History of Jens Jorgensen
(also known as James Johnson)
and Marie Larsdatter
(also known as Marie (Mary) Larsen or Maren Nielsen)
On the Northern end of Germany, there is a finger of land jutting out, dividing the North Sea and the Baltic Sea. Norway is on the West and Sweden is on the East. It looks as though if it would have continued to grow out of the sea, it would have divided the continent into two pieces. This small country known as Denmark today was once a powerful and large nation which included those countries surrounding it. But after bitter wars and power struggles, it was reduced to these few islands. Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, is on the largest of these islands known as Sjelland. Little towns such as Torup, Kikhavn, Hundested, Torplille, Tollerup, and Uglerup are found on the northern shores of this island.
It was in Uglerup, a small hamlet village, only about two or three miles from the sea that Jens Jorgensen was born on the 14 March 1820 to Jorgan Jorgensen and Ellen (Jensdatter) Jensen.(1) He was christened only five days later on the 19th in Uglerup. (1. Date and place of birth was found in a Patriarchal Blessing given 5 Feb 1858 Brigham City, Utah; in a personal record of daughter, Jane Elizabeth Johnson; in “Pioneer Immigrants To Utah Territory”; and in “Stalwart Mormon Pioneers”.)
Jens had an older brother, Lars born 31 Dec 1815 in Uglerup; and an older sister, Maren christened 19 Oct 1817 in Torup. He also had a younger brother, Jorgen born 14 November 1824 in Kikhavn.
Jens’ people had lived in the same part of Denmark for generations. All his family were living there, his parents, his grandparents, etc.
Not much is known about his early life except that when he was a small boy he was playing on a rock wall and in his play his foot became fastened between two rocks. He fell and twisted his leg until the knee was dislocated. His leg was never taken care of by a doctor so it did not grow to its normal size. It was very difficult for people who were poor to pay a doctor for his services, so the family did what they could to help him recover. He suffered throughout his life because of this disability and limped when he walked. For the rest of his life he would be known as “the limped shoemaker”.
Jens’ father, Jorgen, died 4 Aug 1824 when Jens was only four years old leaving his mother to care for her little family as best as she could. This usually meant hiring out the older children and leaving the younger ones while she worked. She was expecting her youngest baby, Jorgen, at the time so that made things even more difficult for the family. Records say that Ellen married several years later. One record says that she was married on the 26 October 1832 to Jens Klausen; another says that she was married to a Mads Larsen, but according to our records the 1st is correct. (Family Search and New Family Search.)
Nevertheless, life was hard in Denmark at this time.
In 1814 it became law that children ages seven to fourteen were required to go to school, but we haven’t found any school records yet for Jens. The classes were either academic or vocational, but most were forced to learn a vocation in order to earn a living. At the age of fourteen the boys finished school and began to learn a trade, usually hiring out as an apprentice. Girls would go into the homes of the well-to-do and work as maids or cow milkers.
Not far away in another village only a couple of miles away, Torplille (Tropmagle in some records), a little girl was born to Lars Nielsen and Maren (Hansdatter) Hansen on the 11 June 1830. She was christened a couple of days later on the 13 June at the Torup Kirk (church) and given the name of Marie. An older sister, Sidsel Kirstine born 21 November 1825 in Torplille, welcomed her home. A younger brother, Niels Hansen Larsen, was born a few years later on 22 March 1834 in Torplille.
Marie’s father, Lars, died when she was 16 years old. She probably had been working to help the family by this time, but with her father gone all of the children would have had to contribute.
The Danish diet consisted of rich milk, butter, cheese, meat, pastries, whipped cream, beer and coffee, pancakes, and rice. Sometimes each member of the family would have their own knife, fork, spoon and plate. Each person was responsible to clean their own dishes after each meal. This meant that after they were finished they would wash the dishes and wipe the utensils off in the crooks of their elbows, then turn the plate over until the next meal.
The celebrations during the Christmas holidays were elaborate and often expensive. Sometimes the families would over spend and would have to go without after the festivities. The families would sing Christmas carols at night and sometimes were asked in the homes to partake of cake and beer. They would only go to the homes where the traditional candle was seen burning in the window.
Confirmation into the State Church, which was the Lutheran Church, came when the children were between the ages of 14 to 17. Young people prepared to answer questions about whether or not they believed in the doctrines of the Lutheran Church. In final preparation, they would go to the minister once or twice a week during the winter. In a sense, their christening was confirmed when they were considered old enough to answer for themselves.
We don’t know anything about how Jens and Marie met or about their courtship. Perhaps they met through friends or relatives or perhaps they met through their work. We do know that they were married on the 29 November 1850 in the Torup Kirk (church), Fredricksborg, Denmark. Jens was 30 years old and Marie was 20.
A daughter had been born to them 27 September 1850 and given the name of Ellen Kirstina Jorgensen at her christening 3 October 1850 at Hundested, near Torup. She didn’t live long, for the next day, the 4 October 1850, she passed away and was buried at Torup in the church cemetery on the 11th.
A son, Lars Niels Jorgensen was born 20 February 1852 at Torplille and was christened 29 February 1852 at the Torup Kirk.
In October 1849, Erastus Snow and Peter O. Hansen were called to go on a mission to Denmark.. Brother Hansen arrived first on the 12 May 1850 and immediately visited a Baptist congregation. The first Danish Mormon converts later came from that group. Elder Snow and two other elders, John Forsgren and George Dykes arrived on 14 June 1850. The first branch of the church was organized in Copenhagen the 15 September 1850. Three Conferences were established; the Copenhagen Conference, the Fredricksborg Conference, and the Aalborg Conference. (Church History Archives).
On June 5, 1849, only months before the first LDS missionaries came to Denmark, King Frederik VII signed the new Danish Constitution, which guaranteed the people freedom of speech, freedom of press, and freedom of religion. The State Religion had been Lutheran but now by law, people could join other religions; other religious philosophies could be taught now under the protection of the law. Then in May of 1851 the Book of Mormon was translated into the Danish language, which was a great blessing to the members of the Church and an important tool for the conversion of the people of Denmark.
During this time the missionaries found Jens and Marie and they were converted. They were both baptized on the 7 September 1853 and were members of the Copenhagen Conference. (Copenhagen Conference records). From the time of their conversion and baptism they prepared to go to Zion in the Salt Lake Valley along with many of their fellow converts and friends. They would leave behind beloved family members with whom they would keep in contact but who they would never see again.
Jens continued working as a shoemaker, bootmaker and harness maker, providing for his family and putting away the money needed to make the journey to America. He made all the shoes for the family. They were all made pretty and trimmed neatly. He also made fancy boots for the men to wear to dances and also shoes and boots for the soldiers. At that time they could not buy tacks, so he made his own of wood and baked them. He also made harnesses and did the sewing by hand, using the bristles off the pigs’ necks for needles.
Marie was a weaver and also helped working for their expected journey. She spooled and dyed the yarn to make dresses, undershirts, and blankets.
Plans were made by the members of the Conference to leave in December of 1855.
Meanwhile, Marie was expecting another child and would give birth 23 November 1854 in Torplille to a baby girl, Elna Kirstina Jorgensen. She would take the place of the little girl they had lost.
The Emigrating Records for the Copenhagen Conference FHL # 025696 from the Scandinavian Mission show that Jens Jorgensen age 35, Marie Jorgensen age 25, Lars Jorgensen age 4, and Elna Kirstine Jorgensen age 1, would leave the Conference in October of 1855 and travel to Liverpool, England where they would sail on the ship, the John J. Boyd, along with many of their friends and acquaintances in their branch.
They would be members of the “Ninety First Company” which we read about in the following:
“Ninety First Company – John J. Boyd, 512 souls. On the twenty-ninth of November, 1855, four hundred and thirty-seven Scandinavian Saints sailed from Copenhagen, Denmark, on board the steamship Loven, under the direction of Elder Knud Peterson, who returned from his mission to Norway. After a pleasant voyage Kiel (Germany) was reached, and the emigrants continued the journey by rail to Gluckstadt (Germany), thence by steamer to Grimsby, England, and thence by rail to Liverpool, where the Scandinavian emigrants were joined by forty-two British and thirty Italian Saints, and went on board the ship, John J. Boyd.” (Mormon Emigration Index)
Of this trip from Gluckstadt to Grimsby one traveller records:
“We had a terrible storm on the North Sea. It took us two days and one night to reach England where we arrived in the afternoon and got on the train for Liverpool and traveled all night. We were both tired and hungry when we got to Liverpool. There they had a dinner for the company. Some kind of soup, there were little bits of meat in it and lots of potatoes but it was so strong of pepper and ginger and salt I could not eat it. Here we were left in a large hall for one week and we were glad for that for we could go into town and buy all kinds of food ready to eat. We got good soup and meat and potatoes, and rice and milk and anything we liked until we had everything ready. The sail ship John J Boyd was loaded with water and provisions for the trip across the Atlantic Ocean. We were on the ship several days and the doctors came to look at everybody to see if there were sick folks among the emigrants and if so, they had to be taken away.”
They boarded the ship 5 December 1855 but would not leave port until the 12th. This would be the first voyage of the John J Boyd after its launching.
“The 12th of December we were hauled out of the harbor in Liverpool by a steamboat and it went all right as long as we were not out where the waves were rolling high, but after that our troubles began. Nearly all the people were sea sick and hollered for help and they were tossed so. All our boxes had to be tied to the posts with ropes and we had to hold on to what we could get hold of so we didn’t fall. We had heavy winds all the time until Christmas Eve. Then we had a tornado. Our boxes tore loose and slid from one side of the ship to the other and we had to climb up in the bunks so we wouldn’t get hurt, while the men got everything tied fast again.” (Mary Larsen Ahlstrom)
“It was very stormy weather most all of the voyage, the winds blowing so hard they could not control the ship, so the sails were lowered and the ship found its own way through the water. But the Saints fasted and prayed to the Lord for his protecting hand to be over us....and sang often and trusted in the Lord for safety. The captain of the ship became so angry that he forbade the Saints to sing.”(Fredrick Julius Christiansen)
The report made by Elder Peterson to Salt Lake stated, “It was a well-ordered company. Rules of cleanliness and conduct were established. A trumpet called the emigrants to prayer morning and evening, and religious services were held frequently in the English, Danish, and Italian languages.”
Patience Loader, a passenger from England wrote,
“We had a hard voyage crossing the sea but we had a very nice company of Saints. Good and kind was the Danish brothers and sisters and we enjoyed ourselves together although we could not talk their language, neither could they talk the English language, but we could make each other understand. They would make up a dance and as many of the Danish brethren had instruments with them and could play many good dance tunes and the young men would come and invite us English sisters to their dance and we would go and enjoy ourselves for hours together. Brother Peterson, our president, would always attend the dances. He was a very kind, fatherly man and very watchful over his flock and ever ready and willing to give kind and good advice to those under his care, but the journey was so long and tedious that we all began to get tired and worn out. It really seemed, sometimes, that we would never see land again.”
Around the 11 January, a terrible storm took place which actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise. The emigrants and the crew of the John J Boyd had become weakened by an outbreak of the measles, as well as being weakened by the terrible storms that had plagued them from the beginning of their trip. Over 60 children and older people had died during the voyage and the sailors had also had their share of deaths.
In the records of the voyage it states, “During the crossing the square-rigger (John J Boyd) encountered several gales and hurricanes and midway in the Atlantic came upon the clipper Louis Napoleon in a sinking condition. The stricken craft was from Baltimore and bound for Liverpool with a cargo of flour. Her mast and spars were blown away and her leeward bulwarks smashed. Realizing the hopeless situation, her master and crew asked to be taken off their ship.”
The captain of the John J Boyd was a cruel master who whipped his men terribly and was even witnessed to kill one of his crew during the voyage when the man didn’t do a job to his liking. When they came upon the sinking ship, he didn’t want to help them, but his crew overcame him and went after the survivors.
Patience Loader continues in her record,
“The mate fetched in his boat the first time four poor sick men. Poor things, they looked so poor and worn out. Two men had two ribs broken and could not do anything. They went into the hospital....the other two poor men (thanked the Captain for saving them).” Despite their injuries and weakness the Captain
responded by saying to them, “Get up that rigging. I don’t want to hear no more
of your talk.”
“The boat returned again with more men. They, too had to go to work. The third time the captain of the vessel came with the last of his men. He had his jaw broken and had lost his only son, sixteen years old, the first time he had ever been from home. He said his boy begged his mother to let him come and now this has happened. ‘I have lost my only boy, my only child. How can I go home to my wife without our poor boy.’ The poor man, he was much different than our captain, he was so kind to his men.”
“This was a very distressing scene. At the same time it was a blessing to us [because] the captain of our ship had not men enough to mark our vessel. He had often to call on some of the brethren for help and it was said that if these men had not come to our assistance that we would never have gotten to New York.”
She goes on, “through these men coming on the ship, we became short of fresh water and we was only allowed one pint of fresh water per day and that was for drinking. We had to wash in salt water and cook our potatoes in salt water.”
The main staple for the passengers was potatoes and hard sea biscuits, there was no fruit or other vegetables to be had and the flour was also running out.
One night the passengers were awakened by sparks from a fire filtering down through the upper deck to the berths below. It turned out that the captain had gotten drunk and kicked over the stove in his cabin which started a fire. The men, smelling the fire, went in and put it out but it had already burnt through the floor and had filled the cabins with smoke. Some of the trunks and belongings of the passengers started on fire and had to be thrown into the sea. If it had not been noticed, the ship and all of its passengers could have gone to the bottom of the ocean.
On the 16 February 1856, after 66 days, their journey on the John J Boyd was finally over, but their trials and heartaches on the rest of the journey was not. As the Mormon Immigration Index records, “On the sixteenth of February, 1856, the emigrants landed in New York, and after tarrying a few days at Castle Garden, the journey was continued on the twenty-first or twenty-second by rail via Dunkirk and Cleveland to Chicago, where the company, according to previous arrangements, was divided into three parts, of which one, consisting of about one hundred and fifty souls, went to Burlington, Iowa, another to Alton, Illinois, and a third to St. Louis, Missouri. Most of those who went to Burlington and Alton remained in these places or near them a year or more working to earn means wherewith to continue the journey.”
The New York Passenger Lists 1820-1957 records:
Jens Jorgensen 35 Male Shoemaker
From Norway (actually Denmark)
Marie Jorgensen 25 Female Wife
Lars Jorgensen 4 Male
Elna K Jorgensen Infant Female
Family headed to Utah Salt Lake and berthed “Upper between decks”
Elder Canute Petersen led a group of his Danish Saints west that same year in a wagon company. In that group was a man who would later become the husband of Jens’ and Marie’s next child. His name was Jorgen Pedersen Halling, later known as John Halling. He would settle in Brigham City, Utah where the Jorgensen’s would meet up with him.
Some other members of these groups continued on their journey that year and ended up going with the Willie and Martin Handcart companies and suffered even more with that group.
We can’t find a date or record of the two children, Lars and Elna Kirstine dying on their journey, we only have family tradition. It is thought by some that Lars died on the ship and was buried at sea. On FHL #178087 pp. 21-22 we find “Lars Niels Jorgensen born 22 Feb 1852 Sjelland, Denmark, died February 1855- Logan Temple Records, heir indexes”, but no death certificate is available. This cannot be correct as Lars was on the ship in December of that year.
There is a story carried on in the family that shortly before the ship arrived in America a terrible storm arose and during the storm a large man stepped on Elna Kirstine’s head causing severe injuries. The baby died from those injuries even after the loving care of her mother. The parents pleaded with the captain to let them keep the tiny body until they could bury her on land. He agreed and she was buried somewhere on the shore when they arrived.
Aunt Vera Jensen Hansen (Granddaughter of Jens and Marie) wrote a short history for her grandparents and she writes:
“Grandmother’s baby, the only child they had became ill. She continually lived in fear that her baby would die and have to be buried in the ocean. This grief was spared her however, but the baby died almost as soon as they landed and was buried in Keokuk.”
Keokuk, Iowa is just west and south of Nauvoo, Illinois on the Mississippi River, a long journey from the New York harbor. If the baby was buried at Keokuk, it was after a rail journey of a few days and maybe a steamer journey on the Mississippi while traveling south to Alton, Illinois and St. Louis, Missouri. Grandmother Spackman also said that the baby was “buried somewhere on the shore of the Missouri River.”
We cannot verify the dates as there are no written records. The form that the captain of the John J Boyd filled out recording his voyage lists the names of the passengers with a notation “died” to the side of those who were buried at sea. There is not that notation by any of the names of the Jorgensen family. No record has been found for date of death or place of burial. Nevertheless, sometime during their voyage or their stay in Illinois, these two children died and were left behind. No one could understand or conceive the grief that must have been felt by Jens and Marie as they tried to go forward with their plans. Surely they could not have expected such a tragedy to come to them and yet they chose to keep going. They had made this incredibly difficult journey for their family, their children’s bright future, and now they had buried all of their children in a very short time.
Aunt Vera continues:
“When they landed in the East they did not finish their journey west with the same group of people. Grandfather was a shoemaker so they remained in St. Louis and he worked in a large shoe shop in order to get means to bring them West. They wanted to earn money enough to buy a yoke of oxen and a wagon so they would not have to walk to Salt Lake because Grandfather was a cripple and Grandmother’s health was poor.”
Because of their vocations, it was not hard for them to find employment.
“They remained in St. Louis and accomplished their plans, but through misfortune they lost all their money and so when it came time for them to go West, they were forced to walk.”
Another member, John Powell, writes in his journal during the time that Jens and Marie could have arrived in St. Louis,
“March 1st, Saturday, 1856, the weather very cold. A company of Danish Saints arrived on the 1st from New York. They went to the meetinghouse. I took nine of the Danish Saints to my house and fed them. My wife made a large rabbit pie. After eating the Danish sisters kissed my wife.” (Daughters of the Utah Pioneers manual, May 1962, by Kate Carter, p. 485.)
He also notes that he and another member located a house for them to rent, and tried to find work for them while they were there. He was only able to find one house and a couple of jobs but he doesn’t say any more about the other members of the Danish group.
Erastus Snow, who had been sent to open the Scandinavian Mission in Denmark, was called by President Brigham Young to lead the Saints in the St. Louis area. In February of 1857 he received a letter from President Young and was instructed not to allow any more emigrants to leave late again in the season because of the suffering of the handcart companies of 1856. He was also counseled to “lead the way in arousing the Elders and Saints in and around St. Louis to repentance and Reformation”, which he undertook seriously. As the Saints in the Salt Lake Valley were going through this reformation and re-baptism, so were the Saints in St. Louis renewing their covenants of baptism and renewing their committment to the Church. Elder Snow spent his time traveling to the different groups of saints and spreading the instructions from President Young.
On Saturday the 21st of February 1857, Elder Snow was in Alton, Illinois visiting the members there for their Sabbath meetings. He writes, “We held three full meetings with the English Saints, and one with the Danes in their own tongue. All hearts were greatly rejoiced and the day will be long remembered by the Saints in Alton.” (Ibid., p. 448).
Elder Parley P. Pratt was also there in the St. Louis area during the time that Jens and Marie were there, spending a lot of his time traveling around to the wards and branches and speaking to them. It wasn’t long after his time there that he traveled to Arkansas where he was murdered.
Also in this DUP lesson book we read about the decline of the St. Louis stake,
“In 1857, as a result of the trouble between the Utah Saints and the United States government, Saints scattered over the nation were called to Utah, so that in the event of a crisis they might act as an united group; and all devout St. Louis Saints who were able moved west in answer to the call. Moreover, about this time the press of the country was launching an anti-Mormon crusade that lasted through the rest of the century. Pressures were usually more psychological than physical, but most Latter-day Saints preferred the hard work and privations of pioneer life in Utah to the taunts and social and economic ostracism that faced them even in large cities like St. Louis.”
Tensions were running high during this time prior to the Civil War between the states who upheld slavery and those who did not. Pressures were great in the slave state of Missouri and contributed to the ostracism of the Latter Day Saint Church in that area.
Sometime during 1857 when the call came from Salt Lake to gather, Jens and Marie made plans to complete their journey to the valley. Family tradition states that they came with “the Nezbet Company”. There are various spellings of this name, Nesbitt, Nezbert, Nesbert, but so far there is no record found for this company of travelers. The Mormon Emigration Index nor the Crossing the Plains Index has any information on this company and Jens and Marie do not show up on these church web sites.
Aunt Vera continues in her record,
“Grandmother could keep up with the rest of the company, but because of his leg grandfather was left to walk alone. He was so much slower that it would often be twelve or one o’clock in the morning before he would reach the place where the company had camped for the night. Grandmother was always in dread lest Indians or wild beasts would attack him, but she was never allowed to remain behind and walk with him.”
“One night she became so worried that when the company retired, she stole away and went back to meet him. Her fears for him that night were quieted, for she found him safe, but the captain of the company discovered what she had done. She received a severe talking to and was so closely watched that she was never able to go back and meet him again.”
“One usual, quiet night as grandfather was walking along he heard a thundering roaring noise in the distance. He couldn’t imagine what it was because he could see no lightning and he therefore knew it wasn’t thunder. While he was looking, he caught sight of thousands of tiny yellowish red lights bobbing up and down. He knew then that it was a herd of buffalo on stampede. He was standing about in the middle of the line and they were approaching so swiftly that he knew it was useless for him to try and get to either end.”
“It appeared as though death could be the only thing that would happen,
but like all of us the instinct to preserve his life was strong within him. As he stood there watching his oncoming fate he decided to ask the Lord for help. He knelt down there and prayed that in some way the Lord would preserve him.”
“As he arose he looked to one side and there was a large rock. Before his prayer he had not seen it there. Of course, he immediately ran and hid behind it. When the buffalo reached him the line separated and they passed without harming him. He always bore testimony that it was the work of God that had saved him.”
“They reached Brigham City in the fall of 1857. Six weeks after they arrived a baby girl, Mary Georgina, was born. While living here they endured the hardships of pioneer life, but since grandfather was a shoemaker and grandmother a weaver, they soon found employment and by hard work, got the necessary comforts of life.”
On the membership records of the church, the birth of Mary is shown as “20 Oct 1857 on the plains”. But cemetery headstone and other records show her birth taking place at Brigham City on that date.
Just a few months before, on July 24, 1857, the pioneers were in Echo Canyon celebrating the 10th anniversary of their reaching the Valley of the Great Salt Lake. Word was received that General Johnston’s army was marching on Utah to quiet a “rebellion of the Saints”. So Jens and Marie arrived at a very exciting time.
There are no land records at this time recording the purchase of property in Brigham City by the Jorgensen family. There has not been found any church or ward information either, although we are still looking.
Sometime during the period between 1856 and 1857, Jens and Marie decided to change their name from the Danish, Jorgensen, to the American, Johnson. Mary and the rest of the children are listed on the records of the Church as having the last name of Johnson.
Elder Charles W. Hyde was a Patriarch who was called to travel around the territory during this time. Elder Hyde was born in New York state and was baptized there, moving with the saints to Kirtland and then on to Far West when they were diverted to Nauvoo by mob violence. He came to the valley with the Saints and settled in Salt Lake City where he was ordained a patriarch by President Brigham Young. For over 30 years he traveled throughout the valley “endeavoring to magnify his calling” and “has been the means in the hands of God of comforting the hearts of hundreds of Saints” by pronouncing blessings on their heads. (Quoted from the Deseret News obituary for Elder Hyde in 1892).
In February of 1858, Elder Hyde was in Brigham City where he gave Jens a Patriarchal Blessing. It was translated from the English to the Danish language by a Mr. Christensen. It reads:
“A Patriarchal Blessing given Brigham City February 5th 1858 by Charles W. Hyde upon the head of Jens Yergansen, son of John Johnson & Ellen Jensen born FredericksBurg Denmark March 14th 1820.”
“Jens, In the name of Jesus Christ I lay my hands upon your head & confirm
upon you a Patriarchal Blessing – Thou hast a right to a Blessing under my hands– because thou hast obeyed the Gospel– thou art a descendant of Joseph who was sold into Egypt & you & your companions & your posterity have a right to a fulness of the Holy Priesthood; & the Father has given his angels charge over you– Thou shalt have wisdom to govern your household in peace & Righteousness, & the day Shall come when you shall leap & rejoice exceedingly– by the command of your Redeemer; & thou shall behold many mighty miracles done in the name of Jesus Christ– & thou shall converse with many Prophets that shall come upon the Earth & they shall reveal unto you many things that will comfort your heart– & Thou shalt live as long as you desire life; & shall partake of all the glories of Zion & the riches thereof & converse with Joseph & Hyrum; & thou shall have the desires of your heart for thou hast desired many things of the Father– now dear Brother go on thy way rejoicing for you shall be crowned an heir of the Celestial Kingdom in the name of Jesus Amen.”
The Indians were so bad and hostile at that time that the men were forced to divide themselves into three groups. One group would watch for Indians, while the second group would work on the farms, and the third group would rest. Then they would change shifts. After the Battle of Bear River in the winter of 1862-63, the Indians settled down and became more friendly towards the settlers. An interesting note is made about that battle. Sagwitch, one of the chiefs, was wounded and fell into the river to escape the massacre. He floated down the river as far as he could getting out near Corinne and then made his way to the Packer home in Brigham City. He knew the Packers and knew that they would take care of him until he could go on his way. There he stayed for several months when he met other members of his tribe and left with them.
During this time the BCMMA or Brigham City Manufacturing and Mercantile Association was formed. It was a “centralized means of producing for their livelihood...its goal in Brigham City was to provide for the entire community both employment and sustenance.”
By 1870/71 the population of Brigham City had grown to about 1315, and by 1874 most businesses were incorporated into the Order. When the depression of 1873 hit Utah, many communities experienced unemployment, low prices and poverty, but not Brigham City, because this program was working so well for the inhabitants of the community.
As the railroad expanded and the goods and services competition with other communities grew, the Co-op or Order weakened and eventually died.
Other children were born to Jens and Marie during their years here in Brigham City; James 20 November 1859; Laura Georgina 17 July 1862; Joseph 19 July 1865; Sarah Katrine 11 Jun 1867; and Lorenzo 18 Sep 1871.
The family is not found on any censuses during this time so we have no information that is found on a census such as occupation, address, members of household, ages, etc.
We do know that Jens applied for United States Citizenship in Brigham City the 1 of June 1868 and then again 1 January 1869. On 12 July 1871 he received his Certificate of Citizenship and was then a “Citizen of the United States of America”.
On the 18 May 1870 James Johnson bought from the Mayor of Brigham City two pieces of property. One was a city lot located east and north of the present City Building, and the other was a lot west and north of the city, together equaling 2 3/4 acres.
During this time there began to be a movement of settlers pushing farther East and North. New settlements were starting. Smithfield or Summit Creek had been first settled in 1859; Franklin, Idaho had been settled in 1860; Banida and Treasureton between the years of 1871-1873. The urge to resettle themselves must have come to Jens and Marie (or it was a request or call from the Church leaders), for on the first of April 1872 Jens moved his family to Hyde Park five miles north of Logan.
The settlement was located near a spring that was a common stopping place for travelers going North. It had been first settled in 1860 and by 1872 frame houses were replacing the dugouts and log homes that had first been built.
There is no record of Jens buying land at that time but listed in the ward records and other land records we find that friends and relatives also moved to this area at about the same time. Their daughter, Laura Georgina, who had married Hans Peter Hansen as a plural wife, lived here also, until they moved to Preston.
According to the Hyde Park Ward records, Jens was baptized again 10 September 1857 after arriving in Brigham City, by Hans Peter Hansen his son-in-law. He was baptized a third time 4 July 1875 and ordained a High Priest in Hyde Park.
Laura Georgina was a close friend to Hans Peter Hansen’s first wife, Cecelia Marie. When Hans was approached by the bishopric and urged to take another wife, they both thought of Laura. They became close companions and shared in all of the household responsibilities. They would spend their evenings singing from the hymn book or weaving beautiful carpets, some of which were used in the Logan Temple.
In 1882, Cecelia passed away after giving birth to a baby girl. Laura weaned her own daughter and nursed the newborn as her own.
Sarah Katrine died in the year 1875, at the age of five and is buried in the Hyde Park cemetery.
The youngest child, Jane Elizabeth was born that same year, the 18 September 1875.
Another daughter, Mary Georgina, who had married so young to John Halling as a plural wife and had two children by him, also lived near them. She passed away that same year 1875 on the 22 of April. Both of her children died also. (Records of the church only list one child, a son James, who died as an infant, but Aunt Vera in her history says that she had two children.) She is buried in the Hyde Park cemetery with her son.
In the book “History of Hyde Park” by Dale Z. Kirby the following information was taken:
“The log houses were built of smooth, straight poles, arranged as
close as possible to uniform size and diameter at both ends. The roof was made by a framework of poles covered with cattails from the swamps or straw from the grain crops and covered with dirt. The earth served as a floor for these homes. It was not long, however, before this type of log house was improved by a lumber floor and roof. The cracks in the walls were filled with mud mixed with straw to hold them together....After one room was built, it was easy to add three walls and create another room. At times, an additional cabin was built some distance from the first. By adding two walls connecting the two cabins, a three-room cabin could be constructed. Sometimes ‘lean-to’s’ were added. These were bult by adding three walls to a side of the first cabin which then functioned as the fourth wall. Rafters for the roof rested on the original building. Through journals it is clear that cabins were usually built through a cooperative effort.”
“The cabins are described to usually have had a bed, corded with rope upon which was placed a straw mattress made of heavy fabric. Then ‘ticks’ were washed and refilled with new straw every fill after threshing time. Sometimes soft down from cattail heads were used. The families would go on outings to the swampy areas and gather the cattails.”
“A dressing table was made from a dry goods box and fixed with a white curtain. A cupboard was usually built in the corner. Most had a spinning wheel, a couple of chairs, and a homemade cradle. Rag carpets made on looms by the settlers were on the floors.”
There is a Jorgensen mentioned as owning a carpet loom, but I’m not sure if it was Jens and Marie or another family. The Johnson name is not mentioned at all in the book.
“Wall decorations consisted of motifs and a clock shelf with a vase or two which were filled with beautiful grasses or paper flowers. There was sometimes a book shelf with a few books including the family Bible.”
“In 1876 there was a diptheria epidemic where 30-40 children died in Hyde Park alone. The Kirby family buried 4 children in 8 weeks. All of the children of Mr. Kirby’s third wife died and were buried on her birthday quickly in one grave.”
“In 1879 the Relief Society tried to raise silkworms but the venture wasn’t a very successful one.”
In fact, it failed entirely. Also in 1879 Eliza R. Snow went to Hyde Park to form the Primary organization. She spoke in Sacrament meeting and during her sermon she spoke in tongues to James Hancey and these are the words that are recorded:
Peace Troubled Soul
Peace, troubled soul! Thou need’st not fear;
Thy great Provider still is near;
Who fed thee last will feed thee still;
Be calm, and seek to do His will.
The Lord, who built the earth and sky
In mercy stops to hear thy cry;
His promise all may freely claim
“Ask and Receive, in Jesus’ name.”
His stores are open all, and free,
To such as truly upright be;
Water and bread He’ll give for food,
With all things else when He sees good.
The ravens daily doth He feed,
And sends them food as they have need;
Although they nothing have in store,
Yet as they lack He gives them more.
Then do not seek with anxious care
What ye shall eat or drink or wear;
Your Heavenly Father will you feed;
He knows that all these things you need.
Without reserve give Christ your heart;
Let Him His righteousness impart;
Then all things else He’ll freely give
With Him you all things shall receive.
Thus shall thy soul be truly blest;
That seeks in God his only rest;
May I that happy person be
In time and in eternity.
In the 1880 census the James Johnson family is found living in Hyde Park. James is 60, Mary (his wife) is 50, Joseph is 14, Lorenzo is 8, and Jane E. is 4. James’ occupation is listed as ‘farmer’. Some of their neighbors are Francis and Ann Purser, farmer; Niels and Anne Christensen, farmer; and the Thurston family, farmer.
Jens didn’t sell his property in Brigham City until the 8 of October 1888. Until that time he would load up his wagon and make the trip back and forth to tend to his farm where he owned a peach orchard. Jane would go with him and help to pick the peaches, help dry them, and then they would use the pits to burn as fuel. He sold all of his property to a Johanne Marie Jensen of Mantua for $200.
Grandmother Iris Spackman said that their home was a block from town on the south-west side and ‘the last house that way’. In the land records for Cache County, the only record of ownership that is listed is on the 24 May 1890 when Jens Jorgensen bought from Christen Christensen all of Lot 1 on Block 4 Section 10 Township 12 Range 1E a city lot for the value of $200.
This same property is again listed on May 15, 1891 when Jens Jorgensen sold to James Thurston all of Lot 1 Block 4 Section 10 Township 12 Range 1E in Hyde Park by warranty deed.
This property is located on Center street and 2nd East, a corner lot on the south side of Center street with the house facing East. The house that is there now (2010) was built by James Thurston in 1890. In 1890 the home was the last home that way and faced the canyon. The road gently rises east from Highway 91 to that point and then rises quite rapidly continuing east towards the canyon. However, the property is East and not West from city center.
The Indians always camped right by the Jorgensen homestead at the mouth of the canyon. Sometimes there would be four or five camps at once. They were not dangerous but they were always begging. They dressed in feathers, beads, and war paint.
One day five big bucks came to the house all dressed up. When the people saw them coming they hurried and gathered food to hand to them, but they pushed past. The five Indians went to Marie’s cabin, went in and threw open the cupboard doors. They put all they could on the table and made Grandmother wait on them. When they were full they left.
There was one Indian they called Crazy John who would peek in the windows and chase the children. They were all afraid of him. The Jorgensen family must have been friendly towards them for in a picture of young Jane, she is wearing an Indian bead necklace.
Here Marie or Mary lived out the rest of her life as wife, mother, and grandmother, good neighbor and friend. She passed away the 18 March 1886 at the age of 56 after a hard life filled with trials and sorrow, leaving a young son and daughter still at home.
Jens lived the remainder of his life in his home at Hyde Park. Jane was only 10 years old when her mother died and she stayed with Jens until his death the 16 May 1891 at the age of 71 years. She then went to live with her brother in Preston.
Jens and Marie were laid to rest in the Hyde Park cemetery.
As a postcript, Aunt Vera wrote this in her history of Jens and Marie:
“We as a family thought that none of grandfather’s or grandmother’s people had joined the Church and come to this country. We were interested in them so in 1927 we wrote to Denmark to get genealogy. We were unable to get anything until in 1928, [when] we received 1000 names of grandfather’s and grandmother’s lines. It was through this work that we found a cousin of grandmother’s, Patriarch A. J. Hansen, and his wife of Rexburg.”
This man had an amazingly hard young life and when grown joined the Church, emigrated to Utah and then moved to Rexburg, Idaho. Vera through her visits with him wrote a biography about his life. As far as I can tell, he was related through Marie’s mother’s family.
Vera’s daughter, Kathy Griffin, found some letters written by relatives in Denmark in 1870 and 1878. They are included here.
Hundested 16th of December 1870
Dear Brother-in-law with Wife and Children
It is my pleasure at this time to write to you and to let you know that I have received your letter together with your family portrait - together with the knowledge that you are all in good health - praise God. This is the best that you can wish for in this life. I can tell you the same, we are in good health at the present time with the exception of my mother who is getting weaker - but that is not surprising as she is getting old. Mother is not yet confined to bed - she can still work on her spinning wheel and maintain the house as I am not as yet married.
My mother and I and your family are very pleased with the portrait you mailed us. It is a beautiful family. I have purchased a frame for it and will have it hung by Christmas. Many of your relatives have come to me for lodging and they all think that I have a beautiful home.
I would like to know if you have received my portrait and how you like it. You have not written whether or not you have received it. If not I will mail another one. Regarding the family names you asked me to get, I am unable to help you as I can not get the names of the dead. Furthermore I can inform you that there are no changes in your family either dead or married.
Love and greetings from Jens Jorgensen and Peter Nielsen. I can not send greetings from Lars Knap - only from his wife. Lars Knap drowned the 10th of August 1870. He was going to Hornsved for peat moss together with his stepson, each in his own boat. Lars with his own (word unreadable) which you knew home in Denmark. I helped to return him (Lars) and the boat the same day. Also Niels Olsen has written a letter as I have and my sister Ellen Katrine writes a letter which is enclosed with this.
I will now close my poor letter writing for this time with love to all of you from your family and my sister’s family. Greetings to all good friends and acquaintances. Live well is the wish of your brother-in-law and brother,
Niels Hans Larsen
Write as soon as possible. I will write to you again as soon as I have more to relate.
Frederiksvaerk 20th of December 1870
Dear Brother-in-law with Wife and Children
I want to write to you myself to let you know of my situation. I am at the present time full of sorrow and this I have been ever since my husband died. That is why my brother wrote these few words for you. However, as soon as I feel better I will write you a letter again.; Believe me my sister that it is a pitiful situation that I am in. I still have two un-confirmed children to care for. The youngest is only nine years old and I can not earn much for me and my children. It is a pleasure to hear from you that all of you are in good health and doing well and it also pleased me to receive your portrait. I will now close this writing for this time with love from me your sister to all of you and also I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, but unfortunately I do not feel that for myself.
Live well - I wish for you Ellen Chatrine Larsdatter
Store Carlsminde (town)
February 5, 1878
Sweet friend and nephew Jens Jorgensen and wife,
Because I haven’t talked with you for many years I have decided to talk with you today about what’s happening here in our neighborhood of Fredreksvark, Copenhagen, Hundested, Lynes and Big Carlsminde.
You Jens Jorgensen get hereby informed that 1857 I got married with Niels Marten’s daughter in Big Carlsminde, February 13, the same day as Chresten Jensens, Taylor house burned in Little Carlsminde. After
that time I have had a small shop for 15 years and after that I stopped because a harbor was built by Lynes. And the school teacher, Brammer, had in Big Carlsminde a son who built a house at the corner of Soren
Rasmus Brond and right now he is a grocer. Since this October 6, 1869, I have sailed the Post (mail) to Fyrskibet Schultz Ground, this is located 5/4 miles north at the end of Sjellands Rev. and May 26, 1871 I took over the Mail Route (passage) to Hessel Island and after that I have from the Navy Ministry who pays every 1/4 year then 128 Kroner (Danish money) or 64 Rexdaler (old Danish money, not used any more)
and I get that every month and then I do the Post like this, first I send the post to the sea in Frederiksvark to go to Hessel Island (Baron) sent the Mail to Fyrskibet Schultz Grund the 15th sent the Post again
to Hessel Island and 23rd to Fyrskibet — and so on the whole year around as long as the ice doesn’t forbid it. I have a big decked boat on 3 ½ weight or 6.06 ton. The harbor we were at was getting bad but for our own money in Fredricksvark there is also a good harbor for bigger craftes at Hundested, they work on
the harbor too. But it’s gotten a little backwards at home at Lynes, Lynes, Niels Steffens wife Johanne is dead and he has remarried with Soren Rasmus daughter from Lynes, and he has built on to his house a travel stall for travelers, and in one end of the house he has his grocery and in the north end of the house has got a ballroom (Dance) and this ballroom is on six measurements x 14 (how big). Jens Jorgensen has built himself a house in Yglerup (Uglerup) where Jorgensen Sandro lived and now have Jens Jorgensen son Peter Jensen
bought Gahan Faarebakkes house and suite now they have and lot of land.
Peter Nielsen and Magrethe are healthy. My mother broke her leg a year ago, now she walks with a stick (cane). My brother Ole Sorens has his own home and he is married with Peter Chrestens daughter
at Kikhaven. My brother Lars Sorens is married with wheelwrights daughter at Kikhavn and lives there. The wheelwrights man is very weak. Jens Ellisinssen is buyer (occupation) and now he has built himself a house in Eldesins Havehjorene up to Peter Larsen’s (musician), he plays every 2nd Sunday at Nils Steffen til 2 o’clock at night. Peter A. Asing is dead a short time ago. Melkios Hansen Lynes hung (themselves)in his bed.
Lars Hansen Jyde, pilot, have hung himself in the barn in the night. Lars Hans Ole shot himself by accident. Hans Johansen, from little Carlesminde, broke his back when the boat turned around sharply so he died a while after being in the hospital. Jorgen Jeppesen has bought the Hessel Island from the ministry for
7 thousand Rexdaler or 14 hundred Kroner a year ago he bought a Brandy distillery at Frederiksvaerk for 23 thousand Rexdaler or 46 thousand Kroner. He has bought a part of Torvemosen (Peatmoss)
Saekken. Me and my wife are both healthy and fine. I have only one daughter who is 20, named Karen Marie Sorensen. She is engaged with ships mate E. Jesppersen from Leso Island at this time. He is with a brig ship in the West Indian Ocean which is called ‘Guadalupe’. I use my Violin the last four times I was playing and I earned 42 rexdolar but I don’t do it very often because there isn’t very many Balls or Weddings.
Tell the musician Jens Nielsen that the blind Peter August, still plays but he is very decayed because of drinking, he played for the carrier Ole Larsen in Frederiksvaerk for the fair days at the Harbor. Will you do me the kindness to say hello to all those I know from this home, Hans Nielsen, Jens Nielsen, Jens Nielsen, Jens Petersen, Hans Jensen plus their wives and children.
The best regards to you and your wife from the kindest and lovest me,
The best regards from all of your friends. Everything is like it was 20 years ago with the human work conditions here in the world. Right now the profits are very good especially in autumn at the fishing time. It should be a symbol profit on about Hundred Rexdolar or 150-200 or over. The fishing was in some years very simple, I earned in the years of 1865 45 rexdolar – 1866 32 rd – 1867 23 rd for 3 years I only earned 100 rd in 1868 I bought herring and sailed to Herlsingborg in Sweden and soldthem and that year I earned 50 rd. this was better and this way I saved my herring net. Chrestian Henrik Nielsen is married with a Swedish lady from Arlsleree. They rent a house by Peter Vaever. Christian is on the sea this winter
and now he is well again. I was 47 years old March 14, 1878.
These letters were all translated into the English language a few years ago by an exchange student from Denmark.