First In Soda Springs

First In Soda Springs (HM20JV)

Location: Soda Springs, ID 83276 Caribou County
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Country: United States of America
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N 42° 39.211', W 111° 36.885'

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Niels Anderson Homestead

In many respects, emigrants Niels Anderson and Mary Christoffersen seem like typical young Idaho pioneers of the 1860s. Niels, 28 years old, and Mary, barely 16, were wed by a Justice of the Peace at an open-air ceremony at Camp Connor on July 30, 1863. Their wedding is said to have been the first in the Idaho Territory, and their home the first house built at Soda Springs. Niels went to work selling axle grease and blacksmith services to travelers passing through on the Oregon Trail, while young Mary began organizing and running her household, which soon would include eight children.
Ten-year-old Mary Christoffersen emigrated from Denmark to Iowa as a new convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Mormons, in 1857. Niels Anderson, then 25, emigrated from Denmark to the Mormon community of Florence, Nebraska, in 1860, and continued west as a handcart pioneer. A few years later, both Mary and Niels joined a religious community called "Morrisites," a small dissident group that split from the Latter-day Saints and gathered at Kingston Fort, near today's Ogden, Utah. On June 13, 1862, Utah territorial militia troops demanding the surrender of Morrisite leaders fired a warning cannon shot toward the fort. The shot critically wounded and disfigured 15-year-old Mary and killed two other women.
In May 1863, Colonel
Patrick E. Connor and his California Volunteers escorted the Morrisite survivors - including Niels and Mary, here to the banks of the Bear River. Niels, one of just seven single Morrisite men who accompanied Connor, and Mary, still recovering from her injuries, were wed two months later.
When active Mormons began settling in Soda Springs, their presence and bloc-voting political clout outraged remaining Morrisites. Niels and others launched and anti-polygamy campaign that ultimately denied Mormons the right to vote in Idaho. Their anti-Mormon fraction controlled Idaho politics until 1908.
HM NumberHM20JV
Placed ByDepartment of the Interior, National Park Service
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Tuesday, August 8th, 2017 at 1:01pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)12T E 449612 N 4722522
Decimal Degrees42.65351667, -111.61475000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 42° 39.211', W 111° 36.885'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds42° 39' 12.66" N, 111° 36' 53.1" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)208
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling South
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 290 South 3rd St W, Soda Springs ID 83276, US
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