Anna Dortea Nisson: by Forthilda Iverson Funk
Anna Dortea Nissen was born 13 May, 1835. LDS Church membership records show her birthplace as Nørske Hoe, Gørding District in Ribe County, Denmark. I have not been able to find a place called Norske Hoe in Gørding District or Ribe County. A history written by her daughter, Forthilda Iverson Funk, lists her birthplace as Vium, Hemmet, Denmark. I found Vium and Hemmet in Ringkøbing county, but no place called Vium, Hemmet. I have not yet found a birth record for her in the parishes around Vium or Hemmet. She married Hans Peter Iverson 18 April, 1859 on the ship William Tapscott. She bore the following children with him.
- Anna Christina: Born 30 October, 1860 in Mt. Pleasant, Sanpete, Utah
- Jubltine: Born 12 November, 1862 in Washington, Washington, Utah
- Musser Cenia: Born 5 December, 1864 in Washington, Washington, Utah
- Forthilda: Born 18 August, 1867 in Washington, Washington, Utah
- Hans Peter: Born 31 December, 1869 in Washington, Washington, Utah
- Anna Dortea: Born 29 November, 1872 in Washington, Washington, Utah
- Jeppe Andrew: Born 30 June, 1875 in Washington, Washington, Utah
Laron Waite - 2017
Anna Dortea Nisson Iverson was born May 13, 1835, in Vium, Hemmet, Denmark. She was the daughter of Nils Christensen and Anna Poulsen Christensen, When she was about ten months old and in the nurse's care, she fell and injured her hip. She cried a great deal, but her injury was unnoticed until she was old enough to walk. She was very slow in learning to walk and limped on one leg. There were no doctors in the town to help her overcome her affliction. As she grew, it was discovered that she could not run or play games or do heavy work such as milking, making cheese, cleaning the barns, and field work as was the custom of Scandinavian girls. Her father and mother felt very badly that Anna Dortea was not strong and active like the other children. She was especially loved and tenderly cared for and every consideration was shown her by her parents, three brothers and one sister.
Anna Dortea Nisson
They decided that Anna Dortea should have as good an education as could be had at that time. She became an apt student and a beautiful penman. The family belonged to the Lutheran Church, and so she memorized many chapters and quotations from the Bible which caused the pastor to be especially attracted to her. She also learned dressmaking and millinery. Her house and home life were very beautiful.
Her father owned a large farm or estate which required much help besides that of the family. Her brothers learned other trades besides the farming, one of which was basket making.
Anna Dortea's father had houses built for his workers on his farm and she often took her sewing and would visit with these families. It was in one of these homes that she learned of Mormonism. The Missionaries had come to this home and preached the Gospel. At one time when she was visiting, the missionaries were there and talked of the Gospel to her. Anna told her parents about this new religion. She became very interested and after study and prayer, she believed that it was the truth. She told her parents that she would like to become a member of the Church. They replied that it was a very serious thing, but she was old enough to know and to decide for herself. One of the missionaries whom she knew well from learning of the Gospel came to her home and talked to her parents about her baptism. They again stated that if she wanted to have it done, and if that would make her happy, that they would consent. She was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day-Saints in 1857
Real sorrow came when they wanted to emigrate to America. Her father had taken it for granted that the missionary and Anna Dortea were to be married at that time, which was not their intention. He offered them deeds to a home and land in Denmark, but Anna Dortea was determined to go to Zion, so her father gave her the money to take her there. There were many converts of the Church and all were anxious to emigrate and go to Zion in order that they might be with other members of the Church.
When the minister of the Lutheran Church learned of Anna's Conversion and baptism, he was very much concerned and came to talk to her father and asked him not to let her have the money to emigrate. He told all kinds of stories about the Mormons. Anna's father told the minister that he had told Anna that she could have the money and that he would not go back on his word.
Her parents knew nothing of America, excepting that it was a new country and had to he pioneered. This meant that their daughter would have hardships that she had never known and would be very far away from those that loved her so very much.
The missionary's family had already gone to America, and he had been left in Denmark to fill a Mission.
Finally they were ready to depart. They left feeling that it was the last time they would he together. They sailed on the ship William Tapscott. The company of emigrants was under the leadership of Robert Neslin. After a few days out, there were seventeen couples married. Among them was the missionary, Hans Peter Iverson and Anna Dortea Nisson. They were seven weeks on the sea. As soon as they landed in New York, there were great preparations to leave for Utah immediately. Hans Peter secured a cart big enough to take their belongings and also large enough for his bride to ride part of the way. He also bought a big white ox which he named Columbus.
After many hardships crossing the plains, they went to Mt Pleasant, Utah, where his family lived, and where they intended to make their home. There were many Danish converts living there. Peter built a small home there where their first child, a girl, was born. After they were fairly well settled, a call came from the Presidency of the Church for them and several other families to move to southern Utah, Dixie, to raise cotton and cane in order to settle that part of Utah.
They settled in a little town five miles cast of St. George where there was an abundance of water. There were springs of water north, east, and south of the town, with the Virgin river one mile south and plenty of land for homes. About twelve Danish and Swedish families were living there. They were all honest and industrious converts and were determined to make the best of heir opportunities.
The first thing the new immigrants did was to build homes for their families. Peter took his cart and ox to the river where willows were growing and brought some back to make a room large enough for a bed and a table made out of a box. The floor was of dirt. He made an oven of mud outside to cook in. Here their second child was born, another little girl. It was a fairly comfortable home and a protection from the sun which was very hot in Dixie. They were anxious to build an adobe room before cold winter came. There was much to be done on their farm and in their garden. Hans Peter and Anna were not idle for a minute with their new activities.
Anna wrote her parents in Denmark as often as she could, but it was not an easy task. Stamps and paper were difficult to get, and the chance of getting to Salt Lake to buy them were rare. The mail had to be forwarded by missionaries and it was sometimes months between letters.
After getting good homes, grape arbors, cows, chickens, and gardens, five of the Danish families decided to go up into the mountains and start ranches where it was cool for the summer heat was almost unbearable. They named the ranch the Danish Ranch. It was a lovely place settled in the mountains and had a stream of water running through it. Each summer they lived here and raised crops, cattle, and fattened their pigs on corn. The women made butter and cheese. In the Fall they would move back to their homes in town where the children could go to school. By now Hans Peter and Anna Dortea had five children.
Since wood was scarce in Dixie, Peter planted a fourth of a block in cottonwood trees which grew very rapidly. Some of these could be topped every other year to furnish the wood for the winter. He would chop it up while green and pile it up to dry for use. There was also a stream of water running through this grove of trees, and Peter fixed a big brass kettle on stones so that a fire could be made under it and Anna could use it for a wash tub. The children made swings and hunted birds nests in this grove.
Anna Dortea had one brother, Neils, that was very bitter towards the Mormons, and the thoughts of them taking his idolized sister away made him more bitter. After she had gone, he had an accident which injured his leg and kept him confined to the house for weeks. He read and studied some of the literature she had left and was almost converted. his bitterness against the Mormons vanished, and he had a strong desire to go to America to be among the Saints and to see for himself how his sister was getting along. He left home and came to America and shortly after arriving he joined the Church. Later he married a fine girl. To Anna it was a great comfort to have him near. He also wrote letters home which were a comfort to his parents and they would wear them out reading them over and over again. Later another brother, Hans, came to America and joined the Church and also married a Mormon girl.
In 1873, Peter was called on another mission to Denmark. They now had six children, five girls and one boy, and were expecting another child. After he had been gone for a few months, a baby boy was born. While he was gone, two of his children died with diphtheria, the oldest boy and a little girl that had beautiful golden curls and blue eyes, and the baby boy died with whooping cough. Friends were very kind and considerate to Anna and her two brothers were also a great comfort to her. Hans Peter was not able to come home at this time, but returned from his mission which had lasted three years sometime later.
Anna Dortea was always a friend to the Shivwits Indians. They came every day to see her, and she never turned them away without food of some kind - potatoes, squash, or bread. Every Fall of the year the Indians would gather in great crowds and go to the mountains to hunt deer and gather pine nuts which they would sell. They made the hides into buckskin, moccasins and trousers. They would kill rabbits and make cloaks out of the skins. When they would go on these long trips for weeks or months, they first brought their dried berries and meats to Anna and asked her to care for them until they returned.
She was a friend to everyone especially the children and always gave them little bits of sweets to eat. At the end of a day's visit a little neighbor boy seemed reluctant to leave. When Anna Dortea asked him if he didn't think he had better go home so that his mother would not worry about him, he asked expectantly, "Well, Sister Iverson, aren't you going to give me anything to take home?" Rather surprised she asked him what he would like and he replied "Anything to eat."
She lived to the age of 93 and died in 1928 at the home of her daughter.