John Hegsted, husband of Edna Margaret Porter Hegsted

(Note: This history was written by Edna Margaret Porter and provided us through the generosity of the Clements family web site with only minor corrections by Roger Porter.  Many thanks for this contribution to the extended family! Roger Porter)

John Hegsted was born February 9, 1875 at Huntsville, Utah, the son of Hans Christian Sorensen Hegsted and Ane Christena Iverson. He was the fifth child of ten children as follows: Mary, Christena, Hans, Minnie, John, Rebecca, Amelia, David, Letitia and Dagmar.

John's father was born at Hogsted, Hjorring, Denmark and when a young man he heard the gospel preached by L.D.S. missionaries and joined the church. For the next seven years he did missionary work, preaching the gospel and also officiating as president of the Mission. He married a convert, Maren Borglum, three years after joining the church, and in 1865 they, with their one child, sailed for America.

He followed the advise of the Church in the practice of polygamy and married two other Danish girls, Ana Christena Iverson (the mother of John) and Nielsena Christena Nielsen after arriving in America. Nine children were born to Maren, Ana Christena had ten children and Nielsena had eight children, a total of 27.

After one year in the 16th Ward in Salt Iake City Hans Hegsted moved his family to Huntsville where they lived for ten years and where John was born. A month after his birth, in March 1875, the family moved from Huntsville to Farr West, a small settlement on the northwest outskirts of Ogden, Utah, where the climate was warmer and the summer season was longer than at Huntsville. Here Hans bought a small home and built on to it to give them more room. The families of Maren and Christena shared the home, each having two rooms. Christena’s own words were, "We lived peacefully together. The only trouble was with the children once in awhile."

The third wife, Sina, died September 25, 1879 at the age of 39, leaving five small children. Maren, or Mary as she was called, and Christena took these children into their home and raised them with their own.

When John was a very small boy he was asked to recite a poem, "Selling the Baby” in the Ogden Tabernacle which he did--barefooted. It was such a success that he was asked to repeat it at a celebration in the Lorin Farr Park in Ogden.

The boys slept in the attic of the house, which they reached by opening a trap door and climbing up a ladder. When John was 13 years of age he fell from this loft. One version of the story is that the ladder had been moved and another is that he fell, striking the ladder as he fell. The result of the fall was a broken hip and for about six months he lay in bed racked with pain. It was better than a year before he walked again. The other children recall playing cards with him on his bed to pass the time, but they said if their father came in the house the cards were hidden because he would not allow such a thing. As a result of this accident John's left leg was two or three inches shorter than the other one and he walked with a cane the rest of his life.

John loved animals and as a boy he had pet chipmunks, cats, geese, etc. He had a large yellow cat that no one could get near but him and when he would call, the cat would bound in to him from the fields.

John attended grade school at Farr West and also Weber Academy at Ogden. He later attended Ricks Academy in Rexburg. He developed a love for books, especially history, and read constantly. During his life he acquired a large library.

In 1892 John's father moved with his first wife, Mary, to Idaho and settled on 160 acres of land at Salem, three miles north of Rexburg. He soon found he had made a mistake to go north instead of south to a warm climate. He soon became bedfast with rheumatism which afflicted him for twenty years. Christena and her family came to Salem in 1897.  Five years later Mary died and Christena continued to take care of John’s invalid father until his death August 11, 1914.

On February 18, 1903 John, then 28 years old, left Rexburg to fill a mission in Denmark, returning in April 1905.  While on his mission he not only paid his own expenses but looked after his parents’ need.

In 1908 John was elected Assessor and Collector of Fremont County and Edna Margaret Porter, daughter of Rebecca Margaret Poole and Aaron Benjamin Porter, was chosen as Deputy Assessor. Their interest in each other developed into love and they were married on November 10, 1909 in the Salt Lake Temple. Their first home was in St. Anthony which was then the county seat of Fremont County and it was there that their first child, Jack, was born on August 14, 1910. Two years later on October 9, 1912 a baby girl, Margaret, was born to them but she died at birth. 

When the county was divided the Governor of Idaho appointed John Hegsted Auditor and Clerk of the District Court of Madison County, with the county seat at Rexburg and John moved his family to the 160 acre farm he had bought near his father's farm in Salem.

At first the family lived in the little three room house that stood on the farm while they made plans for building their permanent home. When the big rock house was completed just to the north of the little one the family moved in, and at the death of John's father, August 12, 1914, he settled his mother into the little house and there she lived until the last few years of her life when she went in 1933 to spend her last days with her daughters in Utah. John always looked after her needs, taking her to her church meetings and seeing that she was provided for in every way.

John continued to work as Auditor and Clark of Madison County almost continuously during the remainder of his life. His 160 acres were farmed by the George Kusaka family and his boys helped as they grew old enough. Four more children were born in this home, Mark, Barbara, Helen and Beth.

John took his family to church and was active in teaching the gospel. He taught the adult class of Sunday School in both the Salem Ward and later in the Rexburg First Ward, and was active in the Priesthood.

He was respected and loved by all who knew him. He was kind and considerate of everyone and especially so to those less fortunate than he. His acts of kindness and financial help are remembered by many. He was devoted to his wife. She often said he couldn't go out for an armful of wood without kissing her goodbye.

He never enjoyed good health and died September 26, 1930 at the age of 55. The esteem in which he was held was demonstrated at his passing when the Rexburg Stake Tabernacle was filled at his funeral. Some thirty years after his death a friend, Charles Zollinger, told this incident to his son, Jack. When John Hegsted was asked if he paid tithing, he replied, "Yes. I can't afford not to." He had a strong testimony of the Gospel.




  This experience was told to Barbara Rasmussen in Boston in July, 1977 by George Ballif who was visiting with his daughter, Gretta Ballif.

Mr. Ballif said that many years ago when his father, John L. Ballif, and family were living in Rexburg, his younger brother, Ariel, fell into an irrigation ditch close by their home and John Hegsted, the father of Barbara, Jack, Mark, Helen and Beth Hegsted, jumped in to rescue him. They were both swept through a long culvert, which undoubtedly was one that crossed a Rexburg street. He clung to the boy, managed to survive, and got him out at the other end of the culvert. When a doctor arrived he gave the boy up for dead and turned his attention to the boy's mother who had run to the scene from her sick bed, having given birth to a baby a few days previous.

John Hegsted took the boy, Ariel, and rolled him over a log that was lying near by and revived him, thus saving his life a second time.

Ariel Ballif became a school teacher and taught Jack Hegsted history in high school. He married Artemisia Romney, daughter of George S. Romney, Ricks College president, and has recently retired from the faculty of Brigham Young University.

I, Dorothy Hegsted, talked with Elizabeth Stowell, one of Rexburg's oldest residents, about the Ballifs and she gave me this information. The Ballif home was on Center Street, near the Barrett Dress Shop, and one of the city ditches ran across the street there. Mr. Ballif was mayor of the city and owned a men's clothing store. Mrs. Ballif was very prominent in civic affairs as well as being the mother of a large family. Mrs. Stowell relates that Mrs. Ballif was asked one day how she managed to be so active in public affairs with such a large family to care for. Her reply was, "I just leave them to the Lord and the neighbors".

Since John Hegsted was not a neighbor I guess the Lord saw to it that he was at the right place at the right time.