Samuel Bonner Kersey’s 182th birthday is today- May 5th

Samuel Bonner Kersey was born in 1832 to Samuel B. Keazey and Mary Jenks.  Mary died 5 years later.  By the time he turned 8 years old little Sam was listed as a resident in a work house for the poor.  It is doubtful that he ever learned to read and write.  Later he is listed in a census as a stoker at a paper mill. This job was tending to and feeding coal to a boiler- hard work with a lot of heat. There are no pictures of Sam- probably because he was too poor to afford them. But he did find the restored gospel and joined the church on Nov 13th 1854. He married Jane Powell in 1855 and they had 4 kids. When the youngest, James B. Kersey, was still an infant, Samuel died of Bright’s disease (kidney problems that causes fever, vomiting and edema). He died in 1868 in Birmingham, England. Just 5 years later his widow and her 4 kids migrated to America with help from the Perpetual immigration Fund of the LDS church.  It was 1873 and our ancestor, James was just 5 years old. The ship that they sailed on was called the “Idaho” and later they took a train to Salt Lake City.  By coming this late, they avoided the walking that so many pioneers previously had to endure.  Samuel’s widow, Jane, remarried then and they eventually moved to Jerome Idaho.  That is were this picture is taken. James is now a young man and he owns a Harness and Blacksmith shop there. The shop will burn to the ground in 1918, but this family is no stranger to adversity and they pick themselves up and move forward, as usual. ;Image

My grandfather, Robert Harold Kersey, is the last born of James Kersey and his wife, Sarah Leigh.  Robert only had an 8th grade education and so he too was relatively poor most of his life.

 A poor widow and 4 small children left England with just a hope and a prayer that life would be better for them with the saints in the U.S.  Years later, my grandfather, left Idaho for California with a wife and two small children in a sidecar attached to his motorcycle. All they owned was in that small vehicle.  More prayers and a great deal of hope helped them establish themselves here were I grew up.  My mother, Marilyn, was the babe in arms when my grandparents left Idaho.

I am proud of my ancestors for overcoming obstacles to move ahead and provide for their families, but most of all I am grateful for the sacrifices that they made to stay true to their religious convictions. Thank You Samuel for joining the church. Thank you Jane for bringing your kids to America without the help of a spouse. Thank you James for trying to get ahead as a business owner and for not turning your back on God when it seemed like everything was going wrong and you had to start all over.  Thank you Robert for picking up roots and transplanting to California where my father could meet my mother as the cute little red head next door.  Thank you mom for staying on track with the gospel when you couldn’t marry in the temple initially, yet you did so in time for 7 of your 8 children to be born in the covenant. I am truly blessed.

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