grandfather) was sustained as the first presiding elder of the Bern branch. The first two missionaries called from the Bern branch was in 1884. They were John Kunz III and David Kunz (my father),and were called to Switzerland. John Kunz II held the position of presiding elder until his death on February 16, 1890. That same year, John Kunz III was sustained as bishop, with Christian Kunz and John Bischoff as counselors, and John M. Kunz clerk. The Bern ward was then organized and John Kunz II held his position as bishop for 27 years. About the turn of the century, my father, David Kunz, was given the assignment to do the carpenter work on a new church building. It was located in lower Bern, on the property owned now by Elmer Buhler. The building was a large, one room, frame structure, high ceiling, with five long windows on each side, with a large, round, would burning stove in the center of the building. It was truly an improvement over the little log church. About the year 1908, the townsite of Bern was laid out by Joseph R. Shepherd, then president of the Bear Lake Stake. Upon his recommendation, the church house was moved to the new townsite, the present location of the new building. When the Montpelier Stake was organized in 1917, the Bern ward became part of the newly created Montpelier Stake. On January 21, 1917, Robert Schmid was sustained as bishop of the Bern ward, with Robert Kunz and J.P. Alleman as counselors, and Ruel V. Kunz as clerk. They served for thirteen years. On July 13, 1930, Parley Kunz was sustained as bishop, with David Buhler and John S. Kunz as counselors, and Robert H. Kunz, as clerk. They served nine years and on December 17, 1939, Orlando Kunz was sustained as bishop, Able Kunz and Edwin Alleman, counselors, with Walter Buhler as clerk. It was at this time that the people of Bern ward decided that it was time to build a new ward house, so on July 5, 1940, work commenced according to the Church plan of using donated labor whereer possible. From this date on the stupendous task of tearing down the old building, salvaging the material, and building an adequate place in which to worship continued. Work progressed very rapidly and the same winter, December 17, 1940, the first services were held in the new building. It was almost entirely completed and paid for at this time. The cost was around $8,500. The building is modernistic in design, and has an auditorium with a seating capacity of around 300, that can be enlarged by converting the adjoining Relief Society room, connected by large folding doors, into the main room. The bishop's office is also on the main floor. The building is equipped with modern plumbing facilities, a hot air heating system, and a modern kitchen, which is adjacent to the Relief Society room. The new structure has been used for all church services and recreational activities since its completion. On June 3, 1951 Bishop Orlando Kunz was released, and the same day, DelMar Kunz was sustained as bishop, with George Kunz and Rudolph Bienz as counselors, and Heber Kunz, clerk. With the united help of all the ward membership, they have cleaned, repaired and re-decorated the building and tonight September 16, 1951, it stands completed, awaiting the dedication as a "House of the Lord". Its beautifully landscaped grounds, its simple harmonizing furnishings, bring a feeling of peace to the hearts of those who worship within its walls. May the spirit of our Father in Heaven always richly bless this holy edifice, and those who made its construction possible.
From Dedication Services, Sunday, September 16, 1951, 7:30 p.m. Bern Ward, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Bern Idaho. History Courtesy of Kate Buhler, 1951
Aug 29, 2008 · Reply
Bruce Black A Tribute to My Dear Father and Mother on Their Fiftieth Wedding Anniversary
Sophie Olive Kunz Bateman
Parents William J. Kunz and Anna Schmid
May 6, 1937, Bern, Bear Lake Co.,Idaho

"This is a most beautiful occaision. We have met tonight to pay tribut and to do honor to two of God's children who have found joy in their labors and happiness in their endeavors. They have kept with perfect sweetness the first great commandment given to our first parnets, to multiply and replenish the earth. Thus they have been instruments in the hand of God in giving to us, their chidren, strong and healthy bodies in which our spirits can dwell. This is one of the greatest heritages in mortality and will be our Eternal heritage if we but keep our bodies clean and pure. In doing this we pay to our parents a high tribute. In home life all human characteristics meet and all human eccentricities should find a proper balance; youth and age, hope and fear, courage and caution, the spirit of aggression and the spirit of conservatism all find coordination in home life. Home is the greatest kingdom in the world. No parent is poor if they have worthy children and every child is rich if they come from noble parentage. We are greatful indeed that God has prolonged the lives of our dear Mother and Father, whose fiftieth wedding anniversary we celebrate today. We look upon their beautiful lives with appreciation and are impressed by their noble accomplishments, during the many long years in the valley of mortal struggles. Fifty years have elapsed since our dear father and mother sailed side by side on life's waters with its pitfalls and dangers, reaching today the golden island in the stream of life. We are greatful for their efforts in our behalf and are proud and happy that they are both together and with us today. They have been true parents and have brought us great joy. The praryer in our harts is, "That the Lord may continue to bless you dear Father and Mother, with health and strength taht you may continue to be with us for many years to come. May the abundant blessings of life be yours we pray in the name of Jesus Christ our Redeemer, Amen."
Aug 29, 2008 · Reply
Bruce Black "Deverl A Kunz, born and raised in Bern, has received the Navy Department's Superior Civilian Service Award for his vital contribution to the recovery of the nuclear device off the coast of Spain last year. Kunz received his award at the banquet of the 4th US Navy Symposium on Military Oceanography held earlier this month in Washington, D.C. Rear Admiral L.V. Swanson, Director of Fleet Operations Division, presented the award, with Rear Admiral O.L. Waters, Oceanographer of the Navy, reading the award citation honoring Mr. Kunaz. An accompanying letter from Robert A. Frosch, Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Research and Development), read in part: "This operation represented the United States Navy's response.... to conduct a coordinated surface and subsurface operation in the vicinity of Palomares, Spain. Its purpose was to detect, identify and recover the nuclear weapon associated with the aircraft collision on January 17, 1966. The Cable Controlled Underwater Research Vehicle (CURV) developed by the US Naval Ordnance Test Station was instrumental in the final recovery of the weapon. Your foresight, initiative and personal participation contributed materially to the ultimate success of this operation." With the US Naval Ordnance Test Station in Pasadena, California, Kunz heads the Systems Operations Division of the Underwater Ordnance Department, responsible for development of recovery capabilities of torpedoes with the CURV vehicle. He and a crew of six other men from the Pasadena Naval Station, participated in the recovery of the bomb. Kunz' Navy career has been highlighted by many firsts. He participated in establishing the Underwater Ordnance Department of the Naval Ordnance Test Station through the development of ranges. He was responsible for the placement of the neuclear bomb on the Wigwam test. he was chairman of the ASROC (Anti Submarine Rocket) Cordinating Committee, with responsibility for development of the depth charge. He was Project manager for the Polaris underwater launch program which involved the firing of the first underwater launchings of a Polaris missle, both unpowered and powered. He was responsible for development tests of the SUBROC weapon system. From Bern, he graduated from Montpelier High School with the Class of 1936, attended Utah State University, graduating in 1940 with a BS degree in Civil Engineering. He worked for the US Army Engineers prior to joining California Institute of Technology in 1943. He has been with the Naval Ordnance Test Station since 1945. He and his wife, Virginia, reside in Arcadia, California. They are the parents of four daughters. His parents are Mr. and Mrs. Alvin Kunz of Bern." Courtesy of the Deseret News Thursday, June 8, 1967.
Sep 03, 2008 · Reply
Bruce Black "In the spring of 1863, Brigham Young called Robert H. Williams, Henry Gasman and John F. Carlson who lived at Logan, Utah, at the time, to come to the Bear Lake area and settle. These three men with their families came through Emigration Canyon by ox team and stayed in Paris that first winter. In late February the men began covering the countryside for settling spots. By March of 1864, a choice of the present site of Ovid had been made and the three families settled the town of Ovid four and one half miles north of Paris. Immediatelyhers followed. Among them were Thomas C. Peterson, niels Christian Edlefsen, Peter Jensen, Rasums Jorgensen, Jense Hansen and Henry Peterson. Most of this early group came from Denmark, Norway and Sweden and were among the first companies of Mormon pioneers who crossed the plains. First settled as the community of North Creek, it was organized on July 6th 1864. Later, it was changed to Ovid. It is said that Josph C. Rich in one of his more poetic moods, named the community in horo fthe Roman poet who lived from 43 B.C. to 17 A.D. It was Joseph C. Rich who surveyed the town laid out in 10 acre squares and giving each family four acres of ground. Securing titles to the land did not come until after it had been officially surveyed in 1871. The first dwelling in the area was built by Thomas C. Peterson. It was a dug out home made by scooping out a place in the ground and placing logs around the upper part and covering with a roof of willows and dirt. The next year, John F. Carlson built the first log cabin and Thomas C. Peterson built the second. Ovid was temporarily abandoned in 1866 because of an Indian scare. All residents moved to Paris, but within months they were back working in their fields after building a fort where the present school-house now stands. Directly beside it, the first church was constructed the next year. It was made of logs and served for all gatherings, Church, school, recreation and elections. Later a better church was built and dedicated in December of 1880. The present church was constructed a block sout in 1896. A Methodist Chapel was erected nearby in 1890. John Kunz, recognizing the dairying potential of the area, started a diry and cheese factory in Ovid in 1871. It was later moved to Bern. Jorgen Jorgenson, a miller, soon had a grist mill going and Erastus Peterson began the construction of furniture. Nicolas Wilson was a blacksmith, Thomas C. Peterson served as carpenter and cooper and Peter Jensen made shoes of wood with brass toecaps. Soon the community was as self sufficient as any in the area. Robert H Williams beame the first Justice of the peace in the county. Fred Woods built a store in the Ovid area in 1872. Ditches were built from the hills west of Sharon and were completed in 1873. Called the Liberty Ditch, it ran for a distance of nine miles. Mail came from all directions by horse and was delivered to Niels C. Edlefsen, the first postmaster. Crops of the first few years failed because of the heavy frosts and the settlers lived on the abundance of fish and fowl in the area. Ground was first plowed for crops in 1870 by Robert H. Williams. Community life was on a cooperative basis and recreation led toward home dramatics and dancing. Christian Peterson accomplished on the accordion and violin, was in constant demand for dances. Lars Peter Jensen was the first child born in Ovid. he was born, November 24, 1864 and survived a severe winter in a tent home. Charles Ellis was the first death in the community. Casty Peterson, atage age of 14, was the first to marry. Isaac Tunks Sr. became the first school teacher and handled as many as 22 youngsters in a term. Four presiding Elders took turns of conducting the affairs of the community until it was organized into a ward on August 26, 1877. They were Robert H. Williams, Henry Gasman, Niels Christian Edlefsen and Peter Jensen. Bishops have been Peter Jensen, 1874, Philemon Lindsay, Peter Nielson, james Clarence Lindsay, John T. Peterson, Oliver L. Peterson, James Olsen and Russell Sorenson. Ovid reached its peak in size in 1930 when 214 people lived there." Courtesy of the Deseret News Thursday, August 15, 1963.
Sep 03, 2008 · Reply
Bruce Black "Pair Observe 50 Years of married Life
Couple Spend Wedded Years in Bern, Where Relatives Hold Party
Bern, Idaho-Mr. and Mrs. William J. Kunz, residents of Bern during their entire married live, celebrated their golden wedding anniversary here Wednesday. More than 100 relatives, including 10 children, 20 grandchildren and one great-grand-child, gathered at a reception in the family home, followed by a program in the Bern L.D.S. chapel. They were married in the Logan L.D.S. temple May 5, 1887. Mr. Kunz was born March 14, 1865, in Bern, Switzerland, a son of the Bishop John and Magdelina Straubhaar Kunz, early pioneers of Bear Lake valley. Active in Church
Active in church duties all his life, he was superintndent of the Ward Y.M.M.I.A. many years and assistant Sunday school superintndent 14 years. He has been a rancher and cheese manufacturer. He has lived in Bern since 1878, emigrating to Ovid in 1873. Mrs. Kunz, formerly Annie Schmid, was born in Zurich, Switzerland on may 7, 1867, a daughter of Karl A. and Anna Landert Schmid. She emigrated to America in 1883, living for a time in Paris, Idaho before moving to Bern. She has been a member of the ward Relief society presidency many years. The couple's 10 living sons and daughters are B.W. Kunz, Salt Lake City; Mrs. A.W. Bateman, Midvale, Utah; Mrs. H.D. Thomas, Mrs. Louis Kunz, Mrs. Louis Eschler, Willard R. and Joseph J. Kunz, Montpelier; Mrs. Alfred Jensen, Ovid, and Mrs. Myrtle Steckler and Leslie Kunz, Bern; also 30 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. " Courtesy of the Salt Lake Tribune. May 12, 1937
Sep 03, 2008 · Reply
Bruce Black "People liked him, not because he was rich or known to fame; he had nver won applause as a star in any game. His was not a brilliant style, his was not a forceful way, but he had a gentle smile and a kindly word to say. never arrogant or proud, on he went with manner mild; never quarrelsome or loud, just as simple as a child; honest, patient, brave and true; thus he lived from day to day, doing what he found to do in a cheerful sort of way. He wasn't one to boast of gold or belittle it with sneers; didn't change from hot to cold, he kept his friends throughout the years, sort of man you like to meet any time or any place. There was always something sweet and refreshing in his face. Sort of man you'd like to be, balanced well and truly square; patient in adversity, generous when his skies were fair; never lied to friend or foe, never rash in word or deed; quick to come and slow to go in a neighbor's time of need. never rose to wealth or fame, simply lived, and simply died, but the passing of his name left a sorrow far and wide. Not for glory he'd attained, nor for what he had or felf, nor the friends that he had gained, but for what he was himself." Courtesy of Isabel (Mrs. Joseph) Bagley a neighbor and friend of William J. Kunz.
Sep 03, 2008 · Reply
Bruce Black "Mr. and Mrs. William J. Kunz of Bern, Idaho, recently celebrated their Golden Wedding. More than 100 relatives and friends attended the celebration which was held at the Kunz home in Bern and at the Bern Ward Chapel. Mr. and Mrs. Kunz were married in the Logan Temple May 5, 1887, and have lived in Bern since that time. Both are immigrants to America from Switzerland. Mr. Kunz coming to America in 1873, and Mrs. Kunz coming ten years later. They have been active in Church affairs. Mr. Kunz in Sunday School and Mutual and Mrs. Kunz in Relief Society. They have 10 children, 30 grand children and one great-grand child."
Sep 10, 2008 · Reply
Bruce Black "William Kunz, son of John Kunz II and Rosina Knutti. William Kunz was born 5 December 1860 in Diemtigen, Bern, Switzerland. He was the ninth child of John and Rosina Kunz. He was ten years old when he left his native home in Bern, Switzerland and came to America. On July 13, 1870, along with his Father, Mother, brothers, and sisters, he left Liverpool, England and sailed for America. On July 26, 1870 they landed in Castle Gardens, New York. They landed in Karl G. Maeser's Company. The whole company consisted of 245 souls. After nearly a month of travel they arrived in Salt Lake City, Aug. 5, 1870. William Kunz's father was called by Brigham Young to come to Bear Lake County, Idaho to begin the dairy industry. William along with his brothers helped glean wheat in the fields. The following spring they moved to Bear Lake County, Idaho and settled in Ovid, Idaho. They were assisted from Logan to Ovid, Idaho by President William Budge with his team. William Kunz and his younger brothers were given the job of herding the calves while the oder boys were helping make cheese. They were advised by the Bishop to move to what is now Bern, Idaho. Just as they got ready to move, father took very sick with Scarlet Fever. Brother John Johnson, a man of great faith administered to him and in a short time he was well. After his recovery they moved to Bern, Idaho. Father was given the job of riding the range along with helping with milking the cows. Father was then a young man. Now in the spring of 1882 Father married Eliza Eschler in the Endowment House, Salt Lake City, Utah. Father took up 160 acres of land in Wardboro, Idaho. He ran the farm along with working in the mines East of Windy Flat for a few years. In the spring of 1884 Eliza Eschler died. On December 18, 1885 William Kunz married Mary Ann Roberts in the Logan Temple. Wile father was still living in Wardboro, Idaho, I, Reuel Victor Kunz was born June 23, 1892. Eleven children were born to this union. I being the eldest child that lived. Many of the Geneva people stopped at our place in Wardboro going to and from Montpelier. Father left Wardboro, Idaho and moved to Nounan, Idaho. He he worked for John Mixxeg Sr. in the logging industry. He worked there for a number of years and then moved back to Bern, Idaho and lived in the old Peter Alleman place and here he helped in the cheese industry." Courtesy of Reuel V. Kunz at [external link]
Sep 22, 2008 · Reply
Bruce Black " It is alleged that John Kunz II, my great grandfather, (a respected Simmental Cheese maker) stipulated at the time of his conversion that he would be baptized only upon condition that he not be asked to emigrated from Switzerland to Zion. Although he had vigorously opposed joining the Church, John Kunz II experienced a change in spirit and became a staunch supporter of the doctrines which were at first so new to him. Similarly, he and his wife, Rosina, soon felt the spirit of gathering and began making plans to emigrate. At the beginning of July 1870, 47 year old John Kunz II bade goodbye to his aged parents, to his married son and daughter, all of whom were members of the Church, and to his sister and brother, and their families, as well as other relatives, neighbors, and friends. My grandfather, William Kunz, born 5 Dec. 1860, was baptized at 9 years of age prior to leaving Switzerland with his parents. In July 1870, John Kunz II and his wife, Rosina Knutti, and 8 single children left the "Moos" farm at Riedern, Switzerland to emigrate to Utah, having previously converted from the Reformed Church in the community of Diemtigen, Switzerland, to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-DAy Saints. They were soon followed by other relatives who had been baptized in the cold waters of the creek 'Maeniggrundback' just below the farmhouses November 15, 1868; and some Feb. 27, 1869 in the icy waters of Kirelback creek. They spent the first winter in Logan, Utah before moving on up to Bern, Idaho (by Montpelier) in response to a call by Brigham Young to establish the dairy industry there. William Kunz was a hard working man, a kind father, and a generous neighbor. Always ready to help someone in need. He has a very pleasing personality and when he wanted soething done, he went after it until the job was done, large or small. While we were still living in bern, Idaho, father had to have some teeth pulled. He had the teeth extracted and still he did not get better. He called the Doctor and he said we would have to take him to Salt Lake City to a specialist. So his younger brother, Robert Kunz, put him on the train here in Montpelier, Idaho. They got as far as Pocatello, Idaho and father passed away November 12, 1905, in the passenger depot at Pocatello, Idaho, at athe age of 45 years. In the spring of 1883 on May 2, William Kunz married Eliza Eschler in the Endowment House, Salt Lake City, Utah. In the spring of 1884 Eliza Eschler and her infant died." Courtesy of Sheila Rachel Koeven Meservy from [external link]
Sep 22, 2008 · Reply
Bruce Black "Family Gathering Honoring John Kunz III and His Descendants
15 May 1994
7:00 p.m.
Belview Ward, Salt Lake City, Utah

John Kunz III (1844-1918)
One Hundred and Fifty Years of Influence
John Kunz III was born 7 February 1844 in Zwischenflueh, Bern, Switzerland. In November 1864 when he was twenty years of age, he married Magdalena Straubhaar. John and his family, including his widowed mother, left Switzerland (July 1873) for their new home in America. Prior to leaving, he baptized his wife's sister, Sophie. Magdalena died in 1874. John, at age 30, married Magdalena's sister, Sophie. She did not have children, but helped raise the five children born to Magdalena. In that same year he married Magdalena Linder; they became the parents of 4 children. at 39 years of age he married Louise Weibel. At age 44 John married Margaret Lauener and they became parents of 10 children. Later he married Elizabeth Boss and they became the parents of 6 children, the last of whom died with her in childbirth. Of the 25 children born to Grandpa, nine of them died in infancy or prior to adulthood. John helped found the town of Bern, Idaho. he and his wives have a posterity numbering over 3,300 and living all over the world. The family has provided the Church with over five-hundred fifty missions. In this year of his 150th Birthday Anniversary, we may truly celebrate his goodness. The lives of John Kunz, his wives and rest of the Swiss family have certainly blessed not only their families, but the community and the Church.
As Paul Nielson has so beautifully reminded us: "In reflecting upon this Swiss background, the sacrifices made by these fore-bearers over a century ago prove to be the very foundation on which their posterity may gain in faith, devotion, education and properity. In spite of much persecution from relatives and friends, these ancester listended to the message of the restored gospel and then embraced it through baptism. The provided a part of the American heritage of their future posterity by following the spirit of gathering and forsaking their beautiful native homeland in the Alps and going to a foreign country to start a new life among strangers. Because of their striving to keep the commandments of God and making the gospel a part of their daily lives, their descendants continue to partake of virtually innumerable blessings." (Phillip R. Kunz, The Kunz Family Johannes Kunz and Rosina Katharina Klossner Kunz: Their Ancestors and Descendants, pp 34-35)

Thanks to many who have been so supportive, with special thanks to June (Bateman) and LeGrand Black, and Dianne (Steckler) Rasi-Koskinen.

Conducting.........Phillip R. Kunz
Song...............Meg Nielson
"I Can See Her Face"
Accompanied by Cindy Nielson
Speaker............Paul Anthon Nielson"

Courtesy of Phillip R. Kunz
June Bateman Black
Dianne Steckler Rasi-Koskinen
Paul Anthon Nielson
Sep 22, 2008 · Reply