Heritage Gateways

Official Sesquicentennial K-12 Education Project
sponsored by the Utah State Board of Education, the BYU-Public School Partnership and the Utah Education Network

Pioneer 1848-1868 Companies

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1867 (age 13), Norr (Miller), Georgina (Denmark)

I was born at Melby, Frederickborg, Denmark, Sept. 14, 1853. My father's name was Anders Petersen Norr and my mother's name was Frederickke Petersen. They were both Danish and belonged to the Lutheran Church, and were good, honest people. My father died when I was nine years old and my mother had been a good and faithful wife to him. After his death, of course, times became harder for us and I had to help support myself. I would knit stockings and do cross-stitch work for others and in the summertime I had to herd cows for the farmers. We were very poor and I remember we used to think it a great treat to get white bread at the holiday season, when the farmer's wives sent it to Mother. My mother, though poor, was a woman of integrity and she desired to bring up her children in the best possible way. She taught us to fear God and be honest and it has been my desire to be like her.

Shortly after my father's death, my mother joined the Mormon Church and then there began to be much unpleasantness toward her in the neighborhood, for she defended her religion on all occasions, and lived it, too, and at that time the sentiment was much against the Mormons. I used to watch the ships out at sea and go wading in the water near the shore, and in the summer we had the most beautiful field of flowers one could imagine. When I was ten years old I was baptised into the Church.

To America (alone)
In 1867 some good brother came to my mother and offered to take one of her children with him to Zion, and I was chosen because I was the eldest. I remember how glad I was to get away from my schoolmates, for they had pointed the finger of scorn at me every chance they could get on account of my religion. It was a great trial for me to part with my dear mother, and anyone can imagine what it meant for the widowed mother to give up her child; but I went, and God preserved me through many difficulties on the journey, for in those days travelling was quite different from now. When we reached England, some of the baggage had been lost and among it was mine. So I had only the clothes I wore. That was hard, after the struggle my mother had to procure the necessary clothes so I might be comfortable and look decent when I reached Zion.

We were nearly two months on the water, and when I had to wash my clothes, I was obliged to borrow some other child's clothing. One time when I was washing, I came nearly losing my life. Our way of washing was quite a task; we would get a tub, some water and soft soap and scrub them as clean as we could, after which we would place the clothes at the end of a long stick, which we held over the railing and rinsed the clothes in the ocean. It was while I was rinsing my clothes, that I lost my balance and would undoubtedly have fallen in, had not a man, who was standing near, caught me by the feet and thus saved me.

Across the Plains, Hungry and Sockless
Travelling across the plains was hard enough, but toward the end of the journey food became very scarce and I went to bed many times, hungry. Then in the fall, when it became cold and stormy, my shoes were worn out and my feet became wet so that I had to dry my stockings at night near the fire. One morning when I came to get them, I found them in the ashes burned up. So there I was with worn out shoes and no stockings. I asked someone in the company for a pair, but they could not spare any, so I got some rags and tied them around my feet the best I could. Often the good captain of the company would take me on his horse to ride with him, but of course, I had to walk most of the way and many times my feet were so sore I could hardly move them.

In Utah
Finally, the journey ended and we stopped at the Tithing Office. Those of the Saints who had friends were taken to their homes, but no one came for me. A brother who had come for an old sister took me to his home and they were very kind to me until I could get something better. We finally came to Brigham City (the man who had brought me from Denmark had forsaken me) and for a time I lived with the family of Brother Adolph Madson and they were very good to me.

Reunion With Mother Two Years Later
When I had been in Utah two years, my mother came over, and that was indeed a happy reunion. What hardships I had endured on the way I kept from Mother for I knew how she would grieve if she knew what her little girl had had to put up with on the way. My mother was very anxious to do her duty and help God's work along, and when she was asked to donate to the Temple, she would go out in the sage brush, where the sheep had passed, and gather the wool which had been caught in the brush, take it home, wash, card and spin it, knit it into stockings and sell them for fifty cents a pair. Thus she was able in her poverty, to keep up with the other sisters, which was her great desire.

After a couple of years, I moved to Logan to work for a family and there became acquainted with my husband, Hans Miller. He was a good Mormon boy and always did his best for me. He was a miner by profession and I and the children often went with him while he was engaged with his work which took him to a number of places. I was only seventeen years of age when I married and we were living in Salt Lake City when our first child was born. After two years we moved to Brigham City and here my next three children were born, and all died.

Source: Our Pioneer Heritage © Carter, Kate B., ed. 20 vols. Salt Lake City: International Society, Daughters of Utah Pioneers, 1958-1977. All rights reserved. No part of this material may be reproduced in any form or by any means without permission in writing from the publisher. Documents and images are exerpted by permission from the LDS Family History Suite CDROM from Ancestry.