Gravestone markers honor pioneers
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On the threshold of the sesquicentennial year of the Pioneers' arrival in the Salt Lake Valley, Latter-day Saints are giving honor to individual ancestors who helped shape the collective legacy of the Church.
The instrument by which they are accomplishing it is the Sesquicentennial Pioneer Gravestone Marker.As reported in the March 30, 1996, Church News, the marker is available to all who wish to honor their pioneer ancestors in connection with the sesquicentennial observance. Obtainable for $8 from the Salt Lake Distribution Center, the marker is an anodized, weather-resistant bronze plaque that can be applied to a gravestone using materials supplied with the plaque. It contains the official logo and slogan of the Pioneer Sesquicentennial, "Faith in Every Footstep, 1847-1997."
To order, call (801) 240-5274 in Utah or (800) 537-5950 outside Utah, or write the Distribution Center, 1999 W. 1700 South, Salt Lake City, Utah 84104.
Two occasions from earlier this year, exemplify usage of the gravestone marker.
- Two LDS couples in Colonia Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico, met at the cemetery there Sept. 22 to honor their pioneer forefathers. Jasper and Rula McClelland and George and Retha Turley placed markers on the gravestones of their parents and grandparents.
The McClellans honored William Carroll McClellan, who knew the Prophet Joseph Smith, served in the Mormon Battalion, lived in the United Order and was a builder and colonizer. They also honored Samuel Edwin McClellan who, at a very young age, designed and built the Juarez Academy building that was dedicated in 1903 and is the only original LDS academy still in use today.
The Turleys honored Theodore Turley, who was converted to the Church in eastern Canada by Parley P. Pratt and Isaac Russell. He gathered with the Saints at Kirtland, Ohio, and Nauvoo, Ill., and later settled in Arizona before going to the LDS colonies in Mexico. His son, Isaac Turley Sr., who was also honored with a marker, took the first fruit trees by wagon from San Bernardino, Calif., to Colonia Juarez. The trip took three months. His little wagon load of fruit trees has since grown into a multi-million-dollar enterprise along the Sierra of Chihuahua.
Brother and Sister Turley also honored George Lake, who was born in Canada, lived in the United Order in Orderville, Utah, and served a mission to England. He surveyed the townsite for Colonia Dublan and was set apart by Brigham Young to serve the medical needs of more than one community, although he never had any formal medical training. He is buried in Colonia Dublan.
- In August at Rock Creek, Wyo., Elder Robert L. Backman was with a group that honored 15 pioneers who gave their lives as they crossed the mountains of Wyoming. Elder Backman, General Authority emeritus, is vice chairman of the Pioneer Sesquicentennial Committee.
Elder Backman's group placed a marker on a monument that honors 13 members of the ill-fated Willie Handcart Company of 1856 who perished in one night and two others who died of exposure from an effort to bury their remains.
Elder Backman and his companions camped near the monument. Though it was still summer, the temperature that night was 22 degrees. "We gained a greater appreciation for what our pioneer forefathers went through," he said. "We held a little service in the amphitheater there and reminded ourselves what had occurred on that spot."