Monday, March 25, 2013

Nicholas Mears & Mary Ann Browning

Biography of Mary Ann Browning, possibly written by a family member (but not me)

Mary Ann Browning was born on April 3rd in the Year of Our Lord Seventeen Hundred and Ninety-Seven (3 April 1797). Her birthplace was at Hernhill, Kent, England. She was born during the reign of King George III.

When she was 16 years old and was married to Nicholas Mears [son of Nicholas and Ann Medlam Mears; christened 3 October 1792 in Ashford, Kent, England] and later they became the parents of eight children [including Mary Ann Mears, born 1815]. Her husband Nicholas was a Constable and when he was just 33 years old he was killed in a riot called the Battle of Bosenden Wood [Click HERE to see Wikipedia entry on this battle, including mention of Nicholas. Note that the article states that Nicholas was the brother of the constable. Either way, he was killed at the battle. There is also conflicting information about the date. Wikipedia says the battle was 31 May 1838. Nicholas would have been about 46 years old. FamilySearch says he died 10 December 1831. Hmmm.]

Later she married again. Her new husband's name was William Lewington Jemmett. At the time of their marriage he was 23 years old and she was 37 years old. She was 14 years older than William. He became the step-father of her 8 children and later they had five children of their own. Their names were William George, Henry George, Edward, Julia Jane, and Rosina Kathleen.

Mary Ann was baptized into the LDS Church when she was 52 years old [FamilySearch shows 1851, in which case she would have been 54] . For a time the LDS Mission Home was at her home. Her husband was a pious man and a strict observer of the Sabbath Day.

In 1857 her son William Henry became the first of her family to immigrate to America. He settled in St. Louis Mo. Julia Jane left for America in 1852. When she came to leave her father hugged her and said: "Julia, if it were not for the gospel's sake, and I didn't know we would meet again somewhere I could never stand this parting." This was the last time they were to ever see each other in this world. William Lewington died two years later when his boat was blown up on the Thames River. William had been the master of a sailing barge named the "Good Design." His occupation was mainly that of an oyster dredger. His boat also hauled freight and on his last trip it was hauling gun powder.

That night when he did not come home Mary Ann thought she heard his little dog scratching at the door she went to check, but there was no dog there. She had a feeling something had happened, and soon the terrible news was brought to her that her husband was killed when his boat was exploded by the gun powder on board. His little dog who would have been with him, also never came home again.

One year after William died Mary Ann decided to journey to America. By this time her son Henry George was also there. In the year 1865 when Mary Ann was 68 years old she and
her daughter , Rosina Kathleen, set sail for America. They sailed on the ship "Bell Wood" out of Liverpool.

They came to America the year the Civil War ended. Rosina and Mary Ann traveled across the planes with the Miner Grant Atwood Co., and had many adventures with Indians who stampeded cattle and Army soldiers who played tricks. They traveled approximately 5-15 miles in one day.

Rosina married Charles Johnson who operated the Sand Hole Stage Station in Kamas Idaho. For a time Mary Ann lived with them. All in all she lived to be 86 years old and died on April 28th of 1883 at Woodland, Utah.

If you visit the Heber City Cemetery in Utah you can see her tombstone.
A grandson was later to write of Mary Ann: "she was kindness itself."

OK, it's Robyn writing now. :)

This above history along with more information on he second husband, click HERE to view a PDF.

Click HERE to see Mary Ann's gravestone on Find-A-Grave.

Click HERE to see Mary Ann's name on the register for the ship the Hudson, which she and her husband were planning on sailing on but did not.

William and Mary Ann on register for Hudson, which sailed without them before William died.
Click HERE to see Mary Ann's name on the register for the ship the Belle Wood, which Mary Ann and her daughter actually DID sail on.

Belle Wood register
Belle Wood register, cropped

Listed in the Miner G. Atwood company, click HERE.
1880 Census showing Mary Ann with a Powell family in Idaho.
1880 Census, cropped

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Christian Andersen and Ann Kathrine (Katrine) Pedersen

(Disclaimer: This couple needs more research. I am not sure about much of the information that I have gathered because I haven't seen any primary sources except the register from the boat that they traveled to the US on, so please be patient with me. This couple is one that I plan on researching more in depth in the future.)

Christian Andersen was born on 15 May 1796 in Skiellet, Voer, Hjorring, Denmark. His parents were Anders Jacobsen and Maren Madsen.

Anne Catrine (Katrine) Pedersdatter (sometimes recorded Pedersen) was born on 14 June 1805 in Als, Aalborg, Denmark. She was the daughter of Peder Nielsen and Maren Christensdatter.

Christian and Anne were married on 23 October 1825 in Dronninglund, Hjorring, Denmark. (There is another date for their marriage: 7 October 1821. Not sure which one is right.)

The couple had 7 children: Ane Margrethe, Peder, Maren, Christine, Anne Marie, Niels, and Else Marie.

Christan was possibly baptized in January 1853. There is a confirmation date of 1 January 1853, but I am not positive.

We do know that the couple, along with four children, sailed from Liverpool to New Orleans on the ship “James Nesmith” which left England in January 1855.  Another daughter, Ane, was on the ship with her husband and 2 children. Their older son Peder came to America later and it is unsure if their daughter Maren came to America at all.
Christan and Anne on register of “James Nesmith.” Their children are on the next page of the register. See Christine Andersen’s post.

Closer view, showing Christen was 58 and Anne was 49 when they boarded the ship. Also shows that Christan was a joiner (type of carpenter) by trade.

Christian died on 11 October 1855 in Mormon Grove, Atchison, Kansas according to FamilySearch. I have also seen that they died in Iowa City.

Anne died on 30 December 1855 in Mormon Grove, Atchison, Kansas (?).

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Richard Melvin Rowley

Richard Melvin Rowley was born March 3, 1919 to GeorgeSamuel and Cora May Morris Rowley in Parowan, Utah. He was the third in a family of five. He struggled to come into the world, but a prayerful family and a persistent nurse pulled him through. He was having a hard time breathing, and his nurse had to dunk him alternately into warm and then cold water until he gasped and began crying (The Roots and Branches of the Rowley-Morris Union, by Leonard Rowley).
 He was named after his grandfather, Richard Rowley, who had traveled from England to Utah at the age of twelve. Grandfather Richard was a proper Englishman, and his grandson tried to emulate that. Richard was bright, talented and full of energy as a child. He grew up in a humble home where he learned the value of hard work and education, the joy of family time and most of all, the importance of the Gospel.
 As a child, Richard was known as Melvin or Mel. As an adult, he was known to most as Dick.
 When Richard was a toddler, his mother found him scribbling on the table with a pencil. When she took the pencil away from him, he protested, “Wite a set a mustoo. Surley Melvy can!” Apparently a “set” was the table and “mustoo” was the pencil, or a list of what he “must do.”  His mother gave him a fresh sheet of paper and said, “You surely can!” He grew to be a writer and teacher (The Roots and Branches…, by Leonard Rowley).
1927 at the age of 8.
Richard was also an artist, actor, journalist, comedian and inventor. As a young man, he acted and directed plays put on by the Mutual Improvement Association (MIA, the youth program of the LDS church during that time). He also learned to paint and taught himself to sculpt using iron-rich, red clay from the Parowan Valley. He made vases, urns and lifelike busts. According to his brother, Leonard, Richard had a good singing voice with a large range. He would surprise his family by alternately singing either bass, tenor or alto. (The Roots and Branches…, by Leonard Rowley).
About 1937.
Richard was very smart and did well in school. When he was a young man, he learned to type and bought his own portable typewriter. In 1937, Richard graduated from high school with honors and a scholarship to BAC (now SUU). While in high school and college, he served as the local correspondent for The Deseret News. Richard worked his way through college as well as expecting perfect grades.
 Turkey farming in 1939 with nephew Roger.
He was called into military service during World War II. He passed his initial physical exam and was sent to basic training. After a few days, he had another exam and was rejected for health reasons. He had Rheumatic Fever as a child which affected his heart.
Instead he decided to serve a mission. Although the doctors were reluctant to agree, after a long series of examinations and tests, the papers were signed and he was called to the California Mission. He left in November 1941 at the age of 22. His brother, Leonard, wrote: “It was not easy to wear the uniform of a missionary when it was considered unpatriotic for any young man not to be in military uniform. Painful as this was, he rose above it, and was an effective and honorable missionary” (The Roots and Branches…, by Leonard Rowley).
Elder Rowley, 1942.
On his mission. 1943.
It was during his mission that Richard decided to go by his first name instead of Melvin. He finished his mission in the fall of 1943. He continued his education at BAC, working to earn his own way. One of his jobs during college was working as a DJ at the local radio station, KSUB.  In the fall of 1945, Richard attended BYU. During this time he worked at the BYU News Bureau, sending news releases about campus events to major papers. He also worked for KOVO, Provo’s radio station.
Although he was busy with his education, Richard spearheaded the remodeling and painting of his parents’ home in Parowan as well as the landscaping.
Family home, before...
...and after.
At BYU he studied journalism as part of a composite major. In 1946, he met Lois Pearl Robison who was majoring in Home Economics. Lois wrote in her life history: “I was attending a Delta Phi dinner dance with Harold Call and at the dinner he introduced me to Dick. I’m afraid I did more conversing with Dick that evening than with my date” (The Life History of Lois Robison Rowley, pg. 8). During the next few months, the couple spent time together and during the summer they exchanged letters. Also during this summer (1946), Lois traveled to Parowan to meet Richard’s family and he traveled to the Robison’s home in Nevada to meet her parents.

Lois Robison, about 1944.
Lois wrote: “In the fall of my senior year [1946], I again returned to BYU and Dick invited me to attend his missionary reunion and General Conference with him in Salt Lake. It was after the missionary reunion that Dick proposed and I accepted his Delta Phi pin” (The Life History of Lois Robison Rowley, pg. 8).
On 4 June 1947, both received their bachelor’s degrees and on 27 June, they were married in the St. George Temple. He was 28 and she was 22.
The picture of their wedding cake is the only photographic evidence of the wedding.
The couple wanted to keep the event “simple.” The couple also decided not to hold a reception, but they did have a wedding breakfast at the Escalante Hotel in Cedar City. The couple honeymooned in Cedar Canyon, staying at the Navajo Lake Lodge and at the Cedar Breaks Lodge.
 Richard and Lois in the summer of 1947.

That summer, the couple lived in Provo where Richard was still working for the BYU News Bureau and KOVO.
 In September 1947, they moved to Cedar City where he had taken a teaching position at BAC as well as publicity for the school. They lived in Cedar the rest of their lives. Richard taught many subjects at BAC such as drama, photography, journalism, English, speech, and debate. He would retire from then SUSC in 1983.
 Richard was also involved at Church. Lois wrote: “Through the years Dick was Sunday School Superintendent, Gospel Doctrine teacher – three different times – in a bishopric, Ward Clerk, Teacher Development teacher and always a Home Teacher” (The Life History of Lois Robison Rowley, pg. 14).
Even with his busy teaching career, Richard found time to take his family on outings in the mountains near their home, many camping trips and several vacations throughout the years.
In the early 1950s, Richard occasionally wrote for The Deseret News. During these years there was atomic testing in Nevada and Richard would often be seen with his Geiger counter, which calculated radiation and he would report the readings to the paper.
 During his teaching years, Richard wrote and published one textbook and collaborated with other facility members on another. He also wrote, produced and directed a play, “Beyond the Typha.”
 Richard built a home, which was completed in May 1951, for the family which eventually included four boys: Dennis, Don, Glenn and Mark. Richard also landscaped the yard and began a garden, which would provide hard work and delicious food for the family for decades.
Richard Rowley family, early 1960s.
In the fall of 1953, the family moved for a year to California where Richard worked on his master’s degree, which he received in October 1954. Several times throughout the next years, Richard returned to Stanford in the summers to continue his graduate studies.
 Richard and Lois, 1987
In the early 1980s the family began their annual Rowley Campout. During these retirement years, Richard and Lois spent two days a week in St. George where they served as ordinance workers at the temple for 6 years (1984-1990). During this time, Richard’s mother Cora lived in St. George so they would help her with any chores she needed.
In 1990, Richard was not feeling well and in May went to Las Vegas, NV for tests. He had a cancerous brain tumor. He went through treatment for the cancer, but it was ineffective.
Leonard wrote of an experience their sister Ramona had with him when he was sick. “Ramona told of a day when she came to be with Dick while Lois ran some urgent errands. His ability to speak was very limited, but he took her hand, smiled and said, “Good morning.” For some time, he sat and listened as she talked. Then, he walked to the window and stood watching for Lois to come home. Ramona said she realized how much he depended on Lois- how much she meant to him” (Leonard).  
On 4 August 1990, Richard died of cancer in his home in Cedar City. His entire family, including grandchildren were in town and had been able to see him and hug him before he passed.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Peder Mortensen & Helena Sandersen

Peder Mortensen was the only living child of Morten Pedersen and Karen Hansen. (Morten was married 3 other times and had more children with his other wives.) He was born on 28 January 1806 in Haarbolle, Franefjord, Praesto, Denmark, which is located on a small island called Moen.
Helena Sandersen was born 8 March 1808 in Damine, Franefjord, Praesto, Denmark to Peder Sandersen and Ana Kirstine Jorgensen who had a large family. (Most records show Helena Sandersen or Sanders, but she was probably actually born Helena Pedersdatter. Records in Denmark show this as her surname. Some records also show Pedersen as a last name.)
Peder and Helena were marred 9 November 1827 in Haarbolle, Denmark. The couple had nine children, eight living to adulthood. Their children were: Morten, Anne, Anders, Hans, Peder (who died at age 10 in Denmark), Lars, Mette, Mary and Caroline. All the children were born in Haarbolle.
Although crippled at a relatively young age, he was industrious and made a living as a cooper, making wooden barrels, tubs and buckets, and a shoemaker. They also kept animals such as cows and sheep. Helena, or Lena as she was known, was a talented homemaker, wife and mother. The Mortensens were a typical middle class family and lived comfortably, yet they had to work hard and be industrious and thrifty.
Peder played the clarinet and the whole family enjoyed music and dancing.
The family was religious. The studied the Bible and Peder very often prayed for the Lord to send his servants to them so “they could become his disciples in very deed.”
In 1855, the first Mormon missionaries traveled to Haarbolle. When they first came to town, Morten and Anders went to a meeting held by the missionaries. Morten was studying for the ministry in the Lutheran church and attended due to curiosity, taking Anders along for company. After hearing the teachings of the Elders, the brothers were convinced that the Lord had restored His true church. When they returned home, they told their family of their feelings. Peder was skeptical due to the negative reports he had heard about the Mormon Elders. Anders replied that these Elders were what Peder had been praying for and he encouraged the rest of the family to attend the next meeting.
The family did attend and were converted. Morten was baptized 12 February 1855, Anders was baptized 13 June 1855 and Peder, Helena, Anne and Hans were baptized on 16 June 1855.
After the whole family was converted, they began to be persecuted by their neighbors and felt anxious to migrate to America.  In fact, one night, an angry mob came to the home but the mob dispersed when the leader suddenly collapsed at the gate. The family was lucky to own desirable property and was soon able to sell their land and obtain sufficient funds to travel to America.
The family left home on 31 March 1856, arriving in Copenhagen on 23 April 1856. While there, the Scandinavian mission president, Hector C. Hate, approached the oldest son Morten and asked him to serve a mission. The family wanted so much to travel to Utah together. The mission president promised them that if Morten fulfilled a mission that the entire family would reach Zion (Utah) in safety. 
The Mortensen family left Copenhagen on the steamship “Rhoda” which traveled to Keil, Germany. The family then went by railroad to Hamburg, by steamer to Grimsby, England and then by railroad to Liverpool, England where they boarded the ship “Thornton” with about 600 Saints from Europe.
The Saints on the ship were under the leadership on James G. Willie with Miller Atwood, John A. Ahmanson and Moses Cluff assisting.  The ship left on 4 May 1856 and arrived in New York on 14 Jun 1856.

Peder, Lena and family on the register for the ship, "Thornton."
Closer view.

The saints were brought by tug boat to Castle Gardens where they were welcomed by John Taylor and Nathaniel H. Felt. Three days later, the family traveled to Ohio and then to Chicago, Illinois. From there, the company was divided and traveled to Iowa City, which was the Western terminus of the railroad at the time and the appointed place for the Saints to prepare to cross the plains.
The family still had plenty of money, enough that they would have been able to buy a wagon and team to take them to Utah, but the Saints were advised to use handcarts which were less expensive. Although Peder was lame and would not be able to walk the trip and their youngest daughter was only about 5 years of age, the family took the advice of their leaders. They were also able to “loan” money to three others, money that was never returned, but surely appreciated.
The family had traveled with dishes, linens and trinkets from home that they hoped to sell but the people around Iowa City were aware that the Saints could only take a few pounds of luggage and waited until the items were abandoned instead of buying them. The Mortensen boys locked up their things in their large steamer trunks and put them into the Mississippi River, saying, “If they get them, they’ll work for them.”
The Mortensen family left with the rest of the Willie Handcart Company on 15 July 1856. The group endured many trials as they traveled to Utah, including loss of oxen and rationed food supply, to harsh conditions due to the lateness of the season.
The crossing at the Platt River was especially hard on the company. It took many tries to find a suitable area to cross with their handcarts. Anders recalled crossing some 90 times in the freezing water. Helena recounted, “We walked by the river day after day burying our dead who gave their lives for the Gospel. We wept as we went on our journey. We went before the Lord, and pled with him to make good his promises which were given by his servant back in Old Denmark. How we implored him to raise the sick, and give us strength to carry our burden without complaint, for we had the lame to haul on our hard carts, the maimed to care for, and our beloved dead ones to bury by the wayside.”
After crossing the river and getting into the mountains, the company encountered severe snow storms and the company’s food supply was basically a few ounces of flour per person each day. Helena remembered an old pin cushion she had brought from Denmark which was filled with bran. In their desperation, the cushion was torn apart. Helena made dough with the bran and it was baked and eaten. They also would take pieces of rawhide off the hand cart wheels and boil them in water to make soup. To further supplement their food, Lena would gather berries for juice, herbs for teas, soups and stews and even mad a warm barley drink from small amounts of rationed grain.
Lena was a strong woman who encouraged her family along the trek. Once her son Hans left his hand cart and felt he could go no further. She gave him something to drink and some dry biscuit and said, “Be brave, my boy. We must go on.” After a short rest, Hans took up his hand cart and the family caught up with the rest of the company.
Peder used his shoemaking skills to make sure that his children always had something to protect their feet from the cold ground, using whatever material he could find.
Although many of the members of the Willie Handcart Company were buried on the way to Utah, but the entire Mortensen family (minus Morten who was still serving in Denmark) reached Salt Lake City, Utah on 9 November 1856 feeling very blessed. Morten would join the family three years later.
Only a few days after arriving in Salt Lake, the family was advised to travel to Southern Utah and make Parowan their home. With their hand carts, the family traveled to Parowan and arrived 1 December 1856.
In Parowan, Peder took up shoe making again and continued to make sure that his girls had good soles on their shoes, which was not always common during this time. Lame for the remainder of his life, Peder was transported to and from church in the same hand cart that carried him across the plains to Utah. Neither held any major positions in the church, but were faithful members and regularly attended their meetings.
Peder and Helena were sealed in Salt Lake City on 14 October 1859 at the Endowment House. The couple spoke Danish to each other, but tried to speak mainly English to their children and grandchildren.
After suffering greatly from some sort of heart problem, Peder died, “full of faith,” on 9 April 1866 in Parowan at the age of 60. Before he died he asked his daughter Mary to take care of her mother, which she did.
Lena had a pleasant disposition and did not like arguments. She loved to dance and would dance for her children and grandchildren.  She was neat and taught her daughters to keep a tidy home. She also was independent, even later in life when being cared for by her children. In fact, she once turned down fast offering money from her bishop, asking him to give it to someone who needed it. She knew her children would care for her and that is all she needed. She was very hospitable and loved serving everything from cookies to fine meals to her family.
Lena always wore some type of small cap and when she went out she had a fancier bonnet with ribbons and trimmings.
At some point, Lena suffered a stroke leaving her left hand useless.
1870 and 1880 Census records showing Lena living with her children in Parowan.
Before she passed away, her daughter Mary asked what she could do to make her happy. Lena said that she wanted all of her girls around the table once more. She loved her family dearly and left a large posterity. Lena died on 24 August 1890 at the age of 82. Her grandson, Anders, said of her: “No more faithful soul than she ever lived, may her memory ever be sacred.”
(Quotations without citation in this history are from a short history of the Mortensen family written by Anders Mortensen, son of Anders Jorgen Mortensen. Other information was taken from several DUP histories.)

Click HERE to see Peder's headstone on Find-A-Grave.

Click HERE to see Helena's headstone on Find-A-Grave.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Christine Andersen

Christine Andersen (Christendatter) was born 26 December 1833 at Erae, Jutland, Denmark to Christian Andersen and Ann Katherine Peterson (Pedersdatter). 
Note: In Denmark, the last names used to come from their father’s first name. Christine was born Christine Christendatter, meaning Christine, daughter of Christen. Her brother’s last name would be Christensen, meaning son of Christen. Often when the Danish emigrated, they would change their names to their father’s last name. So, Christine’s name after coming to America is Christine Andersen.

Another note: Christine in Danish is pronounced Christina.
The family joined the LDS church while in Denmark.  Christine was baptized on 12 February 1854 in Erae, Jutland, Denmark.

In January 1855, the family crossed the Atlantic Ocean on the ship “James Nesmith” with more than 400 Scandinavian saints, arriving in New Orleans on 23 Feb 1855.
Page from passenger list of the "James Nesmith" with Christine and her siblings.
(Her parents were on the previous page.)

Passenger list, enlarged and cropped.

The company made their way up the Mississippi River to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas and then on to Mormon Grove, Atchison, Kansas. The family remained there for the year and Christine and one sister obtained house work during the winter of 1855-56.  During this winter, Christine’s parents both became sick at died in Mormon Grove.
Christine joined the Willie Handcart Company, were see became well acquainted with the Mortensen family who had a son her age named Anders. The company arrived in Salt Lake City on 9 November 1856. Soon after, the Mortensens continued to Parowan, Utah and Christine remained in Salt Lake for 3 or 4 months.

She them made her way to Parowan and became reacquainted with Anders. The couple was married on 22 August 1857 in Parowan. They traveled to Salt Lake to the Endowment House in October of 1861 where they received their Endowments and were sealed to each other.

She was 5’6” tall with deep blue eyes and dark chestnut braids wreathing her head.

In their log cabin, the only light they had was the fire, so they had to keep the fire “alive” because they had no matches. If the coals went out they would have to borrow coals from a neighbor. Christine would save the fat from the butchered sheep, render it to tallow, and then dip a piece of yarn into the hot tallow again and again to make simple candles. She would also wash wool, card it smooth and spin it into thread. She shared her skills with other women in the community.

Anders and Christine had 11 children. Peter, Ephraim, Anders, O’Lena, Sarah Ann, Mary, Emma, Tomena, Ammon and Alma.

1870 Census showing Anders & Christine and their children in Parowan.
It says that Christine's occupation is "House Keeper."

When Anders was almost 32, he married a second wife, Wilhelmina Ipson, also from Denmark. The couple had 4 children and the two families lived together happily.


1880 Census, showing Anders & Christine in Parowan.
Christine's occupation is "Keeping House."

1880 Census, enlarged and cropped.
Anders died suddenly in 1884. The next year, the boys sold the family property in Parowan and moved to Colorado to help settle the San Luis Valley. Shortly after, Wilhelmina died and her 4 children went to live with Christine and her son, Anders.

The family lived in the San Luis Valley for 11 years. Due to health problems, O’Lena and her husband William moved back to Parowan and her son Anders moved his family to Mesa, Arizona. Christine went to live with Anders and his family.

1910 Census, showing Christine under her son
Anders's household in Mesa, AZ.

1910 Census, enlarged and cropped.

She died in Mesa on 11 June 1910 at the age of 76.

Her son, Anders, wrote: "She was a loving mother full of faith, and hope, and sure of an eternal reward. She was quiet, and unassuming, but had a wonderful character, a living monument of faith filled with a divine testimony of the restored Priesthood, and Gospel which had enlightened the world. Her memory will never die."

Her grand-daughter Cora Morris Rowley wrote, “Grandmother Christina was the sweetest, kindest person one could ever hope to meet. She always worked hard, but never lost her wonderful disposition.”

Click HERE to see Christine's headstone on Find-A-Grave.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Anders Jorgen Mortensen

Anders Jorgen Mortensen was born on 21 September 1833 in Haarbolle, Fanefjord, Denmark. He was the third son of Peder and Helena Sandersen Mortensen.

In Denmark, Anders learned coopering and farming from his father. In 1855, Anders and his family joined the LDS Church. Anders was baptized on 13 June 1855 in Haarbolle.

 On 4 May 1856 the family sailed on the ship Thornton which arrived in New York City on 14 June 1856.  (I found Anders's parents on the Thornton passenger list, but not Anders. When I was able to look through the scanned photos of the actual list (below) I found that Anders and his siblings were listed under the last name Petersen. SO, you can find Anders on the Thornton passengar list under Anders J. Petersen. Then I read that he was born Anders Jorgen Pedersen because his dad's name was Peder and that's how they did it in Denmark, but when they got to America, they changed their last names to Mortensen to then have the same name as their father, as was tradition in the US. *phew*)

At this time Anders was almost 22 years old. In Iowa City (a place chosen by the church to equipped the Saints who were getting ready to cross the plains), Anders met Christine Andersen. (Note: on FamilySearch it says that her name is Christine Christendatter, but it is the same person. Danish names are tricky and I haven't figured it out yet.)  Christine was also from Denmark and was waiting for another handcart company to form so she too could travel to Salt Lake City. Both her parents had passed away in Mormon Grove, Kansas while waiting to cross the plains. Their friendship grew as they pulled handcarts side by side in the Willie Handcart Company. 


The Mortensen family had enough money for a wagon and an ox team, but was advised to use the handcarts instead. Although Anders’s father Peder was a cripple, they took the advice of their leaders and joined the handcart company. Because handcarts were less expensive, the family “loaned” money to three people to enable them to make the trip.

One day, Anders was searching for lost oxen. (Story from handcart co.) He found himself in the midst of a large gathering of Indians. He bravely made signs to explain why he was there. One of the Indian women gave him two of the buffalo ribs she was roasting. He was so hungry and said that it was the sweetest morsel he had ever tasted.

The Willie Handcart Company arrived in Salt Lake City on 9 November 1856. After a short stay in Salt Lake, Anders and his family made their way to Parowan, Utah. They arrived on 1 December 1856. His father bought property and his sons built a two-room adobe home.

The next spring, Anders bought a home and lot right next to his father’s property. The following fall, Anders and Christine married. The ceremony took place in Parowan on 22 August 1857 and was performed by the Stake President, William H. Dane.  They were sealed at the Endowment House in Salt Lake City, UT on 2 October 1861.

Anders and two of his brothers worked together, purchasing 40 acres of land to farm and using the coopering skills they learned in Denmark to make a living. The family also kept a few sheep for wool.

Anders became a US citizen on 11 March 1861.

Anders and Christine had 11 children. One of which was O’LenaChristina Mortensen.

1870 Census showing Anders and his family in Parowan, UT. 
It's hard to read but it says that Anders's occupation is "cooper."

When Anders was almost 32, he married a second wife, Wilhelmina Ipson, also from Denmark. The couple had 4 children and the two families lived together happily.

1880 Census. Anders and family still in Parowan, UT.
Now Anders's occupation is "farmer."

Anders was a member of the territorial militia, took his turn standing guard when there was trouble with Indians, and one of his callings was serving on the high council of the Parowan Stake.

Anders died suddenly on 13 October 1884 at the age of 51. His son, Anders, quarried a sandstone slab from the Parowan hills and paid to have it shaped and smoothed into a headstone for his father’s grave.

Anders had light red-brown hair and blue eyes.

Click HERE to see his headstone on Find-A-Grave.
Click HERE to read a history of the Mortensen family written by another descendent of Anders.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

John Durham & Isabella Thompson

John Durham was born at Whitby, Yorkshire, England on 15 December 1790 to John Durham (b. 1738) and Ann Hineson (1739-1794).

John earned a living as a cord weaver and later as a skilled shoemaker.

Isabella Thompson was also born at Whitby. She was born 20 January 1800 to Thomas Thompson (1762-1816) and Isabella Frank or Franck (b. 1766).

John and Isabella were married on 18 February 1824. They made their home in Oldham, Lancaster, England where all of their six children were born. One of their children was Sarah Durham, grandmother of Cora May Morris.

They were a fairly typical middle-class family. They worked hard, were fairly well educated, and kept a nice home. One record says that Isabella was a "boot and shoe binder." The family was known for their musical talents and their devotion to their faith.

When their oldest two children, Thomas and Sarah, became interested in the Mormon church, the couple was devastated, but they did not cut ties with them.

John and Isabella staying in Oldham with most of their children near them (Thomas and Sarah went to America in 1862).

John died on 10 January 1863 in Whitby at the age of 72.

Isabella died on 31 March 1883 at the age of 83 and was buried in Stalybridge, Lancashire, England.