Olga Josephine Draper
Contributor: gawarren Created: 2 years ago Updated: 2 years ago
Olga Josephine Poulson
excerpts from her autobiography
I, Josephine Poulson Draper, was born early morning Tuesday, February 23, 1869, in Helsingborg, Sweden, My father was away on a business trip so my grandmother came to the home to help mother. Father needed all the money they had to pay for his trip, so grandmother went to the store and bought some groceries on her account. I don't believe my parents ever had an account at a store after that. They believed in pay as you go, or go without, and I don't know of a time when we had to go without. As soon as he got his first pay check, the bill was paid. Soon after I was born my parents moved downstairs in the home they had purchased before they were married, and they rented the upstairs. My first recollection was when the priest came to the house for Otto's christening. I remember the priest in his black robe with his white collar, standing between the two front windows and father taking the baby over to him.
Long before I heard the gospel, when I was only a little mite of girl, I went to Sunday school. Mother's brother was Baptist minister and had a Sunday School at his home and I thought I was a big pebble because I went to my Uncle's house for Sunday School. I have a card from there for good attendance. We got a card for each Sunday without missing and when we had a certain number we got a large card. They all had verses from the Bible. Father wrote the date on one of my large cards -- 1875.
In 1879 my grandmother gave me a nice sewing set for my birthday.
In 1881 father was sick for several months and wasn't able to work so mother went out to work and left me to take care of father and my brothers. It was not always easy and I was only 10 years old. About this time my parents became acquainted with the Mormon missionaries. We joined the church, and found that neighbors, friends and some family turned against us. The evening of June 13, 1882 we left our home and started our journey. First we stopped at Uncle Gustaf Olin's house. Mother knocked and he came to the window but he wouldn't open the door so we talked through the window and bid him goodbye. Next we stopped at grandmother's place. She was up and crying. Grandfather had gone to bed and had his face to the wall and would not turn to speak or see us. Maybe it was as hard for him as it was for grandmother. Even though he was only a stepfather, she was ·his favorite of all of his stepchildren. After grandmother died, he came to America and lived with Uncle Whalser until he died. Grandmother went with us down to the harbor and kissed us all goodbye and had to go back alone. We left Helsingborg on June 14, 1882 at three o'clock in the morning.
On July 4th we were on a train and finally arrived in Pleasant Grove, Utah after many weeks of traveling. We found a house to live in, and father worked many long hours mother often went out to work. I took care of the home and children. In the spring of 1883 I started my first school in America. I went for ten weeks for $1.50. In the summer of 1884 we moved jnto the home my parents purchased and where they lived for the remainder of their lives. When I wasn't at school! worked at home, went out to work or went out washing clothes. I washed for Charles Warnick, August Warnick, Mrs. Peterson, Mrs. Wilson and others. I washed all day on the board for 50 cents or all week for $1.50.
In 18861 heard of Mr. Frank Terry in Draper, Utah who was looking for a girl to work and help his wife. I didn't want to leave my home, as my mother had told me- that I would always able to find all the work I wanted in Pleasant Grove. However, I did ask my mother, and to my surprise she said I could go. My mother taught me to have faith in prayers, to be honest and truthful and to do the best I could where I went. With those words and teachings I left home and worked in Pleasant Grove for eleven months.
While there Brother Terry paid my tuition and books for me to go to school. I worked in the mornings and evenings. While at school I met a Mr. Zemira T. Draper. He was the only one who ever corrected me, and that was on my English. Some of the class mates matched us up and started sending me notes, signed with his name. This worried me and so I spoke to Sister Terry about it. She said to go early at noon time and speak to him about it. I did, and he smilingly put his hand in his pocket and produced some notes that had my signature on them, although I had never sent any messages to him. He took the notes, and soon found their source: Emma Terry, and Annie Pearson. I was always glad for those few weeks I had in school for sometime after that he invited me to go to a dance with him which I did. That began our courtship. I was one evening thinking about him, and worried because I did not know him very well. I only wanted to date a fine L.D.S. man. I prayed to my Heavenly Father as to what I should do. I wanted to do what was right. I had no one to advise me. One day Sister Terry invited me to go visiting with her. We went to see Ann Andrews. Patriarch John Smith was there Visiting also. He asked about me, and when he found out that I had made the acquaintance of Mr. Zemira Draper he, looked straight at me and said, "Father Zemira's son? Take him, my girl, you will be blessed and never be sorry." I can't describe my feelings. I knew my prayer had been answered. After all of these years I have never been sorry.
Soon after we were married Zemira taught school in Draper. We lived in the front room of sister Ellen's home. Then we moved to Dry Creek. When school was out we moved up to Willow Creek and homesteaded 160 acres of land. In the fall Zemira went out threshing with a group, and since I have never liked being alone, I went home to stay with mother. It was there that our first born was born on October 3, 1888. When I returned to Draper, Zemira was waiting for us at the depot. He took me down to Will Green's place to stay for a week. I couldn't understand why we didn't go to our own home but when he told me we were to go home I dreaded going up Willow Creek alone, far from neighbors. Instead of taking me up the bench he took me a little northeast of the depot and said, "This is our home." Then I knew why he hadn't taken me home before. He had bought a house, moved it and remodeled it and was working on it day and night to get it ready for me. He had the furniture moved and had supper ready with the table set. Happy? Yes, happier than any queen on earth. I had a husband, son, home, light, warmth and love.
In 1890 we moved to Rockville, and in November our daughter Amy was born. In 1891 Zemira took over management of the co-op store and stayed there doing this work that we loved until 1898. We worked side by side and did well financially. In January of 1893 another son was born, named Terry Parshall Draper. March 10, 1895 Carson Owen arrived. November 9, 1897 Otto was born and if it hadn't been for faith and prayers and administrations by the Elders I don't believe I would have been here. I could not open my eyes or move my fingers. Everyone thought I was gone, but I heard everything they said: Zemira called for the bishopric to administer to me, for he knew that my mission on earth was not yet finished.
In 1898 we talked about moving north, and so we sold the store and moved to Hinckley. Zemira commenced the mercantile business again. Foolishly we took on the debts of the previous owner of the store, but by the time we sold the store and moved on again we were out of debt. On May 15, 1900 Glen was born. August 30, 1902 John Clark was born. Shortly after, Otto got diphtheria and was very sick. There was no medical help available, and so he was administered to. He got well.
Our family grew --- five boys and one daughter. When Carson traveled to Idaho and found a tract of land, we thought about it sometime and then moved up to join him.
We left Hinckley on March 15, 1903. Zemira, Zira and Terry went ahead to Blackfoot, and I went home to Pleasant·Grove to stay with my parents. In April I left with the children and met Zemira in Blackfoot where we were very happy to be reunited. We spent the summer living in a tent which was very pleasant, but by fall we were anxious to get into a home. On October 3, 1903 a little son came to our home. Before long we were in a nice home. We worked hard to get the farm in order, but Zemira wasn't feeling very well. We moved across the river, and then in February 1906 Estella Rebecca was born.
Zemira grew steadily worse and so on July 4th we left the older children and traveled to Salt Lake to the LDS Hospital. I visited my husband everyday and the nurses were very kind. They never made me leave, even after regular visiting hours were over. On July 14 they operated. I had been there all day but the saddest was when Dr. Richard put his arm around me and told me they had found cancer in his stomach and liver and it had reached other organs and that doctors, science or medicine could not help him.
The doctors were able to relieve his suffering for a while, and on July 26 he left the hospital and we- went home to Pleasant Grove to stay with my parents. I then left to return to Blackfoot to get the other children. We rented a place in Pleasant Grove. Zira found work on the railroad, and though it was heavy work for an eighteen year old he was willing to do it to help the family. Terry and Owen worked harvesting potatoes. Zemira grew steadily worse. One morning when mother was on her way to the drugstore she said, "Come, let us go see shoemaker Nilson." I didn't want to go, but we went and while there he asked if we knew of anyone who would like to buy his home, as he had his eye on another place. He wanted $500 for it. We told him we would answer him the next day. Mother said she could help me, and with the boys working we could pay back the debt. We got the place. Zemira was thankful to know that I would not be homeless. He realized the task that was before me. We were over $1000 in debt and had eight children. We talked, all we could do was to trust in the Lord.
The elders administered to him, but he told me often that his mission on earth was ended and that I was holding him. I couldn't give him up -- I did need him.so to help raise our children. We had eight living, six boys and two girls, the baby not a year old. There were days he couldn't eat. On the evening of February 4th Zemira was suffering very much. I tried to give him some morphine but he couldn't take it At once it seemed like someone took hold of my shoulders, pushed me down on my knees and I cried, "Heavenly Father, take him and don't let him suffer anymore." On February 5 he passed on. I had had to give him up but just before he died when I cried, "Oh, are· you going to leave me?", he answered, "No, Darling, I'll never leave you."
Now I was alone. I had eight children. My first prayer was "Heavenly Father, help me and give me wisdom to raise our children that some day I can take them to their father and say, 'Here we all are, I have done the best I could."' He was buried in the Pleasant Grove cemetery. His funeral was the first ever held in the Pleasant Grove Tabernacle. How alone I was when I came home. Nothing has ever filled that vacant space. The boys all promised to help me. Zira gave me every check he ever got. I had to pay for Mr. Nilson's home and medical bills, all totaling over $1500. I worked and was able to keep the children in food and clothing. Some people gave us old clothes that I made over for the boys. Amy went to work. I found farms for the children to work at and they earned enough for flour. I bought a cow so we had milk. In the fall when school started all of the children came back home. I was determined that they would all get a good education.
About a year and a half after Zemira's death I was visiting in Hinckley for a funeral and President Alonzo A. Hinckley heard I was in town. He called me over and I told him how we had lost everything in Idaho, and that I was still $1000 in debt. He placed his hands upon my head and promised me in the name of the Lord that if I would pay my tithing in the future as I had done in the past that the Lord would bless me and that I would be able to pay all of my obligations, and when it was paid it would be a miracle unto me. This promise was literally fulfilled. ·
I worked at nursing, sewing, ·housecleaning, picking fruit and any work I could find from Monday morning to Saturday night. I wanted all of my children to have a good education. A year after Zemira died Zira hadn't finished the 8th grade. I wanted him to go to BYU but he objected, knowing that I was out working and washing. I brought Verrill and Stella with me to Provo and spent a week sewing for a lady to pay for his room for the year. I also bought a sack of flour and for 50 cents he said she would back for him for the whole year.Amy went to school at Pleasant Grove. Terry had two years of high school and Owen and Otto both graduated from high school. After three years in high school Glen was recommended by his teacher to go to the University of Utah, which he did, graduating with his B.S. in 1923. Otto attended BYU, then the U of U.. Verrill and Estella both graduated from high school, and Estella completed a two year course at BYU. All of my children have been active in the church. Glen filled a mission to Germany and Verrill was a missionary to the Tongan Islands.
After her children were all married, Josephine lived alone as long as she was able to keep house for herself and then spent some time in several rest homes. She died August 9, 1948 and was buried in the Pleasant Grove Cemetery beside her husband.
Olga Josephine Poulson Draper
Contributor: gawarren Created: 2 years ago Updated: 2 years ago
Olga Josephine Poulson Draper
Compiled from histories she wrote in 1928 and 1937 and other histories and stories told by her family.
Taken from Poulson Genealogy Book in possession of Scott Soulier from Wilford Martin Poulson.
I, Josephine Poulson Draper, was born early morning Tuesday, February 23, 1869, in Helsingborg, Sweden. My father was away on a business trip so my grandmother came to the home to help mother. Father had needed all the money they had to pay for his trip, so grandmother went to the store and bought some groceries on her account. I don't believe my parents ever had an account at a store after that. They believed in pay as you go or go without, and I don't know of a time when we had to go without. As soon as he got his first pay check, the bill was paid.
Soon after I was born my parents moved downstairs in the home they had purchased before they were married, and they rented the upstairs. My first recollection was when the priest came to the house for Otto's christening. I remember the priest in his black robe with his white collar, standing between the two front windows and father taking the baby over to him.
Long before I heard the gospel, when I was only a little mite of a girl, I went to Sunday School. Mother's brother was a Baptist minister and had a Sunday School at his home and I thought I was a big pebble because I went to my uncle's Sunday School. I have a card from there for good attendance. We got a card for each Sunday without missing and when we had a certain number we got a large card. They all had verses from the Bible. Father wrote the date on one of my large cards -1875.
When Otto was the baby an epidemic of cholera broke out in the city and father moved his family out in the country. We stayed there nearly a year on a large estate called "Larra." It was only a short distance from the Queen's palace, "Sofia Ro."
While there I got homesick for my friend, Anna Ljungreen. One day I got my doll and small things, tied them up in an apron and started for Helsingborg. Mother came home and saw me go. She just followed me for some time then she called me back. But I was determined to go home so a few days later I got some of my things again and started off. At noon when mother came home I was nowhere to be found, so she picked up Otto, a big 20 lb. boy and started to walk down the country road. When she had gone about three miles and was nearly worn out with the sun, heat and the heavy baby and nearly frantic from not finding me, an old man came out of a blacksmith stop and got her to sit down. He had seen me walk along the way but hadn't paid any attention. He went and brought me back while mother rested.
Sunday mother went to the city and brought Anna back with her. She stayed with us for several weeks. We were pals and friends till I left for America. Many a night we would go to bed before sundown so mother wouldn't send her home but let her sleep with me in my bed. Anna's folks were very poor because her father drank, her mother and my mother were just as dear friends as Anna and I were.
It was while at "Larra" I had the first birthday party I can remember. Mother had been to the city and bought the most beautiful fine china cup and saucer. When she called me in she had the table decorated with green leaves around the saucer. There was a cup of coffee and a plate of cakes on a beautiful white table cloth. I will never forget my surprise and happiness. This cup and saucer I gave to my oldest daughter when she was five years old and she gave it to her daughter, Estella, when she was five years old. Soon after my birthday we left the country and returned to the city and father to his old work.
My main work as a young girl was taking care of my brothers. Once when I was taking care of Otto and Ludwig they were more than commonly fretful and to quiet them I went out in the kitchen and got some lump sugar from the sugar bowl. It made them quiet for a little while, then they again commenced to cry. I went for some sugar and I kept going out after more sugar until it was all gone. The next day when Mother sent out in the kitchen for the sugar, I had to bring the empty bowl in and confess I had taken the sugar. For punishment I had to sit on a low stool and hold the dish in my hand till father came home from work and they both told me what sin it was to steal. When I was older mother told me she often left sugar in the dish and counted the pieces but never found that I had taken any. I think the lesson, though I was less than six years old, taught me self-control, honesty, and many times in my life I have remembered it when I have been tempted to do things that weren't right.
Mother taught me that when I had done wrong I had to ask my Heavenly Father to forgive me as well as her. I can remember one day I had done something naughty and I moved a chair up to the window and got up and knelt on it so the Lord could see me when I knelt asking Him to forgive me. I am thankful for these lessons my mother taught me while I was young.
In 1879 about the time Charles was born, my grandmother gave me a nice sewing set for my birthday.
In the year 1881 father was sick for several months and wasn't able to work so mother went out to work and left me to take care of father and my brothers. It was not always easy as I was only 10 years old.
About this time my parents became acquainted with the Mormon missionaries. We children were told they were friends, we didn't know they were missionaries, or Mormons, until some of the neighbors told me of the awful Mormons. They said my parents would go to Utah where all the Mormons went and there we children would be taken from them and sold as slaves and we would never see our parents anymore. My mind was all upset but I didn't dare to ask anyone about the truthfulness of it but did hear my parents talk about writing to father's brother asking him about America. I was very anxious to hear all I could without letting anyone know I was seeking information.
When letters came from Uncle John in Missouri I would be very quiet and listen and they would read it and talk about it. One especially they read to the missionaries. Uncle had written for them not to go to Utah but to stop in Missouri where he would let them have land and help them get a start. So at times I lived in the hope that they weren't going to Utah but to Uncle John's place. Once in school I told the teacher we were going to Missouri, a girl in the class spoke up and told the class, "No, she isn't going to Missouri for they are going to Utah with the Mormons." It didn't give me any peace of mind thinking of the future.
A little after Christmas I took sick in school and the teacher, Miss Anna Nelson, sent another girl home with me. After that I wasn't many days in school but sick in bed most of the time. I heard my parents tell the missionaries they didn't think they would be able to leave with the first emigration for they could not take me when I was sick.
About this time another missionary, Nils Larson, from Moroni (Utah) came to Helsingborg. About the middle of May, he was at our home and sat by my bed talking to me. Among other things he asked was - if I had lived when the Savior was on the earth and my parents had taken me to Him and asked Him to lay His hands on my head to bless me, did I then think I would get well? I answered him, "Yes, I know Jesus could heal me." Then Brother Larson (at that time I didn't know he was a Mormon missionary) talked to me about administration for the sick and about the oil, and asked me if I thought I would get well, if he would come again some day and pray for me to get well. I told him I did.
Next Saturday he came about 10 a.m. and mother helped me from the bed into another room. Mother and Brother Larson knelt in prayer; then he anointed me with oil and administered to me. After he was done I went outdoors and walked around, came back in and wanted something to eat. That afternoon I helped mother mop and clean the house. The next day, Sunday, I walked about three miles, to the south end of the city to my first Mormon meeting. After that we went out to Aunt Kristina's, father's sister, and everybody that knew me wanted to know what they had done to me. I didn't look as if I had been sick at all.
Now my parents hurried their preparations to leave their native country and go to Zion. Mother's people turned against her and she was slighted in many ways. Her brother, Martin, had a big engagement party when he became engaged and all were invited except mother. She was down to the home the day before but no one mentioned the party to her. Her brother, Gustaf Olin, a Baptist minister who used to be friendly told her she wasn't fit to associate with since she had joined those awful Mormons.
The evening of June 13, 1882 we left our home and started our journey. First we stopped at Uncle Gustaf Olin's place. Mother knocked and he came to the window, he didn't want to open the door so we talked through the window and bid him goodbye. We went down to grandmother's place. She was up and crying. Grandfather had gone to bed and had his face turned to the wall and wouldn't turn to see or speak. Maybe it was as hard for him as for mother, he was only her stepfather but she had always been his favorite among the children. She was the only girl and he had always been good to her. After grandmother died he came to America to Uncle Wahlser, where he lived till he died.
Grandmother went with us down to the harbor where she kissed us all goodbye and had to go back alone. We left Helsingborg Wednesday, June 14, 1882, at three o'clock in the morning.
Before we left Sweden, a neighbor lady called me into her place and told me that my parents were going to take me to Utah to the Mormons and as soon as we got there the Mormons would take me and sell me for a slave and I would never see my folks any more and for me not to go with them, but just go down to the boat and run away and come and live with her. If she had been a good mother to her own children I may have been tempted to try it. Her warning left a fear with me and I didn't dare tell it to anyone.
On the eve of July 4 two men came in the car on the train and sat down on the seat opposite where I and Otto were sitting. The men had belts with bullets and guns on their waists. Only God knows what I suffered that night thinking they were Mormons that were going to steal me and maybe get shot in the night.
Finally we arrived in Pleasant Grove and found a home to live in. Father worked long hours and mother often went out to work. I took care of the home and children and helped cut our first fruit from a big apricot tree in front of the house and dried it on the roof.
The first girl I met in Utah was Annie Warnick, who was at the depot to meet her Uncle, Charles Warnick. The next month, August 17, she invited me to her birthday party. We held it out in the old corncrib. Hanna Wilson and Victoria Anderson, friends of hers, were there too, and we had a good time.
In the spring of 1883 Annie came to our house to stay and go to school and then I started my first school in America. I went 10 weeks for $1.50. We walked to school together and I helped her as she had to walk on crutches. Ludwig and I started together in the beginners' class with Rose Brown as teacher. I had passed grammar class in Sweden but here I started with the beginners.
I was very sensitive and wouldn't play and hardly talked for fear they would laugh at me. I stayed by myself but I loved my teacher. She tried to help me all she could. I tried to say the words on the chart but didn't understand them. At my seat I would do work on my slate in arithmetic, etc. I could do that from Sweden and one day while I was working I found her looking at my slate. I tried to hide it and rub it clean but she asked for it.
A few days later she told me she wanted me to go in the other room as I would learn faster with children my own age. She took me in and introduced me to Brother Wilson, the teacher. In the afternoon he called me to read in the class. I can see the verse yet in the old Third Reader and the word righteousness, I stumbled over it some way then sat down and cried hot tears. The teacher said nothing but at recess several of the bigger girls came around to talk to me and some one went in and got Miss Rose Brown. She comforted me and told the others to be good and kind to me and after that I got along better.
Those from the higher classes found out I could do their arithmetic examples for them and I was busy nearly every recess, I felt better in knowing I could so something worth while and I gained many life long friends. I went to school for ten weeks then I stopped until next year. Next spring I could help myself better and Rose Brown was the advance teacher that year and I did enjoy those 10 weeks.
In the summer of 1884 we moved into the home my Parents purchased, and where they lived for the remainder of their lives, When I wasn't at school I worked at home, went out to work, and washed for Charles Warnick, August Warnick, Mrs, Peterson, Mrs, Wilson and others. I washed all day on the board for $0.50 per day or worked by the week for $1.50. Once while I was working at Charles Warnick's he had prepared the ditch running through his place for baptism in the evening. I was washing wool when Effie Warnick and her cousin Ethel Larson came running up to where I was and Effie fell in the ditch and I had to jump in and save her from drowning. When her father asked what she was doing, she said, "I wanted to baptize myself."
In the fall I worked for Mrs. Peterson until my brother Wilford was born November 21, 1884 when I came home to help mother.
Next spring I again started school under teacher J. P. Terry, but I only went five weeks till I had to stay home as father was down with rheumatism and was unable to work. I had to take care of home, father, and baby Wilford and the other boys while mother went out working nearly every day. When fall came she had the money for the payment on the home and had flour and potatoes for us. It was a hard year for me too with the responsibilities of the home, a sick father and a baby less than a year old.
In the fall about October father was well enough to again go on the section and mother could be home again so I went out to work. I worked for Joshua P. Terry for a few months. That was the first English speaking family I worked for and sometimes I could hardly understand them.
In June 1886 walking home one day I met Flora Frampton, a girl friend. She told me her Uncle Frank Terry was at her home hunting a girl to work for his wife. They lived in Draper. She said she had recommended me. I told her no use my thinking about it as mother always said I could find all the work I wanted in Pleasant Grove and I couldn't go away to work. She begged me to try anyhow. I told her to come with me and for her to ask mother, which she did. To my surprise, mother said, "Yes." I had to promise I would stay in at nights. So that afternoon I left for Draper and worked for Mr. and Mrs. Frank Terry for over 11 months.
(Years later Josephine wrote): Mother always said I could not go from Pleasant Grove to work. I do appreciate her watchful care over me. I was her only daughter and she taught me to pray and have faith in prayers, to be honest and truthful and to do the best I could wherever I went. Another thing she taught me by example as well as by words was to pay an honest tithing, to go to Sunday School and meeting and many other good teachings.
When my parents and family went to Logan for their endowments and to have the children sealed to them, I had a week vacation. They were sealed in the Logan Temple December 1, 1886.
Early in the year 1887 I went to high school at Draper. The teacher was Charles C. *****. Brother Terry paid my tuition, my books, etc. so I could go. I worked mornings and evenings for them.
In school was a fine tall young man, Mr. Zemira T. Draper. He was the only one that corrected me in classwork. It was my English, and for some cause the class mated us up though I had never spoken to him. I got love notes with his signature and it worried me until one day I spoke to Sister Terry about them. She advised me to go early at noontime and speak to him about them, which I did. He smilingly put his hand in his pocket and handed me a note with my signature. "Never mind now, I know it isn't you, I'll find out where they come from." He did and told me his cousin, Emma Terrys, and Annie Pearson were the guilty ones. They were going to quit so that worry left me and soon after Mother came and told me I had to stop school and go to work for wages. I did but I have always been glad for those few weeks in school.
Sometime in May, Mr. Draper came and wanted me to go to a dance with him, which I did. He told me he had a date with Alice Johnson the next night but he would like to come and see me next Sunday. That was the starting of our courtship. One evening as I was thinking about Mr. Draper I felt worried. I had only known him in school and the few times I had been with him. I hadn't met his family and I had always said I didn't want to go with anyone that wasn't a good L.D.S.
I had gone with one young man I thought was good but I heard he drank and used tobacco. One day I saw him drunk and after that I refused to go with him. One Sunday afternoon later that spring I went to Geneva with another young man and Mary Swenson and Charles Hanson. When we got there this other young man was there, drunk and riding a horse. When he saw me he came riding and swearing at me and said if I wouldn't go with him I wouldn't go with anybody. The men had to take hold of his horse and him while I ran over to John Anderson's house. After a while I saw that young man tear over the field for home. He left Pleasant Grove the next day and was gone years and his people blamed me.
This and other things worried me and I prayed to my Heavenly Father to let me know what I should do. I wanted to do what was right. I had no one to advise me but I had faith in prayer.
One day Sister Terry was going visiting and this was the only time while I was there that she asked me to go with her. She told me to get the baby ready and I could go with her to visit her sister-in-law, Ann Andrews. Patriarch John Smith, an old friend of the family was there visiting. He kept looking at me and asked Mrs. Terry if I was her girl. She told him I was as long as she paid me. He said, "Well, I'd keep her in the family." She said that she was afraid someone would object. He asked who, and she said a Mister Zemira Draper. He said, "Father Zemira Draper's son?" She said, "Yes." Then he looked straight at me and said, "Take him, my girl, you will be blessed and never be sorry." Well, I can't describe my feelings but I was satisfied and after all these years I have never been sorry. I knew my prayer had been answered. The later part of June I took sick and had to come home but I hadn't been home long till I went out by the Utah Lake and worked 6 weeks for Mrs. Olson.
Zemira came to see me every other Sunday. Aunt Emma Terry let him take her old gray horse and buggy. I left Olsons the first of October and stayed home till the 26th of October when I was married in the Logan Temple to one of the best men.
He was born at Draper (Utah) March 16, 1859. his parents came to Salt Lake in September 1848. His father built one of the first houses in Draper. In 1882 they were called to settle Dixie and got to Rockville New Years 1863. Here in Rockville he received his first schooling and education. He was active in church work and ambitious for an education. His father was baptized by Brigham Young and knew all the first leaders and apostles. Once in Salt Lake, being disappointed at not being able to get some flour that was due him and his family were needing in those hard, trying times, and walking toward home, he met President Young who asked him what the trouble was After awhile President Young said, "Brother Draper, I promise you in the name of the Lord that you or your children will never be without bread." I have heard Grandma Draper say that her flour box has never been without flour. Many times after they moved to Dixie she scraped her box but next time there was always a little more and that little she could share with some sick person that could not eat the flour made from brown corn seed or cane seed. My husband and I and our children have shared this great promise given to his father. We have always had something to eat and never had to go to bed hungry.
Soon after we were married Zemira taught school in the Draper precinct. The first month we lived in the front room of his sister, Ellen's home then we moved to Dry Creek. I went home about January 15 and stayed with mother till after Edwin was born January 20, 1888. When she was well enough to do the work I returned home. Zemira loved his work and got along with the school, When school was out we moved up Willow Creek and homesteaded 160 acres of land, built a log cabin and stayed there for six months. My brother Charles came and stayed with us so it wasn't so lonesome, when Zemira had to leave to go to work or anywhere else. I have always been lonesome when all alone.
In the fall Zemira got work on the threshing machine and I went home to Pleasant Grove where I stayed till November. Here our first born was born October 3, 1888 at his grandparents' home. Mother took care of us and I stayed for nearly six weeks after Zira born. When I returned to Draper, Zemira was at the depot to meet me and took me down to Will Green's place to stay for a week. I couldn't understand why we didn't go to our own home but when he told me we were to go home I dreaded going up Willow Creek alone, far from neighbors. Instead of taking me up the bench he took me a little northeast of the depot and said, "This is our home." Then I knew why he hadn't taken me home before, he had bought a house, moved it and remodeled it and worked day and night to get it ready for me. It had one big nice room and a smaller back room. He had the furniture moved down and placed, had cooked supper, and had the table set. Happy? Yes, happier than any queen on earth: husband, son, home, light, warmth and love. What is greater than love at home, husband sealed for time and all eternity--all here where he had worked so hard to have a surprise for me. Could I help but to feel that the Lord has blessed me and I must try to do my part. I love to think of this evening at home.
That winter Zemira found work on the section close at home. New Year's Day 1889 we were up to his cousin's, William Terry, for dinner with his uncles, aunts, cousins, his sister, Ellen, and Jim Green. As we were sitting down to eat the sun went into a total eclipse so we left the table to go and see it. It was so dark lamps had to be lit.
The winter and spring passed on and in the summer his brother-in-law John P. Terry and cousin-in-law Dan Funk came to go prospecting in the south mountain of Draper. They wanted Zemira to work for them and I went up awhile to cook for them. But soon D. Funk's money ran out and he left for Salt Lake City. Zemira and I decided to go with John north to see some of his people. We visited relatives in Ogden, Richmond, and Lewiston, Idaho. After several days of visiting we returned home. My brother Wilford was with us on this trip.
Ever since we were married Zemira's mother had been writing for us to come down to Dixie for a visit. I guess she wanted to see what sort of wife he had found. So as John was going down home to his family we went with him. Sold some of our furniture, let his cousin John Howard have some and left the rest in the house locked up. So in September 1889 we left for Dixie, and arrived in Rockville the first week in October 1889 when I first met my husband's mother. She knew we were coming so she had one of her best rooms prepared for us. She was a woman everybody honored and loved, and she was wonderful to me.
Only a few days after we got there Carson, Zemira's brother, said that it was time we got the cattle down from Kolob and there is a big load of sorghum to take on the Sevier to trade for grain. It was decided that Zemira would go with the sorghum as Carson knew more about the cattle. Zemira and his nephew took a double team and wagon and went north. I wished he could have waited a little longer before leaving, the whole country and everything was so different from what I was used to and I got homesick. I know it must have been hard for Mother Draper but I was young and couldn't adjust myself. I have always been thankful to Zemira's sister Lucretia, she took me down to Grafton to his sister Susannah's home and here I have always felt like home and one of the family. I was two years older than her daughter Lottie, so I just fitted in and she was like a mother to me. I stayed at Susanna's place in Grafton till Zemira came back when I went back to Rockville.
The trustees wanted him to take the school at Shonesburg, so he went to St.George and took a special examination. We lived at Shonesburg that winter, then we went to Rockville. We came back to Pleasant Grove and Draper for a visit and I stayed about two months, sold our home and furniture in Draper, visited with my parents awhile, and returned to Rockville. When we arrived at Milford on the train and saw Zemira standing there waiting for us, I was happy and have never been homesick since. When we arrived at Rockville Mother Draper had decided to divide the home lot so now Zemira got material and commenced to build our home. It wasn't all finished when we moved in about the 1st of November but the room was comfortable. I had a carpet on the floor, a nice fireplace and my furniture in place. Grandmother Draper had given us most of the furnishings since we had brought with us from Draper one cupboard Zemira had made before we were married.
November 9, 1890 our daughter, Amy, was born in this place. Lottie Ballard came and stayed with me till I was able to get around. In 1891 the directors of the coop store wanted Zemira to manage the store. Terms were arranged and items for the store were moved into our large room. Zemira soon got lumber and workmen and put up a big store room so I had my living room back. Later we built so I had three brick rooms, three rooms built of lumber with sleeping rooms upstairs. One large room west of the store was used for freight, one large fruit bin held more than two railroad freight cars of fruit that we shipped to Salt Lake every November. On September 7, 1891 when we took the store over we had: Mdse on hand $3052.63 Book Acct $356.05. No cash.
These years from 1891 to 1898 when we lived in Rockville were my happiest days. I enjoyed my work with my husband. We worked side by side in the store and did well financially. We were young and we had good times. He was director for the home dramatic club which presented many plays and other troups also came in. He and his brother, Carse, generally took the leading parts. He had his church duties to perform and I was in Mutual, treasurer in Relief Society and later President of the Relief Society which position I held till we left. I found many friends and Mother Draper was an inspiration. I sat many an evening listening to her tell of early church history and when they first came to Utah.
There were many Indians around there and when they came into the store they would ask for the man and if he wasn't around they would wait for him and they would talk Indian to him but if he wasn't at home then they could talk English to me alright and let me wait on them. I had one Indian "Mary" scrub and clean but when she got through she would sit in the doorway and guard so no one would walk on the floor till it was dry. One Indian, Frank, did a lot of work for us; he seemed better or cleaner than most of them did and we would quite often ask him to the table to eat. He would wash, clean up and comb his hair. One morning he was there for breakfast. We knelt down for prayers. I wasn't well that morning and as we knelt down he asked my husband if he could pray. He told him yes and he prayed for me. Most of the words were English but sometimes he had to use his own language but his prayer was sincere and we were happy for it. The time we left Rockville we sent word to the Indians as well as the whites that we wished their accounts paid. Every Indian that owed us came and paid, some with buckskin, some with money or pinenuts or something else. Not so with the whites as some accounts are still unpaid.
January 30, 1893 another son was born. He was named Terry Parshall, two family names. March 10, 1895 Carson Owen arrived, a big strong healthy baby, he was almost big enough to help in the store. About this time a young man about 15 years who had only been in this country a short time from Switzerland stayed with us for about two years. Owen soon learned that this boy, Henry Lew, could sing and was anxious to hold the baby and sing to him.
November 9, 1897 Otto was born but if it hadn't been for the faith, prayers and administrations by the elders I don't believe I would have been here. I couldn't open my eyes or move a finger and the nurse and others said I was gone. I could feel and hear but not move. Afterwards I said to Zemira, "I heard the rest making a fuss but I didn't hear you. Didn't you care?" He said, "While the others were all excited the promise and blessing that were given you by one of the authorities of the church, when you were set apart as the president of the Relief Society stood before me as letters of gold and I knew your mission wasn't fulfilled. It would have been mockery for me to carry on and cry. I sent for the bishopric and we administered to you and you will live to fulfill your work here.A My mother came two days later and stayed with me for a month.
Next year we talked about moving north where the school season was longer. There were only the two teachers for all the grades and a short school season. Carson who had moved to Hinckley wrote about a good location for a store. The fall of 1898 we sold out in Rockville, turned the store back to the directors, and gave full value for all we had taken over.
We arrived at Hinckley, bought a corner place, a store room and one room joining. We paid for this place and Zemira went to Salt Lake, ordered goods to stock the store and commenced the mercantile business again. It was a little harder, we didn't have the capital we had in Rockville. Foolishly, we took the debts that belonged to the store and some were bad debts. We left the store without debts. It was hard to get started in Hinckley as there was another store across the way. But still we made good and were blessed here, we had what we needed, bought two pieces of land, 20 acres each. Zemira was called to work as class teacher in Sunday School and mutual, ward teacher and stake Sunday School Secretary. I worked in mutual, Relief Society block teacher with Mrs. Emily Wright and Sunday School teacher together with Brother Alonzo A. Hinckley. He was later Hinckley Stake President. We were busy with our Church assignments.
May 15, 1900 Glen was born. Mother came down some days before and stayed with me 10 days; then she got word that father and Wilford and Edwin had had a runaway and got hurt. I was getting along alright and had a good girl to do the work, so she left.
In 1901 my brother Otto was called to go on a mission to Sweden so we went up to Pleasant Grove to see him and the rest of the folks and we went to Salt Lake and got a shipment of goods sent to the store.
August 30, 1902 John Clark was born but he only stayed with us about two weeks. Soon after this Otto got diphtheria and was a very sick boy. There was no medical help to get and I had to be alone with the children when Zemira had to stay with the store. Zemira administered to Otto. The Lord heard our prayers and Otto got better, though his speech hasn't been perfect since. None of the rest of us were ill but the whole town was quarantined.
Our family grew--we had 5 boys and 1 daughter. When Carson went up to Idaho and found a tract of land for sale at a bargain, we thought about it for some time and asked our Heavenly Father to guide us. We didn't expect to find a buyer for our place without even advertising but Bishop Pratt's son, Tom, returned from a mission and he and his brother came down to see us about selling. Zemira told him what we wanted for the home, store and 80 acres of land and we sold out to them by taking a herd of cattle they had. We left Hinckley for Blackfoot, Idaho on the 12th of March, 1903. Our friends gave us a farewell party. I felt bad about leaving Hinckley as we had found many friends there. We had both been working in the ward. In Hinckley I was called, together with Sister Emily Wright, for the first time to assist in washing and anointing a Sister Pack who was very sick. Sister Pack got well and lived many years. I have many happy memories of the few years we lived in Hinckley.
We left Hinckley March 15, 1903. Zemira, Zira and Terry went to Blackfoot with our furniture and a carload of cattle to get things a little started. I went home to Pleasant Grove and stayed with my parents with Amy, Owen, Otto, and Glen. While here father and I went to Salt Lake City and worked in the temple for several days on father's line of ancestors.
After visiting in Pleasant Grove, Draper and Orem, I left with the children the latter part of April and arrived in Blackfoot where Zemira was to meet me, happy to be together even if he hadn't got a house built ready for me. We stayed with Carson's family for a few days till Zemira put up two tents for us to live in, till he could build us something better. So the first summer we lived in the tents, but we had the one boarded up at the sides and board floor and a real door at the end and it was quite nice and comfortable.
Zemira hadn't been on a farm before and the crops had to be planted, ditches made, hay cut and hauled, and sage brush cleaned off. He worked too hard, up at early daybreak and stayed with it at night as long as he could see and sometimes he did not come home for his meals. I worried and scolded and begged but he felt like he just had to work. The bigger boys did all they could and he was anxious to get the house up for me before cold weather came.
October 3, 1903 a little son came to our house. He was born in the tent but the weather was fine and all would have been well if a neighbor's daughter hadn't come in to see the new baby. She had been exposed to smallpox and for that reason we were quarantined in. Zemira telegraphed for my mother to come and help us out. She came and stayed with us for two weeks. Before she left Zemira had one room plastered and finished so my bed was moved in the house. I got along alright, later he finished the two front rooms so we had three nice rooms. About a week after mother left my brother Ludwig came and gave us a happy surprise, staying with us till the first of December.
We had one of the largest rooms in the Howard Branch and we held sacrament meeting there. It was here at fast meeting in December that our son was blessed and named Verrill Wilford by his father. Sunday School was held in private homes till the completion of the new school house and we were granted the use of this school house for church purposes. About this time Zemira began teaching in the district school but after six weeks he was forced to quit this occupation on account of ill health.
January 19, 1905, when the Kimball Ward was organized, I was called as secretary for the Relief Society. March 5, 1905 I was set apart First Assistant in the Primary. We all were busy trying to do our duty but we had trouble with Mr. Frouson, our neighbor. He did all he could to hurt us and the bishop. He had Zemira arrested several times. Nothing could be proven but at times we had to hire a lawyer to defend us and that was very expensive so we decided it was cheaper to move even if that was a big loss rather than live in trouble with neighbors. Zemira wasn't well and hardly able to do anything so we traded our place for another across the river at a sacrifice.
In February 1906 we started to move. It was cold and disagreeable but we wanted to get away. The eve of February 5th a big crowd gave us a great surprise and we had an enjoyable picnic and the spirit of friendship made us happy. We worked hard to get the new house straight and in order before our new daughter who arrived at 2:10 p.m. February 17. She was blessed by Patriarch Andrew Jenson and named Estella Rebecca. Zemira grew steadily worse. We sent for the doctor and we did all we could and at last we decided to go to the L.D.S. Hospital in Salt Lake City and see what they could do. July 4th we left the older children and took Glen, Verrill and Estella with us. I had written to my parents for them to meet us in Salt Lake.
We took Zemira to the hospital then I went and found Mill Bebee, a cousin, and she said I and the baby were welcome to stay at her home. My parents took Glen and Verrill home with them. Every day I went up to the hospital to be with my husband. The nurses were very kind to us, I never had to leave after regular visiting hours. On July 14 they operated on my husband. I had been there all day but the saddest was when Dr. Richard put his arm around me and told me they had found cancer in his stomach and liver and it had reached other organs and that doctors, science or medicine could not help him.
The doctors were able to relieve his suffering for a while, and on July 26 he left the hospital and we went to the home of my parents in Pleasant Grove. We visited with my brother, Charles, in Mona and with Otto in Orem, then I left to return to Blackfoot to get the other children. We rented a place on Locust Avenue in Pleasant Grove. Soon afterward, I had to return to Blackfoot for a trial involving some stolen cattle. Two of our milk cows and a heifer had been lost and had been found under suspicious circumstances. The man who had been rebranding cattle was convicted and I returned to Pleasant Grove as soon as I could. All I could do now was to relieve my husband's suffering.
Terry and Owen worked harvesting potatoes and got our potatoes for the winter. Later in the fall Terry, Owen and Glen started to school. Zemira, grew steadily worse and weaker and mother came and stayed nights with me. He realized he would not be able to stay with us much longer and worried because we would be without a home. One morning when mother was going home I went with her to go to the drugstore. Suddenly she stopped and said, "Come, let's go into shoemaker Nilson's." I didn't want to go, but she insisted and when we got inside Brother Nilson asked if we knew anyone who wanted to buy his home as he had his eye on another place. Mother asked him how much he wanted for it and he said $500. Mother said, "Wait till tomorrow and I will answer you." After we left mother told me if I wanted it they would help me pay for it, then my boys could work and pay it back. Well, I got the place and I have always felt it was an inspiration from God that sent us in to Brother Nilson's that morning. How thankful I have been for this house located in the best part of Pleasant Grove. Zemira was thankful to know that I would not be homeless. He realized the task that was before me. We were over $1000 in debt and had eight children. We talked, all we could do was to trust in the Lord.
The elders administered to him, but he told me often that his mission on earth was ended and that I was holding him. I couldn't give him up--I did need him so to help raise our children. We had 8 living, 6 boys and 2 girls, the baby not a year old. There were days he couldn't eat.
On the evening of Feb. 4 Zemira was suffering very much. I tried to give him some morphine but he couldn't take it. At once it seemed like some one took hold of my shoulders, pushed me down on my knees and I cried, "Heavenly Father, take him and don't let him suffer anymore." On Feb. 5 he passed on. I had had to give him up but just before he died when I cried, "Oh, are you going to leave me? he answered, and said, "No, Darling, I'll never leave you." Now I was alone with my eight children. My first prayer was: "Heavenly Father, help me and give me wisdom to raise our children that some day I can take them all to their father and say, "Here we all are, I have done the best I could." He was buried in Pleasant Grove cemetery. His funeral was the first held in the Pleasant Grove Tabernacle. Brother F. Humphries was painting in the tabernacle but he stopped so it would be dry. When we came and I saw more than 2/3 of the hall filled, it made me feel that I was not without friends and to me the choir sang better than ever before. I know there is comfort in songs to a sorrowful heart.
How alone I was when I came home. Nothing has ever filled that vacant space; I have at times felt his presence near me and have been comforted. Now I stood with eight children, not a dollar to my name, our place in Idaho was under mortgage and I didn't want to go back there as I had seen sorrow and sickness all the while we were there. I had bargained to buy Mr. Nilson's home. I had doctor bills to pay and other accounts that totalled over $1500. I called the older children to me and we talked the problem over. The boys all promised to do all they could to help me. Zira gave me every check he got. I worked at any work I was able to do and kept the family in food and clothing.
Some friends gave me old clothes that I made over for my boys and Estella. Amy went to work. She stayed at my brother, Charles's place in Starr and Orem. She was down with Uncle Carson for about a year then she worked in Salt Lake City till she got married. Terry, Owen, Otto and Glen went to school but as soon as school was out I found places for the boys to go to work for some farmer and they earned enough for our flour, hay and potatoes. I had bought a cow that gave a lot of milk. But the day school started in the fall they all came back home. I was determined they were all going to have a school education if it were at all possible. One winter Terry stayed at my brother Otto's and went to school. Time went on and at last we were free from debts.
About a year and a half after my husband's death in October 1908, Ellen, Carson's daughter, died and I went down to Hinckley to the funeral. While at Hinckley President Alonzo A. Hinckley came down to invite Zira and me to come up to his home to see his wife and new baby. While there he said he had heard that we had lost all we had in Idaho. I told him my condition and that I was owing over $1000. He placed his hands upon my head and said, "Sister Draper, I promise you in the name of the Lord that if you will pay your tithing in the future as you have done in the past, the Lord will bless you and you will be able to pay your obligations and when it is paid it will be as a miracle to you." This promise has been literally fulfilled. I know the Lord has blessed me.
More than 20 years after, President Hinckley and his wife came up to Alfreda Monson's place in Salt Lake City where I was visiting and took me up to his place. I started to tell of his blessing to me. He asked me to wait, he phoned for his children in Salt Lake City to come home. Then he asked me to tell it so they could hear it. We had a regular testimony meeting. Three daughters played three different instruments, one played a guitar, one the violin, the other the piano. They are wonderful musicians and I enjoyed the evening and will always remember it as a bright star in my life, He later served as President of the California Mission.
In those days I went out working at nursing, sewing, washing, housecleaning, picking fruit and any work I could find from Monday morning till Saturday night. After Zemira died I felt that I didn't want to go anywhere in public. I stayed close to home when I wasn't out working but after awhile I woke up to the realization that if I didn't go to Sunday School and meeting my children wouldn't go either. I went so I could take them with me. I concluded that Sundays I would not go out to do any kind of work except in case of sickness, but once during berry season they wanted us all to come Sunday morning to pick berries. They knew it was against my wishes but they commenced to ridicule and told me I didn't need to think I was any better than they were, so I said "Well, I'll come." I worked till we were done and I earned a little more than $1.00, but on my way home I lost it. At another time I again went picking berries against my wishes, and that day an argument started and I joined in it and before I realized it, one of my dearest friends and I were saying things better left unsaid. It was about one of the most foolish things, but she got angry. I tried to explain and asked forgiveness. I tried to make her understand but I couldn't and I heard someone say, "Listen to the 2nd Ward Primary." I was president and she my counselor. I told her I'd do anything to make it right, go with her to the bishop, anything, but she would not. So this Sunday I lost a friend. Then I thought, "Why did I go to work?" The Lord accepted of my work six days but he wanted me to keep the Sabbath day. From the time I was a very little child in Sweden when my mother sent me to school there until now I have always enjoyed Sunday School. In my days I have taught every department from kindergarten to Parents' class and I have enjoyed it.
I believe the greatest blessing to me after my husband died was when Bishop Swenson came to me and asked me to take charge of the Primary association of the Pleasant Grove Second Ward. When he asked me, I said, AOh, Bishop Swenson, how can I? You know I work from Monday morning till Saturday night and Primary is Saturday afternoon.A He said to try it for six months, and if then I felt that it was too much he would release me.
Well, I did, when Saturdays came I would say I'll work till noon but then I'll have to go home for Primary. My day books show my earnings were not less, and oh, how I enjoyed my Primary work and the children. Now I very often meet some of those Primary children, now grown, some parents and some workers in the Church. I hear from some from Oregon and California and it does us good to meet. I wish had the time to visit them all, many times when I meet them they will put their arms around me and talk of Primary and Mutual days. A lot of those girls after they were old enough to leave Primary said they were going to ask the bishop to let me go with them to Mutual or they would stay in Primary. I was called with Susie Swenson to teach the girls in Mutual. She was dearer to me than a sister. I stayed with her and helped her all I could and stayed with her the last week she lived because she was nervous and wanted me with her.
I am thankful for her friendship for it has made me better and I am thankful for those Primary and Mutual girls and the testimony some of those girls bore. I also was Relief Society class leader after I was released from Primary work. The last year I was in Pleasant Grove I was in religion class. When I now sit and think over my life, I had many a hard bump. I had to work hard. I did a lot of nursing in maternity cases and taking care of children and sometimes I had to be away from home for days and many a time problems would arise with the children, 6 boys and 2 girls at all ages, no husband or father to counsel with. I didn't know what to do but my Heavenly Father had heard and answered my prayers. May I always live worthy of the blessing He has given me.
I wanted all my children to have an education. Zira hadn't finished 8th grade when his father died, but a year later I sent him to BYU. He objected, saying he would not go to school with me out working and washing. I assured him all would be well. I had just received $470 from our place in Idaho that had been sold. The lawyers, administrators, and real estate people had all taken their share and that was all I got for 120 acres of land and two houses. $100 of this money was to be used for Zira to go to school for a year. I brought Verrill and Stella with me to Provo and spent a week sewing for a lady to pay for his room for the year. I also bought a sack of flour which she said she would bake for him for $0.50. He went to school for the whole year and has always been thankful for the associates he had there. Then he got his job back on the railroad.
Amy started school at Pleasant Grove but did not like it. Terry had two years of high school and Owen and Otto graduated from high school. After three years in high school, Glen was recommended by his teacher to go to the University of Utah, where he received his B.S. June 5, 1923. Otto attended one year at BYU and part of two years at the U of U then got a job surveying for the railroad and for the government. While working in Washington D.C. with the land office he was active in church work and worked with the missionaries. Verrill and Estella both graduated from high school and Estella completed a two year normal course at BYU. All my children have been active in church and have held various positions in the wards where they have lived. Glen filled a mission to Germany and Verrill served as a missionary in the Tongan Islands. All my children have been to the temple and received their endowments. Many of my grandchildren are active in the church.
In September 1925 I moved to Provo so Estella could go to BYU. My home in Pleasant Grove was built in pioneer days and it was getting dilapidated. My parents were both gone and most of my children were married and moved away from home. I purchased a home in Provo and my children helped me get it remodeled so it was quite comfortable.
I have found many new friends and my greatest joy now is genealogy and temple work. It is wonderful and almost miraculous the way I have been able to get names from my father's and mother's sides from Sweden and have been able to pay for them and able to do the work in the temple. I have had some wonderful manifestations and blessings that are almost too sacred to put down on paper. One in the temple I will appreciate.
(Written in 1933)
About two months ago Sister Crawe and I went up to the library and coming out we stopped and looked at some records. Brother Andrew K. Smith came up and we talked about family records. I said, "I have sent in about 150 family sheets of my direct line and I wonder if there is anyone connected with me?" Brother Smith said, "Why?" I said, "I feel so alone with hardly anyone to help me with all this work and I would so like to find some one," He said, "And you feel so alone?" I said, "Yes, I do and I would like someone to help me." He put his hand on my shoulder and said, "Sister, it won't be long till you will find a relative that will help you." It thrilled me with happiness, and Sister Crawe said, "I wish you could tell me the same."
Within a week, while I was ironing at home a knock came to my door and when I opened it a lady came in saying, "You are Josephine Draper and I am a relative. I have heard you have a wonderful genealogy of your mother." I told her nothing would please me better than to find a relative. She told me who she was and her grandmother and my grandmother were cousins. I showed her my record book and wrote two temple sheets of names for her to take for baptism. Her husband came in and she asked him if he would help her with this work. He said, "Sure, you have helped me three years with my work." Since then I have had a letter and $3.00 for me to get more names. Next time I went to the temple I went over to the library, saw Brother Smith and told him how his inspiration had come true. I have sent to Sweden for more names and I have faith that when they come I will find some way to pay for them.
On my husband's line I have had much pleasure in finding his mother's line back to Adam without a break. His mother's parents married cousins so both their one line is the same.
The Terry line we have found back when three Terry brothers left England in 1635. The Draper line we have found only to his third g.g. grandfather but we know they came to America from Heptonstall England from a coat that grandfather Draper had when he died that had been handed down from father to son. When grandfather died then grandmother took this coat and gave it to Uncle Wm. Draper. In the lining of the coat is a mark printed or sewed in it saying: R. D. (Robert Draper) Yoeman Heptonstall England.
I have taken pleasure in going to the church library and seeking for names both for my husband and for myself. I have spent more than $300 in cash for names from Sweden. The Lord has blessed me to get the money.
One of my happiest days was February 2, 1933, my father's birthday. I was in the temple and Zira, Elsie, Terry, Florence, Verrill and Amy all came and we spent the day in doing endowments and sealings. I have been lonely many a day and night since my husband died. I have worked hard to take care and have the children get an education. Many a time I have felt like it was more than I could do, but the Lord has blessed me. I could write pages of how, when I thought I could not go any longer, some star would come on my horizon and lift me up like on this February 2, 1933 and I am thankful for the friends I have had. They have helped me through many a dark hour.
I have been able to take trips on the train because Zira and Verrill both worked on the railroad. I have been to Los Angeles, California and Portland, Oregon. In Portland I did meet some very nice people, friends of my son, Otto, and family. Some took me for drives around the country. The mountains there are different from our Utah mountains. I went to the L.D.S. church in Portland.
(Written New Year's 1937)
I am alone at home. My children are all married but my youngest son, Verrill. He is down in Tongan Islands on a mission. He always had wanted to go on a mission but we couldn't see our way clear for him to go. I did wish I could send him. He has always been a good son to me. The rest all married but he stayed home saying, "I want to take care of you, you took care of us." After I sold out in Pleasant Grove Verrill had work in Provo so he has been the one to keep the home expenses.
One day in the summer of 1935 while at my oldest son's home, I said, "If a raindrop would fall and drop $1000 to me I sure would send Verrill on a mission." Less than two months after that my son Otto was drowned at the Alsea River in Oregon while at work for the government. Among his papers was found an insurance policy made out to me for $1000. When I was told, the first thought was there is the $1000 for Verrill. The bishop of our ward, Bishop W. Soward, had several times spoken of sending him on a mission and tried to get the Elders quorum to help him. I wrote a letter to Apostle A. A. Hinckley. I felt he would understand me and I got a
wonderful letter back that I will always keep. He told me to go to my bishop and tell him what I had written to him and the bishop would understand. He said, "Sister Draper, you know I want Verrill to go." In October, Verrill got his call to go to Tongan Islands Mission. He left Salt Lake City November 9th. I was with him in Salt Lake City and went to several meetings at the mission home. Now I feel it is our mission and I am happy.
After her children were all married, Josephine lived alone as long as she was able to keep house for herself and then spent some time in several rest homes. She died August 9, 1948 and was buried in the Pleasant Grove Cemetery beside her husband.
MEMORIES OF OLGA JOSEPHINE POULSON DRAPER By her daughter, Estella D. Perkins
Mother was a wonderful person, and her principles of life and living were the things I remember. Father died thinking she would have financial backing to raise her family, with the security of 120 acres they owned in Groveland, Idaho, with two homes and all the material needed to make the home produce--horses, equipment, etc. But mother did not want to go back to Idaho--somehow she blamed Idaho for father's death. She trusted a man to sell the property, but finally, with the help of a judge in Provo she was able to receive $473. This was her total wealth. With it she had to pay hospital expenses, funeral costs, buy a home and raise their eight children.
This was impossible, but mother was never a person to accept charity and she worked at all sorts of physical labor to take care of everything. Anything that would pay her honest money she would do. Once when she was standing on a ladder scrubbing the walls and windows of the bank building, another widow told her she ought to be ashamed of herself working like that on Main Street where everyone could see her. The president of the bank came out of the building just then and stopped and talked with mother for quite a while, asking her how things were going and if the work was too hard for her. He barely spoke to the other woman. Mother commented that she did not notice any lack of respect, as the other woman had indicated.
She often washed clothes six days a week for ten to twelve hours a day on the scrubbing board, carrying water to fill the boiler on the stove. Then she had to take the clothes outdoors to hang them on the line to dry. In the winter it was very hard, but Mother never complained about anything. She sometimes came home with her long ankle-length dress a solid mass of crackling ice in winter months. We were finally able to get a second hand washer and Glen devised a water wheel to attach to it. The washer was turned by hand.
The most important part of her pay was the tenth of it that she put in her Tithing Purse. This was a small leather purse that we all knew and respected. Mother taught us that we always paid a tenth of every cent that we earned to the Lord as thanks for His many blessings. We were the poorest family in the ward financially, but the richest spiritually. One day when she went to pay her tithing the Bishop told her: "I have to tell you something. You and your family have paid one-twentieth of all the tithing that has been paid this month."
After tithing her debts were of next importance. Grandma and Grandpa Poulson had helped her buy a small house, One day she came home from work with tears running down her face. I was sure someone had hurt her but she told me, "These are tears of happiness. I have paid the last debt I owe in the world. Now I am all clear...and I will never owe another penny as long as I live,..and I hope my children remember this rule..."
Mother delivered hundreds of babies in Pleasant Grove and nearly everyone called her "Mother Draper". They loved her and were kind to her and often would invite her to go with them to Salt Lake or Provo. When they asked her how long it would take her to get ready to go, she would always answer, "It doesn't take a pretty bird long to shake its feathers--I will be ready in ten minutes."
Mother was completely devoted to the gospel and to her Heavenly Father. It was automatic that every Sunday morning we arose and got ready for church without any question. I never remember Mother having to convince any one of her children about their obligation to their Father in Heaven. We were taught to be aware of the blessings that we received from Him and that we were responsible to Him for our actions.
Her family was very important to mother. While other people might skim their milk and sell the cream, she said her children needed all the nourishment that she could give them. She sold the extra milk, but only if we had more than we needed. She would sell the most generous amount of milk as a quart.
Whenever anyone was ill in town, she would make a kettleful of Swedish sweet soup. I used to think people got sick just for that reason. She bought play equipment for her children so they would stay home and play rather than wandering around and most of the neighborhood children could usually be found playing at our place.
She taught us we should never accept anything we did not earn, we should be honest and never covet anything, She lived a devoted, wonderful life, a wonderful example of true Christian living.
History of Niels and Maria W. Poulson
Contributor: gawarren Created: 2 years ago Updated: 2 years ago
A History of Niels and Maria W. POULSON
(Taken from Poulson Genealogy Book in possession of Scott Soulier).
Compassionate - Industrious - Kind - Generous - Steadfast - Thrifty - Orderly - Proud - Dynamic - Religious - Hospitable - Honest - Hard-working - Helpful - Dependable - Gentle - Loving - Christian - Trusting - Ambitious - Prayerful - Energetic - Grateful - Courageous
The words above are just a few of the adjectives that have been used by family members and friends in describing Niels and Maria Wahlstrom Poulson. Through the years; many of their descendants have written histories of the family, with their recollections of the lives and personalities of these two fine people.
To those who were fortunate enough to know and remember "Grandma and Grandpa Poulson," the above words will bring back memories. And, hopefully, those grandchildren, great grandchildren, great great grandchildren - as many generations as will read this compiled history - who did not know Niels and Maria, will gain an insight into the heritage they all share.
This history is compiled from many histories written by their children and grandchildren, tape recordings and records, tributes, research, and memories recorded through the years. In some cases perhaps an incident was retold so many times that to some who did not experience it, it became an experience - as if they had been there. Other stories have been handed down with differences in personnel and circumstances. But the fact remains unaltered - no matter how many tales are told: The children of Niels and Maria Poulson were indeed "born of goodly parents."
We are grateful to their daughter, Josephine, and their sons, Otto, Lud, Charles, Wilford, and Edwin, as well as to many others, for writing and telling about their parents so that their descendants might get to know them by reading their history.
A Tribute to Niels and Maria W. Poulson
From a tribute given by Emma (Mrs. Otto) Poulson, June 19, 1945.
Grandpa and Grandma Poulson were good, honest, God-fearing people, very ambitious and willing to work at any good honest work that came their way. Grandpa worked on the railroad for a long time. He also had a farm in the east part of Pleasant Grove, but I think the lot on which they lived was his joy. They had most every kind of fruit and berries they could find that would grow in this part of the country; also all kinds of garden produce and even some nuts.
They were always generous with everything they had. They did not believe in borrowing very much, so Grandpa got the tools he needed, but some of his neighbors would borrow so he got a set of tools for his own use and would loan the old ones. He was a great man to always have a place for everything and everything in its place. He had a tool house in which he had a workbench, arranged so he could make the best use of his tools. Over his workbench were a lot of shelves and bins in which each kind of nail, screw, bolt, burr, and tool had its place.
There were also the grand old rock walks built of cobble stones by Grandpa from the front gate around the house and to the barn through the lovely grape arbor. They also had many beautiful flowers; also ornamental trees and lawn. These were Grandma's joys, but Grandpa helped with them a lot.
Grandma was a very good nurse and helped so many people. She attended the birth of hundreds of babies and cared for so many in different kinds of sickness.
Their greatest ambition was the education of their children and giving them every advantage they could. They were always so kind and helpful to everyone.
Early Lives of Niels and Maria
Niels Poulson was born February 2, 1842 at Jonstrop, Malmo, Sweden. He was the son of Pal Nilson and Johanna Catharina Swenson Hedberg; He was the oldest of six children. He had four brothers and one sister: Janne, Carl and Johannes (twins), Christina, and Jons. Their mother died April 11, 1863 when the youngest child was eight or nine years old. The other children went off to work. Their father went to work for a farmer. Later he moved to Helsingborg and bought several homes in that city. The house he lived in when he died was in the south part of Helsingborg. The boys went to sea and sailed around the world several times. Carl died one day out from port, the boat turned around back to land and he was buried in East India or Singapore. Jons was married in Scotland, his wife died and left two small daughters. Jons took them to Seattle, Washington and made a home for them there. Janne came to USA and settled in Missouri, raised a nice family and died in Bucklin, Missouri on November 14, 1927. Kristina married and lived in Helsingborg. She died July, 1882.
Not too much is known about Niels' early life. His parents were living on a farm when he was born. One of his early memories of school days was a very rigid discipline. Later as a young man he worked as a coachman for a wealthy farmer on a large estate.
Maria Wahlstrom was born July 5, 1844 at Varalof, Strovelstorpe Parish, Sweden, a daughter of Olaf Johannson Wahlstrom and Pernilla Svenson.
Maria's father died of cholera after being deputized to bury the dead in an epidemic. This was on May 8, 1845. Before he died he said he wanted his little daughter to have a stove baker or kettle that had been in his family for many years. Maria kept it until she died and it was then given to her son, Wilford, She had a good stepfather who actually favored her in many ways. Her father left her with some money but her mother, who was administrator, used most of it before Maria was married. Shortly after her father's death, Maria had a long sick spell and was in bed for several months. This left her a sickly girl and as a woman she only weighed about 100 pounds.
When Maria was old enough she worked in a glove factory. Most of the fine gloves were made by hand. This undoubtedly helped her to become an expert seamstress.
Niels worked for some time in a drug store. When a depression came many were out of work, but he got a job repairing streets for the government. He met Maria in 1865 in Valinge, where they were both working. The first Christmas present he gave her was a silk scarf, which was a treasured possession of their daughter, Josephine, in later years.
Soon after they met, Niels and Maria both got work in Helsingborg. Niels was working in a drug store again, and apparently mixed and bottled medicine which was stored in large flasks which took two men to lift. At one time one of the flasks broke and the mixture it contained burned Niels.
Maria learned the dressmaking trade. Later she worked as a housekeeper for a merchant named Stromberg. She had lived and worked there for about a year when she got sick and had to go home to her parents who had also moved to Helsingborg. She was very sick for months. For six weeks the fever was so high she didn't know anyone and it left her very weak. Niels came to help her and sat beside her many a night. As soon as she was able to do anything at all, Mrs. Stromberg came and got her again to help with the children. With the nourishing food she ate, she soon regained her strength and worked as housekeeper again until a little while before she was married.
Before their marriage on December 1, 1867, Niels bought a home the northeast part of Helsingborg -Number 7 Mararergaten. It was on the highway close to two beautiful parks where children could play. There were renters in their house, so they decided to rent a smaller place, where they lived the first year. Niels remodeled their home and made two rooms and a hall upstairs, where they lived while still renting the lower floor of the house.
The second winter after their marriage was very hard. Hundreds of men were out of work. The city gave the men work, with one meal a day and a small salary. Maria helped with expenses by knitting stockings for 254 a pair. Niels got so he could knit one sock a day, thus making 12 24 per day.
On February 15, 1869 Niels was promised a job at a large soda water establishment, but he had to go to Kristianstad after some machinery to be installed. The company would pay his fare to Kristianstad and back but he had to support himself until he returned with the machinery. Niels and Maria were both too proud to admit that they didn't have the money to spare but it was too good an opportunity to miss. Maria took out her hard- earned money, all but 2 kroner, and gave it to Niels and told him to go and she would be alright until he came back. He reluctantly took the money and went, but before he got back Josephine was born February 23, 1869. After Niels' first paycheck, with Maria's managing, it wasn't long before things were much better. He always gave her the paychecks and she put part of the money in the bank.
Soon after Josephine was born, Niels and Maria moved downstairs and rented the upstairs. Their son, Otto, was born Tuesday, April 30, 1872. While he was still a baby an epidemic of cholera broke out in the city and Niels moved his family out in the country. They stayed for nearly a year on a large estate called "Larra," which was only a short distance from the Queen's palace, "Sofia Ro." While his family was at "Larra," Niels worked on a farm or Herregard.
Shortly after Josephine's birthday the following February the family returned to their home and Niels returned to his job with the soda water company. He had worked at this job about 10 years when he began having trouble with rheumatism. The doctor told him he would have to change jobs. Niels was working 12 to 14 hours every day in such dampness that he suffered with rheumatism. The depression was still with them so Niels went out of town to find work but only worked a few months then came back. The next spring he learned brick laying, working the first few months without pay. After that there was plenty of work, Everything seemed to be going fine until he started getting dizzy when he was working on tall buildings, The contractors said if he could not work on a three- or four-story building, they could not give him work.
Maria's stepfather was a foreman at the Helsingborg harbor and gave him work there, working at the docks at Oresand. He checked invoices and cargo on ships and drove the horse that hauled freight that was transferred across the dock or from one ship to another. Niels' young son, Lud, later recalled the horse, named Polly, to be the largest horse he had ever seen. The loads were almost as large as a small house. When they crossed the dock with a load, Niels would walk by the side of horse, cracking the whip and talking to the horse all the time. He never carried his lunch but Maria always sent it with some of their children, or she took it herself. Lud says he was too small to carry it but very often went down with whoever took it and his father would let him walk by his side and at times would even let him crack the whip. Niels worked at that job for 10 or 12 years until they left for Utah.
Ludwig had joined the family Tuesday, December 13, 1874. He was not a very strong child and would often faint. When Carl was born Monday, March 12, 1877, Ludwig took one look at the
new baby and cried, "I got no place now" and fainted. Carl died the next year, Tuesday, March 5, 1878. Maria grieved much when he died. Charles was born Friday, February 21, 1879.
Josephine helped take care of the other children. In her history she tells how she was taught honesty. She was using the sugar lumps to quiet Otto and Lud and ended up using them all. When she confessed what she had done, she had to sit on a low stool with the empty sugar bowl in her hand until her father got home from work. Her parents explained to her what a sin it was to steal. When she got older her mother told her how she would count the sugar cubes from then on to see if they were being taken again and always found all of them there. She says her mother taught her to ask Heavenly Father's forgiveness when she did wrong. She always remembered the lesson she was taught although she was just six years old at the time.
Niels and Maria Poulson were religious, God fearing people. They belonged to the Lutheran Church and saw to it that their children attended Sunday School every Sunday. The Bible and other religious books were always on the table, and they always read from them every day, even if it was only a few verses. This practice continued all through their lives.
RELIGION IN THE SCANDINAVIAN COUNTRIES
As early as 980 A.D. Christianity was introduced in the Scandinavian countries and established by compulsion. In 1527 Gustav Vasa enforced the change from Catholicism to Lutheranism by royal decree in Sweden. The clergy was identified with the ruling classes, not with the common people. Then The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) missionaries brought a message of hope and enlightened religious interpretation it spread rapidly. Opposition was strong, but in spite of mob violence, jailings, whippings, and other abuses, the missionaries persisted in spreading the gospel.
Erastus Snow had dedicated the countries of Denmark, Sweden, and Norway as fertile fields for missionary labor and became the first president of the Scandinavian Mission in 1850. Peter Mattson was the first president of the Swedish Mission from 1905 to 1908. The Book of Mormon was translated into Swedish in 1878.
Many people from the Scandinavian countries joined the Church. At one time a survey showed that about 45 percent of the Church members were of Scandinavian descent. It has been said that the Scandinavian converts heard the gospel one day, were baptized the second day, and on the third day were out preaching the restored truth to kinfolk, neighbors, and friends.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Early in the spring of 1881 Mormon missionaries came to the Poulson home for the first time. They started preaching heaven and hell and said all who were not Mormons would go to hell. Niels stood up and told them "our Heavenly Father will separate the sheep from the goats. He will be just and no other person has a right to say who are going to Heaven," but that he had a right to tell them were to go. He opened the door and told them to go out and stay out.
When Josephine was 10 years old her father was sick with rheumatism for several months and she was left to care for her father and brothers while her mother went out to work. Maria worked on a farm tying wheat. It was at this time Maria heard about the Mormons from a Mr. Anders Olson and his wife, who invited her to go to an LDS meeting with them. Maria was well versed in the Bible and tried to prove the missionaries were all wrong. She and the missionaries had several discussions before she invited them home to meet her husband.
Niels was in bed and had plenty of time to read and study the books Brother Olson brought him - time he wouldn't have had if he had been well. His illness may have been a blessing in disguise for after he was able to get out, he and Maria went to hear the missionaries talk in their meetings. Other contacts with the Mormons reportedly occurred when Niels met a friend who was a Mormon and talked religion with him; and when they rented the upper floor of their home to other friends who were preparing to go to Utah because they had joined the Church. Those renters helped pave the way for other missionaries to get into the Poulson home.
A few months after the visit of the first pair of elders a second pair came. At first Niels and Maria were not going to let them in, but the elders said they wanted to explain some of the things that Christ taught which were not being taught now. Maria cooked supper for the elders and they stayed until bedtime. They were invited to come as often as they cared, but to come through the back yard. These elders were Charles P. Warnick of Pleasant Grave and N. O. Andersen from Ephriam.
Niels and Maria were both converted and on July 11, 1881, they were baptized at night at Oresand Harbor in the sea between Denmark and Sweden by Brother Nilson, a sailor and a local missionary. Their baptism had been kept a complete secret, even their parents did not know. Brother Warnick and Brother Anderson came to the home very often and they always had the best bed and food and treatment. The children were told they were friends, but did not know they were Mormons or missionaries until Josephine was told by some neighbors about the "awful Mormons." Josephine was warned about how the family would be taken to Utah where all Mormons went, and there the children would be taken away from their parents and sold as slaves and would never see their parents again. Josephine was very worried about it but afraid to ask questions, so she just listened and heard her father talk about writing to his brother about America. When the letters came from Uncle John in Missouri she would be very quiet in order to hear everything she could. Her parents read one letter to the missionaries. It said for them not to go to Utah but to stop in Missouri where their uncle would give them land and help them get a start.
Josephine became ill and spent some time in bed. She heard her parents tell the missionaries that they did not think they would be able to leave with the first emigration because they could not take their daughter while she was sick. About this time another missionary, Nils Larson from Moroni came to Helsingborg. He talked to Josephine about the healing power of the priesthood and administered to her. Her health improved so much that she was able to help her mother with the housework and walked three miles to attend her first Church meeting the next day. Several people mentioned that she did not look as if she had been ill at all. She had been ill since right after Christmas until this blessing took place in May.
The Poulsons were anxious to go to Zion, so preparations were made to leave Sweden. Maria's family turned against her and she was slighted in many ways. Her brother, Martin, had a big party to celebrate his engagement, and all the family were invited except Maria. Her mother did not mention the party to her even though Maria had been at her home the day before, and no one else told her about it. Gustaf Olin, a Baptist minister who used to be her friend, told her she wasn't fit to associate with since she had joined those awful Mormons, This was the minister of the Sunday School the children had attended. It was very difficult for Maria to stand firm when all these things happened, but she went to the Mormon meetings and found friends there.
One thing that happened during this trying time gave her much joy. At the time of Maria's sick spell before she was married, a poor widow with two small girls often came to visit her and would bring things for her and sit with her. Maria had said to her "I hope sometime to be able to do something for you." Now after about 15 years she had a chance to return the woman's kindness.
One afternoon a lady knocked at the door and asked if she could come in and sit down a little while to rest. She was on her way to her sister's about half a mile further up the road. Maria invited her in and soon realized that this lady was sick and not able to go any further. Maria sent for a doctor and before evening a baby boy was born. The next day Maria sent a letter to the lady's mother, who came the next Sunday. While talking to her Maria discovered that the mother was the widow who had helped her years ago. Maria got her wish that she might repay the woman's kindness to her, as she took care of the daughter until she was able to go back to work. A short time before this incident the girl had accepted the gospel.
Another trial for the Poulsons came because of this event. Even though all the people around knew different, they started saying, "Well, now you can see, the Poulsons are Mormons and Matilda (the befriended new mother) is his polygamy wife." This talk soon died down though after Matilda left to stay with her sister.
The family were all busy getting ready to go to America. An ad was put in the paper to sell the home. Twice before Niels had tried to sell out. First he had sold it to a man who paid part but couldn't get the rest, so he had to give up and get his money back. Next, Uncle Carl, Niels' brother intended to buy it and paid a good sum down. He was engaged to be married but as he was a sailor he wanted to take one more trip for the real wedding stake before he and his wife settled down. The place was to be kept until he returned but on his return voyage from East India, he was accidentally shot by his mate. The ship turned back to Singapore where he died and was buried. Niels gave the money back to the estate.
Maria and Niels went to visit grandfather Gunnarson. While there they met a man from the country who had come to the city to find a home as he and his wife wanted to retire and live in the city. Next day he came and looked at the home, measured the walls for furniture, and bought the place, paying cash. The Poulson family could stay until June when they were to leave for America. Earnestly working to get ready, they held an auction and sold most of their possessions. A big grandfather clock had just been put up for bid, when someone came into the room and shouted that the Poulsons were Mormons and were going to Utah. That stopped all the bidding. Someone called out 10 cents for the clock and no one would raise the bid although the clock was worth about 100 dollars. Maria called out that nothing more could be sold. The clock and a few other items that were left were given to some of their good friends, including a Mrs. Hammerlund, neighbors, and family.
It was a great sacrifice to leave home, friends, and relatives and sell their beautiful things to go to a far away and unknown place. On the evening of June 13, 1882 the Poulson family left their home and began the journey. First they stopped at Uncle Gustaf Olin's place. Maria knocked and he came to the window, he didn't want to open the door so they talked through the window and bid him goodby. They went down to the grandparents' house. Josephine remembered that her grandmother was up and crying, but grandfather had gone to bed and had his face to the wall and wouldn't turn to see them or speak to them. He was only Maria's stepfather but she had been his favorite, so it was probably as hard for him as it was for Maria. He came to America after his wife died, and lived with his son Wahlzer, where he stayed until his death on July 28, 1897 at Colegrove, Pennsylvania.
Grandmother Gunnarson went with Niels and Maria and the children down to the harbor where she kissed everyone goodby and had to go back home alone. They left Helsingborg Wednesday, June 14, 1882 at three o'clock in the morning and went to Malmo to gather with a group of 122 saints who were going to Utah. At Liverpool, England, they boarded the ship @Nevada" to come to America. About 900 saints were aboard. They had talked to Elders Warnick and Anderson, their missionaries, and decided it would be best to settle in Elder Warnick's home town, so the luggage was addressed to Pleasant Grove, Utah, where many of the Scandinavian saints settled in the early days of the Church.
Mother's Journal C "Our Journey to Utah"
First Day: Wednesday, June 14, 1882
We left Helsingborg at three o'clock in the morning on the steamer "Dilbert". We arrived at Malmo at six o'clock. We waited half an hour at the harbor before getting conveyance to the hall where the Mormon emigrants gathered. When we arrived there was surely a large crowd of both adults and children making in all 122 who were going to Zion. This is surely a wonderful place. Then we went out to see the sights of the city. We visited a large new church that had just been completed. It is the finest in Malmo and perhaps in all Sweden. It will seat 9,500 people.
In the evening after prayer and song, counsel was given to all those who were going to Zion. Afterwards we all went to bed. It was good to have a rest after the excitement of the last two days.
Second Day: Thursday, June 15
In the morning all gathered for prayers. Then we went out and purchased things we had forgotten but that we needed for the voyage. After supper we all gathered for prayer and song.
Third Day: Friday, June 16
Morning prayer at four o'clock. At five o'clock our goods were taken to the harbor. At six-thirty we went aboard the steamer "Gylfe" for Copenhagen. Arrived there at eight thirty a.m. Here our baggage was transferred to the steam "Bravo" on which we left Copenhagen at twelve o'clock. We passed Helsingborg at 2 o'clock. We stood on the deck until the city was lost to our view. Now we must think of our journey and not of our former home. Prayer and song in the evening.
Fourth Day: Saturday, June 17
We were all a little sea sick.
Fifth Day: Sunday, June 18
We were all a little better.
Sixth Day: Monday, June 19
We sighted land. At ten o'clock a pilot or inspector came on board. At four o'clock a little steam tug came out and took us in to land. We left on the railroad for Liverpool at seven o'clock. We arrived there at one o'clock in the morning. We stayed in a large warehouse. At two o'clock we had tea and sandwiches sent to us from the ship we were to sail on.
Seventh Day: Tuesday, June 20
At four o'clock a little child from Eskilstuna died. At four- thirty our trunks were taken on board the steam ship "Nevada". We went aboard at six o'clock.
Eighth Day: Wednesday, June 21
At eleven o'clock we were under the doctor's inspection. At two o'clock we sailed from Liverpool for America. This steamer goes much faster so we can see that it goes.
Ninth Day: Thursday, June 22
We saw the coast of Ireland all day long.
Tenth Day: Friday, June 23
A little three year old child from Denmark died.
Eleventh Day: Saturday, June 24
Funeral services were held for the child that died yesterday, after which it was buried in the deep.
Twelfth Day: Sunday, June 25
We stood on the deck until noon. We could see big fishes in the water. Attended a meeting held in the afternoon from four to five.
Thirteenth Day: Monday, June 26
A woman who was sick was administered to.
Fourteenth Day: Tuesday, June 27
Two women were administered to.
Fifteenth Day: Wednesday, June 28
At ten o'clock a.m. we saw an iceberg about two (Swedish) miles away. At eight p.m. we passed another iceberg a quarter of a mile away. It looked as high as the church in Helsingborg (about 100 ft.)
Sixteenth, Seventeenth and Eighteenth Days: Thursday, Friday and Saturday, June 29, 30, July I
Nothing of importance happened.
Nineteenth Day: Sunday, July 2
Early in the morning we could see the land of America and we were certainly glad to see it after several days voyage on the ocean. At eight o'clock a.m. an American doctor came on board and we all had to go before him for inspection. At nine o'clock p.m. we arrived in New York which looked pretty with colored lanterns hanging around the harbor and fireworks being displayed in the city. In the harbor the ships were passing each other in all directions.
Twentieth Day: Monday, July 3
At five o'clock all were up and packing their things together and at eight o'clock we left the ship and went on land but we had to stand around in the Gunions Lines Warehouse. Then we went on board a small steamer that took us around to Castle Garden where we all had to sign our names in big books. At five o'clock we boarded another steamer that took us to Brooklyn. Then we walked to the railroad station where we boarded the train and after we got our places in the cars the train started and soon after we went through a long tunnel.
Twenty-first Day: Tuesday, July 4
We made good time all day until eight p.m. when we had to change cars. It was ten o'clock before we were again ready to start.
Twenty-second Day: Wednesday, July 5
It is my birthday today. I being thirty-eight years of age, I was given some nice cakes by some strangers on the train. At ten o'clock a.m. we crossed Lake Erie (?) on a ferry boat and at twelve o'clock at night we arrived at Chicago. There were hacks ready and they took us to another depot.
Twenty-third Day: Thursday, July 6
At two o'clock a.m. we were again ready to start. We traveled through Illinois and crossed the Mississippi River on a large steel bridge. We arrived at Council Bluffs at eleven o'clock p.m. where we again changed cars. Then we crossed the Missouri River in a ferry boat to Omaha.
Twenty-fourth Day: Friday, July 7
We started again at one o'clock. We now traveled in Nebraska. We stopped at North Platte until 8 p.m. so all could get provisions.
Twenty-fifth Day: Saturday, July 8
Train going up hill all the time. We are 8,000 feet above sea level. Had two locomotives to pull the train until four in the afternoon. In the night it was very cold so father had to take his turn as nightwatch. He made fires in the stoves and made coffee for those that wanted to keep warm.
Twenty-sixth Day: Sunday, July 9
In the morning there was frost and ice on the water. We traveled all day over mountains and hills without seeing a house until four o'clock when we got to a little station. We were not allowed to open a window or go outside while passing it as the place was under quarantine. We went on until seven o'clock when we arrived in Utah and got to Ogden at seven-thirty p.m. Over a thousand people were at the depot to meet the immigrants. They came in the cars with all kinds of good things to eat which they imparted freely to us all.
An article in the Salt Lake City newspaper, Deseret News, reported:
The steamship, Nevada, sailed from Liverpool, England, with 932 saints in charge of Robert B. Irvine. They arrived in New York, July 2 and in Ogden, July 9, 1882.
A footnote from another newspaper article stated:
The captain on the steamer, Nevada, was A. W. Bremmer; mate was D. Jones. Personnel on the boat was 110, with 928 Mormon passengers.
OTHER RECOLLECTIONS OF THE JOURNEY TO ZION
Other recollections of the voyage to America were even more colorful than those recorded by Maria. Perhaps some of them were things an anxious, loving mother wouldn't be as happy to remember.
Otto and Lud didn't suffer from sea-sickness as many of the passengers did. This was perhaps because they had been at the docks and on the boats where their father worked so many times. They made friends with some of the sailors who taught them to braid ropes and gave them rope they could use to play horse with. Members of the crew also gave them so much hardtack candy from a huge barrel that the boys had no appetite when supper was ready.
Otto later recalled the two weeks on the ocean as a great adventure. He roamed the ship, getting acquainted with sailors and other passengers and began learning some English; he watched the flocks of birds and great schools of fish that followed the ship. He remembered seeing the huge icebergs nearby and hearing people say that the ship would probably be broken into pieces if it should run into one of them in the dark of night.
Lud also must have felt adventuresome and decided to explore the ship, but managed to get separated from his family. Unable to speak English, and among strangers, it must have been a frightening experience for a little boy. Finally he crawled under one of the men's bunks and went to sleep and later awoke and came out from his hiding place to rejoin his worried family.
After witnessing the burial at sea of a young child, Maria became terrified for fear something might happen to her youngest son, Charles, who did suffer from seasickness. She wrapped him in a grey and white shawl and carried him during most of the voyage. Later she admitted that if he had died on the ship she would have continued to carry him until they landed rather than have him buried at sea.
What a thrill it must have been for the immigrants to arrive in New York. Several family members have recalled how they thought they were really being given a special welcome with parades, decorations and celebrations on July Fourth, the day after they left the ship.
An incident happened on July 5th which frightened Josephine. Two men came on the train and sat down on the seat opposite where she and Otto were sitting. These men wore belts with guns and bullets. Josephine thought they were the Mormons who were to take them away and make slaves of them like she had been told by anti-Mormons in Sweden. But they proved to be friends the next day when they brought a bag filled with cakes and pies to Maria and made her understand that they were for them all.
Another frightening incident happened in Ogden. Apparently the travelers stayed overnight in Ogden. They were told that the train was going to stay in Ogden until 2 p.m., so Niels and Maria went with some others into the town. They had not been gone long when the train engines started, and Josephine jumped off to try to find them. The train men lifted her back on but she ran through the car and off the train again as it started moving slowly. Some of the missionaries tried to get her back on the train but she refused. When she saw her parents coming, she waited as they ran toward the train. The train was stopped and they all boarded and continued their journey.
It took about two hours to go from Ogden to Salt Lake City, arriving at 2 p.m. July 10. Wagons were ready to take them to the tithing office and yard east of the Temple block, where Hotel Utah now stands. There were long tables laden with all kinds of food for everyone to eat. They made beds in the yard where clean straw had been provided and slept under the clear sky and bright stars. The next day a baby from the Danish group died and was buried. Niels and Maria went out to see the city but the children stayed inside the yard. That night after prayer they again went to sleep in their temporary beds.
The next day the Poulson family went with their missionary, Charles Warnick, to his home in Pleasant Grove arriving about 5 p.m. July 11. Brother and Sister Warnick were invited out that evening so Maria had time to get the trunks opened and get clothes out for all the children. She bathed them, threw their old clothes outdoors and dressed them up in the clean clothes.
Pleasant Grove, Utah
The family stayed with the Warnicks for about a week and then moved down to the old Shoemaker home, just east of Andrew Larson's home on the state road in Pleasant Grove. They rented this home until they purchased a home of their own. An elderly couple had lived there and had died a short time before. Some pieces of furniture were left in the home, and with these and the things they had brought with them, the Poulson family were soon comfortably situated. They had been able to bring more of their belongings from Sweden than the average immigrant. They had been financially well off in Sweden and had loaned money to John Anderson and Johannes Rassmusson so they could come to America. Since these men had very little baggage of their own, they brought clothing, dishes, and bedding belonging to the Poulsons to fill their baggage allotment of about 300 pounds. Niels also loaned money to Nils Pearson, so he could bring his wife to America with him.
The stove in their rented home was not much good, so their first purchase from the local mercantile was a new stove which cost $42.90. Their neighbor, Andrew Larson, let them take a fresh milk cow and gave them a ton of hay to feed it. They raised the calf for him for veal. He also told them to go over to his place after wood until he bought a load of wood and gave it to them. The Poulsons did his washing for him but he paid them for it. He helped many people in Pleasant Grove.
As soon as they were settled, Niels went to work for some of the local farmers. Soon Maria went out to work, too, and they each got two bushels of wheat a day, It wasn't long before Niels got work on the railroad as a section hand at $1.25 for a 10 hour day. The section house was about 2 mile north of the north fence of the present day Geneva steel plant. He walked to and from work every day until winter then he boarded with the section foreman until spring. In the spring he got work with Brother Peterson on a section near home. There was only work in the summer and during the winter he would be laid off. During the winter months he would butcher pigs, chop wood, or any other jobs available. Most of the time he would get 504 per day and his dinner. Very little cash was in circulation in those days, pay was usually produce or store script. Maria worked for the farmers until after the potatoes were dug and earned wheat and potatoes for the family for the winter. They picked their first fruit from the apricot tree in front of the house and dried it on the roof.
Across the road from where they lived was a home that Maria wished were hers. She would say, "If that were my home I would be happy." One Sunday morning Brother Peterson came and said that the Wilson home was for sale for $500.00 but he wanted $100.00 down. Maria jumped up and said "That is my home". She told Niels to take $100.00 and go with Brother Peterson and buy it. They moved into it during the summer of 1884. The house had two rooms and they added on two more rooms and remodeled the other part, making it very comfortable and cozy. Sometime later another room was added on the back of the house so Maria could care for an old crippled man, Mr. Easterberg, who lived on her Relief Society teaching block. He lived here for several years before he died.
Flowers and shrubs were soon planted. Fruit trees were obtained from the nursery where Lud worked - as many varieties as he could get. Otto seemed to know what to do to take care of them. Every bit of ground was used for fruit, vegetables, or flowers. Even the cobbled paths were arched over with grape vines. The beautiful flower garden and lawn were enclosed with a fence and a gate which had a lock on it. The children felt very honored or favored if they were allowed to enter the garden. Maria always had a vase of flowers on her kitchen table when they were available. She was generous with her fruits and flowers to those in need or sorrow. On Decoration Day her garden was stripped for any who desired flowers.
In March of the second year after coming to Utah, Niels became ill and was in bed until the middle of November. Maria, Otto and Lud went to work while Josephine stayed home to look after her father and keep house. The house payments had to be paid and medicines for Niels were needed. They managed to get the barn full of hay, the cellar full of vegetables, and the bin full of wheat. Maria was paid 504 for 10 hours' work. Lud earned $5.00 a month and his board and room working for Bishop Brown. Josephine also went out to work when she wasn't needed at home. She washed on a board all day for 504 or by the week for $1.50.
Spring of 1885 Niels was ill again with rheumatism and could not work, so Maria again went to work. Wilford had been born November 21, 1884, and was just a few months old so Josephine quit school to help out at home again. By fall Niels was well enough to work on the section and Maria was able to be at home again.
With family cooperation and hard work Niels and Maria bought their home and also bought a 20-acre farm in the northeast part of Pleasant Grove, 10 acres of meadow in the "south field" and four acres of pasture about one-half mile west of their home. All this was purchased with wages never over $1.50 a day. The farm was very rough with two big washes through it and several high knolls, Niels leveled it and got it so it could all be irrigated but there was not enough water for the entire farm after it was leveled. Niels was not a farmer; he did a lot of work but received little in return, but he stayed with it for 18 or 20 years. Perhaps he kept it that long because he did not want to admit failure. When he sold it he took a loss because of a dishonest man who bought it.
On December 1, 1886 the family traveled to the Logan Temple so Niels and Maria could receive their endowments and have their children sealed to them, The youngest son, Edwin, was born January 20, 1888. The children had been known as Nilsons when they first came to Utah, but later the Poulson name was used by the entire family.
Maria was always anxious for her children to attend school whenever possible. Niels didn't object, but felt it was perhaps more important for them to have jobs. The older children had started school in Sweden. Attending school was difficult in Pleasant Grove, both because the boys were needed to help support the family and because there were no free schools - tuition had to be paid by those attending. The children seemed to share their mother's desire for learning as the boys would help Bishop Brown with his chores or weeding if he would teach them to read. the First Reader, printed in the Deseret Alphabet. Whenever possible the children would attend school - sometimes for only 10 or 20 weeks at a time. Each of the boys attended Brigham Young Academy at some time and the two youngest graduated and became teachers.
Niels and Maria
Niels and Maria were industrious, thrifty, and dependable and taught these qualities to their children by example. They had given up a good job, a nice home, and many other possessions when they left Sweden, but soon after coming to Utah they again owned their own home and other property. They went into debt a little for the home, but other than that they always lived by their philosophy; "Get the money first, and then spend it." Another common saying in the family was "Don't go into the New Year owing anyone; then don't spend more than you earn."
Maria did most of the training of the children since Niels always worked long hours. She saw to it that they went to Primary and Sunday School, and when they were old enough to earn money she encouraged them to pay their tithing. She taught them to be kind and to show respect to their elders, and always be honest in their dealings. She did not believe in much punishment, but thought there was a better way to gain a child's respect than slapping or whipping. But if she promised them a spanking, they got it. No matter what promise she made you could depend on her keeping it; and in this way she instilled in the minds of her family the importance of keeping their promises and having their word considered to be as good as a bond.
Maria was a small, wiry woman with limitless energy. When she walked her step was quick and youthful and the children almost had to run to keep up with her. She had expressive blue eyes and wore her hair parted in the middle and drawn back to a bob. She and Niels often joined friends and neighbors for an evening of dancing, even after a long, hard day's work. In later years she often talked of how she had always loved to dance and, holding her long full shirt on each side she would step - light as a feather- as she described how she used to go "from a back, and from a back."
Although Maria was a little woman, she was very dynamic and forceful. She was always greeted with a kiss by all the family. They loved and respected her but were just a little afraid of her, not wanting to displease her. Her hands were always busy. When she would sit down she would knit or sew. She was an expert seamstress and made her own clothes and sewed for her family. She made linen and wool cloth. She could shear the sheep, wash and clean the wool, then card and spin the wool into yarn to be woven into cloth. She did not have a loom of her own so she would go to a friend's home in "Little Denmark," a part of Pleasant Grove west from the cemetery.
Maria was very religious by nature. She often read the Bible, and she re-read the Book of Mormon three times during the later years of her life. The large family Bible was a special treasure. It was purchased a section at a time, then bound when they had all the sections. It was not the Bible they used for their daily scripture reading, but was of great interest to the grandchildren since it was printed in Swedish and had large pictures.
Maria served as a Relief Society teacher for over 20 years and seldom missed her monthly visit. To her, a good Christian was one who did good deeds, not one who shouted "Hallelujah. Amen." She lived her religion by helping others. She was a gifted nurse and had taken a class in nursing one summer. In Sweden she had helped out during a smallpox epidemic. She was much in demand and spent a lot of time nursing the sick. People came for her by day or night to help. During a diphtheria epidemic in Pleasant Grove she would help the sick, come home to take care of her children, and go nurse the sick again. She always said that the Lord would protect her children when she was doing what she could to help others. She was also a midwife and assisted many babies into the world. One doctor commented that he would rather have her nurse his patients than anyone else he knew. Often, when a family couldn't afford to pay her, she nursed the sick with no pay except their gratitude. She took good care of her own family as well and her son, Wilford, later commented that he couldn't recall ever seeing a doctor in their home until the time of his parents' final illnesses.
Josephine, being the oldest and the only daughter, often took care of the household duties when her mother was working away from home. After their sister was married, the boys learned to cook and do other household chores.
Niels always spoke in broken English, but those who knew him had no trouble understanding him. He was a well built man - not tall, just five feet eight inches. He weighed about 200 pounds - all muscle, not an ounce of extra fat and wore a size 48 coat. He was very strong and loved to show his strength. The men working on the railroad section always had a 10 gallon keg of drinking water. Niels could pick it up and hold it while he drank from it. At one time he had a pile of railroad ties he was going to use to build a shed on the farm. Lud hauled two loads of ties up to the farm before his father told him not to take any more. Each time Niels went up to the farm he carried one of the remaining ties on his shoulder and walked the 12 blocks, all uphill.
Niels was a man who could always smile no matter how bad things were. Although he left the running of the family entirely up to Maria, he had the children's respect and if he told them something they knew that he meant it. He was always fair - if he told them to do a job it was never more than could be done and he always expected it to get done and almost always the children did it.
Niels was always willing to help a neighbor, his family, or any others who needed help. He paid Mr. Easterberg's fare to America and helped him many times through the years. He built a room on the house where this man could come and live after he became helpless. Niels never expected anything in return for what he did. He paid the fares to America for four other men from Sweden; two of them never repaid him. Another man who had bought a home and paid for most of it for some reason could not pay the balance and would have lost the home, but Niels gave him the money and told him to pay it back when he could.
Niels' hobby was handling bad horses and training them. He had a method that always worked. If a horse wanted to kick, Niels would make him kick until he was so tired he could not kick any more. If the horse wanted to run away, he would be allowed to run as long as he wanted to, then Niels would make him run until he could not run any more. If the horse balked and not want to go, Niels would tie him in an uncomfortable position for several hours, then the horse would be willing to go. Niels took good care of his livestock - his horse was always kept fat and clean.
Niels was very kind and gentle and loved having little children around him. He was always busy and had a tool shed with lots of tools - two sets, in fact; one to loan and one for himself. Everything had a place and was kept there. He kept bees in the back yard and often took the honey from them without any special protection without getting stung. One day he dropped a hive and the bees stung him very severely.
Before Niels joined the Church he was a heavy smoker and a moderate drinker. As soon as he joined the Mormons he quit both liquor and tobacco, but he never gave up his coffee. An example of how completely he had given up liquor was shown on Christmas. It was a Swedish custom for the head of the house to serve the family wine and a fresh apple on Christmas morning. Each year he did this. One year he was asked by one of the family why he did not have a glass of wine himself. His answer was that he always had two pieces of apple and in his younger days he had had enough wine to last him. Someone asked why he did not quit drinking coffee and he told them he thought Saint Peter would not stop him because of coffee if he let him in for all the other things he had done.
According to his interpretation of the way tithing should be paid, Niels was 100%. If taxes were $40.00, he did not pay anything on that. If he bought a horse for $50.00 to work on the farm, he paid nothing on that amount. If he bought a five-month-old steer for $12.00 and kept it two summers and a winter, paid $3.00 for pasture each summer and $15.00 for two tons of hay to feed it that winter, then sold it for $35.00, he would pay tithing on the $3.00 profit.
Niels stayed with the railroad section job until he was over 65 years old, took care of the farm and did carpenter work around the neighborhood. While he was helping to build the tabernacle in Pleasant Grove, a plank broke on the scaffold where he was working. Niels fell from the ceiling, breaking the floor and landing in the basement on the concrete floor. He fell about 20 feet and the other workers thought surely the fall would kill him, but after a few weeks he was up and around again. He was hard of hearing after that and had to sit on the front row at church and everyone had to speak loudly for him to hear. He also had a stiffness in his neck and could not do much work after this fall.
On December 1, 1917, Niels and Maria celebrated their golden wedding anniversary, with family members and friends gathering to pay tribute to them. Gifts presented to them included a gold- headed cane for Niels and a gold-handled umbrella for Maria.
A printed program, tied with a golden cord, gave a biographical sketch of their lives and listed their descendants as seven children (six still living); 33 grandchildren and ten great grandchildren, making a total of fifty direct descendants, 38 of whom were still living at that time.
The program for this special occasion was listed as follows:
Song: "Home Sweet Home"
Minutes of Forty-ninth Anniversary Celebration
"Family Events of the Year"M. Wilford Poulson
Duet: "Old Glory" Rhoda and Amy Poulson
"Family Ideals"Edwin S. Poulson
SongsThe Great Grandchildren
Reading Cynthia Poulson
Songs and RecitationsThe Grandchildren
Election of Officers
Intermission for banquet, 12:30 to 3:00 p.m.
Duet: "Be Kind to the Loved Ones at Home"Lucy and Estelle Poulson
"Biographical Sketch of Father and Mother"Otto J. Poulson
Solo, "Silver Threads among the Gold" Alfred Jensen
Letters from Lud and Eddie, our Soldier
Boys -"Somewhere in France"Josephine Draper
Duet Charles and Emma Sundquist
Jokes Charles H. Poulson
"Sentiments of Appreciation" The Children
Presentation of Tokens of Love
Responses Mother and Father
Niels was a high priest in the Church at the time of his death on March 15, 1919. He was buried in the Pleasant Grove Cemetery. Maria died March 9, 1924 and was buried beside her husband. For many years arrangements were made for flowers to be taken from their garden to the cemetery each Memorial Day.
Branches on the Family Tree
Niels and Maria Poulson were the parents of one daughter and six sons. The older children started school in Sweden and all of them attended school in Pleasant Grove whenever possible during their youth.
Josephine took some extension courses from the University of Utah while she was living in Draper, working for the Terry family. She married Zemira Draper. She spent much time and effort doing genealogical work in her later years.
Soon after arriving in Pleasant Grove Otto went to work on farms and helping cut logs in the nearby canyons. He received his education at local schools and BYA, and went to work for the railroad at age 17. He married Emma Johnson and made his home in Orem. He returned to Sweden on a mission for the Church after he had married and started raising a family. He was a farmer, community leader, county horticulturist, and bishop.
Lud ended his formal education when he went to work for a nursery in Salt Lake City. He married Leona Martin. For a number of years he worked on ranches and hauling freight in Nevada. Returning to Utah, he bought a farm at Corinne but left it to serve his country for 26 months during World War I. He moved to Orem after Otto's death to help his brother's widow and family. He worked as a farmer, as secretary of irrigation ditches, and with his brother, Charles, at a local farm cooperative. He married Elsa Carter in 1932.
Baby Carl died before the family left Sweden.
Charles attended BYA, where he met his future wife, Lucy Woffinden. He worked as a railroad foreman for a number of years before buying a farm in Orem. Besides farming he was engaged in making concrete products and building silos, and in building homes. For many years he was manager of a farm cooperative.
Wilford graduated from BYA and continued his education to become a professor of psychology at Brigham Young University. He served as a missionary in Sweden. During part of their missions, he and Otto were both serving in the country where their parents were converted to the Church. He married Estella Mecham. An enthusiastic collector of rare books, he assembled a valuable collection through the years. He later married Jenniev Jorgensen.
Edwin also graduated from BYA. He discontinued teaching in favor of photography. He married Cynthia Brown. He worked with some of Utah's most prominent photographers and operated his own shop. He later married Lula C. Reed.
My Memories of Niels and Maria Poulson
By their granddaughter, Estella, youngest child of Josephine Poulson Draper
What do I remember of my Grandmother and Grandfather Poulson? To me they are still very real and vivid people.
My family was very fortunate, in that we lived so close to the old ancestral home. Nearly every day either Grandma or Grandpa would come up to our place to see how we were. If they didn't come up, we would go down there to see them.
They were strict with us grandchildren, but never mean. I can remember how Grandpa used to come up behind us when we were naughty and climbed the fence. They had a lovely picket fence around the place, although all that could be seen was the grilled iron gate and a beautiful hedge, that was kept trimmed in arches and even rows. But the gate is what attracted us young fry. Many are the times that I have tried, unsuccessfully, to climb over that gate instead of doing the ordinary thing and opening it. I, or any of the rest, would get both feet in the grill work, Grandfather would be there in back of me, and I would be lifted down by the short hairs on the back of my neck.
I remember Grandpa's sideburns - they were pretty and grey, as was his hair and I used to like to watch him comb them. He was very neat.
If mother was at their home when it started to get dark, she was timid about coming home alone, so one of them would walk home with her. Neither of them were afraid of anything. One night Grandfather walked home with her, but it was so late that he didn't come in the house. They talked at the gate for a minute, and then Mother came in alone. We were all in bed, but one of the boys said, "Who was that?" Mother said, "My best beau". The boys roared that they would surely fix him if mother had a beau. Mother had a hard time convincing them that it was grandpa, but still her best beau. My brothers were so big that I think they scared her into never looking at another man. Although I think she wouldn't have spent such a lonely unhappy
life if she had found someone else to share her dreams with.
One of my first vivid memories was when mother went out to Uncle Otto's and Aunt Emma's in Orem. I don't remember whether she went to do some sewing or why she went, but Grandmother stayed with us while she was gone. That was the first time mother had ever left me for any length of time. After two or three days, although Grandma was as good as gold to us, I got so lonely for my mother that Verrill and I decided to go after her. Orem is about eight miles from our place. We sneaked out the back orchard and headed down the highway. We walked and walked, until a kind man in a surrey came along and asked us where we were going. We said, "To mother". He thought we were going home so he gave us a lift as far as he was going. Then we walked the rest of the way. Mother wasn't nearly as pleased as we thought she should be. She knew that Grandma would be worried, so she had Uncle Otto hitch up his buggy and take us back home. Grandma had been looking all over for us, but she didn't whip us.
Grandmother had a "green thumb"; anything would grow for her. She had brought several rare plants with her from Sweden, and I loved her flower garden. She was very kind to me. Every time I would go there she would give me permission to go out in her flowers and admire them. Special permission was necessary, but I could always get it. She had one special flower I loved. I couldn't pronounce the Swedish name for it so I called it the "Lemonade Flower". The stems, leaves and flowers smelled like crushed lemon sprinkled with sugar. Rub any part of it and the odor would remain on your fingers for hours. Even at noon times I would run from school down to Grandma's, ask permission, go and rub the leaf, and then go back to school in a lemonade daze. I could study my lessons better if I could smell that flower.
Grandmother knew how I adored that plant, so when she was sick the last time she told me to go out and dig up that plant and take it home with me. My love for it wasn't wise - with soil that was too rich and too much fertilizer, my lovely plant died. There has never been a spring, nor have I ever seen a flower garden that I haven't looked for a duplicate.
I was favored by Grandmother in several ways. Every day when mother came home from work, I combed her hair. If Grandmother came up while I was doing this, I would ask her to let me comb her hair. She had lovely, long, soft, white hair that would comb into beautiful ringlets around my finger. She looked like a beautiful picture with the soft curls around her face. When I had finished she would let me admire the beauty for a minute or two, then with a "’Tish, do it up now" she would mess the curls and I would proceed to put it back in the prosaic braids tight against her neck. But I remember it as curls around her face. I think mother and I are the only ones that knew that she had such beautiful hair, as she was always so afraid of showing any pride in personal beauty. I think I was the only grandchild that ever combed her hair, at least she said so. Combing hair was a hobby of mine.
Grandmother thought that a woman's hair was her crowning glory, and should not be cut. I had followed her in that and ridiculed every new shorn head when the bobbed hair fashion swept the country in the early 20s. Then when I was engaged I let my sweetheart talk me into letting them cut my hair. At that time my hair was inclined to fall in curls, and I thought how pretty I would be with soft short curls. That was just a few weeks before Grandma died in 1924. I was afraid to let Grandma see me. Imagine my surprise when Mother started to scold me for cutting my hair and Grandma said, "Don't scold her, 'Phene. She doesn't look so bad, and all the girls have cut their hair." She was always my friend.
We didn't have a lot of pies and cakes at our home, but Grandmother never let a birthday go by that she didn't bring us a birthday cake - automatically with no reminder. So I was mystified one day when grandma came up looking very sad. The longer she stayed the sadder she became. I combed her hair and fussed around her to cheer her up, but it got worse until finally she went home with tears in her eyes. Mother walked with her to the corner, and then came back with the answer. Tomorrow I would be eighteen, and I hadn't asked her to make me a cake. Heavens! No one needed to ask Grandma to make their birthday cake. She thought I would be able to make my own, as I had studied cooking in school. I ran all the way down to Grandma's and had quite a time convincing her that a birthday without Grandma's cake wouldn't be a birthday. Finally she smiled again, and the next day she brought me my very special birthday cake, February 17, 1924. I think that was the last birthday cake she ever made as she died in March.
I used to like to sleep with Grandma. I started sleeping with her at the ripe old age of four months. Even at that age, I couldn't sleep if my feet were covered. Grandma would tuck me in bed and I would cry and kick until I had uncovered my feet, then I would go to sleep peacefully, until Grandma saw my feet were uncovered and would cover them. Finally Grandma learned that I would sleep if she left me alone, but I wouldn't sleep if she bothered my feet. From then on I enjoyed my overnight stays there. She had a monstrous feather bed that I could only get in with the aid of a chair. Nothing could worry me as long as I was buried in these feathers. It was fun helping Grandma shake up those ticks until they were round and high, and smooth.
She and Grandfather loved their grandchildren very much. They had little red chairs for us to sit in when we went to visit them. Of course I thought they were mine, because I used them oftener than most of my cousins. I got into two or three scraps over them, I even bit my favorite cousin, Eva. Grandma whipped me for that. And I learned to share things with my cousins.
The back room was devoted to things to delight a young heart. There were the small chairs, picture books, family albums, postcard scrap books, and stereoscope pictures. I believe I loved the stereoscope set best. To look through two glasses at two pictures and see one three dimensional picture was exciting. I looked at them by the hour and will always remember several of them.
There were also sea shells - several kinds and sizes. If you held them to your ear you could hear the waves of the ocean. By closing your eyes and using a small bit of imagination, you could almost see the waves and the ships. I have loved the sea ever since I traveled there in fancy, aided by the shells. And in later years when I stood on the shore in Oregon or California, I was once again in Grandma's back room.
I used to like to sit up to the table with Grandma and Grandpa while they had their coffee and cakes. I never tasted the coffee but it was fun any way. Grandpa would take a sugar lump, hold it in his teeth and then sip his coffee through the sugar until it dissolved, then take another one. He would always give me sugar lumps and they tasted better than candy because Grandpa liked them so well.
Grandma was a wonderful cook. She made the best vegetable soup I ever tasted. She told me time after time just how she made it, but no matter how hard I tried I could never duplicate it, nor has anyone else. It needed Grandmother's touch. She also made wonderful sweet soup with dried fruits, sego, and cinnamon stick. Mother could make that too, and often did. Whenever anyone was sick in Pleasant Grove either mother or grandmother would take them some sweet soup.
Our grandparents brought some of their Swedish customs with them and carried them on until they died. The whole family would always gather there on New Year's Eve. While the men sat in the front room talking over the affairs of the world, mother, grandmother, and the aunts would be out in the kitchen getting the food ready. When the tables were all set everyone would sit down, and we would have a program until the clock was close to midnight. We would sit around the table with our heads bowed and as the clock started chiming twelve grandfather and grandmother could wish us all a prosperous and happy New Year. Then grandfather asked the blessing and everyone ate for the first act of the new year. In the middle of the table was always a large round proverbial bowl of Swedish rice, as a symbol of fruitfulness and plenty. Their wish for each of us was that our tables would be well filled.
After the number of grandchildren increased another table had to be set in the back room for the younger ones, so that everyone could eat together on New Year's Eve. For other family gatherings, the children had to wait for the second or even the third table to be served. Many times we stood in the doorway of the festive room, watching each mouthful that the oldsters consumed, fearing that there went the last biscuit, or the last drum stick, or piece of pie. We would be sent into the back room to wait our turn, but every so often we would send out a delegate to report on the progress of the meal. No matter how we worried there was always enough for the second and third table - and some left over. Special dinners on New Year's Eve; the first of December, their wedding day; and the 5th of July, Grandmother's birthday were highlights of the year.
Grandma brought most of her dishes with her from Sweden, and was rightfully proud of them, because of their age and beauty. She had a certain spot in her cupboard for each dish and it was there. She would allow no one to put up her dishes for fear that they would not be in the right place. I was so proud when I was about twelve years old and Grandmother told me she thought I could put them up for her. For a long while I had helped her with the dishes but she had put them up. I had studied their position so long and faithfully that I put them in their right place. From then on I could do the dishes alone - wiping and putting away. I doubt if anyone else had that privilege.
Grandmother's kitchen had the most wonderful aroma: apples, spices, meats, vegetables, coffee and cakes. It was so pleasing and distinctive that in all my travels I have only found one other kitchen that had the same tantalizing aroma; and I nearly squeezed the little Scandinavian who lived there. Grandma was as neat with her housekeeping as she was everything else. Everything had a place and was in its place. They had brought some china cats from Sweden. These beautiful cats stood on the mantle and were as enticing to the grandchildren as real cats. One had been broken and glued back again. They had brought most of their furniture with them also, and the house was, to my mind, overcrowded with both furniture and pictures. Grandma had a wonderful sofa pillow filled with dried rose petals. It was a special treat when Grandma would let me curl up on the sofa hugging that pillow to my face so that I could get the full benefit of the aroma. I went on many pleasant dream journeys because of that pillow.
They had also brought wooden shoes with them. These were neatly kept under a small bench out in the back porch. Whenever one of them had to go out in the yard for anything they would sit on the bench, take off their shoes and put on the wooden ones. All the outside dirt could be washed from the wooden shoes before they were exchanged for the house shoes on the back porch. This way their house and street shoes were always neat and clean.
Their yard was completely cobbled wherever anyone needed to walk, and it was always swept clean. There was a long grape arbor over the cobbles between the house yard and the barn yard. It seemed that tons of concord and white grapes grew there every year. In the barn yard there was a series of sheds; on the left was the cow barn and yard, and the horse corral. On the right was the toilet, three woodsheds, and the carriage sheds in that order.
All of us knew the toilet very well. It was completely lined with funny papers. Of course the purpose of them was to keep out the wind and draft; but we made better use of them. I think every one of us read those funnies until they were memorized. I know I did. I spent many unnecessary hours out there reading "Pinky", "Happy Hooligan", "Buster Brown", "Mary Jane", "Hans and Fritz" and the others. Some of them were printed in Swedish but I read the pictures. The oldsters had long ago memorized them so they did not need to stay out there so long.
Next in line was the woodsheds. Grandfather was the most thrifty man I ever knew. While most people had big bonfires when they trimmed their trees or shrubs, Grandfather saved his trimmings, every twig, branch and limb, even the cuttings from the raspberry bushes. They were all cut, sorted and stacked, according to size. The cuttings were used for kindling quick fires, so they were neatly piled in one shed; the branches were cut and put in the next shed for summer fires, and the logs in the next for winter fires. All were neatly stacked, with never a stick out of place. When Grandfather died in 1919 there was still nearly enough wood to last Grandmother until she died. I liked to help trim the raspberries and carry the cuttings to the shed. I had to wear heavy long stockings to protect my arms from the sharp briars. In spite of all the protection, I would have to go to grandma to get some salve put on my scratched arms and face.
Grandfather's thrift showed in other ways, too. He never passed a nail nor a screw on the road. He would pick them up and take them home and put them in the proper box for the size and kind. Whenever anyone needed anything grandfather had it.
Thanks to Grandma and Grandpa I saw my first circus. I'll never forget that day. Verrill, Glen, Mother and I were up long before dawn. After what seemed like hours of waiting, Grandma and Grandpa drove up in the buggy to take us to Provo. The trip seemed longer than when Verrill and I walked it, over to Uncle Otto's. We kept asking Grandma if we wouldn't be late and if the circus wouldn't be all over. They were very patient. I guess they knew how much it meant to us. We went to Uncle Wilford's to wait for time for the parade to start, then we all went to town. The elephants and all were unbelievable but true. I've seen circuses since then, but never another one as wonderful.
Grandma and Grandpa had their own bees, and so they had honey all the time. I used to watch the bees fly to the flowers and back to the hives. Grandpa always told us not to bother the bees. But he neglected to tell the bees to leave us alone. One day I was standing over in the corner of the bee hive square watching them quietly. Two bees lit on my face at the same time both above my left eye. I brushed them away with my apron, but they both left their calling card. I ran to Grandma. Grandpa laughed as Grandma plastered a daub of mud on each sting. My eye and face were swollen for days, but that was the last time a bee ever stung me, although I have had them land all over me. It wasn't long after this that Verrill, Marie, and John, and some other cousins at one of the family get-togethers, poked into the hive with sticks, to make the bees more active. They succeeded, and a howling good time was had by all. Then they learned to keep their distance from the bees.
I used to like to listen to Grandma, Mother, and Aunt Emma Sundquist talk Swedish. Many times they were telling things that were for adult ears, and I would sit and listen. I got so I could understand pretty good. Grandma used to let me look through her Swedish books and make fun of the queer spelling. I was quite thrilled one day when I thought I recognized an English word, but was disappointed when she told me that y-e-s meant geese in Swedish.
Grandma's face was very wrinkled; as far back as I can remember. Even the pictures of her in Sweden showed many wrinkles. But her heart was young and right up to the last year of her life
she could outdistance nearly any young person. Her walk was very fast and she was very spry and active.
Grandma did not like anyone to stand over her stove when she was cooking. If someone got in her road when she was cooking she would start to stoke the stove with fast burning wood until it was too hot for their comfort and they would go out of the kitchen, then she could go on with her cooking.
Once Verrill and I were given a darling little white fluffy puppy. The first time Grandma saw it she lost her heart to it and coaxed us until we gave it to her. We used to go down there to see it every day and watch its cute antics. It was mischievous and every time it tore her stockings, or chewed her slippers, or pulled something out of place Verrill and I would hope that she would get disgusted and give it back to us; but it crawled into her affections so that she scolded it and petted it in the same breath. Then when Owen and Artell got married she gave it to them. As far as I can remember, that pup was the only thing that disrupted the orderly routine of her daily life.
She always wore long sweeping skirts and thick petticoats. Even when other grandmas were following the "flapper" fad of dresses above the knee, grandmother remained her own modest self.
These bits of memories are the most precious things that can be handed down to the younger generations that weren't there to know and love our grandparents as we do. Through these we can hand down the ideals and personalities of our ancestors so that they can become real people to our children and our children's children.
They are still real people to me, I love their memory.
Personal Memories of Niels and Maria
In a hand-written history by their daughter, Josephine, telling about the years immediately after her parents’ marriage, she wrote: "...with father steady at work it didn't take them long to get the things they needed. I came next - 23rd of February, 1869 and here I am. What are you going to do to me because I came first so I could rock you all to sleep and get my hair pulled."
Mother was a fine cook and helped supplement the family income by making and selling candy. The children helped sell the candy. I remember how I learned to measure the width of the right number of coins so I would know if I was getting the right payment before I learned to count money.Lud Poulson
I remember Grandpa Poulson sitting by the stove and having coffee and ice cream. I always loved to hear him laugh; it sounded so jolly, as if he really meant it. I remember them coming to visit, riding in the little one-horse buggy. Our neighbor boy said when he grew up he was going to have a horse and buggy just like theirs.Rhoda Poulson Chidester
When Grandpa Poulson pruned his trees or cut out some useless ones, he always trimmed, cut and piled the wood for fire wood. In the 25 years of my experience at the home there was always lots of wood.Emma Poulson
Ellen Sundquist Richan recalls going with her mother to visit Maria. They went to pick apricots, and Maria fixed lunch for them. Ellen, just a little girl at the time, wanted to help with the dishes but was told she could not. When she argued that she helped with the dishes at home, Maria told her that she was very particular about how her dishes were dried. Sixty years later, Ellen still remembered Maria saying: "I wipe between every one of the tines of my forks."
There may have been knights in shining armor, famous kings and queens among the ancestors of the Poulson family. However, so far no fabulous fortunes or jewels or vast lands with castles and mansions have been left as our inheritance.
But a far richer inheritance has been given to the descendants of Niels and Maria Poulson; to the children, grandchildren-and on down through all generations-of their children: Otto, Lud, Josephine, Charles, Wilford, and Edwin and their wives and husband.
They were leaders in their own way. Whatever we might wish to become, we can find an example to follow by studying their lives. They were builders, church leaders, teachers, missionaries, artists, farmers, ranchers, soldiers, community builders, writers, scholars, and good husbands, wives, and parents. They knew how to work and knew the sense of accomplishment that comes from a job well done. They knew how to accept disappointments without giving up. Their lives were guided by a faith in God and the gospel that changed their lives and brought them to this country from their native Sweden. To those who knew and loved them, they are knights with armor untarnished; they are kings and queens.
They loved and respected their parents and each other. From the time they were old enough to help they worked together to accomplish family or personal goals. They shared their homes, their means, or their counsel and advice - whatever was needed - with each other and with nieces and nephews and others. We learn more about their parents from each of their histories and more about each one of them from the histories of the others. Because their lives are so closely entwined, we cannot isolate the life story of one; we need the histories of all to make each one complete.
"Learn who you are...Your life is useless unless it is woven into the lives of your ancestors."