Written by Lona Black Chapple 

            I am writing the story of my mother as I remember her and the things she taught and told me, also from a little information that I have gleaned here and there.

            My mother, Anna Marie (Mariah) Hansen Black and a younger brother, Jorgen lived with their parents on a little farm in Denmark. They belonged to the Methodist Church and she often told us children that as far back as she could remember she and her brother would have to spend Sunday afternoon, sitting at home listening to their father read the Holy Bible. She said she sometimes wished that there were no Sundays or Bibles but finally a wonderful change took place because the Mormon Missionaries came to their home and her parents became interested in their teachings. It was not long before the family of four were converted and baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They had a great desire to come to Zion, so in the year 1855 they were passengers on one of the big sailboats headed for America (John J. Boyd). They were eleven weeks crossing the Atlantic Ocean. Most of the passengers became ill and many of them passed away and had to be thrown overboard. Her brother, Jorgen being one of them. This was a great trial for the parents as they had already buried a baby girl in Denmark. They were very happy to finally reach St. Louis. Here they remained for a few months and her mother gave birth to a baby girl, Christanna. They found the American way of life quite different to those of Denmark where they were accustomed to eating five meals a day and when they were thirsty they drank beer, coffee or milk. Mother said she didn’t even know that plain water was meant to be used for drinking purposes until she had her first drink aboard the ship. She said it tasted awful and so she had to learn at age fifteen to like water.

The family crossed the plains headed for Utah with Canute Peterson Company in 1856. She said she well remembered one day they were slowly moving along when all at once the oxen stampeded and ran at full speed until they were themselves down. She was sitting up front with her father while her mother and baby sister were back in the wagon she said they all expected to be dashed to pieces at any moment because they were traveling right along the edge of a ravine or river. When all was quiet and peaceful again they found that very little damage had been done and they felt to thank their Heavenly Father for His kind and protecting care over them.

Anna Marie’s parents instilled into her heart loyalty for America and her religion. They said, “We came here of our own free will and may never see our native land again. We are Americans from now on.” They told Anna Marie that she was young and could learn the English language much easier than they could. She took these teachings so much to heart that she even tried to talk, walk and act just like the American girls. She didn’t even want to play with the Danish and Swedish children for fear she would not learn the American language soon enough. Anna Marie was a typical loyal American in every respect so much that she even forgot her own native language.

At age nineteen, Anna Marie met and married thirty three year old William Morley Black in Manti, Utah. This was in the year 1859. She was his third wife she became the mother of four girls and five boys, all who grew to manhood and womanhood except one boy, who died in infancy. She said father’s first two wives, Margaret and Jane were wonderful women that they were happy and all got along very well together. Each had her own home and each took turns in looking after and taking care of the children while the other two wives went to dances, parties or the theatre with their beloved husband, who was always busy and quite popular, he was also a good sport.

Anna Marie, along with all the early pioneers passed through many trials and hardships. She was a tailoress and was one of the few to own a sewing machine, so while she was busy with housework such as washing, ironing, or cooking, some of the neighbors would be making use of the sewing machine, it was never idle for long at a time.

This dear woman was a wonderful wife and mother and was an excellent cook. She had a way of making folks feel welcome, so for that reason we always had company a plenty. Always an active worker in the Relief Society and because of her calm quiet sensible ways she was often called to work with the sick and dying. As doctors were scarce in the early days she sometimes had to take the responsibility of setting a broken limb or even act as mid-wife. She very much liked the gathering and studying of herbs, she felt that God had placed them on earth for the use of man and expected us to know how to blend and make use of them in times of need.

Mother always taught, we, her children that along with faith and prayers we must be willing to get out and do our part if we expect to be blessed and prospered. She said that Heavenly Father was willing to help those that help themselves. Mother always said she felt it was her right and privilege as well as duty to look after and now where and who her children were with to keep them busy and interested in worthwhile things.

Mother outlived the other wives by quite a few years and all of father’s children loved and respected her for the wonderful way she looked after and cared for him in his old age.

When the Saints were driven out of Old Mexico in 1912, leaving their nice little home and all their earthly possessions, they went to Southern Utah where several of their children were living. They made their home first with one and then another of them. She spent her time piecing quilts, making rugs, mending stockings, washing dishes or doing whatever she could to help along with the work.

Mother was very lonely after my 89-year-old father died on 21 June 1915 in Blanding, Utah and her health began to fail. When she passed away from heart trouble. Her eye-sight, hearing and memory were perfect. She however, was bedfast most of the time for the last year of her life but was kind, patient and grateful for any and everything anyone did for her. Falling asleep on the morning of 09 March 1920 she passed away at the home of her son, David in Blanding with children: Myrtle Palmer, Hattie Guymon, Lona Chapple and Morley Black at her bedside. She was buried by the side of her dear husband in the little cemetery in Blanding, Utah.

Her children were: Joseph A., Rachel, William, Myrtle, Miller Snow, Harriet (Hattie), David (Dave), Morley and Ablona (Lone).