WALF Memorial Journey, 2003
The Western Association of Leavitt Families 2003 Memorial Journey was a 7 day trek, during which we placed memorial monuments at or near locations where Leavitt family members died, as they made their way west. These family deaths occurred over the time period that began with their departure from Hatley, Quebec, Canada in 1837, and ended with the arrival of the last family in 1860.
Total cost for the seven day/six night trek was $750 per person. This cost covered bus transportation from the Hilton Garden Inn, in Omaha (to the various events of the week and the return to the hotel), lodging for six nights, meals, with the exception of breakfasts and lunches in Nauvoo, during which time the schedule was be individualized to the extent that meals together were impractical. The amount also covered a $100 contribution to the cost of six monuments and 13 memorial plaques placed upon them. Deadline for reservations was June 1, 2003.
On Sunday night, participants stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn, in Omaha, Nebraska, which is about 5 to 10 miles from the airport. For those who arrived on Saturday, there was opportunity to attend Sunday morning Sacrament meetings. Check in time was 3:00 p.m. and checkout at 12:00.
Sunday 14th September, 2003:
Registration was Sunday morning, September 14, 2003 at the Hilton Garden Inn, between 10 AM and 1 PM. Activities began on Sunday afternoon, with boarding of buses at 1:30 PM for travel to Winter Quarters Visitor Center where we toured the Vistior Center, Temple, cemetery and had our opening Fireside. We then traveled to the Fairview Cemetery, where a memorial monument was dedicated to honor the memory of eight Leavitt family members. Those honored there were: Lucy Rowell Leavitt, Betsy Leavitt Adams, Lydia Leavitt Snow, Weare Leavitt, son of Jeremiah II, Louisa Leavitt Jones, John Huntsman, Orliva Farlin and Isora Louisa Jones. We ended that day with dinner together at the Hilton Garden Inn.
Monday, 15th September, 2003:
An early departure on Monday morning from Omaha resulted in a late afternoon arrival at The Comfort Inn in Orland Park, Illinois. Driving time was spent reading histories, sharing family stories and becoming acquainted with the people we honor. The day concluded with dinner at our hotel and a program focused upon three of Jeremiah and Sarah Shannon Leavitt’s sons, Nathanial, Josiah and John.
Tuesday, 16th September, 2003:
Tuesday, an 8 a.m. departure from the hotel bound for White Pigeon, Michigan to dedicate a monument to Nathaniel Leavitt and Josiah Leavitt at 10:30 a.m.
Boarding buses again at noon, with box lunches along the way, the group arrived at Cambria Michigan by 1:00 p.m. At the Old Cambria Cemetery we dedicated the monument to John Leavitt, his daughter, Cinderilla, son, Thomas J, and his two grandsons, Barney Alfred and Horace Brown.
Back at the hotel, there was time for a rest before that evening’s dinner and program. This program featured Sarah Shannon Leavitt, her son Weare Leavitt, his son Jeremiah, Sally Ann Chamberlain and Benjamin Fletcher, Nathaniel’s son in law, all of whom were memorialized on the monument at Twelve Mile Grove. The program also included some details of Rebecca Leavitt and Franklin Chamberlain, who were honored at Oak Lawn the next morning.
Wednesday 17th September, 2003:
Check out was early on Wednesday morning. A ten minute drive from the hotel put us at Oak Lawn, where the dedication of the monument to the Chamberlains was held. After that ceremony, the group departed for an hour-long drive to Twelve Mile Grove, Illinois. The dedication program there began at 11:30 a.m. After the dedication, and a brief drive around Twelve Mile Grove, buses departed for Nauvoo, arriving at the Nauvoo Inn & Family Suites, late afternoon. No activities were planned that night. Dinner was on our own.
Thursday, 18th September, 2003:
Thursday morning was set apart for temple sessions and walking tours of Nauvoo with breakfast and lunch on our own. Thursday afternoon we drove to Bonaparte Iowa, where the monument to Jeremiah Leavitt II and Levi William Snow was dedicated at the Old Bonaparte Cemetery. That evening we enjoyed dinner at the restored Bonaparte Opera House, and a family arranged program
Friday, 19th September, 2003:
Friday morning there was time for temple sessions and walking tours of Nauvoo with breakfast and lunch on our own. Friday afternoon the group visited Carthage Jail, and returned for a 5:30 PM dinner. That evening we had our final program at the Nauvoo Visitor’s Center.
Saturday, 20th September, 2003:
Saturday departure was at 7:30 a.m.. With a brief stop at Mount Pisgah, and box lunches along the way we arrived about 4:00 p.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn, in Omaha Nebraska. Each participant made their own arrangements from that point.
The journey was demanding, emotional, and fulfilling. It brought closure to our collective consciousness that so many of our own lie buried along their own demanding, emotional journey.