Lars C. N(i)elson History
Anna Matilda N(i)elson
Hans L. N(i)elsen
Lars C. N(i)elsen
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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