Our Family Legacy
I, Mary G.C. Larsen, his daughter-in-law, want to pay tribute to Father Larsen as a father- in-law. As a friend to me, he was kind, friendly, honest, clean, moral bodily, faithful, religious not spurious but true religion right from the heart. He had high ideals, thoughts, actions, and was very clean and exacting in all he did and said.
After “Little Julie's death (as he affectionately called her), in the evenings he visited much, especially with us and his brothers.
I loved to cook for him. He was so appreciative of whatever I fixed. He especially enjoyed fish, soup, and homemade bread and butter. He loved my homemade tomato soup. He said, “Oh, Mae, make the tomato soup by the barrel, please.” It was good, and to add to it, I added cream from the top of pans of milk. It made me happy to fix it for him.
After we left Monroe, Father Bent moved to Salt Lake City and lived with his daughter, Olevia Cloward [a daughter by Juliana], and worked in the temple. He took a short trip to California with Jennie [another of Juliana's daughters]. He contracted pneumonia and with his children and Lorena present, he passed on to his reward on November 7, 1926, at 3:45 p.m. at Olevia's. He was eighty-one years, one and one-half months old. He was buried November 10, 1926 in his cemetery lot [in Monroe] by his wife Juliana, his mother and daughter in lot 104. He had a good service with a big crowd and beautiful floral offerings and a good program and honest tributes of respect. He was tried and true. At his death bedside were: Aunt Lorena, Bent F. Larsen, Jennie, Mena Mae (Minnie), Olevia, Maria, Oliver, Clara.
If we wanted him to tell fish stories and about his travels, we didn't ask him, but fed him good fish. He kept us spellbound with his tales of his travels and boyhood in fact with stories of his life.
Oliver says: “If I can have the same chance of Celestial glory as my father has, I will be very happy.” “He will,” says his wife, Mae, who knows him best. Oliver says, “Father was tried in the School of Hard Knocks, and he was true.”
Uncle Martin, the Joker, says: “Bent was always serious-minded. He held to the truth and was strictly honest in all he did and said. His motto was, 'Least said, easiest mended.' He was an honest tithe payer paid over instead of under. He was neatness and cleanliness personified in self, walks, yards, and in lots and corral.”
Grandfather [Bent] was watching us as we moved to Richfield. As Ray sat on the hayrack on the load of furniture, he waved to Grandfather and said, “Good-bye forever more.” Grandfather followed us over and said, “Ray, you worried me. Never say that again.”
While Grandmother [Juliana] lived, our tiny children seemed to worry him because she had them with her much of the time. After she died , he came to me and said, “Mae, please go someplace for a rest and let me sit with the children.” This was so different from his previous attitude that I sympathized sincerely with him in his loneliness. So I went sometimes for half an hour, but I insisted upon him coming to our home. I nursed him through pneumonia before my baby was born. We both understood each other and missed Julia very much our best friend.
The foods Father Bent liked best when I knew him included good milk, homemade bread and butter, homemade tomato soup and plenty of it. Oliver says, “He liked mush white flour topped with butter, and germade and graham [these are kinds of mush or hot cereal].”
They, as everyone else, had hard times with no luxuries. As Oliver and Enoch sat visiting and telling of their childhood days, Enoch said, “We had flour mush, sometimes a little sugar or molasses and milk if we had it, and a piece of bread. You could eat it fast or take your time. That was it that was your meal.” Both of their grandmothers were good to give them pieces. Grandmother Brown [Juliana's mother] generally gave them cinnamon cookies and strawberry jam. Grandmother Larsen [Ingeborg] raised her own honey and she always had a big spoonful for Oliver out of a five-gallon can of sugar honey. They were both good and kind to their grandchildren. Grandmother Sorensen Brown was rich for those days, but after the Manifesto, her husband got the property. C.C. Brown's oldest son Andrew was raised by Grandmother.
Grandmother Larsen was very good to Julia. They loved each other and both worked hard.
Father Bent insisted on church attendance. He said, “Be on time, never late.” He furnished sacrament bread for many years. The older men blessed the sacrament.
Clara said he surely liked potatoes prepared in every way, and he liked buttermilk very much. Zola remembers when he drove over to Elsinore for flour and stopped to get a big drink of buttermilk fresh from Clara's churn. Clara churned in a tank churn.
Oliver says when they used to “dive into the butter,” there was little bread and lots of butter. A familiar saying was, “Be careful for the lid off the bottom will let itself know.” [??] He always said, “Waste not, want not.”
His testimony was Thanks for blessings, asked that he might always be true to the gospel.
Many people came to him to request that he cure them of the toothache. He had a charm which he gave to the patient, written on a folded piece of paper, with the instructions that the patient burn or bury the piece of paper. They should never look at it or the charm would be broken. There were various people who used charms such as this in the curing of burns, toothache, to stop bleeding, etc. He offered his charm to me. (End of tribute by Mary)
The first recollection I have of Grandpa Larsen is sitting on his lap and brushing his well trimmed white beard and his snow-white hair. Grandpa was not a tall man, about five feet eight inches in his sock feet, and, when I knew him, quite thin.
He was not in good health because he had asthma so bad and struggled mightily for his breath most of the time. When an attack came, the wheezing and struggling was a frightening thing to see and hear as a child. He was affected by pollen, dust, dander, and almost everything. There was an herb powder that he ordered from Norway in a tall can, and he would sit in his rocker and put a pinch of it on the inside of the lid and light it with a match and breathe the fumes and the wheezing would subside and he could breathe more freely. He would have to rest for a time after that before he could go out again.
I can still see him sitting by the kitchen stove in the high-backed rocker with old Teddy's (a dog) tanned hide hanging over the back. Aunt Minnie and Aunt Rea tried to get him to put the powder in a pipe and smoke it that way, but he was horrified at the idea. Good church members didn't smoke pipes and he would not do it.
Grandpa was an old man when I remember him, and he was short on patience and long on discipline. He expected obedience without question. He was fastidiously neat and clean and expected the same of others. He lived by a strict code of honesty and obedience and had little use for sloppy and slovenly habits. He didn't have a sense of humor, was very serious, and had little patience with antics, practical jokes or nonsense. He abhorred waste of anything: time, energy, resources. He tried to help us, his grandchildren, to learn to use our time and life to the best advantage we could. He loved and respected others and tried to help in any way he was able.
Grandpa and Grandma (Juliana) lived in an adobe house they built on the corner of 200 East and 300 North in Monroe, Sevier, Utah. Their property consisted of one-fourth of a city block. There was a large orchard of apple and plum trees, a garden plot and a section for a corral which housed horses and cows. There was a large shed over part of the corral which we children loved to play on and roll in the straw. There were feeding mangers and chicken nests. Grandpa also raised Chester White pigs for selling and also for the winter meat. There were also chickens, ducks, and turkeys. There was a granary. There was a nice lawn on two sides of the home with apple and plum trees. The home was a three-room adobe house built by Grandpa and Grandma: kitchen, living room, and bedroom with a large root cellar underneath and a long back porch which all the grandchildren loved to play on.
Because of his asthma, Grandpa couldn't spend much time with the livestock or ripe grain, but he loved growing vegetables and fruits of all kinds, and I still remember the wonderful tasting apples and plums from his trees. He was very careful with his trees and didn't like the children climbing and bruising the branches. The worst scolding I ever got was for climbing in Grandpa's trees and damaging the limbs and branches.
After Grandma died, Grandpa missed her so much and would come across the street and visit with my mother [Mary G. C. Larsen]. She was a good listener and he would talk to her by the hour about Norway and his early life. He loved fish, and my dad [Oliver] liked to fish and so every time Dad brought home fish, Grandpa was invited over. He told Mother he loved the way she cooked the fish. He also loved chicken and dumplings and was always welcome at our table and in our home. He and my mother had such a strong bond in their great love for Julia.
Grandfather lived the Spirit of the Gospel and the letter of the Gospel the very best he could and attended to all his callings with all his mind, might, and strength. It is a heritage I am proud to have.
In 1923, we (Oliver's family) moved from Monroe to Richfield, Utah, and Grandpa was now spending much of his time in Provo and the Salt Lake City area and we didn't see him very often. His asthma had become worse and he didn't travel too much.
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