IAGenWeb Project

Audubon County


1915 Bios Index


In a little town in Denmark there lived a lad whose ambition was not to be bounded by the village, nor even the country, where he had happened to be born. It is seldom that we find a lad of fifteen self-reliant enough to begin his career in the industrial world, but force of circumstances presses rather heavily on some lives, and the response is necessarily a giving up of personal wishes for the sake of mere physical existence. While we sympathize with the youth thus apparently handicapped by early disadvantages, we must at the same time, admire him, for he who can carve a destiny out of deprivation, must have mettle of an enduring quality, and it is of such material that good citizenship is made.

Jorgen H. Jensen was born in Grindsted Jylland, September 7, 1862. He was the son of Chris H. and Magdalena (Haahr) Jensen, both residents of Denmark. The elder Jensen was a farmer and died in 1876, when he was forty-eight years of age. The wife came to America in 1893 with her children, and lived with them until her death, January 1, 1910, at the age of seventy-one. They both belonged to the Lutheran church. Six children were born in this household, being, in the order of their birth, as follow: Jens, living in Denmark; Jorgen H., the subject of this sketch; Lawrence, a farmer in Coon Rapids, Iowa; Nels, a farmer of Sharon township, this county; Knud, who died while living in Denmark, and Hans, a farmer of Alton, Minnesota.

Only a meager common school education was possible to Jorgen, owing to the early death of his father, and beginning at the tender age of fifteen years, he worked out at farming until his twenty-seventh year, helping his brothers and sisters in the care of their mother. After he and his brother, Lawrence, landed in American at New York city, they continued their journey until they arrived at Marne, Iowa, being attracted to that state by the fact that they had relatives in Shelby county. After living here for about a year, Jorgen purchased eighty acres of wild prairie land in Sharon township, and became a citizen of the United States.

On June 5, 1890, Jorgen H. Jensen was married to Hermena Hermansen, a native of Denmark, and the daughter of Chris and Anna (Jensen) Hermansen. The father, who is a carpenter, is still living, but the mother has passed away. Their children were as follow: Marion, of Denmark; Catherine, of Chicago; Hermena (Mrs. Jensen); Anna, also of Chicago; Herman, a California carpenter; Jens, a carpenter of Audubon, and Jensena, who still lives in Denmark.

Selling out his property in Sharon township in 1901, Mr. Jensen bought two hundred and eighty acres of land in Douglas township, and lived here until 1910. Again disposing of one hundred and twenty acres, he bought four hundred acres in Leroy township, known as the Owen Davis Place, and this farm became the family home. Many valuable improvements have been added. He sold one hundred acres to his son, Chris, who put up a good, substantial building on it. Mr. Jensen has been successful in raising Shorthorn cattle, and a good quality of Aberdeen-Angus cattle of which he averages from one hundred to one hundred and twenty-five a year. Besides his cattle, Mr. Jensen sells about two hundred head of Duroc-Jersey hogs annually, and many fine Belgian horses. For his cattle and other stock it is necessary to buy feed, besides the one hundred acres of corn which he raises. Having always been fond of farm work and farm life, he has never attempted activities of any other kind.

Out of his busy life, Mr. Jensen has managed to spare the time for civic duties, for he was at one time school director of Douglas township. His own children have all been educated in the local schools. Chris, the eldest son, attended the Danish school at Blair, Nebraska. He married Anna Hansen and now lives in Leroy township. The second child is Annie, who married Soren N. Smith, of Douglas township, and they have two children, Herman and Lucile. Other children were Ida, Ejner, Smil, Esther, Martha, Sarah and Dina. Besides these, there were two children who died while young, Nick and Nick Jr.

Mr. Jensen has always adhered to the principles of the Republican party. He and his wife are members of the Lutheran church. Although the wife has seemed to occupy an inconspicuous place in this record, she has had much to do with the success of her husbandís enterprises and her childrenís education. In fact she has seconded their efforts to such an extent that through her devotion, their work has been lightened, and their achievements have been increased. Willing to share the trials and cares of the pioneerís life, she was content if she could but minister to the needs of her family, and when success came, she could share that, too, in a quiet, womanly way, happy in the thought that it had come through their own efforts. No family is better known or more respected in the vicinity in which they live, and the esteem in which they are held is richly merited.

Transcribed by Gunter Schanzenbacher, Waynesboro, PA, March 30, 2013 from History of Audubon County, Iowa Its People, Industries and Institutions With Biographical Sketches of Representative Citizens and Genealogical Records of Many of the Old Families, by H. F. Andrews, editor, Indianapolis: B. F. Bowen & Company, 1915, pp. 636-638.

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