Saturday, November 28, 2015

PBS Documentary: The Pilgrims

Th Pilgrims: An American Experience, PBS, 2015
This documentary does hit home with it telling of the story of the Pilgrims.  A group of people, separatist, who wanted to worship God their way and not in the way prescribed by the king.  They based their worship on the scriptures, "When two or three of you will gather, there will I be also."  They took this to mean they did not need any authority to worship.
However the King did not agree.  They first fled to Holland, which required learning a new language and culture.  They government tried to prevent them, but a group did get away.  Their wives and children were arrested, but later released as authorities didn't want to pay for their keep.  They slowly also made it to Holland.
However, after a few years the realized their children were losing their culture, and determined another solution had to be found.  This solution was found din the Americas.  They found a sponsor for their venture.  The sponsor would not fund an entirely religious group, and insisted others also go.  Those who traveled on the Mayflower were a mixture.  However the did all sign the Mayflower Compact and agree to live communally when they disembarked at Plymouth Rock.
If not for the support of native Americans, the colony would have failed.  Squanto befriended this group and provided need knowledge on how to survive in the wilderness.  They also stole corn seed from the Native Americans.  After the first year the decided to hold a feast to not only give thanks but to also celebrate there having survived a full year.  It happened that Chief Massasoit arrived this time with about 90 warriors.  Seeing they were having a feast his warriors killed five venison to add to the feast.  This provided additional food and they did have a feast although not much was recorded.  Most certainly they did not have pie as sugar and flour where not readily available.
Although William Bradford did not write about this feast, much of what is known about the company comes from William Bradford who was the second governor.  He wrote an extensive history of the colony.  Also effecting the colony were other later settlements which were established, including Boston.  Most of the new emigrants coming were not part of ecclesiastical groups.  Consequently there was some difference of opinion.  The greatest difference was with regards to the native population.  Because of conflict, the Indians decided to wipe out one community, but fearing reprisal the decided the would also have to wipe out the Mayflower group.  Word of these attacks reached Bradford and his group, and rather than waiting they decided to attack with other groups.  They mets some pretending to be hosting a time of trade.  Instead they murdered about six or seven native Americans.  Miles Standish (one of the newer members) took a head which he put on a pike outside the community  Hear it was for several years warning the native population to not cause problems.  This prevented attack, but also put a strain on relationships.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Biographical Documentary: Fred Gwynne: More than a Munster

I enjoyed this biographical look at the life of Fred Gwynne.  He was an interesting man who not only acted but also was an accomplished artist.  He acted both on stage, in film and on television.  He is most known for his roll on the "Munsters", but "Car 54 Where Are You?" preceded this series.  He costarred with the same actor, Joe E. Ross.  He played mostly comedy for television; but on stage and in film he was generally cast as a character actor playing many different characters.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Secrets of the Third Reich: Hitler's Madness

This documentary form the Smithsonian Channel looks at the question, Was Hitler Mad?  After WWI Hitler was hospitalized with temporary blindness due to mustard gas.  He was also at a hospital that also treated battle fatigue and venereal diseases.  From this incident there is the hint that Hitler may have been treat for both.  However the official record indicates his treatment was limited to gas poisoning.  Hitler may have had battle fatigue as a result.
However, Hitler did have other ailments during the war.  A noted one was flatulence.  This may have been because of Hitler's vegetarian diet.  His doctor, Theodor Morell prescribed aggressive medication for treatment, which included arsenic.  Morell had his own health issues with obesity and poor hygiene.  However Hitler trusted him.  He also provided methamphetamine to Hitler.  During the war, a form of methamphetamine was often given to Nazi soldiers so they could fight longer and have less fear.  At one time Hitler had sinus infection, and this was treated with an inhaler which included cocaine.  Hitler enjoyed this treatment.
Towards the end of the war, this is a film of Hitler honoring troops.  Parts of the film were hidden because Hitler had obvious signs of Parkinson's.  His hand was shaking and he kept it behind his back.
The conclusion is that Hitler was not mad.  His decisions could not be blamed on a mental illness; but on his own ideas.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Documentary Review: Secrets of the Third Reich: Hitler's General

This documentary was presented on Smithsonian TV.  The general referred to is Field Marshall Erwin Rommel.  He was one of Hitler's top commanders, and his physical specimen is the typical hard German line.  He was idolized by many in the country.   He performed miracles in Africa, before he over extended himself which resulted in the defeats of the Afrikan Corps.  He was then moved to overseeing the defenses of Europe.  He could see early on that the war was going against the Germans, and that their only hope was to get rid of Hitler.  Although he was not directly involved in the plot to assassinate Hitler, he knew of it and condoned it.  He was caught in the web of the investigation.  He was given the choice between a lengthy trial which would spill over to involve his wife and children, or to take a pill and kill himself.  He chose the latter.  The official cause of death was an illness.  I never knew that Rommel ended in this way.  Germany could have used his leadership in the field, but they were falling apart from within.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Documentary Biography: Jesse Owens (2013)

This documentary is part of the PBS series American Experience.  It won an Emmy for outstanding research.  Jesse Owens was quite a man.  He was a Black athlete before that was really OK in the the United States.  After a successful high school career, he attended Ohio State as an athlete.  He won the NCAA championships, but then fell on more difficult times as fame got to his head.  A rival runner beat him several times.  It was when he refocused, went home and married his girlfriend, that he found his new self.  He became a member of the Olympic team.  His rival was out with injury.  He became a pioneer for later athletes such as Frankie Robinson.  His claim to fame is the 1936 Olympics.  This Olympics was held in Germany.  It was to be Hitler's chance to demonstrate the superiority of the Aryan Nation.  Owens had suggested the U.S. should not participate if Germany was persecuting minorities.  However Owens' fears were laid aside.  During the Olympics, all things were white washed in Germany.  At this Olympics he won four gold medals.  He won the 100 meter dash, with a fellow American Black athlete taking second.  He then won the broad jump in a thrilling display dueling a German athlete through out.  He then followed up with the 200 meter dash.  The last medal he won was for an event in which he was not scheduled to participate.  The United States bowed to pressure from the Germans, the Olympic host country, to not have their Jewish athletes participate, and so Owens and another countryman were drafted to fill in.  Owens was not pleased with the decision.
Owens;' success did not lead to success after the Olympics, which he thought it would.  He was banned by the AAU, the governing body for amateur athletics in the U.S. at the time because he left a European tour and came home to his wife and child.  He had difficulty supporting his children, and would participate in races against horses to make ends meet.  It wasn't until about 20 years after the Olympics that the country started to see Jesse Owens again, and he participated in television commercials and game shows as a guest.
Jesse Owens was subject to racism throughout his life.  However he responded as the son of a share cropper would, with dignity and grace.  He was truly an American pioneer.

Documentary Review: Hitler's RIches

The theme of this documentary is that Hitler was a billionaire.  However, his will only accounted for about 60,000 dollars (much more in today's money but not a billion dollars.  Most of his wealth was hidden in properties and artworks.  He purchased the artwork, at bargain prices from artwork confiscated by the German government for the Nazi Party.  Most of this artwork was stored in an old salt mine because of the natural characteristic of the mine to preserve items.  However, most of his wealth was in properties.  Hitler had over 100 properties, many in pristine locations.
He had begun his accumulation of wealth through royalties on his book Mein Kampf (My Struggle).  The German government required all new married couples in Germany to receive a copy of this book, which was purchased by the government, and the royalties going to Hitler.  This resulted in a government sponsored source of income for Hitler.  However the ability to purchase properties, furniture and artworks at whatever price he chose to pay lead to a great accumulation of wealth.  The will he left was a public gesture, to show the people he had very little, and gave what he had back to the government and the Nazi Party.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Documentary Review: The War: A World Without War: Number 7

This last episode in this series covers a lot of ground.  First there is the death of President Roosevelt, which was followed by victory in Europe as the Nazis surrendered.  Along with the invasion of Europe there was the discovery of the death camps, as well liberation of the POWs who many were walking skeletons.  The Germans murdered 12 million people during the war, of those half were Jewish.  In addition the killed dissidents, homosexuals, those with abnormalities, Polish, and many other groups.  This was an evil empire, and the American service men in the area took home that they were carrying out a noble cause.
With victory in Europe the focus turned to Japan.  The Battle of Okinawa was very costly to Japanese troops, American troops and Japanese civilians.  The next stage of the war, the invasion of Japan was a daunting task.  The Japanese readily armed civilians, and had the concept of fighting to the death.  President Truman had a big decision to make, whether to use the atomic bomb or no.  He did not hesitate in ordering its use.  Caught up in this scenario is the sinking of the USS Indianapolis which had delivered the bomb.  They were hit by Japanese torpedoes form a submarine.  Many of these sailors died after entering the water.  They were attacked by sharks.  Also rescue was very slow, as the Navy lost track of this ship.  The distress signals sent were considered to by a Japanese ploy to lure ships into the area.
The Japanese were still hesitant to surrender after the bomb in Hiroshima.  This bomb killed 40,000 outright, and eventually would cause the death of a quarter million people.  The bomb in Nagasaki was not quite so deadly, but it convinced the Japanese to surrender.  They did not know how many bombs were in the American arsenal.  In fact there were none, and it would take a couple months to construct another.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Book Review: In Search of Sasquatch

In Search of Sasquatch by Kelly Milner Halls, Houghton Mifflin Books, Boston, MA, 2011.
This book doesn’t really answer the question as to whether Sasquatch is real.  However it does lay out a pretty good case form footprints, to visual sightings, to lean-tos discovered.  The best evidence is still the original Patterson-Gimlin film, as the proportions of the best filmed do not align with a human in a suit.  It does appear that scientific study is getting closer to concluding that this is a real creature who is very shy, and very rarely seen; but often observes others, and leaves traces of its existence.  There is also some evidence that they have a verbal language.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Documentary Review: America's Secret D-day Disaster

This is a documentary about something which really happened six weeks before D-day.  A beach in Southern England was evacuated to give the U.S. troops a chance to participate in a landing drill.  This was needed because most of the U.S. troops were green and had never been in actual combat.  There was one event which could have lead to disaster.  The U.S. and British forces did not coordinate well.  The British forces fired at the beach to clear it of "enemy" troops just as the U.S. forces were landing.  There was a lapse of an hour between the forces.  However, there are no documented deaths from this mistake.  There are over 600 documented deaths from a torpedo boat attack against the larger landing ship tank (LST).  This gave the U.S. the ability to land mechanized forces onto the beach.  These vessels were large, and slow.  They became easy targets and were called "large stationary targets" by the seamen.  Because of the increased radio chatter, partially caused by different frequencies used by the British and the Americans, the Nazis were alerted to something going on, perhaps a large convoy.  They sent their S-boats, or speed boats.  These boats were fast, and could fire torpedoes, two at a time.  They arrived to the area early, and laid in wait for whatever may be coming.  What came was an armada of these large landing boats, participating in the training exercise.  They were protected by only one British Corvette, another assigned collided with a vessel and was taken out of action.  They were not expecting attack, as the were close to Britain.  However when they approached, two of the boats where damaged with torpedoes, and another badly damaged.  These boats were heavily loaded with material and personnel.  Exploding vehicular gas tanks was a tremendous fear on some of the boats.
About 640 men died; over two-thirds army personnel on board the boats.  A cover -up of the disaster was ordered, and many family members did not know what happened other than they were sent telegrams indicating their loved ones had been killed in action even though they were stationed in England.  They cover-up was ordered by General Eisenhower who said, fix up the boys, but keep no record of it.  Some were lost at sea, and others reportedly buried in an unmarked grave.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Documentary Review: Back In Time

This is a documentary look at the making of the movie "Back to the Future," and the place of the movie in our society.  The most interesting part was the making of the movie.  It took numerous rejections, and gaining a little success elsewhere, before the studios would but their support behind this film.  The movie then jumps forward to the De Lorean time machine replicas and the fan circuit.  They probably could have spent five minutes in this area instead of the almost an hour (or so it seemed.)  Then there is a bit of comparing their 2015 to what really has taken place.  They have hoover boards, flat screen TV's, they are working on flying cars, we have drones, we have video calling now.  This is mostly interesting stuff.  A movie about going back and meeting your parents when they are your age is really intriguing, and this movie delivered the goods.  This documentary less so.  

Mormon History: Essay on Polygamy

Isaac Wardle History: Chapter Thirteen: Polygamy

Chapter Thirteen: Polygamy
“I could get you all wives” (Wardle, Isaac, letter 1879)

Should each prove true their work to do
Like true and faithful wives
Then all shall share, my love and care
With crowns of endless lives. . . . . . (Johnson)

            The church espoused polygamy.  There are reports of the doctrine having been received as early as 1831, and practiced among church leaders from as early as the early 1840s.  This is based on a revelation given to Joseph Smith, and recorded in 1843 D&C 132:

30 Abraham received promises concerning his seed, and of the fruit of his loins—from whose loins ye are, namely, my servant Joseph—which were to continue so long as they were in the world; and as touching Abraham and his seed, out of the world they should continue; both in the world and out of the world should they continue as innumerable as the stars; or, if ye were to count the sand upon the seashore ye could not number them.
31 This promise is yours also, because ye are of Abraham, and the promise was made unto Abraham; and by this law is the continuation of the works of my Father, wherein he glorifieth himself.
32 Go ye, therefore, and do the works of Abraham; enter ye into my law and ye shall be saved.
33 But if ye enter not into my law ye cannot receive the promise of my Father, which he made unto Abraham.
…61 And again, as pertaining to the law of the priesthood—if any man espouse a virgin, and desire to espouse another, and the first give her consent, and if he espouse the second, and they are virgins, and have vowed to no other man, then is he justified; he cannot commit adultery for they are given unto him; for he cannot commit adultery with that that belongeth unto him and to no one else.
62 And if he have ten virgins given unto him by this law, he cannot commit adultery, for they belong to him, and they are given unto him; therefore is he justified.

            The leaders of the Church began this practice before Joseph Smith was killed, but it was not public.  It was made public in 1852.  “On August 29, 1852, at a general conference of Mormons in Salt Lake City, the church leadership publicly acknowledged plural marriage for the first time. Orson Pratt, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, delivered a lengthy discourse, inviting the members to "look upon Abraham's blessings as your own, for the Lord blessed him with a promise of seed as numerous as the sand upon the seashore." After Pratt finished, Young read aloud Smith's revelation on plural marriage. (Roberts 2)  "Pratt announced that he had unexpectedly been called upon to address the crowd on the subject of 'plurality of lives.'  Denying that the practice had been instituted to 'gratify the carnal lusts and feelings of man,' he argued that its chief purpose was to provide righteous men and women the opportunity to have 'a numerous and faithful posterity to be raised up and taught in the principles of righteousness and truth.’”  (Van Wagoner)
That the Saints might take more than one wife was not publicly announced until 1852; but it was included in a revelation at least nine years earlier. The original teaching on this subject was a simple revival of the practice of polygamy by Old Testament Patriarchs; which had been sanctioned by God. (Taylor, P.A.M. p 10)
Polygamy was openly taught in the churches in England after this time. “At this time polygamy was taught in all their churches.”  (Goodaker, BYU) The announcement was made public in England before Isaac emigrated.
There were two basic tenants of how polygamy worked.  The first is that entry into a polygamous relationship was a very serious manner, and was through personal and church revelation.  (See Van Wagoner p 3)  The second is that entry into a polygamous relationship required approval of church leadership.  "Some men entered plural marriage because they were asked to do so by Church leaders, while others initiated the process themselves; all were required to obtain the approval of Church leaders before entering a plural marriage."  ( marriage)  "Sometimes a man might take a new wife due to personal inspiration, the sense that God desired it.  But as frequently a more highly ranked officer in the church might take him aside and note that his leaders felt the time was right for him to take another wife." (Bowman p 129)
Church leadership was sometimes a reason to practice polygamy. However, entry into polygamy was not a requirement for leadership positions. With the exception of general authorities and stake officers, both polygamous and monogamous men were called to different leadership roles.  (Embry chart p 111)

The Millennial Star explained the process of polygamy:

(Extract from the Seer)  No man in Utah, who already has a wife, and who may desire to obtain another, has any right to make any propositions of marriage to a lady, until he has consulted the President over the whole Church, and through him, obtains a revelation from God, as to whether it would be pleasing in His sight.  If he is forbidden by revelation, that ends the matter; if, by revelation, the privilege is granted, he still has no right to consult the feelings of the young lady, until he has obtained the approbation of her parents, provided they are living in Utah; if their consent cannot be obtained, this also ends the matter.  But if the parents or guardians freely give their consent, then he may make propositions of marriage to the young lady; if she refuse these propositions, this also ends the matter; but if she accept, a day is generally set apart by the parties, for the marriage ceremony to be celebrated.  It is necessary to state, that before any man takes the least step towards getting another wife, it is his duty to consult the feelings of the wife which he already has, and obtain her consent.
...It is the duty of a man who takes another wife, to look after her welfare and happiness, and to provide for her the comforts of life, the same as for the first.  (MS XV 1853 pp 214-15)
Entry into plural marriage was not based on lust, nor even sometimes romance:

For these early Latter-day Saints, plural marriage was a religious principle that required personal sacrifice. Accounts left by men and women who practiced plural marriage attest to the challenges and difficulties they experienced, such as financial difficulty, interpersonal strife, and some wives’ longing for the sustained companionship of their husbands.  But accounts also record the love and joy many found within their families. They believed it was a commandment of God at that time and that obedience would bring great blessings to them and their posterity, both on earth and in the life to come. While there was much love, tenderness, and affection within many plural marriages, the practice was generally based more on religious belief than on romantic love. ( marriage)

Contrary to popular notions about polygamy, the Mormon harem dominated by lascivious males and hyperactive libidos, did not exist.  The image of unlimited lust was largely the creation of Gentile travelers to Salt Lake City more interested in titillating audiences back home than in accurately portraying plural marriage. ..Mormon plural marriage, to propagating the species righteously and dispassionately, proved to be a rather drab lifestyle compared to the imaginative tales of polygamy, dripping with sensationalism, demanded by a scandal-hungry eastern media market.
...Brigham Young explained the purposes of plural marriage to a 14 July 1855 Mormon audience: "God never introduced the Patriarchal order of marriage, with a view to please man in his carnal desires, nor to punish females for anything which they had done, but He introduced it for the express purpose of raising up His name a royal Priesthood, a peculiar people." 
…Plural wives, like their husbands, viewed polygamy as a practical and honorable means for providing marriage and motherhood to thousands of women who may have otherwise remained unmarried in a monogamous world.  Church leaders pronounced over and over that plural marriage countered various social evils.  Above all they stressed that the principle was commanded by God to raise a righteous generation.  Mormons nearly always entered polygamy because they believed it was essential to their salvation, that God required it of them.  ((Van Wagoner Ibid pp 89-90) 

            The religious reasons were two fold; first to follow the prophet, and second to follow God's command to multiply and replenish the Earth.  While it is true, second and third wives had less children than first marriages, the progenitors of a polygamous male was much larger than that of a monogamous male.  (Embry p 40)
            Open polygamy changed the society in general.  Some of these changes were foreseen, including an increase in the fertility rate.  Others were not foreseen, such as an alleviation of poverty as widows and lower class women married wealthier men.  Another consequence was the lowering of the age of marriage:

While the Mormon marriage system was in place....the church's influence on families was decisive.  The influence of plural marriage reached beyond those who entered it.  When many women became plural wives, as they did in the late 1850s, the entire marriage market was affected, and the average age of all brides decreased.  In addition, the church's lenient divorce policy provided opportunity for women who wished to remarry.  Moreover, as the richer men took economically disadvantaged women--the widowed, the divorced and the fatherless--as plural wives, the wealth per capita within families became more evenly distributed.  Plural marriage thus supported the goals of the church: it supplied all women who wanted to marry and opportunity to do so; it fostered a more equal distribution of wealth; and it provided aid to financially disadvantaged women by transferring economic resources from wealthier men.  (Daynes, pp 13-14) 

Almost all Mormon women married during this time.  "The demand for wives meant that almost all women married.  ...Less than 1 percent of those [Mormon] women never married, in contrast to 7 or 8 percent of women….in the United States more generally.  Moreover, immigrant women from Europe in particular generally married within a year of arriving in Utah, nearly half as plural wives."  (Bowman p 131)
The change of the Mormon society from a monogamous society to polygamist happened very quickly.  There was no established norm. "Since the number of wives permitted was never defined some men married beyond their means.  ...Courtship manners were not well established...  The rules of wooing depended on the individuals involved: interest could be initiated by the man, the prospective wife, or even the first wife who felt it was her religious obligation to do so."  (Van Wagoner p 90)
Polygamy was not the norm among members of the Church:

Although monogamy had been the most common marriage from among Mormons, polygamy was considered the ideal from the mid-1840s to 1890…  The standard Mormon explanation is simply that God chose to introduce the practice, as he had in ancient Israel, and he therefore made his well known to his spokesman on earth.  However that may be, it is clear that the Prophet typically went to the Lord with problems and then received answers.  A naturalistic approach would pay a good deal of attention to the kinds of problems that entered the Prophet’s mind in the first place. Among these might well have been the practical difficulty of providing for all the unmarried females who were attracted to the new religion.  (Arrington and Bitton pp 194-95)
Based on the best information now available, we estimate that no more than five percent of married Mormon men had more than one wife.”  (ibid p 199)

Other sources indicate the prevalence of polygamy was much higher, and that about half of the church membership lived in a polygamous family, either as a child or married partner.  (See marriage)  Other estimates of the proportion of men involved vary from one-tenth to one-fifth; and exceeding few of them took more than a second wife.”  (Taylor, P.A.M. p 68)  However polygamy was the norm among the leaders of the church:

In emphasizing how small was the percentage of Mormons, who were directly involved in polygamy it is important to recall that all the central church leaders were polygamists.  From the president down through the apostles and the Presiding Bishopric during the period, no general authority was a monogamist; the same was true of most bishops and stake presidents, as well as, for all practical purposes, their counselors.  The privilege of polygamy was granted to the pure in heart and hence was a clear sign of worthiness for promotion in the Mormon hierarchy. (Arrington and Bitton p 204)

The rate of polygamous marriages varied greatly from community to community.  Some had rates as high as 67 percent, while others as low as 5 percent.    “...Polygamous men often married only one additional wife.”  (see Van Wagoner p 91)  Van Wagoner quotes a study by Stanley Ivins in which two thirds of polygamous men had only two wives.  Isaac would represent this group, having only two wives at a time.

Mary AnnAshton

Isaac decided to enter polygamy with a fellow handcart pioneer, Mary Ann Ashton, the daughter of William Ashton who left the handcart company and joined the infantry at Fort Laramie.  We can get an idea of Isaac's motives for entering a polygamous relationship from a letter he later wrote while on his mission.  "And I was glad to hear that our worthy Bishop William A. Bills and Thomas Jenkins was getting ready to be a partner of Bro George Reynolds and stand up for God and His kingdom on the Earth by taking more wives.  I hope that some of the brethren will follow suit.  ...I hope that all the good will be married before I come home." (Wardle, Isaac, undated letter)
As noted earlier, entry into a polygamous relationship would imply the consent of the first wife.  "Although the first wife's consent was required by scripture, occasionally it was not sought nor freely given."  (Embry p 70)  There is nothing written nor story told explaining this with regard to Isaac and Martha, but most often the husband approached the first wife and received consent before seeking consent from Church authorities. 
It is not known if Isaac was familiar with Mary Ashton on the handcart trek or not.  It is impossible to tell if they were in the same ward on the trek, as records were not kept of who was under which captain of 100.  However, with the circumstances of Mary's mother passing away on the plains, and their father leaving the company to join the infantry at Fort Laramie, and three sisters passing away on the trip, it is likely Isaac had heard about them.  The surviving Ashton girls, Sara and Mary, had been taken in by local church members.  There circumstance for the ten years after the trek until they married was not recorded. One family story says they were not always well treated, and were forced to serve families as maids or servants rather than treated as family members.  Isaac in marrying Mary, and Thomas Beckstead in marrying Sarah were rescuing them from a bad situation.  (As related at Isaac Wardle reunion June 2010.)  Thomas married Sarah Ashton a few years before Isaac married Mary.  “Thomas W. Beckstead, sixth child of Alexander and Catherine Beckstead, was born April 27, 1833.  Homesteaded in 1859.  Thomas married (2) Sarah Ellen Ashton on January 30, 1864.  In 1887 the Thomas Beckstead family moved to Whitney, Idaho, where they lived the rest of their lives.  Thomas passed away September 21, 1893, and Sarah died January 18, 1912.”  (Bateman p 65)
Isaac married Mary Ashton in August or September of 1867.  (Family Search has the date 14 August, Mary Rupp as 23 September and Ronald Bateman as 14 September.)  She was 16 at the time:

How the contact between Isaac and Mary was made the records do not tell.  Those were the days of polygamy in the Church.  Generally polygamous marriages were made only at the instruction or at least with the permission of the General Authorities of the Church.  Nevertheless, in the early fall of 1867, Mary was a young girl just turned sixteen.  They were married in Salt Lake City in the Endowment House 14 September 1867.    (Wardle, Orrin)

Marrying someone that young was common on the frontier.  Also the age difference was also common in marrying a polygamous second wife.  "Women did marry at fairly young ages in the first decade of Utah settlement (age 16 or 17 or, infrequently, younger), which was typical of women living in frontier areas at the time."  ( marriage)  Well more than half of women married before age 20.  The age difference between husband and wife usually increased with second or third marriages.  Also the number of children usually decreased with subsequent marriages.  (See Embry, charts pp 35-37)
Courtship was quite different during this time.  It was less often based pm romantic love and was usually shorter.  The motivation for courtship was often religious.  (Embry p 40)  In this case, it may have also been a practical solution for Mary to leave a situation where she was being taken advantage of and was possible bordering on being abusive. 
"Marital love was not seen as something held exclusively for one person. Learning to work together for common goals including the ultimate reward, eternal life, was more important than physical attraction.  ...With this attitude about love, nineteenth-century "dating" in monogamous and polygamous marriages was much different from today.  ...These courtships were very short, and by our standards quite formal."  (Embry p 40)
Mary lived in the same home as Isaac's first wife and her two children, Isaac John Jr. and Crilla.  It was common for the second wife to initially stay in the same home as the first wife and husband.  "Often the wives shared a home just after the second marriage, but as soon as it was financially possible, the husband provided a separate one for each wife.  (Embry p 73)  Family roles would have been similar to that in a monogamous families with the only benefit being a sharing of some of the household chores.  (ibid p 89)  During this time a second daughter was born to Martha, Araminta born 25 April, 1868, (Family Search)  Generally wives shared responsibility for newborn babies, or helped with the other children while the birth mother attended to the new born. 
A year and a half after her marriage, April 5 1869 Mary gave birth to William Haston.  Mary would not survive childbirth as she passed away. (Rupp)  “Isaac married Mary Ann Ashton in the Endowment House on September 14, 1867.  She too had traveled across the plains in the Martin Handcart Company.  Mary Ann died four hours after giving birth to their only child, William Haston Wardle.  She was buried in South Jordan.”  (Bateman p 70)  Uncle Orrin wrote:

Mary’s life was not to last much longer.  When she gave birth to her first and only son, William Haston Wardle, on 5 April 1869, there were complications and she died only four hours after her only son came into this life.  It should be noted that Isaac apparently gave the young son a name after his maternal [the son’s] grandfather, only he heard the pronunciation of his wife’s maiden name as Haston rather than Ashton.  (Wardle, Orrin)

 Mary likely was attended by the Relief Society President, who was also a local midwife:

   Ann Harrison Holt was a remarkable individual who served as a nurse, doctor, and midwife. She also gave blessings by laying hands on patients’ heads and pronouncing words of comfort and healing. … Ann Holt delivered five hundred babies in the southern part of the Salt lake Valley.  She cared for innumerable sick people and stayed an hour or a day, depending on their needs.  Many times she cared for a mother and her baby for ten days in a row. … She served as ward Relief Society president from 1869 until her death in 1901, a period of thirty-two years. (Bateman pp 43-44)
   Ann Harrison Holt:  Ann was a midwife who delivered more than 500 babies in the south valley area.  For a time, she was the only midwife and doctor between South Jordan and Point of the Mountain.  She had received her training in England.  (ibid p 86)

The relief society was responsible to sit with the dead.  This included preparing the body for burial:

One responsibility of the ward Relief Society was to help prepare the dead for burial.  They helped by washing the bodies and then placing quart bottle of crushed ice around them to retard decay.  Saltpeter dissolved in water was used to bathe the face to keep it looking nice.  “Sitting with the dead” was a common practice in which two or more people sat with the body all night and replaced the ice as needed to preserve it.  This was often done in the parlor of the family home.  Burial clothes were made by hand, as were the caskets.  (Bateman p 44)

This gives us some idea of the process Mary’s body would have gone through before her burial at South Jordan Cemetery.  She is buried in the middle, towards the back of the cemetery, with her in-laws close by.

Sophia Meyers

Isaac did not remain long without a second wife.  “Isaac married Sophia Meyers in the Endowment House on July 26, 1869.  Their children included Charles M., Hannah M., Atheamer M., and Wilford Woodruff Wardle.” (Bateman p 70)
Isaac made Sophia a separate home on the same homestead, close to Martha's.  (Isaac Wardle reunion)  However when it was built, and if she always stayed there I am not certain.  She did not have a separate home after the family moved to Idaho.
            A polygamous family had some things in common with other families and other things were different.  There was not always a clear distinction as to who parented who.  In Isaac’s case, Sophia took the major role of parenting William.  I have an original photo of Sophia and her family.  William is included in this picture.  Children however had relationships with both parents.  In a letter Sophia wrote to Isaac while he was on his mission, we get a glimpse of their family life.  While Martha was tending baby Junius, Sophia helped with her next youngest child Silas, “Little Silas is calling me to come to bed so goodnight and God Bless you.”  (Wardle, Sophia, letter August 6, 1879) 
            Because a woman did not have her husband fulltime, this could lead to jealousies, or feelings of loneliness.  "Church leaders, recognizing the emotional trauma that polygamy could induce, encouraged plural wives to focus their attentions on their children and on church and community activities."  (Van Wagoner p 102) 
Loneliness could be a byproduct of a polygamous family, whether for the husband or one of the wives; "especially when the husband was at another home."  (Embry 130)  "While plural wives experienced loneliness when their husbands were gone….the wives worked closely together in common interests." (ibid p 133)  In Isaac's family, the common interests were the garden and the orchard.  These would have been the responsibility of the wives while Isaac tended sheep.  "Religious commitment was a major incentive for the wives to work together closely."  (ibid p 139-140)
The admission that polygamy introduced trials is a clue that it often led to heartache and suffering.  The initial discussion between husband and wife presented opportunities for misunderstanding and tears.  If there was agreement that another wife would enter the family, deciding just who it would be presented other grounds for bickering.  Once the new wife was in the home, the wisdom of a Solomon was required to prevent jealousy from developing.  Who would do what chores?  Who would accompany the husband to church meetings?  To the theater?  How much time would he spend with each? Possibilities of friction led those who could afford it to build separate houses, and when polygamists were prosecuted, it became prudent to maintain households in different settlements.  Spending alternate nights or alternate weeks with each family was a common method of attempting to be fair to both wives, but even here there were practical obstacles.  After passage of the Edmonds Act, whether admitted or not, the fact that only the first wife had married status in the eyes of the federal law gave her an advantage over the others.  And although in theory all wives (as well as children) were equal, jealousies between different families could easily make the plural families feel like second-class citizens. (Arrington and Bitton p 202)
Embry points out that the relationship between spouses in a polygamous family could take on three patterns, mother daughter type pattern if there was a great difference in age, a sisterly pattern, or that of friends.  (See Embry pp 139) In reading the letters Sophia wrote, it would appear Sophia and Martha took the role of close friends or sisters.  In the case of Martha and Sophia, Sophia was literate and Martha was not.  Sophia would write the letters to her husband, and provide comments as requested by Martha. 
Being involved in a polygamous relationship required personal growth. "Living in polygamy and overcoming natural jealousies and selfishness took considerable effort."  (ibid p 128)  One sister, Mary Jane Jones, would say:

 Polygamy was a great trial to any woman.  And it was just as hard for the man.  He had to learn to adjust to his women and his troubles were worsened by the women having to learn to adjust too.  ...Polygamy was a great principle and we were taught to believe in it.  I know that it does bring added blessings if one lives it the best she knows how.  It makes one more unselfish and more willing to see and understand other people.  After you learn to give in and consider other people, it makes you less selfish in all your relations.  I never wanted polygamy, but I don't regret that I lived it.  (As quoted in Embry pp 187-88)

Additional hands made for less work for all.  This included additional wives as well as children.  "Since the women made all the food from scratch and clothing by hand, extra hands made the load for each individual lighter and there was usually plenty for everyone to do."  (ibid p 94)
Children sometimes referred to their mothers through polygamy as aunts, and sometimes as mother.  (See Embry p 164)  Although Sophia took the mothering role for William after she married Isaac, William had positive relationships with both Sophia’s and Martha’s children.  William is in several family pictures, some in the primary family group, but others with siblings across groups.  This gives an indication that the sons of equal age were very close.  (I have a portrait of William with Charles and Joseph from three different wives.)
There were a couple of circumstances that lead to supportive roles for Isaac's wives.  While Isaac was on his mission, based on the letters Isaac received, particularly that of Henry Beckstead, it appears both wives were living together.  (Beckstead, Henry, letter)  Also when either wife was pregnant, or with a baby, the other wife would provide extra support.  (See Martha's letters) This was a common reaction in polygamous families.  "Moments of need--particularly those related to health--usually saw extra helpfulness." (Embry p 147)  Jessie Embry comes close to describing the relationship between Martha and Sophia:

Although any given set of human relationships is complex, the relationship of plural wives, though sometimes strained, was surprisingly rewarding in many cases.  Motivated to accept polygamy as a religious practice, plural wives tried hard to treat each other with respect and love.  ...There were jealousies, but the women learned to overcome, deal with, or suppress them, and still love each other.  Relationships changed, especially with childbirth and sickness, and brought the women closer together.  (ibid p 149)

Gentile Reaction

The general population of the United States abhorred polygamy.  "The reactions from outside the Church to Pratt's announcement and subsequent statements about polygamy were immediate and negative.  In 1854 the Republican Party termed polygamy and slavery the 'twin relics of barbarism'" (ibid p 8)
Polygamy became a source of contention between the Mormon Church and those the Mormons considered “gentiles:”

Of plural marriage, little need be said.  American feelings of horror and fascination were stirred up again and again by books written by outsiders or deserters to expose all that was bad in Mormonism.  The fact that plural marriage was never practiced by more than a minority of Saints, the existence of Church supervision rather than personal caprice as the controlling force, the sobriety of most Mormon family life, were all overlooked; and for many Americans Utah became a society in which, to gratify the lusts of elderly hypocrites, maidens were daily torn by authority from young men of their choice, who suffered coercion or worse.  (Taylor, P.A.M. p 68) 

A review of newspapers of the period gives an idea of the enmity in the non-Mormon community towards Mormons and polygamy:

Thousands of female dupes, are annually brought over to the Salt Lake Zion. Rochester U.S. Herald
This Church of Latter-day Lepers sends its procurers abroad under the protection of our flag, and fills it harems with victims duped with the promise freedom--the most flagrant crime perpetrated today in the name of liberty.  New York Herald
Another squad of Mormon tramps left the city yesterday to rope the ignorant classes into the Latter-day fraud.  Salt Lake Tribune, June 1 1881 (Jarman)

Morrill Act

The Morrill Act was passed in 1862.  This act, "prohibited plural marriage in the territories, disincorporated the Church, and restricted the Church's ownership of property to $50,000."  (Embrey p 8)  However this law was not really enforced as the government was focused on the Civil War.
In 1867 the Utah Territory asked for the repeal of this law.  However the governmental reaction was to seek even more strict laws with regards to polygamy.  The Cullom Bill was introduced to strengthen control over the territories.  This bill passed the House of Representatives but not the Senate. (Polygamy Faq)
Mormon women let their voices be heard on the subject.  “An early public mention of South Jordan regarding polygamy was in the Deseret Evening News of January 13 1870.  The article stated that twenty-five thousand ladies voluntarily assembled in mass protests against legislation designed to suppress “patriarchal marriage.”  South Jordan was one of the principal settlements where such a mass meeting was held.”  (Bateman p 167)  “1870: “Indignation meeting” held by South Jordan women to protest anti-polygamy in U.S. Congress.  (ibid p 242)
"The Mormons continued to practice polygamy despite these laws since they believed they were protected by the freedom of religion clause in the Bill of Rights."  (Embrey p 9)  In 1879, while Isaac was serving his mission, the Supreme Court ruled that laws against polygamy were constitutional.  Bishop Bills talked about a meeting in Salt Lake that many from South Jordan attended, to show their support for polygamy and against the persecution that the Saints were enduring.   “We have had a Grand Demonstration in Salt Lake City to welcome President D H Wells back on his return from the Penitentiary as he was fined for contempt of court one hundred dollars and two days imprisonment for not revealing the secrets of the Endowment House.  Most of our Ward went…” (Bills)  The persecution was very heavy and burdensome, starting before Isaac left on his Mission.  Bishop Bills wrote to Isaac. “The news that I selected for you contains more news and rascality from our enemies than any other paper ever published.”  (Bills)
            Isaac got some idea of the changed atmosphere that took place while he was on his mission to England upon his return home while traveling through New York.  (See chapter 13.)  A New York reporter confronted them ( See New York Times 1879)  about efforts of the State Department with regards to asking other countries to prohibit Mormons from immigrating to the U.S. because of their belief in Polygamy.  Secretary of State Evart had written a form letter to go to other countries.  "It is not doubted, therefore, that when the subject is brought to its attention, the government of ___ ___ will take such steps as may be compatible with its laws and usages to check the organization [Mormon Church] of these criminal enterprises by agents who are thus operating beyond the reach of the law of the United States and to prevent the departure of those proposing to come hither as violators of the law by engaging in such criminal enterprises by whomsoever instigated."  (U.S. Department of State 1879)   No foreign government saw a way to comply with this request.
            The atmosphere and persecution of polygamist families Isaac met upon his return home, was different from when he left.

After the U.S. Supreme Court found the anti-polygamy laws to be constitutional in 1879, federal officials began prosecuting polygamous husbands and wives during the 1880s. Believing these laws to be unjust, Latter-day Saints engaged in civil disobedience by continuing to practice plural marriage and by attempting to avoid arrest. When convicted, they paid fines and submitted to jail time. To help their husbands avoid prosecution, plural wives often separated into different households or went into hiding under assumed names, particularly when pregnant or after giving birth.  ( marriage)
The Edmunds Act

                  The Edmunds Act calling for more severe penalties was passed in 1882. It increased the penalty for polygamy, but also added a misdemeanor, unlawful co-habitation which was easier to prove.  "Soon after the Edmunds Act passed, federal marshals began to enter Utah in force, and the period the Mormons called 'the Raid' began.  ...By 1886 every Mormon settlement in Utah had been visited and its people questioned."  (Bowman):

As the legal wheels set in motion by the Edmunds Act began to turn slowly, disruption of Mormon life became extensive.  Scores of federal marshals were brought into the territory to conduct "cohab hunts," and bounties were offered for information leading to the arrest of polygamists.  Mormons not wishing to give up their plural wives and children faced dismal options--legal prosecution, a life in hiding on the "Mormon underground," or complete exile. Despite the bravado demonstrated by the "cohabs," as the polygamists were called, those who did not submit to arrest had to be constantly on the move.
Many Mormon men on the underground hid near or within their own homes.  Hidden compartments and cellars--"polygamy pits" as they were called--secreted men who had scurried for cover when an unexpected knock was heard at the parlor door.  (Van Wagoner pp 118-19)

                  The Edmunds Act also questioned the citizenship of the polygamist:
   ...Starting in 1862, and again in 1882 and 1887, anti-polygamy laws were enacted in the U.S. Congress.  Each succeeding law was harsher than the preceding one.  The Edmunds Act of 1882 provided for a stiff fine plus imprisonment of polygamists.  It also took away the right to vote, hold public office, or trial by jury.  The law took away the U.S. citizenship of violators. Consequently, federal marshals were sent to Utah to hunt and prosecute polygamists with the purpose of incarcerating them.  The marshals were awarded a twenty-dollar bounty for every polygamist they arrested which was an added incentive.  Also, all local and state public officials were replaced by federal appointees brought in from the East.  In addition, the Edmunds-Tucker Act of 1887 resulted in the seizure of all church-owned property.  The Mormons felt they were again under extreme persecution.  They had suffered greatly in both Illinois and Missouri and had migrated to the West to escape the persecution.  (Bateman p 166)

            One can only imagination how Isaac would have felt at being stripped of the right to vote, or hold public office.  Isaac also would have felt the pressure of federal marshals who searched for polygamists.
            The Edmunds law did not stop polygamy.  The Mormon men went into hiding, and if they were sent to prison would come home as folk heroes after serving their term.  Consequently a more severe Edmunds Tucker Act passed in 1887.  This law "required plural wives to testify against their husbands, dissolved the Perpetual Emigrating [Fund], abolished the Nauvoo Legion, and provided a mechanism for acquiring the property of the Church."  (Embrey p 10)
            The Edmunds Tucker Act also indicated that only children of the first wife were entitled to inheritance.  Isaac however planned for this and left a will with all of his children receiving inheritace.  (See chapter fifteen.)
            “Federal marshals harassed the polygamists of South Jordan during the 1880s as they did elsewhere in the territory…. Even after the 1890 Manifesto whereby the church outlawed polygamy, the marshals continued to hunt for polygamist for several more years.  Finally, under threat of excommunication, most stopped the practice.  (Bateman p 167)  One particular story of this harassment was that of the Bishop:

   In 1886, the federal marshals, who were searching for Mormon polygamists, came looking for “Billie Bills,” as they called him.  Joseph Thomas Hutchings was approached by the marshals, who mistook him for Bishop Bills.  Fortunately, Mr. Hutchings was acquainted with one of the marshals, Frank Drier.  Joseph warned the bishop, who escaped via an irrigation ditch and hid in Hutchings’s straw stack for three days.  Mrs. Hutchings supplied him with food and water during the time he was hiding.
   Thereafter, Bishop Bills built a room in the loft of his barn to hide in when harassed by the marshals.  He had a bed, a chair, and a table he used for a desk.  When the marshals came looking for him, Bishop Bills hid in the secret room.  It was so carefully constructed that no one but the bishop could find the entrance. 
   A raid undertaken in South Jordan on April 6, 1887, searched the houses of Isaac J. Wardle, J.W. Winward, Henry Beckstead, and William A. Bills.  John W. Winward was arrested but was released when the marshal stated that a mistake had been made.  Alex Bills (William A. Bill’s son) and Henry Beckstead were arrested and posted fifteen hundred dollars’ bond.  Alexander and Henry were arraigned in the Third District Court, September 22, 1887, on charges of unlawful cohabitation, the which they pleaded guilty.  Alexander was asked if it was his intention to obey the law against cohabitation in the future.  His matter-of-fact reply was, “No, sir; it is not.”  (Bateman p 93)

As indicated above the marshals were looking for Isaac in 1887.  An indictment was placed against him in 1887, and we was actually arrested in 1890:

  Isaac J. Wardle of South Jordan was arrested Wednesday, June 4 at his home by Deputy Marshal Doyle, on a charge of unlawful cohabitation.  He was brought to the city and taken before Commissioner Greenman and bound over for trial at the September term on an indictment found against him April 23, 1887.  Geo. A. Lowe and S.P. Teasdel are his bondsmen.  (The Deseret Weekly, Volume 40 p 824)

            The Manifesto

            The Church issued the Manifesto in 1890, withdrawing support for polygamy. After this time, very few new plural marriages were performed. President Woodruff explained, "This Manifesto only refers to future marriages and does not affect past conditions.  I did not, could not, and would not promise [the nation] that you would desert your wives and children.  This you cannot do in honor.  (Van Wagoner p 145)  However even this statement was confusing to some members, as President Woodruff testified in court, "I intended the proclamation to cover the ground, to keep the law."  However he further explained "he was placed in such a position on the witness stand that he could not answer other than he did.  Yet any man who deserts and neglects his wives or children because of the Manifesto, should be handled on his membership." (Embrey p 13, quoting President Woodruff)
            Consequently, the polygamist family was left with dual messages, and the individual family confronted the Manifesto and the new laws in many ways. Some families chose to separate, the husband generally living with the first wife, and the second wife living elsewhere, often in another town.  The husband would visit only occasionally, like for conference or when in the area on business.  Some chose to leave the state and even the country, moving to Arizona, Mexico or Canada.  Isaac chose to stay with his wives, and attempted to use the underground. The federal marshals only had jurisdiction in the territories.  For this reason, polygamists would sometimes move to the states. Isaac did eventually move his family to Idaho, perhaps to be farther from the marshals.  He also disappeared for a time, perhaps trying to stay ahead of the marshals.  (See chapter sixteen.)
            Isaac had affection for both of his wives (Martha and Sophia after Mary had passed away.)  This is expressed in his missionary letters he sent to his family from England.  “Dear Wives, it with love and affection that I set down to write to you and my dear children.”  (Wardle, Isaac, letter Feb. 17, 1879)

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Documentary Review: Ken Burns, The War: The Ghost Front (episode 6)

The most striking thing about this episode is its dealing with the telegrams which were arriving home in more and more frequent numbers.  A telegram from the War Department was not a good thing, but generally announcing that a loved one had passed away, or was lost in combat.  This episode also deals with the Battle of the Bulge.  The Bulge refers to a bubble in the American Front which the Germans were able to make.  At this time it was felt that the Germans were about done, and was totally surprising that they could launch an attack.  The had to do so during bad weather so the Allies air superiority did not play a roll.  This battle was the most costly for the U.S. in terms of life.