A SKETCH of my MOTHERS LIFE
ANA JOHANNA LARSEN OTTOSEN
Compiled by her daughter
|Emma, Grants daughter-Doris, Thomas|
After graduating from school, mother worked at home, indoors and out of doors, wherever she was needed most. She then kept house for her grandfather after his wife died. After working there for two years, she took a job as maid in another home. While there she met my father and after a year's courtship, they were married on January 5, 1853 at the age of 23.
|Reed, Grant, Clara|
Thomas, Lyman, Allen, Vernal, Emma, Emma
Soon after their marriage, the L.D.S. Saints arrived in their home town. My parents and also father's mother and sister became interested in the new doctrine and soon embraced the gospel and were baptized February 14, 1854 by Andrew Peterson and were confirmed February 18, 1854 by Lars Larsen. When grandfather learned that the elders were allowed to visit their home and that they joined the church, his kindness turned to hatred and he asked them to return all he had given them, which they quickly did. They (sold) what little they had left to help them on their long journey.
My grandfather was so bitter that my parents were afraid to let him know where they were while preparing to leave their native land for America. Their last night was spent at a friends home, Sister Kate Carter's grandmother. My grandmother visited her daughter and her six-week-old baby and my father and bid them a sad good-bye at midnight.
They left Denmark November 22, 1854. With them came my father's mother, Annie Katrene Hansen Ottosen and his sister Beregeta Ottosen. The trip on the ocean was very trying and tiresome as the sail ship they traveled on was blown and tossed from place to place by the cold winter winds. After sailing several days they were required to repair their craft before sailing again. The trip across the water lasted eleven weeks. The great waves washed over the boat and very often drenched the baby which she held in her arms.
When they left England they sailed on the ship, Siddons, under the director of John S. Fuller and landed in New Orleans about the 20th of April, 1855. From there they sailed up the river to Mormon Grove and there came the task of preparing for the long journey across the plains by ox team.
While on the plains my father's sister, Beregeta, a girl of 18 years, died of colary (Cholera?) on the 15th of June, 1855. The Company halted long enough to dig a shallow grave of about three feet, but a large rock prevented them from digging further. While the grave was being dug, mother prepared the body for burial. The body was wrapped in a sheet and laid in the rock bottom grave. The whole funeral services did not take more than an hour of their time. Thus, one of their faithful group was left, though through her sickness her one prayer and hope was to gather with the saints in Zion. It was a sad little group that left their dear daughter, sister and sister-in-law in her shallow grave while they continued the hot, tiresome journey until the 6th day of September 1855 when they landed in Salt Lake City.
The same year they located in Brigham City and shortly after their arrival there, a call was made for adobes with which to build a meeting-house, and while they stilled lived in their wagon-box, they made and donated 4,000 adobes toward that building. While getting timber out of the canyon for their house, father was struck by a falling tree which broke his leg in two places. This fracture was set by mother and a neighbor man.
Those were very trying days as food was so scarce the baby often cried for food. All clothing that could be spared was traded for bran and all sorts of food and flour were seldom seen.
Reed, Grant, Lyman
Clara, Allen, Emma
Leaving their dear little home and little son's grave, which were very dear to them, they came to Spanish Fork in the spring of 1858 and located in which is now the 4th ward. There they again made adobes and built a small home. Later they built a larger home and moved into that which they owned as long as they lived, and in this home their eight children were born. In this hone they labored to make themselves comfortable and helped others.
Letters were frequently received from the elders laboring in the Scandinavia Mission, asking them to aid some honest person, and at times whole families who joined the saints in Utah. This, she generously did until 64 persons had been aided to reach Utah. A great number of these saints were met at Salt Lake City and conveyed by oxen or horse-team to our home where they remained with the family until employment could be obtained. Some paid back that money that had been spent for their immigration and others never did. Mother's children were often deprived of good clothing and notions that young folks and children like and really need and we sometimes spoke of it, but mother's answer was "We are only doing our duty to others and helping gain a salvation for ourselves."
|Reed, Clara, Thomas, Allen, Emma, Grant, Lyman, Vern|
Mother was always ready and willing to aid in sickness or death and was greatly blessed of the Lord in many trying circumstances. At times she traveled on horseback or on carts and often walked a great distance to help in time of need. And when roads and trails were unfit to travel, the poor always found her a willing helper. She firmly believed in the blessed saying that no person should leave her hone hungry and in many cases, food was taken to the needy homes.
We were very busy on the farm milking cows, making butter, caring for poultry, and in the fall for many years made molasses. From these products money was raised to help bring saints to Utah. She sheared sheep, carded the wool, spun yarn, wove cloth, cared for silkworms and made her own candles and soap and other things.
For years she was the sole teacher for Palmyra ward and in addition to this, my parents molded and donated 4,000 adobes for the Central meeting house which is now the Opera House. She was a firm believer in temple work and did ordinances in the St. George, Logan, Manti and Salt Lake Temples. On November 17, 1861 father and mother received their endowments in the Salt Lake City Endowment House.
My father's health was poor and mother tired to save him by helping in the fields and in the home. Father died December 31, 1893 at the age of 70. Mother stilled lived on the farm and moved to town after my brother Erastus was called on a mission; he was the last child in the home. She always gave our Heavenly Father the praise for all blessings to herself and family.
One incident which I wish to mention is the answer to her prayer while in poverty and father in bed with a broken leg. Her attention was called to a noise and upon looking up saw an Indian demanded food. She silently prayed for Gods help. Then fear seemed to leave her and looking him squarely in the face tried to tell him she had no food. When he came toward her with the knife in hand, she calmly took hold of his wrists and he dropped the knife. For a minute he looked at her. She picked up the knife and handed it to him and he turned and walked away. As in many other cases she thanked the Lord for His protection.
Her children are as follows: Andrew, Joseph, Catherine, Sarah, Hyrum, Eva, Emma, and Erastus Ottesen. Grant and Christena died in infancy.
In obedience to our Church leaders, my mother observed the law of tithing, made donations to the church and to aid missionaries. Three sons and three sons-in-law filled foreign missions. It can truly be said of her that she lived an ambitious, honest and faithful life in full faith in our Heavenly Father In September 1906, she was taken ill from the effects of gangrene and was cared for and died at the home of her daughter and son-in-law, Thomas Halversen, on the 17th of December 1906. Services were held at the Spanish Fork 4th Ward Church House, under the direction of Bishop Andrew E. Nielsen. She was buried in the Spanish Fork Cemetery.