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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Soda Springs in Caribou County, Idaho — The American West (Mountains)
 

First In Soda Springs

Niels Anderson Homestead

 
 
First In Soda Springs Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, June 22, 2017
1. First In Soda Springs Marker
Captions: (bottom center) Neils and Mary Anderson with their eight children.; (bottom right) Niels, who died in 1926 at age 90, and Mary, who died one week short of her 81st birthday in 1928 are buried at the Fairview Cemetery near Soda Springs. Their lives are commemorated by an historical plaque at their gravesite.
Inscription. 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
First In Soda Springs Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, June 22, 2017
2. First In Soda Springs Marker
The marker is on the far right.
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.
 
Erected by Department of the Interior, National Park Service.
 
Location. 42° 39.211′ N, 111° 36.885′ W. Marker is in Soda Springs, Idaho, in Caribou County. Marker is on South 3rd Street West near West 3rd Street South, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 290 South 3rd Street West, Soda Springs ID 83276, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Clash Of Cultures (here, next to this marker); Law & Order On The Frontier (a few steps from this marker); A New Beginning... (a few steps from this marker); Father De Smet Monument (approx. half a mile away); Not A Walk In The Park... (approx. half a mile away); Wagon Box Grave of 1861 (approx. half a mile away); Ground Observation Corps Soda Springs Post (approx. half a mile away); Ground Observer Corps National Planning (approx. half a mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Soda Springs.
 
Regarding First In Soda Springs. The markers are in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints church parking lot.
 
Categories. Churches & ReligionSettlements & Settlers
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on August 8, 2017. This page originally submitted on August 8, 2017, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 70 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on August 8, 2017, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.
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