This document contains two histories of Hans Peter Iversin and Juliane Johanne Dorthea Christensen.
- MY PARENTS By Doretta Marie Iverson Bundy Nov. 10, 1958
- HANS PETER IVERSON AND JULIANNA JOHANNA D. CHRISTENSEN By Nellie Iverson Cox
Laron Waite - 2017
By Doretta Marie Iverson Bundy Nov. 10, 1958
Hans Peter Iverson
Juliane Johanne Dorthea Christensen
My parents came from Denmark. They heard and accepted the Gospel before becoming acquainted with each other, accepting it gladly. After joining the Church, Father stayed in his homeland and there preached the Gospel for four years. He there met Annie Nissen
(Aunt Annie) and they were married on the ship while crossing the Atlantic Ocean. After they arrived in Salt Lake City, Brigham Young called them to help settle Dixie. So they made their home in Washington and struggled for an existence. I remember Father telling of eating thistle and alfalfa greens. They planted cotton and built the cotton factory which still stands (renovated in 1986). Father helped build the temple.
After their sixth child was born I think they were prospering pretty well. Anyway, Father had a desire to go back to Denmark on another Mission. So he wrote to Brigham Young and told him, and soon got his call. I don't know if Aunt Annie was agreeable to his going while she was in a "delicate" condition, but their seventh child was born while he was gone. He served three years on that Mission, and while there received the sad news that his three youngest children had died with diphtheria. I think that must have been very hard on Aunt Annie struggling with hardship alone. Her oldest girls commenced working in the cotton factory as soon as they were old enough. And that helped conditions at home.
When Father received his release and was giving his last talk at church to the saints my mother was pointed out to him and the Spirit said, "Take her home to be your wife." He tried to drive it from his mind but he was told three times. So he wrote a note and gave it to her when Church was dismissed, asking her to go America with him. The ship was set to sail in just a few days so he didn't give her but a few minutes to say that she would go. So she hurried home to tell her parents and got one of her sisters to come and take her job, as she had hired out for a couple of years. In that country you couldn't hire out for a day or a month. When people wanted someone to work for them they were hired for a year or two under contract, the same as teachers are hired ire this country.
When my mother (to be) had got herself ready for that long voyage across the Atlantic, and then by train to Salt Lake City and on by wagon to Washington, her father took her to the depot where she was to meet my father (to be). And meanwhile, he had gone out and got a German girl, which Mother knew nothing about, and I don't think she even knew that he was taking her home with him until they got to Salt Lake City. But she (later) became my Aunt Dora.
Poor Father: He had not planned any of this. He had thought that he could now go home and take care of his family, since he had spent seven years in the Mission Field. I imagine that he had other things on his mind besides smiling at two girls who didn't know the other one was going to become his wife too. And there was his poor wife at home weighed down by the sorrow of losing her children. And Father was in charge of two young children who belonged to some converts who were anxious to come to America as soon as they could earn the money for their fare. Father thought that these children could in some way fill the place of those three they had lost while he was gone. (How well this worked we have not been told.)
While crossing the ocean, Father was so seasick that he was confined to his bed most of the time. Mother said that she only saw him a few times on the whole voyage. And the closer Father got to home, the more he worried about conditions there. And I'll bet those two girls were a little worried by not seeing him very often he was Supposed to be their lover. With such a sober face, they had no way of knowing what his troubles were.
Denmark and Germany were not on good terms with each other, Denmark having taken a small piece of German territory. And since Aunt Annie came from that same little piece of land, she would need a little while to get used to having a German girl as her husband's wife. But when they were a few miles from home (Washington) Father's mind became at ease that everything would be all right.
After arrival, Aunt Dora lived with some relatives while Father arranged for a home to put his intended wives in. He bought a little place about one mile north of town, a very pretty place with a little spring. He built a pond to store the water for irrigating the orchard and fields and had a boat and ducks. It was called The Duck Farm. Here Aunt Dora and Mother lived in the same house and shared the same hardships together and here I was born. I was my mother's fourth child and lived here until I was three years old. I am sure the two were a great comfort to each other in their lonesome and homesick hours. And it must have got pretty noisy with several little ones in the same house, judging from my own experience, when my own grandchildren come to see me now.
I don't remember this, but the Government decided to put a stop to plural marriages, even though they had driven us out of civilization into barren desert, it didn't stop our progressing. I think they were afraid that we would over rule the nation. And so we would have if the Mormons would have continued to live as close to the commandments that the Lord gave His people as they should have.
Well, the marshals (U. S. law officers) came to make things harder for the plural families. They always came in a black rig and the first one to see them sent word through the town so that the men could make their getaway. But it was disagreeable, since they couldn't continually hide from the Marshals and take care of families too. So Father went over in to Colorado and worked for six months. But as soon as he came home, the marshals were on his trail. One day he went to his father's place, and while they were eating dinner, in stepped the marshals and asked if it was where Mir. Iverson lived.
"I guess I am the man you are looking for," Father told them. So they served papers on him and told him to appear in court on a certain day. Father said he would be there, since he was tired of running from them, and would rather die than deny his wives and children.
Aunt Dora and Mother had to go to Beaver to the court and Mother took me along as I was only a month and two days old. They found Father guilty and dressed him in stripes and locked him up, not caring a bit for what might become of his families or whether his children cried for bread.
Mother had left Willard my three year old brother with Uncle Lishas and his wife. He was my father's cousin. Uncle told him that if he kept on wetting his pants he would have to tie the cream jar on him.
That was a hard life for Father. He would much rather be out working. He asked the warden to be allowed to do some work. They knew they could trust him so they let him out to herd the milk cows. One day when he was near the railway tracks, the conductor of a train slowed it down and motioned to him to come and get on. But Father was as good as his word, and would not try to escape. While he was taking care of the cows, he would whittle little toys for his children at home. He made me a rattle, as I was the baby, and made something for all of us. And he made a walking cane for his father. It was a work of art and had a dog's head carved on the hand hold.
Aunt Annie told Father that she would go to live with her married daughters and for him to take care of his young families. She was a very sweet lady. The last time I saw her, I must have been twelve or thirteen. It was when we were living at Littlefield. Father had not been feeling very well and we were out of flour and he didn't feel like going to Washington to the flour mill about thirty five miles away. I tried to get him to let me go, but he didn't like the idea, so we lived a week or more without bread. We ground wheat on a little coffee mill, but finally our cries for bread got so loud that Father let me go, giving instructions on where I was to camp at night and when I should get there and when I should get back home. Then he instructed me on how to take care of the horses and ended by saying, "Give Aunt Annie a big kiss and hug her for me."
Levi, my youngest brother, went with me and we arrived in washing ton at the allotted time, and I felt very proud that I had been trusted. That is the last time that I remember seeing Aunt Annie. She was very frail. Both she and Hans Peter would have been about sixty five at this time. We got the flour loaded and were ready to start when the time came to leave.
On the way back, we had to camp at the Indian Reservation near the last crossing of the Santa Clara Creek. We watered and fed our horses and tied them to the back end of the wagon, then ate our supper and unrolled our bed in the wagon box and crawled in. I felt very lonely and not very brave coming so close to the Indians. So I talked and told stories to keep Levi awake. But no use, he was soon. asleep. The horses made a noise crunching their hay, and an old coyote commenced his lonesome howl. I couldn't stay awake all night, so finally fell asleep.
When I awoke, there was not a sound to be heard; it was dark and the stars were shining. I sat up one horse was lying down and the other was standing with his head down sleeping I guess, though then I did not know that horses slept, so I thought they must be sick. Fear struck me since Father had cautioned me about taking care of them. I sure didn't want them to get sick while they were in my care.
What should I do? I had followed Father's instructions to the letter so far, and though I didn't know what time of night it was, I decided it would be best to hitch them up and start home before they both laid down and died. So I tried to wake Levi up, but that wasn't an easy job. I rolled him over and tried to tell him that Old Mat was lying down and that Bell was standing with her head down and eyes closed as though she was ready to fall any minute. But he just told me to leave him alone and let him sleep. Then I crawled under the covers and tried to sleep myself. But it was useless. How I wished that I hadn't pleaded with Father to let us go. I thought that I would rather have gone without bread for ten years and kept on grinding wheat in the old coffee mill for mush the rest of my life.. So I woke Levi up again and pleaded with him to help me put the harnesses on the horses. Not that I couldn't have done it myself, but I confess that I was a coward of the worst sort, scared of the dark.
Well, I finally bribed Levi to get up and help me. I had a small box of apples that I was taking home, but I fed most of them to Levi trying to keep him awake. Soon, however, he could hold no more, and went right back to sleep. So I tried to be brave, but I craved company, but it took several hours to drive those ten or twelve miles of rocky, steep road. I saw black stumps and rocks along the way, but when the horses didn't shy I felt safe. But I sure was glad to see daylight come. I pulled onto the camp ground at Castle Cliff just as the sun peeked over the mountain. And there, camping, was Frank Reber, a neighbor boy just my age. It was hard to convince him that I had come from the Indian Reservation that morning. He had a couple of buckets of water that he didn't need, and gave them to my horses. Levi woke up then so we had breakfast with Frank and were on our way again. Then I began to worry about getting home half a day before I was due according to the time Father knew it would take me. So at Beaver Dam I stopped and talked with Mary Reber to take up a little time, though I was just a mile from home. But Father and Mother were sure glad to see me drive in, back safely.
Now back to Father's stay in jail at Provo:
After he had worn the stripes for six months, Father was released to come home. He found Mama and Aunt Dora struggling alone the best way they could with their little families. Mother's oldest child had died when she was three years old; her name was Julie. Martin came next, Willard third, and I was fourth. Aunt Dora's children were Emma, Allie, Walter Esteila, Amanda, Maggie and Wallace. So you see there were seven hungry mouths to feed. It was shortly after Father got home that he was at Conference at St. George that the bishops gave their report, and Bishop Eddie Bunker of Bunkerville spoke of Littlefield, a little branch belonging to the Bunkerville Ward. Father became interested, as he had had a dream of a place like Bishop Bunker described.
By early spring Mother was ready to move. I was just past three and I remember how excited Willard and I were and how we wanted to sleep out in the big covered wagon the night before the journey started. Martin was to stay with Aunt Dora and help take care of the cows as he was the oldest boy in the family..
I do not remember anything about the trip until we arrived at Beaver Dam which was just a mile from our future home. It was just after sundown and the Virgin River came from the east and the Beaver Dam Wash from the west and they ran into each other around the point of the hill and then went south. Where the rivers joined there was a big cottonwood tree and a sheep wagon and two men with a bright campfire, and nearby was a big bunch of sheep. Willard and I were very excited to see a sight like that.
The men told Father about the road, and off we went. Father told Mother to take me and Willard and walk in order to lighten the load. He drove west to get the right slant and we went up a trail. The sand was deep and it was dark, and we couldn't see a thing. And we were tired and sleepy and Willard said to break some brush down and make a bed. Then Mother decided to go back to the sheep camp. The men had eaten their supper, but got their horses and took Willard and me and with Mother trudging alone, went back up that steep sand hill. Meanwhile, Father had arrived at Littlefield and said that he had lost his wife and two children. So Sammie Reber and Henry Frehner got their horses and came to find us. I was afraid when another strange man took me from the sheepherder and made the air ring until Mother assured me that she was close by.
Brother Sam Reber had a one room log cabin with a big fire in the fireplace and there they treated us as only pioneers can do. I remember Martha and Eddie Reber, our future playmates, standing by the side. Beds were made on the floor for us. And next day Father moved our meager belongings to a little one room lumber house on the hill, nearly the same place where Joseph Reber built a nice home in later years. Father later built a dugout at the foot of the hill, right near a ditch. Our shanty reminds me of the parable in the Bible where the camel had to be unloaded to get through the eye of the needle. So was our summer home.
HANS PETER IVERSON AND JULIANNA JOHANNA D. CHRISTENSEN
By Nellie Iverson Cox
I must confess a grievous fault on my part, perhaps a year ago before the death of Hanna, the second wife, I asked her to dictaie her life history to me. She commenced doing this, but tiring, put off finishing it, and it was never begun again. Not only that, but the shorthand notes of the little she did tell me, were partly destroyed, and so, today only a small portion of her history as she gave it remains. - Nellie Iverson Cox, 1951.
I do have the correct date and the names of her parents. Her place of birth is given only as Denmark but it was in the neighborhood of Aalborg that she first saw the light of day, on February 6, 1859. She was one of five sisters. At this writing, one, Susanna survives.
The poorer people of Denmark, having little worth while to bestow upon their children endowed them with several names, so she was called Julianna (or Yuliana) Johanna Dortea. Her father was Jens Christian Christensen, and her mother Lassina Maria Hendrexsen or (Hendersen). Grandmother was apparently called Dora for short during her girlhood but changed that to Hanna after her marriage.
I remember hearing her talk about her childhood and the fresh, green appearance of the entire country. There were few hills and everything had the appearance of a verdant meadow in the growing season. Her continual desire after she left Denmark was to have returned for a visit to her beloved Native Land. The parched sandhills and barren stretches of desert which she saw in America were in great contrast to the beautiful, evergreen land of her birth.
She also spoke often of the Lutheran Pastor who was also the schoolteacher in her home community. His Bible stories and religious teachings made a lasting impression on her mind so that she was able to say when she heard the Mormon Missionaries: "That is exactly what Christ taught."
Hanna's parents and probably all of her sisters accepted the Gospel and her sisters at least came to America, some of them later living in Mt. Pleasant, Utah. One sister, Suzanna was living in California at last report. She would be quite elderly at this date.
Grandmother had a hard life both in Denmark where she had to work in the fields and later, as a pioneer in Littlefield, Old Mexico and at Mt. Trumbull, Arizona this latter because of her advanced age being the most difficult of all.
One of her tasks as a girl was to cut the 'turr' or peat as it was also known, which was a sort of soft coal composed of decayed vegetation and was the only fuel available. This required frequent turning to allow the moisture to evaporate and here as well as in the grain fields, she worked in a constant, stooping position resulting in a decided hump on her back which she carried all her life, This was not the only scar which work placed on her body. Once when she worked in a blacksmith shop with her Father, it was her duty to keep a firm hold on the knives which were being sharpened. One young man who had worked at this same occupation previously, had allowed the knife to slip, cutting himself quite badly, and had fainted when the cut was being sewed up. She had the same misfortune and had the tendons in several finier gers severed so they could not be straightened, but when telling this she was always very proud of the fact that she had not fainted.
She had to milk cows, which she said, had to be milked three times a day in the summer because of the long hours of sunlight. The longitude there is between 55 and 60 degrees and corresponds to that of northern Canada.
Once she worked For a family by the name of 'Sink' living at a place called 'Haals'. It was her duty among other things, to care for a little boy named 'Christian Sink'. She tells of having to amuse him by knocking on the wall while he was occupied on his nursery chair, or whatever it was they used in those days.) She became very attached to this child and often mentioned the desire to have the Temple Work done for his family. Madame Sink, his mother, was a strict task mistress. The milk utensils had to be scoured, the floors scrubbed and everything kept spic and span.
Due to the extreme cold in Denmark in the winter, quilts were little used on the beds, feather ticks taking their place. These were also used as mattresses. Ducks and geese were plentiful so there was no lack of down to make bedding.
The long evenings were used to spin wool into thread to be made into clothing. When her tasks were finally completed she was so exhausted that she could not always sleep. To add to her unease was the fact that the hired man would call her to get up and she might not hear him. She tells of waking at two o'clock in the morning and thinking the hired man had called her until she had crept out in the hail to look at the clock.
The following is part of her memories given in her own words when she was about 76:
"My sister and I had gone to the place where the soldiers were exercising. It was a tine sight to see them lined up in two rows with the General marching up and down, giving orders. He would cry, 'Stomach in, shoulders back chest out.' That was more interesting than any picture show I have ever seen. Once in a while the soldiers gave us penneys to spend."
"When I was about eight or nine we moved to Gothope where my father worked in a big blacksmith shop where the machinery was run by waterpower. The bellows were run by water power and there were huge forges all over the room. For a long time my job was to tend a huge hammer so that it would not run too fast. The man who held the iron hammer would motion with his head one way or the other and I knew by this just what he wanted me to do. I tried to be careful and watch his head so that I would know just how he wanted his hammer run. Another job was to grind knives on a wooden wheel which also ran by water power. There were cracks on the wheel and if I allowed the knives to go too far back they would be jerked out of my grasp and there was danger of my being cut if I did not have a tight hold. One night the man was getting ready to go to supper which would leave me alone, so I tried to hurry and by not thinking I got cut quite badly."
"I helped the men haul manure to the fields. They would haul out many loads of manure which they would put in small piles and the hired girl would have to spread it around on the ground. Sometimes she would have to help load it too if there was only one hired man. I often had to go milk while the men ate din ner. When I finished this, I could eat what was left. The men would then take a nap while I washed the huge stacks of dishes - not alone the dinner dishes but many buckets and pots and pans and tubs which had been used to make cheese and for churning as well. After this there was no time to rest before going out to the fields again."
"In haying season I had to help load and unload the hay and I had to fork the bundles of grain up in the wagon and when the load reached home I would fork them up in the barn."
"My parents were Lutherans but joined the Mormon Church due to the work of some missionaries from Aalhorg. I attended Church in Aalborg some distance from my home. (A Danish mile and a half.) I was staying at home the year after my job at Haals to help mother as she was ill. It was during this winter that I became a Mormon. I joined the Church because I knew the Bible well from being taught it by my teacher in School and I knew that what the missionaries taught was the same as the Bible taught."
"It was the custom for both boys and girls to hire themselves out as laborers - the boys in various professions and the girls principally as housemaids or field workers. A certain young lady acquaintance of mine had thus hired herself out for a year but had grown tired of the position and wished to return home. However, this could not be done unless someone else took her place. At any rate, I began to work here after the winter when I was here at home with my parents. As it was not far from Aalborg I continued attending Sunday Services." "One Sunday when I was just eighteen one of the missionaries was giving his farewell address as he was being released to return to Utah along with a company of emigrants. At the close of the services he approached me and said he was going to visit a family of Saints who lived near where I worked and he wished to see me too. He approached me in the kitchen where I was at work and asked me what I thought about going to America as his wife."
"I knew he was married and that the Mormons practised Polygamy. I did not know what to say but I thought, 'Well my intentions are to go to America as soon as I can and as the kind of work I am doing is nearly slavery, the sooner I leave the better.' Ever since joining the Church I had longed to go to Utah, so I said, 'yes' to brother Iverson for that was his name." "I took the train to Aalborg and then to Swenstrop and then on to Gothope to see my folks and tell them goodbye, and got on the train to Aalborg where my future husband met me. Then we got on the steamboat to go to Copenhagen. Then a ship carried us to Hull, England. After a journey by train, we in company with the other emigrants reached Liverpool where we finally embarked for America. There were about seven hundred people on the ship most of them being Mormon converts."
"Brother Iverson had worked as a missionary in Denmark before going to America as a young man and his wife, Anna Dortea had been baptized by him at that time - the last one he baptized. They had several children and the youngest a boy, had been born and had died during his absence and he had never seen it."
Hannah says, "On this same ship on which I came to America there was a young German girl whose grandfather Brother Iverson had baptized many years before. He had known her as a child and had held her on his knee. Now she too, was going to Utah." (1 understand that Hans Peter had not, at this time asked Dortea Caroline Johanna Evers to be his wife.)
This ends the story of Hannah Iverson as given in her own words.
Hans Peter in his own short history goes into greater detail concerning the manner in which he acquired his second wife.
Neither of them tell the name of the ship on which they came to America. A Brother Neilson sent some money with Hans Peter, instructing him to use it on the voyage if necessary. This opened up the way to pay Johanna's passage. He also took to America a young girl named Mina Jensen and a boy Peter Swenson Graco. Though he does not tell us so they very likely were going to friends or relatives in America.
Hans Peter says they had a pleasant trip over land and sea but in spite of this, he was by no means at ease in his mind. His wife at home knew nothing of the imminent addition to her family and he did not know how she would take it. Not only that, Dora Evers, grandaughter of Hans of Stole, did not know he had been commanded to marry her. What a position for a man to be in.
They were approaching Salt Lake on the swiftly moving train, quite a different mode of travel from the slow ox cart which had accompanied Hans Peter and Anna Dortea from New York in 1859. In iust half an hour they would be in the City of the Saints. Hans Peter could endure the uncertainty no longer. With courage born of desperation, he approached Dora Evers and asked her if she would go home with him. Her answer was an unqualified 'yes' so now he had just one thing to worry about. What would his wife in Washington say. Heavy laden, he turned to the Lord in prayer as was his custorn at all times but especially when anything worried him, and that his wife at home might accept of this principle of plural marriage as he had done. He says that it was wonderful how sweet the peace of mind he felt, when about two miles before reaching his home, the same voice which had commanded to take this important step, told him that all would be well.
How I wish that he had left us the details of that meeting - the joy of welcoming him that his wife, Anna must have felt the wondering looks of his children as they beheld this kind stranger who was their Father - the tears of sorrow they must have shed because of the two babies who had died during his absence - and lastly, the words of explanation that were given to account for the two young ladies who had accompanied him.
How did Anna Dortea react? Did she merely acquiesce because there seemed nothing else to do or did she rejoice that now her husband might have other sons to take the place of the ones who had died? Was she glad to make one more sacrifice for her religion?
At any rate, soon after their arrival she accompanied Hans Peter and Julianna Johanna Dortea Christensen to the newly completed Temple in St. George. Here on August 10, 1877 his wife and children were sealed to him and that he married a second one.
Dora Evers' daughters probably know why she too was not married at this time instead of waiting until January 19, 1878. However, I do not have that information. Whether she had employment or lived with the Iverson family during the waiting period I do not know.
Babies were not slow in arriving. Hannah buried her first little girl. Her second, a boy was named Peter Martin. Hannah said at one time her husband named all of their children except Victor. This may have been because he was not at home when this occurred, the place of birth being Littlefield, Arizona, considerably removed from Washington where the rest of the family were at that time.