Anne Larsen (Jensen)

On the third day we had to try and climb the mountain; the slope was very gradual, so we got up all right, but what a splash traveling through about a foot of snow and water. On top of the mountain it looked like a flat, but when we came to go down the other side it was with great difficulty, because the snow still laid there in many places, so the wagons would slide and the cattle could not hold them back, the brakes were no good at such times and in some places the wagons would go sideways with great danger of tipping over. But we had to help each other as best we could, and finally we got down to a level place that looked like a meadow. In the center where the water had gathered, it looked like a lake. Here we camped for the night, but here we met with other serious difficulty. We were all wet, very wet, and especially the women. The ground was too wet to put up the tents and to spread the bed clothes on, and it was with great difficulty that we got a fire started, because there was no wood at that place except sage brush which was now wet and green.

It froze so hard that night that the ice on the water could hold the cattle in the morning. Here the first wagons with provisions met us that had been sent out by Brigham Young, and we were in hopes that they would give us some of it, but they said, “No, there is another company behind you, and they are worse off than you are, we have got to go out to them.” But they said there would soon come some more, and they almost frightened us by telling us that Green River was very high, and that our cattle were too small to stand up against the stream. It took us three or four days to reach Green River, so by that time the water had lowered some, but it was still high.

A couple of days before we reached Green River more wagons with provisions came to us with flour, meat, dried fruits, etc., so now we had plenty to eat until we reached Salt Lake City. Also, when the wagons returned, they took all of our sick folks and their baggage with them, so that our loads got so much lighter. They also told us that the water in the river had gone down some, so that we would be able to ford it. This, of course, we considered good news, but the idea that we would have to wade across that cold and desperate stream almost frightened some of our girls and women to death. But when we arrived at the river one day late in the afternoon, the captain ordered all the girls and women and the old men to climb into the wagons, as he said, “The water is now too cold for the women to wade in.” This made them smile, and not without a good reason for it. Next he ordered the teamsters to double up, two and two, and take the uneven numbered wagons first; that is, one, three, five, and so forth, and after they had taken them over to go back and bring the rest of them over, there being thirty-six wagons in all.

The river was quite wide where we crossed it. We could not cross in the narrow places, for there the water was too deep. We teamsters had to go to the head of our teams to lead them, and the water was waist deep, and by it continually splashing against us, we got wet nearly all over. After we got the first wagons over, we had to go back after the rest of them, and by this time it was nearly dark. This proved to be a different job, as the cattle did not want to go back over again, so we had that for reason to stay in the cold water longer than would have been necessary. We had to go at the head of them and use our whips on them. The cattle, of course, were both tired and hungry. We teamsters, therefore, had to wade the river three times, and being in the water with wet clothes for two or three hours. The other young men, those not teamsters, also had to wade the river, but only once. This was the coldest bath I had ever been treated to.

The girls had made a great big campfire, there being plenty of good wood at that place, and we had to go to the fire and stand by it until the water in our clothing got warm enough to warm us through, but as soon as we turned away from the fire our clothes got cold again. Some of them suggested that we had better take our dry clothes out to the fire and change clothes right there where it was warm. This would have been very nice, but we did not dare do that, there being too many girls around. After we had been in our wagons and got dry clothes on we felt just as cold again, as there was a cold wind blowing at the time, so we had to go back to the fire to get warmed up the second time, and also to get our supper that they had prepared for us. We got chilled through to the marrow and bone, so it was impossible to get warm enough to sleep that night. I never felt it so cold during the war, where we had to sleep out in the snow most of the time.

After we had passed Green River, we had several smaller streams to cross, the largest of them being Black Fork, running south and joining Green River lower down. The next largest was Bear River, running north. We crossed it near the head of Echo Canyon, about where Evanston now is. We next went through Echo Canyon, which is about forty miles long. When we came through the canyon, we came to Coalville, where we met William Cluff who had been to Denmark on a mission, and spoke Danish, and although we were strangers in a strange land, we commenced to feel a little more like we were at home than we had done for the last six months. Here we got some vegetables, such as carrots, beets, turnips, and potatoes, which some of our emigrants had been homesick for for a long time.

After two or three days further travel we reached Salt Lake City on November 8, 1865, six months and four days from the time we left Copenhagen. We were both tired and hungry, although we had had plenty to eat the last two hundred miles. It took us practically all winter to get filled up, we had starved for so long a time on the plains.

But now another question presented itself to us, that is, to me and Anne, “What should we now do? Should we get married and stay together, or should we again part for a while?” We came to the conclusion that we were far too poor to marry, as we had practically nothing, and we were in debt for our emigration besides. We were only allowed to have fifty pounds of things with us across the plains, and a few books and bedclothes with a few other clothes besides what we had on soon made up fifty pounds. As long as it was summer we did not need any clothes, but when it came winter we practically had to put on all we had, and as we had three hundred miles to travel in snow and mud, we got our clothes not only soiled, but worn out. So we concluded that we had better put our marriage off until spring. Anne got a place with a Swedish family by the name of Tyge Benson, in Mill Creek, and I went with my brother, Peter, to Huntsville. He had met me on the road. Peter and another brother, Christian, had moved from Farmington to Huntsville that summer, and our father and mother also came up there from Farmington in the fall. They all lived now in a house Peter and Christian had built that summer, only one room and only half finished. I stayed with them until after New Years.

October had been a very stormy month, but November had been fine. A threshing machine was still running in Huntsville, and I got a few days work helping with the threshing. I also made a few bushel baskets which I sold for potatoes. Money was out of the question in those days. After New Years I got about two months work in Ogden with William McKay, weaving, for which I earned a little store pay and ten bushels of wheat.

When we parted in Salt Lake City on November 9, 1865, I handed Anne an address which I had received from my brother, to which she could write to me at Huntsville, and as soon as she had learned what address to use for herself, to write to me. She would hear from me in return. She received one letter from me and I also received one from her during November, but then it all stopped. I wrote several letters to her, but never heard from her any more for a couple of months. I did not know what was the matter. I could not very well take a trip down there, there being no railroad at that time, and there was more snow in Salt Lake Valley that winter than there has been any time since. In February my brother Peter went to Salt Lake City to visit a girl he had there that he intended to marry in the spring. He stopped over at McKay’s with me in Ogden, both when he went down and when he came back. He told me that I had better go down to Mill Creek to look after my girl. He had learned while he was in Salt Lake City that they were using all kinds of tricks to induce her to marry as a second wife to the man where she was working. He had also learned that one man from Huntsville was participating in the game by telling stories about me.

In the latter part of February I took a trip down there on foot. The snow had gone on the road, but there laid big piles of it in many places. Anne was quite surprised to see me, but glad I came, because she was perplexed in her mind what to do. She had not heard from me for so long, and although she had written several letters to me she had only received one, and that shortly after I had gone to Huntsville. I told her I was in the same fix, I had also written several to her and only received one. Well, she had been suspecting foul play all the time but did not know what to do about it. Then she told me that a man that had moved from Mill Creek to Huntsville in the fall had been down there during the winter and he had said to her about me, “You don’t need to expect to see him anymore, he has been running after all the girls in Huntsville, and I believe he has found one that he is going to marry when spring comes.” This good man’s name was Feder. Anne did not believe any of that. She could plainly see through their trickery. She had known me too long to be caught in that kind of a trap. She further told me that right in the middle of winter, Benson had proposed to her one day and asked her to go with him to Salt Lake City. He wanted to buy her lots of good and useful things, if she would be his second wife, which he hoped. But she refused, both to go with him and to be his second wife. Then he said, “Don’t you want to get married?” “Perhaps I will,” she answered, “when the one comes that I want.” To marry him was entirely out of the question. Then he got mad and told her to go, that he had no more use for her.

This happened right at the time when snow was the deepest, there being lots of it that year, so she could not go anywhere for snow at the time, so she sat down to cry. When he saw that, after a little while he came over to her and told her that she did not need to cry over it, for he was not going to drive her out, she could stay until spring if she wanted to, but he would not pay her any more than her board for her work. In the beginning, when she first came there, they had promised to pay her two dollars a week during the winter. They had plenty of work for her to do, carding, spinning, and coloring yarn and sewing, and many times he went away and stayed all day, but then she had to tend the stock, too. The old woman was weaving. Anne said that she was a good woman, but she had nothing to say as she was a regular slave.

Anne said that when she first came there, they set her to work sewing endowment clothes, which she understood were intended for her to use herself, but Anne thought otherwise.

She told me also that as long as it was fine weather in the fall she could attend to her own mail business, but after the snow came she had trusted her mail to him. The result was that he had destroyed it, hoping that if she could not hear from me that he would succeed in getting her for himself.

In the early spring Mr. Benson moved to Brigham City, and Anne came with them to Ogden; that is, she had the privilege to walk behind the wagon in the mud, for the wagon was heavily loaded and the road bad, but she got what little she had hauled to Ogden, and of course she stopped in the night where they stopped. At Ogden I met her and brought her to Huntsville. We learned afterward that Mr. Benson had committed suicide in Brigham City, after going crazy.

On April 7, 1866, we were married by Bishop F. A. Hammond. We settled in Huntsville and have resided there ever since. We had six children of which three are still living.

On April 7, 1866, we launched our craft on the waters of the matrimonial ocean which, by some writers, has been described as the largest and stormiest ocean in the world, and that more shipwrecks have occurred on that ocean than on all other oceans combined. We sailed on that ocean for nearly fifty years, but never reached the end of it. In fact, we believed there was no end of it if we steered in the right direction. Of course, we had our storms and calms, our ups and downs, our sunshine and shadows, like other voyagers, but by the help of Providence, we avoided shipwreck. Our ship came suddenly to a standstill on the tenth day of January 1916, but we hope by the help of Providence that we may sometime in the future be enabled to start sailing again, and keep it going through the endless Eternity.

In the latter part of November 1871, we were sealed as husband and wife, for time and all Eternity, in the old Endowment House in Salt Lake City, by Daniel H. Wells. On this occasion Anne got her name changed to Anne Jensen, at the advice of John Smith, who had been Denmark on a mission, and had learned the way that the Scandinavians named their children. He advised all of them that were there to use the family name; so when Anne gave her maiden name as Anne Larsen, and her father’s name as Lars Jensen, John Smith said to her, “Why don’t you take the name of Jensen instead of Larsen?” Anne asked me what I thought of it, and I thought it would be all right, so her name in the Temple record is Anne Jensen.

In the Lutheran Church in Denmark, her name is Anne Larsdatter. In the Mormon Church record in Denmark, her name is Anne Larsen, so in order to avoid misunderstanding we have used both names together, Anne Larsen Jensen.

The Apostle Paul said that death is a gain, Philippians 1: 21. I hope that it also has been a gain to Mother, so that my loss is her gain. I hope she is freed from the sickness that troubled her here in this life for so many years. She suffered for many years with stomach trouble and headaches and other afflictions that caused her much pain and suffering. Now last fall, 1915, when she got so very sick, she said, “I cannot see why I shall suffer so much, it seems to me I had not deserved that.” Another time she said, “Oh, if you could realize what I suffer, you would surely pity me.” Of course, I could not understand and feel it like she did.

The last four months she lived she vomited up everything she took in except water and olive oil, and sometimes that also. She could not take any more medicine so we employed a nurse who gave her some relief with hot applications, but at last injections of morphine was the only thing that could ease her pain, and if there is anything that I have to regret, it is that we did not use more of that to relieve her suffering than we did. She suffered so that she finally lost her mind. Her trouble was cancer of the stomach and which was the cause of her death on January 10, 1916, at the age of seventh-seven years and five months.

After living an industrious and peaceable life, is that the reward? Is life worth living? The answer is found in the Life and Labors of Wilford Woodruff, Appendix A, page 655, “The object of living and laboring in the cause of God is to secure a part in the First Resurrection, Eternal Life and Immortal Glory.” In looking over some of her old papers, I found a verse that she had written, I think copied from some paper or magazine, that she thought suited her case:

“Men ak! paa Livete Straande,
Langs Verdens Vilde Strom,
Er Smerden kun det Sande,
Og Gleden blot on Drom”

Rendered into English the thoughts expressed in the above stanza would run something like this:

But alas! Upon life’s journey,
Along the world’s turbulent stream,
Is sorrow the only reality,
And joy merely a dream?

When she first took sick and while she was in her right mind, she said to Emma Wood, the president of the Relief Society, when she had come to visit her, that she would like to live another year, if possible, as she had sent to Denmark for her genealogy. We had expected to have it in the fall, but it had not come yet at that time. She hoped to live to see the names of her forefathers and foremothers; also to see to it that the work for them in the Temple was being performed, as she seemed to think that if she first was gone, that it was likely to be neglected or put off. The Temple work for her relatives worried her more than any other thing as long as she was in condition to think and talk.

The genealogy, written in Denmark by Jens Jensen, did not come until about a month after her death. It contained more than five hundred names, still is not complete, for her mother had eleven children, and there are only seven in the record. Two of the missing ones, two sisters, we have the photographs of, the one being older and the one being younger than Anne. Both were alive when we left Denmark.

Have I any reason to mourn over the departed? Perhaps not, but I cannot help it, especially when I think of how she suffered; but at the same time I do not mourn like those that have no hope, because I surely hope to meet her again some time. She died in full faith and in hope of an everlasting salvation. I am glad anyway that it was not I that departed from her, for I believe that I can better get along alone than she would have been able to do.

“Farewell, dear Mother, sweet thy rest,
Weary with years and worn with pain,
Farewell, til in some happy place
We shall behold thy face again.”