(The Following life history of James Peter Anderson is compiled from different accounts written by son - James Ira, in 1957 and 1976, and from daughter Alta Lealette’s in the 1950’s, and from events remembered by daughter Luella, written in 1977)
James Peter Anderson, (later changing his named to 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 Ingaborg (Inger) Parson. His father Neils, was born in Lund, Sweden, November 26th, 1835. His mother, Ingaborg Parson, was born in Dyver, Norway, April 9 1823. They joined the Church in 1850’s and in 1857 both immigrated to Utah, the last of the Utah Pioneers.
Father’s mother, Ingaborg, was the first of three wives, and gave birth to five sons—Neils William, Andrew Charles, James Peter, Sydney Erastus, and George Edwin - twins (George died). It was the rule of the Church, during the time polygamy was practiced in Utah, that to marry more than one wife, the husband must have the consent of the first wife (which I doubt he did - Ira) and second be financially able to support all families. His second wife was called Stena, or Anna and she had seven children. His third wife, Maria had nine children.
Father was baptized in Ephraim July 11, 1870 and was re-baptized into the United Order by L. S. Anderson, August 13, 1876. He was also re-baptized and confirmed a member of the Church by Elder Jens Anderson, in Ephraim when he was sealed to our mother, on September 16, 1888. (Rebaptism seemed to have been quite prevalent at that time.)
When father was three years of age, the family moved from Ephraim so Circle Valley, by request of President Brigham Young, but the Indian troubles because so bad they left their homes and went back to Ephraim to take up farming again in 1866. (Cousin Ross Anderson - son of father’s brother, Andrew, - has written an account of this move to Circle Valley and back to Ephraim.)
Father was good looking young man, short and stocky. He had a long body and rather short legs and arms (a family characteristic, even to the third generation). He had light, curly hair, and very blue eyes, was witty and quick and liked sports and adventure. As long as his children knew him, he wore a short, sandy mustache.
His schooling was very meager. He did go to school to probably the 8th grade. He wrote a good hand, and was an excellent reader, loving to read aloud. As a child, Ira enjoyed the stories he told and read.
He married our mother - Martha Caroling Thomander - in Ephraim July 2, 1886 - by CCN Dorius, and in October 4, 1888 was sealed to her in the Endowment House, or rather Manti Temple. He was a religious man - was ordained a High Priest in Spring Glen in 1906. We always had prayers morning and night, and blessings at the table. He saw to it that the children attended Sunday school, etc. In Ogden, our family filled two benches. He served as counselor to the Bishop in Spring Glen. Here also he showed the gift of healing. In administering to a small girl, she was made instantly well under his hands.
The second year after their marriage, he fell from a wagon of logs he was helping another man bring down from the mountains, and the wagon passed over his leg, breaking it badly. There were no doctors in the community, so he had to lie with breaking it badly. There were no doctors in the community, so he had to lie with weights on his leg for the biggest part of a year. It left him with a slight limp.
He was a very hard working man. His early life was in the sheep business. For weeks at a time he would be away with the sheep and so left a great responsibility or rearing the children to my mother.
Their first child - James Ira was born in Ephraim, April 14, 1887, and on the 1st of November 1888 mother gave birth to a stillborn son. Martha Lucretia was born in Ephraim February 9, 1890, and Drusilla Naomi was born in Ephraim July 8, 1892. Ira remembers these two girls were about the only ones he had to play with as they were growing up. Ada Beulah was born September 13, 1894.
Father then tried to raise cattle, and Ira’s earliest recollection of him was when he was in the cattle business “cross Sanpitch”. As a small boy Ira helped him herd cattle. He had about 60 head and about 160 acres of fine land. This was when Ira was about 10 or 12 years old. He milked 10 or 12 cows and sent the milk to the Ephraim Creamery. Mother also made cheese from the milk and cream. The farm house consisted of one room built of logs, with a lean-to on the rear. No screens - so flies were very numerous. When Ira was about 12 or 13 a severe draught hit the country and dried up nearly all the feed. Grasshoppers finished the job. So Pa was left stranded and broke.
About this time, Rexburg, Idaho was being settled. Father wanted to move up there and get a new start, but to Mother - Idaho was the ends of the earth and she refused to go. Uncle Dan was then living in Castle Dale, and he suggested that Father move the family there. Arrangements were made to buy some alkali land from the Aiken brothers. The family moved to Castle Dale and lived with Uncle Dan Thomander (mother’s brother). Father went back to Ephraim for more furniture and then something happened that he didn’t come back to his family. He was gone for over a year before we heard from him. He was then working in a lumber camp in Oregon. In the mean time mother and children moved back to Ephraim. Hugh Preston was born there September 2, 1896. We had a small house there and a scrawny cow, which we called “Welcome”. Ada remembers a pony named “Bluebell”. The bishop kept us living with the fast offerings.
In some way we got in touch with father in Oregon, and he decided to come back to Ephraim. He had a brother John who lived in Castle Gate, who was working for the coal company. He suggested that father come up there and work. Accordingly we moved up there when Ira was about 15 years old. I think Onedia May was born in Ephraim before we moved to Castle Gate - on May 2, 1899, also Luella Theora on November 26, 1902. Father and an Italian had the job of shoveling coal in the box car, from the center of the car to the ends, as it came from the mine, possibly 15 to 25 tons a day. And later in the mine he moved 8 to 10 tons each day in cars that went out of the mine. It was a back breaking job, but he followed it for a couple of years. He then went in the mine as a miner. He and Ira got up at 3 in the morning and into the mine about 6. He made more money at this work, but it was very hard work. Ira worked in the mine with father for about a year when he was about 15 years old.
Father then decided to buy about 20 acres of rather low land, with a small house on it in Spring Glen, Carbon County (close to Price) Truck farming was rather in demand from the mines. He tried this for a while, but found it did not pay enough, so he got a job at Helper on the railroad. Alta Lealette was born in Spring Glen July 21, 1905.
When Ira was about 19, Mother thought the older children should have a good education, so father sold the Spring Glen farm and bought a small place in Lake View, a small place west of Provo. Ira and Lucretia both attended BYU. Father tried to raise sugar beets, but it didn’t work out so well, so after about three years he sold this farm and moved to Richfield. Here he bought a nice brick house in town, and about 25 acres of good farm land. (The last child - Zoy - was born in Lake View on May 17, 1908) By this time they had seven girls and two boys, so the farming part didn’t work out too well, and they sold out and moved to Ogden. Here father began to work on the railroad. He became very discouraged and went to Glens, Ferry, Idaho and worked there for a few years, the family staying in Ogden.
When father came back to Ogden, he worked as car inspector for the OUR&D Railroad. About this time - 1914-1915 - World War 1 was at its height, and mother didn’t want Hugh to be drafted, so she had him deferred. He was then called on a mission to the North Western States, under President Melvin J. Ballard. The other children were either married, or working, or going to school and supporting themselves. It seems that after Hugh left for his mission our financial situation improved. Father became more contented and happy. Mother was a very strong woman, both in disposition and body, and I guess some of their earlier years were quite stormy. But their later years of married life were quite happy. Father helped with Christmas, and they were times I shall never forget. One Christmas mother received a dining room set, another time a nice rocking chair. We bought a piano while Hugh was on his mission and life was very pleasant and happy. Many times we all sat on the porch and sang to the top of our voices. We really had good harmony, but I don’t know what the neighbors thought.
We lived in several places in Ogden--first (1912-1913) down by the viaduct, then on 28th street and Wall Avenue, and then until 1926 we lived at 1878 Childs Avenue--in the Third Ward. Here the whole family was very active church wise. I don’t remember what job Papa had, but we were all busy and happy in the ward. In 1924 Luella was called on a mission to the Central States and in 1926 she returned. (But before that time Onedia was called on a mission to the North Western States - the same place as Hugh.)
In August of 1916 or 1917 the railroad workers went on strike, but papa kept on working, as he had a big family to take care of. The following article was taken from the Ogden Standard paper of that date:
“About one hundred striking shop men and sympathizers, who gathered in front of a local bank today, after following a shop man and his daughter (Luella) through the city streets calling him a scab (and other dirty names) were dispersed by the police, after complaints had been telephoned to the Mayor Frank Francis, and the police departments.
‘Protests were made to Mayor Francis, who immediately went to the scene of the gathering. He ordered police officers to disperse the men. Immediately after the strikers had dispersed, union officials communicated with strikers and urged them not to permit such tactics upon the streets of the city again.”
From Luella’s notes - ‘I remember the occasion very vividly. I didn’t know they were after Papa - but there was a real big mob very angry, in front of the bank (we were inside) and the Mayor and policemen had to walk with us back to the railroad yards where papa was staying. He didn’t dare to come home at nights, as his life had been threatened several times. He also didn’t dare have Mama come to the yards to get his check - and thot a little girl wouldn’t be noticed so much, and I went two or three times to pick up his checks sometimes meeting him in the bank, and sometimes in the railroad yards. I must have been about 14 at the time. The strike was settled soon after that and papa came back home to live.
After the return from her mission in June of 1926, Luella couldn’t get adjusted to the Third ward, and Papa felt so bad about it, that we decided to move - to 3129 Porter Avenue, across the street from the Ninth Ward - it was a real nice grey stucco home and not too large a yard. We liked the ward very much and soon the three younger girls - Luella, Lea and Zoy were busy in Church work and active in social doing. About this time - 1927 Lea was called on a mission - only her call came from Third Ward - and she went to the same Central States as Luella.
Toward the end of 1928 father decided to take a trip. He didn’t tell us just where he was going, and got a pass as far as Omaha, Nebraska. When he got to Omaha he sent me (Luella) to get his pass extended to Arkansas, which I did. We found out that he planned to take treatments in the hot mineral baths in Hot springs, Arkansas. We didn’t hear from him for weeks, and finally some stranger wrote mother and said father had been very sick. When he got better he wrote mother where he was.
I found a letter mother had written to papa in 1928 - which shows her love and concern for him. Here is a copy:
We received your very welcome letter yesterday (this was written December at 6 A.M. and we were very glad to hear from you and of your doings. We were surprised to hear that you had got so far away, but as you are just having a rest I think a place like that is a good place to be. We do hear they are good for the health, so if thy can do you any good you will be well paid for your trip and we will be glad to hear all about it. Luella will call up this morning to find out what can be done about the pass. I do hope they will change it for you.
Leas address is 215 Webb, Webb City, Mo.
I will finish this letter this morning so Luella can take it along with her and then when we find out about the pass we will write just as soon as we hear so you will know what can be done. I do hope the baths will do you good. Be careful not to catch a cold. We are all better. It is awful cold but no snow yet. Well be good and write soon to your family at home.
Ma and Luella.”
Apparently Luella was able to get the pass changed so father could come home by way of Missouri. Lea was laboring on her mission in the southern part of Missouri, about 300 miles from Hot Springs - so father came home that way and these are Lea’s thoughts about his visit:
“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 a sort of premonition of his going, and in the evening as we were in 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 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 returned home January 1929 and as I remember he just sat in his big chair by the kitchen stove. He seemed so tired - not really sick, but was not able to go to work. The second week of February he was having difficulty breathing, and we put him in the hospital. He lived just a few days and passed away February 15 - just 67 years old. Lindquist Mortuary (Undertakers was the word in that day) took care of the funeral, and we had him lying in his casket in our home for a day and night - until Lea could come home from her mission. It was a most peaceful feeling.
He was buried in Ogden City Cemetery.