Thursday, September 17, 2009

September 18, 1859

September 18, 1859. George Kirkham and his wife Mary Ann Astington Kirkham with their four sons as part of the Robert F. Neslen company arrive in the valley of the Great Salt Lake. We have spoken of them often recently; beautifully at the George (Wm) Kirkham reunion a few weeks ago. What was it like for them? I was in the Provo River canyon today with an activity group, I did not walk more than a mile total and I was parched, dusty, sunburned. Each morning Sunday through Thursday I take a bus/train commute onto the east bench of the Salt Lake valley, up to the university area and very near the place where Emigration Canyon enters the valley- and now stands the This Is The Place monument; on many morning I look out and ask, "what was their view?" Did they see smoke rising opposite beneath the Oqirrhs? I know they did not have such foliage and buildings to block the view, but did they have the scrub oak, dust, grass fire smoke? Had it rained the day before so that the air was rinsed and clean, or had there been no rain so that all the dust from clearing fields and smoke from countless home fires obscured the view across the basin. Was the city by the Great Salt Lake visible, as it is nowadays?
What can I find out?
I have taken down the book MORMON PIONEER COMPANIES 1847-1868 (us/can ref table 289.3016 B29lm 1990) These records are cited for this company:
Kirkham, James [autobiography] in Kirkham, E. Kay, George (Wm) Kirkham: His Ancestors and Descendants to the Third Generation (Provo, J Grant Stevenson, 1973) pp66-67
Miles, Johanne Kristine (Jane), [reminiscences] in Jones, Carrie Mouritsen and Seelos, Jerald Olean, comps and eds, The Mourits Mouritsen Family, 1982, p432
Pedersen, Lars Christian [autobiography] Account of emigration experiences, ms 10770, pp3-4
Tietjen, Eda Fredraca Kruger [autobiography] Our Pioneer Heritage, comp by Kate B Carter vol 3 (SLC, Daughters of the Utah Pioneers, 1960) p52; vol 19 (SLC Daughters of the Utah Pioneers, 1976) p371

We have four sources to start with. I was amazed to see the number of copies of E Kay Kirkham's book at the reunion. And I am pleased that it is in demand again. I have been using the FHL copy. I hope to begin a study of the James Kirkham journal on microfilm and look forward to Alan Kirkham's production/publication of that. While I am here I will see if I cannot find these other citations. Will these questions be answered?

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