PIERRE CHRISTIAN BOEL
by EUGENE H. HALVERSON
Pierre and his twin brother Niels were born on the Bol farm in Oudrup, Aalborg, Denmark in Northern Jutland on April 5, 1875. They were the last children of my great grandparents Christian Peter Boel and Maren Kjerstine Sorensen. Pierre is another form of the name Peter.
Denmark was still trying to recover from a war with Germany, with 2/5ths. of her lands taken by their ancient enemy, our people were very poor and did not always have enough to eat.
The twins never had enough to eat, and they did suffer from malnutrition, their mother just didn't have enough milk for two children. It had been a struggle to keep them alive until they could eat solid food. The boys were always sickly and hungry, they were fed what the Danes called "sugar teaty" a mixture of sugar, milk and meal or bread. This was placed in a cloth bag so the babies could suck on it.
The Mormon Missionaries had already converted our family to this new Church. Christian's mother, Anne Marie Poulsdatter had promised her daughter, Christiana that if by chance she lived longer than her husband, she would follow her to America. When he, Christian Pedersen Bol died in 1877, she was now free to join her daughter. Christian had also been waiting impatiently for the day he could leave Denmark. He didn't like the prospects for the future, he had seen two separate wars with Germany, and fought in the last one.
But the main reason to leave was they wanted to go to Zion, to be with other Mormons, to take his mother to her daughter before she became to old to go, she was 78 years old now. They had waited now for 22 years and nothing would stop them now.
Maren, his wife, either couldn't or wouldn't to go to America. The twins were only three years old and could never survive the trip. We are also told that she also had a sick mother.
A very determined Christian gathered five of the older children, his 78-year-old mother, Anna Marie Poulsen, and his two servants, Anne Johanna (Hanna) Jensen, their 26-year-old maid and Anders Andersen and left for America as soon as he could sell the Bol Farm and all he owned.
Christian bought a new and smaller house for his wife and three children who would remain here, Pierre, Niels and Ane Marie (Mary). My Grandmother Mary choose to remain and help her Mother. They stayed here for two long years, during this time the Missionaries had been coming to their home with their message and they now accepted this new Restored Gospel. I wonder if things would have turned out differently if Great Grandmother Maren could have accepted it earlier. She missed her husband and children.
So then one day she sold the farm and the Mormon Church provided a way for them to get to Utah, in the spring of 1880. When they arrived, it wasn't the happy reunion they had expected. Christian had married Hanna. The Church sanctioned plural marriage at this time, they thought everything would be alright, he would just have two wives but Maren would have nothing to do with it. Bishop Hunter then found her a house nearby.
Pierre's twin brother, Niels died two weeks later after arriving in Utah from the measles. Many died along the way due to the crowded conditions either on the ship or the train. After their arrival here, Pierre was separated from his mother and now lived with his father. The stepmother was never accepted as a mother, she was always called Aunt Hanna or Hanner. She tried to discourage Pierre from seeing his real mother who lived in a dugout nearby. She told him, "Grow up, your too old to hang on to her teaty any longer.
We believe Pierre did received an eighth grade education, something his older brothers and sisters did not have an opportunity to do. He had beautiful penmanship. He was active in Church and taught Sunday School classes. He had a keen mind and received his blacksmith training from his father.
One day while chasing a pig, Pierre hurt his food some way. The bone became diseased and his toes had to be amputated. He was a cobbler and made his own shoes, he made them in such a way that it hid his deformity.
In a letter , Mollie said, "Elder Madsen, mother has passed away. I have found a good home for Father. Now I would like to come to Utah. He promptly sent her money to bring her here, to his family where she soon won the hearts of his whole family.
Mollie said, "My next home was that of Dr. and Mrs. George E. Robinson where I had a good life from November 1905 to December 15, 1909. Their house was located at 257 East Center Street, Provo, Utah. They were very kind to me, treating me as one of the family. While I was there, I met Pierre C. Boel of Mapleton, Utah. We were promptly attached to one another. She wrote a letter that read, "Elder Madsen, I'm the happiest girl in all the land. I'm going to be married in the Temple to the finest man I ever knew."
"One day I met a Scottish lassie named Mollie McClain in Provo. I wrote a letter to Mollie's father asking his permission to marry his daughter. We were married on December 15, 1909 in the Salt Lake Temple.
We lived in Mapleton from 1909 to May 1913." This house on 100 West 1600 South is still standing. It was given to Pierre when he married Mollie by his father Christian Boel. It was payment for working for him without pay for many years. Pierre was 34 years old at the time. It took four years for his father to build a new house and move out. Mollie never got along with her new mother-in-law, Aunt Hanna. It was a long four years.
"To this marriage was born three children: Joseph Myrle, born February 18, 1911 at Mapleton, Utah; George Hagen, born May 20, 1912 at Mapleton, and Daniel Merwin, born October 14, 1914 at Sutherland, Millard County, Utah.
"Pierre and I and our two boys, Joseph Myrle and George Hagen, lived in our little home in Mapleton, Utah County, Utah, until May 1913.
Soon after gainning possession of his father's farm Pierre sold the farm. This must have been a dissapointment for his father. Anyway they bought a 40 acre farm in Sutherland, Millard County, Utah. We moved on to this farm in a small, two-room frame house. We lived there three years where Daniel Merwin was born October 14, 1914. Were were very happy there until my husband's health failed him. He thought if we were back in Utah County, closer to the mountains, he would get better."
"So he sold the farm and we moved to Pleasant View in 1916 where we bought a small fruit farm. However, his health did not improve and the work was so hard that he could not carry on. In time, we were forced to sacrifice this farm for a smaller one. This time we had five acres on 12th north near Provo. In the spring of 1918, in the month of April, we built a little two-room home with a half basement.
"His health continued to grow worse and in July 28, 1918, he passed away leaving me alone with our three little boys - Joseph, who was seven years and five months old; George, who was six years two months old and Daniel who was three years nine months old.
Mollie in her own story tells of the hardships of raising three children alone. The times of unbearable loneliness when the children grew up and went their separate ways.
Pierre not being of legal age when his father took out his naturalization papers in 1893 and as such was the only child of the marriage with the Boel name. The rest of his brothers and sisters were Petersens. Mollie said about 1917 the family came to him ask him to change his name to Peterson. In Denmark his was Christensen.
Pierre was only 43 years old when he died and was only married for nine years. They did love each other very much. Mollie was 90 years old when she passed away.