Friday, May 22, 2015

Why We Relay

The 2015 Relay For Life of Polk County celebration will he held May 29th starting at 6:00 P.M. at Janssen Park in Mena.  17 teams of hard working local volunteers have been raising money to be used in the fight against cancer.

Nearly every person who participates in Relay For Life has been touched by cancer in some way and has a unique and personal story to tell. It’s these stories that motivate and inspire us to celebrate, remember, and fight back against cancer. Relay For Life unites our community in an effort to find cures for cancer.

Each one of these volunteers have a story and a reason that they participate in Relay For Life.  Here are some of the reasons that local Relay For Life volunteers have for being involved.

I Relay because of my daughter Melissa.  It was such a helpless feeling for her Dad and I - not knowing what we could do to help her.  Then we learned about Relay For Life and we have been involved ever since.  Raising dollars to help find a cure for this horrible disease is our way of helping Melissa and others. -  Rhonda McKee

I Relay because of my mother in law and brother in law and several friends.  My mother in law and brother in law are survivors but I have lost two very close friends.  It is my hope that if we keep fighting we can find a cure - Terri Harrison

I Relay because I never want a parent to hear the words "your child has cancer".  At the age of 1 year 23 months my son was diagnosed with leukemia.  Cancer is an evil battle and one that needs to go away!  The American Cancer Society is the leader in research and finding cures.  I am proud to support that effort. - Charlotte Wiles

I Relay because I lost my father, brother, father in law, brother in law, and sister in law to cancer.  The loss of them was very hard, but seeing my 2 1/2 year old grand daughter have a bone marrow test and seeing her go through surgery was heart breaking.  Thanks to the Lord and the knowledge he gave doctors, she is a survivor.  I want to raise money for research so that a cure can be found and no other family has to go through what we have gone through. - Toni Tillota

I Relay for one of my best friends and co worker, Betty Johnson and for my two aunts that have passed away from colon cancer.  Relay is a great camaraderie of friends, family and co workers caring for each other. - Debbie Welch

I Relay for the fight against cancer because I have lost a lot of family member to cancer.  My favorite part of Relay For Life is when everyone comes together to raise money for the fight.  The night of Relay is the best because everyone is there for the same reason.  It feels like one big family reunion. - Jared Standridge

I started with Relay For Life because I lost my aunt to pancreatic cancer.  I want so badly to help in the fight for a cure for ALL cancer.  I am amazed that so much of every dollar goes to research.  I Relay for More Birthdays. - Brandi Sachs

I Relay to be involved in my community and for the people that aren't able to. - Samantha Rusert

My team Relays for cancer survivors and for a cure for cancer! - James Hale

I Relay for my son Traven.  We are all in this for a cure for cancer. - Carol Lane

I Relay because I care.  I want a cure. - Jacque Gallego

I am involved in Relay For Life to help find a cure for cancer.  Relay is good people working together for a cure and having fun. - George McKee

My uncle, Delbert Lawry, died from cancer a few years ago. I lost not only an uncle, but a friend and someone who was willing to help anytime. I have come to realize the importance of the work that the American Cancer Society does. It is involved in research, prevention, and helping those who are dealing with cancer.

Two years ago my Mom was diagnosed with kidney cancer.  Because of recent breakthroughs in the treatment of kidney tumors I had hope.  All of a sudden, the work that I have done with Relay For Life and the American Cancer Society came sharply into focus.  It became even more personal.  Two years after the new treatment of cryoablation my Mom is doing great.  That is why I Relay - Richard Lawry

My mother, while suffering with Leukemia, was a part of an American Cancer Society study on bone marrow transplants at the University of Colorado Medical Center. Twenty years later, my oldest sister received a bone marrow transplant that saved her life, from the same hospital. In 2000 I became involved in Relay For Life. The Relay for Life benefits every kind of cancer research and is continually in the process of saving lives and providing money for research, information on cancer, and support.

Relay For Life is what I do, who I am.  I am just a little person from a country town, but I want to do something to help my children and my grandchildren remember me the way I remember my grandmother - serving other people. - Regina Lawry

The American Cancer Society, through the fundraising efforts of volunteers like these here in Polk County along with volunteers in over 5,200 Relays in the U.S., saves lives and creates more birthdays by helping you stay well, helping you get well, finding cures and fighting back against this disease. Thanks to research funded by Relay For Life, many cancers that were once considered a death sentence can now be cured and for many more people their cancer can now be treated effectively.  Every person in Polk County who has been touched by cancer benefits from the research funded by the dedicated volunteers of Relay For Life of Polk County.

This year’s Relay For Life of Polk County will be held Friday May 29th at Janssen Park in Mena.

The opening ceremony is 6 p.m.  The Relay For Life event opens with an inspirational Survivors Lap that symbolizes the steps we are taking toward saving lives. Cancer survivors will wear purple sashes and take the first lap. The opening ceremony honors survivors and caregivers, but everyone is invited to show their support.  From that time on the object is to keep someone from each of the Relay teams on the walking track at all times until the conclusion of the event.

The community is invited come out and enjoy the evening.  Each Relay team will be fundraising with food for sale, games and entertainment.  There will be live music and activities.  After dark there will be a Luminaria Ceremony honoring those who are battling cancer and remembering those we have lost to the disease.  Lighted luminaria will line the track and the names will be read.

Relay For Life brings together 3.5 million people each year to raise much-needed funds and awareness that enable the American Cancer Society to help people stay well, help people get well, find cures, and fight back against cancer. Together with the support of the dedicated volunteers of Relay For Life of Polk County these events are making a difference.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Rejoice With Me

One of my favorite chapters in the Bible is Luke 15.  It is Luke’s account of three parables, each of which describes the finding of a lost item, and each of which describes the joy and celebration which resulted.

The audience for these stories was the Pharisees who were complaining about Jesus' life style and his welcoming of tax collectors and sinners. Jesus told these stories as a rebuke to the Pharisees.  The stories are about God's love and mercy for sinful human beings.  Jesus was telling the Pharisees that he wanted them to rejoice with him.

It is important to understand who these tax collectors and sinners were that Jesus was eating and associating with.  Tax collectors were Jewish men who purchased from the Roman officials the right to collect various taxes.  They were hated and despised by their fellow countrymen; not only because they were unpatriotic, and dishonest and greedy, but also because their job made them ritually unclean.

For the Pharisees, the term "sinners" was used for a class of people who lived immoral lives or had questionable occupations; people that no respectable Jew would have anything to do with.  Another example would be people with certain diseases or disabilities that many would take as a sign that they committed some great sin. They were physically and morally unapproachable.

These people: the tax collectors, the prostitutes, the maimed and diseased -- basically, the social and religious outcasts -- were coming to Jesus and he was receiving them and eating with them.
But the Pharisees and their teachers of religious law complained bitterly to Jesus’ disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with such sinners?” Jesus answered them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent.”  Luke 5:30-32

The Pharisees didn't like Jesus’ association with sinners.  The Pharisees found no joy in repentance of sinners at all. What was it that caused them such pain to have Jesus associating with sinners and enjoying them?  In Matthew 23 Jesus gives us some insights into the mind of the Pharisee.  In verse 6 Jesus tells us, “the Pharisees love to sit at the head table at banquets and in the seats of honor in the synagogues”. In verse 13 He says that the Pharisees, “shut the door of the Kingdom of Heaven in people’s faces. You won’t go in yourselves, and you don’t let others enter either”.  In verse 23 Jesus calls the Pharisees hypocrites and says, "you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore the more important aspects of the law—justice, mercy, and faith".

Why were the Pharisees unwilling to seek to save sinners and unable to rejoice at their repentance? Why were they unwilling to associate with them?  The story of the older brother in Luke 15 represents the Pharisees, who grumble at Jesus’ reception of sinners. In the story, the older brother is out in the fields working when the younger brother returns. The older brother does not know of his younger brother’s return until his attention is aroused by the sounds of celebration coming from the house. He became very angry and refused to go in to celebrate, even though this celebration was called for by the father.

When the father came out to his older son, to ask him to join in on the celebration, the older son refused. The words of the older son are the key to understanding his desires and attitudes.

He told his father, “I have worked hard, but you gave me no banquet”. The older brother was at work in the field when his younger brother returned home. He thought that the basis for obtaining his father’s favor was his works. He didn't need to work to win his father’s approval or blessing; he only needed to be a son. This emphasis on works was the error of the Pharisees. They were “hard at work” with respect to keeping the law, as they interpreted it, thinking that this was what would win God’s approval and blessing.

The older brother told his father, “you have given your other son a banquet, when all he did was to sin”. This is, of course, the flip side of the first protest. The older brother expected to be rewarded on the basis of his works, so he expected his younger brother to have been disowned due to his works, i.e. his sins.

It was not the younger brother’s sins which resulted in the father’s celebration, but in his repentance and return. The older brother not only failed to comprehend grace, but he resented it.  The problem of the older brother, is self-righteousness. His self-righteousness is such that he expects - even demands God’s approval and blessings.  His self-righteousness is so strong that he resents the grace of God and refuses to rejoice in it.

Don’t be a Pharisee.  I challenge you today to see “sinners” the way that Jesus sees them and to rejoice with Him whenever one of his lost sheep comes home!


You can listen to the audio sermon here.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Rebecca Loebe

Last Sunday night my wife and I saw Rebecca Loebe in concert at Eureka House Concerts in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.  I first saw Rebecca Loebe in concert at The Blue Door in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.  I attended the Blue Door show because Smokey and the Mirror, Bryan and Bernice Hembree, were going to be there.  I love their music and have been to concerts of theirs in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Texas.

The Blue Door concert was part of a live recording project by Goose Creek Music.  The album that was produced was called Three Nights Live. The album was recorded in November 2013 at three classic listening-room venues in Texas and Oklahoma: McGonigel’s Mucky Duck in Houston, The Cactus CafĂ© located on the University of Texas’ Austin campus, and The Blue Door.  Three Nights Live featured Rebecca Loebe, Smokey and the Mirror, and Raina Rose, along with studio musicians Daniel Walker and Will Robertson,  We really enjoyed the concert and were instantly new fans of both Rebecca Loebe and Raina Rose.

When I learned that Smokey and the Mirror and Rebecca Loebe were touring together this spring and would be in Eureka Springs I was excited and made plans to attend.  The day of the concert was rainy and gloomy but the atmosphere at Eureka House Concerts was warm and friendly.  The concerts are in a beautiful old church and there is a potluck before the concert.  Rebecca Loebe is an amazing singer-songwriter, but the best thing about her concert was her ability to make you feel like she was just singing to some friends of hers and by the end of the evening you really felt like you knew her.

This is a video from the concert.

I took photos during the concert.  The church and its beautiful windows made the photos more interesting than the concert photos I am usually able to get.

Rebecca Loebe has been making music for over ten years.  She quit her job as a recording engineer over 5 years ago to pursue music full time. Rebecca tours relentlessly, averaging 200 shows per year across the U.S.  She has also performed in Japan and Holland. In April 2011 Rebecca was on the NBC television show The Voice.  If she has a concert in your area I highly recommend that you attend.  You wont be disappointed.

The Chicago Kid is one of my favorite Rebecca Loebe songs.  It tells the story of a first time flyer who sat next to Rebecca on a flight to Chicago.  He was on his way to get married.  Here is Rebecca singing The Chicago Kid at the Eureka House Concert.

For a bit of an insight to the world of a traveling singer-songwriter who is making music their full time job, I will give you a bit of Rebecca's itinerary this week.  Last Saturday night she was in concert in St Louis with Smokey and the Mirror.  After the show in St Louis all the gear and instruments were loaded in the van. Then, as the back and final door was locked, the key broke off in the lock. With the key broke off there was no way to get in and start the van so they were quite stranded.

With no help available from roadside assistance, they decided to rent a mini van and drive all night from St. Louis to Fayetteville, Arkansas since Rebecca had the show at Eureka House Concerts on Sunday night. Even with all of the drama of the night before Rebecca put on an lovely show.

The rest of Rebecca's week is going to be hectic.  Monday morning she was up and at 'em, driving 700 miles to Columbus, Ohio so that she could catch a flight to New Orleans on Tuesday, play a gig and attend a wedding down in New Orleans and then fly back to Ohio for shows this weekend.

On her Facebook page she says, "Who schedules this nonsense?!? Oh wait, I do… hope to see you out there! xoxo"

 Check Rebecca Loebe out in iTunes.  Download some music and enjoy one of America's best singer-songwriters.  You can purchase Rebecca's CD's direct from her website.  Please support independent musicians.

It's time for Rebecca to record a new album and she is hoping that you will consider joining her team by pre-ordering your copy in advance!  You can help her make the record by clicking here.

Friday, April 3, 2015

He's Alive

During the 1970’s as I listened to Contemporary Christian Music, Don Fransisco was one of my favorite artists.  Last month for my birthday my daughter gave me an album that has just been released titled, "We Will Stand".  It is a one of a kind live recording that includes 30 CCM artists who performed together on Jan. 21, 2015.  Don Fransisco was one of those artists and he sang his signature song, "He's Alive".

Don’s music often tells a story and “He’s Alive” is one of his best. It tells the story of the resurrection of Jesus from Peter’s point of view.  The song ends with these words:

Suddenly the air was filled with strange and sweet perfume.  Light that came from everywhere; Drove shadows from the room.

Jesus stood before me with His arms held open wide.  And I fell down on my knees and just clung to Him and cried.

He raised me to my feet and as I looked into His eyes.  Love was shining out from Him like sunlight from the skies

Guilt in my confusion disappeared in sweet release.  And every fear I'd ever had just melted into peace

He's alive, He's alive He's alive and I'm forgiven Heaven's gates are open wide.  He’s Alive.

What a powerful message.  This is the gospel; the good news that Jesus is alive. 

Let’s take a look at the story as it is recorded in Mark chapter 16. "Now when Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene.  She went and told those who had been with Him, as they mourned and wept. And when they heard that He was alive and had been seen by her, they did not believe.  Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen.  And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.  He who believes and is baptized will be saved”.

Jesus gave his disciples the job of going to the entire world and preaching the gospel.  We call this The Great Commission .  Most Christians realize that Jesus didn't just tell his disciples to preach the gospel, he asks all of his followers preach the gospel.  But just what is the gospel?  The gospel is the good news that Jesus is alive.  He has achieved victory over death.  He wants to give us eternal life. 
Paul explained it very clearly to the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, “Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.  For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures. 

The gospel is very simple.  1. Jesus died for our sins.  2. He was buried.  3. He rose again.

I once heard a preacher who stated that whatever topic he was preaching on he always included John 3:16.  "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life".  John 3:16 is the gospel.  Whatever we as Christians are talking about needs to be wrapped in the covering of the gospel.  Whatever we are teaching, the things that we believe, need to have the gospel at their center.  Jesus, his death and resurrection, should be the center of any doctrine, teaching or belief.  Too much of what Christians are focused on is not gospel oriented. 

The most important part of the story of the cross is that He’s Alive!  We read in Acts 1:11, “This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.”  Christians are looking forward to the second coming of Jesus because He’s alive!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Purple Day - March 26

March 26th is Purple Day.  Purple is the color associated with Relay For Life.  I have been a Relay For Life volunteer for nine years.  But Purple Day is not associated with Relay For Life.  Purple Day is the global day of epilepsy awareness.  People around the world are asked to wear purple on March 26 and encourage others to do the same.

Epilepsy affects over 50 million people worldwide. That's more than multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy and Parkinson's disease combined.

Here are some facts about epilepsy.

It’s estimated that 1 in 100 people have epilepsy

There are approximately 2.2 million Americans living with epilepsy.

Epilepsy is NOT contagious. Epilepsy is NOT a disease. Epilepsy is NOT a psychological disorder.

There is currently no “cure” for epilepsy. For more than half of people with epilepsy, medication will control their seizures. Additionally, some children will outgrow their epilepsy and some adults may have a spontaneous remission.

Not everyone can identify specific events or circumstances that affect seizures, but some are able to recognize definite seizure triggers. Some common triggers include:

Forgetting to take prescribed seizure medication
Lack of sleep
Missing meals
Stress, excitement, emotional upset
Menstrual cycle / hormonal changes
Illness or fever
Low seizure medication levels
Medications other than prescribed seizure medication
Flickering lights of computers, television, videos, etc., and sometimes even bright sunlight

When I was a boy I suffered from a mild form of epilepsy. I had episodes called petit mals. A petit mal seizure is the term commonly given to a staring spell, most commonly called an "absence seizure." It is a brief (usually less than 15 seconds) disturbance of brain function due to abnormal electrical activity in the brain. I had no idea that other people did not experience them. I could feel them coming on and knew to sit down or hold on to something for a few seconds.

School Photo

The first time that my Mother witnessed one of my petit mals she was very scared. I guess that my eyes rolled back in my head. I knew that for those few seconds that I could not see, but did not know that my eyes rolled back. I didn't think that it was a big deal, but my Mom said I had to see the doctor as soon as possible. The doctors were able to control the petit mals with medication, and told me that I would most likely outgrow them by the time I was 20. Fortunately I did, and was taken off of the medication by the time I was 18 or 19.

Epilepsy is a medical condition that produces seizures affecting a variety of mental and physical functions. It’s also called a seizure disorder. When a person has two or more unprovoked seizures, they are considered to have epilepsy.

A seizure happens when a brief, strong surge of electrical activity affects part or all of the brain. One in 10 adults will have a seizure sometime during their life.

Seizures can last from a few seconds to a few minutes. They can have many symptoms, from convulsions and loss of consciousness to some that are not always recognized as seizures by the person experiencing them or by health care professionals: blank staring, lip smacking, or jerking movements of arms and legs.

Please take the time to learn more about this condition that affects over 50 million people worldwide. Based on recent surveys, The Center For Disease Control estimates that over two million people in the United States have epilepsy, with 150,000 developing the condition each year.

One way to get involved is to participate in Purple Day. Purple Day was started in 2008, by nine-year-old Cassidy Megan of Nova Scotia, Canada. It is an international grassroots effort dedicated to increasing awareness about epilepsy worldwide. On March 26, people from around the globe are asked to wear purple and spread the word about epilepsy. You can learn more about Purple Day by going here.

                                    CASSIDY MEGAN

Monday, March 23, 2015

Willie Handcart Company - Salt Lake Herald

In a previous post titled Zion, I told the story of my wife's great great grandmother who crossed the U.S. in 1856 pulling a handcart in the Willie Handcart Company.  I recently found articles from 1907 and 1908 that were published in the Salt Lake Herald about the Willie Handcart Company.

Captain J. G. Willie's Or, the Fourth Handcart Company of 1856.  Published in the Salt Lake Herald, December 15,1907 and Jan 5, 1908.

Although Captain J. G. Willie's company left Iowa Hill, Ia., some fourteen or sixteen days ahead of ours, Martin's company, with the middle of July weather, and which they made good use of—and all possible haste to Florence or Winterquarters [Winter Quarters], Neb., and got away from there with only a few days rest, losing no time from there to Fort Kearney, and realizing the value of the good weather and the date that they should reach and pass Fort Larimie [Laramie]; yet before reaching the latter landmark on those dreary plains, they seemed fated that by a little possible lassitude on the part of their guard at nights over their cattle, and where it was more necessary than any other part of the journey to meet with their most crippling disaster in the loss by the Cheyenne Indians of half, or more, of their draught oxen.

This to them—at that time and place, was an irreparable loss and fatality, and from which they could not and did not recover to the end of their journey. They had made good headway from the start, with more single and able-bodied members, in comparison to Captain Martin's company, that really contained, and as heretofore recorded, the most aged and infirm, and the cleanings up of that season's emigration.

This loss of half their draught oxen necessitated the unloading onto the carts of the company of half the provisions in the wagons, and taking into considerations the three or four days' spent in hunting for the cattle, without moving camp, and after conceding further quest to be hopeless and needless, their travel for the next two and three weeks with but little more than one yoke of oxen to the wagon, was greatly hindered and impeded, placing the company back from where they would have been without this loss, not less than 125 miles.

This company did not lack by any means for members of hardihood, health, strength and endurance, for Captain Willie came to the relief party below the mouth of Willow creek, after dark at night, on Monday, October 20, 1856, and with what assistance they received from that on they were enabled to reach Salt Lake City on Sunday, November 9, the morning Martin's company left the "Ravine."Three miles west of Devil's Gate and 350 miles from Salt Lake City.

This loss on their part figures out almost proportionately with them as the unnecessary delay on Iowa Hill, Ia., of sixteen days waiting for the handcarts to be made after we got there, did to Martin's company, for now it is proof beyond question that sixteen days of fairly good weather and dry ground would have landed the latter company from the Platte bridge in the vicinity of Big Sandy or Green river, but the knowledge of the future is often withheld from the most gifted and wise and for a purpose best known to Himself.

One paragraph more from the late President Franklin D. Richards' journal on his return from Florence, Neb., to Salt Lake that season, and then follows Captain J. G. Willie's report which is the best authority as to the travels, hardships, sufferings and losses by death of his company.

Friday, Sept. 12, 1856—We overtook and camped with Brother Willie's company at North Bluff creek, consisting of 404 persons, six wagons, 87 handcarts, six yoke of oxen, thirty-two cows and five mules. They were considerably weakened by the loss of their oxen which they had failed to recover, but were in good spirits and averaging fourteen to sixteen miles a day. Here we forded the Platte river to the south side and were followed by the handcarts.

Never was a more soul-stirring sight than the party and the passage of this company over that river. Several of the carts were drawn entirely by women, yet their hearts were glad and full of hope.

It will be remembered that President Franklin D. Richards and his company of returning missionaries left Florence, Neb., on September 3, passing Martin's company on Sunday, September 7, and in five days more overtook Willie's company as above recorded. This would then place the latter company from 125-150 miles west of Martin's, and in the vicinity of Fort Kearney, where their cattle were stolen.

Captain James G. Willie's digest of his journal of the journey of his company from Liverpool, England, to Salt Lake City, Utah.

Synopsis of the fourth handcart company's trip from Liverpool, England, to Great Salt Lake City, in the spring, summer and autumn of 1856. (Written by Elder James G. Willie, Captain.)

On Thursday, May1, the ship Thornton, Captain Collins, received the Saints (761 in number) on board the ship in the Brammerley-Moore docks, Liverpool, and on the following Saturday President F. D. Richards, accompanied by the government inspector and doctor, came on board, and the Saints answered to the usual inspection and were all pronounced by those officers to be in good health. President Richards appointed myself (James G. Willie) captain of the company, and Elder Millen Atwood, Moses Clough and Johan A. Ahmanson, my counselors, and afterward in a few appropriate remarks exhorted the people to strict obedience on the passage, as otherwise they could not expect, and would not have a prosperous journey. President Richards then blessed them in the name of the Lord and by authority of the holy priesthood. Captain Willie then made the usual appointments for the promotion of cleanliness and good order, and on Sunday, May 4, at 3 a.m. the company was tugged out of the river by the Pilot. Sea-sickness soon commenced, but through the blessings of the Lord it was not frequent during the voyage, and which terminated at New York on the 14th of June. The spirit of the Lord prevailed. The ship's captain yielded to the influence which surrounded him and was kind and affable to all, often voluntarily giving from his own table for the comfort of the sick and infirm, and otherwise ministering to their wants with his own hands. He seemed to be a good man, and I felt all the time and still feel to say "God bless Captain Collins." By his sanction meetings (at which he was generally present for preaching and bearing testimony) were held on the quarterdeck, and every liberty which could in reason be expected was granted by him. He often in polite terms, complimented the Saints upon their cleanliness and upon their ready compliance with his requests from time to time, and said he never wished for a better or more orderly lot of passengers.

They certainly deserved the captain's encomium, for with scarcely an exception, they did their utmost to carry out to the very letter the instructions given. Previous to landing at New York a testimonial, expressive of the Saints' appreciation of the captain's and the doctor's kindness, was presented to them by myself; and one signed by the captain, first mate and doctor, on behalf of themselves and the ships's company, was presented to me on behalf of the Saints. On our arrival at Castle Gardens, New York, we received a hearty welcome from President John Taylor and Elder Felt. Several gentlemen of the press also paid us a visit and were very courteous toward us, appearing desirous to obtain information concerning the company from its officers, and subsequently several paragraphs appeared in different New York newspapers in praise of the general appearance and demeanor of the entire company.

On Tuesday, June 17, they started under the presidency of Elder Levi Savage for Dunkirk, a distance of 460 miles, where they arrived on the 19th, leaving Brother Attwood and myself behind to transact sundry items of business. We, however, arrived at Dunkirk by express train on the same day, and immediately embarked with the Saints on the Jersey City for Toledo, 280 miles further, where we arrived on Saturday, the 21st, in good health and spirits. We at once started per rail for Chicago, which we reached on the following day. I should mention that the railway authorities at Toledo manifested a very unkind spirit toward us, putting us to every inconvenience in their power. The conductor compelled us to land in the streets of Chicago, but the superintendent there gave us the use of an empty warehouse for the night.

The day [-] next day (the 23d) most of the English Saints left per rail at 3 p.m. and the rest at 11 p.m. for Rock Island. On the first train arriving at Pond Creek, the next day, it was ascertained that the railway bridge there had fallen down while a previous train was passing over it. Several brethren, including Brothers—and Erastus Snow, were in the train, and although many of the passengers were seriously injured, they escaped unhurt. We slept in the cars, and on the 25th the remainder of our company came up. We had much difficulty in obtaining provisions.

In Sunday morning's Herald of Dec. 15, we published our first chapter of the above company's journey over the plains in 1856, and a full list of the names of the members as they left Iowa hill, near Iowa City, Ia., Tuesday, July 15, 1856, to pull handcarts from there to Salt Lake City, Utah, some 1,350 miles.

During the half century of years that has passed since then, it has been generally remembered and stated that this company left the campground above mentioned not later than the 10th or 12th of July, and, was so recorded in our previous chapter, but Captain Willie's report and synopsis from his journal, as made for President Brigham Young a few weeks after his arrival in Salt Lake, and which will follow in this article, sets this date of starting at rest, for he says it was Tuesday, July 15.

As a matter of record and history, there is considerable importance in the number of days' start Captain Willie's company got ahead of that of Captain Martin's, because it proves that the loss of life was not so much from the fatigues of travel, as from the number of days the latter company were in the snow and the severity of the cold weather.

To make proper connection in the reading of our narrative, No. 1, as published in the Herald Sunday, Dec. 15, 1907, which finished with the part of a sentence beginning with:

"We slept in the cars on the evening of the 24th of July at Pond creek, a short distance then, by rail, west of Rock Island, Ia., and on the 25th the remainder of our company came up. We had much difficulty in obtaining provisions (here) which up to this period had been pretty plentiful."

Arrival at Iowa City, Ia.
The railway superintendent here was very obliging, and furnished us with a large, comfortable warehouse to sleep in. On the 26th of June we left Pond creek, and, after crossing the Mississippi in consequence of the fallen bridge, started by train for Iowa City, where we arrived on the same day, meeting with the most cordial reception from President Daniel Spencer and the brethren and sisters in camp there.

We stayed at this point till Tuesday, July 15, and during the interval had frequent opportunities of meeting together to hear the word of life spoken. The brethren were engaged in making yokes, handcarts, etc., and the sisters in making tents. For the want of these latter articles, immediately on our arrival, we had several soakings with rain, which the saints bore with becoming fortitude. We celebrated the 4th of July with the American flag flying, and had a first rate time. Many strangers were present and seemed to take considerable interest in our proceedings. On the 12th President Spencer appointed me as captain over the fourth handcart company (consisting of the passengers of the ship "Thornton), with Elders Millen Attwood, Levi Savage, William Woodward,. John Chislett and ______ Ahmanson respectively captains of hundreds.

Start for Florence, Neb[raska].
On July 15 we started from Iowa camping ground for old "Winter Quarters" now known as "Florence," and pursued our journey until the 20th when Adelaide A. Baker, of the Portsmouth Branch of Southampton conference, with her two children, Ann and Sebina Bird, of the Eaton Bray branch of the Bedfordshire conference, and Harriet Smith, of the Bristol branch of the South conference, left us for the leeks and onions.

I would here mention an act of kindness performed by a gentleman (Mr. Charles Good) at Fort Des Moines. He presented me with fifteen pairs of children's boots, which I readily accepted, as he seemed to be influenced by a sincere desire to do good.

Arrival at Florence, Neb.
On Monday, Aug. 11, we arrived at Florence, having previously (on the 9th) had two other deserters from our ranke, ____ Guirney [Gurney] and daughter, both of the Wiltshire conference.

On our way, considerable opposition was shown towards us by the people from time to time, and threats of personal violence were sometimes made use of, though never carried into effect; and because they could not find any just cause of complaint, we were persecuted by a posse of men with a search warrant from some justice of the peace, authorizing them to search the bottoms of our wagons for young women, who, as was alleged, were tied down there with ropes.

On our arrival at Florence we were warmly greeted by President James C. [Mc]Gaw, and Brothers George D. Grant, William H. Kimball and John Van Cott. We stayed there till the 16th, and, during this interval, were employed in repairing handcarts and tents. We also received much useful instruction from the brethren. At Florence four independent wagons joined our company, and were subsequently (on the 18th) at the great Pappea organized into it by President McGaw, who then appointed Andrew I. Silver as captain of such wagons under my presidency.

Start From Florence, Neb.
On the 19th we rolled out of camp about 6 a.m. and commenced our journey across the plains in real earnest, traveling about eighteen miles that day, including the crossing of the Elkhorn river. I then appointed Brother Neil[s] Lars Christianson interpreter and counsellor to the Danish saints.

On Thursday, Aug. 28, Brother William Ha[i]ley of the Warwickshire conference, aged 66 years, was missed. Immediately sent out scouts in search with a lantern, but he was not found till early on the following morning, after having been exposed to a drenching rain during the night. He, however, soon recovered.

On Friday, the 29th, we came up with a large camp of Omaha Indians, who were friendly and sold us some buffalo meat. The chief invited the officers of our camp to see him. We accordingly went, and were hospitably entertained.

Murder of Colonel Babbitt's Men, Mrs. Wilson and Child.
These Indians informed us of a murder that had been committed on the 25th, by the Cheyennes, on two of Colonel Babbit's men, and a Mrs. Wilson and her child. We subsequently passed by the scene of the murder and covered up the graves[.]

Fatal Loss of Draught Oxen.
On the morning of Thursday, the 4th of September (being 265 miles west of Florence), we found that thirty of our oxen were missing. We stayed to search for them till the 6th, and during our stay, Colonel Babbitt came up, and reported that the Cheyennes had attacked a small California train, and killed a woman, and that the United States troops had killed thirteen Cheyennes, and taken a number of horses.

Captain Smoot and Brother Porter Rockwell visited the Saints and comforted us, in our then present emergency. On Sept. 6 we started afresh with our broken teams, Brothers Joseph Elder and Andrew Smith, returning on the back track in search of the missing cattle. We traveled a short distance, when I found it necessary to yoke up some cows which we had with us, and to make a transfer of luggage and oxen from one wagon to another, in order to equalize the burden of our present position. The brethren cheerfully responded to the call, and matters were soon arranged, so that we were on our journey again.

Murder of Thomas Margetts.
While in camp, on the morning of the 8th, a man who gave the name of Henry Bauichter, came up and reported that two men, named Thomas Margetts and James Howdy, with the wife and child of the latter, had been murdered by the Cheyennes about seventy miles ahead of our camp. He said that the murders were committed during his absence from Margetts and Howdy, on a buffalo hunt. These two men, I ascertained afterward, were apostates returning from the valley to the states.

President Wilson and Company Cross the Platte.
On Friday, the 12th, President Franklin D. Richards, with three carriages and some wagons, accompanied by a number of brethren, and by Brothers Elder and Smith, who had met them while searching for the lost oxen, came up with our camp, on the North Bluff fork of the Platte river, amidst the hearty cheers of the whole company. In the evening he gave us a stirring address, with a view to build up and encourage the people, and his sentiments were seconded by a hearty "amen" from time to time. His counselors, Daniel Spencer and C. H. Wheelock, also cheered the saints with some seasonable remarks. Several of the Songs of Zion were sung with first rate spirit and good effect by Elder W. C. Dunbar, and the meeting separated late in the evening, much edified, and with the good spirit of our God evidently burning in their bosoms. The next morning we had a similar meeting, when the saints had portrayed before them, in vivid colors, the realities of their present position. President Richards said others spoke as they were moved upon by the Holy Ghost, and it was indeed a time of refreshing from the presence of the Lord. At the conclusion of the meeting, three cheers were given for these brethren, who immediately afterward crossed the Platte, an example which we at once followed.

On Monday, Sept. 15, we met several Indians, who stated that they belonged to the tribe of the Arrapahoes, and that the Sioux and Cheyennes had recently attacked a large emigration train and killed many. These Arrapahoes were watching us during the whole night, for what purpose is best known to themselves. On the night of Sept. 17 we had the first frost, which was a very severe one. On that day one of Brother Cantwell's daughters (Ellen)) was bitten by a rattlesnake; but the wound was dressed and no fatal effects followed. The snake, which had ten rattles, was afterward killed. On the 18th, Sister Stewart, from Scotland, was missed. A number of brethren accompanied me in search of her, and during our absence she returned to the camp, after sleeping in the company of wolves for the night. She was much exhausted for want of food. On Sunday, the 28th, we met a company of nearly 100 apostates on their way from the valley to the states, and shortly afterwards a small company of United States soldiers came up.

Arrival at Fort Laramie.
On Sept. 30, we arrived at Fort Laramie, having necessarily expended considerable time in the repair of handcarts up to that point. Here we obtained a small ration for the company, and Captain Siler's four wagons stayed here to await the arrival of the next wagon company, pursuant to President Richard's counsel.

While at the fort, some soldiers visited our camp and conducted themselves with propriety. Two of the sisters thought proper to stay there. Lucinda M. Davenport, who immediately married an apostate that had just come from the valley, and Christina Brown.

On the 1st of October, we renewed our journey, and met Brother Parley P. Pratt, with a number of missionaries under his presidency.

Reduction of Rations.
In consequence of our limited supply of provisions, I considered it necessary to slightly reduce the amount of the daily ration of flour, which was unanimously and willingly acceded to by the Saints. On Sunday, Oct. 12, Alfred Peacock and George Edwick were added to the list of "deserters" just before we arrived at the upper crossing of the Platte. On that same day, it was considered necessary to make a still further reduction in the daily ration of flour, and accordingly it was fixed at 10½ ounces for men, 9 ounces for women, 6 ounces for children and 3 ounces for infants. This turned out to be a very wise and economic arrangement, as it just enabled us to ration out our provisions until the very day when we received material aid from the valley.

Relief and Supplies From Utah.
This relief arrived (when the little ones were crying for bread) on the 20th of October, to the extent of fourteen wagons laden with flour, onions and clothing. The last bit of breadstuff (which constituted all the provisions we then had) was served out two nights previously. We all felt to rejoice at our timely deliverance, and attributed it entirely to the hand of God, which had been over us during the whole of our journey.

On Wednesday, the 22d of October, Brother William H. Kimball, with six wagons, started on with us towards Great Salt Lake City, and Brother George D. Grant, with the remainder, started to meet the companies in our rear. Two days previous to this, on the 20th of October, 1856, we encountered the first snowstorm, and on Friday, the 24th, we met Brother Reddick N. Allred, and others, with six wagons, also on their way to help the rear companies, and on the following day (being fifteen miles west of the last crossing of the Sweetwater,[)] came up with some brethren, who were waiting there with supplies of flour and onions. On Friday, the 31st of October, we met seven wagons from Fort Supply and three from Great Salt Lake City, and on the 1st of November met further help from the valley.

On the next day Brother Ephraim Hanks passed us and reported plenty of teams ahead. On the 2d day of November we passed Fort Bridger, and on the next day met fresh supplies for the rear companies, and overtook Gilbert & Gerrish's merchant train.

On Monday, the 3d of November, it was deemed prudent to send an express to the first presidency, representing the state of things generally on the plains, and for this purpose Brother Kimball volunteered to go, and did so, in company with Brother Thomas. Before starting President Kimball appointed Brother Gould captain of the horse teams, and Brother William Hyde of the ox teams.

On the 4th of November we met Brother Blair with three wagons, besides other brethren with teams. Today Brother Franklin R. Woolley came along with a message from President Brigham Young that some freight which had been left behind at Fort Bridger must be brought into the valley this season, so I immediately dispatched some brethren, with wagons and teams, back for the freight in question. On Saturday, the 8h of November, President Kimball returned to us with a load of provisions, which was a timely succor to us.

Arrival in Salt Lak[e] City.
The next day, the 9th of November, a part of our train passed Captain Smoot's, which, however, preceded us into Great Salt Lake City, where we arrived on that day. Brothers Franklin D. Richards and L. W. Richards, besides many others, came to meet us on the bench and preceded us into the city. On our arrival there the bishops of the different wards took every person who was not provided with a home to comfortable quarters. Some had their hands and feet badly frozen, but everything which could be done to alleviate their sufferings was done, and no want was left unadministered. Hundreds of the citizens flocked around the wagons on our way through the city, cordially welcoming their brethren and sisters to their mountain home.

I wish to conclude by saying that, on the whole, the saints bore the heavy trials of the journey with a becoming and praiseworthy fortitude. I may add, too, that in consequence of their having to cross the north fork of the Platte, and the Sweetwater several times through the cold water, and to sleep on the snow (each person having only seventeen pounds of luggage, including bedding), and through other privations necessarily incident to the journey at so late a period of the season, many of the aged and infirm failed in strength and died. The diarrhoea took a fatal hold of many. Our wagons were crowded with the sick, which broke down our teams, and thus we were often obliged to refuse the admission of many who were really worthy to ride.

In crossing the Rocky ridge, eighteen miles west of Fort Bridger, Wyo., we encountered a very heavy snowstorm, accompanied by a strong north wind. It was the most disastrous and fatal day on the whole trip, fifteen dying from fatigue and exposure to the cold. We had on this day, as on previous and subsequent ones, to clear away the snow in order to make places for pitching our tents. Notwithstanding the disadvantages of our position in crossing the Rocky ridge, we traveled sixteen miles on that day with our handcarts.

The total number of deaths in this company from Liverpool, Eng., was seventy-seven, beside one child belonging to Captain Siler's wagon. We had also three births and three marriages on the trip.

For the present, this chapter closes our annals and narratives of Captain Martin's and Captain Willie's companies of Mormon emigrants that pulled handcarts from 1,300 to 1,400 miles during the months of July, August, September, October and November, 1856, through the state of Iowa, the territories of Nebraska and Wyoming, to Salt Lake City, territory of Utah.

Captain Willie's company covered the same distance by sea and land that Martin's and all the other companies of emigrants did that year, and by no means were their hardships, sufferings, privations and loss of life comparatively less, except in the less number of miles they passed through the snow toward the end of their journey.

We have not had space or time, nor shall we undertake now, to compare the sufferings and fatalities of the two companies here, all of which would be interesting to the surviving members of both companies; and the distances both were kept apart from each other, and the causes, from the date of the crossing of the North Platte; for since writing and compiling all that we have, in the twelve articles, and published weekly in The Herald, we now see many striking points of comparison and detail, which will be embodied in our book, with the names and ages in full, the town, city or village from which they emigrated, of all the companies of Mormons that started for Utah that year; also the names of the members of Hunt & Hodgetts' wagon companies, will also be given, and as heretofore promised, Ephraim Hanks' narrative and journal and relief services to both of the above companies.

The names of this company will be given first in place, for if ever in print before, it is over fifty years ago.

The members of this company, mainly, if not all, sailed from the Brammerly-Moor docks at Liverpool, Lancashire, England, in the ship Thornton, May 4, 1856, landing at New York June 14, and arrived at Iowa Hill, near Iowa City, Ia., about the 27th of June, 1856. When the Mormon emigrants that sailed from Liverpool, Lancashire, England, May 25, in the Horizon, and comprising the whole of Martin's handcart company and Hunt's and Hodgett's wagon companies, arrived on Iowa Hill, Ia. July 8 and 9, 1856. Willie's company was then nearly ready to leave that camp with their handcarts and tents all made, wagons loaded with provisions, etc., for the 1,350 mile journey to the Great Salt Lake valley, Utah, and made their start on the 10th or 12th of July, a day or two after Martin's company reached there.

Names of the company from England—Captain J. G. Willie and William Woodward, returning missionaries; John Chislett, Ann Osborn, Thomas Moulton and family, Jesse Impey [Empey] and family, William Reed and family, Joseph Osborn [Oborn] and family, Sarah Charles [Choules], William Edwick, Alfred Peacock, Jemima Rogers and daughter, Mary P. Griffiths, Suzannah Stone, Min[ni]e A. Cook, Sarah A. Williams, Ester Millard, Elizabeth Tite, Betsey Stanley, Mary A. Stockdale, Julia and Emily Hill, the poetess; Amelia Evans, Cecelia and Sarah Norris, the latter the wife of Elder Jenkins Evans, and residents of Parowan, Iron county, Utah, for the last fifty years; Mary A. and Adelaide Cooper, David Reader and family, Mary A. Bird and family, Joseph Wall and wife, Benjamin Culley, Rebecca Langman, Rebecca Pilgrim, Elizabeth and Jane Culley, Ann Oliver, Ann Cooper, Theophilus Copp [Cox], Thomas Girdlestone and family, James Harren and family, William Philpot and family, Rose Key and family, Sam Gadd and family, Mary A. Perkins, John Linford and family, Mary A. Miller, Ann Howard, Mary E. Bretton [Britton], Mary and Elizabeth Fannel [Funnell], Samuel Witts, Ann Bryant, Thomas Hooley, Charles Gumer [Gurney] and family, Anna [Hannah] and Mary [Maria] Kirby, John Nockolds, Abraham Ore and wife, George and Jane [John] Brazier, George Ingra and wife, Kitty Ann Tassell, Ellen Toffield, Lucy Ward, James Oliver, Elizabeth Kirkpatrick, James Gardner and family, William Hailey and wife, Joseph Meadows and wife, Mary and Hannah Dorney, Edward Bowles and wife, Jane Rowley, Thomas Oakley [Oakey] and family, Edward Wheeler and family, Frederick Wall and wife, Jenet [Janetta] and Mary Hodges, Emma Summers, Sarah Steed, Martha Chetwin, Mary Ann Newman (widow), her daughters, Eliza, Mary Ann, Caroline and Ellen, and sons, William and John, residents of Parowan, Iron county, Utah, since 1856; Sophia C[r]ook and daughter, Richard and Ann Godfrey, Anna Herbert and son, Thomas and Enoch Bowles, John Roberts, William Jeffry, Richard Hardwick, Richard Turner, George Humphries and family, Eliza Withom [Withorn] and son, Mercy Miller and son, Elizabeth Panting and family, James Read [Reid] and family, Martha Campkin and family, John James, George Curtis, William James and family, Harriet and Ellen C. Showell, Sarah West, Mary Roberts, Ellen Jones, William Smith and wife, John Bailey and family, Ann Rowley and family, residents of Parowan, Iron county, Utah, for fifty years; William Page.

From Wales—Catherine M. Griffiths, Edward Griffiths.

From Scotland—Allen M. Findlay and family, residents of Panacea, Nev., for thirty years; Archibald McPheil and family, Margery Smith and family, residents of Beaver City, Utah,, for thirty years; Alexander Birt or Burt, Salt Lake, Utah; Thomas Stewart and family, David Anderson, carpenter, resident of Salt Lake for fifty years; William Ledington and family, James Gibb and wife, Andrew Smith of Salt Lake, Mary A. Calchwell [Caldwell] and family, Barbara Kelly, Ann Tesit, Christina McNeil, John McCollick [McCullough], Jane A. Stuart [Stewart], Isabella Wilkey [Wilkie], John Stuart [Stewart] and family, John Kelly and wife, Elizabeth Forbes.

From Ireland—Joseph McKey (or McKay), Margaret Douglish [Dalglish].

From Sweden—John Ahmansen.

From Bombay—Elizabeth Tealt [Tait].

From the United States—Millen Atwood, Levi Savage, returning missionaries.

From Denmark—Peter Madsen and wife, Peter Jacobson and family, Ann Olsen, Berta Neilsen, Emma Browant [Bravandt], Marcan [Maren] Gregerson, Ella [Helle] Neilsen, Louiza Loutross, Johanna Maria Jensen (afterward the mother of James J. and J. Willard Squires, barbers of this city for many years), and her sister Catherine Jensen; Mari and Anne Anderson, Jens Sanberk [Sandberg], Anders Christensen, Cassius Hanson, Oleo [Ola] Wickland and family, Jens Peterson and family, Jens Neilson and family, Peter Larson and family, Paul Jacobson and wife, Rasmus P. Hanson, Mareann Jergonson [Jorgenson], Christen Jergonson, Carsten Jenson, Ni[e]ls Anderson and family, Andres [Anders] Jenson and family, Rasmus Hanson and wife, Lars Vandelin, Peter Mortenson and family, residents of Parowan, Iron county, Utah, for fifty years; Nils Hanson and wife, Anders Jergonson and family, Sophia Peterson and family, Peter Marsen [Madsen] and family, Ole Madsen, Petrina C. Jane

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Bearcats Purple Relay 5k

On March 21, the Bearcats For A Cure Relay For Life Team held the first annual Bearcat Purple Relay 5k.  Team Captain Keeley Jones organized the event.  Keeley and her team set up early in the morning at Mena High School where the start/finish line was located.

Race day registration was held from 6:30 to 7:30 A.M. with the race starting at 8:00.  The race participants really got into the spirit dressing in purple.  There was even had a a goat that participated.  

Keeley announced the start of the race at 8:00 A.M. and the runners headed off on the 5k course.

The race was a big success with lots of community participation.  

The Bearcats For A Cure team raised over $3,000 for the Relay For Life of Polk County.