Eleanor Augusta Dehlin Erickson, 1862-1940
"I was born in Salt Lake City, "somewhere on State Street" on 6 Aug.1862. My parents were Paul Paulsson Dehlin and Elna Waldemar Dehlin who immigrated to Utah from Malmohus, Sweden sometime during the 1850s. I remember nothing of the house there. The family moved to Mount Pleasant, Utah, and this is my first recollection. Before I was old enough to go to school I used to go to the neighbor's house and sing for them by the hour. I sat in their big armchair in front of a large fireplace. In the evening one of the boys, Willie Rowe, would carry me home --- so you see I was just small. I must have started school before I was six years old, because I don't ever remember not being able to read. My teacher was "Auntie Hyde". The schoolhouse was a small log building with rough slabs for the benches, no backs, and no tables except a long ledge built along one side of the room. When I was about 11 years old, a certain Mr. Rowley, who was blind, came from Provo to teach someone to play the organ for the choir. They chose Tina Morrison, Celia Jensen and myself to learn. He wrote out the manuscript and told me to watch the notes as he played the melody. Of course, I had a good ear for music and I learned the pieces by ear very quickly. Gradually the other two stopped taking the lessons and the full burden was left to me. I wasn't satisfied to play by ear alone, so any time I could get books on the rudiments of music, I would study them. I put this knowledge and what I could learn by myself together and in that way I figured out what I know today. I never really had any formal lessons or training in learning to play the piano. I have put in over 50 years of Church playing during my life: choir, Sunday School, Mutual, and Relief Society. In the choir work I sometimes did both the conducting and the accompanying at the same time. My closest friends when I was young were Hulda Neilsen and Louise Neilsen. They were not related although they were both my cousins --- one on my mother's side of the family, and one on my father's. My mother died when I was only seven years old. Two years after she died my father went on a mission to Sweden. Edith and I stayed with Aunt Olive Neilsen while he was away. He was back from his mission only two years when he took sick and died. I was only 13 at the time. He had married again, but we girls never lived with him and his new wife. We had a house of our own across the lot from them. Sometimes he lived with us before he died. After his death, Hilda taught school and supported us. Little girls should never mind doing dishes today with plenty of soap and water and good dishtowels. Cloth was so scarce in those days. We would rinse the dishcloth real good and wipe the dishes on that, instead of a towel. Aunt Olive raised one of her babies with only three diapers. Mr. MacMillan, a Presbyterian minister, had a school near his church there in Mt. Pleasant. Hilda taught for him sometime, and then, on the advice of the Church Authorities, she took the position in the Mormon Church school. There was such a crowd of children that the school couldn't accommodate them all, so I took the overflow class when I was just 14 years of age. There were thirty or forty odd pupils in the class which I taught. The Church rented a room close to the school for the overflow class. Mr. MacMillan offered to send me to college and give me a musical education provided I would spend five years teaching for the Presbyterian school. I felt I could remain true to my own belief and still work in another church, but my sisters and guardians were strongly opposed to it, so I reluctantly gave up the offer. Mr. MacMillan seemed to understand, however, and was always most kind to me. Knowing how I loved reading, he made an effort to direct my reading. All my life I have held him in high esteem. In 1879, at seventeen years of age, I attended the University of Deseret in Salt Lake City, where I took the regular course. My father's two sisters, Aunt Olive and Aunt Tildy, saw that I received this training. When I returned home, I taught the school that was in the Social Hall where I had between fifty and sixty pupils. At that time, I was eighteen years of age." (The story of Augusta's life thus far was as she personally told it to her granddaughter, Margaret Erickson Young, daughter of Alif Dehlin Erickson (Lief), eldest son of Augusta. when Margaret lived with Grandma and Grandpa Erickson in Raymond to take her 12th grade of schooling in 1933 - 34. The outline was found upon her death in one of her drawers, and compiled by Augusta's eldest daughter, Elna Erickson Bennett, and her daughter, Catherine B. Masters.) The story continues in Elna's words: "Augusta and Alif Erickson ("Ma and Pa") were married 5 Jan.1882. They met in Mt. Pleasant. They drove in a wagon to the Endowment House in Salt Lake City (about 100 miles) for their marriage so they could be married for Time and all Eternity. The Salt Lake Temple was not finished at that time. They lived in Mt. Pleasant. Their first child, a daughter, named Elna Augusta was born 6 Nov. 1883 and their second daughter, Ina Mae came to join them on 19 Dec. 1885. Alif was called to serve on a mission in Norway on April 9, 1889. Elna was five and Ina three when he left. He sold a team of horses and a wagon to help finance himself. While he was gone, "Ma "taught at the Seminary, gave music lessons and played in a dance orchestra to help support us and him. Ina and I stayed alone at night and tended ourselves."Ma" would just tell us where she was going, turn out the light and go ---we were not afraid. "Pa" was gone for two and a half years, and when he returned, the family got to go to meet him at the train at the Thistle station about thirty miles north of Mt. Pleasant. When "Pa" left for his mission, "Ma" wouldn't go to Moroni to see him off. She wanted to say goodbye at home. So Uncle Ed took a two-wheeled cart, horse drawn, and took me along. Just the two of us took "Pa" to Moroni. While he was on his mission, the railroad was put in. The railroad company wished to buy part of our farmland as a right of way for the railroad. "Ma" sold it to them. She had to forge "Pa's" name to do it, and the railroad company appreciated it, so in return for this kindness they gave the family a pass to go to Thistle to meet "Pa". I always had this over Ina. I was the last one to see him go, and the first to recognize him when he returned. He was wearing a black Van Dyke beard and Ina didn't know him. "I can see him! --I can see him, "Ma!"-----"Oh, you can't either. You won't know him." ----But I did! "Pa" was a farmer when he and "Ma" were married. When he returned from Norway, he and Uncle Henry started "The Erickson Meat and Grocery Store" in Mt. Pleasant. It was called a Green Grocery because it was the only store which sold fresh fruits (bananas and oranges) and vegetables. "Pa" was always interested in cattle. He would have to go out and get meat for the store. He would be up at five and work until dark. He was seldom able to attend Church."Ma' became very tired of the Sunday work, and when the Church advertised for settlers for Canada (Southern Alberta), "Pa" went up to see the country. He made the trip with Moroni Seeley and August Nelson. They went on the train and were gone two weeks. He was impressed with the straw stacks. He was asked why he went up there in the wintertime. His answer was, "I am sure I can stand the summers if I can take the winters."