Thursday, July 2, 2009

A History Lesson

"In 1879-80, Mormon pioneers built a wagon road between established communities in Southwestern Utah and the Four Corners area. They were fulfilling an assignment from their church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, to establish a settlement in the area. Their journey turned into an ordeal unparalleled in difficulty as they spent six months blazing a route across some of the most broken and rugged terrain in North America, including a path through the Hole-in-the-Rock."

My great great grandpas, along with their families, were both asked to go and settle Bluff. The trek was initially planned to last only six weeks.

(This is a portion of the final stretch of trail that the settlers made before reaching Bluff.)

Our appreciation for what our ancestors had to go through in order to reach Bluff has grown immensely. To see Bluff today you wonder why Brigham Young felt inclined to send so many of the saints there. My ever so wise father said it was a mission call of sorts. The saints were to go and create good relations with the Indians and attempt to mediate between the Indians and the outlaws.

"Upon their arrival in the San Juan area in 1880 they established a small community called Bluff. Their first dwellings were one-room log cabins. The cabins were arranged to form a large square. Security was achieved by everyone living in close proximity. In 1997, volunteers launched an effort to restore and preserve the original fort site."

(You can

And that brings us to the cabin raising. By the time we got there the cabins were mostly raised. But we did help with putting the roofs on and 'painting' the chinking. (The paint was just muddy make it look authentic.)

It was hot and dirty but the kids loved almost every minute they were in Bluff.

We joke about Bluff. We say we now know what the end of the earth looks like. We wonder why the 300 people who live in Bluff choose to stay...

BUT...for all that Bluff isn't, it IS the place where many people sacrificed all that they had, and did whatever it took to follow the call from their prophet. And in my book, that makes Bluff a worthy place to visit.


Sandra said...

So I had two friends down there this weekend. Check this out:

Perhaps you are related? if not, it appears that your relations knew each other.

Noelle said...

Small world...Benjamin Perkins, her great great great grandpa, is also my great great great grandpa, but he had two wives, and we descend from the other wife.

We didn't run into each other though...looks like she went down after we did.

Noelle said...

Okay...I'm wrong. We're on Sara's line too...

I'll have to find her book and read it sometime.

Tristi Pinkston said...

Hey Noelle,

Sandra sent me over. You realize, I need to know!! I come through Ben and Sarah, then their daughter Sarah Elizabeth, then her daughter Thora, then her son Joel, who is my father. And you?

Noelle said...


I'll try to get this right. :) We descend from Benjamin and Sara's daugher Irene, and her daughter Allie, and Allie's son Ed...who is my dad.

We also descend from Amasa Mason Lyman, whose son was Platt de Lyman who made the trek. Platte had a son Edward Lyman, who married Irene Perkins.

And now I have a headache. :)

My dad tells me this at least 4 times a year and I still have a hard time with remembering it all.

I just saw your new book in the bookstore last week. I'll have to read it! I'd also love to read your Hole in the Rock book.

Anonymous said...

You know Noelle, for an extended and detailed account (though fictionalized - you know how Blaine likes to fictionalize) of the trek through Hole-in-the-Rock and down to Bluff, dad's Hearts Afire series is very historically accurate, and gave me a huge appreciation for this chapter in our pioneer history.