LARS ANDREW HALVERSON
by DIANE HALVERSON CAHOON
with help from Doris Halverson Harvey Halverson
Lars Andrew Halverson was born 25 July, 1863 in Saeby, Hjorring, Denmark. He was the son of Peder (Peter) Halvorsen and Johanne Marie Jensen (Larsen) their fourth child.
Peter Halvorsen was an officer in the Danish army, but after marriage he left the army and became a carpenter. he built a bridge and made enough money to build their first home. Ten children were born to them; two died in infancy.
Denmark was an old country and had compulsory education at that time. All children had to learn to read and write.
Work was hard to come by in those days, so the two eldest brothers , Thomas Halvor Pedersen, and Jens Peter Petersen, left Denmark on a offer from the British Government and went to New Zealand. The family planned to join them there in a new land of opportunity.
The boys had been gone a long time. Mother Johanne became very ill and was unable to travel. About this time, they were contacted by the " Mormon" (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) missionaries. Andrew Peter Hansen, Lewis Bowens's grandfather, baptized Peter Halvorsen in June, 1882.
The family joined the church and with other saints, eventually journeyed to Zion and hoped the boys in New Zealand would join them. Although they kept in touch with one another through correspondence and pictures, They never saw each other again.
Aunt Karen Marie, the oldest daughter, was the first to come to the United States in June of 1882. She brought a brother, Niels with her. He was 11 years old. Next came Andrew and Thomas in September 1884. Andrew and Thomas worked hard and saved money to send back to the family in Denmark so they could come and join them. The family finally settled in Palmyra- a small town west of Spanish Fork, Utah County, Utah.
Andrew went to work herding sheep for a man in Manti. He told about catching a bear in a trap, and having no gun he killed it with a club.
Andrew met Ane Marie (Mary) Peterson Boel when she and her family were visiting friends in Palmyra. Of their courtship Mary recalled, "We went together for about 2 years. He came to see me on horseback. During the Winters we used to get a group together for a sleigh ride. We were married in 1889 when I was 19 years old." Andrew was 25 years old.
They were married in the Manti Temple 17 July 1889. The journey took 2 days by horse - drawn wagon. The families traveled together and camped along the way.
Mary's mother, Maren Sorenson Boel, came to live with Mary and Andrew after they had been married for about 6 months. Little Grandma (so called because she was so dainty, and petite) was separated from Grandpa Boel when she came to America and discovered that he had taken a second wife during the time of polygamy.
The couple's first home was in Mapleton, Utah County, Utah. Their first child, James Andrew was born there. In 1891, shortly after their second child, Myrtle Christena was born, they moved to Redmond, Utah. "The land at Redmond was poor and the prices for farm produce were bad", Mary said. "Money was very scarce. I recall butter sold for three pounds for $.25. Eggs were 4 cents a dozen. We couldn't even get a spool of thread for a dozen eggs. Wheat was 3 bushels for a dollar."
It was hard in those days to enough money to pay taxes. We could get script at the store for produce, but seldom saw any money.
The taxes in Redmond were $3.00 per year and had to be paid in cash. Andrew went out and got a load of red salt and took it to Salt Lake City to sell. Since Redmond is in Southern Utah, near Richfield, it was a trip of 175 miles. It took approximately 2 weeks to make the trip.
When Andrew was paid for the salt, He kept out enough money for the taxes and then purchased the items the family needed. He would buy bolts of fabric and other items. He also bought a treadle sewing machine for Mary. She had to make all the family clothing and this new machine must have made that task much easier for her. The sewing machine is still operational and is now in Barbara's home.
The Andrew Halverson family spent three years in Redmond. Their third child, Christian Peter, was born in Redmond on 25 September, 1893. The family then moved back to Mapleton and their fourth child, Raymond, was born January, 26, 1896.
Palmyra was their next home. They stayed there for four years. It was there that their fifth and sixth children were born. Harvey on 7 March, 1899 and Eliza on 13th of July 1901. . Before their next move, Joseph Lund Halverson was born in Mapleton, Utah 3 January 1904.
With a growing family, it was increasingly important that Andrew find a productive farm to provide for the ten of them. Andrew's sister, Karen Marie and her husband were living in Ucon, Idaho (in the Rigby - Rexburg area). They encouraged them to come up and try farming in the area. Aunt Marie had discovered a farm with a nice brick home (the Bennett place ) that she felt would be perfect for her brother's family and she talked him into coming to Idaho
It was 1904 when the family left for Idaho. Andrew, Jim, Myrtle, and Ray packed what belongings they could into a wagon and they left first. it took them two to three weeks to get there. Mary, Harvey, Eliza, and Joe rode up on the train. Harvey was only four at time but he remembers the trip this way: " We could look out the train window and see the Bear River far below while going through the Bear River Gorge near Logan".
The family lived in Ucon in a two room log house for some months while Andrew looked for a farm to buy. He decided. against buying the farm his sister had suggested because he was afraid to go in debt in case he was unable to make a success of the farm. Harvey also said he thought they had rented in all places they lived in Idaho, never purchasing a farm.
Harvey tells that he remembers going with his father and brothers to haul drinking water from a large ditch or canal. They would take barrels down and fill them with buckets. In the winter they would chop a hole in the ice and hope the water in the barrels wouldn't freeze before they could use it.
They moved around the Rexburg- Rigby area, living in places such as La Belle, Rudy, Rigby, Rexburg, and Sugar City. The farming, however, wasn't very successful because of the poor soil conditions. Harvey recalls that the soil was so sandy that the wind would blow many of the seeds away.
While living in Sugar City, their eighth child, Merrill was born 19 January, 1907. Myrtle was still at home then, but she had been helping out as a housekeeper with a family nearby. She also was caring for the families' children who had recently recovered from whooping cough. After Merrill was three months old he developed whooping cough. Mary said he was so ill and would whoop so hard that several times she laid him down, knowing she could do no more. She would turn to leave his bed, but then couldn't give up. Sometimes he'd cough so hard he'd lose consciousness. She'd work with him until he revived. The doctor was summoned to help but he didn't know what to do either. Andrew finally went to see a druggist to see what he would recommend. The druggist gave him some old fashioned licorice. Merrill had to suck on the licorice and this helped him to cough up the phlegm until he finally recovered. Andrew and Mary still struggled to keep their new baby well. During the first year , he also experienced measles and an abscessed breast.
During the winters Andrew would work at the sugar factory in Sugar City. He would work 12 hour shifts for $1.50 a day. About once a month the men would change shifts and work 18 hours a day. Harvey recalls taking his father's lunch down every day.
In 1909, , the family decided to come back to Utah. Before they could leave however Harvey came down with Typhoid Fever. He remembers staying in a one room shack during his illness while the rest of the family slept in a tent. This was winter time and so it must a great hardship on the whole family.
When Harvey recovered, the entire family began the train trip home. (Harvey couldn't remember whether Jim, Myrtle and Chris were on the train with them or not). When they got to Pocatello, Idaho, however, there was a big train wreck there and Harvey remembers being stranded there for 24 hours or more. The Beanery sold out of food so Andrew and the older children had to go around Pocatello, just a small junction at that time, trying to buy some bread for the family. Some of the places would mix up large batches of bread to try to provide for the passengers.
The family settled in Lake Shore, Utah County, Utah. Shortly after they arrived their ninth child Mary Hanna was born 5 Feb. 1910 in Palmyra, Utah.
In 1912, they returned to Mapleton, renting and farming until they settled on the farm Grandpa Boel owned. Harvey stated that the house and property were purchased for about $1,000. Grandpa gave them the home because they had cared for Little Grandma since they had married. Harvey said that Andrew and Mary also agreed to care for Grandpa Boel when he became unable to care for himself.
Andrew devoted his whole life to farming. Harvey remembers that his fathers favorite crop to raise was sugar beets. He would try to raise them in every place they lived but could never get the kind of success he dreamed of in farming.
Family life in those days was such that each member had to contribute to the family by doing his or her share of the work. The children learned at an early age to be hard workers. Merrill's wife, Doris, has written " Can't you just feature their whole family coming home from a day of farm-work, getting night chores done. Pigs slopped, horses wiped down and fed, chickens taken care of (of course that was Grandma's job) woodbox full and all the family washed for supper.
Dinner might be a steamy kettle of (Grandma's) famous Chicken Danish Soup, a bottle of canned peaches and a lovely white cake with whipped cream. Breakfast was a lovely time too: there was fried home-cured ham or bacon or sausage, hot biscuits, and milk gravy. Good old fashioned cooking that couldn't be beat.
Merrill had described some of the farm chores the family would do. Some of the jobs were keeping the wood box full, cleaning out stables, caring for the cows and horses. When getting a little older, it was increased to plowing and planting. When the crops grew, there was weeding, hoeing and then it was beets, topping and hauling them to the sugar factory. "In the early spring , peas were the earliest crop, we cut and hauled peas waiting our turn to be unloaded at the pea canneries." Watering or irrigation was another was another big job. "The long hours night and day and the over-anxious farmer that always managed to steal the water.
The boys spent a lot of time with their fathers working and playing. Trips to Spanish Fork Canyon to gather wood were times to work together during the day. They would haul dead pine poles out of side canyons; Red Narrows was a favorite place. Harvey also remembers gathering coal for the family fire. He talks about he and his Dad taking large sacks and walking along the railroad tracks in Spanish Fork Canyon picking up coal that had fallen off the trains. They could get a whole wagon load of coal in just one day. On the way they'd go hunting for chickens, grouse, or pine hens.
Even back home in Utah, the Halverson family had more trials to overcome. In the winter of 1918, a flu epidemic swept the state of Utah. On March 6, 1918 Raymond passed away from scarlet fever. and Eliza nearly died from the effects of the flu. Harvey wasn't very sick with the flue and since there were so many deaths occurring at that time, he had to go help the mortician embalm Raymond's body. Raymond was buried in the Spanish Fork Cemetery on 7 March which happened to be Harvey's birthday. The funeral was held on the front lawn. The friends, neighbors and relatives were allowed to stand outside the fence to pay their respects. Merrill said the family wasn't allowed to go to the Cemetery to view the burial for fear of spreading more disease.
After several relative unsuccessful years of farming, Andrew and Jim went to work for a while in the Magna Smelter. Andrew's first love, however, would always remain farming.
One of his children's favorite memories is of a long black bearskin overcoat their father wore. It had long, deep pockets. The children loved to put their hands and arms way down in the pockets to keep warm.
Harvey remembers that his father was good natured with a "warm chuckle." He said his father was "stern and strict, but fair. When we were told to do something, there was no argument.
Lars Andrew Halverson died 9 Dec., 1928 at the age of 65 at Mapleton, Utah County, Utah. He was buried on 12 Dec., 1928 at the Spanish Fork Cemetery.