A BRIEF HISTORY OF ANNIE ELIZABETH HANSEN
by her son Amasa A. Davidson
An item written by Arlin Davidson
added to by Howard L. Davidson 1990
Annie Elizabeth Hansen was born the Twenty Seventh day of May 1873 in the little town of Fairview,Utah. She was born in an adobe house which had 4 rooms on the ground floor and 2 attic rooms above. The stairway to the Attic rooms was in the hallway which ran East and West separating the lower part of the house into two sections. A kitchen and dining room on the North half and a parlor and bedroom on the South half. The children slept upstairs. There was an open well to the East of the house. This well was lined with rocks and the water was clear and cold. To the West of the house was a flower garden with lilacs and climbing roses. To the South was an area with other flowers. An orchard of apples and other fruit was off to the East while the corrals and granary and cow barn was to the South.
Annie grew up in pleasant surroundings if it is possible to judge from later observations. She was the 6th of nine children. One child had died before she was born so that she had one brother and 3 sisters living at the time of her birth. While the family were not rich, they were in comfortable circumstances judging by the standards of the day and place. Her father, Peter Neils Hansen, was a farmer and like all Danes liked to have chickens, geese, bees, and cows as well as the Horses necessary to farm. As far as I know he had abandoned the use of oxen soon after coming to the Valley. We do know that he had cows from the record that he turned over a beef to the church while he belonged to the United Order. He had withdrawn from that by the time that Annie was born but still held shares in the Co-op Mercantile Store. Peter had only one wife so that Annie grew up without being under the influence of Polygamy.
As a child she learned to take care of the house and the chickens; to pluck the geese for the feather beds. She learned to cord wool, to spin it into yarn and even to weave, but her mother mainly did the latter as weaving was considered too hard for the little folks. She learned to dye cloth and to do the many things that were necessary for the pioneer people.
She was baptized in Sam Pitch Creek at the age of eight, and confirmed a Member of the Church on the banks of that stream.
HERE ARE A FEW OF THE CUSTOMS AND ITEMS OF THE TIME OF HER YOUNG LIFE.
The House did not have a wooden floor but was of earth packed down hard so that it would not create a dust. It had to be dampened and swept each day.
Most of the furniture was hand made or at least made locally. The Loom was in the Kitchen and so were the spinning wheels. There were two of these. One had a large wheel and the person operating it had to stand while operating it. The wheel was operated by the hand giving the spokes a quick push. The other hand held the corded wool from which the yarn was made. A cord ran over the large wheel and operated the spindle to spin the yarn. The other spinning wheel was much smaller and was operated by the foot on a pedal. The girls did the spinning while their mother did the weaving.
They grew all of the vegetables but always had a beautiful garden of Lilacs, Roses, and flowers. The climbing roses were the best in town. The girls kept the garden free of weeds. It would be a shame to have weeds. Safforn flowers were grown so that the flowers could be dried. This and fullers earth which was dug near the West Hills was used for Galled in children.
There was no Doctor in Fairview. Midwives for childbirth and simple remedies for Everything else. Faith and the Laying on of hands for the sick was common. The people had carried recipes for many remedies and they were proud of the salves and other medicines that they had. Much superstition had been brought from the old countries in Europe and charms as well as medicine were used. They especially had charms to stop bleeding. Some of the things that they used were later to be proven my medical science. While Witchcraft was not believed in it was well to keep away from the Old ones who used charms or bewitched. Much could be written about this phase side of life.
There were no telephones. No telegraph until after 1890. If one wanted the Doctor or any one else it was necessary to send a messenger.
In the Spring after the snows melted and the rains came the roads were impassable. The roads were made and kept up by the Poll taxes. These were usually worked out instead of being paid in money.
Money was very scarce and the eggs and grain was sold for scrip. Each store had its own scrip and the people had to trade out what they sold. Much of the things they used was bought by barter. Taxes had to be paid in Cash and this was always hard to get. Tithing was paid in kind. One tenth of what each raised was taken to the Tithing Yard and given to the Church. At the Tithing Yard they had granaries and bars to hold the grain and hay that was brought. There was plenty of work for all. Annie's mother strongly believed that all play and no work made Jack a dull boy. This applied especially to the Girls and all were kept busy. The girls learned to take care of the house, To card and to spin. To milk the cows; to take care of the chickens and the geese and ducks. To pluck the feathers from the ducks and geese to get feathers for the feather beds. The geese could be plucked once a month during the Summer. They were plucked according to the time of the Moon. At this time the small breast feathers were loose and could be taken without hurting the birds. They always tried to see if the feathers were loose. If the feathers came out blood or were hard to pluck it was not the right time for the plucking. If the feathers came easily it was plucking time and each goose and duck had to be caught and the breast feathers taken.
The Indians were still bad. President Young had told the people that it was better to feed the Indians than to fight them. Indian Fights were in the memory of the folks and they certainly were careful when any Indians were around. A number of children (Annie included) had narrow escapes and even the older women had to be on the Lookout for disgruntled Indians. The Indians came to beg and wanted everything that they could see. They even were not above demanding what they wanted. Usually it was an older Indian who gave the trouble but the younger ones could be mean too. They usually could be bribed with bread and other things to be eaten but it was always good to have a man around in case of trouble. However one Indian that they called Jim was a real convert and would always help the whites. He often visited Annie's mother and was thankful for anything that she would give him to eat. He prided himself that he was a Mormon and that he was more like the whites than the Indians. In later years he made his home in Wales to be near his white Friends.
All children went to Church. They partook of the Sacrament water from a glass or cup. All drank out of the same cup. Later when the church got fine Silver for the Sacrament they still drank out of the same cup. The Sacrament was blessed and passed by the older men of the church. The deacons gathered the Fast Offerings as they do now. The Relief Society women collected dues each time they visited and often these were paid by giving an egg. Not much but it helped the poor. In the Fall they collected wheat to be kept in case of famine. This wheat was stored in granaries and never sold. The Women even went to the grain fields and gleaned so that they could have more wheat to be stored. The Threshing crews threshed it without charge. It was however hard to keep the wheat free from mice and oftentimes the mice played havoc with the grain.
When they could afford it the people used Tea and Coffee but President Brigham had told them that they could use Mountain Rush for Tea and was widely used but was considered more for Children and when they could not afford the real kind. I cannot remember when the older folks used it much but most of the grownups used the Real Tea and coffee. Most people used beer which was made at home. They malted the wheat instead of barley which made the Saloon beer. Browned it just so and then ground it in stone mills turned by hand. They used hops grown along the creek in the meadows. And homemade yeast together with honey that they got from their bees. This honey was about the only sweetening that they had. Sometimes they were able to get cube sugar, a real treat. It was not considered breaking the Word of Wisdom to use the beer made from home grown grain. In fact they could quote the Word of Wisdom to prove this. Potatoes was one of the important crops. Where possible they had venison but they used more mutton and other meat and fish than they did venison. And of course chicken was an important dish. They had most of the Danish dishes. It would be hard to mention all that they had. I have eaten and liked many Danish dishes that I don't even hear of now.
For fruit they used apples and plums although a few peaches were grown near the mouth of the canyons. They got berries in the canyons and along the creeks. Sugar was scarce and so they used honey for sweetening and preserving the fruit. The honey also was used for candy making.
Most of the houses were heated by fireplaces. There were two in the house where Annie lived. The fireplaces were later closed and by the time that I remember they were used as closets. In one corner of the kitchen was a big copper kettle. This was built so that it could have a fire under it to heat the water. They used it to heat water. To make lye soap and to dye the yarn and cloth.
The beds did not have springs but cord or rope was woven both lengthwise and crosswise to make a net to hold the Straw Ticks. These were mattresses made of Ticking and filled with straw at threshing time. Sometimes broadleaf hay was used. This was better and kept the shape better but usually was needed for feeding the cattle, so the straw was commonly used. They used feather beds above the ticks. Quilts were filled with corded wool batts. Then usually tied instead of quilted although I have seen some beautiful quilted ones. Pillows were filled with feathers or sometimes with the down from the milk weed.
The Gypsies were beginning to come thru the valley and were rather shunned. They traded horses. Later the country folks found that they had been cheated. They even told fortunes. The young folks liked that. They were usually shunned by the older folks. They must be in league with the Devil or how else could they foretell things. They were accused of stealing children and all children were cautioned to stay away from the Gypsies.
Flies were very bad in the summer. At meal time a child had to use a switch to keep the flies away by moving the switch across the food at all times. The flies carried disease but there was no way to get rid of them. They were a pest and had to be handled in the best way possible. Mothers used Mosquito Netting to keep the flies away from sleeping babies but that could not keep them away from the children playing. I remember when the first Fly paper and poison came out. Everyone got these to try to get rid of the pests.
Young babies were kept and rocked in cribs. There were three kinds of these. One was stationary and could not be rocked. One had rockers and could be rocked to and fro. The third has a screw eye so that it could be hung from a stand. Of course every mother had a rocking chair too. All babies were Breast fed. It was common practice for a mother to use milk and beer so that she could have plenty of milk for her baby. When a mother died at Childbirth or where it was not possible for her to nurse her child a neighbor woman would nurse the baby until it could do without. Usually about a year. In this case the woman would have two babies to feed instead of the one.
But it was not all work. Play came in with the children just as it does today. The children played jump the rope, hop scotch, Jacks, Played house and dressed up. They had dolls, mostly home made but often a Kid Bodied Doll with Dresden China head with real hair and sleeping eyes. These are now heirlooms. They of course played many outdoor games. Their ball games were different from that we know now.
They played one Old Cat, Work up and other ball games.
The Twenty Fourth was the main holiday and looked forward to. A big parade, games and speeches, and the chance of winning a prize for competing. Folks were wakened by gunpowder blasts. A big anvil was used to make the sound louder. Then the gun shooting. Supposed to keep the mythical indians away. In the parade was a float with Miss Utah and attendants. A float of Utah's Best Crop (Children) and of course a Mock Indian Battle. The Indians came on their ponies. They tried to grab the Women and children while on the run. These were running for the fort to get away from the indians. All of the time the men were shooting at the indians and trying to kill or frighten them away. All wore old time clothes. It was exciting and seemed to be so real that I often wondered if it were not real instead of a mock battle. So did lots of other young folks. After it was over we laughed about it but at the time I am sure the young folks really were frightened. Before the parade boys and young men serenaded the folks in the town. Usually they blackened their faces and pretended to be negros. They played banjos and sang old time songs. They would stop at each house and sing. Folks always brought out treats. Often cake or cookies and beer.. Sometimes the beer was Stout and the boys would drink more than they should but usually it was all in fun.
Brigham Young always stopped off at Fairview on his way to St. George to his winter home. He and his family and a group of church leaders would stop with the Bishop and the main Church leaders of the community, while the others including the young folks would camp in the Tithing yard. Annie always went with other girls to visit with the girls of the Company. President Young's daughters often gave the girls a taste of Brigham's wine. Annie often told of this when she was older.
As she grew a little older her sister Celestia met and became engaged to a young sheep man. They were brought together when her brother Peter brought Amasa to his home for a visit. Peter was working for Amasa at the time. Altho Celestia consented to the marriage she had a premonition that she would not live to marry him. She told Annie this and said that Annie should marry him. Celestia died as she had predicted. After the burial Amasa left to go back to his sheep. It was over a year before he came back. Then he fell in love with Annie. He asked her to marry him. She consented. Before the marriage date she took Rheumatic fever but insisted on going thru with the marriage. She was taken on a bed in a wagon to the Temple at Manti 29 miles to the South. There they were married but Annie insisted that Celestia be sealed to Amasa as his First wife then she was sealed as his second wife. Annie was sixteen at the time of the marriage.
I understand that Amasa and Annie started housekeeping in a granary while the house was being built. The house was of brick. Two rooms downstairs and one upstairs. It really was only a half house as it was planned to be double that size. Just half built at that time. In fact it was never finished. They lived in this house for about seventeen years and then it was traded on and for a large stone house a block west. This made the home a block near to Annie's mother who was getting old and sick. The walls of this house were about 15 inches thick and the building was warm enough to keep flowers from freezing in the winter even in rooms not heated.
To Amasa and Annie were born 10 children. 7 boys and 3 girls. Amasa kept the sheep until about the time of Cleveland's administration and the panic at that time made them almost worthless. He managed to sell them for enough to pay off his debts and then became a farmer to make a living.
Life in Fairview with her husband was the usual life of the time. Amasa was away most of the time while he owned the sheep. In the Desert in the winter and in the Mountains in the Summer but the Panic at the time of the Cleveland Administration. When he sold his sheep he gradually bought land until he was one of the prosperous farmers. They saw hard times too. He milked cows. Raised hay and grain. In the Fall he cut grain for the neighbors and with his neighbors got a threshing machine and threshed grain for themselves and neighbors. Annie raised chickens and sold the eggs. However I have seen the times when the price of eggs was so low that the merchants would not buy them. They worth not enough to pay the freight to Salt Lake. One year they could not get any money for the Children's Christmas presents. Still life was good in the main.
When Annie's mother died Amasa went to Wyoming and bought a ranch there in 1909. In the Spring of 1910 he moved his farm machinery, Horses and cows to Wyoming by Emigrant car on the train. Then he came back and took Annie and the Girls back with him to Wyoming.
Life here was different. They were pioneering again. No phone. No Electricity. The Ranch was a long way from the Railroad. The roads were just dirt hardly graded. It was 4 miles to the postoffice and the nearest country store. It was one-half mile to the nearest place they could get the mail on the route by Star Route. The house was an old log one. Four rooms in a row, with a little lean-to at the back of one end. Old log Shop and Horse Barns. For the cows Rock Sheds with Straw roofs. Corrals and sheds full of manure and leaking. Even the walls of the sheds were falling down. Only field broken up and that full of wild oats. Loose cobble rocks over most of the farm land. Alkali was bad. Brush had to be grubbed out. Amasa and the boys worked all day doing that. Then all including Annie and the girls burning brush most of the night so that they could get the land in shape to farm. Cows had to be milked, the milk separated and churned and the butter sold; Pigs were raised and killed, the meat sold at Evanston 36 miles away or taken to Cumberland and peddled to the miners. The life that she led was that of a Pioneer and cannot be separated from that of her family. The Story of that itself would be a Saga.
Just a few of the high points of that life:
The only lights were Coal Oil Lanterns for outside and Coal Oil Lamps on the walls for the house. A long homemade table in the kitchen with a long bench at the back for the children. Chairs for the Ends and Front. Most of the dishes were enameled wear. All buildings were of log and old. Amasa with his boys cut and hauled logs from the mountains and built a big barn for the hay. A granary had to be built for the grain grown on the place. Rocky Mountain Spotted Tick fever struck most of the family but still the work must go on. The winters were cold and hard. The winds bad and drifted big snow drifts. The snow deep. School off about 4 or 5 miles. Children had to go anyway. To list even the most of the things that had to be done and were done would take pages but all were overcome. Amasa and Annie worked together with the children. As the land came into production the work did not diminish but times got better. They managed to get one of the first Model T's and in 1916 got a Dodge.
"I think Black Nellie only had this one colt. Black Nellie when I knew her was one of two to make up my grandmother's private buggy team. Her teammate was "Fanny" a bay spotted Leopard. Black Nellie of course had black spots. So they were not a matched team in color but in action they were superb.
During WW1 grand mother was named as the Ladies Chairman of the Red Cross for the State of Wyoming. So with her children almost raised she traveled extensively for the Red Cross for a few years and this was her private buggy team. I still remember that they were the only team on the place that used "hip breeching harnesses."
These Mares would have stood 15-2 or so. I don't recall anyone ever riding these two mares under saddle but we kids rode them bareback all the time. By now cars had come to Wyo. for summer use and the buggy team did not get used so much.
Grandmother would drive to Carter or Evanston where she would take the train; picking up the buggy team to come back home. Bridger Valley did not have good roads during this period."
In the meantime Annie went to Relief Society and Teaching in a one horse buggy. She had to travel miles for the visiting. In 1914 she was set apart as 2nd Counselor in the Relief Society and in July 1918 as President of the Milbourne Ward Relief Society. She held this office until 3d Sept. 1923.
In the meantime there was the problem of sending children to school. Sons Amasa and Arthur to Logan. Arthur on a mission to France. The War and the Draft to take the boys. The Flu with everybody in Bridger Valley down at one time.
However work and time took its toll and so in the Fall of 1923 Amasa moved her back to Utah. The first year she lived with her son Emery who was married. The next spring they returned to Wyoming but again returned to live in Wales where her Sister Mary lived. Next move was to Mt. Pleasant where Amasa bought a Brick House.
Amasa Died 5 Jan. 1930.
Annie became ill in the fall of 1931 and passed away 24 Nov. 1931. She was 58 years old at the time. She was beloved by her family and all that knew her. Thus Ended the Life of one of the Mothers in Zion.