Peder Johansen Jørgensen/Peter J. Johnson and Anna Petra Christensen -- 54 years

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Peder Johansen Jørgensen/Peter J. Johnson and Anna Petra Christensen -- 54 years.

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Peter Johnson was born Peder Johansen Jørgensen in Humble parish on the island of Langeland in 1854. In Denmark he was a sailor before immigrating to America and settling in Ludington, Michigan. Two years later he moved to Racine, Wisconsin. Anna Petra was born in 1861. As a teenager she traveled around to various Methodist churches teaching Sunday School in the area just north of the German border. German soldiers would frequently be present and if they did not understand what was being said, the teachers would have to repeat it until they did. When Anna emigrated in 1882 her destination was also Racine, where she met Peter. Their courtship story is unknown; however, both attended Trinity Methodist Church in Racine, so that is where they likely met. They were married in the church on September 5, 1884. ~~ If opposites attract, that was Peter and Anna. She was quick and sharp while Peter was easy-going and jovial. It must have worked because when they sat together, they would often hold hands, as seen in the accompanying newspaper article. Six children were born to the couple: William Martin, Arthur, Arthur Louis, Martha, Sadie J. and Clarence. Peter and Anna farmed 40 acres west of Racine not far from Mygatt’s Corners and later added another 40 acres. Peter continued to maintain the farm buildings even after turning over active farming to his son Art. One family story related how something on the ridgepole of the barn needed to be fixed when Peter was in his 70s. Without thinking twice, he went up the ladder, walked the ridgepole and hammered down whatever needed to be repaired. Anna was a midwife, an accomplished seamstress, quilt-maker and crocheter. She was also a good cook and made many traditional Danish dishes, teaching her grandchildren the Danish names of food while she cooked. The occasion of Peter and Anna’s golden wedding anniversary in 1934 was actually a triple celebration. In addition to the couple’s 50th anniversary, their daughter and son-in-law, Martha and Fred Christopherson, celebrated their 20th anniversary, and granddaughter Viola and Immanuel Nielsen were united in marriage – all on the same date and in Bethany Methodist Church.

  • Photograph courtesy of Kirsten Nielsen Strnad, Faribault MN.

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