Augusta Dorius Stevens, daughter of Nicholi and Sophia Christoperson Dorius was born October 29, 1837 in Copenhagen, Denmark. When I was two years of age I lost one of my eyes through an accident. I had many minor accidents, but got through them alright. I attended school until I was about thirteen years of age. About that time the Mormon elders came to Copenhagen with the gospel of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. My father embraced the gospel and was baptized the 14th day of November 1859. My brother John F.F. Dorius and myself were baptized the 14th day of December 1850. For this reason I had to quit school on account of joining this then unpopular religion.
We lived in the same house where the LDS meetings were held, we lived downstairs and the meetings were held upstairs. One night the mob came up to the hall and broke the door down. They wanted to get Brother Erastus Snow and to subject him to bodily punishment. We had to break up the meeting and Brother Snow walked out with the crowd of Saints and the mob did not get him.
My mother could not see that our church was any better than her Lutheran church and so she did not join until 1862 when my two brothers, Carl and John left Utah for a mission to Norway. While there the boys went to Copenhagen, Denmark and took mother with them to Norway to the city of Christiania where they made their headquarters and where she was baptized. Mother did not come to Utah until 1874. I was accordingly away from my mother for twenty two years.
I did not know how many persons had joined the church when I left for Utah. But at that time the spirit of gathering became an important item among the saints in Copenhagen and there were twenty eight persons who got ready to emigrate with Elder Erastus Snow when he returned from his first mission in Scandinavia and I was one of this number.
I had assisted a [p.1] family by the name of Ravens as a girl in their home at general domestic work. Mr. Ravens was a sea captain, the family was quite well off. They had joined the church, took quite a liking to me for the work I was doing for them and inasmuch as I had also joined the church, they offered me the opportunity to join them in coming to Utah and they paid my way. My father thought it would be a good thing for one of the family to go to Zion and the rest of the family would come later. So it was arrange for me to go. I thought this was a fine plan and I was happy to think I was the first of the family to go to Zion.
The day came for us to start, it was the 4th day of March 1852. I had great faith in the gospel I had embraced so I felt all would be well for me. But when I said farewell to my parents and brothers and sisters, and seeing the steamboat sail out and my folks begin to fade out of sight, I felt alone and I surely felt badly and wept as I then realized for the first time that I was alone to face the world and that too on foreign soil. If I had known or realized how far that journey would be, I certainly would have felt worse, but traveling was something new to me and there were many interesting sights for me to see which were interesting and entertaining and I wonder sometimes how I received courage to leave my family and go to a strange country and then too, when I did not know how far we should have to travel to get to Zion and I could not talk the language. But it was the gospel I had received and the spirit of the Lord that helped me. I was ignorant of the world and did not understand it as I came to know later. When I think of one of my daughters starting out at that age, going into my fifteenth year, I wonder how it would go for her. But if she had the same faith I had I think it would be alright for her too. But there are few who have such strong faith as those who came from the old country in those days. I have never regretted that I came when and as I did, but am thankful to the Lord that I was thus permitted to come to Zion. [p.2]
As the steamship on which I left Copenhagen reached Liverpool England, we transferred to a sail ship by the name of Italy and the ship propelled by the wind on the sails took nine weeks in which to cross the Atlantic ocean and we landed at New Orleans. The Mississippi River at its mouth was quite shallow and sometimes the wind was unfavorable and our larger sail ship was tagged up the river by two small steamboats, one pulling on each side of the ship Italy. Thus the ship was pulled up to the city of New Orleans. From this city we completed the balance of our river journey by steamboat to the City of Kanesville on the Missouri River. This unloading point is on the east side of the river and we remained there a month to prepare for our crossing the plains, getting the oxen, wagons and equipment ready for the journey. At this point I experienced a new phenomenon. There came one day the worst wind and thunder storm I could ever imagine; an experience I had never known in Denmark or on the journey so far. The appointed time came for the great journey across the plains into the then almost unknown west. The wagons and equipment and members of the emigrating party were taken over the Missouri River by ferries and the oxen, cows and horses had to swim across as there were then no accommodations for ferrying animals across the Missouri.
There were representatives of several nationalities including Americans, but our particular division of the emigrant train which included fifty wagons, there were twenty eight from Copenhagen and in our company of ten wagons there were included quite a number of Americans. Our company was presided over by John Butler who was the captain over our company which occupied ten wagons. The entire fifty wagons with occupants was presided over by a head captain in the person of E. Kelsey, and the whole emigrant train is known as Kelsey's Company. There were then five companies with ten wagons to each company. Each presided over by a captain; a chief captain to preside over the entire train of fifty wagons. The women generally rode in the [p.3] wagons and always slept in the wagons. Personally I thought the emigrant wagons most remarkable vehicles as I had never seen anything of the kind before starting on this journey. Upon nearing the Rocky Mountains, the oxen became somewhat worn out and then it was necessary for many women to walk while traveling. Upon camping at night the wagons were driven in a circle and the camp fires were made inside the circle. Being young and in my fifteenth year, this being the year 1852, it became a part of my regular duty to gather buffalo chips which served as part of the fuel for the camp fires. During the first part of the journey across the plains, the novelty of travel was new and the evenings across this trip we felt to enjoy the company of the members and friends we had made. One member had a fiddle as we then knew it and all joined in the evening dances around the camp fires within the big circle. Prayers and hymns were part of the daily morning and evening program. After walking a good deal during the days, I felt so tired I could often have been glad to have gone to bed without supper but I always had to help with the dishes and help with camp duties including the preparing of the beds. . . .
. . . One of the singular incidents that happened enroute was the occasion of a stampede of a herd of buffalo which came direct toward our wagon train. The stampede ran providentially just in head of the train with the fierceness [p.4] of the rush and tramp and as it appeared almost a cyclone of dust. This caused a great commotion and almost stampeded among the oxen and horses of the train. The few rifles available were used and fortunately enough for the emigrants, a few buffalo fell which were prepared and this gave us extra provisions on the long journey in head of us. Upon another occasion nearly a dozen Indians came on their horses and approached the emigrant train. A great deal of apprehension was caused among the emigrants as they felt sure an impending disaster was before them. They thought this was the first contingent of hordes of Indians that lurked in the ravines near the trail. The daily prayers were answered and we were assured the Heavenly Father was mindful of the needs and protection of his Saints. The Indians spread their blankets by the side of the trail and each wagon was required to give its toll of food to the Indians as it passed. . . .
. . . When we had advanced to the Green River Station, now Green River, Wyoming, the supply of flour had been exhausted. The fall snows commenced bringing the cold blizzard and wintery blast all of which added to the perils of the journey. It became necessary to send a man with the best and fastest equipment on to Salt Lake City to get four and rush back to Green River which was only sufficient to sustain the party in the train for the balance of the trip.
On into the mountains we went along the already broken trail which had now been traveled over by the emigrant trains for five years. We arrived in Salt Lake City October 16, 1852, after eight months and twelve days of journeying since I had waved my last farewell to my parents and friends. . . . [p.5]
BIB: Stevens, Augusta Dorius [Autobiography] (MSS A-322) pp. 1-5, (Utah State Historical Society.)