Magnus and Ane Marie Pedersen on their 50th Wedding Anniversary




b. 6 Sept 1825 in Lyngby, Vendsyssel (Now Hjørring Co.) Denmark

d. 11 Aug 1909 in Harlan, Shelby Co., IA


b. from marriage certificate - 2 Sept 1824 & probably correct

    from funeral notice - 2 Oct 1824

    from gravestone - 2 Nov 1824

d. 19 Nov 1902 in Harlan, Shelby Co., IA

Note: Both families were from the most northern counties in Denmark.



From Wayne Christensen

An old penciled entry on a letter in the possession of Aunt Anna indicates that Grandma Mary Christensen's father's family tree of record is: PETER CHRISTENSEN, Born 1796 and Died 1879, His children were : HANS PETERSEN, CHRIS PETERSEN (lived past 80), MAGNUS PETERSEN, JOSEPH PETERSEN (died young at about 30 years. He had lived in New York and gone back to Denmark), VALENTINUS PETERSEN (Died in 1919 past 80 years.) The record further states that CHRIS spent about three years in Shelby County north of Magnus Petersen's home in District 4. Also Valentinus has two (son's sons) in Racine by name of Valentine. One is Magnus Valentine. (Note: Aunt Anna thinks that Valentinus had two other sons named Joseph and Peter Valentinusen. Peter's son Christen Valentinusen is a Danish painter-artist and presently lives in Copenhagen.)

The following data has been extracted from the old Petersen family Bible and is considered accurate.

MAGNUS PETERSEN. Born September 6, 1825, in the village of Lyngby, Vendsyssel County (now Hjørring) Denmark. (This is the present village of Nr. Lyngby about three miles north of Løkken.) Died in Shelby County, Iowa August 11, 1909. Married February 23, 1849 to:

ANNA MARIA CHRISTENSEN. Born September 2, 1824, in the village of Lønstrup, Vendsyssel County, Denmark. (This is the present village about 9 miles northeast of Løkken right on the coast). Died in Shelby County Iowa, November 19, 1902. Magnus and Anna's children are:

1. ELSE MARIE MAGNUSSEN. Born January 4, 1850 in the village of Furreby, Vendsyssel County, Denmark. (This is about one mile north of Løkken). Died October 17, 1923. Married September 7, 1872 to CHRISTEN JOHNSON. They had the following children: MARTHA, TORIE, ELMER, HULGA, CARL, CLARENCE and RAY.

2. PETRA ANNA MAGNUSSEN. Born July 8, 1860, in the village of Furreby, Vendsyssel County, Denmark. Died January 31, 1882. Married November 2, 1878 to LEWIS JOHNSEN. They had two daughters before she died. One was PETRA JOHNSON. Born January 4, 1882 and died 1940. She was an old maid until she married a man by the name of ALWELL in the late 1930's.

3. MARIE MAGNUSSEN. (Known as Mary Petersen). Born October 5, 1864, in the village of Ingstrup, Vendsyssel County, Denmark. (This is about three or four miles south of Løkken). Died May 21, 1946. Married April 2, 1884 to ANDREW CHRISTENSEN. Born June 27, 1859. Died January 23, 1944. For their children see the Andrew and Mary Christensen family records.

BRIEF HISTORY From Wayne Christensen

Magnus and Anna are buried in the Cuppy's Grove Cemetery as are their three daughters. Magnus and Anna's headstone is spelled Peterson. This is an error that was made when the stone was cut. The name in the old family Bible is spelled Petersen.

However there is an old family legend that Mary Petersen's family had some Swedish blood back in the line. Mary always denied this and in fact would get rather indignant when her husband Andrew would tease her about it. Maybe this is spelled "son" in memory of that blood. There is also an allegation that some Irish blood has spilled over into this family. These items have never been proven; however, if so it was several generations back and at this time is "Cleansed".

All the children were born in Denmark. Magnus Petersen lived near the sea and was a fisherman. Legend indicates that his father was lost in a storm while fishing in the North Sea and never returned. Magnus served in the Danish Army during the Schleswig War. This was probably the first one in 1848-1850.

Magnus and Anna sold their Danish possessions and immigrated to America between 1870-1872. They were in their late forties. Mary Petersen was about six to eight years old. Family legend indicates that Magnus moved his family to America because he did not like his oldest daughter's Danish boyfriend. Magnus was not a wealthy man; however, he was not a poor Danish immigrant. He had enough money to buy about a section of land in Shelby County, Iowa. Most of their land was 2 miles south of the present Cuppy's Grove church. He rented more of his land out than he farmed. In addition he sold some of the land and gave 80 acres to each daughter when they married. Grandpa Petersen generally took life more easy than most Danes. Grandma Mary said that her father didn't like winters and in later life he spent most of the winter in the house in bed.


from Ethel Christensen (Shutts) Swain 4/87

Many people have asked me, "How come your family is Baptist, not Lutheran?" We really do not know what influence led Magnus away from the State church. There were many "evangelical" missionaries in Europe who were speaking out for a free church in the middle nineteenth century.

Magnus began a Baptist congregation in his home in Løkken. While the new congregation was holding worship services, the local people used to try to disrupt the communicants by running around the house, beating it with sticks, etc. New members were baptized in a little pond close to the house. Our Lutheran cousins in Denmark told Marlys on her visit there that "Magnus was a member of a strange religious sect called the Dippers," (By the way that is what the Anabaptists were called in Seventeenth Century America where they also underwent some persecution.) I have seen the house (now on the national heritage register) and the pond. It is a charming scene, with ducks swimming in the water.

In the United States, Magnus and Ane Marie soon joined the new Cuppy's Grove Church, founded in 1870. The church centennial book does not give baptism dates. The old records were too hard to read and no one knows the language any more, but their names are early in the list. Anna and Petra are also listed. The first church building was erected in 1876 and burned in 1889. The second building also burned. A third one, now called Altamount, situated in a different location on a hill close is an active American Baptist Church. The first church was actually called Altamount, but the name was never used. The village of Altamount, now extinct, at one time had a little post office.

Father was baptized, probably around 1891. His friend, Claus Kjer, was baptized at the same time. Ezra remembers Father saying that they had to break the ice for the baptism and Claus thought it pretty cold! Father never remarked about that. The baptism was, no doubt, in the Nishnabotna River.

Father taught a Sunday School Class in the Cuppy's Grove Church. He had been a very interested youngster in his Lutheran Catechism classes and he knew his Bible and his Lutheran catechism, much of which he renounced, of course, after being a Baptist.

In Nebraska he became a member of the newly organized Lime Grove Church, about eighteen miles from us. We attended in the summer when we could. Rev. Bolvig, a Danish Baptist minister was an interim pastor at Mankato, when we were there at the college. When Jim appeared before the deacons, scared, of course, Rev. Bolvig told the deacons, "His grandfather was a fine man whom I knew years ago at Lime Grove. Any grandson of his has to be ready for church membership!"

Most of the Christensen children eventually joined other churches. Anna and I were the only ones who remained Baptists for life. I married the son of an American Baptist minister, and my second husband, too is a Baptist with a long family heritage in that denomination. When the Danish Baptists dissolved, they left one-half of their money to the mother church in Denmark and the other half to the American Baptist Convention in the U. S. The Belgian Congo mission was founded with early Danish Baptist missionaries, from the United States.

Although the Christensen children joined other churches, they still held to immersion. Ezra joined the Allen Methodist by immersion in Isom's pond near Allen. Agnes joined the Cedar Falls, M. E. church by immersion in the baptistry of the Christian church. The Methodist minister was a bit on the heavy side and she heard him and the Christian minister struggling to get him into the waterproof clothes! Floyd La Favre, Agnes's husband, was immersed in a river. A woman, with a wig, lost it during the ceremony and the minister quickly grabbed it to keep it from floating down stream. Floyd also baptized my Ronald in the Des Moines River, along with others. The U. B.'s did both sprinkling and immersions.

When we went to Cedar Falls, Father had me sent to the American-speaking church, much to the dismay of the Danes. I see now what an insight that was, for that church was where I met Hervey! Mother was baptized in the Cedar Falls Danish Baptist church. They still used the Danish language for Sunday morning and prayer meetings.

What a wonderful heritage! We are a family of many missionaries, preachers, and earnest local church workers.



Originally published in the Vaegteren (The Watchman) the national Danish Baptist newspaper, Anna had saved this article and Aletha gave it to me several years ago. The clipping was old and it was in poor condition besides being in the old Danish script which is no longer used. A section of about six inches long was torn off, so that I could not make much out of it. However, it seems to be mostly religious "talk", characteristic of proper obituaries of the time. I have tried to leave the flavor of the old Danish and yet make sense of the text. For instance, I started with the literal sense, "Friends of the people" when I might have said, "Friends of the Danish Baptist community".

Ethel Christensen (Shutts) Swain, December 1985

Translation of Magnus Pedersen Obituary Harlan, Iowa

To friends of the people! Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord (Revelations 14:13). Again has an old pilgrim left us here in Harlan, namely Magnus Petersen, but God called him from this earthly life to life eternal. I testify that he was known by the brethren in this religious community for over thirty years. The more I learned to know him, the more lovable and amiable he became to me. His love of truth and joy bespeaks the fact that he was born again and lived in faith of the Son of God: he was a good conversationalist even after the body became weak. Jesus says, "Blessed are the peacemakers; for they shall be called the children of God (Matt. 5:9). He possessed hope that reached beyond the grave, with a love for God's children, yes, all mankind. (Romans 5).

(Here begins the torn section, apparently dealing with religious ideas showing what a good Christian man Magnus was, highly regarded for his Christian virtues. Ethel)

I have enjoyed many blessings in this brother's company. His conversations were not frivolous, overstepping Christian decorum. But there is another matter that I must write about. As I think about this worthwhile life, these thoughts come to me. Our elderly brother, Magnus Petersen, had a long-suffering life. He was born in Denmark the sixth of September, 1825 and died in Harlan on the eleventh of August, 1909. He was 83 years, 10 months and 5 days old. In Denmark he earned his living by fishing. He began this when he was a young boy, taken out by his father on the North Sea. That remained his livelihood. In spite of hardships Magnus was master of his life and took the helm in his own hands. He was able to inspire others with enthusiasm when he narrated stories of the violent struggles he had in his fishing vessel fighting the mighty billows. But he never forgot to give God the credit for staying with him in the many storms when the sea rolled over his head.

His wife died several years ago from a broken hip, and since then he has lived with his eldest daughter with whom he had it very good; he always praised her. God will bless her in that she was careful and loving with her old father who needed much care in the last days of his life.

Dear Father, bless his two remaining daughters with your best blessings that they may cover themselves under the Blood and be prepared to meet their parents on Resurrection morning and so dwell in that home which has been prepared for all those whom He loves. God's love to us is matchless and unparalleled; Jesus lived and died to save us from eternal perdition.

O God, help the many blind ones -- may they change and ask remission of sins before it becomes too late.

R (?) C. Kjer

Note: Esther thinks the writer is Claus Kjer, as there were no other Kjers around Harlan. Claus was a neighbor of Andrew and Mary in Cuppy's Grove. Claus was baptized at the same time Andrew was, Andrew and he were good friends and spent many hours talking.

The reference above to Magnus's daughters meant Else Marie (called by us Aunt Mary) and my mother also Marie (She went by Mary also!). Petra, the other daughter, had died of diphtheria.

Afterthought: Magnus is a Latin derivative meaning great. Denmark is the oldest kingdom in the world, dating from Gorm the Old (900 A. D.) to the present Queen Margrethe II, in a direct line. Magnus the Good ruled from 1042 to 1047. Ethel.


This material was copied from data gathered by Anna Christensen and given to Ethel by Mrs. Earl Christensen. Anna's daughter-in-law Aletha has the original material.

"Magnus Petersen - born in Lyngby in Vensyssel (this is the old name for Hjørring Co.) Denmark. Sept. 6 - 1925. Died August 11 - 1909.

"Anne Marie Christensen born in Lynstrup in Vensyssel, (north Jutland) Sept. 2 - 1824 Died Nov. 19 - 1902

"To this union were born three children namely -

1. Elsie Marie Magnussen born Jan. 4 - 1850.

2, Petra Petersen born July 8 - 1860.

3. Maria Peterson born Oct. 5 - 1864. Died May 21 - 1946

"Elsie Marie Magnussen married to Christen Johnsen Sept. 7, 1872 Died Oct 17, 1923.

"Marie Peterson married to Andrew Christensen April 2, 1884 Died May 21 - 1946"

The following was on a separate sheet; on the back in Anna's handwriting was the following: "Mother's Family Tree."

Great Grandfather -

PETER CHRISTENSEN born 1796 - Died 1879


HANS PETERSON (Look up thru Stena)


MAGNUS - 83 yrs

JOSEPH - Died young about 30 years

VALENTINUS - died 1919 past 80 years

Joseph had been in New York but went back to Denmark

Chris spent about 3 years in Shelby County north of Magnus Peterson's home School District #4

Valentinus has two son's sons in Racine by the name of Valentinussen. One is Magnus Valentine.

Ethel's note: I took a picture of Valentinus' grave (died 1919) in Denmark with his grandson Christian Valentinussen, the artist, standing by it. Christian V.'s father was Peter, mother Elsa (Home in Lökken, Denmark: Father, Mother, Esther, and I visited them in 1921. We also saw the two sons, Marius & Christian. We also visited Joseph, another son of Valentinus. Mother and Lydia visited the Racine relatives. I do not know them.


Why Magnus Came to America

Thoughts from David Reichlinger 4/87

Andrew came from a family so poor that it was a struggle to get enough to eat. His reason for coming to America was obvious. It is more difficult to imagine why Magnus and his family came here. He owned a fishing boat in Denmark and was relatively well-off. In fact, he managed to keep out of the military by buying his exemption (apparently that was common back then) through the sale of the family silver.

My speculation was that he moved here because of his religion. A Baptist in Denmark had to be a rare sight. He was a very devout man and helped organize his church back in Denmark.

However, his move had nothing to do with finances or religion. Apparently the main reason was to prevent the marriage of his eldest daughter to a man of whom he didn't approve.

ODDS & ENDS THAT HAVE OCCURRED TO ME also from Ethel (Shutts) Swain

By paying certain penalties to the Danish government, some things could be overlooked. Magnus Pedersen's father and mother sold the family heirloom silver to obtain money to buy off the government so that Magnus would not have to do compulsory military service.

Petra, Mother's second sister married Lewis Johnson, quite a wealthy man. Father worked for him and met Mother. Petra contracted diphtheria at the time of the birth of her second child, also named Petra. Both baby and mother died. (Note from R. J. Blum - the gravestones indicate the child was named Annie who died in Jan 1882- the month Petra died - and that Annie was over 2 years old, so unless I've mixed gravestones from some other family, it was the first daughter who died and the new baby Petra who survived.) Grandma Petersen thought it would be just a perfect solution for Mother to marry Uncle Louie. That way Louie would have a wife and little Petra a mother. Mother would have none of it. She would have Andrew. My father said, "Your parents will not accept me. I have no money." According to my sister, also a Petra, Mother said, "Oh, they like you." And then she added in telling this, "I lied."

This story has a final irony. Lewis never remarried and "Cousin Petra" was reared by the Petersen grandparents until she was old enough to go back to her father. She married Mr. Alwell late in life and left no children and no will. It was always one of our family jokes that she would probably leave her money to her cat. Well, Aunt Else Marie Johnsen was married to Lewis' brother, so they got 2/3 of the estate being doubly related, and Mother got one-third -- $30,000!


From Rowenna Joan Richards Blum

Since Wayne Christensen had worked on Mary's father's (Magnus Pedersen) side I spent part of my time in the Salt Lake City Mormon Genealogical Library researching her mother's (Anne Marie Christendätter Pedersen) side.

I found we have another CHRISTEN (nicknamed "SATHOJ") JENSEN (aren't the Danish names fun! A bit of perspective - a list of 29 male names and 21 female names amounts to more than 95% of those in use before 1875). Here's what I've found so far:

Father: CHRISTEN "SATHOJ" JENSEN born about 1795 (he was 28 when married 2 Nov 1823 in Mårop parish, Hjørring Co., Denmark)

Mother: MARIE PEDERSDÄTTER born about 1793 (was 30 when married) died 4 Sept 1824 in Løngstrup parish, Hjørring Co., Den.

Daughter: ANNE MARIE CHRISTENSDÄTTER born 2 Sept 1824 in Løngstrup parish, Hjørring Co., Denmark.

The parish records note that when the baby was born (2 Sept 1824) she was named "Anne" at her home christening, (This family apparently was not Baptist). But the mother died two days later, so at the church christening the baby was renamed "Anne Marie" to honor her mother.

The marriage record of CHRISTEN "SATHOJ" JENSEN and MARIE PEDERSDÄTTER also gives her father's name as PEDER LARSEN and that he is from "Ruberg".


Does this match anything currently remembered? Rowenna Joan Blum

In 1981 when my grandmother Petra Schram was visiting I noted this as a quote:

Her "mother Mary had one brother Iaz? Niels? who lived in Kansas. He married a French woman who had been married before and had a daughter. They thought Mary's family too plain and never came to see her. They wrote letters containing samples of fine cloth and telling of their fine clothes. (Iaz or Niels) had fled Denmark when he had a girl pregnant and didn't want to marry or take responsibility. Perhaps this is why he took another name and didn't contact the family much."

In 1987 when I'm typing this and have a lot of other information from family, I find no one else has mentioned anything that might link to this bit of information (and perhaps prove that I have the wrong connection) so it is just information in limbo. rjb