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A GERMAN FAMILY IN CALDWELL COUNTY

Narrator: Mrs. Lottie Anderson of Hamilton, Missouri

Martin Christiansen, Mrs. Anderson's father was born in Germany in the dyke and sea districts. In his later years he often told of those early days when the family at meal time ate out of one dish, each with his own wooden spoon. After the meal each washed his spoon and put it up. They did not drive to town but in the summer they rowed and in the winter they skated and pushed before them a skating chair with an oldery one in it. At fifteen Martin ran away from home to sea and served fifteen years and won the coveted iron cross.

As a sailor he came to New Orleans. He worked up the Mississippi on a steamboat. In a boat trip to Ohio he met his future wife, also a German. He came to Missouri 1866 and bought land in Caldwell County of the railroad. His eighty acre place was part of the present Frank Hooker farm. Christiansen held it till 1880 when he sold it to Col. J.W. Harper (Hooker's father-in-law).

When the Christiansens came to Hamilton they boarded a few days at the Brosius Hotel (Hamilton House) till he got ready for her to come out. They lived in a tent for several months till he built a house. At that time and for years after there were no fences. They fed hogs and cattle (all branded) on the open prairie. His mark was M.C. The mother often had to walk in the afternoon to bring home the cows to be milked and fed.

After Mr. Christiansen became established he sent money back to Germany to bring on his old father and brothers and sisters because he wanted them to have American comforts of life. One sister came to American later and lived but he never saw her from the day he ran away till his death.

In 1880, having sold his farm he bought another near Nettleton where he reared his large family. He often longed for boats and the sea but never saw them again. He became naturalized in time to vote for R. B. Haves as President.

The couple always spoke broken English. The Mother learned to read English as her young children brought home their first readers. She learned also to write the English script with them. At first, Mr. Christiansen being a sailor was absolutely ignorant of farming but was eventually a good farmer. In those early days of the sixties he also dug many wells and built homes for the settlers.

Interviewed April 1934.

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All photos are copyright KingsCross Farm, 1997 & 1998
All written material other than reference material copyright KingsCross Farm 1998