Rocena Platt Chidester: Personal Record

The following personal record is found in Rocena’s Book of Remembrance:

Name in full: PLATT, Rocena
Father’s name: PLATT, Walter Lysle
Mother’s Maiden name: CAMPBELL, Alice

When born: 29 Mar 1931
Where born: Kanarraville, Iron, Utah
When blessed: 3 May 1931
By whom: PLATT, John William
When baptized: 3 Sep 1939
Where baptized: Cedar First and Fifth Ward House – Cedar City, Iron, Utah
Baptized by: WILLIAMS, Preston P.
When confirmed: 10 Sept 1939
By whom: WILLIAMS, Wells A.

Married to: CHIDESTER, Arnon Reeve
Date: 21 June 1950
Where married: St. George, Washington, Utah by SNOW, Harold S.
Where endowed: St. George Temple, Date: 21 June 1950
Where sealed: St. George Temple, Date: 21 June 1950


I  attended Kanarraville grade school, Cedar City Jr. High and High schools.

I have worked in the Primary most of my life it seems like but it has been only 10 years.

I started out as a Zions Boys and Girls teacher in Group 3. I was in the eighth grade at the time.

Since I have worked in many positions and organizations of the church.

I have loved serving for the past 4 1/2 years in the Stake Primary as a counselor to Alice E. Hunter as Trailbuilder Partner. I started out as a 2nd counselor and served in this capacity for about one year then was put in as 1st counselor. I was released from this position the first part of May (May 9) 1965. I was set apart in November 21, 1960.

I have also served as 1st counselor in the ward Primary under Charlene Hunter as President for about 2 1/2 years.

Other positions held in Primary are Blazer leader, Trekker leader, Guide Patrol leader, Co-Pilot leader.

Other organizations I have worked in. Sunday School as Nursery teacher. M.I.A. as Secretary for the young ladies, Finance Member.

I am presently serving as Finance Chariman in the Kearns 6th Ward.

I have lived in Kanarraville, Iron, Utah – Cedar City, Iron, Utah – Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, – and Kearns, Salt Lake, Utah.

Special interests: Art, Sewing, Cooking, Handicrafts, anything that creates a challenge.

I have done a lot of traveling since I was married. Have flown to various states during our vacations. California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, South Dakota, Minneapolis, Minn. We in the year of 1964 left the United States and went to Mexico City, Mexico. We have had a lot of fun in our travels, it has been a lot of fun and a good experince for myself, husband and children.

We have seen such things as Los Angeles Temple, Mount Rushmore, Disneyland, Knots Berry Farm, Marineland of the Pacific, many Zoo’s and musiums [sic], many great landmarks.

Letter from Elmer C. Anderson seeking information about John Madison Chidester

Members of the Chidester
and allied families.

Dear folks:

I think that you either know me personally or have heard of Thelma Chidester Anderson and myself and so we need very little introduction. However, if you haven’t heard of us, Thema’s father was John Nicoll Chidester and mother Mary Elizabeth Workman Chidester.

As a hobby, I started writing a history of the Chidester Family in America about fifteen years ago. Today I have amassed a collection of over 14,000 Chidester, Chedester, Chitester, Chittister, Chichester, Chidster, Chedster, Chiddister names, including of course, one or two generations of the women who married into these families. This has become almost a big business with me. I have over 5000 family group sheets. All the names are on 3 x 5 cards for quick reference. Orignal deeds, wills, army discharges and scores of photostat copies of these and other vital records. BUT! I can’t get any further back than about 1775 on John Madison Chidesters line. I have combed (very fine comb) the records in Onondaga and Oneida counties, New York for clues. I have written to every Methodist church in these counties, almost every post master, every shcool, and in fact just baout every place there is trying to find the answer. All I have been able to do is to find every last one descendant of David Starr Chidester the brother of John Madison Chidester. You know David Starr stayed in N.Y. He did not join the church as his brother John M. did. He remained with his grandparents in Vienna, Oneida Co., until grown. He died in Syracuse, N.Y. in 1875 as a very well known physician and surgeon. Today, his descendant Dr. Augustus B. Chidester says that he is the fifth of a line of physicians. That makes John Peck Chidester and his father John David Chidester doctors also. Finding the descendants of David Starr Chidester was no easy task. David was married twice. First in 1828 to Nancy Shurtleff and then again to Mary Lyon. He had families with each. There are no descendants through Nancy living today. The last one died in 1941. By Mary Lyon only a few.

I feel quite sure that somewheres someone has some information that we need. For years everybody thought that John Madison was born in Pompey, Onondaga Co., N.Y. Kenneth Cropper recently found in the records of St. George that he was born in Ardage, N.Y. Have we been searching in vain. I can’t find Ardage in any Atlas, so I have written to Albany, N.Y. asking them where Ardage was located. This indicates that someplace in Utah there is the right clue as to who John Madison descended from. With your permission I will find this. First, I need a group sheet on what you have. Even if you have sent this to me before. Sit down right now, tonight, and go over all your records and make me some group sheets on what you have. Also any written material that you have. Give me any rumors (call them ruors) information, etc., that you have heard regarding John Madison Chidester. His life story, his children, etc. SEARCH your old attic, book of remembrance, records, bibles etc. SEND THEM TO ME. I will compile them all and present them to the Presdient of the Association for the re-union in August 1958. All of us have information about the family but no one as all the information. I have much material that you do not have. If you want I’ll ditto it (this letter is a ditto) and make copies for all of you. I have 20 closely typewritten pages about David Starr. We should have 500 about John Madison and his descendants. Ever see the Pulsipher Family history. Wonderful history. Ida Chidester helped compile a wonderful history.

I forgot to mention that Dr. David Starr Chidester was an ordained Methodist Minister. He had churchs in 15 different hamlets, townships, villages, throughout N.Y. Why I even found the family up in Vermont. Ever know your own family lived in Vermot. They did. David Delmond Chidester was a dentist up there in Vermont. He was in the Civil War, got homesick and deserted, went out to Michigan and died. Who else went to Michigan. John Madison and his mother Mary Ann (Polly) Gifford Chidester Darrow and her husband George Darrow. George died 1842 and Mary joined the church and came to Utah. Ever hear of all the Darrow children. I haven’t searched for their descendants but am going to. Why? Well they are half brothers to John Madison and David Starr Chidester. Some joined the church and came to California and some did not.

Interesting thing I found in the Pulsipher Family History (I borrowed from Ken Cropper and must return one day) anyway I found reference to Joseph Chidester living in Pompey, N.Y. in 1820. I have all the descendents of this mand and his parents and even grandparents. This takes us back to 1750 to Pennsylvania. Was John Peck related? I do not know. David Chidester and wife Mary lived in Pompey in 1810. Their daughter Clorinda Chidester married Solmon Loveland in Pompey. Was this David our David John Chidester. I don’t know. There was a Daniel and David Chidester in old Albany county, N.Y. 1790. Daniel’s son Gardner Chidester married Andria Vorce and they moved to Pompey about 1812. Was David a brother of Samuel or his father. I don’t know. You see the clues? Clorinda Chidester was born in Stillwater, N.Y. old Albany county again. The county clerk in Stillwater wants $35 to search his records for Chidester. Right now I have other irons in the fire to possibly get it for nothing.

Right now all I want is to interest you folks in is to send me all the information you have on the Chidesters and those that married into or out of the family. Get this all in one place so I can make a great big family history for the association. Remmeber now all the information not just part of it. What a wonderful thing it will be when we connect into these 14,000 odd Chidesters we have. Wouldn’t you like to see a great big history of the family.

Let me tell you about the English branch, James Chichester, originator in America, settled in Salem Mass. 1640. He was from Devonshire, Eng. He moved to Huntington, Long Island in 1655. His family, driven off the Island in 1700 for being Tories. Moved to Connecticut. One became Sgt. Chidester in charge of Fort Hoosic, now Williamstown, Mass. in 1750. Was killed by the Indians 1754. I have a huge book that gives his whole life story. Family migrated to Morris county, N.J. 1755. I have traced a lot of the Chidesters back to this Morristown family. In fct one John Chidester in Rev. war from Morristown, finally became a Loyalist and went up to Nova Scotia in 1784. Came back to Morristown 1790. I have been trying to find something on this fellow. Was he John David? Cluds clues and more clues. You just have to keep at this thing. One day we will have it. I could go on and on and tell you about the Chidesters galore. The longest stage coach lin in America was started and owned by John Chidester. It ran from St. Louis to Elpaso to Yuma. John Chidester owned all the cotton during the Civil War. Made the north give him $1,000,000 for some cotton. The North said that he was a gagster. He was a good business man. Drew Chidester owned and operated the largest steamship company on the west coast. He died in 1947. I knew him. He is from the Ohio, Penn. family. One Chidester left $5,000,000 to a fund (Syracuse, N.Y.) to give people who have done something for society Anyone that has made society better. I should have found her before she passed away. Perhaps I could have persuaded her to lend us some for this history. One woman in Tulare, Cal. collected Chidester history for 40 years without knowing what to do with it. She sent it to me saying that she had no idea what she was collecting it for. Must have been 1000 names. She died less than 30 days later. I wrote her son a month later asking him for some information on her family. He wrote that someone had burned all his mother’s geneology. I had it all. Did you know your own aunt Kitty burned all the Chidester family history before she died with the remark that no one was interested and she wasn’t going to leave it. Dr. Augustus saw the record. Took the family back to England, tch tch tch. One Chidester has has family history from 1500 to 1800 stitched on a piece of cloth. David Starr wrote his pedigree on Dog’s pedgree chart. I have it. Quite a pedigree.

Well my time with this letter is about up so I am going to close asking again for you to send me all the information you have. This is asking a lot istn’ it? BUT if we don’t get it in one place how is anyone to know just what we do have. I have plenty of help down here. Barbara Chidester Williams is helping me. She is from Enoch Chidester of Price family. Aunt Vera Chidester Barton lives here also. Her son Keith is on the H.C., as Stake genealogist. So! lets be on the lookout for your genealogy. Say be sure and tell me the names and addresses of any memeber of your family who isn’t living near you so we can write to them also. Kenneth Cropper will mail these letter from Salt Lake City as he can find the addresses by calling up members of the family.

Elmer C. Anderson

Anna Johanna (Hannah) Nielsen: Grandma Brown and the Chicken Coop

Grandma Brown told us many stories when we were kids.  One story that I remember her telling us was about the chicken coop.  One night Grandpa Brown was out of town on business and Grandma was home alone with the kids.  As she was working around the house, it was getting late and she heard a noise outside.  She opened the door and could hear a noise in the chicken coop.  She lit the coal oil lantern and went outside.  She then went over to the chicken coop, which was a short distance from the house.  Grandma could hear the chickens squaking and flying around.  She walked up to the door to look inside the coop, and as she touched the door handle a hand was placed on top of her hand to prevent her from opening the door.  This frightened her and she dropped the lantern and ran back to the house.  The next morning she went out to the chicken coop and looked inside.  It was a mess.  Several dead chickens were lying around.  She said that there had been a wild animal in the coop and had she gone in the night before it might have injured or killed her.  She then said how thankful she was for her protection that night.

                                   Roger B. Chidester

Anna Johanna (Hannah) Nielsen: Death & Memorial

Just before Hannah died:

She had her own milk cow.  It was fed and herded with Jims cows, but Hannah milked her morning and night.  One morning, she came into the house after milking the cow and said, “I can’t milk this cow anymore.”  Eli, Manilla’s husband came down and took the cow home with him.

She didn’t live too long after that. She died of dropsy.  Dora was with her when she died.

Anna Johanna (Hannah) Brown died 21 October 1940. She was 87 years old.  Buried 24 October 1940 Monroe City Cemetery.  She had upheld the noble heritage left by her parents.

POEM: Written about Anna Johanna Nielsen Brown:

 You’ve toiled in your garden ‑ You’ve worked so hard

Not only in your garden of plants and flowers ‑

But in your garden of home, among your children.

You’ve nourished your little buds with care,

With infinite tenderness. Given them food in the deep

And moving doctrines of your faith.  Quenched their thirst

With the cooling refreshing rain of your love and sympathy.

You are a true gardener, my dear,

And such a well beloved one.

Anna Johanna (Hannah) Nielsen: Poetry

Hannah was, like most of those who came from the Scandinavian Countries, a great lover of nature.  She took much  pride in beautifying her home surroundings.  She was a great reader, studied the Church books and magazines, and kept up with the daily newspapers.

Being a natural poet, she composed a number of wonderful poems and was able to call them to mind at any time.  This gift was one of her greatest blessings.  Many have enjoyed listening to her recite the poetry she had written.

Four of Hannah’s Poems:


I was gazing on the mountain high

And saw it’s beauty and wondered why

And then I thought, how small am I

Just like a worm that’s crawling by


And as I thought, a whisper came

In heaven once there was your home

Your older brother, the son of God

Has bought this world with his blood


And so I know my Father lives

Who sent his Son, me to save

If I keep well His command

I on this world with Christ will stand



I am awful slow in speech

To read and write and to preach

Although I always pray for you

I’ll send a rhyme of a line or two


I pray God make you well and strong

So you can carry the truth along

Bring to your mind bright and plain

The scriptures you must explain

How happy then you must be

To bring to the world the gospel free

If just one soul you bring into the fold

Your happiness can not be told


Though obstacles on your way you meet

And for the wicked your heart will bleed

It strenghtens well your faith in God

So hold to the Iron Rod



Here we are a few assembled

On this Sabbath fasting day;

But where two or three are members

God, He in our midst will stay

I can testify his power

For I know this far is true

God  is near in trying hours

Hears the prayer of me and you



In my garden some gold I found;

For I planted some silver plants in the ground.

Some of my silver plants lay dead,

For close to the root was a cutworm’s bed.

With my hoe and shovel I worked ’till I sweat,

But I did not get discouraged a bit.

For I know that I must work hard and long

To make my silver plants grow big and strong.


One day I passed a corner street,

There I saw some loafers set,

I heard them say, “There is no way,

For us poor fellows to get honest pay.”

So I thought, if they had a lot

And planted some silver plants in the spot,

And work and sweat, till their brow got wet

Then, they honest pay will get.

Anna Johanna (Hannah) Nielsen & Christian Christensen Brown: Births, Illnesses, Deaths, Growing Up & Growing Old

The children had to help on the farm.  When Manilla was five years old, she went with them to the fields to haul hay.  It was a hot day, so Manilla would lie down under the wagon in the shade.  As the wagon moved along she followed, staying the shade.

One time she got too close to the wheel and was run over, breaking her leg.

Hannah lost her oldest son, Christian, during an epidemic of Diphtheria and tonsillitis.  He was twelve years of age.

A small daughter, Hannah Dortha, drowned at age two in a ditch near their home.  Hannah Dortha was following her father and while attempting to cross a bridge over the ditch, fell in.  The water had to be turned out of the ditch so they could find her. Her body was found two blocks down stream.

Hannah’s third son, Hans, died at age eighteen of Typhoid Fever, Sept. 1902.

Kistie Marie, died of child bed fever two weeks after giving birth to a baby girl.  The baby’s name was Christal Gray.  Hannah raised Christal as her own.

James’ wife died after the birth of their daughter Annie.  This left James with five daughters to raise.  At the age of Seventy, Hannah left her own home and moved into her son James’ home, where she took care of his five motherless daughter’s.  Annie was just a small baby.  She lived there for one and half years.

Christian and Hannah were married for 30 years.  Hannah became a widow in 1909, and remained  a widow for 31 years.

At the time of Christian’s death, James was on a mission to Denmark.  Christian hadn’t been feeling well so he just sat in the old rocking chair all day long not wanting to do anything. He died 12 Jan. 1909.

A poem written by Dora Brown, August 1971:


I remember well our old rocking chair

As it stood by the big round stove

That gave heat to the house.


I remember well one way it was used

Each night after his days work was done,

Our father would sit and rock in that old rocking chair.


I remember how the little girls would sit on his lap

And comb his hair to cover the top of his bald head.

He enjoyed it and so did they

In that old rocking chair.


And so whoever has that old rocking chair in their

possession, Remember to be kind to it

Keep it looking nice for it carries a lot of memories

As if it were a part of the family,


That old rocking chair that stood by the big round stove

That gave heat to the house.

That Old Rocking Chair.


With Christian gone, Hannah was left with a big farm to take care of.  There were cows to feed and to milk.  Help was badly needed. A nephew who was attending BYU, Erastus Nielsen, came to attend the funeral.  He decided to stay with Hannah and the family for the rest of the winter to help with the farm work.  Another cousin, Ed Simpson, from Kamas, also spent the winter helping out with the farm.  They both stayed until Jim came home from his mission.

During the twenties and thirties, there were a lot of sugar beets raised in Sevier County.  So many, in fact,that a sugar factory was built at the crossroads between Monroe and Elsinore.  A small town grew up around the Sugar factory called Austin (or Frogtown, as many people called it.)  It housed many of the employees at the factory.  The sugar beet industry brought employment and steady paychecks to many people in the valley.  James, Hannah’s son, owned some farm land in Austin, near the sugar factory.  On this land he grew sugar beets.

On the farm, almost all of the work of raising sugar beets was accomplished using either horsepower, or hand power.  The ground was plowed, leveled, and planted using a team of horses.

By June, green lines showing in the field, signaled that the beets would soon be ready to thin.  The thinning was done by hand.

When you became 10 or 12 years of age, you were old enough to thin beets.  You were paid ten cents a row for each row of beets you thinned.  This was a good way for kids to earn their spending money.  Some fast thinners made as high as 10 or 12 dollars during the thinning time, which lasted about 2 weeks.

This story about Hannah happened during the beet season.  The beets were being harvested in Jim’s field in Austin.  During the beet harvest, Hannah prepared a noon meal to take to the field for the workers.  She would then hitch up the horse and buggy and be on her way.  On this particular day she decided she needed a stick to tap the horse with to make it go a little faster.  It sometimes lagged along if it was not prodded a little.  She went out into the orchard to find a stick and while she was looking, a voice said to her very clearly, “take two,” so she took two sticks, climbed into the buggy and proceeded on her way.  After traveling a short distance she dropped one of the sticks.  She stopped the buggy and climbed out to get the stick that had fallen.  As Hannah turned around to climb back in, she missed the small step on the side of the buggy.  This caused her to fall under the buggy wheels.  The horse became excited, pulled the buggy ahead, and a wheel ran over Hannah’s head.  The result was a large cut on Hannah’s head.  In describing this cut the daughter said it looked like she had been scalped.

She had been warned to take two sticks, and as she had a long distance to go when she lost the first one, she thought she must have those two sticks with her all the time.

Vivian Tuft, Hannah’s neighbor, found her and brought her home.

The accident happened on a Saturday when Dora was home so she called Nellie Gould, another neighbor, who cleaned her wound as best she could and put her to bed.

Dr. Loring came later and put a tight bandage around Hannah’s head to make the wound stay together.  Later while she was mending she got Erysipelas and her head became so swollen, the girls had to feed her with a knife.  A spoon would not go into her swollen mouth.  Hannah had many serious accidents and ailments during her life.  She credited her healing to her faith in God and the power of the priesthood.

Hannah sent her children to school and gave them many advantages she never had.

Hannah was not active in Church work during her younger life, but devoted most of her time to her home duties and family.  In her later years she spent much time working in the Relief Society, where she accomplished many things.

Sister Laurine Larsen, as president of the North Ward Relief Society, selected Hannah Brown to be the chairman of the work committee.  At the time the Relief Society was short of funds and needed money badly.

Hannah told of how she went to everyone in the ward asking for old overalls, discarded woolen suits, and coats, to make camp quilts to sell as a fundraiser.  Those who had sheep donated wool which Hannah washed and corded by herself.  Using these methods they were able to make the quilts without expense.  They tied the quilts at different homes.

Many of the quilts were sold to sheep men and a considerable sum of money went into the treasury.

With the aid of other sisters, she put on the first and largest bazaar ever held in Monroe. It was a regular holiday.  Mrs. Larsen secured the services of the high school band.  Everyone in town was there, supporting the activity.  Lunches were sold, as were cakes, horseradish, plants, quilts,and clothing of every description.  They bought the piano that is in use in the chapel and paid for it in one year’s time.

When released from this position, Hannah was put in as a block teacher, a position she held until just before she died.  She had a record of 100% Relief Society block teaching.  The sisters she visited were always glad to welcome her into their homes and enjoyed her visits very much.

Anna Johanna (Hannah) Nielsen & Christian Christensen Brown: Homesteading & Marriage

Hannah’s sister, Mary and her husband, met them at the end of the railroad and took them to Richfield where she lived.  They traveled by wagon.  Hannah found employment from a man named Jensen who ran a store in Elsinore.  Hannah helped Mrs. Jensen in the home.  With Hannah and her father both working, they hired a girl to come and sit with her mother.  Hannah’s father worked at cutting stone to earn money to build a home and buy a farm.

Her father bought an inexpensive lot from the city and by working hard he soon had a beautiful place with trees and flowers.  He farmed this lot for a few years then sold it.  This farm was south of Richfield.  He then leased some land from the city to the north of Richfield.  This land was all cut up from floods and was in a bad condition.  Again, by working hard and long he soon had a level farm that produced very abundantly.  He broke up and farmed the land that the Richfield City Cemetery now occupies.

He farmed this land until he became sick and died in 1907.

Hannah married two years after she came to Utah.  She married Christian Christensen Brown.  Christian was born 2 February 1839 in Fjellerup, Fjelsted, Denmark, a son of Jens Christensen and Anne Sophi Pedersen (or Petersen.) (See History of Christian Christensen and Dortha Andersen.)

Hannah and Christian met during a Stake Conference in Richfield. Christian had been invited to the home of the Hans Nielsen’s for dinner and became acquainted with Hannah at that time.

Hannah was 24 years old when she married.  Christian Brown was a personable man, fine and splendid.  After a brief courtship they were married in the St. George Temple, 25 June 1879.  They then settled in Monroe, Utah.

They were blessed with the following nine children:

  • Christian
  • James
  • Hans
  • Kistie Marie
  • Hannah Dortha
  • Dora Ann
  • Adell Christina (Christena)
  • Magdlane
  • Della Manilla


In addition to caring for her home and children, Hannah often went over to Richfield to care for her invalid mother until after her mother’s death.  Her mother had been an invalid for twenty‑five years.

The Pioneers were allowed as much land as they were able to take care of.

Christian chose a beautiful place, covering twenty acres west of Monroe, where it was peaceful, quiet, and lovely. Christian wanted a home and a family of his own.  He built a one room log house that later became the living room, as additions were made to the home.  The logs were drawn from Monroe Main Canyon.

One night while sitting up late, Hannah felt as though someone was watching her.  She looked up at the window and there, with his face pressed against the window pane, was an Indian.  She hurriedly blew out the light and went to bed.  After that she covered the window when she worked late at night.

Christian and his son, Andrew, built a house just south of their home.  Andrew married and lived with his father for a while, then moved into the new house.  After Andrew had lived in the new house a short time, he moved out and went someplace else in Monroe.

This house was later dragged over and became part of Christian and Hanna’s home.

Christian owned the first team of mules in Monroe, he was the envy of the valley.

The early settlers had little money and no way of getting cash for their farm produce.  The settlers decided to band together and take their produce to Nevada where they could sell it to the Mining Communities.  In order to do this, they had to freight it by team and wagon.

The farmers took advantage of this scheme to sell their surplus farm produce.  Their surplus consisted of flour, oats, eggs, cured bacon, and fresh produce. The trip took 10‑14 days roundtrip.  The townspeople were happy for this means of making money, which they used to pay their taxes.


Christian was a very industrious and hard working man.  He was respected by all who knew him.

The following is a story told by Dora Brown:

 “There was a man by the name of Harmon Swindle who lived in an old log house on the north side just one block straight south of us.  He had been burning trash on his place during the day.  In the evening, a wind came up and sparks from the fire blew across the street into Sam Shimmons corral, setting fire to his stacks of hay and straw.  The sparks from this fire blew down onto our place.  People who came to help said they wouldn’t give a nickel for our place that night.  The machinery was pushed out of the sheds and the cows and horses were turned out of the corral.  It surely looked like our place would go.”


“Father was down irrigating in the lower field.  He could see the bright flames from the fire.  Thinking it was our place on fire, he said he ran all the way home.  Jim and mother were out at the corral and soon came in and said,  lets pray for the protection of our home.  To our surprise the sparks blew over our sheds and some of them lit on some old straw below the place and started a fire there.  Thanks to our Heavenly Father, our place was spared.”

Hannah’s washing was done using a scrubbing board.  She heated the water in a large copper boiler on the kitchen stove.  The wash water came from the irrigation ditch.  The drinking water was drawn from the neighbor’s well and had to be hauled in.

Hannah raised a large vegetable garden.  She also loved flowers, and had a large flower garden.  In her younger years, she did all the sewing for the family.  When Kistie grew up, she took over the sewing.  Adell later inherited the sewing job.

Anna Johanna (Hannah) Nielsen: Emigration

Hannah’s family wanted to come to America.  They did not have passage money for the whole family so they decided to send her sister Mary first.  Mary arrived in Utah and went to Richfield and later married a man named Hans Peter Nielsen.  Hans was a Miller and had a flour mill on the west side of town.

There was a family going to America that wanted Hannah to go with them, but she did not want to leave her invalid mother.  She let her two brothers, James and Christian, go in her place as they both could go for what it would take for her passage.  The brothers arrived in Utah in the spring of 1877.  The older brother worked in the wheat fields and the younger tended his sisters small children.

There was a wealthy widower who tried to persuade Hannah to marry him instead of going to America.  She declined because she could not bear the thought of her mother going all the way to Utah, in her condition, without someone to help her.

In the fall of 1877, Hannah, her father, and her mother sailed for America. (History of Scandinavian Mission  pg. 230.) 

The Second Company of the Season’s Latter‑day Saints emigrating from Scandinavia sailed from Copenhagen, 13 Sep 1877, on the steamship “Argo” with 211 Saints.  Elder Hamilton G. Park was appointed leader of the Company.

The embarkation took place in good order and without any disturbance.  At 5:00 P.M. the “Argo” sailed from the wharf with the Saints on board singing  farewell hymns and cheering as the ship left the harbor.  The leave‑taking of the emigrating Saints, from their friends and relatives who were left behind, was indeed most impressive with tears of both joy and sadness flowing freely.

After a successful voyage over the north sea, the “Argo” arrived safely in Hull, England, Monday, 17 Sep. 1877.  The journey was continued the same day to Liverpool, where the Scandinavian Emigrants, together with 260 British Saints, and 10 returning missionaries, boarded the Steamship “Wisconsin.”  The “Wisconsin” sailed from Liverpool on 19 Sep. 1877 and arrived in New York City 30 Sep. 1877.

They were on the ocean for two weeks.  Hannah’s mother was confined to her wheel chair. They had only one cot, and her father occupied it.  Hannah only had a chest to sit on.  She did not go to bed, but sat on the chest and slept, so she could be on hand when her mother needed her help.  It was very hard on Hannah to sit up all the time with her legs hanging down.  She never complained.  About the last two days of the voyage a lady noticed that Hannah’s legs were swollen.  The lady drew their attention to the condition and Hannah was put to bed so the swelling would go down.

From New York City, the journey was continued the same day (30 Sep.),by rail.

They crossed rivers and mountains.  At one point it was raining so hard that the river started to rise.  It rose so high that they could not cross and their train had to wait three days for the river to go down so they could continue on their way.  The Saints arrived in Ogden and Salt Lake City, Saturday, 6 Oct. 1877.

While in Salt Lake City, they visited the grave of Brigham Young who had died earlier that same year.


Anna Johanna (Hannah) Nielsen: Early days with the Mormon Church

As Hannah did not join the Church until she was 19 or 20, there is not much to say about her church attendance.  The adults attended cottage meetings and went to church twice a year to partake of the sacrament.  The children attended church only when cottage meetings were held in their own homes.

There was no persecution in Denmark toward those who joined the church and no bodily harm was inflicted.  They were scoffed at, however, when attending school.

Once, when Hannah was a child, her mother sent her to a house to get some milk.  The lady of the house talked to her about her parents joining the “Mormons” and told her how badly she felt for her.  “But”, she said, “you are small now and when you grow older, you can do as you please.”  Hannah cried and felt deeply touched because of the way the lady talked to her.

Hannah’s father lived a long distance from his folks.  They were hard toward him for joining the “Mormon” Church.  One day her father’s brother was traveling by their home as a freighter.  He came to the door and asked if they were still serving the devil.

In Denmark, the Catholic priests would go around with a box on their shoulders to solicit money from their followers so that the souls of their dead relatives, who had sinned, could be released from the burning pit of Hell.  If the people paid enough money, and the box clinked, immediately the souls of their dead relatives would spring out of hell fire.

At one of the homes where Hannah stayed, the priest had a room where he kept his preaching coat.  It was a long black coat with a large white collar.  The Priest was very particular who assisted him in putting on his coat.  He had noticed how particular and neat Hannah was about her work, so he thought she would be a good person to help him with his coat.

Every time the Priest came, it became her duty to help him.  One day the Priest said, “Now that you have helped me on with my robe, I would like to know who confirmed you and who is your father?”  She answered that she hadn’t been confirmed and that her father was a “Mormon”.  The Priest never let her assist him with his coat anymore.

Anna Johanna (Hannah) Nielsen: Childhood

Anna Johanna Nielsen, (Hannah as she was called) was the daughter of Hans Nielsen and Kirsten Marie Pelsen.  She was born under humble circumstances into a family of six children; two daughters and four sons.

  •     Maren or Mary
  •     Anna Johanna
  •     Niels (lost at sea)
  •     Jens (died at age two)
  •     James (Jens)
  •     Christian

Hannah lived in a small town in the country near the western ocean.  Her father was a stone cutter.  Her mother was an invalid due to severe arthritis.  Hannah was not at home very much, as she worked and earned her own living.  She worked whereever she could obtain employment.  Working in homes, dairies, or even in the fields.  She did not receive much pay for her work.

At one time, Hannah was employed in a wealthy home.  There was another girl working for the same people, but helping in the dairy.  This other girl was a little envious of Hannah because the people they worked for thought so much of Hannah.  One evening a tramp came to the place and was allowed to sleep in the barn for the night.  The girl did not dare to go to the barn to do her work, so she asked Hannah to change work with her that night.  Hannah loved to work outside so she consented willingly to the change.  When she entered the barn to feed the calf there, lying on the hay, was the tramp.  Not knowing anyone was there, she was startled and let out a horrifying scream.  Her employer, coming to see the cause of the excitement, learned of the trick that was played on Hannah.  He gave the other girl a good talking to, and she never tried to trick Hannah again.

Another time, Hannah’s mistress wanted to send some yarn to the Weaver.  She sent Hannah to another town to deliver the yarn.

It was stormy weather and the days were short.  She delivered the yarn and was soon on her way back home.  As darkness came on she lost her way and did not know where she was.

Finally she could see a light in a window and went up to the door and knocked.  The lady of the house opened the door and invited her in to get warm and dry.  She asked Hannah to wait until she put her sick man to bed and she would go with her to start her towards home on the right road.  On Hannah’s way home, she had to go through the woods where a lady had once hung herself.  She was glad when she finally reached her destination.

 Hannah composed the following poem about this experience:


When fourteen years of age my mistress sent me to Heaver

To take a package of yarn to her Weaver.

Ten miles off and the day was short and cloudy too

So mis‑giving on the road I go

Alright I got to Heaver

Delivered the yarn to the weaver

When homeward on the way I went

A drizzling rain from the cloud decent

Over meadows, wood, and river bridge

The road went in and out and twist

I heard some cattle bellow and thought to see some dark spot

So faster on the road I trot

In distant I saw a dim light

When I came close it shined bright;

The door I opened with a bang

In from the darkness did I sprang

My clothes were almost dripping wet

And to the fire the good people me let.

When I again was dry and warm

I rose to go out in the storm.

Not alone the people say,

We’ll go with you apart of the way.

So out we went into the night

But I then knew no more fright

Farther on then I saw my mistress’ light

I clasped their hands and said good‑night.

Hannah only had three years of schooling.  In Denmark the children went to school until they were fourteen years of age, then one year to the Priest to take an examination.  In the summertime, school started at six a.m. and lasted until 9 a.m.‑‑ only 3 hours of school.  In the wintertime school started a 9 a.m. and went on all day.  Hannah only attended school in the winter.  None of Hannah’s family went to the Priest for the examination because their parents were “Mormons” and he would not allow them to attend.

Hannah was very good in her school work but did not advance as fast as the children of the wealthier people.  This was because her parents could not afford to give rich gifts to the teacher.

There was not much free time for amusement in the summertime because Hannah was hired out.  She always wanted to learn to dance, but there was never time for that.  She did, however, enjoy roaming in the woods when time permitted.  It was inspiring, to her, to walk through the big beautiful forest in Denmark.

 In the fall, the Government allowed the poor folks to go into the forests and gather dead wood for winter use.  You could see many children carrying bundles of wood on their backs.

They went long distances into the woods to obtain firewood.  They also gathered hazelnuts for winter roasting.  Hannah always obtained much pleasure from a day spent in the woods among the flowers.

It was the custom, during the Christmas holidays, for the children of Denmark to go to the homes of the rich people and ask for Christmas gifts.  The  people of the wealtlhy class baked up heaps of little cakes to give the children.  The children always looked forward to the day when they could ask for Christmas gifts.