Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Maria Smith was born 28 April 1865 at Richfield, Sevier County, Utah, a daughter of Jorgen and Matte Maria Willis Smith.  She died 27 August 1954 at her home in Payson, Utah County, Utah.  First girl born in Richfield
Her first husband was Joe Wilcock who she later divorced.  Maria had a son by Joe name Edward Wilcock, born about 1884 at Notom, Wayne County, Utah.  He died in 1935 in Reno, Nevada.
Her second husband, Alexander Jensen was born about 1862 in Gunnison, Sevier County, Utah.  He was the first white child born in Gunnison.  The couple was married at Kamas, Utah.  He died in Arco (Ucon), Idaho in 1904. 
Mattie Marie Jensen, born 28 August 1891 at Kamas, Summit County, Utah, baptized 30 July 1904.  Married Leo Hunsaker 31 August 1935.  She married Albert Tyres 30 August 1910.  Their child are Aileen Lena Tyres (Mrs. Fred Christensen) born  11 June 1911; Vance Jensen Tyree, born 13 January 1913; and William Jensen Tyree, born 1 December 1921.  Myrtle Ive Jensen, born 28 March 1893 at Kamas, Summit County, Utah; baptized 30 July 1904.  (married Walter Appleton)  Died in Canada.  Eva Adeline Jensen, born 28 December 1895 at Ephraim, Sanpete County, Utah; baptized 30 July 1904.  Demerse, a daughter of Eva was born 16 July 1914.  Married Paul Wedamon, father of Demerse, only child of Eva, May 12, 1912.  Married Alvin Recker June 1944.  She is still alive and lives in Washington or Oregon.  Husband of Eva - Walter Appleton, Butte, Montana.  Aubrey Osier, Feb. 28, 19--   Glen Alexander Jensen, born 1901 at Gunnison, Sevier County, Utah, died in 1917.

She married her third husband, John Edward Peterson, 16 April 1909 in Manti, Utah.  John and Maria were first cousins.  They had no children.  He was born 14 November 1877 in Denmark.  his parents were Jens Christensen Peterson. 

Elisa Elizabeth Willis is a sister of Mette Marie Willis, Jorgen Smith's wife.  Mette Marie Willis Smith had a brother named Lars Willis.

I had to work hard to take care of my family.  Eight years after Mr. Jensen died, I married John Peterson in Manti, Utah.  then we went to Eureka, Utah where he worked for years.  We moved to Payson were we are still living.  This is January 1954 and on April 28, 1954, I will be 88 years old.  I have outlived all of my brothers and sisters.  I have two living daughters, Eva and Mattie.  I have three grandchildren, five great grandchildren and one great great grand child.

Maria Smith Peterson died August 27, 1954 at her home in Payson and is buried in the Eureka, Utah cemetery.

My daughter, Myrtle, got married to Walter Appleton and went to Canada where he worked in the Battalion Mine in British Columbia.  they lived there in a little mining camp.  They had a baby one and one-half-years old and a baby three weeks old.  A landslide swept her and the two children and the house down into a river with fifty others and their houses.  They were all killed.  Her husband was in the mine working .  When he heard the roar, he came running out, but too late to save his family.  When they dug them all out they found Myrtle with the two children held tight in her arms.  She and the children are buried there. I never did see those grandchildren and never been to their graves.  We didn't have the ways and means to travel in those days

Mariah’s Husbands

A partial story from the original written by Adelia Mott Pierce in Treasured Trails

She finally met a man, Joseph Wilcox and married him, though she was very young (about 15).  She gave birth to a fine son, June 1881.  She named him Edward Wilcox.  Not long after Joseph and Maria divorced. 

She took her baby and went to cook at a lumber camp on the Provo River not far from Kamas.  These saw mills furnished much of the lumber for the new homes built in the valley.  Not long after a forest fire broke out and quickly engulfed the hillsides in deadly flame and smoke.   The lower camp down the river was evacuated and a young fellow working in the timber, asked about the upper camp, now surrounded by fire.  Someone said, “All are out except the cook and her baby.”  “ We cannot let her stay there,” he said. 

By this time the cook shack had caught fire.  The air was filled with choking smoke and ashes.  Maria, clutching her babe, ran to a nearby stream.  Throwing herself to the ground she tried to breathe what fresh air there was on the water’s surface.  But before long, a friend she had met casually only a time or two was beside her giving her aid.  He wrapped her and the baby in wet blankets, wrapped himself the same way, put wet burlap on their feet and hurriedly took off through smoke and fire to safety. 

Their horse was badly burned and later had to be shot.  They were taken to a doctor down the canyon a way who had come up from Provo to look after the injured.  Maria and her baby were saved by the quick action of a brave man, Alex Jensen.  Not long after Maria married Alex Jensen.  They were a happy couple and brought four children into the world. 

A second time tragedy struck Maria and her family.  They moved to Arco (Ucon), Idaho, where Alex found work on a farm.  One day he fell from a load of hay onto a pitchfork.  The fork pierced his heart.  Maria was left to face the world alone with five small children to support.  She worked very hard washing on the board, ironing, scrubbing and doing housework to earn food and shelter for her young ones, three girls and two boys.  Later the oldest boy was able to find work elsewhere. 

Maria’s troubles were still not over for in March 1915 her second daughter, Myrtle, and two children were killed in a snow or land slide in British Columbia and her youngest son died at age 19.  Maria held onto all the hopes she could to help her two daughters and just to live for them in turn.  These daughters were a great comfort to their mother.  She moved around from Eureka, Gunnison, Payson, and finally made her home in Payson.  The best part of her life came when she met John E. Peterson from South Dakota.  Each found a happy and secure life when they were married in April 1909 in Manti, Utah.  John is a wonder man, still living, but alone now as Maria passed away in 1954. 

Alex Jensen          Carol Stoddard, 532 W 4th N, Saint Anthony, ID, 83445, 208-624-2864

A history of Daniel Tyler written by his oldest son, Dan M. Tyler, states that in the summer of  1902 they were living (renting) on the Joe Nelson place (Ucon, ID) and described the incident .  “Dan was hauling hay from out in the field on a wagon and Uncle Marion, who was about eleven years old, and a hired man by the name of Jensen were on the load with him.  Jensen was sitting in the middle of the load holding a pitchfork with each hand, and as they came to the Anderson Canal the load tipped over into it Dan quieted the horses as quickly as possible.  Marion was buried under the hay and Jensen came up out of the canal with a fork in his hand.  He said, “ Dan I am a dead man,” and with that he fell over on the ground and by the time Dan got the boy out from under the load, Jensen was dead.  One tine of the fork had gone through his heart. 

I (Carol) cried when I read of Maria traveling 18 days by wagon to return to Utah.  We also want you to know we have lovingly tended his grave all these years and removed the grass that grows over the marker and taken him flowers on Memorial Day.  He has been a phantom member of our family all these years and we feel he is a part of us.

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