Our Family Legacy
I have taken some of the early events from his own history.
Hans Nielsen was born 4 April 1837, at Karlebo, Fredrickberg Co. Denmark. He was the son of Niels Hansen and Metta Kristen Larsen.
His childhood and early manhood was spent on a large farm with his father and step-mother, his own mother having died when he was eleven years old. At the age of seventeen he joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints having previously belonged to the Lutheran church. He had promised the elders that he would go to America with them, though he did not know how he was going to get the money for his father was embittered against him for joining the awful Mormons. But he prayed to the Lord to soften his father's heart that he might obtain the money from him. When the time came he went in the room where his father was resting and told him that he was planning on going to America and asked him if he would let him have the money. His father jumped up and called his wife and said, “Mother, Hans has gone crazy and is going to America. Fix him several suits of clothes and socks,” which she did and he gave him the money.
He sailed from Liverpool December 12, 1855 and landed in New York February 15, 1856. He took the name Hans Hansen when he got to America. He drove an ox team across the plains under leadership of Captain Christofferson. After landing in Utah he resided in West Weber, he was called to help build Soda Springs and Echo Canyon, and was set apart for this calling by Captain Jefferson Osborn in December 1857. He was released June 18, 1858. He was appointed to build Mount Pleasant Fort, appointed by Bishop William Seley. From there he was called to Washington to raise cotton. He also worked at the mason trade and was butcher there for some time.
He married his first wife, Metta Kristen Adsersen in Spanish Fork Utah, April 1859. To this union there were born Anna Kristen Scott, of Mesa, Arizona, Hans Hansen of Lakeside, Arizona and Peter who died at birth, the mother also gave her life at the birth of this child. A short time before her death her mother and her sister Mary Adsersen came from Denmark. When father went to meet them he told them that it would take more than a day to reach his home and he would take them to the home of a friend to stay over night. He said he would ask the lady if she would keep them. After he found out they didn't even know her, he told them, “This is Kristen and these are my children.”
In May 1865, he married Mary Adserson, sister of his first wife. He built a gray adobe house in Washington, one and a half stories high. I, Catherine Whipple, visited that home this summer in July 1936, the house is still standing and looks natural to me. While living in Washington, after he married the second time, there were six children born, Niels Hansen, of Lakeside who is dead, Catherine Whipple, formerly of Mexico, Mary Jane Penrod of Pinetop deceased, James Hansen now residing in Globe Arizona, Andrew Hansen of Lakeside Arizona, deceased, Marcena Penrod born in Showlow Arizona and now living in Showlow, Augustus Hansen of Lakeside, and May Grayard of Holbrook. Were all born at Showlow. One girl Julia Subina died in infancy three weeks old. Also boy Laurits, born in Washington Utah who died in infancy.
In 1879 father was called to take his family and settle in Arizona. He traded his home in Washington for horses and cows, and started out and got as far as Kanab, Utah and while there he received a letter from Denmark telling of the death of his Father, Niels Hansen, as he was the oldest of his father's family they wanted him to come back to Denmark to help settle up the estate. He could not go back to Denmark so he decided to wait in Utah till things were settled up and he got his share. Which I think was about $800. While waiting for this he took the family back to Washington and stayed there until the fall of 1880. He had to rent a house to live in and while there Andrew was born in December 1879.
After coming to Utah, my mother's mother, Annie Catherine, married Samuel Adair.
They lived in Washington and raised garden stuff and fruit and peddled it in Silver Reef. Sister Anna married Sanford Jaques of Sliver Reef. My father let them and Grandmother and Grandfather Adair take the outfits and go to Arizona. My brother Hans drove the cows. In the fall of 1880 Hans and Sanford brought the teams and wagons back for our family.
We crossed the Colorado River at Lee's Ferry on the ferry boat. The road was more like a cow trail than a road. They fastened barrels on the side of the wagon to carry water for use in between watering places. We were about three weeks making the trip. We were very happy when we came to our journey's end and stopped at Showlow or Adair as it was then called. Hans, Anna and the folks had located there and had raised garden and planted corn, beans and a few potatoes. We surely enjoyed the garden stuff and we had plenty of milk and butter for a while. We were very happy to be reunited with the rest of the family.
After we arrived at Showlow the men folks were very busy gathering crops. They put up one room, a lean-to, on Anna Jaques’s house. We lived in that for the first winter, using wagon boxes for bedrooms. In the spring of 1881 they built another room which was greatly appreciated. There were a few scattered families and we held Sunday School in Brother Staley’s house about a half mile over the hill, now the old Reidhead place. There were no stores the first year so we had to do without a great many things. An occasional trip was made to St. Johns for the necessary things. We lived on cornbread mostly and that made of corn meal, salt and water, unleavened. Hans and Sanford made a trip out to Salt Lake for a load of salt. We would roll it with a bottle to make it fine but quite often we would crack a chuck of salt in our bread.
In the fall of 1881 the Apache Indians were on the war path and word came one evening for everybody to gather in one of two places for safety. There was a cattleman, Mr. Cooley, who lived on the hill where the church house now stands at Showlow. He had a large house and some of the people went there. Our family went to the Penrod's close by Mr. Cooley's. The next day the men folks began to build a fort around Cooley's. It was built of heavy timber with port holes to shoot through in case of an attack by the Indians. Each family had their quarters and stretched wagon sheets over the top and hung blankets up for a petition from neighbors. My father and brother Hans took their turns standing guard at night. Those were exciting days but there was one incident happened in our family that was real exciting. My little brother, Andrew, two years old, did not like living in the fort and always wanted to go home. One afternoon when I was suppose to be looking after him, he got out of my sight and was gone. I looked all over for him before I told Mother he was gone. The whole family turned out to hunt for him but could not find him. So a number of men got on horses and took different directions to hunt for him, if anyone found him they were to fire two shoots. My brother Hans and Skitty, and Indian, a son of Mrs. Cooley's, were the first ones to find him. It was about sun down when he was found. He was about a mile away from the Fort when they found him going down a road that lead to one of the farms. When he saw Hans coming he just said, “I'm going home” and trotted on.
The men would slip out occasionally to look after their crops. After the Indians had settled down a little my father moved his family up to the Whipple ranch for the winter. Edson Whipple had moved his family to Taylor for the winter. While we were living on the Whipple ranch father and Hans built a log house at the place called Adair, or sometimes called Fool Hollow. While living in the place Marcena was born. They tried digging wells at Showlow, but had no success and had to haul water from Showlow creek. After a while father got a little piece of land about a half mile above, dug a well and built another house.
While living here he was called as a home missionary in the Stake of Eastern Arizona, March 9, 1884. He was set apart by President Lorenzo Hill Hatch and was released from this mission in May 1884 at a conference meeting held at Edson Whipple Hall. At this conference my father was ordained a High-Priest and was chosen for bishop. He was set apart by Apostle Francis M. Lyman, the 13th of May 1884. He chose as his counselors, William Ellsworth and Willard Whipple.
They built a little log house for a school house and held Sunday School and church in the same house. After he was put in as bishop he had a vision or a dream, and in this he thought he was traveling in a wagon up to what is now Lakeside, he thought he saw building and farms, water ditches and land cleared and green fields, all through the forest. So he told the people that they would move from Fool Hollow. While living here father tried to get a teacher so we could have school. He took John Oliver to St. Johns to see if he could qualify for a teacher, he could not but the people decided to hire him anyway for a few months. The next Eliza Colvin taught school for a few months. Dock Alstead taught school about three months the next winter. We were taught to read, write, spell and do a little arithmetic.
My father contracted to build the Academy at Snowflake or do Mason work on it. This was the one that burned down. He did lots of mason work at Snowflake and Fort Apache.
I remember when he was bishop he accepted all kinds of produce for tithing, anything the people wanted to pay he took, butter, eggs, pork, beans, potatoes, flour, hay. Then he had to dispose of it to get the cash to send in to the church.
In about 1887 or 1888 he moved up to Woodland or a little above there on the Warren ranch but did not stay there long. When he moved to the place called Woodland the place that Gus Hansen now owns, President Jesse N. Smith while visiting my father there gave it the name Woodland. My father was bishop there until he left to go to Old Mexico in the fall of 1900. He fell in love with Mexico and moved his family down there in March 1901. Mother was sick all the time she was there. She was sick before she left Arizona, it looked like she might die anytime. But father seemed as well as usual and worked everyday. He was doing mason work in Colonial Juarez and taking care of the garden and bees. On August the second 1901 a boy came to our place on the ranch and told us that father had just died. I couldn't believe him I thought he must have made a mistake, that it must have been mother. But when we got to town we found it was father. He had only been sick a few hours. He had been troubled for years with a pain in his chest, caused by a kick of a mule. At this time it must have struck his heart. Just before he died he asked Gus to get guitar and play a piece for him. Then he asked for “Buckey O’Niel” his favorite, and he passed away while Gus was playing. He was buried at the old cemetery on the hill at colonial Juarez, August 4, 1901. After his death, Mother, Gus, and May came back to the old home in Woodland. Mother died September 3, 1911, at Pinetop and was buried there September 5, 1911.
Mother's health was poor most all the time she was raising her family. She did not take part in ward activities until her family of ten children were born, or eleven, the first was still born.
One of our main sports was dancing and little entertainments we would put on ourselves. But we would enjoy ourselves. We would dance by an accordion or violin, or harmonica.
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