History of Hazel Johnson Christensen


Lamb Grandparents

As a girl I spent a week or so each summer, for about four or five years anyway, at Hyde Park with my Grandparents Lamb.  They had both come across the plains to Utah when they were in their late teens, each with his or her own family.  They met and were married in Lehi and started their family there before they moved to Hyde Park.  My great-grandfather Lamb was buried on the plains.

I remember my Grandma Lamb vividly because I thought a lot of her.  I was young when she died, about eight, I think, but I just loved her.  I used to love to go over to her place.  Hattie and I would go down and stay from one to three weeks.

My grandmother had two bedrooms upstairs and she had trunks or boxes up there.  She used to let us play in them.  She had all kinds of things up there.  She had old dresses that we’d dress up in and a lot of things that she’d gathered through her years of living.  I loved it, and I loved her so much.  She had a bad pain in her face for the last fifteen or so years of her life.  They called it neuralgia.  She had nearly as good a disposition as my mother. 

Even after she was dead I went down and stayed with my grandfather and his step-daughter, Settie.  Of course my Uncle John lived in the same house, and he had a daughter my age.  Hattie and I played with Gladys, Delis and Amy.  We would make hollyhock dolls with a gooseberry for a head.  We cousins loved to play together.  Uncle John’s family built on, and he lived in half the house.

My Grandfather Lamb lived until two or three years after Grandmother died and was up to our place quite a bit too.  This Settie that I mentioned was the daughter of another wife.  You see in those days they advised the men who could afford to keep another woman to marry one of the widows or single women when so many came to Utah without husbands or any way of making a living.  Of course my grandfather was quite a successful farmer so he married Annie, a woman from Switzerland who had a young daughter.

In Switzerland Settie, the daughter, had had scarlet fever, and it left her deaf and dumb.  She made noises, and she could learn to talk to you a little.  If we paid    close attention we could understand her.  Grandfather never lived with Annie as a wife, but he moved her into the house with Grandma and her children, and she helped Grandma raise her children.  Then he did marry Susan, and the story here was a little different.  The family didn’t get along as well with her.  I don’t remember her, but Mother said she was a biddy, and Edna said she was, and Edna remembers her.

After Grandma and Grandpa died, here was this old lady, Settie, as we called her.  Her name was Mary, but we all called her Settie; I don’t know why.  She had never married and she was deaf.  They didn’t know what to do with her so each one of the children that were left, three girls and three boys, would take her two months of the year.  Mother was the last.  Mother was the youngest daughter left in Preston so we had her for the eleventh and twelfth months.  The uncles in Hyde Park had her for the first three turns, and then Aunt Julia and Aunt Susie in Preston.

After she spent her time with us, she wouldn’t leave.  She wouldn’t leave us because Aunt Julia was an invalid and she didn’t go out.  Aunt Susie was too proud to take Settie to church.  Settie would sit there with her mouth open and was deaf and dumb of course.  It was embarrassing for Aunt Susie.  But when she was with us, it was different.

Hattie had a suit of clothes, a skirt and jacket that just fit Settie.  Mother would dress her up, and we took her to church.  Everybody knew about her there in the ward, so why be ashamed of her?  So she wouldn’t leave us.  Mother said, “Let her stay with me another two months.  This is my second term.”  After two more months were up they came and got her and took her back to Hyde Park to the brothers, and she died soon after.  I remember her quite well.

Johnson Grandparents

I never knew my father’s parents.  They were both dead before I was born.  Their name was Jorgensen in Denmark, but they changed it to Johnson when they came to America.  They always spoke English in their home.  The Danish people weren’t so good to them when they joined the Church in Denmark.

They had their first three children in Denmark.  The first died there as a baby, the second died at sea when they emigrated and third died after they got to America.  They were in St. Louis for awhile to earn money to come to Utah.  They came with a handcart company.  My grandfather was lame.  I think they wanted to start new when they came to the new country and put all their hardships behind them. 

Mary was the first one born in Utah.  She was married and had a baby, but died quite young.  My father was the next one born in Utah.  By the time he was born, he said he was never known as Jorgensen and he can’t remember his father ever being called that.  Their name was originally Jorgensen on their grave because the next oldest sister thought they should have it that way, but it was later changed.

They may have rejected their Danish name and language partly because of the way they were treated in Denmark after they joined the Church.  The Lutheran Church was mean to them after they joined the Mormon Church.  They didn’t want their people to join the Church and move to Utah.  But they did.  


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