Treasure Hunting at Home: a Visit to the Alamo

Treasure Hunting at Home: a Visit to the Alamo

A few days ago, we visited The Alamo. No, not that one. The historic home of Ezra T. and Mary Stevenson Clark in Farmington, Utah, with its architectural stylings reflective of the Alamo, was the childhood home of Kindex founder Kimball Clark. On a mission to rescue records for a treasure hunt for the upcoming MyFamily History Youth Camp at BYU, we thought of no better place to start than in our own backyard.

 

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Welcome to the Alamo.

I had a few minutes waiting for Kimball to arrive, so I poked around outside, walking deep into the expansive property. Situated on historic “Clark Lane” in Farmington, Utah, the property stretches north reaching the Farmington Creek Trail and Lagoon Park. So close is Lagoon that I could hear clack of amusement rides and the screams of thrill-seekers just a stone’s throw away.

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Kimball’s father Charles Clark collected, among other things, wagon wheels.

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And other kinds of wheels.

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The random patterns of native field stones.

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A marker for the old telephone system cables. It has not been disturbed.

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At last, Kimball is here! Now, where’s that key.

Once inside, we had a great time exploring the home. I remember coming to this home once in a while to visit Charles and Sally’s family, but it had been at least 20 years. Wandering from room to room in the heavy July heat, we discovered some great things. Buried between craft boxes, tools, and boxes of old bills were family genealogies, old photos, letters, and a few other surprises.

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A few items from a dusty old suitcase.

This 161-year old home is thick with memory. Treasure hunting aside, I loved looking around the various rooms and hearing Kimball’s memories of growing up here. With eight brothers and one sister, Kimball has no shortage of stories from this house.

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A view in the kitchen.

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A well-worn banister post cap.

Someday soon, Kimball will share some memories of him growing up in that historic pioneer home. That’s his story to tell. In the mean time, we’ll keep hunting for treasures and putting them on Kindex, one dusty suitcase at a time.

“Do you know what a blessed thing it is to love and be loved?”

“Do you know what a blessed thing it is to love and be loved?”

“Do you know what a blessed thing it is to love and be loved?”
-Hyrum Smith, in a letter to June Bushman

People don’t talk this way anymore, much less write. The excerpts shared below are taken from letters written between June Augusta Bushman and Hyrum Smith during their period of engagement from 1906 to 1908.  Their tenderness and devotion with one another is an inspiration to read, and has deepened my gratitude for ancestors with such gifts and sensitivity.

Soon, the entire collection of letters will be added and transcribed on their Kindex family archive. In the mean time, here are some words to inspire us.

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Flagstaff, Ariz., Oct 7 1906
My Dear June,

This is one of those beautiful Sabbath days that you read about in story books. The trees have a more stately appearance; the breeze sighs gently; the sun’s rays are soft and radiant; the clouds linger near the horizon so they will not disturb the spotless blue above; and the very air partakes of the peaceful influence of this Holy Day.


Snowflake, Ariz. Oct 31, 1906
Dear Hyrum,

For two long months I have been looking, anxiously for the promise you gave me the evening I saw you last. (Forgotten you say? Well I haven’t, and if the image doesn’t arrive soon I am going to take a peep at the original, (if the train that goes to Phoenix will stop long enough at the right place.) … Ah Sweet heart, you know full well why times seem dull to me for the first time in my life. I am happy and have always been, yet there is so much gone (that I never missed before I possessed) that seems essential for my complete happiness.


St. Joseph, Ariz., Jan., 1907
Hyrum my Beloved,

Do not say I’m answering rather early, even if your letter did come yesterday. The dearest letter I ever received, it was, and I could hardly keep from answering while I felt that you were near and I could talk instead of write to you. Your letters contain something that I cannot describe, perhaps if you could see me just after reading one you could better tell. They are essential to this little girl as long as your presence is lacking. Yes, I have everything to be thankful for. My Parents are so good to me and such a support. Home seems dearer every day and I am happy. How could I be otherwise with your love and all else that comes to me. Our climate has been almost the reverse from yours. We have had sunny spring weather and the birds are splitting their voices telling us how happy they are.


Flagstaff, Ariz., March 24, 1907
My Dear June,

Do you know how much easier it is to work, to do each day the duty that lies before you, when some one else offers encouragement and is interested in your success or failure? I imagine that I do. From the depths of my heart I appreciate your confidence and trust. Altho I fall far short of being what you say that I am, your unwavering trust is a great incentive to strive to be a worth and fit subject of such love as yours. Your letter was especially good. What do you suppose would happen to me if you should suddenly cease writing? Well, let’s not try just to find out.


Indianapolis, Ind., July 19, 1907
True Heart of Mine,

Ah, Love, you cannot know the joy your words of love brot to this little girl who is so far from you (and yet so near). I cannot believe there is such a distance between us when I feel your presence near me. Your good wishes for me are greatly appreciated, and I know I should be a happy girl, and truly I am and hope to prove worthy of all.


Richmond, Inde., Aug. 4, 1907
My Beloved

This earth is a beautiful garden, with golden sunshine and pearly dew. Then why should we not, as human plants, rise up in strength of our youth and glorify God for his tender mercies, for boundless love? I feel that it is good to live. To know the One who have his life that we might live. Can we appreciate such sacrifice? Do we realize the extent of his love for us? Truly I am guarded every hour, and the blessing of confidence and love is mine.

A sweet sense of peace is mine from the knowledge of your faithfulness. This charming, charming Sabbath day, wish you could feel the serene stillness. Maud and I went to the United Presbyterian Church this morning.


Greenville, Ohio, Aug. 19, 1907
My Own True Heart,

… Well dearest, I rattle away here as if I never intended to stop and I don’t know as my wanderings will interest you at all, but I have to tell you anyhow it seems because you know I am not satisfied to have all the pleasure by my lonesome. I find myself invariable wishing some One were here to make enjoyment doubly sweet.

It is quite impossible to collect my thots for real thinking when I am in so many strange places and seeing so many strange faces, but know this, my beloved, that some one things of someone all the live long day. With undying faith in my over, I remain your devoted June


Flagstaff, Ariz., Oct. 27, 1907
My Dear June:

On this beautiful Sabbath morning I would certainly be out of harmony with the day if I were anything but happy. The quiet dignity of the pines and the mountains with their majestic calmness bespeak the handiwork of the Creator. The mountains are especially beautiful. Their tops are freshly capped with snow, which makes them stand out in bold relief against a deep blue sky.

Your letters always bring good cheer. I envy you your ability as a correspondent. A person who sees and appreciates beauty in everything, unconsciously puts that spirit into everything they do. That is the great difference between us two, you always see the bright side of things while I am inclined to see only the opposite.


Flagstaff, Ariz., Nov. 24, 1907
My Dear June:

This beautiful Sabbath morning fills my mind with thots of love and home. Do you know what a blessed thing it is to love and be loved? Of course you do, but it isn’t that often that I take time to enjoy it.

It is hard to realize all of the confidence and trust that is reposed in my by my sweetheart, my mother, brothers, sisters and friends. The realization makes me feel my unworthiness, but on the other hand is an incentive to greater effort. My progress is very slow yet I believe with J.G. Holland that “Heaven is not reached at a single bound, but we build the ladder by which we rise from the lowly earth to the vaulted skies, and we mount to the summit round by round.” Hope you will not work too hard, but take all the pleasure you can get. I know you must have enjoyed that trip with the Salt Lake people. I trust that you will have a pleasant time Thanksgiving Day. I would enjoy being at home with the folks to join with them in their first Thanksgiving Day in the new house but if school work is my business I must attend to it. I can tell how many days it will be until the Christmas vacation but will not trouble you with it now.

Write soon to your Patient Plodder
Hyrum


Letters copied from the June Bushman and Hyrum Smith Family History compiled by Virgil Smith and June Adele Smith Harker.

Photo courtesy of David Clark.

Family letters: Opening the door to our ancestor’s lives

Family letters: Opening the door to our ancestor’s lives

If a photo is a window into a family’s life, then a letter is the door. This 1904 portrait of the Emma Woolley and Charles Rich Clark family is beautiful, but offers few clues about the challenges, personalities and relationships between these family members.

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Today, we transcribed a letter written by Emma Woolley to her husband Charles Rich Clark while he was away serving a church mission in 1892.  In this letter we learn that Emma had a migraine, and that the oldest child, Marion, was the serious one who concerned himself with his mother’s help and offered a little prayer on her behalf. We learn that Vernon, the next oldest, was the silly one and said funny things that made his mother and neighbors laugh. We learned how devoted Emma is as a wife, managing the family accounts, nurturing sick children, doing laundry,  and settling debts. She closes the letter saying,

“I guess this is not what would be called a love letter but it is written in love all the same, and I am proud of the man I love, and hope to keep ever fresh and alive that affection that exists between us”

To read the full transcription, go to the Ezra T. Clark Family Archive.

Make insights like this possible with your own family records and start your own family archive.

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Stealing Peonies

Stealing Peonies

To Annie Virginia Chamberlain

My grandma’s home in Poplar Grove (a neighborhood in Salt Lake City, Utah) was an oasis of certainty in an uncertain place. Her double lot on the corner of Navajo and Wasatch had been in the family for two generations, but it was just hers now. Inside, it was an evolving patchwork of hand-hewn cabinets and pink homewallpaper. Outside, a bright stamp of green and pink in a neighborhood of thumping cars and chain link fences. Years of raising chickens made the roses flush with color and grass so thick that mowing was an aching chore that stole the Saturdays of our fathers and brothers. On one corner there was a pine so tall we could play under its boughs standing up. On the other, a patio surrounded by roses, a clothesline, and large patch of pink peonies. (more…)

Find What is Lost: Introducing found.kindex.org

Find What is Lost: Introducing found.kindex.org

A few weeks ago I was browsing in an antique shop when a stack of old photos caught my eye. As I examined these portraits and family poses one by one, I discovered names written on the back:  David A. Page. Teddy O. Keefer. Ester Olson. How did they get lost?

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Photo 0020 on found.kindex.org is David Alonzo Page with wife Gilheld “Nellie” Qualseth and children Gladys and Elmer, c1900.

As a self-proclaimed hoarder of my own family records, I couldn’t imagine letting go photos like these. And yet it happens every day. Parents pass away, downsize, or move, and family records are lost or thrown away. Records that do remain are often sold in estate sales, eventually finding their way to antique stores or flea markets where they sold as mere commodities.

Kindex wants to change that. While we are doing all we can to rescue records before they are lost, we created the Kindex Lost & Found Archive as a home for records without families to claim them. Found.kindex.org is a destination where collectors, volunteers, researchers, and family members can work together to rescue our histories by preserving, indexing, and discovering lost family records. There are many ways you can be a rescuer—and you don’t have to own any records to get started.

Rescue by Indexing

Rescue history by transcribing photos, postcards, and other records rich with information. Indexing on found.kindex.org creates a new repository of names, dates, and locations that make thousands of records searchable for the first time. All you need to get started is a free Kindex account and a generous heart.

How to index records Kindex Lost & Found Archive.

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Postcard 0016 on found.kindex.org

Rescue by Collaborating

Become a collaborator on found.kindex.org and you can add your own collections of “lost” records to be crowdsource indexed. To become a collaborator, contact us for an invite or go to found.kindex.org and click Add a Record.

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Rescue by Partnering

If you are an antique collector or dealer you can help rescue history by partnering with Kindex and sharing your records on found.kindex.org. We have partnered with some great local antique shops, including Longwood Antiques and Cobwebs Antiques & Collectibles, who have agreed to allow Kindex to scan photos, postcards, scrapbooks, and other indexable records. We, in turn, have agreed to host them in a crowdsourced indexing archive where the records can be searched for and found by their names, descriptions, keywords, and other metadata—all at no cost to them. Records are attributed to the store they came from, so when they are found, researchers can contact the store owner to inquire about the records.

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Who is the cute & mysterious gas station attendant my mother met on the road to Las Vegas in 1959? We’ll learn soon on found.kindex.org.

What’s the Catch?

There’s no catch—just do have a few guidelines:

  • Records added to this archive must have some sort of indexable text that would identify the record to an individual or group.
  • Collaborators who add records to Kindex archives retain copyright ownership. By adding records to Kindex, you are grant Kindex a license to host and create a derivative (i.e., an index) of your records.
  • Record owners may watermark their images so much as the watermark does not detract from or obscure any part of the record.
  • You must follow all Kindex Terms & Conditions. You have an opportunity to review them when you create a free Kindex account.
  • To index records as a guest, or to add records as an archive collaborator, you must have a Kindex account.

Please contact us with an questions you may have, and happy finding!

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“Male-Help-Only”: Breaking the Glass Ceiling in 1929

“Male-Help-Only”: Breaking the Glass Ceiling in 1929

As we celebrate Women’s History Month, we are sharing the stories of women who are examples of strength and courage. 

It was December 1929, just a few weeks after the stock market crash, and many families were feeling the pinch. As a teenager growing up in the 1920’s Dorothy Smith developed an interest in art, and enjoyed sketching the faces of her friends and family. Her parents invested in a few art lessons, and the hobby blossomed into an opportunity for Dorothy to answer an ad in the local paper. The problem was, the ad was for “male-help-only”. Dorothy was not deterred, at at the encouragement of her mother, put some trousers on and answered the ad.

From Dorothy Smith’s own life sketch:

“In December of my 18th year came an answer to a prayer for financial help as well as an unexpected opportunity to “cash-in” on my parent’s monetary investments in my future. At Mother’s suggestion, I bravely answered a “male-help-only” ad that had appeared for a week in the local newspaper. I got the job and was promptly put to work. I learned a lesson in preparedness when I was retained to work the rest of the day and was afraid to remove my coat because I hadn’t bothered to wear my belt. I thoroughly enjoyed my (one-man?) job as a sign-writer and copy-checker in the advertising department of the city’s largest store, T. Eaton, Co., and was glad to be able to help in the support of my elder brother Marv.”

-From the Dorothy Smith Archive, A Brief Life Sketch, written 31 January 1975.

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Dorothy Smith with her parents Hyrum and June, in the late 1920’s, in front of their home in Lethbridge, Alberta.

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Dorothy Smith sketching a face.

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A window Dorothy Smith decorated at T. Eaton Co. in Lethbridge, Alberta.