John E Forsgren Company (Forest Monarch) 1853

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The John E. Forsgren Company was the first large company of Saints who emigrated to Utah from Scandinavia.


Timeline of the Voyage and Overland Journey[edit | edit source]

  • December 20, 1852: Two hundred and ninety-three Saints sailed from Copenhagen, Denmark on the steamship Obotrit.
  • December 22, 1852: The steamship Obitrit arrived at Kiel, Holstein, Germany and traveled by rail the next day to Hamburg.
  • December 24, 1852: The saints boarded the steamship Lion and sailed down the Elbe River to Cuxhaven.
  • December 25, 1852: The Lion sailed to the mouth of the river and made the open sea by midnight.
  • December 28, 1852: The Lion entered the harbor at Hull, England.
  • December 29, 1852: The Saints arrived in Liverpool, England.
  • January 1, 1853: The Saints boarded the packet ship Forest Monarch which was anchored in the river Mersey.
  • January 16, 1853: The ship Forest Monarch sailed from Liverpool, England, with 297 Scandinavian Saints, under John E. Forsgren's direction.
  • March 8, 1853: The Forest Monarch arrived at the mouth of the Mississippi River and arrived on the sixteenth at New Orleans.
  • March 31, 1853: The Saints traveled up the Mississippi River to St. Louis.
  • April 1853: Arrive at Keokuk, Iowa where they prepared from the overland journey West.
  • May 21, 1853: With thirty-four wagons and about one hundred and thirty oxen the company departed Keokuk.
  • Sept. 30, 1853: The company reached Great Salt Lake City.
  • Source: Millennial Star, Vol. XV, pp. 89,282, 368; Morgenstjernen, Vol. I, page 180. Andrew Jensen. " Church Emigration" the Contributor Vol. XIII, August 1892, pp. 458-460.


Church Emigration Agents

  • Willard Snow, Scandinavian Mission President
  • Samuel W. Richards, British Mission President
  • John Brown, Agent,New Orleans
  • Horace C. Eldridge, Agent,St. Louis
  • Isaac C. Haight, Agent, Keokuk

Forest Monarch[edit | edit source]

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  • Fred E. Woods and Nicholas J. Evans. "Latter-day Saint Scandinavian Migration through Hull, England, 1852-1894. BYU Studies 41 (2002):75-102
  • Fred E. Woods. " From Liverpool to Keokuk: The Mormon Maritime Migration Experience of 1853." Mormon Historical Studies 4 (Fall, 2003):3-24
  • David Buice. "When the Saints Came Marching In: the Mormon experience in Antebullum New Orleans, 1840-1855." Louisiana History 23 (Winter,1982):221-237
  • John E Forsgren Company partial roster Journal History dated Sept 30, 1853

Keokuk[edit | edit source]

In 1853, Keokuk on the west bank of the Mississippi river, in southeastern Iowa, was selected as an outfitting place for the Saints who should cross the plains, and from there the long overland journey was commenced to the valley, instead of from Winter Quarters or Kanesville, as in previous years. This change in outfitting place made the journey with teams three hundred miles farther than heretofore. Elder Isaac C. Haight, who was Church emigration agent at the outfitting point, selected a very healthy camping place at Keokuk, on a bluff near the river, where there was plenty of wood and grass handy.The citizens of Keokuk manifested a benevolent feeling towards the Saints,which was highly appreciated by them. The first emigrants from Europe arrived in Keokuk early in April. The Elvira Owens company arrived on the thirteenth of April; the Falcon company arrived in the beginning of June, the Camillus company about the middle of the same month, and by the eighteenth of June there were about one thousand Saints on the camping ground. While the Saints were encamped at Keokuk good health was rule prevailed among them;also a most excellent spirit, and one of the Elders writes that it certainly was a great pleasure to walk through their camps in the evening, and hear their songs of praise and humble petitions as they offered them up from their tents and wagons. In consequence of the high prices paid for oxen, cattle, and the general outfit necessary for crossing the plains, some of the Saints did not get through as comfortably as they had anticipated; but nearly all who left the shores of Europe with the intention of going to the Valley that season, were enabled to do so. The wagon companies left Keokuk in the following order: Elder J.W. Young started with thirty-two wagons of the £10 Saints, and about ten wagons of others. Elder Cyrus H. Wheelock followed with thirty wagons of the £10 and P.E. Fund Saints, and ten or fifteen wagons of others. Elder C.V. Spencer started with about forty wagons, sent out by the P.E. Fund Company. Elder Appleton M. Harmon followed with twenty two wagons of the P.E. Fund Saints. Elder John Brown started about the twentieth of June with ten wagons of the £10 and P.E. Fund Saints, and ten wagons of others. This was the last company of the season, according to Elder Brown's statement: but it is possible that other companies,not mentioned in the foregoing,crossed the plains that year. There was at least one, namely, the Scandinavian company, which left Keokuk on the twenty-first of May, and arrived in Salt Lake City, on the thirtieth of September. The last company under Captain Brown arrived in Salt Lake City, on the seventeenth of October. Beside the European emigration a large company, under Captain Daniel A. Miller, consisting mostly of the last Saints from the Pottawattamie country, left the camp ground at Winter Quarters June 19th, 1853, and arrived in Salt Lake City September 9th, 1853. This company numbered two-hundred and eighty-two souls, who traveled with seventy wagons, twenty-seven horses and four hundred and seventy head of cattle.

Source: Andrew Jensen. Church Emigration. The Contributor, vol. XIII. Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret News Publishing Company,1892.pp. 466-467.


Published Sources

  • Fred E. Woods and Douglas Atterberg. "The 1853 Mormon Migration through Keokuk." Annuals of Iowa 61 (Winter 2002):1-23.
  • William G. Hartley. "Mormons and Early Iowa History (1838 to 1858): Eight Distant Connections" Annuals of Iowa 59 (Summer,2000):217-260.
  • William G. Hartley. " LDS Emigration in 1853:The Keokuk Encampment and Outfitting Ten Wagon Trains for Utah." Mormon Historical Studies 4 (Fall,2003):43-76.
  • Alois J. Weber. History of Mormon Encampment in 1853. Lee County Historical Society Publications. No. 7 (Keokuk, 1963)
  • Alexander L. Baugh. "Remembering the Mormons in Lee County, Iowa: Marking the Past in Montrose and Keokuk." Mormon Historical Studies 4 (Fall, 2003):175-184.
  • Polly Aird. "Bound for Zion: the Ten and Thirteen Pound Emigrating Companies, 1853-1854." Utah Historical Quarterly 70 (Fall, 2002):300-325.
  • Stanley B. Kimball. " The Saints and St. Louis, 1831-1857: An Oasis of Tolerance and Security." BYU Studies 13(Summer,1973):
  • Historical Research Index. " 1853 Mormon Immigrants Who Camped in Keokuk." Mormon Historical Studies 4 (Fall, 2003):123- 166.

Related Websites

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Diaries, Journal Accounts[edit | edit source]

Related Sources[edit | edit source]

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