Life History of Peter M Jensen as told to Grandson Ted Leroy Poulsen
I was born in (near) Aarhus, Denmark in a small town called Bering Jutland, August 17, 1850, son of Mads and Maren Heidman Jensen. I was second eldest of a family of eight children, 7 boys and 1 girl, my sister being the oldest.
At the age of 1 1/2 or 2 years, I was taken by my father’s sister to raise as she and her husband had no children. Their name was Petersen, and as they were pretty well to do, I had anything I wanted and was raised as a pet. When I was behaving wrong, they would threaten to send me back to my father and mother. Being very young, I thought that would be some sort of punishment. So, I feared the name of father and mother, the same as children of today fear the “boogey man.”
When I was 6 years old, I was taken from my aunt by my father and a missionary of the Mormon faith. They came for me while my uncle was busy in the fields, or I don’t think they would have taken me, because my Aunt had raised me from infancy and had become quite attached to me. My father though had been baptized into the Mormon Church and was preparing to sail for America and wanted all his family with him.
We sailed from Denmark to Grimsby, England and from there we took a train to Liverpool, England sometime in the spring of 1857. We stayed in Liverpool just long enough so I could understand the English Language. From Liverpool we sailed for America. After being on the ocean 9 weeks and 4 days, we landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I saw my first street cars in Philadelphia, they were pulled by mules. We took the train from Philadelphia to the place where the Handcart Company (Christian Christiansen Handcart Company) started. Being only 6 years old, I forgot the name of the place and the name of the Handcart Company. I rode a stick horse, which is the same as walking clear across the plains with the exception of about 3 miles. There were 6 in our family coming across the Plains including my parents.
While coming through Nebraska, I went to a farm house to get some milk for my sick baby brother. The owner of the farm wanted to buy me from my father. He offered $200.00 in gold, and I was wishing
father would sell me, but he refused. Here I saw for the first time a
$20.00 gold piece. We had many hardships and our food was very simple and limited. To make things worse, mother was very sick nearly all the way. While we were camped in Emigration Canyon east of Salt Lake City, some wagons came out of Salt Lake to meet us. They had clothing and food stuff. I especially remember the freshly baked buns, they were so good and such a contrast to the hard biscuits we were used to eating coming across the plains, that I looked up at father and said, “Father, now we are in Zion.”
Our Handcart Company arrived in Salt Lake on September 13, 1857—I was now 7 years old. We stayed in Salt Lake that winter where I attended school. In the spring of 1858, we moved to Goshen, Utah and lived in the old mud fort. We stayed here until April 1862 when we moved to Mount Pleasant, Utah where we engaged in farming. I attended school when possible during the winter. But being able to attend only part time, my education consisted of only reading and elementary arithmetic. During the Indian War in 1866, I volunteered to carry a message to Fountain Green, Utah. I was shot at from ambush supposedly by an Indian. Although I didn’t see him, the message was probably something about the Indians who were harassing every settlement at that time. Father and I joined the Minute Company in 1867 who were in readiness at all time for any Indian outbreak, besides guarding the livestock of Mount Pleasant, Utah.
I went to Salt Lake in 1868 after the Indian troubles were over, and secured a job on the first railroad, Union Pacific in Echo Canyon. I also worked in Weber Canyon on the same railroad. In December of 1868, I came home with $100.00 of which I paid my first tithing, $10.00. Due to trouble with my father, in the spring of 1869 I went to Ogden, Utah and worked on both the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads, which were running side by side. I worked on the Promontory and couldn’t collect $200.00 due me, so I quit. I went back to Salt Lake and went to work hauling lumber from Mill “D” in Cottonwood Canyon into Salt Lake. In the month of December 1869 I went to work for Bishop Kesler of the 16th Ward west of Salt Lake on his farm for $5.00 per month with board, washing, and mending. I stayed there until 1871, I got a job from Brigham Hamilton Young (a nephew of President Young) freighting into East Canyon. That fall I went to Buhl City, Nevada and went to work burning charcoal for a smelter. In January of 1872 a pal and I started working a claim but we couldn’t get finance so quit. We got a
contract with Corrinne Company to sink an incline of 50 feet, We left for Ely Nevada as soon as we got our pay and got to Ely 7 April 1872. Ely was just a new mining camp, it was two weeks after I got there before they got mining equipment in there. During the next three years I worked at Ely both in the mines and smelters. In 1875 the camp started to thin out so I left and went to Hamilton, Nevada the seat of White Pine County. I was unable to get work here so I went to Treasure City, on Treasure Hill a short way from Hamilton where I went to work in an old prospect for a man who was leasing prospects. In April 1876, I went to work irrigating on a farm in White River Valley Nevada. That fall I quit and went to Tybo, Nevada and for the next 3 years I worked in the mines there. Father sent my brother Jim for me and I came back home in 1879 and on May 8 of the same year, I married Ann America Truly of Ogden, Utah. Since then we have resided in Mt. Pleasant, Utah except for a short time in Manti, Utah where I kept a saloon.
I have herded sheep in Colorado, Idaho, and Utah, and I went to Arizona and bought a herd of sheep. When I got them home, dogs got into them and killed nearly all of them and I sold the rest. I was shot in the right shoulder while in Fergus Springs, Nevada by a drunk. The bullet narrowly missing a vital artery. I went there to work a mining claim for my son John. I received a pension for my participating in the Indian War. I tended bar for awhile when Saloons were open and later I opened a confectionary of my own and ran it until 1928 when I retired. Since then, my time has been spent mostly in gardening.
I am the father of ten children, eight boys and two girls, four of which died while young, three boys and one girl. In 1933 my wife and I took a trip to California to visit our son Hugh, we stayed for two month. Hugh came home with us on July 24th , “Pioneer Day”. My health has been the a best and I’ve been very active until the last year or so when a rupture received in early life started bothering me very much. I have a double rupture now and I am sure that is the cause of my ailment and failings.
I hereby acknowledge that the above is the true history of my life as I have related it to my grandson, Ted LeRoy Poulson, eldest son of my only living daughter, Ruby Jensen Poulson, by assigning my name on this 12th day of March 1936.