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In 1864 first year settlers of Panguitch were faced with starvation when an early killing frost destroyed their crops. Seven men, including Thomas Jefferson Adair and Alexander Matheson, attempted to travel by wagon over the 8100-foot pass to Parowan to get flour to save their families. The heavy snow stopped them at the 7000-foot level of Lower Bear Valley. Then they tried to walk over the snow, but they kept breaking through the snow's crust into deep snow that slowed their progress to a crawl. They were desperate!
GET US OVER THIS MOUNTAIN, LORD!
The only thing the pioneers had plenty of was SCARCITY!
Their mantra was USE IT UP, Wear it out, Make it do or Do without!
When stonecutter John Rowe Moyle lost his leg in a farm accident, everyone figured his days of stonecutting on the Salt Lake Temple were over...everyone, that is, except John.... His determination was SET IN STONE!
Pioneers soon learned that regardless of their "job description", if they wanted to eat, they had to raise their own food - they had to be "DIGGIN' IN THE DIRT"!
The horse played an essential role in the settlement of the West, and indeed, in all of America. We owe much to this noble friend. "HOOVES, HIDE AND MANE", written by Ryan Shupe & Sam Payne for The Saga of the Sanpitch, is one of my favorites.
Faith - confidence that life continues after this life and that God has a beneficent master plan for us - inspired our pioneer ancestors to come to Utah and begin taming the wilderness. It inspires me to do what I do today. I trust there is love, learning, and progression JUST BEYOND THE HILL.
Pioneers worked hard and played hard. Community dances were often all-night affairs, only breaking up when daylight called them home for morning chores. While the adults danced through the night in the Atwood home in early Murray, Utah, they stored the BABIES IN BOXES in the pantry!
Jens Nielson, bishop of Bluff, Utah for nearly 30 years, is likely the only reason Bluff exists today. His stubborn determination, and refusal to admit defeat in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles, caused others to adopt his motto. His Danish tongue tried to say "stick-to-it-tivity", but could only manage "STICKY-TA-TUDY".
Sam Campbell, the first man to claim land in Providence, Utah, had an expanded sense of personal space. If he could SEE the neighbors, they were too close. IT'S GETTIN' CROWDED is the way I imagine Sam would have responded.
In 1849 Isaac Morley led the first pioneers into Sanpete Valley at the invitation of Chief Wakara. But not long thereafter Isaac's relationship with Wakara was strained almost to the breaking point when Isaac contradicted a Ute tribal custom. This led to Wakara demanding Isaac's year-old son Thomas as a compensation, and eventually kidnapping him. Though the townspeople urged Isaac to call out the militia and ride to the rescue, Isaac couldn't feel good about doing so. And his integrity would not allow him to do "WHAT DOESN'T FEEL RIGHT".
Pioneers had to make difficult decisions based on priorities we, in our prosperous circumstances, can barely fathom. I wrote this cowboy poem based on a story I have discovered occurred more than once in pioneer Utah.
Listen to the Set In Stone album by clicking on the play bars to the left..
I also tweet at @upharts for Utah Pioneer Heritage Arts, where I serve as Executive Director.
I'm also on facebook, as is Utah Pioneer Heritage Arts.
A performance workshop on telling heritage stories!
I share my passion for history and stories and help you find create your own!