Who they were and what they did

Posted by: Duane Hiatt in Commentaries Add comments

My wife Sharon and I like many other people these days are searching for our ancestors.

This is something like saying the Lone Ranger and Tonto are searching for the outlaws. That’s not to say our kinfolk were outlaws necessarily. It’s to say we resemble the masked man and his faithful Native American assistant in our modus operandi. Lone Ranger did the tactical and strategy instructions, such as “Hyo Silver,” and Tonto chipped in with helpful observations like, “Not long gone Kimo Sabe. Campfire still warm.”

I have the Tonto part and Sharon is the dogged detective. She loves to do puzzles, figure out stuff, and even works hard at figuring out me.

Sharon knows how to find the ancestors. I contribute by analyzing (or fanticizing} what they and their lives were like. The goal, as the Old Testament prophet Malachi described it is to, “…turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers” (Malachi 4:6).

The first priority is to do for them ordinances they didn’t have the opportunity to do when they were alive, but we also feel it helps us to bond with them, and they with us if we know something about the world they lived in.

In a show Sharon and I do on pioneer songs and stories I sometimes wander off into my fabricated family history. The part about our branch of the family coming from Mount Airy North Carolina is true. Most of rest is as authentic as my imagination could conjure it.

They were mountain williams to use the more formal term. The less formal is hill billies. They were very poor. So poor that they all slept in the same bed. My folks invented the family group sheet.

One day they met the Mormon missionaries. They liked what they heard about the church but grandpa was reluctant. He said “I’m not going to join any church that would have people like me in it.”

Later on he humbled himself, the family joined the church, and they went to Nauvoo Illinois to be with the Saints. Only to find that the Saints had left Nauvoo some 23 years earlier. Grandpa said, “Seems like we’re always late for church. “

Grandpa also said, We can’t even take the train, it’s already gone. See here’s its tracks“

Fortunately there was another train later. They came west and settled around Payson Utah.

A few generations before all this happened the family separated into Hiatts and Hyatts. Apparently the deal was the Hy’s would get the luxury hotels, and the Hi’s the gift of gab, and the humility.

Fair exchange I suppose. I’m not complaining, but as I’ve traveled around the country over the years I’ve sometimes looked up at a big elegant hotel and on the top the bold letters, “Hyatt House.” I’ve pondered, “There but for a Y, go I.”

But, of course, we all owe a great debt to our ancestors. Without them where would we be? Literally.

And no matter how colorful or quixotic our heritage, we are all one big family of brothers and sisters descended from noble parentage, Father Adam, and Mother Eve.

Comments: duanehiatt@mail.com

My wife Sharon and I like many other people these days are searching for our ancestors.

This is something like saying the Lone Ranger and Tonto are searching for the outlaws. That’s not to say our kinfolk were outlaws necessarily. It’s to say we resemble the masked man and his faithful Native American assistant in our modus operandi. Lone Ranger did the tactical and strategy instructions, such as “Hyo Silver,” and Tonto chipped in with helpful observations like, “Not long gone Kimo Sabe. Campfire still warm.”

I have the Tonto part and Sharon is the dogged detective. She loves to do puzzles, figure out stuff, and even works hard at figuring out me.

Sharon knows how to find the ancestors. I contribute by analyzing (or fanticizing} what they and their lives were like. The goal, as the Old Testament prophet Malachi described it is to, “…turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers” (Malachi 4:6).

The first priority is to do for them ordinances they didn’t have the opportunity to do when they were alive, but we also feel it helps us to bond with them, and they with us if we know something about the world they lived in.

In a show Sharon and I do on pioneer songs and stories I sometimes wander off into my fabricated family history. The part about our branch of the family coming from Mount Airy North Carolina is true. Most of rest is as authentic as my imagination could conjure it.

They were mountain williams to use the more formal term. The less formal is hill billies. They were very poor. So poor that they all slept in the same bed. My folks invented the family group sheet.

One day they met the Mormon missionaries. They liked what they heard about the church but grandpa was reluctant. He said “I’m not going to join any church that would have people like me in it.”

Later on he humbled himself, the family joined the church, and they went to Nauvoo Illinois to be with the Saints. Only to find that the Saints had left Nauvoo some 23 years earlier. Grandpa said, “Seems like we’re always late for church. “

Grandpa also said, We can’t even take the train, it’s already gone. See here’s its tracks“

Fortunately there was another train later. They came west and settled around Payson Utah.

A few generations before all this happened the family separated into Hiatts and Hyatts. Apparently the deal was the Hy’s would get the luxury hotels, and the Hi’s the gift of gab, and the humility.

Fair exchange I suppose. I’m not complaining, but as I’ve traveled around the country over the years I’ve sometimes looked up at a big elegant hotel and on the top the bold letters, “Hyatt House.” I’ve pondered, “There but for a Y, go I.”

But, of course, we all owe a great debt to our ancestors. Without them where would we be? Literally.

And no matter how colorful or quixotic our heritage, we are all one big family of brothers and sisters descended from noble parentage, Father Adam, and Mother Eve.

Comments: duanehiatt@mail.com

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