Note from Grant Lee, son of Blaine Nelson Lee
Friday, December 15, 2006 marks the 150th anniversary to the day that our Willie-Martin handcart pioneer familyand Sophia Fryer Geary and their two children Sophia and Echo Workman entered the "Great Salt Lake City." They were the very last of the handcart pioneers -- having stopped in Echo canyon for Sophia to give birth on November 26, 1856 to Echo.
My sister, Andrea Lee Conley has done much sleuthing the last few months -- and located John Thomas Geary's grave site in the Salt Lake City cemetery -- buried in a Pauper's section, without a headstone.
I have had a very nice headstone engraved with their pioneer information, a "Faith in Every Footsteps" insignia donated by my brother Roland Lee, a list of their 6 children and their birth and death dates, and both John and Sophia's birth and death dates.
The headstone also has a line denoting that this most amazing family is being "honored by Blaine Nelson Sr. Family - 150 years." We know that our father,has very much been a part of uncovering the incredible story concerning this family and their history -- and has been involved in genealogy and family history work in the Spirit World since his life on this earth ended.
What a thrill to be a part of that process -- as we gather together tomorrow at 2:00 PM to honor these, our "handcart pioneer," ancestors.
We hope you can share in that excitement.
John Thomas and Sophia Fryer Geary
15 December 2006
One-hundred-fifty years ago, your journey brought you here,
To the Great Salt Lake Valley, with friends and loved ones dear,
After enduring heartaches, and pain and suffering
While crossing the barren wasteland, with hardly anything,
But "faith in every footstep" as you faced each day of life,
With Sophia, your dear daughter, and Sophia your dear wife,
Being heavy-laden with her baby in her womb,
Just like Blessed Mary, for whom Joseph sought a room.
As you entered Echo Canyon, your baby chose to be
Born, whom you named Echo, the second in your family,
And though your means were meager, your faith was very strong,
For you were following the Prophet, and in your hearts a song
Of praise and adoration to God and Christ, the Lord,
For your dear little Echo, your heavenly reward,
For being true and faithful, in spite of trials and tears,
And suffering deprivation, as did other pioneers,
In the Willie-Martin company, pulling handcarts across the plains,
And facing Winter snow storms which caused you untold pains,
And yet, you were determined to endure to the very end,
With "Faith in every footstep," and Jesus Christ, your friend,
And what a legacy of love you left for us to carry on,
With faith in every footstep, toward the Millennial dawn,
Which Christ, the Lord will usher in, in just a few short years,
When many graves will be opened, and many will shed tears.
John Thomas Geary, we honor you this day,
For being true and faithful, and choosing to obey
The counsel of the Prophets, in spite of grief and tears,
And untold pain and suffering, along with other pioneers
Who crossed the plains pulling handcarts, to reach their destiny,
With faith in every footstep, and courage to be free,
Free to worship God above, and build a temple, too,
A temple to the Most High God, His noble work to do.
Thank you for the heritage you passed down through the years,
To each of your descendants, as noble pioneers,
With faith in God, the Father, and His Beloved Son,
And in His living Prophet, who was the chosen one,
To help restore the Gospel in these, the latter days,
To teach us truths eternal, and help us know God's ways,
And thank you for enduring the heartaches, trials and tears,
With faith in every footstep, as noble pioneers.
Your descendents, they are many, who've looked forward to this day,
To honor you for all you've done, in our own loving way,
By placing here this headstone to mark your resting place,
In the , through Father's love and grace,
And through the noble efforts of the Blaine Nelson Lee family,
Your great-great-great-great grandchildren, and Blaine Nelson Lee,
Who is their noble father, who dwells in heaven above,
And inspired his dear children to fulfill this act of love.
Thank you for your legacy
David and Andrea Lee Conley
Blaine and Shawny Lee
Grant and Joyce Lee
Roland and Nellie Lee
And their families who are
Descendents of . (deceased)
Son of James Horald and Jennie May Woodbury Lee,
Son of John Raymond Lee and Annie Eliza Keele,
Whose mother was Eliza Jane Geary, the daughter of
John Thomas Geary and Sophia Fryer. (Friar)
And Jim and Betty Lee