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James Peter Anderson

Historical Sketch By Lea Anderson Laub

  James Peter Anderson

My father, James Peter Anderson, who was also known as James T. Anderson because of another man bearing the same name, was born the 28th of August 1862 in Ephraim, Sanpete county, Utah, of pioneer parents, Neils and Ingeborg Paulsen Anderson.  His name to James T. Anderson was changed by court order. His mother Ingeborg was the first of three wives and gave birth to five sons, the last two being twins. My father and his mother had no full sisters. Move of his youth and early married life were spent near Ephraim. When he was three years of age, the family moved to Circle Valley by request of Brigham Young, but the Indian troubles became so bad they left their homes and went back to Ephraim to take up farming again in 1866.

His schooling was very meager tho he was an excellent reader, loving to read aloud. He was a very good student and had a good memory. He was good looking young man, short and stocky, witty and quick, and liked sports and adventure, but lack of funds and his home teachings prevented him from going very far from home. He was a very active step dancer and a fast runner. My father had light brown hair and gray eyes and was about 5 feet 6 inches in height and weighed about 180 pounds and enjoyed good health most of his life. He and my mother were married on the 2nd of July 1886 in Ephraim. On September 16th, 1888 he was rebaptized and confirmed a member of the church by Elder Jens Anderson at Ephraim, and on October 4th 1888 he received his endowment and was sealed to my mother in the Manti Temple. Ten children were born to them, nine of whom grew to maturity.

The second year after their marriage he fell from a wagon as he was helping another man bring logs from the mountains. The wagon passed over his leg breaking it badly. Doctors were not to be found in their community so he was doctored as well as could be and had to lay with weights on his leg for the biggest part of a year. It left him with a slight limp which he practically overcame in several years.

His occupation in his early life was farming and sheep raising and for weeks at a time he would be away with the sheep so most of the great responsibility of rearing the children was left with my mother.

After the eighth child was born, he thought he would like to go to Idaho to buy a farm, but, Idaho was like the ends of the earth to my mother, so they compromised and moved to Castlegate in Carbon County where he worked in the mines, then to Spring Glen, near Helper, where I was born. While we were living there he was made a counselor to the bishop. He was ordained a High Priest at Spring Glen Ward by the stake President, Elder R.G. Miller on the 17th of June 1906. He also realized here in Spring Glen the power of administration when a small girl was made instantly well under his hands.

From there they moved to a farm near Provo where the last child was born, then on to a farm in Richfield. With a family of seven girls and two boys he realized that farming did not provide a sufficient livelihood for such a large family, so we moved to Ogden where he began to work on the railroad. After a short time, he became discouraged and went to Glen’s Ferry, Idaho and worked there for several years with the family staying in Ogden. When my youngest brother Hugh was called on a mission, father was only sending $30.00 to $35.00 a month home to take care of the house and mother and the four younger children. The older children were working enough to support themselves. It was decided my brother Hugh should stay on his mission as long as he could be kept there. Shortly after, my father came home and continued to work as a railroad inspector and from that time on the financial situation of the family improved. My father became more contented and the later years of his married life were the happiest. After my brother returned from his mission, the next three girls were also sent and it was estimated nearly $5,000 was spent in keeping these four on missions. My father thought it was a good investment. While he was a member of the Ogden Third Ward in 1923 he was a ward teacher.

While Onedia, the first of my sisters to serve on her mission in the Northwestern states, my father gave up his smoking which had been a habit with him since he was a young man. The sudden shock to his system was too much for him though and he became very ill and in a weakened condition. While my next sister, Luella, was on her mission in Central states, he recovered partially, but never complained, and when I received my call, my sister Luella, who had returned just seven months before, said she’d help keep me, so my father sent me. While I was on my mission he gave up coffee. He said he could not continue to smoke or use coffee and keep missionaries out at the same time.

In the fall of 1928, father decided to go on a trip. He first planned to go to Denver, but went to Omaha where he met a friend who suggested he go on to Hot Springs, Arkansas for rheumatism treatments, which he did. I feel that the treatments were too severe for him and the doctor told him his condition was serious. At that time I was laboring in the Southern part of Missouri only three hundred miles or so from Hot Springs, so my father came to see me on his way home. I can’t explain the mingled feelings I had at that time. I wanted him to stay, yet to get home as fast as he could. He told me that he had given up his coffee three months before. He felt quite well the two days he was there—Christmas Day and the day following, and when I helped him to the train, he kissed me twice which was unusual for my father to show his emotion, and I felt I’d never see him alive again. I fought that feeling for six weeks even though my folks kept me from knowing his serious condition, and on the 15th of February 1929, all day I felt blue and depressed and had sort of a premonition of his going and in the evening as we were in a cottage meeting, I received a telegram stating he had passed away that day. In my father’s passing, I feel that he had gone on to perform a mission that could not be performed here, and one he had sacrificed his health to be worthy of.

I remember only once my father reprimanding me for wrongdoing. That was my mother’s duty. But well do I remember that one time. He never raised his hand against any of his children in punishing them. When he spoke, it was with authority.

Father died of complications of the flue which caused heart trouble. He died at the Dee Hospital, in Ogden, Utah and was buried in the Ogden City Cemetery.


By Lea Anderson Laub


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