(There is not a written history available on Alva and Alice, so their life story has to be pieced together from family group sheets and information gleaned from other family histories. The sources are the same as those on the Works Cited page of James.)

Alva was born 22 November 1846. The family group sheets differ as to his place of birth. Both record him as being born in Marion, Iowa, but one source refers to Marion County, Iowa, and the other to Marion, a town in Linn County, Iowa. Linn County is almost directly north of Nauvoo, and far from the known path of any of the Mormon groups. Marion County is not far from the main route of travel between Nauvoo and Council Bluffs. Many of the wagon trains veered off of the main trail looking for feed for their animals One of the northeastern trails "included a Mormon settlement just northeast of Attica in Marion County, where about 100 pioneers stayed and planted crops during March 1846" (Iowa, p. 230). It is very likely that James and Anna were among that group. They later traveled slightly south, to Mount Pisgah, where James was assigned by Church leaders to raise grain to resupply pioneers en route to Council Bluffs and later to Utah. In 1852, the family was released from their calling, and came across the plains to Utah. The trip was a hard one, and supplies were low. Often there wasn't enough to eat and children and parents all went hungry (Letter from Rachel).

James and Anna named all of their children for people whom they admired and respected. They named their sixth son for Alva Tippets, an early missionary in Iowa. He must have either been a close friend of the family or else a local church leader. While Alva was the sixth of eight sons born to James and Mary, only four of the boys would live to marry and raise a family. There was an eight year gap between John and Isaac from the loss of James Ammon and Francis Marion. William Fallis would die at birth, and Joel was unmarried when he died at age 35.

Alva settled with his family at Sugar House, and moved south at the time of Johnston's Army. He was sixteen or seventeen when the Lewises moved to Coalville, Summit, Utah. There he married Alice Gorle (also spelled Garl) on 28 April 1865. They were most likely married by Alva's father, James, who was both the Bishop of the Ward and Justice of the Peace. Alice was born 28 April 1841 in Worchester, England, the daughter of Richard Gorle and Elizabeth (Hau?) ( They had apparently joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in England, and immigrated to Utah to join with the body of the Church.

Alva and Alice's first child was born 14 Feb 1866 in Coalville. He was named James Alva, after his grandfather and father. He was called Jimmie (Hyrum).

The family moved sometime during the next year to Big Timber, Bear Lake, Idaho, where their son, William James, was born 15 Nov 1867. The family moved sometime before 1869 to Wellsville, Cache, Utah, which is located near Logan. A son, Wilford Woodruff, named after Alva's younger brother, was born there on 11 Aug 1869. There is conflicting information about the next son, Joseph Heber. In one entry or the Ancestral File, he is listed as being born 11 August 1873 in Wellsville, and the next entry shows his birthdate as 29 October 1873 in Hooperville, Weber, Utah. Conflicting death dates are also listed for Joseph.

Hooperville was apparently one of a series of little communities along the Wasatch Front between Tremonton and Brigham City. Rachel, who was James' daughter by his plural wife, Mary, remembered going with her parents to visit Anna, Alva's mother. As they were returning home, the wagon became stuck in the Weber River. Alva rescued Rachel, lifting her onto his horse and swimming it to the other side (Letter from Rachel).

In February 1875, Alva and his son, Jimmie, who would have been about nine years old, accompanied James in his search for a new home. Hyrum later recorded:

1875 is perhaps the most memorable year in my life because of the experiences we encountered and while those experiences would seem like a midnight dream or the fancied hallucinations of a deranged mind, they are absolutely true.

In February, father decided to seek holding on the frontier, so with his son, Alva, and grandson, Jimmie, they traveled farther west, wending their way through snow, over mountains, much of the time without even a trail. After several days, landing in Marsh Basin - this they considered an utopia, a heaven of bliss. In a short time father and Jimmie returned leaving Alva to get logs and build a cabin when we could return.

On March 24, a brother Isaac, who was working in the mountains was killed in a snow slide. Weeks went by and his body was not found. Alva, still at Marsh Basin, with no means of communication, no letter or word, dreamed one night that Isaac had been killed in a snow slide. In the dream, he saw the location and also discovered the body. So impressed was he that at daybreak he was on his way, with a horse to ride part of the time -- and almost without rest he traveled to Corrine, 120 miles distant, there to learn that his dream was true, and in the early morning a few days later he found the body which had been buried in snow for six weeks (Hyrum).

Alva and his family left Utah with his father, but at Pilot Springs, they split off from the group, heading for Nevada (Hyrum). There is no indication where they lived in Nevada, nor how long they were there. John and his family also moved to Nevada for a short time (Julia Dixon Notes). Both Alva and John were in Albion by 1876 or 1877. Alva's son, Charles Heber, was born in Albion on 22 September 1877. A daughter, Louesa Ellen, was born in Albion on 22 May 1879, and another son, Julius Richard, was born there on 6 March 1882.

Alva followed Wilford's family to McCammon, Idaho, Clara Hall indicates that Alva was the "chief carpenter" on the McCammon Ward Meeting House which was built in 1879, so it may be that Julius Richard was born in McCammon instead of Albion. Alva must have been a skilled carpenter, as James asked him to make his casket. Alice died and was buried in McCammon on 28 Jan 1911. She was 70 years old. The website indicates that Alva married Emma Wardle, but no marriage date or place was given. Alva died in McCammon, Bannock, Idaho and was buried in the cemetery there. (There are several dates listed for his death, ranging from 1921 to 1927. No documentation for any of the dates is available. We need to have someone check the cemetery records or headstone for a definite death date.)

An undocumented family group sheet from the Ancestral File contains the only information we have on Alva's children. James Alva died in McCammon on 10 January, 1925. He was only fifty-nine. William James was sixty-one when he died in McCammon on 16 September 1928. Wilford Woodruff was 65, dying on 29 September 1934, place unknown. Joseph Heber's death date is in error. One source lists it as 7 April 1949, another source puts it on 11 September 1946. Charles Heber died 9 June 1914, place unknown. He was just thirty-seven. Louesa Ellen died 16 September 1928, place unknown. She was forty-nine. Julius Richard was only 28 when he died on 27 February 1910. Julius and Charles both died before their father.

A family photograph of Alva's family is included. It was provided by Betty Cook, great granddaughter of John and Weighty Celecta Lewis.