Day One: To Infinity and Beyond; Andrew, Annie, Apollo, Guiness and Ruger

We locked up the house and changed the transmission fluid. You know, the things you do when you’re going to be gone a few days. The Thaxtons took Ink, our black kitty, and off we went on a 3255 mile odyssey that took us across the Midwest, dodging tornadoes, to the homes of family and friends, historic and sacred places and ultimately the wedding of Brianne and Dylan.

First stop: Andrew, Annie, Apollo, Guiness and Ruger
Andrew was on leave, preparing for his deployment to Afghanistan. As a Mom you hate to think of people who didn’t go to his little league games shooting at him. If they only knew what a great guy he is. His darling wife Annie will keep the home fires burning. They bought the cutest condo and have three little guys, a dachsy, scotty and a wolf of some kind.

We wrestled with the dogs, Andrew wrestled with Tim. Andrew wrestles with everyone, even Danger Dean – he’s a club wrestler.

Day Two: More Andrew and Annie; Simone and the Killer Bunnies

Anyone who knows Newell knows how much he LOVES Thorlo socks. He’s pretty low key about most things, but is demanding about his socks. Andrew took us shopping for Thorlos, contributing to a very happy Newelly 🙂

We ate lunch out, then headed back to the house. Annie had invited her friend Simone to dinner. I asked Andrew what he wanted me to make for dessert. He replied won tons. yum. Spontaneously the menu changed and wontons became the entree. Simone, who is deploying to Afghanistan, was an enchanting lady, she changed my preconceived notion about female soldiers!

After dinner, we played several rounds of Killer Bunnies. Tim was familiar with the card game. I’d never heard of it, it was crazy and a lot of fun.

Day Three: The McMurtry’s Holly, Santa Fe Trail and Auntie Em (and Tim) in Kansas

Newell’s first home was in Holly CO. The population of around 1,000 goes up and down a bit, but hasn’t changed much in many decades. He’s sporting a Colorado cap given him by a nice lady at the hospitality center and his Virginia Tech polo shirt (…later)

This is the location of his Grandma’s house which was destroyed by a tornado after Newell and Tim’s last visit to Holly a few years ago. The McMurtrys had a cattle ranch a few miles out of town. Grandma Mac and family lived in town; she taught business at the high school.

We stopped to pay our respects at the local cemetery. Newell’s grandfather and others were buried together in the family plot. Since Newell had always wanted to be buried near his family in Holly, we were fortunate on the day we were there, to meet the cemetery superintendent. Of the five graveyards he manages, he happened to be on the property that day, Newell spoke with him and reserved the plot adjacent to his grandfather.

The Santa Fe trail abuts the Holly Cemetery. Ruts from wagon wheels are still visible.

The McMurtry Building in downtown Holly. Built from locally hewn sandstone, it still stands in the center of town. Originally it was a bank, then land office. It is currently used as the town recreation center.

After dodging tornadoes, we arrived safely at the home of (Auntie) Em and Tim. They were very gracious hosts and it was wonderful to spend time with the newlyweds. They were married on our anniversary in February 🙂 Tim is in the U.S. Army and Ems is working on her teaching credential – she wants to teach Kindergarten – lucky kids!

Day Four: Misery and Illinois

Sorry, that’s Missouri; Andrew renamed it after going through army basic training there. I LOVED Missouri. I really LOVED IT!

We visited Jackson County Mo, where modern revelation has pinpointed the location of the Garden of Eden. This site in Independence, MO is where the temple of New Jerusalem will be built. The scriptures say the glory of the Lord will be there and it will be a place of gathering; a place of peace, refuge and safety.

Liberty Jail, where Joseph Smith and friends endured much misery; but in the end grew stronger and more capable. The amazing revelations found in the Doctrine and Covenants 121 – 123 were received in this lowly, holy place.

Adam Ondi Ahman, the place where God and man connected. After leaving Eden, Adam and Eve traveled here to live and start their family, making it the literal cradle of civilization. Before Christ’s second coming, He will meet with Adam, the prophets and priesthood holders here for a report of their stewardshiips. It is a beautiful, peaceful valley.

The mighty Mississippi viewed from Nauvoo. The Latter-day Saints bought property here, drained the swamp and built Nauvoo “Beautiful Place” into the second largest city in Illinois in its day.

We visited the Red Brick Store where the first Relief Society was organized. It had been demolished and reconstructed, but the original feeling of good still lingered…

Here’s Tim who is actually too cool to spend this many days with his parents, but he was a good sport!

Day Five: The Wedding Rehearsal Dinner, Exploring Nauvoo and a gift

Our great… great grandfather Chauncey Gilbert Webb lived in this house near his family’s blacksmith shop.

C. G. and his brothers operated one of 38 blacksmith shops in Nauvoo in the 1830s – 40s. Their shop was on Parley Street; the route the Saints took as they left Nauvoo to cross the frozen Mississippi River when they were driven from the city on a cold February day.

The Webbs also built many of the covered wagons the Mormons used for their relocation to Utah. According to one account; Chauncey was with Brigham Young’s group that entered the Salt Lake Valley in July 1847. He also helped rescue the Martin Handcart Company when they became stranded on the plains.

Grandma and Grandpa Chesnut look over a wagon.

Our other great…great grandfather Christopher Layton had a farm near this location. He marched from Iowa to San Diego with the Mormon Battalion to fight the war with Mexico, brought Saints from England and settled Utah and Arizona. He’s buried with our great…great grandmother Caroline Cooper about a mile from our home in Utah.

Back to the present to enjoy a riverfront dinner and chance to visit with Brianne’s charming family.

A turquoise pot (Brianne’s wedding color) filled with goodies for the newlyweds’ new home.

Karl brought over an unbelievable assortment of Japanese snack foods: including KitKats in flavors I’d never heard of – wasabi? It was good…

Day Six: The Big Day!

Dylan and Brianne McMurtry married May 21, 2011 in the Nauvoo IL Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

They exchanged rings at a ceremony at their reception.

More of The Big Day

Dylan, Brianne and McMurtrys.

We were happy to be part of the special day.

The wedding was held in the beautiful Nauvoo Temple.
The guys were so excited, they jumped for joy!

For more fun and adventure: see below for days seven through nine.

Day Seven: The Road to Carthage

Day Seven

Cousin Emily McMurtry volunteered to get up at zero-dark-thirty to take Karl to the airport in Chicago. She will evermore be a hero in my book.

As we prepared to return home, we decided to visit the jail at Carthage, IL, the site of the murder of Joseph and Hyrum Smith.

They looked at the beautiful Nauvoo Temple one last time, before surrendering themselves into the protective custody of the governor of Illinois. Joseph was ordered to stand trial for the destruction of the newspaper, The Nauvoo Expositor, which had been publishing stories to incite violence against the Latter-day Saint community.

Carthage Jail

Joseph and Hyrum Smith were brought here to the jail at Carthage, Illinois
in the protective custody of the governor.

The jailor, his wife and seven children lived on the ground floor of the building. In the evening of the martyrdom, the wife and children were preparing dinner when an armed mob burst in and stormed the house, firing guns. The mob pushed their way upstairs, shooting through the door of the jailor’s bedroom, where the prisoners had been placed for their comfort. Hyrum and Joseph were killed and John Taylor seriously wounded. The mob, having accomplished their evil design retreated.

My great… great grandfather, Christopher Layton went with others to Carthage to retreive the bodies and bring them back to Nauvoo for burial.