Anna Georgine Jorgensen Anderson


Anna Georgine Jorgensen,
daughter of Anna Sophia Nelson West and Rasmus Jorgensen
born 17 May, 1847 at Roarup, Denmark

My father was prosperous and had all the comforts of a well-to-do farmer. Included among these was a large fruit orchard, the windfalls of which were daily gathered for the pigs by the two oldest children, Fred and myself. Childlike, it was my daily wish that someday I'd be where I couldn't see fruit. That wish was literally filled in my early Utah days.

I attended public school up to the time I was fifteen. My teacher, a Methodist minister, chose to teach the younger children, while he taught certain classes of the older students. Because of this assistance, he gave me the privilege of reading books from his own personal library. His daughter and I were very close friends and spent many happy hours reading together. (Neither ever lost the desire to read good books and current literature. Long evenings at the ranch we children never tired listening to her read - she read exceptionally well - while we picked over many hundredweight of dried beans and Malaga raisins.)

In 1863, when I was yet fifteen, Mormon elders came to our community and preached the gospel of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. My parents and I were converted and baptized that same year. We all realized that we would have to sacrifice much to join the Saints, but we so sincerely believed in this newly found faith, that no sacrifice seemed too great.

Just when we were making our plans to go to America in December 1863, war broke out between Denmark and Germany. I well remember how the German soldiers came riding over the grain fields, killing and destroying animal and plant life. I shall never forget the horrors of that war and the terrible destruction. Because Father was then 64 year of age, too old to fight, he was allowed to bring his family to America. My mother's brother, Laurtz, for whom my daughter Laura was named, tried to persuade me to stay in Denmark. Wealthy and childless, he promised to make me his sole heir if I would but stay. Not succeeding in detaining me, he told me that if the "Promised Land of Zion" proved other than I anticipated, that his home would always be open for me in Denmark.

We eventually left our home 27 March 1864, taking with us to the New World only the few belongings that we could carry. We stopped in Denmark's capital, Copenhagen, for one week and then took a Swedish steamer for Hamburg. From Hamburg, we sailed for England. While crossing the North Sea a storm arose. The waves beat over the vessel and all the outside ventilators had to be closed. The ship's hold was filled with cattle and the ventilators between decks had to be left open. The stench of the cattle and a thousand seasick passengers was terrible. Only the Norwegians were able to be on their feet. Imagine the condition of that many sea-sick people in such quarters. We landed in Hull and stayed there a week.

At Hull, I witnessed the first healing by the Elders. A Swedish boy of sixteen was dying of pneumonia and appeared to be breathing his last. The Elders ministered to him, and immediately the boy was well, dressed himself and left his bed. From Hull we went by train to Liverpool where we made ready to take a sailing vessel to America and were located on board the "McClellan" when the ship's doctor made his routine examination. A little Swedish girl and my younger sister Lena, then six years old, were coming down with Scarlet Fever. The two families were ordered off the ship. Lena had to be removed to a hospital while the rest of us went to a hotel, delaying the sailing for six weeks. Not being able to speak English, we made ourselves understood with difficulty. April 28, 1864 we again took vessel, together with a large company of emigrants from Scandinavia, on the ship "Monarch of the Seas". While on board ship and later walking across the plains, I learned to understand and speak the Swedish tongue. Years later I entertained the Prince and Princess of Sweden in my home and was able to converse somewhat with those of his party who were unable to speak English.

On our way across the Atlantic Ocean, a great storm overtook us. It arose so suddenly, the waves rolled over the upper deck and flooded down upon us. Panic followed before the ventilators could be closed. Some screamed, some prayed, and others clung together as to die, they thought. The storm continued unabated for three days. No fire was made on the ship during that time. A week before we landed in New York, the ship took fire, and much of the same sort of panic followed. No harm was done other than the burning of some sails. After six weeks at sea, land was a glorious sight. We had not gone hungry, but we were tired of sea fare. June 3, 1864, we landed at Castle Gardens, New York.

At that time, the North and the South were nearing the close of the Civil War, so we were forced to go west by way of the St. Lawrence River and the Great Lakes. On the way we spent one day at Niagara. Tired of travel by water, we were happy to leave the lakes and board a train that had just brought a regiment of Union soldiers east. The change proved to be for the worse. The cars were so lousy with cooties, we were relieved to get off the train at St. Joseph, Missouri, and again take the steamer to the town of Wyoming, Nebraska, near Omaha and Council Bluffs. Even so, the cooties stayed with us. It took a week of continual combing, bathing and washing to rid ourselves of them in the Missouri River.

For six weeks we camped in tents and other crude shelters waiting for a train of wagons to get ready for the trip across the plains. Finally about two hundred wagons and four hundred people gathered for the long trek. The Jorgensens came in William B. Preston's company, which left Wyoming, Nebraska on July 8, 1864. Indians were hostile all the way across the plains, but our wagon train was lucky in not being attacked. Once we saw dead animals, and burning prairie schooners of Denver freighters. But our men had most of the bodies covered before the women and children came along. But we had our light moments too. At night whenever a grassy plot was reached, the freighters made merry and we danced despite the long day of trekking. I walked almost the entire distance except for the two days I was too ill. We were two weeks trekking the Great American plains.

When we reached Emigration Canyon, a Swedish girl named Mary and I, hungry for food, stopped to pick currants and berries along the way. Unnoticed, the company went on without us. She and I walked the last ten miles alone. The company reached the Great Salt Lake valley about noon on September 15, 1864. All were happy and tired, and thankful to be in the Valley where we could enjoy the Gospel.

In Salt Lake City we made camp in the tithing yard. My mother's brother, who had come over on the McClellan, was living at Manti and had Pete Luthvig there with a team to meet us. After we had rested, we went on for another week, trail riding by prairie schooner, eventually reaching our destination. The Jorgensens made Manti their home for quite some time.

The first Sabbath there, my mother and Lena and I went to church in the expensive clothes we had brought from Denmark, but we felt so conspicuous and out of place that we never wore them again. The next Sunday we went to church as were the others, in homespun cloths.

Ten days after coming to Manti, I took down with typhoid fever while working for a family in Ephraim. When I quit work, I had to walk back to Manti. All I could ever recall was reaching Mother's and sitting down inside the door. For seven weeks I knew nothing, then I slowly recovered. I had hardly regained my strength when I married Peter Anderson in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City on 30 December 1864.

It was a strange dream realized. When I was in the old country, I had a dream of meeting and marrying a man in the New World, and when I saw him, I knew him instantly. I even saw him as I had in my dream, dressed in an unfamiliar hickory shirt, western hat and buckskin pants, standing by a prairie schooner and a yoke of oxen. He even repeated the words I had heard in my dream. Previous to this time, I had seen in the same dream, the waters of the ocean and the trek across the plains. Then we ascended a high mountain. Though some fell by the wayside, the others never looked back, but went on. However, there came a time when the ascent became pleasant. It was then I missed my husband, but even then I never faltered. I finally came to a beautiful mansion, in which there were many relatives, many of whom I had missed along the way. They greeted me as if we had not seen each other for quite some time, and the reunion was happy. In an adjoining room, I saw my Mother and Father, and Father took and sat me on his knee as he did in the olden days, and bade me to tell him everything that had happened since I had last seen him. All this and more I had seen in a dream in Denmark, although much of it seemed strange to me then. This dream was always a source of comfort and assurance, and gave me abiding faith in the hereafter.

In March of 1865, we moved to Salina, and in April the Indian War broke out and we experienced all the horrors of Indian warfare. One pitch-black night, long after everyone had been in bed, we heard the Indian alarm. All were up and anxious. My husband and Axel Anderson, who was living with us at that time, ran in the public square for orders. I dressed in the dark, flung a shawl about my shoulders, and ran for the church house. Just outside the door I ran against Axel, who was running back for an extra supply of ammunition. We each thought the other was an Indian, and each felt equally sure that his time was short.

Then we moved to Gunnison, where we had a one-room house somewhat like a dugout order. Later we moved back to Salina and on November 27, 1865, our first child, Sophia Carolyn, was born. That fall my husband was called to build the Birch Mill at Nephi. Interesting incidents happened, but there was no warfare. In September of 1867, we moved to Payson where my husband worked to finish the Hancock flour mill. There I had our first comfortable home of sawed logs. We had two lots, both planted to orchards and grain. My husband was ever a hard worker.

On March 27, 1868 our first son, Hanse, was born. That fall we were called by President Brigham Young to settle the Muddy. We left Payson in November of 1868. The snow was deep and we nearly perished from the intense cold. At Kanosh our little Hanse became ill and grew steadily worse as we went on. At Beaver on December 20, he died and we buried him there the next day. We continued on, but I was seriously ill. We stayed at Cedar City Christmas day and then went on. Three days later we reached Bellevue in Washington County, and then in Kane County. There Brother Erastus Snow, seeing my condition, bade us settle there. We were welcomed to Bellevue by Brother Joshua Sylvester and his wife Rebecca, whom we had known in the fort at Salina during the days of the Indian Black Hawk War. No better friends lived than they. Sister Sylvester nursed me back to health. I soon became strong again and besides caring for my home and children, helped with the grocery store.

We were happy in Bellevue because we were among friends and Saints. A small church was built where we worked and worshipped. Six children were born in Bellevue - Andrew George, 3 Jan. 1870; James Erastus, 26 Jun. 1872; Emma Helena, 24 Nov. 1875; Jacob Franklin, 20 Sep. 1877; Laura Elizabeth, 24 Jan 1881; and Neils Albert, 28 Feb. 1883. My husband wanted more land so we homesteaded 160 acres five miles south of Bellevue that came to be known as Anderson's Ranch. There two more children were born - Jessie Christina, 26 Sep. 1886 and Anna Georgine, 30 Jan. 1889.

Those first summers were so hot and dry on the Sandy that we went to Mill Creek on the Pine Valley Mountain, where we raised excellent summer gardens and milked 15 to 20 cows. I would make 10 to 15 pounds of butter one day and 10 to 15 cheeses two days later. My husband would take our surplus dairy products and fruit from Bellevue, and later from his own orchards, north to buy our winter supplies. He would bring home one hundred pound sacks of sugar and oatmeal, cartons of macaroni, raisins, candy and boxes of codfish. He always had a year's supply of flour and sugar on hand. He believed in buying quantity as well as quality.

[Nor was mother ever idle. Well do I remember her spinning wheel. Afternoons in the mountains and winter evenings on the ranch, I liked to watch her flash her knitting needles. Often she knitted a full stocking in an afternoon or evening. Later during the First World War, she would knit afghans, sweaters, and stockings for the Red Cross. Everyone was glad to eat at her table, for she was an excellent cook, and she also was a capable nurse. Mother always remembered a kindness and in the last days of her dear friend Rebecca Sylvester's life, went and stayed weeks to help care for her until Sister Sylvester passed on.]

During those early pioneer years and while homesteading Anderson's Ranch, no one can picture the hardships, misery, suffering and loneliness I experienced. Always my heart yearned to run away - run away to the ease, comfort and luxury of my house in the old country. Often I thought of Uncle Laurtz's offer, but for my children and my husband, I must stay.

Ours was truly "a house by the side of the road". I can truthfully say that no one, rich or poor, was ever turned away from our gates hungry. My husband even built a large camp house fronting the road to shelter those who freighted or traveled through the country. Our table, house and barns were always full, and never in those hard days did we ever charge a cent. We entertained people from all over the United States, foreign countries, and royalty. Most memorable were the days President Harding and the Prince and Princess and entourages were guests in our home.

[Mother passed from this life at the home of her son James Erastus Anderson at Cedar City on 15 February 1925. A worthy pioneer, passed to her reward sleeping peacefully. She was buried by the side of her husband, who had passed away four years to the day before her. Both were buried 18 February in the St. George Cemetery.]


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Copyright 2002 by Anderson Family

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