Denmark, Scandinavian immigrant, Mormons, trek, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints


Jens Patrick Wilde's article in this issue of The Bridge vividly describes the hardships, grief and sometimes disaster that accompanied the Mormons during their famous trek across the Great Plains to Utah in the 1850s. Less well known is the role of the Northern European immigrant in this difficult passage to the Great Basin. Scandinavian immigrant participation in the growth of Utah and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was especially great in the period 1850-1890, and in the decade before the Civil War Mormons made up the largest identifiable segment, 19%, of the some 10,000 Danes in the United States in 1860. In the Territory (1850) and State (1896) of Utah, Scandinavian-born residents throughout the nineteenth century were the second-largest foreign-born group after the British. In 1870 only Wisconsin had more Danish-born residents than did Utah.