Blessed, Honored Pioneers

I was raised with the idea that whenever my father would bleed, that blood would come out a rich blue. His name is Wilford Woodruff Daynes, if that gives you a clue. Pioneer heritage is alive and well in our family. My dad’s grandpa, Wilford Woodruff, and my mother’s grandfather, Erastus Snow, were in that first wagon train [to Utah]–and therein lies many of my memories. The humorous discussions between the two, Wilf and Dearie, were legend… whose statue is higher on the This is the Place monument (We spent much time standing at the base analyzing), who was the first one into the valley (“Why, my grandpa had potatoes planted by the time your granddad got there!”), and on and on.

My other great granddad, Joseph J. Daynes, the first Tabernacle organist, bargained his way into the backs of wagons over the plains when he was 10 by serenading them on his concertina. And still another great granddad died while a soldier in the Mormon Battalion, after being dragged over a pile of logs by a runaway mule. This is my family line… part of whom I am. I love reading their stories.

But Pioneer Day, to me, is not just that vanguard wagon train on the 24th, bu tall the pioneers in family lines who changed the lives of future generations by sacrifice and commitment. Be they from Europe, South America, Asia, wherever, being the first to take the risks and reach for something great, makes them pioneers. My hat’s off to all of our forefathers this weekend!

By way of a sales pitch for our remarkable store…

After dragging yourself to the campground, after circling the wagons and preparing the grub, and after soaking those tired feet, take time to relax with a good book. If you want to be inspired, pick up an historical novel such as Undaunted by Gerald Lund about the early hole-in-the-rock settlers, or All That Was Promised by Vickie Hall about the early Welch converts. Search through a history book such as The Mormon Battalion by Norma Ricketts where I found the story of my own ancestor, Words West by Ginger Wadsworth which contains stories from children, as does I Walked to Zion by Susan Arrington. Enjoy the many books in our biography section that are filled with stories of pioneers in every field. You will be amazed and humbled by their efforts.

Make it a wonderful 24th of July celebration!!!

–Mary Ann


  1. I so enjoy reading the blogs on the website you share, Mary Ann! They are so well written and I feel inspired to learn more and dive into a book of the heritage we honor this time of year. Thank you for your thoughts, and might I add you are of pioneer royalty!

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