Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Let Freedom Ring!

As we, the People of the United States, through our delegated elected officials continue to incarcerate children separated from their parents who were attempting to enter our borders, let us pause to think about this on the day we celebrate national independence.

These photos were released by the U.S. government. My source here.


Saturday, June 30, 2018

Lord Nelson's Biscuit

Daniel Maclise: The Death of Nelson
Mural in Parliament, Westminster, London
There are times when I wished I had £3,000.00 to buy a biscuit.

Recently, an interesting lot came up for sale at Sotheby's and was then auctioned off again. It included what is believed to be the world's oldest hardtack biscuit. And not just any biscuit, but one belonging to an Able Seaman who fought with Admiral Nelson at Trafalgar.

And it gets better. The Able Seaman was my ancestor, the father of Mormon Pioneers!

The biscuit gets the news, but it is the other items that are of more importance.

That's one, huge biscuit, by the way!

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

It's Civil War of Minds and Hearts - With Some Unnecessary Pain, Suffering, and Death

Fortunately, there are no organized armies yet. There are shots being fired in mass shootings and attacks on unarmed People of Color, even when they peaceably assemble in church.

If you are a trump believer, all immigrants are brown and criminals. They "infest" and threaten "white culture." This is as if Jefferson Davis became President of the United States and spread the lies of slavery.

We need a new Lincoln. We need to stand for Union and Human Rights for all. We need to respect the dignity of People of Color who contribute wonderfully to this Great Nation. We need to denounce and fight every attempt to place the falsehood of "white culture" as the American Way.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

An Apostle's Family Forged in Welsh Iron

Albert Ernest Bowen (1875-1953). LDS Apostle 1937.
Albert E. Bowen is not one of the big names in LDS Church leadership. He was a serious-minded, hard-working man. He appears to be best remembered and quoted in LDS General Conference for his teachings on Self-Reliance and the Church Welfare Program. He wrote a booklet entitled "Constancy Amid Change" that was updated in the 1980s as well as authoring a Sunday School course of study, "The Church Welfare Plan."

One of the more recent General Conference quotes attributed to Elder Bowen was in an address by Elder J. Thomas Fyans in 1982:
The only way the Church can stand independent is for its members to stand independent, for the Church IS its members. It is not possible to conceive of an independent Church made up of dependent members—members who are under the inescapable obligation of dependency. The Lord must want and intend that His people shall be free of constraint whether enforceable or only arising out of the bindings of conscience. It is not believed that any person or people can live from gratuities—rely upon them for means of subsistence and remain wholly free in thought, motive and action. History seems to record no such instance. That is why the Church is concerned that its members, who have physical and mental capacity to do so, shall render service commensurate with their capacities for aid extended. That is why the Church is not satisfied with any system which leaves able people permanently dependent, and insists, on the contrary, that the true function and office of giving is to help people into a position where they can help themselves and thus be free.
Elder Bowen knew a lot about self-reliance. Born on a farm near Samaria, Idaho, he worked hard in his youth. He spent a harsh winter with a brother homesteading a parcel of land in Star Valley, Wyoming. His mother, Annie Shackelton Bowen (1840-1929) shared her love of books and learning and Albert did well in school, served a mission in Switzerland and Germany, and studied law at the University of Chicago. He excelled in the practice of law and business in Cache Valley and Salt Lake City, Utah. He was called to be an Apostle by President Heber J. Grant in 1937.

What interests me is that his father was David Bowen (1837-1910), born in Blaenavon, Monmouthshire, Wales. He traveled to Utah in the Ellsworth Handcart Company in 1856 along with my 4th Great Grandmother, Eleanor Jenkins Vaughan (1789-1861). The Bowens and Vaughans must have known each other.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Mountain Men: Ya Can't Live with 'em; Ya Can't Live without 'em

The Wyoming State Historical Preservation Office (WSHPO, pronounced "Wyoming Shipo") and historians with the LDS Church interpreting the Devil's Gate/Martin's Cove area on the Overland Trail in Wyoming, have established that it was Charles (1812-1865), not his brother Basil LeJeunesse (1814-1846), who was known as "Seminoe" and established the fort at Devil's Gate.

These brothers were amazing as most Mountain Men were. They all knew each other; Basil traveling with Kit Carson and John C. Fremont's mapping expeditions. Basil was killed by Modocs at Klamath Lake. Charles abandoned his post at Devil's Gate in 1855 due to troubles with the Cheyennes. Cheyennes killed Charles in 1865 at Clark's Fork, Yellowstone. His half-Shoshone sons took their vengence by killing Cheyenne Chief, High Backed Wolf.

Generally aware of the Handcart stories, I knew there was a ramshackle trading post at Devil's Gate that served as a shelter in the miserable winter of 1856-57 for those guarding the freight emptied from the wagons to carry some of the handcart pioneers of the Willie and Martin companies to Salt Lake City. In the past couple of years, I also became aware that the earlier and more successful handcart companies of that year took the Seminoe Cutoff. It was only two weeks ago that I managed to put the two together to understand it was this "Seminoe" guy who explored the cutoff that saved some trouble for my handcart ancestors and had established the fort/trading post at Devil's Gate.

A portion of the archeological site with the reconstructed fort right next to it. And Devil's Gate behind.
Looking up the Sweetwater Valley from the original site of Seminoe's Fort. Martin's Cove is to the right.
Split Rock can be seen in the far distance.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Alice Cooper Predicted our Political Present

Oh, my Gosh!

I just heard this song recently and checked the lyrics. This is donald trump! Alice Cooper, of all people, called it in 1972!

I'm your top prime cut of meat, I'm your choice
I wanna be elected
I'm your Yankee Doodle Dandy in a gold Rolls Royce
I wanna be elected

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Welsh Heritage in Idaho

Last Friday, I had the opportunity to participate in the dedication of the Welsh Heritage Square in Samaria, Malad Valley Idaho.

I scored an excellent Welsh cake at the refreshment table.
Let me get my political diatribe out of the way. There is nothing wrong with celebrating any culture as it can be done without denigrating others. This was a community event and Welshness was not a requirement. There was a gentleman who appeared to be an African-American cowboy who was talking to a lot of people and must have been a local. For all I know, he has Welsh ancestry but it is entirely beside the point. All are welcome to celebrate and there is no false superiority of putting down other heritages.

It did seem like a blessing that it did not rain more than a few, sporadic drops. The rain was torrential coming through Odgen that morning. My old Potuguese, now Welsh mentor, Dr. Dennis, was present in his Welsh costume along with his wife.