Niels Lewis and Mary Eleanor Vance Larsen

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

Compiled by the North Bend DUP
July 1999
Volume 1


John Alma Vance and Maria Forbush Vance and

Niels Lewis Larsen and Mary Eleanor Vance Larsen

Mary Eleanor Vance was the daughter of John Alma Vance and Maria Forbush. She was born 22July 1870, at Fairview, Sanpete County, Utah. She died 27 March 1960 in Orem, Utah County, Utah. Her parents were both born in the midwest. John A. Vance was born in Winter Quarters', Nebraska and his wife was born in Potowotomie County, Iowa, in 1847.

Mary was the eldest child of the family. Next came John, Martha, Cadie, Hyrum Arthur, and the youngest George Franklin died at the age of eight months.

Mary went to school in a rock school house that was on the corner of Ellis Madsen's home. Her heart and soul was full of music. As a young girl of three or four, they would set her upon the pulpit to sing. She had a fine strong voice that developed into soprano. Later she sang in the choir and contributed in the line of music until she had not the strength to hold her accordian on her lap.

"1never saw such a strong willed girl." said Hyrum. She had to be, to keep on the straight and narrow. The various jobs she and her sisters worked at to provide for the family, presented many temptations. They all three worked at cooking for railroad gangs and at the sawmills on the mountain.

Mary's mother, Maria Vance, shattered her arm while out in the stack yard with John Alma looking over the harvest. This still arm followed her to her grave. John Alma died in November of 1886 leaving her with eight in the family. Mary was sixteen and John was fourteen. From this day on that small boy shouldered his responsibility in life.

John and Hyrum took care of the farm and in between crops they hauled lumber and logs at the sawmills on the mountain. The girls went on the mountain and hand bunched shingles at the mills and later they cooked to help provide for the family.

It was probably at the Olsen Mill where Mary worked, that she met Niels Lewis Larsen and later married him in the Manti Temple, 15 November 1891. Niels Lewis was a son of Oluf C. Larsen and Anna Maria Pederson, born at Ephraim, Sanpete County, Utah in 1867. He later moved to Fairview with his parents.

Niels Lewis' first wife, Mary Christena Olson, the daughter of Christian and Christena Nielson Olson died 4 February 1890. She was just nineteen years and four months old when she died.

On 9 August 1892, a son was born to Mary and Niels Lewis. He was named George Franklin. Two years later another son was born and was named Lawrence Erick. Mary was happy caring for her two sons and her husband. At that time Niels Lewis was working in the timber business and hauling logs. One day in 1896, Niels Lewis was up to the railroad station watching men unload logs.

He was asked to help with a log that was stuck on a wagon and as he was prying on the log the 2x6 slipped and hit him under the chin, killing him instantly. Mary said they brought him home in the back of a wagon and what a shock it was to her when she walked out and saw him lying there dead. Within ten months she also lost her mother on whom she had leaned so much during her hours of grief. The Vance family had been held together by their mother; but now the younger ones lived with John and Ann for a short time and then they scattered. The younger two went to Monroe. Cadie married Lon Forbush, Martha married Jim Oborn and moved to Union, Utah. Arthur studied blacksmithing with Uncle Lon, then went to school at BYU in Provo, Utah County, Utah. Hyrum went to BYU.

What was Mary to do with two boys to provide for? In 1900, there was an opportunity to study for nursing and midwifery with Dr. Shipp. The Church paid the tuition for widows. She took the boys to Salt Lake City and enrolled.

Her mother-in-law was living in Salt Lake at the time and took care of the boys while she studied at the school. Some of the time the boys would stay with their other relatives for a short time. Upon graduating she practiced midwifery for the next fifteen years. She spent from January of 1901 until May of 1902 at Mink Creek, Idaho; where she delivered twenty ­eight babies. The rest of the fifteen years were spent in Fairview and vicinity.

During her service as a midwife she delivered some 101 babies. Then spent many years of service as a nurse. In this capacity there is more than one person who owes his life to her efforts.

She stayed on the job of providing for her boys until they began to work and help her. Frank went to live with Uncle Lon and learned the blacksmith trade, then worked as a mechanic and a blacksmith. Lawrence was a lover of horses and worked with his team. They both worked at Clear Creek Mine and she cooked for them until they married.

During the 1st World War, she lost her youngest son in battle in 1918. Lawrence had been married in February to Ellen Budvarson. He was killed in October and his son Lawrence was born in December.

When Lawrence's body was sent home from France, she wanted to open the casket. They were ready to do this when she saw Lawrence's face in a circle of light. He spoke to her and said "Ma, be satisfied". She never opened the casket.

One day while sewing at her machine she felt someone say "Mary go and find your cow". She obeyed the promptings and immediately went to look for her cow, which was a large part of her livelihood for her two sons and herself. She found the cow up by the railroad tracks in the field back of her home. It was bloated. She soon obtained help in doctoring the cow and saved it's life.

When Frank was fifteen years old he worked in the fields and was working for Ed Housekeeper in the south fields of Fairview, on a bailer. It was run by a team of horses that went round in a circle. Frank stepped off the bailer to do something on the ground and his foot got caught in the plunger that pushed the hay in the bailer. It pushed his foot along with the hay and cut his foot off. There was a little part of the skin holding the foot. One of the men was prompted to hold the foot up to the stump. He held it this way until they reached the doctor's office. The doctor said this quick thinking saved his foot. He was ill for a long time but the Lord blessed him and he recovered slowly.

Frank was married to Florence Brough on 1 October 1917. To them were born: Grace, Richard, and Robert. Frank died in 1947. This left Mary alone again. She lived in a lonesome part of town. Her closest neighbor had moved to Canada. She had no neighbors for two blocks on either side of the street. She used to feel so lonely that she would go out to the gate and look up and down the street to see if she could see someone.

She raised an impressive garden, both flowers and vegetables. This she did even after she was eighty years old. She was not afraid to work or to give to others.

Being incapacitated the last five years, she entered the Hardy Rest Home in Orem, Utah, where she was cared for, for the remainder of her life.

She played the accordian. One of her favorite tunes was "Mocking Bird Hill", and she loved other old melodies. When she died at the age of eighty-nine, Evelyn Terry played some of these on the organ at her funeral.

Niels Lewis Larsen, his first wife, Mary Christena Olson, second wife Mary Eleanor Vance, and Lewis M. (7 months), son of Niels Lewis and Mary Eleanor are buried in block 02 lot 14 in the lower cemetery in Fairview.

Niels Lewis Larsen's first wife's parents, Christian and Christena Olson are also buried there with sons Eric 0..and John J. John Alma and Mariah Forbush Vance are buried on block 01 lot 86 with their two children, George F. (8 months), and William Orren Vance who died at birth.

History taken from, histories by Ellen Tucker and David Larsen.

Submitted by Lawrence Larsen