John Peter Pearson 1865-1936
John Peter Pearson was born 16 January 1865, in Deseret, Millard County, Utah, the only son of Pehr and Christina Beckstrand Pearson. He had blue eyes, blond hair and grew to be five feet ten inches tall.
He worked in the fields when he was growing up. All the children had many chores to do and were expected to work along with the adults. When he was nine years old, the family moved to Orderville, Kane County, Utah. One of John's chores was to take the cows out each day to the pasture and herd them all day. At the end of the day, he would bring the cows in from the meadows or the hillside.
He was ordained an Elder on 23 April 1879, at the age of fourteen. When he was seventeen years old, the family moved by wagon and team to Huntington, Emery County, Utah. He lived in Huntington until after he was married and had raised most of his family.
John probably became acquainted with Sarah Ellen Mathis when both families lived in Orderville. Sarah Ellen was the daughter of John Thomas and Ellen Sophia DeGraw Mathis and was born 11 June 1871. The two families moved from Orderville to Huntington about the same time. John and Sarah were married in the St. George Temple on 2 December 1886. John was 22 years old and Sarah was sixteen. John was a farmer and raised hay and grain. Their first child, Ellen Christina, was born on 22 November 1887, and died three months later on 27 February 1888. Their second child, Lucy, was born 21 March 1889.
In 1890, John received a call to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Alabama (Southern States Mission). His mission certificate was dated 3 November 1890 and was signed by President Wilford Woodruff and his counselors, George W. Cannon and Joseph F. Smith. John served for two years. His parents helped to look after his family while he was gone. John and Sarah's third child, Ervin, was born while he was on his mission--15 June 1891.
After he returned from his mission, John took over the farm and cared for his parents and his family. Their next child, Alton Ray, was born on 12 October 1893. Francis Lee was born 26 Dec 1895. He only lived a short while and died on 31 January 1896. The next child, Dora May, was born on 26 December 1897. She died 15 January 1898. Oren Heber was born on 27 November 1898, and Zetta on 21 April 1901. Zelpha was born on 9 October 1902, and Nellie arrived on 3 April 1905. Alice was born 23 July 1907. In January 1910, John and Sarah sold their home in Huntington and moved to Castle Dale, traveling again with wagon and team. They wanted their children to have a better education (there was an academy or high school in Castle Dale).
Von Mathis, the next child in the family, was born 29 March 1910. Nina was born on 19 December 1912, and died 27 December 1912. Twins, Earl (boy) and Verl (girl), were born on 28 June 1916. They were the fourteenth and fifteenth children born to John and Sarah. Of the fifteen children, five--four daughters and one sone--died while infants. In May 1918, the family moved from Castle Dale to Talmage where they rented a farm with cows, chickens, pigs and sheep.
John served on the stake high council in Castle Dale and as president of the Sunday School and the mutual. He also served as mayor of Castle Dale for two terms. During his terms of service, city street lights were installed and water was piped into the homes of the residents. He spent his evenings reading the scriptures, the Improvement Era and the Deseret News.
John and Sarah were congenial and happy together. They taught their children with kindness, showing love and understanding. They always had family prayer and family home evening. The children were taught to read the scriptures, pay tithing, attend church and follow the teachings of church leaders. John and Sarah were not very well educated. John would work with his children on their school work and that helped him to learn.
In 1936, John was helping to build the seminary building. He came home one day at mid-day and told Sarah that he had a feeling he would not be going back that afternoon. He then began to feel sick and was in terrible pain. By 3:30 p.m. on that day, 3 August 1936, he had passed away from a heart attack at Duchesne, Duchesne County, Utah. He was buried in Utah, Duchesne County. Sarah died on 18 December 1943, from heart failure.
(Taken from a history written by Nellie Pearson Lang, a daughter)
Histories Compiled and Edited by Sue Anne Beckstrand Thompson
Our Beckstrand Heritage: Christina Beckstrand Pehrsson, Karl Johan Beckstrand, Elias August Beckstrand and their families
(Logan, Ut., self published, 2003)