Tuesday, August 1, 2017

My Great-great-grandfather

The Life of Paul Diderich Soltoft Lund
Early Utah Pioneer
Written by his grandchild (I have no idea which one.)
Edited by Lorna Lund Collins

Paul Dedrich Soltoft Lund was born 1 August 1817 in the city of North Tranders, Alborg, Denmark. He was the son of Nicholai Christian Lund and Mette Marie Ferelev.

He married Anna Marie Sorenson, the daughter of Lars Lauritz Sorenson and Mette Marie Hansen, on 12 August 1844.

They had three sons: Louis Peter, Nicholai Christian, and Marinus, all born in Aarlborg, Denmark. After they arrived in Spring City, Utah, their fourth son, Joseph, was born on 7 February 1855.

Among Paul’s ancestors were professional people, ministers, and merchants. The Lund family has a coat of arms.
With the establishment of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the missionary system was organized. In 1850, the first elders were sent to open a mission in the Scandinavian countries. Elder Erastus Snow, leader of this mission, arrived in Copenhagen on June 14, of that year, accompanied by George P. Sykes, John E. Torsgren, and Peter O. Hanson (the latter, a native of Denmark and a convert in America, returned ahead of the others). He met the rest of the party when they arrived, took them to a hotel, and acted as interpreter. Elder Snow went on to Norway and Sweden.

A few days after their arrival, the missionaries began preaching about this new religion. Through them, Paul and Anna Marie became interested. They attended meetings for several months, listening to the testimonies. They asked for baptism. On September 1, 1852, they were baptized into the church.

Anna Marie was considered a peasant girl because she came from the countryside. Paul’s family felt she was beneath them socially. When they joined this new and unpopular religion, Paul was disowned. He appears to have been the only one from his family to have joined.
At the time, he was Earl Nicolaisen. He worked as a merchant of fine linen and was interested in blooded cattle.

By 1852, the church numbered 600 in Denmark. Elder Erastus Snow and the others organized three conferences in Copenhagen, Frederica, and Aalborg. Of all the missions organized in Europe, the ones in Scandinavia were the most fruitful. In 1851, Elder Snow published a hymn book. It became so popular and in such demand, he printed it semi-monthly. This book was still being published at the time the original manuscript of this document was written.

Many of the converts desired to emigrate to Zion in the New World—America. Arrangements were made, and by December of 1852, a large party of 300 was ready to say good-bye to their homes and loved ones.

After selling and disposing of their property, packing their belongings, and such food as they could take, Paul and Anna Marie, with their three small boys, boarded the small steamship Obetret. On December 20, 1852, following a delay due to bad storms, they sailed to Copenhagen, where another storm delayed their departure.

Finally, on Christmas Eve, they boarded an English sailing vessel Lion. The next day, they sailed for Hamburg, Germany. On reaching the North Sea, their progress was hindered by rough weather. On December 26, the ship was tossed on choppy, icy waters in a terrible storm. It raged for twenty-four hours. When threatened with a shipwreck, they tossed many boxes and trunks overboard. Paul led some of his blooded cattle to allow them to leave the ship, and three chests of his merchandise went overboard as well.

The sailors nearly gave up hope of survival. The passengers were sent into the hold, and the hatches were closed. The hold was a large room with beds or bunks in rows or tiers of three against the walls. Beds were also arranged on the floor. Here in one room, crowded together with little comfort and no conveniences, the immigrants, mostly Scandinavian with a few Irish and English, rode out the voyage. As waves rolled high, the ship tipped, and water ran down into the hatchway. The people were soaked in their beds.

One woman wrapped her baby in a long piece of cloth and tied the child to her own body. As the ship tossed, the baby fell out of bed and rolled across the room. They located the baby by following the material. The child survived.

People screamed, cried, and prayed throughout the twenty-four hours of the storm.
When they emerged, they saw part of the railing missing. The sailors had used ropes to replace the railing. With their tops broken, barrels and boxes discharged apples onto the deck, where they rolled around. The children were permitted to eat as many as they wanted. The sailors said this had been the most severe storm they had ever experienced. They credited the Mormons on board with saving the ship.

Brother John E. Forsgren, the captain of the company of saints, was a good leader. Every day, prayers weres offered. He gave the people council and advice to keep the commands of the Lord. The converts did much singing to keep up their spirits. They also held dances on the deck.

At last, they landed in Hull, England and traveled by rail to Liverpool.

On New Year’s Eve, they boarded the English freighter Forest Monarch, which would take them to New Orleans, Louisiana in America.

On January 16, 1853, they sailed in nice weather. After sixteen days, they encountered trade winds and made better progress. The food on the voyage consisted of split peas, cooked in large boilers, and hardtack. The drinking water, stored in barrels, tasted bad.

On March 17, the ship was tugged by steamer into New Orleans. On March 19, 1853, the immigrants boarded another steamer for the trip up the Mississippi River. On March 30, they landed in St. Louis, Missouri.

On April 21, the John E. Forsgren company divided. Peter Munk took part of the company, 120 persons including Paul and his family. The contingent traveled on up the Mississippi to Keokuk, Iowa. Here, the saints bought oxen, wagons, and provisions. On May 19, they began their journey westward by wagons pulled by oxen.

During the journey from Liverpool, the group experienced eleven marriages, nine births, and twenty-six deaths—mostly of the elderly and young children.

Each day on the trail, a prayer meeting was held, along with sermon and sacrament meetings.

They arrived in Salt Lake City on September 30 and camped in the central part of the city.

They were able to obtain green corn. Some ate the corn without cooking it and suffered illness as a result.

After a few days’ rest, president Brigham Young ordered those who had come from cold countries to continue their journey south to Sanpete County to assist those who had already arrived and make a success of the settlement.

After stops at Lehi, Pleasant Grove, Nephi, and Moroni, the Lund family arrived well and happy at “Little Denmark” (Spring City) where they intended to make their new home among dear friends from Denmark.

Since Paul had to make a living, he bought a small lot on Main Street and built a one-room log cabin. He later added two more rooms made of adobe. He and his sons had made trips to the canyon and brought logs and lumber for saw mills to build the house and outbuildings. He took up land in the lower part of town where he raised corn, potatoes, and grain. He also raised cattle and sheep to make clothes and quilts.
Not long after their arrival in Spring City, the Indians became troublesome. President Young advised them to move to Ephraim Fort, which they did. While living at the fort, their son, Joseph was born on February 1855. They remained there until the Indian troubles were settled. Then they moved back to their home in Spring City.

During the latter part of the Black Hawk War, two of the Lund sons, Lewis and Nicolai, helped herd cattle to put them out to feed. They were also made guards in Militia.

Paul was small in stature at five and a half feet tall, with light brown hair and blue eyes. He was a good man, faithful to the gospel, attending to his duties, and keeping the commandments of the Lord. He spoke English very well.

Some time later, he was called on a mission to his native land of Denmark. While there, he tried to get his inheritance, but he failed. His family believed he had married beneath his rank of Earl, so he was disinherited.

He inquired about the Lund Home, which was supposed to go to the eldest son in the Lund family. If he chose to stay in Denmark, he could have lived there free. However, he refused the offer, and returned to his home and family in America.

While in Denmark, he obtained a printed book of the descendants of his fourth great-grandfather, Jacob Peterson Deishman, as well as additional genealogy. The temple work for these sixty ancestors was completed in 1934 by Mrs. Draper. She had been hired by Lydia B. Lund of Pleasant Grove to undertake this work.

Paul Lund lived to the age of ninety-five. He remained true to his L.D.S. faith. He died on 6 January 1902 in his home in Spring City, Utah. He was survived by his wife and four sons as well as many descendants. Each son was blessed with a large family. He was buried in the Spring City Cemetery.

Anna Marie died thirteen months later on 1 February 1903 and was buried next to her husband.


  1. Lorna, I find it amazing looking back into our history and finding out who, when, where, what and why. Story is great.

    1. Thanks. The original was a type-written account by one of his granddaughters (I suspect one of my grandfather's sisters.) This is the side of my family I lost for many many years. Around 1990, I reconnected with an aunt, who gave me copies of all the records. I think they are interesting--especially since I come from these folks. Glad you enjoyed it.

  2. What a wonderful bit of history for your family! A fun read. Thanks!

    1. Next week, I'll have his wife's story. Although some of their experiences are the same, some are not. The Mormons document everything, and I'm glad since I have benefited from their devotion to detail.

  3. Lorna, one correction--the one Elder's name was John E Forsgren. He later brought a large group of Scandinavians to Sanpete.