Sunday, October 8, 2017

Short Bios of Those Associated with the Ellsworth Handcart Company, 1856

Ellsworth Company, 1856. Brief Bios of those in the official Company list or are mentioned in the Journals of the Company

All information is gathered from the Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel Database ( or unless otherwise noted.

William Knox Aitkin (1819-1864) Travelled with the McArthur Co. Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, returned and died there.

David Argyle (1818-1905) born in Leicester, UK. Came with wife Rebecca Jane Finch Argyle (1824-1890), and children, Joseph Jr. (1842-1927), Benjamin James (1843-1917), Mary Ann (1847-1922), Frances (1850-1939), Alonzo Lorenzo (1853-1940), and Priscilla (1854-1932). Rebecca was pregnant during the journey and gave birth to son Hyrum born 10 November (1856-1929). The Argyle’s settled in South Davis County. David and Rebecca both died in West Bountiful.

Thomas Columbus Armstrong (1817-1900). Traveled with his mother, Eliza Salt Armstrong (1792-1860), and his son Thomas Columbus, Jr. (1843-1892). Had one of the wagons that accompanied first Ellsworth, and then McArthur, from Florence, NE to Salt Lake City. They were from Stepney, London, England. Settled in the 2nd Ward, Salt Lake City.

John Ash (1820-1915). Born in Cheshire, England. Traveled with wife, Sophia Edwards Ash (1829-1863), from Birmingham, England, and their daughter, Ellen Matilda (1854-1954). They settled in Cache Co., Utah where John took two additional wives.

Henry William Attley (1832-1911) traveled with his wife, Christina Stuart Attley (1826-1913). Henry from England and Christina from Scotland were married in St. Louis, 1856. They drove one of the wagons that accompanied the handcarts starting out with Ellsworth and ending up with the McArthur Co. Childless, they adopted a little girl and lived out their lives in Salt Lake City.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Temple Service

Bountiful, Utah Temple at night. (although we're still missing our spire under repair and the scaffolding is still up.)

Last evening I did my regular service as a Veil Worker in the Bountiful Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is one of the great blessings of my life. 

I have no intention of discussing sacred ordinances. They are sacred to me in a covenant with God sort of way. There are many scholarly and not-so-scholarly writings on the various subjects and that's not what this is about.

What I want to say, with some caution so as not to unnecessarily trivialize Temple service, is how amazing it is to work in the Temple. 

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

A Personal History of Depression and Anxiety

Some people have knee problems and have surgery to repair or replace with a prosthetic.

Some people have diabetes that requires constant care and monitoring.

Some people have mental illness that is just that -- an illness in the brain and emotional functions. It can be treated more like diabetes than knee problems, with constant care and monitoring. And one can live a fully successful and even happy (mostly) life.

Rather than recreating the whole exposé again, I will cut and paste some Facebook posts from the last couple of days. I deleted the names and links to comments from many good friends so those show up without an icon in front. My comments appear with my name and current FB pic (for Puerto Rico):

Dear Friends and Family:
I used to have guns. Do you know why I don't anymore? Because I suffer from a mental illness called depression*. My suicidal ideation was to drive up on the Skyline Drive, park, get out of the car so no mess, and blow my brains out.
I gave my guns to a relative that I trust more than any other to see that those guns are never used purposely or accidentally to take a life.
There are many in my family I can't trust with those guns. There are some in my family I can't trust at all because they treat me with vindictiveness and hatred for having beliefs different than theirs.
I am sick of guns and mental illness and the failure of those who should care and support me to see and hear my needs. The NRA is an evil and corrupt organization and has bought up politicians to sell more guns that result in more escalating deaths.
There is no unlimited right to bear arms in the US Constitution outside a well-regulated militia. A well-regulated militia would identify and treat those who are a danger to themselves and others in the bearing of arms.
*and anxiety, duh.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Arrival in the Valley, September 26, 1856

Failing to get a Rand McNally Map of Utah, I have not plotted these locations. The good news is that the Mormon Trail is followed by modern highway (for the most part). Take the side road down Echo Canyon and stay on it to Henefer. Turn left and go up and over to East Canyon, where the original trail is covered by the water of the reservoir (I went water-skiing there once and it just didn't feel quite right boating over a drowned pioneer trail). Then follow over to Little Mountain and Big Mountain where the original trail still exists just a ways to the south of the highway. Stop at the top of Big Mountain for the first views of the valley as this is the right place, and drive on down Emigration Canyon to This Is the Place Monument. The monument is free, it costs a bit to visit the pioneer village which is really cool, but you can get in for free if invited to special events like family reunions. The Heber C. Kimball Family Reunion is a hoot because you will run into people you never knew your wife is related to as there are thousands of his descendants. But the important thing is that Elinor Jenkins Vaughan (age 68 - approximate), Jane Vaughan Lewis (age 29), John Lewis (age 33), and John Samuel Lewis (age 8) made it! See the Ellswoth Company info here.  For earlier portions of the journey, see Iowa, Nebraska, and Wyoming segments.

And join in celebrating the entrance into the Valley of blessed, honored pioneers!

The first handcart company led by Captain Edmund Ellsworth, and including Elinor Jenkins Vaughan
 with her daughter's family, enters the Great Salt Lake Valley, Sept. 26, 1856
( media library)
DAY 106

The camp rolled out at 12 P.M. and Travelled 18 miles[.] the road was pretty good. We forded the Weber[1] about 1 P.M. and had dinner in the Weber banks[.] camped about 30 past 6 P.M. Wood, water and feed plenty. We were visitted by a few Indians. (Galloway OTD).

T. 23rd Came 21 mi and camped on E Kanyon Creek[2] (Oakley OTD).

Sunday, September 24, 2017

They Made It Across Wyoming, 1856

First of all, I broke these segments into modern state lines based on the highway maps I have charted. I'm still old-fashioned in that way even if no one uses state highway maps anymore.

In 1856, the territorial boundaries were at the continental divide. Nebraska was on the eastern slope and Oregon on the western, at least down to the 42nd Parallel North, the present-day northern boundary of California, Nevada, and Utah. And in 1856, Utah Territory went east to the continental divide to include what is now southwestern Wyoming. Still, there's some satisfaction in beginning Wyoming at Fort Laramie and on west to Yellow Creek at the Needles before Cache Cave and Echo Canyon in Utah. Ft. Laramie works, because it was there. And Yellow Creek because, well, that's another family story.

The numbered days continue from Nebraska and began at Iowa City from the departure on 9 June 1856. The first date is the 24th of August 1856. [Galloway was off by a day].

The names that are not footnoted are explained in previous segments, Iowa and Nebraska.

DAY 76

23rd Sun 24
The camp did not travell any to day[.] We were busey with the hand carts[.] At 6 P.M. We had a sacramental & saints meeting[.] a good time of it (Galloway OTD).

24 Sunday in camp all Day[.] an Indian visited us, we had a good meetting Partook of the Scarment some of the Brethen testified[.] Brothers France[,] Oakeley [John Oakley] & [William] Butler spoke[.] felt well and to thank my God for my Deliverance (Ham OTD).

Sun 24th The 1st Indian we have seen since leaving Florence came to our camp. Broke up an old waggon[.] Meeting in the eve[nin]g[.] Sacrament administered (Oakley OTD).

Sunday 24th Rested from travels but had to repair hand carts. Meeting at night. Received the Sacrament. Spoke at the meeting. Bro. Ellsworth spoke some time and said we had made great improvement; that the last week there had been less quarreling and those that had robbed the hand carts, or wagons, unless they repent their flesh would rot from their bones and go to Hell. (Walters OTD).

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