Friday, January 1, 2021

Niels Johansen Family ~~~~~ Pioneer of the Month, January 2021

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 Niels Johansen was born 2 August 1833 in Stenstrup, Svendborg, Denmark. His father was Johan Jorgensen who was christened 30 October 1796 at Egense, Svendborg, Denmark (the son of Else Fredericke Rasmussen and Jorgen Knudsen (Stroger). Niels' mother was Karen Nielsen who was christened 25 May 1801 at Egense (the daughter of Bodil Nielsen and Niels Hansen). Niels' parents were married at Egense on 20 December 1823 and their first child Karen Margrethe was born there the following year. They then moved to nearby Stenstrup where Else Frederikke, Rasmus, Jorgen were born at Hunstrup. Niels father, Johan Johansen earned his living fishing at a little fishing village called Fyen. One day he went out fishing and a terrible storm blew up in his absence. His family waited, watching and praying for his return, but Johan didn't return. It was presumed he had been drowned at sea. This accident took place on 27 August 1842: a burial service for him was held in Hunstrup on 1 September 182. Niels was just nine years of age when he was left fatherless, and his mother was left widowed with a family of seven children to care for. (Temple work for Niels' parents was done at the Manti Temple: Johan was baptized 9 May 1957, endowed 8 September 1960, Karen was baptized 21 December 1956, endowed 16 July 1957. They were sealed 12 April 1961.) The first branch of the church had been organized in 1850 and Niels heard the gospel message from two Mormon missionaries who came to his home. When he was nineteen he joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on 9 February 1853 and became an active member. He met a young lady named Ane Andersen she had also accepted baptism into the church on 6 November 1851. Ane was born 16 March 1839 in Rojle Mose, Vejlby, Odense, Denmark. Her parents were Anders Larsen (born 9 April 1806 at Odense, the son of Maren Pedersen and Lars Svendsen) and Ane Cathrine Hansen (born 2 December 1801 at Odense, a daughter of Anne Hansen and Hans Madsen.) Ane was the first member of her family to join the church and was turned away from her home because of her affiliation. She went to live with and uncle named Peder. A year after Ane joined, her younger sister, Maren, joined the church and then their eldest brother, Lars Streep, was baptized into the church the day before Niels was baptized. (Ane's parents' temple work was done at the Manti Temple: Anders was endowed 24 February 1892 and Ane Catherine was endowed 1 November 1895. They were sealed 6 June 1947. Anders' baptism was 24 January 1948 and his endowment was 6 February 1948. Ane Catherine's duplicate baptism was 24 January 1946 and her endowment 21 February 1946.) Soon Ane and Niels began making plans to come to Zion in America where they could live and worship as they pleased and be sealed together within the church for eternity. When they set sail for America, Niels was twenty-three years old and Ane was nearly seventeen. They boarded "The John J. Boyd," a wooden sailing vessel bound for America from Liverpool on 6 December 1855. There were 508 people on the boat and 437 of them were Scandinavian saints. The vessel was not equipped for so many people and crowded conditions prevailed. Tiers of bunks were all around the vessel and they ate upon the same boxes that were used to sit upon. The captain of the ship was very domineering and when severe storms arose, he forbade the saints to sing or pray of hold services. President Canute Petersen was appointed to take charge of this group of saints and he instructed them to carry on secretly, which they did, never loosing their faith. Ane and Niels were married on board ship as they crossed the Atlantic Ocean. The ceremony took place on 20 January 1856. They had planned to eat green split pea soup for their wedding supper, but just as they were going to eat, a large wave upset the boat and spilled the soup, so they went to bed without supper. In addition to the terrible storms at sea, a fire broke out in the captain's cabin. The saints had faith that God would preserve their lives so no great excitement prevailed. As they proceeded on ;their journey they ran across a disabled ship and picked up fifty sailors. These sailors proved to be a great help to the ship as the regular sailors were near exhaustion because the journey proved to be much longer than had been contemplated. The water supply ran very low and was vile. Sickness broke out and around fifty adults and children died. These trial helped prepare the saints for the rigors of pioneer life that they would face in the new land. After a voyage of eleven weeks and three days, the saints landed in America on 1 March 1856. They arrived in Ft. Louis(St. Louis) where they remained for several months finding work to do in preparation for their journey to the State of Deseret. The Canute Peterson Company of saints began their journey across the plains on 26 June 1856. There were sixty wagons with two yolk of oxen to each wagon and six to eight persons assigned to each wagon. President Peterson was the captain and he appointed sub-captains under him for each ten wagons. The oxen were very unruly and would get over-heated and over worked so that many of them died. They stampeded one day and killed one man. The company did not travel on Sunday, but held services in the day and evening. Other evening would find the group singing songs of Zion and occasionally they would dance They arrived in Salt Lake on 16 September 1856. On the entire trip they saw few people outside their own company: no houses were along the way except on government station at Fort Laramie. After arriving at their destination, Ane and Niels first settled south of Salt Lake in Spanish Fork. Their first son, Joseph, was born here the following year-16 October 1857-one year and one month to the day of their arrival across the plains. In 1859 they moved to Mt. Pleasant and lived in the fort as did all the other people. The first school settlement was built that year with everyone donating public labor and materials to build this one-room house which was about 16 feet by 25 feet which served as the school house, social center and place for religious services. It was called the second ward school house and was to be used for the next twenty years before a new church and school house could be built containing comfortable heating and modern benches and desks. This first school had large fireplaces at each end of the room with roaring wood fires to provide heat. The desks were a double arrangement about two feet wide on either side and sloping up to the center, with split log benches on both sides; the students would face each other. Four such desks constituted the furniture. A blackboard made from planed lumber hung on the wall and there were few textbooks. The meager educational opportunities were supplied by dedicated men and women within the community who had fortunately acquired an education in their former countries. Niels was among a group of men who petitioned the church that year for the right to leave the fort and settle in the West Hills and later a place nearby called "The Bottoms" where he farmed and acquired much land. Their first daughter, Caroline, was born in Moroni on 6 June 1860. They then came back to Mt. Pleasant where Ane gave birth to a son whom they named Niels on 2 august (which was his father's birthday) but the baby died in the first year. Polygamy was being practiced in the church at this time, and the worthy members were allowed to take another wife. In 1862 Ane's sister, Andersine(Sena) came to Utah to join them. She was born 2 August 1842 at Rojle Mose, Vejlby, Odense, Denmark and had been baptized into the church on 20 October 1858 a few years after Ane had left Denmark. There is no record of a marriage date for Niels and Sena, but the Endowment House records (Book E, No. 878, Page 52 ) show that Niels took the sisters to the Endowment House to have them sealed to him on 12 November 1863. Niels had homes to build for both families. The families lived the law of polygamy in harmony and continued to work together as one big, happy family, and even though the families were brought up in separate homes, there was a very close bond among all of the members. There was much work to do for these pioneer settlers in the early stages of colonizing an area-land to break up and prepare for planting as well as unfriendly Indians to contend with. The Black Hawk Indian War was fought in 1865in Sanpete and Sevier Counties. There was much property damage and loss of lives. When the women would see the Indians coming, they would beat the drums and wash tubs so the men in the fields could hear of the danger and rush to their homes in wagons, buggies or buckboards to protect their family and property. This year of the Indian Wars saw two new additions to Niels' family: Ane had another son on 6 September 1865 whom they again named after Niels. And on 21 December 1865 Sena gave birth to her first child , a daughter, Nielsena, whom they called Sena. President Young came to Manti to dedicate the site for the Manti Temple on 25 of April 1877, and work on the site preparation began five days later. The people of the Sanpete area all assisted in the leveling of the quarry hill where the Manti Temple would be placed. After the hill was ready, a sawmill (called the Temple Sawmill) was placed in Twin Creek Canyon where lumber was sawed to be used in the construction of the temple. The work was carried on winter and summer with most of the men donating their work. The depth of the snow was at times seven feet and prevented the use of oxen or horses to drag the timber from the mountainside. The trees were felled and cut into certain lengths. With handspikes and such appliances as were necessary, they slid the logs from the hillside to the bottom of the canyon, from whence they were hauled to the mill upon bobsleds-all home made. The lumber from the mill was hauled to Manti by team, and the pioneers shared in the great responsibility that was theirs and the honor of having a temple of the Lord in their community. There were many hardships and trials-many births and deaths. Ane gave birth to another son, John, on 17 August 1867 and Sena had her second daughter, Ester Fredricka on 30 April 1868. She then had a son, Kimball, on 24 September 1870 and a few months later Ane gave birth to Andrew on 26 November 1870. Ane then gave birth to her last child, a daughter, on 5 December 1873 and named her Anna. Sena continued to bear six more children: Elizabeth (Eliza) 15 May 1873; Moroni 19 June 1876: Lucinda 4 May 1879: Wilford 4 June 1882; Marie 4 April 1885 and Anna Cathrine (Katie) 16 June 1888. Sena lost one child who contracted diphtheria and another child fell down a cellar and was killed. Another heartbreaking experience was when Sean's daughter, Ester Fredricka gave birth to a baby, Fredrick Mathiasen on 26 January 1891 and she died from complications of childbirth on 5 February 1891, just the day after her husband, Jacob Mathiasen was killed in a farming accident on 4 February 1891. The baby lived just ten months and it then died on 26 October 1891. And Ane had lost both of the baby boys which they had named after Niels-one died as a baby and the other died at four years. Niels fathered seventeen children-eight by Annie and nine by Sena. Twelve of these children lived to maturity and married. The children were brought up in the separate homes,. But grew to love the entire family. The children knew the value of work and helped the parents glean the fields for the food that sustained them. Niels was a fine farmer and they had a large lot surrounding their place on which they planted a garden and fruit trees. They raised some chickens and also a few pigs. Behind the house was a building they called a "shanty" where home made soup was placed to dry and set. Here also many "batches" of corn prunes and apples were spread to dry to be used through the year. In fact, this "shanty" held quite a fascination for the children. Another thrill for them was to be allowed to sleep on the elegant folding bed that was in their front room. It had a mirror on it and folded against the wall. It was quite an honor to sleep on this bed when they stayed overnight at Grandpa Johansen's. the grandchildren would ask Niels to talk and count in Danish and they would try to count with him and recognize a few Danish words and sing little songs even though they didn't know what words they were repeating. It was fun for them to pretend they could speak a foreign language. Niels was always a jolly man and the grandchildren loved the attention the received from him, and also the peppermints he always carried in his pockets to give them. The families were mostly large in those days and the entertainment was always "home made". They had no modern conveniences such as telephones, electric lights, radios, movies, paved sidewalks or automobiles. And it was necessary to conserve wherever they could and share with others. The families and friends would gather together and share subscriptions to newspapers or magazines and read aloud and enjoy good evenings of companionship. One such family that would join Niels was the John Knudsen family who lived across the street to the south of them. They were very close friends. Ane died at just forty-seven years of age when her youngest child was twelve. She had lived a constant life of service to her family and life had not been easy. She and her family had lived on the farm and had helped in the fields, while Sena and her children had lived in town; Annie had enjoyed better health and worked right beside Niels in the fields with the children who were able to help. When Annie died, the younger children stayed with the married children or with "Aunt Sena" or Aunt Senie" as some of them called her; and everyone helped out as they could. Annie passed away on their farm at the Bottoms (located between Moroni and Mt. Pleasant) on 18 June 1886. Living off the land was not always easy and their faith was tried in many ways, but it never wavered. They never doubted the Lord's goodness and they were always humble and prayerful-living the gospel in an exemplary manner. Niels was a faithful church worker. He was ordained a Seventy 10 December 1862 by Peter Mogensen and on 21 December 1889 he was ordained a High Priest by H.C. Lund. He set a good example for his families to follow. His grandchildren all remember how much Niels loved to read the Bible. Niels was always a full tithe payer. The first and very best he gave to the Lord; it was his way of paying his tithing. He knew the Lord would get his full share in this way. He stressed to his boys that the choice hay was on the north patch; therefore, this was the hay to deliver to the Lord as his tithe. One time he sent the boys to the fields to bring in the hay and they decided that the hay would just be sold anyway, so they might as well cut the foxtail hay and deliver that to the church. Niels questioned them upon their return and asked if they had delivered the choice hay. They hung their heads and admitted that they hadn't followed his orders, whereupon they received a lecture on the value of paying a full and honest tithing, and why it was far better to overpay than to underpay the Lord. When Wilford managed the ranch in later years, the wishes of his father were very carefully followed in taking the best of the crops to the tithing house. His children brought Niels two cows home to their grandfather from the field each day. Wilford's daughter Effonia, was sent to live with Niels and Sena during the school year, and she remembers how Niels always insisted that they kneel at their chair when he asked the blessing at meal time. Sena would tip toe around getting the last minute preparations ready to put on the table while Niels prayed. The children learned to be patient and ignore the hunger spots in their tummies until it was time to eat. During the big dinners , grownups always ate first and they danced and sang after the meal. One memorable couple was Jim Monsen and Sena; he was so tall compared to her and he was full of fun and song. The Johansen yard displayed flowers that no one in town could compete with. When Sena went to Salt Lake City to Conference, she always brought home bags of unusual plants. Their yard was beautiful during the growing season, and footpaths and walks were swept clean from the house to the corral. Sena was treasure of the Relief Society for many years. In those days there was no welfare or social security as we know today and when Visiting Teachers went on their monthly rounds, the members would perhaps donate some eggs, fruit, beans or anything they may have and this in turn would be distributed to the poor. As one could guess, what these good ladies collected was not too much. Very few people had very much to spare. But the grandchildren recall being at the Johansen home many times when a "needy" person would come for some food and they were never turned away empty-handed. Most of what they were given was from the limited food supply of their own personal stock. This, however, was not common knowledge. They were always charitable people; nothing could equal the goodness of their hearts. Just before Christmas the family assembled at their house and the preparation of food went on for days. Beef, pork, and lambs were killed and dressed, and finker, head-cheese, rolly pulse, cakes and puddings, were prepared. When it was all ready and assembled into packages, Wilford would hitch the horses to the bob sleigh packed with food, and away they all went singing and delivering goodies to the needy. The true spirit of Christmas was taught in the Johansen home, and the children enjoyed the spirit of sharing what they had with others. What family fun they had! Niels and Sena spent practically all of their time in their own home and visited the children occasionally, but the visits were not long. For many years Niels walked to church, and when the grandchildren were out of Sunday School they would run down the street and meet him on the way to church. His rheumatism was so bad that he could not walk fast, so he always left home early to arrive in time for the afternoon session of church. Wilford would take him home after church, either in the surrey or wagon. (Automobiles were not commonly available in those days.) In church on one side of the podium was Peter Monsen and on the other was Niels Johansen; Jim Larsen and Andrew Larsen and others were always on the stand all snoring at the same time. They were great, good, and kind men-loved by all. They were temple workers for many years, working year-in and year-out. The "Temple Hack" as it was called, stopped on scheduled days to pick them up. In Niels home one room was finished upstairs. Along the edges of the unfinished area were boxes after boxes of temple garments-some were for burial purposes and some were for temple work. The garments were mostly hand sewn by Mrs. Henry Ericksen. People planned and looked ahead then, and their garments for burial were made far in advance. Many times Niels found his grandchildren, Ruth Jensen (Steele) and Effonia Johansen (Burns) trying them and parading across the rafters. As the years progressed, Niels became so crippled with rheumatism that he was unable to walk without the aid of two canes, but he was always a pleasant and fun man. He would reach out with his canes and catch the grandchildren as they sped by and would laugh and say, "I have four legs so I can catch you." The church was only two blocks away from his home, but his rheumatism made it impossible for him to walk the distance and climb the steep steps that led to the assembly hall. He missed this very much. He spent many hours on his front porch reading; he never seemed to tire of reading the Book of Mormon and the Bible. Everything he tried to do seemed to be such a great effort for him, but he always kept two buckets of water on the stand for Sena to use and he kept the wood box full with wood for the two fires they always kept burning. They remained in their own home during their last years and the children looked in on them, spending many hours caring for their needs and helping with the work that becomes so difficult with age. The endeared themselves to their children and made their last ears a wonderful experience for them all. On the morning of the day Niels died, a ninety-year old neighbor came over and said, "Well, brother Niels, I hear you plan on skipping out on me." Niels replied, "yes, I'm going this afternoon." He accepted messages all day to take with him to loved ones on the "other side" as he parted this life. A Danish lady who made cheese and sold it came and gave him some messages for her husband and family. And his nephew, Jim Larson, came over and said, "Uncle Niels, what are you going to tell my mother?" He smiled and said "I'll tell her what a scalliwag you are." Niels was in good spirits all day and seemed ready for a new experience. At about 1:30 P.M. he tried to get out of bed. His son John and his daughter Marie told him to lie down. He said, "no, I've got to make my peace with my Heavenly Father. I want to go to the woodshed." So they helped him down there where he asked to be left alone until he called them. Some time passed without his call and they knew he was frail and weak, so they decided to look in. They found him kneeling in prayer. Soon he called for them to come and help him back to bed, they started to undress him, but he laid down and passed away. It was the 16th day of August and he had just passed his eighty-eighth birthday as he passed away at his home in Mt. Pleasant. His funeral was most beautiful. Grandchildren were lined up from the branch store across the street, up the wooden walk on both sides of the house, holding beautiful flowers that had been sent by friends and family. It was most impressive and a memorable occasion for them. After Niels died, Sena spent most of her remaining days in Marie's home and many days at Eliza's home also. It was Eliza's home when she became suddenly ill. Eliza and Kimball had gone to Mt. Pleasant to attend the funeral of Hannah Johansen (Joseph's wife) and while they were gone, Sena became ill and was taken to Delta where she died six days later a t Marie's home. It was just two months after the passing of her husband. Sena was seventy-nine years of age. Niels and his two wives are buried in the Mt. Pleasant City Cemetery, and more than 864 souls do honor and treasure their memory and the heritage they left to us al


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Ane (Annie) Andersen Johansen Story

Ane Andersen was born 16 March 1839 in Rojle Mose, Vejlby, Odense, Denmark. Her father was Anders or Andrew Larsen who was born 9 April 1806 at Strib, Vejlby, Odense, Denmark, a son of Lars Svendsen and Maren Pedersen. Ane's mother was Ane Cathrine Hansen, born 2 December 1801 at Aulby, Vejlby, Odense, Denmark, a daughter of Hans Madsen and Anne Hansen. Ane was the fourth child, with two older brothers, Lars and Hans, an older sister, Maren, and also a younger sister by three years whose name was Andersine (Sena). In Salt Lake City at a General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on (ctober of 1849 a number of missionaries were called to preach the Restored Gospel in foreign countries. In the summer of 1850 the gospel was first preached in Denmark, and 15 September 1850 brought the organization of the first branch of the church there. Nearly all of the first converts of the Restored Gospel in Denmark had been Baptists. Ane was one who heard the gospel and was converted to it. She was baptized on 6 November 1851 when just twelve years old. Many did not listen to the missionaries and would not receive their message, oftentimes ridiculing and persecuting those tho did. Ane was the only one of her family who joined the church at that time, and because she did so, she was turned away from her home. She went to live with an uncle whose name was Peder. At school she was looked down upon and punished by having to hold a book in the air for a certain length of time. If her hand dropped, she received a good hit with a ruler; but in telling ;her children about this later she would say "I had seen an angel and he had made known unto me that the church was true, and I would not deny it." When Ane was seventeen years old and Niels Johansen (with whom she had fallen in love) was twenty-three, they decided to come to Zion in the United States and make their home where there were more Mormons. They set sail and were married on 20 January 1856 while crossing the Atlantic Ocean [on the John J. Boyd ship containing 508 passengers, 438 of whom were Scandinavian saints]. It was a rough and long crossing which took 80 days, and was only a preview of the trials they would endure before reaching Utah, crossing the plains with handcarts and wagons [in the Canute Petersen company] leaving St Louis 26 June 1856. Their first child was born a year after arriving in Utah; Joseph's birthday was 16 October 1857. They moved south and had their second child, Caroline, at Moroni on 6 June 1860. They then made a permanent home in Mt. Pleasant where the remainder of their children were born. Baby Niels was born 2 August 1862, but did not live long. Then on 12 November 1863, a daughter Melvina was born. About this time polygamy was being practiced in the church and Niels sent for Annie's younger sister, Andersine (Sena) who had joined the church a few ;years after they had come to America. Niels took the two sisters to Salt Lake and they were both sealed to him 12 November 1864 in the Endowment House [Niels as Niels Jorgan (father's surname) and Ane and Sena as Larsen (their father's surname)]. Annie and Sena had several children who were real close to the same age and who grew up as close as twins. All the children were happy togeether and grew to love one another dearly. It was certainly one big, happy family, though they lived in separate houses; Sena lived in town and Annie (who enjoyed better health) lived on the farm west of Mt. Pleasant at "The Bottoms" where Niels had acquired much farming land. Annie gave birth to four more children: Niels (another son whom they named after his father) born 6 September 1865 who lived just four years; John 17 August 1868; Andrew 26 November 1870; and Anna 5 December 1873. These people were real pioneers and were among the first settlers in that part of Utah. Here they helped in the upbuilding of the community, enduring all the privations suffered from scanty crops, drouths, and Indian troubles. The women did not live an easy life in their daily duties as they suffered the hardships of the early settlers. They endured the Black Hawk War which was fought there in 1865 resulting in the loss of many lives and ;thousands of dollars in property loss. Annie was a very faithful wife and mother. She always set a good example for her family, keeping the commandments of the Lord. She helped everyone in time of need--especially in sickness ;since doctors were scarce. One time there was an epidemic of diphtheria in the community. Everyone was so afraid of contracting it that no one would go in to assist those who were ill. But Annie went in and helped, being very careful to change all her clothing and wash up real well before going back to her own family. She felt that if you went to do good and not for show, the Lord would bless you, and she felt ;she would be protected in doing this. This attitude was verified as none of her family took the disease. Annie was a peacemaker. If any of the family had troubles between them, she would try and talk to them and help them settle their problems. Thus, peace and harmony would be restored again. Ane died at the earl;y age of forty-seven when her eighth and youngest child was only twelve. Annie had seen her funeral in a dream and had told the family of it, but they tried to comfort her and tell her she was not going to die. She had been ailing for a few days and became pretty sick the last day. She had been living in a cellar-type home and the water which leaked in caused some dampness and caused her legs to become stiff from this exposure. She expected death and told her family to comfort Melvina when she heard the news because she would hardly be able to take it. Melvina had been away working, and when she came home and heard of her mother's death, she went out to the bridge (where her mother had predicted) and sobbed uncontrollably. Annie Johansen passed away on 18 June 1886 and is buried in the Mt. Pleasant City Cemetery. Niels and Sena lived for thirty-five years longer and cared for all of the children who were not able to care for themselves. Niels passed away on 16 August 1921 at the age of eighty-eight, and Sena lived just two months longer, passing away at the age of seventy-nine on 11 October 1921. Annie's posterity now numbers 622.

Anona Oman Miles with additions by Gayle Hayward who retyped the story from her compilation of Niels Johansen's Family History printed in 1968.


~~~~~~~~~

Andersine (Sena) Anderson Johansen 





Tribute to Andersina (Sina) Andersen Johansen  ~~~

  by the Mt. Pleasant Relief Society




 


Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Hans Jergen Hansen and Anna Kerstine Hansen

 


Hans Jergen Hansen
Hans Jergen


                Anna Kerstine 









 

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

The John Henry Owen Wilcox Family (from our archives and updated)
















History Of John Henry Owen Wilcox

History Of John Henry Owen Wilcox
taken from Family Search written by J.O. Meiling


On December 25, 1775, in a little town in Rhode Island, was born Hazard Wilcox. He met and wed Sarah Seeley. In 1824 the resided at Benton, Arkansas, where on 14 Feb. 1824, was born John Henry Owen Wilcox, the youngest and last of a larg family and the subject of this treatise.

Little is known of his early life. Leaving Arkansas the family settled in Missouri, where in 1831 the father died. It was here in Marion County, Missouri that the boy accepted Mormonism. This new religion had aroused such bitter antagonism against its adherents that mob violence was prevalent throughout the Middle west. They lived in Jackson, Clay, and Caldwell counties in Missouri, being driven from place to place with less regard than for so many cattle. On one occasion, Grandfather escaped the wrath of the mob by hiding in a corn field, and another time he was clad in girls clothing to cover his idnentity lest he be taken away by a brother-in-law who was bitterly opposed to his affiliating with the Mormons. He witnessed the transfiguration of Brigham Young when he assumed the likeness of the Prophet Joseph Smith at the time a successor to lead the western trek was being discussed. When it was seen futile to further attempt to maintain the homesteads in the Mississippi valley, and hold their religious convictions, the Mormon converts, in accordance with the advice of the Prophet Joseph, prepared to head west into the unknown Rocky Mountain region. John Henry Owen, with his widowed mother and sister Jane, was among them and early in the summer of 1847, in a slowly moving ox drawn prairie schooner, set out in John Taylor's Company, bound for that unknown, unexplored western wilderness. Jane and Justus Azel Sealey were married 10 March 1842, and were in the same Company. Over the prairie lands, along the North Platte river, up the ridges and valleys, up of the Wasatch Mountains, and down through Emmigration Canyon continued that trek of more than 1000 miles, the like of which is recorded no where else in history. What were the emotions that surged through his being his being when , on September 30, 1847, from a vantage point on the Western Slope of Big Mountain, he gazed over Salt Lake Valley, a cheerless, desolate, uninviting desert wasteland? What did he behold in that panorama to bid him welcome, or to suggest that this is the long sought haven in which to build a home? Somber indeed, was the picture painted by Jim Bridger when he urged the original emigrants not to stop in Salt Lake Valley. Said he, "This is no place for civilized man. Nothing but wild beasts and savages could possibly survive the vigors of the elements and the destitution of this barren land. Nothing can grow and utter starvation will inevitably follow if settlement is attempted." Did Grandfather lament and want to turn back as did the children of Israel? Never. With a burning desire for a home in a land of religious freedom, as the obstacles that beset the way of the o conquer the obstacles that beset the way of the frontiersman, as in the woof there was woven into his being some of the most enduring fabric that ever formed a part of human character.

He first settled in Salt Lake, where on the 14th of March, 1848, he was married to Mary Young, a convert from Ontario, Canada, who also came westward in John Taylor's Company. In 1850, they moved to Manti remaining there until 1853, when they settled at Fort Hamilton, a settlement located some distance west of the present site of Mt. Pleasant. That same year, they moved to Pleasant Grove, Then to North Ogden. In 1860, he came to Mt. Pleasant whare they resided the rest of their lives. He homesteaded 20 acres of land Three miles north of the town and tilled this land for nearly 40 years until he became so feeble he could plow but a quarter of an acre per day.

Grandfather participated in the Walker and the Blackhawk Indian Wars. While residing at Fort Hamilton, he was employed at a sawmill in Pleasant Creek Canyon, where on one occasion he was left as a watchman while the other workmen went to town. In the early evening he heard the words, "go home." He paid no attention to this until the warning was repeated three times then he went home. On returning to camp the next day they found it a smoldering mass of ruin. The Indians had set fire to the lumber, the logs, the wagons and every combustible object, and driven off the cattle. This cost Grandfather his wagon and oxen, but did not deter him in his determination to strive on. He traded all his possessions, including a house and lot for another wagon and yoke of cattle.

Though he went hunting occasionally to augment the family food supply, he had little recreation, his first concern was to supply provisions for a wife and eleven children. His life was filled with toil, trials, hardships, privations, sacrifices and heartaches incident to life in that time. He was ambitious and worked at any form of labor available, including farming, logging, mining, building log and adobe dwellings. At one time he worked at a mine near Austin, Nevada, where he was so severely injured that he was weak for years. He was an expert log hewer, even made lumber by this method. His ability in making ox yokes was widely known and many men came to him for his service. On one occasion he exchanged a large load of poles for 40 pounds of wheat, which he planted on an acre and a quarted of land, and with joyousness they gathered from the threshing floor seventy bushels of grain. He grubbed oak brush for a peck of corn per day and thanked God for the opportunity of earning that 14 pounds of corn to help feed his family. In our day, we hear much about the full dinner pail but Grandfather well remembers the days his dinner bucket contained only a pinch of salt, with which he hoped to season a kettle of segas, thistle stocks, pig weed or other edible plants he might find to cook for his noon day meal. Grandmother Wilcox oft repeated, "As I look back on these agonizing times, I wonder how in the world we ever managed to keep body and soul together. I know, However, that it was through the graciousness of the Good Lord on High, we were able to withstand those terrible ordeals." The Mormons made the desert blossom as the rose, but the first "roses to bloom for grandfather were a few potatoes broduced from seed brought from California on pack animals and sold pour to a customer at 25 cents each.

Grandfather never learned to read or write, yet the feat of turning this sagebrush covered wasteland into fields of bounteous harvests, will be emblanzoned on the history of Utah by these early pioneers. It was not the call of wild, the desire for fame or fortune, or adventure that promted him to abondon his friends and posessions, but the hope of finding a place where he could dwell in peace and safety, unbomolested by a bloodthirsty mob determined to annihilate the converts to this newly-born religion. He had morality, truthfulness, and strict adherence to the golden rule worthy of emulation to the end of time.


"Well done, thou good and faithful servant, ... ... ..."




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The following is a handwritten history written by a daughter of Mary and John Henry Wilcox .