Friday, January 24, 2014

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Heritage Trail: Pioneer Path part 1

I'd never thought much beyond the 1847 Utah arrival besides knowing that the pioneers showed up somehow at This is the Place.  But the pioneers had quite a journey down canyons and over mountains to get to that point, and this past weekend we had the unusual opportunity to tour some of those sites with Connie Bauer, a local expert and family friend.  

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Heritage Trail: Mesa

communing with cactus
My paternal grandparents lived in Mesa, Arizona, from the late 1950s until the 1990s.  I remember visiting their home as a child, and so returning there last Easter was special. We attended church at their ward and met some of their old friends who reminisced about being in Anna's Cub Scout troop, and TP-ing their house one night while Wally and Anna just watched, smiling, from behind the window curtains.  As we stopped by their home, the owner was kind enough to let me wander through and see how things had changed (he owns an exotic reptile business, so the cage collection alone was enough to feel pretty different there).
Anna's handwritten list of places she's lived

Monday, August 19, 2013

Heritage Trail: Logan

My maternal grandparents both lived in Logan, Utah for part of their growing up years, and they met while attending Utah State University and were later sealed in the Logan Temple. Their widowed mothers continued to live in Logan through the 1960s and 1970s, so my mom and her siblings spent summer vacations visiting their grandmothers there.

a restaurant my grandma remembers fondly
my two great-grandmothers out shopping together, Eulalia left, Blanche right

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Monday, July 1, 2013

Heritage Trail: Millers in Pennsylvania

Johnstown inclined plan--glad no flood hit us!

I found the most connection with our Millers on this Pennsylvania odyssey. Seeing their hometown in the wooded hilly laurel highlands of western Pennsylvania (very near the Flight 93 memorial), I appreciated my McLean High School "highlander" heritage in a new way. Sadly, the Miller family records and photos were lost in the 1889 Johnstown Flood, but learning more about that disaster was also enlightening.  

My third-great-grandparents Sally Nealy and Philip Miller married in 1837 in Sewickley, a town that is now a northwestern suburb of Pittsburg, right on the Ohio river. I would love to know how and where they met, and why they married so far from where they lived (what is a couple hours' drive for us must have been quite a journey back then).  

German Lutheran Church, 616 Washington Street, Sewickley
Philip was an innkeeper at the Compass Inn in Laughlintown, and so their daughter Margaret grew up there. It is now restored and open as a museum, with a fascinating costumed tour guide. We were fortunate to be able to stay next door at the Ligonier Country Inn, and see this from our window, and think of ancestors living across the street viewing that same wooded hill behind.
inn where we stayed
ancestral Compass Inn across the street
interior kitchen
old wedding dress--could it be one of ours?
Philip also worked as the postmaster of Jenner Crossroads.  Although that town is marked now only by a sign on a bridge, the nearby Jennerstown post office made a great memorial.

After being widowed, Sally moved in with her youngest son in Johnstown, which is a windy twenty-five mile drive away from where she had lived. Here, at age seventy-five, she escaped the great flood through the roof with her grandsons, having first run back for her sunbonnet. She clung to a steeple all night before being rescued (there were 27 churches in Johnstown then, so no idea which steeple it was).  The flood museum is in the former library, and since Sally was known as being a woman who liked to read, she probably visited this building.

unidentified survivors, but as the woman has a
 hat and two boys with her, I like to imagine it's Sally
viewing the flood's path in the museum display
The Miller family stayed and rebuilt, and Sally was later buried in the Grandview Cemetery (up above the lower area of Johnstown). This enormous cemetery holds many flood victims; Sarah J Miller is located at Central 3-73, on your right as you turn in to the Central 3 section, right off the road.

Highlanders who like books, mail, hotels, and sunbonnets--
I'll claim them!