Monday, July 23, 2012

Our 24th of July Celebration - Honoring Our Pioneer Heritage~

Sena Christensen Peterson
Here is a short history of my great grandmother, Sena. Sena Christensen was born Nov. 13, 1846, in Aaby, Aalborg, Denmark. She was the daughter of Neils Christian and Mette Christendatter Christensen.
When the missionaries from the LDS Church came to see them and told them of the gospel and the wonderful Zion in the mountains of America, they decided to go to the land of plenty. In 1861 her father, mother, and their six children left their native land. Sena was next to the youngest and was just 13 years old.
They sailed from Liverpool, England, Thursday, May 16, 1861. They were passengers on the ship "Monarch of the Sea." There were 955 Saints of various nationalities on board.....
While she was aboard the ship, she met her future husband, Eskild Christian Peterson. The company arrived in New Your City, June 19, 1861.
They joined a handcart company, and began their journey to Salt Lake City, Utah. During the long trip across the country, they endured many hardships common to pioneers. Fuel was scarce and they were compelled to gather anything that would burn, to cook their food. Sena, though only a girl, walked a large part of the way across the plains, helping to carry her younger sister. She also gave up her turn to ride when a woman, who was ill, needed to ride. Sena and her family settled in Spring City, she went to work in Mt. Pleasant which was six miles away. When she got homesick, she would walk the six miles to Spring City to see her mother. On one of these trips home a band of Indians overtook her and tried to take her away on one of their horses but by some good fortune, she managed to escape, frightened nearly to death. She worked a whole year for cloth for a calico dress. When she tried to make the dress, she lacked enough material for one sleeve.
She married Eskild Christian Peterson May 16, 1864, in Mt. Pleasant, Utah. She was 16 years old Her husband and nine other men......moved to Sanpete County. They tried several times to move their families to Richfield, but the Indians kept forcing them back to Sanpete. Finally in 1871 they were able to return to Richfield, but their lives were not easy because grasshoppers destroyed the crops.
They planted sugarcane and made molasses. This sugarcane saved their lives many times as Sena and her children hid in it whenever her husband was away and they saw the Indians coming. Her Husband was a minute man and was called out at all hours of the night to fight the Indians. Whenever the drum would beat they would run for the sugarcane to hide for their protection.
One night when her husband was called away, they heard an awful noise outside. They thought it was Indians, and her daughter tried to hide a candle light so the Indians could not see it. She accidentally caught an old curtain on fire. While Sena was trying to put the fire out, on of her sleeves caught fire. She quickly stuck her arm in the only bucket of water in the house and extinguished the fire. They had to stay up all night because they had on locks on the doors.
Sena and Eskild had nine children. She died Feb. 24, 1922, in Richfield, Utah.
The Family of Sena and Eskild Peterson
My grandfather's is the last one on the left top.
This is Sena and Eskild's first home in Richfield, Utah
This home has been preserved by the Daugher's of the Utah Pioneers~

Just a few thought today on the pioneers. I find it amazing that my own ancestors pulled handcarts and walked over a 1,000 miles to Zion. We often times look at our ancestry and marvel at all they went through and asked ourselves how did they do it? How did they walk 1,000 miles pulling a handcart so that they might worship their God in peace. They gave their all to the cause of Zion. Many lost their parents, spouses and children due to the harsh circumstances they were in. Once here they had to build homes, farms, business from scratch. We acknowledge that their trials were physical and severe but not the same as ours.
As I reflect upon the differences; perhaps ours are not that different. They loved their families and cried and grieved over the ones they lost. In our generation we can save our children through modern medicine. However, I have seen an increase in many children that have diseases that were unknown then. We watched our granddaughter suffer much through a bone marrow transplant for a rare disease. Even with modern medicine we see much suffering.
 There was persecution then and now. We are in a fight for our freedom and our constitution.  Gangs, mafia,Terrorists, and deranged individuals plague our nation. Terrorists attacks and wars continue on as part of our struggles. Fear of job loss, homes and other financial reversals are prevalent. The social ills of pornography, and violence surround us us. Our children are living in an ever present evil world that wasn't there in the pioneer era. Our pioneers were salwart, brave and true to their beliefs. We must in turn be salwart, brave and true to our beliefs.
We are modern day pioneers of today's era.


Sistas in Zion said...

We love learning the stories of valient women of faith. Thank you for sharing the history of your great grandmother. Daughters of Utah Pioneers is such a great organization, the have perserved so much history. Have a blessed Pioneer Day tomorrow!

Denise said...

Enjoyed learning this history, thanks.

Just Ramblin' said...

Thanks for sharing this sweet story of your pioneer heritage. I love reading these stories. They are so faith promoting. Some of my husbands
ancestors also came from Denmark and
worked in the coal industry in Spring City (if I remember correctly)
I look at this little house and often
wonder how they all fit inside and yet I know how grateful they were to have a roof over their heads. I often reflect upon their lives and wonder if I could have been so strong, but like you mention we also have our trials and I imagine they would wonder if they could live in our times.
Thanks for sharing! Nola

Renee said...

What an amazing woman! Thanks for sharing her story with us. It's encouraging to read about what others went through in the past. It gives me hope that we'll overcome all the things you mentioned at the end of your post.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for telling this story of your ancestor, it is so interesting as all true life stories are. There are many hardships, sufferings we have to endure and fight today and as you say it is just a different hardship from our ancestors.

Darlene said...

It was so interesting to read about your great great grandmother, LeAnn. It is amazing to know about all the hardships they endured. Sometimes I wonder if our ancestors had known all that they would have to go through, if they would even have left their old countries. Life must not have been that great for them there though either.

They had so much faith and that is what we must have these days too. There is so much horror in our country with all the filth our children are exposed to, to say nothing about all the wars rumors of wars......our young people are leaving the church in droves. It sickens my heart. We see so much of it in our own ward. Maybe it is not so bad in Utah. I can only hope not.

The Adventurer said...

How amazing you know so much about your family when so many of us haven't a clue. My family comes from Scotland and we tried looking up our family tree but could only go so far because the church were the records were kept burnt down:(. Amazing story

Eve said...

I enjoyed reading this post you wrote.

It made me think the early pioneers were people just like us: flesh and blood, aches and pains, biases and limited by human perceptions. But many of them held fast to their faith in Jesus Christ in the face of severe difficulties and disappointments, doing their level best to be true to him in how they lived their lives.

That is something I can appreciate, and in that way, work towards living up to! So glad you shared that story!

Sue said...

These old accounts and photos are so interesting. Thanks for being so generous with them!



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