Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Our 24th of July Celebration To Commemorate The Mormon Pioneers Entering The Salt Lake Valley On July 24th, 1847


I have ancestors who were Mormon Pioneers. These brave and stalwart pioneers went through many struggles on their trek across the plains. The first of the pioneers arrived in the Salt Lake Valley on July 24th, 1847. Thousands would join them over the next decade and longer. Not only did they make this desert blossom; but other areas of Utah and other states. Their history is remarkable. 
Here is a short history found on lds.org/ 
The 19th-century Mormon migration beginning in 1846 in Illinois, then through Iowa and Nebraska and eventually to a place of refuge in the Rocky Mountains, was one of the most remarkable episodes in the history of the United States’ great western migration. Unlike the thousands of pioneers streaming west to California and Oregon looking for a better life, the Mormon pioneers migrated involuntary — the result of expulsion from Illinois and Missouri by hostile neighbors. Later, the Mormon pioneer trail would be filled with converts coming from Europe.
  • With the assassination of Joseph Smith in 1844 and increasing pressure on the Mormons to abandon their city of Nauvoo on the banks of the Mississippi, it soon became obvious to Church leaders that they would need to move yet again. At first they established a refuge in what was called Winter Quarters, near present-day Omaha, Nebraska. Then in 1847, under the leadership of Brigham Young, the first wagon train headed west for the Rocky Mountains, its precise destination unknown.
  • As the first group of Mormon pioneers reached the Salt Lake Valley in the summer of 1847, Brigham Young looked out over what was then a barren, dry desert and declared, "This is the right place."
  • In 1849, President Young established the Perpetual Emigration Fund to assist poor Latter-day Saint immigrants. The fund helped some 30,000 immigrants from the British Isles, Scandinavia, Switzerland, Germany and the Netherlands reach America — more than one-third of the total Latter-day Saint immigrants from Europe during that period.
  • To cut down on expensive wagons and oxen, some 3,000 of the pioneers subsequently used low-cost wooden handcarts that were light enough to be pulled across the Great Plains. One family or five individuals were assigned to a handcart, with 18 to 20 people sharing a tent. A cart hauled no more than 200 pounds — about 17 pounds of baggage per person.  Each highly organized company was led by an experienced guide and was accompanied by at least four oxen-drawn supply wagons.
  • The first party of handcarts set out from Iowa City, Iowa, on 9 June 1856 with a company of 266 people from England, followed two days later by a second company of just over 200.  These early handcart brigades successfully arrived in the Salt Lake Valley, but the trips were not easy. Pioneer journals recorded harsh weather, the threat of hostile Indians, the death of fellow travelers and the ongoing hardships of hunger and fatigue.
  • Tragedy struck in the fall of 1856 after the Willie and Martin handcart companies left late in the season with 1,000 people between them. Both companies were plagued by a lack of supplies and hardships, including an early snowstorm that turned into one of the worst storms of the century. The exhausted companies set up camp in deep snow on the Wyoming plains, where more than 200 people died from starvation and cold. A massive rescue effort was launched immediately when word of their plight reached Salt Lake City.
  • In all, whether they came by wagon or handcart, thousands of Mormon pioneers died on the trail. Loved ones including children were often buried in shallow graves that would never be visited again.
  • Under Brigham Young’s direction, an estimated 70,000 Latter-day Saints made the difficult journey to Utah from 1847 until the transcontinental railroad was completed in 1869. The collective experience of the pioneers has cut deep into Mormon self-identity. Pioneer ancestors who made the trek are honored and often spoken of not only in family gatherings of descendants but also in meetings of Church members, who see the pioneers’ example of courage and sacrifice as inspirational. (http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/pioneer-trek)
Here is a short story of my Great Grandmother Sena Christensen Peterson -
Sena was born 13 November 1846 in Asby, Aslborg, Denmark. She was the daughter of Niels Christian and Mette Christendatter Christensen. 
When the missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints came to see them and told them of the gospel and the wonderful Zion in the mountains of America, they decided to go to the land of plenty. In 1861 they left their native land, their father, mother and six children. Sena was next to the youngest and was just 13 years old. 
They sailed from Liverpool, England Thursday 16 of May 1861. They were passengers on the ship "Monarch of the Sea." There were 955 Saints of various nationalities, under the direction of Jabez Woodard, Hans O. Hansen and Niels Wilhelmsen. The company arrived in New York June 19, 1861. 
In the long trip across the country, they endured many hardships common to pioneers. Fuel was scarce and they were compelled to gather anything that would burn, to cook their food. sena though only a girl walked a large part of the way across the plains, helping to carry her younger sister. She also gave up her turn to ride to a lady that was ill and needed to ride. 
Sena and her family settled in Spring City, Utah. While she was living in Spring City, she went to work in Mt. Pleasant which was six miles away. When she got lonesome to see her mother she would walk the six miles to Spring City to see her. On one of these trips home a band of Indians over took her and tried to take her away on one of their horses. But, by some good fortune she managed to escape, frightened nearly to death. She worked a whole year for cloth for a calico dress and when she tried to make it she lacked enough material for one sleeve. 
I love these brave pioneer ancestors. Here in Utah there will be a huge celebration. The 24th of July Parade in Salt Lake City is one of the largest parades in the country. 
Here is a link for all of the many celebrations.

Here is the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing a well known pioneer hymn~

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Welcome To The World Sweet Little Myah Makayla ~

Our Sweet Little Myah Makayla was born at 8:23 am on July 16, 2014
Myah is our 4th Great Grandchild and our Third Great Granddaughter.
She weighted in at 7 lbs 9 oz. 
We find this all so amazing~We can't figure out when 
we got old enough to have Great Grandchildren~
 Her sisters were so excited to see her. Here is Jadyn age, 4 and Lilly, age 2 with baby Myah~
 Here's sweet Mommy, Jessica with Jadyn and Myah~
 Here is Daddy, Jed with Lilly and baby Myah~
Then Great Grandpa, Roger with baby Myah~ 
Great Grandpa enjoyed every minute of time with this little one~
 Here is Great Grandma, LeAnn with baby Myah~She finally got to hold her~
Great Grandma did not want to give her back~
Daddy and Mommy with precious little Myah~
 
 Great Grandpa and Great Grandma with our newest little one~
Then more Photo-op time for Myah



 OK, Great Grandma that is enough posing for today~

Thursday, July 10, 2014

A Walk Down Memory Lane - Back To My Roots~

Here is pictures of my cousin Mary and her husband Floyd~
My dear Cousin Mary's family~
My cousin Mary Evlyn Hummel passed away on July 6th. I loved her very much. She was actually more like an Aunt than a cousin. She had been raised in the same home as my father and he always considered her his little sister. In the passed few months I have lost some very dear loved ones. I grieve frequently over them. Memories come a long with the tears. 
I decided to drive back to my hometown for the funeral. My husband had a business trip so he wasn't able to come with me. I normally don't take off on my own very much; due to not liking to drive. However, I did want to see her family. Her two older daughters Becky and Jacky were such choice cousins. I spent many hours playing with them in their grandparent's home in Sigurd, Utah. There are also two brother, John and Mac that were born later after we had moved from Richfield. 
As I traveled down to Richfield where I was born; I decided to stop at the Sigurd cemetery and visit my parents graves. I wasn't able to go down on Memorial Day so I wanted to put some flowers on their graves. 
                          
My Dad and Mom's Headstone~
As I thought about my dear parents and my two brothers that I have lost in recent years and  months, along with my dear Aunt Della and now my Cousin Mary; I had a difficult time. 
                          
 I started to think about my Dad's parents whom lost my Dad's older brother Max when he was just a little over two years old. On his little headstone it says; "A little bud of love to bloom with God above."
Here is my Dad's Mother's Headstone. She died when my Dad was just 5 months old. She was only 23 years old at that time. Her headstone reads; "Thy life was beauty, truth, goodness and love."

Here is my Dad's Father's Headstone who was killed in the 1st world war when my Dad was just 22 months old. My dear Dad was raised by his Grandmother McMillan.  Five years later my Dad's Grandfather died in a farming accident. That story is so sad. My Grandmother McMillan died when I was very young so I didn't get to know her. I do know she was a faithful member of our church and was a wonderful woman and my Dad loved her so much. She took very good care of him. 
Here is the memorial for the Hardy Pioneers that settled this beautiful valley. My ancestors are the Gledhill's names on this memorial. I love that this was constructed out of the original Rock from a little church in the Sigurd community. 

As I drove down the rode towards the home where my father was raised; I found the door was opened. The home hasn't been lived in for a while and the outside has deteriorated some. I found some ladies cleaning the kitchen. Later my cousin told me that one of her daughters was going to move into it for a while. I felt I had found a treasure. I  became so excited to be able to go in the home again after so many years. I went through the home and took a lot of pictures. Here are a few of them. Wow, this was such a blessing for me at this time. 

I spent many hours playing in this home and on this farm~
These next two pictures are the living room and dinning room. My Aunt Lucille was a fantastic cook. There used to be a long table in the dinning room. She would spend long hours in the kitchen cooking for the ranch hands. There were quite a few who ate at that table at noon each day. She made a chocolate cake that you could die for. She made me one every year for my birthday until we moved away. 
Here is a picture of the dinning room~
Here is the play room upstairs. That little entrance goes into a fairly large play area.
 It was so fun to see this room again. 
This room was the bedroom of my cousins. It was a favorite place of mine because I loved it in the summer. My Aunt would open up the windows and the white curtains would blow gently into the room. I was very amazed at how all the wood floors were in such good condition. 
I was excited to find horses, cows, sheep and dogs on the property.
 I really am a cowgirl at heart. 
I am positive I climbed this fence more than once. 
This is the little house that my Dad was born in. I felt so blessed to get a picture of this one. 
I traveled on to Richfield where I was born.  Here is a picture of the home I lived in as a baby~
I spent a lot of summer time hours swimming at this pool. In my day it was an outdoor pool.
 I pictured myself as an Esther Williams; that will date me for sure. 
I did become LeAnn Williams that should count.
I loved to swim and I thought I could swim across Fish Lake, Utah someday.
 I tried but it was too cold to even swim at all. 
Here is the door into my Kindergarten class room. 
This is a favorite home of my youth. We lived here only a short time and then my parents lost the home and we rented homes until we moved to Salt Lake City, Utah when I was 13 years old. 

This is a cabin built by my great grandfather Eskild Peterson when they first settled in Utah. It is now owned by the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers. It was closed so I didn't get to go inside. I know there are some items that were donated by his family in there. I hope to see them someday.

The next day I attended the funeral, dedication of the grave and family luncheon. It was nice to see family that I hadn't seen for a very long time. It is kind of sad when we don't see our loved ones very often and then we get to see them at a funeral. I loved the chance to talk with my cousins. I also enjoyed a few moments with my dear cousin's husband Floyd. He was such a favorite of my parents. They visited with each other often through the years. My sweet cousin was 91 years old and I will treasure the memories that I have of her, her family and her parents. 

After the funeral I visited with my Aunt Alene and Uncle Keith. They are both 93 years old. I enjoy a lovely visit with them.  My dear Aunt took me back to the Richfield Cemetery and I took several pictures of graves stones of ancestors that I didn't know were buried there.  

I found that this short trip was a very healing one for me. I do know that I will see all of my dear loved one that have departed this earth again. I have a testimony of life after death and that we will all be resurrected some day. 
Here is a great message on " The Plan of Salvation". 
Here is another wonderful pamphlet on this same subject of what I believe to be true about life and death. 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Have A Wonderful 4th of July Celebration ~

I love this great country with all my heart. I love to hear and sing the National Anthem; "The Star Spangled Banner". I have a great respect for our Flag and for the freedoms that we enjoy from being part of a free land. 
That being said, I am  saddened that many do not put their hand to their heart when our National Anthem is sang or the "Pledge of Allegiance" is said. My heart hurts that many schools are not allowed to teach the "Pledge of Allegiance." This land has remained free because of so many who have served this great land in the halls of congress, in the senate and also in the White House. Now our precious Constitution is being threatened and challenged. 
 Even more sobering are the many lives that have been given for this freedom from the Revolutionary War to the War in Iraq and other areas around the world. We have been a freedom fighting nation, assisting the people in other lands freedom from tyranny. 
I lost my Grandfather in France during World War II. I never knew him but was always proud that he gave his life to free an oppressed people.  I have ancestors who served in the Revolutionary War, Civil War and others wars through the years. They served because they believed in this great nation. They were fighting for their homes and their freedoms, their wives and their children.
 In the Book of Mormon, there were many wars fraught for these same freedoms. In the following verse found in   Alma 43: 45; "Nevertheless, the Nephites were inspired by a better cause, for they were not fighting for monarchy nor power but they were fighting for their homes and their liberties, their wives and their children, and their all, yea, for their rites of worship and their church."
You can read another great story in the Book of Mormon about a righteous leader named Moroni here We must continue to support this great country by being more aware of the precarious state it is in. 

This land was given as a promised land to this ancient people by God. Their story is found in The Book of Mormon. These people due to wickedness were totally destroyed by war except for a small remnant of them. 
Are we going to follow this same path? I pray that we can be a righteousness nation. 
The founding father's gave their abilities and total energies to bringing forth the Declaration of Independence.


 This one line is so inspiring: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness". I don't see that we as a nation are realizing how important that paragraph is.
 I know that The Constitution of the United States of America was brought forth by the founding fathers through the Spirit. God had a hand in this document.

  How sad that the original intent has been debated for so many years and there have been 33 amendments thus far made to this document. 
May we all take a moment on this 4th of July during our celebration of this great country and pray for our nation and it's leaders. 
Listen to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Sing our National Anthem; "The Star Spangled Banner". As you listen to that beautiful choir; place your hand over your heart and rededicate your love and devotion for this country which was given to us all by a very Loving Heavenly Father. May this land be preserved and may we never lose our liberties. 




Thursday, June 26, 2014

Our Family Is Forever - Family Reunion 2014~

We  believe that Families are forever. We want to be with our family throughout all Eternity. We want "No Empty Chairs" at our family moments together. We just held our Roger and LeAnn Williams family reunion in Bear Lake, Utah. We have these reunions every two years. We had a wonderful cabin home that we stayed in that would sleep 45. We also had a smaller place for one of our families that couldn't stay for the whole reunion time. When we were all together there were 50 total.  We had all our sons, daughters and spouses plus 31 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren. We had one grandson missing that is presently serving a mission for our church in Omaha, Nebraska. While we were having fun he was busy helping to clean up areas affected by the Tornado's.
The weather at Bear Lake was cold.  It rained a little bit and in the canyon there was a touch of snow on one of the days. We were concerned about not being able to do lake activities as planned. Our question was how do we keep 8 families with different ages busy inside of the cabin??? We were a little nervous about how it was going to turn out. There were prayers sent and we went forth with faith that all would be well. Our prayers were answered and we had such a fun time. There were no really big conflicts at all. There was just a lot of patience, tolerance, kindness, sharing, love and hugs that went around
Here is a picture of all of our granddaughters, granddaughter in laws and great granddaughters  Back row - Justice, age 18 with our youngest granddaughter, Haven, age 6 month; April, age 15, Sariah, age 16; Gillian, age 22; Jessica, and Dana.
Middle row - Averi, age 11; Alyssa, age 10; Karli, age 11; Lilly, age 2; our and her sister, Jadyn, age 4. These two are our great granddaughters.
Front row - Faith, age 10; Kaitlyn, age 10; Sarah, age 13; Taylor Jo, age 13 with Emma, age 7; Abbey, age 13. 
Here are our grandsons, and great grandsons.
Back row - Christian, age 15, Joseph, age 15, Jed, Jacob, with Sagan our great grandson, age 1; Austin, age 15. Middle back row - Jeffery, age 8; Ethan, age 13; Michael, age 14.
Middle Row - Williams, age 7; Kason, age 6; Joshua, age 6; Jonathan, age 12; Ryley, age 8.
Front Row - Levi, age 6; Benjamin, age 4; Layton, age 4. 
From the front room windows of the cabin,  the view was spectacular. We even got a picture of a rainbow in the upper left hand corner. 
The home we were in had a pool table and plenty of games. The weather was good enough to swim in the heated pool and play basketball that was on the reserve's property. It was so much fun to see the older boys playing pool with the younger kids. Most of the children went down swimming each day and sometimes twice a day.

Along with activities inside and out side, we had family devotionals. We sang songs, and shared stories of our ancestors. 
There was plenty of visiting with one another and that went very well. The adults and children also played games. In the lower left hand corner I am playing a game with my granddaughter Emma. She was so cute. She would come up to me and ask if I was ready for another round of Sorry. How could you ever refuse a sweet  request like that. 
For one of the devotionals My granddaughters from Missouri sang some songs accompanied by their sister Sariah on the Ukulele - 

 On Wednesday morning all of the children ages 12 and up traveled to the Logan Temple, in Logan, Utah to do baptisms for the dead. I had spent some time doing genealogy research and found some names of ancestors for them to be baptized and confirmed for. To find out more of our beliefs on temple work you can find it here 
Back row - Austin, Roger ( my husband), Travis, Sean, Joseph, Christian, Taylor Jo, James, and Brandon -Front row - Michael, Ethan, Jonathan, Sarah, Sariah, Abbey, April, Christina, Tiffani and David

Logan Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - 
You can find a short history of the Logan Temple here.
One of the really fun activities for the girls was when they braided each other's hair. It was so fun to watch them. They had such a good time doing this. 
We had assigned families doing the meals. Everyone even the younger children helped. 
 We also watched some of the World Soccer games. A lot of the children play soccer so they liked watching the games. There were 4 TV's so the children did watch a few movies while there. 
Saying good by to everyone was hard. We shared lots of love and hugs~



We had a large porch and a great view of the other cabins in the area. Also, a beautiful view of the lake. As we left the cabin we took a few more pictures of the view. We  enjoyed all the precious  moments with each other. It was a super family reunion. 

Just before we left the cabin we all sang again one our our favorite hymns; "Families Can Be Together Forever. " We then knelt in prayer with gratitude in our hearts for this family time together and then prayers for safety in traveling to our various destinations. Our families came from Spokane, Washington; Peculiar, Missouri; Kerrville, Texas; Idaho Falls, Idaho; Sugar City, Idaho; Heber City, Utah; and South Jordan, Utah. 


 After we were all packed up and were ready to roll; we drove down to Garden City to enjoy lunch and have one of the famous Raspberry shakes from there. It was funny because this wasn't planned; we met three of our families down at this place.  It required some more good-by hugs!

Our three youngest daughter's came back to our house for a couple more days; so the fun didn't end there at Bear Lake. They have now all left for their homes. My oldest daughter who has been with us for the last 6 weeks is moving to Australia for 2-3 years or longer. We had some sweet moments together. All of the good-bys were hard because these dear daughters live the furthest away from us so we don't see them as often as our boys. 
Alyssa, Emma and Ben looking for a snack to take while traveling home~
 Mike and Jenni with the three children inside the car~
Dave and Tiffani and children packing up and ready to roll~
 Our daughter, Christina with her family and my husband Roger~
Here I am with my precious granddaughters and daughter~ 
Hugs from my son in law Brandon~ 
 Hugs with my dear daughter, Christina~
I was a basket case of tears as each of these dear families left~

We believe in Families forever - If you want to learn more about these beliefs you can find the answers here. 

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