"Going to the roots of the Frank Family"
May 19, 2019

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Isabella Jane Bradshaw Astle
A Member of the Edward Martin Handcart Company of 1856
Written by her daughter, Sarah Astle Call

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Social affairs of the community were greatly enjoyed. She spoke of dances attended and of the recess period when the dance was half over, a group would leave and go to one of the homes, partake of a good meal, and return. The parties began at an early hour and there was plenty of time for a full evening of pleasure.

Isabella Jane Bradshaw and Children
L to R: Sarah Isabella, Isabella Jane,
Violet Eliza, Joseph Hyrum

Mother (Isabella Jane) gave birth to nine children, five sone and four daughters. One daughter and one son died in early childhood. During this time, she made every piece of clothing for her whole family except the shoes, all sewed by hand until August 1879. There is a family group picture down to and including the seventh child, taken about ten months after she obtained her first sewing machine. The fit of the clothes she had made for her husband and sons, also herself and daughters would do credit to any seamstress.

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She was an excellent manager and housekeeper. With her, cleanliness was next to Godliness. Yet, she was not too particular for the family and friends to enjoy her home to the fullest. The stranger and the Indian were always fed and no tramp was turned away hungry.

She was known as Aunt Belle Jane to her family and friends. One characteristic, we are happy to remember, is her cheerful way in times of distress and trouble, or when events did not come just as we would like them to, she would say, "There isn't time to be sad, let us sing, 'Come, Come Ye Saints, or O, Ye Mountains High'" and soon all despondency was forgotten.

They persevered in their pioneer life, and as time went on, even the climate became somewhat subdued, and modern farm implements began coming into use. They became prosperous and while not rich financially, had plenty to live and enjoy life.

At this time, Father (John Astle) decided to make another move into the Star Valley of Wyoming. Little was know of this country. The road into the valley was little more than a trail and Montpelier Creek must be crossed by fording seventeen times. In early spring the roads were impossible to travel until very late in the season. The earliest trips were made on horseback and to the surprise of all the family, Mother (Isabella Jane) offered to go in this way. She and Father (John Astle) left early one morning before daylight and she made the journey in on horseback safely, although it was a very dangerous one, even for a man.

She liked the place, so in October 1887, they moved to Afton, Wyoming. Father had built the fifth house on that township, a one room, dirt roofed house, sixteen feet square. We did have a rough lumber floor, and here with our parents and seven children lived through the first winter. Mother (Isabella Jane) said she had never spent a happier time in her life.

During the winter months, we were completely "snowed in" from the outside world. When we awoke on Christmas morning, we were all happy. Mother (Isabella Jane) had stretched a line across the room and hanging from it were socks and mittens for Father (John Astle) and the boys and stockings and mittens for the girls, all knitted by herself. Nicest of all was the rag dolls she had created for my little sister and me. They had hair made from brown zephyr yarn, blue eyes and a red mouth. I know we never loved any dolls we ever had as we did these. It was a splendid Christmas.

She loved beautiful Star Valley and its people, and as one of its earliest pioneers, watched it grow into a prosperous place.

Mother continued active in her home and Church. She always loved to bear testimony of God's blessings to her and thankfulness for having the privilege of coming to Zion.

Almost to the last, she loved to have the neighbor ladies in for afternoon luncheon at four o'clock.

Her health was excellent up to the last three months. From then on, she suffered intensely, and died May 16, 1912, at Afton, Wyoming.

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