Thursday, October 1, 2009

Paul Paulsen Dehlin and Elna Waldemar Dehlin - Pioneers of the Month - October 2009

Biographical Sketch by Blenda Dehlin Hampshire

Paul Paulsen Dehlin, born May 4, 1830, in Skana, Sweden, baptized
by Niels Adler, 1855, was married the same year to Elna Waldemar.
When a young man, he learned the cabinetmaker's and mason's trade and
was a journeyman in both. He was a contractor and builder in Malmo,
Sweden, for some time and while at this work heard the Gospel of
Mormonism preached and joined the Church. He was the first one in his
family who did, and was the means of converting three of his own sisters,
his wife and her father and mother, two brothers and one sister. Was a
missionary in Sweden and was arested and jailed once for preaching the

He left Sweden in the spring of 1859 for America. It was a tedious and
long sea voyage in the early days on the slow sailing vessels. Seven weeks
is a long time on the ocean and when that was over, there was the long
journey by land which Paul Dehlin and those depending on him had to think
about. He was intending to come by way of handcart but when he saw how
 hard it was going to be for them all he gave up the idea of going that way
being a little short of cash to provide for them all, but in cases with him
he mastered the situation. He gathered up his own and his wife's jewelry
and sold it to buy a wagon and ox team, which was slow enough traveling,
but way ahead of the handcart and so much more convenient and easier for the
women andchildren as well as his wife's mother and father who were getting
along in years.

He came with Robert F. Neslen's Company and walked all the way
and drove the ox team. A good part of the way carried his little daughter less
than two years old. Managed the trip for his wife and child, her parents, two
brothers, one sister and her little girl and his own sister who were all
depending on him, arriving in Salt Lake City, September 15, 1859. They
went to Mt. Pleasant which was the first year's settlement of that town;
lived there a short time, then moved to Salt Lake City; lived there a short
time, then moved to Tooele but did not stay there very long either. He again
went back to Mt. Pleasant where he settled for good. He was looking for a
suitable place to start a furniture business, and there is where he made and
sold all kinds of fumiture and sold all over the country as his was the
largest furniture business outside of Salt Lake City.
On October 17,1869, his wife died leaving five children, the oldest
12 years old, and a baby boy l8 months old. Elna Dehlin was a very devoted
wife and mother; lived only for her little family; it seemed hard for her to
master the American language, yet when the Relief Society was first
organized in Mt. Pleasant she was chosen second counselor to Mrs. M.F.C.
Morrison, President, and she held that position when she died.
The year following his wife's death, he married a young woman, Julia
Hansen, but she did not make a very happy home for his daughters. His
sister took the little baby boy when the mother died and she raised him to

In the spring of 1871 he was called to fill a second mission to
Scandanavia and sailed in company with Anthon Lund and Canute
Peterson, arriving in Copenhagen, May 6, L871. He was appointed to
preside over the Skane Conference, Sweden. He filled a very successful 2
year mission, said he never felt better in his life, but there was a time during
those two years that was very serious. He contracted small pox in the very
worst form; said he was a solid mass from head to foot, and when the mass
peeled off, all the hair on his head came off with it, leaving him entirely
bald. When first taken sick President Peterson forbade the Saints to come
and see him. He set two people apart, blessed them and promised them that
they would not catch the disease, and the promise was made good; but one
young missionary was determined to see him, said he was not afraid of any
disease, but he contracted the disease and died, but the two whom President
Peterson blessed and set apart, the disease had no effect on them, although
they were with him night and day and cared for him until he was well again.
He sailed for Copenhagen, June 27,1873 on the ship 'Pacific". He arrived
in Hull, England on June 30th, sailed to Liverpool on the "Wisconsin" on
July 2nd. He arrived in New York on July 15th and then in Mt. Pleasant on
July 24, t873.

He lived less than two years and was stricken with a severe case of
typhoid fever of which he died June 6, 1875. He left the young wife with
two small children, besides the five children by his first wife, four daughters
and one son. While on his mission he arranged to have his oldest daughter
attend the University in Salt Lake City to study to be a teacher, and on his
deathbed he exacted a promise from her to keep the four sisters together so
they would not be separated. This she did and for six years these sisters
lived together. Hilda, the oldest taught school, Blenda the second oldest
kept house, Augusta and Eda attended school and in time they also became
teachers. Blenda was offered a position as a clerk in the Mt. Pleasant Co-op.
She was the first lady clerk who ever clerked in a store in Mt. Pleasant.
While on his last mission, besides keeping Hilda in school, he placed
Blenda with his sister who already had the little boy. Augusta and Eda with
another sister, for them to take care of his motherless children during his
absence, while his wife lived in a home of her own.

It was a wonder to a great many of the people of Mt. Pleasant to see
these four sisters live along together and support themselves. It so happened
that when John grew to manhood, was called on a mission to Sweden, he
labored in the same district his father had been a missionary twice.
Paul Dehlin was a real businessman and a good financier. He was a
member of the City Council and on the directors of the Mt. Pleasant Co-op.
Charlie Hampshire, clerk in that institution said that Paul Dehlin gave him
more insight to the business than all the rest of the directors put together.

He was a member of the first brass band in Mt. Pleasant and was a
minuteman in the Black Hawk Indian War. He was loved by all who knew
him or whomever he came in contact with. Many a person in need who
asked for help never went away empty handed.
George Q. Cannon once told one of his daughters when talking to her
as she had one of her baby boys in her arms, said, if any of your boys is
mechanically inclined whatever, you do let him follow his grandfather's
trade, for more thorough or better workman I have never known. I have
always admired him and loved him as though he were my own brother.

written by Blenda Dehlin Hampshire