Melena & Nicolai Sorensen

Magdelena Olsen was born March 21, 1807, in the town of Fjenneslev, Sorø Amt, Sjælland, Denmark. Her parents were farmers. At the age of twenty-three, Malena married Nicolai Sorensen. They went to the town of Haverup, Sorø Amt, and settled on a farm of sixty acres. She became the mother of twelve children, eight boys and four girls. Two of her boys died in that home.

In the year 1854, a Mormon elder came to Haverup and commenced holding meetings. Malena, with her husband and members of her family, attended the meetings and were convinced of the Mormon gospel. In 1855, Malena, husband and family were baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They were exceedingly happy in their new life.

In the spring of 1857, they sold their home and headed towards Utah Valley. They all endured the long journey and arrived in Salt Lake City, Utah, on September 13, 1857. They first settled in Mill Creek, Salt Lake County. This was the time of the Utah War (1857–1858), also known as the Mormon Rebellion. The Mormon Rebellion was an armed confrontation between Mormon settlers in the Utah Territory and the armed forces of the United States government. There were some casualties, mostly non-Mormon civilians. The war had no notable military battles. The company she came with passed their large freight wagons on the plains. Malena and her family went to Towd Town [Pond Town] (Salem) [in Utah County] and returned to Mill Creek the same summer. In 1859, the family moved to Mendon, Cache Valley. They were among the pioneers of Cache Valley.

Malena passed through the many hardships of those early times with patience and endurance. She was a devout Mormon, was said to be kind to the poor, and with her husband, gave means to help others immigrate to Zion (i.e., Utah). She died as she had lived, pious and faithful, on March 30, 1887. Her husband died the same day and they were laid in the same grave. The inscription on their tombstone reads, “Not dead, but resting from mortal strife. You’ve won the Victory, and passed to Life.[1]

(Because there were three Mary Sorensen’s living in Mendon during that time, it was the practice to give them their husbands’ first initial as a distinguishing feature to tell them apart. It would seem that this new addition to the names became real. There are documents from the LDS church that give Mary Jacobsen Sorensen, wife of Isaac Sorensen, the name as Mary I. Sorensen.

[1] Magdelena Olsen Sorensen, Life Sketch, Mary I. Sorensen, January 16, 1920. Unpublished Manuscript.