Thursday, December 1, 2011

Marie Wilhelmina Catherine Krause Madsen ~ Pioneer of the Month ~ December 2011

MARIE WILHELMINA CATHERINE KRAUSE 350 Born: 27 April 1847 Svenborg, Fuenert (Fynn), Denmark Age: 9 Hodgett Wagon Company Niels Peter and Wilhelmina MaC.; Wilhelmina's biography is taken mostly from a well researched account written by two of her granddaughters, Pearle M. Olsen and Aleen M. Summers. All accounts speak of Wilhelmina as a very "comely" and beautiful girl. Her parents were both from Germany, her mother, Anna Lucia Simonsen Abel, having been widowed previously. When Anna's first husband died, she inherited a wheelwright nail factory. Anna advertised in the "Danish Star News" for a manager to take care of the business and Johan H. F. A. Krause answered that advertisement, was hired, and proved to be very capable. He and Anna married and became the parents of six children. Wilhelmina went to her father's nail factory one day and picked up a red-hot nail that had dropped on the floor, thinking it very beautiful. It left a terrible scar the rest of her life. Another incident at the nail factory would also influence the course of Wilhelmina's life. A crowd had gathered outside the factory where two "Mormon" missionaries were passing out literature and announcing a meeting they would hold in the woods that night. Wilhelmina's mother and her friend, Marie Frandsen, attended and participated in the singing. A mob of persecutors soon came with ropes and clubs, but the missionaries were able to escape and find shelter in the woods. Anna and Marie -learned where the Elders were hiding, took food to them, and invited them to Anna's home to hold another meeting. At this meeting, the same mob came, broke the door to the Krause home, and told the missionaries to leave the country. Before leaving, the missionaries gave each of those present some literature and a song book. Wilhelmina received one of those books and cherished it throughout her life. She loved to sing and had a beautiful singing voice. Other missionaries soon came and taught the gospel to the Krause family. Johan was not interested, but Anna requested baptism, and did not tell her husband. She secretly attended meetings for about two years and finally revealed her actions to her husband, requesting that he take her to "Zion" to gather with the Saints. Johan did not wish to leave his successful business, but he was also a kind man who didn't like to see his wife unhappy. She would often sing from her little book this hymn: "Oh, Zion, when I think ofthee, I long for pinions like the dove, And mourn to think that I should be so distant from the land I love. A captive exile, far from home, for Zion's sacred walls I sigh, With ransomed kindred there to come and see Messiah eye to eye. While here I walk on hostile ground, the few that I can call my friends, are, like myself, in fetters bound, and weariness our steps attends. But yet we hope to see the day When Zion's children shall return. When all our grief shall flee away, and w~ a~ain no more shall mourn. The thoughts that such a day will come makes e'en the exiles r£f£"i:Mi'~weet; Though now we wander far from home, in Zion soon we all shall meet." Johann finally decided to sell the business and go to the United States to begin a new business in St. Louis, Missouri, making wagons and handcarts for the Saints to use in crossing the plains. This relocation and reestablishment of a business required so much money for this family of eight that it was decided to let one child remain in Denmark with friends and go to America the following year with those friends. The children drew lots to see who would stay and the lot fell to Wilhelmina. The rest of the family left from Copenhagen in 1855 with a company of four hundred Saints aboard the ship Charles Buck. 1855 was a terrible year for cholera outbreaks in St. Louis and two of Wilhelmina's little sisters and her mother died in July of that year. From Wilhelmina's biography we read, "Thus, 351 -'" Wilhelmina Krause - Page 2 Anna's hope and cherished dream of gathering to Zion with the Saints was not to become a reality, but her great faith paved the way for her daughter, Wilhelmina, to be among those whose names were to be carved in Utah's history." Meanwhile, in Denmark,Wilhelmina was unaware of the tragedy in her family and was preparing to sail with the Frandsen's when Marie Frandsen's brother tried to prevent Marie from going to Utah by telling the officials that Marie was stealing a child to take with her. The police officers took Wilhelmina's clothes and precious song book and placed her in an orphanage with little but a gray uniform. The missionaries were finally able to make the truth known and obtained her release, but the Frandsen family had been compelled to leave Denmark in the meantime. The Elders arranged for Wilhelmina to travel with the Lars (62) and Bodil (50) Madsen family in the next emigrant group. Wilhelmina became very close to Brother Madsen. One morning while waiting out the bad weather and unloading of the wagons at Devil's Gate, Wilhelmina went with Brother Madsen a ways from the camp. When he collapsed in the snow, Wilhelmina cried and wanted to stay with him, but he took his cane and pushed her away, telling her she couldn't stay. By the time she returned with help, Lars had died. Wilhelmina stayed with the widow Madsen's family and eventually married her son, Niels Peter. They settled in Mt. Pleasant where they had a home in town and also homesteaded a 160- acre piece of property. Wilhelmina and the children did a great deal of the work and became quite self-sufficient. She developed an infection in one eye, causing her to go blind in that eye, but she continued to read to her children from the Book of Mormon every night and work very hard. Her children said that many times they saw her crying as though her heart would break, then going to her bedroom to pray and coming out smiling, feeling God had given her strength to bear her troubles. Eventually, Wilhelmina placed an ad in a St. Louis, Missouri, newspaper to advertise for her family. Her father was notified and soon he and his daughter, Augusta, arrived in Salt Lake City. They stood on the steps ofthe Deseret News Building each day for a week, inquiring of passers-by for infonnation. They were about to give up when they met a man from Sanpete County and asked him if he knew a George Frandsen. The man knew the Frandsen's and Wilhelmina and after 32 years this family was reunited. Her father stayed for a month. When Johan Krause returned to Missouri, he still maintained that the "Mormons" had stolen his daughter and he was embittered toward them. He and his step-son, Frederick Abel, had become wealthy in St. Louis, having pioneered the plumbing business. They were both reputed to be millionaires and bought one of the first Pierce-Arrow automobiles in that area. Frederick visited Wilhelmina a few years later and offered her anything to renounce her faith and return with her children to St. Louis where she would be given every advantage but she refused. She did keep up communication with her sisters, Augusta and Caroline, in St. Louis. Caroline sent her a gold band ring and told her if she didn't see her in this life she would know her by her ring in the next world. After Wilhelmina's very full, but happy life, she was buried with the ring on her finger. "Sister Mina" served as Relief Society President and I,. .. " was beloved by all. She played her accordian and sang to her neighbors. Her children wrote in a tribute to her: "By her teachings and her good example she instilled into our hearts the good things of life, and taught us to live the Gospel which was so dear to her. She has been a beacon light to us all our lives and made an impression on us that will always be with us. She had a testimony of the gospel. She knew it was true and that there is a God who answers prayers. She paid a full tithing and she kept the Word of Wisdom and we never heard her swear or even use s[ang." Lars & Bodil Neilsen Madsen

This information is taken from "Madsen Family History"