Thursday, September 21, 2017

Exist Light! And Light Was.

Gods "exist" in the entrance rotunda of the Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles, California
The King James Version is much too polite and complicated in its syntax. I have always preferred the phrase in Portuguese, "Haja luz!" E houve luz." And I worked it out in Welsh class last night:
"Byddwch golau!" Ac oedd golau.
"'Be light!' And light was."

I have no idea in what language He (They? We?) spoke the command when light was born. In our current state, we seem to have a little difficulty in expressing the concept.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Across Present-Day Nebraska with Ellsworth, 1856

Whew, there's a lot of hard pushing and pulling through sand. As they said, the Platte River was too thick to drink and too wet to plow.

The day-count follows from the journey across Iowa. The diarists and others mentioned that are not footnoted in this section were back in the Iowa section of the trail.

Locations were much harder to plot when the modern maps have changed significantly with canals and irrigation beyond the 100th Meridian.

In 1856, Nebraska Territory went all the way to the Continental Divide. We'll save that for the Wyoming/Utah final segment of this map. 

In this portion the Mormon Pioneer and the Oregon/California Trail really were separate. The Oregon/California started (ironically) in Independence, Missouri and cut up to the Platte River where it followed the south bank all the way to Fort Caspar (Casper, Wyoming). The Mormon Trail cut west from Florence (Omaha), Nebraska and followed the north bank of the Platte with a detour up the Loup Fork cutting back south to the Platte then up the North Platte (all on the north bank) to Fort Caspar. Of course, some Mormons used the south bank and some Oregon/California travelers used the north bank. (And there were several variations as to where the trail began with cut-offs, etc. throughout.)

The more I learn about these people, the more connected I feel - and that's just not my own Vaughans. The Moyle Family in this company became connected by marriage with my Wood Family of South Davis County, Utah to produce Apostle Henry D. Moyle. The Piedmontese Saints are cousins of my Dad's Mother's family. And I'll let the challenges of the Piedmontese speak for themselves in the accounts that follows.

Nebraska Map Part 1, from Omaha to Lexington, Nebraska

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

How I Became a Zen Master

It was later that I read the Tao of Pooh. It was when I was only three-years-old that I listened over and over to the song:

Cottleston, Cottleston, Cottleston Pie,
A fly can't bird, but a bird can fly.
Ask me a riddle and I reply
Cottleston, Cottleston, Cottleston Pie.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Twelve Steps to Recovery from Racism

"Hi! I'm Grant! I'm a recovering racist."

"Hi, Grant!"

This came to me in the night with a lot of other dreams of really weird stuff, but this might just work!

The LDS Church has done really well in applying the 12-Step program for drug abuse and some sexual issues borrowed with acknowledgment of and slight modification from Alcoholics Anonymous or AA.

So how does is apply in our Racism Recovery program?

Thursday, August 24, 2017

How Thick Is Family Blood?

Back sometime in the lost, golden age when Barack Obama was President of the United States, I was engaged in a political discussion on the internet with a member of my extended family. This person said that Obama was the most racially divisive president ever, but that because I was blood family we would always be connected. I wanted a divorce.

Recently, that is since white-nationalists marched with torches chanting their antisemitism in Charlottesville, and since the LDS Church responded with a statement clarifying its first that "white-nationalism," "white-supremacy," and promotion of "white-culture" were sinful and unsaintly, another member of my extended family left voice mails for me saying that I was full of hate and a disgrace to the family name. I want another divorce.

It is odd that the only person you can divorce in your family is your spouse. I suppose you can disinherit your children and kick them out at some point from your basement. But I love my wife and kids. My wife is still with me going on 38 years of love amid life's challenges and my kids have pretty much moved out for good. Or, at least we can hope.

The concept of family honor and "blood thicker than water" strike me as pretty creepy when they are used to attack my beliefs and my personhood. It's probably a small fraction of what some minorities feel when under attack by antisemitism or white supremacy.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Wyoming Wildlife

Not at all comprehensive, but pretty good for a 24-hour period.

We take a break from politics, religion, and history to share the wildlife photos taken while I was up in Wyoming for the eclipse.

The fist entry is not biologically even if legally "wild." They are feral horses, not wild except as decreed by Congress (with all wisdom abounding). Yes, the Mustangs of the True West:

Thursday, August 17, 2017

A Death in Echo Canyon

A Mormon Pioneer Wagon Train in Echo Canyon on a day without the rain but otherwise still seemingly miserable.
Likely after 1861 because of the telegraph poles.
No wonder Echo Canyon has always haunted me!

Early in my blogging life, I became friends with a great, Mormon historian, Ardis Parshall. You can find her work at She kindly corrected me when I told her that my family had a story that my 2nd Great Grandfather, Daniel Bartholemew Roman, had come across the plains in 1855 with a handcart at the age of four. You see, the handcart companies didn't start until 1856.

And I just discovered where that handcart story might have come from.

Daniel came from Piedmont, Italy with his widower father, David Charles Roman. Daniel's deceased mother was Jeanne Malan, of one of the first families to join the LDS Church in Italy. Daniel's father David, remarried in Utah to a widow who came with the Ellsworth Handcart Company in 1856, Suzanne Robert Rochon. She became widowed when her husband, Jean Michel Rochon, died in Echo Canyon on the 22nd of September, 1856, four days short of the Salt Lake Valley. An account of his tragic, though nameless, death is in the journal of William Butler, an Irishman, and Captain of the Second Hundred in the Ellsworth Company:
Upon arriving at Echo, Utah I became very sick and was forced to lie on the ground due to the pain in my stomach. After praying and resting a short time, I was able to continue on. As the company had gone on down the canyon, I was forced to travel alone, there being a terrible rainstorm raging and I was unable to see except when the lighting would flash. While traveling alone, I overtook an Italian and his little girl with their handcart. They also had been left behind to die. This man died before morning. I buried him the best I could, not having a shovel. I then traveled on, taking the little girl and her cart with me. During that day we overtook another man and his daughter by the name of Clark. They also had been left by the main company. I said to myself later, “Had it not been for Mr. Clark and his assistance I could not have continued on.” We overtook the main company the following day. Here we camped to bury our dead. Our provisions almost exhausted, we all cut down to one cup of flour a day.