I love Jacob Bushman, my 2nd great grandfather. There are six simple words he once recorded that have burned in my mind since the first time I read them. I found an autobiographical account Jacob wrote to his brother John on April 1, 1843 in BYU’s Special Collections. You will notice those six words below when you come to them. I’ve added italics.
I hope someday to meet Jacob and his wife, Charlotte and I hope to be able to repeat those words back to them. Today, on Jacob’s birthday, I honor his memory and example to me.
1 April 1843
Jacob Bushman, autobiography, typescript, BYU, Pg. 1
Father put in quite a crop that year, and every 10th day we would go and haul rock for the Temple. We raised a very good crop but it was very hard to get milling done. Had to go some of the time 35 miles to mill and we had a good deal of sickness the first two years. Still we got along very well having to stand guard very often. And before the Prophet Joseph and the Patriarch was martyred, Hyrum Smith gave father and mother their Patriarchal Blessing and ordained father a High Priest.
We lived on Bishop Hunter’s farm until the Spring of 1846. And in the Winter of 1846, when the Church crossed the river, we sent a pair of horses and a wagon, all the team we had to help the main party of the Church, not knowing how soon the mob would drive us off. And we had to stand guard night and day in the Spring of 1846. The team came back and some time in June we crossed the river into Iowa and went to a farm of a Mr. Bunells. He had in 500 acres of grain and we helped him to harvest it. There was several Mormon families there to work. And just about the time we got done, the mob drove the last of the Saints out of Nauvoo.
We traded off one of our horses for a yoke of oxen and started for Council Bluff with six sick children, all in one wagon, all down with the chills and fever. And when I had the chills, I had to walk and when the fever came on I could sit up in the front end of the wagon,. And on the 12th of Oct. 1846, Elizabeth died, just before going into camp. Had to be up all night getting her ready to bury her. We done the best we could and left the next day about 10 o’clock. Traveled on until Oct. 19th 1846, when the baby died about 11 months old. She had to be left about the same as the other one was by the road side. We then traveled on until we got to Keg Creek, Pottiwatimie County, Iowa, near Council Bluff. By that time we all had got about well, thank the Lord.
We went to work and built a log cabin and prepared for the winter. Then father had to go down over a 100 miles to Missouri and split rails to get some corn and when he got a load of corn and some meat he sent for me to fetch the yoke of cattle and fetch it home. I went and got it and he came home with me, and being thinly clothed, I nearly froze getting home.
Jacob Bushman, autobiography, typescript, BYU, Pg. 2
We had to make another trip to Missouri to get some bread stuff and seed grain. In the Spring we broke up some land and put in a crop and got along the best we could. Along in the summer father tended the crop and I went down to Oregon, Missouri, and went to work for 4 dollars for a half a month and then helped to harvest in that place and worked till late in the fall. Then I went home and stayed the Winter and father went down to Missouri and worked again. And towards Spring I went and fetched him home. We put in another crop in the Spring of 1848 and then I went down to Missouri to St. Joseph, and father and the little boys tended the place.
And in Dec. 6th, 1849, mother gave birth to her last child a boy. Father still kept on working on his little place on Keg Creek, and I was to work in Missouri, at St. Joseph, going home the Winter of 1849, went back in the Spring of 1850 and was there until the Spring of 1851 when father had concluded to go to Salt Lake and came down for me to go too. And I went home to Keg Creek.
Spring of 1851
Jacob Bushman, autobiography, typescript, BYU, Pg. 3
In April 1851, I was baptized by E. H. Davis and confirmed by the same. We then started for Utah. Father had one yoke of oxen and a yoke of cows and one wagon. I drove 3 yoke of oxen and a yoke of cows for Henry Kerns. We crossed the Missouri River at Winter Quarters and went out to a grove a few miles to organize in Mr. Kelsey’s Hundred and Alma Allred’s Fifty. Laid there about two weeks on the account of high water. Then started out to head the Horn and made a complete elbo to get back to the Platt. Got along without much loss. Had two or three stampede, but very little sickness in the camp.
Traveled up the Platt and crossed over the Divide to the Sweet Water. Crossed Green River and over the Mountain and down Emigration to Salt Lake City and from there we went south about 30 miles to Lehi, where they settled down, father and mother and the rest of the family. I went back to Salt Lake City. Now Brother John you know more what was done for the next 6 years than I do.
Your Brother in the Flesh,
Does news coming in get any better than this??–
We just finished our outreach on the Buvuma Islands. We had a wonderful experience there. As you know, we had really wanted to address the issue of girls dropping out of school due to lack of sanitary products when they are on their menstrual cycle. The Buvuma Islands as you know are a group of about 52 islands that are quite underdeveloped because they are difficult to reach.
Because we were unsure of the supplies available on the island, we considered the kit distribution because it would not require having the supplies. However, we also felt that sustainability was in issue we wanted to consider. So, our project consisted of two parts; kit distribution to the girls in the schools and teaching women on the island how to make the shields and liners so that we would leave them with a skill.
After working with the Days for Girls Uganda, we were able to get the supplies for 35 kits which we would be making with the women on the island. The group here was so helpful in working with us to get everything we needed. Then, through the help of the amazing women in Utah and other areas, we were able to come prepared with 200 full kits for distribution.
I wanted to give you an update on the outreach and give you a follow-up on our experience. Monday, we reached the island and got settled in. We met with the local authorities of the island who were so grateful we had arrived. They continued to express gratitude just for being there and were especially excited for the working we were doing with the reusable menstrual pads. Tuesday morning, we had quite a large turnout of women who had come to learn how to make the reusable menstrual pads. We initially requested a group of about 20 women. However, word traveled on the island about what we were doing and we ended up having about 45 women including some of the female local authorities, teachers, and health workers. We had three sewing machines as well as needles and thread to teach them how to sew the shields and liners by hand. Our group of volunteers took turns working with different groups to teach them step by step. The women were so excited to be learning how to make the kits on their own. We had to leave in the afternoon to go distribute them to one of the schools, but we arrived back at the site just as it was getting dark and there was a women (one of the tailors who had brought her sewing machine) and she was still there sewing. I spoke to her about her experience as a tailor – she had come from a better area in Uganda but had come to the Buvuma Islands to be a tailor to provide clothing and school uniforms for people on the island. She had lived there for the past 25 years. As I talked to her about the reusable pads we had made, she talked about wanting to see what she could do to start up a business and keep sewing those for girls and women on the island because there is such a great need.
Tuesday and Wednesday afternoonm we went to two schools – a primary school and a secondary school. At the primary school, we asked to speak to the older girls. We had prepared a lesson on reproductive health to teach them about their menstrual cycle, what to expect, etc. They had some good questions we were able to address. Then, we distributed the kits and taught them how to use it/wash it, etc. They were so excited. (I will be sending you some pictures).
Wednesday, we went to the secondary school in the afternoon. These girls range from 14-18. These girls had all started their periods. We again taught them a lesson on reproductive health, then finished up with a question/answer session. The older girls were much more open and willing to talk to us and discuss some of the related issues. We had a group of 5 or 6 female volunteers teaching the lesson which I think was what made them open up to us alot more. As we were finishing up with questions, one of the girls and the female teacher stood up to us and thanked us for what we had done and what we had given to them and expressed gratitude for something that could change these girls lives and is something that even their mothers cannot provide to them. It was a really touching experience to be a part of.
I just wanted to say thank you for all of your help in getting the kits and allowing us to extend the efforts of so many in Utah and other places to influence these young girls lives for the better.
If you are able to pass on many thanks to those who worked hard preparing the kits with such last minute notice, we would greatly appreciate it.
Pictured here: Jessie in the middle with our DFGI Uganda Team
It’s Pioneer Day in Utah, a day we pause to remember our ancestors who arrived in this valley on this day in 1847. I’ve spent considerable time learning about the lives of my pioneer ancestors and their struggles and sacrifices. Things they did then have been life-changing for me here and now.
It’s a bit sobering when I think that what I am doing here and now may have that same effect on those who follow me. When I consider this (and I do almost every day), I think about comments made in a BYU devotional address by President Gordon B. Hinckley on 30 November 1999. His words ring in my mind and heart:
Keep the Chain Unbroken
Recently, at the dedication of the Columbus Temple in Ohio, I had an interesting experience. My wife and daughter were with me. A granddaughter and her husband and children drove up from St. Louis.
As I sat in the celestial room, I thought of my great-grandfather, the first in my family to join the Church. I had recently visited his place of burial in Canada just to the north of the New York boundary line. He accepted the gospel when the first missionaries came there from Kirtland. His children were too young for baptism. He died at the young age of 38. Tradition has it that he was the victim of a smallpox epidemic that raged through that part of the country. I do not know of anything of significance that he did in the Church other than he kept the faith.
Then there was my grandfather, who was baptized in Nauvoo and who subsequently crossed the plains in the migration of our people. His young wife and his brother-in-law both died on the same day. He made rough coffins and buried them and picked up his infant child and carried her to this valley.
At the request of Brigham Young he built Cove Fort, was the first president of the stake in Fillmore, and did a thousand other things to move this work forward.
Then came my father. He came here to the BY Academy as a very young man and was taught by President Karl G. Maeser. He went east to school, and then he taught here in the business department until the Brethren asked him to move to Salt Lake City and take over responsibilities there. He became president of the largest stake in the Church with more than 15,000 members.
These three good men represent the three generations of my forebears who have been faithful in the Church. Reflecting on the lives of these three men while I was seated in the temple, I looked down at my daughter, at her daughter, who is my grandchild, and at her children, my great-grandchildren. I suddenly realized that I stood right in the middle of these seven generations—three before me and three after me.
In that sacred and hallowed house there passed through my mind a sense of the tremendous obligation that was mine to pass on all that I had received as an inheritance from my forebears to the generations who have now come after me.
I thought of an experience I had long, long ago. In the summer we lived on a farm. We had a little old tractor. There was a dead tree I wished to pull. I fastened one end of a chain to the tractor and the other end to the tree. As the tractor began to move, the tree shook a little, and then the chain broke.
I looked at that broken link and wondered how it could have given way. I went to the hardware store and bought a repair link. I put it together again, but it was an awkward and ugly connection. The chain was never, never the same.
As I sat in the celestial room of the temple pondering these things, I said to myself, “Never permit yourself to become a weak link in the chain of your generations.” It is so important that we pass on without a blemish our inheritance of body and brain and, if you please, faith and virtue untarnished to the generations who will come after us.
You young men and you young women, most of you will marry and have children. Your children will have children, as will the children who come after them. Life is a great chain of generations that we in the Church believe must be linked together.
I fear there will be some broken links. Do not let yourself become such, I pray.
Stay close to the Church. Stay close all of your lives. It really does not matter where you serve, what office you fill. There is no small or unimportant duty in this Church and in the kingdom of God.
Tomorrow we are sending a Sewing Center to Ghana. For the last several weeks we have enlisted the help of 100s of men, women and girls to help us prepare everything needed to start making feminine hygiene kits for the girls of Ghana in Ghana. Tomorrow 16 people with lots of bags will get on a plane with everything needed to set up a Days for Girls Sewing Center in Accra.
Today at my quilt group, as I told my friends of the many miracles that have taken place just in the last week that have led to this, we all sat in awe at the thought of it. We have found sources for the Polyurethane waterproof lining for the shields (after searching for months). We’ve found a wholesale source for cotton and flannel that is affordable. We’ve had a washer and dryer and a serger donated this week. We doubled our goal of sending parts and pieces for 1000 kits to Ghana–we will send 2000. We’ve involved 100s of women who send their love to girls they’ll never see or know.
There is a word that plays in my mind as consider my involvement with this project: It has UNFOLDED. As I look back, considering all that has happened in the last 8 months, since our first kits were made and delivered, I am absolutely amazed at what has happened here. The process has unfolded before us as we made choices to serve. We had no idea in the beginning where this would take us. We just wanted to help. Now we are running a full-time non-profit organization. Every day is filled with emails, phone calls, computer work, cutting and tracing fabric, distributing fabric, gathering donations and cut pieces, and cheering on our helpers. Yesterday alone I received 7 emails and phone calls requesting help hosting an event. We have helped with more than 70 events already this year. We are refining the process and learning the best ways to involve anyone who is interested.
As all of this has unfolded, we marvel at what is happening. Sometimes I think it’s a good thing that we have trial and error and figuring out and searching. It helps us to appreciate and understand the process. We know every step we had to take to get where we are now. If we always knew the end from the beginning, we might not ever start. It might overwhelm us. Sometimes we just have to trust, and take the next step.
Tomorrow that step will be in Ghana. I’m so pleased I probably won’t sleep much tonight.
Here is a local Ghanaian TV Broadcast about the work we have started. This is only the beginning.
There are about 500 people in our yard tonight. It’s a wedding reception. What fun! This party is for Adam’s sister-in-law, April who was married this morning in the Provo Temple. By 6:00 this evening the yard was looking fabulous and was ready to receive guests. John loves to work in the yard and he has been working hard for the last couple of weeks, getting every weed pulled and every area dressed. I went through the yard this afternoon dead heading Day Lilies.
We have a lot of events and receptions in our yard. It’s the perfect place for friends and families to gather. One summer we had 9 wedding receptions here! It’s nice to be able to share this corner of Eden with others.
Our love and congratulations tonight to April and Jared. What a perfect starting place for all the grand adventures that await them.
Mary Pain is one of my 3rd great grandmothers. Today we mark 200 years since her birth near Lebanon, Wilson, Tennessee. Her parents were John Pane and Elizabeth Smith. On the 22nd of January in 1830 she married James Holt in Wilson County, Tennessee. In 1839 they joined the Mormon Church, then moved to Iowa, then to Nauvoo, where she is listed in the 1842 Nauvoo Census. Because of the hardships she faced with unhealthy living conditions, Mary watched her first three children die as infants.
After leaving Nauvoo and traveling up the Iowa River, she gave birth to her 8th child in 1844. She died two months later in October 1844, a young mother, only 30 years old. The doctor gave her a dose of Lobelia when her stomach was too weak to stand it. Mary’s casket was made by cutting down a large tree and hewing out the coffin with an adze. She was buried between the bank of the Iowa River and a large tree, where wolves would be less likely to dig up the body than if left out in the open. Less that a month after Mary died, her 8-year-old son Leander also passed away at the site above Kitchen’s Settlement. Three months later the baby died.
Remembering Mary today helps me put a few things into perspective. I’ve been shedding tears over some lost computers files and photos. Mary lost children. And then her own life slipped away. I am grateful for Mary, a woman I know very little about, other than that she suffered greatly. In spite of all she lost, she gave. She gave life to my great great grandmother, Mary Ann Pain Holt, and because of that and those who followed, I am here today. What a gift she gave, the gift of motherhood! Today I honor and remember her for giving all she had. For me, that is enough. Happy 200th Birthday, Mary!
Jesse Hyrum Payne Holt, 1832-1832
Washington Payne Holt, 1833-1833
Sarah Elizabeth Holt, 1835-1835
Leander Holt, 1836-1844
Leroy Payne Holt, 1838-1910
Mary Ann Pain Holt Barker, 1840-1916 (my great great grandmother)
William Alma Holt, 1842-1920
John James Payne Holt, 1845-1845