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Wilford Larsen, son of Hans P. & Eleanor Larsen

I remember Daddy Commenting how good his neighbor Wm I Sorensen was to him. When he was a child he loved to build things and Wm I gave him his first hammer and nails and always encouraged him to do things for himself. Daddy and Wm I built the kitchen, pantry and porch onto the old family home. Daddy built all the buildings around our yard. Chicken coops, pig pen, grainery, barn and a small workshop and garage. When Lee Larsen and I remodeled our homes, Daddy was there each time we were working to help.

July 17, 1984 – by Barbara Larsen Woodward, daughter of Wilford Larsen. (or pa)


Written by his wife,

Hannah Acomb Larsen.

Peter Larsen was born March 5, 1878, in Mendon, Utah. He was the son of Hans Peter and Eleanor Shelton Larsen. His father was one of the first settlers in Mendon – a real pioneer. His mother was born in Philadelphia as her parents were on the way to Utah to join the saints there. She was a fine, noble woman.

Peter was the oldest of nine living children. Three had passed on in infancy. As they were not rich enough to hire help, he had to go to work on the farm quite young and really helped to raise the younger family.

His schooling was very meager. He was taken out for spring work and kept out until the fall work was done. So a winter quarter every year was the most of what he spent in school. He was very studious as a boy and as a young man. He was a great reader and thus became a self-educated man. He was very active in church work from the time he was a deacon. I think he was a counselor in all the Aaronic Priesthood Quorums. As a young man he was a teacher in Sunday School for a number of years. He also was a counselor in M.I.A. For a great many years he was Secretary and Treasurer for the Y.M.M.I.A. In the days of Religion Class, he was the supervisor for a number of years. He also was assistant to Superintendent W. I. Sorensen in the Sunday School–a position he held until he was appointed second counselor to Bishop M. D. Bird. In the Mendon Ward. He held that position for four years until he moved to Nevada with his family.

After his return home, he was associated with Brother Charles Ladle and Brother Phin Bird on the Old Folks Committee. These three were drawn very close to each other during those years. After Brother Ladle resigned, Peter was chairman of the same committee for a few more years. He was also active on the missionary committee.

In civil affairs he served three terms as city councilman and two terms as mayor of Mendon city. His advice was sought on many occasions, but no one would know it by his actions as he was very humble and very unassuming. He often wondered if he were worthy of the trust that was placed in him.

He married Hannah Acomb on June 29, 1904, in the Logan Temple. Thirty-seven happy years were spent together. Two children, one an adopted daughter and one son of their own, made their home complete. He left seven grandchildren whom he thought were wonderful. He had a great love for little children.

I think one of the happiest times of his life was when his son filled a good, honorable mission. That meant more to him than any worldly honor.

Peter Larsen died February 28, 1941. He died with full faith in the gospel of this church. He was a High Priest at the time of his death and still a ward teacher, a position he held all his life.

Added thoughts for the history of Peter Larsen Jr. By Maggie Larsen Bergener: Peter was given a very wonderful patriarchal blessing. In it he was told he would be called to help build up Jackson County, Missouri at the second coming of Christ. As he had been dead many years, he would come as a resurrected being.

I don’t remember my father ever taking my mother to an “Old Folks Party” because of his age, but I went with mother one time. She was watching all the others dance. Suddenly, her wonderful, large son, Pete, came and took her out on the floor to dance a quadrille! She was so very proud and happy! I never saw her dance again.


I was born in a small, pretty village–Ellerton, Yorkshire, England–November 2, 1870. My parents were Joseph and Mary Bedale Acomb. I was the eighth child of a family of eleven–the fourth daughter followed by three brothers. Two of these brothers died in infancy and one grew to manhood. My four older brothers and two of my sisters all died in childhood. My sister Lizzie was two years older than I, and Jack was two years younger. We three grew up together until my sister was twelve years old. Scarlet Fever then took her from us leaving Jack and I to grow up alone.

Our childhood was very happy. We were not rich and we were not the poorest. Being the only two children remaining out of eleven, we were well taken care of, and dearly loved; but we were not spoiled. Oh no, not those parents–they had no use for spoiled disobedient children.

The district school was just across that street from our home. That is where we got our education which was by no means free. Our parents had to pay for us to obtain that. Jack did not like school. He would rather work hard a whole day than go to school; but he was quick to learn and made a very bright young man. To me, school was life itself. My greatest ambition was to be a school teacher. At the age of twelve years and four months, I was through the district school, I had a four-year scholarship to college, but my health was so poor that our family doctor begged Mother not to let me go so young as it might bring on T.B. of the lungs, which was so prevalent in my Mother’s family. So, I had to stay home–a sick, heart-broken child.

My brother and I attended the Wesleyan Methodist Sunday school in the chapel services in the evening. I really got a good knowledge of the Bible.

Our childhood was uneventful. We went to school, played in the garden, or worked a little in the garden. Our home was not like the modern home of today. We had a kitchen, large living room, pantry, three upstairs bedrooms and an entrance hall, and open fireplaces with oven and reservoir in the kitchen. It was not very striking from outdoors, but inside–Oh my, it was a real home; and the flower garden–my Mother’s paradise–green hedges all around and flowers everywhere. If a gooseberry bush died mother would plant a flower. Roses grew in abundance and house flowers in every window so that you could hardly see out. That was one thing I did not like. And even now I don’t like my windows crowded.

My parents were old-fashioned people. They were always home when not working; and no drink or tobacco was used in our home. Good food, good clothes, strict discipline, no running out at night, and to church and straight home–but lots of fun going back and forth as the church was at the extreme end of the village.

Our Christmases were old fashioned and very happy. There was not always snow, but if there were a good, thick fog and hoar frost on the trees then it was an ideal Christmas. We had our Yule logs on the fire, candles lit in every room upstairs and down, and our Christmas carols at midnight. We did not have the toys the children had today, but we always had something nice and surprising. We always had an abundance of holly and mistletoe. It seemed like Christmas meant more to us, not for presents, but for the Christ child–His birth and what He came for. It really was a time to be happy.

Easter was also a great time as in our part of England, Easter was warm and nearly our summer. Again the significance of the occasion was stamped on our minds–the Christ child–a man crucified and resurrected overcame death and the grave. So passed the years.

At the age of 14, I decided to be confirmed a member of the Church of England. Thirteen of us, all about the same age, prepared ourselves with the necessary knowledge and went to Howden, a town about twelve miles from home. A but drawn by two horses was hired to take us and off we went–a jolly lot of mere children, but what fun! When we got there, we ate our lunch and then dressed in our white clothes. The Arch Bishop laid his hands on our heads and confirmed us members of the church. On our return home we all went to the ministers for dinner and then a serious talk from the minister ended a very happy day.

Just before my sixteenth Birthday, I went to Selby to visit a cousin of my Father’s. There I met a Sea Captain’s wife who wanted a girl to take care of two children. One was two years old and the other, a small baby. I was right on the spot as babies, then as well as now, are my one weakness. I went home to get my parent’s consent. They were grieved to have me leave home as they could support me, but my idea of life was something more than that little, dead thought pretty spot of a village.

I went to these people. Six weeks after, Captain Thorpe was called to Liverpool-the second largest city in England–to take a ship out. I went with them and stayed a year. I then became a little homesick so I went home. Liverpool to me was a wonderful city. I became well acquainted with it and could go anywhere alone. When it was my day off, I used to go to the docks, sit on the wall, and watch the ships come and go. I wondered if someday I would go out on one of them–maybe to Utah where my cousins’ letters came from. I was very disappointed, when the time did come for me to sail, that it was from Glascow in Scotland instead of from Liverpool. The year I spent with Captain Thorpe was a very happy year for me. Mrs. Thorpe was kind to me and I loved the children.

After I got home in June, I stayed three months then took a position in Barlby, a pretty little place about ten miles from home. There I spent four happy years. In fact, I was always happy. My work was in the home of a Minister of the Church of England, a bachelor of seventy years, and his widowed sister of sixty years. There were just the three of us during the winter. In the summer some nieces used to come and we had good times together.

At the age of nineteen, I met and fell in love with a young man who was working hard for an education in music. He succeeded, went up to London, and took out his degree as a professional musician. He finally got a position away from home and we were to be married–our wedding day was set. One of his sisters who disliked me very much, because I was not educated as they were, set about to part us. She very cruelly succeeded. No need to say more on that. That chapter of my life is closed to just the two people involved. Afterwards, I decided it was all in the program even if it were a cruel one; for in less than one year I went to Harrogate, a health resort, and there I met the Mormon Elders. I went as housekeeper for two maiden ladies who were in the dress-making and milinery business. I had charge of an old aunt, 80 years old, a very sweet old lady. A fire across the street burned their business house so they had to bring their business into the house in which we lived. That made less work for me–just a dining room and kitchen. We did everything with gas so my work was easy and I was happy again.

In July or August of that year, Miss Kay came as head dressmaker. She and I were friends from our first meeting. I gave her apple pie and a glass of milk then she came in and lived right in with us. I am speaking of Aunt Dearie.

One morning I heard one of the miliners telling one of the other girls about being to a funny meeting in a little cottage. She said: “They are called Mormons.” I rushed right to her and asked her to tell me where they held their meetings. She said she would take me next Sunday. My employer was very disgusted–Mormons, of all people. But I was not afraid. I was having letters from them all the time. The next Sunday Aunt Dearie, myself and two or three more dressed up in style (I think we even had trains on our dresses) and went to the cottage. In a room about fourteen feet square, we saw two men standing–Brother David Wilcken of Salt Lake City, over six feet, and Brother Crowther, an elderly man with a period. He was very short and the contrast between the two was so striking that I began to giggle. All during meeting I dared not raise my head for fear of laughing out loud. Brother Dave knew all the Acombs in Salt Lake City so was very anxious to meet me. Miss Kay sat so straight and precise and took all in, so he decided she was miss Acomb. Imagine his surprise when he discovered, after meeting, that I was she. He prophesied right then and there that in three months he would see me baptized. I laughed some more than enjoyed a nice visit with him hearing all about my Father’s folks. I would like to say here that my Father’s parents, brothers, and sisters all came to Utah in 1855. His Mother died on the Plains. He did not join the church and would not come with them. The death of his Mother hurt him pretty badly. He thought such foolishness was the cause of her death. In less than three months, Brother Dave walked ten miles without his supper to see me baptized. He got there just as I was going into the water. It was a cold night, the first of December, private baths had been ordered for my baptism and I had to travel a few miles on the train. After baptism I was taken to a home of one of the Saint’s where a grand supper was ready, then home again. Brother Dave sent the message to Miss Kay that he would walk ten miles also to see her baptized. She ridiculed the idea; but again in less than three months she was baptized. Joseph Salisbury from Wellsville baptized us both; but I don’t know whether Dave was present of not as I had gone home once more. One year from then my brother Jack was baptized. In the following Spring my parents were baptized and in November following, we sold by auction all our belongings and set sail for Utah.

We had the pleasure of a calm sea and a stormy sea. For several days it was terrible. I would not like to go through it again. We were four days late in reaching New York. Our trip on the train was pleasant. With nine elders and a car full of Saints. On reaching Evanston, Wyoming, my Father’s brother and his wife, his sisters, nephews, and nieces boarded the train. The meeting with Father after forty years was very touching. They had baskets of food–enough to feed everyone in that car.

My brothers life was short in Utah. Just about eighteen months after we came here, he was riding after the cows and his horse mired in a gopher hole. I threw him over it’s head and he was killed. It was a terrible to all of us and my life was never the same after that. I did love hi so much. Three and a half years after that my parents had to leave me alone. So the first years in Zion were not happy ones.

I did not work much in the church as I was away so much of the time nursing the sick. After my parents were gone, I came to Mendon to Aunt Dearie’s. There I met my husband, Peter Larsen, with whom I spent 37 happy years. After my marriage, I began church duties. I taught in Sunday School with Sisters Jane Hughes and Jimima Foster. I enjoyed their association very much. I taught in primary until we moved to Nevada. After our return, I was put in president of the primary and held that position quite a few years until my health was too poor to carry on. I served on the old folks committee with Sister Ellen Ladle, Ann Larsen, and Emmerine Bird. I enjoyed the company of those sisters very much.

The later years I belonged to the Relief Society, was a visiting teacher, and had the teachers topic in charge for quite a few years.

My life in Mendon has been very happy. I have had joys and sorrows as we all have. My husband has gone ahead of me; but my two children are a comfort to me. My seven grandchildren are a comfort to me. My son’s wife is like my own daughter, she is very kind to me.

I would like, in closing, to pay a tribute of respect and love to the people of Mendon. Everybody, both young and old, is just grand to me. Sometimes I feel so unworthy. I wonder if I’m as kind to everyone as I should be. I have tried to live at peace with all and to help others all I could. I feel content to end my days right here among the good people of Mendon.

Hannah Acomb Larsen died Thursday, February 10, 1955. She is buried with her husband in the Mendon city cemetery.


Dad Acomb’s sister

Pioneer woman passes away - Elizabeth Acomb Buttle closes her long and useful career. (Salt Lake Deseret News Saturday August 2, 1912.)

Elizabeth Acomb Buttle wife of the late Wm. Buttle died at her residence, 458 West Fifth South, Salt Lake City, Utah, August 2nd, 1912, of muscular heart trouble. She was the daughter of John Amomb and Ann Hutton Acomb, born at Ellerton, England, April 16, 1835.

When a young girl in her teens, she embraced the gospel in her native land. On April 16, 1855, with her parents, one brother, and one sister, she set sail from Liverpool, landing at New Orleans. From thence up the Mississippi River to St. Louis, then to St. Joseph, Missouri. From the latter point she traveled by ox team to Salt Lake City, arriving on October 26 of the same year.

While on the journey from St. Louis she was bereft of her mother from the affects of cholera. The steamer was stopped, the lady taken ashore and buried on the banks of the river.

At the time of the move in 1858 she, with her family, went as far south as Provo, returning when the Johnson army had passed through the city. In 1857 she was married to William Buttle and was the mother of 8 children.

Her residence ever since she came to Utah has been in the Sixth Ward of this city, where she was known by all the early settlers as well as those of early generations. She was an active member of the ward Relief Society, a faithful Latter-day Saint, a charitable and kind and loveable character, beloved by a large circle of friends.

She is survived by five children: Mrs. Mary A. Buttle Snarr; William J. Buttle; Joseph A. Buttle of Provo, Utah. Robert E. Buttle and Mrs. Elizabeth Buttle Martin. One brother–John Acomb–the well-known railroad conductor. Also nineteen grandchildren and five great-grand-children. The funeral service will be held at the sixth ward meeting house on Sunday, August 4, at 3 o’clock p.m. The remains may be viewed at the residence from 12 to 2 o’clock p.m. Burial will be in city cemetery. BIOGRAPHY OF MARY WANN SHELTON Written by Charles Worley

Mary Wann Shelton’s life began in North Shields, England, on April 4, 1834. She was born of poor parents and had only the bare necessities of life. The first few years of her life were uneventful. As time went on, she had to take her place in the duties of the farm on which she lived. At the age of ten, she had to get up at dawn to help milk the cows. After this was done, she had to help her mother in the household duties.

She did not have any time to play as did some of the more fortunate children; but she was always held down by her work. Mary had no schooling in her younger life except for some knowledge that she gained from sessions with her mother. They would often spend the night studying reading or writing. After doing this for some time, she became quite proficient in these arts. For the next six years her life remained about the same as it had been before. Mary still lived on the farm and did the chores that a young girl should.

When she was seventeen, she became associated with a young Mormon Elder, John Shelton. Through him she became acquainted with a new form of religion: Mormonism. In England at this time, Mormonism was not too popular, and many people scorned it and persecuted the people who believed in it. After knowing Mr. Shelton for about six months, she joined the church herself. Mary did this much against the wishes of her parents who were devoutly Protestant. Again against the wishes of her parents, she married the Mormon Elder–John Richard Shelton. When she did this, she just about severed herself from her family. Her husband was having a hard time in his work because of the opposition of the other religions of England. After much consideration, the Sheltons and a few more Mormon families decided to go to America–the land of the free.

The boat was very crowded because of the excess of people that were going to the United States. The trip was miserable because they had to sleep on the decks exposed to the winds and cold. After a miserable six weeks on the open seas, they finally reached New York where they stayed for a month pending instructions from the church. In New York they lived a dismal life because they were so poor and had hardly any friends. They finally received word from the head of the Mormon Church and were sent to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Here Mary’s life became more eventful. She had her first child and it gave her much pleasure and responsibility.

In Philadelphia, John Shelton, who was a blacksmith by trade, started to work in the steel mills. Along with this he still carried on his work and duties with the church. His job in the mills brought him his first real money.

The family became quite prosperous and Mary was gifted with another child. While the family was still prosperous, Mary, who was a good singer, sang in light operas. This allowed her to be away from her family and provided some necessary recreation. Mary was a fine mother, her children (she now had four) were always treated in the best manner. Their clothes were always handmade, but were very nice. Her family was always fed well because she was a good cook. She made the best of what they had. While Mary and John and family were still in Philadelphia, John was seriously hurt in an accident in the steel mills. During the time John was sick unable to make a living, Mary had a difficult time making ends meet. She had to cook and sew for other people to bring in a little money to support the family. Though this was a great task, she never let it get the best of her and kept her usual high spirits. After some months, John finally regained his health and was ready to start work. Just at this time he received word from the Mormon church that they wanted him to move to the west and help in the colonization of that new area. John, always loyal to his church, packed up his family and proceeded to Utah in the year 1853.

The Sheltons and some other Mormon family bought some wagons and oxen and started on their journey. It was not very difficult until they reached Illinois because there were traveled roads and they could make good time. When they reached the western side of Illinois, the going because harder. Instead of the well-traveled road, they now had to travel on trails and more often most of the people had to walk a lot of the way. In the wagon that John and Mary were in, making it very uncomfortable. On the journey they encountered many hardships. Often they would come on unfriendly bands of savages and they would have to fight them. They would often go hungry because of the lack of provisions. They would sometimes be able to get fresh meat by hunting in the country they were passing through. This was never possible when they were in Indian territory. They had many hardships pertaining to getting their wagons across their country. They would often have to ford rivers, chop down trees so they could pass and move large rocks so that the wagons could continue to the west.

This little Mormon party finally reached Utah in the year 1862 after a long and painful journey. In Utah they settled in Cottonwood where they made a little home. John set up a blacksmith shop and again took in business. All this time he was doing his work as a Mormon Elder. Life went on in Cottonwood successfully and Mary had her fifth child.

The Sheltons liked Utah because they could do as they pleased without any interference from others. After two years in Cottonwood, they were sent by the church to Mendon, Utah, a small and new town.

In Mendon John again set up his blacksmith shop and built a house and started to cultivate the land. The farm was run by Mary and much of the work was done by the children. The farm worked out well and became quite productive and helped pay the family’s expenses while John was doing his religious duties. The Shelton’s house was often the scene of a gathering for religious purposes. There were five more children born to Mary in Mendon.

In 1883 a great disaster came to the Sheltons. John Shelton died of the injuries which had never healed from his accident in the steel mills in Philadelphia years before. We call it hernia now. This left Mary to face the world alone without the help of her husband. She still had five unmarried children to support. She was a wonderful manager and put her resources into play. Mary continued to make the farm pay and furnished food for her family. She sewed to help pay expenses. She owed money on the farm and still, with all her responsibilities she managed to pay off all her honest debts.

During all this time of trial she took time to enjoy the recreation of the community. She sang in the ward choir and also entertained her children and made them happy and contented. Mary made many friends in Mendon and was well liked by all. She was noted for her kindness. She was was always ready to help the sick and those in need. The Shelton household was open to the unfortunate. Mary would take in people who were cold and hungry and provide for them while in town. Often the Mormon Elders and missionaries would stay with the Sheltons and they held many meetings in her home.

Mary Wann Shelton continued to take care of her children in Mendon until she died at the age of 72 on March 6, 1905. Many people mourned the loss of this great pioneer woman. She was buried on March 9, 1905. All of her ten children were present at her funeral. At the time of her death she had one hundred descendants.


I, Maggie Larsen Bergener, can remember my grandmother Shelton. She was a beautiful woman with pretty, wavy, auburn hair. She was always prim and neat with her white apron with hand-made lace on the bottom. She was quite strict in her ways. I used to hold my breath if hurt when I was a child and she told my mother, “I would soon break her of that.”

Mother left me with an older sister while she went with relief society one day. I had whooping cough at the time. I started to dig holes in the front yard with a knife and hurt myself and started to cry. I was holding my breath and I looked up and saw grandmother Shelton coming down the street. When I came to, I was in a tub of cold water. I didn’t hold my breath anymore.

I never did see my grandfather, but mother said he had double teeth all the way around and lots of thick, dark hair. After his passig away, if our grandmother was alone, we children took turns staying at night. She always had a nice treat for us. I was twelve years old when she passed away.