September 1, 1868

On this day September 1, 1868, the Thorsted siblings leave their camp near Benton, Wyoming and head north in their wagon train and meet up with the Mormon Trail. They are assigned to the John G. Holman companywagon team #49. Each wagon was provisioned with an allotment of flour, bacon, sugar, rice, beans, dried fruit, tea, vinegar, soap and salt. On the morning they embarked on their journey the entire group gathered around Hand Jens Hals and a prayer of blessing was given asking for safety as they cross the plains to Utah or “Zion”. The Deseret Evening News published a list of the 652 passengers in the company. The company was delayed in leaving a bit because of a passenger was taken in front of a judge in a custody battle. In the process a band of townsfolk almost raided the small camp of emigrants. George Beard tells the full story here.

The Mormon Trail is an official trail marked and maintained by the National Park Service. It is the path the Mormon’s took from Nauvoo arriving in Utah in 1847. The trail from Nauvoo, Illinois, to the Great Salt Lake Valley was approximately 1,300 miles long and would ultimately lead 70,000 Mormon pioneers to the West. The trail along the sweetwater river and through south pass was also the Oregon Trail, California Trail and Pony Express route. Read more about the trail here.  Benton Wyoming was about 30 miles south of the Mormon Trail. When the company left their camp next to the Platte River, they travelled north through Muddy Gap and then connected with the trail at the Sweetwater River. Download the Official Guide or the Auto Tour Route Interpretive Guide

Telegram to Brigham Young informing him of Holman company departure from Benton. Dated September 5th, 1868

Captain Holman’s log book showing Waggon 49 and the Emigrants assigned to it. Highlighted are Peder J Thorsted, Christian B Thorsted, Bodil (Stine) Thorsted and Otto J Thorsted.

Nelsina Anderson and her family had a every similar experience to the Thorsted’s. Her mother died shortly after reaching Utah and father died in Ward’s Island hospital. She lost a few siblings along the was as well. In her own words:

In company with other saints mother and I rode in box cars to Fort Benton on the Platte River fully expecting the rest of the family to follow in the very near future. From for Benton we began our long journey over the vast plains. We traveled with one of those famous ox team companies which reached Salt Lake City Sept. 25, 1868.
The hardships and privations, the worry and anxiety of that trip are all vivid in my mind today. Mother being broken in health was given a place in the wagon, while I was forced to walk every step of the way. Well I remember my weak condition on reaching my journeys end, I was so weak that it was almost impossible for me to climb into the wagon.

Anne Marie Hansen Fits

I have forgotten the name of the place where we got off the train, but ox teams were there waiting for us. There were quite a lot of our company that were sick or weak and they were allowed to ride. The rest of us that felt well were made to walk. The wagons were loaded heavily with baggage besides the sick, so it was a very little bit of riding that some of us ever did. We, those who walked, used to start out way early in the mornings before the teams got ready to go, to get a head start on the wagons. They would catch up with us long before night. It took three weeks to make the trip from to Salt Lake City. My little brother and sister both died on the plains of Wyoming, just five days apart, with simple grave-side services for each.

August 28, 1868September 7, 1868

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