Anne Larsen (Jensen)

The boxes of Hans Hansen’s that the police had stopped from being carried out to the ship had afterwards been carried out anyway, and just as the ship was ready to go, the police came out to look for those boxes. They thought they must have been carried down in the ship or else stolen, but the captain of the ship would not permit them to look for them. He said they could not have taken care of them when they had them. But the police had evidently telegraphed to the police in Kiel to send all those boxes back that had Hans Hansen’s name painted on them, and by so doing they took Peter’s and Christine’s box too, so they lost all they had.

We stayed on deck of the ship all afternoon and all night while we crossed the Baltic Sea to Kiel. The weather was fine and we enjoyed the trip. The next morning we went out on the railroad to Hamburg, and in the afternoon we were put on a big ship called Packet Ship B. J. Kimball to take us across the North Sea and the Atlantic to New York. We laid there three days longer, and we were a little scared that we would get more trouble from Hans Hansen’s side, but nothing of the kind happened. D. H. Wells, president of the European mission came on board and paid us all the money coming to us in American gold. After we had got our money, the girls felt quite relieved. Up until that time they had been afraid of being stopped from going any further, but now it was a sure thing.

We left Hamburg May 8, 1865, and arrived in New York on June 15. Most of the girls were more or less seasick, Anne Larsen not excepted, and several died and were buried in the ocean. The missionaries had advised all the emigrants, especially the women, to take some provisions with them that they could have to take when they became seasick and would not be able to eat the ship’s fare. Anne had provided a good supply of such things as she thought she could eat in an emergency, but as she had no box of her own, and as she was going to travel in Hans Hansen’s company, she had it put in a box with his name on. But the police took it all, and she missed it badly while traveling on the ocean. Hans Hansen’s wife and son saved nothing but their bedclothes.

What became of the old man we never learned. All that we ever heard about him was that the newspapers had got up a story that his wife and son deserted him in Copenhagen, because they did not want to go with him, and that the Mormon missionaries had cheated him out of fifty thousand dollars.

After the ship had come out of the river Elbe, I expected they would have taken a southwesterly direction and gone through the English Channel, which would have been an almost direct line to New York, but instead of doing that, they started off in a northwest direction. We were wondering at that, but we soon learned that on account of the wind being unfavorable, it being southwest, they had to take the northern route and go north of Scotland. When we left Hamburg the sun was shining warm, and we had to seek the shade under the sails, but after we had sailed a few days, with the sun shining every day, it became so cold we had to lie down in the sunshine to keep warm. After we had passed Scotland, they still kept going in the same direction, the wind still being southwest. It became so cold that delicate women and children could not stand it, but when they changed the sails and turned south, it soon became warm. We could see icebergs to the northwest of us which, of course, helped to make it cold.

The Church chronology says that the ship B. S. Kimball sailed from Hamburg with 557 saints. These were from Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, but there was also a German company of emigrants on the same ship. Whether they were Mormons or not I do not know. They had music and dancing every day on the deck, and some of our young people went and danced with them, but of course they could not speak so as to understand each other.

The weather was fine most of the time we sailed on the ocean, though sometimes a little windy. There were two days and nights when we had a hard wind against us and so they had to hoist all the sails down to roll them in. All they could do was to keep the front end of the ship against the wind and drift with it. The captain said after the storm was over that we had drifted back 200 miles. After we had got started to go forward again, we met a steamship coming from America. They went so close to us that they threw a bundle of newspapers over on our ship in passing, from which we learned that the Civil War had ended and that Jefferson Davis had been taken prisoner. We had learned that Abraham Lincoln had been killed before we left Denmark.

When we arrived in New York and the ship laid up by the Castle Guard, a place for emigrants, there came an emigration agent from Utah. I think his name was Stuart or perhaps Stainer. He told us that we had better have our gold money changed to paper money as there was a premium on gold. He said we could do that ourselves if we wanted to, but he had got the promise from a certain bank that if we would let him get all the money that we had to be exchanged, he would get us a little more in greenbacks for it than we would be able to get ourselves, so we let him have it all. When we came into the Castle Guard there was a provision store with lots of good things to eat and drink, but we had not received our money back, so we could not buy a thing, and our hungry and seasick women felt awful badly over it, but there was nothing to do.

We soon got started on the railroad to Albany, and while on the cars we received our money, so when we reached Albany we had to try and find something to eat, and we found it too, but we had a little difficulty on account of the language. Four of the girls gave me all of their money, also one boy, to take care of and buy for them what they wanted and needed, because they were afraid to buy for themselves.

After a little while we started on the road again for Niagara Falls, and here we crossed into Canada. Here also, we had to change our baggage from one train to another, which took a little while. Here Anne felt again like being seasick, and I think some of the other girls did too, and they wanted me to go to a provision store there and buy them some coffee and some cakes. I took a tin can and went in. The store was full of people and all wanted to get something. There were several clerks, but none of them understood Danish. One of them could speak Dutch, but none of us understood that. The clerks were very accommodating, but the clerks and customers could not understand each other. I got my coffee and cakes and started to go when a Swedish girl came and asked me to help her. She got what she wanted, but she had handed the clerk a dollar and he had forgotten to give her change back. She pointed to the clerk that had waited on her and then I said to him, “This lady says she gave you a dollar, but you forgot to give her any money back.” Then he came and looked over what she had got and counted it up and gave her change back. But when the other people and the clerks, too, learned that I could speak a little English, they all wanted me to help them. Some of them said they had stood there a whole hour without being able to get anything. Then I said, “Let me go to my folks with what I have first and then I will come back again and help you.” But they held onto me to get this first and that first, so before I could come out to the girls with the coffee it had got nearly cold, and the girls were not very well pleased because I stayed in the store so long.

We traveled on Canadian ground until we came to Detroit, Michigan where we had again to change trains. From Detroit we went to Chicago, but we did not stop there long, perhaps half an hour. From there we went to Quincy, Illinois, and when we came there we could get no further. We were to go from there to St. Joseph, Missouri, but heavy rains had washed the railroad track away in Missouri, so we had to wait two days for the water to settle a little so they could get us over the gap in the railroad in some small boats. After we came to St. Joseph, we sailed up the Missouri River in a steamship to a place in Nebraska, a few miles from Omaha. We sailed on the river a couple of days and nights, and the weather was very warm. We had bought something to eat in St. Joseph, but we had nothing to drink. The ship stopped at different places to take on wood, but only a few minutes at a time. Some of us would take our cans and go inland to see if it would be possible to find some water fit to drink, but to no use, we never found any. We were all very thirsty, but then I saw one of the sailors draw up a bucket of water from the river and take a drink of it. I went and tasted that, too, and it tasted good. It was black with mud, like black coffee, but it tasted better than black coffee. I went and told the girls, and they, too, tasted it and found it good. From that time on we did not thirst any more while on the river; we called it coffee.

We landed in Wyoming, Nebraska, June 26, late in the afternoon and our baggage was thrown up on the ground by the side of the river, and the ship went further up. Now we got busy hunting up our things, and prepared for a good night’s rest. We had slept very little since we left the big ship that took us across the Atlantic Ocean, but we were fooled again, for a heavy rain came up, and instead of sleep we got a good soaking before morning. Next day the weather was fine again and we got busy getting our clothing and bedding dry. The women folks mostly attended to that while the men and boys had to prepare for tents and huts to sleep in the next night. We were four girls and one boy, besides myself, that stuck together like one family, and we stuck together yet about making a temporary habitation. Anne had a pair of bed sheets made of heavy home made flax cloth. The boy also had a pair made of cotton cloth, but we could not get time to make a tent that day, so we had to build a hut of wood first and then hang our sheets over that when it rained, and it rained a great deal. The water in the Missouri River was very dirty, but there was a small river running into the big river at that place called Weeping River that was nearly clear.

After we had rested a few days, the girls started washing at that place. It was a warm day and there was no shade. Anne said she drank lots of water that day, and the next day she was very sick, very sick with a kind of fever they called climate fever. There were many sick with it, and many died. I think it resembled typhoid fever. Anne said when she saw them carrying out one that had died, “I guess I’ll be the next one.” But she survived. Her time had not yet come, and she had a mission to perform in this life. She was the only one of her relatives that would listen to the Gospel as revealed in this time and generation. There were hundreds of her progenitors in the spirit world looking to her for assistance to enter into the Kingdom of God, and if she did not live long enough to do the work for them, she still lived long enough to raise a family that will and must do it for her. I am one of them. After she had been sick a few days, I got her a bottle of “Perry Davis Pain Killer” and that seemed to cure her. She said when she got the first dose that she could feel the effects of it clear out in her toes. We found it was a good medicine and we have hardly ever been without it since we came here.

We lived here a whole month waiting for our wagons to come from Chicago, so we did not get started on the road across the plains until the first of August. It went very slowly for a long time, for we had to break in both the cattle and the teamsters to drive them. I was one of the teamsters to be broken in. We traveled many miles on the south side of the Platte River, but finally we had to cross over to the north side. The weather was fine and the water was warm. The river was quite wide at that place, I think it was about one half mile wide. We all had to wade across, except the old and the sick, as we were heavily loaded. The women folks were advised to set up their skirts so as to keep them out of the water, because it would be hard to stand against the water with the skirts down around their legs. Anne said she came very nearly going with the water there as she was yet weak after her sickness. The journey across the plains was very hard on her, as it was on the old and feeble.

I mentioned that we were heavily loaded. We were only allowed fifty pounds baggage, but the reason we were so heavily loaded is because we were traveling with a merchant from Salt Lake City. Thomas Taylor owned the wagon and cattle that we were traveling with. He loaded the wagons with heavy merchandise such as glass and chinaware, such things as would not take up too much room. The wagon I was driving was loaded with boxes containing glass. So we had to put our baggage on top of that, and each person had to pay him sixty dollars for the provisions he furnished us, and for hauling up our fifty pounds, and for the privilege of walking by the side of the wagons one thousand miles or more. I earned my sixty dollars by driving a wagon with four yokes of oxen across the plains, but Anne had to sign a note with ten percent interest until she paid, and which we afterwards did pay.

We were a little afraid that Indians would bother us when we came over to the north side, but they did not. They never bothered us until we came to Fort Laramie. The first evening when we came to the fort or near it, the Indians drove our cattle away from the guard or herdsman that had driven them out on grass and were going to herd them until morning. The Indians fired a great many pistol shots, but whether they shot at the men or only shot to scare them, we did not know, for they did not hit any of them. Next morning we could see the cattle scattered all over the hills to the east and it took us three days to gather them up, and we never found all of them. The soldiers were there to protect the emigrants and travelers from the Indians, but they did not help us any, and we almost came to think it was the soldiers that were playing Indian at our expense.

After we had traveled a few miles away from the Fort, the Indians came after us again, this time at noon. A small train of merchandise consisting of heavily loaded wagons, with six mules on each wagon, belonging to George Romney of Salt Lake City, had joined us. They could travel faster than we could, but did not dare to because of the Indians. They generally drove a little ahead of us, but when they camped, we camped. They had stopped and unhitched for dinner when we came up to them. We stopped and unhitched for dinner also, and we all drove our animals to the river for water. The mules went ahead and the cattle close behind them, and we teamsters were close behind the cattle with our whips. The mules had got into the water, but the cattle had not, when a whole company of Indians came yelling and hooting. They were on horseback and tried to drive both the cattle and mules away from us, but they did not succeed because the mules got scared and jumped up out of the river and in among the cattle, which scared the cattle, too, and they all ran back to camp as fast as they could go. They raised such a cloud of dust that we could not see what became of them, whether they ran to camp or past it. We teamsters got far behind, and now the Indians kept riding behind us and kept shooting at us with their bows and arrows and pistols. They evidently had no rifles, but we teamsters had nothing but our whips. They did not succeed in killing any of us, but they wounded eight men, some of them very seriously, and they took one woman away with them. They threw a lariat at her, pulling her up on a horse and off they went with her, and she was never heard from again.

When we teamsters came near to camp there stood some girls with their buckets on the road to the river to get water with which to cook dinner. Anne was among them. We shouted to the girls to run to camp, and so they did run, but Anne told me afterwards that they did not know which would be the best, to run for camp or to hide in the brush. She had read about some emigrants, not Mormon, that had been attacked by Indians, and that they had destroyed the camp, and killed the people and burned the wagons, and that only a few people had been saved by hiding in the brush. The girls thought that such might happen this time.

The running of the mules and cattle made a great noise, and as soon as it was learned at camp what was going on, the men and boys came out and stopped the animals from running past, and got them into the corral. The corral was formed by driving wagons up in two half circles, forming a place in the middle. Some of the men and boys came out and shot at the Indians, and they thought that they had shot at least one of them, because he came to hand in his saddle, but he did not fall off the horse. When we came into camp, a great excitement prevailed. The wounded had to be tended to, and many of the women and children were crying. There was no thought of dinner. The men and boys had to get out all the ammunition and rifles that we had and get them loaded. We had got some rifles and ammunition that had been used in the war, which was now over.  

The captain ordered us to hitch up our cattle so we could see how many we had lost, as we had expected we had lost some of them, but when we got them all hitched up it proved that we had not lost any of them. We did not see any more of the Indians now, but we expected they would follow us, so we were organized into rifle companies, all but the teamsters and the women and children. One rifle company was ordered to go ahead; next, all the girls and women that were able to walk, one man with rifle on each side of each wagon, and one company behind.

Now we started to drive and we found that the cattle were just as excited as the people were. We had no use for our whips that afternoon; the cattle pulled with a good will. We drove until eleven o’clock that night, and when we came into camp the captain ordered us to unyoke the cattle and leave them in the corral, and not drive them out on grass that night, because we expected the Indians to be behind us. We were not allowed to make any fires or light, not even to strike a match, so the Indians could not see where our camp was. Everyone was put on guard around the camp. The women and children were allowed to sleep if they could find a place to sleep, but were told to not put up any tents. Everybody being tired and thirsty. We had found no water that night. We spent a wearisome night. The night passed peaceably, however, and the Indians did not come.

When morning came, we found that nine of the cattle had died during the night, so the captain said that we had better lay over here at least one day, the cattle being so exhausted, having had neither water nor food for over twenty-four hours and had worked hard. Half of the armed men had to go with the cattle and half had to stay around the camp. After they had got the cattle out to water and grass, four more had died, but we did not see any more of the Indians. Still, we were afraid of them until after we had crossed the Green River.

Everything went all right from that time until we came to the Sweetwater River. Here we came to a green place where there was nice green grass in the afternoon of October 8. Here the captain said we could stop just one hour to let the cattle eat some of that grass, then we should hitch up again and go through Sweetwater Canyon, where we would have to cross the river three times in the course of a mile, but the water was not deep. Another route passed over a high mountain called South Pass. After we had unhitched, the women folk did not know what to do. One hour was too short a time to cook supper in, so some of them went to the captain and asked permission to stay in that place overnight, so they would have time to cook supper. They told him that many of the people had had neither breakfast nor dinner that day. He was willing, provided they were willing to wade across the river three times in the morning. He explained to them that the water would be a little colder in the morning than in the evening, and we were too heavily loaded for them to ride. They consented to do that if they could only stay where they were because there was a nice place to camp and plenty of dry wood.

The reason why we had had neither breakfast nor dinner that day was because when we started to go across the plains from the Missouri River, it was expected that it would take ten weeks, but after we had traveled two weeks the captain said we had gone only seventy-eight miles, while we, by that time, ought to have traveled two hundred miles; so he would have to cut us short on our provisions, or we would run out long before we would reach Utah, and there would be nothing to buy on the way. The reason for our slow travel was that we had to break in both cattle and teamsters. From that time on we got less provisions, in fact we got too little, and when we got our provisions for a week it would only last five or six days for some families. We had just got our provisions for another week. We stayed there that night and had a good supper, but the next morning we had six inches of snow where we had camped, and the river had risen twenty feet during the night. A blizzard had come unexpectedly over us during the night.

Now the captain regretted that he had given way in the evening. Now we could not go through the canyon, but would have to go over the big mountain called South Pass, eight thousand feet above sea level, where there was supposed to be two feet of snow, and we were nearly out of provisions. The captain had telegraphed to President Young and told him about our condition, and Brigham Young made a call for donations to us, donations of provisions to be sent out to us, of teams to take it out and of young men to go with the teams. We stayed in that place for two days waiting for the snow to melt. It melted where we were stopping, but it did not melt much in the high mountains.