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History of Peter Madsen, Jr.
As written by his daughter, Clara M. Taylor, Feb. 6, 1942

Peter Madsen,son of Peter Madsen, Sr. and Marianne Madsen Madsen, was born, 2 June 1858 at Lake View, Utah, Utah. Lake View was then know as Lake Bottoms. His parents came here as emigrants from Bergstrup, Denmark, having joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in April, 1848. The family left Denmark, Christmas Day, 1853 with three children. Mads Peter Madsen, other children, Anna and Hans, who died on the journey. They suffered all the privations and hardships common to the pioneers of that time. They arrived in Utah, Oct. 4, 1854. That was ten months after that Christmas Day they had left their beloved home land.

They were sent by the church authorities to settle in Sanpete County, where they lived for two years. While there, another son, Jon, was born. They returned to Provo and settled near the mouth of the Provo River. Peter Madsen, Sr, was a fisherman by trade. In Denmark, he had the honor of taking King Fredrick, the 7th, out on fishing trips. Sanpete was no place for him. He longed to be near the water and at his chosen work again. He built a small home, made fishnets and went to work fishing.

Here Peter Madsen, Jr, was born; one of the very first children to be born in Lake View. There were only about four families living down there at the time. Father's early childhood was spent at the old home with his parents, his brothers, Mads and John and his many half brothers and sisters. Grandfather had five wives and many children. Grandmother was a gentle kind and understanding woman. She was the balance wheel of the entire family. All the children called her mother until her death. Their life of necessity was simple, but they were well provided for as nature supplied plenty of fish and game. They caught tons of fish, many of them being lake trout. Most of the fishing was done with a homemade seine. The fish were cleaned and sold in Salt Lake City. Imagine caring for all those fish without refrigeration or fast transportation. They were taken in wagon drawn by horses. This industry furnished work for all the Madsens and many others. Men and boys who knew no other home than that of Bishop Madsen.

The children's schooling was limited as there were no public schools out here at the time. Grandfather hired teachers and invited other children free of charge to join his family. A room and a bench were provided, and here their education began. The first school room was built of sod and Mrs. Rhoda Capin was the teacher. Also, Mrs. Oakley, Grandfather and Thamer Bunnell were responsible for getting the taxes from the railroad. With this money and what the people here could contribute, the first one room school house was built. At Christmas time all the Scandinavian people of Provo were invited to the Madsens home for a three day celebration. Beef and pigs were killed and all were fed generously. They danced to the music of old Mr. Groneman's violin.

Father tells me that when he was a boy about fifteen years, Dr. Yarrow, a naturalist from the Smithsonian Institute came and lived with the Madsens while he made a study of the fish of the lake. Also, he remembers a Professor Henshaw, a professional taxidermist, who lived with them and studied and mounted the different kinds of birds and ducks and geese familiar to this part of the country. Father helped to catch his specimens. Dr. David Star Jarden also spent much time with Grandfather where he got first hand information about the fish of the Provo River and Utah Lake.

Peter Madsen married Bertha Knudsen, June 2, 1881 in the old Endowment House in Salt Lake City. Her family also came as pioneers from Norway in 1864. This young couple lived down at the old home for a short while but soon moved out to the home in which they now live. There were but two rooms then, and their surroundings were not at all inviting. Sand hills, sage brush, and weeds greeted them on all sides. Water was very scarce and poor for culinary purposes.

They were young and willing to work and after many years of hardship almost unbearable, they made the place produce a living for them and their family, which consisted of seven children. Hans Peter, the eldest died when 10 years of age, John William, Pearl (Mrs. Spender Sumsion), Clara (Mrs., Scott A. Taylor), Evelyn (Mrs. Golden Taylor), Spencer, and Raymond Lamar, who died when he was but five months old.

Father studied music while a young man and learned to play the violin. He played for dances in Provo and surrounding towns. He and Uncle James Madsen and Mads Johnson built the dance hall near his home and all the older residents will remember it and the many happy hours spent there. It was one of the first halls in the state to have a maple floor and crowds came for miles around to dance at the old Lake View Hall. Church was held there before the chapel was built, also shows and funerals and all kinds of public gatherings. The men used to come to our place to practice music for the dances and this is a very pleasant memory of my early childhood.

Father worked on the farm and peddled fruit at Park City and other towns in the valley, and in Sanpete County. He caught and sold fish and game and worked in many ways to provide for his family He has always been kind and patient. I can never remember of him punishing any of us. He has known all the trial and struggles of pioneering in a new country. He has also known much joy and satisfaction in life. He has worked in the church and until recently, when disabled from advanced years, he has been active. He was choir leader for many years. He and his choir used to go to Saratoga and other places on pleasant outings. I remember when the choir organization gave him a lovely chair at the time of his resigning. He was a ward teacher for many years.

He is now (1942) 83 years and 8 months old. It could not be said he is hale and harty [sic], but he is still able to be up and around. And is trying to make the best of a well spent life.


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