Jacob Frederick Sorensen
Jacob Frederick Sorensen was born September 29th, 1844 on the Island of Sjælland at Fjenneslev, Sorø Amt., Denmark. He was the son of Nicolai and Malena Olsen Sorensen. Nicolai Sorensen was the son of Soren Abrahamsen and was born June 6th, 1799. Malena Olsen Sorensen was born in Fjenneslev, March 21st, 1807. They were the parents of eleven children. Jacob F. being the eighth child and fifth son in the family. The Nicolai Sorensen family belonged to the upper class in Denmark. The farmer or landowner belonged to this class. Their home was in Haverup, [Sorø Amt.], Denmark. It was built to form a square, about one hundred and fifty feet on each side. One wing was used for the family living quarters. A large recreation room was in the east end. Then the living rooms, bedrooms and a large kitchen with bake ovens.
In the bed rooms there were two tiers of beds; the lower beds were used by the smaller children and the upper ones for the older ones. The other three wings were used for farm machinery, hay, grain, cattle, etc. The inside of the buildings formed a court or yard. Outside of the buildings the people had their gardens, farms, pastures, etc. The kind of buildings a family builds depended on the social standing of the family. The children started to school when they were seven years of age. They were taught reading, writing, and arithmetic. The Danish language was thoroughly learned. Nearly everyone in Denmark can read and write, even the peasants or poor class. The children were taught to help with the chores and the farm work.
In 1854, Brother Fjeldsted of Logan and his companion first preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to the Nicolai Sorensen family. Soon after that we sold our farm and started for America. We came across the Ocean in the sailing vessel Westmorland in 1857. We landed in Philadelphia and went by rail to Iowa where we purchased a wagon and two teams of oxen to cross the plains to Utah. We arrived in Utah and went to Mill Creek. We build a home on the farm of a friend, a Mr. Jensen whom father had known in Denmark. We went south as Johnston’s Army neared Salt Lake. We stayed at Pond Town near Provo. We were glad to return to our home in Mill Creek.
Early in 1859, my father, Nicolai Sorensen, Peter and Isaac Sorensen and others came north into Cache Valley. The town of Wellsville, Logan, and other towns had been settled on the east side of Cache, but they followed the western side and located at Mendon. Later in the year they came back to Salt Lake and our family moved to Mendon. We lived in the fort for some time. It was two rows of houses running east and west through the public square. Father built a house where the William I. Sorensen home now stands.
I went to Jasper Lemmon’s school where he taught our geography lessons in song. “Two hemispheres on the globe Eastern and Western. Five grand divisions on the globe, Europe, Asia, Africa, North and South America. Five oceans on the globe, Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian, Arctic and Antarctic, etc.” As a young man I took part in the recreation. I played the accordion in an orchestra, and how the young folks did dance. For many years I took a leading part in Home Dramatics. I was called to help haul rocks for the Salt Lake and Logan Temples. In 1866 I went with an Emigrant train to Laramie to help them to Salt Lake. Joseph Hancock and Charles Bird were in the same company, which consisted of fifty teams and wagons from Cache Valley. The Indians would camp just across the creek here in Mendon. Many times we joined them in their war dances, and learned part of their language. We would go to Logan, Providence, Wellsville, etc. to enjoy their dances.
On December 1st 1873, I married Susan Hancock. We were married in the old Endowment House. It took two days for us to make the trip. We had a light wagon and fine team of horses. My sister Seny Sorensen went with us We stayed in Ogden with friends by the name of Bell. It was cold, but there wasn’t any snow on the ground. However we came home in a snowstorm. I purchased the home of James Graham and later the home of George Bird where I am still living. It is four blocks south of the U.I.C. Station. It seemed a long ways from town when I first moved here. I have been engaged in farming all of my life. I always have had a fine heard of cows and some good horses.
I have been an active church member all my life. In 1898 I accepted a call to fill a mission in the North Western States. I left my wife and ten children, Fred being twenty-two, the oldest, and Claud was only six months of age. I enjoyed my mission very much. I was able to play the organ, accordion, and fiddle which helped in our meetings. In 1900 I returned home. My family was well and had been blessed while I was away. Soon after this I was called to work in the Logan Temple for two years 1906-1907. I stayed at my daughter’s— Mrs. Zina Blanchard. At that time only one company was taken through in a day. There were usually one hundred in a company. Today there are four companies a day with two at night. More than one thousand persons go through now in a day. I have been a member of the Sunday school for almost seventy years, and an officer for twenty-two years. I was a ward teacher for nearly fifty years.
I helped to pioneer the Bannock County in Idaho and took up a homestead, but Cache Valley had always been my home. I have been on several Home Missions to Smithfield, Hyrum, etc. I remember attending conference in Logan in the old bowery. I hold the office of a high priest. Many great undreamed of inventions have happened during my life. The coal oil lamps took the place of our candles, then the gas and electric lights; the talking machines, trains, steam and electric, telephone, radio, airplane, talking pictures, etc. To my way of thinking, the radio surpasses all other inventions.
I am the father of ten children: Mrs. Zina Blanchard and Fred Sorensen died several years ago. J. Parley, Ammon A., Franklin Earl, Chauncy L. Sorensen of Malad City, Idaho, Mrs. Minnie Cooley of Salt Lake, Mrs. Clara Longstroth, Mrs. Ethel Walker and Claud A. Sorensen of Mendon. I have forty-two grandchildren and thirteen great grandchildren. On December 1st 1933, our children met at my home to celebrate our 60th wedding anniversary. My wife and I have always enjoyed good health. At present I am in my 90th year and until the last few weeks I have been wonderfully blessed with good health.1
1. Life Sketch of Jacob F. Sorensen, Jacob F. Sorensen. As related to Mrs. Claud A. Sorensen, January 1934.