Friday, May 13, 2011


25 March 1801 – 16 May 1893

Written by Maurine Stephensen, Levan, Utah, February 26, 1985
I, Von Christensen, obtained the history through the National DUP in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Relationship:  Karen Margreth Mathiesen is my second great grandmother
(her daughter is Axeline Marie Pedersen;
and her daughter is Alvina Stephensen (my grandmother)

Karen Margrethe was born 25 March 1801 in Elling, Hjorring, Denmark to Mathies Pedersen and Mette Thompson and so was known as Karen Margrethe Mathies’ daughter. We know nothing about her family, whether there were brothers and sisters or who they were. We would like to find out more.

She married Peder Christian Hansen who was born 20 September 1799 in Aasted, Hjorring, Denmark. (later obtained correct birth date according to Von Christensen, being 5 October 1900 in Lynget, Aasted, Denmark) We do not have a marriage date. (Von Christensen also found a marriage date, 28 December 1827, Elling, Hjorring, Denmark)

Her husband, Peder, died 14 April 1838, not quite two years after a daughter, Axelina, was born. Karen was only 37 years old when her husband died. What Karen Margrethe did after she became a widow and how she got along and how and when she became acquainted with the Mormon Church, we do not know.

Karen had five daughters: Mette Katrine, 27 October 1827; Hannah Marie, about 1831; Martha, about 1833; Christine, about 1835; and Axelina Marie, 20 August 1837.

(According to Von Christensen’s records Karen had five daughters: Mette Cathrine Petersen, born 25 October 1827; Hanne (Johanna) Marie Petersen, 9 December 1829; Martha Petersen, 20 August 1832; Maren Christine Petersen, 4 January 1835; and Axeline Marie Petersen, 20 August 1836.)

We find her listed on the Emigration Records of the Church in 1865. We find this notation:

Wessefgofel Conference 1865

Age Occupation Birthplace

Karen Margrethe Mathisen 64 widow Jutlan

Mariane Pedersen 70 widow Jutlan

Sailed 8 May 1865 on the ship B.S. Kimball

These two women, apparently, were very good friends and were traveling together. Why Karen dropped her married name of Hansen on the Immigration Record, we do not know.

The ship sailed from Hamburg, Germany on Monday, May 8, 1865 with 557 Saints aboard under the direction of Anders W. Winberg. It reached New York on June 15th. The crossing took 5 weeks and three days (38 days) so we assume that it was a sailing vessel. The group continued the journey by rail and arrived at the end of the railroad just inside Wyoming, Nebraska on June 26, 1865.

Karen traveled in train cars like the one above for the period of time she traveled.

Emigrants were usually met by wagon trains sent out from Utah to the “railhead”. Many times the emigrants had to wait for the arrival of the wagons. One history written at this time tells about the people seeking work while they were waiting. There was much work for the men in the building of the railroad and women might work at cooking, cleaning, and washing the clothes of the men. This particular woman had worked in a laundry with an unhappy result. Of course we do not know about our two widows but the only note we have found, so far, that might pertain to this company is one in Jensen’s Church Chronology that says, “Wednesday November 8, 1865 Captain Miner G. Atwood’s Company of Immigrants which had left Wyoming, Nebraska July 31st with 45 wagons and about 400 souls arrived in Great Salt Lake City.”

If this is the company that she traveled with to get to Salt Lake City, she had been in Wyoming at the railhead for over a month. That is from June 26th to July 31st. This is not improbably for this is the farming season and men and animals would be needed on the farms.

The wagon trains brought food supplies and things the immigrants would need to travel a great distance through mountainous terrain. When these people arrived in Salt lake City they were taken under the supervision of Church Officials and were found a place to stay and suitable employment and, no doubt, this is what happened to these two widow ladies, Karen Margrethe Mathisen and Mariane Pedersen. We have found nothing to tell us what these two ladies did nor how they fared.

On Wednesday, July 20, 1870, Karen Margrethe’s daughter, Axeline, together with her husband, Jorgen Steffensen and children, Steffin, Christian and Alvena left Liverpool on the ship Minnesota. This group consisted of 357 saints under the direction of Jesse N. Smith. They arrived in New York on August 1st. This crossing took only 12 days so we assume that it was a steamship. They boarded a train for the West and arrived in Salt Lake City on August 10th. No doubt they were joyfully welcomed by Karen Margrethe.

Not too long after their arrival in Salt Lake City, the Stephensen’s made their way to the new settlement of Levan. An Uncle of Jorgen’s had already settled there. (Soren Thompson and family).

The town of Levan had been moved from its first location to one closer to the mountains in the spring of 1868. The Stephensen’s arrived in the settlement late in 1870 and first lived in a dug-out.

Karen Margrethe joined the Stephensen’s in Levan. We do not know when or if she came with them when they first came in but in later years she occupied a room which had been built for her south of the main house. She has been described by a grand daughter-in-law, as one of the sweetest, dearest of ladies.

A man, Alma Dalby, told that when he was a young boy he often accompanied his father to the mountains for wood. One day he was with his father on the wagon and they passed the yard where Karen Margarethe was. She stopped them and said to the father, “Don’t take the boy with you today or he will be killed.” The boy was disappointed when he was sent home, however, that afternoon as the father started back down the canyon the load of wood overturned. The father’s leg was broken and, no doubt, if the boy had been with him, he would have been killed.

Karen Margrethe died in Levan, Utah on 16 May 1893 at the age of 92. She is buried in the Levan Cemetery and the name on her headstone is given as Karen Margrethe Hansen.

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