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.
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.