Anders Jorgen Mortensen
September 21, 1833
Anders Mortensen was born as the third child of nine, the second boy, to Helen Sanders and Peder Mortensen on this day. He was born in Hårbølle, Denmark.
June 13, 1855
Anders became a member of the Mormon church at the age of 22, later followed by his family. By the time his whole family had been baptized, they were horribly persecuted, and made the plan to emigrate to Utah.
March 31, 1856
The Mortensen family started off on their journey to Utah. They would face many hardships along the way. On April 23, they made the 24 hour trip to the Copenhagen mission home, where the oldest brother was asked to serve a 3 year mission, and he accepted.This was difficult on the family because the father was crippled and the youngest child was five-years-old, they needed another man to help travel. They were given a blessing that if they would agree to the brother serving a mission, that every member of their family would reach Utah safely.
April 23, 1856
This was the day that they traveled on the steamship, Rhoda, from Copenhagen to Kiel, Germany. When they arrived, they boarded a train and set off to Hamburg, and then took a boat to Grimsby, England. They then took another train to Liverpool, and arrived on April 29th. They had already traveled 1,274 miles, less than a fifth of the way to their final destination.
Sunday, May 4th, 1856
Anders and his family boarded the steamship, Thornton, for New York City. This was a six week, 3,317 mile journey. They arrived on June 14. They then traveled by steamship to Toledo, Ohio, then on to Chicago where they boarded a train for Iowa City. This was the furthest railway station in the west, 1047 miles from New York City. Iowa City was where Anders met his future wife, Christine Andersen.
July 15, 1856
Anders and his family, along with about 500 others, started their journey with handcarts across the plains.
While on their journey...
They often met Indian tribes and great herds of Buffalo passed by their camp. This frequently scared the oxen, causing them to run off. One day, while Anders was assigned to round up the runaway oxen, he ran into an Indian tribe. "He was out looking for them, and suddenly coming to the summit of the ridge, looking down in the bottom of the ravine, he saw a large tribe of Indians, and they saw him at the same time. Most of the Indians were very hostile. All he could do was to brave it out and went down in the midst of the camp as brave as he could, and he began making signs that their oxen were lost and he was hunting them. They had a fire made of buffalo chips. Two squaws were sitting by the fire roasting some buffalo ribs. Anders being very hungry as well as tired, continued to look at the ribs on the fire. One of the squaws gave him two of them, which he took very thankfully, bade them goodbye, and went on his way rejoicing that they had not harmed him. He said that meat was the sweetest morsel of food he had ever tasted, and thanked the Lord that his life was spared."(The William O. and Mary C. Crowther Family, p34)
November 9, 1856
After weeks and weeks of pulling a handcart in the Willie Handcart Company over 1200 miles of rugged mountains, dry plains, and crossing hundreds of freezing rivers; the Mortensen family made it to Salt lake Valley thanks to a team of rescuers that saved them by bringing food and clothing through the unusually early and harsh winter of that year. They had now traveled a total of 6850 miles over the course of their trip from Denmark to Utah.
Shortly after arriving in the Utah Valley, the family moved to Parowan and purchased 40 acres of land and began farming. Here, Anders married Christine and they had 10 children. Anders and two of his brothers also ran a coopering business using skills they had learned in Denmark. Anders' father Peder became a shoe maker. He was crippled and rode all the way to Salt lake in a handcart, and the handcart was still used years after to take him places like work or church. Anders received his U.S. citizenship on March 11, 1861. Anders lived only to age 51, he died October 13, 1884. He is buried in the Parowan cemetery.
Anders Jorgen Mortensen loved good music and beautiful poetry. He composed many poems himself; here is one:
Anders Jorgen Mortensen----> Rhett Kimberly Curtis
Anders is my Great, Great, Great, Great Grandfather through my mother's side. His third daughter, Mary Caroline Mortensen lived1868-1963. Mary married William Alma Crowther 1887-1970, Oneita Crowther's father. Oneita is my Great Grandmother. My Grandmother, Francis, is shown in the center of the fan chart below.