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Biography of Christian Wallantine

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Christian Wallantine, one of the prominent farmers and old residents of Paris, Idaho, is a native of Denmark, having been born on the little island of Barnholm, in the Baltic sea, off the Danish coast, October 21, 184 1. He is a descendant of German ancestry on his father’s side, representing in this line very old Teutonic stock. His parents were Wallantine and Augel Margaret (Kofoot) Wallentinesen, who, having become converts to the faith of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints, decided to cross the ocean and live out the remainder of their days in Utah, where it was promised the temple of this church should be erected. They came in 1853-4, and were quite a year in making the voyage across the sea and the long and tedious journey across the plains. They were able to employ only the most primitive means, and they had no team swifter or better than oxen, which the men and big boys took turns at driving, and which, with the plodding patience of their kind, came with them at last to their journey’s end. The parents brought with them their three sons; and Christian, the second born, was then thirteen years old; and he has a vivid recollection of their hardships, their hopes and fears, their mishaps, their perils, seen and unseen, and their long, tense struggle against wind and weather, miasma and ever increasing weariness, and of the great thankfulness that filled their hearts when at last the family stood unbroken in the paved streets of Salt Lake City. He could never forget that day, though he should live to die with the world.

His father took up government land at Brigham City, Utah, and became a successful farmer, a prominent citizen and one of the lights of his church, of which when he died, aged sixty-five, he had been for many years a priest and high priest. His wife died a year or so later, at about the same age. Their eldest son, August, is the bishop of the fourth ward of Brigham City. Their youngest son, Charles, is a farmer and lives near Rexburg, Fremont county, Idaho.

Facilities for public education near the early home of the Wallentinsens, on the little Danish island, were very poor; and though Christian attended such schools as there were until he was nearly ten years old he is almost entirely self-educated. From childhood he helped his parents until he attained the age of eighteen. Then he set up in the world for himself, working on a farm for wages, and a year later married Miss Elizabeth Caldwell, a native of Scotland. They came to Paris, now in Bear Lake County, in 1864, among the very first settlers at the place. He was then twenty-three years old. He located on property which he still occupies, and has the historical distinction of having erected upon it the first frame house in Bear Lake valley. His little claim has grown, however, until it is a farm of four hundred acres, and Mr. Wallantine raises some grain, a great deal of timothy hay and many fine Durham cattle and Clydesdale horses, as well as cattle and horses of crossed breeds.

When, in common with other thinking men of his faith, Mr. Wallantine began to see that politics would inevitably have an irresistible influence on Mormon affairs, he began to cast about for a political anchorage, and rested at last within the haven of Democracy. A man of good ability and of undoubted integrity, he came in time to find various public offices seeking him, and as his party was strong enough to elect him to them he served successively in the offices of constable, school trustee, under-sheriff, sheriff, county commissioner and representative in the Idaho legislature, to which he was elected in 1896; and in 1898 he was reelected for a second term, and was the only member succeeding himself in that year. He has taken part in the most important work of the sessions to which he was sent, always intelligently, influentially and with a keen appreciation of his responsibilities. It was he who formulated the bill equalizing property valuation in the several counties of the state so that the burden of taxation might rest upon all the citizens of the state in equal measure according to their financial ability. In the discharge of duty, public or private, he is prompt, thorough and utterly fearless, and his interest in everything that affects the welfare of the people is so great and his impulses are so generous that he is a leader among the publicspirited citizens of Bear Lake County.

Mr. and Mrs. Wallantine have had eleven children, of whom nine are living, as follows: Christian William is married and lives near his father; Charles A. assists his father in carrying on his farm and is the owner of a ranch near by; Thomas Caldwell is married and lives at Dingle, where he owns a farm; Annie is married to Robert Kelsey; Robert W. is also married and lives on his own farm, not far from his father’s; Clara, Elizabeth, Mabel and Ray are members of their father’s household.

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