Autobiography of Ole Peter Borg
Contributor: Donners7 Created: 9 months ago Updated: 9 months ago
The following autobiography was penned May 1901 by Ole Peter Borg. All brackets are clarifications and addition added by Heidi Borg. If you are interested in a copy of the document with the additions as footnotes rather than in the text (as well as supplementary photos and maps) email email@example.com
Journal of Ole Peter Borg
The following pages I dedicate to my children trusting they will take good care of them and add to them from generation to generation, as I believe that in the future it will be of interest to our progeny.
There is in this short biography of mine of necessity many dates left out, as these pages were not written till nearly fifty years after some of the events recorded transpired, and I am not able after that length of time to remember dates.
There are some things recorded here which I should have been glad to eliminate but on second thought I believe it to be right that the truth should be known.
I trust that my progeny may be as God fearing and honorable as my ancestors and that the Lord will lead and guide them in the path of righteousness.
I Ole Peter Borg [K2WQ-QVR] was born on the 19th of October 1847 in Lyngby Sogn Bare Herred, Malmohuse Len, Skone, Sweden of parents in moderate circumstances, though classes among the poor. My father’s name was Peter Hans Borg[(KWVQ-8ND) 1805-1875]. He came from a race of large, boney, Roman nosed, dark complected people who for 3 or 4 generations had followed the trade of harness making and some of them were fairly good musicians. The name Borg was obtained by one of my ancestors by serving the King in the army, where he learned the trade of a saddler and harness maker and according to the usages of those days, a man so serving was entitled to take what name he pleased. I am not sure when this happened, but according to my best knowledge it must have been about the year 1700. My father belonged to the Lutheran church and was religiously inclined.
My mother’s name was Ingrid Jonsdatter [(KWVQ-8NX) 8 September 1812 - 6 MAR 1878], she same from a race of people that were light complected and plump of build, they were generally well to do but though some questionable sections of her uncles part her father was in poor circumstances. Her father [Jons Jonsson (LCRZ-1S1) 28 March 1780 - 4 April 1850] came from a place called Anorsture [Anderslöf, Malmöhus, Sweden] and I believe the ancestors were of Danish blood. My mother a religious enthusiast and would offer anything for her religious convictions.
They were married in the year 1828 and during their married life mother gave birth to 10 children, 6 boy and 4 girls of which I was the eighth.
All of these children grew to maturity but two girls who died. In an epidemic disease in the year 1857. One was eight [Katherina Pehrsson Borg (LQR4-RDB) 14 Sep 1845- 13 Sep 1857] and the other twelve years old [Ingrid Pehrsson Borg (LQR4-RKM) 02 NOV 1849- 1857].
My first years on this earth passed as does those of most boys raised under similar circumstances. The first thing of particular interest that I can remember occurred when I was seven years of age. One evening a man by the name of Jens Hansen, a famer, came to my father’s house and inquired if father had a boy he could hire, father told him the boys were all away but me and that I was too young to work. Mr. Hansen thought different and by good words finally prevailed on my parents and myself to give it a trial. My work was to herd and take care of his pigs and sheep, everything went well, they liked me and treated me so kindly that I worked for Mr. Hansen two summers. The winters I spent in school.
About this time I and my folks first heard about the “Mormons”. My brother Swen [(KWJF-28Q) 27 July 1838- 14 Jan 1901] went to Malmo and when he returned he had a wonderful story to tell about their beautiful singing and their healing of the sick. Not long after when I was about nine years old a “Mormon” elder by the name of Isgren arrived at our house. At the time my sister Hanna [KWV7-1Q4) 9 September 1840 - 20 Jun 1889], then about 15 years old, had been sick and inn bed for two years suffering from tapeworm. I well remember Elder Isgren had not many minutes in the house before he had an argument with my mother and Hanna, they were both well versed in the scriptures and on him claiming that he proclaimed the same gospel that the savior and His apostles taught and that he had the same authority, my sister opened the Bible and referred him to the 19th chapter of St. Matthew where it says, “And when He called unto Him His twelve disciples, He gave them power against unclean spirits, and to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease. ” And then she told them that the doctors had tried for two years to cure her and failed, now, she said, “if you have this authority which you claim, you must be able to cure me.” They talked for some time until both mother and Hanna believed that he actually was a man of God and had authority from on High to administer the ordinances of the gospel. So convinced was my sister that she asked him to baptize her at once, but as my father was not home at the time he would not do it. He said that he would not baptize a wife or a daughter without the consent of the husband or father. He told them that he would return in two weeks and if in the mean time they had obtained father’s consent he would then perform the ceremony.
Next Saturday when father returned they told him all about it and asked consent for Hanna to be baptized. He would not give it and asked mother if she would kill the girl, he had no faith whatever in it. Father went away again the next Monday and did not return till the following Saturday, they again asked his consent and pleaded with him to allow Hanna to be baptized. By Elder Isgren. Finally when father went away Monday morning he gave a kind of half consent but told mother that she would have to take the responsibility if anything happened and that he had no faith in it.
When Isgren returned Hanna was baptized, mother and he carried her down to a nice pond, about one hundred yards from the house, where the water was clear and where was a fine study bottom. The baptism was performed in the usual way with this exception, my sister was unable to stand up and so the elder held her in his arms and immersed her and then carried her out of the water again; she being very light on account of the long illness. From the pond to the house she walked between mother and Isgren, this was the first walking she had done for two years. After having hands laid on her for the redemption of the Holy Ghost she was administered to with consecrated oil and laying on of hands and the disease was rebuked, prayers and supplications assended [ascended] to God that her health would be restored. Their prayers and supplications were soon answered and the tape worm in which she had been suffering commenced to pass from her in pieces and within a year she was entirely well and strong. She lived to raise a large family. The doctors who had treated her declared it a miracle.
Rumors of this miracle soon spread and many people from miles around came to see the saddlers [saddler’s] daughter who had been cured by the Mormons. Many soon believed and through this [these] circumstances many were added to the church.
Mother was baptized soon after and one by one the whole family finally joined the church, but it took father one year to muster courage enough to be baptized. I was baptized on the 19th of October 1857 on the tenth anniversary of my birth by elder Jens Jensen.
After I was baptized persecution commenced in the neighborhood to such an extent that I quit school. The boys would take and in mockery baptize me in the presence of the school teacher, and he, instead of rebuking the boys would laugh at it. At times I would have to go home wer [?] and bloody from the mistreatment of the boys. Once when father was working for the priest of the parish where we resided, I came up to him in such a condition, when the priest of the parish saw it and learned that I was up to the average standard in learning of boys my age, he exempted me from farther attendance in school but insisted that I must be confirmed according to the laws of the Lutheran church. Father told him that I had already partaken of the sacraments. This ended it and I never was confirmed in the Lutheran Way.
In the spring of 1860 my mother and my brother Lars P. Borg [(KWJF-P64) 31 Aug 1833- 3 Jan 1904] emigrated [immigrated] to Utah. They took with them a little girl named Kornelia Nathalie [Cornelia Nathalia Hansen (KCD7-KTY) 20 May 1859- 1860] a daughter of my sister Karina [Karna Person Hansen (KWJ4-T24) 25 Mar 1836- 23 February 1919], this little girl died on the Missouri River and was buried on its banks at a little wood station where the steamer stopped for fuel. As far as we can ascertain it was on the South bank in the neighborhood of Quincy.
After mother emigrated our home in Sweden continued to be a resting place for the missionaries.
In 1862 my sister Hanna who has formerly been mentioned and my youngest brother James emigrated.
In the winter of 1862-3 I walked around with English saddles on my back, which I sold to the farmers. In all I sold 19 all of fathers make. Every cent which we realized for those went to my brother Svens emigration which occurred spring of 1863 after filling a successful mission of 4 ½ years having converted many and baptized 71 persons.
After this came what for me proved the saddest part of my youth, I was left alone, father working away from home, mother and some of my brothers and sisters having emigrated [immigrated] to Zion and others of the family scattered, some in Sweden and my oldest sister in Denmark, where she still resides. It was very lonesome and the only thing to relieve the monotony was when the missionaries would come and cheer me up as they did frequently, then I would be host, cook, dishwasher, and chambermaid all in one.
During that time my longing for mother and Zion was so intense that it created a melancholic feeling which to this day I have not been able to overcome. Many a night after trying to still my thoughts by reading, I would cry myself to sleep, but to awake again next morning to find myself in the same lonesomeness, I could not associate with the outsiders in account of the hatred they showed me and the gospel and I could not bear to hear them ridicule what I considered most sacred.
In the fall of 1861 at a district meeting both father and I received the priesthood, father being ordained a teacher and I a Deacon. I was set apart to visit the saints in the district every three months, to have prayer meetings with them and gather the tithing and other donations.
I was blest with a good voice and as we had no choir I generally had to take the lead in singing in our meetings.
Our struggles during the winter of 1863-4 were to raise money enough for father to emigrate. I had been told that when we wished anything that was good and right, to ask it of our Heavenly Father. At this time my longing to come to Zion and my mother was stronger than ever, therefore I pleaded with the Lord on my knees, early and late, that he would open a way for me that I might be able to accompany father in the spring. I never mentioned this to father, or anyone else, as I did not wish to grieve them because it looked impossible to get the money for more than father, but I put my trust in God and continued to pray.
I well remember that morning when father was ready to leave, we arose at *our, when a neighbor by the name Sven Trueson came to take father to Malmo. I was to accompany him about two miles to where my brother Hans [(K2HQ-1R4) 14 September 1831 - 12 April 1909] lived and where he was running a wind grist mill, arrangements having been made that I should stay with him when father left and help him run the mill. We arrived there about daylight. After breakfast Hans was to go with father and Trueson to Malmo and I was to look after the mill. When father go in the wagon and was ready to go he said, with tears in his eyes, that It was sad indeed that he had to leave us and go his long journey alone, especially as mother and all of us wished to come to Zion and we all hoped to meet there and as those of the family who had gone before had had some if the family fro company, he felt the sadness of the occasion. At his my brother Hans turned to me and said, “Ole go into the house and get your clothes and come with us to Malmo, if possible I will get the money there so you can go to Zion.” I did so but most of my clothes were being left at the old home, it was but very little I had there. When we got to Malmo it looked more doubtful than ever as the emigrants that had any money had already helped as many as possible but through the help of a missionary from Utah, brother Hulberg, they at last succeeded in raising enough to take me to New York, and Brother Hulberg promised that I should not be left there but he would find some way by which I could go with father to Utah and he kept his word. I now realize the truthfulness of saying that “he who asked of the Lord secretly shall receive it openly” and you can judge of my happiness and joy at the happy outcome. That night had been very stormy but as the morning came and the day succeeded night, the clouds floated away and the bright sun shone, it corresponded beautifully with my feelings as the steamer left Malmo and sailed toward Copenhagen [Denmark].
We only stopped there a few minutes, I got on the wharf and inside the city gate, when I heard the steamer bell, as I could not afford to be left I hurried back.
From Copenhagen we went to Lybeck [Lübeck, Germany] and from there by rail to Hamburg [Germany] where loaded on a steamer together with a lot of cattle, though the cattle were in the hull while we were on the second deck, we had a very rough voyage and much seasickness but landed all well at Grinsby [Grimsby] in England in three days from the time we left Germany.
At Grimsby we were quartered in a large unfinished warehouse quite comfortably. We had our morning and evening devotion (which seemed to amuse the sailors).
As I have mentioned before I was blest with a good voice, once brother Huldberg called on me to sing, after I had sung someone called on a Danish girl to sing and after she was through nothing would do but both of us had to sing together, which we did as we knew the same songs. People gathered around us every morning and evening and insisted on us singing a number of songs. I think that we must have overdone it, as I found that my voice was never as good after that.
We went from Grimsby to Liverpool by rail through tunnels and over cities that were black with coal smoke. What especially struck me was when we went over the great manufacturing city of Manchester here we had a good opportunity to contrast the poor struggling people who went poor and barefoot to the rich who rode it costly carriages. The train went very slow, as the road is built on a great and very high pillars, it gave us both time and opportunity for observation.
At Liverpool we joined the English emigrants and were embarked on a large old fashioned sailing vessel named “Monarch of the Sea”, it was not considered very safe but being the only one available and large enough to carry 1000 souls we could do no better.
After spending three weeks on the Ocean we were told that we had drifted back till we were only 200 miles from England. Our water being bad, we took a more northerly course to get in a colder climate. We saw many icebergs and passed very close to some of them. We suffered considerably from bad food and rotten water, also from storms. Brother Rasmus Johnsen who has since been Bishop of Provo was the captain for the Scandinavian saints and Patriarch John Smith was lead of the whole company.
After seven weeks on bosom of the Atlantic Ocean we landed safely in New York and after examination by the quarantine physician we were ushered into Castle Garden where we were questioned in regards to our means, knowledge in regard to language whether we could read or write, where we were going etc.
From New York we proceeded by steamboat and rail to Quincy, Ill. Here an accident occurred to a young Swedish Lady by the name of Emma Pedersen, by switching cars, in some way, she got her foot between the bumpers and it was smashed flat. The doctors said the only remedy was to have the foot amputated to this she both she and her parents objected.
From Quincy we went by steamer to where the North Platt River empties into the Missouri at a place called Wyoming where the church has a storehouse. Here in spite of all that was done for sister Emma she died from the effects of blood poisoning and was buried the second Sunday after the accident.
A number of us young people went out on the prairie and gathered wild flowers with which we decorated her coffin and her grave. In returning to camp we stopped by a high place from which we had a good view of our camp, here a young stout lady by the name of Christina Svensen made this remark, with tears in her eyes, “Who would have thought one week ago that Emma Pedersen would die and be buried here today”. To this I made the reply that none of us knew when our time would come and that probably some of us might be buried next week. This came true as sister Christina Swensen took sick that very afternoon at the funeral ad died in a few days from cholera. She was buried the next Sunday.
At someplace on our journey I have forgotten where, I lost my best suit of clothes and father also lost some of his. In unloading from the cars to a steamer a large copper kettle, in which we had our clothing, went overboard and was lost.
At Wyoming we were met by the Utah teamsters who carried us, or rather or luggage for the wagon were heavily loaded with iron and machinery for a woolen factory that President Young was building, so we had had to walk across the plains. Host of the teams were from Cache Valley and bishop Preston of Logan was their captain.
We had considerable sickness on the plains and many died and were buried. My father was very sick and was very sick and we feared for his life. I remember one day, while very sick he thought he could eat something if he could get some fish and line to a whipstick and went down to the little stream we were camped on and caught a dozen, or so small fish about 6 inches long, which he relished very much. From this time on father revived and grew stronger day by day till he finally was well again.
One day about noon ten Indians (I believe they were chiefs) came toward our camp. They were dressed very fine, painted in peace colors and had on a lot of beads. Preston sent an interpreter to meet them whom they told that they expected some presets from us as we were traveling over their land and our cattle was eating their grass, but they did not intend to harm us. We gathered what we could of beads and other trinkets and some food which we gave them. They invited us to some us to come to their camp and see it, several of us availed ourselves of the opportunity and visited them. Everything in their camp looked pretty. They had some very beautiful blankets and curious saddles ornamented with silver and ivory. Some had good guns and others were armed with bows and arrows. We were only allowed to go a few at a time and no females were allowed to leave the camp. We departed in peace and traveled till towards evening then we saw a smoke in the distance of us from where the Indians had come.
The next day we passed a place where the Indians has burned a wagon train of merchandise, pieces of the wagon were still smoldering. We also met some soldiers in pursuit of the Indians, but judging from their actions they were not in a hurry to catch them. I would judge from the looks of the two crowds that the soldiers were the inferior party.
After we reached the mountains and got in a higher climate the sickness seemed to abate and the members of the company felt better.
On the journey I made myself useful. As I understood some English I was used as interpreter when brother Hulberg was not around and I also drove the teams for teamsters that were sick, besides waiting on my father. In return for this brother Preston promised me that I should be charged half rates only for my emigration.
We arrived in Salt Lake City on the 6th of October 1864 at conference time and drove direct to President Young’s home where we unloaded the machinery, from there went to the church Blacksmith Shop and unloaded some steel and iron for the Temple workers and then to Emigration square were my brother Lars met us.
Oh! What joy and happiness to be in Zion among God’s people, to meet with relatives and friends. What for years had been my heart’s desire had, through the intervention of providence been accomplished.
Being conference time my desire was to go to meeting so I could see and hear the prophet of God and other leading men of the church, but my dilapidated apparel would not permit and therefore we started the same afternoon with brothers Lars for his home in Fairview, Sanpete County. Here we rested one day and two nights and then proceeded on foot packing our effects to one day and two nights and then proceeded on foot packing our effects to Mt. Pleasant where mother was. She lived in a little log house in the fort. Mother, Hanna and James were all well and gleaning wheat at the time. You can better imagine our joy when meeting than I can describe it. I helped them glean for a few days then went back to Fairview and started to work for my brother Lars in the tannery and shoe shop. I worked for wheat which was worth $5.00 a bushel and when I had earned enough to make 200 pounds of flour I took it to Salt Lake City and got $44.00 in greenbacks for it. This looked big in my eyes but after I paid Lars for the freighting of it and bought myself a hat and mother a shawl and a hood which were extremely dear for the quality my money was gone.
When we returned home Apostle Orson Hyde, then the President of the Sanpete Stake, was calling people to go and settle the Sevier Valley. My brother Lars and I took a load of furniture for Christian Olsen Hansen to Richfield. Our object was mainly to look at the country.
The first evening after arriving at Richfield we attended a business meeting in a new rock schoolhouse which had been roofed that day with willows and mud. The town then consisted of half a dozen half a dozen half roof shanties and possibly two dozen dugout. We were both favorably impressed with the place and the people. That night I had a dream which impressed on me that this was my future home.
We returned to Fairview and here I, like all other emigrants had the “blues” for a few days. One morning I went down to my brother’s tannery and here I knelt down and asked the Lord to open a way for me by way of means so I could go to Richfield. After I had unburdened myself to my Heavenly Father my brother Lars stepped in with a smile on his face, he undoubtedly had overheard me. I felt worse than ever and went out for a walk along the creek. As I crawled through the fence I came to a footbridge consisting of two pieces of one inch lumber across a small ditch through which we took water into the tannery. One of these boards had been misplaced and as I took it up to replace it, judge of my surprise as I beheld two new and clean one dollar greenback bills that never had been folded. I picked them up and went back to the tannery and asked my brother if it was not the rule in Zion to give up anything found. He asked me what I had found. I showed him, and he said “You asked for it why not keep it and say nothing about it”. After thinking the matter over seriously I decided that it was a favor of providential care.
I then went to Mt. Pleasant and talked with father and mother about my moving to Richfield. Father said “of course you are of age but you have been good and faithful boy and if it is your desire to go there and make a home, go and may the Lord bless you.”
I purchased a spade and started afoot for Richfield. I came to Ephraim where my brother Swen was engaged in the tanning business, he also was aiming to go to Richfield. I worked in his tannery two weeks to get enough half tanned leather for a pair of shoes. They were so hard that I had to soak them in water to get them on and after I got them soaked they were big enough for four feet.
By this time the clothing I had left, of what I brought from Sweden, were pretty well worn out (you will remember I lost my best suit on our journey and some of the clothes were left in Sweden). I had hardly enough to cover my body, but with the future before me and trusting in the Lord.
I started on foot for Richfield in company with a fellow emigrant by the name John Lindgren. When we arrived at Salina a countryman of ours wanted to hire us both. Lindgren stayed but I was determined not to hire out for wages but to try to make me a home. Next morning I got up at daybreak and went out doors when I saw some teams about half way between town and the ford of the river, I hastened in and told them I saw some teams and that I thought I had a chance to get across the river. I then ran after them with my spade and half a loaf of bread which I had tied in a handkerchief that I had had with me from Sweden.
As I breathlessly reached the ford the last team, belonging to Andrew Poulsen, was drinking. I asked permission to hang on while he crossed the river which was readily granted. I then walked on till I caught up with the head team driven by Paul Paulsen and John Smithe, they had on about half a load of hay. I asked permission to put my spade and bread on their wagon which they allowed me to do. The handkerchief with the bread in rolled over in the middle of the load so I could not reach it. After a while when the sun got higher and the road became sloppy and muddy, they climbed on the wagon but do not invite me to share their comfort and as they had been mocking and making fun of my Swedish talk, I did not feel like asking them for a ride. After a while they commenced to eat lunch and I being hungry, asked if they would kindly hand me the handkerchief which they did, but they had thoughtfully removed the bread. I walked behind the wagon a while thinking they would surely hand it to me but as they showed no sign of doing so, I took my spade walked ahead and reached Richfield about three o’clock in the afternoon. It must not be forgotten that ox teams were the style of the day.
When I came to Richfield Major Andersen and N. H. Pedersen were engaged leveling a canal from the Sevier River to Richfield. I worked around town for about one week and then my brother Swen arrived from Ephraim. After the canal was leveled they organized companies of ten to dig the canal by hand, for we had no teams and scrapers to do it with. My brother Swen was appointed foreman for the Swedish company, and there happened to be just twelve swedes so they were all organized into one company and thus my brother’s was larger than any other. When they got on the ground where the work was to be performed they were all there but me, a man by the name of Lindquist asked where the twelfth man was, my brother answered that I was back in town to bring some bread that I would be there in the evening. Lindquist then exclaimed “What! You don’t mean that little boy.” I was very small for my age (about 17 years at that time). They had some words about it, and when my brother decided to cut the company allotment up into twelve pieces and let each man draw, my brother drew for me, and it so happened that I got the piece fartherest north was all sand but a few feet. This being the case I was through with my piece two days before any of the others, and I helped my brother the last two days. I could not but acknowledge this as another providential favor, and never after that was refused to be counted as a full grown man.
The following spring the Indian trouble commenced near Manti which soon reached Sevier County and the people up the river. Our minute men had to go to Circleville and Marysvale to help move people from there here. Two or three of our men were shot and one of them by the name of Lewis, the presiding elder of this place was brought home dead.
By this time the public square was fortified by the twelve foot rock wall, here we put all the animals at night and stood guard by the gates. We also had to have guards around town at night and pickdt [sic] guards in the day out side of town. It finally became necessary to have troops come from Salt Lake and Utah Counties to protect us from the attacks of the Indians. In the spring of 1867 President Young told us to come back to the older settlements till we became a little stronger. During the winter I had run a grins mill for Bishop Higgins. One morning an English man living close by the mill called my attention to tracks in the snow, they were undoubtedly made by Indians. They had come down from the mountains, to the south end of the mill, where a belt ran through large hole in the wall. We could see where the buts of their guns had rested in the snow, in full view of the fireplace the only lights I had to run the mill by. We tried to track them, but when the sun came out, it melted the snow so we could not track them very far in the hills.
This is another instance in my life where I considered that providence watched over me so that no harm befell me. After that there were two men on guard at the mill every night until we moved away which occurred about the beginning of April. At that time brother John Vancott arrived with a number of teams from Sanpete to move us away, and orders were issued for anybody who had grains or other things to move to report to him. I reported that I had 100 bushels of wheat and 150 bushels of oats, which was loaded and hauled away and that was the last I ever heard or saw of it, I never could find out who got it. I being busy helping others along with their loose stock sheep, hogs, etc.
I went to Mt. Pleasant where I joined my brother Lars and both of us went to Salt Lake City where we worked in Brigham Young’s tannery the first part of the summer, the latter part I worked for Barney Adams, getting out scaffolding for tabernacle, for which I received a yoke of cattle in pay. I then returned to Mt. Pleasant where I met Peder Gottfredsen, who also had an ox team, neither of us had any hay, so we decided to come out on the Sevier to winter. As there fell much snow in the fall we had no fear of the Indians, we were sure they would not cross the mountains from Grass and Rabbit Valleys. We camped in Richfield where the warm water kept the grass growing all winter. We were busy burning tar and gathering volunteer wheat and returned to Mt. Pleasant where we peddled our tar at about $1.00 a gallon for which we obtained feed for our oxen. In April we sold our cattle and went to Salt Lake where we obtained work from Feramore Little and Armstrong. We worked in Big Cottonwood canyon til October. They had promised me $45.00 a month in store goods and cattle, but when we settled up they gave me $50.00 a month in cash, and told us that if all the canyon hands would go with them on the railroad they would give us 50 cents more a day than any other crowd. We worked in the mouth of Echo Canyon til Christmas when we returned on foot to Salt Lake through Weber Canyon.
I then went to work for Borg and Gustavensen in the Scandinavian harness shop. I bought a piece of ground in the tenth ward for the money I had earned in the summer and started to build a house for the money I was earning in the shop.
On the 24th of May 1869 I married Brighamine Malvine Nielsen [22 Sep 1854 - 5 July 1905 (K2WQ-775)] and on the first of June my brother Lars started for Sweden on a Mission. I went with him on the stage to Ogden where I worked on the railroad til harvest time for which I got a horse team in pay. I returned to Salt Lake where I stopped one week with my young wife who had been keeping Lars’ folk’s company in our absence. I then went to the canyon again where I worked til winter set in. Then my wife and I made our parents in Sanpete a visit and returned to Salt Lake in the spring. After returning I found that there was a mortgage on the property I had bought and to which I thought I had a good title. There was nothing for me to do but to pay it over again so I had to part with my team. I then went to work in the harness shop again and made good wages as high as $4.50 a day, at piece work.
One day I happened to see in the Deseret News that all those having claims in Richfield should return as soon as possible, as they were resettling the valley. I sold my home in Salt Lake City for $500.00 in cash and bought me a good team and prepared to go. In the meantime I got a good job hauling charcoal from the depot to Cottonwood and hauling bullion back. I bought another and put my brother James to work with me and hired 13 teams besides for 6 weeks. I did very well clearing as high as $15.00 a day til my wife took sick and I could not stay and watch the business then I lost nearly as much as two weeks absence as I had as I cleared before. I concluded to quit and move to Richfield where we arrived on the 3rd day of November 1871.
The next day after coming here I got a job on the threshing machine for myself and team which lasted til long after Christmas. In the mean time I had traded my claim in Richfield for some mining claims Ofirc [?] district. On my return I bought my former claim back for $60.00 and disposed of my mining claims for $325.00. I also bought the city lot where the harness shop now stands for $60.00.
Having the best team in Richfield I had a good chance to make money freighting for the store between here and Salt Lake and Pioch.
I built and finished the first house in town with a shingle roof and tongued and grooved floors everything looked lovely and went along fine until the United Order was preached, which nearly everybody in Richfield was baptized into the spring of 1874. Joseph A. Young having moved here as President of the Sevier Stake in 1873, was the main spring in starting it.
On the sixth of October 1874 my older daughter Nathalie was born. My wife was very sick and did not get out of bed til after Christmas. We had to get some help and as we could get no here to stay with us we sent for my wife’s sister Fena [Josephine Nielsen (KWD6-4J9) 29 Jul 1858 - 27 Apr 1925], who willingly came and remained with us. She became my wife on June 1876 and with the full concent [sic] of my first wife. I was highly recommended to the House of the Lord by Bishop Seegmiller who instructed the ward clerk, Brother Miller, to give me as good a recommend as he knew how to write one, and to make special mention of my good standing in the United Order and he would sign it.
While ready means at that time were scarce yet we moved along very nicely until Joseph A. Young’s death which occurred on the 5th of August 1875. We could then see that the order was going to be a failure, as there was no leader and several commenced to pull out for themselves which made it very hard for those who remained faithful to the cause.
W.C.B. Orrock and myself were appointed to see what we could do for the store, which had been broke up through building the Clear Creek Canyon road and paying it out of the Co-Op Store. We were in debt to the ZCMI Store in Salt Lake City and had been promised that if we built that road we would get an appropriation from the legislature. We finally got $5000 but it cost us $9000 to build it, and the store was bursted [sic].
Accordingly I was sent north with a load of butter and eggs, which I sold at Bingham. On my way north I obtained a contract on the railroad then being built up through Spanish Fork Canyon, commonly known as the calico railroad, built by Crandall and Paccard of Springville and paid for in merchandise (hence the name). This road was subsequently sold to the Rio Grande Western. I worked there 65 days for which I received $265.00 in merchandise and a wagon worth $110.00 which I brought home and delivered to the execution board of the United Order in spite of the remonstrance of friends who advised me to keep it, as the order was breaking up. But I had made up my mind that I would go out of the Order as I went in, with a clear conscience, which I can say for but few who belonged to it.
Now I was left with three years increase in my family and three years decrease in my property, not having a pound of flour or grain for their subsistence, although I worked two weeks at the saw mill after the Order broke up for which I was promised grain and flour, but when I presented the order at the mill I could get nothing. I went to an outsider by the name of Andreas Pedersen and asked his assistance and I well remember his words, he said “A man like you, who has raised thousands of bushels of grain can’t get what you need to eat well, well Ole, come and get what you want and pay it back when you can.”
This was the time many men gave way to their selfishness and greed and showed that they were a long way from being prepared to enter into the order of *hoch [?] I shall not enter into details in regard to these troubles, for if I did I might engender the prejudice I have to some men, into the bosom of my children which I by all men as which to avoid, but this much I will say, take Brigham Young’s advise[sic]“Look on everybody as a rogue until he proves himself otherwise.” It was however my natural inclination to take Joseph Smith’s advice and took on everybody as honest til they prove themselves different.
At the time the Order broke up I was considerably reduced in health and strength. I had suffered a great deal from rheumatism. I concluded to stay at home and start to work in my trade as a harnessmaker. I told my folks that if they would cease their complaints and be busy with me for a year I would be able to do something and provide for them as they ought to be provided for.
My wife Fena went to Ephraim at this time and stayed there for some time. While there her first son Charles Emil [(K2WQ-7W2) b. 24 September 1878] died on the 14th of September 1879 at the age of one year and was buried there.
During the year 1879 the Joesphites made their first appearance in Richfield and among others my brother Swen was persuaded to join them. He took up a labor with me and insisted on me going to their meetings, which I probably should have done had it not been for a warning dream I had. One Saturday night I worked very late, hence I did not get up Sunday morning til afiter my wife had sent the children to Sunday School, when she called me to take a bath and prepare to go to meeting. I had no more than got my clothes on when one Frank Bush, (a non-Mormon) came to get a harness which I had mended the night before but being in a hurry said very little about the meeting, although he was at the time investigating the gospel.
As we left the shop my brother Swen came and asked me to go with him to Josephite meeting, I told him I was not prepared. He returned from the meeting about half past one very enthusiastic and told me what he had heard and seen. My wife and I were then ready to go to meeting, she went alone and I remained at home with him. I listened quietly to him til she returned. When she entered we were still in the same position as when she left. She looked at me and said “you seem very much interested.” I then for the first time interrupted him, holding a papphlet [sic] which he had given me, entitled “The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints” in my hand I said “supposing I had a genuine $1000 bill in my pocket which I had handled very carelessly til it had become soiled and wrinkled, do you think I would give it for a counterfeit bill even if it was fresh from the forgers stamp?” His reply was “Why certainly not.” I then said, “neither will I give up my religion, which I know is genuine although I know I have not live up to it as I should, for anything that is reorganized cannot be the true church.” He saw the point and it rather confused him, he evidently thought that after listening to him attentively so long he was on a fair way of converting me. He straightened up and turned on his heel like he often did while in conversation with anybody and said, “Well investigate for yourself like I have and be satisfied.”
This at once brought to my memory a dream I had the previous night which I had not thought of before. I told him to sit down and I would relate it. In my dream I saw him, out on the Cottonwood land, standing before me, as he did now and asked me what I was going to plant on my land next spring. I answered I could not tell now it would be time enough next spring to decide, he said “why not plant the same as I have,” pointing to his crop. I looked and asked what it was, he then said “Well investigate for yourself and be satisfied.” It looked very green and luxurious. I pulled up a handful and found it to be potatoes about the size of peas with the tops about two feet high. I held them before him and exclaimed, “Potatoes! at the this time of the year (fully realizing in my dream, that it was Christmas Time) let Jack Frost touch them tonight and the sun tomorrow and the wind will blow the crop away like chaff.” While relating this dream I had full attention of both my brother and my wife who agreed that it was a warning. This checked him in his eagerness ad when I asked him if he was going to join the Josephites he said, “No I don’t think I shall join any church unless the Swedenburgs should come along.” Notwithstanding this he was baptized by them within the week. He did not last long in the Joesphite faith, he soon left them and became an indidel [infidel] trying to make himself and others believe there was no God, and thus he died on the last of January 1901 and was buried without any funeral services whatever according to his own request. My dream surely was a warning.
After starting the harness business I soon found that was very successful. I worked the business up til I had five hired hands in the shop besides two shoemakers, and I considered myself worth five thousand dollars when the persecution against polygamists commenced then things changed. As I was one I feared that I would lose everything if something was not done. Therefore I like many others deeded the property on which my wives lived to them, retaining the farming land in my own name. I should probably have divided the land between whom also had it not been for President Thurber’s advice. In the course of events the polygamy persecution after raging in Salt Lake and the northern counties reached Richfield. Many men during those years fearing imprisonment left their families some went to neighboring stated for employment, others to Mexico where they made homes for themselves and families and still others went on missions and stayed for years. President John Taylor died in exile. George Q. Cannon was arrested and put under $45,000 bonds and fearing his enemies he preferred to lose the money rather than to be in their hands. He was however captured afterwards and served a short time in the penetentiary[penitentiary].
Among others who went on mission was my brother Ramus who filled a two years mission to Sweden and while there gathered considerably of our genealogy which was used for gread [great] good by him and his wife working in the Temple where they performed ordinances for about 250 individuals and were baptized for about 400. He worked in the Temple as long as his health would permit and took great interest in it. He worked on the temple for 16 years during its ******** and about 4 years he worked in it after its completion performing ordinances for the dead. He died on the 23rd of August 1896. Before he died he gave me some names that he wanted me to perform ordinances for, but we have been unable to find the record.
On July 17th 1888 fifteen of the polygamists of Richfield were notified through the so called underground railroad, that the United States marshals would pay us a visit. All went on the underground except myself and N. M, Pedersen who had not been notified.
That night I left the door ajar and about 2:00 o’clock in the morning I was awakened by somebody knocking on it. I asked if it was the marshals to which they replied yes and asked if I was expecting them, to whick [which] I answered that I was. Dyer then read a warrant to me. The charge was unlawful cohabitation. They also arrested Brother Pedersen and let us go on our own recognizance with the understanding that we would come to Beaver in about a week and furnish bonds. We did so and President Murdock of the Beaver Stake went on Pedersen’s bond and Brother Bennett, superintendent of the Beaver Co-op, went on mine although I had never seen him before but he never hesitated a minute after I told him what it was for. We were bound over for the motion of the grand Jury at Provo in the sum of $1500.00 each.
The last night before I left for Provo Bishop Horne and counselors with their wives and some other friends gave me a surprise party and presented me with two books, and some church works. Those present that evening probably thought I appeared stupid; but imagine my feelings.
James M. Pedersen took his father and me to Provo in his spring wagon. We arrived there on the 22nd of September this being the set, but we were not sentenced til the 29th on account of the court being crowded with business. Pedersen was not imprisoned on account of his age and influence brought to bear on the court, but he paid a fine of $200.
During this time I was before the Grand Jury three times, where I voluntarily made a statement and told the whole truth. Some of the members of the Grand Jury wanted me indicted for adultery and others wanted to stay with the original charge. They argued that I lived on the frontier and that I had moved my second wife away from where I lived myself and thought that I intended to obey the law and therefore would not deal harshly with me. They others argued that according to my own statement I was clearly guilty of adultery and that under their oath they could do nothing but return an endictment [indictment] accordingly. Finally an indictment for adultery was brought in but it was not unanimus [unanimous] and the foreman of the Grand Jury wrote an explanatory note to the judge which I am satisfied had much to do with the sentence.
During the time I was at Provo several of my acquaintances hinted to me and some openly told me that if I would, when I came up for sentence promise to obey the law, I would be let off easily and allowed to go home. At this time, while waiting for my sentence o fasted and prayed a good deal. I asked of my Heavenly Father that when I came up before the judge He would guide me and put in my mouth what to say.
As stated before I received my sentence on the 29th of September. After reading the indictment to me the clerk asked me what my plea was to which I answered with calmness and perfectly at ease “guilty” Judge Judd then asked me if I realized what I was pleading guilty to, I answered, “yes”. He then asked if I knew that he could send me to the Utah penitentiary for three years on that charge. I answered that I did. Then Mr. Thurman addressed the court ad said, “Mr. Borg wished me to state that he has two wives and a dozen children depending on his daily labor for support, that he is a man of limited means and therefore asks the leniency of the court.” The judge then asked me what my occupation was. Thurman answered that I had a small harness shop in Richfield. The judge, not looking at me but over the audience and addressing them said, “Well this man has given the officers no trouble, he has done as they told him, came before the Grand Jury and made a voluntary statement, hence no witnesses have been subpaenod [subpoenaed] but h has given all the facts in the case himself. I cannot sentence him to three years in the penitentiary, no I can’t give him half of that.” He looked over the papers again, after that he looked at me and calling me by name said, “I will only give you half of that, you are sentenced to serve nine months in the penitentiary and most of that if for unlawful cohabitation.”
The [There] were seven others sentenced for unlawful cohabitation the same day, and we all took a ride on the R. G. W. R. R. at Uncle Sam’s expense to Salt Lake City in charge of deputy marshal Readfield. The train stopped on a street west of the penitentiary at half past eight in the evening, our bedding was searched and we were relieved of our pocketknives and money. We then went through the gate and were ushered in to the dining room where we were served with mush and tea. We were then assigned to different cells on the second corridor on the north side.
We stopped in front of cell No. --- and the guard spoke to the man on the inside in a harsh voice and said “unstrap your door.” Which command was obeyed instantly. “Get in there” he said to me, “you have a hard case for a mate.” I hardly got inside before the door was locked and I found myself in company of Brother Warren Hardy of St. George who had but a few days left to serve on a sentence for unlawful cohabitation.
Net day we were called into the guard house, where a description was taken of us, in case we should happen to get lost.
I got in on a Saturday and Sunday the very first man I met was Joseph Thurber who had been there for 21 months. I also met Bishop Paul Poulsen who had been there five days.
That Sunday Professor Talmage delivered a very interesting discourse to the convicts.
I could not have got into the penitentiary at a more opportune time, if I had got there at all. President Cannon […was given a six-month sentence in September 1888 for "unlawful cohabitation" under the Edmunds Act. (Source: Cannon, Joseph A.; Fish, Rick (2010). "George Q. Cannon". Utah History Encyclopedia. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press. Retrieved 6 May 2013.)] had just arrived and on the first Sunday of my incarceration he organized a Sunday School which nearly everybody joined- saint, sinner and most of the toughs. Brother Cannon so endeared himself that all loved and honored him. I never knew a man whom I more thoroughly loved, honored and respected than him, he seemed to me the very image of a perfect man.
When news reached home that I had plead guilty to the charge of adultery it cause some ugly remarks in the community that vexed and annoyed my family. There happened to be a Bishop’s Council meeting in Richfield the night the news reached there and at this meeting Bishop Horn made the remark that he could not see why I would plead guilty to such a charge. He did see it shortly after when he went and did the same thing himself. My folks wrote to me about this talk and it did not tend to make me feel any better. I went to President Cannon and showed him the letter, he told me not to feel bad over it, that I had done exactly right, he said, “What does it matter what they call it whether adultery or unlawful cohabitation, that they call it so does not make it so, we know what it is” and he told me to write and console my family and gave e permission to use his name if I wanted to which I did. The sentiment soon changed and shortly after when 16 more of the brethren from Richfield were brought to Provo on the same charge and plead guilty, what had been almost unpardonable in me turned out to be a virtue and pleading was indeed the best plan for we found that when a man was a “Mormon” and accused of an infraction of the Edmunds law he was always doomed.
On the 19th of October, being my birthday, I went to Bishop Farr of Ogden, who at this time was also a prisoner for the same cause, and asked him if he would as a birthday present, help me to get on the outside of the wall, out in the free air, (he was kind of foreman for the trusties) which he did and I had a chance to pick potatoes that day and enjoyed it a great deal better than to be in the yard where we could see nothing but the old adobe wall.
A few days later, it being a stormy day and the trusties not being anxious to go on the outside, I was close to the dead line when the warden Mr. Doyle, came along, he asked me if I would like to go on the outside that day. I told him yes I would not mind and asked what there was to do, he said, “Herd pigs and so on” I answered “No thanks, but if there is anything in my line of business I would be more than willing to do it”. He asked what my trade was. I told him I was a saddler and harness maker, alright I will find something for you to do, he said and took me with him over to the sweat box and told me to go in there and look at a lot of dilapidated cots which the toughs had broken and told me to make a bill of what materials and tools I wanted to repair them with. I did so and it arrived in a day or two.
I got my shop started in the office and became a privileged character. I was allowed to go almost wherever I pleased in and around the penitentiary.
While working at these cots I had my first conversation with President Cannon. He was allowed the privilege of being in the office where he did a good deal of writing when he was not occupied receiving visitors, of which he had a great many both from Utah and other states, even congressmen came to visit him. He was at the time writing in his cell on the second corridor. Arthur Pratt ushered them up and announced “Mr. Cannon.” Brother Cannon then came and stood in the door, the first congressman extended his hand to Brother Cannon, who said as calmly as any man could “We are not allowed to shake hands here.” Mr. Pratt then spoke and said “Yes, Mr. Cannon you may shake hands all you want to”, than Brother Cannon grasped the gentleman’s hands with both of his and said “Being the privilege is extended we will use both hands.” This shows how minutely he attended to and observed every rule and regulation. It had a good influence on the other prisoners who saw it and in fact on all for it soon spread among the prisoners and some of the toughs said if Mr. Cannon can do that why should we grumble.
By making different little articles such as blanket straps, shipping tags, shaw[sic] straps etc. and presenting them to the guards, I got their friendship and I finally got permission to open a shop in the laundry rom where I made one single an one carriage harness for President Cannon, one single harness for Apostle Lyman one carriage harness for Dr. Benedict, one for Doyle and helped Rasmus Nielsen of Spanish Fork make one for Marshall dyer, in return he was to teach me how to make a California saddle, but his wives and the Bishop paid his fine so I got his help only for a few days.
A few days after Nielsen’s release Brother L. d. Watson of Parowan was brought in. He was also a California saddle maker and I hot [got] his help. He got permission to open a day school in the laundry hall where I was working and at the same time that he was teaching the others, he directed me how to make the saddles. I made five under his direction, and two alone which went to George Wood of Woods Cross, Joseph Thurber, Richfield, George Galup, Richfield, Mr. Pettit from Salt Lake got two, one I raffled off and one I brought home for my son Edward.
Several of the brethren after seeing my work were anxious to have me make them some work harnesses. I made one set of heavy lead harnesses for Bro Hansen from Brigham City, one set for Bro Hall and one set I do not recall who got. I made one set of britching[sic] harnesses and one set of lead harnesses for Brother Galup. I never charged one cent for my work but the brethren gave me tidies, mats, comb cases, etc. to remember them by. Each individual who got the saddles and harnesses paid for the materials which I got for them in ZMI at wholesale prices. President Cannon insisted that I should take pay from him, but I would not do it and he asked me to come to the Juvenile Instructer [Instructor] Office when I got out for, said he, we might have something there which you could have use for. I did call after I got out and found that he had left a book for me entitled “The Life of Joseph Smith [: the prophet]” [http://archive.org/stream/lifeofjosephsmit00cann#page/n3/mode/2up] which he wrote while in prison. Brother Cannon also told me that by my industry and work I had helped to break the ice between the officers and those imprisoned for conscience sake. This was indeed gratifying too and I like better to work than to be idle.
James M. Pedersen visited me two or three days after my incarceration and he afterwards in company with Clark, Tank and Victor Bean paid me a visit and got to be known afterwards as the big four. Annette Borgquist [Annetta Nielsen Borgquist (KWJT-FRB) 18 November 1837- 3 June 1922] and her daughter Rosa [Rose Selma Borgquist Musser (KWJ8-QH3) 11 June 1872- 6 November 1954] also visited me and brought me some fruit.
On the day I was released my wife Fena and my brother Lars met me at the penitentiary and escorted me to the city. My wife and I stayed two days with my brother Lars and two days with my brother Rasmus [Rasmus Pehrsson Borgquist (KWNF-ZDM) 25 Dec 1842-23 Dec 1842] and we also visited with other relatives in Salt Lake City.
I and my wife started for home by rail and were met at Chester by [my] oldest son Henry [Oliver Henry Borg (K2WQ-Q55) 17 JUL 1871- 31 MAY 1930], with a team. He took us to Mt. Pleasant where we visited my relations and from there we went to Ephraim and visited my wifes [wives’] folks [Hans (Taylor) Crag Nielsen (KWJJ-FPL) 27 Jun 1826 – 30 Dec 1887; Nickelina Rismina Espasen (KWJX-Q81) 8 February 1827- 4 Feb 1904]. Then we went home to Richfield.
We were met on the bench north of town by our children who were all overjoyed by seeing me back and the “Richfield brass band” serenaded me in the evening.
After coming home I found that during my absence the business had not flurished [flourished] very well. Accounts which I had left for my wife and children to collect were still outstanding, and new ones had been created, and my wives had evidently tried to see who could get the most out of the shop, but my manager Brother Gilbert had hald [held] the reins as tight as he dould [could] and saved me enough to get a fresh start.
While in the penitentiary I had formed the acquaintance of a great many brethren…
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…things shaped so that our family relations might be more congenial.
Under these circumstances I commenced to think that the best I could do would in all probability be to move somewhere where the laws of the land would allow me to live in peace with my families and as many of my friends had moved to Mexico my thoughts naturally went there. I spoke to my wife Fena about it and she told me that she would go with me anywhere to keep me out of trouble.
Our son Ammon Junius [Ammon Janicco Borg (K2WQ-7WF) 10 June 1886- 27 Sept 1890] died on the 27th of September 1890 and shortly after I concluded that I would take a trip to the “Mormon Colonies” in old Mexico and see what the prospects were. Accordingly I started from Richfield on the fourth of December 1890. I bought a return ticket in Salt Lake City good for 60 days and paid $60.00 for it.
Privious [Previous] to this I had not met Brother Sevey who formerly lived in Panguich but now Bishop of Juarez and I had been requested by him to bring a few trimmings and tools along as he wished me to make him a set of harnesses while there, as he had a small tannery at Juatez [Juarez] and would have some leather ready by the first of December, but when I arrived on the 2nd of January it was only half tanned and brother Waltzer who was running the tannery said that Brother Sevey had made a great mistake thinking it could be ready by that time.
While in Salt Lake City I went to the Presidents [President’s] office and saw Brother Cannon. I asked him what he thought about me going to Mexico. (I did this on account of the advise [advice] he had given me and my wife which I have heretofore related) His advice was for me to go and said, “It is just such men that we need in a new country.”
I arrived in Deming [New Mexico] the nearest railroad point to the colonies, where I stopped at the Galena House. I was looking for teams and people from the colonies but none arrived until I had been there two days, when some arrived from the colonies and some also came from Utah, who like myself were going to Mexico looking for homes. Among the latter were Brother John R. Young from Loa and Bishop Wright from Grass Valley, Archie Buchannon and others. Of these John R. Young was the first I met. He told me I would be welcome down at their camp. I packed up my things next morning moved down and stayed there eight or nine days. I had a small tent which I put up and busied myself repairing 13 sets of harnesses for them, which thy washed and greased after I got them mended.
I charged them the same price as I had charged the brethren in the penitentiary, which they agreed to, but I have [gave] them the advice that if they found any in need for them to do the same thing. A good spirit prevailed in their camp and I was treated well.
One of the last nights I was in their camp, I dreamt that a very large man came in while we were sitting around the camp fire, he had his hat in the left hand and went around and shoot hands with all of us. After a while he went and slept in his wagon which looked to me to be a peculiar shaped vehicle and that during the night he took sick.
The next morning I told my dream at the breakfast table and it was fulfilled that very day. In the evening President McDonald [Macdonald] [Alexander Findlay MacDonald. Born September 15, 1825, in Kintail, Ross County, Scotland. Joined the Church in Scotland. Extremely capable man. Held many leadership positions. At the time he was called to go to Mexico to look for land, he was President of the Maricopa stake, Mesa Arizona. He was a Civil Engineer with great oratorical powers which he used to win friends for the Church. He died March 21, 1903, in Colonia Dublan, Chihuahua, Mexico. “History of the Mormon Colonies in Mexico (The Juarez Stake) 1885-1980” by Clarence and Anna Turley. Copyright 1996. Page 176.] of the colonies drove into camp and he answered the description I had given exactly and his manners when he entered were exactly as I had dreamt. It also came to pass that he took sick but not very seriously.
He had come to Deming to try and induce the Mexican Counsul[sic] at that place, who at that time was going to the city of Mexico, to go with him by way of the colonies so that he could see for himself the condition of the saints and what they had done for the country in order that he might make an intelligent report on his won[sic] observation to his government and recommend such legislation as the colonies stood in need of. The consul however could or would not go, he said the journey would be too long and tedious and he preferred the more swift traveling by rail, and he further said that he knew the conditions of the people through his correspondence with McDonald [Macdonald] and others, and would give a fair account of them and hoped he would get the concessions they so much needed, granted.
When approaching Diaz, McDonald [Macdonald] pointed out to me a table mountain in a plain west of the city and told me that there was where Apostle Tusdale [Teasdale] [Apostle George Teasdale. Born * December 1831. Ordained an apostle 16 October 1882. Died 9 June 1907. Apostle Teasdale was the inspirational leader for much of the first part of the colonization of Mexico by the Mormons. His leadership was inspirational, and he was particularly loved by those he lead in Mexico. “History of the Mormon Colonies in Mexico (The Juarez Stake) 1885-1980” by Clarence and Anna Turley. Copyright 1996. Page 176.] stood when he asked the Lord to bless the country for the Saints and also told me some about the Moses Thatcher’s [Apostle Moses Thatcher. Ordained an elder at the age of fourteen and called to serve as a missionary in California. Ten years later he was again called to serve a mission to Europe. In 1879 Moses was called in to the Quorum of the Twelve, a position he held until 1896. A few months after his call to the apostleship, President John Taylor assigned Elder Thatcher to open Mexico for the preaching of the gospel. “History of the Mormon Colonies in Mexico (The Juarez Stake) 1885-1980” by Clarence and Anna Turley. Copyright 1996. Page 176.] vision which I afterwards heard Brother Thatcher himself relate in a meeting in Diaz., to the effect that he saw Temples, cities, villages, and hamlets of Latter Day Saints stretching from there to the city of Mexico and beyond to the Istmus [isthmus] of Panama. He also related the condition of the country and the people there eight years before. He said in substance, I was sent here to see what I could do for the exiles who had come here to seek an asylum from oppression, many of who, were worn out and bare footed, with no shelter save their wagons, destitute of food except a few bushel of corn obtained from the “Greasers” up the river at a very high price and the Governor of Chihuahuah [Chihuahua] had issued a proclamation expeling [expelling] the saints.
He then related a dream he had in Cache Valley before starting on the mission he was then fulfilling, he said, “dreamt that Brother Brigham Young and myself were on a raft on a big and very muddy river we had nothing only a couple of poles to guide our raft with and we tried our best to get it ashore, we worked for a long time and finally succeeded in getting close to a landing, but behold, on the shore were a lot of ruffians who would not permit us to land but pushed our raft out into the stream again every time we tried to get ashore. Suring this struggle we lost our poles and were helpless admist [amidst] the turbulent muddy waters. I then happened to notice a piece of board in the bottom and by the aid of this frail piece of lumber we floated down the stream and finally landed in safety.” He further said, the morning after I had this dream I received a telegram from Pres. Woodruff to go at once on a mission to Mexico and I started from Logan within an hour from the time I received the dispatch.
On arriving at the Presidents [President’s] Office in Salt Lake City I was told about the action of the governor of Chihuahuah [Chihuahua] trying to expel the saints and that Apostle Brigham Young and myself had been selected to go to the capitol of Mexico and see what we could do to stem the tide. We connciled [counseled] together for some time and then concluded that the best would be for us to first go to the city of Washington and see the Mexican minister which we did. We adked [asked] him for letters of introduction to President Diaz of Mexico, he told us to go on to the City of Mexico and said the letters would be there before we would. We went but on arriving we found that no letters had come. We waited patiently for several days but no letters came, then we concluded to appear before the president without any introduction, only our own, trusting the Lord would guide us. We accordingly went to see him one afternoon. On arriving the sentinel at the palace entrance told us the president had gone for a drive but would return shortly, we waited and after a while a carriage drove up and we saw a small feeble man on cruches [crutches] being helped out and slowly ascend the steps at the top of which we stood. The man was the President of Mexico [José de la Cruz Porfirio Díaz Mori (1830-1915) was a Mexican general, President, politician and dictator. He ruled Mexico with an iron fist for 35 years, from 1876 to 1911. His period of rule, referred to as the Porfiriato, was marked by great progress and modernization and the Mexican economy boomed. The benefits were felt by very few, however, as millions of peons labored in virtual slavery. He lost power in 1910-1911 after rigging an election against Francisco I. Madero, which brought about the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920). http://latinamericanhistory.about.com/od/presidentsofmexico/p/08pordiazbio.htm], he had shortly before had his leg amputated for the 3rd time.
When we saw him coming up the steps Brigham Young said “There is the broken board you saw, in your dreams before you left Logan.”
We introduced ourselves and laid the case of the Saints in Chihuahuah [Chihuahua] before him, he listened attentively and when we had finished he said, “I have heard of this before and have already taken steps to remedy the evil by recalling the present governor and appointing one who will treat you right.”
Brother Thatcher then in his discourse showed the saints of Diaz the difference in their circumstances then and eight years ago and told them to be thankful to their Heavenly Father who had overruled everything in their favor.
The town at that time certainly looked to me very thrifty and well built up, considering that it was only eight years old their orchard looked as though they might be twenty years old instead of eight on account of the thrifty growth.
Their Sunday schools and ecclesiastical organizations were in perfect order under the leadership of Bishop Johnsen who claimed that the family he belonged to was the largest in the Mormon church and that no one in their family had ever apostatized.
After spending two days at Diaz on the morning of the third day (still in company with McDonald [Macdonald]) we left and proceeded four miles to Asention where the regular custom house is situated. I had no trouble in getting through as I had a letter from Mr. Laroki the Mexican broker in Deming (who listed our goods) to his brother in law at Asention who was the chief custom house official, and also by being in company with Brother McDonald [Macdonald] who was well known by them all, we got through in abour [about] an hour; but a good of many of our brethren were very much annoyed by long delays on account of the trifling and slothfulness of the Mexican custom officials, who would hold them there for days and in answer to their entreaties to hurry them through would always answer with the monotonour[sic] “Manjana” (tomorrow).
Our road then lay around a big mountain which brother McDonald [Macdonald] said had been a rendesvous [rendezvous] for the Gidianton [gadianton] robbers. The country looked white and was covered with dry grass from 6 to 12 inches high.
We came to Carlites, a government post, 50 miles from Diaz about 10:00 o’clock at night and went right through without any difficulty not a person questioned us about anything. We drove about four miles farther and camped for the night but did not go to bed as this was New Years night and we wished to stay up and welcome the new year. During the night Brother McDonald [Macdonald] related to me many incidents of early Utah history which, to me, were very interesting but which I will not relate here.
On our way from Asention to our camp we passed through the ruins of an ancient mining city if considerable extent, great **** piles were seen and ruins of houses that had been built of ****, how old no one knows but these ruins must have been several hundreds of years inasmuch as Carlites had been settled for about 200 years and these ruins were then then. These mines were great silver mines and at the time I was there Vice President Norton and a company from New York had obtained a concession of 45000 acres from the Mexican government and started to work the mines and also to raise cattle.
The next morning there is a tract of land 72,000 acres in extent which was a Mexican grant to a German officer by the name of Hyller [Huller] for services rendered during the Max Millian war. This land is in fact a plain with hills on it and is traversed on the west side but the Casa Grande river [Casas Grandes River] from this river the Mexicans had constructed a canal running parallel to the river. The land between the canal and river was divided into pieces caller “Terinas” which were 13 rods front but on account of the irregularity of the river they all the way from 15 to 30 acres each. These “Terinas” have since been sold to Mormon emigrants. On the east side of this canal a site was laid out for the city of Dubland [Dublan], which two public squares, one for ecclesiastical and one for civil government purposed. They were one on each side of the main street I purchased a city lot for business purposes and paid $13.00 for it, and one block west from there I bought two dwelling lots. The soil at Dubland [Dublan] is as rich as any in Mexico, and water plentiful and easily gotten out. The river is situated on a ridge so that water can be taken out of both sides, and the best of well water can be obtained from 12 29 25 feet in the ground. This site of Dubland [Dublan] is about 4 miles north east of the city of Casa Grandes which is situated on the west side of the river on the side of a rough red sandstone mountain. We passed through this city and reached Juarez 12 miles west of there. On our way between these two cities we passed several reservoirs of solit [soiled? solid?] masonwork built many generations ago, by whom we do not know but presumably by the ancient Nephites. We arrived at McDonalds [Macdonald’s] home in Juarez about 12 o’clock at night, where I remained one week engaged in mending and oiling harnesses.
Jaurez is only a small town, but the land is nice and very rich. I saw grapevines only two years old which looked as big as grapevines 6 or 7 years old. Everything looked orderly and a good spirit prevailed. I never heard an oath or any vulgar language while there nor did I see any drunkenness or smoking only by a Mexican soldier. The ward organization here was in as perfect order as at Diaz and presided over Bishop Sevy [Sevey].
The leather which Brother Sevy [Sevey] had told me would be ready by the first of December were not finished as heretofore explained and as I could not stop any longer I disposed of the trimmings I had brought, to the Co-op store [The Juarez Co-operative Mercantile Institution. The co-op store was managed by Henry Eyring, who sold the necessities at rock bottom prices. He organized the co-operative on the pattern of the Zion’s Co-operative Mercantile Institute in Salt Lake City, Utah.] and my tools to a Brother Pierce, formerly of Glenwood, wo [who] then lived at Diaz. While at Juarez President McDonald [Macdonald] one day asked me what it would take to start a business like the one I had in Richfield (a harness and shoe shop) and a tannery to supply the leather. After consulting with Brother Walter the Payson tanner I told him it would take $5000. He then told me to go home and sell my property and take all of my family or as many of them as would come and come right on and the means would be forthcoming as fast as I could handle them. Of course this would be under the United Order.
I then started for home and as Brother Pierce was going back to Diaz I got a chance to ride with him. When we arrived at Durland [Dublan] I met Brother Hans Beck from Sanpete County who was one of a company that had negotiated for the purchase of the Hyller [Huller] grant of 78,000 acres. He had a team which he wished to Diaz, he asked me to take it there which I did.
While at Diaz looking for a chance to go to Deming I helped Brother Pierce build a fence of Mexican adobies, the adobies were 18 inches long, 12 inches wide and 9 inches thick, one of them was all a man cared to lift. This fence was built for Brother Hays who at one time was principal of the Sevier stake academy and who at that time was teaching at Diaz.
When I left Diaz, Pierce gave me an order on his folks in Rabbit Valley for a horse worth $60.00 in payment for my tools. I went and saw them after my return home but never got anything til 2 years after when I received an 18 month old cold with about $10.00
At that time the saints in the colonies anticipated a visit from President Woodruff, so strong was their belief that he would come that they sne teams to meet him and I got the chance to go with them, but on reaching Boka Grandes I met Brother Oldroyd who felt very miserable and downhearted as he had been to Deming to meet his second wife and found that she had been Quaranteded [quarantined] at Denver and one of her children had died there. He did not dare to go to her on account of Uncle Sams [Sam’s] marshals so he had to return alone.
On our journey from Diaz to Deming I experienced what a real wind storm is, it blew against us all the time and it felt as though the wagon would be lifted from the ground. The wind however quieted down when we reached Deming and when I boarded the train it was warm and pleasant weather, but before night when we reached the mountains it commenced to get cold and the next morning we found the windows frosted. There were a couple of gentlemen close to me in the car (apparently rich) who were quietly talking, after a while they inquired of me where I was going and where I came from. I told them I had been down to the Mormon Colonies in Mexico as many from my part of the country had moved there and I wished to see how they were getting along. at this they commenced to inquire earnestly about our people down there which gave me an opportunity to tell them my views, how people whom I knew were well off in Utah were now poor and destitute living in wagons down there and for no other reason than living their religion. I asked them in a man could be a lawbreaker were no law existed, to which they answered no. I told them that was the case with us and that they had made laws in order to make us lawbreakers; in fact I felt inspired to say a great many things which came to my mind and was enabled to answer satisfactorily every question which they asked among these was who are taking the lead in the colonies. This gave me an opportunity to contrast the treatment received by the “Mormons” from the President of Mexico and that received from Mr. Cleveland, who after the brethren has waited for two days finally granted them an audience for five minutes providing they would put their business down into his parlor, listened to them respectfully and invited them to call again. I told them I though Uncle Sam had treat the Mormon like step children and I am glad to say the two gentlemen coincided with me and I have an idea that these men spoke a good word for the Mormons when they reached their homes.
We reached the top of soldiers Summit at daybreak on the second day, the only way we could make any observation was by breathing on the wisdom so as to make a peephole to look through. I observed that we were going through a long snowshed, as soon as we got through we saw an engine with a snowplow ahead of us going around a loop crawling through great snow drifts til it looked as though it was entirely enveloped in snow. Pieces of frozen crystal snow was rolling in big cakes like wheels chasing each other down the hill.
At a place close to the Utah line I noticed a great rock Quarry where immense brown sandstone were loaded on cars by heavy machinery and sent to Salt Lake City and other big cities where they are used for pillars, arches and other ornamental and building purposed.
We came to Salt Lake City about midnight on the third day from Deming. I walked from the depot to E Street where I found my brother Rasmus’s second wife (Hulda Swane [(MCFV-84Y) Ulrikka Nilsson Svahn (Swan) 1848-1891]) on her death bed. My brother was there although at that time he was supposed to be on the underground. He was indeed in a sad condition, not daring to go outside for fear that he might be discovered, and being there along with her and three children [Hannah Caroline Borgquist (1883-1905); Erasmus E Swan Borgquist (1887-1974); Annie Ulrika Borgquist Wright (1889-1968)]. His wife died the next day after my arrival [17 Feb 1891], I did what I could to ease their burden which was very much appreciated by both of them and after she died I went and hired a hearse rigs to take her and some of her immediate friends to the cemetery. After the funeral when they had quieted down I told them of my trip and what I had seen, of the conditions of the saints in the colonies in Mexico and described to them my feelings and the anticipation and hope of going there as soon as I could make arrangements to that effect. I visited my brother Lar’s [Lars’] folks and also went and saw Mrs. McDonald who had charge of the Beehive House, she was also the leading sister in the annex of the Temple and one of the most pleasant women I ever met. She insisted I should make myself at home, stay all day and tell her everything about eh colonies, as the information she got through letters was very meager but I could only stay an hour as I already had spent considerable time in Salt Lake on account of the death and burial of my brother’s wife and I was anxious to catch the train for home.
On my return there was a kind to unpleasant surprise in store for me, my anticipation and hope was to speedily settle my affairs and with my family return to Mexico. I soon found that in my absence the adversary had sowed some seeds which had started to sprout. On entering the house I greeted my wife and children but found no response and I soon found that they had made up their minds to stay where they were and no Mexico for them. My wife Brighamine who had hitherto encouraged me to go, had evidently got to thinking that, when we got to Mexico I would get me a young wife, which was as far from my thoughts as anything could be. My sole purpose being to get where we could live our religion and where my children could grow up without the contamination of the so called civilized world which has gradually crept into Utah. The contrast between conditions here and in Mexico was so great that the longing to go and mingle among the Saints there has never left me and I don’t think it ever will.
People in Richfield generally were very much interested in my trip to Mexico. Many, expecially [especially] those, who like myself were liable to be under the ban of the law at any time, came to see me and get my views and ides about the country. I was requested to give a sketch of my experiences and travels while in the colonies, at a meeting on a Sunday evening, the subject and speaker having been announced in the afternoon. I faced a large audience who listened attentively and seemed very much interested.
After things taking the turn they had there was nothing left for me to do but abandon my moving to Mexico. I neither could nor would leave my family so I wrote to President McDonald told him the circumstances and for him not to expect me. Thus ended what to me seemed the best prospects of life.
At the time I deeded the home to my wives, Brighamine told me, it made no difference to either of us whose name the deed was in, that I should always have a home as long as she had one, and that I should have all the say so about disposing of or changing anything but now her feelings in regard to all this had changed. She would not hear of me selling anything and even forbid me touching anything on the premises. She said I go it I wanted to but she and the children would stay. I now realized that if I had taken Brother Thurber’s advice and not deeded the property I would have been better off.
Before I went to the penitentiary we sold a piece of the lot 25 feet front on Main Street and 65 feet back to her Brother Alma [Alma Nielsen (K241-83C) 20 January 1863 - Deceased] with the understanding that he should work it out in the shop. Of the proceeds from this sale she claimed half for which I have my note to her with her brother as an indorser [endorser]. Shortly after getting the note she commenced to draw money on the strength of it in sums from 5 to 20 dollars at a time which she never endorsed on the note and he still holds it against me although I know it has been paid over and over again, which ledger that Gilbert kept will show.
Afterwards I made a bargain with H. P. Hansen for another 25 feet adjoining the piece sold to Alma. She then commences to talk about me wanting to sell her home away from her. We then talked the matter over and agreed that if I would buy a fourth of a lot adjoining the property on the east, I could sell the Main Street property in pieces 100 feet deep with an alleyway at the back except 60 feet on the corner, which we agreed to keep for the boys. With this understanding I bought one fourth of Ingrid Borgquist’s [??? Ingar Maria Nilson (LCRD-GPM) 1843-1882 ???] lot and paid $225.00 for it I again had it deeded to my wife, but when we sold to H. P Hansen she claimed the money and afterwards she sold 14 feet above and I had no more to say for she took the whole control of the property.
I was left in a peculiar situation without any city property either for business, or dwelling purposes but though persuation [persuasion] and friendly intervention of mutual friends and by me insisting she finally deeded back to me [?] x 100 feet of the lot adjoining the 60 feet reserved for the boys.
All of this was very painful to my feelings and proved to me that she thought more of the gift than the giver. I do not mention this by way of reproach but more by way of warning my boys never to let the title to any property they may acquire be in anybodies [anybody’s] name but their own.
From that time on the estrangement between us had gradually been growing, the home I deeded her has partly been sold, she deeded one fourth of the city lot to Henry without my knowledge and had me pay taxes on it for two year, part of the lot she sold to Krotki Brothers and for the money bought another home and moved away from me entirely and at the time I am writing these pages (May 1901) she is advertising for sale the best part of it, the corner which was set apart for the boys. I am at present using the stable and barn but like any other stranger I have to pay her rent for it.
At the time she bought the new home I had been sick for 6 weeks and when she moved I could hardly be out of bed. One evening, the last she stayed in the old home, after part of the furniture had been moved I walked in the house (I had built a room, on the piece of ground I had secured for shop purposes, and lived there alone for some time) and told my wife and children that this was a sad affair but, that if it could not be otherwise I would have to submit but that I thought it was still my duty and privilege to call them around the family alter and offer up prayer to the giver of all good especially as this would be the last night we all were together in the old home where all the children but one was born, and where we has shared joys and sorrows, sickness and happiness, wants and sometimes plenty. We all knelt down and I was impressed upon by the spirit to ask the Lord to forgive us of our past folly and wickedness and to guide our footsteps in righteousness and peace in the future.
After they had moved to their new home the same bitter unrelenting feelings of my wife continued, I would go down there and help the boys fix around the home, build stables and chicken yard etc. but only once was I met asked in the house and given a meal, and that was by Emma [Emma Nicolena Borg Young (KWJZ-DFM) 26 July 1877- 16 August 1972].
On the 16th of august 1892 I was again arrested for unlawful cohabitation taken to Provo and paid a fine of $100.00 and cost in all $156.00.
When Utah became a state in 1895 the university land came on the market. I had for some years been farming and buying the improvements on some of this land at willow creek until I had about 75 acres very highly situated in a cove about 2 miles north of Richfield, now I had to but it over again from the State and paid from 4 to 6 ½ dollars an acre, this was paid in five yearly payments and it was quite a drain on my limited means expecially [especially] as the seasons were very dry and I raised no crops and at that time there was also a financial crisis in the country. I should have fortited [forfeited] this land had it not been for a man by the name of Bartlett who had some means, coming here. He helped me and others similarly situated. When the last payment on this university land was due, my wife had just sold 35 feet of the main street property to Krotki Brothers for about $500. I went to her and asked that she would help me to pay it. I told her it was impossible for m to raise the money and that she and the children would be the ones to be benefited, that I, unlike her, could not dispose of the property without her consent, but she refused to pay one cent. I then asked her to help me pay the taxes but all my pleading was in vain.
I again had to go to Brother Bartlett and gave him a deed on 25 feet of my main Street property in security for enough money to make the last payment on the land and pay the taxes.
For four years I was considerably troubled with rheumatism and not able to do much either in the shop or on the outside, I did however that I could.
Being interested in the Opera house we decided in 1897 to tear down the old and rebuild. I was chosen as assistant to Brother Horn who was the architect and superintendent. Everything went well and no accident happened til it was nearly completed. One day I was helping brother Wright to carry in some moulding [molding] when I slipped on a joist, fell and broke a couple of ribs which laid me up for six weeks. I afterwards acted as janitor for the opera house for about one year.
In the fall of 1899 I was again arrested on complaint of Charles Moysten Owens charging unlawful cohabitation taken before judge McCarty fined $25.00 and given some advice.
The seasons of 1899 and1900 were very dry and I raised very scant crops but in the spring of 1901 everything looked favorable so I put stock in the opera house [The Richfield Opera House was open from about 1903 to 1927 and had a seating capacity of 700. (Polk's Utah Gazetteer and Business Directory)] in security for $100.00 to get feed and seed for the land.