Heritage Heroes

This blog was created as a place to post fun stories about the ancestors of mine and James. We are always in awe of their great sacrifices and hardships they endured in our behalf. We hope that the stories you read about these people will bring them to life and help us to connect with them. We will do our best to honor and respect their experiences and examples.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Aurelia Spencer Rogers

Aurelia's aunt's and uncles- some of her mother Catherine's siblings. THere are no known photos of Catherine Curtis Spencer

Aurelia and some of her siblings.

Her father Orson Spencer and an illustration of the scene of their mother's struggle to survive on the trek

AUrelia on the left and her husband on the right

This is a woman I grew up hearing about my whole life from my grandma Dece Rogers Allen (my maternal grandma). Living only 4 houses down, I would listen often to the stories of how this courageous pioneer would survive and travel with her family at the young age of around 12 to cross the plains from Nauvoo, IL to Salt Lake. This journey was especially difficult because of the death of their mother only 30 miles leaving Nauvoo. Then, her father Orson Spencer was called to serve a mission in England and to be the editor for the Millenial Star. Here is a description of how the conditions were when they reached Winter QUarters in Nebraska as written by my grandma Dece R. Allen:

"Just as Winter Quarters looms large in the history of the church, it also plays a prominent part in our family history. Orson's brother, Daniel, was one of the original 13 bishops in Winter Quarters. It was to WQ that Orson SPencer brought his motherless children after the tragic loss of Catherine. It was here that he left them to the tender mercies of Heavenly Father and the watchful eye of kind neigbors as he answered a call to "preside over...the CHurch of Jesus CHrist of Latter-day Saints in Europe and her islands, and all the printing and publishing and emigration of said church."

It was in WQ that Aurelia and her brothers and sisters lived, parentless, in a log cabin that for a short time had no door, and for a longer time, no floor. It was here in WQ that food was so scarce, and so unpalatable, that Aurelia would write of going to bed without supper so she would be hungry enough to eat the poor fare next morning. But it was here in WQ that Aurelia increased in faith, courage, and dependancy on the Lord. SHe was buoyed up by the tender messages of love and counsel sent by her father, and strengthened by the personal concern of such church leaders as Pres. Brigham Young and Apostle Wilford Woodruff. Aurelia's noble character, forged in the refiner's fire at WQ's, made her equal to the great responsiblilty which lay ahead...that of organizing and leading the first Primary."

I am so grateful for the efforts of my grandma to preserve and share these stories. They are more than stories to me. THey are real and I am humbled by them, in awe of them, and encouraged by them!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Curtis Heritage

Kathryn Allen
Pidd w/
Emmalee Flake

Although my Curtis Heritage had its beginning at least as far back as 1635 , when Zaccheus Curtis sailed to America on the ship "James" from England at the age of 16, today I am thinking of Samuel B. Curtis and his second wife, Susan Lucretia Gardener, who are my great grandparents through my father's mother, Sarah Diantha Curtis Allen.

In December of 1832, the Prophet Joseph Smith and Jared Carter visited with Nahum and Millicent Curtis at their home in Silver Lake, Oakland County, Michigan. That night Nahum and Mary were blessed with a spiritual manifestation and heard a voice declare the truth of the Book of Mormon to them. They were converted and soon every member of the family joined the Church.

One of Nahum's sons, Lyman Curtis, came west with Brigham Young's Company. Lyman married Charlotte Iris Alvord and of their ten children we meet Samuel
B Curtis. As a young boy, Sam crossed the plains from Missouri to Salt Lake. After his marriage to Lucinda Stewart at the age of 23, Sam married Susan L. Gardner when he was 29 and she was 16. Five years later he married Susan's half sister, Ellen.
In 1878 Sam was called to pioneer Arizona with his 3 wives and is small children. Which he did. His son, Delbert, by Susan, was one of the first babies born in St. David, Az. The next baby born to Sam and Susan was my own grandmother, Sarah Diantha who married Orville Allen.
Samuel B. Curtis and Susan Lucretia Gardner had 10 children together. My father, Orville Wells Allen, was named for one of those children, Wellington N.
With Sam's other 2 wives he had 10 children with Lucinda Stewart and 9 children with Ellen Gardner.

As I look at the names of the 29 children born to my Great Grandfather, Samuel B Curtis, I see many names I have heard over the years as my own father recalled memories of his several aunts and uncles such as "Uncle Cleve", and "Uncle Ez", "Aunt Edna", "Uncle Delbert", and "Aunt Daisy" who I remember fondly myself. Other names I recognize are "Uncle Ed" and "Uncle Ammon".

Among my favorite treasures are pictures of Susan and Sam when young and again when they were older. I can see a resemblance to my father, my grandmother, and myself. I feel connected to them (Grandpa Sam and Grandmother Susan) and look forward to meeting them myself.

I will always be grateful to the Prophet Joseph Smith and Jared Carter for bringing the gospel of Jesus Christ to my great great great grandparents, Nahum Curtis and Millicent Waite in 1832. I consider the testimony which I have of the truth of The Book of Mormon and my membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to be the most precious legacy anyone could ever wish for. The sacrifices made by my Curtis ancestors to keep the faith and build the Kingdom of God are cause for gratitude and rejoicing indeed. If I continue the tradition of activity in the Gospel and service to the Savior, Jesus Christ, and pass that legacy on to my own children and grandchildren, I will be blessed indeed.


Sunday, February 24, 2008

Elizabeth Maximilliana Folkman Ipsen

(I posted this on my personal blog, but thought I would post it over on this blog as well)

This week's heritage hero is about my great grandma on my dad's side (his mother's mom). I was named after my dad's mom, and I thought it was fitting to name our youngest after her mother. This is who our little lizzieboo (Elizabeth) was named after. Here is her story and photo:

Elizabeth Maximilliana Folkman Ipsen

Born Jan 31, 1875 Plain City Utah
Died Oct. 3, 1956 Lehi Utah

(This story is one of the many found in the stories my aunts wrote for a book they gave out at a family reunion about 15 years ago)

This baby girl was the fourth daughter born to her parents, Christopher Olsen Folkman and Maxilliana Maria Olivia Lingvall Folkman.

Elizabeth was always called "Lizzie". From conversations with her, she said she had to quit school in the eighth grade and go to work. Her mother taught her how to sew and when she was old enough, she lived with the rich families in Ogden and sewed for them.

When she was 29 yrs. old, she met a handsome young man with sandy red hair and clear blue eyes named "Mike" Ipsen. They were married on June 15 1903 in the Salt Lake Temple.

They had a beautiful baby daughter named Elizabeth. Then Heavenly Father sent them another choice baby daughter named Eva Mary. Six weeks after Eva was born, Elizabeth went back to heaven to live with Heavenly Father. Mike and Lizzie didn't have any more children. This made them very sad.

Lizzie was very talented. She could sew, cook, garden and do anything else that needed to be done. She didn't want anyone to waste anything; time, money, talent or food.

It was very important to her for her daughter, Eva and her grandchildren to have proper manners. She made lots of beautiful dresses for her six granddaughters.

She was a hard worker in the Church. She gave many, many hours of service. She had a strong testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

When I read this about this woman, it makes me wonder how she moved on with the sorrows of bringing home a new baby while losing their sweet other little girl. After that loss, they couldn't have more kids.

My grandma was an only child who herself grew up to have seven kids of her own. It makes me wonder what her support system was like. I know her husband went on many missions for the church, leaving at home his wife and only daughter often. I love that in this photo of her, she is holding a guitar. It again, raises questions as to how often she played, what songs did she sing, what did her voice sound like? These are questions I am sure to ask her and my grandma when I get a chance to meet them!

I know that I am grateful for her and the way she raised my grandma.

Friday, February 22, 2008

"We Are Who We Were"

This is my sister, Linda Faye Allen Starks. I have been thinking of her a lot today because she is so very sick. She has been in the hospital since before Christmas, 2007. She has been in our prayers and on the prayer rolls of several temples. For the first time in 8 weeks she was able to talk to Roger and asked him to pray for her and to ask his family to pray for her. If she only knew!!

I recently saw a movie, Amistad, and there was a line in the movie.."We are who we were." It was about a slave who was on trial in the 1830's and when he was about to go in front of the Supreme court he said he would not be there alone. The attorney thought he meant he would have his lawyers with him but he explained that his ancestors would be called upon to attend his trial because when one was in extreme need he could call upon his ancestors back to the beginning of time to come forward on his behalf and assist him.

This is how it is right now with Linda. While she is laying helpless with doctors and nurses doing what they can...legions of Linda's ancestors are gathering on her behalf on the other side of the veil. Some of them I know well. There is my mother, Dece. My grandmother, Pearl and my grandmother, Sadie are there. Of course the men are there too, but as I type this I feel my mother and both my grandmothers so strongly I KNOW they are diligently doing the things they do. There is no better medicine and no stronger comfort than this.

Linda's only daughter, Dece, has been at her side continually and has been feeding her and caring for her. How proud her grandmothers are of her! She is truly a gem. My brother, Roger, has been there too. Yesterday, he arrived to find Linda needed help and the nurses had dropped the ball. He stayed until evening when Jim came to be with Linda. Roger is our older brother and he is not about to let any of us go unaided. He will not leave a single detail unexplored and he is a blessing to us all.

Daddy, (Grandpa Allen) has been a stalwart on Linda's behalf. He has kept us all connected and aware of her progress. He is a comfort and a safe place to turn.

All of Linda's children and grandchildren have been praying for her to return home and be healthy. Jim, her husband, has been at her side faithfully. He was only away yesterday so he could go to the doctor for himself. It has been inspirational to witness.

I am sharing this with my family because I want them to know that when any of us are in need, we have each other and we have all those who have gone before. It is all of us together that make us who we are. It is something I am very grateful for.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Dece Rogers Allen

Grandma Allen would have been amazed at the ease of sharing family histories we have now. Here are a few pictures of her. I will be posting some of her letters home so you can see what a funny and normal teenager she was.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

In honor of my crazy siblings that I love!

I thought I would post the photo I created for the cover of the calendar I created for mom last year. Our kids might get a kick out of it. I truly do hope that you guys find the time to read through these great stories and try to add to them. If you want, you can email me the story and I would be happy to post them if you are not too keen on posting on the blog (or struggle to figure it out).

Just want to tell you all that I love you and thanks for being part of my family!

A Flake post

I realize that not all of those invited to be authors on this blog are related to the Flake family, but because I want to archive family history stories here, I will have my own personal family links set up for my family on this blog. James' family has set up a family blog, so I didn't add them as authors. I don't want that to deter me from posting stories that I find and want to include. Also, to any of you that want to add heritage stories of your spouse's families,please feel free and we can get links set up for your families as well. Again, if you need assistance in doing this, call me!

This is a story about James' great great great Grandpa Flake.
Here is the story of his death (James Madison Flake):

In June of 1850, James and some of his companions set out on a brief exploratory expedition in the beautiful country South of Sacramento. Henry Bigler and several other missionaries were along. One morning they broke camp early, and as they were saddling up, one of the men experienced difficulty in handling his horse. James, astride his mule, observed that the man had no cinch on his saddle. Dismounting, he took the cinch from his own saddle and gave it to him, saying, "You need this worse than I do."

They rode out on the trail. Sometime later James' mule, surprised by an object in his path, shied, jumping so quickly that both rider and saddle were slammed violently to the ground. James lay motionless. When he spoke, it was to make an earnest request. "BRETHREN, LAY HANDS ON ME." His neck was broken, and he lived but a few minutes.

In those few moments James Madison Flake came suddenly, unexpectedly to the end of his mission.

James' whole life since he joined the church had been given to helping his fellowman. He had spent a fortune helping them cross the plains to get away from mobs. Wrapped in a blanket, he was buried beside the trail. In six short years he had given his life, the lives of three children, and a fortune for the gospel in which he believed. On June 22, he would have been 35.