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The first large company of emigrants from the Scandinavian mission had an earnest desire to emigrate to Zion. They were Saints from Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. The Elders had been busily engaged for some time in making preparations to send off a large company. About the beginning of December, 1852, the company began to gather in Copenhagen, Denmark, and on Monday, December 20th, 1852, two hundred and ninety-three Saints, including children, went on board the steamship Obotrit, and sailed from “Toldboden”, under the leadership of Elder John E. Forsgren, one of the Elders who, in connection with Apostle Erastus Snow, first introduced the Gospel into Scandinavia two years before.
A great multitude of people had gathered on the wharf to witness the departure of the “Mormons,” and many of the rabble gave utterance to the most wicked and blasphemous language, while they cursed and swore, because so many their countrymen were disgracing themselves by following “that Swedish Mormon Priest” (an appellation they gave Elder Forsgren) to America. No violence, however, was resorted to, and the ship got safely away. After a rather stormy and unpleasant passage, the Obotrit, arrived safely at Kiel, Holstein, on the evening of the twenty-second. The following day the journey was continued by rail to Hamburg, where a large hall had been hired, and supper prepared for the emigrants.
In the afternoon of the twenty-fourth the Saints went on board the steamship Lion, which glided slowly with the tide down the river Elbe to Cuxhaven. The emigrants now celebrated Christmas Eve on board, with songs and amusements of different kinds.
In the morning of the twenty-fifth anchor was weighed, and the Lion sailed to the mouth of the river, where it was met by heavy headwinds, that made it impossible to reach the open sea. Finally, the passage from the river to the sea was made in the moonlight, soon after which a heavy gale blew up from the southwest, which increased in violence until the next day, when it assumed the character of a regular hurricane, the like of which old sailors declared they had never before experienced on the German ocean. The ship’s bridge and part of the gunwale were destroyed, and some goods standing on the back were broken to pieces and washed overboard; otherwise, neither the ship not the emigrants were injured.
On the twenty-eighth, in the evening, after the storm had spent its fury, the Lion steamed into the harbor of Hull, England. About one hundred and fifty vessels were lost on the German Ocean in the storm, and the people in Hull were greatly surprised when the Lion arrived in safety, as it was firmly believed that she had gone under like the other ships that were lost. The Lord was unquestionably watching over them.
(Contributor, vol. 13 (November 1891-October 1892), Vol. Xiii. August, 1892. No. 10. 458 – 459.)