Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » “In This Her Day of Grief”: Annie Christensen Stevens, Home from Samoa

“In This Her Day of Grief”: Annie Christensen Stevens, Home from Samoa

By: Ardis E. Parshall - November 02, 2012

Annie Christensen Stevens of Sanpete County, Utah, was the author of an 1892 letter describing missionary life in Samoa, previously discussed by Keepa’ninnies. Annie’s husband died of typhoid fever in Samoa on 28 April 1894, and Annie sailed immediately for home.

Her rapid return was due not only to sorrow in her widowhood, but in the hope of reaching her parents’ home at Fairview, Utah before the birth of the child she was carrying. It would be a race that came down to the wire, followed by days of hope and anxiety and sorrow, as reported in these three brief letters by Annie’s father to a friend in Salt Lake City.

Fairview, June 12th (noon) 1894

I am truly thankful to God to be able to communicate that my daughter Annie D. Stevens arrived home safely last evening at 6 p.m. Having had natural warnings on the way home, she retired to bed immediately, and after much hard suffering and fatigue gave birth to a son at 11 p.m. Seemingly she with the babe are doing fairly well up to this time. We sincerely hope she may be remembered in the prayers of those who have power with God, that both may live and prove a great blessing and comfort to each other, especially in this her day of grief.

A large gathering of the saints here expressed their esteem for Annie by meeting her at this depot.

Your Brother in the Gospel

Frederick Christenson

The baby born that night was named Marion Christensen Stevens for his father (Ranson Marion Stevens) and his mother’s family.

Fairview, June 13th 1894

In explanation of a telegram sent you this morning, permit me to state, that Sister Stevens babe being no doubt born a little before the proper time has not done well as yet, but has been afflicted with pains somewhere, causing it at times great destress, and hence giving its mother great anxiety of mind. Otherwise the mother would seemingly be getting along quite well. She asked to have sister Jenette McMurrin sent for and has great confidence in that sister as a nurse and good L.D. Saint, and hence we complied with her request in sending the telegram. We hope [to] have a continued interest in the prayers of our good brethren and sisters who have power with God, and trust to his great wisdom and mercy.

Your brother in the covenant

Frederick Christenson

Jeanette Irvine McMurrin (1854-1932), a plural wife of Joseph McMurrin, mother of eight, was a well-respected nurse in Salt Lake City.

Fairview, July 1st 1894

Mrs. Stevens’ baby died this morning about 6 o’clock. Poor Annie, her heart is broke. Her cup of grief is brimful. We, her parents share it largely with her. Her mother is very week also, in body and mind. We hope she may stay with us, at least till time shall have healed the present heart wounds, and that the Lord will not require Annie to soon join her little family of dear ones beyond this vale of tears. Oh that He may strengthen Annie for these trying ordeals. May His blessings be with you continually

Frederick Christenson

Annie’s mother, Christine Sophia Rasmussen Christensen, survived to 1905. Her “little family beyond” included not only her husband and baby Marion, but also a daughter Stella Sophronia (1888) and a son Ray (1891), both of whom had lived only a very short time.



  1. What an Abrahamic test for this sister!

    Comment by Allison in Atlanta — November 2, 2012 @ 9:25 am

  2. How very sad. The baby’s gravestone says “Sweetly sleeping.” Annie seems to be buried in the Salt Lake City Cemetery, but there is no picture of a gravestone on FindAGrave.

    Comment by Amy T — November 2, 2012 @ 10:34 am

  3. I’d like to make another trip to the cemetery before the weather gets bad to visit the graves of people I “know” — I’ll add Annie to my list.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — November 2, 2012 @ 11:56 am

  4. How about Annie? Did she remarry? When did she die? Am I the only one that does not know the answer to these questions.

    Comment by Jeff Johnson — November 2, 2012 @ 11:13 pm

  5. I reminds me how blessed we are to have such wonderful medical care available. I know at least one of my children would have died during childbirth. Since he is my oldest, I might have died too. I know we still lose babies and mothers, but it is not the ubiquitous experience that it used to be.

    Comment by Julia — November 3, 2012 @ 1:35 am

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