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CHRISTOPHER HELS PEHRRSON FRANK - SWEDEN TO UTAH
I will give you a thumbnail overview of what we have on the Christopher Hels
Pehrrson Frank history. Again, from memory, all my records are on my PC
laptop at home in California, and this is coming from my Macbook that is
traveling with us.

We have part of this history from my mother's two older sisters: Lola McPhee
and Annetta McPhee McKinley (there were seven sisters in the family), who
were born about 1906 and 1908 respectively in Salt Lake to Ella Vera Frank
and Albert Leslie McPhee, who were both born in the early 1880s. "Vi" and
"Bert" were married in 1905 in Salt Lake. Bert was not a Mormon and
visiting from Ontario in Eastern Canada, of Scottish origin. He met Vi and
two daughters were born to them prior to their emigration to Southern
Alberta in about 1910. My mother, Grayce Viola McPhee Elton was born in
1911 in Frankburg, Alberta, the Frank family settlement close to Blackie,
Alberta, about 10 miles east of High River, a town south of Calgary, where
the Frankburg town cemetery is located. I have visited it several times,
and it is now just a weed overgrown area off to the side of a gravel
agricultural road with a barbed wire fence around it.

Chris H.P. Frank was known to Lola, Annetta, Grayce and Mary and Rowena, the
next younger sisters, who lived in the same community; Chris I possibly
lived in their household in the latest years of his life. I can't remember
his birthdate and death date, but I believe he died somewhere close to 1920;
he would have been about 70 -75 years old; I have all this information at
home in California. In their later years, both Lola and Annetta and my
mother all wrote family histories of their parents and grandparents, and the
story as we have it goes like this (we actually have a book made up which
includes this history, I will find it when I get home and get a copy to you
either electronically or paper).

Christopher H. P. Frank was living in Malmo, Sweden, in 1869, and his beau
at that time (I think he was in his late 20s) was Ellen Larson. Ellen took
ill with a lung type of disease, and went up into the mountains to
recuperate for an extended time. In the meantime, apparently Chris did not
know if Ellen was coming back, and Ellen's closest friend, Hannah, also had
a thing going with Chris. Chris and Hannah immigrated to the US in mid 1869
(as per your previous email, thanks for the update on the ship, dates,
etc.), and were married, as I recall, either before sailing or in Salt Lake
(I think the latter). I did not know that Chris had other members of his
family who emigrated in years prior and following as you indicated (sister
Mathilda 20 May 1866; father Pehr 1871 with Ellen Larson; oldest sister
Gunnil and 10 year old daughter Ida in 1875).

As I recall (again subject to confirmation when I get home), Chris married
Hannah first in Utah. When Ellen came down from the mountains, she
basically asked "Where's Chris?" and "Where's Hannah?" When told they had
gone to Utah, she decided to go as well, which jives with your information
about her traveling in 1871 with Chris's father, Pers (that part I didn't
know). When Ellen got to Utah, she also married Chris, as I recall in the
Endowment House in Salt Lake. Chris also married a third woman, Betsy, who
lived in Salt Lake, (known as "Aunt Betsy" to my mother and her sisters) but
they never had any children to my knowledge and according to family lore.

Chris, Hannah, and Ellen settled in Santaquin, Utah, at the very southern
tip of Utah County, just south of Utah Lake, currently still a polygamist
settlement with a number of large polygamist family homes in the area.
Chris farmed there for over 30 years (1869-1902), leaving for Canada in
1902, at approximately age 60, quite a trip at that time. The family trek
was by wagon, and traveled over 800 miles on probably well established
routes and roads, but an enduring journey nonetheless. At the time of his
emigration to Canada, he took with him his son Chris (my mother's uncle,
brother to her mother Ella Vera), and possibly the other son who was known
as Manny, who may have been Chris II's and Ella Vera's brother. The other
sister was Aunt Til (likely named after Chris I's sister Mathilda), who
never married, a stern but loving old woman known to my older brothers and
sisters. That would account for Ellen Larson's four children by Chris I.

As I recall, Chris had three children with Hannah (his first wife), and four
children with Ellen (his second wife, my great-grandmother). If I have it
right, Ellen died with the fourth child, my grandmother, Ella Vera Frank
(McPhee). At that point, Hannah took over the raising of Ellen's four small
children, and together with her own children, now had seven children under
the age of ten, quite an accomplishment in a pioneering wilderness
situation. My mother of course never knew her own grandmother Ellen, and
always referred to her Aunt Hannah who was in practice the only grandmother
she knew. Hannah's undertaking of the raising of her best friend's and
sister wife Ellen's four children was a heroic and monumental task on what
was likely a subsistence economy in southern Utah county in the 1870s,
1880s, and 1890s, with all that went on in Utah during that period.

Much of the following you probably already know, and if I err, please
correct me.

In 1882 the original Edmunds Act outlawed polygamy in Utah and started the
federal agents hunting down the polygamists all over the state. Brigham
Young died in 1877, and John Taylor, and ardent and fierce supporter of
polygamy, became the leader of the Church, with many of the polygamists
going into hiding. The second Edmunds-Tucker Act in 1877 made it even more
severe, and the polygamist husbands (who would have included Christopher H.
P. Frank) had to both conduct farming operations, support several families,
and avoid the feds in a serious cat and mouse game that could land them in
prison. There were close to several thousand men in Utah in that situation,
and Chris H.P. Frank was one of them. As I recall there were up to 1,700
polygamist husbands who may have served jail time in the 1880s. He had a
good chance of serving jail time, and that would be an interesting side bar
research effort; there should be good records of those who served in jail
during that time.

Farming in Utah was subject to all the normal vagaries of weather, winters,
market conditions, etc. The 1870s and thereafter saw major changes in Utah
with the coming of the railroad in 1869 (the railroad that Chris I came over
on), bringing an influx of outsiders that changed the Mormon Great Basin
Kingdom dramatically. Utah became not only a Mormon farming based economy,
but became a center for mining activities throughout the state, which was
done mostly by non-Mormons, and involved Eastern financial investment.

Chris I also lived through the 1890 Woodruff Manifesto, which discontinued
the practice of polygamy, and caused a major schism in the Church, with
those who resisted the change, and those who supported it. It also split
the Counsel of the Twelve down the middle, as most of them were polygamists
and would not forsake their families.

The Woodruff Manifesto was in some sense a victory for the Church, in that
it made a deal with the Federal Government to not seal future polygamist
marriage, but would not require the then existing polygamists to have to
forsake all of their families, which was the original Federal government
position. As a consequence, the then existing polygamists could continue to
be with and support all of their families. In Chris I's situation, it was a
moot point, as Hannah was now taking care of the children of both families
after Ellen's death. To my knowledge, Betsy never came to Canada, but
Hannah and most of the children did.

It took three years and the dedication of the Salt Lake Temple in 1893 to
heal the wounds and keep the Church together. However, in the meantime, the
national economy went bad in the Panic of 1891 and the Panic of 1893, both
banking crises based on overextension of the railroads, and major
depressions that affected the whole country and internationally.

Chris H.P. Frank lived through all of this, and then emigrated to Canada in
1902, after 33 years of life in south Utah County, in his early 60s. He had
several strong sons to go with him, and set up an entirely new community in
Southern Alberta, which was then becoming a Mormon stronghold. However, the
Canadian RCMP were even more tough on polygamy than the feds, so it was
never practiced there, although many of the Southern Alberta settlers had
wives and families in Utah, and other families with them in Alberta.

The detailed Frankburg history is contained in several family books that
have been put together; I will find them and sent you a copy when I get
home. My two oldest aunts, Lola and Annetta, remember arriving in either
Claresholm or Nanton, some of the towns in the railway south of Calgary, and
standing in the front of the wagon on July 1st, Canada's national holiday,
and noticing that the horses ears were the same height as the tall grass in
the area; southern Alberta was known as the "Tall Grass Country" at that
time, which was eventually all cultivated into farmland.

By the way, the reference to "Manny" is to Chris II's son, Emanuel (?), who
was my mother's cousin, and not a brother to Chris II.

------------------

Ha! Family lore had it wrong. I thought Ellen Larson died with the birth
of our grandmother Ella Vera Frank; not so, Ellen Larson died with the birth
of the next fifth child, Mary Martensson in 1882, and Ellen Larson Frank is
buried in Santaquin, Utah. Ellen was only 37 years old at the time, leaving
her four older children:

Christopher Emanuel Frank 1974-1962 (our Uncle Chris)
Ellen Frank 1876-1934 (who knows more about this lady?)
Bothilda Aleda Frank 1878-1954 (our Aunt Til)
Ellevera Amelia Frank 1889-1943 (our grandmother)
Mary Martensson 1882-1882 - mother and daughter died at birth

So, Aunt Hannah was left with her own three children and Ellen Larson
Frank's four children, ages 8, 6, 4, 2.... Wow, what a challenge!

Thought I'd better correct this before it gets perpetuated too far.

Winston ELTON - 2010


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