Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Stena (Said Sty-na)

Lars Ericksen was a flour miller in Denmark. Soon after his first marriage, he and his first wife, Bertha Marie, were baptized as members of the LDS Church. Lars then served as a missionary among his fellow-Danes. The family moved quite a bit as a result of this work. Stena Hansen, her brothers and mother, were all converted. Stena was told that she could travel to Salt Lake with Lars and his wife as their hired girl. She was also a friend. 

Stena, Lars and Bertha walked almost all the way to Salt Lake Valley. The old couple traveling with them rode in a wagon and the little girls also rode. There were eight with the one wagon, Lars, Bertha, Stena, the little girls, Emma and Camilla, Rasmus Rasmussen and the old couple. The old couple had purchased a cow, they were somewhat wealthy, and the cow gave them good milk, butter and buttermilk, until near the end of the journey. At that point, one of the oxen died and the cow was needed for pulling which meant she did not give much milk.

The women would hang the cream in a bucket under the wagon. On the bucket was a tight lid. The constant swinging of the bucket churned the butter. The buttermilk, left after the cream turned to butter, was used to make pancakes. May of the pioneers traveling with them would come to them for the buttermilk. They arrived in Salt Lake City in October of 1861.

One day, on their way to the valley, the women found a big, black iron kettle, which had been abandoned by a previous party. They decided it might come in handy when the got to their final home. So between them they carried it the remainder of the journey. There was no place for it in the wagon. That big black kettle was used over and over again in Mt. Pleasant. Soap was made in it and water boiled in it for hog killing days. It was passed from family to family for various uses.

Stena was very pretty and was also a good worker and quite smart. Many men wanted her to marry them. One sent a church leader to ask her to become a polygamist wife. She and Bertha were both upset by this. They decided they would ask Lars if he would marry her instead. Stena said she would rather have him for a husband than any of the others. That way, all of them could still be together. He agreed. Bertha, Lars and Stena all received their endowments at the endowment house in Salt Lake City. Bertha and Lars were sealed and then Stena was sealed to Lars, as well. 

They traveled to Mt. Pleasant in the spring of 1861 where they purchased a lot from Harvey Tidwell and immediately began to build a cellar for the family. The cellar was about 25-feet long and about 16-feet wide. To the east was a window with of four lights, which opened up and down, and to the north and south was one window of two lights which was set in the logs. There were no curtains because of the dim light and no blinds. It was two-roomed and was about six-feet deep in the earth. There were four logs above. The dirt floor was washed and water left standing to make it hard. Then it was sprinkled with clean white sand. There were partitions of adobe brick and a chimney of adobe with a fireplace and mantle. In front of the fireplace stood a step-stove.

Stena was the mother of Ferdinand, Amasa, Christena, Annie Marie, Mina and Lena (whose twin sister died shortly after birth). Another son, Alma, died during infancy. 

Bertha and Stena were always good friends. Up until their deaths, they loved each other dearly. They divided the chores of the household and the garden and farm and the children all loved them both. One was Mommy and the other Mama. 

The family had a wonderful vegetable garden with potatoes, carrots, onions, parsley, cabbage, peas and currant and gooseberries. They also had apple and plum trees.