Oluf Christian Larsen Life History
Chapters One Through Six
A BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF THE LIFE OF
OLUF CHRISTIAN LARSEN
DICTATED BY HIMSELF AND WRITTEN BY HIS SON OLUF LARSEN
DEDICATED TO HIS POSTERITY WHO MIGHT DESIRE TO READ IT
Parentage, birth, work, education, providential escapes in accidents, confirmed, hired by Tollefsen at $20.00 per year when fourteen years old.
For the sake of my posterity, and for future reference, I write my history and write it as truthfully as my memory will permit.
I was born on the 8th day of April 1836 in Drammen of Norway. My father's name is Lars Olsen and my mother's maiden name is Kari Olsen. My parents were poor, but I always think of their honesty and integrity with great respect.
We were only two children, my sister the older; but notwithstanding there was such a small family, my father could not provide the necessities of life for us. It was necessary for us children to do what we could to help provide as soon as we were able.
At the age of six years, I began work in a factory commencing work at 7:00 A.M. and being released at 8:00 P.M., for which I received six cents per day. In this establishment from 150 to 200 children were engaged in the making of pins, hooks and eyes, money purses, matches, etc., all of which I aided with at different periods. After working here for about a year, I was moved to a tobacco factory where my wages were increased to eight cents per day for the same number of hours' work. Here, a certain amount of reading was given each child to learn daily. Failing to learn the prescribed lesson, we were severely punished by our masters. Very little time was given for amusement, having two hours for noon and half an hour in the afternoon. The remaining time, while at work, we were under close watch and punished severely for only whispering. Notwithstanding the severity of these masters, I was always thought well of by them, as well as proprietors of these institutions.
In these early days of my life, I had many narrow escapes from accidents, although I was never sick in childhood, which seems a wonder when considering my scanty mode of living and the conditions in the factory.
I remember an incident as a little fellow when together with some of my comrades, we wandered into a whiskey distillery. We were generally hungry, and there in the manufacturing of whiskey, boiled potatoes were used. As boys, always inquisitive, wanting to see and know everything, we ran around in all directions to the great annoyance of the workmen. I ran into a dark room, which contained large vats under the floor. Stepping on the lid of a vat, it tipped up and I fell in. If this had happened an hour later, as I was told, the cold mixture would have been replaced with a boiling mixture and I would have come to an untimely end by being scalded or boiled to death. After I got my head over the surface and my mouth partly cleaned out, in a gurgling way I shouted as loudly as I could to attract attention. Some time passed before I could be heard in the other rooms as my voice was feeble.
At last help came with a shower of cursing from the rough characters working in the place. I had to take it all with humility as none were to blame but myself. A kind-hearted family living close by took me to their home and washed me and my clothes, speaking kind words and giving me something to eat, which soothed my sorrow. Although expecting another scolding, if not a whipping to follow when I got home, yet mother was only thankful that providence had saved her only son.
My work was at that time in a tobacco factory, principally manufacturing smoking tobacco. Machinery of different kinds was used for that purpose, the motive power of which was a large overshot water wheel in connection with which was other wheels and connections. One great cogwheel was running in the cellar of the building. We boys generally enjoyed ourselves by hanging to the wheel up to a certain distance and then dropping down.
Once when alone, an idea come into my childish mind to let the wheel take up up to the platform above, but this calculation was changed by the wheel having more motive power than I had expected. As I passed the platform, I saw in a moment that I was in danger of being crushed to death between the wheel and the uprights, so I yelled with all my might. The men working in the main building soon understood that something was wrong, thus sprang and took hold of the different wheels and by main strength stopped the motion of the wheels. Some came out into the room and saw my little frail body hanging from the wheel with my arms through the connecting cogs. A moment later would have found me in the bottom of the cellar crushed and mangled. They tenderly lifted me down, more dead than alive. An examination showed my arm ground to pieces from elbow to hand between the cogs. They asked me how this happened and in a moment I had a lie prepared to shield myself, which to sensible people was just as foolish as my actions; but the question was raised and a division between the men occurred. Some believed what I said and others could not believe that such a thing could happen. The story I told was this: "As I was packing the wood into the cellar, one stick of wood got into the cogs and as I reached to get the wood out, my coat sleeve was caught by one of the iron pins of the cogs and I was carried upward." I was not in condition to stand an examination at that moment, but flitted away to home and mother as quickly as I could thinking of nothing but my poor arm with which I expected I should have to part. I had no idea that it could again be patched together.
As my home was quite a distance from the factory, my strength gave way and I fainted on the road. But luck was again in my favor. A lady carrying water observed my condition and came to my rescue by applications of cold water, thus reviving me again. I then continued until I reached home. At the time I left the factory, father was immediately sent to the doctor and came home a few minutes later than myself with an order that at a certain hour I must be at his office. This was the most trying moment of the incident as my imagination pictured nothing but saws, knives, needles and thread. When reaching the office, the old gentleman soon relieved me of that terrible vision. Now came father's time to feel bad. My coat was cut away and father was ordered to take hold of the upper part of my arms and pull, while the doctor held my hand. I never have been able to forget that old doctor for scolding my father because he didn't pull hard enough.
After an hour's work, the doctor succeeded in placing every piece of bone. My arm was put into a cast, placed in a sling, and I went home to mother and said, "I have my arm yet mother," Six weeks of quietness followed when the bandages were removed and I was again a happy boy. When my arm had somewhat gained its strength, it was again necessary for me to go to work. Six weeks of idleness had quite an influence in the household. The doctor's bill, besides other necessities, was paid by the factory that was much appreciated by us.
By this time winter was coming on and father's work would soon be stopped when it was only the few cents I earned that sustained us. With me it made no difference whether winter or summer. I liked a good deal to eat, but was always satisfied with what I got. Wherever I was I was jolly and happy. If God had not given me birth in a rich man's house, he had given me a happy and contented mind.
The smoking-tobacco factory was run in the summer months, but when winter set in and the water froze, it could not be run; hence, father was left without employment. Small boys like myself generally found work in the cigar and chewing tobacco factory. I seemed to be fortunate by always having employment either with one thing or another. Being a poor man's boy, I was naturally humble, willing, and obedient, so I was well thought of wherever I went.
Winter in Norway was generally long and severe, yet in winter as in summer, rich and poor could find much enjoyment. There was snow in the mountains, hills, and valleys from November until April, and ice bright as crystal from one to three feet thick on the lakes and rivers. There was skating, sleighing, coasting, and skiing all winter; though the only time for play for those who worked in the day was in the evening. At times when there was no moonlight it was very dark, for in those days there was no gas nor electric lights in Norway.
One evening another boy and myself were coasting down a hill very swiftly. We yelled as loudly as we could to attract the attention of a lady who came out in the way, but without avail, for in a moment she was struck by the sleigh and thrown into the air crying for help. My companion and I ran homeward as rapidly as we could fearing the police would be after us. We did not know the lady nor did she know us, but in the morning we found blood on the snow.
Drammen, my native town, is built on both sides of a large river, Bina Elven, which is always overfrozen in the winter and is a place of enjoyment for both young and old for skating and sailing on sleighs. The boys on each side of the river were always at a war with one another and the contending spirit ran so high that the police sometimes had to interfere, but as a general thing it was overlooked as boys of all classes of people were engaged in the fight and all became friends in the summer, so we were left to settle our trouble ourselves. Our weapons of war were sticks, clubs, and stones.
One Sunday afternoon we were engaged in a series of skermishes which lasted until late at night. Being hungry, I ran home to get a bite to eat. As it was already getting dark, mother implored me to stay home, but as I heard the war cry, I had no inclination to stop, but was soon on the ice, skates strapped to my feet and skimming over to the contending armies. While I was absent my companions were driven ashore and the enemy had invaded our possessions. Being very foggy and dark I ran in among the enemy, was detected, and soon found my mistake. Hurriedly turning, I went for shore closely followed by the enemy. Not far from shore were open water holes about one and one-half feet in diameter through two feet of slick ice. The enemy in full pursuit, I jumped into one of those holes, going far beneath the surface of the water in the deep river, the current of which was quite rapid. Luck was again in my favor for I came up straight as I had gone down. Had I missed the hole an inch either way, I would have been swept under the ice by the current. When the enemy saw me go down, some shouted, "Help him, help him!" and some shouted "Put him under again!" but had they not helped me I never could have saved myself for the ice was too slick and too thick for my short arms.
After being helped out, I got my skates off and ran home as fast as I could, but before I got there my clothes were frozen as stiff as ice. Of all my narrow escapes to date, this seemed the closest call.
At this time I was about twelve years old. We rented a dwelling from a man who ran a livery stable and had many fine horses. As boys generally like to be around and handle horses, they were also very attractive to me. The people were very kind to me and in return I did chores and odd jobs for them. We became attached to one another, almost as parents and son. The lady especially was a very religious woman and so a day seldom passed without devotional exercises of singing and reading the Bible. As I was quite a good reader, compared with the old folks themselves, they often got me to read the Sunday sermons. This had the influence of tempering my heart religiously. I had no schooling in my youth, consequently no taste for education. My whole ambition was to work and to be honest and truthful.
Changing from one factory to another, I was at this time working in a cigar factory owned by one of the wealthiest men of the city. Should there be no work in the factory, I generally stayed with the owner of the livery stable. I shall relate only one more of the many incidents of narrow escapes of my youth which is as follows.
Among the horses of the livery stable was one very fractious animal, which had run away and destroyed many vehicles and sleighs. Though this was known to be the case by nearly everybody in town the sporting men and those wishing to go a distance in a hurry often called for the fractious horse. Once a man from a neighboring city about twenty-eight miles distant wanted the horse. Having buggy and harness himself, I accompanied him in order to bring the horse back. We got to our destination all right and I prepared to return having a small sack of hay and some rope with which the luggage had been tied. I got on my horse and road through the city on a slow walk. When on the outskirts of the city, I began to think walking the horse all the way would be a tedious job. Trotting was impossible for I could not stick to the horse's back. I soon devised a plan that I felt would be all right. The sack of hay I placed under me and tied myself on with the rope thinking that would hold me on, but I had no sooner started on a trot than under the fractious horse's belly I slid with head and face downward and toward his hind legs. The horse through some medium instantly stopped and stood quiet as a lamb. An old lady standing near saw my perilous position, ran forward, and liberated me. After this I was satisfied with walking the horse slowly until I reached home where I related my experience to the old folks who thanked God for my deliverance.
In the days of my youth, only one religion existed in Norway, which was the Lutheran State religion. The school system as well as the church were controlled by the state and were a free school system as well as partly compulsory. Children were required to attend school a certain period between the ages of thirteen and fourteen. They were required to be able to read the catechism if nothing else. If parents were careless in seeing that much was learned, they laid themselves liable to punishment by the law, and if children were insubordinate they were sent to the reform school where they were taught the requisites, confirmed by the priest and released, which was considered quite a disgrace and remained a blot on the person's character forever; therefore, very few such instances occurred. The school commissioner's were also glad to get the children off their hands to give room for others.
By this time, I was thirteen years old and another year would bring me to the age of self-responsibility. The first six months of this year, I was obliged to attend school half a day and work the other half. The teacher being very partial took little notice of a poor man's son, but in a rough and unsympathetic manner demanded the lessons necessary for us to learn before we could be confirmed. These lessons for myself were brief, historical sketches from the Bible, selections from the Psalms and the catechism. This was an easy task for me; therefore, I had plenty of time to play.
The last six months of this year I had to appear before the priest half a day once a week, where we were catechized by him. Besides the half day before the priest I attended school four half days and worked six half days. I still continued my work in the cigar factory where the kindness of the people increased to me as time passed. With great satisfaction mingled with anxiety, all looked forward to the day of confirmation as the time when we should be subject to nobody and entirely independent, when parents, priests, teachers and masters had no right to order or command us.
As a general thing at the age of confirmation the young men had decided on their ideal occupation, some choosing the sea, some the army, some business and some one thing or another. The hearts of fathers and mothers were generally filled with anxiety and dread thinking and talking of nothing but the probable course of their children, wishing and praying continually that they would choose the right way and walk therein, knowing the many temptations and evils the world was full of and would beset their paths.
Being very much attached to the old people who owned the livery stable as well as to the handling of horses, and considering that I could remain at home, I accepted a position with them for a year.
As the day of confirmation drew near, the children did their utmost to not be put back a year. Mother never saw me study and was much afraid I would not know my lessons. I was, however, just as anxious as she; but the priest seemed satisfied with the answers to his questions, which were not many to me. I sometimes thought he had other reasons for not asking me any questions, for being a poor man's son he could not consistently place me at the head of the class on the day of confirmation when there were so man sons of rich men to be confirmed.
A few days before the day of confirmation, word came from the owner of the cigar factory for me to come into the parlor. I meditated much on what was going to happen. As I came in, the lady sat on the couch, the gentleman himself followed me in and pointing to the couch told me to sit down. Still in a quandary, I got quite excited till he seated himself by my side. Taking my hand and talking about this, "Oluf, for a considerable time my wife and myself have been talking a great deal about you. We love you as we love our own children. You know we had the misfortune to loose several of our children lately, so we have only Hans and Anna left. It would please us very much if you would come and live with us after you are confirmed. We will treat and honor you as if you were our own son and the schools of the country are open to you the moment you accept. By the talents you are in possession of you will be able to make a mark in the world and at the same time be an honor to us." I was so overcome by this offer I knew not what to say. I only wished myself outside and away from their presence. I hesitated and studied, but was relieved by the lady saying, "Oluf, can't you do that?" to which I answered short, "I cannot." The lady taking my hand and crying said, "We have thought so much of you." I then said "I have already made an engagement with Erik Tollefsen to stay with him a year." The gentleman said, "This can be changed" and to be relieved I told them I would see father and mother about it, which satisfied them for the present.
When I came home and told my parents about the wishes and offer of Mr. William Gudzith, they were as astonished as I was when they made their wishes known to me. For my own welfare, my parents were anxious that I accept their offer, and my own judgement was that it would be a good thing for me, but the agreement made with Mr. Telefsen was always uppermost in my mind and I could not think of breaking my contract. If the proposition had been made before accepting Mr. Telefsen I should not have hesitated. Father and mother were sorry I did not accept and according to my wishes father saw Mr. Gudzith, thus relieving me of the undesirable interview.
The confirmation passed as favorably as I could expect and I commenced work with Mr. Telefsen at $20.00 per year besides a few articles of wearing apparel, for wages at that time for boys were small. I, however, very often got tips when transporting persons from place to place, which very often amounted to more than the wages.
Besides myself there was another young man older than I who worked for Mr. Telefsen. Telefsen also had a small farm on the outskirts of town where he raised some hay and grain. Because of no machinery, farm work was very tedious and laborious, hay being mowed with the scythe, thus requiring the help of men to mow - four or five generally following each other. It was considered a shame to be cut out and in this line of mowers I had to take my place and cut my swath with experienced hands. Having no experience in sharpening my scythe, this fell very hard on me but with the pride I had, and a little bragging from the men, kept me in my place; though when evening came, I was almost exhausted.
Grain and hay were always stacked in barns because of the great amount of moisture in both summer and winter. The grain was thrashed during otherwise unoccupied time with flails in the winter when outside farm work was through. The principal work was to feed, water, and regularly care for the horses. So particular was this work that even the manger was scrubbed and washed. At 5:00 A.M. grooming the horses was begun and feeding different kinds of feed at regular times during the day. In the summer horses were bathed twice a week and their legs washed in the winter. There was no time for chatting as it was nearly always occupied by tending horses, washing buggies, and cleaning and polishing harnesses. All the straw raised as well as some bought was chopped fine by hand machinery and used as fodder. All this work I had become acquainted with while stopping with the old people as a boy. While at times the work was hard, at other times when out with pleasure seekers for weeks at a time and being treated with the best, in their company it was pleasant and attractive.
The old gentleman was practical in managing his affairs, doing everything in the time and season thereof. It was a good school to be under the guidance of such a man. Everything that could possibly be done at home was done by we boys, such as painting, repairing harnesses, upholstery, work for sleighs and buggies, carpentering, etc.
They had only one child, a girl who was married to a carpenter and lived in the same house, the old people occupying the lower flat and the young people the upper, where he also had his cabinet shop. We had access to all his tools and benches when he had carpentering to do. At this time, I was so far advanced in handling the tools that I made new carts and sleighs myself. As I grew older, I naturally became more thoughtful, and my regard for the old people increased as their appreciation increased for me, especially the old lady as she was religiously inclined, and I took part in her devotions. I sometime thought the old man was rather strict, but it was all for my good which I better understood afterwards.
These were happy days as I was blessed with health and a happy, joyful, contented mind. Friends were on every side for I seemed to be one of the leading spirits among the young.
We had a select company who were always together in amusements. In the summer we generally enjoyed ourselves in the mountains, besides having parties at home as well as in neighboring cities where we were always supplied with plenty eatables and drinks, but never to excess for there never were any drunken carousals amongst us. These amusements were generally expensive, yet I managed to have some means to spare for my parents.
Being well-known everywhere and among the better classes there were many who planned to get me in their employ though they did not wish my former employer to know they tried to induce me to leave him. It was so often and plainly hinted to in this respect that I could not misunderstand. A gentleman acquaintance of my father got him to use his influence with me by a promise of higher wages which was quite an inducement. After having lived with Telefsen two years with a promise of less work and an increase of wages, I had to consider this proposition, though I did not like to have to part with the company of the old people.
The law of the country required six months notice before leaving a place, as well as a passbook of recommendation requiring the time employed, and such data that would show the character of the employee. It was quite a task for me to notify the old people of my intention to move, but had to do so to comply with the law. When I did so, the old people were very sorry and said if it was a matter of higher wages only, they could as well have given me higher wages as the other party, but said very little against it when they understood I had decided.
When the two years service was through, I accepted employment with a Mr. Smith and moved, which was like leaving home again. The Smith family belonged to the aristocratic class. Living with the old people was like living with father and mother, eating from the same table, sleeping in the same room, reading, singing and conversing together, all my wants being looked after as by parents, but was not to be so now. I now had my own room, ate and stayed by myself, caring for my own wants, looking after my own necessities and receiving orders and obeying them. Mr. Smith had a larger farm than Mr. Tolofsen and more farm work was required, but I had only two horses and two buggies besides the working wagons to keep in order. I was alone and everything was left to me and I was expected to engage the help required. I could do as little or as much as I felt but was expected to have the work done in the right time. Mr. Smith living so close to us had watched my course from childhood and placed implicit confidence in me.
Besides the farm, he had many grist and sawmills, engaged many people to work for him, among whom as a man by the name of Monsen. He was the head miller, an older man than myself and we were great friends. I appreciated his company as he was a sober, moral, and religiously inclined man and gave me much good counsel.
April 14, 1853 I had worked for Smith one year and being satisfied with my place, I continued the next year.
Mormon missionaries came to Drammen, impressed with biblical truth of Mormonism and biblical untruth of Lutheranism, future mother of an apostle. Defeated the Priests, baptized April 6, 1857. Struggle before and joy after baptism. Testified, preached, ordained Deacon, Priest, baptized people, and imprisoned.
The year 1854 is marked with the greatest event in the history of my life. In September the first elder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints arrived in Drammen and the first meeting held was with Evan Hansen, an acquaintance who lived close to where I stayed. A man who attended this meeting told my friend Monsen that he had listened to a sermon preached by Mormon elders. This aroused his curiosity and he asked many questions in regard to the new religion, as religions in opposition to the Lutheran were seldom heard from at this time in Norway. He told Monsen that the Elders were two fine looking young men, and that they delivered a most interesting sermon substantiated by the Bible. He said one of the quotations was, ""They that believe and are baptized shall be saved and They that believeth not shall be damned."" These words made such an impression on the man's mind that he could not forget them.
Monsen came to me that night and told me what he had heard. I listened with great attention to what he had to say and when he quoted the words of the Savior a peculiar uneasy feeling fell upon me. I had read the passage in the Bible before but thought little of it and was certain I knew not where to find it. I, however, commenced at the first of the Bible and hunted until I did find it. When I read it, it seemed as though an electric current had passed through my system and I understood the words with the spirit by which Jesus had spoken them. I had very little sleep that night. Those words of Jesus were continually ringing in my ears. I felt there was something wrong, something lacking with myself and I laid and wished for daylight that I might perchance see those strange young men. When day came, I went to work and my mind was led out in other directions, but the impressions received from the reading of those words never left me.
Time passed on but I had not been privileged to see and speak to the elders. A few days later as I was visiting my mother, she told me there had been a meeting in the neighborhood and that Mrs. Johnson, Tolofsen's daughter, had attended and that she invited the strangers to her home. This was the second meeting the elders held in Drammen.
The elders were very glad to accept Mrs. Johnson's hospitality and went to live with Johnson in Tolofson's house. One of the elders, C. N. Dorius, who was a carpenter, began work with Mr. Johnson in his cabinet shop. In this way the elders were brought right into the home of my friends and it was not difficult for me to see them and speak to them as I frequently visited the old people.
People of the city became more and more cognizant of the fact that the elders were staying at Johnson's and came daily to see and speak to them until the elders and the doctrine they taught became the general topic of conversation. All kinds of false stories were circulated. The daily papers were filled with fabrications, and the Lutheran priests were aroused from their long slumbers. Their greatest endeavors were brought to bare both private and publicly to raise the prejudice and hatred of the people. The most effective weapon they had was the police force. No sooner had they held public meetings than they were arrested. This had a tendency to frighten the people and it was soon looked upon as a disgrace to be found in conversation with the elders, let alone attend meetings. If people were seen in their company they were called Mormons and hooted at on the streets, which to say the least was annoying. Thus, very few had the courage and manhood to investigate. I very often visited Tolofsen's and found the old lady friendly and kindly disposed to the Mormons and the doctrines they taught. The old gentleman was more of an opposing nature and was sorry that these elders had come to his home. He was afraid of his reputation, that it would be injured and that he would get in disfavor with the priest and the better classes of people, thus having a bad influence on his business. Religion was a secondary consideration with him, while the uppermost thought of the old lady was the salvation of her soul.
When I came there she always admonished me to investigate this new religion for she said she could see that it was the truth from God. I could not say that although I realized that the Lutheran religion was not according to the doctrine of the Bible. The old folks often tried to get me back to live with them. For many reasons in my own mind, I concluded to return the following April when my second year's service for Mr. Smith would expire.
March 30, 1854 Mr. Johnson, wife, and another family were baptized, being the first to join the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Drammen. This was published in the papers, and many false stories were circulated in regard to how the ordinance was performed, there being thick ice on the water at the time. This news had quite an impression on me, as in a few days I expected to move to where they lived.
When alone, I always pondered over religion, but when with others I tried to show a feeling of indifference, though the more I heard and was in company with these people, the more certain I became that the Lutheran religion was not true. Yet, I could not see the truth of the Mormon religion. The most obnoxious doctrine taught was polygamy. Emigration to America was also entirely against my nature, as I loved my native country so well. April 14, 1854 I settled with Mr. Smith and moved back to Tolofsen's. The old lady was very much pleased to have me home again as they looked upon me as their son.
The old lady told me in private conversation about a remarkable incident. She said she had been very much troubled about the Mormon religion, and she humbly went to the Lord praying for him to show her if it were true. One day while standing looking into the orchard she said she saw one of the trees apparently loaded with the most beautiful fruit. She said she was overpowered by the sight and took it to be an answer to her prayer. She was very glad and thankful to God and she told me the Mormon religion was a fruitful message. I knew her to be a truthful woman and too it to be a testimony to her, and I felt glad that she had confided her testimony to me. Little did she think at that time that it would lead her to leave the faith she was then in possession of. This was however the case, for not long afterward, thinking it would not be right for her to conceal this glorious vision from her husband, and that it would have the same good effect on him she told him. She did not realize that this testimony from God was for herself only, and that by telling it to her husband she gave the adversary an opportunity to interpret it to her injury.
When she told her husband he said, "Don't you know mother that by the apple Eve was tempted to sin." This sounded so reasonable to her that she made herself satisfied with the interpretation and took it for granted. It was a wonder to me that the old man who knew so little scripture could so readily find such an answer.
After this, instead of being pleased with every good thing she heard from the Mormons, she was now please to hear everything against them and to their disadvantage. I was now eighteen years old and like other young people had my happiest days. Though what I had learned from the Mormons would not leave me. The Mormons were so unpopular that I played Nicodemus by visiting the Elders when I could sneak away from my friends. I would always get more light on the Bible when visiting the Elders and, therefore, my friendship for them increased day by day.
Because of persecution of their home, a family of four-named Mowritsen from Fredrickstad came to Drammen. Among them was a young lady named Anna Kirsten Mowritsen who took much interest in me. This family increased the number of Latter-day Saints in Drammen to eight besides the Elders. They had a very good time together, holding meetings several times a week. In a few days a few more from the suburbs of the city joined the church
The 29th of September 1854 a branch of the church was organized in Drammen. As the branch increased in numbers, the persecution from priest and police increased. The Elders were thrown into prison several times, but this increased the interest of the people and their sympathy for the Elders. C.N. Dorius and C.C.A. Christensen were the first prisoners in Drammen for the Gospel's sake.
The family that came from Fredrickstad soon immigrated to Utah and the young lady mentioned married President A.O. Smoot of Salt Lake City and is the mother of Apostle Reed Smoot.
As I have before stated, my father worked in the tobacco factory owned by Mr. Poulsen, the father of the man who was so kind to me at the time of my accident at the factory. Mr. Poulson's son continued his kindness. He was establishing a mercantile business in Drammen and wished me to come and stay with him. Father and mother thinking this would draw me away from the Mormon's encouraged it very much. They were afraid I would join the church for I was reading the Bible more or less all the time. People thought I was going crazy because I read so much. I was searching to find something with which to oppose them, but instead became more and more convinced of the truth of Mormonism.
After old lady Tolofsen had lost the spark of faith kindled in her bosom, the spirit between us got more strength. Though they were not unkind, I could not dwell with them in the same congenial, happy way we had dwelt before so many years. On the 14th of April 1855, I left my childhood home, not to return again very often and dwelt with Mr. Naldimar Poulsen who was a very kind and generous hearted man. I now got away from the Mormons and their meetings. I tried hard to deaden the impressions I had received from them and their religion, but could never entirely get away from it. I sustained and contended for them and their religion whenever confronted or questioned about it. I was, therefore, called a Mormon which I stoutly denied. Mr. Poulson knew my inclinations. We very often conversed on religious topics when he brought all his kindness to bear on me that as he said, "I might throw away all those false ideas." He felt very sorry for me and even cried with me when I cried because he could not see the truth that seemed so simple and plain to me that I thought a child could understand it.
Father very often met and conversed with him about me. Father also wished me to go with him to the priest who had confirmed me only four years ago. I went with him and was told to beware lest the Mormons lead me astray. The priest told me so many things about the Mormons that I knew were falsehoods and I told him so. I also told him the religion they taught was better than ours and I could prove it by the Bible. Both father and the priest found I knew more about the Bible than they thought and the conversation was soon closed. In a nice way Poulsen often laid plans to get me into conversation with the priest and teachers which generally resulted in their defeat. They soon found out their time was wasted.
My daily duties were now entirely different. Instead of grooming horses, washing buggies, and attending to farm work in general, I now had packing and unpacking, cleaning and polishing and shipping fine porcelain and glassware as well as collecting money. It was a large establishment but easy and pleasant work with much time for enjoyment. It seems my time had not yet come to join the Mormons, yet in all my amusement never did the spirit cease its prompting. Time passed off rapidly and I could never wish for nicer employment. Mr. Poulsen was single and we therefore boarded at the hotel living in the finest style. Having it so nice and not being with the Mormons much I became a little indifferent and people thought I was being weaned away from the Mormons, but they did not know of the unseen power working with me which seemed to increase as time passed on. There was a continual war within me. One power was picturing to my mind, high society, pleasure and happiness; or how I would be persecuted amongst a few outcasts, while the other showed me the salvation of my soul with eternal happiness in the life after this. I continued to be troubled in this way night and day.
I had not yet asked the assistance of the Lord though the elders so often advised me to do so. I finally decided to ask his assistance but had quite a struggle with myself before I could do so. I finally mustered courage and stole away to a dark place where I would be unobserved. I knelt down as I had seen the elders do, but as I so did a curious dreadful sensation came over me. I sprang to my feet, looked all around and then thought, "How foolish of you." I soon understood that this was the work of the adversary trying to keep me from praying. I at last gained power and kneeled down the second time, humbly and earnestly asking God in a few words to be with me and help me understand what was right for me to do. After this I found quite a relief and became more and more convinced that Mormonism was true. No matter what should become of me or what I should have to pass through, I felt that I should have to embrace it; though the struggle it was for me by day and night nobody but myself knew.
During my second year's service for Mr. Poulsen, I made up my mind to join the church. As usual I often came together with my friend Mr. Monsen and told him what I had decided to do and asked him to come and be baptized at the same time I was. He answered, "That would be impossible as I am already baptized." I then became more determined to take the decisive step. I positively knew that Mormonism was true though I could give no positive reason for it. I decided that no power should hinder me from embracing it. I made up my mind to take things as they came, persecution, mobbing, imprisonment, or even death if it came. I fully made up my mind that such things might come to people now days as well as to the saints of former days.
When the few saints learned that I had concluded to join the church they were very glad and made preparations for my baptism on the evening of April 6, 1857 as they could not baptize in the daytime because of mobs. This news had leaked out in some way. My parents and friends had heard of it and made preparation to prevent it if possible. When evening came, people gathered from all parts of the city, paraded the streets and watched that nobody should come out of the house where the elders stayed. I had stolen out and up into the garret of the house of a friendly neighbor before they came in so they could not find me. From there I could hear and see the unruly crowd. Some were swearing, some cursing and some crying. Among this crowd I heard the voice of my mother crying and saying, "Oh, if I could only get hold of him." This was a very trying and sorrowful moment for me. I kneeled down and prayed to God that he would give us peace while the ordinance was performed. It was near midnight. A few minutes later the guard and people disbursed and peace seemed to reign supreme.
Besides myself, Mr. Martin Hansen and wife and Lars Larsen, the elder that should perform the ordinance gathered, and as soon as possible went to the place where the ordinance should be performed. There was nothing to hinder or disturb us. The ice on the water was not thick enough to hinder or disturb us. After undressing, I went out, broke the ice and cleared a place for the baptism. These seemed the happiest moments of my life and shall never be forgotten, neither in this nor the life to come. This was a strong testimony that the words of the Savior were true and that authority from God had again been conferred on man. No living human being could feel happier than I did at that time.
The people and my mother who paraded the streets thought we had been prevented from performing the ordinance. They gathered a large crowd, my mother with them, and fruitlessly laid in wait the next night until almost morning.
On the evening of April 8th, we were to be confirmed. Many people had gathered that night seemingly with a determination to take me from the Mormons by main strength. There was quite a disturbance in the street and I was obliged to hide in the cellar. After they had searched the house and could not find me, they went away. We then had a prayer-meeting and I was confirmed by O. H. Magleby (Hans Olsen Magleby, see http://www.magleby.org/) who took C.C.N. Dorius' place when he was released. The spring of this year the first four from the Drammen branch immigrated to Utah.
Now that I had embraced the gospel, I was so abundantly blessed with the spirit of God that all the doctrines of the gospel became very plain to me. I felt it would be an easy matter to convince almost everybody that what was called Mormonism was the true religion, but in this I was mistaken. I also felt it my duty to testify to everybody I came in contact with. I found people were in great darkness and blind as far as religion was concerned. I felt very sorry for them. They mocked and reviled me when I told them God had revealed himself to Joseph Smith and that all men should repent and be baptized by men holding authority. The more I testified the truths of the Gospel, the more my testimony was strengthened.
Whenever I had a moment to spare, I visited my friends and on Sundays I preached in the meetings. For curiosity sake, many people came and listened to my preaching and I was talked of far and near, and many were impressed favorably by what I said. I was yet working for Mr. Poulsen in the store and may came purposely to see, "The young man who had joined the Mormons."
September 20th I was ordained a deacon and March 21st I was ordained a priest. With more vigor, I continued to spread the light I had received and many people received my testimony and rejoiced in the same.
On the 24th of April 1858, I baptized six persons at mid-day and one in the evening. All those were friends I had born testimony to. After they were baptized they received the spirit of God and began testifying to their friends. This soon became known to the priests and they sent the police after me. I was arrested for baptizing. Those I had baptized were called in to testify against me.
I was convicted and fined $5.00, but as I could not pay the cost I was imprisoned five days on a diet of bread and water only. My friends were very sorry and greatly sympathized with me, but could not help me, while I rejoiced at the privilege of suffering in prison for the gospel's sake.
Ordained Elder, called on mission, imprisoned, threatened by a mob. To avoid arrest slept in cliffs and haystacks, enlisted in army, vanquished priest and police. Imprisoned again and again. Appointed President over Fredrickstad and Fredrickhald
While I was in prison the president of the Norwegian conference, Brother S. Gundersen, was in Drammen and in a council meeting it was decided to ordain me an elder and I was called to leave my temporal avocation and go on a mission. I could not be ordained until I had served my time in prison. June 20, 1858 I was ordained with many blessings pronounced upon my head and many instructions in regard to my privileges in that high and holy priesthood. I was to go to Kongsberg and try to open the way for the gospel in that city. After straightening my affairs with Mr. Poulsen and filling my satchel with tracts and books, I started for Kongsberg on foot with only a few cents in my pocket. On the way I called on the people and told them my errand; but wherever I came, the hideous stories about the Mormons had preceded me. Very few took time to listen to what I had to say and if I offered them a tract they were afraid to touch it and wished me to leave their home as soon as possible. Meeting with such opposition and influences wherever I came brought a sad feeling upon me. Darkness came over me to such an extent that I hardly had power to move. I felt that a companion would have been quite a comfort to me, but here I was alone among strangers, with nothing but a new and unpopular religion to present to people.
Reflections of home, parents, friends, a good situation, a bright future in life, etc. passed through my mind. All this I had swept away and was a friendless forsaken outcast among the people of my own country. What a sad picture on a country road! Then came the thought, "Pray to God." I went into the woods; and in solemn attitude and fervent prayer, I earnestly called on the Lord to deliver me and keep me from the power of darkness, which had caused me so much misery. After I had finished praying, I continued on my journey quite a new man. I felt happy and could plainly see that the adversary was working against me, which was another testimony to me that I was engaged in the work of God. I pressed on and finally arrived in the City. From a young lady, before leaving Drammen, I got the address of her grandparents. I went there and was kindly received. I bore my testimony and read my Bible to them. They were astonished to hear what I had to say. They became so interested that I got the privilege of holding meetings in their house. I went from house to house inviting people to meetings. The following afternoon was the first that the Gospel in its simplicity and purity was preached in Kongsberg. I had a large congregation and was abundantly blessed with the spirit of God.
As I was preaching a curious incident happened. My eyes rested upon a man in the audience and the spirit told me, "There is a true son of Israel." When the meeting was out, I went to him, gave him a tract saying, "Read this and you can't help becoming a Latter-day Saint." A young lady related to the family where the meeting was held was also very much touched by what she heard. She lived with a nice merchant and when she went home, she told what she had heard. This family also became interested and wanted to hear me. I felt very happy and thankful to God for the success I had been blessed with in my first experience as a traveling elder.
As I had now sold all of my books and tracts, I concluded to go down to Drammen. The Saints seemed very glad to welcome me back. On Sunday I preached to a large congregation and gave a report of what I had done while away. Monday morning I again bade goodbye to the Saints in Drammen, filled my satchel with books and tracts, and returned to my field of labor. It being only twenty-four miles between Drammen and Kongsberg, I was soon back to my new friends. They welcomed me, but during my absence the priests and police had been very energetic in working up opposition to my labors. They, however, had no influence in turning my friends against me for they had already heard and received so much of the gospel light that evil reports did not influence them.
I had gained many friends, but also had some enemies for no sooner had I been around among the people than it was reported to the police. One day while with a company of friends, the officers informed me I was arrested and immediately, against the entreaties and protests of friends, I was conducted to the police station. It was soon spread from street to street that the Mormon elder was arrested, and people from all directions followed. By the time we reached the station, there was quite a commotion. I was, however, hurriedly pushed into a cell to wait the arrival of the chief of police. When people saw I was locked up, they soon disbursed and again it became quiet. In a short time some of my friends arrived desiring to know if they could give me any assistance. In about two hours, my cell door was opened and I was summoned before the chief of police.
That man I can never forget. His whole person, and behavior bespoke the rough course, un-principled condition of his heart; and I suppose he tried to appear as hideous as he could. It had no influence on me whatever for I had already been weaned from my timidity and could stand a great deal of abuse.
There were no questions, no legal proceedings, but only abuse and threats of imprisonment if I insisted on holding meetings and preaching. I gave him no promise in that regard, but quietly listened to what he said. He soon exploded all his obnoxious, abusive venom and dismissed me.
When I was thus liberated, I directed my course to my friends by whom I was gladly welcomed. Mr. Traane who seemed most interested in my welfare as well as the gospel was very happy to see my liberation. The same evening he called together a host of his friends where I had an excellent opportunity to testify and answer the numerous questions they propounded in regard to the falsehoods circulated about the Mormons as well as in regard to the gospel.
The next day a young man, Anders Nielsen by name, presented himself for baptism. As this was the first baptism performed in the locality it was quite encouraging to me. He was a young and intelligent man, well respected in the community, taking a great interest in what he already understood and testifying to the truth of the gospel wherever opportunity was given. After instructing him in his duties as a member of the church and how to employ his spare moments, I gave him some tracts and books telling him to visit his friends and the people of the city in general and to testify to them whenever opportunity was given.
After arranging things with him, I departed for a new field of labor including Sansver and other districts around the city. Coming there I found my previous work had preceded me but always in a distorted way. The same opposition met other places I had to face here, the priests being my greatest enemies. They even tried to induce the people to do me bodily harm. One night while asleep we were surrounded by a howling mob who used all their influence to get the man of the house to drive me out, or open the door and let them in, but a couple of hours conversation with the man before going to bed convinced him that the reports about me were false. With all their persuasion, they could not induce him to drive me out and he told them that I should not leave his home before day came and threatened that if any of them dared to try to force an entrance they would have to take the consequences. When they found entreaties of no avail, they asked him to inform them which way I went in the morning.
When morning came, I had a good breakfast, testified to the people and asked God's blessings to rest upon the inmates of that house. I thus left in peace walking from house to house, distributing gospel literature, testifying to the truth and occasionally holding a meeting gaining friends and enemies everywhere.
On returning to Kongsberg again, I was received with joy especially by Brother Nielsen. I stayed in town one day visiting friends, talking about my labors in the new field and then went back to Drammen where I had an enjoyable time.
After tending to the necessary affairs in Drammen, Brother O.H. Magleby (Hans Olsen Magleby, see http://www.magleby.org/) concluded to accompany me to Kongsberg. We left Drammen the 19th of July 1858. Magleby being Danish, a little more notice was taken of him by our friends and the people in general, and being two we made quite a stir in town. We found well-to-do men with liberal views and succeeded in getting large halls in which to hold meetings which were well attended, the congregations including men of wealth and education. Discussions followed every meeting where we always came out victorious which was very irritating to the priests and our enemies, but we were thankful to the Lord for the success he had blessed us with.
On the 29th we left for Drammen which was the eastern part of our mission where our presence was required to attend to the affairs of that branch. I now worked in this part of the mission for some time, holding meetings in the district outside of Drammen while Magleby returned to Konsberg as we saw the necessity of not staying away from our friends there too long. This visit was short as we had an appointment for a district gathering on the 1st of September which was also attended by S. Gudmonsen, the President of the Norwegian conference. At this meeting Drammen's branch was divided, establishing part of it as the branch of Hurum. A young man whom I had lately baptized in Drammen, Anders Ingebredsen, was called to go to Kongsberg to work at his profession as tailor and to assist in establishing the mission there. This was a great comfort to Brother Nielsen and his friends. After the district meeting was adjourned, Gudmonson went back to Christiania, Magleby, Nielsen, and Ingebredsen to Kongsberg; and A. Olsen and myself to Modem, another new field. After working and holding meetings in that place for a while, I joined the brethren in Kongsberg where there was mutual joy at meeting. We were now four young men who could testify to the people of Kongsberg that the Gospel was true.
Now, as before, we had no trouble to get houses in which to hold meetings and for several days we held meetings every evening, in which the people took great interest. For this reason, the wrath of the priests grew and the police were employed to run us down and arrest us, but we avoided them as well as we could by not staying with our friends at night as they frequently came to their houses to search for us. We retired outside of town, sleeping under cliffs of rock, in haystacks, and wherever we could find shelter.
One day as we had appointed meetings for the evening, the police were determined to have us arrested. Finding they could not catch us with our friends, they determined to arrest us in the meeting. This had leaked our from some of the officers and our friends hearing of it informed me. I told Magleby the plan of the officers to get us both. After counseling together and seeing their plan was to get us both if possible, we concluded that only one of us should stay to the meeting. I was to go to an appointed place and await him after the meeting. If he did not come at the appointed time, I would know he had been arrested and was then to go to Drammen and attend to the affairs of the branches.
I waited until 12:00 o'clock, but as he did not then arrive, I stole into a barn and rested the balance of the night. When morning came, I awoke shivering from the cold, combed the hay out of my hair, brushed my clothes the best I could, and wended my way toward Drammen. As soon as I found a house where people were up, I went in and got something to eat which refreshed and strengthened me to proceed on my journey.
When I arrived and related our experiences, it caused a little sorrow and gloom for the saints, as we didn't know exactly how Magleby was treated. The next day a letter from him told the particulars of the arrest and imprisonment. Our good friends came to his rescue as bondsmen and he was liberated on condition that he would not leave the city nor perform any religious ceremony until his case was settled.
I was now entirely left alone with all the work of both branches of the mission. September 24, 1858 I was notified by the officers of the Military division of Drammen to appear for enlistment in the army. This was hailed with joy and satisfaction by my parents, the priests, and my friends outside the church, thing it would be impossible for me to withstand the ungodly influence that would beset me in the army. With this, as with other anticipations, their expectations proved a failure.
After enlistment, I took hold of the mission as before by traveling, preaching, baptizing, and attending the duties revolving on me in the two branches as well as in the surrounding districts.
The priests were soon ready to get the police on my track as it was now a long time since I was last imprisoned. This was not unexpected to me as it was well known that I had baptized several persons. To keep my liberty as long as possible it was necessary for me to avoid the police. I, therefore, directed my course to the suburbs of the districts.
Leaving Drammen in company with a young man by the name of Noresen and taking Hohnstran, Horten, Sandefjord, Tunsberg, and Laurvig as the places in which to labor, we started on a tour. We held two or three meetings, sold tracts, visited houses, contended with the priests, and with a great deal of other opposition as this was some of the first work done in that region. When we left Laurvig going toward Kongsberg, a distance of forty-seven miles through a country where elders had never been before, our purses were empty but we pressed onward until we came to some friends in Sansver. We were hungry and tired and would have been thankful for almost anything to eat that could be called food. We now had shelter and the poor people did their best to relieve our cravings. It was a little one-room house, black and sooty on the inside from the smoke of the fireplace. My companion addressing the old lady said, "Mother have you anything to eat? We are hungry and tired." The old lady answering, "God help you, we having nothing in the house." Yet while so saying, she reached up on a shelf under the sooty mud and straw roof, took down an earthen bowl with some mush in it, covered with a hard dry crust as black as the chimney, saying, "This is all we have." It was soon devoured and we felt relieved. After resting through the night, we were bright as ever. Leaving all we had, God's blessings, for the old folks, each of us took a different direction out among the people. We worked in this way for some days when we succeeded in getting a big house in which to hold a meeting the following Sunday after services were over in the church, thinking thereby to get a large congregation. Notices were circulated everywhere and when the appointed time came, people gathered from all directions. The priest gave notice in the church that he would go and confound the Mormon. The whole congregation followed him in carriages, on horseback, and afoot. With him came schoolteachers, police, and chief of police. The house was all ready over-filled and people gathered around the doors and windows outside. When the priest with his staff arrived, a small opening was made for them to enter the house. They came right up to the table where I stood. We were soon in a heated discussion about the first principles of the gospel. We came to a point where he contended the necessity of baptizing small children and wrongly quoted one of Paul's statements to substantiate his argument. Standing before him like a young lion, I stated that he stood there a liar before God and man trying to prove his statements. I gave him the Bible, but he hesitated. I told him to find the passage and read it for the people and yet he hesitated. I then said, "if you don't know where to find it, I'll find it for you and the hundreds of people and read it from their own Bibles." I then opened the Bible, read it to the people, and told them to read it when they got home. The priest seemed to get more than he expected and with his school teachers retreated as fast as he could after which the chief of police in a boisterous way pressed forward and demanded my pass. He did not fare much better than the priest for I told him I was born and raised in Drammen and that there was no law in existence that required me to get a pass to go four miles out of the city. He soon cooled down and in an advisory way said I should not talk to a priest as I had done, calling him a liar. I told him I said nothing but the truth and off he scampered following the priest and his crowd. We were then left alone with the large congregation.
In this incident as much as any other that I remember I could see the hand of God in sustaining his humble servants as I knew no better where that passage of scripture was than did the priest but the spirit of God led me to say what I did, and the Bible in my hand opened to the chapter and verse as if a skilled scriptorian had turned to it; I then opened the meeting with prayer and gave a discourse for one and a half hours. People listened with interest, quiet reigned and I felt very thankful for the large, quiet congregation I had been privileged to testify to. Wherever I came in the neighborhood, people expressed themselves, pleased and astonished with the meeting and the result of the encounter with the priest and the chief of police. Many good people embraced the gospel and emigrated from that locality to Utah and Idaho later and were good faithful Latter-day Saints, leaving a host of children after them.
After leaving this locality, I went to Kongsberg and then on to Drammen, performing missionary work on my way. Saints and friends were glad to welcome me back and to hear my experiences. Finding there was no escape from the officers who had been notified in various cities to arrest me wherever I was found I concluded to give myself up. By so doing we were generally liberated by promising to perform no ordinances of the gospel. I then gave myself up to the city authorities and was indicted and liberated to appear at a stated time on the usual promises. I, however, continued to preach the gospel on another pretext, as if I were entirely free. While the case was thus pending, I attended to the usual duties of the mission as Brother Magleby was prohibited from leaving Kongsberg. I held meetings outside the city of Drammen as well as in different places in the city.
To one of these meetings, we invited the priest as he had given notice that if there were any meetings held he would like to be present. He, however, politely excused himself and did not attend when invited, but succeeded in getting the names of the brethren present among whom I was included. This was reported to the police and the next day I was arrested on a second charge and brought before the magistrate to make my plea. I answered that I had not preached a sermon in public, but that it was a private gathering and I only sat on a chair and read the Bible to the people. They consequently had no right to arrest me, but I was liberated to await the decision of the court on the case pending. For some reason best known to themselves they took a long time to decide it. To me it seemed plain that their idea was that as long as the case was pending, I would not be able to do anything. This, however, was not the condition for I was traveling from city to city spreading the gospel by conversations as well as I could have done had I been at liberty.
While thus waiting, I took another trip to Kongsberg and also in company with Brother Anders Nielsen visited the western part of Sandsver where we had a very large meeting. A young priest from the locality put in his appearance. Being clothed with the high authority of a priest and the first time that he had met a Mormon elder, he seemed very bold. He was, however, soon defeated and left us as was generally the case with the priests. We found many good people in this as well as in the eastern part of Sandsver.
Leaving our testimonies and gospel literature with our friends, we returned to Kongsberg. After staying in Kongsberg a few days, I went on down to Drammen where my sentence awaited me. It did not take long for the old iron doors to open for me where I was to remain another five days on bread and water. The police authorities didn't like to take us in as we never had money with which to pay our fines. As far as they were concerned, we would have been unmolested, but they had to obey the commands of the priests.
Being young, the confinement didn't have much effect on me although the allotment of bread and water was very limited. By reading and writing the time passed very rapidly and I was soon out again preaching the gospel as vigorously as ever. It was not long before I had again been baptizing some parties in Lier, the country east of Drammen and was soon arrested again. I was, however, liberated on my own recognition, but before many days I was sentenced to eight days confinement in the Lier prison on the same rations as before. This was my last experience with the authorities in and around Drammen as while at conference in Christiania the first of February 1859 I was released from the Drammen mission and appointed president over the Fredrickstad and Fredrickhald's district.
I felt sorry to have to leave my home and my many friends, but as the servants of God found it necessary to send me there, humble as a lamb, I complied with their wishes. Yet to go there, I felt a very great responsibility as it had been reported to me that the Fredrickstad branch was in a very bad condition. A young Danish elder by the name of Bartlesen had lately been removed from that place as he had conducted himself and the administration of the branch so unwisely that there was division and contention among the saints. Some were sorry because he had been released and others were glad they were going to get a new president. What to do under such conditions bothered me very much because I had been accustomed to nothing but peace, love, and unity among the saints. At this, as at other time, God did his own work and came to my aid. It has often filled me with astonishment to think how old, wise gray-haired men could sit and drink the counsel of a young un-experienced elder.
On the sixth of February 1859 in the company with Captain J. A. Yensen and Elder L. Petersen, we left Christiania for Fredricstad. As it was known, we were coming with the steamer a number of the saints were on the dock awaiting our arrival. It was quite a surprise to some of them when they found I was appointed to labor among them. This was especially the case with Brothers Torger Gunderson and Ole Petersen who knew me as a child but had not seen me for many years. There was quite a gathering that evening where the meetings were held. The next day, we held two meetings where I was introduced by Captain Yensen. On the 8th after visiting saints and friends, we departed for Fredrickhald where we enjoyed the hospitality of Sister Horby for the first time, who was so full of love for the elders and the work of God. Although her husband was not in the church he made us welcome and nothing he had was considered too good for us.
The branch of Fredrickhald was composed mostly of sisters. There were only four or five male members in the whole branch. Lars Petersen, leaving me, went home to visit his parents previous to emigrating to Zion and thus I was left alone, but soon got acquainted with the people by visiting and holding meetings with them which were very well attended because there was a new missionary. The people in this branch were united, each one doing his best to help forward the cause.
As I became more acquainted, I found some changes in the officers necessary which was mutually approved of and done with good results following. I then went back to Fredrickstad where my work was more especially required. As before stated, I was enlisted in the army. A letter from the military officers awaited me when I came to Fredrickstad directing me to appear May 3rd for my uniform previous to entering the service. I had but a short time in which to straighten up the affairs of the branches before leaving.
I was thankful to God that by this time good feelings existed among the saints and that the branches were organized with their presidents, teachers, and other officers who were good faithful men, trying their utmost to promote peace and union. They were all working men of families and could do no missionary work. They visited and cheered up the saints and held the regular week and Sabbath meetings.
I was sorry to have to leave my mission and the saints were no less sorry to see me go, but bound to obey the law.
Entered for training in the Norse Army, challenged by an Army officer for public discussion. Composed a song honoring demise of King Oscar I. Offered schooling and education at expense of head officer of battery.
May 3, 1859 I went out in the country where my horse and uniform was kept on a big country farm by the name of Oak. The Norwegian law at that time was that every farm containing a certain amount of taxable property was bound to keep a horse subject to the call of the government.
These horses had to be a certain age, height, weight, color, and without a blemish. Such horses were inspected several times a year and were never allowed to be used by the farmer for heavy work, always having to be kept in the best condition.
The uniform had not been used for a year, and the man who had used it must have been much larger than me. I could put both my feet into one boot, and the other clothes were large proportionately. With the helmet falling down over my ears, I was a fine looking soldier. As I had not much walking to do, I got along fairly well in the saddle. Those enlisted from that neighborhood gathered at a designated place and proceeded to Christiania, a day's travel on horseback, where several batteries had already arrived. As my clothes were too large and those of others were too small, we exchanged. In this way we were nearly all quite well-fitted.
The uniform was an old pattern and not very tasty. It was made of hard, coarse material consequently very heavy, uncomfortable, and warm during drilling in the hot summer days. The necktie consisted of a piece of sole leather 2 1/2" wide, covered with black cloth. The helmet was as heavy as an old cast iron stovepot, weighing five or six pounds, ornamented with numerous brass knobs and chains. The boots mounted with large iron spurs were shod with iron heels and a saber one yard long from tip to hilt and proportionately heavy hung from the waist. These four articles of the uniform were the most uncomfortable. We were, however, soon made happy with an exchange for lighter, neater, better fitting, and more comfortable uniforms.
We were by this time all camping on the old fortification at Christiania. Each battery according to number had its space where we stretched our tents for shelter and abode as well as for commissary use. New lumber stalls were erected for the horses close behind our tents. Each tent was expected to room fifteen men together with the uniform for themselves and their horses. In this way we lived for six months. We tried to make things as convenient and commodious as possible, by erecting racks in the center of the tent for our uniforms while we packed our saddles and saddle-blankets under our heads. Being so many together things naturally got mixed which created considerable confusion and caused bad feelings. I found the order I learned while with old man Tolofsen, and other places while a youth, now came in very handy. By a little thoughtfulness, I saved myself as well as others a great deal of trouble.
I took a stout strap and solidly tied my belongings to the rack; thus when I needed them, I loosened my strap and had everything there and was dressed in a hurry, while others were cursing and swearing and throwing the uniforms around and quarreling with each other. They thus generally came late and improperly dressed to the lines where a scolding awaited them. I naturally thought many would have profited my example, but quarreling seemed their delight and very few followed my example. I escaped bad feelings and was respected, as they could never draw me into their troubles.
The first few days of our encampment, I was greatly annoyed by some of the most rude characters because I was a Mormon. They tried to run me and anger me, but they signally failed in so doing as I had already met many of such characters before I came into the army. I knew how to master them. When they shouted, "Mormon! Mormon!" I turned around, faced them and frankly asked what they wanted, and then they would shy off as a whipped dog with its tail between its legs looking back across its shoulders. In this way, I was soon victorious and left unmolested while another young man who denied the gospel was continually picked on. This incident can be an object lesson to those who lack courage in acknowledging and defending what they knew as truth.
As before stated some batteries had arrived before we came. In one of these was the other young Mormon which was soon known by his comrades but he denied it. When they saw they couldn't make me deny it, they told me there was another Mormon in camp, but he wouldn't acknowledge it. I asked them to show me the man and I would soon tell whether or not they spoke the truth, as I knew nearly every Mormon around Christiania. I could hardly believe there was one who would deny the truth, but as they pointed him out to me, I was well acquainted with him and could not deny that he was a Mormon. This caused him a great deal of trouble all through the summer as he was jeered and ridiculed wherever he went. I was sorry for the poor fellow and suppose he learned the lesson that it would not pay to deny the faith.
Some might think that such company would be disagreeable to a Latter-day Saint, but I did not find it so. It was not worse than traveling among other unbelievers. After I had mastered the scoffers and mockers, I had many pleasant opportunities to expound, the principles of the gospel, and was listened to with great respect. In every discussion, I established my point of doctrine and thus gained not alone the respect of the common soldier, but of the officers also.
Among the officers was a man claiming to be very religious and pretending to know a great deal about the scriptures. He challenged me for a public discussion on religious principles which I gladly accepted as my idea of him as far as religion was concerned was not very high for in our morning service, he couldn't even repeat the "Lord's Prayer".
The meeting was appointed and several hundred men congregated on the lawns of the old fortification to hear and see the battle between "Goliath" and "Little David". To cut the story short, I will simply say that the officer was defeated and the multitude three times shouted hurrah for the Mormon Elder till the walls of the old fortification echoed with their shouts. This naturally irritated the officer, but lucky for me, he belonged to another battery. He undoubtedly, in one way or another would have retaliated if we had belonged in the same battery. All the officers of my battery gloried in having a man in theirs that could defeat an officer of another. This brought more credit and respect for me from both officers and men.
Military service in Europe is very systematically and perfectly carried out, and especially so with the artillery. There were ten different reviews while the infantry had only four. We had review in marching, saddling, packing, riding, harnessing, driving, manipulating the cannons, firing at target, giving the anatomy of the horse, a trench digging and fortification. The training was very natural and easy for me for which I was well thought of by the officers. Another thing tending to create good feelings to me among the men was that I strictly abstained from intoxicants. The soldiers got a drink of liquor every morning regularly and many men were anxious for my drink, which I gave a different man each time.
This summer King Oscar the I took very sick. One day, not feeling very well, I was free from training and stayed in camp. Looking up, I saw the flag of my country on the fortification at half mast, telegraph having just arrived announcing the death of the king. I knew that was the case as soon as I saw the flag and taking pencil and paper I wrote a song about the chief ruler. This song found its way from the men to the officers and from the officers to the daily papers being undoubtedly the first in print about his Honor's demise. This also had a tendency in my favor.
Many other incidents as a soldier and Mormon could be related which tended to bring me the love and respect of both officers and men. The summer months passed off nicely but the hardest time awaited us as field maneuvers were planned for September. We had a long and dreary march to perform after which hard work in digging trenches and building fortifications awaited us in the cold rains, which at that time began. The best way, however, was to laugh it off, as a soldier's work had to be done.
The last week of our maneuvers was especially very wet, raining day and night. We were on the lowlands and the whole country was flooded, the water standing three or four inches in our tents. We were compelled to break camp and return to Christiania which was a hard trip for both man and beast. While on duty before having to leave, we had been standing in a drenching rain, every thread from the crown of my head to the socks on my feet were wringing wet and a cold wind was blowing when the head captain of the battery sent for me desiring to see me at once in his office. I tried to think what I might have done to displease him to cause this interview.
We were never called by name but by number and when number fifty-seven was called and shouted from one battery to another all along the line finally reaching my division, I responded and boldly went in as I could think of nothing I had done amiss. I saluted to which he responded and I was very pleased when he complimented me and said he had watched me in my diligence and aptness in my duties. He said, "My son, you are wet and cold and I desire you to take a drink with me for it will do you good." I thanked him for his kindness and said I never drank. "I know that, my son" said he, "but for my sake and for your own good (holding the glass filled with liquor to me) drink this one time for it will be good for you." I said, "As it is your desire and knowing you wish me no harm, I drink though I do not use it."
This officer wished me to attend a military school where I might become educated and trained and proposed to pay my schooling and all my expenses while attending if I would accept. He further said I need have no scruples because of my religion for that would make no difference as he knew I was honest and sincere and that I would therefore faithfully serve my country if enlisted for that purpose. I appreciated this offer and kindness from him very much, but I could not accept though he spoke to me several times about it and even begged me to accept.
As soon as we reached Christiania, the rain stopped and the sun came out nice and warm so we cleaned our uniforms, horses, saddles, and cannons. By this time the training season was over and in a few days we were released to return to our various homes. I proposed to my comrades of the battery that we make up a party in honor of all the officers of our battery, which was unanimously sustained and carried, into effect. We had a very enjoyable time consisting of speeches by the officers and myself as I was already famous as a speaker, as well as songs and music by the soldiers. I was appointed to represent the battery by a speech, which concluded with great applause. A general good time was had by all.
The morning after this party, we were on our way home leaving guns and ammunition in the arsenals, taking only our horses and uniform along. In the evening we arrived at the various places where our horse and uniform was again exchanged for civil garb. I was royally received by the farmer who spoke of me in high terms of praise for returning the horse in such good condition considering the hard work of the summer and the stormy fall.
Organized first L.D.S. choir in Norway at Frederickstad. Dream came true. At Solberg several families applied for baptism. Meets Emelia Amundsen, later his wife. Healed of Typhoid according to promise. Mob follows to baptism. Last imprisonment in Norway, engaged to Emelia. Emigrated. Married at mouth of Elbe River. Seven weeks on ocean, train and boat to Florence, Nebraska, crossing the plains. Crossed Green River with wife on back. Arrived on Eighth Ward Square after a six-month's journey.
The next day I went to Drammen and visited father, mother, and the saints. Being anxious to get back to my missionary labor, I spent only a short time there. Returning again to Fredrickstad, I found everything in good condition. The saints were united and had done their very best in the various positions according to their conditions. During the last five months, I had been with them only a few times and they greatly rejoiced because of my return.
No proseliting had been done as the church members belonged to the working class and they were always busy. After visiting the branches and looking over the accounts and statistics, I was at liberty to use my time in the country districts. I, at this time, organized a choir in Fredrickstad, which was the first choir organized in Norway, and I think the first in Scandinavia. It so happened that Mons Pedersen, a member of the branch, had been a schoolteacher before he joined the church. He understood music and could play the violin. By gathering the talent we had, we soon had a good little choir, which made our meetings more attractive. This feature being entirely new, people came if for nothing else but to hear the singing. It was also a source of enjoyment not only in Fredrickstad, but also when we gathered in Fredrickshald branch.
At this time a young missionary, Andraes Petersen from Trondheim, visited us. His parents lived in Sasberg. We held our conference in Fredrickshald and had a most enjoyable time together. When conference was over, he and I started for Fredrickstad together. Half way between Fredrickstad and Fredrickshald, the road parted. He went to Sasborg to visit his parents and I to Fredrickstad. That night I dreamed I saw Brother Petersen sitting on a table dressed in long, white robes sewing some white fabric and he seemed to be in Salt Lake City in a glass house. At the time I didn't think much of the dream, but a few days later word came that Petersen was sick with the dreadful smallpox. We were all sorry that the disease was of such a nature that we could not visit him as he was greatly beloved by all that knew him. I then began to think of the dream and in a short time we got word that he was dead.
The Fredrickstad saints made preparation to attend the funeral, and I composed a song and music for the occasion, which was sung by our choir at the funeral. There was a great gathering of people and many valuable doctrines were listened to by the saints and others. His corpse was carried to the cemetery and the audience followed. The remains of this good and noble man amidst the tears of the saints was then lowered into the cold grave to remain till the morn of the first resurrection.
Having by this time gotten everything in the branches in good order, I concluded to take a tour to Moss, a city where the gospel had not before been introduced. A member of our church had some business transactions in Drammen and concluded to sail up to Drammen in his boat. Accompanying him, we left Fredrickstad the 1st of December. The wind not being in our favor, we did not reach Drammen until the 3rd.
I went to the home of my parents and used my time visiting the saints and preaching in the meetings. The 8th of December when Gundersen was through with his business we started on our return trip. Being very foggy and having no compass, we lost our course. We, however, luckily met another sailor from whom we found out we were sailing in an entirely opposite direction. By changing our course, we managed to reach a place called Holmsbe where we stayed for the night. The next morning we started on our journey and when we reached the island of Jailer, I bid Gundersen goodbye and went to shore and he returned to Fredrickstad. I then walked across the island, crossed a narrow sound, and arrived at Moss in the evening.
The next day, I began to canvass the town and succeeded in obtaining a place in which to hold a meeting the same evening with a large congregation. I sold many tracts and felt that the Lord was with me in testifying to the people. There was no opposition and the people seemed very pleased with what they had heard. A man by the name of Wilberg and his family were at this meeting and invited me to their home where I stayed over night and was treated very kindly. By talking and testifying to them until late that night, they were so touched that they gave me the privilege of remaining with them as long as I remained in the city. The next evening, an appointment for a meeting in their house was made. I went around notifying people and Wilberg notified his friends among whom were preachers and schoolteachers. He was very enthusiastic and thought everybody would see the gospel as he saw it.
We had a much larger meeting than the night before and a good deal of opposition was manifest which was easily rebutted and tended only to strengthen the convictions of the honest of heart. I held several meetings in other parts of the city and priests were aroused and soon had the police on my track. One day as I was going to Wilberg's for dinner, two police appeared with an order for my arrest and I was requested to follow them immediately. Wilberg, however, gave them to understand that I was not to leave his place until I had eaten my dinner. "Gentlemen," he said, "you may do as you please, go or stay, but he shall not have to leave my house until he is ready." A time was finally agreed upon when I was to be ready to accompany them and when the time came I went with the officers. Wilberg was determined to go along, but I told him it was not necessary as there was no danger.
At the station, I found the chief of police in his office waiting for me. Here I was questioned as to where I was from, where I was going, and if I expected to hold more meetings in the place. I was threatened with arrest if I did and a promise to not hold meetings was requested, which I could not give. I told him he may do his duty, but I also must do mine. When he found I could not be frightened and he had no legal way of holding me, he told me to go. I went directly to Wilberg's who were very glad to see me back, and I had a good time with them and some of the friends. After having spent so many days with them and having done a good work, I thought it best to leave for awhile. The next day I waded through deep snow for twenty-one miles reaching Ole Gunderson's place in the evening nearly exhausted. After refreshments and a good night's rest, I started for Fredrickstad the next day.
The saints were happy to hear me relate my success while I had been away and we all rejoiced together. I now spent my time in and around the city attending to the affairs of the mission.
Christmas holidays were at hand during which we had not held our meetings but parties enjoying ourselves immensely. I went over to Fredrickshald to spend New Years and enjoyed myself there until the 4th of January 1860.
The holidays now being over, I concluded to take another trip into the country where I sold tracts, conversed with the people and held meetings wherever I could. I remained away five days. On this trip, I came to a place called Selberg on Onsee to the house of Ole Amundsen a liberal-hearted and liberal-minded old man. He owned a large farm and the same evening called his farm hands and other people together for a meeting. Quite a congregation gathered, a good spirit existed and the old man was pleased with what he heard; and when I left, he invited me to return soon. When I got back to Fredrickstad, I received a dispatch from the officer of my battery that I should appear for muster. I immediately took the steamer for Dreback walking from there through Hurem and Roken, which was a very hard trip, the road being almost impassable because of mud and slush. I, however, mastered the difficulty and appeared at the appointed place on time. After passing muster, I went direct to Drammen that day staying there only a couple of days when I walked through Holmstran to Horten and took ferry across the fjord to Moss. Here I was nicely entertained by Wilberg and his family. I held meetings and conversed with them and friends and then departed for Onsee coming to Selberg where I was received with much joy.
Several families of Amundsens working men presented themselves for baptism, which when I had performed and held meetings with them, I departed for Fredrickstad. Reporting my work and success the Lord had blessed me with brought joy and new life to the saints.
Several meetings had been held at Solberg and some were baptized while others around the country were friendly. I also had my enemies at Solberg as at the other places, and it seemed as though the more that joined the church the more bitter the enemy became. Amundsen had three children. Carl, the eldest, and his wife were friendly and had faith in the gospel. Anthon, the second, and his wife were very bitter trying to do all the evil against me and the cause that they could. The youngest, a girl about nineteen, made fun of what she heard but took no part with the enemy as her father was a staunch believer and she thought a great deal of him.
At this time an epidemic of typhoid was among the people. Some of the young people were sick and others had died. The young lady, Emelia Amundsen, after attending the funeral of one of her friends came home and was herself taken sick with the disease. In a couple of weeks, she was very low and her parents and friends were afraid she would not recover. She understood the feelings of the people as she saw them crying. This worked on her to the extent that she thought she would not live. As she was the only girl and greatly beloved there was great sorrow in the whole household. She had attended nearly all our meetings and had heard enough to understand that if she died in her condition it would not be good for her. This also worked on her mind that she told her father that she wanted to be baptized immediately. As her father could not stand to see his child suffer under these conditions, against his own desire he was obliged to send for me.
Brother Emanuel Olsen, one of the men in his employ, was ordered to take a horse and buggy and bring me immediately. It so happened that I was in Fredrickstad when he came at midnight, awoke me, and told his errand. I did not feel to go just then, but told him to put the horse up till morning when I would accompany him. There was not much sleep on Solberg that night. All were up and expected to see me come every moment anxious to see the dreadful picture of us going down to the sea with a dying child for baptism. Neither was there much rest for me the remaining part of the night as I never had had such an experience and studied in regard to what to do under existing conditions.
When morning came, we went over as soon as possible and people gathered around me and asked what I would do. I pitied her old mother very much as she was crying bitterly and asked if we could not fill a tank and have her baptized in her room. I consoled her by saying, "We shall not baptize her at all." This had a quieting influence on the old lady and I was shown into the room where the sick girl laid. A host of people were gathered in the room and her father was no less worried than the others. Going over to her bed, she stammered out with a feeble voice that she must be baptized before she died. I asked her again if she believe me to be a servant of God to which she again answered, "Yes!" I then told her that if she would make a covenant in her heart with God that she would be baptized when she got well. I promised her in the name of Israel's God that she would get well. This had a curious influence on those present and the people shed tears of joy and even my enemies of that household came and thanked me and were pleased with the outcome. After that her parents and brothers together with the saints persuaded me to stay with them.
During the remainder of her sickness, she never was satisfied unless her father or myself, besides the nurse, was by her side. She was very sick and sometimes I was on the verge of doubt of her recovery. Especially was this the case one time when her father, who had had great experience at the death bed, said, "She is gone." He took the looking glass and held over her mouth to detect if there was still breath and life. I ran outside kneeled down and prayed to God, saying, "Father let her live that thy name may be glorified and my promise verified among the people that she may receive the gospel and come home to Zion." She revived and as time passed on there were signs of improvement. As she was gaining little by little, I occupied my time holding meetings and I baptized several persons in the neighborhood.
She continued to improve and as my work was needed in other places, I had to leave; but before leaving, her father and myself were alone with her when she spoke her heart's desire to her father saying that when she got well she would join the church and go with me to Zion. It is unnecessary to say that the interest I had taken in her was very much appreciated by her father and mother. I then left for the work that had been performed at Solberg.
For a period of two weeks, I spent my time visiting in Fredrickshald and Fredrickstad attending to the business of the branches. During this time, I had a visit from the conference president, Brother S. Gundersen, who was very much pleased when he saw what progress had been made. While at Fredrickshald, we performed some baptisms and had a good time together. After our visit in Fredrickstad and Fredrickshald, we went to Solberg together as that place was on his route to Christiania.
The young lady, Emelia Amundsen, was by this time entirely recovered from her sickness and was taking quite an interest in the welfare of the saints around her. On the 23rd of April her brother and wife, herself and a couple others presented themselves for baptism. Our enemies had found out that baptisms were to be performed that evening. Many people had gathered and ambushed themselves and were waiting our arrival. It was quite a distance from the house to the sea and part of the distance was covered with a thick forest. When we had passed the place where they were ambushed, they came out from their concealment and followed us. This was not a very desirable condition to be in but we could not help it. Some of the people proposed that we go back as they thought there was no use to try to baptize when such a mob was following us. We were a large company with some stout men among us, but the mob greatly outnumbered us.
I carefully considered the matter and the spirit of God prompted me to go ahead. I told the people to follow me and not be afraid for we would not be molested. We then continued onward, the mob at our heels making all kinds of comments. When we reached the water's edge, we formed a circle and opened with prayer after which I told the people to prepare for the ordinance.
The mob retired to the top of a small knoll close at hand and watched the performance. After we were through with the ordinance and the parties had changed their apparel, we sang a hymn, thanked the Lord, and departed. The mob seemed stricken with awe by the ceremony and on the homeward journey, they took lead while we were unable to keep within gunshot of them.
There was great rejoicing on Solberg that night and especially was old man Amundsen happy because three of his children had joined the church. This now made another addition to the Fredrickstad branch.
We now alternated our meetings holding them at Fredrickstad one Sunday and at Solberg another thereby having large congregations for people of both places attended. Having a good little choir, they were very attractive and drew many strangers. Up to this time we had enjoyed quite a peaceable time together with very little opposition except from some Methodist preachers. This, however, was not to last much longer as the rumor spread that the whole neighborhood would soon become Mormons. The priests now felt bound to do something to hinder the gospel's progress. He sent a complaint to the police officers that I had baptized a certain number of persons giving their names. I was therefore arrested and taken to the chief of police to answer to the charge. I was released on bonds, old man Amundsen becoming my bondsman, to appear for trial. The parties who had been baptized were subpoenaed as witnesses.
On the day of the trial, Amundsen took all his laborers, four wagon loads, to the place to hear and see the proceedings. I was convicted and sentenced to pay a sum of money, which I did not have and consequently as again imprisoned on a diet of bread and water for ten days. The people whom I had baptized were very sorry to think that I had to go to prison for their sake. I explained that I had tried imprisonment so often that it was not so much punishment to me and that the suffering for a servant of God was not so great as they thought. I was cheerful and tried to cheer up the people by explaining that I had expected it.
The old prison in Fredrickstad, which had sheltered so many of our good brethren for the gospel's sake was now opened for me. In my cell I found the names of J.F. Dorius, J.C. Larsen, J.A. Jensen, Chas. Wideberg, and others. I had the same old warden who had watched and cared for them. All his girls except one sweet dispositioned and kind-hearted lady were grown and had left him. She bestowed every kindness on me she could; even going beyond her limit. She put herself to a great deal of trouble to do me favors. I had many more visitors than a prisoner had a right to. At one time Brother Thos. Gundersen and some others called one me, and he had filled all his pockets with good things, which she undoubtedly observed. She opened the cell and turned her face away while they came in and unloaded their gifts of eatables under the blankets on my bed. My diet during that imprisonment which should have been bread and water differed from the previous ones in that I had many delicacies. I suffered very little and the sweet smiles and tender words of that young lady lightened my burden. It was so different from having a cross, heartless, cruel jailer as I had had before. Those ten days soon passed for me. This was the last incarceration I had in Norway for the gospel's sake.
When I was released, a feast was in store for me in the branches of which that at Solberg was not the least. The people there as other places thought it terrible to be imprisoned on bread and water when nothing wrong had been done. By this time I had had several conversations with Emelia and I could plainly see that her affections for me were more than common and she finally proposed marriage. This I was hardly ready to accept as missionaries were requested to not make any engagements. I did not discourage her, however, but said that by waiting a while it might turn out all right. With this the question was dropped for the time being. People, however, readily saw that the feeling between us was more than common and they took it for granted that we were already engaged. Gossip soon had it that I was going to marry her because of her riches, which hurt my feelings very badly.
In the summer of 1861, C.C.N. Dorius and John F. Dorius arrived from Utah. C.C.N. Dorius was appointed president of the Norwegian mission to take the place of S. Gudmensen who was released to return to Utah. These brethren were well acquainted with many of the saints as they had been there doing missionary work before. J.F. Dorius was appointed travelling elder in Norway and we soon had a visit from him. He was very much pleased with the condition in Fredrickstad's district, and especially with the fine little choir we had. As the branch in Christiania had no organized choir, they soon conceived the idea of removing Mon Pedersen to Christiania to organize a choir there. We felt the loss, but it could not be helped. In this way the foundation of the choir in Christiania and I may say in Norway was laid.
In the fall of 1861, a semi-annual conference was held in Christiania where I first had the privilege of looking upon a living apostle. Amasa Lyman and Charles C. Rich, apostles of Jesus Christ. The president of the European Mission and Charles W. Wediberg of the Scandinavian mission were present. We had a glorious time together such as never before had been known in Christiania. During the conference, I spoke to the authorities about becoming engaged to Emelia. Taking in consideration that I had an opportunity to emigrate in the near future, they consented.
After this conference, Norway seemed less homelike to me. I now started to work and plan to get money with which I could emigrate in the spring. This was no easy matter as few people were expecting to emigrate that spring. I was too proud to ask Emelia's father for the amount necessary for my own emigration. At this time I had not yet asked Emelia's father for her, but I now wrote him a letter asking his consent to our marriage which he never answered. I took his favorable disposition and silence on the subject as his consent. It seemed that every avenue to get money was closed against me as the spring emigration drew near.
When Emelia's father found I had not gotten money, he felt sorry because I had not told him before as I could have had all the money I wanted if he had known my condition only a week before. Emelia kept preparing as though everything was sure. A few days before the appointed time for emigrating, I was promised money by a good sister from Fredrickstad. I immediately wrote to President Dorius and informed him. I got answer to prepare myself and come to Christiania at once to help arrange for the saints who expected to emigrate. The morning of April 12, 1862 the ship expected to leave for Copenhagen where we were to meet the Danish and Swedish emigrants. The day I parted with the saints was a day of mingled joy and sorrow as I had become very much attached to the people as they also were to me. We were all inspired with the hope of meeting again as they expected to follow. When I left, arrangements were made for Emelia to meet me at Moss the 12th of April. The steamer left Christiania at 8:00 A.M. and arrived at Moss about 10:00 A.M. A lot of boats came out filled with passengers. I stood with an anxious eye in search of the object that most interested me. It was a happy moment when she and her luggage were safely on dock. I was thankful to God that our time for emigrating had come. The father, brother, and Emelia had stayed at Wilberg's overnight and all came out to the steamer to bid us goodbye.
The evening of the 13th, we arrived in Copenhagen where we remained for two days. I was placed as the head of the Norwegian emigrants and was expected to look after the changing of their money and other business affairs. When all the emigrants arrived, we took steamer to Kiol via Hamburg by railroad where we went aboard the sailing vessel, which carried us across the ocean. It took the ship one-day to get ready for sailing during which time we were locating and organizing. The ship was divided into two decks with a row of single bunks on each side and a double row along the center. There were between three and four hundred passengers, mostly Scandinavians. The ship was divided into wards with a president over each. The young unmarried men were in the forepart and the unmarried ladies in the hind part of the ship. I was chosen as captain of the guard as we found it necessary to have a certain number of men on guard at night in the various parts of the ship.
This was a hard job as all the able bodied men were enrolled and each should have an equal share of time to stand guard. The guard was divided into four shifts of two hours each. Some of their duties were to prevent stealing and immorality and to look after the kerosene lights to prevent fire, to help the sick or disabled, bury the dead and to awaken their successors. My duty was to see that the guards attended to their duties and to keep strict account of what was done.
The 19th we were towed down the Elbe River and anchored at the mouth awaiting a favorable wind. A returning missionary, Seren Christophersen, from Manti, was appointed President over the saints. We found that there were several couples in the company who were engaged and it was deemed advisable that they marry considering the long journey before them. Accordingly on the 20th of April 1862, there were twelve couples that presented themselves for marriage among whom Emelia and myself were one. The same day President J. Vancott who had been along to attend to the organization went ashore to return to Copenhagen. The pilot was taken on board and sails were set for a seven-week's cruise across the Atlantic Ocean.
Many varied incidents happened on such a journey and the character of men and women were brought to the light of day. Some were satisfied under all conditions while others were never satisfied. Some with large families of small children were to be pitied especially in case of sickness, as there was no dainty food to be had, but the sailor's provisions was all. We had quite a spell of sickness on board, and I was necessitated to superintend the burial of seventeen persons before we reached New York. As there was no rain, we were unable to get fresh water and our supply became very foul before reaching shore. At last seven weeks after we left the Elbe, we sighted shore, the tops of the mountains of the Promised Land, which made our hearts rejoice exceedingly.
When we landed in New York City, we were all ushered into Castle Garden, a large amphitheater building down near the battery. Here the doctor's examination took place and we were pronounced free from contagion. The next day we boarded the train and rolled westward. This was during the Civil War and the railroad companies were not very particular what kind of cars they furnished. All kinds of rolling stock were used for passengers. Here was another trial for grumblers and faultfinders because there were no upholstered seats for our use. When they came into a car, they were obliged to stay. Now there were no warm breakfasts nor dinners to be had and there was very little chance to buy anything on the road.
We at last reached Quincey, Illinois where we took steamers down the Mississippi to Hanibel where we stopped a day and had a rest. Those who had money could also get a good meal. There a train was patched up to take us to St. Joseph, Missouri where we again took a steamer up to Florence, Nebraska. From here we were to begin our tramp across the plains.
The church agent who had been working all summer preparing for the emigrants had not been able to get tents to accommodate all the emigrants as they came in such great numbers. Some, consequently, had to camp with nothing but heaven as a canopy until tents were made. This was soon accomplished as hundreds of young ladies were set to work sewing. This also gave a good opportunity for grumblers. It was very uncomfortable to be out in the hot sun. Then at times drenching rains would come as if the heavens were opened. Women, men, children, trunks, bedding, and clothing were all moved about in the muddy, dirty water. Some were crying, some laughing, and others were cursing. The sun would then come out with its extreme heat sending steam and fog heavenward. A general washday then generally followed including also drying and brushing. It seemed that God sent the people something to do to keep their minds occupied.
Our companies were soon furnished with tents; but as other companies came, they had the same things to endure that we had. There never before had been such a large company of emigrants on the prairies and we had to stay for several weeks. Living on the open prairie under such circumstances was something unknown to the people coming from Europe. It was connected with a great deal of inconvenience for all and suffering for others and was cause for discontent and faultfinding by the faint hearted. The provisions were chiefly flour and bacon with a very little sugar. Beef was almost out of the question. We got a very little once a week. Having nothing to do people got restless and some ventured over to Omaha, five miles distant, to seek work although warned and advised not to do so. When they returned to camp, they often brought a plug of tobacco or a bottle of liquor with them. Omaha seemed to be, at that time, a resting place for the weary and discontented coming from Europe and from the east as well as for the apostates who left Utah with the emigration teamsters. These apostates were generally loaded with untruths and rumors about Utah and her people. The faint-hearted were easily deceived and captured by them. Several of this class left the camp and stayed behind. The faithful people enjoyed themselves by playing games, singing, holding meetings, etc. and in this way kept up a good spirit. The teamsters from Utah then finally came.
Among the emigrants were several that had money so they could buy oxen and wagons of their own. These parties were supplied and organized into companies with guides and guards and pulled off toward the prairies. They had a great many difficult experiences in store which they had not dreamed of. They were entirely unacquainted with driving oxen and most of the oxen bought were unbroken. As young cattle essential for the journey, it was a wonder they could make any headway at all. Ropes and men were a requisite and there was more leading than driving. Every day, however, gave both men and teams more experience and made them better acquainted with one another thus making better headway.
High water was the cause of the train not coming from Utah before. A great deal of snow had fallen during the winter and rain in the spring causing the rivers to be too high for the teams to cross. For weeks they had to wait for the water to lower. At last they came which caused rejoicing by both teamsters and saints. The teamsters being young men, they all gave vent to their feeling of joy by yelling, jumping, swinging their hats, capering around, and with an occasional pistol shot. This was an unusual sight for Europeans to look upon. There was a string of sixty or seventy wagons, each drawn by three or four yoke of oxen. The teamsters were ragged and dirty with broad brimmed slouchy hats, many wearing one shoe and one boot both of which were often ragged. They had a brace of two or three pistols and a large bowie knife strapped to their waist and carried a fifteen or twenty-foot whip in their hands. Thus they came in a cloud of dust. This was a terrorizing sight for those who never before had seen such a thing. Some thought, if this was a sample of the Mormons in Zion, the evil reports about them must be true, and "God pity the emigrants." Others were more sensible and held forth correct ideas of the conditions and said we could not expect a different appearance of men and boys who had to be prepared to fight savages and who had traveled thousands of miles through dust, rain, and mud. In this way their appearance was argued in every direction. The young girls especially who had figured on meeting some nice young men from Zion were disappointed very much.
As the company drove up and formed a circle with their wagons and the people were amused and astonished to see the teamsters taking their stand and causing by command those long strings of brutes to take their exact places in the circle. It was as good as a circus performance for us to watch. In a few moments the oxen were all unyoked and the guards on horseback drove them off to feed. The teamsters then hurried to the creek and washed themselves and some took time to put on a better suit of clothes while others more anxious hurried to shake hands with the emigrants. They were soon scattered over the camp inquiring for relatives and friends among the company and emigrants inquiring for friends and relatives in Utah. Thus there was talk and chatter in every direction mingled with joy and laughter. Friendship and brotherly love was soon exhibited by all parties. The emigrants soon began to realize that these rough looking men were our deliverers and guardians and expected to carry us through seen and unseen danger across the wilderness to our destination among the mountains. The more we realized this the more they became a subject in our petitions to God. In this way, our hearts were filled with love and respect for them so that even their shortcomings were overlooked.
The companies from the West now began to arrive fast, one after another and everybody was busy and especially the leaders. There was no time to stay longer than necessary. The wagons should be loaded and a certain umber of persons assigned to each. The number was generally fifteen with one tent to each wagon. Two or three baking kettles went with each wagon as well as bedding and luggage allowing a certain number of pounds for each person. Those who brought more than their allotment had to pay extra for overweight. Now trouble came that emigrants had not anticipated for the luggage generally outweighed the allotment. Everything should be done in a hurry and it was sometimes hard to decide what to throw away. Such things as mattresses, feather beds, trunks, boxes, and unnecessary cooking utensils had to be discarded. As many of the Danish people had supplied themselves with many pairs of fine new wooden shoes they had, also, to be sacrificed although it was quite a trial to some.
One woman in our company had a spinning wheel along. The weigher told her to throw it away as there was plenty of wood in Utah. The woman cried very bitterly and said if her wheel could not be taken along she would stay. The woman, however, came along, but the wheel had to remain. The day of loading and packing was a busy one. It passed with little friction as the minds of all were filled with anxiety about getting on the road leading toward the mountains. There were near seventy-five wagons in our company. Our captain, Joseph Horn, was an experienced hand on the plains. The day we left camp was one of rejoicing as the idleness with no progress for several weeks was very tiring.
The first few days of travel made us very tired; but when we got a little use to it, we didn't feel it so much. Riding was out of the question except for those who were sick. The distance traveled daily was between ten and twenty miles. For young people after getting used to it, it was no hard task. In the evenings after having attended to camp duties, we generally had a dance. Then after a good night's sleep, we were ready for another day's journey across the prairies, over creeks, and rivers.
In crossing the Green River, I had an experience, which was not easily forgotten. The river which was yet quite high and wide where we crossed and the current was very swift with cobbles at the bottom. Being foolish enough to take my shoes and stockings off, it was very hard walking. In the middle of the stream, the swift current was half way up my waist and even the oxen had all they could do to walk across. I disliked the idea of my wife wading across the river and had concluded to carry her. When I got into the stream, it was useless to try to turn back and I feared the worst; but succeeded after hard struggling to gain shallow water on the opposite side. No one but a young, unexperienced man would undertake such a task. Reaching shore, I thanked God in my heart for our delivery though my feet were sore and bleeding. I then decided I never again would attempt to cross a swift flowing river with my wife on my shoulders. Many men desired to have dry clothing when they reached shore and, therefore, carried them came out without them and some came out with only a shirt on. There was some sickness and a few deaths, mostly children on our journey, diarrhea being the principal complaint. Otherwise, we had a very pleasant journey with no severe storms, no trouble to speak of, and no accidents and the Indians did not bother us. We moved on day by day like clockwork. The captain knew just where to drive every day to find good feed and good water for the teams and also to keep out of reach from the companies ahead and behind.
Our diet, bacon and flour, we got along with very well by change in cooking and our supply was sufficient. How to procure and prepare fuel for cooking was one of our chief studies. Our fuel most of the time was buffalo chips (or droppings) which men, women, and children gathered in the course of the day's travel. Every day brought us nearer the mountains and valleys, and the last week of our journey our provisions became short. As we got nearer the mountains, the climate grew colder and consequently the appetite got keener. The old fat bacon we so detested we could not get now and we wished for what we had thrown away. We had to satisfy ourselves with flour now and that without a pinch of salt.
That evening we heard from the teamsters that the next day we would enter the valley. Very few slept as there was dancing and merrymaking all night. An early start next morning was required to bring us into the city before night.
When noon came, we had nothing to eat; but we washed and dressed as well as we could to make a good appearance when entering the city. Coming down through Emigration Canyon, we found teams camping all the way inquiring for friends and relatives. These teams had come out from the city loaded with good things for their friends, but not for others so we had to plod along. We were all eager to get into the open valley and when there on the bench all eyes were directed toward Great Salt Lake City which at that time was hardly visible from that distance. With light, yet tired and faint steps, we passed by the Penitentiary through Sugarhouse into town where the streets everywhere were lined with people to see the emigrants. In the afternoon about four o'clock, September 29, 1862, we arrived on the Eighth Ward square, it being nearly six months since we started on our journey from Norway.
Obtained shelter and work from H. O. Magleby (Hans Olsen Magleby, see www.magleby.org), started on foot for Sanpete County. Reached Springtown and settled. A premonition while moving to Ephraim. Brigham Young friend of people. Emelia confined; she and babe died. Orson Hyde's counsel, courtship, and marriage. $700 horse traded for a heifer.
Not long after our arrival, Brother H.O. Magleby (Hans Olsen Magleby) came to our camp and invited my wife, another lady, and myself to come and stay with him and his family at their home. We got the use of a shanty to begin with. We were well entertained, got our luggage up and for the first time slept under a roof in Zion. Brother Magleby had charge of a large carpenter shop; and as I was used to handling tools, I started to work for him the following morning. In those days, no money was in circulation. We were paid with provisions such as potatoes, squash, fruit, butter, cheese, etc. I could not content myself by working under those conditions. I had always fancied that to own a farm and be a farmer would be the most honorable way of making a living.
As fall conference would soon be held and people were expected in to conference, we concluded to take the first chance to Sanpete where I had many friends who awaited me. Brother C.C.A. Christensen came in and he sustained me in my ideas. This was the first conference I attended in this country. It was held in the south west corner of the Temple block in a bowry. I understood but very little of what was said, but I enjoyed the sight of all those noble looking old men whom I had sung about and prayed for. A man from Ephraim was in the conference that had a yoke of oxen and a wagon. C.C.A. Christensen introduced me to him; and he promised to take our luggage to Ephraim, but had no room for us, so myself and my wife decided to again start on a 125 mile tramp. After settling with Brother Magleby, Brother Christensen, my wife, and myself left Salt Lake City and reached Big Cottonwood in the evening where we were kindly entertained by our old friend Brother Martin Hansen from Drammen. Enjoying their company that night, the next morning we continued our journey southward. While walking out State Street, a man with a team came along. After Christensen explained, he being able to speak English, that we were emigrants, the man kindly offered us a ride. That night we reached Lehi, Christensen being our guide took us to the home of Canute Petersen where we were made welcome and enjoyed their hospitality that night.
The next morning, we started out on foot travelling until night overtook us; and though we were not acquainted, we were never refused food and shelter. After traveling this way a couple of days, we were luckily overtaken by a team with which we rode to Nephi where we stayed over night and started for Sanpete next morning, walking up through Salt Creek Canyon. When re reached the forks where we found several wagons were camping, the parties because of our clothes could easily see we were emigrants. In conversation with these parties, I found J.C. Larsen, one of the first missionaries to Norway who had been imprisoned in the same cell I had lately occupied. This was a happy meeting as I came direct from Fredrickstad and Fredrickshald and had lately baptized his brother-in-law and sister. I could also tell him of the prosperous condition of the mission, which was very interesting to him.
Though our destination was Ephraim, he insisted that we go with him to Spring Town. He promised to see me to my destination when we were satisfied with our visit. I consented to go along as he told us of many of my friends who lived in that place. It was late and very dark before we reached town. As I happened to be singing one of my favorite songs, an old lady friend of mine heard me and knew my voice. She came running down the street and wanted us to go with her home, which, however, we could not do as we had promised to go with Brother Larsen. After reaching Larsen's place, it was soon rumored that I had come and several of my old friends gathered and we spent a very enjoyable evening.
Peter Monsen and wife and a young lady I had baptized who was now married to J. Fransen and others lived here and there were invitations from them all to come and visit them, which took several days. Everybody advising me to stay in that place, I could hardly resist. The kindness showed us on every hand was too much and we had to settle there. We went down to Ephraim and visited Brother Erik Johnson and wife, C.C.H. Dorius and family and others. They were very sorry we had decided to locate in Springtown. They thought I would have done very much better in Ephraim, but as I had decided I thought it best to not change my mind at present. A man from Springtown, Stephens by name, had decided to move to St. George. He left a little house, which I rented. When people heard I could do carpenter work, they were pleased as it was hard in those days to get anybody to work for others. But having no tools and o money to buy with, I was left to depend on the good will of those who had them. Even those men who were carpenters by trade were very glad I would work for people and were willing to help me out. In this way, I gathered my tools piece by piece from various places and they were far from being first class tools, but were good enough to help me along as no extra fine work was required in those days.
We had no time for visiting, but went to housekeeping at once. Furniture and cooking utensils were out of the question, but we did the best we could. We commenced with two tin cups, two tin plates, a coffeepot, a three quart pan, a kettle we had used across the plains and a baking skillet, which a friend lent us. Our furniture consisted of two slab benches and a table made by knocking two sticks into the wall and putting a couple of narrow boards on them. The house was unplastered and open, but wood was plentiful so we kept warm by using it in the fireplace day and night. In this way we started with bright hopes for the future. I worked for people by day and for myself by night so before long I had a table and bedstead made nicer and better than those owned by many who had been here a longer time than we. I received provisions of various kinds that were produced on the farm for my work, as cash was out of the question. I soon saw my way clear to buy a city lot of one and one fourth acres as well as five acres of land.
When spring came, I dug a cellar eight by ten feet, covered it with a dirt roof and made a fireplace in one end of it; so we moved into our own place. The first winter in our own home passed rapidly, and we enjoyed ourselves very much as everybody in the community did their utmost to make us happy. There were many Scandinavians in the community but more Americans, so I soon began to learn the language.
A man by the name of Harden Allred had been engaged to herd the cow herd for the summer; but after a few days herding, he found it too hard and broke his contract with the people. As no one else could be had, the bishop called on me to take the herd on the same conditions Allred subscribed to take it. The bishop had an old horse and saddle he let me have for which I should pay 120 bushels wheat in the fall. With an emigrant boy and a dog, I started herding and kept it up until grain was harvested in the fall and the cattle were turned into the field. It was almost impossible to please all the people with kind of work, but things generally went quite satisfactorily with very little complaining.
Through the summer, I had many conversations with some of my friends from Ephraim. They all persuaded me to move there. Erik Johnson, my old friend from Dramen offered me house and lot if I would move down. As we could see there was no future for us in Springtown, my wife and I pondered and counseled over the move considerably. We had five acres of land, but we were not allowed any water for it...consequently, it was worthless to us.
Orson Hyde, the president of the twelve apostles was then presiding over Sanpete County. He deemed it unwise for the welfare of the place to sell water; and the people mutually agreed that if they sold part of their water right, they might lose the right to all they had. This rule was not established in Ephraim, and we, therefore, concluded Ephraim had better conditions for us to get a farm. Having gotten a little water before this rule was established, I got a small crop of oats from my land from which I realized $12.00 cash, the first money I had in my possession in this country. This I paid to the old lady that I was owing for my emigration. After I had delivered the cowherd in the fall, we settled up our affairs and moved to Ephraim. Having no improvements on my lot, I found ready sale for it, and the man I bought the land from took it back and paid me what I had advanced on it. Bidding goodbye to our friends in Springtown, we packed our things and moved to Ephraim. Our friends didn't like it very well, but could see as we could that there was no future for us here. Our belongings were two pigs, a cat, a dog, and my wife on a wagon, I say on a wagon because our journeys before had been on foot, and myself on a gray horse.
When we got as far as Ephraim graveyard which was close to the road, turning my face toward the graveyard a voice plainly spoke these words: "There your wife shall lie." A peculiar sensation came over me, which I tried to get rid of.
We were welcomed by Brother Erik Johnson and his wife who had a house prepared for us, though it was not much of a house. It contained one small window, dirt roof, no ceiling and flat rocks for a floor, but it was on top of the ground, being quite an improvement on the little cellar we had in Springtown.
As threshing machines had not yet been introduced into Sanpete County, all threshing had to be done with the flail. People kept on threshing all winter so I had quite a job gathering my wheat for herd bills. The first I collected, I paid to the bishop for the old horse and so continued until it was paid. Wheat was plentiful and there was no market consequently very low in trade, and cash was out of the question. President Brigham Young, the friend and father of his people, saw how poorly the farmers were paid for their hard labor. People, with their ox traveling in the dead of winter to Salt Lake City loaded with wheat and after their hard struggle in getting there, were at the mercy of the few merchants who put the price on the grain as well as on the few things they felt like giving in return; so for a load of grain, they could return with a very small bundle under their arm. President Young seeing these conditions sent our orders that he would buy all the surplus wheat at $6.00 cash per bushel. This was quite a joke on me for in this way, I was the owner of the most costly horse in the country. 120 bushels wheat would have brought me $720.00. I, however, did not complain as I thought a bargain was a bargain, nor did President Orson Hyde, for I was told that in the meeting Orson Hyde demanded that Larsen should make it right with me, but he never did.
This year, the 10th of October 1863, Emelia was confined with a boy weighing twelve pounds which brought great joy into our home. Both mother and child seemed to be getting along nicely the first two days. The third day a fever set in which seemed to increase every hour. Everything was done with the limited resources at our command in those days but to no avail. I fasted and prayed as earnestly as I had ever done, but she gradually grew worse, and the thoughts came to me how I had prayed for her while she was sick in Norway. A voice now said, "Your prayer has now been answered. She has received the gospel and came home to Zion." I then again thought of the voice which spoke to me when I passed the Ephraim graveyard. My friends said "give her up" for as long as you sustain her with your faith she will suffer. I could see no other way, and I went out and prayed earnestly to God to relieve her of her suffering. She died in a few moments, but she gained consciousness for a few moments before she died and whispered, "Let me be sealed to you as your first wife."
A few days before everything was bright for future happiness and now nothing but gloom and sorrow filled my heart. All I had before passed through I counted as nothing. I was thankful for good friends around me who did all they could to console and comfort me. A good lady by the name of Lena Christenson, wife of Anton Christenson, offered to take and nurse my young babe as she herself had one. She did so and I sincerely hoped I should be able to raise it. The mother died on the 15th of October and was buried on the 18th. The 20th, the babe died in my arms and nobody had detected that it had any kind of sickness. It was buried in the same grave with its mother.
I never shall forget the kindness Christenson's bestowed on me in those trying times. A father and a mother could do no more for their own son, and the kindness of the whole community was as theirs. Bishop Kalob Edwards especially took great interest in me doing all he could to ease and console me.
It was a long time before I could settle down to do anything, but I was obliged to settle my affairs in Springtown so I had to travel forth and back there. Little by little I gathered up my wheat and took it to Ephraim. One day President Orson Hyde stopped with the Bishop in Ephraim, called me in, and said he had heard of my bereavement and sympathized with me as he had passed through the same experience himself. Talked a great deal about the trials and sorrows people had to pass through in this world, but said, "It was different with us than with the people of the world because we know the dead are not lost to us. We haven't the cause to feel sorry that they have gone." He said that we should not dress in mourning and live so a long time following after the world. He said it was my privilege and also my duty to take another wife, the sooner the better. He said you may go this way for years feeling sorry, but as soon as you take upon yourself other obligations your mind will be more at ease and be for your blessings. Saying this is the will of the Lord for you and you must obey. If you do so, you shall see that I have spoken the truth to you. This lecture did not agree with my feelings very well at that time. My thought was more to die than to live. Yet I knew it was spoken by a man having authority from God which I could not help but acknowledge. I knew his counsel would follow me. Telling my friends what Orsen Hyde had said, they all sanctioned it.
As time passed, it became plainer and plainer to me; but to seek a girl for that purpose was out of the question. I knew no girls. My friends, however, had a remedy for this, especially Anton Christensen's where the young people of Ephraim generally gathered for amusements. They pointed out different girls to me. One girl seemed more attractive to me, though she looked rather puny if not more sickly than any of the others. I had not much judgment of human nature in those days, but the humble appearance and quiet demeanor of the young lady suited me better at that time than the frolic and gaiety of the others. I feared a sickly person very much, and when I so stated, my friends explained the nature of her ailment and I also felt that all would be right. I had never talked to the girl, but day by day I pondered and struggled with myself what to do. At last I went down to the home of her parents and asked them if they had any objection to my making a proposal of marriage to their daughter Anna Maria. Both her father and mother were willing and her mother told me she knew I would be the husband of Anna Maria because God had so spoken to her long before my wife Emelia died, even before she knew my name or knew who I was. She said I was passing by her house and a voice told her, "There goes the husband of Anna Maria." When I now heard this, I knew she was the right one. I did not hesitate, but went and saw her and she accepted. After this was done, a great change immediately took place in my feelings. I started to work with a determination to get a home. I took care of my wheat, selling only what was absolutely necessary.
About this time, Orson Hyde introduced the idea of the necessity of moving out and hunting for new places where homes might be built. His idea was that the settlements of Sanpete were over-crowded, that the water was not sufficient to sustain the people. In this he was sustained by the old settlers. This idea caused a great deal of preaching Sundays, and discussion other days. Some were in favor and others against the idea. Finally it was concluded that many should be called to go out and start new homes. A number of men were called from each town to sell their homes to those fortunate enough to be privileged to stay. This call was looked upon by some as for spite and by others as a necessity. Those who were not on the best terms with the Bishop felt they were called for spite. The call, however, was obeyed with very few exceptions. In this way, I found that the same water difficulty that existed in Springtown existed in Ephraim. I became more determined to get a farm, but could see no chance of getting one in these localities; so I concluded that if others can go out to build new homes, I could also go but as a volunteer. I had breadstuff enough for a year and some wheat to sow, counted on my work for other necessities such as a little bacon, milk, etc. I, however, had a chance for milk for I had traded my $700.00 horse for a three year old heifer. The 23rd of December 1863, Miss Anna M. Pedersen and myself were married by Bishop Kaleb Edwards in the home of Anton Christensen where a feast was prepared for circumstances neatly furnished it and began housekeeping.