Tuesday, July 12, 2011


by Doris H. Halverson  February 4, 1987

Merrill Franklin Halverson, son of Mary "Maren" Peterson (Boel) and Andrew Lars Halverson was born 19 January 1907 at Sugar City, Madison County, Idaho.  The family had traveled during the previous fall up to Idaho to get work at a sugar beet factory built at Sugar City, Idaho.  Jim and Grandpa Andrew were employed there.

Most family births then were at home and if a Dr. could not be had, a midwife usually assisted helped by family members or neighbors.  Myrtle was still living at home then and had been helping a family nearby doing housework and helping out with family children.  These children had whooping cough, but had probably gotten over it and Myrtle didn't get whooping cough.  When Myrtle heard of a new baby brother, she was able to come home and visit over the weekend and she naturally helped care for her new baby brother.  When Merrill was about three weeks old, he came down with a cold which turned into the dreaded whooping cough.  Besides a new baby, the whole family had to be taken care of - food had to be prepared and washing to be done.  Little grandma also was living with the family.  Grandma Mary said Merrill was so ill and would whoop so hard that several times she held him down.  Knowing she could do no more, she would turn to leave the baby's bed and then couldn't get up.  Grandpa Andrew had gone to see if the druggist could suggest anything to give him and was given licorice - remember the black bitter kind?  Grandma didn't think that would be so good for such a young baby, but they let the baby suck on it.  It would bring on the cough and would bring up the phlegm that was congesting his lungs.  The child rallied and got better.

Later in February, an abscess formed  under his tiny arm.  It didn't take long for the abscess to head up and grandma again had her baby on the mend.  She said it was a very long cold winter and everyone was happy for spring to come.  As the Sugar Factory only worked during the harvesting for the sugar beet crop, work stopped so the family again moved back to Utah.  His sister, Mary Hannah Halverson (Bowen) was born February 5, 1909 at Palmyra, Utah.  The family must have stayed there until they again moved to Mapleton.

Merrill only went to the eleventh grade.  All boys were the same when at that age.  It was easy not to go to school and most boys would be found visiting service stations to "bum around:.  Grandpa Andrew decide if they didn't go to school, then it was best that the boys stayed at home and worked on the farm helping with chores and planting crops.  Of course the ground would have the be plowed, harrowed, and then planted.  Merrill recalled many places being rented so they could make enough to keep the family' expenses paid.

All of the boys were good at farming and working hard and they did anything to have some money.  As all farmers they had cows, pigs, chickens and horses.  Merrill had some good stories about the horses and the names they would name them - also a treasured dog named "Perg".

Merrill loved to play baseball; he was usually first base.  He mentioned many times playing with Eddie Snow, Ralph Harmer, Roy Peterson.  Harvey recalled the games on days when he came down to visit.

Ruby Snow Warren Jensen lived across the road.  Their son Stan and his family are still our neighbors.  Welby recalled when Merrill and he went fishing down the big Ruby Hallow and bringing fish home by carrying them down their pant legs so they couldn't be caught.  I guess they needed licenses in those days also.  Grandma fried the fish and made them a lovely meal.  "Best fish they'd ever ate." They also brought pretty white flowers from there for their mother to plant.  Guess what it all came out to be?  "White top," the worst weed to get rid of in the valley.

Merrill loved to swim and he learned real fast when Joe and Chris threw him in the "Old Hallow".  Guess everyone learned a swimming lesson there.

All of the fellows loved to swim and when Glen Garry opened, they spent many days swimming over at the pool.  The pool must have used more chlorine than necessary and Merrill became very ill and wasn't able to work all summer until the chemical was finally out of his system.  He never went into pools much after that.  He always complained if I washed or disinfected with chlorine.

One summer Merrill was very ill they thought maybe he had food poisoning but it turned out to be a burst appendix.  Dr. George Anderson was his doctor.  Another summer was spent recuperating. 

When he and Mary were youngsters, everyone had an appointment to have tonsils and adenoids out.  They came into the doctors office and the kids were scared.  Some children were laying around having had surgery and waiting to be released.  Grandma didn't take it any better than they did.  Merrill and Mary were sitting on a bench huddled against her.  She tried to console them.  Finally she turned to them and said "Shall we go home?"  It didn't take them long to make tracks out of there - neither one had their tonsils out.

Merrill recalls grandma making cream cakes and putting in machine oil instead of lemon.  it didn't take her long to move the oil.  Another time Joe had go to John Holley's and grandma was sitting in the dark listening to the radio.  She decided to put lotion on her hands and arms.  Joe had previously cut a finger and used Mercurochrome.  He had left it on the sewing machine.  So she rubbed her arm really well.  Although she thought it was rather runny, she never put on the light. When Joe came from Holly's he turned on the light to see his mother sitting there with her arms really red.  It was a scare and a good laugh, but hard to wash off.

Merrill worked for a trucker hauling poles for cribbing the mines in Price and Helper for a "Shorty" Downs.  He would then go farther up to the Redds Ranch and haul wheat or coal to the valley to be sold.  Many times it was so cold they would have to have a fire under the truck engine to keep it from freezing up.  He froze his feet and had to wear wool house shoes one winter until they were better.  His feet were always tender.

Merrill started grade school in Mapleton school.  Warren Parry, Merrill's friend brought him a picture of the classes at Mapleton in 1914.  Many of his friends were recognized and he was really happy with the picture.

Merrill went to school in Mapleton and down at the Springville High.  Transportation to school was either walking, riding horses or in the winter time there was a bob-sleigh pulled by Tom Johnson (built the house where Wentz's lived).  When the snow was too deep for the horses to get there, they walked on top of the snow drifts over fences and posts.  In the wintertime, those who had cars would put them up on blocks until the roads would be able to be cleared, probably in the spring.  No town had any snow clearing machines.  In town, horses would pull an A frame to clear the sidewalks.  Bill Olsen helped out in Spanish Fork from the time he was a young fellow cleaning all the sidewalks from Main Street to all the schools.  He really had a system and would of course made it up to our places on 8th and 9th east so all the Icelander people would be able to walk on clean sidewalks.  We walked nearly a mile to school one way and many times home again for lunch - as did Merrill when he went to grade school.  Merrill's children all went to the same school as he did at Mapleton, Utah and Springville, Utah.

by Doris Harrison Halverson

"We lived in Spanish Fork, 9th E 2nd S, Doug, Mother and I.  Mother had gone somewhere, Doug and I were home alone baking bread and it was raining.  A knock came on the door, it was Elma Beardson and she needed an extra girl for a date for a guy from Mapleton to go to the show.  She asked if I would go, so I met Merrill on a blind date, neither of us knew each other.  Right after that I went to California, when I returned about eight months later, I met him again at the Salem Pond Dance Hall, some girls and I had come there to dance.  I went on a canoe ride on the pond, danced, made a date with him and returned home with him.  We dated of and on until fall when we became more serious, about 1935 or 36.  Merrill Franklin Halverson married Doris Almira Harrison 21 May, 1936.  Doris was born here 25 April, 1914. 

 "My mother's family came from Iceland, all people who came from there settled on the East Bench of Spanish Fork where we were living then.  My Mother was born here but her folks came from Iceland.  Her name was, Jonina Bjornson and she was born 5 Oct., 1890 in Spanish Fork and died there 20 Jan., 1957.  Her parent's were Audrosa Gudmundsson and John Bjornson, both born in Iceland and died in Spanish Fork. 

Audrosa Eyjolfsdottir was born 2 May 1856, in Hunavatnasyslu, Iceland, the daughter of Eyjolfur Gudmundsson and Valgerdur Bjornadottir Sverisson.  Her parents became members of the Mormon Church, and in 1883 they with seven of their children, including Audrosa emigrated to the United States, where they stayed in Helena, Montana.  One of the reasons for the emigration was that Audrosa was losing her eyesight, and her parents hoped that she could be cured by the blessings from LDS Elders.  In 1885 the family came to Spanish Fork, Utah, 29 January, 1885 Audrosa married Jon Bjarason.  They had 10 children, including four sets of twins, which she cared for although she totally lost her sight.  She died 22 March, 1941 and buried in Spanish Fork Cemetery.

Jon Bjarnason was born 18 August, 1844, in Hornstrondum, Iceland, son of Bjarni Bjarnason and Katrin Jonsdottir.  There are records stating that they may have been married earlier in Iceland in 1883 rather than the one in 1885.  Jon died 13 April, 1909 of pneumonia and was buried in Spanish Fork Cemetery.   

"My Great Great Grandfather William Harrison was a polygamist who had four wives and 33 children, for this he was sent to jail for six months for polygamy.  He was a doctor who fainted at the sight of blood, he built the first glass factory in the Utah Territory.  The second wife, (Hanna Adams) was my Great Great Grandmother.  They met and were married on the sailship when they immigrated to America, 24 March, 1856.  Their son, Richard George Harrison married Almira Duke, her father was Jonathan Oldham Duke a polygamist with three wive's, Almira's mother was Sarah Thompson a sister of Martha who were 2nd and 3rd wive's of Jonathan, his first family was driven from Nauvoo by force and arrived in Salt Lake in 1849.

"My Father was Richard Eugene Harrison, Born in Provo 19 August, 1892.  He married my Mother, Jonina Bjornson 9th August, 1913 (Icelander side).  They moved from Provo to Naples, near Vernal, when I was only a year old baby, I never knew my father.  It was haying time and they were through for the day, he was first in the river (Green River) and into the quicksand.  He never came up, his brothers frantically searched for him.  He was found three days later on the opposite side", mother was a widow for 15 years.

"We were living on Grandmother Almira Harrison's farm in Vernal at the time.  I don't know how she ever managed, she had her ten children, Heber was only two plus and Mother and I to care for.  Grandmother was janitor for the school, she would walk down through the snow making the fire and cooking soup or something for the children.  I remember the kettles, everybody helped everyone in those days.  Mother would go with her.  This is where I started school but I finished the first grade in Spanish Fork when we moved in Grandmother Audrosa Gudmunson Bjornson, she was a widower, blind and alone everyone was married and gone. 

We returned to Vernal when I was in the third grade so that we would know Dad's folks better, We returned to Spanish Fork to the Central School where I finished Grade school, Junior High and High School. 

We lived with Grandma Halverson after we were married, but we left here the Fall of the following year, 1937, to Superior, Wyoming to find work, this is where Barbara was born.  This is where Nick and Eliza ran a Boarding House, they were here for a good many years.  We stayed with them for a while until we got a house of our own.  We bought some furniture from a Charley Farnsworth for 75 dollars, five dollars a month, then we rented a house in White City, this the main city in Superior where the schools and showhouses and everything is.  A kitchen and a bedroom was all we had.  Then we rented a room in the home of an old batch who needed a housekeeper.  Everything worked out fine for a while we needed the extra income, until one night when Merrill was working and the old batch gave a party and things got a little wild.  I got nervous and went to stay with Eliza, We moved out the next day and stayed with Eliza a few weeks until we got a company house at C Camp.   

Nick's sister, Rose who married Charley was here too, they had three boys.  They all worked in the mines.

When we left Superior, we moved back to Mapleton, we lived in Dave Evans's home and Merrill worked for John Holley in the service station. 

No comments:

Post a Comment