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Julius Sørensen (1865-1944)

Julius Sorensen, 1885?
Julius Sorensen, 1885?

Julius Peter Winter Sørensen is the son of Else Nielsen and the younger brother of Maria Johanna Sørensen Madsen. He was born in Horsens, Denmark, 24 Oct 1865. He emigrated as a youth ahead of the rest of his family and thus had to make a living for himself at a young age. He was well-known to the Lauper family for his generous support of their missions and his encouraging letters. He married Aunt "Lina" and had a family of 9 children. Some of their baby pictures are found in the Old Lauper Album.

We have no specific life history of Julius, but there are several documents that talk of him and his life.

Recollections of a Good Man, My Uncle Julius

By Marcel F. Lauper, January 1977

This is Marcel Franklin Lauper dictating, concerning a few memories and impressions of our Great Uncle Julius Peter Winter Sorensen, as well as his wife, our Great Aunt Angelina Christina Magdelina Marker Sorensen (affectionately known as Aunt Lina). This is directed especially to their daughter, Vera Sorensen Whitaker, with whom I have developed a close relationship through the years; and also to the descendants of Uncle Julius and Aunt Lina.

Julius and Angelina Sorensen, unheralded though they were in books and other media, still from my point of view, were and are great and lovable people. They gave me opportunity, and more than that, they supplied love and understanding to go along with the material assistance. These items were responsible for my being able to serve a foreign mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in an area very dear to them as well as other members of our family -- Denmark.

I want all of the descendants of my Uncle Julius and Aunt Lina to know this; had it been a case of merely 'dishing out the funds’ to me, my memories today might well be different than they are. I would remember the things I was able to do, with that which they gave me, but it would not include the dear memories of the lives of my great ancestors. The events would have been recalled, surely, but the givers might have been forgotten; this, however, is not the case. You see I dearly love both of those fine people. I loved them then and still love their memories. The rest of the story might simply include; they loved me too. This is a fair and accurate statement since my feelings run so deeply after a long period of time. My first recollection of yours and my loved ones, Julius and Angelina Sorensen, at 910 South Fourth East, dates back more than half a century.

Now I have put off, for nearly a year, Vera's request to furnish a report of this kind. It has been a full and sometimes hectic year; but the main reason I've hesitated is because of the fear that I might not do justice to the invitation to talk about those dear people. I discover how miserably poor I am in recalling definite incidents, names, places, and dates; so I am proceeding on the basis of heart-felt impressions, feelings, emotions, and love. As vindication of this ploy on my part, and despite omission of historical data, I cite the following story: "A young man approached William F. Berrett to apply for a job in the Seminary Teaching Program. William F. asked the young man; "did you attend Seminary"? "Yes" was the reply. "What did you learn"? asked Berrett. The young man’s reply was cluttered with "Well, er, er, I, well, I learned a great deal, but I can't recall the specific things right now, Sir; but I know it was in Seminary, while listening to the teachers and mingling with my peers in the class, that I learned to love my Heavenly Father, and it was during those Seminary days that I began to learn of myself." "Fine" said Brother Berrett, "we accept you into the program".

Now, Vera, I'm like that applicant, I cannot bring to mind many of the details concerning incidents and experiences with Uncle Julius; nevertheless, he most certainly did have a powerful influence upon my life. None of the spirit of those experiences, nor the love, has been forgotten; but here, I would like to fill in a few of the early incidents as connected with your family.

I was a little boy, not six years of age [1917], when I first slept in your home --it was in Farrell's room. It seems he was either leaving or returning from a mission. I remember him as tall and handsome; reminding me somewhat of your own son, Earl, only not quite as dark, as I recall. Your brother Farrell had a most pleasing smile, and was kind to me. As I reflect, there is some doubt in my mind as to exactly when the above encounter took place --either as a child as stated, or later, at the time of my brother Felix's death, at which time I was 14 years [1925]. Anyway, I remember it as a cordial relationship, even though our paths seemed to have never crossed again. This experience was an introduction for me to electric lights, inside plumbing, carpeting, and to Aunt Lina's Cream of Wheat mush. It was thick and hard to swallow, but she saw to it that I gulped it down before partaking of anything further. Your mother, herself, recalled this mush story when I was in your home just prior to my mission departure, when again she had me eat her mush. She commented that I should become used to Danish 'bill-of-fare'. We laughed about this many times later; and my own mother also made great sport of the incident as long as she lived. This item alone brings a flood of wonderful memories to me.

From that very early visit to your home, the next several years were covered by fragmentary information given through my mother and her contacts by letter with your parents; nothing personal to me. Then came the day! A letter from my 'rich uncle' -- I shall never forget it! I had read fairy tales, but could not relate to such. This could never happen to a young, freckle-faced, inhibited (I've changed since then), uneducated, poor little farm boy, Marcel Lauper. But there has to be a correction to that statement: it did happen! My mother was beaming and radiant with joy as she handed me the letter from our Uncle Julius. The Lord had answered our prayers in an incredible way. This fine Uncle stated he could and would support a missionary! I was to be that missionary -- MFL! I was ecstatic with joy. Within a short time thereafter, information was submitted to, and interviews were held with our Branch President, and then came a letter signed by President Heber J. Grant: a call to serve a mission in Denmark. And MFL became the first missionary from the Ventura Branch, California Mission, an area which now supports several Stakes.

Soon I was in Salt Lake City, in the Mission Home for two weeks of training; but was staying at 910 South Fourth East during that time. From that date, until there was no longer a home on that corner, I was to be assured of a 'home away from home'. Long after my mission was ended and all commitments had been fulfilled concerning it, the door was always left open for me, at all times. On subsequent visits to Salt Lake City, I would walk right in and toss my bag or belongings on the floor to take up my regular lodging for the night or however long my stay was to last. This was how I was made to feel in that home. I say again, we loved each other, and still do. It's that simple.

Prior to my mission call, I had taken my 'then-best-girl-friend' to see those folks, and she liked them too. She not only wished for a closer friendship with me, she wanted to become related to them. Later, when I was serving in the U.S. Air Corp, Uncle remembered my love life and wrote, "I hope she ---- sits under the apple tree with nobody else but thee", showing he always had my best interests at heart.

While at the Mission Home, and during my long period in the Field, Uncle Julius never lost sight of the fact that I was young and full of 'hot ginger'. He understood me and was very reasonable and always understanding of the youthful point of view. He counseled and cautioned me to live right. He was uniquely aware of the things that pulled and tugged at my heart, always showing me love and concern, as if he were my own parent. He prayed for me to do well and to not waste precious time and energy. Over and over again, he reminded me that we are here for only a short period of time as compared to the eternities. He stated we must prepare now and do all the good we can. Again and again he reiterated that he was blessed with a certain amount of funds, but that the Lord held him accountable to spend it wisely and purposefully. He said, "Marcel, I do not know how much time I have left, but I want to do all the good I can, and I cannot waste this money. If you do well, and if your mission doesn't cost too much, perhaps I can send another missionary. I need all the blessings I can earn. Mudder (meaning Aunt Lina) is, of course, part of all I am doing. Marcel, although she doesn’t always understand and agree with what I do, she is truly part of it all. She benefits just the same as do I, and the same as I will in the future."

Perhaps, Vera, you do not realize that your father talked to me in this way. You know your mom, who always 'called a spade'. And it was interesting how she sometimes 'spiked' your dad a bit, but never treated me unkindly in any way. One example of your mom's forthrightness was displayed that first Sunday I was with them after my mission call. I went with your dad to Priesthood meeting. He introduced me around proudly, having me speak -- even in the Danish-speaking Sacrament meeting. I enjoyed every minute of it. He treated me lovingly and, again, proudly, as any father ever could. Later at home, Aunt Lina's comments were, "He's only going to church because you're here; he's missed several meetings lately, including his Priesthood meeting. He and Merke have had a fight, and he's been staying away". Your dad uttered not a word of retaliation, but he was crushed. It only amused me, and does even to this day when I recall that, as well as many other small situations concerning our associations. This serves to remind me of a phrase of Longfellow's writing: "Life is real, Life is earnest ---" How true!

Uncle Julius kept me in close counsel right up until the day I left for the field. His experiences and observations of life had taught him many things and he was anxious to pass much of this along to me -- some of his knowledge and truth.

My oh my, how I wish I could remember his experiences as a deputy sheriff. I recall somewhat of the fear and respect held for our Uncle by the great outlaw, Lopez. That guy knew Sorensen and feared him. Uncle also told me about selling woolen goods. It seems he had a special knack for selling. I also recall, slightly, his connection with the Fire Department in Salt Lake City. He added that he once imbibed, for which he harbored many regrets. All of his experiences, he told me, added up to one thing in reference to himself, "I must use my time and money wisely and do all the good I can, Marcel". I wish you could have heard him, Vera, as he said that with his soft and characteristic Danish accent. It is a beautiful memory to me, and always an inspiration.

While a serviceman, stationed at Fort Sumner, New Mexico, a telegram reached me stating Uncle Julius had left us. The incompetent G.I.s on base managed to get this wire to me, the day after his funeral. It hurt me deeply, and the more so, for I would have somehow arranged to be there. I do not know what involvement kept me from attending Aunt Lina's funeral, but I am certain it was something beyond my control. They are gone from this life, but never from my memories.

I called my sister Alice Lauper Brown, stating that I was contemplating a short paper about Uncle Julius and Aunt Lina. She said quickly, "0h, I loved them dearly, too. Be sure to include Aunt Lina in whatever you say. She was so sweet, quiet, and kind to us all". Alice further commented as to how she has always wished she knew more of all the Sorensen family members, and I concur. Alice also reminded me of how Uncle Julius earnestly studied the English language while engaged in making a living at herding sheep. This was a magnificent accomplishment on his own, as is evidenced in his many letters to our mother and to each of us. We all remember what a great comfort he was to our dear mother, and he referred to her more often as a sister rather than a niece. Mother felt that her Uncle Julius was, at times, 'all she really had'.

Then I asked my sister, Viola, to make a statement about these kindly relatives, and after reiterating much of the above; expressing sincere love and appreciation to a couple who had shown more real kindness to our mother than any other person, then Viola made comments concerning her feelings for some of the fourth and fifth generations of our great uncle and aunt.

Viola's reference is to Mark and Nancy Sorensen and their two children who presently reside in San Francisco. [She] met this family for first time at the baptism of their young son, Tim, and met also that day, Mark Sorensen's parents, Richard and Lucille Sorensen, from Salt Lake City. Richard is the son of Oliver Sorensen, who was son of Uncle Julius Sorensen. Viola has been thrilled by this acquaintance and would love to be more close to this young family who are members of her same Ward. It is her desire that we all might know this nice, good-looking, intelligent family and their splendid parents.

In conclusion, I will quote a few lines from Homer, who said, "Deceased, but left so pleasing on the ear his voice, that listening still, they seem to hear."

And this concludes my feelings of those dear, departed, never-to-be-forgotten loved ones.

Deputy Sheriff Julius Sorensen and Outlaw Rafael Lopez

Apparently, Julius Sorensen had several "occupations" during his lifetime, one of them being deputy sheriff in Salt Lake County. In November of 1913, he and two other deputies accompanied the Bingham police chief in a posse to capture Rafael Lopez who was alleged to have committed a murder. (Lopez was a rough and shady character who had already had run-ins with the law.) Lopez ambushed the group of pursuers, killing all but Julius Sorensen! A large-scale manhunt ensued with several dramatic episodes. However, Lopez was never caught by the Utah law.

Details of this case are chronicled by several sources, most notably a book published in 1990 by Lynn R. Bailey, The Search for Lopez: Utah's Greatest Manhunt. Apparently, until very recently, it was unknown what became of Lopez, and his Utah murder cases were still open. However, current deputy sheriff Randy Lish came across some clues that led to his documenting the demise of Lopez in Texas and thus bringing closure to the cases of Lopez' Utah crimes.

The website of the Western Outlaw Lawmen History Association contains an account of unknown authorship that summarizes the story of Lopez and its closure by Lish. The account is in a PDF file, but the text has been captured here. It also contains an interesting sidebar, speaking of the difficulties endured by the fatherless families of the lawmen that were killed. (mis-spells name as "Sorenson")

Another site contains a synopsis of Randy Lish's research and resolution of the case against Lopez. Apparently, it is Lish's own account.

Finally, there is a long, detailed and dramatized account of the story of Lopez that gives an alternate fate to Lopez (killed, not be Texas Rangers, but in northern Mexico by an old enemy). This account is notable in that it indicates that Lopez had a vendetta against Julius Sorensen. (mis-spells name as "Sorenson")

Letters of Julius Sorensen

[This is one of a number of handwritten letters sent from Julius to his niece, Emma Lauper. It was transcribed by Viola Lauper Johnson. Other letters are available to be published at this site.]

Salt Lake City, Utah
December 18, 1929

My dear 'Sister' Emma: [He is known to have referred to Emma as "sister", even though she was his niece. Perhaps he also meant "sister in the Gospel".]

You have been in my mind so much lately I had to write. You are the only one of my mother's Home and Family that is left; so I must turn to you for a comforting letter once in awhile. We missed you when our Mother left us. There was plenty of beautiful flowers and mighty speakers; but I surely longed to see you and Rasmina Winters. It was of course physically impossible for you to come, but I longed to see you.

You see, my Mother [Else Nielsen] and your Mother [his sister, Maria Sorensen] are still very much in my memory, as they struggled for existence, when you were but very small and I was only a boy ------ I think of you and the many downs and but few ups you have had in your life. My heart is deeply touched for you and yours. God bless you all.

I am sorry you have to work to help to keep your son, Ivan on a mission; but the narrow and hard road, which my own mother trod, may be the best; and as she too has prayed for you --it will as you yet shall see, bring the greatest blessing.

Mother's brother, Peter Winter, died not long ago; and the only bitter words spoken be- tween your Mother and I (and it was only a word) was because she refused to let me have his name to do work in the Temple ..... because I was sick she said. She felt her son should do the work: Well, on Armistice Day, the Spirit spoke to me plainly two or three times on the street --to go up and see your Mother. I went up there and I am so happy I did. She was so affectionate and she told me I could have the name. Her eyes shone with love for me as we parted. A few days later I had a phone message that she was dying, and when I got there she was breathing heavy and was a furnace inside from fever. She was burning up. She had but one eye partly open as if she was yet struggling to retain life; withal she was unconscious and she knew nor suffered no more. The boys told me the doctor had said she may live 24 or 48 hours more. I told them the Lord would not permit that, if we would pray that she might have peace. A short time later she passed away peacefully, and the storms and struggles, which have been many for her here on this earth, were ended. [28 November 1929]

Now my dear Emma, let us bind together as a family. Your mother had her failings; a strong character always has; nevertheless she was a mighty woman; strong in faith and actions. We need each other, Emma, here and hereafter. Someday we shall understand; and will want to be one family bound together in all things. Let us commence now and forget all that may have kept us apart in the past; that when our Book of Life may be opened, it may not contain any bitter or regrettable thoughts toward any of the family. You and I have yet have time here to heal these scars or wounds that may have thoughtlessly been made. Let us close them and not bring them to mind anymore.

I think Julius or Axel have probably given you the details of your Mother's death and funeral, so no more about it at this time.

I wrote Ivan some time ago but have not as yet heard from him. Will you accept the enclosed money order to help you and him. I am sorry I cannot do better, but I have but little income as I cannot work.

All my family are feeling good and have good health. I may come down to Los Angeles this winter yet if I think I can get along. My health is better, but not good. I would have to have a room of my own so as to not trouble the girls. I can get free doctor treatment down there from the Government.

At this glad Christmas season our hearts go out in love and affection to you and yours. May the Christmas spirit be in your hearts and in your home; and that the Anniversary Year of 1930 may prove to be a year overflowing with joy and happiness, is the sincere wish and prayer of your Uncle and all that belong to him.

In my haste, I hope that I have not written anything that has hurt your feelings or caused you sorrow. The Lord's spirit be with you and give you strength to overcome all trials; and with hope that we shall yet meet again on earth, I am again sincerely your Uncle Julius Sorensen

910 South 4th East, Salt Lake City, Utah

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