Saturday, Dec 03, 2022

John Hayden

John, Dora, granddaughter Neva, and Ben Hayden

John and Dora Ingeborg Torgersen Hayden

The Hayden family came into the Arbon Valley rather late, getting title to their homestead lands in the Crystal area in 1918 (meaning they filed on homesteading land around 1913). They are included in the Early Homesteaders list because they made an impact on the valley and the third and fourth generation are still in the valley farming.

They homesteaded land in the Crystal area.  Back when there were families on every quarter section of land, every area had its own post office, store, school, and sometimes church and cemetery. Every area expected to grow into independent towns someday. The Crystal area was no exception. Twain and Michelle Hayden currently live in the renovated Crystal store and post office.  Down the road closer to Mink Creek Road, the old Crystal school house (District 14) sits in the Hayden stack yard, where the chalk board is still attached to the wall.  The cemetery (at least those burials that could be found) was relocated to Pocatello.

John Hayden was born Johann Augustus Bengtson in Satila, Alvsborg, Sweden on 15 June 1869.  He had an older brother, Carl, who died when he was seven and John was about four, so John grew up as the oldest child in his family. He immigrated in 1890s, as he became a naturalized citizen in 1896. He adopted the name “John Hayden” on his arrival in the United States. Five brothers and one sister later followed him to the United States. He first went to Omaha, Nebraska, where he worked as a coachman, then to Rock Springs, and finally to Pocatello or he worked for the Oregon Short Line Railroad.

John married Dora Ingeborg Torgersen on 29 August 1903 in Pocatello, Idaho. They met when John was a foreman for the Union Pacific Railroad as a carpenter, and Dora was a cook for the section gang he was in charge of it. When they married, John was age thirty-five and Dora was age twenty. Dora had been born in Logan, Utah on 30 July 1883 to parents Torger Torgersen and Anna Gundersen Berg who had immigrated from Norway in 1880.

Their first child, John “Norman,” was born in 1905. Hungry for the old country, the family moved back to Sweden sometime before the birth of their next child, Walter Theodore, in 1906. A third son, Carl Eskel, was born in Sweden in 1909. They stayed in Sweden for six years. Sometime before 1912 the family had returned to Pocatello, where Emma Ellenora was born in 1912.

So, a family man with four children to support and homesick for his Swedish farm, John Hayden came into the Crystal area in 1913 to take up one of the last homesteads in the area. The couple had two more children: Ben in 1920, and Russell in 1925. From the hundred and sixty acres of the original homestead, the farm grew to over 2500 acres.

Two more of John’s brothers, Martin and Carl, came to Crystal to farm. In addition, John and his brothers were also carpenters, and built several of the homes in the area.  They were known for their hard work but also for their heavy, bushy mustaches, which fascinated many children.

John died at age eighty-four at the hospital in Pocatello, Idaho after an illness. Dora was seventy years old at the time she became a widow. She lived another eleven years, dying at age eighty-one on 26 April 1965 in Pocatello.  They were buried side by side in the Mountain View Cemetery in Pocatello.

John’s oldest son, Norman, had taken over the homestead. But when he died unexpectedly in 1950, John’s fourth son Ben took over the farm. Ben had served in the Navy during WWII, on the USS Idaho.  Ben’s sons, Hans and Twain, the third generation of Haydens in the Crystal area, now farm the old homestead lands in addition to other ground they bought through the years. Many of the buildings on the farmstead are the original log homes and buildings, now unrecognizable under siding and additions.


Ward, Laurie Jean, Bannock Valley (Providence, Utah: Keith Watkins and Sons, 1982).

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