~And he shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers. If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming.

Anna Eliza Peterson Porter

Anna Eliza Peterson Porter
November 26, 1873 - November 20, 1954

The following information was taken from histories written by Barbara Dickson Whittier (grand-daughter), and recorded information from Wanda Berneice Porter Sherman (daughter), and also a news article concerning the Peterson/Porter home (most likely the Morgan County News).  This information was compiled by Gwen Dickson Rich (Great Grand-daughter).

Eliza was my Grandma Anona Porter Dickson's mother.  She was born in 1873 in a log house in Richville, Morgan County, Utah, just 10 years after her parents Baltzar and Mette Margrete had emmigrated to Utah with other pioneers.

The family had come from Denmark, after joining the Mormon Church.  During the late 1800's there was a great influx of Scandanavian Pioneers. 

In 1850, only thirty-five Scandinavians lived in Utah, making up a scant  percent of the entire population.  During the half century between 1850 and 1905, more than 46,000 Scandinavians converted to the LDS church as a result of increased proselyting activities in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark.  Click here for more information.

Eliza had three older brothers born in Denmark, and an older sister who was born and died in Denmark as a small child.  After the family moved to Utah, four more brothers were born (one drowned in the old Mill Race that ran behind their home).  Then came Eliza, and two other brothers, one of whom died when she was 4 years old, leaving Eliza and Frederick as the two youngest in the family, and making Eliza the only living daughter of her parents.

Eliza's father was hard working and thrifty, and although the family had arrived in Utah with very little in the way of worldly goods, her father and older brothers soon had developed a prosperous farm, so Eliza grew up enjoying as many luxuries as any pioneer family could provide.  The Peterson home was a busy one.   Family members worked hard, but enjoyed play too.  Singing and good company made the Peterson home a popular place to meet for parties.

Click here for more memories of Old Richville

Eliza learned to cook and sew form her mother.  She also learned to be a good hostess because her mother always made guests feel welcome and saw to it that there was plenty of good food available.  She also learned to read, write and do mathematics in the community school in Richville.  (This school later became the Richville Churchhouse)

Richville Church
In 1886 when Liza was about 13 years old, a big red brick house replaced the log house the family had been living in.  Although the two oldest sons, Nels and Soren had moved to Idaho, there was still a large family at home, and the new home provided plenty of room.  It was a 2-story 8 room home, one of the first built in Richville.

The home was well built.  There were three thicknesses of brick in the walls, with solid brick partitions.  The house contained about 5,600 brinks, all made in Morgan.  This home was torn down in the 1960's.  It's location was just north of where Dee's Dairy is now located (2014).

Brother, brother, Eliza is the young girl, third from left, her younger brother Frederick, Mother Mette, brother's wife, brother, brother
The home held many found memories.  Eliza's brothers were all musically inclined and able to play most of the musical instruments available in those days.  They were especially fine fiddle players and the home was the scene of many family gatherings, parties and dances, with the Peterson family furnishing the music.

Wanda's (Eliza's daughter) memories of the old home sometime later, probably about 1920:  It was so cold.  When Dad would go to bed he'd say, "Well, I hope we opened the windows and let the cold out".  It was that cold.  It had a bathroom, and electricity.  Mother always kept us warm.  She'd warm bricks at night, put in our beds.  We'd have hot water bottles.  She made quilts.  She loved to quilt.  She always had lots of warm bedding.  We had good pillows.  She kept all of the chicken feathers.  She made her own pillows. 
When Eliza was about fifteen (1888) she took painting lessons from a woman who lived in Porterville.  She painted four large pictures of birds with oil paints on velvet.  Aunt Barbara has two of these pictures in her home, painted 126 years ago (2014). 

Other crafts she learned were making wax flowers and wool flowers, and piecing quilts and quilting them.

In the late 1890's when Eliza was about 25 years old, she went to homestead a half section near Lyman, Wyoming.  (320 acres?).  She would go to Wyoming for part of the summer and live in a small building on her homestead.  A young woman that she knew from Lyman would stay with her.  This was to fulfill the requirements of the homesteading act.

Under this law, any man or woman twenty-one years old or head of a family could have 160 acres of undeveloped land by living on it five years and paying $18.00 in fees.  They were also required to build a home, make improvements, and farm the land before they could own it outright.

Sanford Orin Porter, whom she knew from Porterville homesteaded an adjoining half section.  His mother, brothers, and other relatives were other neighbors who homesteaded in the same vicinity.

In 1900, Eliza and Orin were married in Salt Lake City, and then went back to live in Lyman Wyoming for 9 years.
Eliza and Orin Porter

Their first four children, Kenneth, Anona, a stillborn daughter (Ruby), and Golden (Dutch) were all born during the time they were homesteading in Wyoming (1900 - 1909),   For the first three births, Eliza would come home to her parent's home in Richville to have her babies since there was no midwife or doctor in Lyman.   When Anona (Grandma) was born in August 1903,  Eliza stayed in Morgan for about 8 months, returning in time to plant the spring crops.   Golden was born in Lyman.

Wanda: Dutch was a big baby.  He weighed eleven pounds, and mother didn't have a doctor, she had a midwife.  I've heard her say that she darn near died when he was born.  Eleven pounds is a big baby, but Mother was a big woman.  

Story of stillborn baby:  While Eliza was staying in Richville before the baby girl's birth, she drove a horse and buggy to Porterville to visit some friends.  As she was driving along, something frightened the horse, causing it to shy and jerk the buggy violently for a few seconds.  Eliza soon calmed the horse and went on her way, but she was convinced that the incident caused the death of the unborn baby.

Life was not easy in Wyoming.  The easiest way to travel to Morgan was to drive fifteen miles (north) by horse and buggy to Carter, then take the  Union Pacific train to Morgan.  Eliza may have also driven a team and buggy from Lyman to Morgan for visits with her family.

Orin worked hauling freight from the railroad yards in Carter, Wyoming, to a mine located in Vernal, Utah.  (approx. 90 miles one way)  He would be away from 2-3 weeks at a time. 

In Lyman, they had an ice house, and stored blocks of ice that had been cut from the frozen canal.  Eliza churned butter and could store it in the ice house until she could take it into town to sell.  Drinking water came from a ditch, and always kept Eliza's stomach upset.  Orin's three younger brothers who never married came to live with them.  Eliza had all of the work to do.  She washed on an old washing board.  

The story is told of Orin once saying, "If you want to live in Wyoming, you had better marry a Wyoming girl".  Eliza never liked living on the ranch, and Orin was away much of the time,  so in 1909 a combination of several things, including Eliza's father's stroke,  made it seem best to return to Utah.  Her brother Coulson, who was living in Idaho also died this year.  He was 40 years old.

By now Eliza's parents were 75 years old and needed help to run the farm.   She and Orin bought the Peterson family farm (part her share of the inheritance, and part purchased), and they also tried to keep the farm going in Lyman, with help from Orin's brothers who lived there.  Eventually they traded  the Lyman ranch for farm property in Porterville (Barclay Earl Farm).

*Note from Aunt Barbara: It always used to bother our Grandma (Anona) that Eliza would refer to the farm as HER farm.  Yes part of it was her inheritance, but they both together (Orin and Eliza) purchased the greater part of it. 

A year after Eliza and family returned to Richville, (1910) her father died.  He was buried in the small cemetery that had been part of the Peterson property, just a few hundred yards south of the home.

Two more children were born to Eliza and Orin, Wanda and Russell (1914 and 1916)

** Gwen - I remember Grandma telling me that the day before or the day of the delivery of Russell, (Grandma would have been about 13 years old) her mom, Eliza, pulled her aside, and whispered, "Well, I guess you know we are going to get a baby", acting all embarrassed about it.  I still to this day, remember Grandma Anona rolling her eyes, and telling me, "Of course I knew she was going to have a baby !"

Both Orin and Eliza were hospitable people.  Orin was always quick to invite anyone who needed a meal or a place to stay, and although she was probably dismayed more than once by unexpected company, Eliza always made them welcome and could soon put a good meal on the table.   She always had homemade bread, and she could make very good milk gravy, whether she had meat cooked, or not.   No one was ever made to feel unwelcome. (This reminds me of Grandma so much !)

Wanda's memories:  Mother, she just cooked and cooked and fed people.  Every Sunday night, depend on us to have a crowd there for dinner at night.  I don't know how she did it.  But it wasn't just Sunday night, Sunday afternoon, or at noon time we'd have a bunch there for dinner (lunch).  Never failed, - every Sunday.

We always had food.  We had a pantry, and the shelves were always full.  Eliza (MOM) would spend all day Saturday making pies.  She always had a fruit cake around.  She always had some kid of goodies.  Mother did lots of canning.  She must have done 300-400 bottles a year.  We had a cellar down behind the house, and the shelves there were always filled.  Every summer she would split the beans, putting them in five gallon crocks.  Split every bean and then put a layer of beans and a layer of coarse salt.  They were good.

Every summer we would go down in the field and pick currants, chockcherries, sarvice berries.  We'd go down, spend a couple of hours picking fruit, then we'd come home and she would start canning.  She was always busy. 

I don't think Mother knitted.  She was always crocheting.  She'd never sit down five minutes, but she had something in her hands, some handiwork doing, usually crocheting.   She wouldn't just sit.  She loved to make rugs.  She had a loom, and she knew ho to thread that loom, and if she could get enough carpet rage which she sat and sewed together for nights and nights. She'd make her own rugs.   She loved to make quilts.  She liked to have a quilt on.  She had a big quilt frame that would take up the whole dining room.  She'd call in some relatives, some friends, and they'd have a quilting bee, and she'd cook dinner for them.  I guess she learned all of that from her mother. 

More than once Eliza and Orin opened their home to someone who seemed to need a place to live for a week or a month or the summer.  One young neighbor boy had a father who beat him often.  He would often show up at any time to stay a few days or longer until he was compelled to return to his own home. 

One summer, a young man from Lyman came to stay and work on the farm.  Eliza always starched his work shirts a little, because she said they were easier to clean when she washed them.  He told her he didn't like his shirts starched.  Her reply was that if she was going to do his washing, she was going to starch his shirts.  If he wanted them done without starch, he could wash them himself.  Nothing more was heard about un-starched shirts.

Wanda's memories: Mother had a niece that would come with her husband and two little kids to have dinner two or three nights a week.  Eliza felt sorry for her, and she was more of a mother to her than her own mother was. 

When Russell and I were little, mother would take us shopping over to Morgan.  She'd give each of us a dime, and we'd go sit in the drug store and have a strawberry drink.  She had this favorite store there, Williams, that she went there to shop.  She went every week or two.  She always had the money from the chickens that she raised.  That was her grocery money.  She deserved it, raising those little chickens like she did.

Wanda (6-7 years old): remembers her Mom and Dad taking her to Morgan in a wagon.  She doesn't remember having a buggy, but they would go in a wagon. Wanda remembers they always had a car, so she's not sure why they went in a wagon....

In the fall of 1918, Eliza's mother became ill, and Eliza cared for her in her home until she passed away in early 1919 (Age 85).  She too is buried in the Richville Cemetery.

Orin, Eliza's husband was a hard worker, but not much interested in farming, so as the boys grew a lot of the responsibility fell to them.  Orin had a great interest in prospecting, he just knew that someday he would strike it rich, and whenever he could get his hands on a little money it was likely to go for this purpose.   He was away a lot prospecting up Hardscrabble Canyon, or near Tonapah, Nevada where he owned another claim.   This was a great trial to Eliza,  and a BIG bone of contention in their marriage.  The use of money needed for the home and family, as well as being left to care for the farm and family alone, did not sit well with her, and they fought about it all the time.  She hated to see him just "put the money in the ground".   Eventually the farm in Porterville was sold and most of that money was used for more prospecting.

Wanda's memory:  When I was about in first or second grade, Russell and I were outside after breakfast (it must have been a Saturday), when a whole bunch of cars drove up, and we thought, "Boy, this is something... What is happening?".  A man said, "Is your Dad home?"  We said, "Yes".  We ran in and got him and he came out and it was the sheriff with a bunch of people with him.  He wanted to search the house and farm.  Dad went with him, and one of the guys stayed in the house with Mother, I guess to be sure she didn't escape and do something.  

Example of old still - 1920
Dad had a still that he kept moving around.  He'd have it up in the barn, down in the field, but it happened this one day that he had it right in the cellar.   I don't remember if they took him off to jail, but they did fine him $300, and that was a lot of money.   Mom (Eliza) didn't say much about this.  Click here for more information about Prohibition in Utah

Wanda's memories of holidays:  

Christmases - We always had a tree, and we used to string popcorn and cranberries, and we'd put on candles that were in little containers that we would hang on the tree.  We'd light the, but we always had to stay right there so the tree wouldn't catch fired.  We'd put stocking out, and that was a treat for us on Christmas to get an orange and a banana.  Bananas were a treat when I was a kid.  I don't know why, if it was the expense of them or if there just weren't many of them, but we didn't have bananas very often. 

Kenneth and Dutch would get out the bells and ring them and say, "You'd better get up to bed. Santa Claus is going to be here".  So I'd go up the old cold stairway and into bed with my warm bricks.  We always had a good Christmas, a big dinner.  We got presents, and I got a doll every year, and clothes.  Nona would always make clothes for my dolls.

On Halloween we'd knock on neighbor's windows...... we didn't dress up on Halloween.  On Easter we always had a new dress.  We didn't have egg hunts, but we always colored eggs.  Of course Easter was always on Sunday, and we always had a big crowd at our place.  Mother was always cooking.  She was happy when she was cooking.

Orin and Eliza's family was growing up.  Anona (our grandma) was the first child married in 1925, and moved just a quarter of a mile north of the big red house.  Aunt Barbara was the oldest child, and the first grandchild born in the Porter family.  She loved to walk "up to Grandma's".  There were still four unmarried children living there and they all made her feel special.  She remembers her grandparents (Orin and Eliza) telling her stories.

Wanda's memories:  I was about 10 years old when Nona got married.  I remember when she was courting Reed, and when he would come to the house I would hide behind the door so I could see them kiss.

They got married and had a big wedding.  Mother planned it all.  They had a hot chicken dinner.  She had everything cooked.  There must have been maybe a hundred or a hundred and fifty or 200 people there.  This was in the Richville church.     I don't know who helped to cook the dinner, but that is a lot to cook.  Mother could plan things like that.  She was a good cook.

When Nona got married, Dutch came down with a bad stomach ache.  He didn't complain about it too much because he didn't want to spoil the wedding.  Dad (Orin) had a dream about 3 days later, and it worried him.  He said, "We are getting him to the hospital", so they took him to the hospital in Salt Lake and he had a ruptured appendix.  It had been ruptured a long time.  He was in the hospital for three weeks, and Mother's brother (who was a doctor) operated on him.  For a while they didn't think he was going to make it. He was only about 18 or 19. 

Nearly every night Nona and Reed would walk up the road to Eliza's (her mom's) with Barbara and Dixie.  Anona would carry one, and Reed would carry the other.  They'd spend an hour or two. 

Mother used a curling iron that she would heat in the stove.  She'd take the lid off the stove and put the curling iron in to get it hot to curl her hair.  

Kenneth, Golden, and Wanda, married in 1933, 1934 and 1935.

1935 - Eliza and Orin's grandson (Kenneth's boy) died of meningitis.  He was only 7 months old, a cute little boy, blond hair, blue eyes. 

This was also the time of  Great Depression which affected every business and family in the country.  It had an effect on the Porter family also. 

Farm products were practically worthless, unemployment was very high, and Congress had just passed a bill called the Townsend Act.  This was an effort to help older Americans.  This act allowed a small pension to those older than sixty-five, if they owned no property.  People called this an Old Age Pension.  This was before Social Security had been established.  As a result of all these factors, the farm was put into the son's names, and in 1936 or 1937, it was decided the Orin, Eliza and Russell (youngest child) would move to Salt Lake City.  The red brick house was remodeled to make separate apartments for Kenneth and Golden and their wives.

They were in Salt Lake for about 11 years.  Russell (age  20) got a job at a dairy, and someway they managed to all live.  The first place they lived was in a converted garage, covered with tarpaper.  The water came from a well and had so much dissolved iron in it that it tasted terrible and was sort of yellow in color.  It must have been so hard for all of them.  They had been living in a two story house, where the downstairs was cool in summer.  Morgan had cool nights, Salt Lake nights were hot.  Eliza especially had a hard time adjusting and  never really enjoyed living in the city.  Although she had some good neighbors and enjoyed their association, she was never completely happy away from Morgan.   Orin loved it, riding the bus to town to meet old friends in a lobby of a hotel, to talk and smoke and play cards, and to visit the courthouse to watch divorce proceedings!  But Eliza had worked too hard for too long to be able to fill her days in a small apartment.  She sewed and pieced quilts and quilted, and crocheted, but time was still heavy on her hands.  

Addresses in SLC where they lived
33rd S or 36th S and 4th E
24th south
6th East just north of Liberty Park (duplex)
1076 Lake Street (half block east of Liberty Park) (corner of Yale Ave and Lake St.)

When grand-daughter  Vanna was born she was premature, and Eliza stayed with Kenneth and Jessie to help out.  She was in her 60's then.   She also went to Idaho when Wanda had her daughter Pauline to help out. 

By 1947 Porter Brothers (Kenneth, Golden, Russell)  had formed a partnership.  Kenneth ran the farm and some cattle, Golden ran sheep, and Russell raised turkeys and managed the mink.  The brothers bought another farm in Morgan City, and there was a little frame house on this property.  Orin and Eliza moved from Salt Lake City to this house.    Eliza was very happy to be back in Morgan, and she contentedly lived out the rest of her life there.

(Little home on Young street, next to the red brick home that Golden lived in) 

Eliza saw her remaining 6 brothers die from 1926 to 1947, which left her the only member living in her immediate family.

Eliza and Orin and their children - late 1940's
Back Row:  Golden (Dutch) Porter, Wanda Sherman, Russell Porter
Front Row:  Anona Dickson, Eliza Porter, Orin Porter, Kenneth Porter

Orin and Eliza and their grandchildren - late 1940's
They ended up having 21 grandchildren.  17 are shown in this picture.

Orin died in 1951 after a short illness just two weeks before his 81st birthday.  

Three years later in 1954, Eliza died just six days before her 81st birthday.  She died in her sleep. It was a bad heart that took her.  She had heart trouble the last few years of her life, and took heart medication.  

Orin and Eliza's temple work was completed after they died by their children.

Eliza was a fairly tall woman with a big frame.  Her left arm and leg were slightly smaller in diameter than the right arm and leg, and she stood and walked just a little lop-sided.  She said it was because she had carried babies on her hip and she worked and cooked.  Her family thinks she had polio as a child, although she never remembered an illness like that.

She was tall enough to make it difficult to buy a dress as long as she liked, and she would take the hem out of a new dress, and carefully face the bottom of it to get another 2-3 inches in length.  She wore glasses for most of her adult life.  That's the first thing she put on in the morning and the last thing she took off at night.  When she was prepared for burial she didn't look right until they placed her glasses on her face.  Her hair was fine and thin, and when she died there were only a few strands of gray in the dark brown hair.

She was a "worrier".  Everyone's troubles became hers, and she anticipated trouble and worried about everyone and everything.

She was a kind and loving mother a raised a good family.  For most of her life things were not easy for her.  There was too little money and too much work, but she always made the best of whatever she had to do.


Mother born (Mette Margrete Juulsen) in Denmark
Father born (Baltzar Sorenson Peterson) in Denmark
Parents Married

Brother Nels born

Brother Soren born

Sister Laura born

Margete and Baltzar baptized into LDS church
Brother Joel born (February)


Sister Laura died (March) (14 months old)

(April) Family left on a steamer for USA
(June) arrived in New York
(September) arrived in Salt Lake City
Brother Joseph born

Joseph drowned in Millrace (15 months old)
Brother Baltzar Jr. born

Log home built to replace dugout
Brother Charles Coulson born

Brother George born

Anna Eliza born

Brother William born

William died (14 months old)

Brother Frederick Leander born

Nels and Soren (two older brothers moved to Preston, ID)
New brick home built

Homesteaded in Lyman Wyoming
Married Sanford Orin Porter
Lived in Lyman, Wyoming
Son Kenneth born

Daughter Anona born

Stillborn baby

Son Golden (Dutch) born

Father Baltzar Sr. had a stroke
Brother Charles Coulson died (December) (40 years old)
Orin and Eliza moved back to Morgan
Daughter Wanda born

Son Russell born

Daughter Anona married
Son Dutch almost died with ruptured appendix
Barbara, first grandchild was born
Brother  Nels died (69 years old)
Brother Soren died  (68 years old)
Son Kenneth married

Son Golden married

Daughter Wanda married

Moved to Salt Lake City
Son Russell married

brother George died (70 years old)
brother Frederick Leander died  (64 years old)
brother Baltzar Jr. died ( 77 years old)
brother James Joel died (84 years old)
Moved back to Morgan

Anna Eliza died (81 years old)
Orin and Eliza's temple work completed

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