A History of the Sarah Ann Mariah Wheeler Peterson Family*
Contributor: RenBlack Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
A History of Sarah Ann Mariah Wheeler (1865-1922)*
Phelma B. Peterson Wood and Ross Peterson
*(This history is chapter 11 in book titled Wheeler Pioneers: A History of the Edward and Ann Wheeler Family. This book was edited by Wesley R. Burr, Norman Eatough, Jared Farish, and Ruth J. Burr and published by the Wheeler Family Organization in 2015. It has 820 pages and hundreds of pictures of the Wheeler family; and it contains information about relatives and ancestors that are not included in this version of this chapter that is placed in FamilySearch because this is just the text that appeared in chapter 11. Also, the footnotes in the published chapter do not upload from Word into FamilySearch. Copies of the Wheeler Pioneers volume can be acquired, while supplies last, by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org. The book is also available at the LDS Family History Library and the Church History Library in Salt Lake City, and the HBL Library at BYU in Provo, Utah. A copy of this history is also available in the Salt Lake City Daughters of Utah Pioneers Museum under the name Peterson, Sarah Miriah Wheeler.)
Sarah Ann Mariah Wheeler was born in Huntsville, Utah on October 22, 1865. She was the fifth child of Joseph Wheeler and Saran Ann Wood of Plain City, Utah. She married Hans Peterson on March 1, 1883. He was the son of Hans Peterson and Anne Martine Andersen who also lived in Plain City.
They built a home in Plain City, and lived there for nine years. During this time six children were born to them. They were Effie Alice, born on December 16, 1883; Bazil Hyrum, born on October 2, 1885; Joseph William, born on April 20, 1887; Augustus Samuel, born on February 19, 1889; Hans Frederick, born on January 19, 1891; and Sarah Luella, who was born on March 28, 1892.
Hans suffered with poor health from typhoid fever, and they decided to move to Idaho. This was a very hard move, and, because of Hans' health, much of the move was done by Sarah and the family. They settled on a 180-acre tract of land west of Blackfoot. They were among the first families to cross the Snake River and settle west of Blackfoot. At this time, it was all sagebrush land that had not been brought into cultivation. Roads and homes had to be built, wells and ditches had to be dug, and communities needed to be formed. The territory was taken up rapidly and soon there were wards, churches, and schools. This proved to be a good move for the family because Hans' health did improve with Sarah's constant care.
Gradually, a network of ditches was built and brought water to the farms. One canal, the People's Canal, was started in 1901 and completed in 1905. It required a lot of back-breaking work to get each farm started.
The first home was a two-room lava rock building with an upstairs bedroom going up off the kitchen. The family planted an orchard to have the fruit they were used to in Utah. They grew apples, cherries, and pears. They had the first raspberry and strawberry patch in the county, and it became rather famous. It required a sturdy fence to be built around the plot to keep the rabbits and stray stock out. The family carried water in buckets for one season to keep the plants alive until the ditches were built to bring water.
The children walked three miles to school at Flagstone, now known as Rockford. Each night Sarah Ann would wash, dry, and iron their clothes after they went to bed, so they would have clean clothes to wear the next day.
When the People's Canal was being built, Sarah cooked for many men as a means of making money for the family needs and wants. As the years went by, they found it possible to build a fine modern home; one of the finest in the country. It had a cement cellar, utility room, bath, and Delco pressure system for running water. Since electricity was not in the area yet, it required a great deal of work to keep the large dynamos going. I remember attending the party given as the neighbors came to enjoy the first evening when the lights were turned on. It was indeed a novelty to us to see a shiny white bathtub and kitchen sink. We used to beg mother to take us over to grandmother's to bathe.
Every spare moment mother Sarah and daughters Effie and Sarah Luella would be weaving rugs. They owned their own loom that made beautiful strips three feet wide and about eight feet long. In time, the floor was completely covered by these sturdy rugs that outlasted their makers by many years.
Grandmother Sarah loved flowers and her home was the scene of many parties and socials. She was justly proud of her chickens and turkeys that she cared for each year. The family activities centered around baseball, and Hans became quite famous as a pitcher. The boys liked it also and many lively games ensued among the neighboring communities.
Another pastime was catching wild horses as they came to the well for water. Many fine horses were caught by the young men of that time. Each winter teams went to the Lava's for fuel and grandfather was no exception. He took his team, wagon, tent, grub for several days, and hay for the horses. This was the best area for acquiring wood for the winter heat. The trip was a long, hard one but the men seemed to look forward to going each winter.
Grandfather and sons were very active in helping build the new rock church. They had the job of hauling wood to keep it warm, all while Grandmother was the primary president. Their son, Joseph William, and his bride, Sarah Elizabeth Palmer, had the first wedding in the new hall.
One year later, death called. One of their sons, Augustus Samuel, or Gus as he was known, passed away at the age of 21 on June 4, 1910. Gus died from an attack of quinsy.1 He was buried in the Thomas Cemetery. Three years later another son, Hans Fredrick, at the age of 22, suffered an appendicitis attack and passed away on February 20, 1913. This double blow was almost more than Grandmother could bear, and she retired from many of her activities.
Soon the telephone and electricity were added to the home. As the children had grown up and married, it meant a great deal to be able to have them call home now and then.
The family purchased an REO car sold in Blackfoot, and received a Shetland pony and buggy as the prize winners during a contest. This was a pleasure to their grandson, James Hans, who was the son of their daughter Luella. He brought very much pleasure to his grandparents in their middle age.
They built a modern home, garage, chicken coop, shop, granary with full cement basement, barn, and other out-buildings each of lava rock, so well-built they are still standing and in good condition some fifty years later. The Peterson home was an outstanding home in the community, and they both showed leadership in many ways. When we consider the hardships their family went through, it helps us appreciate their accomplishments even more.
Grandmother became ill from breast cancer and suffered terribly before her death. She died on January 18, 1922. Grandfather was so alone that he persuaded my father, Joseph William Peterson, to move in with him and help farm his land. For eight years we lived with him. Then in 1930, he became ill from cancer and Mother cared for him with the help of his daughters, Luella and Effie. He passed away on September 3, 1930, and was buried in the family plot in the Thomas Cemetery.