Friday, August 8, 2008

Interesting Family History

I am on vacation until Sunday in southern California with my brother and his wife. We've been doing quite a bit of talking about family history, as my brother has embarked on a mission to document and journalize our family's history. Since most of it hasn't been gathered in one place, but has been stored with one relative or in one box or another, this has been a huge project. I had the opportunity today to review what he has put together and must say the scope of this project is intriguing, humbling, and touching. There are many family pictures, stories, and backgrounds. I thought I would share the following, as I found the eulogy of my great-grandmother, Anna Christine Frederiksen (who died in June, 1943), to be compelling and fascinating in the context of American history. Do you have family stories that have captured your attention?

Written by Norma H. Morris 6/29/43

If life is rich in service and sacrifice and is forever sustained by an abiding faith in God, then there are no depths of despair that cannot be overcome. From the wealth of a full and wholesome life well lived comes an assurance of security, serenity, and peace.

The life of Anna Christine Frederiksen was indeed rich in these qualities, virtues garnered no doubt from the pioneer life which she lived. Here was the courage to cross the seas and come to a new land, America, with her husband to build a home, to build a home where none had been before, to make something grow where once there was barrenness, and to rear a family where once there were no voices of children.

Sister Frederiksen was the eldest daughter of Hans and Marie Christiansen and was born at Nykopen, Shelland, Denmark, on February 5, 1870. Her birth occurred in the home of her grandparents whom she early grew to love and whom she cherished throughout life. This place was a typical Danish country home, the family being in very humble surroundings. She has often told how the children during those years of their real early life had to wear wooden shoes for want of better. In order to assure a more comfortable livelihood the family moved to Denmark’s largest city, Copenhagen.

Sister Frederiksen received a good education in this city’s elementary schools. After leaving school she went out to work, doing all kinds of housework in order to help her mother and the family. At the age of 14 she was confirmed in the Lutheran Church. Throughout life she has displayed a deep religious turn of mind and has always held implicit faith in God that He hears and answers prayer.

When about 20 years of age she met Frederick Frederiksen, the eldest son of the family, a fine young man who had just completed compulsory military training in the Danish Army. They were married on April 13, 1890, in a lovely church wedding at Copenhagen. Three weeks later found them on the high seas sailing to America.
Her grandparents had accepted the Mormon faith in Denmark and had emigrated to Utah. Thus it was that she and her husband were influenced to start their new home in this choice land. The voyage was of three weeks duration and rough, she being ill most of the time. The overland trip by train from New Port, Virginia to Utah was also a hard one for emigrants. Emigrants coming to Utah even in the 1890's found that times were critical and conditions severe to live by.

They located at Elsinore, Sevier County, Utah, near the grandparents and those of her people who had come earlier. Mr. Frederiksen at once left for the mines at Pioche, Nevada, leaving his lovely bride to do the best she could. She was a beautiful girl with her dark eyes and hair and a well spoken soft melodious voice. Living in a land strange to her and among people who were of a strange and new faith tested her courage many times. Her three oldest sons were born here.

Then came glowing reports of the wonderful Camas Meadow country somewhere in the Snake River Valley. They outfitted a camp wagon up and headed for Idaho -- this was about 1895.

Sister Frederiksen found delight and pleasure in this trip to Idaho. They leisurely pursued their way with their cows trailing. The jolting wagon made fresh butter each day and the warm sun made the bread to rise light and ready to bake on the night campfire. Then the three small boys broke out with the measles, but throughout the trip remained one of her best loved experiences.

A typical log house of three rooms awaited their arrival on the ranch at Kilgore. Two sons and four daughters were born here. The fifth son at two years of age met death through an accident. A mother of nine children and for 22 years she made this place a loved home for her husband and eight boys and girls. The first few years were lean, few privileges, no luxuries and many times meager rations. From her toil came the golden butter patted into pound molds to be taken over the winding road or trail to Beaver Canyon where it was exchanged for needed merchandise. They had little money. Some native game and the fish from the streams often replenished the table. Sister Frederiksen with her natural touch of homemaking and Mr. Frederiksen who is handy at fashioning furniture and carpentry, worked ideally together. Her rooms were freshly papered twice a year in that log home, with newspaper of course, but for over ten years it was a real home.

Recalling the memories of those years, that she frequently did of late, she said the happiest day of her life was the day they moved into the new home. Her constant companion had built a fine comfortable home which boasted a parlor. How she loved that room! It is true that the shades were drawn and every piece of furniture strictly kept in place and only used on special occasions. But on such occasion that room was her pride and joy.

During those 22 years on the Camer Meadows she conquered every fear but one. The wide open prairie seemed to challenge the winter blizzards. The cold and depth of snow together with the wind was often severe. A baby about to be born without the aid of a doctor, just relying upon a good midwife--did not bring that fear to her that a sweeping blizzard did, especially if members of the family were away. Her six children were born under such circumstances and she has testified many times that God was near, always, to help her.

Sister Frederiksen taught her family through prayer. The children have realized the greatness of their mother’s teachings in rearing their own families. Many times she has helped with a sick grandchild and has been such a comfort to her girls.
Sister Frederiksen was retiring and modest in nature, seldom seen in public life. She expressed herself best with the labor of her hands. Down through the years those hands stitched almost every article of clothing for her family, the overalls, jumpers, underwear, knitted the socks and mittens and scarves, milked the cows when the boys were away , and turned the spinning wheel with the wool she had washed and dried. For pastime she crocheted lovely pieces of handiwork. She was working on a pretty gift and had it almost completed three weeks ago when she had to lay her needle aside. And speaking of her hands, she had a delightful characteristic one which all her friends knew well, that of the little love pats she always gave with her hands when overjoyed at greeting someone dear.

Yes, I looked at your hands today as you peacefully lay--
On your beautiful bed of chiffon
And I could not but wish that my own were as fair
When my humble mission is done.

The Frederiksen family sold out at Kilgore in 1917 and came to Lewisville to the present home, also built by Mr. Frederiksen. At that time she had two sons serving in World War I. Today she has two grandsons in the present armed service. The younger children completed their education here at Lewisville and at Midway. Three of the daughters and one son are trained teachers.

As a community we have grown to love this family. On many occasions the Relief Society Sisters have honored Sister Frederiksen, especially when honor was given to our Pioneer Mothers. She loved the Sisters and always enjoyed their visits to her home. She was a fine neighbor and a true friend.

Her health commenced failing about the time of the death of her lovely young daughter, Ellen, who was laid away with her newborn baby. In her usual courageous way she accepted this sore trial. She possessed remarkable humility. The past month confined her to her home and bed. She seemed closer in many respects to heavenly things and expressed the thought that her time had come. Her passing was as peaceful and tranquil as the lengthening twilight hour that ushered her eternal sleep.

The ties of over 53 years of happy ideal wedlock are now broken. Our hearts go out to her companion and to the sons and daughters, especially to Nina who remained so close to her mother and home. She is survived by four sons and three daughters, all present but the brother Ed, and by 26 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. There have been seven deaths among the grandchildren. Ed was present at time of her death and up until yesterday when he took ill.
Her brother, Peter Christiansen, of Dillon, Montana, and two sisters, Marie Haskell, of Ririo, Idaho, and Janna Crape, of Rosemary, Alberta, Canada, survive. The sisters Marie and Janna and her husband from Alberta, Canada, are present. The only brother, Peter, was not able to attend.

In closing I leave this thought: That memory is one of the choicest gifts of life. The memory of this wonderful mother and wife now rests over the family as a benediction of bringing cheer and comfort and peace to the hearts of her loved ones.
Today, a sad, sweet something fills the place-- a memory of her dear face filled with the calm of heaven’s grace, to be our guide and stay. Oh help me, Lord that I may be all that my mother wished for me; my faith and love abide in thee, Since Mother went away.”

1 comment:

Natalie Hatch said...

Patti wouldn't that be a wonderful thing that people could say about us when we pass away, that we were honourable and loved. Your ancestor sounded like a loving and devoted woman. Thanks for sharing her story. Doing my own genealogy I've found similar things and grown closer to these people I've never met. Well maybe one day I will.