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6/28/2012

A Beginning History of an Observing Site







Here is the ranch house looking from Chief GreenJacket's grave on the hill to the east I presume.  The long dirt road is the east to west road you have to turn on after driving down the long dirt road from Highway 36.  You cannot get on this property without permission and please don't bother the owners for permission.  Photo borrowed from the second link below.

I have to admit, I love history.  I really love the history of the common man or woman because I think often it is the history that is the most relevant to us today.  These are people who were born, grew up, loved, got married, raised a family (or in Utah, families) and had their high points and low points in life.  They reveal what I call or borrow, the human condition that we all face.  We often like to think we are different, unique, and in many ways we are.  Yet in our condition of life, we face many similar challenges, many griefs, many struggles, many highs, discover many wonders and hopefully find joy in our lives.

Well today, I was going to go on a trip to hopefully conduct some business, but it got put off due to the fires in central Utah and the smoke down there.  Hopefully next week Tuesday will be a better day.  Anyway, so after getting done with some things I needed to do, I decided to do some research on land and ranches down near Vernon, Utah.  I have some personal reasons for this but needless to say, it got me going.

Observing out on the National Forest Land in Vernon and from the sites I choose and prefer to use, if you look to the east, maybe slightly north-east you can see a white ranch house.  If you drive up to the Vernon Reservoir right before you turn right to head south on the road to take you to the reservoir, you'll see the gate leading to this ranch site and home.  Do NOT go there without permission as it is not Forest land and is privately owned.  This ranch I found out is called The GreenJacket Ranch and no, for you golfers, it is not named after someone from this area who won a Master's tournament (for non-golfers, the winner gets a Green Jacket at the Masters Tournament if they win).  Instead it is named for a Goshute Chief whose name was GreenJacket.  Chief GreenJacket played a vital role in helping the Bennion family who settled in this area survive both from the Utes, and from the desert.  Chief GreenJacket's influenced ensured good relations between the Goshutes of the area and the settlers in the area.  To learn more on him you can go to this link which is find a grave marker and it has a history of Chief GreenJacket (not sure how much is accurate or not) or to this link from a blog entry from a descendant (I assume from the entry) who knew about him. Note the differences in the death accounts.  I wonder which one is correct?

Now, I also found a couple of biographies or auto-biographies of people who lived in the area.  I'll state upfront, these people were LDS so if that bothers you for some reason, don't read these accounts.  However, I find the reading fascinating for their descriptions of the land, the impact it had on their family and spousal relationships and the lasting impact on their future generations.  Having spent many a day out in this region, it reinforced what a truly incredible people came out here and settled in my opinion.  It also shows what I described in the first paragraph, the triumphs, defeats, challenges, love and commitment these people had to their ideals.  I can't attach files to the blog so I am going to provide a link to them that will take you over to my Google Documents if you want to read them:

Bennion's A History

Mapping Manifest Destiny Lucile Cannon Bennion by John Benion 


By the way, if anyone knows more of the history of the area, I'd love to learn more.  Now how does this relate to Astronomy?  I think it is important and extremely interesting to know of the history of the place one observes and I think it enriches the experience.  I can truly understand why they fell in love with this land, and accepted its challenge to work it.  I can understand how the beauty of the place captivated their souls. See, for me astronomy is a science, but as an amateur it is also about the human condition. Observing does many things for me, but one of them is to remind me of my own humanity and how wonderful it is to be alive.   These stories reflect a part of the human condition and I find that intriguing, they remind me how wonderful life is.  This area is truly a beautiful and marvelous place, and I hope, it remains quiet and restful and I guess I won't blog about it anymore so not to draw attention to it.  I did want to share that this area has a rather cool history.  I have an entry coming up on the Summer Triangle and one on Thermacell.  Oh, and a promised review on the Explore Scientific 20mm 68 degree eyepiece and the 4.7 ES 82 degree eyepiece.