. . . At 12:00 o'clock noon the emigrants were all seated in the rail way cars and left Kiel for Altona, about seventy miles distant, where we arrived after three hours' pleasant journey through the green and beautiful Holstein. This was my first railroad ride, and the same could be said of the majority of those who composed the emigrant company. Railroad-building had been commenced in Denmark only a few years previous to 1866.
From the railroad station in Altona we all marched down the hill to the banks of the River Elbe, where the women and children boarded a little steamer and went by water, while the men walked a mile or so through a part of Altona into the city of Hamburg, where we were all lodged in an emigration house, and we enjoyed a comfortable night's rest. Before evening, however, I was out on one of my exploration trips, and after walking long distances I lost my way in the great city of Hamburg, and only after considerable difficulty found my way back to the emigrant house. Everyone in Hamburg spoke German, which I did not understand.
On Saturday, May 19, 1866, in the afternoon, we went on board the double-decked packet ship Kenilworth (a sailing vessel, with Captain Brown in charge). The ship lay at anchor a short distance from the dock in the River Elbe.
The Kenilworth was an old English sailing vessel and had been chartered on easy terms. Though not intended for passenger traffic, it had been fitted up on this occasion with bunks and other conveniences on both decks for the comfort of passengers.
The next day, which was Whitsunday [p.14] (May 20) was spent in locating the emigrants in different parts of the ship and showing each family their bunks. Our family was given a well-lighted place on the middle deck near the bow of the ship, and from our anchorage in the Elbe we had a fine view of the surroundings, the cities of Hamburg and Altona on the north and the low and flat country (Hannover) on the south side of the Elbe.
On the 21st a meeting was held on the middle deck of the ship when the elders in charge gave instruction in regard to cleanliness, order, and decorum. On Tuesday, May 22nd, another company of emigrants arrived and was taken on board at once. They were in charge of President Carl Widerborg and Elder Christiansen. This increased our number on board the Kenilworth to 684 souls besides the ship's crew.
The next day (May 23rd) the Kenilworth left her moorings and was towed by two small tugs a short distance to a point below Altona.
On Thursday, May 24th, a meeting was held on board, at which the emigrant company was organized for traveling, with Elder Samuel L. Sprague as president or leader of the company, and Elder Morten Lund as his assistant. Frederick Berthelsen was appointed secretary and Ole H. Berg, captain of the guard. The emigrants were grouped into 42 divisions, or messes, with a president over each, whose business it was to receive provisions for each district and distribute them to the several families; also to preside at prayers in the respective districts morning and night, and to watch over the Saints in detail and see that the rules of cleanliness and order were strictly enforced. On the same occasion the ship was dedicated by Elder Carl Widerborg and the prediction uttered that it should carry its precious cargo of souls safe and well to the "land of promise." Much timely and valuable instructions were imparted by the brethren, and it was enjoined upon the emigrants to yield strict obedience to the brethren who had been appointed to preside.
A child, five years old, died on board. Two other companies of Saints from the Scandinavian countries sailed from Hamburg a few days later, in the ships "Humboldt" and "Cavour," making the total number of emigrants from the Scandinavian Mission 1,213 in 1866.
On Friday, May 25, 1866, about noon, the anchor was lifted and our long voyage commenced. Old Kenilworth was towed down the River Elbe and at 9:00 o'clock p.m. we passed Cuxhaven, at the mouth of the river, and soon we were far out on the broad face of the North Sea. The weather was pleasant, the sea quiet and the commencement of the voyage promising. Most of the Saints on board were in high spirits. Usually the ships carrying emigrants from continental Europe passed through the English Channel on their way to America, but in our case it was decided to take the longer route north of Scotland. On the North Sea we were exposed to heavy winds and most of the passengers, owing to the rocking of the vessel, had more or less experience with seasickness. In the afternoon of June 1st we passed the [p.15] Shetland Islands lying north of Scotland and before night we were on the somewhat turbulent waters of the Atlantic Ocean. By this time we had got used to the life on the ocean waves. We were well organized and willingly submitted to the discipline and regulations which had been agreed upon. Thus, at 6:00 o'clock in the morning we arose at the signal of the bugle, attended to ablutions and engaged in prayer in the different districts at 8:00 o'clock. Then we ate breakfast which consisted of tea and rye bread in the beginning, but after all the bread had been consumed we feasted on sea biscuits, which were made of rye, wheat, and oatmeal. Our food was prepared and cooked in a large kitchen from which it was brought by the several presidents of districts, who distributed it to the respective persons or families in charge. At 11:30 a.m. we had a good dinner which generally consisted of good and solid food, and after that we frequently amused ourselves in dancing, or engaged in divers games on deck, in order to keep up good cheer, and counteract the tediousness of the long voyage. Thus the days passed quickly and pleasantly. At 6:00 p.m. we had supper and at 9:00 o'clock we were supposed to retire for the night, after having had prayers at 8:00 o'clock. Cleanliness and good order were strictly observed on board and all who were able to spend a good part of their time on deck to enjoy the fresh air and exercise. Guard was kept up all night, and all the brethren, who were able, and of a proper age, took turns in standing guard. The captain and the crew were gentlemanly in their department towards the passengers, and we had no difficulty with any of them except the cook, a hot-headed and disagreeable person, who quarreled with several of the brethren, and especially on one occasion when a fight was barely averted. For several days after reaching the Atlantic Ocean we had favorable winds, but later owing to contrary winds we made but slow progress. For several days we were also enveloped in dense fogs, and in order to steer clear of danger from icebergs the captain chose a southerly course. On June 26th we encountered a terrific thunder and rain storm, on which occasion all the sails of the ship were taken down in double quick time, and the good old ship reeled like a drunken man and caused some alarm among the passengers.
During the voyage meetings were usually held on Sundays and on other occasions, at which powerful testimonies were borne and timely instructions given as circumstances demanded. A number of marriages were solemnized on board on which occasions we generally indulged in pleasantries, dancing and speech-making. Even a manuscript paper was issued almost daily, which introduced humorous and spicy articles suitable for the life we led.
The sad part of our voyage centered around a number of deaths which occurred. The following is a list of those of our company who found a watery grave: On May 24th a child; on May 29th Hulda Rosengren, 9years old and Wilhelmine Berthelsen, 37 years old; on June 2nd a child from the Aarhus Conference; on June 15th Oliver B. Rosengren, an infant; on June 19th Ole Christiansen's child from Vendsyssel Conference; on June 23rd the wife of Charles Christensen of the Aalborg Conference; on June 25th a young man from the Vendsyssel Conference; on June 27th another child; on July 3rd Christian Beck's child from the Aalborg Conference; on July 6th Inger S. Petersen, 6 years old; on July 12th Sarah Larsen, an infant; on July 13th Dorthea Beck, a child from the Copenhagen Conference and on July 15th a young man who committed suicide by jumping overboard. The death of Sister Christensen called forth much sympathy, as she and her husband had been most liberal with their means in assisting their poor co-religionists to emigrate. [p.16]
During the voyage two children were born, the first on May 26th, and the second on May 29th when Niels Hansen's wife from the Vendsyssel Conference gave birth to a child which was named Kenilworth Brown, in honor of the vessel and its captain. I also made records of seven marriages which took place on board during the voyage.
On Sunday, July 15th, which was a beautiful sunny day, a number of coast vessels were seen in all directions and joy and animation prevailed among the emigrants. A meeting was held at 8:00 o'clock a.m., at which timely instructions were given the emigrants as to how they should act when they landed in New York. About noon some of the officers, looking through their spy glasses, said that land was visible to the northwest, but it was not until 6:00 o'clock p.m. that one of our brethren, looking through his glass, called out with a loud voice, "Land, Land" and soon the green shores of Long Island were observed on our right by everybody. Perhaps only those who for weeks and months have been tossed about on the stormy face of the ocean can appreciate the pleasure of seeing terra firma again. The emigrants who for about two months had been confined to the decks and berths of old Kenilworth appreciated to the fullest extent the change of vision that they enjoyed on this memorable day. The drooping spirits of all were revived and the desire to live in hope of a happy future was manifested universally among the passengers. The men shaved, cut their hair and cleaned up on general principles, while the women began to look for their best dresses in which to attire themselves when the happy privilege of landing should be enjoyed by them. To us, Latter-day Saints, the first sight of America had more than usual significance, as this was the "land of promise," the land of Joseph; about which we had spoken, dreamed, and sung for many years before beholding it.
About the time we began to see land one of the passengers, a young and foolish man, willfully jumped overboard and was drowned. The ship hurriedly turned around, a boat lowered, and a number of sailors manning it, endeavored to save the man, but did not succeed; he sank in the billows to rise no more. It was stated by his friends that he had been induced to emigrate contrary to his wishes and had repeatedly declared that he would never see America, so, when the rest of us began to look so eagerly for land, he, consistent with his resolution, committed suicide by jumping overboard. We passed Sandy Hook after dark, and about midnight anchor was cast off Staten Island, at the entrance of the harbor of New York.
The next morning (July 16) most of the passengers rose early to look at the country. "How beautiful," nearly all exclaimed when we emerged from our quarters on the lower decks and saw the green hills of Staten Island and the tall steeples and magnificent buildings of the cities of New York and Brooklyn in the distance. The pleasant morning breeze wafted the odor of vegetation and flowers from the shore out to us. About 11:00 a.m. the doctor came on board to find that there were no contagious diseases among the emigrants and nothing in the shape of disorder or sickness which would prevent us from landing. Consequently, the anchor was lifted and we sailed into the bay or harbor and anchored a short distance off the city of New York, almost opposite Castle Gardens. As the sun rose higher, the day became very hot and several of the passengers were severely affected by the excessive heat. Elders Thomas Taylor and William H. Folsom (emigration agents for the Church) came on board to arrange for our landing on the morrow.
Shortly before noon on July 17th we took leave of the Kenilworth and boarded a small steamer which took us to Castle Garden. While taking this short trip the heat was very oppressive and one of our number died. Others were so overcome by the heat [p.17] that they were carried on shore more dead than alive; but on being placed in cool, airy rooms at Castle Garden, and receiving some medical treatment, they all recovered. We had spent 58 days on board the Kenilworth; 52 days had passed since we sailed from our anchorage at Hamburg and 46 days since we first reached the Atlantic Ocean. No serious accident had happened to us during our long voyage, and we realized that the predictions made by President Widerborg to the effect that we should pass safely over the great deep had been fulfilled. At Castle Garden we passed through the usual examinations and scrutiny, including the enrollment of names, ages, nationality, etc., after which we enjoyed a few hours rest in the large and airy rooms at the Garden.
At 9:00 o'clock a.m. we left Castle Garden and walked through a part of New York City to a point on East River where we boarded a large steamship which had been chartered by the Church emigration agent to take our company to New Haven, Connecticut, and the night was spent sailing up East river and Long Island sound.
On our arrival in New York we were told that the different railroad companies which had terminals in New York had arbitrarily broken their contract previously made by the Church agent by adding to the price agreed upon for taking the emigrants by rail westward. But as it was known that the emigrants were not able to pay this extra fare, Thomas Taylor, the emigration agent, had entered into a contract with a railroad company whose terminal was New Haven to carry us to the frontiers at the rates previously agreed to by the other railroad companies. This was the cause of us having this extra voyage by steamboat to New Haven.
After a short but very unpleasant voyage of 80 miles, we arrived at New Haven at 5:00 o'clock in the morning of July 18th. From the landing place we walked a short distance to the railroad station, where, two hours later, we boarded the cars and started northward on our first journey in America. Our route led through the states of Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont, and we enjoyed the beautiful scenery very much. To us, Danes, who had come from a low, flat country, where the highest elevated point was less than 600 feet above the level of the sea, the Green Mountains of Vermont and other elevations along our route of travel appeared grand and majestic. We traveled in 2nd class cars with comfortable seats, all night and part of the next day. Crossing the St. Lawrence River on the great Victoria Bridge, we arrived in Montreal, Canada, early in the afternoon of July 19th. Montreal in 1866 had about 50,000 inhabitants; at the present time the population of that great city is more than one million. Here we changed cars. The new train placed at our disposal there consisted of a few second class passenger cars and a number of ordinary baggage cars. Some of the latter cars, when we entered them, were dirty and abominable. But our leaders were informed that we would either have to occupy these cars or wait at least two days for better accommodations, and so it was concluded to submit to the inevitable. The cars were swept and cleaned out as well as possible, so that they could be occupied after a fashion. Seated on our bedding or trunks and boxes, or lying on the floor of the cars, we rolled out of Montreal about 7:00 o'clock in the evening, traveling westward along the St. Lawrence River.
It took us two days to travel through Canada this way, as we met with an accident on the shores of Lake Ontario where, owing to the poor conditions of the railroad bed, some of the cars jumped the track and several cars nearly toppled over. Yet none of them left the roadbed. This accident happened during the night, and when we, in the morning, beheld the situation of our train we truly felt thankful for having been saved from a terrible railroad disaster. Our train was broken [p.18] into three sections on the banks of the lake. Had any of the cars tipped over, the probability is that they would have rolled down the steep embankment into the water. As it was, the track was torn up for several rods. In the afternoon, the railroad men having repaired the track, we continued our journey, and at 7:00 p.m. we arrived at Toronto.
The next day (July 22nd) in the afternoon, we arrived at the railroad terminus on the St. Clair River, which separates Canada from the United States, or the State of Michigan. A steam ferry boat took us over the river to Port Huron in Michigan, where we spent the following night in a large freight building at the railroad station.
On Monday (July 23rd) at 1:00 o'clock p.m., seated in good comfortable cars, which we surely appreciated after our experience in the Canada baggage cars, we left Port Huron and traveled westward through the state of Michigan and arrived in Chicago, Illinois, in the evening.
The next day, July 24th, we changed cars and left Chicago at 10:00 a.m. Traveling all afternoon and the following night through the State of Illinois, we arrived at Quincy on the Mississippi River on the morning of the 26th. There a ferry boat took us over the river to the State of Missouri, where we waited in the forest on the bank of the river until 3:00 o'clock p.m. The weather being very warm, a number of us took advantage of the opportunity to bathe in the river which we thoroughly enjoyed; but a young man of our company who, being a good swimmer, ventured too far out in the swiftly running river was carried away by the current and drowned.
At 4:00 p.m. we continued our journey through the State of Missouri, the land where the Saints in the early days of the Church suffered so much persecution. In several of the larger towns, through which we passed, the inhabitants acted hostile towards us and made several demonstrations in the shape of insults and threats. The telegraph had, of course, previous to our arrival, brought the news of a company of "Mormons" coming, and thus the rough element had time to gather at the railway stations to give us their attention as we arrived. Some of the worst men in the crowd gave the impression by their movements that they would have taken delight in treating us similar to the treatment that was given our co-religionists years ago. The conductor of our train appeared to be one of our bitter enemies. In starting the train and in quickening or lessening speed he treated us to such jerks and violent shocks as ordinarily are experienced only on freight trains. Fortunately none of us were seriously hurt, but some of our more delicate women were threatened with nervous breakdowns.
The dawn of Friday, July 27th, found us traveling through the western part of Missouri, and after suffering more jerks and shakings during which the engineer broke parts of his engine, we arrived at St. Joseph, on the banks of the Missouri River, early in the afternoon. This terminated our railroad travel, which had lasted ten days and covered a distance of about 1,700 miles. On our arrival at St. Joseph we were given only one hour in which to procure provisions for a two days' trip up the Missouri River to Wyoming, Nebraska. We boarded the steamboat "Denver" and left St. Joseph at 5:00 p.m. The following night was a sleepless one for most of us. In the first place the weather was too sultry for anybody to rest, but the worst trouble was that no place could be found on board for the passengers to make their beds. In addition to all this, the ship's officers and crew seemed to be regular demons and endeavored to annoy and vex us in every possible way. The next day, July 28th, the steamboat pulled slowly up the Missouri River. The day being extremely hot, we were not able to venture out from the coverings of the boat for fear of being sunstruck. [p.19]
. . . On Sunday, July 29th, we arrived safe and well at the landing, below the village of Wyoming, Nebraska, which was the outfitting place for the saints crossing the plains that year. At that village we could breathe the fresh air more freely than upon any previous occasion since we commenced our long journey. Both on ship board, and in the railroad cars, we had been confined to narrow quarters, but here on the grassy hill of Wyoming we had plenty of room to spread out and inhale the fresh air and drink the pure water as it gushed froth from the hillside. Here our Family also met some acquaintances from Vendsyssel, Denmark, who had spent a year at Wyoming.
On Monday, July 30th, our baggage arrived at the Wyoming landing and was partly carried by hand and partly by teams to the camp ground on the top of the hill, where we were permitted to pitch our tents on any of the unoccupied land lying adjacent to the village. Those of the emigrants who had no tents made themselves temporary shelter of brush and branches cut from trees in the neighboring woods. While enjoying these conveniences we spent several days busily engaged in washing clothes and otherwise preparing for our journey across the plains. Several of the Church trains sent from the "Valley" this year after the poor were encamped near Wyoming, when we arrived, and had, waited for us several days.
Between four hundred and five hundred wagons with three or four yoke of oxen to each wagon, were sent this year by the Church, to the Missouri "River after emigrants, most of whom, including our own family, came expecting to cross the plains with Church teams. While stopping at Wyoming we could draw provisions from the church store house, which had been erected on the camp ground.
On receiving our baggage at Wyoming we found that many of the boxes had been opened and robbed of their contents, and thus some of the emigrants lost all their clothes and traveling outfits.
While the emigrant companies were encamped near Wyoming, that little village assumed an air of importance. Regular camps of tents and family boweries were erected by the pilgrims. Some of our company were taken sick with fever, a few very seriously. Some of this sickness came upon the suffers through disobeying the counsel of the brethren in charge, who had advised the emigrants not to drink too freely of the ice cold water issuing from the springs, but rather use the river water after it had been filtered. At least five of our company died before our family left Wyoming, namely, three from the Vendsyssel, one from the Aalborg and an old lady from the Copenhagen Conference.
On Wednesday, August 1st, another company of Scandinavian emigrants, consisting of about three hundred souls, arrived at Wyoming. This company had sailed from Hamburg, June 2nd on the sailing vessel "Humboldt", under the presidency of Elder George M. Brown. Several companies of British saints preceded our company and were already on the plains when we arrived. The total number of emigrating saints from Europe in 1866 was 3,327, of whom 1,213 were from the Scandinavian countries. All the companies came by way of Wyoming and most of them crossed the plains with Church teams.
Some of the emigrants who had crossed the ocean in the ship Kenilworth commenced their journey across the plains from Wyoming August 2nd, with Captain Joseph S. Rawlins' train, and others left with Peter Nebeker's Church train on August 4th. Our family, having decided to go with Captain Andrew H. Scott's train, moved our effects on August 5th to the place where that train was encamped near the Church store, and the next day we were assigned to our respective wagons, ten or twelve persons to each wagon. Our train consisted of 46 wagons and the company comprised British [p.20], Norwegian and Danish emigrants. George M. Brown, who had led the "Humboldt" company from Hamburg to Wyoming, was appointed our spiritual leader in crossing the plains.
It was the intention that our company should roll out of Wyoming on August 7th, but a terrible rain storm, accompanied by thunder and lightning, such as none of us from Scandinavia had ever experienced, visited the camp. The rain poured down in torrents nearly all day and the following night. The ground was thoroughly soaked by the downpour, and while the storm was at its worst the whole village seemed to be a perfect lake. Such storms occurred frequently in this locality in July and August every year. Wednesday, August 8, 1866, will always remain a red-letter day in my recollection. At 10:00 o'clock in the forenoon, as passengers in Captain Andrew H. Scott's ox train, we left Wyoming to cross the plains. . . .[p.21]
. . . On Monday, October 8th, we traveled about four miles northward and arrived in Great Salt Lake City. Our train immediately went into the Tithing Yard where everything was unloaded, and then the train started off again for the South with those of the emigrants who expected to locate in Utah County, were most of the teams in Captain Scott's company belonged. Our family, which had not decided where to make our permanent home, remained in the City fro the time being. Hence we bade our fellow-travelers and affectionate farewell. They scattered to different parts of the country, where they had friends or relatives, or where more settlers were wanted. . . . [p.26]
BIB: Jenson, Andrew, Autobiography of Andrew Jenson (Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1938) pp. 14-21,26. (CHL)