Minnie shuddering by benbenzhou


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          Ottemine Cathrine Bertelsen


Are there not
Two sides
To the duty
A man owes
The sad world
He rides
A moment here? —

To decrease a bit
The measure
Of misery,
To increase a bit
The measure
Of cheer.
                  Carol Lynn Pearson
Dear Bertelsen Cousins:
   Although Minnie was not the youngest child of Niels and Maren, this is the last story in the series of the
“Dozen Good Danish People who Deserve to be Remembered.”
    It was an advantage in one way to have these other life stories from which to obtain facts and dates, yet so
many of the early events in Minnie's life were the same as the rest of her family, that it presented a duplication
problem. To avoid an exact repetition of narratives already given, I presented Minnie‟s part in a different
manner and added details that had been omitted, hoping the result would make this story more valuable to all
Niels and Maren's descendants.
     Undertaking a project to write about a total stranger, seemed a formidable task at first. However, Minnie's
granddaughter, Aleith Levy, told me some events that she could remember. I spent many weeks searching in
the libraries of the Salt Lake Genealogical Society and the Daughters of Utah Pioneers, and wrote to people in
Elsinore. Gradually the collection of information accumulated until this story was possible. A complete
bibliography has been given on the next page.
    The divorce of Lars and Minnie presented a difficult writing challenge to me. Not wanting to place all the
blame on Lars by failing to mention Minnie's faults, it became necessary to present both sides in the breakup of
the marriage. It is hoped that the result does not paint Minnie as less of a heroine than her brother and sisters.
Experience tells us that they also had disagreements and martial trials to deal with, even though these matters
were not included in their stories.
    Next to my grandfather, Lars Neilson, I feel a closer bond of empathy towards Minnie than for any of the
others. After trying to put myself in her place, think her thoughts and express her feelings, I found her to be a
remarkably lovely person. This is one of the rewards reserved for biographical writers.
    Acknowledgement of grateful thanks are extended to the following: Aleith Levy, for giving us such lovely
personal memories of Minnie; Bonnie Lee
    Ross, for compiling the family group sheet; Geneve Russell, for her delightful addition; Olive Hansen and
Alice Barney, of Elsinore, for their help; and to Louise Pearce, whose proof-reading and suggestions were of
inestimable value.
    I earnestly hope that this story will be enjoyed by all of you.
                                                    Lela N. Fackrell
  1. Kisty‟s story p. 1
   2. Story of Niels and Maren p. 4
   3. Lena Marie's story p. 1
   4. Geneva B. Russell
   5. Stena’s story p. 3
   6. Carter, Our Pioneer Heritage Vol. 12 p. 465
   7. Mrs. W.M. Farney's funeral talk (in DUP files)
   8. Carter, Our Pioneer Heritage Vol. 6 p. 19
   9. Ibid, Vol 11 p. 277
   10. & 1l. Farney
   12. Carter, Our Pioneer Heritage Vol. 8 pp 28-29
   13. Stena's story p. 5
   14. 15, 16. Farney
   17. Carter, Our Pioneer Heritage Vol. 12 p. 175
   18. Aleith Levy, granddaughter
   19. J. W. Sylvester's life story DUP files
   20. Elsinore Ward Records, Salt Lake City Genealogical call #
6278 pt 1
   21. & 22. Aleith Levy
   23. Manti Temple records (restricted film) Genealogical Library
   24. Aleith Levy
   25. Sevier County marriage and license records Gen. Lib. call #
   26. Aleith Levy
   27. Aleith Levy
   28. Carter, Our Pioneer Heritage Vol. 9 pp. 26-27
   29. Sevier County History, Through the Years
   30. & 31 Carter, Heart Throbs. Vol. 12 page 265
   32. Aleith Levy
   33. Deseret News. Gen. Soc. Library call # 6507 pt 148
   34. Memories of Little Denmark, Elsinore, Utah

  Name                Born      Married        Death
  Lars Otto           19 Dec 1870              Hansena Lorensen   21
                                               Oct 1947
  Alma Fredrick                 17 Nov 1872    Petrea Madsen 30      Dec
  Daniel Bolette                4 Mar 1875     Maggie Thompson    1927
  George Randolph               30 Sep 1877    Ida Floy Anderson  11
                                               Feb 1951
  Mary Jeanette                 3 Apr 1880     William Davis 4      July
  Engar Marius 20 July 1882                    Etta Lee 2 June 1958
  Ann Eliza    19 Dec 1884                          19 Dec 1884
William Arthur   13 Jan 1886   11 Feb 1887
                                         by Lela N. Fackrell
   By the seashore in Hojslev, Viborg, Denmark stood a cluster of
fishermen's homes which are entered on the Parish Registers as,
Skrapperhus, Hojslev, Viborg, (“Skrapperhus” means cluster of
houses).    One “little white cottage by the sea” remained
permanently etched on the memories of a dozen good Danish people
who made it their home. In it, during the balmy June days of 1847,
Maren Larsen Dam Bertelsen busied herself with regular duties
slowed somewhat by the burden of her soon-to-be-born eighth child.
 Worry that her husband, Niels Pedersen Bertelsen, might meet with
an accident while fishing on the dangerous seas, brought furrows to
her brow but there was no lack of activity to bring her mind back
to the tasks at hand.
   She wished her daughters could remain at home to help with her
household duties which included scrubbing and scouring the cow
stalls and barns adjoining the house. There was so much to do and
her helpers were employed at various jobs nearby.     Even little
eight-year-old Kisty was herding sheep after school hours. (1)
   Threne, age seven, was in school part of the day but helped later
at home. Maren's busy schedule was brightened by her two little
ones: Stene age five, who could run small errands and help watch
Lena Marie.    Taking a moment to cuddle her two-year-old, Maren
wondered if her eighth child would be a boy. Niels needed more
help than his only son, Lars, could give him, and would surely
appreciate another son more than ever when old age came on. The
waiting time seemed slow in passing, but on June 15, 1847, the
blessed day arrived and another darling daughter was tenderly
placed in the arms of Maren.       This little one was christened
Ottemine Cathrine, then following their nicknaming custom, she was
called Minnie (pronounced Meeny). Being busy with important cottage
duties in Hojslev, the family was unaware of Brigham Young's
vanguard of toiling pioneers who would reach the end of their long
journey into Salt Lake Valley in another month and nine days and
proclaim: “This is the place.” Nor could they know that in five
years missionaries from that valley would completely change their
   Meanwhile, as Minnie grew old enough to laugh and goo in her
crib, her three littlest sisters adored her for hours. The elder
four, Johanne, Lette, Kisty and brother Lars took turns caring for
the newest sister when they could spare a bit of time.
   When Minnie was eighteen months old it was her turn to join the
group around the crib and gaze in wide-eyed wonder at the miracle
of another sister, Johanne Helene (Lene) born 29 Dec. 1848.
   Having a real live doll in the home is always a source of
never-ending joy to children, which makes the next event a bit hard
for us to understand, and doubly so for them. This new baby was
given to Maren's brother and wife, John and Helene Larsen. Minnie
and Lena Marie must have plied their parents with questions and
cried to keep their new sister, but to no avail. We cannot help
but wonder what prompted this generous act.       Was having nine
children in twelve work-filled years too much for Maren's health?
After bearing two babies eighteen months apart was the milk supply
scanty? In those days a large majority of infants failed to see
their first birthday. If breast feeding became a problem, many
hours were required to prepare baby food and the baby needed
special attention. Maren's only hope to save her daughter may have
been to let her childless sister-in-law provide this life-saving
                                        THE GOSPEL IS HEARD
     In 1852, two young missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints called at the Bertelsen
home, spent long hours in serious discussions with the parents, Minnie only partially understanding what it was
all about. Minnie's mother joined the Church in 1853, one year and three months after giving birth to her 10 th
and last child, another daughter, Anna. We can safely assume that Minnie was one of Anna's devoted baby
tenders as she listened to the talk and preparation for the departure of her older sister, Lette, who was going to
America with Uncle John and Aunt Helene and the sister Lene. Uncle John lived nearby and Minnie and Lene
played together often while the parents visited. Knowing that the younger sister was going so far away was sad
news but Minnie was comforted by the thought that mother and father had promised that all the family would
be in Utah soon if they worked hard and saved their money.
    The Saints were persecuted so severely after joining the Church that Niels and Maren decided to leave the
neat cottage that had been home to them for 21 years and move to Aalborg where more L.D.S. members
abided. The family scattered to find work. In 1854, Minnie obtained work nearby as a nurse girl although only
seven years of age. Her father and mother parted with her so reluctantly that Minnie tried to be very brave for
their sake. (2) Lars left for America with a large company of Scandinavians in Jan. of 1855. Minnie was
happy that she could contribute to the success of his departure, at least by being self-supporting.
    Oh, what a sad day it was for her when the final arrangements had been made for her favorite sister, Lena
Marie, to leave for America — going alone too! That is, without a family member for companionship. How
Minnie did want to go along. But Lena Marie's two missionary caretakers could not be responsible for an
8-year-old child. Minnie would stay on the job for awhile, hoping that the missionaries would take very good
care of her sister. Soon she would be going to America herself.
    On the final day of departure, Minnie was permitted to go to the wharf. As the “Dark-haired, fair-skinned,
laughter-loving” (3) Minnie stood arm in arm on the busy wharf with blond Lena Marie, she admired the
grown-up bravery her older sister was presenting. The slight trembling of her arm, however, betrayed to
Minnie the natural reluctance Lena was hiding.
     Too busy with intimate childhood memories for talk, not much was said between them. Minnie was glad
that she had bought some sweetcakes as a surprise parting gift, even though it had taken the last of her money.
The cakes gave her something to do when the last goodbyes were to be said. As she presented the cakes, Lena
Marie pressed her beloved doll into Minnie's arms to keep, as there was no room for a doll on this crowded,
luggage laden ship. (4)
    Although Minnie was old enough now to be baptized, it was not until 1857 that she became a member.
Her father was Presiding Elder of the Hals Branch, and took an important part in Church activities.
   In the following years, Threne and Kisty left for America, 1860-61. The letters that had been received from
Utah lent an air of incomprehensible mystery about the new country. There was no ocean near Utah and fish
were scarce. How could they live without fish? There were mountains so high, rocky and steep that one could
not visualize such massiveness. And the Indians! — What did one of them look like? When the news came
that America was embroiled in a Civil War and emigrants would have to pass through the area, it was enough
to make one tremble. For a few moments now and then, subdued emotions of undefinable premature
homesickness filled Minnie's breast.
     Such thoughts were forgotten when the plans and excited preparations were being made for Minnie and
Stene to venture forth. Minnie could hardly realize that it was really her turn at last. How wonderful that two
sisters could go together this time.
    All too soon, fond goodbyes were being said to them as they stood on the wharf at Aalborg with hundreds
of other noisy Saints swarming about. The parting with father, mother and Anna was lessened by the
knowledge that they would soon follow, but parting with the eldest sister, Johanne, who was married and might
remain in Denmark for a long time, if not forever, was harder to bear. The spirit of gathering to Zion was
strong, and the knowledge that it was the right thing to do, helped them to endure the sad parting.
    They boarded the ship, Albion, 6 Apr. 1862 and disembarked at Hamburg, Germany, two days later. So
many emigrants had collected there that it took two ships to transport them to America; the Humbolt and
Franklin. Minnie and Stene were among the 413 Saints assigned to the Franklin.
     They were guided down the ladder into the hold where 160 bunks, each large enough to sleep three
persons, came into view. The schedule that the passengers would follow was carefully explained to them.
“You are to arise at the trumpet, or accordion, signal at 5:00 a.m. At 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. the trumpet will
call all passengers to prayer. There will be meetings of worship held on upper deck and a council meeting held
every night. You must keep your living compartments clean and we'll wash the decks three times a week. The
ship will be fumigated with burning tar twice a week.”
    “What a smell that will be,” giggled the girls.
     It is interesting to note what was described as “nicely cooked meals.” Dinners were as follows: Sunday,
sweet soup; Monday, pea soup; Tuesday and Wednesday, rice; Thursday, pea soup; Friday, barley mush, and
Saturday, herring and potatoes.(5) This would seem a soupy fare to us and it probably was not nearly as good
as they had at home, but, at least it was a variety.
     Sea biscuits were served with the soup. For the ill, it was necessary to soak those hard biscuits in water or
tea for 8 to 10 hours before serving. One wishes one knew what comical or critical remarks were made by our
two girls as they nibbled away on such a morsel. No wonder the sailors called the biscuits “hardtack.”
    Everyone anticipated a pleasant journey. For a few days things went happily, then an astounding call was
heard, “Will someone tell me what is the matter with my child?”
    “There is fever and the skin is hot and red and— ”
    “Oh no. It can't be, it mustn't be measles.” But it was.
    The ship's schedule was followed as closely as possible while sickness reigned throughout. Case after case
of measles broke out, followed by a few cases of chickenpox. The light of only five flickering lanterns illumed
the darkness of the hold where nurses did their best to subdue the dreaded diseases. In spite of their best
efforts, three adults and 43 children died before the ship reached New York. Their bodies were sewn tightly
into canvas bags and slid on a board over the railing into the ocean.
    When the loud call of “Land Ho,” was heard from a sailor scanning the horizon from his perch high on a
mast, everyone on board silently gave a prayer of thanks before whooping in pure joy. The tossing aboard a
ship for 51 days was about over. What a welcome relief.
    The Franklin docked at New York Thursday forenoon, May 29th. Not being permitted to go ashore
because of the measles aboard, Minnie and Stena stood at the rail and gazed in awe at the shoreline of their
new country. The passengers were soon placed on a transport steamer which Landed them at Castle Garden
two days later.
     The name “Castle Garden” makes us think of clean white buildings amid lawn and flowers. It was a shock
to learn that it was “an awful place... We were all anxious to set our eyes upon the promised land, but landing
at the unkept immigration quarters was enough to dispirit the bravest heart.” (6) The shock the place had on
our tidily clean Scandinavians can only be imagined. With several hundred noisy passengers milling aimlessly
about; cross, overworked clerks and stevedores yelling orders in English to uncomprehending Danes, — well,
the picture passes before our imaginative eyes like an interesting movie.
     The help of Elders Charles C. Rich and John Van Cott, who met them, was greatly appreciated. Here the
Saints of the Franklin were united with 484 passengers from the Ship Athenia which surely must have
overtaxed the capacities of the wharf. Minnie became attracted to a Swedish girl, Nellie Rosenquist, who
arrived on the Athenia. They couldn't speak each other's language at first, but were not long in doing so and
became life-long friends as we will learn later on.
     We can almost hear their excited chatter as they took their first train ride on May 31st to reach Albany
where they transferred to another train which took them to Quincy, Illinois. After being shuffled about from
boat after boat to train after train, surely some tired youngster must have plaintively asked — in Danish, of
course —
    “Aren't we almost to Utah by now?”
    “NO. We must go a long, long way.”
    Next, the large group of Scandinavians were taken across the Mississippi River on a steamboat to
Hannibal, Missouri. Such a wide, deep river! Is everything in America this huge? How long will we be
hustled from train to boat without a stop to wash clothes or bathe?
    Hannibal was abandoned, having been demolished by Civil War cannonballs. Someone exploring an old
building near the river came dashing out, calling, “Come see what I have found! Tubs.” Tubs and a river full
of water. What better discovery could be found? Having obtained permission to use them, an enthusiastic
general washday was begun.
    “Go gather some twigs, children, please.” They picked up a few scattered pieces of kindling here and there
and small fires under the tubs kept the clothes water boiling. In Denmark, firewood is scarce, so they were
used carefully. How the guide laughed at the Danes when he saw their tiny fires. “Go into the woods and
gather all you need,” he told them. (7)
     At Hannibal, the Saints became aware that the horrors of war were ominously near when the sound of Civil
War cannons were heard and the air was filled with dense smoke. Happily they boarded a train which puffed
its way across the state, arriving June 6th at St Joseph, Missouri. The steamboat, “Westwind” puffing idly at
the wharf was their next conveyance. It proved to be too small for the group, but they wouldn't leave a soul
behind, and with bag, baggage and babies they all crowded into the hold. On June 9th they reached Florence,
Nebraska, which is situated on a ridge near Omaha. In nine days they had transferred from boat or train six
times with only the short break at Hannibal. We can almost hear the whimpering objections of the small
children as they repeatedly ask, “How much farther is it? We've come a long, long, l-o-n-g way already.”
    It is interesting, at this point, to picture in our minds the conditions existing in this far-west outpost during
these times. We have record of only two things our own girls did while here, but first, what kind of a place
was it?
    “Florence was a bustling frontier camp at the end of the railroad... Here, for the time being was one of the
spots where the East and West met face to face. On one side were the railroads and civilization; on the other,
vast stretches of wilderness, Indians, deserts, mountains — the great land of the future. As might be expected,
the place was seething with people, scouts, traders, freighters, homeseekers, soldiers. With the Civil War
raging, the demand for horses, mules, oxen, cattle, everything for transportation or food was practically
limitless. This need was increased by the constant stream of Mormon emigrants going west. Not only were the
half-bewildered Danish Saints confronted by many strange people, but strange conditions.” (8)
    Conditions such as these bring out the best or the worst in individuals. With Danish, Swedish and English
languages being spoken, difficult communication problems existed. People scattered on the prairie, pitched
tents or built crude temporary brush shacks and began a new and different kind of living — keeping house
out-of-doors and cooking over a camp-fire. One wonders what provisions were made for “comfort stations.”
We visualize youngsters holding their barn- door flaps in front of them, bare fannies exposed as they ran to the
“one-holers.” The naturally humorous people found plenty to laugh about; the grouchy fault-finders had a
mountain of gripe material. Perhaps this new living was a blessed relief from sitting on crowded trains and
boats. At least, it was a different living that could not be conceived in advance.
    From Jensen, L.D.S. Church Historian, we learn that a “Terrible tornado, with rain, thunder and lightning
in which two brethren were killed” was experienced here. Even today, people who see a lightning storm on the
plains for the first time are astonished and frightened at the phenomenon.
    During the time our girls were in Florence, they celebrated Minnie's 15th birthday by joining the workers in
another big washday. They also gathered blackberries on the surrounding hills and sold them in Omaha for .15
a quart. Three happy teenagers, Minnie, Stena and Nellie, looked upon this work as a pleasant break in their
adventure. They often retold the story to children and grandchildren.
    Plans were in operation to reorganize all four Scandinavian companies, comprising 1656 souls, before
crossing the plains. While this work was being formulated, other more strenuous activity was under way out
there on the grassy plain. Among the crowd of pioneers who watched from the sidelines were those who,
seeing humor in a situation, laughed until they could hardly stand; those who saw the danger cried in fear and
looked horrified; perplexed children glanced from one to another wondering whether to laugh or cry. Why?
    The immigrants were trying to learn to drive those strange looking animals that the English call oxen, and
the wild oxen were trying hard to keep from learning anything. English horseman dashed from one team to
another yelling orders to Scandinavians who understood nothing that was said. The scene is described by
Andrew C. Neilson. “Think of a condition here one forenoon, in July, after a tremendous struggle in getting
those animals yoked up and hitched to the wagons... The teamsters were just as ignorant about their business as
some of their oxen... An hour after we had started out from the camp that memorable day, for five miles all
around the plains you could see oxen, wagons, teamsters, and a dozen horsemen going at breakneck speed and
it was a miracle that no one was hurt or anything broken, but under these conditions I have seen strong men
cry.” (9)
     Minnie and Stena left Florence July 14th under leadership of C. A. Madsen. “Grandma said she never spent
a more pleasant summer in her life than the one when she was crossing the plains. They had plenty of
provisions such as they were. Each person had seven pounds of flour, two pounds of dried apples, two pounds
of bacon, two pounds of sugar and plenty of coffee, and could buy milk from those who had cows.” (10) Plenty
of provisions! My goodness! Try planning a varied menu from flour, dried apples, bacon and sugar, no soda or
baking powder. It is hoped that a few items have been omitted through loss of memory. We are not told if the
diet was supplemented by buffalo or deer meat, or if anyone caught fish from the rivers.
    Minnie claimed that she walked all the way barefooted. That she walked is, without doubt, true as it was
the usual thing for all but the sick, aged and small children to walk in order to spare the heavily-laden oxen.
She also said that her chaperon was a capable lady named Mrs. Peterson, whose ingenuity soon became
apparent. Having bought a cow and calf in Omaha, and wanting to be sure the calf would endure the long
march, she sewed scraps of thick leather to old stocking tops to fashion shoes for the lucky follow. “All the
company laughed when they saw this calf,” said Minnie, “but it withstood the trip and did not have sore feet.
Mrs. Peterson was so careful of this cow that I had to lead it often so it would not have to be in the general
herd.” (11) Barefooted Minnie, caring for a calf in shoes!
     At first, their journey was across “the easy rolling plains of Nebraska which were covered with verdant
growth of buffalo grass. The road was crude — just a rutty, dusty, winding, seemingly endless pair of ruts
through which those before had labored... Sudden rainstorms often fell on the weary travelers, drenching them
and turning the road into a sea of mud that was as sticky as glue.” (12) Great clouds of dust are inevitable when
a caravan of oxteams, wagons and cattle are plodding along in fine dirt. While the dusty soil was easy on bare
feet, it wasn't appreciated by noses. Stena and Minnie learned to be grateful for the soft soil, however, as it
saved Stena‟s leg from being broken. “She fell from a wagon while it was moving and the wheel ran over her
leg. The dust had a cushioning effect and her leg was not broken. However, it was hurt seriously enough that
she carried the scar all her life.” (13)
    Each morning after Elder Madsen called the company to prayer, the girls of the group walked ahead of the
wagons in order to gather buffalo chips and have the fires ready when the wagons arrived at camp. One night
while waiting for the wagons, Minnie grew sleepy so she found a nice, soft place and laid down to sleep.
When the wagons arrived Minnie was not missed until the leader counted noses. After a long search, they
found her still asleep, in the midst of their cattle.
    During the warmest weather, they traveled at night. One night, the people traveling with her grew tired
and stopped to rest. Not wanting to wait, Minnie hurried to catch up with the a group she could hear ahead of
her. She soon came to a large stream of water which she dared not cross. The cattle herders, not knowing she
was ahead, were rushing the cattle close behind her. She was badly frightened, but kept her head and did the
only thing left for her to do, “Try to protect herself while she went back through the herd. She did this by
catching the oxen by their horns and pushing her way through, knowing that if she should fall it meant instant
death. The herders soon saw and rescued her.” (14)
     After measuring the mileage step by tired step, the pioneers prepared their meals at eventide over cheerful
campfires within a wagon-circle of protection. Later, they danced and sang their tired aches away, proving
truly that “Music washes away from the soul, the dust of everyday living.” Being beautiful singers and zestful
dancers, no wonder our girls enjoyed the summer of travel.
     By the time civilization was far, far away and the wilderness of sand and sage lay behind them, the
travelers found themselves among the rolling hills of Wyoming. Even the adults must have secretly echoed the
children's complaint, “We've come a l-o-n-g, long, l-o—n—g way and still have those heaven-reaching
mountains to struggle over.” Not knowing what lay ahead of them, their first impression was one of admiration
for the mountains' inspiring outline against the horizon.
    “Such a journey could not transpire without some accidents. In Weber Canyon, two or three days journey
from Salt Lake, a very sad one occurred. A wagon with two little girls in it fell over a dugway into the river
and both drowned. They were the last children of an English family, the rest being buried at sea. Grandma said
she could never forget that poor, grief-stricken mother. The same night a wagon with four mothers and their
infants went over the same cliff, but it did not overturn so no one in the wagon was hurt.” (15)
                                           THE LAND OF ZION
    At last, the long journey was over. Reaching Salt Lake Valley Sept. 23, 1862, the new arrivals camped
near the mouth of Emigration Canyon. They were very disappointed in the size of the city, but did not stay
long. Having received word from Lars, their brother, Minnie and Stena joined him at his home in Sanpete
    We can be sure that Minnie and Lena Marie lost no time in getting together. Only children when they
parted, they were now young ladies of fifteen and seventeen. In an ecstasy of joy, they proceeded to catch up
on the news. Lena Marie retold her fearful experience of working in St. Louis, Missouri while waiting for help
from Utah which did not come.
     The missionaries tried to notify Lars and Lette that Lena was in St. Lewis, but with Lette living in Summit,
Iron County and Lars moving often during this period, one doubts if the missionaries ever found them. Lena
Marie came to Utah using her own hard-earned money and her undaunted courage. At least, there was much to
talk about.
     After Niels and Maren came to Utah, they lived for a time in Richfield and Minnie stayed with then for
awhile. She worked for a family and received grain for her pay. “Once more she seemed to be protected from
death by the omnipotent power. A man said he would take her grain to Glenwood to exchange it for food the
following morning. She was delighted, but when morning came Minnie refused to go with him. Her mother
and sister insisted, but something seemed to tell her not to go, and it was good she followed this inspiration
because in less than an hour this man, wife and child were killed by the Indians. (16)
    When the Indian trouble became so dangerous that Richfield Saints were called to move north, Minnie
went to Mt. Pleasant to live. She was fair-skinned, with dark curly hair and such a humorous nature that she
could turn little daily happenings into moments of laughter by her witty remarks. She was quick at learning the
English language and spoke it without a brogue or accent. Before she left Denmark, she had tried to visualize a
huge mountain and what an Indian looked like. Now, although she admired the mountains, she knew that they
harbored the cruel, warring Indians. As the months passed and the deaths and cattle stealing became more
numerous during this Black Hawk Indian War, her testimony of the gospel sustained her.
    On April 21, 1866, Lena Marie‟s betrothed husband, Christian Christensen, was shot by Indians. His
death three weeks later brought sorrow to the whole family, but it was Minnie's heartfelt words of sympathy
and love that gave great comfort to her bereaved sister. Lena Marie later named her first daughter, Minnie.
                                         LOVE AND MARRIAGE
     At Mt Pleasant, Minnie met a freighter, Lars Frandsen, two years older than she. The ZCMI Co-op store in
Mt. Pleasant took produce from the farmers in exchange for merchandise, and Lars hauled it to points as far
away as Nevada. (17) We know nothing of their courtship, but they were married and endowed 28 Mar. 1870,
in the Salt Lake Endowment House.
     They must have gone directly to a farm in Levan, Juab County, for it was here that their first child, Lars
Otto, was born 19 Dec 1870. We do not know if Lars continued to freight or how well they fared on the farm,
this being the year that great swarms of grasshoppers devoured the entire farm crop in some localities.
     In searching the Church records for Frandsen data, it was found that the Danes were not as numerous in
Levan as they were in Sevier and Sanpete settlements. Being in the minority group, Lars and Minnie, no doubt,
wanted to be acceptable to their new neighbors. Lars, though a rather stern and dominating character, was a
good provider and proud of it. He bought a small cook stove so that Minnie was one of the first to abandon
fireplace cooking. She had other good furniture also, and hoped she could make a favorable impression on her
new friends.
    One bread-making day, when two ladies made their first call on Minnie, she was glad that she could offer a
comfortable chair and rocker for them and that the fireplace made the room cozy and warm. As the bread
became ready for the pans, Minnie pinched off a loaf-size part of dough and walked into the front room to
mold it in her hands, so she could visit while working. Lars came in, took her firmly by the arm, led her
masterfully into the kitchen saying, in a patronizing voice, “I have provided a table for you to use,” which
humiliated Minnie before her guests. Later when telling of her deep mortification she said, “If I had thrown the
loaf into his face and took a stand then and there, instead of submitting so meekly, perhaps our married life
would have been smoother.” (18)
      We have only birthplaces of the children to guide us in trying to decide where this couple of pioneers lived.
 With Alma Fredrick being born in Levan, we assume they remained there at least until Nov of 1872. Just
when they returned to Sevier County is uncertain. The third son, Daniel was born in Richfield March 1875, so
it is most likely that they were living in Sevier County that spring. They were both, therefore, fully aware of the
lively hive of activity that was in progress seven miles to the southwest of Richfield the spring that Daniel was
born. Town lots were being surveyed on a well chosen spot and a canal dug for irrigation. This was probably
just the project they desired and when the time was ready, Lars and Minnie were among the first group to begin
pioneering the virgin locality the spring of 1876. The new place was named Elsinore because it reminded them
of Elsinore, Denmark.
    Of course, this meant living in crude huts, dugouts, or camp wagons until suitable cabins could be built. It
meant grubbing sage brush, digging ditches, irrigating gardens and fields, all the difficult tasks of pioneering.
This kind of work brought the little group together in bonds of loving friendship. During the year of 1877, the
forty families built and paid for a nice church building. The Ward was organized 1 Nov 1877 with Joshua W.
Sylvester as bishop. To quote the Deseret News, “A loafer is not known in this place and it is not expected that
anyone of that type could live here. I can say a more industrious set of people than there is here could not be
found.” (19)
    Five more children were born to Lars and Minnie. The fourth son, George Randolph, born in Elsinore 30
Sep 1877; a daughter, Mary Jeanette, born 3 Apr 1879; Engar Marinus born 28 July 1882; Anna Eliza born 19
Dec 1884, was blessed (20) and died the same day. This sad loss of her second daughter so soon after birth
saddened the family.
    This was a very difficult period of Minnie's life. Besides the death of her daughter, she and Lars were
having serious marital trouble. We learn from a letter from George Baker to his wife, Lena Marie, dated 26
Nov 1885, “I would like you to tell me when you write again, how Lars and Minnie have settled their troubles
or whether they are liable to separate.” Minnie was pregnant again that fall and in January 1886 a son William
Arthur was born. Again, death saddened the family for William only lived a year, dying 11 Feb. 1887.
Fortunately for Minnie and family, there were loved ones near to help lighten their grief at this time. Besides
Mother Maren in Mt Pleasant and the Swedish friend, Nellie, in Moroni, Threne and Anna were visiting in
Sevier. Relief Societies had been organized in early 1870's and these good sisters were always on hand when
      It was during this period that those who lived plural marriage were persecuted relentlessly by U. S.
Officers. Threne, third wife of James Dalley, had come from Summit in 1887 for an extended visit. In 1888,
Anna second wife of Alonzo Farnsworth, came from Tuba City, Arizona to be with her family at the time of
her confinement.
        One day she came to Elsinore in panic, “Hide me. Hide me and my baby,” she pleaded, “The U. S.
Marshals are trying to find me. I don't want to endure the abuse of those insulting men.” Minnie blanched in
terror as she searched her mind for a safe hiding place. There's the cellar under the house we haven't used for
some time, she remembered. Shuddering with fright, as she lifted the boards in the kitchen floor, she was
appalled at the gruesome sight that met her eyes. The floor was covered with seepage water and oh horrors!
water snakes were wiggling about. It was certainly no place for a lady. Disregarding such minor items, Anna,
in haste, tucked her long skirts about her, held her baby closely as she seated herself halfway between water
and roof. This was better than going to court. Replacing the boards carefully, Minnie, thankful not to be one of
the hunted herself, resumed her household duties, while suffering empathetic agony thinking of Anna on the
dark cellar steps with snakes slithering around. The officers did come but by that time Minnie had full control
of her emotions, her secret dread was undetected, the baby made no wailing cry, and their long, thorough
search was in vain. (21)
                          ******                                              ******
        One chore that busy, overworked farmers usually forget to do is that of chopping stove-wood. Many an
irritated wife has swung an angry ax before she could cook dinner. Having a husband and four boys to do
these tasks, Minnie, with endless household chores to do, did not accept being left to do the wood chopping
also. There's a humorous way to remind men of their duties, decided Minnie.
        When the farm laborers came in for their meal one day, they were greeted by an unusual sight. There
was Minnie preparing dinner with a fence-pole across the kitchen! She had put one end of it into the fire-box of
her little stove and balanced the other end of it on a chair. Keeping the pole ablaze with chips, she pushed it
further into the firebox as it burned. Of course, the room had a woodsey odor but the pole was no great
hinderance to the cook. When she got an audience, she flipped her long skirts aside with graceful ease and
danced over that pole again and again whenever necessary and maybe sometimes when it wasn't. Her comical,
clever reminder that no wood had been provided must have made a strong impression on her boys. The stunt
was laughingly retold to others and was remembered by the grandchildren. We hope that it proved an effective
hint to the wood-choppers. (22)
    ****                                            ****                               ****
    August the 3rd 1888 was a sacred occasion for Maren Bertelsen as she stood in a beautiful room in the
Manti Temple, so soon after its opening, and gazed at seven of her loving daughters dressed in white. To
Maren, who would celebrate her 81st birthday in 16 days, this day was one of her most fulfilling. For years she
had longed for this moment, especially since Niels' death two years before the St George Temple was
dedicated. Getting her large family to go to St George or Logan was impossible.
     As the majestic, beautiful Manti Temple rose higher and higher on its lofty mountain shelf overlooking the
city, Maren's hope rose with it. With a temple in our own valley surely we can get this important work done,
she hoped. With five of the children living near and with Threne already here on a long visit, Maren must have
made a special, pleading campaign to get Anna and Lette to join them as soon as the Temple was ready. At
any rate, she succeeded. Anna, though seven months pregnant, came from Tuba, Arizona and Lette came from
Summit, Iron County Utah. Now here they were, at last, all together in the holy temple, beaming with
happiness and joy. There was only one sad note, Lars, Johanne and Lene were absent. We have no idea why
Lars did not join them but Lene had gone to Missouri to live and Johanne was in Denmark.
       Now, Anton H. Lund, a long-time friend of pioneer days, was entering the room to officiate as sealer. He
shook hands warmly with the group. M. F. Farnsworth, temple recorder, and M. C. Christensen were the
witnesses. Nelsen Bertelsen Dalley knelt in the place of father Niels Bertelsen, as the seven sisters and mother,
Maren, knelt beside him to hear the impressive ceremony which sealed them together as a family unit for all
eternity, depending, of course, on their faithfulness. (23) The next year Maren went to Summit to live.
    Sometime after March 11, 1889, the marriage of Lars and Minnie ended in divorce. What began with so
much love and high hopes was at last dissolved. The marriage, though shaky had withstood many troubled
moments. Lars had either disagreed with gospel doctrine or grown bitter towards a church official, had
removed his temple garments and at last, had apostatized. (24) Arguments between husband and wife, who
disagree on topics like these can be tragic affairs. An unhappy wife is never a pleasure to live with. In spite of
everything, she loved him and wanted him to love and understand her. Instead, he decided to take a second
wife during the height of federal persecution.
    After passage of the Edmunds bill in Congress in 1882, life for polygamists became increasingly
oppressive. After the Edmunds-Tucker bill of 1887, the Church itself was escheated of its rights and property.
 To enter plural marriage at this time meant living an “under-ground,” fugitive type of existence.
    In the 1870's, if Lars and Minnie had received a bishop's request that they enter into celestial marriage in
the Endowment House, Minnie may have agreed the same as other members of her family did, but after Lars'
period of apostasy from the Church, his announcement that he intended to take another wife, was
   Disregarding celestial marriage rules and Minnie's threat of divorce, Lars married Hannah M. Petersen 11
Mar 1899 in Richfield courthouse by the justice of the peace. (25) Minnie fought the action to the point of
having him arrested for bigamy then gave up and obtained a divorce, probably through the Church courts
instead of county courts. She never overcame her bitterness towards Lars.
    The two good people were entirely different in personality and disposition. Lars was a stern, domineering
type; Minnie would rather laugh and joke at life. Lars was a harsh disciplinarian; Minnie was easy-going,
reluctant to take a firm stand. With Lars, all work should be finished before pleasure was permitted. Minnie
could drop her work at any time to care for a needy person, or to take advantage of a ride to Richfield.
    Lars had admired the ability of a friend who played the organ. Longing for music in his home, he asked
Minnie if she would learn to play if he bought an organ. She thought she could and he made the purchase. She
served on the Ward music committee and sang in choirs. When one becomes lost in the joy of practicing, time
has a way of slipping by unawares. Lars often came in from work to find Minnie making music instead of
dinner, so even an organ failed to produce complete matrimonial harmony. Perhaps, if Lars had been less
stern, and more kind with her, she may have tried harder to please him.
     At Ada Sylvester‟s wedding, Minnie gave the bride what she thought was excellent advise. “My father
told me, „Never have your first quarrel and you'll never have your second one.' This I tried to do but he was
wrong. An argument is better than harboring resentment and enduring mistreatment.” Then she went on to
add, in spite of Mr. Sylvester's disagreement, “Don‟t start doing at the beginning, something you can't do the
rest of your life.” (26) Minnie‟s philosophy, learned in the hard school of experience, gives us a peek into the
heart-breaking lack of communication and cooperation that broke up a marriage.
    After the divorce, Minnie opened a millinery store in a lean-to building north of the Opera House on Main
Street. She gathered straw which she dyed and braided into hats of various sizes and shapes, and really
enjoyed this kind of work. We are told that she sewed with the neatest, tiniest stitches that can be taken. Some
of her crafts were freighted to Kanab, Utah and exchanged for food. She kept this shop, as far as can be
learned, until she went to John's Valley in 1912.
                          *****                                      *****
    In 1891, the four sisters in central Utah grew homesick for their mother and sisters, Lette and Threne, in
Summit. They had never been there and what at first was just wishful longing developed into a brave scheme
for a visit. The more they talked, the more possible the plan became until one by one all obstacles were
removed. Lena Marie's husband, George Baker, could spare a wagon, the Frandsen boys, a team. Lena Marie's
12-year-old son, Ralph, and Minnie's son, Dan of 16 years, who could be spared from summer tasks, were
delighted to be the teamsters.
     Then Stena decided not to go! Living alone, she had worked so hard to raise a lovely garden, and had
chickens and a cow to care for. “I just can't leave them,” she said. Her daughters, who lived near by, coaxed
her to go, promising to see that everything received tender and special care while she was away. The sisters,
Lena Marie, Kisty and Minnie couldn't bare to leave her at home.
    They won the argument and the four sisters began packing bedding, clothing, cooking utensils and food for
them, and hay for the team. The journey was a long one — a once-in-a-lifetime trip for most women of that
period. The drivers, who felt important, (and if they didn't know everything wouldn't want to admit it) were
provoked and embarrassed because whenever they met another driver along that long, lonely road, some sister
would poke her head out of the wagon-cover and ask, “Are we on the right road to Summit?” This happened
so many times that the remark became a lifetime joke between the two cousins.
     The road led them to Summit alright and when seven humorous, talented Bertelsens get together their
enjoyment is contagious enough to thrill a little town. While here, Stena received a letter from her daughters
telling her that the garden was lovely and the animals were well cared for. It also told her that her husband had
passed away. As second wife, she had not been living with him and she took the news with calm stoicism,
knowing that the funeral was over by the time the letter arrived and there was nothing further that could be
done. (27) The sisters were thankful that they made the effort to make this delightful two weeks visit, for they
probably never saw their mother again. She passed away 3 April 1894 in Summit and was buried there.
     Three years later, Lars Frandsen suffered a violent death. From the book Memories of Little Denmark,
Elsinore, Utah, we read: “Lars Frandsen did freighting, and was camped in Eldorado Canyon, Nevada when
the renegade Indian, Avot, went on a rampage and killed him and eight other people. (12 May 1897) Lars lived
just long enough to release his horses so they wouldn't stay there and starve. This Indian was chased by his own
tribe because of his actions, and when caught was killed by his own brother.” When the Hoover Dam was
made, the graves of these people were moved to a higher spot.
                                          MINNIE REMARRIES
     Even though the marriage of Lars and Minnie contained strife and discord, there were still many happy
moments that were remembered during the long, lonesome hours after the separation. People have been known
to say that “Someone to quarrel with beats living alone.” Minnie‟s youngest son, Engar, spent most of his time
at his brother Alma's home. Jeanette had gone to Salt Lake City where she obtained work. Forty-seven is a
good age to begin a new life.
    When Bishop Joshua W. Sylvester paid her the compliment of asking her to be his wife, it may have
seemed the answer to her problem. A deeply religious widower, only four years older than she, he had been
their bishop for the first twelve years during the pioneering of the new town, and is described by historians as a
highly respected and beloved man. Minnie and Bishop Sylvester were married 19 Dec 1894, and Minnie soon
learned that even well respected authorities have their irritating ways and objectionable personal
characteristics, the same as the rest of us. This loss of halo may have been disappointing to Minnie, however,
she always spoke highly of Sylvester‟s daughters and the way they treated her.
     She may have patiently borne the personality differences as part of married life and built a happy marriage
had he not insisted on moving to a place in far away Nevada, called “The Muddy.” Saints had been called to
pioneer there in 1865 and were called home in 1871. In 1880's several L.D.S. families settled on the old sites
of St Thomas, Overton and St Joseph where they fought a losing fight with poverty. (28) Just why Bishop
Sylvester wanted to go to such a place is not understood. Perhaps the challenge of pioneering was in his veins.
 Going there when called was hard enough, and we can easily understand Minnie‟s desire to remain where
living was more pleasant and where friends and children were around them. She told Joshua, “I have
Pioneered one place and that is enough.” Just when he went to “The Muddy” and when the divorce took place
has not been learned, but he went there and married another woman in 1908.
                             SUDDENLY IT‟S THE WINTER OF LIFE
    During early 1900's there were both joys and sorrows for Minnie. Grandchildren began arriving in 1904
and gave her much joy. Also, her longtime friend, Nellie Rosenquist Margaardsen was Relief Society
President in Elsinore from 1904 to 1911. (29)
     Minnie busied herself weaving rugs on her loom. She was in good health, but had poor eyesight. Perhaps
proper eye glasses would have been all she needed. When she became tired from such work, she would take a
walk to visit some of her friends. People loved to have her come and entertain them with accounts of the past
or recent events. She could tell a happening so humorously that her listeners would shake with laughter, and
claimed that she would have been a success as a stage comedian. “Laughter sort o' settles breakfast better than
digestive pills,” says Edgar A. Guest.
     Even though Minnie had cause to be downhearted, she endeared herself to her town people so much that
her ability to spread cheer was long remembered. Her friend, Olive Hansen, still alive at 85 years of age wrote
to your compiler (1972). “Mrs. Frandsen was a very dear friend of our family especially my mother‟s. She
visited at our home frequently. She was in business when I opened my little shoppe. (in Richfield) She was
getting older and was difficult for her to keep much stock on hand. I‟d let her have things that she needed to
finish an order and I was real glad to do this for her. She was a sweet, gentle lady and had so many friends in
Elsinore. I can say she was very well liked and was of a jolly nature.”
    Minnie loved to visit her son Alma and wife, Petrea. Alma took active part in Elsinore civic affairs being
member of the town board for three terms and the Town President one term. He was also one of the first
persons to own an automobile in Elsinore.
     On a busy washday, Minnie made a visit that was long remembered by her granddaughter, Aleith Levy.
Minnie entertained them while they kept pushing the heavy handle of the washing machine back and forth;
carrying wood and building fires to heat the water; turning the wringer; hanging the sweet-smelling clothes on
the line to dry, talking all the while, not letting their work mar the joy of a visit. The toil didn't end until the
floors were scrubbed and the kitchen in tip-top shape. As the two tired women sank down to rest and wipe their
perspiring faces, Minnie, sitting in her rocker, gave a big, tired sigh and asked, “What about it? Don't WE
washer-women get a cup of coffee?”
                          ********                                     *********
    Sorrow came in 1905 when her beloved sister, Lena Marie, passed away, the first of the Bertelsen children
to go. How Minnie tried to fill the empty spot for Lena Marie's grandchildren is beautifully told by her
granddaughter, Geneve Russell, as follows:
     Aunt “Meenie” as she was affectionately known, was the sister of my beloved grandmother Nicolena
Marie Bertelsen Baker. I remember many small and precious things about these two dear Danish women
during my childhood, but when Lena Marie died, aunt Meenie took her place as well as she could. There was
much difference in their personalities, my grandmother was small, dainty and we always thought — elegant!
She had a small millinery shop in Richfield just off the school grounds and we would go over at recess and
during the noon hour, and sometimes in the morning to thread a number of needles with various colored thread
to last her through the day, as her eyesight failed. I‟ll never forget her shop with the straw soaking in a pail that
she fashioned the hats from, also the buckrum that she cut and fit together to make the hats. The bonnets she
always brought on the Saturday night to our house for Aileen and I to wear Easter morning were the loveliest in
town and we wore them with pride and love for her. After she was gone Easter never seemed the same. Her
loving kindness to all of us after our father's death is a lasting memory for me. Her small home was next to
ours and in the mornings we would run over and she would make inspection, and sometimes give us breakfast
before school; take off our night caps and brush our curls; and send us on our way.
     After she was gone, it seemed Aunt Meenie made more trips to Richfield to be with our lonely widowed
mother, Minnie Bean. She was always so jolly and we looked forward to her visits. It was not long after she
arrived that she would call me to her side and open her purse, heavy with silver dollars, and say “Now, you go
down on your bicycle and bring us some doughnuts!” Aunt Etta and mother would be there, and she would
always give me the change for candy. When I got back they would have the kettle boiling and the table set for
tea, and they would visit and laugh and the sheer joy of their companionship is a lasting memory. I would sit
quietly in the corner, on a little stool mother had, and listen to their talk which sometimes drifted into Danish,
and I learned many of their words. Sometimes during their times of gossip one of those darlings would mention
my presence, and mother world always say, “Never mind her, my girls never mention anything they hear said
in this house.” How I swelled with pride in the knowledge that I truly belonged to this charmed circle.
    Aunt Meenie had her own millinery shop in Elsinore, and I remember so well the first Easter after
grandmother died, she came on Saturday night with hats for us. They were not the flowered bonnets that
grandma made, but were identical sailors, with crisp plaid ribbon on, no frills at all. I remember Aileen and I
thanking her, and then going up into the north bedroom and crying, never had we missed our grandma so
much! Nor felt such compassion for our dear Aunt Meenie.
    Aunt Meenie was a lusty, laughter loving soul who enjoyed a good story, and was always full of such tales,
although sometimes these women wept together over the tribulations they had, more often it was of the happier
things they talked, and the affection they felt for one another molded my life.
     When mother and Aunt Etta were preparing to go to conference in Salt Lake, she would ask me, “Which
would you rather do, go to Salt Lake to conference, or go over to Elsinore and stay with Aunt Meenie?” I
chose Aunt Meenie. Why? She let me do anything I wanted, gave me many bits of silk, ribbon, and feathers
for my doll clothes, and we would sit in that sweet little shop with all the fancy hats, and I would again take up
a listening post for the gossip that passed back and forth with the customers. She would let me take down her
hair and braid it into braids and put ribbons on it, and laugh when the women stared. I loved her! After a day
in the shop, we would go home to her little house near the foothills, and I shall always remember the
rattlesnakes that abounded on the hot rocks. They didn't scare her. She had a shotgun handy and I remember
her shooting down into the little cellar and bringing up a big snake. I was terrified, but said nothing. At night
in her little, clean whitewashed bedroom we would go to sleep. The ceiling had a factory-cloth ceiling. One
night I lay awake watching something writhing up there and the cloth billowing out first one place then
another. I was afraid and awakened her for an explanation. She said, “Oh yes, he is a big one who hasn't found
the way out. He can't get out, so go back to sleep.” Needless to say, I didn't.
    I remember her good little breakfasts, Danish pancakes and blueberry jam, and milk. She always sang and
laughed when she was preparing a meal and made me feel so wanted in her household. She lived alone after
her children married and was perhaps glad to have me. I know I was glad.
    Then sometimes mother would hire a good gentle horse from the livery stable and we would drive to
Elsinore to visit Aunt Meenie, me being the youngest got to go on these excursions. More visiting and sitting
in her cute little parlor with the china dogs I coveted, on the mantle, and the leather sofa and swing rockers,
and the inevitable tea party that followed. It took us all day for the trip, and I remember snuggling close to
mother as we started home in the twilight, hoping that one of the rare autos on the road didn't come along and
frighten the horse.
    Aunt Meenie never criticized any of us kids. Lou was pretty naughty, but she would say, “Oh, he is a good
boy, give him time to grow up.” It soothed me, as so many were so liberal with advice to mother about
handling him.
    One memorable day, Aunt Meenie‟s daughter, Jeanette Davis, drove to Richfield from Salt Lake City in
her big red car complete with uniformed chauffeur. The whole town watched and waited all day. Reports kept
coming in along the route and mother was hard put to keep the hot chicken dinner ready for them when they
came. We could hear the car coming for miles it seemed, and finally they drove up in a cloud of dust and Aunt
Jeanette stepped down from the high seat with a big hat tied with a big veil, and a white duster coat. She
looked like royalty! We all stared. It was a red letter day for Richfield, and I was proud they stayed at our
house. Aunt Meenie was so proud and happy, and everyone had a great time while it lasted.
     I remember going to a Danish conference and sitting between mother and Aunt Meenie (hot and
uncomfortable) while the long session in Danish went on and on. If I wiggled one little bit mother would give
me a little shake and say “hush.” I longed for it to end, and what sustained me was that I knew afterward there
would be the inevitable tea party with Aunt Etta coming over. I never wearied being with them, and picked up
a lot of Danish.
    It was a day of rejoicing when Aunt Lette came down from Summit, and Aunt Kista from Mt. Pleasant,
and also aunt Threna came, and the reunion was terrific. I didn't try to follow the Danish at these times, it was
too fast and furious. I sometimes wonder how they always put up with me at these sessions, because I was
always a permanent fixture, snuffing in a corner, all eyes and ears, and waiting for refreshments.
    Aunt Meenie was a very real and happy part of my childhood. She accepted me whole-heartedly, making
me feel important and loved, and brightening our days when she came to visit, always with a good story and a
laugh at some of the people they knew, lapsing into Danish at the most interesting parts, and then laughing at
me when she could see me trying to figure it out. I revere her memory and appreciate the ancestry of this
lovable and gentle soul. If grandmother was the quintessence of elegance and beauty, Aunt Meenie had the
down to earth, solid dependable quality that evened it all up between them.
                            ******                                         ******
    Minnie had entertained a desire to visit her sister, Lene Byergo, in Missouri and letters were being written
to make travel arrangements, when plans for a reunion in Utah changed her mind. This family reunion in
1908, commemorating the 100th anniversary of their father's birth was a never-to-be forgotten affair. Lene came
from Missouri and Anna came from Old Mexico. Minnie's daughter, Jeanette, sang a solo. (A copy of the
program has been included in the 1968 Bertelsen kit for our enjoyment. See also copies of letters regarding the
reunion in Lene Byergo‟s story in the 1971 kit.)
                                                 JOHN'S VALLEY
     A contagious fever of pioneering spread throughout central Utah in 1912 when John's Valley in Garfield
County, was opened for homesteading. “This round valley of nearly 7000 feet elevation is completely
surrounded by beautifully tinted mountains covered with heavy timber.” (30) Its beauty and promise of future
growth challenged young people who had difficulty obtaining employment or land in the crowded counties
where the first pioneers had acquired all of the choice acres. From the Widtsoe Ward records it was learned
that there were 718 members in the ward and 26 were Frandsens, so we can see why Minnie went along.
    It was the Elsinore pioneering days all over again: grubbing sage-brush, digging ditches, building cabins,
sheds, cow corrals, planting fields. Even though they worked hard, a closely knit isolated group like this have
many enjoyable times. Minnie and her sons Otto, Randolph and Engar, settled on the south-east of the valley
near the townsite, which was near the foothills on the east side of the valley close to the road going to
Escalante. When Minnie's cabin was nearly finished she said, „Now, I want to put the roof on my cabin,‟ and
she shingled it herself. She also said, „I like it here. It's quiet and restful; the air is so fresh. I like the pine trees
and the chirp of the cedarbirds and to gaze at the lovely sunsets.‟” (31) But Minnie became homesick, deeded
her homestead to Randolph and saying, “I'm going home and not come back,” she returned to her home in
Elsinore. (located 3 blocks west of Main Street and 1 block south of the State Highway.)
                            *****                                                    *****
    One by one, the Bertelsen family began answering death's call. First Threne in 1914 then Lars and Kisty in
1916. It is highly improbable that Minnie could go to Summit when Threne died, but Lars was buried in
Richfield in May and she may have met the family group there. Kisty was buried in Mt Pleasant during the
Christmas holidays. If Minnie's health at 69 permitted her to travel and if the weather was mild, she could have
been on hand to offer comfort to the bereaved family. When one could not attend the funerals of loved ones,
long letters were exchanged. The thick envelope, edged in black, holding details of the last sickness; the
funeral program and cloth samples of the burial clothes and coffin coverings, would be answered with heartfelt
                                              AT SALT LAKE CITY
     Minnie disliked the city with its hustle and noise, its hurrying crowds of strangers on the streets, its people
living so close together yet seeming to lack country-like neighborliness. In spite of these distractions and the
long, expensive train ride, Minnie made several trips to Salt Lake City to visit Jeanette who lived with her
husband, Billie Davis, on 3rd Ave, an elite residential part of the city.
     One warm day when Minnie was visiting, she went for a walk up the hill to the City Cemetery on 4th and
11th Avenues. After admiring the gravestones for awhile, she returned. “Not a very sociable place to go for a
walk,” said Jeanette. “They were just as sociable to me there as if I were on Main Street,” she laughingly said.
    Another time, when Minnie and Aleith were visiting, she was restless and kept walking from room to room
gazing out the various windows at the snowy streets. “I'm a bird in a gilted cage,” she said, then added, “No. A
bear in a gilted cage would be more appropriate.”
    On the train returning home, she had a sudden desire to stop in Mt Pleasant and visit with Anna Jane
Rasmussen, a daughter of her sister Kisty Jorgensen. After obtaining stop-over privileges, they got off at the
depot and began walking the slippery road to the Rasmussen home. Minnie, wearing black boots, black coat,
black hat and gloves, slipped and fell on her hands and knees. That instant, while stilt in that position, she
looked up at Aleith and said, “I told you I was a bear.” Taken by surprise by that quick remark, Aleith laughed
so hard she could hardly help her grandmother to her feet. Even though surprised by the unexpected visit, the
Rasmussens showed their guests a delightful time in their commodious home. (This well preserved, beautiful
home is now occupied (1972) by Jane's daughter, Esther R. Christensen, and has been awarded a plaque and
named to the Century Registry of Utah Historical Society.)
    For Minnie's birthday, June 15, 1925 a large party was given in Elsinore. Those who attended had a
blessed privilege. Little did they realize that before a month had passed, she would no longer be with them.
     Jeanette needed a chaperon for her children while she took a trip to Canada, where Engar lived. Minnie
distrusted city life so much that she would consent to go, only if Alma's daughter, Helen, would go with her.
Before Jeanette left for her Canadian trip, she met with an accident in her home. While the City was
celebrating the glorious Fourth of July, Minnie had the horribly shocking experience of watching her beloved
daughter fall down a full flight of stairs and lay there screaming with pain.
    Minnie, in a state of shock, began to shake from head to feet. Her arms and legs jerked and quivered.
Jeanette's two sons, Richard and Harry, ran to tell neighbors, who rushed to help. An ambulance soon hurried
Jeanette to the hospital where she died a few hours later from internal injuries.
    Meanwhile, Helen watched over her grandmother and had her taken to the home of Lena Marie's daughter,
Etta, and her husband Frank K. Seegmiller at 2746 So. 9th East. While Minnie was suffering in this manner, no
one dared tell her of the death until after the funeral for fear that the knowledge would aggravate her condition.
    “Why didn't you tell me sooner,” she sobbed, “I'd rather have been told. I seemed to know that she had
gone.” (32) Although her mind remained clear, her nerves did not calm down. Heavenly laughter beckoned
and she answered the call four days after her daughter, 8 July 1925 and was buried in Elsinore.
     The Deseret News of July 9th, printed the obituary on the front page of the second section and listed the.
following survivors: Otto Frandsen, Myton; Alma Frandsen, Elsinore; Dan Frandsen, Reno, Nevada;
Randolph Frandsen, Widtsoe, Engar Frandsen, Raymond, Alberta, Canada. (33) ****
    Minnie was also survived by her sister, Lene Byergo, in Missouri and several grandchildren.
    For the funeral program a friend, Mrs. W. M, Farney, said she had enjoyed Minnie's tales of her trip across
the plains and asked permission to prepare and read a life sketch of Minnie. We are grateful to Mrs. Farney for
doing this and thankful that a copy was available for us in the Daughters of Utah Pioneer files.
     Minnie was ahead of her time in many ways. When 85 Elsinore citizens petitioned Sevier County Court
for incorporation, 25 Nov 1889, Minnie was one of three women in the group. (34) Her long heroic life and
jolly nature will live on in the hearts of descendants and friends. Of her we can truly say that she “decreased a
bit the measure of misery in this sad world and increased a bit the measure of cheer.”

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