Harold August Christensen in the 1930s.
HISTORY OF HAROLD AUGUST CHRISTENSEN
Three sons were born to Hannibal Leopold and Emma Frederikke Schmidt Christensen. All were given the name Harold August Christensen. The first child died one day after birth. The second son died at eight months. The third child was our grandfather, Harold August Christensen, born March 1, 1871, in Copenhagen, Denmark. He had no other brothers or sisters.
Harold's mother, Emma, was converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by her friends in Copenhagen and was baptized February 1, 1873. Many of her friends had already left Denmark and had journeyed to America to join the Saints in the Salt Lake Valley. Apparently her husband, Hannibal, was not prepared at that time to join the church nor was he anxious to leave his home in Copenhagen. Emma divorced Hannibal and traveled to America with her young son, Harold August, who was four years old. They sailed from Liverpool, England, on June 30, 1875, on the ship IDAHO. They arrived in New York on July 14, 1875, and continued their journey to the Salt Lake Valley by railroad under the direction of Capt. Chr. G. Larsen, arriving in Salt Lake City on July 27, 1875. Emma was 30 years old at this time.
Emma and Harold continued on to Brigham City to make their home where many of her friends had settled. She was a Milliner by trade and she supported herself and her young son in her own millinery shop. She soon became very well known for her beautiful hats. She later was able to purchase a home for herself and her son and she often entertained her friends there. Her granddaughter-in-law, Mabel Christensen, has often said that. she remembers "Little Grandma" and her many Danish friends very well. They met together often and always seemed to have such a good time. They had their tea and cakes and jabbered to each other in Danish and laughed a lot. One of "Little Grandma's" good friends was Parley P. Pratt's wife. She gave Emma permission to be sealed to Parley P. Pratt, which Emma eventually did.(Many years later Emma's family had her sealed to Hannibal Leopold Christensen by permission of Church President Heber J. Grant. Hannibal's second wife, Hannah Methalda Swenson Christensen, stood as proxy for Emma in the Salt Lake Temple. The date of the sealing was May 5, 1941. Harold was also sealed to his parents at that time.)
Harold grew up and went to school in Brigham City. He had many good friends. He told me that when he was a small boy he would coax his mother to let him go swimming and she always told him "no, not until you learn how to swim." Another story about his growing-up years was that he learned to fight with his fists when he was very young. He would come home from school crying to his Mother that some bully had been picking on him. She gave him little sympathy. She told him he had to learn to fight back. He soon learned how to box and in his youth he became very expert at it. Whenever someone new came to Brigham City looking for a fight, his friends would run and get Harold. He could usually come out ahead.
Sometime during his growing up years in Brigham City, Emma married Peter S. Lundgreen. He was a brick mason. Harold always loved horses and he always owned a few horses and his dream was to become a rancher and own lots of horses and cattle. However, his stepfather taught Harold how to make brick and how to build with it, and it. was a good profession to follow. He later owned his own brickyard where he made the brick and followed in his stepfather's footsteps. He followed this profession for the rest of his life. He built, several buildings in and around Brigham City, many of them still standing. At one time he rode his bicycle from Brigham City to Willard every day to build a church which still stands along the old highway. It has now been turned into a community theater.
Even though his chosen profession was bricklaying and contracting, he still retained his love for horses. He spent many hours at a livery stable in Brigham City owned by Elijah K. Fuller. It was perhaps not only the horses that drew his attention there, but also Mr. Fuller's beautiful daughter, Rose. They were just in their teenage years when they first met, but in a few years friendship turned to love. He married Sarah Rosetta Fuller in the Logan Temple April 15, 1891. She was 18 and he was 21 when they married. Rose's sister, Lillian, and her fiancee, George Gilbert, were going to the Logan Temple to be married and they convinced Harold and Rose to go with them. He was rebaptized, as was the custom in those days, and this was done April 2, 1891.
Three children were born to Harold and Rose -- Harold Elijah was born February 28, 1892; Fred Fuller was born July 1, 1893; and Irving Fuller was born on July 12, 1896. These children were all born in Brigham City, Utah. Fred died as a child on January 17, 1894.
In the years to come, Harold continued in his chosen profession and became a very successful businessman. He provided very well for his family and continued to care for his mother.(Peter Lundgreen was a polygamist. During the 1880's and 90's Mormon men who had entered into plural marriage, had no security because they were being hunted by federal officers. The Manifesto abandoning polygamy in the L.D.S. Church was signed Sept. 24, 1890. As a result, he and Emma separated and he left. Brigham City, once again leaving Emma alone.)
In spite of his great success, Harold still carried in his mind his great desire to be a rancher; so when some of his friends told him about the beautiful wide-open country and the great ranching opportunities in Canada, he and his boyhood friend, Hans Anderson, decided to journey to Canada to see for themselves. The two men went into partnership and purchased some cattle and horses and in the early spring of 1900 they left their families and journeyed to Montana by rail. There they unloaded their stock and wagons and started their drive to Cardston. However, upon reaching Cardston, they decided to continue their drive westward to Twin Butte, which was then a primitive area. He and Hans took adjoining homesteads. Some other Mormon families had already settled in that area. This was about 35 miles west of Cardston. They always referred to this homestead as THE RANCH. At first. there was a little two room house on the homestead, but Harold later built the family a larger home. As soon as he was settled, he sent. for his family in Brigham City. His wife, Rose, and the two children journeyed by train to Coutts, Alberta, where Harold met them. They continued their journey to Twin Butte in a covered wagon. It took a week to reach their destination.
Even though he fulfilled his dream, he still continued his construction business in Canada and this was his chief source of income.
In the spring of 1905 he contracted to build a bank building in Lethbridge and his family spent that summer in Lethbridge. The next year he contracted to build a Hudson Bay Store in McLeod and the family spent over a year in that city.
When Harold took his family to Canada, he left his mother alone in Brigham City. She had hated to see them leave and was very lonely for her family. Harold promised her that when he had accumulated $10,000 he would move the family back to Utah. However, that time had not come, but Rose and the two children did return to Brigham City in 1903 to visit with Emma and Rose's family for a couple of months.
By the spring of 1907 he kept his promise. He had accumulated the $10,000 and he and his family returned to Brigham City. However, 1907 was a depression year in the United States and business was very poor all over the nation. He just couldn't make it because of economic conditions, so Harold and the family decided to return to the ranch in Twin Butte in the spring of 1908. Through the coming years, the two boys, Lyde and Irving, took turns living with their grandmother in Brigham City.
Back in Twin Butte, he was able to get back into the ranching business and also follow his trade. In 1910 he accepted a contract to build some large buildings in Calgary. He knew he would be there for a few years to fulfill this contract, so he built the family a very lovely home, returning to the ranch whenever possible.
When they moved to Calgary, they could not find an organized branch of the L.D.S. Church. They investigated and found a few members were living in that area, and they met together from time to time. Harold and Rose's large nice home was always open for cottage meetings and other church gatherings. They made many friends who visited often.
By 1913 more and more L.D.S. members were moving into Calgary and as they met together, they began to talk about organizing a branch of the church. On March 9, 1913, a meeting was held in a local theater under the direction of the Alberta Stake Presidency. Two meetings were held that day. Quite a good sized crowd attended. There were a number of members of the church who had resided in Calgary and vicinity, but they did not previously know there were other members in the area. In the evening of that same day another meeting was held at Harold and Rose's home (3207 Elgin Ave.) and the house was filled with church members and friends. The next evening, another meeting was held with President E. J. Wood of the Alberta Stake presiding. At this meeting a branch was formed with Zebulon W. Jacobs called as presiding Elder. He was only able to serve until August 10th as he had to return to his home in Cardston. That same day another meeting was held and Pres. Wood called Harold to be the presiding Elder. Harold was very much surprised but accepted the calling. His son, Irving, said that he is sure that the time he served in this calling was one of the most fulfilling and happiest times of his father's life.
Just prior to this time, the presidency of the Church in Salt Lake City had announced that the time had come to build a temple in Alberta, the first outside the United States or its territories. The place chosen was Cardston. President Wood approached Harold and asked him if he could arrange his work so he could serve as the supervisor of construction for all the foundation up to the ground level of the temple. Harold, of course, was excited to receive this call.
Records in the Church Historian's office show that on November 9, 1913, H. A. Christensen, President. E. J. Wood, Bro. Seymour Smith and Bishop J. T. Brown were at the temple site in Cardston where they stepped off the measurements of the temple. Again, according to records in the Historian's office, we find that Harold, along with President Wood and Bishop Brown went to British Columbia to look at stone for the temple. It was decided the temple should be built of white British Columbia Granite. This date was January, 1914.
Again the family moved back to Cardston to begin work on the temple. They lived on the Ranch in Twin Butte and Harold worked in Cardston. Work on the temple began on March 13, 1914. He worked at the temple site throughout the summer and into the late fall. Finally work ceased when the weather turned extremely cold and wet. The family again returned to their home in Calgary for the remainder of that winter. As the weather turned warm again in the spring of 1915, it was time once again to return to Cardston and continue the temple work. Now President Wood released Harold from his calling as Branch President so he could give his full attention to the building of the temple.
He continued to work on the temple, doing all the below ground and basement work. When they reached ground level, President Joseph F. Smith visited the area. While President Smith and the other brethren from Salt Lake City were in Cardston, Harold and Rose escorted them around Cardston and vicinity and took them to Waterton Park. Pictures show them at Waterton Park and also at the Temple site.
His work was completed and he left the construction site soon after President Smith's visit.
Harold had been a very successful contractor and business man and had built many large buildings, schools and bridges in Alberta. Many of them are still standing and are a tribute to his skill.However, after he left his temple work, his business suffered one loss after another. His final job was a bid he had made on tearing down a large wooden train trestle. He underbid the job and lost a great deal of money.
He returned to the ranch in 1916 and he organized a company, H. A. Christensen and Sons, Ltd., to run the ranch, making his two sons, Lyde and Irving, equal shareholders. Those next few years saw a lot, of very hard work, ten to twelve hours a day, six days a week.
Lyde married Sadie Bevan in 1911, and Irving married Mabel Williams in 1917. They all continued to live and work at the ranch, with each son having his own home. About 1919, Lyde and Sadie decided to return to the States and they settled in Sacramento, California. Irving and Mabel stayed on a few more years, then in 1923 they also decided to return to Brigham City. It was shortly after this that Harold and Rose decided to sell their property in Twin Butte and they returned to the States also.
Irving had gone to work in Brigham City and later in Ogden for a man selling electrical home appliances. This was new and Harold thought it would be a good business to get into. So he convinced his two sons that with his help they should invest in an electrical appliance dealership, selling electric washing machines, radios, etc. They each put in a little money and set up business in Boise, Idaho. This was early in the year of 1929. Irving and his family and Harold and Rose moved to Boise. Little did they know, nor could they anticipate, what was ahead. 1929 was the year of the great stock market crash, no one had any money, and it wiped out their business.
Early in 1930, Irving and Mabel moved to Salt Lake City to live, but Harold and Rose had purchased a nice home in Boise, Idaho, and they remained there, visiting with their sons in Sacramento and Salt Lake City as often as possible.
As the family of Harold and Rose, we never referred to them as Grandpa and Grandma, but they were always affectionately called "Dad" and "Ma". That is what Lyde and Irving called them - that is what all their grandchildren called them - and even some of their close friends. Dad always seemed to me to be tall and slender, but it is possible that he was under 6 ft. tall and probably weighed around 175 lbs. But he was a good looking man and he had a great sense of humor. He probably owned the first automobile in the Cardston area; and in his later years he owned a big Flint Touring Car which we called "The Greyhound." It had leather and isinglass (which is like clear plastic) windows that snapped on in the winter. In the summer it was all open. On the 4th of July he always put flags on the two front fenders and on the hood. I loved to ride through the streets with my hair blowing and the flags waving.
He always seemed to be a very happy man with a pleasing personality, but I have been told that he did sometimes show a bad temper. I never did see that side of him. He was always very pleasant and a very special grandfather to me.
In 1935 he developed a prostate gland problem and had an operation to correct it. He came through the operation just fine, but infection set in. This was before the days of "wonder drugs" and he was unable to survive. He died in Boise, Idaho, on April 29, 1935, at the age of 64. He was buried in the family plot in the Brigham City Cemetery.
Following his death, Ma sold her home in Boise and moved to Salt Lake City to be near Irving and his family.
Written by Noreen C. Burton, a granddaughter - 1993
Diary of Harold August Christensen--Year 1935
For context, see the autobiographies of his sons Harold E. and Irving F. Christensen.
[this diary was transcribed from the original by Judy Christensen Chronis]
Address 1708 N. 18 St.
I.F. Christensen P. Greenwall
632 Milton Ave. 1479 Peterson Ave.
Salt Lake City, Utah Long Beach, Calif.
J.M. Spader Bert Nelson
76 Stuart Ave. Carter Hotel
Mamoroneck, N.Y. Ontario, Oreg.
K.R. Smith Harold Walcott
700 1/2 Burgess 203 Moorgate Blvd.
Los Angeles, Calif. Deer Hedge
219 N. 10th
130 H St.
Salt Lake City
I received for work done in 1934 as wages $789.50.
Jan 1935 Wed 2 - Last day work on Art Bldg. Gave boys at Hall smokes.
Jan 1935 Sat 5 - Drew wages on Art Bldg. $30.00
Jan 1935 Thurs 10 - Pay water 1.17
Jan 1935 Mon 14 - Went to work at Art Bldg, was advised there was no more work.
Jan 1935 Tues 15 - Registered with the P.W.A.
Jan 1935 Wed 16 - Snow
Jan 1935 Thurs 24 - Sent for car parts.
Jan 1935 Mon 28 - Paid light 2.76
Jan 1935 Tues 29 - Foggy
Jan 1935 Wed 30 - Foggy
Jan 1935 Thurs 31 - Foggy - sent dues to Oakland confuriamin dues 2.25
Feb 1935 Fri 1 - Received parts for car $7.65.
Feb 1935 Sat 2 - Bought load wood $8.00.
Feb 1935 - Fri 8 - got car after overhaul with Reg. 63900 new oil.
Feb 1935 - Sat 9 - Paid water 1.17
Feb 1935 - Sun 10 - sent interest 6.48
March 1935 - Thurs 7 - Sent Interest.
March 1935 - Fri 15 - Bought fertilizer 2.31
March 1935 - Sun 17 - Went to Weeser to work.
March 1935 - Sat 23 - Drew wages 47.00
March 1935 - Mon 25 - Spent for N.S.
March 1935 - Tues 26 - 100 Hedge 3.00 - 4 Trees 3.00 2 orniments 5.00 - 2 orniments 5.00 - 11 Vines .75 - wire .40 - Eveteach 1.68
March 1935 - Thurs 28 - Worked for Mallorsly 24 hours $24.00.
April 1935 - Mon 1 - Sent Paul $10.00
April 1935 - Tues 2 - Worked for Reese 13 hours $13.00.
April 1935 - Wed 3 - Raining
April 1935 - Thurs 4 - Planted trees and ornaments
April 1935 - Mon 8 - Worked for Malery
April 1935 - Tues 9 - Drew Wages $14.00
April 1935 - Wed 10 - Went to Hospital
April 1935 - Sun 28 - Operated on for prostate trouble
April 1935 - Mon 29 - died
June 1935 - Fri 7 - got Dad Life insurance $875.14
June 1935 - Tues 11 - came home Mable Noreen and Kay.
June 1935 - Wed 12 - payed Dr. Jeppson 100.00 - Hospital 100.00 - Dr. Budge 25.00 - nurse special 10.00 - payed head stone 12.00 - under taker 112.00
June 1935 - Sat 29 - got money from Bricklayers Union $188.30
July 1935 - some one started printing
12/5/1967 [looks like Grandpa H.E. Christensen wrote entries after this. The rest seems to be keeping track of trips Grandpa and Jessie took. Some is hard to read and is in print. He puts down what bread cost or a TV show that was going to be on.]
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