Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Hard work through challenges: Anders Ferdinand Gregersen #ResilientRoots

Andreas Ferdinand Gregersen's father died in the war between Denmark and Germany when he was only a year old.  His life in Denmark changed from that point on.  He and his widowed mother were very close, and his mother wanted the best for him.  When he was age thirteen she sent him with her friends the Madsens to Immigrate to America and she planned to follow the next year.  They would never see each other.  Andreas missed his mother for the rest of his life.  

Perhaps the letters from his mother were the motivation for his joining the pony express when he was 18 years old.  He worked all of his young years in heavy work, taking care of the "town herd" of cows, clearning and planting hundreds of acres.  He lived with several families that took care of the young boy and taught him English, writing and math in the evenings.  Eventually he found work cutting timber for the railroad and with the wages he made, be bought a strong wagon and some horses.  He witnessed the driving of the golden spike when the railroads from the east and west came together.  After his work in the railroad, he turned to the Nevada silver mines and began hauling food, wood, and bullion over long dangerous rocky trails to the mining communities.  After six years of hauling goods, he had saved considerable money and decided to visit the families who had helped him in his youth.  He returned to visit the Sylvesters whose daughter Althea had quite grown up.  Andrew left to add to his means so that he could take care of a wife and then soon returned to be married.  Eventually they moved to Silver Reef , Utah where they had a very comfortable life.  They had servants, dressed lavishly and celebrated holidays in great style.  Althea always dressed up in the afternoon for Andreas' return from work.

Eventually they purchased a ranch from a renowned agriculturist with many well developed fruit trees, grapes and beautiful gardens.  They had apples, plums pears and almonds and worked to preserve and bottle all the fruit.  Their home was situated at the crossroads of between two well established settlements so they had many visitors and lots of people came to trade and buy fruit.  Andreas continued to work the mines.  They had ten children and educated them well with the many books and musical instruments they had at the ranch.  Eventually the children all left for colleges graduating as teachers, business people, dentists, and lawyers.  In his later years, he took exquisite care of his mother in law and continued to urge his mother to come to America until the dreadful day he received the black edged letter that announced the death of his mother.  He sobbed and sobbed and no one could comfort him.  Andrew was kind and compassionate because of his loneliness as a young man.  He was healthy and loved to play jokes on people.  His children all came to say their last goodbyes as he passed on July 26th, 1922.  

Andreas was my great great grandfather.  I hope I have those good hard working genes in me.  I do like to play jokes on people and I love my mother, but I'm glad that I've never had to be separated from her as Andreas was.  He was a hard working participant in the amazing settlement of the Western United States.  

Taken in part from "The Life of Andrew Ferdinand Gregerson" written by his daughter Althea G Hafen.  
Post written by Janet Hovorka, Manager, Family Chartmasters LLC

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