StoryCorps
12:57 pm
Thu July 25, 2013

A part of the beginning: Remembering the pioneers

Jeanine VanderBruggen and Teresa Orton are cousins, and gathered in St. George to tell their story of Pioneer heritage.

Teresa took on the presidency of the St. George chapter of the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers at a time when she didn't have a job. Teresa said she'd always been interested in genealogy, but working with the museum gave her new eyes for what she did.

"My perception of family history and learning about the struggles of my pioneer ancestors, that has always been something of interest to me," Teresa said. "I went in there with new eyes, and looked at the pictures and here I"m seeing my great-great-grandfather and great-great-grandmother's pictures on the wall, rooms dedicated to them."

I am part of the beginning of St. George. I'm a fourth generation of the original pioneers.

Jeanine said she moved to St. George in 2005, and six months later her aunt told her to join the Daughters of the Pioneers, but she said she wasn't interested. That changed when she went into the museum in St. George.

"We have the same family, they're identical. Then I have my mother's side of the family. I just felt when I walked in there that they're all looking at me, saying, 'Welcome home.' Every time I walk in that building I think, you know what? I'm going to have a great day. Because there's not one thing that causes me to have as many problems as what they had just to survive," Jeanine said.

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