Johanna Stormfeldt Anderson
Picture courtesy of Brigham University
Lee Library L. Tom Perry Special Collections
and my cousin Bradford Ogden
I have completed a written family history on the family of my great great grandmother, Johanna Henrietta Stormfeldt Anderson. The following is just her story. If you are interested in a sourced copy of her family's history please email me.
Johanna was born 13 February 1847 in Malmö, Malmöhus, Sweden, the fourth daughter of Carl Fritz Ulrik and Petronella Christine Ehrenberg Stormfeldt. Her father died when she was just a child of three.
It is likely that all of the children in the Stormfeldt family worked to contribute to the family income in whatever way they could.
Johann’s oldest sister, Hedvig Maria Stormfeldt joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on 29 April 1851. She remained the only member of the Church in the Stormfeldt family for many years until their sister Henrika Charlotta followed on 7 May 1860, then brother Carl Fritz on 25 December 1861 followed by Johanna Henrietta on 14 August 1862. Johanna was baptized by her brother Carl. We know their mother Petronella Christina and brother Johann Fredrik were also baptized in Sweden, but their dates are unknown.
As was common of the time, most Swedish converts were encouraged and longed to emigrate and travel to Zion in Utah. Johanna was able at the age of just 16 to accomplish the trip through the perpetual immigration fund.
Through the words of Henry Peter Jacobs, a fellow Swedish traveler, we can understand what Johanna’s journey was like.
We left Malmö, Sweden, on the 15th of April, 1863. Our first stop was at Copenhagen, Denmark. Next we went by water through the North Sea to Kiel, Germany. Then by rail to Hamburg, Germany. Here we encountered a big storm and had to anchor for two days by an island called Cuxhaven in the North Sea. We next set sail on the 30th of April on a three mast sailing vessel, called the John J. Boyd. The ship was so crowded we could hardly move around, and some of the Saints things were stolen.
On our way crossing the ocean we witnessed many harrowing experiences. The sailors were really a tough lot, and would steal anything they could lay their hands on. In our group of Saints the men would take turns standing guard during the nights. There were five people died on the way over. When we neared the coast of Greenland we got in among five big icebergs, and we nearly froze.
We were four weeks on the ocean and how glad we were when we saw New York. We were taken from the ship in rowboats to Castle Garden for inspection which took two days. The company Johanna traveled with across the plains is uncertain.
After arriving in Utah, Johanna settled in Fort Ephraim. She found employment with the Francis E. King family there. This must have been very difficult as the Kings were not Scandinavian.
At some point Johanna met Andrew Ole Anderson also of Swedish birth and a marriage was planned. The couple was called by Brigham Young to help settle Monroe, Utah also known as South Bend or Alma. Johanna and Andrew were married on 4 July 1864 by Bishop Wiley T. Allred of South Bend.
From the book The Generations of Ola and Anna Anderson we read of Johanna,
The hardships of pioneering were exacting and Johanna, a rather small, refined woman, was left to care for herself and a newborn son. It was at this time that she had one of her most terrifying experiences.
It was while Andrew was on guard duty that Johanna had been left without protection though she was lying helpless and alone after the birth of their son. Suddenly a figure blocked the doorway. She was terrified when she saw an Indian brave stand there with a huge knife at his side. On seeing her ill and in bed his salutation was “heap sick?” When she answered, “yes,” he approached only near enough to warm himself at the fire, his huge knife gleaming in the fire light, then without another word, he left. The Indians had become terrified of the white man’s illnesses since the epidemics of smallpox had all but wiped out whole tribes. This probably saved Johanna’s life.
Johanna gave birth to two sons while living in Alma; Charles born about 1865 and Niels born about 1866. Both boys died in infancy.
In the spring of 1867, President Brigham Young ordered the Saints to leave Alma. Johanna and Andrew then returned to Ephraim, Utah.
A daughter, Ane Christine was born 5 October 1868 in Ephraim, Sanpete, Utah. But she also died in infancy. Four other children were born to Johanna and Andrew Ole while they were living in Ephraim: Andrew Ole born 6 March 1871, Oscar “O” born 10 May 1874, Parley born 31 January 1876, and Caroline Anderson born 1 September 1878.
Johanna’s husband Andrew Ole married in polygamy 22 May 1872 another Swedish woman, a widow named Elsa Jensen Frojd Nielson. Family tradition noted that Johanna and Elsa had a relationship of “liking and acceptance.”
Elsa brought three children into the marriage and she and Andrew had three together: Mary Elnora born 1872, Frank O. born 1873 and Archibald born in 1875. Elsa died on 24 December 1876 leaving six children behind. Johanna took the children belonging to Elsa and Andrew and reared them as her own.
On 1 March 1878, Andrew married his third wife, a 19 year old Danish immigrant Amelia Peterson. Together they had seven children with four living to adulthood.
Andrew and his two wives, Johanna and Amelia and their children moved from Ephraim to Glenwood, Sevier, Utah in 1880. Johanna and Andrew completed their family with the birth of a son, Willard Alvin on 24 December 1884 in Glenwood.
It is quoted from several books and family histories that Andrew filled an LDS mission in Sweden in September of 1882. Because of the birthdate of his daughter Clara with wife Amelia, in December of 1883, it has to be noted that his mission was either very short-lived or another Andrew O. Anderson from Glenwood filled this mission.
With the passing of the Edmond’s Act by the United States Legislature in 1882, members of the Church practicing polygamy were experiencing a great deal of pressure from the United States government to end the practice. About 1300 men practicing polygamy in the Church were imprisoned.
Such was the case with Andrew Ole Anderson. On 11 September 11, 1888 a warrant was sworn out for his arrest for unlawful cohabitation. Johanna and his children, Mary and Frank were all summoned by subpoena to testify against their husband and father. An indictment was filed on 27 September 1888 against Andrew and his bail was set at $1,000. On the 25 March 1889 he was in custody and later convicted of unlawful cohabitation.
Andrew served six month of his sentence, paid $300 and costs and was released from the Utah territorial prison on 7 August 1890.
It appears that women were not prosecuted for polygamy, being seen as victims of the practice and not willing participants, although a number refused to testify against their husbands and some were jailed for their refusal. From the court records which have survived, it is not known whether Johanna or his children obeyed the subpoena and testified against their husband and father.
The next ten years of this family’s life is unclear. Notably those men released from prison after being convicted of unlawful cohabitation were not allowed to practice polygamy any longer and yet Andrew still had two wives. Under the law only Johanna was a legal wife.
On the 1900 census Johanna was living with her three sons and Andrew was living with Amelia and their children—all in Glenwood, Utah. One is left to question if Andrew chose to live with Amelia (although not his legal wife) because she could not support herself or their children leaving Johanna and their sons, who were some older and probably had been accustomed to supporting the family because of their father’s prison term. Family records are silent on this subject. And there is no mention in any record of a marriage relationship between Johanna and Andrew after his prison release.
Speaking on the subject of Church members living polygamy after the Manifesto, Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Counsel of the Twelve Apostles stated,
I am glad I was not faced with the pressures those good people faced. My heart goes out to them for their bravery and their sacrifices, of which I am a direct beneficiary. I will not judge them. That judgment belongs to the Lord, who knows all of the circumstances and the hearts of the actors, a level of comprehension and wisdom not approached by even the most knowledgeable historians.
Johanna continued to live in Glenwood until March of 1910 when she moved to Richfield, Sevier, Utah. She lived in the vicinity of her daughter Caroline Heppler and stepson, Frank Anderson in Richfield.
In March of 1920 Johanna relocated to Annabella, Sevier, Utah. Johanna was reported in the local newspaper, the Richfield Reaper, on 9 November 1922 to have been very ill at the home of her son, Willard. This news for the paper must have been delayed as she had already died and was actually buried on that date.
Officially, Johanna died on 6 November 1922 at the home of her son, Willard in Annabella, Utah perhaps suffering from a problem with her gallbladder. In the 16 November 1922 edition of the newspaper, Johanna’s funeral services were announced as being held on 9 November 1922 at 11:00 in the Annabella ward chapel.
Johanna was buried in the Glenwood City Cemetery, and Andrew was buried beside her seven years later.