Friday, July 01, 2011

Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium: Ancestors

In my religion, doing geneology is a big thing, and I grew up hearing stories of my ancestors. For about 6 generations back, most of my ancestors were "mormon", so I am definitely "dyed in the wool". Many of my ancestors came across the plains with Brigham Young, and settled in Utah. Most of them were English and Welsh, but I did have one Danish grandmother. Hers is quite an interesting story. I hope I can remember the details right to tell you.

Let me start with my (I can't remember how many greats) grandfather's story first. He lived back East, and was married. He had a lot of problems with his legs. I'm not sure what the problem was, but he suffered from pain in his legs. He prayed for help, and one night he had a dream. In the dream, he saw two men, and understood that they could cure him of his ailment. Not long after, he was walking down the street and saw two mormon missionaries. He recognized them from his dream, and went over and introduced himself. He asked them if they had any way to cure his leg ailment. They taught him about the church, and laid their hands on his head to bless him to be healed. His legs were cured! He studied about the church and joined. But his wife and parents were very upset. They literally thought he was crazy to join the mormons. One night he over heard them say that if he didn't renounce the church the next day, they would have him committed to an asylum. He didn't need any more convincing; he packed up his things and left in the middle of the night. He then went west with the other pioneers.

My grandmother joined the church in England at a young age. She really felt a strong desire to join with the other church members in going west with Brigham Young. Her father, although she was young, supported her in this decision, and told her that if she ever wanted to come back to England, he would pay her way. He then paid her passage on a ship headed for America with the other church members who were headed west.

As the ship sailed across the ocean, a terrible storm arose, and the whole company feared for their lives. The captain of the ship encouraged the people to pray. The mormons all prayed together, and the winds stopped. In fact, they stopped too much, and they had to pray for them to start up enough to get the ship going again. :) The rest of the trip went very well.

My grandmother had paid her passage on a wagon to Utah. But when she gathered with the other pioneers, she learned that there was an elderly woman who was scheduled to leave by handcart, but who was too ill to make the trip. So she voluntarily gave up her paid seat on the wagon so that the woman could ride to Utah. My grandmother then joined a handcart company and walked to Utah.

When she and my grandfather both got to Utah, neither of them had a spouse. (At that time in history, our church was practicing "plural marriage", which meant that a man could have more than one wife.) Brigham Young suggest that the two of them marry, so they did! The only draw back was that she was Danish and spoke no English. He was English and spoke no Danish. But somehow they learned how to communicate with each other, and raised a great family together! They left a great legacy of faith and determination for me!

Now go check out what the other consortium members have to say about this issue!

Rummuser, Anu, Ashkok, Gaelikka, Grannymar, Conrad, Padmum, Magpie11, and Akanksha


Inklings said...

Dr. Psycho came across a version of this story written by a different ancestor, and in that version, her father paid her way to the US because it was so scandalous to have a Mormon family member that they wanted her to leave their country. :0)

Grannymar said...

A very interesting story. Those long journeys were long and arduous. I am sure there were many that did not make it. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Rummuser said...

The emigration from England and Europe into the Americas and from the Eastern sea board to the West is one of the most fascinating chapters of the last century. Such individual stories fill in the details and add colour to that adventure. Very nicely told Delirious.

Nene said...

Thanks for posting this story. I didn't have all the details right either, so it was good to hear it again.

Nene said...

PS. You need to post how your boys scouting trip turned out.

Tony Payne said...

I saw a documentary a few years ago about a group pushing carts to Utah and getting stranded in terrible winter storms, many freezing to death. I can't imagine how hard that trip would have been even with perfect weather.

The lengths people have to go to in order to avoid persecution. Society has a lot to answer for doesn't it.

Delirious said...

Yes Tony, there were some handcart companies that left too late in the year, and got stuck in the mountains without enough food.

It is fine to disagree with others about their choice of religion, or lifestyle, but it isn't okay to persecute.

gaelikaa said...

You surely have a Mormon pedigree. Like Brigham Young got your grandparents married. Dyed in the wool for sure!