Andrew Madsen was born on March 3, 1835 on his father's farm, located near the little village of Svinninge, Osherred, Denmark. His fathers before him had been free men of the soil, holding their land in every sense of the word: ambitious, clean, hard-working, kind, honest and deeply religious. Young Andrew assimilated these traits. Of his early childhood, he later wrote, "I received my education in a village school house and worked upon the farm, assisting my fater in earning a livlihood. Later, I worked for my uncle two years at a salary of $1.25 per month, including my board. For one year I then worked as a carpenter's apprentice and received no pay other than learning the trade, and boarding myself."
With his parents and brothers and sisters he joined the Mormon church in 1854, he being baptized on December fourth. Andrew's conversion was very real. After the family unanimously decided to gather to Zion, Andrew, with his brothers, Niels Peter and Niels and sisters Margrethe and Jacobena left their home on November 23, 1855, they began their journey to Utah. They set sail from Liverpool, England, December 6, 1855, in a company of 508 converts. Andrew recorded "Many of us became seasick. The voyage was not a pleasant one and our vessel was not equipped for so many people, so we suffered many disadvantages. We had tiers of bunks aroound the sides and boxes in the center. We were all compelled to eat off the boxes we had to sit on ... our rations were very coarse and simple, and our water supply became low, owing to the long journey."
On the nineteenth of that month a bad storm developed and continued for several weeks. On the first day of the new year, 1856, the storm became much worse and a mast cracked under the violent force of the wind. It was wrapped tightly with a chain so it could serve for the rest of the voyage. Then fire broke out under the captain's cabin and filled passenger quarters with thick suffocating smoke. With extreme effort it was extinguished. under pressure with these troublesome events, the Captain forbade all praying and singing of hymns. Andrew later wrote in his journal "This did not prevent us from fasting and praying in secret, and afterwards, better weather prevailed." On February 24, 1856, after eleven seasick weeks, filled with the dangers of storm and fire, with nearly sixty dead, they thankfully landed at New York City.
Andrew and his party proceeded to St. Louis, arriving there March 1, 1856. None of his family could speak English and it was difficult to get along. Those able to work did so when worked could be had. Andrew found work on a steamboat and was paid $2.50 per day; later he worked on a farm for $15.00 per month. About June first, President Knute Petersen gathered a company and they went to Winter Quarters (now Florence, Nebraska) where they organized to continue on to Utah. Their outfit consisted of sixty wagons with two yoke of oxen, andsix to ten persons to each wagon.
On September 16, 1856, nearly ten months after leaving their home in Denmark, Andrew and his brothers and sisters arrived in Salt Lake City. Andrew had the thrill of his lifetime when he met Brigham Young, and he was especially thrilled to realize he could understand many of the words of the Prophet.
Andrew and his family were poor when they arrived in Utah, having "one dollar in money between them." according to Andrew. However, when Lorenzo Snow was to build a fine home in Brigham City, Andrew and his brothers presented him with a keg of nails, which they had brought all the way from St. Louis. In pioneer Utah, a keg of nails was truly a rich gift. The Madsens stayed in Salt Lake only briefly, then moved to Kaysville where they divided their remaining posessions. Andrew received a pair of young steers as his share of their common property, and moved to Brigham City, where he worked as a carpenter. He was paid twelve bushels of wheat and his board, for his winter's work.
On December 21, 1856, the brothers and sisters learned that their mother, Bodil, and brother Christian had arrived in Utah and that their father, Lars, had passed away in Devil's Gate, Wyoming, when traveling with the Hodgetts oxen company. After Bodil and Christian were with them, the brothers and sisters all moved to Brigham City, a devoted and happy family. The following September 13, 1857, their brother Mads reached Salt Lake City, safely. There was a great rejoicing, for the whole family had completed the journey to Utah.
In 1857 when the United States government sent troops to the Territory of Utah, Governor Brigham Young declared the territory under martial law, and forbade the troops to enter Utah. Andrew's brothers andsisters were by then married and in March of 1858 they moved to Fort Ephraim, but Andrew stayed in the north to help the militia. They planned to burn their homes and destroy their property if thearmy actually threatened the people. While in the militia Andrew did some trading with the Indians, obtaining a red flannel shirt andsome buckskin trousers, his first suit of clothes purchased in Utah. By June the difficulties between the United States and Utah were peaceably adjusted, and the militia disbanded. Andrew took his gun, his knife and blanket and walked from Brigham City to Fort Ephraim,a distance of about two hundred miles, where he was reunited with his mother, brothers and sisters.
On December 26, 1858, Andrew was married to Johannah Elizabeth (Widergreen) Anderson. Johannah was born 15 December 1840. To them were born ten children. They were:
Hannah L- - - - - Born: September 27, 1859
Louisa B. - - - - - - - - - - August 10, 1861
Andreas- - - - - - - - - - - September 15, 1863
Annie- - - - - - - - - - - - - October 20, 1864
Emma - - - - - - - - - - - - July 15, 1866
Andrew C.- - - - - - - - - May 4, 1867
Lawritz L.- - - - - - - - - - August 2, 1869
Neil M.- - - - - - - - - - - - September 21, 1873
Hilda E.- - - - - - - - - - - - November 28, 1877
About the last of February, 1859, Andrew and a venturesome group of people left Fort Ephraim and moved north. They finally camped on the present site of Mt. Pleasant, March 20, 1859. there they built a good substantial fort to live in, following the counsel of Brigham Young. The fort walls were twelve feet high, made of good stone,andenclosed five and one half acres. Very little farming was done that first year, according to Andrew, for first the land needed to be cleared of giant sage brush and fields needed fencing.
From 1865 to 1868, Andrew participated in the Black Hawk War, and his history of that Indian uprising has been a reliable source of information.
Andrew and his brothers worked tirelessly for then common good of the community and became interested in the first steam powered saw mill, mowing machine, hay bailer, threshing machine, binder and reaper, molasses mill, and piano brought to their valley. Recognizing their need for fuel, Andrew also become interested in opening the first coal mine eat of Mt. Pleasant. Realizing the benefit a retail establishment could be to the community he helped organize the Mt. Pleasant Z.C.M.I. and was its first superintendent. When it was later dissolved, Andrewtransferred his holdings to the newly formed Union Mercantile Company, which later became the Madsen Mercantile Company. Seeing the value of rapid communication, Andrew and his brother, Mads sub scribed stock in the new telegraph line in 1865. They cut telegraph poles, transported them to and erected them on the proposed sites, to pay for their stock.
Andrew owned a two thousand acre ranch at Indianola and a twenty-five thousand acre ranch at Scofield, Utah. He owned several herds of sheep and cattle. He helped organize the first Sanpete County agricultural association and was its first treasurer. He served on the Mt. Pleasant City Council for twenty four years and acted as the first city treasurer.
In 1909 the citizens of Mt. Pleasant held a big celebration honoring their pioneers, on the fiftieth anniversary of the city, and Andrew originated a movement to erect a monument honoring the settlers of the city and preserving their names on it. He was always interested in preserving history and tradition and to this end, wrote extensive personal and community accounts in his records. They became the basis for the Mt. Pleasant book, compiled later by his daughter, Hilda. That the fellowship of the pioneers and their descendants might be preserved, Andrew organized the Mt. Pleasant Pioneer Historical Association in 1909, and served as the first president until his death six years later. In recognition of his outstanding leadership and community service he was especially honored by the Association on March 13, 1915, on his eightieth birthday, and he was presented with a gold watch, in appreciation.
Andrew was a tall, well proportioned man, his hair, light brown and eyes a gray-blue, with a clear tanned complexion and ruddy cheeks. He was strong and healthy and enjoyed wrestling with his sons. Even when grown men, they were unable to overcome him in their bouts. His active, long and eventful life closed when he passed away December 6, 1915.
(excerpts taken from the Madsen Family History)
(also, Hilda Madsen Longsdorf Home, a daughter)