Saturday, July 25, 2015

In Honor of Pioneer Day

Haha! What my ancestors might have looked like? Thanks Kenny Hodges! You make me laugh!

In honor of Pioneer Day, I thought it would be fun to share a story of one of my pioneer ancestors. This story is about my Great-great-great Grandmother, Ellen Breakel Neibaur, wife of Alexandar Neibaur,  the first known Jew to join the restored church.

The story is taken from Elder Gerald N. Lund, as sited in Our Legacy: Faith, Covenant and Power, Chapter 27, pp. 314-322:

“One of my favorite stories is about a woman named Ellen Breakell Neibaur. She was an English girl. She married a German, Alexander Neibaur, who had come to England to study dentistry. They were in Preston, England, when Heber C. Kimball went on his first English mission. Ellen and Alexander were converted. Eventually they came to America and settled in Nauvoo. When it came time to leave on the westward journey, the Neibaurs were extremely poor. It took all of their money to buy a team and wagon and enough supplies to get them through. She didn‟t even have enough money to buy a pair of shoes, so she wrapped her feet in rags and came all the way across the plains barefoot. After they reached Salt Lake, traveling in the second company with Brigham Young in 1848, her husband became a teacher. She took in laundry. For the next eight years, any time she could save a penny or two she put it aside. After eight long years, she finally had reached the point where she could buy a pair of commercially made shoes from a mail order house. She ordered a pair of high-top patent leather button shoes. They arrived sometime in September 1856.

“Just a few days later, on October 4, a company led by Franklin D. Richards of the Quorum of the Twelve rode into Salt Lake with some very disturbing news. They said, „President Young, we have two more handcart companies stranded out on the plains, with over a thousand people.‟ Brigham Young was stunned; three companies had already come in safely, and he assumed that was it for the season. He had no idea there were more, so he had called all the supply wagons back to Salt Lake. The news reached him on Saturday afternoon, October 4. In General Conference the next day, October 5, Brigham Young stood up and said, „I will now give this people the subject and the text for the Elders who may speak to-day and during the conference. It is this. On the 5th day of October, 1856, many of our brethren and sisters are on the plains with handcarts, and probably many are now seven hundred miles from here.‟ President Young then called for teams, wagons, food, and clothing to help those who were stranded. And Ellen Neibaur, after eight years of waiting, had not lost sight of what the covenant was and what mattered. She took that brand-new pair of shoes down to the wagon team and gave them to the rescue effort.

It was customary, when a new company came into the Valley, for all the Saints to go out and line the streets and greet them. When this particular company came in, everyone went out to greet them, because this was the first of the two besieged handcart companies to be rescued. Ellen Neibaur went out. Normally the Saints watched the faces of the people coming in to see who they were. What do you think Ellen Neibaur was watching that day? She wasn‟t looking at faces. She was looking at feet. She wanted to know who had gotten her shoes.

Now, here comes the beautiful end to this true story, a great example of faith and covenant, and example of the power that follows. When Ellen Neibaur saw her shoes, she looked up and, to her absolute amazement, wearing them was an old friend from Preston, England, who had joined the Church since Ellen had left England! Ellen‟s sacrifice had helped to save her friend‟s life and had helped her come to the Valley safely. That is the lesson we can learn from these wonderful, wonderful people.”

P.S. Ellen and Alexander had 14 children! Now THAT'S one amazing lady!

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