Wednesday, July 13, 2011


A Sketch of the Life of

written by
Emma J. Ottosen Halversen

Reed, Grant, Lyman,
Clara, Allen, Emma
Born in Spanish Fork, Utah, 20 December, 1871 a daughter of Hans and Anna J. Larsen Ottosen, early pioneers of the Church who arrived in America 6 September, 1856. 

We lived on a farm in Palmyra where getting to school was a real problem so the family moved to Spanish Fork during the school season.  At times I stayed with my sisters who lived in Lehi and attended school there.  My teachers at Spanish Fork were Joseph Rees, Hyrum Thomas and George Brimhall.  I also attended shool at Lake Shore with Tryphena Brimhall and Kate Creer as teachers. 

During the summer months we worked on the farm or in the home, where ever we were needed most.  Our main sports were bathing in the river, riding horses and playing games.  On Sunday afternoon a group would get together and make ice cream in a bucket.  It wasn't always frozen too hard but we enjoyed the cream and the good companionship of our friends and had a happy time.  At times we finished the day with a horse back ride. 

Since we lived in a very scattered district where it was difficult for children to get to school, some of the parents asked me to teach their children, about sixteen to eighteen boys and girls in all, which I did in my 17th and 18th years. 

The Halvorsen family were our neighbors and invited us to have Sunday dinner with them.  It was there that I first met Thomas.  After dinner we were all outside enjoying the sunshine.  A wheelbarrow standing near by in the shade of an apple tree and I sat in it.  Thomas bantered my girl friend for a race which she accepted.  He took hold of the wheelbarrow and the race was on.  That was the first time he took me for a ride-not in an automobile but in a wheel barrow. 

Thomas, Reed, Lyman, Grant, Vernal, Clara, Emma, Emma
Two years later, on 2nd July, 1890 we were married in the Manti Temple.  We made our home in Palmyra then known as the North Branch of the Spanish Fork 3rd Ward which was presided over by Bishop Marinus Larsen.  Thomas molded adobes and we soon had a two room home. 

In March, 1895 a Primary was organized in our branch with Almyra Thomas as President.  Eliza Hales and Mary Burt were councilors and I (Emma Halversen) was secretary. 

In 1896 Thomas was asked to take a mission to Sweden.  It was necessary to sell almost everything that would bring in a dollar such as team, wagon, cows, and a few implements to pay his way.  As our home in the field was so far from neighbors I was moved to Lehi where I had two sisters whose husbands were also on missions.  One sister had an extra room in her home that she didn't need and I gratefully accepted it.  Thus I was left with my two small boys, Lyman 4 years and Vernal 2 years, one silver dollar and a few hens. 

Town was no place for chickens and I needed work so I sold the hens and bought a Western washing machine.  Since washings were plentiful at fifty cents per washing my missionary work began.  I soon got work canvassing books, helping in sickness and tending children at night so I had no time to worry.  

Emma, Grant's-Doris, Thomas
On one occasion Mr. Halversen wrote that he was in need of money.  I had no money at the time but had some coming in about a week, but needed it sooner.  After thinking about it all night I arose early and walked about a mile and a half to my cousins home.  He was not a church member and was very surprised to see me in the dark of the morning.   I told him my worries and he gave me the money and said,  "Do not worry about it.  I am in no hurry to have it paid back."  

I soon found very fine friends and neighbors and was shown that the Lord will help those who help themselves.  In 1898 Mr. Halversen returned from his mission and we came back to the North Branch to our own home where we took up farming.  On 11th August, 1901 under the direction of Apostle Reed Smoot the Palmyra Ward was organized with A.T. Money as Bishop, Thomas Halversen and Ed M. Banks as councilors and Erastus L. Ottesen as ward clerk.  The Relief Society was organized with Annie C. Holm as president and myself and Fanny Monk councilors.  I also worked in the Primary and Religion Class. 

Grandfather and Grandmother Halvorsen, who were old and feeble could not care for themselves so we took them into our home and soon built another room onto the house for them.  They lived with us for about three years.  The following year it became necessary to care for my mother.  She came to our home in September and passed away in December. 
Thomas, Clara, Lyman, Grant, Allen, Vernal, Emma, Emma
In 1920 we moved to Spanish Fork and lived in the Third Ward.  I enjoyed working with Lizzie Finch in the Religion Class and joined the Relief Society where I was chosen a councilor to Sister Grace Matley.  I later filled the office of Relief Society President with Sister Emaline Bowers and Kate B. Carter assistants.  As Sister Bowers was kept home with an aged father, Sister Nell Larsen helped us.  Sister Nora Williams was secretary and Sister Lucy Jones treasurer.  Bishop Ralph D. Morgan was our bishop at the time.  We moved back to the farm for four years so I was released from the Relief Society.  After returning again to Spanish Fork Sister Annie C. Ottesen and I served as Relief Society visiting teachers for seven years with out missing a months visit.  After her death I worked as teacher with other sisters a long as my health would permit.  This was work that I loved and enjoyed. 

On account of poor health it is little I have done in any organization for some time.  I have enjoyed the friendship and kindness of the sisters in our Daughters of the Pioneers organization where I served as Chaplain for four years.  My husband and I find a great deal of pleasure in reading the Relief Society Magazine which comes as a wonderful present from our Relief Society organization and comes to us each month.  We hope to be able to enjoy each month the visit of our faithful teachers Sister Jones and Gull.  Sister Christopherson, the Captain of the Daughters of the Pioneers has also been a great comfort to us.  Our children and their families are very helpful to us in many ways and are on hand to assist any time we need them.  May the spirit of our Heavenly Father prompt us to do right. 

We have seven children of our own, five boys and two girls, and adopted two baby girls;
  THOMAS LYMAN HALVERSEN    Born    2 Nov., 1891
WILLIAM VERNAL   "                       Born    28 Aug., 1893
GRANT J.                    "                       Born      3 June, 1899
ANDREW REED         "                       Born      3 Nov., 1901
CLARA HANNA         "                       Born    15 Dec., 1904
ALLEN WILFORD      "                       Born    2 Sept., 1907
EMMA                         "                       Born    11 Oct., 1910   Died
DELLA GRACE                      Adopted                       Born    29 Feb., 1917  Died
SARAH FERN             Adopted                       Born    7 May, 1917 

Spanish Fork home
Lyman and Vernal were both in the military service during World I and were both commissioned.  Lyman is now head supervisor for the Pacific Electric Railroad in California.  Vernal received his B.S. Degree from the U.S.A.C., his Masters and Ph.D. Degrees from Iowa State College at Ames, Iowa.  He worked as instructor and as professor in various universities.  Grant has been successful as a salesman and is now head salesman for the Smith Auto Company.  Reed served two missions in New Zealand during the last of which he was Mission President.  He is Assistant Supt.  at the canning plant of California Packing Corp'n.  Clara and her husband Scott B. Price have a thriving market in Ogden.  Fern is married and because of a serious accident suffered by her husband it has been necessary for her to work for a good part of the time mostly as a hotel waitress. 

1 comment:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.