Info Shared at Blaine Lake 1976 Peterson Reunion
Contributor: SouthPawPhilly Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
Compiled by Burl Peterson's daughter, Brenda
Samuel Francis had originally settled on some poor farm land in Lake Shore, Utah. They had a one room house with a loft. All of the children were born in this house. Eventually, Samuel did better, and built a nice red-brick house, little by little, as they could afford it. It was new when Emma, the third Francis daughter, and Henry Peterson married, and the reception was held there. That house still stands in Lake shore.
Emma Francis, the third girl and the first to marry, was married to Henry Peterson in October of 1902 in the Salt Lake Temple. Henry and his family had been asked--by the church--to colonize in California or Canada. They had chosen Canada. Emma didn't want to go because it was so far from her family. She wanted them to go, too. Henry left her in Utah for the winter, and went on to Canada with the Petersons. Emma attended Brigham Young Academiy, taking a domestic arts course. Since Samuel Francis was so kind-hearted, he and his family moved to Alberta the following April so that Emma could be with her family AND her husband. They went by train, which in those days wound back and forth. Emma would get out and pick flowers by the wayside, then get back on the train as it came back around.
Andrew Peterson carried strawberry plants to Alberta in a bandanna. Henry was at one time the Strawberry King of Alberta. Burl remembers crawling on his hands and knees, up and down the long rows, to place the plants. Often he would sneak off to Uncle Lawrence's (half a mile) to play for awhile. Several times he got a whipping.
Alberta was flat and desolate in those early days: no trees and little vegetation. The land was so flat that there were few natural pockets to collect and retain water in. Water had to be hauled from Raymond, or the river. When they'd bring water home from the river (5 miles away), in a barrel, they'd place a laundry tub over top, but will all the motion, only half a barrel would be left. They'd bathe, wash the clothes, mop the floors, then give it to the hogs.
Trees were planted for windbreaks around the homesteads and along fields.
Henry told the family: There's so many of us, that if we all work together and do a little bit more than our share, we'll be a success. But if we all do a little less, we won't be successful.
Henry was good at wrestling, swimming, and ice skating. He could skate his name on ice.
Henry had rheumatic fever as a boy and as a result had a rheumatic heart. He was ill on many occasions. The family members would kneel around his bed and take turns saying a prayer. He would recover. One time the doctor came, took his pulse, and told him he had no business living. When Vera was born, the doctor gave him only a few weeks to live, but he so badly wanted to live to raise his family. It was very difficult for him to fall asleep, as he couldn't get comfortable. So he'd get up on his elbows and knees, hunched over. When he'd get to sleep, he would fall over against the pillow. Early one morning he had a coughing fit in the bathroom, and it caught in his throat. Leo and Burl carried him out. Vera, the youngest of the 14 children, was 13 when Henry died.
When Melva was 11 months, the twins were born, so Em had three in diapers. This was a hardship, with water so scarce. Marie has made the comment: "you trained yourself fast!" Em had trouble training Leo. One day, in exasperation, she sat him, bare, out in a newly plowed field, to train him.
Once when Em and Henry were coming home from church, they realized that little Melva was not with them, so they had to go back for her.
Everyone had to help on the farm. The had to hoe weeds out of the potatoes. They stayed out of school for the harvest. They picked in sacks, and loaded them into the root cellars. (Bury rootbeer in ground to keep it cool to slake their thirst as they worked). Florence plowed about 75 acres of sugar beets one year. She was a hard worker.
The school vans were kind of like a covered wagon. The canvas on the sides could be rolled up for warmer weather, rolled down for cold. Footwarmers were used when it was cold. Hot bricks or rocks were placed in a drawer-like container.
Once there was a very bad blizzards and the school children were marooned at the school. Teachers, the janitor, and other adults drew lots to see who would go to get food for the kids. It was a quarter mile to the store. The winner (or loser) came back with jams, bread, and milk. They stayed overnight. Henry came by bobsleigh and horses to take his children home. He had to let the horses find their own way home, as the storm was still very bad.
Entertainment for the youth? Every week there was a party at someone's house. They would walk, go by wagon, or by sleigh. They played organized games, Spin the Bottle, Rook, and Give Away. There was always cake, punch, and sandwiches of ground-up meat or tuna. (The Andersons didn't want butter on theirs, so there was always a separate plate for them. Eventually, all sandwiches were buttered, and some set on a separate plate for the Andersons, who still thought they were plain).
Each child and grandchlid was special to Em, as were her foster children. Erma Peterson and Beulah (6 months) stayed for awhile after their mother died of measles. This was Lawrence's wife. He eventually remarried. Em's sister Rose Johnson and her husband both died. Myrle stayed with Emma and Henry frequently. She says that she especially remembers Christmas time, because she received as much as any of the Petersons. She always felt at home there. Burl says he just thought she was one of the sisters, there were so many of them anyway!
Em was an excellent nurse, and Henry anticipated accidents by being cautious and using prevention As many children as there were in the family, and it being a farm, many serious things could have happened, but mostly didn't because of Henry's safety admonitions and precautions. One situation that did come up was when Glen was putting up hay. He walked up behind a horse which shied for some reason, and kicked him in the face, resulting in the loss of his eye.
Henry was well-read and well-versed. He was involved in community affairs, and left the fine details of running the household up to Em, who made their home a great haven for the worker to come home to Henry was kind of tight with money, even after they all got to the point where he really didn't need to be. Emma sat down one day to decide which underwear to order from the mail order catalogue. Henry took her order to the post office to get a money order, but just didn't have enough money. When he came home and told Em, she cried, "But Henry, I only ordered enough for one pair each!"
Em loved gum. She had a special place under a shelf in the pantry where she would put her ABC (already-been-chewed) gum until she wanted it again.
Emma was quite the person to store things. She kept 100-pound bags of flour and sugar in the back of the largest upstairs closet, and kept her canned and bottled food in the basement. She canned her own vegetables and meat, and bottled fruit and rootbeer. Apostle Ballard saw what she had one time, and commented that if the church members all followed the counsel to store food as she had done, everyone would be in good shape. Not only did she have food put away, but also items such as sheets, pillow cases, garments, rugs, socks, quilts, aprons, clothing, and on and on. She'd forget just what she had, and buy more. But whenever a birthday, wedding, or new baby came along, she always had something on hand. She kept her eye open as to people's needs, whether it be food or otherwise, and was always helping someone out.
Em thought it was special that Marie brought the twins--LaVern an LaVaun-home from the hospital on her 60th birthday. She had six new grandchildren in a 3 month period: Devon Tufts, Vern Neilson, LaVaun and LaVern Fenske, Brenda Peterson, and Anita Jones.
Em and Leona went to Salt Lake to visit Clark and Zella. Grandma had brought some of her sugar cookies--always a favorite with the grandchildren. The adults went shopping. Upon their return they found that the sugar cookies were all gone. Shurl and Vern had sold them with lemonade to some construction workers
In 1949 when Burl and June were visiting with the Neilsons, Vern and Shurl persuaded Kent (age 1 1/2) to stick his toe in a mousetrap.
When LaVaun Fenske went away to Logan, Utah, to university, Grandma and Melva went as far as Great Falls with her. They gave her sheets, an umbrella, and kept trying to slip her some money. It was the same when Brenda was 11 and had been visiting in Barnwell for 3 weeks. She needed to go to Cardston to catch a ride back to Provo. They took her to Cardston. They'd bought her a new cowgirl hat, picked a sackfull of peas to snack on, packed an ample lunch (including sugar cookies!), and gave her some money. Thus it ever was with Grandma, and also Melva.
Shortly after Christmas, we had another Christmas at Grandma's. For her children and grandchildren, this will always stand out in the memories of those who experienced it. We would all have drawn names. But besides the present from whomever had our name, there were many other gifts under the tree. Grandma would have a gift for each family unit, plus one for each person. It was usually an article of clothing, though the little children sometimes received a toy. And instead of stockings, Grandma had "sacks." Yes, brown paper sacks, filled with ribbon candy, peanuts, popcorn balls, and orange and apple, a chocolate bar, and gumdrops: a real treat! Also, there would be bottled homemade rootbeer. Some of us would go out to skate on the pond behind the barn.
For some reason, everyone seems to remember things about Burl. Is it because he was the baby brother? More likely it is because of his particular personality, which we all love and adore, but which--as a child--must have caused Em no end of consternation!
Melva would be on her hands and knees to mop, and Burl would get on her back for a ride. He says if she missed a spot, or didn't work fast enough, he'd just spur her.
A wicked older boy talked Burl into going to a barn to smoke. Someone told the principal. He gave Burl the strap. Burl was in grade two! All the way home from the bus stop Marie cried, "You're going to die. You're going to hell!"
Once the school caught on fire. Burl leaped down a flight of stairs and sprained his ankle. Of course, he played that for all it was worth with the girls. Henry had put fire extinguishers in every room of the house. Burl wanted to see if they worked, so he and Arthur Anderson built a fire in a wastebasket in the middle of the bedroom floor. Fortunately, the extinguisher did work.
NOTE: I tried to be objective and use first names so I wouldn't confuse anyone, but I notice in the last few paragraphs I slipped back into saying "Grandma."