|Vol. 3, No. 3 & 4 - April 2007
Joseph F. Buchanan
John and Ann Parsons Lovell came across the plains from the expulsion from Nauvoo and lived several years in western Iowa. Martha Ann was born in Iowa and her mother died when she was but two years old, in December of 1851. Elizabeth Smith was known to the family and John asked her to marry him. They were married the following March in Iowa. Elizabeth was 46 years old and had never married. According to the Widdison history, "She was willing and anxious to give a mother's love and care to the children. She was truly loved by the children, too. John and Elizabeth never had any children of their own." They came to Utah later that year with the young family.
A few years later, in 1855 in Fillmore, Utah, she received her Patriarchal Blessing and was promised: "Thou wilt be brought to an understanding of the purposes and designs of thy creation to enable thee to set thy house in order whereby thou will be called a Mother in Israel." Elizabeth had no children of her own, but was the only mother Martha Ann would know. Martha's two living brothers, George and Joseph Hyrum also looked to Elizabeth as their mother and so Elizabeth was indeed a "Mother in Israel".
The family of Jens and Ane Pedersen Andersen came to Fillmore in October, 1854. It is said that they were one of the first Scandinavian saints in the county. They had two young boys in the family, Anders Peter and Christian Andersen. Jens and Ane had another son born one year later. Jens died eighteen days after little Joseph Smith Andersen was born. Peter reports in his history: "We were the only Scandinavian family in Fillmore and being unable to speak the English language, mother passed through experiences which were calculated to test her faith to the utmost." Ane is often referred to as Anna, because that is the way it is pronounced in Danish.
John and Elizabeth Lovell, at the encouragement of their bishop, took care of Anna and her little family. On the 4th of April, 1857, with the encouragement of Elizabeth and the permission of President Brigham Young, John married Anna as a plural wife. At the same time, John stood in as proxy as Anna was sealed to her husband Jens, all the Endowment House in Salt Lake City.
In April 1857, with the uniting of these families, Martha Ann was 8 years old and Peter was 9 and they were step-siblings by the marriage of their parents. The families lived together for a few years, with Elizabeth and Anna caring for the combined 5 boys and 1 girl. The oldest, George Lovell was now 21 and unmarried, the youngest Joseph Smith Andersen was 18 months old. Two children were born to John and Anna in the next couple of years, Castina and Ann Elizabeth (the last named for the two mothers).
In March 1860, Brigham Young called for several families to establish a new settlement on the Sevier River, called Deseret. John took his family to answer this call, but left Elizabeth and Martha Ann to live in Fillmore where conditions would not be so harsh. The rest of the family moved and worked hard to build the fort and community of Deseret. Anna was the first white woman in the area, and lived in the most primitive of conditions with her family.
From "Milestones of Millard", page 428, we read: "John Powell, one of the first settlers, wrote in his journal that Anna Lovell, wife of John Lovell, was the first white woman to make her home in Deseret. The Lovells first lived in a wagon while they made the adobes for their two-room house which when completed had a large fireplace in each room. "The story is told of how one day the Indians kept hanging around the Lovell place and upon being asked why, they expressed that Mrs. Lovell was the first white woman they had ever seen. After that the Lovells made friends with these Indians and gave them flour and other food. In return the Indians helped them clear the land of greasewood."
So here was Anna (Ane) with a large family. She still did not understand English well and they were in very primitive conditions in the Pahvant desert. Besides the difficult living conditions, this was also the time of the Blackhawk Indian War. The fort in Deseret was there for that purpose. This fort was built in the summer of 1865. In "Utah's Black Hawk War" by John Alton Peterson, page 298, it says, "Residents of the Millard County settlement of Deseret, for example, erected a two-acre mud-and-adobe-brick fort in nine days by having two thirty-two-man teams race to see who could complete their half of the fort first. The losers were to provide the winners with a dinner and a dance. The contest ended in a draw, however, when part of the winners' wall collapsed. Both sides enjoyed the dinner and dance inside their new fort, but only after shoring up the sagging wall." (reference: Cropper, "Life and Experience," 51-53; and "The History of Christian Overson.") It also stated that since this fort was not built of stones, later coveted as building materials, it is the only fort still in existence from that time.
Over the years they built and rebuilt the dam on the Sevier River and it kept washing out. From "Milestones of Millard, page 477, it says, "On July 15, 1868, the last dam in Deseret washed away. The people decided not to build it again but to try to find some other place to live. Some of the people were interested in going to Oak Creek."
During their years in Deseret, the people spent some of their summer times in the mountains and canyons to the east and enjoyed the area that would become the town of Oak City. In the fall of 1868, the city was laid out and John Lovell purchased lots for his two families. According to the John Lovell history, page 65, "John and Anna moved the doors, windows and floors from their home in Deseret and John rebuilt them into a similar home in Oak City, on the northwest corner of his lot. He built another two-room adobe house on the southeast corner. ... He went to Fillmore and brought Elizabeth Smith Lovell and his daughter Martha and moved them into this home."
Quoted from Martha Ann Lovell's History, the Lovell history continues: "The two families mingled together in harmony and the children grew up to respect and look to the interests of each other. Elizabeth Smith bore no children of her own, but was truly loved and respected by all of her husband's children." The John Lovell history continues, "Family tradition says that Elizabeth and Anna became good friends, sharing many of the responsibilities for the two families. The children ran back and forth between the two homes and considered each house as their home, no matter which wife lived there. Each evening the women would feed whoever was at their home and put them to bed somewhere. The families were never concerned if there was a missing child because they knew that they would be cared for at the other wife's home. A path between the two homes was never allowed to become overgrown with plants because many footsteps kept it worn bare." - From "Visions of Time," compiled by Rebecca Freeman, p. 65.
Anna and Elizabeth continued to work together in raising their families for years to come. On January 13, 1881, John Lovell died. Elizabeth and Anna continued to live in their homes after John's death. Some of Elizabeth's children lived with her until her death, 8 years later. At the time of John's death, Anna was 56. From the John Lovell history, we read: "Anna continued to live in the home John built for her. The home was across the street diagonally from the Co-op store. After the United Order was discontinued, the co-op store continued to function. Peter Anderson continued to manage it. He also worked the farm, so his mother became the principal clerk of the store. She clerked in the store but didn't spend her days there but would go there as needed. A well worn path ran between her home and the store from her constant coming and going. She not only clerked, but also kept the books. She was well educated, but not fluent in English so she kept the books in Danish. Once a week Peter would copy the records into English. She clerked in the store for 12 to 15 years.
"Anna always wore a little knot hood during the day and a white cotton hood at night. She never ate anything but bread and milk for her supper. One time Peter made some ice cream and took some to her. She didn't know what it was having never seen ice-cream before. She didn't know what to do so she let it melt before she ate it. Anna was a faithful, prayerful woman, teaching her children to pray always and to be faithful to their commitments to the Lord." - From "Visions of Time," compiled by Rebecca Freeman, p. 74, 75.
Anna lived to the age of 96, dying on August 28, 1920. My mother, Arvilla, says that she remembers her and of her eating bread and milk every night. She was a great influence in the lives of her posterity, which at the time of her death numbered 74 grandchildren, 163 great-grandchildren and 10 great-great-grandchildren.
These two women were a great blessing to the Anderson and Lovell families. They were called upon to make great sacrifices in difficult times of the church and the pioneer people in Millard County and have left a great legacy for us to follow.
They will have copies of the new book, "Our Dutson Heritage" available for purchase. The cost of the book is $30.00. Checks should be made out to Nel Lo H. Bassett. If ordered for shipping, it costs an additional $5.00 for one book, $3.00 for additional books. Books can be ordered through:
Nel Lo H. Bassett
1055 East Hillcrest Dr.
Springville, UT 84663-2152