Saturday, July 9, 2011



Written by ERMA NIELSEN,

In 1977 you asked me to write out some of my memories of my father, your Grandfather, Christian Ed Nielson.  My dad was born in Richfield, Utah on December 14, 1886.  His parents were James Nielson, born October 18, 1860 in Jutland, Denmark and Christina Marie Smith Nielson born March 22, 1863 in Fountain Green, Utah.

My father had three brothers, Nels, Joe, and Jim and four sisters, May, Caroline, Martha, and Ella.  There were other children into the family that did not survive infancy.

The family lived in Richfield, Utah for the first fifteen years of my dad's life.  His formal education ended around the age of seven when he stated to work as a field hand in order to help support the family after his father's back was broken in an accident.  (crushed hand not back)

When Dad was fifteen the family moved to Winter Quarters, Utah.  It was here that Dad started his life long career as a coal miner.  Also it was he met and married Sarah Evelyn Gibson on July 30, 1907.  It was here in Winter Quarters that eight children were born to them:  Marie, Leo, Rena, Edna, Evelyn, Georgia, Erma and Ted.

Dad and his brother Joe often participated on Rescue teams to save miners trapped in earth cave-ins or mine explosions.  He always got great pleasure from helping others and was always sad when the rescue came too late to save lives.  Upon returning from a rescue operation in another town or city, he brought each of his children a small gift.  His family was very special to him.

In the spring of 1927 the family moved from the mountains of Winter Quarters because the mine had to be sealed off to smother the inferno burning within it.  The family moved to Castle Gate, Utah.  While living here two more sons were born, Glen on November 27 ,1927 And Vern Dee on November 4 1930. 

My parents never forgot the loss of daughter, Rena at the age of 10.  She died on August 15, 1922.  Each Memorial Day the family would return to Schofield, Utah to visit Rena' grave.  Dad would cut down the weeds around her head stone while mother would arrange the flowers.  Then the folks would visit with old friends in the Winter Quarters and Schofield area.

When the mining camp housing changed in 1931 , making miners free to reside in the location of their choice.  Dad bought a small farm in Price, Utah.  Mother's brother and his family farmed it the first year, then we took up residency the following year.  The farm gave Dad more land for his family as well as his horses, cow, chickens and pigs.  There was land for gardening and land for the grazing of animals.

In June of, 1946 Dad came to California and spent a month with my sister, Edna, my husband, Harold, and myself.  While visiting with us he planted a vegetable garden.  Before leaving California he went shopping in Chinatown, San Francisco.  He purchased a heart-shaped butterfly wing pin for Mother and an oval shaped one for me, which I cherish to this day.

Mother and Dad celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary on July 30, 1957 with a dinner at son Teds house.  Later in the afternoon they had a reception for relatives and friends at their own home.

In October of that year Dad had a heart attack.  On December 18 while waiting for supper, seated in his favorite chair , he died quietly.

Dad was a highly organized , motivated, friendly  person who enjoyed the people he supervised in his work.  He enjoyed having his son, Leo working with him in the mines and on the farm.  It was Leo who broke the wild horses that were born on the homestead.

Dad spent time with his children.  Wherever the family lived he would build a swing in the back yard for us.  He always made our childhood fun and exciting.  He shared his love of horses with us and many family members became good horsemen.  It was while riding a horse from Helper to Castle Gate on the main highway that Dad's horse slipped and fell, resulting in a broken kneecap for Dad which left him with a slight limp. 

He enjoyed people, music, and singing.  He would draw stick men for me and give me" horsey rides" on his foot.  On Valentines Day he would have candy hearts for each child and candy trees on Christmas Day.  On Saturday evenings there would be a candy pull or on Sunday a family picnic.

While I never learned to ride a horse with ease on my own, I loved to ride with him, when we would travel like the wind.  I loved the horses for their grace and beauty and because my Dad was a master of them, as he was a master of all of his life.

With Love

(Erma Nielsen),

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