Kjeldsen Family

About the Kjeldsen Family

Ludvig Peter Kjeldsen (1871-1889)* was born in 1871 on the island of Tunoe in Denmark, and at just seventeen years of age departed with a group of other young men to seek employment and new opportunities in the United States. Such emigrations were typical of the time, when railroad and steamship agents actively recruited young males to fill the labor demands of industrializing America, often with promises of wealth and prosperity. A favored destination for Tunoe residents was California, and particularly San Francisco, where by the late nineteenth century a sizeable Danish community had been established.

Ludvig Kjeldsen, listed in the ship’s manifest as a sailor, departed from Tunoe for America via Copenhagen and Glasgow on April 11, 1888. He was joined on the voyage by his two older brothers, Rasmus Joergen Kjeldsen, a shoemaker, and Christen Rasmussen Kjeldsen, a baker. They arrived in New York City on May 5, 1888, and the trio traveled on to the Mendocino Coast of California, arriving there on November 4th of that year. Ludvig and Christen went to work at the Gualala Mill, but just six weeks later, on December 21st, 1888, Ludvig was injured by a locomotive train in the woods east of Gualala. He died ten days after the accident on January 1st, 1889, and was buried in the Gualala Cemetery.

Ludvig’s brother, Rasmus died in 1891 while on a ship returning to Denmark, and was buried at sea. His other brother, Christen, became a sawyer working along the coast at the Gualala Mill and at the Big River Lumber Company. He retired from the Fort Bragg Union Lumber Company Mill in 1941. Christen set a coast-wide record in 1915, cutting 174,000 board feet of lumber in one day with co-worker Tom Johnson. He married Matilda Jensen, and raised their sons Vernon, Chris, and Lester in Fort Bragg, where their descendants continue to enjoy the Mendocino coastline.

*Thanks to Chris Kjeldsen, grandson of Christen Rasmussen Kjeldsen, and to genealogist Kelly Richardson for providing information contained in this narrative.

*Thanks to Chris Kjeldsen, grandson of Christen Rasmussen Kjeldsen, and to Kelly Richardson, Anchored Genealogy for providing information contained in this narrative.

Kjeldsen Family Photos