Wednesday, October 28, 2009

"A change began taking shape in the lives of the Bertelsens in 1852. Their daughter Lette said she had never known Niels to have an enemy in the world up to that time. Soon after Erastus Snow was sent to Denmark to establish the Danish Mission for the LDS Church, Elder George P. Dykes went to the city of Aalborg, a great trading center in northern Jutland. Before long, the elders arrived in Viborg. In serious-minded Maren, who was religiously inclined, the missionaries found fertile ground in which to cultivate their new and unusual religion. After hearing them only once, she was convinced that their message was true. Niels did not embrace their teachings quite so readily. Lette said 'While investigating to find out for themselves, before either of them were baptized, a mob gathered around their home to try to find the Mormon elders, saying they would beat them to death.' Not finding the elders, they went to the landlord and demanded that he exact a promise from the Bertelsens, on threat of their being turned out, that they would allow no Mormons to enter their home. Lette continued, 'The landlord pled with them a long time, but they would not promise, so he said they must go, but he could not tell them where.' Niels was so angered by this injustice he immediately wrote to the magistrate to find out if such action was legal. The word came that the county authorities must give them shelter until some other place could be found, and that they were not forbidden to let anyone enter their house if they did not preach or hold meetings. It was very hard for the family to leave the only home they had ever known, all because they wanted to read the Bible and find out for themselves if these men were telling the truth. In spite of the frequent persecution and mobbing, all the family that were old enough were baptized between 1852 and 1854. Niels was livid when Maren and the children came home with their heels crushed and bleeding from having been stomped on as they fled their persecutors. The family soon moved to Aalborg. Niels was made presiding elder of the Hals branch on June 24, 1858, a position he held until moving to Frejlev, where on January 25, 1861 he was again made presiding elder. With the dawning of the year 1863, the only members of Niels Bertelsen's family still on Danish soil were himself, Maren, and their oldest and youngest daughters. Nearly 10 years had passed since Lette, with her little sister Helene, had made the initial historic trip to Utah. Most of the rest had followed. Now Niels and Maren were making their own plans to sail with 11-yr-old Christiana Dorthea (Anna), but it was with the painful knowledge that their oldest, Johanne (and my great great-grandmother), would be left behind. She had been married the previous year to a man bitterly opposed to Mormonism, and he refused to ever let her join them in Utah. She continued to work and save her money, and in 1900, two years before her death, she sent her grandson, Nels Christian Madsen, to Utah."

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Bertelsens of Denmark

Of all my ancestors, I have the most information about the Bertelsens on my mother's side of the family. The last names followed the patronymic style, which was changing the last name each generation to incorporate part of the father's given name. Obviously this makes for incredibly difficult tracking, but luckily many members of the family have felt it to be important, so the research was done. The whole history through the 1800s was compiled into a booklet of which I have a copy. The next few posts will be excerpts.
"The ancient city of Viborg, situated in central Jutland and once the most important city on the peninsula, was settled long before Denmark was Christianized. It was approximately 27 miles northwest of here, in Lundo, where Niels Bertelsen, son of Johanna Iversen and Peder Pedersen, and Maren Larsen, daughter of Ida Johanne Johansen and Lars Christiansen, were born (see pictures above). The disparity in Niels' surname (Bertelsen instead of Pedersen) should be explained. The family pedigree chart shows the name Bertelsen as the surname of Niels's great- and great-great-grandfathers. Most likely his parents decided to break the long chain and revert to this less common name. He was, however, sometimes referred to as Niels Pedersen Bertelsen.
Next to the eldest in a family of 5 boys and 6 girls, Niels was compelled at the age of 8 to leave the small farm his father owned to herd sheep many miles away. Because he possessed a deep love for his home and family, and with the prospect of seeing them only at six-month intervals, this parting was very trying. His early life was spent in this manner until he was old enough to row a boat and engage in the fishing business with his father. Niels worked with his father until his marriage to Maren in the spring of 1831. Niels had a happy disposition; Maren, on the other hand, had a sterner nature. She came from a family comparatively wealthy in the world's goods. Her father spurned her choice of a husband, and when she married him anyway, disinherited her, giving her only $25 in keeping with the law. On April 20, 1832, their first daughter, Johanne Maria, was born (who is my direct ancestor). The couple left Lundo and moved to Staarup, Viborg County, where they rented a cottage. It was near the Skive Fjord, so Niels could pursue the fishing trade himself. Fortunately, Niels was an excellent marksman and was able to supply his fast-growing family with meat as well as ocean fish. There were also swans in abundance, and Niels was very proud that he could shoot 3 swans with one shot. Nine of their ten children were born here.
The leanness of the times forced many Danish parents to send their children away from home to work while very young. This custom, common though it was, always grieved the gentle Niels, who often shed tears when he bade goodbye to those of his children who were forced to take upon themselves the hard yoke of adulthood while still only youngsters. Yet the children never seemed to resent it."

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Here is Robert's memory of meeting his future wife while visiting his step-father's nephews in Canada:
"It was the custom in those days to entertain visitors by letting them look through the family album, and while looking through the albums of each one of my step-father's nephews I would find pictures of a young lady I imagined I could like very much. She was the girl the Luckhams hired when they wanted a girl (to clean), and I was afraid she would be there. Later in the evening someone shouted, "There's Mandy," and when I looked out in the kitchen I saw her shaking snow from her feet. After she had warmed herself she came in and shook hands with me. I could see she was a natural leader because when there was to be a change of games they always asked Mandy what to play next, and this made me like her all the more.
I knew I was in love with her, and I also knew that it was against my religion to marry out of the church. The nearest missionaries that I could visit were 50 miles away and I was about to walk that distance to talk to them about it, but decided to go to the Lord about it. In answer to prayer a voice said to me as plain as though someone were standing behind me, which said, "Which is worse, to marry her and take her among the Saints where she can accept the faith, or leave her here where she won't have the chance of hearing it?" I concluded then to marry her if I ever got the chance." Later, Robert had the chance to talk to Mandy privately. He said,"Mandy, I'm smitten on you and was wondering if there was any chance for me." She seemed to feel the same, and they were married in about a week. Robert and Amanda lived in Canada until their first child, Martha, was born. When Robert began preparing to return home, Mandy refused to come because she had heard that anyone who went among the Mormons and did not join the Church would be killed. Robert swore to her that this was false and that she would be made welcome, which she was upon their arrival. She found all the reports about Mormons that she had heard were false. Mandy was baptized 28 May 1871, and she and Robert were sealed in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City 5 Jun 1871. Ten more children were born to them in Mendon, Cache County, UT.
Robert recorded his testimony- "My testimony is that Joseph Smith was a true prophet, and the only president of the Church I have not been acquainted with. Brigham Young was the smartest man we had. I proved him to my satisfaction to be a cautious man. I've never had a doubt, from the day I was baptized to today, that the Church was true- not a doubt. I came to Utah for the gospel's sake....I have believed in a Savior ever since I can remember anything and have never had a doubt and have believed, as the Savior said, that the Father was a being as well as He. I read every bit of the Book of Mormon when I was little and don't believe Joseph Smith made a bit of it up, but I believe he found it just as he said he did."
Amanda died 11 Mar 1903. Robert died 19 Jan 1936.

Monday, August 31, 2009

A few months later, Robert's family moved south to Spanish Fork, where Robert's mother died suddenly. The cause was attributed to her exposure in the river when their wagon had overturned. Robert continues- "In the spring of 1859 my father, two sisters, and two other couples and I moved to Mendon, Cache Valley, and settled there. After our crops were planted I got a desire to see Logan, so I took a four-horse team and a crowd of young folks and went to the settlement, and was quite disappointed as there were just a few wagons with no kind of a town. Providence consisted of several families camped in the brush hiding from Indians.
As soon as there were enough settlers in the valley, there was organized a Minute Company for protection to the citizens. We would take turns standing picket guard watching for Indians and in case there was any, our duty was to arouse the other Minutemen and all go to protect the settlement upon which the Indians were preying. One night, as some of us were standing picket guard, we saw what we thought was a cloud of dust in the valley. We were just getting ready to sound the alarm when we discovered it was just the moon shining through the clouds. It was a good thing we discovered our mistake, because if we had once started we would not have stopped until we had the whole valley aroused."

Monday, August 24, 2009

After arriving in the Salt Lake valley, Robert remembers the following:
"There was a fort constructed, and within the fort we built a house from adobe brick. We planted 20 acres of wheat, but never harvested it the next fall as the now-famous crickets destroyed it. I remember my stepfather, sister and myself making instruments similar to huge fly swatters. We would walk through the grain with these instruments, killing and frightening the crickets. The battle was rather discouraging, and one day after a hard struggle we looked back and saw the crickets were as bad behind us as they were in front of us. Father cried like a baby and said, " It's no use, we're goners."
The next year we moved to Millcreek, hoping to escape the crickets, but when the grain and other crops came up they cleaned us out again. We raised our potatoes and planted corn where the grain had been and had a good crop which we gave away. At the time when we thought our cause was lost to the crickets, I was herding cows and suddenly saw swarms of seagulls gorging themselves on crickets and then coming to the streams and disgorging them. Then we knew our crops were saved."

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Here is a recollection of Robert Sweeten's about his experiences coming to Utah:
"Every night we would pull the wagons into a large circle and form a corral for protection against the Indians, and as an enclosure for the animals. The kids would play around the wagons and campfires. After supper the older folks would get out the fiddles and have dances around the fires, some of them dancing in bare feet as they had no shoes.
I walked most of the way across the plains with but an occasional ride. One time, while I was driving two yoke of oxen so my step-father could ride and rest awhile, I stepped on a prickly pear, and being barefoot, ran the needles in my foot and Mother had to pull them out.
Our only means of crossing rivers that were too deep to wade across was to chop down trees, chain them together, and make a raft upon which we would pull one wagon across at a time. We were crossing a narrow deep stream one time, and they were just starting to pull our wagon across when Mother shouted for them to let the children out before crossing. We got out, and when the wagon was halfway across it flopped bottom-side up in the stream. Everything we owned was in the wagon, and Mother jumped into the water to save what few things she could.
While following the Platte River we saw many buffalo, sometimes in herds so large we had to stop the company and let them go past. One day I became lame from walking so much and fell behind. Suddenly, I heard a strange noise, and looking up, I saw a large buffalo bull intently watching me. His fierce snorting frightened me into screaming, which attracted the attention of the driver on the last wagon. He shouted at me to run, but I was too frightened to move. Some men came back and were going to shoot the animal, but the captain stopped them, saying that Brigham Young's orders were to shoot the animals only to be used for food.
My first sight of Brigham Young was when we met him at the Green River when he was on his way back to get his family and assist more Saints across the plains. As we reached the top of Big Mountain we could see the lights of another camp ahead of us, so we came down the mountain at the head of Emigration Canyon in the dark. The Canadian wagons were lower than the American wagons so they struck stumps the American wagons would pass over. We had to chop off all the stumps our wagons struck.We finally reached the company ahead and camped with them for the remainder of the night, and traveled together the next day. During the day the call was passed down the trail- 'There is the Great Salt Lake.' We reached Salt Lake that night and camped with Brigham Young's company. The kids played high spy in the grass and sage."
More to come!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Today I'll share a little about my great-great grandfather on my dad's side, Robert Sweeten. These excerpts from his life history were told by him at the age of 92 to his grandson Melvin Atkinson during the summer of 1932 in Holbrook, Idaho. I have the entire account, but it's rather lengthy so I'm writing some of the highlights.
"I was born December 14, 1840 in the township of Brooke, Kent County, Ontario, Canada. My father, George Sweeten, was born in North Ireland; my mother, Mary Gardner, was born in Scotland. When I was two years old my father died of overwork- the immediate cause being the breaking of a blood vessel. About two years later my mother married Roger Luckham. About this time the church entered my life in the form of 2 missionaries- Elder John Borrowman and Elder Bolton- who converted the whole Gardner family of uncles,aunts, parents and a sister. Shortly after our conversion we left Canada for the West, having no idea where we were going, only that we were joining the Mormons. This was in 1846. By the time we reached the United States, there were about 100 wagons in our company. We heard that Nauvoo was peopled by Mormons so we headed there, but when we arrived we found that they had been driven from the city about a week before. We rested a few days in the deserted houses before continuing our journey. It rained all the time. I saw the Nauvoo temple and can remember one of the oxen under the baptismal font had a broken horn. We went on to Winter Quarters, where the houses were just huts. While we were there we had almost continuous rain. The following spring the different companies began leaving for Salt Lake, which to them was unknown country. The first company reached Salt Lake on July 24, 1847, and we arrived either in August or September of the same year."
More of Robert's recollections next time. Oh, and the picture is of Robert and his wife Amanda Hagle Sweeten.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Afton took great pride in everything she did. There were times when she would can more than 2000 quart and two-quart jars of fruit, vegetables and juice in a summer. She insisted that it look beautiful in the jars. Afton was famous for her sewing as well. She made clothes for her children, knitted, crocheted and spent hours with her embroidery and tatting. She made hairpin lace, knitted lace, pieced and sewed quilts, and taught her daughters many of these skills. She was a perfectionist. Afton won several blue ribbons at the Utah State Fair for her quilts, and quilted professionally for 25 years. From time to time, neighbors would come and quilt with her, but if their stitches weren't perfect, after they left, Afton would unpick them and do them over. When I was young, I wanted more than anything to quilt with my grandma. She took a large hoop and set it up just like a quilt, with fabric scraps and batting, and then drew a pattern on it for me to follow. I would quilt it the way she showed me and then she would inspect my stitches. After going through this process over and over, year after year, I finally passed. I was a teenager by then, but still so honored to be able to sit at a quilt with Grandma. She died 4 Sep 1995 from congestive heart failure at the age of 89. She had been a widow for 31 years. I have so many memories of her- I'll work on posting them off and on throughout this blog.

Monday, July 20, 2009

This picture is (L-R) Billie Darleen Clark Facer (my mother), Afton Madsen Clark (my mom's mother), Shirley Clark Bona (Afton's step-daughter), and LuDean Clark Payne (my mom's sister). I'm guessing that this was taken about 1980.
Now a little more about Afton: In Springville, from 1930 to 1950, Afton taught Mutual, Primary, was co-ordinator of the Junior Sunday School, taught homemaking in Relief Society, and was the Relief Society secretary. She and Frank also served on the stake geneology committee from 1953 to 1956.
Just after the beginning of World War II (summer 1942) Eddington's Cannery needed help. All the boys had gone to war, and there was no one to help with tomatoes. The Relief Society stepped in and asked women for help. Anyone who could spare any time at all was urged to help out at the cannery and do their part for the war effort. Afton responded, as did many of her neighbors. As a result, she worked there for 8 summers. Then in 1950 she went to work for Champ Allen at Allen's Dry Cleaners, and from 1954 to 1962 she sewed draperies for Dixon Taylor Russell Company in Provo.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

This post is about Afton Madsen Clark, my mother's mother. Most of the following was written by my mom's older sister, LuDean, and read by me at Afton's funeral.
Afton Madsen was born in Summit, Iron County, Utah on 30 Mar 1906. Her parents were Nels Christian Madsen and Norah Dean Hulet. Two years later twin boys were born on her birthday, Ardell and Bernell, and 7 years after that her youngest brother Elmer was born. The picture posted here is Afton at 6 months. Summit, located 12 miles north of Cedar City, only had an elementary school, so when it was time for high school, Afton moved to Cedar City and lived there with several of her friends as was the custom in those days. She went on to college and graduated from the branch of the Agricultural College in Cedar City in 1925. She was planning to be a teacher like her mother and three aunts, but after substituting for her cousin for 6 weeks, she decided very quickly this was not for her.
In 1924, while at Zion's National Park, Afton rode across the canyon (from Angel's Landing to the bottom) on a load of logs used for the construction of the lodge.
The Escalante Hotel in Cedar City was hosting a special banquet, and called the school in search of girls to help out. Afton was recommended, worked at the banquet, and was immediately offered a job. She worked in the hotel business until she met her husband, Frank.
Southern Utah was a popular place for the movie industry during the 20s, and in 1926 when the movie "Stagecoach of '76" with Tom Mix was filmed in the area Afton went to Zion's again with a group of girls to work in the dining room for the crew. In 1927 when "Ramona" with Dolores del Rio and "Shepherd of the Hills" with Molly Malone were filmed all the stars stayed in the Escalante Hotel where Afton worked.
After this, Afton went to Delta, Utah, where the Pavant Hotel was being opened. There she met Frank Huntington Clark, a widower with 2 small children- Jack Owen and Shirley. They were married on 6 May 1929. A year later they moved to Springville, Utah to take care of Frank's father, John Lafayette Clark ( see earlier post on John and his trek to Utah from Iowa).

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

More on George

Another section from George's son- "George eventually became the bishop of the Willard Ward. He was instrumental in getting the ward meeting house. After about 7 years he was released as bishop, only to be called back for a second term. He was one of the committee which laid out the Willard Cemetery. He helped build the Logan Temple and afterward served on the Temple board of directors. He was superintendant of the cooperative sheep herd in Brigham City under the direction of Lorenzo Snow. He was strictly honest with the tithes and offerings. When poor cattle, hogs, etc, came in he did not waste; he fed the vegetables to the animals and fattened them. Often he cooked the vegetables and fed them to the old cows that had no teeth. The Presiding Bishop told him he could throw the old stuff away, and then said, 'You are a very honest man.' George taught his family that Joseph Smith was a prophet and seer, and that the Doctrine and Covenants was the revelation from the Lord. One Sunday they were just going to Sunday School when a great swarm of grasshoppers came and settled on a patch of wheat that was green. George H. (his son) and John Roberts got a rope to run through the wheat. Father said, 'Come, we will go to church.' They came home to find the wheat unharmed. It was my duty to keep Father's shoes shined, every Monday morning for immediate use. His mother had required it of him, too. To me he was a man of God, true to his calling and ordination. His testimony was the foundation on which he stood and God was his buckler and shield. George died on the 22nd of February, 1903 in Willard, Utah, and was buried in the Willard cemetery. They said his sickness and death were caused by gallstones."

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

George, the man

This final bit on George Facer is quoted from his son's journal. I love the detail about George's character and habits.
"Father was a man of faith and integrity. Very clean in person and language. True to the living oracles or authorities, strictly honest and trustworthy. He was firm in his testimony of the gospel. Very careful in his dress. He had a head of curly hair and always wore a moustache. He was about 5 feet 8 inches in height; weight, about 165 pounds. He was intelligent, a good provider and a good economist.
Ordination: ordained a seventy the 23rd of September 1860 by J.W.Brewerton.
Ordained a high priest 9th of September, 1877.
He received his endowment in the Salt Lake Endowment House in November 1863, and was sealed there to Mary by Heber C. Kimball. He received 3 patriarchal blessings: 27th of September 1860 by Isaac Morley, 10th of May 1871 by C.W. Hyde, and the third by John Smith, date not known. The blessings all told him that it was not his privilege to go to the world to preach the gospel on a mission, but that his work was in Zion.
President Lorenzo Snow taught Father the celestial order of marriage, or polygamy. He was instructed to marry more women, and married 3 more. His wives: Mary Prior (English), Sarah Roberts (English), Susannah Nebeker Lechtenburg (Dutch), Harriet Shumway (Danish). He built each a home and deeded it to them. He was true to them. He spent 3 months in prison and was fined $300 because he would not set them aside or deny them."
In the next post I'll share some personal experiences that George had.

Monday, April 27, 2009

More on George

In Salt Lake City, George and Mary stayed with Mark Lindsay for one night, then left for Centerville on August 28 where they stayed with John Ford, Sr. Arrived in Willard on Aug 30. In Willard they lived on what is known as Old Wells Corner. George worked for Bishop Virl Dives, and lived in a one-room house. William Facer was born here on July 13, 1861. George Q. Cannon told them to go to North Willard and they would succeed, but earning enough money to buy property was difficult. They had no change of clothes. Mary washed them every night so they would be dry in the morning. Benjamin Taylor gave them their Christmas dinner. They had no shoes or boots, but wrapped their feet in burlap and tied it on with a string. They had no soap and no matches. when they needed a fire, they wrapped a cloth tight on a stick, then went to the neighbors, set it on fire, and carried it home. Sarah Ann was born March 26, 1863, and died January 13, 1864.
Bishop Dives gave them a cow, and they continued to save. George was finally able to buy the Bankhead property in North Willard. It's now called the old Facer Homestead. Mr. Bankhead was a slave owner at the time, but moved to Wellsville after the property sold.
Next week I'll include some personal information about George.

Monday, April 20, 2009

George Facer

George Facer was my great-great grandfather. A brief history was written about him by one of his sons, so here are some excerpts and facts.
Born 4 Jul 1834, Eynesbury, Huntingdonshire, England
Died 22 Feb 1903, Willard, Box Elder Co., Utah
Parents- Henry and Mary Jarvis Facer
Baptized by J.B. Price in August, 1854
Married 6 Sep 1857 to Mary Prior in Eynesbury, by the Parson Mall.

George's father died when he was 2 years old. After George was baptized, he worked on the farm of Edward Peck, saving his money and making payments to an emigration fund for Church members to come to Utah. He gave all of this emigration money to the Church, by request, and then sorted onions for Peck to earn more to come to Utah himself. George and Mary started their journey on March 27, 1860 with their 16-month-old son George Henry. They arrived in Liverpool the next day and sailed for America on March 30 on the ship Underwriter with 594 other Church members. James D. Ross was president of the company. The journey was very rough, with much sickness on board. They arrived in New York after 32 days, landing on May 1, 1860. They continued to Florence on the Missouri River by boat and also traveled by rail. In Iowa, George worked for a Mr. Ford digging post holes for which he received some food. At Florence a handcart was prepared. It was a two-wheeled outfit with a tongue at which 2 people could pull. The box was about 6 feet long and 3 feet wide, with a cover, containing bedding and 1 week's provisions for 5 people. On June 14, 1860 the company started for Utah. Captain Dan Robinson was president of the company from there. It was the first company of the season, consisting of 233 people, 43 handcarts, 6 wagons, 30 oxen and 10 tents. The trek was difficult with blistered hands, bloody feet, and food shortages due to feeding the Indians. It was either feed them or fight. George shot and wounded a buffalo, but didn't kill it so it got away. The Indians were determined to have Mary and another woman in the company, Hannah Slater. They offered 3 ponies for the women, and caused a lot of trouble when they were refused. The company finally arrived in Salt Lake City on August 27, 1860.
More next week!

Monday, April 13, 2009

More on John

This picture was taken in 1943 when John's grandson Jack was home on leave from the military (he was in the Pacific during WW II). L to R- Frank Huntington Clark (John's son), Afton Madsen (Frank's wife), John's great-grandchildren LuDean, Billie Darleen, Jack Owen and Shirley. John is on the end.
Now more about John. All these experiences were related to me by my grandma Afton. His life was saved many times as an adult because he listened to the promptings of the Lord's Spirit. During a hunting trip with his brother-in-law, they began crossing a ravine. John heard his father's voice say, "John, don't cross there." They stopped to decide where else to go, and suddenly there was an avalanche in the ravine. During another hunting trip in White River country, which was Indian territory, they stopped to eat lunch and John heard a voice say cover the deer with snow." They did so, and then climbed into a nearby pine tree to hide. Soon a party of Indians came, circled around where they had been, and, finding nothing, rode away.
In another instance, John was hooking up the wagon to get wood. When he got to the gate, he heard a voice say, "John, don't go." He'd had enough experiences in the past to know he should listen, so he put the wagon away and stayed home.
John's family was considered some of the original pioneers because they arrived in the Salt Lake Valley before the railroad was completed in 1869. John worked construction and as a miner, and was the Springville city marshal for many years. He also worked at the county infirmary, which people called the poor house. The conditions there were so bad that John hoped he would never have to go there as a patient. He was blessed with good health for most of his life, and died at the age of 88.

Monday, April 6, 2009

John Lafayette Clark

John Lafayette Clark was my great grandfather on my mother's side. I've decided to start with him because not only have I heard the most stories about him, but my kids are familiar with some of the stories as well. First, some statistics:
Born 14 Feb 1859 in Centerville, Appanoose County, Iowa
Died 14 Oct 1947 in Springville, Utah County, Utah
Father- Hyrum William Clark, born 8 Dec 1818 in Canton, St. Lawrence County, NY
died 17 Aug 1911 in Springville, Utah County, Utah
Mother- Nancy Ann Wood, born 12 Feb 1825 in Ripley, Pulasky County, Indiana
died 27 Apr 1911 in Springville, Utah County, Utah
Siblings- George, Erastus, Silas, Lucina, (John goes here), James, Albert

John's father, Hyrum, had consumption (a general term for any serious lung disease), as well as Hyrum's sister who lived with them.John's mother, Nancy, was convinced that Hyrum would be healed if they followed the Latter-day Saints to the Salt Lake Valley, even though their doctor said Hyrum only had about a year to live. They purchased 2 wagons for the journey. Nancy made the covers for both. The provision wagon was pulled by a team of horses and a yoke of oxen. Their supplies were mainly jerky, dried fruit, cornmeal, flour and maple syrup. "Mother's wagon" was pulled by a yoke of oxen and 2 cows. Hyrum's sister laid in the back of this wagon with the rest of their belongings. Hyrum rode on horseback to be in the open air. John was about 5 years old when they left. He remembered standing up in the wagon with a long whip yelling "Gee" (right) or "Haw" (left) at the oxen. Silas and Lucina gathered wood and buffalo chips for the fire, which Nancy cooked over for the whole family. At one river crossing, the opposite bank was too steep to get the wagons up, so the family had to go further downstream. While moving down the river, they saw Indians with bloody scalps hanging from their horses. John was afraid of Indians from that day on.
In Wyoming, Hyrum bought a tin stove with an oven at one of the forts. Nancy cooked on it for the rest of the journey. They settled in Springville where other relatives were living. It had taken 2 months to cross the plains, and all symptoms on Hyrum's consumption were gone. He lived to be 92.
More on John's life next week.

Friday, April 3, 2009


I've got the bug, and I hope it's contagious! I've been interested in family history off and on for ages, but only recently have I started to do anything about it. Not long ago I realized that all the stories that my Grandma Clark used to tell me about our ancestors were going to be lost if I didn't write them down. I loved hearing them as a child, and felt like it helped me to know them. I have no idea how accurate they are, because we all know how memory can change things, but they're still great stories. As I share what I was told, I'll try to add some information about these people like birthdates, where they lived, etc. and maybe it will be someone you would like to know about as well. Like the blog description says, they could be Facers, Clarks, Holbrooks, Madsens, and on back we go.