We had a great Christmas this year! The only thing that could have made it better would be if Rachel and Anthony could be here, too. As it was, all of the kids except Rach & Anthony were able to be with us here in Missouri. Of course, Christmas was on a Sunday this year, and with our church meetings not starting until later, we went ahead and opened our presents before church. It was really fun opening them one by one.

Our Christmas started on Christmas eve, with a wonderful dinner!

We played lots of games, of course! And we’re glad Rachel suggested to Mom that we get Kingdom Builder!



Looking for Cyril Call’s Land at Three Forks

One of the fun things we did during Christmas break was to try to identify Cyril Call’s land that he, Anson, and Harvey purchased in the spring or early summer of 1838. The land is near the three forks of the Grand River in present-day Gentry County and is named–of course–after the three forks. They, along with about 20 other families and a total of about 145 Latter-day Saints settled there and called the area the Three Forks Settlement. From what we can tell, Anson and Harvey stayed on the land to improve it, while Cyril went back to Kirtland to bring the rest of the family out to Missouri.

You may recall that a few years ago Bob discovered where some of Cyril Call’s land was through some transaction and court records in Hancock County, Illinois. That land was in Ray, Caldwell, and Davies Counties. But we never knew (at least not precisely) where the big plots of land up north were located. All we knew was that Cyril told Anson to go buy additional land north of Far West, where the preemption rights were more affordable–I believe around $1.25 per acre. And we knew that Anson bought somewhere between 700 and 1,000 acres of land from local Missourians at the three forks of the Grand River.

Here’s the map we made from various USGS maps.

However, Bob–being the family history sleuth that he is–was able to help us find additional clues as to where Cyril’s, Anson’s, and Harvey’s land might be. John downloaded some maps from the U.S. Geological Survey, and then pasted them together. I did my part by using PhotoShop as well. John and Bob then used the various accounts from different people to identify where the land might be.

We then actually went to the U.S. Archives facility in Kansas City and spent a couple hours there looking for deeds or other documentation about the purchase. We never did positively identify the exact plots of land, but we have come very close to identifying it.

We didn’t really have time to go to the Gentry County courthouse to look at records, but it’s doubtful it would have had anything to help us because Gentry County wasn’t formed until 1841. And Clinton County’s records are available at the Church’s Family History Library in Salt Lake City, so Bob said he’d try to check there to see if he can find anything helpful to our cause.

More research to come!


Here’s John working on the map.
I love the compass John made to help identify possible locations.
Here’s a closeup view of the approximate site of Cyril Call’s land, with various markings from different accounts of its location.
At the U.S. Archives in Kansas City, MO.

Ice Storm!

On December 16, a terrible ice storm rolled into Missouri! School was released early to allow people to get home safely before dark, and I must say it was probably the most treacherous drive I have ever made. Thankfully everyone on the road was very cautious, and we all crawled along safely. Normally I can get home within 30 minutes, but this time it took me over an hour. I was so happy to finally make it home and get huddled in with bowls of hot soup, blankets, and a Christmas movie.

Dad had was out and about when the storm hit, and eventually he made it home as well. I can’t say as much for his car though! With the rear wheal drive he just couldn’t make it safely and left it at a neighbor’s about 7 miles away. They were kind enough to drive Dad home in his truck and allow us to leave the car and groceries at their home until it road conditions improved. Temperatures stayed WELL below freezing for the weekend, so the ice stuck around until Monday or Tuesday. (Church was canceled! Yay! haha ;))

As much as I dread these storms, and hate driving in them, I absolutely love how beautiful everything looks afterward!

On Sunday the sun came out and we had a bright blue, but bitter cold day. I snapped these pictures and they kind of give you an idea of how beautiful it is after one of these ice storms, but they really don’t do it justice. All the trees, bushes, and grass look like diamond-encrusted lace. Everything glitters and is quiet and still, but when a breeze comes along you can hear the icy branches tinkling together like little wind chimes.















Call Boys and Risk

During Christmas break, we had lots of opportunities to play Risk and other games. Of course, usually it’s only the boys who like to play Risk, although sometimes we can convince Rebecca or Mary Ann to play. But this time–a week before Christmas–us three boys were playing.

Here’s what the board looked like just before John (red) mounted his attack on me (black)

And then here’s what it looked like after his turn!

John not only knocked me out in one turn, but he also got all my cards and turned them in for more armies! I’m pretty sure he ended up winning this game. 🙂

White Christmas?

Well, the forecast doesn’t look all that great for a white Christmas, but we got some of the fluffy stuff overnight. Here’s hopin’!

View from our library window, looking north-northeast.