Saturday, February 1, 2014

Christen Andersen and Karen Jensen ~ Pioneers of the Month ~ February 2014

Christen Andersen and Karen Jensen
Originally compiled and typed by F. Fern McIntosh Jacobs
Retyped by Belva Jones McIntosh June 2000
Most parenthetical comments and highlighting done by Beverly McIntosh Brown

Christen Andersen was the first of his ancestral line to
come to America. He was born February 18, 1796, in the
farming community of Svenstrup, in the Parish of
Taarnborg,County of Soro, Denmark. He was the son of Anders
Nielsen and Dorthe Christensen. On December 1, 1823 he
married Ingeborg Nielsen at the parish church at Kirke-
Stillinge, a short distance from this birthplace. Ingeborg
was born in Kirke-Stillinge Parish November 21, 1789. She
was the daughter of Niels Hansen and Maren Christensen_(who
were the grandparents of Dorothea Maria, wife of Peter
Mogensen) and was previously married to Jens Sorensen, who
had died.

  Apparently Christen and Ingeborg lived at Kirke-Stillinge
because their two children were born here.
1. Maren: born 16 Aug 1825; died 8 Oct 1887;
Married 9 Dec. 1853 to Peder Christensen Jensen.
2. Anders: born 9 Dec 1828, died 10 Dec. 1828, the day
after his birth.
Ingeborg did not survive the complications of the birth of
her second child and passed away six days later on December
15 1828.

The following year, on May 8, 1829, Christen married Karen
Jensen at Korsor, Soro County, the harbor city on the west
coast, near Svenstrup, his birthplace. She was born April
3, 1805 at Sr. Hojrup, Svendborg County, Denmark, on the
Island of Fyen. She was a daughter of Jens Hansen and
Sidsel Hansen. For a short time they must have lived at
Stillinge in the Parish of Kirke-Stillinge, for the first
child, Anders, was born the~re, but the other six children
were born in Svenstrup, a few miles away from where their
father, Christen, was born. The children are:

1. Anders: born 18 Nov 1830; died 29 Nov 1917; married
(1) 1 April 1859, Nilla Pedersen; married (2) 18 Jan
1864, Kirsten Nielsen; married (3) 10 June 1876,
Christina Jonsson; married (4) 14 Feb. 1884,
Christina Frantsson.
2. Dorthe Marie: born 26 May 1833; died 13 Dec 1834,
age 19 months.
3. Jens: born 26 May 1833; died 29 May 1833, three
days after birth.
4. Jens: born 10 March 1835; died 21 April 1897;
married (1) Kirsten Nielsen; married (2) 23 Jan 1862,
Ane Christine Larsen.
5. Niels Christian: born 31 July 1839; died 1866;
married 19 October 1862 Kirstine Nielsen.
6. Ingeborg: born 17 May 1843; died 26 May 1843; age 9
7. Ingeborg: born 28 April 1846; died 26 Oct 1917;
married 14 Jan 1865, Jacob Christensen.

The Mormon missionaries came to Denmark in 1850 and the
family was converted. The oldest son, Anders, was the first
to be baptized, and two months later on May 19, 1853,
Christen and Karen were baptized. The three other living
children followed soon after. Many of the new converts were
immigrating to the United States to go to Utah. Jens, the
second son of Christen and Karen was the first of the family
to leave their homeland in January 1855. On May 1, 1860,
two other sons, Anders and Christian followed him. Two
years later these two were able to send money to their
parents for their passage.

Christen, Karen and their daughter, Ingeborg, and Christen's
daughter, Maren, by his first marriage, and her husband,
Peder Christensen Jensen, left Denmark in April 1862 and
went by ship to Hamburg, Germany. Four sailing ships, the
Athenia, Electric, Franklin and Humbolt, were at anchor in
the Elbe River to take 1556 Saints from Norway, Sweden and
Denmark to the United States. They booked passage on the
Athenia, a fair sized ship~ but with 484 passengers it was
overloaded. The Athenia was the 115th shipload of Saints to
leave Europe for the United States.

After getting settled on board, the passengers were sent to
get their rations consisting of beef, pork, peas, beans,
potatoes, pearl barley, rye bread, sea biscuits, three
quarts of water a day, flour, salted herring, salt, and oil
for their lamps.
The ship set sail from Hamburg April 22, 1861. For the
first two weeks the weather was fine and good speed was
made, but when they reached the Gulf Stream, about 300 miles
south of New Foundland Banks, there was a calm without any
wind for over a week. The temperature rose to eighty
degrees with high humidity and the water in the wooden
barrels became bad. An epidemic of diarrhea and bowel
complaints broke out. Because of poor sanitation and lack
of medicines, five adults and a number of children died.
Later measles broke out among the passengers. In a few days
thirty-three children and several adults had died.
After the hardships of forty-six days on the water, the ship
came into New York Harbor on June 7, 1862. Abraham Lincoln
was then the president of the United States and the nation
was involved in a civil war. Twelve days later, when the
sickness was under control they were able to pass
immigration inspection and leave by train for Florence,
Nebraska, the outfitting point for crossing the plains to
the West.  

Five thousand persons made the crossing in 1862,
divided into thirteen companies. Christen and Karen were
assigned to the Ole N. Liljenquist Company. Able-bodied
men, women and children had to walk most of the way.
Christen was 66 years of age and Karen was 57. There were
many hardships on the long trek and also Indian

On September 23, the wagons reached the Salt Lake Valley.
Christen and Karen's sons were there to meet them and take
them to Mt. Pleasant where they had settled. Three years
later, in the summer of 1865, Christen, Karen and their
daughter, Ingeborg, went with their son Anders and his
family to Richfield, where they had been called to help
build up the settlement. They traveled to this outpost 85
miles south of Mt. Pleasant by wagon and horse team, cleared
land after their arrival, built a house, and planted crops
in the spring. The Indians made constant raids, stole
cattle and other belongings, and there were many killings.
Because there was no fort for protection, the settlement was
abandoned on April 20, 1867, less than two years after their

When Christen and Karen returned to Mt. Pleasant, he was
given a lot at the northwest corner of 6th South and 3rd West
Streets. His son Anders, helped him make adobe bricks and
build a two-room house using willows for lathe, mud for
plaster, and whitewash to make it beautiful. Also Christen
was given five or ten acres of land down Chris Ericksen Lane
at 5th South and 5th West Streets, which he farmed as long as
he was able to work.

In the fall of this year, after their return from Richfield,
Christen and Karen made a trip back to Salt Lake City and
were sealed in the Endowment House on October 26,1867.
Little is known of Christen during the next five years. He
was stricken with a paralytic stroke, which made him bedfast
for eleven years. 

A grandson wrote: "The primitive
conditions, the lack of medical care, the absence of even
modest comforts, hard work, worry and deprivations and the
trials and discouragements which were so plentiful made life
for him hard to bear in the sunset of life. We should not
forget to appreciate the kind and noble work of his faithful
wife. She worked at his side in the heat of the day; she
helped him plow the fields and plant the crops; to build the
house and make it a home. She was at his side when they had
to stand off the Indians, when they were raided and driven
from their home. She helped bear the sorrow when the
savages massacred their son. She faithfully waited on him
for eleven years as he lay helpless with paralysis."

Christen's death occurred in Mt. Pleasant, March 21, 1884 at
the age of 88 years. Karen lived nearly 13 years longer.
She died February 9, 1897 at the age of 91 years, and is
buried in the family plot at the side of her husband in the
Mt. Pleasant Cemetery.