Sunday, July 19, 2015

Visiting Meadowville

Our earliest LDS ancestors joined the Church in Scotland, England, and Scandinavia in the 1840's and 1850's. My Moffats from Scotland and Caroly's Bleaks from England pulled handcarts across the plains to Salt Lake City.
Caroly's Bleak pioneers were sent to settle St. George in southern Utah. A few years after arriving in Salt Lake City my great grandmother Janet Moffat, who was a young teenager when she walked across the plains, married John McLean, a Scottish surveyor for the Union Pacific Railroad who joined the Church not long after he arrived at Promontory Point in 1869, was surprised that Mormons did not have horns, met Brigham Young, and was hired to survey the railroad branch lines going north and south through Utah. The new McLean family and the Moffats were assigned by Brigham Young to help develop the new village of Meadowville, just south of Bear Lake on the Utah-Idaho border. My grandmother Agnes McLean was born there. When she was 12, they moved back to Salt Lake City. When she was 18, she took an oil painting class and this is how she remembered her childhood McLean home in Meadowville.
Meadowville has disappeared, but during our reunion of the Chris and Agnes McLean Lallatin descendents, we visited the remains of the village near Laketown, Utah. The house is no longer there, but this is the pond, the road, and the trees that surrounded the house as they look today.
The Moffats lived further down the road where they ran the post office and the general store. Nearby is the cemetery where the Moffat parents who pulled the handcarts across the plains are buried. Be sure to enlarge the sign that gives a brief history of Meadowville.
Some things remain that the McCleans helped contribute to the community. John surveyed this irrigation ditch.
John also taught school and played violin for dances held in this barn, which served as a community center for the settlement.
Aunt Gwen says that her mother Agnes said that this rose bush also dates back to when she lived nearby.
John McClean also donated a "tithe" of his time to build the stone chapel that forms part of the current meetinghouse of the LDS Church in Laketown.
Thank you Aunt Gwen for the guided tour of our LDS pioneer heritage. I hope this gets us in the mood to celebrate Mormon Pioneer Day on July 24!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015


Yesterday I had a surprise pre-birthday party with lots of Chinese food, an ice cream cake and lots of presents.
I don't feel 73 so 100 is coming on fast. That seems to be the lifespan of most Lallatin descendents.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Camp Thompson Ranch

This summer our scout troop that I am the scoutmaster for held a three night summercamp at CTR (Camp Thompson Ranch) to focus on becoming First Class Scouts so that a year from Christmas the 16 year olds can be Eagle Scouts. There were flag ceremonies,
a mile long orienteering course,
knot tying instruction and practice,
an introduction to local trees, whittling, and wooden spoon making,
evening campfires,
cutting down trees and preparing poles for our tower to practice our lashings,
lots of cooking, (every scout had to plan, price, buy, and prepare three meals for his patrol)
first aid instruction and competition,
and lots of water fun, including an after dark water balloon fight, and a four inch afternoon rain storm and wind that blew down the tents! We slept in the lodge that night.
After they climbed their tower and were surprised that their lashings held, they were qualified to be first class scouts--a great end to the camp. Next year we expect lots of eagle scouts.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

My summer vacation

In June we traveled with most of our kids and grandkids out west for a mega family reunion honoring the descendents of Agnes and Chris Lallatin. We visited log cabins:

Daughter Carrie's

Brother Spencer's
cavorted with Jammie and Carrie's yaks and horses
saw temples, tabernacles and assembly halls in Vernal, Brigham City, Ogden and Salt Lake where we played in the creek that flows through the meadow on the rooftop and down the side of the conference center and listened to a pin drop in the tabernacle before enjoying a short concert on the pipe organ.
We saw lots of balancing rocks, chimney rocks, rock arches, cliff dwellings, and caves.
Of course, the whole reason for the trip was a two day reunion of the descendents of Agnes and Chris Lallatin, the children of German and Scottish pioneers to Utah.
It was instigated by Aunt Gwen, the last of their children and organized by my cousin Lorene and my brother Spencer and his wife Donna. As soon as my children heard about it and that it would be at the Kunz cabin at Bear Lake, they all said "We want to be there," since Aunt Gwen served as their surrogate grandmother when they attended BYU from Florida and they love her so much. Here's all the Thompson kin from me and my two brothers Spencer and Chris who made it. Do you recognize them all?
Of course, Aunt Gwen was the guide to the ancestral sites in Meadowville, south of Bear Lake, and nearby Soda Springs on the Oregon Trail in Idaho.
I'll show more about Meadowville later this month in honor of Pioneer Day. In Soda we did the traditional stops at the geyser and Hooper Springs to drink the bubbly water.
Here's a picture of all the Lallatin descendents that made it to Soda Springs, the family hometown. We're sitting in the high school gym where many of them were basketball players or cheerleaders in their youth. About half of the people in this picture are Thompsons, not a bad turn out when you remember that my mother was one of 10 children. My dad Robert taught music in the high school in the late 30's and early 40's where he met my mother Vivianne Lallatin, married her, and moved to California. I was born there and the rest is Thompson history.
That evening, Gwen was crowned the queen of the royal family by her nephew Gerald, who is actually older than she is since she was the "surprise" baby of the Lallatin family.
and the eleven grandchildren of Agnes and Chris Lallatin in attendance were awarded metals of honor.
On Saturday the Thompson branch of the family was in charge of feeding 150 people fajitas and explaining the Spanish connection to the German Lallatins since most of the Thompson clan speaks Spanish. So Kim, our information specialist from Australia, explained how German settlers in Texas brought their oompah polka music from Germany, the Texas Mexicans liked it and copied it to create the Tex-Mex Norteño music so popular in northern Mexico and southeastern US. Robert, our dance expert, taught everyone to dance Mexican style to the music. To top it off, we had two piñatas, one for the children and one for the adults.
Here are some other Thompson pictures that grandma wanted me to include, including the surprise "extreme make-ever" that Kim and Chrissy did to Eric and Debbie's bedroom as a house warming gift for their new house.
WHOA! Do you recognize these interlopers to the Thompson-Lallatin fun? Maybe that good food and sunshine we enjoyed at the reunion at Bear Lake would put some meat on their bones and improve their skin color! Does anyone have a spare bathing suit to loan them? (Thompson-Lallatin was my family name when we lived in Mexico.)