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(24 Apr 1833 - 19 Aug 1900)

Wedding Day, Family Portrait, Later in Life

She was wife to Christian J. Larsen. The Garrison essay on the Olsen family indicates
that Barbara Dorthea was the eldest child of Maria Jansena Dorthea Berg and Jens Olsen.
Barbara Dorthea carried the Olsen name when Christian J. Larsen first met her. Temple
work has been done, sealing her into that family.

     There is, however, a remarkable story that has been handed down through at least four
generations of Larsen descendants that indicates Barbara Dorthea's true father was
Christian Oldenburg of Glucksburg, a young man who later became King Christian IX of
Denmark. This is an unusual family story, always discussed privately but never too
openly. To my knowledge the first time it was openly discussed was at a Larsen family
reunion held in the summer of 1985. Sabina Nash, my mother, had previously
investigated much of the story and was central to the discussion at the reunion. What
follows is essentially her story. 

     Some information on the true parents of Barbara Dorthea. Her real father was the
Duke of Holstein-Sonderburg-Glucksburg, of Germany. This duchy was quite near the
German-Danish border, and the family, the Oldenburg's, was as much German in culture
as Danish.

     He was born 8 April 1818 and died 29 Jan 1906. He died, known as King Christian IX
of Denmark. He was also known as the "Father of Europe".

     While Christian was the Duke of Glucksburg, and before his official marriage he had
a love affair with a commoner, Maria Berg, who had been a servant of Christian's
parents, serving as their cook. Christian was fourteen years of age, and Maria was twenty.
They were never allowed to marry. Instead Maria Berg was sent to Aalborg,
Denmark, to many a hand-picked man by the name of Jens Olsen.

     A few months after Maria's marriage to Jens Olsen, she bore Christian's child, a
daughter named Dorthea.  Dorthea was born 24 April 1833 in Aalborg. Dorthea was
taken from her mother & raised in the Oldenburg family for approximately eight years. In
1842, Christian entered into an official marriage with Louise of Hesse-Cassel; and
Dorthea, the young eight-year-old, was returned to her mother, Maria Olsen, and her
step-father. It was 1863 when he was named King of Denmark, Christian IX.

     When Barbara Dorthea left the family home in Glucksbuig her father, Christian, gave
her a metal box. In it were documents of proof of her true ancestry. There was also a
photo of Christian, and 100 Danish dollars, quite a sum for the mid-19th century.

     In 1851, when Barbara Jensine Dorthea was eighteen, she met Christian J. Larsen, her
future husband, at a cottage meeting in the Jens Olsen home. Barbara Dorthea and her
mother had just joined the LDS church, but not the step-father. The young couple were
married in October 1853, shortly after her mother died.

     It is interesting to me (Sabina) that about one year before Barbara Dorthea was to
marry, arrangements had been made for her to move into a nearby city to live with
special friends who were to help her to prepare for her wedding. She also spent time in
Copenhagen, and her mother came and helped her choose appropriate wedding clothes.

     They also had problems about the place they chose to be married. They were told that
they could not be married at the Church of the Round Tower because they were not born
in Copenhagen. However, the way was cleared and they were married there by a Lutheran
priest on a Sunday. It was all in compliance with the law. That evening, of October 30,
1853, they then went to the home of H.P. Jensen where they were married again by Presi-
dent John Van Cott, a Latter-day Saint. It was to them, that night, a real wedding.

     When Christian J. & Barbara Dorthea were ready to leave for America they had the
metal box, but they had to press her step-father for the money.


     The story of Barbara Dorthea's parentage has I been told by word of mouth to at least
some of her children, including her oldest son, John Christian Larsen. He in turn told his
children and some of his grandchildren, but it was to be kept secret. It would have
created a scandal to all sides, and they were ashamed of it

     At the John Christian Larsen reunion on August 17, 1985 in Logan, Utah, Uless and I
were surprised to learn that the sealings and other temple work was done for the Jens
Olsen family. Either no one else had questioned it or said they knew nothing of the story.
Finally I asked Teresa Larsen Green if she had heard the story and she said, "Yes, it is
true.  My grandmother was raised as a princess by her father in a palace until she was
eight years old.  Then she was given back to her mother. She had the mannerisms of a
lady and had to be waited on." In telling me, and the other listeners who then crowded
around her, she made gestures with her hands and arms. Theresa was age 85 when
she talked to us. She was the youngest in both families. She grew up and after marriage
lived in an apartment of her parent's house in Logan. She was a daughter of Aunt Ellie,
and Ruth Green is her only child. Theresa passed away the following January, 1986.

     Other members of the family listened to Theresa and Sabina, then said the story must
be true. A descendant of the 3rd wife of Christian J. Larsen told me that they were told
that Dorthea was very bossy. I asked her, 'Did you know that she was a princess?'. She
said 'No.'

     CJ. Trimble, son of Hazel Larsen Trimble, talked freely about the subject and said that
his mother had told him about the story ever since he was a little boy. Aunt Hazel also
told the same story to her sister Ida's granddaughter, Claudette Nash Swainston, when
Claudette was approximately thirteen.

     Richard Larsen, Uncle Lou's son, was at the reunion, and he verified knowing of the
story.  Louise Armstrong, Uncle Lou's daughter, said quietly that she knew this same
story.  I think Louise was the one who added that Dorthea's half brothers and sisters who
came to America, told the family that the story was true.

     Several of Uless' cousins came to us and told us the same story. They had heard it
most of their lives. Whoever has the metal box, though, has not come forward. Grandpa
John C. Larsen told his children and at least some of his grandchildren that the metal box
was in a bank vault in Logan, but it has not been found. {John C. Larsen's son Rube
married Charlotte Anderson, daughter of John H. Anderson - President of the First
National Bank of Logan.  That is where John C. Larsen kept his accounts}

     Vendla Nash Havertz, Ida's daughter, was told by Grandpa Larsen that she was to
remember she was of royal blood. She was told that the metal box with proof of Barbara
Dorthea's birth was in a bank vault in Logan, Utah. She was told not to worry about it that
his parents were sealed and that his mother was sealed to her real parents.

     Hazel Nash Berrett Turley, Ida's daughter, lived with Aunt Ellie & Grandpa Larsen
while attending Utah State University in Logan. she told me of her own volition this
summer that when she was living with them that Grandfather John C. Larsen told her that
he wanted her to know that the temple work for Dorthea's parents was done.  Uless and I
have both heard the same story from his mother, Ida.

     I do not know if any of the family knows it but Ida lived with her grandparents,
Christian & Dorthea for several years in Logan while she attended her school. Her
parents, John C. & Susannah lived in Cove.

     One day in 1952, after our son Jack had returned from a mission to Australia, he
decided to go to Salt Lake and talk to Ida Nash's brother, Reuben Larsen. We advised him
not to question Uncle Rube because we were not supposed to even know the story. Jack
said he did not care, but wanted to know the truth.

     Uncle Rube became upset when he was questioned and asked Jack how he ever found
out, and Jack said that it was common knowledge in the Dave and Ida Nash family.
Finally Uncle Rube said, "Yes, it is true." (At the time my impression was that he had
never told anyone. I do know that Uncle Rube asked me not to repeat the story, because
of its embarrassing implications of his grandmother's illegitimacy.  I had known Uncle
Rube since 1944 when he showed me numerous kindnesses as a high school student
showing beef animals at the lntermountain Jr Livestock Show, in Salt Lake City. JDN.)
     In September 1987 we (Uless/Sabina) visited in Thayne, Wyoming with Uless' cousin,
Max Larsen. He was the oldest son of John C. and Aunt Ellie Larsen's son, Dave. Max 
told us of a beautiful small box his father had once shown him at Grandpa Larsen's home. 
He was not sure of the correct size but thought it was a snuff box. He said maybe 5x6 
inches, or 4x5 or even 3x4. He could not be sure. What he remembered most was that it 
was gold and had brown designs. He said he was sure. He thought it had jewels on it. 
Max died this spring, in 1988.

     In the summer of 1988 at the Larsen reunion, John A. Larsen, President of the Jordan
Temple at the time, told several people, including Uless and Sabina that he had gone to
Denmark and found some additional information. John is also quite
certain that he knows what the little box looks like.

     This ends the story as it was gathered and written by Sabina, It was just after the 1985
reunion that my parents, Uless and Sabina, told me of their discovery that the family had
never really discussed Dorthea's parentage. I asked mother to write it all down, and get
whatever statements she could.

     The story is terribly sketchy in parts, but I believe we should know of this remarkable
story. After all, our grandmother Dorthea mostly walked across the central plains while
she was pregnant. They arrived in the Salt Lake Valley on October 5, 1854, giving birth
to her son, John C. Larsen, three months later, on January 13, 1855, on a
mud-floor-willow-woven hut. Barbara Dorthea suffered the privations of living a pioneer 
life in Ogden, and also in Spring City, Utah.  She fled her Ogden home in 1857 when 
Johnson's Army approached Utah, and later she moved again, this time to Cache Valley.

     Her husband, Christian J. Larsen, spent several months in a Norwegian jail before
their marriage, and in Utah he was being bounded to jail again, because he had married
three women in plural marriage. The temple president in Logon advised him to leave for
a while. He bid goodbye to his three wives and his children and went "under-ground",
working for a railroad hundreds of miles away.

     Dorthea, realizing that he needed her, took one or two sons and drove a team and
wagon back to the Nebraska-Iowa area where she could be with him and take can of him.
They were gone some months.

     Dorthea was a strong woman. She had to be; and she knew how to work. Her
character? Several remember her for an overly regal bearing, and for being bossy. My
grandmother, Ida Larsen Nash, had fond memories of her and certainly listened to
her instructions. Grandmother once told me how Dorthea had advised her to live like a
lady, and not to do the work of a man. Ida worked hard on the Nash family homestead,
but she also worked tirelessly on cultural things such as want bazaar's, etc. The point to
this statement is that Dorthea's upbringing was in this way passed to a grand-daughter,
Ida, a young woman who helped build the Nash ranch with her husband David Nash.
     Barbara Dorthea knew her half-sisters and brothers through her mother's marriage to
Jens Olsen, but she did not know her half-brothers and sisters from her father's marriage
to Louise of Hesse Cassel.  The world did. Her half-sisters were married to Edward VII
King of England, and to Alexander III Czar of Russia. Her half-brothers became
Frederick VIII King of Denmark, and George I King of Greece. What a difference -
Dorthea was a pioneer homesteader!

Christian John Larsen
Arriving in Aarhus we went on foot to Aalborg, where we arrived Sunday morning,
March 16th, and received a hearty welcome from Elder Dykes and the saints, and on the 
same day we attended two good meetings and became acquainted with the saints.  In the 
evening we were invited to administer to a sick child in the family of Sister Maria Olsen
-- Dykes, Christiansen and I -- and it was on that occasion that I for the first time met 
the young lady who afterwards became my first wife, and it was a strange feeling that 
came upon me at once when I saw her -- an impression like this; "There is your wife." 

     After a meeting held in Aalborg, May 11th, I went to the home of Taylor Olsen,
whose family were members of the church, but he was not, and it was his daughter,
Barbara Jensine Dorthea, who had made such an impression upon my feeling that
first time I saw her and felt impressed that she was to become my wife; but I had
been fasting and praying to God that He would remove that feeling from me, if it was
against His will that I retained that feeling, or else to give me a testimony that He
approved of it.  To this end I revealed my feelings to the girl's mother and asked
her permission to speak to her daughter on the subject, and she gave me her permiss-
ion at once and told me that her daughter had had the same impression on the very
first time she saw me, but that she had struggled against that impression, thinking
that it originated from and evil source.  After that conversation with the mother and
subsequently with the daughter, we agreed to get married whenever it should be our
happy lot to emigrate to Zion, and all recognized the hand of God in this arrangement.

     August 4th, 1853  Elder John F. F. Dorius and I proceeded on foot to Aalborg, 
arriving there at 1 p. m. ; the other brethren arriving about 5 or 6 p. m. by way of 
the water.  We here had the great joy of meeting our beloved president Willard Snow.  
He informed me that he had been longing for my arrival very much, and that he could 
stay in Aalborg no longer than till the next day as he had some very important business 
to attend to in Copenhagen, and that he wished me to be with him and assist him.  He told 
me too, that he wanted me to bring my betrothed girl along and get married, but I told 
him that it was not my intention to get married till we reached Zion, or perhaps on the 
way. He then informed me that he intended to send me along with the next emigration.  
After some consultation with my girl and her mother, it was decided that my girl come to
Copenhagen later on, when her mother would have her fitted out with clothing, etc. ,
to her own satisfaction.

     August 17th, 1853  My brother Johannes and I visited some of the saints both in 
Copenhagen proper and on Christianshavn and in Amager, in order to encourage and cheer 
them up (for they were much depressed in their feelings) and when we returned to the 
office, I found that my betrothed girl had arrived from Aalborg,  I then took her to 
Brother Rasmussen, where she made her home until we were married. 

     August 31st, 1853  This day I moved my betrothed girl from Amager and into the city proper,
to make her home with Brother Clawsen, in Aabenraa Street.  

     September 14th, 1853  My betrothed girl received a letter from her sister, Julia, 
informing her that their mother had died on the 8th of this month, and was buried on the 
11th of the same month.  This news was very painful to us.

     October 7th, 1853  This day the brethren from Aalborg arrived by the boat "Zion's 
Lion, " and my affiance was with them; she had been to visit her father since the demise 
of her mother.

     October 30th, 1853 Sunday.  My betrothed girl, Barbara Jensine Dorthea Olsen was 
this day married to me by a Lutheran priest in the church of the round tower in 
Copenhagen (in order to comply with the law of the land. )  In the afternoon I spoke 
in our public meeting and blessed and administered the sacrament.  In the evening, in 
the home of Pres. H,P. Jensen, the real wedding was performed by Pres. John Van Cott 
and by the Holy Priesthood which he held, he promised us the blessings of Abraham,
Isaac and Jacob, and as witnesses present were Daniel Cams, P.O. Hansen, H.P.
Jensen and my brother C.G. Larsen, and I now pray that I may be able to so live
by the help of my Heavenly Father that I may be worthy of all these blessings in
time and throughout eternity for myself and our posterity.

     November 25th, 1853  Some of the saints took the steamer for Copenhagen this day.
I called on my father-in-law, Jens Olsen, as he had promised my wife one hundred Danish
dollars (50 American dollars) as her share of her mother's estate, but he only gave
me half of that amount, yet he wanted me to give him a receipt for the full amount;
but as I was not willing to do that he became very angry and used many hard express-
ions against me.  I reasoned with him for a while and finally he agreed to furnish the
balance by Friday, Dec. 1st.  

     March 12th, 1854  I attended the English (American) meeting and spoke a short time.
My wife and I were invited for supper and an English family and we returned on board the
steamer we found that my wife's brother had been attacked by cholera and we watched
over him all that night.

     March 13th, 1854  He, Waldemar Olsen, died at 6:30 that morning, passing away 
quietly in the Lord.  

     January 13th, 1855 Saturday.  At 2 p. m. this day my wife gave birth to a son;
she had been sick 9 hours, but by the blessings of the Lord, she stood the ordeal well 
and both the baby and herself soon got well.
History of J. Rube Larsen
I remember him when I was a small boy, going and staying with him, he and my grandmother.
She was a very queenly woman. I remember the fine, beautiful, clean home she had. I could
always remember that she had and kept it so spic and span. I was always glad to go there.
I remember one time when I had broken my arm. My father took me to the doctor and then he 
took me there and they laid me on a beautiful reclining chair and I thought, oh my, this 
is heaven,... and my Grandmother Larsen was a queenly woman. She was a wonderful cook. 
Her mother had been a cook for the king and she knew how to cook - and cook beautiful 
food. She had a very fine home and that's the way I remember my Grandmother Larsen.


Go to History Index
History of Christian John Larsen
History of Marie Dorthea Berg Olsen
King Christian IX