Left to right, Joseph Bevan, his mother Emma, her daughters Alice, Dora, and Sadie.
ALICE BEVAN ANDERSON MOVES TO CANADA
Joseph Shields Bevan (15 Feb 1862-19 Nov 1925) and Emma Jane Elkington Bevan (7 Jun 1861-17 Oct 1941) had 4 children. Emma Alice Bevan, eldest child of Joseph Shields Bevan and Emma Elkington, was born December 31, 1885, at Tooele City, Tooele County, Utah. She was followed by Joseph Elkington Bevan (1 Feb 1889), Sarah "Sadie" Bevan (2 Jun 1894), and Dora Leona Bevan (6 Apr 1899). If you're a grandchild of Harold E. (Lyde) Christensen, Alice was the older sister of our grandmother Sadie.
When I was fifteen years old, in the year 1899, my father was asked to immigrate to [Alberta], Canada, from Utah by Charles McCartn [sic]. He was the son of a Utah pioneer and still loved adventure but, being a family man, had to plan on moving the family too. He was told to take everything he owned.
We owned a nice, five-room cottage in Utah, and at that time things were not modern. Real estate was hard to sell, and Dad wanted to get moving, so he mortgaged the home for a thousand dollars to charter a boxcar for our belongings and tickets for Mother, myself, and three children (a brother and two sisters). I was a sickly, delicate looking girl with pretty hair, eyes, teeth, and I could sing. I made friends and liked everybody, so I really felt badly about leaving my school and friends.
We left Utah in late August; Dad left a week ahead of us so that he could meet us when we arrived at Stirling, Alberta, Canada. Mother sent plenty of food in the boxcar for Dad, such as roast chicken, a large batch of homemade bread, fruitcake, and cookies in a large lard can. Dad would have plenty of milk as he took the cow and must milk her twice a day; he also had a team of horses, a wagon, harnesses, and plow, all our household furniture, fruit, etc., because we were told there was no fruit where we were going. When Dad got tired of eating bread and milk, he decided to eat some of the chicken and, to his surprise, discovered a tramp had been coming into the boxcar from the top. All that was left were the bones; his cakes were gone too, so he was forced to eat bread and milk.
My friends were at the depot to bid me good-bye, and I knew it was for keeps, so I shed many tears between Salt Lake and Butte, Montana. A salesman on the train told me I was spoiling my pretty eyes, so I decided to cheer up a bit. In those days there wasn't any powder, rouge, and lipstick to touch up with; we just washed our faces. It was considered only fast women who painted up.
When we got to Great Falls, Montana, and stopped for water, lo and behold, in walks Dad. He had been sidetracked for three days. Mother was really upset, but Dad said we would be there about sunset, and he would arrive during the night too. We went to the town and found lodgings. Mother was no pioneer and was miserable about leaving her mother and family, so she was really worried. Everyone teased my brother about paying duty on his bag of marbles when we got to the Canadian line, so he threw them out the train window. The sun was just setting when we got there, and the town was over a mile from the train; so we had to lug our suitcases and carry the baby who was five months old. The country was as level as a table, with no mountains in sight as far as we could see. There was no water, only well water and a crooked coulee running west of the town with very little water in it at any time. We called on the head man of a little log store that was also used as a post office; he sent us to the hotel. It was a home, two rooms in front, two upstairs, and a lean-to at the back. The people treated us nice, but I was scared and lonely.
Next morning we could see Dad's lonely car at the station, and down we went. We found that another family had arrived and pitched a tent and was living there, so Dad pitched our tent. He was advised to bring and unload everything right along the track so the next freight could pick up our empty boxcar. We real¬ly intended to go on to Cardston, but the postmaster, Mr. Brandley, coaxed Dad to stay there; so he and our tent friends each bought ten acres of land, and we pitched our tents on that and started to build.
The government loaned us a large tent for storing our stuff, also plenty of room in it for the feed for the team and cow. We had been warned to expect a September snowstorm, and did it storm and blow! Mother tried to hold the pipe on the stove with gunny sacks and made us kids stay in bed, but oh, the smoke.
Mother and Dad built our house without any help. She would hold the boards in place while he sawed and hammered. We were happy to get in it as fall was on us and plenty cold.
I soon found many friends in that new country and had a good time at dances, parties, and Sunday night gatherings.
A short time later Dad helped to start a new town twelve miles to the west, so we moved over there. Our home (house), consisting of a one-room lean-to, was the third built in this new town of Raymond.
Dad was a boss on the water piping and insisted we take boarders as there were so many young men coming in there, so we slept in one end of the room and served meals in the other part.
There were only three girls in the town, and they were old maids, so I was really popular and had lots of good times, even helping Mother. All the water we used had to be hauled in barrels. Every day two or three more homes were started; they grew just like mushrooms, and as soon as a floor was laid we would have a dance. We even dressed some of the smaller boys as girls so we could dance a quadrille. The music consisted of a mandolin, guitar, mouth organ, and sometimes a violin. Dad was in charge of amusements, and he certainly used me to sing in intermissions. I was always introduced to the strange boys and had to find partners for them. The boys were nearly all from Utah, having been sent to Alberta to help build a sugar factory.
I remember how cold our bedrooms were after we built onto the house—ten below zero. Dad's mustache would have frost on it as well as frost on the bedding where our breath had frozen, yet it was a healthy, dry climate, so dry we found ourselves often praying for rain. Sometimes it came, and sometimes our crops were burned up.
It would be impossible to fib about the climate, for it was so changeable. At times the weather was perfect, with wonderful sunsets and beautiful northern lights, but at times there were flying ants, flies, mosquitoes, wind, and dirt, not to mention the cold when the bread froze solid and had to be thawed out in the oven, breaking off the outside as it thawed and leaving solid ice in the center. Often while I was scrubbing the floor, the water would become a sheet of ice before I could get it wiped up.
Most of our recreation was church activities. I was secretary of the Sunday School, then after that meeting, I rehearsed with the choir for afternoon meeting, followed by all the young folks going someplace to play games and sing folk songs. Sometimes we would go to other towns to dances, riding in a wagon across the prairie, having to open and close a gate every few miles. The boys would strike a match to see if we were on the right road. If the water was high in the river, the horses would have to swim while we prayed we wouldn't tip over or go under. I remember the fellow I was with said, "If you never prayed in your life, pray now." I remember taking invitations for a St. Patrick party on horseback to some scattered ranches, and our horses had to swim with us on them. The day before my horse had run away with me, and I was still upset and nervous.
I finally married on my eighteenth birthday, New Year's Eve, the last of 1902. Will Anderson, my husband, wasn't nineteen until March so you see we were just kids. He was a hard worker, had left home at fourteen to be on his own, and when we married, had a thousand dollars in the bank, so we built a one-room house 14 x 14 feet. It had two windows, one door, a cupboard in the corner, a real rug, bed, table, four chairs, and a side board. We ate our wedding breakfast off of tin plates and drank coffee out of tin cups. There were no showers for brides in those days. Will's brothers said they would give us a dinner set, and they did later.
We were married six months when I went with my Dad and husband to cook for five men while they built thirty-five miles of fence. This time my home was a sheep wagon. We started at 6:00 a.m. riding on bundles of bedding and cases of food on the running gears of a wagon without the seat. We traveled twenty-five miles and it took all day, a gradual uphill pull to Mill River Ridge. It was the first of June and very hot. We had to shoo tiny ducks out of the road to keep from killing them. There were hun¬dreds of them, and before we had camped very long, we were using wild duck eggs for cooking and eating. Dad had made a pile driver to drive the posts in the ground, and it was much faster than digging post holes. I didn't know much about cooking, but had to make all the bread and cook for five hungry men. Our bed was in one end of the sheep wagon, the stove in the other end. We had a tent serving as a dining room, so I did a lot of getting up and down from the wagon to tent serving meals. I would be all alone all day. One day a large herd of long horned cattle got curious and came to my sheep wagon and started rocking it with their horns. Being alone and miles from the men, I grabbed the stove lifter and tin dishpan and pounded with all my might. They all stopped and looked until one and another turned and left.
One day when I had fallen asleep on the bunk, I was awakened with a start. There was a sheepherder standing in the doorway looking at me. He was a stranger and said he was just wondering if he ought to rattle the stove or just leave.
There were miles of wild hay about two feet high that was available to the people just for the cutting. It was used for winter feeding. Many small lakes were covered with wild ducks. My husband took his shotgun and twenty-four shells and went out on his horse. He came home with twenty-four ducks and a coy¬ote. I roasted twelve and gave mother twelve. We were on the fence job one month, and my earnings were thirty dollars. That was considered good pay as I had worked in town for $1.75 a week while helping J. Will Knight's wife, who was swamped with visitors from Utah who were interested in the development of the new town of Raymond. There is nothing more interesting than the growth of a fast-growing community.
In the month of March when my second child was seven months old, my husband built a house on a wagon, 9 x 18 feet. The door was in the center front with a small pantry on one side of the door and a small camp stove on the other side. We put a table, high chair, small rocker, pair of springs with legs that could be fastened up the side for more room. I also had a crib and a sewing machine.
We left home and traveled three days to Clara's home. Tak¬ing six horses, we inquired for work at a bank and were told to go eight miles out of town to a certain section of land where we were to start hauling rocks off the land then plow the land. Well, I decided I would take things easy by just taking care of the two kiddies and my husband. The boss came out and asked if he could send his brother-in-law out to help and board with us. I said, "Oh no, I simply couldn't." He said we would like the fellow and he wouldn't be any trouble, so out he came and before long I had eight to cook for and was eight miles from town having to haul water for cooking, drinking, and washing.
We cleared the land of rocks, plowed, planted grain, and cut the grain after it had been mowed down and had to be cut one way. We were there nine months making about $15.00 a day, five of which had to be used for hay and grain. Many times the food was low and the men would say, "What about the little white beans?" so beans it would be. They never complained. There was no shade. The only place that was shady was under the wagon where I would throw a quilt for the babies while the pies and bread were baking.
We often wondered why we didn't make a home up there instead of going back to Raymond, as we had sold our home and really had nothing to go back to. My folks had taken up a homestead in the water and lakes country. When I first visited Dad's ranch, and after seeing nothing but prairie, I thought it was a Garden of Eden with rivers, mountains, trees, wild fruits, strawberries everywhere, and wonderful trout to be caught as fast as you could throw the line in. All went well at the ranch until Dad bought a herd of sheep, and they had an unusually hard winter with deep snow, drifts, and terrific cold that killed the sheep and cattle. So Dad sold the ranch and moved back to Utah as he was fed up with droughts and disappointments.
My husband and I and five children and two other families decided to move back to Utah and the U.S.A. in 1914. We had five wagons, nineteen people, fourteen head of horses. The children and I rode in a white-top buggy that had been hooked behind a wagon that was pulled by four horses. The wagon was loaded with hay, grain, plows, tents, etc. We camped every night and pitched a tent, unloaded springs and sanitary couch, tables, hairs, etc. It was some job to load and unload besides the cooking, and the horses had to be hobbled so they wouldn't stray too far. But we really enjoyed the evenings together around a bonfire with a mandolin, guitars, mouth organs, and singing.
Sundays we would rest the horses. Everyone would take a swim, and we women would wash and get ready to start out again on Monday. One woman had a sheep camp wagon and would bake the bread for all three families as we traveled along. After traveling three weeks, we reached Dillon, Montana. From there the children and I took the train for Salt Lake City.
After I left, my husband and our traveling friends got a job haying for a sheepman near Lima, Montana. My husband took up land in Montana, and the two families went to Idaho.
I was met in Salt Lake by my mother and aunt. With five children, visiting was no fun for anyone. After six weeks in Salt Lake, I wrote my husband that I couldn't stand it any longer. In October we traveled to our new home in Montana. It was a little log hut surrounded with mountains black with pines.
One Christmas Eve I could see a man walking over the hill toward our ranch; he was in snow up to his hips. It was my brother from Canada. He had walked four miles from Snow Line Station and our nearest neighbors. He stayed until March helping to get logs out with my husband. It wasn't bad for the men, and the children didn't mind, although food was scarce, no school, and no money. I felt sick when my brother-in-law sent twenty-five dollars, and my husband used every cent for oats for the horses. We didn't have a cow, and all the milk we had was a can of sego milk a day where we should have had a gallon.
My neighbors had told my brother that as soon as the snow melted, they would come to see me. It was March when I saw their buggy coming over the hill. It had been nine months since I had seen anyone except my family and my brother Joe. The shock of their visit put me to bed for three days. I thought the pain in my head would kill me, so my husband decided we ought to leave as my brother had gone home. The neighbor, a sheepman, wanted some plowing done, so we moved and pitched our tent near the land. There were 5,000 sheep all around us, and it was lambing time, and oh, the baa baas nearly sent one nuts. Besides that I was pregnant and so very sick. I was lying on a pair of springs on the ground, with orange crates for cupboards, and five little children from eight to one year to care for. I couldn't raise my head. My husband had his hands full trying to fix something that I might keep down besides feeding and caring for the children. He even had to pull some teeth for the kiddies.
After a month we located a house to rent in Lima, Montana. There were five large rooms, all furnished, even with dishes and the silver. By then I was feeling better and enjoyed having neigh¬bors and soon made friends. Among them was a young married girl from Canada, and we were really friends. The worst part of this move was that my husband only came home once or twice a week. In September my family and I left by train for Utah and school, also to await the new addition to the family. My uncle was a doctor and his wife a nurse, so they were to be with me when I needed them.
My husband had sold his belongings in Montana for one thousand dollars and was learning meat cutting from his two brothers who owned and operated a small store in Salt Lake. My husband rented a building and hired a good butcher and was all set to start a business for himself. Well, on Saturday, December 29, my son was born. I was alone with a midwife. I even had to hold the baby's cord while she tied it. The next morning on the nine o'clock train my husband came home, also the doctor and nurse after everything was over.
We are still in business from 1916 to 1949. I am the mother of ten children—six sons and four daughters. One son died in infancy and one daughter died in childbirth.
This is the first story I have written of my life, and it is all true.
—Alice Bevan Anderson, January 1949
This was published by Daughters of the Utah Pioneers,
Chronicles of Courage, [unknown year], pages 393 to 399.
To read Alice Bevan Anderson's autobiography, click here.
David Richardson of Benjamin, Utah also went to Canada. Click here.
To return to the Christensen Family index page, click here.