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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1859 (age 34), Fautin, Thomas C. Christensen (Handcart - Denmark)

Thomas C. Christensen Fautin, was born June 17, 1825 in Franholmpi, Hjorring, Denmark. The name Fautin comes from an ancestor who lived in the town of Fautin. His wife, Inger C. O. Jensen, was born November 9, 1835 in Elling, Fyen, Denmark. They with many others, joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in Fyen, Denmark in 1857, and were advised by their Conference President, Carl Widerborg, to save means for their emigration to Zion, which was now opened again for the gathering of Israel. They sold their farms and placed in the bank the sum of 3,029 regsdaler. The Scandinavian newspaper of January 1st, announced the cost of each adult who crossed the plains, with hand-carts, would be 150 regsdaler, ($75.00) and they were to advance $20.00 for each handcart emigrant. This money was to be sent to America to purchase the necessary outfit for the journey across the plains, which included handcarts, provisions, etc. With their children, Charles, age 3; Amazene, 9 months old and Inger's parents, Ole and Annie Hedvig Jensen, they sailed from Copenhagen, April 1, 1859 on the steamer, L. N. Hvedt. Their voyage over the North Sea to Liverpool, England was very rough. On April 7th they went on board the ship William Tappscott. April 11, 1859 the ship sailed out to sea, with 725 precious souls from many nations. Songs of joy resounded from all parts of the ship as it left the dock. Only one death occurred on board, two births and nineteen marriages. Thirteen of the marriages were Scandinavian couples. Elder Robert F. Neslen was appointed president of the company of Saints aboard. He recorded it was quite difficult to take charge of so many people speaking nine different languages, but through faithfulness and diligence of the Saints, he found the task easier than anticipated.

Arriving safely in New York harbor after a thirty-one day voyage, the emigrants stepped on American soil at Castle Garden May 14th and were pronounced by doctors and government officers to be one of the healthiest, best disciplined, and most agreeable companies ever to arrive in port. The evening of the same day most of them continued the journey by steamboat up the Hudson River to Albany, New York. The company went by rail to Niagara, Windsor, Canada; Detroit, Michigan; Quincy, Illinois; on to St. Joseph, Missouri where they arrived May 21st, and the afternoon of that day boarded the steamboat St. Mary, which brought them to Florence, Nebraska, May 25th. This route through the states was one which no former company of emigrating Saints had ever taken. On their arrival at Florence, the Saints were organized into temporary districts with presiding officers over each, whose duty it was to look after the comfort and welfare of the people while encamped here. Because of unfavorable conditions, Charles was left with his grandparents Ole and Anna Hedvig Jensen, to come to Utah a year later.

Handcarts from Florence
The company had fifteen days to get their handcarts ready. On the 9th of June they left Florence, Nebraska under the leadership of Captain George Rowley. Each handcart had 80 pounds of precious baggage; eight wagons pulled by oxen followed the hand-carts with the rest of the provisions. Thomas pulled his cart all the way across the plains and Inger walked by his side carrying a nine month old child, Amazene most of the way. As the days passed, provisions ran low and they were put on half rations. Thomas and Inger, with others, put a little food aside from each meal for the nursing mothers.

As the company drew near the trading post at Fort Laramie, Inger said, "I'm going for food, I'm strong and can walk fast." She took her child and walked toward the fort. The baby fell asleep. She put the child down near the road under some trees and went on to buy or trade for food. When she came back to the place where she thought she had left the child all the trees and brush looked alike. She prayed, "Show me the place of my child, let me not lose the way." The answer came. "Rest, and wait for the child to cry." After a time she heard the little one and overjoyed she ran toward the sound. Inger then strapped the food on her back, and with Amazene safe in her arms, retraced her steps to the camp where she shared the provisions she had obtained with other members of the company.

As soon as it became known the handcart company was approaching, thousands of the inhabitants of the city went out to meet them. The company entered the Valley September 4th. They were greeted at Union Square where a feast was served.

The Fautin's lived in Salt Lake City for some time. They worked for Brigham Young on his farm and gardens, living in a cellar or dugout in Mill Creek. With them on this handcart journey were friends, Christian William Sorensen and wife, Christene. Thomas and Christian had worked together on a large farm in Denmark and had joined the Church at the same time. They also worked together for Brigham Young, living side by side, in Mill Creek. When Brigham Young gave permission to some of the Ephraim pioneers to again try to build a settlement on Pleasant Creek, now Mr. Pleasant, Thomas and Christian walked to the proposed site in San Pete County. They were pleased with the location, and decided to make this their permanent home. They walked back to Salt Lake, made two more trips and then brought their families to Spring Town, now Spring City, then on to Mr. Pleasant. They lived in dugouts and helped complete the Fort. Thomas was one of the men chosen to guard the fort and to work in the fields. He had had previous military training in Denmark, having been with the Danish Army guarding their possessions in the West Indies. He was a Minute Man and 1st Lieutenant in the Black Hawk War.

The Fautin's and Sorensen's lived in the fort and had their land joining each other. Thomas made wooden wheels and a kiln to make axle grease from the pine tar. Inger, and other women in the Fort, cooked on large fireplaces, carded and spun wool, made clothing, worked in the fields gleaning every precious head of grain. Inger loved to card, spin and weave. It was a means of livelihood for her and family of ten children until 1918, when an accident crushed her hip bone. She was an invalid until her death January 5, 1925 at Mr. Pleasant.

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.