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The Strange Saga of Papa Pilgrom (Intro...Part 1))
The Strange Saga of Papa Pilgrim


I have debated whether to post all this or not, since it is so long, but I have decided to do so, and have divided it up, into about nine separate posts. to make it easier to read each one.(if interested) .......maybe, a little at a time. Well, I do have it in my files, so thought that I might as well share it here.

Most likely, most of you are already familiar with Papa Pilgrim and his wife, Country Rose and their 15 children. For anyone that does not know who he really is, later in my articles you will be surprised about that.

Some time back, I became interested in this family, which was just before such devastation occurred. Then, when all the problems came down, I read several different news articles and decided to complex my own articles from several news sources. Sometimes, I do this as like a hobby sort of thing. After that, I posted them on another forum. It has been quite awhile, but possibly some of you may have read ton the other forum already.

Since then, there have been some significant Updates and I never got around to compiling and rewriting then, as I did with the first three parts. So, I have taken the updated articles from Journalist Tom KIzzia, of the Anchorage Daily News and added them intact, as he wrote them.

The Pilgrim family, as well as Tom Kizzia resides near the Alaska area where Gov. Sarah Palin lives. In fact, just the other day, I saw Tom Kizzia being interviewed about Gov. Palin. ONce, I emailed him with some questions about the Pilgrim family, and he responded in a timely manner.

In addition to my three articles and Tom Kizzia's five articles, I have also included an excerpt from Pilgrims ex father-in law's book. Quite a tragic and sad story, with still unanswered questions. Again, if you are not already aware of who the father in law was, then you will be quite surprised.

I could have just posted links to all these articles, but even though you might be able to read a couple of them written by Tom, the Publication will shut you off and you then have to subscribe. I also had several Photo links that I had found, but in just now trying them, most no longer work or have been removed from the websites.There is still a couple of Family photos though....but for all their ages, just add about 4-5 years to them.

This Saga has a little of everything...from Govt Bureaucracy, to Fanatical Religion, Manipulation and Mind well as what is referred to as Family Secrets. Today the family says they were a Cult.

The Strange Saga of Papa Pilgrim

I posted Part i and for some reason it didn't get posted! I am thinking it is just too long. Perhaps I can shrten it some and try again later.

Dixie, Part 1 just seems to be a caption?
The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.
Carl Jung - Aion (1951). CW 9, Part II: P.14
It should work Dixie. I think the limit is very long. We made it that way so that people could post very long articles etc. Maybe give it another try and if it doesn't work shorten it and just have more installments.
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
"Papa Pilgrim" had a convoluted connection to the JFK assassination. He murdered his wife, who was the daughter of John and Nellie Connally. His father was I.B. Hale, director of security at General Dynamics, which had the TFX contract which JFK opposed. Hale was a retired FBI agent and all-American football player at TCU.

Pilgrim Family of 15 children, at their Happy Cabin in Hillbilly Heaven

(Add about five years to each age)_

Back Row: David (age 22), Papa Pilgrim, Mama Country Rose, Jonathan (10 mos), Hosanna (13), Elishaba (27), Jerusalem (14)

Middle Row: Moses (19), Joseph (26), Job (11), Noah (9), Abraham (8), Israel (17), Joshua (24)

Front: Bethlehem (3), Lamb (5), Psalms (6)

Another Family Photo

Papa Pilgrim, spent many years studying various religions , including meaning and direction in his life. However, religion just didn't seem to work for him. That all changed when he met and married a woman much younger then him, who he renamed Country Rose.

In 1979, and after starting a family, they both became born again Christains and sought, listened and obeyed God's council. However, they did not choose to have affiliation with any specific religion or church. Their children who were already born were renamed with biblical names, as well as those born later. Papa Pilgrim was very domineering with his family and all of his fifteen children were raised by the strict intrepretation of the scriptures.

After some time and a calling, the family ended up in Rocky Mountains of New Mexico at 9,000 ft., where they were to live for 23 years. Papa said those early days were filled with studying the Bible for 14 hours a day. They dug a well, built a cabin, and lived a subsistence lifestyle.
They worked for themselves raising vegetables, spinning wool from their sheep, making lye soap, sewing clothes, harvesting wheat, making cheeses. In addition, they all learned to play musical instruments and to sing both gospel and blue grass.
The family had been remote and secluded for many years. In 1998, they felt they had outgrown their mountain home in New Mexico and Papa said that God told him to go and explore bigger country. The children had little experience with the outside world and this journey would prove to teach many lessons and eventually find them a new home.
They packed up the '41 Chevy, the same one they honeymooned in, along with the same truck Joseph, (The oldest son) was born in, and headed for Alaska.

Along the way Country Rose gave birth to Lamb (in the Yukon), so they stopped the bandwagon and set up camp for three weeks until Rose regained her strength. While there, they entertained the road work crew with their music in the evenings, where they were all camped out.

When they arrived in Alaska, first in Fairbanks, the idea was to live out on the Yukon River. While in Homer looking for a boat to bring back to the Yukon River they met some folks, found work (they had never worked for a living) and stayed.
They spent some time around Homer, Kenai, and Soldotna, looking for land, searching for a home. They had some tough times with an employer who cheated them out of hard-earned wages, their first big lesson in realizing that the world is not just made up of hardworking, peaceloving folks like themselves.

Then in Jan. of 2002, a friend told them about this place called McCarthy. The Pilgrims found McCarthy on a map, This is located at the gateway to the Wrangell St. Elias National Park. They loaded up the trucks, and the family, with Rose already expecting another baby and headed off once again. So in the dead of winter, when the temps were at about 30 below, trucks full of Pilgrims headed down the McCarthy road.

With the road too deep in snow to travel further, they stayed in McCarthy and put on a Blue Grass concert, at the McCarthy Lodge for the dozen or so winter residents.

In an interview Pilgrim explained that the reason his family moved north is because "Alaska provides." He was referring to good fishing and hunting, but also to the permanent fund dividend, an annual payment to all state residents. It comes from taxes on North Slope oil and that year was worth $1,541 to each state resident. For a big family, the money adds up. Since they moved to Alaska in 1998, the dividend has provided the Pilgrims with nearly $30,000 a year in tax-free income. Papa said this was more money then his family had ever seen before. So, they set out looking for some property to buy.

The sleepy little town of McCarthy woke up when they arrived, especially after their search for land led them to purchase a little over 420 acres up McCarthy Creek, which was the old Mother Lode property.

They bought the propery from a retired miner for $450,000 and first visited it by snowmobile and naming it Hillbilly Heaven. Located 14 miles into the wildnerness, they nearly doubled the winter population around McCarthy.

From the beginning it was obvious that Pilgrim was outspoken in his faith. Area Christians were glad to have such a large family of believers come to the neighborhood. Some thought the local church would get quite a boost from 17 new members. But all invitations to attend were quietly rejected.

The only way to and from their property was by horse, snowmobile or plane. It wasn't long before the National Park Service (NPS) became aware of Papa Pilgrim. He wrote a letter to the Editor of the Wrangell St. Elias News (WSEN), with the intentions of access not to their own property, but to the footbridge across the Kennicott River. This letter came back to haunt Pilgrim and his family as well as residents of McCarthy and neighboring areas.

Pilgrim said he was only vaguely aware, then, that his property was surrounded by a national park. That summer, after a land survey paid for by the Park Service, he learned that two-thirds of his cabin rests on federal property.

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park Superintendent Gary Candelaria had flown to Juneau to lobby the state to block ATV access to McCarthy and Kennicott. Pilgrim's letter was one of several written by area residents, taking the superintendent to task for working against the best interests of the two communities by limiting access to them.

Pilgrim seemed to almost welcome persecution, apparently seeing it as a mark of divine approval. Even close friends and supporters were treated as bitter enemies if they dared disagree with him.

Without quite realizing what they were doing, the Pilgrims bulldozed their way into this ideological land war, and, in recent years, they have become its featured attraction. Pilgrim, explained how it came to pass last winter that he drove a bulldozer 14 miles across the national park that encircles his land. The Lord, Pilgrim said, told him that clearing a derelict mining road through the park was a loving thing to do. "In order for me to love my children, I have to be a provider," Pilgrim said. "With great reluctance, I took the bulldozer and used the road. I had no idea what was in store."

The old mining road that Pilgrim cleared with the bulldozer appears on a list of routes that the state of Alaska could claim as a right of way. Pilgrim's passage on the Caterpillar has resulted in an edgy standoff between his well-armed family and the federal government. The National Park Service has shut down the bulldozed road to his property, dispatched armed rangers to assess park damage and is pursuing criminal and civil cases against him and members of his family.

The brouhaha over the bulldozer, a drama still unfolding inside the largest U.S. park -- has made the Pilgrims actors in a national dispute over private access to federal land. National environmental groups are demanding that the Park Service prosecute the Pilgrims to the fullest extent of the law, while land-rights activists have embraced them as heroic victims of overzealous federal bureaucrats.

Rick Kenyon, publisher of a virulently anti-Park Service newspaper called the Wrangell St. Elias News, has published a series of hagiographic stories that describe the Pilgrims as simple folk bedeviled by heavily armed federal agents. Kenyon believe the Park Service is trying break the Pilgrim family and destroy them financially.

Park officials say that is nonsense. "None of this had to happen," said Candelaria, the park superintendent. "If Pilgrim had come to us before he got on the bulldozer, we probably could have given him some access. Some people may not like it, but this is a national park. Before you get on a bulldozer, you need to get a permit."

Later this year, the Park Service will ask the U.S. attorney in Alaska to start civil proceedings against the Pilgrims. Candelaria said they would probably be sued to pay for bulldozer damage along the road and around their land. Criminal charges have also been filed against the family for operating a horse-tour business in the park without a license and for damaging public property.

After refusing for months to speak with Candelaria or local rangers, Pilgrim says he has now decided to try to cooperate with the park. He made a written request on Sept. 14 for a permit that would allow him vehicular access to the disputed road.
He wants to use a bulldozer, with its blade up, to haul in food, fuel and other supplies for winter.

The request, though, was hardly conciliatory. It said that if the Park Service doesn't take advantage of this "wonderful opportunity" to work with his family, then its inaction would be proof of its "selfish, greedy and hateful attitude."

"This is progress, I guess," said Candelaria, who said he is considering the request. But he said the Park Service must make an environmental assessment before allowing passage. The road the Pilgrims want to use with a bulldozer crosses a creek 13 times, and there are trout in the creek that the Park Service believes could be harmed.

Out at Hillbilly Heaven, Pilgrim says winter is closing in fast and the family's supply of diesel fuel is running low. When snowfall covers the fields that surround his house, horses that now transport the family to and from town will have no feed.

Park Service officials say the last thing they want is violence and that they are worried about another Ruby Ridge standoff or another Waco. They are determined, they say, not to use force in a way that would lead to bloodshed or embarrassing media coverage.

"Our challenge is to avoid confrontation," said Gary Candelaria, superintendent of Wrangell-St. Elias, which is six times larger than Yellowstone National Park. Still, Park Service rangers admit that they are fed up with the Pilgrims, especially with the boys who carry revolvers and rifles.

"We are going to make the Pilgrims poster children for abuse of federal power," said Chuck Cushman, executive director of the American Land Rights Association, a group based in Washington State that supports claims of private landowners in disputes with federal agencies.

"This is a good family that simply does not know how to deal with bureaucracy," said Cushman, whose group is helping Pilgrim pay for a lawyer and is publicizing his legal problems on its Web site. "They did not knowingly break the law. You have to look into people's hearts." Environmental groups have been watching the Pilgrims in pained disbelief.

In February, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected their claim to having rights to travel by bulldozer through the park over a unused mining road without going through a permit process and environmental review.

In an interview one of the Pilgrim children was asked if they ever thought about leaving..this was the reply:

"In this world, everybody's trying everybody on like a new pair of blue jeans and it's not the way we do it. My favorite thing in life to do is work and help and cook and serve my brothers and sisters and play music. And one of our most favorite things to do is get together and share and I don't know how I could be any happier. I really ain't looking for anything,"
Magda Hassan Wrote:It should work Dixie. I think the limit is very long. We made it that way so that people could post very long articles etc. Maybe give it another try and if it doesn't work shorten it and just have more installments.

There is no limit on post length.

Let us know if we can help Dixie.

On edit: Just FYI I deleted (only) the unsuccessful post scraps.

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