HISTORY OF NEILS CHRISTIAN PETERSON FAMILY by Vida Peterson Sawyer retyped by Brad Peterson
Colaborador: RestoreSoquelCem Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
Neils Christian Peterson was born at Davinde, Odense, Denmark 3 Jan 1851, the son of Peter Knudson and Sidsel Hansen. His father died on the day he was born and his mother died on 22 Aug. 1852 leaving him an orphan at the age of nineteen months.
He was raised by his maternal grandparents, Gertrude Marie Nicolajson and Hans Peterson. He had several uncles and each one, when they became of age, was required to go into the army as all young men were at that time in Denmark. He was saddened by these partings and would go as far as he could with each one and bid them farewell through tears and stand waving to them until they were out of sight. These were very sad partings for him and he determined that he would leave Denmark before he was twenty one years old so he would not have to go in the army.
He planned and saved to come to America. When he was bout eighteen years old he left his loved ones and sailed for America in a sailing ship. The journey took six or eight weeks.
He landed somewhere in Texas. I do not know anything of his experiences until he was married to Anna Caroline Easterling, daughter of Giles Bennett Easterling and Sabra Ann Carter, in Perry County Missouri on 22 Sep. 1874. Anna Caroline was born 10 Jan 1859, at Old Augusta, Mississippi.
To them was born the following children: Bennett Theodore 22 Aug. 1875, Henry Franklin 14 Feb. 1878, George Nelson 25 Feb. 1880, William David 23 Apr. 1884, John 1882, a stillborn daughter about 1883, Thomas Jerid 31 May 1886, Joseph Christian 8 July 1888.
Their home was at Waynesboro, Wayne County, Mississippi. They had a good farm and a nice house for those days. Grandfather was a fine carpenter and built a house of squared logs which was comfortable and adequate for them. The kitchen was apart from the rest of the house so the heat from cooking was not so bad in the summer. It was connected by a breezeway.
Besides running the farm, Grandfather and a partner had a turpentine distillery. He was an expert in making turpentine. He was deaf in one ear and my Dad thought maybe it was because they listened to the turpentine to determine its progress and the fumes were very strong.
They were a close family and everyone worked to accomplish the many tasks necessary to make a living.
They raised nearly all their food and raised cotton and sheep to provide clothing. Grandma carded and spun the cotton and wool into thread on a spinning wheel. She would then take this yarn and thread to a neighbor who had a means of weaving it into cloth. They would weave it on shares, keeping some of the thread for their pay. Dad said the material was coarse and heavy, especially the cloth used for pants. He said if you happened to have a bit of gas there was no escaping the smell for some time as it took so long to seep through and would cling for a long time.
Grandma knitted all their socks, mittens, scarves and caps. The clothes were all sewn by hand as there were no sewing machine at that time.
Grandpa made their shoes. He tanned his own leather and made the tacks from hickory wood. They wore shoes only in cold weather and when they went to school. My Dad, William, got his first store bought shoes when he started to school. They had brass toes that gleamed like gold and he was very proud of them. He would polish them every day to keep them shinny.
Not long after school started there was a cold rainy day and they had to walk several miles through the mud to their home. When he got home he carefully cleaned them and oiled them and polished the toes. Then he set them on the hearth in front of the big fireplace to dry. He went out to the kitchen to supper. When he returned to the living room his shoes were roasted almost to a cinder. Grandpa, seeing that they could never be worn again, threw them into the fire. This nearly broke Dad's heart and he cried and said to Grandpa, "Why couldn't you let me keep them to look at?" The shoes were gone and there was no money for more so he had to wear his home-made brogans to school the rest of that year.
They didn't have many clothes and would wear them until they were to dirty to wear longer. They would wear their shirts about a week and their pants two or three weeks
Washing was a big chore. There was a spring a short distance from the house. They would set a big iron kettle on some rocks and build a fire under it to heat water.
The soap was made from scraps and waste grease. The lye to make it was obtained by soaking ashes and boiling the water away and straining it. The clothes were soaked overnight in suds made from this soap. The next morning they were placed on a flat surface made by a large log that had been sawed in half lengthwise and set together to form sort of a table. The small boys had the task of soaping and beating them with paddles called battling sticks until they were clean. They were then rinsed and hung to dry.
Their home was one of faith. Grandpa had become a Baptist minister and they taught their children the Gospel as they understood it. They were familiar with the scriptures and they were taught to love God and keep his commandments.
Dad said on thing they were taught was never to swear. No improper language was tolerated in the home. I don't suppose it was Grandpa's teaching but there was a saying that if you swore you would go to hell and when you died Satan would pour brimstone in your ears. They were familiar with brimstone, a compound that would burn for hours with a red hot glow and they did not take any chances. Dad said they never swore even when alone.
When Dad was small Grandma became ill with consumption. She was not able to to do very much and Dad said he followed his father around the fields so he could watch him. One day a rattle snake bit him on the instep. Grandpa cut the wound and applied suction with his mouth and then carried him to the house. A doctor came from another town on horseback and stayed with them for several days. Through his efforts and the faith and prayers of his family Dad's life was saved. He nearly lost his life and was ill for a long time after.
Grandma became progressively worse and on 4 August 1890 she died. Grandpa and Dad were the only ones with her. He was only six years old but he told me shortly before he died at seventy eight that he could see her and hear her as she uttered her last words just as she died, "I can't live this way." That scene was as vivid then as it was seventy years before for him.
They grieved for the loss of their dear wife and mother. Joe was only two years old but the family would tell of how he cried for hours for a long time afterward and no one could comfort him.
About this time Missouri Clay Browning had come to visit her sister in the vicinity. She had had a very hard life. Her father had been called to the civil war when she was five years old. He was gone five years and when he returned he had tuberculosis and did not live very long. He was John Browning. Her mother was Margaret Alice McVay.
They had seven children but lost the oldest one and a set of twins. This left 3 girls, Carrie, Jodie and Clay and one son William. When their father died Grandma Clay was about ten years old. The other two girls were older than her and Bill was younger.
Their mother was an invalid from arthritis and had to be cared for. They had tried everything and spent all they could to try to help her but then as now not much could be done for it and she was almost helpless. She finally became stiffened into the shape of her chair and had to lifted to her bed.
They were a close family, probably loving each other more because of the things they suffered. They had grieved long over their father away in the war. When he died the children were young, Grandma about ten. They had to go on and make a living and care for their invalid mother.
Their aunts an uncles had a large plantation with many slaves so they gave them work. They planted and harvested the cotton, cane and other crops working with the slaves and others. They played with the slave children. They were never required to work on Sundays. None of them went to school. Grandma could neither read or write.
The girls Carrie and Jodie and brother Bill all married and had families. Grandma remained single and cared for her invalid mother.
Her bother had brought her and their mother to visit Carrie in Mississippi. She went to church where Grandpa was the minister and met him. This was only a few weeks following Grandma Caroline's death. Her heart went out to the handsome young minister and his motherless boys. She was thirty five years old at this time and she wanted a husband and family of her own. Some of her family took the mother to care for her and she soon married Grandpa, 18 Sep. 1890. This was only a few weeks after Grandma Caroline's death but in those days people did the things that were needed an sensible, paying little attention to formalities.
She was a sweet and gentle woman and was truly a good mother to the six boys. She loved them and did her best all her life to be a good mother to them. Dad said she was very patient and good to them all their lives.
She worked as Grandma Caroline had to take care of their needs. She knitted sewed and made quilts and the other things they needed.
In eleven months she bore a baby girl but it was born dead and she nearly lost her life. She was ill for a long time.
I remember Grandma very well. She was a very pretty woman, small and dainty. She did not put on any airs but was always clean and neat and looked nice, Her dresses were to her ankles and a clean apron covered them. She wore her hair in a bun on top of her head.
We children loved to go to their home. Their daughter Alice died at twenty six leaving four small children. Iva made her home with her Grandpa and Grandma Taylor. On Sundays she was allowed to go to Grandpa Peterson's for the day and I often went with her. We were always welcome and treated with love and kindness. Grandma gave us goodies and her pantry was full of good food. There was a big crab apple tree in the front yard and we would play in it for hours.
After they had migrated to Utah she bore four more children. Margaret Alice 6 Feb. 1893, Mary Magdalene 14 April 1895, John Adelman 13 Sep 1898 and Hans Ole 20 April 1900. Alice died 31 May 1919 and Dell (John Adelman) died on 14 Feb 1965.
They had always been a devout family. Grandfather continued as a minister until he me the Mormon missionaries. They were soon converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Grandfather and Bennett, Henry and George were all baptized 1 Sept 1892. Grandma and rest of them were baptized later.
The missionaries were welcomed into their home and spent much time staying with them.
Before long they began to consider where to move to Utah. Two missionaries who were staying with them were returning home and it was decided that Bennett and Henry would go with them and then let the family know what they thought of making the move. They were about fifteen and eighteen years old.
Some of their mother Caroline Easterling's folds were very anti Mormon. When they heard the boys were going to Utah with the missionaries, they decided that they should prevent it. They came to Grandpa's home with a mob to get the missionaries and mob them. Grandfather go his gun and defended them. At this turn of events the mob finally agreed to let the missionaries go if Grandpa let the boys go to their homes with them so they would be sure they did not go. There was no reasoning with them so this was finally agreed upon and they left with Bennett and Henry. They were not allowed to return home for three or four weeks.
There is some question or different versions of whether the family all came at once to Utah or whether Bennett and Henry came first. My Dad said that when they returned home Grandpa had sold part of his property consisting of a good farm and the turpentine distillery. He had put the rest up for sale and they were packed and ready to go. They could only take a few things. They left in the night with their wagons and went to where the train came about eight miles away. This was in 1892.
Dad said the train was about six cars and an engine. They had just crossed the great Mississippi River when he was thrown from the seat where he was sleeping. The engine had tipped completely upside down off the track and tipped over the cars. It was fortunate they were across the river and not thrown into it. No one was injured but it took several hours to get it back on the track and they could go on.
When they arrived in Utah they went to a hotel. Grandpa got up early and went to Bountiful to contact elders Moss and Gardner who were going to help them. Grandma got the children ready and they all went downstairs to have breakfast. They sat down at a table set with silverware and glasses of water. Then did not know what to do. Finally someone brought a dish of cut up oranges. They ate them and then waited and waited. I do not know why but they never did get anymore breakfast so they finally went back to their room. They decide if that was breakfast in Zion they had made a big mistake and wished they were back home where they had corn bread, meat and potatoes or something as hearty for breakfast.
Grandpa returned with Elder Moss and they went to his home in Bountiful. He had several children but they shared their home with the immigrant family the rest of that winter. Alice was born in Bountiful in Feb of 1893.
All of them found work. Grandpa was an excellent carpenter and received $1.50 a day which was good wages. Henry worked for Dan Moss' son in law. Bennett worked for the Deseret Livestock Co. herding sheep. Most of the family worked for this company which was run by the Mosses. Dad and Uncle Henry worked for them for many years.
The younger children picked fruit, weeded crops and did many things to help make a living.
They soon made friends among the Mormon children but they heartily disapproved of the way they swore. They tried to tell them they would go to hell and have brimstone put in their ears. This bit of advice was not needed and all the boys were shocked by this.
Tom Gardner, one of the missionaries Grandpa had defended in Mississippi offered them a job on his farm in Pine Valley. They decided to accept it.
They went to Milford on the train and were met there by Tom's brother with a wagon to take them and their possession to the farm.
This journey across the unsettled country was almost the end of the the little immigrant family. A terrible blizzard came up and they were almost defenseless in the open wagon. They had to lead the horses to make them go at all.
Mr Gardner was a terrible curser and gave vent to all his anger and frustration. Dad said he had never dreamed there were such words. They were all sure he would "go to hell and be boiled and roasted in brimstone forever and ever" even if he was a Mormon.
There was no shelter to be found and they would have frozen but they came to a sheep camp. The kind herder took them in and warmed and fed them as best he could. He had nothing to burn except a small brush called shadescale.
The camp was so small they could not all get in at once. He put Grandma and the small children in his bed. The older boys, George, Will, Tom and Joe had to sleep outside. They took everything they could spare and fixed a bed under the wagon to protect them from the storm which was still raging. George could not get his frozen boots off so went to bed with them on. In the morning they were thawed a little but the other boys couldn't get their boots on because they were so frozen. They said they thought they would have frozen to death anyway if it had not been that a half grown colt got under the wagon with them to seek shelter and lay beside them. It sort of broke the wind and the warmth of it's body helped them.
The next day the storm had stopped. They led the horse through the deep snow and arrive at the farm. They worked there a year or two. Then they heard that Wayne county was being settled and there was land available. They had bought an old wagon and fixed it up and they had a team and an unbroken horse. Once more they loaded their few possessions and in company with a family named Baker they traveled to Loa.
The first winter they lived in an old log house that belonged to Brother Jimison who had left the valley. They lived in several old houses the first year or two, then Grandpa built a barn for someone in exchange for five acres of land. He built a nice two room house on it. The first home of their own they had since leaving Mississippi.
They all worked hard. Will herded sheep. Joe and Grandpa worked on the Johnson reservoir being built. Grandpa and another man built the large wooden pipe to carry the water through the dam. Aunt Mary remembered when they would go up to the reservoir and the children would jump out of the wagon and pick wild flowers and play along the way. They had fun playing in the big wooden pipe.
Aunt Mary Magdalene was born 14 April 1895, John Adelman 13 Sep 1898, Hans Ole 20 April 1900.
They began to prosper and enjoy the blessing of the gospel they had accepted. Eventually Grandpa and the family built one of the nicest homes in Loa. It had a big upstairs and had a lot of beautiful wood paneling in most of the rooms. Grandpa and Grandma lived in it until his death in 1920. It was sold after that and burned down some years later.
Grandpa was active in Church and Civic affairs. He was a High Priest at the time of his death. He was county treasurer for some time. He was faithful to the Gospel until the end of his life.
Grandma was of a retiring nature and preferred to be a homemaker and mother. She was also faithful to her beliefs and attended church regularly.
On June 25 and 26 of 1907 the dreams they had worked for fourteen years were realized when the whole family went to the Manti Temple and all their work was done. The two wives Caroline and Clay were sealed to Grandpa. The children were all sealed. The six sons of Caroline were all endowed except Bennet. He had already been endowed in 1902. Tom was sealed to Ellen his wife and their baby Lloyd was sealed to them. Uncle George had crossed the mountains on horseback to be with them. His wife Estella was not able to come then but he took her back to the Manti Temple and had her and their two children, Ethel and Faun sealed to them on 10 July 1907. The four younger children were not old enough for endowments, Alice, Mary, Dell, and Hans. They had family pictures taken then. One of Grandpa and the six sons of Caroline and one of all the family. Bennett lived in Bountiful and Val Verda, but the other made their home in Loa. They were all fine farmer and made a good living for those days.
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Memories by Vida Peterson Sawyer:
When they were young George and Joe went somewhere to work and when they came home they had bought some violins and they began to learn to play. They had bought books and were teaching themselves. Dad wanted a violin very much so the next time Uncle George went away he bought Dad a violin for five dollars. That was quite a bit of money for those days. He said it was the happiest day of his life when he saw that violin.
The family could scarcely be expected to endure the practicing of three boys teaching themselves to play so they fixed up a corner in the granary and spent most of their spare time there practicing. They all became very good musicians. They could play anything by music or by ear. Later they learned to play banjos, mandolins, guitars and other instruments. They formed an orchestra and played for dances all over the county. Since that time there has always been a Peterson Orchestra in Loa. Uncle Joe's sons, Clinton and Clifton and their families and some others still have the orchestra. (1968) Uncle Joe taught his children to play and sing more than the others did.
Their music was the highlight of our lives. They got together often and would play and we would all sing for hours. They played the beautiful ballads we all loved. They usually warmed up with "Over The Waves" and "After the Ball". My mother Orilla Played the piano with them. They played the beautiful country and western music , reels, jigs and all the popular music as it came and went over the years. Everyone who could play something joined in and the rest sang.
There was always a lot of fun, love and laughter. Uncle Henry would do the two step and old fashioned dances. Aunt Maggie would sing such old songs as "Paper of Pins". My mother Aunt Rill as everyone could call her, would give readings. She could always act the clown. She had some buggy big blue eyes that she would slip under her glasses and she would get some garb on to fit the reading.
The little children were not banished from the party but would drop off to sleep one by one as they became too tired. When my Dave was about three they were all playing and singing. He picked up a guitar and began playing it. I started to take it away from him. They all jumped all over me and said he could play if he wanted to. They sat him on a chair right in the middle of them and played that guitar all evening and sang when they did and had the time of his life. He later learned to play the guitar.
We enjoyed their music so much. We especially loved the comical songs Uncle Joe would sing. The music was great but even better were the tales they would tell as they remembered their boyhood days and experiences in their lives. They were all master of story telling and no kid was found out playing when this was going on.
When they were boys they had a book called "Peck's Irish Friends." It was about some mischievous Irish boys and since they were the same number of character they promptly adopted the names and they called each other by them of the rest of their lives. Bennett was "Patsy O'Freezy", so was called O'Freezy. George, "Dina Monahan" called Monahan. Will was "Dugan". Henry was "Feelin Goheegan", or Feelin. Joe was "Herr Gosling" or Goose. Tom was "Mike O'Rourke". They were called by these names and some of their children inherited them. Lots of people called my brother Wayne Dugan and my sister Lorraine was called Dugan by her friends.
I am sure these characters never had as hilarious experiences as did their namesakes. They all had a great sense of humor and exaggeration. We would laugh until we were sick as they related the scrapes they got into.
Uncle Joe was the best story teller I ever heard. He had an absolute gift of exaggeration. Nothing in his story ever just fell over. "It fell over on it's back with all four legs sticking up in the air and kicking and squealing". He applied this exaggeration to everything. When we were kids his family went to Lagoon. He got a big kick out of telling us kids how they got him on the Giant Racer. They "dragged him kicking and squealing and threw him in the seat and held him down. When they went down the dips his eyes bugged out like they were on sticks and whirled around like airplane propellers and his hair stood up and waved around like the big flame that burned atop the big pipe by Geneva Steel Co. near Provo." This was typical of his tales and the rest were not far behind him.
They would tell of hunting bear and other game. They all loved the outdoors and hunting and spent much time in the wilds. They had all herded sheep and had experiences with bears, mountain lions and other things.
The party usually wound up with a freezer of home made ice cream, country fried chicken, corn on the cob and all kinds of good farm food. Our mothers contributed to our good lives as our father did.
They were a wonderful family. All hard working, decent honest men. They provided for their families as best they could and their wives, our mothers were good women. They worked hard, sewed and made quilts and anything we needed. They made over and made do and got along on what was available. They helped their husbands with chores and farm work when necessary.
They all had large families and each child was welcomed and loved and cared for.
They had more than their share of sorrow and trouble. They had much happiness and joy. As with all families there was often disappointment and dreams that could not come true. There were failures and triumphs. Most of them seemed to be able to cope with life's problems and had the courage and strength to carry their burdens.
Grandpa and Grandma lived in their nice home in Loa until his death 29 June 1920. I remember his death and funeral and the family gathering at the home. Even on that day and evening they played their violins but they were sad songs in tribute to their father. I was only eight when he died and though I remember him well I do not remember him as well as grandma.
He was a handsome man. He was friendly and kind and had many friends. He was well thought of in the community. He was always deeply religious. He left all he had in Mississippi to embrace the Gospel and he continued faithful unto the end. He must have taught his children and encouraged them in the Gospel to get them all prepared to go through the Temple in 1907. The older ones were all men then.
He was always kind to we grandchildren when we would go there. He had left Denmark at about eighteen years of age and I do not think he ever saw any of his loved ones again in his life. He had a lot of courage to leave them and come to America alone at that early age. He was a very skilled carpenter and did much building in his life.
Grandma lived with Aunt Mary and Uncle Walt after his death. She was welcome in their home and they cared for her in love and kindness for sixteen years. She contributed much to their happiness. She was so sweet of nature and so loving with the children. The last time I went to see her she showed me a trunk full of beautiful quilts she had made.
She lived until shortly after her 81 birthday and died 21 July 1936. She is buried beside her beloved companion in the Loa cemetery.
We should be thankful to them for the opportunities they have provided for us by becoming members of the Church, and giving us the blessing of being born into the Gospel. If we will follow their example and live as worthily as they did we will be greatly blessed in our lives here on earth, and when the time comes for each of us to join them in the spirit world we will again enjoy their companionship and be a united family.