Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Jay Richardson family 2012 Christmas update

December 2012

Dear Family and Friends,

I value the friendships made over the years. I want you to know at this Christmas time my love and appreciation for the positive influence you have made in my life and the lives of my children. I am still trying to adjust to life without Jay. It helps to keep busy with family and church. I have enjoyed this past year serving as a missionary at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City. I have standby flying privileges from my years of working for an airline so fly up every Wednesday morning and usually fly back to Arizona that evening. If any of you are in Salt Lake on a Wednesday afternoon I would love to give you a tour of that beautiful dedicated building. The auditorium has 21,000 seats with no obstructions and throughout the building there are over 50 original paintings plus a six acre roof garden with a beautiful view of Temple Square. Each week I have many wonderful missionary experiences giving tours to people that come from all over the world. Besides being a Conference Center Missionary I also serve as a spiritual care volunteer at the hospital here in Mesa and I have set a goal to go to the temple at least once a week. I am also the Mesa Alma Stake Historian and Keating Ward Canning specialist. This keeps me busy along with keeping up with my 11 living children, 64 grandchildren and 19 (plus more on the way) great grandchildren. I love to travel and enjoy invitations to travel with my children and families.

I miss Jay writing in rhyme about our family. Let me give you a quick rundown. Miriamand Tony live in Council Bluffs, Iowa where Tony is serving in the Stake Presidency and Miriam is a seminary teacher. They just opened their 10th Papa Murphy Take Home Pizza store. They have six of our great grandchildren. Kasey and Emily live in Provo and expect their second boy in February. Skylerand Rebekah and their two children live close to them in Council Bluffs, Carrie and Bret and their three children live in Bremerton, Washington. They are moving to Washington, DC for six months to work on a special project with the government. Dallas, Colby and Jamie attend BYU. It looks like they will have at least two weddings this year. Kayla, their youngest is the only one still at home. She is a junior in High School.

Marlene and Mark and their thirteen children live close by me here in Mesa where Mark is director of the Church Cannery. Melanieand Nate recently moved to Provo and are expecting their 4thchild, Bonnie and Spencer and their five with one on the way are in Mesa. Jordan and Kaitlin are completing his master’s degree at BYU and moving to Houston with their baby. Dallinand Laura are attending podiatry school in Des Moines and are expecting their first in March. Carl graduated from BYU and planning on going to medical school this fall. Garyis up at BYU. Rebekah is serving a mission in Guatemala and Jaron a mission in North Carolina. Emily graduates from Mesa High this spring and is excited to be one of the ten virgins in our Easter Pageant. I have an extra room if any of you want to come to Arizona for Easter. Quinn just turned 16 and is excited to drive. Their youngest three boys are Kyle, 13, Tyler, 11, and Ryan 8.

Rauna and Fred will have all eight of their children home for Christmas. Adriannejust graduated from BYU Idaho, Erin and Dantley have two cute little boys and are here in Mesa , Carinnefinished her mission in Argentina, Parker is at BYU, Nathan just returned home from his mission in Chile, Chelsea is attending BYU Idaho, Jamie is one of my four grandchildren graduating from High School this year. They have all applied to BYU and hope to get in. Their youngest Dale is a freshman at Mesa High. They provide plenty of entertainment for me because they all like to be in school and other musical and drama productions.

Joann and Robert live in Ohio where he is the Civilian Chief Engineer at the Dayton Air Force Base. They have nine children. Robert also serves in the Stake Presidency and Joann is the Primary Chorister. Camille and Jason live in Boston with their two little boys, Travis graduates from BYU this year and is planning a March wedding, Braden returned from his mission in Bulgaria and attended a semester at BYU Jerusalem. Derek is on a mission in Brazil, Janae graduates from High School this year, Evan is a High School Freshman,and Levi is in middle school and nine year old twins Spencer and Preston keep them busy.

Vernon and Connie live in Arkansas where Vernon is Dean of the Accounting Department at the University of Arkansas. They have a busy household of twelve children. Alison and Robert will finish at BYU this year, Alison with a bachelor’s degree and Robert with his masters. They expect their first baby in May. Their next two children, Melissa and Hyrum are also at BYU. Rebecca, Benjamin, Rachel, Bethany, Matthew, Daniel, David and Mason keep things busy at home. Their youngest is four.

Ray works in Chandler at Intel. He is still not married but we all have our hopes that it will happen soon.

Kenneth and Jenni enjoy living in Provo and all of the activities around BYU. Kenneth works as a doctor caring for the newborns at Utah Valley Hospital. They have five children. Betsy has two older brothers and two younger brothers. She enjoys Irish Folk Dancing competitions. Jaredwill graduate from High School in the spring, Marcus and Jared both play in the high school band. Adam was baptized just a year ago and Andy two weeks ago.

Margie and Russ are in the Air Force. Russ is currently training pilots in Del Rio, Texas. Margie is President of their Relief Society. Lucy started kindergarten this year and Jay (named for his Grandpa) keeps his mother company at home.

Melvin and Tami live in Farmington, Utah. Melvin is an anesthesiologist at the Davis County Hospital. They have three girls and then three boys. Kaitlin started Junior High this year. Ashley and Kaitlin are great violin players. I love hearing them perform. Lauren is a third grader. Their three little boys are about the same size. They were cute Three Musketeers for Halloween. Tanner is in Kindergarten, Carter turned four this month and Logan had his second birthday last week.

Dean and Jennifer live in Tacoma, Washington. Dean baptized Jennifer and they plan to be sealed next month. Jennifer is a wonderful homemaker. Dean’s two girls are Devyn in 4thgrade and Brielle in the first grade.

Amy is so good to stop by and help me. I don’t know what I would do without her. She enjoys fixing up her home. She has as great job as the program planner for the Arizona Hospital Association.

I hope this didn’t get too wordy for you but I didn’t know what to leave out. They are all so special to me. In summary ten of my 64 grandchildren were married in the temple with a good possibility of five or six more this year. I have 15 grandchildren that attended BYU this past year, four graduating from high school in the spring and three grandchildren that were just baptized. They all bring me lots of joy. I am attaching our family picture taken July 2011 at our Utah Family Reunion. All of Vernon’s family were in Europe except for Alison and Robert and missed the reunion.

For years Jay wrote a poem for us to include in our Christmas greeting. This is one of my favorites.

The Christmas season's upon us--
That "magical" time of year,
When the world's in a better mood,
With charity, hope, and cheer!

When we're commemorating,
Celebrating Christ's birth;
And all the things He's done for us,
From heaven and on earth,

The miraculous nativity;
His life of service and care;
But most of all His atonement--
It's blessings which we share.

We feel a little more "peace on earth,"
More "good will towards men"--
His spirit really does touch us,
As Christmas comes again.

Oh--one more thing--a suggestion,
For a more special Christmas view;
Think not "How much do I need to spend,"
But "How best can I serve you"!

The Christmas season's upon us--
That magical time of year!
May your Christmas time be happy--
Brim full of Christmas cheer!
--Jay M. Richardson

My love and wishes that you will have a lovely Christmas with your families and a New Year filled with the greatest blessings of our Father in Heaven.

Love, Lavona Richardson

Indonesia Christmas miracle

By Lavona Richardson

It was coming to the end of our mission in Bogor, Indonesia in December 2004.  We could have come home in time for Christmas but Jay and I decided that we wanted to spend Christmas with our friends in Indonesia to help them have a good Christmas.  Many of them were from Muslim families so what we could help provide would be the only Christmas they would have.

We were very busy finishing up all of our Humanitarian projects but scheduled a Christmas party with all the new members in Jasinga.  Jasinga was quite a distance from where we lived in a very remote area.  The day before the party we received a Christmas package from Miriam.  We opened it just enough to see that it contained things for a Christmas party and took it with us to our party.

When we arrived at Jasinga and looked into the package the first thing we saw was a string of Christmas lights.  We told our new friends that we needed a Christmas tree.  They took an axe and went out and cut a tree down and brought it into the member’s home where Church services were held.  Someone brought in a bucket of sand to set up the tree and we strung the lights around the tree.  They didn’t have electricity but had a generator that they set up to plug the lights in.  The lights were American lights and different than the electricity in Indonesia.  It was a miracle that they lit up. 

I will never forget the smiles on the children and the adults alike as they saw a Christmas tree for the first time all lit up. 

We pulled out of Miriam’s package some other decorations for the tree and gifts for everyone.  We sang Christmas carols around the tree.  I felt the Christmas spirit as we celebrated Christmas with these good people who had so recently found the Gospel of Jesus Christ and fully embraced it.  I know that Heavenly Father provided this miracle to let us know that he was pleased with what we were doing in this far off country and how we were celebrating his birth.  I enjoy lights on the Christmas tree and each year when we  string the lights around the tree and turn them on I remember this miracle of how the lights lit up in Indonesia  when they were not suppose to because it was t he wrong current.  I remember that all things are possible with our Heavenly Father when we do our part.  This was also a confirmation to me that he would continue to bless his children in Jasinga as they strive to live the teachings of their new Church even the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Princess Agnes Story -- Part 3

Part 3

One night, young Sarah had been sleeping in the wagon box on the ground, in camp outside the new house.  She woke in the night and cried out that Liz had pinched her.  Liz denied it and Sarah got settled down.  Later it happened again, until Green told her he’d lay down close to the wagon box by her to make sure Liz didn’t pinch her.  All went back to sleep until they awakened by another scream, this time from Green!  He jumped up and chased away a coyote!  In the morning, one shot from James’ gun and there was no more coyote!

James and Agnes’ family set up the household and life was good on the farm in Utah.  It wasn’t the same as a tobacco plantation that had provided them such luxury before, but here they could worship as they wished, and grow with the Saints in their new faith.  The hurts from the past had begun to heal and they settled down with their three children William, Charles, and Sarah, and of course Liz and Green, members of the family too. 

It was a bright Sunday in May of 1849, and the Flakes were all dressed up in the best Sunday clothes they had, sitting in church.  From the pulpit, Bishop announced new missionary assignments from the Brethren.  Agnes held her breath, but yes, James was called.  This time he was to go to California to scout out a place for the poor Saints who would come by water to the West Coast.  Once again, James was to be a colonizer and a friend to the poor and needy, as his son William would also become.
 Agnes encouraged James to go on this mission and do his duty, though it had been a shock for her. She felt like she should be used to James being away from her.  But he had tenderly stayed back from the original treks West, to care for her and the babies.  She had so loved his help and watchful care.  How great it had been here in Utah at last to farm together.  Agnes focused on enjoying every day that they spent together, working the farm. She knew there were poor Saints arriving on the West Coast that needed his expertise.  She tried once again to put her trust in the Lord.

October came, and then, the day of her James’ departure.  Just before he left for the barn, to saddle up Molasses, the mule he’d be taking (he’d left the best of the animals to help work the farm), James called over William. He was now almost 11.  “William,” said his father, “I am counting on you, son.  You are to be the man of the family for now.  Watch over your mother and your brother and sister.  You know how to farm, and the Lord will bless you while I am gone.”   James said a tender good-bye to Charles and little Sarah, not quite 3.  Then he pulled Agnes close.  “Lady Agnes,” he whispered, “my lovely bride.  How I love you.  How good you are, and true.”  Tears streamed down both of their faces.  They had been through a lot together.  He had had so many assignments to help the Saints with their trek.  But this seemed different, so final.  Their embrace was extra long, and extra sweet.  At last, Agnes pulled away.  She knew she must be strong, and send her darling on this mission.

Then, crickets came to Utah in the winter of 1849-50, hundreds and thousands of them in a big dark cloud.  Agnes and her family along with everyone else, were out fighting the crickets, trying to save their little crop.  If they lost it, they would starve.  But James was gone, and 11-year old William in charge.  He had everyone, Agnes, Charles, and Sarah, and Liz whacking at those crickets as hard as they could, while Green kept the awful smoky smudge pots burning.  As she whacked at those crickets as hard as she could with her hoe, while more kept coming, some even crawling up her dress, she suddenly started to laugh!  “Mother, are you all right?” asked Charles.  She had thought back to how as a little girl, she had tried to pick up a hoe in the backyard.  Father had been furious!  No daughter of his would handle a hoe!  And Agnes had been sent inside to sit with the ladies and learn needlework!

The saints fought and fought until the people were falling from exhaustion and yet the crickets seemed to be increasing.  At this point, the Lord sent another miracle.  “Although it was a bright day, a shadow fell over the fields, and a noise of wings came nearer; they wondered if it was a new calamity.  They looked up and the sky was full of gulls.  For a moment they stood in wonder.  Then the birds lit right at their feet, paid no attention to the people, but began picking up the crickets.  The people stood in awe, and witnessed the salvation of the Lord.”  The tame seagulls “filled their craw, flew to the stream, drank and disgorged and went back to their work, and never quit until the fields were cleaned.  Then they flew away.” Agnes and her kin dropped to her knees in gratitude for this wonderful miracle, and they knew the Lord was watching over them.  Today there stands in Temple Square, a seagull monument, the only monument built to honor a bird.

During his trip out to California, James and his company had their own trials.  When they  passed through what would later be called Death Valley, both the men and the animals were without water for a long time.  When they couldn’t go any further, they unsaddled the horses, and lay down on the sand, thinking they would soon die.  One man, Brother Rich, knelt down and told the Lord of their desperate condition and how much they were depending on Him.  After his prayer, he went back to the other men, aroused them, and told them help was in sight.  “They looked up at the bright, clear sky.  He told them to spread their canvas out prepared to catch water.  They looked at him, and he pointed to the West.  There they saw a small cloud, so small it could hardly be seen.  It grew rapidly, and they had no more than made their preparation, than the rain fell, and they caught all the water they needed for themselves and their horses.  They prepared a meal and went on their way rejoicing in the great blessing the Lord had showered down upon them.  The cloud had quickly disappeared, and the sun beat down on them as before.  Only a few rods from their camp, there was no evidence of the life-giving rain.”  (Osmer, p. 14) 

It was later on this trip that one of the men lost the cinch for his spirited horse.  James gave the man his, as he thought this man needed it worse, and went without.  But later, his own mule got spooked and James was thrown from it.  He called out “Brethren, lay hands on me!”  But these were his last words; he died of a broken neck.  It was a terrible tragedy, and Agnes was left a widow at age 30, with her three remaining children to raise.

Word reached her three months later, as she lay sick with tuberculosis.  Agnes was stunned and heartsick with this terrible blow.  Yet the Spirit was once again there to comfort her.  Agnes knew of the great reward to one who gave his life for his friend, and she took comfort in the greatness of her James.  He had given his means and his whole life since joining the church to helping his fellow men.  With time, she picked herself up and determined to endure.

With the memory of the struggle with crickets still fresh in her mind, and recovering slowly from her TB, Agnes decided to leave farming.  A group of her friends—converts from Mississippi—were leaving to go settle in San Bernadino Valley, CA.  The weather was mild and the ocean air would be good for her lungs.  So in 1851, Agnes and her children sold their farm and took yet another journey to California.  It was another long, hard journey, this one across the desert.  The family suffered greatly many times without water.  Once when she stopped to have the wagon repaired, the family who had also stopped, who she had planned to travel with, gave up and turned back.  But Agnes would not quit, and rushed to catch up with a group. Once when William was going for the hobbled mule, he was chased and nearly killed by a large pack of wolves.  At first, he threw rocks at them, but soon there were so many that he couldn’t turn his back on them and had to back up to the mule, jump on it unhobbled, and race for camp. The other mule followed and would grab a wolf and throw it, then stomp or kick another.

Arriving near San Bernadino, going in on the purchase of lands took most of their means, but Agnes kept the wagon and mules to help make a living.  At first the family lived in a fort with the other families.  School for her kids was held under a sycamore tree.  But her boys William and Charles set to making adobe bricks—in fact, their small adobe brick home was among the very first in the new community.  Agnes was proud of her boys, and she made her kids a dried apple pie to celebrate!  The house was great--except for the sand that blew in the cracks and drifted inches deep on the floor.

The Gold Rush brought many adventurous young men to the West Coast.  Among them was one of Agnes’ brothers, Augustus.  From Los Angeles, he heard of his sister being in San Bernadino, and came out to see her.  He knew nothing of her since she had left Mississippi.  At first, it had been a joyous reunion.  “Gus!” she had exclaimed, so happy to see family again, and hear all the news.  When he found that she was a widow and living in poverty, Gus begged her to return with him to the old home.  They all had plantations of their own, and now that their parents had died, she could have all the land of their plantation, the home and all the slaves she needed to work it with.  They would all be glad to welcome her back.  She could live as a lady, raise her children as gentlemen and lady, give them all good educations, and never again know want or hunger or trouble.  ‘All I ask of you,” he said, “is to give up Mormonism, and have nothing more to do with it.”  For a small second Agnes remembered her old life, but then she looked Gus in the eye, ‘You don’t think you are asking much, do you?’  ‘No,’ he said, ‘very little.’  She replied, ‘It’s more than my life’s blood.  I would rather wear my nails off over my washtub to support my children, than to take them away from the Church, for I know it is true.’  He asked, ‘Agnes, is that your answer?’  ‘Yes’ she replied, and he turned and walked away a few steps then turned and said, ‘Agnes, if you ever change your mind, write me and I will come for you at once.’  She answered ‘Brother, you will never get that letter.’  She never saw nor heard from any of her kin people again.   

Agnes rejoiced as faith and testimony grew in her children.  She knew her own health was bad, however, and didn’t know how long she could live.  So she found a good family, the Lyman’s, who promised to take in her kids if she were to die.  And she wrote as much in her will.  She felt at peace knowing they would be in good hands with this family, strong in the gospel.

If I had to live with sand blowing in my home, or scrub filthy clothes all day in scalding water, I am afraid that my thoughts may have wandered to all I had given up for the gospel.  Think of it:  she gave up her life of luxury, her beautiful clothes, her jewels, her servants.  She had left her family, had lost four sons and her husband.   She had lost her beauty and her health.  But not Agnes—according to William’s account, she refused to complain.  She did not murmur, but remained faithful and true to her convictions.   

What had she gained instead?  Agnes did not get her Happily Ever After in this life, but her riches were of the heavenly, eternal kind. When she died a year or so later, just 35 years old, her dying words to her children told them of her strong, treasured testimony of the restored Gospel.  She would be a Queen forever, with her beloved James.  She gave her all, so that her children would also have those lasting blessings.  D & C 132:19 tells of thrones, kingdoms, principalities and powers, and dominions promised to those who receive their temple blessings, and a “continuation… forever”.  Generations honor her, as they would a queen.  And look what she has given them--Us, who now number in the thousands and 10’s of thousands.  The same eternal blessings, world without end, of being Kings and Queens forever, are also ours if we are loyal to the royal within us.


Family Group Record of James Madison Flake and Agnes Haley Love.

Osmer D. Flake, William Jordan Flake:  Pioneer, Colonizer.  1933.

Roberta Flake Clayton, To the Last Frontier:  Autobiography of Lucy Hanna White Flake.  1923.

Illustrated Stories from Church History stories. Promised Land Publications. 1973.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Christ at Christmas

Christ at Christmas

Last night I dreamed that Jesus came to our house Christmas day!
He watched us celebrate, and go about our merry way.

He smiled as gifts were given out from underneath the tree,
And thanked us for some presents we had wrapped so carefully.

He sat down at our Christmas feast and quietly dined with us;
Spoke calmly when some milk was spilled, and when kids raised a fuss.

In every way he fit right in, just one of the family—
We felt at ease, for he was kind and gentle as could be.

I asked him, when the day was done, if there were some way He
Would wish for us to celebrate our Christmas differently.

He said, “Dear friend, I’m pleased that you would celebrate my birth,
I’ve made no laws to govern how you keep this day on earth.

“But just hear this—avoid excess, in mirth or spending spree.
Give to those who are in need, and do remember Me.”

Last night I dreamed that Jesus came to our house Christmas Day.
Since then I’ve prayed, “Lord, help us keep a holier holiday.”
                                                                             --Jay M. Richardson

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Princess Agnes Story -- Part 2

Part 2

    Lady Agnes Haley Love Flake loved it in Nauvoo.  James had built them a beautiful brick home, right next to the new temple.  The family could step out on the porch and watch it’s progress.  The people were kind and friendly.  The peace and the Spirit were strong.  A new baby was on the way, due the next October.  Agnes loved the sisters of Relief Society and the sewing circles, where the ladies gathered to sew shirts for the workers on the temple.  She loved the new friends and the faith they all shared.   James so enjoyed helping to finish building the temple.  He gave every possible minute to that wonderful cause.  And soon, December 23rd, he was ordained a member of the 8th Quorum of the Seventy by the same Brother Clapp that had baptized him in Mississippi.

    One day, shortly after their arrival in Nauvoo, Green and young William Jordan returned from bringing a lunch to James at the temple together.  Green had carried William, now 5 years old, up the winding staircase inside the uncompleted temple clear to the top, where he let William gaze upon the sights below in every direction.  They saw hundreds of houses and buildings, with trees and gardens, and streets that stretched out to the surrounding farmlands and the curving Mississippi river bank.  It was an awesome sight, one that William Jordan Flake was to remember his entire life.   

    The Winter of 1944 was bitter and cold.  The Flake family had not been used to frost, snow and biting winds, in mild Mississippi.  That winter, 5-year old William had taken a handful of gun powder from  his Father’s powder horn and thrown it on the fire to see how it would burn.  As a result, he saw nothing for weeks!  Agnes helped fashion a black cloth mask with eye holes to go over her poor boys’ face for two or three months til he got a new one, the old face having burned off!  She tried her best to help him through the pain.  The winter also brought sickness, and young Richmond, just 2 ½, died in early 1945.  It was sorrowful, yet easier to bear with the Saints beside them through the ordeal and then the burial.  Words of truth and love were preached at the services, and their baby had a proper grave in the community cemetery. 

    For a time after the Prophet’s death, the community was left alone in peace.  But when the enemies of the church found that his death had not stopped the growth and prosperity of the Mormons, they began anew with their persecutions.  William, now 6, would later remember looking out of the window many times on awful scenes:  mobs of angry men, their faces painted, shouting in throngs down the street, and robbing and looting the nearby homes.  William would dash from the window and hide, shaking with terror until the noise finally stopped and the men had gone.  Once again, Agnes had been grateful for Green and his faithful protection, while James was gone so much building the temple.  She had been in frail health, mourning Richmond and then giving birth to little Samuel in October of 1845.   

    Brother Brigham and the other brethren rushed to finish the temple enough to give the Saints their temple blessings.  Day and night they labored until finally the glorious day came that James and Agnes entered the beautiful temple, and each received their endowment, towards the end of 1845.  Strength from heaven seemed to fill them, and they knew that with this extra endowment of power, they could face the uncertainties ahead.  How they rejoiced to receive their temple blessings. 

    It became evident that the happy times in Nauvoo were soon to end.  That Agnes would have to leave her new beautiful brick home.  James was always ready to help with poorer of the Saints, both with his might and with his means. Edie and her family had not cared for the cold Northern winters they were not used to and were homesick for the South, so James took them back home.  While he was in Mississippi, he sold his plantation at a loss and got many mules in partial payment, in order to help the Saints with their exodus.  The first groups had had to leave in February, but James and Agnes’ assignment was to stay to help til the last ones were outfitted and ready.    

    Soon, they too loaded up their wagon and left behind their beautiful city and home and crossed the Mississippi, numb at the thought of leaving their temple.  When they had journeyed from the South two years earlier, it had been summer.  Now it was late Spring, and very cold.  William, now almost 7, and Charles, going on 4, and teenaged Liz walked along behind the wagon, driving their loose cows and stock.  Agnes rode in the wagon with the new baby Samuel, knowing that another was on the way to be born shortly after Samuel’s first birthday.  She hoped and prayed that these babies would thrive despite the rude conditions. 

    It had been a rainy spring that year, and the trails were always muddy.  Often when it rained hard, and there was so much mud, the kids crowded into the wagon with her, and she would wince at the mud their feet brought in, but try to occupy them with stories and songs.  But if the mud got deep and the oxen could not pull they would have to wait for James and Green to pull them out, and sometimes, they had to lighten the wagon. One day when the hems of her dress was mud-stained, and her cheeks were sunburned despite her bonnet, James took the baby from her, handed him to Liz, and caught her up in his arms to tell her she was beautiful!  It was his way of saying,“You are still my princess!”  She would then have to laugh despite everything!  

    The sisters tried to lighten each others’ loads.  Agnes herself held pans to catch rain water so it wouldn’t drip on the more than one woman giving birth in a wagon.  “If mother could see me now!" Agnes would silently exclaim!

    Finally the family made their way to Winter Quarters.  The home they could procure there was a rude dugout:  uncomfortable, cramped, and smoke-filled, this was like nothing they had ever lived in before, yet it was warm and safe.  Once, after the Saints had barely made it across the Mississippi, the Lord had provided them with a whole flock of quail.  Now, He made available to them a large field of corn and a huge herd of pigs.  They were grateful for the cornbread and pork, and for the fish her expert fishermen James and William could catch for variety.  These tasted as good as a Southern banquet!

    The Brethren tried to lift the Spirits of each other.  They planned dancing parties and songfests to cheer them.  Agnes loved to dress up as best she could, and venture out with James for a nice evening together.  She was still his sweetheart, and, he insisted, the most beautiful lady there (even with her very large pregnant tummy!).  Agnes also spent time during the long winter months teaching her boys to read using the bible. 

    It was there in Winter Quarters, in their smoky dugout with a fire for warmth, on November 3rd, 1846, that Frederick Flake was born, then died the same day.  How it hurt to lay her baby in his tiny grave in the wilderness cemetery, covered with stones to protect it.  And then, she had to leave it too, for the government required the whole settlement to move back across the Missouri river, since it turned out they were on Indian lands.  So in the middle of winter, the family had to squeeze in with another family as best they could until they come up with a rude dwelling of their own, in Kanesville, later called Council Bluffs.  Disease hit the encampment, due to conditions and lack of proper nutrition.  Little 17-month old Samuel followed Frederick in death the next March and he was buried in the Pioneer Cemetery.  Poor Agnes was shaken with grief and sorrow.  She had lost four of her precious sons, and this one at a time when many were dying and not much attention could be given to each one. Still she endured, turning again to the Lord for help, and longing for Zion, the promised community where they could live in peace and prosperity.

    Many years later, a sculptor Avard Fairbanks was asked to create a sculpture fitting for the front of the Winter Quarters Cemetery.  He was acquainted with the Flake family of his generation and he graciously affirmed that his statue of a mother and father standing in the wind over the new grave of their baby could represent James and Agnes, and their sacrifice.  Baby Fredrick’s name is engraved on the plaque as one of the first who died and were buried in this cemetery.

    When the first group of wagons was to leave for the West, James knew that Agnes was in no condition to go.  How he wanted to lighten her load and give her happiness and peace.

    As plans progressed for the first trek out West, James approached Brigham Young one day, “Brother Brigham,” he began, “My family is not in a position to go with you this time.  My wife is not well.  We do not have the money left for more supplies.  But I do have a fine sturdy wagon, Prairie Schooner, with my fine white American mules, that brought my family from North Carolina, then from Mississippi, and you know Green—he’d be willing to drive it and serve as your bodyguard, sir.  I’d consider it an honor if you would take it on your journey, if it could be of help.”  “I’d be much obliged,” replied Brother Brigham Young, “Thank you for your kind offer.”   The plan was for Green to carry supplies on the trek, scout out the new settlement in the West, and then begin a homestead for the family, before sending the team and wagon back for them.  This faithful Green did.  In fact, as the Saints first entered the Salt Lake Valley, it was in Green Flake’s wagon that Brigham Young lay sick, before he raised up to exclaim, “This is the Right Place.  Move on!”  Years later, Brigham Young himself told this and more about his father James, to William who accompanied him as body guard on a trip to Southern Utah.

    After a time, Agnes longed for one more baby.  Of her six sons, she had lost four, and she felt that there was one more child to join their family.  She begged James for a blessing of peace, comfort, and health.  Then, when she had healed sufficiently, and felt her health return, another baby did join the family.  And to her disbelief and great joy, it was a girl!  Sarah James Flake, her darling little princess, who was hers to teach the womanly arts.  And it was Sarah, along with Charles and William, who lived to adulthood.  

    The family did make the trek to Salt Lake in the summer of 1848, with James elected as a Captain of 100 wagons. The Saints depended  on James for fresh meat—sometimes from the herds of buffalo along the route—and to take up the rear and watch over the slower of the pioneers.  William’s job each day was to use a bull whip and throw the lash over the wagon covers to awaken everybody for the early start of the day’s journey.  William turned 8 years old along the way and was baptized in the Elk Horn River by his father. When the family arrived, there was a log house Green had begun for them in the Cottonwood part of the valley.  Here they were there among the Saints in peace, with the brethren at the head, and with the promise of another temple they would one day build.