Saturday, July 24, 2010

A Celebration Of Our Pioneer Heritage -

The 24th of July celebration is alway a wonderful opportunity to remember our pioneer ancestors and reflect upon their lives. They sacrificed much for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In their darkest hours they remain true to the faith of what they believed in
The history of my Great Grandparents Eskild and Sena Peterson. 

Front Row Left Sena and Eskild -
 Note their Black Hawk Indian War Medals
Back Row Right My Grandfather Ernest

        Hans Peter Christensen with his wife and three children lived at Fouting, Denmark. He was on the Police Force for many years. It was here his son Eskild Christian was born, January 18, 1840.
          Missionaries from the Mormon Church were in Denmark teaching the gospel. When the Christensen’s were told of the gospel and the wonderful Zion in the mountains of Utah in America; Mrs. Christensen was converted, and was ready to go to America.   In 1861, she took her two children and started for America. (Her oldest child Christian Karl died when he was 7 months old.) The father remained in Denmark uninterested in their new found religion. He came to America later but we don’t know for sure when. We do know that it was sometime after 1882. He was buried in the old Richfield Cemetery up by the old Richfield High School.
          When they came to America Mrs. Christensen bought an Ox team and wagon with which to travel across the plains. In the winter of 1861, they reached Salt Lake City and settled in Mill Creek for awhile and then went on to Mt. Pleasant, Utah.  In the long trip across the country, they endured many hardships common to pioneers. Fuel was scarce and they were compelled to gather up anything that would burn to cook their food.
          When they reached Mt. Pleasant, Mrs. Christensen gave her Ox team to Eskild and this he used to haul logs for their cabins. He built a home for his mother and one for himself. We do not have a record of when he changed his name to Peterson, which was a Danish custom. The name Peterson was because he was the son of Peter Christensen.
          In the same year the Hans Peter Christensen family left Foutin, Denmark, the family of Niels Christian Christensen left Aalborg, Denmark. They were on the same ship called the Monarch of the Sea. They came to America with six children, among them was their daughter Andesine Margarethe (Sena) Christensen. Her family settled in Spring City, Sanpete County, Utah. Eskild and Sena met on the ship while coming to America. They were married in Mt. Pleasant, Sanpete County, Utah on May 16, 1863.
          In the fall of 1863-64, a party of ten men under the leadership of Albert Lewis, came from Sanpete and arrived in what is now Richfield. The season was very cold and traveling conditions were slow. Upon arrival they were bone tired but not discouraged. After cooking their meager supper and tending to their weary oxen and horses, they made their crude beds for the night. The only sounds were the wail of coyotes and the occasional rustle of the underbrush. Weak men might have been appalled by the desolation and sheer loneliness of the country, but not the sturdy pioneers. These men were Albert Lewis, Robert Wilson Glenn, Christian Olsen, C.O. Hansen and his brother Hands Olsen Hansen, Nelson Higgins, August Nelson, George Ogilvie, Jorgen Smith and Eskild c. Peterson. There is a monument in the Richfield City Park with all these names on it.
          They made for a dwelling place for all the men what would later be called “The Hole in the Ground.” They carefully covered this hole with brush, willows and other materials and made a chimney of rocks. This was built to resemble an Indian Wick up. This strange abode was located about where McKinley’s Garage was standing on Main Street in Richfield. Here these sturdy men spent the remainder of the winter, planning and preparing for the time they could bring their families to the land of promise.
          In 1864 President Orson Hyde called by letter a meeting of about 30 families from Mt. Pleasant to go to Richfield and join with those already there. The first dwelling places were dugouts, with willow and dirt roofs. They then built houses of adobe because clay dirt was available as a building material; logs and lumber weren’t. Because of Indian troubles settlers were prevented from long trips into the mountains. Consequently, there were few log or lumber houses in early Richfield.  They tried several times to get their families moved here but the Indians kept forcing them back to Sanpete.
          In 1866, Eskild served in Captain George Tucker’s Calvary Company. He went to Thistle Valley, a distance of 18 miles from his home in Mt. Pleasant. He served under Colonel John L. Ivie. When they arrived they relieved a company under the command of a Lt. Dewey. This company had been attacked by Indians on the morning of June 24th. They fought them all day and the Indians killed one man and wounded another. They then wounded or killed all the horses. He served under Captain Tucker all summer.
          During the summer of 1867, he served under Colonel John L. Ivie; they were under the command of Captain Orange Seely’s Cavalry Company. He was with this company June 1, when the Fountain Green Cow herd was taken by the Indians. They helped recover the Stock, but the Indians got away with 40 head of horses. He was also in the skirmish at Spring City, August 13, 1867 when the Indians made a raid on their cow herd, killing several men. He was a minute man for three years during the Black Hawk Indian War. 
 The following information is taken from his Obituary in the Richfield Reaper April 1923.
           When E. C. Peterson lived in Mt. Pleasant before Richfield was settle, he and another young man by the name of Peter Christensen journeyed to the place where now Richfield stands. They brought an Ox team, and spent a large part of the winter hunting deer which were plentiful in the western foothills. The deer were brought to Mt. Pleasant and traded for wheat. At this time Indians were very hostile to the “pale faces” and one traveling in those days through the valley never knew what minute he would be pierced by arrows or shot from ambush. But Eskild never hesitated to risk his life in prosecuting Indian bands when they had made a raid on white settlements, and took part in many skirmishes. One time he went by Ox team to Fairview, and then called North bend, to gather some hops which grew abundantly along the creek and was used for making Danish beer. Leaving camp to get some fresh water a band of thirty Indians on horseback swooped down on him. He was all alone, but luck would have it that he was well armed with a six shooter and a rifle. Luckily his position was such that the Indians could approach him from one side only. This they did demanding that he give up his arms which he refused to do. Then the Indians asked him to bring them some water, and unafraid he complied with the requests until all the Indians had had their share, but always carrying the bucket in one hand and the gun in the other. The red men, realizing that he would shoot at their first suspicious movement; they did not attack him and retired in a southerly direction towards Mt. Pleasant.  Peterson waited until dark, then put on the front seat of the wagon a pole, hanging hat and coat thereon like he would sit there, and followed the wagon homeward bound, a gun in each hand, expecting every minute to be attacked by the band. He reached his home, however, without being molested. But next morning he heard that the same Indians had killed and scalped a sheep herder near the place where Peterson had met them the day before.
          Later on the Indians made a raid on Salina and drove off nearly all the cattle up Salina, canyon. Peterson and a company of men from Salina followed the Indians up the canyon. They were following a trail on a side hill through thick cedars when suddenly the Indians, entrenched in the cliffs above, opened fire on them and they were forced to retreat to Salina. The Indians killed two men beating along the creek on their way out with cattle. The next day the settlers were reinforced and set out again to overtake the Indians. They recovered most of the cattle and horses, followed the Indians as far east as Green River, where they again had to give up the chase. On their way back they lost their trail and almost lost their lives for want of water and food. When at the point of giving up all hopes of finding their way back they ran onto a little spring and being nearly exhausted from starvation they decided to kill a horse for food, when suddenly some men appeared at a distance. They thought they were Indians, but as luck would have it, it was a company with supplies, and again he was spared and the entire posse returned to Salina.These are only a few of the many narrow escapes Eskild C. Peterson had when Sanpete and Sevier counties were first settled.
 He moved his family to Richfield and built a one room adobe house with willows and a red dirt roof. They lived in this until the Indians became so hostile; they had to move back to Mt. Pleasant.
          In 1871 he, with many other people returned to Richfield eager to make a new beginning. Eskild C. Peterson was a most capable and useful man, a true pioneer who knew how to adjust himself to his new environment.
          According to Peter Peterson, son of E.C. Peterson, the old cabin which is the Richfield DUP Relic Hall, North of the Library was built about 1878 on the Peterson lot on First South and First East Streets in Richfield, Utah. The logs to build it were hauled from Cove Mountain by Peter and his father. He was but a small boy of ten, but he rode a horse, dragging the logs to the wagon. When they returned home with the logs, the boy sat on them to steady them while his father hewed and shaped them with an ax. After the cabin was finished, a year or two later, it was used for a granary.
          He helped dig the first canal in Richfield, this was done with spades, later he was a director of this canal. He was in a partnership with James M. Peterson in the first Workingmen’s Co-op store and was Superintendent of that store for eight years. He was manager of the Right-of-way when the train first came to Richfield. He was County Treasurer from 1876-78. He was a City Councilman for three different terms. He was a director of the Otter Creek Reservoir and Superintendent for several years.
          He freighted hides and grain and wool to various points in Nevada and Utah. Some of the trips would take him more than two weeks.
          He worked hard and long when the train first came to Richfield. His partner Niels Poulson was drowned in a flood in one of the creeks south of Richfield. Niels had all the papers with him when he went down the stream, so Eskild had to pay many of the working men from his own money. Also pay for much of the material that was used to build the railroad track. This caused him much worry and anxiety.
          According to Eudora Miller’s history of her mother, she said “The women were wondering and worrying how and where they could get something they could prepare for food for their families. She would stand in line with other women waiting her turn to grind a little barley in a coffee mill owned by E.C. Peterson, for mush or bread and then cooking what little food she obtained at the fireplace that had no grate.”
          While he was a young man he had the misfortune of having one of his eyes put out while hunting deer. The cartridge exploded and left a piece of copper in his eye. He lay for many months at deaths door, however his good wife dug wild flag roots and pounded them until they became soft and moist. She put this on his eye to draw the infection out. When he was well enough to ride to Salt Lake City, he was taken to the doctor and the doctor removed the piece of copper. However, he lost the sight of his eye and wore a glass eye.
          They were the parents of nine children, Christine Marie (Stena Erickson, Peter Christian, Andrea Sean, Laura, Clara (Clara Devine), Charley, Ernest and Flossie, (Floss Kirkman).
          Grandma Sena Peterson died February 21, 1922 in Richfield, Utah. Our father Ernest Lewis Peterson died April 5, 1922 and Grandpa Eskild Peterson died April 19, 1923

My Grandfather Ernest was one of their children.
       

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