M E N U
AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF JOHANN FRIEDRICH
Originally typed by Clyde Isaac Fechser
Retyped from mimeographed copy July 9, 1999 by D. Whittaker
I, Johann Friedrich Fechser
was born in Nassau, Ober Amt, Mergenthiem, in the kingdom of
Wurtemberg, Ger. My father's name was Johann George Fechser,
born in Weigessheim, same Amt. and Kingdom. My mother's name
was Anna Maria Simpever, born in Nassau. I was born 19 July
My father's occupation
was that of a tailor, by which he made a scanty living for himself
and his family. My parents were poor, but honest, wherefore
I was brought up in poverty, but was taught good principles,
for my parents were strong believers in the Lutheran faith,
and served God the best they could according to the best knowledge
they had, and thus they taught me to respect the eternal God
and to pray to him even in my childhood.
But alas! I had not
the privilege of remaining with my good and dear parents long,
because when I was about 7 1/2 years old, they concluded to
go to Hamburg, as they supposed there to get things a little
more comfortable around them. But then there was a law in the
country that no man, or even a male child, might get a passport
to leave the country before had served the king as a soldier,
save he pay four hundred florins, and consequently I could not
leave the country without the same bond, wherefore my parents
either had to stay or leave me behind them. This last they concluded
to do, as they were prepared for the journey, and they feared
they would fall into deeper poverty if they would stay. They
left me then, an exceeding grief to me!
I then came to the
house of my aunt Ussula, my mother's sister. Her husband's name
was George Michael Market. In their house I was 'till I was
fourteen years old. During this time I went to school and learned
to write, and cipher, for which I am very glad, although I fared
not very well in that house; for they were austere and I had
to work a little more than was good for me.
When I was fourteen
I left their house an came to my uncle Michael Kuszecker's house
in order to learn the trade of a miller. But as he was very
severe to me I didn't stay more than three-quarters of a year,
when I left him and took to a man by the name of Leonhardt Bauer,
to finish my apprenticeship in the miller trade. Here I was
for two years and a half. This man was a very good man and I
had many glad hours in his house. It was in the year 1843 when
I left this house, after which I worked as a journeyman in several
places for seven years; when I wrote to my father that I was
tired of being in my native country and wanted to come and see
my parents again if my father thought it wisdom to come to Hamburg.
To this he answered directly that he wanted me to come there.
I then took my way to Hamburg in the year 1850.
In this city I came
to a cabinetmaker's shop where I was one year.
While I was in the
Kingdom of Wurtemberg I became aquainted with a maid by the
name of Rosine Frederica Keyser, and as we had fallen in love
with each other she followed me to Hamburg where we were united
in the matrimonial ties Dec. 26, 1850. The 17 of March 1852,
my wife was confined and gave birth to a son to whom we gave
the name Georg Frederick Fechser.
In this summer I
heard Elder Daniel Carn preach the gospel of Jesus Christ as
revealed to Joseph Smith the prophet. I was convinced of its
truth and was baptized the ?? of August 1852, together with
my wife and parents.
This was a source
of much joy to me. I had found the way of Salvation and was
united not only in relationship, but in the everlasting Gospel
with those whom I loved, so we had the hope not only to be connected
short time in this dark world, but to be united in all eternity
in an everlasting bliss.
The 11 of August
1852; I then in company with my wife left Hamburg for North
America in order to gather with the saints of the Most High
in the valleys of the mountains. (My son had died 1852, in Hamburg.)
We arrived at St. Louis the same fall, where we sojourned till
the spring of 1854. On the 28 of December my wife bore a daughter
whom we called Emma.
In the spring of
1854 we left St. Louis for Great Salt Lake City, in Captain
James Brown's company. We came to a place called Salt Creek,
with the Steamboat; from there we went with ox teams over the
plains and through the mountains till we reached Great Salt
Lake City, 24 of September 1854.
It pleased the Lord
to be very hard with us.
It pleased the Lord
to try the Saints who emigrated this year very hard, we got
namely the cholera among us. Many died and most of the company
were sick. Among others who died was my dearly beloved wife,
she died on the 21 of June at one o'clock in the morning and
was buried seven miles from Fort Leavenworth, and my daughter
died on the 24 of June and was buried fifteen miles west of
Fort Leavenworth. This was a heavy blow for me; but I will say
with Job of old; "The Lord gave, and The Lord Took, blessed
be the name of the Lord".
In these days a family
by the name of Stutman died. Franz and his wife Louise died
on the 22 of June, and 2 sons, the name of one was Edward, the
other one's name I do not know. The funeral of all these I attended
to with my own hands; they were all buried 15 miles from Fort
Leavenworth. After I reached Salt Lake City I earned my living
for the winter on the public works. On the 15 of January I was
married to a widow by the name of Trine Amalia Borreson, born
the 18 of October 1826, in Copenhagen, Denmark. Her first husbands
name was Peter Christensen, with him she had got the following
children: Anna Christine Christensen, born the 8 of October
1848, Copenhagen, Denmark. Jensine Sophie Christensen, born
the 30 of November 1850, died the 17 of March on the sea.
In the spring of
1855 I went to little Cottonwood and farmed on shares of a man
by the name of Lars Larson, but the grasshoppers ate off everything
so that nothing was left for me. In the fall I moved to Spanish
Fork, here I took up land and the Lord blessed my work. It was
here a daughter was born to me on the 9 of January 1859, to
whom we gave the name of Maria Elisabeth.
As I had faith in
the Gospel of Salvation and had made a covenant with the Lord
in the waters of baptism, I sought also for the blessings of
the gospel and the Lord was merciful to me. I was called and
ordained a Seventy of the seventh of June 1857 by F. O. Allen.
On the 23 day of
November I went through the Endowments House with my wives Trine
and Elisabeth. (The latter had temporarily been married to me
in President Young's office in Oct. 1857.) This was a day to
me which will always be remembered. I felt the Lord was there
and I received a testimony of the truth, which I believed before,
which was stronger than all proofs of this world put together
and I feel to praise the Lord for His mercy.
In the spring of
1859 we moved to Mt. Pleasant where I had a great deal of work
to do. The place was not settled so we had to make water ditches;
one about five miles long, and build a fort wall and fence the
fields, raise some crops and besides I built two house and procured
feed for my cattle.
On the 28 of August
1860 I bought a fourth part of a grist mill for which I paid
750 dollars, and I had to pay a great deal in repairing it.
On 28 January 1861
a daughter was born to me by my wife Elisabeth, to whom we gave
the name Elisabeth Christine.
On the 20 of Dec.
1863, I was promised a young lady by the name of Ida Christina
Johnson, daughter of Christopher and Maren Johnson born in Norway,
Aug. 13, 1846. And after having got the recommend from the bishop,
I set off for Salt Lake City in company with Peter Maagensen,
who at the same time had been promised to Anna, my wife Trine's
Ida Christine was
sealed to me in the House of the Lord on the 2 of January 1864,
and on the same day Anna was sealed to Peter Maagensen.
The Lord gave me
a daughter on the ninth of November 1864, by my wife Christine,
whom we call Fredericka Amelia Fechser. She was blessed by myself
on the 10 of November. One the 29 of January 1866 I was again
blessed with a son born by Ida Christine. He was blessed by
Elder Lauritz Larsen. (5 April 1866.) We called him Joseph Frederick.
I bought ¼
part of the Springtown mill for which I paid 160 bushels of
wheat. This mill part I bought on the first of January 1866,
in a very poor condition, but I intend to make it in a better
In the month of January
1867 a company of men joined together to set up a store. I was
in this Company along with Bishop Wm. S. Seeley, Peter J. Jensen,
George Farnsworth, Jacob C. Christensen, and George Frandsen.
This store only lasted
about a year because it could not pay.
On the fourteenth
of September I was married to Anna Catherine Hafen in the Endowment
House in Salt Lake City; we were sealed by President Heber C.
February the eighth
1868, my wife Ida Christine, was confined and gave birth to
a girl whom we called Sarah Maria. She was blessed by Elder
Cyrus H. Wheelock April 2, 1868.
On the 27 of May
the same year we were visited with great sorrow. My only son
Joseph Frederick, who was now about two years and three months
old and commenced to become the great joy of the family happened
to fall into Pleasant Creek and was drowned. This was a hard
shock, but we must be consoled by the Lord, who knows all things,
and as all lives are in his hand we must be content and humbly
submit to His will.
I was again blessed
with another child on the 4 of October 1869 as my wife Anna
Catherine gave birth to a girl whom we called Herniur Catherine
of her mother. She was blessed on the 4 of Feb. 1869, by Elder
Hans Peter Miller.
(End of Diary)