I let pioneer day pass without mentioning my rich heritage. My Great, great, great, great grandmother was 16 when she boarded a boat leaving England for America. Her father and brother had gone a year or so earlier, planning to settle with the saints and then send for the rest of the family. They both died of disease after arriving. Anna's mother remarried her fathers business partner who was not a member of the church and was opposed to Anna going to America. She had to sneak away with her belongings in a basket to sail for America.Anna joined a handcart company and pushed her cart across the plains. The family legend is that she was the only pioneer who gained weight while crossing the plains. It's said that she licked the bowls of the others in the handcart company.
As a teenager I took great courage from Anna's life. Her dedication to the gospel inspired me to stay strong and true. If she could cross the oceans and the plains alone, certainly I could be obedient - my life was so easy compared to hers. I imagined her looking down from heaven. I wanted her to know that her sacrifice for the gospel's sake was valued down through her posterity. This is one of the values of keeping family history alive.