Archie Earl Buchanan/Florene Davis Genealogy

Vol. 6, No. 3 - Dec. 2008
Prepared by

Joseph F. Buchanan
7472 Silver Circle
West Jordan, UT 84084
(801) 566-1083

How Many Cousins?

Over the past few years, I have watched the obituary pages more than I used to. I know that is a serious sign of old age, but still I admit it. There is an intriguing thrill of detective-like work in family history and genealogy and I enjoy the challenge. I look to see whether there is someone I am related to in the paper. A couple of days ago, I found the obituary of Donna Vee Peterson Davis. It indicated that her mother's maiden name might be Oldroyd. She was born in Richfield, so these were enough clues to interest me in a little detective work (I know that to some of you this may seem like a twisted way to enjoy a challenge, but humor me).

There are a number of Oldroyds among our relatives and, of course, the name Davis is a hot item to search for. As it turns out, Donna Davis is actually my second cousin, but not through the Davis line. She is a great-granddaughter of Archibald Waller Overton Buchanan through his second wife, Mary Ann Brown.

She is only a few years younger than my father, but since Archie was the youngest of all, his half-sister Mary Ann, who was Donna's grandmother, was born 30 years before Archie was born. That accounts for the generation age difference.

In going through some of the many papers I have around, I found a list of family, assembled back when the Buchanan book was published and ready for sale. The list included all of the grandchildren of Archibald Waller Overton Buchanan and their children and some of the next generation. I counted the number of people in my generation (great-grandchildren of AWO Buchanan). It was missing a few that I know about, for example, it only had one of David's children there, Cherice, so I added a few more to the total. The total came to 397 people of my generation, but is probably low. They break down as follows: through Helen Whiting - 175; through Mary Ann Brown - 68; through Marie Larsen - 94; and through Caroline Sorensen - 60. This was compiled in the later 1960's so you can imagine how many more descendants of Archibald Waller Overton Buchanan there are.

I was contacted by someone recently who could be considered a second cousin, in a way. Griselda Sasayama found the Buchanan family crest that I use in these newsletters and recognized it and something she drew as a gift for her American family. She says that "Frances and Ray Buchanan (and Gary Smith's family, Frances' son) were our family in the USA. I learned the 'american way' from them and I still cherish the times that we shared. I made the family shield reproduction as a gift for them and I am happy and flattered to see it well used for non-commercial purposes." Ray is grandson of Archibald Waller Overton Buchanan, also through Mary Ann Brown. I am happy to give credit to Griselda in producing that copy of the Buchanan coat of arms. I have seen other renditions of the crest, but I liked this one best because it gave a better "family" feeling.

Memories of Archie Earl and Florene

I was talking with my son recently about my memories of visiting the Elwood house, staying with Grandma and Grandpa Buchanan. I remembered the wonderful candy that Grandma made, I also enjoyed her bread-and-butter pickles. I also remember Grandpa taking my hand in a firm handshake, to make sure I had a strong grip. I remember going into the basement and looking for the games they kept down there. Lynn and I would enjoy playing "Treasure Hunt" and "Touring" with the old cards and pieces of eight. I have those two games in my house and they are still used. Touring is the same as the current Milles Bournes, except that the highest speed in the game is 30 miles (it is the "Improved Edition"). At Christmas time, I remember that they had a shiny metal Christmas tree because Grandma was allergic to pine (she had asthma). There were times when we would have fun playing on the large stacks of hay bales. I also remember hearing about Grandma's awards she got at the county fairs.

I think it would be fun to collect memories any of you have of Grandma and Grandpa Buchanan, their home and farm, especially when you were children. I can make an area on the web site to share these.

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In response to my request in the last newsletter, Corey Wilcox wrote me a nice letter encouraging the continuation of digitizing of histories. He is working on some histories that he has. I agree with him that each of us could work a little at a time and can get these histories typed up so that they can be shared and printed out by anyone as desired. I have placed a number of histories that I have on the web site and will continue to do so. I will gladly include any more that people are willing to type into their computers. It is important that we keep this information so our children and grandchildren can know about the great people and heritage we have. There is much that we can all do.

Baptism for Health - The Connection to Our Family

An obscure reference in Annie Isadore Roundy Davis' history recently was brought to the attention of some scholarly church research. The reference is: "We went to the Manti Temple, stayed a week, had Fae baptised for her health May 15, 1919." I did not think anything more of it, until I was contacted by Jonathan Stapley who was researching the practice as it existed in the church and the changes that brought about the ending of it. This was a practice in the church of having people baptised particularly for their health. The publication is: "They Shall Be Made Whole": a History of Baptism for Health by Jonathan A. Stapley and Kristine Wright, published in Journal of Mormon History, Fall 2008, pp 69-112. It is an interesting study of this faith-based practice of Latter-day Saints which began in the early church and was practiced until about 1922. Jonathan Stapley graciously gave me permission to quote from his work.

Early in the church, leaders encouraged people, members or not, to seek healing through baptism, either within the temple in the font or in rivers, etc. Many times, the person was baptised seven times, reminiscent of the story of Elisha and Naaman in the Old Testament.

Quoting from Stapley's work [p. 75, 76]: "Later when the new rituals of the Nauvoo Temple were administered to the body of Church members, they were immediately adapted by Church leaders for healing. The prayer circle was used to consecrate oil and, in conjunction with the laying on of hands, to heal the sick, and the sick were washed and anointed for their health. In a desire to equip the Saints with the instruments of God's power, Joseph and his contemporaries engaged in ritual expansion and developed healing rites from rituals of salvation and empowerment. In 1841, Church leaders announced that the traditional salvific ordinance of baptism was to be extended, not only for the salvation of the dead, but also for the benefit of health. In an October 12 epistle designed to encourage the members to finish the temple, the Twelve wrote: "The time has come when the great Jehovah would have a resting place on earth, a habitation for his chosen, where his law shall be revealed, and his servants be endued from on high, to bring together the honest in heart from the four winds; where the saints may enter the Baptismal Font for their dead relations . . . a place, over which the heavenly messengers may watch and trouble the waters as in days of old, so that when the sick are put therein they shall be made whole." [Footnote: 22 Brigham Young et al., "An Epistle of the Twelve, Nauvoo, October 12, 1841," Times and Seasons 2 (October 15, 1841): 569. This is the first known record of Church leaders teaching about a formalized ritual of baptism for health.]

This practice continued through the trek westward in streams and bodies of water along the way and in the West. When temples were built, it was was instituted in the temples in Utah, particularly the Manti temple: "The first years of the Manti Temple's operation had very high rates for baptism for health and proxy baptisms, with thousands seeking healing at the temple each year. Women were the recipients of 73.6 percent of all the nineteenth-century temple baptisms for health (varying between 60 and 77 percent annually)." [page 94]

When the Salt Lake and Logan temples were built, baptisms for health were also performed there: "The first baptisms in both the Logan [Footnote: 78 Woodruff, Journal, 8:251.(additional comments in the footnote)] and Salt Lake [Footnote: 79 Frederick Kesler, Diary No. 9, May 23, 1893, University of Utah Special Collections ...] temples were for the recipients' health. The events surrounding the dedication of the Logan Temple font are particularly illustrative. After Franklin D. Richards was baptized for his health, Rachel Ridgeway Grant, mother of Heber J., was immersed in the font. Heber described the rite: "She was baptized seven times for her health and hearing." [page 90]

"Uncertainty about baptism for health arose in the second decade of the twentieth century. With improvements in modern medical science and Mormonism's more general integration into the larger society, Church leaders began to avoid ritualistic practices that, in turn, appeared increasingly magical. Consequently, the therapeutic use of oil, notably manifest in repeat anointings, anointing the area of affliction, and drinking consecrated oil fell out of favor. [Footnote: 124 Bush, Health and Medicine among the Latter-day Saints, 78-80, 100-103.] These rationalizations of the healing liturgy spilled over into a debate surrounding baptism for health; and Joseph F. Smith and Anthon H. Lund, both of the First Presidency, emerged as defenders of the practice." [page 105]

Near the end of the time that President Joseph F. Smith was the president of the church, people were generally encouraged not to come to the temple to be baptised or annointed for their health, but to have faith in the priesthood annointing for health by the Elders of the Church. At the death of President Smith, there were still some cases of baptism for health reported. The study reports this with the particular reference to our own Fay Davis in the footnote: "After President Smith died in November 1918, the Grant administration maintained the status quo for several years." [Footnote: 131 Several authors have simply assumed that baptism for health ended during Joseph F. Smith's administration. This is not the case. An example is the 1919 baptism for health of Faye Davis, recorded in Annie Isadore Davis, "Sketch of the Life of Annie Isadore Roundy Davis," digital copy of holograph, 4a,, (accessed January 14, 2008). We thank Joseph F. Buchanan for supplying this reference.]

To describe the conclusion of this practice, the document reports on page 109: "This change in praxis was the first of several developments that included reforming the endowment, calling the wives of temple presidents as temple matrons, [Footnote: 134 Mouritsen, "A Symbol of New Directions: George F. Richards and the Mormon Church, 1861-1950," 203-10.] and in 1922 ending baptisms for healing altogether. The First Presidency, then comprising Heber J. Grant, Charles Penrose, and Anthony Ivins, wrote to temple presidents: "We feel constrained to call your attention to the custom prevailing to some extent in our temples of baptizing for health, and to remind you that baptism for health is no part of our temple work, and therefore to permit it to become a practice would be an innovation detrimental to temple work, and a departure as well from the provision instituted of the Lord for the care and healing of the sick of His Church. ... " [Footnote: 135 First Presidency, Letter to Temple Presidents, December 15, 1922, quoted in First Presidency, Letter to Stake Presidents, January 18, 1923, Salt Lake City, in Clark, Messages of the First Presidency, 5:224. ...]

The gift of healing has been in the church since the beginning and is still widely experienced. The process or custom used in the process of healing ordinances have changed over the years, as shown in this article. The restored Gospel included many practices that have been appropriate for some times and places and not in others. Sometimes it is a matter of faith, sometimes the circumstances of the surrounding society require adjustments and changes. That is the nature of a Gospel in that it is a living gospel and a church that is led by prophets and revelation. This all adds to the richness of the Gospel experience and gives us a taste of the lives, hopes and blessings of our ancestors. Thanks again to Brother Stapley for producing this report.