From Laura A. Williams: I am a descendant of Michael and Marianne Beux of Les Baux, Italy
The Waldensian church records trace the Beux family back to the 1500's AD in the Italian Alps (an earlier fire destroyed records previous to this time). This area has a rich history of strong Protestant/Christian Faith; Christian missionaries who crossed the Alps on their way to Gaul in the First Century founded it. It is rumored that the Apostle Paul himself passed through these valleys on his missionary trek to Gaul and Spain. For the next 500 years the area was almost exclusively Protestant and became known as a place of refuge for those who were opposed to changes in the church.
The Vaudois (Waldensians) were exiled by the Catholic inquisitions and crusades except for a few that were forced to conform to Catholicism or face imprisonment, servitude as galley slaves or death. In 1030, twenty-eight dissenters were burned at the stake in the cathedral square in Milan. At the end of the 12th century, Peter Waldo of Lyons, France, and his band of refugees found a sympathetic Beux family who gave them refuge. Over the years a transformation of the valley occurred as the children were taught to read the Bible (unlike their orthodox neighbors, who were generally illiterate). They began to proselytize disguised as peddlers and soon Waldensain branches sprang up in many parts of Europe. These efforts to preserve the church as taught by Jesus Christ and his Apostles met great challenges by the 14th century. On Christmas Day in the year 1400, inquisitor Borelli burned 150 Vaudois men, women and children at the stake in Genoble, France. In 1487 Pope Innocent the 8th issued a mandate that the Vaudois should be "crushed like venomous snakes." In January, 1561, the Vaudois were captured by Catholic leader, Count La Trinita. They were ordered to attend mass within 24 hours or suffer death. That night the men gathered on a low hill and each accepted this oath:
"We promise to maintain the Bible, whole and without admixture, according to the usage of the true Apostolic Church, persevering in this holy religion, though it be at the peril of our life, in order that we may transmit it to our children, intact and pure, as we received it from our fathers."
The next day, pretending to comply with the Count's order, the men attended their churches which had been taken over by the Catholics. The tables were later turned as the Vaudois who had escaped planned a deadly avalanche of boulders to be rolled down the mountainside at the gorge when the Catholic troops were to move into their village. At the proper signal, the crucifix, images, candles and other paraphernalia of Roman worship were ripped down from the church and trampled, the Priests were also driven out. Their efforts were victorious as the army was defeated, never to return.
The violence did not stop here, in 1630 a French army moved into the valley and brought with it the plague. Many of the pastors died and additional pastors were sought from Switzerland. Those that responded spoke French thus the dialect became a mixture of that language and Italian.
In 1655, the Piedmontese governor ordered all Vaudois families in this area of the Luscerna Valley to convert to Catholicism or move from their homes within three days. The Saturday before Easter of 1655, a cannon boomed from a tower situated on a hillside overlooking Torre Pellice. No age was spared, babies were slung against rocks; men were tied into balls and rolled down mountainsides and more. The English poet, Milton wrote his famous sonnet in response to this great massacre of 1655:
On the Late Massachre in Piedmont
Avenge, O Lord, thy slaughter'd saints, whose bones Lie scatter'd on the Alpine mountains cold, Ev'n them who kept thy truth so pure of old, When all our fathers worship't Stocks and Stones, Forget not: in thy book record their groanes Who were they Sheep and in teir antient Fold Slayn by the bloody Piemontese, that roll'd Mother with Infant down the rocks. Their moans The Vales redouble'd to the Hills, and they To heav'n. Their martyr'd blood and ashes sow O're all the' Italian fields, where still doth sway The triple Tyrant: that from these may grow A hundre'd-fold, who having learnt thy way Early may fly the Babylonian woe.Thirty years later, Louis XIV of France was told that in order for him to assure his welcome into heaven he must exterminate the Protestants of France and the Alpine Valleys. Many of the Vaudois fled into exile in Switzerland leaving the valleys nearly deserted for three years. In 1688, the Vaudois soldier-pastor Henri Arnaud and 800 fighting men crossed Lake Geneva and marched southward to reclaim their ancient homeland. Their army dwindled to 370 at it's lowest count but they remained victorious and restored their homeland in what they call "the Glorious Return."
The Vaudois people were not a hateful people, later in 1706, they took in a refuge. The same Duke, Victor Amadeus II, who forced them into exile in previous years, was himself forced to flee Torino for his life. They were known for their knowledge of the Bible as it was taught in all the school classes. They were also known for their singing of biblical psalms in the fields as they worked. Finally in 1848, King Carlo Alberto of Sardina, revoked all of the ancient edicts against them and granted complete freedom of religion. This restored to them all the civil and political rights that had previously been forbidden.
The following year, October 1849, a 35 year-old Apostle Lorenzo Snow was called to establish a mission of the Latter-day Saints church in Italy. He and his companion Elder Tronto journeyed to Torre Pellice or "La Tour." A church was organized in September 1850 below the Mount Vandalino. Those who were baptized into the LDS church were soon met with opposition just as their counterparts in the United States and that which their martyred Protestant ancestors met. They were forced to move their residence often to keep from being molested. The Beux family was among the growing numbers of Italian saints. Though little is known about Michael and Marianne Beus (spelled differently in the States), records do show that Marianne was born 19 March 1813 at San Germano, Torino, Italy (Piedmont Valley), daughter of Jean Combe and Anne Rostan. Michael was born 29 April 1811 at Pramolo, Torino, Italy, in the same valley. Michael served eight years in the Italian provincial army being released in 1848. He was decorated with a medal for his part in the battle of Chiva. The spelling of the Beux name was listed as Bosio (from the Italian, also spelled Bosi. Boxus or Boxius in the Latin and Beux in the French). His service records show an occupation as "coal miner". His LDS church records listed his new occupation as "agriculturist."
The Bues family had eleven children born to them in Italy. Because of the persecution, which led to a call for all Latter-Day Saints to migrate to a new Zion in the Utah territory, the Bues family, including their six surviving children, headed for Liverpool to travel to the United States aboard the ship "John J. Boyd." They left all their belonging behind and worked in Florence Nebraska to earn money to pay back their share of the Emigration Fund. It was there that they joined a Handcart Company headed for the Salt Lake Valley. Anne Beus, Michael and Marianne's second child married Moses Byrne becoming `the parents of my Great Great Grand parents. The strength of this courageous people is still strong in the posterity of this family, even though today, the percentage of Italian genes are much less than 100%. The strong desires to hold true to the everlasting teachings of Jesus Christ, the courage to face any adversity and over come, and the need to strive for a better tomorrow is a legacy I proudly credit to the Italian blood running through my veins.
Source of genealogical information and history of the Vaudois people as stated in full and in part: Whence & Whither Origins and Descendants of Michael and Marianne Beus, written, compiled and researched by H. Lynn Beus with Charlotte Gunnell. A private limited publication printed in the U.S.A, 1984