Monday, September 27, 2010

A barge going through the locks at Keokuk

The barge floating into the lock. There are large cables tied to either side to keep it on a straight course. It takes about 10 minutes to get all the way from the back to the front.
The railroad and road swings back. This is the old road before the new bridge was built, but the railroad still uses the track, so they can't just take it out.

The gates of the lock swing open. That is so amazing to see such large gates open up!

The gates begin to open. They swing back into an indentation that allows the barge to float through freely.

The front of the barge starts to move through the gates. At first, it looked like it only had about one foot clearance on each side, but upon closer examination, it had a whole three feet on each side.

Finally, the tug comes through. It's amazing how much smaller it looks out in the middle of the river as opposed to standing on top of it.

The final phase is that it pulls off into the Mississippi River in the deepest part and moves on downriver to New Orleans where most of the cargo will be sent overseas.

Friday, September 10, 2010

A City called Zerahemla

The Lord said in D & C 125 "Let them build up a city unto my name upon the land opposite the city of Nauvoo, and let the name of Zerahemla be named upon it." I have read this in the Doctirne and Covenants and now I have been there. The Last House on the Road to Zerahemla sounds like something that should be written as a book. Mike showed us where the Zerahemla Road was, and then marked off where the last house on the road was located before it went in to the cemetery. I pondered about the family that would have lived there. I'm guessing it would have been their responsibility to care for the cemetery. I wondered what they were thinking when they packed up their wagons and moved west or what they were thinking when they saw their friends and family pack up and move west and they stayed.
Using the divining rods--otherwise known as 2 metal coat hangers, I was able to find a grave. It was so amazing to walk along and watch those two rods cross and then walk a little further and see them separate. I did it about three times, and then called Mike, who is with the sledge hammer, over and asked him to verify what I had found. Sure enough, I had found a grave of an adult. It was about 6 feet long and 3 feet wide. There was also evidence of a fence having been pitched around the grave. Mike took his sledge hammer and drove in a stake marking the grave. One of the people said, "Maybe it was your ancestor." I said that I didn't think so, but even if wasn't, I have such a strong connection to the early Saints of Nauvoo that they all seem like my family.

The cemetery at Zerahemla. I don't know why, but it makes much more sense to me that a place really did exist if there is a cemetery there. There are only about 8 headstones left, but Mike has been able to come up with many more graves as you can see the wooden markers that have been placed. Unfortunately, we don't know the names of the individuals.

As we pulled up to this site, Mike Foley, our director, said, "Somewhere behind those trees was where Zerahemla (the modern version) was located. I thought that's all we were going to get, but then we started walking and got back to Zerahemla.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Montrose and the Mormon Trail west

I wish I knew how to mark pictures on the computer, but if you look right in the center of the picture, you see a white blip in the middle of the green and blue. That is the Nauvoo Temple. It is the very last view the Saints would have had of the temple as they climbed the bluff and headed toward Sugar Creek (which will be another posting). This road is very steep, and it took some extra "horses" from the van in which we were riding to get up it. It made the trek more realistic to me thinking of how those oxen had to pull harder to get up that steep hill. And then I pondered the feeling of loss they must have felt as they looked over at Nauvoo, not knowing where they were being taken, just that they were following the Lord's annointed to "a place which God for us prepared, far away in the west".
A view of the temple from the Linger Longer (otherwise known as the Mormon Trail). There are 130 documented wagon trails into this area, where the early Saints would have crossed by ferry or would have walked or driven across in their wagons when the river froze over. We always ask people to turn around on Parley Street and to look at the temple and imagine what the Saints would have been feeling knowing they would never see their beloved temple again. As I looked across the river, it was amazing how much that temple represents home to me.

There used to be five islands off the banks of Montrose. One of those islands is trying to resurface after the dam at Keokuk was built and raised the water level. You can see some brush sticking up through the water off in the distance. This is the island where the last 606 Saints who were driven from Nauvoo at gunpoint because they would not deny their testimonies of the prophet nor of the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ, were dumped. They had not time to prepare provisions or the means, which is why they were still in Nauvoo. Because they had nothing to eat, just as the children of Israel, the Lord sent quail among them to feed them. A river boat captain confirmed this miracle, writing that so many were landing on the decks of his boat that he could hardly make it down river.

The barracks for the enlisted men were located where the cement slab is just the other side of the railroad tracks (which would not have been here in 1838). In their histories, Mary Ann Young, and Leonora Taylor describe some memorable events here. It wasn't a well built barracks and was 14x14. Leonora said that there were holes in the wall so large that a skunk would stop in every night to sleep with them. It was from these barracks that Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball waved goodbye to their very ill wives and headed for England. In order to comfort his wife, Heber C. requested that they stand in the wagon and cheer, "Hoorah for Israel!" Vilate and Mary Ann came to the door and waved goodbye to them. Mary Ann made several trips across the river in a small row boat. Growing tired of that fun with six small children, she procured the land where the Brigham Young home is currently located, but they had a wooden shack until Brigham got home and drained the swamp and built their fine brick home.

In the early 1830's an army unit was sent to Montrose to guard the area because there were lead deposits here that the nation needed. The river was not as wide or as deep as it is now. In fact, there were rapids here believe it or not. Where the log lies is where the Captain's quarters were originally located and extended out into what is now the Mississippi River. Captain Kearney who later had a city and a fort named after him was the officer in charge for a time. Another famous General came here and made a drawing which helped those came behind to place where things were. His name? Robert E. Lee. This was in 1838.

This bluff in Montrose rises above the Mississippi River. This had been called the Half Breed Tract in an agreement with the Sac and Fox Indian Tribes. It was named Montrose because of this bluff. It had been covered with wild roses and so they named it Mount Rose or Montrose.

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Iceman Cometh

Tools of the ice trade of the 1800 and early 1900's. One of the most amazing of which is the horse hair coat up in the corner of the picture. When I first looked at it, I thought it was something else. Aren't we lucky we live in a day of refridgeration? All of these pictures are taken at the Museum in Montrose, Iowa.
The ice company from Montrose. This is such a great picture even though it's so full of reflections. My Grandpa Geilmann used to be an ice man. He told me the story of his boss's wife who wanted him. One day he came in to deliver the ice and she was standing there stark naked. Grandpa quickly put the ice in the ice box and hurried out to his wagon. She followed him to the porch and quarried, "Hank, don't ya have nothing to say to a naked lady?" Grandpa jiggled on the reins to give the horses the signal to "getty up" and said without looking back, "Put your clothes on, lady, you're scarin the horses."

Picture of people from 1880 cutting the frozen Mississippi River to put into wood shavings to be kept cold for the "long hot summer"

Pictures of various ice tools used in the 1800's and early 1900's

Equipment for gettting ice out of the frozen Mississippi River.