This biography was printed in July 1979 by the William Halls Family Organization in its family periodical,
Through the Halls of History, Kristine Halls Smith, editor
© 1979 William Halls Family Organization
Emma Halls Lansing was the 5th child and 4th daughter of William Halls (1834-1920) and Johanne Marie Frandsen (1855-1913)
by Kristine Halls Smith
with information provided by Florence Gerdel and Bruce Lyman
with information from Palmer Lansing’s death certificate provided by Alan J Phipps 2009
November 4, 1879 was an important date in the lives of Johanne and William Halls for it was on that date that they were blessed with beautiful, twin daughters. Emma and Lucy were the fourth and fifth of twelve children to be born into this family. At that time the family was living in Huntsville, Utah. William also had two other wives, Louisa and Eleanor, who together had seven children by 1881.
Emma spent her young childhood years there in Huntsville, but in 1885, her father was called to help settle the Four-Corners area of Utah and Colorado, and so at the age of five, Emma traveled with her parents and brothers and sisters to Bluff, Utah. They stayed in Bluff for only a year and then moved east to Mancos, Colorado. Mancos was to be Emma's home for nearly thirty years. Emma's youngest sister, Florence, recalled that "Sisters Emma and Lucy were twins, though not identical, each different from the other in many ways. They loved each other dearly and were always together. Both had brown curly hair which hung in ringlets over their shoulders."
Emma attended school in Mancos and was no doubt involved in helping her mother in raising the seven younger children who came after her. After her school years she stayed in Mancos and worked in a millinery shop and later for the Bauer family who owned the bank and mercantile business. She was an excellent seamstress and a good cook. She cooked the meals for the clerks in the Bauers' store.
On November 29, 1906, at the age of 27, Emma was married to Palmer Lansing. Emma's marriage found disfavor with her father, for Palmer was not a member of the Mormon Church, the most important thing in her father's life.
Emma and Palmer lived in the town of Mancos, where Palmer worked in a carpenter shop. He also worked in a sawmill nearby until it was closed for lack of trees in that area. A year after their marriage, Emma gave birth to a son, Paul, born November 7, 1907. During these years in Mancos, Emma remained very close to her twin sister, and Lucy's son, Bruce, born in 1906, remembers visiting often with Emma and playing with young Paul, his first cousin.
According to the family, “about 1915” Emma, Palmer, and Paul moved to Salt Lake City, where Palmer again worked as a carpenter. Unfortunately, their days together were to be short, for “in 1916” Palmer died. They had had only ten years of married life together.
His death certificate gives his date of death as January 1st, 1917 and the cause of death as “chronic myocarditis”, which is inflammation of the heart muscle. He was at the time a patient at LDS Hospital and had been attended the night before by Dr. G. G. Richards, who had treated him since July 7th. “Mrs. Lansing” was the informant for the personal information on the certificate, which gives Palmer’s age at death as 47 years, 1 month, and 24 days. Palmer was born November 7, 1869 in Illinois, the son of John Lansing, born in Germany, and Matilda Cook, birthplace not known to Emma. Emma gave Palmer’s occupation not as carpenter but “machinist” and his, presumably their, length of stay in both Salt Lake City and Utah as 7 years, contrary to the family memories. Their residence at the time of death was 1170 [East] Milton Avenue in Salt Lake City, which is 1595 South.
Palmer Lansing was buried at Mt Olivet, the protestant cemetery at 5th South and 13th East in Salt Lake City.
Florence remembered that "Emma was always so kind to me, especially during my years of training in LDS Hospital. I always had a home with her and Paul, She made all of my uniforms and clothing during that time."
After Palmer's death, Emma was encouraged by her sister Mary to move to Tucson, Arizona where she could be near Mary and her husband, Charles Brown. So in 1917, Emma, along with another sister Eliza moved to Tucson, where the two sisters worked for the Southern Pacific Railroad. Emma’s son Paul remembered that his summers in Tucson were spent at the Browns’ ranch. Emma's health was poor, and Paul felt that she must have enjoyed the rest she got while he was away, knowing that he was happy and well cared for with his many cousins.
About 1920, the railroad transferred Emma and Eliza to San Francisco, California. Emma later worked as a telephone operator. When they left Arizona, Paul lived in Los Angeles, where he supported himself selling newspapers while attending junior high school. Emma's poor health and difficult financial circumstances forced mother and son to be apart through many of Paul's growing‑up years. Later, when Paul was living in San Francisco working in a bank, Emma was living in Los Angeles. It was only for a short time before she died that they lived together during Paul's adult life. From early youth, Emma had suffered from a severe heart condition, which caused her death on May 27, 1933 at the age of 53. She was buried in San Francisco.
Florence said, "Each of these sisters, Emma and Lucy, was very dear and helpful, especially during my high school and training years. It would have been very difficult for me to have been on my own, and I will always be grateful."