By the time Ola Nelson Stohl, Sr., was 15 years old, he was supporting himself as a tailor.
During Christmas holidays at the family home in Klorup, Sweden, Ola had the occasion to visit with his brother Nels, who was living in Copenhagen, Denmark. Nels had joined the Mormon church and was anxious to share his beliefs with his brother. Ola converted a year later. Because of religious persecution, he moved to Copenhagen.
In 1855, Ola became a missionary and preached in both Denmark and Sweden for over six years. While in the Stockholm area, Ola and his companion were beaten and kicked by two drunken men. His companion managed to escape, but Ola was not as fortunate. The men said they were going to “baptize” him in mud in a nearby ditch. They threw Ola face down in the mud, choked him and then stepped on his head. He nearly drowned. Finally, one of the men told Ola he could go, but the other said he wanted to “whip him” some more. “If you strike him I will kill you,” was the response. Ola fled.
After completing his mission, Ola sailed to America on the Electric. He arrived in Salt Lake on Sept. 22, 1862. Ola worked awhile for religious leader Brigham Young at the molasses mill, then established a tailor business downtown. He moved to Brigham City about 1865. Ola was a member of the city’s first brass band and the Tabernacle choir.