Wednesday, July 13, 2011



The Spanish Fork Press
Thursday, December 9, 1971

Thomas, Clara, Lyman, Grant, Allen, Vernal, Emma, Emma
Emma Ottesen Halverson was born in Spanish Fork, Utah on December 20, 1871, a daughter of Hans and Anna Johannah Larson Ottesen, who were Utah Pioneers of 1885.  Her brothers and sisters were: Andrew, Joseph Grant, Hans Joseph, Johannah Catherine, Sarah L, Hyrum, Christina, Eva Christina, and Erastus Lars.

As a child, Emma (or Aunt Emma as she is lovingly called by so many), spent many happy hours and she learned to work hard and to be industrious.  Some of the games she played with her friends were, "Ring around the Rosies", "tag", "Guenna", "ball", "run, sheep, run", etc.  As she grew older she and her friends loved to dance, even though the music that was available for dancing might be just a mouth organ, or an accordion, or a violin -- these young folks enjoyed dancing as much as if some famous band were playing for them.  The young folks also gathered and had fun at house parties where they held apple-cutting-bees, candy pullings, corn poppings, etc.  They also enjoyed horse-back riding.

Add caption
Aunt Emma's school days began in the fall of 1878.  She attended school in Lake Shore for a time and living on the other side of the river made a problem in crossing the river.  This was solved by stretching two ropes across the river high enough to get a good hand hold from a small boat and in this way pulling themselves across the other side.  Once when Emma and her brother Nephi were attending school while quite small, their teacher asked them to sing a duet together.  When time for the program, her brother became frightened and back out, but Emma, not wanting to let her teacher down, bravely sand the song by herself.  Her teacher, Mr. Reece, was so proud of her as she did so well, gave her 15 cents and in those days, that was a lot of money for one small girl -- a fortune in her eyes.

As Emma grew up, the young folks would group together and make ice cream on Sunday afternoons.  Their freezer was not very up-to-date and the finished product was not always 100% perfect -- as they would put two buckets together, one with the ice cream mixture in it was set in the larger one with ice or snow and salt.  They would then take turns whirling the inside bucket around the ice until it became frozen, but sometimes it turned out to be just a nice cool drink, instead of the ice cream they had figured on, but that really didn't matter too much.  They did their best and enjoyed what they had.

Clara, Reed, Grant, Lyman
Allen, Emma
Emma Ottesen taught school in Palmyra for two years.  She was 17 years old when she started a school in her own home.  She has always loved children and still loves to have them around her.  But some of her students at this time were as old or even older than she was.  Some of the students she taught included Roni, Hyrum, and Chris Christopherson, the later of which celebrated his 93rd birthday and he loves to recall his first teacher of so many years ago.  Besides being a good teacher in teaching the three R's, Emma also was busy creating entertainments for her pupils, that they might learn to take part in programs, such as little plays, etc.  A neighbor, Thomas Holm, and his violin, helped make these entertainments a huge success.

The Ottesen family was neighbors to the Halverson family in Palmyra.  One Sunday afternoon the Halverson's invited the Ottesen's for Sunday dinner to their home.  (Sunday dinners were always special occasions in those days).  It was at this dinner that Emma met her future husband, Thomas Halverson.  After dinner as they were all sitting and visiting in the sunshine outdoors, Emma sat down in a nearby wheelbarrow and Thomas bantered Emmas' girlfriend, Sadie Tippets, to a race, and he took hold of the wheel barrow and the race was on.  In Emma's own words, "That was the first time he took me for a ride, not in an automobile, but in a wheelbarrow."

Two years after the wheelbarrow race, Thomas and Emma were married July 2, 1890, in the Manti Temple.  They made their home in Palmyra, then known as the North Branch of Spanish Fork.  I March 1895, the Primary was organized in Palmyra and Emma Halverson became the secretary/treasurer.  She later became the President of the Primary for a number of years.

Lyman, Thomas, Vernal, Emma
In 1896, Thomas Halverson was asked to go on a mission to Sweden.  They had two small children at the time, and it would be a hardship for them, but they never questioned the call.  They sold everything possible, and Emma went to live in Lehi with her sister, taking her two small sons, Lyman, age 4, and Vernal, age two.  She worked hard, taking in washings at 50 cents each, whether large or small.  She also did baby sitting and also sold books to keep her husband on this mission and provide for the family.  She made the statement that this was her part of the mission and she surely did her part in many different ways.  Her husband was gone 27 months, and when he returned, they moved back to Palmyra Ward to take up where they left off.

When Palmyra was made a ward on August 11, 1901, Thomas Halverson became one of the Counselors to Bishop A. Money.  The Relief Society was organized with Annie Holm as president and Emma Halverson as one of the counselors.  She also taught Primary and Religion class for years and was a Relief Society Visiting Teacher for over 50 years.

Tom and Emma moved to Spanish Fork in 1920 and made their home in he Third Ward.  Emma has always been interested in church and has held many offices in the church during her lifetime, teaching classes and  being president of the Relief Society for years.  She has also been active in civic affairs and also a member of the Camp Spanish Fork of the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers, also serving as chaplain for some time.

Born to this couple were seven children --five sons and two daughters.  They also adopted two daughters.  Their children are:  Thomas Lyman, California; William Vernal (deceased); Grant J., Spanish Fork; Andrew Reed, Ogden, Utah; Emma (deceased), Della Grace (deceased) and Sarah Fern.

Aunt Emma lived alone after her husband Tom passed away and she was very active for many years -- doing her own housework, caring for her garden and flowers, etc.  She was found picking peaches up in the peach tree when she was 80 years old.  She has enjoyed doing crochet work, reading, visiting, etc. until recently when her health made it impossible for her to live alone.  At the present time she is a patient in a Provo hospital where her family visits her often, making her life as pleasant and comfortable as possible.

Friends and members of her family will be with her and help her celebrate her 100th birthday.  She lived an active life of service, love and friendliness, which her friends and family will always cherish.

(She passed away January 26, 1972, and was buried in the Spanish Fork cemetery beside her husband.)

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for this. What a joy to find. I remember my Grandma Halverson well, and dearly. I can see her face and hear her voice clearly, and I loved being able to read a little about her life.

    Again, thank you,
    Carla Halversen Eskelsen
    Farmington, Utah