Johanne Marie Frandsen

by Kristine Halls Smith
     (with excerpts from the writings of Florence Halls Gerdel (FHG), daughter;   Herbert Halls(HH), son; Lydia Hammond Fielding (LHF), neighbor;   Nina Mae Carroll Halls (NMH), daughter-in-law;   and with information from the History of the Scandinavian Mission.)

published March 1974 in
Through the Halls of History

© 1974 William Halls Family Organization


Johanne Frandsen Halls & 1st Child 1873

Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.  The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.  She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.  She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands…. She bringeth her food from afar.  She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household…. She considereth a field, and buyeth it; with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard… She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.  She perceiveth that her merchandise is good; her candle goeth not out by night.  She layeth her hands to the spindle… She stretcheth out her hand to the needy… Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land…. Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.  She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.  She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.  Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praised her.  Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excelleth them all.  Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain; but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.  Give her the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates. (Proverbs 31:10-31)

“My mother was the most resourceful and remarkable woman I have ever known.  Perhaps the writer of Proverbs 31:10-31 referred to her, as she was the perfect example of a wife and mother.  She was inured to the rigors of pioneering before she reached the age of sixteen to become the mother of twelve children who were born in the most adverse circumstances…. I have thought of Mother and wondered how she could have the courage to attempt such a journey.” (FHG)

On August 21, 1855, a daughter was born to Jens Frandsen, a blacksmith, and his wife, Kjersten Marie Jensen, in a village called Femmöller in Agri Parish, Randers County, Denmark.  They called her Johanne Marie.  She had two sisters, Mette, born December 7, 1845, and Karen Marie, born April 19, 1850, and two brothers, Frants Peter, born March 13, 1854, and Jens Christian, born November 25, 1858.  Her parents had had three other children, including twins, who died in infancy.  Karen Marie died at the age of ten on August 6, 1860.

As an infant, Johanne was baptized into the Lutheran Church, but in 1862 her parents were converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  On April 27, 1866, at the age of ten, Johanne was baptized into the Church at Aarhus Branch in Denmark.  She was confirmed on April 29.

Three weeks later, in May 1866, her family left their home to begin their emigration to Zion.  They went to Copenhagen, then to Hamburg, Germany, where on May 25, 1855 the ship Kenilworth lifted anchor in the River Elbe and commenced its long voyage across the North Sea and Atlantic Ocean, with Jens and Kjersten Frandsen, and their children Johanne Marie, Frants Peter, and Jens Christian among the 684 souls on board.  Their oldest child, Mette, had married Søren Sørensen on October 13, 1856 and apparently remained in Denmark.  The trip was made with favorable winds for about three weeks, but there were continuous headwinds and fog for the next five weeks, which made the voyage both long and dreary.  The ship’s crew treated the passengers in a kind and generous way, allowing them all the privileges that could reasonably be expected.  The provisions were satisfactory and the sick received good attention, though eleven or twelve persons died during the voyage.  The ship anchored off Staten Island on the evening of July 16, and the following day, an exceedingly hot day, the immigrants disembarked at Castle Garden, New York.  The Mormon immigrants next traveled on a large freight steamer to New Haven, Connecticut, then by train through New England, into Canada, through Michigan, Illinois, and Missouri.  They arrived in St. Joseph, Missouri on July 27.  From here they took a steamboat up the Missouri River and two days later reached Wyoming, Nebraska where teams and wagons sent by the Church were waiting for their arrival.  Jens Frandsen’s family joined the ox train of Captain Joseph S. Rawlings which left Wyoming on August 2, 1866 and arrived in Salt Lake City on October 1st.  It is said that Johanne walked this long distance from Nebraska to Utah.      Johanne’s family probably stayed in Salt Lake City until about 1870; then they settled in Huntsville where her father worked as a blacksmith.

On June 26, 1871, two months before her sixteenth birthday, Johanne Marie Frandsen was married to William Halls in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City, becoming his second wife.  William had married Louisa C. Enderby ten years earlier and already had five children.  One more child was born to Louisa after William’s marriage to Johanne.  In 1880, William married Eleanor Howard, who gave birth to one daughter before dying in childbirth in 1884; that son was stillborn.

William provided a home for Hannah (as she was commonly called) in Huntsville and here she lived for almost fourteen years.  During this time she gave birth to eight children, Johanna Susanna, Mary, David, twins Lucy and Emma, Sarah, James Lewis, and Eliza Moiselle.  While Hannah was anticipating the birth of Eliza, she was making preparations to take her family to settle in southern Utah.  By this time the federal officers were making strong efforts to arrest men who were living in polygamy, and so on March 7, 1885 Hannah put all her possessions and her seven children into a wagon and, carrying three-week-old Eliza, left Huntsville with her husband to help settle the rugged country of the San Juan mission.  William’s first wife, Louisa, remained in Huntsville with four of her children and Eleanor Howard’s child, but William took Louisa’s sons William and Thomas with him to settle in southern Utah.  Accompanying them on their pioneering journey were Francis A. Hammond and his family, Samuel S. Hammond and his family, and William’s brother, George Halls, and his wife, Moiselle.  They drove wagons and a herd of loose stock, arriving in Bluff in May, 1885.

A month after reaching Bluff, Francis A. Hammond was made president of the San Juan Stake and he chose William Halls as his first counselor. William and Hannah stayed in Bluff just one year and the following spring moved westward into Colorado to the little town of Mancos.  William and his brother George took up adjoining homesteads two miles south of Mancos.  Here a group of Latter-day Saints were starting a little settlement which they called Webber, from the name of the first settler there.  “There they settled, thinking they had found the promised land.  Father insisted that the Lord led them to this choice land.  Father secured a farm and it served for many years as a home and a source of employment and livelihood for our family.  From then on Mother loved this land.  The hills and forests continued to fascinate her and she encouraged my father to secure good cattle and draft horses.  She induced him to buy a Guernsey bull, insisting that they dairy cattle of her native Denmark were unexcelled anywhere in the world; and later induced Father to buy a Shire stallion; telling him that the English Shire walked fast and plowed a deep furrow and a deep furrow was a must for successful farming.” (HH)

Four more children came to Hannah and William after they made their home in Mancos.  Franklin, Eleanor, Herbert, and Florence “were born in the log house.  Grandmother Frandsen lived with us and I still wonder how fifteen people could live in such a small space.” (FHG) Hannah’s brother Peter also lived with them for a while.  Another brother worked in the mines in Ouray, Colorado and visited occasionally.

Most of William’s life was devoted to his work in the Church, so much of the responsibility of rearing the family fell on Hannah.  “Then Mother showed her true worth.  She assumed management of our financial affairs, ran the dairy, and supported our large family.” (HH) With the help of her children, Hannah “milked cows and made butter and cheese.  She also raised chickens and ducks.  The feathers were used for pillows and bed ticks. They usually kept a few sheep and the wool was carded and spun and knitted into stockings for all the large family.” (LHF) “Her hands were never idle and a familiar sight was to see her knitting; she made all our stockings and could turn out a completed sock in a day.” (FHG)

Mother set out at once to plant trees and as a result we soon had a fine orchard which has never failed to provide a bounteous crop of fruit, always more than we could use.” (HH) “We had a four-acre orchard with many kinds of fruits and berries and space for a vegetable garden.  There was enough fruit for the family, some to sell and much to give to others.  Our jellies were put in gallon crocks and the fruit canned in large jars which were stored in the cellar with the fall apples, potatoes, cabbage, rutabagas, onions, Hubbard squash, white and graham flour, oatmeal, and gallons of honey which came from the numerous beehives she tended.  In front of the house was a small plot with rhubarb, horseradish, and all kinds of herbs which were used in generous amount for any who had a cold, fever, and any other diagnosed illness.” (FHG)

“Mother always insisted that we take care of all we raised contending that the Lord expected us to take care of what He had given us.  I remember an incident that occurred quite early in my life.  One year we were picking apples, Mother supervising the work and proper storage of the crop.  When I thought we had picked and stored all the fruit we could possibly use, of course I wanted to quit and said to Mother ‘We have plenty of fruit.  It is no use to save more.  Why go on?  We will have to dispose of the surplus in the spring which will only make more work for us.’  To this Mother replied ‘We will have apples to give to the poor, to people whose children have no fruit.’ ‘But,’ I insisted, ‘these are Ben Davis apples, not very choice.’ ‘Choice or not,’ Mother rejoined, ‘a good solid well-kept Ben Davis just beats an empty belly all to pieces.’  This has always been our policy: ‘Take care of everything.  There will be someone who needs the surplus and no one should ever be in want in such a blessed land.’  We have never been short of anything necessary in our lives.” (HH)

For a number of years Hannah took some of the children with her and went up into the east Mancos hills in the summertime to tend the cows.  “I remember the many seasons she took Frank, Bert and me up into the hills.  Bert and I were younger, but Frank was a real help and comfort to her.”  (FHG) She made cheese with the milk, much of which she sold to buy winter clothing for the children.  They stayed in the hills all summer with only an occasional trip into town to take milk and cream and cheese and get fresh supplies.  Many times she took bouquets of columbine back to her friends in town.

“Mother was a strict disciplinarian and never let us forget that we were required to do our part.  She taught the girls to cook and sew and do all the duties of women in the home as well as overseeing the work on the farm and doing most of the milking of the cows.  She never believed in small talk and her idea of keeping us out of mischief was to keep us busy, and we instinctively knew when she asked us to do anything she meant business, so it seldom occurred to us to disobey her.” (FHG)  “She was an excellent cook and made especially good bread and many Danish dishes. . . . Mealtimes were happy times in the family with a little clowning of the boys and much laughter.  I remember one time Mother said that ‘if you had one boy, you had a boy; if you had two boys, you had half a boy; and if you had three boys, you had nothing.’  This was while Pete was living with us and Lewis, Frank, and Pete used to clown around a lot.  Mother seldom sat at the table to eat with us but would enjoy peace and quiet without interruption afterwards with a cup of tea which she drank from a large white galvanized cup she kept on the stove.  This is probably the only sin that could be marked against her.”  (FHG)

In spite of her busy home life, Hannah still had time for her neighbors and her church duties.  “Mother loved the Church and considered Father’s work important; she did all humanly possible to help him fulfill his calling to the San Juan Stake.  She was President of the Relief Society for many years and always had time for anyone in need and helped them in a tangible way.  One time she took care of an infant whose mother had died until adequate care could be obtained.  She was always on call for anyone who was sick.”  (FHG) She also served as Primary President.  “A good share of the time the meetings were held in her little log home, for it was a mile and a half to the old log meeting house where the Ward meetings were held.  She was a Relief Society visiting teacher for many years, hitching up her team to go to outlying members.  They had time for all-day quiltings and time to visit with the neighbors.  Hannah was ever ready to go in time of need, to help at the birth of a new baby, or to help lay away the dead.  She helped out in any case of sickness where needed and did much to relieve the poor.”  (LHF) “She enjoyed the entertainments of the Ward such as the plays in which members of the family frequently had a role.  She also enjoyed sitting with the other parents to watch the young people dance.  She loved music and made it possible to have musical instruments in our home.” (FHG)

“There were many ways in which she tried to make us happy.  I remember sitting on her lap when I was far too old to engage in such an activity, and hearing the older ones joke with her about her baby.  When we moved into our first new home the folks gave us a ‘housewarming’ and Mother put Bert and me to bed, but awakened us after the party was over to sit by the large stove in the dining room and drink a cup of hot chocolate and eat some cookies.” (FHG)

Bert played on a championship high school basketball team.  “When David complained to his mother that Bert was spending too much time playing basketball, she set out and did her work and Bert’s too, walking at least a mile down to the Mormon Lake area to get the cows.  When Bert was ready to pack his bag to go on an out-of town basketball trip, his mother would take her knitting, go into his room, sit on the trunk, and with needles flying, laugh and talk with Bert.” (NMH)

Sorrow came to Hannah when her beautiful little golden-haired daughter, Eleanor, died at the age of ten in 1899.  “Eleanor was such a thoughtful helpful child and a great joy to her mother.  Hannah’s mother had died earlier that year and she had become quite a care at the last.  It had been Eleanor’s responsibility to watch out for her grandmother and to keep her from straying away.” (LHF)

“Life for Hannah became somewhat easier when her children neared adulthood and she had a large and comfortable new house built.  The fruit trees she had planted were bearing fruit and the boys helped with her large gardens.  After the new home was built just west of the old log house, she sent away for some locust trees which she planted herself in a long row to the west of the house and garden to act as a protection from the wind and storm and to take the place of the old rundown fence.  The trees grew and thrived, and made a neat appearance.” (LHF)  When her oldest son David’s family became too large for the old log house where they were living, it was decided to build a smaller house for Hannah up on the hill just north of her present home.  It was a beautiful home and Hannah took great pride in it.  She planted flowers and fixed up her yard with loving care.  David and his family then moved into the big house.

Hannah raised a family of good-looking, intelligent, and talented children.  Three of her sons, David, J. Lewis, and Herbert went on missions.  David served as bishop and stake president, J. Lewis served as bishop, and Herbert served in many church offices.  Three of her daughters taught school.  Anna and Mary were the first to teach in the Webber community school.  Eliza also taught and was a talented pianist.  Florence became a registered nurse.

Hannah enjoyed the pleasure of her new home for only a few short years, for her worn-out body gave out and she passed from this life on December 15, 1913 when she was but fifty-eight years old.  The doctor diagnosed her illness as diabetes, but “as she was not one to be an invalid, she was in bed only three days before her painful death.” (FHG) Her life, though short, was very full and she accomplished more in her few short years than many do in a much longer time.  She left many friends, children as well as adults.  The good she did still lives after her.  Her husband lived seven years after her death.  They are both buried in the Webber cemetery at Mancos, Colorado.

JOHANNE’S CHILDREN: Johanna Susanna, born January 29, 1873; Mary, born August 29, 1875; David, born October 12, 1877; Lucy and Emma, twins,  born November 4, 1879; Sarah, born November 21, 1881; James Lewis, born June 23, 1883; Eliza Moiselle, born February 15, 1885; Franklin, born July 12, 1887; Eleanor, born August 21, 1889; Herbert, born October 5, 1891; and Florence, born March 12, 1894.

Two of Hannah’s Family Recipes (NMH)

Smegree-Danish Supper

Scald one quart milk.  Melt 1/8 lb. butter; add one cup milk.  Stir in one cup of flour and beat until smooth.  Add a small amount of scalded milk and cook until thick, stirring constantly.  Add one teaspoon salt.  Pour out on plates; sprinkle generously with sugar and cinnamon, and dot with butter.

Danish Fruit Soup

Combine two cups mixed dried fruits (currants, raisins, prunes, pears, apricots, peaches, and apples), three cups water (one-half may be grape juice), one-half lemon, sliced, one very small stick cinnamon, a few whole cloves, one-fourth teaspoon salt, and one-half to two-thirds cup sugar.  Cook covered until fruits are tender, about 40 minutes to one hour.  Serve hot or cold.

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