Oluf Christian Larsen Life Journal
Chapter Seven to Eleven
A BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF THE LIFE OF
OLUF CHRISTIAN LARSEN
DICTATED BY HIMSELF AND WRITTEN BY HIS SON OLUF LARSEN
DEDICATED TO HIS POSTERITY WHO MIGHT DESIRE TO READ IT
Started south to find new home - Salina, Richfield, and South Bend (Monroe). Named Marysvale, Circle Valley, and Circleville. Built dam across River and dug canals. Plowing, sowing, watering, building and fencing, families and cattle came before winter. Got an ox team and wagon. Son born. Things looked prosperous.
I now began gathering a set of carpenter tools and implements that I felt would be necessary in going to a new country to establish a community and a home. Everything indicated an early spring, and we were counseled to prepare to start the 1st of February. Brother Niels Anderson of Ephraim promised to take me along as I had no team, on condition I should work for him, and he would do some teamwork for me. As we were going to travel in a new country where there were no roads, it was considered best not to load the wagons too heavily. Plows, harrows, spades, shovels, picks and axes together with our provisions and bedding.
On February 4th, 1864 the company was ready to start under the leadership of William Allred [William Jackson Allred]. Bidding goodbye to our families we started in a southerly direction in hopes of finding a place to build a home, if not on the Sevier River Country then farther on. A few families had preceded us, some had taken squatter's claims on Salina Creek, and coming further south some had stopped on the west side of the Sevier River by some springs, the place later being named Richfield.
As we were traveling on the east side of the river, some of the brethren went across to examine the place, but came back reporting there was no show to stop there because it would be impossible to get the water out of the river in time to mature crops that year. We, consequently, pushed on further south where we came to another camp of four or five families on a little creek, which we considered too small for a settlement. This place they called Southbend and is the city of Monroe today. This was the end of the Sevier Valley, and we had a big mountain to cross. By hitching several yoke of oxen to one wagon at a time, we pulled them over. When on the divide, we had a rough, steep canyon ton pass down before reaching the bottom of the valley. Here we found a lovely little valley with beautiful green meadows where the Indians were sporting and tumbling in all their glory. Though friendly at that time, which was lucky for us, for we were not prepared to fight Indians. Our pursuit had a nobler trend. We had but few arms in the company. This place was called Marysvale. Some of our company spoke the Indian language, which was a benefit to us. The Indians informed us that by going farther south we would find a place that would be more suitable. We, therefore, pushed on farther south up the river. We experienced a good deal of trouble by having to cross and recross the river, cutting our way through willows and bushes, filling fullies, etc. so we could get our wagons along.
After a hard drive and a hard struggle, we finally reached a large valley in a circular shape surrounded by high mountains, with the river flowing down through the center. This valley we called Circle Valley. Here we camped by the river and went on exploration trips in different directions. We found the hills abounded in cedar wood and fence posts easily reached with a good supply of timber growing in the mountains for building and fencing. We also found a place where we could very easily tap the Sevier River with a reasonable amount of work.
On the west side of the river, we found a nice city location. Here we concluded to stop and congratulated ourselves in finding a better location than the others we had before seen on our way here. There was no time to waste. The Lord provided us with fine weather. There was a rattling of tools, wagons unloaded preparing for action. The most important work now was, while the river was yet low, to put in a dam. Every team was brought into action hauling brush willows, timber and large boulders from the mountainsides. The dam grew rapidly day by day. Carriers were sent back to Manti and Ephraim to tell about our success and also to bring a surveyor. Others were set to work leveling and locating a canal while others followed with plows, picks, and shovels. This was quite an undertaking, but we saw that it could be accomplished in time for grain watering. In four days, we had a surveyor on the ground. We unanimously decided on surveying a small plot the first year that we might use the water to the best advantage. We concluded that ten acres for each family would be sufficient as it would be no easy matter to clear, sow, and plant more considering the other work that had to be done.
When this piece of land was surveyed and mapped each ten acres was numbered and we drew lots for it. After we had received our land, it became necessary that we divide the time of each man allotting a certain number of days for public or community work and the balance for themselves. Men were soon scattered around on their individual ground clearing, plowing, harrowing, and sowing the seed. The work went on rapidly on the dam across the river and the canal as well as in the field on each man's private allotment. It was considered essential to get the grain in as early as possible that it might get the benefit of the early spring rains if they should come.
No matter where we go in the world, all is not smiles and sunshine; and so it was in Circleville for we found it to be a very windy place and the open prairie proved to be a very uncomfortable place, especially at night sitting around the campfire baking our bread, frying our meat, and cooking our coffee or tea. Dust and sand covered everything. The best time for us was when at work and there we were both early and late. By doing so, our land was cleared and sowed, our dams and ditches built, ready when the river began to rise.
We were brought face to face with unforeseen difficulties when we got the water into our canal and ditches. The ground was very light and porous with gopher and prairie dog holes. The little animals seemed to contest their priority right to the country. When we got the water in the canal, these burrows led the water underground causing breaks and deep gullies that were hard to repair as there was not grass nor straw to help hold the soil. Rock and willows had to be hauled to help fill such gullies. Men were put on guard to watch day and night, but the breaks were repeated again and again. The soil being loose, sandy loam, the grain sprouted and grew rapidly, but the wind blew the soil from the tender roots and the showers that caused the grain to sprout and grow soon dried and much of the grain with it. So it seemed at time, we would have to resow and with no wheat to resow with.
It was a very gloomy outlook as discouragements of different kinds piled up to try the stamina of the most determined and strongest characters. All these adversities were hard to bear for the weak-hearted and especially grumblers of which we had a few. There were men among the company who had not left their homes with a will. These seemed happy when things happened that were discouraging. I, however, saw noting to be discouraged about and having no home to return to, I thought it the best policy to be cheerful and make a home where I was. I, therefore, used my influence and work to encourage others. This was also in accordance with the spirit of our leaders.
Having no team, I built my calculations more on working for others than on working my farm. I had put in only two acres of grain. If we raised anything at all, that would be enough for bread for my wife and myself. I, consequently, did little work on my farm, but figured on carpenter work, which I could see would be needed.
When warm weather came, the river rose and it was time to get the water out on our land. Our canal was well soaked and settled. It was filled to the uttermost when watering began which was hard work the first time when we again came in contact with the gophers. When we put the water in the furrows, it would disappear and come out in another man's land, which in most cases would be to his injury. This obstacle took a great deal of labor to overcome. We could not use a large stream of water, and we had to stay with it night and day. Patience and perseverance got our land watered the first time. This brought a great change on the parched land as well as on the discouraged and the grumblers. The grain sprang up as by magic to the astonishment of many old farmers who said they had never seen such grain before. Though part of the grain was parched and dried, the balance came up five and six stalks to the kernel and the prospects were a very beautiful harvest. After accomplishing this, we turned our attention to the city plots. The surveyor was brought, the city mapped, and they drew for their lots. The canal for the city was then staked off and here was another great job for us. Besides this we had to prepare for fencing and building homes, the materials for which would have to be gotten from the canyons which would necessitate building of roads and a great deal of hard work. The fencing was then divided among the men. Some were working on canals, some on roads, some on fences - three days' community work and three days' individual work each week.
As we now had possession of our city lots, we began digging cellars as temporary shelter for our families whom we desired to bring to our home before winter set in. I was lucky in drawing my lot in the center of the town plot. I soon had a cellar 8' X 10' completed which was a good protection from both heat and cold. I had my mind set on a good patch of timber away up the river, which was not accessible, by teams. As I had no team to depend on, I decided the river would float the timber down. I went up, cut and peeled a nice set of house logs, exposed them to the sun for drying, calculating to drag them down to the river by hand and float them down to town in the fall.
Canyon roads were soon ready for travel by teams and fencing material and house logs soon began rolling down from the canyons. Stockyards were first erected because when our families came in the fall with them would come sheep, cows, and other livestock. Most of us brought our families but some hesitated and made preparation for moving back to their homes in the winter. These men were the discontented and the grumblers who went back home with horrible stories about our location, trying to induce people not to move out.
As we needed more help others were called from Sanpete County to join us and the edict was made that whomever left and went back would be cut off the church. This gave room for a great deal of fault finding with authorities by the grumblers. The other class, who calculated to stay and build homes were satisfied under all circumstances, worked like beavers, and the place soon had the appearance of civilization.
Time brought us nearer harvest. Most of the grain looked promising. Here was a big job before us, harvesting the grain, as we had no machinery. We also had our hay to get for the winter, the nearest being about twenty miles away. Every straw had to be cut with a scythe. Lucky for me, I had very few head of cattle and only two acres of wheat - the first I had ever raised and was the finest grain I ever saw as it weighed sixty-six pounds per bushel and it was bought by others for seed for the following year.
By this time quite a number had our families with us. Women and children brought new life into the camp and all helped with the harvest. Big stacks of hay and grain were built all over the place. Houses began to spring up in different directions. My wife and I lived in our little cellar and were quite comfortable. My time was all taken up in working for others.
After my grain and hay was in the stack, I concluded to get my logs down and start on my own house. I found them nice and dry and being small, I drug them down and drug them into the river. In this job, I miscalculated which caused me not only much work, but also my health. This being in September, the water was already quite cold. The river having a snakelike trend and being shallow in places and deep in others some logs would fasten on one side and some on the others. I was thus obliged to wade in the water sometimes to my chin. I, however, at last succeeded in getting them onto my lot. I congratulated myself, never for a moment thinking what the consequences would be. The next spring, I found myself badly crippled with rheumatism. After sitting for a while and then rising, the joints of my body would audibly crack. Through the winter, I did not feel anything but continued my work as eagerly as before. I soon had a neat little log house finished into which with joy and thanksgiving we moved from our little cellar home.
Because of being so busy, people had no time to go back to Manti or Ephraim mills for bread stuff and many families were short of flour, but we had plenty wheat and made the best use of it we could by boiling it. A little coffee mill owned by one of the families was made good use of as one family after another, day by day, ground enough wheat to get a little coarse meal, enough for a small baking. This difficulty was also soon overcome by two Danish brethren, P.C. Ojolby and Iver Petersen, who proposed to build a windmill as there was plenty of wind for motive power in Circlevalley. A couple of suitable rocks were found and prepared stones. The timber was hewn, the frame built, and raised; and as we were all interested in this work, the mill was soon running. We were now supplied with all the graham flour we needed. I am reasonably certain this was the first windmill, gristmill built in Utah.
Finding out by this time that my $700.00 heifer was not going to calf, we concluded to butcher her. This was high priced meat, but it tasted good and we now lived fine. How we enjoyed ourselves in our little home, but this was to be of short duration. Men had been called from Ephraim and other places in Sanpete to join us and make homes for their families who would come in the spring. Among them was Henry Beal. He took a fancy to my place because of the location as well as the improvements. Being well supplied with teams, he offered me a yoke of good oxen, some building material and some wheat for my home; and figuring it a fairly good price, we closed the deal mostly in order to get a yoke of oxen. A lot didn't cost me anything, but I had to move out of the center of town. My nearest neighbor had just bought a new wagon, his old one being very poor. My oxen were young steers so I couldn't haul very large loads. I made him an offer of a number of bushels of wheat, and as he wished to help me, he let me have the wagon for just a few bushels of wheat, less than I had offered him. I fixed the wagon up the best I could and was now the owner of both oxen and wagon.
At a specified date in dead winter, we had to be out of our snug little house; so I started to build again with the material Henry Beal promised to haul for me which did not reach very far. With my young team, I went to the mountains for more material. This was a hard struggle with my limited clothing, a pair of jeans, pants, a hickory shirt and a jeans over shirt. It is astonishing what a person can stand to accomplish a certain objective. I started from home before daylight and came home after dark, continuous work and walked by the side of my half-broken steers.
We were given three or four head of sheep by friends in Ephraim. They were sheared in the fall. With this wool and some cotton brought from St. George, my wife carded and spun early and late to get a little piece of cloth into the loom. Time did not allow me to build much of a house. Eight by ten seemed to be my dimensions both for house and cellar so I erected a little house to be used as a chicken coop after we got a better one. About Christmas, we got our chicken coop finished and moved in. There we had our first Christmas dinner under our own roof and thanked God for the prosperity he had blessed us with feeling sure things would be better in the future. I now planned to build a house on the front of my lot as soon as possible. I hauled out logs and hewed them to a thickness of six inches, building them into the house as I hauled them. When that house was finished, it was the best in Circleville as it was detailed and grooved together as they built log houses in Norway.
The 16th of February 1865 about 3:00 A.M., Maria was delivered of a fine boy, the second child born in Circlevalley. The mother and child did well considering the limited skill there. I had to be nurse a few days, but she was soon up and around again. At this time we were also building a meetinghouse for which I made the window frames and door sashes so I could be around home.
We were looking for an early spring, consequently everybody turned their attention to the fields, grubbing, burning brush and plowing the land. As I had a team of my own, I prepared to put in a little more grain. My oxen by this time were quite handy, so I could plow a little every day. A new field and some garden lots close to town were surveyed and divided among the people. I, however, did not put in more than five acres as I had so much other work to do. Things looked prosperous both for me and others, but there were still soreheads and grumblers looking for loopholes to give them a chance to move away. Quite a division existed among the people. Even some of the best men were influenced with the spirit of leaving.
Indian war started at Manti, built and moved into a fort. Indians came down East Canyon, drove off cattle, horses and killed several persons, escape of Nielsen's. Friendly Indians taken prisoners. A close call. Indians break for liberty and annihilated. Daniel H. Wells orders evacuation of Circleville. Moved to Parowan, then to Ephraim. Got ten acres of land. Second son born.
This summer an incident happened which caused great sorrow to the people of the whole southern part of Utah. The dispute between a white man of Manti and an Indian over a shirt led to blows. The Indian got the worst of it. The other Indians mounted their horses and rode south as far as Six Mile Creek where they found a man, killed, and stripped him as revenge for what happened in Manti. This was soon reported and a company of men and boys from Ephraim and Manti organized and followed the Indians up into Salina Canyon where the Indians had selected a convenient place, set a rear guard, and were prepared for the boys when they came into their ambush.
When they were in short rifle range, the Indians fired, boys, men, and horses dropped, some dead and some wounded. Seeing they had no show, they retreated as fast as they could, helping the wounded along while bullets were whistling past their ears. This news spread from place to place.
Being exposed as we were in Circleville, we could expect an attack at any moment. There was now no other way for us than to organize for self protection, as necessity required us to be on guard both night and day. Hearing that the enemy was so close as Grass Valley, it would not take long for them to come down East Fork into our valley. We formed companies and gathered the few arms we had, appointed officers, and were mustered every morning and night, and had pickets placed around town. Nobody dared go into the fields or out of town alone. We were obliged to go in companies and do our work in fields and mountains and travel, always having mounted guards wherever we went. Our arms were also on an inferior kind. I had none, but was lucky enough to get an old shotgun barrel and lock, which I cleaned, oiled, and made a stock for. It was a little better than a broom stick.
As the Indians kept making raids, sometimes north and then south, driving hoards of cattle and horses into the mountains, people in all places from Salt Lake on the north to Dixie or St. George on the south, and especially so in Sanpete County. The most able-bodied men of the communities were spread over the country to a distance of two hundred miles or more with a few families in a place. Only the older people were left in the older settlements. This condition, especially when the drums beat in Ephraim, telling the people "The Indians are coming!" brought them to realize their helpless condition. People gathered in the public square with pitchforks and shotguns while the Indians could be seen driving their herds of cattle and horses into the mountains and their brothers and sisters were shot down before their eyes.
Everybody hoped the trouble would not last long, but our hopes were in vain. Every once in a while the Indians would make raids generally where they were least expected. Watch towers were erected on all the prominent hills where guards were kept night and day. Suitable young men were hired, armed, and equipped with fleet horses and organized into standing armies. All this became very expensive. Some forts were built in every town and the small settlements on the outskirts were advised to move into the large towns, which also caused a great deal of inconvenience and trouble for the people who moved, as well as for those they moved to. In Circlevalley, we were advised to move all our houses into a fort, which caused us a great deal of work. I, now again, sold my new house for which I received another yoke of steers, some wheat and some other cattle. At this time some of the families were determined to move away and wished to sell their improvements for whatever they could get. I bought out one man who had the best place in town, both land and improvements, giving him my oldest steers, a cow and some wheat. I now considered myself a big farmer and determined to stay with it at all hazards. Having now a large farm on my hands and a partly broken yoke of steers, I found it necessary to get as good a yoke of oxen as could be found which I had a chance to get over in Parowan. The young steers and some wheat brought me as good a yoke of oxen as could be found anywhere. I now began plowing and sowing as fast as I could. I got about ten acres of wheat and five acres of oats in and expected a good harvest in the fall. Most of the people were determined to stay and protect themselves and families against all hazards.
The war kept on. Every once in a while, we heard of breaks in different directions and we flattered ourselves with the hope that we should escape. There was a small tribe of friendly Indians living in the valley, which we furnished with breadstuff and treated kindly. They in turn brought us venison and beaver meat. Though seemingly friendly, we dared not attach too much confidence to them and watched their move with suspicion. We also felt they were more or less on guard against us. Being early spring and the mountains were snowbound; there was not so much fear of hostilities at that time. We were busily engaged building our fort, repairing our canals and ditches, and the grain was growing nicely. Some companies went to Ephraim to the mill as it was considered the safest time for traveling. When they returned, the men who had moved away were forced to return again, for it was looked upon as not only cowardly, but wicked to leave at such a critical time when every man was needed for community protection.
The man I bought out was one of those sent back, and he desired to get his place back again, which considering the conditions I submitted to. The day after these men returned, the Indians came down upon us through East Canyon at a time we were not at all expecting them. A few teams, which were a day behind the company, came in about an hour before the raid - all the teams excepting one. The Indians were busy gathering cattle as they were considerably scattered. Other Indians were riding close to town shouting and shooting and picking off stragglers who were out of town. People had been warned not to go too far from town alone, yet some disregarded the warning. Old man Flygard was caught riddled with bullets and stripped. Another, Jens Hansen, by name, was also killed all within an hour from the time the Indians were first seen and our cattle were driven into East Canyon.
We gathered up our little force as quickly as possible, some on foot, and some on horseback; but by the time we came across the river there was only one Indian in sight. He kept out of rifle range and as we had no modern arms we could do him no harm. He knew this very well, and he had a Henry rifle. He fired a shot and killed one of our horses, and in the twinkle of an eye was on his horse again and into the mountains.
The people with the team mentioned which was behind the company had a miraculous escape. The man, Brother Mads Nielsen and wife seeing the Indians coming had the presence of mind to run into the willows and jump into the river, completely covering themselves with exception of mouths and noses in an eddy under a willow bush. He had a revolver, but only one lead in it. After the Indians searched a while, one very close saw them. Nielsen pointed his revolver at him. The Indian gave a whoop, jumped back and away they went. Their lives were saved; the horses were cut away from the wagon and had already been taken.
That night was dark and gloomy with very little sleep. A ray of sunshine was felt when about midnight Mads Nielsen and wife, whom we thought dead, came into the settlement. At early dawn, we gathered and in companies started in different directions to gather up what cattle we could find and hunt for our dead comrades. We searched carefully and soon found the naked bodies, shot through and then filled full of arrows which were left in the stiff and naked corpses. After the few cattle were gathered, some people found themselves without cows and others without oxen. I considered myself very lucky as I had three yoke of cattle, two cows, and a few head of young stock and none were gone except the oxen Jens Andersen got from me for my place, which I had to turn back to him when he returned, but he had not yet delivered the oxen to me. As he had his cattle on the east side of the river along the very course of the Indians, he lost most of them and among them mine.
At this time our friendly Indians had not been in the valley for several days, and we could not help being suspicious of them. They could easily have informed the others in regard to our condition. After they returned, they camped close to town by the river where we observed some strangers coming and going from their camp.
We naturally concluded the Indians were planning something. This led us to call a council to consider what was best to do about them. We concluded it was best to take them prisoners, feed and care for them until we could get information from higher authority. In the evening, we went quietly down and encircled their camp. We closed up quite well, so none should be able to escape if they tried to break away. A man by the name of James Allred [James Tillman Sanford Allred] who spoke the Indian language very well, and who had considerable experience among them and knew their customs quite well showed them the necessity of complying with our wishes telling them they would be treated kindly and would show their friendship by moving into town. No sooner had he explained this than one Indian jumped across the river where I had my position and in the twinkle of an eye, the men opened fire and the bullets whistled around my ears. Just as the Indian fell, he discharged his gun. The bullet grazed my breast and cut the barrel square off the gun of the man by my side. Had the bullet come three inches nearer, it would have killed both of us. All the other Indians surrendered and we marched the men into the meeting house, and we placed them under guard. Later we went and moved the squaws and children and belonging into a vacant cellar with guards watching them.
Express was sent across the mountains to Beaver, the nearest place we could get in communication with the leading authorities as we did not like to take the responsibility of deciding the course to be taken with the Indians. While thus being guarded night and day and they knowing we could not understand them, they held their council how to liberate each other. The plan they made failed and brought upon themselves an early destruction for if they had depended on us they might have been liberated in a few hours receiving gifts from us. A few men in the community exhibited great hatred to the Indians, but they were too few to have any influence, as the people in general abhorred the shedding of blood.
Every moment we expected our pony express to return but before they returned the Indians made a bold break for liberty. The Indians were seated with sticks across the small of their backs and their elbows back of the sticks were tied to the sticks. While close together with blankets thrown across their shoulders, they untied each other and were loose ready to make their escape as soon as it was dark. I had just been released and the new guard placed - had not proceeded far when the shooting began. I ran back to the meeting house and the Indians were all shot and in a dying condition. I learned from the guard that they all arose at once pulled the sticks from their arms, sprang for the guards and tried to knock them down. To protect themselves they were forced to shoot. The next consideration was how to dispose of the squaws and papooses.
Considering the exposed position we occupied and what had already been done, it was considered necessary to dispatch everyone that could tell that tale. Three small children were saved and adopted by good families.
As we now had summer, the Indians had openings through all mountain passes and kept up their depredations. Companies were called from Salt Lake and Utah counties and sent to aid the people of Sanpete. It was decided that all the settlements south of Manti and through Sevier and Pinto Counties should move in and strengthen the older places in Sanpete. Daniel H. Wells the commander in chief of the Utah militia went through all the settlements and gave that order. Coming to Circleville, he was quite surprised to find that we were not all annihilated living in such an exposed out of the way place. He said we had settled this place ten years too soon and wanted us to pull out right away and every person should leave the same day and in one company.
My wife had some relatives in Parowan who wished us to come there so on the day of moving instead of going to Sanpete County, I joined the company going south. We were kindly received in Parowan by Peter Mortensen and family who did all in their power to make us comfortable. They were at that time building a new meetinghouse. I started work with the carpenters at once and had a steady job all summer.
I went back to Circleville with a company to gather what we had left and found most of the wheat I had left in the bin was stolen as well as doors, windows, and other things. With a sad heart, I looked upon the remains of what I had expected would be a good home with my hopes badly shattered, I, however, gradually got over it and pressed onward anew.
Besides working as a carpenter, I took a ten acre field of wheat on shares which looked very promising, but here also adversity was in store for me and I had not the pleasure of harvesting it. When the grain was headed out and in the milk, a hailstorm came from the southwest across the field beating the grain to the ground so there was not a head of wheat standing above the ground. All through the summer, we received letters from Ephraim with advice and good promises if we would return there. As my wife's parents and other relatives lived there, it was natural for her to desire to go there though the people of Parowan desired very much that we should remain. This being a long road to travel and we could expect Indian raids any moment, it seemed rather difficult having only a shotgun to defend ourselves with. I concluded to get something better if it took about all I owned. I found a man who owned a seven shot Spencer rifle and a Colt revolver. He was willing to accommodate me though to get them took about all I owned. I gave him two young cows, three head of young stock, twenty bushels of wheat, and some furniture, so that if caught in a pinch I determined to make my life cost the Indians as much as possible.
After settling our affairs, we bid our friends goodbye and started for the north. Reaching Fillmore, our little boy took sick and we concluded to rest in order to care for him. In so doing, people wanted me to do carpenter work and I was soon behind the carpenter bench. We stopped here three weeks. During that time, I earned a good cow after which we started for Sanpete County. We reached there in safety about the last of October 1866 and were received with joy and thanksgiving and housed in the home of my wife's parents where we stayed all winter. I bought a city lot from G.C.N. Derius and some adobes from Erik Johnsen. I built a stable covering it with willows, straw and mud where we sheltered ourselves until we could build a better house.
By this time, a new field was taken up to accommodate those driven from their homes in the south. Each man was allowed ten acres of land. I was lucky in getting five acres of good farming land and five acres of good hay land. I now had to start anew as before only I had a good yoke of oxen. I was to make our bread by carpenter work and do my share of public work in making canals and ditches. I had the land to clear, plow, and sow as well as stand guard night and day by turn.
My family, being small, I sowed only two and one half acres of wheat that season as it was necessary to get a better house to live in and thus would have more time to work on that.
May 20th, 1867, my wife was confined with her second boy whom we named Niels Louis (note: correct spelling is Lewis). Mother and child did very well and were up the eighth day. The day after she got up, she went out to rinse some clothes standing in the sun with her bare hands working in cold water with her hands. This caused the milk to strike to her brain and she was taken sick with a heavy fever, which made her delirious. She became entirely senseless, not able to talk or notice anything around her. Every drink or morsel of food had to be given as to a babe. She, however, finally recovered enough so she could sit in a chair, but had to be lifted out of and into bed. Washed, dressed, and cared for like a child. I thus had to stay at home as no help could be obtained to care for her and the children all summer. In September, I harvested and gathered my wheat, which was a great blessing to me. Everything that could be done for her was done. Prayer was offered for her in the meetings and the priesthood administered to her, but seemingly to no avail until one evening I was inspired to speak to her and to my great surprise, she answered me and was well in an instant and little by little she gained strength and began to take interest in things around the house and care for the children.
Bishop Kaleb Edwards was now dead and Canute Petersen from Lehi was called to fill the vacancy. He, like other new comers, wanted some land and it was proposed against the wishes of the old settlers that another field should be taken up and divided, thus giving each family five acres more. This spring, 1868, I put in five acres of wheat and five acres of oats.
Called to go for emigrants. Four teamsters drowned. Union Pacific had reached Laramie. Grasshopper War. U.P.R.R. & C.P.R.R. finished. A little girl born. In charge of Utah telegraph line. Another girl born. Embraced plural marriage. Girl born to each wife. Became partly paralyzed. Death of Amalia and second child. Maria's last child born. Sons faithful workers.
I was owing the church some on my emigration. The people were called to furnish a company with ox teams and provisions to go and bring emigrants. The bishop called me and being anxious to pay my debt, I considered this the easiest way to pay it. We left early in April leaving a man to care for my grain on shares. About fifty wagons from Sanpete with Bishop Sealy of Mt. Pleasant as captain, loaded with flour and bacon for emigrants as wall as for ourselves. We rolled off nicely with no obstacles until we reached Green River. A great deal of snow had fallen through the winter and the river was high and furious when we reached there. Besides this there was a very cold snap with a heavy wind. We were obliged to travel. There was no time to wait. We tried to swim our oxen, but it was impossible. We waded and drove them, but coming to swimming water, they would turn and tramp us into the water unless we got out of their way. It was proposed to ferry a few yoke across to place them on the edge of the river to draw the attention of the cattle on the opposite bank. This plan was considered wise so four yoke of oxen were put into a ferry. When the boat reached the enter of the river, the oxen backed up, the ferry dipped under, filled with water, the cable broke, boys, oxen, ferry ands all were swept down the river and four of the boys were drowned. A couple of days were spent before the bodies were found and sent back to Utah.
The weather turned warm, and we had no trouble in getting the cattle to swim. We ferried the wagons across and proceeded on our journey eastward.
This year they were building the Union Pacific Railroad across the plains. By the time we reached Laramie, the train was running to that place so we had no need of traveling further. We found the emigrants would arrive in a few days. When they arrived, we were happy to meet them so we could soon return. Laramie was not a desirable place to be in for people like us. All kinds of characters followed the building of the road. Gamblers, robbers, and lewd women, who exposed their nakedness to the men in broad day and murders daily. We had a saying, "A dead man for breakfast, a dead man for supper" partly expressing the condition.
If we happened to come into town for something, we were looked upon as wild men. We certainly were not very inviting with our long hair and beards, ragged clothes, and slouch hats and armed to the limit. When the emigrants came, they could think no better of us until we had loaded their belongings and been on the road three or four days. Then little by little they changed their opinion and their love became mutual with their daily travel and hardships by the time we had reached the valleys. The Indians still kept up their warfare, but were, however, quieting some; and we could see that war would end in the near future. We dared not slacken our vigilance until the mountain passes were snow blocked. Thus we were always on guard night and day.
This summer the grasshoppers made their appearance. Some had been hatched in Salt Lake and Utah Counties where they destroyed some of the grain and grew until their wings were out, when they began migrating in a south-easterly direction, infesting Sanpete Valley where they laid their eggs and died. We now had another foe to battle with. Some argued it would be useless to put in grain the next spring, others that we should put in more than ever. If we put in only a little there would be nothing left for us, but if we put in a lot we might save some of it from the grasshoppers. The latter plan was adopted. With warm weather in the spring of 1869, the grain came up nicely and shortly after the grasshoppers followed. It was a dreadful sight to see how the whole surface of the ground seemed to be moving, literally alive, with a myriad of these small insects. As they marched along they took every green spear both of weeds, grass, and wheat leaving the ground looking like a fire had passed over it.
The whole people, young and old, turned out to fight them in different ways, mostly with fire and water. Old straw or hay would be spread in rows a block or two or three long and one by three feet deep. The army of people with shawls, skirts, old coats, socks, etc. would commence the drive toward the straw at a given signal scaring the hoppers along foot by foot toward the straw where they would stay a few moments until the rows of straw were fired. The same method was used in driving them into water ditches with canvas bags placed in the ditch to catch them by the bushels as the water floated them along. People's chickens had been in the fields before the eggs hatched where the eggs of the hoppers were exposed by shallow plowing and harrowing. The chickens became very fat and the egg yolks turned dark yellow and almost brown so people almost hated to eat them. The hoppers, notwithstanding the continuous fighting, seemed to have the better of the situation and it looked very discouraging for us. God, however, blessed our labors and enough wheat was raised for breadstuff for the year. God seeing our trouble softened or moved the hearts of the Indians to come in and sue for peace. As far as I could judge, the purpose of the Almighty had worked out his will with the people. Before the war started, the people were shortsighted and pinched up in their feelings toward their fellows. They were unwilling to divide both land and water though there was a surplus of both. Some of the best land was spoiled by too much water. Hundreds of dollars of labor had to be performed to drain some of their best land. They were partly excused because they did not understand how to use their water to advantage. This lesson they had to learn. If such spirits had ruled in Utah, it never would have been settled, but by war and other adversities among the communities, the irrigable land areas were trebled and yet there was room for more.
Though fighting Indians and grasshoppers, we prospered and lived more peaceably together than ever before. We were through with the Indians and expenses thereof, but the grasshoppers continued with us. They laid their eggs in the fall by which we could judge that they would be worse than the year before.
The summers of 1868 and 1869 were railroad years. The Union Pacific and Southern Pacific were finished. The people through their labors came home with considerable money, which was circulated among the people. Merchandise now was reasonably cheap because railroad transportation and grain was a better price for those having some to spare.
On January 27, 1870, a little girl was born whom we named Emelia Maria. My wife, though weak, had no symptoms of the sickness she had with the second baby. I now spent most of my time with the farm. Although having the grasshoppers to fight, which took most of our crops, we yet raised a little and my carpenter work helped us along. It seemed that the blessings of the Lord followed us from this time and we were more prosperous. I had cleared our emigration debts both to the church and others. The fall of 1870, the grasshoppers nearly all left. Only a few laid their eggs, so the prospects for the summer of 1871 were very bright.
This summer I finished a new house with three floor rooms, and one upstairs room. Of all the houses we had occupied, this was the best.
The fall of 1871, I was engaged to take charge of the telegraph lines of Utah at $90.00 per month. This necessitated a great deal of traveling and being away from home. I, however, had a great deal of time at my disposal so I could put in some grain every year, and by hiring some help during the harvest I tended it myself.
On the 8th of September 1872, we were blessed with another baby girl whom we named Johannah Elenora and mother and child got along nicely. God's blessings followed us in everything we did. The children grew up hearty and strong and our animals also increased. More work and care were required in the home, so as a general thing we had a hired girl. Our eldest boy was already a great help to both his mother and me being now near seven years old. As I was required away from home a great deal, he had to take charge of things while quite young.
A great deal of preaching and urging to obey the law of plural marriage, by both local and visiting brethren, was being done by the priesthood. As we had had several young ladies staying with us and hinting they would be pleased to live with us, we began to think that the Lord might be displeased with us if we did not embrace the opportunity which in so many ways was provided for us. It was not the lack of faith that caused us to hesitate. We knew the word of God was true and that obedience would be attended with blessings. We also realized the trials and trouble that would follow obedience. We had examples before us on every hand. We finally concluded it would not be right to shrink from the duty any longer. My wife conveyed the idea to a girl working for us by the name of Amalia Anderson. She was glad and accepted the offer so in May 1874 we were sealed in the endowment house in Salt Lake City. We lived together in the same house, ate at the same table and had peace and happiness in our family even more than I had anticipated.
I could always see the superiority of my first wife, Maria, shown in her patience, humility and wisdom. She could quiet little difficulties that would sometimes arise and if I had not before fully realized her noble character, I now had a chance to find it out. I also saw that I was not mistaken in her before I married her. December 23, 1875, the third daughter was born to Anna Maria which we named Olivia Christina, and the next month, January 22, 1876, Amalia presented me with our first babe, a little girl we named Maria Caroline, and our family now had increased to nine.
In temporal matters, we were prospering having no sickness or trouble. I, however, had a mishap that winter. I was away from home mostly all the time in the interest of the telegraph line. One day, finding there were some difficulties in the office at Nephi, I started for there on horseback. On the divide between Fountain Green and Nephi, a cold northwest wind was blowing, striking the left side of my body. My left side became partly paralyzed and I already had considerable rheumatism. This made it much worse. After arriving home, by applying alcohol and rubbing, I was prevented from being entirely disabled. I, however, soon gave up my job on the telegraph line and attended to my farming. By this time, my boys became a good help for me. As we had quite a good little farm by doing a little other work we got along quite well.
We were favored temporally in every way until 1878 when Amalia, my wife, was confined with her second child. This year the deaths of women in confinement and of their babes after them was very similar to the condition existing when my first wife and babe died. No one could account for it, but people had the idea that the midwives were at fault yet the one waiting on my wife was an experienced woman, but Amalia, my wife, died. This brought a great deal of sorrow to us again. The child we named Alvilda, and it grew nicely under the care of my wife Maria until it was over a year, when it died during teething.
Financially we still continued to prosper, gathering quite a number of cattle and sheep. My boys were helping all they could hauling building material and fencing material from the canyons and we all helped on the farm. Sometimes when they were late from the mountains we stood with throbbing hearts listening to every "haw" and "gee" as their team was oxen, but they generally came home all right. God prospered and blessed and protected them in many ways.
December 13, 1879 Maria got her last baby, a little girl, whom we called Anna. This again brought us joy. We now had children that made quite a chorus for all the girls were singers. My health was not very good because of the severe exposures I had passed through, but my boys became larger and stronger every day and become more and more useful. They were willing to work and they generally took the brunt of the work. They followed plow and harrow and I never myself had to haul wood or materials of any kind from the mountains. My time was considerably occupied in one or another church capacity. The bishop of the ward required assistance and I always looked upon it as a duty to do what was requested of me by those in authority since I joined the church.
Again called on mission. Dangerous floods. Health improved on seashore. Met Hannah Christensen, a future wife in Copenhagen. Met Mother in Drammen. Arrived in Bergen. Mission Dedication. Baptized Ole Olsen, Alma, and Olsen's wife baptized and children blessed. Priest's visit. O. Bergerson and wife baptized. Branch organized at conference. Again met H. O. Magleby (Hans Olsen Magleby, see www.magleby.org). Appointed to Hedemarken. Berger's wife dies. Baptisms at Eidsvold. Manifestation at Ness. Transferred to Drammen. Mother moved from poor house. Testified to sister and husband. Great change in freedom of thought and action in Norway. Released. Pleasant trip home by land and sea. Family met me at Nephi. Surprise party.
When I first came to this country, I got my patriarchal blessing from father James Allred of Springtown. Several utterances were riveted on my mind and remained there after years, but as the years rolled by I began to think less of them. There was one, "You shall be called to go to the nations of the earth. You shall gather in the honest of heat." Twenty years after this when I had nearly forgotten about it, the call came. The question from the authorities was, "Can you go?" In my mind this question was soon settled. God had blessed us with means and I was not in debt as it had always been my aim to not run into debt. I had no ready money but I had cattle and grain which could be turned into money, besides this I had two faithful working boys who were willing to do all in their power to take care of home and family while I was absent. For me to refuse going under such circumstances would be showing little faith in God and his wonderful revealed word. My answer was, "I am ready to go when wanted."
The people of Ephraim were very kind to me. They gathered up a nice little sum of money and with what I could scrape together I had plenty to take me to my mission field and a little left after I got there. On the 30th day of March 1881, I bade my family goodbye and went by team as far as Provo, first in company with C.C.N. Dorius and Lars Andersen Streep. The brethren were on their way to Salt Lake City to attend the semi-annual conference. We stayed overnight with Sister Abraham O. Smoot and from Provo took the train to Salt Lake City. I enjoyed the conference where I met many old friends who lived in and out of the city all desiring me to visit them. Before the time for departure from the city, I had an excellent time for visiting. I, thereby, gathered addresses of people both in Norway and Denmark, which became very advantageous to me on my mission. I was also helped with gifts of money by many of my friends.
The 19th of April, 7:00 A.M. we departed for Ogden by rail and 10:00 A.M. I was in Ogden on the U.P.R.R. eastward bound. We were about thirty elders of different nationalities all strangers to one another. Kindness, friendship, and brotherly love soon sprang up and manifested itself in many ways. We rolled on eastward nicely until we reached the Elkhorn River in Nebraska. A great cloudburst had passed over the country ahead of us and the railroad track was washed from its bed for many miles delaying the train for several hours. As we traveled eastward, we observed a difference in the climate. We left a balmy spring climate in Salt Lake City and here we found a damp cold, sleety atmosphere. A gloom seemed to rest over everything. When we reached the dirty muddy looking Missouri River, it was overflowing its banks and immersing the lowlands. It was carrying with it trees, haystacks, houses, and many other things so that it was a terrible sight to behold. We were then thankful to God for our lovely mountain homes.
Through the Missouri Valley, the trains had to move very cautiously, especially at night. For many hours we traveled when there was nothing but water to be seen on every hand and as they expected the brides to be washed out, they had to stop and examine before crossing. There was no sleep at night and I myself could not stay in the chair, I wanted to see the danger if there was any and therefore stood on the platform. We got through Missouri into Iowa in safety but the same gloomy weather existed. In Illinois the same features met our eyes. This gloomy influence fastened itself on all of us to the extent that we felt downcast and especially so when we reached Chicago where a number of our company left us for the southern states. We felt like strangers in a wicked city thinking of how we appreciated one another's company. This was the first test of parting with friends when each one would take a different direction. We changed cars and left for New York the evening of April 25th where we arrived on the morning of the 27th.
As before mentioned, my health was not very good and my left side was partly paralyzed; but as I proceeded on my journey, I observed a peculiar feeling through my system. The nearer I got to the seacoast the better I felt and the change in my system was remarkable. In New York we found the ship would not leave until the 2nd of May which gave us about four days sightseeing which we made good use of. The 2nd of May we boarded the steamer Wyoming. We had very pleasant weather with high seas a day or two followed with a little seasickness. We averaged three hundred miles per day and reached Liverpool the 13th of May. The following day we took train to Grimsby and steamer to Hamberg where we landed the 16th, went on train to Kiel and on steamer to Copenhagen where we landed 10:30 P.M. the same day.
We were received and provided for by the brethren of the office that night. I had addresses from people at home to friends and relatives in Copenhagen. I went out the following morning and found the place but the young lady was busy with her work and had no time for visiting. She, however, desired very much to talk to me when she found I was from her relatives in Utah. I told her I had very little time to stay in Copenhagen for my destination was Norway. We made an appointment for her to come to St. Paul's Gate the following evening. She said she would also try to get a couple of her sisters with her. At the appointed time, the bell rang and in came three young ladies. We were soon in conversation about their relatives in Utah. Questions were asked and answered and before we knew we were deep in discussion about the principles of the gospel. I had a fine opportunity to testify to them and I also felt that the spirit of God was with me. I could see they were deeply affected, the younger one especially. Every truth offered sank deeply into her mind. Our conversation lasted about one and one half-hours after which I gave them the Articles of Faith with the address to the L.D.S. place for holding meetings. They promised to attend and departed feeling pleased at what they had heard. After they left, I wrote to Sister Hannah Dorius their aunt in Ephraim wherein I told about meeting her relatives and also the impression I got of them, wherein I stated positively the younger one would embrace the gospel.
Two months after I received a letter from the two youngest of the girls who had then joined the church. They soon wrote to their relatives in Ephraim who sent money for their emigration. After they left two of their sisters joined and by the time I was ready to leave for home two of their brothers with their families had joined the church. All these people have proven to be good Latter-day Saints and seemed to be the first fruits of my mission.
The 19th of May I departed with steamer for Sweden as I had an invitation from my friend L.M. Olson to come to visit him in Stockholm. As the expense was but a trifle larger, I could not deny myself that pleasure. At 4:00 P.M. of the 21st, I was met on the depot by Olson and taken to his office where I was royally entertained and we enjoyed each other's company.
There was a conference in Stockholm at the time and President Wilhelmsen of the Scandinavian mission was also there. I stayed three days, preached in several meetings and left for Norway 11:00 P.M. the 25th and reached Christiania 5:00 P.M. the 26th. There I met Brother C. Hogesen, a man I had preached the gospel to and baptized twenty years ago, he now being the president of the Norwegian Conference. I now felt perfectly at home because of my previous missionary work, ready and prepared to do what was required of me. I felt as though I had never been away from Norway and even met several old people who were in the church before I left. I stayed in Christiania a few days, visiting, preaching, and bearing my testimony until the 1st of June when I left for Drammen. A peculiar feeling came over me when I came close enough so I could see the city of my birth where I had spent my childhood days in fun and frolic, joy and sorrow, where I first heard the sound of the everlasting gospel, where I had spent many a happy day among the few saints who had been there, where I also had been mocked, ridiculed and imprisoned because of my faith. When I came into the streets of the city and could see familiar faces of both rich and poor, a most peculiar feeling rested on me. Still more so when I met my old mother, who was now eighty-one. At first she did not know me, as when I left home I was a young man. Now I was twenty years older with an uncommonly long black beard and very little hair on my head. A great change had also taken place with her, especially intellectually. However, she soon recognized who I was.
I remained in Drammen visiting relatives and friends and enjoyed the meetings for eight days. The 8th day of June, I boarded the old steamer, St. Halvard, the first steamer built with Drammen capital that operated in those waters. It took me to Moss from where I went to Fredrickstad by train. Here I was welcomed by old friends, stayed in Fredrickstad two days then going out to my wife's Emelia relations in Onso. My sister-in-law, Amalia Olsen, came down with horse and buggy for me. This was a happy meeting after twenty years absence. I stayed with them two days and then returned to Christiania. On my way to Christiania, I found many people on the steamer ready to emigrate. I helped Brother Hogesen to prepare for their emigration. As he was obliged to follow the emigrants to Copenhagen, I was appointed to preside until he returned.
There were meetings and preaching every day. June 24th I boarded the steamship Lindholmen on my way to Stavanger. Many saints followed to the docks to bid me goodbye. I reached Stavanger the 26th where I stopped three days and held meetings with the saints. The 30th I boarded the steamer, Lindholmen for Bergen landing 12:30 A.M. July 1st 1881. I was met by O. Johnsen, a young man who had come from Christiania to Bergen a few days before me to visit his parents. As he was the only Mormon in the city, he was very happy to meet me; and I was thankful to have one I could call my friend.
For the present he had lodged with a shoemaker by the name of Olson and I was permitted to stay with him. Olson was a liberal minded man as well as a kind-hearted man. He was a widower with two small children and was very poor. I greatly appreciated his kindness to me; and I am certain God will reward him.
The only thing to mar our peace was the myriad of fleas that infested the place. At the home of this man, my mission commenced. To serve God was Olsen's aim, to get the truth was Olsen's motto. All his talk was religion, but he drifted around from place to place like a ship without a rudder. He had already belonged to several different denominations but found no satisfaction in any of them. We had daily gospel conversations. He studied all our tracts and books. He offered very little opposition and after my explanation of difficult points to him, he readily understood. At last he acknowledged that as far as he had studied there was no church and no religion so nearly corresponding with the scriptures but now the question is, "Has God talked to Joseph Smith? If I were convinced of that I would join the Mormon Church immediately, but as long as I am not convinced I cannot join for anybody could organize a church corresponding with the scriptures." This was as far as he got but we were very thankful for his kind hospitality. We held our meetings in his house and his small girls were good singers. Good meetings and spirited testimonies were given in his home. We also found a man by the name of Simonsen who thirty years previously had belonged to the church but was now spiritually dead, but yet friendly to the church and people.
Knowing the people of Bergen to be very excitable and easily kindled into a fury, I was admonished by the spirit to go quietly to work and try to create as many friends and as little disturbance as possible. For that reason we first contented ourselves with small meetings notifying only such people that we knew were friendly. When such people were found, I generally called and recalled bearing testimony to them in private. In this way, I was steadily graining ground and on the 21st of July 1881 Ole Olsen presented himself for baptism. To avoid being seen, we decided to go to the top of a high mountain where there was a beautiful place with plenty of water and no observers. Our friend E. Olsen accompanied us and after the ordinance was performed he declared this was the first Christian baptism he had ever beheld.
This place did not suit me very well, so I searched for a more suitable place as I could see that before long others would be applying for baptism. The 2nd of August a man by the name of Alma and his wife and the wife of Ole Olsen presented themselves for baptism, which was performed. The following day we had a good meeting in Alma's home where the newly baptized members were confirmed and four or five children were blessed. We had a glorious time together in our little meeting. The few new-born saints thanked God for the light they had received and testified of the influence of the Holy Spirit. Now it could no longer be hidden. It was like a light set upon a hill. The newly baptized saints would talk about their wonderful experiences wherever they came and more people flocked to our meetings. As our meetings were held close to the church, it soon became known to the priest. He was aroused and started to visit the young members telling them all kinds of stories about the Mormons, trying to scare them, but all in vain. He was raging angrily and went to the owner of the house where Alma lived trying to get him to drive Alma out of the house. The priest got no encouragement, but was told Alma always paid their rent and were the most respectable renters he ever had.
The first time I met this priest, I was invited to Ole Olsen's for dinner. He came there and I suppose when he saw me he concluded I was the Mormon elder. He started by saying he was so sorry to hear they had joined the Mormon Church, commencing to pity them, thinking thereby to gain all influence over them, but when in a bold tone Olsen answered him, he turned very wrathful and started to tell all kinds of lies about the Mormons in Utah. I now took a hand in the discussion. I told him my home was in Utah and that I could not silently listen to his abuse of an innocent people any longer. To be as genteel as possible with him, I told him I knew he was not the originator of the lies for the same lies he was repeating were told over twenty years ago when I joined the church. It was believed then and hindered the spread of the true Gospel but there is no need of that today. We are too close to America, communication and transportation is so rapid now compared with that time when it took six months to go from here to Utah; and the trip now can be made in three weeks. You, a man who should have the saving of souls at heart ought to go there and see for yourself then you could talk truthfully and be a benefit to yourself and others besides being a real pleasure trip for you. This quieted him and he had nothing further to say only to warn me that if I insisted on proselytizing in the city, he would have me arrested.
After the priest had gone, the saints felt thankful that I happened to be there and they felt strengthened in their new faith through his visit. We continued our meetings and when we couldn't get one house we got new friends and other places were opened to us.
On the 29th of August, O. Bergerson and wife were baptized. This brought us into another part of the city where we got an opportunity to hold more meetings. By this time, we were eight members and we concluded it would be proper and best to organize a branch. I observed that when I would speak of organizing the adversary tried to frustrate or hinder it. By observing this, I could see the necessity of having it done before I left as I expected to go to Christiania to conference. I knew it would be a protection and a blessing for the saints for some of the brethren to receive the priesthood. On Sunday, September 18, 1881, we held a meeting at which a branch in Bergen was organized. Three of the brethren were ordained to the priesthood and set apart to preside over the branch. A clerk and two teachers were also set apart for their special duties. This was a day of rejoicing for the few saints. Each felt there was a responsibility resting on him. Instructions were given each one in regard to his special duty and they were blessed that they might have the spirit to perform their duties. I prophesized to them that in time the branch in Bergen would be one of the largest in Norway.
Things were now in working order and the following Monday morning I bid the saints goodbye, hoping and thinking that I would return after conference. There being no missionary in Trondheim at that time President Hogensen wished me to go around that way to look after the saints and also to get a report along to conference. I arrived in Trondheim September 21, 1881 at 4:00 A.M. where I was welcomed by the saints as for a long time they had had no missionary. They felt it a treat to have one there. I made good use of the time visiting, encouraging, and preaching to the saints. Many good, faithful saints were in that branch, but as a general thing they were poor. They did their utmost to make things comfortable for me. I stayed with them seven days, made out a report, and then left for Christiania where I arrived at 9:00 P.M. the 29th and was met by President Hogensen.
Several of the missionaries had already arrived and with them was Brother H.O. Magleby (Hans Olsen Magleby, see www.magleby.org). Here Brother Magleby and myself met again as missionaries among the Norwegian people, the previous time being twenty years ago. Brother C.D. Fjelsted, now being president of the Scandinavian Mission was also present and we had many happy hours together and an excellent conference. Changes in the fields of labor were made. I was released from my field of labor in Bergen and sent to Hedemarkens Branch. Odin Hansen, an elder just from Utah took my place in Bergen. I felt a little disappointed in this move, but could not help it. The president considered that I was more suited for the mission for it was in a deplorable condition.
At this time I received a letter from my brother-in-law, Carl Berger, asking me to come to his home as his wife was very sick. I arrived there by train October 7th. They were glad to see me and I found Amalia, his wife, very sick. I fasted and prayed the following day, administered to her, and she seemed to be relieved; but soon relapsed. I repeatedly administered to her, but each time I became more convinced that she would go. She observed this and seemed to be so pleased that I was so interested in her. She was so glad I had come, but at last she could positively see that it was no use as she was gradually sinking. Saturday evening she called her family around her and admonished them to receive the gospel and listen to what I told them. I could see how pleased she was because I stayed. I, therefore, remained with them until she passed Sunday the 16th of October, while I was holding her hand she died. The last words she uttered were that if her husband did not live so he could attend to the ordinances in the temple that I would, which I promised to do after which she quietly passed. The sorrow of her small children was a pitiful sight. I stayed with them trying to comfort and console them, helping her husband with the funeral, which was held on the 21st of October 1881. President Hogensen and some other brethren from Christiania and Fredrickstad attended the funeral.
The 25th of October I left for Christiania and the following morning in company with August Johnson we started for Eidswold. He had been in the Hedemark Mission and went along to introduce me to the saints. The Hedemark Branch was composed of the largest tract of land in Norway and the saints were scattered from north to south, one or two in a place, consequently could not spare much time in each place because of being alone. As I visited among the saints, I soon found out their standing. A young man, C. Hansen, by name who had been there I found had taken too many liberties with the women of every place and they acknowledged to me and felt very miserable. The people were good, humble Later-day Saints desiring to serve God and had great faith in the Gospel. After a while I got things straightened. They renewed their covenants and felt happy and thankful. The conduct of this man had a bad influence in the whole neighborhood as the scandal had cropped out among members and strangers. With all my humble exertion, it seemed that every door was closed against me, but at last I got a good foothold in Eidswold, a place where no Mormons had been. Here I spent a good deal of my time holding meetings and visiting among the people, gaining a good many friends. The adversary, however, stirred up strife. A mob tried to disturb our meeting, but the more they did against us the better we were advertised and everything seemed to strengthen the faith of our friends. At last several persons presented themselves for baptism.
Once in a while I took a trip to Strange and Ness where I was always welcomed by the few saints and had excellent opportunities to hold meetings. A great interest was shown and some very good friends were gained among whom I will mention Martin Johannesen and wife Martina who after a short investigation presented themselves for baptism. We tried to avoid publicity and had to pass several houses before we came to suitable water choosing an evening for performance of the ordinance. The family had small children. I called on two sisters, one to stay with the children and the other to help the lady when she was baptized. It was a bright, beautiful moonlight evening when we left home. We avoided the road as much as possible so as not to be observed. It was a three-mile walk to the place chosen for the ceremony taking about one and half-hours. When we drew near the water darkness spread over us as black as pitch. We could not see our hands before us. A wind began to blow and I could hear the water splashing against the shore. I knew we were close to the water's edge but could see no way by which we could reach it. I groped along until I got hold of a fence, took a rail in my hand. Told the people to grip hold of hands and follow each other. We proceeded slowly and carefully, I feeling my way with the rail at last reaching the water's edge. I measured the depth with the rail and found it a fine place to baptize. As I took the rail out of the water and threw it to the ground I observed pearls of light on the ends of my fingers and at the same moment looked at the people standing in a group, and they were surrounded from ear to ear with a light similar to an electric light. I passed my hand through the light, but there was no heat. The wind began blowing harder, and I proposed that we perform the baptisms as soon as possible. We knelt down and prayed and the light remained with us. We prepared ourselves for the water, went in and performed the ordinance and the light still remained. When we were through and dressed and started on our return it began to snow and before we reached the road the whole country was white and lovely as a clean sheet.
On our road home, Brother Johnannesen asked if that light was always with us when we performed baptisms. I told him no and that I had never seen nor heard of such a thing before. On our homeward journey the snow kept falling, lit up the whole country so that we had a pleasant journey, as it was warm and comfortable. After reaching home, we were thankful to God for His blessings. They were confirmed that evening and we stayed up nearly all night discussing the principles of the gospel. This incident the newly baptized saints could not keep to themselves. Wherever an opportunity was given they would tell of it. Some believed it and others did not. It seemed, however, that new life sprang up in every direction in the branch. By this time a couple of brethren, good young men from Drammen, got employment from a wagon manufacturer in Hammer. They were A. Johnsen and O.J. Carlson. This was also a help for the mission as they were willing to do what was asked of them in holding meetings and selling tracts, testifying of the truth of the gospel whenever or wherever they were asked. We could now hold meetings at different places on the same Sunday. About this time a man name Henry C. Jensen had been expelled from Denmark and took refuge in Christiania. President Hogensen, knowing that I needed a companion very badly, sent him up to me.
Brother Jensen was a good, humble man but embarrassed because of the language. He was a young boy when he came to Utah, grew up among the English-speaking people and married an American girl, thus having forgotten his mother tongue. Seeing he felt his condition very keenly, I helped him all I could. The few words he did speak were Danish and even that was hard for the people to understand. I asked the people to be patient and pray for him and he would soon learn to speak and they would find a good brother and friend in him.
We traveled all through the branch until he was introduced and acquainted, but after a while I considered it for his good to be left alone so as to depend more on himself and God. Thus to utilize our time more, we began to work alone instead of together. It was not long until conference when I was moved from that locality to Drammen and he was left to preside. Conference convened the 20th of May and I was glad I could again work in my native city and yet sorry that I should have to part with so many warm and kind-hearted friends I had gained the short time I was in Hedemarken. Nobody felt it keener than did Brother Henry C. Jensen for in the short time we had been together we had formed a strong attachment for each other. After conference we had to part, he for the east and I for the west.
Brother L.K. Larsen who presided in Drammen accompanied me around to the different mission localities introducing me and bidding goodbye as he was released from his mission. The saints in Drammen, especially the older members who had been in the church from the time of my previous mission twenty years before, were very happy. My old mother was also happy I could be close to her for a short time. She was living together with another old lady in a little room in the poorhouse. The other lady was a good deal younger than my mother and was placed to care for her, but being younger she went out in the morning and didn't come back until night. Thus my mother was very lonesome. I went to the city authorities speaking to them about her condition. Hey promised to appropriate a certain amount for her support a year if I would furnish the balance that she might be cared for by a family acquaintance. This agreement was concluded and Anders Olsen, a family in the church agreed to take care of her. This pleased my mother very much as for many years she had been a friend of Sister Olsen who was a kind-hearted good woman. She was then moved to their house where she had good care. She felt so good that she never went out again as long as she lived. It was a great satisfaction to me every time I visited her seeing how pleased and thankful she was. What a joy to bestow a kindness upon her during her last days and my sister also rejoiced over the blessing that had come to our mother. Up to this time, my sister had been obliged to wait on mother more or less.
Mother, being so old, seemed to have no sense to apprehend anything concerning the gospel. I found it entirely useless to bother her with it. She would listen but never answer. She would say I can't understand. We held several meetings in the house where she lived and while listening to me showed a disposition to be pleased. I found my sister on the same plain she was when I left twenty years before and her husband likewise. When talking to them about the first principles of the gospel, they would oppose everything but never give a reason for their opposition. They were ever ready to fortify themselves with the old stories, which they had cherished from the beginning. I often wondered that people would live so many years in ignorance. I could not see the least iota of progress in them in any way during the twenty years I had been away. When the truth hit them, they became very angry and could not continue arguments on the gospel.
The year I stayed in Drammen, my sister attended two meetings but her husband never came. I felt I had borne my testimony to both of them now and twenty years before without being able to see any change in any way and thus concluded it was fruitless work so I left them to live and die in their unbelief.
I found a great change in Drammen, socially, politically, and religiously. The older population had mostly died. The old spirit of aristocracy had also gone. The younger class had a more liberal democratic spirit. The servants, male and female, were much more respected. Politically, the common people were much better informed and took a great interest in politics. There were two parties known as the right and the left and I saw that the common people agitated their principles just as much as the higher-ups. This gave the people a chance to think for themselves and they were nearly as far advanced as the people of America. I also found a great improvement in their school system, especially among the poorer classes. In the country places, it was more like former days.
Religiously, there was more freedom. It seemed the state religion had entirely lost its power. During my youth, the priest seemingly had entire dominion over mind and body as well as the soul. To oppose the priest and talk against him was considered worse than to talk against God Himself. To oppose his ideas or to offend him would surely bring his retaliation in one way or another whether the offenders were rich or poor. These changes were pleasing to me for I had helped lay the foundation for them when a young man. I was thankful to God for the great change that had come. When a young man, I was hooted and mocked in the streets because of my choice of religion, while today I was highly respected by people who formerly knew me and their hats were raised to me as readily as to the priest.
My time was taken up with my missionary labors having a continual filling of appointments far and near so I found very little time to spend with my childhood companions out of the church. I was alone in my work and could do no more than I did, thus feeling satisfied for I never idled my time away.
Considering the poor health I had before I left home, I was wonderfully blessed with the best of health, even though I sometimes had some severe journeys. Toward the end of my mission, I had a little nervousness in one hand, but I felt if I could live in Drammen my life would be prolonged twenty years. I enjoyed the last year of my mission remarkably well, both temporally and spiritually. We had the largest and best meetings that had ever before been held. Love and union existed among the saints and everybody tried to perform their duties. Many joined the church, life and activity was felt everywhere. After staying in Drammen eleven months, I was released to return home and my place was filled by Edin Hansen from Hyrum.
I was pleased and thankful that I could soon return to my home in the west although I had a task before me that was not the most pleasing. The leaving of saints and friends in Bergen and those near and dear to me in Hedemarken and now after working eleven months in and around Drammen, the place of my birth and the many good Latter-day Saints and warm-hearted friends there, yet the hardest of all was saying goodbye to my aged mother whom I knew I would never again see in mortality. A Mormon missionary's experiences are so varied; joys and sorrows, honors and dishonors, to be loved so tenderly and to be hated so passionately, enjoying poverty and enjoying wealth, spoken evil of and spoken well of, all in rapid succession. There is no school of culture in the world better adapted to the training of the human mind and the building of character. Humility is the most precious robe a Mormon missionary can clothe himself with and he learns by experience what he needs it every hour if he is to be successful in the hands of the Lord in bringing souls unto Him. He needs it when mocked and reviled and still more when honored and praised. The man who has honorably fulfilled his mission, undefiled has returned a better man with blessings everlasting for an eternal life.
I was now busy settling my affairs and introducing Brother Hansen to branch work and branch members after which I bed farewell to members and friends and boarded train for Christiania April 4th. As the landscape closed behind the swinging train among the eastern hills, I bed goodbye to my native town, never to return again in mortality. Quite a company of young people who had prepared to emigrate accompanied me from Drammen. On the 6th of April we boarded the steamer for Copenhagen where we arrived the 8th of April 1883. In Copenhagen we joined with the Swedish and Danish saints and took steamers for Hull, England. We had a rather rough voyage across the North Sea accompanied with a great deal of seasickness of short duration as we were soon on the train for Liverpool. We had a very enjoyable trip across the ocean and a pleasant trip on the railroad with no sickness nor accidents and without the loss of a single piece of emigrant luggage. When we reached Salt Lake City, we parted in all directions hunting relatives and friends. When I had helped the emigrants, I departed for my home and was met at Nephi by my family. That was a happy meeting.
I was very much astonished to see the difference two years had wrought to my children. I hardly knew them. My oldest son was taller than myself and the others had grown proportionately. We stayed in Nephi overnight and reached Ephraim, our home, the next evening. I came into the room where a few of our friends awaited us not thinking there were anymore in the house. After handshaking and chatting a little, I was called into another room which was filled with people, a feast prepared and to say I was surprised is putting it mildly. There was not the least indication to show a party. As the supper was thus in progress, the choir appeared outside and sang several numbers and no sooner were they called in when the Brass Band began to play. This demonstration was almost more than I could stand. I was almost overcome by the kindness of the people.
This was my last mission to the nations of the earth. I was thankful to God I was home again. No debt had accumulated during my absence. My family had lived economically as I had done while away. My boys had worked faithfully and I found things as when I left. Few are the missionaries, if any, that can return to their home better satisfied and more thankful than I. I had nothing to mar my conscience nor take away my joy. I had honored my priesthood and my mission and found my family enjoying the same good spirit and thus we were blessed spiritually and temporally.
A few days before arriving home, a great windstorm tore part of the roof off my house, but the people through their kindness replaced it before I came home. I thanked God and felt to bless the people of Ephraim for their kindness and good will on my on my return as well as when I left for my mission. At this party I found several I had born my testimony to in the old country among whom were Hannah and Anna Christensen to whom I had preached in Copenhagen. These two I counted as the first fruits of my mission. It pleased me very much to hear that they were faithful girls. The year they had been here they had paid for their own emigration as well as the emigration of two of their sisters who had come over in the fall of the year I came home. After being home a year, I felt the change of climate but not serious enough to prevent me from doing my work. With the help of my boys we made use of all our land and broke up and fenced new land. We prospered remarkably well. We bought horses and machinery, which also made our work easier.
During harvest time, the whole family old enough helped. My spare time was well taken up in work pertaining to the ward in whatever I was qualified to do.
Married Hannah Christensen. Oldest son enters B.Y. Academy. Girl born to Hannah. Mormon enemies appointed officers in territory. Tried to take Franchise from Mormons. Oath of office barred a few. Law against polygamy and co-habitation. President Lorenzo Snow's declaration. Arrested for co-habitation. Youngest son moved to Fairview. Oldest son sent to Randolph. Prisoners and prison life. Moved to Salt Lake City. Political parties. Statehood. Worked for Winberg in grocery store and then started for myself.
About this time the leading brethren of the priesthood were advocating celestial marriage and my Bishop C.C.N. Dorius told me I ought to marry either Anna or Hannah Christensen for he said he positively knew I could get either one of them. I, myself, could also see there was nothing in the way as far as they were concerned, but I had not thought of marrying again anymore. When considering my circumstance and conditions as they had developed and presented themselves to me; and being united with the priesthood in other ways I concluded to obey the counsel given and leave the consequences in the hand of God. In this instance as in former marriages I had no trouble for my wife Maria was in perfect accord with me as soon as I mentioned it to her.
On the l6th of July 1884, myself and Hannah Christensen were married in the endowment house of Salt Lake City. As before when Amalia was alive, we lived in the same house, working in harmony together, each wife doing her utmost for the welfare of the household.
I could see my oldest son, Oluf, had a taste for education. The spirit of education had just taken hold of a few young men of Ephraim at this time. He worked faithfully for the family and when opportunity presented, he used his time working in the canyon with his ox teams, lumbering, hauling and selling posts, poles, wood, and lumber to obtain money to pay for his schooling. In the fall of 1885 he went to the Bright Young Academy at Provo, working again during the summer vacation and returning again to school in the fall.
August 24th 1885 Hannah gave birth to her first baby, a girl we named Mary Andrea. By this time the non-Mormon element had increased enormously in our midst in the country districts but much more in Salt Lake City which was the headquarters for our bitterest enemies. As we had only a territorial form of Government the most of the civil offices were filled by the Federal Government and our bitterest enemies were generally chosen to fill the offices from Governor to deputy marshals. These officials, together with the priests of the different denominations, plotted together to have legislation enacted by congress to take away our franchise and all our political rights. This they succeeded in to the extent that every person presenting themselves for registration to vote was compelled to take an oath, which was in conflict with their religious beliefs. Their object was to take away all our rights, but in this they failed because what they tried to do was unconstitutional, as a man's belief could not be legislated against to disqualify him from voting. Most of the Mormons could take the oath. In this way we kept a small portion of the civil authorities in office which was granted under the territorial enactment.
When they failed in this, they tried other schemes to injure the people. As they were well acquainted with the religious beliefs and practices of the Mormon people they formed a plan by which they thought to crush them. They sent delegations to Congress with laws drafted in Salt Lake City, which were given to congressmen to see that they were enacted. In this way a law was passed against polygamy and polygamous co-habitation. It passed both houses and became valid at a specified date. The enemy now had a weapon in their hands whereby they thought to provoke the Mormon people to do some overt act whereby they could call in the government, ruin, and drive us from our homes. I know this was the intent but they failed in this as in other plans. The prosecuting attorney lost no time in enforcing the law as soon as it became valid. The territorial Marshall swore in deputies in every town where the right kind of man could be found. The qualifications for such a deputy was to be a bitter enemy of the Mormons. Such men were found in nearly every town and were generally well acquainted with the people and served the purpose in different ways both as spies and informers, to swear out complaints and to serve warrants of arrest. These deputies were sometimes sons of good Latter-day Saints but had become enemies to the church because of a wicked and sinful life.
When the raids first started among the people, it created a terror among women as well as men for the plural wife could be prosecuted as well as the husband. As men didn't like very well to go to the penitentiary, they and their plural wives hid away as long as possible thus causing a great deal of expense, sorrow, and heartrending trouble. The deputies swarmed all through the counties loaded with warrants and guns and leading people were arrested by the hundreds. Yet through all this there was not a single instance of armed resistance though their devilish provocation many times warranted rash measures.
My wife Hannah was in such a condition that she was obliged to hide and was confined with a baby girl the 15th of July 1887. This was quite a trying time as we knew not what moment the deputies would be hunting us. Thanks be to God we were spared from any bad effects from the scare. There was no use trying to live in one house any longer and I, as other of the brethren, was obliged to secure a home for my second family. Some of the district judges showed themselves very bitter and I will especially mention Judge Charles Zane of Salt Lake City and Judge Powers of Ogden. They even went so far as to segregate the offense and make three different counts of the same case. If married within the last four years, he was prosecuted for polygamy, if there were issues from the plural wife he was prosecuted for adultery, and if it was proven a man had entered the door of the second wife he could be prosecuted for co-habitation. Several of the brethren were convicted for polygamy, adultery, and co-habitation and sentenced with the maximum penalty. They showed their feelings mostly against the leading brethren whom they tried to hold in the penitentiary during life. These cases were reversed after being brought to the U.S. Supreme Court.
In Provo we had a man by the name of Emerson as judge. He had a human heart. He was grieved to see his brother judges tyrannize the people. He was as lenient as he could be and by this he gained the ill will of the other judges, became disgusted and resigned his position. He was replaced by Judge Judd who was also kindhearted and had sympathy with the people, but was compelled to do his duty. When he saw men and women by the score with small babes in their arms stand before him, he said he regretted he had accepted the appointment saying, "Never can I allow myself to pass sentence on an innocent woman in this trouble," and he told them to go home. These women were forced into court to testify against their husbands and by testifying they would lay themselves liable to conviction for fornication, which was six months' imprisonment.
After the segregation case was reversed in the Supreme Court those cruel judges were set back a little in their career. Their prosecutions and judgments were so severe that I think it touched the hearts of the government leaders so we saw a leniency manifesting itself. It showed itself in this way: that if a man would promise to obey the law in the future he would be released on such a promise. The first incident of this character was shown when Judge Judd visited the pen and had a conversation with Apostle Lorenzo Snow. The judge expressed himself in this manner. "I am much grieved for your sake Mr. Snow to find you in this dungeon. I am also sorry for your people and as you are a leader of the people just one word from you will save yourself and your people from all this distress. Only promise that you will obey the law in the future and you can be released immediately." Brother Snow answered, "Before I would make such a promise, my bones shall rot in this pen." Here was an example for all faithful Latter-day Saints. Yet some few fainthearted brethren took advantage of this promise.
I escaped arrest until the latter part of July 1888 when three of the deputies approached me on the streets of Ephraim and served a warrant on me. They told me to get some bondsmen and appear in Spring City at Commissioner Johnson's at an appointed hour that same day where the complaint was read. Finding I was charged with co-habitation, I pleaded guilty and gave bonds to appear in District Court in September. This was as if a burden had been taken off my shoulders. I now had time to harvest my grain and hay and arrange my affairs before trial and sentence. The most they could make of my case was six months in the pen which I did not dread as I had suffered imprisonment before for preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ and baptizing people into His Church.
When court was set, I appeared making no trouble. I went before the Grand Jury answering their questions without reserve. My case was sent to court at once. I pleaded guilty and asked the Judge for a stay of sentence that I might attend to some urgent business. This was readily granted. Time was set for me and a good many others to appear for sentence in November.
About this time my youngest son, Louis (note: correct spelling is Lewis), went to Fairview and made his home; and my oldest son, Oluf, was called by Professor Carl G. Maeser to go to Randolph, Utah to organize and teach the Rich County Academy. I was now left without any help from my grown boys and the other children in my family were young girls. My health was not very good and could plainly see I would not be able to stand much hard manual labor. I tried in several ways to change my occupation but failed. Time for my sentence drew near and on the 5th of November 1888, I was sentenced to six months incarceration in the Utah Penitentiary among a good many others. We were all taken here the same evening. When we got there even our pocketknives were taken. The iron doors closed behind us, two to a cell six by eight feet. A canvas bed stretched from wall to wall and a tin bucket was the amount. I little dreamed that I would be imprisoned in this glorious Republic of America for obeying and practicing the religious doctrine of my church which is sanctioned by the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob of old. Who could think that a liberty-loving people like the American nation would enact special laws to ruin a peace-loving religious people whose work was the promotion of peace, progress and happiness in the country, whose religious practices interfered with nobody's rights, a people whose industry had subdued the barren land and made it yield its abundance, a just, righteous, liberty-loving people. These prosecutions and persecutions happened in the 19th Century and are spread on the histories of the United States and will stand as a bold witness against the enactors and supporters of such laws.
In my native country, I composed and sang songs of the free and liberty-loving America; but here I have been oppressed more than under the old monarchial government of my nativity. I have tracked the wilderness footsore and hungry. I have toiled and in my toil have ruined my constitution to redeem the desert for the benefit of my adopted country. I have faced the marauding Indian in open warfare, seen the labor of my hands ruined, my home desolated and my family and I driven from it. Then from this magnificent government, I have been incarcerated behind iron bars and as a criminal convict and guarded by men with loaded guns. If I didn't know there is a righteous God overruling everything for the good of those who love Him, I could be tempted to curse such a nation, but I know vengeance is His and He is true and sure forever and ever.
After our first night's sleep, cell doors were opened and we came out into the corridor washed and cleaned up for breakfast. Here we met many good friends, as there were between 175 to 200 brethren before us. The first arrested were the general authorities, stake presidencies, and bishoprics throughout the church. Thus there was hardly a stake or ward that was not represented. Most of the day we had the privilege of using most of the yard where we could exercise and enjoy the fresh air, reading, conversing or playing as we chose as convict labor was not yet introduced. A good many of the brethren were called as trustees to do chores and odd jobs outside of the pen. If there had been jobs for all of us outside the warden would have given them for he had full confidence in us. I chose to stay inside as I found plenty to occupy my time and I never got lonesome. We did not suffer from lack of eatables as we were allowed fruits, vegetables, sugar, butter, etc. and if we had money we could buy milk and other things. If we kept the prison regulations there was no harsh word spoken to us, but if someone broke the rules they were punished by having to pump water. Every Sunday morning we had our Sunday School presided over by one of the brethren. President George Q. Cannon and Apostle Francis M. Lyman were with us and our exercises were interesting and edifying. We also had services Sunday afternoon, which were held by the different denominations of the city. Thus days and weeks passed and I was thankful that my health was improving which I think was because the city's elevation is about 500 feet lower than Sanpete. My mission showed me that the closer to sea lever I lived the better my health. I thus got the idea it would be better for me to leave Ephraim. I was convinced that if I continued to live in Ephraim and make farming my occupation my life would not last long. My boys had left me starting on their own and could look for no more help from the other children. The more I thought of my condition and consulted with my friends the more sure I was that a change would be best for all of us.
Before my term of imprisonment was over, I made arrangements with A.W. Winberg (note: Anders Wilhelm Winberg. Anders Wilhelm Winberg's son, Andrew E. Winberg was the first husband of Oluf's daughter Mary Andrea "May" Larsen.) to work for him for a small wage that I might look for and prepare for something better for the future. Because of good behavior I was released one month early the 29th of March 1889. This was a happy day. Bidding goodbye to my five months cage, I went directly to Brother Winberg to work for him. A boom in Salt Lake City had just been inaugurated and real estate advanced to an enormous price. Not only was Salt Lake City affected, but it also extended to the country districts. This was favorable to me and I took advantage of it. By this boom a great deal of Eastern capital was brought into the territory. Money was freely spent in all directions. I sold all my real estate in Ephraim for a fair price and for cash, and in 1891 I had my families in Salt Lake City.
I worked for Winberg, travelling and collecting for his Scandinavian paper, Bikuben. Taking my advice he opened a grocery store with which he succeeded remarkable well, where I was engaged as clerk. In this way I got acquainted with the people as well as conducting the business. After some time I started a grocery story of my own thus providing a living for my families.
As I expected, before moving to Salt Lake City, I found the climate very agreeable with my health, the atmosphere being moist through lake evaporation, a little similar to seashore atmosphere. I found I had not miscalculated for my health was much improved. In a business way, I also did better than I had expected. The work was not so strenuous as on the farm and could be classed more as exercise and pleasure. It was light and easy, only requiring quick alert action. In this way I could utilize the small amount of vitality I had left and live a few years longer. I never regretted moving from Ephraim to Salt Lake City, but thanked God for leading me to make the change. With my knowledge of country towns I knew there was no place better than Salt Lake City to improve spiritually, always having the living oracles among us. We live as it were at the fountainhead where we can drink of the clear stream of the water of life flowing from God's Holy Priesthood. Here is the home of the greatest and noblest men that have lived upon the earth. We thus can enjoy their advice and counsel and drink of their spirit direct from their lips Sabbath and Sabbath. As strangers are flocking to our meetings, it tends to imbue the speakers with the spirit of imparting both history and doctrine, which is enjoyed by members and non-members.
When we moved to the city, there was quite a stir politically. The minority of the people, composed of the various sects were continually striving to get the governmental reins away from the Mormon people. To gain their objective, they used every measure they could think of, both legal and illegal. They brought in hundreds of men from the mining camps on Election Day and it was known that the same men voted in several districts as well as stuffing the ballot box. These people were called the liberal party, and the Mormons were called the people's party. Political meetings of both parties were held many places in the city every night. The liberals with their adherents had parades, blowing horns, shooting guns, fireworks, etc. and the People's party to show their strength and not to be outdone followed suit. Thousands of dollars were spent for uniforms for marching clubs as well as for fireworks, and the opposing parties were rampant in every nook and corner of the city and the state. This proved to be a drawback to business and ruinous to city improvement, not easily forgotten by those who passed through it. I never felt to take part in these political struggles. When the election was over, the Liberal Party through their fraudulent means got a majority of the city council and the mayor. The outgoing administration had been economical, had low taxation, no debt, and a large surplus in the treasury. It wasn't long for the administration of the new government to be felt. Taxes were increased, bonds were issued, and it wasn't long until the city was in debt exceeding the bonding limit and they were compelled to petition congress for the privilege of issuing more bonds.
1896 Utah was admitted into the union as a state and the people given equal political rights. The Mormons had a fair representation in the offices of the nation, state, county and city. This helped to steady and judiciously make use of the revenue so income and expenses were somewhat balanced. We were also blessed with prosperity for several years. Products were high and wages raised accordingly. In general, people have met their taxes easily. Since statehood was granted, we have lived quite peaceably together with the people of the different denominations. The almost equal division into political parties created both good and bad influences. They were good because strife between Mormons and others were done away with, but bad because serious political differences and strife arose between brethren of the church. I, therefore, considered it best for myself to let politics entirely alone. It disgusted me to see how men holding the priesthood could mingle together and connive with those who never knew God and in their hearts were enemies to the church of God. Also knowing that because of my family affairs, it would be better to live quietly among our enemies thus not laying myself so liable in what might happen in the future. I felt as though we could not as a people live very long among our enemies without trouble of some nature. Judging from previous experience in the church, that after many days of prosperity and gratitude, persecution would certainly follow.
When I left the penitentiary in 1889, I remember saying that if God would permit me to get a boy, I would gladly again enter the pen for him. We have now lived from that time to this, 1916, in peace and prosperity and God has given me three boys and two girls. I have lived to see some changes in my family. One of my sons and one of my daughters have preceded me to the other side. This year, September 10, 1916, my wife Anna Maria was by God called home. She was the companion who shared my hardships in pioneering Circleville where on winter the only means of getting a loaf of bread was a coffee grinder used by the community to grind a little wheat for mush and a loaf of bread. Then, also, when baby clothes were to be made for the expectant arrival, she had to use the ravelings of a piece of petticoat muslin cloth for thread to make out of her petticoat a nice white baby dress for her baby. That dress the neighbors borrowed when ready to have their babies blessed and named. When we sheared our two or three sheep, we got a little cotton from St. George. She carded the cotton and wool and spun the rolls into thread to get a few yards of warm cloth made on a handloom and colored with dyes of her own making so as to get some warm clothes for winter.
She always lived in dread of the Indians stealing her baby after they had tried to swap her choice of two Indian babies and a pony for her baby. Then driven from our Circleville home to Ephraim by the Indians during the Black Hawk War, passing through the grasshopper war, and raising a family while pioneering Ephraim. She was a mother to the emigrant and the motherless and with her skill in medicine always waited on the sick. She was kind, sympathetic, patient and wise and thus a peacemaker. She loved truth and was willing to sacrifice everything she had for it when necessary. This was a severe loss to me. I sold her home to my oldest son and divided the money among her children.
I, now, moved and made my permanent home with my wife Hannah and her family. She is faithfully caring for me in my old age. I am now prepared to take what may follow, either good or bad. What I have done I have done with an eye single to the will of God and my trust is implicitly in Him. I have done nothing to harm any man, and I have perfect peace in my soul.
This brief sketch I dedicate to my children and their posterity hoping they may find something in my life worth emulating. Oluf Christian Larsen died November 11, 1929, age ninety-three years, seven months, and seven days old. He was a good husband and father, true to his friends, to his religion, and to his adopted country.
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