Family History Stories: Leland Huntsman

Last Sunday, we had a Family Home Evening held at T.J.’s grandma’s house on the importance of family history and writing events down. I feel like since I’ve been married, I’ve done quite a good job keeping record of what we have done as a family and what is going on in our life. But it made me realize that I don’t know much about my ancestors. I love hearing stories, but I’ve never taken the time to write them down. One day the people who tell me the stories won’t be there to tell them to me any longer, so I’ve decided to start doing a Family History series on my blog. We’ll see how it goes.

Today I want to talk about T.J.’s great-grandfather. All of the information comes from his biography, so at least it’s already written down. But as I have been reading it, I just have to share some quotes from this amazing man who is still around today!

Leland Emery Huntsman was born on September 28, 1909 in Santa Clara, Utah and lives in Enterprise, Utah, today at almost 103 years old. I don’t know if you realize this, but 1909 was before the Titanic sank, before light switches and zippers were invented, before women could vote, before FM radio, before WWI, and before most holidays (such as Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day were adopted into our culture. Can you imagine all that he has seen? What an incredible, yet scary, century to witness.

Growing up, he loved going to the ranch with his dad. He said, “When I was young there weren’t any chores I didn’t like because then they were just things that had to be done. We didn’t know any different than to do just what we were asked.” I think I could learn a lesson or two from him.

Gas was $.25/gallon and stamps were $.03 a piece. Life was much simpler. “I drove way before I was sixteen. I definitely wasn’t old enough to drive when I started driving. I was sixteen though when I did get my license but back then all you had to do was go in and get a piece of paper. It didn’t require you to take any class or test or anything like that.”

I’ve only made it through the first 100 pages of his biography so far, but one other part that really stuck out to me was when he talked about raising a family. Leland said, “The love of the family is what I found most rewarding about raising a family. Realizing that your family is yours and how much they mean to you. Working as a family is something that we always did and I think teaching your family how to work and work together is important. Each child had their own little job to do…Being a parent is a big job and so advice I’d give to my posterity about being a parent it to be good and teach your children how to work. Just love your kids and cherish the moments you have with them because before you know it they are gone.”

As I was writing this post, I kind of broke down in tears. I was telling T.J. all that I was learning about his great-grandfather and how you can just tell by looking at Leland that he is a very special man. I guess I’m so emotional about it because I didn’t grow up with grandparents in the gospel. My parents were converts and so whenever I hear about all of T.J.’s ancestors and how they were so strong in the gospel, it really gets to me. I always dreamt of having a large extended family, all active in the church. And now… now I’m in one! What an incredible blessing to be able to have Leland as an example to me! When you see the affect of his righteous desires and choices, it is overwhelming. He has created a legacy for himself, one I must, as a part of his posterity, continue and pass along.

There is much to be learned from Leland, especially his work ethic. You can tell he worked hard and always lived by faith.

“I’ve learned a few lessons about life throughout my career. I’ve learned that life is not a game. To get the most out of life you have to work at it. You can’t just expect it to come without any effort. Always be honest! You need to realize that you need to make something of yourself on your journey. Keep the rules and still love life. Always have a goal to strive for and never lose hope or faith. Always keep your faith.”

Always keep your faith. That is something I’m going to work on this week.

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