Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Jamestown, Goldhunters?

I was watching Pocahontas Disney movie, and had to wonder; Did the Jamestown Company (The Virginia Company of London) really search for gold?  In searching this question, I must conclude that the answer is yes.  Initially the members of the company spent too much time searching for gold and silver.  As a result the efforts to support themselves were lacking which caused hunger and a poor economy.  Many of the early settlers died due to hunger, disease and the elements.  John Smith was instrumental in getting the colony to focus on agriculture and taking care of their needs.  The philosophy became, if you don't work, you don't eat.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Camp Hollow Revisited

This is the article I wrote for the Hyrum Crusader November 1976, before the marker was moved.  It says:  Camp Hollow, the sight where Hyrum was first settled, is in miserable shape.  Weeds have overrun the area where a monument to recognize Hyrum's founders was placed in 1962.  Not only have weeds taken over the place, but untrimmed trees crowd the area, looking like the snarl of spider's webs.  Fallen leaves and branches left the area an unbecoming sight.
The sight has recently been worsened.  A pipeline was put along the road in front of the sight.  The upturned dirt is unbecoming.  The digging also left a "grand canyon" through a hill bordering the area.  A picnic table is offered at the Hollow, but to get to it one must first conquer mud, trees and leaves.  The sight, located on the east of of 100 North, where Hyrum's founders settled on April 8, 1860, deserves better than it is receiving.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Book Review: In a Goodly Land

Stake Presidency with Vern Wardle on the right

Book Review: In a Goodly Land: Latter-Day Saints of the Stanislaus, John D. Nash and Mary M. Nash, Linrose Publishing Company, Fresno, CA 1997.  This book, on the title page says: A Hisotyr of Four Stakes of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saint (the Mormons) in the Great Central Valley of California: Modesto California Stake, Modesto California North Stake, Manteca Stake, Turlock Stake.
This book I found in the used book store, and was very excited about it.  In reading it I found the best description of New Hope I have read.  It includes a mad.  It clarified for me that the Saints did not all leave after the flood, but held on, and actually harvested their winter wheat.  They had plans for irrigation ditches for the farm, and had started working on these.  In the end Sam Brannan advertised for sale the property and the equipment, including the mill.  It would appear more dissension that lead to the doom of the community that the flood.  Also Brigham Young had selected the Great Basin as the home for the Saints rather than California.  However he initially asked the Saints to build where they were, and thus the title “In a Goodly Land.”  However a couple years late he called for the Saints to come to Utah.  Most of them did, and for a period there were not Mormons in the area.
The book describes the early missionary efforts in this area.  However most of the growth came from transplanted Saints from other areas.  However there was always some growth through missionary efforts.  The book also deals extensively with building funds and construction of new buildings.  I was interested in the Manteca area where we now live.  Manteca started as a Sunday School of the Stockton Ward.  They initially met in rented rooms, but eventually grew to an independent branch.  The first chapel was known as the Pine Street Chapel.  When the Modesto Stake was organized in 1964, Manteca became a part of this stake, while Tracy remained with Stockton Stake.  The Manteca area became part of the Modesto North Stake in 1975.  However when the Manteca Stake was created in 1981, Tracy and Manteca were reunited in a stake.  At that time there were five units, two in Tracy and three in Manteca.  As the Manteca chapel was more crowded, Tracy was used as the stake center.  The Union building was finished in 1984 and became the stake center.  However the stake continued to grow for some time. 
D. Leon Ward was the first stake president.  (His son is in our ward.)  The first stake patriarch was Charles Eitelgeorge.  He is still serving and has been the patriarch continuously since the stake was formed.  At one time there were two patriarchs as D. Leon Ward had been a patriarch before being called as the stake president, and returned to this call when released where he served until he moved from the stake.  Other stake presidents have been L. Dee Wallace and Rex A. Brown [President Crockett our current president was sustained after the book was published.
This book has a picture of our friend and distant cousin Vern Wardle, who served in the stake presidency.  It is fun to look at the appendices, as it lists all the bishops of the wards.  It is amazing how many of the members of our high priest group are former bishops.  It also lists the stake high councilmen.  I would by fun to have an updated book.
A couple other points of interest:  It describes the development of the welfare projects which were under ward or stake leadership.  It describes the establishment of the young women’s camp; Sister Dorothy Eitelgeorge played an important role in developing the spiritual “golden hours program”.  Richard Hammerstrom, whose son is in our high priest group, played important roles in the community with the Boys and Girls Club.  The dedication of the Oakland Temple in 1964 had a great effect on the Saints in the area, as temple blessings were within almost an hour.  There was at one time a youth chorus in Manteca, conducted by Kathy Harvey.

Friday, October 19, 2012

William Jackson water colors from Westward America

These pictures are from the book Westward America by Howard W. Driggs with water colors by William H. Jackson.  The publisher is American Pioneer Trail Association.  The author, painter are both deceased and the publisher no longer exists.  I attempted to contact family for permission to publish the illustrations but was unsuccessful.  Each of these pictures plays a part in young Isaac's trek across the plains.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Garth L. Lee By: Sara Buff

This was published in the Hyrum Crusader in the series "Personality of the Month"

Garth Lee
     Purchase of a stake farm, construction of a new stake house, and a joint purchase of a new recreation center are some of the things that have "come to pass" since this issue's personality, Garth Lee, has been stake president.
     President Lee, now in his seventh year as stake president, was ordained March 29, 1970.
     Garth Lee has been stake president for six and a half years, but his church involvement goes much further.  He served a mission to the Central States Mission.  He has served as a bishop twice and of Hyrum First Ward ten years.  He has been a branch president in Colorado and in a branch presidency in Toronto.  He has been a Sunday school president.  He was once a district president in a mission.  He has also served as M.I.A. secretary, home teacher, and taught many classes.
     President Lee's church activities are only equalled by his educational experiences.
     After graduating from the University of Utah with his bachelor's and master's degrees in chemistry, he went to Toronto, Canada, and earned his doctorate at the Univeristy of Toronto.
     He first taught at the University of Colorado in Boulder, but since has come to Utah State.  He has been at Utah State for 22 years now, teaching chemistry.  Of those 22 years, he spent seven years as the head of the Chemistry Department.  This year, however, he has retired form his position as Dean of Chemistry to devote more time to teaching. 
     Garth Lee has written and published two freshman text books.  "General and Organic Chemistry" and "The Principles of Chemistry" are his works that have been published nationally.  He is now in the process of rewriting "The Principles of Chemistry."
     In the community, President Lee was a member of the Lions Club for several years.  He also ran for mayor seven years ago, but said he was soundly beaten.
     Making furniture of driftwood is one of President Lee's hobbies.
     President Lee was born in Hinckley, Millard County, Utah, on September 25, 1920, to Lafayette C. and Pearl Mortenson Lee.  He was raised in the south end of Salt Lake.
     He married Lila Lee, who has served as Blazer Scout Leader in First Ward for ten years, and recently received the Silver Beaver for her efforts.
     President Lee has nine children, six of whom are college graduates.  One has a doctorate in chemistry, and another is close to receiving his doctorate in chemistry.
     His children are Harold, Milton, Wayne, Larry, Claudia, Vivian, Brenda, Edgar, and Steve.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Year of the Miracle

This is an article published in the Ensign with regards to the year of the miracle.  It mentions our stake president in Hyrum, Garth P. Lee.  I actually missed this except through my mother's letters.  I was on a mission to Argentina.  President Lee set me apart.

“Rain in Due Season”

David Carl Danielson, “‘Rain in Due Season’,” Ensign, July 1978, 68–69
I often find myself pinpointing events in relation to other more profound experiences—the year I was married, the year my father died, the year we built the house or the dairy barn. … 1977 was such a year. For me, it will be the year of the miracle.
I am a farmer in Cache Valley, Utah. Every farmer knows that weather has more to do with his success or failure than everything else combined. The long, dry fall of 1976 allowed us to do many things usually left unfinished in an ordinary year. We did the plowing, repaired the sagging fences, and leveled several dusty fields. Then, because there was nothing left to do, we went “rock picking”—about the only thing my usually helpful family despise. Fortunately, in their eyes, most seasons do not last long enough to schedule a “rock-picking” time. Usually we just jump, bump, and roll over the same old rocks season after season.
But December of 1976 was warm and dry. We used every Saturday in December on the hated task and even—to the family’s dismay—part of the holidays between Christmas and New Year’s Day. By January 1 the field was clean and smooth—but still dry. The month drew to an end with only a skiff of snow; even the mountains were bare and gray. Only the thin white covering of fluff gave our valley some semblance of winter.
During this time the stake presidents in the Logan Region were called to meet with our Regional Representative, Brother M. A. Kjar. On Sunday, January 23, the outcome of the meeting was made known to the members of the Hyrum Stake, as we met for the first stake conference in our newly completed stake house. Brother Kjar outlined plans for a special fast. Our stake president, Garth Lee, announced that the fast would begin January 26 at 6:00 p.m. and that on the evening of the 27th we would hold a prayer service.
This was the beginning of the miracle. The fast was observed with enthusiasm. Over fifty percent of the stake assembled for the prayer service—old people, men and women with young families, teenagers, and college students. We sang. President Lee led our congregation in a prayer, asking the Lord to send us the needed moisture in due time that we might plant and harvest.
The moisture did not come that night, nor did it come in the following weeks. February was warm, melting what light snow remained. I returned to the field to work down the plowed ground, hoping to take advantage of the little moisture. But the hard lumps would not give way. Obviously the Lord’s answer was “not yet,” but in our impatience we sometimes found it difficult to hear him.
In mid-February the governor declared Utah a disaster area. The whole economy was suffering. Most winter resorts had failed to open at all; others were operating at limited capacity. Tire stores featured snow tires in an ironic, never-ending sale. Communities urged citizens to use water carefully. Now the skeptics began to mock those who had put their faith in God. One such even wrote a letter to the local paper asking if we did not know that nature, not God, controlled the weather.
What the skeptics did not know was that prayers and fasting were continuing. Time and again I turned to the promise, “If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them;
“Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.” (Lev. 26:3–4.)
In March our faith was renewed. Several good snows came; precipitation for the month was “normal.” The last week was clear and warm, and the ground dried quickly. I returned to the fields. The once-hard lumps yielded easily to the disk and the harrows and a good seedbed presented itself. On March 21 and 22 I planted forty-six acres of barley; a week later we finished planting the grain on the stake welfare farm.
Now the testing began again. The month of April came and went without rain. At stake quarterly conference President Lee concluded, “Plant your crops; the Lord has heard your prayers.”
By now Porcupine Dam Reservoir was barely half-full and the runoff from the mountains had already stopped. March’s moisture had penetrated the ground only six or eight inches; experts gave us little hope of any crop on dry farms and less than fifty percent harvest on irrigated land. Local irrigation boards set up plans for summer rationing. We continued to pray in public meetings and private supplications.
On May 5 the answer began. From that moment, few could doubt it. It was as though the Lord had waited for the test of our faith to be completed, and then accepted it fully. Day after day the rain fell on the young crops; May was the wettest month in the recorded history of our valley. When hay-cutting time arrived, this valley had one of the best crops ever.
Statistically, 1976 is recorded as a drought. But the rains came as the manna fell for the ancient Israelites—as we needed it, but with none to spare. As each crop matured in its season, it was average or better.
As the season of the sign drew to an end, our barns were not only filled; they were running over. Our stake welfare farm yielded its best crop—so did my farm. My granaries were filled, and my heart was overflowing.
Our stake met again on September 22 at the call of our stake president, this time to express gratitude to the Lord for his mercies. Approximately fifty percent of the stake gathered once more to share in the prayer of thanksgiving.
I left the meeting calm and peaceful, my faith and testimony strengthened by the test. I would never again doubt miracles. Driving home, I recalled another scripture: “And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things, and obey not his commandments.” (D&C 59:21.)
Suddenly, I realized that rain was falling against the windshield.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Camp Hollow, Hyrum, Utah: When History Changes

In my youth, Camp Hollow was almost a sacred place, where the first year in Hyrum, the pioneers had built dug outs into the hill the side of the hill to ward off the cold.  School field trips took us there to hear the stories of these pioneers.There was a place to picnic, but truthfully it was underused.

Then one summer that history changed.  This must have been 1977.  A contractor decided to develop the property, the monument was moved, and the story changed to anywhere along the ridge, which runs a mile or so, was the original spot, we're not sure exactly where.  The monument was moved to the rodeo grounds park, about a half mile away.  No trees or picnic table; but park grass, a playground and tennis courts.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Book Review: California Gold Rush: Search for Treasure

This is a children's book written by Catherine E. Chambers and published by Troll Associates, 1984.  I have this book from when I was a history consultant.  This book is very good on describing the discovery of gold at the while making a channel for water to run a mill wheel.  The story in the book tells of the wealth of John Sutter.  It downplays the role of the workers in the discovery of gold, and focuses on John Marshall, the foreman.  Many of the workers were from the Mormon Batallion, which is not mentioned in the book. 

One thing it does do well is talk of how John Sutter hoped to keep the discovery of gold a secret.  He knew it would be hard to employ people in his workings, if they were all chasing gold.  Sam Brannon, a recent Mormon emigrant spoiled this as it was he who brought news to San Francisco, "There is gold on the American River."  He also put a notice in his paper and sent this East, which sparked the rush. 

California's economy was based on the gold mine.  It was only later that the gold of the soil was discovered, which became the backbone of California's economy.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Book Review: San Joaquin City

This book was written by Earle Williams, who is a former resident of San Joaquin City.  San Joaquin City is a ghost town which was located close to the San Joaquin River and the Durham Ferry.  This is now were Airport Way crosses the river, on the West side of the river and South of the road on S. Kasson Rd.  The author attended New Jerusalem School.  For a look at the area now:

This book was loaned to me by Linda Hicken from the Ripon Ward.  I have already explored what it said about New Hope in a couple of blogs:

San Joaquin City was first established as a river boat town, where first wood was shipped to San Joaquin for wood stoves and steam heat.  It then evolved into a grain shipping town, and much of the wheat, when the valley was covered with wheat, was shipped to market from this town.

There are a couple of men that bare mentioning.  These are men from San Joaquin City.  The first was William H. Riecks who was sheriff of San Joaquin County for almost twenty years. 

The other was George Williams.  George had developed a smokeless gunpowder, and pursued this invention with almost manic drive.  He as a youth attempted to rob a train and ended up in juvenile detention as a result.  When he came home he lived on the East side of the San Joaquin River, opposite San Joaquin City.  A friend from the detention center lived with him, and when George could not get parties interested in funding his research and development of the gun powder, they decided to rob a train.  The attempt took place where Manteca is currently located.  They made a fire on the rails to stop the train.  However when George went to get the car opened with payroll money, a transient emerged, and as he surprised George, he let lose with his shot gun and killed him.  This caused George to leave the attempt, and he just left and went back to his home on the river.  His partner took off as well.  George was arrested as they found a letter that had fallen from his coat.  After he was arrested, his partner was also.  They were both tried for train robbery.  The murder was never tried.  Both were sentenced to life in prison and sent to San Quentin.  However years later George was paroled and returned home.  His partner was never released and died in prison. 
George was a character that lived on the river for many years.  He developed his own electricity for his place, fished for sturgeon, his home was on sturgeon bend.  Raised bamboo for fishing poles.