Visiting Historical and Ancestral Sites in Saint George Utah

Our daughter, Hayley, and her family were in Saint George, Utah, last weekend attending her sister-in-law’s wedding, so we decided to meet up with them there. We had a wonderful time driving through The Valley of Fire and Snow Canyon and visiting historical and ancestral sites.

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We took a tour of Brigham Young’s summer home. He had rheumatism in his advancing years and would travel from Salt Lake City to the warm climate of Saint George quite often. Saint George was just a rustic cotton community back then, but the Saints gave the Prophet a building to use as his summer home. I didn’t photograph it, but it’s situated in the rear of this larger portion of the house, which Brigham Young built later.

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The Tabernacle is in walking distance to Brigham Young’s summer home, so we took a tour of that, also. The docent (a senior missionary sister who was just wonderful) told us a great story about the windows. Apparently, they had quite a time finding a manufacturer for the many tall windows, but finally settled on a New York company. When the windows were ready to be shipped, the company sent word that they were not comfortable shipping them by wagon from New York across mountains and desert. They proposed sending them by boat to California, where they still would have to travel across rugged land to Utah. The Panama Canal was not yet built, so that was quite a journey and it required an additional $800. Despite being completely out of funds, the Saints agreed and started a collection. By the day preceding the trip to meet the windows in California, they had only amassed $200. At the same time that they were making preparations to leave, the father of a family in the nearby town of Washington was prompted to arise out of his sleep. He was a tailor who had been saving money for years to build his family a proper home. They were living in an adobe shack. He told his wife he should be on his way to Saint George before the Saints left for California because he felt prompted to give his savings for the windows. He met the wagons just in time and handed over his $600, the exact amount needed to collect the windows. His family lived in the adobe shack the rest of his days.

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I learned recently through Family Search that I have Mormon Pioneer ancestors. John Pymm emigrated from England with his wife and three children in 1857 , crossed the plains with the Jesse B. Martin Wagon Company and was called by Brigham Young as one of the original “Dixie” pioneers. He was President of the 61st Quorom of the Seventies, tithing manager, tax collector and later the second Saint George Postmaster. Orson Pratt Jr. Pratt was the first Postmaster of Saint George, running the post office out of a tent, but Pymm built this structure (which is now a restaurant) just a few buildings away from the Tabernacle.

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Here are the grandkids at Saint George Cemetery. This is the tombstone of Seth Pymm, John Pymm’s son. Seth was 14 years old when the family crossed the plains. He fell under the wagon and it broke his arm.

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Saint George’s original jailhouse is also in walking distance to all the historic sites. Apparently, Latter-day Saints were not the only residents in Saint George. Butch Cassidy and his gang spent a lot of time in this jailhouse, largely due to drunk and disorderly conduct.

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 The beautiful Saint George Temple.

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Hayley and Kya in front of one of Saint George’s first Relief Society buildings.

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David and Brigham Young having a chat.

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Valley of Fire