Jens Peter Pedersen - Eng. - Kitta & Sven

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Jens Peter Pedersen - Eng.

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Kitta's great-grandmother's brother:


Jens Peter Pedersen
1875 - 1944

Jens Peter was born 7 June 1875 and baptized in Jetsmark Church 24 Oct 1875. His father was a farmer Jens Christian Pedersen and the name of his mother was Jensine Pouline Jensdatter.

He had 2 siblings that were older than him and 5 younger siblings. These 8 children were raised at a small farm. The father was owner of a house and some land – a smallholder. He was able to make thatched roofs and could earn a little money by doing this for neighbors. When Jens Peter’s father was a little boy, he was a foster child and his foster family got money from the Church.  It was called "fattighjælp" (poor help) and the church organized this help to poor people. Later he came to live by his mother and her new husband. When Jens Christian got his own family, it was very important for him not to get "fattighjælp".

Jens Peter was confirmed 14 April 1889. The priest wrote that Jens Peter had average behavior and had average knowledge of the Bible.
After 1889 his parents were no longer Lutherans but joined a new religious movement, called "Frimission". But Jens Peter didn’t follow the parents he continued to be a Lutheran.

He moved from home after the confirmation to work on a farm. At the census 1890 he was farmhand at a farm called Rævkjærgaard. It was a big farm with 8 farmhands and 3 housemaids. He should do hard physical work and Jens Peter was only 14 years old.

He worked at Rævkærgaard until 1898. He then was 22 years old and it was  a long time to be on the same farm, so he may have done well.
At census 1901 he worked at the manor Bratskov in Brovst. His sister – my great-grandmother Margrethe Pedersen, had worked here in 1900. She got pregnant and the child’s father would not or could not marry her. It was a big shame in the family and Margrethe had to live at home with the parents. The putative father also worked at Bratskov, so he was a colleague of Jens Peter.

Here are the names of all the workers at Bratskov in 1901. I have highlighted Jens Peter and Christian (the putative father).

Jens Peter was "avlskarl" (foreman). So, he must have been a talented man, an "avlskarl" organized the work, when the boss was absent.
I hope that Jens Peter watched my great-grandfather Christian carefully.

The staff at Bratskov. The landowner is the man with a walking stick (Vilhelm Hane-Schmidt)
and the women are his family. I think Jens Peter is the tall man nr. 2 from left.

Jens Peter was in love with Ane Kathrine Mikkelsen. She was cook at Bratskov and she is also in the census 1901. Her surname is spelled wrong.

Jens Peter and Ane Kathrine were married in Brovst Church on 5 Nov 1901.

Who was Ane Katrine?

She was born in Ingstrup Parish 4 Nov 1876. She was daughter of Anders Peter Mikkelsen and Inger Kathrine Sommer Knudsen. The father was "indsidder". It means that he rented a house but had to work at the owner’s farm. The father died in 1884 and the text in the Church Book was: Smallholder in Brødslev, pauper, died at doctor Lorenzen’s sick room in Aalborg. After that there was a bill, and the mayor of Aalborg demanded the bill paid. The mother was either physically or mentally ill, so Ane Kathrine and her 2 siblings became foster children in the house of family members. She had a younger brother that was called Mikkel Christian Niels Mikkelsen. He later became an important person in her life. In the census 1890 Kathrine lived by her maternal uncle in Jetsmark Parish and she was confirmed here 5 Nov 1890.  

In 1901 she was cook and waiter at Bratskov.

In census 1906 they had a daughter, born 8 Feb 1903. She was not named after a family member but got the name Asta. Asta was not a common name in 1903. Only 32 girls in Denmark got the name Asta that year. When Asta was baptized it was mentioned that Jens Peter was smallholder. In the census he was owner of his house and worked as laborer on farms to earn extra money.

Pouline Nielsen was housemaid on the farm (10 years old). Her parents were not dead but were divorced - or the father had left home. Pouline’s mother should support 4 younger siblings and her job was to wash clothes for people. When Pouline was confirmed it is told that she lived at the address of Jens Peter and Ane Kathrine. So, I think that Pouline lived by them for many years. At least she meant a lot to them.

A son was born 5 Sept 1906. His name was Lindstrøm. A boy can’t get that name in Denmark to day without dispensation. The name Lindy is OK.

21 May 1909 child nr. 3 was born. It was a little girl and she was called Marie. She was baptized 1 April 1910. It was very unusual at that time that a child was 10 months old when she was baptized. None from the family were godfathers/godmothers to Marie.

The dream of America

In 1910 Jens Peter had a wife and 3 children. The small farm they owned at Bratskov Mark was not big enough to make a living, so Jens Peter had to work as day laborer now and then.

He had 3 sisters who had emigrated to USA. The 2 of them lived in the big city Racine. Jens Peter was farmer and probably he wouldn’t like to be a worker in a big city. To be a farmer in Iowa was a better opportunity. Ane Kathrine’s brother Mikkel Christian Niels Mikkelsen traveled to USA in 1904 and settled down in Iowa where there were many Danish Immigrants. When he came to USA he called himself Chris Mickleson.

Jens and Kathrine decided to go to USA and Chris wanted to help them in the beginning.

I haven’t found them in the Danish Police Register of emigrants because the electronic version only applies to 1908. I know they bought tickets at Cunard Line where the routes usually ran via Norway and then Liverpool. I also know that they are in Liverpool in the days up to 13 Sept because their names were on the passenger list. But before departure their names were stretched out. If a passenger was ill, it was not possible to enter the ship. So, I think that a family member was ill and the whole family decided to postpone the journey.

SS Caronia is on its way.
The ship was used for troop tranport during The Great War.

My hypothesis is that Marie one year old had been infected with a serious illness and died. She is missing on the passenger list, when the family sailed with Caronia on 20 Sept. It was fully confirmed when I found this on

The Pedersen family was not happy and full of hope when they boarded the ship. Many dark thoughts must have filled their heads.

In both passenger lists was Pouline Kirstine Nielsen (15 years) written as part of the family. In census 1906 Pouline lived at their farm as you remember. I have found a lot about her life in USA and you can read that story at the bottom of the page.

On the passenger list’s page nr 2 we get some information about the final destination. Their contact in Iowa was brother in law Chris Mikkelsen in Battle Creek, Iowa. At Pouline it is said that Chris is her uncle (not true). They had paid the tickets themselves.
Jens Peter is 6 feet and 9 inches high, has blond hair and blue eyes. Their places of birth are unreadable, but we know the places. You should have 50 dollars but very few had that. At the first voyage this family had 50 dollars but at the delayed voyage they had 16 dollars. It’s a bit difficult to read but if it is so, the stay in Liverpool and the funeral of Marie cost 34 dollar.
They arrived at New York 27 Sept 1910. They then travelled to Iowa. The original trip only went to Boston. So, now they should find the route and pay for the tickets to Battle Creek. Since there was no mobile phones and the postal service was slow Chris might not know why they came later than expected.

Life in Iowa

When you arrive in October to an agricultural region, it’s good to get work and housing at his wife’s brother. Jens Peter becomes very quickly convinced that he wants to be a US citizen. And he got his own farm quickly. He didn’t own his farm but rented it.

15 Feb 1911 this note was in the newspaper Ida County Pioneer. Jens Peter took out his first paper. Christian Mickelsen was his brother in law and Wm. Jensen was his sister’s husband. Wm. Jensen and Marie Magdalene moved from Racine to Battle Creek in 1911.

Only Censuses can tell us about country life, no address book as in the big cities. Then it’s great that the little local newspaper is available online.

In Iowa we are so lucky that the state made their own census in 1915:


Find orwin Township

This is Jens Peters paper. He was farmer but was not owner of the farm. The family lived in Corwin Township which was under Ida County. They lived close to the city Ida Grove. His income was 1200 dollar, that was a good income compared with others. He had stayed 4 years in US and he was going to be naturalized. Every person had his/her own paper in this census. Kathrine was written as Catharina.

Chris Mikkelsen lived in Garfield Township which was south of Corwin. He had been married to Carla Johanne Marie Linde in 1912. His income was 2000 dollars.

The amazing thing about this census is that we can see how many farm animals they had. They had been self-sufficient with food. Here is Jens Peter’s animals.

I have read that if you have 5 dairy cows you were self-sufficient with all dairy products like butter and cheese. The number of fowls have been able to deliver eggs and chicken for dinner.
There are really a lot of horses at the farm. Perhaps he produced horses for sale.

The smallholder from Bratskov Mark managed well "over there".

Jens Peter and Kathrine gained economic prosperity and success. A car must have been a huge status symbol in 1915 and an Overland was a cool car. The picture shows a motorcar dealer with Willis Overland Touring cars from 1915. Perhaps Jens Peter could sell some of the horses now. The newspaper cutting is from Ida County Pioneer 28 April 1915.

Christmas 1917 became different from what they had been dreaming about. 11 Dec 1917 Asta died. She was only 14 years old and it is easy to understand the grief that struck them. They had already lost their youngest daughter. Now there was only one son left. There is a tragic and dramatic accident to Asta’s death. Asta died of a very severe case of appendicitis. This obituary was written in Ida County Pioneer on 12 Dec 1917, page 1 (thank you to Deb Kueter for help finding this obituary):


 Asta Pedersen, daughter of Jens P.
and Katrina Pedersen, departed this
life at 3 30 a m. December 14, at the
Hartley hospital at Battle Creek. Her
age at time of death was 14 years, 10
months and 13 days. She is survived
by her parents and one brother.
 Asta was born in Brovst, Denmark
on the 8 thday of February, 1903, and
arrived in this country with her par-
ents in 1910, and being at that time
of school age, started immediately to
school in western Corwin township.
 Here she continued to go to school
untill she was stricken with a very
severe case of appendicitis on Friday
November 30 th, necessitating her re-
moval to the hospital at Battle Creek
for treatment, where everything was
done that loving hands could do to
restore her back to her usual good
health, but all to no avail, and the
Angel of Death called and the sum-
mons had to be answered. The fune-
ral will be held from the home at 1
o'clock this afternoon, and from the
Presbyterian church at Battle Creek at
2 o'clock. Rev. E F Clark of the Sil-
ver Creek Presbyterian church deliver-
ing the funeral sermon. Burial to be
in the Battle Creek cemetery.


It looks like one accident was not enough. Something heavy traumatising happened on the farm 3 days after Asta’s funeral. Pay attention to that in the text it is the 11-year old son who spots the corpse first. The text says that his name was Lindorf, but it’s not true. His name was Lindstrom.


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Frank McKim Commits Suicide
  With a Shogun, Three Days
  After Her Funeral


 Frank, the 22-year-old son of Mr.
and Mrs. Dick McKim, met a tragic
death last Friday morning, every cir-
cumstance pointing to the coclusion
that he took his own life. While
grieving intensely over the death of a
girl friend, he is thought to have shot
himself with a single barreled shot-
gun, the charge blowing off the top of
his skull.
 For the past four years, Frank has
worked as a farmhand for Jens Peder-
sen, who resides on the old Wilkerson
place, now owned by the Welch broth-
ers, two miles west of Ida Grove on
the north road to Battle Creek. The
young man had been attentive to his
work and was highly regarded by the
family. Unknown to members of either
family, apparently an attachment had
sprung up between Frank and Miss
Asta Pedersen, not quite 15 years of
age, who was taken seriously sick with
appendicitis November 30. The young
woman grew worse and died Tuesday
of last week, the funeral being held on
the following day. Although paying
no paricular attention to the matter
at the time, the Pedersen's remember
that young McKim also seemed deep-
ly affected by the girls death and Mrs.
Pedersen found his pillow tear wet on
several mornings after the young man
had arisen.

 Last Friday morning, Lindorf, the
11-year-old son of Mr and Mrs Ped-
ersen, was in the horse barn with
young McKim and the latter is said to
have made some sort of remark to the
effect that if McKim should die, a new
suit of clothes, a shirt, tie and other
garments would be found for dressing
him with. He also remarked that he
would like to be buried beside the girl.
The Pedersen lad was somewhat
startled and frightened by these re-
marks and after a bit went to the
house and told his mother. She im-
mediately reported it to Mr Pedersen,
who suddenly remembered the peculiar
actions of his hired man for the past
few days and it instantly flashed into
his mind that McKim might have
harmed himself. He ran to the barn,
reaching for his knife instinctively,
feeling that he should find that the
young man had hanged himself. In-
stead he found the barn full of smoke
when he opened the door and in one
corner near an oats bin, he found the
body of McKim and a single barreled
shotgun close by.
 In some manner, the young fellow
had leaned the gun so that the end of
the barrel was close to his left temple.
The heavy charge of duck shot, tore
the top of the skull and scattered the
brain matter in a grewsome fashion.
 Coroner G C Moorehead and Sheriff
McLeod were quickly summoned to
the scene and removed the remains to
Ida Grove, where they were prepared
in the best possible shape for burial.
…............  For the past year and a
half he had worked on the farm of
Mr Jens Pedersen, west of town. The
shock of a great sorrow in their home
had its full force upon him.


In 1917 The Great War destroyed Europe. Denmark was fortunately not part of the war, but the Danish Newspapers in USA were full of news about the horrible trench warfare and told about fallen Danish soldiers from Sønderjylland. USA stayed long out of the war, but among other things the lowering of Lusitania got the United States to declare Germany war on April 6, 1917. Lusitania was Cunard Line's steamship and 1.100 people perished. It quickly became apparent that it was not enough to recruit volunteer soldiers. That’s why a compulsory session (Draft Record) was introduced. First edition took place in June 1917. The young men were the first to be called. Second edition took place in September 1918 and now it was the middle-aged men’s turn. The first American troops were involved in the war from June 25, 1917.

Jens Peter was drafted 12 Sept 1918. In Denmark he was written in the "Lægdsrulle" in 1898. He was declared unfit to be a soldier. I hope he had saved his papers and had them in his luggage to USA.  


His Draft Record is shown below. This does not indicate whether he was fit or not for being sent to the front. We get a lot to know here: an address, he is now naturalized, Kathrine uses her Danish name and is not called Catharina. He is tall, medium built, has blue eyes and blond hair.


Every day life

By census 1920 the household only consisted of Jens Peter, Kathrine and Lindstrom. Jens kept all the way through his Danish name Jens. Most Danish immigrants with the name Jens changed it to John, Jim or James. In 1920 the family lived in Garfield Township. They had moved between 6 and 12 miles away. Chris Mickleson lived here in 1915, but he doesn’t live there in 1920. Jens and Kathrine are now naturalized (1916). They don’t own the farm but rent it. There are 12 farmers on the census paper and only 3 are owners.  It was quite common to rent a farm.


This is the only picture I have of Jens and Kathrine.
I don't know when it was taken, but it could be from the year 1919.

This announcement is from the newspaper on May 14, 1919. I wonder that it’s my family who buys a farm in 1919. In all censuses I have seen is he not an owner, but it’s true that they lived in Garfield in 1920. It’s interesting to see that the family will travel to Denmark in the summer of 1919. I want to get it confirmed. It can explain that my great-grandmother had this amazing picture in her album. Then they must have brought the picture to Denmark to show the amazing place they lived in Iowa. I can’t explain the fine clothes and Jens Peter’s cigar is huge. It’s a man with style.

The State Iowa made its own census in 1925. Jens Peter and his family had moved to Blaine Township.

Chris lived at the farm. The census says he was widowed - but that’s not true. He was divorced from Carla in 1917. This divorce was mentioned in the newspaper "The Ida County Pioneer".

This census is different from others - at page 2 were written the names of parents, even if they lived in another country and had died. The state would know something about education and whether you are a US citizen or not. Your profession was not mentioned.

Lindstrom was 20 years old and the owner of this modern car. The text above the picture says it was his "star".
The car is probably a Willys Overland Roadster from around 1920. I understand very well that he looks like he owned the whole world.
(I’ve got the picture from Kathy Ballard, thank you!)

This family moved constantly but within the same small area of Ida County.

Febr 2, 1928 this was printed in "Ida County Pioneer":
Jens P Pedersen, who has occupied the Hedrick place near Battle Creek the past year, expects to move March first to the 400 acres David Warnock farm two miles southwest of Battle Creek.

Below this text is a clipping of the census in 1930. The son, Lindstrom was married to Delores (Dora) Evelyn Bentall. Dora was born in Iowa and her mother came from Denmark. The young couple belonged to the household. The family lived in Garfield Township. They also lived here in 1920. A Township is a way to divide the area. It’s a square 6 x 6 miles.

A R tells that Jens Peter rented the farm. There are 1000 dollars where the rent should have been. 1000 dollars must be the value of the farm. 3 neighbor farmers are in the clipping so you can compare. There is information about age and about the age of people when they got married for the first time. We also get to know that the family had a radio. Jens and Lindstrom were not veterans. They had not been in the American Army.

William Palm was farmhand and lodger. Maybe he had worked on the farm, maybe not. He has lived there at least.

It is about this time there is a crisis in agriculture. Wall Street Crash of 1929 led to economic collapse and especially many farmers were hardly hit in the years to come.

In 1935 there was no separate census for Iowa. If Jens and Katrine lived close to Lindstrom and Dora all the time from 1930 to 1940, we can use the information about where their children were born:

1. Betty Kathryn Pedersen, born 6 Januar 1930, Maple Township, Ida County. Died 1932
2. Lindstrom Jr. Pedersen, born 16 Jul. 1931, Battle Creek, Iowa
3. Betty Kathleen Pedersen, born 19 Nov. 1933, Battle Creek, Iowa

From the census 1940 we know where they lived in 1935. All 6 lived in Grant Township, Woodbury County. The family had moved closer to Sioux City and I think they lived near the town Oto.  
In 1940 Jens Peter and Kathrine lived next to Lindstrom and his family. They both rented their farms. Jens Peter paid 7 dollars a month and the son paid 10 dollar a month. I think it was small farms. Jens Peter was 64 years old and worked 60 hours a week and 52 weeks a year. Lindstrom told, that he worked 48 hours a week and 50 weeks a year. He had 2 weeks holiday then.


This is Lindstrom and Doras children, Betty og Lindstrom Jr. At the picture to the left is written 1941.
(The pictures are form Kathy Ballard)

For a young couple there was too much work on a farm, so they moved to the big city, Sioux City. I have found them in US directionary from 1943 and they must have lived in the city from 1942.

In 1944 was Lindstrom’s profession "mechanic" and they lived at this address: 3810 7 th Av.

But Jens Peter and Kathrine stayed in the country side.

Jens Peter died 8 May 1944 and he was buried in the same cemetery as the daughter Asta. The tombstone is similar to Asta’s.

But when Jens Peter died it was difficult to live in the countryside. So, Kathrine moved to Sioux City. In 1945 she lived in a flat alone, but in 1947 she lived in the same building as Dora (daughter in law), and her son Lindstrom was now married to Gladys and they lived at another address. Kathrine stayed close to Dora and when she died her grandchild Lindstrom took over her apartment.

Kathrine died September 9, 1951. There was an obituary in "Battle Creek Times" on Tuesday 13, 1951 page 1. Deb Kueter found it for me.

The family is on Find A Grave here.

Chris stands next to Lydia. Lydia was daugher of Marie Magdalene.
The picture is from Kathy Ballard.

Chris Mikkelsen

After 1925 Chris moved away from Iowa. I don’t know if he lived in Omaha, Newbraska for the rest of his life, but he died in Omaha August 1966. He was the 83 years old. His birthdate is correct.

Pouline Nielsen

Pouline (Lena) traveled with Jens Peter and Katrine to Iowa in 1910. And she stayed in Iowa for many years. 25 February 1916 she was married to Henry Julius Pedersen. He was emigrated from Denmark in 1910. This newspaper clipping shows, that Jens Peter and Katrine look upon Lena as a daughter.

Henry and Lena got 4 children:

Clifford Barnhart, born 6. February 1917 in Battle Township, Ida County, Iowa
Harry Arthur, born 7. March 1918 in Battle Township, Ida County, Iowa
Helen Louise, born 26. July 1919 in Maple Township, Ida County, Iowa
Earl Ernie, born 28. February 1921 in Maple Township, Ida County, Iowa

Henry was a farmer and 1924 they moved to South Dakota where they had a new farm. Lena died 1927. Henry was married again, but he chose to be buried together with Lena.
Hendes mand giftede sig igen, men blev begravet sammen med Lena.

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