Wednesday, February 28, 2007

John Howland

One of our direct ancestors is also a direct ancestor of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Jr., albeit through a different child.

John Howland was a young man (believed to have been born between 1592 and 1599) when he came to America aboard the Mayflower. He almost didn't make it to America... he went up on the deck during a storm one day and was thrown overboard. Luckily, he was rescued, and went on to have 10 children with his wife Elizabeth Tilley (also a passenger on the Mayflower). He died in 1672, the last remaining man from the Mayflower.

You can see how he is related to Joseph Smith here, through his mother.

John Howland is also an ancestor of George and Barbara Bush... I wonder which of the Howland children they come from?!

This is a link to the John Howland Society... shall we join?

I recently found out that one of Elliott's parent's friends is a descendant of some passengers on the Mayflower. I am hoping to find out if we are some how related to her also.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Harriet Sylvania Beal and Brigham Young

Sunday was our ward conference. I spoke with President Lee. He had me speak on family history. I got to looking through some of our progenitors' family history materials and found some interesting things, including this one I included in my talk. When she was seven years old, Harriet Sylvania Beal was one of those present when a meeting of the Church decided that Brigham Young should be the successor to Joseph Smith after Joseph’s death. Here’s that part of her story:

I was also present when the mantel of the Prophet Joseph Smith fell on Brigham Young and his voice for a time sounded like the Prophet Joseph, and it was a testimony to the thirty thousand and more Saints gathered there that Brigham Young should lead the Saints since the death of the Prophet Joseph Smith who was murdered in cold blood. The great audience of more than thirty thousand rose to their feet, thinking the Prophet Joseph had returned, and then learning that it was Brigham Young, they knew Brigham Young was chosen of God to lead the Church.


Before Brigham Young began to speak, Sidney Rigdon had talked for two hours, telling the people why he, Sidney Rigdon should lead the Church. And then seeing the manifestation we saw, it was a testimony we never forgot and never will as long as we live. I was seven years old at the time. Some things children never forget and I will never forget that grand occasion. And the wonderful Spirit of the Lord that was there made it all the more unforgettable.

At the age of 15, Harriet later crossed the plains with her father and members of her family. Her mother had died in 1851 after giving birth to twins who also died, the year before a wagon train made the trip with the remaining members of the family. In Utah, she married Alma, the son of Artemis Millett who had supervised the construction of the Kirtland Temple, and they settled in the St. George area. The daughter of Alma and Harriet married William Thomas Riggs, who was the father of my grandfather Henry Sears Riggs.