On Sept. 8, the newly commissioned Springville Chapter of the Sons of Utah Pioneers met to reorganize the chapter. Jake Smith was elected president, Don Olsen as vice president and Jacob Maughan as secretary. The original Springville chapter was organized in 1935. The purpose of the chapter is to not only memorialize and commemorate the heritage of early Utah pioneers but also to keep pioneer-era skills and capabilities alive.
“We want to be living, breathing history. We want to help people connect with the past by doing the very things, and practicing the same skills, that our pioneer forbearers knew and practiced every day,” Maughan said. When asked about his vision for the newly re-organized chapter, Smith said: “There are elements of the past that can only really be communicated through talks or lectures or presentations of some kind. So those things are always going to be an important part of what we do. But we think there is also an opportunity for our members and their families to connect to the pioneer heritage in a deep way through experiential learning. In some ways, it is similar to the experience of going on a pioneer trek. Walking through the sagebrush and sleeping on the ground gives a context for the life and experiences of these pioneers that is hard to get without living it. Similarly, learning to cook or construct or farm the way these people did connects you to their everyday experience and connects you to them in a real, tactile kind of way.”
Future chapter meetings will include training on Dutch oven cooking, blacksmithing, woodworking skills and pioneer-era construction techniques along with presentations regarding Springville area pioneers.
Chapter member Doug Holm commented on the value of studying pioneer-era men and women. “They accomplished something truly extraordinary. There were so many odds against them and challenges they faced. We’ve become familiar with a limited number of well-known pioneers, but I think learning some of the lesser-known stories about rank-and-file pioneers who overcame enormous odds helps us in the here and now overcome modern challenges.”
The Springville Chapter of Sons of Utah Pioneers meets on the second Thursday of the month at 7 p.m. For more information on the Springville Sons of Utah Pioneers, visit the group’s Facebook page or call Jake Smith at 801-885-7244.