As the smoke of the industrial revolution continuously settled on residents of Manchester England, in 1834, death persistently came to rest on the small home of Margaret and Richard Hardman. Likely with broken heart wondering if she would ever have children, she laid her fifth lifeless baby to rest in an early tiny grave. Margaret was a weaver, Richard was a rope-maker, but another 9 hopeful months passed with no daughters for mom to dress, and no sons to enter dad’s trade. With prayer, work, endurance, and love, another 10 years passed and 6 more pregnancies. Three would die, but three lived on; Alice Eliza, Lehi Nephi, and George Richard. Alice received the middle name of her grandmother, Elizabeth; George bore the middle name of his father, Richard; and Lehi Nephi carried the names given him by a prophet a year before he was born. Poor health restored under Priesthood hands by the Gospel of the Restoration, Margaret and Richard carried on, gathered with the Latter-day Saints, moved from their home with many of their family, ever onward, following the prophets from Manchester to Nauvoo. Living only blocks from the Nauvoo temple, they built Nauvoo, the Temple, and their posterity. After their eternal marriage and sealing in the Temple of God, Margaret lost Richard, missing on the Mississippi while working and escorting family members to Zion. Widowed, cast out through trails of sorrow, Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, and the loss of her second husband William Presley to cholera, she pressed onward, eventually to a place where her children including Jane Amanda Presley met their companions, raised righteous families, and gave Margaret posterity beyond all that she could have imagined. We too, can press onward, ever onward. #AncestorClips
Author Notes: My heart is broken for Margaret and Richard, broken along the extremes of the emotional spectrum, alternating between depths of anguish and heights of admiration. Margaret came from a large family where she helped raise many of her younger siblings. Imagine the heart break as each of five, 9-month pregnancies ended in death. Did they wonder if life was worth it? Did they get angry with God? Did she want to give up when other children died, or when she lost her health or her husband? When I pass through the veil of death some day, I expect to meet her and ask these questions. But when I do, it won’t be to confirm her pain for I’m certain it was bitter. No, my desire to meet her and talk to her will be because of the great honor I hold for her. She certainly would have had her days of trial, but her life in totality reveals faith, prayer, spiritual sensitivity, and determination, ever onward. She raised good children, had faith to be healed, listened to her heart, united with her husband, followed prophets, had vision to see past mortality to eternity with a large posterity, with the blessings she frequently desired. Thank you Margaret and Richard for never giving up. Thank you for believing; believing in yourselves, believing in God, and believing in me and the multitudes whose veins carry your blood and your blessings.