Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Armenian Holocaust

This week marks the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Holocaust.  You may ask, What is that.  I had not heard of it until today.  Briefly this was an effort by the Ottoman Empire it rid itself of the Armenians by forced exodus and by murder and massacre.  It began on April with the murder of a couple hundred prominent Armenians.  From there it became a general policy which resulted in between one and 1.5 million deaths.  This was Hitler before Hitler.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Martin Handcart Pioneers: Sarah Franks and George Padley

Sarah Franks Mackay
Sarah Franks and George Padley were engaged to be married before they traveled with the Martin Handcart Company.  At least four other couples were on the journey, mostly on the ship on the Ship Horizon.  However Sarah and George decided to wait until the reached Salt Lake City so they could be sealed in the Endowment House.  However, the journey took its toll on both Sarah and George.  Their bodies began to break down.  In the ultimate example of sacrifice, George would take from his already skimpy rations, and share with Sarah.  George also took severe cold in crossing the Sweetwater river just before the company reached martin's Cove.  His body could take no more and he passed away in the cove.
Sarah was worried about the possibility of the wolves getting to her beloved's body.  She used her own shawl, which she needed for warmth, to dress him, and insisted his body be tied inn a tree. President Faust visited Martin's Cove as part of the Second Rescue.  President Kim w. McKinnon of the Riverton Wyoming Stake told the story of Sarah Franks and George Padley.  President faust "was very moved by the story.  With a tear in his eye he said it had to be one of the great love stories of the western migration."  
It wasn't until 1998 that Sarah was sealed to George, after this had been approved by the First Presidency.  She had married Thomas Mackay and raised a large family.   She would honor and love George for eternities, but she also loved Thomas.  Her dream of Zion was fulfilled in a different way than she had hoped.  

Peter McBride: Mormon Handcart Pioneer

Peter McBride, from Scotland, traveled with the Martin Handcart Company with his family.  He was six.  His father served the company as the music leader.  Upon arriving by train at Iowa City, Iowa, some of the company walked to the pioneer camping site that evening.  They were caught in a tremendous down pour.  Peter was walking with his older brother Heber.  What should have been a short walk, took considerably more because of the mud.  They became disoriented, and would not have found the camp except for the campfires they could see after dark.
Like most young boys, Peter was lively.  His father would pass away after the last crossing of the Platte while the company was in the Red Buttes area.  After his father was buried Peter could not be consoled.  Finally he was able to get out, "My fish hooks are in my father's pocket and I want them back.
After making it to Martin's Cove, the wind blew all the tents down one night.  As the company leaders inspected how many had perished during the night, when they come upon the McBride tent which had fallen the wondered how many were dead inside.  Peter's brother explained they had all gotten out.  However when she realized her younger brother had not, she indicated he must have perished.  Peter tells the story this way:

The wind blew the tent down. They all crawled out but me. The snow fell on it. I went to sleep and slept warm all night. In the morning I heard someone say, "How many are dead in this tent?" My sister said, "Well, my little brother must be frozen to death in that tent." So they jerked the tent loose, sent it scurrying over the snow. My hair was frozen to the tent. I picked myself up and came out quite alive, to their surprise.  (McBride, Peter, CH)

Peter must have been a bright spot on a trip which such suffering.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Book Review: When Abraham Talked to the Trees

When Abraham Talked to Trees by Elizabeth Van Steenwyk, illustrated by Bill Farnsworth, Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2000.
This is a story about how Abraham Lincoln developed his skill at public discourse.  Abraham loved to talk, and he read considerable to learn stories.  He would tell the stories to his family.  Sometimes they would listen.  Other times they might become bored.  Abraham would talk anyway; whether to his family, friends or the trees.