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Olof and Maria Andelin

A play

Olof and Maria Andelin

Written by Linda Stay Danielson

For a Stake Presentation during a Pioneer Celebration


Part I – Introduction

OLOF: I was born June 7th of 1842 in Traa, Sweden and was named Olof Anderson.  My father was a farmer, well respected and devout in his religious convictions as a Lutheran, and also my mother, and brothers and sisters.

            At the age of fourteen, I was, according to custom, confirmed in the Lutheran Church, receiving for the first time, the sacrament.  I moved to the city of Malmo to live with my brother.  There I learned the mason trade.  My surname of Andelin was legally given me as a journeyman mason, according to the custom of the country.

MARIA’S FATHER: My only daughter, Maria, was born on February 10th, 1841 in Malmo, Sweden.  She was much loved by her parents and brothers.  Because of hard times, we had to take Maria out of school when she was nine years old in order to help with the family.  My wife died when Maria was 15 years of age, and much of the care of the family was turned over to her hands.

MARIA: My father was a carpenter by trade, also a fine violinist.  My brothers were musical and belonged to the Song Union.  I was religiously trained in the Lutheran Church.  At fifteen, I was confirmed and became a member of that church, and for the first time, received the sacrament.

Part II – Conversion

OLOF: I had an opportunity to hear the Latter-day Saint Elders when I was quite young, which made a deep impression on me, but I did not come in contact with them again until I was twenty years of age.  I soon was baptized on the 10th of May 1862, having received a testimony that it was the work of the Lord, and received shortly afterward the Aaronic Priesthood and was ordained to be a Teacher.  Later on, I was ordained an Elder and was sent on a mission to different parts of Sweden that lasted about fifteen months.  During my mission, I was blessed to be able to baptize seven persons and had many opportunities to bless children.

MARIA: At seventeen I started to work in the cotton factory, where I lost the end of my little finger in a mill accident.  I came in contact with some Mormon girls and talked with them about their religion.  I went to church with them and was soon converted.  On the 30th day of September 1861, I was baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

My family never joined the church.  Although my father was religiously inclined, he didn’t want anything to do with the Mormons.  I was engaged to a local missionary, but when the traveling Elder in Malmo conference was sent to Goteberg to preside over that conference, he sent for me to come up.  That broke my engagement with the young missionary.

Now came the task to say goodbye to my father and brothers.  I did not seem much concerned to say goodbye to them.  I guess the Lord made me that way, kind of hard-hearted, that I could not feel for them.  When I reach my hand to say goodbye to my father, I saw tears in his eyes.  I knew when I got to Goteborg that the President would help me to emigrate; hence I left my father and brothers, never to see them again.  Some of the sisters accompanied me to the boat to see me off and say goodbye.  Presently, the bell rang and the plank lifted, and the boat moved out into the sea.  The girls were swinging their handkerchiefs goodbye, ‘till they appeared life little doves, and out of sight.  I saw no more of the land of my birth.  Now it was my turn to shed tears.

“Oh,” I thought, “how cruel.  How could I ever leave them, their only daughter, only sister, no one to care for them?”  I could see them in my mind standing there outside the house.  Oh, how my heart yearned for them!  Why didn’t I stay?  I might have converted them, and we could have all gone together.  These were my feelings and I shed many tears. 

But I had gone.  I had embraced the Gospel.  The Spirit of Gathering had come upon me and nothing in the world could have kept me in the old country.  It was the command of God to gather to Zion, to help build up the waste places.

Part III – Emigration

PATRIARCH JOHN SMITH: Olof immigrated to Utah in 1864.  He crossed the Atlantic in a sailing vessel, “Monarch of the Sea,” along with myself and 973 other saints.  I was chosen to be president of the company.  During the voyage there was considerable sickness and some deaths, mostly of children.  In the morning of June 3rd, after more than a month at sea, the “Monarch of the Sea” arrived at New York where the landing of the emigrants at Castle Garden at once took place.  In the evening they boarded a steamer for Albany, NY, and from there they traveled by train to St. Joseph, MO, thence by steamer up the Missouri River to Wyoming, Nebraska, from which place most of the Scandinavian Saints went to the Valley.

OLOF: I drove a yoke of oxen for Captain Patterson across the plains, no wages except what he had a mind to give and that was only ten dollars, but I had a good time, plenty to eat, and no sickness.

MARIA: On the 14th of April, 1865, we emigrants, left Goteborg in the night by boat to sail over the North Sea to Copenhagen to join the other emigrants.  This was an awful night.  The wind was blowing and the sea was terrible.  Sometimes the boat would stand on end, then on the side.  As we couldn’t stay on our seats, they tied us on with thick ropes so we wouldn’t fall off into the sea.  I was under water three or four times.

When we landed at Copenhagen we were soaking wet and had to walk that way to the hall where the emigrants were gathering before we could get to our baggage to change our clothes.

CAPTAIN DEARBORN: I am the captain of the American vessel, the “B.S. Kimball.”  Maria, along with 557 other Latter-day Saints and a number of other emigrants, sailed with me across the Atlantic.  Before we sailed, two Mormon elders from England came aboard for meetings on Sunday.  Elder Daniel H. Wells dedicated the ship with its captain, crew and passengers to the Lord and gave instructions and admonition to the Saints.  The ship was divided into eight districts, each with a president.  While peace and good will reigned among the Saints, the other religious emigrants lived more like cats and dogs together; some had disputes and engaged in fights, others played cards and swore, while some preached and altogether there was a real pandemonium.

MARIA: Captain Dearborn was kind to the emigrants and the sick received good treatment.  Three meals of warm food each day were served to all.  Many children got sick and died of scarlet fever and measles.  I saw many buried at sea, about thirty of them.  I felt sorry for the poor mothers, but they acknowledged the Hand of the Lord and counted it as a trial.

After six weeks on the ocean, we landed in New York at the Castle Garden.  From there we traveled by rail and in boats, crossing the Mississippi, sailed up the Missouri, and camped there on the banks of the river.  I think it was near Omaha, Nebraska.  I couldn’t speak English then, hence I didn’t know the names of different towns or places where we traveled.

We were camped on the river five weeks when there came an unknown disease among us and many died.  They would run out in their nightclothes and holler like they were possessed.  They would turn black in their mouth and teeth.  We were moved a few miles from the river for a couple of weeks until the oxen got tamed.

We were now ready to commence our journey across the plains under the leadership of Captain Atwood.  The church did not bring the emigrants across that year, so there was one Thomas Taylor, who was an emigration agent for the Church that contracted to take us across.  I paid him seventy-one dollars; my fare over the ocean was sixty-one dollars. 

ELDER THOMAS TAYLOR: Since the Church did not send any teams to the Missouri River that season to assist the poor Saints to reach Utah, I arranged matters as well as I could by purchasing oxen and loading each wagon with 1,000 pounds of freight and 2,000 pounds for the Saints, with three yoke of oxen being provided for each wagon.  In this way, about 150 persons were taken across the plains who otherwise would have been left on the frontiers.

On the 31st of July, most of the Scandinavian emigrants left Nebraska in a company consisting of 45 ox teams.  The company was organized Aug. 1st by appointing Miner G. Atwood captain.

MARIA: At Fort Laramie, we were snowed in and some of our cattle were driven away, supposedly by the Indians.  The brethren went to hunt and found some of them.  Here the soldiers told us that the Indians were mad and that they would kill us on the way and that we would never get to Salt Lake.  They advised us to stay here until the next spring, but of course we would not listen to them.  We believed that the Lord would defend us.  We were out on His business and He wouldn’t let the Indians kill us.  One day the teamsters had a fight with Indians when they took the cattle to water and seven of the brethren got wounded, some very seriously, but all got well and walked into Salt Lake.  One woman by the name of Gruntvig was kidnapped by the Indians, and has never been heard of since.  After that, we traveled at nights and camped in the day, so the Indians wouldn’t know our camp while we were in the Indian country.

We were fourteen weeks on the plains, while ten or eleven should have been enough.  Consequently, our provisions gave out and we had to eat the meat of the oxen that died from starvation and hard work, sometimes without salt and without bread.

I walked all the way.  I waded through the rivers, with water up under my arms sometimes.  I was happy, I did not shed a tear, and never at any time did I wish I was back in Sweden, but singing all the way, “Come, Come Ye Saints, no toil nor labor fear.”

I wrote this poem about my experience on the plains:


            With bleeding feet crossed desert woes,

            Through wind and rain and bitter snows,

            Kneeling on the barren sand,

            Asked Father’s blessings from His hands.


            And on the ground lay down to sleep,

            Foot-sore and tired, and nothing to eat,

            Only the heavens for covering,

            My sleep was sweet, with angels hovering.


I reached Salt Lake the 8th of November 1865, having covered seven months from the time I left Goteborg, Sweden.  When we got here we drove into a square.  I think it was Pioneer Park.  Here I was a poor girl, a stranger and alone, no soul to meet me and bid me welcome.  Lots of people came to camp to see us and the girls began to go away with relatives or friends.  I thought of the poet who said, “I have no home, where shall I go?”  At this time, Brother Swenson came up to me and said he had found a place for me with a family by the name of Shipp.

Part IV – Settlement

OLOF: After arriving in Salt Lake City, I engaged with one of my former companions in the mission field, Engstrom, as a cabinetmaker, until spring opened up.  I was then offered a job in Farmington to build a rock dwelling for one Truman Leonard.  For want of materials, the building stopped for a while and I moved to Ogden.

GRANDDAUGHTER RUBY: After Maria, my grandmother, arrived in Salt Lake from Sweden, a young man in Ogden, Olof Andersson Andelin, had read of her arrival.  He had known her slightly in Sweden before he came to Utah.  He came to Salt Lake to see her and bid her welcome to this new land.  They went walking, hand in hand, along the sidewalks.  That was their parlor.  They talked and walked for about three hours and felt sufficiently acquainted to become engaged.  They courted and planned their marriage during walks in the moonlight.

MARIA: On the 10th of February 1866, I was married to Olof Andersson Andelin, a stone-cutter and mason, the man of my choice.  Bishop Edwin Wooley of the 13th Ward, Salt Lake City, performed the ceremony.  We were counseled to do that until I could learn the language a little, but that was wrong, we should have married in the Endowment House.  On the 25th of July 1868, we were sealed in the Endowment House.

RUBY: Grandma and Grandpa had eight children born to them, three of which died before they did.  Their home was a happy one, as their whole life together was one of deep love and respect for each other.  I never once heard my grandparents disagree on anything nor raise their voices in anger.  A spirit of peace was in their home. 

They joined the United Order in Richfield, which they lived for three years until it was dissolved by Elder Snow.  They were happy in the order and were content with their allotment.

Grandpa was called to work on the Manti temple, which he did for seven years.  He later build a lovely home for his family in Richfield.


Part V – Testimonies

RUBY: Grandpa was a true Latter-day Saint.  The Gospel was his entire life.  He lived its principles simply and unobtrusively.  It was as natural for him to do good as for water to run down hill.  He was modest and he was gentle.

MARIA: I have been a worker in the Relief Society for over 45 years, part of the time a member of the board.  I have worked in all the auxiliary organizations except Religion Class.  I have enjoyed my labors whatever I have been called to do.  I am thankful that I am worthy of being counted a good Latter-day Saint and I bear my testimony to all who hear these words that I know the Gospel of Jesus Christ is true and that Joseph Smith, the Prophet, was raised up to lay the foundation of this great work in this the last dispensation of the fullness of times.  

There is no church upon the face of the earth that can say they have the holy priesthood direct from God, only the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  It was revealed from God from his holy angels to Joseph Smith, the Prophet.

The Gospel has been my greatest educator, since my school education was very limited.  I can say that the Lord has given me a noble family.  I hope my posterity will follow the good example of their fathers.  I have done work in the temple for my people, what I could get of them.  It is so hard to get family connections in Scandinavia, they change the name so much. This is written for my future generations.  God bless them all.

Owner/SourceLinda Stay Danielson
Linked toOlof Anderson Andelin; Oliva Maria Lofdahl

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