In writing about my mother, Amanda Charlotta Eliason, it would be very incomplete if first I didn’t write of her grandparents and parents.
Anders (Andrew) Eliason born in Alingsas, Sweden, was a wealthy Swedish gentleman and owner of a large estate named Ennerkullen. He was Amanda’s grandfather.
Mr. C.F. Olsen of Hyrum, Utah visited the Eliason home in Sweden and said, “I can see in my memory picture, hundreds of acres of land dotted with forests, lakes and flowers. Anders Eliason, Sr. was lord and master of the estate, with his three sons as supervisors. The homes of the people were comfortable and most livable. Kindness was the keynote of this estate.”
Brother Lilenquist of Hyrum, Utah was shown the estate that had belonged to the Eliason’s and said it was one of the most beautiful spots in Sweden.
Cousin Phoebe Hansen Stringham and husband visited Sweden in 1964, almost a hundred years after our grandparents and my mother, Amanda and sister Hilda left their beautiful land. Phoebe visited the church where our grandparents were married, and where my mother and sister Hilda were christened and baptized into the Swedish Lutheran Church. Pheobe writes that there is a beauty about Sweden that immediately captivated one. Alingsas is about 20 miles from Goteberg and on the east side of Lake Mjoin. This area is near the North Seas and the west coast of southern Sweden. There are many lakes in the surrounding countryside. In the record books of the church was a page recording our ancestors’ names and births. On a page was written where they had left their church to go to “UTA” because they had joined the Mormon Church. The Rev. Linel told the Stringhams in English about the Eliasons. He said that Great Grandfather Eliason had been head trustee of the church, and the Eliasons had been great landowners. Rev. Linel told Phoebe that when he first came there he met an elderly lady that had been a servant at Ennerkullen. She told him that Heda, my grandmother, cried and cried, as she didn’t want to leave her home and mother.
The Stringhams went to see the location of Ennerkullen on the shores of the lakes that our Grandmother Heda talked about and longed to see again. The family by the name of Dickson, that Grandfather Andrew Eliason Jr. sold the home and they still own. Phoebe said this home reminded her very much of the beautiful home Eliasons finally built in Logan. They visited Goteberg and the home of Great Grandfather Eliason. She said she would always remember the natural woodland, fields, lakes and flowers. The house was still painted red with the white trim. She went into the home and the original blue and white tile stove was in the kitchen. The owners were trying to sell it.
It thrilled them to see the rock known as Missionary Rock, where the first Mormon missionaries came to this area and told their message. Rev. Linel said the missionaries were like the “Pied Piper” as so many followed them.
They visited Ostad and saw Hilgesson homestead where Heda’s mother and father had lived and died. How hard it must have been for the Eliasons and how great was their love for this new religion to leave this land of beauty for an unknown and new country.
Anders (Andrew) Eliason Sr. married Anna Larson and took her to Ennerkullen to live. To this union was born three sons, Anders Jr., Carl and Gustave. When Anders Jr. was fifteen years of age a great sorrow came to this little family, as their mother Anna was take ill and died.
Later Anders (Andrew) Eliason Sr. married Christene Carlson. She was a gentle, kind and gracious woman, always sweet and understanding to her three foster sons.
Anders Jr., Amanda’s father, was born March 14, 1838 on his father’s estate at Alingsas, Sweden. He loved sports, swimming, skating, boating and horseback riding. He grew to fine manhood, was an educated man and was being prepared to take over the future duties of his father’s estate.
Across the lake from Ennerkullen was the home at Esta Hanegard. It was here that Hedvig (Heda) Carlson, mother of Amanda was born 8 July 1840 to Carl and Anna Carlson. (I know very little about her parents.) Heda’s father died before she left Sweden. Her home stood near a lake. She said that her sweetheart used to skate across the lake in the winter to come to see her, and in the summer he would row his boat across the lake. Heda often spoke of her home as spacious, painted white with green shutters. She said it was a home where order and industry were not despised and the hands of all were busy, and accustomed to wise but quiet benevolence. She always spoke of her mother as a gracious lady who really loved beautiful dresses.
She said her home was an abode of music. Her elder brother, Johann played the clavichord, flute and violin, and was also an accomplished composer. Her brother, Anders, and sister, Anna, were the singers of the family, and often sang at entertainments of state. The younger sister, Matilda, and the true Swedish beauty, golden hair, blue eyes, her complexion was like velvet, and a sweet disposition. Hedvig, my grandmother, the oldest child, was the poet of the family and given as much education as a girl in Sweden was able to receive at that time. She was educated in the Parish Swedish Lutheran school. Most everyone belonged to the Lutheran Church, the church of state.
She told us about her home, with the hardwood floors made from the wood of their own forest. In the winter they were covered with heavy rugs, and in the summer they were cleaned and removed to use again when winter came. They had much silver and china and brought some of their choicest pieces with them to the new country. She said there was linen enough in the linen closet to last for nearly a year without the necessity of washing that, which was sailed. Washing in Sweden at that time in some homes was a half yearly festival and in other homes it occurred once in three months.
Grandfather Anders II and Grandmother Hedvig were at a church gathering or party when they first met. She was but sixteen. They were attracted to each other from the first. They often said they knew that God meant them for each other. They were married on June 5th, 1860. The first child born to Hedvig and Anders arrived on June 3, 1861. She was a darling baby girl with large blue eyes, dark brown curly hair and christened Amanda Charlotta. She was my mother. Her sister, Hilda Christine, was born two years, five months later on October 31, 1863.
In far off America events had take place that were to profoundly affect the lives of this family in Sweden. It all started when a young boy went into the woods on a spring day to pray, and asked of his father in Heaven which church was right and true.
When the missionaries came from Utah to Sweden to preach the everlasting gospel, grandfather Eliason said that almost from the first the Eliason homes were a welcome haven to the Mormon missionaries.
Anna, the mother of Anders, Jr., my grandfather, had died, and Christine, the second wife of Anders Sr., became interested in the Mormon’s message, and was soon convinced of the truthfulness of the gospel and baptized. She tried to convert her husband, but he could not yet see the light.
One night he had a dream to read a certain passage in the Bible. Unfortunately we do not know from whence he read. He arose in the night and read the passage of scripture. A few days later two missionaries came to Ennerkullen and he told them he was ready to join their church, that he knew it was true. Thus at the age of 56 in the year 1861 Anders Sr. was baptized into the church, the year my mother Amanda was born.
The influence of the gospel didn’t stop with the senior members of the family, as Anders Jr. and his brother Carl were converted by Elder Soderberg. They were baptized on April 13, 1863 by Elder Christoffer Heberg.
Many poor converts to the church wanted to come to Zion, but lacked the necessary funds and great grandfather came to their aid. One time Anders Sr. sold part of his land and timber for 80,000 krona, which is $20,000 in American money. This was a great deal of money at that time. He furnished the money to immigrate one hundred saints to Utah. Many after were also helped by this man. Anders Eliason Sr. has been called a philosopher and philanthropist by the church historians in Utah.
The time came when he made the great decision to take his own family to Utah. Before he left he sold all that he had, gave one-tenth to the church for tithing, and a certain amount to his first wife, Anna’s children, Anders Jr., Carl and Gustave.
With his wife, Christine, and seven children, Andrew Eliason Sr. (He changed his name to the English Andrew) immigrated to Utah in 1863 leaving behind their home, friends and loved ones for something they loved even more. They left Sweden at the end of April 1863 by way of the North Sea to England and arrived in Liverpool. Under the direction of Elder George Q. Cannon the elder Eliason family with a company of 644 Scandinavians and 13 British Saints crossed the Atlantic Ocean on the ship, B.S. Kimball in charge of Elder Haris Christian Lund and his company and Peter Beckstead and Christoffer S. Winge. The ship left Liverpool May 8, 1863. Their two youngest children, Claus and Joseph Oscar, took sick on the boat and died and were buried in the ocean.
Soon after they arrived in America, their company continued their journey to Albany, New York by rail. From Albany they traveled to Florence, Nebraska in cattle cars, which was the outfitting station for the emigrating Saints. It is estimated that 3,646 emigrants crossed the Atlantic in 1863.
According to the Emigration Book marked 1047 on file in the Historian’s office on pages 225 and 253 we find the following: Anders Eliason, Land owner, 57 yrs., Christine Eliason, wife, 37 yrs., Gustave, son 21 yrs., son Johann 9 yrs, Anna Christine 7 yrs., son August, 5 yrs., son, Claus 3 yrs., son, Joseph Oscar, infant and Peter, 21, an adopted son, later called Anders Peter Eliason.
The Eliason family stayed in Florence, Nebraska until July 7, 1863. They commenced their journey across the plains as members of an independent company, in charge of Captain John R. Young—an independent company meant that the members were not dependent upon the church to finance their emigration, but bore their own expenses. They arrived in Salt Lake City September 12, 1863, 128 days after leaving Liverpool, England.
There were very few in the company who could speak or understand English but they journeyed on from Salt Lake and settled in Grantsville, Tooele County, Utah. Again they were near a Lake, even though it was the great Dead Sea of America. Grantsville and the Oquirrh Mountains were covered with trees, pines and foliage at that time.
Two years had gone by and Andrew Eliason Jr. and brother, Charles, had both changed their names from Anders to Andrew and Carl to Charles. They remained in Sweden steadfast in the faith, performing good works as their father had done and eagerly awaiting word from their father concerning Zion.
They followed in their father’s footsteps as their monies were freely given to help those less fortunate emigrate. Andrew Jr., Amanda’s father, (and my grandfather,) was kept busy for sometime helping those who wanted to go to Zion, but had insufficient means. Entire families were thus sent to America and on to Utah. At one time twenty-one young women converts were thus able to go, because of the help of the Eliason brothers. Many of these people had promised to pay back the money when they were settled in the new country, but very few remembered to do so.
The year was 1865 and now Andrew Eliason Jr.’s family’s turn had come to say goodby to all that was near and dear to them. They were to immigrate to Utah. Happy memories of childhood, their beloved land and country, familiar scenes, their families and friends all had a powerful hold, but there was a stronger one urging them on to Utah.
To Hedvig or Heda, Wife of Andrew Jr. leave taking was the hardest of all. Hers was the task of parting completely from her widowed mother, Anna, and brothers and sisters. When the time came, she told her husband she just could not leave. Andrew Jr., downhearted, said goodbye to his wife and two little girls.
He arrived in Liverpool, England and a voice told him to return to Sweden and his family would go with him. Andrew returned and Heda was ready to take the journey. Heda’s brother Johann left two weeks after his sister for Paris to further his musical career. Her sister and brother were broken-hearted, but her darling mother, Anna Carlson, said, “My darling, we are not all tied in one knot. You must do the will of your Father in Heaven. His will be done. You must go with your husband out into the world and find out what God has in store for one who loves him. You go with my blessing upon your head.”
So, with saddened hearts, farewells were said and Andrew Eliason Jr., his wife, Hedvig, their two children, Amanda, four and Hilda, one and a half years old, left Sweden.
So did Charles Eliason, brother of Andrew, and his wife, Anna. They were Amanda’s godparents. All of her life she spent many happy hours at their home in Milville, Utah just a few miles south of Logan. (Some of the sweetest memories of my childhood were the visits to their home.) They had no children of their own.
The Eliason Families set out on their journey, first by train to Malmo, where they had to wait three days before passage to Copenhagen was available. On Monday, May the 8th, 1865, about noon the steamer B.S. Kimball lifted anchor, at Copenhagen, Denmark, drawn by a tender down to Gluckstadt. On May 10th the ship with its precious cargo sailed from Gluckstadt. This ship, B.S. Kimball was the same one Andrew Eliason Sr. came to America on in 1863.
The captain, knowing the cooler climate would be better for the passengers, chose the route north of Scotland. With the exception of one day the weather was fair and favorable during the entire voyage. The captain was very kind to the emigrants. The sick received treatment and three meals of warm food were served to them each day.
There was much sickness during the voyage. Three adults and 27 children died from measles and scarlet fever. The memory of these playmates of Amanda’s dying and their bodies wrapped in sheets or blankets and lowered into the big ocean stayed with my mother throughout her life.
Besides the Scandinavian Saints, there wee other emigrants crossing the Atlantic on this voyage. Elder Christoffer J. Kempe wrote, “While peace and good-will reigned among the saints, the others who were Lutherans, Baptists and Methodists lived like cats and dogs together—engaging in disputes, quarrels and sometimes fighting, playing cards and swearing, while others tried to preach.”
When they were about one-third the way across the ocean, fire broke out in the vessel, which caused a real pandemonium among the passengers, but no great damage was done.
They met a ship going east from America and they were informed of the victory of the Union Army. They were all ordered on deck and gave many cheers for the red, white and blue in Swedish. Capt. Dearborn gave them many privileges in the way of amusements, dancing, singing, theater playing and games. He let them put their best cook in the kitchen to prepare Swedish food for the sick. In the last part of the journey the drinking water became so foul and polluted they had to mix vinegar with it in order to swallow it. Many were sickened because of this.
The worst of their troubles was that the ship had no air pipes, so all of the air had to come through the stairways. The stench coming from below was very, very, bad. Also the ship was infested with vermin and that made it almost impossible to rest or sleep.
Five weeks on the waters of the Atlantic brought many heartaches and tragedies were commonplace. Disease, pestilence and death became a familiar specter. The dead were buried in the darkness of the night in the icy cold water. Through all of this, grandmother Heda nursed her two little girls sick with the measles, praying that God would save their lives as so many mothers were weeping for loved ones they had lost. Amanda’s and Hilda’s Aunt Anna was also a constant companion during these trying weeks.
One day the ship passed a huge iceberg. They wanted Heda to come on deck and see the mountain of ice. She declined saying, “If it were made of gold, I would never leave the bedside of my little girls.”
One day a storm arose and the wind blew hard and terrific waves threw the ship from side to side almost capsizing it. All were thrown from their bunks. The captain came and told grandmother not to worry, that all would be well and she replied, “I know that, God has been with us so far and he won’t leave us now.”
About June 13, 1865, after 35 days on the Atlantic the B.S. Kimball anchored safely in the harbor of New York. The first news that reached their ears in the new land was that President Abraham Lincoln had been assassinated in April 1865.
After a long and weary journey overland by rail, they finally arrived at Wyoming, Nebraska, the outfitting station for the L.D.S. Emigration parties in 1864 and 1865.
Andrew and Charles (Anders and Carl) were busy purchasing the necessary equipment such as oxen, cows, wagons, food and weapons. Andrew purchased a Sharp Saddler gun, which was patented in 1850 and he kept it for many years.
The Eliason men were very careful in packing their worldly goods into wagons and trunks containing linens, silverware, china and clothes from Sweden, and other articles for their new homes in the new land. Among their many things were their copper pots and kettles. (I remember seeing some of these kettles at the home of grandfather Andrew Eliason in Logan. I have a pair of candlesticks, copper, that Aunt Anna had received as a wedding present, and brought across the plains and being in 1976 over a century old.)
On the 31st of July 1865 most of the Scandinavian emigrants left Wyoming, Nebraska in a company consisting of 45 ox teams. The company was organized August 1st by appointing Miner G. Atwood as captain and Anders W. Winberg, Chaplain and interpreter. At first the traveling was very slow as the roads and trails were muddy because of heavy rainfall.
At night they camped under the stars or lowering storm clouds with their wagons drawn up in a circle to protect them from hostile Indians. In these encampments they took part in the simple amusements of a Mormon emigration company such as dancing, singing, etc. The government of this wagon train was much the same as that of the original pioneer company of 1847 divided into 100’s, 50’s and 10’s.
At five o’clock in the morning the bugle was sounded as a signal for everyone to arise and attend their family prayer before they left their wagons. They would then engage in making themselves ready for the journey of that day, cooking and eating their breakfast and feeding and watering the animals until seven a.m., at which time the train was to move forward at another sound of the bugle.
Each teamster was to keep beside his team with loaded gun in hand or within reach at all times. No one could leave his post without permission of his officer, in case of an attack by hostile Indians.
Little Amanda and Hilda were not fully recovered from the rigorous sea voyage and the measles, which nearly took their lives. Their little bodies were still so thin and weak. Amanda told about building little houses in the sand and mud near the streams, and being sad to leave them behind.
There were very, very few in this train that could speak or understand English, which made communication extremely hard for them when they were with other travelers.
There was a man in the company who could make hair flowers, hair chains, and bracelets. Hedvig or Heda, mother of Amanda, wanted to send something back to her loved ones in Sweden so she cut her beautiful gold hair and he made flowers for her mother and chains and bracelets for her sisters.
There were many weak and aged who fell prey to the exposure and fatigue of the journey. Their hastily dug graves bore mute evidence to pioneers as their trail markers were added to those who had passed this way before.
On September 22, 1865 about 60 Indians tried to stampede their cattle and started to drive them away but the fearlessness of the men stopped them. Seven men were wounded, but not mortally.
The Indians stole one Danish woman. She and her husband were newlyweds and often lagged behind the company. They had been warned to stay nearer the train. The husband, Frank Christian Grundberg, and others tried hard to find his wife, Jensine, but she was never heard from or seen again.
Over 6 months, 185 days after leaving Copenhagen, on November 8th, 1865 they arrived on the 8th Ward Square in Salt Lake City, which is where the city and county building is now standing. Pres. Young and Elder Wm. W. Riter came to greet them. Ten more wagons carrying freight had joined them for protection, as the Indians were on the warpath.
They were strangers but pilgrims speaking a strange language, seeking a new country whose maker and builder was God. In such cold weather they knew not where they were to go, nor how they would survive. They believed and trusted in God and his call to service, to hardship, to sacrifice even at the cost of losing their lives.
But their journey wasn’t over; they were to travel further west to Grantsville. The newest arrivals from Ennerkullen gazed upon this large valley, which was to be their new home. The cottonwoods, poplars and sagebrush took the place of the forest, flowers and green meadows of Sweden. Their many lakes were replaced by a salty sea.
In Grantsville they joined their father, who had settled there in 1863. In a short time the new Utah emigrants applied for citizenship in the United States of America and were soon full-fledged citizens.
The year 1865 was four years before the railroads met and joined the country with steel bands at Promontory Point, Utah, May 1869.
Yes, this was the country where a man had to be a man. The trials, hard work and heartbreak of the women were sometimes almost more than they could bear. Still the spell of the vast rugged west got into the blood of its pioneers, but there were also times when aching homesickness for the old life, and thee more gentle scenes of the home they had left made them wonder.
Grantsville was a small hamlet on the south shores of the Great Salt Lake. To the east were the crested Oquirrh Mountains with their forests of fir and evergreens that were doomed to destruction by the smelter plants of the future with their fumes of industry. (Oquirrh is an Indian word meaning green mountains.) On the north was the Great Salt Lake and the mighty Wasatch Range and to the west the Stansbury Mts. stand guard against the desert. This was the land where the Eliasons took up a life of farming and stock raising; indeed, an adventure of hardship for them.
Before we go further with our story, we’ll enclose a story of Andrew Eliason Sr., my mother Amanda’s grandfather, written by his daughter, Ella. “I remember the first log house my father built. There were 4 rooms in it, which was a mansion in the desert in those days. The rooms were nicely furnished for pioneer times. One of their proudest possessions was a beautiful four-poster wooden bed brought with them from Sweden. They brought a number of pieces of furniture with them form Sweden.
I remember my parents telling about when their first child was born in Grantsville. The baby was born before the roof was completed on their home, and father held an umbrella over mother to keep the rain from falling upon her. The baby was my sister Clara born in 1864.
Two years later another sister, Manda, was born and died as an infant. I, Ella, was born in 1868. I was only 13 months old when my mother, Christine, died. All I know about her is what has been told to me by others. Everyone said she was a lovely, kind soft-spoken woman who loved her church and family above all else. She would scrub her floors first with sand and then with her homemade soap. Her copper kettles she kept shining and hung on the kitchen wall. Mother caught cold and became seriously ill. They had no doctors to call in to help; there was just a kind woman who tried. They put her in a tub of cold water to try and break her fever. She did not recover and died at the age of 44 years. When was a mother of 9 children of her own, and 4 others she had taken as her own. Two she lost at sea, and one when very young in Grantsville.
My father, Andrew Eliason Sr., later married Sophia Johnson. She had no children of her own. She was very strict and had very little patience with them. This caused 3 of the children to leave him; Gustaf and myself stayed at home. She was a hard worker; we never went hungry or cold. She did spinning and weaving of wool to make into quilts and dresses. She made her own dye from flowers and sagebrush. Her homemade soap was the whitest, and the starch she made from potatoes was the best and used in her lovely puddings. She also made the candles we used to light our home.
Father was in need of money, there were many of the Swedish saints, he had paid their trip to Utah, and they had promised to pay him when they arrived in Utah and were settled. There were a few that did, but most of them didn’t remember. Andrew Sr. decided to go to Cache valley as many of these people lived there. He took my sister Annie and walked the 100 miles from Grantsville to Logan. After walking that distance, to his dismay there wasn’t one that paid him. The long journey was in vain.
Andrew Eliason Sr., my father, was a kind, patient, industrious and thrifty and a gentleman in every way. His advice to his children and his example was honesty, live our religion and kept the Sabbath holy. He passed through the hardships and sorrows, with the other pioneers, never complaining.
He was a farmer and cattle raiser. He always had lovely gardens of vegetables and flowers, and kept everything in order. When he cut wood, he piled it neatly under sheds to keep it dry. He made walks of rocks to his sheds and other places; along these walks he planted holly-hock and asparagus which grew to be feathery ferns with red berries—after the spring cuttings were over, also small flowers formed the borders.
Father being nearly 60 when he arrived in America never learned much of the English language, as there were many Swedish people in Grantsville that he could visit and talk to. He did a good deal of temple work in the Logan Temple in 1885. Good health was always his lot until 3 weeks before he died. I asked Father if he thought he would get well. His answer was, “It will be as the Lord desires; I feel as though I had been on a long journey and I am tired and worn out.” He died at the age of 92 years. Bishop Wrathal speaking at his funeral said, “He was loved and respected by all who knew him, and I do not think that there is one spot on his garment.” He died April 20th, 1896. My mother was born Dec. 7, 1826 and died Feb. 14, 1870; both are buried in Grantsville, Utah. My step-mother died at the age of 80 years.” By Ella Eliason.
Andrew Eliason I in 1880 built a 7 room rock home that stands in Grantsville today just across the street from the First Ward Church. In 1963 it was owned by a Mr. Anderson and still in use. It’s a most charming place and spotlessly cleans. The house now has stucco over the rocks. The walls are very thick. Out in the back there are rows of tall poplar trees and on the particular day that Charles Hansen, great-great grandson visited this place, and the birds of all kinds were doing their best singing.
With the new arrivals of 1865 the Eliason family formed quite a group. Andrew II and Hedvig or Heda with their little girls, Amanda and Hilda, and also Uncle Charles, brother of Andrew II and his wife, Annie, stayed with their father when they first arrived in Grantsville. Later they moved to the Kimball ranch. During this period, Anna Matilda, Andrew the III and Hedvig Eleanora, were born. The Kimball ranch was located about 3 miles northwest of Grantsville.
The stagecoaches from east and west stopped at the ranch where a change of horses was made. Amanda, Hilda and Anna would always be waiting anxiously for each stage to arrive. The drivers would mount the children on the backs of the horses and they would ride to the stables in style and sometimes there would be some little treat they would bring them.
Grandmother Heda made dresses for her little girls’ dolls out of the many fancy vests that grandfather brought from Sweden in their more prosperous days, as he found little use here for his fine clothes. Heda also made dresses for her little girls out of dresses she brought from her home faraway. She found use for her knowledge of weaving, that she had learned as a pastime when she lived in Sweden.
It was not an easy task for Andrew II to support his growing family. Heda had to do many things she never dreamed of doing a few short years ago in Sweden, such as cooking, washing, weaving, spinning, making butter and candles and caring for 5 active children.
Amanda went to stay with her Uncle Charles and Aunt Annie for a while, but as she was the oldest child in the family, her mother needed the help she could give, so her younger sister, Anna, took her place. Charles and Annie enjoyed their brother’s children, as they never had any of their own.
Most of the country around where they lived was meadows. One place that they called Eliason meadows had several springs bubbling out of the ground. Here is where birds lived and the wild roses grew in abundance. The wild rose was always Amanda’s favorite flower. When they were in bloom our home was always full of them.
While the Eliasons were still at the Kimball ranch another child was born to them and they named her Julia but she died in infancy at 5 months.
Their Uncle Charles and Aunt Annie left Grantsville for Skull Valley to farm. This was the first time the two families had been parted. They became very lonely for each other. After they left, Amanda’s family moved into their home, which was located in Grantsville. Here they were nearer the church and school. Here another daughter was born and named Phoebe after Mrs. Kimball.
Amanda at the age of 14 wanted to learn to play the organ. It was arranged that she should go into Salt Lake and live at the home of Evan Stephens of the Tabernacle Choir, and work for the lessons he would giver her on the organ. I do not know how long she was there but she made the most of her opportunity and learned to play the hymns beautifully. When she played them they seemed to have more meaning and how she loved to play them.
Thus the years passed by. Life was completely different from the life they had lived before, and they found it difficult in some ways to match its stride. Andrew II could not fit into this semi-arid location, and couldn’t make it feel like home. He began to think of other places that would seem more like the place he left. He heard of Bear Lake County with its fresh water lake, with farmland around. He decided to go and see. In his travel he had to pass through beautiful Cache Valley, and this secluded green valley caught his fancy. There were no lakes, but the streams of cool mountain water, prosperous farms and settlements caught his eye. He knew at once that they would love it there.
There were soon traveling the 100 miles to Logan. The parting from relatives and friends at Grantsville in 1876 was not as hard as the one they made 11 years before in Sweden.
Andrew II’s brother Charles and wife Annie were determined to be with their relatives and traveling companions so they left Skull Valley and moved to Cache Valley. When they reached the summit of the western mountains, they beheld the picturesque beauty of the valley surrounded by majestic mountains, and the many streams that could be traced by the willowed outline of their banks. New hope came to the two families, and they praised God for his guidance. Other settlers had come before and more were to follow.
Charles and Annie settled in Millville, a few miles south of Logan on a large tract of land. Andrew Eliason’s first home was built of logs at the northeast corner of Fourth North and Second east in Logan, Utah. It was a homey place with a picket fence all whitewashed with lime. Locust trees were planted for shade, and many kinds of fruit trees were planted at the rear of the little home. In this home Jennie Cecilia, their eight child, was born.
Grandmother Heda Eliason had a hard time adjusting to her life in this foreign land. She said she knew one did not die from homesickness because no one could of longed for home and family more than she. Grandfather Eliason later bought acreage across the street east from their home.
A short time after the Eliasons moved to Logan, Amanda at 16, started to learn the tailoring trade in the shop of a Mr. Thomas. She had to learn the trade before she received any pay. The material she worked on was homespun, from which she made men’s coats and trousers. She said the hardest work to do was the overalls, making them of material that was so stiff and hard. After she had learned the tailoring of men’s clothes, a woman came to Logan to teach dressmaking and Amanda went to her classes to learn more.
I can still remember how she would make her own patterns, using a piece of paper folded to be one inch wide and about a yard long. As she took the measurements, she would cut notches in this folded paper, each notch was a special guide. Amanda became a lovely seamstress and was soon sewing the clothes for her mother’s family.
When she was almost 18 years of age, she became a clerk in the main store in Logan. It was a branch of the Z.C.M.I. of Salt Lake, and was called the U.O. Girls did not work in stores at that time but the Eliasons were having hard times. She received 50 cents a day at first, but later it was raised to 75 cents, which was good wages especially for a girl. Girls were not supposed to do anything but housework.
Amanda, with her sweet smile, beautiful face, hair and eyes soon had a number of admirers. She was asked to become one of the wives of Charles W. Nibley. Then another Leader in the church who was called to go to Europe by the church and his wife was ill and unable to travel, asked Amanda to be he wife and go to Europe with him. (I believe his name was Anderson.) She said it was tempting as he was well to do, and she would of liked to have gone to Europe, but she said no. About this time Amanda met Frank Benson and became very interested in him.
On April 15, 1881 at the age of 43 Andrew Eliason II was called to fulfill a mission to his homeland. This was indeed a joy for him. The years of Andrew II’s absence were years of toil and privation. Sometimes there were hungry days. The winters were long and cold, with sickness and small pox raging everywhere. Shortly after Andrew left, a son, Carl Elmer, was born to Heda. In the midst of the first winter he died of pneumonia. Hilda and Annie had gone to work at the U.O. to try to keep the wolf from the door. They were both young girls in their teens.
On June 15th, 1883 grandfather returned with an honorable release from his mission. About two years after Andrew II’s return from his mission, another son was born and named Arthur Ernest, but he died in infancy. Sometime later their eleventh child, a darling baby girl was born. They named her Elva, which means eleven in Swedish.
When Andrew returned form his mission, he brought many seeds from his native Sweden. They were seeds of the elm tree, ash, Scotch pine, Arbae Vita, Norway Spruce, weeping willow, and his favorite tree, the linden. He planted seeds from a hawthorn hedge around the huge lot, a one-fourth of a city block, which was to be their new home.
They soon started this new home at 4th North and 2nd East where the Budge Clinic is now located. The new home was first 4 large rooms with plans for the beautiful home it was soon to be. This property had a double canal at the east of the acreage, which was used in the later landscaping. This home became the show place of the city of Logan for many years. It was a picture to behold. Andrew II fields were yielding wheat, corn, sugar cane, milk, eggs, chickens, honey, veal and beef. Cheese and butter were made at home. The pantry and cellar wee filled with vegetables of all kinds. They were doing everything in their power to be self-sustaining, as the church was demanding.
Andrew II went on another mission to Sweden on May 24, 1904 at the age of 66 and returned June 16th, 1906 to his home and family in Logan, Utah. At his funeral it was said of him, that he was a loving husband, a kind father, a lover of beauty, a useful citizen, a community builder, and a servant of God.
Years before their father went on his second mission to Sweden, the two sisters, Hilda and Anna had opened a ladies department store and named it The Eliason Sisters’ Department Store. It was located just south of the First National Bank in the same building on Main Street in Logan, Utah. It was the largest millinery, yardage and ladies ready-to-wear store in the northern part of the state. Their business grew quickly and it wasn’t any time until the home of their dreams was being finished.
As I remember my grandmother Eliason, I see her sitting by the window in her rocking chair with either her Swedish Bible on her lap or knitting in her hands. She loved to be the lady, and when the Eliasons again had means, and could have help in the home, she was indeed the genteel dignified Lady. Andrew and Heda were sweethearts until the day he left.
In the Salt Lake Tribune of Saturday, March 25, 1950 there was an article and pictures covering one full page telling of the beauty of the Eliason home in Logan, Utah, as follows, by Grace Grether.
THROUGH THE ELIASON DOORS WENT U.S. CELEBRITIES
“All the laughter and sadness, happiness and worries, the close family life, even the echoing footsteps who have lived there permeate the place. It is not just a house. It is a 5,000 word novel bound between walls.
One steps from a modern Logan Street into the grounds around the beautiful Eliason place at 4th North and 2nd East and the book opens.
Stand under the towering cone crowned evergreens and many other beautiful trees and view the original carefully landscaped grounds of last century with the grass between the flagstones and the place come to life.
Those soirees inside the mansion and on the grounds of more than half century ago eased the homesick heart of hostess Hedvig, born Carlson, Andrew Eliason’s wife. They were converts to the Mormon Church and crossed the seas from Sweden with their two little girls in the late 1860’s. They left behind their families with huge land estates. Andrew sold his estate to an Englishman, Lord Dixon, when he left. He found a large tract of land in Logan with two rippling brooks and built a roomy house with 12 and 15 ft. high ceiling airy rooms.
Every inch of the large rooms were in immaculate condition. There are sofas done in soft green damask, chairs in faded rose. Victorian reds, blues, greens blending into beauty, sculptured busts of musicians and poets, choice bric-a-brac. The walls are tapestryed in the beamed ceiling dining room. On the mantel and in cabinets are carved ships, huge stein tankards, crystal wine glasses, and fine china and silverware to serve 72 people at one time, punch bowls weighing pounds, red brocade chairs. Thee were once famous dinner parties at the long beautifully carved rectangular table.
There were fireplaces in every room. It is a fascinating record of Andrew and Hedvig’s family. Her window collection of ceramic birds in the library is beautiful. Something precious and of interest is on all sides—a carved and floral painted wooden bowl from the tops of the Alps—heavy pieces of water clear glass from Sweden. In the music room was the largest most beautiful carved grand piano I have ever seen. Upstairs is much birdseye maple and brass bed furnishings. Sunshine streams in on handsome old hooked rugs lying next to our shag rugs of 1950.
Years later the grown children called in an expert to remodel. He looked around. He refused to change it or to alter a door or a partition. He did advise to remove the porch that was on the house and replace with a large porch. This they did, building a large porch across the front south and west part of their beautiful home. When one came onto this porch with its carpeted floors, easy chairs and lounges, one wanted to stay and enjoy the peace and beauty of landscaping around it. After an hour in that house, it’s a jolt to walk out onto the streets in Logan in 1950. They seemed so drab.”
Amanda was the oldest in this family of eleven, eight girls and three boys. Hilda Christina in her middle age married John Dollar who had two children, a boy and a girl. Anna Matilda married Dr. George Thomas. He was dean of the Utah Agricultural College in Logan at that time and later became president of the University of Utah, which office he held for many years. They had no children. Andrew Eliason III married Rebecca McGraw and they had no children. He was an electrical engineer in San Francisco. Hedvig Eleanora (Nora) Eliason never married but studied voice in Boston and New York. Phoebe married Walter W. McLaughlin of Berkeley, California, a noted irrigation engineer. They had two girls, Anna and Jennie Cecelia and Jennie died in infancy. Jennie Eliason married Charles W. Hansen, a merchant in Logan and later became head of Texaco in Salt Lake. They had 4 children: Jennie, Phoebe, Hilda and Charles W. Hansen, Jr. Elva, the youngest, married C. Clyde Squires, a noted artist of New York, and had two children, Clyde, Jr. and daughter Jean. Amanda’s two brothers and a sister died in infancy, Carl Elmer, Arthur Ernest and Julia.
The most important part of Amanda’s life was just beginning. The Indians were still a drain on the settlers and received most everything they asked for but not all was calamity. Festivities were enjoyed with uninhibited gusto and dances were their favorite. Brigham Young had said, “If you wish to dance, dance; and you are just as much prepared for a prayer meeting after dancing as you ever were, if you are a Saint.”
The party would start at sundown with singing, programs and dancing. At midnight a potluck dinner was served saving leftovers for breakfast. Children would sleep through the din on benches against the walls of the room.
There were few musical instruments in the early days of Cache Valley, but there was a harpsichord organ, about 2 feet wide, tall as a table and very light and they would take it most anywhere. The settlements would plan weeks in advance for parties and dances, as they were one of the highlights of the winter. Most of the music and rhythm were provided by combs, fiddles, mouth organs, jews harps or anything that would twang. Another form of entertainment was their home talent plays Dramatic forms were very popular and important and were performed under adverse conditions. The amusements in pioneer days were sleighing parties in winter and hayrack parties in summer, also picnics, candy pulls and wool picking and quilting bees.
Amanda often played the harpsichord at these parties and this is where she met Frank Benson. It wasn’t long until they became sweethearts. My father, Frank Andrus Benson, was born Oct. 16, 1852 in Salt Lake City, the son of Apostle Ezra Taft Benson and Adeline Brooks Andrus Benson. He was with his father when he died September 3, 1869 in Ogden, Utah. Frank, 28, and Amanda, 19, were married December 9, 1880.
Frank took his young bride to live with his widowed mother. They lived with Adeline until her death in 1897 when I was one year old. She told Amanda before she passed away, “I couldn’t have loved you more if you had been my own daughter. No one could have been more thoughtful and kind than you have been.”
During this time Frank and Amanda became parents of 7 children: Eva Amanda, Anna Eugenia (Jean), Blanche, Edna, Hedvig, Frank Jr., and Eleanora. Father used to say, “you girls are pretty but not one of you is as pretty as your mother.” Amanda had large blue eyes, very even features, long dark brown hair that came to her knees and she would wrap it around her arm to completely comb it. Her complexion was clear and fresh all of her life. She had the sweetest, kindest smile and a very even disposition and had a charm, which drew people to her.
Frank was five feet eight inches tall and was a handsome man, perfect profile, dark snappy brown eyes and very dark brown hair. He had a beautiful tenor voice, a clean sense of humor and loved to dance. Amanda was quiet and sedate in her ways.
Their first home was the house grandfather Ezra Taft Benson had built for his second wife, Adeline, Frank’s mother, at 141 West 1st So., where they lived all their married lives. This six-room house faced to the south with the kitchen and dining in one large room and two small bedrooms west of the kitchen. The living room was east of the kitchen, southeast of the living room was grandmother Adeline’s bedroom and on the northeast was Frank and Amanda’s room. The three fireplaces in this home were in the kitchen, the living room and grandmother’s room. At the north side was a large summer kitchen or porch. Everyone who could, had summer kitchens and on the porch was the pump for water. The cooking and canning in the summer was done in the summer kitchen. They would also dry corn and beans and fruit for winter use.
One year and a month after grandmother Adeline had died, Frank and Amanda’s second son, Carl, was born making a family of eight. Carl was born April 21, 1899 and was the first child of Amanda’s that had a doctor in attendance at the birth (a mid-wife was at the births of the other seven children).
It was near this time Frank bought our piano from the Brigham Young College which was located just across the street from our home. This piano brought great joy and happiness to us all. We would gather around in the evening with mother at the piano and all of us singing church hymns and songs of those times which were: “Tenting Tonight,” “The Good Old Summertime.” “Two Little Girls in Blue,” “Where Is My Wandering Boy Tonight?” “Home , Sweet Home” and others. Father had a beautiful tenor voice and it wasn’t long until we all learned to harmonize. Eva, Blanche and Jean sang alto with Edna, Hedvig and Eleanore singing soprano and Carl and Frank on the tenor with father. We would sing as we rode in bobsleigh, wagon or buggy.
When Carl was a year old, Frank and Amanda decided to build a new home on the spot of the home of his mother’s. It wasn’t long until it was torn down in the spring of 1900. Frank rented a small house back of our next-door neighbor, Mrs. Quinney and in this house the washing and cooking were done and Mother Amanda, Eva, Carl and Eleanore slept. Father, Frank, Jean, Blanche, Edna, Hedvig and Frank Jr. had their beds in the loft of the large barn at the back of the home site.
The new home, built by a Mr. Berntson as father was working on the farm, contained large rooms and high ceilings with transoms above every door. The first floor had a living room, library, dining room, kitchen, a small bedroom, bath and pantry. Upstairs there were 5 bedrooms. There wasn’t central heating as it wasn’t invented at that time but there were places for three heaters upstairs, two downstairs and also the kitchen stove. The adobe brick that was in the old home had been saved, cleaned by the younger Benson kids, and used to line this new home up to the square. These bricks were 3 inches high, 5 inches wide and 10 inches long. They made our home warmer in winter and cooler in summer. We moved into the new home before Thanksgiving in 1900, and were so thankful and happy to be in it even though it was not completely finished.
Frank and Amanda used to do many things to make the lives of their children happy. In the winter bobsleigh riding and Mother would heat bricks on large rocks in the kitchen-stove oven so we would keep warm in the cold winter air. There was skating on the ponds and rivers. Father would fill the bobsleigh with his children and the neighbor’s children that were lucky enough to have ice skates and take us all skating on the frozen ponds and rivers. It was cold and the snow was deep but we loved every minute of it. The long winter evenings were often made shorter when Mother would decide to have a candy pull, molasses, honey or just plain vinegar taffy.
Frank Benson had the first dairy in Logan. No milk was sold in the stores as most everyone had a cow in the backyard. We had over 20 customers including a Dr. Cutler, Murdock Candy Kitchen, and a number of hotels. Up before 6 a.m. we went over a mile and hand-milked from 10 to 20 cows each morning and evening. In the summer this work was made more pleasant as we often had our picnics in the beautiful pasture with its many springs, trees and flowers. We’d put the milk in gallon, one half-gallon quart cans and deliver it to the customers and pour it into their own containers. We often sold an extra quart of milk and more as we delivered and at 5 cents a quart, this money was ours to do with as we chose. In the winter the cows were brought to the large barn north and behind our home. Eva and Jean did not milk as they helped in the home. We delivered in a covered top wagon pulled by one horse.
In 1913 Frank and Amanda acquired some land in Logan Canyon and our vacations were spent mostly in our summer home. Amanda had always loved the outdoors and she was in heaven when she could be there. It always seemed so strange how people would come to visit us there, bring their families, and very few ever thought to bring a little food. But that never seemed to bother Amanda. She would have her husband get up a little early to go fishing in the Logan River at the edge of their property and he always brought her a beautiful catch of trout. Amanda really knew how to cook them so deliciously. I used to think that when Mother even cooked an egg, it had a better taste.
Their summer home, 11 miles away, became the most beautiful place in Logan Canyon. Frank made a foot bridge across the Logan River to their home on the east side, and Hedvig made the railings rustic, a sight to see with its two seats on the center abutment. There were also rustic seats made around the trees in the outside living area. The cabin was big enough for 4 beds and a stove and the wood sides were 4 feet high with screens up to the steep roof. There were canvas flaps to come down over the screened area to keep out the rain and snow. In this place of peace, quiet and tranquility Amanda loved to sleep in the open and said it was like heaven under the canopy of stars.
Amanda made all of her families’ clothes, which included pantywaists, panties, petticoats, dresses, nightgowns, pinafores and most of our coats, which were made from coats she had been given from her sisters. She would make such beautiful clothes and coats that we were always proud to wear them. They were much nicer than the clothes of our friends. No one could make buttonholes that even compared with hers.
Some years after we moved into our new home the enrollment of the Brigham Young College across the street from our home became larger and Frank and Amanda were asked if they could take a few boarders to help take care of the growing number of students from the northern Utah and the southern Idaho area. For a number of years we had students in our home and they paid $3.50 a week for their board and room.
When summer came our home and yards were a delight to see and enjoy. The white two-story home was located on six 25 ft. lots. The trees, lawns, and flowers were beautifully kept and under the trees were lawn chairs and lounges where we spent many happy hours. Most people didn’t have cars to drive then, so they walked most everywhere they went. The Benson lawn was an inviting place to stop and visit while passing by.
Amanda always went to the homes of her daughters when their babies were born, and especially in times of sickness or if needed in other ways. Amanda wouldn’t have been able to leave home if Eva, her oldest daughter, hadn’t been at home. She was willing and able to take care of everything while her mother was away.
I asked Helen Henderson Passey, the oldest granddaughter of Amanda’s, if she could remember anything about her grandmother when Amanda visited their home and she said, “Whenever she came to see us she spent a goodly portion of her time at the sewing machine making dresses for her granddaughters and pants and shirts for her grandsons as she was an accomplished seamstress. As I remember she never used a pattern but made her own. She possessed eyes and hands with the skill of an artist. She could take a piece of used clothing, pick it apart, turn it upside down on inside out and make a beautiful tailored article. I remember the beautiful crocheted shawl she made for my twin brothers, and I am sure for her other grandchildren.
On one occasion when she came for a visit there was a death in our town. The man was not particularly close to us, just an acquaintance. In talking with someone in town, she learned that he was to be buried in clothes he had worn over and over for years. Grandmother couldn’t stand for that, so with her tremendous capability she made this man white pants and shirt so he could leave this earth looking his best. She sat up almost all night to do this.
I remember my grandparents’ canyon home and the beauty of it. There was a platform under those beautiful birch trees, carpeted and with a cook stove, long table, rocking chairs, benches and much company. I can see her standing in front of that stove with smoke rising in the air and cooking her delicious meals for all. I also remember her weekly trip to the Theurer’s store in Providence. Here she bought the groceries they would need for the next week. A happy trip for a child at grandmother’s side in her buggy driving a prancing horse and maybe a treat.”
I mentioned to Mrs. Leone Theurer Homer that I was writing the life story of my mother. She said, “I will never forget her. When she came into the store it was like a ray of sunshine. We looked forward to her weekly visits. She always drove such pretty horses.”
Amanda always had her pretty buggy in summer and cutter in winter with a lovely horse to drive from the time Frank and Amanda were married. (This was before the automobile.)
A little over a year after we moved into our new home, their ninth child was born, Dec. 26, 1902. She was a darling brown-eyed, curly hair, baby girl and was names Helen. As a very small child, she was always trying to play the piano. It wasn’t very long until her little fingers were playing most every tune she heard, by ear. It was a delight to listen to her. She wasn’t with us long as she became ill with leukemia and died when she was 7 years of age. Another little daughter was born to Frank and Amanda when Helen was 14 months old. She was light with large blue eyes and blond curly hair and resembled her oldest sister, Eva, and was named Adeline after her father’s mother. When Adeline was 10 days old, Eleanora went to play with the neighbors. The neighbor’s children had colds and Eleanora caught their cough, which turned out to be whooping cough. Little Adeline caught this disease as did Hedvig, Frank Jr., Eleanora, Karl, and Helen. We all had this cough extremely severe but it was too much for baby Adeline and she died when just two months of age, May 5, 1904. The first of June, Frank and Amanda decided to take the sick coughing children to the canyon where the children would be out in the sunshine and fresh air at all times. I will never forget the meals our father could cook over the open fire with his heavy iron cooking kettles. The baking powder biscuits were really delicious with the trout fresh from the Logan River. When we returned home we were all better. Also we had many wonderful times in our double box spring wagon with its canvas cover as we recovered from the whooping cough.
Just 15 ˝ months after Adeline’s death Frank and Amanda’s eleventh and last child was born August 17, 1905 when Frank was 53 and Amanda was 45. The third son was named George Taft Benson after his father’s older brother.
In the summertime Amanda would can hundred of quarts of fruit of all kinds and also jellies, jams and pickles. The basement cellar was filled with apples, potatoes and carrots to last the winter.
Before the washing machine came into use Amanda used to have a woman come to the home and do the washing, which had to be done on a washboard and then boiled on the stove in a large wash boiler with a little lye, added to the water to whiten the clothes. She was paid one dollar a day and it took the most part of a day.
Amanda was always active in the Relief Society of the Logan First Ward, which held their meetings in the basement of the Logan Tabernacle. She was a counselor to Sister Quayle for a number of years. When the boundaries of the First Ward were changed, Nathan Merkley who had been bishop of the Second ward was retained as a bishop and became bishop of the extended First Ward with William Worley as one of his counselors as the First Ward had been extended west to the canal.
We were at our canyon home at this time in the summer of either 1914 or 1916 when Bishop Merkley made the trip to the canyon to ask Amanda if she would accept he presidency of the First Ward Relief Society. Tears rolled down her face as she said, “Do you think I could do it, and do you think I am good enough?” She chose Lavinie Card as first counselor and Mary E. Bingham as second counselor and May Benson Peterson as secretary.
It wasn’t long until the beautiful new red brick church was started at 2nd West and 1st So. And Amanda was ready for the many responsibilities. World War I was on, and Red Cross work was in great demand. There were bandages of different sizes to be made and folded or rolled. They also needed warm sweaters, scarves, and clothes for the soldier boys besides many other kinds of sewing.
During the period of the terrible flu epidemic of the years 1917-18, Bishop Merkley and President Amanda went into the homes day and night to help care for the sick and dying. It was a common thing for not one, but more than one to taken from a family. In one family the father was taken one Sunday and the following Sunday the mother was taken leaving a little girl, which the grandparents raised. There were many such cases. People were afraid to go into these homes, but not Bishop Merkley and resident Amanda. They did not just visit homes, but they bathed, cooked, fed and blessed these people and neither one of them became ill. Amanda said they didn’t even have a cold.
After Bishop Merkley went into the High Council, William Worley became Bishop and Amanda was serving under him at the time of her death, March 12, 1922.
During this period of Relief Society, each month the Visiting Teachers went to the homes they would receive a donation from the sisters. This was to finance the organization. The sister did not always give and when they did, it would be a nickel, dime or quarter and once in a while it might be fifty cents. They paid 50 cents dues yearly for the Relief Society General Board to help pay for their travel and work. The sick and needy were taken care of by the Relief Society sisters. Amanda would spend many nights taking care of people that were sick. The Relief Society would make Temple clothes for the members to go through the Temple, and also sew burial clothes at the time of death. The Priesthood would dress the men and the sisters the women at the time of burial. The women that made these clothes were always women who had gone through the Temple, and those who had special talent to make the robes and aprons and veils. About this time Lindquist Mortuary had been opened in Logan so the men and women did not have to stay up with the dead to keep changing the cold cloths on the face and hands so they would not become discolored.
Christmas time was another time they were called to give. The Relief Society filled boxes with things of their own canning and baking. One time when a lady sent over two cakes, which had fallen, in the middle, Amanda made two more, as she couldn’t send those. There were nuts, candy and maybe chickens or meat that people sent after butchering their own.
In our home at Christmas time there were always good games, like checkers, a croqueno board, twiddley winks and old maid. We had apples, oranges and sometimes bananas. We had good cakes and especially a fruitcake made in a big enamel pan, which held enough for 4 cakes. All of mother’s pies were delicious. Amanda learned to cook the wild game meats from grandmother Adeline and they were a taste treat.
Our Christmas diner was always held at the Eliason home and was really a huge banquet of delicious Swedish cooking including chicken, goose, ham, turkey, pies, etc.
Aunt Nora would dress as Santa Clause and come to our home Christmas Eve with a special gift for each one of us from the Eliasons.
We always raised a long row of flowering sweet peas in the vegetable garden at the farm, and we used to walk down every 2 or 3 days in June and July to pick them and then take the many bunches of the flowers to friends, neighbors and people who were ill.
We were never afraid to bring an extra guest home to eat, as we knew there was always plenty for every one at Amanda’s table. I remember one time as she was putting dinner on the table for the family and the boarders; a man with his dog came to the kitchen door and asked for something to eat. She told one of us to tell him she was just too busy. He had only gone a little way and she sent one of the children to bring him back. She then fed him and his dog. She couldn’t stand for him to go hungry.
One Saturday morning the family was getting ready for breakfast and Chief Washaki came to our home and asked for ten cents. Father brought him in and he ate breakfast with us. He showed us his hands and they were beginning to become white. He said that he would be white some day. He seemed so proud of is hands.
In the summertime when father and the boys were working at the farm, we would take their noon meal down to them. It was a mile and a half from our home to the farm and it seemed much farther because we had to walk. It was a real picnic to have our dinner under the willow tree near a beautiful spring of cool water. Amanda always sent extra food to be given to an old man who lived in a one-room hut just east across the railroad tracks from the farm. He had been in the army as an officer in Denmark. He had been engaged to be married and his sweetheart jilted him and so he came to America. He never married. He and his dog (he always had a dog,) lived there for many years until he became ill and died. I never knew his name, but we children when speaking of him always called him “The Yellow Man’ as his skin was always that color. He was well educated and spoke a number of languages. He had a few gooseberry bushes on his ˝ acre lot, and would send some berries to Amanda and Frank. Mother would always see that he got gooseberry pies.
When it was time for the thrashing of the grain at the farm in Benson Ward, Amanda would arise very early to fix the breakfast at the home in Logan, as the food had to be taken to the farm by the girls in the horse and buggy, six miles away, and be there by 7 a.m. We would return home after the men had eaten and mother would be fixing the noon meal. We were again on our way with more food for the 12 or more thrashers. We would always take enough for the noon meal and supper at this time. I never could understand how the meals were always good and hot. The thrashing would last for three or four days and it took about six or eight span of horses to power the thrashing machine.
In February 1918 Frank and Amanda traveled to California where Frank Jr. in the Navy was stationed at Mare Island near San Francisco. His parents decided to see him as he was soon going to sea duty. Amanda’s sister, Phoebe McLaughlin, lived in California and also her only living brother, Andrew Eliason, lived at Oakland. I know that month trip was one of the most pleasant times of their lives. Eva insisted they take the trip.
Another enjoyable trip was when they came to visit Eleanora and Jim Allen at Nampa, Idaho in March and spent three weeks. Spring comes early there and they loved touring the beautiful blooming Boise valley.
Amanda also went to Manti, Utah twice at the time Hedvig’s sons, Louis and Keith, were born. She enjoyed Hedvig’s beautiful home but Manti seemed so backward at that time. They went to Salt Lake on the old Oregon Short Line train.
In August of 1920 their daughter Edna and husband John Ward, had purchased a new car and they decided to take a trip through Yellowstone Park. This was the first any of them had been there, Edna, Jack, Frank, Amanda and Eva, and said it was a wonderful trip.
I think the reason they didn’t travel more was because when they had time to go places, it seemed they would rather be at their beautiful canyon home they loved so dearly.
Amanda came to Nampa again when our second child Betty Jeanne was born June 17, 1921. She was with us just a few days when we received the call that her daughter, Hedvig, had had a heart attack. Hedvig had insisted on coming home to Logan, as she knew she would get better if she was at her parents’ home. Amanda left on the six o’clock train that evening when the baby was one week of age on June the 24th, 1921. Hedvig was soon admitted to the Budge Hospital and then passed away July 29, 1921 and was buried in the Benson family plot in Logan. Amanda & Eva made a trip to Manti after Hedvig’s death to get the clothes and playthings of her two grandsons Louis and Keith Kjar. This was the first real sorrow they had had in the family for many years.
Eva Amanda was the oldest child and never married. She received her education at the Utah Agricultural College in Logan, Utah and was on the championship girl’s basketball team there. She had a beautiful alto voice and sang in the Logan Stake choir for years. She was like a second mother to her brothers and sisters. After her sister Hedvig passed away, she took care of her sister’s two little boys, Louis and Keith, until Keith was old enough to go to school. She also had students from Utah State for board and room at the family home. After her parents and brother, George, passed away, she moved to Salt Lake and became matron of the L.D.S. student nurse’s home until she took sick in August of 1946. She died of Pneumonia I the L.D.S. Hospital in Salt Lake City 10 Aug. 1946 and was buried in Logan City Cemetery.
Amanda and Frank’s second daughter, Anna Eugenia (Jean) had been real sickly in her younger years and her grandmother Adeline Benson knew they would never raise her. Whenever her parents corrected her in any way, grandmother Adeline would say, “Do not do that as you will never raise her.” Jean played the piano beautifully. Jean met Louis E. Henderson when attending B.Y.C. and were married in the Salt Lake Temple April 10, 1907. They moved to Arimo, Idaho where Jean, of legal age, (her husband was not,) took up a farm to homestead and improve upon. After this farm was theirs, Louis then used his right, being now of legal age, and also homesteaded a farm giving them 320 acres of dry farm land east of Arimo. They later moved to Pocatello. They became the parents of 8 children, three girls and five boys: Louis, Helen, Dean, Anna, twins Boyd and Ralph, Sidney and Joyce. She died at the age of 85 in Orem, Utah and was buried in Pocatello, Idaho.
Blanch was the daughter that most resembled her mother, Amanda. They were the same height, same stately appearance, same blue eyes, clear complexion and beautiful golden brown long wavy hair. Their third daughter, Blanche, married Ora Hyer in the Logan Temple Nov. 1, 1911. Three months later Ora left on a mission to the South Sea Islands for 3 years. Blanche stayed at her parents’ home during this time where their oldest son, Frank, was born while his father was on his mission. Blanche was the daughter that seemed to be always with her father until his son Frank Jr. was old enough to take her place. She love horses and no woman could ride a horse with more grace and beauty. She played the piano and had a lovely alto voice. When Ora returned from his mission, they moved to Lewiston. Ora started to sell Liberty cars and they moved to Logan for a few years. They again returned to Lewiston and shortly after this Ora bought a large dry farm in Blue Creek, Northwest of Tremonton, and they moved to Ogden for the school months and spent the summer months in their home on the farm. They had 4 boys: Frank, Max, Clyde and Richard.
Edna was the fourth daughter in the family. She resembled her father and his mother, Adeline. She was 5 feet 2 inches tall with large brown eyes, olive complexion and dark brown hair. She was the dramatist of the family and seamstress and soprano. She also graduated from Brigham Young College. She met John Henry Ward at B.Y.C. and married him in the Logan Temple June 26, 1912 and they moved to Riverside, Utah. Edna was busy in church work, Farm bureau work, and Daughters of the Utah Pioneers. They were the parents of four children: Edna Mae, Frank, Karl and Amanda. Edna died March 19, 1976 in Salt Lake City at 86 and was buried at Riverside, Utah.
The fifth child and daughter was Hedvig named after her mother’s mother. She had beautiful very large blue eyes with lashes that curved almost to her eyebrows. Such a sweet even disposition that whenever anyone said something negative about another person, she was the one to find something pleasing to say about them. She had the most beautiful singing voice of all the Benson children and was in a number of operas and plays at college. She received her B.S. degree from Utah State Agricultural College in 1915 at Logan. On June 30, 1915 she married Clinton Kjar in the Logan Temple and then moved to Manti, Utah. They became the parents of two boys, Louis and Keith. However, she had the flu when carrying her second son and it caused her heart to be affected. At age 29 she died in the Logan Hospital July 29, 1921 and was buried in Logan City Cemetery.
Frank Andrus Benson Jr., the first son after 5 daughters, was a delight to his parents and a shadow of his father as soon as he was old enough to leave his mother. They both loved the great out-of-doors and went fishing and hunting as well as working together on the farm. Their features were so much the same except Frank Jr. was a blonde and his father, brunette. They were both lovers of horses and young Frank always had a fine pony. Frank received his education at the Utah State Agricultural College in Logan. He married Josephine Thompson June 22, 1922 in the Manti Temple after serving in the U.S. Navy during World War I. They Lived in Logan where he worked for the Sperry Grain Elevators Co. and working for the same company they moved to Rexburg, Idaho, Ogden, Utah, Spokane, Washington, and finally moved to Lewiston, Idaho where they lived after he retired. When the Lewiston, Idaho Ward church was to built, Frank Jr. spent all his time on this building. When the men came from Salt Lake City to start the ward building, they were told to leave the forming and cement work to Frank’s hands as there was no one in the church more capable. He planned, planted and directed the landscaping of their newly finished building. He died of a heart attack at his home Dec. 18, 1969 in Lewiston, Idaho and was buried at Logan, Utah. They had two children: Thomas and Beverly.
Eleanora, the seventh child and sixth daughter was born Nov. 30, 1896. Named after Amanda’s sister, she had light brown hair and pale Swedish blue eyes. Eva, Edna, Hedvig and Eleanora were all five feet two inches tall. Jean was a little taller and Blanche was he same height as her mother 5 feet 5 inches, and resembled her mother more than any of the other girls. Eleanora received her education at the Brigham Young College in Logan and was active in opera, dramatics and dancing there. Her last year at college she was vice-president of the student body. She met James Sidney Allen at B.Y.C. They were married Sept. 12, 1917 in the Logan Temple and left for Kansas City, Missouri where her husband studied Veterinary medicine. He received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the Chicago Veterinary College in 1920. They moved to Nampa, Idaho and then to Idaho Falls, Idaho and have four children: Sidney, Jeanne, Benson and Eleanore.
Karl Andrus Benson was the eighth child and second son of Amanda and Frank and delighted with another boy. When he was about 18 months of age, he became very ill with bronchitis and for sometime was not expected to live. At this time a young Dr. Armsby came to Logan and through his efforts and the faith and prayers of his parents he lived to be a joy to them. He was considerate of his parents, sister Eva and brother George. He worked on the farm with his father and George who was crippled because of polio in his youth. He tried to have patience and understanding with those around him. Karl went to the B.Y.C. and also Utah State Agricultural College. He married Margaret Reese Sept. 26, 1928 in the Logan Temple. They have two girls: Margaret and Ann. They lived in the apartment upstairs at his father’s home for a number of years. After George died and Eva moved to Salt Lake City, they moved to the downstairs. Later Karl sold the home, and this party sold it to Logan City who made a parking lot for the Logan High School located across the street at the old B.Y.C. campus, which closed in 1926.
George Taft Benson, the eleventh child and third son of Amanda and Frank was born August 17, 1905. When he first started school as a small boy he got polio and the Dr. didn’t seem to realize what he had and George was left with a very crippled back. He helped with the farm, cows, garden and lawn work all of his life. He graduated from Logan High School but never married. He really loved his collie dogs given to him by his brother-in-law, Jim Allen. After Amanda passed away, George used to visit our home in Idaho Falls for a month each summer and go with us on a trip. When we received word that he wasn’t well, I left Idaho Falls for Logan to see if I could help Eva in taking care of him. He had been talking with us while sitting in an overstuffed chair in the front room and Eva left to fix creamed chicken for him that he had wanted for his evening meal. I stayed in the living room with him, heard him gasp and knew he was gone. I closed his eyes and he was peaceful and straight, a sweet way to go. He died when he was 36 ˝ years of age on February 17, 1942 and was buried in the Logan City Cemetery.
In March 1922 Amanda was called to her daughter Blanche’s home in Lewiston, Utah, as she was very ill with the flu. She had two small boys and needed help. Amanda was there a few days when she became ill. The Dr. was called from Logan, but her condition worsened and she passed away Sunday, March 12, 1922 at 11 p.m. Most of the family was there, Frank, Sr., Frank Jr., Karl, Eva, Jean, Blanche, Edna and George. Eleanora didn’t arrive from Nampa, Idaho until Monday.
Before she died, her daughter Jean arrived from Arimo by train and Amanda’s sister Anna spoke to her to tell her that Jean was there and she answered her saying, “Yes, and so is Hedvig.” Hedvig had died July 29, 1921, just 7 ˝ months before her mother.
The ground was covered with two feet of snow and it was impossible to travel by car. So Ora Hyer, Amanda’s son-in-law and her son, Frank Jr., placed her body, securely wrapped, in a bobsled and drove the twenty-five miles to Logan to the Lindquist Mortuary. Her son said the full moon was so large and bright and he never forgot the last trip with his wonderful mother, age 60 years and 9 months.
She was in every way a wonderful mother. She left such a void in all of our lives and especially to those still at home, her husband, Frank, Eva and son, Frank Jr., Karl and George. Her mother and father were still alive and didn’t pass away until Andrew was 88 in 1926 and Heda was 90 in 1930. Her funeral was Thursday, March 16, 1922 and she was buried in the Benson plot in the Logan Cemetery.
The following pages are tributes given at her funeral and at Relief Society.
There’s an empty chair at the front today,
And we miss the winning smile;
And the cheerful word that has made us feel
That our efforts were worthwhile
We miss the sturdy thrifty form
That was never known to shirk;
But has shouldered others burdens
In her endless round of work,
She has been a mother to us all,
The orphaned, sick and poor;
She has helped the rich and cheered the sad
And the heart with grief made sore.
She has been a faithful servant
To the old as well as young;
Though our hearts are sad, we will humbly say,
“Thy will, oh Lord, be done.”
Though we sigh as we look at that empty chair
We would not her recall’
Back to the pains and sorrows
That this life gives to all.
For we know she has passed to the great reward
That faith and good works bring;
And a joyous welcome greeted her
In the courts of the Heavenly King.
(Logan paper Friday, March 17, 1922)
In Memory of This Rarely Honored
Sister And Her Life’s Work
Comparatively new as is the First Ward Chapel, it has been the scene of several solemn funerals and several pathetic ones; but never has it been the scene wherein the spirit of divine sympathy and love that makes the whole world kin, was shown to a greater extent that at the obsequies of Mrs. Frank A. Benson yesterday afternoon; and friends were present in such numbers that not all could obtain seats. The stands were banked with a profusion of beautiful flowers, typical of the soul of the one who had passed on.
Services opened by the singing of “Nearer My God to Thee” by the choir under the leadership of Prof. A. M. Durham.
Prayer was offered by Elder Moses Thatcher, after which Elder Frank H. Baugh sang “Oh Dry those Tear,” Accompanied on the piano by Miss Susie Gates.
Elder C. F. Olsen of Hyrum spoke of death as he inevitable lot of all mortals, whether it comes by accident, disease or old age! And whenever or however it may come, when it marks the end of life for one who has so nobly filled her mission on earth, there is a solemn joy mingled with the sorrow of departure. Elder Olsen paid tribute to the splendid character of the departed one, and to that of her worthy husband. He referred back to the ancestors of both referring to the noble heritage that is theirs by right of descent. The speaker told of the palatial home of the Eliasons, parents of Mrs. Benson, in their native land, and of how they abandoned it with all it luxuries to brave the hardships of life in western America upon hearing a humble Mormon Elder preach the gospel.
On the Benson side of the family he related as proof of the extent which Apostle Ezra T. Benson possessed the spirit of God that the first time he ever saw or heard him he witnessed he marvel of hearing him preach a splendid gospel sermon in a language that he did not understand and therefore could not have spoken except by the gift and spirit of God. The speaker closed by asking the blessings of God on the family.
Elder B. G. Thatcher spoke with much feeling of Sister Benson, whom he characterized as a thoroughly good woman in everything the word implies. He spoke of her husband as a good man. He said he had known them both and been on intimate terms with them for forty years and there were none that he esteemed more highly. Elder Thatcher referred to the burden placed upon women in the Garden of Eden, and of how thoroughly Sister Benson had fulfilled her part in bearing, rearing and training a righteous family, a family the speaker loved as if they were his own. May the Lord bless and comfort them was the speakers prayer.
Prof. Durham played an organ solo—“Home Sweet Home”
Pres. W. W. Henderson of the B.Y.C. spoke of the deep feelings characterizing this solemn occasion. Of the sorrow, yet of he joy underlying it for those who could see beyond the drawn veil. He had recently heard a sermon by Elder B. H. Roberts in which he clearly defined the divine peace that passeth understanding, that could bring joy amidst the sorrow of such an occasion as this. He wished all could have heard it, as it would then be easy for them to realize how sorrow upon such an occasion as this could be tempered with joy when coupled with such a life as Mrs. Benson had lived.
“You’ll never miss your mother till she’s gone,” quoted the speaker, and acclaimed it a great fundamental truth when applied to such mothers as Mrs. Benson. The life and activities of such a mother are such a ceaseless round and are so wide spread as to cover every need of every child in the family. This was particularly true of the departed. Whether needed in southern Utah, in northern Idaho, in the valley, or at home, she was there like an ever-ministered angel. She was never missing when needed, and so will be missed the more now.
The speaker quoted again: “God could not be everywhere, so he made mother,” as being particularly applicable in the case of sister Benson. The secret of Mrs. Benson’s splendid achievements lay in her great love, her incessant work and in her self-sacrifice, which constitute the higher virtues.
The last words she uttered, said Elder Henderson were expressive of appreciation to her husband for the love he had borne for her, of the love she felt for him, and for their life together. It was a mutual love that encompassed the entire devoted family. Mrs. Benson was an indefatigable worker with her hands in her home; she was a worker among her friends and associates; a worker in the church—she was ever working to advance some necessary and worthy line of endeavor. By such means she had acquired true wisdom. She had borne eleven children and raised a wonderful family.
Amanda and her husband had worked, sacrificed and prayed together. Both were fortunate in their associations, and particularly in their love for each other, for their family and in the love their children bore them. Brother Benson had been the playmate and chum of his boys, and Sister Benson of her daughters and the children revered them both. But a short time since, speaking to her daughter Eva, Mrs. Benson had said; “You’ll never have to regret a word you’ve said to me.” What a precious memory that will be through all the years. The speaker hoped this blessed family would be as successful in raising their own children, and closed by invoking the blessings of the Lord on them and upon their father.
An instrumental trio, violin, flute and piano, was played by Prof. Henry Otte, Hal Farr, and Gilbert Thorpe.
President Joseph Quinney felt that he could not add much too what had already been said, but could indorse every word of it. When Mrs. Benson entered her happy, blessed home, she reigned as queen and love was its controlling spirit. In addition to her own, she was ready at any time, day or night, to respond to calls to relieve the suffering or distress of others. Hundreds of young men and women were better for the associations they had enjoyed in that home. Hers was a beautiful life to contemplate. “No better people lived than the Bensons,” declared the speaker. They regarded work as opportunity. In that home the rule of the church was observed, and all the family rests firm in the faith of a glorious resurrection and reunion. In their present separation may the Lord comfort them.
Elder Frank H. Baugh sang, “Sometime We’ll Understand,” to accompaniment by Miss Susie Gates.
Elder W. R. Sloan had known the family during the past twelve years and learned to love and respect them. The speaker quoted from St. Matthew: “But when Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the angels with him then shall he sit on the throne of his glory and before him shall be gathered all the nations; and he shall separate them one from another as the shepherd separateth the sheep from the goats; and he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on his left. Then shall the king say unto them on his right hand, come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry, and ye gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me to drink; I was a stranger and ye took me in; naked, and ye clothed me. I was sick, and ye visited me; I was in prison, and ye came unto me.” “Verily I say unto you inasmuch as ye did it unto one of these, my brethren, even these least, ye did it unto me.”
How perfectly descriptive of this good lady’s life are the passages quoted, therefore, how sure her reward, declared the speaker. Her aid was ready and her hand ever open to friend and stranger alike in sickness or in destitution. And in all her good works she had that without which she could not so well have succeeded; the active cooperation of her excellent husband, who is himself given to good works (included are visiting and comforting the sick), as the speaker could testify from personal experience within the week. And what a comforting influence he brought. Elder Sloan said he was proud to have had the privilege of associating with these good people, and he asked God to ease the family’s burden of grief.
Mrs. W. R. Ballard read the following resolutions of respect prepared by the officers of the First Ward Relief Society, of which Mrs. Benson was President:
RESOLUTIONS OF RESPECT
WHEREAS, God, our Heavenly Father, in His infinite wisdom, has called from our midst our dearly beloved President Sister Amanda Eliason Benson, and,
WHEREAS, we have learned to love President Benson because of her sterling qualities, her lovely disposition, her charitable and untiring efforts for humanity, and,
WHEREAS, her first and fervent energies were always lavishly bestowed with a love unfeigned, and,
WHEREAS, her life’s labors have been designed for the betterment of all who were privileged with her acquaintance and companionship, and,
WHEREAS, Brother Benson has been called to part with a faithful companion and loving wife, the children with a kind and prudent mother, and the aged father and mother with a fond and dutiful daughter,
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, That in the passing of President Benson The Relief Society of the Logan First Ward of the Logan Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has lost a noble president, a faithful and untiring leader, for the alleviation of the poor, for the guidance of the weary, and a mother to the motherless.
RESOLVED, that a copy of these resolutions be placed upon the records of our association and a copy be presented to the family of our beloved sister.
MARY E. BINGHAM
Bishop Worley, Speaking form an acquaintance of many year’s standing, corroborated all that had been said of the many fine traits of character and the countless good acts of the departed sister and expressed the thanks of the family for all acts and expressions of kindly sympathy following their sad bereavement.
The choir san the closing hymn, the solo part being sung by Miss Margaret Morley, and benediction was pronounced by Elder N.W. Merkley.
At the cemetery Elder S. B. Mitton dedicated the last earthly resting place of the dear departed, of whom it might be truly said: “None knew her but to love her, or named her but to praise.”
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