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Sketch of the Life of Marilla Terry Hanson(sp) – Part 1
1823-1861 | Glenwood, Mills County Iowa
Sketch of the Life of Marilla Terry Hanson – No. 10
Nora Hall Lund, a Grand Daughter (about 1956)
For sometime now, I have had a great desire to write something of the life of my dear grandmother Hanson. Although she passed away before I was born, I feel that I know her very well. Our mother, Julia Hall, was her youngest daughter. She loved and appreciated her mother so much that she talked of her constantly through the years. Thus, keeping her always alive in memory. I feel very close to her this morning as I attempt to write this sketch of her life.
I have learned through the research of others, that she came from a long line of stalwart ancestors. The Parshall lineage, down through which her grandmother Elizabeth Parshall came is especially strong, likewise the Terry’s. One can be proud to trace their genealogy back through Richard Terry, our immigrant ancestor, who came to America in 1635 and helped to make history in the New World.
The fact that grandmother’s parents, Parshall and Hannah Terry, were first cousins need not be frowned upon by their descendents. It united more closely the strong blood of this family. It has given us a heritage we should be proud to live up to.
Seven of Parshall’s and Hannah’s children were born in Palmyra, New York. About 1818 the family moved to Albion, Home District (now Ontario), Canada, where the remaining six children were born. The subject of this sketch was the tenth child in line and was born July 2, 1823. This part of Canada at this stage of her civilization, According to reports, was rugged and wild. It took much hard work and united effort on the part of the Terry Family to clear land of brush and heavier growth to make a home and a living. Marilla’s early life would be spent in about the same way as other frontier children, little schooling, just the bare necessities of life and a very few pleasures.
About 1837 – the Mormon missionaries came into Albion, telling a strange story of how Joseph Smith of Palmyra, New York, had received a vision and organized a church. The Terry family was immediately interested because they were well acquainted with Joseph and knew what a fine boy he was. He in fact, had been an associate of their son, Jacob, who was the same age. Thus, it was that Marilla joined the church in February of 1838 with most of her family and came to the United States, gathering with the saints in Missouri.
It was unfortunate that this little band of innocent people were persecuted so unmercifully by the mobs. The brutal execution of the expulsion orders of Governor Boggs from Missouri was exceptionally heart breaking for the Terry family because, due to exposure in bitter cold weather, little Deborah, 11 years old, died.
Marilla was 18 years old when she married John Crawford, January 20, 1841, in Illinois. She became the mother of two sons- John and William. John died in infancy, but William grew to maturity and was one of the main stays of his mother throughout her life. It was in December of 1843 that John Crawford died leaving Marilla to get along the best was she could in those perilous times. She lived a widow for three years, then on the 28th of January, 1846, she married Nils Hansen in the Nauvoo Temple. He had come from Norway with a young wife, she died leaving four children. He placed the children in homes of friends and went to Nauvoo where he met and married grandmother.
I’m not prepared to say why the Hansen’s moved to Iowa, but the fact remains that they did, and settled on a farm on Indian Creek, 20 miles from Glenwood, Mills County. They remained there from 1848 until 1861, where seven children were born to them, namely: Martha Jane, Andrew Jackson, Amy, Lafayette, Sarah Elizabeth, Hannah Jane and Julia Elaina.
There seem to be conflicting stories as to just why the family wanted to leave Iowa, I suppose it is my privilege to tell what I have always understood from my mother, that grandmother wanted to come to Utah to be with her parents and the rest of the family who came west. She also wanted to be with those of her own faith.
From my recent study, I have learned that her sister, Dency Hackett, broke away with the Reorganized Church and stayed in Wisconsin. Her sister, Jane, and her husband, George Young, had both died at Winter Quarters, Nebraska, during the Saints privations there. Her brothers, Stevens and David, remained in Canada, never joining the L.D.S. Church. Clark and Deborah had died young, but Jacob, Joel, Joshua and James—Elizabeth and Amy, and their families were all in Utah.
The gold of California sounded good to grandpa, but grandma’s main desire in coming west was to be with her family and the main body of the Mormon people. I guess she had more influence on her 18-year old son, William Crawford, than she did with her husband, because he was persuaded to bring her to Utah. After he had fulfilled this responsibility it was his intent to go on to California.
Grandpa did fit the traveling wagon out with the necessary things for the trip, but refused to go with them. To make parting harder, he took his little ten year old son, Andrew Jackson, out of the wagon to remain with him and go to California later.
Sketch of the Life of Marilla Terry Hanson(sp) – Part 2
1863-1894 | Rockville UT
Let me quote from my mother [ Julia Hansen Hall ] – “My father, Nelson Hansen, having left the Mormon Church, went to California, taking my bother Andrew Jackson with him, which nearly broke my mother’s heart. She heard from him again until he was a grown man, father having put him with a good family and gave himself up to fighting the Indians and was never heard of after.
“When A. J. was a young man, he became anxious to find out what had become of mother, so he wrote to some people in Iowa, our former home to find out if they knew where she was. It so happened that they did. They at once wrote to mother enclosing A. J.’s letter. I will never forget how overjoyed she was to hear from her long lost boy. It was just like a message from the dead. He still remained in California, however, where he finished his college education and received his degree as a minister in the Methodist Church.”
HISTORIAN’S NOTE: Perhaps it would be interesting to the descendants of Nils Hansen to read the little incident from the writings of our Uncle, the Rev. Andrew Jackson Hansen written in 1936 and his version of the separation and what he has to say of his mother, Marilla, and a little description of his father.
“Of my father, it should be said that he was a sturdy, hard-working and progressive farmer, who on two quarter sections of fine prairie land and woods, hastened away from the ‘cradle’ and ‘flail’ to the most improved farming machinery to which his attention was called from time to time. As to education etectra he had never attended school, could neither read nor write, but evermore insisted that his children should have an education, whatever might be the cost. While honest in human relationships, he was utterly irreligious, had little or no respect for preachers or churches.
“My mother, of Canadian descent, was tall and nervous, born of a sturdy, long lived family, the Terry’s, was ardently devoted to the faith of the Latter-day Saints. Her father, mother and four brothers had migrated to Utah from Carthage, Missouri, under the guidance of Brigham Young, after the death of Joseph Smith.
“These brothers of hers were assigned duty as missionaries to the Gentiles, as all the rest of the United States people were called, and were frequently visitors in our Iowa home. That fact, taken with many letters from her parents and friends in Utah, led mother to an ever-deepening dissatisfaction with her lot and an earnest wish to join them in the Kingdom of the Saints. The situation became so tense at last that father agreed to provide a complete outfit of wagon, team provisions, stectea for the journey to Utah. It was left to me to decide (I was only ten and a half years old) as to which I would go with, mother and the children, or father, who had decided to come to California.
“And that is how I happen to be on the Pacific Coast now, and under a very different regime than if I had made the contrary decision. So it came about that early in April, 1861, mother and the other children, in care of an older son by her former husband, a splendid fellow, (William Crawford) some ten years older than myself, set out from Florence, Nebraska. “The Saint’s rallying place on the west bank of the Missouri River, for the long trek of twelve hundred miles to Salt Lake and a week later, father and I, with some acquaintances, set out for the ‘land of gold’, California.
“It was nearly twenty years before I saw my mother again, and by that time I had reached my majority, been married and following my allotted calling for several years, (Minister of the Methodist Episcople Church). Deep was her disappointment that I did not at length cast in my lot with the Latter-day Saints. In my opinion, she was a real Saint, as our gracious Lord measures human aims and beliefs, and I’m holding the modest hope that I’ll soon meet her and other loving mothers in the Home Over There.”
Quoting from my mother – “He came to visit mother and the rest of us in Rockville in the year 1880. He was very anxious to take me to California with him where he would give me a good education, but I declined as I thought too much of my mother and my religion.”
The family traveled across the plains in the David H. Cannon Company, settling in Draper with her folks.
It was a great sorrow for grandmother when she was called upon to bury her little eight year old son a year after they came to Draper. She was happy, however, when her son William was converted and baptized a member of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by his uncle, Joshua Terry and persuaded to stay with his mother rather than go to California.
When the call came from President Young to the Terry folks, along with others to go south to the Dixie Cotton, grandma and Uncle William came right along with the rest. We have heard much of this long tiresome journey they made in the fall of 1863 and how they finally arrived at Adventure, a little settlement just east of Grafton. How William and his wise mother thought the higher ground a little farther up the river would be more suitable for a home. We know that Marilla Hansen and family, along with the John Langston family have always had the distinction of being the first settlers of Rockville. Let me quote again the exact words of my mother[Julia Hansen Hall] —“We remained in Draper one year and were then called by President Brigham Young to come south and help settle where Rockville now stands, with nothing but rocks, sagebrush and high mountains surrounding them.
“But their faith in their leaders and the gospel they loved so well kept their courage up. So they went to work, women as well as men, to subdue all obstacles and wrestle a living from their uninviting surroundings. They made their first home of rough rocks with mud mortar between them to hold them in place. The roof was made of logs hewn out and placed for rafters with cedar bark and a quantity of dirt over that, which, when it rained would leak mud all over everything in the house. Our house, however was a place of refuge to quite a number of our neighbors who congregated at our house to escape some of the downpour. There being a dry place in the corner where the bed stood, we children were piled into that while the other people sat up and kept a fire all night to keep warm.
“At another time I learned a lesson that I never forgot. I had been sent to the extreme end of town to Sister Hirschi’s on an errand; she gave me something, I don’t remember now what it was, but I ran home tickled all over to show mother, who looked at it a moment then said, ‘Did you thank her for it?’ I immediately dropped my head for I had forgotten to thank her. Mother took me all the way back and requested that I thank her, which I did, but it taught me a lesson that I never forgot.”
I have heard mother say how faithful grandmother was in living every principle of the gospel to the very best of her knowledge and taught her children to do likewise.
Recently I made a very special trip to Rockville and Springdale to talk to my cousins, Dave Terry and Johnnie Crawford about grandma. They enjoyed remembering many things about her. Johnnie said she was his first school teacher and that he loved her very much. He also spoke of the two long rows of black currant bushes up in her lot, that along with the other grandchildren, he used to enjoy picking. After his father moved to Oak Creek the family used to visit frequently with grandmother and assist her all they could.
I was deeply interested in a small oval wooden box that grandmother used to keep her valuable papers in. Johnnie is the proud possessor of this. It no doubt was given to grandma by his father. He also has a wall motto- “Home Sweet Home” – which was grandma’s made by Aunt Amy Draper, her daughter.
Dave said he always thought so much of his Aunt Marilla, she was a wonderful woman, very intelligent to talk to. To my inquiry if she did much work in the church organizations, he said – no, not as he knew of, she was to old for that when he knew her. But he had heard of her teaching school in the early days. I was pleased to have him describe her home, which was situated in about the center of town on the upper side of the street. She lived alone in her comfortable, one-roomed house, her wants were few and she was looked after by her family. In her declining years it was Julia and Alfred Hall who were especially mindful of her, as Julia was the only one of her children who lived in Rockville. However, she was very independent and would allow no help with anything she could do for herself.
Dave said that he took care of her lot for years. He raised mostly lucern on it. He mentioned the fruit trees on the lot, she had peaches, apples and apricots. Phebe, his wife, remembers drying fruit on shares from those trees. I also learned that grandma was rather superstitious. She never called ‘come in’ to a knock at the door. She said, “You might be admitting the devil.”
After that little chat with my cousins, I found that grandma was very plain spoken.
May I close this review of the earthly sojourn of this good woman by saying she passed peacefully away at her home in Rockville on the 19th of October, 1894, at the age of 72 years, a wonderful woman gone to her great reward. She was survived by two sons and four daughters and had 46 grandchildren altogether, some dying in infancy.
Concerning Marilla Terry Crawford Hansen
up to 1894 | Rockville UT
To NORA LUND – From ANNIE CRAWFORD ISOM
Concerning our Grandmother – MARILLA TERRY CRAWFORD HANSEN
I was surely delighted when Kate gave me a copy of your sketch of the life of Grandma Hansen for my birthday, Aug 7, 1951.
Your mother must have given you a vivid description of Grandmother, as your impressions are the same as mine of her character. One day not long before your father died, I went to a friend’s home and he was talking to the lady on some business. Soon he turned to me and said:
“Annie, you have a mighty fine background in your ancestors. Marilla Hansen was one of the finest women I ever knew. She was strictly honest in every deal and her integrity could not be beaten.”
I was so glad to hear him say this as I had never felt very well aquainted with her and to hear her own son-in-law speak so highly of her, I knew he spoke the truth.
When I was seven years old, Aunt Adelia Hall took me home to spend a week with her and Grandma invited me to go with her up to spend the day with your mother. On the wasy up she asked me about my sewing and when I said I had never done any, she seemed shocked and said, “Whatever is your mother thinking of to let you grow up without knowing how to sew. I will have to teach you.” So, when we got to your mother’s, she asked for needle, thread, thimble and calico scraps. The thimble was a few sizes too large, so she wrapped my finger with a rag, but then it kept wiggling about, so she had to give up trying to teach the little dull pupil.
She had a ladder stairway in one corner of the room and I did so much want to peep up intp the upper room, but every time I would reach where the top of my head was even with the floor above, the stair would creak and she would say in a firm voice, “Come right down from there.” I never did get to see her upstairs. I forgave her long ago and if she can see my grandchildren and her grandchildren, ripping up and down the stairs and even into the basement where I have jars of dried fruit hidden where they can find them, I am sure she will forgive me for my untidy ways and maybe with her arm around me lead me to where I can peak into her beautiful mansion.
I do not remember her ever making much fuss over us children, but there was something that drew us to her. If I could not have called on her when I visited Rockville, I would have felt that my rip was a failure. I think her delicate health kept her from doing the many things she wanted to do. If she didn’t take much part in church activities, it was probably because of her health.
She had a patch of larkspur growing in the front yard and every Sunday when she could, she would take a vase of them to grace the pulpet. Whenever I see those beautiful flowers, I think of that.
Then (When) grandmother died, father had his sisters met to divide up her belongings. They all agreed that her dresses, shawls, clothing, etc., should go to Aunt Sarah who had a large family of girls and were in rather poor circumstances. The clothing was all of the highest quality obtainable, showing that sheap shoddiness had no place in her home.
A Little about Grandmother Marilla Hansen By Elnora Ann Jennings Solomon
1880-1894 | Rockville Ut
A Little about Grandmother Marilla Hansen
By Elnora Ann Jennings Solomon
As grandmother lived near us in Rockville, there was seldom a day passed that we didn’t see her. Evidently her house was very much like the others I was used to seeing, as I don’t remember too much about it except that it was always neat and clean. There was one main room where she ate, cooked and slept, with a small porch on the back. Usually in the summertime she would have her range moved out on the back porch to make cooking comfortable in warm weather and also to keep the house cool.
When I was five years old, Uncle Jackson made his visit to see Grandmother. There was much talk between her and the rest of the family when they learned of his plans to come, And how excited she was on the evening the family went to pick him up at the stage terminal in Silver Reef.
When father and mother decided to move to Arizona, the thought of separation was quite a trial to mother and grandmother as they knew they might never see each other again. And too, mother was the first to leave since Uncle Jackson had been taken to California by his father. Grandmother wanted to be with us as long as possible, so she had us eat breakfast with her the morning of our departure.
It was near Easter time and Grandmother had a few chickens of her own and plenty of eggs. She cooked some for us to take along and encouraged us to eat all we wanted, saying: “Now, children eat all the eggs you want. There’s no telling when you’ll have the chance again.”
Grandmother followed us out to the wagon. I was about eleven years old and was carrying my baby sister with my little three-year old sister hanging onto my skirt. Grandmother hugged us all at once and said, “Oh, I wonder if I’ll ever see you dear children again.”
The next time I saw Grandmother was when I went back to the St. George Temple to be married in 1894.
Needless to say, she was overjoyed to see me and wanted to know when mother would come to see her. I told her that mother planned to come in the fall.
She said, “Tell your mother to come prepared to stay or take me back with her, bcause I don’t think I can stand to be separated from her again.”
In October Mother had everything packed ready to leave on Monday morning when word came on Sunday that her mother had passed away.
Father brought a small wicker basket full of letters home and as usual I had to snoop in there to see what they were like. I spent many happy hours entertaining myself with letters from Uncle Jackson. If I remember correctly, the first on he wrote told of his ambition to go to college and of his joy at finding his mother.
They were beautifully written. I felt terrible when , after I left home, I found that the basket, letters and all had been destroyed. I would have treasured them highly had they been given to me.