Biography of John Christensen
Humboldt County, CA Biographies





JOHN CHRISTENSEN. - As a leader among the Danes at Ferndale, and a prominent factor in commercial, social, fraternal and educational affairs of his home community and of Ferndale district, John Christensen takes his rightful place as a man of splendid qualities of heart and mind, wonderfully energetic and progressive and especially successful in his many business undertakings. He is president and general manager of the Valley Flower Creamery Company, and was one of the prime movers in its organization and establishment, besides conducting two of the most profitable dairy farms in the district. He is a prominent member of the Odd Fellows and also a member of the Danish Singing Society at Ferndale and other Danish benevolent associations in which he is a leading spirit. His home life is altogether delightful, his wife being a woman of much charm of manner and pleasant hospitality, who takes a great interest in the success of her capable husband. There are five children in the family and all are more or less musical, and several musical instruments grace the home. While Mr. Christensen is intensely interested in his business affairs he also finds plenty of time for the enjoyment of the companionship of his family and for the social life of the community where he makes his home.

Mr. Christensen is a native of Denmark, born at Sig in Jutland, September 24, 1878. His father, Wilhelm Christensen, was a dairy farmer and owned a splendid ranch of eighty acres. He is now deceased. The mother was Metta P. Larsen in her girlhood days, and is now living in Denmark at the age of fifty eight years. She was the second wife of her husband, and bore him four children, of whom John, the subject of this article, is the eldest son. There were also four children born of the first marriage, Bodil, Mrs. C. P. Frey, the wife of a dairy farmer at Modesto, being a half sister of Mr. Christensen, they being the only members of their family in America. Mr. Christensen was reared on his father's farm in Denmark, where he early learned to do his share of the farm labor, working hard when he was yet a mere boy. He attended the public schools and was confirmed in the Lutheran church. When he was but little past fourteen years of age he went to Schleswig, Germany, and learned the creamery business, serving an apprenticeship of eighteen months. In 1894 he came to America, landing in New York in May, and coming at once to Humboldt county, the journey being made with his half sister, Mrs. Frey, who now resides at Modesto. They came to Port Kenyon on the Salt river, on the steamer Weeott, which was then making the run from San Francisco to this point, which is Mr. Christensen's present home. He went to work on the Francis place at Ferndale for one N. P. Hansen, as a dairy hand, and continued to work for wages on various dairy ranches of the district until some two years after his marriage, which occurred in 1900, uniting him with Miss Elise Jacobsen, a daughter of J. T. Jacobsen, a farmer of Metropolitan, who has a family of nine children, of whom Mrs. Christensen is the eldest. In November, 1902, Mr. Christensen rented a ranch and engaged in the dairy business for himself. His first place was the Grinsell place, which he still conducts, and three years later he also rented the Zanone place, and now runs them together, milking in all about eighty cows.

Mr. Christensen was also the manager of the old Pioneer creamery for five years, and then, in order to benefit himself and his neighbors by the establishment of a creamery nearer home, he helped to organize and establish the Valley Flower Creamery, of which he is president, as well as general manager. This is one of the most sanitary and up to date plants in the county, all the latest scientific devices and methods being in use. It is capitalized for $20,000, divided into four thousand shares at $5 per share. Mr. Christensen does the testing and also the buying of all supplies, and the marketing of the product. Other officers are: Eugene Larsen, vice president; Robert H. Flowers, secretary and bookkeeper, and the Russ-Williams Banking Company, treasurer. On the board of directors are John Rossen, A. Zana, John Brazil, Anton Enos, Robert H. Flowers and John Christensen. This creamery is a great financial success and is meeting the needs of the community in a splendid manner.

Both Mr. and Mrs. Christensen have many warm friends in their home neighborhood, in addition to the many business associates of Mr. Christensen, who is well liked by those who come in contact with him. Mr. Christensen is a member of the Ferndale Lodge No. 379, I. O. O. F., and has taken an active part in the affairs of the order for many years, passing through all the chairs. He is a member of Myrtle Encampment, of which he is Past C. P., and was representative at the Grand Encampment at Santa Cruz, in 1911, and was there appointed Deputy Grand Patriarch by the Grand Master. He is especially prominent in the Danish societies, and is an influential member of the Dania Society and also of the Danish Brotherhood, being an ex president of both; he is also active in the local Danish Singing Society.

One of the strongest interests of Mr. Christensen's life has been in educational affairs. His own early advantages were seriously curtailed, but after coming to Ferndale he attended night school for many months, taking advantage of every opportunity to improve his knowledge of the English language and to acquire general information, and in both these ambitions he was exceptionally successful. His interest in the school system of the county has taken a practical turn and he has given his hearty support to the upbuilding of the public school in the Port Kenyon district, where he makes his home. This district stands throughout the county as being an exceptionally good one. It employs two teachers and has a term of nine months each year. The average daily attendance is fifty four pupils and the records of scholarship are very high. The building is commodious and well cared for and the salaries paid are good. The board of trustees consists of Mr. Christensen, Charles Sweet and Archie Morrison. Mr. and Mrs. Christensen have themselves five children who have profited by the splendid conditions of the local schools, where they have attended. They are: Therese Marie, Walford John, Bernard Lester, Verna Petrea and Curtiss Clarence. The interest of Mr. Christensen in educational progress is, however, far from selfish, being along broad lines of culture and progress.

From:
History of Humboldt County, California
With a Biographical Sketches
History by Leigh H. Irving
Historic Record Company
Los Angeles, California 1915


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