Wednesday, July 13, 2011



by Clara Price

"In the summer of 1964 I had a short visit with Aunt Tina Jensen.  She is the youngest sister and the only one living of this immigrant family.  She is the daughter of Peter and Johanne Marie (Jensdatter)Larsen Halverson, and she was born in Saeby, Hjorring, Denmark 15 May 1877.  She is the youngest of ten children.  The two oldest children, Halvor and Jens Peter went to New Zealand as young men in their teens to seek a more prosperous life for their family.  They had hoped the remainder of the family would follow, but they were never re-united.

"The third child, Karen Marie, later known as Mariah, and a younger brother, (Niels) came to the United States in 1882.  She was soon followed by Lars Andrew and Thomas, who bought a small tract of land in Palmyra, Utah.  The four then pooled their savings and sent for their father and mother and two youngest sisters, Ann Mary and Martine.  Two sons had died in infancy, Niels and Anthon.

"Aunt Tina (Martine) is a very gay and happy person who has had much trouble and hard work, but doesn't complain.  She says `Every age and every day has its problems.  Meet it the best you can.'

"She has loved and been loved in Neola, Utah (Uinta Basin), but she thinks that she should now move to Salt Lake into a rest home for the winter, since her husband is buried there and she must be buried by him.  She doesn't want to be dragged over those hills of ice and snow if she should die in the winter.

"I asked her to tell me about her mother, father and the family.  She said she was six years old when she came to this country with her parents.  She remembered the ship very well. 

She remembers many things her mother told her of her childhood.  Her mother, Johanne Marie Jensdatter (Larsen), my grandmother said,  "She did not remember her mother who had died when she was just a little girl, but she had a brother about four years older than she."  This older brother (Niels Jensen) had a job herding geese, but he also had to take care of his little sister.  She said she remembered when they were out herding geese, it became very cloudy and dark.  She was very frightened. Her brother, only a chid himself, told her to "Look at that long dark cloud; it looks like our mother's hair.  She had beautiful long, dark hair and I'm never frightened when I see a cloud like that.  It makes me think of her.'

"Grandmother's mother, Aunt Marie Nielsen, died when she was 27 years old and Grandmother was only three.  Her brother, Niels Jensen, was five years older than grandmother and grew up and married.  When he had one young son, he (Niels) died.  His young widow let some people coming to the United States bring the boy and she hoped to follow, but she received word that the boy had been washed overboard and lost at sea.  Aunt Tina says Grandmother always hoped she would find this boy alive when she came to America, but she never heard more of him or the people he left Denmark with.

"Her father (Jens Larsen) remarried and the children went out to work as soon as they were old enough.  My grandmother went to do housework in the home of some people who owned a tavern.  These people loved her and were very kind to her.  They gave her work in the tavern when she was old enough.  It was here that she met grandfather Halverson when he came home from war.  She was serving in the tavern or inn in Denmark when a group of soldiers came in.  They were very noisy and boisterous, celebrating their safe return from war and relaxing after been in the service of the King of Denmark.  After serving the men, grandmother remarked to the attendant in the kitchen that she surely didn't like the captain in charge of these men.  They took rooms in the inn.

"Grandfather Halverson was a carpenter by trade and he decided to stay in that vicinity and work.  He built a big bridge over a river and Aunt Tina tells the story that, as a child he carried her over the same bridge and told her this same story.  The girl in the inn became the bride of the former captain of the soldiers, Peter Halverson.

"Since grandfather had been an officer in the Danish army during the war with Germany, he had some money saved and built himself a nice little brick home while he worked as a carpenter on the bridge near the town.  He made a good living as a carpenter and builder, but decided to put a store in the larges room of the house and grandmother helped him.  Many army buddies came every evening to the store and persuaded him to put in liquor.  This led to his becoming a drinking pal who furnished the refreshments, so he went broke.  Grandmother thought this was a real blessing to the family.  It got him away from those rough friends and the liquor.

"Grandmother became ill and the long passage to New Zealand by sail boat was decided against.  They joined the Latter-day Saints church and came to Utah and settled in Palmyra, Utah.

"When I was a child, we used to stop on the way home after taking the cows to the pasture and have a drink of water at the little flowing well where grandfather's (Peder' Halverson's) little adobe house had been.  The lilacs still bloomed and the tall poplar trees gave pleasant shade." 

1 comment:

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