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Our Pehrson Ancestors: John Solomon and Christina Nilson Pehrson

Researched and Compiled by: Gwen Ballard Pehrson, Granddaughter in-law to John Solomon and Christina Pehrson

Arranged by: Alvina McAllister Pehrson, Granddaughter in-law to John Solomon and Christina Pehrson

Long ago, on a cold day in December, in the far away country of Sweden, there was born a baby boy who later was to be one of the most important men in the history of the Pehrson family. His name was John Solomon Pehrson. (John Solomon Pehrsson, 3 Dec. 1842)

In that same country, in a neighboring village, three years later, a baby girl was born (Christina Nielsen, 16 Mar. 1845) who also was to become equally as important to us. These two children were reared in their respective families in the usual Swedish fashion and traditions of that day. They thrilled with the joys and fun that the games of children in that country provided. They loved and grew excited over the Christmas seasons and all of the special days in that country. They learned to work hard, to be kind to others and to be thrifty and careful with everything they had. Many of these traits were embedded deeply into their characters and as they grew up they became fine citizens of whom their families were proud.

As they grew into young adulthood, they fell in love and were married (27 April 1866 by the Minister J. Boberg). (He is listed as a farmer from Broddat, and she is listed as a farmer’s daughter from Krakahult.) At this time, John Solomon was about 24 years old and Christina was about 21. They set up their own household and here practiced the industry and thrift with which their lives had been instilled.

The following year, 20 Oct. 1867, their hearts were filled with joy at the birth of their first child, a little girl, whom they named Petronella Amanda, but two months later, 22 Dec. 1867, they experienced the deep sorrow of losing this tiny baby. This of course, was a dreadful shock and disappointment to them. This little spirit had been with them just long enough to entwine their heart strings and their very souls ached with the pain of losing her.

However, God was good to them for two years later, 17 Jan. 1869, their first baby boy, Nils Anthon, was born. He was the beginning of a large family. There was Hilda Maria (27 Aug. 1879), Frans Lameck (17 Sept. 1873), Per August (8 Feb. 1875), Carl Julian Wilhelm (21 Feb. 1881), Alma Augusta (6 June 1884), and four years later they again experienced the visit of death in their family when a baby boy was born to them and died the same day (23 Sept. 1888).

This constituted their family and with these six living children, two girls and four boys they made their place in life, in their community and in their country. They taught their children in the principles by which they had been raised. Encouraged them to work, play fairly, and deal honestly. They, like their parents before them, carried on the Swedish traditions and their family was happy together.

John Solomon was a merchant by trade and as we understand it, had a small business of his own, buying Lingenberries, (a small tasty berry that is used for jams and preserves) locally and then packed them and exported them to Germany and to Russia. He was living in the city of Kronoberg when he started his business, but soon found it difficult to get the berries to the shipping port before they spoiled, so about 1870 - 1873 he moved his family, which consisted of his wife and two children to the city of Halmstad, which was the center of the shipping business, this was much more convenient for him and his business improved.

He found an apartment for his family and here they lived, as each of the other children were born into the family.

John Solomon was a studious man and his thinking went deep. One day he heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ being preached and as soon as he heard it, he became converted and knew it was the religion he was waiting for. Up to this time the family had belonged to the Lutheran Church, this new religion had a familiar ring to his ear and he readily accepted it. However, Christina had been raised in a very strict Lutheran home and it took quite a bit of persuasion to convert her.

During this time, the two Mormon missionaries, August Westeberg and J.B. MacDonald were in their home many times explaining the gospel to the family and also partaking of their hospitality. Christina soon realized that this truly was the right religion and the family were all baptized by these two Elders who had first brought them this new Gospel.

Shortly after this, John Solomon and Christina had the very great misfortune of losing most of their belongings in a fire. The apartment building where they lived caught fire. Augusta was a tiny baby just a few days old and was sleeping in her crib. As Christina was frantically trying to get her children out of the burning building, one of the neighbors rushed in to the bedroom and plucked Augusta out of her crib. Christina raced back to get her baby but couldn’t find her. (She didn’t know that she had already been rescued.)

She went from room to room groping her way through the smoke desperately trying to find her. She finally was forcibly removed from the building and had to be restrained from again entering the inferno to find Augusta. She watched in horror as the fire engulfed the building and she thought her baby was burning. At last the neighbor who had rescued Augusta stumbled through the crowd and confusion and found Christina to tell her that her baby was safe. It would be impossible to express her joy, relief and gratitude to learn that Augusta was alive. Perhaps it helped soften the blow of losing all of their other belongings. They now had to start from scratch again. Neighbors and friends helped them out for a time with clothes, lodging, etc. but things were never the same.

This tragedy coupled with the call of the church to “Come to Zion”, decided them to leave their home land of Sweden and come to America. There wasn’t enough money for the family to all come at the same time, so Frans was sent with August Westeberg who was returning home from his missionary labors. Frans was 14 years old at the time and after he arrived had to pretty much shift for himself until the family arrived.

He was homesick and nearly starved when they joined him. Anthon, being the oldest, and having a job, was able to save enough money to pay his own fare, traveling with some missionaries or group of Saints who were also coming to Utah. Finally in 1889 they gathered the rest of the family together and what precious few things they had saved from the fire, a few clothes, some large copper kettles, a wall clock and a small number of household items and secured steerage class passage on the Steamship Wyoming, that was to take them to a new land, new home and a new way of life. They sailed for two weeks on the water before arriving in New York and then as was the custom all of the saints came on to Utah by train and settled in Salt Lake where they established their first home in America, and where John Solomon procurred work in the tithing office.

The family were all a little disappointed in America when they arrived. The two missionaries who converted them in Sweden had spoken almost reverently of America and had painted a very pretty picture. Of course these two missionaries were undoubtedly homesick and their perspective was greatly exaggerated and probably without meaning to, they implanted in the minds of the Pehrson family a place almost equal to heaven.

When they arrived, they saw barren plains, rugged mountains, wide open spaces and very ordinary cities and they were greatly disappointed. However, they soon accepted it and made America their permanent home.

Their stay in Salt Lake was not long for they soon moved to Newton, Utah to find the new home that would satisfy the family, but Christina Pehrson hated it here because it was so muddy so they moved on to Logan, Utah and for a time they lived in the house that is located at 59 No. 5th East. Even later they purchased a plot of ground from their oldest son Anthon, who was by this time making his own way and had established his own home. This lot was located at 1154 Canyon Road and to this lot was moved an old log house that had been standing at the head of the irrigation ditch, east on Canyon Rd., and here they made their permanent home. Their furniture in this home was very simple. For a time wooden boxes served as cupboards, chairs and other purposes until such time as they were able to afford and procure better furnishings in this house.

John Solomon Pehrson worked at odd jobs when he arrived here in Logan in order to support his family, but mainly he made his living as a market gardener, selling his produce to the local downtown merchants. He was also a fair carpenter and soon, with his skill and his help of other carpenters, his house was remodeled and one room at a time was added and improved until it soon stood an attractive, modest home that they and the family were proud of. He then added a small barn where they kept their cows and other animals and then soon built a carriage house to house their buggy and his other implements. They had their own chickens and most often raised one or two pigs that they butchered or sold. Among the other accomplishments, he was also a successful Bee-Keeper and at harvest time would extract the honey from the combs himself. He owned a horse that he called “Prince.” Most of the time this horse had to be urged a little when he went to town to take his produce but coming home was a different matter. He sometimes hurried much faster than John Solomon liked. At one time he bought a horse from a man who guaranteed it to be a “real good horse.” After John Solomon paid him the money the man left. John Solomon “hitched” the horse to the buggy “and a wild time was had” for the horse was uncontrollable. The man who sold him the horse had disappeared and for while he had a rough time with this horse until he was finally able to get rid of it.

Christina too was very industrious and under her deft hands, this place was turned into a comfortable home where family and friends loved to come. She was a good cook, an immaculate housekeeper and a very frugal homemaker. She made the most of everything they had.

As time went on, their family grew up and married and all had established themselves in this community.

Anthon had served an LDS mission to Sweden, and had married Johanna Hakanson. He was now established in the greenhouse business in Logan. They had two children, Nettie and F. Anthon.

Frans was now working at a harness and wagon shop and was married to a divorcee with 6 children. Her name was Augusta Matilda Olson. They had three boys of their own, Lavon, who died Bight’s Disease at the age of eight, and William Edwin, and Earl Herman.

Peter was a very successful cement contractor in Logan. He married Esther Ecklund and they had five children: Evelyn, Lester, Leone, Leroy and Ruth.

Carl was an electrical engineer and was working for the Utah Power and Light Co., and later went into business of his own. He married Elizabeth Larsen, and they had six children: Phyllis, Ruth and Ruby (twins), Erma, Calvin and Carl. Carl died just a few days after birth.

Augusta worked at the knitting mills until she met and married Boon Bunderson, and moved with him to St. Charles, Idaho where she helped him raise the younger members of his family and five of their own six children: Virginia, Velma, Rula, June and Elaine. Evelyn died while a baby. Hilda lived the longest with her father and mother. Later in her life she married Emanuel Peterson and helped him raise his family. After his death, she returned to live with her parents again. She took in washings and ironings to earn her money.

Her mother of course helped her with this work. She had a washing machine with a hand pump that was worked back and forth to get the clothes clean. She also had a copper tub that she rinsed the clothes in. Phyllis mentioned visiting with them on different occasions when this washing process was going on and remembered how beautiful the blueing water looked in that shining copper tub.

Soon after this, their son Pete, died with the Flu, leaving his wife and children. John Solomon and Christina took their son Pete’s Evelyn and Ruth (the youngest children) into their home and loved and cared for them as their own. Ruth was just a little child and they idolized her. Two years later, this precious Ruth died, leaving another empty space in their hearts and in their lives.

The John Solomon Pehrson family had a friendly time together. Sunday was the gathering day for the family and friends. Hilda would prepare a large smorgasbord and everyone would be fed. The funny papers were read. John S0olomon would play his violin and Carl would play his Edison records. Many of the grandchildren still remember what a lot of wonderful food was spread on the table. They were always advised to “Eat until your forehead was tight.” These people had brought with them from the old country the traditions of hospitality and sociability that is a trademark of the Swedish people and they enjoyed these little parties and entertainments. They always spoke Swedish in their home and most of their friends with whom they associated also spoke in the native tongue. Some of their good friends were the Bertlesons, Westebergs, Johansons, Lindaloves, John Lundbergs, Matts Mattsons, Selma Monson, Mr. and Mrs. Anderson and the Sjostroms. The latter, the Sjostroms, were real “Swedes” and many were the Christmas Eves spent together, eating Lutfisk and reliving all the old Swedish customs.

Some time the Sjostroms would come to their home for the evening, then the Pehrsons would spend an evening with the Sjostroms in their home. In this case they very often would stay all night because it was too far to come home in the cold and their only mode of transportation was to ride in the wagon they owned or to walk.

Christina always made Lutfisk for the holiday season, using the method she had learned from her family while in Sweden.

John Solomon had a little schooling while he was a child and he could read and write. Christina didn’t have the opportunity of any schooling at all, but taught herself how to read. However she never learned how to write. When she came to America she was at a disadvantage again because whe couldn’t read English, so her reading material was confined to her Swedish “Biblin” (Bible) some Swedish books that they brought with them and some Swedish nespapers.

John Solomon was a stickler for neatness in everything that surrounded him. You could never find any weeds in his garden or about his place.

John Solomon was a very good Mormon and kept the word of wisdom religiously. He would not drink coffee and wouldn’t let Christina have any either. She loved her coffee however and contrary to his instructions, would always keep a little coffee pot and a can of coffee hidden. Many times after he would go to town in his buggy, Grandma would get “kaffee torstig” (coffee thirsty) and would whisper to Evelyn, “now, we shall have a little coffee”. Out would come the pot and the coffee and she an Evelyn would make and drink their coffee, hurry and wash the dishes and then hide the pot and the coffee again. John Solomon would come home and was none the wiser.

John Solomon had another “hesten” (horse), that he hooked to his wagon and would go to town and take the vegetables and fruit. This horse too, took him to town very slowly. The only time he could get it to hurry was when it was on the way home. Then it would come home in a rush.

John Solomon, and also his son Anthon, raised strawberries for market and would employ young boys and girls in town to pick them at harvest time. One day, near the end of harvest season when the strawberries were small and not so many, these young people were getting discouraged. They weren’t making as much money now as they were when the patch was at its peak so they decided they would go on strike for higher wages. They sat down in the field and waited. They soon saw a man coming toward them and they fully expected it to be Anthon with whom they were ready to stand their ground and state their demands, but instead it turned out to be John Solomon with his soft blue eyes, and his long white beard, and his aged bent back. At sight of him, their hearts melted and they went back to berry picking without a word. Their only thought was, “how could they strike against this kind old man.”

John Solomon Pehrson was a very calm person. Christina Pehrson, in contrast, had a little quick temper. This combination went well together for they were very happy and never quarreled.

During his declining years when he found his work too strenuous for him, John Solomon spent his time doing a great deal of Temple work. He did many many endowments for the dead and enjoyed the time he spent there.

John Solomon and Christina Pehrson celebrated their 50th Golden Wedding in 1916. Their children went together and purchased a beautiful violin. They had lived together for 54 years.

For many years he had suffered severely with Asthma and on Dec. 19, 1920, John Solomon Pehrson died in the clutches of the dread disease. He is buried in the Logan City Cemetery.

Christina Pehrson lived on in their home with Hilda by her side for two years and then on the 30th of Sept. 1922, she died from causes due to old age and she too was laid to rest in the Logan Cemetery, beside her husband. From these two illustrious people has sprung a posterity, all of whom I feel sure they would be justly proud.

It has been said many times that the Pehrsons were good providers. They are like the squirrels; they work hard and save for a rainy day. They have never gone hungry.

All of these characteristics have been handed down to the children of these two people, John Solomon Pehrson and Christina Nielson Pehrson, our parents, grandparents, great grandparents and now great great grandparents.

The home that they made here in Logan still stands and with some remodeling and a few things added and some taken away, it now houses the great grandchildren and the great great grandchildren of these mighty ancestors of ours. We owe them much. Through their courage, understanding and strength, we have been given the greatest gift God has given his people today, “The Gospel of Jesus Christ.” They were the first of our Pehrson ancestors who heard, and understood and accepted its meanings. Through their fortitude and faith, we are living in the most blessed land on earth and are free to do our own choosing. Our thanks, appreciation and gratitude to you dear grandparents. May we live to make us worthy and to make you proud of the efforts and struggles you put forth to give it to us. A Tibute to the Pehrsons

I want to direct these remarks to the young Pehrson’s of today, for it is my belief that we may not have made you realize how proud you should feel to bear the Pehrson name, the older ones here know all of these things and probably we take for granted that you should too. I don’t say these things to you in a bragging manner or in any way with an air of arrogance but with humility and a sincere pride in the accomplishments of this family.

You can be justly proud of your ancestory. They were a noble people, honest and hardworking. They did not expect the world to hand them a living or make things easy for them. They made the most of every opportunity that came their way and were happy in the knowledge that they were self-sufficient as far as the things of this world are concerned.

They had a deep faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and lived very worthy lives, complying by all the laws and commandments the Lord has given us.

The first generation that we are concerned with was John Solomon and Christina Pehrson, the first Pehrsons who came to this country. They had joined the Church in Sweden and heeded the call to join the Saints in Zion. It wasn’t an easy thing for them to do but their faith was strong and so was their belief in the Gospel. They came here and made a fine reputation for themselves. They were friendly, honest, hard working and unpretentous, raised their family and were proud of them. The second generation took from the examples of their parents and built good qualities upon that foundation. Nils Anthon became a florist and became known valley and state wide. Pete was a cement contractor and a very capable one, much of his work still stands. Frans died young but in the few years he lived he became a very proficient iron worker. Carl became an electrical contractor and owned his own shop. He was known through out the valley as a good electrician. Augusta worked in the knitting mills for a time before she married and raised a fine family. Hilda stayed at home many years helping her parents before she married. She married a widower and helped him raise his family. Upon his death she returned to live with her parents and then took in washing and ironing to become self sufficient, she was always proud of her white washes.

The third generation have done equally as well. They also have become well known and respected. Nettie owns her own store, a feed and seed shop, Tony has become a florist and nurseryman. Bill worked as a sheet metal employee until January 1929, then he joined the Logan-Cache Fire Department, and retired from the Fire Department March 1st 1954. Earl is one of the officials at the Browning Chevrolet in Ogden, later he was employed as assistant manger of the Ben Lomond Bank. Evelyn and Leone have fine jobs in Salt Lake City and are supporting themselves. Lester has his own service station and auto repair in Denver, Colorado; he has three children; one boy and two girls. Calvin is with the radio department as Sears Robuck and Company and is a genius at fixing radios, TV’s and phonographs.

Ruth is a private secretary at Thiokol and is proficient in music. Phyllis is a trained nurse and an accomplished pianist. Erma is a trained violinist and an outsanding classical guitarist. Ruby is the mother of five children and has a fine family.

Virginia, Rula, Velma and Elaine are all fine outstanding women, and have raised fine families and taken their places in the communty and Church affairs. June is secretary at the High School in Montpelier and served an L.D.S. Mission.

So you can see they have all become famous in their own fields. They are a highly respected people. The Pehrsons of Logan are some of the leading citizens. There are not criminals or jailbirds or notorious characters in the family and we are happy to say that the fourth generation is starting out the same way. All are finding their places in society in a respectable manner. They too are honest and hard working

So be pround of your Pehrson name. Hold your head high, not snooty or vain or smarty, but be proud in your hearts. Honor and revere the Pehrson name. The same good qualities that guided our grandparents are in you and the talents there also. Magnify them and make these same grandparents and parents proud of you. We cannot be saved on the laurels of these fine people but must develop our own good attributes.

Strive to be worthy of bearing the Pehrson name and emulate it. Make it continue to be respected and known for good.