Christiana Jensen's Determination

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George Evan Stoddard, son of Elma Marie Skelton, daughter of Ethel Christiana Stevens, daughter of Hannah Mary Thomson, daughter of Christiane Jensen (Christiana)


The following story is from a brief biography of Christiana written in 1946 by her granddaughter, Ethel Christiana Stevens Skelton Lowe.


From Philadelphia to Iowa City the company traveled by rail. There was a group here already preparing to go west. Wagons and animals were scarce, so handcarts were being made to carry their few belongings to Zion. They little realized what hardships they would encounter, but they were willing and anxious to go. It was in early summer, when the scenery was green and beautiful that their trek began, preparations were completed, and this band of sturdy pioneers started out. Mary Ann and her mother were sick, and Grandma said her father had become very discouraged and wished to remain in Iowa, but Grandma was not satisfied to do so. They had given up their home in Denmark to come to Zion, and Grandma was determined to get there. She said if they didn’t go there then, they never would get there. That she was willing to do her part she fully demonstrated all the way.

For over thirteen hundred miles she walked beside her father pulling her share of the load, and oftentimes she ran back to help someone else that had fallen behind. They waded through rivers, trudged over hot plains, and climbed rugged mountains, but she never complained of their journey. She said when they arrived at a camping place at night, she would gather buffalo chips for fuel and cook their supper, then join the crowd to dance and sing. “Strange, but I never got tired!” she would tell us. She slept on the ground with her little red cape for a covering.

Food was scarce and rations low, but Grandma was a good cook and very conserving. She saved all the drippings from her portion of meat, and when others saw her frying scones or greasing her baking tins, they would ask where she got the grease. They didn’t receive any grease rations.

Mary Ann and her mother were sick all the way across the plains, thus doubling the load for Grandma. Their hardships were many, and their burdens were hard to bear, but with that ever-trusting faith in God, they carried on. They arrived in Salt Lake City, September 13, 1857, and before the end of the month their journey was completed to Ephraim, Utah. Grandma was then just twenty years old.


Source: Ethel S. Lowe. "Christiana Jensen Thomson." three mimeographed pages, January 1946, in the possession of George Evan Stoddard.

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