Saturday, March 19, 2011

Happy 145th Birthday, Joseph Grant Cramer (1866-1922)!

Wally's father

The first of several Joseph Cramers in the line! Joseph's middle name was undoubtedly inspired by Ulysses Grant's Civil War victories shortly before his birth to Hiram and Mary. 

Happy 421st Birthday, William Bradford (1590-1657)!

Anna Cramer's seventh-great-grandfather

William Bradford is one of our Pilgrims, and I'll feature them fully at Thanksgiving.  You can read more about him here.  Besides the physical hardships of traveling and living in Plymouth Colony, the emotional difficulties of leaving his son behind in Europe and then having his wife die (either suicide or a tragic accident--slipped off the Mayflower soon after arrival) seem nearly unimaginable.  We are descended from his second wife Alice's son, also named William Bradford.

Of note to me is the fact that he studied Hebrew, Latin, and Greek, and wrote this nice poem in his later years:

But keepe the truth in puriety and walke in all humility take heed of pride & contention for that will bring distruction Seeke love & peace & unity and preserve faith, & sanctitie and God will bless you with his Grace and bring you to his resting place.

I would give him a warm and toasty pair of boots!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy 193rd Birthday, Martin Heiner (1818-1897)!

Gawain's second-great-grandfather

Martin is a German pioneer, whose faithful service baking the Sacrament bread every week for 31 years inspires me.

Happy 169th Birthday (sort of), Relief Society (1842)!

The women's organization of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is known as the Relief Society.  It was started in Nauvoo in 1842, but the group ceased meeting in 1844.  A quarter century later in Utah, Brigham Young called for the reorganization of the Relief Society in every ward of the church.  (This was in 1867, so when we celebrate all these years of Relief Society, perhaps we should subtract 25 from the official tally.)

Red Brick Store in Nauvoo where RS was organized

Our only ancestor who seems to have belonged to the first Relief Society in Nauvoo was Elizabeth Thompson, although since two Elizabeth Thompsons lived in Nauvoo, we cannot even be certain it is the right ancestor.  Our pioneer women were very involved in the early Relief Society efforts in Utah.  They raised silkworms, grew and stored wheat, and took care of community and burial needs.  Our ancestors who served as Relief Society presidents, counselors, and teachers for decades include Elizabeth Fox, Hannah Grover, Maggie Hatch, Sylvia Hatch, Mary Hegsted, Jane Muir, Emma Shaw, Sarah Jensen, Mary Sorensen, Maria Hatch, Ann Welch, Eliza Welch, and Laura Woodland.  Annie Hatch was a Relief Society secretary and treasurer, and her son remembered the intriguing divided box in which she stored the funds.  Maria Hatch was also active in the Women’s Suffrage Movement in Utah and served as the vice president of the National Relief Society (a part of the church organization at the time).
Relief Society building at This is the Place

Elizabeth Fox's jubilee speech
Elizabeth Fox was especially involved with the Relief Society in Idaho, serving as a ward president for many years and then stake Relief Society president for sixteen years, during the time of the Relief Society’s 50th Anniversary Jubilee Celebration.  Under her direction, the Franklin Relief Society stored hundreds of bushels of wheat and built their own building.  Eliza R. Snow made a number of official visits during Elizabeth’s tenure.  Elizabeth regularly went down to General Conference in Salt Lake City. She was a good public speaker and had a message printed in the Women’s Exponent April 1, 1878, encouraging the power of women.  She visited the stake’s thirty wards annually, traveling by horse and buggy over mud-filled roads.

These women continue to inspire me today, as I serve in our ward Relief Society presidency.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Happy 169th Birthday, Laura Peters Woodland (1842-1916)!

Nita Woodland Welch's grandmother

Having already read about Laura Woodland's parents, David and Laura Peters, and her husband William Woodland, this tiny lady's life story will not be a surprise.  Yet do you know the prairie skunk story, of her near-drowning and promise to God, and her deathbed experience?  Read on to learn of a woman so charitable that she carried food to the needy under her apron to hide her good deeds from her children, a lady who loved beauty and flowers and created a refined home of fourteen children in the midst of wild Indian Idaho.
William & Laura