Have a passion for history? Check out --
Banners In The Mist
-- a quarterly email newsletter that delves into fascinating epochs of the past.
The current issue brings you three short-short stories set long ago.
(authored by Joyce Holt -- great-great-granddaughter of Frederick William Hurst)
[by Samuel H. and Ida Hurst]
During the years that the diary of Frederick William Hurst, my grandfather, has been in my possession I have felt a responsibility for its safekeeping very keenly. I knew it belonged to his family, not to me alone, but still it must be preserved. When parts of it were in the hands of others I worried about it, for my experience in loaning books had taught me that many are lost. At times I have not granted a request to take either part or all of it from me for fear of losing it.
Now the Diary is in a shape to be turned over to the family as a possession of anyone who desires it. This is a great relief to me, though it has taken much patience, and tedious work to put it into its present form. Most of his writing is over one hundred years old, and was written in a style that is not common today. Naturally, age has left its effect upon it until in a few places it could not be read, therefore, a few lines have been left out. As is mentioned in the diary that is now ready, pages are missing from the original writings. It is quite probable that names of people and places, at times, are not properly written because of not being able to distinguish the letters properly. It is hoped that these things will be overlooked, but that the spirit and the message that runs through its pages have been preserved.
Appreciation is here expressed for encouragements that have been given, both by members of this man's family, and others that are interested in keeping pioneer stories alive by a recording of them. It is largely a result of such encouragement coming from Dr. A. Russell Mortensen, head of the Utah State Historical Society, that this work has been produced in its present form. After studying the diary for some ten days he urged very strongly that it be put out for the family because of its value to them. He also recommended mimeograph work because of its being so much less expensive than any other method, thus putting it in a price range where more members of the family could afford a copy of it.
Without the help and patience of my wife Ida I should have failed long ago. In fact she is the one who deserves most of the credit for this work. She has spent hours with a magnifying glass and her typewriter on some pages to be sure to get the proper message recorded.
Mrs. Joyce Palmer is deserving of much credit in this production also. It is to her that we are indebted for the stencil and mimeograph work. She has been most conscientious and painstaking in the service she has given. Because of difficulties encountered in typing the manuscript from the original writing it was not easy to get punctuations and paragraphing correctly done, in fact, some of the paragraphing in the manuscript was almost completely overlooked. Because of Mrs. Palmer's interest and efficient work this has been much improved and for this we are deeply appreciative, and desire that she be numbered with those contributing to this work.
The diary is as it was written by its author. There are places where he is rather outspoken regarding people and practice. These have not been left out or modified, for these statements express his personality as much as any other expressions, and if full credit is given to circumstances prevailing it will be understandable why frankness of expression was used even though it may not have been the wisest course to follow.
He has left us several sketches or drawings, some of which are here presented. Seal Rock at the mouth of Golden gate Harbor; the ship in which he sailed to New Zealand in 1875, the Colima; a drawing of the house built upon the ground that he helped to clear of brush and trees as a boy up near the cemetery should be of interest to all. The unidentified lady, the Thames River at Auckland, and some other sketches were given dates of drawing that fit in nicely with efforts made by friends to have some of his works auctioned off to help with his natural expenses. Feeling that these may very well have been the pencil drafts of these paintings they have been placed in the diary with the thought that they may make his problems in the mission field just a little more real to his family who live in comparative ease today.
It is hoped that both interest and inspiration to carry on in the work that meant so much to this man will be transferred from him to his numerous posterity in the experiences here enumerated by him. His testimony is recorded in writing time and time again in these pages. It would seem though that the most convincing one is the fact that he is undaunted in leaving home and loved ones as a witness to the sincerity of his convictions. His love of home and loved ones is expressed beautifully in his letters to them. If one bothers to check airline distances from charts now available it will be discovered that he traveled the equivalent of once around the world to get to Zion, and to carry the message that brought so much joy to him to others that they might have their lives enriched by it.
If this message can be carried to, and touch the hearts of his descendants then Ida and I shall feel amply rewarded for the worry and work we have put into it. The Lord grant that this might be done.
Samuel H. Hurst
June 26, 1961
|After title page in the 1961 edition of the Diary of Frederick William Hurst|