Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Road Trip: Nauvoo

Thursday morning we headed southwest from Chicago across Illinois via interstate (I-55) and by-roads (US136) through the heart of the corn belt (aka the soy bean belt).

Soybeans are grown in rotation with corn because soybean plants add nitrogen to the soil while corn plants deplete nitrogen from the soil.We stopped in Havana to buy fruits and vegetables to go along with our PB&J sandwiches (the kids have discovered that apricot jam is pretty good).

Our first stop was Carthage Jail, where Joseph and Hyrum Smith were martyred by an angry anti-Mormon mob on June 27, 1844. (When will this world be rid of religious hatred?)

Joseph fell to his death in a volley of gun fire from the upstairs window above the well.

After checking in at the delightful and comfortable Krumperman "B & B" (Marie's youngest sister Jeanne's husband Paul Krumperman's parents live in Nauvoo a few blocks form the temple and graciously opened their home to us), we went to the LDS visitor center for an introductory film about Nauvoo and to figure out what of the many things to do in Nauvoo we would do over the next few days. First on the agenda was a fun performance of Sunset on the Mississippi in which all (even if they had no singing or dancing talents) of the senior missionary couples, the Nauvoo brass band, and the very talented young performing missionaries (serving special volunteer four months missions acting, singing and dancing all day and night long) performed fun songs and skits. I don't recall my brother Bill having to sing and dance when he was a young missionary called to serve in the Nauvoo mission as a guide for the last six moths of his mission.

Then we hung around for another treat. BYU's Living Legends were in town for 10 days where they performed each night a combination of Native American, Latin American and Polynesian dances. The impressive dances showed how all of these cultures have traditional beliefs about a great spirit who promised to preserve and bless them as they lived in righteousness. Unfortunately these seasons of plenty and prosperity gave way to seasons of wickedness and war. Then the cycle shifts to a final season or rebirth and rejoicing.

One of the crowd favorites was a Samoan dance called Sasa, Lapa Lapa, Slap. Years ago before we were married Marie and I traveled together (with a DePaul University group) in 1995 through Greece, Bulgaria and Turkey. In Plovdiv Bulgaria we met two LDS sister missionaries in the main town square who invited us to a production that night of the Lamanite Generation (now re-named Living Legends). This BYU performing group was traveling through eastern Europe just a few years after the collapse of communism. The long isolated Bulgarians were delighted to see these energetic talented dancers--they especially enjoyed the bare chested Polynesian men dancers.  

The traditional closing songs: "Go my son" and "I am a Child of God."

We were treated both nights to spectacular full moon risings.

We started out the morning with a 9:30 wagon ride around Nauvoo.

We then set out to visit as many of the restored homes and shops as we could in a day and a half. First stop was the log school. Each Nauvoo site has a different emphasis. In the school the kids learned about schooling in Nauvoo, deciphered pioneer spelling and added up how many brick, cut wood and log homes were in the Nauvoo.

In the post office/store we got to try our hand at using a milk/water bucket yoke.

At the bakery we enjoyed yummy gingerbread cookies (free for every visitor--in fact everything in LDS Nauvoo is free). We also went to the brick yard to learn how Nauvoo's red bricks were made.

We all had fun at Pioneer Pastimes. Stilts (easier if the polls are planted behind the arms).

Stick pulling. Joseph Smith's favorite.

Hoop rolling. It took some practice, but Sarah mastered it.

Ring flinging.

Back to the Krumpermans for lunch and then while Will and Marie watched a World Cup game, Joel, Sarah and I enjoyed a quick efficient, enjoyable session in the Nauvoo temple doing baptisms for the dead. This is the largest baptismal font of all the LDS temples--its size is the same size as the font in the original Nauvoo temple. (not my photo). I liked the red brick decor and well as the non-traditional use of darker woods in other parts of the temple.

Afterwards, while Joel and Will finished up the World Cup game, Sarah, Marie and I went to the Lands and Records Office where we looked up all of our ancestors who lived in Nauvoo. Dudley, Wallace, Shumway and Southworth on my side and Bell and Heywood on Marie's.We found out where they lived, marked them on a map, and then downloaded to CD lots of other information about them all.

The three of us then visited the Sarah Granger Kimball home. Sarah and her husband were more prosperous than most. Sarah noticed that many of the men building the Nauvoo temple were in need of new clothing so Sarah bought the cloth and Miss Cook, one of Sarah's hired seamstress, set to work making clothing. The act of reaching out to help others led to other women joining the cause which then led to Joseph Smith formally organizing the women in Nauvoo into the Relief Society. A nice example of bottom up inspiration.

The parlor of the home is where the women of Nauvoo met to plan their relief efforts and is credited with being the beginning place of the Relief Society.

We then gathered up the boys and all went to watch "The Promise" a musical about Nauvoo in the 1840s perfomred by the young singing/dancing missionaries. We then visited the Nauvoo Women's monuments and had some fun trying to replicate some of them.

Walk around the temple.

 Visit to the Nauvoo pioneer cemetery 

Most of the graves are unmarked and many of them are children. A pavilion at the cemetery lists all those who are buried here. Mary Lemon Bell and James Bell Sr. are the great-great-great-great grandparents of Marie (on her mother's side). James died in Nauvoo in 1844 and Mary Lemon in 1846.  Their orphaned teenage daughter Mary went to live with the Joseph Leland Heywood family. Once in Utah she married Joseph (who was much older) as his fourth wife.

Later that evening we opted to participate in the Trail of Hope. All along Parley Street, along which the emigrant Mormons walked to ford ferries or cross ice to begin their trek west, the young performing missionaries related stories of these emigrants. It was very touching. Many of our ancestors passed this way, including Charles Shumway who has the distinction of being the first to have his wagon ferried across the Mississippi at the beginning of the February 1846 exodus.

Sunset on the Mississippi from the terminus of Parley Street. In a pavilion here, there is a long list of all of the Mormon pioneers who perished in the walk to Zion.

Julia Ann Shumway was the first wife of Charles. Her daughter was then taken care of by second wife Louisa Minnerley (with Montauk Indian ancestry) who is my great-great-great grand mother.

William Caldwell in the oldest brother of my great grandmother Agnes Caldwell Southworth. He stayed behind in Scotland after foolishly joining the Scottish Army just weeks before the family was to emigrate. Years later he finally did some to join the family only to die in Fort Bridger just days before reaching the Salt Lake Valley.

 Moon rise from Parley Street. Last stop of the day was at Annie's for frozen custard.

Saturday morning we started out with a visit to the Community of Christ (RLDS) Nauvoo sites.

The Nauvoo House. Planned and started by Joseph Smith as a hotel but not completed until after the exodus. It is now a dormitory type hostel run by the Community of Christ. The John and Norda Emmett family all stayed here back in 1992 (I think) during our midwest reunion.There were no swarms of mayflies this time around.

The final burial site from Joseph and Hyrum. Originally Emma Smith had the bodies interred underneath the bee house in the distance.

The Smith Homestead.

The Joseph and Emma Mansion House which was also a boarding house.

The "Red Brick" store of Joseph where the Relief Society was organized.

There were still many sites to visit, but by now we all had our sights set to the west and home so we chose a final few to visit before our early afternoon departure. We visited the blacksmith shop where we saw how wagons and horse shoes are made. We all got a prairie diamond ring made out of a horse shoe nail.

Daylight visit to see the wagon ferry at the end of Parley Street.

Parley Street looking east toward the Seventies Hall.

The lot behind the blue sign was where Joseph Heywood had his store.

A block east behind the stop sign was the lot of George Benjamin Wallace.

The home of one of Nauvoo's midwives and a good example of how most of the homes in Nauvoo looked.

 Lyon drug and variety store.

Lyon was a trained pharmacist who relied heavily on herbal medicines.

The death of the Lyon's daughter at age two led to Joseph Smith's first teaching about the doctrine of salvation of deceased children and that children did not need baptism until age eight.

Being taught how to find a honey tree: put a blossom in a box, wait for a bee to come, close the box, add a second compartment with flour, douse the bee in flour, let the bee go and then have a child follow the white colored slow flying bee back to its honey tree.

Final stop, the home of Brigham Young.

Broken pottery from when the home was excavated.

 Looking south from the home to the lot of Oliver Hunt Dudley.

Nauvoo's high water table prompted Young to build an above ground root cellar.

The Young home from the Dudley lot.

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