THE STORY OF MY MOTHER'S LIFE - DORTEA CAROLINE EVERS: by Emma Iverson Bunker
Dorothea Caroline Johanna Evers was born 1 December, 1850. Family records give her birthplace as Stohl, Prussa. LDS Church membership records list her birthplace as Kohl, Kolding, Vejle, Denmark.
She married Hans Peter Iverson 10 January, 1878 in the St. George Temple. She bore the following children with him.
- Emma: Born 17 December, 1878 in Washington, Washington, Utah
- Alvina Elizabeth: Born 26 July, 1881 in Washington, Washington, Utah
- Hyrum Walter: Born 26 December 1882 in Washington, Washington, Utah
- Stella Elenora: Born 15 February, 1886 in Washington, Washington, Utah
- Amanda Emlia: Born 17 June 1888 in Washington, Washington, Utah
- Margaretha Wilhelmina: Born 8 August in Washington, Washington, Utah
- Wallace Joseph: Born 21 April, 1893 in Washington, Washington, Utah
Laron Waite - 2017
Dortea Caroline Evers
My Mother, Dortea (Dorthea) Caroline Evers, daughter of Christian Friedrick Evers and Caroline Catherina Ahrens, was born 1 December 1850, in Stohl, Prussia, (now Germany).
She was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter- day Saints, in the year 1860. Although she was only ten years old at the time of her baptism she was very serious about her religion, as she grew older and understood it better, she decided she would never marry in Germany, but would come to America, and be married for Eternity. Her family and friends did not take her seriously. They asked her how she thought she would get to America. She said she would work and with the faith she had and the help of the Lord, she knew she would make it.
Her mother died when she was six years old. She had one sister two years younger than she. After her mother's death, her father left home, he said to find work, but they never saw him again. Her grandmother, (her mother's mother) raised the two little girls, her Grandmother belonged to the Church and was willing for her to go to America, if it could be arranged, hut she knew it would all depend on Mother. She too had faith that the way would be opened up. She knew it would take a lot of hard work to make enough money for such a long journey. The only kind of work Mother could do was house work and wages were very low.
She had very low blood pressure and after having worked for several years, she had to stop working. She was under the Doctor's care for a long time before she was able to go back to work again and when she did, it was too soon, she still needed rest, which she had deprived herself of. She contracted tuberculosis and had to stop working again. It took several years for her to recover from that disease but she wouldn't give up. Her sister was married quite young to a man who was quite well to do. He was terribly opposed to Mother's working so hard, especially for the purpose of earning money to go to America.
He predicted that if she continued working as she had done she would die of tuberculosis. He was able to help her, if he would. He told her if she could not be talked out of her foolish idea, as he called it, when she got to America and found out what a mistake she had made, he would willingly send her money to come back home. He suspected she would marry in polygamy and later be sorry and wish to return to Germany. Mother knew what she wanted, how much her religion meant to her and knew she would not want to turn back. She knew things would not be easy for her, but felt that with her faith, the Lord would see her through. She also decided that no matter what trials or hardships she had to endure she would never write home one complaint and she didn't, nor did she ever tell them that she had married in polygamy.
Her Grandmother was very good to her as well as her step-grandfather. They were well up in years and only able to take care of themselves, but they willingly shared their home with their two granddaughters.
Mother often said, if her own mother had lived she could not possibly have been better to her than her grandmother was. The only time her grandmother ever scolded her was one day when they went into the garden to get a head of cabbage; her grandmother cut the cabbage in two by sticking a sharp pointed butcher knife into it, the cabbage was so solid and hard that it gave a loud popping sound as it split open. This tickled my mother, as it would any child, so she decided that was a game she could play.
When her Grandmother was through with the knife mother took it into the garden and cut nearly every cabbage head open, she laughed so loud and hard that her grandmother heard her and went out to see what it was all about. Imagine her surprise, if you can. She was so angry and yet she knew the child had meant no harm. Mother got a scolding besides some sound advice, which she never forgot. Incidentally the cabbage was all cut up and brought into the house, some given to the neighbors, some made into sauerkraut, some pickled and they had cabbage for dinner every day as long as it lasted.
Play things and toys were really luxuries in those days. Mother had only one doll in her life, the kind we used to call China dolls, she really could not enjoy it, because she was so curious to know what was inside of the head. She was told that its head was empty, but she couldn't imagine such a thing. Her curiosity finally got the better of her, so she broke the doll's head to find out for herself what was inside it. I once asked her if she didn't feel awfully bad to think she had broken her doll, she said, "no," that the satisfaction really meant more to her than the doll, arid besides she would rather have had a little story book. As she grew older, she became a great reader. It would be hard to find a woman who knew the Bible better than Mother did, she really didn't have much time to read but she had a remarkable good memory, and seemed able to remember everything she read.
In the early days of the Church, when converts were ready to come to America they came alone. Most of them had never traveled, and were not able to speak English. Many came with no more money than was needed for their journey. When shopping, while traveling along the way, they would hand their money to those with whom they were dealing, trusting in their honesty and often they were over charged or short changed. The consequences were that many of them were stranded and some, Mother was told, drifted away from the Church and never did reach their destination. So the Church put a stop to that. When the converts were ready to come here, they were asked to send their names to the Mission Headquarters in their Country and as the Missionaries were released they were to contact the converts and have them come over with them.
Mother had been ready for some time and waiting for someone to contact her about leaving. One day a man from Denmark, who had completed his mission and was ready to return home, and who could speak the German language, was sent to see Mother, my Father was released from his Mission at the same time, so this man asked Father to go with him to see Mother. The man asked her where she wanted to go in America, she told him she had no one to go to, but she had to go some place where there were German speaking people. He repeated to Father what she said. My Father told her his Father's wife came from Switzerland and that the Swiss and German languages were quite a lot alike. He said he was sure it would be alright with Father and his wife if he brought Mother home to them for the time being, that was in the year 1877 and on January 10, 1878 he and Mother were married in the St. George Temple.
When the time came for her to leave for America her Mother (as she always called her grandmother) and a few close relatives went to the ship with her. That to her was like a funeral. It was a terrible experience, some tried to talk her out of going. When the ship started moving, she said she simply couldn't describe her feelings, now that at last, they were really being separated, never to see each other again in this life. Leaving her Mother (grandmother) was the hardest of all. She thought she cried harder at that time than she ever had; they, standing on the shore waving good-by to her and she from the ship's deck waving to them. She kept that up until she could stand it no longer, being carried away farther and farther every minute. She sat and cried, she didn't know how long. Then she got up to wave again to them, but by that time she couldn't see them any more, she cried then until she was really sick. A woman was told to take her in and put her to bed.
They were six weeks crossing the Ocean. I don't know how long they were crossing the Continent, but we do know they didn't travel at "break neck speed" as they do now.
Her Mother (grandmother) was the only one who ever wrote to her, she and her sister never were close to each other, although Mother loved her dearly. She blamed her sister's husband, that her sister did not write. Wilhelmina (Mena) her sister was always light hearted and full of fun. Religion never seemed to concern her. A good time was the only thing that seemed to interest her.
Mother had several chances to marry in Germany but she knew if she married there she would never come to America. Her Grandmother felt the same way and knew there was a great work for her to do there. It worried her terribly for Mother to come alone to a strange country, strange people, strange language and with very little money, not much more than enough to make the journey, not knowing a soul here not even a relative to come to.
If that isn't faith - what is faith?
Mother was very quiet, and a home body, she cared very little for society, yet she had many friends. Every one who knew her loved her, though she often felt that as the last or third wife, and because of her German descent she was mistreated by the others.
She had seven children, five girls and two boys, all of whom were married in the Temple. She never lost a child and she lived long enough to see all her children become Grandparents. My Father passed away nearly sixteen years before Mother, and she alone stayed with him until the end. lie died December 12, 1921.
Her Grandmother died January 19, 1898. The next morning Mother said to me, "Grandmother died last night." I thought she meant my Grandfather's wife, who lived in Washington, Utah since we always called her Grandmother, though she was really not our Grandmother. So I asked, "who came and told you?" She said, "No Grandmother in Germany." "Oh you dreamed it" said she, "no I didn't dream it. Before eleven o'clock something woke me up." She had the baby in bed with her, he may have made a move that awakened her, but as she opened her eyes, her Grandmother stood at the foot of the bed, dressed just as she was the last time that she saw her, it startled Mother, for just a few seconds, and then it was as real as if she was with her in life. Then her Grandmother spoke to her saying, "Hello Doris" (Mother was always called Doris in Germany), "how are you Doris? I have worried so much about you since you left home. You always wrote as if everything was all right. You never complained in any of your letters. No one can have a large family and no troubles or problems. I always felt as if you were keeping something from me, and you were always so good to confide in me." Mother said, "Everything is fine Mother and I have a lovely family, I wish you could see them." "Some other time I will," her Grandmother said. Then Mother asked her when she left home. She told her just before eleven o'clock. She said she had been given permission to come to see Mother and was glad everything was well with her. Just then the baby moved and Mother turned to look at the baby, as she turned back to speak to her Grandmother again, she was gone.
After Mother had told me about her Grandmother's death, I really thought it was a dream, but she gave me a piece of paper and pencil, and said, "write down the date and in about a month I'll get a letter from Germany telling me about Mother's death." "When I get the letter, you get this paper and see if it isn't just as I have told you."
She kept her Bible on a shelf in the kitchen where it was handy to get as she often had only a few minutes to read, she told me to put the paper in the Bible, so it wouldn't get lost.
When the month was up, sure enough, she got a letter telling exactly when her Grandmother had died, it was just before eleven o'clock and the date was the same as I had written on the paper. "Now this will be the last time I will ever hear from Germany", my Mother said, and it was.
I have often wondered where her Grandmother got permission to come to see Mother, if someone came for her when she died and gave her permission, or if she went to her Maker first and got permission. No matter which, it proves to me that she must have been a wonderful woman to be given such a privilege.
Mother was real strict in teaching her children to do right. We never thought of sitting up to the table for breakfast without first having prayers. We might as well have thought of going without our breakfast. It was the same in the evening before to bed.
We were always sent to Primary, Sunday School, and Mutual. As soon as we began earning money the tithing was always taken out first, then Mother would say, "The rest is yours." A more faithful woman would be hard to find.
She had a very hard life, as most of the people did in those days. She did plain sewing for her friends and neighbors whenever she had a chance, but that really was not very often as very few could afford it. Little as it was though, it was a help. She did a lot of crocheting for friends or whoever saw her work, and wanted some work done. She also did some knitting.
We lived in Washington, Utah until the year after I was married, then Father, who was a stone mason, built a rock house in Littlefield, Arizona. Mother lived there most of her last years. In the year 1910, January 1st, a large flood came down the Virgin River, the largest ever known of. As they lived right on the river side, they were completely washed out, not one rock left of their house. As the flood came in the night, there was not much time to get anything out of the house. They saved their bedding and a few things, but almost everything went down the river. Father had a piece of land across the river on the east side, so he went to work and built them another house over there. They were living in Littlefield, when Father died. She really enjoyed living in Littlefield. I think it was because all the people there were Swiss. except Father's family. She got real well acquainted with some of the Bunkerville people. Bishop Bunker's family, the Earls and so many others. In traveling through Littlefield, if they had occasion to stop, they always stayed with Mother.
After Father's death, she lived in Littlefield with her youngest son, Wallace, and his wife Dinah until they moved to Washington, Utah, where she lived with her oldest son Walter and his wife Annie for five years, then she lived with Wallace again for two or three years. Fourteen months before she died my sister Allie went to Washington for her and took her to Delta, Utah and cared for her for the remaining part of her life.
It was very hard on Allie, any of Mother's girls would have been more able to have taken care of her. My husband and I had been called as Missionaries to work in the Manti Temple, so I was not there to help her. Maggie lived in California so it was Allie, Stella and Manda who took care of her until her death, on July 6, 1938. She was taken to \Washington to be buried by the side of Father.
There are so many things that could be written about mother's life in Arizona. She didn't talk much about her girlhood days or her home in Germany. I have often thought it was because it seemed to make her homesick and lonely. She had her problems and troubles as well as happiness, but I have tried to relate what seemed to me to have been the outstanding incidents of her life.
This history was sent to the Jeppe Iverson Family Association by Annie M. L. Iverson, wife of Walter Hyrum Iverson