6 Things my Great Grandparents Taught Me About Survival

6 Things my Great Grandparents Taught Me About Survival

                                                                                               By Jeanette Vale

Meet Richard and Emma, my third great-grandparents

And Ultimate BA Survivalists

Grab your bug-out-bag, lace up your boots, and hurry. We want to catch up to Richard and Emma as they embark on a journey that will teach SIX SURVIVAL SKILLS that are relevant for us today. 

It is Spring 1856, and we are hurrying down a cobblestone street in London to 39 Market Street.   See there!   The door opens and a young father comes out, that’s Richard.   Emma follows with a four-month-old baby on her hip.  Soon four children file out, the oldest being a nine-year-old girl.  They are wrestling with baggage that looks too heavy for their slight frames.

Richard locks the door as they look up at their home for the last time.  They have sold all their belongings to finance the months ahead.    No time for tears, “Mind the grease”, Richard says to the people on the street as he leads his family through the mass and on to their new lives.

Here’s their situation.  Measure your present day needs against it.
This family needs to get from point A to point B.
  • They need finances in place.
  • They need transportation: From their front door to Liverpool and onto the Ship Horizon.  The ship will carry them across the Atlantic Ocean to Boston, in America.  Once in the Boston port, they will take multiple trains to Iowa City.  Then from Iowa City they will use oxen and a covered wagon to get to Salt Lake City--that’s the plan, anyway.  Rotten luck of how this part turns out with the Ox and Wagon (by the way it is a1,000+ mile walk).
  • They will need food, water, and shelter for that duration.
  • They will need to reinvent themselves (learn skills) to survive the new world.
  • They will need mental fortitude to survive every part of this transition.

What about you?

Do you need to get from point A to point B?  This could mean I need to become healthier; I need to pay off $6K in debt, I need 3 months of food storage, or I need bug out bags for everyone in my house.  Sharply define what your needs are:

Next question: How badly do you want it?


My great grandparents taught me:  If you want something enough you will find a way.  They wanted their dream of living in America and they sold everything to achieve it.  Are news headlines worrying you?  A buffer of safety from uncertainty sounds mighty nice.   What will you do to get there?  Are there distractions in the way?    What are they?  Are you willing to write them down and then stay focused to find the solutions? 

Emergency Zone has published a guide booklet called PREPARE FOR LIFE. It is $6.99; however, you may qualify for a free copy (one per household). It is an excellent resource to have as you work through emergency preparations. Click on the title above to get yours.

Problems at Sea

The Ship Horizon moved away from the dock and into open waters.  Much later, as they passed through the banks of Newfounland a thick fog enveloped the ship.  the crew were constantly ringing bells and blowing the foghorn.  One night Emma and Richard were awakened by the sounds of the crew above.  The ship was under threat of hitting an iceberg.  The men struggled for the safety of the ship (Later in the same year of 1856 four ships sailed out of Liverpool, and all with their passengers sunk from hitting icebergs or storms).  Richard comforted his young wife, “Just keep calm, there’s no use getting excited, there’s no back door to run out of”.  They both knelt and prayed for protection.  Later their ship passed through eight days of a terrible storm.  Having methods to calm and cope is very important. 

For my great-grandparents it was having each other and a good hearty prayer to God.  How do you stay calm during times of high stress?    Will these methods be available to you during hard times?  In our modern world we may turn to substances, long sessions of surfing the internet or overeating.   It is wise to have healthy methods in place that can restore our mental and emotional balance.  "Tapping" is a good example of a calming technique that is free, and instant.  There are several places on the internet to learn it.

Other tidbits before I log out….

Exciting things happened during the crossing of the Atlantic Ocean.   Two for example were the crew harpooning a 30-foot-long shark (probably a whale) that they pulled up on board. They estimated it weighing 2,500 lbs.  The crew cut it up and put it in a barrel filled with chemicals to extract its oils. 

They got to see a mass migration of sea turtles swimming.  It reminded one passenger of the way horses moved in a herd.

Sadly, there was a seven-year-old boy who thought it would be fun to grab a rope and swing about.  His momentum took him out over the bulwark.  He lost his grip and fell into the ocean.  They lowered a boat to find him, but it was too late. 

In next week's blog we pull into Harbor.  What did Emma think of Boston?  We shall walk the streets with her as we glean tips #3 and #4 that are relevant for us today.   Step on, prep on and enjoy the ride!

Please come visit us, we’d love to serve you!   www.emergencyzone.com

Post Commentary: the first three paragraphs opening this blog do not come from any historical accounts.  However, the year, address, and children’s ages from 4 months to 9 years are accurate.  But even some records have the ages a bit off.

At the time Richard and Emma left London, Elizabeth Tower (today we commonly refer to it as Big Ben) was eleven years under construction.  This bell tower would be completed three years later.  Richard was a carpenter by trade, and they lived just across the River Thames.  I wonder if he ever worked there.  Today Market Street is not found on the map anywhere near there.

When Emma was a young girl, her mother took her to Buckingham Palace to witness the Young Queen Victoria being crowned. 

“Mind the grease” meant pardon me, let me pass through.


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