Letter to the Editor

Families coming together a special occasion

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Dear Editor,

My great uncle Val Blakley gathered my mother's family together at my wedding reception in August 1954.

He explained that they needed to remember the joining together of our family at a wedding was a special occasion. He pointed out that it was a peaceful gathering.

Now in 2020, as I reflect on it and read David McCullough's book about Truman, I understand what he was trying to say.

His biography of Harry Truman begins with a vivid description of the Missouri frontier and Independence, a settlement in the far reaches of that state. Settlers called it the New Eden.

On my father's side of our family, Solomon Hancock, my great-great grandfather went there with Brigham Young and Joseph Smith from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (They were easterners who were opposed to slavery.)

My mother and her family were descendants of Hannah Boone, Daniel Boone's younger sister. Daniel Morgan Boone, son of Daniel Boone, sent glowing reports back to his family.

In 1821, Missouri came into the Union as a slave state.

Ancestors of Harry Truman were plain spoken people and farmers. The Hancocks were often shopkeepers and businessmen who grew gardens with fresh vegetables and kept a milk cow.

Both groups traveled the same way. They traveled by steamboat.

Their voyage on the Missouri River was made extremely difficult by boats overloaded with freight, cordwood for the engines, mules, horses and piles of saddles.

This left little for the passengers. George Bingham, the famous artist, painted this migration of southerners from the south with their slaves.

The first ancestor to reach Jackson County from the family of Harry Truman was Anderson Shippe Truman.

He was of Scotch-Irish descent. Their family came from Kentucky and Virginia.

My Hancock ancestors were from New England and lived briefly at Kirtland, Ohio. The fact that they were converted to Mormonism did not settle well with slave-holding southerners.

Uncle Val Blakley knew what he was doing.

The story did not end well for my family in Missouri.

Gov. Lilburn Boggs issued an order for my Mormon ancestors to leave Missouri or be eliminated. They fled to Utah from Illinois and Iowa.

Helen Ruth Arnold,

Trenton, Neb.

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