Sunday, July 24, 2016

Pioneer Day: Transplants to the desert of Deseret.

I will try to finish this post tomorrow, the day that Pioneer Day will be observed. But my superstition requires me to post something today, July 24th....

John Kendrick in the gateway of the Worcester estate on which he was the head gardener.
It was owned by a family named Alden.

It's easy to question the motives of many of the Mormon pioneers: so often they were poor, landless Europeans joining a church that offered converts assistance in immigrating to America, the land of opportunity. Indeed, not a few of them had mixed motives for this change in their religious affiliation. Brigham Young knew this was happening, and he felt that if missionaries could get only-half-converted people to Utah, the Saints could make them into real Mormons. In many cases this happened. In many cases it didn't.

John Kendrick was a different sort of European convert, however. He had a nice life in England. Though not rich, he had a job he loved as the head gardener for a beautiful large estate in Worcester, and lived in a nice house near the estate with his family. His second wife, Caroline Philpotts, was a lapsed Mormon who had been baptized into the LDS faith in childhood and though John was friendly to the Mormon missionaries and eventually joined the church, he felt no tug from America other than the tug of Zion. He loved the green and growing things so abundant in England, the beautiful gardens and large greenhouse he tended, the grown children from his first marriage who did not convert to Mormonism and so had no reason to leave England with him. He loved his life as it was, where it was.

But migrate he did, with Caroline and their children.

Life in Utah was nothing like the life they left behind: dry, scorching heat in the summer and cold, snowy winters; little in the way of civilization in Cache Valley, where they settled; and few of the comforts they had known. At first the family of eight had to board with others; eventually they purchased an adobe house.
John Kendrick playing Jim Bridger in a Pioneer Day parade