Instagram Great Gram {Family Proclamation Celebration Kickoff!}

Meet Elizabeth:
(& Samuel)

 I spent some time today "getting to know" Elizabeth through the life story that we have recorded in an amazing book filled with records, dates, stories, and photos. I am grateful for the many hours spent in making this book and that my family & I have it as a resource and record to enjoy and connect with our Jackson roots. 

I am honored to share with you some of what I learned about my great-great-great grandmother, Elizabeth.

"Elizabeth Bott Brough was born March 9, 1838, at Seighfod, Longton, Staffordshire, England the eldest of nine children of Benjamin Bott and Elizabeth Abbott Bott. 

She belonged to the Church of England. When [she] began going with Samuel Brough her parents were bitterly opposed because he belonged to the Mormon Church and in every way tried to oppose it. She went with [him] every chance that she could and was converted and he baptized her. As soon as her parents found out, they turned her from her home. Soon after, she married [Samuel]."

Having family disown you for your religious convictions would be a terribly lonely and heavy burden to bear. Elizabeth was strong in her faith and, hand in hand with Samuel, kept her eyes focused on their commitments to each other and to the Lord. I need to find ways to focus in and march through those lonely experiences.

Four children were born to them while they lived in England in an additional room that Samuel built onto his father's home. I imagined what that would be like to be newlyweds and with a young family--living in an extra ROOM built onto my in-law's house. Wild.

"They left Liverpool on May 30th, 1863, on the ship Cynosure and came with a company of 754 Saints under the direction of David M. Stuart. They arrived in New York harbor on July 19th, 1863."

Two months on a ship. With four small children (by then the oldest was 5 & the youngest was 3 months). I feel a little silly to have stressed out about about our three week trip which was pretty luxurious compared to their ocean crossing travel (and really not at all comparable). Elizabeth was a courageous young mother. I want to be courageous too.

"While on board their little boy Sammy had measles and was very sick. Several times they were afraid he would die and have to be buried at sea. From here they traveled part of the way to Florence, Neb., in cattle cars and crossed the river to Florence on the ferry. Shortly after arriving in Florence, Neb., Sammy died with the aftereffects of measles on August 7th.

They buried him there in the Mormon cemetery in a dry goods box and in a little colored nightgown. [Elizabeth] took the crepe off her bonnet that she had for her father's funeral the year before, and stuffed the cracks in the box."

They stayed for another week before starting to cross the plains to go westward. I imagine that Florence, Nebraska must have become hallowed ground in Elizabeth's heart--to bury her baby boy and then have to leave so soon after. I cannot fathom the heartache she carried (in addition to many other physical items) across the plains with her. 

Up to this point in Elizabeth's life she was rejected by her family, she lived in a small space with her in-laws, she travelled across the ocean (without many accommodations) with four children (all 5 & under), travelled by cattle car with her sick baby boy, and buried him in a little box before leaving--knowing she would likely never return to his gravesite again. Now I feel like a big wimp. My heart is aching for Elizabeth's broken mother-heart. 

"They were held up until the Tabernacle organ pipes came, so the company could bring them. Not much is known of their crossing. A bedridden woman rode in their wagon and [Elizabeth] walked and carried a baby part of the way. [Samuel] walked all of the way. Snow had already fallen before they reached Salt Lake City on October 15, 1863."

What an experience to have crossed the plains--walking, carrying babies, sharing wagon space with someone who couldn't walk, and having the unique opportunity to be in the company that carried the organ pipes for the tabernacle. THE tabernacle! The one we can still listen to today and hear the incredible sounds of sweet music notes. I love that physical reminder and connection with Elizabeth. I wonder if she imagined their significance?

"They lived in a dugout in the side of a hill. Just a hole dug in the hill and lined with adobes and with a fireplace on one side. The next spring when the snow began to melt...the water washed down the chimney and part of the wall."

Sweet, patient, amazing Elizabeth. She lived in a hole dug out of a hill. No doubt there was no other choice and having her own space (instead of boarding with another family) was likely top on her list. What would that be like? I look at my warm, clean house and wish I could have her over for lunch and let her stay here for awhile to rest. I want to be patient like Elizabeth.

"...Emma was born March 25th. This same year Liza died. They watched her all night before she died, with just the light from the fireplace. They moved into a two room log house just before William Thomas was born."

Elizabeth was blessed with another baby girl (5th baby!), and that same year, baby girl Liza slipped away to her heavenly home. I looked on the records, she was 2 years old. My baby girl is almost two years old. I can't profess to know what Elizabeth felt but I know it must have been overwhelming. Elizabeth was strong through trial and she relied on the Savior to walk through the valleys. I want to rely on the Savior more consistently.

Elizabeth & Samuel moved again, another baby was born. They moved again  another baby was born and finally moved to Randolph, UT in 1870. I talk about us moving "four times in the last 4 years" as being a huge deal. Elizabeth was a master mover. Granted, she probably didn't have near the amount of boxes that I do (it's ridiculous), but moving is hard whatever size of moving van (wagon!) you have.  In addition to all the moves, her husband would work out of town during the winters--so she would run the farm, house, & children while he was away. This woman knew how to get things done--even with her husband out of town for work. I want to have work ethic like Elizabeth.

"Elizabeth worked in the Relief Society and she ...[was] among the first members here. She was good to those in need and those without mothers." 

In addition to her eleven children, she raised two more who needed a home and a mother. Elizabeth knew how to serve and use her talents as a woman of God to bless others' lives. She understand her place in the Plan of Salvation and she had confidence in her strengths. She knew she was a daughter of God. I want to serve with a Christlike love.

"[Elizabeth was a] refined and dignified old lady, clean, and always neatly dressed. Her home was always spic and span." 
And I found this detail on "She always had pretty bonnets that tied under her chin. The way she tied her aprons was to tie the bow in front so she could get the bows even and then slip the bow around to the back."

Clearly, Elizabeth knew how to keep her home (even through the many, small, and dirt-made ones!), self, and family well put together! Even with her meager circumstances, it was a priority for her to keep things neat, clean, and with a lovely presentation (really? bows even?). I admire her humility to live in so many unsettling places but to bloom where she is planted...and bloom beautifully. Now I am really wanting to meet Elizabeth--teach me how to keep a house clean even with little children...and oh those apron tying skills!

"She never regretted the sacrifices she made to come to Zion and leaving her own people. She was 83 years old when she died."

I can sense in the photo of Elizabeth & Samuel that she carried herself with dignity and grace. What a gift of service and love--Elizabeth gave to her many children, grandchildren, neighbors, and friends. I love that the impression she left with her posterity was that of not having regrets for the sacrifices she made. What an inspiring woman who followed her sweetheart's testimony to find her own--raise a family in faith and journey through the challenges of life. I am inspired by Elizabeth's strength in faith, motherhood, and patience. I come from a long line of women who knew who they were and acted on it. My job is to honor their names by doing my part. I can do hard things!

So that's it! Probably a bit more than the "Instagram Great Gram" initial idea was about, but I'm so grateful for that nudging to help me learn and ponder Elizabeth's life story. I hope you've felt inspired by her story as well. Want to find photos of the women and men who came before you?

Go here!! to find photos of YOUR ancestors!

Quotes about Elizabeth's life taken from the Jackson Family History Book
pgs 443, 444


Carin said...

I loved hearing the story of your sweet ancestor Elizabeth!!! Thanks for sharing. I wish we knew the stories of those in our ancestry!! Maybe we'll find some! So inspiring!

Chocolate on my Cranium said...

Wow! I loved reading about Elizabeth! Our ancestors are so much more than the faces we see in the photographs or the names written on paper. Thanks for sharing her great story.