Life Sketch of Abraham Sorensen

This history of Abramam Sorensen was taken from a box of papers that were given to me containing the family records of Joseph N. Sorensen, a son of Abraham. Among them are a plethora of documents, deeds and photographs. I am unsure whom the author of this is. But it seems to come from the hand of one of his sons or daughters. We are lucky to have this one.

The Mendon DUP records report that this was written by his granddaughter, Ione Baker (Stauffer) and read by Mary E. Sorensen, March, 1935.

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Abraham Sorensen

Abraham Sorensen, son of Nicolai and Malene Olsen, was born November 18th, 1837 in Haverup, Sorø Amt., Sjælland Island, Denmark. His father was a farmer also a wheelwright by trade. He had sixty acres of land, also a shop where he employed men to work in repairing wagons and all kind of farming implements in use at that time, making coffins and new wagons, jumpers and sleds. Isaac was the oldest boy at home and took much interest in farm work and herding the sheep. Peter the oldest son was a miller and Abraham lived with his uncle Frederik. On the 18th of June 1855, Abraham and Isaac were baptized into the L.D.S. Church and his father and mother in September, Christian and Christina, soon after. Peter and Sophia were the last to become converted, they were both away from home and exposed to ridicule. His father sold his place in the spring of 1856 and made his home in the workshop until April 1857. Isaac was employed by the man who bought the home. There were six boys and four girls in the family.

On the 18th of April 1857 they left Denmark, landing at Grimsby, Scotland, taking the train to Liverpool, England, where they set sail for America in the sailing vessel, Westmoreland. There were twelve in the company. Jacob Jensen and family and a brother to Andrew Andersen also came at that time. The winds and waves were favorable and they were only five weeks on the ocean, a short time in those early days. His mother was confined to her bed most of the time. They landed at Philadelphia harbor, traveling then to Iowa. In three weeks they arrived at Florence, Omaha, there they met a handcart company and traveled most of the way to Utah with them, often camping together for the night. It was hard as the oxen had to be taught to go. Up until the time they arrived in Omaha the oxen had not been unyoked, as the captain of the company was afraid they would be unable to yoke them again. They were fortunate and had no stampedes, no one was hurt, but they lost a number of oxen with poison alkali. Among them was one of their best, so they had to buy a yoke of young oxen and also a cow which they worked part of the time. They arrived in Salt Lake in September 1857.

After arriving in Salt Lake, they went south to Mill Creek and wintered on Big Cottonwood. The first winter was mild and they husked corn and hauled logs out of Mill Creek Canyon and built a house on a small farm, which they had rented. Abraham was hired out to a man in Mill Creek. His father started a carpenter shop in the winter of 1858-1859. His brothers Isaac and Peter came to Cache Valley in May 1859 with two yoke of oxen and a wagon, talking nine days to make the trip. The grass was green and the animals soon gained in flesh. They worked with the Atkins’ boys plowing one day for each then the third day harrow their own. The harrows were homemade, being three cornered with wooden teeth. They did no fencing the first year. During the summer they obtained logs from the hills from which they built houses. By the fall of 1859 there were twenty-five families in Mendon; the remainder of the Sorensen family came in the 10th of November. Abraham Sorensen married Mary Jensen in November 1858 in Mill Creek, Utah. The Sorensen home in Mendon consisted of three rooms. The first winter Abraham and his wife occupied the east room, Peter the west room and the rest of the family the center room. The fireplaces were made of stone and due to the scarcity of matches; fire was carried from one family to start the fire for another. At this time the Indians were bad so the houses were built in a fort style with a six-rod street between houses.

During this time a daughter was born to Abraham Sorensen. She was born February 19th, 1860. Her name was Mary Ann. She was the first girl born in Mendon and while still living in the fort two other children were born they were Samuel and Emma. In the spring of 1860 a log meeting house was built; here they would enjoy themselves dancing with a tallow candle for a light. It was a common sight to see the spinning wheel running from morn till night, the yarn colored with herbs’ and spun into cloth for clothing. In the springtime it was necessary to hold umbrellas over the beds to keep the mud from the earthen roofs from wetting them. In the spring of 1864 the fort was broken up and the city surveyed into nine blocks. Abraham moved to the southwest corner and built a one-room log house and afterwards added three more rooms. He lived here until the fall of 1879. While still living here five more children were born, they were Joseph, Christina, Melvina, William and Laura. He was chorister of the Mendon choir while brother Isaac was on a mission.

In the fall of 1879, Abraham Sorensen sold his property in Mendon and moved down to Granger in Salt Lake County, where he purchased eighty acres of land and built him a home. During this time another daughter was born, her name was Lillath. During the winter he and his two sons Samuel and Joseph worked out an $800.00 water right in the South Jordan Canal. The first canal that was built over Jordan, southwest of Salt Lake City. When he moved to Granger there was neither branch nor ward so they had to go about four miles north of Granger to Brighten Ward to attend meetings and Sunday school. During the two years in which they attended this ward he was appointed chorister. Then a ward was organized at Granger after which he was put in first counselor of Bishop Daniel McRay. He was also chorister in the ward and also Sunday school superintendent. After living there six years he sold his place and moved back to Mendon in the spring of 1885. He bought his old place back from Michael Murphy and also the land west of Mendon known as the Plantation. He sold his place again and in the year of 1898 he moved down to Erda a few miles north of Tooele. In 1900 he moved back to his old home in Granger and rented it for two years. After living two years in Granger he moved back to Mendon and bought two and a half lots from Robert Sweeten, located southwest of Mendon on which he built him another home. Then in 1910 he sold that home to Otto Anderson and then he went out west into Raft River, Idaho and built him another home, he was also a pioneer of Raft River. While here he helped break up land build roads and also schoolhouses. Then he moved back to Mendon again in 1917 and bought a home from brother George Goatman.

After moving back he was a faithful ward teacher and church worker. He was eighty-three when he was released from ward teaching. He died June 1st, 1928. He was ninety years seven months old; he survived his wife seven weeks. She died April 13th, 1928. She was ninety years eleven months.1

Ione Baker Stauffer

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1. Life History of Abraham Sorensen, Ione Baker, March 1935, Abraham Sorensen Papers, unpublished manuscript.