POET AND PIONEER
A SKETCH OF THE LIFE OF HANS PETER IVERSON
By Neilie Iverson Cox his Granddaughter, 1951
I was very surprised when my Grandmother, who was Hans Peter Iverson's second wife, Johanna J. D. Christensen Iverson, told me that my Grandfather was a writer of poetry. To my childish mind that made him a great man. I later came to realize that he had other attainments which were just as important, but I still think this ability he had was very wonderful considering that he was self-educated and taught himself to read and write English.
Hans Peter was an able colonizer and a wonderful family man else how could he have demanded and received the respect and obedience of his numerous progeny?
A favorite saying was:
"A little farm, well-tilled,
A little house, well filled,
A little wife, well-willed."
He had at various times several little farms, and I am sure they were as well-tilled as the methods of farming then prevalent permitted. His several houses could be considered very well filled as compared with those of many modern-day families with their two or three children. His wives, I think were obedient to his wishes and well-willed as was the custom in the day and age in which they lived. The Danish custom maintained that the man should be the absolute head of the family in accordance with the teachings of the Bible in which they were fervent believers and which was the principle Book taught in their schools.
Anna Christina Mortensen
In a short history of his life which he had written in May 1920, Hans Peter says that his parents were Jeppe and Annie Christina Mortensen Iverson. Hans Peter's birth date was September 24, 1835, and at least one great grandchild was born on the same date. He first saw the light of day in the town of Vestbirk, Skanderborg, Amt., Denmark. Now Denmark proper is a peninsula extending from Germany to which it is attached for almost two hundred miles northward.
This peninsula is called Jutland probably because it juts out into the North Sea where the huge Scandinavian peninsula forms an inverted "V." There are several large islands which belong to Denmark, the more distant being Iceland. Denmark has always been primarily agricultural and today receives the very highest rating from those who study the financial condition of the world. Their co-operative methods of marketing their produce and purchasing needed supplies far exceed those of most nations. The Danish people suffered less during the two world Wars and are making a faster come back than other European Nations in spite of the many depredations they suffered at the hands of their southern neighbor, Germany.
There are one-quarter of a million farms, or one to every twelve persons. Two hundred Nations the size of Denmark could fit in the United States and there is practically no illiteracy. It was from this high type people that our ancestors, Hans Peter Iverson, Anna Dortea Nisson Iverson, Johanna J. D. Christensen Iverson and Dortea Caroline Evers came.
It is to be expected that Hans Peter's parents were farmers. He had two brothers, Andrew and Martin and three sisters, Elsie Marie, Caroline Christine and Elizabeth Catherine.
Martin Luther gave a great gift to the World when he broke away from Catholicism and started the Lutheran Religion. Almost the whole of Denmark professed this belief and the young people were taught the Bible from infancy. The home life of Hans Peter and his brothers and sisters was very wholesome in that they had learned to pray and live honest God-fearing lives.
As was the custom in Europe, when he reached the age of fourteen and one-half years, Hans Peter was confirmed a member of his parent's church. His schooling was received under the tutelage of the local Pastor, public education being very limited. He was an obedient son and a lover of all that was good.
For a few years the boy hired out as a herder to the farmers in the neighborhood. However, as it was the custom for all young boys to learn a trade, another reason why Denmark is so self-sufficient, there being no beggars as everyone is capable of some worthwhile work, Hans Peter decided to learn to be a mason. This was a wise choice for there will always be houses to be built as long as there are people to live in them.
A man near his home took apprentices - young fellows who wished to learn while working. However, the other young men in the neighborhood warned him: "That man is very hard to get along with as he is extremely quarrelsome."
"I made up my mind right there," he said when recounting this in later life, "That I would work with him and not have any trouble." How often he was forced to hold his tongue, we do not know, but we do know that he succeeded in working side by side with the master mason for three years and they had no trouble.
Hans Peter's family sold their farm and moved into the City of Vestbirk. It was while living there the Mormon Missionaries came into their lives. Hans Peter had not been working at his chosen trade long when he came in contact with the Missionaries. Perhaps their efforts did not meet with immediate success - probably the local Pastor was disturbed at the prospect of losing more of his congregation and did all he could to dissuade the Iverson family in their determination to become members of the American Church. Be that as it may, it is certain that they did not vacillate long before being baptized. Hans Peter Olsen and Jens Jensen were the two Missionaries that brought the Gospel to this family. Hans Peter was baptized on the first day of April 1854, and I believe it was Elder C. N. Lund who baptized him, when he was nineteen years of age. He was shortly after ordained a teacher and began doing Missionary work in his homeland with a companion. He does not tell us when he himself became an Elder holding the Melchizidek Priesthood although he labored for about four and one-half years at this time.
In march 1857, nearly three years after young Hans Peter became a convert to Mormonism, he, together with his companion was thrown into prison. This, apparently, was due to the enmity of the clergy. After nine months' imprisonment, they appealed to the Danish Government and were immediately released. While in prison they studied the English language. What patience they must have possessed to have endured it for so long! They were imprisoned a second time in 1859 but for only four or five days at this time. Their diet, he said, was black bread and water. We do not know if he had the same companion during all of his period of labor.
The rewards of his efforts were eminently satisfying. He baptized a number of people, made numerous friends, performed some marriages and all of this without funds of his own. He informs us that the only money he was required to spend was twenty-five cents. The anecdote connected with this lavish spending is quite humorous. He says it was the custom of the missionaries to announce that they were open for invitations by members, for bed and food. One night, an old bachelor invited Hans Peter to his home for entertainment. He said he lived alone but this proved not to be the case for his house was filled with lice which immediately attached themselves to his guest. Hans Peter was due at a meeting in a nearby town and being unable to attend it in his lousy clothing, he was put to the extremity of having to pay twenty-five cents to ride the cars to a place where he could obtain fresh clothing.
He mentions that while in jail, he and his companion occupied themselves in the study of the English language. I believe that he must have had in mind even then the idea of going to America. Perhaps he discussed this with the missionary with whom he was associated. What wonders the country across the sea must have possessed in his imagination: red skinned men whose history was inseparably tied up with the Book of Mormon, which he now knew to be the word of God as much as was the Bible - wide stretches of unoccupied wilderness where ambitious men might plow and plant to their hearts' desire and their bodies' strength. But probably more important than all this was the knowledge that in this same country a Prophet of the Living God received revelations by which to guide the Saints just as in former times. At any rate, Hans Peter was now ready to go to America. His Father's family with the exception of his brother Andrew had already gone to Utah. Andrew did not join the Church.
Hans was told that it was his duty to take a sister with him to Zion. I wonder if there had been any romance previously in his life. Likely not, as the type of work in which he had been engaged precluded anything of this sort. Then too, the young people of that day and age were more serious minded than those of today and when they 'kept company' with a member of the opposite sex, it was with the idea in mind of marriage when circumstances permitted. Hans Peter says that the last one he baptized agreed to go to America with him, SQ it is likely that he waited until he was ready to leave before asking her consent.
Anna Dortea Nisson
In the life history of Anna Dortea Nisson Iverson, written by her daughter Forthilda Iverson Funk. we learn she was baptized in 1857. This was two years before Hans Peter was released from service as a missionary. There may, or may not have been an understanding between them or perhaps he was biding his time until he was free to ask her hand in marriage.
It was the law in Denmark that all young men must serve their country as a soldier and Hans Peter had not yet done so, therefore it was difficult for him to leave the country. His Mission President bribed the ship captain to wait until the passport officers had gone so that Hans could come aboard. Full details of this are lacking but they sound interesting.
There were a lot of Danish converts going in a body to America and all headed f or the Zion of the West. There may also have been converts of other European nations as we know missionaries were working diligently in all adjoining nations.
It might be well here to speculate as to the appearance of our Grandfather at this time. We know nothing of his youth - what sports he took part in - if he attended dances, went boat riding or engaged in other forms of recreation. Neither is it known just what his appearance was, though Levi, Hannah's youngest son, has a likeness of his father. However, judging from the build, complexion. etc., of his descendants, and knowing the general appearance of the Danish stock - it appears likely that he was of medium build, blue-eyed and brown haired. I remember being told that his hair had a tendency to curl so he was likely not at all bad looking. Anna Dortea no doubt considered him very handsome as well she should. His humble and pious mien which he wore as befitted a servant of the Lord must have greatly enhanced his worth in her eyes.
The ship on which they sailed was the William Tapscott and their company of emigrants was under the leadership of Robert Neilson, who, judging from his name, was likely a missionary from Zion.
Hans Peter says that seventeen young couples were joined in matrimony by the Captain of the vessel a few days after they sailed. In another account the number is given as twelve. Of course, Hans Peter and Anna Dortea were among them. For seven weeks they saw nothing but the vast expanses of the Atlantic Ocean. Whether calm or storm attended the voyage or some of both we can but conjecture. However, there is no doubt that the sight of New York Harbor was a welcome one.
The manuscript from which this information is taken gives the impression that they went all the way to Utah by ox cart. This has recently been confirmed by an old lady whose father was in the party. She says her father told her that Hans bought an ox and a two-wheeled cart in New York and they walked the entire distance except for the periods when Anna's lameness forced her to ride. They must have lacked funds or they would likely have ridden the trains which went as far as Omaha, Nebraska even at this early date.
The ox which Hans Peter bought in New York was a big white one to whom he gave the name of Columbus, though it was likely the master instead of the beast who felt like an explorer as he headed out toward the wild and sparsely - settled western Country.
Hans Peter's parents were in Mt. Pleasant, Utah and it was there he built a small house and began farming. There were several Danish settlers already living there, so he no doubt, felt quite at home in spite of the primitive conditions and the wildness of the country. Their first child was born here in October of 1860 and was named Anna Christina Elizabeth Iverson.
The young parents did not long enjoy their new home at Mt. Pleasant, for Brigham Young sent out a call for volunteers to settle along the Virgin River where a very moderate climate was to be found, Jeppe Iverson wrote and asked if he might go and received the reply that he certainly could. He had previously had a Patriarchal blessing in which he was told that he should sit under the shade of vines he had planted and enjoy the wine thereof. Having never seen a grape vine he wondered how such could come to pass, but the fulfillment was evident in this sojourn in the Dixie Country. On their trek south they were accompanied by Uncle Lishas and Aunt Mellisa, cousins, and Miller Iverson who seems to have been a cousin too.
Columbus was still a member of the family and proved invaluable after their arrival in Dixie. Willows had to be hauled from the river banks to use in building shelters. Hans Peter hurriedly erected a shelter consisting of one room with a dirt floor. He built a mud oven outside in which baking was done. Naturally he added an addition of adobe as soon as was possible.
Their second daughter was born here, the twelfth of November 1862. His heart filled with joy at this addition. Hans Peter named her Jubeltine. Now indeed were they kept busy caring for and providing for their loved ones.
As their real purpose in moving south had been to raise cotton, this experiment had proved successful the first year, a building for the manufacture of cloth was begun using the native red sandstone. Here Hans Peter's earlier apprenticeship stood him in good stead, as he was able to be of great service in laying up the walls. Nearly one-hundred thousand pounds of cotton, or fifty tons, were raised that first year! Truly there was no time for idleness.
Their third child was also a girl and arrived in the winter of 1864 on December 5. They named her 'Musser Cenia' after a Bishop Musser who had earned their undying gratitude by helping them with grain soon after their arrival in Washington. Their fourth daughter was born August 18, 1867 and named, 'Forthilda.'
Just a word here concerning the odd custom by which the Danish selected names for their offspring. A man whose name, for instance, was Nisson, but whose given name was Jens, did not pass his surname on to his children instead, they took his given name, Jens, and added 'ssen' or 'son' onto it thereby becoming 'Jensson' which meant 'son of Jelis.' Anna Dortea's father was named Nis Christensen, but his children all retained the surname of Nisson. Had this custom been followed in the case of Hans Peter and his descendants, we would not be called by the name of 'Iverson' but rather 'Jeppesen' after his father Jeppe. His grandfather's first name was 'Iver' as I understand it, thereby bestowing the name of 'Iverson' on his offspring. The Danish also had another custom of having a family take the name of the farm or stream or hill where they lived as their own. What a job f or genealogists!
Though Utah's Dixie possessed a mild winter climate, the summer heat proved so oppressive that Hans Peter and four other Danish families bought some property up in the mountains and called it "The Danish Ranch" and I understand it still goes by that name.
Here the families would stay during the summer, raising a garden, milking cows, fattening pigs, and all had an enjoyable time. Cattle did well on the grass and herbage and corn could be easily grown for pigs and chickens. Large amounts of butter and cheese were made to be sold or traded for other necessities. It was a comfortable arrangement.
In Washington in the winter of 1869 their first son was born on December 31. Most of their children were born during the Fall or Winter months and it must have been very difficult to properly heat the house and do the laundry, etc. They named their son Hans Peter after his father and when he was two years old another girl was born and given the name of Anna Dortea. Her birth date was November 29, 1872.
In Washington, Hans Peter bought a place known as the 'Duck Farm' east of town. His daughter, Forthilda, relates that because of the scarcity of firewood he planted a grove of cottonwood trees to be topped and used as fuel. It was a pleasant place where the children hunted birds' nests and played games.
I wonder when he ever found time to write poetry which most have been very dear to his heart. There is no record of his having done so during his younger years, though when he become older he frequently penned some little verses when writing to some absent member of his family or reading at a missionary farewell. Had his English been better he might well have become well known as a writer.
He dearly loved a joke and some of those in which he was involved show considerable ingenuity. The following tale has been recounted so often that probably all his descendants are familiar with it. However, for the sake of others it will be recorded.
Ithamar Sprague with his wife, Annie Maria Leavitt with their children
A very rainy spell came to Dixie during which the cattle were herded on the hills above Washington near the graveyard. A young man named Ithamar Sprague, who incidentally possessed extremely large feet, had been up there chasing his oxen. Running caused his footprints to appear very far apart on the damp earth. These tremendous far spaced prints were seen by an excitable fellow named Frank Crow and he hurried to town with the rumor that a giant was at large in the neighborhood! The story was swallowed hook, line and sinker and it soon spread like wildfire. People came from the other settlements to look at the huge prints. Estimates were that their maker must be at least nine feet tall and weigh several hundred pounds. The fact .that the prints continued to be seen in the vicinity was due to the fact that Hans Peter somehow learned of their origin and saw a chance to perpetuate a first class joke on the gullible town folk. He and Ithamar of the big feet manufactured some large wooden soles which they fastened to the bottom of his feet and Ithamar was careful to leave the tracks in places where they could easily be seen. The willows were trampled to make it appear that some one had slept there. Ithamar, wearing a hideous mask, actually had the nerve to don stilts and show himself at a window during a dance in the Washington school house. Of course he hid the stilts when a hue and cry was raised and joined in the search that followed. The nervous tension of the people increased to such an extent that guards with guns were stationed at strategic points. A calf stirring in the brush caused such an alarm that Hans Peter became fearful that someone would be killed, so he urged Ithamar to give himself up. This not only spoiled his fun as he had been in the thick of the excitement, falling and crying "Wait, wait," when the guards ran in fright, in spite of the fact that he was a skilled foot racer. He narrowly escaped hanging when the truth was learned and Hans Peter himself was also blamed.
The spring which followed this rainy season Hans Peter answered a call for volunteers to go East to meet an emigrant company near the Missouri River. The men from the northern settlements were surprised at how fat the Dixie cattle were. This was due to the open winter.
Anna Dortea was soon to lose her husband when he returned to Denmark to fill another Mission. However, her brother Nels who had once been very bitter toward the Mormons had joined the church and moved to Washington where he married. It was a great comfort to his sister to have him near. The manner of his conversion is quite remarkable. After the Mormons had 'stolen' his sister, as he believed, he met with an accident which kept him bedfast for a time and having nothing else to do and perhaps in a desperate hope that he might thereby lighten his despair, he began to read some of the Mormon literature which was lying around the house. He determined to go to Utah and see how his sister fared and became converted shortly after.
Later another brother, Hans, also came to America, joined the church and married a Mormon girl which fact greatly added to Anna Dortea's happiness. For some reason, the aged parents did not join the Church.
THE NEW MISSION ABROAD
The pioneers were capable of sacrifices far beyond anything called for today. It seems that the work of gaining converts and assuring the salvation of their souls in Eternity was so important that the mere death and suffering of the mortal body was considered of lesser import. Hans Peter must have realized this to the fullest and Anna Dortea surely possessed a mentality and character capable of obeying the Lord's commands to the very letter and questioning not, else how could Hans Peter have left his wife and six children with another on the way to have gone on a new mission?
He tells us that while in the fields at work and in bed at night he had an impression of such strength that he could not ignore it. Feeling impelled by some higher power, he obeyed the impulse and wrote Brigham Young that he believed the Lord wanted him to go again on a mission. After this he was greatly relieved in his feelings.
How President Young must have rejoiced to have such a willing worker! Knowing Hans Peter's qualifications he sent him a telegram telling him he was chosen to return to his native Scandinavia. Hans tells us the telegram came by Bishop T. J. John. I don't know if he meant it was brought from Salt Lake by him or just signed with his name as authorized by the President. The telegraph lines connected all of the cities of our Nation by 1860, according to a text book and the railroad spanned the Continent in 1869 when the last spike was driven at Ogden. Utah. However, the Deseret Telegraph, owned by the Church was not finished until 1867. It was on the 25th day of March 1875 that he received his Mission call and on the 1st of April that he presented himself to Brigham Young. Orson Pratt set him apart for his mission and an old man, Father Brown a patriarch blessed him. The blessing, though short was a rich one. He was told that he should be blessed on his mission which blessing proved bountifully correct.
Likely Anna Dortea's sorrow at her husband's departure was tempered by the knowledge that he would contact her parents in Denmark and carry messages of love to them from their dear daughter and the grandchildren they had never seen, the oldest of whom was now about fifteen.
Hans Peter tells us he had a pleasant journey over land and sea and finally arrived at the mission office in Copenhagen where he received instructions from President C, G. Lansen. He was appointed to labor in the Aalborg district presided over by President P. 0. Hansen.
They had a custom at that time of permitting those desirous of renewing their covenants to be rehaptized. The reasons for this cannot be gone into here. When Hans Peter expressed a desire to be again baptized he was informed that the water and the Priesthood were for his service. So, as free from sin as obedience to the Gospel ordinances could make him, he set out to bring souls to Christ.
"At first I had a companion," he says, "until I got acquainted with the Saints and investigators." Whether he traveled alone after that cannot be ascertained.
He was in possession of sufficient funds to take him to his field of labor but from then on he went without purse or script, trusting to the Lord's mercy and the kindness of the Saints to provide the wherewithal of life.
A son was born to Anna Dortea on the 30th of June, 1875 which must have been about the time of her husband's arrival in the Mission Field, though the tidings could not have reached him until later. She wrote that she had named the boy Jeppe Andrew the names of his father and the brother who had never joined the Church. Even in his absence she was dutiful to the anticipated wishes of her husband. Doubtlessly when one daughter after another had arrived, Hans Peter had expressed a desire to name a son, if he should have one, with these names.
I feel provoked to think that Grandfather left so few details concerning some of his affairs. Perhaps some older members of the family heard him tell of different episodes in his life but if so they have not been forthcoming. I should like to know the circumstances of his meeting with his brother Andrew who had probably been grown and away from home at the time the other family members became Mormons, thus being iess susceptible to the influences which swayed the others. Doubtless Hans Peter visited his brother and other relatives and friends he had known sixteen years earlier before he left for America.
His term in the Mission Field was not without healings and other wonderful manifestations of the Lord's power. He mentions an older sister named Mattie Maria Peterson who, for three years or more had got around only by using crutches. By fasting and prayer she had built up her faith sufficiently to request the Elders to administer to her that she might be healed. This they did and she thereafter walked without crutches. This miracle as it might be termed, attracted for the Mormons great attention and gained some interested investigators, many of whom were later baptized.
When on his first Mission in the years 1854 to 1859 he had evidently labored in Germany as well as Denmark. At any rate he now received a letter from 'Hans in Stole' whom he had baptized in 1859, asking him to come for a visit. This would have meant a trip of over two hundred miles, which was out of the question for a penniless Missionary, or so he thought at the time. lint the Lord wished him to go to Stole and provided the means to do so.
Johanna J. D. Christensen, Hans Peter's second wife
Dortea Caroline Evers , Hans Peter's third wife
One day in his missionary work a miller told him, "If anyone wishes to go to Germany, they can ride free for I ship fat hogs there." So, in company with a carload of porkers and all unknown to himself, he set out to acquaint himself with his third wife.
It was at the home of this old man whom he had previously baptized that the voice from above informed him as before that he should take this girl home to be his wife.
The Doctrine of Polygamy had been known and practiced by some for several years, but only in 1852 that it was circulated in pamphlet form and taught throughout the Church. It was understood that a man should have the permission of his first wife before taking another and also that he have the means of providing for additional families. This latter stipulation entailed simpler conditions than today, as their living was gained for the most part from the fields and gardens that everyone had. Clothing was manufactured at home and idleness was rare, all members of a family being engaged in whatever work was at hand. A housewife did not run to the store when she wished to prepare a meal and money had comparatively small value.
Hans may have thought this new doctrine of Polygamy applied to others but now he was commanded to accept it himself. He did as commanded and fulfilled the Lord's will and not from sensual desires as was the ease with some,
POLYGAMY AND ITS COMPLICATIONS
Hans Peter was now head of three families. Behind him was a life filled with varied experiences. He had served a jail sentence because of his religious beliefs, and labored without purse or script for several years, had crossed an ocean to pioneer in a new country, and now, in middle age, must take upon himself the not inconsiderable task of providing for the large number dependent upon his care. Soon, hard work and the cooperation of all concerned was providing food and the necessities of life for both old and young. In Washington was the huge cotton factory which Hans Peter had helped to build. Here, his older daughters helped earn their living and likely helped provide clothing at least for the other members of the family.
Hans Peter had reached the stage where he, no doubt, desired peace and quiet, but this was not to be for a new danger raised its head. This was the Federal prosecution against the Polygamists or 'Cohabs' as they were nicknamed.
At most, only 2% of the men in the Mormon Church embraced plural marriage. Some of these men had more than two wives, which fact did not too greatly increase their living expenses due to the simple methods of living at that time. Now, the contention of their enemies was that 'sensualism' was the reason for Polygamy. Surely, if this had been true, they would have sought an easier - and cheaper way of gratifying their desires - that followed by those who persecuted them.
The main trouble began in 1862 when a law was passed providing that "every person having a husband or wife living, who shall marry any other person, whether married or unmarried, in a Territory of the United States or other place over which the United States shall have exclusive jurisdiction, shall be guilty of bigamy, and upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding $500.00 and by imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years." Living in immorality was considered far less wicked than living as the ancient Biblical Patriarchs had done - in Plural marriage by command of God!
Having witnessed the harsh treatment some of his neighbors and acquaintances had received by those entrusted with enforcing this unjust Edmunds-Tucker Bill, Hans Peter went to some ludicrous methods to evade being caught and prosecuted. By some local underground method, news of the marshal's presence in the locality would travel like wildfire and the "cohabs," would have time to hide.
At the Duck Farm there was a spring of water which Hans Peter used to irrigate his fields. Above it on the hillside, was a brush patch which afforded protection when he needed to make a quick get-a-way. Here, during the Federal Officer's presence in the vicinity, Hans kept a quilt where he could rest in the day time and sleep at night if necessary.
If a vehicle appeared headed toward the farm, the children would cry, "The Marshal is coming!" and their father would slip away toward the Black Ridge leaving the women to answer any questions as to his whereabouts and their relationship with him with real or assumed ignorance.
At one time, an officer cornered one of the children and asked him directly, "Where is your father, my little man?" Perhaps the child had not been coached properly or maybe he believed his father invulnerable to anything the enemy could do and just wished to see a little excitement, for he replied, "Hiding away in the bushes," at the same time pointing toward the place of concealment. The men went on a run toward the brush patch. Perhaps Hans Peter was tired of constantly fleeing and had decided to face the issue. At any rate, he did not try to escape but remained crouching behind a small bush. On they came, directly toward him but their eyes were turned in another direction and they passed within ten feet without seeing him. A neighbor who witnessed the chase from nearby exclaimed, "The Marshals have got Peter."
The same officers later told him that they saw the sand trickle into the depression where he had just stepped but no man could they see. Several explanations were possible. It may be that intervention from on high blinded their eyes and kept them from taking him prisoner at that time. Perhaps, they, not unlike some traffic cops of our day made just enough arrests to keep their jobs and themselves in good graces with the authorities who provided these same jobs. In other words, "Put them all in jail today and there'll be no one to chase tomorrow and no job either." At any rate, Hans Peter was not at that time destined to go to jail.
As they continued to annoy him, he finally went to Colorado where he worked at farming and other jobs for a year and a had. The Government had passed a law against plural marriage and President Wilford Woodruff had issued the Manifesto but their was no satisfactory provision for caring for the women and children of polygamous marriages.
Living away from his family was very unsatisfactory for our grandfather, though likely from his earnings he was able to send some little financial aid to the two families living at the Duck Farm and to Anna Dorotea who had a house across the street from the schoolhouse in Washington. But at last he came back from the San Luis Valley determined to run no more, come what might.
Jeppe, father of Hans Peter had married a lady called Sister Moss. Hans's mother was living in the northern part of the state with her daughters. Now one day, after his return from Colorado, Hans was having dinner with his father and Sister Moss, when unannounced, in walked the Marshals and asked for Brother Iverson. Sister Moss pointed to Jeppe, but they replied, "No, he is too old a man."
"Then I guess I am your man," Hans Peter told them.
They must not have been expecting this for it became apparent that now they had him they did not know what to do with him, as they were going elsewhere and did not wish to take him along.
"Then I will be ready for you when you come back through here," he told them.
How that did make them laugh because they did not believe a man would wait to be taken to jail.
"No, we want to return a different way," they replied, "and can't come back this way."
"Then I will meet you at the County Seat at Milford if you will tell me when to be there," said our amazing grandfather.
This was too much and they roared again in disbelief, but an acquaintance of Hans Peter's who happened to be present, spoke up, "If Hans Iverson says he will be there, he will."
With such backing they were convinced he was a man of his word and told him when to present himself at court. Later, when grandfather was serving his sentence in Provo, he came to be pointed out as, "The man who took himself to jail."
Aunt Dora and Johanna his two polygamous wives accompanied him when it was time to leave for the court proceedings in Milford. They must have been subpoenaed as witnesses as the Edmunds-Tucker Law provided a wife could be forced to testify against her husband.
It was more than a hundred miles to Beaver and the journey had to be made by wagon and team. I would venture to guess that the faithful Columbus of Hans's earlier journeyings had long since gone to the green pastures of all faithful oxen, so doubtless horses pulled their conveyance.
There had been a spell of rainy weather and the roads were so rutted and filled with chucks and wallows that the women walked a good deal of the way, especially up the hills. The children, of whom there were now several, were cared for at home by Uncle Lishas and Aunt Melissa.
I wish there was a record of just what went on at court. Perhaps the minutes of trial still exist in some dusty, forgotten archive in the State Capitol or perhaps they have long since deteriorated into oblivion. At any rate we have no way of knowing just what accusations were made, or whether a lawyer was provided for the accused. The presence of his two wives was evidently sufficient evidence, for off he went to Provo to spend six months in jail - or rather, outside of jail - for he immediately asked the Warden for outside work and received a job as custodian for the prison cattle. His reputation for honesty must have preceded him to jail to have been given as much liberty.
Trains passed daily near the place where he tended the cattle, and knowing him to be a prisoner from the clothing he wore, the men on the trains made violent motions to him to "Come on, run away!" But he just laughed and waved at them. 'A plowed furrow seemed all that was necessary to keep a Mormon in Jail.'
I wonder when grandfather first tried to write poetry. There is no mention of it in his account of his younger years but it most certainly was a thing he did when he grew older. Sometimes it was a little verse enclosed in a letter to one of his children, or a family member. Certainly the ludicrousness of his imprisonment outside the jail should have furnished material for a poem. However, we cannot tell when he first discovered the pleasure of rhyming words together.
He was past fifty at the time of his incarceration and somewhat grey. The children of his two later marriages say they cannot remember him when he was not grey-headed and with a long grey beard. At that time beards and mustachios were so prevalent that it was difficult to tell an old man from a young one except by the color of his hair.
Hans Peter tells us that along with his job of herding cows he also did some whitewashing and if the Warden had needed some bricklaying or rock mason work done to provide additional cells to keep those who could not be kept by a plowed furrow, he could have done a good job on that too.
Apparently grandfather was very handy at carving things with his knife, as, either while he was in Colorado or Provo he carved several curious trinkets to send to different members of his family. For Martin, Hannah's eldest son, he constructed a little box or chest with a groove near the top in which was a sliding lid. Martin still had this when he was a grown man.
For Willard he made a clever little affair consisting of two little men, one on each side of a hammer and anvil. For his father, Jeppe, he carved a cane with a dog's head and the name of the recipient on the sides. No details are available as to other gifts he may have made as a fond remembrance to those he left behind.
When released from the penitentiary he told the Warden, "I have taken good care of your cows. Now, my family is in great need of help." So the Warden doubtless having funds at his disposal for such purposes, gave him $20.00 as well as a suit of clothing and sent him home. However, he had not denied his plural wives so there was danger that he would again get in trouble. The Lord had come to his assistance before when he was in difficult straits and this time was no different.
Hans Peter had a wonderful dream! The date of this dream was given as January 31, 1889.
He dreamed of a pretty little valley by a river, with springs of water, green grain fields, vineyard and fruit trees. His wife, Hannah and her children were with him there and all seemed happy and contented. He awoke and though he remembered the details of the dream, he was sure that he had never set eyes on the place, and for some time he was kept in ignorance as to its location.
Then it was Conference time in St. George and a Brother Bunker was reporting his Ward which was called Bunkerville. He mentioned nearby Littlefield as having a small branch, and suddenly grandfather knew the location of the place he had seen in his dream!
HANS PETER IVERSON'S RELATIONS WITH HIS WIVES AND CHILDREN
Hans Peter had grandchildren nearly as old as the children of his second and third marriages. As a matter of fact, Martin, Hannah's oldest son, and Ann Doretta, his first grandchild were born the same year 1881. However, Emma daughter of Hans Peter and Dora Evers was born in 1878 - three years before Martin and Ann Doretta. His older children were living in the northern part of the state and he probably saw them seldom, so though he may not often have been called 'grandpa' he was 'Pa' to a goodly number of youngsters.
His children like modern day young people thought their father's way of doing things were old-fashioned and out of date. Especially was this true with reference to the methods of farming which he employed. They frequently urged him to do things according to their ideas but he would only reply that they would soon be grown up and could manage their own farms as they saw fit, inferring that he intended to do the same. He no doubt knew that, though they had big ideas, the part requiring work would be up to him.
A steady, consistent worker, he seldom got in a hurry but managed to make some progress every day that his health permitted. After he reached the age of Seventy-five years he began to build a new house to replace the old one washed away by the Virgin River. People asked how he could do so at his age and he replied, "That is not so difficult. I've the experience of an old man and a young man too." The vigor and vitality he retained was testimony to the kind of life he lived - keeping the Word of Wisdom and using good sense in all things.
He loved fish and often allowed the young folks to fish while he himself worked. There was a narrow, rock-walled stretch of river called the "Narrows" which was very dangerous. One son tells of swimming here and coming up under a shelf of rock in search of an air hole and almost drowning before finding it.
Hans Peter had a number of maxims which he repeated whenever the circumstances required. One of them was that any honest work was honorable no matter how menial it was. "Everything in its place and a place for everything", was one of his favorites. Also, "Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise." He religiously lived this latter but failed to accumulate the promised wealth - in money at least.
He wished his animals well cared for and tried to see that nothing was wasted.. The horses were taught to clean up everything and then signal him (by whinnying). He was very careful when handling animals, but in spite of this had a number of nearly fatal accidents with them.
Once, when the river was in flood, as it often was in the afternoons at Littlefield, he had cause to ride Belle, an old mare, to a place called Reber's Crossing for the purpose of going to the other side of the stream. However, due to the excessive amount of water he miscalculated and entered the River farther down than he had intended. Discovering his error, he attempted to guide the animal to what he supposed was the proper crossing. This over-balanced her and she flopped over in the water giving him a good ducking. A neighbor, witnessing this but unable to do anything said, "there is a dead man!" However, Hans Peter was far from dead. He hung on to the rope until the mare's struggles had got her head pointed toward the opposite shore and her tail flowing out toward him, whereupon he grabbed the tail and she pulled him out. He was seventy years of age at the time. None of his sons have yet reached seventy but they would not likely care to try the same experiment whatever their age.
He had a number of run-a-ways with his team though perhaps no more than did the average person of that day who did their traveling with animals. On one occasion he and his two younger daughters, Maggie, Dora's daughter, and Annie, Hannah's youngest, were returning to Littlefield from a trip elsewhere. About a mile from Castle Cliff from which he had first glimpsed Littlefield's green fields, is a spring at which campers often watered their animals. Here the trio decided to camp and the girls made their bed in the wagon box. Next morning he hitched up the team and started for Littlefield without waking the girls. As he stepped upon the double tree behind the horses, Belle, the old mare gave a lunge which threw him off balance and caused him to let loose of the lines and drop to the ground. Off plunged the team and scrambling to his feet he took off after them despite the fact that he had lost one of his shoes when he fell.
The spring seat of the wagon bounced from its position onto the girls who finally got themselves organized into action, though they must have believed themselves in the middle of a nightmare when they first awoke. By the time their panting father, still minus a shoe, had succeeded in catching up with them, Maggie had managed to get hold of the lines and had put on the brake. We can only wonder whether they returned to seek the missing shoe, but at any rate, they arrived in Littlefield in time for breakfast.
This was not the only time the mare had caused trouble as she was either very high-spirited or just plain ornery and seemed constantly to be on the watch for a chance to get into mischief.
At one time Hannah and Dora came to St. George to do some Temple Work. Allie came along to visit friends and relatives and Hans Peter came to drive the team. At the Arizona-Utah line they stopped to eat and Hans Peter said he would feed the animals. He unbridled them but had not taken off the harness when Belle, who never seemed to miss an opportunity, jerked free and was off and away, dragging the not unwilling colt with her.
Hannah had got out of the vehicle and Dora was dismounting by means of the wheel when the race began. Dora was thrown to the ground and Hans Peter was knocked down and trampled quite badly. The wagon wheels also passed over him causing him to be laid up for quite a while following this horsey escapade.
Allie still in the wagon was unable to stop the runaways as the lines were not fastened to the horses but merely to the brake. She called again and again to the team and the colt finally decided that it was no fun to gallop along with a bumping wagon behind, so he slowed down which caused the unwilling Belle also to slacken her speed.
Hannah, meanwhile had run herself into a state of near collapse trying to catch up with them. At last she got in ahead of them and succeeded in getting them bridled and then drove back after Dora and the disgruntled Hans Peter. During their father's
indisposition, Wallace and Levi enjoyed themselves by being allowed full liberty with the team, quite an unusual privilege, it would seem as they were evidently not often permitted all the riding pleasure they wished.
"The good old horse and buggy days were not so tame after all!"
Levi tells of the time he came for a visit after his return from Mexico. He and Wallace were put to work filling a large gully which had washed away in the part of their land which their Father wished to farm. Tiring they sat down and rolled a clandestine cigarette, not worrying about being caught as their Father usually advertised his approach with a 'hmm, hmm' sound as he cleared his throat. This time, however, he failed to do so and caught them red handed. Wallace then, as in later years, never lacked for anything to say and spoke up boldly, "Sweet balsam is good for a cold."
"Yes", replied his Father, "but I haven't a cold."
He never smoked after the boyhood experience of which he tells in his history. He detested liquor even as a medicine as he tried it when suffering from malaria and received no benefit. He abhorred profanity and tried his best to teach his family righteousness.
At a certain Conference which he attended he heard it stated that if the Saints would read a page from the Bible or sing a hymn in their homes each day they would have the promise that none of their children would go very far astray. He endeavored to see
that this was done and what parent can do more to see to their children's salvation?
He also was a strict observer of Fast Day although he did not require too much of the younger children, often asking that they be fed rather than allowed to complain,
Grandfather was greatly opposed to any unpleasantness between members of his family. He never considered them as 'families' but as one family living in different places. He often said, "In unity there is strength". He stayed equally with one wife or another as he pleased and as circumstances permitted.
He built a camp at Littlefield to accommodate canoeists or 'tourists' as we would call them, though most of them likely came from nearby towns. He also sold a little feed for their teams. This camp must have been a very humble forerunner of the modern Motels which now dot Highway 91. I wonder if the 'spirit of prophecy' of which he seemed at times to be possessed ever whispered to him of the busy thoroughfare that the old wagon road which passed his little farm would someday become?
He made lasting friends of the people who stayed over night at his place. To say "We spent the night at Iverson" was almost equivalent to saying, "We stayed at El Pace-O-Lodge today."
For a year or more after the flood of 1910, letters continued to come from those who had at one time or another stayed with him and who had learned of the heavy losses he had suffered. Some enclosed a five dollar bill or more to help out. This evidence of the kindness of those whose pathways had crossed his own must have touched him greatly.
Hans Peter was a great friend of the Indians as was Anna Dortea. Their daughter, Til Funk tells how her Mother would keep their possessions in her home when the Indians were away picking pine nuts. The Red Men used to migrate in great swarms up and down the river. When they stopped at night at Littlefield and fed their animals, they would ask, "How much?" he would reply "You say." "Twenty-f i' cents," would come their answer and he would always reply, "all right."
Levi tells how years later when he was taking a load of salt from St. Thomas and had not taken enough hay along, he tried to buy some at an Indian farm, but as each Indian sent him along to another one, he began to think he would be unable to purchase the needed feed. He finally came upon one man who had a little feed, and upon learning that he was dealing with 'Peter's son' he let him have some hay but would not accept pay for it.
On one occasion Hans Peter camped at night in one of the little coves beside the Virgin River not far from the Indian Reservation. Seeing a little fire nearby he wandered in that direction more out of a desire for companionship than anything else. However some of the Indians barred his way refusing to let him go any closer but not giving him any reason why he could not. They must have known and liked him for next morning when he passed the place a brave came running and said, "My wife have baby boy here last night. You tell us what to name it."
"Name it Peter," he replied. "That is my name." This greatly tickled the Indians who hastened to inform the woman what her son should be named.
"Waste not, want not," was a favorite expression and a practice he was careful to observe.
Levi says his Father was 59 when he was born and about 65 when he first remembers him. Few of his children, especially those of his second and third marriages remember him without long gray whiskers. Levi has an enlarged picture of him taken when he was a young man and some small resemblance can be detected between his appearance and that of his children. The similarity is not great, however.
He detested gossip and often reproved members of his household who seemed so inclined. "A wise head keeps a still mouth" he would tell them.
He tried to instill in his children the thought that the sun should never go down on their wrath. Especially did this apply to Wallace and Levi, who being the youngest boys at home, frequently quarreled. After one dispute in which their sisters were involved, Wallace was getting ready to drive his sisters to Mesquite. Hans Peter asked if they had made up, giving the impression that they could not go if they had not. Aunt Dora did not want the girls' amusement spoiled so she said, "Levi, go talk to Wallace." Levi did so and Wallace began to grin sheepishly and that was all there was to it.
Malaria was about the only sickness which ever affected Grandfather and he contracted this one spring while living at Washington. Someone told him if he would drink a bottle of liquor he would feel better. He got a bottle and drank it while lying on the floor. "But next day I felt just as bad as ever," he remembered later.
He said, "When you are bothered with an unruly thought, replace it with a good one. You cannot stop birds from flying over your head but you can keep them from roosting there."
An amusing incident is told of a young lady who came from St. George to teach school in Littlefield. Her parents were exceedingly concerned to know what kind of a home she boarded in, did they attend family prayers, go to church, observe the Word of Wisdom, etc. She wrote and told them to cease worrying in her behalf because where she boarded they prayed five times a day!
Hans Peter was a steady worker, not accomplishing much in a day but staying with whatever he started until he got real results. One flood in February had done a lot of damage, leaving a good many sand ridges which Grandfather was attempting to level down with a wheelbarrow and shovel.
"Why, I could do more in an hour with a team than you can that way in a week," Levi told him.
"Yes, but you don't do it." replied his Pa.
That seemed to sum up his philosophy in life. It is not what one can do but what he does that is the mark of a man.
He once owned a brand new Shetler Wagon of which he was quite proud, using it only for tasks that would not mar its looks. Once he sent his son Wallace to clean the manure out of the corral and Wallace decided to use the new wagon. His Father took him to task. "Wear out the old first." he said. Where upon Wallace threw down the shovel. "All right Pa, you haul the manure, then, you are the oldest."
Annie tells of a beautiful little bower he built near the river at Littlefield. There were flowers, vines and shade trees and benches to sit on. His thoughtfulness and industry made life pleasanter for young and old.
At one time, a brother was called to go on a mission. Collections were being made to aid him. Grandfather had no money but took the clean handkerchief from his pocket and handed it to him to help keep his nose clean while on his mission.
To sum his life up, or the little we have learned about him, he was a good man. He was honest, cheerful, witty, industrious, and kind. We should be proud of him and the three European girls who mothered his children.
POEM by Hans Peter
Directed by a heavenly dream
To Littlefield, sweet home
The land there flow with milk and cream
Just plow and till the loam..
The climate health and vigor bear
The youthful offspring prove
Soil full measure yield its share
When tilled and well improved.
With wood and water near thy feet
Don't have to hunt afar
Can help and lend to those in need
No hungry leave thy bar.
Where is more dandy home than that
Do tell who move around
For stock and grain, garden and fruit
With such thy home is crowned.
More yet, my dream had golden sweet
My children partners found
Did in God's Holy Temple wed
Sweet offspring came their crown
Hurrah! Our home in Dixie Land
Is booming as full moon
Sweet sing and smile where is more grand
Come friends visit our home.
For a man who loved to till the soil and rejoiced to see the results of his labor, Littlefield must have been a paradise to Grandfather. No longer young, he was vigorous and healthy, due probably to his having lived a clean, temperate life. One of his sons says that, excepting for a bout with malaria, he was seldom ill. Planting vineyards, bringing green growth to barren wastes, directing life-giving streams of water where they would do the most good gave him great satisfaction.
As has been mentioned, this oasis as it might be called, was located in Arizona not far from the Utah Line. Hans Peter set out to see for himself with his natural eyes what he had beheld in his dream. He traveled the old wagon road where highway 91 now provides swift passage to motor vehicles of all kinds. When he reached the summit of the West Mountain near a fantastic rocky fortress known as the 'Castle Cliff' he was able to see the bit of emerald green some sixteen miles distant which he recognized as the place he was seeking. Satisfied that this was indeed 'the place' as the Mormons who came to Salt Lake Valley had been satisfied, he returned to Washington and made preparations to move his second family thither without having set foot on the place himself.
Johanna's wishes on the matter of moving are not recorded. Perhaps she too, was glad to go where there would be less trouble with the law, but it is my guess that she hated leaving the friends and acquaintances she had made in Washington to be carted off down the river to pioneer a lonely bit of sand and brush in Arizona. She was expecting her fourth child, and this experience, always frightening would be doubly so where she was going.
There were sufficient people in Littlefield for them to hold church services though that might have required but a family or two. At any rate, new neighbors were probably welcome. We do not know if they found a shelter ready to receive them upon arrival or if they had to camp out while Hans, working at his trade of rock mason built them a house. It is probable however, that some sort of shelter was procured as hastily as possible because of the coming baby.
Hannah said that when her first child was born its layette consisted of six flour sacks. How anybody who loved cleanliness as she did could possibly have managed with so little, I cannot imagine. I doubt that she had much more when Victor arrived soon after their arrival in Littlefield. I wonder if Hannah did not call him 'Victor' as a symbol of what the flight down the river had meant in their efforts to escape persecution.
Willard, her second son, sets the time of the move as the Fall of 1891. He says he celebrated his sixth birthday shortly after, and as children's memories are usually quite accurate where their own private holidays are concerned, I think this must be correct. Grandfather merely says that he saw Littlefield in a dream in 1888 on January 31st and that eleven months later he learned its location and moved his second family there. He returned to Washington shortly after the move taking Martin with him.
In little isolated outposts of civilization, holidays are observed as well as in more thickly populated places, and this is especially true of Christmas. The day could not be the gala celebration held elsewhere for there were no stores in which to buy even the simplest gifts even had there been the money, so they had to look to their own resources for means of celebrating the occasion. This, Willard the oldest child at home had done, making a quail trap in which he hoped to snare food for their holiday feast.
Day by day he visited his little trap. Sometimes he had one bird - sometimes none but when the day before Christmas arrived he had caught and kept alive, seven birds!
How proud he must have felt at the part he was playing in helping to provide for his mother and younger brothers and sisters. His father would be proud of him too, he thought, taking a last look at his fine birds in the little pen he had made. Then Hans
Peter arrived to see how things were with his second family. When preparing to return to Washington, he asked for the gift of the quail to take his loved one in Washington as a Christmas Gift.
Hannah's first impulse was one of injured pride that what her boy had worked for should thus be snatched away with no consideration for the welfare of her little ones. Indignantly she snapped, "And what will we do here for something to eat on Christmas, then?"
Calmly her husband answered her, "If you give me the birds I promise you that Willard will catch you some more."
Maybe Hannah muttered something like, "Little chance of that." But at any rate Hans Peter took Willard's seven quail with him when he drove back to Washington. The young trapper's feelings are not revealed.
The next day the boy half-heartedly went down to his quail trap. Even as he watched, a flock of birds entered the little box which was baited with corn. Down went the box, so full of quail that they almost lifted it off the ground. Of course, to make the story short, there were exactly seven in the trap, just the amount his father had taken, so both branches of the family had quail for their Christmas dinner.
At this time, there was apparently a good deal of land open to homesteaders, for Willard recounts that Albert Frehner had a piece of land on the east side of the river as did Henry Frehner. There was vacant land adjoining it which Sam Reber and Hans Peter Iverson subsequently occupied. Joe Reber's holdings were nearby. On the Beaver Dam Wash a few miles away, Hans Peter took up some additional land and ran a ditch to it for irrigation purposes. He later withdrew from this land to allow the Bundy family which had come from Nebraska where they had been converted to Mormonism by Steve Bunker, to settle. However, Brother Abraham Bundy later disposed of the land prior to going into Old Mexico as a colonist there.
The history of the Bundy family is quite interwoven with that of Hans Peter's second family and there may be occasion to mention them later in this history. They were a big family when they joined the church and came to Beaver Dam and other children may have been born after they arrived.
It was natural that the young people of the two families should be attracted to each other in later years, resulting in the marriage of Martin, Hannah's eldest son and dark-haired Lillie Belle, oldest daughter of Brother and Sister Bundy, and later of Roy Bundy, Lillie's brother and Doretta, Martin's sister. Of these two unions, twenty-one children were born and nineteen raised to adulthood, the number born being the same number of those whom Hans Peter himself had fathered. After Martin's marriage, Hannah and her younger children accompanied him to Old Mexico where they lived for some time.
Willard also went to Mexico and lived in the State of Sonora in Western Mexico. While there, Stanley, his eight-month old son died, apparently of meningitis. There was considerable trouble with the natives and following the murder of a neighbor woman, they decided to leave, getting out just ahead of the rebels. This was in 1913. Hans Peter had written that if he would conic back from Mexico to Littlefield he could have some land. However, he went instead to nearby Kaolin where he leased some property and engaged in farming, raising cantaloupes, etc. It was here that Frances died in January 1914, and Hannah thereafter kept house for him.
All was not peaceful with Hans Peter's stay in Littlefield, for nature frequently caused great havoc to fields and homes upon the banks of the Virgin River. In 1910, storms in the mountains and melting snow swelled the stream to gigantic proportions. Down came the flood, a mighty ocean of roily, brown water bent on destruction and chaos. That it accomplished its foul purpose can be seen from the account given by different ones of the family as well as by Hans Peter himself.
Willard merely says that a big flood washed Aunt Dora's home completely away. (She had followed Hannah to Littlefield sometime prior to 1910.) The lot on which her house stood was washed into the river, a granary filled with grain flooded away and a wagon and harness lost. Only Hannah's house remained.
Aunt Dora's house was under water all day. When night came, the flood was only a few feet from the door of Hannah's dwelling. Water surrounded everything. Gardens were submerged with their winter carrots, turnips, etc. Fruit trees stood in a lake of dirty brown slush. By wading they had managed to save considerable of Aunt Dora's belongings and by carrying wood from the little schoolhouse they managed to keep warm in the house that remained.
Levi says, "When the moon arose, I could see that everything was gone and I woke Pa and told him. At first he seemed rattled, but immediately grew calm as recollection came to him."
His daughter-in-law, Dina says that he sang "If the way be full of trial, weary not." He must have thought of the Biblical saying, "Whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth," for he did not complain but immediately began rebuilding across the river, a not inconsiderable task for a man of his age.
Hans Peter seemed to be possessed of the ability to foresee what might occur and prepare for it. He had, previous to the destruction of his property by the flood, cleared some land across the river from where they lived, Here were small springs of water and some level land, and he had planted vineyards and raised melons. This little bit of tilled land stood them in good stead in the subsequent years, providing food which they might not have had except for his foresightedness. Still, he must have been somewhat discouraged after the flood, for he contacted a buyer with the intention of selling what property remained.
The buyer came - a man who apparently knew nothing about farming and Hans Peter who loved a joke, saw an opportunity to have a little fun. As they passed a squash patch, he remarked, "See how well melons do here." The man tried to eat one and probably did not think much of our Grandfather's little joke. However, he wished to pay $5.00 down as an option on the place, but Hans Peter replied, "No, I do not want your money but I will hold the place for you until you decide whether you want to buy or not." So whatever the man may have thought about Hans Peter's sense of humor, he could not question his fairness and honesty. As things turned out, he did not sell the land after all and spent most of his declining years in Littlefield with Dora, his third wife.
It may not be amiss to briefly chronicle the main happenings of the Iversons who settled at Mt. Trumbull. All of Hannah's children at one time or another had a home at this place. This made two or more communities on the Arizona Strip settled by descendants of our Grandfather, Hans Peter Iverson.
Here as in Beaver Darn and Littlefield the Iversons and Bundys were neighbors. Abraham Bundy and his sons Roy and James took up homesteads here. Martin Iverson settled nearby. The younger Bundy boys, Omer, Chester, and Vivian also homesteaded at Mt. Trumbull. Victor Iverson and his 'in-laws Brother and Sister A. A. McCain settled here as well as their son-in-law Albert Snyder. Willard Iverson and Roy Whipple, husband of Annie Iverson chose their section of land. Others came later but these were the earlier settlers at 'Bundyville' as the place came to be called. They erected a school building and church and other social affairs were instituted.
I do not know that Grandfather Iverson ever visited his children at Mt. Trumbull as he was quite advanced in age at the time they settled there. He may have helped haul lumber from there to build the Temple in his earlier life.
Living at Mt. Trumbull was difficult in more ways than one. Culinary water had to be hauled, sometimes for many miles and at times it was even necessary to move cattle and people to some spring while waiting for rain to come and fill the ponds. Most of the people had settled here believing that this would be an ideal place to raise their children away from the vices of the world. Wickedness, however, seems to have a way of creeping into the most out-of the-way places wherever there are those who welcome them with open arms.
Of the early settlers at Mt. Trumbull many are gone. Brother and Sister Bundy who had lived in a little home at St. George near the Temple died in or about 1945, Martin passed away August 1, 1944. Lillie has a lovely home in St. George near that of her son Lawrence. Hannah died in 1937 during the bitter winter that will never be forgotten. She as well as Martin are buried at Mt. Trumbull. Roy and Doretta Bundy also live in St. George though Roy incapacitated by arthritis still spends a good deal of his time at his ranch on the 'Strip'. James Bundy and several sons have their homes at Mt. Trumbull.
This little bit about Mt. Trumbull is not pertinent to the history of Hans Peter. It is added solely to complete as near as possible the history of his descendants. I wish as much was obtainable about the children of his first and third manages but that is not in my power.
Hans Peter said in 1920 that he then had about one hundred descendants - presumably all living. It is difficult to complete a listing now as so many cannot be contacted but there are over three hundred. A number of his Grandsons served in World War II and Martin's son, George Clifton gave his life on Iwo Jima. I do not know if any others were called upon to make the supreme sacrifice. A grandson, Grant Iverson was wounded in Korea.
Hans Peter died December 12, 1922, Aunt Dora died July 3 1938. Both are buried at Washington in a plot surrounded by a little fence which some of his children had erected. Services were held both at Littlefield and at Washington.