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Jep Bendtsen
  • Født
  • 10 NOV 1796
  • Pedersker
  • Død
  • 1 JAN 1872
  • Weston, Idaho, USA

In the little village of Pedersker, Aaker Parish, in the southeast
part of Bornholm, Yeppa Benson (Jeppe Bendtsen) was born 20 October
1796. He was the son of Bendt Jensen and Kirsten Pedersen, the
seventh child in their family of eight. There were six sons and two
daughters. We know nothing of the early life of these sturdy, hard
working people.
On 5 June 1819, Yeppa Benson married Maren Kirsten Hansen Kofoed. To

them were born eleven children. Five grew to maturity: Hans, Karen,
Christina, Jens Peter and Martha. They owned a home and a small
acreage of land. He was a cottager in Aaker. In May 1844, he moved
his family to Vestermarie.
Educational opportunities were limited, so their daughter, Christina,

went to Copenhagen to learn dress making and tailoring. While there,

the first Latter-Day-Saint missionaries arrived in Denmark in June
1850. She was fortunate enough to hear and accept their message.
The first baptisms were performed 12 August 1850 and Christina was
baptized on 24 August 1850 by George P. Dykes. Karen was also in
Copenhagen, at that time, and was baptized 26 October 1850. Thus,
they were among the very first converts to Mormonism. Albert Zobell,

Jr. "Under the Midnight Sun", p. 25, states "--were active in the
Copenhagen Branch. The sisters sincerely bore their testimonies and
their lives were consistent with what they spoke--." Christina gave
the Elders financial aid. She took great pleasure in helping to
teach the Danish language to Erastus Snow.
Anxious to share their happiness and new found religion with their
family, they accompanied the Elders to Bornholm, their native land,
to do missionary work. Yeppa and his wife welcomed the Elders into
their home and assisted them in their work. Five persons were soon
baptized by Elder Agren as the first converts on the island of
Bornholm. All of their family joined the church except their brother


From "History of the Scandinavian Mission", p. 26-27

Andreas Agren and L.J. Ipson arrived on the island of Bornholm as
misionaries June 6, 1851. After holding a few meetings on the
island, they both returned to Copenhagen, giving an unfavorable
report of the prospects for preaching there. Their failure, however,

was partly due to the unwise conduct of Brother Ipson, who was
excommunicated from the Church, June 20, 1851. Brother Agren
returned to Bornholm soon afterwards, and two SISTERS BENDTSEN,
natives of Bornholm, who had been baptized in Copenhagen, also went
over to bear testimony to their friends and relatives. The gospel
seed soon fell into congenial soil and on July 10, 1851, five persons

(the first fruits of preaching the gospel on the island of Bornholm)
were baptized by Brother Agren. The next day he baptized two more.
Jens Nielsen (James Nelson), who later became Karen's Husband, was
the first person to be baptized in Bornholm. A history written for
the Yeppa Benson reunion held in June 1973 states, "persecutions were

severe, and stories from older family members, though not verified in

writing, tell us he was waylaid and beaten on his way home. He was
said to be an accomplished violinist, but because of the injuries to
his arm, was never able to play again." His home became a welcome
haven in those days of persecution. He lived in the fishing village
of Arnager.
"The village of Arnager became a cradle of Mormonism on Bornholm, and

Jens Nielsen, who died as a faithful member of the Church at Newton,
Utah ---was the first man baptized on the island."
Many of his neighbors listened with interest to the message of the
restored gospel, but out in the surrounding countryside, the farmers
were very unfriendly to the Mormons. President Erastus Snow wrote
from Copenhagen in1851, "to travel and preach the gospel a man
carries his life in his hands." More and more faithful Danes became
willing to take the risk despite the opposition. "It seemed indeed as

though the powers of earth and hell were combined to cursh the work
of the Lord in that land, but through prayer and fasting we received
strength and the clouds began to disperse," said President Snow.
Soon after the family joined the church, their home burned to the
ground. This was a great loss to them, but no doubt hastened the
plan already discussed to emigrate to America. They joined the first

large company of Saints to Denmark on 20 Dec 1852. About 200 Saints
under the supervision of John E. Forsgren sailed on the steamship
"Obotroit" for Kiel, Germany (Under the Midnight Sun, Albert L.
Zobell, Jr.).
There were storms encountered on the way to Kiel. After a railroad
trip to Hamburg, Germany the saints boarded the steamship "Lion" and
sailed down the Elbe River toward the North Sea, bound for Hull,

Source: Manuscript History of Church Emigration, 1849-1857
Form: CHURCH - Week Ending December 23, 1967

"This week in Church History: Converts Note Christmas Aboard Ship"

Dec 20, 1852 - Nearly 300 converts from Denmark, Sweden, and Norway
sailed from Copenhagen, enroute to Zion.
If there was any homesickness aboard the steamship "Lion" on
Christmas eve, the malady was quickly cured with the enthusiastic
singing of Christmas carols in the ship's crowded saloon. An
impromptu program of readings, vocal solos, duets, instrumental
numbers and games added to the gaiety. Out on the deck, some of the
passengers braved the chilly night air to watch the countryside,
lighted by a bright moon, silently slide past the ship. Small gifts
were exchanged and children hopefully set out wooden shoes near their

bunks in hopes that Jule Nissen, the Christmas Elf, would fill them
with goodies.
Also helping to dispel any twinges of homesickness, was the assurance

that the converts were going to Zion, where they could practice their

religion free from the harassment and ridicule they had suffered in
their homelands.
Already, they were several days' journey from their port of
embarkation, Copenhagen. The "Lion" was gliding down Germany's Elbe
River toward the North Sea.
The emigrants would not soon forget their departure from Copenhagen.

Along with the many well wishers, who had come to bid fond and
tearful farewells, there had been some scoffers, who predicted
nothing but bad luck for the followers of the "Swedish Mormon
Priest". They were referring to Swedish-born John E. Forsgren, a
missionary, who had been appointed to lead the company to America.
From Copenhagen, Denmark, the group had sailed to Kiel, Germany taken

the train to Hamburg, Germany where they had embarked on the "Lion"
bound for England. Thus far, everything had gone well, in accordance

with the carefully laid plans of the Scandinavian Mission leaders.
Not in the plans was a wild storm--the sailors swore it was the worst

they had seen--that threatened to tear the ship apart in the North
Sea. Bulldozing waves ripped off the bridge and pushed the deck
cargo over the side taking a section of the gunwale with it.
The port authorities at Hull, England were surprised to see the
wounded "Lion" escape after such a pounding. They estimated that 150

vessels had gone down in the storm.
Glad to be on land, the immigrants took a train to Liverpool, England

where, on New Year's Day, 1853, they boarded the packet ship, "Forest

Monarch", for the longest part of their sea journey.
Storms delayed the sailing for 16 days and even while the ship lay at

anchor in the harbor it had two close calls because of the storms.
One night, it became entangled with another vessel and the two bumped

each other enough to cause some damage, before they could be pulled
apart. In another gale, the "Forest Monarch" nearly drifted aground
before tugs came to the rescue.
Source: Manuscript History of Church Emigration, 1849 - 1857

Yeppa Benson was bitten by a dog while in Hamburg, Germany and was
counseled to return to shore and wait for the next company. There
has been some question as to whether he was able to continue on to
America with his wife and children, but immigration records, found in

1956 in the Church Historian's Office, show that Yeppa Benson, Maren
Kirsten Benson, Peter Benson, and Christina Benson crossed the plains

in Captain John E. Forsgren's company and arrived in Salt Lake City,
Utah 30 September 1853. Storms and contrary winds kept their vessel
anchored in the river Mersey, in England, for two weeks. Perhaps
during that delay in the ship sailing, his leg healed enough to sail
with the family, or if he did stay behind and sail with a later
company, he got to Keokuk, Iowa in time to join his wife and family
in the trip across the plains.
When the sails were actually hoited on 16 January 1853, the company,
under President Forsgren's direction, numbered 297 saints. Crossing
the ocean was a long, tedious journey filled with trying events.
Provisions were poor, fresh water was exhausted before reaching the
port of New Orleans, Louisiana, USA. Four deaths were recorded and
three children were born during the crossing. After a 59-day
passage, the ship arrived at New Orleans, Louisiana, on 16 March
The crossing to New Orleans, Louisiana, USA required almost two
months. The company took a riverboat to Saint Louis, Missouri, where
they bought tents and other equipment before continuing on to Keokuk,


When their teams and wagons were brought into camp, they scorned the
clumsy wooden yokes, devised by the Americans for harnessing the oxen

to the
wagons. Instead, they made leather harnesses, Scandinavian style.
But when they hitched up the oxen, the nervous animals, unused to
such trappings, ran pell mell across fields and gullies, wrecking
some of the wagons.

Source: Manuscript History of Church Immigration, 1849 - 1857

With 34 wagons and 130 oxen, the company rolled out from the camping
ground near Keokuk, Iowa on 21 May 1853, arriving three weeks later
in Council Bluffs, Iowa (near Omaha, Nebraska). After a brief one
and 1/2 week rest, they continued their journey, departing on 27 June

1853. The immigrants suffered much hardship crossing the plains. A
number of saints died, and a number of children were born. After
traveling a distance of 1300 miles, they arrived in the Great Salt
Lake Valley on 20 September 1853. This was the first large company
of saints to immigrate to Utah from the Scandinavian countries.
Jeppe and Maren's other daughters, Martha and Karen, with Karen's
husband Jens Nielsen (James Nelson) and their baby daughter,
emigrated in 1854. Many of the Saints became ill with cholera in
their company, and Karen's daughter succumbed to the disease on 13
April 1854, shortly after arriving in St. Louis. Martha, Karen, and
husband Jens arrived in Salt Lake City on 5 October 1854.
The Benson family soon settled in Lehi, Utah County, Utah. Yeppa was

a farmer in Denmark, so it is assumed he followed the same profession

in Utah, although there is little information available. Maren's
life in Utah was short. She died in 1856 in Lehi. Her daughter,
Martha was working in Salt Lake City. She came to Lehi to visit and
found her mother had passed away and had been buried.

As regards to the four children of Yeppa and Maren Kirsten Benson:
CHRISTINA, married Mons Anderson, 3 July 1854. They were the parents

of six children and made their home in Lehi, Utah. She died 28
December 1909, and is buried in Lehi, Utah.
KAREN and her husband, Jens Nielsen, lived in Newton, Utah. He died
in 1875, leaving a wife and three children. Some of her family
helped to settle the Snake River Valley area in Idaho. Karen is
buried in Rexburg, Idaho.
MARTHA, married William Bell in 1859. She died in 1879, in Newton,
Utah, leaving a husband and eight children. Her family helped
pioneer the country around Rexburg, Idaho. Both Martha and William
are buried in Newton, Utah.
JENS PETER, married Mary Jane Simpson in 1854. They divorced within
six months. He married Mette Christina Ericksen in 1855. He was a
member of the 39th Quorum of Seventy in Salt Lake. They moved to
Lehi, Utah, where he followed his trade as a carpenter. In 1858, he
married Kirsten Ericksen (aka CHRISTINA MARTENA), a sister to Mette.
He moved his family to Clarkston, Utah and later to Newton, Utah.
His wife Mette, died in 1876. He married Christina Nielsen in 1879.
He was Second Counselor in the Newton Bishopric, a diligent temple
worker, and filled several home missions. He was one of eleven men
in Newton who lived the United Order. He was the father of 25
children (including a stillborn daughter).
Jens Peter died 21 June 1898, in Newton, Utah and is buried in the
Newton Cemetery.

In 1862, Yeppa married Hannah Hansen. Hannah was born 17 March 1825
in Ringerrike, Buskerud, Norway. She married Henry Hoffman while in
Norway, but apparently left him when she emigrated to Utah. She had
two children by that marriage: one died in infancy and the other,
Henrietta, age 8, came to Utah with her mother. Hannah and her
daughter sailed 16 May 1961 on the ship "Monarch of the Sea" bound
for New York. Immigration records of those crossing the plains
indicate that Hannah and her daughter arrived in Salt Lake City on 22

September 1861. The following year, Hannah married Yeppa Benson of
Lehi, on 16 August 1862. At this time, he was 66 years old and she
was 37. There were two children born to this marriage: WILHELMINA
(Minnie), born 20 October 1864, and Yeppa, born 1 April 1866.

Yeppa Benson was sealed 16 August 1862 in the Endowment House in Salt

Lake City to three wives:

Maren Kirstine Hansen Kofoed, Christine Marie Aagesen, and Hannah
Mathea Hansen. Temple records also indicate Yeppa Benson was sealed
to Ingra
Christina Anderson in March 1864.

Early in April 1865, a little band of pioneers left their homes to
settle some land near Cache Valley. This settlement is now called
Weston, Idaho. The early settlers in Weston had a very hard time.
They lived in dugouts with an open fireplace and chimney for heating
and cooking. They had trouble with the Indians and the first few
years their crops were destroyed by crickets and grasshoppers. Early

in the 1870's, the people began taking land under the Homestead Act
and the settlers built log houses to replace the dugouts.

Yeppa moved his family to Weston in 1870, where they homesteaded some

land. We know little about the early life of the Benson family in
Weston. We know they worked very hard and, like most pioneers,
didn't have much. His son Yeppa became a successful farmer and stock

raiser in Weston. They were faithful Latter-Day-Saints and tried to
teach their children the principles of the gospel. The winters were
very cold in Weston and there was a lot of snow. Yeppa froze his
feet and also had problems with his leg that had been bitten by the
dog in Hamburg, Germany.

Yeppa passed away on New Year's Day, 1 January 1872, in Weston, Idaho

at the age of 75 years.

As regards to the children of Yeppa Benson and Hannah Hansen:
WILHELMINA (Minnie) married Hans Christian Lund, 10 October 1881, in
the Endowment House. They made their home in Weston, Idaho and were
the parents of seven children. Two children died in infancy. She
died on 11 March 1893 leaving a husband and 5 children.

YEPPA married Catherine Swivel, 27 September 1889, in the Logan
Temple. They made their home in Weston and were the parents of 9
children. He took an active part in church affairs. He filled a
mission to the Northern States and was a ward chorister and ward
Sunday School Superintendent for many years. He worked in the Mutual

Improvement Association (MIA) and acted as President of the 142nd
Quorum of Seventy. He was set apart as Bishop of the Weston Ward in
1911. He died 27 Nov 1929.

Hannah Mathea Hansen Benson, wife of Yeppa Benson, died 8 March 1902
in Weston, Idaho at the age of 77 years.

This history is a compilation of information from several sources:
Histories written by:
Amy Benson Richardson, great-grand-daughter of Yeppa Benson
Norma Christenson, great-grand-daughter of Yeppa Benson
History of the Scandinavian Mission, Andrew Jensen
"Under the Midnight Sun", Albert Zobell, Jr.
"Pioneers and Prominent Men of Utah", p 380, 751
"Manuscript History of Church Emigration"
"History of Cache Valley"
Personal Family Records

Compiled by Anette Hancey Lunceford
459 East Stadium Avenue
Provo, Utah 84604
Phone: 801-375-9145

Jep Bendtsen
10 NOV 1796 Pedersker
1 JAN 1872 Weston, Idaho, USA
Bendt Jensen
17 MAY 1758 Pedersker
AFT 1800 Pedersker
Jens Ipsen
1718 06. sg. Øster Skovgård, Åker
AFT 1787 Pedersker
Jep Jensen
1689 06. sg. Øster Skovgård, Åker
1745 26. sg. Skovgård, Åker
Kirstine Henrichsdatter Sort
1690 04. vg. Sigård, Åker
1727 26. sg. Skovgård, Åker
Elisabeth Nielsdatter
AFT 1787 Pedersker
Kirsten Pedersdatter
BEF 1777