Thursday, Feb 02, 2023

Ezra Taft Andersen

Ez Andersen and Eva Arbon Andersen

Ezra Taft Andersen was born in Mendon, Utah on 3 March 1882, the fifth child and fourth son of Andrew Andersen and Sophia Larsen Andersen.  He moved with his family to Arbon Valley, Idaho when he was twelve years old. As a young boy, he herded sheep for several years.  When he came of age, he applied for homestead land in Arbon, just as his older sister and brothers had done. He was a farmer in Arbon Valley for many years. He often played the Santa Clause at Christmas time. He was an avid hunter and fisherman, and loved outdoor activities.

In 1904 he married Sarah Eveline Arbon (“Eva”), a daughter of George Arbon and Sarah Annette Nicholas. Eva’s father George Arbon was the man for whom Arbon Valley was named.

Sarah Eva was born in 1883 in Almo, Cassia County, Idaho. Her mother died of pneumonia at age thirty-eight just before Sarah turned three, so she was raised by her five sisters, and mostly by her oldest sister, Emily. Her father George worked as a freighter between Snowville and Burley, so he was gone a lot trying to provide for his motherless family. After a while her father moved the family to Samaria, and later on to Arbon Valley.

Ez and Eva had three children, Asael Lester (1902-1988), Nicholas Ezra (1905-1911), and Harvey George (1909 – 1989. Tragedy struck the family in January of 1911.  The following story is paraphrased from the book, Bannock Valley, by Laurie Ward Call:

“A community doesn’t always run smoothly. During the winter of 1910 and 1911, winter came early and snow fell almost every day for weeks. About the middle of January, a western Chinook wind began to blow, thawing the deep snow. Snow melted rapidly and there were torrents of water in every creek and hollow.” On top of that, the weather brought rain.

“There had been a big house party at the Dalton residence and most of the neighbors were there. Water was running everywhere and at midnight Ez and the Delbert Dalton family started for Ezra’s home. All went well until they were about home when they tried to pass over a gushing stream of fast water. It immediately flipped over the wagon box with everyone but Mr. Dalton pinned underneath. It took a few minutes to get the wagon box righted.  When it was turned back right side up, Mrs. Dalton and Eva [Sarah Eveline Arbon Andersen] were found holding onto some of the children by their feet to keep them from being swept away. It was discovered that two little Daltons (an eight-year-old boy and a two-month-old infant) and Ezra and Sarah’s little six-year-old Nicholas were missing.  The frantic fathers looked but could not find the bodies of their children in the dark until early the next morning.”

As so often happens after the death of a child, several years later, a divorce occurred between the grieving parents. Ez married Sadie Priscilla Renshaw in August 1919 in Arbon Valley. He later married Florence Butterfield Breeze in April 1946.  In 1958 he retired and moved to Pocatello.  He died 17 February 1964 in Pocatello, Idaho. He was buried in Mendon, Cache, Utah.


Ward, Laurie Jean; Bannock Valley (Providence, Utah: Keith Watkins and Sons, 1982); pp. 31, 32, 288.

The links provided here will lead to information on other family members.