Territorial Women's Memorial Rose Garden
MARIE PIERSON MAGNUSSON
Marie, oldest daughter of Par Pierson and Bengta Swenson, was born January 28, 1862, in Eslof, Malmo, Sweden. Marie's father was a tinsmith, and her mother worked in a clothing factory.

As the eldest child, Marie had to take care of her six siblings while her mother worked. When she was eight years old, she started working in a match factory, but the sulfur from the matches affected her lungs so she had to quit. It was the custom in Sweden that all children learn a trade so her mother sent her to a glove factory for employment.

Marie was so small that she had to stand on a box in order to reach the machinery. Instead, she took the gloves home and sewed them by hand. Marie and her future husband both converted to Mormonism in Sweden. They came separately to America so that they might marry, as her alcoholic father prevented them from marrying in Sweden.

Marie married James Peter Magnusson on October 13, 1883, in Murray, Utah. Peter obtained a job as a miner in the Goldfield Mine at the base of the Superstition Mountains east of Mesa, Arizona Territory. He bought two-and-one half acres of land on the west corner of North MacDonald Street, where he built a large one-room adobe house for his family.

Peter and Marie had eleven children: Nephi, born June 14, 1884; Edwin, born November 8, 1885; Edith Magnusson Griner, born May 23, 1887; Pharaoh, born July 29, 1889; Ray, born June 28, 1890; Ruth, born July 3, 1892; Peter, born October 3, 1894; Marie Magnusson Moon, born February 6, 1898; Ivan, born February 12, 1900; Emma Idella, born February 9, 1903; Jame, born May 11, 1906. Only six of their children lived to adulthood.

In addition to being a wife and homemaker and a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints, Marie took in washing to help augment the family income and sold milk from their cow in order to buy meat and stamps.

Her husband Peter was twice called to missions in Sweden by the LDS Church while their children were young, leaving Marie to make a living and manage their family in Arizona. Her oldest daughter, Edith, remembers those as "very hard times."

Marie died on November 20, 1940, in Mesa Arizona, where she was buried.

Donors: Mernice and Marie Alkire
March 2000


Additional documentation and photographs may be available in the Sharlot Hall Museum Archives and Library.