Niels Jensen

January 2, 1831 - November 5, 1907


Niels Jensen was born in Hojen, Vejle, Denmark, on the 9th of January 1831. He was a son of Jens Nielsen and Anna Isachsen and was their first child. Hojen was a small village on a hillside near the larger town of Vejle where they could also have lived in the winter months. But for most of the year, the family lived on the Jensen farm, somewhere between the two towns.

Most Danish farms in that period had been in certain families for generations, inherited by the oldest son, which was the custom in Denmark. Niels, who was a practical man, did not venture far afield to find a wife. His Ellen Marie was also born in Hojen on October 29th, 1829. She was two years older than Niels.

Anna Eleanore, their first child, was born in Vejle on July 9th, 1855. Martin, the first son, arrived on August 17th, 1860, and little Jens Peter, their second and last son was born on March 1st, 1864 during the German occupation of Jutland.

Anna, in later years, enjoyed talking to her grandchildren about her childhood in Vejle. Many of these memories were about war and the resulting hardships. Early in the year 1864, as the German soldiers forced the Danish defenders further north into Jutland, the country people were often in the battle areas. Few of the farm families wanted to leave their homes and flee northward in the middle of the winter.

1864 was the year their daughter, Annie, remembered as "a time of near starvation and many hardships." Her hatred of the Prussians never seemed to lessen as she recalled their many cruelties during the unhappy days of the German occupation. The soldiers forced even the little girls to carry water for them and do other menial tasks. Whenever Ellen baked bread, the hungry soldiers were always on hand to take most of it for their own use. The smell of the baking bread told them where to go to find the homemade delicacy.

To protect his starving family, Niels removed some bricks from the hearth floor and made a small compartment where Ellen could quickly hide half of the freshly baked bread before the soldiers could come in and take it away from the hungry family.

When the war ended, the Jensen family had to go on with whatever had been left by the departing soldiers. We have Annie's word that this was very little and the years ahead were times of hard work while they attempted to start over and regain all that had been taken from them. Perhaps they were already dreaming about emigrating to their dream world of "Zion." The Jensens must have met the Mormon Missionaries [sometime before the war, and afterward sold their farm and emigrated to America.

The four, as Annie had emigrated earlier, sailed from Liverpool, England in the S.S. Wisconsin and arrived in New Your City on July 7, 1877. They joined with Captain John Rowberry and continued their journey by rail to Salt Lake City, arriving on July 14th. They shortly thereafter traveled to Ephraim, Sanpete County, Utah where they settled and lived happily until their deaths.

Ellen Maria Jacobsen died on 14 May, 1900, and Niels died on 5 November, 1907. Both are buried in the Ephraim Pioneer Cemetery.