The Life Story of My Grandmother
By Esther Peterson Bott Freeman, 14 June 1940
Metta Maria Hansen is the sixth child of Hans Jepeson and Kjersti Jacobsen, born 25 March 1822 in Malmö, Sweden. She married Martin Rasmussen Peterson 2 August 1846. When she heard the gospel of Jesus Christ, she kept the knowledge of her investigation from her husband for some time. After the missionaries visited her several times, she told her husband of her interest in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He expressed no objections of her joining the church. On 26 November 1862 she embraced the gospel, and joined the church. She was the first one in her town that joined the church. One night, as she was returning home from meeting, she fell over some boards by a well and broke her leg. She was very grateful that she did not fall in the deep well. She lay in bed for a long time; then she was taken to the city where her older daughters were working. They called in a lady doctor that discovered the leg had knitted together wrong. The lady doctor rebroke her leg and set it right and then it healed all right.
An experience grandmother had: she had been visiting a half-sister and as evening drew nigh, she started home, expecting to reach there before darkness overtook her. She decided to take a short cut through a farm field as she felt very nervous. About one mile from her home this path joined the main highway. As she drew near this place she heard voices laughing and talking. Her fear lightened, having hope of meeting some acquaintance for company the rest of the way home. Upon reaching the highway all was silent. It was intensely dark and grandmother fell to the ground. She got up and went to continue her journey home and had only gone a few steps and fell again. This continued the rest of the way home. It was late when she arrived and her body was bruised and sore from the experience. Her fear had been dreadful and she felt thankful her life had been spared.
Her oldest daughter, Bertha, had a similar experience. Bertha had worked at a certain place for a long time, and one evening as she went from home back to work over a road she had walked many times, she suddenly became lost. It grew very dark and started to rain. She realized she was lost and her fear was great. She decided to turn around and go back home. She walked on and on in the drizzling rain. She was lost and couldn’t find her way home in her home town. So she took part of her dress, covered her head, and rested under a tree. She fell asleep and upon awakening in the morning found herself but a few rods from a large reservoir where the water was stored. Had she taken a few more steps she would have fallen in. She was in the opposite part of the town, but knew her way home now. Many of the earlier saints had similar experiences.
After working and saving money to come to Zion, her husband and only son, Hans, came to America in 1874. Grandmother moved to the city and kept house for the Mission President Anderson, from Ephraim. The girls were working in the factories, so with what they could save and what her husband could send, Grandmother Metta came to America the following year, with four of her daughters: Bertha, Anna, Ellen, and Mary (the baby). She came to Brigham City and made her home there for the rest of her life.
Then in July of 1876 her two others, Christina and Celia, came to Utah. Sarah Christensen tells the story of how Grandmother Metta Maria was picking currants for her and she had been crying. Sister Christensen wanted to know if she was sick. She (grandmother) assured her that she was all right. Sister Christensen still pressed her to know why she had been crying. Grandmother then told her that today her two daughters were leaving the old world to come to America. She was very grateful they were coming but felt anxious about their trip over. They arrived safely after a three-week voyage on the water.
After Grandmother came to Utah she still worked very hard building up their gardens. She was very kind and she and her husband were very devoted to each other. They built a small home, but her health was not good and on 24 September 1886 she died in Brigham City, Utah and is buried there.
“Metta Maria was a delicate woman. She told of how in the old country she would spin and knit until late at night while the room was still warm. She retired late only to find that her husband, who had retired early, was soon to get up and would begin hammering on his clogs. This he did in the old country to earn money as well as to go fishing in the ocean. They lived near the ocean. When fishing they would always keep the poor fish for themselves and save the fat ones to sell.” (Files of Secelia Bott Morris—an account related by Celia Peterson Bott, a daughter of Martin R. and Metta Maria H. Peterson—contributed by Marjorie Morris Stokes, a daughter of Secelia P. Bott Morris).