Thursday, November 27, 2008

Spanish Fork, Utah

Spanish Fork, Utah, the first permanent Icelandic settlement in North America
The Franciscan Friars named Silvestre Valez de Escalante and Francisco Atanasio de Dominguez were some of the first explorers to pass through the Spanish Fork area. The priests were in quest of a direct route from Santa Fe, New Mexico, to Monterey, California. After traveling down Spanish Fork Canyon they camped somewhere near the present day city limits on September 23, 1776.
Many years later the name "Spanish Fork" appeared on John C. Fremont's map of the area published in 1845. This was two years before the Mormons settled in Utah, and five years before there were any settlers in Palmyra. Spanish Fork originally began as an outgrowth of Palmyra, but as the community developed, Palmyra diminished and became the northwest suburb of Spanish Fork. In the early days, both settlements existed with one fort, Fort St. Luke.
In all likelihood, the name "Spanish Fork" was derived from the fact that the route of the Taos trappers during the early part of the 1800's followed the canyon and the river. The indigenous population of Spanish Fork was composed of members of the Ute Indian tribe. They had no permanent villages due to their nomadic nature. Because these Indians ate so many fish, they were also known as the "water Indians".
In the winter of 1850-51 a few families settled along the Spanish Fork River. By the end of 1852 the population along the river had grown to over 100 families. In 1854 a fort was built in Spanish Fork to meet the needs of existing settlers. On 17 January 1855 Spanish Fork was incorporated as a city. In September of that year, the first Icelandic immigrants; Samuel Bjarnason, Margrét Gísladóttir, and Helga Jónsdóttir arrived in Utah, they were directed by Brigham Young to the city of Spanish Fork. From these first Icelandic pioneers nearly four hundred Icelanders emigrated to Utah by 1914, most settling in Spanish Fork.
By 1860, the population had grown to 1,069. Spanish Fork inhabitants were of Irish, English, Scottish, Welsh, Danish and Icelandic descent. In ten years the population had reached 1,450. The first commercial industry was a saw mill which began operation in 1858. One year later the first flour mill opened its doors for business. The business group known as the Spanish Fork Mercantile was opened on February 11, 1883; the association was similar in function to the modern day Chamber of Commerce.
Spanish Fork is part of the county of Utah in the state of Utah. Utah County is located 44 miles south of Salt Lake City, Utah. The name "Utah" comes from the Native American "Ute" tribe and means 'people of the mountains'. Utah County: Apparently anglicized form the word Yuta, which is what the Spanish Explores called the Ute Indians. It is called Utah Valley because mountains frame the county on both sides. Utah is the 2nd largest county, in terms of population, in the state.
Average Elevation of Utah County is between 4300-4700 feet above sea level. The highest points in Utah County are Mount Nebo, south of Spanish Fork at 11,928 feet and Mount Timpanogos at 11,750 feet to the north. On the eastern side of Spanish Fork is one of the most beautiful mountains of the Wasatch Mountains range, the official maps call it Mount Flonette, but earlier inhabitants of the area called it Sierra Bonita. Sierra Bonita means beautiful mountain. Sierra Bonita is also the name for this mountain found in the novel Paradise Reclaimed by Halldor Laxness.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Helen Olson

Helen Elizabeth Nelson Olson, 81, of Spanish Fork died Friday, November 21, 2008 at her home. She was born on November 2, 1927 in Spring Canyon, Carbon County, Utah, the daughter of Oliver Willard and Ferrel Blackett Nelson.

Mom grew up in Springville and Spanish Fork, spending many summers on "The Ranch" at Wanrhodes up Diamond Fork Canyon. Helen graduated from Spanish Fork High School. Her brother Leon, was killed in the Bataan Death during WWII. In 1943, when she was 16, her father died in a mining accident after which she helped raise her two younger siblings.

She married Gilbert Hjlmar Olson on February 8, 1947 in Ely, Nevada. She was the mother of five children. One, Lois Ann, passed away as a young child.

Helen was a leader in the community. She was president of many organizations including The Rotary Club, The Chamber of Commerce, and the DUP. She was active in the LDS church, holding many positions, especially enjoying her work with the Young Women Certification program.

She was a great cook, loved the garden and flowers, spending time with her family at the cabin, and family reunions.Helen worked at many jobs over the years, including the Del Monte Cannery, Olson's Greenhouse; and the Petal Pantry. Along with her daughter Karen, she opened and operated Artistic Floral for 16 years.

Survivors include one son, Leon (Susan) Olson; and three daughters, June (Gary) Dutton; Kaye (Mark) Bailey; and Karen Olson; 10 grandchildren; and 17 great grandchildren. She is also survived by a brother, Wendall (Arlene) Nelson; and one sister, Marie (John) Waters. She was preceded in death by her husband, Gilbert; and her daughter, Lois Ann; a sister, Louise (Fred) Atwood (Bud) Hales; two brothers, Leon Willard Nelson; and William James (Jean) Nelson.

Funeral services will be held on Wednesday, November 26, 2008 at 1:00 p.m. at the Old 1st and 12th Ward Chapel, 310 East Center Street, Spanish Fork. Friends may call at Walker Mortuary, 187 S. Main Street, Spanish Fork on Tuesday evening, November 25, 2008 from 6:00-8:00 p.m. or Wednesday morning at the church from 11:45 a.m. until 12:45 p.m. prior to services. Burial will be in the Spanish Fork City Cemetery.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Boyer 'Nick' Austin Carter

Boyer 'Nick' Austin Carter 1916 ~ 2008 LAYTON - Boyer 'Nick' Austin Carter, 92, passed away Friday, November 7, 2008 at the Dee-McKay Hospital, in Ogden, Utah. Nick was born March 25, 1916 in Spanish Fork, Utah to Austin and Kate B. Carter. He married Dorothy Ilene Don on April 24, 1937 in Coalville, Utah. Nick attended the University of Utah; he later worked for the U.S. Government Civil Service as Chief of Base Plans, in Planning and Budget. He served in the Army during World War II. Nick and Dorothy raised their family in Kaysville where Nick was active in the Kaysville civic organizations. Nick was a member and President of the Kaysville Civic Association, member of the Jaycees, and a Little League coach. He served 22 plus years on the Board of Directors of Federal Employees Credit Union (America First), seven of those years as President. Nick enjoyed hunting, fishing, camping, and golf. He had summer homes in Palisades and Victor, Idaho; winter homes in Arizona and St. George. He spent the last ten months at Apple Village in Layton. Nick is survived by his wife, Dorothy; son J. Scott Carter (Janis); Layton; daughter-in-law Gay Carter, Kaysville; eight grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, son Don A. Carter, daughter Sharon Lee and a brother Paul B. Carter and sister Kathryn (Kaye) Smith. Funeral services will be held Wednesday, November 12, 2008 at 11 a.m. at the Lindquist's Layton Mortuary, 1867 N. Fairfield Road. Friends and family may call Tuesday from 6 to 8 p.m. and Wednesday from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Interment, Kaysville City Cemetery

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Sveinn Þórðarson - November 2008

Sveinn Thordarson was born February 18, 1827 to the Rev. Thordar Brynjolfsson (1763-1840) and Solveig Sveinnsdottir (1797-1872) in Vestur Skaftafell, Iceland. Born into a strong Lutheran family, he ventured to Denmark to study barrel making sometime after his father died when he was 13. He later returned to Iceland where he applied his craft for the fishing industry.

On October 28, 1854, he married Helga Arnadottir (1833-1907), daughter of Gudny Erasmusdottir (1794-1888) who was one of the first and oldest immigrants from Iceland to Utah in 1857. Sveinn and Helga had six children while in Iceland, three of whom lived to adulthood. Sveinn, Helga, and their youngest child John Julius (1872-1951) came to Utah in 1878 while their daughters Solveig Thordis Jorunn (1858-1920) and Johanna Gudny Helga (1861-1927) came later. The family settled in Spanish Fork where the 1880 census shows Sveinn as a laborer living outside the city limits. In 1884, Sveinn also married Helga’s sister Gudney (1834-1915) as his plural wife after Gudney’s husband had died in 1879. After Helga and Gudney’s mother died in Spanish Fork at the age of 94, Sveinn and Helga moved to Cleveland, Emery County, Utah in 1890 where he (and eventually two of his children’s families) settled as a farmer. Sveinn died in 1901 after a back injury, and this photo with his wife Helga was likely taken shortly before his death.

By David Johnson - Seattle Washington