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.


  1. Way fun thanks for always sharing!!

  2. I decided to actually try doing some family history and last week I discovered that Christine is buried here in Mesa! I was so excited, and I found a few of her other children and grandchildren there as well, including to babies of their son Alma who weren't on the family tree, so I got to add them. It was very cool to discover that I have some family here, even though Olena was never here. I also never realized that we had anybody but Ann Jewell Rowley in the Willie company until I saw that online...So cool that Ann's grandson married Christine's granddaughter and had our grandpa! I'm glad you're doing this now that I've decided to actually put forth some effort and enjoy some family history. :) Thanks for the info!