NOTE: This is taken from the book:
History of Anders Vilhelm Sorensen
born 9 Nov. 1855 d. 28 Dec 1923
(known in America as)
Andrew William Sorensen
Compiled by Marilyn S. Fleming
Copy in the LDS Family History Library, Salt Lake City, UT
OUR FATHER'S HISTORY
This book has been copied just as Father wrote it up to the time he came from his mission. Not one word has been added or taken away. The last paragraph was written by his eldest daughter. In addition, each one of his children has added his memories of Father and Mother. It has been compiled and made into book form by one of his children for the sole purpose of bettering our lives and that our children may know their grandparents. Even though we are older and most of us have grown families, we can read over the writings of Father and gain inspiration and guidance for our everyday lives. It will give all who read it a better understanding of the truthfulness of all things and desire to do better each day we live. Our hearts are full of gratitude for having such choice people for our parents. Our heritage is great and through this blessing our efforts and accomplishments, if we live right, should be unlimited.
This book has been written in the plain, simple language of a great man, our Father.
A SHORT SKETCH OF MY LIFE
by William Sorensen
I was born of goodly parents on the 9th day of November in the year of our Lord, 1855, in Denmark, in a place called Hallemslex [Hallenslev] Saby Sogen Hallaksmt [Holbækamt].
My father, Na Hans Sorensen, was born the 30th day of September, 1825. My mother, Na Ane Neilsdatter, was born the 25th day of December, 1822. Both of them were baptized on the 5th day of February, 1858,. by Elder O. Poulsen. Father was confirmed a member of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints on the 14th of February, 1858, by Elder A. Anderson. Mother was confirmed on the 16th of February, 1858, by Elder O. Poulsen.
My father was a weaver by trade and he was very poor and when he obeyed the Gospel, the people where he then lived got angry at him and would not support him with their work, so he was forced to leave that place. He then moved his family to Jylland to the city of Aarhus in the year 1858 and got work as a stone cutter. He rented a little place about six miles from the city where we could keep a cow and a few chickens. He moved his family out there, which consisted of five, mother and four children.' Our new home was called Mosgaard Hus. We were now quite comfortable and father had to go to his work again, but that was all right with us children. We could have all the bread and milk we could eat, but it was a little different with mother. She had to be alone and care for us, and tend the chores, but she together wit:h father would work with love to support us, and were happy to know they were members of the Church of Christ and that they had a testimony of the same and that they could live in peace.
I was then four years old. I remember my mother would go out gleaning wheat and rye in the summer. She would take a sack and my little sister on her arm and the rest of us would catch hold of her dress and when evening came we would toddle off for home. Though tired of packing her burden, Ma would get us some bread and milk and we would play around the house and gladden the heart of a loving mother.
Since father was off to work yet, I was now so big I could help Ma a little with the cow and other things. My little sister was now four years old, I six, and we had no baby; but on the 11th of July, 1962, we had a brother brought to us and he was made welcome by all of us. I was now the middle one of five. Now we were too many to stay home and my brother and elder sister had to work out and I was left to help Mama with the little ones and in the winter I would go to school.
MY FIRST JOB AWAY FROM HOME
I was 8 years old
Those were the happy days of my childhood when I could play around my parental home. That didn't last long for in the year 1863, I was then eight years old, I could begin to tend cows. My father hired me out to a man by the name of Handrop. I should have two dollars for the first summer and a pair of wooden shoes. I would herd cows in the grove. Now my trouble began. In Denmark the days are very long in the summer and very warm. There are also some big cow flies and they would bother the cows so they would stampede and I would run for dear life to herd them so they should not get into damage. I would cry and run and run and cry. I thought of my dear mother and sister and my little brother and of the happy days I used to have and wished myself home again. But it was no use, I had to stay. Summer went and winter came. Then I should go to school. That went all right to begin with but it wasn't long until the children knew I was a Mormon boy, and nearly all the school children hated me. Even the teacher could hate and if he could get half a chance he would punish me more than the rest because I was a Mormon boy. I would tell my mother at night when I got home. She would console me by saying, "You do not need to care for that, they will soon stop and the time will soon come when we will get of Babylon and go home to Zion."
Soon it was spring again. I was then hired for a year to the same man and my wages were double. That is, the money part, and I should go to school two days a week in the winter; but I had no time to study as I was busy with my work. My lessons were neglected and I would catch it from the teacher and he would say, "I'll learn you, Mormon." When I had a spare moment would run home to mother to be comforted as she lived only a littIe way from the place where I stayed. Thus I spent that and the next year with the same man. My sister worked for the same man the next year. That made it a little better for me.
In the year 1865, in the last part of the year, Handrop hung himself. It put an end to my working for him. My father then hired me out to another man and I should have twelve dollars which is the same as six dollars in American money. Now my schooling was ended and it was a limited one. I could scarcely write my own name. The new folks seemed to be very nice for a few days, but I soon found I had been deceived. I should go to school one day a week but that was stopped. I had too much work to tend eleven cows and many other chores. He also had a hired man working for him who would work with the team. I was sometimes so tired that I could not sleep at night. Now I had no mother to run and see for she had moved to the city of Aarhus, as father had his work there and mother did the housekeeping for the missionaries. So I had to bear my burden. If I made any complaint I would get a slap side the head by the man I worked for. Soon the other boy left and then he, the man, asked me to take the team and haul some rocks. I did so and one day as I was gathering rocks, a bird came flying and scared the horses and of course they ran away and broke the wagon and harness and kicked each other quite bad. Of course, I expected he would nearly kill me. We ran to catch then and when we got then I ran for the house. His wife then came out and when he made for me to give me a thrashing she jumped between us and told him to strike her. Thus I was delivered from his clutches that time. I stayed there two years and endured many hardships.
When my time was up my father came to take me home to help him cut rocks and I was glad of it. Mr. Willerson then offered to double my wages but father thought I could do more good at home. His family was still in the office. I rested for a few days and then began my new work. I had a good father and would do all in my power to learn how to handle the hammer. In the evenings I could go home and see my dear mother. That was a treat for me and I could also have a chance to read and write both Danish and English as we had Brother J. Howgaard for President and he was willing to teach us. That did not last long. Soon we, Father and I, and his man, went to Sans So to work and we would be gone for months at a time. I was now in my 13th year, it being 1868. We would work late and early to try to get enough .money to go to Zion, but it seemed to be impossible and sometimes father and I would get disheartened. Thus we worked three years.
AMERICA ... HERE WE COME
In 1870 my elder sister got helped out. [She left Denmark and came to America.] In 1871 the Lord opened the way so that my mother and younger sister and brother got off. Now Father and I were left to fight our way through the best way we could. My eldest brother was married but he could not see that the Gospel was true. He was a good man and I loved him as I did the rest of the family and I would go and see him when I could and it would cheer me up a little for all my plans were to work hard every day. Brother P. Madsen was then President, and he promised me in the name of Jesus, if I would be faithful, that the Lord would open the way for Father and me next year and that when I got to Zion I would be blessed a hundred fold. My father was not so strong as he might be. I sometimes thought I had a hard lot and I was the middle one of five which seemed to me to be the unlucky one. There was nothing else to do but work. A year went by and it was a hard one. Father and I would get up in the morning as soon as we could see and kept on until it was dark at night; but the time went and in the month of June 1872, our deliverance came for me and Father to go home to Zion, to the place where God has said that his people should gather.
Though I did not know the Gospel was true, I believed it with all my heart and the thought of soon seeing my dear Mother, brother and sister was great; but there was still one left whom I loved as dearly as those who had gone before us. He had no excuse so far as the Gospel was concerned because father had taught him that for years and he was now a married man and was able to judge for himself. On the 21st of June 1872, I bade my brother goodbye. It was a sad moment. After I had said good-bye I ran on the ship and stood behind a mast. The last sight of my brother was with his arms clasped around father's neck. Both of them were crying. I remember the Saints sang the old farewell song, "Tell Babylon, Tell Babylon, We Say Farewell". It was not long till we were out of sight.
ON THE WATER
Next day we arrived at Kjahenhaven [Kjobenhaven]. There we stopped a day at some hotel. I remember that I went down on the street and stood looking at the many people as they went past. Among them were two boys. They asked me if I was a Mormon. "Yes", was my reply. One of the boys had a shovel handle which he struck me with. I fell to the ground. I do not remember how long I lay there but when I got up I was very sick. I did not get over it for several days. I was sick all the way to England and the sea made me more sick. We stopped in England one day and I got a little rest, but when we got out on the Atlantic I was sicker than ever. It was the regular sea-sickness. The first two days, I ate a little but the next nine days I was so sick I could not eat at all. One' day, my father came down and told me the ship had sprung a leak and that I would have to try to get up. I told him it could not sink too soon to suit me, just so I could get out of my misery. They got the leak stopped and the next day I heard someone talk about land. I thought I would try to get up and see if there was any of it. I was so weak that i had to sent for my father to help me up. The sea was calm and everybody was enjoying himself. As I stood gazing over the mighty deep I got to feeling hungry. I looked around from where I stood and saw a stove pot standing by' the kitchen door. It had a little warm rice mush in it. I asked a man if I could have it. He kindly came and took 'me by the hand and sat me down in a corner and gave me a spoon and a little butter and told me to eat, and 'I did. I felt well·after it and I got up and stood a little while and then went down to my berth. I went to sleep and did not awake until next morning when I was awakened by shouts of "Land in sight!" I jumped up, seemingly well, and got up on deck and ran over to the front end of the ship and stood there looking at the various fish until we arrived in the harbor of New York. I must say my joy was great! The first thing I asked father for was a little milk. He went and got me a pint which I drank all at once and I began to eat a little although I was very weak.
(This is only up to page 6 of the document.)