Friday, July 24, 2009

Happy Pioneer Day!

In May Sabrina and I went on a walk around the neighborhood down a street I had never gone down. I didn’t think anything was down there except empty lots, but we found a lot that was walled off and had rows of identical headstones with no names or dates. There was a big sign that said it was the Pioneer Heritage Cemetery. There was a plaque there also that said that pioneers were buried there between 1851 and 1866, but the cemetery was abandoned. The cemetery was sadly seemed ignored, but had an amazing view of the mountains and valley below. We went on a walk around there a few more times and noticed that the city was working on reviving the cemetery. Then I found out they were actually re-dedicating it as part of the city’s Pioneer day festivities.
Alex had young men’s activities at church so I took the girls to the re-dedication. It was hot and sunny, even at 7:00, but the ceremony was beautiful. We stood for the national anthem, played on the harp in a beautiful (but too long, according to Elisa) rendition.

Someone played hymns on her violin while girls dressed like pretty pioneer girls slowly walked through the cemetery, placing flowers at each grave while someone read the list of all the people buried there.
There were speakers and music and then they unveiled the statue that a father and son made especially for the cemetery. That is the father artist. The son is there, but out of the shot.
Thursday we went to the Pioneer Museum in town. During the re-dedication, the Daughters of Utah Pioneers (who played a big part in raising funds for the cemetery) mentioned that they had sold quilts and cookbooks to raise money. Cookbooks???!! I hadn’t heard about that. They mentioned that they sold out, but I went to the museum to see if there was any way they were going to re-print it. They are going to discuss it at their next meeting. They don’t have an official list of people who want to buy them, but after bugging them three times during my visit, they took my name and number and told me that they’d call me if they do re-print it. I hope so! They said there were pioneer recipes and recipes that many of the women collected from their grandparents.

We did take a tour of the museum while we were there. Here’s the city’s first fire truck.
Here is a collection of items from Wilford Woodruff's family.
There were so many photos of the city from its first days and of many people. One was of Hannah Last Cornaby.

"In February 1852, a young woman by the name of Hannah Last Cornaby was baptized in Yarmouth, England. It was not the quiet, reverent experience most have but was described by her in these words: "We found the house surrounded by a mob, through which we with difficulty made our way. . . . Before we reached the water's edge, the whole horde was upon us; and my husband baptized me amid a shower of stones, and shouts . . . and, although the stones whizzed around us thick as hail, not one touched us, and we reached home in safety, thanking God for our miraculous deliverance" (Hannah Cornaby, Autobiography and Poems [1881], 24–25).
Charles W. Dahlquist II, "Who's on the Lord's Side?", April 2007 General Conference

She wrote poetry and later moved to Utah. She wrote the hymn "Who's on the Lord's Side" #260.

She was buried here in our little town.

We also saw several of these hair wreaths--made with human hair. I'm sure my sisters knew about this, but it was new to me. Pioneers used hair saved from brushing and trims and stored them in a special dish until they were used. They were wrapped around a thin wire so they could be bent into shape. It was considered an elegant decoration to hang a framed hair wreath. Apparently this wasn’t only done by pioneers, but by many men and women during the Victorian era 1837–1901 in Europe and the US.

We went back to the cemetery to see relax and enjoy the view Then today, Pioneer Day (yes, it's an acutal holiday for those of you who aren't in Utah), we went to Provo to visit the pioneer park.

They even had a petting zoo.
We ended the day by going to the craft fair in town and then on a few rides at the fair. Not that pioneers went on rides like this, but that's part of the celebration every year. We're getting ready to see the city fireworks in a few hours too. We can see them through our bedroom window. What did you do on Pioneer day?


  1. Lucky! I always wanted to go to the Pioneer Park in the buildings. I never have. I didn't do anythign special on Pioneer Day...just some stuff throughout the week. Today, I hope to plant some veggies and herbs. Looks like you guys had a lot of fun.
    Tiff :o)

  2. Looks like you had a great Pioneer Day! Victorians also made jewelery out of human hair. It's called mourning jewelery. I wanted to collect it for awhile!

  3. That cemetary rededication is amazing. I love that kind of stuff! And I didn't know about Pioneer Park (which is a shame since we are so close by) but it looks really fun. We will have to check it out (: Thanks for the post!

  4. I appreciated the whole post, but of course I loved the pictures of the kids (your kids, my grandkids) the most! That's amazing that you found the cemetery right before it was rededicated!

  5. Now THAT looks like a pioneer celebration. Great photos. Thanks. We were driving out of town all day and didn't get to think about it much or do anything.


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