Niels Lewis Larsen and Mary Eleanor Vance Larsen

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Life History by a Grandson

A History of





Richard Lewis Larsen, A Grandson

Niels Lewis Larsen was born 20th May 1867 in Ephraim, Sanpete County, Utah to Oluf Christian Larsen and Anna Maria Pedersen.  Niels Lewis Larsen was baptized on 16th September 1877.   He was endowed on 29th November 1888.   Niels Lewis Larsen married and was sealed to his wife, Mary Eleanor Vance, on 5th November 1891 in the Manti Temple, of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 

Niels Lewis Larsen died on 12th February 1896 in Fairview, Sanpete County, Utah, and was buried in the Fairview Cemetery on l5th February 1896.

Mary Eleanor Vance was born 22nd July 1870 in Fairview, Sanpete County, Utah to John Alma Vance and Maria Forbush.  She died on 27th  March 1960 in Orem, Utah County, Utah.  Mary Eleanor Vance Larsen was buried in the Fairview Cemetery on 31st March 1960.

Niels Lewis Larsen and Mary Eleanor Vance were the parents of two sons:

George Franklin Larsen, was born 9th August 1892 in Fairview, Sanpete County, Utah. George Franklin Larsen died 14th June 1947, in Provo, Utah.

Lawrence Erick Larsen, born 30th October 1894 in Fairview, Sanpete County, Utah.  Lawrence Erick Larsen died 6th October 1918 in France while serving in World War I.

Reflections of Grandfather Larsen

Being the oldest son of Frank and Florence Larsen, I was given the name of Richard Lewis Larsen, in honor of my grand father Niels Lewis Larsen.  I have carried his name in honor and respect all the days of my life. 

Grandfather was a man who cut and hauled large logs from the nearby canyons.  His business was in the lumber industry.  He built Grandmother a very nice two-room log house that a kitchen and bathroom was later added to make a very nice home for her. 

My grandfather was instantly killed as a very young man when he was helping a friend unload a large load of logs.  As he was lifting a large log from the pile, the log slipped out of his hands and flipped up hitting him under his chin and breaking his neck. 

He was an honorable, honest and hard working man who I never knew.  My Grandmother really loved and honored him all the days of her life.   My Dad was about four years old at the time of his father's death so he really never knew him. 

I look forward to meeting my good grandfather and have an interesting relationship with him that was impossible for me to have in this life.  My grandfather's ancestry is from Norway.  They were folks who loved working with nature in all of its aspects.  This came naturally to him, and he was not given the opportunity of higher education here.

Memories of Grandmother Larsen

I was five years old when we lived in Castle Gate, Utah.  Grandmother Mary E. Vance Larsen came to visit us. She arrived on the D&RG Train and stayed with us for a week.  She wanted to visit and enjoy her grandchildren.  She especially wanted to see my younger brother Bob because she insisted that he be named Curtis.  Mother and Dad weren't too pleased about this choice, so they named him Robert and added the name of Curtis to please Grandma.  She always used the name Curtis when she spoke to him.

Our visits to grandmother in Fairview were usually short and rather often. My dad was her only living son and it was important that we make the visits as often as possible.  Sometimes she would play her accordion for us.  We enjoyed hearing the old time tunes that she loved so much. 

After my school year was completed in Carbon County, I would spend a few summer weeks with Grandmother Mary in Fairview.  Grandmother had one rule, you must be home by sun down, and that rule was never broken.  My job was to take the little red wagon to the local flourmill to get a couple bags of chicken feed for her two hundred chickens. She was a member of the Utah Farmers Association and they would come by weekly to pickup her crates of eggs.

Grandmother didn't mind me going fishing down on San Pitch, or up on the mountain with my cousin Lawrence who was two years older than me. We would ride Lawrence's little pony, and if we caught any fish we would bring them home for her.  Since this was summertime, it was a fun time to relax and just enjoy the freedom of doing your own thing. The air so brisk and clean, the sunshine bright and happy, and we just enjoy hearing the meadowlarks sing their beautiful songs.

Decoration Day at Fairview was a great day to celebrate as large number of visitors flocked around family gravesites to exchange their memories.  Grandmother had a floral arrangement of roses made out of bright colored tissue paper dipped in paraffin wax that preserved her precious flowers.  She kept this bouquet each year in an 18 inch square wooden box with its glass top cover just for decorating the grave of her son Lawrence Larsen who was killed in the Aragon Forest during World War I, a death she really never got over.  Each year she would have a person bring back this box of flowers from the cemetery and then tenderly place it back in its place in a small storage spot in her attic. I was visiting Grandma on Decoration Day one year and after the many visitors had come and departed, Grandma asked Lawrence and me to go to the cemetery and retrieve the flower box.  We did this for her about sun down in the late afternoon.  Unknown to us a local farmer was working in an adjoining hay field and saw our actions.  He left his field and went into town to report to the local sheriff that the Larsen boys were stealing flowers from the cemetery.  The next morning the sheriff came to visit Grandma and reported the charge to her.  She laughed and told the sheriff that the boys were not stealing flowers but was following her request to return the flowers to her.

At this same time in Fairview, there was a wedding party scheduled at the home of the groom, who was a bit older than the ordinary age for young men to get married.

Lawrence and I decided to send a gift to the open house wedding reception.  We got on his pony and rode out to the city dump.  There we found a small old fashion chamber pot that had been the object of a target practice and subjected to several puncture holes.  We took the pot back to Lawrence's home. There we found a new empty box that had been used to ship electrical supplies in. We packaged the pot with electrical packing materials and tied the box with binding twine.  Later in the afternoon as the guest started to arrive at the party, we took the box a couple of blocks away and gave it to a couple who where on their way to the party.  They looked at the box and said, "There is no name on it, who should we say sent it?"  We said, "That is no problem, they will know who it is from."  The next day Grandma Larsen asked, "What have you boys been doing?"  She was in the state of controlling her laughter.  She said, "Lizzy told me when the bride and the groom were opening their gifts, they pulled out the old chamber pot for all to see."  The party erupted into hilarious laughter and jokes.  After many moments the wedding party settled into the route of opening the gifts.  Grandma was not a bit angry with us for pulling this trick; she thought it was really a funny jester.  She said, "It really turned the party into a joyful happy occasion."

When I was fourteen years of age my father took the family to Fairview to visit Grandmother.  While we were there Dad told Grandmother that she needed a telephone in her home.  Dad said, "Your nearest neighbor is more than a block away and you have no means of immediate communication in case of an emergency.  I will go down to the telephone office and request the installation of a phone in your home."  The phone company was privately owned by the Madsen family in Fairview.  Dad and I went to the office and made the request.  Mr. Madsen indicated it would be necessary to run a telephone wire a little over a block long. This would require the installation of four or five additional telephone poles and he would not dig the holes to install them.  Dad asked if he had the telephone poles on hand.  Mr. Madsen indicated that he had the poles, but the poles would be too short to bury in the ground.  Dad told Mr. Madsen that on his next trip to Fairview he would furnish and bring the cedar posts necessary to complete the job.  Upon our arrival home, Dad instructed me to go and find six proper sized cedar posts, cut them down, trim them and bring them home. We soon made a trip to Fairview with the cedar posts.  Dad and I dug the holes to bury the cedar posts.  Mr. Madsen brought his telephone poles to the location and left a pole by each of the holes.  My Dad and I up righted the telephone poles and wired the cedar posts and telephone parts together.  I believe those telephone poles are still standing.  Mr. Madsen immediately strung the telephone wires and installed a crank phone in grandma's living room.  All the lines in Fairview were party lines.  It was necessary to listen in the phone to make sure another party was not using the line.  When the line was free, you cranked the handle to notify central and give her your number.  One interesting factor was central knew all the town gossip as she could listen to all conversations.

Early in Grandmother's life her two sons, Frank and Lawrence, as young men left Fairview and secured employment at the Clear Creek Coal Mine.  Frank was employed as a machinist mine mechanic and Lawrence was employed as a pump tender.  Since both for these boys were single Grandmother went to Clear Creek to be their cook and house- keeper until Frank got married.  Soon after Lawrence was married, he was inducted into the United States Army. 

Lawrence (junior), Grandma's grandson, lived in Fairview and would ride his pony often down to her front gate and call, "grandma, do you have some nickels or dimes that you could give me?" Grandmother would always give him some small change so he could buy his candy.  Even when I was staying with Grandmother, Lawrence would ride down to the front gate and ask her for money, which he got. 

A Few Specific Memories


When her children were young she had beehives, extracting the honey to sell to local citizens.

She had five acres of land to the east of her home and leased it to various farmers on a share basis.

Later in her life she built two chicken coops where she ran 200 hens.  The eggs were sold to the Utah Farmers Coop, in crates.

Since she had legal registration in Midwifery and nursing, she served as the medical specialists throughout the local communities, until a Doctor finally became a resident.

In this capacity her experience was far-reaching and responsible for saving many lives.

Her two young sons were left home alone constantly to care for themselves.  My Father, George Franklin was given the full responsibility to care for his younger brother. Even at a very young age he accepted employment from various farmers to assist Grandma with the living expenses.

Grandma was a loving and a deeply concerned person in our lives.

Grandma always raised a large productive vegetable garden and an attractive flowerbed in her yard.    

Grandma had one of the first radio consoles in the city of Fairview.

Though she was a widow, she befriended many folks in need, sharing her vegetables and flowers freely.

As a young girl she was blessed with a fine clear, strong voice and sang in many church and public meetings.

Later in life she bought herself an accordion from Montgomery Ward Catalog. She taught herself to play the songs of her youth, and performed until very later in her life at the Senior Citizen parties, celebrations, etc.

Her brother John who was younger, at the age of fifteen had assumed the responsibility of managing the family farm.  He was very successful in all of his farming activities.  He told my Mother that he could have assisted his sister in many ways, but Mary was determined to be self sufficient in all her needs.

Grandma was active doing genealogy work for her ancestors in the Manti Temple, during her lifetime.

When Lois and I were married, we choose to be married in the Manti Temple so the Grandma Mary could attend.  It was the last time that grandma was able to go to the temple.  Her health was declining, as the she was getting very old.


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