Tuesday, May 6, 2014


Good morning!  I hope it is for you!!! I hope I can send good vibes, even though I am feeling a little down because I am struggling with this painting still.  It is to the point where I just need to let it be, take a break and come back later, and that is hard.  And this morning I am looking at Simon Dewey's art and wondering if I will ever get it like he does.  Sigh!  I see and yet I don't see.  But it is all good.  Mel reminded me this morning that mistakes are good.  We learn lessons from them if we are wise.  I hope I can.
I told you I might share a little more of my great, great Grandma Syphus' history.  So this is another story copied from the family search site.  I love this site!
"This history was told by Christiana Long Syphus to her granddaughter, June Syphus. It was written by June when she was attending Moapa Valley High School in Overton, Nevada. June won an honorable mention for her essay of her grandmother. The awards were listed in a newspaper article dated June 11, 1929. This is the life of Christiana Syphus, a pioneer of Southern Nevada. It seems too bad that so many of our old pioneers die and leave behind them such wonderful lives, yet no one knows enough to tell them as they should be told. Thousands of stories are written every year for the entertainment of people. Nine tenths of these are not true, yet our parents and grandparents have had so many thrilling experiences happen to them in their day, and they pass away without their history being recorded. My grandmother used to tell me little incidents of her life and they thrilled me so much that I had her repeat them to me many times. One night while some of her grandchildren (including myself) were sitting around the fireplace, I asked her to tell us the story of her life. She seemed glad to do so, and also happy to think that we were interested enough in her to want to hear her stories. We all sat very quiet, so eager to hear her begin that we could hardly wait. I will now try to tell Christiana Long Syphus’ story as she told it: I did not have the privilege of having a mother’s care, for my mother died when I was so young that I can hardly remember her. When but a child of six, I was adopted into a fine old family by the name of Kings. They were living in the city of London, which was my birthplace, although I had spent several years before my mother died, in Toronto, Canada. I lived with these people until early womanhood when I chanced to hear some Latter-day Saint Missionaries preaching the gospel. Not long afterward I joined their church and became actively engaged in the work. While helping with these activities, I chanced to meet Luke Syphus. With him, began my first romance. He, too, joined this church although the people are more commonly called, Mormons”. When I was nearly nineteen years of age we were married. One year later, we, with a few other people, set sail for Australia. Our ships were not built as they are today, and all during our journey we had the constant fear of not knowing whether we would arrive safely at our destination or not. While on this voyage, which lasted six months, my first child, a son, was born. He lived only a few days and was buried in the sea just off the coast of Africa. Our vessel caught fire several times, and it was with great effort that the ship and its passengers were saved. Several times before we reached Australia our food was reduced to sea biscuits alone. At one time, our water supply became exhausted, and had it not been for a passing ship, which re-supplied us, we probably would have died from thirst. Among the passengers on this ship was a young couple by the name of Ridges. Acquaintance and deep friendship sprang up between us, and for three years we lived and worked together in the wilds of Australia. We were engaged in the lumber business during the time of the gold rush there. Here I spent some of the happiest days of my life, for we prospered greatly, besides accumulating the necessary means to carry us on to America. We landed in Welmington, which is now San Pedro, California, in August. Three days later, in a hastily improvised shack, built from the fragments of a wrecked vessel, my second son was born. When I was again able to travel, we went to what is now San Bernardino. After two years, we were called into Southern Utah to settle that country. We left our home, land and nearly all of our belongings, except just the bare necessities of life for we could not overload our wagons. During this journey some very thrilling but almost disastrous things happened. We were camped just above Moapa Valley close to where Glendale is now located. During the night, I was awakened by a noise, and I heard whispered words like someone creeping around our wagon. My husband awoke about that time and together we investigated. We found several Indians in the act of stealing our eldest daughter. How thankful we were that she was saved, for Indians at that time would steal children and keep them until big rewards were offered for their return. The next day we traveled on, and as we were dragging our weary way slowly along the sands of the Virgin Valley, passing through sort of a glade surrounded by trees and brush, we were suddenly startled by a young Indian jumping from the willows and delivering a hurried speech in Piute in which was occasionally used the words “Sipus”, “Sipus”. Then from the surrounding brush appeared a whole band of Indians with drawn bows and guns ready for discharge which they withheld only by the command of their chief, when the first appearing warrior commanded supplies for his band. Explanations proved it to have been the intent of these Indians to massacre the company, which no doubt would have happened, had not the first appearing Indian, at an earlier date visited San Bernardino where my husband had treated him with much kindness, and a strong friendship had grown up between them. This Indian upon recognizing him in the company had counseled with the chief and as a result the intended massacre was prevented. This taught me one lesson which I have ever since remembered. If you once form friendship with an Indian he never forgets it and is ready when an opportunity comes to repay you for your kindness. After a brief sojourn in Cedar City (Utah), we started the settlement of Santa Clara. When leaving this place, we lost practically all of our earthly possessions on account of a great flood. Going from there to Clover Valley, now a railroad station on the California and Utah line called Barkley, we spent three years in the settlement of this place. About fifteen or twenty families moved into Clover Valley at this time. We quickly saw the need of cooperation, together with hard work in order to protect ourselves from the savage-like Indians who raided that part of the country. We built a fort with all the houses joined together except in several places that were used for openings. About one hundred and fifty yards from this fort a corral was built where all the horses and cattle were kept. The men in turn would guard this corral at nights. They always carried their guns with them while working in the fields. If it was necessary for the men to do this, you probably can imagine the danger that women and children were in, and the constant fear they had that their lives may be taken at any time. It was useless in even trying to keep Indians out of our houses, because of the crude way in which they were built. An especially dreaded Indian was Bushhead, the chief of a tribe about two miles from the fort. He would come to the houses during the day while the men were in the fields and threaten to kill our children if we didn’t give him anything that he so desired. At one time he came to my house while I was alone with the small children. He walked over to the crib where my baby was lying. In one hand, he took hold of the baby’s hair and in the other he held a knife, threatening to scalp the child if I didn’t give him “shetcup” which meant grub. I realized how absolutely helpless I was in trying to save the baby. While it seemed like hours were passing by and nothing being done, I suddenly seized a chair and with one hard blow Bushhead went to the floor. The knock stunned him and for a minute he could not move. I was trying to decide what next to do when my husband came in. It seemed to save my life for help never had looked so far away as it had a few minutes before. During the fall of one year while my husband was away, I constructed a burrough through the tall standing grain, at the end of which was a large space covered with interwoven grain. The children worked hard to help me with this for they were always frightened of the Indians and as young as they were seemed to realize the danger we were in. I instructed them that in case of attack during the night, they were silently to creep through this burrough while I should make the best defense possible of the home. This we had to do every night during the absence of my husband. One day, about noon, Bushhead again appeared in the doorway. I could see at once that he carried no weapons. No doubt he seemed to think that the scare he had given me before was sufficient and that I would give in to him and hand out anything he should ask for. At once, every ounce of determination I owned seemed to be ready to assist me. This kind of work had been going on long enough, and I was determined it should cease. Grabbing the first implement of defense in my reach, which was a butcher knife, I rushed at him. For a minute he stood there seeming to think that my intentions were only false, but he quickly changed his mind for I kept after him until he was clear out of the fort, and I’m telling you he found out that I was in earnest before he had gone many paces. So many dreadful things had been happening and conditions were getting worse instead of better, so that something had to be done--and done quick. That night all the men got together and made their decision. Early the next morning they took all their weapons of warfare and marched up to the Indian camp. Of course, the chief and all his followers were taken by surprise. They could do nothing but surrender. The men lined all the Indians up with Bushhead taking the lead and marched them into the fort and down into the dooryard of my home. Then all the Indians were placed in a circle and in the center, Bushhead, their chieftain, was hanged. Men were guarding them so they could do nothing but watch the hanging. They were then given a fair chance and told that if they would stop stealing from us, and be friends, they could live in peace; otherwise the same thing would befall them as had done their chief. They promised to be friends but evidently forgot all promises for not long afterward the same things were happening again. We became discouraged. All our time we spent in planning a way to protect ourselves. Our children were not given the proper care they needed. We felt that they were being neglected and that it was our duty to care for them properly. The only way to solve this problem was to move from Clover Valley. Once more we left our homes and lands and saw all of our work for the past three years being left behind for those to enjoy who drove us from it. We hoped to find peace in Panaca, and to build a home in which we could really live and enjoy ourselves. Here my time was devoted to my children and associates, and even though a great part of my life has been hard to bear because of discouragements and general hard times, there has been lots of pleasure. I have reared a large family of whom I am very proud, so that seems to make up for all other things."
Can you imagine?  I love her history because it is so real to me.  I grew up hearing her stories from my grandma Duffin....embellished a little, but full of the tales of Indians and floods and an ocean voyage that must have been so scary!!!  
Today I need her story to help me with mine.  I don't have scary Indians attacking or trying to take away my children and food.  But I feel like the enemy is still as real and threatening, as my children and grandchildren are challenged and facing real life problems.  I think I need to remember that the Lord is just as watchful of me as he was of my great grandma, and that I have to have the courage she did to chase away the things that threaten.  I am thinking I might start my children's books as illustrations of these stories, so that they become familiar to my posterity.  It might be a good way to begin and to see how I do.
Well, I am a little discouraged this morning I guess.  But luckily I have my class to attend, where I will receive excellent encouragement and instruction.  I am so grateful for that, but I am sad it will be ending this week.  Thursday is my last class.  I can hardly believe it.  Despite the things I don't like, I have learned so much!  And I think I will be a better artist because of this class.  
I know I am a little long winded today.  Sorry about that.  I hope this day finds you well and happy and full of courage to go forward in your journey through life.  I am pulling for you!!!!  We're all in this together!!!  HAVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVGW!!!!!  Melody

No comments: