John David Peterson
Contributor: Duckwalker Created: 2 years ago Updated: 2 years ago
Written by Daughter-in-law, Mabel Green Peterson
John David Peterson was born in a log house in Hooper, Weber County, Utah on the 22 day of April 1876. He was the third child, and third son of Peter B. and Ann Powell Peterson.
His father, Peter B. Peterson joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the town of Bjorup, Falster, Denmark May 29, 1858 when he was seventeen years of age. The following year, March 20, 1859 he left Denmark to emigrate to Utah. He crossed the Atlantic in the ship William Tapscott, arriving in New York, May 14, 1859. He crossed the plains with the Captain Rawley's handcart company, making the entire distance on foot. After enduring untold hardships they reached Salt Lake Valley September 4, 1859.
John's mother, Ann Powell Peterson, accepted the gospel in Wales and emigrated to Utah with her family, arriving in 1868. Two years later, on the twelfth of December 1870, Peter B. and Ann Powell were married. They made their first home in Huntsville, Weber County, Utah. Two sons, Thomas William and Peter Powell were born here. In 1874, Peter B. secured and homesteaded eighty acres of Government land located in Hooper, Weber County, Utah.
John David was the first child born to them in the new home. Hans Christian, Margaret Elizabeth and Mary Ann completed the family. The family home was a two room log house with a lean-to used for a boys bedroom. In the summer the boys slept in the hayloft in the barn. The girls slept in a second bed in their parents room until their marriage.
John's early boyhood was spent helping his father on the farm. The main crops were wheat, barley, oats, potatoes, alfalfa, corn and sugar cane. Grain was cut with a hand cradle and all other work was done by hand labor as implements and machinery were few.
About twenty-five families had obtained land in this area which was called East Hooper. John T. Jones and Hans J. Peterson were appointed as resident teachers. However, the early settlers desired more spiritual contacts so cottage meetings were held, each family taking their turn having meetings in their home.
When John was about ten years of age, April 27, 1886 the district was organized as the Kanesville ward by Apostle John Taylor. It was thus named in honor of Colonel Thomas L. Kane, statesman and life-long friend of the Latter-day Saints, and for whom Kanesville, Council Bluffs, Iowa, and Kane county, Utah had previously been named. John's father, Peter B. Peterson, was sustained as the first bishop, a position he held for twenty-two years.
John received his early schooling in the local school. His father had been instrumental in 1882 in petitioning the Weber County Court for a school district. In 1884 a frame school house was built just east of the Peterson home. Georgina Geertson was John's first school teacher. This frame building served for all community and church functions until 1892 when a frame chapel was built alongside the school. It was the duty of the Aaronic Priesthood boys to cut sage brush which served as fuel in the pot-bellied stove to heat the chapel in the winter time.
It was necessary to provide their own entertainment so John participated in amateur theatricals, sports, and other amusements with the young people of the ward. When dances were held, the benches were carried outside and the floor made slick with cornmeal. A lone fiddler played the music for the Quadrille, polka, two-step, and waltz. John was a very graceful dancer and enjoyed dancing, especially the waltz, until a short time before his passing.
John also enjoyed sports. In the summer he played on the local team. A flat area in the salt grass pastures made a fair ball diamond. In later years, although he didn't participate actively in playing ball, it was seldom he would miss a ball game that was close enough to attend. He also enjoyed squaw wrestling, horse shoe pitching and checkers. The two latter were hobbies he enjoyed all his life.
It was Peter B.'s desire to give his sons the best education his circumstances would allow, so in 1897 John was allowed to attend the Brigham Young University at Provo. He enrolled in the normal courses preparatory to becoming a teacher. While attending the "Y" he became a member the football squad. He always enjoyed telling about the thrilling plays in the big games. In March 1900, he quit school and returned to Kanesville to assist his father on the farm. He worked with his father until his marriage.
When John was a little boy about nine or ten years of age, he met Emily Ritchie, daughter of Bishop James Ritchie and Martha Bright of Marriott. Martha Ritchie and Ann Powell, John's mother had been dear friends in Marriott. Also, Emily's sister Susan had married Cyrus Rawson, and lived neighbors to the Peterson family. Emily accompanied her mother on a visit to the Peterson home. John often told that he thought Emily was the prettiest little girl he had ever see. Bashfully he asked her to go and see his baby ducks out in the drain ditch. As they grew up, he saw her occasionally when she visited at his home or with her sisters. As a young woman she sometimes attended a dance in the ward hall, but as he said, he was too timid to ask her to keep company with him.
One night John and his older brother Thomas double-dated with Martha Bartlett and Emily Ritchie for a dance held at the pavilion in Lester Park in Ogden. John took Martha home first, and when Thomas got out to open the gate, John climbed into the front seat of the "surrey" and sat beside Emily. He declined to move and Thomas couldn't make him move in front of the young lady. When they arrived at Emily's home, Thomas, quite angry by that time said, "I guess you'd just as well take her to the door, too." That was the beginning of their courtship, and on December 19. 1900 John and Emily Ritchie were married in the Salt Lake Temple for time and for all eternity. John's sister Margaret, was married to Charles L. Green the same day.
The young couple moved to Marriott and purchased Grandfather Powell's estate for a home. It was located on west twelfth street and just east of what is now U. 84 Highway. John later purchased the George Ritchie farm on the east and the Skelington farm on the west, so that his farm finally consisted of about fifty acres. The land was choice river bottom land and was fertile and productive. John was an excellent farmer and manager and became quite prosperous. He was known for the fine potatoes he raised.
John and Emily became the parents of six healthy children: Wallace Lorenzo, born October 13, 1901; Arvilla, October 9, 1903; Theron Ritchie, June 26, 1906; John Victor, July 30, 1908; Florence Emily, November 17, 1911; Milo Powell, November 3, 1914; and Desmond James, October 15, 1918.
John was a kind, considerate husband, a loving, patient, just father and always set a fine example, as a man, for his children to follow. His word was as good as his bond, and he was honest in his business dealings with his associates.
He was active in the church all of his life, holding the following positions: Secretary of the Deacon's Quorum, First and Second Assistant Sunday School Superintendent, First and Second Counselor in the Y.M.M.I.A., Ward Clerk, and First Counselor to Bishop Thomas E. Powell in the Marriott Ward. He was serving as Ward clerk in March 1922 when he sold his farm in Marriott and purchased his father's old homestead, and moved to Kanesville, Weber County, Utah. After moving to Kanesville he served as counselor to Bishop George Green until his release in May, 1923. He became a member of the Weber Stake High Council and in 1937 was called to be bishop of the Kanesville ward. He selected James R. Rawson and W. Herman Green as his counselors with Rollin P. Green, ward clerk. He was released as bishop in 1942, serving about five years. He then served in the High Priest's Quorum. He always tried to serve to the best of his ability when called in any capacity and he was held in high esteem by all who were associated with him.
As a farmer he took pride in keeping his land free from weeds and raising fine crops. He was especially noted for his potatoes and early garden. He prided himself in having the earliest potatoes, green peas, and radishes in the county. He was also recognized for the quality of his watermelons and cantaloupes. He saved seeds form his finest melons, germinated them early in the spring, and set them out as early as he could work the soil. He would protect the young plants from frosts if necessary.
He always had a beautiful, well matched team of horses. As a young man, he usually broke and trained his own colts. One time, when living in Marriott, someone left a gate ajar, and his team got out on the railroad tracks. As a train approached, the frightened animals separated and the train went between them, breaking a leg of each horse. Both animals had to be killed.
After retiring from active farming, he planted a peach and apricot orchard on the high sandy ridge on the north end of his farm. He was gratified with quality of the fruit and hand picked it for customers and members of his family. He would fill each basket rounded full and each fruit the right degree of ripeness. His customers came back year after year to obtain his choice fruit. Many times he would greet his married children at their door early in the morning with a box of luscious fruit, some vegetables form his garden, or a big ripe watermelon or cantaloupe. Often, too, when this writer got up in the morning, he would be out hoeing in her garden.
John had a fine tenor voice and although he did no solo work, everyone enjoyed his tones as he sang the hymns in congregational singing. Nothing pleased him more than to go to the homes of his married children and join with his children and grandchildren around the piano and sing with them. He always enjoyed listening to his grandchildren play the piano or sing and would encourage them to practice and improve their talents. He was always very proud when they achieved in any worth activity.
After his retirement he and his wife enjoyed going to the temple and they seldom missed a stake or ward temple excursion.
He and his wife were also privileged to enjoy some fine trips together. One trip was to the Southwest, Arizona, New Mexico and into Texas in company with their brother-in-law and sister Mr. and Mrs. Jed Taylor. They especially enjoyed the Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico.
Another trip with their niece and nephew, Mr. and Mrs. Wilford Jones, was through the northwest: Oregon, Washington and into British Columbia. They enjoyed going on board a ship in the harbor. They also visited with their daughter Florence in Pacific Grove, while her husband was stationed at Fort Ord at San Louis Obispo. They spent a second winter in Arizona after the death of Maggie Taylor, Emily's sister.
John enjoyed good health all of his life. He was about five feet, eleven and a half inches tall and had an erect fine posture. He always walked with a light, springy step. He was an immaculate dresser and always looked fresh and clean. In his late years he suffered somewhat from arthritis which worried him very much, because his sister Margaret had been an arthritic invalid for many years. He died at his home in Kanesville after suffering a heart attack May 9, 1953. He was buried in Ogden City Cemetery.
Grandpa Peterson, as we called him, was dearly beloved by all who knew him. His family, children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren will long remember him for his fine character, his splendid example and his love for his family. His descendants have a noble heritage and example to try to emulate.
One of the speakers at Grandpa's funeral, a nephew, President Rulon P. Peterson, conveyed the following message from President David O. McKay:
"President David O. McKay called my home early this morning and said he had learned only last night of the passing of Uncle John." He Said, "Will you please convey to the family my sincere sympathy and love. I have very fond memories of my early association with John, when we played together as boys. I have know him all my life and have great admiration for him and his family." President McKay also spoke of his great love and respect for Grandfather and Grandmother Peterson, whom he affectionately referred to and Uncle Peter and Aunt Ann. "Will you please give the family," said President McKay, "my assurance that his passing from this life is like the passing from one beautiful room into another brighter room where there will be increased happiness and greater joy. Tell them that I so wanted to be with them, and would have been, had I been able to arrange my affairs on the short notice."