Rootstech 2017 – Blog 60 second stories they actually read

I’m teaching a class at Rootstech 2017badge_speaker-2017 on how to write #AncestorClips. I’d love to have you in my class. (I’m excited; they just announced KeyNote speaker, “LeVar Burton,” from Roots, Reading Rainbow, and Star Trek.)

#AncestorClips are very short stories about very real people. Each clip nurtures awareness of a time, a place, and the character of a man or woman who cultivated a path for our life. The reader feels the good, the obstacles, the happiness, the sadness, and the overcoming. They cheer us, make us resilient when challenged, give us purpose, and connect us to our multi-generational family. Each story is followed by reflections from the author and readers sharing how the story strengthened or inspired them.

In this Rootstech 2017 class, Ken will teach you how to take the good and great things from the lives of your ancestors as a pattern and foundation upon which to build your own and publish inspiring very short stories that near and distant families members will take time to read and be strengthened. Ken will discuss writing skills, blog approaches, and ways to locate and share stories with distant relatives.

Room: Ballroom E
Session number: RT0091
RootsTech Track
I am also giving this class at Family Roots Expo in St. George, Utah, this fall.
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Dorothy Mae Griffin Hardman – God knew what was coming

1957-dorothy-croppedSome major customers didn’t pay; and Glenn’s cabinet business began to fail. Dorothy was very concerned about family bills and groceries. In the 1960’s they built their second dream home, welcomed their sixth child, and served anxiously in church assignments while building a growing company. Not able to focus on her church leadership position, she thought to ask for a release, and find a job. Glenn said, “No.” But her thoughts persisted. She had served well; surely God would not expect more. She couldn’t sleep, she prayed, she cried, and prayed more. She decided to ask for the release the next day. Thinking this choice would relieve her pain, she tried to sleep. “Not so! I turned and tossed and wept some more,” she said. In desperation she asked God, “Isn’t it the right decision?” Immediately, a flickering light in her mind became bright and she distinctly knew her decision was not the Lord’s will. “I did not understand why,” she said, “but I told him I would continue to serve as long as He had need of me…” She then felt peace. She new they would be blessed. Years later she looked back and realized that God new what was coming; what the family needed, and who needed her at that time. Dorothy’s specific fourth year of service was the exact time period needed for God to work miracles through her in the lives of at least two other people. Dorothy’s oldest daughter became deathly ill. The failure of the family business had resulted in a new job for Glenn, and relocation a year later that put the family in proximity to doctors who could diagnose and treat her rare disease.

(By Kenneth R. Hardman, based on excerpts from Sidney Glenn Hardman & Dorothy Mae Griffin, Their Story and Their Life, Vol. II, 2016) #AncestorClips

Traits and Patterns – This was not a unique behavior for Dorothy; when faced with challenges, she prayed, went forward, and trusted in God. I have been grateful for this example all my life and find great comfort and success in faith and trust when faced with difficulty.

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Cornelius Peter Lott – The Prophet’s Farmer

CorneliusPLottCornelius breathed deep and wiped his dusty brow, the rich soil bringing forth its Illinois potatoes and grain on this hot summer day in 1844. All was well; or at least it should have been. Cornelius felt a foreboding as he heard horses and looked up from his work. It was Joseph Smith, his brother Hyrum, and other familiar men approaching slowly. Cornelius ran the Smith farm and recalled many glorious conversations while working side by side with his friend, employer, and spiritual leader.

The horsemen stopped, but for a moment. Their solemn leader, as though knowing he would never see his farm again, looked out and said, “Who would want to leave a place like this?”(a) With love and encouragement, he looked down and said, “good-bye my friend.”

A month earlier in a similar scene, Cornelius mounted and accompanied Joseph to Carthage, but that trial was postponed.(b) This time, as the party continued along the dusty road, Cornelius may have remembered that dusty occasion in Nauvoo, picking up his supplies, then wrestling with the prophet in the clearing outside the Red Brick store. Many had gathered around and all challengers had been thrown by the prophet. In his mind Cornelius could still hear Joseph’s cheerful voice that day, “Here! I have thrown down pretty nearly everybody about the place except Brother Lott, and I believe I can throw him down, too!” More townsfolk had gathered from the store to watch the event. In the circle, Joseph and Cornelius, “ran together several times, but the best [Joseph] could do was to get [Cornelius] down to his knees.” Cornelius had exclaimed, “I told you, my boy, that you couldn’t throw old man Lott.”(c)

Back at the farm he looked again down Parley street, the dust nearly settled as the party had disappeared around the bend toward Carthage. Two days later the tragic news came; Joseph and Hyrum were dead.

In honor of what he knew to be true, Cornelius Peter Lott became a ‘captain of tens’ crossing the plains in charge of widow Mary Fielding Smith’s wagon. He was a high councilman at Winter Quarters, three times a church farm caretaker, a missionary, and faithful priesthood holder.(d)(e)

(by Kenneth R. Hardman – To my father-in-law, Ferril Andrew Losee, great-great-grandson of Cornelius Peter Lott. Thank you Joan Losee Hardman for your help preparing this story)

(a) Joseph Smith – History, Vol. 6. Chapter 29, p. 558.
(b) IBID, Vol. 6, Chapter 19, p. 412,
(c) Launius, Roger D., and McKiernan, F. Mark, Joseph Smith, Jr.’s Red Brick Store, 1993, p. 19-20. link
(d) Losee, Ferril A., Hardman, Jana K., Losee, Lyman A., The Losee Family History – Ancestors and Descendants of Lyman Peter Losee and Mary Ann Peterson, 2000, p. 20. link
(e) Ford, Gary S., Cornelius P. Lott and his Contribution to the Temporal Salvation of the Latter-day Saint Pioneers Through the Care of Livestock, a thesis, BYU, Dec. 2005. link
@CorneliusPLott #AncestorClips

Inherited traits and patterns of goodness – (from Joan Losee Hardman) From Cornelius, we learn to faithfully go on in the face of pain or loss. I’m impressed with his hard work and admire his faith and support of his family. He never lost faith in the prophet of the restored Gospel.

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George Clark and Elizabeth Phoebe Rye Morris

Screen Shot 2016-08-20 at 2.18.36 PMPhoebe wiped tears from her face as her creek-soaked children happily burst into their small summer home. “Why are you crying,” they asked. Phoebe quickly got them pulling molasses candy as she pushed back on her memories. She was happy with her husband, her children, and her faith, but change was hard. They had joined the Latter-day Saints in England. Back home, Elders had come regularly for cottage meetings, singing songs of Zion. George and Phoebe had a roast feast on the Sabbath, then they would walk up the rolling green pasture amongst the large oaks. As shoe makers he fixed soles and did tacking while she sewed them. He would then walk 10 miles, deliver their work, receive pay, and bring back work for next week. They ate bread and butter, simple black English tea and sometimes bread pudding with sugar and a raisin. Some family members had already immigrated and George had been anxious to take his wife and children. In 1883, they sent little Clara and Lillie to Salt Lake to live with family. A year later, George made the trip. He worked on a farm to earn travel for the rest. A year later, Phoebe set sail with the other 4 and eventually they enjoyed a happy reunion living in Bingham Junction. Phoebe wiped another tear as she looked at her stove. “I miss my cooking fireplace,” she thought. Until beds could be filled with straw or corn shucks, they were simple quilts on the floor. Money was tight for school, so the children often worked away from home, but at least they were together on Sunday afternoons. George worked on the railroad from Midvale to Bingham coming home each day with a sunburned nose in the summer, or an icy mustache in the winter. Having sacrificed some of their English connections for the gospel, George and Phoebe knew that their separations were only temporary. Again with sacrifice, they made a week-long journey to the Logan Temple where their family was united for always.

By Kenneth Richard Hardman, based on material in, Hardman Biographies – Ancestors of Sidney Glenn Hardman and Dorothy Mae Griffin. #AncestorClips

Inherited Traits – Like great-great-grandma and grandpa Clark, I have always been anxious to be with family, and to be united with people of my faith. At the same time, changes have never been easy and I miss my family members when we are separated.

Patterns of Goodness – I can learn from their pattern of hard work as cobblers, farmers, railroad workers, and in raising a large family. They demonstrated patience to get their whole family to Utah, a few at a time. I can apply their patience to the hopes I have for the long term spiritual destinations of my family. Thanks grandma and grandpa Clark for my life, and for your example.

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William Parley Elton – Poet of Honor

William Parley EltonCroppedMy great-grandfather William was 11 when his father died, and the English officers came to take him and his four brothers to the poorhouse. “How we clung to mother’s dress,” he said. Isabella was, a little woman. But in faith and work, [she was] a wonder. “Not one of these boys goes,” she said. “Each and everyone will go to Zion.” William had to quit school to sell papers, sweep crossings, and sell milk door-to-door. He worked in a small store, never touching money left laying around by the manager. “I wouldn’t take anything I did not honestly earn,” he said. No one doubted Williams honesty. Encouraged by his mother’s faith and letters. One by one all 7, plus mother made it to the valleys of the Salt Lake. In Utah and Colorado, at age 16 he maintained railroad ties for the Rio Grande, was promoted to surveyor, track foreman, bridge inspector, and conductor, sending every penny he could to his mother while contributing to the college education of his younger brother. On a work assignment he met Rachel Ault at the Cedar Valley station. They later married and ran a boarding house. Self educated, William spoke as though a scholar, brilliant in mathematics. Knowledgeable men often came to him to solve problems. He was happy, shook hands with everyone, did not find fault, and expected his children to respect others, especially their mother, and would not settle for any kind of sloppy job. He honored people, hung photos of servicemen on his wall, and wrote a poem for each funeral in the community. “And my dear loved ones, Lord I pray, protect, direct and guide each day. Dear Lord in truth may I increase, that when my mortal life shall cease, I may be worthy, Lord, with thee, to serve through all eternity.”

(by Kenneth R. Hardman, based on writings of grand-daughter Beverly Elton Hunt, compiled in Hardman Biographies – Ancestors of Sidney Glenn Hardman and Dorothy Mae Griffin) #AncestorClips

Inherited Traits – Like great-grandpa Elton, I feel like I’ve inherited the tendency to be honest. I’ve written a few poems in my life. As I read this story, I relate to his desire to learn, to be happy, to greet people with cheerfulness, and to respect others. I could further follow his example of working diligently, even when times are tough, to never find fault, and to make sure my work is well done, not ‘sloppy.’

Patterns of Goodness – Grandpa Elton was committed to honesty and cheerful work. His faith moved him forward and his vision of eternity, instilled by his parents was a pattern I admire and desire to emulate in my life.

Please follow this blog, add your comments about this ancestor, his traits, and the example he sets for us, his descendants.

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William Wallace and Annie Lillie Walker – True Greatness


“Lillie and the children were still in bed when Will came rushing into the log home, ‘Fire.’ She grabbed the baby and he carried the little girls out just as the ceiling fell on their bed. There was no water system, so it was soon all gone but a few logs. They made a small room out of these logs, shingled it and moved in before winter.” In time the family grew to 9 children, but it would have been more. Two babies died very young, and one daughter, Birdie, died as a young adult. Each loss was painful. Will worked hard. He was kind and loving, singing with Lillie, playing mouth organs with the boys, whistling while he drove horses, thrashed and sacked wheat. Will was generous when he sold his vegetables, and always had time to wrestle with the boys, and play with the children. “Prayers were always said at the table, everyone on their knees by the chairs that had been turned with their backs toward the table… Lillie… taught the parents class in Sunday School.” She worked hard, loved her family, but had her trials. When baby Blanch died, Lillie wrote, “For a long time, I went around trying to do my work and care for the family, but my heart was broken. With the help of the Lord, I overcame it all, and one morning, as I went to the creek to get a pail of water, the gloom seemed lifted and everything seemed to put on a new life. Those beautiful mountains on the west seemed to be so near and the blue sky overhead. I said to myself, ‘You foolish woman, Look up and thank God for all this beauty that you have been so blind to all these days…’ From then on, things seemed to be more to live for.” Lillie outlived her husband by 40 years. Her son said that her beauty was the kind “that emanates from heart to heart and affects the fiber of each and everyone…”

(Adapted by Ken Hardman from, William Wallace & Annie Lillie Clark Walker Book of Remembrance: Their Life, Their Family and Their Story, compiled in 1985 by Dorothy Hardman, granddaughter. Some excerpts from Lillie’s autobiography) #AncestorClips

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William Wallace Walker – A Sheep Share for a Wedding Stake

WilliamWalkerThe two-year-old twins, Ellen and William, were excited when the baby came. Olive, was her name. But, 10 days’ later joy was robbed by tears as their mother passed away. William Walker was one of those twins. He was born in the spring of 1870 in Millcreek, Utah to James Craig and Elizabeth Griffiths Walker. Sorely missing their mother, this was a difficult time for the Walkers. The twins were taken in by their mother’s family. Eventually, Will went to live with his older sister, Mary Ann, and he worked in sheep camps as a tender or herder. Raising sheep was a year-round job, shearing in the spring, moving flocks to the mountains in the summer, then to market in the fall. He worked hard and earned a share in a sheep herd. While herding sheep, he no doubt heard of marvels near and far like the typewriter, the telephone, and the transcontinental railroad. It was in fact that railroad that brought the lovely Lillie Clark from far away England. They danced, they courted and they married. William sold his sheep herding share for a ‘wedding stake’ of $200. His first real home was a two-room log hut in the cottonwoods in Salt Lake, with bare floors, a wooden bed with a straw tick, two wool quilts made from his sheep and a companion he loved very much. (To be continued) #AncestorClips

(by Kenneth R. Hardman. Reference: William Wallace & Annie Lillie Clark Walker Book of Remembrance: Their Life, Their Family and Their Story, compiled in 1985 by Dorothy Hardman)

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