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THE MILLER AND THE MISSUS
Peter Nielson &
Edna Snow Nielson
By Patricia G. Bracken & Edna N. Gubler
See page for
Hard Cover 8.5 x 11 522 pages.
LIFE OF PETER NIELSON
By Mae Nielson
Peter [Nielson] was born on June 7, 1881 in Copenhagen, Denmark, a son of
Axel Nielson and Anna Sophia Larsen. Peter was christened in the Lutheran
Church. Peter’s father and mother were converted to the L.D.S. church. When
Peter was 5 years old, he came to the United States of America with his mother.
His father had come to the United States of America before his family came. On
arriving in New York, Peter and his mother boarded the train for Nephi, Utah.
Nephi was then known as Juab. The next mode of transportation for them was in a
wagon from Nephi to Elsinore, Utah, which was to be their home. Peter was
baptized into the L.D.S. church in one of the Elsinore Wards. Peter received his
higher education at the Brigham Young Academy in Provo.
Axel Nielson, Peter, Ana Sophie Larsen Nielson. Insert
photo is an older Peter.
Click photo for full image.
In 1900, Peter moved to Loa, Utah, with his mother and father
and younger brother. In 1903, Peter Nielson was to serve a mission in the
Northern States Mission. On the 6th of June, 1906, Peter Nielson married Edna
Snow in the Salt Lake Temple. In 1910, Peter and his family moved to Richfield,
Utah. Peter was a miller by trade which he followed most of his life. Peter
Nielson served two terms as City Councilman in Richfield, Utah. While living in
Richfield, Utah, he was ordained Bishop’s counselor to N.C. Poulsen. He was
ordained First Counselor to F.M. Ogden.
In 1928, Peter Nielson and his family moved to Springville,
Utah, where they are living at the present time. Peter was ordained Bishop in
the Springville Third Ward in 1929. He was ordained Patriarch of the Kolob Stake
in 1942, and Patriarch of the Springville Stake in 1956. On June 6, 1956, Peter
Nielson and his wife Edna, celebrated their Golden Wedding or fifty years of
married life. The couple have 8 children, 16 [living] grandchildren, [and] 1
AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF PETER NIELSON
I was born June 7, 1881, in Copenhagen, Denmark, to Axel and Anna Sophia
Larson Nielson. I am told I was rather a sickly child and delicate, and I always
stayed close to Mother. I would always go with her when she went to sew for
people. I don’t remember too much of my life in Denmark as I was only 4 years
old when we left there for Utah.
In 1882, two Mormon missionaries came to my father, and he
became interested in the gospel and was soon baptized. My mother’s baptism
followed soon after, and plans were made to travel to Zion. Father was an orphan
and had no family; however, he was apprenticed out to a flour miller to learn
that trade, so it was easy for him to leave Denmark since he had no roots.
Mother’s family turned against her when she joined the church, so we were on
our own after Father left in 1883, and until we joined him in 1885. He went on
ahead as there was just enough money for one passage, and he would establish a
home and earn enough money to send for us.
We left Copenhagen the spring of 1885, and sailed to England
where we had to change ships. The ship from Denmark to England was all right,
but the ship we were put on to sail to America was Greek-owned and filthy. We
had to travel in steerage and, in no time, sickness was rampant both from the
rough passage and disease. When at last the boat docked in America, some Custom
Officials, observing the pale and languid child, hurriedly took me from Mother
explaining that a doctor should see me. Mother, not understanding English, was
terrified, but they soon brought me back and made Mother realize that I would
soon be all right.
We traveled by train to Utah, and when we arrived in Nephi,
where Father was to meet us, he was not there–we learned later he had never
received any word from us. We sat all night on the platform of the station
waiting for him or some message, and again handicapped because we couldn’t
speak or understand English. The next day the station master, seeing us still
there, took us into his home until some contact could be made with Father and
arrangements could be made for us to travel south. At last we were ready to
leave for Elsinore, and the day we left was dusty and hot, and we rode in an
open wagon under a burning sun. It was very hard on Mother, and I can imagine
how she must have missed the cool green land of Denmark with its ocean breezes.
Father met us in Richfield and took us on to our new home in Elsinore, where he had established a home for us and was part owner of a busy
flour mill. Elsinore was a small farming and dairy community comprised mainly of
Scandinavians, and this quiet little tree-shaded town with nearby streams for
fishing was a happy playground for a young boy growing up.
I started school in Elsinore, and my two closest friends were
Otto and August Kottor. When I was eight years old, Father leased a mill in Loa
for a year–I attended school there also. I was baptized on August 1, 1889, by
Elder Ole Okerlund in Loa, Utah.
We moved back to Elsinore for ten more years, and after
completing what education was offered there, I attended BrighamYoung University
in Provo for one year.
My only brother, Victor, was born in Elsinore on July 12,
In 1900, we moved back to Loa where Father purchased a flour
On May 19, 1903, I was called to serve a mission from the Loa
Ward to the Northern States Mission. My first Mission President was Brother A.H.
Woodruff. Brother German E. Ellsworth was the second [Mission President] and
presided over the Northern States Mission for the remainder of my mission. I
accompanied President Ellsworth to St. Paul, Minneapolis, Milwaukee and Chicago
and worked closely with him. One of my missionary companions was Hjalmar Ostlund,
a close friend from Elsinore; and another was J. Francis Lloyd. My two years in
the mission field were very rewarding, and before leaving for home at the end of
my mission, I traveled to Washington, D.C. and New York City; I also went down
the Mississippi River to St. Louis.
I returned to Loa the fall of 1905, and on February 11, 1906,
I was ordained a Seventy by Brother Fredrick C. Pectol in Loa.
During the course of the winter, I met Miss Edna Snow from
Thurber who was clerking in Billings Store. We became engaged, and on June 6,
1906, we were married in the Salt Lake Temple by President John R. Winder. We
returned to Loa, and I took over the operation of Father’s mill as he had
moved to Richfield to operate a flour mill there. Our first child, Mae, was born
in Loa on August 11, 1907, and on September 30, 1908, our first son, Reed Snow,
In October of 1910, I sold our mill and property in Loa to
Marion Grundy, and we moved to Richfield to go into the mill there with Father.
Two weeks after our arrival in Richfield, our third child, a girl whom we named Loya, was born. We built a two-story yellow brick home on a large corner lot,
and my hobby was planting interesting and unusual trees and beautifying the
ground. I planted catalpas, silver maple, flowering almonds and snowball trees.
We also had apple, cherry and plum trees and all varieties of flowers. The large
and spacious yard was a paradise for our children and the children in the
We had a large corral behind the house, and I always kept
cows, pigs, and chickens. I was interested in raising rare chickens, guinea
As my family grew so did my church and civic activities. We
were blessed with Anna Bernice, born June 22, 1914; Geraldine on June 2, 1916;
J. Lloyd on May 22, 1918; Florence Elaine on June 8, 1920; and Edna Claire on
January 26, 1922.
In the fall of 1919, I was made a First Counselor in the
Richfield First Ward Bishopric; Niels C. Poulsen was the Bishop and Frank Ogden [was]Second Counselor. I served in this capacity for seven years, at which time
we moved to Springville, Utah.
I served two terms as City Councilman [in Richfield] under
two mayors. In 1920-22, I served under Mayor Niels C. Poulsen; from 1922-24, I
served under Mayor R. Garn Clark. I was active in all community activities
including the building of a large modern swimming pool for the town of
In June 1928, we moved to Springville, Utah, to operate a
flour mill there, and on August 27, 1930, I was ordained Bishop of the
Springville Third Ward and served in this capacity for four years.
On April 13, 1947, I was ordained a Patriarch by Apostle
Joseph F. Merrill in the Kolob State of Zion. The First Presidency of the Church
at that time consisted of George Albert Smith, President, and J. Reuben Clark,
Jr. and David O. McKay, Counselors. I taught the Adult Gospel Doctrine class
both in the Richfield First Ward and the Springville Third Ward–the combined
years of teaching would be ten or more years.
We have always been blessed with wonderful friends, and I
have often said I wouldn’t live anywhere in the world but Springville.
On June 6, 1956, we celebrated our Golden Wedding with a
reception for our many relatives and friends held in the Third and Ninth Ward
church auditorium. Our children were all in attendance with their families, and
over 400 people called during the evening. It was indeed a memorable occasion.
[My father always enjoyed the friendship and companionship of
the members of the church and those active in the community. He always tried to
help the sick and the needy, and while he operated the flour mill, no one was
ever turned away because they were unable to pay for flour or feed. Elaine
1 (Patricia G. Bracken) checked these dates. The membership records for Alex
and Ane’s district in Denmark show that Axel immigrated June 1884, and Ane
immigrated August 1884. In other words, at least according to the church
records, they came in the same year. I checked the record of the Copenhagen
Conference for the ship carrying Scandinavian Saints in June 1884, which ship
was called the Arizona and sailed June 6th, 1884. Axel is listed on p.
97. It shows he paid 95.00 in tithing and 200.00 in cash. His destination was
"Juab." Next, I found Ane Sophie Nielsen, 27 years old, with a child,
Peter, 3 years old, in the Copenhagen Conference list for the ship Wyoming,
on p. 97. The date the ship was to sail was August 25th, 1884. Ane Sophie and
Peter’s destination was also Juab. It shows a draft was received for 348.75,
with a refund of 12.75, for a total of 286.00 for Ane Sophie and 50.00 for
Peter. According to the foregoing, they left in the same year.