Friday, June 10, 2011

Zest for Life

Zest for life is the key to living into the 100s.  Can you image being 100 and still driving your own car or walking around the block or still living on your own in your own house.  That is part of my heritage.

 It all started with Henry Beecroft who celebrated his 100th birthday.  He was one of my pioneers who was born in Kingston Upon Hull, England.  He married a Scottish lass named Isabella Fraser in Hull at a Scottish Parish called St. Mary's. They later joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He and his son boarded a train in 1851 for Liverpool, England where they sailed on the ship Argo to New Orleans. Thirteen people lost their lives on this voyage. It was also not uncommon for people to fall overboard and drown.  It took nine weeks to get to New Orleans; next they took a steamer up the Mississippi River to St. Louis, Missouri where he worked as a cooper.
Henry Beecroft celebrated 100th birthday; this photo was taken in 1896 (he was 82; his wife 80)

In January of 1852, his wife and four children came on another ship to join him in St. Louis.  It took 10 weeks for the Kennebec ship to reach New Orleans; one terrifying hurricane swept the deck clean of cookhouses, water barrels and everythings else that was on deck. They were tossed around for four days in that Hurricane. Then when they got to the Mississippi River, their ship got stuck in the mud for 10 days.  A steamer was sent to off load the passengers. It was 110 miles up the River to New Orleans; it was another 1300 miles from New Orleans to St. Louis which took another 14 days by steamer.

They bought a wagon and ox team and headed for Kansas City to join a group heading to Salt Lake City.

Salt Lake City in 1850

They lived in Salt Lake and the moved to Bountiful, Utah.  Someone must have 
offended Henry and Isabella because they packed up and left Utah in 1857 by ox and wagon and crossed the plains again settling in Iowa. They left their oldest daughter in Utah who had married Henry Eames.

Henry Beecroft had two great granddaughters who not only lived to be 100 but surpassed it. Leona Eames Jones lived to be 104 and was still driving a car and living as a widow by herself at 102.  Her son decided that she shouldn't drive anymore and took her car keys.  Her first cousin Elizabeth Eames King lived in Canada and celebrated her 107th birthday before passing on.  My own grandfather, brother to Leona Eames lived to be 99 years and 4 months.

All of these relatives had that great get up and go and zest for living so much so that they lived beyond the age that most people live. They were real story tellers too.  Somehow, with all of our technology, the art of story telling is being lost.

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