Hay view from Castle

Hay view from Castle
Hay-on-Wye, Powys (formerly Breconshire), Wales. The "Town of Books" (and Vaughans!)

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Order in All Things - More Discoveries in Glasbury

Cottage at Heol-y-gaer by the lane heading west towards Glasbury.
© Copyright Jonathan Billinger and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

It was a very late night as I was excited to find two documents each relating to two people in our family history. And they helped confirm the location of where one of our ancestors lived in a home that still appears to still exists in Glasbury, Wales.

This morning, we went to the Bountiful Temple after late arising and parked near the opening to the underground lot so we could get in easily in the snowfall. My wife had a couple of family names for initiatory and I went to work at the veil. It's not hard work. It is interesting that with all the "priestly class," men and women performing ordinances in the temple, there is no monetary pay. We do pay the custodians as well as the cafeteria and laundry workers. That's how the whole world should work.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Grandpa George's Gay Way in Fruitland

[Family! We need more blog pieces - maybe more modern stories. This one is from my other blog dated January 27, 2013]:

This posting is not what you think from the title.

Having my piece on Nyssa, Oregon, the Amalgamated Sugar Co., and the maternal side of my family published at Keepapitchinin.org, I woke up with a start this morning and realized I had to write about the Gay Way. In the Keepa piece, I made passing reference to my paternal grandfather running a bowling alley across the Snake River in Idaho. That was the Gay Way Bowl, in Fruitland. It's one of those things you just can't make up. If you still don't believe me, here's a piece about Gayway Junction from Fruitland history:

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

True & Faithful? - More Springville Evidence

This is the sort of evidence that we've had for a while, but it takes a bit of sorting to figure out. We have also been checking against LDS Ward records in Salt Lake City as well as in Springville.

First of all, I haven't continued with the "Springville in Context" series because 1857 gets so depressing! Mountain Meadows wasn't the only horrible tragedy of that year (and I encourage everyone to read the book by LDS Church Historians, Massacre at Mountain Meadows.) Springville itself was home to the Parrish-Potter murders, another terrible story. There are some very good and reliable sources about that. I refer you to published articles by Polly Aird on Mormon apostasy and the murders in Springville and Ardis Parshall on another incident involving a letter of President Brigham Young and the general state of things that year. Ardis is a friend of mine and I trust her work. And she refers to Polly Aird favorably.

Then, because of the Utah War and the relocation of thousands of Mormons from Salt Lake County to Utah County in 1858, ward records are very confused for a few years. The Springville records seem to have gaps from 1857-1860. So there is a lack of church records in the very period in which Elinor Vaughan and Jane and John Lewis and son seem to disappear.

Friday, October 4, 2013

The Blind Harpist - Friend of the Family

Thomas Davis Giles (1820-1894) was well known in Territorial Utah as "The Blind Harpist." I had seen references to his performance in Springville from the Luke Gallup Journal.

That was a bit of surprise after checking the Tredegar, Wales Branch membership records for John and Jane Vaughan Lewis (and maybe Elinor). I had seen that a Thomas Giles was Branch President and had emigrated to Utah in 1856 along with the Lewises. So, I thought he could be a possible connection to find them in Utah.

Also in the Branch records I found that John Lewis, married to Jane from Llanfoist (our Jane Vaughan, daughter of John 1789 & Elinor) was ordained a Priest by President Giles on June 27, 1850, and then became an Elder October 16 of the same year when he was also chosen to serve as Second Counselor in the Branch Presidency. So I figure our people would have known Thomas Giles pretty well.

Giles was born in Blaenavon just over the Blorenge mountain from Llanfoist. He was one of those eight-year-old coal miners. It was dangerous work, but he had no serious ill effects until 1848. Here is his story from this website [citing LDS Biographical Encyclopedia, Andrew Jenson, Vol. 2, p.507]:

Friday, September 20, 2013

New Document! . . . not much news.

The guy at the Church History Library sent me the ledger account from the Perpetual Emigration Fund (PEF) for Eleanor Vaughan.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Judy's Trip Home . . . to Wales

This is by Judy Vaughn Atwood:

For many years I had a dream of visiting Hay on Wye, Breconshire, Wales. From the first time I got interested in family history, I was fascinated by the town of Hay. This is the home of our Vaughan family, the place of our known beginnings. Our earliest Hay ancestor was John Vaughan born in 1789 to Hannah Vaughan an unmarried woman; we do not know who his father was.

Hay is on the east bank of the Wye River on the border of Wales and England. It is just inside the Welsh border; Cusop is a nearby town just across the Dulas Brook in England. Our family has history in both of these towns.

At the time that our ancestors lived in Hay, it was a small market town. Now it is most famous for its books. Thanks to Richard Booth, the town has an abundance of book shops including the one at Hay Castle. So the town has had a rebirth and the local economy has been transformed.

Elaine, Judy, Lucille, Linda, & Grant - one of many book shops in Hay

In 2010, I had the chance to join cousins, Kathleen Nielson, Grant and Linda Vaughn and their friends Lucille and Elaine on a trip to the UK. It would be a genealogy tour, a sightseeing adventure, and a 30th anniversary trip for Grant and Linda.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Springville in Context, 1856-1857 (Part II)


Let me start by saying very clearly, I am not a proponent of modern, current-day polygamy. And neither is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Church does not accept the membership or participation of those who practice polygamy. I do respect my ancestors, and there were several of them, who lived this religious principle of plural marriage to the best of their abilities.

The only doctrinal basis and the only real explanation I can give for plural marriage are in the scriptures, both for the establishment of the doctrine and practice in Doctrine & Covenants 132, and for the disestablishment of the practice in Official Declaration No. 1. Still, a bit more historical explanation is needed to the extent that it helps us understand Elinor and where she was after arriving in Utah.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Springville in Context, 1856-1857 (Part I)

Our handcart pioneer, Elinor Jenkins Vaughan (1789-abt.1858) could not have arrived in Utah at a more interesting and challenging time. We have solid evidence that she was here in that she was present for her own endowment on Temple Square on November 15, 1856, and that she was present on March 23, 1857 at the sealing to Charles Hulet in the First Presidency's Office where the tours for the Beehive House begin today. It appears from all that we know, particularly the sealing to Hulet, that she was in Springville, Utah from Fall of 1856 to the Spring of 1857. She likely died and was buried not long after Spring 1857 without it being recorded as those were busy times for Springville and all of Utah Territory. Many of the able-bodied men left by Fall of 1857 to defend against Johnston's Army sent by President Buchanan to put down a supposed Mormon Rebellion.

There was no rebellion. There was plenty of misunderstanding. And there was an attempt by LDS Church leaders to reform the Saints to prepare and sanctify themselves for the anticipated Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. As of the present, neither the necessary sanctification nor the Second Coming has occurred. We still have work to do. And some terrible things happened in 1857 to throw us off from being a Zion People. Yet, sanctification still remains an option, as does entering the presence of the Lord which we hope and pray for Elinor as she did all that was required of her. May we do the same.

To explain some of the historical, spiritual, and all too human tragic context of those times, I choose the amazing journal of an ordinary person, Luke Gallup (1822-1891) who joined the LDS Church in Council Bluffs, Iowa. He pioneered Springville, Utah, served missions, and in 1888 moved to Orange County, California, where he died away from the Church leaving numerous, faithful Mormon descendants.

Gallup's journal covers the broad expanse of his life. You can find it on-line from the Church History Library. He had some writing skills and served as a clerk to bishop Aaron Johnson of Springville. What fascinates me is his account of the Mormon Reformation right at the time and place of Elinor's arrival:

October 1856
4th copied a letter for Bp. Johnson to B. Young. 6th E. Taylor started for Sanbarnardino. Bad weather 8th & 9th. 15th was [re]baptized by Bp. A. Johnson & confirmed by J.M. Stewart. Snowy & unpleasant from the 19th to the 24th Snow 3 inches deep on ground.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

John Vaughan 1825 & the Other Mother Confusion

John 1825 was quite the interesting character. He comes into this world of confusion creating some in his birth. He also mysteriously disappears at the end of his life, although Judy about has him tracked down.

The problem is, as some may have noted on Family Search or looking at the Hay Bishop's Transcript itself, that John's mother is written down at the christening as Catherine, not Elinor. Some have tried to reconcile this by creating a middle name for Elinor, calling her "Elinor Catherine Vaughan." There has been a lot of confusion in LDS Family History records. There is no record anywhere that provides actual evidence to support the name being any variation of "Elinor Catherine." Judy and I encountered the same problem, then we began to collaborate much to our mutual and the family's benefit. And this was further confirmed by Elinor herself giving her name, birth, and parents for her own endowment in 1856 here in Utah.

There is evidence of another explanation. And we've had this checked out by a professional researcher.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Eleanor Didn't Come Alone!

Way to go, Judy!

Yes, Family History is a collaborative effort. While I was taking a step back and looking at all the other pioneers of the Edmund Ellsworth Handcart Company of 1856 that had come from Elinor's neighborhood in Wales, Judy did us one better by going through the Ellsworth list to see if any of her married daughters had come. And she found Jane.

On Ellsworth's list is John & Jane Lewis with son John eight years old. A quick check to the 1851 Census found them in Bedwellty, Tredegar, Wales - with wife Jane having been born in Hay, Breconshire, and son John, born in Llanfoist, Monmouthshire. We have a match!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Springville City Cemetery - Established 1851

Rather than an update of an update on the last post, I will lay the latest discovery here. It isn't much, but it's a solid, contemporaneous source for the establishment of the Springville Cemetery in June, 1851.

The Church History Library has a great diary on-line of Luke W. Gallup (1822-1891) MS_8472. Among the first settlers of Springville Utah, he was a clerk to Bishop Aaron Johnson. He appears to have had some surveying skills. There is a great copy of  the first plat of Springville City itself in his diary.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Springville Cemetery Update - The Plots

The Kirkman Plot, Springville City Cemetery. About half-way up (South from the North) the far East road of  Old Section.
This is the layout on the ground. We may never know until that great day who will come forth out of any particular spot. But they are known to the Lord. And He wants us to find out. [I actually don't know if He wants us to find out now. But we are going to greet each other in the Resurrection and as I long for that day, I'd like to know where to greet everybody.]

Karen, Vickie, & Judy
pointing to Eleanor's name
This posting is still preliminary, but I wanted to share with others what we have so far to get other brains wrapped around the questions. Then hopefully, we can come up with some answers.This plot drew me back to the Springville Cemetery yesterday.

Some of my Dad's Cousins and I had a great trip down there Thursday afternoon. And the Assistant Sexton was very helpful. But my camera wasn't working and the cell phone pictures don't do justice to the importance of the questions (or my good-looking cousins either, "not a dud among them!" -attributed to George E. Vaughn). So I had to buy a new camera and take a couple of my own kids.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Mystery of John Vaughan 1825

This was prepared by our expert Researcher, Judy Vaughn Atwood, descended from John & Elinor through John Vaughan 1825, Thomas Vaughan 1850, George Robert 1886, and Augustus "Gus" Vaughan 1912:

John Vaughan was born in Hay, Breconshire Wales in 1825 to John Vaughan and Elenor Jenkins.

In 1841 he was age 16, with his family in Llanfoist, Monmouthshire, Wales and listed as a laborer on the canal wharf.

Llanfoist Wharf on Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal looking over the Usk Valley & Abergavenny to Sugar Loaf
Courtesy Pip Rolls, Creative Commons License

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

John Vaughan's (1789-1851) Grave - Resurrection and the Temple

Originally published March 20, 2012 on the other blog as "Their Eyes Will Open and They Shall See!"

A beautiful green churchyard at Saint Faith's, Llanfoist, Monmouthshire. The direct paternal link to my surname lies just a few paces ahead of me and to the left. He rests among the dead. I want to be there on the morning of the resurrection to wake him when his bones put on regenerated and glorious flesh and pure spirit courses through his veins.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Abersychan Ironworks

Originally published August 20, 2013 on the other blog:

There are Welsh Historical Journals on-line at the National Library of Wales site (or if you prefer, Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru). Today, I found an article on Abersychan from where my Ancestress Eleanor Vaughan left in 1856 to come to Zion. Her husband having died in 1851, she left behind all her children. It was a son and a couple of grandchildren of hers and their families that came to America in the 1880s. Her son son, John, is listed on the census and birth records of his children as a puddler. That was likely at the Abersychan Ironworks described in the article.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

One More Clue

In the continuing search to find Elinor's grave (and at least we're on the right continent now), we find one more tantalizing clue in the Springfield City Cemetery, Utah County, Utah:

Photo by Grant L. Vaughn, August 31, 2013 (replacement photo)
This is the grave marker for another of the plural wives of Charles Hulet in the Springville Cemetery that you can see here. So what is there of interest in this one above?

Eleanor Jenkins Vaughan Hulet - Matriarch in Zion

This is a series of posts from my other blog now consolidated to tell the story of our recent discoveries about Grandma Elinor. by Grant L. Vaughn

[from July 19, 2013]


My Welsh DNA is fairly sparse - but then, there is the issue of my surname. My Vaughns came to Zion in 1887 - on the train. Of course they married into some prominent pioneer families, myself inadvertently going perhaps the farthest with that by marrying a Kimball. At the time, her family name was the least thing on my mind. And I'm trying really hard not to be boastful or proud. But there seems to have been just something, maybe part of it self-imposed, that treated the Vaughns like second-class citizens in Zion.

The first Vaughn over, my 2nd Great Grandfather, Thomas Vaughan (1850-1894) died young and left a family in poverty. His son married and there were some troubles in the family. His wife divorced him after the children were pretty well grown. Their oldest son, my grandfather, was never active in the church as an adult. It's a miracle my dad & siblings were. Grandma was somewhat active and taught Primary for a period. And she always made sure the children went. My dad and mom were married in the Temple and here I am.

There is a theme running here of faithful women propping up the Vaughns which brings me to . . .

Elinor May Be Buried in Springville, Utah!

Springville Cemetery, Utah County, Utah