Friday, March 4, 2011
As we are preparing for Brady's pioneer trek this summer, I've been reading some family history. I think I'll take some time to add some stories to my blog.
Joel and Zoay long had 7 children: Claudie, Eban Ezra, Fleata Louise, Bessie Inez, Rufus Cleveland, Joel Dudley and Clemma Drusilla (my grandmother).
They lived near Forest Jackson County of Mississippi. Joel homesteaded 40 acres of forest land which they cleared the ground and built a small house.
Two Mormon Elders came to their home and taught them the gospel. After the family accepted the gospel, they were baptized members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They decided to prepare to immigrate to the west to live with the saints in Utah.
Joel built a wagon with a crude saw and draw knife and the family began their trek with their 2 mules Jack and Jenny. Clemma at 3 years old and Dudley road in the wagon with their mother, Zoay. Her father and older brother Rufas and a sister walked. Clemma's older brother Claudie remained in Mississippi.
They traveled through mud and water through most of Louisiana. Clemma says she remembers they had to build bridges of poles to get across rivers and swamps. They crossed the Mississippi River, Trinity River, and Red River on Ferries.
They worked along the way to provide for their needs. They picked cotton and split railroad ties when they could find work.
They reached Texas in the spring of 1898 and worked there until September. While they were in Texas, they camped at an old deserted house where 16 Elders of the church also camped.
Joel, their father suddenly and very unexpectedly died and they buried him there.
The elders helped the family out for a while. One sister, Bessie stayed in Texas.
Zoay, their mother was determined to continue west. (a heritage of strong women).
She went to Denver, Colorado and sold the team and wagon for $50.00 and wrote to Elders David Wheeler (who had taught them the gospel) for assistance.
Elder Wheeler went to Bishop Perkins and it was decided the members of the ward would help the family and provided for them the means to come to Mapleton, Idaho.
The family was met by Elder Wheeler on a bob sleigh in Franklin on January 12, 1900, then brought up to the Cub River (by Preston, Idaho) to Mapleton.
The weather was very different and the whole family was sick for some time.
Brother Wheeler prepared a home for them and the fine people of the small town saw that they had all they needed to live.
Zoay Martha Long became the communities midwife and doctor and helped many in the ward with her skills and service. (Her father was a doctor in Mississippi).