Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mormon Springs and Family History

Well, this will be my last post from Mississippi. On Wednesday we leave for New Mexico and home!
For our last adventure here in the Magnolia state we drove north of here to the Aberdeen area to do a little exploring. We had as our main objective a little place called Mormon Springs.Why Mormon Springs? Well, let me tell you!
When we first decided to move to Mississippi, my mom got really excited because she had just discovered the her great great great grandmother (who she is named after) was born in Aberdeen, MS which is just an hour from where we are. We didn't know much about that branch of the family and she was hopeful that at some point during our time here we would have a chance to get up to Aberdeen and do some research. Well, life got busy and it just never worked out that I made the trip up there. Finally, now that I am no longer babysitting full time and Ethan is out of class to help with Erik I decided it was time to start looking into my family history.
In addition to checking with a member of our church who is an expert on family history research and doing a lot of google searches we managed to uncover some good information about my fifth great grandfather, James Harmon, and also some information about the early history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Mississippi. I won't try to summarize it all here, but here are some links to information about it all.

Information on James Harmon and family:
Summary of the life of James Harmon
A little note about one of JH's experiences on the trek west
Information about the LDS church in Mississippi:
A Deseret News article
An Ensign Article
The Mormon Battalion meets up with the MS saints
A map showing how to get to Mormon Springs

While Mormon Springs is only just a little over an hour from our house, we decided to make a day out of it. It just so happened that the Krispy Kreme shop was along our route so we made a quick pit stop for a mid-morning treat. Erik had no objections to making an unscheduled stop.
 We weren't sure if we had the correct directions to get to the spring. Everyone we asked from around here said they would have to take us there themselves (but couldn't go on the days when we were available), they didn't know how to give directions. I searched and searched online and finally found enough info to piece together a map on google and we decided to take the risk and go for it. We didn't know if our map would get us where we wanted to go, but it eventually did, in fact it was perfect! We really weren't sure exactly what we were looking for, so we really had to keep our eyes peeled. It turns out there is a little dirt track that goes off into the woods for logging purposes, and right next to it is a little clearing with a large stone monument in it. And that's about it. If you are driving too fast and blink you will miss it!
We pulled off on the little logging road and got out to walk around and explore. Down a small flight of steps behind the monument there is a cute little picnic table with benches, and beyond that is the creek. It's very pretty and quite picturesque. 
To hear me read the monument go to this link
 The monument is about 8 feet long and four feet high. The large stone tells the history of the LDS pioneers in MS and the red bricks laid in the ground in front of it list the names of those who made the monument possible.
Erik had a great time wandering around and throwing rocks in the stream. He loves to be outside, playing with rocks, and playing in water, so this place was paradise for him.

Erik thought he wanted to splash in the water, but when I tried to help him, he'd change his mind. It was really funny!
There was a small spring emptying into the creek here that was very interesting. The water coming out of it was full of rust, and turned everything it touched bright orange. The whole creek had a redish/orange hue to it. It was really interesting. I would not have wanted to be in charge of doing the laundry after the baptisms that were held in the creek here, everything would've been stained pretty badly I would imagine.
 There were also these unusual flowers littering the ground everywhere. They were a pale green with bright orange chevrons on them. It took us a long time to figure out which trees they were falling from because the flowers were scattered pretty far. We still don't know what kind they are, but they were neat looking.
 Here are a few shots of the area around Mormon Springs. You really can't see the forest for the trees in most places, though there were a few open areas, mostly farms. It was mind blowing to imagine the amount of work that James Harmon and his contemporaries must have done to clear the land for farming. It seems like it would take a year or more just to get rid of the trees before you could even start to think about farming. It gives you a whole new respect for these people.

 After we had splashed around for a while we ate a picnic lunch and then piled back into the car for some more exploring. We went up to Aberdeen and checked out the lock and dam.
 Then we did a little clothes shopping. Can you guess which outfit I bought? NOT!!
 We spent a while wandering up and down main street in Aberdeen. It was a little strange though. We were the only people in sight, walking down this quaint little street surrounded by old buildings on all sides. The city has speakers all along the sidewalks with old-timey music playing. Between the complete lack of people, the old fashioned setting, and the music wafting along on the breeze we felt like we were walking through a movie set. It felt like the next scene in the movie was going to start any second an we both felt like we were waiting for something to happen. It was a bit eerie.
It started raining while we were walking down the (covered) side walk. It didn't take too long for Erik to discover that the posts that supported the roof also doubled as rain-spouts and one of them had a hole in it. It took us ages to finally get him to keep moving, and in the end we pretty much had to drag him away.
see the video here
We finally loaded our exhausted boy back into the car and headed for home. It was a really beautiful day and we enjoyed every minute of it.

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