Thursday, December 27, 2012

Jens Jensen Løth

Jens Jensen Løth

In Løth, Borglum, Hjorring, Denmark on 30 June 1801, Jens Jensen was born to Jens Andersen and Zidsel Jensen.  My ancestor, Jens Jensen took on the surname Løth, the place or farm he was living as was the tradition of the time. The Scandinavian patronymic pattern of naming children has been a stumbling block for family historians since so many carry the same name.

The county of Hjorring in Denmark is located in the most northern part of the peninsula near the shores of the North Sea. As one might suspect, many of the Jensen family over the many generations were fishermen and farmers. Most of their children became expert swimmers and developed a love for eating fresh fish.

Jens was employed as a farmer and married a local girl, Anne Svendsen on 6 June 1834. Their children included my ancestor Karen Jensen born on 4 April 1835 in Borglum and her younger brother Jens Jensen born 26 September 1837 also in Borglum. Sadly, baby Jens died as an infant and Anne passed away on 14 July 1838.

Karen Jensen Anderson

Jens was then left behind with three year old Karen to rear. About one year later on 12 July 1839 Jens married Maren Andersen of nearby Weibye. It appears Maren was a wonderful mother and cook and probably a very good stepmother for Jens’ oldest daughter Karen.

Maren Andersen Jensen

Jens and Maren were blessed with four children:  Jens Jensen born 10 January 1841, Anne Jensdatter born 30 Jan 1843, Anders Jensen born 31 August 1848 and Annie Maria born 15 October 1852. All of their children were born in Borglum, Hjorring, Denmark.

The Jensen family spent many happy hours recreating by the sea with each other and extended family members. The children learned to fish and were excited to share their catches with the family. One day young Anders caught an eel and put it in his cap to travel home. After he got home, to his surprise and the family's sorrow the eel was gone.

As Jens farmed his sons attended school. Anders did not attend school as regularly as he should because he was afraid to walk through the woodland. For this Jens was arrested and was to go to prison. He was called before the magistrate and Anders was given a test. He surprised the magistrate in his reading, writing and ciphering ability so Jens was saved from prison.

Jens’ daughters worked at home learning homemaking skills, herding and milking cows, making butter and cheese and caring for the chickens and geese. They used to make a cheese called knapworst made of curdled milk which stood ripening for days then rolled into balls. Some of the children did not care for this cheese.

During this time in Denmark, neighbors were close and helped each other with daily tasks. Many families lived in poverty which made their living conditions difficult.

In 1850 Denmark granted religious liberty to all and no longer demanded its citizens to belong to the national church which was Lutheran.

Missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints came into Denmark shortly after this time and Jens Jensen Loth was baptized in 1852. Maren’s brother Jens Christian Andersen Weibye joined in 1854 and became a fulltime missionary for the Church baptizing many friends and neighbors. Jens C.A. Weibye was very influential in the conversion of my ancestor, Jens’ oldest daughter, Karen. His journal makes note, “Løth Jensen’s Karen of Aarslevhedes was baptized October 21, 1855 by L. C. Geertsen.

Jens C. A. Weibye

Cottage meetings were held often at the Jensen home. Borglum residents were anxious to listen to the Mormon missionaries and some were so enthusiastic that they joined very quickly. Jens C. A. Weibye baptized often at Løth Jensen’s [this is how he referred to Jens]. In some cases a hole had to be chopped into the ice for the baptisms. The Jensens had heard of some who were treated badly for joining with the Mormons, but they were not exposed to persecution in Borglum.

In 1857 Jens’ 22 year old daughter Karen desired to join with the Saints in Utah. She emigrated with a group of fellow Scandinavian Saints in April of 1857 and sailed to America. On 14 February 1858, Karen married Jens Christian Andersen in polygamy. He was a fellow Mormon immigrant from Hjorring, Denmark and 14 years her senior.

In 1859 the Jensen family in Borglum saw a large religious revival. Several sectarian preachers traveled around and stirred up quite an excitement among the people. A group call the “Kirketroende” or church believers worked hard to show they were better followers of Christ than others. The Mormon Elders were also working in the area. Many had never before considered any other church other than the Lutheran to be the true church.

For a few years Jens Jensen Løth, his brother-in-law, Jens C. A. Weibye and their families planned for their emigration and trip to Zion.  Unfortunately, all leaving Denmark had to have permission from the government. So Jens saved his money for the emigration and continued to help other Mormon converts. 

A fellow Danish Saint, Paul Poulsen stated in his journal, 

In 1860 my mother joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints without my father’s knowledge or consent, he being very much opposed to Mormonism. In February my mother being divorced from my father with the intention of emigrating to Utah with the Saints.
 In the latter part of February, Mother Johanna Maria and Christian moved out to Jen Jensen Løth’s. In the latter part of March, Andrew and myself moved also out to Jens Jensen Løth’s leaving Niels the only one of my father’s children with him.
After paying 2328 Rigsdaler [almost $600] for their emigration, Jens, Maren and their four children boarded the ship Albion in Aalborg, Denmark on 6 April 1862. They traveled around northern Denmark to Aarhus, Denmark on the eastern side. From there they boarded a ship called Fredercia and sailed to Kiel, Germany where they caught the railroad which took them to Altona, Germany. They then sailed to Grimsby (Hull), England, where they took the train to Liverpool, England to meet the rest of the Saints and boarded the fine ship Franklin.

While traveling across the Atlantic Ocean, the Saints arose every morning at 5:00 a.m. They met at 7 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. everyday for prayers. They danced on deck each day for exercise and to uplift their spirits. The Saints helped with sanitation aboard ship by washing the deck 3 times a week and fumigating the deck with tar twice on the trip. 

Unfortunately, measles broke out aboard ship and 40 children died. During the entire journey 3 adults and 43 children died. All of the Jensen family was well and healthy aboard ship although Jens, Sr. did suffer from sea sickness at the beginning of the voyage.

A contrary wind kept the ship from arriving sooner in New York. America was first seen by the passengers on the 28th of May 1862. After docking, passengers could not get off the ship because there were so many dead people on board and many were still sick. The ship was quarantined. Those most sick were sent to the hospital and eventually the others were able to disembark the ship and left New York on 8 train cars.

After disembarking, Jens was called upon to help purchase food and supplies for his assigned company.

In 1862, the United States was involved in the Civil War. Joseph Smith had prophesied nearly 30 years before that a war beginning in South Carolina would be “Poured out upon all nations.” Many believed that those who gathered out West in Zion would be the only people not at war, and those who journeyed Zionward would be nestled “in the bosom of a vast continent, and removed from the scene of strife, and encompassed by lofty mountains and interminable deserts and plains.” This statement must have had an impact on the Saints abroad, for, in 1862, more LDS converts immigrated to America than in any previous year. This may also have been influenced by the immigration system which became more effective.

The Jensen and Weibye families joined the C.A. Madsen wagon company, a Scandinavian company with about 264 individuals and 40 wagons when it began its journey from the outfitting post at Florence, Nebraska (now Omaha). They left Florence on 14 July 1862.

Along the trail the company experienced  groups of Indians who desired trade with the immigrants and the passing of members of the United States military. The company arrived in the Salt Lake Valley on 23 September 1862.

After arriving in Utah, Jens dropped the surname Løth. He was said to be a fortunate and frugal man and still had money left to buy supplies for their trip to their assignment to live in Moroni, Utah.  In Moroni, the Jensens were taken in by all the people, but since they had arrived in the fall of the year, the harvest was almost over. The whole family went out into the fields and gleaned wheat for their winter bread. Many other families had not done this and were without food. The bishop assigned three families which included Jens Jensen’s to separate their wheat into two piles—one for their own family and one to give to those who had none. Jens was a very kind and good-natured man and did as the bishop had told them but was a little stung by this early sacrifice.

Unfortunately, Jens' wife Maren died of Mountain Fever on 28 June 1863 just six months after their arrival in Moroni. On March 15, 1865 Jens remarried a woman named Mary Jacobsen. She showed little affection for his children, and they believed her to be mean and hard. Some felt that perhaps Mary had proposed marriage to Jens and he could not refuse. As time went on, the youngest Annie Maria often stayed with her older married sister Anne who had married and lived in nearby Fountain Green. Maria eventually lived with Anne permanently.

Jens' brother-in-law J. C. A. Weibye wrote to his sister Johanne Maria in Hjorring, Denmark on June 25, 1865,
"Loth Jens and his wife Maren Jacobsen [over 50] is still in Moroni, her son is with them and they have a visitor, a girl."
There was much excitement in Moroni when the Black Hawk War began. They had to constantly guard their homes and livestock. A few neighbors were killed and wounded by the Indians while herding stock near the Jensen’s home. Horse and livestock were constantly being stolen by the Indians. To protect themselves and others of the surrounding towns, the settlers of Moroni built a stockade and bastion. A large observation tower was constructed to see approaching Indians. If any were sighted, an alarm was sounded and the militia was sent to drive them away.

At the age of 17, Jens’ son Andrew [Anders] was called to be a Minute Man in the Black Hawk War. The first day he was to leave for duty, his brother Jens [Jim] went out and saddled the horse and led it around to the gate, then Jim and his father cried as they watched Andrew ride away. 

 It is not known but suspected that Jens was able to associate with his oldest daughter Karen [Caroline] Jensen Anderson since she and her family lived in the northern part of Sanpete County until 1871. Jens and Maren's children were all still residing in the Sanpete Valley at the time of Jens' death on 2 January 1880. He is buried in the Moroni City Cemetery. 


  1. Great post! I really enjoyed it and loved the picture. I descend through Anne Maria. Thanks for sharing.
    Michelle Taggart

  2. Thank you for this wonderful story. I have posted it on Family Tree, ID # MMMX-YX1, (,) under the name of Cindy Eppich, so that more descendants can find it. My great grandmother was Ane Jensen Aagard, daughter of Jens Jensen Loth. One time I was delighted to be able tour her home in Fountain Green at an Aagard family reunion.