My Mother's Family by Joel Mack Johnson
Contributor: TCasteel Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
Grandfather, MORFAR, Carl John Selin, was born in the same province of Sweden, Vastmanland, as were my paternal grandparents. His father was employed by the government, near the city of Vasteras, and he was the one who selected the surname, Selin, to break the pattern of patronymic surnames at the time he went into his military training as a young man.
Carl John joined the church at age 23 and following his conversion, served as a missionary in Sweden for some time before emigrating to Utah. He had a reputation of being an eloquent preacher and effective in teaching the gospel. He is one of the missionaries who helped convert my grandfather, John Johnson.
Grandpa Selin came to Utah in about 1885 and married Ellen Lundell. Her twin sister, Edna, married Bishop John Johnson who served many years as a fine bishop of the Benjamin Ward. Bishop Johnson was a distant cousin of my grandfather Johnson. When he came to Utah, Grandpa Selin worked for some years in the smelter in Murray. He and Ellen had one daughter named Ellen, who married Will Rhoades and lived in Hanna, Duchesne Co., Utah. Ellen died about a year after the birth of little Ellen. Carl John Selin then married Marie Elizabeth Johnson a year after Ellen's death. He and Marie had nine children; four of them died in infancy: Theodore, Francis, Clarence and Carl. They all died from gastrointestinal illnesses.
Grandfather left the smelters and purchased a nice farm in Benjamin, Utah where he built a comfortable and attractive brick home. It was one of the nicer homes in town at the time.
Grandfather Selin valued education and helped his children to attend high school and college. He studied hard himself to learn English well and became known for his fine sermons and public speaking ability. His farm was neat and well kept with a small fruit orchard and a nice hay barn, a blacksmith shop, fruit cellar and well-built implement sheds. He died from a stroke when I was ten years old and his house and farm were taken over by Aunt Erma and her husband, Raynold Jensen.
I remember Grandpa Selin as being industrious and a good manager of his properties. He was a friendly neighbor and an influence for good in the community. He was jovial and kind to his grandchildren and interested in our welfare. We enjoyed our visits to his home. He always had a box of black walnuts for us to crack on the sidewalks, which we always enjoyed as children. He was highly regarded for his integrity and his steadfastness in living the Gospel. He and Grandmother had happy and loving marriage.
Grandmother Selin was one of the younger of nine children born to a sturdy, farm family in Grangarde, Dalarna, Sweden. He parents reared their children well, considering their later accomplishments. One of her brothers, Johan, became a federal judge in Sweden. Another brother, Robert, served 45 years as the elected representative of the province of Kopparberg in the Riksdag, The Swedish Parliament. An older sister had a millinery shop in Stockholm patronized by the royal family. Grandmother was working in this shop when she met the elders and joined the church. A grandnephew of Grandma Selin, Hilding Mogard, has served as Commissioner of Energy in Sweden.
In spite of bitter opposition from her family, Grandmother Maria Elizabeth Johansen was strong in her testimony of the restored Gospel and left Sweden and came to Salt Lake City, Utah, where she worked for a time as a maid in some of the prominent homes until she met and married grandfather. Her name in Sweden was Maja Lisa (pronounced “Maya”) which I think is a more beautiful name than the Americanized version. Grandmother was an intelligent and industrious person with many handcraft and homemaking skills. She was a fine seamstress and made a lot of beautiful quilts and other articles for her family and friends. I enjoyed many conversations with her, as a young man. She passed away when I was 20 years old.
Their five children who lived were: Henry Selin, married to Lucy Butterfield and they had two daughters and five sons. Uncle Henry served a mission to Sweden and Texas and was in the Army in World War I. He worked as a postal clerk in the Sugarhouse area of Salt Lake City. He built a number of beautiful homes during his lifetime. He is one of the great men I have known.
My mother, Ruth Elizabeth, was next in line and helped her father on the farm and helped to rear the younger children. Aunt Edith was just younger than mother and they were always great friends. Aunt Edith graduated from BYU and taught Home Economics and later Elementary School. Her students and her nieces and nephews loved her. She never married but was a second mother to many of us.
Uncle Ed married Edna Goss and had two sons, Clifford and Terry. Clifford has always been like a brother to me. Terry was quite a bit younger. Uncle Ed and Aunt Edna have been special people in my life. They had a nice farm in Benjamin for years and we had memorable Christmas and Thanksgiving gatherings at Aunt Edna's. Later they sold the farm and operated a grocery market. Perhaps we remember them best for their cabin, at Strawberry Reservoir, where they spent many happy summer weeks and where I would enjoy their friendly hospitality when we would go up there on a fishing trip.
Aunt Erma was the youngest. She was also a good Elementary school teacher. She and Uncle Bob live on the old Selin farm in Benjamin. They reared a fine family, Ronald, Veloris, Beth and Joan. I was employed by Uncle Bob at times to help in the harvesting of grain, hauling hay, etc. I helped him build his nice home and helped Uncle Henry build Aunt Edith's home.