Pioneer Day

Two people dressed as pioneers with their genealogy behind them

Happy Pioneer Day

If your family has been in the West for a few generations, there is a chance that you have some pioneer ancestors; so I found. William Handy, my 3rd great grandpa, came to join the Mormons that settled in this area from Warwickshire, England. He remained here half of a decade before returning to Iowa with his bride, leaving the Mormons.

Recently, I visited Martin’s Cove, where William stayed a winter. They ended up having to eat saddles, moccasins, and old cowhide to survive. They also befriended the Indians and anyone that might help them survive. On his way to Salt Lake City with the Hunt company, they met the handcart companies that were dying daily for lack of food and the harsh cold. He chose to remain with Dan Jones and twenty other men near Devil’s gate, at the end of the prairie lands. Then he sent his wagon with the handcart company to help them complete their journey, a selfless act. They agreed to stay knowing the harsh circumstances and possible death.

I then became curious about how many of my ancestors passed on this Mormon/California/Pony Express/Oregon trail featured in this picture. To my surprise, about half of my ancestors made this harsh journey on foot, horseback, or wagon. Their purpose was for religious freedom, similar to the pilgrims at Plymouth Rock. Interestingly enough, some of these pioneers ancestors have lines that go back to the pilgrims.

We live in a wonderful land of opportunity where freedom to choose for oneself is given. Many of these freedoms are a result of those that have come before us including the pilgrims and the pioneers. Their stories help us appreciate our freedoms. Have a Happy Pioneer Day!

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