Several friends have told me how difficult it is on their emotions to consider the deaths of children. Therefore, I warn you: This post memorializes two Latter-day Saint children whose deaths were early and unexpected.
Loraine West Rich was the son of Alvin O. and Eliza West Rich, born on October 13, 1907, in Magrath, Alberta, Canada. He had three older sisters, and two brothers (one older, one younger).
Annie LaVaun Carr was born on August 9, 1908, in Bountiful, Utah, to William G. and Annie Call Carr. Evidently because she shared a name with her mother, LaVaun was called by her middle name. She had one older brother and, by 1920, four little brothers and a sister.
Born a few months and living 600 miles apart, LaVaun’s and Loraine’s paths would cross, in a manner of speaking, in 1921.
In February that year, a drawing that LaVaun had made was published in the “Budget Box” section of the Juvenile Instructor:
The Juvenile Instructor routinely awarded small prizes to the children whose stories, poetry, or artwork were judged good enough to be published, so a book was dispatched to LaVaun’s address.
LaVaun never received it. In July, 1921, the Juvenile Instructor published LaVaun’s photograph, with a letter:
Above is a picture of LaVaun Carr, 10 years old, who won a prize for a drawing of “poppies,” published in the February number. The Editor of the Budget Box was very much shocked to receive the following letter from LaVaun’s mother:
Dear Friends– We received the little book that was sent to our little daughter LaVaun Carr today, and are very proud of it and the drawing for which she won it; but we are very sorry that she could not have been here to enjoy it, too. She died the day after Christmas , but the little book will be a memory of her efforts and will be shown to many and it will be explained how we cherish it so much.
Mrs. Annie C. Carr (mother), Bountiful, Utah
As if that were not enough, the very same issue of the magazine, July 1921, set the stage for a similar story of loss, when it printed the following story submitted by Loraine Rich
Catching Horse Thieves
It was a moonlight night as Dick Johnson made his way towards his barn. Alla t once he stopped and seemed to be looking intently at some black objects moving through the wild rose bushes behind his new barn. He then rushed into the barn where he had put seven horses. Every horse was gone except the new saddle horse which he had bought that day, and lucky for him, he had locked it in a branding pen.
He lay away all that night thinking how he could catch the horse thieves and get his horses. Next morning while he was eating breakfast a bright idea came to him. he went to the bunk house and roused the cowboys telling them what had happened. they buckled on their pistols, and each getting his horse, with Dick Johnson leading them, they started out for Wild hawk’s Pass, where they were sure the horse thieves would head for.
They arrived at a mountain road leading to Wild Hawk’s Pass, where they pitched their tent and after staying there the rest of the night, started on their way early in the morning. They rode about seven miles, but before giving up the chase, Johnson made his way from the camp up to a little ridge that overlooked the greater part of the canyon. He stood there looking around when all at once, to the right, he caught a glimpse of smoke arising above some trees. he went down the ridge and up a ledge of rock to where he had seen the smoke, and there, near a large cave, was a cabin. he went back and brought the cowboys with him. he and the rest of the men surrounded the place and made the three thieves surrender.
They turned the thieves over to the police. Later, Dick Johnson was given his horses.
– Loraine Rich, Magrath, Alta., Canada. Age 12
And in December, 1921, the Juvenile Instructor carried another photograph, and another sad story:
Editor of Children’s Budget Box, Dear Friend: –
In the July issue of the Juvenile you printed a story written by Loraine Rich (my little brother). We were very grateful to see it in print. I think he sent it in about a year ago. I regret to tell you that this dear little boy departed this life March thirteenth, this year . He was one of six Cadets of the Magrath Public School who won the second prize (a silver cup) for best marksmanship in the Province of Alberta. We are very proud of him. I am enclosing a snapshot of Loraine taken about the time he wrote you the story. Will you please print it in the Budget Box together with this note of appreciation in which his parents Mr. and Mrs. Alvin O. Rich Join.
Respectfully, Your sister in the Gospel, Mrs. Inez R. Bennett, Magrath, Alberta
And so we remember 12-year-old Annie LaVaun Carr and 13-year-old Loraine West Rich, two creative Latter-day Saint children who left this world just as they had begun to make their mark on it.