Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Families Can Have Their Challenges, The Craguns Have

It's quite a paradox that with the concept of  "families can be forever" that the fabric of a family can be so easily torn apart. It often doesn't have to go very far up line to see it happen. Even in my case, my siblings and parents, all of us, have had our challenges. Even with that, I sense a bond and a quiet love for one another.

I wanted to make this point using my grandparents. Here in Utah, there are numerous Craguns, almost all with a grandfather, Simeon Cragun. Simeon was my dads dad, my grandfather. I thought of writing this after a brief Facebook interaction with a young woman who is married to a Cragun who likely is also  a descendant of Simeon. This picture is one of grandfather Simeon:

Prior to marrying my grandmother, Simeon was married to Mary Ann Clifford. Mary Ann died after 17 years of marriage, leaving Simeon and 6 children. (I think it was 6). Simeon was 41 at the time. Our family stories have it that Simeon was a successful farmer and businessman.

Eight  years later, Simeon married this cute young lady, my grandmother Blanche Bingham.

So, Simeon was headed toward the age of 50..... and Blanche?
She was, well she was almost 21. In our days we might call grandmother Blanche a trophy wife.

Simeon still has one son that is alive, Howard. Howard is a good man, flirting with the age of ninety. I have known Uncle Howard to always be a positive and understanding man. He looks for the best in others, and is patient with the seemingly negative. As that as his character, he doesn't say negative things about people, especially his family. Uncle Howard doesn't want to talk about his father in a bad way. He did infer there was a lot of strife between his brothers. I am guessing that included his half brothers, Mary Ann's children.

My grandmother had at that young age had already had it rough. Her first husband wasn't faithful to her and the discovery and stressed led to miscarriage of twins. So was Simeon a rescue to Blanche?

Simeon eventually ended up starting a dry farm in American Falls Idaho. One lesson I have personally learned, having personal financial success one time does not guarantee a next time. So went it with Simeon. The American Falls farm was a bust. The family lived in a dug out area in a hillside. Their living environment was terrible.

Now this family thing, long term, is complicated. There is a lot we don't understand. What we do know is that we live beyond this life on earth, and that the family unit is the foundation to that next estate. My grandmother told us she did not want to be sealed in the temple to Simeon. She said he promised her he would take her to the temple and didn't. Will her perspective change, has it? We don't know.

What we do know is that while we are here  on earth we have the choice regarding our hearts and attitudes. What impact that has beyond the grave, we shall find out. What impact we can have for good while we are here is significant.

We can't become best friends with all of our long lost cousins, but we can be friendly with them and end the traditions strife we may have inherited. Even as siblings we may not be bosom buddies. But we can love each other and overlook our issues for the benefit our our children as well as ourselves. Nothing but good can come from our doing good.

There are many reasons I write the blog, one being an effort to have a positive effect on the Craguns and their attitudes.

Back to Simeon. His dying words were to my father. They were regretful words of how he let his son Levi and him be separated because of his anger toward Levi. This article goes into that, click here.

Here is a link to the 1910 Census showing Simeon, Blanche, Hazel, Levi, adopted Reuben, and new baby Ella Viola, click here.


  1. I'd sure like it to be over. It's gone past our grandfather's generation. Past our father's, past ours. If we got nothing else handed down, we got stubborn!

  2. Nancy, what you are doing in family history is helping a lot. I have attached this story and the one with the copy of the promissory note to FamilySearch Family Tree. When it goes live it will be there to try and help. Larry

  3. Also Nancy,for our own generations we need to have your attitude of lets be good to each other.