NIELSEN, Ane: A Self Sufficient Pioneer

Ane Kirstine Nielsen (1844-1928)

Ane Kirsten Nielsen was the second child of Christian Sorensen Nielsen and Karen or Caroline Eskildsen. She had a sister, Maren, who was three and one half years older. The family lived In Skaabe, by Aarhus, Jutland, . Ane was born on April 4, 1844.

The Nielsen family belonged to the Lutheran church and was apparently very religious. However in 1853 missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints taught the family and they were all baptized in that year. They were soon the subject of persecution because of their new religion. Former playmates were no longer allowed to associate with the girls and relatives and former friends no longer came to visit.

The missionaries encouraged the family to move to Utah where they would be among the Saints. Ane’s father was anxious to do so and in that same year plans and preparations were made for the trip. Ane was nine years old when she said goodbye to her home land of Denmark. The family joined others who were to make the trip and left Copenhagen in December. Their voyage over the North Sea was rough and uncomfortable. They finally arrived at Liverpool, England the first part of January. On January 22, 1854 Ane and her family boarded the ship “Benjamin Adams” with Peter Olsen in charge of the 378 Scandinavian Saints.

The trip from Liverpool to America was quite pleasant. The Saints held church meetings regularly to give them courage and strengthen their faith. As might be expected, there was some sickness during the trip.

On March 18, 1854 the ship arrived at New Orleans but it was very foggy and the ship was not able to dock for four more days.

New Orleans was not a good place for the saints to stay because of much disease. They quickly purchased needed supplies and then boarded a steamship which took them up the Mississippi River to Kansas City, Missouri. They arrived there early April. Here Ane helped the family make preparations for the trek across the plains. The Scandinavian Saints suffered with cholera and other diseases. Most every family had to bury a loved one sometime along the way. Ane’s family was not an exception. Her mother, Karen, died from what so many of these saints succumbed to. This was very hard for Ane, her sister, and their father, to bury their mother without even a coffin, then to go on to Utah without her.

On June 15, 1854, when Ane was ten years old, the family left Kansas City, Missouri for the Valley of the Great Salt Lake. The company had only 69 wagons for 550 people. These wagons were needed to haul the supplies so Ane and the others walked. About four months later Ane saw for the first time the Valley of the Great Salt Lake. Being weary from the long walk, she was very happy when her company, under the leadership of Captain Hans Peter Olsen, pulled into Pioneer Square in Salt Lake City on October 5th.

The family joined others from the Scandinavian countries and went to Ephraim in the Sanpitch valley. Here they lived with friends for the winter. The next spring Christian secured property and started building the family a home. He knew it was time to choose a companion and a new mother for Ane and Maren. While crossing the plains Christian had met and become very good friends with Karen Hansen. She became his wife on January 9, 1855.

On February 24, 1865 Ane was married to James Peter (Jens) Olsen in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City. She was then 20 years of age and was the second wife of Jens. His first wife was Annie Catherine Christensen. Ane and Annie Catherine were like sisters and got along very well.

Ane and Jens became the parent of Louis Christian, born July 28, 1866, James Rasmus, born April 23, 1869, Mary, born April 9, 1874, Emma, born May 2, 1878, and Alvin, born August 19, 1881. Both Emma and Alvin died as young children.

On October 16, 1882, Jens left for a mission to Denmark, leaving Ane to support their family. Jens became very ill with rheumatic fever while on his mission. He was so ill they found it necessary to send him home on August 16, 1883. He died October 16 1883 in Manti, Utah at the age of 42.

Ane was a hard worker. She had to work more like a man than a woman. She did a lot of work in the fields and with the animals. When anyone in the family needed help or advice on the farm, they would ask her. She could fix a broken harness as well as any man. She had quite a few sheep that her boys would care for. She would shear her sheep, then wash the wool and spin it into yarn. Following this preparation, she would weave it into beautiful cloth. It was somewhat courser and much more durable than the materials we have today. She would weave beautiful blankets. She also had a loom on which she made rugs. She would cord the wool and make bats for her quilts. The sheep also provided meat for the family.

After Jens died, Ane sold her little home in Ephraim. She gave one of her cows to one of the wives that didn’t have one. Ane then bought a fifteen acre farm just a mile north of Manti. When she bought the farm it was covered with sagebrush so she and her sons, who were not yet very old, cleared the land. The boys hauled logs from the near-by mountains and then built a small home, a barn, a granary and other outbuildings. This farm was on the west side of the county road and all traffic between Ephraim and Manti passed the home.

When Mary got married she and her husband moved in with Ane. At that time Ane had a number of stands or hives of bees. She extracted the honey and put it into cans to sell. One day a man who owned bees in Manti came to the farm and burned her hives and bees. There were sheds and a straw stack between the house and where the bees were so no one saw what the man was doing until it was too late. Her son-in-law, Fred, saw the smoke and the fire, so he went down to see what was happening. The man had his back turned, setting another hive on fire and did not see Fred walk up. When he saw Fred he was very startled and jumped. He said the bees were a foul brood and had to be destroyed. He was the bee inspector at the time and there was nothing Ane could do about it.

After Ane had raised her children she bought a little place in the northeast part of Manti near the temple. Her daughter and son-in-law bought the farm. After she had lived there for awhile her daughter-in-law, Goldie, was not very happy with the house she was living in, so Ane traded her place to her son, James and his wife. Ane moved down into their old home which was northwest and across the railroad tracks. There she had nine acres of pasture and ten acres of farming land. She continued to milk cows and raise sheep. She also continued to weave cloth and would knit woolen socks to sell.

Later Ane bought a small city lot and house at 244 west on 4th north in Manti. Here she lived alone in the house that was built of adobe and logs. It had a sunken floor, instead of going up into the house you would step down. The roof on the front hung out over a long porch the full length of the house. It was a very humble home, but Ane loved it. She was happy there and was able to do whatever she wanted to. She enjoyed reading, sewing, etc. She could speak and read both English and Danish.

Ane had a large raspberry patch. The raspberry canes were taller than she was. She was short and you couldn’t see her while she was picking the berries. She would take a stool and sit on it while picking her big, red cluster of currents that she loved to use to make jam. She also had a large garden. In Ane’s yard there was a large snowball bush, and on Memorial Day she would sell the snowballs by the dozens.

Ane was a very quiet person and never talked about herself or what she did. She would help her family without letting anyone know about it. When a grandson, Fred, went on a mission she gave him $50.00 that she had saved. She also sent him close to $200.00 while he was on his mission. When a grandson, Dewey, left on his mission she gave him four tobacco sacks that she had picked up off the street and washed. These bags were full of coins, nickels, dimes, quarters and fifty cent pieces. The money added up to $50.00. She also gave her son, James, money to help buy his home. It is impressive and hard to understand how a little widow could save enough money to help so many people.

She wore a long full skirt that swept the ground. Her dress was always modest. Her home still had dirt floors in some of the rooms when she gave up housekeeping and went to live with her son, James, and his wife. For some reason Ane preferred the dirt floor.

Ane was very religious and sincere. One day a granddaughter invited the family to her home for a delicious dinner. Ane was there for the special occasion. Instead of putting all of the food on the table before the blessing was said, they served the dinner in courses. After the dinner Ane talking to Mary quietly said that the dinner was nice, but she thought that all of the food should be on the table before the blessing was asked.

Finally Ane became too feeble to live by herself so sometime during the later part of 1927 she went to live with her son, James and his wife Goldie, who was a nurse and helped to care for her. Ane died December 30, 1928. She just sat up in bed and died in the arms of her daughter, Mary, who was at the home helping to care for her. She was buried in the south-west part of the Manti City cemetery.

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