Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Special memories of Nauvoo and Carthage

Lavona Richardson

I am grateful for the opportunity Jay and I had to serve together in Nauvoo and Carthage.  I have so many special memories of serving at Carthage, walking down Parley Street, visiting the old Nauvoo cemetery, seeing the temple on the bans of the Mississippi every day, serving at a different historic site every day, making gingerbread for the bakery, morning devotionals, the huge flowers at the Family History center, making bread at the Family History Center, the re-enactment of the founding of Relief Society at the Red Brick store, being a narrator for the wagon rides, delivering the mail, carving pumpkins for the Halloween Walk,, directing the choir of missionaries as we sang on the steps of the Nauvoo Temple at Christmas time, serving as an ordinance worker at the Nauvoo Temple and so many more.

I have a special memory of serving in Carthage and giving tours there of the jail.  I always felt a special spirit in the martyrdom room as I testified of Joseph Smith.  Jay and I served a mission in Indonesia before serving in Nauvoo.  We felt as urgency to put in our mission papers again to serve.  I didn’t put on my papers that I served as a missionary in Mexico fifty years before and spoke Spanish.  Jay wasn’t fluent in Spanish and I wanted to go to a mission where he would be more comfortable. 

One morning we were serving in Carthage when a family from Spain came that didn’t speak any English.  The site leader turned to me and said “You were called for such a time as this”.  I prayed fervently that I could teach them in their native tongue to help them feel the spirit of Carthage.  As I gave the tour I was saying words in Spanish that I didn’t even know and they understood. These were words that I didn’t use as a missionary when I served in my youth.  It was truly the gift of tongues.  I was an instrument in the Lord’s hands in bearing testimony. We all could feel the spirit so strong as I testified of Joseph Smith.  

A short time later while we were still serving in Carthage a bus load of people from the area where I served in Mexico came and I was able to give them a tour in Spanish.  I saw more of my friends I had known on my mission that day than I could have ever seen visiting Mexico.

After that for the rest of my mission I was already assigned to be a narrator on the wagon ride or at a site when someone would come usually without scheduling ahead of time that needed to have their tour in Spanish.  Sometimes I would go with them to the different sites to give them the tour in their native language.

Another favorite memory is translating for a sister that didn’t speak English at the Nauvoo Temple for Sister Wirthlin as she visited with her before her temple marriage. 

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Early life of James Mark Nelson

EARLY LIFE OF JAMES MARK SR. Compiled by Lavita Nelson Bingham

In 1867 when James Mark was two years o1d, his father Price Wi1liarn who was living in Logan, Utah was called to help settle St. Thomas on the Muddy River in Nevada. Again when he was a litt1e past eight years of age, they were advised to go to a place called Glendale in Utah which had been vacated five years before on account of trouble with the Indians. It was a long hard journey which required six weeks. When they arrived, they were given the homes just as the people had left them plus a small farm in addition. Price Wi11iam, the father, went into the shingle business in the nearby mountains, taking the family with him. When deep snows came in the winter, they all moved back to the va1ley. Price William did fairly well in the business for several years. He took livestock in trade which netted him quite a herd of cattle. They stayed in Glendale for seven years. By this time, a large part of the family had married and left the family home. Many people were leaving to settle in Arizona, so father Price took his family to Moencopi, Arizona. They were among the first settle there. They stayed here for a while and then moved to Payson, Arizona for a short time, then on to Pine, Arizona. James Mark and his brother Hyrum helped their father build the first grist mi1l in the Payson- Pine district. The original split 1og house the boys helped their father build is sti11 standing and is stil1 occupied today, but it has been covered with lumber and roofing which was before 1970. The apple orchard planted at that time was bearing fruit up until 1970 when the farm was sold to a man who wanted to commercialize it, so he grubbed the poor o1d apple trees out. In February, 1887, the Nelson family decided to go to 01d Mexico. The government had issued grants of land to be colonized by the Mormon people. They were welcome to help develop their country. After leaving Pine and Payson with teams and wagons, they traveled through the Gila Va11ey by way of Safford and Thatcher. They started with quite a herd of cattle. When reaching San Simon, they decided to sel1 them. They had been warned to be careful as a plan was underway to get their money. Price William Senior, along with sons Mark and Hyrum took the money for the cattle and left at night in a light wagon or "rig" as they ca11ed it, drawn by a pair of sma1l mules ca11ed “rats” for they were very sma1l but traveled fast. The rest of the company followed in a few days and soon they were together again. Mark was now twenty-one years of age. The family decided to make their way into the well- timbered Sierra Madre Mountains of Chihuahua, Mexico. Building the road as they went was a hard and slow process, so it took them quite a long time to reach their destination. They finally reached Cave Valley named for the many caves and cliff dwellings. A man by the name of Campbell put up a sma1l saw-mill and Mark and Hyrum hauled logs from the mountains for him. They also freighted lumber to a railway station at Ascencion where it was shipped to other parts of the land. The Nelsons put up a grist mill, on which they ground corn for bread and also for corn meal mush which was the main diet of the people for some time after they settled there. They manufactured a turning lathe with which they made the legs and rounds for chairs and tables and other furniture using oak and maple from the nearby forests. They sold these products to others who came there to live. Colonla Diaz was the first colony settled by the Mormon people. Even before they came, there were large cattle ranches very near. The Diaz people added to the industry. That could be more enticing to a young man living in the mountains where opportunities were few, than to go to work on a large cattle ranch? That is what James Mark did. He got a job on the Henderson and Gruel Ranch. He was a good cowhand, but when round-up came no one was a better cook than James Mark, so he traded his saddle and bridle for the dutch ovens and the bean pots. His campfire biscuit baked in large dutch ovens left little to be desired when served with steak and brown gravy. It was here in Colonia Diaz near Christmas time In 1888, that he met Hannah Bothelda Mortensen. Mark fe11 in love with her right from the first. He asked for her company during the holidays, but waited until Hannah was sixteen the following August, before asking her father for her. To his request, Martin Peter Mortensen replied, ” I’m too poor to give a girl away”. But Karen Katrina, her mother, spoke up and said, “You’re poor now because you have so many girls.” Martin Peter gave his approval and consent, but said "Im afraid you will never give Hannah a home." These are almost the exact words that Lydia Ann’s father said to her when she was married to Mark’s father.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Remembering Irene S. Flake on her birthday

Dear Brothers and Sisters, my children and grandchildren,

     My mother, Irene Stratton Flake's birthday was on March 18th.  She would have been 109 years old.  I want to preserve her memory.  Here are some of my memories of my mother that I am thinking about on her birthday.   These are in no particular order but just as I think about them.  

   Celebrating my youngest brother's birthday on the same day as our Mother's birthday and the day after the Relief Society celebrates it's birthday.

   The great love that Daddy and Mother had for each other and the joy they had being together.  They liked to go on trips together and my memories are that Daddy always came first in her life.  Mother always did everything she could to make Daddy happy—fixing special meals when he had stomach problems, traveling with him, being his scribe, etc.  ·
   Mother was a great helper to Daddy when he served as Bishop—she helped with tithing settlement from the big desk in our living room, gave parties to the servicemen when they came home on furloughs, etc.
   Mother had several businesses that she ran from our home where she could first be our Mother and then add to our family income and give service to others—bookstore, picking up and delivering dry cleaning, writing for the newspaper, ordering movies for the twice weekly ward theatre, etc.  ·

   Mother was always interested in our activities—I remember all her help when I was married and coming back to Chicago to help our when my first baby was born.  She was always there for all of us when we needed her.
  Mother was the one that wrote us each week while we were on a mission, at BYU,  and away from home. Daddy would sometimes tell her to tell us something but she was the one that kept the correspondence going.
 Mother and Daddy came and picked all of us up from our missions when we had successfully fulfilled our missionary assignment.  They let us know how happy they were that we had served well. 

  One of the biggest motivations that I had to do well was the motivation to make my mother proud of my activities.  I always enjoyed reporting in to her and wanted to make the report a good one.   Even at 95 years of age she was interested in each one of her children, grand children and great grandchildren.  She knew each one of us and our activities.  She loved to visit about what we were all doing.   
 Mother had a keen mind—just a month or so before she died she was saying the Articles of Faith and naming the presidents of the church.  She would go down listing all her grandchildren and great grandchildren and knew them all by name.  She graduated top of her class out of High School and in those days not many went on to college.  She worked hard at NAU to put herself through to get her teaching certificate. 
 Mother was a people person.  She had lots of friends and always remembered what they were involved in and would visit with them about their interests.  She knew everyone.  I could ask her about anyone and she would know if or how they were related and their interests, etc. 
Mother loved the temple.  She enjoyed her temple friends and being involved.  She especially liked to help with the new brides, and liked to help with the temple weddings of her daughters and granddaughters. Even though she didn’t speak Spanish she learned the temple ceremonies in Spanish and made lots of friends with the Mexican people that would come to the temple. 
 Mother loved books.  She enjoyed her home bookstore and always provided good reading material for all of us as we were growing up.  Whenever I had been away from home for a length of time one of my first stops upon returning home was to see what the new books were and made plans to read them.  ·
 I can remember of always having family prayer as we were growing up and home night before it was promoted by the church.  I remember cookouts on the hill, taking lunch to the cowboys, performing for the family in the “lodge”, etc.   Christmas and Thanksgiving were big holidays in my growing up years.  The races to the tree have been carried down to our children and grandchildren.  I remember the big Thanksgiving dinners. 

Mother was a good cook.  She made great rolls, pies, carrot pudding and cinnamon rolls.   I remember the Saturday night cinnamon rolls after the house was clean and ready for Sunday and we had our Saturday night baths and maybe a movie at the ward movie theater. I remember coming home to the aroma of freshly baked bread.

 Some of my family has commented that I am looking more like my mother every day.  This is to be a great compliment.  My hope is that I can live my life so that Mother and Daddy will be happy with my activities and that I can endure faithfully to the end of my life like they did and that all of our posterity will honor their name and their lives by the way they live their lives.  Thank you Mother and Daddy for your great example and for the  great heritage you left all of your posterity. 

I hope that  my brothers and sisters, children and grandchildren  can feel my love for each one of you.

  Lots of love now and forever,                                               

Lavona Flake Richardson

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Remembering the birthdays of two great men

January 27, 2016

Dear Family,

 I am thinking of the two great men who have birthday anniversaries today.  Granddaddy Flake (Bruce Merlin Flake) was born on January 27, 1907 and our son, Donald Bruce Richardson on January 27, 1972.

I wish more of you could have known my Daddy. I am so grateful that he is my Dad and for being born into an LDS home where Daddy and Mother taught me the gospel both in our home nights and by their example.  I am grateful for the great influence Daddy has been in my life.  He taught me to be honest, trustworthy and dependable. .  Raising a good and righteous family was the top priority for my Daddy and Mother as they worked together.   I have so many memories of a home where I felt loved.  I had and continue to have a great respect for my father and a desire to make him happy with my choices in life.

Some of his teachings I remember are, "Remember Who You Are", "It is darkest just before the dawn", and “Hold Tight to the Willows".  He taught me to be dependable and to be completely honest in all of my dealings.  Daddy taught me the joy of missionary service as I remember all the missionary experiences he shared with us and his great love for the Mexican people, Daddy taught me the importance of temple work with the example he and mother showed to travel to Mesa to the temple so often and to sacrifice whatever to be there to fulfill their assignments.  Daddy taught me leadership as he served so faithfully and well as bishop in Snowflake ward and in the high council.  Daddy taught me the love of family.  He made me want to make him happy with the choices I make in my life.  

Donald only lived for seven hours.   It was such a great blessing for him to come to our home.  .  I think of the quote of Joseph Smith that says, “The Lord takes many away, even in infancy, that they may escape the envy of man, and the sorrow and evils of  this present world; they were too pure, too lovely, to live on earth; therefore if rightly considered, instead of mourning we have reason to rejoice.”    I take comfort in knowing that Donald is with his brother Dale, his, Dad  and  Grandparents.  I like to think that they are missionary companions .

Almost every day I think of these great men and the principles of the gospel that they taught me.  I am a better person because of the lives of my eternal companion, Jay M. Richardson, my father, Bruce Merlin Flake and my son, Donald Bruce Richardson.  They all make me want to strive to better live the gospel so that I can be with them again.

Lots of love now and forever,

 Mom, Grandma, Lavona