|Birth:||Aug. 31, 1840, Denmark|
|Death:||Jan. 31, 1914|
Christened the name of "Petrina"
Born at Skraepperhuus, Hojslev, Viborg, Denmark
Daughter of Niels Pedersen Bertelsen and Maren Larsen
Married James Dalley, 9 Oct 1861, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah
Children - John James Dalley, Lillian Rosillia Dalley, Sylvanus Dalley, Esther Leona Dalley, Samuel Alfred Dalley, Lettie Selena Dalley, Della Delilah Dalley, Minnie Tryphina Dalley, Threna Amelia Dalley, Lehi Bertelsen Dalley, Robert Bertelsen Dalley, Mary Ida Dalley, Parley Dalley, Susannah B. Dalley
Married John Hurst Beecroft, 8 Feb 1912, Parowan, Iron, Utah
History - Threne was a person of quiet composure. She loved her parents devotedly, and was always on hand to do anything in her power to lighten the burden of their daily tasks. Life had always been hard and exacting for her father: using nets with which to catch the fish; spending many long hours in his boat setting the nets; hauling them in when full and then hauling the fish to market; these tasks left little time for leisure. Threne learned to help him make and mend the large nets that were the tools or his trade.
Threne was sent to public school at the age of seven, and became an ardent student. Very interested in books, she learned the letters of the alphabet and the spelling of several small words in three days' time. Unhappily, her attendance at school was to be short-lived, for after her parents joined the LDS Church, criticism and opposition exhibited throughout the community resulted in the withdrawal from school of Threne and her older sisters.
Threne became an employee in Staarup at the age of fourteen. Her wages for the first year were ten dollars in addition to board and clothes. Although her employer ridiculed her for doing so, she never failed to pay her tithing out of that amount. Yet the man liked her, and he often called the young girl to his bed of illness, where he had lain for seven years, with a request that she sing for him. One day she innocently sang an LDS hymn, "We Are the True Born Sons of Zion," and this so enraged the patient he never again asked her to sing. But this couple, who had no children, loved Thrine and asked her to stay with them and be treated as their own. Had Maren not instilled in her daughter the principles of the new-found faith so firmly that she would let nothing prevent her from going to Zion, it is probable that the girl's life would have been vastly different.
Although her employers had not treated the elders with kindness, nor allowed them in the house, Threne had managed to attend most of the meetings and at one of them had been baptized. After three years, she left this home and went to live with a family by the name of Thorn, near the city of Aalborg, for by now the Bertelsens had become disheartened and disillusioned over the attitude of a large proportion of the people in Staarup, and decided to move closer to the branch in the north. Here they hoped to find not only better treatment, but better work opportunities, for all must now work very hard to prepare for their emigration to America and Utah. In the home of the Thorns, Threne received much training that prepared her for life in Utah, for a year after her arrival Mrs. Thorn died, leaving three small children in her care for a year and a half.
In the spring of 1860, when she was nineteen years of age, Thrine was selected to go to America with an emigrating family. She made hasty preparations, bidding her parents and sister good-bye on May 5. A steamer carried her to Liverpool, England, where she boarded the vessel Wm. Tappscott. Sailing on May 11, the ship was seven weeks on the ocean, and Thrine, as well as many others on board, was seasick most of the time. The only food she was able to retain was a bowl of chicken soup given her by the kind captain.
The sea-weary travelers were overjoyed to see the trees of New York, only to be keenly disappointed upon learning that smallpox had broken out on board and they would have to remain for a time on the ship. Those who were stricken with the dread disease, including one of the little girls Petrine had been caring for, were taken to New York to be placed in quarantine. Although all on board had been exposed, no other cases developed, and after two weeks they were permitted to land.
The company arrived in Salt Lake City on October 5, 1860. Thrine, who could scarcely speak enough English to make herself understood, had no place to go from the camping grounds. She was finally taken to the home of Franklin D. Richards and made welcome and comfortable until her brother Lars arrived two days later. With him she went to Ephraim, to remain that winter in the employ of a Brother Christian's family. At this time her sister Lettie came to see her and persuaded her to go to Summit.
Threne's position was like that of many others who came to Zion for the sake of the religion they had espoused. She spoke a foreign language, conditions of living were so different from what she was familiar with, she was living among strangers, many of whom were inclined to ridicule anyone different from themselves all circumstances that made adjustment difficult. She had been in Utah not quite a year when she was married to James Dalley as his third wife on October 9, 1861, in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City.
James tried to see that his three families were treated fairly. Each of the wives had her own home, all three being built near each other in a row running east and west, with Threne's on the east. For a number of years, her "castle" consisted of one large room about fourteen feet square, of hewn logs put together with wooden pegs instead of nails. For a while cooking was done on a large fireplace which graced the east end of the room.
In this room was a four-poster bed with pegs on the sides and ends on which a cord rope was tightly woven to form squares. On this was laid a straw mattress and over that was placed a feather tick made by Threne. A trundle bed for the children was rolled under the four-poster in the daytime, and there was a baby cradle shaped something like a boat, with rockers underneath. It seems that babies had to be rocked to keep them asleep, so Threne would sometimes have one foot on the rocker while operating the spinning wheel with the other.
She cooked over the fireplace for about five years, then James was able to buy three New Era stoves in which cedar wood was burned. Each family was self-supporting. Threne had her own milk cows to provide butter and cheese as well as many nourishing milk dishes. She had her own chickens from which she could sell eggs and chickens to the store for cash, and that helped with incidental expenses.
Although her health was never the best, she had a baby at least every two years, and some even closer. Indeed, babies came along regularly to all of James's wives until he was the father of forty-four. Some of them died in infancy, but thirty of them were raised to honorable man- and womanhood. Through it all, Threne carried on uncomplainingly. Never was she attended by a doctor in any of her fourteen confinements, although Lette, as the area's midwife, did everything she could to ease her sister's pain. Three children died as babies, and little Della died of scarlet fever at the age of three. This was a lifelong sorrow to Thrine, because she felt it was an unnecessary death (she had been forbidden to give the child water to drink; she was told it would be like pouring cold water on a hot stove). Thrine never forgot how her dear little child begged for a drink.
By 1877, there were seven children, the eldest fifteen and the youngest two years of age, so there was much work to be done. It was on June 26 of that year that Threne gave birth to twin girls. As there was not enough breast milk and no nursing bottles, the twins had to be fed with a spoon. It took one person to hold the bowl of food and with a spoon pour it into a spoon held in the baby's mouth by Threne, while the other baby was very likely crying loudly to be fed. The food was potato starch, made by grating potatoes, then washing and straining the pulp from the starch until the water came away clear, and then drying the starch. It was stored in a sack to be cooked when needed by stirring a small quantity of starch in cold water and pouring boiling water into it until it was a proper consistency. This cooked starch was then prepared with some cream or top milk, sweetened, with a few drops of peppermint added to prevent colic. The babies thrived on this diet until they were old enough to eat other food. Washing the many diapers was a never-ending task which usually fell to some younger member of the family. There was nothing too good for those twins. They slept in the big cradle one in each end—sand Threne rocked them to sleep while she worked.
When Parley, her youngest child, was only a few weeks old, Petrine was compelled to flee from the deputy marshals to avoid appearing against her husband for having more than one wife. Seemingly, to be arrested meant conviction, regardless of whether there were witnesses or not, so the women did all in their power to avoid being taken as witnesses. In court they were insulted, browbeaten and humiliated before the jury. If the deputies searched a house and found a wife gone, she never knew at what time of the day or night they might return and take her to Beaver, about forty-five miles from home. And so in January of 1887, though the weather was cold and stormy, Threne decided to go on an extended visit to Monroe, Sevier County, where her sister Lena Marie, herself in hiding, was residing. When she arrived, she was welcomed and made as comfortable as possible, but her trip did not prevent James's arrest on March 5, 1887, and some of his sons and daughters had to appear as witnesses at the court in Beaver. Her husband, his brother William, and a number of others were bound over for trial by jury and later went through the farce of a trial and were sentenced to six months' imprisonment and a three-hundred-dollar fine. This was the maximum sentence, which they served with one month off for good behavior.
On October 6, 1890, the Manifesto, wherein the practice of plural marriage was discontinued, was issued, and voted on by the Saints in the general conference of the Church. Along with many other members of the Church, Threne experienced a sore trial at this time. Her husband, who had always adhered to the counsel of those in authority and did his utmost to obey every requirement, decided he would not live with Petrine as a wife, and that he would divide his property between his two living wives and the children of Emma, the property being in land, water, and livestock. The financial arrangements allowed Threne to handle her own property as she wished, and it was not long before she began planning the frame home about which she had always dreamed.
A large dining-living room was built, with a fireplace in the middle of the west end, and a well-made, decorative front door with a panel of glass; a transom above opened onto a spacious front porch, above which was a small balcony. Threne insisted on bringing the large sandstone hearth from the adobe house for the fireplace. There was a parlor with a bay window front, and a large bedroom on the east. A stairway led from the southeast corner of the dining room to three bedrooms on the second floor. Unlike the earlier homes, two chimneys made it possible to have a stove in any of the rooms, if needed. By the time it was finished, Threne had a beautiful seven-room house which she adored.
Threne's quest for knowledge and education had not stopped with her three years of public school in Denmark. After coming to Utah she learned to speak, read and write the English language. She, along with her brother and seven sisters, spoke without the usual Scandinavian accent. Realizing her lack of formal education, she urged and assisted her own children as well as other children of the family to take every opportunity to advance themselves scholastically. Said Parley: "My earliest recollections of Cedar City are of the time when Mother was staying with and caring for some of the family while they attended the Parowan Stake Academy. We lived in the little log cabin that now stands as a pioneer relic in the City Park."
The year 1897 was hectic for Threne. The Branch Normal School in Cedar City was to open in September, and she planned to move there so that she could look afar Minnie, Amelia and Julius, who would be attending. Fifty-seven years of age, she had taken on a new responsibility in July, when the wife of Emma's son Henry died, hopefully leaving in Petrine's gentle hands the care of her baby, Mabel. Threne, feeling a bit weary after having raised her own large family, nevertheless took on this added burden, promising to do her best. The baby was ill at the time, with painful sores in her groins, as well as stomach ailments. However, Threne moved to Cedar City, taking her daughter Esther, son Parley and baby Mabel with her.
Home was now a four-room, white plastered adobe house on a large lot which afforded ample room for a shed for Violet, the Jersey cow, and space to store her hay. Mabel, being bottle fed, counted heavily on Violet. Along with her many other duties, Threne tended the baby day and night, searching for something that would alleviate the little one's suffering. Finally, in August of 1898, after the birth of a baby boy to her daughter Susannah, Threne took Mabel to live at Susannah's so that the sickly little girl could receive some good mother's milk. She also tried Vaseline on the stubborn sores. The total treatment seemed to be just what Mabel needed, for before long she became fat and rosy. Threne reared this girl to adulthood.
In 1900-01 the first six graduates from the Branch Normal School included Threne's daughter Amelia and Lette's son Julius. They went as a group to Salt Lake City to attend the University of Utah, and Threne was chosen to go along as house-mother. Mable, then three years old, was taken along. The following September, Threne rented a frame house in Cedar City so that Esther and Parley could attend the Branch Normal, and Amelia could pursue her career as Cedar's new fifth grade teacher. Parley noted, "It was Mother, always, who was ready to go with and care for not only her own children, but many others, in their efforts to obtain an education."
Threne's greatest happiness was derived from her family and her religion. Serving as counselor and president in the Primary organization for many years, she also labored as a Relief Society teacher, again for many years. She encouraged her family to attend meetings regularly, as well. A never-to-be forgotten event occurred in 1888 when Threne, with her six sisters, met with their mother in the Manti Temple to be sealed to their parents.
By the time Parley was old enough to remember, 'TAunt Lette's" home and "Aunt Threne's" home had become more or less categorized. Lette was the postmistress, and also maintained the only store in the community. Here, businessmen and other travelers found overnight lodging, so her home took on an aura of the business center of Summit.
According to Parley, "Mother's home was more like a recreational or cultural center, especially for the young people, who seemed to gravitate to her parlor on Sunday nights and on other nights when there was an occasion for bringing them together. Here they would sing, visit, have parties and good times in general. Delightful occasions for congregating there were the concerts put on by Jim and Lars Neilson from Annabella, Sevier County, sons of Uncle Lars Neilson. Jim was a real virtuoso on the violin, while Lars was an accomplished accompanist with a guitar or mandolin. The parlor would be filled to overflowing. How thrilled the audience was with 'Listen to the Mockingbird' and many other pleasing melodies. I usually had a choice position during these concerts, coiled around the legs of the round center table and concealed by the cover."
One by one the children and grandchildren drifted away, leaving time a bit heavy for Threne. Perhaps because of this she welcomed the friendship of John H. Beecroft, who along with many other Latter-day Saints had returned to Utah from his Mexican sojourn because of the revolution. The old adobe house formerly occupied by Threne became the temporary home of the Beecroft family, and it was not long before a strong friendship grew between John and Threne, who was then nearing seventy-two years of age. Parley gives an account of this period of his mother's life:
John H. Beecroft and Mother obtained a license to wed at the county courthouse in Parowan, February 8, 1912, and were married in the evening of the tenth in the parlor of Mother's home. Immediate friends of both families were present during the ceremony and participated in the informal party which followed.
Why did Mother marry again? It must not be inferred that it was just a response to pressure and persuasion of the Beecroft family—the marriage was by mutual consent, with seemingly apparent advantages to both. All of Mother's children were married and lived away from Summit with the exception of Lillian. The companionship of a fine, congenial gentleman about her age and a good Latter-day Saint offered much in the way of filling the void which loomed ahead. Then, too, for once in her life she would have a man of her own.
John H. Beecroft was an honest, cheerful, industrious, kindly old gentleman whose greatest handicap was deafness. He was not a polygamist, as were most men who had gone to Mexico. He and his wife raised a large family before his wife died. After this, he had married again, a highly temperamental woman from whom he separated soon after their marriage.
During the time he lived with Mother he seemed to be always busy. Among other jobs, besides the outside chores, he trimmed the orchard trees and cut the trimmings up for firewood. During late spring, summer and fall, he would go to the fields with a scythe, cut alfalfa and other vegetation from the ditch banks, and then trudge home with a tremendous load on his back to be fed to "old Hetty," the milk cow. His plodding along next to the highway so burdened is one picture of him I retain in my mind.
Although their life together was very brief, Parley sincerely felt that they were as congenial and happy during the little less than two years of their marriage as could be expected. After Threne's death, $161.55 of the meager funds of her estate was allotted to this good old gentleman. This was barely enough to pay his way back to Mexico, where he died soon after.
Early in January of 1914, Threne became quite ill. She was placed under the care of a doctor, and Parley sent to Preston, Idaho, for Mabel, who came willingly and did all she could to provide adequate care for her beloved benefactress. Others of the family kept in touch as well. But life had ebbed away for the gracious little pioneer—a tumor of long standing finally succeeded in striking her down on January 31 at Summit, where she had lived for fifty-three years. Fittingly, she was laid to rest with others of the immortals who had shaped the small summit in Iron County into a loved community.
- This history had been prepared from the unpublished manuscripts of Threne Dalley Green, Susannah Dalley Armstrong, and Parley Dalley, her children.
Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel, Joseph W. Young Freight Train (1860)
Utah Death Certificate
Family links on Find-A-Grave:
Niels Bertelsen (1808 - 1875)
Maren Larsen Bertelsen (1807 - 1894)
James Dalley (1822 - 1905)*
John Hurst Beecroft (1846 - 1919)*
Robert Bertelsen Dalley (1862 - 1953)*
John James Dalley (1864 - 1864)*
Mary Ida Dalley Hulet (1864 - 1948)*
Susannah Bertelsen Dalley Armstrong (1868 - 1957)*
Della Delilah Dalley (1871 - 1874)*
Samuel Alfred Dalley (1872 - 1959)*
Lehi Dalley (1872 - 1895)*
Lillian Rosilla Dalley White (1875 - 1947)*
Minnie Tryphena Dalley Thorley (1877 - 1912)*
Threna Amelia Dalley Green (1877 - 1960)*
Amelia Dalley Green (1877 - 1960)*
Sylvanus Dalley (1879 - 1879)*
Esther Leona Dalley Winters (1880 - 1965)*
Parley Bertelsen Dalley (1886 - 1970)*