Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Salt Lake County Death Records: Richard Litson

Glade Family

I haven't been blogging much recently, the reason being that I am knee deep (okay, literally eyeball deep if you were to take a look at my desk and adjoining bookshelves, and no, I'm not including a picture!) in a book project. I stumbled into this project, but it's a wonderful one with lots of great material, fascinating connections, and groundbreaking discoveries. I'll say more about it later.

This morning I took a break from wrapping gifts and making Christmas treats for school parties and spent some time reading the Salt Lake County Death Records. I am going through page by page to make sure I don't miss anything for the project, and occasionally I'll find a family name. Here is Richard Litson, Sr.
Salt Lake County Death Records, 1849-1949, 137. FHL Microfilm 004139616.
5457
So Cottonwood
Litson Richard
son [of] Richd & Joan C
18 Sep 1819
Northmolton, Devon, England
29 [Oct 1872]
Pneumonia
J Glades lot B 1 2 W 1/2



It took me a number of years to realize the importance of the second column. If you have ancestors in Salt Lake City or any large community, you need to know their neighborhood or ward of residence. The Litsons lived in South Cottonwood, now Murray.

It's fascinating to read through the death records, and watch the population of Salt Lake County change from the first pioneers, to include the great waves of British and Scandinavian immigration, and later a trickle of German immigration. I can only spend an hour or two at a time reading the records since there are so many sad stories, and it wears a person down to see all the loss and tragedy, murders, accidents, at least one execution, infant mortality, and all.

And now to return to the land of the living and wrap some Christmas presents. Best wishes for a wonderful Christmas season to all of you!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Merle Hayward Wessman (1909-1945)

When a child is born, the hospital pricks its heel and soaks the blood into a Guthrie card. The hospital tests the blood for a variety of rare conditions including cystic fibrosis, congenital hypothyroidism, and phenylketonuria.

With modern medical technology, if a child has an early diagnosis, many diseases can be treated and the child can live a normal life, but in the days before the heel prick test, something about the child's development or feeding might not have seemed quite right, but parents could only watch helplessly as their child started to fall behind developmentally, mentally, and physically.


Merle Hayward Wessman was born September 27, 1909. Her proud new parents named her after her mother's beloved sister Leah Merle Hayward, who had died four years earlier.


Merle's widowed grandmother Amanda Wessman was a Swedish immigrant and temple worker. Merle was her fourteenth grandchild. Merle's other grandparents, Henry Hayward and Elizabeth Pugsley Hayward were respectively a contractor and politician, and Merle was their first grandchild.


Soon their darling little Merle developed the symptoms of what was then called "cretinism," perhaps a diagnosis now known as CH, or congenital hypothyroidism, perhaps another rare genetic disorder like Hurler-Scheie syndrome or Morquio syndrome. If it was CH, she would have slept a lot, eaten poorly, and had poor muscle tone and a low body temperature. Her belly would have distended and within a few years she would have failed standard developmental tests.

Merle with her uncle John Hayward.

Whatever the genetic or metabolic disorder, it does not seem to have shown up again in the family, and due to the size of the extended family, there's no reason to believe it will.


Not long ago, Merle was mentioned on Facebook, and in response, her younger sister Norinne sent a lovely hand-written letter filled with tender memories of her sister's life, with permission to excerpt it and include it here.


From Norinne:

My first recollection of Merle was when I was very young. She would sit in a rocker holding me, rocking and singing, “Go to sleep, my Renie, Renie girl,” (to the tune of an old song). The first line in the song is “Smile the while you kiss me sad adieu,” the title of the song is “‘Til we meet again,” —at least I think that’s the title. I still remember the melody, and she did quite well with it. This resulted in my family and friends (many years later) calling me “Rene,” which they still all do. 


You are right—she didn’t smile much (never in pictures), but when she did it was a sight to behold. She’d sit at the piano and play no recognizable tune, always in kind of a waltz tempo. For hours on end she would sit by the radio and play cards. I don’t recall if she ever played with other people. She loved to wash dishes, if you can believe that—14 plus place setting, 3 meals a day. She would cry if for some reason someone else did the dishes.

Merle, Grandpa Henry Hayward, unknown boy.

We moved to Salt Lake when I was about 9 years old. Mom, Keith, Boyd, Marilyn and I camped out in South Fork Canyon. I don’t recall Merle being with us, and I think she may have stayed with Grandma Hayward—she did that occasionally, and Grandma loved her. I think the others all needed to help. We also had 5 orphan kitties with us, whose mother had been poisoned by a horrible man, who would give cats and dogs poisoned chicken.

Front: John, Jean, Phil, Betty, Bobby (cousin Robert Edwards, son of L.R.J and Elizabeth Hayward Edwards). Middle: Merle, Harry, Paul, Dick, Ernest (baby). Back: Jean, Grandpa Henry Hayward, Henry, Grandma Elizabeth Pugsley Hayward.

What is sad is, I don’t recall Merle ever going to church with us, and never to our Pugsley family reunions at Lagoon. She was kept home most of the time; Grandma would take her for a few days quite often. Isn’t it awful that people with her issues were sort of hidden away. It is so different now—they are taken in groups on outings, etc. I’m ashamed when I think back on the way they were treated.

Jean with all fourteen children.

I must have been high school age or older when a terrible thing happened. John and Merle were home alone. At that time he was working for Mtn. Fuel Supply. John was bathing and heard some commotion. He wrapped himself in a towel and opened the door to see Merle running, screaming toward the kitchen, and she was in flames. He wrapped the towel around her, put out the flames, and called the doctor. Merle was in the habit of standing with her back toward the fireplace (no screen). The down draft pulled the back of her dress into the fire.

The doctor popped big blisters all over her body and dressed them with some kind of ointment. Her hair, eyebrows and eyelashes were singed. The doctor came every day for a long time to dress the burns. It was horrible! She could have died, and the house could have burned down!

When Grandma Hayward died 26 Jan 1942, Merle was very sad—she and Grandma loved each other so much.

Wessman family gathering, 1943-1945.
From left: Merle, unknown,  (behind: Beverly and John), Liz and Harry dancing.

When Merle was 36 years old, she was very ill with Bronchial Pneumonia and was in LDS Hospital. I understand that illness was common in people with Merle’s condition. Mom spent most of the time there. Merle thought Grandma was there. She also kept staring at a corner of the room and told Mom the kids were playing there.

Merle died on 7 April 1945.

John was in the army, and was on his way home... I keep thinking the funeral was at Larkin Mortuary, but I’m not sure. She was buried by Daddy in Salt Lake City Cemetery. 

See her entry at FindAGrave: Merle Hayward Wessman.

It was a good time for John to be home. Mom (and all the rest of us) depended on him in more ways than one. He was almost a father figure in the family.

A story added by Ernie's wife, Elaine, as related by Norinne:

I had talked with Elaine yesterday and was telling her what information I remembered about Merle to you. She didn’t know Merle as she and Ernie were not together at that time. She called me this morning to tell me something Ernie had told her years ago. He said that my sister Jean and Dick’s wife, Margaret, were staying with Merle at the hospital. They were looking out the hospital window; heard something and turned around. Merle sat up in her bed, held out her hand and said, “Help me, Daddy!” fell over and died. I had never heard this before. Ernie would not have told her that if it hadn’t happened.



Thanks to Emily for providing most of the pictures. My picture of Merle's gravestone is from a trip to Utah in 2010.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

This post is originally from November 25, 2010, but since the information and sentiments are still true, here it is again [and again in 2013 and 2014!]. Happy Thanksgiving to friends and family all around the world.
 

Every year at Thanksgiving we have a tradition of reading a quote before our Thanksgiving dinner. This quote is from one of the Pilgrims, an ancestor of my children although not of mine, William Bradford. [1]


Being thus arrived in a good harbor and brought safe to land, they fell upon their knees and blessed the God of heaven, who had brought them over the vast and furious ocean, and delivered them from all the perils and miseries thereof, again to set their feet on the firm and stable earth, their proper element. …

But here I cannot but stay and make a pause, and stand half amazed at this poor people’s present condition; and so I think will the reader too, when he well considers the same. Being thus passed the vast ocean, and a sea of troubles before in their preparation, … they had now no friends to welcome them, nor inns to entertain or refresh their weather-beaten bodies, no houses or much less towns to repair to, to seek for succor…. And for the season it was winter, and they that know the winters of that country know them to be sharp and violent and subject to cruel and fierce storms… If they looked behind them, there was the mighty ocean which they had passed, and was now as a main bar and gulf to separate them from all the civil parts of the world. If it be said they had a ship to succor them, it is true; but what heard they daily from the master and company? … Let it also be considered what weak hopes of supply and succor they left behind them, that might bear up their minds in this sad condition and trials they were under; and they could not but be very small.… What could now sustain them but the spirit of God and his grace?

May not and ought not the children of these fathers rightly say: “Our fathers were Englishmen which came over this great ocean, and were ready to perish in this wilderness; but they cried unto the Lord, and he heard their voice, and looked on their adversity. Let them therefore praise the Lord, because he is good, and his mercies endure forever. Yea, let them which have been redeemed of the Lord, show how he hath delivered them from the hand of the oppressor. When they wandered in the desert wilderness out of the way, and found no city to dwell in, both hungry, and thirsty, their soul was overwhelmed in them. Let them confess before the Lord his loving kindness, and his wonderful works before the sons of men.” [2]



[1] One of these years I will get around to posting about the Pilgrim ancestors on the Tanner line, Richard Warren and Francis Cooke. [Ed.—And John Cooke. See comments.]

[2] William Bradford was quoting from Psalm 107. The Pilgrims brought the Geneva Bible with them to the New World rather than the King James Version, and the text of the psalm in that translation reads as follows:

1 Praise the Lord, because he is good: for his mercy endureth forever. 2 Let them, which have been redeemed of the Lord, shew how he hath delivered them from the hand of the oppressor, 3 And gathered them out of the lands, from the East and from the West, from the North and from the South. 4 When they wandered in the desert and wilderness out of the way, and found no city to dwell in, 5 Both hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them. 6 Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress, 7 And led them forth by the right way, that they might go to a city of habitation. 8 Let them therefore confess before ye Lord his loving kindness, and his wonderful works before the sons of men.



The image of the Bradford journal is from the Wikipedia entry Of Plymouth Plantation. The Robert Walter Weir painting "Embarkation of the Pilgrims" is from the Wikipedia entry on William Bradford. Autumn photo from D Sharon Pruitt from http://www.flickr.com/photos/pinksherbet/4050741912/. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Samuel Shepherd and the Nauvoo Temple


The Joseph Smith Papers Project continues to add marvelous resources to its website. A new addition is  The Book of the Law of the Lord, a collection of journal entries, nine revelations, and donations to the Nauvoo Temple.

I took just a few minutes to look at the donations and saw the following entry: 

[Page 32] Decmber 18
Received of Samuel Shepherd per hand James Nelson 2 hogs 4.14 [414] lbs. 2 cts per lb $8.28 on his Tything. deliverd the Temple Committe this 18'' Dec 1841. 
$8.28

Sam was a veteran of the War of 1812, spent time in a prisoner of war camp in Canada, later joked to his grandchildren that while being held captive his clothing was so full of vermin that he could place them on the other side of the cell, whistle, and the bugs would bring them back to him.

After the war he settled near Kirtland, joined the Church, lost his first wife to cholera on the journey to Missouri, remarried a widow and they sent three sons with the Mormon Battalion. A few circumstantial details suggest Samuel opposed polygamy, and after a brief trip back to Utah in 1857, he returned to his home in San Bernardino. Although he was later baptized into the RLDS Church, he has many descendants in the LDS Church.

In mid-December 1841 he was evidently slaughtering hogs, as noted in the donation records.

That's a valuable record for the family, and, in terms of social history, besides the price of the commodity, it documents when the pork was being processed that winter, but most importantly, it documents that Samuel Shepherd helped support the building of the temple.

And... there may be plenty more discoveries to be made in the book, but until I figure out why my computer is currently blurring documents, I will not be able to read the record.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

2014 National Archives Virtual Genealogy Fair

Every year the United States National Archives and Records Administration holds a genealogy fair.

This year's fair will be broadcast on Youtube October 28 through 30, and workshops should be available to view afterwards.

National Archives Virtual Genealogy Fair

The topics are only posted for today so far, but they include immigration and American Indian records.

The immigration lecture at 12:00 Eastern Time is of particular interest, since it addresses the historic loss of citizenship through marriage to a resident alien, such as that experienced by Jean Hayward Wessman.

Ann Prior Jarvis Diary — November 1–10, 1884

Instead of leaving Charlie Walker's account to the end, I'll include it within Ann's account. Hers will be in regular type; his in italics. Accounts like this put lie to the old historical fallacy that people who lived in times of greater infant and childhood mortality did not feel these losses as greatly as we do now.


Sat 1     November I am feeling some better to day I had a fearful time last night. Sent a letter to Sam I hope I shall go to meeting.
Nov 1st Sat 1884 Pleasant. Went to the Stake Priesthood Meeting at the Tabernacle... Pres McAllister spoke very earnestly on people being properly recommended by their Bishops in coming to the Temple. Pres E Snow gave a brief review of his recent trip to Colorado and Arizona, touched on the dull times and the depression of trade and gave the Brethren some good advice: to use economy and live within their income, and stir around and try and make improvements so as to create labor for the unemployed. I came from the Meeting before it closed and did not hear the last of his remarks.
Sun 2    Weather fine I attended meeting took Eleanor to meeting in the buggy listened to a long discourse by Br Snow heard young David Cannon preach
Received a letter from England. Coughed all night
Slept towards morning

Mon 3    Weather pleasant

Tusd 4    attended meeting

Wed 5

Thu 6     Weather fine attended fast meeting word was brought that Br Walker baby was drowned we all felt very sad at the news. I went to see it they were trying to restore it but in vain. went to the monthly meeting had wise counsel. Went for Josey
St George 6th Nov 1884 ....Went to Fast Meeting. I spoke a short time on the importance of giving the Lord the glory in all things. Showed the debt of gratitude we worms of the dust owed to our Heavenly Father for his continued care and long suffering. I spoke of some of the blessings the Lord had granted to [me] since we last met.... Touchd on the importance of learning eternal truths. While talking on this subgect a message came to me that one of My little children had met with an accident. I left the meeting, wondering what was the matter. On arriving home a sad sight met my gaze, that of the dead body of My little Boy, Helaman, who had just been drowned by sliping into a water tank. We tried all the restoratives at hand and worked with energy for a long time but he was too far gone. Then their went up a cry of lamentation and weeping and most surely we had a house of Mourning. The night was long and dreary, and hearts were sad. 
7th Nov At 10 we all went to the school house, Br Jarvis taking the little coffin in his carriage. Brs MacAllister, Blake, and Chas Smith made some very good and comforting remarks during the Service, after which we went out to the cemetery and buried him by the side of Little Sister Mary, and Luella, to sweetly sleep until the trump of God shall awake him in the morn of the First Ressurection. And yet in this sad bereavement I feel to say "The Lord gave and he took away, Blessed be the name of the Lord," but oh, how quick the shaft, how deadly the aim, how heavy the blow that robbed us of our Baby boy. 
Sat 8     Weather delightful read slept worked had a good dinner

Sun 9    Went to meeting Thomas & Em had supper with us

Mon 10     worked on the Machine Cleaned it played Checkers with George Br Owens called wanted to buy feed

Notes
Pres McAllister —  J. D. T. McAllister.

Pres E Snow —  Erastus Snow.

Helaman Walker — The youngest son of Charles Walker and his first wife, Abby Middlemass Walker, a friend of Ann's. He was sixteen months old when he died.

worked on the Machine — Probably a sewing machine.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Ann Prior Jarvis Diary — October 14–October 31, 1884

Ann gets sick and starts feeling rather useless, but as I've come to learn, life is better boring than tragic, since at the turn of a page, life can go from one to the other. After a few uneventful weeks, with the exception of a pleasant and well-attended birthday party for Ann Catherine Jarvis Milne, the next installment will include a tragedy that, as often as I've read it, cannot read without great sadness.


October      Tu     [1884]

Tus 16

Frid 17     Sent a letter to Maggie

Sat 18     Weather stormy it rained Thundered & lightened all night the house shook

Sun 19    Weather after a storm. sunshine the sunshine is welcome this morning when every thing is wet and miserable but the dusty roads is all the better for the rain. I never did appreciate a storm while it was storming it seems to me we are having great trouble it brings to my mind the death of my darling boy
I have a bad cold Father is busy makeing wine.

Mon 20     Weather cloudy I did not go to Meeting yesterday
Thomas & Em spent the evening. Br Robson called to get a bottle of wine  Amelia called this morning

Tus 21      Weather pleasant did not attend my Meeting

Wed 22     Weather warm went to the third Ward brought Josey home took Anne to the Thing^th^ [Tithing] Office
brought flour & Potatoes in the buggy for her
I feel better for a ride my health has been bad

Thu 23

Sun 26 I did not go to meeting to day I must do better I did[n't] like to wake Father to harness up Em stayed to Supper

Ann Jarvis Milne and family

Mon 27     Weather fine  Anne birthday thirty ^6 six^ years ago
I was with my dear Mother Anne was born on a Friday thirty six years ago. May her next thirty six years be more pleasant than her last has been. her sisters & George agreed to give her a surprise party we each took our pic nic fourteen children sat down to the table besides the babes in arms
there was Eighteen Childeren all our own nine of our family of grown folks making twenty seven all our family that was here

[In margin: spent five dollars for Josy Dress and twenty eight cents for lining]

Tus 28    Weather cloudy rather cold I feel tired this morning wrote a letter to Sam

Wed 29    I am sick to day with severe cold
was obliged to keep my bed most of the day

Thur 30     Sick received a letter from Heber

Friday 31    I have been in bed untill three o clock
it seem my life is very useless
If I work I get warm and then take cold

From Charles Lowell Walker's Diary
He has no journal entries for this period.


Notes
more pleasant than her last has been — Ann Catherine Jarvis Milne (1848-1956) was born into poverty, lived her childhood in poverty, and then became a plural wife and was living through the difficulties of federal persecutions in the 1880s. She died just a couple of weeks before her 108th birthday.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

A Remembrance

As time moves on, the meaning and experience of memory and grief shifts and changes. Anniversaries, birthdays, holidays, reunions come and go, and our loved ones are sometimes with us, sometimes far away, sometimes beyond the veil. John A. Widtsoe wrote long ago to some grieving parents,
You have hard days ahead of you; that we know from our own experience in losing children. We can tell you, however, that though your bereavement is seldom equaled in a generation of time, yet through the possession and help of the Spirit of God and the healing influence of time, your grief will be assuaged. Your loss has been so grievous, so great, so unusual that mortal power of itself is unable to bring peace to you. Look upward. Continue to take the Lord into partnership, and the sweet influence of heaven will touch your hearts and transform your feelings.
Elder Widtsoe could not know have known that he was echoing and expanding upon words Abraham Lincoln wrote to another grieving family.
In this sad world of ours, sorrow comes to all, and it often comes with bitter agony. Perfect relief is not possible, except with time. You cannot now believe that you will ever feel better. But this is not true. You are sure to be happy again. Knowing this, truly believing it, will make you less miserable now. I have had enough experiences to make this statement. 

Remembering our beautiful niece, cousin, granddaughter, daughter, and sister Allison Ann Bowers (January 21, 1999 - October 26, 2010).

Our thoughts and prayers are with Allison's family on this tender anniversary.


We are, as ever, grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ and the promise of the resurrection and that families can be together forever after death.
The soul shall be restored to the body, and the body to the soul; yea, and every limb and joint shall be restored to its body; yea, even a hair of the head shall not be lost; but all things shall be restored to their proper and perfect frame. And now...this is the restoration of which has been spoken by the mouths of the prophets—And then shall the righteous shine forth in the kingdom of God. (Alma 40:23-25.)
(ObituaryThoughts from Jared, November 1, 2010.)

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Ann Prior Jarvis Diary — September 26–October 13, 1884

I sympathize with the feelings Ann expresses about not feeling like she accomplished much on any given day. The regular routine of life rarely feels like an accomplishment, and when you add chronic illness, such as Ann suffered, it's easy to overlook the great and abiding influence she had on her family at the time and over many generations.

The Thursday, October 2 Fast Meeting seemed rather uneventful, but taken together with Charles Lowell Walker's report of the same meeting, it's a lovely insight into Mormon religious practices.

Ann notes that Anthony Ivins preached on the Word of Wisdom; until well past the turn of the 20th century, the Word of Wisdom was not practiced as it is today, and many pioneers regularly used coffee and tea. The St. George pioneers usually had some of their sweet Dixie wine at meals and special occasions as late as the time of Prohibition, and a variety of liquors would have been used primarily medicinally.


Friday 26  Weather windy  I slept all morning I have taken Cold sent a letter to England I hope they will get it

Sat 27   Weather warm days, cold nights, bought a clock for Josy to take to school it cost two dollars seventy five cents also a broom 50 cents

Sun 28   Weather dull it is Thomas birthday Em will have a surprise party for him to night I have made the rice pudding we had a good time at Em spent a pleasant evening John Woodbury recited Josey favoured us with two

Mon 29   Weather pleasant  I went with the buggy and fetched Josey home from the third Ward School went to the store took Amelia riding posted a letter to London

Tus 3029 Weather fair going to get Josey took Em for a ride

Wed 1   Weather windy

Thursday 2   Weather cloudy attended Fast Meeting only four men & two ladies but there was a good sp[i]rit prevails
I know it is good to attend Fast meetings

Fri 3   Weather cool mornings I have not gone out to day
Mrs Woodbury called. Mary brought me some Chow ^chow^
I have not done much work to day

Sat 4   Weather pleasant I had my cough very bad for ^hours [indecipherable]
put a jar of grapes down for pickles

Sun 5   went to meeting loaned the buggy to Thomas he took Em for a ride they spent the evening ^here^
Tony Ivings [Anthony Ivins] preached on the word of wisdom
I felt ashamed of my self I ought to have had that sermon lived up to for many years past

Mon 6   Weather cold mornings Br Greenwood from Nutrioso called here to day. I do not know where this day is gone to    had a letter from Charley

Tus 7   attended relief society meeting bought a Grammer for Josey. Price sixty cents

Wed 8   Weather pleasant

Thu 9   let Josey have fifty Cents in money

Friday 10  Wea[ther] pleasant

Sat 11   Churned cooked dinner

Sun 12   Weather pleasant  I did not attend meeting I did not feel very well

Mon 13   I have not accomplished much to day boiled some fruit


From Charles Lowell Walker's Diary
St. George Oct 2nd  Pleasant daytime, cold at night. Went to Fast Meeting and spoke a short time, confessing the hand of the Lord in delivering me from trouble, and when in a sore strait he heard me. I touched a little on the Book of Enoch and the pre existence of our spirits and the great privillege we had of proving ourselves before our Father and be true to him and dillegent in keeping all his commandments. The Brethren and sisters testified to the good spirit that prevailed at the Meeting. We had an enjoyable time, tho but few were present. Better at times than Sabbath meetings.

Sat 4, 3 P. M. Went to the Seventies Meeting. There was not much done or said that was pleasing to me, as some of the brethren seemed to possess the spirit of fault finding...

Sunday 12th Oct. 1884 Pleasant...went to Meeting. Pres. Mcallister gave a brief synopsis of conference news...Jno Morgan was chosen to fill the vacancy in the first Presidency of the Seventies...

Notes
John Woodbury — John Taylor Woodbury (1863-1936), a younger brother of George F.'s wife Eleanor.

Mrs Woodbury — Ann Cannon Woodbury (1832-1921)

Br Greenwood from Nutrioso — Adam Greenwood (1857-1904) who may have brought the letter from Charles Defriez Jarvis.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Brigham Young in the Southern Settlements, 1864

One of the modern wonders of the field of documentary editing is the work of LaJean Purcell Carruth.


The Church History Library has recently released LaJean's transcription of remarks made by Brigham Young during a trip to Southern Utah in 1864. His remarks tended to be rather practical; in Fillmore he told the people about the continuing nature of revelation:
I say to you, as I can to the whole world, there has not yet been a revelation given to this people from the time Joseph commenced to receive revelation but what would be [altered] provided the people were capable of receiving more. The Lord has to speak to the people according to their capacity, not according to his capacity. We are not prepared to receive all the heavens has for us. The Lord gives revelation upon revelation, here a little and there a little. Those precepts he gives we should improve upon them. . . . The Lord is laboring and has been for long time to prepare a people to receive blessings. He sent his gospel, called Joseph, gave the Book of Mormon, to prepare us to . . . receive all the blessings the earth can bestow, and the blessings of eternity. You and I believe alike with regard to the fullness of his power and goodness. He has blessings and wants bestow them on the whole human family. We believe alike. Why are we not blessed then? We are not ready to receive the blessings.
In Beaver, the teams were all hitched up to leave when Brigham Young turned and walked into the bowery [1] and said, "I want the attention of the congregation. I shall not stop to have singing and prayers. Do your praying when you get home and sing when you please. I have a few words to say [and] I am going to say them."


He told the people of Parowan to beautify their town, and the children of Parowan to "learn your letters, to spell your single syllables, to learn to put together letters [and] syllables to make words, and words [to make] sentences, and then to make subjects, until you become [a] man and woman worthy of the character of intelligent beings."

On September 14, he told the people of St. George gathered in the new Bowery[2] to keep working at developing their water supplies.
It is the will and pleasure of the Almighty [that] he change the veins of this water in the mountains and causes them to come out in springs when he pleases. And if we will work with our might and in good faith the Lord will work and he will preserve us from those that would overrun. He had not the place for us to go to prepared, but he had these mountains, and until he has, he will preserve us in these mountains. He will withhold the [frost] and send the [rain] that the Latter-day Saints may not be afflicted.
The people of St. George were working hard to build the St. George Tabernacle, started the previous year as a public works project to keep the people from starving to death in the desert, and as Brigham Young spoke, they were moving into a period of great food shortages and severe hunger and malnutrition.

His comments the next day emphasized the fact that the people listening to him were new members of the Church. Several people in the congregation would have been members since the 1830s, but most had been baptized in the 1840s or 1850s, and needed to be trained in the practicalities of Mormon religious life. He said:
When you come to a meeting like this and one of servants of God get up to pray, let every man and woman be in silence. . . . When a man [is] engaged in praying and we are looking away, and they are looking at the bonnet of one, and how the collar of another sits [and thinking] I wonder where my cattle is, and how my meat is I put in the stove, and how the children are doing, and the mind[s] of the people are all over creation, the Lord can’t bless such a people. . . . Mothers: take this lesson and carry it home with you, and when the father is engaged in prayer have the children kneel down with you, and have them pray and teach them to pray as their father prays, and ask for the things he asks for, and when a word is spoken keep that in your heart. If the people can do this with their eyes staring around, they can do what I can’t do.
Charles Lowell Walker did not report on the conference at the time, but later he noted,
Bro Brigham and a number of the twelve Apostles and others paid us a visit about the last of Sept and spent three days with us and gave us some very good instructions and doctrine on our present condition, and future hapines. We had a time of rejoiceing and were comforted by the rich teachings they imparted unto us. And I must confes I felt sorry and even lonesome when they left us. I felt in my heart to bless them for their kindnes and good will towards us on the mission. (245)

After Brigham Young left St. George, he traveled through Gunnison and Manti.[3] His final comments were in Mount Pleasant on September 27. He said:
 [It is] a little over 500 miles that we have traveled from the north to the south to visit the saints this season. Settlement after settlement, [we have] gathered the people together under a bowery like this, and you would think you was in Salt Lake City at headquarters. [We] see the faces of those that is familiar to us, and see the large congregations of the saints. It cheers and comforts and stimulates the brethren, and they feel they are not forgotten. The elders went and preached to them in foreign lands and gathered them, and now they are not forgotten, [but] still [they are prayed] for and preached to and presided and led and guided and counseled and directed. What for? The building up the kingdom of God for the establishment of the kingdom that Daniel saw and wrote about.
Well, that was a lot of text of his remarks, and you can read the rest of them at the Church History website, but what a great addition to the historical record to have these comments, since they were taken down in shorthand and previously unavailable.


Notes
[1] A bowery was a temporary structure built of posts with a covering of tree boughs.

[2] Since the Saints had just begun construction on the Tabernacle, they would have met in the Bowery. The first St. George Bowery was directly south of the Tabernacle, but a new Bowery was built for Brigham Young's visit, as the short-lived newspaper Veprecula noted, "on the block north of the public square, between the tithing office and the St. George Hall. It is 85 feet long, 45 feet wide, and 14 feet in height. The center of the roof is a deck 11 feet wide, supported by stupendous cedar and pine pillars 8 feet apart, with sawed lumber joints bolted firmly to each one of them." (Diary of Charles Lowell Walker, 244.)

[3] Things remained interesting in St. George for a few days after the visit: on Sunday Orson Pratt, Jr., publicly separated himself from the Church and was excommunicated. See more in Richard and Mary VanWagoner, "Orson Pratt, Jr.: Gifted Son of an Apostle and an Apostate," Dialogue 21:1. The VanWagoners note in the article that the portrayal of Pratt and his family in The Giant Joshua is off base. (Of course that can be said about many of the people in that book.)

The map is the 1870 Gamble map from David Rumsey Maps.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Ann Prior Jarvis Diary — September 13–25, 1884

This section of the diary includes stake conference, slightly cooler weather, visits from friends, and Josephine starting a job teaching in the St. George Third Ward School.


Sat 13 Attended conference to day took Josey up to the wine cellar as she plays in the farce

Sun 14 Weather cloudy had a slight shower attended conference  I have enjoyed the conference more when there was four of the Apostles but if I observed all I was taught   I shall be a blest woman
we went to Em to supper & spent the evening there

Mon 15  Weather warm in the day time but cold at nights
I feel cold as I sleep on the porch. had a visit from Br Reidhead from Woodruff

Tus 16  Weather pleasant Father took Eleanor & Rose to the Temple  Eleanor stayed with me I took her for a ride before taken her home her health is poor

Wed 17   Weather fine

Thu 18   Weather pleasant had a ride received letters from Arizona

Friday 19    Weather warm

Sat 20  Weather warm I went with Father to the spring had a pleasant ride took Anne for a ride in the evening

Sun 21   Weather cloudy this morning I took Father to the Temple in the buggy then took Amelia for a ride then Anne came stayed to supper

Mon 22   Weather fine I have the house to myself as Josey has commenced to teach in the third ward

Tus 23   Weather fine I did not goo to meeting

Dr. Silas Gardner Higgins

Wed 24   Weather pleasant I took Elanor to Br Higgins
I brought Josephine home from School Charles Robson called to see us an old friend we had not seen him for twenty three years.

Thursday 25  Weather very pleasant cool nights I had a good night rest last night I am very thankful for it  Oh how thankful we ought to be for good health when we suffer pain and affliction we are humbled when we are well we are apt to be haughty and think we are important I feel my sufferings are for my good if I were well all the time I might forget my heavenly Father and he would be slow to hear my prayers in the day of trouble  I took Eleanor to Dr Higgins he had gone to Washington took Amelia for a ride

From Charles Lowell Walker's Diary
[No entries until October 2.]

Notes
took Josey up to the wine cellar as she plays in the farce — Your guess is as good as mine!

Br Reidhead from Woodruff — John Reidhead Jr. (1827-1916) of Woodruff, Arizona, was an 1877 Arizona pioneer. He could have brought news from Ann's children in Arizona. Some of these church leaders, including Charles Robson, could have been heading to Salt Lake City to General Conference.

Br/Dr Higgins — Silas Gardner Higgins (1822-1904). He was practicing as a physician for both St. George and Silver Reef and the surrounding communities. His practice would have been mostly limited to herbal remedies, and there's not much he could have done for Eleanor with her severe heart problem.

Charles Robson — Charles Innes Robson (1837-1894) one of the founders of Mesa, Arizona.

Sources
Pat Sullivan Henshaw, "Silas Gardner Higgins," [digitized photograph], Source.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Ann Prior Jarvis Diary — September 1–12, 1884

The people of St. George had a few stormy days as a cold front moved into the region. It was a welcome break from the heat of the summer, but the lightning reminded Ann of her son Willie's death. 

Ann regularly mentions her use of the buggy. It must have been an ongoing novelty for this Londoner to own a buggy, and of course it allowed her to get out, since she otherwise would have been homebound, and it also allowed her to offer rides to other women in the community and build some social capital.

September [1884]

Mon 1 Weather warm health very good for which I am thankful. we had a terriffic Thunder & lightning in the evening the worst since Willie was killed

Tus 2 Weather fair spent the day kniting reading writing took Sister Calkins riding took Sister Loughe home from her daughters

Wed 3 Wheat^h^er threating Cloudy lightened all night was very bad at night could not lie down for hours took Anne for a ride stayed with her late as Josey was ataehersel [?]

Thurs 4 Weather indicates a storm attended Fast meeting. a good spirit prevaled the meeting good instructions from the brethren Mary Mansfield [Bentley] baby was blessed. attended ladies Monthly meeting enjoyed myself

From FamilySearch Family Tree, courtesy of "kariburton."

Friday 5 Weather Windy sit with Mary some time knited sent a letter to Heber George played a game or two of checkers had the buggy for Eleanor

Sat 6 Weather pleasant had a good nights rest it was quite cold in the night so I think they had frost in the mountains George had the buggy for Eleanor

Sun 7 Weather fine went to meeting took Em for a ride took Mrs Calkins to & from Harmonds had a good night rest the nights are cold

Mon 8 Weather cool this day is passing away and I have note accomplished much our time is all we can say is ours I frequently grieve that time flys and I do not do much work I do not visit. my desires are good but I do not put them in practise I would like to do good every day I live

Tus 9 Weather quite pleasant it is relief society day we meet to work to make quilts I had a ride Mary Gates asked me to let her ride she enjoyed very much. Sister Squires is dead attended my meeting sewed some patchwork.

Deseret News, "Deaths," September 24, 1884, 16.

Wed 10

Thur 11 Weather warm attended the monthly meeting of the relief society I walked to the Lyceum Father had the buggy for me when I came out I was very thankful as I had palpitation of ^the^ heart very bad

Fri 12 Weather windy. went to the Sunday School Entertainment in the evening 



From Charles Lowell Walker's Diary
St George 4th Sept. 1884 Hot weather still continues. This morning I attended fast Meeting and blessed William Oscar Bentley. I then spoke a short time on the antiquity of the Gospel as pertaining to the people of this Earth. Also touched on the free agency of Man and the exercise of the free and independent will which God had given to his creatures for a wise and noble purpose of choosing the good and refusing the evil. Others of the Brethren followed much on the Same strain and on the fulfilment of ancient and modern prophecy. We had a time of rejoicing and testimony, those presiding bearing witnes to the good Spirit dictating those that Spoke...


Notes
Sister Calkins — Asa Calkins (1809-1873) had two widows, Mariette Symonds Barney Calkins (1810-1886) and Agnes Perkes Calkins (1840-1916). I would assume from context and ages that Anne meant Mariette. (There may also be a third widow, but as far as I can tell she was deceased by 1884.

Sister Loughe — One of the wives of Darius Lougee (1815-1893), either Maine native Sarah Leavitt (1822-1899) or Englishwoman Alice Hulme (1833-1898).

Mary Mansfield baby — William Oscar Bentley Jr. (1884-1974), the son of William Oscar Bentley (1851-1920) and Mary Ann Mansfield (1859-1949).

sit with Mary — I assume she meant her daughter-in-law Mary, not the Mary mentioned the previous day.

Mrs Calkins — Is "Mrs Calkins" the same as "Sister Calkins"? 

Harmonds —Probably the home of the widowed Eunice Chidester Harmon (1834-1905). None of her children seems to be married in 1884.

Mary Gates — A member of the large Jacob Gates family. The options are Vermont native Mary Minerva Snow (1813-1891), Mary Ware (1844-1909), and Mary Ware Gates's pre-teen daughter Mary Gates (1872-1909). If Mary Minerva went by the name "Mary," this is most likely to be her, since Mary Ware Gates lived for some time in Bellevue (Pintura) and ran a small hotel there.

Sister Squires —Englishwoman Maria Morrel Squire (1814-1884), the wife of William Squire. She had two living children at the time of her death, Agnes and John, and her husband survived her by about a year. Her obituary notes that she lived in Fourth Ward, so it was not likely that Ann would have interacted with her extensively. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Perpetual Fund: A Personal Response

From Wikipedia.

As the descendant of those who used Perpetual Emigrating donations to gather to Zion, and a descendant of others who contributed to the Fund and helped the poor Saints immigrate, John Lyon's poem "Perpetual Fund" strikes an emotional chord as I consider the lives and sacrifices each of these people made as they worked to obey the commandments of God and provide a heritage to their descendants.

Many thanks to Ardis for publishing this poem at Keepapitchinin: The Mormon History Blog.

For more information on the Perpetual Emigrating Fund, see my brief history and summary of resources: The Perpetual Emigrating Fund.

Joseph Litson and his sister Eliza Litson Glade.

Perpetual Fund

By John Lyon (1850)

Come on, ye rich, with all your gifted store,
Give to the poor, and God will give you more!
Your feeling hearts, responsive to His call,
Will find His love and blessing best of all:
Yes, tenfold int’rest on the things you have,
And more than all your charities e’er gave!
Why should the rich not help the lab’ring poor?
Both are compell’d to knock at Mercy’s door!
As well the river scorn the stream and brook
From which it all its swelling greatness took;’
Or the great sea retain her liquid store,
Nor give one drop to quench the parched shore;
As Wealth withhold accumulated toil,
And say to Poverty, starve on the while!
Let richer Saints pour in their glit’ring gold,
‘Twill pave your way to Zion’s mountain fold!
Ten thousand hearts with prayerful ardour seek
The means to live, yet mourn from week to week,
Who could be blest through your beneficence,
To go where labour gains a recompense!
Oh, then! let love your names in sums record
What you will do for Zion and the Lord!
Ye poor who labour, learn with pure delight,
How much in value was the widow’s mite!
How farthings multiplied to pence make pounds,
And pounds to hundreds, thousands, have no bounds!
‘Till ev’ry Saint’s relieved, and sinner stunned,
Will shout, look here! at this Perpetual Fund!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Poor John Tanner

This picture has been kicking around Ancestry for several years and someone just added it to John Tanner's entry on FamilySearch Family Tree. 

I have never seen any explanation as to why anyone thinks it is John Tanner, or any explanation as to where it came from.

As explained in the following article it is unlikely that there are any pictures of John Tanner:

The Tanner Family Daguerreotype (see included links as well)

In order for a picture to be attached to John Tanner's Family Tree entry it should have a clear chain of ownership with the identification of the picture made at the time it was taken and not rely on a guess several generations later, which could very well be the case with this picture, since no one has indicated anything to the contrary.

The picture may have been originally labeled "John Tanner," but there were two other John Tanners in Utah in the 19th century. One was a Swiss immigrant. One was John Tanner's son John Joshua Tanner, often called "John Tanner" in vital records. From time to time I've seen Tanner descendants confuse John Joshua with his father.

Now that I'm looking at a picture of John Joshua, this does look a very little like him. 


It also looks a very little like Nathan. 


So this could be one of John and Lydia's sons. But it is unlikely to be John Tanner, the father, and should not be attached to his entry unless someone has definite and convincing proof that it is him.

As stated before, proof would include information about who owns the original, when it was taken, and when and by whom the identification was made.

Update, September 7, 2014I put my kids on this case, and they immediately concluded that the man in the first picture was not related to John Joshua and Nathan. For reasons they suggested shape of ears, shape of eyes, shape of nose, shape of creases from nose to mouth, shape of beard at mouth. These conclusions are being made from a low-resolution picture, but these are all the type of markers that help identify pictures.

As noted in my analysis of the possible photograph of John Tanner's relative-by-marriage Samuel Shepherd, a picture needs to meet several tests:
  • What is the provenance of the picture? (Who owns it and why? What is the chain of ownership?)
  • Is there an identification included with the picture? Who made it?
  • Is the technology appropriate to the time it was supposed to have been taken?
  • Were there daguerreotypists or photographers operating in the area at the time?
  • Any family resemblances? 
  • Do the ages of the people in the photograph seem to be accurate?
  • What can the clothing tell us about when the picture was taken?
  • What other details in the picture help locate the picture and identify the subjects?
I would be happy to find that some member of the family had a picture of John Tanner, but because of the history of the Family Associations and genealogy projects through the years and all the factors mentioned in the Tanner Family Daguerreotype analysis, I would be very surprised if there was one.

PS The man in the first picture seems to have some African-American or Indian heritage. That was not uncommon in colonial America, but I don't think DNA tests have shown that to be the case in the Tanner family. (But the DNA tests I saw were done many years ago. Perhaps if people in the family have had tests done more recently, they could share the results associated with the Tanner line.)

“One Line a Day”

A few weeks ago as I was transcribing Ann Prior Jarvis's diary, I realized that most days she just wrote a line or two but over time her consistent effort resulted in a valuable record of her life and the history of her family and community. So why couldn't I do the same?

As a child, my father took seriously the counsel of Spencer W. Kimball to keep a journal, so he did that faithfully, and also trained his children to do the same. Here is one quote from President Kimball on journal keeping:
Any Latter-day Saint family that has searched genealogical and historical records has fervently wished its ancestors had kept better and more complete records. On the other hand, some families possess some spiritual treasures because ancestors have recorded the events surrounding their conversion to the gospel and other happenings of interest, including many miraculous blessings and spiritual experiences. People often use the excuse that their lives are uneventful and nobody would be interested in what they have done. But I promise you that if you will keep your journals and records, they will indeed be a source of great inspiration to your families, to your children, your grandchildren, and others, on through the generations. Each of us is important to those who are near and dear to us—and as our posterity read of our life’s experiences, they, too, will come to know and love us. And in that glorious day when our families are together in the eternities, we will already be acquainted.
After I married and my family grew and I became busier, I fell out of the habit, but thanks to Ann and her diary, I decided to look for a new journal and resume the habit.

It turns out there are a number of one-line-a-day” diaries on the market. I chose one from Amazon and a few days later it arrived. It's a great format for me. The space allows a few lines of small text. I keep it next to my bed and can write at the end of the day without it taking more than a minute or two.

The cover is not too well done, which was a disappointment, but the diary still works and the important thing is to leave this record of my own life.