Ethel Louisa Rasmussen wrote two histories of her life and several short excerpts. For this history, her autobiographies were copied as she wrote them except they were edited to avoid duplication.
Contributor: MDSIMS Created: 2 years ago Updated: 2 years ago
I Ethel Louisa Rasmussen Rolfe, was born August 9, 1888, Oakley, Summit County, Utah in my father and mother's home. It is the the home Jay Harris now lives in, a couple of blocks east of the Oakley Cash Store (1980). My father, Tobias Theodore Rasmussen, was born in Stavanger, Norway on July 5, 1863. His father Rasmus Tjolson (Rasmussen), was born March 11, 1837, in Bielland, Norway. My mother, Annie Teletta Rasmussen was born in Stavanger, Rogaland County, Norway. Her mother, Ingabore Thoreson, was born October 20 1831, in Norway and her father, Olef Tjolsen Rasmussen was born November 28, 1831 in Stavanger, Norway. (Ethel's mother and father were first cousins)
My father said, "I had bought a new binder which, at that time was a valuable piece of machinery. I was working and sweating, when my wife Annie, called. I was covered with grease and oil but I finally decided to go see what she wanted." She said, "Tobias, hitch the horses and go get Mrs. Maxwell," a midwife who lived in Peoa, about three miles from Oakley.
He drove down after cleaning up and harnessing the horses, making the distance of six miles down and back as fast as he could. My mother was very ill and needed a good doctor but Sister Maxwell stayed with her for many hours. She did all she could to bring another big baby girl into their home. My mother didn't regain her health from the time of my birth, but she was determined to live and raise her two little girls. She and my father would entertain themselves by singing and playing the organ.
My father was a very good farmer and he spent most of his time raising good crops of hay and grain as well as beef and pork which he sold along with butter and eggs to the Park City mining camp people. This was his way of making money.
I was their youngest daughter. I was blessed in Peoa, Utah, because there was no ward organized in Oakley at that time but my blessing certificate was destroyed by a flood. They used to bless babies in long clothes. I was a large baby at birth and had lots of hair that had to be pinned back. My mother had dressed me in short clothes. She told Mrs. Pearson that she felt that I was half grown. She put me in long clothes for the blessing. Mrs. Marchant remembers my blessing and laughs as she tells about the long clothes on such a large baby. I remember my mother taking me to the Weber River when I was eight years old where I was baptized by Ralph Maxwell on August 9, 1896. I was later confirmed by Franklin D. Richards. Mother told me to always remember who confirmed me.
My patriarchal blessing was given to me by Brother Levi Pearson of Summit Stake on June 7, 1938. My blessing is a light to guide me and tells me that I am of the seed of Joseph and descended through Ephraim and as Joseph became a savior to his father's house, I am entitled to become a savior upon Mount Zion by doing the work for my kindred fathers who have not had the privilege of hearing the everlasting gospel.
I have learned more and been most happy while doing temple work which has strengthened my testimony. I have been promised the blessing of being a teacher to my family and their children whom I love very much and who seem to respect and listen to me. Cal Marchant, my grandson, away over seas, (in the military service) sent me a beautiful silk handkerchief for our anniversary which I will keep in my Book of Remembrance.
I taught in the Oakley Primary many years of my young life and know the Lord blessed and inspired me. I still get many kind words from those I taught, which I appreciate.
I started school in Oakley when I was six years old. Mr. Charles Work was the teacher for all the grades which included grown people. He taught many lovely songs: such as "Three Blind Mice"; " "Row, Row, Row Your Boat"; and, "Sweetly Sings the Donkey." He was a great entertainer and I could tell many things that happened in school which was in the hall that stood where Cliff Maxwell runs his machine shop. One very lovely teacher came from the East. Her name was Ella C. Davison. She had a son named Earl who had a dog called Towse. I had a large gray cat called Tige, but when we played, we could never get them to be friends. Later in the church house, we had a teacher name Mr. Sanders. He had us sing the song "Bunker Hill" each morning till we learned it by heart. If we whispered to a neighbor, we had to stay and write "transmagnificatbandanjulity" five hundred times. I think we all learned to spell that word very well. At recess in the winter time, we would go coasting over on Phillip's hill. That was great sport for all the school children. One evening after school, I took the sleigh and thought I'd go belly first. I slid side-ways into Mr. Hyrum Mecham's wire fence and cut my hand so bad blood was streaming out. I still have the scar. I went to Elijah Horton's store with blood all over me. Mr. Horton spat tobacco juice on the cut and tied a nice clean cloth on it to hold the tobacco juice on and cleaned me up. I hated to go home with my cut hand but the tobacco juice soon healed the cut. Mother was thankful for Elijah's tobacco which had done such a good job.
I remember some of my Primary Presidents. They were Sister West, Sister Augusta Johnson, Sister Eva Jensen and Sister Leona Hortin. They were true Latter-day Saints. They taught us many things about the gospel.
There was a religion class taught by Mr. Ralph Maxwell, a very inspiring man. He taught us to use good manners and always speak to older folks, to live close and pray to our Heavenly Father. These things always stayed with me in my later life.
Some of the girls I liked to attend Mutual with were Della Jensen, Janice Seymour, and Meda Frazier. We enjoyed Mutual very much and one day they asked us to bear our testimonies. I became frightened and said, "You'll have to excuse me cause I can't." After that, "You'll have to excuse me cause I can't", became a by-word in Mutual. I learned many things in Mutual and am thankful to those who helped me grow up and especially for the gospel of Jesus Christ.
We attended Sunday School in the old hall also. I can remember some of our dresses with little sashes which made us so proud as we walked to Sunday School. Each time we went to Sunday School, we received a little red or blue card with a verse on, called a ticket. Then when we attended enough times, we received a large one to hang on the wall. John Seymour, our teacher, was very outstanding man. He had just come home from a mission and we were always anxious to hear him talk.
My mother and father were very close and happy with their two little girls. I can remember our big dolls that hung in the front room on the organ. When I was eleven and my sister, Emma, was going on fifteen, our mother, just thirty-six years old, died. This little verse was written for her.
A flower, just blooming into life.
Noticed by an angel's eye,
"Too pure for life."
He said, "Come home."
And bid the flower die.
I have been told by many of my mother's friends that she was very pretty when she came here from Norway. She had long, thick hair that hung to her waist, and also a fair complexion. She had studied the Bible at school, so she could tell all about it. She would get Papa to read it and then she would tell him about it. I can remember her talking about two sticks, the stick of Judah and the stick of Ephraim (Joseph). Mama was sixteen when she came here. Her friends told me that she loved to dance. One night at a dance, she wore a pretty pink sash. The boys kept her dancing every dance. She said that her pink sash just went sailing around. She had a lovely voice and she used to sing also.
She would speak Norwegian to the Elders who had been to Norway on missions when they would come to our conferences to talk. She liked the young people to come to our home and quilt or sing or play our organ. She was so very proud to own an organ. We had a nice home in Oakley, Utah, and my father was a good provider. Many times either Mamma or daddy would play a cord on the organ and we four would gather around to sing before retiring to bed. A short time before Mother passed away, we all sang together at Mutual. The song was "The Moon Beams Brightly Over The Hill." Mamma hated to leave her two little daughters and clung to life as long as possible. She would always serve dinner, even if she had to get out of bed to do it. We would help her by running errands and with the dishes. She always had a nice front room for her company and for us children to sing and play as she was very interested in music.
We were all in sorrow over our lovely mama leaving us. I remember the lovely sisters who lived here in the Oakley Ward, Leona Hortin, Mrs. Snapp, and Nancy Frazier, who spoke such kind words to comfort us.
We wore black dresses, black ribbons in our hair and black hats. They seemed to make her death even more sad. Mama died on the twenty-sixth day of April in 1901. She was buried in Wanship. The road was very rough between here and Wanship. In March 1902 my sister, Emma, and I walked down to Mr. Snapp's to get the mail. We were still in black dresses. We noticed that some of the sisters were taking some lovely cakes into the old school house. Someone said, "Its the seventeenth of March and there is a program and it's for everyone." So we went in to hear the program.
First on the program was a song by Fannie Maxwell and two of her sisters. They sang such a sad song. It was "I'm Lonely Since My Mother Died." Emma and I dropped our heads on the desks and cried so hard we couldn't even walk out. Then we felt someone touch our heads and talk so sweetly and kindly to us. It was Mrs. Sarah Frazier. She was always very motherly and she soothed our sad hearts and we were made happy by her motherly way. We then all ate lovely cakes. I'll never forget the spirit of that lovely party.
We kept house for our father, Tobias T. Rasmussen. We would sing and play the organ. One of the songs we sang was "Happy Was The Family Of Three." We had many friends come in and we would play and sing.
I remember when Johnny Seymour came home from his mission. We were at our home singing and having fun. Then someone said, "Oh, lets go to church. Johnny Seymour is going to talk tonight." I still remember some of the speeches he gave. He said, Noah preached to the people for forty years and tried to get them to repent and be saved. So the Lord commanded Noah to build the Ark and take his family and food and two each of cows and horses and everything they would need. The Lord said that when they were all in the Ark that it would rain. The rain was coming down, covering the land with water. Some of the people were hanging on wrecks and others were floating in the water. A man, floating around in the water called for Noah to take him in the boat. When Noah reminded him how he had preached to him for forty years and that he wouldn't listen, the man in the water called back. "Go to hell then."
My father let Mr. George Wilde bring his family and live in part of our house, so their children could attend school. Emma, my sister attended school at the BY Academy in Provo, Utah, in the year 1901. While Emma was away to school, my father's mother came to live with us. Everyone called her Grandma Rasmussen. She sewed for me and brought me some very pretty clothes. We went to Sunday School every Sunday. John Seymour taught my class. He was a very good teacher and he impressed my life very much. I always prayed to my Father in Heaven for him.
Papa rented our home the next year, so I went to Park City to stay with my Aunt Amelia. She didn't want me to come to Park City, so I decided to get a place to work. Emma and I were both staying at Aunt Amelia's in Park City. We went over to some neighbors who were friends one evening. They had a young brother there. We were introduced to him. Aunt Amelia told me that he surely thought I was a nice girl which made my heart go pity-pat. I really thought I would see him again but I never did.
I strolled uptown and met Mrs. Gertrude Robbins from Wanship. She invited me to come in her house. I told her that I was looking for work. Her husband worked for Bob Kimball in a blacksmith shop.
He came home and said to go up to Mrs.Kimball's because she was looking for a girl. Mrs. Robbins went with me. Mrs. Kimball asked me to come back in the morning. I had never worked out, so I didn't know if I should or not. Mrs. Kimball seemed so stylish and I was proud. I hated to be a servant. So I stayed at Mrs. Robbins. I felt sorry for her because her health wasn't very good and her husband said things that I didn't think were very good. He was so much older than she.
I was helping Mrs. Robbins when a lady came in with her baby wrapped in a warm shawl. She was smiling such a motherly warm smile. She looked around the house and then at me. She said, "Pity sakes." I could have cried. She was so sweet in the way she talked. She reminded me of my mama. Mrs. Robbins introduced her to me as Mrs. Rolfe. She said, "I came to see if there was a girl over here who would like to help me, because my baby is cutting teeth and is so cross."
I went over and I'll never forget what a clean house she had. Supper was on the stove. I set the table. When I opened the cupboard drawer, her knives were lying in a straight row and the forks were the same. I had never seen anything so neat. I really did think she had a lovely supper. The family was very nice to me. After supper, I washed the dishes. Mrs. Rolfe's sister, Mrs. Jane Moore, and her daughter, Mattie Snyder, came in. Then here came my sister Emma to see what I was doing. Emma had planned for us to go up town to an ice cream parlor with two young boys, Sam Sweet and a Gunther boy. We went up and had a sundae. Then we came home. After the boys went home, Emma and I got to laughing and we couldn't quit. We went around the house where we hoped that they couldn't hear us. We finally stopped laughing. Then Emma went home and I went in.
(On July 15, 1904 Tobias Theodore Rasmussen was baptized at the age of 41 and on February 22, 1905, he received his endowments and was sealed to Annie Teletta Rasmussen and his two daughters, Emma and Ethel, in the Salt Lake Temple.) In 1904 my father, Tobias Rasmussen, married Amanda Robinson. Emma, my sister, married Marve Marchant in March of 1905 and I married Charles Arthur Rolfe the following April 5, 1905 being so very young. (She was 16 years old.)
I had been raised in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and attended all the organizations in the Oakley Ward with teachers who had very strong testimonies. When I was eighteen, we built a comfortable little home in Park City. At that time we had a little girl, Velma Annie. She was born February 23, 1906. We were quite happy. Charles always drove a big ore wagon with four big, fine horses covered with spreaders of colored rings. Charles was spoken of as a good teamster. He was very proud of his family and new little cottage. In the year 1909, on March 13, Elma a beautiful baby, came to us. Velma says she can still remember coming in to see the baby although she was only three years old. In Park City, I had some very nice neighbors that I respected them very much for their thoughtfulness toward me.
About this time, Charles, my husband went to the "Reservation" looking for land. He got a job with the Uintah Freight Company. We joined him there. In 1911, we returned to my home town, Oakley, Utah. Charlie started working for my father. We have spent the rest of our lives in Oakley in beautiful Summit County. God has said to me to stay here and serve Him in the mountains. Among your choicest friends bring up you darling daughters with patience and care. I am very thankful for for thankful for the faith and protection I have received in South Summit. All my six girls graduated from South Summit High School. Where the breezes blow so free, good old South Summit County, you have have been home sweet home to me.