Tag Archives: AC Peterson

A.C. Peterson Life History part 3

Mother takes good care of family

Mother was a good financial manager, so we got along quite well.  Father had a good farm, some stock in the Gunnison boo__ Stone and also in theRichfieldboo__ Stone, some cattle in the cooperative herd so we got along without any suffering.  In the town we owned two lots on a half block upon which we grew fruit and garden stuff to care for our wants.  Mother had a good flock of chickens and several good cows and raised enough hogs to supply our needs.

Recall of my father in one instance

I can recall many of these scenes of child-hood and how happy we seemed to be.  There is one time when it seems to me that I can recall seeing my father.  It was in the early spring before his death.  He was plowing a ditch with a yoke of oxen at the north end of our city lots.  I wanted to go up where he was and Mother said I could if I would put on an old coat I had to keep me warm.  I did not like the coat as it was patch and the color had faded out so I refused to wear it, but continued to tease Mother to let me go so she became a little provoked at me and put the coat on by force, and shook me up a little and sent me up to where my Father was plowing the ditch.  My feeling were on had been injured so I went on crying.  Now this is the part that I am quite sure I can remember.  Father saw me crying and came a few steps to meet me and picked me up and asked, “What is the matter?”  I can see that yoke of cattle and Father coming out to meet me but I can’t remember how he looked.

Mother often said she believes I would have remembered Father if they had allowed me to see him when he was laid away.  I say they for our friends who looked after us at this time told Mother it would not be a good thing for me to see him as I would have wanted to cleave to him so they did not let me see him when he was laid away.  She afterwards says she was sorry they influenced her to consent to this.

As stated before there are many things which happened that I can recall when I was a child in Richfield but nothing of any particular note but one incident which I will relate which brings out the character of my dear Mother and how she looked after us to see that we what was right as she was able to bring this about.  There was no compromise with Mother where right and honor were at stake even if her children were involved.  She was always kind and long suffering with her children, but would never uphold any of them in wrong doing.

An Effective Cure for Appropriating a Squash

At this time I was about seven years of age as I remember.  Halloween was coming and the children were preparing pumpkins or squash for the occasion.  We had no squash and I and some other boys thought there would be no harm in making use of some from our neighbor’s place, so we went over and skipped away with two or three.  When I brought mine home.  Mother wanted to know where it came from.  Nothing could be brought to our home unless we could supply a valid bill of sale.  There was simply no way of getting around Mother, so I finally told her where I obtained the squash.  “Now Andrew,” she said, “there is just one thing for you to do and that is to take this squash back to our neighbor and settle with him.  He can do as he pleases with you.  You must settle with him.”

Before you will realize what this meant to me, I must tell you how I regarded this neighbor. I avoid giving his name because what I am going to say is not very complimentary to him and his wife.  He had been married before and had two or three children by his former wife (who was dead).  His second wife did not get along very well with the step-children, in fact worked the father up until at time he cruelly whipped one of the girls in particular.  On one of these occasions we had watched him beat this girl until she lost consciousness, and then dragged her to a cellar and put her into it and locked the door.  That was done in a fit of temper over the trouble the girl had with her step-mother. When we saw him do this we ran to the neighbors and told them what had happened and the men of the neighborhood gathered and rescued the girl from the cellar and called her father to account and as I remembered he agreed not to do or perform such and outrage again.

The point I desire to make clear is the fact that I feared this man as much as I would an emissary form the infernal region and now Mother was going to turn me over to settle with that being and in fact she did.  I did not have courage enough to go alone so she went along and me come and carry the squash and went to the home and called him out and made me tell him what I had done and said, “Here he is, not you settle with him.”  She turned to me and said, “He can do as he pleases with you, you are here to meet his requests,” or words to that effect.  My hair stood on end as I thought my days had come to an end, but to my surprise when I made me humble and stammering confession, he smiled and said he would forgive me and for me never to do such a thing again, so much relieved returned home with Mother who further told me what I was to do.  This was one time when I though my kind and loving mother’s heart had turned to stone, but not so, she was more pained and grieved than I realized, but wanted her boy cured from any further pranks of this kind.  It is probably needless to say that the cure was quite effective.

Mother Decided to Move to Arizona

Life in our home went on as usual in most of families until Mother decided to sell out in Richfield and go to Arizona.  This decision was not so agreeable to us as we could see no reason for such a move.

It Was Father’s Request

We had a fairly good home and good means of support inRichfield, so why should Mother desire to move into the wilderness ofArizonaas it was at this time?  True Mormons through Brigham Young was calling people to go and settleArizonabut Mother was not called.  Why should she a widow make such an adventure? We pressed her for a reason and she gave it to us.

She stated Father had appeared to her in a dream and told her to move South intoArizona.  There was no doubt in her mind concerning this matter.  She was guided by what Father desired.  In this dream she saw the place where would first settle and when we reached theLittle Colorado River, she looked out on the valley and said, “That is the place your Father showed to me.”  But think of a widow employing a teamster and thus using considerable of her available funds obtained from the selling her property, to move into a wilderness like Arizona was at this time.  Many of those called had returned saying they could not live in such a desolate region, but Mother was determined to make the move.

Trejo and Anderson go to Arizona (1877)

After Mother had come to this decision about to her property and prepare for the move, but before she got ready to move two families Andersons and Trejo decided to go toArizonathe summer before we took up our journey.  Trejo was a Spaniard who had been converted to the church and translated the Book of Mormon into the Spanish language.  TheAndersonfamily lived inRichfieldand were old acquaintances of Mother.  They had no children and as my Sister Sina was a special favorite of Mrs. Anderson, she persuaded Mother to let Sina go with them, then my brother too the notion that he wanted some adventure, wanted to go along and Mother consented, as she thought he would be company to my sister Sina.  These two families moved by the route below theGrand Canyonand not by Lee’s Ferry.  It was providential that they did not perish as neither of these men knew anything about travelling in a desert region.  My brother Tom and Sister Sina said destruction did stare them in the face at one time when they were in a desert and their water supply entirely exhausted, but heavy rains came to their relief so water was plentiful even in the thirsty desert, thus they were spared from a terrible death from thirst.

Now for a moment, I desire to reach out ahead of time and discuss the matter of Father’s appearing to Mother and requesting her to leave.  People told her she was misguided and beside herself to make such a move on a mere dream.  That she would never be able to provide for her children in such an undeveloped wilderness.  We her children at times told her she made a very unwise choice in leaving a good home and coming into the deserts ofArizona, where we would do well to keep from starvation.  At times we made her feel very bad and caused more than one flow of tears due to out censure as we doubted the wisdom of her choice, but she knew it was not due to any of her reasoning but Father had made the request which she knew would work out for the good of our family and so it did.  Now we her children can see it.  The boys with whom my brother tom and I associated took the downward route.  After several years we heard of this The Moss boys in particular became noted outlaws, and bank robbers.  They were finally captured as I remember inWisconsinor another of the middle Western states and convicted.  As I remember the terms ranged from ten to twenty-five years, but they were pardoned before their time was out due to good behavior, and sympathy for their young age and the talents they manifested as they were talented boys in may ways.  As a boy I can remember how Fred Moss also a boy made a violin upon which he was able to make good music in those days.  Fred was the oldest of the boys and the leader in their robberies.  These boys were some of our main companions.

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A.C. Peterson Life History Part 2

Father’s Conversion in Denmark

I now want to give what little I know of my Father’s (Thomas Peter Peterson (Andersen)) conversion to the Gospel.  He was born inDenmarkOct 31, 1833, and was baptized Oct 29, 1853 by PC Jenson, so he was twenty years of age when baptized.  After his conversion he served as a missionary inDenmarkbefore going toUtah.

His home at his conversion was very different that of Mother’s, as his father (Anders Kjeldsen) became very bitter against his son and ordered him out of his home and told him to stay away forever.

Father however did return to see his mother whenever he could get an opportunity to meet her and finally converted her to the Gospel and baptized her.  This further enraged his father who even went so far as to threaten the life of my Father if he ever came back again.

Here however, I must state in behalf of my grandfather (Anders Kjeldsen) that he afterwards relented in his feelings and consented to allow his wife, my father’s mother, to go toUtah.  Father worked hard inUtahand was able to send money to his mother to pay her fare toUtahwhich he did, but his mother became ill and died inDenmarkso she never came toUtah.  Missionaries in Denmark told Father (Thomas Peter Peterson (Andersen)) and Mother (Maria (Tyggeson) Thygesen) that Grandfather (Anders Kjeldsen) opened up his home to them and told then they were welcome in his home at all times,  but told them never to preach Mormonism to him on the penalty of being driven out if they did, so they followed his instructions and did not preach to him.  These elders say however bitter he seemed to be he could not keep from asking them questions about Mormonism, and when they would answer his questions and make explanations he would again fly into a rage and order them out of his home again when later on the process would be repeated when he asked more questions.

It seems that Grandfather could not let Mormonism alone.  It worried him and he could not let it alone, but when it was presented he flew into a rage.  He seemed to be afraid that he would be converted.  He seemingly was not ready to pay the price for the truth that his noble son had done.  Father has written a journal of his missionary work inDenmarkwritten in the Danish language, but I have not been able to read it.  Several years ago when we lived in Thatcher, Arizona I let assistant historian Andrew Jensen take this journal and told him I would call for it, but in my visits to Salt Lake I have neglected to do so  (A note in the margin: Since that time I have written and Father’s journal has been returned to me.  I sent it up to Dale our son who lives inSalt Lake Cityafter his return form World War II.  A Brother West is translating it for us, and has given us typewritten copies of it and of the journal which I have read.  We must see that it is finished.)  but must get it and see if I can learn to read it, as I used to be able to speak Danish in a very poor way. I am sorry that I can give so little concerning my father, but all that I have is what Mother has given me as I was too young at Father’s deather to learn anything of his life.

Richfield,Utah

Now I am going to give what I can remember of our home inRichfield,Utahwhere we lived until I was nearly eight years of age or about seven and a half years, as my eighth birthday came while we were in the road toBrigham City,Arizona.  I will give only those items which I deem important in my life and that of Mother and our family and will go to the events leading up to Father’s death May 29, 1873.

Father’s Dream

Mother said prior to Father’s death he dreamed three different nights that he would soon be called to go upon a mission and seemed to accept this as a fact so he went to work to stake out the foundation for a new house, which he hoped to complete before leaving for his mission.

Preparations to build house

Father was a mason and carpenter and intended to do the work at odd times when he was not working his farm.  As a child I can remember seeing the stakes for the new home as Father had set them and Mother left them.  He was busy getting the materials ready to build during the summer of 1873 so he would have it ready.

Father’s Death

On May 29, 1873 Father with my brother Tom left home with their ox teams to work in the fields south ofRichfield.  Father full of hope and vigor and looking forward to getting ready for his mission, left his home for the field.  After he had gone out to the wagon he again returned to the house kissed the children and his wife again and left never to see his family again in the flesh as he returned to his home a corpse.

His death came about in the following manner.  The men in the fields were working on a canal.  Father had three yoke of oxen hitched to plow to plow the canal.  My brother Tom then only ten years old was driving the oxen for Father.  There were no men near enough to see what happened so my brother Tom was the only witness as to how it happened.

My brother Tom says they had a yoke of steers in the swing i.e. a yoke of broken oxen were in the lead and another yoke in the wheel and the steers in between them. The chain of the steers in some way came unhooked.  Father had to go in behind the steers to hook the chain.  He did this and as he came back one of the steers jumped and kicked father down between the wheelers.  As the steer kicked Father, the steer also snorted which stampeded the rest of the oxen and they ran away.  The plow caught Father in the leg and the running oxen drug him for a long distance.  My brother Tom shouted and yelled to the top of his voice which attracted the other men working there. So they came to the rescue and finally succeeded in stopping the run-away oxen.  When they pulled Father off the plow he was still alive but bleeding profusely as the main artery in his leg was severed.  Instead of placing a tight bandage on his leg, they poured cold water on his leg, hoping to check the blood. This pained Father and he spoke to then and told them not to do it any more as it was causing him much pain.  This was all he said and soon bled to death.  Had a physician been present, his life might have been saved.  The other men did not know what to do and his life was gone before they were able to collect their wits.

Think of the shock this was to Mother to bid farewell to her husband healthy and strong in the prime of life, and then have him returned to her home a corpse.

The shock was almost too much for Mother and for a time my sister Mary says they were afraid the strain would be more than she could bear.  Father and Mother both were the only member of their families inUtah.  They became acquainted going across the plains, and married soon after their arrival.  They had gone through bitter trials together in the pioneer life inUtah, fighting the Indians and building up new towns.  Now when they were in comfortable circumstances and future prospects very bright he was taken from her in an instant.  They had valiantly supported each other. Now her main support and comfort in life was gone with four young children to care for alone.  As stated for a time it seemed as though she would break under the strain.

She was confined to her bed under what threatened to be a nervous breakdown.

Mother administered to by strange beings

The following instance is given by my sister Mary.  My sister (Mary was 12 yrs old) was watching over Mother during the night and as she lay there watching Mother from her bed she says two persons entered the room and went to Mother’s bed and laid hands on her.  After this they both rested until morning.  In the morning my sister Mary says Mother was a different person, her hopes and aspirations were back again.  She immediately recovered and took up life with her children, giving them aid and comfort.

Father on Mission

Soon after this, Mother says Father appeared to her in a dream and said to her, “I am now on my mission.”

Mother states after this she commenced to think of what Father had said to her about the mission to which he was to be called. The men she then recalled who had appeared to Father on the three different times were all men who had passed beyond, so Father mission was preaching to spirits in the other world.

How many times I have heard Mother tell this incident to us children, not as something which she rather believed in, but as an actual fact.  She now knew what Father was doing and why he had been taken and was reconciled to her fate, not in a jubilant sense, but accepted it as the will of God whose Church she had joined.  To the end of her life Mother was as devoted to Father as if he had been living, so no step-father was ever introduced into our home.  Father was still a member of our family, away on a mission.

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Andrew Christian Peterson (A.C. Peterson) Life History Part 1

I recently received crisp, beautiful scans of my great-grandfather’s personal diary and autobiography written in his own hand.  I have transcribed the first 9 pages and included .jpegs of the scans.  Let me know if you want the full .pdf.  Enjoy!

Andrew Christian Peterson

Flagstaff, Arizona Dec 22, 1931

Introduction

The purpose of the following pages is to give in a brief form some of the principal experiences in my life and a few of the events on the life of my mother as I remember them as they have been given to me by mother.  From mother, I also obtained a few items in Father’s life, as I was not given the privilege of hearing him as he was taken from us when I was only two and one half years old.

My family including my children and my wife have often asked me to write these experiences that they might have them for future reference. This request became more urgent last summer when my wife, Glen our oldest boy who was at home on a visit from New York, Dale our next son Arman our youngest son and Laurel our youngest girl made a trip to Zions canyons Bryce canyon and on up to Salt Lake City where Myrtle our third daughter is working, and on to Kaysville, Utah where Eleanor, our second daughter and her husband Lynn Hales are living.

On the way we went by Lee’s Ferry and over many of the old scenes and roads over which I passed in 1878, when a mere boy, on our trip toArizona.  Since that time I have traveled this road two times, with horse trains, the last trip in 1897, so it has been some time since I went over the field, but as I passed over the roads again, the scenes became very familiar.  As we passed over these scenes, I related some of our experiences, and the unfaltering faith always made manifest by my dear mother.  As I related these experiences, the members of my family again requested that I write these out that they might have them so they would not be lost.  So I began to think this matter over seriously.  After our return home I again took up my work in theArizonaStateTeachers CollegeatFlagstaff, still thinking of getting at this work but as my time is quite well taken up it was put off.  During the fall Myrtle wrote requesting my wife and I to write up our lived in a brief way as they wanted then for reference in her Mutual Improvement work, as the Church is having the young people write up these pioneer experiences, that they may be preserved for the Church and future generations, si I resolved to get at this work during my leisure time, during the Christmas vacation, so today I have commenced.

Mother’s conversion inDenmark

First I am going to give you Mother’s conversion inDenmarkas she has related it to me a number of times.

Mother said as she read the scripture she could not reconcile the teachings of the Bible with the teachings of her church, theLutheranChurch.  She could readily see that her church did not contain the Gospel in its fullness and beauty and power and strength as it was taught by Christ and his Apostles, so she began to visit what few churches were then found inDenmark, but none of them satisfied her.

She still continued to search and pray for the truth to be made known to her.  One time after much search and prayer she dreamed that some men came from the far West toDenmark, and it was shown to her that these men would give to her the true Gospel as taught by Christ.

Time passed on and she still continued visiting other churched but obtained nothing that fed her hungering soul.  They did not have the Gospel in its fullness.

At length she heard that the so called Mormons were inDenmarkpreaching a new and strange doctrine. All manner of reports were sent out concerning these and peculiar people.  They were generally held to be vicious, and seeking people to draw them away from the truth.  In fact many thought they were emissaries from the infernal regions. The most dangerous, wicked and deceiving people the world had ever known.  Surely, she thought such a wicked people can’t have the truth, so she avoided them as she had been told they were dangerous men to meet as they exercised an undue influence over people who came in contact with them, so the only way to be safe was to avoid them.  This however did not satisfy her as she could nowhere find the truth, and she had seen in a dream that some men from the west would bring the truth to her, but she fought it off.

Finally two of these Mormon elders come in her community, and friends had told her they would hold a meeting in a neighbor’s home.  The question came to her “Shall I go and hear these men who are said to be ____ and vicious.”  At first she resolved not to take any chances on being deceived, but then pondered, “I am hunting for the truth and all the church I have heard so far do not have anything that satisfies me, so why should I not go and hear their message?”  She did not want to give in but something urged her on.  She was not able to resist.  But instead of going openly she went in a round about direction so people would not see where she was going. Soon she reached the home where the meeting was held.  They were singing church songs.  She stopped and listened and as she stood there listening, her whole being was thrilled and their words went through her being.  “There is the truth.”  For a moment she felt like fleeing from the place.  How could she a girl accept the teachings of these men or people who were held to be ignorant and degenerate in every way?

Finally she gained courage to enter the house.  As she opened the door and walked in, one of the elders, I have forgotten his name, spoke so all could hear him and said, “That girl will join the church.” And in a very short time she did join and never from that time did she doubt the truth of Mormonism.

As Mother would relate this story of her conversion, her whole countenance would bean and her soul was thrilled.  As I relate this, I can now see that sweet, heavenly smile creep over her countenance and again I hear that voice bearing that unfaltering testimony to her children and others who happened to be listening.  A doubt never entered her mind.  This characterized her whole life.  Mormonism was true and she knew it.

She was the only one of her family who accepted the truth as taught by the Mormons.  However, Mother said her people were not bitter as some were but they plead with her _____ her and wept bitterly over her as she determined to leave them and the good home in which she was reared, for indeed it was a good Christian home filled with parents and brothers and sisters who dearly loved her, to go to that far off land Americar and in America, Utah, that much reviled and misrepresented place.

Talk of a test of faith.  Here my mother as thousands of others have done, left her home and loved ones to go into a strange land thousands of miles away where they would never see her home and parents and brother and sisters again.  Then again, these Mormons were despised and held to be a vicious and degenerate lot.  But in Mother’s case, there was no doubt.  The Spirit of God had revealed the truth to her and in it she found joy and happiness beyond all earthly expressions.

What dark hours I have seen Mother pass through, but through it all that testimony carried her on without any doubt, and out of her tears came a heavenly smile and a fervent testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

When she leftDenmarkher youngest brother Tygge wanted to come with her but his parents would not let him go as he was only as I remember about sixteen.  Several years afterwards, he did come to theUnited States, with the intention of coming on toUtah, but when he reached theUnited States, he heard such terrible reports ofUtahand her people that he gave up his westward trip, Mother corresponded with his for some time.  He was in the Southern States and the Civil War come on.  Finally she received no answers to her letters, and concluded that he had lost his life, but later elders wrote her that her brother Tygge was back inDenmark.  Mother’s name was Maria Tyggeson.

She came across the plains by ox teams toUtahin 1859.  It was here she became acquainted with my father Thomas Peter Peterson, as they were in the same company across the plains.  They were married soon after their arrival inSalt Lake Cityand later received their endowments in 1867, in the Endowment House inSalt Lake City.

Soon after their reachingSalt Lake City, they moved toEphraim,Utahwhere my brother Thomas, sister Mary were born July 24, 1861, and my brother Thomas Mar 15, 1863.

Then they moved toGunnison,Utah, where my sister Elsina was born July 9, 1865, and my brother Joseph who died in infancy was born, 1867.  The family record does not give the month and date of month.  I was born inGunnison, Spet 24, 1870.  While I was a babe only a few months of age, Father and Mother moved toRichfield,Sevier County,Utah.

In my statement concerning Mother’s journey across the plains by ox teams, I forgot to say that she walked most of that distance and carried a baby whose mother was in poor health and unable to care for her babe.  Part of the time the baby also was ill.

The obligations came to them

When I stop to think of my mother, then an unmarried young woman, carrying that babe in her arms across the dry sandy plains, with her face turned to the West or Salt Lake City, to cast her lot with that little understood people the Mormons, my heart goes out in pride and admiration to her.  Think of her thousands of miles from her home, parents and brothers and sisters whom she loved and more dearly than her own life, but pushing on away from them to the Rocky Mountains, because she loved her God and the Gospel He has revealed in this day, more than all earthly possessions.  She knew that she had accepted the truth and nothing could turn her from it.  When I see the image of that sweet, kind, loving girl with that babe in her arms walking over the dry sands plains of the West giving up all for the truth, I pray God that I may have the courage and strength to defend the truth to the end.  Oh may I never prove to be recreant to the heritage she and my Father suffered so much to give to me, but may I use my voice and all that I have to promote truth in the earth so that I can meet that Father and Mother and my God and say I have been true in my weak way to the truths you bequeathed to me.  If I can do this my joy and happiness will be complete when I meet them hereafter.

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