by Garry Flake
The great-great grandchildren of Bruce and Irene Flake are the Eighth Generation members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Great personal sacriﬁces were made to accept and remain faithful as members.
James Madison Flake and his wife, Agnes Hailey Love Flake lived in northern Mississippi. In the
winter of 1843-44, they opened their door to Elder Benjamin Clapp. They learned his message was of the gospel of Jesus Christ. They learned and felt the Spirit testify of the truth. Their relatives turned against them. They became outcasts when they were baptized. They gave up their good land, their quite prosperous conditions, freed their slaves and joined the saints in Nauvoo.
They remained in Nauvoo less than two years before crossing the Mississippi, driven out by the mobs, beginning their trip west in February 1946. Three of their six children died before they arrived in the Salt Lake Valley in 1848. Two years later, in 1850, James was called to leave his family and go with an exploratory party to ﬁnd locations where the Saints could settle in California. He was thrown from his mule in the San Joaquin Valley and died. He was wrapped in a blanket and buried at the side of the trail. He gave his life in the service of God having always remained faithful to the decision he had made to join the Church just six years earlier.
In 1851, Agnes and her three remaining children went to San Bernardino, California fulﬁlling the assignment she and her husband had received. It was a difﬁcult time for them. With the Gold Rush, her brother came to California. He visited Agnes and told her if she would return back to North Carolina with him, she have a nice home, good land and education for her children. However, there was one condition, she had to give up Mormonism. She said to him, “You don’t think you are asking much do you?” “No,” he replied, ‘very little.” She replied, “I would rather wear my nails off on the wash tub to support my children than to take them away from the Church. I know it is true.” In 1854, ten years after joining the Church, Agnes passed away leaving three children under the age of ﬁfteen.
Her ﬁnal words to her eldest son, William (our direct descendent) was, “I will hold you responsible for your every act. You must set an example for your brother and sister, worthy of your standing.” James and Agnes knew the Church was true and always stayed faithful despite the challenges. They gave their lives. William and Lucy kept the trust as did James and Martha following them then, in their turn, Bruce and Irene did the same. Will we pass the same legacy to the next generation? Are we worthy of our standing?