Isaac Sorensen and the Sorensen Family : Introduction
Nineteen-year-old Issac Sorensen and his brother Peter arrived in Cache Valley in the spring of 1859 and settled in Mendon, Utah. By autumn, the rest of the Sorensen family arrived -- parents Nicolai and Malena, brothers Abraham, Jacob, Christian and Henry, and his sisters Sophia, Christine, Mary and Larsine-the family settled in the location that Issac had mapped out.
Isaac was born February 24, 1840, on the island of Sjaelland in Denmark. In the middle of the nineteenth century, young Isaac had a strong desire for a new way of life. In 1854, when the missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints approached Isaac’s father -- a farmer and wheelwright and member of the Lutheran Church -- Nicolai consented to let the “Mormons” teach their family. The first to be baptized in the Mormon faith were Isaac and his brother Abraham; these two then converted the rest of the family.
Nicolai sold his land in the spring of 1857 and made arrangements to join the Latter-day Saints in what they called Zion. The Sorensens’ voyaged from Copenhagen to England by way of a steamship, then across England by train to Liverpool, where they booked passage on the Westmoreland for the trip to America. After an arduous seven weeks across the Atlantic, they arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. From there, the family journeyed by train to Iowa City, where they were equipped with a sheltered wagon for the final leg of their journey to the Great Salt Lake Valley.
The Sorensens had just arrived and settled in Mill Creek when word came of the approaching Johnston’s Army. Isaac and his brothers were called to help defend Zion against invasion. In the Mormon worldview, Zion was the name given to the territory of Utah. Later, Nicolai, obedient to orders from President Brigham Young, moved his family south to locate near Fillmore until recalled to Salt Lake City. It was at this time that Isaac and Peter moved to Cache Valley, Utah where Isaac contributed to the establisment of the Mendon community.
Isaac and his wife Mary Sorensen
History of Mendon
History of Mendon : A Pioneer Chronicle of a Mormon Settlement by Isaac Sorensen. Also called Isaac Sorensen's History of Mendon. Edited by Doran J. Baker, Charles S. Peterson, Gene A. Ware ; introduction by Charles S. Peterson ; photographic galleries by Richard B. Watkins, Paul R. Willie.
On November 15, 1869, Isaac, now twenty-nine years old, married Mary Jacobsen (Poulsen) in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City. Ten years later, he received a missionary vocation from the Mormon Church to his native Denmark. Due to his mission, Isaac left his wife and five children to run the Mendon farm. Once Isaac returned from his mission, he settled down, farming and raising his family, which eventually included eleven children -- William, Malena, Hannah, Bertha, Alma, Mary, Joseph, Henry, Ina, Eulalia, and Olive.
Isaac was a confident writer; he wrote numerous songs and a small volume of poetry. In addition to keeping a personal journal, he also narrated events in Mendon and Cache Valley. His keen observations have been preserved in this exhibit, and his contribution to the historical preservation settlement of Mendon.
During his lifetime, Isaac held several offices in the community, and he was a leader in local education. In addition, he led the Mendon Ward choir for fifty-six years, was superintendent of the Sunday School for forty years, and served as a member of the stake high council for nineteen years.
Isaac Sorensen resided in Mendon City all his adult life. He died there November 7, 1922, at the age of eighty-two and was buried in the Mendon cemetery.
Issac Sorensen Family
Left to Right Back Row: Joseph C. Sorensen, Bertha Sorensen, William I. Sorensen, Malena Sorensen and Alma N. Sorensen. Center Row: Henry C. Sorensen, Eulalia Sorensen and Ina Sorensen. Front Row: Mary Eva Sorensen, Mary Jacobsen Sorensen, Olive Sorensen, Isaac Sorensen and Hanna Sorensen.