Sunday, April 25, 2010

National Cemetery at Keokuk, Iowa

Although this is not Gettysburg, and is not as large as the cemetery at Gettysburg, it is certainly impressive to see graves of those who died for the cause during the War Between the States. There are also soldiers from other wars buried here, as well. As I was walking around, the Gettysburg Address kept going through my mind, and then I walked up to this marker. I decided that I would use words far better than my own describe this experience. Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth on this contineent, a new nation, conceived in liverty and dedicated to the propostion that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so coceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle field of that war.

We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate---we cannot consecrate--we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who strugled here, have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract.

The world will little note, nor long rmember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fough here thus far so mobly advanced.

It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the freat task remaininf before us--that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to tht cause for which they gave the last full measure of their devotion--that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain

That this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom--and that government of the people, by the people and for the people shall not perish from the earth.

The War Between the States ain't over yet

Each year at the end of April, the city of Keokuk, Iowa, which is just across the river from Nauvoo, hosts a Civil War Re-enactment. People from all over come in costumes of the period, some dressed as soldiers and some dressed as townspeople who walked among them. (The Nauvoo Missionaries are those people as we take "Nauvoo on the Road" to the event and do demonstrations of life in those days.) They have three days of battle, each taking place in the afternoon for about an hour. There are other commemorations such as a Sunday service, and flag raising, and demonstrations of drilling and firing and other military operations. It really is an amazing experience to step back in history and remember those days that shaped America. This marker is over in the National Cemetery in Keokuk, but it seemed appropriate to this part of the post. Keokuk, being a river town on the Mississippi, had easy access to bring soldiers who were wounded in and out the hospital that was built here. Because so many soldier died here, this is one of the few national cemeteries in the country. It is so impressive to see the rows of headstones of those who gave the "last true measure of their devotion".
The people who come for this re-enactment each year actually stay in the tents and make it as real as they can. They have firewood stacked and covered to make campfires to keep warm. This was a rainy, cold day. This gives a picture of the regiments that were larger than others, which would have been a realistic picture of how things were during the battles of the war. Some states provided many troops, while others provided few.

It took me a while but I finally found a "southern" group with the ladies of the South in their hoop skirts.

As I walked through the "battlefield", I thought about the first Battle of Bull Run and how people came out to watch as if it were a spectator sport. They even brought their lunches for a picnic.

As I walked around, I thought, "This must have been what it would have been like--people sitting and waiting, finding ways to keep themselves busy while they waited for the orders to attack."

I am amazed how many people are "civil war buffs" purchasing all the equipment to make these re-enactments so realistic. Many of these were the personal property of participants.

Each of the encampments had the regiment they were representing. They also had the flag of the "side" to which they belonged, and the state flag from which they hailed.

Cannons to the left of them, cannons to the right of them--mighty 500!!! They fired these off and it rattled the whole park, of course, they didn't put the balls in them--just the black powder.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Family Living Center

The rope making demonstration is one of the favorites. When you are finished you get to keep the rope that you make. The fun thing about this portion is that you are a participant in the demonstration. The brethren prepare around 15,000 ropes during the long and boring winter months so that families can each take one rope with them. We actually used several of these ropes when I was serving with the pageant for the children to do jump rope games. They are very sturdy ropes.
The "cooper" demonstration. They show how barrels were made in Old Nauvoo. It was a long process and took many years to become a journeyman. I could explain, but it would take twenty pages of explanation, so I recommend all who would like to know how to make barrels should come to Nauvoo and learn how.

The weaving looms are the most amazing things in this site. It takes several hours to load the threads to make this loom work. There are over 200 threads on this loom that go between the pieces of cloth. They are operated primarily by the men because it takes great strength to do the weaving. The rugs that are produced on these looms are used in the sites here in Nauvoo. People are amazed at the beauty that comes from old rags and a lot of string.

The candle making demonstration is my favorite because it's so natural to talk about Jesus Christ as the "light of the world". We don't really demonstrate, but talk about how the candles would have been made. Girls were given the task of taking cloth apart string by string to make the strings you see hanging. Then they would braid several together to make the wick. Young boys were given the job of fetching small rocks to keep the string straight. The fat from the animal that had been killed was boiled several times to make the tallow. Then they would dip it, hang it, dip, hang it, until it had been dipped about thirty times. The difference in the candles' burning time was amazing. The ones on the right gave about 25-30 hours burning time. The ones in the middle about 10 and the ones on the left were hardly worth wasting a match on. They needed to be buried or put in a metal container because the mice thought they were a great midnight snack.

This is the cooking demonstration. Here we make bread in the bussel oven (to the far right of the picture). Fires are built in the oven daily during the summer. They are allowed to burn until you can put your hand on the brick above the oven for the count of 5. Then you open the lid, take out the ashes, place your arm in the oven. If you can keep it in for 15 seconds, you have a 350 degree oven, and it's ready to bake the bread. Bread is placed on the brick of the oven and allowed to bake about 20 minutes. Six loaves at a time can fit in the oven.

To the left, you see the fireplace. If you squint you can see the arm where they swing the pots out toward you so the dresses do not catch on fire. There are all sorts of "dutch ovens" in the assortment. I thought, "Now this is something I know how to do", but we don't demonstrate in the dutch ovens.

Wool making demonstration-- This is done by talking about sheering sheep. (I should have paid more attention when my niece was taking care of her sheep). Then we talk about carting the wool and preparing it for spinning. We talk about spinning, unless you are one of the three authorized spinners in Nauvoo, and they actually demonstrate it. It's pretty amazing to me. In this same place, we talk about coloring the wool using natural processes, and how to mix wool with linen to make Linsey-woolsey. That thing on the table is a weasel. When you have made 50 yards of wool, it goes POP--thus the phrase "Pop goes the weasel".

You can catch just a glimpse of the landscaping here in Nauvoo. This is the sidewalk from the Bakery to the Family Living Center. At the FLC, one can learn about life in Old Nauvoo with some hands-on experience and some demonstrations. It's a very busy place most of the time and it's fun to be actively involved in pioneer life.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Old Nauvoo Cemetery

This statue which stands at the east end of the Old Nauvoo Cemetery, speaks volumes to me.
It speaks of families who "bore one another's burdens", it speaks to the personal loss that so many experienced, but it also speaks of the hope that is provided through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, that we will all rise again, and that "little children are alive in Christ."
As you can see, many of the headstones are falling down and deteriorating. Although there are many headstones here, there are far more unmarked graves. There are many children buried here in the cemetery. Joseph Smith said, "To me, the place where a man is buried is sacred". I sure feel that way whenever I go out to the Old Nauvoo Cemetery.

I need to find out if this a relative of my fifth grade teacher and dear friend. But the amazing story of this man was that someone was offered a fifth of whiskey to shoot him, so they did. The reason they wanted him dead? He would not deny his testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The Workmans names listed in the kiosk are the ones of record who died in Nauvoo. In Lands and Records, we have another little boy, Joseph, who is not listed but the family history says he died here. They sacrificed for the cause.

Monday, April 5, 2010

It's Spring!!!

This is right out my bedroom window. This picture didn't even begin to capture the magnificence of the tree, especially when you put the fragrance with it. The only problem is the birds think it's okay to start chirping early in the morning. We're going to have a serious "talk" about that.

Burn Baby Burn

Three minutes start to finish. This is what the field looked like. Kids don't try this at home. It was done by professionals.
Two minutes into the burn and flames keep getting higher and higher. Someone made the analogy that the flames of hell engulf you somewhat like this demonstration.

This is 1 minute and 30 seconds from the picture below. The flames rise over the heads of these people. The amazing thing was that it was not as hot as I had anticipated it to be. The other funny thing for me was this was the first time I have been to a bon fire in a dress. Notice there are even men who are in suits. Only an LDS missionary!

This is the very beginning of the fire. They used blow torches to start it. It looks perfectly innocent, just like some children who might think it's okay to play with matches.

This may seem like a stupid picture to the theme, but to the back is the abandoned Nauvoo Pageant Stage that doesn't look like much right now, but it will come to life in a few short months . But you can also see how high the grass really is in comparison to those people standing behind it., which is really what I was trying to show.

This looks like a nice messy field that someone forgot to cut. In reality, it is prairie grass that is allowed to grow taller than most people stand. In April, missionaries gather to watch how quickly it can burn. This is one acre of ground.