Saturday, June 13, 2015

Lonely No More - The Life and Trials of Stanislas Besin



After two years of researching the life of Stanislas Besin, I have been able to piece together most of his life.

CHILDHOOD

Stanislas Besin was born May 9, 1807 in Viesly, France, to a young woman named Rosalie Villette.  When he was born he was given the last name of Villette indicating that she was not married.  Both his grandfathers, Valentin Besin and Jean Baptiste Villette signed as witnesses of the birth.  Most likely his father, Stanislas Besin, was also present.  However, it was customary not to mention the father's name when the birth is illegitimate.

Special thanks to Geoffrey Derone for translating this document for me.
Less than a month later, his 19-year-old mother dies on June 4, 1807.



MARRIAGE & FAMILY

His father marries Marie Angelique Lienard on November 3, 1813.  Stanislas was six years old and most likely was adopted by his father making his name Stanislas Besin.

When Stanislas was 18 years old, he married a young woman close to his age named Antoinette Degravelle.  Antoinette was born in Paris although she didn't know that at the time.  This is most likely because her parents were arrested by the King of France for making counterfeit money.

Special thanks to Kristy Kohlert for translating this document for me.

The Constitutional: Log trade, political and literary, page 2

Somehow she ended up in Viesly.

At their wedding, Baudouin Villette, Rosalie's brother, was one of the witnesses.

The following year Stanislas and Antoinette had their first baby.

They named him Baudouin.

He died two months later.

They had two more boys, Jean Baptiste and Stanislas named after their grandfathers.

They then had two little girls and another little boy: Sophie, Suzanne, and Elisha.


SEPARATION & DEATH 

Stanislas Besin was baptized on Bastille Day, July 14, 1839,  into the Baptist Church.  This decision would ultimately separate the family.

Stanislas is imprisoned several times for peddling Bibles.

Jean Baptiste is 19 when he dies of cholera on June 6, 1849, his mother Antoinette dies 5 days later also of cholera.  She is 43.

A year later, 10-year old Suzanne is smuggled onto a ship, the Charles Hill, and arrives in New Orleans on November 27, 1850.  She marries in 1860, and dies in 1871 two months after giving birth to her sixth child who also dies.  Her fifth child is my great grandfather, John Buchanan.

The  now oldest son, Stanislas Besin, Jr., becomes a tailor apprentice.  He dies at the age of 17 outside of Paris in 1851.

Now completely alone, Stanislas dies at the age of 53, August 1, 1859 under the care of hospice in Reims, France.  He has no family to sign as witnesses for his death, so the administrator, Francis Auguste LeGrand signs as witness.  

Special thanks to Catherine Cox, friend of Melanie Parish, for translating this document for me. 

THE END

or is it?


In Doctrine and Covenants 130:2 we read:

"And that same sociality which exists among us here will exist among us there, only it will be coupled with eternal glory, which glory we do not now enjoy."

How does this happen?  How is it that Stanislas can be with his family after he dies?  It's because the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored on the earth, and with it the keys of the Priesthood that seals families together in temples.

This popular children's LDS song has a deeper meaning for me now.

Families Can Be Together Forever


To learn more about Stanislas' Baptist ministry, click here.

To learn more about John Buchanan, click here.

To learn more about the teachings of the Mormon faith, click here. 

To read about my experience in Viesly, click here. 


This blog features:

STANISLAS BESIN (1807-1859)

My third great grandfather

me-->Bruce Albert Buchanan-->Robert Amos Buchanan-->John Buchanan-->Suzanne Besin-->Stanislas Besin

Monday, July 28, 2014

Josephine's Baptism

Josephine was a 12-year-old girl living in a small village in France when she was caught in a rainstorm out in the field.  She quickly ran home to get out of the storm.  As she reached her house, she turned purple.  All of her blood seemed frozen.  She couldn't move her joints and her hands crisped.  Her fingers were more like the empty fingers of a glove.

Her father had died, and she was left to be cared for by her siblings and mother.  She was treated harshly.  She became very shy and never spoke.  No one knew if her mind had been affected as well as her body.

A missionary by the name of Mr. Cretin, found the family and told them about the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Soon after meeting Mr. Cretin, the mother died.  Eventually Mr. Cretin stopped visiting the family.

Josephine could read.  She gathered together a New Testament and some other religious tracts and read them.  This made others realize that she could think and understand.

Two years later she was visited by another Baptist missionary Mr. Lefevre. Two years later she was converted and had succeeded in converting her nephew Isodore Plaquet and his mother.  She wanted to obey the commandment to be baptized by immersion, but this was difficult because she was so crippled and paralyzed.

Another  missionary heard about this woman who had been converted two years before and her desire to be baptized.  So he borrowed a mule from Mr. Hersigny and with his cart traveled several leagues (probably around 20 miles) to go fetch this woman so that she could be baptized.  He returned with Josephine and her nephew and his mother and all three were baptized.

The missionary who transported this woman by cart such a far distance?  A colporteur by the name of Stanislas Besin, my third great grandfather.

To read more about Stanislas Besin, click here. 
This account was taken from the Baptist Missionary Magazine, January 1849 issue, page 29-30.



Thursday, April 24, 2014

"Yes sir, I am."


This story was written by my father Bruce Albert Buchanan:

In the spring of 1960 I was 16 years old, my dad was 50, and I had been given the opportunity to work for Curley Monroe at his fishing lodge along the Huntington River about 30 miles from my home town of Helper, Utah.  




I was to work 5 days a week, getting Tuesday and Wednesday off and would be paid about $30 a week.  

My job was to sell worms, 





clean cabins, 








and help fisherman in the store.  




A few weeks before I was to start, I had an opportunity to go to Montana, and work from Memorial day to Labor day, seven days a week, and make at least $75 a week.  

My job was to clean floors



 and wash dishes 




at a Café in West Yellowstone. 



This is what I wanted to do; the dilemma was having to tell Mr. Monroe I wasn’t going to work for him.  

My dad said, “just tell him the truth.”
"Daddy, I can’t do this."
“Bruce, I will go with you.”  

After dinner, my dad and I went to Mr. Monroe’s home, I rang the doorbell, and when he came to the door, I really thought I was going to die.  

I said, “Mr. Monroe, I have an opportunity to go to Montana and work for the summer.  I want to take the job, and this means I won’t be able to work for you this summer as I had promised”.  

There was silence, which seemed to go on forever.  Mr. Monroe looked at me right in the eye and said, “ Thank You Bruce, that was very nice of you to tell me, now you go and have a good summer.”  

My dad and I left to go home.  I thanked my Dad for being there, and we never talked about that night again.  But I knew, that he knew, it was the right thing to do, and I needed him to be there for me. I worked for Frosty Tornes that summer at the Totem Café and saved over $900.  



During my interview with Frosty, he asked me if I was honest, I said, “Yes sir I am”.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Interview with Mimi and Grampy

Bruce Albert Buchanan (living) and Ruth Rasmussen (1946-2015)

my parents

me-->Bruce Albert Buchanan and Ruth Rasmussen Buchanan


Recently my niece interviewed my parents for a school project.  They were kind enough to share it with me.  I thought their answers warranted a blog post so that all of their grandchildren and future great grandchildren could read them.  These are great questions that all grandchildren should ask their grandparents.  According to an article in the NY Times, children handle stress better when they know their family history.

Question 1
What games did you play at recess when you were in school? Did they play with both boys and girls?


Grampy:
 I went to a private school when I was in Grade School.  Sometimes the boys and girls played together and as we got older we played separately.  In the the early years we played "rover red rover, send Sally Jane over", hopscotch, marbles, and kick the can or steal the flag.    When we were older we played "touch football", baseball, and marbles.  We had recess in the morning (before lunch) and then again in the afternoon.  By the fourth grade we only had recess in the morning and by 7th grade we didn't have recess.

Mimi:
Because I was born after World War 2 in 1946, I am from a generation called the "Baby Boomers". Lots of children were born then until 1964 when the boom ended. So I was a child in the "50"'s.  I went to Central School from the 1st grade until the 3rd grade. During recess, we played hopscotch, rover red rover, and spent a lot of time on play equipment called the "monkey bars".  Children got hurt sometimes on the monkey bars probably because we landed just in the hard dirt if we fell.  Do they have them at your school?  They had swings which we had to race to from class just to get a turn on them.  I loved to swing and could go very high.  As the boys did, girls also played marbles, but I mostly played jacks at recess.  My mom would play jacks with me at home just to practice.  She was very good.

Then for the 4th thru 6th grade, I went to Harding School, which was right next door to Central School and it even shared a big lot.  But the younger kids couldn't go over and play with the older kids.  At Harding, we played dodgeball most of the time, boys and girls together.  It was a lot of fun unless you got hit in the face with the big rubber ball.  We would run bases, and the other side would throw a ball at us to get us out.  Kids played it a lot during the lunch hour. I only ate "hot lunch" at school one time, and on my way to sitting down, spilled my tray all over my new gray poodle skirt. I walked home during all of my school years from 1st through 12th grade to eat lunch.  That was our biggest meal of the day, and my mom was the greatest cook.  My Dad would come home at the same time to eat too.  I loved that time most of all!

Question 2:What chores or jobs did you do when you were young?


Grampy:
My chores were to empty the garbage, fill the coal hopper for the furnace, take out the clinkers from the furnace, make my bed, and do my homework before I could play outside.  In the summer, I mowed the lawn.  
from the time I was 10 to 15 years old I sold worms in the summer.  My worms were the most expensive in town.  I sold them for .25 cents a dozen.  I mowed lawns and when I could drive, I would haul coal from a nearby mine in a pickup to peoples homes.  I would put the coal in their coal bin.  I payed $3.00 for a ton of coal and sold it delivered for $ 6.00.  I mowed lawns and cleaned yards for $0.50 an hour.  I never got an allowance but always seemed to have money.  I had a savings account at the bank and when I was 12 my account had $100.00.  Today that would be like having several thousand dollars.  One summer when I was 16 years old I worked washing dishes and cleaning floors for a restaurant called the Totem Cafe. I worked 7 days a week all summer.  My bosses name was Frosty and his wife was Ramona.  I saved $900.00 that summer and $1000.00 the next summer.  That year I went to college and my books and tuition for the YEAR was around $250.00.

Mimi:
As for chores, I was the youngest girl like you, and my brother wasn't born until I was 5.  So as the baby of the family, I wasn't expected to do very much.  We played outside all of the time, so I wasn't in the way for my Mom to get her work done.  I'm sure my 2 older sisters did a lot more washing of the dishes than I ever did. I was pretty spoiled for the most part.  I remember begging my Mom to let me iron when I was 10, so she let me iron the pillowcases to give me something to do.  I shared a room and the same bed with my sister Helen, who was 5 years older than me.  That wasn't too fun for her, but I loved it.  I was a teenager before I had my own room.  I remember dusting the living room furniture on Saturdays and eventually vacuuming the carpet when I was older.  Once my sisters left home, I did more around the house.

Question 3:Did you take any trips when you were young or go on vacations.  How did you get there? How often did you go?


Grampy:
We didn't take to many vacations.  Once we went to Yellowstone when I was about 10.  My Grandmother ( Ma Buchanan) went with us.  She was old, not much fun and my sister was a pill.  My dad and I went camping and fishing all the time.  We were gone most every weekend in the summer fishing somewhere.  We went on horses once into the Unitah mountains.  In the fall we went hunting and camped out when we were gone.  I started fly fishing when I was about 10.  I used a bamboo rod and still have that rod today.  In the winter we went duck hunting.  I shot my first deer when I was 11 and my first duck when I was 10.  When we traveled we went in a car.  When we went hunting and fishing we had a jeep wagon and always went in it.  One vacation that I remember was with my Grandparents (Grampy and Nona).  They took me to San Francisco when I was about 8.  We say a play called "South Pacific" stayed in a fancy hotel, called the Mark.  We went in a 1950 Buick and saw California.  We drove through a tree in the Redwoods.  My Grampy and Nona really loved me and took really good care of me.  My Nona died on my birthday when I was 10.  I really missed her.  Later my Grampy moved to Pueblo CO. and every summer and Christmas I stayed with him and his new wife Zoetta for two weeks.  He taught me how to play Bridge, Poker, Pool, Bowl and eat greasy hamburgers.  He was a lot of fun.  I stopped going when I turned 16.  He died when I was going to school in Bozeman Mt.  Your mom was about 9mos. old when he died.  

Mimi:
We went on fun trips when we were young.  I loved traveling with my family.  The first trip I went on when I was a baby, so I don't remember, was to Yellowstone Park in my Dad's first car, a Buick.  We went there many times over the years, and to this day I still love going to Yellowstone Park and West Yellowstone.  It's one of Grandpy's favorites too.  We always travelled by car, and not very roomy cars like we have today.  We went to Oregon so my Dad could compete in trap shooting.  He always wanted us kids to continually look out of the window at all the scenery so we wouldn't miss anything.  He didn't travel fast, and made us look at EVERYTHING.  I was usually sitting on the floor of the car because my sisters took up so much room on the backseat.  Fun times. We also went on a fun trip to Hollywood, California to see my aunt  with just my mom, sisters and little brother.  My dad was deer hunting and didn't even know we went.  My 17 year old sister drove most of the trip.  That was before Disneyland was there.  What I remember the most about that trip was picking grapefruit from my aunt's tree for breakfast.  My first trip to Disneyland was when I was twelve at Christmastime.  I had new red silky pajamas and a crazy looking stuffed monkey Santa brought me, and I carried him with me everywhere on that trip.  I still have him.

My favorite trip was to Lake of the Woods in Ontario Canada.  We drove  through many states to get there.  We had a large cabin and stayed two weeks.  My dad went fishing on a large lake every day with a guide my dad hired named Johnny.  Dad would take my mom or one of us kids each day too.  At lunch time we stopped on a little island, and Johnny would cook any fish we caught for us to eat.  It was the best I remember eating.  He taught my dad how to filet a fish, and mom how to cook them. As kids, we could go to the little convenience store by the cabins and get anything we wanted, and it was just charged, so we never needed any money.  Of course my dad had to pay the bill at the end of the stay.  I went everyday for a Big Chief red soda.  I loved it!

We also went rock hunting on the weekends during the spring and summer in different parts of Southern Utah.  My dad was a "rock hound" and made beautiful jewelry out of rocks that he cut and polished.  We went with other families and loved being in the desert.

Question 4:What was an important even in your life?

Grampy:
 An important event in my life.  There have been so many.  When your aunt Heather and your Mom were born was pretty special.  The day I married Mimi.  Going to the temple and being sealed to Mimi and your aunt Heather, your Mom and uncle Ryan.  When I was baptized by your greatuncle Art.  Finishing a Ph.D in Bozeman.   When my parents died has come to mean a lot to me.  Almost dying when I ate a mushroom was an event that really changed my life.  The first time I walked through a temple.  Setting a National Record when I was 17.  Being called into a Stake Presidency.  Turning 60 years old. My father died when he was 58.  Backpacking with 4 sons for hundreds of miles and climbing Engineer peak with Adam 10 years ago.  Getting hearing aids.  Going to Alaska with 3 sons.  Selling a business that I had for over 40 years.  Winning the Don Roush award as the Outstanding Teacher at NMSU.  Maybe the most important event in my life has not happened yet, but if I had to pick ONE that has, it would be to do with the day I decided to be baptized.  The church means everything to me and having a testimony of the restored Gospel defines me more than anything.  

Mimi:
Those were probably the big events of my younger years.  The other activity that took up my summers was 4H. I joined when I was ten until I was 18.  It was a program where my mom was a leader and my friends and I learned to cook and sew.  Then we would enter our products in the county and state fairs to be judged.  Those were such fun times.  When my friend Jane and I were 16, we won a state food preparation contest, and a trip to Denver Colorado for a big convention of youth.  We stayed downtown Denver in a large hotel and had tours and fancy dinners with ice sculptures.  That was the first time I ever ate cheesecake, and I thought it was so good. I also sang the 4H song at the final banquet of the week in the new Hilton Hotel. They had a light on me in a darkened room with a flag waving behind me.  I was petrified, but I did it.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Dusty Bible Effect


Have you ever heard of the Butterfly Effect?  A butterfly flaps its wings and causes a hurricane on the other side of the world.



Well, I'm going to tell you about the Dusty Bible Effect.



The story is that in 1810, a farmer named Caulier living in Nomain, France found a Bible in the corner of the dusty attic of his home.  As a Catholic, he wasn't supposed to read the Bible.  But he did anyway and discovered that what he was being taught didn't match what was in the Bible.  So he started his own church.

In 1815, after the battle of Waterloo, a French speaking British soldier began to attend Caulier's church and distribute scriptures.  This resulted in several Catholics converting over to this new church.



In 1819, Henri Pyt, was out distributing literature in northern France and stumbles upon Caulier's church.  He stayed there 18 months preaching and baptizing.  Because they were baptized by immersion in a stream, they are considered to be the first Baptists in France.



As membership grew, so did the missionary work and many Baptist churches started popping up in northern France.  Eventually the Baptists in America found out about this and traveled to France as missionaries.

One such missionary was Dr. Erastus Willard.  He came to France and established a Baptist pastor school.  One of those who attended that school was Irenee Foulon*.  Another person to be baptized was Stanislas Besin, my 3rd great grandfather.  Stanislas became a colporteur, a peddler of religious books.



Well, American Baptists weren't the only ones who noticed the growth of Baptists in northern France.  The Catholics and the French government noticed too.  As you can imagine, they had a very different reaction.



Mr. Leopix wrote to Dr. Willard and told him that he saw Besin bound and being taken away by some gensd'armes.  They had him bound to a thief.  He said that Besin seemed happy and unaffected by his situation.  In fact, he was teaching the thief  and the guards the gospel!  Foulon said this of Besin:
"Our brother is now known as a faithful disciple of Christ--by our friends and our enemies, he is loved by all."
Later they were going to begin a meeting when a Roman Catholic woman came running down the street screaming, "There he comes!  There he comes!"
"Who?"  everyone asked.
"Mr. Besin! Mr. Besin!"  Soon everyone was rejoicing and had tears in their eyes as they ran to meet the freed prisoner. Foulin said, "I cannot describe to you the emotion that pressed into our hearts that day."

Besin would be imprisoned and fined more than once.  (What is it about my third great grandfathers and prison?)  Eventually the persecution got so unbearable, that the families had to come to America.  I find it interesting that they settled not very far from where another religious group was trying to escape persecution.



Had Caulier never read the Bible, he never would have started the Baptist church in France. The Demoulins, Foulons, and Besins wouldn't have converted from Catholicism. They never would have traveled to America to escape persecution. John wouldn't have ended up in Utah working on the railroad; he never would have married June Miller, and they wouldn't have had my grandpa, who wouldn't have had my dad.  Which means I wouldn't be sitting here today writing this story.

 I never realized I owed so much to a Bible laying in a dusty attic.


*Irenee Foulon married my second great grandparents, Nathan Demoulin and Suzanne Besin in Illinois.

To read more about the legacy Stanislas Besin left our family, click here.  

This post features

Stanislas Besin (1807-1859)

My third great grandfather

me-->Bruce Albert Buchanan-->Robert Amos Buchanan-->John Buchanan-->Suzanne Besin-->Stanislas Besin



Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Case of the Missing Eyeball

Bruce Buchanan (1943-living) 

Father 

me-->Bruce Albert Buchanan

When my dad was about five years old, he went down to Ma Buchanan's house.  He and a neighbor kid, Bobby, decided to play in a sandbox in Bobby's backyard.


This is what parents would like to think is happening when their kids play together in a sandbox.


This is usually what happens when kids play together in a sandbox.


Dad and Bobby were no exception.  They began to fight.  Suddenly, FOR NO REASON, (yeah, right Dad) Bobby picked up a chair and threw it at Dad's head.  Dad wasn't happy.


But not just because his feelings were hurt.  He was really hurt.  His eye specifically.  So he covered his face.



It didn't take long to realize why his eye was hurting.  His was bleeding!  What does any boy do when he's hurt and bleeding?  He ran into the house to find his grandmother, of course.


"Ma, Bobby hit me in the face with a chair!"

Ma Buchanan did what any grandmother would do if she saw her grandson running through the house bleeding.



No, she didn't do that.  She did this.



As Dad was bleeding over the sink, Ma Buchanan called Nona.  "Your son has been hurt, there is something wrong with his eye."  Nona jumped in her car and headed to her mother-in-law's.
Meanwhile Ma was trying to wash Dad's face, but Dad wouldn't put his hands down.  He kept covering his eye.  Finally, Nona arrived 10 minutes later, she was able to convince him take his hand off his eye.  What happened next was absolutely horrifying.

Dad's eyeball fell out of its socket and went down the drain!


Or so she thought.

Turns out the blood had begun to clot in his hand. When he let go, all of the clotted blood looked like a bloody eyeball going down the drain.

Needless to say, Dad was never allowed to play with Bobby again.





The Ellusive John Buchanan

John Buchanan (1869-1941)


My great grandfather

me-->Bruce Albert Buchanan-->Robert Amos Buchanan-->John Buchanan

When I was 12 years old, I found out that we didn't know who my great grandfather's parents were.  I decided to find out.  Little did I know what I was in for.

John Buchanan circa 1940
I'll save how I found him for another post. I want to write about who he was and who he became.


Right before John Buchanan died in 1941, he gave a few clues as to who he really was.  These are the only four clues I've had all these years.

1. I was born in Highland, Illinois
2. My mother was from France.
3. My mother's name was Susan "Boo-shan" (never spelled it).
4. My father's name was Nathan.

Well that should be plenty right?  I mean all I should have to do is look in 1870 census records for a little baby named John Buchanan in a household with Nathan and Susan Buchanan, right?  Wrong.

John Buchanan wasn't born John Buchanan.  He was born Joshua Demoulin.  Here's the story.

Nathan, John's father, came to America from Northern France, with his father Martin Joseph.  They bought a farm in Clinton County, Illinois.

He met a girl named Susanne Besin also from France.

They were married soon after, and had their first child.  His name was Nathan Jr. and he was born still.

They had three more children all girls, Evodie, Lydia, and Susanne (Susie).  On October 18, 1869, they had another son.  This time he lived.  They named him Joshua and nicknamed him John.

In November of 1871, Susanne had another little girl.  This time the baby and the mother both died.  Nathan is now left with 4 children, the youngest not even two.

His father, Martin, died 5 years later.

Tombstone of Martin Demoulin in Jamestown Cemetery, Illinois.


Nathan remarried another girl, Fanny Combe from Switzerland.  They had 6 kids.

Evodie married Samuel Noel, then William Thomas.  She died at the age of 51.

Lydia never married and died at the age of 40.

Susie never married and died at the age of 86.

Joshua disappeared in 1905 without a trace.  The family just assumed he died and never had any children.



They were wrong.  He changed his name to John Buchanan, married June Miller, and became my great grandfather.



 



After 24 years of looking, I finally found him.  Nice to finally meet you Joshua Demoulin.