Martin Petersen was born in Aarhus, Denmark, March 24, 1873; the son of Andrew Tyre and Anna Margretta Madsen Petersen.
At the age of nine he emigrated with his parents to this country where they settled in Huntsville, Utah. He married Laura Dame Draper November 28, 1893 in Moroni, Utah. In the spring of 1898 he went to Lund, Nevada and worked at the Home Ranch, which is now called Lund. He assisted in clearing brush for which is now the town-site of Lund.
Mr. Petersen purchased the first piece of property the Nevada Land and Livestock sold. In 1898 Mr. Petersen and his family located at the Georgetown Ranch. He hauled logs south of Timber Creek and built the first three log houses in the Georgetown site. In 1903 he moved his family to Preston, Nevada, where he engaged in farming. Later he returned to Ely where he was engaged in the mercantile business.
He helped to build what is now the Bank Club Lounge which was then known as the Ely Mercantile Co. Later he returned to Preston where he engaged in farming again. In 1909 Mr. Petersen was called on a mission for the L.D.S. Church for two years in Denmark. In the early part of 1920 Mr. Petersen returned to Ely where he was appointed Road Supervisor for White Pine County. Mr. Petersen was elected to a four year term as County Commissioner from 1936-1940. He again was elected Commissioner and served a two year term from 1940 to 1942. In 1944 he was elected to the State Assembly and served two years. At intervals during his life he was employed at the Kennecott Copper Company.
Martin Petersen passed away February 18, 1964 at Ely, Nevada. He was buried in the Preston Cemetery.
Laura Dame Draper Petersen was born September 16, 1874 in Freedom, Sanpete County, Utah, to William Lathrop and Fannie Eckersly Draper. This being the age of polygamy, she was one of thirty children. Her mother was the third of three wives.
Laura's schooling was to and including the seventh reader. When in her teens she became sort of a rotation teacher. She went to evening class for instruction and then taught younger children these lessons the following day.
When her father passed away, her mother exchanged their farm in Freedom for sheep and a home in Moroni. Here she learned dressmaking from Betsy Blackham and worked at that trade until she married at nineteen.
Her husband, Peter Martin Petersen, was working as a miller at the Nephi Flour Mill. They made their home there, but when their first child, Lowell, was born and of delicate health, she moved back to her mother's as she needed her assistance. Soon her husband moved back to Moroni and worked on a farm. They bought a two room adobe house a few blocks from her mother.
Two more sons, Andy and Wilmot, were born to them in Moroni and then they moved to Nevada along with her husband's family. Both Mart and his father bought farms from the Church as they wanted them to colonize this large ranch with Latter-Day Saints.
Quoting from Laura's writing, "Our three boys were four years, two years and the baby two months when we loaded our few things into a wagon and started out for a place I felt was at the end of the earth. Andy, the two year old, was ill when we left and the doctor said only a change of climate would cure him, and that we may bury him on the way as the old pioneers had done with so many, but we ran the risk and moved."
Laura tells how the wild ducks her brother Wilford killed and cooked helped her son Andy to gain an appetite and soon get much better.
They settled at the Georgetown Ranch in two small rooms till Mart could get out logs and build a larger house. Then they moved into the townsite with only two houses built, theirs and his father's. Here two little girls were born to them: Laura Vie, who lived only two months, and Margery, who lived only seventeen months. After about five years they moved to Preston, Nevada, and built homes there. Here Eva and Comins were born and also a baby boy, Preston Fremont, who lived only a week.
Quoting from Laura's writing again, "Soon after this Mart left for a mission to Denmark in May 1909. He was gone for two years and I was left with five children to support besides keeping him in the Mission Field. My sons, now 14, 12, and 10, helped to run the farm, and also the big Black Rabbit farm of 90 acres I had to oversee as we had rented it for half of the crops, but my boys and I stacked the hay and hauled it to Ely to get only a very little money out of it. It took Lowell three days to make the trip to market, then many times he would come home with only what groceries we needed. No money. I had to prove up on the homestead and I did, andhad the deed all clear when Mart returned, so he had no debts to pay except $75.00 which I borrowed from Senator Comins to go to Salt Lake as he insisted I should go and meet my husband."
After his mission three more children were born; all girls: Delta, Della and Verla.
Some years later Laura and the three little girls moved to Ely. After living in Ely for ten years and being sixty years of age she sold her home, moving to Manti where she resided until she became ill and could not do for herself. She loved her home in Manti and it was with great difficulty that she was persuaded to leave it. Delta and her husband made her very welcome in their home, and as comfortable as it was humanly possible to do. All of the family members are so grateful and appreciative of this unselfish sacrifice and devotion to their mother. Laura passed away August 17, 1964 and is buried in the Manti Cemetery.
Laura was an exceptional nurse. Her children enjoyed being sick just to have her loving attention. Her hands were rough and worn from hard work, but were as gentle as an angel's. As there was not a doctor for thirty miles she did much nursing for the townfolk.
She was an expert horse woman. First, because of necessity, as she helped her oldest sonround up cattle; second, because she loved horses. She would wear a riding skirt and ride sidesaddle, as ladies did then.
She was blessed with nimble fingers and a great art for crocheting. This she enjoyed in her later years. When everyone in her Manti Ward was earning money for the chapel she sold lace doilies by the dozen, making a very generous contribution to the noble cause. This was when she was far past eighty.
She did Church work all her life, being active in Mutual, Relief Society and visiting teaching. After moving to Manti she did Temple work as long as she was physically able. She was a devout tithe payer. When on the Nevada farm she paid her tithing in produce. At one particular time when she had paid it in butter, a visiting authority eulogized her for her faithfulness and promised her she would never be without butter, and this was granted.
Mart and Laura had eleven children, eight of them lived to maturity.
Martin Lowell, their oldest son, was born in Nephi, Utah, 18 September 1894. He married Eva Olsen, a school teacher from Moroni, Utah. Eva and her sister Marie came to Preston to teach school. They taught in the old log house which was the schoolhouse, dance hall and church. Eva taught school many years in Preston after she and Lowell were married. There are very few children who grew up in Preston who didn't have her for their teacher. Lowell and Eva had one son, Murry, who is married to Betty Peacock. Martin Lowell Petersen died 4 Dedember 1955 and is buried in the Preston Cemetery. Eva lives in East Ely near her son Murry.
Andrew Lathrop was born in Moroni, Utah, 29 May 1896. He came to Preston with the family when very young. He married Violet Windous 2 April 1917 in Ely, Nevada. They went to Salt Lake City and were sealed in the Salt Lake Temple 4 April 1917 by Joseph Christiansen, a member of the Salt Lake Temple Presidency. They lived at McGill two and a half years where Andy worked for Kennecott Copper Corporation. They then leased a farm in Preston and lived until they moved to Wendell and Buhl, Idaho, where they lived for almost forty years. While in Preston they raised their family of one girl and five boys: Orlene, Rex, Van, Maun Tyre, Martin Thomas (Jr.), and Dale. They lost two boys at birth and three grown sons: Maun, Dale and Martin (Jr.) who passed away after a very painful sickness on 4 August 1979. Andy and Violet have kept busy and active in church work constantly.
They really loved church activities. They have been married 62 years.
Wilmot Lynn was born 13 July 1898 in Moroni, Utah. He came to Preston with the family when he was quite young. He and his wife Harriet lived in Preston for a short time. They had a son Billie. Wilmot (Bill) had several marriages and is the father of four sons. He is now 81 years old and lives at Humboldt, Arizona.
Eva Marjorie was born 3 April 1903 at Preston, Nevada. She married Lynn Crichlow. They had a son Lynn (Bud). Eva and Lynn lived in Ely. Later she married Lloyd Oxborrow of Lund. They were sealed in the St. George Temple. They also had Bud and Nolan sealed to them.
Henry Comins was born 19 October 1906 at Preston in a lumber house in Grandpa Andrew Petersen's orchard. It was very uncertain, at first, if he could live, but he is now 73 years old. He works on ranches, irrigates and does special farm work. He spends some time in Ely during the fall and winter months.
Delta Dame was born in Preston, 7 February 1912. She married Phil Campa and had two boys and two girls. Later she married Verl DeMill of Gunnison, Utah. They lived in Salt Lake City for many years where they cared for her mother during her last illness. They then moved to Midway for better out door living as Verl had attacks of asthma, and they are still living there (1979).
Della Pearl was born 8 February 1914 at Preston. She resided in Ely and spent much time with her father when he was in the rest home during his last years. After many years she had a job at a rest home in Reno. While here she had a brain tumor removed. She met Cecil Peters and they were married. They now reside at 77 Verdin Place, Reno, Nevada.
Verla was born 27 May 1916 in Preston. She is married to Bud Maylett and they live in Manti, Utah. They have several children. They have a grocery store and a sheep herd to keep them busy both winter and summer.
The three babies that died in infancy are buried in the Preston Cemetery.
Written and submitted by:
Andrew L. and Violet W. Petersen