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Life History of Peter Madsen Senior (1946)

Written and compiled by granddaughter
Edith M. Powel
With a few addictions from the
Lake View News printed in 1955

Peter Madsen, son of Mads Peterson and Anne Katherine Nielson, was born in Veile, Denmark, April 6, 1824. We have very little record of his boyhood days. In 1847, at the age of 23, he married Marianne Madsen or Johnson who was born in Bradstrup, Denmark in l832. In 1848 at the age of 24 he was called into his country's service where he remained for three years during the Russian-Danish war. Following his departure, his first son was born. In his absence his wife supported herself and son by coffee and lunches to the soldiers in the vicinity.

He joined the Mormon Church on the 12th of June 1853 and on Christmas day 1853, he and his wife (Marianne Madsen or Johnson, left) and three small children left Denmark for Utah. While thus en route, their two youngest children died and were buried in Liverpool, England. After a weary two month voyage, they landed in New Orleans, where many suffered from Cholera. Their only living son, Mads Peter was stricken and suffered greatly for the rest of the trip.

After eight months of arduous travel they arrived in Salt Lake City on the 5th of October 1854 with the Hans Peter Olsen Ox Team Company. From here they were sent to Sanpete County. Five children were born to them. Mads Peter, Anna Marie, Hans Olof, John and Peter.

In Sanpete County, Grandfather Madsen met and married Johanna Christine Anderson, daughter of Andrew Peter and Marie Christine Anderson. To this union was born one son, Andrew Madsen. Being a fisherman, Grandfather became dissatisfied with Sanpete County and moved his residence to the Lake View home at the mouth of Provo River.

Before leaving Sanpete County, grandfather Madsen planted a small patch of flax and as soon as it was ripe he and his wife whipped it out and obtained the hemp from which he mad a small seine. He made the first fishing net in Utah and his name is in history as a Pioneer fishermen of Utah. He also taught his boys the art of making seines and fishing for a livelihood. Some of them are still at it as well as some of his grandsons. They still make and repair nets for commercial fishing of Utah Lake. During the winter months they fish under the ice.

In the year of 1860, Grandfather Madsen married Caroline Jensen, daughter of Knud Jensen and Bodel Olsen. Aunt Caroline was artistic by nature and adapted to the needle. Aunt Caroline gave birth to nine children. James B., Mary Ann, Caroline, Ephriam, Bodel, Sarah, Dorothy, Charles and Eliza.

In 1864, Grandfather married Wilhelmina Jorgensen, daughter of Nels Jorgenson and Johanna Peterson. This fine woman was gifted with a congenial personality that won the love of all who knew her. This union gave birth to eleven children. Nels, Christian, Rasmina?, Johanna, Brigham, George, David, Erma, Mary, Albert, Annie, and Elmer.

Grandfather Madsen's last marriage took place in the year of 1865 when he married Lena Johnson, daughter of John Johnson and Bergite Larsen sister of Bertha Knudsen. We all remember her as Aunt Lena who always had delicious refreshments ready regardless of how many called on her at once. Nine children were born of this marriage. Julia, Joseph, Ellen, Hyrum, Marie, Alma, Parley William, Tennie and Edwin.

It was with the leadership, cooperation and help of these wives that made it possible for Grandfather to build homes and accommodations for such a large family at the mouth of the Provo River. I am sure we grandchildren can all remember the three homes in a row where three wives lived, the apple trees across the little creek at the south, and welcome we all received there. There was one log room which was used for living room, dining room, dance hall and later years, school room. George Stevenson was hired as school teacher by Grandfather to teach his and his neighbor children from 1873 to 1877 during which time he boarded with the Madsen family.

The Madsen home was occasionally the scene of parties and dances. About twice each year they invited all the Scandinavians within traveling distance to a real house party. For the occasion a beef was prepared and barbecued. They had wild ducks, gees, trout and dozens of apple pies. People who came many miles stayed for several days. All the children called the first wife "Mother" and the others, including their own mothers, by their given names, calling them Aunt.

In 1870, Grandfather Madsen was called on a mission to his native land, and later in 1886 to 1889 he filled a mission in the Hawaiian Islands. Fro fifteen years he labored as Bishop of the Lake View Ward and was believed by all members for the kind fatherly religious council he gave.

On Easter Sunday 1873 Marianne laid down to rest and without a struggle her spirit fled from this earth. She was often referred to as ‘Old Mother" always kind and loving to all the family. Her place was hard to fill. Grandfather will also be remembered for his hospitality to all in need including Scandinavians and two tribes of Indians who would come to Lake View each fall and pitch their tents for the winter, with the assurance that Grandfather and the grown sons were seining fish and should give them some. Grandfather was also known as a peacemaker, among his associated and the two Indian tribes.

As Grandfather became older he was obliged to leave the old home and move into Provo, where he passed at the age of 88 on August 20, 1911. His wife Lena was next to pass from mortality. She died at the age of 68 at the home of her son Joseph Madsen on Sept. 3, 1915. Wilhelmina died Feb. 19, 1919 in lake View at the age of 71. Caroline died Feb. 20, 1919 at the Lake View at the age of 80. Their spirits left for the greater sphere just 24 hours apart, each asking about the condition of the other.

In 1846, the statistics were: Children 36; grandchildren 162; great-grandchildren 348; great-great-grandchildren 406.

Written and compiled by granddaughter
Edith M. Powel
With a few addictions from the Lake View News printed in 1955

This page and all of its contents is Copyright (C) 2002.