Friday, July 4, 2014

Family Friday: Independence Day and T.C. Howell

Happy Independence Day everyone!

We have a fun evening planned where we will spend time with family and light some fireworks.

I've finally picked another regular topic to go with my blog. Friday's will now be Family Friday. My plan is to share a story from either an ancestor or a relative. I think it will be an awesome way to compile some family stories and learn more about those who are the most important to me.

We want to include stories from both my and Grig's side of the family, so if you are related to us, please e-mail me some stories. They can be funny, spiritual, sad, happy, or precious. Whatever you'd like to share. Also, let me know if you want me to include your name, or if you want to be kept anonymous.

For Independence Day, I wanted to share a story about someone who fought in the revolution from our family. However, when I called my dad this morning, he told me that most of our ancestors actually fought for Britain.

"We're loyal," he pointed out.

After thinking about that, I had to agree that this is how our family is. We tend to be very loyal. He said he'd look for our ancestors who fought on the side of America. Also, he told me about a great story from the Mormon Battalion. I think I'm going to share that story.

T. C. Howell was a Mormon (a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). At the time, the government had been persecuting the members of our church, and they had faced a lot of hardships. However, when the call came for some volunteers to serve our country, they were not happy to go, but they went anyway.

Though they had been oppressed by the current government, they still loved and wanted to serve their country. That's pretty patriotic if you ask me.

So, T.C and several others formed the Mormon Battalion in the Mexican-American War. Their first commander, who was not a member of the church, was a wonderful man, and they loved him. However, after a while he was replaced by a less-likable fellow named Lieutenant Colonel Smith, who was verbally and physically abusive. They still followed his directions, but no one really liked him.

As a precaution at the time, when someone tried to enter the camp, the Colonel insisted that they had to tell the man on sentry-duty a password. This was to prevent enemies from entering without their knowledge. He came up with the password every night himself.

One night, the Colonel Smith got very drunk while he was away from camp. He came staggering back in, and my ancestor, T.C. Howell stopped him in his tracks.

"What's the password?" he asked.

The Colonel gave him a password, but it was not the right password. Instead, he told him the password from the day before.

My ancestor told him he couldn't come in.

"I'm the commander!" the man roared.

"If you can't remember the password, you must not be the commander," T.C. replied, and threw the man in the brig.

The next morning, the Colonel was sober and very angry, and insisted that he had remembered the right password. Finally, they showed him in his own handwriting that he had chosen a different password for that night. He was still furious, but T.C. was a hero to the rest of the camp (and his descendants).

According to another document I found on the story (link here), this encounter not only enraged Colonel Smith, but frightened him as well.
...for he afterwards remarked to another officer, that the man who took him prisoner "would just as leave kill a man as look at him."
That's pretty awesome. It goes on to state:
Those who are acquainted with the peaceable character of Brother Howell will be able to appreciate the effect of his firmness upon the Colonel, for there was generally nothing blood-thirsty indicated in his looks or manner.
That concludes our first Family Friday.

I also wanted to add that I love our country. I am a huge fan of people from other countries as well, and I love learning about their different cultures. However, I am so grateful that I was born in America. I read a comment from someone the other day asking, "What's so great about America?"

I want to answer that question.

America began world-wide freedom. At the time the country was formed, there were no republics or democracies. Monarchies and communism flourished. America is a David and Goliath story where a few settlers were able to overthrow a tyrannical ruler.

America was led by inspired men who created an incredible document: The Constitution.

America is great because of our history or freedom and our efforts to help those in need. We are also great because of the Constitution.

Currently, I don't agree with everything that our leaders are doing in Washington, but like my ancestors before me, I love my country. Even if I don't always agree with my leaders, I still try to support them in their righteous causes.

A lot of other countries have freedom now. We are not as unique as we once were, and I'm grateful for that. I'm grateful that others now can vote, speak their minds, and make their own choices.

America is also great because it is beautiful and friendly. Having driven from one side of this country to the other, I met incredible people and we saw beautiful country. We observed many native species (and a few non-native ones). I don't recall any part of the country where there wasn't beauty. We also never met a mean soul.

I love this country a lot. Sometimes I feel like people are too busy trying to find reasons to hate America instead of trying to find the beauty in it. We need to be that way toward other countries as well. There is beauty in every country and culture. We can respect and love all our brothers and sisters regardless of where they live.

This country has been very good to my family and my religion (for the most part). We believe that this is the only country that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints could have been restored on. That alone makes me love this country.

The fist holiday the early Saints celebrated when they reached Utah was the 4th of July.

Happy Independence Day!

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