Wednesday, August 09, 2023

Nauvoo (June 24)

I roped the kids into helping me write about our summer road trip because (1) it's good to hear their perspective about these things as well—they depend on me to record memories far too much and as much as I've tried to cultivate a passion for journal keeping within their little hearts...somehow I have, so far, failed (but Zoë has started watching the Victoria series and was very impressed by Queen Victoria's record keeping skills, so I have hope that the journal writing fire will kindle within her yet).

I've rambled so much that I'm afraid my list is completely lost, but my second reason (2) is because we did so many amazing things that truly did need to be documented, and I was so swamped with getting my thesis finished that I knew I couldn't manage to write about everything in a timely manner all on my own. I mean, here we are, having been home for 46 days already and we're still not quite done (though we are so very close). 

However, I think the kids are running out of steam. Zoë said she'd write about Nauvoo and this is what I managed to extract from her:

Nauvoo was our last stop on the way back to Georgia. Nauvoo was very pretty! Even Phoebe thinks so! We slept in a brick hotel, and on the outside, it looked very old. On the inside, not so much. We saw Sunset on the Mississippi, and got to dance on a stage. At first, I didn't want to dance on the stage, but then Mom said that it was my chance to be on the stage! We went to the temple at Nauvoo, and saw the real Sunset on the Mississippi. After that, we went to Carthage Jail. At Carthage Jail, I wanted to stay as close to the sister missionaries as possible. I don’t know why I did that, or I just don’t remember why, maybe it was because I thought they were pretty, I don’t know! But I do know that I was right behind them pretty much the whole time.

She didn't mention that I went up on stage with her because she was too afraid to go up on her own! Here are a few more pictures of the 'Sunset on the Mississippi' from Andrew's phone:

The next morning we got ready to hit the town! I may or may not have packed (okay—I definitely did pack) some pioneer accoutrement for the children to cosplay in while we were there (since I know they like to dress up).  

Here's Zoë by the lace curtains in our hotel that she admired:

And here's Benjamin...talking about something:

Probably about how he planned to replicate this self-closing gate at his house when he grows up (he's always telling us about his house plans):

A cannon ball on a chain pulls the gate closed each time it's opened, which seemed pretty clever to us!

Nauvoo was almost eerily empty while we were there (given that it was the middle of their high tourist season), but I guess we must have arrived between youth groups or something, and it was lucky for us because we don't like crowds! And we often fail to plan ahead and instead tend to fly by the seat of our pants!

We saw this carriage ride and the kids just had to go, so we figured why not?

We waltzed right up and the lovely senior missionaries tending to the horses asked us if we had a reservation. We absolutely did not! We had no idea about any such thing.

Apparently all these kinds of things require online reservations these days (fancy). But luckily for us, the carriage wasn't remotely full even after all the people who'd known to make reservations had arrived and our entire family fit on without any difficulty!

Here's excited little Alexander, ready for his ride down Historic Nauvoo Main Street:

We were given instructions to hold our questions until the end and only whisper to each other if we needed to communicate so that the missionary in charge of the tour could just say what she needed to say, which seemed fair enough to most of us. 

Phoebe, however (who had until this point been busy trying to figure out what in tarnation we were doing in this strange contraption) finally noticed the horses and took that exact opportunity to start bouncing up and down in her seat, screeching, "HOSS! HOSS! NEIGH! NEIGH! NEIGH! YAAAAY! HOSS!"

We tried to shush her, but the missionary kindly said, "Except for babies. Babies are allowed to interrupt as much as they want because they remind us of our own grandbabies and we love to see how excited they are about everything."

So Phoebe had a free pass to squeal and laugh and clap her hands (and she did plenty of all three)!

Here's a shot of Grandpa and Zoë:

And here's Rachel and Miriam:

After the wagon ride we headed over to Family Living Center where we learned about weaving and candlestick making and bread baking and wool carding and brick forming and coopering and all sorts of things!

Miriam weaving

We have a couple wagon wheel hoops like this that Benjamin scavenged on one of his many romps through the back-backyard, so we want to try our hand at creating a rug like this. We haven't begun yet, but this visit did inspire Miriam to break out the loom Auntie Josie sent for Christmas.

Rachel weaving

Here's a little wall hanging Miriam made while she was experimenting with different styles of weaving:

Here's Benjamin and Zoë learning about candle making:

And here's Alexander and Miriam jumping in:

It was interesting to see the candles in all stages of their development:

Phoebe loved these little sheep by the yarn-making station:

We later found real sheep and if you guessed she about lost her ever-lovin' mind with excitement, well, you'd be 100% correct about that!

Phoebe's other favourite spot in the Family Living Center was the general store, where she spent a lot of time loading bags of sugar and other staples from a wagon onto the shelves (and vise versa):

Sometimes she needed a little assistance (even though they were really just pillows in sacks):

Here's Zoë carding some wool:

I purchased a drop spindle and some roving a little while ago, so we could try making our own yarn (since we do so many yarn crafts already) and we didn't ever quite get into it...partially because of my thesis and other busy things like that...but we have been re-inspired to give it a (literal) whirl.

After the kids smashed their clay into their brick forms and then set them out to "dry"...

The sister missionary took them away to "bake" in the kiln and returned with some "freshly baked" bricks (though in reality she put their clay back into a box to use again later and brought out pre-made bricks). Nauvoo Bricks are a typical souvenir that you can pretty much expect to bring home from Nauvoo. 

Last time we went to the actual brick factory, sat through a lecture, and were rewarded a single brick for our family to take home. It sits on our mantle!

This time, I was surprised when the kids were each offered a brick. True, they were a little smaller than the brick we got before, but it was fun for them to each get one!

...until they realized they didn't want to have to carry around a brick all day and came up with the brilliant idea of putting them in the diaper bag. That way no one had to carry them!

Well, except for Mom.

There's a common "object lesson" that I've heard several times about carrying around unnecessary burdens—like a backpack full of rocks, but I honestly say that I never thought I'd be walking around Historic Nauvoo carrying around a backpack full of bricks! That bag was hefty! And I just kept laughing to myself about why it was so heavy...because I was literally carrying around half a dozen bricks!

The things we do for our children!

It freed up their hands so they could do things like pet horses:

And enjoy the Pastimes Pavilion. Of course, I was able to set the diaper bag down while we were at the Pastimes Pavilion, so I got to enjoy myself, too (even I know that it's better to be willing to put down those unnecessary burdens).

Alexander enjoyed this rope-climbing bear so much! We have one—I think it's actually in with our Christmas decorations (this makes sense...right?). We'll have to pull it out for him.

Phoebe graciously wore Miriam's little bonnet for a few pictures before ripping it off her head and refusing to put it back on. This is the bonnet that Grandma purchased for tiny Miriam when we were in Nauvoo in 2011 (Zoë is wearing the one that was Rachel's). Phoebe liked carrying around baby dolls and playing with the blocks.

Look, Mom! They have a bunny!

Here's Zoë in full pioneer garb (borrowed from the dress-up station) and taking a turn with the climbing bear:

Rachel and Miriam, meanwhile, were playing a ring toss game:

Alexander wanted to try it, too, so he and I gave it a go. Did I fling that ring directly into his face on my very first turn? If I did (which...*gulp*...I did), I did not mean to! In my defense, my aim was impeccable and the ring was coming right towards him...he should have caught it! And he did...with his face.

That game didn't last very long with us! (Poor kid!)

Trying out stilts was fun. Here's Andrew:

And here's Rachel:

Some of us were better at it than others.

Some of us I'm pretty good at walking on stilts. 

Am I wearing the apron that Zoë took off so she could put on other pioneer clothes? Yes. I think it adds a certain je ne sais quoi to my outfit. (It's an apron from my Grandma Conrad's house; I'm not sure who made it, but perhaps my mom remembers—I think it has some line from the Lord's Prayer cross stitched on it).

These little people were pretty good on the stilts as well (though they had a bit of help):

Here's Zoë and Alexander playing Fox and Geese:

And here's Benjamin playing a tossing game:

And trying his hand at the lasso!

All in all it was a lot of fun!

But we had a few other places we wanted to visit before our time in Nauvoo was up—the print shop was one of them! Andrew is a bit of a typesetter (for example, he did all the layout for Ancient Christians, and it turned out beautifully) so he enjoys seeing how typesetting was done back when you really had to set the type! The kids enjoyed learning about the upper case and the lower case, and other typography terminology. 

They also enjoyed getting to help turn all the gears and things on the press:

Where else did we go? The bakery (where they used to give out cookies, but don't anymore...because of COVID...I mean, you don't have to wear a mask or anything...but they're not going to risk handing out cookies because that might spread germs... Good thing I'm not the one who makes the rules, I guess)...where else? I can't remember. 

It was pretty warm, out so we were always happy to enter an air conditioned building briefly, or to hang out in the shade. The public restrooms (equipped with nice cold drinking fountains) are in little buildings that look like farm houses. This one had sheep outside of it. The kids had fun looking at the sheep while waiting for everyone to take their turn in the bathroom. 

We had a hard time tearing Phoebe away from the sheep, but wanted to visit the Smith family home, which is run by the Community of Christ:

We went on a tour inside last time we were in Nauvoo, but we felt pressed for time this trip, so we just wandered around outside, visited the gravesite, said hello to the Mississippi River, and headed to Carthage.

Here sits Phoebe by the Mississippi River in the Smiths' yard

The drive to Carthage from Nauvoo only takes about half an hour, but back in 1844 when Joseph Smith was taken to...Liberty Carthage (a name that smacks of irony), the trip took a good 5 or 6 hours on horseback, which is something I hadn't really considered as I heard about people traveling from Nauvoo to support Joseph in jail. Families and friends were obligated to supply prisoners with basic necessities—food and clothing and so forth—during their stay (and, in fact, our relative Phoebe Hancock forewent a shopping trip in order to supply Joseph Smith and his soon-to-be-incarcerated entourage money for food on their way to Carthage).

We did the tour at Carthage, which was led by a couple of sister missionaries. Here's a view into the prison room, where Joseph actually was not kept. The jailer didn't think he was (1) dangerous or (2) truly guilty of much but (3) was worried about rumours of mobs breaking into the jail to kill him, so Joseph Smith actually ended up staying in the bedroom rather than the jail. But this is where Willard Richards dragged a wounded John Taylor to hide (under a straw tick) until the violence was over.

Here's a picture of the bullet hole in the door (which is original to the jail).

And here is a view of the jail from the outside. Joseph and his company were in the top window (the bedroom) when the mob charged the jail. John Taylor had been opening the window (for a potential escape route) when he was shot. Joseph fled to the window but was showered with bullets from both inside the room as well as from outside. He fell by the window and landed by the well (the external parts of which are not original, but which is in the same location as it was in 1844).

Technically, Joseph Smith was being charged with treason (against the State of Illinois) because a newspaper was founded in Nauvoo by disaffected members of the church. The newspaper was declared a public nuisance by city council (of which Joseph Smith was a part) and the sheriff was dispatched to destroy the remaining printed copies. A mob (which Joseph Smith is said to have stirred up, and which he agreed he may have—if only unintentionally—done so) followed the sheriff and went all wild and destroyed the printing press. So Joseph Smith was charged with inciting a riot and...somehow (though I'm not entirely clear on the terms of few are since technically the case never went to trial on account of...the gruesome murder of Joseph Smith before the trial) also treason against the State of Illinois. 

Now, Governor Ford wrote (on my birthday in 1844) to chastise the city council of Nauvoo for the destruction of the press:
I now express to you my opinion that your conduct in the destruction of the press was a very gross outrage upon the laws and the liberties of the people. It may have been full of libels, but this did not authorize you to destroy it.
There are many newspapers in this state which have been wrongfully abusing me for more than a year, and yet such is my regard for the liberty of the press and the rights of a free people in a republican government that I would shed the last drop of my blood to protect those presses from any illegal violence.
And I completely agree with that. But also...I was—dar I say?—even more wrong for a mob to murder a man awaiting a trial as it was for a mob to destroy a printing press. I'm just saying...

Yet no one went to prison over the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum Smith (I haven't even mentioned Hyrum—Joseph's brother—yet, but he was there, and he was also killed). And I'm pretty sure that's a worse injustice than the destruction of property. 

Anyway, my favourite part of the tour is listening to the recording of A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief, a song that John Taylor sang to comfort Joseph Smith while they were at Carthage. 

After the tour we sat on the lawn to have our traditional picnic lunch (good ol' PB'n'J) before loading up in our vehicles and driving to Tennessee! Nauvoo, as Zoë mentioned, was our last tourist stop on the way home, though we did end up spending the night in Tennessee because the full eleven hour drive (which turns into 12 hours with potty breaks) was too far to make starting, as we were, at 2 or 3:00 in the afternoon.

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