Sunday, December 9, 2018

Christmas Eve 1841, Llanfoist, Wales

It isn't much, but another missionary journal from my 4th Great-Grandmother, Elinor Vaughan's era in Llanfoist tells us:
“My next appointment was at Llanfoist where I found a steady and attentive congregation. This is a dark and sootey place owing to the vast amount of coal and iron works here.” 

James Palmer Reminiscences, circa 1884-1898 LDS CHL MS 1752_f0001_00071. 

This source must be based on a contemporaneous journal as there are dates that would not be remembered unless recorded somehow. James Palmer occasionally traveled with Elder John Needham who baptized Elinor Jenkins Vaughan on 17 December 1841, just one week before the Christmas Eve meeting in Llanfoist. Elder Palmer also helped establish the Branch at Llanthony in the Black Mountains and was the first missionary to preach in Abersychan in June 1841, apparently without much success.

Elder Palmer is credited with the first recorded baptism in South Wales. His Reminiscences records that on either the 23rd or 30th of November, 1840, he baptized John Preece and William Williams in the River Monnow at Skenfrith, Monmouthshire. It just so happens that I took pics there on my visit last Good Friday, not knowing about this history (even though it's recorded in Truth Will Prevail: the Rise of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the British Isles 1837-1987 (University Press, Cambridge, UK 1987), p. 240, as well as the Reminiscences at p. 13.)

The River Monnow at Skenfrith, Monmouthshire, Wales. First baptisms in South Wales near here.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Worse than Benedict Arnold

Benedict Arnold in Continental Army Uniform















It could be argued that Benedict Arnold was simply loyal to King George III as the king still claimed sovereignty over the American Colonies and had sent an occupying army to suppress a colonial rising. And fortunately, General Arnold's plan to deliver the fort at West Point on the Hudson was foiled by exposure of the plot.

I suppose one could also argue that Individual 1 is merely loyal to his highest interest, his own view of a great America with him at its head. It all revolves around him and it's all in his head under that mass of highly controlled hair cover which must take so much work it helps explains why the rest of his appearance is so slovenly.

Monday, December 3, 2018

The Shoes are Dropping like Cats and Dogs or Something

This is the message I sent to Utah Senator Mike Lee's office early this morning:
Dear staffer reading this. Please consider sharing this idea with Sen. Lee. He has the chance to step up and be a big leader and advocate for the MAJORITY of Utahns. Mueller is about to drop some more shoes in the investigation that show Trump and his admin compromised by Russia in financial and political dealings. Trump is not popular in Utah even among Republicans and Trump support is dropping. It's going to get worse. We need a Statesman to come forward who will help save country and the Republican party from the constitutional crisis of a criminally compromised executive with an adverse foreign power - Putin's Russia. Please get the Senator to step up and be that Statesman. Work with your new freshman Senator, Romney, and get him going on this. It shouldn't take much prodding. Get him to take it on as a project like saving the SLC Olympics. But Lee can take the lead here and be a big hero. Your party is in trouble (I'm a Dem myself). And our Nation is in peril. Please have the Senator step up and deal with trump's apparent crimes here. Many thanks. Please do not respond to me.
#Individual1 is going down soon. Mueller has the goods. The startling revelations in his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen's, strangely additional guilty plea of last Friday are a marker laid down by the Special Counsel that he has the evidence on the whole criminal conspiracy of #Individual1, his family enterprises, his administration, and Putin's Russia.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

A Thanksgiving Prayer from Henry Vaughan

These lines from my distant cousin, the Silurist Poet Henry Vaughan, match my sentiments on a Thanksgiving Day morning. From his poem, The Bee:
The truth, which once was plainly taught,With thorns and briars now is fraught.Some part is with bold fables spotted,Some by strange comments wildly blotted;And Discord—old Corruption's crest—With blood and blame hath stain'd the rest.So snow, which in its first descentsA whiteness, like pure Heav'n, presents,When touch'd by man is quickly soil'd,And after, trodden down and spoil'd.
O lead me, where I may be freeIn truth and spirit to serve Thee!Where undisturb'd I may converseWith Thy great Self; and there rehearseThy gifts with thanks; and from Thy store,Who art all blessings, beg much more.
Give me the wisdom of the bee,And her unwearied industry!That from the wild gourds of these days,I may extract health, and Thy praise,Who canst turn darkness into light,And in my weakness show Thy might.

Welsh Black Bee

Monday, November 12, 2018

Remember


Last March, I was privileged to visit Hereford Cathedral when the weeping window of poppies was on display in commemoration of the one-hundredth anniversary of World War I. It was raining.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

A Prayer for Election Day


Dear Father of All,

We thank Thee for the blessings of living in a land of liberty where are free to govern ourselves for the good of all.

We pray that we can elect honest and wise people to assist us in our self-governance, that the purpose of the Constitution may be established that man not be in bondage one to another.

We are grateful for the inspired Constitution to protect us in our rights to worship Thee and to join with others in free assembly of all varieties for doing good and for open discussion of ideas and petitions to our government.

We are grateful for the results of a tragic Civil War for a more perfect Union that allowed our forebearers to prohibit slavery and establish that all people of the United States share the same rights of equality and fair treatment regardless of their station and conditions of life.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

The SS Nevada of the Guion Line, Liverpool to New York, 1886 and 1887

The SS Nevada of the Guion Line or the Liverpool and Great Western Steamship Co.
Oil painting presumed to be by James Douglas, in the Mariners' Museum, Newport News, Virginia

Sometimes, playing around on Google pays off. I found this image of an oil painting from the Mariners' Museum in Newport News, VA. It is the ship that brought my Great Grandfather George Robert Vaughan and his family to America in 1887. His father, Thomas, arrived a year earlier on the same ship.

The color and detail are so helpful. Note the two rows of portholes along the line of the hull just above the water line. One of those might have been opened during calm seas to get some fresh air to my infant Great Grandfather. The black smokestacks with the red stripe were distinctive of the Guion Line.

The ship had only one propeller which necessitated the sails in case the engine failed. Steamships were soon outfitted with two engines and screws for additional speed and if one system failed, there was another for backup rather than having to rely on the sails. This artistic representation is a bit fanciful as the sails were rarely used especially if the ship was at full steam as appears here.

The Nevada was built at Palmer's Shipbuilding & Iron Co., Jarrow-on-Tyne outside of Newcastle, England in 1868. That was the same year that Mormon emigrants began using steamships rather than the slower, less-expensive and soon outdated sailing ships. Steamships were coming into their own just as the transcontinental railroad was close to completion across the United States. Steamships and railroads greatly facilitated and expedited the journey from England to Utah. The Guion line became the preferred company for organized Mormon emigrant passage because of the favorable treatment and reduced fairs arranged between the Guion agents in Liverpool and the Church leaders of the British Mission. The Mormons were organized and orderly passengers generally respected by the captains.