Love Happy Reunions

This morning I happened to read about the happy reuniting of a wedding dress and its owner. Not just any wedding dress but the dress that has been worn for 3 generations of the owners family. When their home was destroyed by tornadoes in recent storms, the dress was rescued, still in it’s storage box and unharmed, by a river, 2 miles away. The thoughtfulness of the members of the community to help reunite the found dress with its owner is amazing. You can read about this story here.

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This reminded me of another story I had read about on Facebook last week and the great work of concerned strangers to reunite a Purple Heart award with the family of the recipient. I was amazed at how fast the reunion happened after the original post was made.

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Purple Heart Close Up

This story and the wedding dress story, both small and insignificant in the overall realm of things,  help make my day just a little brighter after waking to the news of more senseless death and destruction.

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Happy Birthdays ~ February 23

George Frederic Handel - Hulton Archive/Getty ImagesFebruary 23rd – Interesting day in the history of music. On this day in 1685, George Frederic Handel was born in Halle, Branden (Germany). In 1940 a baby boy was born to the Guthrie family-Woodrow Wilson Guthrie in Okemah, Oklahoma. A dichotomy of back grounds and style, but both of these men have given us such treasures of great music and talen.

George Handel was born to a fairly well-off family, his father was a barber-surgeon. Though in the beginning, Handel’s father discouraged his son’s music, pushing him to study law. Handel had to wait until his father was asleep and then sneak up into the attic to practice his instruments.

A child prodigy, he played violin, harpsichord, and organ. His father died when he was 11 years old and in 1702 he enrolled in the University of Halle to study law. After one year, he left the University and headed north to Hamburg where he played in the opera orchestra.

Moving on Germany, Italy and finally to England, Handel wrote scores for orchestras where ever he lived. In 1741, at the age 56, he was asked to write a score to be performed in Ireland. He decided to compose an oratorio for the performance. It is reported that he worked for 25 days with little or no rest and skipping most of his meals. He gave the world “The Messiah”. He is quoted as saying at the end of this period “I think that God has visited me.”

He was truly inspired by God to have created so masterful and remarkable, a score like this.

Now to the opposite side of the music world. Woody Guthrie young years taught and shaped his life. He said of his early years in Okemah-

“Okemah was one of the singingest, square dancingest, drinkingest, yellingest, preachingest, walkingest, talkingest, laughingest, cryingest, shootingest, fist fightingest, bleedingest, gamblingest, gun, club and razore carryingest of our ranch towns and farm towns, because it blossomed out into one of our first Oil Boom Towns.:

Excerpt from “Pastures of Plenty” by Woody Guthrie, Edited by Harold Leventhal & Dave Marsh.

Many of Guthrie’s have been sung by many vocal artists, some are ingrained in our minds and memories. Perhaps one of the most well-known is “This Land Is My Land”. It is said that he wrote the song after hearing the sentimental patriotic song written by Irving Berlin and sung by Kate Smith, “God Bless America”. His travels all over the United States, time in both the Army and the Merchant Marines gave him a real knowledge of this great land, it’s ribbon of highways and majestic views. For more information about Woody Guthrie, his life and his music, visit his biography page here.

Happy Birthday to two incredibly talented men.

January Was Pretty Busy Part ll

On our second day in St. George we drove to Toquerville. It’s only about 20 miles on the freeway and down into a valley on a twisty highway. We have some family roots in the area. This trip was to see the family home of John Conrad Naegle (Naile). He was a rancher, farmer, entrepreneur and a Mormon (LDS) Pioneer and Polygamist. We are descended  from his 4th wife, Verena Bryner.

John C. marched across the southern deserts of the west with the Mormon Battalion. When the men of the Battalion were released from duty in San Diego in 1947, many of the men traveled to Salt Lake City, Utah to meet up with the wives, parents and siblings that had come west with the Mormon Migration. Some of the men decided to stay in California and work to earn money before going to Salt Lake. Quite a few found work in the Yerba Buena area, building mills on the river in the mountains. John C. determined that he could learn a lot from the Spanish and Mexican ranchers in California. He found work on several of ranches from San Diego, north to the San Francisco area.

About the time he found himself in Northern California, the news was out that gold was found. John C. became a gold miner. When he had determined that he had enough gold, he left the gold fields and turned back toward the coast. He purchased a ranch in the area between the Bay and the mountains and successfully ranched there for several years.  (Family history states that the ranch was located in what is now Fremont and the California School for the Deaf and the Blind is built on the original ranch lands.)

After running a very successful ranch operation in California for several years, John C sold his ranch to some of the new Mormon settlers in California and headed to Salt Lake City. The rest of his life, John C Naegle spent taking care of the families of his 7 wives and the responsibilities of his Church duties and responsibilities. He was asked to go to “Dixie”, the southwest corner of Utah and develop farming and ranching in that area. He built this home in Toquerville for several of his wives and it also served as the storage and distribution center for the sacramental wine for the LDS Church that was made from the grapes grown in the area.

John C eventually went to Mexico to avoid prosecution for polygamy and died there. As he moved farther south, he set up wives in homes with property to help provide for the families. That is how our Great, Great Grandmother Verena and her son Casper Conrad (our Great Grandfather) came to St. Johns & Concho, Arizona.

Toquerville, Utah

Toquerville, Utah

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While we were in St George, we had a great visit with another cousin, Rachelle Naegle Crawford. Rachelle was given one our Great Grandmother Helena Naegle’s quilts and we were able to look at it and share some information with Rachelle about the pattern and construction of the quilt.

Here are a couple of photos of the quilt. DSC_0245 DSC_0248

How Did I Get Here?

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I never know where a road or a click on the internet will lead me but I love to take a chance sometimes. I was reading an interesting new blog about Arizona history called Arizona Archivy, The Blog of Arizona State Archives and I clicked “follow” and this is where I ended up. I had a blog at one time but didn’t keep it up. In fact, I think the password got messed up with an upgrade or update and so I just let it drift away. So, here I am again. Let’s see where this road takes me.

The blog from the Arizona State Archives looks really interesting and I look forward to learning more of this great state’s history (good and bad). Check it out if you like history. The first post is a story about one of Arizona’s early territorial governors, Lewis Wolfley, who also started The Arizona Republican which is now The Arizona Republic. Who knew? Well I learned something new today.

So what’s next? Hmmm, let me think about it.