Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Hans Peter Jensen (1844-1931) and Karen Marie Nielsen (1845-1926) histories, Part 7: Return to Mapleton and Family Experiences with Hans Peter

Part 5
Part 6

Return to Mapleton

After the death of Karen Marie, Hans bought the little Relief Society Hall in Mapleton, just west of the home belonging to his son Joseph and Harriet, and lived there for possibly 4 or 5 years. This building was formerly the meeting place for the Relief Society. As was common in that day, Relief Society was held in a separate building rather than the chapel; many of these were built and paid for from the “dues” paid by members of the Relief Society; this one was about a block east of the main Chapel and on the other side of the street and was probably built about 1890.

When the Relief Society no longer needed it, Hans Peter made his home there. The deed to
the property shows that he paid $500 for it in April 1926.

Caption: The Old Relief Society Building still stands behind the home at 195 East Maple in Mapleton, Utah, although its appearance is considerably different than the building in the photo.

Following the death of Hans Peter, the home became the property of Joseph Jensen and was used for a residence for a few years and later for storage. This building is located today behind a newer home at 195 East Maple, in Mapleton. There have been attempts to preserve the building. The bricks have been cleaned and efforts have been made to stabilize the walls. The doorway and access have also been altered.

The pathway through the grass to the front door of the Relief Society building was lined with purple flags (Iris). The outside measurements are 15 x 20 ft. There was no running water inside so water had to he carried from a hydrant at the back of Hattie and Joe’s house. On the inside, a huge wardrobe stood against one wall at the back of the room. On the opposite side was his bed. The stove was a cook stove that was also used to heat the house. A cupboard, with glass in the doors on the top half to show off the nice dishes, stood in the corner. A table and a "Bishop's couch“ completed the furnishing. The couch had a wooden back and arms and a slat seat with a mattress on top to make it comfortable to sit on.

A short distance behind the house was a granary, also made of brick, but a lighter color; it had been used to store the grain kept by the Relief Society for an emergency. Until this building was built, the wheat was stored in the back of the Relief Society Room. Outside and a little north was the outhouse or "shanty," with three holes for seats, each one sized appropriately for the different sizes of occupants.

Family Experiences with Hans Peter

As a little girl, Marie remembers the “Leafy Society" (Relief Society) ladies meeting in this room or building. The Jensen girls, who lived just few steps east, were assigned to help clean. She remembers them singing the hymns with gusto even if some of their voices were a little “screechy.” Marie also remembers playing the pump organ there, powered by pumping the foot petals [sic].

Fern recalls, “After Grandpa moved into the Relief Society house there by us, we really got to know him. He was always an pleasant and “chuckled” over the things we did. He always sat with his back to the door, facing the warm stove, so we'd sneak in the door and go over and grab him and scare him. We loved it as he'd always act as if he were scared and grab us and give us a squeeze for being “naughty.” He loved smoked herring and other kinds of fish and the smell was always in the house. Any time I smell that good smell I am reminded of Grandpa and how he enjoyed the fish.

"I remember him always being so neat and clean. He wore a full heard and kept it so clean and white. I remember how soft it always felt and his hands were soft too. As he got older, Mom would have one of us go get him or walk over to the house to stay for part of the day. We also took turns walking him to Church for each meeting, and were so proud to get to be the one to hold hands and walk with him. This is why his soft hands are so vivid in my memory. And he always thanked us for taking him as if we'd done him such a great favor.

"When he’d come over to our house in the daytime, he had a favorite place to sit by the end of the stove, and lots of times he‘d lean on his cane and just watch the activity going on. He seemed to know that where he sat he was out of Mom's way while she worked. And knowing our Mother, I'm sure she kept a conversation going with him--maybe encouraging him to tell about Denmark. Mother was so proud to tell us that Grandpa had said to her, “Your children honor me." How I wish all this had been recorded.

“He fixed his own breakfast, which was usually “fisk” (fish)--which he bought in a keg and kept in some kind of a brine—and barley coffee. He ate his noon meal with us and had his "supper" at his place, usually bread and milk and smoked fish and sometimes some homemade “beer.” He liked "tin" (thin), not "tick" (thick) soup and loved his homemade "beer" and "coffee"--neither of which were in violation of his strict Mormon ethics.

One of his favorite delicacies was fruit toast. During the summer, we gathered and dried berries. These were soaked and cooked with sweetening, then thickened and poured ever toast. (Some years age this recipe was included in the Relief Society Magazine.)

Fern remembers being a “flower girl" at his funeral. “Each of the smaller grandkids was given a bouquet of flowers and stood on either side of the sidewalk; the casket was brought along the path and the relatives walked alongside; it was probably quite touching and pretty to see and such an honer to get to stand there.”

Muriel also remembers living next door as a young girl, and gives us her perspective of Hans Peter Jensen. “I used to go over to Grandpa's house and build fires for him in the mornings so that he wouldn't have to get up in the cold. I would walk home with him at night when he left our house and I remember what soft hands he had as he held my hand. I would sleep on the couch and he must have waked me in the mornings, as I doubt I was an early riser. He always had the little kindling brought in. I would wad up some paper and put it in the stove and then add the kindling, followed by bigger pieces of wood, then lay the coal on top. He kept a gallon can of kerosene nearby and I would pour a liberal amount over the whole thing and then light a match to it. It would take right off and I would go back home as soon as I saw that the coal was burning.

“Every Saturday, there was always a quarter on the table for me. I have wondered many times since how he could afford to give it to me as money was a very scarce item in those days. One day on my birthday, instead of a quarter, he left me a pretty strand of heads. I can only guess how he ever got those. He was such a kindly quiet man and I know our family all loved him.

“Grandpa Jensen loved his Danish “beer.” This beer had no alcohol in it. He would have it for
supper like bread and milk. On one occasion, He ran out of the beer, so Mother decided to make a batch for him. We had a big screen porch at the back of the house whore she washed and she had two number 3 tubs to rinse the clothes in. We used them to have our weekly bath in also. Well, she scrubbed one of them real clean and made the beer in that. She covered it with a cloth and left it to ferment or whatever it did. Clara and Len had wanted to go on a trip to California, so they brought Alice down for us to take care of while they were gone. She was just a little tyke, about 2 years old. She caught the whooping cough after Clara left so we just tended her as best we could. One day I happened to go out on the porch and there was Alice having the time of her life bathing in the tub of beer. I gathered her out—shoes, socks, clothes and all and called Mother. I was sure that she would be really sick, but it didn't seem to make her any worse. Maybe she drank some and it pepped her up. I did tell Mather that she should measure the contents she bottled it.

"We had a player piano at our home and happened to have the roll of "Midnight Fire Alarm," which I used to love to hear, so I would play it often. Our, Beth, had the sheet music of the same song. I learned to play it fairly well, but one day decided to put the roll on and played it while was playing with my own hands. The switch where you turned the roll off when it was finished was at the top where I had to put the sheet music. Well, I started to play— better than Mozart himself—and Grandpa heard me and came in the parlor to watch. Of course the darn thing ended, and I had nothing to do but reach up under the music and turn the player off. Grandpa always carried a cane and he shook that cane at me and stalked out of the room.

“One day, three of the cousins, June Whiting Blanchard, her sister Beulah, and Fern Jensen, the youngest daughter of Joseph and Harriet, were playing together. As June remembers the experience, Harriet had just baked an apple pie and came out onto the porch where the girls were playing and handed it to Fern. Fern thought the pie was for three hungry girls, so she went to the kitchen and got three spoons and they enjoyed the pie. Harriet expected that Fern would understand that it was to be delivered to Grandpa in the little house next door."

Thelma Tweede Butler, daughter of Mary Eliza Jensen Tweede, one of Hans Peter's daughters, shares the following memories.

“My Father Herman and his brother went out to the West Mountain and homesteaded a big farm out there. The first recollection I have of Grandpa and Grandma was when I was about 5 years old. ‘There weren't any phones so I don't know how my brother and I knew that Grandma and Grandpa were coming, but we were waiting for them and finally saw the little black buggy coming a long way off and ran to meet them. Grandpa took me on his lap and let me drive the horse; of course, we knew they had a sack of old fashioned candy for us.

When they lived in Spanish Fork, we visited quite a lot. Grandmother always had a quilt on the frames to sew and us kids would have a playhouse under the quilt. When Grandma died, she had a quilt on that hadn't been finished so Mother and some of the Aunts finished it before the funeral. At rest time, they put a pan of sweet beer on to heat and toasted bread on the back burner of the shiny black coal stove. And I had a bowl of hot bread and beer.”

Veda Tweede Durfey, another of the grandchildren, adds, “We used to watch Grandpa drive up whether it was buggy or car. The day that I remember, particularly, they were in a buggy. I must have been about 9 or 10 and was attempting to do some ironing. Grandma asked me if I knew how to iron. I said nothing but went and asked mother what she meant. She always had a little bag of candy with her, so we were glad to have them visit us. One time they had purchased one of the first cars around and we went riding with them. Grandpa, never a good driver, did not see the train coming down the tracks and just about crossed in front of it. We were all pretty shaken up. Grandpa came to live with us for a time. We really enjoyed having him. I don't think he was a burden to us. We missed him when he died.

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