MAREN CATRINA (HANSDATTER) NIELSEN
HANS PETER NIELSEN
by EUGENE H. HALVERSON
Maren Catrina was the oldest child of Marie Kisten Jensdatter Pelsen and Hans Nielsen. She was born in Rohde, Skorring, Aarhus, Denmark in 20 May, 1850, the only one of the six children to be born here. Born during War and to a poor family, would cause Maren to always look for a better life. She listened to the Elders and was soon converted, she very much wished to go to America, to build the City of Zion for her God. She was baptized at sixteen and immigrated when she was 20 years old, about 1869. The family was poor and only had enough money for her to go at this time. Maren Catrina was the first Nielsen to immigrate she made a home for those who would come later. When she arrived in Utah she was sent to Richfield where she met and married Hans Peter Nielsen, also from Denmark. They were married in the old Endowment House in Salt Lake City, Utah, 29 September, 1873. It took seven years to bring all the rest of her family to America and provide the old family home for them.
Hans Peter Nielsen was born in Kastrup, Denmark on 31 March, 1845, a son of Niels Isaksen and Maren Hansdatter. He came to Utah in 1863 with the help the Elders of the LDS Church. He was a carpenter and miller, helped build and run the flour mills in Richfield during the time of the United Order and after the order ceased. The United Order was started in 1874 by Joseph A. Young
The Heath Mill on the Fremont River had burned so Hans Peter Nielsen decided that this would give him an opportunity to own and operate a mill of his own. So he built a nice home for his family and his own flour mill on the banks of the Fremont River on the Heath Mill site. It was a four story mill. The first floor and foundation are built of native cut rock and the rest of the mill was finished with lumber. The top floor was used as a carpenter shop. It was a very modern mill in its day and the people of the valley had a need for it.
The Nielsen Mill was built in 1890 and the family moved to Thurber the following year.
The Bicknell (Nielsen) Grist Mill, located just off Utah Highway 24 by the Fremont River was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. This mill was built in 1890 and is considered to be the best preserved building of it's kind in the State. Hans Peter Nielsen, a miller by trade, came from Denmark to Utah in 1863 and to Thurber in 1890. Niels Hansen was another Danish emigrant was the carpenter who built the Nielsen Mill and home. He also married Mary Kisten, the Nielsen’s oldest daughter (I think?). The old mill still stands today, beautifully weathered on the outside and nearly intact on the inside. But without some immediate repair it will collapse. A Mr. Montell Seely and his family from Castle Dale, Utah, working alone has raised the foundation 12 inches, enough to bring the building back into alignment. But it is not quite saved and a long way from being restored. He says he would love to have some help. He needs people and resources.
They had eight children and they were all born in Richfield, with the last one born just before they moved here in Thurber. Niels Peter (24 Dec., 1874--13 May, 1914 married Marie Jane Olsen), Mary Kisten (15 Nov., 1876 married Niels Hansen), Hans Peter (18 Nov., 1878), James Christian (Mr. Binder, 24 Feb., 1882--1965), Erastus (8 Mar., 1884 married Levona Brown), Mutilda (27 July, 1886 married Robert Arthur Meeks), Sarah Elizabeth (12 April, 1889 married William Frederick Weight) and Anna Amelia (6 June, 1891 married Joseph E. Olsen).
James Nielsen was born 24 February, 1882, at Richfield. He was the son of Hans Peter Nielsen and Maren Catrina Nielsen; his parents emigrated from Denmark. They met in Richfield and were married in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City, Utah.
His father, a carpenter and miller, helped build and run the flour mills in Richfield and later built and owned one on the Fremont River below Bicknell, where James spent his childhood days.
About 1891, this family moved to the town of Thurber, now known as Bicknell, Utah, where the father built a nice home and his own flour mill, a four story mill. The first floor and foundation are built of native cut rock and the rest of the mill was finished with lumber. The top floor was used as a carpenter shop.
James was a lover of good riding horses. He helped out on the farm and the flour mill. He had many experiences with the Indians, who came peeking into the windows in the fall to exchange pine nuts for flour and meat.
On 10 September, 1909, his father died, the flour mill was sold. James, his mother and two sisters moved to Springville, Utah. Norma remembers the time when she and her mother, May Nielson Jones got off the train to visit Maren Catrina in Springville.
James returned to Sevier County in 1912 to work and later he settled down in Glenwood, where he bought a large gable two story stone home and two city lots. His mother moved to Glenwood where she kept house for her son. James never married; he was good and kind to his mother. He spent most of the summers at Grass Valley helping during haying time and taking care of cattle in the fall moths. James was always happy, and good to everyone. He lived alone the last twenty-five years at Glenwood, Utah.
James ran a grain binder when he first came to Glenwood and was nicknamed and known as Jimmy Binder. He was called this all his life. One young woman who had recently moved to Glenwood thinking it was really his name, meeting him at the post office one day inquired, "How are you, Mr. Binder?"
Yes, this is the same Jimmie Nielson who used to tease Artie Smith, calling her Jack Smith's little tom-boy and she called him Nielsen's little girl.