about Elsie Katherine Christensen
by A. H. C. (Albert H. Christensen)
In her young days, she was of medium stature (tall?). Had a very happy
disposition. A general favorite with her family and friends.
Ice broken from stream, when her baptism took place. On account of her
actions, and while she was not in any sense driven from her home, she
was made to feel their great disappointment, and in order to save them
from extreme embarrassment that she had caused them by joining this very
unpopular sect, she left home and found employment in the home of what
later proved to be her husband's family, Christen Christensen. The Christensen
family at that time was among the wealthier class of families in that
part of Denmark. Later most of the family joined the Church."
Christen paid the passage for 31 people, including his own family, to
Utah, and loaned a considerable sum of money to returning missionaries.
Elsie Katherine Christensen, with others, walked across the plains in
the company known as the Abner Lowry company. They arrived in Sanpete
county in the late fall of 1866, and located at Manti. Two children were
born at Manti, C.I. Christensen and A.B. Christensen.
She always had an intense love for education. As soon as she arrived in
the U. S., she set about to learn to read. Succeeded in very short time.
Took interest in public matters, especially in the health of the people
of the community, and in the education of her children. Two older boys
taught to read at home. When they started to school they were able to
commence in Third Reader.
She taught children while carding and spinning. Her love of education
accounts for fact that every member of the family of ten, except the oldest,
had some college training.
Medical Experiences of Elsie Katherine Christenson
by A. H. Christensen
While living at Mayfield, she had sickness in the family. The oldest
son became seriously ill. There were no doctors and she had little knowledge
of the rules of health, so as soon as he recovered, she and her husband
arranged that she was to go to Salt Lake to seek training in obstetrics
and such medical knowledge as she should be able to obtain. Her husband
took her to the end of the railroad in the northern part of Juab Co. (several
days journey). She went to Salt lake and remained six months. Acquired
splendid attainments - knowledge of obstetrics and general practice of
medicine, as understood at that time. (Marginal Note: In her doctor's
book, she states that she started to take lessons from Sister N. Olsen
in Salt Lake city, May 12, 1879)
The lady from whom she received her training became very interested in
her. When she arrived, the aged doctor said, "I have had many apply
for my knowledge of medicine, but I refused them all. I was waiting for
the right person to come and I have found that person in you." She
stayed in the doctor's home for the entire six months. The aged lady spent
practically all her time in transmitting to her all the knowledge she
had. Gave her all her books and recipes for all her home remedies.
When she returned to Mayfield, she became the community doctor. Was called
into service, not only for obstetrics, but for every kind of ailment.
She made her service one of love and mercy. Family moved to Gunnison in
1880. She was only person in southern part of County with any medical
knowledge, and her services were utilized from Salina on south to Sterling
on north. Family became accustomed to hearing wagons drive up at all hours
of day and night, and in a few minutes she was on her way. Always kept
medical kit prepared. Upon organization of town of Gunnison, she became
town physician, and served in that capacity for some time.
She bore 11 children, two of whom died in infancy. Adopted two others.
With all her work, she did not neglect her family. The health and education
of her children were her first concern. Took great interest in public
affairs. Never missed an opportunity to vote - after she was accorded
In 1890, she returned to Denmark to visit her family, taking with her
an adopted child. Family celebrated return of "lost sister."
She stayed three months. Made second trip in 1910 - with husband.
(Notes from Mrs. C.)
Elsie K. Christensen borrowed money to go to Salt Lake because of a very
vivid dream. Knew where to go when she arrived. Old lady doctor (educated
in Copenhagen) had also had dreams, so recognized her as the one she had
been looking for. Old lady died soon after she gave information.
SERVICES FOR PIONEER WOMAN TO BE HELD TODAY
November 23, 1923
Passing quietly away at her home last Sunday night, Mrs. Elsie Katherine
Christensen ended peacefully a 76-year career of active service. "Do
good to those in need" seems to have been her guiding motto, for
a careful study of her history shows her activities to have been directed
along these lines. From her earliest childhood, she has been devoted to
She was born in Thisted, Denmark, February 9, 1847, the daughter of Andrew
Christian and Mette Christine Hvid Christensen. Early in 1865, she was
baptized into the church, and on April 22nd of the following year, she
married L. M. C. Christensen. The following month, the new couple left
for America, leaving home and family for the sake of the Gospel.
They arrived in Manti, in October of that year, having endured the hardships
of the sailing vessel on the ocean, and the ox team across the plains
they moved to Gunnison from Manti, and then became associated with the
United Order at Mayfield - later moving back to Gunnison, where they spent
many years. Later they moved to Manti, then to Salt Lake, and finally
back to Manti, which has been their home since.
They reared nine children and two foster children to maturity. They have
54 living grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren.
Mrs. Christensen has been a devoted mother to her family, wife to her
husband, and ever ready to give service to her Church, and to those in
need. She was the first doctor-nurse in Gunnison valley, and served in
the Relief Society, both as an officer and teacher. Also in the Primary
Association. She has been especially devoted to the gathering of her genealogy,
and has a record back to the fifteenth century. She has made two trips
back to her native land, once alone and once with her husband, to gather
genealogy, and has devoted years of service in the temple to work for
her dead relatives and friends.
She is survived by her husband and the following children: Andrew B.,
Salt Lake, Joseph C., Gunnison; Albert H., Manti; Mrs. Elsie K. Bartholomew,
Goshen; Mrs. Emma E. Peterson, Gunnison; Louis D. Evanston; Arthur M.
of Gunnison; and Elvira Clark, Goshen; and Mrs. Tessa Lacy, adopted daughter,
Notes from DUP Membership papers (Elsie K. Bartholomew)
My mother was the only member of her family to join the Church, and for
that reason was disowned by them. She and her husband went to America
with Christian Christensen, her husband's father. At the age of seventeen
she left a home of wealth, the privilege of being educated in college,
and her loved ones for the sake of the Gospel.
Father acted as minute-man during the Black Hawk troubles.
Because of Father's poor health, mother needed some means of supporting
her family. She went to Salt Lake and took a course. She was the first
doctor-nurse in the valley, and brought over 1500 babies to this world.
Seven of the nine children were given the opportunity of attending the
BYU in Provo.