|Ogden Valley News
|In Copyright (InC)
|SR Communications DBA, Eden, Utah
|Digitized by J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah
|Ogden Valley News
Volume XIV Issue XVIII The Ogden Valley news Page 11 December 1, 2007 The Big, Dumb Swede By LeMoyne (Sherm) Hislop The Ogden Valley is east of Ogden. The Ogden River flows through an extremely narrow gorge that was very difficult to traverse before the days of dynamite. A railroad track and a narrow two-lane road were eventually built through the 6 miles of steep canyon. The Ogden Valley is shaped like a halfmoon and is about 8 miles wide and 20 miles long. The top of the half-moon starts at the northeast corner of the valley and ends to the south. Three streams, identified by the settlers as the North Fork, the South Fork, and the Middle Fork, join together at the head of Ogden Canyon and form the Ogden River. Prior to the arrival of the Mormons in 1847, the valley was used by the Blackfoot Indians. The Blackfoot Indians used to come down, from what is currently Idaho, and cross over the low mountains on the northeast end of the valley. During the summer months, they would stay in the valley to fish and to hunt elk and deer for food and hides. Also, they would gather and dry berries, currents, elderberries, and sarvice berries for the winter. The Indians were wise enough to leave the valley every year, prior to the first snowstorms, which generally occurred in November. The snow in Huntsville often covered over 6 feet of the valley floor. Most winters, the temperatures exceeded 50 degrees below zero, and the mountains around the valley had snow as high as 15 feet or more. From October to the first of January, early trappers used the valley to trap beaver, mink, and muskrat. They would shoot a few coyotes and wolves, but those pelts and furs were not in demand like the beaver and mink. One such mountain man, Peter Skeen Ogden, built a cabin at the mouth of Weber canyon, which was about 15 miles southwest of Huntsville. The Mormon pioneers bought his claim to the surrounding area and the city of Ogden was named after him. The majestic mountains above Ogden rise over 10,000 feet. They have several high peaks such as Ben Lomond, Mount Ogden, Malan Heights, and others. The rockiness of the canyon slowed the early Mormon settlement of Ogden Valley. The valley was first settled by Captain Hunt, who had been with the pioneers when they entered the Salt Lake Valley. Therefore, the first town formed in the valley was called Huntsville. The pioneers originally used the Ogden area for cattle and a few sheep. During the summer and fall months, individual would camp in the valley to watch over and protect their livestock. The valley had some features that attracted the growing number of settlers who were coming to Utah. One of those features was water. Some flatlands and many meadows near where the three rivers ran, providing excellent feed for cattle. There was also wild hay that could be harvested and used to feed cattle in the winter. The first settlers in the valley were form the LDS Church. In the beginning they were mostly English, Scottish, and Irish, but soon a few people from Holland and Denmark also arrived. Their names are still in the families that live there today, such as Wangsgard, Christiansen, Mortenson, Andersen, Madsen, Fuller, Smith, etc. Most of the early settlers in the valley went there to raise families. There were a few bachelors who came later, but there was not much of an opportunity for them to find a single woman to marry there. For example, Martin Christiansen, Hans Andersen, and Carl Christiansen were three bachelors who moved into the community, but never did marry or have families. There was only one bachelor convert who came from Swede. He was a classic Swede: about six foot three, blond hair, blue eyes, and blonde whiskers. He looked quite different from the Welsh, British, and Scottish who already lived there. Individuals who came from the nonEnglish portion of the world often had a difficult time speaking the English language. Some people in the community would try to cast aspersions on the way the newcomers talked and ate. However, it didn’t have much of an influence on their dress because most in the west dressed similarly. The Swedish man’s name was Sven. Most people were never aware of his name because he was often referred to as “The Big, Dumb Swede.” Sven had a small house on the edge of town where he raised rabbits, milked cows, raised raspberries, and hunted to survive. He supplemented his food by going to the surrounding hills and shooting young deer, putting them on his shoulders, and bringing the carcasses back for winter food. Sven was a convert to the LDS Church and was most faithful in attending the Sunday meetings. One unique aspect the Swede brought to the valley was the use of skis. Even though there was a lot of snow in the valley, most used sleighs and horse drawn bobsleds during the wintertime. For them, traipsing through the snow in town could be challenging, but for the Swede, who had designed and made himself a pair of skis from the maples in the hills, it was easy. He had soaked the cut maple in hot water, steamed it, turned its ends up, cut grooves in the bottom, and added straps and holes so he could tie them to snow boots. Using his skis he could roam the hills during the winter. Having someone who could travel in the deep snow and bring in fresh meat was a great value to many in the town. At the time, there were no doctors in the BIG SWEDE cont. on page 12 Historical Photo The Eden Brass Band performed for the early settlers of Eden at many ward functions. The members of the band were residents, many of whom were talented and accomplished musicians. The brass band was popular, especially during town celebrations as the 4th and 24th of July. Shown above are the main members of the band posed around the turn of the century on the public square. Back row from left: Rudgur Ferrin, Levi Gould, J. Pearce Graham, and George Stallings. Second row: Earl Ferrin, Eli Sprague, Furgus Wilson, George Ritter, Andy Chambers, and Clarence Gould. Front row: John Chambers, Rexall Bachman, Parley Farrell, John Wilson, Martin Farrell, Clyde Fuller, and Nevell Jones. Picture taken from “History of the Eden Ward,” and submitted by Blaine Gardner. Celeste C. Canning PLLC Attorney at Law 2590 Washington Boulevard, Suite 200 Ogden, Utah 84401 Local: (801) 791-1092 Office: (801) 612-9299 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Meeting the Legal Needs of Small Business and Their Owners FREE Initial Thirty Minute Consultation. Appointments in Ogden Valley upon request.