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I, Louis William Larsen, was born in the early morning hours of October 27, 1884. On that same night, they say, there was a jolting earthquake. I must have been shaking for I have been "shook" ever since” My parents were an English girl, Susannah Tittensor, and my father a Dane, John Christian Larsen. She was born in Manchester, England. He was born of immigrant parents in Plain City, Utah. The vast system of Mormonism brought them together in Cache Valley - two towns within courting distance: he in Logan, she in Richmond. My nativity was Cove, Utah - a sprawling village that skirted a five-mile lane, beginning high in a canyon, looping a great mountain promontory and winding back into a picturesque cove. My first memory - and now my oldest memory - was a childhood on a sage brush mesa, past which roared the turbulent waters of High Creek in the spring,, receding to a mere trickle in the late summer and autumn. That was the stream whose man-made tributaries stirred the parched desert to life and made this place-just barely-habitable. My mother's house was a two-room frame shack with an attic that was a bedroom for her four sons. I speak of it as my mother's house for the reason that my father had two houses on this rock-strewn lap of the great mountain. He was a polygamist - ¬ married to two sisters. My mother was known as the "first wife." The children born of Ella, the "second wife” we called our "half brothers and sisters." All of our religious and other social life centered around the ward's meeting house. This drab barn-like structure was chapel, school and dance hall. You will have to imagine the varied and colorful memories that hark back to that frontier mecca of all the commingling of forty-odd families drawn from places across the sea and across the land of America. Seven of the heads of families were polygamists. When I had outgrown the school - there was 'no such thing as graduation - I attended the Brigham Young College in Logan for seven years - was graduated with Bachelor of Arts degree in 1908. In 1907, the most eventful of all things had happened: I was married to Ada Vilate Hendricks in the Logan Temple. Ours had been a courtship with the romantic background of "the old mill stream!" Her father was the miller, deep in the entrance to the rugged High Creek canyon. Her mother Vilate, a lovely and unforgettable woman, died in her early womanhood, leaving the teenage Ada in charge of five brothers. After my graduation, I moved with my wife back to the old homestead in Cove, where I spent the summer working on the farm with my father. On July 2 of that year, 1908, our first child Richard was born. In the fall of that same year we moved to Rexburg, Idaho where I taught for one year in the Rick’s Academy. The subjects that I taught were Theology, History and German. Near the end of the school year, 1909, I was called to serve in the Eastern States as a Missionary in the Mormon Church. I was assigned to the state of Vermont. The first year of my mission, I lived in Montpelier, capital of the state. From this center, I walked to the borders of the state in just about every direction. My second year in Vermont was spent at Burlington on Lake Champlain. During the winter months of my second year in Vermont, I attended the State University, where I studied advanced French and History of the Novel. My teachers were Dr. Tupper and Dr. Myrick. I was released to return home in May of 1911. I was reunited with my family at Logan, where my wife and son had been living with my mother. We then moved to the old home in Cove, where we spent the summer. In September of 1911, we moved to Lewiston, Utah, where I served as principal of their new High School for one year. In September of 1912, we moved to Richmond, Utah, where I was principal of their new High School for one year, Throughout these two years spent in Cache Valley, I organized and lead a local dance band. I was also active in various church activities. Louise was born September 15, 1912, in Richmond, Utah. At the end of the summer of 1913, we moved to Salt Lake City, where I had signed to serve on the faculty of Granite High School. I taught at this school for three years. I was an instructor in History, Political Science and Citizenship. During these years I attended summer school sessions and extension classes at the University of Utah. I specialized in literature. I received a Master’s Degree October 15, 1916, For three years, 1916 to 1919, I taught Freshman English and Journalism as a faculty member of the University of Utah. At the end of the school year of 1919, I resigned from this position to accept work as a copywriter on the staff of Stevens & Wallis, Advertising Agency. I continued in their service for eight years. In September of 1927, I founded The Ad-Craftsmen. Associated with me in this venture were Paul S. Clowes, Fielding K. Smith and Joseph Havertz. After several years of struggling to get established, Paul and I bought out the interests of Smith and Havertz. This partnership continued until Paul entered the service and was stationed in England for the duration of World War II, At this point I will digress to summarize a few of the side activities that I engaged in, in the period of transition from teaching to advertising. In the summer of 1916, I went with my wife and daughter to Berkeley, California, to attend the summer school at the University of California. Here I studied journalism under the direction of Professor Dimond of the University of Missouri. On our return to Salt Lake City, I resumed teaching at the University of Utah. Also in this period I collaborated with Wesley King in the writing of a brief history of the University of Utah, covering the institution's first fifty years. In 1921, I was the winner of the Deseret News Christmas Story Contest. In 1930, I won the contest again, setting a record of being the only writer to win the contest twice up to that time. During my teaching period at the University of Utah, I conducted off-campus extension division classes in Business Letter Writing and Advertising. Besides downtown assignments, I conducted classes in Ogden and Bountiful. Before I left the campus to enter the field of business, I was assigned to write a small booklet of brief biographies of wealthy pioneers who had made endowments to the University. In 1931, I assisted Mrs. Alta Jenson in the capacity of co-founder of the first writing group at the famous Art Barn, located at the edge of the University Campus. Also in this general era of my life, I was ghost writer of a book titled THE MAN OF TOMORROW. This work was done for Claude Richards, who took credit for full authorship. paying the real author a very small stipend. Throughout my three years at the University, I was director of the school’s publicity. This brought me in close contact with the local newspapers. I contributed some of my earliest poems to the Salt Lake Tribune at about this time. In 1921, I served as first counselor to Bishop Frank Higginbotham in the Wells Ward. It was in this same year, February 21, 1921 that our son Thomas was born. In my life in advertising as owner and manager of my own business, dating from 1927 to 1952, I handled the accounts of a wide range of businesses and other institutions. For eleven years The Ad-Craftsmen conducted all phases of State Fair Advertising. Our final year of this activity was the conduct of the vast publicity campaigns incident to the great Utah Centennial in 1947. In July and August of 1933, two of my long articles on polygamy were published in H. L. Mencken's AMERICAN MERCURY - the belles-lettres of magazines. I was for many years a member of the Utah State Poetry Society and in 1969-1970 was listed in WHO’S WHO IN THE WEST. An eventful date in our family history was our move from the home at 1589 Laird Avenue to the Butler area - later Cottonwood Heights - fifteen miles to the southward. In this year 1948, I acquired, with my son Richard and son-in-law, Robert Armstrong, a twenty-acre tract of orchard land. My wife and I moved into a newly constructed home on historic 7800 South, in May, 1948. Richard and his family moved into their new home near ours one year later. Our oldest son Richard was married to Ellen Louise Jensen, September 17, 1927. Their oldest son Robert Richard Larsen was born June 2, l932 and Roger Gary, December 2, 1937. Richard attended Granite and East High School and studied art at the University of Utah. He first engaged in a career of advertising as a commercial artist. Later he was associated with the Salt Lake Tribune and in 1946 joined the staff of 'The Ad-Craftsmen. In 1952, I merged the accounts of The Ad-Craftsmen with Adamson & Buchman, later changed to W. S. Adamson & Associates, where I served as account executive and copy writer and Richard as production manager. A sad chapter in our family life concerns our son Tom. He enlisted in the armed services, Mountain Infantry, in 1941. His first training was at Fort Lewis, .Washington. Later he had training at Fort Ord, California. In the summer of 1943, he went with his Regiment to Kiska, in the Aleutian islands, where he was encamped for several months. Fortunately, there was no engagement with the Japanese, who had vacated the island before the arrival of the Americans. Returning from Kiska in late 1943, he was stationed for a few months at Camp Hale, Colorado. During his stay at this Fort, he made several visits with us in Salt Lake. In late 1944, he was encamped in Texas. Near the end of the year he was shipped with the 2nd Army to Italy. He was killed in action on Mt. Belvedere on the date of February 20, 1945. He was buried in Italy until his remains were sent home and interred in Wasatch Lawn Cemetery in March of 1949. While stationed in Texas, Tom married Juana Marie Broussard of Austin. After he went overseas, she came to reside with us for about twenty three months, at the end of which time she was married to Claudius A. Banks of Vernal, Utah. Tom was a sergeant in the 85th Mountain Infantry, 10th Division. Louise married Robert Francis Armstrong November 5, 1939. They resided in Boise, Idaho, for several months, then moved to Yakima, Washington, where their son Robert Francis Armstrong, Jr. was born March 5, 1941. In late 1944, the family moved to Salt Lake, where Bob became associated with me in advertising. He and his family purchased our home on Laird Avenue. Thomas Gregg was born July 29, 1946. Robert, Sr., died suddenly of a heart attack March 31, 1949 at the home on Laird Avenue. Louise and her two sons came to live with us at 3120 E. 7800 South at that time and have resided here ever since. Through the years, dating from the early ‘ twenties, my hobby was writing verse, which was published in the Salt Lake Tribune over the pen name Betsy Bangs. In the early 'forties.' Ham Park started his column, "Senator from Sanpit," in The Tribune. I continued my contributions from that time until 1963, using a new pen name, Mademoiselle X. All in all, I had hundreds-of poems published over the four decades. Early in 1963, I contracted with Pageant Press in New York for a 2500-edition of about 75 selected poems under the title ALONG THE LANE'. It reached the market in June of 1963 and the sales in this locality have been satisfactory. Since publication, I contributed verse to Park's column, but used my own name. Soon after the death of President Kennedy, I had a poem in Ham Park's Tribune column titled ETERNAL FLAME, which was read by Senator Moss into the Congressional Record and later included in a Commemorative Anthology, a book of the poems of more than one hundred American poets. OBITUARY: Louis W. Larsen, age 87, died September 15, 1972, at Cottonwood Hospital. He resided at 3120 E. 7800 South, Salt Lake City, Utah. He was born at Cove, Utah, October 27, 1884, to John Christian and Susannah Titensor Larsen. Received his early schooling at Coveville and Logan, Utah. Received A.B. degree at Brigham Young College, 1908, Logan, Utah and his A.M. degree at the University of Utah, 1917. Special training was received at the University of Vermont and the University of California. Taught one year at Rick’s Academy Rexburg, Idaho, 1908-09; one year principal of Lewiston High School, 1911; one year principal Richmond High School, 1912; three years on faculty of Granite High; served on faculty of University of Utah, English Department, for three years, Employed as copy writer by Stevens & Wallis, advertising agency from 1919 to 1927, in which year he and several associates founded an agency, The Ad-Craftsmen, that served scores of important accounts to the year 1952, in which year it was consolidated with Adamson & Buchman Agency. Mr. Larsen retired in 1965 and spent the remainder of his life on a small farm in Cottonwood Heights. In his many years of service in the business world, Mr. Larsen had membership in the Salt Lake Ad Club, the Commercial Club, the Executives Club and the Utah Poetry Society. He taught many downtown extension classes for the University of Utah. He also served the Mormon Church in many teaching capacities. Mr. Larsen's achievements in creative literature included a book of poems titled ALONG THE LANE; several articles on early Utah history assigned by H. L. Mencken and printed in the AMERICAN MERCURY; twice a winner in the Deseret News Christmas story contest. His poem titled ETERNAL FLAME, was printed in the John F. Kennedy COMMEMORATIVE ANTHOLOGY and was, on motion of Senator Frank Moss, printed in The Congressional Record. Mr. Larsen is survived by his widow, a son Richard H. Larsen and a daughter Mrs. Robert Francis Armstrong (Louise), both of Salt Lake City; three grandchildren and nine great grandchildren; sisters LaVerne Merrill and Edna Maughan, California; sisters Inez Hendricks and Irene Rose, Idaho; and sister Teresa Green, Logan, Utah.


Larsen History Index:
History of Ada Hendricks Larsen
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