Niels Lundorff Kristensen - 1891
Niels Lundorff Kristensen er født 16. februar 1891 i Solbjerg, som søn af husmand Christen Smed Nielsen og hustru Johanne Andrea Nielsen Lundorff.
Niels Lundorff Kristensen er bankør (1961)
Han emigrerede til U.S.A. (Minnesota), hvor han blev gift med Laura. De fik sammen 8 børn og stiftede dermed en helt ny gren af familien - primært i området omkring Sandstone/Minnesota
Nels Lundorffs story in English:
Niels Lundorff Kristensen was born 16. February 1891 in Solbjerg, son of farmer Christen Smed Nielsen and his wife Johanne Andrea Nielsen Lundorff. He had two sisters and together with his wife, Laura, he got eleven children himself (three of them died as small). He lived his first 20 years in Denmark, where he earned his money helping with the cattle on small farms. He then got tired of that life and on his birthday 1911, he bought a ticket to U.S.A., he then left Denmark and lived in U.S.A. the rest of his life.
From Nels son, Norman, I have the following information:
Niels and his wife Laura had 8 children, and they have themselves many children, so the "Minnesota branch" is a big family now. Niels Lundorff wrote a story about his years in Denmark, before he left to U.S.A. and about his life in U.S.A. thereafter. He gave "the writings" to his son Norman, and Norman sent the story to me (Lars Bo Lundorff) in Jan. 2010.
The written words was clearly influenced by Niels danish past and his troubles with the typewriter. The first part is from a genealogibook, and it seems that Niels has gathered the information from his sister Stine (must have been his sister Charlotte Kirstine).
I have tried not to change anything, and here is "nearly unchanged" what he wrote:
Jens Jensen Lundorff was born 1686, and he died in 1730. He was married to Elisabeth Knudsdatter, and they had a son with the same name. Jens Jensen Lundorf was born in 1721, he died in 1790 and he owned a store in Thisted. He was married October 22. 1754 to Karen Andersdatter Lagaard and they had a son also named Jens Jensen Lundorff. He was born 1758, he died in 1829 and was also storekeeper in Thisted. He was married three times, had no children with his first wife and got married second time to Inger Margrethe Hedegaard, who died when she was 41. He married again a third time when he was 60 to his housekeeper.
Andreas Jensen Lundorff was a son with his second wife, born in 1769. He was married Feb. 10. 1803 to Johanne Christensdatter Kold. He was Furnitur and cabinet maker. Niels Christian Andreasen Lundorff, son of Andreas Jensen Lundorff was born in Thisted Oct. 17. 1813. He died Solbjerg, Mors May 5. 1864. He is my grandfather and the first in the Lundorff clan with the name of Niels, since then there is a Niels in every family.
He was married in April 6. 1838 to Charlotte Kirstine Christensdatter born Nov. 23. 1816 and died in 1899. My Grandfather died 27 years before I was born. My Grandmother i remember very well. In 1850 my Grandfather bought about 10 acres in Solbjerg for 600 rigsdaler About 200$. There was a long Brickhouse Barn for a couple of cows in one end and living quarter in the other and that was where my Mother and her brother and sister grew up.
Christen Nielsen Lundorff born Jan. 21. 1841 was married to Johanne Kirstine Andersen Oct. 13. 1872 and he died in July 19. 1917. They had 5 children, Niels, Andres, Anders, Charlotte and Nielsine. Jens Nielsen Lundorff born Nov. 2. 1847, married to Grethe Nielsdatter Feb. 14. 1873 they had one son Niels Lundorff. Ane Kirstine Nielsen Lundorff born Dec. 25. 1850 married to Kristen Madsen 1881, they had 3 sons, Peder Kristensen Nielsen, Kristian Lundorff Kristensen and Mads Christian Kristensen. Johanne Andrea Nielsen Lundorff (my mother) was born Oct. 19. 1854 and she was married to Christen Smed Nielsen (my father). There was four children Charlotte Kirstine Kristensen, Niels Lundorff Kristensen (died as infate), Niels Lundorff Kristensen (that is me) and Emma Andrea Kristensen. My mother died in the fall of 1907, my father in 1925. Agnete Nielsdatter Lundorff born Oct. 19. 1857, died Mar. 29. 1942, she was married to Niels Nielsen Dec. 14. 1886. They had 4 children, Charlotte Kirstine Nielsen, Niels Lundorff Nielsen, Kirsten Marie Nielsen and Niels Christian Nielsen. This is all the relations in the line. To tell about my cousins i don't think would interest anybody.
My Grandmother must have had a hard time when Grandfather died. Agnete 7 years old, my mother 10, Ane 14, Jens 17 and Christen at 22 (he was in the army at that time). My fathers family I do not know much about, his fathers name was also Niels and he must have been married twice. My father had one brother Jens and a sister Katrine, two half brothers Karl and Niels. Another branch of the Lundorff three interested me. Frederik Lundorff he is the only one besides myself that lived to be over 90, he was 94 when he died. He was a bricklayer, but he surely didn't lay bricks all the time. Him and his wife had 18 children. In 1961 when Stine ordered the Family Tree Book I figured, I would find out when the first Lundorff came to Denmark. However the last one mentioned was Jens Jensen Lundorff born in 1686, but nothing mentioned about where he came from or who his parents were. He must have been in Denmark a long time, because the Jens Jensen is pure Dane. He was "Herredsfoged" for 18 years as near as I know glorified Sherif appointed by the king for life, so he must have done something to come to the Kings attentionor had some pull.
Until 1848 Denmark was Monarci, the King was the law and made alle government appointments. For years nothing but german was spoken in the Kings retinue and there was number of german knights and Aristocrats surounding the King. To me it is possible that one of them had the name Lundorff. There is no question that Lundorff is a german name, but it is not common among the german people. I have never heard of a german in Germany or in this country with that name. The closest I can find was a General Lundendorff in the war with Denmark 1848 and 49, then again in first world war there was a general with the same name Lundendorff. So we are still in the dark as to where and when the first Lundorff appeared in Denmark, but there is a lot more Lundorff around than I suspected and they are multiplying all the time. That was the "genealogi part" of Niels's story - here comes the personal part:
Born February 16. 1891 at Solbjerg, Mors, Denmark. My father was Kresten Smed Nielsen and my mother was Johanne Andrea Lundorff. I comminced public school when I was 7 years old. On May 1. 1903 until Nov. 1., I was hyred out to take care of cattles. Wages for the 6 months was $5 and a pound wool. During the 6 summer months I went to school only 2 afternoons a week, however during the 6 winther months I went 3 full days and 3 half days a week. 1904 was a repetition of 1903 but I got $7.50 for that summer. In the spring of 1905 I was confirmed age 14 and that was the end of my schooling. I was then hyred out for a year on a small farm to take care of cattle and general roustabout, salery about $14 from May 1. 1905 to May 1. 1906.
The following year I worked on a larger farm had some 40 head of cattle to take care of. The farmer was an SOB, but I did get about $32 for the year. Long before the year was up I had decided that I was not going to work there again, so I hyred out on a smaller farm where I had worked the summer of 1904. I liked the people. The wages was only a couple of dollars more than the year before and I was supposed to do a mans work, but at least I got out of being nursemaid to cattle. Mother died on Nov. 26. 1907, she fell down from upstairs and only lived a few hours. I did not stay in that job the whole year as I was hyred out for, the people didn't really need meand and I wanted to learn the carpenter tread at which I started Feb. 1. 1908.
When a person was learning a tread he received no wages, only board and room. It was agreed that I should stay with the mester for a period of 3 years and 3 months with the provitionthat I be allowed to hyre out for one month each summer for harvest in order to earn money for clothes. However I was required to deposit 100 kroner (about $25), with the mester, which I would get returned if I stayed the full term. But if I left before the time was up I would forfeit the $25.
It must have been in June 1910, I had most likely been out gallevanting and didn't get to bed very early. Anyway I didn't hear the boss call the next morning so the first I knew he came and trowed a dipper of water in my face. I told him that he might as well let me stay in bed, as I would not work for him another day. However he insisted and I got up accordingly out of bed, jumped brapped a pair of pants and my bicycle, and home to my dad I went. Mader than a wet hen and ofcause without my $25, I was still hot under the collar when I got home and wanted to go to U.S.A. right then and there, but dad persuaded me to simmer down a little and proposed to see an attorny about the $25, which he did but was told there was nothing we could do. My reputation couldn't have been that bad as it was only a few days before I was offered a job by a carpenter who knew me, and from then till x-mas I worked steady and earned considerable more, than the $25 that I had lost. Besides I learned more, so I came out on top, but I supposed it was more luck than sense. I still had the U.S. fewer and on my birthday Feb. 16. 1911, I bought my ticket and on March sailed from Esbjerg Denmark.
Before crossing the North Sea and England and the Atlantic, it may be of interest to put down a few incidens that I remember from my boyhood. My parents were rather poor, father worked out by the day for as little as 20 cents a day and his board in the winther and my mother done laundry work at home. However we never went hungry, it was mostly boiled cerial and milk potatoes and grevy hardly any meat, and I can count on my fingers on one hand, the eggs I consumed the first 20 years of my life. The farmer I worked for the first summer was a kind of Simon Legree, he didn't really hit me, but he would shove, squis me in a corner or take me by the shoulder and spin me around like a top, and ofcourse sometime i would fall down but never really get hurt. I recall as yesterday I was helping with the harvest, he told me to move the cattle, there was 9 or 10 and he gave me strict order to hurry, so I ran like crazy in order to please him. When I got back, he looked at his watch, asked if I had moved them, which i confirmed, but by the smirk, he had on his face, I got the impresion he didn't believe me very encouraging. The only satisfaction I had when he had raised hell with, was to stick out my tongue at him, when he turned his back. In retrospect this seem trivial, but at the time to me it was very humiliating.
I was eating lunch alone one day - it concisted of rybread, cheese and sliced meat. There was several slices of bread on a plate, the topslice was out mighty thick, so I took one underneath. That was a mistake, the woman of the farm had placed there on purpose, and she let me know in no uncertan terms what a louse I was by refusing some of her food, and in general made me feel like a criminal.
I Was happy when Nov. 1. arrived, and I could go home and go to school. Nels Lundorff's father, Christen Smed Nielsen. May 1, 1904 I started on another job with an elderly couple on a small farm and as stated before I received $7.50 for 6 months, but at least I was trated humanly. The only other hired person was a girl who wasn't very bright and they had an adopted son about 20 years old, pretty good person. The man on the farm, guess he must have been between 55 and 60 at that time, I believe was the dirtiest person I ever knew. He chewed tobacco and the juice and slabber smeared all over his chin. I don't think he ever washed, except once in awhile he would stike his hands in any pool in the yard rub them together and wipe them on his pants, but his crowning stunt was taking the pail from the outhouse at the community hall, which was near by, put the pail under his arm and with the other hand scrape out the contents and spred it on the field. On the other side of the ledger there was no means in him.
New years eve was the time for tricks in Denmark. Some of the tricks we did the last new year I was home was: We took a small door from the barn and put it on the preachers chimney, of caurse they were smoked out until somebody got wise and removed it. We went into a girls chanber took the bedsheets and hoisted them up on the flagpole (the girl was not in the bed). At the storekeepers they were having a party and had a pot of coffee ready, we gor the window open, and when the woman left the kitchen, we took the pot, drank the coffee and returned the pot. Everybody took it as a good joke, but we were careful not to get caught.
On March 1, 1911 at about 5 p.m., I embarked at Esbjerg Denmark for England. It was a freighter nocabins or statrooms, bunks were erected in the holds there . There were two holds, upper and lower, no stairs, you went down a hatch and a perpendiculer ladder, it was a very rough trip. All passengers were sick and womiting, me included. In fact I was so sick, that if I had been told the boat was going down, I couldn't have cared less. We had had wind and about 4 hours out the hatches were battent down. Try to imagine the stank with womit over the floor and a large number of people in an air tight room. I slept the whole trip, except when I had to womit. The reason I hadn't slept a wink the last two nights, I was home on account of farevel parties and dances. We arrived in England at 11 o’clock p.m. Marts 2, feeling pretty good but very hungry, for not to say starved, no wonder as we had had nothing for eat in 30 hours. I don't recall how or what, but we did get something to eat and boarded a train for Liverpool where we arraved early the next morning.
My lasting impression of Liverpool in 1911 was poverty. I still have a picture in my mind of a homeless little girl, about 9 years old, begging in the street. All she had on was a slip no shoes or stockings and there was a thin layer of snow in the street. On the dock there was row upon row of men in very poor clothing smoking clay pipes trying to get work. We got on board Mauretania, which at the time was one of the two largest liners afloat.
The crossing to New York was uneventful, and I enjoyed it. We arrived at New York in the morning of march 12, got on ferry for Ellis Island where, at that time, all emigrants were prosessed. We had to show our money, I think $10 was the minimum that each emigrant had to have. I don’t recall how many looked in our eyes, but I do remember one inspector. He would grab both upper eyelids at the same time, turn them inside out and believe me, they stayed up there until I got a hold of them with my fingers and pulled them down.
Ellis Island was a miserable place that day. It was cold and damp, and again we didn't have anything to eat all day, until we got on the train for Chicago. Late in the evening, when we bought some box lunches being pedled in the train, the lunches were nothing to write home about, but I suppose whoever put them up thought, they were good enough for greenhorns.
We arrived at Chicage in the morning of March 14. The two guys, who had been to Denmark on a visit and who were U.S. citizens I give credit for staying with us five newcomers all the way thrue they were not required to go through emmigration on Ellis Island, but of cause the had to have some fun with us. They insisted we have a glass of beer before breakfast, we went to a saloon where they must have been before. The beer was served in tin cups which didn't make us suspisous, but the cups were placed on metal points in the bar and we were told that it was the costume that on a given signal we all grab the cups at once. We followed orders all got an electric shock and cups and beer was flying in all directions, then they took us to a restaurent, where we had fried eggs and good coffee for breakfast. I really thought, it was wonderful everything. Shiny waitreses all dressed in white, hair piled high on their head, which was style at the time (beautiful).
I expected to get to work at the carpenter trade, but I was unable to find a job, and after the first few days, my money was about gone. Something had to be done, after all I had come to U.S. to make money. I stayed with a Claus Jensen family and by the way, among the danes he was never called by other name but "Little Claus". He was about as wide as he was tall, he owned two teams that were hauling ashes. All buildings 6 flat or over, had to pay for the removal of their own refuse, and the city hauled the refuse from all privat homes. I got the job driving one of the teams hauling ashes, $35 a month, breakfast and supper. At the start breakfast was a feast for me, imagine oatmeal, 3 fried eggs, coffee and fresh rolls, compared to skim milk and ryebread.
I keps the job about a month, when I was offered a job in a carpenter shop located in Hyde Park, which in 1911 was where the upper crust of Chicago society had their homes. As Claus had no objections, I took the job. I only worked there about a month, the money simply was not coming my way fast enough to satisfy me. I was only getting $12 a week, had to pay $7 a week for board and room and the boss expected me to buy tools. He was a real good churchmember but he sure didn't believe in paying his help any more than he had to, furthermore I didn't like the work. It consisted all together of fixing and painting old window screens and storm windows and fixing back yard fences, so I went back to Little Claus and got back my job hauling ashes. I liked Claus and his family, and they must have taken a shine too, as they generally invited me to go with them, when they went somewhere. I was treated like one of the family, and their home became my home, whenever I was in Chicago.
I worked for Claus till about may 1912, when an acquaintance and I decided to go out to Humboldt, Iowa and work on farms. I hired out to young second generation Norwegians who was a hothead and fought with his wife a good deal of the time. Him and I got along fairly well, as my english vocabulary was too limited to engage in good arguments, however once I made a point. He was cutting oats and I was shocking, some of the oats was down and nobody could tell which was top or buttom of the bundles, so it was impossible to set a neat shock. Well, he jumps of the binder a place where there was stait grain and nice bundles, sets a shock, calls me over and eloborates that all the shocks should look like that. I looked and lightened for a while then quitely remarked (that happens for me too). I thought he was going to bust he was that mad. I slept in the attic, it was so hot that completely naked i would perspire so the sheet. I was lying on was soaked, and sometimes in the night I would wake and be so thirsty, I would go down in the yard to the pump for a drink. Wages, $30 a month.
There was always somebody that liked to pick on a newcomer, I recall one instance. I was sent over to a neighbour to help with the treshing after dinner. I was standing smoking my pipe, a man about my age atsnding beside me started to make smart remarks about a stinking pipe and person. I told him if he didn't like it, he could move, he said how about moving you. I told him he was welcome to try, he didn't. By sep. 1 the farmer had no more work for me, so I went to work for a neighbour farmer for one month wages $35. Good people treated me fine but was served too much saur plum sause and plum butter for my taste. On oct. 1 I stated to work for a danish farmer at Rutland $1 a day till corn husking time, then 4 cents a bushle for husking corn. We finished with the corn about Dec. 1 at that farm, then I husked corn for a farmer at bradgate till just before X-mas, then back to Chicago, got a job immidiatly hauling some more ashes.
Here I might state that I was never unemployed any length of time, but I was not too particular, I would take what was available. I stayed on that job until in may, when my feet started to itch again, and a man with name Smith and I decided to go to South Dakota for harvest. We went to a railroad co. that was constructing a line at Manning Iowa. We could ship out there free of charge, if we would work on the construction, which we agreed to do. When we got to Manning, we were told to get off, but we insisted we had to go to Mannila, which was the next station, to get some oweralls. So from Mannila we bought our tickets to Vermillion South Dakota. However we were too early for harvest, and there were no other work.
We decided to go to Laurel Neb. Smith had been there before, and we were getting short of money. So instead of buying a ticket to Sioux City and then again to Laurel, we decided to walk down to the Missouri River and take the ferry over to Hartington Neb. We would then be only a short distance from Laurel. We were told that it was about 3 miles to the ferry, so we started out carrying our suitcases and was it hot. I don't know how far we had walked, when we met up with an old board sign with an arrow and a notation to ferry. We followed direction and after another 30 minutes walk, the road ended in the river and no ferry. There was nothing to do but go back. But we were lucky, on the way back we met a ford touring car with 2 men in it, who were also looking for the ferry. They were good enough to take us along, but they sure were worried about their tires. We finally found the ferry and arived at Hartington in the evening. We got a room in an old frame building hotel, 25 cents each for a double bed. I stayed in bed about 30 minuttes, the remainder of the night I slept in a ditch outside the hotel. The reason was, that the bed was crawling with bed bugs, and they delighted in chewing me up. But I have wondered, why they didn't bother my partner. He didn't complain and stayed in the bed. Next morning we took the train to Laurel, and headed for the saloon as soon as we arrived.
Now a saloon in a small town in those days, were also a kind of employment office, and we needed work, as we were very low on finances. The saloonkeeper said they needed a couple men to work on the ball diamond. That day we went to work and I earned $2, next day I got a job digging a cespool for the printer, my partner was ant interested. It was too hard and hot work for him. It took me 2 days and I was $ richer. I hired out that same evening to a farmer who needed a man to shock oats. That lasted 4 days, wages $1.50 a day and board and room, the farmer took me to early in the evening and that same evening I went out with another farmer to stack hay. I don't recall how many days that job lasted but I do remember that Nels Tompson, that was the man I worked for, and his family and hired help went to town with me, the reason there was chautauqua in town, and everybody had to go.
Chautauqua was about the only entertainment available to small towns, at the time they sat up their tent and would stay for 2 or 3 nights, their program was speakers and singers, both educational and entertaining. Their aim was to make people wiser or better. It wasn't noticable but they certainly were happier after about 30 minuttes in the saloon. Well we did have a few beers, and hadn't been in the saloon but a very short time, when Mogens Mogensen got hold of me, he had been to his brothers and borrowed a mower. He needed a man for a couple of weeks to help with haying and I was looking for work so no problem. We had a few more beers to seal the bargain so it gor late in the evening before we got started for his farm. We had the mower tied behind his buggy. I rode on the mower for what reason I don't remember, but I do remember I was sleepy and must have been napping for when I came fully awake I was sitting on the mowerdown in a hallow, and Mogens and the buggy was on top of the hill before he realized that he had lost me. He came back, and we got the mower tied on to the buggy again and arrived home without any mistake. Good people to work for, I may add that wherever I helhed with haying I done the stacking which was the hottest and hardest job. Stacking was done with sweep rakes and overshot stacks so when a small load of hay all rolled up, was dumped in the stack. It was real work to pull it apart and spread it out before the next load came, and the temperature was mostly 90 degree in Neb. at that time of year. We finished haing in about 2 weeks, and I immidiatly got a job with a second generation german farmer near Coleridge, he sate me to work hauling out his manure pile, quiting time on farms was generally 6 o'clock, except in the shing time. In the afternoon of the first day on the job, the farmer came over where I was loading manure and said, "you can unhitch at 7 o'clock", and before I could say anything he was gone. I split the difference and quit at 6.30, quiting time was never mentioned again.
I was lent out to an old german neighbour to stack alfalfa, and believe me, it was hot, and the alfalfa was hard to pull apart. To combath time heat the farmer had the whiskey bottle along, and whenever we had a drink of water, we had a mouthfull of whiskey first. I still believe it was good medicine, there was no intocsicating effect, the excess perspiration took care of that.
I was not too happy at that job, so when it was time to husk corn about Nov. 1 I quit and went to pick corn for Andrew Jensen. It was not so lonesome there as Andrews brother Paul, a few years older than I, was staying there. He was not married, and besides there was a homely redheaded school teacher. Boarding at the farm also a neighbouring school teacher would come over and visit at week ends, the girls were acquainted from South Dakota. It was more interesting to work a place like that, than where there was nobody but the farm couple.
We finished corn picking in Dec., and I went to Chicago again, as there was no more payed work on the country. No probling getting a job and again it was hauling ashes. I kept that job till late in March, when I had a letter from Poul Jensen, stating that his brother Andrew would like to hire me for the summer. During the winther I had corresponded a little with Libbie King, which was the name of the neighbor school teacher. I had been sent over with horse and buggy a couple of times in the fall to visit her at our farm on week ends. She was a nice girl, and I liked her, regardless of her being 4 years older than me. I decided to take the job, not on account of the girl, but i liked the people to work for. They served good food, and besides I could save more money in the country, than I could in Chicago. I arrived at the farm one evening without notice, everyone was to a basket social at the school house, except Poul, but when i showed up we had to go too. Basket Socials were common at that time, partly for recreation and also for raising money for items for the school. The women would fix a lunch, pack it in a fancy decorated basket, which would then be auctioned off, and the highest bidder would then eat with the girl or woman, who had brought the lunch. Of cause it was supposed to be very secret, what a certain girls basket looked like, but Paul knew what the basket Libbie brought looked like. When it came up, he informed me, and of cause I had to buy it, what I did to everybodys glee and satisfaction.
Sometimes in July i got to longing for the harvest fields in the Dakotas, and it so happened that a man was available to take my place. Andrew Jensen agreed to let me go, if I would come and pick corn for him about Nov. 1, that I agreed to do. Bought a ticket to Easteline So. Dak., shocked and stacked grain on a farm north of the town. The job finished and I bought a ticket to Jamestown North Dak. There I met and got to talking to 2 guys about my ages, and we decided to go further north to Leeds. Inquiring on train schedule we found, that the passenger train didn't leave until noon the next day, but there was a freight leaving early in the morning, and thet would arrive at Leeds about the same time the next evening accordingly. We slept by the track aoutside the railroad yard and jumped on the train, as it was leaving the yard.
This was 1914, and at that time and in harvest, they let us ride on freight trains free of charge, as long as we were going north or west. By the way world war 1 started, while I worked at Easteline. We arrived at Leeds in the evening, I went to a hotel as most of the men on the train. There must have been a couple of hundreds before we got to Leeds, camped outside of town, most towns had what was called a hobo jungle. Next morning I took the train to Churches Ferry, second station east of Leeds, where it was reported that help was needed. As I got off the train a man, who was meeting the train to pick up two men, who was on the same trin and was to work for him, looked me over and asked me if I wanted work. I answered in the affirmetive and went with him. His name was Andrew Kirkeide. He was norwegian and owned a large farm about four sections. I don't know how true it is, that clothes make the man, but I do know, that wearing pretty good clothes, which I did, gave me some preferance over the other harvest help. I was invited to sleep in the house, wheras the other extra help were given a couple af blankets and could bed down in the barn or wherever they preferred. This is only true while on the home farm, when we were threshing for the neighbors, I got a couple of blankets and slept in the hay. The main reason for going to the Dakotas for harvest was of course better wages, but also to see some of the U.S. without loss in earnings.
Harvest over I went back to Neb. and husked corn for Andrew Jensen as promised. Corn picking over I intended to go to Chicago again but the morning when i got to town to get the train, I met two aquantances who was going on the same trin to Sious City. From there they were giong to Askov Minnesota. The one to look at land, the other already owned 80 acres of cut over land.They talked me in to go with them, which were hard to do as the train fare to Chicago, going by way of Askov would not cost a great deal more and I was also interested in seeing this danish settlement. It had been started about 8 years ago in 1906 and was, accordingly at the time, a new settlement. L. C. Pedersen was the land agent and nobody but danes could buy land from him.
Askov was intended to become a piece of Denmark transferred to Min. The opinion at the time was, that 40 or 80 acres was an ideal family farm sufficiently large to ensure a good living and where they could live happily ever after.
I recall that Minnesotas Governer Pruis in a speech said. "I am very much in favor of the 40 acre farms, 40 chickens and 10 cows". What foresight, nevertheless people bought the land brush, rocks and all, but let it be said in their defence, the immigrants from Europe were land hungry, and the idea was, that if a person owned a part of the earth he was all set. So I felt for it too. Pedersen got hold of me and sold me 80 acres 3 miles east of Sandstone for $22 an acre, half of it tamrack swamp. I had saved $500.00 which i paid down on it. I comminced clearing immidiatly and kept on tilll christmas when the snow got too deep. So again I went to Chicago and hauled some more ashes till about May 1., then back to Askov and do some more clearing. About the middle of may I met Charles Krantz, he was going to Hutchinson Minn., where he was going to get a job digging tile ditches, wages 35 cents an hour, and he thought that the party he was going to work for could use another man. Since i figured I could make more money tiling than working on farms, I went with him. On our arrival at Hutchinson the paty had work for only one man, so the next morning I was of for Rutland Iowa. I knew that quite a lot of ditching was going on in Humbolt County, and I was determined to get a job at it in order to increase my earnings. I was a little aquanted at Rutland having worked for Jens Peter Andersen a couple of years before. I stayed at their farm for 3 or 4 days doing a little work for my board and room when I got a job ditching. The morning after the first days work I was so stiffand sore I could hardly get out of bed. We worked on small jobs all summer, part of the time we would get our board on a farm and have our own bunk shack, and part of the time we would get our board a tent in a farmers grove and bache.
After about 3 months I graduated to laying the tile, it was more interisting and also paying 5 cent more an hour. We layed tile that only had 2 inches af fall to a hundred feet so it was rather particular work. I liked the work, we were pretty much our own boss, kept our own time but of course we had to show results and when we stayed in bed, as one fellow i worked with said, "There is nothing more dangerous to a ditcher than getting wet from reign. As soone as it started to sprinkel he left for the shack. In the fall, this was 1915, Hans Boisen and I subcontracted a good sized job in Dickinson county Iowa, not far from the Minn. line. It consisted of 18 miles af tile, ranging in size from 36 inch down to 8 inch, it started with an open ditch which we hired farmers to scrape out with horses and scrapers. Next 200 feet of 36 inch tile then almost 2 miles of 34 inch tile average dept 8 3/4 feet. This was all done by hand, that size tile and at that dept was winther work and we kept at it till break up in the spring. Before we started in the fall we had build two shacks on a farm close to our work, one for the men for sleeping quarters and one for a man and his wife. The wife to do some cooking and the man to work in the ditch. There was 8 of us working most of the winther.
At xmas time two cousins of the farmer from North Dakota came for a visit. They of course had to be intertained a little so the farmer wife had a party for them, and I as the top kick of job was invited. One of the cousins was a girl age 19 and she looked pretty good to me and the attraction must have been mutual, as we got married on Sep. 19, 1916. How did it comr about, I am convinced that the farmers wife helped the situation along by placing me in a favorabel light. I know she told her that Ditchers are generally a rough lot but these boys are exceptional nice. Now I never got to talk to the girl alone, her name was Laura, and they soon left for home, and of course i tought that is that, however later the farmers wife had a letter from the girl in which was a greeting for me. The wife gave me Lauras address and urged me to write to her, which I did. So we exchanged a few letters until thresing time when she wrote and asked me to come to Dakota for a visit and also to help with the thresing, her and her sister was to follow the rig and do the coking in the cook car for the crewe and her brother would be the engineer. This of course was quite a termination as for me, so disregarding all protestations from my ditching crew I departed for Dakota. I got the job of firing the steamengine with straw, it was not hard work but it was steady and I had to get up about 2 hours before anybody alse, hike out across the prarie to the rig in order to get steam up at 6 o'clock, when my breakfast would be brought out and we would start thresing and keep going till dark.
Accordingly there was very little time for love making I would sit in the cook car visiting with the girls after supper while they washed the dishes, then when Laura set the bread for next days baking, about 10 o'clock, it was time to go to bed. The girls got up early to make breakfast, so it was lots of work, but somehow we found time to decide to get married, when the thresing job was done. We got married at Jamestown on Sept. 19, 1916. We left for Iowa and the ditching job immidiatly after the ceremony, no time for a honeymoon. The situation at the job had deteriorated while I was away, my partner did not get along with the crew very well, for some reason or another the boys got mad at him and stroke for 50 cents an hour up from 35 cents, nothing I could do about that except work them harder, which they didn't mind. At the time the farmers wife was cooking for the crew as the cook we had before became pregnant and had to quit. Laura and I got a room upstairs in the farm house. Lauras sister cme down and from then on they did the cooking for the crew. My partner Hans got married and as there was no place for them in camp, they rented a house in town, this was not very satisfactory for him driving 6 miles to work mainly on account of the Iowa roads at that time was nothing to brage about. So it came that Hans sold out his share in the job to Chris Ingemansen in the spring of 1917, I was very pleased with the change of partners. The job progressed satisfactory during the summer, however we did not finish in the two years stipulated, but we were allowed additional time on account of the war.
In the spring of 1918 Chris was drafted in the army and because of the ancertainty he wanted to sell his share and I bought it, that being the least I could do for him. I was classified 5 being married and by that time we had one child. The reason for selling and buying somebodys share was that we had to leave 20% in the job till it was finished, in other words, we only got paid for 80% of work done, accordingly we were always scraping the bottom of the barrel but would have a nice payment coming whenthe job was finished and accepted. When Chris left there was just some small tile to lay and some ditches to fill and only two of us working. The job was finished about July 1 but since it would be sometime before it would be accepted and I could get the 20% I had coming I got a farmjob laying some small tile and when the farmer found out that I was a carpenter he wanted me to build on to his barn for him and I agreed. During that time we lived in a tent in the farmers grove and were quite comfortable and happy. Laura thought it was fine, she only had me and the boy to take care of and after cooking for a crew of ditchers it was more like a picnic. Finally the day came when the settlement for the big job was to take place, it was to be at Spirit Lake the County sit. All went fairly well except I was paid of with county warents but no money, true the warants were drawing 6% interests but they had no due date and were only payable when the county had the money and called them, this I was not too happy about as we had to have money in order to be able to move to Minnesota and start farming on the land I had bought in 1914.
I went to a bank at Spirit Lake and to my chagrin the most they would give me for a $100 warent was $92, but as I had no other recours I swallowed my pride and took the $92. In the meantime I had accumulated 2 horses and a colt, 2 cows, a wagon, a mover and a plow, so we did have a little household goods. When the time came to move, I ordered an emigrant box car, the freight rate on such a car was lower then regular rates, we loaded the car at Jackson Minn. on October 17 and I finished loading about midnight. This was the fall of the great flu epidemic and of the Moose Lake fore in Minn. When I got to Minneapolis it was a question whether or not I would be allowed to continue to Sandstone. I was held in tat the stock yards overnifht, but got going again in the morning and arrived at Sandstone in the late afternoon on Oct. 19. I unloaded the car at the stock yard, then I took one of the horses and rode out to Chris Jensens neighbor farmer and stayed there over night. Next day we went to Sandstone for my stock and other personal property, which then was kept at Chris Jensens while I built a cople shack. While this ws taking place Laura and the boy was staying with an aunt at Ringsted Iowa. The lather part of Nov. I had the shacks built, the wife and boy came on the train and we moved in and started to make a home and a farm. As we didn't have he money to have ewll drilled, I dug a well with the help of two finnish neighbors, who offered to wind up the earth without any compensation. This were the days where neighbors helped each other when needed, and no questions asked and now, over 50 years, I still have mighty warm feelings and appreciation for my neighbors of that time. I had to dig down 60 feet before getting water and the supply was not tooo plentyful but we got along with it till 1925, when I could pay to have it drilled deeper.
In that year I was elected Sec. Treasurer for the farmers co-op creamery and the salery $40 a month in the winther and $50 in the summer helped my financiel circumstances a great deal, but it ment book work every evening and sunday. I kept the Sec. job for 10 years, until 1935 when I resigned for the reason, that I had more work than I could manage. About 1933, The wheelbarrow is full!
I had started a feed store in 1930 which was prospering regardless of the great depression at that time. I also had started handle rutabages and potatoes in 1933 or 34. This venture brought very little profit, but a lot of hard work, so this was discontinued in the spring of 1937. By that time it had been decided to locate a federal correctional institution at Sandstone, and construction on it had begun. No crystal ball was nescesary to see, that there would be a hausing shortage in our community when it went in operation as thay were to employ about 100 men. Accordingly I decided to start in the lumber business and converted the warehouse to lumber yard and millwork shop.
The boys were doing the farming, until they had to serve in the military. By the way we have in our family 5 boys and 3 girls, 4 of the boys and 1 girl were in the service. Chris with the 10 armored and Irwin with the 2nd armored division in Germany. Edward radio on an LST in the south pascific. Bob also inlisted in the navy, Martha in the Waves flight trainer instructer.
We then had to discontinue farming operations. During the years from 1939 to 1945 I build a number of dwelings on contract and a few on speculation. In 1944 Ray Barstow resident of The Sandstone State Bank died and his majority stock in the bank was for sale, now I had no intention whatsoever to buy it as knew very little about the banking business. But one day the directors of the bank had a meeting and I was asked to attend, those men had known me for at least 25 years, and they asked me to buy the controlling stock, as they would like to keep the bank in local hands, and they thought I was financiel able to handle it. I pointed out, that I would have to borrow $25000 in order to pay for the stocks. They were certain that would be no problem, and that I could borrow it from one of the large city banks at 3% by putting the stocks up for security. I also told them I didn't know anything about banking, which of course they knew, they countered by saying, that I knew the people and the community. And my judgement in making loans, would be as good as anybody elses, and the inside workings of he bank could be taken care of by the cashier and assistent cashier, who had been in the bank for 27 and 22 years respectively. I don't think it was over 20 minuttes from the time I arrived at the meeting, till I decided to take a whack at it.