Relic Home and Blacksmith Shop

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Ephraim Madsen History and Artwork. Taken from the Johanna Madsen Hafen Collection


Their First Home  ~  Ephraim Madsen, Artist

My father's name was Peter Madsen of Mt. Pleasant, Sanpete County, Utah.  In 1879 there were a dozen families each took a homestead, and 160 acres on a swampland called the town's herd ground.  It was then owned by the Territory of Mexico.  In a loghouse there, I Ephraim A. Madsen was born in 1881.  In Grover Cleveland's panic, we signed a note of $200 to buy machinery. The note holder caused a cattle sale; 20 cows were sold for $8.00 a head.  There were eight children and we were now on our own, to starve or leave home for work.

In 1903, I attended Fairbank's School of Landscape Painting.  That Spring I bade my class goodbye.  A week later I was in our sheep camp on the west desert.  On the inside cover of the wagon I painted eight pictures. A neighbor sheepman, John H. Stansfield copied my paintings; he became a famous artist.  I was called the "Desert Artist".  Years later he painted our sheep camp dogs.  He said:  "I give you this painting because you gave me one-half of your colored pencils 20 years ago on the desert, near the Nevada State line."

I have written poems of my life.  Now, in 1963,I have made paintings from each poemand the home where I was born; also, sheep camps and herds on the desert and Manti Forest, etc.

In 1907 I married Thurza Whitlick.  We took up a homestead in 1909. It was named Grand View Sheep and Wheat Farm at Hill Top.  There we built a cabin.  It was our first home.  There I lambed the sheep.  Thurza was the camp tender.  We fed thousands of fat lambs from the Manti Forest.  We had to live there three years to raise grain, from the bushel of wheat called Can Red.  It was bred in Kansas and it soon covered our farm,  much of our county and the State of Utah.  It won for us 50 blue ribbons at the State Fair and the Ogden seed show, and ninth prize at the Chicago Seed Show.  It made your bread better, and could add up to a million bushels now.

I have collected woodwork no carpenter can excel; a collection of rocks that tell the history of the western states.  On our summer range I have carved animals on trees.  From the trees I have cut off the bark:  an elephant in 1900, a fox in 1933, a grizzly bear in 1945, my own picture in 1914.  I have written a book of my sheep and farm life, a book of our travels from ocean to ocean, and a book of thrills and spills.  We have chairs that came from Denmark.  I have many other hobbies.

My biggest value is my family.  My wife has everything to live with me 56 years.  Our children have never caused us sorrow.  We lost Allan in World War II.  Karma lives at Tacoma, Eve at Boise, Lloyd at Ogden and LaVon lives here. We pray for health to enjoy everything God has blessed us with from now until then.



Homecoming at Mt. Pleasant  ~ April 9, 1952
The Madsen family gave the program.  I, Ephraim A. Madsen was the only one alive at the meeting of five Madsen families that settled Mt. Pleasant in 1859.  
A meeting was held  to organize a Madsen Family Reunion.  Mina and I had 50 books like this one to give Mother Madsen's families.  I hope this book will be of value to your community.



More to come.......

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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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