Our Family Legacy
Ingeborg Maria Bentsen or Rolfsen was born January 13, 1822 in Riisoer, Aust-Agder, Norway. She was the daughter of Bent Rolfsen and Gjertrud Maria Wroldsen. Ole and Ingeborg were the parents of ten children five sons and five daughters. One of the sons, Georg Martin died as an infant in Norway, September 14, 1849.
Ingeborg's mother Gjertrud Rolfsen joined the LDS Church September 24, 1853. She was anxious to have her children follow her example. She emigrated with two of her daughters to America in 1857.
January 1, 1863, Ole and Ingeborg's oldest son Andrew joined the Church and April 28, 1863 he left Norway and emigrated to Zion. He went to Fountain Green and there built a home for his coming family who left Riisoer in 1865.
Ingeborg Maria Rolfsen Larsen was baptized into the Church July 26, 1863, and Ole Larsen was baptized July 27, 1863.
Ole and Ingeborg Maria left Riisoer, Norway with their other eight children April 18, 1865. They arrived with their family in New York and proceeded directly to Chicago. Here their friends from Riisoer, the Andrew Johnson family lived. Brother Johnson was engaged in the lathing business and took the twins, Martin and Ole, as helpers in his business.
While in Chicago, they lived in an upstairs area and Wencke, their youngest daughter, remembered finding a dime on the stairway one morning. Childlike, she ran to the nearby store and bought berries to treat the family. Her mother scolded her, telling her it was a sin to take anything that wasn't given her, so Wencke got a spanking.
In 1866 there was an epidemic of yellow fever in Memphis, Tennessee, and there were not enough carpenters to make coffins. Ole Larsen took his family and went there. Ole and Martin, his twin sons, remained in Chicago. Ole and Bent went to work in the coffin factory. A humorous story is told about this experience. It seems that Ole had formed the habit of taking a nap after lunch in Norway. In the coffin factory it was soon discovered that the most comfortable place to carry on this tradition was in the upholstered coffins.
On one occasion when the noon period was almost finished, a number of men surrounded the coffin where Grandfather lay. One shouted in a loud voice, “This is the glorious resurrection morn. This day the scripture is being fulfilled. Isn't it wonderful that the Christians are all up and alive while these old heathens are still sealed in death.”
While in Memphis, Ole would hire a horse and buckboard to take the family into the country to get fruits and vegetables on Sundays. One of the daughters, Wencke, remembers the persimmons as being especially good. She also remembers how the Negroes build their homes on tall poles on the banks of the river and when a parent wanted to punish a child, they would tie it to a pole and proceed to whip it. One time when this was going on, Wencke remembers how her mother went to the Negro, shook her fist and talked in the Norwegian language so forcefully that he didn't punish a child that way again. In this way she showed her love and interest in all mankind. Ingeborg was a loving mother and expected all parents to be likewise.
Grief awaited Ingeborg, for on September 24, 1866, two daughters Jorgine Marie who was fifteen years old and Elin Marie who was eight years old passed away with yellow fever. Life wasn't the same after this, yet there was still more sorrow awaiting her as, on October 22, 1867, her husband, Ole, passed away from the same disease. This seemed a terrible price to pay, but she knew she must shoulder responsibility and get to Chicago. She gathered her remaining family and belongings and managed to get to the Mississippi River where shortly afterwards they boarded a boat for Chicago to await the privilege of going by way of the Southern Pacific Railway across the greater part of the dangerous route west. Evidently the members of the Church were being counseled at that time to delay coming to Utah until the railroad could be completed further west.
The day finally came when they got on the freight train. There were boards nailed across the doorways through which they could look out and see the beautiful wild flowers and grass. They went much faster than the wagons and handcarts had gone and there was no danger from the Indians and other hardships. When they arrived at Fort Laramie, Wyoming, where the railroad ended, they found a Johnson family living there and caring for cows to supply the emigrants with all the good fresh milk and milk products they could use. The Johnsons and Larsens were always the best of friends afterwards.
There was also a man waiting with wagons and team to take them on to Zion. After leaving Fort Laramie there was a swollen river to cross and the man driving the team said there was so much load on the wagon that the twin boys would have to swim the river. They tied their clothes on their heads, got into that cold water and followed the wagon across. Wencke remembered her mother praying in the Norwegian language and watching her sons in that cold water going to safety.
As Wencke was six years old, she remembered going on through the valley of Salt Lake and on southward where her brother Andrew had a log house with four rooms in Fountain Green. He also had some grain and vegetables planted and had earned enough to buy a wagon, team and a sheep to help in making a home and a living. They stayed there until Wencke's eighth birthday, June 19, 1869, where she was baptized. [So they must have come on the train to Fort Laramie in 1867, two years before the railroad was fully finished, making them officially Utah Pioneers even though they did come most of the way on the train! ELB]
People were moving south where land was cheaper, so Ingeborg and her family sold out in Fountain Green and moved to Monroe, Sevier County, in 1871. They traveled with many others, but one night the Larsen's wagon and team just seemed to vanish. They couldn't trace them, so the family just went on with the company. On arriving in a small settlement, they inquired about their wagon and team and were told that there was a man in another town who could help them. The boys went to this town and sought this man. This man, after talking with the boys, withdrew from them and after spending some little time alone, came back to them and described a certain place back of a ledge, saying that here they would find their team and wagon unharmed. He also promised them that they would arrive at their destination in safety, which they did, with thankfulness in their souls.
The settlers of Monroe had been driven from their homes in 1867 because of the Black Hawk War. The War had ceased and the people were returning to rebuild their homes. Many fine people moved there to get farms for their growing sons, and so there was a fine group of people in that little pioneer town. Ole and Martin, while living in Chicago, had learned to play baseball, and they very soon introduced the game in Monroe the first baseball team in that part of Utah.
The boys went to work with a will and soon had a four-room, hewed log house completed. Grandma Rolfsen came from Ephraim and lived with them for a while. During the summer, spring, and autumn months, Andrew and Ole both went to the saw mills and worked. Each of the boys had a twenty-acre lot in the heart of Monroe field. Bent and Martin were the farmers, and very progressive ones, also. The great sacks of grain in the autumn gave evidence of their thrift and industry.
Ingeborg was given a lot across the street east and her son Martin got a lot across the street north. Andrew, the oldest son, got a lot on the south corner of the block on which Ingeborg was located.
A cooperative or people's store was organized about 1878 and the Larsens were stockholders. Andrew was appointed president of the store. It was a great success and yielded big dividends. Its first home was about on the spot where the North Ward Church now stands. The people built a nice, large store building on Main Street across from the public square, and the People's Store was housed in the new building, where it still prospered, but an incendiary burned it in 1881.
Ole, Martin, Andrew, and Wencke were all married in 1879. Bent had been married in 1873 and in 1880 he married his second wife [Lorena Eugenia Washburn].
In the coming years, the four brothers dissolved partnership, and each one started out for himself. Andrew built a log house on the corner south of the old home. Martin bought the lot just north of his mother's home. Bent already had built a nice three-roomed adobe house three blocks east, and Ole built a four-roomed brick house on the corner west of Bent's home.
Ingeborg had a comfortable home with four rooms and two fireplaces, one being in a back room where the boys also built a loom where their mother could weave cloth and make carpets. She also had a large and a small spinning wheel in this room. The loom was made of pretty hardwood which was smooth and shiny. Ingeborg made carpets of wool or cotton and sometimes from old clothes. She charged a certain price per yard, according to the work necessary.
She also had two rows of English currants which the grandchildren would come to pick when they were ripe in the summer. She would fix a Yuletide dish, with butter, sugar, and cinnamon sprinkled on the currants as a treat for the children. She also had a cow, her sons furnishing the feed, until it was too hard on her to care for it.
Ingeborg stayed with her children in Monroe where they grew up and found companions and reared families. Andrew went on a mission to Norway and brought two little girls about six and nine years of age back with him. They adopted one of these little girls as they had none of their own and the other was adopted by a cousin in Ephraim. Ingeborg and her sisters in Ephraim used to visit each other in the summer time.
Ingeborg Rolfsen Larsen was one who appreciated hearing the Gospel and knowing that she could call upon our Heavenly Father in faith for herself and loved ones. She was also grateful for the new land where they could labor and be rewarded.
She did the temple work for herself. She was endowed in the Endowment House February 13, 1871 and sealed to her husband Ole Larsen, her son Andrew stood proxy for his father. Andrew also had his endowment at this time. When he went to the St. George Temple to be married December 18, 1879, he was proxy for his father's endowment there.
February 26, 1890, the family went to the Manti temple to be sealed to their father and mother, Ole Larsen and Ingeborg Maria Rolfsen. On this date, Andrew again did his father's endowment in the Manti Temple. All of the children except Bent, Thomine, and Wencke were sealed to their parents. Bent was sealed to them January 28, 1914, Thomine was sealed January 28, 1914, and Wencke was sealed May 18, 1967. Records had been searched for an earlier sealing of Wencke but none could be found.
Ingeborg's last illness wasn't a prolonged one, for which the family were all grateful. She passed away September 21, 1895, with the full knowledge that she would meet her husband and children and other relatives as well as be fully rewarded for what she had done in mortality. She left a wonderful example for her posterity.
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