Hans Peter Jensen was born on April 23, 1815, in Lille Hage Stade, Denmark to Jens Petersen and Kirsten Hansen. He married Sarah Josephine Clawson on March 3, 1849, and together they were converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Their eldest son, Jacob Peter Jensen, was born on March 20, 1850, in Denmark. Their little family suffered much religious persecution until they left their home in Denmark for Zion in Utah in 1854.
At an encampment outside Kansas City two groups of immigrants combined into the Olsen Company and began preparations for crossing the vast plains. Having been selected to lead the overland company Hans began assigning each member to one of the 69 wagons. When it was discovered that 10-12 people would need to share a single wagon there was protesting in spite of their title of “saints.” Church personnel in Europe had counseled the immigrants to minimize their belongings. Though four oxen and two cows were hitched to each wagon, it was obvious that many heirlooms would need to be abandoned. Departure was on June 15, 1854, still with many belongings of the stubborn Danes. Brother Hans contacted Apostle Orson Pratt when additional money was allotted to purchase more oxen.
While there were joyous moments, it was near the junction of the Laramie and Platt Rivers that the pioneers encountered hostile Indians. Prepared for an assault against Fort Laramie, the young braves were in full war paint. With nowhere to take cover on the open plains, the frightened company offered prayers.
With so many dependent upon his actions, Captain Hans Peter Olsen stepped forward. With hat in a shaking hand and a tight smile upon his quivering lips, he arbitrarily strode toward the Indian band. When he was close enough to smell the mingled odors of sweat and rancid grease that glistened upon their copper bodies, he performed his most courtly bow. So vigorously did he execute the obeisance that the brim of his hat swept an arc in the dust of the trail. Captivated by such unusual behavior, the Indians listened with bemused forbearance to his request for a safe passage. As the wagons began to roll forward, the warriors broke like waves before the prow of a ship. Swirling and heaving, some on foot and others astride small swift- footed ponies, they fell back toward the end of the line of march. Apparently, content to allow the pioneers to pass, the band of braves nevertheless exacted a toll of two heifers for the use of their territory.
The Scandinavian pioneers reached Salt Lake City on October 5, 1854. They were called by President Brigham Young to settle Brigham City which was presided over by Lorenzo Snow. Hans Peter spent all of his time, talents, and money to help build up this little community. He was a blacksmith and farmer, as well as a Church and a civic leader.
The United Order was instituted by President Young in Brigham City. A large storehouse in the center of town held tons of salt from the Great Salt Lake; barrels of sorghum molasses raised in the fields, barrels of salted pork, fish, and fruit, and large piles of pine logs for fuel were kept in the middle of the yard. Large sheds and barns which housed domestic animals and poultry stood nearby. Hans Peter operated a blacksmith shop with the equipment he brought across the plains from Denmark.
This little community of Brigham City had a supply of water from a stream that flowed from the canyon east of town. Delicious fruit, berries, and vegetables were grown which area is now one of the top fruit, vegetable, and melon belts of Utah.
- Daughters of Utah Pioneers Compiled by Carol Jeppson
- Diary of Hans Peter Jensen