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Sunday, February 08, 2009

Grandpa Kienke

Our Sunday lesson today was about the Spirit of Elijah. It prompted me to think of my experiences with family history work and temple work and the very sweet spirit of that work. Since most of my experience with that has been on the one German great great grandfather's line I thought I would tell a little bit about him. I only know him because of what others have donated to the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers' data base. One interesting thing though is that a couple of weeks ago a man called and asked if I was doing work on the Kienke line. I replied that I was. He then said that he was writing a book about this man Johann Heinrich Christopher Kienke, he being a descendant from the first wife Barbara Pitchforth. We are descended from his second wife an English girl, Elizabeth Harvey. The man, a Mr. Smith, told of being in the BYU family history library looking for information about the Kienkes. He happened to ask one of the missionaries there if she knew much about Germans with the last name ending in "ke". Out of the many missionaries he could have asked this question, he happened to ask the one lady who has been helping me the last 3 years with my Kienke line. What are the odds? (No such thing as coincidences). She thought for a moment and said "Well the only one I can think of at the moment is Kienke". He was amazed. Needless to say he was given my phone number. My mother happens to have my grandfather Kienke's missionary diary. It's an old leather bound book that is fragile yet quite well preserved. It has the name of Samuel Pitchforth in the inside cover, probably one of Barbara's relatives. The diary is for the year 1874, his mission was 4 years later than that. I suspect finding that sort of writing instrument was rare in Nephi in those years. So at some point I hope to meet this Mr. Smith and share copies I have made of the diary. When the book is published the rest of the story about Johann Heinrich Christopher Kienke will be available. Until then this is what I have learned about him:
He was born 26 April 1831 in Warnitz Germany, a few miles from Schwerin in Mecklenburg-Schwerin Germany, just south of the Danish/German border. He was the only child of his father. His father died at an early age and his mother remarried. Johann's (John's)health was not good. When an uncle made plans to come to America, John's mother thought it best that he join his uncle.
He arrived with his uncle in Chicago in 1852, one of the last years of the gold rush to California. John was twenty years old and full of enthusiasm. He left his uncle in Chicago and started west. The Company arrived in Salt Lake City in the spring and remained a short time to rest. On the morning he was to press on, he awoke suffering from an inflammation of the eyes and was unable to leave.
He worked on a farm during that summer, fully intending to join a company going through in the fall. The day before he was to leave, he ran a pitchfork into his leg and once again was unable to go.
Before the spring he had joined the church and went to Nephi to work. There he met and married Sarah Barbara Pitchforth.
John was honest, sincere and dependable. He was one of the "Minute Men" always ready and willing to leave on a moment's notice. He was a peacemaker and responded to important calls to settle Indian disputes. He helped to make friends with unfriendly Indians. He was a very active member of the church and served on the high council for many years and served as bishop in a ward in Mona, Utah. He paid his tithing from the "Pick of the Crop" and in full measure, running over.
He was unusually generous and was often giving help to the needy.
He was married to Elizabeth Harvey in the Endowment House in 1864. He was the father of seventeen children.
John fulfilled a mission to Germany being set apart 11 November 1878. While serving his mission, he converted and brought to America, Mary Harvey, a sister-in-law, and her fifteen year old son Enoch.
Although John's health was poor while in Germany, the Rocky Mountain air was good for him.
He died in Nephi, Utah on the 5th of May 1900.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Happy Happy Joy Joy

I have found my new favorite web site. It actually has the ability to bring joy to you and others forever and always. Check it out and see what I mean. Besides the producers of this blog are some of my favorite people in the world. Amazing job! Thanks for taking time to share. Go to Whatdomormonsbelieve.com