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Peter Thomander

Historical Sketch

By Dale Laub

Peter ThomanderAccording to Alta Lealette Anderson Laub, Peter Thomander’s granddaughter, it is believed that Peter and Ingeborg upon returning from Circleville were unable to find adequate farm land in the area around Ephraim. The property which they had previously owned had been given away by the stake president to his son. There was little good land left in the area so Peter and Ingeborg upon hearing of new settlements in Easter Wayne County, decided to relocate. The area which came to later be known as Hanksville was to be their new location. After traveling considerable distance through difficult terrain, they began to near the site of the settlement. Before arriving, and looking at the dry, desolate land, Peter asked Ingeborg what she thought about going on to the Hanksville site. She was most adamant about continuing on. Peter, not a farmer, believed that the land would not sustain farming and was so bitterly disappointed, that he leaned against the wheel of their wagon and cried bitterly. Peter refused to go on. We don’t know whether they parted at this time or not, but it is likely that this is where the final decision was made by Peter to leave his wife and family. (He wanted Ingeborg to go to Montana with him, but she refused.)

After Peter did leave his family, he apparently went north to Hyrum in Cache Valley area. Here he met Hannah Pereson whom it is believed he knew in the old country. He and Hannah were married and they had their first child in Hyrum. From Hyrum they moved on to Corinne where the new transcontinental railroad had established a railroad center in Box Elder County west of Brigham City. In Corinne, Peter learned of a group who were moving northwestward into the Bitter Root Valley of Western Montana. On their way to Montana, Peter and Hannah had their second child at St. Johns, Malad Valley, Idaho. They soon moved on to the Bitter Root Valley and helped settle the town of Victor. It was here that he and Hannah had three more children and raised their family.

About 1956 or 1957, Lea and her husband Vasco were on a trip through Missoula, Montana. Lea chanced to talk with a very elderly person there and asked the question whether or not they might know of anyone who had lived in early years in the Bitter Root Valley. (The Utah family had apparently heard stories that Peter had gone to that area.) This elderly person indicated that he knew of an old Peter Thomander who had lived and died in Victor. The person also indicated that May Blackie, the last daughter of Peter Thomander, was living there in Missoula. Upon further inquiry, Lea made contact with May and her husband William Blackie. They welcomed Vasco and Lea to their home where they had an enjoyable visit. Information about this second family of Peter Thomander was obtained and few letters exchanged and one more visit was made about 1916. May told Lea that her father greatly grieved over the children of his first family which he had left in Utah. Lea obtained an early picture of Peter’s second family and she obtained pictures of the children when they were in their later years. May gave Lea a chair which Peter had made. It must have been made for someone that was quite small in stature, the legs were not very long. It was just the right size for Lea who was only four foot ten inches.

The history of his daughter, Martha Caroline Thomander Anderson, gives much greater detail to the early years of Peter and Ingaborg's life together. dlm


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