by Hanna Halvorsen Crookston
Niels Halvorsen was born November 28, 1870 in Granheden, Denmark, to Peter and Johanne Maria Larsen Halvorsen. Niels was the sixth child of ten children, seven boys (two died in infancy) and three girls.
Winter months were bitter cold. The farm they owned was their support. The boys were required to help with the chores. My father Niels was given the job of herding the geese, a big problem especially for a little boy. When they got out of control, which happened too often, he would sit on a rock and cry which failed to control the geese.
After my grandparents and their children left Denmark for America, other Halvorsen relatives owned the farm until the last two years of 1976 or 1977. I was informed by cousin Clara Halvorsen Price and her husband Scott that they saw the old home when the toured Denmark and were given this information.
My father told me that during the years 1800 the Scandinavian countries Denmark, Sweden, Norway and sometimes Iceland were nearing starvation caused by long, bitter cold winters. Norway suffered a worse disaster than the other countries. Two or three ships were loaded with starving Norwegians and dumped on the isles of Denmark, a disastrous blow to the Danes who were already in deep trouble. Peter Halvorsen, my grandfather, was one of that group. Black (rye) bread and coffee was almost a daily diet, also the children's school lunch. These latter days we are blessed with delicious brown bread. "Pappy" (my father's special name) declined to touch it. He said "I hate it. I had too much in Denmark." He never knew what he was missing.
The Halvorsen family decided to leave Denmark and go to New Zealand, a warmer country. When plans were almost ready Latter-day Saint missionaries called at their home. They were soon converted to the Mormon Church and decided to make their home in Utah. The eldest sons, Halvor and James, did not join the church and went to New Zealand. They never saw their parents and brothers and sisters again. Reed Halvorsen, son of Thomas, was in New Zealand on a mission for the church and met the two families. It was a happy occasion. The families were glad to welcome Reed.
When eleven-year-old Niels and his eldest sister, Karen Maria, left for Utah. the others were to follow later. Warren Davis of Spanish Fork, Utah, was their sponsor. Maria made her home in Goshen, Utah, met and married Christian Jensen. Niels lived with the Warren Davis family until his parents arrived about three years later. It was a traumatic experience for such a young boy to be alone in a new country with strange people, and, most pathetic of all, unable to understand one world of English. Mother said he was a chubby little fellow which took him awhile to play ball with the young boys. His hands were small and chubby, yet in a short time, he was "one of the boys".
Love and respect always remained between the Davis family and Niels Halvorsen. A closer relationship developed when young John Davis married Mary Beck, a neighbor, and sister of Ann Beck who became the bride of Niels Halvorsen, October 19, 1892, in the Manti Temple. His parents, Peter Halvorsen and Johanne Maria Larsen, received their endowments the same day. They rode there in a covered wagon.
My father's and mother's first home was built on the hill east and south of the Spanish Fork River on the road to Salem, Utah. A few years later John and Mary Beck Davis build a home near them on the north. My sister, Ann Aleas, and I were born in this first home. Mother had a difficult time when I arrived. Surgery was limited, and due to the lack of experience or knowledge Doctor Warner failed to take care of her properly.
Father worked nights in the Spanish Fork Flour Mill a year or two. Due to lung trouble caused by inhaling the flour he was forced to leave.
Summer days on that hill where we lived were extremely hot and dry. Not one tree nor flower had a chance of survival. Father dug a cellar near the house. Mother made a good bed in this cool cellar where he could get some sleep and rest. Often mother would miss me while playing outside. I was usually found fast asleep with father.
I recall one day my playmate and I were playing near an ant hill. Soon our legs were covered with ants. They were in our hair and everywhere. We ran to the house screaming. Mother soon heard us, took off our clothes and rubbed us with liquid blueing she used when washing white clothes to keep them from getting gray. It was the nearest thing to medicine in the house so were covered with it. That was the last time Annie Measom and I played near an ant bed.
Grandfather Beck gave mother an acre of land joining his on the south, just north of the Spanish Fork River, with her promise she would make a permanent home there. Father built a two-room house on this property making everyone happy - a special event to live near Grandpa and Grandma. I soon took advantage of it. What a treat it was to eat breakfast with them. It was great fun to get a bowl of ground cherry or potawotomi preserves to eat with luscious hot biscuits every morning. Grandpa's prayers - what an urge for me to go outside until he had blessed all the church notables and many more. Luck was with me most of the time. I returned in time to hear "Amen". What a relief!
My brother, Joseph Ellison Halvorsen, was born April 17, 1901 in this new home. One day our sister, Ann Aleas, was giving Joseph a ride in the baby buggy. She ran into a corner of the house. Out rolled the baby. Mother was frantic. He was crying and frightened, but had just a little scratch.
Father had a small farm in Mapleton, Utah, a team of horses and a wagon. One beautiful spring morning on his way to work, he took me to school. I was late and started to cry. Being late was never one of my bad habits so tears started to fall. Sympathetic father said, "Come along with me" - just what I wanted him to say. Lunch that day with him was the best ever, and picking wild flowers a perfect occasion never to be forgotten. One sad note: this time I was late coming home from school, at least my dear Mom had no other thought. That I was with father all day never entered her mind. I was very sorry she was worried. Soon all was well.
The farm was small and failed to produce enough to make a living for the family. With a team of horses and a covered wagon, mother, my one-year-old sister Ann Aleas, and myself, father headed for Wyoming and soon found employment. Only two women and their children were there besides the men. Their homes were the wagons. Mother enjoyed cooking so joined the other ladies and cooked for the men. This was her speciality, being ambitious she was happy when busy.
The few children there were younger than I so my fun was picking beautiful wild flowers and watching the wild rabbits, squirrels, antelopes, and others. It was spring, a beautiful time to be in cold Wyoming, watching the antelopes play on the rocky hills where lovely springs were plentiful.
Father caught a young antelope for me. It soon became tame and followed me everywhere I went. When the camp moved as a section of rails was finished, my pet came with us. My heart was broken when the work was finished and we returned to home.
One night while there, a heavy rain storm came. Wind and clouds picked up pollywogs which landed on the ground then crawled in everything; a messy affair, unbelievable but true, a far experience for sure.
The trip home was severe. it was terribly hot and the roads were rough. It was desert wasteland with not a drop water for many. We took some with us but it didn't last long. Ann Aleas cried and begged for a drink. We were all thirsty. I'm sure the horses had a bad time. Father let them rest often. We were happy people when we arrived home, yet we enjoyed the summer in Wyoming. Beauty can be found wherever we seek it.
During this era, the early 1900's, many people - that is the men who wanted to get rich really fast - were excited about the southern Idaho land rush the government opened to anyone who wished to lay claim to a section. A few families from Utah were already there, two or three were from Spanish Fork. It was a get rich affair, so they thought. Soon father had the same fever. The little farm failed to supply the family needs now with three children. This was the answer. With the horses and covered wagon he headed north to Sterrett, Idaho, so named after one of the first pioneers there. Later it was renamed Way then Ivins, officially. father signed for a claim one hundred and sixty acres of land, built two sod-roofed rooms unattached (this was called homesteading) next to the railroad crossing. Four springs owned by the earliest pioneers supplied the other families who were forced to haul their water in barrels and dig cisterns to fill.
It was nearly springtime. Father hurried home for his family and a few belongings and sold mother's home she was so proud of for two hundred dollars. When the day of parting came very few words were spoken, only buckets of tears and broken hearts. I was nine years old, Ann Aleas, four, and Joseph, one.
Grandpa Beck suffered a long time with erysipelas, an infection very painful, causing red inflammation on the right side of his face. He often bathed it with buttermilk. Perhaps it soothed it a bit. I never heard him complain. He enjoyed sitting on the south side of the house. Grandpa Beck loved his family, yet never revealed any emotion. When we were ready to leave he kissed mother goodbye. Mother said it was the first time in her life he kissed her. Then he said, "Ann, I will never see you again." The sad thing is, he didn't. He died October 10, 1903.
Mail was slow in those early days and there were no telephones. When the letter came saying Grandpa had passed away, mother with her three children left by train for Spanish Fork to attend the funeral. Embalming was unheard of. The family was unable to keep him very long. He was buried a few hours before we arrived. This was a great shock to other. Grandpa was ninety-three years old. Someone said he rode his horse just three days prior to his death. Mother was very disappointed, but we did have a nice visit with relatives and friends.
Father had a health problem every winter with quinsy, a tonsilar abscess. Several times before it broke, mother was afraid he would choke to death.
Going to school was a problem. We had two or three miles to walk. Sometimes I rode a horse. Many times during the winter when Ann Aleas and Joseph started going to school, our lunch was frozen when we arrived. Icicles hung on father's mustache when he came in the house after doing his chores in the bitter cold.
It was a special time when spring came. There were many songbirds and beautiful flowers we had never seen before, also a few wild strawberries. Ann Aleas and I loved to find bird's nests in the sagebrush. We were wise enough to keep them a secret from our brother whom we were afraid to trust. We enjoyed playing in the lava rock beds.
One night after we were all in bed and sound asleep, mother was startled by someone crying and calling, "Niels, Niels." Aunt Bessie was calling and running over the new plowed ground, her little boy in her arms. She was in a state of hysteria, saying Ellison had died. Father dressed and went to their house with the hope Ellison was better. Placing his hand on Ellison's face he felt a cold sweat. Uncle was gone. Father was very sensitive about death. This was a bad experience. Mother's brothers Taylor and Nephi came to the funeral. The burial was in Lund, Idaho. Bessie with her little son Arnold returned to Spanish Fork where her relatives lived and daughter Eleta Beck was born. The Idaho home was sold to a neighbor.
About the second summer we lived in Idaho, father took us to visit his sister Maria, her husband and family in Ucon, Idaho. We stopped in Blackfoot, Idaho, for a rest and lost our little dog. We kids started to cry. Wise father said he would catch up with us. We never forgot our pet trying to find us.
On our way home clouds were forming. As we had a long way to go, father decided to stop for the night near the Blackfoot Indian Reservation. He said, "Maybe they will scalp us." When he saw we kids were wondering if it were true, he told us they were good Indians and wouldn't hurt anyone. Soon it started to rain a deluge. Two or three Indians came and invited us to come to their house. Father thanked them saying we had a good cover on the wagon, also blankets The Indians watered and fed the horses. Father was thankful for their good deeds. The night was very uncomfortable, but we survived and started for home early the next morning.
Along the way we picked choke cherries, enough for mother to make jelly. Ann Aleas and I sat in the back of the wagon, our legs hanging out. Sitting backward and eating cherries was a bad mixture. Soon we were very ill. We had to stop and rest for awhile.
Everyone was glad to be home, but very unhappy to see our cat almost dead. Coyotes were blamed. We three kids soon had him patched up almost new.
We enjoyed a ride to Bancroft for groceries, and sometimes a few peanuts or candy. Wild animals such as coyotes and squirrels made the trip more interesting. In springtime there were many beautiful flowers. Once in awhile we rode to Soda Springs. Mother always prepared a nice lunch. In a baking powder can she put sugar and lemon to flavor the soda water where we stopped to eat and drink at the Steam Boat soda water spring west of Soda Springs city. The spring is now under deep water, a huge reservoir. Father made a bonfire. I remember one time he cooked some ham then poured canned corn over it. With homemade bread and butter it was real picnic. Nearby were a few graves - perhaps unfortunate pioneers or Indians. No one knew.
It was a beautiful place to rest with high mountains covered with green trees and shrubs and Bear River below. There were several soda water springs in and near the city. One, the Hooper, was the largest. Some visitors bottled the spring water.
About two years after we settled in Way, January 1905, mother's brother Ellison Beck came to visit, then decided to stay and file, or claim, the section north joining father's land. He built a small house which was required by the government and dug a cistern to hold water.
A month or two later, I assume by invitation from Uncle Ellison, Bessie Payzant Hammond from Spanish Fork, Utah, came to visit him at our place. After a few days they went by train to Pocatello and were married. Bessie had a little boy. His father was George D. Hammond. She returned to Spanish Fork and brought him to live with her and his new father. For a very short time they were very happy.
During the month of May 1904 a terrible calamity hit this little valley, wood tick fever. There was only one doctor, and he without the needed knowledge of a treatment for the unusual high temperature and delirium. Six men and one woman died in the small community of Sterrett, now Ivins. Ellison Beck was one of the six. He begged for ice cream. Mother was afraid it would do more harm. When too late she learned it would be good for him, we knew he was seriously ill.
Father enjoyed reading. Material was very scarce. Once in awhile he had a newspaper or a book. Often he read the Bible the only book we owned. It was given to my sister Ann Aleas a few years ago. He read everything he could find. Father surprised many people with his knowledge of the scriptures. When hearing a "debate" he would speak up with the correct answers, sometimes annoying the leader. Every night after supper when the little coal oil lamp was lit he would read until bedtime.
Mother loved pretty dishes. One day she saw an advertisement in a paper seeking women to be sales ladies. If so many sets of dishes were sold, the agent would receive one with her desired engraved initial. She didn't hesitate and sent for more information. When received, she hitched the horses or rode one and scoured the valley. What a joy when those beautiful dishes came! Of course she was happy and proud when her sales were delivered to the ladies. Our Mom was very ambitious. Her cakes and sweet rolls won first prize several times at county fairs and other events.
During the "early days" witchcraft [superstition?] prevailed and had a magical influence on may people. Mother was swayed a bit, which was harmless. For example: if your nose itched someone was talking about you; when the palm of your right hand itched, you would soon shake hands with someone; if the left hand itched you would receive money; one must return to the house and sit on a chair for a few minutes when something was needed we should take with us. Mother and us kids had fun talking about it.
Hauling water for culinary purposes and livestock was a trying experience any time, yet much worse during the winter months. Often snow was melted which required a huge snow bank, so it seemed, to fill a dish pan.
Gathering firewood from the east hills was a hard task. Father preferred mahogany. Being very hard and brittle it would burn longer and emit more heat, yet it was very hard to cut and chop to fit the little stove. The work required brawn. Sweat poured down his face. He never complained. One day he was later than usual returning home from one of these trips. About a mile and a half from home he decided to walk. The horses were anxious to get home. They started to walk faster, being hungry, then trot, leaving father behind. In the meantime, mother became worried. She knew he had an accident and decided to find him. Near home, over a little hill which we were unable to see form the house, there were the horses standing by a wire fence. One horse had his foot inside the fence. He was wise enough to stand still. Soon father came and lifted the horses foot from the fence without a scratch. We were very grateful no one was hurt and praised the horse who knew he must and stand still or be injured -- real horse sense. Having poor health, her nerves high, mother most of the time expected the worst.
Due to crop failure our home was sold to pay Doctor Kackley for mother's expenses. The doctor took father's only team of horses which left father without a team to farm. He favored those who were of better means. Such a calamity! There was only one answer - ask Grandma Beck to come for a visit and have her file on a section of land north of us then give it to father and mother, which she did. Our visit with her was priceless. This property had been settled by Walter and Rilla Robinson who moved further north. It joined John and Nettie Gummersol Cherrett's farm on the east. They became special friends. Our visits were pleasant and often.
During the spring of 1908 mother was expecting her fourth baby. I was seventeen years old at the time. Mother's health was a problem. To be assured of the best care it was decided she should go to Spanish Fork for her delivery. Plans were made to leave one month early with her three children and stay with Grandma Beck. These plans fell through on March 11, 1908 when mother starting having bad pains. Father called Doctor Kackley who was unable to come. I was told to hurry to Cherrett's. Fortunately Phoebe Gummersol, mother of our neighbor, was there. She came and took charge. After many hours of agony a baby boy was stillborn. We nearly lost our mother. Two Johnson brothers made a casket. The beautiful baby was wrapped in a lovely shawl and buried in the little Ivins Cemetery by father and the two Johnson men.
Our dear Mom, very frail, became worse each day. She had a constant throbbing in her throat. For some relief she would press her fingers against it. Father decided they must take a chance and go to Soda Springs and hope Doctor Kackley could help her. A jolting ride that far in a wagon wasn't pleasant for a well person. Father wrapped her in quilts, making her as comfortable as possible. The doctor was stunned. He couldn't believe anyone could survive with such extreme low blood count. Too much pressure on her heart made it beat too fast. With medication, strength slowly returned. She was never very well again.
The John (Jack) James family, earlier pioneers in Idaho originally from Tooele, Utah, had a good spring of water. They raised a nice garden, including gooseberry and red current bushes. When the berries were ripe mother was given the privilege of picking them, half for Mrs. James and the other half for mother. We took our lunch and reserved some time to play with Nona Margaret (Maggy), and the boys Sam and Jack.
The James' always paid a lot of attention to their family. Every year at Christmas time they had a beautiful Christmas tree standing in the middle of their big parlor, now called the living room. The tree, lit with candles and lots of trimmings, was the first one we ever saw, and I believe, the only one in Sterrett. What a thrill to go there. It was the gathering place for the children once in awhile. They were the only family in that area with a swing. I will never forget that big swing.
Water from their spring was hard and cold and good to drink. I loved to watch the killdeers among the white rock formation, the rippling water and birds wading and looking for food. Mr. James needed help for a short time to make some change with the spring. Father was more than happy to earn a few extra dollars and accepted the job.
Thomas Sterrett owned property south of the James home. He also had a nice spring running in a pasture and a very good frame house. He and his family were living in Soda Springs. Mr. Sterrett offered father a job to supervise his farm and pigs, which father gladly accepted. We were privileged to live in the Sterrett house. What a joy it was to live in this nice five-room house. The small stream of clear, clean, water ran near the house on its way to the pasture. Delicious watercress grew by the spring. We had a small vegetable garden. Early radishes, fresh bread and butter with watercress made a refreshing lunch by the spring.
Warm bedrooms were unknown and nights were bitter cold. To keep us warm, after supper we children put a big rock about the size of a cantaloup in the oven to get in warm and wrapped it in a piece of quilt or blanket to last us through the night.
On this farm red currents and gooseberries grew. Again we had the privilege to pick them, when ripe, this time for Mrs. Sterrett. Ethel Richards, I believe a relative about my age, came to help pick the berries perhaps to be sure of the other half. I noticed she had more leaves than berries. My parents lived on this ranch about two years and one year at the Idaho ranch between Ivins and Alexander, Idaho.
During the fall harvest, a young family and extra men to feed three times each day was too much work for Mrs. Cherrett. I was called to help her, which I enjoyed. One of these busy days she had an errand away from home. This time I planned, cooked, and served dinner for several hungry men and then washed the dishes. The men were generous with their praises which gave me more confidence to improve my ability.
My parents and neighbors were hard working farmers. They also enjoyed entertainment which was very limited. The little one-room school house served for all occasions, school, church, and pleasure. It boasted of a small stove which gorged piles of wood, and best of all, an organ.
About once perhaps twice a month, which were long in Idaho, someone would suggest hiring a neighboring fiddler for a dance. Mary Cornia Gillett would add to the violin music by playing chords on the organ. Everyone, oldsters and young, came to relax, meet with neighbors, and dance the waltz, two step, square dance, suvian, and "Coming Through the Rye".
When the evening was half over, the music would stop and a nice luncheon was served. There was always a short program. Dan Cornia and wife Samantha sang duets. My mother and I sang together. She was too shy to sing alone. When I was eleven years old, my contribution was reciting, now known as readings. It was my pleasure to learn new ones in advance.
Mother had a sweet, mellow voice. We never heard our father sing one note nor hum a tune, yet he enjoyed organ music. He disliked the piano. In his later years he loved western music and songs. Mother's family, the Becks, were music lovers. Her brother Nephi played the "Little Joe" which was similar to the ukulele. The two brothers, Taylor and Nephi. and a friend Autney Erickson sang most every evening in the neighborhood.
About half way between Ivins and Alexander was a small cave among the lava rocks. During the winter, wind blew snow into the cave where it turned to ice. What a prize! The natives soon put it to good use. Men dug ice and women made ice cream. Everyone felt this cave was heaven sent even though it was a "playhouse" for rattle snakes.
Celebrations, such as the Fourth and Twenty-fourth of July, were held a beautiful, small canyon, where we joined hands with good neighbors to enjoy one or two speeches, singing, stories, and picnics. Time to return to our homes came too soon it seemed, especially for the children. We left with thanks and gratitude in our hearts for all blessings.
Occasionally a few groceries were needed. I was asked to ride a horse to Alexander to get them. On one of those trips I saw for the first time John Crookston, Jr. I wasn't favorably impressed by him, and said to myself, "He sure thinks he is someone special." When ready to go home with the groceries, my frisky horse was ready to leave; one quick jump into the saddle and we were almost out of sight. Later I was told Jack, as he was known, remarked "That girl will get killed if she isn't more careful." Mr. Bowen said, "Don't worry about her. That girl can ride any horse."
George and Maida Bowen were managers of the small Alexander Hotel who catered mostly to men working for the railroad. Jack was one of them who worked in the depot warehouse. The girl working for the Bowens became ill and I was called to replace her. It was there Jack and I met and fell in love. Our courtship was short. We enjoyed dancing in Ivins and Davisville, east a short way from Alexander, Idaho.
We were married December 12, 1912, by Bishop G. B. Thatcher in the home of John's half brother Heber C. Maughan in Logan, Utah, returning to Idaho the next day. Being the custom, newlyweds were expected to have a social dance. Ours was held in the Sterrett school house. All neighbors and friends were invited.
We stayed in Idaho a short time. Wages were poor. John's brother Ray was working in McGill, Nevada. The two brothers enjoyed being together. Ray wrote a note saying a job was available in McGill. John was soon on his way. They were unable to find an empty house so I stayed one month with my parents and another with John's. What a happy reunion when we started housekeeping by ourselves.
It became imminent father had to leave the Sterrett ranch. Taylor Beck, mother's brother, living in Spanish Fork, Utah was asked to come and file on a section of land with equal shares in the Ten Mile Pass east of Bancroft, Idaho, and several miles north of Sterrett.
It was beautiful, untamed soil but minus one drop of water. Something in the air was different. It was clean, more fresh and invigorating. Father especially loved to stand outside during the evening. Everybody would fill their lungs deep with this unusual, precious air. Ten Mile Pass was the only place it was ever found. I had the feeling, perhaps sometimes the angels were there. Beauty can be found everywhere if we can take time to seek it.
Father soon has a small house built, and again became settled. The ground was damp enough to grow potatoes, etc. While living here my sister Ann Aleas married Lafayette Holbrook, August 30, 1919.
During the summer of 1919 my parents and brother Joseph "Joe" visited father's sister Maria and family in Ucon, Idaho. While there Joe met Harriett Ritchie. They fell in love a first sight and were married August 23, 1919, and made their home with his parents.
Taylor decided to leave the Ten Mile Pass farm and return to Utah and wanted his share of the profits. To get them, the farm must be sold. Money was scarce so the farm was sold at a huge loss, leaving father and mother again without a home.
Their next home was in Blackfoot, Idaho, where water was more available. They lived there about a year. From there they moved to Aberdeen, Idaho, where mother's brother Nephi Beck and wife Lettie Leyshon and family resided. There was a special relationship between these two families and they enjoyed being together. Nephi's farm was average in that area. They had a comfortable home and were happy. The soil was sandy where my parents settled. Father planted wheat. A severe windstorm stripped the farm clean. not a kernel of wheat was left. My parents were good and generous people. They were always happy to lend a helping hand, and would give their last dollar to someone who they thought more needy. Why so many problems? One consolation was their son Joseph and wife were always with them
Wenatchie, Washington, nestled in a beautiful valley produced fruit and vegetables of all kinds. It was a haven where my folks, Joe, and Hattie spent a few happy months. Mother wanted to stay. Chinook, Montana, was their next home. The saline well water was terrible, unfit to drink and use for cooking. Good fresh water came in milk cans hauled from Havre, fifteen miles west, or Zurich, nine miles east, which was a problem.
Visiting my parents, brother, and wife was a special event. Our homes were too many miles apart. One summer my husband, our two daughters, Vera and Norma, and myself left our home in Salt Lake City to visit my folks in Chinook. It was a wonderful feeling to be with them.
One day while there we almost met with a tragedy. Father had a young dehorned bull who hated everybody, big or small. He was usually kept secure in his pen. Somehow he got loose and saw four-year-old Norma. She was a good target dressed in a cute colored dress. The bull thought this was the opportune moment, his turn to have fun, and started for her. Father, always busy, happened to look up from his work, saw the vicious bull and ran to save Norma. The bull knocked him to the ground, mauling him. Father called his faithful dog who had no love for the bull. The dog leaped and barked. Soon the crazy animal was going in circles, giving father a chance to get on his feet. That faithful dog saved them from a terrible tragedy. How thankful we were.
Mother and her daughter-in-law Hattie were always busy doing chores, cooking, and making quilts and aprons when material was handy. Hattie also raised geese. Winters in Montana were severe. Father became very ill with pneumonia. He had two attacks, one after another. Finally a blood clot formed in his right leg which cut off the blood circulation. It swelled hard as stone. Doctors didn't have the knowledge to cure as they do now days. He suffered the rest of his life with never a word of complaint. One day I said, "Your leg hurts very bad." He only nodded his head, "Yes."
Joe and Hattie became unhappy with each other. To the sorrow of broken hearts, they were divorced.
Farmers were anxious to grow more sugar beets so decided to plant some for trial in Washington State and soon learned it was an ideal place. Joe had a job working in beet fields in Montana. He became interested in the future of sugar beets. In a short time he was called to work in Bellingham, Washington. While there he became acquainted with a Mexican fellow from the Imperial Valley in California, who said, "I can get you a good job down there." Joe didn't hesitate and was soon on his way, leaving father and mother to join him when he could find a place for them to live. Father and son were inseparable and the three of them were soon together again.
For eons the Imperial Valley was, and is, a melting pot. The heat is terrific and water, scarce. A big share of water was finally available from the Colorado River. Huge canals were dug and heavily cemented to save every drop of water. Farmers rushed to buy this untouched, fertile soil. Soon this dry, hot waste started to bloom like a rose. Families entered the valley, planted orange, lemon, grapefruit and shade trees, dates, melons, vegetables, sugar beets, cotton, and everything to serve their needs.
Brother Joe took a willing part in this pioneering and soon learned the scientific method of raising sugar beets. In a short time he became supervisor and personnel manager for the Colorado Holly Sugar Company. Now he was financially secure.
Joseph Ellison Halvorsen and Faye B. Long were married October 23, 1939. Their first home was a five-room white frame house, with one room for his parents Later a beautiful house was built with a large fireplace for chilly winter months. Electricity was plentiful and most homes there were equipped with air conditioning, a priceless gift for Imperial Valley. With the help of church, business, and determination the valley was soon self-supporting.
During the summer months our parents came to visit Ann Aleas and me and our families in Idaho and Utah. Sometimes we went to Joe's, mostly during April. After our visit we brought father and mother home with us. We were overjoyed with the beautiful desert flowers. Every morning Joe took his Dalmatian dog in his truck to the desert for exercise. The dog always saw a rabbit to chase. While we watched, I was afraid for the bunny, but I believe, after the chase, it was entertaining the dog. We always enjoyed the clean desert air, and were fascinated with the untamed beauty of the flowers and shrubs.
One trip my husband Jack took his vacation and chauffeured Ann Aleas and me to Holtville. We had forgotten that in the desert when the sun sets it's suddenly night and very dark - no beautiful colors as we enjoy in Utah. We were late arriving at Joe's. Due to the heavy darkness Jack had become confused. The next morning, for him, the sun rose in the west. He never got his directions straightened out again.
In Salt lake City a small house next door to me was for sale. I wanted father and mother to buy it and live near to me. Mother loved to attend church and Relief Society. Living here would be ideal for her and give her more independence. Father disliked Utah's ice and snow and would be a shut-in because of his bad leg. For him, California was the place. Of course, we agreed.
In Holtville, California, the Latter-day Saint chapel was too far away for mother to walk. Sometimes a neighbor would take her. Faye belonged to a different faith. She didn't attend church and failed to realize the importance it was for mother. The nearest chapel was in El Centro, ten miles west. Two Mormon neighbors were very kind and took her with them. Ann Aleas and I attended the dedication of the new El Centro chapel, April 15, 1955.
Father and mother always came home with us after our visits in California. While they were in my home they loved to visit their brothers and sisters in Spanish Fork. One Sunday I cooked a good dinner. We took it to Uncle Tom's, father's brother, to eat and recalled the "good old days."
During the summer of 1942, while father and mother were visiting in Idaho with Ann Aleas and family, a heart breaking accident happened. Father went with son-in-law, Lafe Holbrook, to Bancroft to purchase farm equipment. Returning home, Lafe topped the crest of a rise on a dirt road and smashed into the side of a truck loaded with wheat. The truck's right wheels were on the side of a barrow pit, the car off center. The auto struck the truck back of the front wheel, whirled, and came to a stop. Lafe was trapped in the car. Father was hurled to the ground. Ammon Hatch of Bancroft jumped out of his truck as it slowly overturned and wasn't hurt. Lafayette Holbrook, age forty-nine, died in a Soda Springs hospital of skull, leg, and arm fractures. Our father was hospitalized with forehead lacerations and bruises. One eyelid was cut. Severe headaches followed. Sometimes he seemed to go asleep while eating. We learned he was in a coma caused by his head injury. Doctors were unable to give him any relief. He survived five years more.
One night while visiting in my home he went to bed early. About an hour later mother decided to see if he was all right, which she often did. This time she called me and said something was wrong with him. He had a severe headache. He was sitting up, pressing his hands on his head. I called Doctor Smith. We took father to the Latter-day Saints Hospital. He was in a coma with a cerebral hemorrhage. Ann Aleas and I were with him when he died three days later, May 11, 1947, one week after his sister Mary Halvorsen Peterson died in Mapleton, Utah.
Our parents were a handsome couple., In later years they had beautiful silver gray hair. Both, having pride, kept themselves neat and clean. For years mother shaved father's face. She enjoyed having professional hair care and loved pretty hats adorned with colorful flowers. Our brother Joe, a proud good-looking young man was very unhappy when he and his hair parted, so he wore his hat when possible.
Before father left us, he asked Ann Aleas, a widow, to take care of mother, which she did. The following seven years she divided her time with her two daughters and families, and sometimes with other relatives. They were happy times, recalling the past - good things in life while rearing their families, and enjoying the luscious food each served.
Mother was failing fast her last two years with us. it was decided we spend Thanksgiving with her at Ann Aleas home. Joe and Faye came and spent a night with Jack and me. The next morning we went to Chesterfield. Ann Aleas and her girls cooked a delicious dinner. This was a special visit, yet sad. Mother was very weak and needed help to walk a few steps. Joe and his Mom were great pals. He often teased her in fun, which she enjoyed. He was her "baby". Time for us to return to our homes came too soon. It was heartbreaking. Joe was sure this was their last visit with mother.
During early January Ann Aleas informed me mother was very ill. I made reservations with the Greyhound Bus Company to McCammon, Idaho, where one of my sister's family met me to take me to Chesterfield. Ann Aleas called a doctor who came and gave mother a very strong sedative, which wore off after a few hours. She soon suffered a severe stroke. With the help of priceless neighbors, Elva Call and daughter Klea, we managed. Ann Aleas, her son Joe, and I were with mother when she passed away, January 27, 1954, during a wild, bitter cold night. Before she could be taken to the Allen Hall Mortuary in Soda Springs, Idaho, the County Road Department had to clear the roads of the heavy snow. Funeral services were held in the Chesterfield, Idaho chapel. After a short service in a Spanish Fork, Utah mortuary, she was laid to rest beside her husband Niels Halvorsen in the Spanish Fork Cemetery, January 31, 1954, at age 86.
Each summer Ann Aleas, Joe and I spent his vacation together. Idaho was his favorite place. It seemed more like home to him. He enjoyed fishing trips with Ann Aleas and sons. Sometimes we joined Joe and Faye in Burrvile, Utah, were our cousin Ellison Hansen and wife Louella lived. This area was perfect for deer hunting and fishing. Mother was with us on one of these trips.
Panguitch Lake in southern Utah was another favorite place. There were clean cabins to rent where we could cook our meals, sleep and rest. At Joe's request it was my duty to make homemade baking powder biscuits from "scratch". One time we didn't have any flour. Faye bought some ready mix. Joe saw it and back to the store it went.
Joe rented a boat. He and Ann Aleas spent hours in it baiting their fish hooks with cheese and waiting for a bite. One later afternoon I was with them. The sky started to darken, thunder, then lightening. I was frightened. As usual Joe took his time. We were wearing safety jackets and I was tempted to jump out. Fishing wasn't one of my "druthers". I felt sorry for the poor little fish.
One evening in 1950 Joe was attending a meeting. While it was in session he suffered a heart seizure and was rushed to a hospital. During the following years his health was guarded. Being a diabetic added to his discomfort. Being anxious to live, he was a good patient. And with the help of Faye, he quit smoking and enjoyed life fairly well for a few years.
Joe loved his flower garden. He raised gorgeous roses and sweetpeas, also melons, oranges, grapefruit, and tangerines. For Ann Aleas and me it was a special treat to finish our breakfast in the garden, eating tree-ripened fruit. We always brought home all the car would hold. When we were ready to leave he always drove ahead of us for a few miles, making sure we were on the right road, especially when we gals were alone.
Our brother always wanted us to be with him to celebrate his birthday which we tried to do, and at the same time see the desert in bloom. We were unable to be with him April 17, 1970. I phoned him early that morning to extend happy greeting. He was in good spirits and said he felt fine. Six days later a call came from his home informing us that some time during the night or early that morning Joe had a fatal heart attack. Faye found him lying on the front lawn, his eye glasses tilted on his nose. There was no sign of a struggle so he apparently died instantly. We were grateful our Heavenly Father took him gently.
Joe left us a legacy of many happy memories. Wherever he lived, Idaho was always his "home". His one request was to be buried there. Ann Aleas, her two sons, Lafe and Donald (Pat), and I attended the funeral services held in the Imperial Frye Chapel, Latter-day Saints Bishop Robert Lamoraux presiding; Holtville Masonic Services, Masonic Lodge number Four Twenty Five and A. M. conducting. Preparations for the burial in Chesterfield had to be made the next day. Our time was limited so we left immediately. The nearest airport was a long drive to Palm Springs. We had our tickets but the plane was not equipped to carry the casket. Faye, with Joe, left early the next morning on a different flight to Pocatello, Idaho, then by car to Chesterfield. Ann Aleas, her boys, and I arrived in Salt Lake City early that evening, then went to Chesterfield. His heart's desire fulfilled, Joseph Ellison Halvorsen was laid to rest in the Chesterfield, Idaho, Cemetery April 29, 1970.