|Birth: ||Sep. 22, 1864|
|Death: ||Nov. 23, 1904|
Casas Grandes Municipality
Memories of Emma Johannah Nielsen
24 September 1864 -23 November 1904
This history was taken from writings of Florence Whetten Martineau and Hazel Whetten Lewis, daughters of Emma Johannah and John Thomas Whetten.
Emma Johannah Nielsen was born the 22nd of September 1864 in Milton, Morgan County, Utah to Niels Nielsen and Jensine Christine Jensen Nielsen, both of Denmark. Emma was the second of five children. Laura Serena the oldest, died at the age of five years, Emma Johannah, Niels Joseph, Martin Hyrum who died the same year he was born, and Jensine Christine.
Emma’s mother died when Emma was about six years old leaving three of five children; Emma six, Joseph four, and Christine three weeks. The baby Christine was adopted out, leaving her father with two small children to care for.
He married about two years later, June 1872 to Bertha Marie Fredrickson then to Karen Marie Rasmussen in 1873. After having added more children to the family, these mothers also died, leaving the family motherless again. Emma being the oldest girl, took over and did the best she could to care for her father and the younger children.
Sometime during this period, they moved to Grass valley, (Marion, Utah). It was here Emma met and became acquainted with John Thomas Whetten. John T. already had a wife, Agnes Belzora, and although the Saints were being persecuted for practicing polygamy, they talked it over and decided to take the step anyway. He proposed marriage to Emma Johannah and she accepted. A marriage into polygamy took a great deal of courage and faithfulness as it came at a time when polygamists were being hunted down and put in jail. For this reason a certain amount of secrecy was exercised. John T. made arrangements for her brother Joe to take Emma to meet him in St. George. She left home with her brother with all apparent intent to go north to her relatives in Spanish Fork but instead went south to St. George where she and John T. Whetten were married in the St. George temple, for time and eternity, on the 18th of December 1885, by David H. Cannon. David H. Cannon was the one who officiated at the marriage of John T. Whetten and Agnes Belzora. Emma became the second wife of John Thomas Whetten.
Emma returned to Grass Valley to care for her father and his motherless children. John T., Belzora and family went back to Snowflake, Arizona. It was not until December of 1887 that Emma was able to join her husband in Snowflake, Arizona.
Emma's first child, Joseph Nielsen, was born in Snowflake on the 5th of September 1888. The federal officials wasted no time in pursuit, trying to decide who her husband was. It began to be whispered around that she must be the wife of John T. Whetten, as no one could figure out who else she belonged to. John T. decided to move his families to Old Mexico to avoid the problem. They quietly arranged their affairs and on the 23rd of February 1889 started supposedly for the Gila Valley, but continued on into Mexico. On the first of May 1889, they passed over the area where Dublan now is. Emma found herself a pioneer in a strange land, as her parents had been before her, for the sake of the gospel. The Whettens were now a part of that Mormon pioneer movement that settled the many ranches and colonies of northern Chihuahua and Sonora for a principle, polygamy.
All their worldly possessions consisted of four mules, two wagons, two horses and eight cows. A family of two wives and four children. They suffered many hardships, but were very happy, and were true and faithful to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and they were blessed for their faithfulness.
They arrived in Cave Valley, a small settlement high in the mountains, on the 5th of May 1889. Their second son Thomas Daniel, was born on the 21st of April 1890. Her next two children, Minda and Florence were born on a ranch named Corrales, near the budding mountain towns of Pacheco and Garcia - Minda on the 3rd of September 1891 and Florence on the 11th of Oct. 1893.
It was not long before they had to move again, into the safety of a town. The Thompson family had been murdered by Indians on the Pratt ranch; so it was advised that all outlying people move into the larger settlements. In November of 1894 they moved into Garcia where they built a four-room log cabin, adding a lean-to on the back, making six rooms in all. Emma Johannah used two rooms leaving four for Agnes Belzora, for her larger family.
The few years she lived in this home were filled with great joys, but also great tragedy. Her fifth child, Hazel, was born in Garcia on the 14th of November 1896. Just about two years later, tragedy struck and her second son Thomas, age eight, died of typhoid fever, followed two weeks later by the death of her oldest child Joseph, nearly ten years of age, of the same dreaded disease. About three weeks later she gave birth to her sixth child, Henry Alden, on the 8th of August 1898.
Emma Johannah moved into a house just across the fence, leaving the other home to Zora and her large family. This home belonged to James Huff, part of which he used as a store. The part Emma Johannah used consisted of a small kitchen, pantry and one large room where all other living went on, eating, sleeping, etc.
Pioneer life was very hard. The most dreaded times were when the various epidemics carne, gripping the hearts of everyone as they struggled to survive the dreaded diseases. These epidemics were no respecters of persons or their circumstances; so it was that on the night Emma began labor with her seventh child, the family was struggling with the terrible whooping cough which had gripped her family. Her two year old Henry would go into such spasms of coughing that he would pass out. One time he was out for so long they thought they had lost him. Emma sent her daughter Florence to the barn for father, John T. to come administer to him. Hazel said: “I remember so well of mother telling us of Henry's miraculous healing. For twenty minutes they could detect no breath of life in him. Father administered to him and by the power of the Priesthood, he was restored, and recovered.” Don Carlos was born that night, on the 17th of August 1900. In order to keep Don Carlos from getting the whooping cough, Emma wrapped him snugly and put him out on the porch all day, each day. He did not contract it.
Minda, her third child, now the oldest, contracted rheumatic fever. For weeks she could not lie down, she had to be propped up in a chair by the fire. Emma made a pallet on a box by the side of the bed where she could kneel and lay her head on the bed. Her poor little body puffed up with the excess fluid it contained. She gradually began to improve until Emma let her sleep with her two little sisters, Florence and Hazel. How thrilled they were to have their beloved Minda with them. This respite was short lived and Minda began to worsen. One night Emma got up to check on her and Minda asked to be held on her lap. Emma took her on her lap and held her and rocked her. A short time later Florence got up and Emma told her to go get her father up as Minda was dying. Minda lay back on her mother's breast and passed away. She died on the 29th of December 1900. She was nine years old.
Hazel said: “That was the first I remember of death. Mother suffered many heartaches, but always acknowledged the hand of our Heavenly Father, and was very faithful in serving him.”
Emma’s eighth child, Adelaide was born on 11th of December 1902, and lived only two months. She died 10 February 1903. Her ninth child was a son, stillborn, just a few weeks before she herself passed away after suffering a horrible illness. In Garcia, Emma buried half her family, two boys and two girls.
Emma Johannah died at the age of forty, after nineteen years of married life. She gave birth to nine children, five of whom had preceded her to the grave, and all within the previous six years. The four children who survived her were Florence age eleven, Hazel age eight, Henry Alden age six, and Don Carlos age four. Don Carlos died at the age of nineteen years, almost twenty. The other three lived to marry and leave her a posterity. Florence had fourteen children, Hazel five, and Henry five.
Florence remembers her mother as having light brown hair, blue eyes and weighing about one hundred fifty pounds.
Contributed by: Tonie Alldredge Miller
Niels Nielson (1824 - 1909)
John Thomas Whetten (1862 - 1932)
Florence Whetten Martineau (1893 - 1984)*
Henry Alden Whetten (1898 - 1969)*
Emma Johannah Nielsen Whetten (1864 - 1904)
Martha Sene Christene Nielson (1874 - 1875)*
Alma Nielson (1877 - 1930)*
Mary Ordena Nielson Dalley (1879 - 1960)*
Daniel Brigham Nielson (1881 - 1939)*
Casas Grandes Municipality
Created by: bbardot
Record added: Aug 11, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 95189112