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 Johann Rudolph Frei

Johann Rudolph Frei

Birth
Aargau, Switzerland
Death 7 Jul 1902 (aged 66)
Santa Clara, Washington County, Utah, USA
Burial Santa Clara, Washington County, Utah, USA
Plot Q05
Memorial ID 41986 · View Source
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Rudolph (originally Rudolf) was born in Schoftland, Aargau, Switzerland and christened in Lutisberg, St.Gallen. He was the son of Hans Jakob Frei and Anna Barbara Aerni. When he was 15 years old (1850) the Swiss Mission opened and LDS missionaries were sent to Switzerland and many of the people would accept their teachings. Rudolph was among these humble people who accepted the gospel. At age 24 (1859) he emigrated to Utah in the United States. Reasons for this desire included the fact that generally there were only one or two converts in a town and the persecutions were severe and there was no way to gather with others of his faith as there were too few to organize a branch of the church. Anna Margretha Nageli, a single girl from Switzerland came with a company of Swiss emigrants in 1860. These two met in Salt Lake City. After a short courtship they were married in the Endowment House in S.L.C. January 19, 1861. Soon after, they were called by Brigham Young to go with a company of Swiss emigrants to the extreme south of Utah as colonizers. 91 saints were in the company destined for Santa Clara. The leaders of the church were concerned about how these brave, hard-working people could best make a living. The trip to Santa Clare took over 3 weeks. The church furnished the teams and wagons for those who could not afford them. Rudolph and Margarthe were able to purchase their own. The colonists tried to be cheerful and happy on their long, weary trip. They sang songs and told stories to pass the time. In Santa Clara they found more sage brush than any thing else amd many Indians. The most difficult task was to find a place to live. They lived in their wagon box at first until a dugout was made. A few years later they built a log house, and every time it rained they had to put pans on the beds so the bedding wouldn't get wet.

Their son Edward Rudolph recalls, "I remember when we had nothing to eat. One day my father learned that brother Leavitt had come home from a trip up north with some flour. My father was a very reserved man,but seeing us hungry as we were, he took courage and went to Brother Leavitt. When brother Leavitt saw him coming he knew what Father wanted and said, 'Brother Frei all the flour is gone except this little more than half a sack, and you are welcome to take it.' My father had tears in his eyes for joy. He thanked Brother Leavitt and left his blessing with them. As he walked out, Sister Leavitt called him back. She had a dripper full of warm biscuits, she turned them out into a napkin saying, 'take these home for your children.'...We had a big feast.. for biscuits and molasses were our best food."

The Freis had seven children, only 3 lived to adulthood. (Jacob, Mary and Edward Rudolph). Rudolph was the first postmaster in Santa Clara and held the job for 20 years. He was school trustee for many years. He and Margaret worked very hard for a living. They walked 3 miles to St. George Field to plant crops, worked all day and walked home on one frugal meal. The Santa Clara saints made wine. Rudolph made wine but used it sparingly.

In later years He built an adobe house where they lived until their death. Rudolf died in 1902, margretha died 1911. The home was inherited by Jacob Frei who sold it to his son Vivian who had it remodeled.


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  • Maintained by: Gus Pendleton
  • Originally Created by: Utah State Historical Society
  • Added: 2 Feb 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 41986
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Johann Rudolph Frei (7 Oct 1835–7 Jul 1902), Find A Grave Memorial no. 41986, citing Santa Clara Cemetery, Santa Clara, Washington County, Utah, USA ; Maintained by Gus Pendleton (contributor 47054338) .