Arden woman preserves Latter-day Saints heritage

For Arden area resident Penny Hogge-Dayley, her appreciation for history is something that is a very important part of her life.

A HEART FOR HISTORY. Arden area resident Penny Hogge-Dayley shows off a 19th century rocking chair. The chair is one of many historical items from her personal collection. / Valley Community Newspapers photo, Lance Armstrong

A HEART FOR HISTORY. Arden area resident Penny Hogge-Dayley shows off a 19th century rocking chair. The chair is one of many historical items from her personal collection. / Valley Community Newspapers photo, Lance Armstrong

And for anyone who has had the opportunity to visit her home, it certainly does not take long to realize this point.

Penny’s love for history is quite obvious through some of her prized possessions alone.

Treasured artifacts

With a tour through her house, one can view such historic artifacts as a rocking chair, which arrived in the Salt Lake Valley in Utah in a covered wagon in 1848.

The home also includes other 19th century items, such as a doubletree from a covered wagon, three large two-handled saws, flat irons, curling irons, autographed books, clothing, a blanket box, a gold mining pan, a set of spurs, a wind-up clock, keys, horseshoes, barbed wire and skates.

An early interest

Penny said that her love for history and collecting historic artifacts began very early in her life.

“I was born in Salt Lake City on the day that Britain declared war on Germany (on Sept. 3, 1939), so even my birthday was a historical date in history,” Penny said. “I have always loved old things. I always thought that I should have been born in a cabin. I loved pioneer stories, especially when I found out that I had pioneer stories in my family.”

Letters from Brigham Young

PIONEER ERA ARTIFACT. Penny Hogge-Dayley holds one of her favorite historic artifacts, a doubletree from a 19th century covered wagon. / Valley Community Newspapers photo, Lance Armstrong

PIONEER ERA ARTIFACT. Penny Hogge-Dayley holds one of her favorite historic artifacts, a doubletree from a 19th century covered wagon. / Valley Community Newspapers photo, Lance Armstrong

Penny fondly remembers visiting with her grandmother, Bessie McLelland.

“Grandma was a storyteller and I learned about her life and her love for her ancestors while I was washing dishes at her sink,” Penny said. “I started collecting (antiques) early, since one of my favorite sayings was ‘Grandma, can I have that?’ The first thing that she gave to me was a (tin) can without a lid from the top of the closet that included some letters from (former president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) Brigham Young to my great-great grandfather (Thomas McLelland), a ticket to one of the (1893) Salt Lake Temple dedications and a ticket to the inaugural band party for the (1869) Golden Spike centennial (at Promontory Summit in the Utah Territory).”

Emigrant memories

Also among the items in the can was a letter from Thomas’ sister, Jane, who described her desire to come to America, mainly to the Salt Lake Valley.

The letter, which was sent from Glasgow, Scotland on Jan. 28, 1868, included the words, “I am stout, in good health and willing to work and if you would send for me, I will be very willing to work and pay you back again.”

A view into the past

During her teen years, Penny acquired one of her favorite possessions – a child’s toy buggy from the 1880s.

Another one of Penny’s unique artifacts is an 1864 Murphy bed, which, when folded, reveals a hand-carved mirror.

BRINGING THE OUTDOORS IN. This façade of a replica cabin is located inside the Arden area home of Penny Hogge-Dayley. / Valley Community Newspapers photo, Lance Armstrong

BRINGING THE OUTDOORS IN. This façade of a replica cabin is located inside the Arden area home of Penny Hogge-Dayley. / Valley Community Newspapers photo, Lance Armstrong

The bed, which has an original, horsehair mattress, was once located in the living room of Thomas’ home. At nights, the bed would open up, pull down and turn the living room into a bedroom.

Penny’s collection also includes an antique scale that was used by Thomas’ wife, Elizabeth, during a time when recipes often called for measurements of weight as opposed to using measuring cups.

Rich family history

Penny noted that she is proud of the fact that many of her historic artifacts represent her family’s rich history in America.

Her great-great grandfather, Thomas, came to the Salt Lake Valley in 1848.

Thomas represented the first member of Penny’s father’s side of her family to arrive in the United States.

A book of McLelland family history, which is in the possession of Penny, shows that at the age of 23, Thomas came to New Orleans with Elizabeth, who was then 21, in 1844. They then traveled up the Mississippi River by steamboat to St. Louis prior to making their way to Nauvoo, Ill.

LDS pioneers

VICTORIAN CHILDHOOD ECHOES. One of Penny Hogge-Dayley’s favorite possessions is this child’s toy buggy from the 1880s. / Valley Community Newspapers photo, Lance Armstrong

VICTORIAN CHILDHOOD ECHOES. One of Penny Hogge-Dayley’s favorite possessions is this child’s toy buggy from the 1880s. / Valley Community Newspapers photo, Lance Armstrong

Penny said that, like herself, Thomas was a dedicated member of the Mormon church.

She added that Thomas knew the church’s founder Joseph Smith and worked as a mason on the construction of the Mormon temple in Nauvoo.

In 1846, Thomas and Elizabeth left Nauvoo as part of the Mormons’ great exodus through the Rocky Mountains. And two years later, they arrived in Salt Lake.

Daughters of Utah Pioneers

About six years ago, Penny followed in the footsteps of her grandmother and great-grandmother by joining the preservation-driven organization, Daughters of Utah Pioneers.

As part of her involvement with DUP, Penny is assisting with the current restoration project at the Sloughhouse Pioneer Cemetery, which is located in the Sloughhouse community on the Jackson Highway, about 18 miles southeast of Sutter’s Fort.

The project includes cement work at the bases of fallen tombstones, drilling and pinning pillars and other tombstones, cleaning tombstones, placing and improving trails and researching family members who were buried at the cemetery.

‘Paying it forward’

Penny said that her work at the cemetery increases her love for past generations.

WEIGHTY MATTERS. Penny Hogge-Dayley’s collection also includes an antique scale that was used by her great-great grandmother during a time when recipes often called for measurements of weight. / Valley Community Newspapers photo, Lance Armstrong

WEIGHTY MATTERS. Penny Hogge-Dayley’s collection also includes an antique scale that was used by her great-great grandmother during a time when recipes often called for measurements of weight. / Valley Community Newspapers photo, Lance Armstrong

“I enjoy being part of a great, dedicated group,” Penny said. “Our work is to carry the torch for the people who lived here before us and to pass it on to future generations. It kind of goes back to, if you don’t tell the story, who will? Our job is to instill pride and awareness of the past for future generations.”

DUP is working diligently toward its goal of readying the cemetery for the 40th anniversary of the organization’s ownership of the cemetery.

In honor of this anniversary, DUP will hold a special, May 12 public event, which will include speakers, docents in period clothing and tours of the grounds.

Preserving nearly lost arts

In addition to her work at the cemetery and collecting historic artifacts, Penny is known for her homemade baked goods, rug making and sewing.

Additionally, she has spent the past 35 years working in a profession that she considers to be as much of a hobby as it is a job.

Penny Pinchers

SACRAMENTO GAME CHANGER. This antique gold mining pan is also among Penny Hogge-Dayley’s collection of historic items. / Valley Community Newspapers photo, Lance Armstrong

SACRAMENTO GAME CHANGER. This antique gold mining pan is also among Penny Hogge-Dayley’s collection of historic items. / Valley Community Newspapers photo, Lance Armstrong

Penny is the sole owner of the Arden area-based business, Penny Pinchers, which provides flowers, food and planning for weddings and other events.

Through her business, Penny is able to use her creative side, making many artistic items by hand.

Penny, who has a husband named Lowell and 12 children and 41 grandchildren through two marriages, has resided in the same Arden area house since 1968.

And since Penny believes that she should have been born in a cabin, she said that the façade of a replica cabin inside her house is quite fitting.

IRISH PIONEERS. Penny Hogge-Dayley’s great-great grandparents, the Irish-born Thomas and Elizabeth McLelland, immigrated to America in 1844.Photo courtesy, Penny Hogge-Dayley

IRISH PIONEERS. Penny Hogge-Dayley’s great-great grandparents, the Irish-born Thomas and Elizabeth McLelland, immigrated to America in 1844.Photo courtesy, Penny Hogge-Dayley

“If I can’t live in a cabin, then I’ll have a replica of a cabin in my house,” Penny said.

Land Park institutions provide assistance to Sloughhouse cemetery

Land Park area residents are quite familiar with the community’s Sacramento Historic City Cemetery, which was founded in 1849. Another Sacramento area cemetery established during the same era was the Sloughhouse Pioneer Cemetery.

THE SLOUGHHOUSE PIONEER CEMETERY is located on the Jackson Highway, 18 miles southeast of Sutter’s Fort. / Photo courtesy, DUP

THE SLOUGHHOUSE PIONEER CEMETERY is located on the Jackson Highway, 18 miles southeast of Sutter’s Fort. / Photo courtesy, DUP

The Land Park area’s historic city cemetery at Broadway and Riverside Boulevard is the oldest existing cemetery in Sacramento, established in 1849. It is the final resting place of more than 30,000 early Sacramento residents.

Although not considered as old as the historic city cemetery, the Sloughhouse cemetery is recognized as having been established only a year later. However, there is a family lore that the remains of two-year old Alexander Rhoads were buried at the Sloughhouse cemetery in 1847.

Tombstone restoration

The little pioneer cemetery in Sloughhouse cemetery is just 1.5 acres and is located 18 miles southeast of Sutter’s Fort. It is undergoing a project to restore 17 of its historic tombstones.

Roberta Tanner, assistant chairman of the Sloughhouse cemetery, recently sat down to discuss details regarding the Sloughhouse cemetery.

During her interview with this publication, Tanner said that Land Park’s Sacramento Historic City Cemetery played an important role in the project.

Historical parallels

RESTING PLACE RESTORATION NEEDED. The footstone alongside the grave of Jared Sheldon’s daughter, Sarah Sheldon, leans toward Jared Sheldon’s tombstone in this 2007 photograph. This image represents one of several problem sites targeted for restoration at the Sloughhouse cemetery. / Photo courtesy, DUP

RESTING PLACE RESTORATION NEEDED. The footstone alongside the grave of Jared Sheldon’s daughter, Sarah Sheldon, leans toward Jared Sheldon’s tombstone in this 2007 photograph. This image represents one of several problem sites targeted for restoration at the Sloughhouse cemetery. / Photo courtesy, DUP

“During the earlier stages of the project, we decided to contact Dr. Bob (LaPerriere, vice-chairman of the Sacramento County Cemetery Advisory Commission), since we had worked with him in the past,” Tanner said. “He led us through the (old city) cemetery, pointing out what the two cemeteries have in common, including historic iron fencing. He has been invaluable in educating us in proper maintenance of historic tombstones and providing us with advice on which restorations to pursue within the project as a whole.”

Sister cemeteries?

Tanner also noted that recently representatives of both cemeteries very briefly discussed the possibility that the cemeteries could become sister cemeteries.

In response to this idea, Tanner chuckled and said that the much smaller Sloughhouse cemetery would definitely be the “little sister.”

Land Park business hired

Another Land Park area institution that has provided much assistance for the Sloughhouse cemetery restoration project is Ruhkala Monument, which is located directly across the street from the old city cemetery.

Following several visits to the Sloughhouse cemetery by Royceanne Ruhkala, the Sloughhouse Cemetery Committee hired Ruhkala Monument to work on the project.

FAMILIES ARE FOREVER. Emma Bagwill, who died just prior to her first birthday, was buried in the Sloughhouse Pioneer Cemetery in 1899. Overall, four generations of her family were buried at the cemetery. / Photo courtesy, DUP

FAMILIES ARE FOREVER. Emma Bagwill, who died just prior to her first birthday, was buried in the Sloughhouse Pioneer Cemetery in 1899. Overall, four generations of her family were buried at the cemetery. / Photo courtesy, DUP

Ruhkala’s involvement with the project includes cement work at the bases of fallen tombstones, drilling and pinning pillars and other tombstones to their bases and providing advice about prioritizing details regarding the project.

Tanner said that an important part of the committee’s decision to select Ruhkala was the company’s well known reputation as an expert in pioneer, vintage memorials.

Cemetery celebration

The Sloughhouse cemetery restoration project is very timely, explained Tanner.

“A special event will be held at the cemetery on May 12, when we will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the deeding of the cemetery to the International Society of Daughters of Utah Pioneers, Sacramento Company,” Tanner said.

The public event will include tours of the cemetery and speakers, including Maureen Smith, international DUP president, and Dennis Holland, president of the California Pioneer Heritage Foundation.

Pioneer heritage

When asked how the Daughters of Utah Pioneers became involved with the cemetery, Tanner said that the cemetery was actually established by Utah pioneers.

“The cemetery was started to house the remains of the Rhoads family, who came through Utah to California,” Tanner said. “They were actually among the first to bring a wagon overland across the Sierra Nevada.”

The history of the Rhoads family dates back to 1846 in the Sacramento area.

The Rhoads Family

HISTORICAL SITE. A special event will be held at the Sloughhouse Pioneer Cemetery on May 12. / Photo courtesy, DUP

HISTORICAL SITE. A special event will be held at the Sloughhouse Pioneer Cemetery on May 12. / Photo courtesy, DUP

It was in the spring of that year that Thomas Rhoads headed to California from Illinois with 51 members of his immediate and extended family, including 14 of his 18 children and his wife, Elizabeth.

Among Thomas’ children were Elizabeth, Sarah and Catherine, who each married well established, local landowners.

Elizabeth married Sebastian Keyser, Sarah married William Daylor and Catherine married Jared Sheldon.

Daylor is documented as the first person to have been buried in the Sloughhouse cemetery.

In addition to Daylor, other people buried at the cemetery include: Sheldon, the majority of Sheldon’s children and grandchildren and Thomas’ son, John Pierce Rhoads, a Donner Party rescue party organizer and a California State Assembly member.

The cemetery remained in the ownership of descendants of the Rhoads family until 1972.

Changing hands

While researching her possible connection to Thomas Rhoads in 1971, Norma Ricketts, the late local historian and DUP member, read a related article in a local newspaper.

MARY CASS was buried in the Sloughhouse cemetery in 1860. / Photo courtesy, DUP

MARY CASS was buried in the Sloughhouse cemetery in 1860. / Photo courtesy, DUP

The article announced that the Native Daughters of the Golden West were scheduled to place a historical marker at the cemetery to honor John Rhoads and his involvement in the Donner Party rescue efforts.

Within the article was a reference to John Rhoads being buried with other family members at the Sloughhouse cemetery.

After reading the article, Norma went to the cemetery, where she met Percy Westerberg, the owner of the cemetery property and a descendant of Catherine Rhoads and her second husband John Mahone.

Westerberg told Ricketts that he was concerned about the cemetery, because he was no longer able to care for the cemetery.

Shortly after her visit to the cemetery, Ricketts received a telephone call from Westerberg.

In recalling this moment, Ricketts, in 2006, wrote: “In 1971, Percy called my office and said, ‘Norma, I’ve decided to give you the cemetery.’”

Although she appreciated the offer, Ricketts felt that the cemetery should be cared for by a group rather than an individual.

Through Ricketts’ efforts, the cemetery was eventually deeded to DUP.

Daughters of Utah Pioneers

The first chairman of the cemetery committee was Maureen Smart, who catalogued the cemetery’s headstones with a group of DUP members and submitted the information to the Bureau of Vital Statistics of the state of California.

The cemetery has had several caretakers under the direction of DUP, including Smart, Stan Newton, Loretta and Elvin Mullin and Fran Newbold, who is the cemetery committee’s chairman.

In addition to the current project with Ruhkala, the committee hopes to have other restoration projects completed in the future. These projects are dependent on acquiring grants and other donations.

Improvements to the cemetery have also included work performed through about 25 Eagle Scout projects.

A closed cemetery

Tanner said that the Sloughhouse cemetery, which includes more than 300 burials and 190 tombstones, is a closed cemetery.

“Even though it is a closed, historic cemetery, we’re still discovering names of people and even markers of people who were buried there in the 1800s,” Tanner said. “So, in a way, we’re still an open cemetery.”

Information sought

As part of DUP’s ongoing efforts to document and preserve the history of the cemetery, the organization is seeking any old photographs, newspaper articles and other items pertaining to the cemetery.

For additional information regarding the Sloughhouse cemetery’s upcoming anniversary event or any other details regarding the cemetery, write to dupsacramentocompany@gmail.com.

Preparedness and Self-Reliance Fair to prepare Sacramento residents for potential emergencies

California is home to natural and man-made disasters: earthquakes, fires, flooding and even extreme weather situations, such as tornadoes, are not out of the realm of possibility here.

Because of the on-going potential for emergencies in the Sacramento region, city and county organizations and officials are co-sponsoring the Sacramento Emergency Preparedness and Self-Reliance Fair on Saturday, Oct. 16 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Guest exhibitors will include the Sacramento Office of Emergency Services, the American Red Cross, the Sacramento City Fire Department, the California Emergency Management Agency, the Drowning Accident Rescue Team (DART), the Sacramento Police Department, Army Corps of Engineers, United Animal Nations, Pacific Gas & Electric, the California Conservation Corps, CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) and many more.

Visitors to the event can learn about: building disaster-resilient families, having an emergency plan, emergency communication, emergency shelters, power generators, first aid kits, employment, wills, trusts, estate planning, budgeting and saving, a three-month supply of rotatable food, crime prevention, Neighborhood Watch, flood preparedness, water storage and purification, children’s emergency activities and much, much more.

This event is open to everyone in the community.

The event will be hosted by members of The Sacramento California Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Sponsors include the Sacramento City and County Office of Emergency Services, Council Member Robbie Waters, Council Member Bonnie Pannell and County Supervisor Jimmie Yee.

Individuals of all ages will have the opportunity to learn how to better prepare for natural and man-made disasters at this free event.

The Fair will include over 40 exhibits and displays highlighting topics such as: food and water storage, stretching your food dollar, employment, family evacuation plans, 72-hour kits, water purification, first aid, fire safety and much more.

Emergency vehicles will also be available for tours and close-up inspection, including an Army National Guard HH60 helicopter, a Coast Guard rescue boat, ambulance, highway patrol car and a CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) trailer. The Army National Guard HH60 plans to land around 10:30 a.m. and CERT will be performing several “triage” demonstrations throughout the day.

“The fair has been designed to provide useful information to families regardless of where they are in the wide spectrum of emergency preparedness and self-reliance,” said John Cassinat, president of the Sacramento Stake. “There will be meaningful experiences and valuable information for the person or family who doesn’t know where to begin, as well as for those who are well on there way to sustainable independence and self-reliance during most emergencies.”

The Fair will be held at a large property owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints located at 7401 24th Street in Sacramento.

This event is free and family oriented. Translators will be available for multiple languages.

“It is important that we as a community are prepared for any kind of unanticipated event,” Cassinat said. “The more educated we are as a community, the more resilient we will be.”