SCHOW, Christena – Woman of Faithfulness

Christena Schow first heard the Gospel in her native land of when Apostle and Elder George P. Dykes, two of the first Latter-day Saint missionaries, visited that country. On 13 April 1851, she and her brothers were baptized by Elder Hans Peter Jensen.

In 1853 they left their home and native land for Utah. They sailed to Liverpool, England, then continued on to America aboard the good ship “Jessie Munn.” They landed in New Orleans, arriving there February 10, 1854. 

Their voyage continued up the Mississippi River to Kansas City, Missouri, where they remained for a time preparing for the journey across the plains. They made the trek in Captain Hans Peter Olsen’s Company. Christena walked the entire distance except for two afternoons when she was privileged to ride. They arrived in Salt Lake City 5 October 1854.

Their first home was in Bountiful, where they underwent all the hardships incident to the settlement of that country, among them the grasshopper wars. Before they had a home of their own, they lived in Chris Hyrise’s stable. While there her father and two older brothers pulled the sunflowers and weeds from his large field of wheat for ten pints of flour a week. 

When Christena was a very young girl, her eyes were very sore and her parents took her to a patriarch. He gave her a patriarchal blessing in which he told her she would “get well, grow up, and eventually marry a man like the Prophet Nathan of old”. He gave her many wonderful promises and said that, “she would stand on Mount Zion with palms of victory in her hands.” 

During this time her mother, two brothers, and she gathered pigweeds. They stripped the leaves and tender stems from the weeds and cooked them. Some of them were thickened with flour and baked into bread. They used sour milk, and for leavening they used the saleratus which they gathered from off the ground. They walked a mile twice a week for skimmed milk. The rest of the weeds were stewed and eaten with the bread. For six weeks this was a food supply for a family of seven. 

After the field of wheat was ripe, they pulled and bound it into bundles. They were allowed to glean the heads of wheat from the edges of the field for their own use, which they thrashed with sticks and carried to the mill to be ground into flour. From that time on they were never without flour.

One day when Christena went for milk at the neighbors, there was no one home. The door stood open and she could see a hoe-cake propped up in front of the fire on a fireplace. She was very hungry and was sorely tempted to take it, but she had power to overcome the temptation and went home without it, for which, through the years to come, she was very thankful.

She went to William and Myra Henrie’s home for milk and became acquainted with the family. She went there to work and on 6 December 1861.  Later she married their son, James, and became his second wife. His first wife, Rhoana (Hatch) Henrie, loved Christena very much and encouraged romance between them. She lived with James and Rhoana in their home while in Bountiful.  It was here that her first baby, Joseph Niels, was born. He died at the age of 10 months and was buried in Bountiful, Utah.

They were called to help settle Panaca, Nevada, and lived there until 3 May 1871, when they moved to Panguitch. James came a little before the family with cattle, horses, etc.They moved into a log room inside the fort on the public square. Eventually she moved from the fort into a home of her own in the south-central part of Panguitch, where she lived until her death.

Christena spun flax and wove it into table linen and towels. She washed and scoured the wool from sheep, corded it into bats for quilts.  Then she spun and colored it for yarn, which she knit into stockings and socks, gloves and mittens for her family. Christena also spun flax into warp and wove it into flannel, pants, and underwear. She gathered and prepared wheat straw and made it into hats for both men and women, with flowers to trim them. She also made buckskin gloves.  All items she did not need for her family she sold to the first co-op store. She cut, sewed, and wove rags into carpet for herself and others. She made her own starch from potatoes, her own soap from animal fat, using wood ashes for lye. She was a good cook and made delicious salt rising bread.  She named her second son for her husband and the Prophet Nathan: James Nathan Henrie.

She was the mother of ten children: all but one grew up and reared families of their own. Her husband married her half-sister Gedske Schow on 18 June 1879 and the three wives and their children loved and respected each other very much.

James Henrie and his three wives were noble, worthy, full of faith and devotion, and died as they had lived in full faith of the Gospel. Their bodies are lying side by side in the Panguitch City Cemetery. When Rohana died she loved, kissed and pressed Christena’s hand and said: “Don’t cry, we will soon be together again.”

Christena was an example to us of enterprise, motherhood, and pioneering spirit.  She is an heir to God’s promise that says, “Mine eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me.”  Psalm 101:6

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