Happy Pioneer Day! a Pioneer Lullaby by David A. Zabriskie

Pioneer Trek July 2008 032

Today in Utah we celebrate Pioneer Day, the day in 1847 the first pioneers arrived in the Salt Lake Valley. There will be parades in every hometown, large and small, and special musical events, fireworks, and family gatherings. Our neighborhood is having a children’s parade, then a big breakfast in the church parking lot.

We, of course, are in sunny California, far from the festivities. Nonetheless, I will be thinking of them today and of the family members I love who crossed the plains and sacrificed to be here.

Below is a piece of music I love. Please check the links below the words to hear the soulful melody and to find the beautiful piano music. Many of us lost family members in the pioneer crossings. My 3rd great grandparents Martin and Elizabeth Bushman buried 2 little daughters on the roadside, covering their shallow graves with branches to discourage the wolves from desecrating the graves.

Here are Martin’s son Jacob’s own words: “We traded off one of our horses for a yoke of oxen and started for Council Bluff with six sick children, all in one wagon, all down with the chills and fever. And when I had the chills, I had to walk and when the fever came on I could sit up in the front end of the wagon,. And on the 12th of Oct. 1846, Elizabeth died, just before going into camp. Had to be up all night getting her ready to bury her. We done the best we could and left the next day about 10 o’clock. Traveled on until Oct. 19th 1846, when the baby died about 11 months old. She had to be left about the same as the other one was by the road side. We then traveled on until we got to Keg Creek, Pottiwatimie County, Iowa, near Council Bluff. By that time we all had got about well, thank the Lord.”

I think of these family members today, as I hum this melody and consider their heartbreaking losses.

Pioneer Lullaby
Virginia Maughan Kammeyer and David A. Zabriskie, “L. H. Read, Pioneer Lullaby,” Ensign, June 1980, 25

Low, lie low, my dear little one,
Under the starlight, under the sun.
Under the bluebells, under the grass.
Low,—lie low as the solemn wheels pass.

Yesterday, yesterday two little feet
Ran through the meadow, the wildflowers sweet.
Snowtime and flowertime cover you deep.
Low,—lie low as I lay you to sleep.

Blessed, oh blessed the day of our Lord,
Blessed the dead—who rise at his word,
Blessed the angels who swing wide the door.
Blessed the time when I hold you once more.
Blessed the time when I hold you once more.

http://www.lds.org/ensign/1980/06/pioneer-lullaby?lang=eng  Lyrics

http://www.ldsmusicsource.com/music/1008/SeeHear.html  SAT Sheet Music

http://www.lds.org/music/library/church-magazine-music-ensign?lang=eng  PDF Piano music

Pioneer Trek July 2008 153

About Ann Laemmlen Lewis

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