Hilda Erickson

Hilda Anderson Erickson was a midwife, businesswoman, rancher, dedicated citizen, and mother.  She brought a knack for business dealings, medicine, and farming to the table. 

In Short

Erikson served the people of Utah by opening a store, delivering babies, caring for women’s health, and running a ranch.  She married John A. Erickson in 1882, and they had two children. She lived a busy life caring for her family, neighbors, and community.

Hilda Erickson

More of the Story

Erickson was born in Sweden on November 11, 1859. She immigrated to Salt Lake City when she was seven years old.  She lived with her family in Grantsville, Utah, until she married in 1882. Erickson was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and church leaders called her and her husband on a mission to Ibapah, Utah, near the Nevada border in 1883.  They served on a church farm, working with members of the Goshute nation for twelve years.  After her mission, she moved to northern Utah, where she opened businesses, ran a ranch, and served as a civic leader! She was 104 years old when she died.

A Dress Maker

Erickson took a dressmaking course in Salt Lake City when she was thirteen. She earned money designing and sewing coats, suits, and ladies’ clothing for clients as far away as Tooele.  Erikson was such a good seamstress that she turned out a shirt or boy’s coat—which means to turn a piece of clothing inside out to put the faded print on the inside—in one day! And she did all of this sewing before she got a sewing machine.

A Farmer and Rancher

Hilda Erickson (right) with Maud Windberg in Tooele County, 1896

Erickson had extensive experience in ranching and farming. At first, she worked for the LDS Church on a farm in southern Utah. After her mission, Erickson and her husband moved thirty miles south of Ibapah onto a farm with a beautiful meadow, willow stands, and wild berries.  They grew alfalfa and had chickens, pigs, sheep, and cows.  She was an excellent horsewoman, and her ranch supplied beef to workers for the Western Pacific Railroad.

A Midwife and Healer

Erickson had great skill in caring for and healing the sick, mothers, and babies.  She attended a training program in Salt Lake City, where she earned a license to practice midwifery. A midwife is a person who delivers babies and takes care of expectant mothers. Over the years, she delivered hundreds of babies! She also cared for people with different illnesses.  Erickson once traveled over twenty-five miles to help a woman give birth.

A Merchant and Business Owner

Erickson became a merchant while living on her farm.  She noticed that many settlers of the Ibapah valley had to travel over 200 miles round trip to Salt Lake City to get supplies.  She and her husband opened a small store in their backyard to help their community avoid the long travel time. Erickson sold supplies, managed the store, purchased items, and made lunches for miners.

Hilda Erickson at age 104

When her children were old enough to go to school, she moved to Grantsville, leaving her husband behind on the ranch.  She eventually opened a general merchandise store.  She managed the store and the ranch when her husband served a three-year mission to Sweden. It was a lot of work! She would make six-to-eight-day trips to the farm to make sure the work was going well there. 

Her Legacy

Business, ranching, and medicine were only some of the things that Erickson did each day.  She was a civic and church leader in Tooele County, Utah.  Erikson drove hundreds of miles in her Model T Ford to gather the Grantsville Farm Loan Association data. She read two newspapers daily to stay informed and was a regular voter.  Erikson traveled widely as president of the LDS children’s primary organization for the county.  She owned eleven cars between 1908 and 1953 that carried her to all of her jobs and duties.

In 1964, when she was 104 years old, the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers recognized Erickson as the last living Mormon pioneer.  She often said that during her life, she had traveled by oxen, mule, horseback, horse and buggy, wagon, bicycle, care, and—her biggest thrill—airplane.  She died at the age of 108.  Erickson made a difference by serving her community, state, and nation.  She found different ways to use her talents to help herself, her family, and others, and her work influenced the people of Utah for many years.

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