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'Their stories provide light and inspiration for my own journey'

All Church members share a pioneer heritage, whether their ancestors were LDS or not, Sister Marjorie P. Hinckley said April 12 to a gathering of Daughters of Utah Pioneers.

Sister Hinckley told how, while the family sat on the rocks on Little Mountain, her father didn't moralize or lecture them. "But the love and appreciation for his mother was transferred from his heart to ours.  It was while I was still very young that I made up my mind I would stay true and faithful to the gospel so her suffering would not be in vain."
Sister Hinckley told how, while the family sat on the rocks on Little Mountain, her father didn't moralize or lecture them. "But the love and appreciation for his mother was transferred from his heart to ours. It was while I was still very young that I made up my mind I would stay true and faithful to the gospel so her suffering would not be in vain." Photo: Photo by Chuck Wing

Sister Hinckley, wife of Church President Gordon B. Hinckley, was honored on this cool, spring evening at the Assembly Hall on Temple Square during the Centennial Celebration of Daughters of Utah Pioneers. Seated with her were her daughters, Kathleen H. Barnes, Virginia A. Pearce and Jane H. Dudley. Sister Barnes offered brief remarks concerning her mother on behalf of her father.

Several hundred attended this second part of the two-day celebration of the century-old Daughters of Utah Pioneers, which was organized April 11, 1901. That small band of 47 women has grown to a worldwide organization, which, as described by the Web site for the northern Utah chapter, "is actively working to preserve the history and artifacts of its Pioneer ancestors."

The centennial festivities included a balloon launch and opening of a time capsule at the Utah State Capitol rotunda April 11, along with displays, poetry and story contests, and music and dancing. More displays and story telling were held the next day at the D.U.P. Museum at 300 North Main Street in Salt Lake City prior to the evening event in the Assembly Hall.

During her remarks, which included her characteristic humor, Sister Hinckley recalled how on every 24th of July when she was growing up, her father would take her and her siblings up Immigration Canyon to Little Mountain, "where the pioneers came over the hill into the valley."

"We'd sit on the rocks while he told us the story of his mother, Mary, and the suffering she experienced as part of the ill-fated Martin Handcart Company, who were caught in early winter storms as they made their way to join the saints in the valley. Mary, my grandmother, lost two sisters; she lost a brother, and finally her mother on the trail. Her toes were frozen and had to be amputated. She later married, and she had 13 children. My father was the youngest of those children."

Members of Daughters of Utah Pioneers perform a dramatic presentation to tell the history of their organization.
Members of Daughters of Utah Pioneers perform a dramatic presentation to tell the history of their organization. Photo: Photo by Chuck Wing

Sister Hinckley told how, while the family sat on the rocks on Little Mountain, her father didn't moralize or lecture them. "But the love and appreciation for his mother was transferred from his heart to ours. It was while I was still very young that I made up my mind I would stay true and faithful to the gospel so her suffering would not be in vain.

"I know that day will come when I will see her. How could I face her if I have not tried to build on the foundation she laid? I'm grateful to be a granddaughter of Mary Goble Pay, as well as the descendant of many others who crossed the plains. Their stories provide light and inspiration for my own journey. We all share in the heritage they gave us."

Sister Barnes told the gathering: "One of the great legacies that Mother has given to each of her daughters and granddaughters is a generational picture. I now have eight generations in my frame, beginning with my five granddaughters and ending with my third-great-grandmother, who was the first woman [in the family] to join the Church in Cambridge, England. I often look at this picture and see myself among this long line of faithful, dedicated, stalwart women, and I recognize what a great privilege and blessing it is to be a part of this pioneer movement. The Daughters of Utah Pioneers has been a household word for as long as I can remember."

During the evening, Sister Hinckley and her daughters were presented plaques recognizing their families' parts in Daughters of Utah Pioneers, along with other gifts. A D.U.P. chorus performed pioneer songs, accompanied by Linda Margetts on the organ, with Bonnie Johnson providing vocal solos and Kelly Parkinson violin accompaniment. Sister Margetts also performed a powerful organ solo, followed by a dramatic presentation highlighting the history of Daughters of Utah Pioneers.

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