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LESTER MARCUS NORBERG, 1897 - 1965

I was born in Salt Lake, Utah on Nov. 13, 1897 the son of Hyrum Norberg and Minnie Johnson Norberg. My father was born in Sweden Sept 27, 1859; he was named Anders Herman Nordberg. He had four sisters Wilhelmina who died as a child Sweden. Emma who married John Lind and who made her home in Lynn, Utah. Minnie who married Seymor Sevier and made her home in Grantsville, Utah and Anna Louise who married James Glade. Christine Norberg brought her four children to Utah in 1869.

Her husband remained in Sweden to sell the property they had. He later joined them in Grantsville, Utah. She accompanied her brother Lars John Anderson and his family. Because they came by train, they were not pioneers as it is defined in Utah history. Christine Norberg with her children made their home in Grantsville, Utah. While still a very small boy, father found employment herding sheep, a vocation that he followed until middle life when he became a farmer. The land that he purchased and cultivated was on the west side of Salt Lake Valley in what is known as Taylorsville and Bennion Ward.

My Mother Minnie (Wilhelmina) was the daughter of Charles Johnson (Carl Johaneson) and Anna Breta Erickson, pioneers of 1863. She was born in Grantsville, Utah, July 21, 1864. She was the only child of her father and mother, but she had half brothers and sisters. Among those was Augusta, the daughter of her mother by a former husband (also named Johnson) who came to America seeking gold in California. Grandmother never heard from this husband. She never knew what became of him.

Grandfather took as a plural wife, Charlot Erickson, a sister of my Grandmother. She had three sons, Charles, Alec and Leo. Later Grandfather married Anna Olson and had five children; Anna Josephine, Alice, Albert, Mable and Paul.

My father and Mother were married Jan. 24, 1884. They were the parents of nine sons and daughters; Charles Herman, Anna Althea, Vance Gilbert, Minnie Marcel who died as an infant, Ivy Hortense, Ruth, Lester Marcus, Anton Quayl and Forest Dale. Father took as a plural wife, Jane Morgan Shepherd, who had six children; Angus Hyrum, Naomi, John Murray, Christine who died as a baby, Auline and Helen.

At the time of my birth my parents, with their children were living in their home at 7th Ave and H Street, in Salt Lake City, Utah. About five years later, they moved to a house at 750 E. 21st South, Salt Lake City, Utah, where my mother lived until her death. At about the same time, father purchased the farm, which I have mentioned. Most of the time, father's second family lived there. The farm home was and is still located at 2200 West on 56th South, Salt Lake County.

I first attended school at the old Forest Dale school on Simpson Ave and Lake Street. From the second grade I attended the Forest School on 9th East and 21st South. In 1912 I graduated from the eighth grade and enrolled in the L.D.S. High School in Salt Lake City in September of that year. I attended school there for two years which generally were rather uneventful and of which I have a faint recollection, except that I enjoyed them and schoolwork in general. During the school year 1914-15, I left school and worked on the farm. In the fall of 1915 I enrolled as a student at Granite High School where I remained one year. During that year, Mother made her home in a house which father built on State Street about 3700 South. During the year I attended Church in the Mill Creek Ward. The two most important events of my year at Granite High School was first, I met my wife, Myrl Bailey; and second I came under the influence of Adam Bennion for whom I have ever since had a very deep admiration.

I was baptized when I was eight years old in the font in the Salt Lake Tabernacle. When I was 12 years of age, I was ordained a deacon in the Forest Dale Word. As a deacon, I held my first offices in the Church, first as secretary and then as president of the quorum. I was also ordained a teacher while living in the same ward. During the year I attended Church in the Mill Creek Ward, I was ordained a Priest. In the year 1919, I was ordained an Elder in the Forest Dale Ward of the Granite Stake.

In the autumn of 1916, I enrolled as a freshman at the University of Utah, intending to become a teacher of history. I left high school without graduating, and entering college as a conditional freshman. In the spring of my first college year, the United States entered the First World War and all college students who were needed on the farms were excused. I left school in April to help on the farm. My younger brother Quayle joined the Army and went to France. When Autumn came, I once more enrolled in college, but left in the spring once more to help on the farm. In the autumn of 1918, I enlisted in the Student Army training Corps, which placed us in the army, but left us to attend school. I was discharged from the army on December 10, 1918 after 60 days service. During the time I was in the army, I caught the influenza and spent several days in the fort Douglas hospital. A large number of my companions died. Among them was Joseph Merrill, one of my boyhood companions and the son of Joseph F. Merrill.

In the autumn of 1919, I was called on a mission to Canada. I left Salt Lake City on December 10, 1919, one year after my discharge from the army. The Canadian Mission had been organized but a short time before Nephi Hensen was President. We arrived at the mission headquarters in Tornoto about Dec. 20th. On January 20, 1920, I was sent with five other missionaries to open the missionary work in Ottawa, the Canadian capital. It was a beautiful city at that time as it is today. Elder Munn Cannon was our first conference President. At that time there were no members of the Church in the city and there had been no missionaries there for a number of years.

Our first investigators were members of the Reorganized Church. Their presiding officers were very bitter and tried to turn the people of the city against us. While I was there, a debate was held between our mission president and a Mr. Curtis, a member of the Council of the Twelve of the Reorganized Church. Mr. Curtis spent most of his time ridiculing the Church and relating false stories of Brigham Young's misdeeds and wickedness. The association with the leaders of the Reorganized Church left me with contempt for the leaders of that Church which still remains with me.

Our first baptisms were William Watt, his wife and their daughter Lola. They took place in the autumn of 1920. They were performed in the Ottawa River. They had been members of the Pentecostal Church. We also baptized a Miss Atkins, a maiden lady who had belonged to the same church. The same fall we baptized a Warren Stata and his wife Eva. Brother Stata later became president of the Ottawa Branch. Also that year, we baptized a Miss Williams. These were the first members of the Church in the Canadian City. We held our services in a rented hall on Bank Street. On Sunday afternoon, it was used as a lodge meeting place. Often when we came to hold our evening meeting, the Hall was filled with tobacco smoke and we had to open the windows to air the place out.

During the winter of 1921, I became Conference Preisdent, a position I held until my release in February 1922. We had no more baptism during my stay in Ottawa but we made friends and when more missionaries were sent to Ottawa, we began work in some of the nearby cities.

Upon my release from the mission, I traveled with an Elder Leland Anderson to Montreal then through New England to New York City. We stayed there three days visiting the Statue of Liberty, the Woolworth Building, which at that time was the tallest building in the city. We also went to the old Hippodrome Theater. From New York, we traveled by train to Washington D.C. We were there on

Washington's birth, so many of the public buildings were closed but we did visit Mt. Vernon and Arlington Cemetery. By train we traveled to St. Louis and then to Independence and Kansas City. We spent Sunday in Independence, attended Church and saw the site where the Temple is to be built. At the time we were there, Brother Dilworth Young was the mission secretary. We stopped over night to Denver and then came home on the D&RG Railroad, arriving in Salt Lake City about the first of March.

Before my arrival home, my brother Angus had been called on a mission to the Southern States and had already had is Farewell. Two months later, my brother Quayle went on a mission to Germany. As soon as I arrived home, I started to work on the farm and did so until I started back to school at the University of Utah in the autumn of that year.

In August 1922, I became engaged to Myrl Bailey, the daughter of George Smith and Victoria Price Bailey. The Bailey family lived at 1628 East 33rd South in Salt Lake City, Utah. On August 17 1912 we were married in the Salt Lake Temple. Elder Joseph Fielding Smith performed the ceremony. Two school friends of mine were married at the same time, Joseph S. Nelson and Nora Cannon..

I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree with a teaching certificate in June 1923. A few days after our wedding, I received a position to teach history in the high school at Vernal, Utah, and we left Salt Lake City to make our first home. The auto we traveled in was slow and we spent the night in Duchesne in a very base and desolate hotel room. During the year we spent in Vernal we lived in a three-room house, across from the Second ward Chapel. The house belonged to a Mr. Caulthrope and we rented it completely furnished for $20.00 a month. There was no water in the house and it was heated by a range in the kitchen and a heating stove in the front room. There was a very large lawn and a place for a garden. The neighbors were very good and gave most of our food to us from their gardens.

We had an enjoyable time during the year and our experiences of that year will always be among the most pleasant ones of our lives. That year I taught history, economics, sociology and public speaking, I coached the school play "Clarence" and three on act plays.

Among our many good friends in vernal were members of the Calder family. This friendship came from the association of the Calders with my wife's family, in the old Mill Creek Ward in Salt Lake City. We also met for the first time with Joseph Hacking family and had Christmas dinner in their home.

Hailer Whitbeck who had been a missionary companion of mine in Ottawa, lived in Vernal and we had Thanksgiving dinner with him and his wife.

Although we enjoyed ourselves very much we decided not to return the next year, and so I did not sign a contract. My reason for doing so was our desire to find a place nearer to Salt Lake City. During the summer of 1924 we lived with Myrl's family and I attended the University working on my Masters degree. During my days off from school I worked on my father's farm in Taylorsville. I found a teaching position in Park City, teaching English, history and once more coaching the school play.

On Oct. 15, 1924 our first child and only son was born at the L.D.S. hospital in Salt Lake City. We gave him the name of Marcus Lynn Norberg.

The two years we spent in Park City were not very pleasant. We were unable to find very good places to live and the city was not very clean or friendly. Our most friendly associations were in the Church where I taught in the Sunday School and Mutual. Among our friends were Zack Ablad who was Bishop during our second year there and later Stake President There was Ben Bergen and his wife who were our neighbors and Fred Eagan.

In 1926 I was appointed Seminary teacher in Coalville, Utah and moved there in August of that year, commencing a 13 year residence in that city. We first rented a house from Mrs. Mary Farrell, who at that time with her husband, Alec kept the store in Hoytsville. The house, a four room frame house had been the home of Mrs. Farrells parents. Her sister Cassie Hobson lived across the street. We still carried in our water from a hydrant out side the door and had a coal range and a stove for heat. Our first daughter Dorothy Jane was born in that house on September 13, 1926.

The Seminary building was the old Coalville Tabernacle built in the 1860's. At the present time it stands in the Pioneer Village in Salt Lake City. It stood on Main Street at the foot of the hill on which the North Summit High School now stands.

The time we first lived in Coalville, there were building the Echo Reservoir and the Reclamation Service working with the surveying crews sometimes employed me during the summer. Betty Louise our third child and second daughter was born July 2, 1929 in the same house where Dorothy was born. This same year I was ordained a seventy by Elder Levi Young. Besides my seminary teaching I taught Sunday School and Mutual. I also produced plays to raise money for finances of the Seminary.

Mrs. Farrell's daughter who had married, wanted the house and we had to move. After trying for weeks we were able to rent a house from some people named Couch. It is located just west of the present Coalville hospital. In this house, our third daughter and fourth child, Carolyn Ruth was born, September 19, 1932. A few days later my wife's father died and later that year, her mother also passed away. My father had died in the spring of 1929. The house we lived in was sold and we moved to one owned by Edgar Redden, two doors east. In 1934, I was called to be second counselor to President W. Heber Wilde of the Summit Stake. The other counselor was Joseph E. Beard. I will always be grateful for the experiences which I enjoyed during the five years I had that position.

That year we bought our first home and the only one that we owned while we were in Coalville. It was a four-room log and frame house. It was on the Chalk Creek road and a short distance below the city cemetery. There were four rooms. In the kitchen there was a sink with cold water, but no bathroom.

While we lived there we added to the home so that we had six rooms with three bedrooms and a bath. With a large lot and the comfortable house, this becomes our first real home. For many years after leaving Coalville, this was still home in our hearts. This house we purchased from Steve Stone for $900.00.In 1939, I was offered a position to teach in the Lehi and American Fork Seminaries. We went to American Fork and Lehi looking for a place to live before deciding whether or not to leave Coalville. After a disappointing day looking at houses we came to the one in which we now live. It was a big roomy well built, comfortable house, empty and for sale. The house was our reason for moving to Lehi. At the present time we have lived in that house for twenty-two years and hope to spend the remainder of our mortal lives right here.

During the years I taught in the Lehi Seminary, I was associated with the following teachers Milton Knudson, Roy West, Raymond Bailey and Wallace Gardner.

My first Church work in Lehi was teaching in the Sunday School and Mutual of the Fourth Ward, Lehi Stake. In 1942 I was called to work in the Stake High Council, a position I held for three years.

In 1945, I was sustained as Bishop of the Lehi Fourth Ward and Wilford Russon and Ernest Rothe as counselors and Robert Chatfield was ward Clerk. Later Brother Russon and Brother Rothe left the ward and Grant Christofferson and Robert Chatfield became my counselors with Elmo Russon as clerk. During my time as Bishop, the work of remodeling and enlarging our Church House was commenced but it not completed until Grant Christofferson became Bishop.

At the close of the school year of 1948, I left the Seminary system and the teaching profession and found employment as a carpenter with the United States Army at the Desert Chemical Depot in Tooele County. I have continued this employment until the present time 1961.

In the autumn of 1939 our fourth daughter and fifth and last child was born, we named her Janice Kay Norberg. At the present time she is 21 years of age and is a student of Brigham Young University.

Our son Lynn enlisted in the Air Force and has follow the Air Force as a career. At the present time he holds the rank of Major and is stationed at Ft. Worth, Texas. His wife is the former Helen Carlisle of Alpine, Utah and they have three children Phyllis, Vivian and Nina. Dorothy married Dean Rothe of Lehi, Utah. At present he is a teacher in the Santo Monica High School and they make their home in Los Angeles. They also have three children Sandra, David and Alan. Betty is the wife of Mont Davis Pulham. At the present time they make their home in Pleasant Grove, Utah. Her busband is employed at the Geneva Steel Plant. They are the parents of five children Geraldine, Yvonne, Louise, Brian and Nanette. Carolyn is married to Arland Pulham who is a painting contractor. They are making their home in Lehi, Utah. They have six children JoAnn, Gary, Randy, Sherene, Susan and Wade.

Since being released as Bishop in the autumn of 1948, I have had several teaching positions in the Church organizations. For a number of years I again worked on the Stake Sunday School Board. I also served for some time on the Ward Teaching Committee of the Stake and also as a Ward Teacher. At the same time, I taught the adult class in the MIA in our ward.

Our present home we purchased from Joseph Coulam who had at one time taught Industrial arts in the Lehi High School. Shortly before we came to Lehi, he had moved to Logan where he taught at the college in that city. A few years after our coming to Lehi, we bought three acres of ground from Frank Sharp. This land is across the road from the Lehi City Cemetery. We farmed it for several years until we sold it back to Mr. Sharp.

In 1945 we bought from Elisha Peck a piece of land containing about 17 acres. This land is on the bench north of the Elisha Peck home. After we had built upon it a home where he now lives. We still own the rest of it which consists of about 13 and 3/4 acres. Mahlon Peck now farms it for us. We also purchased from Paul Robinson his frame house on Wall Street. Our daughter Betty and her family lived there until they moved to Pleasant Grove. We afterwards rented it to Kent Thrasher and when they moved to Richard Southwick. Early in 1961 we sold this house to Max Rothe who was forced to more from his home on 4th East because of the building of the freeway.

At the present time, I am sixty-four years of age. As far as I can tell, I am in very good health and expect to hope to live many useful years here in this present life.

Written by Lester Marcus Norberg in 1961.

 

MEMORIES OF MY HIS CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN:

Father went on his mission to Canada, he was in a French section and learned french, later he taught himself German. He graduated from the University of Utah with a Masters Degree, during the summer he attended Berkley for his Doctorate. While at Berkley he stayed with his brother Angus. Father taught English at Park City and in Vernal then Seminary in Coalville, Lehi and American Fork. As Seminary Teacher in Coalville he was also the Custodian.

In Coalville he served on the High Council and as Counselor in the Summitt Stake. He served as Bishop and in the Stake Presidency in Lehi and held almost very teaching job in the Church.

He worked at the Ordinance Depot at Toole from 1948 to 1965 as a carpenter. He loved to see new places on a trip to California, Dad, Mother and Janice drove through Toas, New Mexico, where a lot of his fellow workers were from. He baptized Phyllis while he was in California and then went on up to Mountain Home AFB, Idaho, to see Lynn, who was there on temporary assignment.

Father always used stories along with talks he gave. He was an avid read and was always reading which added to the volume of stories that we used. He was a good speaker and was ask to speak a great deal all over the Stake, particularly in Coalville. He usually took Lynn along with him.

Every week he would take Mother to the grocery store. On payday that was once a month, he would buy a piece of steak and a candy bar, which he would divide up for all of us to enjoy.

He always had a garden which he enjoyed working in and taking care of. Once when he didn't have a horse to plough the garden plot, he digs it up by hand. The children helped with the garden.

In Coalville he added several rooms to our house. He added a bedroom, kitchen, bathroom and basement. The basement he dug himself with only the help of a horse and scoop. He was a very hard worker.

Lynn remembers one time in Coalville; the old Chevy wouldn't start, so Dad got out with the hand crank, it was in gear so when it started it rolled down the driveway, Dad was chasing it with the hand crank in hand. Very fortunate that it was in reverse. He moved several buildings from the 1500 acres Dry Farm at Kearns to the back yard. He raised hay on the six acres of ground by Elizah Peck.

He enjoyed milking and taking care of his cows. Not having the space for them at our home, he had them at two other locations. Many of the children and grandchildren remember going with him and helping with the cows and hauling hay. Water seeped through the walls into the basement in the house in Lehi in large amounts. This was a big problem for quite some time. Mont and Arland installed a pump to pump it out of the basement into a hose, which they then used to water areas of the backyard. After the Freeway went in which caused the drainage problem it was never corrected, after several requests to the City.

Carol remembers spraying water up into the tree to get the starlings to move on.

All the family remembers the big swing and teeter-totter in the back yard; the grandchildren were always on them when they were at the house. Several helped with mowing the lawn, raking leaves and a more pleasant task of picking the grapes. Dorothy recalls that her father always gave her mother a kiss and thanked her for the good dinner He was always concerned about others and being about his Father's business.

Lester M. Norberg died May 3, l965 at American Fork, Utah and was buried March 6, 1965 at Lehi, Utah.

Autobiography written in 1961