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Dee Burris Blakley ([personal profile] dee_burris) wrote2010-10-31 06:28 pm
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When history comes home...

It was the first Saturday in April, just a little over a year ago. I remember that it was cool and overcast, so instead of going to work in the garden, I decided to work on the family tree.

I decided to fill out some of the great and grand uncles and aunts, and second, third and fourth cousins of my Wharton clan.

And I immediately started finding their tracks. . . I was blowing along quite nicely until I ran into a particular website. Someone else had been researching the same branch, and had listed the date of death of nearly 20 people in the family as September 1857. They were two Wharton sisters, their husbands and kids.

And I thought, "How lazy is that?" I almost closed the browser, but decided to keep it open while I checked one of my favorite research sites - Find A Grave.

The date of death was correct.

The location stunned me.

Mountain Meadows, UT, on September 11, 1857.

The Mountain Meadows massacre.

Three little bitty daughters from the family of Lorenzo Dow and Nancy Jane (Wharton) Dunlap were allowed to live, as were two of their small cousins from the family of Jesse and Mary M (Wharton) Dunlap. All five girls were too young to identify their attackers. One of them was only a month old at the time of the massacre, and none were older than seven.

Out of a wagon party of nearly 140 people, only 18 children were spared.

Two years later, in September of 1859, the United States Army went back to Utah and brought 17 of those kids back to their extended families in Arkansas and Missouri.

In 1894, one of the soldiers, Capt James Lynch, married one of the little girls he saved in 1859 - my great-grandmother's second cousin. Her name was Sarah.

He was 74 and she was 38. According to her memorial, she was never able to work through the fear, pain and trauma of the massacre. It affected her physically, psychologically, and emotionally for the remainder of her life.

She died in 1901, he in 1910.

I've left virtual candles on the Dunlap memorials.

If you wish, you can too...

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