Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

This post is originally from November 25, 2010, but due to a very busy schedule and since the information and sentiments are still true, here it is again [and again in 2013!]. Happy Thanksgiving to friends and family all around the world.

Every year at Thanksgiving we have a tradition of reading a quote before our Thanksgiving dinner. This quote is from one of the Pilgrims, an ancestor of my children although not of mine, William Bradford. [1]

Being thus arrived in a good harbor and brought safe to land, they fell upon their knees and blessed the God of heaven, who had brought them over the vast and furious ocean, and delivered them from all the perils and miseries thereof, again to set their feet on the firm and stable earth, their proper element. …

But here I cannot but stay and make a pause, and stand half amazed at this poor people’s present condition; and so I think will the reader too, when he well considers the same. Being thus passed the vast ocean, and a sea of troubles before in their preparation, … they had now no friends to welcome them, nor inns to entertain or refresh their weather-beaten bodies, no houses or much less towns to repair to, to seek for succor…. And for the season it was winter, and they that know the winters of that country know them to be sharp and violent and subject to cruel and fierce storms… If they looked behind them, there was the mighty ocean which they had passed, and was now as a main bar and gulf to separate them from all the civil parts of the world. If it be said they had a ship to succor them, it is true; but what heard they daily from the master and company? … Let it also be considered what weak hopes of supply and succor they left behind them, that might bear up their minds in this sad condition and trials they were under; and they could not but be very small.… What could now sustain them but the spirit of God and his grace?

May not and ought not the children of these fathers rightly say: “Our fathers were Englishmen which came over this great ocean, and were ready to perish in this wilderness; but they cried unto the Lord, and he heard their voice, and looked on their adversity. Let them therefore praise the Lord, because he is good, and his mercies endure forever. Yea, let them which have been redeemed of the Lord, show how he hath delivered them from the hand of the oppressor. When they wandered in the desert wilderness out of the way, and found no city to dwell in, both hungry, and thirsty, their soul was overwhelmed in them. Let them confess before the Lord his loving kindness, and his wonderful works before the sons of men.” [2]

[1] One of these years I will get around to posting about the Pilgrim ancestors on the Tanner line, Richard Warren and Francis Cooke. [Ed.—And John Cooke. See comments.]

[2] William Bradford was quoting from Psalm 107. The Pilgrims brought the Geneva Bible with them to the New World rather than the King James Version, and the text of the psalm in that translation reads as follows:

1 Praise the Lord, because he is good: for his mercy endureth forever. 2 Let them, which have been redeemed of the Lord, shew how he hath delivered them from the hand of the oppressor, 3 And gathered them out of the lands, from the East and from the West, from the North and from the South. 4 When they wandered in the desert and wilderness out of the way, and found no city to dwell in, 5 Both hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them. 6 Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress, 7 And led them forth by the right way, that they might go to a city of habitation. 8 Let them therefore confess before ye Lord his loving kindness, and his wonderful works before the sons of men.

The image of the Bradford journal is from the Wikipedia entry Of Plymouth Plantation. The Robert Walter Weir painting "Embarkation of the Pilgrims" is from the Wikipedia entry on William Bradford. Autumn photo from D Sharon Pruitt from 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Amanda Hall Wessman's Headstone

Amanda is buried at the base of this tree. 
If you look closely, you can see the orange flag marking her headstone. 

After several unexpected delays, Amanda Hall Wessman’s headstone has finally been set. We are so grateful to all of those who donated time and money to help with this special endeavor.

A little about the headstone and its design. It is gray granite, similar to the stone the Salt Lake Temple is made out of. It is the largest stone the cemetery would allow, but we had a lot of information we wanted to put on the headstone!

Amanda Hall Wessman

On the left side of Amanda’s headstone is an image of the Salt Lake Temple. The image represents all her family sacrificed to follow their beliefs and become an eternal family. Fifteen days after Johan’s death in 1898, Amanda had his temple work completed, by proxy, and they were sealed in the Salt Lake Temple for time and all eternity. On January 22, 1902, Amanda and her living children gathered in the Salt Lake Temple to be sealed as a family. As part of that special day, Johan and Amanda’s two children, who passed away in Sweden in 1881, were sealed to their parents as well. 

Johan Bengtsson Wessman
Since Johan is buried in an unmarked grave in Kamas, Utah, we decided to put an image of a sailing ship representing Johan and what he did for a living to support his family.  It is also symbolic of the family leaving their ancestral home and coming to America. (Wind powered ships were no longer in use when they immigrated, but a sailing ship looks better on a headstone than a steam powered ship.)
Johan, Amanda and their seven children are buried in many different places, three of them in unknown locations. For this reason, we felt it was important to list all of the family’s names on the headstone. 
Back, left to right: Henry, Herbert, Joseph.
Seated, left to right: Fanny, Amanda, Bertha.
Photo taken 1906 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

This headstone is a fitting memorial to Johan, Amanda and their children who worked hard and sacrificed so much.  Because of this, we, their descendants, have much to be grateful for.

For those of you who would like to visit Amanda’s grave, in person or virtually, click here.  This will take you to Billion Graves website where you can view an image, obtain a map and get directions.
Here is a list of the rest of the family and where they are buried: 
  • Johan Bengtsson is buried in Kamas, Utah, unknown location
  • Fanny Constantia is buried here in Salt Lake City Cemetery, Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Bertha Maria is buried here, a short walk from her mother's grave, in Wasatch Lawn Memorial Park, Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Gerda Hildegard is buried in Sweden, unknown location
  • Anders Johan Herbert is buried in Sweden, unknown location
  • John Herbert is buried here in Salt Lake City Cemetery, Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Henry Richard Emanuel is buried here in Salt Lake City Cemetery, Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Joseph Harold Moroni is buried here, by his mother, in Wasatch Lawn Memorial Park, Salt Lake City, Utah
The view from Amanda's grave, looking east. 
The yellow and red flowers are by her headstone.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Kind Angels Watch Her Sleeping Dust...

There was a picture of Lydia Tanner's gravestone on FindaGrave, but the poem was not readable, so I put out a request on FindAGrave for a new picture. A kind local volunteer, Thomas Moné, took a lovely clear photo, used here by permission.

The inscription says, in typical early 19th century language:

In memory of
consort of John Tanner,
who died May 31st 1825,
aged 41 years, 6 months
& 13 days.

Kind angels watch her sleeping dust,
Till Jesus comes to raise the just.
Then may she wake in sweet surprise.
And in her saviour's image rise.

The poem was used on gravestones in the 19th century as widely as the American South and Australia. I haven't been able to track down its origin, but it was in print in an 1860s memorial catalog.

The willow-tree-and-urn motif on the top of the gravestone became common in the late 18th century. It symbolized, simply, mourning.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Some Thoughts on Veteran's Day

A Brief Genealogical Survey of Our Military Servicemen

James Tanner, one of our blog authors, was in the service during the Vietnam War.

Wallace Tanner served in the Army Air Forces during the Second World War:

John Wessman served in the Army during the Second World War. 
His many brothers also served in the war:

Roy Tanner served in Europe during the First World War:

Lester Glade enlisted in the Army but the Armistice 
was signed before he was sent overseas:

John Morgan served in the Civil War, 
fighting for the Union with Wilder's Lightning Brigade:

Samuel Shepherd served in the War of 1812, 
spending time in a prisoner of war camp in Canada:

A number of ancestors fought in the Revolutionary War. 
Here are our Vermont soldiers: The Green Mountain Boys.

Going back further in history, a number of family lines have 
military connections to the French-Indian Wars:

Looking beyond the ocean, Alexander Hill fought at the 
Battle of the Nile during the Napoleonic Wars:

And there are more, but that's what I can remember off the top of my head.

A Personal Note about Observances Around the World This Week

There's a quote going around Facebook right now, misattributed to Winston Churchill, “We sleep safely at night because rough men stand ready to visit violence on those who would harm us.” Besides the fact that it doesn't sound like Churchill, it was originally attributed to George Orwell, who evidently also didn't say it.

Right now I am helping prepare a series of posts and arrange a number of guest posts for Keepapitchinin: The Mormon History Blog on the topic of German Memorial Day (Volkstrauertag), which is coming up this Sunday. The series will begin this Wednesday and run until we run out of posts.

It has been a deeply emotional experience to process and write about the experience of the German Latter-day Saints during the wars of the 20th Century. The soldiers who wrote back home about their experiences, much like any young men anywhere in the world pressed into military service, were not "rough men." They were tender-hearted soldier-missionaries, and like so many American and British soldiers, many of them lie buried in graves all over Europe, having given the ultimate sacrifice for their beloved homeland.

(Do not mistake my comments as approval for the German regimes during either war.)

Don't miss today's post at Keepapitchinin"Every Effort to Promote Love": Changing the Focus of Armistice Day, and let us use the observances of Memorial Day and Veteran's Day to commit ourselves to peace and justice around the world.

Henry Wessman Obituary: Provo Daily Herald

Thanks to Sandee who provided a link to this article about Henry Wessman's death. Henry worked on the newspaper in Provo before moving to Ogden. 


Provo Daily Herald, "H. Wessman Passes Away," March 16, 1932, 1.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Lydia Stewart Tanner: A Short But Useful Life

I am continuing to write Life Sketches for entries in FamilySearch Family Tree. Here is the biography for Lydia Stewart Tanner, the wife of John Tanner.

Lydia Stewart was born on November 18, 1783. Her oldest son's death record states that she was born in Greenwich, New York. There was no Greenwich in 1783, so if she was born in the area, it would have been in Argyle, Charlotte County, New York.

Lydia’s parents, William Stewart and Amy Huntington or Hutton Stewart, probably migrated from Massachusetts to the new settlements in Charlotte (later Washington) County, New York, in the late 1700s. They settled in the town of Argyle, later Greenwich. Many of the settlers of the area, including the Stewarts, were staunch Baptists or Seventh-Day Baptists.

Lydia married John Tanner in 1801 after his first wife died in childbirth. She was the mother to one stepson, Elisha, and twelve children: William, Matilda, Willard, Sidney, John Joshua, Romelia, Nathan, Edward, Edwin, Louisa Maria, Martin Henry, and Albert. (Some sources list a thirteenth child, Pardon, but we have not yet seen any contemporaneous family documentation, and histories including that of Francis M. Lyman do not mention him.) Elisha and eight of her children lived to adulthood.

Around 1818, after the death of their twins Edward and Edwin, Lydia and John moved about 40 miles to settle on the west side of Lake George, first to the North West Bay, then to the town of Bolton. There, through their hard work, they built a beautiful home and owned many acres of timberland. John and his sons would have kept busy with raising stock and dairy herds, lumbering, processing timber, growing and maintaining orchards, and running a hotel. Lydia would have kept busy raising her large family, spinning yarn, weaving cloth, and helping run the hotel. Her son Nathan said, “In those days women turned the wheel by hand or foot that spun our yarn and made our cloth. We were a hard working and hard handed family. None of our means was willed to us, but earned by hard work and economy. My father used to say he enjoyed accumulating property around him, and if it could be spent wisely, it would prove a blessing. If spent otherwise, it would prove a curse.”

Lydia may have suffered complications from the birth of her last child, because two months after Albert was born, she died at Bolton, Warren, New York on May 31, 1825. She is buried in the Bolton Rural Cemetery. Her gravestone says: “Lydia Tanner, consort of John Tanner, who died May 31st 1825, aged 41 years, 6 months & 13 days.”

Both of her parents died after she did and are buried in the cemetery of the Bottskill Baptist Church in Greenwich, New York.

Several years after her death, her husband and his third wife, Elizabeth Beswick, and many of her children joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) and moved west. But not all of them helped settle the West; some remained in New York and Ohio. By the time her children died, their families stretched from New York City to California. Many of her descendants have given years of service to the Mormon church, both in leadership and missionary work, including four who served as apostles: Francis M. Lyman, Hugh B. Brown, Richard R. Lyman, and N. Eldon Tanner. Lydia Stewart Tanner’s descendants have left a legacy of intelligence, service, and devotion.

Picture of Lake George from Wikipedia. The 1796 map of the Lake George area is from David Rumsey Maps. 1820 United States Census from Bolton, Warren, New York from FamilySearch. Picture of Lydia's gravestone courtesy of Thomas Dunne at FindAGrave.