(Submitted by her granddaughter – Lavina Telford Thompson)
Anne Catherine Hedevig Rasmussen Hansen was the first wife of Hans Christian Hansen and was born October 1, 1823, in Millinge, Cavanninge, Svendborg, Denmark.
On October 7, 1849, she married Hans Christian Hansen in the Parrish of Home.
Hedevig and her husband were among the first people in their community, Helsinger, to give willing ears to the gospel of Jesus Christ. They were baptized October 25, 1851. She supported her husband in preparation for leaving their homeland and families and their immigration to America. They left Denmark, December 20, 1852, and sailed for Utah on January 16, 1853 on the “Forest Monarch”.
Pioneering in Utah was not easy, particularly to one who had experienced the upper middle class level of circumstance since her marriage. After living a pioneer life in Utah for a little over a year, Hedevig was thrilled with the birth of her third child and first daughter, Josephine.
During the next three years, they moved several times, first in Ogden, then to gingham’s Fort and finally to Harrisville. It was there that her third son, Nephi, was born.
August 28, 1857 became a special day in their lives. They were sealed together in the Endowment House. The first born in the covenant and her second daughter, Anne Margrethe, arrived April 6, 1859, in Harrisville.
Early in 1869, a great challenge came into the home, when Hedevig’s husband was called to fill a mission in his native Denmark. Hedevig made a shirt for her husband from material of one of her petticoats. She dyed it in juice from bark and roots, and Hans wore it as he left for his mission.
The following was taken from Josephine’s writing:
It was known that mother could wait upon women in confinement cases. It was a natural gift with her. They came for her to go to Plain City to care for a lady there. This was four miles away. She did her work so well that the woman paid her $2.00 in silver. Her career was established and they kept coming for her to go around nursing. Two bushel of wheat was the vice usually charged. Then the Bishop came to our place from Plain City and wanted mother to move down there so she would be nearer to wait on women in their confinement cases. They tore our log house down, moved it to Plain City, and put it up again. They also built us a dugout, and now we lived in a settlement and could go to school. Two more children blessed Hedevig’s home in Plain City. Hans Christian was born August 14, 1863, and Chauney Ephriam was born May 8, 1866.
Hedevig was the first midwife in Plain City. She took a nursing and obstetric’s course under the direction of Eliza R. Snow and practiced for many years.
Hedevig lived a full life and was taken in death March 31, 1899, being buried in Plain City.
I, Charles Neal, son of Job Neal and Harriet Smith Neal, was born September 7, 1834, in Stratfordon Avon, Warwickshire, England. I was baptized August 10, 1849, at StratfordonAvon by George Smith, and confirmed by Elder John Freeman. About 1853, I was ordained a Teacher by Elder Weeks.
I, with other immigrants, left England on the 22nd day of March 1857 on the ship George Washington with Captain Cummings in command. We arrived in Boston about April 12, then proceeded on our journey to Iowa City, which was the Western terminus of the railroad. There we had to wait about three weeks for the handcarts to be finished before we could start our journey across the plains. There were about 125 handcarts and 275 men, women, and children in the company. Israel Evans was Captain, and Benjamin Ashley, Assistant Captain. I was teamster most of the way. After a longhand tedious journey on the plains, our food supply became exhausted so that we had to live for four days on Buffalo meat without salt. We arrived in Salt Lake City on September 11, 1857, from which I further continued my journey to Lehi.
On the 24th of September I returned to Salt Lake City and found Miss Annie England who came across the sea and plains with me. We were married the same day by Elder Israel Evans, Captain of our company and then returned to Lehi and went to work for him.
On March 10, 1859, a small company left Lehi in search of a new home. We were in that company which settled in the place now known as Plain City.
Upon arriving on March 17, we took up the arduous labors of fencing in the Big Field and making Plain City Irrigation Canal, besides fencing in our own lots and planting them. Being of an ambitious character, I carried stakes from the Weber River and fenced in the first lot.
The first year we lost our crop. I then went in search of work and got a job from President Brigham Young on the rock wall around the Eagle Gate in Salt Lake City. Two weeks later, my wife, Annie England Neal, followed me on foot to Salt Lake, and learning I was working for President Young, she obtained work in the Lion House in Brigham Young’s family where she remained for eighteen months. When we were about to return to Plain City, Sister Eliza R. Snow, recommended that we have our endowments. Accordingly, before leaving, we were endowed and sealed by President Brigham Young on October 24, 1860. On the same day I was ordained an Elder by Elders J. V. Long and George D. Watt.
We then returned to Plain City where I was appointed with a company of three to oversee the water ditches, in which capacity I served about three years. I was then appointed water-master in Plain City. I served one year with credit and satisfaction.
I was one of the first appointed Sunday School teachers in Plain City, and at the Sunday School Jubilee held in Salt Lake City in 1899, I received my badge for having been a Sunday School worker for thirty-five years.
From 1864 to 1899, I served as organist in the Sunday School and Ward.
In 1860, I helped to build the first school house, which was adobe. I also helped to build the second school house which was fifty by twenty-five feet. I was Chairman of the committee to construct the present meeting house. I was one of the school trustees for eight years and road supervisor for about nine years.
In 1866, I was called to go to the Missouri River with four yolk of oxen to bring some immigrants, which made my third trip across the plains. While at the Missouri River, I met the two orphan children of my sister, Ellen Eggerson, who died and was buried at sea on July 4. Her infant baby died on the 21st of July in Nebraska and was buried there. I returned and brought with me my sister’s little son, two and one-half years old. When about four days out from the Missouri River, I was taken very sick and was not expected to live, in fact Captain Harden Haight was about to leave me there with provision that should I recover, I would be brought in on the stage. But I begged the Captain to bring me along with them, telling him if he would, I should recover. So they brought me along and after traveling for about three hundred miles, with good care, I was able to drive my own team and get back all right.
When home again, I assisted in starting the first martial and brass band in Plain City. We purchased a secondhand set of brass band instruments from the old Camp Floyd Band in Salt Lake.
I was Postmaster in Plain City for many years. The following was published by the Postmaster of Ogden in 1903:
“Charles Neal, the retiring Postmaster of Plain City, has a most enviable record of service. The post office at Plain City was discontinued today and that town will be furnished with rural delivery. Charles Neal, who has been Postmaster in Plain City for the past twenty-five years, retires from service with an enviable record. He has served continuously under five presidential administrations and that is sufficient evidence of his ability. He has a record in the Government of which he may feel proud.”
My first wife, Annie England Neal, died November 5, 1900. She was a faithful and devoted wife, and endured many hardships and privations in our pioneer days in this, our mountain home. She was a true and faithful Latter Day Saint. Having no children of her own, she raised my sister’s child, Emily Neal Eggerson, from two and a half years old until about nineteen. We raised my brother, Willard, from eight years old until he married at the age of twenty, and Sophia England, her niece, from three months old to about fifteen years old; also Ella Jerimah Neal, my niece, from nine until she was about nineteen. We also raised William Neal, my nephew, from two and a half years old to about twelve when he went away with his sister, Ella, who married Thomas H. Cattle.
In 1901, I married Miss Myra Swingwood. About 1907, my wife’s sister, Annie Swingwood Brown, died, leaving two children boy and an infant baby girl. We adopted Myra, the baby girl, who is now six years old. At present, I am the oldest handcart pioneer in Weber County. (Dictated shortly before his death)
(Submitted by Augusta Nash)
William Mathers was born in Scotland and came here as a convert to the church. He was a sort of an eccentric mar., but he had many special talents and hobbies. He had the finest gun collection for many miles around and loved to decorate the stock with designs of inlaid gold. He was very efficient in this. He also was a taxidermist and did beautiful work in this field. There were few who could match his hunting abilities and the days when few men had enough money to engage in the sport, he became the guide and leader for many well to do men from the city when they came out to hunt. He also was the quarantine official in the days when contagious diseases were quarantined, and he filled this capacity with the utmost integrity, believing absolutely in the law.
(Submitted by Augusta Nash)
Fred J. Kenley started working as a rural mail carrier in 1902, from the main Post Office on Twenty Fourth Street in Ogden. A branch was soon established at Five Points known as Station A. From there two rural Carriers (Routes 2 and 3) and one city carrier sorted their mail and left for their routes. Mr. Kenley’s route (2) consisted of delivery through Harrisville, Farr West, Plain City, Slaterville, and Marriott. h distance of about thirty miles. His first conveyance being a horse and cart, later a buggy and horse. In 1916 he purchased his first Model T Ford. There is much that could be written about the difficulties of delivering the mail; bad weather, bad roads, etc., but he never missed one day. I became his substitute for a long time. He was retired in 1933 by Pres. Roosevelt to help provide jobs for younger men.
Mr. Kenley served the community in other ways. He was a great lover of music and played the clarinet. He with his brother William, :who played the violin, and a friend Seth Harper, who played the piano, played for dances all over Weber County. For many years they entertained in activities all over. Then Mr. Kenley had a choir, which he conducted for many years. It was an outstanding choir.
In, those years almost everyone belonged to the choir. Their weekly practices were held and nothing took place over them. They sang for church, and for entertainment all over Rebel County. He took great delight in the accomplishments of this choir. It was second only to the Ogden Tabernacle Choir. He was a great scholar and teacher and a Scout Master.
I was born on December 17, 1895, on the same lot that I now live on, in a little adobe room. Walter Draney was born on the same day in Plain City. We went to school together and he was a very dear friend. When I was six years old the school was where Walt Christensen lives now. If memory serves me right, Elmer Carver and I are the only two left that attended that school. I can remember three of my teachers; one was Merrill Jenkins’ Mother, one was Mae Stewart, who lived just across the road from where I live now. The other was Mrs. Skeen, Ivy Carver’s Mother. I can remember Dad tell about the first school which was on the south side of the square. Every Monday morning each of the students took 25¢ to pay the teacher for her wages.
When I was a Deacon, our Quorum took care of the meeting house. There were two stoves, one on each side. It was the Deacon’s work to keep coal and wood for the fires in the wintertime. Richard Lund was the Quorum teacher. Our meeting was Monday night. He had a good singing voice and we had to sing or he wanted to know why. On Saturdays, we would take two horses, a hay-rack and our lunch to the north range and cut sagebrush for all the widows in Plain City. The next Saturday we would go in groups and cut the sagebrush into kindling for these ladies. We had a lot of good times and as I remember, there was very little swearing or taking the Lord’s name in vain at any time.
When we went to school, a child’s birthday was celebrated by a surprise party. We had many good times together. Our parties usually broke up at no later than 9:30. I can remember when the dance hall stood where Lynn Folkman’s new home is now. Sometime later a dance hall was built west of where the church now stands. It later burned down. Many people enjoyed good times at the old dance hall. We had a picture show on Saturday nights. Pete Poulsen and William Hunt took charge of the tickets.
In those days my Father ran a store on the lot where I now live.
It would take all day with team and wagon to bring the dry goods from Ogden. I can remember when the first telephone came to Plain City. My Father gave the telephone company permission to put the switchboard in the back of the store. They took two of my sisters to be switchboard operators. Father and Abram Maw’s grandfather owned the first two telephones. When the phone was put throughout the town, it cost $1.00 a month. Many the night my Father came and got me out of bed and I saddled my pony and delivered a telephone message of a death or of a sick friend to someone in Plain City at all hours of the night. If you needed a doctor, it would take an hour for him to get out this far because it was all horse and buggy. If he needed to stay into the night, it was up to the person who called him to see that his horse was taken proper care of.
Some of the women brought their butter to trade for groceries. Mostly it was a 20¢ a pound trade. Salmon was 10¢ and 15¢ a can. You could buy a work shirt for 65¢, a pair of overalls for $1.25, and a pair of shoes for $2.00.
The first job I had to earn money was driving cows. I had to drive Father’s cows,so William Hunt and James Stewart hired me to drive their cows. I received 50¢ a month from each of them.
At one time in Plain City there were many apple orchards. A lot of the apples were hauled to Salt Lake by team and wagon. It would take three days to go. If you were lucky, you could sell the apples in one day at anywhere from 40¢ to 60¢ a bushel, It would take a whole day to get home again,
I can remember the first canning factory, They had to haul the cans from Ogden by team and rig with canvas wrapped around them, After the tomatoes were canned, they had to haul them to West Weber or Ogden by teams to the railroad.
My father! Thomas England, John Maw, and Lyman Skeen were the three men appointed to the committee to bring the railroad from Harrisville to Plain City and Warren, That increased the sugar beets by many acres because the railroad would do the hauling out.
The first gravel roads we had in Plain City were made with rock that was crushed at the west end of Pleasant View, North Ogden! and Ogden, and was hauled to Plain City and Hooper by team and wagon, The men would do it in the wintertime when work was hard to find. One man would put in three days a week, and then another would work the other three,
I married Florence Taylor on February 4, 1914, in the Logan Temple. In 1916, I bought the old Boyd place where our family then lived. There was no school bus at that time! so the children had to get to school the best way they could. Then they would hurry home from school to do their chores and help their mother with dinner. I spoke to the picture shows they had on Saturday nights. Our car would leave home with our girls in it, By the time we got there’ the car was full with one or two on the running board besides,
I hauled milk by team and wagon to Farr West to the skimming station and then hauled the whey back to the farmers, The plant was located near where Ernie Jensen now lives. Two years later, Weber Central Dairy bought the old Black and Griffin Building on 26th and Wall, and I hauled milk there for six years.
When I was hauling milk, George Palmer, who was crippled quite badly, was put in as Bishop. He didn’t have an automobile and so once a month when I would pick up his milk, he would put the Church money in three different money sacks to three different banks and give it to me. I would take the money to the banks and bring the receipts and the sacks back to him. Bishop Palmer told me many a time that he didn’t know how he could have done that service.
I am 80 years old. I have a wonderful family and I think the world of them. I have good health and I am thankful for my parents and my name. I have lived in Plain City all of my life and I have many wonderful friends.
The year 1905 is the date given that the first telephone came to Plain City. The first telephone switchboard was located in the store owned by Thomas England. There were three long distance lines. A system of record keeping was to have twenty calls, then register,
The first exchange was operated by the family of Mr. England. Lillian England was the chief operator. Her salary was $25.00 a month. Lester England, Wilford England, and Hazel Kennedy were relief operators. They were paid $15.00 a month for their services. Service was provided for West Weber, Warren, Plain City, Farr West, and possibly Slaterville.
Later, the telephone company lent money to build a telephone exchange building on the spot where Marvel England’s home now stands. It was dismantled when no longer needed.
Telephones were few and far between in early Plain City. Mr. Thomas Jenkins told of walking from his home to the home of Henry T. Maw to use the phone in the middle of the night.
Later on, more telephones were installed; party lines with 8 to 10 families were common, The telephone helped to bring the boundaries of the town closer together.
The box-on-the-wall type of telephone was later replaced with the more modern cradle-portable phone. Then, a great step was taken with a few people having private lines, and reduction of parties on a line. This really helped to have all those rings eliminated for every other party on the line. Then more recently r many homes have telephones in the various rooms of their homes.
In the summer and fall of 1973, the biggest change took place. The old telephone lines were replaced with an underground cable with many lines in it. This helped most families to now~have a private line. This removal of the old poles and wires has added much to the appearance of the town.
On December 17, 1976, Merlin England said, “Today is my eighty-first birthday, and it’s the first day in my life I have ever known when there wasn’t a telephone pole one-third of the way through the lot on the east side. Other poles have replaced the original one during my life time, but today the telephone company came and finished putting our lines underground and removed that pole.”
There are a few places in Plain City where the cable is still in the air. The initial project for private line service with the cable placed underground was during the spring and summer of 1973. The completion date for the big push was October of 1973.
The first telephone switchboard for Plain City was located in the back of the store owned by Thomas England. It was located on the same lot where Merlin England was born and now lives, 4275 W. 2650 N. The store was just west of the England home. The first two telephones in Plain City were those of the Senior Abram Maw and Thomas England. The charge of service was $1.00 per month. If a connection was wanted outside of the Plain City area, Lillian England, the switchboard operator would connect with the Ogden operator who would make further connections. There was no dial system at that time.
The telephone office and switchboard was later moved to the location on the lot where Marvel England now lives.
Merlin England and his wife, Florence, lived in this telephone building part of 1914 and 1915.
(Submitted by Beverly B. Eddy)
William Dolby Skeen and Mary Davis Skeen were among the first settlers of Plain City. William Skeen owned a race track in the south end of Plain City, which was then called four mile, now known as Pioneer Village. He owned two famous race horses, which he brought from Europe.
William Dolby Skeen also built the first rock house in Plain City. The rocks used to build this house were hauled from the Hot Springs mountain area.