About Peder Hansen
According to the history of our Scandinavian mission during the year 1861, 1,954 Persons were added to the church in this mission by baptism. Almost everywhere our elders were successful in their labors and many new fields were opened to them. I am so thankful to these elders, for at this time my great grandfather, Peder Hansen, born 25 March 1815 at Naesby, Stilling County, Denmark and his wife, Rise Sophia Poulson, born in Kirke, Denmark 10 Feb. 1842, along with their family of eight children, including a pair of twins, became converts to the Mormon church and at once, made plans to come to America and Utah. This large emigration of Saints from the Scandinavian countries crossed the Atlantic ocean in 4 ships. Paul Hansen, the oldest child of the Hansen family, was then about 20 years of age. Christian Poulson and brother, James, who were brothers of my great-grandmother and their families joined the Peder Hansen family and the three families along with other converts went together to Copenhagen 10 April 1862. They stayed there two weeks and then sailed from Althonia 22 June 1862 on the boat Athenia carrying 486 persons aboard. The trip was a hard one. Several storms were encountered and the crossing slow because of lack of wind. Food was poor and the water on the boat became stale and contaminated so that cholera was spread among the passengers. James Poulsen and his family became very ill with the disease and his wife and three children passed away and were buried at sea. His brother, Christian Poulsen, having had some experience, boiled the water and saved his brother James’ life as well as the lives of many others. When the boat was within 24 hours out from New York City, Kristine Hansen, one of the twins of the Peder Hansen family took suddenly ill and passed away. According to navigation rules or laws at that time, a person dying at sea was buried at sea, but Great- grandfather Peder Hansen did not wish this kind of burial for his daughter and so held her in his arms as if she were ill until they reached shore and she was buried at Ellis Island.
From New York City they traveled by train to Florence, Nebraska, arriving there on 19 June. Once again, death visited the Hansen family taking from them their daughter, Lina, who had become very ill while traveling and passed away. She was buried at Omaha, Nebraska. Upon arriving at Florence, Grandfather Poul Hansen and his oldest sister, Marie, were asked to accompany their Aunt and Uncle Christian Poulson to Utah while the rest of the family waited at Florence until the church wagon could arrive and bring them to Utah. They later arrived in Salt Lake City with the Capt. John R. Murdock Company, including 384 saints who left Florence July 24th and arrived in Salt Lake City, 17 Sept. Those crossing the plains with the church teams report generally having fair camp grounds and only occasionally did they camp where they could not obtain water. As a rule, there was an abundance of grass for the oxen and at times also sufficient fuel to be found but a great part of the way, the sisters had to content themselves with cooking over fires made from sunflower stems and buffalo chips. Nearly all able-bodied men and women had to walk most of the way. Some of the women rode in the wagons only across the larger rivers, while they could wade across the smaller streams like the men. Everyone did exactly what the leaders thold them to do and, consequently, everything went well with them. On this journey from Florence, Nebraska to Salt Lake City, 14 persons died, 2 couples were born, and 2 children were born. Great- grandmother Rise Sophia Poulsen, who had never had good health, passed away after 6 weeks of journey by wagon and was buried three miles from Laramie, Wyoming along the old trail of the railroad. Her great desire in life to see and live in Zion was thus never fulfilled.
Great grandfather Peder Hansen and his remaining three sons joined his son Poul and daughter Marie, and with other early settlers helped lay the foundation for today’s Providence. They helped dig ditches, cultivated the virgin soil, planted shade and fruit trees, built homes, schools, and meeting houses. They tended their flocks and herds and through work, with much exposure, provided for their growing families. Their homes were humble for few of them brought with them much of this world’s goods, but what they lacked in material wealth, they more than made up for in industry, frugality, determination, energy and a great faith in the gospel.
Great-grandfather Peder Hansen never remarried after losing his wife on the plains, but spent his remaining years with his children as both mother and dad live alone some twenty years before his death which came to him in his 80th year at Providence, 24 Jan. 1895. His son, Poul Hansen, my grandfather, married Andrea Maria Larsen, daughter of Mary Jensen Larsen and Anders Larsen of Logan 18 June 1868 in the Salt Lake Endowment house. From this marriage, 8 children were born. My mother, Resse Maria, was the oldest daughter, and after the death of her mother on 9 April 1885, took over duties of housewife, cooking the meals and caring for her younger brothers and sisters, though only 13 years of age. She did this until her marriage to my father, John William Harry 12 Dec. 1889. Grandfather (Poul) later married as his second wife, Anna Christine Larsen Jensen, a widow and sister of his first wife and again 3 children, who were Mrs. Jensen’s from a previous marriage, were joined to the family. As the years passed, another six children were born to this couple, making Grandfather Hansen father of 14 children. As the children grew older he helped them to get cattle and homestead land in Idaho. Alfred and Ezra, the older of the brothers of my mother, were first to go and settled in Teton Valley. One brother after another followed as well as the sisters until the entire family made their homes in this valley locating in and around what has been the Clawson ward over which both Alfred and his younger brother, William, have presided as bishops for many years. All have been highly successful in their farming activities and cattle-raising there.
Grandfather (Poul) Hansen died at Providence, Utah 9 March 1907, from a cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 65. Some years later, Grandma joined her children in Tetonia, Idaho living with her son, William. She passed away at his home 30 Nov. 1923. Both she and her husband were buried at Providence, Utah. 395 acres of the choice land along the hillsides where the River Heights wards are located now was the source of the family’s income.
Grandfather always wore wooden shoes—a custom acquired in his native Denmark. They were always taken off as he entered the house and left on the doorstep. Heavy and awkward as they seemed to us , they never stopped him from entering the races and playing with us children. After the death of our mothers, we often walked to Providence with Aunt Mary to visit on Sundays. It was fun to see the large barns filled with hay, to watch them milk the cows, gather the eggs, and most of all, to go with either Grandma or Grandpa to pull out a huge smoked ham from out of wheat bins where they had been placed to preserve them. NO ham has since been quite so delicious as the large juicy slicres cooked by Grandma, topped with her special white ham sauce. At Easter, we were always sure to receive a pan full of brown-colored eggs cooked in dry onion peelings. The old two-story rock house in Providence on South 1st West Street is still being occupied. It’s face has been somewhat lifted by the addition of window shutters, paint and what-not, but as I reminisce the thick stone walls seem to part and I again see the home-made carpet, straw ticks, and feather beds with trundle beds for the children. There’s an old black, four-legged stove, a bucket of water and long-handled dipper, a long table covered with oil-cloth with a bare floor beautifully clean and white due to the frequent scrubbing with home-made soap.
This home I remember from my childhood days; Is a home that was magic in so many ways. Built and sustained by a family’s love; As lasting and warm as the sun up above. Furnished by sympathy, kindness and more With friendship that welcomes each guest at the door. Surrounded by meadows of laughter and joy With a garden of memories that time can’t destroy. I know too that the magic that fills every room Came straight from the hearts and hands of a devoted and kind Grandfather and Grandmother.
Written and read 16 May 1968 to the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers (Joseph Smith Camp) by Lillian Harry Pribble
Source: "Turning Hearts"