- Name: James Ephraim Madson
- Born: January 21, 1844 Bjerrede, Terslev, Denmark
- Died: March 23, 1914 Salem, Utah
- Related through: Erin's grandfather James William Madson
James Ephraim Madson was born January 21, 1844 in Bjerrede, Terslev, Denmank. The first record we find of him is his baptism in the Terslev, Soro, Denmark Parish Register on April 8, 1844. His name was listed as Jens, son of Mads Jensen and Bodil Marie Jacobsdatter. Bjerrede is found in the Parrish of Terslev and in some records we find the name Rodemose (which means swamp) – probably the name of their farm. He had twin older sisters and one younger sister. He also had an older half-brother from his mother’s first marriage.
|James as a young child with his parents |
Mads and Bodil and twin sisters
Kirstine and Ane.
The emigration record of 1866 gives Jens Madsen, age 21, of Sealand, a laborer deposited an amount of money and he sailed on the ship "Kenilworth" with the same company of Saints that included his future wife (but they were not to meet until they arrived in Spanish Fork, Utah later. He sailed May 25, 1866 with only a small wooden box, made with wooden nails to hold his belongings.
Jens landed in New York, July 17, 1866 and arrived (in the Joseph Rawlin's Company) in Salt Lake Valley, Utah on August 1, 1866. He worked for a family in Ogden the Christmas of this same year, and not being able to speak any English it must have been a lonely one. He spent Christmas day as a woodcutter in Ogden canyon with a lunch of bread and water. At a later date his daughter-in-law, Emma Tanner Madson, asked him if he, at that time, regretted having joined the Church and leaving Denmark. She remembered him abruptly replying, "Don't ever even think such a thing Emmy. The gospel of Jesus Christ is worth any sacrifice.'" We can be grateful for his dedicated faith, integrity and perseverance.
When Jens came to America he changed his name to James Ephraim Madson/Madsen. Two of his sons used the spelling Madson but all the others took the accepted spelling of Madsen. Mads Jonathan and William Hyrum’s families use the son spelling.
He was ordained to the office of Elder after receiving the Melchizedek priesthood on July 6, 1869. This same day he and Birgithe Jensen were married and sealed in the Salt Lake Endowment House. They also received their endowments this same date. Daniel H. Wells performed the marriage ceremony. Birgithe's parents, Poul Martines and Mette Kjerstine Olsen Jensen were also endowed and sealed this same date. James and Birgithe had nine children – eight sons and one daughter.
|James Madsen family 1893|
Some quotes attributed to him follow:
“If that’s the way the Lord wants it that is the way it’s going to be.”
“The secrets of life are secret because so few people ever really find them out.”
“Some very special people will come from the shadows of these mountains” (the mountains around Salem).
“If this counsel or work be of men, it will come to naught. But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it, lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.”
This article is based on information written and compiled by Hattie Madson Knight, 1976, and from information from “A Good Man and a Good Woman – Paul Martinus Jensen and Mette Kristine Olsen” compiled by Rae Madsen Kern and family, 2004.