History of Hannah Sophia Peterson Johnson Lythgoe
Hannah S. Lythgoe had three sisters and one brother. Their names are Agnes, Elizabeth, Clara and Otto Peterson. She also had a half sister named Imma I. Englebrason, and other half sisters and half brothers.
After joining the Latter-day Saint Church Hannah's mother left her and her sister Agnes with their grandmother in Norway and came to America bringing with her the three other children. A family in Norway wanted to adopt my mother (Hannah) and Agnes so they lived with them for a while. Then later my great grandmother brought them to America. They came on a sailboat which was the means of ocean travel at that time. Their boat was on the ocean for over three months as the winds kept blowing it back to Norway instead toward America. Mother told me the ship also carried a cow to provide them with fresh milk. She also told me how she used to wander all over the ship and would climb up the mast and look out over the ocean. Everyone was afraid to try to get her down for fear she would drop in the water so they always let her come down by herself. When they finally arrived in America they were met in Chicago by my grandmother. Then they began the long trek across the plains by wagon and on foot. This was in the year 1865.
The greater part of the surface of the country of Norway consists of extensive pine forests and desolate moorland. The mountains rise abruptly from the coast and there are many lakes and waterfalls and fields of ice. During part of the year some of the people made holes in the ice and in that way got some of their water supply. One day when my mother was a small child she and other children were playing on the ice and my mother slipped and fell into one of the holes. The other children quickly ran to her father Neils Peterson and he got his long tongs (which he used in tanning hides) and put them down in the hole in the ice, grasping my mother by the head and pulled her up out of the hole. It was a miracle she wasn't drowned.
After arriving in Salt Lake my mother was again adopted as her mother had remarried and had several more children. At one time mother herded cows in the Mill Creek area and was sitting on a large rock one day resting when she decided to look under the rock and there curled up was a large snake.
When she was a young woman of seventeen or eighteen she married John Johnson and became the mother of four children: Mary, Hyrum, Ephraim and Joseph. The home where she lived then is still occupied and is just off 20th East Street here in Salt Lake City. The Indians used to make frequent visits to the homes to beg something to eat. They used to come to the door and say: "Biscuit, biscuit." One day my mother became quite frightened so she took a long butcher knife and cut a big loaf of bread in three pieces and handed it to each of the three Indians. Then she stood and held the knife in front of her, and the biggest Indian said, "Heap brave woman." She was left a widow when her eldest child Mary was just eight years old so she had to make a living for her family. This she did by taking in washing which she did on a washboard. She also had a cow and a small orchard, from which she dried most of the fruit.
Living near her was a brother of James Lythgoe. His name was John Lythgoe and his wife was (Aunt) Catherine. James Lythgoe was visiting them from his home in Henefer, Utah and Aunt Catherine told him about Hannah (my mother) and what a fine woman she was, working so hard to keep her family. Aunt Catherine invited Hannah over to her home and James played his violin for her. My mother used to say she did not know if she fell in love with him or if it was his beautiful violin music. When they decided to get married they traveled by horse and buggy to Logan, Utah where they were married in the Logan Temple August 16, 1892. When they moved out to my father's farm in Henefer, Utah they also moved by horses and wagon taking all my mother's belongings and her four children. He also had a family waiting to meet their "new mother." He had seven children, the youngest of which was twelve years of age. Mother had been a widow for four years so her oldest was twelve also. Father's children were Joseph, Thomas, James Heelis, Mary Jane, Edward, John and Elizabeth. Two or three of them were already married but it was still a large family to start a newly married life. Mother was nineteen years younger than my father and they had seven more children: Martha, Neil Peterson, Brigham (died at nineteen months), Boletta, Otto, Sophia and Esther (myself).
We were born in a doby house overlooking the valley of Henefer, Utah. Above the house was nothing but sagebrush (and later dry farm). Across the road was the farm and cow pasture. With such a large family to provide for, everyone had to do their share of work. Besides raising hay for the cows and horses we also had a very fine garden. We had crab apple and plum trees; rhubarb and horseradish and all kinds of vegetables and what used to seem like a whole field of potatoes. We also raised grain for the pigs and chickens and what which my father hauled to the Mill in Echo, Utah to be ground into our flour.
Everyone agreed father was very fortunate to find such a wonderful woman as my mother to help with his family and farm and to raise another family to help in his old age. Both were very sincere in their church work, and in the conducting of family prayers.
Mother was never idle for a moment. When she wasn't working in the garden or cooking for twelve or fifteen people she was busy sewing, or knitting our sweaters and hose (the wool for which she spun on her spinning wheel). She also made carpets for our floors on the loom, and feather beds and pillows and quilts. She made beautiful braided rugs as well. Besides this a new baby was born every two or three years, and none were "bottle-babies."
Doctors were few and far between at that time so my Aunt Betty (Father's sister) delivered five of Mother's children. Aunt Betty was a midwife in Henefer for many years. Seeing as there were so few doctors my parents learned all they could about herbs, medicines and cures for various ailments. Each spring we all had to drink sage tea, yarrow, or sulphur and molasses; also ginger tea, Lobelia, sweet nitre and little pink pills for other troubles. Then a canker remedy made out of bayberry and golden seal, and a terrible tasting medicine called "Bitter Alice." Sometimes it seemed it would be easier to stay well than to have to be doctored up, but all our good fresh vegetables and canned fruit really helped too. My father also raised our meat for the winter and cured most of the pork.
Quite often Father had to go into town to play his violin for dances and to give music lessons. He was also Justice of the Peace for two terms and was the first chorister of the Henefer Ward. The roads were very poor and at times even a wagon couldn't get through the mud. In the winter we would use a bobsleigh. The older children had to ride horses to school so my parents decided to move nearer [to] town so we could get to school and our church meetings. They bought a two-story house which was badly in need of repairs but which they fixed up very well, two of my half brothers being carpenters. We had wall-to-wall home made carpeting on some of the floors and four stoves in the downstairs rooms. Our barn and stables was across the road but each day during the summer some one would have to take the cows back to the farm 1 1/2 miles away to the pasture.
At that time we were troubled by chicken hawks, coyotes and porcupines. I remember our dog Spooner having a battle with a badger in the nearby creek. There was a bounty for various skins so my brothers were kept busy hunting coyotes and muskrats and after a time rid our place of them.
Besides always having a fine team of horses we also had a pair of mules to do the heavy pulling on the farm. They were called Kit and Pet. Whenever one of my brothers would get married my parents presented them with a fine team of horses which they had raised. We also had riding horses which were a real necessity. Mother never could stand the animals to miss a meal so even our milch [milk?] cows knew her and whenever she would go by them to feed her chickens they would moo until she gave them some hay. She always loved working with her farm animals.
After we children got a little bigger, Father and a Mr. Wright built us a store in town. He had a sign painted on the front called the "Hannah S. Lythgoe Confectionary," for my mother. It was right next to the Amusement Hall and whwnever there would be a dance or basketball game my parents would stay open until everyone had gone home. Mother used to serve oyster suppers to the ball players when they requested it. We also sold bakery goods, ice cream and some canned goods besides all kinds of candies and soft drinks.
We were always encouraged to sing and play the piano and other instruments. Mother liked to sing and play or chord for her own accompaniment on the piano. Some of her favorite songs were: Gentle Annie; Oh, Father, Please Father come Home with Me Now; many of Stephen C. Foster's songs and LDS Hymns.
As my mother was such a fine cook and enjoyed baking pies and cakes so much no one ever went away hungry who visited our home. Almost every day during good weather we would have one or more "hoboes" stop by for something to eat. Mother also liked to have several of the neighbors in for dinner and to help her finish up a quilt. We all enjoyed these parties very much as there would be so much good food around.
We also had Gypsies camp quite often in the river bottoms near our home. That was not surprising to my parents who had had to learn to get along with the Indians many years before. The Gypsies were in tribes and were a very colorful and entertaining people. They always came to our well for some good cold water to drink and would trade or barter with my parents for our chickens.
My mother's oldest son Hyrum was called on a mission to the Southern States when they traveled and preached the gospel without purse or script (sic). If someone gave mother a little money to help him she would save most of it so that when he came home he could have it. My parents also used up quite a lot of their savings to send my sister on a mission to the Western States. They always believed in paying their tithing and in doing all they could for the church. They thought everyone should keep their names on the books by paying.
Some of the Norwegian customs my mother never forgot. Usually on Christmas Eve we would have "Norwegian Mush." It was made of thickened hot milk and was served with lots of cream, sugar, butter and cinnamon. We always used a Separator and had home made butter. Wm. Jefferies, who later became president of the Union Pacific Railroad, used to come to our house to drink the good rich buttermilk.
Mother was always active in the Relief Society. She did her visiting teaching either by walking quite a long ways or my father would take her with the horse and buggy and wait for her at each home. She enjoyed reading the Bible, Book of Mormon, Testament and Psalms and the Relief Society Magazine. My parents never missed attending their Sacrament Meetings and never forgot what they came to America for. They were both very staunch in their belief and had strong characters.
Hannah S. Lythgoe (my mother) died at her home in Henefer, Utah, January 3rd, 1932 of pneumonia. All ten [sic-11] of her children survived her, 21 grandchildren and 8 great grandchildren. She was seventy years old. Even though she had a hard time while growing up she enjoyed life and was missed by all who knew her.