This last week I visited the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers Museum in Morgan. If you have not been there, it is worth a visit. It is next to the log cabin across the street from Larry’s Spring Chicken Inn and Stephs.
They have been open on Saturdays for the summer and had asked The Morgan County News to come by and, perhaps, take some pictures. It was an enjoyable visit and I write about it in another section of the paper, but one part of it connected immediately to my family history.
My son Alex was with me and we were walking around the museum commenting on the paintings and photographs. As I looked up I was surprised to recognize one of the large paintings on the wall. It was my great great grandmother and gg grandfather. Her name was Martha Pascoe. Her daughter was Martha Richards and he daughter was Martha Vera Mecham, my grandmother. I have a copy of this painting in a postage sized picture on my picture pedigree chart, but I did not know that this version existed.
I have written before that I have ancestors from Morgan. My grandmother and great grandmother, among others, were born in Morgan. Many of my mother’s ancestors are buried in a family cemetery in Enterprise.
I was, nevertheless, surprised to see her picture hanging in the museum. She has a distinctive face that I have always associated with the Mechams in my family tree since my grandmother was a Mecham. I guess I need to reassess and give these distinctive facial attributes to the Pascoe’s and Richard’s.
Martha Pasco was born in Monmothshire in 1817, was converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and emigrated to the Utah where she settled in the Morgan Valley. She has more than a thousand descendants now. Her legacy lives on in me.
I had a special relationship with my grandmother, Martha Vera Ogden (Mecham was her maiden name). At that moment, standing in the museum, looking at my gg grandmother made me think of my grandmother. I have a deep love for this special woman who died when I was only twelve, but influences my life to this day. It is these kind of moments, when you connect with your ancestors on a personal level that give meaning, color, and depth to family history. It is these kind of moments that turn my heart to my ancestors.
As my knowledge of Morgan, its people, and its founders grows I have a deepening appreciation of its effect on my life. In ways I never understood before spending so much time here, I have come to see the connections between my life and the Morgan community. This is also the nature of family history. As we learn about our ancestors, we regularly learn about ourselves.
I think that this week I will take a moment to visit the family cemetery in Enterprise and have a visit with my grandmother. Her decisions, and the decision of Martha Pascoe have shaped my life. I live in Utah among the beautiful valleys here because of a series of Martha’s and their decisions. Martha Pascoe’s decision to join the LDS Church and emigrate to Utah. Martha Richards decision to marry and live in Morgan. Martha Vera Mecham’s decision to marry Joseph Hyrum Ogden and raise 17 children together. I am grateful to these ancestors for their choices and to the Morgan community that helped to shape their lives and characters.
I am also grateful to the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers who help to keep this legacy alive. A chance moment in a small museum has given me a precious moment in my life to connect with my ancestors, learn a little more about them, and in the process learn more about myself.