Lars C. N(i)elsen






Lars C. N(i)elson History

Anna Matilda N(i)elson

Etta Simmonds

Hans L. N(i)elsen

Harry Jensen

Lars C. N(i)elsen

Peter Peterson

Rosetta N(i)elsen Jensen

Mink Creek History

Mink Creek Photos

Lars C. N(i)elsen Photos 1

Lars C. N(i)elsen Photos 2

  


Lars C. Nelsen


A History Of Lars Christian Nelson and His Family
Written by his Great-Grandson, Stewart R Wyatt
April 3, 1988
Reformatted January 6, 2002

1. Birth and Background.

Lars C. Nelson was born in Norre Tvede, Praesto, Denmark on October 6, 1866. His father's name was Hans Larsen who was the son of Lars Nielsen and Maren Katrine Hansen. Hans was born July 25, 1835. Lars' mother was Karen Kirstine Hansen. She was born September 2, 1835 to Hans Sorensen and Lisbeth Hansen. Had Lars stayed in Denmark where patronymics were used to determine last names, he would have been known as Lars C. Hansen. Later when his family immigrated to the United States, Hans identified himself as Hans L. Nielsen so that his middle name was the same as his last name had been in Denmark and his last name was the same as his father's as is the custom in America. An emigration agent's mistake resulted in the last name being spelled as "Nelson" instead of "Nielsen". Later some of Hans' family had their names changed to correct that error. Lars never did.
Denmark is a small country in northern Europe. The total area in Denmark is less than twenty percent of the size of either the states of Utah or Idaho. Denmark consists of a peninsula that projects north out of Germany into the North Sea and over 500 islands east of the peninsula. The largest of these islands is Zealand. It is also the most heavily populated because Copenhagen, the largest city and capital of Denmark, is on the northeast corner of this island. Praesto is on the southeast corner of Zealand. This is where Lars was born and where his family had lived for many generations.
Lars was the third child born to Hans and Karen. They were married February 19, 1858 at the Toksvaerd Parish Church when they were both 22 years old. Their first child was a daughter they named Ane Marie who was born August 9, 1860. The second child was a son named Jens Peter who was born April 11, 1863. (Jens was known as James in America.) After Lars was born two more daughters were born in Denmark. Maren Sophie was born April 18, 1869 and Hanne Christine was born November 8, 1871. (Hanne was called Hannah in America.)
Denmark has been known for its food production: baked goods such as cookies and pastry, quality dairy products such as butter and cheese and meat products such as bacon and ham. Hans was a farmer. He and his family were described as comfortably well off. He did not own his own land but farmed on a free hold arrangement. Hans was not comfortable with his circumstances and desired to own for himself a large amount of land to farm.
The state church in Denmark is the Evangelical Lutheran church. Hans and Karen had been married in the Lutheran faith. But on December 18, 1872 they were baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. This church is popularly called the "Mormon Church" or the LDS Church. Lars' older brother and sister were baptized also. Lars was 6 years old at the time and too young to be baptized, as the minimum age for that ordinance in the LDS faith is 8 years of age.
Reaction from the neighbors and relatives was very negative. The "Mormon" church was very unpopular at that time in Denmark. Hans and Karen at the encouragement of the missionaries decided to immigrate to America. There they had hope they could practice their new religion without the persecution they were experiencing in their old home in Denmark. There also Hans hoped he could find the economic freedom and opportunities that he wanted.
So following the admonition of Jesus, "If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast ...and come follow me (Matt.19:21)," they sold all their possessions and prepared to sail for America. Hans' mother, Maren Katrine, was most adamantly opposed to their plans. She pleaded and argued for them to stay in Denmark. She said that they all belonged in Denmark, that the Danish Lutheran Church was good enough. There was no need, she continued, to join a church from America or to go to live in the wild, uncivilized, wilderness in the western United States so far from their ancestral home in Denmark. But Hans and Karen ignored her arguments and continued their preparations. It came time to leave. The family boarded the ship in preparation for sailing the next day. Grandmother Maren conceived a plan that she was confident would prevent them from sailing and force them to remain in Denmark. She met the family at the ship and asked to take the oldest daughter, thirteen-year-old Ane Marie, home to spend the night with her for one last time. She promised Hans to have Ane Marie back in time to sail with her family. Reluctantly Hans and Karen let their daughter go. They never saw her again.
The grandmother took Ane Marie to a friendís house where she was hidden in a closet for three days. Grandmother secured Ane Marie's cooperation by promising her that this would keep their family altogether in Denmark. When Grandmother and Ane Marie failed to return to the ship the next morning, Hans borrowed a horse from a friend and raced to his mother's house to find out what was wrong. His mother was there but his daughter was not. His mother was very defiant and refused to tell him where Ane Marie was. She told Hans that Ane Marie was hidden so that he could not take her to America. He must not sail on the ship or he would have to leave his daughter behind. Hans told his mother that they had to go. All of their money was tied up in their passage. After a very heated exchange, Hans raced to Praesto to take legal action against his mother. But the necessary papers to prove Ane Marie was his daughter were packed on the ship. Hans barely had time to return to the ship before it set sail.
A portrait was taken of the family just before they sailed. Ane Marie is not in the picture. They are all dressed in heavy, warm looking travel clothes. Their great sadness at the loss of the child haunts the picture. Karen looks particularly grieved. Hans comforted Karen by promising that when they got to America they would quickly become rich and return for Ane Marie. It was a promise that he could not keep.
After they had sailed Grandmother Maren had to explain to Ane Marie that her plan had failed - her family had sailed without her. Hans did correspond with Ane Marie after he arrived in America. In 1903 the oldest son, Jens Peter, returned to Denmark on a proselyting mission for the LDS church. He found Ane Marie and became good friends with her and her family. Their descendants continue to correspond to this day.
Hans had been given the scriptural test, "He that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me." (Matt 10:27) Like Abraham of old he choose to follow the Lord, but what a bitter test! The sorrow of this separation remained with the family the rest of their lives.
 

2. Immigration.

Lars and his family sailed for America in the spring of 1873. Lars was still 6 years old. Jens Peter was nearly 10 and Maren Sophie was just about four. The baby, Hannah Christine, was 18 months old. Both parents were 37. A 26 year old convert lady named Ingred Sophia Jensen sailed with them also. Hans had paid part of her passage. In exchange she was to work for them by assisting with the children while they traveled.
For Lars and the other children the voyage must have been a hard experience.
All four of them and their parents were confined to a small berth in the third class section. Their mother was so sad. Their father tried to be cheerful and optimistic. There was no place to run and play. The voyage lasted over a month.
The children became cross and tired. Many of the passengers became very ill. Some even died and were buried at sea.
Mother Karen had additional problems. She could not overcome the grief of leaving her daughter behind. This seems to have weakened her. On the voyage she discovered that she was pregnant. Nausea from morning sickness combined with seasickness left her terribly miserable.
At length the ship docked at New Orleans. Agents of the Church met and assisted them. They traveled on to St. Louis where they boarded the train to ride to Ogden Utah. Once there they were sent north twenty-five miles by wagon to a place called "Little Valley". Later this village was named Mantua. It is a very pretty place set in the mountains with green rolling hills that was probably as similar to the landscape of Denmark as you could find in the intermountain region of America.
At Little Valley they began to build a farmstead and log home along with other emigrants, most of them from Scandinavia. They cut logs to build cabins, barns and to fence off their fields. Then they plowed and planted. Lars and Jim, even at their young age, had many chores to perform, helping their dad on the farm and their mother care for the little girls.
Karen gave birth to her sixth and last child, a boy, on October 28, 1873 in Mantua. He was named Hans Joseph. Even after the birth of the baby her health continued to be very poor.
The local storekeeper learned that Hans had .00 savings. He offered to keep it in his safe. He was so friendly as he offered this favor; Hans could get the money back any time he needed it. Hans turned his money over to the storekeeper. Later when he went to get some back, the storekeeper denied any knowledge of the money. Hans never got any of the .00 back.
The Church leaders encouraged the emigrants to give up their native language and learn English. This was hard for them. They were also asked to live the Word of Wisdom, a belief of the LDS church that forbids the use of alcohol, tobacco, coffee and tea. Coffee drinking was such a part of life in Denmark that it was impossible for them to give it up entirely. Hans faithfully paid his tithing. He also contributed funds to help others emigrate. On September 14, 1874, Hans took his family to Salt Lake City and had them sealed in the endowment house, which like being married in the temple, is an ordinance that Mormons believe unites their families for eternity.
Karen never recovered her health. She simply could not overcome the grief of leaving her daughter behind. Hans arranged to have a emigrant girl who had recently arrived in Mantua from Denmark come and take care of his sick wife and his children. This girl's name was Ane Kirstine Hansen. Karen's health continued to deteriorate. She knew she was going to die and so became concerned about the welfare of her family. She asked Ane Kirstine if she would take care of her family if she should die. Ane Kirstine promised her that she would. Karen died on October 7, 1874 when she was 39 years of age and is buried in the Brigham City cemetery.
Ane Kirstine was born July 27, 1857 to Hans Nielsen and Ane Margrethe Pedersen. She emigrated from Denmark with her mother and brothers Nels Roholt and Jacob (Jake) Petersen. It is said that Hans L. Nielsen had donated money that had paid their passage. Ane Kirstine was sometimes referred to as Anna Christena. Ane Kirstine fulfilled the promise she had made to the dying mother. On November 16, 1874 she married Hans in the endowment house in Salt Lake City. At the time of their marriage she was 17 and Hans was 39 years old.

3. Mink Creek.

Mantua was becoming crowded. There was talk of a new place to settle where there was more room. Several families from Mantua were making preparations to move there. Hans was very interested and listened to what was said of this new place. It sounded like a good opportunity. He could get more land for his growing family and could help the kingdom grow by colonizing a new settlement in the wilderness. This new area was about 60 miles north of Mantua in the territory of Idaho at the north end of Cache Valley. This settlement became known as Mink Creek. A short history of the first settlement of Mink Creek is included to provide the background for the pioneering move of Hans Nielsen and his family there as one of the first settlers.
In the spring of 1871, James Morgan Keller (or Jens Mogensen Kjoller as he was called in Denmark before coming to America) was living in Mantua and sent his son, Theodore, and his son-in-law, John Olsen, on a scouting trip to consider living conditions in Idaho. James had five wives and forty children. Mantua was becoming too crowded for him! The scouts went up Logan Canyon and returned through Emigration Canyon. They were attracted to the Mink Creek area because it reminded them of Mantua. They reported that the Mink Creek area would be a good place for livestock raising and would support two families nicely.
In the fall of 1871, James M. Keller and his sons Theodore, William and Janues traveled to Mink Creek where they built a cabin and gathered wild grass to feed livestock through the winter. James and Theodore returned to Mantua leaving 14 year old William and 12-year-old Janues to fend for themselves while they looked after the claim through the winter. Their nearest neighbors were 14 miles away over the mountains.
In his history, Janues recalled that he brought a Book of Mormon that he had paid fifty cents for along with him and that he read it through twice that winter. In late December Janues became so homesick that that he left Mink Creek on snowshoes, walking alone the sixty miles to Mantua. This left William alone the rest of the winter. William took care of the cattle and played his fiddle in the evenings. One day he looked out of his cabin to see a large bear peering in at him! William never married and lived in Mink Creek the rest of his life. His fiddle practicing came in handy, as he was fiddle player for the early Mink Creek dances.
In April his mother, father and some brothers arrived. No doubt William was happy to see them. They built a second cabin, plowed and planted a garden. The next year Theodore Keller married Christine Larsen, a Danish convert living in Mantua. In the fall of 1874 Theodore and Christine moved to Mink Creek,
Christine's parents, Hans and Adelphine Larsen and her sister, Birthe Catherine, moved up with them, Hans Larsen claimed the distinction of being the second head of household to settle in Mink Creek. (His second daughter Catherine latter married Janues Keller.)
The next spring on April 27, 1875, Christine gave birth to her first child and the first child to be born in the new settlement. He was named Lewis 0. Keller.
By the end of the summer of 1875 Hans Nielsen was prepared to move his family from Mantua. He and nine-year-old Lars were to travel to Mink Creek with the cow. Lars and the cow were sent ahead with the promise that his father would finish up a few items of business and would quickly catch up. As soon as Lars and the cow were gone, the threshing crew unexpectedly arrived. Hans was obligated to stay and finish the threshing with them and so was not able to leave until the next day. Lars continued up the trail with the cow anxiously waiting for his father. Night came. He tied the lead rope of the cow to his foot so the cow could not wonder off and fell asleep on the ground. The next day his father overtook him. Lars walked the whole 60 miles leading the cow.
The family possessions were moved in a wagon. For several weeks while they were building their cabin they lived in that wagon. Once again they were clearing land, building a cabin and barn, erecting fences and preparing to farm. Their isolation required them to be very self-reliant. Their only neighbor was Will Keller. Bears were a frequent problem in the early days in Mink Creek. One bear carried off Lars' baby brother Joe's shoe. Another time a bear chewed up some of their horse harnesses.
On November 19, 1875, Ane Kirstine gave birth to her first and Hans' seventh child. She was named Olga Christina. She was the second birth in the settlement. She died several days later and was the first death and burial among the settlers. Her burial was at the site of the current Mink Creek cemetery which it appears was located because of her death.
The Nielsens were the third family to locate in Mink Creek. Also that fall on October 16, 1875, Rasmus Rasmussen Sr. moved to Mink Creek from Mantua. He was the last to settle there that year. That winter Mink Creek's population included members of James Morgan Kellerís family including his married son Theodore and the families of Hans Larsen, Hans Nielsen and Rasmus Rasmussen.
During the year of 1876 a number of families settled in Mink Creek. In the spring of that year, James Rasmussen and his wife and baby came to Mink Creek from Mantua. They stayed with the Nielsens while they built a cabin near by to live in. Jim's wife was Ingred Sophia. She was the one who had immigrated to America with the Nelsons and had helped to care for the children. A lot had happened in those few years. The children must have been excited to see an old friend.
Jim Rasmussen was the central figure in one exciting story that occurred in the early days in Mink Creek. During one winter Hans needed to get a new plow for spring planting. The plow could be obtained in Franklin. The decision to obtain the plow was made in March. The weather was cold and the snow was crusted and lay deep on the ground. Jim offered to walk the 20 miles to Franklin, get the plow and pull it back to Mink Creek on his home made sleigh if Hans would pay for it. The offer was agreeable to both parties and Jim set off very early in the morning pulling his sleigh. He made it to Franklin that same day where he got the plow and spent the night.
While he was sleeping the weather changed. A warm wind blew and it began to rain, melting the snow. Jim got up early the next day and began pulling the sleigh home. It got harder to pull the heavily loaded sleigh as the snow continued to melt. He knew he could not make it much farther so he stopped to wait for travel conditions to improve at a cabin on Warm Creek that he was familiar with. Back in Mink creek the families were frantic with worry about Jim. They fully expected him to return the second day. Jim was stuck in the cabin for three days. Finally cold weather set in and he was able to make it home. Everyone was relieved and happy to see him return!
Leaders of the LDS church met in Mink Creek on September 10, 1876 and organized the members into a branch of the Church with Rasmus Rasmussen Sr. as the branch president. On July 17, 1877, the branch was organized into a ward with President Rasmussen as the new bishop. He served in that capacity for 23 years.
He had many counselors. Among them were Hans Nielsen and Peter Peterson who was to be Lars' father-in-law.
On December 16, 1876, Ane Kirstine delivered a baby boy named Hans Christian.
He died November 19, 1879. Earlier that year on January 25, 1879, Ane Kirstine gave birth to a girl who was named Anne Marie. The next child was born November 29, 1880 and was named Eliza Christina. John Henry who was born born December 27, 1882 followed her. Next was Niels Daniel born February 11, 1885. Oscar Frederick born July 24, 1887 followed him. The last baby born before Lars' marriage was Nephi who was born July 20, 1889. After Lars left home, Anthon was born May 27, 1892, Janette Margaret was born April 4, 1894 and Elva Sylvia was born on September 27, 1897. Sylvia was the last child. When she was born her father was 62, her mother was 40 and Lars was 31 and had four children of his own. Lars came from a large family by anyone's standards. He had 8 brothers and 8 sisters.
One other adventure occurred to Lars in the early days of Mink Creek. He and his brother Jim were driving their team down the canyon through a place called the narrows with another team and crew after working in the timber. A snow slide came down the side of the canyon and buried the other men and their outfit. Lars and Jim dug the men out, saving their lives but were unable to save their horses.


4. The Petersons

In 1885 a new family arrived in Mink Creek. What may have attracted the most attention about them was their four beautiful daughters who were between the ages of 4 and 11. They had recently emigrated from Sweden. In 1891 Lars married the oldest daughter. Her name was Anna Matilda Peterson.
Sweden is one of the largest countries in Western Europe. It is slightly larger than California. Sweden is located north and east of Denmark. The northern part of Sweden is located above the Arctic Circle. There are many lakes. Much of the country is forested. Sweden has large iron deposits and is known for its steel production and forest products. Most of the population lives in the south where there are rich farming lands.
Anna's parents were Per Persson and Kerstin Olsson. In America they were known as Peter Peterson and Christina Olson. Peter was born December 24, 1845 to Per Persson and Anna Persson. Christina was born to July 8, 1851 to Olof Olsson and Kerstin Larsson. Both were born in Vestra Vingoker, Sodermanland, Sweden.
Vingoker is about 80 miles from Stockholm, Sweden's capital, slightly south of due west from that city and can be found on modern detailed maps of Sweden.
They were married on October 26, 1873. He was 27 and she was 22. They were both from families that were quite well to do. They purchased an "estate" in a small community called Sponga, just outside of Vingoker. The estate included a farm and a comfortable home. They employed servants to help do the housework. Peter also was employed at a steel mill. In 1956 Juanita Jensen (Morrell) visited Sweden and saw the home the Petersons had left. Her pictures and descriptions indicated that it was a large and prosperous home indeed.
The Peterson's had six children born in Sweden. Anna Matilda, who was to be Lars Nelson's wife, was the first born. Her birthday was February 15, 1874. Alma Christina was born January 28, 1876; in America she was known as Albertina. Maria Elizabeth was born December 22, 1877 and Esther Olivia was born July 24, 1879. Emil Ephraim was born March 16, 1881 and Per Evald was born March 10, 1883. Per Evald was known as Peter Avol in America.
Peter Peterson was a member of the Lutheran Church, which is also the state church of Sweden. He was a man of great faith and saw the hand of the Lord in all things. He heard rumors that there were missionaries from America preaching a new and strange religion. The officers of the law were searching for these missionaries to arrest them. Peter felt inspired to seek them out and hear their message for himself. When he found them he invited them into his home. He locked the door and pulled down the blinds. They talked in whispers. Peter related that the truth that they taught penetrated his whole being. He readily accepted their message. On June 21, 1880, Elder C. H. Monson baptized him and his wife.
Their family and neighbors persecuted the Petersons for joining the Church. They decided to immigrate to America. He sold his estate at a great loss. It took him four years to prepare to emigrate. Peter paid the passage for two hired girls to emigrate to America. Their names were Anna Lundberg and Ingrid E. Larsen (Johnson). Ingrid was 27 at the time. She later settled in Mink Creek. Some neighbors who had joined the Church at the same time, Lars and Anna Olson sailed with them. They also settled in Mink Creek. Later their son Gustaf married Peter's daughter Elizabeth.
They left their home April 1, 1884. In the various histories of the Peterson family there is some confusion about the course of their travels to Cache Valley. Ingred Larsen's history says they took a train to Norrkoping. (It is spelled Nor Shipping in her history.) On the train all of the children became very motion sick. On April 4th they boarded the steamship Milo and sailed to Hull England across the North Sea arriving April 7th.
The traditional account says that they took the train to Copenhagen and sailed to Hull from there. Copenhagen is on an island but could be reached by taking the train to Malmo and the ferry across the sound. It would seem more likely that they sailed from Knorrkoping and stopped in Copenhagen.
They probably crossed England by train for on April 9th it is reported that they sailed form Liverpool on the steamship Nevada with 207 missionaries and converts bound for New York. The sea was so rough that waves sometimes completely covered the ship. Everyone on board was sick. One boy died and was strapped to a plank and buried at sea. This was very distressing to the passengers, especially to the children. They arrived at New York on April 19th, 1884. They landed in Castle Garden on April 20th. Ingrid remembered that the immigration agents were very rude to them.
On the morning of April 21 they boarded the train bound for Utah, riding in box cars. On April 27th they arrived in Ogden. They were sent to Logan in Cache Valley. They lived in Logan for a short time. Anna was 10 years old when they arrived in Logan. Because they had spent all of their money to pay the passage, they were forced to live in severe poverty for several years. The Peterson family was sealed in the Logan Temple on October 21, 1885.
In Logan it was Anna's job to take the cow to pasture in the morning and return the cow in the evening. There were many Indians around in those days. Anna was very scared of them. One day an Indian wanted her to eat a big corn worm that he had in his hand. She refused. He caught her and tried to force her to eat it. She kept her mouth tightly shut and the Indian mashed the worm into her teeth.
Another time Anna's mother made four new dresses for her daughters. Her mother made these dresses from wool that she had carded, spun and wove. The new dresses were dyed and hanging out on the line to dry. Some Indians came to the door and asked for the dresses. Anna was home alone with the younger children. She was so scared that she let the Indians take them.
Anna's father was offered a job working for a farmer in Mink Creek. So the family moved there from Logan in l885. They lived in a granary at first. Then they lived in a one-room house with a dirt floor that they built themselves. They covered the floor with straw and stretched a carpet over it. All of the children slept on the floor. Later they added another room onto the house, but then they rented the new room out to a schoolteacher.
Anna and her older sisters worked in homes in Logan and Preston to help support the family. Anna helped her mother around the home. She also helped her father with the farm chores since her brothers were too little to help. She frequently got up early in the morning to catch fish in the creek for her family to eat for breakfast. She also continued to take the cattle out to pasture in the morning and return them in the evening in Mink Creek as she had done in Logan. Eventually the Petersons were able to homestead some land and build a very nice brick home, which is still in use at the time of this writing. But this home was not built until five years after Anna was married.
In Mink Creek Anna's parents had five more children. Ellen Naomi was born June 2, l885 and died of scarlet fever February 15, 1889. Nephi was born August 1, 1887. Carl Enoch was born December 22, 1899. After Anna was married Richard Lenard was born April 13, l893 and Rebecca Evelyn was born January 14, 1897. Anna had five sisters and five brothers. The youngest was born when Anna was 23 years old and pregnant with her fourth child.


 

5. Married Life

Lars courted Anna and married her on February 5, 1891. He was 24 and she was 16 but turned 17 ten days later. They were married in the Logan Temple by Marriner W. Merrill, temple president and apostle. The author of this account has a Book of Mormon that belonged to Lars and was printed in 1891. It may have been a wedding present or may have been purchased by Lars as he and Anna set up housekeeping.
They bought a one-room house with a few acres of land in Mink Creek. Their first child, a son they named Lars Willard, was born on February 20, 1892. Soon after Willard's birth they moved six miles up the Strawberry Creek and homesteaded. They built a one-room log house with a dirt roof. Lars' brother Jim homesteaded nearby. Lars and Jim purchased some cows and ran a dairy, making cheese and butter for sale. Lars had a reputation of being very good at treating sick livestock.
Three children were born in the dirt-roofed cabin: Anna Myrtle on May 28, 1893, Joseph Edwin on July 8, 1895, and Alvin on February 3, 1897. Alvin died when he was seven days old. Soon after Alvin's death, Lars built a two-room house with a shingle roof. He also built a summer kitchen or shanty adjacent to the house. Anna made a carpet for her new bedroom. Her children loved to play on the carpet. She also got a new bedroom set. During the short school year she rented out her bedroom with its new furnishings for seven dollars a month to the schoolteacher.
Anna and Lars were very active in the LDS church. She still had friends in Logan and would occasionally stay with them and do temple work. Anna always waited up for Lars when he attended his meetings. They liked to do the old style dances together.
When the time came, Lars traveled to the county courthouse, which in those days was in Bancroft, to prove their homestead. It was a long journey by horse and buggy. Lars was not able to return until after midnight. Anna and Willard waited up for him. They were very excited when Lars returned home with the deed to their farm.
Anna had to walk over a quarter of a mile to a spring to get water for use in the house. One winter Lars gathered long poles and bored holes through them. He buried them in the ground, connected end to end, from the spring to the house. Near the house he brought the poles up to a post with a spout on the end of it. Anna no longer had to carry water. Anna and the children were very excited to see the water come gushing out of the spout.
Sarah Rosetta was the first child born in the new house. She was born on April 12, 1899. Etta Christina was born on June 3, 1901. Anna's last child was a girl named May who was born May 30, 1904 and died five days later
. Anna had been in poor health since May's birth and died suddenly on July 3, 1904 at thirty years of age. She left behind a young family. Willard was 12, Anna was 11, Edwin was almost 9, Rosetta was 5 and Etta was 3.
In her memory the annual Mink Creek Fourth of July celebration was called off by Bishop Rasmussen. Harry Jensen was working in the fields on the day of her funeral. He recalled that as far as he could see in either direction there was a solid line of buggies coming to the funeral. After the body had been prepared for burial, Lars picked up his two little girls, Rosetta and Etta so they could see their mother. Rosetta remembered that they had stacked coins on her mother's eyes to keep them shut.
Lars was left alone to care for his children. In the morning, Lars would wake up the children, wrap the baby Etta in a shawl and rock her while the other children got dressed. Then he would hold her while he and Anna fixed breakfast. Etta went everywhere with her father: church meetings, ward teaching and to do the farm chores. When he absolutely could not take her she went to school with Anna and Rosetta.
Lars took to heart some counsel that he had heard from the LDS Church General Authorities. This was that if parents would not let a day pass without their family having a prayer and singing a hymn together that their families would remain close and their children would remain active in the church. When school time arrived Lars would come down from doing chores, have a family prayer, sing a hymn with the children and see them off to school. Visiting relatives were impressed by the spiritual tone that Lars maintained in his home.
Anna did her best to be a mother to her brothers and sisters. She would observe how women did their housework and then practice these skills until she became proficient at them. This was a difficult challenge for Anna. She did all the sewing for the family. One day as she was first learning to sew, she broke the sewing machine needle. She was unaware that needles can be replaced and was afraid that she had ruined the machine. She was very upset. She said her prayers, asking the Lord for help and comfort and went to bed. During the night she had a dream. In the dream she went into a store and was sold a replacement sewing machine needle. Soon after she had the dream she was able to shop at the store and her dream became reality.
Every year Lars took his children to Montpelier to buy shoes. He also bought sunbonnets for the girls. At Christmas he gave his daughters pretty dolls. They played house with their dolls in the old abandoned dirt roofed cabin.
Lars was a very religious man and devout in his faith. His children saw him praying for them in a grove of trees near their home. He had been a coffee drinker as was common in those days. But when word came from the church authorities that church members should abstain from coffee, he never drank coffee again. He often attended the temple. This required him to drive to Logan, attend the session, stay overnight there and return the next day. The church house was seven miles from their farm. There were only two hours between Sunday school and sacrament meeting. As they did not have time to get home after Sunday School and return to the church house in time for sacrament meeting, they stayed between the meetings and visited with relatives who lived nearer the church. Lars held positions of responsibility in the church. He was president of the Elders Quorum for many years and it is said that he never missed a meeting. He taught Sunday School and was a ward teacher most of his life. He also served on the Mink Creek school board.
At the funeral of Lars' son in law, Harry Jensen, that was held in Mink Creek many years later, Bishop William Crane said, "Sister Rosetta came from a family that was very religious. Her father was one of the main men when he was here."


 

6. Nelsine Jensen

Some attempts had been made by friends and neighbors to match Lars up and get him remarried, but he showed no interest. While Jake Peterson, a brother of Ane Kirstine, was on a mission in Denmark he happened to see a convert named Nelsine Jensen. As he looked at her he said a mantle came over her and he saw Anna Matilda's face. Later after Jake had returned home, Nelsine came to Salt Lake city to visit her brother. Jake's account of his vision must have impressed Lars for he accepted Jake's invitation to go to Salt Lake to be introduced to Nelsine. After a short courtship, they were married on March 4, 1909, just short of five years after Anna's death.
Nelsine was born May 17, 1873. When Lars married her she was 35 years old and spoke only Danish. Lars was 42 years old. That same year Nelsine's sister Hedvig came to Mink Creek from Denmark to visit. Hedvig met Lars' younger brother, Oscar Nelson, during the visit. They were married in 1911. Oscar and Hedvig also made their home in Mink Creek.
When Lars and Nelsine were married, Willard was 17, Anna was 15, Edwin was 13, Rosetta was just about 10 and Etta was 7. It was strange for the children to have a new mother, especially one that didn't speak their language! But it didn't take too long for the language barrier to be broken. It appears that the children learned Danish before Nelsine learned English. Nevertheless it took Nelsine no time at all to endear herself to the children by her remarkable kindness towards them. Rosetta remembered that Nelsine held surprise birthday parties for her and invited her friends over for refreshments. The first time she served chocolate ice cream. Rosetta was also pleased that the Peterson's liked Nelsine.
In 1910 Peter Peterson, Lars' father-in-law moved to Logan. His health was failing. He died July 13, 1912. His wife Christina died December 28th of that same year. When they died Peter was 67 and Christina was 61 years old. Their youngest child, Rebecca was only 15 years old. Peter and Christina are both buried in the Logan cemetery
. In 1911 Nelsine had a baby girl that was named Sine. The baby died in infancy. On July 10, 1914 she had a baby boy who was named Howard Rudolf. The older children were very excited to have a new baby in the home.
In 1914 Lars' brother Jim moved to Brigham City. The dairy partnership between Jim and Lars must have ended by that time. On November 22, 1914 Hans L. Nielsen died while he was sacking wheat to pay his tithing. He was 79 years of age. Ane Kirstine lived 20 more years and died October 12, 1934 at the age of 77. They are both buried in the Mink Creek cemetery.
Willard and Edwin both completed proselyting missions for the LDS church during this period of time. Willard went to Sweden and Edwin to the Western States Mission, which had headquarters in Denver.
On October 5, 1916 Anna married Albin Erickson. Lars gave Anna a sewing machine for a wedding present. On October 31, 1917 Willard married Iva Bell.
Lars died on November 2, 1921. He had suddenly become terribly ill and was taken to the Preston hospital. He was suffering from stomach ulcers, an operation was performed, peritonitis set in and he died after being in the hospital a little more than a month. He was 55 years old. Howard was only seven at the time.
Shortly before his death, Willard and Edwin were with him. Willard related that his father's mind was rational and his spiritual eyes were opened. As Lars lay in his deathbed, he began to tell those in the room with him of the arrival of members of his family who had previously died. They had come to take him home. He told Willard and Edwin that their grandparents had entered the room, first the Nelsons, then the Petersons, and when he told them that their dead mother, Anna, had entered the room, he reached for her and smiled. Willard said he would never forget the expression that appeared on his father's face when he told them that their mother had come. Lars turned to his sons and said it would Page 16 The History of Lars Christian Nelson and his Family not be long until they would all be together again, one happy family. Then he died.
Nelsine was now the head of the family. The next spring on April 5th, 1922 Edwin married Ruth Matthews and Rosetta married Harry Jensen in a double wedding in the Salt Lake Temple. Nelsine reminded Rosetta that Lars had given Anna a sewing machine for a wedding present. Nelsine continued by saying that he had intended to give each of his daughters a sewing machine for a wedding present and it was her intentions to see that his wish was carried out. So at great personal sacrifice Nelsine bought a sewing machine for Rosetta. Later on February 28, 1923 Etta married Dean Bodily and again Nelsine purchased a sewing machine to give to Etta for a wedding present.
Many years later Rosetta's older children still got excited remembering their grandmother Nelsine. They thought she was the best Grandmother that ever lived. She was an important part of their lives. She was kind and sweet to the grand- children and always wanted to tend them. The grandchildren would get so excited when they saw her and Howard appear as they came walking around the bend to visit them. They would run to meet her. Often she would have something in her pockets for them. Howard was very patient with the children too and often let them tag along with him. Several of the grandchildren remember Nelsine taking care of them when they were sick or injured. Rosetta and Nelsine often read together from the Relief Society Magazine. Sometimes they talked in Danish when they didn't want the children to understand them.
Nelsine died December 22, 1936 at 63 years of age. Howard had married Donna McGregor less than a year earlier. Lars, Anna and Nelsine are all buried in the Mink Creek cemetery.


 

Lars Christian Nelson History Appendices

Appendix 1 - Introductory Letter
April 4, 1988
10476 Barnsdale Drive
Boise, Idaho 83704
Dear Family,
Some years ago I was collecting family histories and was unable to find one about Lars C. Nelson. I called grandma and asked her if she would help me write one. I spent some time with her while she reminisced about her father. I compiled the things she told me into a three-page history which some of you might be familiar with.
After finishing this history there were a number of things about his life that I still had questions about. I wondered what it was like for his parents to join the Church and leave their home and family to immigrate to America. I was intrigued to learn that Lars had a sister who was left behind in Denmark and I had not heard a satisfactory explanation for why that had happened. Someone said that the Nelson family was one of the first to settle in Mink Creek and I was interested to learn about their pioneering adventures.
Over time I had opportunities to find out more about Lars Nelson and his family and so decided this last year to write a new and expanded history. Aside from my earlier history, I found many other sources of information. I obtained a short history that was written by Aunt Margie Worley when she was a teen-ager, "The Story of My Grandfather Lars Christian Nelson." Another useful history was the life story of Lars' wife, "History of Anna Matilda Peterson Nelson written by her daughter Anna, July 1960".
A most useful source was the book, Mink Creek Idaho Ward 1871-1976, edited by Viola Larsen. A history of Lars Nelson appears on page 64 and information about his death is found in the life of Willard Nelson on page 65. A history of Lars' father, Hans L. Nielsen, appears on page 63 and histories of his father-in-law, Peter Peterson, appear on pages 63 and 87. Reading through this book I found other references to the Nelsons and Petersons. A history of Ingred Sophia Jensen who emigrated from Denmark with the Nelsons is on page 23 and a history of Ingrid E. Larsen Pearson Johnson who emigrated from Sweden with the Petersons is on page 190.
During the summer of 1987 I attended two family reunions where I was able to acquire a lot of information. The first was the Peter Peterson family reunion, which was held in Boise on June 27, 1987. Lois Jardine let me copy some histories she had of the Peterson family. Included in her collection was "The Life of Per Persson and Kerstin Olsson or Peter Peterson and Christine Olson", which was written by Aileen Ashbaker Hubbard. The second reunion was the Hans L. Nielsen reunion, which was held in Brigham City on July 11, 1987. I was able to purchase two histories there. The first was "History of Hans L. Nielsen 1835-1914" by Charley and Elva Christensen and the second was "Karen Kirstine Hansen" by Erma W. Dewey. At this reunion I was also able to obtain some correspondence from Ane Marie Andersen, Lars' sister who was remained behind in Denmark when the rest of the family emigrated to America.
On the subject of the settlement of Mink Creek, a history was recovered during the remodeling of the Mink Creek Ward church building recently. Its title is " A Brief History of the Mink Creek Ward Onieda Stake" and was apparently written by Frank Jensen and placed in a box in the church on August 1, 1929. Two short histories of the settlement of Mink Creek are found on pages 76 and 77 of History of a Valley, edited by Joel E. Ricks and published by the Cache Valley Centennial Commission in 1956 and on page 97 of The Trail Blazer History History of the Development of Southeastern Idaho, published by the Daughters of the Pioneers, revised and updated in 1976. The Mink Creek Idaho Ward 1871-1976 contains a history that starts on page 1 and is continued on pages 13 and 14. All of these histories credit Hans L. Nelson (Nielsen) with being an early settler.
In reading the histories in these references, I found many contradictions. The events and dates I have given are the ones that seemed most consistent to me. As an example, the last three histories listed in the previous paragraph credit Hans Larsen with settling in Mink Creek in 1873 and Rasmus Rasmussen and Hans L. Nelson with settling in or by 1874. Hans Larsen, who claimed to be the second person to settle his family in Mink Creek, reported in his history (Mink Creek Page 200) that he arrived in 1874 and Nephi Nielsen in his history (Mink Creek page 233) reported that Hans L. Nielsen settled in Mink Creek in 1875. Rasmus Rasmussen's history states that he settled in Mink Creek on October 16, 1875 (Mink Creek Idaho Ward 1871-1976 page 4). I believe that the 1874 and 1875 dates listed in these personal histories are correct. During 1874 Hans L. Nielsen's wife Karen died and was buried in Brigham City on October 14th. He remarried on November 16, 1874 in Salt Lake City. These events would leave very little time for him to homestead in Mink Creek during that year. So in this case I think the historians are a year in error. There were many other cases where different accounts had obvious contradictions that I had to reconcile. I hope you enjoy this history. I am interested in preserving our history and understanding the difficult challenges and obstacles that our ancestors faced and overcame to provide us with the blessings that we enjoy today.
Sincerely,
Stewart R Wyatt

Appendix 2 - The Life of Ane Marie
In this history it was related how Lars Nelson's older sister Ane Marie was left behind in Denmark. Some additional information on her life after her family left Denmark is appended to this history.
After her family left for America, Ane Marie lived with her grandmother, Maren Katrine. She had lived with her grandmother a lot even before her family had left for America so that she could attend school. Living at grandmother's was not new or all that bad. Perhaps that was why grandmother chose Ane Marie to kidnap. At grandmother's home Ane Marie had uncles who were just a few years older that she was. She got a lot of attention and love from her relatives. They took good care of her.
She was upset, of course, about being left behind and hoped that her family would come back for her. But as time went on she became adjusted to her situation and never became bitter. She reasoned that at least she didn't have to baby-sit any more, which is something most teenagers with lots of younger brothers and sisters get tired of. Later she was very upset when her father was married to a girl just three years older than she was.
As was mentioned in the history, in 1903 James Peter went to Denmark on a mission. He visited Ane Marie and all the relatives in Denmark. They became good friends and visited frequently. Though he tried, he was unable to convert any of the relatives to the LDS faith. After James returned to America, he continued to correspond with his sister.
From these contacts it is possible to tell something about the details of Ane Marie's life. Ane Marie was apprenticed to a dressmaker and became very good at that trade. Grandmother Maren Katrine died when Ane Marie was about twenty years old. She married a man she had known for many years and had been a schoolmate of hers. His name was Hans Peter Andersen. He was a very successful craftsman who made fine furniture. They had three sons and then a daughter. The sons all followed their father into the furniture making profession.
The oldest grandchild of James Peter Nelson is Erma W. Dewey. She is also the oldest great grandchild of Hans L. Nielsen. She made a trip to Denmark in 1975 and again in 1979. While there she met and became a good friend of Ane Marie's only daughter, Anna who was then still alive and in her eighties. The information about Ane Marie in this account is derived from a history of Karen Kirstine written by Erma Dewey.
At the Hans L. Nielsen reunion held in Brigham city on July 7, 1987, the organizers of the reunion requested everyone attending to sign a letter which was being sent to Ane Marie's descendants in Denmark. They related that some correspondence had been received just prior to the reunion from the Danish relatives.
At this reunion the author of this history acquired a letter that was written by Ane Marie. The context of the letter implies that it was written to Lars' sister Hannah. The letter was written in Danish and translated into English in Denmark by Ane Marie's son. The translation is difficult to follow but with some effort the letter can be understood. It is reproduced here in its entirety exactly as it was received.
Listrup 18th December 1932
Dear sister and family,
Many, many thanks for your letter which we were glad to receive some time ago, how glad I was to hear from you, we donít know each other as Jens Peter and yet I know each other but by reading your letter which our son has translated for us, I have got sister love to you, and you write that you would wish that I was by you over there so that I could follow you to the pit of our mother, I thought too that it could be very nice, I would wish that we could sometimes see each other and speak with you. Sometimes I see in your picture and I know how you and your husband and daughter are. I had decided to write you a little earlier so that you could have got the letter to Christmas, but it has steady been to nothing and now it will not reach you before Xmas but I will nevertheless wish you a happy Christmas and a good new year. It has begun to be some colder but we have not much frosty weather and nor snow, and we have so had a mild weather hitherto. You write that our stepmother is not quite well, she has rheumatism, I have also some rheumatism in my one leg, but it's not more than I can take care of my house and cook the food, i.e. our daughter clean the house up in the morning before she begins to sew, she has been so busy now up to Christmas, now she has more time again. I don't know our stepmother, but Jens Peter has told me that she has been so good to you and you have also considered her as your own mother I suppose, I do not think that it has been easy for her to go in and be mother for so many children, I also thrust that she has been good to our father, it must have been worst to him to loose mother at once after they have come to America and stand alone with a flock little children in a foreign country. I was glad that I was not come with you over there at the time I heard of the dead of my mother. I have always been well here in Denmark. The good God has been with me in my whole life and will also take care of me the hard time I have back. You ask whether our children are on the pictures, I cannot answer you on this, because our son has sent without I know it so I do not know it. But I shall at my earliest convenience send a picture of all our children and grandchildren.
I suppose there was a picture, where I am standing at a cage with chickens, there stands one of our sons, he who is working on our workshop at home and it is his son, who stands by me and he who drive with the little girl, she belongs to the son, who translate the letters, the little girl who stands by me is my daughters, then we have another son who also have daughter, she is 8 years old. This is all our children and grandchildren, so we are not a large family here. Now I must finish for this time, as the letter is to be send to our son in Copenhagen, it takes a little time. Many greetings to the whole family from your sister Marie and from the whole family in Denmark.

Appendix 3 Lars Christian Nelson Descendants Chart

Lars Christian Nelson and Anna Matilda Peterson

1. Lars Willard Nelson and Iva May Ball
Nelda Nelson, Mona Nelson, Lynn B. Nelson, Darlene Nelson, Eldon Nelson, Dennis Nelson

2. Anna Myrtle Nelson and Albin Erickson
Dehlin Erickson, Myrtle Erickson, Thora Erickson, Lyla Erickson

3. Joseph Edwin Nelson and Ruth Matthews
Betty Clare Nelson, Shirley Nelson, Sharon Nelson, Jolene Nelson

4. Alvin Nelson

5. Rosetta Nelson and Harry Jensen
Margie Jensen, Rodney N Jensen, Max N Jensen, Juanita Jensen, Opal Jensen, Carolyn Jensen, Coralie Jensen. Harry Jensen Jr.

6. Etta Christina Nelson and Dean Bodily
Verdean Bodily, Colleen Bodily, Anna Marcene Bodily, Larry J Bodily, Opal Ranae Bodily, Eva Shirleen Bodily, Shawna Christine Bodily

7. Mae Nelson

Lars Christian Nelson, Nelsine Jensen

1. Sine Nelson

2. Howard Rudalph Nelson and Donna McGregor
Howard Ray Nelson. Willian Edwin Nelson, Nyla Nelson, Natalie Nelson