Sunday, July 20, 2014

O Pioneer: Nancy Naomi

In honor of Pioneer Day, I have been thinking about my Mormon Pioneer ancestors. I have several; a few that I know of off the top of my head and a few that I don't know anything about. If I write about the ones I'm familiar with this year, it will give me something to write about next year, and a whole year to learn about the ones I don't know.

First and easiest of all is one who isn't my ancestor, but Nate's. Nancy Naomi Alexander Tracy wrote an autobiography (here), which is kept with the LDS records, and so bits of her story are often told on church documents as an example of an early convert and pioneer. There was an article about her in the Ensign in 2012 (here).
Her life is exactly what you think of when you try to imagine a pioneer woman. Early hardship in life taught her what to expect, and how to deal with, future troubles. Her dad died young and she was sent to live with her grandparents. They were good to her and she got some education, and learned how to work hard. She married her husband Moses really young, had ten kids, and named them long scriptural names like Lachoneus Moroni and Moses Mosiah.  She and Moses were present at the Kirtland temple dedication, went to Far West, Missouri, fought the militia there, and were then forced to leave Missouri by the infamous Extermination Order and went to Nauvoo, Illinois. She was present when the Relief Society was formed in 1842 and got her endowment in the Nauvoo temple. At least three of her children died before reaching adulthood. She and her family crossed the plains with a wagon train and settled near Ogden, Utah. Pretty comprehensive pioneer stuff.

Her son Helon Henry had a son named Helon Henry, and he had a daughter named Myrtle. Myrtle married Carl Clark, and their son Ralph Clark is "Gramspie" to us. Nate and I have some tablecloths that belonged to Myrtle and Carl--one with Carl's name written on a corner in permanent marker. We also have some myrtle growing next to our porch which we got from Nate's mom, who got it originally from Myrtle's house.
Myrtle and Ralph Clark, 1926
Nate has known about his Pioneer heritage all his life, thanks to the ties to Nancy Naomi Alexander Tracy. Every Memorial Day, rain or shine, the Clarks make their pilgrimage to the Ogden cemetery to visit the family gravesites, not least of which are the Pioneer Tracys. Every year, they collect pinecones (I'll write about pinecones another time) on the graves, say a prayer, and take photos. The photos have looked basically the same for the last 50 years, but that's not going to stop us from taking them every year!

The Ralph and Marilyn Clark family plus Carl, 1970-something

The Ralph and Marilyn Clark family, 2011

Melissa and Nate, 2011 with Nancy Naomi and Moses Tracy's headstones in Ogden

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