By Iris W. Schow, Granddaughter of Michael Juel Schow
[There were some errors and incomplete sections in the copy I have, and I have tried to correct them and make them clear, where possible. If you have an updated version of this article, please e-mail me. -HSS]
Birth Record of Niels Christian Schow, 1816
FHL #051,176, Den Danske Folkekirke, Randers Sct. Morten m. Vorup
Niels Christian Schow, our ancestor and the founder of our family in America, was born on the 9th of February 1816, in Randers, Denmark. He was a son of Anders Jensen Schow, who was born in 1786 in Hebra, Randers County, Denmark, and Anne Christensen Ericksen, born in 1790, in Viborg, Denmark. (Viborg Co., N. C. wrote). Niels Christian Schow had one brother, James who was born the 3rd of December 1813.
Of Niels Christian Schow's boyhood we have no known record, but we do have some letters and records which he wrote. These indicate that he was educated to read and write well in the Danish language. He must also have received some instruction in music at some period in his life, as he served later as a choir leader, and also played in a band. He was skilled in the trade of tailoring clothing, and during his life in Denmark he earned his living at that occupation. His Granddaughter, Ane Henrie Excell states, "Grandpa used to tie and dye yarn, and it was very pretty." Mother Gedske said, "Mother said he tied and dyed yarn." (the 6th N. C. wrote)
On the 16th of January 1836, Niels Christian's mother died in Viborg County, Denmark. His father died in 1847 in Aalborg County, and his brother James died the 23rd of April 1848 in Slevich, so that there is no record that any of his immediate family were still living at the time of his conversion to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Niels Christian Schow's first wife was Marie Christensen, sometimes known as Marie From, because of the use of her step-father's surname. She was born on the 9th of June 1809 in Aalborg, Denmark, the daughter of Kristen Kristensen (Chresten Christensen, N. C.'s spelling) and Kerstine Rasmussen (Sonichsen, wrote N.C.).
The children of their family, born before their conversion, were:
Before the coming of the Mormon Missionaries, according to The History of the Scandinavian Mission, by Andrew Jensen, "In Aalborg, as well as in Copenhagen, there were in 1830, quite a number of Baptists who seemed to be very sincere in their worship, and the success following the preaching of the gospel in the capital of Denmark was undoubtedly the main reason why the attention of the first Elders was drawn to the same class of people in the city of Aalborg. Among the leading Baptists in the vicinity of Aalborg was Hans Peter Jensen, the owner of a large mechanical establishment in Norre Sundby. He was also "Forstander" or president of the Baptists in Aalborg and vicinity. This Mr. Jensen and other influential Baptists were evdeavoring to adjust some differences of opinion existing among the members of that denominiation concerning certain doctrinal points, when Elder (George Parker) Dykes, unexpectedly to them, arrived in Aalborg."
This was the situation in Aalborg when Elder Dykes arrived. William Niels Schow, son of Michael Joel Schow, told Iris W. Schow the following account of the conversion of Niels Christian Schow to the L.D.S. faith as he remembered having heard it in his family:
Niels Christian Schow and his friend, Hans Peter Jensen went to the meeting held by the Elders in Aalborg. They made up their minds they would get the missionary into the Jensen home and show him where he was wrong. Hans Peter Jensen invited the missionary to dinner, and Niels Christian Schow hastened to get his own dinner over with and rush to the Jensen home. When he arrived, H. P. Jensen was sitting leaning his head on his hand and listening intently, while the missionary was doing all of the talking. Niels Christian could see that Hans Peter was being convinced by the missionary. He did not last long himself in the discussion with the missionary. The two friends were converted, and they and their wives were among the first 8 baptized in Aalborg.
Continuing to quote from The History of the Scandinavian Mission (p. 17, col. 1), Mr. Jensen became one of his first converts and he, together with his wife, Sarah, Josephine Katrine Hensen, and six others were baptized on 27 October, 1850, as the first fruits of the gospel in the province of North Jutland. The names of the six others were: Niels Christian Schow and wife (Marie), Ole Christian Nielsen and wife (Else Katrine), and Hans Frederik Petersen and wife (Helene Nathilde). Some of these first converts in Aalborg subsequently became prominent and active in the Chruch, especially Hans Peter Jensen.
Niels Christian Schow's wife's mother and step-father, Erich Christian From and Kirstene From were baptized in November of 1850 in Aalborg. (N. C.'s record)
According to the History book quoted, there were about 100 Church members in Copenhagen and 30 in Aalborg and vicinity by the close of 1850. Twelve of the local brethren had been ordained to the lesser Priesthood, ten in Copenhagen and two in the Aalborg Branch. . . . In the Aalborg Branch, the Priesthood consisted of Priest, Hans Peter Jensen and Teacher, Niels Christian Schow. Niels Christian Schow, then, was one of the first 12 converts of Denmark to hold the Priesthood (p. 20). On January 4, 1852 the first conference to be held in Aalborg, Denmark convened. Niels Christian Schow was ordained an Elder and appointed to preside over the Aalborg Branch. His friend, Brother Jensen, became president of the new Vendsyssel Branch. Soon after, 30 persons were added to the Church at Aalborg (p. 44). On Thursday, August 12, 1852, the fourth general conference of the Scandinavian Mission convened in Copenhagen. The Saints in Vendsyssel were organzied as the Vendsyssel Conference with Elder Niels Christian Schow as president (p. 60).
On the 13th of September, 1851 Marie's last baby, Mary Magdalene Schow, was born dead at Aalborg. This indicates that the family was still living at Aalborg at that time.
Just when Niels Christian Schow's missionary work for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints began, we do not know. But he kept a brief diary beginning with January 1, 1853, which indicates he was doing missionary work at that time in the area north of Aalborg, which is cut off from the rest of the Jutland Peninsula by the Fjord of Limfjorden.
A few excerpts from N. C. Schow's diary follow:
Sat. Jan. 8, I traveled to Julsmark.
Wed. Jan. 12, I visited the saints and found much contention among them. We held a Baptismal meeting in the evening, and I spoke to them with much power, and they all prayed and humbled themselves.
Fri. Jan. 14, I baptized 9 at noon. We held Baptismal services (confirmation) in the evening . . . and all went well and peaceful.
The next portion is the most adventurous experience he recorded.
Thurs. Feb. 3, . . . I was in Hjirring and had a prayer meeting scheduled, which was not held. I had earlier spoken with a miller-apprentice who had been baptized, but had fallen away from the truth and its light, and he spoke with scornful force. He was dead to prayer and the Gospel. On Feb. 4th, I traveled to Oster where we were commanded to preach, whereupon I stood forth and bore testimony, but was soon interrupted. We were threatened, and they stood up against us, and twisted branches from trees and chased us, and we fled in the dark into a farm building. The mob followed us, and the light from a firebrand flickered near us, whereupon we hurriedly hid ourselves. But they searched for us both in the barn and stable loft. They got a lantern to aid in their search for us. In the loft they first found F. Gottfredsen, whom they dragged and buffeted among themselves. They said he should be baptized with three firebrands, whereupon they led him to Oster-AA (AA means creek) and threw him in. Here they found Brother Steffen Christensen, who they treated in a like manner; and then they found me and treated me likewise. After throwing me around several times, they at last flung me into Oster-AA, and I immediately rose and fled to where I arrived at half past eleven in the evening.
Of a local conference at Aalborg on Sunday March 27 and 28, Niels Christian wrote, "Everything went friendly and well," an expression which he often used. His modesty is shown in his account of the conference he attended at Copenhagen, of which he wrote:
"Wednesday the 30th of MarchI traveled in company with Brothers Larsen, etc. to Copenhagen, where we arrived April 5 at 6 o'clock . . . and Wed. the 6th attended conference there . . . Many speeches were given by the brethren of the priesthood." Yet on pages 76-77 of the History of the Scandinavian Mission we find: "On Wednesday, April 6, 1853, a general conference of the Scandinavian Mission was opened in Copenhagen, Denmark, it being the 23rd anniversary of the organization of the Church. The first meeting commenced at 10 o'clock, and after the opening exercises, president Willard Snow gave the Elders who presided over the different conferences an opportunity to report. Elder Niels Christian Schow, President of the Vendyssel Conference, J. Larsen, President of the Aalborg Conference, and Anders Andersen, President of the Fredericia Conference reported their labors and progress made in their respective conferences, as well as the condition of the Saints . . . . The gospel had spread throughout the land and missionaries had gone as far north as Skagen, the northmost point of Jutland, and everywhere the message declared by the Elders caused a great stir among the population . . . All the speakers encouraged the Saints to be humble and faithful. 'We have suffered long enough for our own sakes,' said Elder Schow, 'and we ought to rejoice now that we can suffer for the sake of Christ.'" Elder Schow is the only speaker at that conference who is directly quoted in the History. Following the conference, he arrived at Aalborg on the 15th and visited his family until April 24, 1853.
N. C. Schow's diary continues until June 2, 1853. In it he recorded many day to day accounts of meetings held and his personal efforts to settle differences among the Saints.
"On the afternoon of December 22, 1853," states The History of the Scandinavian Mission (p. 87), "the first emigrant Company of the season, the third emigrating company of Saints from Scandinavia set sail from Copenhagen on board the steamship Slesvig, (301 souls) under the presidency of Christan J. Larsen . . . . By way of Kiel, Gluckstadt, and Hull, the emigrants reached Liverpool, England, on December 28th, and on January 1, 1854, they went on board the ship Jesse Munn, chartered by the presidency in Liverpool for the transportation of the Scandinavian Saints."
"The company sailed form Liverpool January 3, 1854, and after a prosperous voyage, arrived at the mouth of the Mississippi River January 16th, 1854. On the 20th the Jesse Munn arrived in New Orleans, where . . . Larsen made a contract for further transportation of the company to St. Louis, Missouri."
Christina Schow Henrie's sketch states that the Schows left Denmark in 1853, "Going by sailing vessel to Liverpool, England, and then sailing on the good ship Jesse Munn to New Orleans, arriving there on February 16, 1854. The voyage was continued up the Mississippi River to Kansas City, Missouri, where they remained for a time preparing for the journey across the plains, which trip they made in Captain Hans Peter Olsen's Company. She walked the entire distance, except for two afternoons.
The History of the Scandinavian Mission (p. 88-89) states that the Jesse Munn Company and the Benjamin Adams group merged at Kansas City under Captain Hans P. Olsen, beginning the trek across the Plains on May 9, 1854. There were 69 wagons grouped in tens. "To each wagon were attached 4 oxen and 2 cows. From 10 to 12 persons were assigned each wagon." It is obvious why Christina had to walk. They arrived in Salt Lake Valley October 5, 1854.
Excerpt from Christina's sketch:
Their first home was made in Bountiful, Utah where they underwent all the trying hardships incident to the settlement of that country, among them, the grasshopper wars.
Before they got them a home of their own, they lived in Chris Hyrise's stable. While there, Niels Christian and his two oldest boys pulled the sunflowers and weeds from his wheat for 10 pints of flour a week. During this time, Marie, Christina, Michael, and James gathered pig weeds. They stripped the leaves and tender stems from the weeds and cooked them. Part of them were thickened with flour and baked into bread, using sour milk and salarotus, which they gathered from off the ground for soda to raise the bread. They walked a mile twice a week for skimmed milk. The rest of the weeds were stewed and eaten with the bread. This was their food supply for six weeks, for a family of seven. After the field of wheat was ripe, they pulled it and bound it into bundles. They were allowed to glean the heads of wheat from the edges of the field for their own use. They threshed it with sticks and carried it to the mill, where it was ground into flour. From that time on they were never without flour.
While at Bountiful (Sessions Settlement), Niels Christian Schow married a second wife, Anne (Anderson?) who had been born in Denmark in 1822. Anne died the 7th of December 1858, at Sessions Settlement, Davis County, Utah.
Niels Christian Schow and his wife Marie took their endowments the 19th of March 1857.
On the 19th of October, 1861 Niels Christian Schow married his third wife, Anne Marie Kirstine Rassmussen. Anne was born the 3rd of April, 1842, at Galton, Aarhus County, Denmark. Niels Christian's letters to his son, Michael, indicate there was a loving, harmonious relationship existing in his polygamous family.
The Schow moved to Brigham City, Box Elder County, Utah. The History of Box Elder County states, "In the early sixties, Brigham City maintained a good band," and N. C. Schow is listed among the members of it.
In the spring of 1863 the Niels Christian Schow family joined with a small group of Latter-day Saint families to found the little town of Mantua, in a small valley east of Brigham City. Here N. C. Schow did an important work as the first Superintendent of the L.D.S. Sunday School.
During theei years in Box Elder County, the following children were born to N. C. Schow and his thrid wife, Anne Marie:
At some time after the close of the year of 1866, Niels Christian Schow and his families moved to Panaca, Lincoln County, Nevada to help start this settlement for the Church. While they lived there, a child, Anne Schow, was born to Anne Marie on the 3rd of April, 1871. She was blessed 3 June, 1871, and died 20 August, 1871. The Henrie Family History states that the Schow families were called by the Church to help settle Panaca along with the James and Samuel Henrie families and others. Life at Panaca was hazardous because of the bitter opposition of mobs.
In 1871 the President of the Church released the Saints from the Panaca Mission on account of the bitter opposition of the Pioche miners and the controversy over the taxes, whether they belonged to Utah or Nevada. He told them they could go wherever they wanted to, but he would like James and Samuel Henrie and families, also Grandfather Schow and family to go over to Panguitch on the head of the Sevier River, and help settle that part of Utah. They really wanted to go back to Davis County, Utah, but an indication from the President meant the same as a "call!" So they made their preparations to move to Panguitch, Utah. When they arrived, the women were very discouraged. Cold winters and short growing seasons made them think it would be next to impossible to live there and rear their families, but that call from the President of the Church helped them to make up their minds to stay on. (The Henrie Family History)
On the 6th of April, 1873, a son, Louis Rasmussen Schow, was born to Anne Marie and N. C. He was blessed 13 April, 1873, by Brother Elmer, and died 24 September, 1873, at Panguitch, Iron County, Utah.
Carl Frederick Schow (Charles) was born to them on the 4th of December, 1874, and blessed by Brother James Henrie the same day at Panguitch.
Anne Marie Henrie Schow writes of what she has heard of her grandfather, N. C. Schow, "I know that Grandpa Schow was the choir leader for some time, and people have told me that he was a good one. Then he was a tailor, and a good one. He had a little table two and a half feet long and a big gooseneck sad iron he pressed with. He built the table. It was one and a half feet wide. I have it in my home at Panguitch and prize it very much. I also have the iron.
"Then Grandpa used to tie and dye yarn, and it was very pretty," Mother (Gedske) said.
Two or three times a year, at least, Niels Christian Schow wrote long, newsy letters to his son Michael and his wife Christina, who had remained at Mantua. These letters reveal much of his personality. He could write interestingly without backbiting or complaining. He always asked to be remembered to old friends. He discussed items of historical interest such as Andrew's exploring trips and the establishment of the United Order. Both of his wives were mentioned affectionately, and he always had respect and affection for his in-laws. He never ceased to admonish his son, Mmichael, to be loyal to the Gospel, and he always urged Michael to come to southern Utah. His sense of humor was frequently in evidence. His letters make good reading.
Niels Christian Schow died on the 2nd of February, 1879, at Panguitch, Utah. He was buried in the Panguitch Cemetery.
Niels Christian Schow's diary further states of this conference: "Brother W. Snow conducted the conference, and many topics were explained to friends of the Church. Everything went off friendly, and the conference closed April the tenth."
"Wednesday, the 13th I traveled in company with the brethren from Zion, Hagan and Pederson, also Larsen Bolm, and Tomesen, from Copenhagen via Aarhus to Aalborg, and arrived there on the 15th, where I stayed at Aarhus home with my family, and enjoyed visiting among the Saints until the 24th."
Another quotation from the N. C. Schow diary illustrates the man's zeal in the Gospel, and his happy home life: "Tuesday, 3rd of May, I had a talk with Brother Niels ________ and his children, who were weak in the faith, and found they wanted to be excommunicated from the Church. They said they had been baptized against their own wishes. I also had a talk the same day with Brother Black and his children, and found there was much conflict and doubt among them. I spoke pretty (or very) straight to them, and they confessed (or acknowledged) their sins and humbled themselves, although it was Wednesday the 4th before I really had them converted."
"Thursday, 5th of May, I held a meeting at Brother Niels Christian's, where most of the Saints were present. The spirit of the Lord was with those assembled, and all were happy in the Lord."
"I left there in the afternoon at 2 o'clock and arrived at ___havn in the evening about half past eight. there, to my great joy, my wife met me."
N. C. Schow's diary continues until June 2, 1853. In it he recorded many day-to-day accounts of meetings held.
William Henrie is the emigrant ancestor of the Henrie family in Utah. He and his family left their home in Kirtland, Ohio soon after they joined the Church and joined the Saints at Nauvoo, Illinois. They acquired an 80 acre tract of land, where they lived until the Saints were mobbed and driven out of Nauvoo to Utah. They endured the privation, the hardship and heartache common to the Saints who were driven from their homes and farms. William knew the Prophet Joseph Smith at Nauvoo, Illinois. On another page is a copy of his ordination to the office of an Elder in the Quorum of Seventies. This was issued in Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois the 3rd day of February, 1845. Also a certificate was issued after they came to Utah October 5, 1857.