Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Peter Madsen Peel

The beautiful Peter Madsen Peel home was located on First West and Main Street where the Triangle Lounge now sits. It was torn down to accommodate the Seely Hinkley Garage in later years.

Peter Madsen and Christine Folkman Peel History

(excerpts taken from research by Madeline Merrill Mills a great granddaughter)

Peder Madsen Peel (Pihl, Piil) was born on the 24th of August 1820 in the town of Aaker, Bornholm, Denmark. His father, Henning was a farmer and he had a small farm just outside the town of Aaker.

Peder and his father had a wonderful feeling for each other and were very close. Both of them were small in stature and they worked well together. Peder was very apt in the mechanical things and would fix anything. He learned the blacksmith trade. He may have worked for his future father-in-law because Jergen Folkman, too, was a blacksmith. This ability to know how to do things certainly stood him in good stead in his later life.

On November 27, 1846, he married Christine Folkman, a daughter of the blacksmith. They were the same age as they were probably school friends and had known each other all their lives. She was a dark, slender young lady who moved swiftly and was happy and gay. She was the second child and daughter of eight children. They were married in the white Lutheran Church in Aaker and their first little girl, Christiane, was born the following year. She lived about ten days. They had another little girl the next year, July 25, 1848. They named her Christiane, too, but she lived only until the following March and Christiane Pihl was without a baby again.

On the 14th of November, 1850, she had a little boy, Christian Frederick, and they were so happy with him. They lived in a little house just outside of town. They had a big garden - the soil was deep and rich and things grew easily. Both Peder and Christiane had a feeling for growing things. Christiane loved flowers and the spring ones especially. The baby grew into a sturdy healthy boy, and followed his father and mother around their place in Aaker.

The first Mormon missionaries came to Bornholm in June of 1851 and had very limited success, but had baptized four people. They were called back to Copenhagen for a general conference in August of 1851, and at this time it was decided to organize a branch of the church in Bornholm.

Brothers Anthon Agren and Hans Peter Jensen came to do this. In October they moved into the Aaker section and on October 18th they were holding a meeting at the home of neighbors of Christiane's father and her brothers went over to hear what they had to say. At the meeting, the Elders said that the Lutherans were teaching false doctrine; and this made an impression the young men. Chris wrote in his autobiography that he and his brother, Peter, decided to repent of their sins but didn't want to be Mormons. Christiane's older married brother, Jeppi, was also at the meeting and he invited the missionaries to their home. He also invited his brother and father and several relatives to be there. The Elders spoke and Chris wrote that he wanted to protest what they were saying, but they proved with references of the Bible that what they said was right. Then in November there was another meeting at Jeppi's home and this time Christiane and Peder and Peder's father, Henning and mother, Karen, as well as other relatives and friends attended. It was a very inspirational meeting and right after this meeting, the very same evening, her brother, Jeppi, and his wife and cousin, Anders Ipsen, and wife, and a neighbor, Trana Johnson, decided to be baptized. All of the people from the meeting walked the mile and on-half to the beach and the five were baptized. It was very thrilling to the crowd to see the baptism done in the original way.

A few days later on the tenth of November, Peder's father, Henning, and mother, Karen, and sister Caroline, were baptized by Elder Jensen. About this time, the people of Bornholm, stirred by the Lutheran Church, began to be very unfriendly to the members and to the investigators. They made threats if people joined the Mormon Church and there were some beatings. Brother Jensen had returned to Copenhagen for Conference in November and Brother J. Jorgensen who had been ordained a priest was continuing with the meetings. Christiane's brothers and Peder's father were right in the middle of the persecutions. It was very heavy around Aaker. At one time the Elders were literally carried out of the county and threatened that they would be killed if they came back. The mob was led by the sheriff.

Christiane's brothers, Peter and Christoffer, were baptized on the 29th of November and the next morning they wee told by some customers to the blacksmith shop not to expect any more work from them because no Mormon could ever do work for them. The next day, Jeppi was ordained a Priest and also District President and his cousin, Anders Ipsen was made a Priest and his counselor. A mob with clubs were ever around. The members there in Bornholm were abused and beaten, arrested and their lives made miserable. Their jobs were threatened and some lost them, but through it all only one couple left the Church.

Every day there were more and more baptized. In February, Jeppi was called as a missionary and other missionaries, including one from Zion, Brother John Forsgren, were sent to the island to help. Peder and Christiane knew the church was true. On August 2, 1852, they went to the beach and were baptized by Brother Ole Svendsen. The mobs were relentless in their search for the missionaries and in their harassment of the members but the members continued to hold their meetings.

In the autumn of 1852, the subject of emigrating from Denmark to Utah was brought up. All the Pihls decided to leave. They got their outgoing permits on the sixth of November, 1852. But there just was not enough money for all to go, so it was decided that Peder's father and mother and sister should go. A total of 25 adults and 11 children sailed for Copenhagen to join other Scandinavian converts for the trip. They sailed for England on December 20th, 1852 via Kiel. Brother John Forsgren sailed with them. At the dock, along with a crowd of Saints, was a big crowd of hecklers but no violence occurred.

In the year of 1853, many more people were baptized. There were healings, and faith-promoting events. Violence increased, if anything, but there was much love among the Saints and everyone helped each other.

Peder and Christiane were busy getting the money together and preparing to leave. Her brother, Jeppi, who had spent one and one half years in Norway on a Mission - six months of this in jail and his wife, who had gone to Copenhagen to stay until he got back were leaving, too. The middle of December, 1853, they sailed to Copenhagen. Their brother, Chris, met them there. He had been called to the island of Lolland as a missionary. It was a wonderful reunion. As usual there was a big crowd at the dock and after the ship sailed, one of the missionaries was beaten. The ship "Slesvig" was carrying 301 Saints . President John VanCott accompanied these emigrating Saints by way of Keil, Gluckstadt, and Hull to bid them farewell at Liverpool. They sailed from Liverpool the 26th of January. The ship had been delayed because of sickness of the children. More than a dozen had died. But they sailed on the Benjamin Adams with 179 Scandinavian and six British Saints under the direction of Hans Peder Olsen.

It took more than six weeks for the trip to New Orleans. There had been sickness and several deaths on the way. Little Christian Frederick died two days before they docked. Christiane could not stand to have him buried at sea as she had seen others be and she prayed to God that if he would let her keep him until they reached land she would not cry. She carried him off the ship when it docked and Christian Frederick was buried on a knoll in a grove of trees at New Orleans. She was again without child, but at this time was expecting again. The group of Saints went up the Mississippi to St. Louis, and after staying there for awhile, went on to Westport, Missouri, now part of Kansas City, where other Scandinavian people had arrived and gathered.

A company was formed under the direction of Hans Peder Olsen as Captain. The emigrants began their journey on June 15th 1854, but some of their wagons were so heavily laden that a halt was called by Captain Olsen and messengers sent to Leavenworth, Missouri to consult with Orson Pratt of the Council of Twelve, who, that season was the emigration agent for the Church. He advanced the company enough money for 50 more wagons. It was while they were waiting that Christiane gave birth to another little boy. They named him Christian Frederick, too. He grew to manhood. Christiane had a great power of recuperation and she never complained.

One of the happiest times on the trek was when they met Erastus Snow going East on a mission to the States and he spoke to them in their own language. It was like manna from heaven in this strange land.

Peder's father and mother and sister had arrived in Salt Lake the hear before on September 13, 1852, with the john Forsgren Company. The mother was ill and exhausted from the long journey and had died on the 30th of November, just two months after their arrival. She was buried in Salt Lake. Shortly afterwards, his father and Carolyn went to Lehi to live. When Peder and his family arrived, they went on to Lehi and settled there. It was already October and cold and because they could manage nothing better, they lived in an old hut that winter. The roof was poles covered with dirt to keep out the weather. One day in the spring, as the ground got softer from thaw, the walls gave away and the poles fell in almost killing Peder's wife and baby. He immediately began to build them a cabin and they had a garden planted. Soon after this, Peder, Christiane and his father came to Salt Lake to find his mother's grave but it was unmarked and they could not find it, nor to this day do we know where it is.

The Piils lived in Lehi for several years - four in all and Caroline married Hans Yes Simpson, another Danishman. Christiane's father and brother, Peter and family came in a handcart company in the Spring of 1857, and came to Lehi to be with them. Another daughter was born to them on March 1, 1858. She was named Margaret Folkman Peel and blessed in the Lehi Ward. By this time, they had anglicized their name to "Peel".

On Sunday, March 21, 1859, President Young, because of the imminence of the arrival of Johnson's Army, issued an order for all families north of Salt Lake to travel south, and the migration south started. Peder's father and sister and husband went with it and settled at Ephraim. The trouble with Johnson's army was over in a few weeks so Peder and Christiane stayed the winter along with her father and brother, Peder, and family, but early the next spring they packed their belongings and moved to Sanpete County where his father was and they were among the first settlers of Mt. Pleasant.

Peter M. Peel passed away November 17, 1900 as a result of a paralysis of the heart after only a few hours sickness. He had was one of Mt. Pleasant's earliest and most prominent pioneers. The Book of Mt. Pleasant by Hilda Madsen Longsdorf names Peter M. Peel as Mt. Pleasant's first Blacksmith. He presided over the Scandinavian Meetings for twenty years.

Christine Folkman Peel passed away November 6, 1899. She was a faithful and kindly lady, beloved by everyone. She was a counselor to the President of the Relief Society. Whenever any of the LDS Church authorites visited Mt. Pleasant, they made the home of Sister Peel their stopping place. She and her husband, Peter M. Peel were husband and wife for fifty three years