Pioneer Unit 2019: Day 10

Pulled out my inner Nephi and built a ship today.

It is so amazing how the spirit works sometimes. I know, things like this are pretty trivial, but Heavenly Father loves to bless us.

This morning I only had a vague idea of what I wanted to do for our unit. I knew that I wanted to talk about when Charles and Charles served their missions. I knew that I wanted to look at Charles Harper’s mission journal. And I knew that I wanted to write a journal entry with a fountain pen. But that’s all the ideas I had. And that would have been fine. I was just gonna go with that.

And then I walked downstairs and into the kitchen so I could get breakfast ready… I glanced out the window to our deck and there was the hammock frame (it rained yesterday so I had taken the hammock off). The thought that instantly popped into my head was “that looks like a boat frame”.

So while the kids were doing their chores, I went to work to build a ship. 🙂 I just put together random things that we had… burlap sacks for the boat, teepee poles (propped up in a bucket of wood and rocks for the mast, some fabric for the sail, and some blue blankets for the water.

This type of thing continues to happen during these Pioneer Unit studies. It’s like my imagination is opened up and I just see things differently.

Need a rug beater? … look up… see the clay pigeon thrower… that would be a good rug beater.
Need a washboard? … the broiler pan would be perfect!

Want to build a cabin?… put a table on top of a table, add some old curtains on top with the chalkboard in front. Got yourself a cabin.

Need a Buffalo?… oh! Landon’s towel is brown and it has a hood…. perfect!

4 year old (last year) had the idea to turn our wagon into a covered wagon? … look in the garage. Friends gave you a hula hoop… that would be perfect. And you already have the perfect fabric downstairs in your stash.

I like to think that my ancestors are very aware and excited that we are learning about them. And they continue to drop little ideas into my mind to make this a fun experience for my children… and for myself… because who doesn’t like building a ship in their kitchen? 🙂


Today Charles and Charles got on a ship and left for England and Scotland to serve missions and share the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Charles Alfred Harper served a mission in England from 1853-1855.

Charles Wesley Hubbard served a mission in Scotland from 1856-1858.

It’s amazing for me to think about the sacrifice that these great-great-great-grandfathers of mine made. They were willing to leave their young families for 2 years (and their wives and children were willing to allow them to go) so that they could serve the Lord and spread His gospel to others.

I have other pioneer ancestors that were the recipients of the sacrifices of other missionaries that came to England, Sweden, and Denmark that taught them the gospel. Ann Sewell is one of these. She was converted to the gospel in England.

I really do feel so fortunate to have the gospel in my life and I will be forever grateful for the early missionaries that sacrificed much to bring the gospel to my ancestors. I’m sure that the descendants of Elder Harper and Elder Hubbard’s converts feel the same way.

So grateful to have the Book of Mormon in our lives. And so grateful to the missionaries that brought this book and the gospel message to my ancestors. If you don’t know about this book, I’d be happy to send you a copy! 🙂

Charles Alfred Harper’s mission journal has been digitized and I decided to print out my own copy of it. I actually got the see the original a few days ago and that was such a neat experience to get to hold it in my hands and flip through the pages. For my own copy, I was able to put the scanned photos of the cover to the original journal on as the cover of this replicate version so it looks really similar to the original. 🙂 Porter (Charles) is excited to read through it with me.


Jershon and I got to see the original copy of Charles Alfred Harper’s mission journal the other night. (this photo is a replicate). While we were looking through the very old pages, we were admiring Charles’ beautiful handwriting. … and that got us talking about penmanship and wanting to improve our own.

Jershon mentioned that his friend/boss had received a fountain pen from someone during a workshop or something and it was just sitting in a drawer, unused. He asked his friend if we could try it out and he said yes. 🙂

What’s super neat is that in the bag with the pen was a card… it says: Certificate of Authenticity

“This certificate attests to the fact that the wood contained in this handcrafted pen comes from The Florence Mill on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Florence Mill, one of the earliest in Nebraska, was constructed by the Mormons at Winter Quarters, under the guidance of Brigham Young, during the winter of 1846-1847. Supplying flour and lumber, the water-powered mill enabled the Mormons to cope more readily with the adverse conditions encountered during their stay in Nebraska. In 1847-1848 groups of Mormons began to leave this area for the Salt Lake Valley, and as a result the mill and Winter Quarters were abandoned. In 1856 Alexander Hunter renewed mill operations for the growing town of Florence, now a portion of North Omaha. In 1870 the mill was sold to Jacob Weber and he and his future generations continued to operate the mill, primarily for flour, for the next 100 years.”

When I read that I thought it was so cool! Especially because Charles Wesley Hubbard helped to build and establish that very mill at Winter Quarters.

“In the winter of 1846, they were at Winter Quarters, where they suffered because of the cold, hunger, and sickness. Recalling their diet, which consisted of cornmeal bread, mush, and bacon, Charles remarked: “It wasn’t the food that kept us alive, but our faith in God and the hope for the future.”

Although Charles and his family had prepared to go West in 1847, he was asked to help build a flour mill at Winter Quarters, and it seems that he remained for that purpose.”



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