Transcript for Maria Christina Jacobsen Housley, Biographical information relating to Mormon pioneer overland travel database, 2003-2017
In the year of 1854 with many of their friends they started their journey Zionward. My grandmother, at the time, was nine years old. She well remembered the day they left their dearly beloved home forever. On reaching the beach a man came to the carriageside and tried his utmost to induce their father to leave his children in Denmark, even if he would go to Utah himself. The children were not able to describe their feelings while that man stood and pleaded with their father on the subject. The very thought of any one wanting to separate them from their parents was very exasperating.
It was only a short time until they boarded the ship, an old vessel. They had only been started for a few minutes when the people began to be sick. This family was no exception. Part of the way the ship rocked so hard that it dipped water on the deck; this kept the men working very hard to keep the water pumped off. There was a great deal of sickness among the people of the vessel and a number of deaths.
After a long and tiresome journey over the ocean and across the Gulf of Mexico, then up the Mississippi River in a steam boat, this large group of Danish people landed in Kansas. Food had been scarce and they were very hungry. A man who lived there was very anxious to sell them some meat, so they bought some and cooked it and ate it. Being weak, all the company got sick and a lot of them died, among the dead were my grandmother’s father, two brothers and two sisters. After they had eaten and became ill they learned that the pigs had had cholera and that the meat was poison. They could not buy coffins so they sewed their dead up in sheets and buried them the best they could under the circumstances. This left my grandmother, Maria, and Christian and their mother to continue the trip across the plains. My grandmother, Maria, was very sick, nigh unto death, and her mother lost her mind. Those were sorrowful days.
After a few days delay (for this is all it took for the deaths and burials to take place) they were fitted out with oxen and cow teams, several yoke of oxen and two cows on load of each wagon in an Independent Company
There were generally two families to each wagon and the two men would get on each side of the team and try to lead them in the road. They had several stampedes for the Danes were not used to driving oxen and the oxen were not used to them. Not many of them, if any, had ever seen an ox until now.
They saw a great many Indians and buffalo on their way. They got along nicely with the Indians, and killed some of the buffalo as they came along. They arrived in Salt Lake City in the fall of 1854.