Larry E. Dahl and Don Norton, comps., Modern Perspectives on Nauvoo and the Mormons (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2003), 51-72.
Birthday: December 16, 1929
Interview on October 4, 2001, in her home by Heidi Tice
Jessica Smith also present
Q. [Heidi Tice] How long have you lived in the Nauvoo area?
A. [Lucille Gano] I grew up in Milton, which would probably be considered in the vicinity of the Nauvoo area. And then I lived in Salt Lake City for six years. My first husband and I went out there in 1953. I was out there for six years.
Q. You joined the Church [of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints] there?
A. Yes. I knew very little about the Mormons before I went out there. But I wanted so much to go back to church. Then the missionaries came, and they could answer some questions that I could never get answered before when I was younger. So almost right away I knew the Church was true, but we went to church for two years before we became members. I was baptized in the basement of the Tabernacle.
Q. Do they still do baptisms down there?
A. I’m not sure.
Q. After living in Salt Lake City, did you come back to Iowa?
A. First I was divorced, and then I came back to Iowa because my family was all back here. I came back here for family support. I was less active. Then the home teachers came, and they sent the missionaries. Some of my children didn’t know about the Church, so we all became active. I was losing my eyesight about that time—I was having problems with my eyes. But I remember I would stay up till two o’clock in the morning and strain my eyes to read the Church magazines.
Q. What kind of occupations have you had?
A. I was a waitress in south Salt Lake City where we lived; beforeSalt Lake City I was a clerk at the post office. After we came back here, I was also a waitress. But after I was married I was just a farmer’s wife. I was very active in the Church. Basically that’s it, except I’ve been church custodian for about twenty years here in Keosauqua, and then the new building in Fairfield was built.
Q. Do you still meet in the building in Fairfield?
A. Yes, we have a new building up there. We started meeting in that building about the time we had the open house in December of 1997.
Q. I remember visiting here, and my mom said that you don’t meet in the Keosauqua building anymore.
A. No, we don’t, but we have a Family History Center there. But even while it was vacant, I took care of it.
Q. What have you liked about living in this area?
A. It’s friendly, everybody knows everybody, and they are kind of helpful to each other. It doesn’t take you all day to get where you want to go because of traffic. Crime is very low. You can leave your house or your doors unlocked and not worry about it. Well, there’s a little bit of crime going on, but not like what there used to be. The kids get a good educationin this area. Course, they usually go away after high school. You see, that’s the thing that I don’t like: my children have all moved away.
Q. You mentioned the celebration with the fifty years of the building [spoken of before interview started] and that the members in Keosauqua still meet once a week to do things. Do you have other social things that you do, not just with members?
A. I belong to the local Genealogical Society. I used to belong to TOPS, which is Take Off Pounds Sensibly. And when Ford [my second husband] was living, we belonged to the Lions Club and we were very active with the Lions. Ford was active in the Farm Bureau. And I have given classes at the schoolhouse on genealogy a couple of times.
Q. I’ve seen the schoolhouse up the street. Is it an all-grade school?
A. It’s a high school here in town, and there’s a grade school in Stockport and a grade school in Douds. But it used to be all grades.
Q. Have you found any challenges from living here?
A. My challenge was the fact that I couldn’t get a driver’s license, and I had to depend on someone else to get me where I wanted to go. Other than that and the fact that I had never lived on a farm before—it was a little bit of a challenge to figure out how to do things on the farm since I’d never lived on a farm. And sometimes it’s a challenge when you don’t have things available to you in a small town. You have to grow your own food.
Q. And you had come from the big city too.
A. That was the challenge for me, because 1 was just a new driver at the time I lived in Salt Lake. I was driving at that time. My vision hadn’t started to go by then. Getting around in Salt Lake was not the easiest thing in the world. The hardest thing was finding a place to park in order to go downtown. Parking garages hadn’t been built yet at that time.
Q. You mentioned church positions with genealogy and Church history. Did you ever serve in a civic office?
A. Well, Ford did. Ford was mayor in Keosauqua for four years. I guess that’s the main thing.
Q. What years did he serve as mayor?
A. I think it was 1974 to ‘78.
Q. You were the mayor’s wife. That’s pretty good.
A. Well, that mayor was pretty independent! And he had a great work at that time. He didn’t need me too much for that. He was also the Citizen of the Year. Keosauqua chooses the Citizen of the Year every year. He made that distinction. He was also on the school board and involved in Country Lanes Apartments and the Van Buren Development Association. He was the one who liked to be involved in community affairs.
Q. Were you a stay-at-home mother?
A. Yes, I was.
Q. With nine kids?
A. Actually, Ford’s children were pretty much married or grown when we were married. My oldest daughter was also. So we didn’t haveall nine in the house at the same time. But when they came home they always stayed with us.
Q. Before you went to Utah, did you ever know much about the Mormons, such as the history of them during the seven years they lived here?
A. Almost nothing. The only thing I knew was what we’d been taught in grade school about Brigham Young taking the Mormons across the plains to Utah. That’s really all I knew.
Q. Just from that, did you pick up any sentiments that the people didn’t like the Mormons, or couldn’t you tell?
A. Before I went to Utah, I had no idea whether there was any sentiment one way or the other. After that, I never felt discriminated against because I was a member of the Church. But I think there were some who did in the Church here. We were small in number, and out of the few families that were here, our children in school were definitely a minority. They may have felt a little bit of discrimination, but personally I never did. If anybody had bad feelings toward me because I was LDS, I was unaware of it.
Q. Now that you know about the Church, what are your feelings about when the Church came back and started to turn Nauvoo into a tourist town and began to restore all of the buildings? How did you feel about that?
A. Thrilled! Yes, I think it’s wonderful. I’m hopeful that it will make people feel friendly toward the Church and that people will accept the gospel because of it.
Q. Do you think the temple will be a good thing to be built?
A. I know there’s some worry about the people in Nauvoo that the town will be taken over by Mormons. But I think it will be to the advantage if the townspeople can get business.
Q. Have you had any contact with the students that are at the BYU Academy?
A. Only that I’ve gone to a couple of singles events in Nauvoo, and I think they’re attended very heavily by the students.
Q. So what is your opinion of us?
A. I just think they’re very fine young people. And they’ve got a lot of spirit. And they love to dance.
Q. So you think that the community will feel okay about us?
A. Oh, absolutely. I’m sure that they’re a light to the citizens in Nauvoo and good representatives of the Church.
Q. After the Mormons left in the 1840s, the group called the Icarians came in. Did you know much about them?
A. I didn’t know much about them until I started doing genealogy, and I still don’t know a lot about them. I just learned a little bit about them and why they were there.
Q. Can you tell me why?
A. Well, the place was available, and I think they used some of the stones from the temple to build a building or two of theirs there in Nauvoo. I think they had a hard time. They didn’t thrive too well, so they didn’t continue to be a good influence here.
Q. Do you think that they influenced the city?
A. They probably did. I really don’t know. To be honest with you, I don’t know much about them. I think they were probably good, honest people.
Q. After the Icarians, other churches came in, specifically the Catholic Church. Did you feel the influence of that church?
A. I didn’t because I wasn’t spending that much time in Nauvoo, but I know there have been times when the Catholics and the Mormons cooperated with each other. We rented their buildings and had meetings in their buildings, and there were good relations between the two groups.
Q. Did you ever get to know the sisters in the convent?
A. I didn’t. I hadn’t spent that much time in Nauvoo. I’ve been down there many times for leadership meetings, conferences, and so forth, but never had any specific reason to be with the Catholic sisters.
Q. I thought the whole wine industry in the Nauvoo area was interesting. Do you know anything about how that started or why?
A. Didn’t that have something to do with the Icarians?
Q. I’m not sure. It could have.
A. That was my impression, that that had to do with the Icarians.
Q. What about the cheese factory?
A. The only thing I know about the cheese factory is that you could always smell it when you went down there for a meeting. And they used to give free samples of cheese.
Q. They don’t give us free samples anymore, but you can still smell it.
A. They make bleu cheese, and I love bleu cheese.
Q. Do you think Nauvoo is famous or well known for its bleu cheese and its wine?
A. I do; I do. And the town has a wine festival every year. I think I’ve read recently that maybe it was going to be discontinued. But that’s been an annual celebration in Nauvoo.
Q. You mentioned that you work in the Family History Center, so it sounds like you know stories of what other people have heard or thought or said. Do you have anything to share?
A. Yes. I just read through this earlier today, so I can sort of give you some highlights from it. In 1996 the Mormon trek was reenacted across southern Iowa. At that time we had a Family History Center in our building here in Keosauqua. I was there one Saturday when I got a telephone call from an attorney in Arizona named Richard Sheffield. He was looking for his ancestor who was recorded to have been buried in Keosauqua. Mr. Sheffield wanted someone to check the cemetery’ records because he really needed to find his ancestor. The name of his ancestor was Reuben Jolley. I agreed to do that and asked him if he knew who Lina Maniza Jolley was. I asked because Lela Winter, a long-time member of our branch, had always told me this story about her great-grandmother—Lina Maniza Jolley—who eloped with a man on a white horse from Bloomfield, Iowa, when the Saints were camped there on their way west.
I asked him if he knew who she was. He said she was a sister to his ancestor who was supposed to be buried in Keosauqua. He thought Lina Maniza had gone on to Utah with her family. Later, when he checked it out, he learned that she had not. Then I did a little further checking and found that she had married a man named John Paris, and that marriage was recorded in Daviess County, the county just west of here. I did a little more checking. Lela Winter—who had first told me about Lina Maniza—had passed on by this time. But her sister lived in Keokuk, so I talked to her sister and found out, sure enough, that Lina Maniza had married John Paris, and they had lived in Daviess County, but she couldn’t tell me any more about the story.
This is where Leon Wilkinson comes in, because he’ll tell you the rest of that story. But we found Reuben Manning Jolley’s grave out inOak Lawn Cemetery, near the church building.
Richard Sheffield, the attorney living in Arizona, came back here to visit the grave. He was planning on putting a new stone up. There’s quite a story that goes with this. The reason he happened to call at that time was that his parents were having their fiftieth wedding anniversary, and he was making a book for them to give them as a gift for their fiftieth, so he wrote an article and sent it to the papers of this area. The Fairfield Ledger printed the entire article, telling the story of how Reuben Jolley’s parents and all of that family, including his siblings and all of their spouses and children, were converted to the Church in Tennessee and came to Nauvoo. When the Saints were driven out of there, the parents stayed in Bonaparte for two years, and Reuben and his family lived in Keosauqua for three years trying to get together the money and supplies to go to Utah.
While they lived here in Keosauqua. Reuben sickened and died. But on his deathbed, he asked his wife to take the children and go on to Utah, which she did. They had a journal written by Reuben’s wife that tells about these events and many other things of his family and how they left Tennessee and came to Nauvoo and how they made it on out to Utah then. A very fascinating story.
Q. [Jessica Smith] What part of Tennessee?
A. I don’t think he said in the article what part of Tennessee. 1 could give you a copy of the article that appeared in the Ledger, [included at the end of this interview]
Q. [HT] Do you know any other stories?
A. Various people come here looking for their ancestors. A couple of years ago, another couple from Utah came here looking for an ancestor who’s supposed to be buried here. But there is no record of that person. We have searched the best we could and found ancestors.
I have a little slip of paper that was given to me that records, supposedly,a couple of marriages that took place here during the 1840s, performed by an elder of the Church. I have that slip. One of the marriages has a Mary Todd, which is rather interesting. I’d like to know that now.
Once in a meeting of the Van Buren County Genealogical Society, another Church member from Fairfield told me that she had a copy of the letter written by Brigham Young to his wife Mary Ann Angell when he was on a trip going back to a Boston conference. She asked me if I would like a copy of it because she knew I was a member of the Church. I said 1 would definitely like a copy of it.
She told me that she came by it by way of her son, who was a picture framer in Florida. A local woman had brought this letter to him and asked him to make a frame for it. While he had it in his possession, he copied it and gave a copy to his mother. So she gave a copy to me, and it included a copy of the envelope. It seems to be an authentic letter written from Brigham Young to Mary Ann Angell when he was on this trip. He had gone through Kirtland and stayed overnight. He talked about speakingin the temple while he was there. Then he continues while he was on a boat on one of the lakes on his way to Boston. And it’s very interesting.
I wrote the Church History Department and asked if they were aware of this letter, and they were not. So I sent them the copy she gave me. I just typed it up and kept the typed copy. So the Church History Department has my copy of the letter. It should be there now. I think he was gone on this trip when Joseph was martyred. And he did not yet know of the Martyrdom when he wrote this letter. But soon after he mailed it, he must have got word. He says in this letter that the older he gets, the more he would like to stay home. But he knows he’s doing what he should be doing. It’s just a really neat story.
Just recently, since we’ve been in the Iowa City Stake, the Des Moines mission president came to our branch for an evening outing that we had. I was privileged to sit at the same table with he and his wife, and I learned that it’s his ancestor who is buried at Richardson’s Point, just a little bit west of here. There are two graves at Richardson’s Point. I gave him some information I had about those graves. One is an Edmond Little—that’s President Pierson’s ancestor. The other is a little boy, and I’m not exactly sure of the name.
Brigham and his group, the first group that left Nauvoo, camped at Richardson’s Point for about two weeks because it was so muddy that they could hardly travel. Edmond Little had helped Brigham get across the river, had fallen through the ice, and had gotten wet. He survived that, but while they were camped out at the point, he got pneumonia and died. President Pierson, when he was called to serve in Des Moines, said that he wasn’t sure why he was called here, but he found out that his ancestor is buried right out here at Richardson’s Point. He felt like that must be one of the reasons he was called to this area.
Q. Were you here when the Keosauqua church was built?
A. Yes, I was here at that time.
Q. Can you remember anything about that?
A. That was the period of my inactivity, when they put up the building. However, I was a little bit active at that time. I was active when we were still meeting in the Roberts Memorial building out here in Keosauqua. And then my husband, who was not my husband at that time, was branch president when they put up the building. Allen and Doreen Hendrickson were living on the property because Allen was overseeing the construction of the building. And of course, at that time, the members had to put up a good share of the money and the work that went into the building.
Last year Allen and Doreen were called back here on a mission. They lived on the back of that property in a trailer home when the building was going up, and then they were called back here for a mission—very interesting. But they really fit into the community because Doreen had gone to school in Bonaparte. While she was here, they called her to be the alumni president for the Bonaparte School. It’s very interesting how things work out.
Maybe I should tell you that when I first joined the Church in Salt Lake, somebody told me about family history. So I started to do mine just a little bit then—never guessing that any of my ancestors might have been members of the Church. But in 1985, in cooperation with other cousins who were also researching family, we had found some of our relatives who stayed in Pennsylvania when others came west. All things told, we learned that my second-great-grandfather and his wife had joined the Church with two of their sons in Pennsylvania and had come west with the Mormons. I had been told that, but just didn’t have any evidence to support it before. We found that they really had joined the Church in Bradford County, Pennsylvania.
And Ezekiel, my third-great-grandfather, was an elder at Kirtland. He had signed a petition to Governor Boggs when the family were living in Missouri. And they did not go west when the Church went west. They stayed in Missouri. One of Ezekiel's sons, my second-great-grandfather, had two little girls who got their name and a blessing in Nauvoo before the Saints went west. And those two little girls were taken west, and they married into the Snow and the Maeser families in Utah. I submitted the genealogy on this line, which is my Barnes line on my dad’s line.
Then a descendant of one of those little girls, whose husband was a professor at BYU, found the information that I sent in and contacted me, because Daniel Barnes, my second-great-grandfather, is also her second-great-grandfather. So she came out here to visit. I had visited with her in Provo when my daughter was at Brigham Young University. It’s all very interesting. It’s just amazing how so many things tie in together when you’re doing family history.
Q. Did you ever go to the Family History Library in Provo?
A. No, I haven’t been there. But when Ford and I were back vacationing in Salt Lake City. I did go to the Family History Center there. ButI didn’t have nearly enough time to stay. However, we did find some vital information on his line while we were there. And we’ve also discovered through research that his Frost family and my Barnes family lived right across the county lines from each other in Bradford and Tioga County. They probably knew each other.
Q. Did Mr. Gano have LDS ancestors?
A. We found out not too many years before he passed away that he has a cousin here in Iowa who is RLDS. We found that she had a lot of information, which she shared with us. We found out that his grandmother was baptized into the RLDS Church in Missouri in the 1860s, which he never knew. But she got us information from the RLDS records that was very helpful in documenting his family lines. We haven’t discovered that he had LDS ancestors, but he is descended from Alexander Hamilton Willard. who was with the Lewis and Clark expedition. He’s very well documented; we have pictures of him.
Q. You said your family was Barnes? Is that in any relation to the Barnes that were living in the area around the time that the Mormons were here in the 1830s and ‘40s. Do you know if your family extended that far back here?
A. Edward Barnes, who is my great-grandfather, married Catherine Johnson. Catherine was born in 1839 in Hancock County, Illinois. And that’s the one line I can’t get back on because I can’t find out who her father was. But she was born in Hancock County in 1839. She was married in Skylcr County, Missouri. So I know that my Barnes were in Carroll County, Missouri, and signed that petition to Governor Boggs in 1838. Then they lived in Randolph County, Macon County, and Skylcr County, Missouri. I think they lived in the same place in all those times, and the counties were just divided, so that in 1840 they were in Randolph County, in ‘50 they were in Macon County, and in ‘60 they were in Skylcr County. But I don’t think they moved around. I think they just went there and stayed. They were there before 1840.
Q. I know there was a Barnes mentioned in Church history, and my friend’s last name is Barnes. When I asked her if that was her line, she said. “No, there are a lot of Barnes families.”
A. That’s true—there are a lot. But I do know that my family were members during that time. Later than that time, I have a record of one of the children being ordained a priest. I have a copy of that certificate. There’s more research to be done.
Q. So you just know that they were members.
A. And that they didn’t go west. But in 1845 a cousin of mine from Pennsylvania came to visit, he and his wife. We were going to go to a family reunion in Kirksville, Missouri, and he wanted to stop at the little place south of Lancaster, which is called New Hope; that’s where my second- great-grandfather Asa Barnes homesteaded in 1844. He owned a lot of property in that area, and it’s right by a little church called New Hope. So my cousin wanted to stop there on Sunday morning, which we did.
When the minister didn’t show up that morning, my cousin, being a retired Methodist minister, was asked to give the sermon. He did, and he did a very nice job of it.
Afterwards, a member of the congregation said, “Would you like to come up the road and see where your ancestor lived?” It was just about a quarter of a mile up the road from the church, so we went up there. We were standing out beside the house. He said, “Now the Mormon Trail used to come right down this way, went right past this house, and out through the back pasture.” He said the ruts were still deep out in the back pasture where the Mormon Trail went across his property. And out there in the back pasture, it went that way. [waves her hand]
So I stood there and thought, “They came from that way, and that’s Nauvoo, went that way, and that’s Far West.” And that’s when I started to take it seriously that maybe my ancestors had been members of the Church. I came home after that and looked in the index of B. H. Roberts’s History of the Church, and that’s where I found that they had signed this petition to Governor Boggs. I was in a state of shock for about a week after 1 found that, because that’s when I first discovered that my ancestors really were members.
Q. And you were already a member when you learned this?
A. I had been a member for some time then. Family history is my first love. I always have that to fall back on. If life gets boring in any other way, I’ll always have family history. I love helping other people do theirs, and it is amazing how many people join the Church and find out later that they had family members who were in the Church. It’s incredible. It’s a lifelong love affair.
Q. Yes, I think it helps with the Church, even if who you’re researching for isn’t a member.
A. I know. People are impressed with it. I have a lady who came to the Family History Center the last time I was on duty up there. When I told her why we are so interested—that we believe that families can be sealed together for time and all eternity—she said, “We always wondered why you were so interested in family history.” But she thought that was interesting. And I think people really are impressed by the Mormons. They can’t believe that we have all this research facility and we don’t charge them. It’s fun.
Q. Yes, it’s like a treasure hunt.
A. Yes, it’s like solving a puzzle.
Q. With all that past, what do you think the future of Nauvoo has in store?
A. I think it’s glorious. You know, if the people in the area could just get the vision, I think it’s just going to be wonderful. I don’t know whether after the temple is opened all of the things will settle down or if people will just keep coming from other areas.
But I know when I’m at the temple in St. Louis, so many people down there want to move to Nauvoo. They say, “How much would it cost to buy property?” They all want to come here. It’s just drawing everybody, and my friend that I write to in Ogdcn wants to see if I can get tickets for them to come for the open house. Everybody wants to come to Nauvoo. So it remains to be seen if that will continue to be the case, but I’m sure that it will to some extent. For this area around here, it’s got to be a blessing—just got to be a blessing.
Q. Do you have any comments or observations that you would like to add?
A. Well, just say this: Ten or fifteen years ago, some people around here were moving to Utah. A friend of mine said, “Let’s just stay put; they’ll all be coming back here one of these days.” And I think her prediction is coming true.
Q. It amazes me how all of these kids in the academy who have never been east of the Rocky Mountains have just as much love for Nauvoo as I do—even if it didn’t come in the same way,
A. Just because it’s Church history, and it’s all a part of the whole.
Q. Yes, even if you are a convert to the Church, Church history is your history, and we’re all a part of it.
A. That’s true. That’s absolutely true. And I didn’t want to go to Utah. I wanted to hide the letters that my husband would get from his brother in Utah that said, “Why don’t you move out here?” I just wanted to hide those letters because I didn’t ever want to go to a big city like that. But I’m so grateful that I did go.
Q. What was your first reaction in conference when they said, “We’re going to rebuild the Nauvoo Temple”?
A. We heard it in our branch and we all—well, there was just a gasp. Everybody just held their breath for a few minutes. Then it was a celebration. I remember early on while touring Nauvoo and being on Temple Square down there. The missionaries said that the temple would never be rebuilt. That’s what they said in those days—never be rebuilt.
Q. I just heard a month ago that President Hinckley’s grandfather, Ira Hinckley, was always saying, “Yes, we have to rebuild it.” And that’s why President Hinckley is so adamant about getting it built.
A. Oh, that had something to do with it.
Q. I think they were saying that Ira Hinckley just kept praying for it and asking for it, and he must have passed it on to his grandson.
A. Last time I visited Utah, I went down to see Old Cove Fort in southern Utah. Do you know about that?
Q. Yes, the fort that Ira Hinckley built.
A. Yes. I didn’t even know about it until I was down there last summer. Very interesting. He had twenty-one missionaries down there in houses. The crickets were there last summer.
Q. Get some seagulls in there.
A. Yes, pray for the seagulls.
Q. Do you have anything else you would like to say?
A. I’m still praying that the members in my family who aren’t in the Church yet will accept the gospel one of these days.
[Mrs. Gano added the following after looking over her interview.]
Mrs. Gano met a Church member by the name of Valley Humbert in Memphis, Missouri, when she was down there visiting some years ago. Mrs. Gano said that there wasn’t an LDS congregation in Memphis. When she was in Utah, she met Nellie and Mildred Curtis and Freddie Fowler. They lived in the Avenues, and they said they were from Memphis, Missouri. They had actually joined the Church in Memphis. Mrs. Gano concluded that there must have been missionary work in the ‘40s in Memphis.
Mrs. Gano talked about finding a childhood friend, Edith Gibson. She said that Ms. Gibson was a Methodist up until a few months ago. Ms. Gibson felt that it wasn’t right for people to go to the basement of the church to eat food and socialize when they should have been attending Sunday School. She told Mrs. Gano that she was considering going to another church, and Mrs. Gano invited her to come to an LDS church service. But Ms. Gibson declined, saying that she wouldn’t go to a Mormon church because they didn’t believe in Jesus Christ. Mrs. Gano explained to her how that fact wasn’t true, and eventually Ms. Gibson decided to go to a home, family, and personal enrichment meeting with her. Mrs. Gano told this story to show that people still have misconceptions about the Mormons and what they believe.
Mrs. Gano brought out a copy of a letter that a friend from Utah had sent her. She had Tyler read it out loud. The letter was written by Zeke Johnson, son of Joel H. Johnson. The author told of an experience he had when he was plowing in his field and his plow unearthed part of a skeleton. Brother Johnson told of how he watched that skeleton become a little girl, who was essentially resurrected before his eyes. He and the little girl stared at each other for half a minute. When he reached out to touch her, the girl vanished.
Thinking that no one would believe his story, Brother Johnson chose not to tell anyone. But a short time later a brother in the Church told Brother Johnson that he knew the latter had experienced something that needed to be told. So Brother Johnson told many people, but he always wondered why he had been blessed to see that miraculous event.
One day while he was on his way to his fields, he felt that he should go to a tree and sit in its shade. He didn’t know why he should do that, but he did it anyway. While he sat there, he received an answer to what he had been wondering about ever since witnessing that resurrection. He saw in a vision a group of people together—the people looked like Nephites or Jaredites. They were burying the little girl that he had seen. For some reason the people were not able to give the child a deep grave. Brother Johnson heard the mother cry that her baby would be torn up by some animal and that her baby’s bones would be scattered over the earth. Then one man stepped forward and blessed the child’s grave saying that whenever her grave would be unearthed, she would be resurrected and return to her Father in Heaven. Brother Johnson’s vision closed, and then he knew why he had seen the resurrection of that little girl.
After the letter was read, Mrs. Gano mentioned reading it to two sister missionaries a couple of weeks earlier. One of the sisters was from California, and she was very surprised when she learned that that letter was written by one of her great-grandfathers.
An Arizona man’s search for his roots leads him to Van Buren County
As Iowa commemorates the 150th anniversary of the Mormon Pioneer Trail across the southern half of the state, we descendants of one Mormon family have recently discovered links with our ancestors in the same area.
Through a series of telephone calls to the small town of Keosauqua and assistance from Keosauqua residents, we recently located a grave of one of our pioneer ancestors who lived in Keosauqua. We also discovered other ancestral connections to the area.
As one of these descendants, I have been gathering information and studying the stories relating to my Mormon ancestors to learn of their experiences in being converted to the Mormon faith and in journeying as pioneers to Utah. 1 am a 42-year-old attorney living in Arizona, and I became fascinated with Mormon pioneer histories while gathering information about ancestors for my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary.
The Mormon Trail was used by thousands of Mormon pioneers en route to the “Valleys of the Mountains,” commencing immediately after the Mormons were forced to leave Nauvoo, Ill., in the spring of 1846. Commencing next week, the Iowa Mormon Trail Association is sponsoring a three-week reenactment of the wagon trains that frequented the Mormon trails first established 150 years ago.
My great-great-grandparents Reuben Manning Jolley and Sarah Pippin Jolley were converted to the Mormon faith on their plantation in Tennessee in 1842. Near the same time, Reuben’s parents, his three sisters, his brother, the spouses of the three siblings and their respective children were also converted. Within two months after their conversion, this large extended family sold their plantations and slaves to join the Mormons gathering in Nauvoo. This wagon train from Tennessee to Nauvoo included 28 members of this Jolley family and one slave lad whose parents had died.
When they arrived in Nauvoo, the Jolleys represented about one-half of 1 percent of the 180 estimated in the community in early 1842. Prior to their departure in 1846, there were more than 12,000 in Nauvoo and surrounding communities.
While in Nauvoo, the Jolleys were among those who mourned the martyrdom of the Mormon prophet, Joseph Smith, in June 1844. They also witnessed the persecution and pressure to leave Nauvoo, yet continued to spend significant money and time to build the Nauvoo Temple. Costing SI million to build, the temple was generally acknowledged as one of the most impressive buildings west of the Appalachian Mountains.
After being forced from Nauvoo, Reuben, Sarah and their eight living children settled for three years in Keosauqua, just 55 miles from Nauvoo. Reuben’s father, his brother, sisters, and their children stayed approximately two years near Bonaparte, 10 miles east of Keosauqua. All stayed in Van Buren County to earn money and gather provisions for their continued trip west to Utah. Many communities across southern Iowa harbored the exiled Mormons or were established by Mormons in similar situations—seeking to prepare to go farther west.
I do not know why the Jolleys selected Van Buren County as their Iowa way station, but I wonder whether they had felt welcome there inpart because of the reception given the first group of exiles from Nauvoo. Two months prior to the Jolleys’ arrival in Keosauqua, Pitt’s Brass Band played at the courthouse in Keosauqua. The band was organized from members of the initial Mormon pioneer group led by Brigham Young.
The townspeople of Keosauqua had learned that the band previously performed to an enthused audience in Farmington, a few miles cast, and they invited the brass band to perform in Keosauqua on three consecutive days. William Clayton, the band’s musical leader, reported that the Keosauqua townspeople showered the band with meals, groceries, gifts, and more than $50 in cash. The provisions and funds were greatly appreciated by this initial Mormon pioneer wagon train.
As part of the Sesquicentennial celebration, the wagon train reenactment will stop in Keosauqua on Tuesday. A group has been formed from Nauvoo to replicate Pitt’s Brass Band, using the same types of instruments and playing some of the same music. The band will play at 4:30 p.m. on the Keosauqua courthouse lawn.
While in Keosauqua, the oldest daughter of Reuben and Sarah, named Caroline, further developed her devotion for a riverboat runner whom she had first met in Nauvoo, when she was just 13 years of age. This man, Charles Donelson, had been converted to the Mormon faith as a result of discussions with a fellow worker on a steamboat.
When Charles found that Caroline would be leaving Nauvoo with her family, he told her he wished “to have her hand and heart,” according to stories passed down by Caroline’s descendants. Charles added that he would like to go west, provided that she would go with him as his wife. She agreed.
However, the marriage was not to occur until four years later, just prior to their departure for the Salt Lake Valley from the Council Bluffs area. I surmise that Reuben and Sarah insisted that this marriage be delayed because Caroline was only 13 when the Jolleys left Nauvoo, and Charles was 22.
During the time of the Jolleys’ stay in Keosauqua, Caroline’s lover continued to work on steamboats running the Mississippi. On the night of October 9, 1948, as he approached Nauvoo on board a steamship, he saw an amber glow in one of the windows of the Nauvoo Temple. The glow from flames of fire was followed by smoke spewing forth from the temple. He rushed to warn the citizens who had assumed Nauvoo; however, his cries of warning were of no avail, because the fire had progressed too far to be stopped with the means available at the time.
The Jolleys almost certainly received a detailed report concerning the fire from their daughter’s betrothed when he visited Caroline in Keosauqua. Histories of the Jolley family indicate they felt blessed to have received their endowments, or special ordinances, in the temple prior to their departure. They must have been particularly saddened to learn of the fire occurring to the temple only 50 miles away, an edifice that they and others had sacrificed to build.
When Reuben and Sarah were in Keosauqua, a 10th child was born to them on November 28, 1848. After the birth, when Reuben and Sarah and their family were preparing to leave on their journey, Reuben became ill with pneumonia. At this time, Reuben was 40, and nine of his children were living. He was sick for 20 days and died on April 29, 1849. Reuben’s father and siblings had already gone west.
Sarah’s handwritten history tells of her feelings at this time: “I was left with (nine) children, no house nor home, among strangers, my babe in my arms, three months old. I was broke up when he was on his death bed. He would talk and tell me what he wanted me to do, a little at a time, until he told me what he wanted. He said he was going to leave me for awhile, but he wanted me as soon as I could to come to the valley of the mountains, to the bosom of the church (Utah) and bring the children with me.
“So I started to do so. I have borne it in mind. I buried him the first day of May at Keosauqua graveyard, Van Buren Co., Iowa.”
Sarah and her children left Keosauqua two months later, on July 2, 1849.
A history written by Sarah’s daughter states that her mother spent some of the monies saved to go west for a headstone for Reuben’s grave. Knowing of the death of this father, the sacrifices they had made at this time and the sacrifice made for the headstone, I had to learn if the headstone and grave could be found.
I initially contacted Keosauqua City Hall. In response to my inquiries as to the cemeteries and possible burial locations, 1 was directed to Romona Clark, the corresponding secretary of the National Historical Society organization in Keosauqua. Clark described an effort in recent years to locate and identify all the graves in the three cemeteries in the Keosauqua area. She also referred me to Lucille Gano, a member of the Mormon Church who lives in Keosauqua and does significant genealogical research.
Gano and Clark volunteered to review a list of graves identified in the Keosauqua cemeteries for the Jolley name. Within a few days, both independently reported to me that Reuben Jolley was listed as being buried in Oaklawn Cemetery in Keosauqua.
I was ecstatic on learning that the gravestone was found. I am also grateful that Marion McCrary, a former Keosauqua resident, took the many hours to record all of the dates and information on all of the gravestones in the Keosauqua cemeteries.
Jolley family histories indicate that Reuben knew Brigham Young, the leader of the Mormon pioneer exodus, and was involved in one or more exchanges of transportation modes with him. The Archives Division of the Mormon Church provided me with a receipt dated March 16, 1846, showing that Reuben took a “span’* of mules to Brigham Young at Richardson’s Point on the Mormon Pioneer Trail.
Richardson’s Point is located west of Lebanon. Iowa, where Brigham Young’s initial group stopped for almost two weeks during the early spring when travel was severely hampered by weather. Pitt’s Brass Band came from this spot to Keosauqua to play. The Sesquicentennial wagon train organized by the Iowa Mormon Trail Association will camp at Richardson’s Point on Wednesday.
At Richardson’s Point, Brigham Young signed a receipt acknowledging Reuben’s delivery of the mules valued at SI75. The receipt requested the trustees for the remaining property of the Mormon Church in Nauvoo to give Reuben a wagon and team of equal value to the mules.
This exchange took place just eight days before the birth of Reuben’s ninth child, my great-grandfather, in Nauvoo. Reuben must have left his family in Nauvoo to make the exchange, and returned to Nauvoo in time for his son’s birth. Six weeks later, he left with his family from Nauvoo.
There is another interesting connection involving the Jolleys in Van Buren County. Lina Maniza Jolley was the only one of Reuben’s siblings who was not married when the Jolleys were baptized and moved to Nauvoo, and she apparently remained unmarried during their stay in Nauvoo. The stories passed down among the Jolleys do not include much about Lina Maniza other than her decision to stay in Iowa and marry a man named John Parris.
However, Gano informed me that her friend Lela Winter had been attempting to do genealogical research concerning Lina Maniza Jolley. Winter had since passed away, but Gano remembered the Jolley name.
I subsequently contacted a sister of Winter who informed me that Lina Maniza is said t have “eloped on a white horse” with John Parris. The story explains why Lina Maniza stayed in Iowa and did not travel with her father, brothers, and sisters to Utah. In fact, Gano located marriage records in Davis County, located immediately west of Van Buren County.
Since the location of Reuben Jolley’s grave, I have visited Nauvoo and Kcosauqua with my parents. One brother and one sister have also brought their children to visit Van Buren County. Another of my brothers plans to visit the Keosauqua area in connection with the commemoration events next week.