John Claus Ahrens
Dates and names taken from Johan Claus Ahrens Bible

John Claus Ahrens was born Feb. 2, 1835 in Bromstadt City, Holstine Co. in Germany.  He died Feb. 20, 1919 in Mendon, Utah.  He was buried in Smithfield Utah cemetery.

Grandfather Ahrens went to Denmark when he was 21 years old to learn the Grist Milling Trade.  He met his “Thea” as he called her (Dorthea Elisabeth Christiansen) there while he was learning to be a miller and they were married there.  Two daughters, Christine Catrine Frederike Born, Dec. 11, 1859 and Charlotte Begine, born April 5, 1862 were born in Germany or Denmark.

Having heard the true and everlasting gospel of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and being converted, they joined the church and sailed to America, arriving in 1863.  En route to Smithfield, Utah to make their home, they lived in Farmington for a short time.  It was here that their two little girls became ill with diarrhea and Charlotte Begine died Sept. 18, 1863 and Christine Catrine Frederike died Sept. 25, 1863.  They were buried in Farmington Ut. Cemetery.  Their first son John Lorenzo Ahrens, was born in Smithfield, Utah March 29, 1865, and died there Nov. 6, 1867.  He was buried in Smithfield Cemetery.  A daughter Louise was born in Smithfield, Utah Sept. 23, 1867.   She died in Smithfield March 16, 1910 leaving her husband Nephi Petersen and six children; Julia, Lulu, Nora, Ahrens, Willard and George.  She was buried in Smithfield.

Dorris Waldermar Ahrens, (my father) was born in Smithfield Utah June 19, 1870.  He married Bessie Sorensen January 8, 1897 in Logan Utah.  They went through the L.D.S. Logan Temple in 1908.  He died May 30, 1937 in Budge Memorial Hospital, Logan Utah and was buried in Smithfield cemetery., leaving his wife Bessie six daughters, Nora, Julia, (Rhoda who died Sept. 26, 1950) Lavon, Helen, Jessie, two boys Clifford and Rulon.

Grandfather’s sixth child, Elenora Agasta, was born January 20, 1873 in Smithfield.  She married George Hennen and died six weeks later, May 7, 1896, in Salt Lake City and was buried in Smithfield.  The seventh child a girl; Julia Charlotte was born Sept. 22, 1875 in Smithfield and died February 9, 1892 of diphtheria in Petersboro and was buried in Smithfield.  The were both beautiful girls.  They were musically talented.  They rode horses side saddle well and were like their father they loved nature.

When grandfather first located in Smithfield, he worked as a miller in The Mark Grist Mill.  A few years later he bought a farm in Petersboro, Utah and moved his family there.

A Mr. Hadfield and grandfather ran the Grist Mill that was located near Wellsville, Utah; and grandfather walked to and from the Mill to his home in Petersboro each day.   Later Hadfield left  the Mill and grandfather ran it alone for some time.  

Grandfather was a lover of Nature.  He loved all kinds of birds and could make many different bird calls and would tell us that some of the birds said in their calls.  For example the Meadow Lark would say “Utah’s a pretty little place.” or, when we moved  to Mendon, he said the Meadow Lark would say “Mendon’s a pretty little place.”

He loved music and sang a great deal.  He played the accordian well and taught my father how to play it.

He was very jovial and friendly to everyone.  He was nick named “Honest John” because of his honesty and fair dealings with his fellow men.

He was a High Priest in the LDS Church.  One of his friends in Smithfield said; “he always gave mirth to his congregation when he got up to preach.” Yet his testimony was always wanted to start with something frivolous.

He loved to please people; he was generous and helped people in need.

His Petersboro farm was up in the hills.

Dorthea Elizabeth Christensen Ahrens was born in Horrin, Denmark, December 29, 1857 and married John Claus Ahrens a native of Germany; they joined the Mormon Church and crossed the plains to Utah, settling in Mendon, later to Smithfield.  Mr. Ahrens was the first miller in Smithfield.  He was appointed sexton and served for many years.  He planted many fir trees, pine trees and cedar trees in Smithfield’s beautiful cemetery, and did his sexton work well.  After grandmother died October 6, 1918, in Smithfield, where she was buried, he came to Mendon to live with his son Walter and family, where he died February 20, 1919.  While he lived with us he talked so much of his dear friends in Smithfield; and when he was sick, he called for Robert Thornley, Peter Hansen and others and said what a wonderful woman Jewell Cantwell was and that he wanted to see all of them.

He loved his children and all people.  One day, when he was out for a walk, he met brother Emel Stumpf.  He went to see where he lived and he felt sorry his house was so small and that he lived alone, so he invited him to come home with him.  They came in , hand in hand, and grandfather said he had brought this nice old man home to dinner and after dinner he would take him to his room so he could get acquainted because he was going to share his room with him.  But they told them they could eat dinner and then grandfather could walk part way home with Emel.

Grandfather didn’t have much worldly goods for he was so generous and would give to everyone.

John Claus Ahrens

Born:  2 February 1835

Place of Birth: Bromstadt City - Holstine County - Germany

Date of Death:  20 February 1919                            

Place of Death: Mendon - Cache County - Utah

Date of arrival in Utah: 1863

Company came with: Peter Richardson Company

Married: Dorthea Elizabeth Christiansen

Date of Marriage: 29 December 1858 (their first child born 1859 in Germany)

Name of person writing History: Julia A Muir (granddaughter)

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