July 25, 2011
July 24th is Pioneer Day. This day is set aside as a time to honor the Pioneers who traveled across the united states to Utah so that they could have religious freedom as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (mormons). Many of my ancestors were Pioneers. They joined the church in England and went through many hardships in order to settle in the west.
I have often thought about the sacrifices they demonstrated and the courage they must have had. My great, great Grandfather was Samuel Lane Crook from Apperly, Gloucestershire,England. His family listened to the message of the missionaries and were baptized. His sister Elizabeth Crook Panting and Samuel were able to buy passage on the ship "Thorton" to come to America. I have always been fascinated by their stories.
Here is a small account of Elizabeth's story.
Elizabeth Crook Panting was born 7 May 1855. She married Frederick Panting. He was considered the "town drunk." When Elizabeth joined the church he was quite upset. Elizabeth secretly saved up enough money to buy tickets for her and her children to leave for America.
As they boarded a train to begin their journey. Fredrick came looking for them. Elizabeth was scared of what he would do to them. She prayed and asked God for help. A thought came to her to exchange bonnets with the woman sitting next to her and ask another family to watch her children. As her husband walked the aisles of the train before it began to move, he looked back and forth at the faces looking for his wife. He had a gun only half way hidden in his pocket. He stared Elizabeth in the face and then walked on by unable to recognize her. The first of many miracles in her journey.
After crossing the Atlantic Ocean and traveling further across their land of promise by steamboat and train, Elizabeth, Christopher (5), and Jane (1) began their handcart trek in Iowa City, Iowa.