Born--Gronhaden, Denmark, 3 November, 1865
written by CLARA PRICE
|Emma & Thomas Halverson|
His father was an army officer but after marriage he left the Army and became a carpenter. He built a large wooden bridge and made enough money to build their first home. There were ten children born to them, but two died in infancy.
Denmark was an old Country and had compulsory education at that time so all children learned to write and read. Father's first job was herding geese.
Employment that would furnish a good living was hard to get in Denmark so Father's two oldest brothers left Denmark on an offer from the British Government and went to New Zealand. The family planned to join them there in a new land of opportunity.
After they had been gone for some time the mother became seriously ill and was unable to travel. Soon after this illness they were contacted by the missionaries and jointed the (Mormon) Church. Like other members they wanted to join the saints in Zion and hoped the boys in New Zealand would come too, but although they kept in touch through correspondence they never saw each other again.
Aunt Karen Maria, the eldest daughter came to the United States first and brought her brother Niels, then 11 years old, with her. Then Thomas and Andrew came.
Father was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints by Elder James Larsen and confirmed by James Nielsen in 1883. He came to the United States of America in September 1884.
James Mickelson, who lived near the mouth of the Spanish Fork River, paid Father's immigration expenses with the understanding that he was to pay it back by working for him for one year. He began this as soon as he arrived in Utah but before the year was up, Mr. Mickelson lost his life in an accident, so Father found a job in Goshen working for a Mr. Olasen. The four members in this country then pooled their savings and sent for the parents and two younger sisters, Mary and Martena.
On July 2, 1890, he and Emma were married in the Manti Temple with President Anthon H. Lund officiating. They lived in Palmyra where they molded adobes and built a two room home. Later more rooms were added to the back. In 1912 my parents built our brick home.
Six years after the marriage, Thomas was called to fill a mission to Sweden. He moved his wife and two sons to Lehi to be near her sisters and sold their cows, horses, wagon and almost everything saleable to pay his passage and rented ten acres of salt grass pasture and left on March 28, 1896.
He returned May 13, 1898. Mother and the boys worked hard and managed to support themselves and send Father what he had to have.
They moved back to Palmyra and he farmed his own small farm and some land for his mother-in-law. It was a hard change to return to the harsh, dry, hot climate and two years in the lush green sea-level countries.
He received his patriarchal blessing saying he would do much work among the young people. He was appointed Superintendent of the Young Men's Mutual. Joseph Crump and Joseph Roach were his assistants. He was a Home Teacher with James A. Boyack as partner. Their district was the whole North Branch of the Third Ward. The Bishop was Marinus Larsen.
Brother Boyack was the Sunday School Superintendent and Thomas was his counselor, both before he left on his mission and again when he returned. There was a also a Primary organization while Palmyra was still a Branch of the Spanish Fork Third Ward.
Apostle Reed Smooth organized the Palmyra Ward on August 11, 1901 with Albert T. Money as Bishop, Thomas Halverson as first counselor and Ed M. Banks as second and Erastus L. Ottesen as Ward Clerk. The ward was given the name Palmyra. This Bishopric served about twenty years.
I remember my father as a mostly kindly, friendly man. He was tolerant and understanding, always gave the other person the benefit of the doubt and believed everyone was honest. If circumstances proved otherwise he was sorry for their misfortunes that had caused their failure.
He was a very hard working man with a firm conviction that every part of the Gospel of the Church of Jesus Christ was true and any faults were human frailties.
Some of my happiest childhood memories are of the evenings we spent around the dining room table when the home work was done and we listened to father read stories. He read beautifully in a language, not his native tongue and one in which he had no schooling. He also wrote beautiful letters. Mother always came along with a big bowl of polished red apples or buttered popcorn and our Family Home Evening was superb.
The Book of Mormon heroes have never quite been so interesting since.
Father's sense of humor was a joy to experience and it stayed with him to the end, through all his suffering.
We five boys and two girls born in this home as well as our two adopted sisters were very fortunate.