The February meeting of the Jane Davis Camp was held Wednesday, February 12, 2020 at the First/Fourth church. Captain Linda Arnell conducted the meeting. The Songs were “We Salute Our Utah Pioneers” was led by Esther Layland and sung a capella. The practice song, “Dare You Do It” was sung to the tune of “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”
The pioneer history was given by Karen Skinner of her ancestor, Kathryn “Kate” Hall Caldwell who was born in 1885 in Bennington, Idaho. At the age of two and a half, she contracted polio and was crippled for the rest of her life. As a child, she had to walk a mile to school, often in the deep snow of winter. She worked a lot with her mother doing washing and cleaning for other people in Montpelier. At the age of twelve, she got a job washing dishes at the hotel for 75 cents a week, and later did housekeeping and cleaning for some schoolteachers as well as baking bread for the men in a work camp. When she was fourteen, she contracted diphtheria and later had severe stomach ulcers which they thought would take her life, but she survived. Her father was a shoemaker and kept a big garden. He was 64 years old when Kate was born and died while she was a teenager. Kate married Sylvanus Caldwell in 1909 and they moved to Yakima, Washington for work in 1912. They worked for others taking care of sheep and often lost many of them due to bad weather. Kate came home in 1918 to care for her mother and sister who were stricken by the influenza epidemic. Her husband wasn’t baptized until he was older and died in 1960 at the age of 78. Kate traveled in her later years and passed away in Glendale, Arizona in 1974 at the age of 88.
For the artifact, Bonnie Phillips showed an old-fashioned apple peeler made in 1898 and belonging to her husband’s grandmother, Rikki Stauffer.
The lesson entitled “The Transcontinental Railroad of 1869” was given by Bonnie Hemmert. America’s first steam locomotive made its debut in 1830, and over the next two decades, railroad tracks linked many cities on the East Coast. By 1850, some 9,000 miles of track had been laid east of the Missouri River. During that same period, the first settlers began to move westward across the United States; this trend increased dramatically after the discovery of gold in California in 1849. The overland journey–across mountains, plains, rivers and deserts–was risky and difficult. In 1862, the Pacific Railroad Act chartered the Central Pacific and the Union Pacific Railroad Companies, tasking them with building a transcontinental railroad that would link the United States from east to west. Over the next seven years, the two companies raced toward each other from Sacramento, California on the one side to Omaha, Nebraska on the other, struggling against great risks before they met at Promontory, Utah, on May 10, 1869. The completion of the railroad across the country was marked by the driving of the Golden Spike where the rails met. Celebrations were held across the country—a golden ball was dropped at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., the Liberty Bell tolled in Philadelphia, and there were parades in New York and Chicago.
Following the lesson, the meeting was adjourned and refreshments were served by Esther Layland.
Those present were Esther Layland, Linda Arnell, Karen Skinner, Bonnie Phillips, Karma Loertscher, and Bonnie Hemmert.