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Beckstrand
Family

Elvina Hancine Olsen Pearson Black 1868-1930

Elvina was born in Herbes, Aalborg, Denmark, on 15 May 1868, a daughter of Christian Wilhelmj Olsen and Johanna Ellerson. Her mother was born on 20 January 1837 in Sweden and died on 29 August 1891 in Denmark.

When Elvina was on and one-half years old, her father died. His death made it necessary for Anna to work to support herself and Elvina. Anna couldn't find work in the town where they lived, so she went to another town twenty-one miles away to work. While Anna worked, she left Elvina with a family named Sorensen and paid them board and room for Elvina. Anna walked the twenty-one miles once a month to see her daughter, Elvina.

When Elvina was five years old, the Sorensen family joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. They decided to emigrate to Utah. They told Anna they would be leaving, but having taken care of Elvina for so long, they didn't want to part with her even though they had a large family of their own. They left Denmark three weeks early and brought Elvina with them. Anna was heart-broken when she found out that they had taken her only child.

The Sorensen family arrived in the Salt Lake Valley in 1873. They outfitted themselves with teams and wagons for the journey to Utah's Dixie. They traveled as far as Leamington (Millard County), when one of their horses died. They traded Elvina to a family (Pehr and Christina Beckstrand Pehrsson) for a horse so they could finish their journey. Pehr and Christina also were planning to move to 'Dixie' (southern Utah) so the Sorensen Family felt they would still be close to Elvina.

After they had all arrived in the Leeds area of southern Utah, Pehr and Christina adopted Elvina and she was sealed to them in the St. George Temple on 25 April 1879. When Elvina was about eight years old, she was told of her natural mother, Anna. From then on she corresponded with her until Anna died.

When the United Order was organized in 1875, father Pehrsson gave his all and joined. Elvina was then about nine years old. Everyone shared in the work. Her father helped in the vineyards, her mother helped with the cooking and Elvina helped set tables and wash the dishes.

Her only school was to about the fourth grade. When she was eleven years old, she was considered old enough to be somewhat "on her own". She lived with different families--mostly with women who had new babies--and helped with the work and children. When Elvina was twelve years old, she contracted malaria and was close to death. The Bishop told them that she would be healed if she went to the temple and received her endowment. She was healed and never in her life had another attack. Elvina continued to work for different families. When she was sixteen years old, she went to work for Isaac and Nancy Black when they had their third child. It was the time of plural marriage and, with the consent of Nancy, Isaac asked Elvina to be his second wife and Elvina consented. They were married in the St. George Temple on 10 October 1884. In the spring of 1885, the Blacks and the Pehrssons decided to move to Huntington, Emery County. Isaac was a miller by trade and he worked in the grist mill.

On 27 August 1885, a baby boy was born (without the aid of a mid-wife or doctor, as were all her children) to Isaac and Elvina. They named him Martin Isaac. Isaac and Nancy lived in the house, so Isaac built a "lean-to" on the back for Elvina and the baby. Elvina left her baby with mother Pehrsson while she worked to support herself and the baby. On 26 January 1888, Elvina gave birth to another boy. He was given the name, LeRoy. On 27 October 1889, Elvina had another son, William Henry. The "lean-to" Elvina lived in leaked badly and it was raining that night so she put her two young boys under the bed and delivered the baby alone. The next morning Isaac came over and found that the baby had been born and that it was dead.

Elvina had a chance to buy a little house and a carpet loom. With the help of Father and Mother Pehrsson, she was able to get the house and for a few years she wove beautiful rugs and carpets. She was able to pay for her home and support herself and her family.

On 23 September 1890, a baby girl was born. She was named Fanny and died when she was four days old. On 14 October 1891, another baby boy, Harvey, was born. Harvey was born with a hearing defect. Whe he was eighteen years old , he had a ruptured appendix and died on 19 July 1910. On 10 April 1894, another baby boy was born and was named Frank Afton. He developed diabetes and died at the age of fifteen on 4 February 1910. Two years after the birth of Frank, a baby girl was born on 19 June 1896. She was named Dora. She lived only eleven days and died on 30 June 1896. At this time Isaac talked Elvina into selling her home and loom and moving with him to Glendale, Kane County, Utah. She gave him the money from the sale of the home and loom to buy another home in Glendale. Elvina stayed with Mother and Father Pehrsson until Isaac could find another place for her to live. After a time, she took her four young boys and journeyed to Long Valley. When she arrived there, Isaac did not have a home for her so she moved into an old shed with three walls and a dirt floor. She took a piece of carpet and hung it up for the fourth wall. She and the boys did not have a bed so they slept on straw on the floor. She did her cooking on a campfire outside. On 22 March 1898, the Bishop and some other men in town brought her a bed and some other furniture which they had made. That night, Elvina gave birth to a baby girl and named her Anna.

She took in washing and did cleaning for people to support her family because Isaac had a large family with Nancy and couldn't support all of them. When Anna was about one and one-half years old, Elvina sent Harvey down to the creek with his little wagon to gather wood for a fire to heat water as she did washing for other people. Harvey took Anna with him and she was bitten by a rattlesnake and for many days they didn't think she would live. Through the power of the Priesthood and loving care, Anna lived to be twenty-two years old.

On 19 August 1899, Elvina had another baby boy who was named Glen. He lived for seven months and died on 5 March 1900. Later that year, on 24 December 1900, she had another baby boy who was named Walter. He lived to be thirty years of age and was killed in a coal mine on 6 March 1931.

On 6 August 1902, another baby boy was born and was named Ward. He also lived to the age of thirty and died 7 December 1932, of pheumonia. When Ward was about five months old, Mother Pehrsson asked Elvina to come back to Huntington. With her seven young children and an old broken-down wagon and a harness that was wired together, Elvina left Glendale and returned to Huntington. There she settled down doing housework and taking in washing and sewing for people to support her little family. By this time, Martin and LeRoy were old enough to help and soon Martin went out herding sheep which helped very much. He saved his money and bought a little house for his mother to live in. Isaac moved back to Huntington soon after Elvina returned. He bought the grist mill in town.

On 21 December 1904, Elvina and Isaac had a baby boy named Elis. About this time, Elvina acquired a farm. It was all rabbit brush and sage brush so she and the boys got out the grubbing hoes and cleared about 40 acres. Martin went to work on the Cleveland Canal and got water for their land. The land was planted in hay and grain. There was an old one-room log house with a dirt roof on the land. When it rained, she would put the children under the bed and she would sit with an umbrella because it leaked so badly.

On 26 February 1907, she gave birth to a baby boy. He was named Rulon. She continued to work and farm. She couldn't stand to ride on a load of hay because it would make her "seasick" so she would help the boys load the hay and then walk the four miles back to town and help them unload it for winter. She would make two trips a day and then ride the wagon back to the farm.

In 1910, Harvey (age 18) and Frank (age 15) died five months apart. She was left with Anna (12), Walter (10), Ward (8), Elis (6), and Rulon (3). Martin was herding sheep and LeRoy was getting ready to serve as a missionary to the Southern States Mission. LeRoy was married on 14 October 1910, and left within a day or two for his mission. His wife, Margaret Jeanette Wayman, stayed part of the time with Elvina and part of the time with her parents in Ferron, Emery County.

On 25 October 1911, Elvina gave birth to a baby girl they named Marie. They were happy to finally have another girl. On 10 July 1912, Martin was married to Laura Sherman. Mother Pehrsson gave Elvina a little one-room log house with a dirt roof so Martin could have his home.

One day, when Elvina wasn't home, Isaac decided to put a shingle roof on the house. He tore the old dirt roof off without moving anything out of the house. He raised the walls one log higher. Elvina had a mess when she got home. Isaac didn't put a ceiling in the house or line it, so Elvina put up unbleached muslin for the ceiling and whitewashed it and the logs with lime. The logs were chinked with mud. Isaac built a lean-to on the back of the house with two by fours and slab wood. Elvina used it in the summer.

She spent the rest of her life in this home, taking in washing, house cleaning and sewing for other people, carding wool and spinning it and making beautiful quilts; she also did crocheting and knitting and made soap for people. Wher her daughter, Anna, died on 17 August 1922, Elvina took Anna's six week old baby and kept it for thirteen months until Anna's husband, Emmanuel Wayman was married again. The last seven years of her life, she and her daughter, Marie, lived alone until two months before she died. At that time they went to live with Martin and his family. She quilted and crocheted until the night before she died.

Elvina died in Huntington on 7 March 1930, of heart disease and dropsy. She was sixty-one years old. She gave birth to fourteen children, ten boys and four girls.

(This history was written by Marie Black Peterson as told to her by her mother Elvina.)