History of Ane Dorthea Hansen Sorensen
By Minnie B. Sorensen, Daughter-in-law, 1932
Almost seventy-four years ago, Ane Hansen made her appearance into this world to play life's game, to know the bitter and the sweet, the sunshine and the days of rain, and meet both victory and defeat.
Johanna Marie Jensen Hansen gave birth to her daughter, Ane, on the 30th day of the beautiful month of June, 1858, in Doringe, Soro County, Denmark. Mrs. Hansen, a real mother, good natured, medium height and weight and enjoying good health, gave birth to eight children. Five boys; Yens, Lars, Hans, Yorgum and Ulrich, and three girls; Marie, Christiana, and Ane. Ane was her seventh child.
Hans Hansen, the father, and his wife despite the early hardships of those days, had made a home for their family. A three room cottage, typical of the Danish Country home. The walls were made of adobe clay, set directly on the ground. The roof covered with bound straw about ten inches in thickness and extending about a foot from the walls so when it rained the water would not penetrate the walls or come into the home. The roof had to be recovered from time to time. The home was not built high and a tall person could easily reach the roof. The floor of the home was the hard ground made smooth, and sprinkled with a clean white sand. It would be swept each day and clean sand sprinkled over it. The doors were of strong flat boards. In the kitchen by the table where the dishes were washed, the floor was of hard rock or stone, similar to our granite rock. These were carefully laid in the ground and washed each day with water. A hole put in the floor made it easier to scrub the stone as the water could be poured over the stones and run out through this opening. Then in the winter, this opening was closed with a cloth to help keep out the cold.
The yard around the home was well kept and always attractive. It too, was of hard dirt and sprinkled with sand and designed in rock. Large plum trees shaded the yard and home.
Just back of the yard, which was used for play, was a garden. A wall of hard dirt about two feet high surrounded it. Here they raised potatoes, carrots, onions, green cabbage, and to Grandma's delight, one gooseberry bush.
The home was lighted by oil lamps, and wood was the main fuel. Coal was never seen. Turd, a sort of bark that was dug from the ground and dried, was also used for heating and cooking.
Seven acres of ground used for agriculture and several cows helped earn the livelihood for the Hansen family.
This was the home of Grandma's childhood days and inspirations. She and her sister, Christiana, lived each hour of those days and enjoyed the desire of play. The joy of those care-free days Grandma well remembers. How she and Christiana would stay out during the summer at times until nine or ten at night chasing and catching fly bugs and letting them fly again.
Her biggest fright was the day she truly hurt herself. On the stove in the kitchen was a large kettle with potatoes heating for dinner. She had climbed on a chair, as she was only about six, and tried to peel one for herself to eat. Somehow the knife slipped from her hands and into her foot. It left a deep gash, a sickly feeling and she fainted.
When only about ten years old, her father received an injury. A rupture as it would be explained today. But because of the lack of doctors nothing was done to remedy his injury, and the rest of his life was spent in ill health and a great deal of pain making it impossible for him to work.
This left the burden of supporting the family on Mrs. Hansen's shoulders, who took it bravely and fought the battle of life well. The seven acres of land were sold and she worked for other farmers in the fields during the summer, and spinning and carding wool in the winter. Nothing but hard work, but she stood and took it bravely.
When Grandma reached the age of seven, she went to school. The only school in the community. It seems so strange to think of going to school only three days a week, but those were the rules of those days. Three times a week from nine until four until she was fourteen. The last six months were, however, spent at a school under a Priest who had it in charge. After school, the time was spent in studying, mending or play.
Grandma's youth was spent at home. The struggle for life was hard, and she and her brothers and sisters never enjoyed the lovely birthday parties or entertainments like we do today. She never had a party. Out in the country, the large farms making the neighbors so busy and being very scattered, made it out of the question to even have company or friends to come and play or visit. The only opportunity to mingle with friends was at school or at Church.
It's unbelievable to even imagine Grandma doing anything that wasn't just right, and to hear her tell of picking peaches on the sly sounds like fun. Passing farm yards home from school, she and others would make sure no farmer was around and enjoy a few peaches and then run. Or the afternoon before she went to school, hide out among the potatoes and enjoy watching her sister, Christiana, hunt and call for her, and not until her sister became frightened and began to cry because she couldn't find her, did she come from her hiding place.
The church was a distance of several miles from the Hansen home, so Grandma could only attend occasionally. It was the Lutheran Church and only twice a year were they permitted to take the sacrament.
After Grandma's fourteenth year, and until she was eighteen, her time was spent working. She, and in company with another girl, worked on a farm. Up early in the morning, and between the two girls, fourteen cows had to be milked. At night, when the other girl wasn't there, Grandma had them to milk alone.
The rest of the day was spent in spinning and carding wool until milking time, and after until ten at night. Then the breakfast table was set. Herring, which was the main dish at breakfast, had to be cleaned and prepared. The meals she received for her hard work were light, mostly soups, rice, or bread and butter and a drink, which were all prepared in advance. They never were allowed to sit down to a meal. It was the custom and everybody stood while they ate. If there was soup, rice or some such dish they were going to eat, they left it in a large kettle or dish and set it in the middle of the table, and everyone would eat out of it an once. Each had their own spoon, however, which were kept in holders. Meals were served at ten in the morning, at twelve, and again at four, and then after the evening work was completed.
Washing clothes was a hard task. They were washed only once a month. Imagine the stack of clothes, the rubbing and scrubbing. Especially in the winter time as the clothes had to be rinsed out in the yard. How cold Grandma's hands would get, and every few minutes have to run into the kitchen and warm them. She says at times she almost fainted. It was always nothing but hard work.
When Grandma was eighteen she left her home in Doringe and went to Copenhagen. With a little shudder she remembered how hard it was for her to leave her home, her mother, sister and brothers.
Here at Copenhagen she went to house-work for a family. House cleaning, washing and ironing. Plenty of work, only small wages, and so much to eat. These people only allowed a small portion of food at each meal, which Grandma says was very little, and she was always hungry and would go to the bakery as often as she could for bread which she kept in her room.
Ten years were spent in Copenhagen working. While working for Tanning, Grandma and Fru Tanning became very close friends and thought a great deal of one another. Another girl working for this same family had become interested in the Latter-day Saint Church and through conversations with her, Grandma became interested. Fru Tanning also became interested, but her husband was very much against any such move.
The Elders would call during the absence of Mr. Tanning, and through a 'Star' which had been left to read, Grandma helped to convert her to the LDS Church.
On April 6, 1884, she was baptized. This took place in a rather large field in a pond of water. About a dozen girls accompanied her and formed a circle around her while clothes were changed, and the baptism took place. Elder Jorgen Hansen did the baptizing and at the next meeting Grandma was confirmed a member of the LDS Church.
Joy and peace filled her heart and soul and she could hardly wait for an opportunity to go home and tell her parents, brothers and sisters; sure without a question that they would understand and also be happy and converted to this new and wonderful discovery of hers. A new religion!
To Grandma's sorrow, their understanding was closed to this new life she had found and they could not and would not listen.
Going back to work with a heavy heart, she found out she could not work at Tannings any more. Mr. Tanning, because Grandma had become a Mormon, had closed the door for her employment there. Fru Tanning, however, sent her to a good friend of hers, a doctor, who employed Grandma. So again she was working. Here she stayed for another year.
In the year 1886, one year later, Grandma made ready to come to the United States. Before leaving, however, she went home and said goodbye to her folks and loved ones. Mrs. Hansen, her mother, tried hard to persuade her to give it up and stay home, but finally consented with a promise from Grandma that if America was bad and the opposite of her expectations she would come home.
The journey on the ship was hard one for her. Sea-sick all the way over, the language, and the newness of it all made it seem unbearable at times. After landing in the United States, she bought a ticket for Salt Lake City. Arriving in Salt Lake City made it seem easier; having a few friends here, Hans Sorensen, his sisters and a few friends they knew.
A family who were close friends of the Sorensens, made a home for Grandma until she could find employment. Tired, alone, and homesick, clouds began to gather and her hopes began to fade and Grandma spent many hours by her window crying. Not long after, she found employment in a home and the skies again seemed bluer and clear.
Not having many friends here and the language still a thing to be mastered, Grandma became good friends with the Sorensens, and especially Hans. They went to meetings together, socials, and a few parties among their friends. These were really the only places they went. Mr. Sorensen being a quiet type of man, not caring for a great deal of amusement. Grandma also being of a quiet nature and not being used to going to entertainments and other pleasures of youth, they weren't temptation to her.
So on March 19th, 1890, Grandma became the bride of Mr. Hans Sorensen, being married on that day in the Logan Temple at Logan, Utah. After the trip back from Logan, they had a small reception for friends at the homeof Grandpa's sister, Minnie.
Before their marriage, they had both paid the money back they had borrowed in order to come to the United States. Wages being such in Denmark making it impossible to earn enough to pay passage.
After buying their temple clothes, and other necessary clothing, no rugs, just enough furniture to get by with and a few dishes, they had $5.00 left to start down the hill of life as man and wife, to meet the joys, sorrows, disappointments and even doubts at times, that we so often meet starting out on life's roadway.
At the wedding they had also received a sugar bowl, a butter plate, a bed spread, cake plate, a knife, spoon, and fork, for use the next day until they could get some more. In those days at weddings, it wasn't customary for the guests to present gifts as they do today.
They as a young couple, had rented a home on 5th East between 7th and 8th South. Work was very scarce and hard to find. Wages were also very low. There was a large well about three blocks away, and from here Grandma had to carry all her water for cooking and washing, making it more than hard and impossible. From an irrigation ditch just back of the place, water could be used for scrubbing which helped some.
However, that same fall they left and made their home on 5th South and 3rd East. Here Grandma took in washings to help make the wheels of life move and make ends meet.
After a few months, Grandpa took sick with typhoid fever. A doctor was called in but Grandpa gradually became more sick and another doctor was called in. For some time he clung between life and death until the fever finally broke and he gradually began to recover. Through all this illness and worry, Grandma kept up her washings so they could have money for food, rent, and there would be a doctor bill. Just during this illness the milk bill alone had traveled upwards to $25.00 and the struggle for life seemed hard.
There was also the tenderness of kindly hearts that helped to share the days of gloom. The man that they rented from sent in sugar, oatmeal and lamb stew as a surprise. This all was greatly appreciated for at this time too, Grandma was very ill at times and was carrying a precious secret next to her heart.
Often on her trips back and forth with clothes she would have that strong desire for certain foods. Tired after the days work and not much money she would try to satisfy her cravings by moistening her lips with snow. Hard, YES, and perhaps that is the big reason now that with us, she always seems to understand.
A very good friend, Camilla Christensen, came and took care of the proud mother and her new treasure. This good soul came and stayed about three weeks and would have nothing for her service. Robert, too, must have liked her for he always called her Grandma.
The baby after about two months was taken to the 13th Ward and given a name and a blessing by Hamilton Park. The dress he wore and also the most of the clothes Grandma had made from a white dress and skirt she had for her wedding. When the baby was lying in someone's arms, the clothes were so long that they would reach thefloor. The customs of today have surely changed.
When Bob, as he is now called, was ten months old he became very ill. A large boil, or an infection had formed on the back of his head. The poor little child suffered badly with pain. Grandma did all she could and then called in Camilla. No doctor could be asked due to lack of money and none even in sight. Early one morning Dr. Wilcox came and as he entered said, "If you haven't any money it's all right, but don't let the baby suffer." He immediately took care of the baby and gave him relief from the pain. Later Grandma discovered that Camilla had called the doctor and taken care of things herself.
Then when Bob was nearly two years old, Grandma took sick with typhoid fever. But as soon as she was well again, she would put her baby in the buggy and again called for washed and delivered clothes.
Grandpa and Grandma next made their home on 1st South and 7th East where on May 1, 1893, a daughter was born whom they named Mae Johanna, after Grandma's mother. Oh, the joy of this daughter in her life, Grandma has never found words to express. She, too, was named and blessed in the 13th Ward.
Grandma with the help of Hulda Winkler, who was helping to care for them, soon again felt well, and had again the unusual strength she has always possessed.
When Mae was seven weeks old they bought a two room "shanty" on 17th South and Prospect Avenue for $150. Here Grandma decided she would stay and make her little home, a fine palace and each little patch of green outside a garden. Her little home may not have been much to see, but in its walls she tried to keep a hoard of love and laugh and sing her way along, and I'm sure she must have said, "I'll make the most of what is mine today."
Grandpa now had rather steady work; although it paid very little, but it was an honest living. Grandma now with her two babies stayed home.
She had to carry all her water for several blocks until a well could be dug, and then they began planting trees. A cow was bought to supply milk for the children. This poor cow, however, had a bad disposition and often ran away. Grandma would have to leave her babies and run after her. Often they cried hard and Mrs. Andersen who lived a short distance would know the old cow was on another escapade and send her daughter, Mary, to stay with the Sorensen children. But the cow soon found another home, and the Sorensens two new cows.
When Mae was nearly two and a half years old another son came to make his home with the Sorensens. Grandpa had left early that day, which was a Monday, and gone to work in Cotton Wood. No telephones, and no way to reach anyone; quickly Grandma became panicked as time drew near and ran hurriedly barefooted to Andersens. Mrs. Andersen stayed with her until the midwife and Camilla came. It was not until Saturday when Grandpa came home that he knew of the blessed event.
The Sunday that this baby was taken to the Cannon Ward, the ward in which they now were living, it was decided he should be given the name of Ulrick, after Grandma's brother. After the services a good sister came and asked Grandma what she had named her baby. Excited, thrilled and happy, Grandma couldn't remember the name. The lady smiled and said, "Well, he must have been given a fancy name if you can't remember." Embarrassed and feeling rather ashamed, she could only smile until the name of the baby came back to her.
The meeting house was a good distance away, but now with a horse and buggy it was a great deal easier going back and forth.
History of Ane Dorthea Hansen Sorensen
By Mae Sorensen, Daughter, July 1975
Grandma Sorensen was born June 30, 1858 in a small town in Denmark. She and her family were members of the Lutheran Church. They knew nothing about the Mormon church. At the age of 18 she left her home to seek employment in the large city of Copenhagen. She found employment in the home of Dr. and Fru Tanning where she kept house and took on the duties of caring for their young son. She was very happy in this home and became very close to Fru Tanning and they discussed many things. Fru Tanning had met the Mormon missionaries and told grandma about their discussions. She was very interested in their message. Grandma, too, became interested and they discussed this new religion real often. But when Dr. Tanning found out that Grandma was interested in Mormonism and was discussing it with his wife, she was asked to leave. This was a sad day for Grandma, because she loved Fru Tanning and the little boy very much. But she found other employment and continued to investigate Mormonism.
She met Grandpa Sorensen, his sister and brother and became very friendly with them, and they all joined the Church. Grandma continued working and saved her money and came to Salt Lake City with Aunt Minnie, Grandpa's sister. Grandpa Sorensen came later and they were married in the Logan Temple, March 19, 1890. They bought a small house in the Cannon Ward. Cannon Ward was organized by Pres. George Q. Cannon and was named for him. He was a counselor in the First Presidency of the Church at that time. He and his family lived in the ward.
I would like to tell how our family became observers of the Word of Wisdom. President Cannon's daughter Emily was the teacher in the Kindergarten class which Bob and I attended. One Sunday morning she gave a very impressive lesson on the Word of Wisdom. We went home and when Grandma asked what the lesson was about, I told her the teacher said we shouldn't drink tea or coffee or even have it in the house. This impressed her too because she hadn't been taught too much about the Word of Wisdom. So Grandma said we must do the things the Sunday School teacher tells us and she threw the coffee out and we never had tea or coffee in the house again.
Someone had told Grandma that browned barley made good coffee. Grandpa found some nice clean barley in a feed store, it was browned and then ground in our small square grinder. We took turns grinding the barley. My brother Duke and I didn't like the barley coffee too well, so we drank "Mormon tea."
Grandma wouldn't allow anyone to smoke in our home either. She said she would always be grateful to this Sunday School teacher for giving this lesson to us and I am grateful too, that this lesson was put into practice in our home. As Grandma learned more of the principles of the gospel they were incorporated into our home and with her faith and devotion to the gospel they became a part of our home life. The Sabbath day was strictly observed with meetings being always attended and play time only between meetings, and we learned that Fast day was a special day.
All through the years Grandma had been concerned about her family. They were not interested in the gospel which meant so much to her, but her faith never wavered - she just hoped and prayed that some day they would accept the message. Then Bob was called on a mission to Denmark and this was a bright spot in her life. But still her family was not interested. This was a great disappointment to Grandma but she always said, "If they don't join the Church now they will in the spirit world," and she would turn to her favorite scripture: Jeremiah 3:14-15…" And I will take you one of a city and two of a family and I will bring you to Zion, and I will give you pastors according to mine heart which shall feed you knowledge and understanding." She always felt she was fulfilling that scripture and it was a consolation to her.
This led to temple work which she enjoyed doing very much. She felt if she did the work for others the Lord would open the way some day for her family. A cup in the old cupboard served as a bank for extra change which was sent to a man in Denmark doing our Genealogy work. Some work has been done for Grandma's family and I hope more will be done in the future.
Grandma Sorensen was a good cook. Three things I wish I could cook as well as she did are: hot chocolate, fried chicken and rice pudding.
My one hope is that we can all have the patience, faith and love of the gospel which Grandmother Sorensen had.