Aurelia Spencer Rogers
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!