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Neils Isaacson Bertha Katherine Johnson

Neils Isaacson and
Bertha Katherine Johnson

Page Contents

Bertha Katherine Johnson photograph courtesy Lisa Talbert, 1 July 2002.

History of Neils Isaacson and Bertha Katherine Johnson

Neils Isaacson was born January 6, 1817, at Aannerud, Asker, Norway, a-son of Isaac Neilson and Massa Evans. He was baptized October 1859 in Jellom Lake, Norway by C, Hanson. His father was killed while playing in the band on a celebration day, May 17. Grandfather was sitting by his side also playing an instrument, a clarinet, although he was very young. He had one sister, Patranella who came to America and was last heard of in New Orleans. His mother died before he was 10 years old and his father married again and two daughters were born, Karen who stayed in Norway and Martha who came to America and lived at Bear Lake.

Bertha Katherine Johnson was born April 6, 1826 at Lier, Buskerride Co., Norway, a daughter of Aager Johnson and Hila Anders . Her mother died when she was 13 years old, after which she lived with an old aunt who was very well to do, but who disowned her when she joined the church. They had belonged to the Lutheran Church.

Neils Isaacson and Bertha Katherine Johnson were married September 18, 1850. They joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in October 1859. They were baptized in Jellom Lake by C. Hanson. Grandfather first heard the Elders and was converted that they had the true religion and insisted on Grandmother attending a meeting. She was anxious to join. After they joined the church they were very good to the Elders and they gave entertainment to them whenever possible. They sold their belongings by auction to procure means to emigrate to Utah. They were six weeks on the ocean coming in a sailing vessel, "Monarch of the Sea." There was much sickness on board because of the drinking water becoming foul. They witnessed an ocean burial. After landing at Castle Gardens, New York, they came by rail to the Missouri River. They had 4 small children, Mary Ellen and Petra Annette born at Aannerud, Asker Co., Norway, and Ingeborg Maria and Lorenzo born at Drummond, Norway. At Florence, Nebraska one child took sick and died. Here they purchased, with the help of the Emigration Fund, 3 yoke of oxen and a wagon and continued their wearisome journey across the plains. At Fort Laramie, Wyoming, another child died and was buried in a lonely grave on the trail that is now marked to show the sacrifices made for Mormonism.

When they arrived in Utah,.1861, they stayed one month in Salt Lake City, then moved to Hyde Park, and at the persuasion of C. H. Monson, moved to Logan where another child, Isaac, was born and died. Here grandfather played in the band and played for the choir. In May 1865, they moved to Richmond, again at the request of C. H. Monson, with whom they lived for a short time until they purchased the home now owned by Ray Johnson. Three other children were born here, Caroline, Martha and Neils Henry. Grandfather was a tailor by trade. He played the violin for the early dances here, also played for private weddings. Many times he walked to Logan for a violin string. His hobby and recreation was fishing and until he was 85 years old, walked to the river to fish and always gave the fish he caught away. He gave lessons on the violin.

Grandmother was the most generous and kind person I have ever known. She loved to work outdoors and hers was one of the early flower gardens in town. She budded trees and planted all kinds of shrubs and trees. She always had something good for us children. Faithful to the last through all their trials she always said, "It is the Lord's will."

They spent the last years of their lives at our home and at Aunt Maria's. Grandmother died September 30, 1904, 78 years old. Grandfather died December 27, 1909, 93 years old.

April 17, 1942. No living children, 20 grandchildren, 79 great-grandchildren, 105 great-great grandchildren and 4 great-great-great grandchildren. Total 218.

Mary Ellen Died 1924 Petra Annetta Died 1861
Ingeborg Maria Died 1941 Lorenzo Died 1861
Isaac Died 1869 ? Caroline Died 1899
Martha Ann Died 1868 Neils Henry Died 1891

(By Inez Evelyn THOMPSON STODDARD (1894-1966), daughter of William THOMPSON and Mary Ellen ISAACSON. Inez was a granddaughter of Neils. I [Robert Raymond] obtained my copy of this history from Wanda THOMPSON WISER, a niece of Evelyn. Lisa Talbert identified Evelyn STODDARD as the author, from a note written on her copy of this history, obtained from her Aunt Reva. Email dated 11-June-2003.)

Pioneer and Prominent Man of Utah Go to Top

Neils Isaacson/Came to Utah, October, 1851, Harry Walton Company.
Neils Isaacson
Born Jan. 6, 1817, Christiania, Norway. Came to Utah Sept. 13, 1861.
ISAACSON, NEILS (son of Isaac Neilson and Massa Evans, both of Christiania, Norway). Born Jan. 6, 1817, at Christiania, Norway. Came to Utah Sept. 13, 1861.

Married Bertha Catherine Ogis Sept. 8, 1850 (daughter of Ogis Johnson and Hila Anders), who was born April 6, 1826, in Norway and came to Utah Sept. 13, 1861. Their children: Mary Ellen b. Nov. 21, 1851, m. William Thompson; Ingeborg Maria b. March 5, 1857; m. Jens Christian Johnson; Petra Annette b. Oct. 21, 1854; Lorenza b. Oct. 18,1859; Isaac b. Feb. 9, 1864; Caroline b. May 14, 1865, m. Justin V. Shepard; Martha Ann b. July 27, 1867; Neils Henry b. April 4, 1870.

(Pioneers and Prominent Men of Utah, Frank Esshom, 1913. The photograph comes from p. 526, the text from p. 954.)

History of my Grandfather, Neils Isaacson Go to Top

By Bertha Estella Thompson Whittle


Neils Isaacson
eils Isaacson, my motherís father, was born on the 6th of January, 1817, in Annerud, Asker, Norway. He was married to Bertha Catherine Aageson or Johnson, September 18th, 1850 and later sealed 29 November 1867.

My grandparents were converted to the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints by missionaries who were made welcome in their home at all times. They sold their belongings at auction and with a family of children sailed for America. They were six weeks on the ocean and when their money ran short, they borrowed from the emigration fund to complete the journey, paying it back later.

In Norway, grandfather owned his own fishing vessel and did tailoring. He was a very good musician; composed music and he played for dances and at 22 years was playing at a dance when a stray bullet killed his father.

They lived at Hyde Park for a while then came to Richmond where he got work at Monsonís planning mill. He often walked to Logan to get strings for his violin. He played for dances when I first started to attend. That was when I was about 14 or 15 years old. I always loved to go to their home. He played his tunes regularly to keep in practice. They kept a few cows and chickens and always had a nice garden and orchard. The gardening was all done by hand.

Grandfather had his favorites with his grandchildren. He did not have patience with a cross child.

When crossing the plains, they buried two of their children and two more after they arrived in Utah. Their son, Henry, as a young man was very proud and liked to have things nice. He went to work on the railroad in the Northwest to get money to build a new home as their place was just a two-room log house with a small attic and fruit cellar. Henry took spotted fever and was brought home dead which nearly did my grandfather in. They held services in the home dooryard.

Having been born in Norway, he naturally loved to fish and in his later years would walk miles to fish, but if he didnít get the right kind, it went back into the river.

Grandfather lived to be 93 years old. I never knew him to be sick. He used wisdom in all he did, with his work and also with his eating. When I was young and he wanted to tell mother something he didnít want me to hear, he would talk Norwegian.

("History of my Grandfather, Neils Isaacson by Bertha T. Whittle/History of Neils Isaacson/1817-1909," Bertha Estella Thompson Whittle, date unknown. Provided courtesy Bertha's granddaughter, Lisa Talbert, 9 July 2002.)

Emigrants on the Monarch of the Sea Go to Top

No. Year Last First Ship Age Church Conference Area
3887   1861   Isaksen    Niels Monarch of the Sea    40    Brevig Norway
3888 1861 Isaksen B Cathrine Monarch of the Sea 35 Brevig Norway
3889 1861 Isaksen Maren H Monarch of the Sea 8 Brevig Norway
3890 1861 Isaksen Petrea A Monarch of the Sea 6 Brevig Norway
3891 1861 Isaksen Ingeborg M   Monarch of the Sea 4 Brevig Norway
3892 1861 Isaksen Lorentze Monarch of the Sea 2 Brevig Norway

(LDS Emigrant Roster and Voyage History, Crossing the Ocean, 1840-1869, Grant Davis, 1997. On CD.)

Emigrants from the Scandinavian Mission

1861 on "Monarch of the Sea" (Only Ship this Year)
Page 102
Brevig [Conference]
     Niels Isaksen40     Tailor           Norways        
B. Cathrine Isaksen35
Maren H. Isaksen 8
Petrea A. Isaksen 6
Ingeborg M. Isaksen        4
Lorentze Isaksen 2(Male)

(Emigrants from the Scandinavian Mission, 1853-1881(6). FHL Film 025696. Transcription onlineSince this link exits to a different website, 
it will be displayed in a new window.)

Mormon Immigration Index

Passenger List, by Family, Monarch of the Sea, departure 16 May 1861:

Name Birthdate Gender Age Origin Occ Conference Notes
ISAKSEN, Niels <1821> M 40 Norway Tailor Brevig BMR, p. 80; see also p.30; SMR, p. 102
ISAKSEN, B. Cathrine <1826>    35 Norway    Brevig SMR, p. 102
ISAKSEN, Maren H. <1853> F 8 Norway    Brevig SMR, p. 102
ISAKSEN, Petrea A. <1855> F 6 Norway    Brevig SMR, p. 102
ISAKSEN, Ingeborg M. <1857>    4 Norway    Brevig SMR, p. 102
ISAKSEN, Lorentze <1859>    2 Norway    Brevig SMR, p. 102

BMR - British Mission Registers, 1849-1885, 1899-1923. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. FHL Films 25690-25695.
SMR - Emigration Records, Scandinavian Mission (Denmark, Norway, Sweden) 1852-1920. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. FHL Films 25696-25697.

(Mormon Immigration Index, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2000, on CD.)

The Monarch of the Sea Go to Top

Monarch of the SeaShips, Saints, & Mariners

Ship: 1979 tons: 223' x 44' x 24'
Built: 1854 by Roosevelt Coyce & Co. at New York City, New York.

Of the Mormon companies crossing the water under sail, the two largest were transported over the Atlantic in the largest sailing ship used by the Saints -- the Monarch of the Sea. According to one of these passengers, she was "an excellent vessel, large, roomy, new and clean." The 1929 Mormons in the two companies were an assembly of nations, coming from England, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, France, and Switzerland. The first company, consisting of 955 Saints, sailed from Liverpool on 16 May 1861. Elder Jabez Woodard presided over the passengers, which included some returning missionaries. His counselors were Elders Hans O. Hansen and Niels Wilhelmsen. Captain William R. Gardner of Providence, Rhode Island, commanded the ship. An experienced mariner, he apparently was master of the 934-ton ship Huguenot in 1849 for the New Line. During the passage the Saints were organized into eleven wards and lived together harmoniously. There were eleven weddings, nine deaths, and four births on shipboard. After thirty-four days at sea the Monarch of the Sea dropped anchor on 19 June at New York.

The second company, totaling 974 Saints, sailed from Liverpool on 28 April 1864. Elder John Smith, patriarch to the church, was in charge of the emigrants. His counselors were Elders John D. Chase, Johan P. R. Johansen, and Parley P. Pratt, Jr. Master of the packet was Captain Robert Kirkaldy. This company also represented many nations, particularly Scandinavia. Although the voyage of thirty-six days was quite pleasant, the death toll was unusually high -- forty-five according to George Q. Cannon and forty-one according to the passenger list. Most of those who died were apparently children. The ship arrived at New York on 3 June.

A big three-decker, this clipper ship was exceptionally strong and fast and operated in the Washington Line out of New York. Built with the usual three masts, a round stern, and billethead, she was owned by Captain William R. Gardner and other businessmen. After more than a quarter of a century in service the Monarch of the Sea was reported lost in 1880.

(Ships, Saints, & Mariners ó A Maritime Encyclopedia of Mormon Migration 1830-1890, Conway B. Sonne, 1987.)

Monarch of the Sea

Date of Departure: 

16 May 1861   

Port of Departure: 


LDS Immigrants: 


Church Leader: 

Jabez Woodard

Date of Arrival: 

16 Jun 1861

Port of Arrival: 

New York, New York


BMR, Book #1047, pp. 46-84 (FHL #025,691); SMR,1861 (FHL #025,696) pp. 87-103; Customs (FHL #175,568)


"THE LAST SHIP OF THE SEASON. -- The packet ship Monarch of the Sea, Captain William R. Gardner, sailed from this port for New York on the morning of the 10th instant, having on board about 960 of the Saints, being, we believe, the largest number of Saints that have ever been shipped upon one vessel.  The company was composed of various nationalities -- people form Great Britain, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Switzerland, &c., &c.; those from the Scandinavian nations being the most numerous. Elder Jabes Woodard was appointed president of the company, and Elders Hans O. Hansen and Niels Wilhelmsen were appointed his counselors.   Elder Woodard was called on a mission to Europe at a general conference of the Church held at Great Salt Lake City, April 6th, 1857.  Since his arrival in Europe he has been laboring in the Swiss and Italian Mission, having had the presidency of that mission a greater portion of the time.  The Lord has been with him in his ministrations, and his efforts have been crowned with much success; and though he has had much to contend with in that country, in consequence of the little liberty and toleration existing in matters of religion, yet he has been kept out of the power and hands of his enemies, and free from the effects of their wicked machinations.   Elder Hans O. Hansen left the Valley in the spring of 1860, to attend to business in Norway.  While there, he labored faithfully in the ministry.  Elder Niels Wilhelmsen has been actively engaged in the Scandinavian Mission, visiting the various branches and conferences, and doing all in his power to build up the Saints.  Recently he has been acting as president of the Copenhagen Conference.   There are a number of elders from Scandinavia who have been engaged in the ministry as presidents of conferences, travelling elders, &c., on board the Monarh [sic] of the Sea, on their way to Zion; also several who have been engaged in the ministry in Great Britain.  Among the former are Elders Jens Neilsen, Gustavas Ohlson, and Saamund Gudmundsen.  Among the latter are Elders Samuel Francis, William H. Kelsey, E. L. T. Harrrison, Edward Reid, and Thomas Smith. These brethren have hailed the day of their deliverance -- long looked for by them -- with much gladness.   Early on the morning of the 16th, before the ship sailed, the presidency of the mission, with others of the priesthood, met with the Saints, and gave them such items of counsel and instruction as were adapted to their circumstances, Elders John Van Cott, Jabes Woodard, and John L. Smith interpreting in Danish, German, and French.  An excellent spirit prevailed, and all felt to rejoice.  It was a truly interesting spectacle to witness the assembling together of so many members of different families of nations on one ship -- no less than ten nationalities being represented -- all actuated by one motive, all possessed of one faith, filled with the sprit of love and union, going to Zion in fulfilment of words spoken by inspiration of the Almighty many centuries ago.  If signs and wonders would convince this generation of the truth, there would be no room for doubt after witnessing the oneness of faith, the unanimity of feeling, and the singleness of purpose that pervaded the minds of men and women in this company of Saints.  Brought together from various nations, educated in different beliefs, with different views and prejudices, they were nevertheless, through obedience to the truth, able to see alike, to rejoice in the one hope, and to move forward, actuated by one impulse, for the accomplishment of the same object; all able to bear the same testimony in their various languages that God had revealed his gospel in purity and power from the heavens, and had, through his servant Joseph Smith, re-established his church on the earth in these days.  And this has been accomplished through the blessing of the Lord upon the labors of poor, unlearned; but yet heaven authorized and richly endowed men!  Men seek for signs, asking the servants of the Lord to show them, that they may believe; yet this is a sign which is comparatively unnoticed, but which ought to be patens to the world, and sufficient to cause them to acknowledge that it must be the truth -- the pure gospel of Jesus -- which brings forth such fruits. "
<MS. 23:21 (May 25, 1861), pp. 328-29>

"Thurs. 16 [May 1861] -- The packet ship Monarch of the Sea sailed from Liverpool, with 955 Saints of various nationalities, under the direction of Jabez Woodard, H. O. Hansen and Niels Wilhelmsen.  The company arrived in New York June 19th."
<CC, p.65>

". . . On Thursday, May 9, 1861, a company of 565 Scandinavian Saints (373 Danish, 128 Swedish, and 64 Norwegian) sailed from Copenhagen by steamer 'Waldemar.'  President John Van Cott, who accompanied them to England, joined the emigrants at Kiel.  Elders Hans Olin Hansen, Niels Wilhelmsen, Jens Nielsen, Gustaf A. Ohlson, Saamund Gudmundsen, Carl W. J. Hecker, Anders Frantzen and others returned home or emigrated with this company, after having labored faithfully as missionaries in the Scandinavian Mission.  After a successful voyage the company arrived at Kiel in the morning of May 10th, and were at once forwarded by special train to Altona, where they arrived about noon.  In Altona the company was divided into two parts, of which one (about 200 Saints) immediately boarded the steamer 'Brittania' and departed for Hull, England, about 3 p.m. the same day.  They arrived at Hull May 12th.  The second division (169 souls), having been quartered in a large hall overnight, left Hamburg May 11, 1861, at about 3 p.m. by steamer 'Eugenia,' which, after a pleasant voyage, arrived at Grimsby, England, on the morning of May 13th.  The captain of this vessel treated the emigrants with all due respect and kindness, while the opposite was the case on the steamer 'Brittania.'  The two companies joined together again at Grimsby, where they were comfortably cared for until the morning of May 14th, when they proceeded by special train to Liverpool, arriving in that city about 2 p.m.  Two hours later they were placed on board the ship 'The Monarch of the Sea,' the largest vessel that had carried Latter-day Saint emigrants across the Atlantic up to that date.  This company of Saints was also until then the largest to cross the Ocean on one ship.  On May 16, the company was organized by Presidents Amasa M. Lyman, Charles C. Rich and George Q. Cannon, who appointed Elder Jabez Woodard from Switzerland, president, with Hans Olin Hansen and Niels Wilhelmsen as his counselors.  At 11 a.m. the great vessel lifted anchor, and, amid great cheers of parting friends, the ship left the wharf and began its long voyage.  Later the large company was divided into districts, the Scandinavians in seven and the English and Germans into three or four, each under a president.  The names of these presidents were: Edward Read, John J. P. Wallace, Horace Pegg, Peter Nielson, Saamund Gudmundsen, Gustaf A. Ohlson, Aaron G. Oman, Lars C. Geertsen, Johan Fagerberg and Rasmus Nielsen; the latter also acted as marshal for the Scandinavians.  Elias L. T. Harrison was appointed chief secretary, while Lars C. Geertsen was chosen to act as clerk for the Scandinavians.  The emigrants were kindly treated by both officers and crew on shipboard and the provisions were good and sufficient.  Some inconvenience was experienced in getting the food cooked on the ranges, on account of the great number of pots and kettles to be served in the kitchen, and on this account each family could only cook five times each week.  The sick were treated to wine and beer; the adults received boiled sago and the children had milk.  On the voyage from Copenhagen to New York nine persons, most of whom were children, died; 14 couples were married and four births took place on board.  Of the marriages 11 couples were Scandinavians.  Among them were Anders Frantzen of the Aarhus Conference and Maren Motensen of the Copenhagen Conference. Saamund Gudmundsen and Ellen Maria Mork of the Brevig Conference, and Carl W. J. Hecker and Karen Marie Madsen of the Vendsyssel  Conference.  The weather was favorable most of the time during the voyage; the ship, however, had to battle against the wind a couple of days.  Large icebergs were passed among which was one judged to tower 200 feet high above water.  On June 19th the 'Monarch of the Sea' arrived in New York, where the company was met by Elder Jones and Williams and lodged at Castle Garden.  Apostle Erastus Snow, who also happened to be in New York at the time, spoke to the Scandinavains in the Danish language.   From New York the company traveled by rail and steamboat (part of the way in two divisions) to Florence, Nebraska, the first division arriving at Florence July 1st, and the second July 2nd.  The route taken was about the same as the year before (via Dunkirk, Cleveland, Chicago, Quincy, St. Joseph, etc.).   Preparations for the journey across the plains were at once made and all who had not the means to fit themselves out for the long journey were assisted by teams from Utah, which this year for the first time were sent in large companies by the Church to the Missouri River to assist the poor Saints in gathering to Zion.  Most of the Scandinavians grant[ed] assist[ance] in this manner crossed the plains in Captain John R. Murdock's company, which left Florence in the begging [sic] of July and arrived in Salt Lake City, Sept. 12th.  The rest of the emigrants -- those who possessed sufficient means to help themselves -- left Florence a few days later under the leadership of Captain Samuel A. Woolley with about 60 ox teams.  After traveling for some distance, the company was divided into two sections, and Elder Porter was appointed captain of the second division.  On Sunday, Sept. 22nd, this company arrived safely in Salt Lake City. . . . "
<HSM, pp.154-56>

(Mormon Immigration Index, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2000, on CD.)

More Info on Niels Isaacson's Emmigration

Sunday, 24-Aug-2003 22:41:50 MDT