Sunday, July 20, 2014

Pioneer Ancestors - Beckstrand/Rau

Last year in honor of Pioneer Day I wrote some blog posts on the pioneers from Wayne's side of the family. See here, here and here.  This year it's time to do my side. So first up are my dad's grandparents, Karl Johan Beckstrand and Karen Pedersen Nielsen Rau Beckstrand.
Here's their short biography, which I copied from the "Memories" section of FamilyTree.

Carl (Charles) Johan Beckstrand was born 26 June 1829 in Grandstrope, Vellstad, Jonkoping, Sweden.   He was the son of Knut Johan Beckstrand, a soldier of the ocean, (sailor) and Ingerid Jacobson, who was a very religious woman and took her children many miles through deep snow in the winter to attend church.  Neither of his parents had a chance to hear the Gospel.  When he and his brother, Elias August, were grown, they went to Denmark and worked as painters.  They remained there for seven years.  It was here that they heard the missionaries and joined the Church [on 28 June 1858].  They and their sister, Christina, came to America in May 1861.

Karen Nielsen Petersen Rov was born 1 Feb 1826 on the Isle of Fejo, Lolland, Denmark. She was the daughter of Nels Peter Anderson Rov, a sailor, and Karen Maren Madsen.  We know little of her early life, only that she worked for some of the Dukes and Earls in Copenhagen, Denmark when she was a grown girl.  She and her sister, Maren, joined the church [on 13 July 1859] and came to America in May 1861.

Carl Beckstrand and Karen Petersen Rov did not know each other before departing Denmark for America.

From Andrew Jensen's Record of Scandinavian Emigrants:
On May 9, 1861 a company of 565 Scandinavian Saints (375 Danish, 128 Swedish and 64 Norwegians) sailed from Copenhagen by the steamer, "Waldemar".  They were accompanied by several missionaries who had labored faithfully in the Scandinavian Mission and were returning home. They went to Kiel, Germany, then sailed on two different steamers, the "Brittania" and the "Eugenia" to Grunsby, England.  They proceeded by special train to Liverpool where they were put on board the shop "Monarch of the Sea", which was the largest vessel that had carried emigrants across the ocean up to that time.  This company was also the largest to cross the ocean on one ship to that date.

The Saints were treated kindly by  both officers and crew on board the ship, and the provisions were good and sufficient.  The company was so large that there were not enough kettles, so each family could only cook five times a week.

From Copenhagen to New York nine persons died, most of them being children.  Fourteen couples were married and four births took place on board.  The weather was favorable most of the way, though the ship had to battle against the wind for a few days.  Large icebergs were passed, one towering over 200 feet above the water.

They arrived in New York on June 19, having been on the ocean nearly a month.  From there they traveled by rail and steamboat to Florence, Nebraska.  

Preparation for the journey across the plains was at once made and those who had no means to outfit themselves for the long journey were assisted by teams from Utah.  These were the first sent from Utah to the Missouri River to assist the poor Saints gathering in Zion. Most of the Scandinavians were assisted in this manner and went with Capt. John R. Murdock's company. 

Others were assigned to the company led by Capt. Samuel A. Woolley, traveling with about 60 ox teams.  Carl Beckstrand and Karen Petersen Rov were both assigned to the Samuel A. Woolley company.  Neither of them had a wagon, but were assigned to help others who did.  Charles had purchased a gun in Florence and was responsible to help supply fresh meat for the company.  One evening after the Saints had camped and were preparing supper, he saw a black and white animal and shot it.  He had never seen a skunk before and had no idea that his killing it would cause them to have to move camp in a hurry.

Karen walked the entire distance leading a cow.  She gathered grass in her apron as she walked along and fed it to the cow after they had camped.  She had one pair of shoes which were worn out before she had come half of the way.  The remainder of the way she walked barefooted.  Neither of them told much of their travels so very little is known.

Apparently my dad has possession of the little bucket Karen used crossing the plains. What a fun treasure!

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