Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sunday Biography Series -- The Christophersons, Part III

Last week, I recounted a bit about my ggg-grandfather Kristoffer (Christopher) Pedersen (here).  Today, I will tell you a bit about his wife, Ellen, and two of his children, Hans and Martin Christopherson.  I will tell you how they came to become Mormons and move to Salt Lake City, Utah.

Last spring, my parents travelled to Salt Lake City and met with other descendants of Kristoffer Pedersen and Ellen Hansdatter (Christopherson in the U.S.). They were extremely lucky to receive copies of family history stories that had been written in the 60's and 70's.  I will share parts of what was written by Kristoffer and Ellen's granddaughter, Gertrude Christopherson (daughter of Hans Christopherson).  She wrote a life story of her father Hans on 7 April, 1963 -- this date would have marked Hans' 107th birthday. 

Gertrude's Memories as Written 7 April, 1963

... Our father's parents were Christopher Pedersen and Ellen Hansen, who had 7 children, Hans being their fourth.  His first wife was Ellen's sister, who had only one child, Peder Christopherson, before her death. As a small child, Hans lived with his parents on a farm which was a section of a great estate.  This estate was under the Feudal System and was divided into sections with a family living on each section.  Hans' father's job was to go to the city and bring back the necessary supplies for all those who lived on the large estate.  All the tenants were required to give a certain amount to the land owner, and as long as things were properly taken care of, they were permitted to remain on their property...

...After his father Christopher Pedersen died, his mother Ellen, who had 7 children, some of whom were very young, had a difficult time to raise her family.  She took her family and moved to Oslo, then called Christiania (note: this is incorrect. Christopher was dismissed from Burud and he moved the family to Oslo a few years before his death). It was here that her sons, Martin and Hans, learned the florist and gardening trade when they worked at the King's gardens at the Palace.

Martin, who was six years older than Hans, became real interested in the new religion, Mormonism, and he told his mother about the missionaries.  She did not scold him but went to their meeting place and hid behind a door where she could not be seen.  There she listened to the missionaries and became so thrilled and impressed.  A little later she joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  When her family heard about her actions they were greatly upset, but at the very next meeting she saw her brother there, who was greatly impressed that he wouldn't leave until he had been baptized that very night.  It is not hard to understand why Hans' posterity are of Ephraim, a wonderful blessing and heritage.

Our father's brother, Martin, who was first converted to the Gospel, came to Utah in 1871, and then about five years later he sent for his mother, Ellen, and Hans.  Their sister, Haagina also came to America.  Other members of the family remained in Norway...

Picture of the Royal Palace in Oslo, Norway, where Martin and Hans worked.

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