Our Family Legacy
Verena Fischer was born Aug. 15, 1828 in Zurich, Switzerland. She was the daughter of Johan Jakob Fischer and Anna Barbara Schaufelberger.
She was the eldest of nine children, six of whom died at birth. Her brother, Jacob, was six years younger and a brother, Henry, was 12 years younger than she. She began school at the age of six going every day the whole year, but three days and Sundays until she was twelve. From twelve to seventeen she attended night school.
Her father was a shoe maker who owned his own shop and employed four shoemakers. He made shoes for nuns in a nearby nunnery. Verena was delighted when her father sent her on an errand to the nunnery as she loved to see the flowers and was always happy when a sister would give her a bouquet to take home. She, like her father, loved to dance but was seldom permitted to attend dances with anyone but her father. It was the custom for partners to dance all the dances together, escorts seldom traded dances.
When she was seventeen years old her father died. Her mother, who was a gentle blue eyed woman, tried to keep the shop going but after a time gave it up. Verena then had to go to work. She worked first for a lady whom she was fond of. Her salary was $25.00 per year. But the presents she received on different occasions and for extra trouble amounted to many times her salary. She remained here for two years. She then went to work for the lady's sister who was the wife of a priest. She remains there two years, but refused to stay longer because the priest required her to walk before him to unlock the church door on Sunday. She then became a silk weaver which occupation permitted her to live at home with her family. The weavers were required to finish a certain amount of work in a given time or receive no pay for work done; this often meant working all night.
In 1853 she joined the Mormon church and in 1855 left Switzerland and came to Utah. They had a long wait in Liverpool for their ship and again in St. Louis for an ox team to carry provisions and baggage. They walked all the way to Salt Lake City from St. Louis, arriving in Sep. of 1855 with the Balentine Co. A few months after she arrived in Salt Lake, believing her sweetheart had been against her, she married Pete Hoffine, a polygamist, also a German. She has one daughter, Ella, by Hoffine. This marriage proved unsuccessful, then she married George Foster. Three of George's Fosters' eight children were unmarried at that time.
They moved to Provo. A short time after moving to Provo her old sweetheart heard of her separation from her first husband and followed her to Provo only to find he had come too late, he had again lost her.
In Sep. 1860 a few days after the death of her daughter Barbara, her mother and brother Jacob arrived from Switzerland. They had buried Henry her brother on the banks of the Missouri River enroute to Utah.
It was five years after Verena departed from Switzerland before her mother received a letter from her. By that time they believed her dead. Barbara Schaufelberger Fischer (Verena's mother) sickened by the hardships of the trip only lived three weeks after reaching her daughter in Provo.
The family being loyal church members gave what they could to support the church. Verena knit and sold socks and gave the proceeds for the Tabernacle fund. She donated all the Sunday eggs to the temple cause. At one time they gave half of all they had to help build the temple.
Verena was a woman of high ideals, a very ambitious and devoted wife and mother, a good neighbor, always being where service was needed. She attended church regularly and loved to associate with people, she was an extremely hospitable person always giving food and shelter to all who passed her way.
In November 1873 the family moved to Whitney, Idaho. Within a few years after coming to Whitney her health became poor and she lived a less active life. Although until an advanced age she enjoyed going to church and doing her own shopping. At the age of 68 years she was hooked and trampled by a cow receiving many bruises and broken bones. After three months in bed she was again on her feet and stood and walked as straight as an arrow and continued to do so until she died.
Her Husband died when she was sixty years old. Leaving her a widow for 28 years. She died at the age of 88 years at the family home in Whitney Idaho, April 29, 1916.
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