175th Anniversary at Hill Farm & Benbow Pond

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Photo of a painting of the Benbow Pond by Frank Magleby.

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Photo of a painting that hangs in the Gadfield Elm chapel, capturing the 1840 events.

The 175th anniversary celebration of the first baptisms in the area by Wilford Woodruff at Hill Farm/Benbow pond was this last Friday, March 6th! It was such a thrill to be there and participate with a musical number with friends from the Stroud ward and the elders. I also got to talk about our ancestors Thomas Jenkins, (on Dad’s side) who was baptized there on March 10, 1840 and Jane Elton, (Mom’s side) whose brother John worked for John Benbow and was baptized a few months later. It was pretty humbling to be able to represent the perspective of the descendants of the converts. The spirit was there and I felt our Heavenly Father’s help!
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These next few pictures were actually taken a few days before the anniversary when we were checking out things ahead of time. It was so quiet and peaceful with no one around and no cars, so it had more of the look of 175 years ago.

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The long pathway from the Hill Farm, down to the pond.

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The “preaching barn” where the program was held is behind the white building to the left of the main house.

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This shot is looking towards the pond (which is by the tree in the middle) from the buildings of Hill Farm.

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This is looking down into the valley from the buildings of the HIll Farm. Don’t you love the sheep in the sunbeams?

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Now to the photos of March 6th, the 175th anniversary!
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The Ledbury Town Cryer, who rang in the program.

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Our musical number, “Baptism” sung by members from our ward in Stroud, with an added verse for the occasion. The older man next to Gene, Jonathan Turner, works with the owner of Hill farm at the Royal Agricultural University.

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Elder Holland is shown here projected on the front wall. His part was videotaped in, a very inspiring message celebrating this occasion. His ancestor was John Benbow’s niece that they raised when his brother, her father, passed away.

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Louise Manning, the owner of Hill Farm, talking to Elder and Sister Jones, public affairs missionaries for the United Kingdom.

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Bernard Haw, our good friend, who organized and carried out the event.

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Expert on John Benbow.

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Louise Manning, owner of Hill Farm, which is 300 acres, and faculty member at the Royal Agricultural University, with emphasis on preparing students to feed the world in the future.

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Group photo of some of those who attended the celebration at the Benbow pond.

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Our Stroud elders, Elder Packer, four days from returning home from his mission, and Elder Dunn.

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Jane Elton, my great great grandmother, whose brother John worked for John Benbow at the Hill Farm, and who was baptized on June 22, 1840 and confirmed by Wilford Woodruff and Willard Richards. She might have been in attendance with Thomas Jenkins too! 🙂

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A rare view of the back of the Hill Farm home.

 We met so many awesome people, including Louise Manning the owner of Hill Farm, who is such a gracious awesome woman with a sweet appreciation for the sacredness of the place and patience with the 2,000+ people who visit there each year. We also met others who spoke or visited afterwards about their research about this time. We loved every minute! This was also a special way to celebrate the anniversary of my own baptism March 6, 1966. How grateful I am for the heritage and blessings of the gospel my courageous ancestors gave to me! How grateful I am to missionaries like Wilford Woodruff who sacrificed to share the precious gospel! How grateful I am for my membership in this amazing restored Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints!

One thought on “175th Anniversary at Hill Farm & Benbow Pond

  1. Dear “Have Harp–ready to travel!” Thank you for sharing this wonderful celebration and its special meaning to you. I felt like I was almost there.

    Other subject–Anna G served some very rude serves today–made me think of you lots!

    Glad to know you are doing so well. Thank you for blessing me with your service. –Love, Juana


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