This blog is dedicated to my parents, brothers, sister, and cousins who are descendants of Johannes (John) Gutke and Johanna Mork Gutke (pictured above). I am in the process of posting everything I have, so that I can back up documents/photos and also access the info from any location. There are likely to be mistakes, so check back often and feel free to comment if you have corrections!


Deniane Gutke Kartchner


Elizabeth Monson History, My Father


In writing one’s biography, one writes not only of himself but also of his environments, his associates, occupation and vocation, his lineage and some of their traits and words of support. My story begins many years ago in far off Sweden, a country in northern Europe. On the seventh day of July 1837 in the little town of Hallarod Onsja Harad Malmohus Lan a son was born to Ola Hjelte Hammar and Kjersti Anderson Hammar. He was christened Andreas or Andrew. He was the second child of these parents among six children Nils, Andreas or Andrew, Per, Elias, Bengtha and Johannes (the latter two died in their youth). This Andrew became my father.

Andrew’s father belonged to the army but his health failed so he had to resign. It made the family almost destitute. The income stopped when the father was taken ill. His mother, with her spinning wheel and loom, tried to keep the home going. She also worked in the field during the summer. Andrew would often have to stay home to care for the younger children while his mother was at work so he did not receive much schooling. At times the larder became very low. Growing boys with good appetites made it hard for the mother to supply them with food. Andrew’s schooling was mostly learned at his mother’s knee while she was spinning.

His mother and father were staunch Lutherans and the mother would have them all read the Bible. The Bible was found in every home.

As soon as the boys were old enough they were apprenticed out to learn a trade. Andrew learned the blacksmith trade. Every trade had to be learned thoroughly before they received their diploma or certificate. After serving the allotted time Andrew became a first class blacksmith. Andrew was also a Lutheran in good standing.

One evening when he was about 29 years of age, he was invited by one of his friends to go to a cottage meeting in the village where he was working. It happened to be two Mormon missionaries who were holding these meetings. In those days the name Mormon was despicable and being one was much worse, so many would join this religion in secret. Andrew, after hearing the missionaries explain their doctrine, felt it was the truth they were preaching. After studying this new religion and proving it by the Bible he was convinced it was true and what he wanted.

He was baptized on the second of February 1868 into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at Landskrona Sweden and confirmed the same day by N. B. Wallin and ordained a deacon May 17, 1868 by P. Rundquist. Ordained a priest September 6, 1868. Ordained an Elder June 6, 1869 by John Hagerman. He was appointed president of the Helsingborg branch in 1870 and labored as a branch missionary for a time in Kristianstad Lan and vicinity.

He quit drinking coffee and kept the Word of Wisdom strictly all the days of his life. He was an expert blacksmith and had no difficulty in obtaining work wherever he went. Many of his companions ignored him and would not have anything to do with him because he had joined those hated Mormons. That did not discourage him for he knew within himself he had joined the truth. His mother became very angry with him when she learned he had joined those terrible Mormons. Even when he went to visit her to bid her goodbye before he immigrated to Utah, she would not listen to him and said, “I would rather see you in prison as a felon than a Mormon.” He was given no chance to explain this new doctrine to her. He bid her a sad farewell and grieved over those last words she said to him.

He worked at his trade and preached the gospel whenever he had an opportunity to do so. On Sunday he would walk many miles to the place where they held their meetings and mingle his testimony with the others of his faith. As I said before, he knew his Bible and when explaining this new faith he would prove it by the Bible. He read and re-read the Book of Mormon.

During his missionary work he was able to convert his brother Elias to the Mormon faith. His other two brothers Nils and Per never joined, although Per and his family came to Utah and also made Sandy their home. No one of Per’s family became members. His brother Nils came to America and settled in Kansas and raised a large family. They kept their Lutheran faith.

While visiting from city to city in his missionary work he made many friends. One especially who was so good to the missionaries was a widow, a Mrs. Anna Martenson. Andrew often visited her. She had a daughter Ingrid who worked in Kristianstad but was not a member of the Mormon faith. He had only met her once or twice. (This Ingrid became my mother later).

Andrew had saved enough money and was ready to immigrate to Utah. He bid farewell to all the saints and his friends and started on his journey with a large company of Mormons for Utah in June 1873. They left Sweden and crossed over the North Sea to England. It was a very stormy voyage and the waves were dashing high and the ship rocked, so many of the people became seasick. Landing on English soil he rode through England by train and embarked from Liverpool on the ship Wisconsin to cross the great Atlantic Ocean on July 2, 1873.

There were no comforts on the ship, bunks to sleep in and not much privacy. The food was fair but could have been better. Many of the passengers became seasick and became discontented and grumbled at everything which caused terrible confusion. One family lost a loved one which was buried at sea. In those days there was no way of keeping bodies until land was reached. There were no mortuaries or morticians. It was a sad thing to see and witness. They were 13 days on the ocean with nothing to see but water--water everywhere. Once they saw a whale spouting water, at least that was what they thought it was, no one was sure. They all agreed they would be more satisfied when they could walk on land again. He, among many others, was surely glad when land was sighted and the ship landed in New York harbor.

After a few days in quarantine they were allowed to proceed with their journey to Utah. They (the Saints as well as Andrew) started across the continent by train. The train was in it infancy, only a few years before was the east coast connected with the west coast. It was in 1869 that the two railroads met at Promontory Point, Utah, making a link from east to west United States. It was a long tedious journey, especially across dry dusty plains with only sand and sagebrush to see. They had no cushioned seats to sit on, no berths to sleep in, only hard wooden benches to sit on day and night. When they arrived in Zion, Salt Lake City, they would forget all their troubles and inconveniences, were the comments of all.

Andrew was so happy to see the snow capped Rocky Mountains, he almost forgot his misery and felt refreshed to see the snow after riding in the stuffy cars for so long in the hot July weather (what a contrast between then and now in our day. Now we ride in air conditioned cars with Pullmans and diners attached). He arrived at Salt Lake City July 24, 1873, after having traveled 13 days on the Atlantic Ocean and 9 days across the United States making the trip 22 days long.

Andrew was glad he was at the end of his journey. When the company of Saints arrived at the depot at Salt Lake City they were taken a few blocks east to the tithing yard of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints where they were given accommodation until friends or relatives arrived. The tithing yard was located at Main Street and South Temple where the Hotel Utah now stands. Salt Lake City was only 26 years old when he came.

When he saw Salt Lake City he asked himself the question, “Can this be Salt Lake City, Zion?” Looking around, what a place to call Zion--not a street was paved, no large buildings and what a desolate place. In his imagination a city called Zion was a beautiful place. He had left a beautiful country with beautiful cities. All his folks were there, also the few friends he had were there. Now he had come to a new land, new customs and a new language and he was all alone here. His heart sank, no one to meet him or to welcome him. Then came the thought, he had come here for his religion to mingle with the saints of God, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and would make the best of it and be satisfied.

As he had neither friends or relatives to meet him he decided to board a train the next day for the south, which he did. The Utah Central Railroad was under construction and he thought he might obtain work there. Salt Lake City did not appeal to him to make his home there. Everything was strange. He had come from a land where he could understand what was said and now he had to learn a new language and new ways but he shook of that feeling of homesickness with a determination to succeed in this new land. He knew Mormonism was true and not anything could shake his faith even if in his imagination he thought Zion should have been a paradise.

He boarded his train with all his possessions which consisted of a trunk and a knapsack, or valise. Now we call them luggage. He decided to go as far south as the new railroad, which ended at the point of the mountain, at that time about 25 miles south of Salt Lake City. When the train stopped at Sandy, a desolate looking place with its rude lumber shacks made of rough lumber, he again felt a little homesick.

Sandy was a smelter town about 12 miles south of Salt Lake City. He looked out of the car window at a gang of men which proved to be a section gang. Oh joy, he recognized one of the men who had been a missionary to his home town. Andrew hailed him and he answered, “Why Andrew I am glad to see you. Where are you going?”

“I don’t know,” answered Andrew.

“Why not stop off here?”

“I might just as well”, said Andrew, “I have no particular place in mind.” So, he got off the train. This man proved to be the foreman or boss of a section gang working on the Alta branch of the railroad going to Fairfield Flat in Little Cottonwood Canyon a few miles east of Sandy. Andrew was lucky to get a job with him on the section gang.

The first winter was a terrible one. He and another man hired a room from one of the families. There were no hotels or boarding houses except for smelter workers. The smelter was running full blast. Andrew and this fellow decided to batch it. The winter was very cold and the snow was deep so their shoes froze and sometimes would not thaw out before they had to put them on in the morning. They sure had a sad time, their food froze and they sure had their troubles. Winter passed and spring time arrived which made them happier.

One day in early spring a blacksmith was needed in a hurry to fix something on the engine at the railroad shops which were located at Sandy at that time. “There is your chance Andrew,” said his boss. Andrew was a little hesitant because he could not talk the English language and did not understand it very well but he finally summoned up courage and applied for the job and got it. He knew he could do the work and by signs and other words he could understand what was to be done and did his work so well that when the shops were moved to Bingham Junction (now called Midvale) he was asked to go and work there as chief blacksmith. He accepted and worked there 7 years and gave it up when he bought a farm and decided to become a farmer and his own boss.

Up to this time he had not thought of marriage but after spending such a miserable winter he decided to have a fireside of his own. His thoughts centered on a young lady he had met in his homeland while he was on his mission. Her name was Ingrid Mortensen. She was the daughter of a widow who had been so kind to the missionaries. He wrote to Ingrid and asked her if she would like to come to Utah and marry him and become his wife. He would send money for her fare.

After corresponding back and forth she finally consented and she and her mother arrived at Salt Lake City June 1874 and they were married August 17, 1874 in the Endowment House at Salt Lake City (this Ingrid became my mother).

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