Monday, April 13, 2009

Emma Martinsen Anderson

Emma Martinsen Anderson

My maternal grandfather, LeGrand McKay Anderson's mother was Emma Josephine Martinsen Anderson. She was born 1 November 1877 to Peter and Toline Christensen Martinsen in Ephraim, Sanpete, Utah.

Emma's parents joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Norway in July of 1871. Shortly thereafter Peter and his wife, Toline and three children sailed for America. After arriving in America, the family crossed the United States by train and made their first home in Ephraim, Utah. After a couple of years in Ephraim, her family moved to Koosharem, Sevier, Utah. Her father built a one-room rock house on the property.

Emma's mother, Toline, died 25 February 1889, and her father, Peter died just the next month on 14 March 1889--seventeen days after his wife. The older children in the home were left to care for themselves and their younger siblings--Emma was 11 and her younger brother just 5. The children had to find outside work to support themselves. Emma's older sisters Pauline and Caroline milked cows and anything else to make a living. Emma stayed at home tending her younger brother George. They did chores around their own home such as making cheese and cleaning corrals. They raised a garden, chickens and pigs.

Emma helped her older brother, Charlie make cheese. Occasionally the two went to Salt Lake Temple Square and found a place to sell their cheese. Emma told her son, R.D., "Oh, I was nervous about that. People would come up to me and ask, "What have we got?" She would reply, "We've got cheese."

The Martinsen Sisters
Pauline Bagley, Caroline Wright
and Emma Anderson

It must have been difficult and frightening at times for the Martinsen children to grow up without their parents. Emma's granddaughter Rolaine remembered Emma telling her, "Each spring and fall a big tribe of Indians from the St. George area would travel through our land to get to Fish Lake--their summer hunting ground." Emma and her brothers and sisters were scared of the Indians, and when they saw them coming, they would hide in the chicken coop and watch them.

Emma met Andrew Anderson of Koosharem, Utah and married him in the Manti Utah Temple on 3 May 1899. They traveled by wagon to Manti with her sister Pauline and husband Edward who accompanied them as chaperones.

Emma gave birth to six children, Leila, Rodney, LaRell, LeGrand, Robert Donal and Emma Vione.

Emma's niece, Donna Bagley Harward mentioned that Emma did not know some of the housekeeping chores that other women had been taught to do by their mothers. Donna said, "My mother, Pauline, helped Emma with her housecleaning. That was in the 'good ole days' when laundry soap was homemade--mother helped Aunt Emmy make her laundry soap too."

Emma and her sisters Pauline and Carolina spoke Norwegian. When they visited one another they would talk and laugh in Norwegian. LeGrand said of his childhood, "My father always told us kids, 'If you don't mind your mother, bad things will happen to you.' One day Mother was out washing with her wringer washer. She told us boys, 'Stay away from the machine.'" LeGrand disobeyed and got his hands in the wringer. His mother came at him shouting in Norwegian. He knew she was cussing him, because she was speaking Norwegian as fast as she could.

Her granddaughter Rolaine Anderson Haynie remembered, "Grandmother had long, dark hair which she wore in a bun. When she did her hair, she would twist and twist until it formed into the shape of a bun. Then she would put many hair pins into the bun to hold it in place. When I was a little girl, she would remove her many clips and ask me to brush her hair. She loved her hair brushed. Grandma would sometimes say to me, 'I will let you play with the matches [a favorite past time of mine] if you will comb my hair.'"

Emma's health declined after the death of her first daughter, Leila, from Bright's disease. Because of the death, Emma moved from a beautiful home Andrew had built in Koosharem, Utah to live with family and even out in the open air in tents until he built her another home. Her daughter Vione said of her mother's health, "My mother developed rheumatism, asthma and high blood pressure and was ill often."

Emma passed away 11 June 1938 on Koosharem, Utah and is buried there. Her death certificate states she died of essential hypertension contributed by chronic myocarditis.

1 comment:

  1. thank you so much for always putting our history on here. I know it is time consuming and you have alot of other things to do, but it has been so great to read about our past, our family. I have even been reading to the boys about their name sake, which is really cool to me, and i'm sure to them.