Our Family

Our Family

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Lost, in Centerville. Annie and Grandpa Thompson

Annie Thompson, born Centerville, Utah, 1863
She seems so familiar to me; and so determined in her fragility. The flowered hat is not her usual wear. It could almost be a miner's helmet it seems so out of place. She is the mother of my Great-Grandfather, John Hyrum Wheelright (1882-1963), someone I knew and whose hand I held that had held hers.

This has been bothering me since I moved here. I want to know where she was born as I live within a mile or so, one direction or another, of that unknown place. There is also her Grandfather, Edward Thompson (1816-1863), who died and is buried in Centerville.

When my oldest son came home from his mission, I gave him the task of going to Centerville City Hall to ask about a burial record to identify Edward's plot. There is none. The lists of Centerville graves in the LDS Family History Library tell me that records of the cemetery only began in 1863. As Grandpa Thompson died on 2 January 1863, buried on 3 January 1863, they probably had not started that record-keeping as it's hard to write things down in the middle of winter. The ground and the ink would both be frozen. The cemetery was still managed by the LDS Centerville Ward, Davis Stake. It was turned over to the city later, likely at the time of incorporation, 1915.

And here we are celebrating Centerville's Centennial, which is a bit odd celebrating the rather late incorporation when there were Mormon settlers by the end of the 1840s. The LDS Centerville Ward was organized by 1856. In the midst of centenary celebration, I'd like to know where my ancestors were, and are, still resting in the ground.

They won't let me dig up the unmarked graves in the cemetery, so I have to dig elsewhere. The Thompsons - all three generations - were in Centerville only from 1860 to about 1868. The first clue I dug up was at the Family History Library.
Centerville Ward Records, Historian's Office Library, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 23778 (FHL Film No. 025,855)
All that does is confirm the death and burial dates. And it is clear he was buried in Centerville. As part of the dittos for "died in Centerville, buried in Centerville," we can only assume he is in the Centerville Cemetery along with everybody else so designated.

Monday, May 25, 2015

"For the Strength of the Hills" - The Malan/Roman Heritage

The story about my Great Grandmother's brother Gus Roman's tragedy with the motorcycle prompted me to go deeper in the family history archives with my ancestors of the French-Italian Piedmont. We did get a hymn (#35) from our people of the mountains. And Malan's Peak above Ogden, Utah, is named for one of my ancestral families.

Malan's Peak from Weber State University

The Rice Family - Either They Knew Or Didn't Know the Prophet Joseph

Trying not to go all logical on a legalistic evidentiary basis, but I am fortified in my testimony of the prophetic calling of Joseph Smith, Jr., in what is not said in the history of some of my ancestors.

My most persistent pioneer forebearer was Ira Rice (1793 -1868). Born in western Massachusetts, he helped pioneer western New York. As a veteran of the War of 1812, he took a land bounty and pioneered in what is now Michigan. Converted to the LDS Church, he moved to Illinois and helped build the communities in the neighborhood of Nauvoo, Illinois. Following Brigham Young west with the Saints, he pioneered Farmington in Davis County, then North Ogden, then he went to help settle Providence in Cache County. When a call went out to pioneer the Muddy or Cotton Mission south of Utah's Dixie, Ira readily volunteered. President Young supposedly told him that he had done enough pioneering in his lifetime. (He was up to seven pioneering experiences by my count). And he probably should have listened as Ira died from the effects of exposure in a flood at Beaver Dam, now in Arizona. He is buried in Washington, Utah.

Ira's son William Kelsey Rice (1822-1913) established a claim on some land in Farmington, Davis County, Utah, where the Farmington City Cemetery now lies and where he is buried. William was born in Manchester, Ontario County, New York. Sound familiar? Yes, that's the same neighborhood where  Joseph's family lived at the time of his First Vision and the Angel Moroni's visits to the boy prophet.

The Rices left upstate New York in the mid-1820s, a few years after the time of the First Vision and during the time of the Angel Moroni's appearances to Joseph. This is where the lack of evidence comes in to help establish a very important point. The histories I have of the Rices make no mention of the Smith Family of the neighborhood of Palmyra and Manchester.

Family History - Indian Pictographs near Salmon, Idaho

[another oldie but goodie from June 3, 2012]:

With my inner child calling me again, I've gone back to the work digitizing photographs and transcribing letters from the earliest years of my memory. In that process I posted on Facebook the following photo for  Mother's Day:

Easter Sunday, April 2, 1961. Birch Creek near Salmon, Idaho 

The Pioneer Hymnbook

[From Pioneer Day, 2012]

My mom gave me a treasured heirloom - a 19th Century LDS Hymnal. It has little if any collector's value as it is separated from its binding and missing a few pages. It is treasured because it has the apparent signature of one of my pioneer ancestors.

James Brigham Staples (1853-1910) was the son of Richard Staples (1796-1868) and Louisa Field Staples (1813-1870). Richard and Louisa were baptized into the LDS Church on 27 February 1850. As James was born three years later, his middle name was likely given in honor of Brigham Young.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Confederates in the Closet (and Slaves!) Easterling and Carter

Impatient for my DNA report, I'm digging all I can on the internet looking for my alleged Choctaw Indian ancestry. My mom is especially proud of this. Turning over genealogical stones does find other things that we must face.

Sabra Ann is the alleged  Choctaw descendant and has the dark hair and high cheekbones indicating possible Native American ancestry.

Giles Bennett was a cavalryman for the Confederacy.

And, there were Slaves.

As a widow in 1906, Sabra applied to the State of Mississippi for a widow's pension available because of Bennett's service to the "Late Confederacy." She wrote that he served in the 27th Mississippi Cavalry. Documents from Ancestry.com place Bennett in the 4th Mississippi Cavalry and the Confederate States 8th Cavalry. That all may be true as some men enlisted, served their terms, and reenlisted in other regiments. We will have to request what records are in the U.S. National Archives to determine what official records show.

Territorial Execution 1887

[From my PMM Blog, February 20, 2012]

Back to my project of transcribing my 2nd-Great-Grandfather's prison journal, I found his account of an execution with a rather spooky postscript. Grandpa Wood was in for unlawful cohabitation which he believed not a crime as he maintained his religious beliefs and practices took precedence over federal territorial law. It is interesting that throughout the journal he drew a clear distinction between his people or the "Cohabs" and the criminal element he called the "Tuffs" [or "Cons."]

The subject of the execution was a "Tuff" who had perhaps broken both the laws of man and of God. According to the Deseret News, Fred “Welcome” Hopt was executed for the July 3, 1880 murder of John F. Turner of Provo, Utah. Turner was a teamster and the son of Provo’s sheriff. Hopt had a history of several run-ins with the law and supposedly had sworn vengeance against the sheriff and his family. He was convicted of hacking John Turner to death with an axe while the young man was sleeping at camp near Park City. The body was found a week later in Echo Canyon where it had apparently been dumped by Hopt.

The diary transcription follows. Spelling and punctuation are as in the original:

Saturday, May 2, 2015

The Ancestry DNA Test

[cross-posted from my other two blogs]

An expert genealogist friend asked me about the DNA test through Ancestry.com, so I thought I would explain here for one and all (Ancestry owes me for this advertisement).

First, the regular cost is $99 US but they have sales every couple of months when the price drops to $79. There is also a shipping fee of $8 bucks something, so figure that in either way.

The kit arrives by US Mail, and opens to to reveal this: