Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Hans Peter Jensen (1844-1931) and Karen Marie Nielsen (1845-1926) histories, Part 7: Return to Mapleton and Family Experiences with Hans Peter

Part 5
Part 6

Return to Mapleton

After the death of Karen Marie, Hans bought the little Relief Society Hall in Mapleton, just west of the home belonging to his son Joseph and Harriet, and lived there for possibly 4 or 5 years. This building was formerly the meeting place for the Relief Society. As was common in that day, Relief Society was held in a separate building rather than the chapel; many of these were built and paid for from the “dues” paid by members of the Relief Society; this one was about a block east of the main Chapel and on the other side of the street and was probably built about 1890.

When the Relief Society no longer needed it, Hans Peter made his home there. The deed to
the property shows that he paid $500 for it in April 1926.

Caption: The Old Relief Society Building still stands behind the home at 195 East Maple in Mapleton, Utah, although its appearance is considerably different than the building in the photo.

Following the death of Hans Peter, the home became the property of Joseph Jensen and was used for a residence for a few years and later for storage. This building is located today behind a newer home at 195 East Maple, in Mapleton. There have been attempts to preserve the building. The bricks have been cleaned and efforts have been made to stabilize the walls. The doorway and access have also been altered.

The pathway through the grass to the front door of the Relief Society building was lined with purple flags (Iris). The outside measurements are 15 x 20 ft. There was no running water inside so water had to he carried from a hydrant at the back of Hattie and Joe’s house. On the inside, a huge wardrobe stood against one wall at the back of the room. On the opposite side was his bed. The stove was a cook stove that was also used to heat the house. A cupboard, with glass in the doors on the top half to show off the nice dishes, stood in the corner. A table and a "Bishop's couch“ completed the furnishing. The couch had a wooden back and arms and a slat seat with a mattress on top to make it comfortable to sit on.

A short distance behind the house was a granary, also made of brick, but a lighter color; it had been used to store the grain kept by the Relief Society for an emergency. Until this building was built, the wheat was stored in the back of the Relief Society Room. Outside and a little north was the outhouse or "shanty," with three holes for seats, each one sized appropriately for the different sizes of occupants.

Family Experiences with Hans Peter

As a little girl, Marie remembers the “Leafy Society" (Relief Society) ladies meeting in this room or building. The Jensen girls, who lived just few steps east, were assigned to help clean. She remembers them singing the hymns with gusto even if some of their voices were a little “screechy.” Marie also remembers playing the pump organ there, powered by pumping the foot petals [sic].

Fern recalls, “After Grandpa moved into the Relief Society house there by us, we really got to know him. He was always an pleasant and “chuckled” over the things we did. He always sat with his back to the door, facing the warm stove, so we'd sneak in the door and go over and grab him and scare him. We loved it as he'd always act as if he were scared and grab us and give us a squeeze for being “naughty.” He loved smoked herring and other kinds of fish and the smell was always in the house. Any time I smell that good smell I am reminded of Grandpa and how he enjoyed the fish.

"I remember him always being so neat and clean. He wore a full heard and kept it so clean and white. I remember how soft it always felt and his hands were soft too. As he got older, Mom would have one of us go get him or walk over to the house to stay for part of the day. We also took turns walking him to Church for each meeting, and were so proud to get to be the one to hold hands and walk with him. This is why his soft hands are so vivid in my memory. And he always thanked us for taking him as if we'd done him such a great favor.

"When he’d come over to our house in the daytime, he had a favorite place to sit by the end of the stove, and lots of times he‘d lean on his cane and just watch the activity going on. He seemed to know that where he sat he was out of Mom's way while she worked. And knowing our Mother, I'm sure she kept a conversation going with him--maybe encouraging him to tell about Denmark. Mother was so proud to tell us that Grandpa had said to her, “Your children honor me." How I wish all this had been recorded.

“He fixed his own breakfast, which was usually “fisk” (fish)--which he bought in a keg and kept in some kind of a brine—and barley coffee. He ate his noon meal with us and had his "supper" at his place, usually bread and milk and smoked fish and sometimes some homemade “beer.” He liked "tin" (thin), not "tick" (thick) soup and loved his homemade "beer" and "coffee"--neither of which were in violation of his strict Mormon ethics.

One of his favorite delicacies was fruit toast. During the summer, we gathered and dried berries. These were soaked and cooked with sweetening, then thickened and poured ever toast. (Some years age this recipe was included in the Relief Society Magazine.)

Fern remembers being a “flower girl" at his funeral. “Each of the smaller grandkids was given a bouquet of flowers and stood on either side of the sidewalk; the casket was brought along the path and the relatives walked alongside; it was probably quite touching and pretty to see and such an honer to get to stand there.”

Muriel also remembers living next door as a young girl, and gives us her perspective of Hans Peter Jensen. “I used to go over to Grandpa's house and build fires for him in the mornings so that he wouldn't have to get up in the cold. I would walk home with him at night when he left our house and I remember what soft hands he had as he held my hand. I would sleep on the couch and he must have waked me in the mornings, as I doubt I was an early riser. He always had the little kindling brought in. I would wad up some paper and put it in the stove and then add the kindling, followed by bigger pieces of wood, then lay the coal on top. He kept a gallon can of kerosene nearby and I would pour a liberal amount over the whole thing and then light a match to it. It would take right off and I would go back home as soon as I saw that the coal was burning.

“Every Saturday, there was always a quarter on the table for me. I have wondered many times since how he could afford to give it to me as money was a very scarce item in those days. One day on my birthday, instead of a quarter, he left me a pretty strand of heads. I can only guess how he ever got those. He was such a kindly quiet man and I know our family all loved him.

“Grandpa Jensen loved his Danish “beer.” This beer had no alcohol in it. He would have it for
supper like bread and milk. On one occasion, He ran out of the beer, so Mother decided to make a batch for him. We had a big screen porch at the back of the house whore she washed and she had two number 3 tubs to rinse the clothes in. We used them to have our weekly bath in also. Well, she scrubbed one of them real clean and made the beer in that. She covered it with a cloth and left it to ferment or whatever it did. Clara and Len had wanted to go on a trip to California, so they brought Alice down for us to take care of while they were gone. She was just a little tyke, about 2 years old. She caught the whooping cough after Clara left so we just tended her as best we could. One day I happened to go out on the porch and there was Alice having the time of her life bathing in the tub of beer. I gathered her out—shoes, socks, clothes and all and called Mother. I was sure that she would be really sick, but it didn't seem to make her any worse. Maybe she drank some and it pepped her up. I did tell Mather that she should measure the contents she bottled it.

"We had a player piano at our home and happened to have the roll of "Midnight Fire Alarm," which I used to love to hear, so I would play it often. Our, Beth, had the sheet music of the same song. I learned to play it fairly well, but one day decided to put the roll on and played it while was playing with my own hands. The switch where you turned the roll off when it was finished was at the top where I had to put the sheet music. Well, I started to play— better than Mozart himself—and Grandpa heard me and came in the parlor to watch. Of course the darn thing ended, and I had nothing to do but reach up under the music and turn the player off. Grandpa always carried a cane and he shook that cane at me and stalked out of the room.

“One day, three of the cousins, June Whiting Blanchard, her sister Beulah, and Fern Jensen, the youngest daughter of Joseph and Harriet, were playing together. As June remembers the experience, Harriet had just baked an apple pie and came out onto the porch where the girls were playing and handed it to Fern. Fern thought the pie was for three hungry girls, so she went to the kitchen and got three spoons and they enjoyed the pie. Harriet expected that Fern would understand that it was to be delivered to Grandpa in the little house next door."

Thelma Tweede Butler, daughter of Mary Eliza Jensen Tweede, one of Hans Peter's daughters, shares the following memories.

“My Father Herman and his brother went out to the West Mountain and homesteaded a big farm out there. The first recollection I have of Grandpa and Grandma was when I was about 5 years old. ‘There weren't any phones so I don't know how my brother and I knew that Grandma and Grandpa were coming, but we were waiting for them and finally saw the little black buggy coming a long way off and ran to meet them. Grandpa took me on his lap and let me drive the horse; of course, we knew they had a sack of old fashioned candy for us.

When they lived in Spanish Fork, we visited quite a lot. Grandmother always had a quilt on the frames to sew and us kids would have a playhouse under the quilt. When Grandma died, she had a quilt on that hadn't been finished so Mother and some of the Aunts finished it before the funeral. At rest time, they put a pan of sweet beer on to heat and toasted bread on the back burner of the shiny black coal stove. And I had a bowl of hot bread and beer.”

Veda Tweede Durfey, another of the grandchildren, adds, “We used to watch Grandpa drive up whether it was buggy or car. The day that I remember, particularly, they were in a buggy. I must have been about 9 or 10 and was attempting to do some ironing. Grandma asked me if I knew how to iron. I said nothing but went and asked mother what she meant. She always had a little bag of candy with her, so we were glad to have them visit us. One time they had purchased one of the first cars around and we went riding with them. Grandpa, never a good driver, did not see the train coming down the tracks and just about crossed in front of it. We were all pretty shaken up. Grandpa came to live with us for a time. We really enjoyed having him. I don't think he was a burden to us. We missed him when he died.

Hans Peter Jensen (1844-1931) and Karen Marie Nielsen (1845-1926) histories, Part 6: Back to Spanish Fork and A Second Wife

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

Back to Spanish Fork

The family was grown and all of the children but Peter were married when they built the brick home in Spanish Fork. The original property was about 1/4 of the block. Directly behind the home were a washroom and the sheds and outbuildings, all linked together according to the Danish custom. There were some animals, principally some sheep and a cow.

[Note from Marcelaine: The first picture is from the history. There is a pickup truck in front, so I am guessing this is a fairly recent picture. The second picture shows the image from Google Maps.]

They lived in this home until Karen's death on March 9, 1926. As of 2004, the home is still standing but has been remodeled; additions to the south and rooms upstairs have been added.

Upon moving back to Spanish Fork, Hans felt that this was a good time to retire. He carried a cane, which was supposed to be a more a symbol of the good life than to steady his walk. It was easy to get to Church (it was just a short distance) and they still had old friends there.

He had Old Roany, a faithful roan horse, that they used when they went to Mapleton about once a week to see the family. Later he bought a Model “T” Ford and sold Old Roney to Joseph. He soon acquired a reputation as a very poor driver as he never slowed for corners. One time, he brought Aunt Lizzie’s daughter from Lake Shore where the Tweedes had moved to Mrs. Martin, a midwife, to have a baby. She thought it was a pretty wild ride. How long he owned the car is not known, but he didn't have it after Grandma died. Some kids had stolen and wrecked it. The family was glad, as he was such a poor driver. Adjusting to the automobile from the horse and buggy was not an easy move for him.

Muriel remembers, "When Grandpa and Grandma lived in Spanish Fork, I remember one Saturday when Dad took us (Marie, Nelda, Fred, Fern, and me) with him for a visit. Dad had a load of wheat to take to the mill to be ground into flour for our winter use. It took awhile to get the flour, so he let us all go to the picture show, "The Ten Commandments." That was a very rare treat indeed. We went back up to Grandma's after the show was over to go back home with him. When we got there, Grandma, who had such a cute little laugh, gave us all a hug. Whenever we were lucky enough to visit her, she always gave us a piece of hard tack candy from a pretty soup tureen that she kept full of candy. Since we seldom got any candy, it was always the high point of our visit.

"Well, as it happened, she didn't happen to have any candy that day. l was crushed to think that she didn't have any. She said that she would fix us a piece of bread with syrup on it, which she did, but I wouldn't eat mine. She asked Marie if I didn't like it and that Marie said, ‘She always eats it at home.’ But I still wouldn't eat it as I was sulking and would rather go hungry."

Fern remembers going to the home as a small girl and having to take off her shoes when she entered the home. Water was carried into the home in a bucket equipped with a dipper, which also served as the drinking cup for the entire family. Fem also remembers their wooden shoes and liked putting them on and clomping around outside.

A Second Wife

There are a few brief references to a second wife for Hans Peter Jensen. Two Family Group records among the surviving papers of Marie Jensen Whiting, both dated April 1928, show two marriages for Hans Peter in the Endowment House on 23 Nov 1874: first to Karen Marie Nielsen and a second endowment and sealing to Ann Marie Jorgensen*. Ann Marie was a convert from the old Country (Denmark). She died 7 Jan 1915 and was buried in the Spanish Fork City Cemetery on a lot owned by Hans Peter Jensen. Karen Marie and Hans were buried there later. A small flat stone engraved “Mother” lies in the grass next to two other stones marked only as “Menna” and "Louis." Harriet Whiting Jensen stated, “Grandfather obeyed the law of polygamy as it was taught by the church leaders and believed that those who entered into it would receive a higher degree of Glory.

Fern remembers a story supposedly told by her mother that she isn't sure is true. As the story goes, when Grandpa Jensen was considering following the Prophet's encouragement to take a second wife, he had a dream one night and dreamed he had tied two of his goats to the same post and that they constantly fought and jerked at the post to get away from each other. Even so, I guess Grandpa felt he had to obey the prophet and took the second wife. Karen Marie evidently cooked meals for Ann Marie, but wouldn't wait on her.

There weren't any children by this marriage, but Ann Marie had five children from a previous marriage: Pete, Mary, Andrew, Menna, and Louis. Menna and Louis both died of typhoid fever.

Ann Marie rarely entered into any of the family social life; instead, she seemed confined to her small one room cabin, later referred to as the washroom, just behind the family home in Spanish Fork and straight out the back door. She lived here until she died. She was blind from a cancer on her face. Little else is known about her.

*Editor's note: The ordinance records actually indicate that Hans Peter was sealed to Karen and was married to Ann Marie for time only, not sealed.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Hans Peter Jensen (1844-1931) and Karen Marie Nielsen (1845-1926) histories, Part 5: Hans Peter Jensen Missionary Service

These pages had several pictures. I have transcribed the text and then put images of these pages with the captions to the pictures at the end so you can see the pictures.

Hans Peter Jensen Missionary Service

Hans Peter Jensen served two missions for the Church to his native Denmark. Since his mother lived in Denmark until she was 90, he saw her when he was on his first mission in 1900. He was released early from his first mission, which was a concern to him as he would have preferred to finish his mission. This probably accounts for his serving a second mission, even though Karen was very sick when he left. This second time he had to come home because of poor health.

After his second mission, he was not well enough to do his farm work, so he sold his farm to his son Peter and moved back to Spanish Fork where he and Karen lived until her death on March 9, 1926.

We have several original documents from the Scandinavian Mission that show his service there. The first shows that he was released from service in the Aalborg Conference on March 5, 1901. His date of arrival is

A second document shows that he was assigned again to the Aalborg Conference on May 25th, 1906.

A third document from the Scandinavian Mission shows he was released from service from his second mission on 1 February 1907 from the same conference. The release papers show his passage from Liverpool on the ship SS Cymric leaving on Feb. 7th of 1907.

The last on [one?] the "White Star Line Passager Kontract Nr. 13," written in Danish as well as English, shows the passage being arranged 29 January 1907, traveling first by train and then by steamer for Boston, USA.

No journals or other personal notes of his mission are known to exist. Clare Jensen Arnett provides some notes and clippings that detail the early beginnings of the church in Denmark along with other happenings. The year of these notes, taken from the Diary of the Pioneers, is 1851. Although missionary work in Denmark had begun years earlier, Hans Peter Jensen would likely have been subject to some of the same hostile treatment as other missionaries as indicated in the notes below.

May - The Book of Morman was translated into the Danish language by Peter O. Hansen, and was published by Erastus Snow in Copenhagen, Denmark. It was the first edition of the book printed in a foreign language. The first number of the Eteile du Deseret, (Star of Deseret) a monthly periodical, was published in the interest of the Church by Elder John Taylor. 
August 21 - The saint's [sic] assembly hall at Aalborg, Denmark, was demolished by a mob, which also mistreated some of the brethren. 
Aug 16 - The first General Conference in the Scandinavian Mission convened in Copenhagen, Denmark. Erastus Snow presided, continued fer three days. 
Oct. 24 - Elder Hans Peter Jensen (not our grandfather) and Hans Larsen received cruel treatment from a mob in Bornholm, Denmark for preaching the Gospel. 
A number of the Saints were cruelly treated by a mob in Brondbyoster, Sjaeiland,
A newspaper clipping, apparently from the Church News dates 1974, June 16, Copenhagen, Denmark-“The Copenhagen Denmark Stake, the first in that country was organized by President Ezra Taft Benson of the Council of the Twelve. Missionary work had begun in Copenhagen in 1850, the first baptisms having taken place in Aug 12 of that year. The first branch was organized the following September, and over the next 80 years more than 26,000 people joined the Church in Denmark.”

Clara also notes, “Grandpa's favorite Apostle was Apostle Widsoe (John A). How he loved to meet him as he could talk the Danish language with Hans. I often wondered why he was his favorite but after reading the “Gospel Net" by John A Widsoe, I know. Grandpa was on a Mission at the same time as Apostle Widsoe’s Mother and her sister and is in one of the missionary pictures with them."

Hans, the missionary. The mounting frame identifies the photographer as N.C. Madsen, Aalborg, at address, Algede 57 (Denmark)

Hans is wearing the same black coat, which is still in the possession of the Marie Jensen Whiting Family. It is a winter coat and very heavy.

He evidently likes this nice heavy coat.

Here is the second picture from that page in better quality, taken from Family Search.

Hans Peter Jensen Missionary

Hans Peter Jensen Family Portrait

This picture of the family of Hans Peter and Karen Marie Jensen, with Hans absent, was taken while he was serving a mission to his native Denmark. Front: Hans Peter, Karen Marie, Mary Eliza (Lizzie), Allie Morris. Back: Neils Christian, Joseph, Erastus, Caroline

>>Part 6

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Hans Peter Jensen (1844-1931) and Karen Marie Nielsen (1845-1926) histories, Part 4: His Gift of Healing

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

His Gift of Healing

Few people had the faith that Hans did. He was always helping with the sick. For example, Albert Milton Whiting, father of Harriet Jensen, had been ill all winter with heart trouble. One Sunday afternoon the family went over and knelt down while Grandpa Jensen offered a prayer. Grandpa Whiting began to improve and was able to go places until his death some months later.

One night when he lived in Spanish Fork, he was coming from the barn after doing chores, and something said, “Go over to your neighbor and administer to her; she is very ill." He walked into the house and told his wife. She said if he were wanted, the neighbors would come after him. He kept thinking about it and finally put on his coat and left the house for the neighbor's. As he entered the house, he could hear a woman crying as if she were in great pain. When she saw him she said, "Oh, brother Jensen, you have come to save my life. I have been praying that you would come. If you will administer to me, I will be healed." He laid his hands on her head and pronounced the blessing. As he took his hands from her head, three gal stones [sic] passed from her and she got well. She said she was [sic] never been bothered after that.

Another time, Hans felt impressed to go to Mendenhall‘s; he had been over earlier in the day assisting with a little sick daughter. About midnight, something awoke him and told him to go help, so he walked back over to Mendenhall’s, a distance of a mile. They had been praying that he would come. The young daughter, Helen, had been ill for some time. Grandpa gave her a blessing. No one could count the trips he made to Mendenhall’s when Helen had a ruptured appendix. Helen got well and went to school for a year before she died suddenly of a heart attack after being to Primary that day. Her funeral was on the lawn at Mendenhall’s and all the Primary children walked to the nearby cemetery after the hearse.

Bruce Mendenhall shares the following about his Grandmother, Eliza Rebecca Tew Mendenhall. "Some time after I was born, Mother was very sick. Brother Hans Peter Jensen was sent for to help administer to her. He said, ‘Sister Mendenhall, do you care if I speak in my own tongue?” He was a returned missionary from Denmark. Mother said, 'No, not a bit.‘ Brother Jensen gave her a wonderful blessing that was the turning point in her recovery. "

Hans Peter Jensen (1844-1931) and Karen Marie Nielsen (1845-1926) histories, Part 3

Part 1
Part 2

Additional Memories

By Clara and Marie

For Hans and Karen, the boat ride across the ocean was very difficult. Karen was ill all of the way. The passengers had to go onto the deck each day for fresh air, but she was too ill to walk, so Hans carried her. She was a small woman, not weighing much over 100 pounds. They had to bring their own food, as the fare was meager, and cooked it in groups, using old pots.

Hans had a brother, Chris, who also came to Utah and lived in Springville. Chris was a tailor by trade. He was married to Rose Allred but later divorced. He had ­several children.

Once Hans and Karen were located in Utah, he was proud of the fact that he had been able to come to Utah without depending on the Perpetual Emigration Fund set up by the LDS Church to help the Saints come to Utah. But they were very poor, as their money was almost gone. Their meat for the first winter was a cow head given to them by one of their neighbors. Karen said of the experience, “There’s much meat on them.” They lived in an old house of Bill Johnson’s in Spanish Fork. Hans made a bed and crossed ropes for springs. They had no chairs that first winter. They ate their meals standing at a window.­ It was a hard struggle to get along, but they managed somehow and also helped to take care of others who came from their homeland later. After living in town for a year of [sic] so, they moved to Lake Shore, just a few miles west of Spanish Fork. The land was flat there so the water was easy to get and they could have fish to eat from
the river. A drought in Sevier County to the south brought traders from the salt mountain to trade for fish to eat.

Their first home in Utah was an adobe house with a thatched roof made of cane. In the summer, they moved into the fields west of town where they stayed in a granary owned by Bill Johnson. He remembers how the roof leaked and the rain poured through. The river at that time ran through the Johnson Farm; in one place the river had changed its course leaving a large area of very rich dirt, so they cleared out a large area of willows to give them extra space to plant potatoes; the story was that the potatoes yielded 900 bushels to the acre.

The first farmland Hans was able to buy was a piece in northeast Spanish Fork. There he built a three-room adobe house (with a mud roof) for his family. Uncle Hansen made the adobes. Taylor Larsen laid them together, and he (Hans Peter) did the carpenter work. Early maps of Spanish Fork City describe the northeast part of the city as “Little Denmark.” The various nationalities tended to live together and preserve some of their customs and language.

Joseph remembered, as a boy, how his father gleaned a little clover along the ditch banks to bring home to feed the cow. He left it in a stack to dry and one day while the parents were at Church, one of the children made a bonfire of the hay.

After the four wards were made, this area was also known as the Fourth Ward. Since the soil in the area was mostly alkali and very poor for farming, he moved to Mapleton for better land. They bought land in Mapleton known as the part of the School Section, the west central part. This would have been after 1890, as records show that all of their children were born in Spanish Fork, except Allie who was born in Mapleton.

Their Mapleton home is located at present at 125 S. 1600 W. Here they raised their family. This house was built of nice red brick, had two stories, and was on approximately 10 acres. It had a parlor, a big dining room and living room, and a large kitchen, and two bedrooms upstairs. The home is located near the head of the Big Hollow, which is probably where they got their water, as there was a nice spring there. The stream of water running through this area was the location of early baptisms in Mapleton and served as a settlement for some of the Indians. The Big Hollow was a large grove of trees just west and north of the intersection of Maple Street and 1660 West (Highway 89). Maple Street continues on to the southwest to Spanish Fork. The Springville Evergreen Cemetery is just a little north.

Jensen Mapleton Home

This home was later sold to son Pete and Ruby when Hans and Karen moved back to Spanish Fork. Stanley, a son of Peter Jensen and Ruby, now (2004) owns the home and has remodeled it. The original home has been covered with a white imitation brick veneer.

Marcelaine's note: I looked up the address on Google Maps and I believe this is the Mapleton House.

Hans and his sons farmed about 40 acres. As was a custom in Denmark, they rose early and had breakfast. Then about 10 o'clock, the mother took out something for them to eat and this happened again in mid-afternoon.

The Denmark winters were very severe with deep snows. At the corner of the farms were very tall posts and on the post nearest the house, they would place a black flag as an appeal if there was illness or if they needed help. Their out buildings were connected together so that they could go from one building to another to take care of the animals without going out in the open weather. Hans built like this in Utah, his sheds attached together like they did in Denmark, but not connected with the house.

The first building was a tool shed, then a granary, and last the chicken coop. The barn was on to the south. Hans was very fussy about everything and had a place for everything. By the tool shed was a large barrel where they put wood ashes and filled it with water. This mixture made the lye they used to wash with as well as their home-made soap. The grandchildren learned early that they didn't put their fingers in it because it made your hands sore. They had a big iron kettle that was used to heat water in to wash. Their daughter Harriet helped make the soap as long as they lived in Mapleton. When they moved hack to Spanish Fork, Hans let Harriet have the kettle with the provision that she wasn't to lend it.

Hans was a carpenter and very handy with tools and made much of their furniture. He also made wooden shoes for the children until they were old enough to go to school. Joseph get his first store shoes when he was four. Before that, he wore his wooden shoes so he could go out in the snow if he wanted. Later, in the teen years, they wore their older wooden shoes on the way to dances and kept their nice new ones to wear at the dance, changing to their nice ones when they got there. Hans had a wooden bench that he sat on that held the piece of wood as he worked on it. His feet, pushing on a lever, provided the pressure to hold the work in the jaws above the bench while he worked the shoes or other project with his tools. The bench is much like what is known today as a shaving horse, a tool rarely seen today except in a museum.

>>Part 4

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Hans Peter Jensen (1844-1931) and Karen Marie Nielsen (1845-1926) histories, Part 2

Previous posts from this history:
Part 1

Hans Peter Jensen

Memories of Harriet Whiting Jensen

A history of Hans Peter, kept by his daughter in-law, Harriet Whiting Jensen, records that Hans Peter Jensen was born 20 June 1844 in Dronninglund, Hjorring, Denmark, son of Jens Peder Pedersen and Karen Hansen. His parents owned a farm and kept two horses, six cows, some young stock, sheep, and other farm animals. The wool from the sheep was used to make cloth for their clothing. They raised flax to make thread and factory-cloth for their underclothing. They had a building for each particular use, and these were connected together with arches or some kind of shelter because of the cold and deep snow that was sometimes six to seven feet deep.

Their fuel was called tara. It was sort of a sod  from marshy places where there had been a grove of trees at one time, and leaves had fallen and packed together. This formation was, sometimes, four feet deep. This was cut into squares and laid out to dry. When dried, tara looked like coal. Pieces of wood were often found buried in the debris. The girls used to wheel out the wet sod in wheelbarrows.

Hans Peter’s second brother got the old home for he married a girl who had money and was able to pay each of the children his or her share so they could keep the home. According to custom, Hans Peter should have had it (property was usually inherited by the oldest son who assumed the responsibility of caring for the parents), but he was poor and would have been unable to take care of his parents the rest of their lives. With the proceeds from his share on the home, he was able to buy a small home, which he sold later for enough money to come to Utah.

At about twelve years of age, he came home from school very sick with a cold and fever. After a while he went back to school, but broke out all over with sores. Everyone said he couldn't live, but his father used pine-tar inside and out until he became well. Sometime after, as he and his brother were coming from school, he was bitten on the leg by a poison snake. His father tied a string tightly around his leg. It swelled so badly that it burst full length. In less than two or three hours the poison ran out. It was more than a month before he could use his leg.

Another time, he fell into a deep hole where men had been getting clay. The hole was nearly filled with water. He could not swim, but by an act of Providence, he was able to reach the side where the wagons had pulled out.

He was married to Karen Marie Nielsen, Nov. 5, 1869. He met his wife when she was living in the city. They both worked at the same gore (or home). They had been married nearly a year when he became interested in the Latter Day Saint’s Gospel, through a cousin, Chris Sorenson. He did very little preaching because he was afraid it would cause trouble with his wife; however, it had impressed him, and he began to study the Bible for himself. His wife became very much afraid because her mother had told them that the Mormons were false prophets and they must beware of them. His father and family were very bitter when they heard he was investigating Mormonism. His wife went to them for aid and help in this trouble. His father had said the baptism, sprinkling, that he had received when he was a baby was all that was necessary.

One time he dreamed that an old playmate came and wanted him to go to a meeting and listen to the Priest talk. This dream came true for his old playmate came and they went to the schoolhouse to hear the Priest. They were sitting near the front where they could see the door. As the minister was preaching of baptism, he said, "The children belong to the Devil until they are baptized, so do not hesitate very long before this ordinance is performed." Grandfather (Hans) could see a man standing at the door who was dressed in a red suit of peculiar make and he knew him to be the Devil. He stood and laughed and scoffed as the Priest spoke of baptism. Hans could hear him plainly. After the meeting was over and they were returning home, he spoke to the others about it and was surprised that they hadn't heard or seen anything. This to him was a real testimony that he was doing ríght by changing churches and that he needed another baptism.

Not very long afterward, he and his wife were baptized. He said afterward that when his friends departed after the baptism, he had one half mile left to go alone, some of the way through a grove. He was so afraid that the devil might torment him some more. Karen was not so very sure that she should be baptized, but the Elders finally assured her that she was doing right so she went with her husband. They were baptized on the fifth of March, 1871; Chris Sorenson spent all day cutting the ice for it was more than two feet thick. When they went to the water (about midnight), the ice had frozen over again. Her clothing was frozen before she could get to the house, a distance of about a block. They were confirmed by Peter Anderson and Lars C. Sorensen, respectively.

They left Denmark to come to Utah, June 21, 1871, and landed in Salt Lake July 24th of that year. They came on to Spanish Fork and lived in town about a year. Then they rented a farm and moved down by the lake, where they lived for two years. Here two children were born and one died. Five days after the baby's death, Hans was crossing the Spanish Fork River in a boat. An old rope used to pull them across the river broke, upsetting the boat, and he tumbled into the water. He always said he could not tell how he came to the other side for he couldn't swim.

They moved to Mapleton and bought a farm. On one occasion after they first moved, Hans was laying out in the wagon box, when a voice came to him from a heavenly being. The spirit was so strong that its influence stayed with him all night and the next day. The voice said, "We are satisfied with you and your family, but there is one person you must not keep company with." It later proved that he was wise in getting away from this evil influence.

Hans Peter and Karen Marie were the parents of eight children, six sons and two daughters. They
  • Caroline, born 12 Nov 1871; died 28 Sept 1950; married John Bissell, 21 Dec 1892 
  • Jens Peter, born 27 May 1873; died 1 June 1873 
  • Erastus, born 27 Mar 1874; died 25 Mar 1919; married Adelaide Maria Fullmer, 11 Oct. 1899
  • Joseph, born 25 Sept. 1875; died 21 Aug. 1948; married Harriet Lucinda Whiting, 5 Dec 1900
  • Mary Eliza ("Lizzie"), born 21, Oct 1877; died 10, Oct 1935; married Herman Tweede, 10 Feb 1897
  • Hans Peter, born 23 Oct 1881; died 3 Apr 1960; married Ruby Snow Warren (widow), 24 Mar 1915
  • Niels Christian, born 17 Sept 1884; died 19 Oct 1964; married Ovilla Whiting, 28 June 1905
  • Allie Morris born 27  1890; died 25 Jan 1943; married Charlotte Gammell, 28 April 1915

In 1931 at the time of his death, he had fifty-two grandchildren and twenty-one­ great grand children.

Grandpa Jensen belonged to the Black Hawk War Veterans even though he never did participate in the war. Probably some of his Spanish Fork friends did as he used to go to their encampments. 

He was a High Priest in the Priesthood and was an active church member. He was an inspiration to his family. He was honest and upright in every respect, always trying to do right and having his children do likewise. He enjoyed seeing the young people dance. After the death of his wife he lived out by his son Joseph in Mapleton, about a block from the dance hall; he often went down and watched the dancing though he was past 80 at the time.

>>Part 3

Hans Peter Jensen (1844-1931) and Karen Marie Nielsen (1845-1926) histories, Part 1

I have decided I am going to start looking for histories of my ancestors and share them on this blog so that they will be more readily available to any of their descendants who would like to read them. If there is anyone who has any of these histories (or other documents with stories), I would love it if you would share them with me so I can make them available to our family here. Please feel free to share any of these posts with people who would be interested.

I am starting with a history of Hans Peter Jensen and Karen Marie Nielsen. They are my great-great grandparents. I have a pdf copy (sent to me by Sue Stevens) that is readable, but the pictures are not great because, as she said, this is a scan of a copy of a copy of a copy . . . Sorry about that. Apparently the original is in the special collections section at the BYU library. If there is anyone in that area who would like to get scans of the original and send those to me so I can put better images here, that would be great. It is about 30 pages long, so I will be breaking it into parts. I assure you it was well worth the read for me (or I would not be bothering to put all this effort into sharing it with you).

Here we go.

Part 5
Part 6
Part 8
Part 9
Part 10
Part 11
Part 12

Hans Peter Jensen and Karen Marie Nielsen

Title Page
Table of Contents
Hans Peter Jensen

Karen Marie Nielsen
(Edit: Somebody uploaded some pictures of Karen Marie and Hans Peter onto Family Search, so I am replacing my terrible quality photos with the better ones from Family Search where possible.)


The information presented here is a compilation of family records made available to James William Whiting by his Mother, Marie Jensen Whiting, and from correspondence and oral interviews with family members. These stories represent a collection of several documents written mostly by Harriet Lucinda Whiting Jensen (wife of Joseph Jensen and the 4th child of Hans and Karen), and Harriet and Joseph’s daughters-Clara Jensen Arnett, Marie Jensen Whiting, Nelda J. Carlson, Muriel Jensen Cox, and Fern Jensen Butler. Additional sources are a letter written by Morris Bissell (son of Caroline Jensen Bissell, the first child of Hans and Karen) and the letters of Veda Tweede Durfey and Thelma Tweede Butler, daughters of Mary Eliza Jensen Tweede. It is hoped that other descendents [sic], reading this account, will know of other stories and photographs available through their families and will be willing to add to this record.

Original records are archived in the BYU Special Collections. Please send corrections or additions to: James William Whiting, 153 E 400 North, Springville, Utah 84663, phone 801-489-8116.

- June 2004-



“The first company of this season’s emigration of Scandinavian Saints sailed from Copenhagen in the evening of June 23, 1871, bound for the land of Zion, on board the Steamship “Humber” in charge of President William W. Cluff....The whole company consisted of 387 souls. After a successful voyage; the “Humber” arrived safely in Hull, England, on June 26th, from which place the emigrants were conveyed by rail to Liverpool the following night. After arriving safely in Liverpool in the morning (June 27th), the emigrants, 397 souls, including a Scotch family, embarked on the Steamer “Minnesota,” which sailed the following day (June 28th) with its precious cargo for New York, where it arrived 14 days later (July 12th). From New York, the journey westward (by rail) was resumed on the 13th and the company arrived in Ogden, Utah, July 21st. Here the company was dissolved, some of the emigrants going north, many to Salt Lake City, and others farther south to other cities and towns. The journey from Copenhagen to Utah was made in four weeks....” Two of the passengers on this voyage were Hans P. Jensen and Karen M. Jensen (Source, Mormon Immigration Index).

If the tossing and turning of the ocean for three weeks was not trying enough for two weary passengers and Karen Marie being pregnant, the trip from New York by railroad was not very comfortable either. The year was barely two years following the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad (May 1869). Although surely much easier than by oxcart or handcart, you can imagine this ride would not have been comfortable either. The fare in the summer of 1869 was $150 for first dass and $70 for immigrant. By June, 1870 from New York to San Francisco­ had dropped to $136 for first dass a, S100 for second class, and $65 for third class or immigrant. First Class meant a Pullman sleeping car but immigrants sat on a bench. We can only imagine which category Hans and Karen would be traveling.

Thus begins our story of Hans Peter Jensen and his wife Karen Marie Nielsen Jensen in America.

>>Part 2

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

A Righteous Branch

Recently my Aunt Sue sent me pdf files of some life histories, and it has been such a treat to read through them. I just finished reading the life history of Hans Peter Jensen and his wife Karen Marie Nielsen, who joined the church in Denmark and emigrated to the United States. They are my great-great grandparents. At the end of the history are transcriptions of their patriarchal blessings. One line in Karen Marie's blessing stuck out to me: "for thou wast called and chosen of the Lord to come forth in this dispensation to assist in bringing forth a righteous Branch to the Lord. And thy Posterity shall be numerous upon the earth. and they shall enjoy all the blessings of the new and everlasting covenant. and shall become a mighty people in the midst of Zion."

I thought it was pretty amazing to read that part after reading about her life. Except for one of Hans Peter's cousins, it sounds like the rest of their family did not join the church, so when they joined the church and then left all of their family to be with the Saints in Utah, they really were starting a new righteous branch and being grafted into a different tree. I'm sure by now they have hundreds of descendants who have been blessed because of them. I feel very inspired by their examples of faithfulness. It motivates me to live in such a way that I can see them one day and feel that I have been a source of credit and joy to them.