Wednesday, July 13, 2011


An Autobiography

I was born in 1850 in Sweden.  After my father and my two small brothers died, my mother crossed the ocean with her other four children.  The oldest child was twelve and the baby was one year old.  We crossed the Atlantic Ocean on a sail ship in ten weeks.

Immediately after reaching the United States, we started on the journey across the plains with the emigrant train.  Our covered wagon was drawn by an ox team.  With the exception of my baby brother, we all walked behind the wagon barefoot.

We remained at the campgrounds of Salt Lake City, which was at that time a small city, for about a week and then continued our journey on to Manti, Utah.  My mother secured a small room for herself and the baby.  She couldn't support the other three children, so we were given away.  The people who took me to raise were very poor Danish farmers.  They had me baptized into the Mormon Church at the age of ten.

The first work I did was to learn to knit, as I was but eight years old and too young for heavy work.  The next year I was old enough to her cows and rake bundles of wheat which had been cut with a cradle.

After lunch the boss rested and smoked his pipe which he lighted with a sunglass.  The farmers raised their own tobacco as they were too poor to buy it.  During lunch hour and at other possible times, I gleaned wheat and thrashed it for which to purchase my winter shoes.  During the summer I went barefooted.  I wore my homemade dresses.  The man who did our weaving was the father of Alma Marker of Idaho Falls.  I was given private instruction in school work for only three months.  I paid for this by the wheat I gleaned.

All the people did most of their exchange in Salt Lake City and Nevada by bartering eggs, butter, wheat, and other products for merchandise from the stores such as sugar and salt.

In the fall of the year, I went with others to a saleratus bed.  We scraped up piles of this white powder with shingles, sacked it and took it home.  Saleratus was used for washing and making soap.  It was also used as a substitute for soda in making biscuits.  We never made a cake or even know what that was.

At the age of thirteen, I left home and started to do housework for the neighbors.  With the seventy-five cents a week I earned, I was able to buy what I then considered lovely and expensive dresses made of calico.

The Indians began to give considerable trouble to the white settlers.  The women and children all gathered in one little room while the men fought with the Indians.  The Indians and grasshoppers nearly ran the country until conquered.

When I was sixteen, a girlfriend and I planned to take our first trip to Salt Lake City.  We were going with her father and brother.  My provisions consisted of a little bedding, clothing, little food, and no money.  It was necessary for a company of at lest eight wagons together to go through the Salt Creek Canyon to avoid the danger of Indian attacks which were so frequent at this point.  Mr. P Larson and his son sold their grain at Spanish Fork which was about half way on the journey to Salt Lake City.  Just at the end of the canyon they asked whether I would choose to return with them to Spanish Fork, go back to Manti, or be left on the road.  I was determined to continue my journey so I was left alone on the road with my few provisions.

After several hours alone by the roadside, I could see in the distance a cloud of dust which I supposed to be a group of Indian warriors.  I hid behind the thick sagebrush which I thought would offer the only possible safety, and watched the approaching danger.  As it drew very near me, I could detect a team of horses drawing a covered wagon.  Later, I discovered the occupants of the wagon were a white man, Mr. Cook, his wife, and two children.  Greatly relieved, but still crying, I stood up so that I might be seen and have an opportunity to reach my destination.  Mr. Cook offered tot take me to Salt Lake City if I would walk up the steep places on the road as his team was very poor from traveling such a long distance.

Overjoyed at the opportunity, I readily accepted the offer.  We stopped to visit his relatives at Provo, but reached Salt Lake in two weeks.  In this city, which was then about the size of Idaho Falls at present, I was able to earn the enormous sum of two dollars a week and thought I would soon be rich.

In 1871 I was married to Sanford Forbush in Salt Lake City by Judge Strickland.  We made our home in Manti for seven years.  There was no land for sale here at this time, but each family had taken twenty to twenty-five acres, cultivated it for grain, and built a cabin on it.  When the land was on market, men would prove upon 160 acres and each man would get a deed to what he owned.  They also took up swamp land for hay.

We sliced beets, boiled them and pressed out the juice with a lever board.  For special molasses, we had a machine run by horses used to press juice out of the sugar can we grew.  This was then boiled in a big vat about six or eight feet long and four feet wide.

Our first five children were born in Manti, Utah.  We moved to Castle Valley where our sixth child was born.  We then went to Green River for six months and herded cattle. 

We sold our cattle and went to Grand Junction, Colorado, we traded our oxen team for mules.  It was at this time a reservation for Ute Indians   They were moved out and white people immediately settled there.  We were the first white family to take up a preemption and remain one and one-half years, returned to Manti for one year, then to Boise, Wood River , and then o Eagle Rock.  Grass and sagebrush were about the only wild plants.  There were no weeds.

We cross the Anderson toll bridge and paid five dollars for the two teams.  Here we bought a farm on Sun Creek for one span of mules, cleared it of sagebrush and cultivated it.  Our first 15 acres of grain raised on our farm was cut by Mr. Forbush with a cradle, raked by our oldest son, and bound by me.  The shocks of grain were placed in a ring.  A man stood in the center an drove the team around again and again on the grain until it was threshed.  The chaff was removed in a fanning mill.  We took it to Rexburg to be made into flour.  The first ton of wild hay was cut by Mr. Forbush with a poverty hook.  My last two children were born here. 

After we lived her ten years, Mr. Forbush died.  I proved upon the 160 acres of timber culture in 1895 after living on it over ten years without a title.  I remained on this farm six years longer and in the meantime I proved upon my ranch in Tildon, Idaho, in 1900, and then sold it.  After that I came to Idaho Falls.  I bought six houses and paid for them by the installment plan.  I also bought 59 acres of land and paid for it.  For fifteen years I acted as assisting nurse for Dr. Wilson, Dr. Cline, Dr. LaRue, Dr. Brudges, and several other physicians of Idaho Falls.

I have traveled in covered wagons drawn by oxen, lumber wagons drawn by mules and horses, and  when we were more prosperous I traveled in a buggy.  In recent years I have done most of my travelling in cars, but have not yet ventured an airplane ride.

No comments:

Post a Comment