Saturday, July 22, 2017

Remembering Our Heritage - July 24th, 1847-2017~

On the 24th of July, the State of Utah celebrates the arrival of the Mormon Pioneers into the Salt Lake Valley. These sturdy pioneers went through tremendous tribulation. As a people they were expelled from  Nauvoo, Illinois following the Martyrdom of their beloved Prophet, Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum. They had just finished building a beautiful temple thus preparing for Eternal Temple Covenants. They gathered together and made plans to travel west. Many hearts were broken and tears shed as they left their beautiful Nauvoo.
 Brigham Young became their Prophet leader and had seen in a vision the place they were to settle in the west. 
There are countless stories of their faith, spiritual experiences and hardships traveling per wagon and by handcart to this desert valley. We are blessed to have ancestors that paved the way for this marvelous Gospel to thrive. Their stories are poignant and show their deep faith and commitment to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. When reading of their experiences our faith grows and we revere these stalwart pioneers. 
You can read more about their exodus here. and here
Here is a brief history of my husband's Great Grandfather, George Williams. He left a powerful legacy of faith and commitment to his beliefs.
George Williams was born June 25, 1937, in Birmingham, Warwickshire, England to Enoch and Elizabeth Pride Williams. His parents accepted the Gospel and were baptized in 1843 when George was six years of age. Two years later, when he was eight years old, George was baptized in 1845.
When George was 18 years old, he booked passage on the ship the "Enoch Train" to come to America. On March 22, 1856, under the command of Cpt. Henry P. Rich, the shipload of Saints cleared from Liverpool and sailed on the 23rd, bound for Boston with 534 Saints on board under the Presidency of Elders James Fergeson, Edmund Ellsworth and Daniel D. McArthur. On Thursday, May 1st, at eight a.m. the ship arrived at Constitution Wharf in Boston. At four o'clock p.m. the following day George and the other passengers disembarked and went by nine omnibuses to the railway station. They started by train at 5 p.m. for New York City where they arrived on the 3rd of May. After a short stay in New York, the company continued the journey by rail to Iowa City, where they arrived on the 10th of June, 1856.
George crossed the plains in the first handcart company that took the Saints to Zion. He went in the Edmund Ellsworth Company which left Iowa City June 9th, 1856. They suffered the hardships and privations which all handcart companies suffered, with storms, death and hunger, and tired and weary feet. But this company arrived ahead of the winter storms, arriving in the Valley on Friday, Sept. 26th. About eight miles from the City, the Company was met by Governor Brigham Young and his counselors, the Nauvoo Brass Band, the Lancers and many others. Provisions of all kinds came rolling in to them which caused them much joy.

George eventually settled in Springville, Utah County, Utah, where he met Emma Jane Stevenson who had crossed the plains with her father and mother, James and Martha Stevenson, when she was eight years of age. Emma Jane and George were married in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City on December 28, 1862. In Springville they built their first home, dug in the side of the hill. In it was one window and a heavy door with a heavier log to fasten it as a protection against the Indians.
During those times the Indians were very troublesome. More so in Southern Utah where more of the Black Hawk Indians roamed. They had grown desperate and treacherous, preying on the LDS people's thrift, often plundering their property, driving off their livestock and at times killing entire families or maybe carrying off the women and girls, which led to the Black Hawk War which started in 1865 and continued for several years. This was principally with the Indians under Chief Black Hawk. Some of the scattered colonists were compelled to give up their land claims and move where they were closer together and could better defend themselves from the roving marauders. The Williams family were among those courageous homesteaders.
In 1866 George was called to help fight those Indians. The men left behind their wives and children who were always afraid that Indians would com to their homes. Many nights Emma Jane sat in the dark, fearing to make a light as it might attract some roaming savages. During this trying time two sons were born: George Enoch, Jr. and Joseph Charles. Later came Elizabeth Ann and Esther. Indian agents came into power about this time and they, in a measure, restored some peace and understanding with the Indians. Because of this it was felt that the crisis was over and Cpt. Conover's company along with others was allowed to return home. George had served as teamster of this same company until it was
returned and honorably discharged. Because of his meritorious work, George received a medal of honor for this work.
Because the trouble with the Indians was over and because there was good homesteading further south, the President of the Church called a few dependable families in the summer of 1869 to go and colonize that part of the country. Tiny baby Esther was less than a year and just learning to walk. George and Emma Jane were among the number called to leave their homes and help make another section of the country a pleasant place to live. The family settled in an area that became known as Goshen, Utah. The Saints had to be resourceful if they were to live and thrive. Though there were only logs to build a house, they could make it a nice home. Their cows provided milk and butter which was churned in a wooden churn with a wooden dasher. Pigs grew fat and from the pork rinds they could make soap. To make soap they didn't have lye, so they made their lye from aspen ashes. They made their own candles and baking soda. Of potatoes they made their starch. They refined salt from the Great Salt Lake and of onion skins and rabbit brush they made their dye.
They were very careful that not a thing was wasted. They even followed the shepherds and gathered bits of wool from the brush and fences that caught the sheep's wool as they passed by. Of the wool the entire family was clothed and it also provided their bedding, yard for stockings, mittens, coats and woven into cloth made into suits for men and boys and dresses for the women and underthings for all.
They could raise wheat for their flour and potatoes and other vegetables for food. They dried beans, corn and peas, also pumpkins and apples for winter.
Goshen was hot in the summer and cold in the winter. Crops were not always successful and water was sometimes scarce. Reports came of good prospects for homesteads up north. Arriving in Provo they got work and there they decided to remain for a time. Emma Jane was in poor health for awhile and later in the summer, July 20, 1884, baby number ten arrived. They named her Lucy Christina. In the spring of 1886, on April 20, the family started for Idaho. The family of John James was on the same road so they traveled together. In all there was 18 in the party. They had four wagons. It was a pleasant trip of two weeks. When they reached '18 miles mark in Idaho there were dear friends waiting with a warm welcome to greet them. The Higginson family had taken up a homestead so there they lived with their friends. The area was called Mink Creek and also called Chesterfield.
Always George and Emma Jane were faithful supporters of the LDS Church. George was Superintendent of Sunday School there for 19 years and at different times Emma Jane served in the Presidency of the Relief Society and as a Visiting Teacher. They were the parents of ten children: 5 sons and 5 daughters.
George passed away Dec. 29, 1902 and was buried in Chesterfield, but his body was later moved to the Blackfoot Cemetery when Emma Jane and her family moved to Blackfoot. In 1910 Emma Jane remarried. W.W. Priestley and Emma Jane were married about one year before her death on Nov. 19, 1911. At the time of her death she was teacher of the Advanced Senior Class in the Blackfoot Sunday School. She was laid to rest at the side of her beloved George and her son Hubert (Bertie) who had died at age 14 in the Blackfoot Cemetery. She lived to see all adult children married in the Logan Temple, which is the best tribute any mother could have.
Contributed By: sheryloutcelt1 · 8 September 2015 ·

Enjoy this faith promoting video by Elder Rasband of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles.

I am so grateful for my own pioneer heritage. I love the 24th of July celebrations here in Utah. I love to read the histories of my ancestors. Their steadfast faith helps mine to be firm and true. 
Take a moment and find one of your ancestors histories on  Family History records are being added to this site daily from all over the world. 
If you celebrate this holiday have a wonderful 24th of July!

Friday, July 14, 2017

The Joy Of Service~

During my upbringing, I witnessed many acts of service by my parents. I have grown up with the attitude that service is a key principle in my faith. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints progresses forward due to it's members serving in various positions of service without compensation
we are raised to be aware of those around us that need assistance in some way. We not only serve within our church but are encouraged to give service in our communities. 

I have had countless opportunities to serve others and through those moments I have learned so many lessons. I have learned to love my brothers and sisters more fully. I have learned empathy and patience. In return for those hours and days of serving others I have received in return not only blessings but many miracles. Mostly, I have felt rich moments of pure joy. 

 I will share a couple of memorable thoughts on service.  In The Book of Mormon; Mosiah 2:17 it states: "And, Behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God."  
Through the years I have learned this wisdom. I have had many occasions to serve others. Sometimes those moments of service were not always convenient. However, when you complete these times of service, a feeling of joy comes into your heart. You will feel deep gratitude that you were able to help another individual. 

There are numberless ways to serve one another. Within our neighborhoods, communities, work, and just within our own homes there are always someone in need. Some of this service may not be in giving time, providing meals, material needs, and etc. but perhaps just a listening ear, a moment of kindness.  
I have also been the recipient of service. I have wept over those times when others have served me in some way. Often prideful thoughts come and we say to ourselves we can do this alone. We have a difficult time accepting service or asking for it.  Years ago, I fit into that category. We were  moving from Las Vegas, Nevada to Spokane, Washington when I had a circumstance where I  needed help. My husband had been transferred to Spokane to be the Director of a new mail order pharmacy. On the Sunday before we were to move out of our home, my dearest husband had a heart attack. The moving van was coming on Wednesday of that next week.  He was only 45 years old at that time. He had an angioplasty procedure at the hospital and was released to travel a few days later. Instead of the week long trip that we had planned with 4 of our children; we ended up flying directly to Spokane. Our furniture was not arriving for a few more days; so we were staying in a hotel. The first night there my husband started to have some lung discomfort and a temperature. We didn't have a physician so I made some calls and found a good Heart Specialist. I took him to the Emergency Room and the physician wanted to admit him into the hospital. My husband was in the  hospital for 4 days with Dresslers Syndrome, a complication from the Heart attack. Meanwhile, our furniture arrived and I didn't know what to do other than I knew I had to have  help. I finally called the Bishop of the ward we were moving into. Not only did the Bishopric arrive quickly to see about our needs but the President of the Relief Society (the women's organization of our faith) came baring a gift of a delicious homemade pie. She then made arrangements for some meals to be brought in over the next few days. One of the counselors in the Bishopric came back to help us set up a water bed so that my husband would have a bed to be in when he was released from the hospital. Also, my husband was given a priesthood blessing that calmed us all. Through this whole experience our children were taught about true Christian service.  I felt  peace at this time knowing we had people around us who cared. I knew that Heavenly Father was aware and sent these earthly angels to us. 
 I have learned that service can have a healing effect upon our spirits. I was a Hospice Home Health Nurse for a few years while we lived in Las Vegas.  Being a Hospice Nurse was such a blessing in my life. When you visit and care for a patient suffering with a terminal illness and their families, you feel great satisfaction.  At one point I had some health problems. There were days when I could barely drag myself to work.  When I  would make my first visit for the day, I always felt better. I had an inner happiness in being able to help my patients during their difficult journey. I was deeply blessed and I was able to handle my own illness better. I have recognized that doing service is a great way to lessen depression. I  know that when you are feeling down, if you will do something for someone else you will feel better. Service is a great antidote for those down days. 
We know that loving and caring for other people is not just our duty but also our joy. Loving one another other is one of the purposes of our lives. Christ reminded his listener that the second great commandment is to love our neighbors as ourselves and then, when asked who our neighbor is; he responded with the story of the "Good Samaritan."This story tells us many things; but basically it tells us that love and service bring joy and that the tears that come to our eyes when reading this message echoes of the love of Christ, in recognition of a good act.
When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God." This is the moment in time that you will feel wonderful feelings of happiness.
On a daily basis my dear missionary companion and I experience sweet miracles in our work. We have the opportunity to invite others to come unto Christ and learn of Him. As we learn of Christ, we learn of His many acts of service. We find great joy in our work of missionary service.


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