In a few days, those of us with pioneer heritage will again celebrate the 24th of July 1847, the official date of the entry of the first pioneer wagons into the Salt Lake Valley. This video is a part of the 24th of July Celebration in Salt Lake City last year. We are looking forward to another broadcast of the Celebration this year.
The 24th of July was one of my most significant holidays as I was growing up. Our annual celebration in the small town of St. Johns, Arizona included a Camporama where almost the entire town and all their visiting relatives would gather for a campfire picnic outside of town. All of the participants would park their cars and trucks in a huge circle. Part of the attraction of the event was the opportunity to walk around the circle and meet with old friends and relatives. We would usually cook our dinner over the fire, but unlike many, it was prepared well before-hand at home in the kitchen.
There was always a parade. Other activities included speeches, races, dramatic productions and a rodeo. Many people would travel from all over the world to return "home" for the 24th.
My own pioneer heritage is extensive. To qualify as a "pioneer" the individual or family had to arrive in the Salt Lake Valley or Utah between 1847 and 1868 when the railroad reached Utah. Of my direct line relatives, 14 of my 16 great-great grandparents were "pioneers" and of my great-grandparents, including the ones who were born in Utah, most of them were pioneers to Arizona in the late 1800s. The son of the two great-great grandparents who did not travel to Utah, fought in the U.S. Civil war and came to Utah later as an adult. I wish I could say that I became interested in genealogy because of my pioneer heritage, but it was the other way around. I came to my appreciation of that heritage through genealogy.
No matter where your ancestors came from or who they were, you have this wonderful opportunity to learn about your heritage. It is waiting for you just a few clicks away with a search for your parents or grandparents.