Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Meg's Book - Chapter XXVII - The Old Fort

Trivia - I had been told the story of the nutty meal, but had no idea it was a story of one of my ancestors. I thank Sam Taylor for writing that down in his book on John Taylor ('The Last Pioneer', aka 'Militant Mormon'). I also came across a contemporary account from 1850 [http://www.hollowtop.com/finl_html/amerindians.htm] that expands the understanding of what was going on.

8 comments:

lh said...

Oh my heck, that had me laughing so hard....I almost made infested fudge for our local group of homeschoolers.....but I chickened out. I was having a thematic day on Bugs for 12 families....I did hand out recipes for hopper tacos and infested fudge and they were all grossed out just by reading it.
LOL What a hoot!

daughterofheaven said...

Under the guise of family history research, I made a point of harvesting newly molted locusts and cooking them during the most recent 17 year locust emergence in my area. I made loaves of bread that were shaped in the form of locusts (although the locusts included in the loaves were pretty disgusting, since I hadn't figured out how to prepare them properly yet).

My oldest daughter took a bunch of chocolate-covered locusts to school which were all consumed. I finally happened upon popping the soft white insects into a marinade - killed them very quickly compared to mere freezing. Then I'd clip off the hard parts (wings, legs) and roast them in the oven. I found that I had mental problems with the chewy head/thorax portions. But I didn't let on. My youngest thought they were a great treat. When we only had a couple left, she begged to be allowed to have them. I decided she didn't need to share that last taste with me.

Pat said...

Nice how you worked in the trail stories. It kept it light and didn't make Elivira seem to be feeling sorry for herself, as she might have with her tiny baby left behind in a lonely grave in Iowa and making her way across the plains by herself. I guess she was at least unburdened by a large, largely helpless extended family like Mary Fielding Smith. By that age Sarah was probably pretty helpful.

ktb said...

That was a good chapter, and fun to read though the actual experience was certainly much harsher. I was reading more of the autobiographies from the website mentioned a few Blogs ago. Pretty tough people, making religion and something to look forward to in the next life even more important.

If you do not mind, what is the Old Fort are you referencing? I looked up a number of autobiographies and Googled, but did not find it (searching for the wrong thing probably). Though I was able to learn a few more historical facts that were not planned but welcome all the same.

daughterofheaven said...

From http://tinyurl.com/yrqdve

"After traveling many long weeks in wagons or pushing handcarts to their land of Zion, the Mormon pioneers first stopped at what became known as the Old Pioneer Fort--later Pioneer Park. There they met with others, rested, and learned of their ultimate destination before moving on to establish homes. Does this mean that Pioneer Park could be compared to Ellis Island? Perhaps it is not a national symbol, but it is important in the story of Mormon settlement. A Daughters of Utah Pioneers (DUP) pamphlet proclaims: "What Plymouth is to New England, the Old Fort is to the Great West." The fort was a focal point of early Mormon activity, and the present park continues to reflect the city's patterns of growth.

"The building of the fort began a week after the arrival of the first immigrants in July 1847. Following the Mormon pattern for colonization that consisted of central planning and collective labor, the settlers formed groups to work for the common good. For example, one group began farming 35 acres. Another located the site for a temple and laid out a city of 135 ten-acre blocks. Each block was divided into eight lots (1.25 acres each). One block was selected for a fort or stockade of log cabins. The pioneers would live inside the fort until they could build permanent structures on their city lots. A large group began to build log cabins and an adobe wall around the fort. Within a month there were 29 log houses 8 to 9 feet high, 16 feet long, and 14 feet wide. In the fall of 1848 two additional ten-acre blocks were added to the fort. There were 450 log cabins, and the adobe wall around the fort was complete."

Elvira isn't noted in this short history as one of the first teachers, but I suspect that was because she didn't write down much of her history and lived a relatively obscure life after this point. But the family stories talk about her teaching and being 'paid' in wolf meat, thistle, and sego lily bulbs - something that would have been unique to the first winter the Saints were in the valley.

Once again, muse mine, you force me to find stuff that I would not have sought out by myself. Thank you.

daughterofheaven said...

Not that I didn't know about the Old Fort. But this site provided me information that I will tie into the next chapter...

ktb said...

From the sounds of it, maybe the title of the chapter should be "The New Fort."

"The building of the fort began a week after the arrival of the first immigrants in July 1847."

Just having a little fun, but it does seem appropriate.

daughterofheaven said...

True, but no one I know of calls it the new fort...

Found another article [tinyurl.com/2lf2mz] about the fort: "Historian H. H. Bancroft insisted that swarms of mice dug so many tunnels under the cabins that they 'caused the ground to tremble.'"

Perhaps 'Of Mice and Men?' But then I'd have to add a couple more details...

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