BY CINDY A. JONES
When Kenzie and Tony Poselli stumbled upon a 1901 farmhouse for sale in Hooper, it was nothing like what they had been searching for, but they both felt a strange magnetic pull toward the place during their first visit.
Tony felt stirred by the large wooden garage that still smelled of oil. Kenzie was drawn to the idea of having a small patch of land where she could have a small farm. The interior of the house had been newly remodeled in a way that gave nods to its historic roots. The Posellis were excited to move right in and begin restoring the outbuildings, including the large garage, a chicken coop and two sheds.
When the Posellis made an offer—including a heartfelt letter—to the homeowner and it was accepted, they were overjoyed. Soon after moving in, neighbors came by to welcome them with homemade bread and other treats to share, and stories of the former homeowners, namely Thorald Cox, who Kenzie says, “deserves to be known.”
To get a better picture of Thorald, we should look back two generations to the original homeowners Robert and Tirzah Cox. Robert immigrated from England to the U.S. with his parents at a young age, walking across the plains west of the Missouri River to Idaho. His family moved to Hooper in 1868, when the land was still just an open prairie. He married Tirzah in 1876 and the two went on to have 14 children. Robert invested in dry goods and, at one point, built an adjoining structure to open a dried goods store in the front of their home (now the Poselli’s living room). Despite suffering many hardships, including the death of several of their children, it’s said that Robert and Tirzah were known for their service and friendship in the Hooper community and beyond. Maybe it’s that same salt-of-the-earth spirit that was passed down to the Cox’s grandson, Thorald.
Sometime in the early 1920s, Thorald took over the property his grandparents had built. Thorald and his wife Eva Cottle became known for their engagement in the community, one year they even froze their entire paddock so friends and neighbors could ice skate.
In 1929, Thorald talked the Weber School board into replacing the horse-drawn wagon that was used to carry children to Hooper Elementary with a school bus, and he became Hooper’s first bust driver. He originally paid for fuel and bus repairs on his own, and eventually built a large garage to open a mechanic shop for the busses.
Thorald was known in the community for his generosity and love for kids. He would often stop at Farr’s Ice cream on the route home from Weber High, covering anyone who didn’t have the money to buy a treat. Over the course of his career, Thorald logged over 600,000 miles, driving 120 miles and 137 stops each day. He retired in 1972 after 43 years with an insignia for four decades of safe driving, forever sealed in the hearts and minds of the kids he drove to and from school each day.
Since they moved into Thorald’s beloved domain, the Posellis have reframed and added concrete floors, new doors, windows, and electricity to the garage, and made significant improvements to many of the other outdoor structures.
Because they fell for the heart and history of this historic home, the Posellis have found themselves claiming a simpler, more timeless way of life. They say that without a doubt it’s living in both the spaces and the spirits of Robert, Tirzah, and Thorald Cox that brought them home.
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