Monday, October 13, 2014

Family Lore - Carsten's Second Wife

Steamship Australia
Steamship Australia

Story

Family lore that I heard as a child and was recently repeated to me by several second cousins has that Carsten Petersen, Sr., after the death of his first wife, placed his children with relatives and neighbor families and went to Denmark/Germany to find and bring back a second wife.

To explore the basis of this story, I followed the time line of events and his travel back to Nebraska with Ida Lucia Martensen.
  • Carsten's first wife, Margaretha (Hollmann) Petersen, died 24 Apr 1886 nine days after a difficult birth of her seventh child on 15 Apr 1886. The child, a boy named Johan Henry Petersen, died a month later on 21 May 1886.
  • On 31 Jan 1887, Carsten's father, Carsten Petersen, died in Joldelund, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany.
  • Carsten traveled to Germany - When he began his travels is not known (Possibly there are newspaper articles or other records not yet found that show when Carsten left Nebraska for Germany and how he traveled.)
  • Carsten Petersen, Sr. and Ida Lucia Martensen sailed on the steamship Australia (see Ship/Line Notes below) from Hamburg, Germany on 4 Mar 1887 and arrived in New York, New York, USA on 22 Mar 1887 (18 days at sea). 
  • Carsten and Ida arrived in Platte County, Nebraska less than a week later.
  • Carsten and Ida were married on 30 Mar 1887 in Columbus, Nebraska.
The following are records of Carsten Petersen, Sr.'s return trip with Ida Lucia Martensen:

Record of their departure from Hamburg, Germany


Passenger 9
Name:
Ida Martensen
Departure Date:
4 Mrz 1887 (4 Mar 1887)
Estimated Birth Year:
abt 1859
Age:
28
Gender:
weiblich (Female)
Marital Status:
ledig (Single)
Residence:
Jordlund, Schleswig (Schleswig-Holstein)
Ship Name:
Australia
Captain:
Franck
Shipping Line:
Edward Carr
Shipping Clerk:
Hamburg-Amerikanische Packetfahrt-Actien-Gesellschaft
Ship Type:
Dampfschiff (Steamship)
Accommodation:
Zwischendeck (which is "steerage", or between-deck, often shortened to "tween-deck")
Ship Flag:
Deutschland
Port of Departure:
Hamburg
Port of Arrival:
New York
Household Members:

Source Citation: 
Name Age
Ida Martensen

28
 Staatsarchiv Hamburg; Hamburg, Deutschland; Hamburger Passagierlisten; Volume: 373-7 I, VIII A 1 Band 058 A; Page: 111; Microfilm No.: K_1735.


Passenger 62
Name:
Karsten Petersen
Departure Date:
4 Mrz 1887 (4 Mar 1887)
Estimated Birth Year:
abt 1850
Age:
37
Gender:
männlich (Male)
Residence:
Omaha, USA
Occupation:
Landmann(Farmer)
Ship Name:
Australia
Captain:
Franck
Shipping Line:
Edward Carr
Shipping Clerk:
Hamburg-Amerikanische Packetfahrt-Actien-Gesellschaft
Ship Type:
Dampfschiff (Steamship)
Accommodation:
Zwischendeck (which is "steerage", or between-deck, often shortened to "tween-deck")
Ship Flag:
Deutschland
Port of Departure:
Hamburg
Port of Arrival:
New York
Household Members:


Source Citation:
Name Age
Karsten Petersen

 Staatsarchiv Hamburg; Hamburg, Deutschland; Hamburger Passagierlisten; Volume: 373-7 I, VIII A 1 Band 058 A; Page: 111; Microfilm No.: K_1735.
37

Record of their arrival in New York, New York



Passenger 43
Name:
Karston Petersen
Arrival Date:
22 Mar 1887
Birth Date:
abt 1850
Age:
37[1]
Gender:
Male
Ethnicity/ Nationality:
Russian[2]
Place of Origin:
Russia[2]
Port of Departure:
Hamburg, Germany
Destination:
Miperto[3]
Port of Arrival:
New York, New York
Ship Name:
Australia
Source Citation: 
Year: 1887; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: M237; Microfilm Roll: 504; Line: 36; List Number: 303.
  1. On the manifest, Carsten's age is listed as being 34 years old - a transcription mistake.
  2. The manifest clearly states that Carsten's place of origin is USA not Russia – passengers on the list ahead of him are listed as being from Russia - a transcription mistake.
  3. Carsten's destination "Miperto" is not defined.
  4. Carsten has been assigned quarters in the lower decks of the ship.
  5. Carsten's occupation is farmer.
  6. Carsten was shipping a significant amount of baggage.

Passenger 127

Name:
Sila Martensen[1]
Arrival Date:
22 Mar 1887
Birth Date:
abt 1859
Age:
28
Gender:
Female
Ethnicity/ Nationality:
Prussian (German)
Place of Origin:
Prussia
Port of Departure:
Hamburg, Germany
Destination:
New York
Port of Arrival:
New York, New York
Ship Name:
Australia
Source Citation: 
Year: 1887; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: M237; Microfilm Roll: 504; Line: 6; List Number: 303.
  1. On the ship manifest, Ida's first name is Ida and not Sila - a transcription error.
  2. Ida's occupation or calling is listed as servant.
  3. Note that the location Ida's apartment is on the Topp (German for Masthead) Deck I - a desirable location.

Arrival in Nebraska

Carsten and Ida traveled from New York, New York to Platte County, Nebraska in less than a week.

The Columbus Journal., March 30, 1887, page 2

Marriage

Carsten and Ida were married on March 30, 1887 in Columbus, Nebraska.

The Columbus Journal., April 06, 1887, page 3
I am somewhat surprised that the bride would not have wanted to be married in the presence of her family.  Possibly Ida already had family in Nebraska - several of Ida's brothers and cousins did immigrate to Nebraska:
  • Mathilda Louise "Tillie" (Hansen) Petersen, a first cousin of Ida, immigrated to Nebraska in 1888.
  • Claus Heinrich "Henry" Martensen, brother of Ida, immigrated to Nebraska in 1891 (1900 US Census), 1881 (1910 US Census), 1893 (1920 US Census), 1881 (1930 US Census).
  • Christian Lorenz "Christ" Martensen, brother of Ida, immigrated to Nebraska in 1892 (1900 US Census), 1893 (1910 US Census), 1892 (1920 US Census).
Other than possibly her brother, Claus Heinrich "Henry" Martensen, there appear to have been no immediate family members already in Nebraska at the time that Ida immigrated. (As may be noted above, the census record is mixed and leaves doubt that Ida's brother Claus immigrated before she did.)

So why did Ida and Carsten not get married in Germany?  Possibly Ida was being brought over as a housekeeper and to care for Carsten's children (Note that ship manifest on the arrival to New York has her occupation listed as servant - or maybe that was what she was in Germany) but on the way, Ida and Carsten fell in love? Or, was Ida possibly reserving her decision until she met Carsten's children and she could see first hand what the situation really was before committing to marriage?

Motivating factors to consider:

It is likely that Carsten would have been considering finding a new wife or at least obtaining help in raising his five young children ranging in age from two years old (Grandmother Brunken) to twelve years old.  

Ida was 28 years old at the time she made the trip to the USA from Germany.  Back then a 28 year old single woman would have been thought destined to be a spinster - and her biological clock was ticking.

Several questions still remain:

How did Carsten and Ida meet?  I suspect that a relative acted as matchmaker for Ida either being Carsten's housekeeper or wife.  Possible indirect evidence of this is that a year after Carsten brings Ida to Nebraska, Carsten's niece (Esther Petersen) accompanies Mathilda Louise Hansen from Germany to Nebraska. Mathilda married Andreas "Andrew" Petersen, Carsten's brother who is living in Nebraska. (Was this an arranged marriage?) Family connections are even closer as the mothers of Ida and Mathilda (Christina Maria (Thönsen) Martensen and Johanna (Thoensen) Hansen) were sisters and thus Ida and Mathilda were first cousins.

Did Carsten go to Germany after his father’s death 31 Jan 1887 to pay his respects and possibly handle estate matters and then just happen to meet/find a prospective second wife? Or did he travel to Germany for the primary purpose of finding a new wife?  We will probably never know the answer.

What is known, is that Carsten did not immediately leave his children after his first wife died and go looking for a new wife as the family lore might imply.  When he actually traveled to Germany is not known but it was almost a year before he remarried.

Ship/Line Notes

  • Carr Line - "Established in Hamburg in 1879-80 as a tramp ship company, they expanded into the emigrant business in 1881 with a fleet of cargo liners. Speed was not a consideration and most westbound passages to New York took 17-19 days." This compared to sailing ships which took around 40 days. http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/lines/carr.shtml Downloaded: October 10, 2014.
  • Hamburg America Line - "By offering cheaper fares, Carr Line entered into cut throat competition with other Atlantic passenger companies and in 1886 amalgamated with Robert Sloman's Union Line under the title Carr-Union Line. In 1888 the Hamburg America Line purchased four Carr Line ships (including the Australia), together with their half interest in the Union Line." http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/lines/carr.shtml Downloaded: October 10, 2014.
  • Australia - Ship Picture and Source Information: Ancestry.com. Passenger Ships and Images [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2007. Original data: Various maritime reference sources. Downloaded October 10, 2014.
  • Australia - Ship Description: Built by C. Mitchell & Co., Newcastle, England. Tonnage: 2,119. Dimensions: 297' x 37'. Single-screw, 10 knots. Compound engines. Iron hull.
  • Australia - Ship History: Put into service in 1881 by the Carr Line. Acquired by Hamburg America Line from Carr Line in 1888. Wrecked near Antwerp in 1902.
  • Australia - Ship Picture Date: The Carr Line funnel was black with a broad white band. The Hamburg-American Line funnel was black on all ships (1854-1889)  then buff on passenger ships (1889-1927). Hence the picture was taken 1888-1889.