|Eugene Victor, aka Gene, Rhinehart and Eva Collier on their wedding day - She's wearing the locket!!!|
These are my beautiful, movie-star good lookin' grandparents! Eugene Victor Rhinehart married Eva Collier on June 14, 1920 in Vernal, Uintah County, Utah. There's a romantic story associated with these sweet people.
Following is a little history I wrote about the two of them in college, with the help of my grandmother's keen memory:
A Romantic Bridge
It was a crisp evening in February of 1940 in Vernal, Utah. Actually, it was Valentine's Day, and two lovers were walking hand in hand down an unpaved road towards the Vernal Mill, which was less than one mile north of Vernal. Near the mill ran a branch off of Ashley Creek, over which a small bridge stood. This was a favorite spot for the two lovers, and their destination for the evening. The night was cold, but beautiful, and a full moon could be seen rising through great, leafless branches in Split Mountain Gorge. It was a special night for Gene and Eva - one that would change the history of the Rhinehart and Collier families forever.
Eugene Victor Rhinehart, otherwise known as Gene, was a son of Ernest Rhinehart and Goldie Agatha Myers of Cambridge, Ohio. He had come from Ohio with the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) to learn how to run construction machinery, which trained him for his life-long career in construction. In 1940, Gene was a handsome, well-liked nineteen-year-old with black, wavy hair and twinkling green eyes.
Eva Collier was born in Vernal, and had lived there all her life. Her parents, James Edwin and Lena May (Palmer) Collier, were active members of the LDS Church and of the community. At nineteen, Eva was beautiful, with brown, curly hair, green eyes, and a slim figure.
Gene and Eva first met in July of 1939 while walking down the street in Vernal. Eva and two of her friends saw Gene and his two friends on the other side of the street. They chatted and moved on. They met again that evening at a dance, which was the main activity for youth in Vernal. Vernal had as many as four dances a week in The Imperial Hall, which had the only spring floor west of the Mississippi. Gene and Eva spent many of their evenings at the dances.
As mentioned, walking was their other main activity. Seven months after they first met, on Valentine's Day, Gene and Eva reached the little bridge and sat down on the railing. Gene pulled something out of his pocket - a gold heart locket with a tiny diamond chip in it. He carefully clasped it around Eva's neck and asked her to be his bride. She still has the locket today. They were married three months later on June 14, 1940.
Seven years later Eva gave birth to a little girl named Victoria Jeen (named after her father.) That little girl is my mother.
The Vernal Mill probably no longer stands, replaced by newer technology. No longer do the residents of Vernal bring their wheat, corn, and oats thee in the fall to be ground. The gravel road that was once Main Street is now paved, and the little bridge is now a memory. But over 70 years ago a young man proposed to a young woman, which was the beginning of a new family. That little bridge is thus an important historical site in my family's history.
And those three girls married those three boys.