This biography was printed in March 1977 by the William Halls Family Organization in its family periodical, Through the Halls of History, Kristine Halls Smith, editor.
© 1977 William Halls Family Organization
Louisa Elizabeth (Lizzie) Halls Wangsgard was the 5th child and only daughter of William Halls (1834-1920) and Louisa Carritt Enderby (1840-1911)
LOUISA ELIZABETH (LIZZIE) HALLS WANGSGARD
By Kristine Halls Smith
from recollections by Lizzie’s children, Edith Wangsgard Keleher,
Estella Wangsgard Rice and Harold W. Wangsgard
Christmas Day 1891 was a special day in more ways than one for Lizzie Halls and Chris Wangsgard, for that was the day they began their lives together. Bishop David McKay presided over the wedding ceremony, and many friends gathered at Lizzie's mother's home in Huntsville to congratulate the new bride and groom and to extend their best wishes for a good and happy life together. And in later years their children would recall that it was indeed a good and happy life. "I remember her wedding dress, a pretty blue dress, that hung in the closet for years."
Had Lizzie's father had his way, Chris Wangsgard may not have been part of Lizzie's life, for at one time her father came to her and said, "Brother So-and-So is coming and asking you to be his third wife. Now Lizzie, I thought I'd come and tell you." Her reply shows the spunk that was part of her character, for she said, "You go tell him that if he comes to me, I'll tell him to go straight to Hell." So her father went back and the old man never showed up. "She would have done it, too," her daughter laughingly recalled.
Lizzie was born on April 5, 1870 in Huntsville, Utah and was given the first name of her mother, Louisa Carritt Enderby Halls, though the name by which she was always known came from her middle name, Elizabeth. Lizzie was her mother's only daughter, but she had five brothers. Her father, William Halls, took a second wife, Johanne Marie Frandsen, who bore twelve children, and a third wife, Eleanor Howard, who had one daughter, Lottie. Lizzie became a very good friend to Lottie.
Lizzie's friendship with Lottie began when Lottie was very young. Lizzie was eleven when Lottie was born, just a good age to help a mother with a new baby. Lottie's mother, Eleanor, had a difficult time recovering from her pregnancy, and so Lizzie was often there to help care for little Lottie. Three years later Eleanor died from the complications of a second pregnancy. William thought it would be best if Lottie were taken to live with his second wife, Johanne, where there would be other young children for her to be with, but Lottie would have none of that. She wanted to be with Lizzie. So Lottie was taken back to Louisa's house, and Lizzie helped raise her. It was a friendship that lasted all their lives.
When Lizzie was fifteen years old, many of their father's family members disappeared from her life when her father took two of her older brothers, Thomas and William, Jr., and his second wife with her children to help settle the San Juan country in southern Utah and Colorado. Her other brothers, Mosiah, George, and John were left to care for Lizzie and their mother. Since Louisa's health was not always good, it can be assumed that Lizzie did her share of the work in the household. William came back to Huntsville for occasional visits to his family and Lizzie's children remember the visits their grandfather had with their mother and their grandmother.
Lizzie grew up in Huntsville and lived there almost all of her life. She worked with her brothers at the farm until Christian Wangsgard became a permanent part of her life. Chris was the youngest of thirteen children of Christen Christensen Wangsgard and Kirsten Pedersen Wangsgard. He was born on October 24, 1867 in a dugout in Huntsville. It was said that he was small enough to put into a quart-size can when he was born, but he grew up to be six feet two and weigh 200 pounds. Chris was just fourteen when his father died and was left to take care of his mother and run the farm.
When Chris and Lizzie were married, he built a little two-room brick home near his mother's house, and it was there that they spent their first years together. Their first four children were born while they lived in this house -- Edith on September 27, 1892, Estella Louisa on March 32, 1895, Edgar Christian on July 7, 1896, and John Irvin on September 9, 1898. In 1904 they moved Chris' mother into the little brick house and built a very nice new home on the corner nearby. Edith recalled that "the house is the same age as Harold. He was born on November 17, 1904, and we moved Mama from where we were living into the new home, and he was born in the parlor, so he's extra special. It was the only room that had a stove in it. Then they finished the house, and we all moved into it."
Mama took care of Grandma Wangsgard for 18 years, and they never had a cross word. She stayed in her own home, but we did her washing and took her meals to her and cleaned her house. Grandma never really learned to speak English, and Mama and the rest of us didn't learn to speak Danish, but we understood each other just fine."
Chris supported his family with his farm and by raising cattle. He also had a coal yard and was involved with others in a fish hatchery which took advantage of cold water from artesian wells to raise good fish that were sold to restaurants and to the railroad. He was still raising cattle until he was in his eighties.
Edith, Estella, and Harold, in a taped interview, recalled many things about their parents' lives as they were growing up in Huntsville. They remember that Lizzie was a good wife and mother. "She was a very good housekeeper and a good manager. We never found a button off our clothes or any clothes that weren't mended. The clothes were put away; we knew where to get them and what to do with them. We were very happy as children. We were well taken care of and had plenty to eat and wear. We had a real nice family life. There was never any quarreling; if Mother and Dad ever quarreled, we never heard it. They got along fine. Dad thought Mama was absolutely perfect. She was so good with little kids and could handle them so well. Dad always helped her with the washing until we got old enough to do it. The wringer was hard to turn so he'd help and then empty the washer. He was very good to help her and get help for her.
"We finally got a pump in the kitchen. Before that we had a pump outside just below the steps. Then Dad put a pump in so we could pump it in the house. Oh, it was hard to pump! It seems it took two men to pump it. All we had for refrigeration was our basement. But Dad built the house over the old rock cellar that Grandma Wangsgard's house had been on, so it was a good old rock cellar, and it was fairly cold. It would keep the milk and the cream sweet longer than you would imagine.
"And the old coal stove. If you haven't cooked on an old coal stove, you haven't cooked. You'd have to put your hand in to check the oven temperature, but Mama never burned her bread. She was a good cook. She'd keep that stove clean and scrape the soot down. She had an old cast iron pot and she could cook a good chicken or roast in that! It tastes better when you're kids; everything tastes better, especially your mother's cooking.
"Mama never took any part in the church, and Grandpa and Grandma Wangsgard apostatized from the church so Dad never belonged. But Mama belonged to the Daughters of the Valley and the Daughters of the Pioneers. Everyone liked her. The people in that end of town all stuck together. They had their parties and they had a good time, all jolly and fun. They were really excellent good people, good citizens, good neighbors. We had a nice lot of people down at that end of town."
Estella recalls this story: "Edith and I took half a sack of sugar next door and used it to make mud pies. I told Edith not to tell, but she did. I ran out to the backhouse, because that's where I went when things weren't going well, and Edith crawled under the bed. Mama lined us up, but we didn't get a lickin'. Mama never gave us a lickin', and Papa was so strong he said he'd have killed us, so we never got a lickin'." Harold added: "So that's why we turned out the way we did; we needed a lickin' and never got it."
Another humorous story involved their Aunt Lottie: "Dad used to go down to Ogden and get Lottie every Sunday and bring her up to the valley, and she and Mama had so much fun. They were both jolly and full of fun. We all enjoyed Aunt Lottie. She was always pulling jokes on people. One time she decided that since it was Leap Year, she would take Dad to the dance. She got a team of horses from Uncle Will and then came down and got him. They didn't invite Mama. She wasn't supposed to go. Harold was still a baby in arms. So Mama called up an old bachelor that lived a few blocks away, told him what was going on, and asked him to come and take her to the dance. "Sure," he said. He was a good sport. So there was no one there to take care of Harold since we older kids had gone to the dance. So the bachelor came and got Mama and they went to the dance with Harold in her arms. She got to the dance and planted Harold down on Dad and went on dancing with her date. Boy, Aunt Lottie got a kick out of that! She didn't think that was going to happen. Mama fixed her! She thought she was pulling one on Mama, but Dad had to take care of Harold."
They also remember that "Dad used to take us to the children's dances when we were little. Our feet never touched the floor. He took us under our arms and we went around in a circle and were so dizzy when we got through. He took us to all the dances and he was a splendid dancer. He also used to call the dances with his booming voice. He danced until he was eighty."
What kind of person was Chris Wangsgard? "Well, he was a big man, a powerful man, very strong, but he was very kind, very good to all of us. He did the very best he could for us always. When he was vice-president of the Hansen Livestock he used to go to Logan to take care of the men up there. One time while he was gone, Edgar, the oldest boy, got sick and we sent word to Dad. Edgar had heart trouble and we didn’t expect him to live. It was November, and Dad came over the hills on an old horse, an all-black, beautiful big animal who had been over the trail with Dad so many times. He came through the canyon through Liberty to Huntsville on that horse, just gave the horse his head, and he brought Dad through the deep snow at night. He got there very early in the morning. Harold was just a few days old when Edgar got sick. Edgar was eight years old and just about lost his life." Such was the concern Chris had for his family.
They remember how their grandmother, Louisa Halls, "used to come down and help Mama put up fruit every fall. And I've seen her peel peaches and pears until she'd have to wrap her thumbs to keep them from getting too sore. Boy, she would work! All the pickles and things they made and Grandma would always come down and help. She was a very prim woman. She'd walk from her house --a good mile-- with her black umbrella over her, and she'd look neither right nor left. She went to church with her long-sleeved dress and gloves and a little cameo on her neck and a little hat with little purple flowers and she's just sit and never look to the right or left during the whole meeting."
By 1924, Harold was living in California and Chris and Lizzie went to Los Angeles to live. They stayed there for two years and during that time Lizzie's heart condition seemed to be better. They returned to Huntsville, however, in 1925.
When Lizzie was 64, on April 29, 1934, her life with Chris was ended, but Chris lived over 20 more years, dying October 6, 1955. He was 88 years old and had spent his remaining time living in their Huntsville home.