Friday, July 17, 2009

Picnik Fun

That is not a misspelling. It's Picni-k, as in Picnik Photo Editing. Need an easy way to edit your photographs and Adobe Photoshop isn't handy, or maybe Photoshop just makes you feel less than handy? Check out how simple it is to get your pictures ready for sharing --whether you have a few simple cropping needs or want to jazz up your photograph with an multitude of fun options.

This is an amazing picture of Kevin's great-great Grandfather, Christian. It's amazing because five short years ago we knew almost nothing about this man. We had one photograph and a few scant pages of history on a remarkable individual who made some tremendous sacrifices of which we are the beneficiaries.

We've learned a lot in five years. We've also discovered the previously mentioned photograph at an extended family reunion two years ago. (See why I LOVE family gatherings?!) Several records were left of Christian's life experiences, most penned through children's recollections of their father's stories. Christian's history provided two short sentences of his 1000 mile trek across the plains. "In the spring of '49, I left my father's family in La Selle, Illinois and came to Salt Lake City. We were seven wagons in company... arriving in SLC October 25, 1849."

That's it! Could that be all that happened?I think not! It took some sleuthing, but gratefully, one Canute Peterson left a more detailed record of his adventures on the trail. He thoughtfully included the names of several in his company, including our ancestor, Christian!

"On the 18th of April 1849, a company of 22 Saints left La Salle, Illinois to come to Utah. There were several young people in the company, among whom I may mention Sister Sarah Ann Nelson, Christ[ian] Hayer [Hyer] and myself. We had six wagons in our company.

A journey of about 200 miles brought us to Burlington, Iowa. We found the city deserted with the exception of the ferrymen and a few guards who were left to watch the city. The streets and porches had been strewn with new lime, because of the great Cholera epidemic."

This small group of pioneers joined the Benson Company in Kanesville, which was the last group to start for Utah that season. They traveled in "good peace along the Platte River and had a prosperous journey for many weeks. There was an abundance of game, such as buffaloes, antelopes, elk, etc."

When their camp was within eight miles of the last crossing of the Sweetwater, at a place called Willow Creek they were blocked by a tremendous snow storm that lasted 40 hours. Canute, Christian, and several others were asked to leave the relative comforts of their small wagons to search for missing cattle that had wandered off during the storm. They started on foot and found it a tedious journey due to snow that was waist deep. Luckily, the cattle had the good sense to hunker down in a grove a willow trees that served both as food and shelter from the harsh storm. Ten miles down the trail the snow vanished and the company returned to dry ground. Good luck prevailed and they reached the Salt Lake Valley October 25, 1849.

Bless you Canute for taking the time to write in your journal!

That's Kevin's great-grandfather, sitting to the left of his great-great grandfather and grandmother!

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