Picture of Hans F. Hansen, probably
about 1890, is from Esshom,
Pioneers and Prominent
Men of Utah, p. 322.
"There Is Now On the Way a Vast Army From the States"
Hans Frederick Hansen Reminiscence and Diary, 1857 to 1859.
Born in Denmark, Hans Hansen joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and immigrated to Utah aboard the ship "Italy" from Liverpool to New Orleans. He joined the Kelsey-Butler company of 40 wagons and arrived in Salt Lake City 20 October 1852. He settled in Hyrum, Utah in 1853 and died in 1910. He kept a diary from 1855 to 1909. The period given here, describing his activities in the Utah War was translated from Danish by the LDS Historian's Office, who gave me permission to copy and publish it. What follows is everything he wrote in his diary between 1857 and 1859:
Ogden City, January 1st, 1857--Reformation is coming strong and many are being baptized, and I hope soon that I shall be baptized for my brother Grant who is dead. Bro. Young and Bro. Kimball have denied themselves of all gatherings for a little while and have placed the burden upon the twelve apostles. Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball have assigned the twelve apostles to do this work for a little time, and they have sent missionaries among our people to preach reformation and the truth and baptism to the people that they may be saved in the Lord's kingdom. We have had lots of snow but the steady south wind has taken the snow down to one and a half feet deep. The Second of February 1857. The weather has been very unsteady and we have had lots of snow until the 28th. Now it is beginning with warm rains which have been on for several days and we have had frost in the nights and warm weather in the day time so that most of the snow is gone, and we can see that as the people reform themselves the Lord directs the elements for our wishes. I feel well and feel that the Lord will forgive me for my sins for which I am indebted to him. Without his power I would be helpless and I would be forever lost. Ogden City, March 1st, 1857--It will soon be five years since I left my homeland Denmark, my birthland. I left there the 4th of March, 1852, and the Danish name is so dear to me now that I will never forget it. Many times when I think about it I miss my friends and my brothers and sisters that my heart swells within me, but everything serves them well who serve the Lord. The snow is nearly all gone and we have mild pleasant weather and the people have begun to plow. My luck has been good. I have been in the City for a load of pottery and pretty near sold it all. President Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball preached to the people again, and they say that the Lord is pleased with His People's Reformation, and they have decided to go north and they will take with them four hundred men. Nobody knows what for. Ogden City, the Second of April, 1857--We have had a good conference so good that I have never experienced a better one. President Brigham Young spoke so much and said this is the best people who have ever lived on this earth. Several important business matters were laid before the people. One was that we were to arrange for stations in the desert from fifty to sixty English miles apart where groceries and merchandise can be sent and travelers can get it there, and get it very cheap. Thereafter he spoke and encouraged the people to gather all the stores they could, and then President Kimball prophesied that for three years we should have an over-flow of abundance and thereafter for seven years there would be hunger, and every one should be prepared for those seven years. Brigham said that the need would be so great that people would flock here and say "take my clothing, my gold and my silver for a meal," and that they would come here with a pack under one arm and a child under the other arm. And it was also said that we should work on the temple and finish this as soon as possible, and after this Brigham blessed the people in the Lord's name. Ogden City, the Second of May, 1857--On the 23rd day of April I became 26 years old. In the past month I have worked pretty near all the time in the Ogden canyon and I have to work out $75. President Brigham and H.C. Kimball and many more have traveled north to here and further on, and maybe they will not be back for five or six weeks. Ogden City, 6th of June 1857--The Presidency has come back again from the north country. In the middle of the last month we had an over flow of rain but now it is dry again. The grass hoppers have destroyed the wheat that I planted on the Jonathan Browning land. I have just been up in East Weber Valley to get lumber and intend soon to build there and move up there next winter. My luck has been good. The grain came good that I planted again, and it seems that the Lord was pleased with me, and that he blessed us, although the Devil and his power are against us but the Lord is everlasting and unchangeable in His wisdom and His mercy. East Weber Valley, August 31st, 1857--It is now two months since I have written in this book, therefore I feel that it is my duty to write about my life and about the happenings here in this vicinity at this time. I feel now that trouble is coming upon us with fast steps. There is now on the way a vast army from the States mobilized to stop Polygamy, and place a new governor here, but our living President will not permit them to come in here. We are all asked to hold ourselves ready as soon as we will be called upon to go out and fight them. My only hope is that the Lord will relieve this trouble and make the burden light for us and that we can bear up under this impending trouble, because it is only through His mercy that we are saved. East Weber Valley, the First of October, 1857--Many important things are about to take place here at this time. Our enemies are in Echo Canyon, and our army has built a stone wall before them, and we have now stopped the enemy from coming in here. I am not called yet but I don't know what moment I shall be called, I am holding myself in readiness. East Weber Valley the 14th of November 1857--I have just come home from a trip out against the enemies. They have begun to go north to come in that way. We have between five and six hundred men that are called out to stop them. We left here the 20th of this month and marched to Box Elder City and from there through the Box Elder Canyon into the mountains up into Cache Valley. From there we took our way north and to the easterly part of the valley until we got to Bear River, and then took a north westerly direction into Marsh Valley where we stopped and waited for orders from our General Wells C.W. West. We stayed there for three weeks. In the meantime some of our brethren were sent out to make a reconnaissance in the mountains surrounding us, and had gone back to Ham's Fork. We got orders to march home and to hold ourselves ready till we should get word to go to Echo Canyon. We were then in Marsh Valley a hundred and twenty five miles, English miles, from Ogden City. We march home and came to Ogden City in three and a half days. The third of November I came home and found everything well. The Lord was with us and protected us from all danger. He is the best shield. The batteries that we built were torn down so the enemy could not cover themselves therein. In building the houses, they were built out of willows and old grass. All the houses were built exactly square and in the middle was the house of Col. West. We stayed there three weeks when we got word to come home. We all came home with the exception of fifty men on horses who stayed there to stand guard. We believed that the enemy would stay near Fort Bridger in the winter. The weather has been pleasant. Very little snow has fallen and everything has gone well. January 1st, 1858--The weather has been pleasant. Very little snow has fallen yet. Bro. Beckstead and I have been selected by Bishop Osborn to be teachers here and on the other side of the Weber River in Petersen's Settlement. Old Bishop Wadsworth here in East Weber Fort has been released. I have been in Salt Lake City to visit Niels Jensen. His pottery business is going well although he cannot get the glaze to finish the pottery in sufficient quality. Word is going around that there will be selected two thousand men for steady service as soldiers to fight for Zion. May the Lord bless them, and may the Lord bless this people is my prayer in the name of Jesus, Amen. East Weber Valley the 22nd of January, 1858--This morning at 2:45 Marie gave birth to a daughter. Her name as we thought should be Ane Sophia Hansen. She weighed eight pounds. Sister Maagensen acted as mid wife and it was all well. May the Lord bless this life's fruit and may it live to His honor. It has been cold again yesterday. But it began with a sound wind and although the snow was about two and a half feet deep, now it is about a foot gone. I have sold my oxen for three sheep, valued at ten dollars--thirty dollars in money in addition and ten dollars in lumber to Bro. Petersen. He has a saw mill on the other side of Weber River, three English miles up in the valley from this place. I have bought a beautiful heifer which soon shall have a calf. The weather for the most of the time has been cold but we have had dry weather the biggest part of the time and the snow is all gone. Many things are being said among the people with reference to our enemies, but the Lord's advice to us is to obey his commandment and then the enemy of the church and its people will not hurt us. There is now selected eleven hundred men, and we shall serve as soldiers to fight for this people. We shall all have two horses and be well equipped. Marie has begun to sit up and the child has been pretty well, and to day I gave it, myself, its blessing. My luck is good. I am now weighing 145 pounds. March 3rd, 1858--On the 17th of February it began with a warm rain and storm. So the snow is gone in the valleys. Our enemies are staying near Ham's Fork. My brother Peter is called to go out along with the others to fight. East Weber Fort, April 1st, 1858--Last Sunday President Brigham Young talked to the people and told them the Lord's will with respect to this people, and he told them that it was wisdom to withdraw from the enemies. He said that about four hundred English miles there was in the middle of a large desert a valley where we all shall go. He said the troops who are coming against us has only got orders to take Salt Lake City. Therefore, we shall leave this town of Salt Lake city and all settlements north of Salt Lake city, and when the soldiers come and find the City in ashes possibly they would turn around and go home. He said he would rather lay the City in ashes than have a good Elder killed. We are preparing ourselves to leave next Monday. I left Weber Valley yesterday and took my clothes and wife and child and we are living now with Bent Nielsen till we leave. Salt Lake City, April 27th, 1858--I have been selected to stay in East Weber. There is twenty four men held to harvest the wheat which is seeded. John W. Windward shall take my wife and child down to Utah Valley, because he has oxen and wagon, which I have not, and our bishop has ordered those who have oxen and wagon to take them who are without oxen and wagon. Most of the people are moving from the northerly part of the City and they are moving to Utah Valley where all these people shall move this summer. The Lord's way is not the people's way, and who will know his Wisdom because he is leading this people with his might hand, and a small nation like this will build up this earthly reign which the sinners and ungodly cannot withstand. Salt Lake City, July 1858--The soldiers have arrived and the new Governor is with them. The people have got orders to go back to their homes. I have been in Spanish Fork where I traveled to Salt Lake City where I am now working in the day to get provisions for the next year. There are no public meetings for a short time. Salt Lake City, the second day of January, 1859--I have just been to meeting in the tabernacle for the first time since we came back on the ground. Only the Danish have had gatherings and meetings, conducted in their own language, and in the Second ward, which is in the south end of town, Elder Orson Pratt spoke to us today and gave testimony about the work of the Book of Mormon, which nobody can withstand or say anything against. I am well and both my wife and little Annie Sophia are well. The meetings will now continue every Sunday. Salt Lake City the 13th of January, 1859--I have just read a letter from Jens Anderson to Niels Jensen which informs me about Brother Lars, that he has sold his farm which he got from our mother, where all of us children were born. My father bought this farm for eleven hundred rigdsall. Brother Lars has sold the same for ten thousand rigsdall, and moved to Hal-Singer, and there he bought another farm for ten thousand government dollars, (This is the place where it is reported Shakespeare wrote "Hamlet") Salt Lake City, March 24th, 1859--The winter has just passed. Last month continued with snow and storms but it is a little milder now. Many cattle have died on account of the hard winter. The United States army which is stationed here has broken its promise, which was that they would not stay or live near any town or city, but would stay away a certain distance. There are now eight hundred soldiers staying in Provo. For what reason we do not know, but we know that they have broken their promise. So, maybe we will have more trouble with them. We have all got up a petition to the Governor to send them from there to Camp Floyd in Cedar Valley, where the camp has been the whole time. Salt Lake City, the first of May, 1859--We have had a hard winter running from the middle of November to the first of April. Since that time we have had beautiful weather, and today it is raining the whole day, which is a great blessing from the Lord. Salt Lake City, October 1859--This summer we have had a good harvest but I haven't got all that belongs to me from the land which I rented in the spring. In Zion there are also swindlers.
--Hans Frederick Hansen, Reminiscence and Diary, MS 14915.
Copied by permission of the LDS Church History Library
of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
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