Hans L. N(i)elsen

Lars C. N(i)elson History

Anna Matilda N(i)elson

Etta Simmonds

Hans L. N(i)elsen

Harry Jensen

Lars C. N(i)elsen

Peter Peterson

Rosetta N(i)elsen Jensen

Mink Creek History

Mink Creek Photos

Lars C. N(i)elsen Photos 1

Lars C. N(i)elsen Photos 2


Hans N(i)elsen

Hans L. Nielsen/Nelson Histories
History of Hans L. N(i)elsen 1835-1914
By Charley and Elva Christensen

(Elva N. Christensen was the youngest child of Hans and Ane Kirstine Nelson, his 17th and her 11th.)

In these few lines we shall endeavor to give a few high lights of father Hans L. Nielsen and his two faithful wives.

Father and his first wife Karen Kristine Hansen were married by the law of the land, 19 Feb. 1858 In Denmark. In the early 1870's the Mormon Elders brought the Gospel to them. They were baptized and confirmed 18 Dec. 1872, and were later endowed the 14th Sept. 1874 at the Endowment House in Salt Lake City. So far as we know they were the only ones of all their relatives to embrace the gospel. At this time there were in their family, Father, his first wife mother Karen Kristine, Mary, James Peter, Lars, Sophia and Hannah.

We can well understand what would befall them persecution, of course, for joining such an unpopular faith. They, like many others who accepted the Gospel, felt the right thing to do was to move to Zion, to the Land of the Free, where they could worship as God intended they should, in their newfound faith.

They were comfortably well off, and oh what faith it must have taken to do as was asked of the rich man by Jesus, "Sell all that thou hast, give it to the poor and come and follow me." The rich man went away sorrowing, but father and his family did not. They sold all they had and followed the Good Master.

Yes, the spirit of Satan reigned against them, through their relatives, and they were threatened in every way possible, but to no avail, to Zion they must go. Then came the day when they were to sail from their native land. It was a day never to be forgotten. They boarded the ship the day before sailing along with other emigrants. They took with them a few belongings such as clothing and a few necessities to make the journey. One of the grandparents said, "Why don't you let Mary stay with us tonight? We will bring her to the ship in the morning in plenty of time before the ship is to sail." Can you imagine the anxiety the next morning when it was time for the ship to sail and they were waiting for their child in the huge crowd on board perhaps 2000 people all strangers? "Where, where is Mary? Aren't they going to bring her? What in the world shall we do?" There was but a few minutes before sailing time. I can hear father say, "Don't get excited. They'll come. They will be here in time." "No, no if they don't come we can't go," was Mother's reply. But go they must, the big ship began moving. "Oh, Hans, We can't, we can't, leave Mary". Now they were facing a reality. They were leaving their 14yearold daughter, perhaps never to see her again. "Sell all thou hast and follow me" was easy compared to leaving their own flesh.

Yes, Satan reigned in the hearts of these grandparents to the: extent of stealing the daughter for revenge.

The mother was right when she said, "We'll never see Mary again". The saddest of all she never accepted the Gospel, but was very bitter toward her parents for leaving her. All of the bitterness was through her grandparents and other people's lying and deceit.

At length they landed on the shores of America, the land of Zion, a choice land above all other lands. Then across the continent to the Great Salt Lake Valley, where the Lord revealed to Brigham Young, "This is the place". They went by rail to Ogden. I can still see their big wooden trunks with their name printed on them HANS L. NIELSEN, OGDEN, UTAH.

No doubt they were advised to settle north of Brigham, at a place called the Little Valley, now called Mantua. There with other emigrants they began getting out logs for a cabin. Can you imagine what courage it must have taken to begin building a home and tilling the soil with little or nothing to do with? And not knowing how, perhaps they had never driven a team of horses or built a fence. They were forced to build some sort of fence to protect their grain from the wild horses and cattle that roamed the hills.

There was a small community grew up in the little valley, in which there was a store. The owner of the store was very friendly to father and gained his confidence. He found father has a little money. He said to him, "Let me keep your money so it will be safe." Father trusted him and consented. He let him take .00. He assured him he could draw It as he needed. Then came the day when he wanted a few dollars. The merchant denied ever getting his money and father never got any of it back.

They were in the valley 5 years. Since their arrival in America another baby, Joe, was born. During this time father had paid the fare for many emigrants to come to America, among them was the Hansen family. There were in this family a mother and three children. These we know as Grandma, Nels Roholt, my mother Ana Kirstine, and Jacob Petersen. The emigrant girl, Ana Kirstine who became my mother, helped to take care of mother Karen Kristine who was ill. One day she said to Ana Kirstine, "If anything should happen to me, will you take care of my family?" The girl said she would. On Oct 7, 1874, mother Karen Kristine died. She probably died long before her time just as a result of worrying so much about the daughter, Mary, who was left behind in Denmark. Little Joe was a baby nine months old when she died. Fathe r married Ana Kirstine a month later, November 16, 1874 at the Endowment House in Salt Lake City.

Then the urge came to move to where there was more water and feed. They heard about the lovely stream called Mink Creek. They went there and investigated and it seemed to be just what they wanted. It would really fit their needs. But they had to go through it all again building a cabin and fences and a ditch out on the flat north and east of the house so they could raise wild grass for the cow and team they had.

When they were ready to leave the little valley it was in the fall. Lars was to lead the cow through the hills and father was to follow shortly. There was a sort of road made by the Indians and other pioneers. After Lars had gone with the cow, to father's surprise the threshers came. Father had to stay, so Lars sat up in the hills all night holding the rope so the cow wouldn't get lost. He stayed until the folks came.

While they were building their house, they lived in their wagon box. The bears would come and carry their shoes away, and would chew their harness.

Mother's first baby was born November 19, 1875. Her name was Olga. She died at birth; it was the first to be buried in Mink Creek. Another baby was born, and his name was Christian. He died at the age of three.

There was only one other person living near and his name was Will Keller. Soon other families came; one by the name of Jim Rasmussen. They stayed with the folks until they could get their cabin built. They needed a plow. There was no way to get to Franklin to get it, a distance of 20 miles. Jim consented to take a homemade sled, if father would pay for the plow. It was in March. The snow was deep and crusted. They were afraid if they waited until spring it would get so muddy they could n't get through. So he started early one morning thinking he could make it back the next night. He made it through to Franklin that day and started back the next morning. Then there came up a Chinook wind and rain. The snow got so soft he couldn't pull his heavy load. He was forced to stay 3 days at the old Bill Head cabin on warm creek. The folks were all frantic about him, but nothing could be done only wait. The snow froze hard again and he came pulling the plow. When the snow had all gone they were ready to use the new plow.

More settlers came to help break the monotony. The place was one of the best little places on the creek.

After the death of Olga and Christian there were nine children born to them. Their names are Annie, Eliza, Henry, Daniel, Oscar, Nephi, Anthon, Nettie, and Elva.

To our amazement the little home was never mortgaged, nor were they ever in debt except for half the price of a wagon. They bought a wagon for of which they paid half.

They paid their tithing in full. The last work father did was to help Nephi sack some wheat for tithing. He took a stroke there and died 3 days later at the age of 79. It was in November 1914. Mother was 22 years younger than father. She was a very hard worker and was able to manage and get the work done with the help of the boys.

We perhaps don't understand what a great responsibility she had in caring for this family. All of their clothes were sewed by hand. Wool had to be corded and spun. Milk had to be skimmed and churned into butter. Soap had to be made to wash with. All of the bedding had to be made by hand. Cheese had to be made.

Yes, and to bring forth her own family without any medical aid. This was a heavy responsibility for any experienced mother. She learned the language and was the spokesman for the family.

She planted out trees, many of them by seed and as they grew they didn't have a name so some of the children claimed a tree by their own name. We had a tree called the Eliza apple, Annie Apple, Henry apple, father apple, Oscar apple, and Daniel apple. She also planted plums, currents, and gooseberries. At length they had some to sell to people in Bear Lake who didn't grow fruit.

After father's death, mother, Nephi, and Nettie were all that were at home as all the rest were married.

Then came World War I. Nephi was drafted into the army. He was gone 18 months. Mother aged very fast while he was away and her health began failing. Hugh and Nettie were married and farmed the place for her. On Nephi's return he again took over the old home. Mother was at home with Nephi and Lillian for some time and then she stayed the remaining time with Hugh and Nettle. They made her very comfortable and she was happy until the time of her death on October 12, 1934.


Hans L. N(i)elsen and Karen Kirsine Hansen History
By Erma W. Dewey
April 1985

The year was 1873 and the story begins near a small farming village at the southern shoreline of Denmark, a country reclaimed from the sea and where “Twilight Nights" are celebrated by tradition, during the summertime.

It was the day prior to the sailing date for the departure of the Hans L. Nielsen family. This was a day they had planned on for many months and it was exciting to say the least. Imagine, they would soon be on their great adventure, with other immigrants -- destination America, the land of the free and the land of opportunity for all!

Indeed, they had heard such glowing reports about this new country. Anyone could become a landlord and own as many acres as he wanted to. In Denmark, most of the land was on freehold arrangement. Besides this, they would be free to worship as they wanted and now there was only one true church, the one that they had recently been baptized into. They had heard all this wonderful news from several stalwart and sincere young men who said they had surely been called of God to preach this newly restored and everlasting gospel to all the nations of the world. They were ordained missionaries.

There were seven dear souls in this little family group: Hans L. and his dutiful, loving wife, Karen Kirstine, plus the children: Ane Marie, James Peter, Lars Christian, Maren Sophie and Hannah Christine. The oldest child was thirteen and the youngest eighteen months. It was quite a family group to be taking such a great and long journey but they were filled with enthusiasm and visions of their Utopia, to be.

This family had been modestly but comfortably well off. What faith it must have taken to dispose of their small farm and home with all their worldly goods except a few belongings such as clothing and necessities, to make this long journey. Yet, it was God's plan for them, At least, they were convinced of that.

A few of their friends and all of their relatives tried ever so hard to discourage this seemingly insane desire and absolute determination of Hans L. and Karen Kirstine. After all, they had belonged to a good Christian faith there in their native Denmark and furthermore this new faith was so unknown and unpopular with most people, amongst them. There had been much persecution because of this new belief but it seemed to only bolster their determination. Their closest relatives threatened in every possible way but to no avail, to Zion they must go!

Grandma Maren Katrine, mother of Hans L. was the relative who opposed their decision the very most. She was very bitter and upset that last day before the departure when she came to the ship to bid a final, tearful farewell. She, at this time, truly felt that the battle was lost, when she made one last pleading, "Please Hans, let me at least take Ane Marie home with me for one last night. You know that she has been with me so much of the time and I feel that it's only right for us to have one last evening together. "

It was really hard for Hans L. to deny his widowed mother this last privilege, so after getting Karen Kirsten's consent, they let Ane Marie leave with Grandma but only after she solemnly promised to bring the child back bright and early the next morning at an appointed time which was to be just one hour before this family would be sailing away with this large group of converts on their first leg of the journey to America. "I will indeed, have Ane Marie back on time." were Grandma's departing words.

Morning came and as the time drew near for Grandma to have Ane Marie to the boat, tension started to mount. They had not doubted Grandma's sincerity up to now but alas, the time came and no Ane Marie.

Mother Karen Kirstine let her anxiety get the best of her and cried out, "Why is Ane Marie not here? What in the world shall we do? I cannot and will not leave without my child"' Hans was very sober and totally dismayed. Could his own mother have tricked them like that? He was experiencing much anger and pangs of loneliness already. The crowd of a few hundred strangers was of no comfort at a time like this. Well, perhaps there was still time' Re-assuring his distraught, weeping wife the best he could, Hans L. left the ship and hurriedly borrowed a horse from an acquaintance close by. He rode as fast as he could to his mother's farm home. To his utmost astonishment, Ane Marie was not there' His mother adamantly refused to tell him where she had been hidden. It became a very heated argument in which she repeatedly retorted, "Now, you cannot go and you will stay in Denmark, as you should!” "That we cannot do, Mother!" shouts Hans L. "We have all our money tied up in passage tickets to America. We absolutely must go!” There was no time left for arguing so he left immediately. Even faster than before, he rode to the court in Praesto, to obtain a summons for his mother's arrest for kidnapping his child. Unfortunately, his plans were thwarted because when he reached the court he did not have the documents of proof that Ane Marie was his daughter. The papers were packed in their luggage. There was no time left. The gamble was indeed lost and over. Hans L. knew then that his mother's scheme had worked. Now, he barely had time to ride back to the ship but how could he face his dear wife and children, who were expecting Ane Marie to be with him? Now, for the first time he was acknowledging to himself that certainly no religion could be worth this, yet he was ashamed to have lost faith.

Arriving at the ship there was little time to try consoling his dear wife who was sobbing bitterly. “Hans, we will never see Ane Marie again!" Bravely, Hans L. replied, "Karen, I promise you that all will turn out well. We must go to America now but mark my word, we will be prosperous and very soon one of us will return to Denmark for Ane Marie.”

It was a sorrowful journey and a hard one. They were on the Atlantic Ocean almost a month- a family of six crowded into one small berth. The children became very tired and cross. Mama Karen of course was grieving and before the end of the journey, she was plagued with nausea, each day. Hans L. tried to be cheerful and optimistic but even he became dreadfully upset when a few souls perished on this ship and had to be gently laid to rest in the depths of the blue Atlantic. He tried every day to remember the words of those missionaries who had promised them abundant blessings from God for beckoning to the call of this new religion.

The long awaited day finally came and the ship reached port at New Orleans, La. There were representatives from their new religion there to greet this overly tired group of new saints to the Promised Land. At last, they were in “America the Beautiful" a land of dreams come true. The words of encouragement were spoken in their native tongue of Danish and it sounded good to them. Everyone joined in to offer a grateful thanks to God.

The journey was not over. From here they traveled to St. Louis, Mo. where they and their belongings were put on a train bound for Zion. The destination tags read "Ogden, Utah". Meanwhile, back in Denmark, Ane Marie had been hidden that fateful day with friends of Grandma. She was kept in a closet for three days at this farm home, not far away. She was told that this would prevent her family from leaving for America and all would be well. It was a difficult task for Grandma later, to have to admit that the plan did not work out that way.

All of her relatives comforted her and gave her much love and as it turned out she was not too upset as she had lived with Grandma much of the time so as to attend a school close by.

At Grandma's she had uncles a few years older that she and they delighted in spoiling her. When she lived at home it was her duty to baby-sit her young sisters and brothers, which she was not fond of doing. She always hoped that her family would return but became well adjusted so never really grew up being bitter.

Back in America the Nielsen family's future destination had been arranged by church authorities. They were to arrive by rail to Ogden but then were advised to travel by wagon to a small settlement about twenty- five miles north to a place known as “Little Valley". This was an area that very much resembled the terrain of their homeland. It was a beautiful and peaceful place surrounded by low rolling hills. Later on, this valley was named Mantua. Here, along with other immigrants, mostly of Scandinavian back- ground, they busied themselves with cutting of logs to build a cabin. This took a tremendous amount of courage to begin building a home and tilling the soil for planting of crops. Even cutting down the trees was new to them because back in Denmark it was against the law to cut down any trees, even if one owned the land. It was all very foreign to them and they had little or nothing in the form of tools. Now, they must build a fence so as to protect their crops from the wild horses, deer and the cattle that roamed the hills but the neighbors always pitched in to lend a hand to the newcomers.

The church authorities advised them that they must now learn English since they were in America and to try very hard to refrain from speaking their native language. Reluctantly they obeyed this rule as best they could but at a social gathering of friends, the happy chatter was always in their beloved Scandinavian language.

Another rule from the church was called observing the "Word of Wisdom" which forbid them from drinking their favorite beverage which was coffee and even tea. They conformed quite well but it seemed a big sacrifice for them. Danish hospitality had always included their favorite drink of coffee along with those delicious Danish pastries. Even though they did have a guilt complex they did indulge in this way of life on many occasions.

In this settlement, most of their new acquaintances were good honest people, like themselves. An exception to the rule was a person who owned a small store where they could buy supplies. He found out that Hans L. had some money that he had saved up for emergencies and offered to take care of it for him, in his safe. The amount was five hundred dollars and when Hans L. did have a need for some of it, this man denied the entire affair. This was a cruel lesson for Hans L. to learn for up to now he had not doubted the honesty of any of the brethren of this church.

Karen Kirstine tried ever so hard to adjust but it was difficult. She had realized during their voyage that she was to have another baby- her sixth, and it became increasingly hard to bear up with all of their hardships. It was apparent, of course, that she was still grieving for Ane Marie and had indeed, lost faith that they would ever be able to go back to Denmark for their dear daughter. The children were given much love from mama but even they knew why she seldom smiled.

A baby boy was born in late Oct. of that same year. Karen Kirstine's health was just too delicate for her to care for her children without help so Hans L. managed to hire a young emigrant girl who had recently moved to this valley with her parents. Her name was Anna Christena and the family grew to love and trust her- especially Karen Kirstine. One day she talked very confidentially to Anna Christena and asked if she would take good care of her children when the time came and the girl understood.

The time soon came. Karen Kirstine was laid to rest in a family plot not far away in a place called Brigham City. Hans L. in his sorrow knew that he had failed indeed, his promise to his darling Karen. In his overwhelming grief it was his duty to write this sad news to his dear daughter in Denmark- that 'Mama had passed away!”

Anna Christena kept her word and did the job very well. Within the year, Hans L. asked her to stay on permanently and be his wife. She was twenty-two years younger than Hans L. When Ane Marie received the word that her father had married a girl just three years older that she was, it was most up setting to her.

Hans L. had dreamed of being a well-off landowner in America but things had just not worked out that way, up to now. At this time he heard of another valley much larger and with plenty of water available for crops and cattle. It was at a place on the Mink Creek in southern Idaho. At this time there was one other Danish family that had taken a homestead in this area so they would not be entirely alone in the venture. So, with true pioneer spirit they would abandon their present farm home for the move sixty miles to the north.

The trip was made by wagon that would be their home for several weeks. Their horses and livestock were driven and herded there by the two older sons-James Peter and Lars Christian. Again, they had the task of building another cabin and clearing the brush so as to till the soil and plant crops. They also had to prepare for visits from bears that roamed these parts. It was really wild country!

It had been almost five years since the family had come to America. Hans L. and Anna Christena did well obeying the laws of their religion- especially the word from God that they should multiply and replenish the earth. From this particular union, eleven children were born, however the first two babies died in infancy. This good woman managed to care nobly for her stepchildren and her own. Anna Christena had many responsibilities such as: making all their clothing and sewing by hand, wool had to be corded and spun so as to make all of their quilts, milk had to be skimmed to make the cream into butter, any left over milk was made into cheese, soap had to be made from waste fat and lye for all their laundry purposes. Besides this she had to be nursemaid to all the family. They were quite self sufficient by growing all their vegetables and raising pork, beef and chickens. Their farm was equipped with a crude smoke house and meat curing devices so they could have meat available the year around.

Somehow, Anna Christena made their daily chores a family game and had the help and support of all the children. For instance, when they planted fruit trees there was one tree planted for each member of the family and named for him or her. Such as, Eliza Apple, Annie Apple, Father Apple and so- forth down the line. There were sixteen lovely, well cared for trees in this family orchard. At this time, in spite of all their hardships, Hans L. had fully regained faith in his religion and did believe it to really be the true church. He had presumably, prepared the way for himself, to someday enter the Celestial Kingdom in heaven and be a God in his own rights, with each of his wives at his side. He paid an honest tithing besides being generous when asked for donations for the purpose of helping more converts to come from the old country. He was rathe r sorrowful that none of his relatives were convinced to follow him to Zion, and now he was quite certain that he would never see his homeland again nor his darling daughter, Ane Marie.

His oldest son, who was just three years younger than Ane Marie did at a much later date, in 1903, go to Denmark on a mission. At this time James Peter was married and the father of nine children, with the tenth child on the way. He felt privileged to be called by his church to preach the gospel abroad, in Denmark, so no sacrifice seemed too much as God would provide. His brave wife was Karen Marie and she took on this new responsibility cheerfully. With the help of their older children she supported the family from their dairy and cheese farm and sent money, every month, to her husband in Denmark. She successfully gave birth to a baby girl while he was gone and he was away twenty-eight months. On his return every thing went along as usual and there were two more children added to their brood as time went on. Their oldest son also went on a mission to Denmark, a few years later.

James Peter, of course visited his sister Ane Marie on many occasions and they rejoiced at this happy reunion. He became fast friends with the relatives but failed to convenience anyone of them to join his religion. On his return to America, James Peter corresponded with his sister as long as she lived.

At this time of his visit, Ane Marie was happily married and the mother of four lovely children. Her Grandma, Maren Katrine had passed away when Ane Marie was about twenty years old. Before her marriage she had worked as an apprentice dressmaker and had become very good at her trade. She married a man whom she had known for many years, an old school mate. He excelled in his profession of making fine furniture. In turn he taught this to his three sons and they became very good craftsmen. Their youngest was a girl and she learned from her mother to be a fine seamstress. She also learned the art of fine Danish cooking and how to serve these foods beautifully. For a church supper, she once made over 350 ableskivers. This lovely lady's name is Anna and she is still active and vivacious at the age of eighty- four.

Time has a way of marching on- but the memory of Karen Kirstine still lingers in the minds of those who loved her so much and understood her sacrifices. She was not abandoned in that lonely grave sight in Brigham City, for in 1914, James Peter and his wife Karen Marie, decided to move from Idaho back to this very place. They became owners of this family plot, which is well cared for, and now many of this family have joined dear Karen Kirstine in their final resting place. A fourth generation descendant in America and author of this story, Who is the eldest grandchild of James Peter and Karen Marie and Who also is the eldest great-grandchild of Hans L. and Karen Kirstine has visited those villages in Denmark in 1975 and again in 1979. She has rekindled that wonderful family tie with Ane Marie's only daughter and all of the children, grandchildren and great grandchildren of this girl who was left behind. What a glorious and happy occasion this was for all! "Ane Marie you live in the hearts of those who love you, not only in Denmark but in America too!”