Monday, April 2, 2012

Unexpected Reaction

On Thursday, we left Grand Junction, Colorado on our way to Centerville, Utah to see our niece, Carrie, and her family. That morning, I realized that we’d be passing close to Spring City Utah, where my grandfather was born and where his family lived.
I went on to to verify the city and discovered that a distant cousin had recently posted photos of the local cemetery and the headstones of my great-great grandparents. (There are 39 cemeteries in Sanpete County, so without this information, it would have been nearly impossible to locate them.)

I contacted him through to see if he knew where the family home was located since I have a drawing of it from about thirty years ago. He answered back while we were on the road to say that he had no idea, but wished us well in our search.

Since it would be only about a fifteen-minute detour to go into Spring City, Larry agreed that we should make the trip. I had absolutely no expectations about what we would find there, but I definitely felt a strong impulse to make the pilgrimage.

I’d always known that my dad’s family was one of the Mormon pioneer families who settled Utah. About twenty years ago, my aunt Mary Evelyn (Dad’s younger sister) gave me copies of lots of the family information, photos, stories, and the sketch of the original house.

The southern part of Utah was arid and looked much like the desert areas of Arizona. I couldn’t imagine why anyone would have moved there. However, as we left the Interstate and headed into the valley and Sanpete, the landscape began to change. Mountains began to rise on either side, and ranches and farmland started to dot the landscape. As we got closer to Spring City, the area grew greener and more beautiful. And I was unexpectedly overcome with emotion.
I still haven’t been able to fully comprehend everything I was feeling. I think part of it was a profound sense of the loss of my father, who died when I was seven years old, even though I don’t believe he ever visited that place. In addition I felt such a connection to his family, knowing that they had lived and died there.

On the way into town, we passed the cemetery. It took very little searching before Larry located the grave markers. Just seeing their names carved into the sandstone somehow made them real to me. My tears represented both loss and joy and a profound sense of gratitude. Had it not been for these adventurous spirits,, I would not have been standing at their graves.

After seeing the cemetery, we continued into town and stopped at the city hall to see if they knew where the house was located. The young woman at the desk was most accommodating in attempting to assist us. However, we were unable to find the building.

This entire trip has been amazing, and nearly every day has provided another highlight. This certainly was one of them. Our journey has been all about family and friends. Touching the past added another dimension to an already memorable experience.


  1. Thanks for posting, Lorna. I was with a friend who found her great grandmother's family in a little cemetery in South Dakota. It was very moving.
    A giant thanks for keeping the family "memories".

  2. I have an account and have asked all the family members to add their information. I'm also adding lots of photos and stories. It's the stories I enjoy the most.