Tuesday, July 29, 2014

An Interesting Glimpse of the Utah War (Eleanor?)

Captain Albert Tracy came to Utah with Johnston's Army as part of the Utah War. He kept a diary that included some great sketches of Utah Territory in 1858-60. He is an obvious Utah "outsider" and not at all kindly disposed towards the Mormons holding every prejudice about them common at the time among the US government and American society at large (hence, the Utah "War").

An Example of Capt. Tracy's Excellent Sketch Work
At one point supposedly to keep peace between the Mormons and the Utes in Utah County (and to keep watch on Bishop Aaron Johnson), Capt. Tracy was ordered to maintain a post at Springville. He gave a grudgingly good description of the city even if he had little respect for its citizens:

Sunday, July 27, 2014

To See the Old and Feeble Dame

Or I could have titled this: "Amateur Historians Need Not Inquire."

It was not a total freak-out. After we were just about to Utah and free from Wyoming's desolation, I turned to my wife and asked:

"Do you think I'm obsessed with Grandma Eleanor?"


"Why do you say that?"

Friday, July 25, 2014

More Philmont Views from a Six-Year-Old

By popular demand (actually, one fan request -- thanks, E). I returned the camera to my Grandson. His eight-year-old brother helped with a couple:
One of his Philmont Staffer advisers

Sort of Guest Post: The Philmont Training Center from a Six-Year-Old Perspective

My grandson came to me in the dining hall and asked to borrow my camera. As an indulgent Grandpa, I complied. This is the result:
The Ga-Ga Pit. The most popular activity for some of the boys. It's Israeli dodge ball as explained to me.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Ghost Town Ghosts

One of the great bennies of volunteer trainers at Philmont, is the Wednesday Afternoon rides into the back country. The Chaplains (Catholic, Jewish, Protestant, LDS) have a fleet of Suburbans put to this use as they have daily needs to go somewhere to rescue lost souls -- or more likely to pick up trash and make deliveries to remote camps. The back country is riddled with trails and dirt roads. Several sub-base camps staffed by Philmont summer workers have radio contact with base camp HQ and the Infirmary. The chatter is quite entertaining:

"When the crew arrives, please advise them of safety policy and that it is not good to leave their sick adviser on a camp porch and go on without him. Out. Base."
 Yesterday, we were privileged to go to a place we'd never been - Baldy Camp. Both of my treks were in the south country so I take every chance I get to visit up north. And everywhere are the most amazing things found at Philmont:

Pioneer Day 2014

So, I got an email message from Family Search listing all my Mormon Pioneer ancestors. There was one name there I'd never known. And I couldn't match her up with anyone in my line. The system may not yet be foolproof. There's no internet infallibility in our church (or any other IT system I've ever heard of).

Yet I was surprised because I really thought my Mom had told me that our Wright Family of Coalville, Utah, were not Pioneers, but had come on the train. But there was Thomas Wright (1830-1909) on the list! His wife Annie Dale Wright (1842-1911) appears in the same Daniel D. McArthur Company, 1868.

Whatever my Mom told me it was at least half right because 1868 was the year before the transcontinental railroad was completed. In 1868, the Mormons heading for Zion rode the train to the then end of the line at Benton, Wyoming, eleven miles east of Rawlins. They didn't have to walk so far but it was still far enough across the most challenging parts of Southwestern Wyoming. Here's the report of their trip from the Pioneer Overland Travel Database:

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Why I Mess With Texas

Many of my friends (well, only a few) are Texans. I have some great relatives who live in Texas. Still, in the midst of a crisis of undocumented immigrant children, the Governor of Texas offers this photo-op in response:

Now, I don't think Gov. Perry is actually shooting immigrant children fleeing unbearable economic, political, and criminal disasters in their home countries in Central America and Mexico. But why would he choose this type of a macho photo-op? It reminds me of this one:

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

My Friend, Kokopelli

Imagine my surprise when I went to the reception at the Philmont Museum/Bookstore and noticed this great book on Kokopellis of the Southwest and opening it, found a section on the Kokopellis at La Cieneguilla (Santa Fe Canyon) where I helped BLM secure some property for public access. (You're welcome.)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Association by Guilt

Today's Mug Shots: Shurtleff, on right, looks like a deer in the headlights. Swallow, on left, looks like a smart a**.
It was a shocking day for the State of Utah when the last two State Attorneys General were arrested at their homes with an 8 a.m. knock on each door. We tried to watch the news conference to explain the charges from the Salt Lake County Attorney. Our antiquated government computers couldn't quite handle the live-stream.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Boehner Presents Foolproof Plan to Get Wicked Obama

Speaker Boehner explains his brilliant plan to a confused Dorothy (representing America, of course)
Yes! The Brilliant Munchkins of the 113th Congress finally have the opportunity to do in the evil President Obama once and for all! Speaker Boehner just announced his plan to sue the President over his delay in implementing the Obamacare mandate!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Who Wants to be President?

There are two people who really, really want to be President of the United States.

The problem is, neither one wants to run for President. Hillary has her decades-old problem with the Press. She hates them and they love to go after her. Mitt's problem is similar. It's just not the Press, but that whole 47% of us thing. I don't think he liked the crowd he had to debate with in the primaries that much either.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Lost in Time

Watching an episode of Torchwood last night with a British soldier of the Great War caught in time between 1918 and the present (and he looked a little like Neville Longbottom). I was also at my computer checking some family history at the National Library of Wales and came across some ancient manuscripts, the Black Book of Carmathen.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

You Can Learn a Lot About Bastards at the Family History Library

Not satisfied with our Welsh Researcher shooting down our latest possible link to Reese Price, putative father of John Vaughan 1789, I went back again to the the Family History Library. Last time I stopped once I had found the shot-down reference in Breconshire Quarter Sessions. The nagging continued in my head, so I went back to check Radnorshire and Herefordshire. There was nothing in Radnorshire with its clerk's fine penmanship. Fortunately, Herefordshire had an index and I found this:
See what I mean about penmanship?

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

A Letter from Nephi to Abergavenny

While searching for other things, serendipity gave me a great glimpse into a Welshman's view of pioneer days in Utah. It appeared in the The Usk Observer, Abergavenny and Raglan Herald, Pontypool Messenger, and Monmouthshire Central Advertiser* of Saturday, July 25, 1857. That was the day after the 24th of July Pioneer Celebration up at Silver Lake when Brother Brigham learned that federal troops were on their way to Utah to put down an alleged rebellion of tyrannical despotism. Most of the newspaper articles published in Britain concerning Mormonism were more similar to President Buchanan's views of Utah.
MORMONISM,-The following letter is from a Patriarch in the Mormon Camp, to his Brother at Abergavenny.
Nephi City, February, 1857.