Sunday, April 12, 2015

Mojo Monday ~ More of Lizzie's Family Stories

Nevada ship log showing Lizzie and family.
Lizzie and daughters

The story of Elizabeth Talmer Roberts Shepherd continues....   (The beginning of Lizzie's story can be located here.)

One humorous story concerning the three little girls happened about this time.  In their Sunday school attendance they had been hearing much about the power of prayer.  The greatest hope of these three little girls was to have a fully equipped playhouse of their very own.  They knew that their folds did not have any way to provide them with such a luxury, so they decided to make it a matter of prayer.  They swept and cleaned a place under a large tree for the playhouse to be placed.  Then they set about to pray.  They prayed and watched, and often got up real early to see if their prayers had been answered during the night.  They even imagined that each cloud might have a playhouse hidden away inside it.  One afternoon the folks went to town for groceries and the girls were left with an older brother.  They wanted until earnest had gone about his work, (or so they thought), then they knelt down around the big wood box in the kitchen and prayed for the playhouse.  They each took a turn praying in a most fervent manner.  When it was Addie's turn to pray, she brought her fist down on the wood box and said, "And I pray that our playhouse will come down, plunkety, plink, flunkety, plunk."  Outside, Earnest and his friend, who had been listening to them, were doubled over with laughter.  And of course the story got passed around the family.  Soon the girls decided that a playhouse was not the thing to pray for.  But in later years, they enjoyed telling and retelling this story on themselves.

But Edna did have one of her childhood prayers answered in a very dramatic way, and it always strengthened her to remember it.  One day the family was getting ready to go to town.  The children were not often taken along, but this day they were told they could go.  So everyone hurried around to get ready, but they could not find the baby's shoe.  After looking everywhere else with no success, Edna decided that it must be in the bed covering so she carefully shook them out but to no avail.  Not knowing where else to look, she crawled in under the quilts and began to pray that she might be able to find the shoe there.  In a few minutes she crawled out to look on the top of the covered, but there was no shoe.  Then she dived right back down under the covers again, and began to pray that much harder.  They next time she came out to look, there was the shoe, as she had prayed that it would be, on the top of the quilts.

Edna had a firm testimony that prayers could be answered.  One summer day about this time the girls were amusing themselves at a game.  Lacking toys for fun, they had turned a wash tub upside down in the yard.  They would take turns crawling under it while the other two beat a good drum rhythm on the top of the tub.  The noise soon became very annoying to their father and he shouted for them to stop the banging, but they were having such sun, they paid little attention.  Valie was under the tub and Edna and Addie were beating good strong strokes, when their enraged father came around the corner carrying his pitchfork.  The girls were fearful of their father's temper.  Valie stayed right where she was under the tub, Edna ran as fast as she could and hid between the house and the cellar.  Addie took another route and sneaked through a hollow log and into the house where she stayed under the bed until her mother got back home.

Another day soon after this, Addie and Valie decided that they would run away from home.  They had crossed their own fields and gone through the fence down on Corn's place and were hiding in the sagebrush.  When they saw their mother running towards them with Bart under her arm, Valie said, "Oh, we better run. If she catches us she will give us a good whipping."  But Addie felt differently, "No," she said "We had better go back, something is wrong." And something was wrong.  Lizzie had been scrubbing the floor with lye water.  She had set the can and measuring spoon on the table and Bart who was just beginning to crawl had gotten into it.  Lizzie quickly washed out his mouth again and again. Although the lye had burned his lips and the inside of his mouth quite badly, he was not seriously harmed.

Valie can remember going to visit her sister's family one summer day.  Florence had taken a large empty wooden box and spread a quilt onto it for a playpen for baby Burton.  As Valie bent over to say hello to the baby, she saw there was a large snake in the box with him.  They quickly scooped the baby out and were relieved that it was only an old blow snake.

The family of Florence and Burton Prettyman also continued to grow.  The following children were born to them in the next few years:  February 11, 1902 ~ Forest Mansford Prettyman Burlington, December 27, 1903 ~ Sarah Talmer Prettyman, April 13, 1905 ~ Leonard Murrel Prettyman.

Crops continued to be good on the ranch.  After the spring planting was done, Earnest and the other boys would take jobs hauling freight to bring in extra money.  They hauled the first telegraph wires, cross arms and insulators from Cody down to Thermopolis, Wyoming.  Claude went along with earnest on this job.  In the Spring of 1903, Earnest hauled freight quite frequently to Thermopolis and began to save most of the money he was making.  For Earnest had decided to get married and he needed the money for a wedding stake.  One June 8, 1903 Earnest Wiggett married Mary Golda Kinnamin, daughter of James Aaron Kinnamin and Eliza York.

Earnest was twenty-two that year and Mary had just turned fifteen, having been born June 3, 1888.  They rented a small place further north of Burlington and went there to live.  Valie can remember a small tin trunk that Mary kept clothes folded in.  They had no closet, but Mary always kept her house very neat and clean.

Pioneer Day!

One of the highlights of the year for all the populations of the Burlington Ward was the 24th of July Celebration.  (Pioneer Day is an official holiday celebrated on July 24 in the state of Utah, with some celebrations in regions of surrounding states originally settled by Mormon pioneers.)  The youngsters looked forward to this for weeks.  It was a full day of fun.  There were horse races, foot races and for the boy, sack races and three legged races.  They had a ball game going all day and other games for everyone to enjoy.  A long table was set up under the shade of the bowery and the lunches the ladies had brought were put all together on this big table at noon.  There was fried chicken, potato salad, corn on the cob, slices of tomato, and the ward furnished a large barrel of lemonade, which was a treat for the young children.  There there were all kinds of cakes and pie for dessert.  It was a great day of good food and good fun for all.  Later in the afternoon when everyone was resting from the games, Claude and Eugene Praetor began to fist fight.  As Eugene was to remember years later, "Not because we were mad, we were the best of friends, but just to entertain the group."  Valie remembers that one of the ladies looked up at the boys and said, "Who is fighting?"  Mrs. Praetor replied, "Oh, it's my Gene and that Shepherd kid."

To be continued....

When working on your own ancestral research consider this suggested list  of questions to ask parents, grandparents, great grandparents, aunt and uncles.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Mojo Monday ~ Better Days for Lizzie and Family

Nevada ship log showing Lizzie and family.
Lizzie with her daughters

The story of Elizabeth Talmer Roberts Shepherd continues.... (The beginning of Lizzie's story can be located here.)

It was in 1897 that Lizzie's children got their first chance to go to school.  The people of the community donated logs to build a 16 x 32 feet school house.  Reverend L.D. Thompson donated two acres of ground on which to erect the building.  It was covered with a dirt roof and was used not only for school purposes, but for other purposes by Mormons and gentiles alike.  In the winter of 1896 Elder William Packard called a meeting of the Mormon people to discuss the proposition of building a meeting house. This building was completed by 1897.

greybull1909

In this period when the Mormons were still in very poor circumstances, the chief engineer of the Burlington Railroad came to A.O. Woodruff and told him that he would like to give the people of this area twenty miles of railroad to build.  This section of railroad ran from Pryor Gap on the Crow Indian Reservation in Montana to Frannie, Wyoming.  Contracts were signed for twenty miles of grading, the price being 13 1/2 cents for earth, 24 cents for solid rock, and 50 cents per ton-mile for pipe haul.  Charles A. Welch, who wrote a history of the Big Horn Basin, was selected to do the railroad work and look after the commissary.  This was an answer to a prayer as it supplied the settlers with a source of income during the winter.

The next three years were quite good years on the ranch.  They continued to clear more land, to improve the canals and to plant more each year.  The crops of hay and grain were good, the family had a small garden, which Lizzie took care of.  The children picked wild berries along the river.  Some jelly was made and preserved.  The children would collect old beer bottles and such.  The tops were cut off the bottles by dropping a hot harness rind down over the bottle neck.  Then they were filed smooth across the top.  After they were washed and the jelly was poured and set, they were sealed by coating a piece of tablet paper with egg which and sticking it securely over the top.  Lizzie was a thrifty woman and made use of all the items of produce.  She made tomato preserve and a large stone jar was made full of pumpkin butter.  The children love the green tomatoes that Lizzie used to slice and fry.  After their lean years it now seemed that they had a very comfortable life.

Lizzie's daughter Florence gave birth to her second son on July 12, 1898 and named him Earnest John Prettyman, after her brother.  In the winter of the following year on December 18, 1899, Lizzie and her husband Rollins Don Carlos had another son and named him Bartley Roberts Shepherd.   Lizzie's oldest son Earnest Wiggett was now nineteen years old, son Carl Shepherd celebrated his fifteenth birthday on January 1, 1900, and Laffe was fourteen.  

Son Claude wrote in a story, "I was big enough then to go with my brothers to get timber."  The boys cut and hauled many loads of logs and started to build a four room house.  They laid logs up to the square (ready for a roof) at least two different times, the took the logs down to use for fences and corrals.  One day while they were working on the fence, Carl picked up a new hatchet that one of the neighbors had carelessly left.  New tools were rare, and Carl was pleased with his new find.  Lizzie saw him hide it in the sagebrush and knew it did not belong to them and made him return the hatchet to the rightful owner.

In the early spring of 1900 Florence and Burton Prettyman had their third son.  Burton Hazen Prettyman was born in Burlington on March 27, 1900.

In the fall of 1900 there was a lot of illness.  A man by the name of James Aaron Kinnamin came to Burlington.  He had left his wife and small child in Colorado, but had brought his four oldest children with him in a covered wagon.  Lon and Willard were in their early teens, Mary about twelve years old and Howard about ten.  When they arrive Lon was ill with diptheria.  Lizzie took in the washing for this family and although she used carbolic acid as a disinfectant in the wash water and in the dish soap, soon Earnest, Valie and Lizzie each had diptheria.  They were all very sick.  Lizzie sent Carl to buy a bottle of pure grain alcohol at the saloon.  She would pour a few drops of this onto a teaspoon with sugar and have the ill ones take it to cut the phlegm in their throats to keep them from choking.  Addie was then about seven years old and was very afraid of getting the illness.  She told her mother, "If I get it, I'll die."  So she ate sugar and alcohol, and also threw all the used spoons behind a chest of drawers.  Fortunately she did not get sick.

Rollins Don Carlos Shepherd had his seventieth birthday in the winter of 1900.  He continued to work on the ranch with the help of Earnest and Carl.  They were still clearing sage brush and still extending the canal system across their land.  In the year of 1901 they had a good crop of alfalfa that grew as tall as a horse.

In the fall Laffe and Claude walked about three miles to school.  Enda, Addie and Valie also walked to school with them.  Valie can remember taking a short cut through the fields and down along the big canal.  Sometimes they would go over to the Kinnamin house with Mary for lunch. They had rented a small house in Burlington.  Although they had no woman to care for them, the house and the children were neat and clean.  The children enjoyed these growing up years, and many family stories come from this time.

To be continued.....

Family-Stories

Do you know any old family stories?  How far back do they go?  

Consider asking grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles about stories they may know.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Mojo Monday ~ Tragedy Strikes

Nevada ship log showing Lizzie and family.
Photo of Lizzie and her daughters.
When we last left off with the story of Lizzie an accident had just occurred.

On the family's return trip from Billings, Montana the older children were walking along the roadside picking flowers.  Five year old Electra who was riding in the wagon decided she wanted to pick flowers too and while climbing down, slipped and fell.  Her dress caught in the brake block and threw her under the wagon.  The heavy wagon rolled over her body and her back was broken.  The family went back to Billings for a doctor, but he said he could do nothing for her.  Her father, Rollins Don Carlos, wanted to get back to the ranch, so they made a bed for her in the wagon and started out.  Their travels took them through the Crow Reservation at Pryor, Montana.  The Crow tribe did what they could to ease her suffering, but after a few days she died on June 27, 1894.  She was laid to rest there on the reservation with a service spoken by a Catholic priest.  Lizzie did not feel good about the rosary beads and the cross he put into her little coffin and she removed those before she was buried.

The family finally returned to Burlington in the month of July.  Young Earnest, who at twelve years old, had been left behind to mind the ranch, had almost given up hope of ever seeing them again.  The sad events of the trip and the poor conditions of the family made it hard for them to accomplish much that summer.  Lizzie's husband, Rollins Don Carlos, continued to work for other others.  They moved onto the Thorn Ranch and lived in a small cabin.  It was another hard winter for them.  In the Spring of 1895, Rollins Don Carlos chose his land and began to clear some of the sagebrush.  While they were still living at Thorn's Place another daughter was born.  Valie Shepherd joined the family on June 5, 1895. (Valie in later years would share how her father wanted to name her Roxalana Ray after his mother, but what of the neighbors had a dog named Roxie, and that is why she was not given that name.)

In 1895 Mormon settlers located in the region permanently and named the place Burlington.  They decided to build another ditch to cover the land lying along the river valley and it could be down for much less than the Bench Canal.  Things were looking blue, but the settlers came together and elected Richard L. Proctor as Superintendent and through his untiring effort rallied the people.  That land had to be homesteaded so that every man had to build on the place he had selected for a home.  The ditch was sufficiently finished and some crops were raised the same season that the work began.  The group of families that were among those who built homesteads included the Shepherds, Packards, Bakers, Rigtrup, Corns and Dobson families. 

Young Earnest and Carl hauled logs from the Narby mountains and a one room cabin was built.  A story by Claude states that they moved to the homestead in the Fall of 1895.  They hauled logs to build a fence so cattle could be kept out.  The first year they put in five acres of hay and grain.  They continued to clear more land each season.  The following years they had a good crop of wheat and Lizzie had a large bin built in one corner of the cabin.  She filled it with wheat and a bed was made over it.  She traded three bushels of wheat for a small pig.  The pig had the scurvy and she put it into a wash tub and gave it a good lye soap bath and then fed it well.  She was rewarded with a nice littler of pigs the following spring.  Claude's story tells of pulling salt grass during the winter to feed the pigs.  

The family continued to clear the land.  The earliest memory that Valie recounted was of sitting on a blanket of sagebrush while the older boys, Earnest and Carl, hauled more logs from the mountains.  Times were still very hard for the settlers, but romance entered the picture too when eldest daughter Florence Wiggett, at age seventeen married Burton Jackson Prettyman on August 3, 1896.

The young couple went to live with his family at their place across the Greybull River.  They built a small house on his parents property and lived there for about ten years.  Burton Prettyman had been married before and had one son, Charles Prettyman.  
The Shepherd family was able to get a cow and some chickens the next year.  This added milk, butter and eggs to their diet.  The children picked berries down along the Greybull River in the summer for fruit. Sometime during the year of 1897 Lizzie suffered a late term miscarriage.  That same year she also became a grandmother.  Lizzie was thirty-six years old the year her daughter, Florence Wigget Prettyman had her first child on May 12, 1897, a son named Josephus Prettyman.

To be continued....

Monday, March 2, 2015

Mojo Monday ~ Hardships for Lizzie and Family

Nevada ship log showing Lizzie and family.
Lizzie is featured in the center of this photo.

The continuing story of Elizabeth "Lizzie" Talmer Roberts Shepherd.   The first installment began here.

In the spring of 1893 Lizzie's husband Rollins Don Carlos Shepherd decided to move the family into the Big Horn Basin area of Wyoming.  The Church of Latter Day Saints had encourage the settlement of this area and Rollins Don Carlos has heard that there were good opportunities to be found in the area. The family, which included 7 small children, loaded their belongings and supplies into a covered wagon and set out on a journey of about 550 miles to the north.  

One of the family stories mentions that a small pony was purchased for Earnest Wiggett, who at twelve years old, helped to drive their cattle.  The family started off with 75 head of white face cattle, which would have given them a good start on a herd, but due to feuds between cattle and sheep men of the west, a significant number of their cattle were killed during the journey.  

Lizzie, expecting again during the trip, cared for the small children, including six month old Edna, who was ill almost the whole trip.  Their son Laffe (Marcus de Lafayette) had trouble with an injured eye all the way and for years following.  

The area that the settlers moved into was a large fertile valley abut 25 miles east from either Basin or Greybull, Wyoming.  Earlier settlers had been trying to establish an irrigation system, but the undertaking had proven too great for their small numbers.  Many of those settlers grew discouraged and sold their interests to a man by the name of Wiley.  He enlarged the irrigation ditch and settled the area with German settlers and in turn became know as Germania Bench.

Lizzie and Rollins Don Carlos located their wagons, when they arrived, along a bend in the Greybull River and it became known as Mormon Bend.  Others in the group were the Bill Clark family, Tom Jones and William Packard.  The Shepherd family had arrived too late into the summer of 1893 to begin clearing land.  That year Rollins Don Carlos worked for other farmers in the area.  They moved their wagon from Mormon Bend on to the small ranch owned by Jim Goodrich.  It was here that their third daughter, Adeline Shepherd was born on September 7, 1893.  

It was a very hard winter for Lizzie.  She had a newborn baby and little Edna, who was not yet a year old, was ill a great deal of the time.  After the new baby was born both of the babies were breastfed.  The entire family lived in, around and under the covered wagon.  It provided little shelter and food was very scarce.  Rabbits and other wild game was used as meat when they were available.  Wheat was ground in a small hand coffee mill.  The wheat was used as cereal, toasted and brewed as a warming drink, and twice ground for bread.  An old man living alone in a wagon down near the river starved to death that winter.

In the spring someone sent word that they had one of the whiteface cows with the family brand. Rollins Don Carlos went to get it, but the man insisted that he could not take it home alive, so the cow was killed and taken home as much needed beef.  

It was a very hard and discouraging year.  By spring all the supplies had been exhausted.  Rollins Don Carlos decided to make a trip to Billings, Montana, a journey of about 200 miles.  Young Earnest Wiggett (12 years old) was left to take care of the camp.  Many years later daughter Edna Hanna wrote a story about this journey titled "Never Marry An Old Man"  It was on the return trip from Billings that an accident occurred.

To be continued.... 

What are your thoughts about the challenges and hardship this family faced? 

I know it gives me pause and perspective regarding what I might consider challenging and difficult in my own life today.

Have you come across any daunting stories in your own family history?

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Mojo Monday ~ Lizzie's Adventure Continues

ELizabeth "Lizzie" Talmer Roberts
Elizabeth "Lizzie" Talmer Roberts

The story of Elizabeth "Lizzie" Talmer Roberts continues from the previous Mojo Monday...

When they reached New York on April 23, 1883 Lizzie's son was still very ill and she began to fear that they would be quarantined by the immigration and custom service.  She had him wrapped up in a blanket and as the line moved slowly forward they didn’t stop her and instead barked at her “Pass on lady, pass on.”

first-train-from-Ogden_Jan-1870_p279_5-web

Lizzie, her two children Florence (age 4) and Benjamin Earnest (age 2), sister Lucy and brother-in-law Fred Fields, after arriving in New York, continued their journey west via train.  They rode in boxcars on rough wooden benches with other immigrants to the Salt Lake Valley.  Later they took another train to Milford where they were met by members of the Roberts family from Beaver, Utah.  A small house was found for Lizzie and her children and it was here, on October 22, 1883 that she gave birth to another son that she name John Wiggett after his father. Lizzie delivered the child herself and the child lived only a few days.

During the fall and winter Lizzie received several letters from her husband John Wiggett, who had remained in England.  She kept the letters in a coffee can for many years.  Copies of the letters were preserved by her family.  Below is the first page of a letter John Wiggett wrote to Lizzie in October 1883.  It was four pages long.  This is followed by a typed version a family member prepared.

John Wiggett's letter to Lizzie pg 1
John Wiggett's letter to Lizzie pg 1
Typed transcription of John Wiggett's letter to Lizzie.
Typed transcription of John Wiggett's letter to Lizzie.

It soon became necessary for Lizzie to find work to support herself and her children.  She went to work as a housekeeper for a man named Rollins Don Carlos Shepherd who lived in Beaver, Utah.  He had been born in Cleveland, Ohio on December 8, 1832.  He was thirty years older than Lizzie and already twice a widower, having been married to Sarah Smithson and then to Sarah Harris.  About 1870 he lived in San Bernardino, California where he acquired property which was lost through lawsuits.  He then moved to St. George, Utah where it is believed he worked on the building of the temple.

Elizabeth Roberts and RDC Shepherd Marriage License

Lizzie and Don Carlos were married at Minersville, Utah on February 16, 1884.  He was 53 years old and she was 23 years old.  On January 1, 1885 their son Rollins Don Carlos II was born in Beaver, Utah.  Although it is believed that Rollins Don Carlos Sr. had children from a previous marriage, it is thought this was his first son.  On December 16, 1886 their second son was born. He was named Marcus de Lafayette after his uncle, the brother of Rollins Don Carlos.  His brother Marcus was also a resident of Beaver, Utah during this time and had established a store and mill.  From 1869 Marcus served many years as Bishop of the Beaver First Ward.  Marcus was six years older than Rollins Don Carlos and they were very close.

During these years the church was still colonizing in many areas.  Families were often asked to volunteer to go into new areas and open them up for future expansion.  Early in the spring of 1888 Rollins Don Carlos Shepherd, Lizzie and their children moved to Vernal in the Uintah Basin of Eastern Utah.  The family spent about five years farming in this area and accumulated quite a few cattle.  During this time three more children were born to Lizzie and Rollins Don Carlos, Claude Ashley Shepherd born June 18, 1888, next Electra Shepherd born November 23, 1889, and then Edna Shepherd born December 9, 1892.  They established a good home and had cattle and horses.

To be continued....

Monday, February 2, 2015

Mojo Monday ~ Getting to Know Your Ancestors

As I have come across written stories and biographies of some of my ancestors I have found them to be fascinating. It becomes so much more real and I gain this sense that people are people, no matter the era. Reading about them takes them from being just names or photographs to real living individuals who experienced joys, love, hardships, loss, and adventures.  The historian and story lover in me wishes I had more time to devote to genealogy research. I have been doing most of my research using Ancestry.com and thanks to other participants who are taking the time to upload photos and stories, my own ancestral background has been enriched immensely.

Elizabeth "Lizzie" Talmer Roberts
ELizabeth "Lizzie" Talmer Roberts

Let me share with you a little of the beginning story of Elizabeth Talmer Roberts, also know as Lizzie, sister of my great-great-grandfather.  Lizzie was born on June 10, 1861 in Headless Cross, Worchestershire, England.  Her father Abel was a blacksmith.  Her mother Ellen Ross Roberts had been a school teacher before her marriage.  Child education was not required in England at this time so Lizzie benefitted with her siblings from some education from her mother.

Children were expected to begin working very young.  When Lizzie was about 5 years old, one of her jobs was to sit on the fence stiles and chase the birds from the growing crops.  When she was about 7 years old she was hired out by a distant cousin.  She ran away and came home crossing a pasture where a very mean bull was kept.  She managed to get through the pasture safely, but this bull later gored her brother Thomas very badly.

At one time the family lived near a large needle factory and for some years she worked with her mother by bringing home needles to inspect and to package.  They would return the finishes work to the factory once a week.  When she was a young lady she worked on a darm and spent spent several hours a day working in the hay fields. According to a story written by her daughter Edna Shepherd Hanna, she later worked as a maid in a home on one of the large estates.  It was here that Lizzie met and fell in love with a young man named John Wiggett.

Neither her mother nor her employer were very happy about this, so they tried to keep them separated.  This only made them more anxious to be together.  They did their courting through a small window and during walks to church.  One day her mistress told here to go home until she could forget this young man.  When she returned home her mother was very cross because of her behavior, and because her wages were needed to help support the large family.

One night soon after this incident her father wanted her to go to the public well for water. It had grown dark and the path led through a very narrow alley, which was a hangout for a group of very rough boys.  Lizzie refused to go unless her brother would accompany her.  Her father may have been drinking, for her refusal angered him very much, and he refused to let her brother William go.  When she told her father again that she would not go alone he took a heavy blacksmith belt and gave Lizzie a severe beating.  Then he made a bed for her on the floor by the side of his bed.  In the night, after she was sure he was asleep, she ran away and went to the home of John Wiggett's mother.  

She did not return home and instead her and John appeared in church for three Sundays before they could be married, a custom posting the bans.  Their marriage was solemnized at the Parrish Church in the rectory of Headless Cross, County of Warwick on August 5, 1878.

John and Lizzie began their married life and were happy for awhile.  They both worked stamping needles at the factory.  In 1879 Lizzie quit work to prepare for the birth of their first child.  Their daughter Florence Wiggett was born December 7, 1879.

In the early spring of 1880, Lizzie's brothers William Roberts (my great-great-grandfather) age 17 and Benjamin age 16, were baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  They began making plans to emigrate to Utah and departed England on June 4, 1880.  Lizzie and John, still together, had their second child, a son, on May 1, 1881. They named him Benjamin Earnest Wiggett.

About this time her husband John began staying away nights and was spending more time and money in the ale houses.  Lizzie's brothers had written urging the family to join them in America and offered to pay the passage for those that wished to join them.  Abel and Ellen Roberts (Lizzie's parents), with their younger children Thomas, Harry, Sadie and Alfred, left England in 1882. Lizzie had wanted to join them and held hopes that a change might improve John's habits.  John did not seem to want to go and since Lizzie was expecting their third child they both stayed in England.  Their third child, Lizzie Wiggett, was born October 17, 1882, but died a few days later.

The loss of her daughter, together with John's drinking, saddened Lizzie very much.  Lizzie had been receiving letters from her mother telling of their new life in America.  A letter took somewhere between a month and six weeks to arrive.  Lizzie always had a neighbor read these letters to her.  One day a letter arrived and Lizzie was so anxious to read it she attempted to read it herself.  Later when she had the neighbor read it she confirmed that she could read well enough for herself.  Lizzie make up her mind that was going to emigrate to Utah and believed that her husband John would follow her.  She had hopes of creating a new life together.  It was a difficult decision as she was also expecting again.

The necessary arrangements were made for her and her husband, along with her sister Lucy and her husband Fred Fields.  Stories say that John Wiggett went to the ship with them, but that his sister clung to him and begged him not to go.  Whatever the reason John did not board the ship, yet Lizzie and their two children Florence age 3 and Ernest age 2, along with her sister Lucy and brother-in-law Alfred, departed on April 11, 1883 from Liverpool on the ship Nevada.
Nevada
Nevada
Screen Shot 2015-02-02 at 8.26.04 PM

During the voyage her young son Earnest was very ill.  The stories are that the captain of the ship told Lizzie that if the child died he would have to be thrown overboard.  Lizzie prayed fervently that he would live.  When they reached New York on April 23, 1883 Lizzie son was still very ill and she began to fear that they would be quarantined by the immigration and custom service.  She had him wrapped up in a blanket and as the line moved slowly forward they didn't stop her and instead barked at her "Pass on lady, pass on."

To be continued....

In my next Mojo Monday on February 16th I'll share more about Lizzie's adventures.  Just in writing this post I also discovered a web site called Mormon Migration and there are multiple written accounts of the ship voyage. In a future post I also plan to share how a family mystery that dates back to 1946 was solved.

* I have truly been fortunate to discover that stories and photos have been uploaded to Ancestry.com by distant relatives.  I have also branched out at times and have found that opening up a search based on an emigration date, birth date, marriage date, or death date can sometimes lead to new discoveries.

Do you have any genealogical research tips to share?  

Have you come across any great family stories or photos? 

Have you spoken to any grandparents, great aunts or uncles about their lives or the lives of their parents?

Monday, January 19, 2015

Mojo Monday ~ Furry Family

Once upon a time (around September of 1996) a stray can showed up on my front porch.  He was adorable with a little round head, bright green eyes and the softest short coat of fur ever.  The little guy adopted me and basically took up residence at the house.  Here is a photo of adorable Oscar with those bright green eyes joining in the pumpkin carving fun at Halloween.

Bandito Mommy - Oscar
Matriarch Oscarina

Next spring I suddenly noticed some behavioral changes in Oscar and quickly realized that Oscar was a female cat and was indeed pregnant.  Now being called Oscarina I took good care of the expectant mama.  One day while at work I received a call from a roommate stating she thought Oscarina was going into labor.  I left work early and arrived to find her in labor.  From what I had heard most cats tend to seek out private and hidden areas when it came time to deliver.  Not Oscarina.  She was in the bed I had prepared for her but she didn't want to be left alone.  She even rolled on her back and I rubbed her belly a little.  She had me right there by her side as she delivered four kittens into this world on April 8, 1997.  It was amazing to watch as she birthed all four and then went into mama mode, cleaning and caring for them.

Oscar and kittens
Mama kitty with her 4 kittens.

Each of the kittens had a unique appearance.  One kitten looked like he had the Phantom of the Opera mask across its face and was named Phantom.  A little black and white kitten had a cute little white goatee type look and we named it Foo Man Chu.  The third looked a bit like a racoon with a mask around the eyes and we named it Bandito.  The fourth didn't really get a name that stuck and as it would happen she was the one adopted by a friend of a friend.  If I remember right after all these years I think the plan was to name her Daisy.

As it worked out only one of the kittens was a boy, that being Phantom.  Foo Man Chu a little girl kitten, ended up being nicknamed Fooey.  Bandito, also a girl , continued to be called Bandito.  About 6 weeks or so after the kittens were born a friend found an abandoned kitten and brought it to me to add to the family.  This new kitten dubbed Cracker came with some issues but mama kitty and the other kittens took her in.  Mama would turn on her once or twice when Cracker would become aggressive about food with her other kittens.  Sadly one day mama kitty came limping into the house and proceeded to die.  All we could think is that she had been side swiped by a car and had sustained internal injuries.  We gave her a proper burial and mourned her passing.

Phantom and Bandito
Phantom and Bandito

The kittens continued to grow into healthy young cats.  Bandito was the kitten I chose to keep for sure.  One of my nieces ended up adopting handsome Phantom.  Cracker, the step-sister, also found a new home.  Little Fooey stayed with me, but was always a skittish, so unlike her confident and friendly siblings.  I now think Fooey was just waiting to find her human soul mate.  She did finally find him when she met my dad. That little thing claimed him as her person and my dad fell in love with her in return.

The years passed and it was nice that most had gone to family so I could stay up-to-date on how they were doing.  As these things happen eventually my niece's Phantom developed a cat illness and passed away.  About two years ago my dad's precious Fooey showed signs of illness.  He took her into the vet and learned she had some serious mouth issues going on.  They recommended mouth surgery and my dad proceeded with the treatment.  Fooey had a couple of teeth extracted and the vet thought there might be a mouth cancer at play.  Fooey never fully recovered and passed away three months later.

Queen Bandito
Queen Bandito

My matriarch Bandito has been the ruling kitty queen in our home for many years.  When we added our dog Shanti to the family in 2003 she begrudgingly accepted the new addition, but made it clear that she rules.  Shanti to this day will roll over and be submissive to Queen Bandito.  When our twin daughters were born I wasn't sure how Bandito would respond.  She ignored them for a few years, but when they developed good petting skills she finally gave them stamps of approval.  She used to jump up on the bathroom sink for her food and water.

Bandito chilling with the twins.
Bandito chilling with the twins.
Bandito turned 17 years old in April of 2014.  A few years ago she began to develop a cloudy cataract in her one eye.  We have also made various adjustments in the home over the years and recent months to make accommodations for her.  As a strong cat she used to jump up onto the bathroom counter to eat and drink her water.  This kept the dog from scarfing down the cat food. Eventually she didn't want to jump high anymore, so we put a kitty door in the bathroom door for her.  In recent months she didn't want to use her cat box with the lid on, so I removed and then bought a smaller box with a lower lip for her to step over.  We also took off the kitty door flap because it seemed to be bugging her.
Bandito at 16 years old
Bandito at 16 years old
About a month ago she appeared to have an episode of some sort.  Maybe a seizure or min stroke.  Yet after a short pause she was back to normal.  Except for losing some extra fur around the house.  Then this last week things turned suddenly.  She wanted to hide in a closet and I finally noticed a strong disagreeable order coming from her.  I googled a few things and grew concerned it might be renal kidney failure.  Just this past Friday we took her to the vet.  The examination of her mouth revealed a couple bad teeth and a horrible mouth infection.  They took blood and urine to test, gave her an antibiotic shot that would last for two weeks to help with the infection, and suggested having her come back in when she was a little better for surgery to extract some teeth.  We left the vet unsure of the outcome.  When they called with the lab results it was surprising for a cat her age that there wasn't anything significant to be concerned about.  Yet it also became clear that at her age the infection and tooth issues could be very serious.  When I heard about her sister's results after mouth surgery I grew more worried.  I was questioning whether to put a cat her age through such an ordeal.  My dad recommended to not do it.

Yesterday and today I have watched my beloved Bandito grow more listless.  She has been refusing food for about 48 hours now.  I have been able to get her to drink some water by bringing it to her bed.  I hold her for stretches of time.  She purrs and cuddles in tight with me.  She lets me pet her all over and brush her.  She doesn't indicate she is in pain, even if I pet her near her chin and mouth, which is good.  She just looks so tired and listless.  She has tried walking, but is wobbly.  I wonder if the time has arrived for her to pass on.  Every couple of hours I tear up and cry.  Like right now.  In finishing up this posting I just want to go and get her and cuddle her close.  Not knowing if it will be the last time.
Me and Bandito
Me and Bandito
Bandito has been in my life for nearly 18 years.
I have been her person since the day she was born.
This fur kid has been such an important part of my life.
She will be forever in my heart.


Do you have fur kids?

Are there fur kids who have passed on
that will remain in your heart forever?(I had a cat named Holly who lived to be 18 years old too.
She holds a special place in my heart too.  I still have photos of her.)


We track the lineage and ancestry of humans.  
What would it look like if we tracked the
lineage of our furry family members?
(I know for me it feels very special to have know Bandito's mama
and to have been there when she was born.)