At the end of January, I took a business trip to Utah and stayed at Bob’s place. My flight arrived at about 4 p.m. and, after getting my rental car, I went to Deseret Book in downtown Salt Lake City to pick up Bob. He had been working at the Family History Library that day and wandered over to Deseret Book at about 5 p.m. The two of us then went to Rachel and Anthony’s house for dinner. We had a great time (poor Rosie had to settle in to having visitors, but she managed) visiting and having a wonderful dinner. We caught up on lots of things and just hung out for a while.
After getting back to Bob’s place, we talked and watched a little TV on Bob’s AWESOME new 4K HD television, then settled in for the night.
The next day, I had meetings and Bob had work, so we got back together at the end of the day for dinner and more visiting. It was great talking about Bob’s latest research for some of his clients and other exciting things! We also visited a lot about our search for Isaac Russell’s grave, some of our Church work, some Youtube channels Bob has discovered, and lots of other intriguing topics. 🙂
I had a great time and it’s wonderful to be able to see some of our kids when I travel for business!
This year we were so blessed to have Bob and Mary Ann home with us for Christmas! We really had a great time playing games, visiting, opening presents, watching football, staying warm, and NOT going to church meetings (church was either canceled or we couldn’t get there due to weather each Sunday they were home)!
Bob arrived home for Christmas just in time to go with me and John to a service project at the possible Isaac Russell burial site in Richmond. Bishop Dial of the Whitmer Ward arranged for the full-time missionaries and some members to start working on removing the dead branches and cleaning out the debris among the trees where we are thinking Isaac Russell may be buried.
We arrived at about 10:30 in the morning. It was a pretty cool day, but not too bad, so we were able to get a lot of work done. Our friend Keith Bowen had already done some work in the weeks prior (Keith is also the president of the Missouri Mormon Frontier Foundation), and had found some old bricks fence posts, and pickets among the trees. Keith was there when we arrived, and one of the first things we did was take measurements of where the various relics were, how far apart the trees are, etc. We were then joined by missionaries and members, and before long the whole area looked great.
We still didn’t find any solid evidence of Isaac’s grave, but there is definitely more digging to do and other work to see if we can find anything. Exciting!
Before my recent trip to Utah, Bob had offered to let me stay at his apartment instead of paying for a hotel. And boy, am I glad that I did! He has a really, really nice apartment with two bedrooms and two bathrooms, its own washer and dryer, and all new appliances. It was great to spend a few days with him and to see his new digs. Way to go, Bob!
Isaac Russell was an early convert to the Church in Canada. He was baptized by Parley P. Pratt during his 1936 mission there and was ordained an elder immediately after being baptized. He soon taught the gospel to family and friends, baptizing many of them–including the Jacob Scott Family.
Isaac was on the first mission to England with Heber C. Kimball, Orson Hyde, and others, and was very successful in bringing many of his distant family members into the Church. While he was gone, his wife and children relocated to Far West with other Saints. Once home in Far West, it is unclear (at least at this point) what transpired, but Isaac was among those excommunicated from the Church (along with many members of the Scott Family) when the twelve apostles returned to the Far West temple site in April 1839. He and his family remained in the area, living and working near Richmond. He died of swamp fever in September 1844, and was buried on the farm where he and his family lived. A few years later, his widow and children migrated to Salt Lake City and were fully engaged in the Church.
No one knows where Isaac is buried, but Bob, John, and I are determined to discover the site. Members of the Missouri Mormon Frontier Foundation identified a possible site, and that same site was independently identified by the local Ray County Historical Society. So we’ve been excited to help clear out the area and do our part to see if this really is Isaac Russell’s burial site.
The Ray County Historical Society director, when working with the Whitmer Ward leadership on possible service projects in October, had suggested that maybe we could clear Isaac’s possible burial site. But the ground was too wet to go onto (it’s surrounded by farm land on three sides and a gravel road on the west side). So we could only drive out there and see the site. We were very excited to see it!
Over the next few months, we hope to clear this area out and eventually find some evidence that Isaac was buried here!
As I posted earlier, Alex Baugh from BYU came out to Missouri this past weekend as part of a tour he was doing with some students and faculty from Stanford University. He also spoke at the first David Whitmer Community Service Award Symposium, so Mom and I were able to visit with him for just a few minutes before his presentation. After his presentation, he had to run off to continue his tour.
The next day, I was scheduled to visit the Cameron 1st Ward for their fast & testimony meeting. Sitting on the stand before the meeting, Bishop Anderson leaned over to me and told me they had a group of visitors from California sitting in the back. Lo and behold, it was Alex and his group!
After a very edifying testimony meeting (in which a couple of the visitors shared their testimonies), Alex and I were able to visit for a few minutes. Truman Pratt was also there, and he has known Alex for many years ever since he and his family lived in Utah. The three of us had a great time visiting in the foyer before we were off to our next meetings. Before we split up, Alex said he had to get a picture of us to show to Bob, who was teaching his first class as an adjunct faculty member at BYU this week. What a great guy!
We were so happy to have everyone here for our 2017 Call Family Eclipse Reunion!
It started when Bob and Rachel & Anthony arrived on Thursday afternoon, 17 August 2017. Later that night, Mary Ann flew in from Los Angeles. What a great thing it was to have everyone together!
We were able to rent a house in Hamilton to help ease the bedroom and bathroom shortage, and that seemed to be a good thing. 🙂 Bob, John, and Rachel & Anthony stayed there while Rebecca, Mary, and Mom & I stayed here at the house. Definitely the way to go for future reunions!
We had a lot of fun sharing memories, shopping, playing games, target shooting, ate some Hank ‘n Tank’s BB!, and. . .best of all. . .seeing the total solar eclipse!
The eclipse was the first one in decades–or possibly longer (I’ve heard lots claims on time periods)–that the total eclipse traveled from coast to coast in the U.S. But to make this experience even MORE wonderful, the eclipse went directly over our property! I learned about the coming eclipse back on 2016, and I imagined it would be great to everyone here. And it was!
The eclipse was on Monday, 21 August, shortly after 1 p.m. We were hoping for clear skies, but there was drizzle off and on throughout the morning. John had his telescope and camera all set to record the event, but the rain kept us wondering if we’d get to have the full experience. Fortunately, the rain stopped and the clouds broke just as the eclipse was starting to come into totality. We marveled at the incredible change in the sky and the entire world around us. Crickets started chirping, birds starting singing, and Chewie was a bit confused. The sky darkened. Stars came out. And for the next two minutes and 40 seconds we couldn’t believe our eyes. It was truly an amazing experience!
We are so grateful everyone was able to come to this reunion. Expect more pictures and video to be posted later!
A couple of weeks ago I got all my belongings moved down to my new apartment in Provo. It is a very nice place that just opened up this spring so everything is new and practically unused! The apartments are called Central Park Station and are on the south end of Provo just a couple of blocks from the FrontRunner station. The apartment has a decent sized kitchen, living room, two bedrooms, and two full bathrooms. It also has a washer and dryer! I’ve set up my office in the second bedroom and it is so much nicer to have a separate space for work rather than a corner in my bedroom or the living room. There is a great view of the mountains, the Y, and the Provo City Center Temple from the bedrooms and the balcony. The place isn’t completely furnished yet, but I’ll be getting furniture for the living room soon. Rachel and Anthony gave me their old desk and some stools for the kitchen! Thank you! While I miss Logan’s atmosphere—it is much more my pace than larger cities—it is good to be closer to some friends and much more convenient for work (especially since I’ll be teaching that class at BYU in the fall).