. . . My parents had decided already to leave Norway and emigrate to Utah for their religion. Selling their homes, namely Nordstrand and Grundvick, they obtained enough money to take us all to Zion. In April 1863, I left the home of my childhood and came to the land of Zion in company with my parents, sisters, and brother.
We left Christiania the first of April on the steamer "Excelensen" and arrived in Copenhagen on the fourteenth. Here we [p.298] remained eight days until the Saints had gathered from Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. Among these Saints was a sister by the name of Anna Helena Dyresen, whom I later became engaged to. She had been staying in Denmark with her sister Marie Hansen, and had also prepared to sail in the same company. From Copenhagen we left by steamship to Kiel, from there to Hamburg, where we were joined by more Saints, and again traveled to Liverpool. Here we boarded a steamship called the John J. Boyd, captained by J. N. Thomas. The same afternoon, we were given our respective cabins where we took quarters for our journey, being one thousand in number, of which seven hundred sixty-five were Mormons.
After twenty-nine days on the ocean we arrived in New York, May 29, 1863. All members had to remain on board until examined by the doctors to make sure no disease would be spread. This took considerable time. After being examined, we were transferred to a place called Castle Garden where we remained until evening. Here we were transferred by rail across the Hudson and further across the states. Due to the Civil War at the time, we were transferred several times to several trains a day, sometimes being forced to ride in cattle cars. This was not very comfortable, as there were no seats and we had to sit on the floor. In transferring our baggage, the handlers would often break into our trunks and cut holes in our leather satchels to steal our belongings. We had to be on guard constantly, day and night. By doing this, they got little for their trouble. After three days, we arrived in Florence, Nebraska, on the thirteenth day of June. Dyre Amundsen, a brother of my wife, who had come to Utah in 1862 in Captain Hooker's company, was called to go back to Florence, Nebraska, to meet the Saints and bring them on to Utah. While there, he met his sisters,
Anna Helena; Berta Marie, her husband, Ole Hansen; and Olaus, Charles, Lilie, and our father Johan and mother Karen Olsen. We stayed here until July first, when we continued our journey by ox team over the plains with John Young as our leader. While here, Anna Helena and I became engaged. We were married in Echo, Weber Valley, September 9, 1863 three days before arriving in Salt Lake City. . . . [p.299]
BIB: Johnson, Olaus, "Autobiography of Olaus Johnson," Chronicles of Courage, vol. 5 (Salt Lake City: Daughters of Utah Pioneers, 1994) pp. 298-99. (CHL)