Summary James Olsen Sr & Mette Marie Peterson
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JAMES “JENS” CHRISTENSEN OLSEN (1839-1924) & METTE MARIE (MARIA) PETERSEN (1846-1916)
LIFE OF METTE MARIA PETERSEN
Mette Marie Pedersen Olsen was the daughter of James O. Petersen and Annie Jensen Petersen, born near Copenhagen, Denmark Sept. 9, 1846. In the spring of 1856 after her parents, having accepted Mormonism, they left their native land for America.
They came in Capt. Willey's handcart company. At the age of 10 my mother walked across the plains pulling a handcart along with her parents and five brothers and sisters, a distance of nearly 400 miles. After being many weeks crossing the Ocean, they finally reached the starting point on the Missouri river for the valleys of the mountains.
Walking through the snow many had frozen feet and died of exposure. The handcarts were laden with just the bare necessities, and though it was late in the year, the courageous band hoped through the providence of God to get to Salt Lake City before the snows of winter came. The story of that journey is a tragedy. Words furnish but a weak means of painting the picture and rehearsing the experiences of that band of fathers, mothers, and children. The way was long. The season was advanced and the progress of the company was very slow. The handcarts could contain so only much provisions and the men of the company used every means at their command to secure provisions enroute such as wild meat and game. But long before the company reached its destination, the food supply got painfully short, so short that starvation rations had to be enforced. They divided what flour they had for each family. They stirred water in it as we do when we make thickening for gravy, then put hot water on it and made a sort of gruel and ate it.
Then came the early snows and the poorly clad strugglers were beset with a new foe. Many of them died and had to be buried under the snow. They put 15 in one grave. The ground was frozen hard making it impossible to dig deep graves and the survivors knew that before the company had passed on very far the wolves would be upon the corpse left behind. Strong men fell by the way; weak women succumbed to the terrible experience. Starving children went to sleep never to waken again in this life, but those who remained knew that there was only one thing to do. Press on.
For nearly 400 miles the company plodded through snow enduring torture almost beyond power of expression and finely relief came and the remnants were rescued. They arrived in Salt Lake late in November 1856.
The family went to San Pete County and resided there until the fall of 1858 when they came to Brigham City. They later moved to Logan. Marie then met Jens (James) Olsen Christensen whom she married January 28, 1862. They lived in Brigham City after they married. She was the mother of 15 children, nine boys and six girls and her posterity now numbers well over 400.
As can be imagined, raising a family of that size required a lot of hard work without the conveniences there are in these days. The washing and baking of bread alone was a mighty job. She had told many time of walking to Parry or three-mile creek as it was then called and got white sand to scrub the floors with, as they had no soap. Imagine how that would be to wash off the floor, as of course all their floors were bare and they wanted the light strips in the boards to be clean and white. In later years when they could get the where-with, she made homemade soap. That's the only soap they had for many years. She used to spin and weave cloth called Linsey, with which she made clothes for the children and in later years when she could, she gathered wool from the wire fences to use to card for quilts.
Her social life was limited. Those days were spent in taking care of family and attending church.
Most of the children were born in Brigham City, some in the old Sheffield home on 151 South and 2nd East, and some at the old home later owned by N. J. Nelsen on 3rd South and 3rd West. The house at that time just had two rooms.
Father and mother left Brigham in the spring of 1880. They then had eleven children, being mostly boys. They went to Cache Valley and leased some land that used to be called the church farm. Later father bought some of this land, giving the boys a chance to work and help with their own support. They all remained in Cache Valley and in later years all owned farms of their own.
There were four children born in Cache Valley, making fifteen. This church farm was later given the name of College Ward.
Maria Olsen was the first president of the Relief Society in College Ward which position she held until 1900 when the family moved back to Brigham City.
During her residence in Brigham City, she was an active relief society teacher in the 2nd ward and even gave of her time and labor in blessing those who needed help.
The life of Maria Olsen is a sermon and an example to mankind. She fully demonstrated the doctrine that sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven and in all the trials and tribulations she was called to pass through, she never murmured. She neither wavered but cherished in her heart implicit faith in God which made her feel that all would come out right.
In 1898 she was very ill. Her life was in the balance but through fasting and prayer by her family and members of the ward she was healed and eighteen years were added to her life.
She passed away at 70 years of age, the 2nd of October 1916. She was truly a Pioneer.
Her sojourn upon the earth was marked by service to fellowman. Her parents were poor and she learned early in life that to exist, one had to learn to work and to rely on her Heavenly Father for guidance and help. She had a generous heart and always said the half loaf is better than the whole when you can help someone else in need. She died as she had lived, a faithful Latter Day Saint.
1915 October 15 – Patriarchal Blessing
Brigham City Utah
A blessing given by Patriarch James Olsen upon the head of Marie Petersen Olsen daughter of James O. Petersen and Annie Jensen Petersen. Born September 9th 1846 in Denmark.
Sister Marie Olsen in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I place my hands upon your head and confer a patriarchal blessing. I say unto you dear sister be of good cheer. The Lords eye is upon you. Your sins are forgiven you. And you shall rejoice in the testimony which you have concerning Gods work in the earth. I pray our Father in Heaven in your behalf that you might be comforted and cheered in your old age. I say unto you dear sister that you shall be comforted and blessed in your surroundings by your children and friends and your children in connection with your husband will rise up and bless you. I say unto you, you are of the lineage of Ephraim through the loins of Joseph who are the covenanted people of the Lord. To whom great blessings were promised by the Lord himself. And you shall live to see the fulfillment of Gods promises through the lineage from whence you have come. And if you will be faithful you shall receive in the kingdom of our Father a crown of glory and eternal life. I seal you up against the power of the destroyer until the day of redemption. I say dear sister be you comforted in your declining years. And you shall look forward to the blessings that has formally been pronounced upon your head and are being pronounced upon your head at this time. Your past life has been accepted of the Lord and you are entitled to the blessings of mortality and also to the blessings which are eternal. And if you are faithful to the end of mortal life it shall be your privilege to come forth in the morning of the first resurrection and enjoy the associations of righteous men and women who have gone before you and in who society you shall be happy and dwell forever. These blessings I seal upon your head which are yours through faithful performance of Gods law here in mortality. I seal them upon you through the spirit and power of the priesthood which has been conferred upon me in the name of Jesus Christ—Amen.
23 Apr 1856 - Rhoda
[From History of the Scandinavian Mission by Andrew Jenson, 1927, p.112-113]
On Wednesday, 23 April 1856, under the leadership of Elder Johan A. Ahmanson, 161 emigrating Saints bound for Utah, sailed from Copenhagen per steamship Rhoda. The route taken by this company of emigrants was by steamer to Kiel, by railroad to Hamburg, by steamer to Grimsby in England and by railroad to Liverpool. The company arrived safe and well in Liverpool, 29 April.
On Sunday, 4 May, 163 Scandinavian emigrants sailed from Liverpool per ship Thornton together with about 600 Saints from Great Britain. The whole company was placed in charge of James G. Willie with Millen G. Atwood, Johan A. Ahmanson, and Moses Cluff as his assistants. During the voyage Captain Collins showed himself a considerable and pleasant gentleman, as he allowed the emigrants all the liberty and privileges which could be expected, and praised them for their cleanliness and good order, and also for their willingness to conform to all his requests. He also gave the elders unlimited liberty to preach and hold meetings on board, and, together with the ship's doctor and other officers, he listened repeatedly to the preaching by the elders and occasionally joined them in singing the songs of Zion. Considerable sickness prevailed among the emigrants, of whom quite a number were old and feeble. Seven deaths (among which two Scandinavian children), three births, and two marriages took place on board.
On Saturday, 14 June, the beautiful ship Thornton arrived at New York, and a little steam tug brought the emigrants to Castle Garden, where they were heartily received by Apostle John Taylor and Elder Nathaniel H. Felt. On the 17th of June the emigrants left New York and traveling by rail arrived at Dunkirk, Ohio, on the 19th. Here they went on board the steamship Jersey City and sailed to Toledo, where they arrived on the 21st. The following day they were in Chicago, Ill. At Toledo, the emigrants were treated in a most unfriendly manner by the railroad men and in consequence were subjected to much unpleasantness. On the 23rd the company left Chicago in two divisions, of which the one started a few hours before the other. At Pond Creek it was ascertained that the bridge at Rock Island had tumbled down while a railway train was passing over it. Apostle Erastus Snow and other brethren from Utah happened to be on board when the accident happened, but they escaped unhurt. The emigrants left Pond Creek on the 26th and arrived the same day at Iowa City, Iowa, which at that time contained about 3,000 inhabitants and was the western terminus of the railroad. The place had been chosen by the church emigration agents that year as an outfitting place for the Latter-day Saint emigrants who crossed the plains. In order that as many of the poor Saints as possible should get the opportunity of emigrating at a small expense, the First Presidency of the church had suggested in their 13th general epistle, which was dated in Salt Lake City 29 Oct 1855, that the emigrants who in 1856 were assisted to emigrate to Zion by the Perpetual Emigrating Fund should cross the plains with handcarts. Consequently this cheaper but difficult method of traveling was tried for the first time. The first handcart company, under the direction of Elder Edmund Ellsworth, left Iowa City 9 June 1856. About 100 Scandinavian emigrants constituted the fifth division of the fourth company of the handcart emigration which under the direction of James G. Willie, left Iowa City, 16 July. John A. Ahmanson was appointed leader of the Scandinavian division.
After almost untold suffering and hardship this company of handcart emigrants arrived in Salt Lake City 9 Nov 1856. About sixty of the emigrants died on the journey across the plains, among them were a number of Scandinavian Saints.
NAME AGE OCCUPATION FROM
Jens Petersen 36 Farmer Sealands
Ane Petersen 33
Johanne Petersen 12
Mette Marie Petersen 10
Hans Peter Petersen 7
Christen Petersen 5
Peter Petersen 4
Christian Petersen 1
Marie Petersen Olsen Written by her Granddaughter, Marie O Rogers
Contributed By Jdougolsen • 2013-05-19 17:12:55 GMT+0000 (UTC) • 0 Comments
Marie Petersen Olsen was born near the city of Copenhagen, Denmark, on September 9, 1846, the daughter of James O. Petersen and Anna Jensen.
She began the struggle of life under the most rigorous circumstances. Perhaps that condition made it possible for her to endure what she was called upon to endure in after years.
In the winter of 1856 President Brigham Young sent word to Apostle Franklin D Richards, who at that time was presiding over the British Mission, to have the emigrants take the northern route through New York and Chicago and land at Iowa City, there they would be provided with handcarts on which to haul their provisions and clothing. Experienced men would be there to aid them in every way possible, but let the Saints understand that they were expected to walk and draw their carts across the plains.
This document was published in the Millennial Star on February 23, 1856, and in the early spring Marie Petersen with her father and mother and five brothers and sisters left Denmark to come to Utah. By June 26 they were at Iowa City among a group of saints numbering 1,620 souls, all anxious to start the long journey across the plains. Before they were able to do this, however, over two hundred and fifty handcarts and dozens of tents had to be made.
The Saints were divided into four different groups or companies. The company under the leadership of James G. Willie was the first to leave. This company consisted of five hundred souls, one hundred and twenty handcarts, five wagons, twenty four oxen, and forty five beef cattle and cows. The Petersen family was among this company.
On the morning of July 15, they bade farewell to the rest of the good Saints of Camp Iowa and started their thirteen hundred mile journey to the West. For two hundred miles the country was beautiful, the roads were in good condition, game and fish were plentiful, delicious wild fruits were abundant, the flowers were in bloom and in places the grass was waist high. While the Saints were passing through this beautiful country the anti-Mormons did everything possible to induce the daughters of Zion to remain with them. The temptation was so great that a number of girls accepted their offer. With the exception of this and the death of one man, the journey from Iowa City to Council Bluffs was nothing more than a pleasure trip.
Several days were spent at Florence, Nebraska, mending carts and getting a fresh supply of food. On August 17 the Willie Company made another start. A few days previous to their start, Grandmother Olsen, along with the rest, received quite a thrill and scare as the company suddenly came upon a band of Indians. As good luck would have it, the Indians were friendly ones, and it turned out to be a thrill for the people from the Old country to see real live red-men.
On September 4, the Indians stole all of the beef cattle the Willie Company had. This afterward proved nothing short of a calamity, as the food supply was already running short.
On September 9, grandmother celebrated her tenth birthday. At this tender age she had already walked barefooted many hundred miles across the plains and had many more facing her.
About three hundred miles west of Florence, Nebraska, her life, along with the rest of the company, was spared when they barely escaped being trampled to death by a herd of frightened buffalo. On the twelfth, when the company was at North Bluff Creek, 613 miles west of Iowa City, and with more than half of their journey still facing them, their provisions were so short that Captain Willie was compelled to cut rations to fifteen ounces of flour for men, thirteen for women, and nine for children, and five for babies.
Grandmother's little bare feet were often sore and bleeding and by now the weather was getting cold and miserable. On September 17 the first frost came, but there was no stopping; so, hungry and weary and cold, they plugged on.
On October 12 another cut in rations was made. Every night after the hungry children were put to bed, grandmother would wash and dry their clothing, mix their allotted flour with water and bake it in cakes for the next day. This was always done after the children were asleep so that they wouldn't see and cry for something to eat. As she was doing this one night one of the little boys saw her put the cakes under her pillow for safe keeping. Soon she was fast asleep from the drudgery of the day. The hungry little seven-year-old boy helped himself to the cakes and ate them all so that the rest of the family was entirely without food for the next day.
On October 19 the last ounce of flour was doled out to the hungry emigrants. On this same evening it started to snow and by morning eighteen inches had fallen. Here the relief party found them. They were caught in a place where there was neither wood nor shelter and they had not eaten for forty-eight hours. They were literally freezing and starving to death.
Their joy was so great at seeing the relief party that they became hysterical, shouting, crying, and singing. It was some time before they could become quieted down, but as soon as this was accomplished the relief party set about getting wood and making fires to warm the frozen emigrants and cook food for them. Everyone that was able helped with the work. Pot after pot of warm food was cooked until everyone had all he could eat. This was the first time in weeks that they were warm and not hungry, but relief came too late for some, as nine died that night.
From there on the company was in charge of William H. Kimball. It was late the next day before Elder Kimball could get the handcart people started. They were in such a weakened condition that about forty of their number had perished and others were sick and dying. From here to Fort Bridger they suffered untold hardships, plodding on through blizzards and bitter cold weather and freezing their hands, feet, and faces. They nearly ran out of food again and at Rocky Ridge fifteen Saints died in one night. They arrived at Fort Bridger, November 2. There they were met by another relief party with teams and wagons and were hauled the rest of the way.
On November 9, at about noon, sixty wagon loads of suffering humanity were halted in front of the old tithing office building, where they were greeted by hundreds of Salt Lake citizens who had anxiously been waiting their arrival.
The scene that followed would be hard to describe. In less than an hour from the time they arrived, every soul was being cared for in a manner that brought tears of joy to their bloodshot eyes.
The next spring grandmother moved to Sanpete with the rest of her family where her father worked at different things, receiving a peck of wheat a day for his pay. They lived in Sanpete until the fall of 1858, the year of the move south, when they moved to Brigham City with the people who returned there.
Grandmother did not have the privilege of attending school but taught herself to read until she became a good reader. She learned to card wool, weave cloth, and knit and sew as did the other girls of her day.
When she was but fifteen years of age, on January 28, 1862, she became the bride of James Olsen. When she and grandfather set housekeeping their sole possessions amounted to a dutch oven, a butcher knife, a buffalo robe, and a pair of blankets, plus four willing hands, their faith and trust in God, and a determination to go forward.
They made their home in Brigham for eighteen years while grandfather worked at logging. This left grandmother alone most of the time to take care of the home and children. By the time she was twenty-three she was the mother of five children. She was an excellent housekeeper and cook. She excelled in the art of bread making. In later years when she could afford to make pies she became famous among her friends for her light and flaky pie crust.
In the spring of 1880 they left Brigham and came to Cache Valley, settling on the church farm now known as College Ward. She was now the mother of ten children. They resided on the church farm for six years, where three more children were born to her. From College Ward they moved to Hyrum where they lived for four years. Two more children were born to them while they lived at Hyrum, making a total of fifteen in all. Nine of them were sons, six were daughters; all but two of the fifteen were raised to manhood and womanhood.
Grandmother's days were full with carding wool, weaving, knitting, and sewing for this large family, but not so full that she didn't have time to work in the church and assist anyone that needed help. She was of an unusually patient, sweet disposition, winning the love and respect of all who knew her. In the year of 1890 they moved back to the church farm. When a ward was organized, grandmother became the first president of the College Ward Relief Society, which position she held until the year 1900, when she and grandfather and the three youngest children moved back again to Brigham City. The rest of the children had married, with the exception of one girl who moved to Logan.
When they moved to Brigham City, grandmother became an active member of the Second Ward. She was a Relief Society teacher for years and never failed to give her time and labor in blessing those who needed help. She was affectionately called "Aunt Marie" by all who knew her.
The illness which caused her death lasted about eighteen months. However, she was not confined to her bed until the last four days, when she passed peacefully away, surrounded by her loving family and friends on October 2, 1916.
At the time of her death she was 70 years of age. Twelve of her children were still living and she had 71 living grandchildren and nine great grandchildren. At the writing eight of her children are still living and her grandchildren and great grandchildren number nearly two hundred.
The children of Marie Olsen are: James Olsen Jr., Lorenzo Olsen, Anna O. Pearson, Joseph H. Olsen, Hyrum Olsen, Lovenus Olsen, Alma Olsen, Ella O. Hansen, Nephi Olsen, Erastus Olsen, Moses Olsen, Sarah O. Pett, Helena Olsen, Denora Olsen, and Rachel Olsen.
-Retyped on May 5, 2013 by John Douglas Olsen.
-A few corrections were made as far as fixing typographical errors, correcting some dates, and adding Rachel Olsen to the list of children. Corrected dates and added names will be italicized. I tried to keep the grammar as close to the original document as possible.
JAMES “Jens” CHRISTENSEN OLSEN
Jens Christensen was the birth name of James Olsen Sr.
Map of Denmark, Aalborg on Northern end
James Olsen Sr. was born on 27 March 1839 in Budolfi, Aalborg City, Aalborg, Denmark. Aalborg is located on the northern end of the water filled country. Aalborg has a major Canal called the Limfjorden running through it.
One would imagine that the trip to Copenhagen to get to the larger ships was quite an adventure on its own. From a history below we learn that he left Denmark for Utah ahead of the rest of the family which arrived in the United States in 1852.
The Life Sketch of James Olsen
Contributed By tchristensen3822349 • 2013-10-14 05:13:35 GMT+0000 (UTC) • 0 Comments
A COPY OF A BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF THE LIFE OF JAMES OLSEN WRITTEN BY HIMSELF, AT BRIGHAM CITY, UTAH, NOVEMBER 5, 1920
Copied by Ruth Hanson A biographical sketch of Elder James Olsen written by himself, son of Christen Jenson Olsen and Annie Nielson Olsen.
Born March 27, 1839 at a little village called Hasseris near the city of Aalborg, Denmark. His father’s family consisting of the following children: Mettekjerstine, who died at St. Lewis, U.S.A. en route, from the dreaded disease of cholera. Caroline Olsen Wright, Christine Olsen Wight, Necoline Olsen Petersen, James Olsen, Mary Olsen Jensen, Margert Olsen, who died in Denmark, Christian Olsen, who died February, 1920 at Brigham City, Utah.
His father and mother were from the laboring people, but were honest hard working people, hence their children were taught early to labor for their living, a trait of character which remained with them through life.
As James Olsen was the oldest son of his father’s family and the fifth child, he grew like other boys in that country. He got little or no education. He went to school two summers at eight and nine years. From that time he was hired out by his father in his home town to help tend cattle and sheep and other little chores around the house. And he worked three years in that way and all went smoothly until the year 1850, when the advent of the Gospel of Jesus Christ was introduced by Apostle Erastus Snow and his associates, who were John E Forsgren, George Parker Dykes, and Peter O. Hansen, being the first four Elders from Zion. Apostle Snow and Peter O. Hansen commenced their missionary labors in the city of Copenhagen, in the month of August of said year. They baptized fifteen persons and from that time the work grew rapidly. A branch was soon organized and brethren were soon ordained to the priesthood and sent forth in the ministry.
John E. Forsgren was sent to Sweden, as that was his native land, to open the Gospel door in that land. But he was met with much opposition, and ridiculed and mobbed and finally banished from his country. However he was instrumental in converting his father’s family, his brother Peter, who was the first man baptized in Sweden by one having authority from God. Also baptized his sister Rika who married Davis and all came to Brigham City and lived and died here.
A Brief History of the Scandinavian Mission
Andrew Jenson, Encyclopedic History of the Church of Jesus Christ of latter-Day Saintsp.779-780
Thus Apostle Erastus Snow was called to open up a mission in the Scandinavian countries, and with him Peter O. Hansen was called specially to Denmark, and John E. Forsgren to Sweden. These brethren left Great Salt Lake Valley, together with other missionaries, in October, 1849, and arrived in Great Britain early the following year. Erastus Snow, while stopping in England, chose George Parker Dykes, who was laboring as a missionary in England, to accompany him and the other brethren mentioned to Scandinavia. Elders Snow, Forsgren and Dykes arrived in Copenhagen, Denmark, June 14, 1850, (having been preceded there by a month or so by Peter O. Hansen). Successful missionary work was at once commenced in the capital of Denmark, where the first baptisms took place Aug. 12, 1850, and the first branch of the Church was organized Sept. 15, 1850.
In the meantime John E. Forsgren was sent to Sweden, where he, on July 26, 1850, baptized his brother, Peter A. Forsgren, as the first convert to the restored gospel in Sweden. Owing to persecution the work in Sweden, however, did not prosper until 1853, but in Denmark George P. Dykes raised up the second branch of the Church in that country at Aalborg Nov. 25, 1850. Soon other branches were organized, which were grouped into three conferences, named respectively the Aalborg Conference, the Fredericia Conference, and the Copenhagen Conference. Many branches were raised up in different parts of Denmark, which were organized into other conferences, such as Aarhus, Bornholm, Fyen, Oderise, Øernes, Skive and Vendsyssel.
After the lapse of a few years, the Scandinavian Mission, consisting of the three Scandinavian countries, Denmark, Sweden and Norway, became the most successful and fruitful missionary field of the Church established among non-English-speaking people. From the beginning until the close of 1930, 54,358 persons were baptized in Scandinavia, namely, 26,656 in Denmark, 19,147 in Sweden, and 8,555 in Norway. Of these 26,027 emigrated to Zion during the same period, namely, 13,984 from Denmark, 8,545 from Sweden, and 3,498 from Norway.
I will return to the Olsen family of said year in the fall of 1850, George P. Dykes was sent to Aalborg to open up the Gospel there. My parents were some of the first to embrace it. And that winter and spring a branch was organized and they opened up in Narre Sunby but the branch was organized at Aalborg and many joined them. But as the news spread of the progress of the Elders, the Devil was not asleep, persecution started, they broke doors and windows at their hall.
In the fall of 1851 mother being the first to embrace it and she through her diligent labors and earnest prayer was successful in converting her family to her faith and on the fifth of March 1851 my father and mother were baptized by HOP Jensen and confirmed by George P. Dykes, the first Elders from Zion. And so the balance of the family came into the Church the following year. Myself and my sister Necoline were baptized the sixth of November, 1852 by A. Anderson.
These humble Elders went forth to proclaim the truth and sow the Gospel seed. But did not find a field ready to receive it as there only the Olsen Family in the little town of Haseris that embraced it. So in the spring of 1852 my father was called and sent forth to preach the Gospel in his native land. And in the fall of 1852 at a conference he was advised by the Brethren to send me to Zion, he having sold his home at Hasseris, and had the money. The company was to leave the city of Copenhagen about December 1, 1852.
This company was the first regular organized company of Saints from Scandinavian parts. Its captain was John. E. Forsgren, the first Elder to Sweden. Apostle Snow having been relieved and called home early in 1852 and took with him a few persons. We left Copenhagen the 20th of December. From Copenhagen to Keel, Germany by steamer. At Keel changed to German cars from there to Hamburg where we took steamer for Hull, England, where we arrived about December 22, 1852, took train to Liverpool. The company of 297 souls.
We encountered one of the severest storms crossing the North Sea seldom experienced. It was reported at Hull that a hundred and fifty ships were lost in said storm. From Liverpool to New Orleans, U.S.A., on ship Monarch of the Sea, where we ate our Christmas supper, a sailing vessel where we were tossed to and fro for ten weeks. Our food and water was served out to us each morning, we only got one cooked meal a day. We got two sea crackers a day, so hard we could hardly break them. Water from Liverpool in barrels turned black and not half enough at that, and that was our fare. We sailed south past the Island of Cuba and into the Gulf of Mexico. When we got to the mouth of the Mississippi River, we were lodged on a sand bar for about a half a day with a little steam tug to pull us, but it had to have helped to get us drug off. The tug pulled us up to the city of New Orleans, which we reached about the 18th of March.
Ship: 977 tons: 149' x 31' x 23'
Built: 1851 by Pierre Valin at Quebec, Canada
Mormon emigrants from Denmark, Sweden, and Norway-the first large Scandinavian company-assembled at Liverpool and on New Year's Day 1853 boarded the Canadian-built packet ship Forest Monarch . However, storms and contrary winds kept the vessel anchored in the River Mersey for more than two weeks. During that time three children died, two babies were born, three passengers were converted and baptized, and some emigrants were injured when a nearby craft broke loose from her moorings and drifted into the Forest Monarch. Finally on 16 January 1853 the Scandinavians sailed out of the estuary and were on their way to America. There were now 297 Saints among the passengers. Elder John E. Forsgren presided over the company. Two years earlier he had opened the Scandinavian Mission with Apostle Erastus Snow. Forsgren's shipboard counselors were Elders Christian Christiansen and J. H. Christensen. During the voyage the weather was generally pleasant, although the ship was becalmed for several days. Provisions were poor, and fresh water was exhausted before reaching port. Four deaths were recorded, and three children were born during the crossing. After a fifty-nine day passage the ship arrived at New Orleans on 16 March, but several days earlier at the mouth of the Mississippi five more emigrants died.
This British square-rigger was skippered by Captain Edmund Brewer and hailed out of Liverpool. The Forest Monarch was carver-built with three masts, one deck, a round stern, a standing bowsprit, and a figurehead of a man. Her owners had been Pierre Valin of Quebec, her builder, and De Novo at Liverpool. The vessel was not listed in Lloyd's Register after 1854.
(Millennial Star, Vol. XV, pp.89, 282, 368; Morgenstjernen, Vol. I, page 180.)"
Ship: Forest Monarch
Date of Departure: 16 Jan 1853
Port of Departure: Liverpool, England
LDS Immigrants: 297
Church Leader: John E. Forsgren
Date of Arrival: 16 Mar 1853
Port of Arrival: New Orleans, Louisiana
Source(s): Customs (FHL #200,173)
Notes: "DEPARTURES. . . . The Forest Monarch sailed on the 16th [OF] January, with 297 Danish Saints on board, under the presidency of Elder John Forsgren. . . ."
SIXTIETH COMPANY. -- Forest Monarch, 297 souls. This company of emigrants was from the Scandinavian Mission, being the first large company of Saints who emigrated from Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. An earnest desire to emigrate to Zion had been manifested by many of the Scandinavian Saints since the first little company had left for the mountains a few months previous; and the elders had been busily engaged for some time past in making preparations to send off a large company.
About the beginning of December, 1852, the emigrants from the respective conferences in the mission began to gather in Copenhagen, Denmark, and on Monday, December 20th, 1852, two hundred and ninety-three Saints, including children, went on board the steamship Obotrit, and sailed from 'Toldboden' (the custom-house), at four o'clock p.m., under the leadership of Elder John E. Forsgren, one of the elders who, in connection with Apostle Erastus Snow, first introduced the gospel into Scandinavia two years before. A great multitude of people had gathered on the wharf to witness the departure of the 'Mormons,' and many of the rabble gave utterance to the most wicked and blasphemous language, while they cursed and swore, because so many of their countrymen were disgracing themselves by following 'that Swedish Mormon priest' (an appellation they gave Elder Forsgren) to America. No violence, however, was resorted to, and the ship got safely away.
After a rather stormy and unpleasant passage, the Obotrit arrived safely at Kiel, Holstein, on the evening of the twenty-second. The following day the journey was continued by rail to Hamburg, where a large hall had been hired, and supper prepared for the emigrants. In the afternoon of the twenty-fourth the Saints went on board the steamship Lion, which glided slowly with the tide down the river Elbe to Cuxhaven, where the captain cast anchor, owing to the heavy fog which prevailed. The emigrants now celebrated Christmas Eve on board, with songs and amusements of different kinds. In the morning of the twenty-fifth anchor was weighed, and the Lion sailed to the mouth of the river, where it was met by heavy headwinds, that made it impossible to reach the open sea until midnight. Finally, the passage from the river to the sea was made in the moonlight. Early in the morning of the twenty-sixth the ship passed Heligoland, soon after which a heavy gale blew up from the southwest, which increased in violence until the next day, when it assumed the character of a regular hurricane, the like of which old sailors declared they had never before experienced on the German Ocean. The ship's bridge and part of the gunwale were destroyed, and some goods standing on the deck were broken to pieces and washed overboard; otherwise, neither the ship nor the emigrants were injured. On the twenty-eighth, in the evening, after the storm had spent its fury, the Lion steamed into the harbor of Hull, England. About one hundred and fifty vessels were lost on the German Ocean in the storm, and the people in Hull were greatly surprised when the Lionarrived in safety, as it was firmly believed that she had gone under like the other ships that were lost.
From Hull, the emigrating Saints continued the journey by rail to Liverpool, on the 29th, where lodging and meals, previously ordered, were prepared for them, and on the first of January 1853, they went on board the packet ship Forest Monarch, which was hauled out of the dock and anchored in the river Mersey. There it lay until the 16th, because of storms and contrary winds. In the meantime three of the company died, two babies were born, and three fellow passengers were initiated into the Church by baptism. One man, who had been bitten by a dog was left in Liverpool, to be forwarded with the next company of emigrating Saints. One night the ship became entangled with another vessel and sustained some injuries; and a few days later, during a heavy storm, it got adrift, pulling up both anchors, and was just about to run aground, when two tug boats came to the rescue and saved it.
On the sixteenth of January, 1853, the Forest Monarch put out to sea. The emigrants now numbered two hundred and ninety-seven souls, who were placed under the direction of Elder John E. Forsgreen, in connection with whom Elders Christian Christiansen and J. H. Christiansen acted as counselors. Elders Willard Snow and Peter O. Hansen, who had accompanied the emigrating Saints to Liverpool, now returned to Copenhagen. During the voyage across the Atlantic Ocean the Forest Monarch was favored with very pleasant weather, but for several days it was a perfect calm, and in many respects the emigrants, who nearly all were unaccustomed to seafaring life, found the voyage trying and tedious. The provisions were poor, and their fresh water supply gave out before the journey was ended. Four deaths also occurred, and three children were born during the voyage.
On the eighth of March, 1853, the ship arrived safely at the mouth of the Mississippi River, where five of the company died, and on the arrival at New Orleans, on the sixteenth, two others departed this life, and one family who had apostatized remained in that city. From New Orleans the journey was continued by steamboat up the Mississippi River to St. Louis Missouri, where the emigrants landed on the thirty-first. In that city, tents and other commodities needed for the overland journey were purchased. After tarrying about a month, during which time six of the emigrants died and two couples were married, the company left St. Louis and proceeded by steamboat about two hundred miles further up the river to Keokuk, Iowa, where the emigrants pitched their tents for the first time, and lay in camp for several weeks before starting for the plains.
In the meantime the emigrants received their teams, consisting of oxen and wagons. Some of the Scandinavian emigrants, who at first rejected the American ways of driving oxen in yokes, went to work and manufactured harness in regular Danish fashion; but no sooner were these placed on the animals than they, frightened half to death, struck out in a wild run, refusing to be guided at all by the lines in the hands of their new masters from the far north. Crossing ditches and gulches in their frenzy, parts of the wagons were strewn by the way side; but the oxen, (many of which had never been hitched up before) were at last stopped by men who understood how to manipulate that most important article of all teamsters outfits--the whip; and the Danish emigrants, profiting by the experience they had gained, soon concluded that, although harness might do well enough for oxen in Denmark, the yoke and whip were preferable in America; and they readily accepted the method of their adopted country.
With thirty-four wagons and about one hundred and thirty oxen, the company rolled out from the camping ground near Keokuk on the twenty-first of May, and after three weeks rather difficult travel over prairies of Iowa, Council Bluffs, on the Missouri River, was reached. Here the company rested for several days, and on the twenty-seventh of June resumed the journey by crossing the Missouri River, after which they were soon far out on the plains. On the overland journey a number of the emigrants died, more children were born, and a few lost the faith in the midst of the hardships and trials of the long march. Finally on the thirtieth of September, 1853, the company arrived in Salt Lake City; and on the fourth of October the emigrants were nearly all re-baptized by Apostle Erastus Snow. They were counseled by President Brigham Young to settle in different parts of the Territory, and mix up with people of other nationalities, so as to become useful in developing the resources of the new country. Most of them located in Sanpete Valley, whither other companies from Scandinavia subsequently followed them, and that valley has ever since been known as the headquarters of the Scandinavians in Utah. Still President Young's advice has not been unheeded, as the people from the three countries of the north (Denmark, Sweden and Norway) are represented, to a greater or less extent, in nearly every town and settlement of the Saints in the Rocky Mountains.
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The interests of the Perpetual Emigrating Fund were cared for under Apostle Richard's agency, so much so that up to January, 1852, 1,410 pounds of sterling had been donated, and in the two ships which sailed January 10, 1852, two hundred and fifty-one persons were sent out requiring above 1,000 pounds more than had been donated, which extra outlay was supplied in the meantime by Apostle Richards. This was the first operation with the Perpetual Emigrating Fund, and it required much careful thought and wise deliberation to adopt plans that would carry this branch of the emigration properly through to the Valley. It was also the first time arrangements had been made before leaving Liverpool. Never before had such a journey been undertaken by so large a number of people with such limited resources.
During the year 1853, several companies of non-English speaking Saints passed through Liverpool. The first one from the Scandinavian Mission numbered two hundred and ninety seven souls and was reshipped at Liverpool on board the Forest Monarch January 16th, under the direction of Willard Snow, then president of the Scandinavian Mission. Donations to the Perpetual Emigrating Fund having been commenced in Scandinavia, particularly in Denmark, the sum of 136 pds. 15s 6d was appropriated during Elder Willard Snow's presidency, for the assistance of a number of those who sailed On the Forest Monarch. The next company from the continent was seventeen persons from the German Mission, who sailed from Liverpool in August and September 1853. These were the first Latter-day Saints emigrating to Zion from any of those countries.
From the 9th Epistle, April 13, 1853: "Brethren, come home as fast as possible, bringing your poor, your silver, your gold, and everything that will beautify and ennoble Zion, and establish the House of the Lord, not forgetting the seeds of all choice trees, and fruits, and grains, and useful productions of all the earth, and labor saving machinery; keeping yourselves unspotted from the world by the way side."
We were then put on a river steamer and came up the Mississippi River to St. Lewis sometime in April, where we remained about a month, for it was late spring and our cattle and wagons were not ready. So we came up to Keokuk in Iowa where we got our outfit, our cattle and wagons, and tents, and provisions on the eastern borders of the State of Iowa. And so we traveled over the same road as the saints from their expulsion from Nauvoo, three hundred miles from Keokuk to Kamesville across the Missouri River to Winter Quarters, where we had to cross on a ferry boat. It took us about a week to cross that treacherous stream which was very high. After all crossed without accident, the Captain called a meeting of thanksgiving to God for our deliverance in passing through the state of Iowa, where so many of the old mobcrates then resided.
We were now in the wilderness and had the red men to contend with. We traveled on and on, nothing of any importance except when the Indians came into our camp, and they did so by the hundreds. They spread down a blanket and made a circle around it and lit a pipe and passed around and smoked, which was a sign of peace. When we got into the Platt River Valley we found another king of the forest, the American Buffalo, which roamed those sandy plains of the Platt Valley. They came down from the hills to the river for water by the hundreds and stampeded our cattle, as they were afraid of them. Well, we traveled on and on except Sundays, which was given over to worship and thanksgiving for our deliverance from week to week.
So on we went until we reached the noted Echo Canyon of which I will write about later, now through Echo Canyon and down the Weber River to a point below Echo, then up over what is called the Big Mountain, the very top of the Wasatch Range, and then across to the Little Mountain from where we could see the Valley, next day down Immigration Canyon to the Valley where we arrived September 29, 1853. Having been on the long journey for 11 months and traveling over 8000 miles.
We attended the October conference in the old tabernacle located where the assembly hall now stands on the temple block. They had just finished digging out the basement for the great temple which took forty years to complete it all, though there were three other temples erected and completed before that one.
After resting about a week we started north to what was known at that time as Box Elder. We reached there in about five days. I might say the company was dismissed at Salt Lake and Captain Forsgreen with his brother and sister and a number of other brethren and sisters and I was one of them went with him to what became later Brigham City. As his wife and baby came up with her father William Davis who later became the first Bishop in Box Elder. We went to work and built three houses in November of the fall 1853, also built a meeting house in the winter 1853 and 1854. Apostle Lorenzo Snow was sent up to organize a stake and he called a number of people with him from Salt Lake.
But I should have said the city was surveyed early in 1854, and so the first survey ran from J.M. Jensen’s corner north to Judge Call on Main thence east four blocks to old Grist Mill, new Botts marble works, thence south to Mathias corner and west to place of beginning. There was no definite limit on the west. The stake was organized with Lorenzo Snow as President, Johathan C. Wright and Samuel Smith as Counselors.
And so the good work went on. A country seat was established at Brigham City, officers elected, a court house was built and all set in motion both civil and ecclesiastically, so all went well for a time, until in 1856 much agitation was going on in the East over the Mormon question, false charges were arrayed against us as a people, and in the spring of 1857 an army of soldiers was sent up to settle the Mormon question, and as we had previously been organized into what was called the Utah Militia in order to protect ourselves against Indians and Marauders which the country was full of at that time, and had spent much time drilling. We were somewhat prepared for most anything and so a small company of men was sent out under the leadership of a man who had no fears. His name was Lot Smith. He came in contact with the army every day and sent his messages to Governor Young, and so the governor called his staff together and he was also President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, he made this declaration: “By the help of Almighty God they shall never come into the valley till we give them permission.”
So the report came here that they were marching to Soda Springs and entering the valley from the north, as I said before we were organized and so the word came to General West of Ogden for us to be on our way by daylight in the morning about Oct. 1, 1857 (18 years old). We made a quick march through Box Elder Canyon into Cache Valley. When we got to Blacksmith Fork River we had to cut the willows and build a ford to get across and we had to repeat it at Logan River as there were no settlements north of Wellsville in the county in 1857. We built a bridge at Muddy and a ford at the crossing of Bear River where Adjutant Gamble nearly drowned his horse and after about a week’s travel we landed in Marsh Valley about one hundred miles north of Brigham City in a wild country and no way to get supplies, so a detachment of men was sent back into Malad Valley.
Father Barnard had a ranch near the Utah and Idaho line. They procured six or seven beeves and so we got beef if we if we didn’t have no bread. Well from Marsh Valley a company of scouts was sent out to investigate. They brought back word instead of it being government troops it was Lot Smith with his men. And so after about a month’s service we were marched back to Brigham City, but it did not last long for on Oct. 30th we were called again, this time to Echo Canyon, Governor Young having made a declaration that General Johnston would not be allowed to enter the valley.
He called his staff together also his counselors and apostles and he stood up in that solemn assembly, for such it was, and declared by the help of Almighty God, General Johnston would not be allowed to enter the valley until he was permitted by the Lord. So about November 1, 1857 we were called by General West of Ogden. This time we were to go to Echo Canyon to fortify that canyon against his entering through that into the valley, so we started as afore said about 500 in number, when we got up in Weber Canyon the new snow was about six inches deep and the farther we got up the deeper the snow.
We had no tents and so of course had to sleep on the ground. We pulled sage brush and brushed the snow the best we could, our bedding was quite short so of course we suffered from the cold. We stood guard a hundred men each night and so it came on every fifth night. From Round Valley to Lost Creek were six fords, no bridges those early days and we had to wade and cut the ice at the edges for the horses to get in and out of the river that hauled our luggage and provisions. And finally about the tenth of November we got into Echo Canyon. Our provisions were taken away from us and turned into the general commissary as they were probably about 2000 men on the ground at the time.
We were about 100 miles in the mountains and deep snow and quite difficult to reach us. We were put to work building batteries and digging trenches to be ready for General Johnston when he got ready to come through, but he didn’t come through until a treaty of peace was signed between him and Governor Young. After that we were permitted to go home. The expedition lasted for about four months, however we were called to move south and vacate Salt Lake Valley in the spring of 1858. Everybody and everything north of Lehi and Utah County had to move south. Much of the stuff could not be moved as we had to vacate by a certain date according to the armistice which was signed, so a rear guard was called to look after everything thus left no matter who owned it, with instructions to kill and burn every living thing in case General Johnston was true to his contract.
General Johnston was ordered to go to Cedar Valley, an unsettled valley about 15 miles west of Utah Lake where they built a government post and where many of our people were employed for good wages and so what seemed to be our destruction proved to be our blessing as clothing and necessaries of life was getting quite scarce. So after General Johnston was located by contract we were permitted to return to our homes in August of the same year, 1858.
So the roads were lined with teams night and day and to our great astonishment we found a good volunteer crop of grain sufficient for our support for another year so no one suffered. In 1861 General Johnston was called home. The Civil War broke out between the north and south, and General Johnston was killed in that war.
Years before that we were visited with another great calamity in the form of grasshoppers and crickets. Crickets swarmed down upon us from the high lands into our fields and devoured everything before them. But the Lord came to our relief. He sent the seagulls from Great Salt Lake, that lit upon our fields and devoured them by the millions. They filled and went and vomited them up and returned and refilled, and so kept up the good work day by day. Next came the grasshoppers which came in the afternoon, roosted in the grain all night till the sun got hot the next day when they would rise and fly, leaving our grain as bare as it was when we sowed it.
Well in 1861 (22 years old) the Church sent to Florence at Winter Quarters, formerly called ox teams to bring the poor European Saints to Zion and I was called as one to drive a team on that trip. There were eight called from Box Elder County, and so about April 15th, we started out. Our company consisted of teams from Box Elder, Weber, and Davis, about 62 wagons in our train, presided over by Joseph Horn from Salt Lake City. We left Salt Lake City about the twentieth of April. We went up Parleys Canyon and over the mountain, came down through Coalville, on the divide we traveled over solid snow over the tops of Quaking Asp trees without any serious accident. We just broke one wagon tongue.
We came down on the Weber River and traveled down it to the mouth of Echo Canyon, up the canyon to Evanston, Wyoming. And we pushed on and on day by day until we reached North Platt in the Black Hills, about 350 miles from Salt Lake where we left some of our provisions for the return trip. We crossed back to the north side just before we reached Fort Laramie, a government post to protect emigrants from the Indians and we pushed on and all went well, plenty of grass and water for the cattle in the spring of the year. We averaged about 18 miles a day.
We reached Florence the 4th of July 1861. The immigrants had not arrived yet. They came up the Missouri River on flat boats. We were there to see them land. The cattle had rested about a week and were in fine shape for the return trip and July 15th, we were loaded and ready to start back. We had in each wagon 15 to 18 souls, but they were supposed to walk and even wade the rivers and streams of water unless they were sick or very feeble. Captain Horn would watch himself and see that his orders were carried out. Well everything went just fine for some time, camp orders were carried out to the letter, up in the morning at five o’clock, prayers and breakfast, ready to start about eight o’clock.
All went well the first half of the way but when we got up in the Black Hills the country had dried up, food was scarce and water had dried up and many times we had to drive half of the night and sometimes make what we called a dry camp, so the cattle got leg weary and lame and poor, but still we pushed on every day except Sundays when we rested and held services.
At the upper crossing of the North Platt we safely crossed alright and drove out to a place called Willow Springs where we intended to camp for the night, but Captain Horn heard that General Johnston of the Utah Expedition was camped over on the Sweet Water and not wishing to meet them the next day with women and children he gave orders to bring in the cattle and make a night drive as they were camped off from the road and we slipped quietly by in the middle of the night and were all safe.
But a very serious circumstance happened just as we started. An old English lady sat in the front of the wagon hanging her legs down outside. The wagon bounced into a hole and she fell out in front of the wheel and it passed over her and killed her. At Willow Springs and of course we held a hurried funeral and buried her at Willow Springs without a coffin as we had nothing to make one from. So next morning we were at Independence Rock on the Sweet Water, Wyoming.
We were some three hundred miles east of Salt Lake still pushing on, nothing of any particular interest took place, only cattle getting poorer and leg weary. Finally we reached Bear River and then over the divide to the heart to the noted Echo Canyon the defense against General Johnston. Thence up and over the big mountain where Captain Horn’s son met us with a load of melons and you may be sure he was a welcome visitor.
Next day down the Emigration Canyon to Salt Lake City, having traveled about 21 hundred miles since April 15, 1861. We unloaded our load of live weight and started home with our four yoke of cattle.
We were welcomed by our relatives and friends. And so we had to look around for work. I got a job on the co-op farm herding cattle on Bear River. I was now past 23 years and I had been keeping company with a noble young woman. She had lived in Brigham City, but her father had moved to Logan in the spring of ’61 . Her name was Marie Peterson and on January 28, 1862 we were married by Bishop Alvin Nickols and so we began housekeeping without furniture and without money to buy.
As I had been working for the Church, but no salary, working as a missionary and as there was no money in the country we did not get money, but we got an order on the different shops for various articles made there, homemade and so we got one article at the time as we could pay for them. It was very hard to get them as they had to be sold for cash or its equivalent to carry on the work. So we did the best we could. The institution was crowded for cash to carry on their cash expenses and so we only got one sixth on the store but we did the best we could under the circumstances.
My young wife was a worker and just the kind for those early days. We had some sheep and raised some wool, and that she carded and spun by hand and stood at the wheel and spun and rung so many skeins a day and was happy and contented.
I will now refer to the more important of married life, she became the mother of a very large family. I will here name then in the order of their birth. James Olsen Jr., Christen Lorenzo, Annie Marie, Joseph Henry, Hyrum, Lovenus, Denory, Alma, Nephi Peter, Mary Ellen, Erastus, Sarah, Moses, Rachel, and Halana. Rachel was still born. The last four of these were born in Cache County as in the spring of 1880 we moved to Cache Valley having so many boys and not much land here, so we decided to go over and get the family settled down on farms and that we were quite successful as they now own large farms and some are of the staunch citizens of that great county, and I always look upon that move as the most important thing of our lives although that was met with some difficulties and deprivations, but we labored on, some of the oldest of the children were able to work and help and so everything went smoothly till the spring of 1884 (45 years old) when I was called to take a mission to Denmark, my native land.
We were living at what later became College Ward, but at that time we called West Millville as we belonged to the Millville ward then. Well I became the first born missionary that went out from that district and so at the April Conference I was called and set apart and we were to leave Ogden on April 15th of said year over the up road so on that date we were on our way in 1884. There was a very large company of us about 140 missionaries, but a number of them was for the United States and of course dropped off as we went along. So there were only about 80 crossed the ocean.
We left New York April 22nd, we were 11 days going over and reached Liverpool, England, May 3rd, had a very nice trip, name of the ship “Abgisinia” thence on our way. Some evening after we had received our instructions from Apostle John Henry Smith, to Hull, England by train where we took ship to Hamburg, Germany over North Sea fine trip across, only thirty six hours thence to Kiel by train where we reached the same afternoon, thence by boat to Seorsor, Denmark, thence by train to Copenhagen, where we reached May 6, 1884, after having traveled 8000 miles in 21 days. We were permitted to visit our relatives before we were assigned our fields of labor so I was sent to Aarhus conference and from there to Horsens branch in said conference where I arrived about the ninth of June and was appointed to preside in the branch on the 15th of August.
It was a very large branch and only a few missionaries so there was much to do and only a few to do it. Well we got along the best we could and in November we got new missionaries and during that winter much work was done and we had the pleasure of seeing the fruit of our labors. During the first year I had the pleasure of baptizing 14 souls besides ordaining a number of brethren to the Priesthood for the labors in the ministry. But during the winter months the priests were holding conventions and they got the report of the government and our Doctrine was considered as detrimental to the people and so the Elders all being Americans, were banished from that country and the grounds. There is a clause in the Danish law or constitution that where any foreign element is operated in that country to the detriment of the general public, can be banished from the country, and so the Elders being American citizens were banished.
Aalborg conference having 4 branches and the conference Priest was banished and so it left that conference nearly without missionaries from Zion. So I was released from my labors in Aauha and appointed to go directly to Aalborg conference and there take up my missionary labors. So late in June, 1885 I was appointed to Aalborg and while there I had the conference to look after. So instead of the responsibility of a branch it became a conference. So I set to work immediately traveling through the 4 branches holding monthly branch meetings and tending to the general business of the branches till fall when we got new missionaries from Zion. And so the good work went on.
In the early winter I was released to return home and as I had bought some property at Hyrum, Cache County in 1886 we moved up there and stayed there 4 years. But in 1890 the College Ward land was offered for sale. As we had only leased it up till then each man bought his leased land and so became permanent settlers, so I bought mine and built the first brick house in the ward.
In 1891, a ward was organized and I was called as counselor to Bishop Oscar Dunn, and Sister Marie Olsen was called as the first president of the Relief Society in the new ward. We only had a small ward and we were all poor and paying for our land, about 26 families but we were united and all worked for College Ward. We started to build a meeting house in 1894 and we were a little divided on the kind of building to erect. Some wanted a brick and some wanted a frame, but the brick finally won out, and so we erected the brick.
Well our house was completed in 1895 and was dedicated the following winter by Apostle Brigham Young better known as “Young Brig”. The house still stands there as a credit to the ward.
Well as time went we both began to feel like we wanted to retire and so after serving in the Bishopric for 9 years, and Sister Olsen as President of the Relief Society for the same length of time, we both asked for our release.
I came over to Brigham and look up a place and bought it, our present home. It was in 1900 we moved over and here we lived happy and contented. I added to the old house 4 rooms and so for the first time in Sister Olsen’s life she had room to make herself and children comfortable.
Sister Olsen had a very sick spell two years before that in 1898 but through faith and administration of the Priesthood she was finally healed and 18 years was added to her life. And so we moved over on the first of February, 1900 and we thought we were going to have an easy time but of course we had to raise fruit like other people and so we had plenty to do.
But I was not idle, at a quarterly conference in the summer of 1903 (64 Years old) I was called a second counselor to President Burt of the High Priest Quorum and as President Burt was quite feeble and was unable to get out, the work rested upon his counselors. His first counselor was as old as he was and was unable to travel in the wards so I had much to do and it was at the time when that Priesthood class work was inaugurated. We had organized classes in every ward with a teacher and a secretary who kept their own minutes and so we knew what every High Priest was doing in the stake. Well I worked in that capacity for 3 years and in May of 1806 President Burt died so on September 9th, the High Priest was reorganized with James as President and he chose William Horsley as his first counselor and Niels Madson as his second counselor and so the responsibility only became greater.
Well we worked on and assisted every ward in the stake. The stake was very large. It then embraced Snow Valley and Stone and two wards in Park Valley. So we had long drives with teams as we had no automobiles those early days. I presided over the quorum for about eight and one half years when I resigned as I felt it somewhat of a hardship to do so much traveling especially at night. So at the last Quarterly conference in 1914 my resignation was accepted. So on August 29, 1915 (76 years old) I was called to be a patriarch and ordained by Apostle Francis M. Lyman and asked if I was willing to labor in that capacity to which I responded, “I would do my very best by the help of the Lord.” So after receiving some instructions from the Apostle we were ordained and set apart and told to go to work. I began by blessing my own wife first, but I felt very timid in that very important calling, but we were told by the Apostle that humility was the source whereby we could obtain the spirit of our calling. There were three of us ordained at the same time as follows: James Olsen, William Horsley, and Denmark Jensen and we already had two in the stake making five. Father Stohl and Edwin Cardon. And sometime later Adolf Madsen was ordained making six in the stake. Brother William Horsley died since then leaving us with five in the stake.
Well the saints would call on us and we would respond according to the direction and the manifestation of the Spirit of the Lord which was sealed upon us by the Apostle. I have labored in that capacity up to date January, 1921 and have given 141 blessings and have them all recorded up to date in a ledger besides giving each person his or her personal blessing.
I am still laboring whenever called upon and shall continue as long as the Lord gives me physical and mental ability. Now I have written this hurriedly from memory and I wish and pray the blessing of God upon the Daughters of the Pioneers and your very important labors in gathering history and having it recorded of this great people, the Latter Day Saints.
Please excuse all mistakes in spelling. James Olsen, Patriarch. P.S. James Olsen passed away at Brigham City, Utah, August 25, 1924, at the ripe age of 86 years. He died of a heart attack, having been bedfast some five weeks previously with heart trouble. He was buried at Brigham City, Utah.
Marie Petersen Olsen died October 2nd, 1916, at Brigham City, having passed peacefully away. She is buried beside her husband at Brigham City, Utah. She died at the age of 70 years.
LIFE OF CAROLINE OLSEN WRIGHT
Caroline Olsen Wright was a sister to “Jens” Christensen who was the father of James Olsen, father of Newell J Olsen.
Caroline Olsen Wright was born in Hasseris, Aalborg, Denmark, 27 May 1832 and was the daughter of Christen Jensen and Annie Nielsen Olsen. She had two brothers, James (Jens )and Christian and five sisters, Mette Kerstine, Christine, Nicoline, Elsie Marie, and Morgrethe. Morgrethe died (1848) in Denmark at age 5 years.
The Olsen family were baptized and confirmed members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Denmark, the 5th of March 1851, by Elders Erasus Snow, H.P. Jensen and George P. Dykes.
Christen Jensen Olsen and Wife Anna, with some of the children sailed for America, arriving in 1852. Son James (Jens) had preceded them. Three daughters, Mette Kerstine, and Christine and Caroline waited in Denmark for five years, until their parents could send money for their transportation to America. They worked and saved their money.
Their trip to America was a very unpleasant one, six weeks on a dirty sailing vessel seemed endless to the three girls. They came by way of New Orleans and traveled by riverboat to St. Louis. There they had a chance to clean themselves up and to rest before starting the long trek across the plains. Mette Kerstine died on the trip across the plains, and her grave - like many others - was by the side of the trail.
Christen Olsen (the father); Simeon Carter, George Davis and Peter Johnson were the first men to colonize in Utah, as far North as Brigham City. In 1854, Jonathan Calkins Wright was called with his family to settle Brigham City.
Caroline Olsen became the seventh and last wife of Jonathan Calkins Wright, November 5, 1857, in Salt Lake City, Utah. They were the parents of nine children, Annie, Elias S., Eliza, Martha, Reuben Miller, David, Eunice Prudence, Helena, and Lucy.
Though Caroline was born in Denmark, and spoke only Danish when she came to America, she learned to read and write this language very well. She was her husband’s secretary while he was acting judge, and while holding other civic as well as ecclesiastical offices. Often she held her baby in her lap while she recorded the proceedings of the Court, or the minutes of an important meeting.
Brigham City was her home during her entire married life. Her first home was a one room log house. In later years two adobe rooms were added. Her eldest daughter, Annie, taught school in the one-room home.
Caroline worked hard and sacrificed much to give her children an education which would make them independent citizens. She knitted stockings which the girls took to Mantua to sell. She saved to send her sons on missions. Elias became a well-known doctor, and owned one of the first hospitals in Salt Lake City. Lucy was a schoolteacher and trained nurse. Anne, Eliza and Martha were schoolteachers. Reuben and David held positions with the railroad. Eunice and Helena died in infancy.
In 1904, Joseph Olsen and Christina Olsen, Jr., Nephews of Caroline Olsen Wright, were missionaries to Denmark. Also F. E. Mitchell. While in Aalborg, they took pictures of the Olsen home. The house is "L" shaped, large and well-built of mortar or brick, with dirt or thatched roof. Trees, shrubbery and lawn surrounded the building.
Caroline Olsen Wright died April 26, 1889 at Brigham City, Utah. She is buried in the Brigham City cemetery in Box Elder County.
From the book Legacy of Sacrifice BYU Archives
Residence: College Ward, Cache Co., Utah
Arrival date in Copenhagen: 6 May 1884
Missionary labors: Århus Conference
Departure date from Copenhagen: 15 October 1885
Departure ship: Bravo
Birth date: 27 March 1839
Birthplace: Hasseris, Budolfi Domsogn-Ålborg, Ålborg, Denmark
Father: Olsen, Christen Jensen
Mother: Nielsdatter, Anne
Spouse: Petersen, Mette Marie
Marriage date: 28 January 1862
Marriage place: Logan, Cache Co., Utah
Death date: 25 August 1924
Death place: Brigham City, Box Elder Co., Utah
Burial place: Brigham City, Box Elder Co., Utah
In 1851, his parents joined The Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints. Before immigrating to America with his parents, he was hired to tend cattle and sheep. Then, in 1852, he was sent with the first company of emigrating Latter-day Saints from Scandinavia to America. After traveling for eleven months and nearly eight thousand miles, he arrived in the Salt Lake Valley in September 1853 (see King, “History of Grandparents of Hazel Olsen King: A Biographical Sketch of Elder James Olsen,” 1–4).
He and others in his company were assigned to settle in Brigham City, Box Elder County. James worked for John F. Forsgren in Brigham City for a year, receiving as wages the use of a team and seed wheat for two acres. With these meager provisions, he raised enough wheat to feed his family, who joined him in 1854 (see King, “History of Grandparents of Hazel Olsen King: A Biographical Sketch of Elder James Olsen,” 4).
In 1856, when Johnston’s army threatened Utah, James enlisted in the Nauvoo Legion. The legion not only delayed the army but in the process explored the greater Utah area and built new roads. In 1858, Brigham Young called on many Saints to move to Utah County. James helped Elder Lorenzo Snow move his household to Provo, Utah County. He moved his own family to Goshen, at the south end of Utah Lake. By September 1858, he had returned to Brigham City, where he built more roads, bridges, and dugways (see King, “History of Grandparents of Hazel Olsen King: A Biographical Sketch of Elder James Olsen,” 6–7).
In 1861, he joined the “minute men” to help defend settlers from Indian raids. He sold his best cow to purchase a $350 gun and other equipment needed to protect the settlers. When the Indian threat lessened in April 1861, James accepted a call to be a teamster to help immigrants reach Utah. It was a difficult journey to Missouri for him. At one point, he had to travel over snowdrifts twenty-five feet high that had covered the tops of tall quaking aspen trees (see King, “History of Grandparents of Hazel Olsen King: A Biographical Sketch of Elder James Olsen,” 7–8).
In 1862, James married Mette Petersen. They began their lives together with the bare essentials: “Our cooking utensils consisted of a bake kettle and tin plate and basin. But we were young, healthy, and happy and the world before us,” he penned. While James herded cattle for the co-op, Mette spun wool. In 1864, they purchased a log house for three hundred dollars for their growing family. In 1871, James sold the property and moved his family to an acre lot, where he built an adobe house. The family lived there until 1880 (see King, “History of Grandparents of Hazel Olsen King: A Biographical Sketch of Elder James Olsen,” 9–10).
Although he hauled charcoal and cordwood to support his family, the pay was low. To improve his economic circumstances, in winter 1880 he went to Logan, Cache County, and rented an uncultivated one-hundred-acre tract of land for seventy-five dollars a year and began farming. It was on this acreage that he found success. He built a log house and outbuildings and raised over 300 bushels of grain (see King, “History of Grandparents of Hazel Olsen King: A Biographical Sketch of Elder James Olsen,” 10).
In 1884, James left his family and financial holdings to serve a mission in Scandinavia. He arrived in Copenhagen on 6 May 1884 and after visiting relatives was assigned to labor in the Århus Conference (see Jenson, History of the Scandinavian Mission, 282–83). He felt overwhelmed by the assignment. His language skills were poor, and he was “modest by nature.” He overcame the difficulties by exercising his faith. He said: “I did as the Prophet Joseph did. I retired to the woods in prayer. I told the Lord what it was that was expected of me to do in my condition and I was depending upon his assistance to perform that mission. The Lord came to my assistance, not only then, but many times after that” (King, “History of Grandparents of Hazel Olsen King: A Biographical Sketch of Elder James Olsen,” 12).
In August 1884, James became president of the Horsens Branch in the Århus Conference. “Things went along smoothly from that time,” he wrote. “The Priesthood and Saints gave me their entire support. Our attendance at meetings was increased. Our tithing and fast offerings were increased, and everybody worked for the improvement of the Horsens Branch. In a short time I had the branch out of debt and I sent money to Copenhagen every month for the erection of the Salt Lake Temple” (King, “History of Grandparents of Hazel Olsen King: A Biographical Sketch of Elder James Olsen,” 12).
In spring 1885, persecution began. The local ministers enlisted the aid of lawyers, who concocted a scheme to rid the country of Mormons. Attorneys, knowing that the law allowed the expulsion of “any foreign element” that was “injurious to the country,” began claiming that Mormonism was injurious. Five elders, the conference president, and four branch presidents were banished, leaving the Århus Conference “crippled up for workers.” With four branches in the Conference, James had to travel monthly from one to another to keep them functioning. Later that fall, he was released from his mission “because of circumstances in the family and at home” (King, “History of Grandparents of Hazel Olsen King: A Biographical Sketch of Elder James Olsen,” 13). He departed from Copenhagen on 15 October 1885 aboard the steamer Bravo (see Jenson,History of the Scandinavian Mission, 292).
After this mission, James served as second counselor in a local bishopric and in the YMMIA and Sunday School. He also performed public service as a school trustee for two terms and as the first road supervisor for his district. He was ordained a stake patriarch in 1915. He died in 1924 at Brigham City, at age eighty-five (see King, “History of Grandparents of Hazel Olsen King: A Biographical Sketch of Elder James Olsen,” 14).
Brief description and memory of James Olsen by his grandson Ernest Olsen
Contributed By ericolsen3 • 2013-10-14 03:20:01 GMT+0000 (UTC) • 0 Comments
My cousin Cliff was my closest neighbor and best friend when I was a kid. Somewhere along in our teens, we each owned a horse. We used to drive them together on a sleigh. Boy, I'll tell you, they could travel. One day we got word Grandpa Olsen [James Olsen] was coming from Brigham City for a visit. Someone was to meet him at the railroad station in Logan. Cliff and I volunteered. I can remember this as plain as if it were yesterday. We were at the station on time. Grandfather was always prompt and expected the same from others. He was a tall handsome figure of a man, at least 6 feet tall, straight as an arrow at 80, a white beard neatly trimmed, a-black overcoat with a velvet collar, and a black derby hat. He was a particular, grand old man. After a formal greeting, grandfather climbed in the sleigh, sat down on a box with his back to the team and said, "Now boys, make them horses go." I doubt Grandpa ever had a faster sleigh ride for that distance—the five miles just under 30 minutes. Pretty fast trotting, I say. All you had to do with that team was turn them loose, and they would go. CONTRIBUTOR'S NOTE: From Personal History of Ernest Olsen.
HISTORY OF BOX ELDER COUNTY
As the crops were gathered they were brought into the fort and stacked either on the east or west, a little distance from the enclosure and surrounded by pole corrals. While the men were busy gathering in food, the women were just as busy laying up such supplies as they could gather. Some of the girls and women* went up where the cemetery is now located and burned large piles of sagebrush, then heaped the ashes in a pile. Some piled up maple limbs in the creek bed and made ashes. When these ashes were cool, they were hauled to the fort and placed in ash leeches. Water was poured over them, and it trickled through, the water drew out the lye from the ashes. The lye was used to make soap which was made in large iron kettles hung on cranes over bonfires built in front of the cabins.
Cooking was clone in bake kettles over wood fires built in the rude fire places in the cabins, or over camp fires built in the yard.
Hardships, yes, but in the midst of all, they danced in Mr. Hutchson's house to violin music played by George F. Hamson, Sr., and Owen Jones (Blind Jones).
On the Sabbath Day they met in the home of Bishop William Davis to praise their Maker and rejoice over their future prospects. Even scholastic training was not overlooked, for during that winter, Henry Evans, one of Box Elder County's first teachers, taught school in different homes.
The residents of the Fort, as given by Sarah P. Squires, were William Davis, George F Hamson, Sr., William Williams, Daniel Thomas, Simeon Carter, M. L. Ensign, Benjamin Jones, Thomas Mathias, D. R, Evans, Thomas Pierce; Harvey Pierce, Thomas Williams, David Williams, Simeon Dunn, John Morgan, Samuel Hochkins, William Dees, John Clifford, Leander Cliford, and the Boothe families.
Late in the fall of 1853, John E. Forsgren arrived here with part of the first organized company of Latter Day Saints to emigrate from Scandinavia. William Knudson, August Valentine, Peter A. Forsgren, Erekia Forsgren, James Olsen, and
*Some of those girls, in their teens then, are now (l921) aged ladies in our midst: Sarah P. Squires, Zillah M. Reese, Mary D. Ensign, and Susan D. Hunsaker. The boys who hauled ashes are now aged men: Jonah Mathias, David Reese, Lewis Boothe, and James Olsen