History of Jens Rasmussen/Olsen
Written by Anna May Newton Shipp
Jens Olsen was born in Viemose, Præstø Amt, Danmark the 14 May 1841. He was the son of Rasmus Olsen and Ingeborg Hansdatter. He married Annie Cathrine Christensen, daughter of Hans Christensen and Johanne Christensen (maiden name) from Havbro, Jylland.
President Brigham Young sent them south to help settle Ephraim. In the spring of 1864 he was called to Omaha, Nebraska with ox teams to bring immigrants across the plains. It required six months to make the journey. It rained the entire time. The clouds seemed to follow them as they journeyed on. There had been a terrible drought and the crops were drying up. The people said that if it had not been for the Mormon boys bringing the rain, that there would have been no crops and starvation would have followed.
In 1865 he was called to move to Circleville and Marysvale, Utah to help settle that part of the country. He with his wife built a home and planted crops. They had lived there just one and one half years when in the summer of 1867 the Indians began to trouble them. They drove off their cattle and were killing those men who went after them.
About this time Daniel H. Wells came out to visit and seeing the condition ordered them to move back to Ephraim, Utah.
When the war with »Black Hawk« began, Jens was appointed 2nd Lieutenant in the army. He served until the war was ended. He stood guard many nights watching and waiting for the horrible yells of the Indians. His wife Annie C. Olsen received a pension of $30, 00 a month from the government because of Jens’ service in the war.
Jens Olsen died 16 Oct 1883 at Ephraim, San Pete Colorado, Utah
[Auto]biography of Annie Cathrine Christensen Olsen
Written by Diantha Olsen Newton, daughter of Annie Catherine Christensen Olsen.
I was born October 13, 1841 in Jylland, Denmark. At the age of 7 years I started school and attended until I was 12 years old. During vacation time my work was helping in the house and watching sheep so they would not get on the neighbors farm. During this time my father was a heavy drinker and would be under the influence of liquor every day. My mother made it a matter of prayer that something would transpire that he might change his ways. Not very long after, two Elders came to our door. We were at dinner and my father invited them in. They had dinner with us and during their conversation they drifted into the gospel of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Although my father was partly under the influence of liquor at the time, he became quite interested. The Elders told him about the first principles of the gospel and of the gathering of the Saints to Zion. My father had a beautiful mare, of which he thought a great deal and he said he could never go to Zion and leave her behind. The Elders told him he could take her with him, which pleased him very much so he invited them to come again, which they did many times.
To show how the Lord hears and answers prayer, I will relate a dream one of the Elders had the night before they called at our home. He dreamed they went out tracting*) and they came to a house where there was a hen with a brood of little white chickens in the front yard. They went in there and the people embraced the gospel. The next morning they started out to look for the chickens and after walking for quite a while the other Elder said: »I am afraid we won’t find the chickens today«. The other one answered; »Yes, we will, we are going to keep on going till we find them.« which they did, and after a little more walking they came to our home and there in the front yard was the hen with her brood of white chickens. The Elder said to his companion: »This is the place, this is proof that if we will go to our Heavenly Father in earnestness He will help us overcome our trials and troubles«. My father was the first to embrace the gospel and it wasn’t long after until the rest of the family was baptized. My father never touched liquor or tobacco after he joined the church.
We were baptized in the winter of 1852, I being 11 years old at the time. It was necessary to break the ice in a pond on my father's farm to perform the ordinance but none of us took cold.
We were the only family in that town that joined the church at that time. My school teacher told the children they should not make fun of me because I was a Mormon. My father sold his home and belongings, including his beautiful mare, and began to get ready to go to Zion. We children went out to work until they were ready to go to Zion, I being hired out to some people in an adjoining town as nurse girl.
About the first of December 1854 we boarded the sailing vessel at Fredericks Hound [Frederikshavn, Jylland, Danmark] of England but the wind came from the wrong direction and we landed in Norway, where we stayed for one week. During that time we would climb up behind the cliffs to say our prayers so we would not be seen by the ship's crew. A week later we started out for England and the wind took us back to Fredericks Hound, our starting point. This time the wind was favorable and we landed in England Christmas morning 1854. We boarded the train for Liverpool and arrived there in the evening, at which place we stayed for several days waiting for the ship to sail. During this time we had to eat horse flesh. My mother had brought a jar of butter and some dried sausage with her, which I remember tasted very good to us.
About the 1st of January 1855, we boarded the ship »James Nesmith« and sailed with 440 Scandinavian saints and 1 British saint across the Atlantic Ocean. The first three days of our voyage we were all very sea‑sick but after getting better I got such an appetite that I couldn’t get enough to eat. My mother, not being very well, could not eat her portion of hard tack, so I got part of her portion, as well as my own.
One day a terrible storm came up. I was standing on the middle of the deck holding to a large barrel just under the hole of the ship. I felt impressed to move under the deck and just as I did so and had gone a short distance a mast beam broke and fell, breaking the barrel to pieces, so you see how necessary it is to heed the promptings of the Spirit at all times.
On February 23rd, 1855, we landed at New Orleans, from which point, we took a steamer and sailed up the Missouri River to St. Louis where we stayed one day and went to church. From there we sailed on to Leavenworth, Kansas where we landed at a place which was later called »Mormon Grove«. We had to clear the snow away so we could pitch our tents, it being necessary for us to wait here until the arrival of the oxen, and my brother, sister and a young girl, whose emigration my father had paid for, had to go out to work to help keep up expenses.
After being at Leavenworth some time, cholera broke out in camp and the officers came and made us move farther from town. My mother was very sick at that time, and quite a number of the young folks of the camp died.
The oxen finally came and we started on our long journey across the plains in P. O. Hansen’s Company. Our wagon was quite heavily loaded and we all had to walk unless some of us were sick, in which case we would ride till we were better. When we camped for the night, we young folks would go and gather buffalo chips (all the pioneers who crossed the plains with ox teams or hand carts know what they are). We had to cook our supper with them, as wood was very scarce in some places. After supper was over we would talk of the experiences of the day, after which we would sing hymns and have a dance occasionally. We would then have prayers and retire for the night.
After traveling for some distance, we were surrounded by Indians and had to give them flour and sugar, or whatever we had to keep peace with them.
One day we came to a large herd of buffalo. They had been down to the river to drink and were returning to the hills. There was such an immense herd that we could feel the ground tremble for quite a distance as they passed over the road. Our oxen became so excited that they ran away but not one was injured. One of the men killed a buffalo, which provided us with fresh meat for awhile.
We waded all the rivers till we came to Green River, which was so swift and deep that we had to cross the river in wagons and the water would almost take the oxen off their feet. After crossing Green River, we had not traveled very far when my mother was bit on the wrist by a scorpion or poisonous insect of some kind. Her arm began to swell until it went up in her body. She was very sick all the rest of the journey until one evening we reached Salt Lake Valley and my mother passed away the next morning without seeing the great Salt Lake Valley that she had gone through so much to reach. This was in the latter part of September, 1855. It was necessary for my father to find someone who could speak the Danish language so he could make arrangements to have my mother buried, the rest of the company having gone on to Sanpete County, leaving us there alone with our dead. We buried her on the same day she died.
Sister Elizabeth Ann Whitney, or Mother Whitney, as we always called her, came down to our camp. She had a crippled boy and she asked my father to leave me with her to care for her little boy. She said she would be a mother to me, as I had lost mine. My father decided it was the best thing to do, as the grasshoppers had taken the crops that year and he didn’t know whether he would be able to get enough food to last through the winter or not so I went with Sister Whitney and I must say here that she proved a kind and loving mother to me. My own mother couldn’t have been better to me than she was, and she will always be Mother Whitney to me. Apostle Whitney, grandson of Mother Whitney, was a baby at that time and I used to pull him around in a two wheeled cart made from wheels sawed from a log. It was painted blue with indigo. I shall never forget that little blue wagon, nor shall I ever forget my feelings at that time. Just imagine, if you can, a child 14 years of age losing my mother; my father, brothers, and sister going away, where I did not know, or if I would ever see them again, being left with perfect strangers who couldn’t speak a word of Danish, nor was I able to speak an English word. I used to go out and hide and cry till my heart would almost break. As soon as they would miss me they would come and hunt me up. The crippled boy would teach me what to call different things and it wasn’t long until I could talk enough to make them understand what I meant.
I lived with Mother Whitney one and a half years, at which time my sister married and my brother came to take me to Ephraim, Sanpete County, to keep house for my father. This I did until he re‑married when I went to live with my sister. I lived with her until October 19th, 1859, when I was married to James Olsen, and moved to my own home, which was a two room adobe house, one room being used for a granary. Our furniture consisted of a large box, which answered for a table and flour bin, 2 or 3 three‑legged stools, and a wooden bed with rope springs which my husband made and of which we were very proud. Some shelves made on the wall formed a cupboard to hold the few dishes we had and we did our cooking by the fire place. When the young folks came in we would roast potatoes in the coals for refreshments. Although our house had a dirt roof and dirt floor, we were very content and happy as could be. We would have little house parties and dance in our bare feet.
In the spring of 1864 my husband was called to go to Omaha, Nebraska with ox teams to bring emigrants over the plains. It took them six months to make the trip. It rained for 6 weeks. It seemed as though the clouds followed them as they journeyed. There had been a drought and the corn was drying up. The people said if it hadn’t been for the »Mormon boys coming and bringing the rain with them they wouldn’t have raised any crops«.
In 1865 we were called to move to Circleville and help settle that part of the country. We built a home there and put in crops, also in Marysville. Our house was a two room log cabin, the cracks of which were not chinked. Some friends lived in one room and often when we baked pan cakes we would slip them to each other through the cracks between the logs.
We had lived there about one and a half years when the Indians began to trouble us by stealing our cattle. The men built a fort around the houses and the women and children weren’t allowed outside. We had no mills and had to go to Manti to get our wheat ground flour. There weren’t enough men to guard the place and go for flour too, so it was necessary to eat boiled wheat. Finally some of the men put up a wind mill and run a Burr mill with it so they got their wheat ground to coarse graham flour.
One night the Indians came and drove off most of our cattle and all the men had to go out and try and save some of them. I was afraid to go to bed. I had mixed bread in the evening and it was up ready to bake. I had no wood and was afraid to go out of the house to get any. After meeting on Sunday afternoons we would all go out and play nine‑pins, we kept them at our house. I thought we would never play nine pins any more, so I baked my bread with them. The Indians killed two men at this time.
One day Daniel H. Wells, General Wells, as he was called, came out there and when he saw the conditions we were living in, he ordered us to move back to Ephraim, Sanpete County, where we had to start anew, and as we lost everything we had. My husband was a Second Lieutenant in the guard and I am now drawing an Indian War pension in payment for what we lost.
March 12th, 1876, we moved to Manti where my husband bought a farm from Heber C. Kimball. It is located just below the hill where the Manti Temple now stands. We lived there five years when he was called to go on a mission to Denmark. He labored there for 10 months, being sick most of the time; he was honorably released to return home. He lived two months after returning and passed away the 16th of October 1883, just one year to the day that he left for the mission field. I remained on the farm, keeping house for my five children until they were all married, 4 of my children having passed away before my husband, all of them being boys, three of them, one 3, one 6, and one 9 years old, all passed away in three weeks with diphtheria, one of them being laid out in one room, while my youngest son was born in another. He was married November 22nd, 1899 and since that time I have lived with my children.
I have gone through all this, with many other things which I haven’t mentioned for the gospel’s sake, which I know to be the true and everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. If I live until October 13th, 1921, I will be 80 years old. I am the mother of 9 children, have 40 grandchildren and 15 great grandchildren, and I hope and trust I may prove faithful to the end.
*) Tracting: Tract means a defined area of land. »We went tracting« is a Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints missionary term meaning the missionaries went door to door within a defined tract of land teaching the gospel."
PIONEER WOMAN PASSES AWAY
Mrs. Annie C. Olsen Walked Over Plains In 1855
Mrs. Annie C. Olsen, died this morning at 1 o’clock at the home of her daughter, Mrs. F. B. Newton, 2463 Grant avenue, following a short illness of pneumonia.
Mrs. Olsen was born October 13, 1841, in Denmark, and
came to the United States with her parents in 1855. They crossed the plains by
wagon and walking and settled in Circleville. Utah. They were driven out by the
Indians and went to Ephraim.
She was married in 1859 to James Olsen and lived in Ephraim where they made their home until the death of her husband in 1883, when she moved to Ogden.
She is survived by the following children: James P. Olsen, Emery, Utah; David Olsen, Manti; Mrs. Fred B. Newton, Ogden; Hans C. Olsen, Gunnison. She has 31 grandchildren and 42 great grandchildren.
She was an active worker in the L. D. S. church.
The body may be viewed at the Newton home Friday and Saturday and Sunday until noon. The funeral will be held Sunday at 12:15 p.m. in the First ward chapel with Bishop Horace Garner officiating.
Interment will be in the Ogden city cemetery under the direction of the Intermountain Mortuary Company.
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