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Every Life is a Story
    A place to share my own family stories

Monday, July 2, 2007

No Pioneers Here

Living in Utah, we celebrate more than just Independence Day in July. We also have our Twenty-fourth of July celebration which honors the pioneers that helped settle the state. I love the history of this state, and reading about the things that the pioneers suffered on the trail to get here. I also feel a bit of an inferiority complex when I hear friends talk about all the great people they are related to. I have no pioneer heritage whatsoever. My family did come out west, but not until the 1920's and 1930's.

My great grandfather Edward was a murderer. The first man he murdered, the judge let him off because the man he killed "needed killing". The second was a young man who had come to the house and bothered his daughters. He shot the man as he was riding away. Now, had the man died on the property, it would have been considered self-defense. He died just a few feet OFF the property, however, and my great grandfather was convicted of murder and sentenced to the King Ranch. When he got out, he decided to take his family and move out west. On the trip, my grandmother got very sick. My great grandfather declared that he wasn't waiting for her, and dropped her off at the first family that would take her, and left. I don't believe she ever saw him again.

My grandmother recovered, and ended up marrying the son of the family that took her in. She was just 14 years old. This was during the time of the Oklahoma dust bowl, and everyone was looking to move out west. Because my Grandfather could fix cars, a wealthier couple made him a deal that if he kept their car running all the way to Oregon, my grandparents could come with them. They arrived in Oregon with only 10 cents to their name, and to make ends meet, my grandfather became a bootlegger.

On my mother's side of the family, the pioneer heritage isn't much better. My grandmother moved out to Oregon when she was a very young girl. I asked my mother, who has been doing genealogy for the family if we had ANY pioneer heritage in the family lineage. Her response was that she found one couple that settled in Kentucky- because that's where the train tracks ended.

I am actually very proud of my family heritage, and love them all, their faults and criminal tendencies included. They make for fabulous stories! I might not have the pioneer heritage like most native Utahns have, but my family made it out west. They suffered and sacrificed in their own, sometimes misguided way. I honor them for that.


At July 2, 2007 at 2:52 PM , Blogger Kelly said...

I have one side with the Utah pioneer heritage, but the otherside, came west in the early 1940s or grew up in Salt Lake but whose parents came from Scotland.

I know more about the non pioneer side of the family than I do the pioneer side.


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