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Peter F. Christensen
May Christensen

Stirling - Its Story and People
pages 25 - 27
by Myrtle Christensen

Peter F. Christensen was born October 27, 1863 at Mount Pleasant, Utah, U.S.A. to Frans Christensen and Sophia Hansen, and was raised in the Elsinore, Utah area. Peter was interested in farming and the raising of livestock.

May (Mary Sophia) was born May 21, 1872 in Kanosh, Utah, to George Staples and Lauretta Rappley. Peter and May were married December 16, 1891 in the Manti Temple by apostle A. H. Lund.

Peter and other members of the L.D.S. church were called to go to Canada in 1899 to help build and develop irrigation canals and railroad beds tor train tracks in this area. In that year, he came by the narrow gauge railroad to Stirling, without his family, bring- ing his team of horses, wagon, and slip scraper, prepared to work on the job. His wagon was the second outfit to drive into the new Stirling townsite.

Tents were their only homes until lots were chosen and lumber could be obtained to build homes and shelters. Peter chose his lot close to the coulee, because water had to be hauled from there by a stoneboat with a barrel on it, and livestock could be driven there daily for their drink of water.

By 1900, his wife, May, and three daughters came to Stirling by train to be with Peter. Later six more children were born.

Peter was able to buy his first piece of irrigated land of 80 acres for $3 per acre, using the scrip he had earned working on the canal. After farming the acreage for nearly 20 years, he decided he didn't want to farm for the rest of his life with a shovel over his shoulder and wearing rubber boots, so he sold his 80 acres of irrigated land and bought 320 acres of dry land Northeast of town, which he farmed until his passing. This land is now owned by his son, Allen.

May and Peter Christensen were both active in church and community affairs, and their children remember the times May gave beautiful readings and poems on many programs.

Peter loved hunting, camping and fishing and was interested in sports and local affairs. He had a special way or talent for cutting and caring for meat such as the salt brine and smoking method.

He also introduced the first alfalfa grown here, and started the growing of ash trees in Stirling so he could use the hard wood of those trees when smoking meat and fish. He had a butcher shop in Stirling at one time, and a part interest in a butcher shop at New Dayton.

May was active as a teacher in the Primary, and was Relief Society president for a number of years. She was known as a wonderful friend and good neighbour to all who knew her.

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Copyright 2000
Mary Tollestrup