|Ida Christina Johnson|
M E N U
|This is a story Ida Christina told many times to her children and grandchildren.
When Ida Christina was a young girl in Risor, Norway her father was a sea captain. He and other men of the family were away at sea when the missionaries came a converted and baptized the women. When the men came home they were very angry and got their horsewhips and were ready to whip the women for joining the church. Ida Christina's mother Maren said please wait and go to the meeting with us and if you don't like it then you can whip us. The men did and were also converted. They sold the ship and all their property and came to Utah. On the way Ida fell in love with a boy who was one of the leaders of the company. She was 16 and he was 17. She had enjoyed the trip across the plains because she rode in the lead wagon and was very much in love. The family was sent to Mt. Pleasant to settle and by the time they arrived they were in destitute circumstances. They lived in a dugout. John Frederick Fechser was a well-to-do miller and gave them flour and a cow. Ida Christina's father soon built a house. He had his navigation instruments and was sent by Brigham Young to survey Cedar City and St.George.
When the companies of travelers arrived Ida Christina's boy friend was sent back east to bring out another company. So they did not see each other for some time.
John Fredricks Fechser wife and children had died coming across the plains. When he arrived and was asked to marry 2 widows and take care of them which he did, but did not have any children by them. Later when he was asked to marry another widow he said no, if he married again it would be to a younger woman who could give him children. And he
asked for Ida Christina. He was 40 and she was 16. She did not want to marry him but her father persuaded her promising her if she did that she would learn to love him and have a fine family that not one child would ever give her any trouble. She did obey her father. When the young man returned from the east he came to get her and finding she was married threw up his hands and was very hurt. When Ida Christina would tell the story even when very old she would throw up her hands and exclaim to show what his reaction was. She did learn to love John and never had any trouble with any of her large family but she never forgot the young man. Her 2 sisters also married. The three girls were very pretty but one was really beautiful. She fell in love with a young man named Allred. Her father forbid her to marry him but she eloped.
She had a very sad life and had trouble with her children. Ida Christina took consolation in this that she had obeyed her father and her children were a great comfort to her.
Portion of a Letter From Ida C. Fechser to a Child
under the circumstances. Well I am thankful to my Father in Heaven that I am as well as I am at my age. I am [97 or 77] years old now. So can't expect to be as strong as I used to be. Well Ella's baby isn't feeling so well today. It's a vomiting so much and it's quite restless so it makes Ella feel so worried about it. But I hope it will soon get better again. Andrew O. and family has been out South and visited with Alpha for about a week and had a nice time. Evan had his girl with out there. Well I must bring my letter to a close as I have so many to write to. Ella joines me in love to you all.
April 13, 1931
Mrs. Ida Fechser Dies At Daughter's Home
Mrs. Ida C. Fechser, widow of the late John F. Fechser, died Monday morning at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Andrew O. Madsen, from paralysis of the intestines, after a two days illness.
Mrs. Fechser was born August 13, 1846 at Risor, Norway, daughter of Christopher and Maren Evanson Johnson. She came to Utah with her parents in 1863. She was married to John F. Fechser in the Endowment House, Salt Lake City, January 2, 1864. Her husband died September 28, 1908.
She was a faithful Latter Day Saint and was for twenty-five years a Relief Society Teacher.
Surviving are the following children: Mrs. S.F. Jensen, Murray, Utah; Mrs. Frank Carlston, Mrs. Elon A. Hansen, Hyrum Fechser, James C. Fechser, Moroni, Utah; Mrs. Andrew O. Madsen and Mrs. Emil Hasler, Mt. Pleasant; forty seven grandchildren; forty-seven great grandchildren; one great-great-grandchild. Also a brother, John C. Johnson, Ephraim, Utah; a sister Mrs. Elizabeth Allred, Salt Lake City.
There are 47 grand children, 47 great grandchildren and one great grand child, making five generations.
Funeral services were held Wednesday in the North ward chapel with Bishop Olsen in charge.
The choir sang "Jesus Lover of My Soul" with duet by Mrs. Ina L. Jones and Harry Ericksen, "O My Father." Other numbers were: vocal solo, "Tired," Miss Elida Staker; vocal duet, "Lead Me Gently Home, Father", Mrs. Anderson, J.R. Blackham of Moroni; mixed quartet, "Jesus Is Calling," Mrs. Jay Hafen, Mrs. Ed Jensen, Jay Hafen and Lorain Beck.
Prayers were offered by President H.C. Jacobs and James Monsen. The speakers were: Mrs. Jane Brinton, A.F. Reynolds, Arthur O. Nielson, and Bishop Henry P. Olsen. The grave was dedicated by Willford West. The following grandsons of Mrs. Fechser were pallbearers: Fred Jensen, Roger and Charlie Fechser, Kenneth Earl, and Rex Christensen.
Among the out-of-town people who came here to attend the funeral were: Mrs. S.F. Jensen, Fred Jensen and J. Leo Jensen of Murray; Mrs. Elon A. Hansen, Mrs. and Mrs. Hyrum Fechser, Chrystal Ruby and Don Fechser, Mrs. Ray Coterel and daughter Shirley, Mrs. Elizabeth Allred, Henry Carlston, Mrs. F.E. Carlston, Mrs. Ernest Carlston and Verge Johnson of Salt Lake City; Mrs. Maud Hearn, Milford; Mr. and Mrs. John Johnson and Miss Ida Johnson, Garfield; Mr. and Mrs. George Last of West Jordan; Mrs. Kenneth Brandy of Sandy; Mr. and Mrs. J.F. Fechser, Roger, Charles and Ida Fechser of Provo; Mr. and Mrs. J.C. Fechser, Ina Fechser, Kenneth Christensen, Mr. and Mrs. Ray Blackham, Mrs. Hardy, Mrs. Blackham, Mrs. Tidwell of Moroni.
Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Armstrong, Mr. and Mrs. Parley Hansen, Mrs. Jim Balley, Mrs. Ben Christensen, Rex and Joy Christensen, Mrs. Walter Sparks and family, and Mrs. Emroy Johnson of Ephraim.
IDA CHRISTINA JOHNSON FECHSER was born in Risor, Norway, 13th of August 1846. She was the second child in the family. Her brother, John, being two years older.
Her father, Christopher Johnson, was a sea captain. I believe, from what I've heard, that he was a jolly, happy man. He loved to sing and he wrote poetry. He loved his family.
His wife, Maren Evensen, was a small, thin lady - kindly and hospitable - an industrious and good homemaker who also loved her family, husband and children dearly.
Both Christine ??? and Christopher had many friends in Risor. They were sociable people. I discovered that the Farnsworth, who invented television came the Evensen line. A Mrs. Romney - also of that line, has the record - also children of Maren and Christopher have some records, especially the children of John C. Johnson and Emma Mortensen (who came to Ephraim, Utah).
Ida was happy in her Norwegian home - it was pleasant and comfortable -flower, garden - I picture a low picket fence. The mountains, sky - and the beauties of nature were part of her life - she like to sing and dance and play with friends as young folks do. She was happy helping her mother with home duties - school and church were where she met friends and was happy.
When she was about 15, and her father was away at sea, as were male relatives and neighbors of her father - two Mormon missionaries came to the town of Risor - some of the wives of the absent seamen were converted including Ida and her mother - and believed the gospel message the missionaries brought. But before Ida's mother could tell her husband about it, news reached him and the other seamen of the town.
Christopher Johnson and his Risor seamen friends were very angry, and threatened to horsewhip the missionaries out of town. Prayerful wives pleased with their husbands - saying - please don't do these violent things until you have heard what the missionaries have to say. They are speaking tonight at the church.
Christopher Johnson with his whip in have agreed to go to the church - with his wife and then whip the missionaries out of town - at the church - and listening to the Elder's message, Christopher Johnson was converted as were some of his friends.
Since it was a time of the gathering of the Saints to Zion "Israel, Israel - God is Calling", Maren, Christopher, son John, daughter Ida - and the younger children - Even, Christopher Martin, Henry, Inger Elizabeth and almost year old Abraham, resolved to go to Utah. Descendents of these children have records of the doings of Christopher and Maren.
Christopher sold his home and possessions - left the life at sea that he loved - all left the country they loved and started out for Utah.
In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.A., Josephine Marin Johnson was born the 12th of June 1863.
Ida was 16 years old - not tall - a bit on the chubby side - not fat - her hair was brown.
Her happy disposition was her great asset. She knew she was loved by her parents and brothers and sisters. Her father, while at sea, had written a beautiful poem for her at the time of her birth.
John was a quiet, kindly brother.
Plans were made to cross the Plains (to Utah) by ox team. The hardships of pioneers crossing the Plains were her mother's and father's but for Ida - she had a gay time. She was young - and besides, a very likeable, good-looking young man had been sent by Brigham Young to guide the immigrants across the Plains to Utah.
So a great deal of the time she got to ride in the lead wagon with the guide. They sang, laughed as they rode, and joined with others in the evening with relaxation activities - songs - dances - prayers. Comforting the sorrowing - joyfully looking forward to getting to Utah. In other words, Ida and the splendid young man fell in love and hoped to marry.
However, when the party reached Salt Lake, the Johnson family was directed to Mt. Pleasant, Utah and the young man sent back West to guide another party of Saints to Utah. Their goodbye was not sad, however, as they again spoke of their love for each other. They were young and would reunite when duties at hand were taken care of.
All of Christopher's money had been spent in getting the family to Utah. Also, no houses were available in Mt. Pleasant, so they had to camp for awhile in sort of a dugout - later they got a better home and later a place almost as cozy as the one they had left in Norway.
But not at first. One of the persons in Mt. Pleasant who helped they family - perhaps with jobs, but especially with a cow, and flour and mill products, as a man about 40 years old - who was a flour miller. A convert from Germany, John F. Fechser. He was a jolly man and Christopher like him very much.
John Frederick Fechser's first wife had died while crossing the Plains - also a daughter born in St. Louis - a young child, a son, had died in Hamburg. After crossing the Plains (1856) John F. Fechser had been asked to marry a widow - Trine Amelia, (Danish) and in 1857 to another widow named Elizabeth - by whom he'd had two children (one, Maria) married a Hanson - the other (Elizabeth) married Mr. Staker.
He (Fechser) also was asked to marry another widow - Benta, an older person. His life's history he wrote himself - and we have it.
John Frederick Fechser was a friendly man, charitable and kindly, he was considered to be well off having been the organizer of having several flourmills built and running them.
When the church leaders of Mt. Pleasant asked him to marry another older widow to support, he said "no" that if he married again he wanted to marry a younger woman - one he could be sealed to for the eternities (not one already sealed). Also, one by whom he could have children. He was very attracted to the young girl (Ida) who came to the mill with her father. And he asked Ida's father for her hand.
Christopher Johnson and family felt beholden to the man, who had helped them in their poverty - besides, Christopher liked him and felt that his daughter Ida would always be taken care of since Fechser was considered a well-to-do man.
Ida did not want to marry him. She was 16 or 17 years old - in love with another. J. F. Fechser was 40 years old, and already had seven wives. In her heart she cried.
Her father requested that she marry Fechser - promising that she would grow to love him and that the children she had would call her blessed and all would be an honor to her.
After tears were shed and feeling great love for her parents, she obeyed her father and said she would marry Fechser, which she did.
Having been in the little town of Mt. Pleasant for some time, she later enjoyed the trip to Salt Lake where she was to be married in the (the marriage solemnized) Endowment House - a young couple went with them in the wagon. Mt. Pleasant is 125 miles from Salt Lake. It was cold - winter - and they snuggled together. The four people in the horse drawn wagon box laughed and sang.
The bride of the young couple was the daughter of Trine Fechser's second wife, Ida enjoyed their company.
One day, after her marriage, she was visiting her mother when the young guide, whom she had met on the Plains, came to visit her. He had returned from his assignment of guiding a group of converts safely across the Plains and had hurried as soon as he could to Mt. Pleasant.
When Ida told of her marriage, she threw up both of his hands in the air in consternation - sorrow - surprise and grief. Ida never forgot it, and over and over in her old age told of that experience to her grandchildren.
Ida had twelve children - the first baby daughter died about a day after birth - the second child, a boy, Joseph - two years old was drowned in a deep creek or river called Pleasant Creek. The creek ran behind an adobe house Fechser built - on the order of the Beehive House in Salt Lake - that is it had a long porch and a long second story veranda. Two families could live in the house, but Ida did not live there at first. She lived in a pleasant house across the street from the flourmill, where her husband worked. Back of both houses were large orchards. Outside of the death of Joseph, life was pleasant for Ida. She visited her older brother John, who had married and lived in Ephraim - she and he would dance around the kitchen dining room table. John's wife would frown but that would not dampen Ida's gay spirit.
She was proud of her other brothers and sisters - Evan, Christopher Martin, and Henry, who like to travel but she often worried about him. Elizabeth, the beauty - slender - lovely dark hair - white skin - beautiful eyes and beautiful disposition, although later against her father's wisher Elisabeth ran off to marry the man to whom she was infatuated. She never spoke against him, but she had a sad life and sadness with two of her sons. However, she did not complain - no matter her hardships. She was always the lovely lady - taller than Ida - slender - queenly. She loved her family - husband and children. She wrote of some of her experiences in Mexico or Arizona.
Abraham Johnson was a brother of whom Ida was always proud. He also was tall - slender - very dark hair - white porcelain skin - a handsome man. He went on a mission to Norway. I have his journal. He wrote many poems and loved the Gospel. However, he married a girl who thought she was "society". Ida and the other brothers and sisters she considered beneath her. She shook hands with friends by hold her hand as high as her head - barely touching fingers - Abraham became a merchant and Mayor of Mt. Pleasant. Things didn't go well financially with Fechser - for this reason: The mills he built he did not see to it that he got 51% of the shares - only 49%. He felt safe because the shares he didn't own were scattered among several small shareholders - but an enterprising person can secretly buy up the shares and become "Boss of the Mill" - that is what happened, so Fechser lost the mill - also with each wife sharing equally - Trine, Benta with no children, -- Elizabeth with 2, but Ida with 12 - the sharing equally didn't leave much for Ida. She moved to the house with the "long porch" and she had a garden.
Her sons worked. Hy wanted to travel (he was written his history).
Fred was able to go to school - his mother scraped up the money - mortgaged some land and did all she could to help him stay in school until he finished - Business was his area of study.
James learned the milling trade and was able to earn.
Sarah was the oldest daughter, married young and lived in Murray, Utah - (almost like a widow since her husband was a polygamist - but for many years she was a widow). Two sons - Leo and Fred Jenson - daughter Anna Nealy.
Elizabeth at age 16 did not like wearing homemade or made over clothes, while some in her class (girls) at school wore fancy clothes, and looked down on those whose parents were not as well off as theirs - She, Elizabeth, wanted to get away from Mt. Pleasant and begged her mother to let her go to Murray to visit her sister Sarah Jenson - finally Ida - her mother, gave her consent.
It was a thrill for Elizabeth to ride on the train they had watched so often come into the depot and then puff away into the lovely unknown. Now she didn't get off at Murray, as she was supposed to, instead she went right on into Salt Lake and arrived about sunset. Salt Lake the big city of the West.
Aunt Elizabeth was a very pretty girl. She had big beautiful eyes - lots of lovely black hair and skin like her Uncle Abraham's. She wore a sailor hat with streamers down the back. She walked the few blocks from the D&R Railway station to Salt Lake Main street. There she asked a policeman where she could get a job. The policeman told her it was too late to get a job that day - but in kindness he got a hotel room for her and said he would help her next morning.
Which he did next day by bringing her the newspaper want ads. And perhaps giving her some money for streetcar fare. She stood on the corner of Second South and Main wondering how to get to the first address. She noticed a very nice, kindly looking man and asked him which streetcar she should take to get to the address. He said, "Are you looking for work"? She nodded and he said his wife needed some help in their home and took her to their home on 13th east. He was Mr. McDonald of McDonald Candy Company. Elizabeth was glad for the job but did not like the wife because of her disregard of Elizabeth's fear of the dog. So after a few weeks and some new clothes - she stuffed her old clothes in a culvert of the ditch and on her day off took French leave - she had many experiences in Salt Lake but was always safe. She attributed her safety to her mother's prayers. Ida always prayed night and morning - kneeling by the side of her bed. It is one of the sweet memories I have of my grandmother - her earnest prayers - night and morning - her faith and trust in the Lord. She was anxious about her daughter in Salt Lake. Elizabeth came home often - and of course, showed off her beautiful clothes to envious classmates. Daughters Ida and Josephine were more content in Mt. Pleasant. They married brothers - Frank and Henry Carlston. Elizabeth brought presents to her mother etc.
Daughter Rozina was very industrious - she liked to visit. As a child, she would go to the store - owned by her Uncle Abraham - he would give her candy - sometimes Ida's daughters would help his wife with the washing and housework. She would give a girl 25 cents for a hard day's work and not say thank you.
But, their Uncle Abraham was kindly and they were proud when he was elected Mayor.
Rozina sometimes visited Trina and Benta - Her father's other wives - she would help them or bring them fresh vegetables from her mother Ida's garden. The boys, James (my father) Hy and Fred would often, at their father's request, bring hay or flour to the wives - since the reason their father had married them was to give them support. I think it was Trine who was always so glad to see Rozina - and asked her to come and live with her but to get her mother's permission. Rozina one day asked her mother if she could stay with Trine. Ida, thinking she meant just to stay overnight, said yes. But Rozina made her home at "Tante Trine's" until she (Rozina) married Andrew Madsen. In a way this grieved Ida because Trine could give Rozina so many things her mother Ida could not. Trine was a good second mother - she taught Rozina to sew - embroider, crotchet - cook - play the piano - encouraged her to sing in the choir and helped her in so many ways that Ida did not have the time to do.
Rozina always loved her mother - visited often and in Ida's old age helped greatly in caring for her - indeed; it was at Rozina F. Madsen's home that Ida died. The Madsen children heard many of the stories of Ida's trip across the Plains.
Mary was Ida's gay (happy) daughter. She was not so beautiful as Elizabeth. Her complexion was more like her mother's rather ruddy - she was taller than her mother - not fat, nor slender like Ida's sister Elizabeth.
She had such a cheery disposition, loved to sing and laugh. Had no complaints about her circumstances. She went at an early age to help cook in the lumber camps. There she met many men - all liked her and respected her. One she especially liked was Angelo Christensen. A silent man who came to Ida's home to court her daughter Mary. But he would sit silent - listen to the conversation around him - enjoy the singing if there was any. Ida had no piano, as did Trine - nor organ as did her husband's second wife Elizabeth. She was a trifle envious of that organ - and of things Elizabeth's two girls could have that hers could not - but she didn't let it spoil her own happiness.
Ida took joy in her sons and daughters. She made delicious soup - bread - and cooked good and delicious meals for her family - and would smile at Mary's beau who often stayed late sitting quietly in the kitchen where the activity was, (guitar - harmonica - singing - laughter - and conversation). And when it came time to go, picking up his hat but barely saying good night.
He married Aunt Mary and they had a large family. But during the First World War - about 1918, a terrible epidemic of flu came and many died including Aunt Mary. Grandma Ida was the one who nursed Mary and others during that dreadful flu time, but she herself never got the illness.
Aunt Rozina took Mary's oldest con, Theodore into her home. Bernice went to her Grandmother Christensen. Maiben ??? to us, the James Fechser ??? Family. Kenneth and baby Ralph to a childless Uncle and Aunt. Evan to his father's brother's home. Irene to her father's sister Daisy's home. Earl to Aunt Ella.
Ella was the last child born to Christopher and Ida. Ella enjoyed home, and as a child walking in the hills - taking a hike to the nearby town of Fairview to see her married sister Mrs. Ida Carlston - it was a long walk. Once she had a ride to Fairview - otherwise Ella, like her mother, rarely left Mt. Pleasant. On rare occasions Ida got to the Manti Temple, Ephraim (Brother) and to Moroni to see her son James. In later life she had occasional trips (outside the country) to Provo to see her son Fred - or Salt Lake to see daughter Elizabeth.
Ella was very shy. She didn't sing in the church choir as other of her brothers and sisters had. When all of her brothers and sisters were married and Ella was home alone with her mother, she didn't have any beaus - maybe because she was so quiet in crowds - not an exceptional beauty - but no disfigurements - just a normal pretty girl. She was pleasant but quite fearful. She attended church regularly and one very nice young man - I think he had been on a mission - any way, he was very religious - his folks well off, if one considers good land was wealth. He too was a bit quiet - not one of the dashing extroverts - He courted Ella and in time they were married, which left Ida alone in one part of the long porch adobe house.
Ella married Andrew Sorensen. For many years they had no children. They were thinking of adopting when a beautiful baby girl was left at their doorstep. The daughter of Jim Lund (???) whose wife had died in bearing the child. Later named Lavon. Lavon was beautiful - tall - blonde - but very wild. A year after getting Lavon Ella and Andrew had a child of their own. Andrea, a lovely sweet very religious child - but then Andrew died leaving Ella a widow with Lavon, Andrea and Earl (Mary's son) to care for - at age ??? - Andrea died ??? - Lavon married. Lavon Cox had several children but Lavon died of cancer at Ella's home in Mt. Pleasant and was buried in Manti. Earl helped with the farm then left for Nevada. Ella - at this writing is 96 years old - (in a rest home. I will write her story later).
I have not mentioned Katherine - Katherine was a young single L.D.S. woman, who came from Switzerland with one child. She was in hopes she would find an L.D.S. husband in Utah. At the church socials she grew to like John Frederick Fechser - although he was married to my grandmother and had other wives, she pursued him. He had nothing against her except he didn't like her and also did not want to marry any other woman. He refused her attentions. One day she came to my grandmother Ida's home and told, in her tears - her problem and wishes to marry "Fechser". Ida put her arm around Katherine and said - after Katherine had said, "Fechser will not me gifts" (marry) "Now, now", Ida comforted - "Don't cry - I'll ask him to marry you", which she did and he grudgingly consented. Building for her a lumber addition on the East end of the big adobe house. She was happy there. She never bothered Ida - Ida had such a happy peaceful disposition that few things irritated her, but when something did irritate her, she did not bury her hostility but let it be know what bothered her - thus, freeing her from long resentments and bitterness of any kind.
Katherine was always good to us when we visited Mt. Pleasant. She gave us cookies and was kind. Otherwise, we might have called her an old witch because she was slender and looked like pictures in our schoolbooks of witches, except her nose was just a natural o.k. size. None that one would notice - it was mostly her age and slenderness and perhaps dark clothes that might have suggested a witch. We like her - and she liked us. I went to her funeral years after Grandpa Fechser had died. It was amazing to learn how much Temple work and Genealogy she had done. Her child had grown up and married, so Katherine instead of going to social clubs or doing a lot of visiting had used her time and energy in getting a lot of Temple work done for her dead ancestors. As far as I know, there was never any trouble between her and my grandmother. Ida knew that "Fechser's" affections were with her - not Katherine. In fact, he expressed the wish that Katherine, when she died, should not be buried on his lot, but rather with her folks. This was not done, however, she was buried on the J.F. Fechser cemetery lot just at the head of his grave. It was her grown up child who did this - some of that family were friends but some in late life did my father "dirt", so we have not been closely associated with them. You wonder what "dirt"? Well, in my father's just past middle age - say around 65 or 68 - he was able to get 49% of the flourmill his father had built. The other 51%, scattered shareholders. It was Katherine's child's family that put my father out of the mill. Secretly getting the 51%, in control of themselves or friends and then physically ousting my father. This indignity was the hardest personal thing my father had endured from others. He was never well after that. People had always liked my father - he had the jolly spirit of his father John Frederick and the natural friendship of his mother Ida. He and all of Ida's children were good to Katherine. She did not expect affection from Fechser. Just support and Katherine was happy. We always put flowers on her grave.
After her husband died, Ida spent her time as she had done before - housekeeping - gardening. Her family visited her often. Grandchildren - our cousins, my sisters and I - would run up and down the long porch - or go upstairs and run along the outside veranda there. Or we would go into the big orchard at the back of the house - across the bridge from house to orchard over the very deep Pleasant Creek - the one where little Joseph had been drowned - we didn't think of that but our Grandmother Ida kept an eye on us as we danced across that bridge.
It was after Grandpa's death that a big flood came one time and that deep creek overflowed. Grandma was trapped. The big Cottonwood trees right close to the front porch swayed, and some broke. Great logs and rocks came down from the mountains in the flood making it impossible to leave the house in front. The back of the house was on the edge of the overflowing creek. Grandma trusted in her Heavenly Father and knew she would be all right. Whatever would happen to her would be God's will and so for the best. She took every precaution, however, and in time was rescued. All the debris cleared away and things went on as usual.
In later years - the time of the great depression in 1930, Roosevelt sent C.C. young men to Utah. They lined the deep creek with rocks - where the river was shallow or might block the flow of water, it was made deep, also, since that time, Mt. Pleasant has never had a disastrous flood.
Exciting times for us was when all Grandmas' children went together in buying her silk for a new black silk dress. How proud she was of that dress. Wearing it only on Sundays and special occasions - never in the kitchen. The dress lasted for years even until the day she died. It must have been taffeta - anyway it was a strong silk that rustled. Of course, underneath, she wore several petticoats.
It seems I heard them talking one day about a lady friend of theirs who couldn't travel with much luggage, so she wore her thirteen petticoats under her dress.
The days (usually Sunday) that we came to visit her, she made delicious soup.
The women folk of the family would gather in the big kitchen to help. I was pleased when they sometimes allowed me to cut the tiny, fine noodles - then spread them on the breadboard to dry before them in the soup.
I believe my Mother learned to make Danish dumplings from my Norwegian grandmother - Ah! How delicious!!
A way my Mother had to teach me about the facts of life and what to expect at about age 14 - was to let me over hear conversations with her sisters-in-law in Grandmother Fechser's kitchen. Later in life, I realized that these conversations were planned for my ears and that my Mother watched (without my knowing it) to see if I was listening. Those days at Grandma Fechser's were happy days - going to the orchard eating apples one cannot buy today, one variety was called Sweet Bough, and looking at a picture Bible on a scroll that one turned like a movie.
Later when Grandma got to be 80 - the house was sold to Jim Staker - a son-in-law of J.F. Fechser's wife Elizabeth.
My Father bought the orchard, but later rented it to a farmer who cut down the trees and planted alfalfa. Later, after my Father died, the place was sold to the Witmans, who later sold it to some people for a trailer court. The adobe house was torn down.
Ida was promised good health and she had it all her life - never needing a doctor - when her babies were born, a midwife came. Although her health was good - in her very last years, she couldn't remember too well - that is why she lived those last years visiting her children. We were always glad when she came to our house.
She would sit by the dining room window (big west window) in the big chair and crochet - mostly doilies. Then is when she would tell us about crossing the Plains and her lover from Ephraim - also she would sing church songs. She was happy, contented - peace in her heart. Her bedtime prayers I will always remember. Often I slept with her - if my feet were cold, she wouldn't say, "keep away from me", instead she would say "put your feet on my warm feet and legs".
At mealtimes, especially when we ate in the kitchen (at Moroni), she would say if she couldn't eat all she had on her plate, "do you have a cat?" " Kitty, Kitty" and she would hold a piece of meat under the table hoping the cat would come and get it. We always kept the cat outside - so later she fed the cat.
She was fearless in helping the sick -not thinking of herself or her own comfort at all.
Although she visited in Salt Lake and Provo - she spent most of her time with Aunt Ella and Aunt Rozina. But mostly with Aunt Rozina. Ida's sons tried to help Aunt Ella and Aunt Rozina a bit with finances - but the great care was given by Aunt Rozina, Rozina's daughters - Alpha, Marjorie, Jessie and Violan were especially helpful, willing and uncomplaining.
Theodore, I think, was away. Evan, perhaps at school - but all, including Howard Madsen and their father Andrew were kind and good. No one could have been better - yet Aunt Rozina's house was very small and I'm sure the children had to make a lot of adjustments to accommodate one more person in that tiny home. I will always remember the love that was in that home. No place would I rather visit than my relatives dear Aunts - Uncles, Cousins - little did we realize when we came as a family of five to visit, the sacrifice the Madsen family made in order to serve us delicious meals. But even to this day, neither they nor Aunt Elizabeth (Lizzie) or Uncle Fred or our relatives complained of our visits, even if some of them gave us their beds and they slept on the floor.
Aunt Rozina had an organ. All her children were musical.
In regards to polygamy, the only thing I ever heard resented somewhat by Ida Fechser or perhaps her family was that one of the wives could have an organ while they (because of so many children) could not.
We always felt, and so did Ida that Grandpa Fechser loved her most, but the children would often laugh and say their father was a diplomat.
He would walk from a church social with a wife on either side of him. He would put one arm around one and another arm around the other, and give each a squeeze and each thought he gave her the squeeze only.
Also when courting Ida in those early days, if a lady came to the mill with her husband - or a young lady with her father - if she had a dark dress - (without her knowing it, he would put his hand lightly at the back of her dress by her shoulders) and then her friends would laugh and say "Ah! You've been kissing the Miller."
She grieved at the death of her first two children, but knew that they were with God - and instead of letting it embitter her life, she kept busy with the work of her household and as other children came, took joy in them - no death except her husband and later daughter, Mary, took place in the family. No other great sorrows. She was proud of her family. They did honor and lover her.
She was ill only one night, a great pain in her stomach - before the doctor could come, she died.
Since - all her life she had had no great physical pain, I've decided that before going to the "other side", the experience of earthly bodily pain was needed, so in those last moments she did experience that.
She was at Aunt Rozina's home. Ida was 84 years old. Ready to meet her Savior, whom she loved and sang about.
I'm sure she was welcomed in Heaven by her Mother, Father, Husband and the Angels in Heaven and how glad I will be to see her again someday.