Sunday, August 12, 2012

Peter Monsen ~ Activities Of His Life As Remembered by His Son, James

Peter Monsen (Mogensen)
He was always ready and willing to answer to calls made upon him from church or state.

The first steam sawmill brought to Mt. Pleasant was by Peter Y. Jensen, and placed in Cedar Creek Canyon. But before it could be placed, a road had to be constructed.  Father was the supervisor.

Father assisted in the leveling of the hill where the Manti Temple now stands, after which a sawmill, called the Temple  Sawmill, was placed in Twin Creek Canyon, where lumber was sawed to be used in the construction of the Temple.  The work was carried on winter and summer.  Men donating their work, with few exceptions, who were paid temple-scrip, with which they could buy such commodities as were donated by the people.

Under my observation, father supervised the work in winter time.

The use of oxen or horses to drag the timber from the mountainside was prevented by the depth of the snow, which was at times seven feet.  The trees were felled and cut into certain lengths.  With hand spikes and such appliances as were necessary, they  slid the logs from the hillside to the bottom of the canyon; from whence they were hauled to the mill upon bobsleds, all home made.  The lumber from the mill was hauled to Manti by team, all donation work in which father participated,

When the Snow Academy was built, he furnished teams, with no pay, to haul brick from Mt. Pleasant to Ephraim.

On or about 1863, he and Mads Madsen were called by the church to go to Circleville as colonizers.  I heard father say they left home with each a yoke of oxen and a wagon, arriving in Circleville about April 1st.  They proceeded at once to build log houses in which to live.  They had with them their second wives, my mother and Mads' first wife being left at home to care as best they could for what little they had.

The timber from which they built their homes was not far away; since there were no shingles or lumber available, they were necessarily satisfied with a dirt roof as well as a dirt floor.

The soil there was very fertile.  They broke up and planted enough ground to raise 1000 bushels of wheat.  there being no threshing machines then, the grain was threshed by tramping their oxen over it.  When the grain from the first layer spread out was thoroughly tramped out of the straw, there still remained chaf and fine material which had to be separated from the grain.  So they cleared the ground and when the wind was favorable, with a small hand scoop they cast the grain out against the wind , thereby separating it from the chaff.  When this was done, they took what they could haul in their wagons, leaving the rest to be distributed among those remaining, returning home to Mt. Pleasant in November of the same year.

Father was among the first to build a home outside the Fort. It was a two-room structure twenty-eight feet long, with large beams along the top placed in half roof shape, to carry the dirt which answered the purpose of shingles.  There was also a dirt floor.  Aside from that, he built three other homes.

He was in the city council two terms and councilor to Bishop Seely several years.  He was ready and on hand to serve in any capacity where unto he was called.

During the United Order, he was captain of the men who worked in what is called the Old and South Field.  However, he was one of the first to withdraw from the Order.  I  well remember how deeply concerned mother was about it.  Some of the neighbors went so far as to say that he was on the way to apostasy.

One day in his hounds in the field where men were engaged in irrigating, he arrived at a piece of his own land where a man was supposed to be irrigating, he found the water all going down a dead furrow of summer fallowed land, and no  man in sight.  After searching around, he found the man sound asleep in the shade of the willows, and when he asked how the water was going, he answered, "I suppose it's running to the west.", which was the slope of the land.  That, associated with many similar conditions, drew disgust from my father, to the extent that he withdrew from the order, but not until it had been given a fair trial.

At the age of sixty-six, he went on a mission in Denmark;being gone about twenty months.

After his return he proceeded to care for his small farm as in the past, and continued to do so until physically unable.  He had a few livestock to care for until he died at the age of ninety three past.

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Genealogy Quote

"In all of us there is a hunger, marrow-deep, to know our heritage - to know who we are and where we have come from."

~Alex Haley

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