Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Ola Larson: Persecution & Emigration (Part 2)

Shortly thereafter, Ola Larson's employment was terminated. He was told he was a top notch gardener but that he was let go because they found out he was Mormon. Unemployment led to poverty. Soon Bailiffs confiscated his furniture and other possessions to settle outstanding debts. His family was left with just their "bedclothes."
During the same time I had great religious trials also. Two Utah brethren had for most of the time been living in my house for over one year. One of these brethren was president of the New Zealand mission. His name was Elijah. F. Pearce, and the other brother's name was George Batt. Both of these brethren did a great deal which was not proper for missionaries to do, and when they came home to Utah they were both cut off from the church for adultery. Pearce after a long time was re-baptized into the church again, but Batt stole a team and wagon and took one of his wives with him and has never been heard from since up to this time [1896]. Wm. M. Brombey from Springville, Utah arrived to preside over the mission, and he stopped in my house for quite a while together with N. H. Groesbeck.

Ola eventually learned a new trade of weaving baskets. He made everything from Baby Carriages to Chairs, and became quite prosperous doing so.
Still had meetings in my house every Sunday, and a few came and visited our meetings. Brother Nordstrand then went away to North Island and I was set apart as President of Christchurch Branch which position I held until I left New Zealand.

Ola described his business ventures and his missionary efforts during his last years of his stay in New Zealand.
During my stay in New Zealand I baptized 19 people. Two or three of them were my own children. The last man I baptized in New Zealand was John Phillips, just about one month before we left the country. The last missionary there who stopped with us was Charles Hayborn. He came from Australia and gave us a call on the road from there to North Island. Most of all the missionaries labored amongst Maoris on the North Island.

Finally, a friend he had baptized inherited some money from his father in England and offered to help pay part of the Larson Family's cost to emigrate to Utah.
I sold out my business to my brother-in-law James Nelson who had been working with me for several years, but he paid a very small amount for my stock and materials. Part of my tools I brought with me so after eleven years' experience on the island I said goodbye to all my friends after which the Christchurch branch of the church broke up, there being no one to preside and then most of the saints removed to North Island and a few apostatized. There were only left a few scattered saints. The four sisters Roundtree who had received the Gospel through my wife's labor shortly after left and went to Auckland, and John Phillips emigrated to Utah about two years later. Three of the Roundtree girls went to Utah but one, the youngest, went back to Christchurch again to her parents, their parents not being in the church. We had our last meeting in my house on the 15th of July 1885, and on the 16th we left Christchurch and went on board the steamship Manaponi in Lyttelton.

They arrived in Auckland and boarded a large steamer, the Zealandia, on the 21st of July 1885 bound for San Francisco, California. From there they went on to Utha and settled in Logan.

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