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.