Sunday, March 29, 2015

Joseph Lauritz Smith and Melissa Ann Fitzgerald


Joseph Lauritz Smith was born in a one-room humble home in Draper 18 Nov 1879.  He was the oldest of 14 children born to Joseph Michael Smith and Celestia Ann Brown.  Six children were born in one room that had on open porch on the front and a lean-to on the back for boots and wood.  His brother, Arch, said he was the last one born in that one room, then his father built on a front room, kitchen, hall and two bedrooms upstairs, also converting the one room that had been their home for so many years into a bedroom.  When a boy, Joe loved the things outside and always had a garden the family called "Joe's garden."  It was watered by a waterwheel his father and Uncle Lauritz “Laurie,” who lived next door, rigged up. It pumped the water up the hill to Joe's garden.  The fast-flowing water in the ditch below was the power that made the wheel turn and fill the many buckets with water that emptied into a pipe at the top of the hill.  It worked for years until they got a pump.   Joe loved animals and when he was 12 he had a pen of rabbits and a gentle sorrel horse to ride.  They also had a cow named Brindle.  She was a tail switcher, so Homer, Joe's brother, always held her tail while Joe milked.   Behind the house below the hill was a pond, known as the Baptizing Pond, where Joe was baptized, 8 July 1888, by his father, Joseph M. Smith.

All through Joe's growing-up years there were swimming parties in the pond in the summer, and skating parties in the winter.  They went in buggies and in winter when snow was on the ground they went in sleighs.  Sometimes it was so dark they could not see the road, but the horses knew the way and could follow the road, so they would let the horses go and take them home.  A strong bond of friendship existed between Joe and Burt Andrus. Their mothers were good friends, and the boys played together as children and went to school together.  They worked together when they were building the Bells Canyon Reservoir.

One summer Burt and Joe batched it together while attending missionary school in Salt Lake City, after which they both received calls to go on mission the same week, Joe to the Northwestern States Mission and Burt to the Swiss German Mission.  Joe was ordained a Seventy by Rulon S. Wells on 13 Jan 1903, when he was 24 years of age.  He was set apart and left Salt Lake for mission headquarters in Portland, Oregon, that same day, arriving there three days later.  At that time the Northwestern States Mission included Oregon and part of California.  His father sent him $20 a month and Joe worked in a restaurant and picked hops to help cover his expenses.  He road a bicycle to get around and wrote home he had pumped 18 miles that day, and how tired he was.  He also wrote that the humidity was so heavy his hair was curled so tight his head ached.   Joe was released from his mission shortly before the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.  No one knew he was coming, so it was a surprise and everyone was so glad to see him again.  Joe had a good tenor voice and his sister Rose said after he got home from his mission he sang "Scatter Seeds of Sunshine" in church while Deda Smith played the organ, and she can hear him singing it yet.

When Joe and Lissy got married,  Joe paid his father $800 for his house and seven acres of land.  Nine years later, when Ralph was a baby, Joe built on a lean-to kitchen and bathroom, but never got the water in the house till Ralph was eleven years old.  Joe was the first of 14 children to get married in the Joseph Michael Smith home.  For a wedding present for Joe and Lissy, the girls were busy for days, tearing rags into strips and sewing them together then winding them into large balls that were then taken to Mr. Loverson, who made rag rugs and carpets for a living.  How excited the family was the day Joe and Lissy got married! They went down to the house where Joe and his bride would live and put new straw all over the floor, then stretched the pretty new carpet over the top.

Joe was a farmer, a fruit grower and a dairyman: he raised chickens and sold eggs to the Draper Poultry Producers Association.  Joe and his father jointly owned 26 acres of land three miles away in the south part of Draper, where they raised hay, grain, and beets and the whole family worked at the farm and helped each other.  The ground was so hard with alkali they thinned beets with a pocket knife.  The land by the house in east Draper was excellent for fruits, vegetables, apples, raspberries, dewberries, and strawberries, and the family sold them by the case.  They always had a lovely garden and it was said there was no better farmer or harder working man than Joe Smith.  They raised corn, tomatoes, potatoes, and melons, the best tasted at that time.  Joe worked for Mr. John F. Bowman for nine years for $50 a month and he usually walked close to a mile to get there every day.  When Joe hauled produce for Josh Rideout, he would go to ZCMI wholesale house and bring produce out to Draper, then go to Bingham to a store Mr. Rideout had up there the next day.  Sometimes the roads were so muddy the mud came clear up to the hubs of the wagon.

Four generations
Back Row L to R - Melissa Ann Fitzgerald Smith, Joseph Lauritz Smith, Joseph Michael Smith, Celestia Ann Brown Smith
Front Row - Lauritz Smith holding Elma June Smith, Maren Kristin Mikkelsen Smith

Joe and Lissy's first child, Elma June was born 3 June 1908 and two years and three months later another daughter, Ruth Melissa born 18 Sept 1910.  They were followed by Erma born 1 Dec 1912, Ralph 22 Aug 1915, Arnold 21 April 1918, Celestia 15 Mar 1921, Wanda 4 Feb 1925, Verla 3 Oct 1927 and Reva 29 Nov 1930.

Joseph Lauritz Smith family in front of one of their cars
Back Row L to R - Joseph Ralph Smith, Ruth Melissa Smith, Arnold Fitzgerald Smith, Melissa Ann Smith with Erma Smith standing in front of her
Front row L to R- Wanda Smith, Joseph Michael holding Verla and Reva (?), and that may be granddaughter(s) Rita or Elma in front of Verla

In 1923 Joe bought a Model T Ford. He was used to driving horses and the first time he drove it into the shed he hollered "Whoa, Whoa" at the car.  The car didn't whoa and he went through the end of the shed.
Back Row L to R - Melissa Ann Fitzgerald Smith, Elma June Smith Baker, Raymond Orestes Baker
Front Row L to R - Rita Baker, Joseph Michael Smith, Joseph Lauritz Smith with Ray Baker and Elma Baker on his lap

In 1926 Grandpa (Joseph Michael) deeded his half of the property to Joe and Lissy.   In 1938, because of Joe's failing health, his son Ralph made plans to buy the farm of 46 acres for $100 an acre, the top price for farmland at that time.  Joe bought a little Silvertone radio from Sears, and loved to listen to Amos and Andy at 9 p.m. over KOA, Denver, and always listened to the 12 o'clock farm news over KSL, Salt Lake, when he was in the house for dinner.  He would lie on the floor on his stomach to rest and bend his right leg just so, to try to get relief from his constant leg and back pain.  Because of doctor's discoveries in recent years, it could be that he had disk troubles or a blocked nerve in his back that caused the pain and his leg to shrink and go stiff.

Joe died at his home at age 61 on 8 July 1941, leaving Lissy and four children still at home. Arnold was 23 and serving in the service of his country. Wanda was 16, Verla 13, and Reva 10.
--Compiled by Barbara C. Smith wife of Ralph Smith who was a son of Joseph Lauritz Smith

Published in Salt Lake Tribune, date unknown

Joseph Lauritz Smith, 61, native and lifelong resident of Draper and well known farmer, dairyman and poultry grower died at his home Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. of carcinoma.

He was born in Draper, November 18,1879, a son of Joseph M and Celestia Ann Brown Smith.

He had served as councilor in the Draper L.D.S. ward bishopric and had been active in all church work and was a high priest of the ward. In 1903 he filled a mission for the Church in the north-western states.

He is survived by his widow, Mrs Melissa F. Smith; two sons, Joseph Ralph and Arnold F. Smith of Draper; six daughters, Mrs June Baker, Mrs Ruth Baird, Mrs Erma Christopherson and Wanda, Verla and Reva Smith of Draper; 12 grandchildren, and the following brothers and sisters;
Gurnsey B. Smith of Salt Lake City, Homer Smith of Sacramento, Cal.; Archibald and Arthur Eugene Smith, Mrs Alice Vawdrey, Mrs Ann Garfield of Draper; Fera L. Smith of Murray, E. Merald Smith and Mrs Bertha M. Powell of Sandy. Mrs Esther Jacobsen of Logan, Mrs Rosetta Fairbourn of Crecent and Mrs Beatrice Dansie of Riverton.

Funeral services will be conducted Friday noon in the Draper 2nd ward L.D.S. Chapel by Bishop Heber J. Smith. Burial will be in the Draper Cemetery. Friends may call at 36 East 700 South street in Salt Lake City until Thursday evening and at the residence Friday from 8 a.m. until the time of service.

The notation on the back of this photo is simply "1926"

MELISSA ANN FITZGERALD SMITH "People of Draper 1849-1924" 

I was born in Draper, Utah, 30 Oct 1885, two miles east of Draper in a little two-room house at the foot of the mountains.  I spent many hours as a girl climbing up these mountains along the beautiful streams of water.  My father was a farmer and had a large orchard of all kinds of fruit.  I remember well the large watermelons we used to raise.  My father, Manasseh Fitzgerald, was born in Mill Creek, Salt Lake County, Utah, 11 Feb 1849.  His father was Perry Fitzgerald from Kentucky, born 22 Dec 1815.  His mother was Ann Casot, also from Kentucky, born 30 Sept 1821.  She died when my father was two years old.  Then Perry married Ann Wilson, then she died and he married Agnes Roylance Wadsworth, and they moved to Draper to make a home.  My mother, Melissa Smith, who I was named for, was born in Draper, in October 1853.  She married my father 2 Mar 1874, in the Salt Lake Endowment House.  They moved into a little house on the north side of the railroad tracks where my two oldest sisters were born.  Then they homesteaded the place up east by the mountain where the rest of us were born.  I was the sixth child of nine children, seven girls and two boys:  Ellamore (Ella), Mary Amy, Margaret Edith, Melissa Ann, Annie Ruth, Matilda Jane, Verna Olive, Manasseh Orson and Heber Alvah.  Orson was herding sheep when he got shot.

 I went to Salt Lake to conference in the Tabernacle many times with father and mother.  I also remember going to the Jubilee on 24 July 1897, when I was 12.  It was the 50th anniversary of the Saints coming to the Salt Lake Valley. When my mother's mother, Amy Downs Smith, could not do for herself, another room was built on our house and she came there to live with us.  She died 26 Aug 1895, when I was ten years old.

 My first grade teacher was Jim Brown and I thought a lot of him. Other teachers were J.P. Terry, Tom Vawdrey, Chris Hendrickson, J.R. Rawlings, and Nelly Brown.  They were all good teachers. There was a board fence around the schoolhouse and inside the fence they had a good place to play ball, because the school was built on a hill.  In the winter we had a good time sleigh riding down the hill and we also went by bobsled to visit other schools.   I remember the first car I ever saw.  It was a Ford. One of the men who was on the school board came up to the school in it, and it was a sight for us to see.  The whole school went out to see it.

We had Primary once a week after school at the schoolhouse, and I will never forget the good times, the good dances, programs, and parties the Primary had.  Emma Terry was the president and my mother was one of her counselors.   I was baptized on 5 Aug 1894 in Lauritz Smith's pond by Joseph M. Smith.  It was a great day.  I was confirmed by Willard Jensen.

My father raised many acres of cane each year.  The cane was hauled in wagons to the molasses mill where it was piled in large piles waiting to be ground.  At the molasses mill there was a big grinder that stood in front of a table made between four wagon wheels.  The stalks of cane were laid on the table and a man stood there and put the stalks of cane through a roller which squeezed the juice into a trough that emptied into barrels.  The barrels were emptied into an evaporator where the juice was boiled into molasses.  The rollers were turned by a long pole pulled by two horses walking in a circle.  When the molasses was made, father and mother would take a barrel of it to Salt Lake to sell.  They used the money to buy our school shoes.  I went to school until I graduated from the eighth grade.  We had no high school then.

I went out to work for people in their homes.  I worked for $2.50 and $3.00 per week.  I also picked fruit for people in the summertime.   I remember the Mutual excursions out to Saltair.  The train would come out and get us and take us into Salt Lake, then we would take another train from there to Saltair.  The train would bring us back so we reached home about midnight.  The swimming and dancing was just great and we always looked forward to it. Then once we had a celebration in the park on the 24th of July.  There was a parade followed by some pioneer wagons that were attacked by men on horseback to represent an Indian attack.  They even burned one wagon.

In 1904 when I was 19 years old I worked for Mrs. D. O. Rideout and while I was working for her I started to go with Joseph L. Smith.  He had just returned from the North Western States Mission.  He was in Oregon most of the time.  We were married 28 Nov 1906 in the Salt Lake Temple.  It rained all day the day we were married and we rode all the way to Murray in a one-horse blacktop buggy.  We then put our horse in the livery stable and took the streetcar the rest of the way to Salt Lake.

After we were married we moved into the home of Mary and Lauritz Smith, Joe's grandfather's place.  We raised all our nine children there.

I will be 88 on October 30, this year (1973), and I am still living here.  Reva was ten years of age when her father died 8 July 1941.  I was set apart 1 Sept 1935, as second counselor in the Draper Second Ward Relief Society,  Nettie Boulter was president.   We had five children born before we had a doctor in our house and then after that we had someone in the hospital every year for six years.  Before the doctors, June was born 3 June 1908, Ruth 18 Sept 1910, Erma 1 Dec 1912, Ralph 22 Aug 1915, Arnold 21 April 1918. Aunt Mary Shipp was with me when some of the children were born, but she had moved to Salt Lake so we got Sister Blake from South Jordan.  When Ralph was born we were building on another room and bathroom to our house, but it was another 15 years before we had hot and cold water put in and a bathroom fixed.   Celestia was born 15 March 1921, with the help of Doctor Boren. At age three she went out and ate some green grapes and got sick with appendicitis and died 9 Sept 1924. Wanda was born 4 Feb 1925, Verla 3 Oct 1927 and Reva was born in the LDS Hospital 29 Nov 1930, making nine children in all.

--- Melissa Ann Fitzgerald Smith "People of Draper 1849-1924"

Melissa Ann with her oldest child, Elma June Smith Baker, and her family
Back row L to R: Phil, Elma, Ray, Rita, Kathleen, Joseph
Front row L to R: LaRee, Bonnie, Raymond Baker, June, Melissa Ann

I always feel sad when I think of Melissa Ann living 42 more years after the death of her husband after a marriage of 34 years.  She was loved by her children whom I remember as always being very close with one another and very supportive of one another.  As of this date three of her children are still living, Ralph, Wanda, and Reva.  Her oldest daughter, Elma June (called June), was my husband's maternal grandmother.  She, too, lost her husband, Raymond, to cancer when he was 71 years of age a few months after I married my husband.  June also lived many years without her spouse by her side before passing away at 93.  Is it any wonder that their bond was so strong.

Five Generations photo at the baby blessing day of my oldest son
Standing L to R:  Elma Baker Jensen, Glen Jay Jensen, Elma June Smith Baker
Seated and holding Eric Jordan Jensen, Melissa Ann Fitzgerald Smith 

Melissa Ann's brother, Alvah Smith, stood in the circle as our baby boy was blessed and given a name.  Once again five generations were a part of that circle.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Wonky Stars

I haven't shared my Saturday Sampler blocks for a while.  There are three more months left and this is what I have so far.  Can't wait to see the setting for this Christmas quilt.  There have been several techniques used including this month's Buggy Barn inspired wonky stars.  There are four 4 1/2 inch star blocks and four 3 1/2 inch star blocks.  I love this method. 

A couple of years ago I made this Buggy Barn Quilt, "It Takes a Village."  It was a delight to see which new dress and apron would appear.  It was pretty fun to watch each star appear, too.  To read more about this quilt go  here.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Blooms and Butterflies

 The arrival of Spring makes me want to sew something spring like.  Lori Holt of Bee in My Bonnet announced a "#bloom where you are planted" sew along on Instagram and I was all in.  She adapted a flower block from her book, "Quilty Fun" for this sew along.  My quilt top is entirely scrappy using only fabrics that I had on hand.  I had part of a layer cake (10 inch squares) of Floral Gatherings by Primitive Gathering that I had for another project.  I was able to cut all the pieces needed for each flower background from a 10 inch square of fabric.  Just make sure to cut the larger pieces first from 1 1/2 inch by 10 inch strips before cutting the one inch pieces and 1 1/2 inch squares.  I did buy some of the green and cream Floral Gathering fabric seen on the right for the backing and the binding plus a piece of batting.  Other than that, everything was from my fabric stash.

"Quilty Fun" also has the directions for adorable butterfly blocks.  I couldn't resist adding a scrappy butterfly border using the leftover fabrics from the flowers and flower centers.  The quilt adds just the right amount of Spring into the room.

I also love how the little quilt compliments Mr. and Mrs. Bunny which I painted during my tole painting years.  Um, yeah, that would be 28 years ago.  I still love those bunnies.  They are my favorites!  Blooms and Butterflies is also one of my favorite quilts.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Smith, Joseph Michael and Celestia Ann Brown

Joseph Michael Smith 1856-1948

Joseph Michael Smith was born February 1, 1856, the oldest son of Lauritz and Mary Kristene Mikkelson Smith. They settled in Draper in 1854 having made the trip from Denmark the previous year.  He had four brothers, all born in Draper.  Their first home was close to the old Draper Fort. Later the family moved to the eastern part of town on a government homestead.  Joseph Michael first went to school in an old adobe house, then when the Draper Wardhouse was built, he attended school there.  He had many teachers, including the famous John R. Park who taught at the University of Utah.  Since he was the oldest boy in the family he was often kept out of school to help his father in the blacksmith shop and on the farm. He helped his father bring wood down from the canyon, coal from Wanship, and charcoal from Rush Valley.   He had many narrow escapes with runaway horses, snow slides and falling rocks.  During the Blackhawk War, he and John Fitzgerald rode horses around the town to watch for Indians so that the towns people could be prepared in case of attack.  As a business venture, Joseph, his brother Lauritz and James Jensen owned and operated a saw mill at the mouth of Big and Little Willow Creek. From 1874 until 1879,  Joseph worked as a stone cutter at the LDS Temple Quarry in Little Cottonwood Canyon.  President Brigham Young promised not a single life would be lost while working at the quarry and Joseph witnessed this. Once he and three others were sent up the canyon to gather firewood. They heard a snow slide coming and ran quickly to the side of the mountain.  An avalanche of snow passed them like a flood of running water, taking everything in its path, including a huge tree which only seconds earlier they had been cutting.  They were covered with snow from the raging mass as it passed them, but no one was injured.  One day he and seven other men were working in a sixteen foot square pit when above them a trolley broke lose and a large four ton block of granite fell from about ten feet above.   It landed in the middle of the small pit but miraculously none of them were injured.  Once a difficult large one hundred foot high rock facing south needed to be split, making it necessary to require a scaffold for the men to stand on while drilling the holes to split the rock. To do this the men standing on the ground would drill holes by hand in the rock as high from the ground as they could reach.  Into these holes they would stick crow bars and on these crow bars a plank was placed, making a scaffold for another set of men to stand on and work.  They repeated this until as many as four sets of men were working on the face of the rock.  This was very dangerous, not only for the scary uncertain scaffold they stood upon, but bits of rock and dust were falling continuously.  Most of all was the uncertainty as to which way the rock would fall when it did split. The only protection afforded the men was to jump into large piles of brush and pine boughs which were placed in various places nearby.  Joseph recalls a time when a particular rock required two men to drill the holes, one to hold the drill and the other using a sledge hammer.   The fellow using the hammer was quite nearsighted and accidentally missed the drill and hit his companion on the head.  It knocked him unconscious and sent him rolling down the hill. It was a blow that could have easily killed him, but after several days he was able to resume his work. Joseph attended the dedication of the Salt Lake Temple on April 6, 1898 and testified “he was one privileged to hear strains of Heavenly music and witness with his eyes, cloven tongues of fire coming from the lips of President Wilford Woodruff as he offered the dedicatory prayer.”

He helped with the digging of the East Jordan Canal and helped build many bridges in the area. He was a fancier of fine horses.  Joseph loved sports and was active in baseball. On the Draper team called the Red Sox, he played catcher behind the home plate. Joseph never used a mitt in catching the ball and his fingers were injured many times, causing his knuckles to be out of shape for the rest of his life.  Their team was never beaten except by one Salt Lake team whose pitcher was Heber J. Grant.  Even in later years he remained an avid baseball fan until ill health prevented him from regular attendance.


Joseph Michael married Celestia Ann Brown on January 9, 1879 in the Salt Lake Endowment House.  The sealing was performed by Daniel H. Wells.  Celestia, whom he called “Lettie,” was born December 3, 1859.


They built a home in the eastern part of Draper on Relation Street, appropriately named since it was populated by numerous descendants of his father, Lauritz Smith. He constructed an all granite retaining wall around his residence and later erected a monument of granite near it.


Here they raised fourteen children, seven girls and seven boys.  He was an ardent farmer and horticulturist.  Much of his Draper farm was planted in beautiful fruit trees and bushes.  He sent to the Eastern States for many new varieties of fruit trees and other plants.  His children were kept busy picking the many apples, peaches, pears, prunes and dewberries, and in helping to haul them to the Salt Lake market.  He would leave home at 3:00 am to be on the market at 5:00 am.   Sometimes there would be as many as seventy crates at one picking.   He was also the fruit tree inspector for Salt Lake County for many years.  This required him to travel to Salt Lake City many times.  Often he would take his wife and children along to do shopping while he attended to business.

Joseph Michael was called to be a Sunday School teacher in 1872 at age sixteen, and a Ward Teacher in 1873.  He labored in these capacities almost all of his life.  He was also called to the Presidency of the MIA and the Superintendency of the Sunday School.  He was ordained an Elder in the 15th Quorum of Elders, which comprised the towns of Draper, Sandy, Union, Butler, Granite, and Crescent, from 1879 to 1887.  He was a Ward Clerk for a number of years.  He was ordained a Seventy in 1887 and a member of the Quorum Presidency.  In 1890 he was ordained a High Priest by Francis M. Lyman and served on the stake High Council of the original Jordan Stake for 25 years.

In 1924 he was ordained a Patriarch by Richard R. Lyman following in the footsteps of his father, Lauritz Smith.  He did most of the baptizing in the Draper Ward for many years.  He labored for six months in the California Mission and was a Home Missionary for thirty years.  He took part in community activities and enjoyed participating.  His grandchildren remember well his entries in the Fourth and Twenty-fourth of July parades. He won first prize in his category when he put together a pioneer covered wagon rigged in great detail with a plow, wooden wash tubs, an old time churn, and other relics.  Lettie, decked out in authentic pioneer bonnet and dress, drove the team.  Joseph, with shotgun over his shoulder, walked alongside singing, “Come, Come, Ye Saints.”  Some of his children and grandchildren followed.  His beloved wife, Lettie, passed away at the age of 55 on April 1, 1914.   Eight years later, he married Annie P. Larsen on Sept. 20, 1922 in the Salt Lake Temple.  Joseph Michael Smith died on February 20, 1948 at the age of 92.  At the time of his death, he had sixty-four living grandchildren.  He is buried in the Draper City Cemetery.

---1. H. Rosetta Smith Fairbourn, his daughter,"At the Temple Quarry in Little Cottonwood Canyon", printed in Ila Mae F. Dahl, "Histories - Biographies and Other Writings", (self published 1995) 2. Draper Historical Society, "People of Draper 1849-1924", Vol. I, (Salt Lake City: Agreka Books) 603. Copy in Family History Library, S.L.C., Utah


Celestia Ann Brown was born December 3, 1859 in Draper the second child of Joseph Gurnsey and Esther Brown.  She was blessed by her grandfather, Ebenezer Brown when eight days old and given the second name of Ann after her Grandmother, Ann Weaver.   Her father nick named her “Lettie,” which she became known by all her friends and relatives.  She was a very devoted daughter to her parents, dignified, and carried herself with grace and charm.  She was courteous, cheerful, patient and kind to her younger brothers and sisters.  She married Joseph Michael Smith on Jan. 9, 1879 in the Endowment House by Daniel H. Wells because the Salt Lake Temple was not completed yet. They established a homestead in the eastern part of Draper.   They kept active in their church responsibilities, and as children came they were always taught and encouraged to do the same. They had fourteen children, seven girls and seven boys.


Celestia raised her large family in a day when there was no electricity, no automobiles, and all food was cooked on a coal or wood burning stove.  She made her own washing soap from animal fat scraps and lye.  The clothes were washed on a wash board.  The wash water had to be heated on a stove, and then the clothes were hung on a clothes line to dry.  This was extremely difficult during the winter because the clothes would freeze stiff as boards when pinned to the clothes line and it was very difficult to get them dry.  Her daughter,  Rose, wrote of her mother sitting by her bedside for hours and keeping hot packs on her ears because of her frequent earaches.  Celestia was a very good housekeeper.  She had “a place for everything and everything in its place.”  She taught all of her children to work.  As for being a cook, she was one of the best.  Together with her husband, they worked things out in the most desirable way to care for their fourteen children.  Though things both in living quarters and scarcity of needful provisions were sometimes hard to obtain, their family never went hungry or insufficiently clothed.   She was a schemer when it came to making over and using hand-me-downs.  She was a good student, and was taught by Dr. John R. Park.  He roomed and boarded with them for some time while he taught school.  When Dr. Park left Draper, he became affiliated with and taught at the University of Utah.   Celestia was a very good reader and seldom was there a word she couldn’t spell.  She spent many hours at leisure times reading to her family.   Rose said she was about 5 feet 2 inches in height and of medium build.  She had brown hair and blue eyes.  She was a very tidy person and with not a very substantial wardrobe, she kept herself well dressed with the clothes she had.   She was clean and neat.  She was never seen coming from her bedroom after a nights rest,  when she was not fully dressed.  She always washed and combed her hair before beginning her morning’s work.  She always wore a clean tie apron, which she made use of in many ways.  Oft-times as she went into the orchard, it served as a basket to carry back to the house apples, peaches, tomatoes, potatoes and firewood.   Most of her father’s family lived in Kanab, Utah because they were called to settle that area by Brigham Young.  They would come to visit Salt Lake at General Conference and other times.  They would always stay at Celestia’s home.  She never complained about the extra food or work that caused her.  She always encouraged and welcomed her children’s boy and girl friends into her home.  She let her children have birthday parties and other gatherings.  She would have a freezer of homemade ice cream and cake.  In the summertime she treated them to grapes and watermelons and many fruits that they raised on the farm.   In her days, people made their own carpets.  When article of clothing became unwearable, they were cut into carpet rags.  These averaged about one inch wide and then they were all sown together in long strips, and then wound into balls.  When there were many pounds of balls, they were taken to an Old Danish couple who had a carpet weaving loom.   They were woven into a carpet, the size depended on the amount of carpet balls one brought.

When Rose was in her second year of high school, Celestia became very ill.   She had Rose hold her hand and feel her heavy heart beat near her throat.  She then told her, “My dear, I don’t think your mother is going to be with you very much longer, and I want you to try and remember, don’t do the many things I have tried to council you against over the years.   Promise me you will never do or say anything you will be ashamed for Mother to hear or see you do.  Heed the council of your dear father, always remember your prayer to your Heavenly Father.  I know you will do this. You have always been a sweet and respectful daughter to your parents and we love you dearly.”  These were some of the last words she spoke.   She died at the age of fifty-five on April 1, 1914.   Rose tried to do as she asked, and later wrote,  “I hope I may live worthy of meeting her some day and I can tell her I kept my promise.”

---1. Jennie Brown Hollist and Imogene Brown, "Ebenezer Brown and His Descendants", (Ebenezer Brown Family Organization), 122-123. 2. Harriet Rosetta Smith Fairbourn, "My Two Mothers", written December 1984 at 84 years of age, copies given to children and grandchildren. Copy with Ronald Holt and Carolee Holt Kenison.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Rainbow Nest


Last fall I learned that a new grand baby would be joining the family with a due date in April.  This was exciting news.  Shortly after, the new news was that the baby would be a girl.  I had been made aware of the book "Rainbow Nest" by Edyta Sitar, a fabric and quilt designer extraordinaire.  Her company is called Laundry Basket Quilts.  I ordered two copies of the book (one for my quilting sister) and two charms packs of Jellybean Batiks fabric from Amazon.  Jellybean Batiks was the fabric line designed and used by Edyta for her version of Rainbow Nest.  I used Floral Gatherings by Primative Gatherings in pink for my background fabric rather than Edyta's choice of a blue figure on cream for her version.  This quilt was going to be for a girl after all.

I really liked the message of the book which is about a mother expecting a baby and doing all the nesting things expectant mothers do while including her older child in the experience.  She prepares for the baby just like a mother bird prepares a nest for her babies.  This quilt and book were also a gift, in a way, for older brother Oscar.

I was able to cut all the necessary strips necessary for the strip piecing to make the nine patch blocks and the applique pieces from the two charm square packs (5 inch square pieces of all fabrics in the line which come in a stack.)

I used the back basting method of applique for the center block.

 This was my first time ever using batik fabrics and I loved the way that nine patches could subtly move from color to color around the center block.

It took some planning but was so much fun.

I paid close attention to Edyta's pattern and picture in the back of the book.

It was necessary to lay all the blocks out carefully, even sewing some together as I went,  before sewing the quilt together.

Edyta may have used layer cake pieces (10 inch squares of fabric) to make her matching rainbow binding.  This was not doable with my charm packs.  I remembered that I had purchased a jelly roll (2 1/2 inches by 42 inches or width of the fabric strips and rolled together some of each color) of Simply Color by V and Co. a couple of years ago on sale.  I could use it for my binding as well as helping me out with extending my backing as I did not have enough of the cream with pink print leftover for the back.

I really liked how the fresh colorful back turned out.

Each jelly roll strip of color had an ombre effect with dark color going to a light color in the center of each strip.  For the binding I cut those strips in half to make a binding that would coordinate with each color of block around the quilt.  It worked perfectly!

I used a one inch diagonal grid for the machine quilting which stopped at each appliqued piece.

I hand quilted around each shape for I felt I would spoil it trying to machine stitch around all those tiny pieces.

I used a double layer of bamboo batting for this quilt (Utah winters) which made the hand quilting difficult.  Let's just say that there are tiny stitches but they are somewhat apart.

I truly feel that this is my favorite quilt ever.  It just sings and I loved seeing it come together.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Lauritz Nicolaisen Smith and Maren Kirstin Mikkelsdatter

Lauritz was 5 feet 6 inches with curly black hair and blue gray eyes and never weighed more than 120 pounds.  This photograph was taken in Iowa as he prepared to serve his mission in 1876.  He would have been about 46 years of age.

Autobiography of Lauritz Smith

I was born October 5, 1830 in Hjorring, Hjorring, Denmark of goodly parents and raised in the Lutheran Church. I obtained a common school education and I first heard the truth, or the beautiful message of the restored Gospel in the spring of 1851, from my cousin, Christian Peter Neilsen.  I was ordained a teacher in November 1851 and ordained an Elder in April 1852, and labored as much as time permitted with the local Elders.   I labored as a missionary during the winter of 1852-1853 in the northeastern part of Vendsysel, and after that traveled in company with President Willard Snow, Hans Peter Jensen, John E. Forsgren and Svend Larsen on board “Zion’s Love" from Aalborg to Copenhagen to attend the April Conference. After this Conference I went to Schielesvig-Holstein, where I was kindly received by Elder Jorgens and his family and other Saints locally.  I will here remark that Brother Jorgins was called to Copenhagen to attend a special meeting by President Snow. On his return from that trip he was taken sick with cholera and on his arrival in Flensborg he telegraphed to Schiesvig for his wife to join him.  He died a few hours after her arrival. This took place in May of 1853 and caused great sorrow to the family and the Saints in the vicinity.  During the following summer I labored for the spread of the gospel as much as my time permitted me but at that time all religious meetings not Lutheran were forbidden and the holding of such meetings was punished by imprisonment and fines. I left Schlesvig in the latter part of December 1853 and joined a Danish emmigrant company at Gluckesvig, Holstein and crossed the sea to Hull, England and then by rail to Liverpool. We sailed from Liverpool January 3, 1854. I married Marie Christine Christensen from Stenbreen in Vendsysel with President Christian J. Larsen officiating. We arrived at New Orleans February 20, 1854 and were attacked by cholera from which many laid down their earthly tabernacle awaiting a glorious resurrection as we sailed up the Mississippi River.  We stopped at St. Louis,  Missouri one month where many more died with cholera. We then traveled by river steamer to Westport, west of the present site of Kansas City where we received our wagons and oxen. Our Journey across the plains and mountains was quite successful. We arrived in Salt Lake City, Utah where we have lived every since. I was appointed a teacher in the Draper Ward in 1856 and appointed Sunday School teacher in 1854. We were the only Danish family in Draper for many years. In due course of time I was ordained a Seventy and was later set apart as one of the seven presidents of the 73rd Quorum of the Seventy. In 1876,  I was sent on a mission to the states during which time I labored in the Northwestern States during the winter of 1876-1877 but owing to my poor health I was counseled by President J.A. Little to return home. After my return, I was called to labor as a home missionary and was thus engaged for 6 years and 6 months. I enjoyed my missionary labors and was blessed in my work. I have been a member of the Presidency of the Scandinavian Saints in Draper from the time when Scandinavian meetings were commenced there. I am the father of 15 children, namely 9 sons and 6 daughters.

There is much that Lauritz doesn't tell in his short autobiography.  His story of coming to America and eventually Draper, Utah is an unusual one.  He had became acquainted with Maren Kirstin (called Mary Christine in Utah) Mikkelsdatter.  Her family along with many other Saints were planning a trip to the Salt Lake Valley.  President Snow went to Lauritz and asked him if he was going to Zion as was his sweetheart.  Lauritz wanted to go but he had a major problem.  Denmark had compulsory training for all young men and Lauritz had been drafted into the Danish Army.  The Army still had a claim on him but his testimony and desire to come to America were too strong for anything to stand in his way.  He prayed to the Lord for help.  It was in December of 1853 when Lauritz went down to the river, took off his clothes, and left them and his Army uniform along with his watch and money on the river bank. He left a note saying, "All I hear in this place is war.  I have gone to a better land."  He then left his foot-prints going into the water and swam the river to the other side where friends were waiting for him with the clothing and personal attire he would need.  The Army, thinking he had drowned, dredged the river for his body.   Lauritz had gone to join the Danish emigrants that were assembled at Glustadt and with them crossed the North Sea on the ship "Jesse Munn" going to Hull, England and then by rail to Liverpool.  Here the group would board the ship "Benjamin Adams."  There they would have to show passports of which Lauritz had none.  He would board as a member of Maren's family but without a passport and as a deserter.  He did not know how he would get by the inspector who had been checking everyone's paperwork carefully.  He remained in line but as Maren, her sister, and her parents showed their passports the inspector passed by Lauritz without asking for his.  He felt the Lord had answered the prayer in his heart.  When the ship landed in New Orleans, the inspector stated he had checked him and told him he could depart.  His prayer had been answered again.  He had worried that he would be sent back to Denmark.

The "Benjamin Adams" departed England on January 3, 1854 for America.  Lauritz and Maren were married on January 15, 1854 in mid-ocean by Christian J. Larsen.  Maren had made Lauritz a new shirt from her petticoat for him to be married in.  (Note:  The manifest papers for the "Benjamin Adams" do not show Lauritz as a passenger but the captain's log does record their marriage at sea.)  Lauritz talked very little about this part of his life and often worried that word would get back to Denmark that he was alive and that he would have to return.  During his delirium before he died he talked in fear that they were coming to get him, yet he and all those who knew his story felt that he had done the right thing.  Not wanting to be identified and being a blacksmith, Lauritz went by Smith in the United States.  This proved to be a problem when later doing family research.  A genealogist in Denmark, Ellen Christensen, identified him in the Hjorring Parish Registers as a son of Jens Nicoli Christensen.  Mary's father was Mikkel Christensen and according to patronymics, this would make her surname Mikkelsen or as a female Mikkelsdatter, but after joining the church she did as many of the Saints in Utah did and used her father's surname.

On February 4, 1854, Maren's sister, Ann Kathrine died and was buried at sea.  They arrived in New Orleans on February 20, 1854  where Lauritz found employment and worked for a month loading 150 pound sacks of sugar on ships in order to earn money for their passage up the Mississippi River to St. Louis, Missouri.  While in New Orleans, a cholera epidemic broke out and many died.  Lauritz caught the disease and he was very sick but got well and was able to leave with the rest of the group. They stopped at St. Louis for a month as more people were stricken with cholera and then made their way to West Port just a bit west of Kansas City.  They began their journey across the plains and were assigned to drive a yoke of oxen but while fording a stream the wagons were having trouble so Lauritz got out in the icy water to help the wagons across.  Because of this and his weakened condition from the cholera, he developed rheumatism and suffered so that it was necessary for him to lay down in the wagon.  Mary's father and mother also became sick and although Mary had never driven oxen, she did so as well as looked after their care while driving the oxen most of the way.  They arrived in the Salt Lake Valley on October 5, 1854 on Lauritz's 24th birthday. Lauritz could hardly stand but sought work anyway.  The granite quarry in Little Cottonwood Canyon needed workers but when Lauritz applied for the job the boss asked how he could do the work in his current bent position.  At first he had to crawl over the rocks but as he worked his back straightened and he became well again.  He worked in the quarry for about 2 months and then was directed to the office of Brigham Young who asked him if he had a trade.  Lauritz had to converse with President Young through an interpreter as he did not yet speak the English language.  Lauritz told him he was a blacksmith.  President Young asked if he knew anything about farming and Lauritz told him a little bit.  President Young told him to go to Willow Creek (now Draper) and get a piece of land and build on it and stay there.  He also told him that they needed a blacksmith in that area.  To Lauritz, this was a mandate from the Lord and he did exactly what Brigham Young told him to do.  He was the first Scandinavian settler in the community.  He bought a farm, built a blacksmith shop on the land and stayed the remainder of his life so seriously did he interpret the advice of Brigham Young.  It is said that he was uneasy when out of Draper for even a short visit.

Lauritz's father had been a blacksmith and as early as age 8, Lauritz began learning the blacksmith trade under his father's instruction.  His formal schooling came to an end when he was 14 and he then became a blacksmith apprentice which required several years of hard work.  When he completed his apprenticeship he worked in Germany, Holland, France and Denmark.  In doing so he helped support his mother along with his two brothers as his father had died in 1845.

Lauritz standing in the doorway of his blacksmith shop in Draper.  His son, Neph, works in the background.

Lauritz in turn, taught the blacksmith trade to three of his sons.  He was known as an excellent blacksmith and often there was a line for his services.  He often worked into the night as his customers slept on straw pallets in the shop with Mary serving them breakfast in the morning.  Lauritz was a hard working man at the forge and anvil.  He made chains, sharpened plow shears, made wagon irons that were the iron tires on wooden wheels of wagons, made horse shoes and horse shoe nails, and shod horses plus many other jobs which were essential to the lives of people in those days.

 Mary was born to January 14, 1827 in Boller Mark, Taars Parish, Hjorring, Denmark.  She along with her family were instrumental in Lauritz's arrival in America.  She was of great support to Lauritz and bore him five sons; Joseph Michael, Lauritz Heber, John Hyrum, Brigham, and David J who passed away in infancy.

Mary knew how to cord, spin, and weave sheep wool into cloth.  She also grew food for her family.  She grew apples and other fruits and vegetables.  She also had a milk cow.  She would save scraps of cloth and make quilts.  Some cloth scraps were torn in strips and then wound into a ball which she would embroider making colorful play balls.  One time Lauritz had Gurnsey Brown come to cut the grain and none of the men showed up to bind it so Mary left her housework and went out to work in the field.  Gurnsey thought she would never keep up with him, but though Mary was behind at the start, she was there to pick up the last swath of grain as Gurnsey cut it.  She was always more than willing to go into the fields when help was needed.

Part of the reason for her hard work was her way of life as a child in Denmark where she worked long hours with her family.  She would get up early in the morning and help with breakfast and then go out with the others to rake hay or bind grain after it was cut.  There were no trees for wood so she would go where the ground was wet and soggy (they called these bogs) and would cut the bog moss and dry it in the sun, then store it for warmth and cooking.  She said it burned slowly and made a lot of smoke but it was the best that they had for fuel.

Mary, in 1866, encouraged Lauritz to take a second wife, Johanne Kirstine Jensen, who was also from Denmark.  Mary and Lauritz were kind and helpful to the Scandinavians moving to Draper including Johanne.  She was much younger than Mary and bore Lauritz 12 more children two of whom died at a very young age.  She and Mary were very close and the children all claimed that they had two mothers.

At first both wives lived in what was known as the Pine Tree house.  All of Mary's sons were born in this home.  It is no longer standing but got its name from the giant pine tree that grew from a seedling brought down from the mountain by Lauritz and planted when the house was first built.

As his family grew, Lauritz built this saltbox house with the blacksmith shop nearby.  There were five rooms on the bottom floor and two bedroom upstairs, one for boys and one for girls.  This home is still standing, used as a home,  and is on the National Historic Register.

At the time of the Edmunds Tucker Act, Mary's two oldest sons built another home for Mary and Lauritz leaving Johanne (Hannah) the larger home for her large family.  The new home was built just north and east of the location of the Pine Tree house.

This home is also still standing and the owners are descendants of Mary and Lauritz.  

It has received special recognition by the Draper Historic Preservation Committee and this plaque is located in front of the home on Relation Street in Draper.

It sits far back from the street in a park likt setting and has an addition or two added since Mary and Lauritz lived there.  Unfortunately, many lots along Relation Street are now being subdivided and new very large homes are appearing and the street is losing some of its charm.

There is an interesting story told about this home. About the year 1897 on a Saturday, lightening struck the big poplar tree that was in front of this house.  It split the trunk of the tree and it went over into the house through the transom above the door, then along the wall into a box of papers in the bedroom, scattering plaster all around and riddling the papers into little pieces.  It looked as if a nest of mice had been chewing for days.  Mary left everything just like it was and the ward learned about it at Sunday School the next morning.  That Sunday afternoon, the people of the community came to see what the lightening had done.  Luckily, no one was hurt and there was no fire.  Melissa Ann Fitzgerald was about 12 years old when this happened.  She later married Lauritz's grandson, Joseph Lauritz Smith (son of Joseph Michael Smith) on November 27, 1906 and she and Joseph bought the home and moved into it as Mary and Lauritz were unable to manage by themselves.  Lauritz went to live at Hannah's house and Mary went to live in her son, Joseph Michael's home with his family where she occupied a room in the back part of their home.  Melissa Ann Fitzgerald Smith lived in that home until her death in February 1982.  Melissa would often laugh and say that she never dreamed that she would one day live most of her life in the home she had toured after it had been hit by lightening.  

This image comes as a double, but it was taken at a Smith Family Reunion in 1908.  The baby on Lauritz's lap is his great grandchild, Elma June Smith, daughter of Joseph Lauritz and Melissa Ann Smith.  Elma June is my husband's grandmother.

Other pictures were taken on that special day.  Mary and Lauritz are shown with their four living sons.  Joseph Michael Smith stands on the far left side by his mother.

This is a four generation picture taken that same day.  Lauritz once again holds Elma June with Mary by his side.  Melissa Ann stands next to her husband, Joseph Lauritz Smith, who stands next to his father, Joseph Michael Smith, and his mother, Celestia Ann Brown Smith.  What a treasure!

This statue was made in honor of Draper's Danish Blacksmith, Lauritz Smith.  It stands in Draper City Park.

This clipping includes a biography written about Lauritz at his death on June 16, 1924.  He is a man to be honored who served as the Stake Patriarch for the last 19 years of his life.  He showed care and courtesy for his family and his neighbors.  Mary passed away almost a year earlier on January 2, 1923.  Johanna  (Hannah) lived until November 27, 1935.

He is buried in the Draper City Cemetery along with his wives.

Their graves surround this memorial.