Karl Johan Beckstrand 1829-1883

Karl Johan Beckstrand 1829-1883
Karl Johan

Karl Johan was born at Granstorp, Villstad, Jonkoping, Sweden, on 26 Jun 1829, the son of Knut Johan and Ingerd Jacobsdotter Beckstrand. He had an older sister, Christina, and a younger brother, Elias August. His father was a sailor in the Swedish navy. His mother was very religious and took her children many miles (through deep snow in the winter) to attend church. She died when he was fourteen years old. His father died when he was eighteen years old.

When Karl Johan and his brother, Elias August, were left without parents, they went to Denmark to work as painters. They remained there for seven years. Their sister Christina, came with them. In Denmark, the Beckstrands heard about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Karl was baptized a member of the Church on his twenty-ninth birthday, 26 Jun 1858. Elias was baptized the following February and Christina and her husband, Pehr Pehrsson, joined the church soon thereafter.

In the spring of 1861, Karl Johan and Elias August prepared to join a large body of Scandinavian Saints who were emigrating to America. They traveled across the Atlantic ocean on the ship, Monarch of the Sea(1) and arrived in the New York harbor on 19 June 1861. They traveled by rail from New York to Florence, Nebraska. Apostle Erastus Snow accompanied the Saints. The route taken was by way of Dunkirk, Cleveland, Toledo, Chicago, Quincy and St. Joseph. This northern route was used to avoid the movement of soldiers. Their "adopted" country was in great upheaval as they mobilized for the Civil War.

After arriving in Florence, they joined the company of Captain Samuel A. Wooley for the long journey across the plains. Karl had purchased a gun in Florence. One evening after all the saints had camped and were preparing supper, he saw a skunk. Not knowing what it was, he shot and killed it. The result was that they all had to move the camp. They arrived in Salt Lake City on 22 September 1861.

Karl Johan met Karen Nielsen (Pedersen) Rau, a Danish emigrant, in the Wooley Company. After arriving in Salt Lake City, they were married in the Endowment House on 28 February 1862, by Daniel H. Wells. After working in the timber for about three years, Karl and Karen moved to Scipio, Millard County. They remained there only a short time and then moved to Deseret, also in Millard County. Their stay in Deseret was also short. The dam on the Sevier River continually broke down and the Saints couldn't afford to rebuild it so they all had to leave the area. Karl and his family settled Oak Creek (now Oak City), Millard County, and his brother, Elias August, with his family, went to Meadow, Millard County. Karl Johan and Karen along with nineteen other families built the first homes in Oak Creek.

Karl Johan and Karen became parents of two sons--Charles John, born in Salt Lake City on 11 August 1863, and Nels Peter Conrad, born in Deseret on 27 January 1867. Both sons were married in the Manti Temple to Swedish converts. Charles married Eleanora Elisabeth Svensson Soderberg and Nels married Ida Lovisa Anderson. Karl Johan died at Oak Creek on 7 December 1883, at the age of 54 years. He was buried in the Oak City Cemetery.

(Abridged from "Life History of Karl John Beckstrand" by Della Beckstrand Dial)

Histories Compiled and Edited by Sue Anne Beckstrand Thompson
Our Beckstrand Heritage: Christina Beckstrand Pehrsson, Karl Johan Beckstrand, Elias August Beckstrand and their families
(Logan, Ut., self published, 2003)

(1)Monarch of the Sea
For passenger list and personal accounts of the voyage see:
Mormon Immigration Index, part of the Family History Resource File CD Library