Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Jens Pedersen Aagard, unknown author

Jens Pedersen Aagard settled in Fountain Green, but his daughter  Birthe Marie married Niels Peder Nielsen Sr. of Mt. Pleasant.  Some of you may remember Carrie Nielsen Hafen.  She is Peter Hafen's Grandmother and was a granddaughter of  Birthe Marie Aagard.   There is so much of interest in the following history concerning the early days of the church.  Many fell away. Of particular interest is following quote from this history ." The early Bishops had a lot of power as they were "the" authority in their communities. Some of these men were inexperienced and yet had great zeal. And perhaps they, as well as most of us, needed to be reminded of what the Lord would have them do as recorded in the Doctrine and Covenants, Sec. 121:41: "No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long suffering, by gentleness, and by love unfeigned." Some of the unfortunate happenings in the lives of our ancestors we may not understand, but they were choice people who had great faith and devotion to have accepted the church and left their homes to travel to an unknown land. They had trials and tribulations, strengths and weaknesses, and we, their descendants, owe so much to them."

Jens Pedersen Aagard Andrew's father, Jens Pedersen Aagard, as a young man, spent three years in the army. In the 1800's when Jens was in his late teens, he like the other young men in Denmark, was required to spend time in the army. For three years his family didn't hear from him. Communication in those days was limited, but even so the family assumed that he might be dead. Then one day to the great joy of his family, Jens came trudging home. It was said that he had been with Napoleon's army. Denmark at that time had been in an alliance with France. Jen's daughter, Ellen, sang old Napoleon war songs that her father taught her, to her granddaughter, Olean Olsen Allred, which would indicate that Jens had been associated with the Napoleonic wars in some way. Jens married for the first time at the age of twenty eight. He married Kirsten Andersen on October 30, 1819.She was born in 1795. In 1820 they had a son named, Anders Jensen. At the age of 27, this young wife and mother died. She was four years younger than her husband. On October 12, 1822, when Jens was thirty-two, he married a girl six years younger than himself. Her name was Birthe Jespersen and she was born in 1798 in Sporup, Denmark. Three children were born to this marriage. Peter Jensen born February 25, 1823, Kirsten Marie born August 16, 1824, and Karen Marie born June 14, 1826. 'A few months after Karen Marie's birth, Birthe Jespersen died, leaving Jens with three young children to raise. On February 9, 1828, Jens married Edel Jensen who was born in Sporup, Denmark. They had a baby boy named Jens who was born on July 13, 1828. Tragedy struck again as the baby only lived one day, and the mother, Edel, died six days later. Jens then married for the fourth time on October 25, 1828. This was to a young girl seventeen years younger than he. Maren Andersen was born September 3, 1808 in Sporup, Denmark. Jens and Maren had six children. The first two did not live to maturity. Anders Jensen born Nov. 7, 1829 - Oct. 15, 1837 (8 yrs.) Jens Jensen born May 31, 1832 - May 23, 1841 (9 yrs.) Niels Jensen born January 16, 1835 Ellen Kjerstene Jensen born November 28, 1837 Birthe Marie Jensen born June 28, 1841 Anders Jensen born January 15, 1844 Niels, Jens and Maren’s oldest living son, was required to serve three years in the Danish military. He was assigned to be a life guard to the king. Six lifeguards were required to guard the king. They wore elaborate uniforms and rode on horseback on each side of the king's coach. When Niels returned from the army, he and his family joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Jens had tenant farmers living and working on his property. When he joined the church in 1858, he sold his property and belongings and donated the money to the Perpetual Immigration Fund with the stipulation that any of his tenants who joined the church would be able to come to the United States through his donation. The Perpetual Immigration fund was organized to help the members of the church immigrate to Utah. The church loaned money to the members, and it was to be paid back after they arrived in Utah and were established and earning a living. In 1858 when Andrew was 14, the Aagard family joined the Church. Because his father, Jens, was older and not in good health, it was decided that Andrew's brother, Niels, who was 24 along with his sister, Ellen Kjerstene age 22 should first travel to Utah to see if it would be wise for the rest of the family to follow. Ellen Kjerstene and Niels set sail for America on April 12, 18~9 from Liverpool, England, on the "William Tapscott". They landed in Castle Garden on the 14th of May in 1860. They then made their way to Winter Quarters in Nebraska. Niels and Ellen Kjerstene joined a handcart company but had the means to buy a wagon and a yoke of oxen for the trip to Utah. "The trip was marked by five deaths and some brushes with the Indians but was not an unusually hard trip for a handcart company. "On the second day after leaving Winter Quarters it was noticed that a handcart was far behind and it was feared for their safety. Niels volunteered to go back for them. He found a Mrs. Larsen and her nine year old son pulling their few belongings and a sick husband in their handcart. Niels brought them up to join the others and soon after Mr. Larsen died, and was buried by the roadside. Mrs Larsen and her son rode in Niels' wagon to Utah. To show her appreciation for this kindness she knit Niels a long pair of stockings every Christmas until he died in 1892. This would total 33 pairs." In Hazel Bailey's history names differ. She tells of a Jens Nielsen family, the father age 56, was crippled. Jens Nielsen family history says, "A very kind man offered to take Grandfather and the little girl in the wagon so they could ride...This good man was~ Niels Aagard." Regardless of the names, Niels Aagard was a very good man. "Niels and Kjerstene settled in Moroni, Sanpete County, Utah and immediately sent for their parents, Jens and Maren. The following year in 1860 Jens, Maren, Birthe, Andrew, and two of the grown children from a previous marriage, came to Utah. Maren Andersen Aagard was 52 when the family came to the United States and Jens was 69. Perhaps she was concerned about their financial conditions in the new country since her husband was quite a bit older. It would be natural for her to wonder how they would make their living in the new land. The story was told of Maren sewing gold coins in the lining of her coat and in the hems of her dresses without the knowledge of her husband. The gold coins story was substantiated by Olean Allred, a great granddaughter of Maren and Jens. She told of attending Lamb Day in Fountain Green, Utah and was talking to a woman whose family name was Christensen, who told her about living with the Aagards for 7 years before coming to America. The woman said, "I helped your great grandmother sew her money in the hems of her clothing." Jens and Maren and family left Farre, Denmark on May 2, 1860, on a steamer bound for England. This family was among the 301 emigrating Saints. There were 182 Danish, 80 Swedish, and 39 Norwegian who sailed from Copenhagen, Denmark, on board the new Prussian steamship "Pauline", under the leadership of Carl Widerberg, who now emigrated to Zion. During the voyage over the Cattegat and North Seas a number of the emigrants suffered with seasickness. They arrived in Grimsby, England, May 5th. From Grimsby the emigrants continued the journey to Liverpool where they arrived on Sunday afternoon, May 6th, and secured lodgings in a hotel on Paradise Street. On Monday, May 7th, they boarded the "William Tapscott" which the previous year had brought a large company of emigrating Saints across the Atlantic (among them, son Niels and daughter Ellen Kjerstene). When all were aboard, there were 730 people. The company was divided into nine districts, each with a district president. The "William Tapscott" sailed from Liverpool May 11, 1860. It was said to be a fine ship and a splendid sailer. But owing to contrary winds, the voyage consumed 35 days. Union and good order prevailed during the whole voyage. Prayer was held every morning and evening, and on Sundays religious services were held on the deck. Due to the cold and change of diet, considerable sickness prevailed among the emigrants and ten deaths occurred, most of them among the Scandinavian members. Four children were born on board and nine couples married. On the 3rd of June the smallpox showed itself among the emigrants. Seven cases of this disease were reported, none of which, however, proved fatal. On Friday evening, June 15th, the ship arrived at the quarantine dock in New York Harbor. The next day two doctors came on board and vaccinated most everyone. On the 20th, after being detained in quarantine five or six days, the passengers landed at Castle Garden, New York. This group of emigrants traveled to Albany; Rochester; Niagra Falls; Windsor, Canada; Detroit; Chicago; Quincy, Illinois; Hannibal, Missouri; St. Joseph; and Florence, Nebraska where they arrived in the night between June 30th and July 1st. Taken from "History of the Scandinavian Mission .... Andrew Jensen. At Florence, Nebraska they joined the Captain Stoddard Company. This was the last handcart company to cross the plains with Mormon "Saints." There were 126 persons in the Stoddard Company, twenty-two handcarts, and six wagons. Jens and his family had a covered wagon. Anders (Andrew) was 16, Birthe was 19, and two older children of a previous marriage. (These were probably the daughters of Birthe Jespersen, the second wife of Jens) The girls from Jens' former marriage did not like the pioneer life in Moroni. They had been impressed with the middle west and went back and settled in the Nebraska and Iowa area. Before Maren and Jens left Denmark, their son Niels had written and suggested that his father bring panes of window glass across the plains. By now, in some of the earlier towns, Manti (1849), Spring City (1852), Ephraim (1854), the pioneers were in the process of constructing good lumber and rock houses. A commodity urgently needed for these houses was window glass. So Jens loaded his wagon with as many 8' x 10' panes of window glass as possible. "This would make a good medium of exchange for whatever he might want to get for himself in the valley." (John Aagard tapes) The leader of the company thought that Jens' wagon was too heavily loaded and ordered him to unload it. Jens refused. The next morning his oxen were missing and the company went on ahead. Jens found the oxen and took a shortcut and arrived at the camping site before the rest of the company. One story that has often been told in the Aagard family is that of Jens Peterson Aagard's descendants that left Moroni and went back to Nebraska and Iowa. Olean Allred told of her mother's brother, Uncle James Olsen, who made a trip to the mid-west in 1951. He had obtained an address from Idena Crowther of these Aagard cousins. Idena had contacted them while she was on her mission in that area. Olean tells of helping her grandmother write letters to her half sisters back in the mid-west. James Olsen reported that the half cousins were "very, very wealthy people, and they seemed to be fine people. One of their boys was vice president of the United States." Henry Aagard Wallace was an expert on plant culture and developed a successful hybrid seed corn. He was Secretary of Agriculture in 1933-1940, which was a most important cabinet position. Henry Aagard Wallace was Vice President of the United States from 1941-45 under President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He also served in another Cabinet position as Secretary of Commerce in 1945-46. In 1948, he was the Presidential nominee of the Progressive Party. Olean mentioned reading an article about Henry Aagard Wallace in the "Saturday Evening Post." In an interview someone asked him where the name Aagard came from. He said that it came from his mother's people who had come from Denmark. Henry Aagard Wallace slipped in the favor of the American people after he came home from a trip to Russia. had made some remarks that were favorable to the Russians. Regardless, he was a brilliant man. In 1859 George W. Johnson and his three sons built a log cabin on a site near some springs that flowed from the mountains. This area soon attracted other settlers and became known as Uintah Springs. The settlement then became known as Fountain Green. By 1860 an "ecclesiastical unit had been set up with Robert Lewis Johnson as acting Bishop." The tithing records show that in 1864-1871, Jens Pedersen Aagard paid tithing "in kind" of wool, beef, pork, sheep, hay, oats, wheat, butter, eggs, vegetables, and labor. From the biography of Ellen Kjerstene Olsen, by her daughter Mary Olsen Crowther, "I well remember when we lived in the fort in Fountain Green. Our houses were in an enclosure or fort of rock wall and our cow herd was in another enclosure joining it. My grandfather stayed on his place outside, working in his garden through the day and slept in his cellar at night saying that the Indians would not harm him. My mother had her experiences making syrup and sugar out of parsnips, lye out of wood ashes from which they made soap, and she carded and spun her clothes for wearing apparel. I being her oldest daughter helped spin yarn for the last home-spun dresses we had. I was then fifteen years old.' Andrew Aagard's other sister, Birthe Marie, met a young man from Denmark living in Mount Pleasant named Peter Nielsen. He was a tanner by trade and so was called Pete Tanner. They had five children, all of them boys. Again we go to Olean Allred for the following information: Birthe had difficult pregnancies and had lost several babies before she realized that she had to spend much of her pregnancy in bed in order to carry the baby full term.

 During one of Birthe's pregnancies, Pete was called to go on a mission. He was reported to have said, "No, I can't leave to go on a mission now. I have to stay until my wife has her baby. If I leave, she will lose the baby and maybe her life. I'll pay for a man to go on a mission and send him money to provide what it costs, but I can't leave her now." Because Peter Nielsen refused to go on a mission, he was disfellowshipped. Olean's grandmother, Ellen Kjerstene, said, "The sad part is after all my father (Jens) sacrificed for the Church and then to have his daughter raise five boys out of the Church right there in Zion." Pete Nielsen tried to talk to Orson Hyde who was in Spring City but he wasn't given and audience. "Pete was strong-willed and wouldn't give in. He probably could have later come back in the Church as he was not excommunicated," according to his wife's sister, Ellen Kjerstene, "but he figured he was out, and he would not let any of his children go to Church. When he died, not one of his family was ‘in the Church.’ Not even one of his grandchildren.” As the years passed, some of Peter and Birthe Marie Nielsen's grandchildren could see the truthfulness of the Gospel and joined the Church and became active. Jens Pedersen Aagard and his wife, Maren, settled in Moroni when they came to Utah in 1860 and were doing quite well. One day the Elders of the Church came and said, "Brother Aagard, you have the nicest pony (horse) in town and we think the Bishop should have it and we have come to get it." Jens replied, "Oh, that pony belongs to Andrew, my son. I gave it to him and he has raised it and uses it to herd the cows. He is out in the field working and you can't take it without his permission. You can take the pick of all of the other horses in the corral." The men walked down to the corral and let down the poles. "Jens stood in front of the gate remonstrating and because he was unsteady, he fell to the ground. The men didn't stop to help him. He was so insulted that they didn't show him any respect. He was a man use to giving orders. He had always been a man of authority and he was clearly upset." The Elders didn't take Andrew's pony. Jens’ wife, Maren, declared that they didn't push him down, that he just fell as they pushed him aside. Jens did not turn against the Church as he knew it was true, but he found it difficult to attend Church in Moroni. He felt he could worship at home. It would seem that in the early days of the Church the members didn't have a life-time of Church experience to draw on. They were learning and growing. The early Bishops had a lot of power as they were "the" authority in their communities. Some of these men were inexperienced and yet had great zeal. And perhaps they, as well as most of us, needed to be reminded of what the Lord would have them do as recorded in the Doctrine and Covenants, Sec. 121:41: "No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long suffering, by gentleness, and by love unfeigned." Some of the unfortunate happenings in the lives of our ancestors we may not understand, but they were choice people who had great faith and devotion to have accepted the church and left their homes to travel to an unknown land. They had trials and tribulations, strengths and weaknesses, and we, their descendants, owe so much to them. Jens and his family moved to Fountain Green where he took up part of the land his son-in-law, Hans Peter Olsen had homesteaded. He was a High Priest in the Church and as previously noted, he paid his tithing. Jens Pedersen Aagard died on December 16, 1874 in Fountain Green, Utah, at age 83. Maren Andersen Aagard died on August 19, 1879 at age 71, also in Fountain Green. Jens and Maren are buried in the Fountain Green Cemetery.

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