Jens Jensen's History of Mendon

Incidents in the life of Jens Jensen—

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Jens JensenJens Jensen

I was born November 3, 1858, in Sjælland (Zealand), Denmark. Son of Niels Jensen and Karen Torkeldsen Jensen. Father was born 1828. Mother was a year or two older than he. Have no record of date of month of birth of either of them

They were peasant farmers of the better class. They joined the Mormon Church in 1862. Sold home and all other property and came to America early in the year 1863 on way to Utah. Mother died on board the ship and was buried in New York. None of the family have any knowledge regarding the location of her grave.

Father and family, consisting of Kirsten (Christina), aged seven-years and Jens, age four and one-half-years, continued the journey to Utah, reaching Salt Lake City on September 12, 1863. The Atlantic Ocean was crossed in a sail ship and took a long time to make the trip. Went by railroad from New York City to Florence, Nebraska, at that time the outfitting place for crossing the plains to Utah. Father bought a new Schuttler wagon, four oxen and two cows for the journey. Had plenty of bedding, a small cook stove, I think the first brought to Mendon.

John R. Young nephew of President Brigham Young was captain of our company, which consisted of about 75 wagons and perhaps 150 to 200 persons, men, women and children. It was called an Independent Emigrant Company (that meant that they owned their own teams, wagons, etc.). Many of the Mormons crossing the plains had teams sent from Utah to take them across the 1100 miles from Omaha, or Florence, to Salt Lake City. All of our company except the captain was Scandinavians. So John R. Young had a difficult job to handle.

The start was made July 7, and Salt Lake City was reached September 12, 1863. At one place on the journey, a couple of people were killed and others hurt in a stampede. The oxen took fright and ran away, wagons and all going in a tangle until order was finally restored again.

Our wagon had five persons as passengers. Father, two children and a young man and a young woman, both unmarried. The man drove the team to pay his way. He went from Salt Lake City to Sanpete. The woman came with us to Cache Valley and shortly after married a Mr. Monson in Hyrum.

Father began living in Mendon fall of 1863, self and two children. His property consisted of four oxen, two cows, a good wagon, cook stove, bedding and some cooking utensils, a few carpenter tools, two shotguns, a rifle and a pistol. Our first winter was spent in a log house about 14 by 12 feet and so far in my life, was the most dreary winter I have lived. At that time, all houses in Mendon, except a small frame house owned by Jasper Lemmon, were built of logs and the roof covered with sapling or willows, a coat of straw and dirt laid over all to guard against wind and rain.

Spring of 1864 we moved to a lot purchased of Christen Jensen, a blacksmith, who moved to Bear Lake Valley. On the lot were two log houses in one of which we lived until Father’s death in September 1868. Father, the five years he lived in Mendon, farmed and bought 35 acres of irrigated and 25 acres of meadowlands.

Only quitclaim deeds could be given in land deals at that time, government title and survey came later, in 1872. Also had quite a few cattle, perhaps twelve cows and young animals at time of his death. He married Elizabeth Nielsen in 1866, by whom he had one child, Mary, born 1867. She married Henry Larsen. They live in Cleveland, Idaho. They are childless. Last two years of father’s life, he suffered from tuberculosis, which caused his death in 1868 at the age of forty years.

In person, he was of medium height, weighing about 145 pound, black hair, skin very white, active and energetic. Fond of hunting such game as geese, ducks, grouse, prairie chickens and rabbits. All of which were plentiful then. Was quick tempered, but not unreasonably so, soon got over anger.

Being only four-and-one-half-years-old when mother died, I recall very little about her. Financially, her people were better off than father’s folks. Christina and I had a small legacy sent to us from an aunt of hers in Denmark, 1893.

Father arranged and divided his property several months before death among the heirs. Our stepmother retained home and land until I was twenty years old, when it reverted to me. She was left three or four cows, a few sheep, one wagon, household goods, etc. her daughter Mary received one cow and a few household trinkets. Christina got one cow; five acres irrigated land and a few articles of clothing. I was given two horses, harness, wagon, three two-year-old steers, what tools on hand, and the guns, a buffalo robe, and three Indian blankets. He also arranged for Christina and me to live with Ole C. Sonne and wife Mary.

They were childless. He was forty-six-years-old and his wife twenty-nine-years-of-age. We had a good home with them. Christina stayed until 1873. Later married Joseph C. Hamilton of Mill Creek, Salt Lake County, where she lived until her death in 1910. She left two girls, Valeria and Beatrice. Last I heard about them they were in the Raft River region of Idaho. Valeria married a Mr. Fuller. Do not remember the name of the man Beatrice married.

I lived with Brother Sonne and wife until I was married in 1885. Brother Ole Sonne died 1900, aged seventy-eight years. His wife 1913 at age 74 years. They were a worthy couple, good friends and neighbors, devout saints, sincere and honest in all walks of life, supported the church with tithes and financial dues, as well as by prayers and meeting attendance. Brother Sonne filled a mission to Denmark 1879–1880. Paid fare for two of his nephews from Denmark to Utah, Christian Sonne in 1872 and Ole Sonne in 1880. Ole C. Sonne and wife led useful, unselfish lives.

From the age of ten to seventy, my time was mainly given to farming and caring for livestock. Spent part of summer of 1882 working on railroad grade in Deer Lodge Valley, Montana for $40.00 a month and board. Spent 31 months (1881–1885) in Virginia as a Mormon missionary. Married Mary E. Baker, December 17, 1885, daughter of George W. Baker and Agnes Richards Baker. She died December 14, 1940, and funeral was held December 17, exactly 55 years anniversary of our wedding day.Mary Emma Baker Jensen

There were born to us eight children. Sibyl, December 21, 1886. Victor, born June 12, 1888, died February 11, 1889 of pneumonia. Mary born June 30, 1890, married Atherton Farr. Agnes born January 10, 1892. Lillian born June 12, 1894, killed in auto wreck, Rexburg, Idaho, July 25, 1931. Ether born March 5, 1896 died of tuberculosis, September 29, 1937. Milton born July 19, 1898. Olive born September 3, 1902.

Mary E. Baker was born in Mendon, Utah, July 30, 1864 and resided there all her life. Was educated in the district school and the Brigham Young College in Logan. Prior to marriage, she taught school several years in Mendon and Hyrum. In person was of average height, weighing when in normal condition about 140 pounds. Hair dark, eyes blue gray, was kindly and genial in disposition. Took great interest in church work, in Sunday school, Relief Society, and Mutual Improvement Association. Was excellent as a mother and housekeeper. Skillful in fine needlework, weaving rag carpet on an old style handloom. If necessary milked cows and last few years of her life took great interest in keeping a fine flower garden. In her as wife and the mother of our children my fondest hopes were fully realized. I can well remember her as a child about four years old, a young girl, full grown at eighteen and a mature woman and an elderly woman at seventy-six at time of her death. Death was caused by falling on November 29 and breaking right hip. Was taken to Logan hospital in an ambulance and given all medical and surgical aid available, but death claimed her December 14, 1940, ending a long life of unselfish usefulness.

Jens Jensen