Friday, August 29, 2008

Farr West

I am a member of the Daughters of Utah Pioneers organization and every month we study a portion of our pioneer history. In November 2003 the lesson was on the history of Weber County, Utah and then in January 2004 the lesson was about the pioneers of Weber County. I learned something about Chauncey Walker West in both lessons. I always thought that the town of Farr West in Utah was named after FarWest, Missouri, a town well-known in the history of our pioneers. I learned differently when I read the lessons.

"Sometime between 1852 and 1860, Chauncey West settled farther west in Harrisville in an area called West Harrisville." This was the beginning of the settlement later named Farr West.... It was not until 1890 that the west part of Harrisville was organized into a ward and named Farr West after two early settlers in Weber County, Lorin Farr and Chauncey West." (DUP Lesson for November 2003, History of Weber County compiled by Lou Jean S. Wiggins, p 110-111. The history for Farr West was originally taken from "The Story of Farr West," by Lila B. Garlick, which is part of the DUP History Collection and not available at the Family History Library.)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Reading old worn out gravestones

We are going to be replacing the monument that marks the burial site for Chauncey Walker West in May 2009. Some of the writing on the monument is completely worn away, making it impossible to read any of the words. I keep thinking there's got to be a way to read the old carvings on the monument that is over 100 years old. This morning while cleaning my office I ran across an article that I read on England's BBC News website last October. Luckily I had printed the article and tucked it in a safe place, making it possible to find today. The article told about some new technology that was making it possible to read the old worn out headstones that are scattered throughout England. Some of the pictures in the article showed that nothing was visible to the eye, but after the scans the writing was completely visible. The technology was developed by scientists at Carnegie Mellon university in the United States. Check out the article if this is something that intrigues you too: Scans reveal lost gravestone text from the BBC News website. Maybe there's still something we can do to help us read the words that are worn out on Chauncey's burial site monument.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Mary Hoagland 1829-1870

On 11 February 1829 Mary Hoagland was born at Royal Oak, Oakland county, Michigan. On 9 May 1846 Mary was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. A few days later she married Chauncey Walker West on 16 May 1846 in Nauvoo, Hancock county, Illinois. She was seventeen years old at the time of her marriage. Chauncey and Mary had five children, two girls and three boys. Unfortunately both daughters died in infancy. The sons lived to adulthood, married and had children of their own:
  1. Margaret H. West (1847-1848)
  2. Chauncey Walker West, Jr. (1849-1894)
  3. Joseph Alva West (1851-1926)
  4. John Abraham West (1856-1925)
  5. Josephine West (1862-1862)
Mary passed away in Ogden, Weber county, Utah when she was 41 years old. She was buried at the Ogden City Cemetery. The inscription on the headstone states that she was 41 years, 6 months, and 16 days old at the time of her death. The burial location was at Lot 21, Block 5, Plat A.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The India Mission

The Guide to Mormon Diaries and Autobiographies by Davis Bitton includes an entry for Chauncey Walker West's mission to India. The Guide states that Chauncey's record is on file at HDC (Church History Department of the LDS Church) and is an autobiography for 1852-1855. "The India Mission," was published in the Deseret News 5 (1855-1856): 198, 206, 230, 264, 286. This record was a "series of five letters describing missionary activities in India and Ceylon, 1852-55." The following links are to the letters that were printed in the Deseret News and are now published in the Utah Digital Newspapers online collection:
"The Nobility of Failure" was a devotional address given on 29 June 1999 by R. Lanier Britsch, a BYU professor of history at the time this address was given. Among the things he said in his talk, include the following:

"...Defeat is not the end for truly good men and women.

"Today I will share with you in brief form the story of 17 men who served the Church in a cause they considered a failure. The cause was the mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to India, Burma, and Siam (Thailand) between 1851 and 1856. I first became aware of this great chapter in Church history when I wrote about it in my master's thesis. Recently, with many more sources and resources, I have rewritten the story of the mission: Nothing More Heroic: The Compelling Story of the First LDS Missionaries in India (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1999)."

"The elders who served were obedient. They trusted in the Lord and in their leaders. Among these elders several announced publicly upon their arrival in Utah that they were ready to accept any future assignments from their priesthood leaders. Elder Chauncey Walker West wrote:

"I feel grateful to my Father in Heaven that my life has been spared to mingle again with the saints in these peaceful valleys, and I now report myself on hand for duty whenever the servants of God call, for the Priesthood is my law.
["The India Mission: Letter No. 5," Deseret News 5, no. 36 (14 November 1855): 286]"

Britsch closed his talk by saying, "That we may learn to distinguish between what appears to be success and what is success in eternal terms is my prayer, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen."

Early labors blocked

In the Church News, 16 Sep 1978, was an article about Chauncey Walker West's mission experience in Ceylon: "On their way to a mission assignment in Siam in 1853, Elders Chauncey W. West and Benjamin F. Dewey found their way blocked by political disorder in Berma (through which they had planned to pass) and by the monsoon season. They decided to take a ship to Ceylon and see what success they might have in preaching the gospel there.

"A British military officer they met on the ship kindly rented a carriage and gave the Mormon elders a tour of the island. It was beautiful and fertile, quite different from arid Utah. 'The road to the cinnamon gardens was smooth, leading through beautiful groves of cocoanut and breadfruit trees, interspersed now and then with small fields of rice.' This description, written by Elder West in a letter, continued with a description of a visit to a long house where natives were peeling and curing cinnamon. A plantation owner showed them lemon, orange, plantain, mango, nutmeg, clove and guava trees, 'after which he took us to his pineapple bed and told us to pick what we wanted.'"

The two elders attempted to preach the gospel in Ceylon, Galle, and in Colombo, but were continuously turned away. "Discouraged by their lack of success, the missionaries returned to Galle. 'The weather being very hot,' wrote Elder West, 'it took us five days to walk to Galle; we slept upon the ground, and our food was rice and cocoanuts. We passed through 37 native towns.'"

"In Galle they were able to find a ship to take them to Bombay, India and ended their missionary experiences in Ceylon, after having been there for only two months." (original article was written by Jeffery O. Johnson and was part of a series produced by the Church Historical Department.)

The West family monument

During the summer of 2003 I spent some time at the Ogden City Cemetery taking pictures of monuments and headstones for ancestors on both my lines and my husband's. This monument is for Chauncey Walker West, my 2nd great-grandmother's first husband.

The monument was destroyed several years ago by vandals one night. Evidently the damage was done by kids who drove their car into the monument, breaking it into pieces. An attempt was made to put the pieces back together, but the evidence of the damage is clearly visible. This view of the monument was taken from the north, looking south in the late afternoon.