Archibald Adamson Anderson & Sarah Jane Rees
One of the distinctive elements of the inheritance that fell upon the shoulders of Archibald Adamson Anderson at the time of his birth to Archibald Anderson and Agnes Adamson, was that he would live as the eldest son of this couple – a fact which in and of itself, often means a unique relationship with parents and brothers and sisters. Two boys – William Young and Robert – were born before Archibald A., but both had died before this time. (1)
This age factor undoubtedly placed Archibald A. in a position of added responsibility as he entered the mines with his father, as the family contemplated the separation from the father when he left for America in 1855, in acting as the man of the house during the year of separation, in planning the trip to America with his mother and brothers, and in teaming with his mother in pulling the handcart from Iowa City to the Valley of the Great Salt Lake. This, by no means, diminished the role of the younger brothers in this family, but a certain mantle of responsibility rested upon Archibald A. as it does with most eldest sons, and he responded magnificently to the demands of this calling at all times.
Born on March 27, 1836, Archibald A. was just approaching
his twentieth birthday in that early March of 1856 when he, his mother, Agnes,
and his brothers, John, age 15, and James, age 13, sailed down the
The unique story of Archibald A., apart from that of his family, might logically be considered as beginning with his courtship and marriage of Sarah Jane Rees.
These two families, although their paths may have touched
The story is told that during the courtship Archibald said
he would not marry Sarah Jane until he could buy her a nice wedding dress. Finally, to keep his resolution regarding
this event, he drove a team of oxen which he had acquired to
It appears that Archibald A. and his bride decided to make
their way with his family. Just where they lived that first few months of their
marriage is not known, but they did make the move from Spanish Fork to North
Bend the following March with his father’s family. The Rees family left Spanish
Fork and moved to
It is reported in several of the available writings that the
The arrival of the
Within ten days of the
“With about thirty men on hand, labor was commenced March 15, 1860, on the fort, situated on the south half of Block 19, the block where the Fairview Mercantile now stands. A rock wall two and one-half feet wide at the base, tapering to a width of one and one-half feet at the top, with a height of ten feet, was constructed on the north, east, and west sides and completed in 1860. The south side of the enclosure was made of log houses placed close together to form the fourth side. Entry by wagon could be gained in the center of the south and west sides. There were two passageways through which one person at a time could enter, one a small gate on the east, and the other a space between two of the houses on the south. As settlers increased, houses were built around the inside walls, a row also extended through the center from north to south. Others were built in open spaces of the fort.”
“Community effort did not end with the building of the fort. Community corrals, city ditches, and a new community school house were all completed with cooperative efforts.” (6)
It is only reasonable to believe that under these
circumstances the first home of the
During the winter of 1859-60, the trip to
The new settlement was known as North Bend until 1864 at
which time Archibald Anderson, Sr. made the suggestion to Orson Hyde, then President
of the Sanpete Stake, that the name be changed to
The anticipated Indian troubles did materialize, and became
so severe that Brigham Young warned the people of
The Indian problem came to an end with the close of the Blackhawk War in 1872, and the people were free to build their homes, farms, and community, unmolested.
An interesting account of early life in
“In response to their pledged word to obey the chosen
leader, the settlers, with tradition of equality in mind, accepted the first
division of land by Bishop Jones. Each man in the community who contributed to
the erection of the fort was given twenty acres of land in the ‘Big Field’,
which was fenced, and also a city lot. The wild hay land in
“As no individual had a title to his twenty acres, one man
of a group would take out a
“As the community grew and became more complex, in direct proportion waned the authority of the Bishop. Individuals began filing claims without his approval. Others fenced their parcels within the ‘Big Field’. Farming on a large scale made many desirous of obtaining greater acreage. Companies were organized and a new life began in the community.” (9)
As this new life was taking shape for the community of
To Archibald A. and Sarah Jane there were born, between 1860 and 1878, a total of ten sons and daughters, two sons and eight daughters, all of whom grew to adulthood and entered into marriage. Maria, the seventh daughter, married A. U. Miner, but died just shortly over a year following her marriage. She left no children. Neither did Grace, the eighth daughter, have children. The other daughters and the two sons all raised families of their own.
In the late 1870’s Archibald A. and Sarah Jane moved from the
In May of 1864, Archibald A., in response to the Church’s
doctrine on plural marriage, was married to Caroline Johnson, a Swedish convert
to the Church – a daughter of Jonas Gustan Anderson
and Johanna Katrina Johnson. Five children were born to this couple between
1865 and 1875. Four of these grew to adulthood, married and raised families.
Archibald, the fourth child, died at the age of six. Caroline lived to be
eighty-one years of age. She passed away in
Following the death of Sarah Jane, Archibald A. married Bertha Carrine Peterson, a widow with two children, on February 28, 1879. She moved into the Birch Creek home to take care of Sarah Jane’s motherless family. The youngest daughter, Flora, grew into young womanhood and then passed away before marriage. The first daughter and child, Bertha, died at seven years of age, and one of the twin boys, Joseph Smith, born in 1886, died in the first year of his life. Bertha Carrine, the mother of this family, lost her life in a railroad crossing accident just west of her home on Birch Creek on February 1, 1899.
It is quite remarkable that in these early pioneer days, preceeding all the marvelous advances in medicine, twenty of the twenty-three children born to Archibald A. and these three noble mothers, reached adulthood, nineteen of them married, and seventeen raised families. Only one died within the first year of life, and two died in early childhood.
Archibald A. was loved not only by his family, but also by
his neighbors and his fellow citizens of
An interesting description of Archibald A. is given by his son-in-law, Charles A. Terry:
“I have been asked by some of the A. A. Anderson children to write some of the labors, advice and teachings of our beloved Daddy. I feel very fortunate to have had the privilege of marrying his oldest daughter, Margaret Ann, who was a very dutiful wife and mother, who was taught to love God and to keep all of His commandments and to love and obey her parents in all things. Our Daddy always taught his children honestly and truthfulness, and to live a clean and pure life, and to always pray to our Heavenly Father and place confidence in Him.
“I remember him as my Sunday School teacher and the nice way he had of explaining the Gospel. We could understand it and I always loved to hear him speak for he was so sincere and meant every word he said, and always felt thanks to the Lord for His kind and merciful kindness that He had shown him in times that had passed . . . I never heard him profane or use any bad or vulgar language, and he had the Gifts of Faith in healing the sick, and he told me one time when Eliza R. Snow spoke in tongues in a meeting in Fairview (I was there and heard her) that he could have interpreted the tongues but he held back and she had to interpret it herself.
“Oh, if only he could have lived longer to impart of the intelligence that was in his noble soul, but let us children profit by his wonderful example of faith and good council.” (11)
The closing years of Archibald’s life were characterized by failing health which lead to some discouragement and despondency. He had to give up all forms of work and was then confined indoors for some weeks before death came to him December 5, 1892 at the age of 56.
His life was somewhat short, but it had been filled with the good things the world had to offer in his day. He had immigrated to the new country, pioneered in the building of a community, and reared a large family of fine, intelligent sons and daughters. He loved the truth and devoted every possible moment to seeking and incorporating it not only into his own life, but also into the lives of his family members. No matter how long one may live this still remains the ultimate task.
Some of his feelings are expressed in a brief letter he
wrote to James William, who was attending school in
Birchcreek Sanpete Co.
Friday Nov. 18, 92
Mr. James W. Anderson
My dear son Your most welcome letter was duly received I was glad to hear from you again But I have not been feeling very well and I don’t see any prospect of being better My swallowing has been getting worse right along and now I can’t hardly swallow anything I have had three doctors but all to no purpose I am glad you are feeling so well and improving so fast and I trust you will be a good boy and never never sin I don’t know what course of study you are pursuing but I think a school teacher is by far the best
as the days are short and only five
days a week I hope you will do the best
for your own good. I had letters from
John and Albert today written from
well and feeling well I have seen all the folks lately I Believe they are all well The weather is fine here now but I can’t enjoy it much as I have to stay indoors nearly all the time Well I hope you will continue to enjoy yourself and I pray that God will bless you and prosper you and keep you from every appearance of evil that you may secure a salvation in His kingdom. I will close for this time and would fain hope it is not the last time I can write you.
from your loving father
Archibald A. Anderson (12)
(1) See family group sheet for this family.
See Handcarts to
(2) This story is among those collected over the years. I do not know its source nor have I been able to confirm it.
The move of the Rees family in the fall of 1859 is
recorded in History of and Events in the Lives of Thomas Davis Rees and
Elizabeth (Rees) Rees, published by Dr. Don Merrill Rees of
Daughters of the
(6) Ibid., p. 122.
(7) Ibid., p. 121.
Lever, W. H., History of Sanpete and
Daughters of the
From the Family publication for the 1947 Reunion in
From a letter written by Charles A. Terry to Archibald
Henry Anderson, this writer’s father, from
The original letter is in the possession of A. Owen
Anderson, a son of James W., of
Anderson, H. Reese. These We Honor: Archibald Anderson Family. Archibald Anderson Family Association, p. C-1.
Excerpts copied 17 Jul 2006 by J.F.