Autobiography of CLARA MALINDA JOHNSON OLSEN
Contributor: Nicole Created: 2 years ago Updated: 2 years ago
Neola, Duchesne County, Utah
March 30, 1935
CLARA MALINDA JOHNSON OLSEN
I haven’t any diary, I will endeavor from memory to give a few special items of my life. I am of the blood of Ephraim whose promises are that he “Ephraim” shall be crowned in the last days to stand as an honor unto God in all righteousness. I was born March 23, in the year of our Lord, Eighteen Hundred and Eighty six, in Ephraim City, San Pete Co. Utah Territory. I was baptized March 23, 1897, in the Manti Temple. My father’s name was John N. Johnson who was born Aug. 15, 1853, in Aarhuse Aarhuse co. Denmark and my mother’s maiden name was Sarah Hansen. She was born July 23, 1856 in Fyen Co. Denmark. They are also of the blood of Ephraim and having the blood of Israel in their veins came to America or the choice land of God, for their religion. They were very young—father was a child of 7 years and mother was only 5 years. They were married in the endowment house Apr. 7, 1874. They are among those sturdy pioneers who faced the hardships of the Indians and ox team days. Also the grasshoppers times. So their children could have the op which were in store for them to enjoy.
My great grandfather on my paternal line is John Peterson who was born 1783 in Lerbjerg Denmark and his wife’s name was Elise Christensen, she was born 1792 in Lyngaa Denmark. Their son my grandfather is Neils Johnson. Notice his name is Johnson instead of Peterson being the costum for a son taking the given name of his father adding the son making it his surname. He was born Feb. 25, 1826, at Lungaa Denmark—his wife’s name is Kirsten Neilson, she was born Feb 2, 1828, in hassle Aarhuse co. Denmark.
My mother’s father name is Andrew C Hansen who was born Aug. 27, 1826, Odense Denmark and his wife’s name is Maren Kirstina Larsen who was born Aug 6, 1827. These people were the pioneers who helped make Utah a garden spot of the west.
I have very little of their history. This history has been filed with the State Centeral Committee, State Capitol Building Salt Lake City. I have 3 brothers namely Wilford, Angus, and Clifford and 4 sisters Mary, Anna, Norah, and Rebecca. 2 brother and 1 sister are still living. The others have passed to the great beyond.
My mother died Nov. 8, 1894, when I was only 8 ½ years old. Leaving father to care for six children. There were two girls of father’s children old enough to do the house work and help care for the children. That helped to make things not to dark in father’s sad life. Mother was a woman of a quiet disposition and had many friends. Sister C. J. Nelson is one of her girlhood chums. She is living in Roosevelt now. Mother died in childbed birth with what was known then as childbed fever, but is called blood poisoning today.
Father lived a widower 2 ½ years. He married Anna Simonson, who was a convert to the Latter Day Saints Church, Mar. 31, 1897, in the Manti Temple. She died Oct. 8, 1934 this was the second time father was called to go through this sad ordeal.
Not wishing to complain of this marriage I soon found that step children are not always as welcome as their own children so I began working away from home. The wage I got was fifty cents and my board a week in this way I made my living for a while.
I worked my way through life until I was married. I was taught many valuable lessons both from my mother and father’s second wife. The most valuable lesson I learned was to keep my virtue more precious than any thing else in life. My childhood days were very enjoyable. I used to herd cows close to the grist mill where my father worked, he was a grist miller by trade. The feed was pretty good on the foot hills. We, my 2 brothers and I, would take the cows up to the hills by the mills to herd them so father could help watch them. One day we got to playing and building a rock house out of shale rock that was on the hill, forgetting the cows they got in on a nice green field of alfalpha and got bloated. We were warned not to let the cows get in this field. Father promised us if they did he would have to punish us, and say we were punished. When I think of it now I can still feel the sting of that willow. This was the only time father ever whipped me, either I learned a lesson or else he got to tender hearted to whip any more.
Father always taught us obedience by example, showing us what results comes to those who are obedient.
Many and many a day I helped my mother glean wheat. I would gather the grain and mother would clip the head of the grain off in a sack. This is one way we gathered feed for our chicken. Then another way was to cradled it—I have followed my grandfather hour after hour tying the bundles of grain to help him harvest the crop.. Father lived in Ephraim from the time it was Fort Ephraim until I was 12 years old, then he moved to Huntington, Emery Co. We lived there about 2 years. Our next move was back to San Pete Co. to Spring City from this place I came out to the Uintah Basin. The scare of the Indians remained with the people a long time. I remember well mother telling of two old buck coming to our place when she was alone. These Indians were dressed up in their war paints. Mother said she stood the horror of the red skins as long as she could and then stepping outside the house to see if father was coming from work she noticed another man passing, she asked this man to stop a few minutes. She told the Indians this was her man so they left leaving mother unharmed but frightened. Times have changed now we consider an Indian our best friend. My father is a Black hawk war veteran. He was standing guard one night when his boy friend and him heard something coming. They got ready to fire the shots at whatever it was when a streak of lightening came and to their surprise it was an old cow. This is only a joke. But the real guarding was no joke. Father didn’t meet up with any accident but went through many experiences.
I was married in the Manti Temple Jan. 7th, 1903, to John Albert Olsen who was born Aug. 8, 1876, at Spring City, SanPete Co. Utah Territory. I had been going with a young man over a year by the name of Clauson. He had the habit of drinking whiskey. I could see what a wretched life I would have to live in if I married a man of that type. So I decided that I would not stand this. I told this man he could take his choice—whiskey or me and he chose the whiskey. Like all other foolish girls this made me feel pretty blue for awhile. It was not long after this when Mr. Right came along. I am sure glad now that I had stammer enough to consider what my future happiness meant to me and my children. Today when I look at those poor weak mortals who get drunk I can’t than my Heavenly Father enough for the courage he gave me to choose as I have done.
I am the mother of twelve children—all are living. I have six married—2 boys and 4 girls and six are still living at home out of the six that are married five of them have been through the house of the Lord and are sealed to each other and their families for time and all eternity. Before coming to the Uintah Basin my family and I lived at Spring City. We came here in Aug 1906. There were only two houses that could be seen. Namely Charley Chiat’s and Joe Peterson’s. We were among the early people who help to make the Basin what it is. When we passed through Roosevelt all the town there was was a tent boarded up which was used for a post office, and another one used for a Saloon.
My childhood home was one of order and cleanliness, not of luxious but a good wholesome one and mother as queen. The house was an adobe house it is still standing. The first house we owned after we were married was a frame structure, it had only 2 rooms in it but it was well furnished. My first home on the reservation was a tent. I lived in this for a few months. We soon had our log cabin ready and then we moved into it. This cabin was comfortable and one that made pioneer life in the Uintah Basin a house called home. We moved from Hayden to Neola in Sept. 1915. This house had only three rows of shingles on it and we hadn’t only landed in Neola when it began to rain. This was all the shelter we had we all tried to keep out of the rain by trying to stay under this small portion of a roof. It rained more or less for three days. Glenn was a baby of only 3 months then. We were getting ready to go back to Hayden and camp for a few days as the house we left didn’t leak but the storm got better. We all got on the roof and began tacking shingles for fear more rain might come and we could be dry.
There had been many ups and downs in life but I have weathered them through so far.
I well remember the World War and then after this was over came that dreaded disease the influenza. This scourge claimed a larger tool of lives than the war did.
My husband has served in different capacities both in church and other places both Hayden and Neola. He was 2 counselor to Bishop Roger Horrocks, Sunday School teacher in Packard. Superintendant in Y.M.M.I.A. Presiding elder in Neola Branch and Bishop of Neola ward for nine years. He is High Council in the Roosevelt Stake and also justice of peace Neola Precinct.
I myself was Second Counselor in Hayden Y.W.M.I A., Sr. Class leader in Neola with Elnora Allen Pres., was Pres. of Y.L.M.I.A. from 1920 until 1927. I was stake recreation leader with Mrs. Dillman, Pres. When she was released I was chosen Bee-Keeper in Stake with Effie Jacobs Pres. Sister Jacobs succeeding sister Dillman, served here from May 26, 1928, til Aug. 22, 1932, was released when Sister Henrie was released because ill health would not permit me to visit the wards in the stake, but later chosen Ward Bee-Keeper with Amanda Henrie Pres., was released when Sister Henrie was released but chosen again when Ruth B. Jensen was made Pres. And I am holding that office now. I have been Relief Theology Leader, and work Leader. I am work leader now although a poor one. I was 2 counselor in the Primary organization for 3 years prior to being M.I.A. Pres. Have been S. S. teacher.
Our children have not had very much education but they have had some High School training.
At the present we have a jr. high school boy and the rest are in the grade school. We have 19 grandchildren. 17 of them are living. I am 49 years and 1 week old. I myself being trained in my youth to cook, sew and do other things pertaining to house keeping. I have always tried to teach my children such things that would make of them the best husbands and wives that could be found. My boys are not afraid of work and the girls are among some of the best house keepers and mothers that can be found.
History typed by Luella Olsen Sullivan. I have tried to do it as it was written in its sincerity and simplicity of that day. Typed Dec. 21, 1980.
(Retyped by Janice Sorensen Bird on Jan. 9, 2009. The computer does its own correcting. So some words and punctuation have been corrected.)
"My Aunt Veloy" by Shana Witbeck
Contributor: Nicole Created: 2 years ago Updated: 2 years ago
My Aunt VeLoy,
Don’t know why I never called her Lonnie . . just always loved the name, VeLoy. That’s who she always was to me . . . but as beautiful as I thought her name was, it wasn’t as beautiful as the woman who bore it.
My siblings and I used to always spend our summer vacations out in Neola at Grandmothers and Gramps.
I LOVED going . . . not only because I loved being with my grandparents but because I loved being with VeLoy. Being with her was like having the cherry on top. VeLoy was 8 years older than me and I loved the excitement and zest she had for life. With her there was never a dull moment.
Grandmother worked at JC Pennys. Before leaving in the morning she would line VeLoy out with what chores needed done that day. Cleaning the house was always on that list.
I can’t remember for sure if Grandmother felt our chores were to always come first before riding Patty . . . or if we weren’t even supposed to be riding Patty at all until Grandmother was home. But riding Patty was as daily a routine for us as cleaning house.
VeLoy’s heart was in her horse. She loved horses and I’m sure her love for them helped propel mine!
VeLoy knew . . . as meticulous as she was in everything she did, exactly how long it would take us to complete our chores for that day. And because she was always so good at knowing exactly just how long it would take us . . . . she knew just exactly how long we could get away with riding Ol’ Patty before having to do them!
I always trusted VeLoy explicitly and had complete faith in her ability to determine exactly when our riding time had to come to an end and I knew without doubt that when it did . . . it was time to put forth full effort into getting our chores done as quickly possible and doing them well.
If we slacked we wouldn’t get them done in time and would have to suffer the wrath of Grandmother.
VeLoy had us lined out to a tea. We knew what to do and how to do it. We never skimped and we never got in trouble because our work was always done to perfection. That’s just how VeLoy did things. She was a perfectionist and I love her all the more for it.
On one of our little . . . ride Patty before doing our work days . . . . VeLoy determined we would ride bareback. Darn!
I hated riding bareback double . . cause I was always the double in back and never had anything to hang onto.
Anyway .. Most EVERYWHERE we went on Patty was at top notch speed . . . unless we were climbing up or down cement stairways or riding her while swimming her in the pond . . Now that was a really weird feeling . . Scared me to death! Oh and yes, you were definitely at top notch speed running down the road before jumping the cattle guard!!! That scared me to death too but VeLoy, . . . . she was always up for a challenge.
How we and Patty EVER survived I don’t know but on this day VeLoy didn’t fare as well as most.
As we rounded the corner heading home, I started sliding off and in a last ditch effort grabbed VeLoy to stay on.
Well neither one of us stayed on but in VeLoy’s fall she hit her wrist on a huge tree trunk that had been pulled out of the ground and left there on the side of the road.
I remember her telling me if I was ever going to fall off again “not” to pull her off with me . . . and that her wrist really hurt but we WEREN”T to tell grandmother or we would be in trouble! When VeLoy made her mind up to do something . . She did it ! She never did tell Grandmother and neither did I.
Years later . . . . most likely around 50 years of age and her still playing fast pitch soft ball, she started getting broken bones and had her arm x-rayed for an injury. Her Doctor asked her if she knew she’d had a badly broken her wrist before! VeLoy knew exactly when it happened. It had to have hurt horribly.
Because of VeLoy’s gifts of perfection and determination, . . . we used to make the BEST blanket tents ever!!! We would take Grandmas old blankets drape them over the top and sides of the clothesline and take clothespins and pin them in place being sure to pin up the sides except for the door.
Grandmother’s grass was always thick and lush would make perfect pretend thick green carpet until our tent days turned into weeks . . Then under the tent grandmother’s grass wasn’t so lush anymore.
I’ve since come to the realization that grandmother must have loved us an awful lot because we evidently were more important than her prized lawn.
We would then gather big cobble rocks to anchor down the blankets, then haul out the bed . . I mean a real double bed with a bed frame, box springs and a mattress. We would then make it up with sheets, blankets, pillows and top it off with a beautiful bedspread. We would haul out a end table and lamp . . . and an electrical cord to hook the lamp up to, along with VeLoy’s little yellow Formica kitchen table and little matching naugahide chairs. We would haul out dishes, and a cradle and dolls, and books to read by the light of the lamp at night, and that’s where we would sometimes sleep during the warm summer nights.
I say sometimes because it seems that whenever VeLoy and I got together at bedtime, we mostly just talked well into the night. We’ve done this ever since, until this last year when VeLoy came out at memorial time. I think that was the first time we didn’t. She was in so much pain she had to take a sleeping pill and pain pill to even be able to sleep. Once they were taken she tried to converse but her eyes soon closed and she was out. I truly missed our midnight conversation that night.
I remember once when it was primary day . . . back then primary was during the week . . . and so we didn’t go riding Patty that day. We were out working in the garden instead. Maybe that’s why we weren’t riding Patty? We were supposed to weed the garden? Anyway working in the garden just wasn’t as much fun as riding Patty and the day wasn’t moving along as readily as I wanted it too . . so I kept asking VeLoy. . . . “Is it time to get ready for primary yet”? . . over and over again I would ask . . “Is it time to get ready for primary yet”? Finally VeLoy had enough.
She took me in the house and got me ready for primary. I remember having my good church shoes on. She then took me into the kitchen . . . and on Grandmother’s beautiful pink kitchen floor with the blue teacups . . .she stood me smack dab in the middle and faced me towards the clock making sure I could watch every minute as it passed by. . . then with a blue inked ball point pen she drew my shoe prints on Grandmother’s floor! I WAS SHOCKED. I couldn’t believe she drew with ball point pen on grandmother’s floor!!!
I was overly concerned at how she would ever get it off. She assured me she could and told me that I was to stand there, watch the clock and not move for the next hour until it was time to go to primary and that if I moved, she would know. That was the longest hour I’ve ever spent in my whole entire life and I NEVER did that AGAIN!!!
Another experience that still makes my heart tender for my VeLoy was in the early evening one Saturday. Grandmother had asked to have the spoiled fruit that had dropped from the trees in the orchard picked up and then to slop the pigs with them.
Now I don’t recall if she just asked VeLoy to do it or if she asked me as well . . . I I’m thinking she must have just asked VeLoy because VeLoy had me out helping and I hated picking up that yucky pig slop . . . and I protested !!! A LOT . . Eventually I started crying. Grandmother heard me. That night a not very happy mother while putting curlers in her daughter’s hair for Church the next day . . . used a hairbrush to help punctuate the scotch blessing VeLoy received for making me help . . . I FELT HORRIBLE !!! That was another thing I NEVER did again. I never did anything that I thought might get VeLoy in trouble.
I look back now and realize with a different perspective that those summers for VeLoy to have me around probably weren’t very fun for her. Not like they were for me, a little girl whose perspective was that of idolizing her awesome Aunt VeLoy and everything she did . . . but she never EVER made me feel that way. VeLoy had a way of making everyone she met feel special. In my eyes . . . I was the light of her life.
I well remember each and every birthday card or Christmas card or letter or note from her, always made me feel special and loved. At the end of each one she would write. “Never Change Shanie . . . Always stay just the way you are”. She was my greatest support, right up there with my mom . . . . Whatever it was I did she rallied me in it giving me the gift of self worth.
She could bring out the best in people and give them reason to strive to be better and now, her memory STILL does.
I admire so much the love she had for her family, her posterity, especially her beautiful girls and sweet husband, Greg. They meant the world to her. She often expressed how blessed she was because of them.
She was so grateful for the gospel in her life and relished in educating herself and studying it. Her testimony of it never faltered. Even though she endured many hardships and suffered agonizing pain she held true with monumental faith becoming even stronger as she neared the close of her life. She could do and did . . . hard things!
Sometimes it seems as though the great ones are the ones called to endure the most . . . It seems to “qualify” them.
One of VeLoy’s favorite songs was “Run For The Roses”. She has now RUN and WON her earthly race.
I will dearly miss this great and elect woman but not for long.
This life is but a twinkling of an eye compared to the eternities, and she now, is ever near our side.
I say this humbly in the name of Jesus Christ , Amen