Mendon May Day— 1995
Mendon City Council Meeting— Sandy Austin reported that the drawing for the May Day queen will be held next council meeting.
Ward Bulletin Announcement: Mendon’s annual May Day celebration will be held Saturday, May 6th, 1995. Practices for the maypole dance will begin Monday, April 3rd. All girls in first through fifth grade who live in Mendon, Petersboro and Cobblestone can participate. Practices will be held Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays off the bus at the church. Practices will last until approximately 4:30 p.m. A meeting for the mothers of the maypole dancers will be held on Sunday, March 26th at 5:00 p.m. in the Relief Society room at the church. Information about the dresses will be given out at that time. For more information call Kim Willie.
Ward Bulletin Announcement: A meeting for the mothers of this years maypole dancers will be held next Sunday, March 26th at 5:00 p.m. in the Relief Society room at the church. Information about the dresses will be given out at that time. For more information please call Kim Willie. Practices will be Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays off the bus at the church. Practices will begin Monday April 3rd.
Mendon City Council Meeting— Mayor Earl Doolittle drew the name of Angela Hofler as this years May Day queen. Kandie Woodbrey as alternate. May Day assignments were given by Sandy Austin. City clean up will be the last two weeks in April. It was suggested and agreed on that the [July] 24th celebration will be scaled down this year to just include the major events of the ball tournament, food stand, dinner, dance, and fireworks.
Ward Bulletin Announcement: Please don’t forget the meeting today for all the mothers of this years maypole dancers. It will be held in the Relief Society room at 5:00 p.m. Practices will be on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays at the church. Practices will begin Monday, April 3rd right off the bus. For more information or if you have questions, please contact Kim Willie.
May Day Celebration— Mendon celebrates its 131st May Day on Saturday. This year’s May Day queen is Angela Hofler with Jeremy Francis recognized as the queen’s consort. The public is invited. Festivities begin at 10:00 a.m. Saturday with the crowning of the queen. Then fifty-four young girls will perform the traditional maypole dance. A program will follow at the Mendon LDS church. The food stand will open at noon. The afternoon will include children’s and soccer games.
Mendon Names May Day Queen— Mendon celebrates its 131st May Day on Saturday. This year’s May Day queen is Angela Hofler with Jeremy Francis recognized as the queen’s consort. Angela is the daughter of Ronald and Gloria Hofler of Mendon and she is a third-generation May Day queen. Angela’s great-great-[great] grandmother was Mendon’s first May Day queen [Ingeborg Kirstine Larsine Sorensen, known to us as Seny Sorensen Richards] and her [great]-grandmother [Charlotte Barrett Baker Richards, queen for 1901] was also a queen for the celebration. The public is invited to the festivities that begin at 10:00 a.m. Saturday with the crowning of the queen, then fifty-four young girls will perform the traditional maypole dance. A program will follow at the Mendon LDS Church. The food stand will open at noon. The afternoon will include children’s and soccer games.
Ward Bulletin Announcement: May Day— Mendon’s annual May Day will be next Saturday, May 6th, and the dance will be held Friday evening, May 5th. The dance Friday evening, is for ages fourteen and older, dresses and ties are required, and will begin at 8:00 p.m. with the floor show and queen’s court at 9:30 p.m. and end at approximately 11:30 p.m. The crowning of our May queen will begin at 10:00 a.m. Saturday morning, followed by the braiding of the maypole etc. There will be a program in the church following the maypole dance. The food stand will be open from noon to 5:00 p.m. Children’s games from 12:30 to 2:00 p.m. Soccer games from 2:00–4:00 p.m.
Mendon Celebrates— Its 131st May Day on Saturday. Festivities begin at 10:00 a.m. with the crowning of this year’s queen, Angela Hofler. Food stand will open at noon. The afternoon will include children’s and soccer games.
Printed May Day Program: Mendon May Day, May 6th, 1995, 10:00 a.m. Queen’s Court: May queen, Angela Hofler; Consort, Jeremy Francis; Flower Girl, Chelsea Jepsen; Crown Bearer, Travis Wood. Maids of Honor with their Escorts: Christina Kirk with Evan Jones; Kandie Woodbrey with John Fryer; Jentry Hudson with Glade Barrett; Melece Hudson with Joshua Francis; Melissa Gordon with Kalle Johnson; Emilee Petersen with Joshua Owens; Mandy Whoolery with David Gordon; Holly Buist with Robert Taylor; Teresa Jansson with Christian Hill; Shari Bird with Jarad Larsen; Anna Groll with Kirk Leikis; Julie Lindbloom with Kade Longhurst; Amber Taylor with Brandon Miller; Melissa Coon with T. J. Hart; Heather Reynolds with Harley Archibald; Hannah Walbridge with Steve Worley; Amanda DeGasser with James Blood; Deneil Murray with Pete Gorman. Assistants to the Queen’s Court: Linda Hudson, Gloria Hofler, Nola Murray and Carla Randall. Maypole Dance Instructors: Kim Willie, Terri Bowen, Patty Taylor, Norma Myers, Claudia Larsen, Laura Morgan and Karine Cressall. Maypole Dance Dresses: Kaye Taylor and Karen Zobell. May Day Chorister: June Bowen. Maypole Dance Accompanist: Norma Myers. The 54 Maypole Dancers for 1995—
|Kami Cressall||Christina Jansson||Cali Wilcox||Blaire Fonnesbeck|
|Alyssa Shelton||Taya Hill||Selicia Austin||Leia Larsen|
|Shelbi Carriedo||Christy Cressall||Jessica Wood||Sara Kirk|
|Alana Pollak||Katie Cheal||Melissa Yonk||Suzanne Lindbloom|
|Crystal Carriedo||Heidi Bowen||Latisha Moosman||Rebecca Leikis|
|Michelle Brandley||Bethany Gordon||Sara Moser||Ehren Berrett|
|Nicole Gordon||Meleece Cheal||Heidi Nelson||Chelsey Moore|
|Ayrowyn Tanner||Amelia Jackson||Kristin Olsen||Latisha Coon|
|Cathryn Spring||Lisa Ferrara||Shalissa Hepner||Kristy Woodbrey|
|Shaundi Neal||Hailey Ferrara||Mara Miller||Lisa Zobell|
|Claire Gibbons||Darci Larsen||Carrie Hardman||Daysha Lindsay|
|Brittany Morgan||Tabitha Goodsell||Annie Samhouri||Laila Samhouri|
|Rachel Baker||Sara Jane Stieler||Holly Morgan||Emily Taylor|
|Kristin Muir||Janna Willie|
Morning Activities: The grand entry and seating of our May queen, Angela Hofler; welcome by Mayor Earl Doolittle; congregational song, “Straying and Maying;” crowning of our May queen, Angela Hofler, by her consort, Jeremy Francis on the stage in the church; congregational song, “Come to the Woodland;” maypole dance, two poles, tied separately in succession indoors because of the weather. Program in the Chapel: Master of ceremonies, Max Baker; chorister, June Bowen; accompanist, Norma Myers; introduction of the queen’s court, Max and Carolyn Baker; song, by the maypole dancers; opening prayer, Kalle Johnson; congregational song, “Come to the Woodland;” presentation of the queen’s award, Mayor Earl Doolittle; remarks by the May queen, Angela Hofler; song, “Circle of Life,” performed by the queen’s court, directed by Katherine Lindbloom and accompanied by Carla Randall; May Day speaker, Ruth Anderson, assisted by Shelly Locke; song, theme from the “Beauty and the Beast,” by Victor Harris and Michelle Nelson; closing prayer, Christina Kirk; Afternoon Activities: Copies of the “History of Mendon” will be for sale; children’s games, 12:30–2:00 p.m., on the city square; soccer games, 2:00–4:00 p.m., at the soccer field. The food stand will be open from noon to 5:00 p.m. Thank You and Notes: We appreciate the return each year of those former residents of Mendon and also the members of prior queen’s courts and maypole dancers. We welcome you home, and hope that you enjoy the day!; Appreciation is extended to Gaylen Baker for his time and effort in repairing the May Day, maypoles; Thanks to Jim Morgan for the wonderful art work on the cover of this years May Day program, and to Jan Lindbloom for providing the very nice paper once again!; We would like to thank the youth of Mendon, and their leaders for helping with the eightieth annual, community spring clean up of the city square and our city streets; Thanks to the Mendon first ward, Young Men and Young Women for the refreshments at the dance held last Friday night; And finally— thanks to all of the many more, who have helped again to make our annual May Day a wonderful success! Community support is what has made our Mendon May Day so special, and such a rich and long lasting tradition; A special thank you and remembrance, to those wonderful men and women, who over many years, have given of their time and talents to teach, train, encourage, and to instill the May Day tradition within us. Today we honor them as we continue the tradition of renewal and beauty, that from generation to generation, has become a part of our lives each and every spring. May Day Committee: Sandy Austin, chairperson; Kim Willie, maypole dance; Heidi Harris, program at the church; Nola Murray, dinner for the court; Terena Lund and Kyle Yonk, children’s games; Kay and Nancy Moosman, food stand; Rodney J. Sorensen, printing and publishing of the May Day programs.
Ruth Anderson, Featured May Day Speaker— I’ve been asked to share some of my feelings about May Day with you, and tell a little about the history of the celebration from its beginning here in Mendon, Utah. My grandfather, Hans Peter Larsen, and historian Isaac Sorensen were both originally from Denmark and were among the first settlers who came and settled in Mendon, in the early spring of 1859. They became acquainted here and helped bring pioneers and hand-cart companies to the pioneer settlements in Cache Valley. In 1909, they both celebrated fifty years in Mendon. Isaac Sorensen wrote: “The people danced together, prayed together, sang together, worked together, associated together, came together in meetings, and listened to, and bore strong testimonies of the future greatness and glory of Zion;” they were as sure that it would come as they were that they existed.
Apostle Ezra Taft Benson, born February 22nd, 1811, named Mendon after the town of his own birth, “Mendon, Worcester, Massachusetts.” He died September 3rd, 1869. Mendon was first known as “North Settlement,” or in other words, north of Wellsville, Utah. In Mendon, a fort was built as a protection against the Indians and for a time, the United Order was practiced. Many of the Mendon saints were of English ancestry and had celebrated May Day in England. It was a tradition carried here from Denmark and England. The maypole dance and the crowning of the queen is a celebration that began in 1869 by choir leader Isaac Sorensen, Bishop Henry Hughes, Ralph Forester, and band leader Frank Williams. It is believed that Seny Sorensen became the first May Day queen. Today’s children look forward excitedly to participating in dancing the maypole, wearing lovely dresses made by their mothers and Kaye Taylor, crowning of the queen by her consort, and becoming the queen’s maids of honor.
I’ve been coming to Mendon for May Day since I was a child and came with my mother, Elizabeth Larsen, daughter of Hans Peter Larsen, and my father, Carl W. Pehrson, and we as a family always visited with the family of Ione and Wilford Larsen, my mother’s brother, and other Larsen relatives. Mendon also celebrated Christmas and Pioneer Days, July 24th. Sometimes we came over from Logan on the depot train, other times in vintage cars. We children also made many trips with the Ladle’s on their horse-drawn milk wagons. I remember visits with my grandparents, Hans Peter Larsen and Eleanor Shelton Larsen, who raised their family at 30 South Main Street, Mendon, Utah.
My grandfather, Hans Peter Larsen, was born on September 24th, 1836, in Lillebrænde, [Falster,] Denmark. He was the son of Lars Rasmusen (Rasmussen) and Christiane Pedersen Rasmusen. He knew the Gospel of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was true as soon as he heard it from the missionaries and joined the Church as a young man. His family disowned him immediately, and he was separated from his family for the rest of his life.
He crossed the Atlantic Ocean in 1855 [January, 7th] on the ship “James Nesmith.” He crossed the Plains and was a captain in the Noah T. Guyman Company. He arrived In Salt Lake City, Utah, on September 9th, 1855, and was sent to Big Cottonwood. He remained there until 1859, then went to Mendon, Cache County, Utah, where on a stone marker there, he is honored as an original settler. He engaged in farming, cattle raising and gardening. In 1862, President Brigham Young called him to go to Omaha, Nebraska, and bring back immigrants. He walked nearly all the way. On December 6th, 1875 he married Eleanor Anderson Shelton, a young girl who had helped him in his home, and she was much younger that he. They were married in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City, Utah. They were the parents of twelve children, three who died in infancy, and they also helped to raise two others. Hans was about five feet, eight inches tall, rather slender build, and always wore a rounded chin beard. His children loved him, and always said of him that they remember him as always being “old.” However, his wife preceded him in death, and this loss very shortly brought about his own death. He died on September 22nd, 1928, at the age of ninety-two, and was buried in the Mendon City cemetery. He contributed much to the community of Mendon.
Isaac Sorensen was born in the town of Haverup, Denmark, on the island of Sjælland on February 24th, 1840. His father, Nicolai, was a farmer and wheelwright. He had several sons, all attended seven years of grammar school. His family left Denmark in 1857 after hearing the teachings of Mormon missionaries. They arrived first at Mill Creek, Salt Lake Valley, where they did farming. Then, in 1859, most of the Sorensen’s moved to Mendon. On November 15th, 1869, he married Mary Jacobsen. They raised a family of eleven children. His oldest son was William Isaac Sorensen, father of May Day chorister, T. Kay Sorensen, a witty and capable leader known as Mr. May Day, who led the May Day songs until 1991, then June Bowen took over for the years 1992 to 1995.
Isaac Sorensen composed the songs and words to: “We Hail The Glorious Twenty-Fourth,” and “Come to the Woodland,” which salutes the annual queen. He wrote the words to “Stray and Maying,” set to a tune from an old tune book. Accompanists played the music “by ear and memory” for many years, namely Ellen Ladle, Mozelle Sorensen, Norma Myers, and Beth Muir.
In 1964, the notes and rhythm for the May Day songs were set into written form by: Mozelle Sorensen, Mira Baker, Norma Myers, and Ruth Anderson. Dance and song instructors were June Bowen, Lorna Ladle, Irene Bodily, Judy Shelton, Julie Kidman, Carolyn Baker, Nola Murray and Kim Willie.
Isaac Sorensen served as choir leader for fifty years, also served as Sunday school chorister for thirty-six years. He died November 7th, 1922 at the age of eighty-two. He left a legacy of an uninterrupted sixty-five year history of Mendon. No other settlement in Cache Valley has a historical history from the beginning which lasted to the year 1919. He was buried in the Mendon cemetery.
Significant rock construction in Mendon began in the year of 1865, including the house of Joseph Baker and the new 1866 meetinghouse. On July 24th, 1869, Albert Baker completed an eight-room rock house that was used as a hotel, masons were Robert Crookston and Robert Murdock. George Washington Baker’s home was completed in 1869. This is our home, where we have lived since April 15th, 1950. This home is now on the National Register of Historic Homes, February 10th, 1983, signed by Governor Scott Matheson. Elmer W. Anderson and myself spent many happy years in this cool rock home. When we moved in, Elmer had returned from World War II, Wesley was six years old, and Elizabeth was four years old. We raised them, and Kimberly ReNae, Alice Faye, and Paula Michelle Anderson to adulthood here. Elmer wrote: “Mendon is so very dear to me, the place I’ll always want to be. I’ll make this valley my home, never again to roam.”
We all wish to extend our “Thanks” to so many who have helped to keep this tradition of May Day alive through the years, and make it a happy and worthwhile day for all of us. I would like to conclude by sharing two wonderful poems written by Eleanor Whitney, entitled “Mendon Celebrates May Day,” and “Come Dance With Me.”
“Mendon Celebrates May Day”
What a beautiful traditional
“Come Dance With Me”
“Come Dance With Me”
Personal Reflections, May Day 1995: The morning started off with a light rain that did not let up until early afternoon. By 9:00 a.m. the cloud mist was hanging so low over the town, that you could not see the Mendon Mountains to the west, above the first bench. Spring started off early this year but it was cold and the growth has been slow, the crab apple trees will not reach their full bloom for several more days. May Day was once again held indoors, this time in the Mendon ward cultural hall. With all of the many people in attendance, room to perform the maypole dance was at a premium. This will be remembered as the first year that two maypoles were tied, one after the other, in succession. The girls were split into two groups, with a single pole in the center of the cultural hall, the first group of girls entered, sang the songs, performed their many steps including my favorite, “My Aunt Sally,” finished braided the maypole and departed in classic fashion, hand-in-hand skipping. Then this pole was removed and a second pole was put into its place and the whole process repeated. Max Baker, the master of ceremonies, in the introduction of the program afterwards in the chapel said, “It’s like getting twice for your money, tying two maypoles in one day,” and so it was. LaVon Ahrens was honored as being the oldest living queen in attendance, and Ruth Anderson gave a very nice speech about May Day and some early Mendon history. The dresses of the maypole dancers were a soft purple with white checks on the older girls, and pink with white checks on the younger girls, both with a large white hem, on which were pink and purple colored pansies. The early children’s games were rained out but the soccer games were held as scheduled.
Ward Bulletin Announcement: The 1995 Mendon May Day Committee would like to thank all of those that participated, supported, assisted, or helped out in any way, in yesterdays annual May Day celebration. Thanks to all of those that supported Friday nights dance as well.
Mendon May Day— Because of rainy weather Saturday morning, Mendon was forced to celebrate its 131st May Day inside. Rain is expected to continue through today, with decreasing clouds by Monday. Sunny days and warmer temperatures should return by Tuesday.
May Day, A 131 Year Tradition— April showers bring May flowers… but the rain would not dampen the spirits of Mendonites who undauntedly held their 131st traditional May Day ceremony Saturday, indoors. A celebration of renewal and beauty, the annual event began in 1864 in Mendon, where the dances and songs have been passed on from generation to generation. Many of the events stem from English traditions brought to Mendon by immigrants. It’s a day the people of Mendon take seriously. The day begins with an elaborate ceremony in which the queen’s consort “crowns” the queen by placing a wreath of flowers on her head. The crowning is followed by the braiding of the maypole. Curly-haired maidens in pink and purple dresses sing traditional songs as they weave matching ribbons around the pole, creating the contrasting colors of purple and pink in the braid. The master of ceremonies then formally introduces the queen and her “court”— her consort, maids of honor and their escorts. The new queen then gives her May Day speech and the crowd joins in singing the traditional May Day songs. June Bowen, a Mendon resident since 1948, says it takes a combined community effort, and everyone gets involved, including the youth, who clean up the town square and city streets in preparation for the event. “They practice for hours and hours,” says Bowen of the maypole dancers, who range in age from five to fifteen, [six to eleven, the first grade to and including the fifth grade] and are taught by former dancers. This year’s dance went off without a hitch. The girls took turns, as there was only room in the church gymnasium for one maypole. Usually, the dance is performed outdoors, where at least two maypoles are set up and the dance is performed simultaneously. Bowen is collecting memorabilia from years past and hopes to complete a history of Mendon’s tradition. “It’s like parts of a jigsaw puzzle,” says Bowen, trying to find missing pieces. Some of the May Queens are missing, and Bowen is depending on others to bring her information that they may have hidden somewhere in their family histories. In April, the queen is selected by drawing. All eligible girls put their names in a hat and city council members draw a name. The girls must be juniors in high school and can only reign once. On the evening before the celebration, the council treats the queen and her court to dinner and a royal ball. This year, Angela Hofler, a Mountain Crest junior, was given the honor of May queen. Hofler is the daughter of Ronald and Gloria Hofler of Mendon. “My great-[great]-grandma was the first May queen,” said Hofler during her speech. “Maybe one day I’ll have a daughter that will be May queen. It’s a special experience, especially when you’ve grown up here.” Hofler is a third-generation queen. Her great-[great]-grandmother, Larsine (Seny) Sorensen was the first May queen in 1863. Charlotte Barrett, Hofler’s [great]-grandmother, was queen in 1901. LaVon Ahrens, May queen during  was honored as she attended the celebration. The final words on the printed program read: Community support is what has made our Mendon May Day so special, and such a rich and long lasting tradition.Correction— Children in first through fifth grade helped braid the maypole during Mendon’s annual May Day celebration. An article on the May 7th event in last week’s Cache Citizen incorrectly stated the participants’ ages.