Monday, October 10, 2011

Lars Christian Sorensen and Karen Marie Pedersen (Parents of Elise Marie Sorensen)

Lars Christian Sorensen, son of Soren Larsen and Anne Sophia Pedersen, was born May 9, 1816 in Rendborg, Elling, Hjorring, Denmark.  Lars Christian Sorensen married Karen Marie Pedersen February 10, 1843 in Ugilt, Hjorring, Denmark.  Karen Marie Pedersen, daughter of Peder Abrahamsen and Else Christensen was born April 17, 1819 in Lendenbro, Hjorring, Denmark.

Lars Christian Sorensen and Karen Marie (Pedersen) Sorensen

Together, they had nine children named Ane Sophie, Elise or Elizabeth, Daughter, Soren Peter, Maren or Mary, Peter Christian, Elise Maria, Elise or Eliza Maria, Peter Andreas Fjelsted or Andrew Phillip.  When Lars Christian Sorensen and his family came to America, they discontinued the Danish patronymic naming convention which would have resulted in their children having the last name of Larsen and retained the last name of Sorensen for all future generations.

Lars was a tenant farmer and made baskets, brooms and thatched houses.  Lars Christian, Anne Sophia, and three children were baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on 6 August 1857.  Lars’ home was the headquarters of the missionaries who labored in that part of Denmark.  He was clerk of the conference and also local President of the conference where he resided.

Danish Saints Awaiting Ships
On May 6 1863, Lars Christian, Karen Marie, Ane Sophie, Soren Peter, Maren, Peter Christtian, Else Marie and Peter Andreas Fjelsted boarded the B.S. Kimball at Liverpool, England and arrived in New York.  Aboard ship, youngest son, Peter Andreas Fjelsted who was only two years old at the time, later recalled seeing the American flag flying from the mast and cried for it.

From New York, they traveled by train to Florence, Iowa where they were outfitted for crossing the plains.  When Lars arrived at this place, he met an old friend who was working there and who wanted him to stay there and work a while before moving on to Utah.  Lars wanted to do this but Karen Marie objected.  Karen Marie said she had started for Utah and was not going to stop until she got there.  Lars Christian and Karen Marie joined the William B Preston Company. 

Lars Christian bought a milk cow in order to have fresh milk for Peter Andreas Fjelsted.  He led this cow all the way across the plains.   Generally going a short distance ahead of the ox teams and when he came to a good patch of grass, he would stop and let the cow feed until the train overtook him.  Usually there were several families to each wagon in these trains, but because their company was small there was only one family to a wagon.  The wagons were mostly loaded with machinery.  Anyone able to walk was required to do so.  One time while crossing the plains, young Peter Andreas Fjelsted was so sick that they held up the train for a half hour in order to bury him for they thought he would die.  When he appeared to recover, they went on their way.  Lars Christian and Karen Marie arrived in Salt Lake City September 10, 1863.

They lived in Logan, Cache, Utah, the first winter in Utah and then moved in spring of 1864 to Smithfield, Cache, Utah, a town about seven miles north of Logan.  A town lot was bought in the southeast part of town and Lars Christian and his son, Peter, dug a cellar in which they lived for a few months.  It was a small two room affair with one large room and one small room.  The walls were laid with cobblestones plastered and whitewashed.  It had one window in the south end and a fireplace in the north end of the large room.  The roof and floor were dirt.  One night it rained quite hard, Lars Christian had to get up and work to keep the water from running down the steps into the living room on the east side. 

Soon a one room log house was built with a wood floor and dirt roof.  It had a fireplace in it where all the cooking was done and this was also the only source of light at night.  This fireplace was used until 1871 when Lars Christian purchased a Charter Oak stove from Salt Lake City.  This was their home for the rest of their lives for Lars Christian and Karen Marie, although they did add other rooms over the years.  After moving into the log house, the cellar was used as a storehouse and work room for his Karen Marie. 

Harvesting with Scythe and Cradle
Lars Christian cut hay on shares.  In those days the hay was cut with scythes.  Lars Christian and Soren Peter would cut with the scythe and Peter Andreas Fjelsted would rake and pile the hay with a fork and hand rake. The grain was cut by hand also with a cradle: this was a large scythe much larger than the hay kind with a frame on it with four long wooden fingers as long as the scythe.  The grain would fall against these fingers and would thus be left in rows with heads all turning all one way.  Soren Peter did the cutting and Peter Andreas Fjelsted did the raking and rolling the grain into bundles, then Lars Christian would follow binding the bundles.  Lars Christian was very particular in piling the hay in piles of even size so the landowner would let him take his share whenever he wished because of his honesty in his dealings.  The hay could be hauled in only two loads in one day.  Lars Christian would be on the load, Soren Peter would pitch up the hay and Peter Andreas Fjelsted would follow with a hand rake, raking up every stray bit of hay he would see. 

Lars Christian had his fight with grasshoppers and crickets but still was able to raise a small amount of crops each year.  Some years they had to walk over the ten acres of wheat and cut a little here a little there until they had a small load of loose wheat.

Lars Christian was very neat and methodical in his work.  He always had a place for everything and everything was always in its place.  Because of this neatness, even in the dark, anyone could find tools, etc. they needed.  Lars Christian could not bear to plow a crooked furrow and when the grain was shocked in the fall, the rows of shocks were so straight that his sons felt that if a crow stood on top of each shock, a cannon ball could have killed everyone with one shot. 

When Smithfield, Cache, Utah was first settled, there were only six families and there was not enough water for any more settlers but the Lord caused the streams to increase until it is what it is today.  At one time President Brigham Young advised the people to quit raising pigs and quit eating pork.  Lars Christian and his family obeyed this council and for two years did not have any pigs.  They had some meadow land on "Hopkins Slew" and in the fall of each year the fish came up into this slew or stream so numerous that the bottom seemed covered with them.  The boys made a net of strong twine and caught nearly a wagon box full of fish each year.  These fish were salted down in barrels like pork and they ate them during the winter.  As soon as the people started raising pigs again, the fish quit coming up these steams.

Rocky Mountain Stream
On April 1871, Lars Christian and Karen Marie went to Salt Lake City where they received their endowments in the Endowment House and were sealed for time and eternity.

Lars had two cows named Tom and Jerry which he worked with until he was able to buy a span of horses.  The horses were very high spirited and would run away whenever they could.  Once they ran away when Lars and Peter were coming down the canyon in the winter with a load of logs.  Lars was thrown from the load and was bruised considerably but nothing was broken.

Lars Christian, encouraged by Karen Marie, married a plural wife, Matilda Anderson, a Swedish immigrant and the twin sister of Soren Peter's wife on 12 December 1878 in the Endowment house. 

Lars Christian had a very strong constitution.  He never seemed to be sick enough to stay in bed.  He was always up at day light both summer and winter and would go down and feed the stock, clean the stable, and straighten things out generally.  Lars Christian was honest to a remarkable degree, paid his tithing regularly and kept the Word of Wisdom.  He was kind to his family.  He never punished his children and yet none of them said no when asked them to do something.  He performed all duties given him faithfully, had regular family prayers night and morning. 

Lars Christian was careful, economical, and industrious yet he never acquired much wealth.  He lived and died poor.  He never ran a bill or charged items in the stores for anything.  His motto was "Do without what you cannot pay for at the time you buy it."  Lars Christian engaged in farming almost exclusively in Smithfield but not on a very large scale.  Although he did not raise large crops, his wheat bin was never empty.  He always had about a year’s supply of wheat on hand. 

Karen Marie was fond and proud of her children and would sacrifice anything for their comfort and benefit.  Besides caring for her own family, she found time to go visiting teaching regularly.  She was a natural nurse and used to visit the sick and sit up with them nights in all parts of the town.  She was loved and respected by all who knew her. 

Once, Mother wanted to go to Bear Lake and visit Eliza. I was a little sporty and would drive pretty fast.  A neighbor had a light wagon which I asked to borrow to take mother to Bear Lake.  I asked  the man if I could borrow it for a few days.  “No, Sir!”,he said right away and then he asked me what I wanted it for.  I told him to take my mother to Bear Lake.  Right off he said, “Come and get it and keep it as long as you need it.  Your mother is welcome to anything I have.”   
- Peter Andreas Fjelsted Sorensen

Flax is a fibrous plant and grows about two feet high, it has a nice blue flower on top.  The seed, you know, is used in medicine.  When the flax is ripe it is pulled or cut to the ground; the seeds are thrashed out, the stalks are then hard and stiff.  In Pioneer times, a hank was made of three boards about three or four feet long.  The boards were planed to an edge, on the one side they were fastened in a frame about four feet high being set two inches apart.  Then, the other frame was made, with two boards the same length fastened at one end so that they could be raised and lowered or dropped.  At the other end was a handle.  These boards on top fit into the spaces between the three boards.  This would be raised with one hand; a handful of the flax would be brought down as hard as was required across the flax.  This was done until the bark or covering of the flax was all broken up and separated from the fibers, which was then what we called tow,  This tow was spun into thread which would be very strong, as it was pure linen.

My mother made the best suit of clothes I have ever had.  She raised the flax, hanked it and spun the thread that was used for the warp of the cloth.  She shore the sheep that furnished the wool, spun the yarn, colored it a dark brown, wove the cloth and then hired the tailor to make the suit.  I wore this the first winter I went to the Brigham Young College in Logan and was sometimes called homespun, but none of the other boys had nearly as good a suit as I had.  She encouraged me to go to school and the University, while my father did not favor my going much.  He had rather I stayed at home and work at farming. 
- Peter Andreas Fjelsted Sorensen

Karen Marie (Pedersen) Sorensen died the June 4, 1900 in Smithfield, Cache, Utah as the age of 81 and is buried in the Smithfield Cemetery.

Although he was 47 years old when he came to Utah, he learned to speak the English language quite well and could read and write in the English language.  He lived and died without and enemy as far as any of his family knew.

Lars Christian Sorensen died July 21, 1907 in Smithfield, Cache, Utah at the age of 93 and is buried in the Smithfield Cemetery.

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