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> > > > >I’m nobody of note: a wife, mother, grandmother, caregiver, amateur historian & genealogist, a socially-inept nerd and a nature lover. I seek to be a follower of Jesus Christ in the way to God and to be renewed day by day (2Cor 4:16) to become a new & better person, not by focusing on myself or any sort of “self-improvement” or gaining anything in this world, but instead by losing myself entirely & serving God/others. If I’m nobody, & clearly see my own nothingness, then I’ve succeeded in shedding my illusory false self (ego-self)!
My Jungian type is INFP: Introverted, iNtuitive, Feeling, Perceiving. An idealist/healer, with a focus on people (termed “Feeling”, which means being heart-centered). Said to be the most misunderstood and misjudged type, many INFPs become writers or counselors since they are abstract (N) rather than concrete (S), and people-oriented (F) rather than being oriented towards impersonal facts (T, that is, “Thinking”). The opposite of my INFP type would be ESTJ: Extraverted, Sensing, Thinking, Judging. To explain the difference, an ESTJ person is an extravert so would be energized by being around other people (rather than becoming drained and needing some alone time to recharge as an introvert would). ESTJ takes in information through the five senses (S) rather than the intuition (N), so they are concrete rather than abstract idea-oriented. Their output (things they think, do, & say) is based on T facts rather than F (people-oriented values). Lastly, they would be quite structured and goal-oriented (J) rather than preferring to keep things open (P). They would make plans and set goals, and then work to achieve those goals and to live by the calender and clock and rules and regulations.
Trying to understand everything & everyone in the light of all-encompassing values and ideals, I love people yet often struggle to set aside my introversion & reach out & live by ideals important to me. Strongly desiring to help make the world a better place & contribute something of value to those around me, I’m not very good at reaching this ideal since I’m constantly aware of my own nothingness & many flaws, and tend to overcompensate by talking too loudly or coming across as too assertive or opinionated when I’m actually not those things at all but closer to the opposite of those.
Social skills don’t come easily to me so in my efforts I’m trying too hard. Also, my tendency is to feel that I really don’t have much of value to offer. I tend to underestimate myself and overestimate others, being too hard on myself but non-judgmental towards others. I’m sensitive to perceiving any lack of unity & love & perfect harmony & good feelings in groups, and i’m averse to ANY attention drawn to myself even if it’s positive. I just want to blend in and not be noticed. I don’t like to take any notice of myself since it’s much more difficult to forget myself & focus on others whenever i start to feel self-conscious in any way.
If i sense any disharmony then i either tend to withdraw or else say too much trying to overcome these barriers to harmony & understanding. The trouble is, I’ve learned, that people often take my attempts at achieving harmony as criticism, so it makes things even worse (less harmonious). For example, if someone enjoys bullying & putting down & belittling another person, i might speak up & call out such behavior, but then the bully might pretend it was all a joke and claim that i just don’t have a sense of humor or that i’m being “too sensitive”, and moreover that i am being critical & judgmental of them (the one doing the bullying). Not so: the person and the hurtful behavior are totally separate & distinct from each other. I know they are NOT a bully at heart, so I’m NOT being critical or judgmental of them as a person. I’m just shocked and surprised and can’t understand why they are acting that way because i KNOW that they are a good person at heart. I feel they’ll shed the negative behavior & words as soon as they understand, so sometimes i try to point out the behavior & explain how it is working against unity & love (becoming of one heart and one mind), because, unless you tell them, often people don’t realize that something is causing others harm & pain or hindering/discouraging someone from their life’s intended purpose & their capacity to contribute to the greater society. If someone is repeatedly punished/penalized or found fault with when they were only trying to do positive & kind things, then the person might feel undermined and might give up trying (but it’s often said that “no good deed goes unpunished”, so we can’t let such negativity deter us). For example, someone let a homeless person do some odd jobs around their house to earn money with dignity, and ended up being robbed. Someone stopped to help a man whose car was broken down at the side of the road, and was beaten up & his own car was stolen. But we can’t let such things deter us from continuing in well-doing.
Perceptive (P), non-structured and usually just seeking to understand & experience rather than to control or direct my environment & people around me, I try to seek broader understanding & to keep gathering further light & knowledge rather than assuming that I already know anything for sure. It’s hard for me to focus on concrete things because I’m focusing on intangible ideas and principles. I’m terrible at scheduling or structuring time, making decisions or narrowing things down or “getting to the point”. My mind works in the opposite way: following every tangent & continually expanding outward in multiple directions at once because to me everything and everyone is interrelated.
The more I learn, the more clearly I see the extent of my ignorance (as one’s circle of understanding expands, so does its circumference, touching on more & more unknown beyond it). More than once in my life, “facts”/people/belief systems I thought I could rely on 100% turned out to be false. We must be willing in humility to recognize & set aside all assumptions, biases, incorrect beliefs & traditions, etc. that cause us to have blinders on, otherwise those things hinder us from incorporating & embracing any further knowledge. Sometimes new knowledge overturns everything we thought we knew, & we have to go “back to the drawing board”. This is sometimes the case in family history too.
Researching & collecting true stories and biographies about the ancestors and their families is a passion of mine, in order to learn more about them (& all humanity) and the experiences they lived through, as well as the larger history and circumstances from many many points of view. So many seemingly ordinary people have really gone through extraordinary challenges and life journeys (even if they never traveled more than 100 miles from home). Maybe someday we’ll be able to watch the replay of any life that we care to experience, to see & feel everything from that person’s point of view. More people than we know have already experienced snippets of other people’s perspectives as part of their own life reviews when they are “shown” or made to experience exactly what another had been thinking and feeling (interactions from one’s past are re-lived in vivid detail during the “life review” but this time from many perspectives at once and not just one’s own....to show us what effect our words, actions, etc. during life really had on those around us).
At any rate, each ancestor’s life story & experience is much more meaningful to find & pass down than just names & dates! I love to share these stories with others. Each person’s life story is meant to be the archetypal hero’s journey, as explained well here if you can overlook the questionable politics & radical militant environmentalist views in the middle part. Bits and pieces of truth can be sifted & gathered out from error. We’re all one community, or one family, or like billions of cells within one organism. At the deepest level, we all share the same consciousness/intelligence (light & truth) because it all emanates from one source, and the Source always still encompasses & comprehends the whole of creation (even though most little bits WITHIN that whole may feel they are each cut off & separate in their own separate dark little bubbles of consciousness). In reality, we are always IN him and OF him, like drops of water within the ocean. Someday we will know even as we are known: IN him we live & move & have our being, and we would have no existence at all if entirely cut off from him. Some of us remain closer to the hub of the great wheel, and some of us have moved further away from the Source and are scattered out on the fringes. Also, our minds are illuminated by varying degrees of his intelligence. This eternal consciousness preceded physical matter rather than arising from it, so of course all parts of consciousness still exist after the physical body dies.
My interest in the family roots started at a young age when I overheard someone kidding around with my very "proper" grandma Irma about her uncle who was an outlaw in the old west. This piqued my interest and I started asking questions. My mom encouraged me to ask great-grandpa John Tanner Lant about his brother Dave Lant and what became of Dave after 1898 when he made his third jail-break. So at the age of 7 or so (about 1965) I asked my great-grandpa about this outlaw brother of his, but he merely said he didn't really know anything more and changed the subject. I didn’t solve that mystery until over 30 years later.
Being a genealogist is similar to being a private investigator, but much more challenging because you’re investigating people who lived a long time ago rather than living people. You have to be very persistent and never give up looking for tiny clues over many years’ time, and piecing them all together like a giant jigsaw puzzle. One clue i just discovered is that my great-grandpa Webb Lumpkin owned a gold mine in New Mexico for a short time in 1902-3 after he returned from the Klondike gold rush and before his marriage to Beulah Mae Elledge in Manassa Colorado on July 30, 1903. I never knew until now that he had even stepped foot in New Mexico. Next, i need to find out exactly where in New Mexico his gold claim was located. I’m nosy about the ancestors’ lives, but quite the opposite when it comes to living people because I respect others and their privacy and space so much. However, I did once help a man in his 70’s track down his birth mother in Michigan who was in her 90’s and still living. The story had a very happy ending!
Although I have Mormon ancestors going back 6 generations in several cases (meaning I’m 7th generation LDS, my sons are 8th, and my grandchildren are 9th), the generations immediately preceding me weren't really religious or "active" in any church except for during short periods of their lives. My parents, grandparents, and seven of the 8 ancestors in my great-grandparents’ generation were at least nominally LDS except one (Webb Lumpkin, who came from Iowa and was the son of a Congregational minister/homesteader). I was raised in the Salt Lake Valley as an atheist and didn't become a church member until my teens. That was the first of my life’s 180 degree turnarounds.
Since very few ancestors’ stories were remembered or passed down to me from my forebears, a lot of curiosity and perseverence was required to discover nearly all the stories I've shared. I'm indebted to other researchers who've done the same & preserved the memories. Each ancestor's life story contains so many things we can learn from. Often I’m surprised & touched. There’s a mixture of good and bad in each of us, but every life matters. Every person has a story to tell. Even outlaws and slave owners had their good side, and labels/stereotypes don't do them justice. Each person is so much more than a label or stereotype, and we can develop the most essential qualities of empathy, compassion and charity by taking an interest in others and getting to know each one, and overcome our prejudices and expand our hearts & minds by doing so.
It’s not good to have a false sense of pride in our ancestors, of course. As we get to know their stories we can develop bonds of love and empathy and appreciation towards them, but I also feel that our interest should embrace all mankind, no matter who they were or what they did. It’s also wrong to look down on anyone or judge them. In the words of a poem i like, "Let me live in a house by the side of the road; Where the race of men [and women] go by -- men who are good and men who are bad; As good and as bad as I." Treat everyone equitably (be “no respecter of persons”) rather than with inequality/inequity/iniquity. If you go back just twelve generations to the time of the pilgrims, my direct ancestors alone would number over 10,000 individuals -- not counting their siblings, aunts, uncles, etc. So my ancestors (and yours) undoubtedly ranged the full spectrum of humanity. Whether outlaw or in-law, pauper or princess, male or female, slave or master, no matter who they are (or were), flaws and all, they’re all family and we should get to know them and esteem each person alike (past and present), and never bad-mouth any person, especially a relative because they are our children's heritage.
With maturity we come to realize that every human is on equal standing before God and we’re no better (or worse) than anyone else. God wants all of his children to love one another and get along in perfect harmony, just as we would want that with our own immediate families. God’s covenant people are to become servants of all, following the example of God’s son. If we point fingers of blame or criticism at other people, or climb above others then look down on them & refuse to associate with them, won’t a just God do the same to us? Instead, shouldn’t we try to help everyone up the ladder to greater happiness, give them a hand to lift them up or even try to put their needs & well-being before our own? Perhaps even condescend to stay at the bottom of the ladder & help others up before ourselves? We’re all lost at sea in the same boat together, so we should extend a hand of fellowship to any who are struggling or suffering, instead of a cold shoulder or turning our backs on them. Our part is not to judge others. Let God be the judge; our part is to freely love & forgive & give and be filled with compassion towards everyone and try to live peaceably and harmoniously with all, in humility understanding that it’s hypocritical to reject or cut off any fellow mortal since we’re ALL imperfect.
We're all one family so it’s very important to build & strengthen those familial bonds of love, to move closer to the ideal wherein everyone on this earth would have equal happiness & blessings. To whatever degree we refuse to embrace, accept, converse & share with, love, & freely forgive our sisters and brothers; to do & say all the good we can to them and concerning them, at all times & in all places, not only are we actually doing it unto the Lord, we shall receive the same back from our Lord at the end. God has justly decreed that whatever we have dished out to others, we ourselves shall end up receiving in the end.
I think that one of the biggest obstacles to peace on earth, to unity & love among families and peoples, is when someone has something against another person or persons but rather than talking with them directly in order to work things out with the goal of seeing eye to eye in mutual satisfaction & understanding of each other’s points of view, they talk to other people instead, ABOUT that person. Nothing good comes doing so. It inevitably turns the discussed one into an outsider, & turns the ones who do the gossipping/discussing (and their associates) into co-conspirators who are, in effect, placing themselves above that person. Even when there’s no bad intent, talking about anyone who isn’t present & thus has no opportunity to be treated as an equal & explain their own point of view, only leads to alienation & prejudicial misunderstanding. Usually the excluded person feels the vibes & knows that something’s not right, but has no idea what it is or what to do to fix it since the co-conspirators aren’t telling them what’s wrong and usually won’t tell them even if they ask. In this type of situation it becomes very difficult to set things right and return to harmony. That’s why the holy scriptures say we need to avoid gossip if we want to become God’s people. The best counsel is to follow Matthew 18’s principles whenever any interpersonal difficulties arise. The value of confidentiality & the Golden Rule cannot be overstated.
Like most Americans, my family tree is full of immigrants who ventured forth from the Old World to the New. Dozens of my direct ancestors fought in the American Revolution for the ideals of liberty and freedom of conscience. Nearly all of them were on the North American continent (U.S./Canada) before the Revolutionary War, & some more than 150 years before that. The main exception was my mother's mother's ancestors (those of my grandma Irma Lant). Three-fourths of her ancestors came over later, as 19th century LDS converts in the 1840s and 1850s (on all other lines, my early LDS ancestors were already here in North America before their conversions in the 1830s and 1840s). Irma had one grandfather who was 100% English (Lant). Her other grandfather was 100% Welsh (Davies/Davis). And her maternal grandmother was 100% Scottish (Miller). But her paternal grandmother was from an American lineage (Tanner) stretching back to the Mayflower.
Aside from my maternal grandmother's forebears, I'm pretty sure all my other ancestors were in the New World before the Revolution except one of my Grandpa Shuler's ancestral families, the Blackwells, who came from England to Pennsylvania in 1805 -- Phebe Blackwell came over as a child, married Joel Shearer in 1819, and they joined the LDS church in 1830. Also, one of my Grandpa Bray's ancestors, William Smith, came from Scotland to South Carolina in the 1790s. He was also one of four of my direct ancestors who were murdered in the 1800s.
My ethnicity is English, German, Scottish, Scotch-Irish & Welsh, with a touch of French, Irish, Dutch, and perhaps a few other things thrown into the mix. My grandpa's sister and other older Bray relatives used to say the Brays came from Ireland and lived in Winston-Salem North Carolina before settling in Mississippi -- but the "Irish" claim (concerning my branch of Brays) hasn't stood up to research and genetic testing, and they were actually in America before the 1730s. However, like most family lore, there is a grain of truth to it because they did live in central North Carolina before coming to Mississippi.
MATERNAL ANCESTORS -- tracing the foremothers can be difficult because the surname keeps changing with each generation. My direct maternal lineage is Scottish. From my grandma on back they were quite tiny (probably under 5 feet tall). My mom's maiden name was Sandra Shuler, whose mother was Irma Lant. My grandma Irma's mom, Letitia Ann Davis, was 1/2 Welsh and 1/2 Scottish, with a genius-level IQ, high creativity and social skills. From there on back the names are Margaret & Elizabeth for at least 5 generations. Lettie's 100% Scottish mother was Margaret Ann Miller, whose mother was Margaret Ann Anderson, whose LDS-convert mother was Elizabeth Gourley, whose mother (my 5th great-grandmother) was Margaret Graham. She was Scottish but was born in London, 1780, under very good circumstances for the time. Her mother Elizabeth was very fortunate to receive excellent maternity care.
I like to learn all I can about my female ancestors because they are so often ignored in history & society, and even in family history. Amy Sholes Wightman was one of them (I previously had her parents wrong on my database but this has been corrected: her father was Jabez Sholes rather than Joseph Sholes). She and most of her children became Mormon in upstate NY 1835. She so desired to own a family Bible in which to keep a record of her family that she sold her treasured strand of gold beads to buy one. She died in Kirtland OH in 1861 and is buried near the temple alongside her non-member husband, but her children brought the Bible across the plains and donated it to the D.U.P. museum in Utah. The Wightmans also brought fruit trees & bushes in their wagon from Kirtland OH to plant at their new home in Payson Utah.
Another female ancestor with an interesting (but difficult) life was Lutitia Shearer Warthen. She left a biography mentioning her family’s conversion in 1830, the difficulties in Missouri and Nauvoo, and her husband’s murder in 1852 in Provo. Her 1st cousin Norman B. Shearer spent six months in Missouri's Richmond jail with P.P. Pratt & 4 others, at the same time Joseph Smith & his companions were in Liberty jail nearby. Lutitia's uncle Daniel Shearer married Vienna Jacques in Missouri, and he signed the covenant not to leave Missouri until doing all he could to assist his poorer neighbors to evacuate following the governor's illegal "extermination order" against the Mormons. Nearly 300 saints signed this pledge “to stand by and assist each other to the utmost of our abilities in removing from the state, and that we will never desert the poor who are worthy until they are safely out...”. After 6 months Norman Shearer was finally released from jail and accompanied his father Daniel to Far West the next day, where both were present at the cornerstone dedication ceremony (also mentioned here). They headed out of Missouri immediately afterwards. Daniel Shearer & his twin brother Joel (my ancestor) both submitted claims to the U.S. Congress & president as part of the Mormon redress petitions seeking compensation for their losses in Missouri, but none of the petitioners were ever compensated at all. Thousands of Mormons had been unconstitutionally driven eastward from Missouri and their lands and houses were stolen, at the same time (winter of 1838-9) when the five “civilized tribes” of Native Americans were forced to walk 1000 miles west on what became known as the “Trail of Tears.” The Native Americans were treated even more unjustly and prejudicially than the Mormons.
My ancestor Mary Ann Dixon Wightman wrote about how she and her Dixon parents and siblings were converted in Canada and moved to Kirtland OH, feeling that this wicked world was soon to be destroyed. She married Charles Billings Wightman in Kirtland. LDS converts were flooding into Kirtland Ohio, so she & her husband took many into their house as guests until they could find places of their own. They also divided all of their food and clothing to help those in need until she had only one second-hand dress to her name. The Wightmans remained in Kirtland for about 25 more years after most of the “saints” had left, but claimed they always remained faithful. Mary Ann’s elderly mother-in-law, Amy Sholes Wightman, was bedridden and couldn’t travel, so the Wightmans and Dixons stayed in Kirtland until after she passed away.
My maternal grandma’s grandma Elsie Tanner Lant died at the age of only 38 from “dropsy” (edema) due to congestive heart failure. Elsie’s mother Rebecca Smith Tanner had died at exactly the same age (probably from the same cause). Neither of them would ever allow their picture to be taken, so unfortunately don’t know what they looked like. Rebecca was the wife of John Joshua Tanner. Rebecca’s sister Rachel married J.J.’s brother Nathan Tanner. Rachel & Rebecca’s parents are buried in the Kirtland Temple cemetery but they (William & Jane Calkins Smith) had turned against Joseph Smith.
My Welsh forebear Letitia Ann George Davies lost nearly everything in a fire a few years after she & her Master Mariner husband left a very comfortable home & well-off life in Liverpool to settle in Spanish Fork Utah. The Tanner family lost nearly everything in a fire too, while they were living in dugouts and wagons in Winter Quarters. Lots of the foremothers persevered through so many hardships, loss, deaths of children, etc.; sufferings & sacrifices that we today can't even fathom.
KEELEY -- my husband's surname, Keeley, in most cases is Irish but in ours it's German. The immigrant ancestor Valentine Keeley arrived in Philadelphia in 1728. His surname in German was originally something like Kiehle or Kuehle. Or perhaps Kuehler. In some Pennsylvania records it is even spelled "Kyle", and in his will it is "Keele". They were definitely German. Their farm in Pennsylvania was about 10 miles from Valley Forge. The gravestone of Valentine Keeley's daughter-in-law, Elizabeth (Frey) Keeley, is all in German. I like the poems on the gravestones of Valentine's son Sebastian Keely, and Sebastian's son Jacob Keely and Jacob's wife Mary. Jacob Keely's gravestone includes a short biography of his life. But the longest biography on any ancestor's gravestone I've come across so far appears in a photograph at the very bottom of this page. That's the gravestone of my 5th great-grandmother Jane Flintoff Humphrey (1754-1828) in Canada. My husband's 2nd-great-grandpa William Perry Keeley owned a clothing store in Zanesville Ohio, and his sons went to the Dakota territory where they pitched in together to go into business making candy, cakes, and ice cream. Their ice cream won a taste test at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, and one of the brothers moved his family to Salt Lake City in the 1890s to open cafes and ice cream stores stores in Utah. My husband's dad Art Keeley converted to the LDS church, later baptized his parents, served in both WWII (in the U.S. Navy) and the Korean War (as a U.S. Army tank commander), and was an LDS seminary teacher for many years.
AAGARD -- my husband's mother's side were more "recent" immigrants, coming to America from Denmark in the 1860s, 1870s and 1880s after joining the LDS church. They were 100% Danish, so my kids are 1/4th Danish. The surname was originally spelled Aagaard in Danish, but the "double a" is pronouced "o" when it falls at the beginning of a word, and the final "d" is dropped. So the Danish pronunciation of the surname was actually "Ogar". After coming to America, some Aagaards wanted to stay closer to the original pronunciation, so they changed the spelling to "Ogard" to match they way it sounded. The Utah branch wanted to keep the original spelling, but they did drop one of the four "a's", and changed the pronunciation to "Ay-gard" in America. The Aagards owned many sheep in Utah and Wyoming. My husband's grandparents James Aagard & Annie moved to Wyoming's Big Horn Basin in 1915 by wagon. This basin was the location of some of the last LDS colony towns in the western U.S.. The Aagards were pioneers, and their family has kept pioneer ways & values alive to this present day. My husband was born in the Big Horn Basin, in Lovell WY, and one of my sons was born in Lovell too (he won the New Year's baby prizes for the county, even though he was born on Jan. 6th, not New Year's Day).
Others of my husband's ancestors were: several Pilgrims (John Howland & Elizabeth Tilley, and Edward Fuller & Mrs. Fuller) who came over on the Mayflower; the Parkinson family of the ill-fated Martin Handcart Company of 1856; Gabriel Schuler who immigrated to Pennsylvania by 1710; Peter Wentz, a licensed pirate whose home is now open for tours; Alexander Twaddle, a Scotch-Irish Revolutionary War soldier in western Pennsylvania; Greenberry McDonald, a Scotch-Irish Revolutionary War soldier in Virginia; Rev. John Goshen, an orphan who became a minister and built the first church in Muskingum Co., Ohio, 1805; Quaker families from Pennsylvania and Virginia; Irish familes Brogan and Busby, who joined the LDS church in Stirlingshire, Scotland then emigrated to America; and Walter Covey of Dutchess Co., NY, who had at least 17 children.
BRAY -- The surname Bray was originally "de Bray" in England until most families of Norman-French origin in the British Isles dropped the "de" prefix at the time of the Reformation. Sir William de Bray (in French, Sieur Guillaume de Brai) was one of the knights who came over from Normandy France to England in 1066 with William the Conqueror when they took over England in what is known as the “Norman Conquest”. His descendant, Henry de Bray, kept an estate book in the 1300s that is in the British Museum. But the earliest Bray ancestor that we can actually prove our lineage to is a Henry Bray (1705?-1794) who lived in Maryland and moved to central North Carolina in the 1750s & left many descendants. Henry’s wife was probably German because his daughters were christened in a German church in Frederick Co. Maryland in the 1730s.
Some of my close Bray relatives in America have gained a measure of recognition for their achievements. My dad & brothers are/were outdoorsmen, survivalists, and hunters. My brother Larry set a world record in 1981. My dad, Garland Bray, had an interesting life. He was raised in the mining town of Bingham Canyon where his dad LaMar was also raised (his dad, who drank & smoked quite a bit but was a good-hearted man with a great sense of humor, was short of stature but tough: an amateur boxer, and at the Bingham copper mine worked his way up from brakeman to train engineer). My dad served during the Korean War as a radio repairman in France, and also boxed while in the Army. He & my mom both graduated from the U of U, my dad earning degrees in math & physics, and my mom in biology/genetics. During his college years my dad worked all one summer as a security guard at the Nevada test site, and from the bunkers witnessed several atomic bomb blasts in person. A few years later he was one of the engineers installing this defensive radar in Thule Greenland. (BMEWS system). At Sperry-Univac in Utah he was an engineer for the Sergeant missile guidance system. For the U.S. department of defense, in the latter part of the 1980s he wrote computer programs, simulations for how well their equipment & aircraft commucication systems would function under various extreme weather conditions around the world. They gave him a cash award for saving the military millions (since they could run the simulation program instead of testing all of the equipment in the field, in the arctic, etc.). With his award money, he got his private pilot’s license and bought an aircraft. My dad's 1st cousin Karl Bray was one of the co-founders of the Libertarian party. His gravestone in Provo says "The Libertarian Tax Rebel". My dad's 2nd cousin Kurt Bray was a five-time Jeopardy champ. My grandpa's 2nd cousin Ray Bray was honored in the Congressional record, and my dad's 3rd cousin Robert Bray was honored in the Congressional record as well. All of the above were descendants of my 3rd great-grandpa Greenville ("Green") Bray of Houlka Mississippi.
SHULER -- My mom's maiden name. We can't trace our Shulers past the Revolutionary War period when George Shuler (1755?-1826) moved from Frederick Co. Maryland to western South Carolina and later to North Carolina in 1801, where he settled among the Cherokee Indians in their designated treaty lands. His was among a small number of German & Scotch-Irish families who settled among the tribe and got along well with them. George and his sons could speak the Cherokee language. The Shuler surname was originally spelled Schuler (meaning scholar) in German. My mom is certainly a scholar, because she qualified for membership in Mensa, and she skipped her senior year of high school and went to college early on a full 4-year Ford Scholarship. I remember my great-grandpa Dave Shuler letting us kids ride in the back of his pickup truck around his ranch on the foothills above Payson. His 1000-acre or more ranch was developed after his death into what is now the town of Elk Ridge, Utah. His grandpa, my 3rd great-grandpa Emanuel Shuler, had a brother David whose descendant Marilyn Shuler Musgrave served in the U.S. Congress a few years ago representing Colorado. Another brother of Emanuel's, George Shuler Jr., had many descendants who remained in the original Shuler homeland near Great Smoky Mountains National Park. One of them, former pro football player Heath Shuler, represented that district in the U.S. Congress until recently. My grandpa’s grandpa James F. Shuler was an outlaw, but probably in his mind it was an undercover military operation to help his homeland (the U.S. Southern States) that had been unconstitutionally invaded in the 1860’s. He was pardoned after serving 8 years in San Quentin, and came to Utah to start a new life. He didn't tell any of his Utah descendants about his outlaw activities during the Civil War (robbing stagecoaches in California to funnel gold to the Confederacy), and we didn't find out until 2004. A couple of his grandchildren, who had known James personally, were still living when we made this discovery & were quite shocked and surprised as you can imagine. One of James F. Shuler's granddaughters, Ora Packard Clyde, had been first lady of Utah for a short time, so it’s a good thing no one back then knew that her grandfather was an outlaw.
On the Lumpkin side my 3rd great-grandpa, Anderson Lumpkin, had a son Thomas who became a buffalo hunter in west Texas, but we didn't know anything about that either until just a few years ago. I learned that Tom refused to join a skirmish against the local Indians, and because he refused to kill Indians and made derogatory comments about those who did, he ended up being shot in the back & killed in 1877 as he was trying to leave the saloon. His lonely grave is marked only by a buffalo skull. His story had been forgotten by everyone until I ran across it by chance in a 3 volume set entitled “Encyclopedia of Frontier Biography” and realized his story & name (Thomas Lumpkin vs. Tom Lumpkins) & death date (27 Apr 1877 vs. 1 May 1877) were similar to an entry in our old Lumpkin family bible. It turned out to be a match!
Another 3rd great-grandpa, Robert W. Glenn, founded the town of Glenwood, Utah and was a candidate for the territorial legislature. He was a surveyor, storekeeper, and also practiced law now and then. He was strongly opposed to slavery but he had a brother Tyree Glenn who was a slave trader. Another brother of his, Austin Glenn, was an anti-slavery preacher in Texas who was lynched there by Confederate vigilantes there during the Civil War.
My relatives haven't had much luck in Texas. But they've lived at one time or another in all but a handful of states in the Union: North, South, East, and West. They participated in many historic events & movements from the beginning. They were many things: outlaws, explorers, pirates like my ancestor John Marchante; sea captains, wealthy Dutch in New Amsterdam (now Manhattan), English settlers of Jamestown VA, French Huguenots, pilgrims, seekers of religious liberty, courageous non-conformists such as Roger Williams, founder of the first Baptist church in America and Rev. Stukely Westcott (we are eligible to join his descendants' society). Another inspiring ancestor was Rev. Obadiah Holmes. “As With Roses" is a film about his life. Punished for his beliefs nearly to the point of death, he said, "you have struck me as with roses".
My husband’s ancestor Solomon Mack wrote and published a very interesting book in 1811. His son Stephen Mack founded Pontiac, Michigan. One of Solomon Mack’s grandsons was Joseph Smith Jr., the LDS founder. Joseph's mother, Lucy Mack, wrote a fine book. Another of Solomon’s grandsons, Stephen Mack Jr., was a fur trader on the frontier and married an Indian princess (see his wikipedia entry). Stephen Jr.’s sister Almira Mack Covey was my husband’s foremother.
Most everyone's ancestors (and mine too) were nearly all farmers until the later 1800s, but among my ancestors were also indentured servants, Scotch-Irish & Germans on the American frontier, soldiers in the French & Indian War, dozens of patriots who fought for our freedom & independence in the Revolutionary War, other soldiers in the War of 1812, the Mexican War in 1846, the Civil War in the 1860s (both Yankees and Rebels), & America's 20th century wars. There were dozens of pre-railroad Mormon pioneers, miners in the California gold rush, Pike's Peak gold rush, and Klondike gold rush (my great-grandpa Webb Lumpkin was actually very successful in the Klondike/Yukon, had claim #11 near Dawson City, claims at Eldorado and Bonanza Creek, and mined there for several years with his brothers). Some ancestors were homesteaders in the Oklahoma land rush and also in Iowa & other places, and many of my ancestors were preachers and ministers of various denominations. They were immigrants going back to Jamestown VA 1607 (my new daughter-in-law Angie's ancestors were even earlier immigrants than that to America, because the Spanish settled New Mexico in 1598). Some direct ancestors lived in Salem Massachusetts during the witch trials there in the 1690s. Others were hillbillies in Virginia, NC and Arkansas. The stories are many, varied, and the roots intertwine. Instead of thinking ourselves superior to anyone, try walking in their shoes, listening to their stories, and carrying a portion of their burdens.
One of my favorite ancestor sagas is that of my Goldman ancestors, refugees from the "Palatinate" region of Germany. My thanks to "the three sisters" who researched this family and shared their discoveries. The Goldmans settled in one of the Palatine refugee villages on the east bank of the Hudson River, NY, in 1709 (not too far from Sleepy Hollow/Tarrytown, where some of my other ancestors lived). Johann Conrad Goldtmann (a.k.a. Conrad Goldman) had brought his family over, but then he died on a military expedition to Canada in 1711. Widow Goldman's son, Jacob Goldman, moved to VA. Next generation was another Jacob Goldman, who moved to NC, whose dau Sarah Goldman married William Ingram. Sarah & Wm's son Goldman Ingram md Jemima Hughey. Goldman & Jemima's dau Jane Ingram married Emanuel Shuler. Emanuel grew up among the Cherokees near today's Great Smoky Mountains National Park at the western tip of North Carolina, and could speak in the Indian tongue. Emanuel & Jane moved their family to northwest Georgia in 1850, then in 1864 had their farm & home burned and destroyed by General Sherman's army. Four of Emanuel & Jane's sons, William, George, James, and Goldman Shuler, went west to the Pike's Peak gold rush in 1859 and then on to California.
Richard Smith was another interesting forebear. Roger Williams testified that Richard Smith "broke the ice" and set up the first trading house in the wilderness of Rhode Island among the natives. But he also owned nice homes in what is now lower Manhattan (then the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam) and present-day Queens. Richard traveled in style back & forth between the locations on his sloop "Welcome", with his wife, children, and servants. Archaeological digs have been done at the site of his trading post known as "Smith's Castle" and it is open for tours.
Ancestor Rev. Valentine Wightman was a non-conformist who led the first Baptist church in Connecticut, and introduced the singing of hymns into the Sunday services. He is considered one of the Baptist founders (video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x5QV36p8PAE). It has often been claimed that he was a direct descendant of Edward Wightman, who in 1612 became the last person to be executed by being burnt at the stake in England, for religious "heresy". I don't believe there is enough evidence to prove that Edward Wightman was a direct ancestor, although Edward did have a brother Valentine and was undoubtedly related. I think Edward was probably a great-uncle rather than the grandfather of the immigrant brothers Valentine & George Wightman, who came over to Rhode Island in the 1650s. It is very telling that the immigrant brothers didn't name any sons or grandsons Edward.
Another reformer was my direct ancestor Roger Williams. After reading about baptism in the Bible and coming to understand that baptizing infants was not justifiable, Williams & his associates knew that they needed another baptism. They drew lots to see which of them should baptize the others. In Rhode Island, 1638, they organized one of the earliest Baptist churches in America. In Europe this very act of being re-baptized often carried the death penalty for heresy, because it was evidence that they considered the infant baptism performed by the official established church to be of no efficacy. But, after continuing with his group of re-baptized believers for a few years, Williams withdrew from that church, realizing that, however well-meaning, they had no actual authority to baptize anyone. He became a "Seeker" who felt he should wait for the Lord Jesus to send new apostles.
Another saga is that of the Lucas family. Of English, Dutch, and French heritage, ancestor Abraham Lucas from New Jersey served in the Revolutionary War as an Indian spy on the frontier of Pennsylvania. He later moved to Ohio and then central Illinois with his extended family and members of his church. His granddaughter Marcy Jane Lucas married John Williams and had 6 children. They lived in central Illinois, near Springfield where Abraham Lincoln practiced law in the 1830s and 40s. Mormon missionaries visited the area, and Marcy joined the church in 1839. Her husband John Williams became very anti-Mormon, but after he passed away in 1844, Marcy escaped with her children and went to where the Latter-day Saints were gathered, remarried to Henry Barney, and had several more children. One of her children, Mary Ann Williams was sealed to the infamous John D. Lee in 1857 but they were never husband & wife in reality. At her request the sealing was dissolved and she married John's son Alma instead.
My ancestors from Canada were the Dixons and Browns.
Charles Dixon came from Yorkshire, England with his family and settled in Sackville, New Brunswick, in 1772. Following his lead, many of his Yorkshire neighbors emigrated as well, acquiring land in the area of Canada from which the French Acadians (Cajuns) had been expelled. Some of Charles Dixon’s writings have survived, and are included in a 1891 book one of his grandsons compiled. Some of his descendants had joined the LDS church in the 1830s and moved to Kirtland Ohio and later to Utah. The entire Dixon book is online.
Jesse Brown was a minister who moved from the States up to Leeds, Ontario, Canada with his family before 1808. Some of the Browns stayed in Canada, but most moved back to the U.S. in the 1830s. Some of Jesse’s children & grandchildren converted to the LDS church in Michigan in the 1830s. One of Jesse’s sons, Hiram Brown, was excommunicated by Joseph & Hyrum Smith for teaching polygamy in Lapeer Co. Michigan as mentioned in the Times & Seasons, 1 Feb. 1844 (one of the evidences that, despite what most people today believe, Joseph Smith actually fought polygamy and didn’t practice it). Hiram Brown’s niece, my ancestor Experience (“Speedy”) Brown, married German Ellsworth and they joined the Mormons in 1832. Speedy had 7 children with German Ellsworth, but he died of Rocky Mountain fever just after they arrived in the Salt Lake Valley in 1849. She remarried within a few months to Philo Johnson & had 7 more children with him (14 children total). In Payson UT she was president of the local LDS women’s organization (the Relief Society) for 12 years. She left her testimony to her descendants in a time capsule that was opened more than 50 years after her death.
Another of my female ancestors, Letitia Ann George Davis, was a RS president for over 12 years as well, in Spanish Fork. Another, Polly Derby Mecham, was a member of the first RS in Nauvoo, as was Philo Johnson's first wife, Sarah Maria Mills Johnson.
One of Speedy Brown Ellsworth Johnson's grandsons, German E. Ellsworth (1871-1961), obeyed a voice he heard from heaven on the Hill Cumorah and worked tirelessly to distribute thousands of copies of the Book of Mormon in order to bring the world to Christ. He served as a mission president for 25 years, during a time when there were only a few LDS missions in the world rather than the hundreds that exist now. My husband served as a missionary in the Philippines, i served in Japan, and my sons have served in Uganda, Paraguay, and Argentina.
I will share more stories as I go. Thanks to everyone who has shared their information and research here and on other sites as well!!