Monday, January 26, 2015

“We have been driven from our homes and so have you”

The handwritten list of the John Tanner family from the 1848 Camp of Zion Schedules contained the names of two young women not members of the immediate family, Jane Grover and Augusta Hawkins.

The name of the first, Jane, sounded very familiar. A look at her FamilySearch Family Tree entry revealed the reason.

Jane was born in 1830 in Washington County, New York. The Tanners lived there for years, but by the time Jane was born the Tanners lived in Warren County, on the other side of Lake George, and shortly thereafter the Grovers moved to western New York. 

The Grover and Tanner families may have known each other before they joined the Church, but as fellow New Yorkers they certainly got to know each other as they moved west with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

This is not Jane Grover Stewart. I cannot find a picture of her.
This is her sister, Emeline Grover Rich, a wife of Charles C. Rich.
The other Stewart sisters all resembled each other,
so Jane probably would have resembled all of them, including Emeline.  

Jane's mother, Caroline Whiting, died in childbirth in 1840, and her father Thomas Grover remarried Caroline Nickerson. Thomas headed to the Salt Lake Valley in Brigham Young's 1847 pioneer company. Jane followed the next year with the Tanner family, perhaps as a household helper, along with Augusta Hawkins (Twitchell Stone, 1836-1879).

Augusta Hawkins Twitchell Stone.

After the pioneers reached the Salt Lake Valley, Jane married Southerner James Stewart in Northern California in 1850. They moved later to San Bernardino, then settled permanently in Farmington, Utah. Jane died in 1873 shortly after the birth of her eleventh child.

Many Tanner descendants will be familiar with a story Jane told. [1] Unfortunately it doesn't specify the location, but the mention of the house locates it toward the beginning of their journey, and the use of the Indian term “gooseberry” for currants, also suggests it was in eastern Nebraska. [2]

Note that although John Tanner was able to handle his team, the women he was with were protective of his health and well-being. He was 69 years old and may have never fully recovered from his serious injury at the hand of a Missouri mob.
Here's Jane's story.
One morning we thought we would go and gather goose-berries. Father Tanner (as we familiarly called the good, patriarchal John Tanner) harnessed a span of horses to a light wagon, and, with two sisters by the name of Lyman, his little grand-daughter and I, started out. When we reached the woods we told the old gentleman to go to a house which was in sight, and rest, while we picked the berries.  
It was not long before the little girl and I strayed some distance from the others, when, suddenly we heard shouts. The little girl thought it was her grandfather, and she was going to answer, but I prevented her, thinking it might be Indians. We walked forward until within sight of Father Tanner, when we saw he was running his team around. We thought it nothing strange at first, but as we approached, we saw Indians gathering around the wagon, whooping and yelling as others came and joined them. We got into the wagon to start, when four of the Indians took hold of the wagon, and two others held the horses by the bits, and another came to take me out of the wagon. I then began to be afraid as well as vexed, and asked Father Tanner to let me get out of the wagon and run for assistance. He said, “No, poor child, it is too late!” I told him they should not take me alive. 
Father Tanner's face was as white as a sheet! The Indians had commenced to strip him. They had taken his watch and handkerchief, and while stripping him, were trying to pull me out of the wagon. I began silently to appeal to my Heavenly Father. While praying and struggling, the Spirit of the Almighty fell upon me, and I arose with great power, and no tongue can describe my feelings. I was as happy as I could be. A few moments before, I saw worse than death staring me in the face, and now my hand was raised by the power of God, and I talked to those Indians in their own language. They let go the horses and wagon, and stood in front of me while I talked to them by the power of God. They bowed their heads and answered “yes” in a way that made me know what they meant. Father Tanner and the little girl looked on in speechless amazement. I realized our situation. They calculation was to kill Father Tanner, burn the wagon, and take us women prisoners. This was plainly shown to me. When I stopped talking, they shook hands with all of us and returned all they had taken from Father Tanner, who gave them back the handkerchief, and I gave them berries and crackers. By this time the other two women came up and we hastened home. 
The Lord gave me a portion of the interpretation of what I had said, which is as follows: “I suppose you Indian warriors think you are going to kill us. Don't you know that the Great Spirit is watching you, and knows everything in your hearts? We have come out here to gather some of our Father's fruit. We have not come to injure you: and if you harm us, or injure one hair of our heads, the Great Spirit will smite you to the earth, and you shall not have power to breath [sic] another breath. We have been driven from our homes and so have you. We have come out here to do you good and not to injure you. We are the Lord's people, and so are you; but you must cease your murders and wickedness. The Lord is displeased with it and will not prosper you if you continue in it. You think you own all this land, this timber, this water and all these horses. You do not own one thing on earth, not even the air you breathe. It all belongs to the Great Spirit.”
[1] I have seen several different versions of Jane Grover's story online. The earliest known version, given here, is from Scraps of Biography, based on materials from Francis M. Lyman, but it reads like it has been edited for publication. Perhaps the original still exists somewhere. Sometimes John Tanner's name is given as “Nathan,” but that was his son, too young to be given the societal honorific “Father.” 

[2] By gooseberry, Jane didn't mean the European gooseberry, a bitter green fruit native to Europe; she meant Grossulariaceae Ribes, a currant, commonly known as gooseberry, in literal translation from the Kiowa, Omaha, or Ponca word for the fruit. The use of the term “gooseberry” may locate this story to Omaha or Ponca territory, in modern eastern Nebraska.

Anonymous. “Sketch of An Elder's Life.” [Biography of John Tanner.] In Juvenile Instructor Office. Scraps of Biography: Tenth Book of the Faith-Promoting Series: Designed for the Instruction and Encouragement of Young Latter-Day Saints. Salt Lake City: Juvenile Instructor Office, 1883, 18-19. 

Benfer, Adam, Foods Indigenous to the Western Hemisphere: Currants and Gooseberries, Grossulariaceae Ribes, Spp. American Indian Health and Diet Project. 

First 50, reports, [page 2] circa 1848 June, Camp of Israel schedules and reports. Church History Library, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah. 

The picture of Emeline Grover Rich is from Family Tree, courtesy of "sharoncarterseamons1." The picture of Augusta Hawkins is from FamilyTree, courtesy of "JensenMyrtleAlice1." The German-language picture of the local tribes is from Wikipedia, courtesy of "Nikater." The picture of the currants is from Wikipedia, courtesy of "Luke1ace."

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