Thursday, April 29, 2010

COMING TO AMERICA


One thing you should know about me is that I am nothing if not obsessive-compulsive. I dive into quilting and cannot pull myself away. The same is true of family history and genealogy. I have not been involved in the genealogy for quite a while, but recently have been drawn back into it. Maybe it is the upcoming family reunion in Utah in August, and the ancestor quilt I am making. (You see how nicely I drew two of my compulsions together?) Yesterday I decided to re-type a short history of my great-grandmother's. The photo copy that I have is old and beginning to fade, so I now have it typed in a folder on my computer. The history is very brief, and some of the details are heart breaking.
The family's name was Scow. They left Denmark in 1866 to immigrate to Utah to join the other Mormons who had gathered there under the direction of Brigham Young.Their five children were ages 1, 9,12,14 and 18. First they traveled by steamship to Hamburg, Germany. Then on May 25, 1866 they boarded the sailing vessel Kennelworth and spent fifty-two days on the Atlantic Ocean before landing in New York on July 18, 1866. From there they boarded a train to carry them northward through New England. In Canada they had to travel on dirty and uncomfortable freight and cattle cars to Michigan and then on to Chicago. The heat was unbearable this time of year.  Finally reaching Quincy, Illinois they boarded a steamboat that took them to Wyoming, Nebraska. Oxen teams pulled wagons that carried them the rest of the way to Salt Lake City, Utah. The wagon carried their family of seven plus three other women, provisions and furniture. Considering the way we travel today, can you even imagine what this might have been like? 

Nine year old Sam became ill with malaria fever and still had to walk most of the way. Grandmother prayed for his life and for four days they expected to have to bury him. They even had burial linens prepared. Finally Grandmother retired to a quiet spot and asked the Lord to forgive her for presuming her child should be saved while she had seen so many others buried by the side of the trail. She said, "Thy will, not mine be done". Sam began recovering and by the time they reached Salt Lake City he could walk by holding on to things.  

As they approached Salt Lake City they were met by people carrying baskets of fruit which were freely distributed among them. I imagine they wept with joy.

Their trials were not over, but this part of their journey was. I feel fortunate to know this much about them and what they endured. The personal history was written down as my Great-Great-Grandmother, Catherine Scow Davidson, told it. She was 12 years old during this time. I was able to find other information on line that discussed the very group that they traveled with, both on ship and by wagon. What a thrill for me to be able to add more details to this story! I am so proud to be a descendant of these people and so grateful for their sacrifice. I know they are not unusual in their struggles, they are just mine! 



12 comments:

sewprimitive karen said...

Marcie, it is amazing that you have so much detail in your family histories.

Annette said...

What a great story. My family has stories just like that and I love to read them.

W. Latane Barton said...

So you are a genealogist too? Amazing. I've done it for years and years but took a break. The tv show 'Who Do You Think You Are' got me going again. You just can't turn loose of some things.

Country Log Cabin Quilter said...

How interesting! My great-great grandfather came from Norway in 1864 and they were shipwrecked near Scottland. They also travelled by box car and steam boat to reach Minnesota. He eventually owned 2500 acres of land and had 13 children. The stories are amazing and we are hoping to do more research on DH's to grandfathers who both died at young ages. I hope we can get a lot of the gaps filled in.

Kelli said...

Thanks for sharing your wonderful history - it is inspiring and so interesting!

Elaine Adair said...

Your ancestors would be so proud of you for knowing some of the wheres and whats of their voyage!

Sew Create It - Jane said...

Wow-what a journey! It's really great that you are documenting it all!

Libby said...

Isn't it wonderful to have actual accounts of the journey your family made!

Lori said...

How nice to know that history!!
We share a Danish heritage too. My grandfather came from Denmark about 1862 as an indentured servant. That's about all I know.:)

Mrs. Goodneedle said...

What an incredible and amazing story to hear, I can't even comprehend such hardships and how difficult this journey was on so many different levels. You are so fortunate to know that you are a descendant of such an amazing woman of great faith! Thanks for sharing, Marcie, I love it!

Sandra Henderson said...

I am so happy for you that you have this family hisotry documented. Such a treasure! Thank you so much for sharing it with us. Folks talk about documenting quilts, but it's also very important to let your children know the stories about where they came from.... :)

ROZ said...

Yes, people went through so much sacrifice to get to America. We have to remember that. My grandmother was about 9 years old when she came from Russia with her grandmother.