Friday, April 2, 2010

Henry and Wilhemina Ericksen Pioneers of the Month- April, 2010

 Henry Ericksen was born July 28, 1856 in Lehi, Utah; the son of Henrik and Ingeborg Gunderson Ericksen.  Henrik and Ingeborg were Norwegian immigrants and converts to the Church of Latter Day Saints. They first settled in Lehi and then moved south to Mt. Pleasant on the date of August 13, 1864. Not much is known of Henry's childhood.  We know he fell in love with Miss Wilhemina Morrison, the daughter of William and Mary Margaret Farquhar Cruickshank Morrison.  They were married October 24, 1878 in  the Endowment House, Salt Lake City.

 In about 1885,  Henry Ericksen and his brother Allif started a meat and grocery store in Mt. Pleasant. Henry managed the store while Alif ran the farm and livestock; buying, feeding and slaughtering for the store. They would notify the townspeople that on a certain day they were going to kill a beef in the evening and bring it to the store the next morning, so that people could get a "hunk" of meat.

There were steaks, roasts, boils, stews or hamburger - just a chunk of meat. They would start cutting just back of the ears and end at the hind shank. all the cuts sold for the same price per pound; whether it was the neck or the porter house. Then, to carry it home, the customer whittled a sharp stick, jabbed it in the piece of meat and went home to mama, to have it prepared for the family dinner. There was no paper, twine or plastic to wrap the piece of meat in.

In 1893, they built their store on Main Street and took in another partner; brother-in-law, Judge Ferdinand Ericksen. The store was incorporated as the Ericksen Meat and Grocery Co. Their store was in a two story brick building with a full basement. It was considered one of the finest institutions in the community.

Ferdinand Ericksen was a lawyer and occupied three rooms on the second floor for his law practice. The town doctor, Dr. W.W. Woodring, occupied the other two rooms on the second floor.

In 1920, Soren M. Nielson and  Harry, Henry's son, bought the store.

Henry was also a Black Hawk War Veteran and a member of the Mt. Pleasant Pioneer Association.

Wilhemina Morrison Ericksen

Wilhemina was born in Ephraim, Sanpete County March 13, 1959.  She was the daughter of William Morrison and Mary Margaret Farquhar Cruickshank Morrison, immigrants from Aberdeen Scotland.  When she was three months old the family moved to Mt. Pleasant, where they lived in a tent for three months.  Then a one-room adobe house was built just inside the south gate of the Mt. Pleasant Fort, where the family lived until the Spring of 1863.  In those days chances for advancement were limited and what little education she obtained was from her father and mother. 

In 1865 her father, William Morrison was called to help settle Sevier Valley.  Being unable to dispose of their property in Mt. Pleasant, (which proved to be a blessing later on) her mother Mary Margaret Morrison was obliged to remain with her family here in Mt. Pleasant. 

Wilhemina began needlework, and all kinds of handwork, suc as embroidery, millinery, drawing and straw-braiding for hats.  She used to go to the field to glean wheat for the chickens.

She was not quite twelve years old when she made her first temple apron to aid her mother.  At this particular time her mother had a very painful felon on her thumb and was unable to make the temple apron for a Brother McClenehan who had died. So Wilhemina spent all of that Christmas Day 1871, making her first temple apron without assistance. 

Wilhemina received instructions in telegraphy at Ephraim from Miss Helen Armstrong, after which time she was employed in the Mt. Pleasant Telegraph Office which position she held for 18 years.  During that time the telephone system was installed for use between Mt. Pleasant and Fairview.  She being the first to operate the telephone system in Mt. Pleasant.

She married Henry Ericksen in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City on October 24, 1878, by Daniel H. Wells.  They made their journey by team and wagon which took them eight days.  To this union ten children have been born.

In 1892 on account of the dath of her sister Tina, Wilhemina was obliged to give up her office work and take up the responsiblilty of caring for her brother-in-law's two children as well as her aged mother, who was ill at the time.  This continued for six years.  During this time she gave birth to three children and buried two of them at the age of one year each.

Just before her sister's death, she was requested to accept the position of President of the Young Women's Mutual Improvement Association in the Mt. Pleasant Ward.

With all the added responsibility, she continued the M.I.A. work for nine years, when she was called to be the President of the North Sanpete Stake Relief Society.  This new work began in the Fall of 1900 and she held that position for twenty years; being honorably released and retained as an honorary member.

She was a member of the Mt. Pleasant Historical Association from the time  of its first organization.  She was also a member of the Genealogical Association of Utah.  In 1921, she was called to act as a member of the genealogy committe of the Mt. Pleasant South Ward and in that same year she was made chairman of the burial clothes committee of the same ward.

She prepared and laid out for burial hundreds of people for as long as she could.  She always endeavored to fulfill any duty required of her with a willing heart and to her best understanding and always felt blessed by doing so.  She was forever grateful for the sacrifices her parents had made in accepting the Gospel of Jesus Christ, leaving their homeland and all that was dear to them there, coming to the wilds of the west, the chosen land for God's people, where they faced the red men and helped pioneer the country and make it "blossom as the rose". 

In 1920 she was appointed genealogist of the Morrison Family Organization when she gathered many records and helped others with their genealogy as well as did the temple work for their dead.

There is no limit to the work of the faithful in whatever capacity their calling may be. Much is required.  Sacrifice brings forthe the blessings of Heaven.  Do your might with a willing heart and God will Bless you.