Friday, April 3, 2015

Box Elder and Fort Ogden Explained through the Magic of Welsh

Nearing the completion of my audit of Welsh 102, I'm starting to get it. Learning a new language is an incremental process. I can now read some text and figure out the context even if I can't translate all the words. Once I realize the context, more of the words make more sense. It's a process of steady growth in understanding. We don't remember the process with our first language as children. And learning one second language helps with any others.

There is a wonderful new history and language source online from Signature Books (shout-out to my friend, RP!). They have historical Mormon periodicals and newspapers, mostly from the 19th Century, and some in their original foreign languages. I have been collecting Ron Dennis's translations of Udgorn Seion [Zion's Trumpet] and Prophwyd y Jubili [Prophet of the Jubilee] in English, but the online, original versions are searchable PDFs and I found something in Welsh that I hadn't yet discovered in English:
Dinas Ogden, Rhagfyr 18, 1854.
. . . . Yr ydym yma mewn cyflawnder o bob peth ag sydd yn dda ar les ein cyrff a’n hysbrydoedd; dyma’r fan lle yr ydym yn cael clywed oin IJywydd Brigham, y Deuddeg, ac awdurdodau yr Eglwys,—y fan lie y cawn ein dyrchafu yn nheyrnas Dduw os y byddwn yn ftÿddlon. Yr ydym ni fel teulu yn mwynhau iecbyd da, ac mewn amgylchiadau cysurus, ac yn byw yn Ogden Fort, yr hwn svdd oddeutu 50 milltir yn ogleddol o Ddinas y Llyn Halen Fawr. Yr wyf yn gweithio wrth fy nghrefft, yr hon yw y gelfyddyd oreu yn y Dyffryn ; medraf ennill deg swllt yn y dydd. Yr wyf yn byw yn nghanol yr Americaniaid, ac nid oes yr un Çymro arall yn y ddinas hon.
Y mae Henry a’i dad, Capt. Thomas a Martha, William á Thomas Treharn a’i wraig, Abednego Jones, John Thomas o Cwmaman, David Williams, Gorslâs, a ’i wraig, ac amryw Gymry ereill yn byw yn Box Elder, 16 milltir ì’r gogledd o’r lle bwn. Y maent oll yn cofio atoch.
Here's the English translation courtesy of Ron Dennis's work (I'm not nearly that advanced and still hold my old friend in awe):
To Mr. Isaac Jones Carmarthen, From His Son [David Jones].
Ogden City, December 18, 1853
. . . . We are here in a fullness of everything that is good and beneficial for our bodies and spirits; this is the place where we can hear our President Brigham, the Twelve, and the authorities of the Church,--the place where we are lifted up in the kingdom of God if we are faithful. We as a family are enjoying good health, and in comfortable circumstances, and living in Ogden Fort, which is about 50 miles north of Great Salt Lake City. I am working at my trade [weaving], which is the best craft in the Valley; I can earn ten shillings per day. I live in the midst of the Americans, and there is not one other Welshman in this city.
Henry and his father, Capt. Thomas and Martha Williams and Thomas Treharn and his wife, Abednego Jones, John Thomas from Cwmaman, David Williams, Gorslâs, and his wife, and several other Welshman live in Box Elder, 16 miles to the north of this place. They all Send their regards. . . . [emphasis added]
This establishes that Abednego first settled in Box Elder, north of Ogden, confirming the less than fully reliable 1856 Territorial Census. And known as Abednego Jones in Box Elder, who had just come over in 1853, he is a match with Abednego John of Box Elder in the 1856 Census and later that year of '56 in Jacks Valley as Abednego Johns. We've got pretty solid evidence for the change in his surname.

"Box Elder" in 1853 was the settlement that eventually became Brigham City.

And there's more on the Fort in Ogden (with only one Welshman). David must be referring to Fort Bingham built in 1853 and not the old Fort Bueneventura of Miles Goodyear down by the river.

From the Ogden Standard Examiner

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