Relic Home and Blacksmith Shop

Friday, January 31, 2014

Carrie Nielsen Hafen

Our granddaughter, Ady, recently asked us to help her with a historical report about her twice great grandmother, Carrie Hafen.  Of course, we were delighted to help.  The following was written by Peter about his grandmother.  Quite a remarkable lady she was.  The photos are in our family collection.  We share it all with you now.


Carrie Nielsen Hafen

was born  August 13, 1889 in Mt. Pleasant, Sanpete County, Utah.  Her parents were Niels Peter Nielsen Jr. and Marie Christiansen Jensen.

Her father was a blacksmith and wheelright.  She grew up in pioneer times with many hardships. She helped her family with the duties of early pioneer life.  Times were very different then.  Homes were small with none of the conveniences of today.  They had no running water, electric lights or indoor bathrooms.  Each home would have a coal or wood cooking stove and a coal or wood heating stove or fireplace.

She, along with her sister, Bertha, had a normal childhood of that era.  They would work and play together as a family.  She was a beautiful young lady and at the age of 19, she married Wilford Hafen.


She and Wilford had three boys, Boyd, Neil and Bert.   Carrie was a very nurturing and caring  mother.  When the boys were very young, they were playing in the kitchen while Carrie was preparing to do  her laundry.  While the boys were playing, they bumped into the stove which had a large kettle of boiling water on it.  This caused the kettle to fall and send boiling water onto Neil.  This resulted in causing extensive burns all over his back and neck.  He was in a coma for over 30 days.   The local doctor would come to check on things every day. Neil was nursed back to good health by his mother after many months of care.  This all had to be done at home as there were no hospitals in the area at that time. 

This was the beginning of Carrie becoming a nurse.  She became an efficient midwife and also helped the local doctors who visited those in need at their homes.

In her early family life she became a widow.  Her husband was killed by being thrown from his horse while separating cattle.  The horse fell on a snow and ice covered area, killing Wilford.  This left Carrie alone to raise her three boys, ages 7, 11, and 13. 

She went to work for the local doctor while she studied nursing and gained her license.  She was one of the first practical nurses in the State of Utah.

She worked for four or more doctors at different times; Dr. Winters, Dr. Sundwall, Dr. Holman and Dr. Madsen.  She also took care of her aging mother in her later years of life. Many children were brought into the world by her as a midwife and many were nursed to health and wellness by her.

In her later years, Carrie loved having her children and their families in her home often for the evening meal.  Her favorite meal would be homemade soup…all you could eat.  She would make either cabbage or dumpling soup, served with homemade bread.

She loved Christmas Eve.  She would invite her extended family and all the grandkids on Christmas Eve to enjoy supper and open their presents from her.  A player piano would be listened to on this and other occasions.


She had many hobbies including being very proficient with firearms.  She enjoyed hunting rabbits and small game.  She liked going on rides in her car.  She purchased a new Ford Coup in 1925.  Many of the extended family of today would love to have that car. 


Carrie was also good at farming, as she and her boys had to take care of the farm and livestock after the loss of her husband.  She could ride a horse and work a team of horses in order to do the farm work.  She also did beautiful crochet work. She was no stranger to Hard Work!

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"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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