Family Group Sheet

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Anne Mathea's Conversion to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

This is the final history I have received from M. G., written about Anne Mathea (Matilda). It is the story of her conversion to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was written by her granddaughter, Lula Kendall Williams. Lula and her two siblings--older brother, Theone and younger sister, Bertha, were the children of  Matilda's daughter, Ada. Ada and her husband, Joseph Bradford Kendall, Jr., died in 1917 and 1918 respectively and the children were then raised by their grandmother.
Here is a picture of the 4 of them. It was previously posted here.

Picture provided by and used by permission of D.R.

Here is the account, written by Lula:
     "A beautiful mental picture came to my mind as I tried to write this account of my grandmother's conversion to Mormonism.  Many times I heard her relate this experience, and every time it brought tears to her eyes and a lump in her throat, because she had that burning testimony within her bosom that told her the information and knowledge she received at the time is true; that this is the only true church; that Joseph Smith was a true prophet, and that he did receive divine revelation from our Heavenly Father.  I, too, feel touched by the account.  It has increased my testimony and made me want to live worthy of it's blessings.  I wish to show appreciation for the trials and hardships she encountered.
    "Way back in 1865, Latter Day Saint Missionaries were scarce in Norway.  Their districts were large, therefore, they could not hold meetings in these smaller branches more than twice a year.  Many weeks before the welcome visit, the news of their coming was broadcast far and near.  Thus it was that great-grandmother Olsen who was living in Nes Sogn Hedenmarkin decided to attend a cottage meeting and find out about this new religion.  A cousin of hers, who was a member, issued the invitation and created the desire for attendance.
     "The cottage meeting was held at Sister Petronella Anderson Briskeby's place. It was necessary for the journey to commence early in the morning in order to reach the appointed place in time for the services, which began at two o'clock in the afternoon.  Yes, walking was the only means of travel they had so we can easily account for the time spent on the road.  Grandmother Millard who was then eleven years old was then taken along as company for great-grandmother.
     "The services were similar to our Sunday evening meetings except for the fact that two elders Brother Jensen and Brother Peterson had charge of it and also were the principal speakers.  Each one in his turn gave wonderful sermons on the first principles of the gospel.  Grandmother sat spellbound throughout the entire meeting.  She said their testimonies thrilled her to the core; and she felt a tingling sensation go over her entire body.  She knew the elders were speaking words of wisdom and the truth.  Grandmother said the feeling she had was the same as when one hears a beautiful musical selection or sees a lovely painting or a gorgeous scene of nature.
     "When the meeting was over great-grandmother tarried some time to talk longer with the missionaries.  During the conversation great-grandmother purchased a Letter Day Saint hymn book from them but was afraid to let her husband know about it so she asked them to present it to grandmother as a gift.  Grandmother prized the book very dearly.  When she arrived home she was anxious to sing the new song she had learned, for her father and show him the lovely book the elders had given her.  Great-grandfather was very pleased with her singing and enjoyed reading the other hymns in the book.  That book did much to persuade great-grandfather to listen to Mormonism.
     "One year and one half elapsed before grandmother was baptised but during that time her testimony never wavered. On the contrary  she became more interested and studied more intensely.   Although she was but a child she could readily see that the Lutheran Church lacked much.  She compared Lutherianism to an unseasoned meal, while Mormonism was like a seasoned meal because it was so satisfying to the soul."

This account helps me understand a little better the deep feelings that members of the family had for this new found religion and the sacrifices they made to have it in their lives. How grateful I am, that they followed the promptings and adopted a whole new way of life!


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Another History of Anne Mathea (Matilda or 'Til)

      Anne Mathea's name was shown as Martha on the ship passenger list coming from Norway into New York. Once she arrived in Preston, Idaho she was known as Matilda and even 'Til to her friends. Both in Norway and in America she loved music and especially to sing. Below is a picture of the Preston, Idaho choir. She is the woman on the bottom right underlined in red.

Preston, Idaho Choir, circa 1900 Used by permission of M.G.

     Both M. G. and R. P. sent me 2 different life histories for Anne Mathea, written by two different women. I became really confused when I saw these two women had the same surname--Kendall--but they were not mother and daughter or sisters. How could this be?  I checked and Anne Mathea had six daughters--three of them married three brothers!
     Adea Matilda (1884-1918) married Joseph Bradford Kendall, Jr. (1873-1919); Ethel Julean (1890-1968) married William Edwin Kendall (1887-1958); and Lillia Irene (1892-1948) married David Earl Kendall (1889-1954).
     The history on this previous post was written by Anne Mathea's daughter, Ethel. The history below is written by her granddaughter, Lula Kendall Williams. Lula was the daughter of Adea and Joseph Kendall.  Adea and Joseph died a year apart, leaving three children to be raised by Anne Mathea.
  Lula also wrote the story of Anne Mathea's conversion to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I will post that soon. The following is posted just as I received it.

                                                             By Lula Kendall Williams

     Anne Mathea Olson Millard was born December 30, 1853 at Helgain Nes Sogn, Norway. She was the third child in a family of nine children. Her parents were among the sturdy peasant farmers who tilled the land rented to them by the Lutheran minister. Her early childhood was spent doing the same things as the normal child would do. She played some, worked much and learned all she could.

     When six years old the family moved to Nes Sogn Hedemarken where they resided until they joined the L.D.S. Church in 1866. It was here that she started to school when eight years of age under the tutorship of a Lutherian School Master. The lessons consisted of oral arithmetic, writing and Bible reading. She and her sisters and brothers walked to school which was four miles away. During the winter time they were able to ride most of the way on hand sleighs for the country was sloping but at night when they returned it was necessary for them to walk up the hill and pull the sleigh with them. Many a happy day was spent here but there were a few sad ones too. How Grandmother envied the minister’s daughter because she could bring lunch to school which consisted of milk and many other good things. Often, however, she was given rare treats by this pampered child for Grand-mother was her best girl friend. During recess and lunch hour the children played in row boats on the water for in Norway tiny children learn to swim and enjoy water sports. They use the waters as their chief playgrounds because of the abundance of beautiful clear, smooth fjords.

     Not all of Grandmothers childhood was as happy as this for when she was eleven it was necessary for her to take her mother’s place in the fields. At that time the wife as well as the husband must work in the land lord’s fields to help reap the crops. This work consisted of cutting the grain with a cycle and tying it into bundles with pieces of straw. Day after day Grandmother will toil away at this task but she was a very healthy child so this extra work only tended to make her more robust. Often during these times the children longed for more eatables but on many occasions food was scarce. It was not uncommon for Grandmother and her brothers to pick berries in the forest all day to give to the landlord in exchange for a soup bone or some other favorite food they seldom had.

     Christmas for the children was very different from ours. Many weeks ahead the girls made rag dolls while the boys made animals by carving them out of wood. These animals resembled real ones very much for they even added hair for the mane and tail. Christmas was one time when food was in abundance. Grandmother helped her mother as well as the other children, work for days ahead to prepare this feed. A fat pig was done on Christmas day. The table was spread the eve before in readiness. The largest feast was had Christmas Eve, and some pests for the birds to eat. Even the paths in the yards were decorated with pine bow and brisk to give the home a clean festive atmosphere.

     When Grandmother was twelve the entire future of her families life was changed by the Latter Day Saint Gospel for it was then they became converted to its teachings. Great-Grandmother was baptized first but she kept it a secret until a year later when her husband joined. It was at this time too when Grandmother was baptized. When the Lutherian Minister learned about them joining this new religion he bade them leave this Peterborg place they were renting. They had but a short time to dispose of the few personal belongings they could not take with them. It was a very sad parting for they had become so attached to the country and the lovely Peterborg place where they had lived so long. They left no friends for these people had turned bitterly against them. These former friends tormented and made moving as disagreeable as possible. The family had no place to go so they decided to move to Oslo for employment for the family could be found more easily there.

     Life in a big city goes well when one has plenty of money or a good job but when work cannot be had and money for the necessities of life is scarce, it brings a sad chill over one to be there. So it was with Grandmother and her family. The first winter in Oslo, was a dreadful one. Her father sprained his back and was “laid up” the entire winter. Her mother suffered illness too. Grandmother was sent to relatives to work for her board but it seemed like work was plentiful but food scarce. Can you imagine wealthy people baing so stingy as to deprive a growing child food necessary for body growth and development? Grandmother says it was here she really learned the pangs of hunger but she had no other place to go for her parents were even shorter of food than she. Grandmother says it was lack of food and worry that caused her mother to loose her baby prematurely that winter and to suffer the sickness she had. This good mother divided the last morsals of food in the house to her children and went without herself because there was not enough for both.

     Spring finally came. It was then that most of the family found employment in a brickyard. From the smallest to the largest were willing to work there to provide eatables for themselves although the salary were very small. Grandmother did her part at this job. Later in the year however she procured work in a cotton factory. She was fourteen years old when she started to work on the spinneries. She worked there until she was twenty-four. It was then that she migrated to America and Utah.

     Those years in the factory were some of the happiest and yet some of the hardest years of Grandmother’s life. They were hard because the boss was not always the kindest or the work which began at six in the morning and lasted until six at night was not always pleasant nor was the salary large enough to provide a young lady with the clothes she desired or the food she liked most. If a new dress was to be had the meals had to be more sparing. Happiness found its way to her during this time for she became a member of the L.D.S. Choir. This choir gained recognition from all religious choirs and many times participated in contests with them.On one occasion a double mixed quartet was chosen from this L.D.S. choir to compete with a group of Methodist singers. Before the appointed time arrived word was received there of the death of president Brigham Young. It was decided that Grandmother’s group dress in black with white accessories. Grandmother had been very ill and had been unable to work for sometime so was financially unable to buy her outfit. The members of the group each donated enough to buy here for her. Imagine their joy when the judge awarded them first place even though their hearts were grieved for their president. This choir won many contests and high honors. While a member of this choir Grandmother helped to sing many songs her mother had composed and set to music.

     Love found Grandmother for several suitors had she.One of them became more ordinary for their friendship budded into an ardent love, however fate played havoc with it later. She left this sweetheart in the old country but he later came here although he married someone else and lived in Salt Lake. She never saw him after their parting there.

     During these eight years the Olson family had been blessed with much work so along with their saving and scheming they finally accumulated enough money to take them to Utah. It was decided that father, mother and the youngest children come first then the older ones would come later. Grandmother remained in Oslo two years after her parents left before she could get enough money to come.

     In 1876, just one year before Grandmother came here she received the sad news that her mother had passed away. Her mother was unable to stand the added hardships which came to her with pioneering. She had been a sufferer of consumption for years. The news of her mother’s death (although she did not get the letter for a month after) was great shock to Grandmother for she had been so hopeful of meeting all her loved ones again when she came to Utah. However Great-grandmother left a song which she had composed which told about her life from the cradle to the grave which gave solace and inspiration to her children.The last verse was composed on her death-bed.

     In 1877 Grandmother was able to come here. She had enough money to pay her fare to Denmark by selling some of her handwork and her watch. Her father borrowed the money to bring her the rest of the way from Sister Lundegreen. This money was later paid back after she came here. When Grandmother came she still left two sisters and one brother there.(The oldest sister never did come here.) She traveled this long journey with friends. Her closest companion was Gundy Olsen. 

     The long tiring trip took one month to complete due to slow means of travel. How well I remember her telling of the food box she took with her. (In second class and third board was not furnished.) What a hard task it would be to prepare food that would keep three weeks.Coffee was their main beverage and food along with the other non-perishable foods she could afford. Grandmother was never sick one day on the trip for when she felt nauseated she would go on deck where she could walk in the fresh air. The North Sea was rougher than it had been for years and as the waves beat the small steamship and tossed it to and fro Grandmother and Gundy sang all the L.D.S. hymns that had become so dear to them. During all their spare time they would administer to the wants of the sick and do their best to cheer them up. Her wonderful faith in the gospel made their cares change to joy.

     The trip from New York to Franklin was made by rail but fifty-five years ago accommodations were scarce. The seats were just wooden benches and the rate of speed was from fifteen to twenty miles an hour. How tiresome that ride became. Grandmother has often told me how dirty she got for she had no way of bathing since beginning the trip. Not only that but she got lice from some of her associates and they added to her discomforts until she could get rid of them. Her ticket called for Franklin but when her brother – Uncle Emil Peterborg – who was in Ogden after fruit in the lumber wagon, met her she decided to leave the train and ride with him from Ogden to Franklin.

     It was the first of October 1870, in one of the driest years the saints had seen since coming to the west when she arrived here. That area is now called Preston Fifth Ward, but then it was called Worm Creek. To her, who was used to Norway’s heavy rainfall and beautiful green vegetation, it really seemed as if she had come to a barren desert. Many times I have heard her tell of her lonesomeness for the water. The Grand River of Oslo had so many falls in it. These falls were used to run the many factories along its banks. As the river surged along its course the roaring sound could be heard all over the city. Grandmother often became so lonely that many times she would walk to Bear River to see and hear it, but even then she still felt that emptiness for Bear River is so quiet and still. Not until she visited the Yellowstone Park and later the Pacific Ocean did she finally find a comparison to her own country in the waterfalls and shrubbery. She often longed to return for a visit but when she was young and strong money was not available. Later years she hardly dared risk the long journey.

     During these trials Grandmother’s testimony never wavered. So great was her faith in the gospel that she was willing to deprive herself of much in order to enjoy its blessings. Each Sunday found her at Church and the first Thursday of each month she attended testimony meeting.Until she learned the English language she encountered many difficulties. I have heard her often say that when the Choir sang some song she had helped sing in Norway, that tears became uncontrolable.

     During the first year she was here she helped to shear the sheep, wash the wool and card it. Then she would borrow Mrs. Songberg’s (Thomas Songberg’s mother) spinning wheel so she could spin this wool into yarn.Then she went over to Mrs. Lund’s (Dagmar Jensen’s mother) and used her looms to weave it into cloth. From this cloth she made underwear for her father and herself. She also made dresses for herself. She learned to dye the wool too. All the soap they used she made. Grandmother was always an ambitious, thrifty person.

Here are a couple of facts I see a little differently--through the research I have been doing. Unless her mother was baptized twice and the first time was never recorded, I have her baptismal record showing that she was baptized almost 4 months after Ole. See the image below. I am sorry it is so small. If I make it larger it goes off the page! I can send a copy of the image to anyone who would like a copy. This was taken from LDS Church Record of Members 1850-1952, Oslo District; FHL film #123202, Item 5, no pages listed.

Ole, Marie and Anne Mathea's baptismal record

     Lula wrote that Anne found out in 1876 that her mother had passed away. She also says that it was a year before she came to America. Ole, Marie and two of their children actually emigrated to America in 1876 and Marie died in January 1879. Anne Mathea is listed on the passenger list arriving into New York on 16 Sept 1879.
     The two children who emigrated with Ole and Marie were Emil and Beate.
     The copy of the history I have has Oct 1870 as a very dry year in Idaho. I think this is a typo and should be 1880.
     Interesting side note: The woman, Mrs. Lundegren, who lent the money for Anne Mathea's passage, was her brother, Emil's, mother-in-law. Emil married Erika Bjorkman Lundegren in 1877 after her husband had been killed in an accident. The two ladies had the same married last name because they had both been sealed to Martin Lundegren on the same day (1 Aug 1868) in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City.
     I am grateful to Lula for taking the time to write this information down so that we could have a glimpse into the lives of our Petterborg ancestors and what they went through so that we could be here today!

Monday, July 11, 2011

A History About Anne Mathea (Matilda)

One of the documents I recently received from M.G. was a short personal history written about 1965 by Ethel Julian Millard Kendall. She is the daughter of Anne Mathea, Ole and Marie's daughter. I am posting the part that tells Ethel's version of Anne Mathea's history. It is posted just as I received it.

     I, Ethel Julian Millard Kendall, was born June 27, 1890 in Preston, Idaho.  The house is located on East State Street.  My father and mother are William Charles Millard and Anne Mathea Olsen (Peterborg) Millard.

    My mother Anne Mathea Olsen (Peterborg) Millard was born in Helgain Nes Sagn, Norway to Marie and Ole Olsen (Peterborg).  She joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints with her parents in Norway.  Her family lived on the Peterborg estate.

     When they joined the Mormon church, they were driven off the Estate and told never to return.  They spent two very hard years in Oslo, Norway while trying to save money to come to America, and to Zion, so they might rear their children among the saints. However, at the end of the two years, they had saved only enough to bring two of their children with them.  They brought their oldest boy ( who was 18, and would have been drafted, had they not), and the youngest girl, who was three years of age.

   Upon reaching Zion, her parents and the two children filed a homestead in Preston, Idaho.  Through the hardships, her mother took sick after three years, and on her death bed, her request was that Mathea ( or Matilda as she was called by her friends) be brought over from Norway to take care of her.

   So mother left her fianc√© in Norway and began her journey.  He was to come the following year.  When she had only begun her journey, she received word that her mother had already passed away.  She moved in with her father, and kept house for him.

   She became very lonely and homesick, so she let a rich farmer (Jacob Jensen) convince her to marry him in polygamy two years after she came. (Dec. 2, 1880).  She was his second wife.  After she had been married a little over a year she found that she was pregnant.  At this time, the farmer’s wife became uncontrollably jealous.  Mathea felt very hurt and unwanted.  After standing it as long as she could, she left and went back to her father.

   Three months later she gave birth to twins, Oliver and Hager Mathea. (13 April 1882). She took a stroke near the time of their birth, which almost took her life and the life of the twins.  Hager Mathea lived until October of the same year.  It was only through the special care given by a good neighbor lady, Mrs. Sophia Early, that Oliver’s life was saved.

   She met my father, William Charles Millard, when Oliver was one year old.  They fell in love and were married (24 Sept. 1883) civilly.  (Later after obtaining temple divorce – 19 April 1933 – from the farmer, they were sealed from time and all eternity in the temple. Dad promply adopted Oliver.  Mother and Dad had seven children.  I was the fourth child.  I was born 13 years after my mother came here—to this country.  The other children were Ada, Pearl, William, Lillia, Lavean and Carl.

As with any history written years after the event and by someone else, there can be inconsistencies. I found a couple of things that differ from some of the information I found as I have done research. I am showing a few of them, not to criticize but to clarify. 
In an earlier post I wrote about the "farm books" or "bygdeb√łke" and it showed that the name of the farm was Petterborg. The only reason I am bringing this up is because there was also a farm Peterborg and I don't want someone looking at the wrong farm information. I have seen where the family spelled their name as Peterborg and Petterborg. It changed back and forth from one to the other over the first 50+ years.

The family joined the LDS Church in 1866 but did not emigrate to America until 1876. They lived in Oslo about 10 years, not just 2.

Emil was 20 years old when they came to America and Beate was 12 years old.

I am grateful that Ethel took the time to write about her mother and share the things she knew about her.
I will be posting histories about Ole and Marie's family, written by other family members that I have been given. If anyone, reading this blog, knows of other histories that have been written about the family, please let me know so that we can share with others. Every little bit helps us learn more about this strong and courageous family.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

I'm Back!!!

Wow, it has been two months since I posted anything. It is not because I haven't been busy. I have been doing research on John's (Ole Johan) family. Akron, Ohio has some awesome websites and I am so grateful for all the information I have found! I have found about 25 obituaries and through the information listed, I have been able to construct families for John and Caroline's children. I had almost no information and now I have pretty good family group sheets. I was able to write a couple of letters and I connected with a new cousin--M.R. Ole and Marie are also her g-g-grandparents. She has filled in some of the gaps I have. It has been wonderful making contact with yet another cousin.

The Akron, Ohio public library has 2 databases with the obituaries from the local newspaper, The Akron Beacon Journal. One database is the index for ALL published obituaries from 1841-1939 and the other is the index for years 1937-2010. I was then able to go to the Newspaper Archives using my Pima County Library card and get the actual obits from 1984 until present. The ones before 1984 cost $.05 from the library!!!!! There was a $1.00 handling fee, so for $1.50 I got the digital obits for TEN people!!!!!! Amazing.
I will be posting some of them.

I also was able to connect with another cousin, M.G.  Her g-grandmother was Anne Mathea. I got some wonderful histories and more pictures to post for Anne Mathea. M.G. and I have spent lots of time on the phone trying to decide what we each have and how we can share it on this blog.

I am grateful for these two sweet ladies and the other new cousins I have connected with during my research. I am not sure how to calculate the true relationship with M.R. and M.G. My PAF (Personal Ancestral File) database shows relationships with others but it stops before it gets to them. It shows that Ole and Marie are our 2nd Great Grandparents. The 3 of us follow 3 different children of Ole and Marie. Those children become our Great Grand Aunt or Uncle. The next generation is our grandparent and they become our 1st cousin 2 times removed. I then click on our parent and it gives no relationship. I never have understood this "cousin ? times removed". I am very satisfied and happy to call them "COUSIN"!