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  • Writer's pictureAmyanne rigby

My New Year's Eve in New Harmony

For months, I have wanted to wander a bit. My destination, a barn in New Harmony. This barn, a testament to its community, tells so many stories. Determined to not let the year end without sharing the story of this little town nestled in the desert mountains of So. Utah, Rigby and I drove to our destination. Snowflakes were falling as I immersed myself in the story of the Prince Barn.

The Prince Barn embodies the spirit of the early pioneers of Southern Utah and their dedication to God, country and family. Built in the 1800's the is barn has stood for more than two hundred years. Like many barns at this time, the Prince barn was the center of all agricultural activity. Today, it stands as as symbol of the industrious nature of the town of New Harmony and of its early settlers. Francis and Mary Elizabeth (Imlay) dug their feet firmly into this valley and their descendants have embodied all for which Francis and Mary stood.

Before Francis was a year old, his parents moved from England to South Africa at the request of the Queen of England to help settle the colonies there. At this time, the negro war waged in Africa- all male babies were to be killed. Francis' mother feared for his life and hid him under dirty clothes for weeks on end in efforts to preserve his life

Francis received little formal education. His mother was his sole teacher. Under her direction he learned to speak the Boer language and Dutch as well as preserve his native English tongue. At an early age, he learned the trade of a tanner, working for three schilling a day (25 cents) for Sam Slaughter of in Cape Cod. In all things, Francis worked fervently.

While working as a tanner, Francis' father, George, received revelation in the form of a dream that two men would come to share a message with them. George told his family these messengers would be men of God. He then went on in full detail to describe the attire of the men. Two years later, three missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints came to the land of South Africa sharing their message from God. These Mormon Elders, Jesse Haven, William Walker and Leonardo Smith impacted the lives of the Prince family for generations.

One evening while the Elders taught the Prince family, they received word that their lives were in grave danger. Young Francis led his his Mormon Friends over a mountainous trail to safety, saving their lives. (Biography of Francis Prince Pioneer, Family Search).

Adjacent to the Prince barn is the small home of the Prince family said to be the replica of their well loved home they left in South Africa.

What began as a small fort in the late 1800's as a safe haven for Mormon Pioneers has now become a sanctuary for so many nearly 200 years later. The pace in New Harmony or "Harmony" as the locals call it is just a little bit slower, the surroundings of this small community are just a little bit more beautiful, and history just a little bit more powerful. No wonder why it is called the Gathering Place.

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Charity Twitchell
Charity Twitchell
Jan 09, 2023

Beautiful story. Thank you 😊💖

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