Johannah Elenora "Nora" Larsen Christensen and Niels Peter Christensen

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Niels Peter Christensen
and Johannah Elenora Larsen Christensen

Histories of those Buried in the Old Pioneer Cemetery Fairview, Utah 

Compiled by the North Bend DUP
July 1999
Volume 1

Niels Peter Christensen was born in St. Hans, Hjorring, Denmark on 25 September 1867, to Christian Johannsen and Dorthea Catherina Christensen. When Peter was still a child of two years, his father decided to go to America. His plan was to travel alone, but to send for his wife and son when he had earned sufficient funds to cover the cost of their passage. Sadly, his ship sank and his life was lost. Dorthea and her son lived in the home of her parents for the next three years.

Following Dorthea's marriage to Christian Carl Baltzersen, the new family moved to a small adobe house seven miles south of Hjorring, where they raised pigs, sheep, and cattle for a living. Dorthea tended a family garden with the help of her small son Pete. By 1874, when Peter was seven years old, he had three younger half sisters. Of course, at that time Pete was old enough to help his step father with chores around the farm.

At the age of ten, Niels Peter accompanied his mother, his step father M. Baltzersen, and the latter's other children to America. They settled in Ephraim, Sanpete County, Utah, where they arrived on the 23rd of July. After the family was settled, Peter found work with the Christian Torum family where he resided. He attended the Academy of Ephraim when he was not working. For two years he hauled rock from the Ephraim quarry to Manti for the LDS temple which was undergoing construction there. Before long, Pete owned his own team of horses and a buggy. When Peter was eighteen he accepted a contract to build a large canal in the Ephraim canyon; later he built a canal in Emery County. As he got older Pete began to venture further from home. One year he went to Wyoming to shear sheep, and while at Bumt Fork he constructed a reservoir.

While attending a wedding back in Utah, he encountered a lovely young lady he had known earlier when he had played with her brothers, Oluf and Lewis. He had always thought that she was a cute, dimple faced, little girl, but things had changed -she had grown to become a beautiful young woman of fifteen. Her name was Johannah Elenora Larsen. She was the fourth blue-eyed child of Oluf Christian and Anna Marie Pederson Larsen. Johannah Elenora had been born in Ephraim, Sanpete County, Utah on 8 September 1872.

Some three years later, on 19 November 1890, Niels Peter and Johannah Elenora were married in the Manti Temple for all time and eternity. Pete and "Nora" made their home in Fairview, Sanpete County, Utah, where Pete bought a farm about a mile east of town near the Cottonwood Creek.

The area where their farm was located was later known as "up the Creek" because it was literally found "up the creek" from Fairview.  Their home had just two rooms, but Nora, known for her artistic and creative skills, decorated their "castle "with lovely hand sewn articles.

Before long, Nora was expecting her first baby. She and her mother, Anna Marie, made beautiful baby clothing decorated with embroidery work and lace. On 24 January 1892, Peter rushed away to find the mid-wife. While he was gone a baby girl had been born. The child was later christened Anna Dora, after both of her grandmothers. Pete's mother, Dorthea Catherina, had died the previous year on 27 March 1891.

Over the course of the next two decades several additional children were born to the Pete Christensen family. The second child, Phoebe Leona was born on 26 June 1893. She was followed by a boy, Edwin Angus, who was born on 31 March, 1895. Later that same spring, the youngsters contacted measles. Young Edwin died on 2 May 1895. About a month later, 19 June 1995, little Phoebe died from health complications caused by the measles. Nora often wondered why she was forced to give up her two small children so early in their lives. The parents were very sad, but more children were to come.

On 27 August 1896 the Christensen family was blessed with another baby boy, who was named Peter Afton. Next, Adrea Amelia was born on 28 December 1898. Two years later, on 23 December 1900, Oluf Edgar was born. He was named after Johannah Elenora's father. Pete and Nora's next child was another boy, who was named Louis Leland, born on 23 December 1903. Arthur Linden, another boy, followed on 13 April 1904. The next two children were both girls: Venna May was bam 25 January 1907; and Bertha lona entered this world on 12-December 1911. The last two children born to Pete and Nora were both boys: Lowel Blain was born on 12 December 1911; and Rob Buford followed on 25 May 1913.

Eleven children had been born to Pete and Nora, but four had died as infants or in their early youth. In addition to Pheobe Leona and Edwin Agnus discussed above, Lewis Leland died on 29 July 1904, and Lowell Blain died of erysipelas on 22 May 1912. Death later claimed their youngest daughter, Bertha lona, on 27 April 1929 at the age of 20 years. During World War I, Pete worked for Wheelin(g) and Ostion Brothers during the construction of the Mammoth Reservoir dam. He moved his wife and all their children to the mountains near the construction site. Nora worked to feed thirty construction workers while Pete served as foreman of the project. As the dam was nearing completion in June of 1917, the Mammoth dam burst and the backed water sped downstream. In less than twenty-four hours the reservoir was empty and so were Pete's dreams. Pete was beside himself with grief.

When the couple moved back to Fairview Nora became President of a baby clinic. She also helped mothers during their period of confinement. In addition, she served as Chairman of the Old Folks Committee for many years. In the latter capacity, she had to plan for the acquisition of funding for church and school programs. Like her father, Nora had a beautiful singing voice so her talents were often used for local programs.

Because of a long-standing illness, Pete took Nora to Salt Lake City for a series of medical examinations. Their diagnosis revealed that she had cancer of the stomach. On 16 August 1926 Pete lost his beloved wife. She was buried on a Wednesday, before her youngest son Buford was thirteen years old. Three years later, Bertha Iona, while working in a Salina Hotel, contacted spinal meningitis. She died on 27 April 1929 in Salt Lake City.

On 5 April 1933, Peter took a second wife. Her name was Mary Jane Thomas. They were married in the Salt Lake Temple for time. Both had been previously married and sealed to other partners for eternity

Niels Peter Christensen died 31 August 1951 at the age of 84 years. He has been recognized as an outstanding citizen of Fairview for many reasons, but especially for his work on and supervision of Fairview's irrigation and piped water systems.

Both Pete and Nora are buried next to their infant children on block 03 lot 08 in the Fairview City Lower Cemetery.

Submitted by Jacqueline Christensen Larsen