by Talula F. Nelson
Rasmus Frandsen was born in Stoense Langeland, Denmark, February 5, 1836. His parents were Frands Jorgensen and Annie Marie Rasmussen. In 1856, when he was 20 years old, he joined the L.D.S. Church and immigrated to Utah.
In their native country of Denmark they were a happy family, and from a few acres of ground they were able to make a good living because of their thrift and hard work. When he was 15 years old, tragedy stuck their home when in 1852 their beloved father died leaving the mother with five children to support. They were a very religious family, so they walked two miles each Sunday to attend the Lutheran Church. When they heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ preached by two Mormon missionaries, they readily accepted it and became interested in migrating to America, the land of opportunity and on to Utah where the Saints lived. Joining the Church was no easy matter, as they were immediately hated and lost their friends. Only the few who embraced the gospel would welcome them into their homes. They were saddened to leave their native home because two little girls, as well as their father, would have to be left behind in their graves. The two brothers,
Rasmus and George, were now in their twenties and felt the land they owned would not support two more families when they married, and the best thing for them to do was to go to Utah. Finally, the mother consented to join them, and they sold their home. The mother, two sons, George and Rasmus, and daughter, Caroline, left for America knowing they would never see their native land again. They arranged for their sailing and found themselves with the Lars Madsen family form the nearby town of Svinninge, Asmindrup, Denmark. They soon became friends and stayed together in the same company to Utah.
They left Copenhagen November 23, 1855 and spent several weeks on the ocean. While on the ship a fire broke out, and there was great fear for their lives either by fire or water. Rasmus showed his courage and strength by helping others, especially the Madsen sisters. His jovial nature helped greatly in calming their fears, giving assurance.
On the 10th of June 1856, they left St. Louis, Missouri to make the long trek across the plains to Utah, well equipped with ox teams and wagons, under the leadership of Canute Peterson. The young people had many pleasant experiences crossing the plains. While they walked most of the way, when evening came and the fiddler started some dance music, Rasmus was always the first to take one of the Madsen girls as his partner and lead out to dance over the rough terrain. He was a very good dancer, and when he would take his partner into his arms to dance they forgot their tired aching feet. He was a handsome man, tall and stately with kind smiling eyes, his long beard neatly trimmed.
They traveled across the plains the same time as the Martin Rasmussen handcart company. Many times they would unload their wagons and help the cart company cross rivers or up a hill, but they were all going the same place with the same great faith so their help was willingly given. They arrived in Salt Lake City, September 20, 1856. They had had their share of sickness and sorrow along the way.
Rasmus found work in Brigham City, where he spent his first winter, returning to Taylorsville in the spring to claim both Madsen girls as his brides. He was a devout Latter-day Saint and believed in the sacred ordinance of plural marriage. So on March 18, 1857 he married Margretha, now in her 20th year, and a month later married Jacobena, who was only 17 years old. They returned to Brigham City to live in a dugout and wagon box.
In 1858 when Johnson's army made trouble, the family decided to move south; so in April, with a wagon and ox team and a year's supply of food, Rasmus, Margretha and Jacobena with the Madsen family made their way to Ephraim, Sanpete County. Here they spent a very severe winter troubled with Indians and rattle snakes in a dugout and wagon box. I remember Grandmother telling how she reached for a pan of milk to give a child a cup of the previous drink and there laid a large rattler drinking from her pan. In March 1859, Mt. Pleasant was settled after an unsuccessful attempt to settle the area as Hamilton.
May 14, 1859, Margretha bore Rasmus his first child, a son; they named him Peter. She was attended by only her younger sister and faithful husband. Rasmus spent most of his time now in the new settlement digging irrigation ditches, clearing land, and helping to build the fort. As soon as the fort was completed, he moved his two wives and young son into the fort. The Indians were very hostile, stealing their cattle and horses and making raids on men in the fields. Chief Walker was very angry with the whites and molested for 13 years until the treaty was signed in Mt. Pleasant, September 7, 1872.
In 1860 Jacobena gave birth to a lovely son, Bodil; he died when he was nine years old. This was very hard for Rasmus; he was very tender-hearted and loved this little son very much. As soon as Rasmus felt it safe to leave the fort, he moved his family into a polygamy house he built just outside the fort on what is now 1st North and State Street. Here the two sisters lived in harmony until Jacobena's death in 1883.