Christian Lauritz Lange and Sarah Petersen -- 59 years

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Christian Lauritz Lange and Sarah Petersen -- 59 years.

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Christian was born in 1866 in Sønder Vilstrup in Haderslev County, which had fallen under German rule two years earlier. After the death of his father and the emigration to America of two older brothers, Christian and his mother, Anna Kirstine (Boer) Lange, joined the flow of emigrants and left in 1881 from Bremen on the S/S Donau. They came to the home of his brother, Jes, a bit south of Elk Horn. Christian began working for neighboring farmers and by 1890 had accumulated enough money to purchase 80 acres of land with a small house east of Kimballton. Land at this time sold for approximately $8 an acre. ~~ Sarah was born on a farm in Clinton County, Iowa, in 1872, shortly after the arrival of her parents, Mads and Anna Mette (Rasmussen) Petersen, from Denmark. In 1882 they moved to Elk Horn, becoming neighbors of Christian Lange. He and Sarah were married on February 21, 1890, and moved into the small house Christian had just purchased. Three years later they sold their farm and traveled by covered wagon to Gordon, Nebraska, in hopes of getting more land to farm. After four years of insufficient rain to grow crops they started the long trek back to Elk Horn, where they rented farms for several years until purchasing a farm southwest of the town. They built a beautiful big house and fixed up the farmstead. Sarah planted pansies all along the sidewalk to the house. By this time their family consisted of 7 sons and 2 daughters: Andrew, Max, Arne, Ted, Marinus, Elmer, Christena and Helga. Then came the Great Depression. In 1933 they lost their farm and moved to Marne for several years before returning to Elk Horn. ~~ Sarah always kept busy. She made meals, kept the house neat and clean, and always had a jar of sugar cookies and a jar of brown sugar cookies in the pantry. When she wasn’t busy, she would sit down and crochet. Christian often sat on the front porch in his special chair reading Decorah-Posten. He and Sarah were very kind and gentle to each other and their family, but Christian was always a bit of a joker. If someone had a new dress, he would say something like “I wouldn’t wear that to a dog fight,” but feelings were never hurt; everyone knew he was joking. Every evening after dinner they would sit down together and read from the Danish Bible and then sing Danish hymns. Christian and Sarah’s last residence was in the Salem Home, where they died within two weeks of each other.

  • Photograph courtesy of granddaughter Norma Lange Nelson, Elk Horn IA.

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