Heritage Gateways

Official Sesquicentennial K-12 Education Project
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Pioneer 1848-1868 Companies

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1865: Immigration from Scandinavia

Cold Weather in Scandinavia
In the latter part of January 1865, an unusually hard winter set in with snow storms and cold in the Scandinavian countries, freezing the Baltic and the Belts, breaking off all steamboat communication, as well as stopping the railroad trains for several days. This made the sending of mails and traveling not only inconvenient, but very irregular, on account of the great depth of the snow and the ice. This state of affairs continued through February and March.

Copenhagen to Hamburg
A company of emigrating Saints, numbering 557 souls, left Copenhagen by the steamer Aurora, May 4, 1865, accompanied by Anders W. Winberg (who was returning to his home in Utah), and Johan Swenson. President Carl Widerborg went with the emigrants to Hamburg. The company arrived at Kiel the next morning (May 5th). In the afternoon the journey was continued by train to Altona, whence the emigrants went up the Elbe on a small steamboat to a place off Hamburg, where the company was at once placed on board the double-decked ship B. S. Kimball, an American vessel (Capt. Dearborn). On their arrival in Altona, the company was met by President Daniel H. Wells and Elder George Reynolds from England, who were both present when the company boarded the vessel. On Sunday, the 7th, a meeting was held on deck, on which occasion President Wells dedicated the ship with its captain, crew and passengers to the Lord and gave instructions and admonition to the Saints. Elder Anders W. Winberg was appointed leader of the company with Johan Swenson and Hans C. Hogsted as his counselors. The ship was divided into eight districts, each with a president. Among the emigrants were the following elders who had acted as presidents of conferences in Scandinavia: Hans C. Hogsted from the Copenhagen, Soren Jensen from the Aalborg, Gustaf Pegau from the Fredericia, P.O. Holmgren from the Stockholm, John C. Sandberg from the Goteborg, and Swen Nilsson from the Skane conferences. Among a number of other elders who had labored as missionaries in Scandinavia and who as emigrants crossed the ocean in the B. S. Kimball, was the late Martin Lundwall.

Hamburg to New York
On Monday, May 8th, about noon, the ship lifted anchor and was drawn by a tender down to Gluckstadt, where President Carl Widerborg and Elders Samuel L. Sprague and George M. Brown (who had accompanied the emigrants from Copenhagen), took leave of the emigrants and returned to Copenhagen, accompanied by president Daniel H. Wells and Elder George Reynolds.

On Wednesday, May 10th, the ship with its precious cargo, sailed from Gluckstadt, and as the captain thought the colder climate would be better for the passengers, he chose the route north of Scotland. With the exception of one single day's storm the weather was very fair and favorable during the entire voyage. The captain was kind to the emigrants and the sick received good treatment. Three meals of warm food each day were served to all. Three adults died on the sea and about twenty-five children died of measles and scarlet fever. Besides the Scandinavian Saints, a number of other emigrants crossed the Atlantic on that ship. "While peace and good will reigned among the Saints," writes Elder Christoffer J. Kempe, "the others lived more like cats and dogs together; some had disputes and engaged in fights, others played cards and swore, while some preached, and altogether there was a real pandemonium."

Train to St. Joseph, Steamboat to Wyoming, NE
On June 14th the ship arrived in New York harbor, and the following day the emigrants landed at Castle Gardens. In the afternoon most of them continued the journey by train and then traveled via Albany, Niagara, Detroit and Chicago to Quincy, Illinois, where they arrived on the 20th. Here they were ferried across the Mississippi River and then spent two days and nights in the woods on the Missouri side without tents or other shelter, while the rain poured down in torrents. They had in a hurry fixed some small huts of brush, very little shelter. The unpleasant delay was caused by the bridges on the railway being washed away, so the trains could not proceed. Finally the traveling was resumed on the 22nd, the cars conveying the company being very commonplace and dirty. The emigrants reached St. Joseph the following day. On the 25th they started by steamboat up the Missouri River and arrived at Wyoming, Nebraska, June 26th, bringing with them the corpses of three persons who had died on the steamer. Four others had died between New York and St. Joseph.

Financial Problems/No Help from Utah/Inflation
Several of the emigrants had only paid their fare to New York and therefore had to remain in that city for the time being. Elder Thos. Taylor, who was emigration agent for the Church, however, subsequently succeeded at a considerable sacrifice in completing arrangements so that all could proceed to Wyoming. But as the Church did not send any teams to the Missouri River that season to assist the poor Saints to reach Utah, and the price of oxen was much higher than in past years, some of the emigrants had to remain on the frontiers until the following year. Elder Taylor arranged matters as well as he could by purchasing oxen, and loading each wagon with 1,000 pounds of freight and 2,000 pounds for the Saints, three yoke of oxen being provided for each wagon. In this way about 150 persons were taken across the plains who otherwise would have been left on the frontiers. The price of a wagon at the outfitting place that year was $200 in greenbacks ($100 in gold), and a yoke of average oxen cost $150. It took about five weeks before everything was in order for starting the journey across the plains. During this time the emigrants at Wyoming suffered much on account of the excessive heat and a few of them died. A Danish brother, Lars Petersen, about 30 years of age, who had assisted about twenty poor Saints to emigrate, was accidentally drowned in the Weeping Water, a stream near Wyoming, where he, together with others, went to bathe. He was buried June 29th, with much expression of sorrow by the sympathizing Saints.

Miner Atwood's Company
On the 31st of July most of the Scandinavian emigrants left Wyoming in a company consisting of forty-five ox-teams. The company was organized August 1st by appointing Miner G. Atwood, captain; Charles B. Taylor, assistant captain; Anders W. Winberg chaplain and interpreter, Johan Swenson commissary and assistant to Winberg, and John Gindrup secretary. The following were appointed captains of ten: Hans C. Hogsted, Hans Hansen, Christoffer Jensen Kempe and John Everett. At first the traveling was slow, as the roads were bad on account of the great amount of rain that had fallen.

Indian Attack, 7 Wounded, 1 Lady Kidnapped
On September 19th the company passed Fort Laramie, and three days later, when stopping at noon for lunch and rest, and while some of the brethren were driving the oxen to the watering places, fourteen or sixteen well-armed Indians suddenly sprang forth from their ambush in the woods and tried to take the cattle, but when the brethren opened fire upon them and the frightened oxen ran back to the camp, the theft was prevented. [See Anne Larsen Andersen's account.] Seven of the brethren, however, were wounded by bullets and arrows, and a woman by the name of Grundvig, who was lingering some distance behind the train, was taken captive and carried off by the Indians. Her fate has never become known. The wounded brethren all recovered from their wounds. Some days previous to this affray, the Indians, who this year were very hostile and had killed a number of travelers, stampeded the oxen of the company while grazing at night, but after two days" search the animals were all found, except three head.

Elder Thomas Taylor, having meanwhile completed all arrangements in Wyoming for the outfitting of the emigrants, passed by all the companies on his way to the Valley, where he secured forty-four mule teams, loaded with provisions, and with these went back to assist the emigrants. Captain Atwood's company, which arrived in Salt Lake City all well, did not receive any assistance from that source, except some provisions.

Elder Hans C. Hogsted, who emigrated to Zion in this company and who kept a journal of the doings on the way, states that it took the company 190 days to travel from Copenhagen, Denmark, to Salt Lake City, Utah; namely, 42 days from Copenhagen to New York, 12 days from New York to Wyoming, 36 days preparing for the journey across the plains, and 100 days" travel from Wyoming to Salt Lake City. "On board the ship," writes Elder Hogsted, "I earned the title of Doctor, as I distributed medicine to the sick and very frequently administered to them by virtue of the priesthood." History of the Scandinavian Mission, Jenson

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.