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Thankful for all those secretaries

Dear Editor,

My heart is full of gratitude for historians at this moment. I just finished reading old newspaper clippings written by Newell Hart, a man who spent many years collecting bits of history from old-timers and published them in books, newspapers, and newsletters. I feel deeply enriched by learning about the early settlers of our community from him. I hope he knows his legacy continues. I reap those same benefits in the “Developing Community” section of the newspaper each week as Claudia Erickson gleans from his knowledge and other sources. Thank you, Claudia for keeping history alive through your writings. It is so appreciated. I also work with Necia Seamons on the Academy board. She has a passion for history that is contagious and her Preston book, also a result of Hart’s collections, is a worthy reference manual for all, teaching us of the past in a beautifully visual way. She also continues to write wonderful articles about Franklin (once Oneida) county history. Thank you, Necia.

I have also rubbed shoulders with Myrna Fuller, another addict of the past. She has digitized so many pictures and written important accounts of our beginnings, which are chronicled at the Library history section. Myrna and I are two of a kind, neither of us are from this area, and yet we have fallen in love with the natives and their forbearers. Franklin county’s past has become our children’s genealogy and we have adopted it ourselves.

As president of the Daughters of Utah Pioneers, I have access to our past minutes and have read about our hundred year-history—the DUP centennial is coming up in 2022. Again, my heart is overflowing with thankfulness for all those secretaries over the years who left an accounting of their meetings and events and the historians who put together Preston’s firsts through the “Trail Blazer” book. I am so in love with the people of this community, and their great works over the years need to be celebrated.

Through these writings I can see it all in my mind—the first settlers struggling to feed the Indians, the water running through the first ditches, grasses being harvested with scythes, those muddy poplar-lined downtown streets, the first businesses, the horse and buggy era, and hard-working farmers. I can see Sol Hale knocking on doors asking the people to give to help build the Oneida Stake Academy. I like to imagine all the fun people had dancing at the Persiana, then running across the street to the candy kitchen to hear jokes from Phil Margetts who played in the first orchestra, was on the baseball team, and put on dramatic shows at the Opera House. I could go on and on, but let it suffice that we know of these things because of historians, and I am incredibly grateful for them and those who came before making our lives so flourishing today.

Alexis Beckstead

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