In my home I have this painting on my wall. It is called “Mormon Preachers, First Missionaries In Denmark” and represents to me, the Thorsted family being taught by Mormon missionaries and making that choice to travel to America, also to remind me of the great sacrifice they made for me.

The church historian at the time of their arrival recorded the following words in the official journal.

The experiences had by the thousands of emigrants who crossed the plains from 1847 to 1868 were different and varied in many particulars. Some companies came through with comparative ease and without accident or fatality to speak of, while others had troubles with Indians, suffered for want of provisions and lost many of their numbers through the ravages of cholera and other diseases. Even some of the handcart companies came through in very good shape, while others suffered dreadfully, and hundreds lost their lives through exposure to the inclemency of the weather, over exertion, etc. Nor were these sufferings materially worse in the earlier companies or in the beginning of this overland travel than later, some of the companies in the sixties suffered as much, or nearly so, as those who made the journey in the forties, and thus emigrants of any one of what I will call the 22 Utah pioneer years deserve nearly as much credit for patience, endurance and suffering as those or any other year previous or later. In other words the immigrant companies that finished the ox-team travel in 1868, suffered as much as the emigration of 1847, and in order to prove this I have prepared for publication some extracts from the personal diary of Elder Hans Jensen ( Hals), formerly bishop of Manti South Ward, Sanpete County, who was the president or leader of the company that in 1868 closed the ox-team immigration to Utah for ever. With but one exception this was also the last company of Saints that crossed the Atlantic ocean in a sailing vessel, (the Emerald Isle) and the very last that arrived in an American port, as an other company that also left Liverpool in a sailing vessel, the Constitution, four days later than the Emerald Isle, arrived in New York six days earlier than that ship.

It took the Thorsted family 134 days to reach their destination in Utah. Of the 11 members of the family who originally set out for Utah, only four survived to start a new life in Utah. Karen the oldest daughter came a few years later and also settled in the Ogden area.

Karen Maria Jensen Thorsted Anderson
15 November 1844 – 26 November 1886
Married Niels Andersen, January of 1868
They emigrated to Utah and settled in the Ogden area and had 8 children.



Peder Jensen Thorsted
23 May 1846 – 18 October 1919
Peder married Johanna Boyer one year after arriving in Utah. They had one son, Peter Jr. and left Utah in 1898 to Oakland California where they started a successful floral business.


Bodil Kirstine Jensen Thorsted Pair
18 September 1849 – 2 March 1938
Bodil married Joseph Paire and had 5 children. They lived in Montana until 1910 when they moved to Los Angeles, California.



Christian Boesen Thorsted
19 August 1851 – 29 October 1925
Christian married Ann Humphreys and settled next to Five Points in Harrisville. He had 12 children and worked for the city of Ogden until his death in 1925.


Otto Jensen Thorsted
16 February 1857 – 17 September 1950
Otto started freighting to Montana after he arrived in Utah where he lived until he married Annie Boyer (a niece of Peder’s wife Johanna Boyer) in 1896. Then moved back to Ogden and stayed there working for local hardware stores until his death in 1950. They had 5 children.


I often think about the story of Jens & Dusine Thorsted. They stayed behind in New York because of sickness and to take care of their mother and siblings as they passed away. They both fought so hard to finish the journey they started in Denmark, but their physical bodies were unable to endure. When I first learned about Jens and his heroic sacrifice to protect his little sister until his journey’s end, I felt so much respect for him. I hope to meet him someday and thank him for his sacrifice. When my first son was born, my wife and I both agreed his name should be Jens in honor of such a great man.

Jens T. Thorsted sitting at the grave of Jens B. Thorsted

The father of this Thorsted family Jens Pedersen Thorsted who refused to get on the ship, left his family and went back to Denmark. Not having a place to live he moved in with his sister in a nearby village. Two years later he died, lonely and drunk. A book written about the Mormon migration mentions him by name, it claims his headstone had an epitaph stating how his life was ruined when his wife joined the Mormon religion and took their family to America. If you can read Danish, you can read the pages here.


Ane Kristine Thorsted, the mother who made a choice to take her family to America, ultimately changed the course of this family forever. I believe she was inspired to take her family to America for a better life no matter the cost. I only wish she would have been able to see Utah and the place so many of her descendants have made their home.

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