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Oz Flake journals

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: MSS 4036

Scope and Contents note

There are four volumes of the Oz Flake Journals:

Volume 1: Osmer D. Flake leaves his wife and children in Navajoland, Snowflake, Arizona to serve a mission in the Southern States in 1897. He has at least four children, including Ada, George, Luie and Elsie. Before his mission he spends some time in Salt Lake getting his watch repaired, getting his suit made and turning in his genealogy. He is set apart as a Seventy. He spends time in Columbus, Flint Hill, and Sturges, Missouri. Flake mainly interacts with Baptists and Methodists. He is dependent on the people he works among for food and shelter. Once, he gets to bathe in a jailer’s private bathroom at a courthouse. Flake mentions the hanging of a negro named Bud Horn, who gives an inspiring speech before he is executed. Flake copies down some notes of recommendation he receives from lawyers John A. Brown and B. Mathews. He also includes some family history. His journal is detailed and interesting. The journal covers December 6, 1897 through June 9, 1898. He ends it with this statement: My great desire is to do my part so that you my dear one and my dear parents and all my friends (including my dear brothers and sister) will not be ashamed of my record when my time to meet you again shall come. May it be two years or four. May God help me do my duty and bless my loved ones at home. To them this book is dedicated. Osmer D. Flake. Song lyrics for two songs are written at the end of the journal: Mountain Railway and Judgment Day. Some numerical missionary records follow the poems. At the very end of the volume, Flake wrote a 16 page index to his journal, which includes names, places and topics.

Volume 2: January 15, 1913 - January 31, 1922. The journal discusses Flake’s mission to Texas; he returns to Snowflake in April 1913. He serves a Home Mission Appointment in Snowlow on July 27, 1913. He accepts a church calling as Stake Superintendent of the Sunday School and visits different wards often. He farms corn, alfalfa and potatoes and raises cows, pigs and horses. He holds an office job as well. He runs for office (position not specified) in 1919. Because a man named M. R. Tanner spreads rumors about him, he loses by 12 votes. This journal tells about a small pox epidemic that sweeps Snowflake in 1919. Measles, whooping cough, rheumatism and a disease similar to the Spanish flu all strike his family. His daughter, Elsie, passes away in 1920. His wife, Ethel, has some difficult child births.

Volume 3: February 6, 1922 - April 1, 1935. 380 pages of journal with 9 page index. The journal opens with Flake looking for work. He describes a yellow substance that is good for ulcers, eczema, fresh cuts and stomach troubles—he takes the sale of it. He tells the story of the birth of his son, Frank. He helps a neighbor put out his burning house until the Fire Company arrives. He makes a trip to Mississippi.

Volume 4: July 1, 1954 - January 21, 1958. 71 pages, each 5.5 by 8.5 inches in a black three ring binder. Flake writes his journals because Apostle F. M. Lyman advised it. Flake has personally interacted with every head of the Church except for Joseph Smith. He is still living in Arizona when he begins this journal. The journal is about his family and about friendly interactions with his neighbors. Some of his neighbors grow melons and like to give them as gifts. He keeps some of the history of his ward, and writes about working in the Mesa Temple. He also writes about his family history work. A flood happens in August 1954; it damages the cotton crop. He mentions John T. Flake’s return from serving as a mission president in Japan in 1957. (John T. Flake’s journal can be found in the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Library.) This is Osmer D. Flake’s only journal without an index. He passed away just twelve days after his last entry.


  • 1897-1958


Conditions Governing Access note

Open for public research.

Conditions Governing Use note

It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to publish material from the Oz Flake journals must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Board of Curators.

Biographical History

Osmer Dennis Flake (1868-1958) served missions for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was a farmer and a rancher.

Osmer Dennis Flake was born on March 6, 1868 in Beaver County, Utah. He married Elise Abigail Owens on March 11, 1891 in Snowflake, Arizona. Elise wrote to him while he served his mission to the Southern States. His mission journal, covering 1897-1898, is available at L. Tom Perry Special Collections. His wife, Elsie, passed away in 1908, leaving him with five children: Grace, Lucretia (Louie), George Melvin, Ada and eleven month year old Elsie (their second child, Lewis Harvey, had passed away shortly after his first birthday in 1902). Flake married Ethel Estelle Ray on October 4, 1911. The details on their children can be found in the journals. He served a mission to Texas from January to April of 1913. He farmed and ranched and worked various jobs in Arizona to support his family. He passed away on February 2, 1958.


1 box (0.5 linear ft.)




Four volumes of journals written by Oz Flake that record his LDS missions and family life, 1897-1958.

Custodial History note

Donated by Chad Flake in 1986 and 1994.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

Donated; Chad Flake; 1986 and 1994.

Appraisal note

Latter-day Saint cultural, social, and religious history (Collection development policy for 19th-20th Century Western and Mormon Manuscripts, August 2007).

Related Archival Materials note

MSS 3894 Flake, John T. Mission Journals, 1907-1910. Osmer D. Flake’s journals mention John T. Flake.

Processing Information note

Processed; H. Christine Swindler; 19 June 2007.

Register of Oz Flake journals
Karen Glenn and H. Christine Swindler, student processors and John Murphy, curator
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English in Latin script.

Repository Details

Part of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Repository

1130 HBLL
Brigham Young University
Provo Utah 84602 United States