Elsie Maria Knudsen (Bybee)

Spouse: Byram Lee Bybee

  • Born: 23 Oct 1820
  • Place: Bedersley, Odense, Denmark
  • Married: 15 Aug 1856
  • Died: abt 1866
  • Place: Washington, Washington, Utah
  • Burial: Grafton Cementery, Grafton (ghost town), Washington, Utah ???


  • Date: 23 October 1820
  • Place: Bederslev, Odense Denmark


  • Date: 1866
  • Place: Washington Co. Utah


  • Father: Knud Jorgensen
  • Mother: Ane Marie Andersen



  • Spouse: Byram Bybee
  • Date: 15 August 1856
  • Place: Salt Lake City, Salt Lake Co. Utah


  • Date: June 1864
  • Place: Washington Co. Utah


  1. John died day of birth 1858
  2. Betsy Marie 27 April 1860

Else, pronounced Elsa, was born in the quaint little village of Bederslev, Odense Denmark on the picturesque island of Fynn. An island of contrast, manor houses and thatched roofed huts, large farms and small, wooded areas and ocean beaches. Places of intrique for the inquisitive. None of her intriguing experiences were told to her daughter.

Else's only daughter, Betsy Marie Bybee Cook, had only one memory of her mother. When Betsy was four years of age, they were moving from Weber County to Washington County the wagon was packed with their belongings and Betsy was seated beside her mother on the high wagon seat. Else's pet cat was snuggled on her lap. When Betsy's father climbed up onto the seat he saw the cat and told Else that it could not go along with them. Betsy remembered that her mother cried about leaving her cat.

Else had many other reasons to cry in her life, but she also had numerous occasions to rejoice. As the oldest of nine children, she had reason to reioice as each sibling was born, but also to cry as three of them died in infancy and one at the age of ten. Her descendants have reason to rejoice that the Lutheran church cleric's kept such good records as she was dutifully recorded at birth, christening, at the time she was vaccinated for smallpox, when she learned her catechism and was confirmed a member at age 14. The cleric's incoming and outgoing lists accounted for Else's two decades of service. The frequency of her moves would indicate that she attended the needs of mothers at the ten day confinement after giving birth or caring for the sick.

She had reason to cry in 1841 at the death of her father and again in 1848 when her mother passed away.

She had reason to rejoice at the marriage of her brother Anders. She had reason to cry when Anders, serving in the Military contracted consumption and was hospitalized for an extended period of time. The consumption didn't consume him as quickly as he thought it should, or he may have thought his lingering was keeping the family from going to the United States of America. The records show cause of death as "self murder".

Else had great reason to rejoice when the Elders from America came and preached the restored gospel of Jesus Christ she was baptized 14 March 1852. Else and her sisters Caroline and Kristen and brother Jorgen were received into the Copenhagen Branch of the L.D.S. Church in 1853.

Else had reason to rejoice over the responsibility for her siblings as she saw to it that Jorgen and Kristen were with the saints gathering to Zion a year before she and Caroline emigrated. Elder Liljenquist was highly pleased with the Copenhagen Branch. He praised the Saints for their liberality in sustaining the work of God with their temporal means, many of the Saints that were poor had thus been assisted to emigrate to Zion. It is possible that this is how this family of four siblings was able to emigrate.

Else had reason to cry as the ship from Copenhagen bound for England that she and her sister Caroline were aboard was buffeted back and forth by winds at sea causing them to miss the ship "Helious". The ship "James Nesmith" was secured and 441 souls sailed for America 07 January 1855, bound for New Orleans.

She had reason to cry as during the six week voyage 13 saints died. The steamship "Oceana" carried them up the Mississippi River where seven on board died during the 11 days on the river. "Clara", the steamboat on the Missouri River, bound for Atchison, Kansas was forced, because of low water, to land in Leavenworth. During their stay in Leavenworth 29 more souls passed on, nine from cholera. Two months later the company moved to Mormon Grove, about five miles from Atchison, which had been selected as the outfitting point for the emigrants who crossed the plains in 1855.

Elsa had reason to rejoice as she and her sister had survived the journey thus far and had joined the company of Captain Jacob F. Secrist, consisting of 125 people, 58 wagons, 231 oxen and 100 cows. At one point, Crossing the plains, they were surrounded by Indians and had to give them flour or sugar to keep peace.

Else had reason to rejoice, their nine month iourney from Denmark to Zion was over and it was on to Weber Co.

Being 35 and still single was a reason to cry, but a reason to rejoice was soon to come. Byrum Bybee chose her to be his second plural wife, and they were married by Brigham Young in his office. Two children, John and Betsy, blessed the union. John died the same day he was born.

Byram's poor health caused them to move to Washington Co. a warmer climate and Elsa would be with her brother Jorgen. She was joyous at being with her brother and his family. Byram died within two months of their arrival.

Elsa died two years later leaving six year old Betsy to the care of Uncle Jorgen.

Actions speak louder than words, Else's actions showed she loved the Lord, she gave her all. Her service showed she loved her family and fellowmen.

There are no records of funeral or burial, but it supposed that her brother saw to it that she was buried beside her husband in the Grafton Cementery, Washington Co. Utah.

Submitted by: Roe Ann Sampson Gooch

1461 Cheyenne St.

Salt Lake City, Utah 84104

Washington County, Utah - Family Research Series, No. 2 
Compiled by: Wesley W. Craig, Ph.D.
(Revised Edition - 1998) 

Copyright 1996 - 2019 Shirl R Weight Saturday, 23 February 2019 10:05:15 PM