ANNA JOHANNA NIELSEN
CHRISTIAN CHRISTENSEN BROWN
Anna Johanna Nielsen, Hannah as she was called was born under humble circumstances into a family of six children; two daughters and four sons.
Niels (lost at sea)
Jens (died at age two)
Hannah lived in a small town in the country near the western ocean. Her father was a stone cutter. Her mother was an invalid due to severe arthritis. Hannah was not at home very much, as she could obtain employment. Working in homes, dairies or even in the fields. She did not receive much pay for her work.
At one time, Hannah was employed in a wealthy home. There was another girl working for the same people, but helping in the dairy. This other girl was a little envious of Hannah because the people they worked for thought so much of Hannah. One evening a tramp came to the place and was allowed to sleep in the barn for the night. The girl did not dare to go to the barn to do her work, so she asked Hannah to change work with her that night. Hannah loved to work outside so she consented willingly to the change. When she entered the barn to feed the calf there, lying in the hay, was the tramp. Not knowing anyone was there, she was startled and let out a horrifying scream. Her employer, coming to see the cause of the excitement, learned of the trick that was played on Hannah. He gave the other girl a good talking to, and she never tried to trick Hannah again.
Another time Hannah’s mistress wanted to send some yarn to the Weaver. She sent Hanna to another town to deliver the yarn. It was stormy weather and the days were short. She delivered the yarn and was soon on her way back home. As darkness came on she lost her way and did not know where she was. Finally she could see a light in a window and went up to the door and knocked. The lady of the house opened the door and invited her in to get warm and dry. She asked Hannah to wait until she put her sick man to bed and she would go with her to start her towards home on the right road. On Hannah’s way home she had to go through the woods where a lady once hung herself. She was glad when she finally reached her destination.
Hannah composed the following poem about this experience.
When I was 14 years of age
When fourteen years of age my mistress sent me to Heaver
To take a package of yarn to her Weaver.
Ten miles off and the day was short and cloudy too
So mis-giving on the road I go
All right I got to Heaver
Delivered the yarn to the weaver
When homeward on the way I went
A drizzling rain from the cloud decent
Over meadows, wood, and river bridge
The road went in and out and twist
I heard some cattle bellow and thought to see some dark spot
So faster on the road I trot
In the distance I saw a dim light
When I came close it shinned bright;
The door I opened with a bang
In from the darkness did I sprang
My clothes were almost dripping wet
And to the fire the good people me let.
When I again was dry and warm
I rose to go out in the storm.
Not alone the people say,
We’ll go with you a part of the way.
So out we went into the night
But then I knew no more fright
Farther on then I saw my mistress’ light
I clasped their hands and said good night.
Hannah only had three years of schooling. In Denmark the children went to school until they were 14 years of age, then one year to the Priest to take an examination. In the summertime, school started at 6 a.m. until 9 a.m.--only three hours of school. In the wintertime school started at 9 a.m. and went on all day. Hanna only attended school in the winter. None of Hannah’s family went to the Priest for the examination because their parents were “Mormons” and he would not allow then attending.
Hannah was very good in her schoolwork but did not advance as fast as the children of wealthier people. This was because her parents could not afford to give rich gifts to the teacher.
There was not much free time for amusement in the summertime because Hanna was hired out. She always wanted to learn to dance, but there was never enough time for that. She did, however, enjoy roaming around in the woods when time permitted. It was inspiring, to her, to walk through the big beautiful forest in Denmark.
In the fall, the government allowed the poor folks to go into the forests and gather dead wood for winter use. You could see many children carrying bundles of wood on their backs. They went long distances in the woods to obtain firewood. They also gathered hazelnuts for winter roasting. Hannah always obtained much pleasure from a day spent in the woods among the flowers.
It was the custom, during the Christmas holidays, for the children of Denmark to go to the homes of the rich people and ask for Christmas gifts. The people of the wealthy class baked up heaps of little cakes to give the children. The children always looked forward to the day when they could ask for Christmas gifts.
As Hannah did not join the Church until he was 19 or 20, there is not much to say about her church attendance. The adults attended cottage meetings and went to church twice a year to partake of the sacrament. The children attended church only when cottage meetings were held in their own homes.
There was no persecution in Denmark toward those who joined the (LDS) Church and no bodily harm was inflicted. They were scoffed at, however, when attending school.
Once, when Hannah was a child, her mother sent her to a house to get some milk. The lady of the house talked to her about her parents joining the “Mormons” and told her how badly she felt for her. “But”, she said, “You are small now and when you grow older, you can do as you please.” Hannah cried and felt deeply touched because of the way the lady talked to her.
Hannah’s father lived a long distance from his folks. They were hard toward him for joining the “Mormon” Church. One day her father’s brother was traveling by their home as a freighter. He came to the door and asked if they were still serving the devil.
In Denmark, the Catholic priests would go around with a box on their shoulders to solicit money from their followers so that the souls of the dead relatives, who had sinned, could be released from the burning pits of Hell. If the people paid enough money, and the box clinked, immediately the souls of their dead relatives would spring out of Hell’s fire.
Hannah’s family wanted to come to America. They did not have passage money for the whole family so they decided to send her sister, Mary first. Mary arrived in Utah and went to Richfield and later married a man named Hans Peter Nielsen. Hans was a Miller and had a flourmill on the west side of town.
There was a family going to America that wanted Hannah to go with them, but she did not want to leave her invalid mother. She let her two brothers, James and Christian, go in her place as they both could go for what it would take for her passage. The brothers arrived in Utah in the spring of 1877. The older brother (James) worked in the wheat fields and the younger tended his sister’s small children.
There was a wealthy widower who tried to persuade Hannah to marry him instead of going to America. She declined because she could not bear the thought of her mother going all the way to Utah in her condition, without someone to help her.
In the fall of 1877, Hannah, her father and her mother sailed for America. (History of Scandinavian Mission page 230) The Second Company of the Season’s Latter-day Saints emigrating from Scandinavia sailed from Copenhagen, 13 September 1877, on the steamship “Argo” with 211 Saints. Elder Hamilton G. Park was appointed leader of the Company. The embarkation took place in good order and without any disturbance. At 5:00 P.M. the Argo sailed from the wharf with the Saints on board singing farewell hymns and cheering as the ship left the harbor. The leave-taking of the emigrating Saints, from their and relatives who were left behind, was indeed most impressive with tears of both joy and sadness flowing.
After a successful voyage over the North Sea, the Argo arrived safely in Hull, England, Monday, 17 September 1877. The journey was continued the same day to Liverpool, here the Scandinavian Emigrants, together with 260 British Saints, and 10 returning Missionaries, boarded the Steamship Wisconsin.” The Wisconsin sailed from Liverpool on 19 September 1877 and arrived in New York City 30 September 1877. They were on the ocean for two weeks. Hannah’s mother was confined to her wheelchair. They had only one cot, and her father occupied it. Hannah only had a chest to sit on. She did not go to bed, but sat on the chest and slept, so she could be on hand when her mother needed help. It was very hard on Hannah to sit up all the time with her legs hanging down. She never complained. About the last two days of the voyage a lady noticed that Hannah’s legs were swollen. The lady drew their attention to the condition and Hannah was put to bed so the swelling would go down.
From New York City, the journey continued the same day by rail 30 September 1877. They crossed rivers and mountains. At one point it was raining so hard the river started to rise. It rose so high that they could not cross and their train had to wait three days for the river to go down so they could go on their way. The Saints arrived in Ogden and Salt Lake City, Saturday, 6 October 1877.
While in Salt Lake City, they visited the grave of Brigham Young who died earlier that same year.
Hannah’s sister, Mary and her husband, met them at the end of the railroad and took them to Richfield where she lived. They traveled by wagon. Hannah found employment from a man named Jensen who ran a store in Elsinore. Hannah helped Mrs. Jensen in the home. With Hanna and her father both working, they hired a girl to come and sit with her mother. Hannah’s father worked at cutting stone to earn money to build a home and buy a farm.
Her father bought an inexpensive lot from the city and by working hard he soon had a beautiful place with trees and flowers. He farmed this lot for a few years then sold it. This farm was south of Richfield. He then leased some land from the city to the north of Richfield. This land was all cut up from floods and was in bad condition. Again, by working long and hard he soon had a level farm that produced very abundantly. He broke up and farmed the land that the Richfield City Cemetery now occupies. He farmed this land until he became sick and died in 1907.
Hannah married two years after she came to Utah. She married Christian Christensen Brown. Christian was born 2 February 1839 in Fjellerup, Fjelsted, Denmark, a son of Jens Christensen and Anne Sophi Pedersen (or Petersen). (See history of Christian Christensen and Dortha Andersen)
Hannah and Christian met during a Stake Conference in Richfield. Christian had been invited to the home of Hans Nielsen’s for dinner and became acquainted with Hannah at that time. Hannah was 24 (26) years old when she married (born 11 February 1853)(he was 40). Christian Brown was a personable man, fine and splendid. After a brief courtship they were married in the St. George Temple, 25 June 1879. They then settled in Monroe, Utah.
They were blessed with the following nine children:
Adell Christina (Christena)
In addition to caring for her home and children, Hannah often went over to Richfield to care for her invalid mother until after her mother’s death. Her mother had been an invalid for twenty-five years.
The Pioneers were allowed as much land as they were able to take care of. Christian chose a beautiful place, covering twenty acres west of Monroe, where it was peaceful, quite and lovely. Christian wanted a home and family of his own. He built a one room log house that later became the living room, as additions were made to the home. The logs were drawn from Monroe Main Canyon.
One night while sitting up late, Hannah felt as though someone was watching her. She looked up at the window and there, with his face pressed against the windowpane, was an Indian. She hurriedly blew out the light and went to bed. After that she covered the window when she worked late at night.
Christian and his son, Andrew, built a house just south of their home. Andrew married and lived with his father for a while, then moved into the new house. After Andrew had lived in the new house a short time, he moved out and went someplace else in Monroe. This house was later dragged over and became part of Christian and Hannah’s home.
The early settlers had little money and no way of getting cash for their farm produce.
The settlers decided to band together and take their produce to Nevada where they could sell it to the mining communities. In order to do this, they had to freight it by team and wagon.
The farmers took advantage of this scheme to sell their surplus farm produce. Their surplus consisted of flour, oats, eggs, cured bacon and fresh produce. The trip took 10-14 days round trip. The townspeople were happy for this means of making money, which they used to pay their taxes.
Christian was a very industrious and hard working man. He was respected by all who knew him.
The following is a story told by Dora Brown
“There was a man by the name of Harmon Swindle who lived in an old log house on the north side just one block straight south of us. He had been burning trash on his place during the day. In the evening, a wind came up and sparks from the fire blew across the street into Sam Shimmons corral, setting fire to his stacks of hay and straw. The sparks from this fire blew down onto our place. People who came to help said they wouldn’t give a nickel for our place that night. The machinery was pushed out of the sheds and the cows and horses were turned out of the corral. It surely looked like our place would go.
“Father was down irrigating in the lower field. He could see the bright flames from the fire. Thinking it was our place on fire, he said he ran all the way home. Jim and mother were out at the corral and soon came in and said, “Lets pray for the protection of our home. To our surprise the sparks blew over our sheds and some of them lit on some old straw below the place and started a fire there. Thanks to our Heavenly Father, our place was spared.”
Hannah’s washing was done using a scrubbing board. She heated the water in a large copper boiler on the kitchen stove. The wash water came from the irrigation ditch. The drinking water was drawn from the neighbor’s well and had to be hauled in.
Hannah raised a large vegetable garden. She also loved flowers, and had a large flower garden. In her younger years, she did all the sewing for the family. When Kistie grew up she took over the sewing. Adell later inherited the job.
The children had to help on the farm. When Manilla was five years old, she went with them to the fields to haul hay. It was a hot day, so Manilla would lie down under the wagon in the shade. One time she got to close to the wheel and was run over, breaking her leg.
Hannah lost her oldest son, Christian, during an epidemic of Diphtheria and tonsillitis. He was 12 years of age.
A small daughter, Hannah Dortha, drowned at age two in a ditch near their home. Hannah Dortha was following her father and while attempting to cross a bridge over the ditch, fell in. The water had to be turned out of the ditch so they could find her. Her body was found two blocks down stream.
Hannah’s third son, Hans, died at age eighteen of Typhoid Fever, September 1902.
Kistie Marie, died of child bed fever two weeks after giving birth to a baby girl. The baby’s name was Christal Gray. Hannah raised Christal as her own.
James’ wife died after giving birth of their daughter, Annie. This left James with five daughters to raise. At the age of seventy, Hannah left her own home and moved into her son, James’ home, where she took care of his five motherless daughters. Annie was just a small baby. She lived there for one and a half years.
Christian and Hannah were married for 30 years. Hannah became a widow in 1909, and remained a widow for 31 years. At the time of Christian’s death, James was on a mission to Denmark. Christian hadn’t been feeling well so he just sat in the old rocking chair all day long not wanting to do anything. He died 12 January 1909.
A poem written by Dora Brown, August 1971:
Our Old Rocking Chair
I remember well our old rocking chair
As it stood by the big round stove
That gave heat to the house.
I remember well one way it was used
Each night after his days work was done
Our father would sit and rock in that old rocking chair.
I remember well how the little girls would sit on his lap
And comb his hair to cover the top of his baldhead.
He enjoyed it and so did they
In that old rocking chair.
And so whoever has that old rocking chair in their possession
Remember to be kind to it
Keep it looking nice for it carries a lot of memories
As if it were part of the family.
That old rocking chair that stood by the big round stove
That gave heat to the house.
That old rocking chair.
With Christian gone, Hannah was left with a big farm to take care of. There were cows to feed and to milk. Help was badly needed. A nephew who was attending BYU, Erastus Nielsen, came to attend the funeral. He decided to stay with Hannah and the family for the rest of the winter to help with the farm work. Another cousin, Ed Simpson, from Kamas, also spent the winter helping out with the farm. They both stayed until Jim came home from his mission.
During the twenties and the thirties, there were a lot of sugar beets raised in Sevier County. So many, in fact that a sugar beet factory was built at the crossroads between Monroe and Elsinore. A small town grew up around the sugar factory called Austin (or Frogtown), as many people called it). The sugar beet industry brought employment and steady paychecks to many people in the valley. James, Hannah’s son, owned some farmland in Austin, near the factory. On this land he grew sugar beets.
On the farm, almost all of the work of raising sugar beets was accomplished using either horsepower or hand power. The ground was plowed, leveled and planted using a team of horses. By June, green lines showing in the fields, signaled that the beets would soon be ready to thin. The thinning was done by hand. When you were 10 or 12 years of age, you were old enough to thin beets. You were paid ten cents a row for each row of beets you thinned. This was a good way for kids to earn their spending money. Some fast thinners made as high as 10 or 12 dollars during the thinning time, which lasted about two weeks.
This story about Hannah happened during the beet season. The beets were being harvested in Jim’s field in Austin. During the beet harvest, Hannah prepared a noon meal to take to the field for the workers. She would then hitch up the horse and buggy and be on her way. On this particular day she decided she needed a stick to tap the horse with to make it go a little faster. It sometimes lagged along if it was not prodded a little. She went out in the orchard to find a stick and while she was looking, a voice said to hr very clearly, “Take Two” so she took two sticks and climbed back in the buggy and proceeded on her way. After traveling a short distance she dropped one of the sticks. She stopped the buggy and climbed out to get the stick that had fallen. As Hannah turned around to climb back in, she missed the small step on the side of the buggy. This caused her to fall under the buggy wheels. The horse became excited, pulled the buggy ahead, and a wheel ran over Hannah’s head. The result was a large cut on Hannah’s head. In describing this cut the daughter said it looked like she had been scalped. She had been warned to take two sticks, and as she had a long distance to go when she lost the first one, she thought she must have those two sticks with her all the time.
Vivian Tuft, Hannah’s neighbor, found her and brought her to her home. The accident happened on a Saturday when Dora was home so she called Nellie Gould, another neighbor, who cleaned her wound as best she could and put her to bed. Dr. Loring came later and put a tight bandage around Hannah’s head to make the wound stay together. Later while she was mending she got Erysipelas and her head became so swollen the girls had to feed her with a knife. A spoon would not go into her swollen mouth. Hannah had many serious accidents and ailments during her life. She credited her healing to her faith in God and the power of the priesthood.
Hannah sent her children to school and gave them many advantages she never had.
Hannah was not active in Church work during her younger life, but devoted most of her time to her home duties and family. In her later years she spent much time working in the Relief Society where she accomplished many things. Sister Laurine Larsen, as president of the North Ward Relief Society, selected Hannah Brown to be the chairman of the work committee. At that time the Relief Society was short of funds and needed money badly. Hannah told how she went to every one in the ward asking for old overalls, discarded woolen suits and coats, to make camp quilts to sell as a fund raiser. Those who had sheep donated wool, which Hannah washed and corded by herself. Using these methods they were able to make the quilts without any expense. They tied the quilts in different homes. Many of the quilts were sold to sheep men and a considerable sum of money went into the treasury.
With the aid of other sisters, she put on the first and largest bazaar ever held in Monroe. It was a regular holiday. Mrs. Larsen secured the services of the high school band. Everyone in town was there, supporting the activity. Lunches were sold, as were cakes, horseradish, plants, quilts and clothing of every description. They bought the piano that is in use in the Chapel and paid for it in one year’s time. When released form this position, Hannah was put in as block teacher, a position she held until just before she died. She had a record of 100% Relief Society block teaching. The sisters she visited were always glad to welcome her into their homes and enjoyed her visits very much.
Hanna was like most of those who came from the Scandinavian Countries, a great lover of nature. She took much pride in beautifying her home surroundings.
She was a great reader, studied the Church books and magazines, and kept up with the daily newspapers. Being a natural poet, she composed a number of wonderful poems and was able to call them to mind at any time. This gift was one of her greatest blessings. Many have enjoyed listening to her recite the poetry she had written.
Four of Hannah’s poems.
On the Mountain
I was gazing on the mountain high
And saw it’s beauty and wondered why
And then I thought, how small am I
Just like a worm that’s crawling by
And as I thought, a whisper came
In Heaven once there was your home
Your older brother, the Son of God
Has bought this world with his blood
And so I know my Father lives
Who sent his Son, me to save
If I keep well His command
I on this world with Christ will stand
To a Missionary
I am awfully slow in speech
To read and write and to preach
Although I always pray for you
I’ll send a rhyme of a line or two
I pray God to make you well and strong
So you can carry the truth along
Bring to your mind bright and plain
The scriptures you must explain
How happy then you must be
To bring to the world the gospel free
If just one soul you can bring into the fold
Your happiness can not be told
Though obstacles on your way you meet
And for the wicked your heart will bleed
It strengthens well your faith in God
So hold to the Iron Rod
Here we are a few assembled
On this Sabbath fasting day:
But where two or three are members
God, He in our midst will stay
I can testify his power
For I know this far is true
God is near in trying hours
Hears the prayer of me and you
In my garden some gold I found
For I planted some silver plants in the ground
Some of my silver plants lay dead,
For close to the root was a cut-worm’s bed
With my hoe and shovel I worked until I sweat,
But I did not get discouraged a bit.
For I know that I must work hard and long
To make my silver plants grow big and strong.
One day I passed a corner street
There I saw some loafers set,
I heard them say, “There is no way,
For us poor fellows to get honest pay.”
So I thought, if they had a lot
And planted some silver plants in the spot,
And worked and sweat, till their brow got wet
Then, they honest pay will get.
Just before Hannah died:
She had her own milk cow. It was fed and herded with Jim’s cows, but Hannah milked her morning and night. One morning, she came into the house after milking the cow and said, “I can’t milk this cow anymore.” Eli, Manilla’s husband came down and took the cow home with him.
She didn’t live to long after that. She died of dropsy. Dora was with her when she died. Anna Johanna (Hannah) Brown died 21 October 1940. She was 87 years old. Buried 24 October 1940 in Monroe City Cemetery. She had upheld the noble heritage left by her parents.
Poem written by Anna Johanna Nielsen Brown:
You’ve toiled in your garden- You’ve worked so hard
Not only in your garden of plants and flowers-
But in your garden of home, among your children.
You’ve nourished your little buds with care,
With infinite tenderness. Given them food in the deep
And moving doctrines of your faith. Quenched their thirst
With the cooling refreshing rain of your love and sympathy.
You are a true gardener, my dear,
And such a well beloved one.
Grandma Brown and the Chicken Coop
Grandma Brown told us any stories when we were kinds. One story that I remember her telling us was about the chicken coop. One night when Grandpa Brown was out of town on business and Grandma was home alone with the kids. As she was walking around in the house, it was getting late, and she heard a noise outside. She opened the door and could hear a noise in the chicken coop. She lit the coal oil lantern and went outside. She then went over to the chicken coop, which was a short distance from the house. Grandma could hear the chickens squawking and flying around. She walked up to the door to look inside the coop, and as she touched the door handle a hand was placed on top of her hand to prevent her from opening the door. This frightened her and she dropped the lantern and ran back to the house. The next morning she went out to the chicken coop and looked inside. It was a mess. Several dead chickens were lying around. She said that there had been a wild animal in the coop and had she gone in the night before it might have injured or killed her. She then said how thankful she was for her protection that night.
Roger B. Chedester
History of Christian Christensen / Dortha Andersen—Emigration and early life.
Christian Brown History.
Experiences of Grandma and Grandpa by Dora Brown.
Anna Johanna Nielsen—Danish records—F43,992, page 68
Ane Johanna Hansen—born 11 February 1853, baptized 28 april 1872.
Silkeborg Branch, F 41,947 page 178 (93) no. 36
Ane Johanne Herning