A shard found at Fort Harmony.
Could this be a piece of this story?
Findings on the
Blue Willow Plates
A Pioneer Calamity
The most cherished possessions of an old country gentlemen
transplanted by his religion from Wales, to a crude, rough-hewn home
in an unconquered desert was a bit of fine china. It might be a few
thin plates or a dainty cup and saucer from which to sip tea.
About all the dishes in Old Fort Harmony were the brown, thick, clumsy
products of our own pioneer potters, or they were plates of tin and
cups that were tin cans on which handles had been soldered by the local
handyman (not true - we have found several shards of very nice china.).
When Aunt Betsy Williams left the Old County, she brought, as a parting
gift from relatives she would never see again, a set of fine English
decorated China. They were her most prized possession and whatever else
had to be sacrificed to the emergencies of the long journey to Zion,
she would never consent for her dishes to be sold or be left by the
wayside. They crossed the ocean in steerage, they crossed the plains
in an ox train, and reaching the valley at length in safety, they graced
her fist log home in Cottonwood Canyon where her husband found work
on a saw mill.
A tragic death took her companion away. He fell into the saw and was
almost cut asunder. A hurt Betsy gathered up her few possessions among
which were her cherished dishes and her four small children, came as
a widow, to live among relatives in Old Fort Harmony. Here her dishes
gave to her humble cottage an air of aristocratic distinction, for hers
was the finest tableware in the entire settlement.
One day word came to the Fort that Brother Brigham and his party
were coming and would spend a day with them. On such rare occasions
the Bishops tinware was exchanged for Aunt Betsys fine China
in order that the visiting authorities might be served with befitting
dignity. Today, the Bishops wife had come for the dishes and the
two women had washed and polished them and they were stacked on the
table ready to be carried away. The widows oldest child Rees,
a boy of 10, was playing marbles on the floor.
Aunt Betsy said, Rees, my boy, you play over on the side of the
room. You get in the way when you come around the table.
Sister Lee, It was good of you, Aunt Betsy, to let us use your
lovely dishes. I am so thankful when the President comes to visit us
that we do not have to serve him with our horrible looking things. It
would be so embarrassing to give Brother Brigham one of our old yellow
crock plates and a salmon can to drink out of. You dont know how
much I appreciate your kindness.
Aunt Betsy, Oh well, Sister Lee, you know Brother Brigham and
the brethren belong to all of us, and we must all see that their visit
is pleasant. I am thankful that I have something that can be used on
such occasions. You do have plenty of good foods to serve them with.
It would be terrible if they had to come and eat the vitals I could
Sister Lee: Oh, your foods will be all right. Anything would taste
good off such lovely dishes.
Aunt Betsy, You are welcome to use the dishes, but I do want you
to be very careful with them. Dont let the children wash them
or handle them. Put them in the basket right off the table and bring
them back dirty for I would rather wash them myself. You know I brought
them from the Old Country and they mean so much to me. I think it would
break my heart if anything happened to them.
(Aside) Rees, I tell you to stay away from the table.
Sister Lee, No, Aunt Betsy, I wont bring them home dirty,
but I promise to wash them myself, and I will be very careful about
Aunt Betsy, It is not only that they are lovely dishes, but they
are all the dishes we have. What would I do if they were broken? However,
could we live without dishes of some sort. Even the Indians have to.
(Here Rees bumps into the table leg and the dishes crashed..)
Picture Aunt Betsy grabbing at them and screaming. She seizes Rees and
spanks himkisses himspanks again. My son, my son, what can
we do? What can we do? How can we eat? There is not a dish or cup left
to drink out of. Shakes himthere is not a dish to be bought this
side of Salt Lake City, and we havent got a cent of money if we
were there, etc., etc. (There is plenty of emotions dn hysteria)
Sister Lee (Arms around Aunt Betsy trying to comfort her.) Dear
Aunt Betsy, dont cry too much about it. We will share our dishes
with you. This is a terrible tragedy to you, and it is a great calamity
to the entire Fort. However, can we entertain the authority when they
This story submitted by Lyman &