On Friday September 4 two small activities were held in Salt Lake City. One group met at the FamilySearch classrooms in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building for a short tutorial on the electronic based programs the LDS Church has for family history research, this group then walked up to the new Church History Library on North Temple and Main Streets. A second group had a tour of the LDS Conference Center.
Saturday, September 5 was the main activity of the reunion at Wines Park in Lehi. Ked Kirkham moved tables and put up signs, Jim Kirkham swept away puddles left from city crews power-washing the pavilions. Registration was set up for attendees with name badges for the families of James and Martha Mercer, James and Emma Wootton, George and Mary Russon, George and Sara Russon, Joseph and Tyresha Cragun and Hyrum and Lizzie Ann Wanlass Kirkham. Giving the correct name tag was a challenge for Joan Kirkham, as we all seemed to arrive on cue! By the number of registration packets that were used it appears there were about 58 families attending. An exact number was not taken.
Early steps were taken to set up for ease of reports and visits in one of our pavilions as there was morning rain. When the Kirkhams began to arrive it brightened quickly. Prayerful thoughts were offered by cousin Connie Kirkham Nielsen which included a comment on the rain and it remained at a distance from that point on so that we had most pleasant weather the whole day.
After a few comments and announcements Marjorie Russell Mower of Arizona suggested we introduce ourselves, and give a little lineage to be better acquainted. Marjorie, at 92 was the eldest until it got to the opposite side of the group and Mark Mercer Kirkham at 94 claimed that place.
The story of Mary Ann Astington's inheritance that provided funds for the Kirkham family to gather with the Saints was recounted by Connie Nielsen, who also gave historical background for George Kirkham, pioneer son, and Kirkham homes in Lehi. Connie and assistant Linda Kirkham Mecham had set out flags to corespond with name tags at the Lehi cemetery the previous night.
Many samples of family history were on display as well as books and articles written by Kirkhams. Ked Kirkham has his 'old yellow worksheet' books of remembrance as well as his most recent computer print-out family records which welcomed corrections and additions throughout the day. Janette Kirkham of Lehi had a remembrance/story sharing table for the 4 pioneer lines. Rock J Kirkham and brothers talked shortly of their efforts to learn more of Ann Jeatt, which remains the challenge it has been for past generations of Kirkham researchers. Alan Kirkham spoke of the project to transcribe the journals of James Kirkham. Rich Kirkham and Jason Kirkham will look at moving the George Kirkham website www.georgekirkham.com into a wider format to include the other three brothers' families.
The group was warm and sharing and during the pic-nic lunch plates and cups crisscrossed the park assuring no one would be hungry. Annie Pinegar Jones provided entertainment during lunch with a touching rendition of Danny Boy on the trumpet. In the afternoon Margie Kirkham Stevens with her husband and daughter gave an equally enjoyable song The Impossible Dream with violin and keyboard. It must be noted that the keyboard was not what they expected to find when they arrived- and their skills in music were then demonstrated in how they were able to make do- the proverbial sweetest lemonade from small dull lemons.
The afternoon was much specific sharing around the reunion tables. Later afternoon included walking tours of the Kirkham homestead areas in Lehi. For some the last point of the day was a trip to Lehi Cemetery,an especially beautiful place that day for pause and reflection on being Kirkhams in 2009, with the roots we have in 1859.
Kirkham kin came from Arizona, Colorado, California, Idaho as well as Utah. Rainbow Bright ponies and water balloons won the day for children (which pioneer children probably had counterparts for in their day!).