Anne Larsen (Jensen)

After the emigration had gone, some changes were made in the mission fields. P. C. Nielsen was sent to Bornholm to preside over that mission, and I was appointed traveling elder over Falster and Moen. Before P. C. Nielsen, left he charged me with the responsibility to hunt up that girl, Anne Larsen, and bring her out of her captivity, as she was too good a girl to lose sight of. I tried for a long time to find her unobserved. I passed by the place where she was working many times, hoping to see her or to find her outside. I knew it was no use to go in there. I would not be able to come to talk to her and it would only make matters worse, as I understood the woman in there was very bitter against the Mormons. Finally one day I met her on the road in company with another girl. I could see on her face that she would like to speak to me, but I understood that she did not dare to on account of that other girl that was with her, and I did not speak to her for the same reason.

I had to adopt some other plan to get hold of her. Before Hans Madsen emigrated, he sold his place to a man by the name of Mikkelsen, whose family consisted of himself, his wife, one grown up son and two grown up daughters and perhaps some smaller children. They moved into the house before Hans Madsen moved out, occupying different rooms. Of course the theme of conversation was Mormonism, and before the Madsens were ready to go, the son joined the Church and went with them. The woman and the girls also to seemed to favor it, but now Hans Mikkelsen got awfully mad. Now he regretted that he had bought Mormon property, and it appeared to him that Mormonism was a catching disease. The woman and the girls got scared and dared not go any further, but I had a chance to see and talk with the girls occasionally when I passed by there. One day I asked the oldest of the girls if she ever saw anything of Green’s Anne, which was the name Anne Larsen was known by there. She said “Yes, I see her every day. We come out in the field to milk where there is only a fence between us.” “Do you think she has forgotten Mormonism?” I asked. “No. I don’t think so, but still we never talk about that.” “Would you do me a favor and hand her a letter out there sometime when nobody sees it and not tell anybody about it?” She promised to do that, and did it.

In the letter I sent, I simply told her that I got the impression when I met her on the road that she had not forgotten Mormonism, but that she did not dare to speak to me an account of her companion, and that I did not dare to speak to her for the same reason, and I further told her where she could find me on a certain day that I appointed. If she, on some kind or a pretext, could be permitted to go to the city of Stubbkjobing which was not far away, and if that should fail her that day, I would be there again the next day if she then could come. I told her that I should like very much to see her, and to have a talk with her.

I had a long and interesting talk with her for she had come on the first day. She paid me for the book that Hannah Madsen had handed to her, and she wanted to get some more books. She wanted to subscribe for “Skandinaviene Stjerne” if there was any possible way for her to get it unobserved. I then asked her if she was afraid to go out in the evening in the dark. She said, “No.” Now there was a small poplar grove close to the place where she was working and I said, “If you are not afraid to come to that grove after dark, I will meet you there on the first and twentieth of each month and deliver it to you.” This she accepted. “Skandinaviene Stjerne” was published on the first and fifteenth of each month, but it would take two or three days every time before we could receive them.

I met her there twice a month for more than a year, and we had many good conversations together, but we never stayed out very late in order not to be suspected. Those meetings were of such a character that they could not but create a good feeling between us, and I cannot deny that I had a feeling that I would like to get her for my wife, if possible, but I never said anything about that to her. But the time came when I had to part with her and go to war. That was In the fall of 1863, and some other missionaries had to discharge the business I had started, and it soon leaked out that she was keeping company with the Mormon missionaries in the sly, and in the dark, and the old racket was started up about her again.

Several miles away from where she now was, there was a farmer by the name of Hopner. He always liked to have Mormon girls to work for him, as far an he could get them. He always thought they behaved so well. He had one girl now, and wanted to hire one more as there was work enough for two girls. The name of the girl he had now was Karen. He had been a widower for many years. He had four daughters and one son, the son being the youngest of them. The daughters had all kept house for him in turn until they married, and now the youngest was his housekeeper. Her name was Marie.

Now Anne Larsen decided to take that place. There she could have a chance to go to her meetings and have perfect religious liberty. So the first of May 1864, she moved into that house. After she came, she learned that Marie was also a Mormon girl, but her father did not know about it at that time, but she was of age and had a right to do as she pleased. Time went on and Hopner was very much pleased with Anne, much more than with Karen.

But when he finally learned that Marie had joined the Church he got awful hot at Anne, whom he blamed for being the one that led Marie astray. They told him that Marie had been baptized before Anne came there, but he would never believe that. But now Hopner got mad and notified the girls to move by the first of November. He would have no more Mormons work for him. He had a man to work for him at that time by the name of Ole Green, who was also leaning toward Mormonism, and afterwards embraced it. Hopner said to him about Anne, “She is a smart girl, and a good girl, and a good worker. I have no fault to find with her at all, only that she led Marie astray.”

All this happened white I was serving the King of Denmark against Germany and Austria in the war when they took Selsvig-Holsten from Denmark. As the girls failed to find another place to work for the winter and had no home to go to, it was quite hard an them. After awhile Karen found a place to work, and Anne came to stay with a Mormon family by the name of Nicolai Hansen in Bjorup, a small town near Hopner’s. She was good to sew and took in what work she could get that way, but I understand she was not very well pleased with the turn things had taken.

Toward spring she got a job to help sew clothes for a family by the name of Hans Hansen that was preparing to emigrate. There were three in the family, the man his wife, and a son by the name or Hans Peter Hansen, generally called only Peter. The man was not quite right in the head, sometimes probably on account of drink. He was not a member of the Church, but the woman was, as was also the son, but the father wanted to go with them anyway. Now Peter had a girl whose name was Christine that he wanted to take with him, but the old folks liked rather to take Anne with them. She was older and better able to help them on the journey. Both girls were with them in the house now, helping to sew. They were not sure that they would have money enough at the time to take them both, but finally they concluded to take them both. Of course they were only going to lend the money to the girls. They would have to pay them back again after they came to Zion.

They had sold their property and were going to sell their personal property at auction to the highest bidder. This did not bring as much money as they had expected, but they had to pay for themselves and the two girls, so one day Peter took the money and went to the mission president in Copenhagen to pay for their emigration, and what was left over after the ship’s fare was paid, to have exchanged into American money. When he came home and his mother saw the receipt she noticed that he had not paid in the money for the girls. Now she wanted to know the reason for that and what he had done with the money. Well, he had the money in his pocket. He thought it would be time enough to pay it in when he came to Copenhagen, but she feared that he intended to fool Anne and was intending to spend so much more money on his own girl. When Anne learned that, she felt quite downhearted over it, and did not know what to do about it.