Neils Christensen

1844 - 1923

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Neils Christensen

1844 - 1923
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Niels Christensen -- Utah Pioneer of 1857. In the little town of Nykobbel, Soro, Denmark, Niels Christensen was born, August 4, 1844, to Peder and Ellen (Andersen) Christensen. His great-grandfather had been an officer in the Danish Army, and as a reward for gallantry, received from the government a
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Life Information

Neils Christensen

Born:
Died:

Pioneer Memorial Cemetery

320 N 100 E
American Fork, Utah, Utah
United States
Transcriber

JamesAnderson

May 31, 2011
Photographer

Pioneer Memorial Cemetery

January 1, 1970

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Niels Christensen

Contributor: JamesAnderson Created: 11 months ago Updated: 11 months ago

Niels Christensen -- Utah Pioneer of 1857. In the little town of Nykobbel, Soro, Denmark, Niels Christensen was born, August 4, 1844, to Peder and Ellen (Andersen) Christensen. His great-grandfather had been an officer in the Danish Army, and as a reward for gallantry, received from the government a section of beautifully wooded land to be held by him and his descendants. At his death his son inherited the land. Then the daughter, Ellen Andersen, next fell heir. It was here that Niels Christensen was born. Shortly thereafter, his father died leaving the mother with two small sons, Paul and Niels. Two Mormon missionaries were to change the whole future of this little family. The mother was inspired with their message and soon joined the Church and became anxious to start for America and Utah. They sailed from England, April 11, 1857, on the ship “Westmoreland.” After six weeks voyage on the ocean, they rejoiced in reaching America, and soon started for Utah on foot, pushing a handcart. They reached Utah in July, 1857, first settling in Lehi, then moved to American Fork, Utah. Niels & Phoebe Christensen By this time, Paul was fourteen years of age and Niels, a year younger. As these boys grew into manhood they acquired land and became farmers. Paul managed their own farms when Stephen Chipman asked Niels to manage his farms. This Niels did for ten years. After the death of Stephen and Phoebe Davis Chipman, Niels married their oldest daughter, Phoebe Adelaide, and helped her raise her little brother and sisters. Niels and Phoebe had seven children of their own. Their oldest, Phoebe Helen, died when she was 16. That left our grandfather, Bernard Niels, at age 14 the oldest in the family. The picture on the right was taken sometime after their marriage when their daughter Phoebe Helen was a baby because another one of Phoebe and her daughter Phoebe Helen was taken the same day. Niels and Phoebe Christensen's Children Who Lived to Maturity Niels and Phoebe raised their family in this home in American Fork, Utah. Phoebe, passed away July 14, 1894, leaving Niels with six young children. From this time on, he assumed the double role of mother and father. He was ever faithful and watchful of his children, always keeping before them the image of their sainted mother. Niels farmed all of his life. He loved the land and his animals. Niels and his horses Another thing he loved was guns. Clare B. Christensen, Niels’ grandson “wrote from time to time about his grandfather and great-uncle Paul.” He recorded a “telling difference about Ellen’s two sons. In an account he called ‘Christensen Family Treasures,’ Clare wrote: “My grandfather’s brother, Paul Christensen, owned a gun. He bought it because Brigham Young told the men of the Church to carry a gun for their protection. Uncle Paul did not like guns! He always carried one when he went out in the wilds because he was obedient to counsel. He fired the gun once to try it out. He never shot the gun again. In contrast to this, my grandfather was a lover of guns. When grandfather spent that first winter in Cottonwood, Utah and worked for his board, the man of the family owned a muzzle loading rifle with a revolving chamber like a six shooter. Grandfather fondled that gun with a great desire to possess it. Said he, ‘I would have been glad to work a whole year for that gun.’ “It is interesting that today many of Niels’ male descendants are still extraordinarily fond of guns and not a few own several of them.” (p. 19) Through the years his children enjoyed one another and felt a great family loyalty. This picture seems to reflect the closeness and fun-loving nature of these brothers and sisters as adults. In the spring of 1923 he was 79 years old. He had always expressed the wish that he be permitted to die with his boots on. “On the morning May 18, Niels planted corn in his lot, then he and his daughter-in-law, Maud, had dinner. After dinner he fell asleep at the table. When he awoke from his nap he told Maud that he had dreamed that he had died. She said to him, ‘No, you are going to live at least another ten years.’ Bernard was late coming home from the office. Niels was just climbing into his wagon when Bernard drove in. He ran down to talk to his father and asked about the wisdom of doing any additional work that day. Niels said he was just fine and was off to the farm. His bay team was hitched to the wagon, the harnessed he went to his favorite field to plow. He had completed one furrow around his field. -- He was found there beside the plow. . .While they waited, the horses pawed a hole in the land, large enough to bury a man.” It was sunset on Utah Lake. “When Niels had not returned at the approach of sundown, Clare was sent to investigate. . . .He found the silent form of his greatly loved Grandfather lay face down in the freshly plowed earth. . . .[He] rode home in a hurry just in time to find his Dad and brother, Paul, who were coming by car to see what the problem was.” “Niels was buried by the side of Phoebe near the very center of the American Fork Cemetery. . . . For twenty-nine years he had led the family alone. . . .The long mortal pilgrimage of sustained devotion, adventurous service and exemplary family love had been successfully finished.” pp. 148-149. Niels and his children and grandchildren Niels was a widower for 29 years. He and Phoebe raised a wonderful posterity. Much of the information for this write-up came from a legal-sized page [#$@^!]led Niels Christensen Family. All materials in quotation marks are from The Christensen Family of Soro, Denmark and American Fork, Utah, USA, Allen C. Christensen, 1994.

Phoebe Adelaide Chipman Christensen

Contributor: JamesAnderson Created: 11 months ago Updated: 11 months ago

Phoebe Adelaide Chipman was a daughter of Stephen and Phoebe (Davis) Chipman; Utah pioneers. She was born at Millcreek, Utah, December 5, 1852, where her father had built and operated the first flour mill there. While a small baby, her parents moved to American Fork, the town her father founded. Her father, Stephen, died in 1868 when she was just 15. Then four years later, her mother passed away. Phoebe was the eldest of seven children and played the role of mother. Her youngest sister, Bertha, was four and had been born just months after their father's death. Niels and Phoebe Chipman Christensen Three months after Phoebe's mother's death, Phoebe married Niels Christensen in the Endowment House and he helped to raise her little brother and sisters. In time they had seven fine, strong children of her own. Phoebe was a beautiful woman, deeply spiritual, and gifted in the art of making an ideal home. She was a wise and loving mother and a devoted wife. Through her efforts, she was instrumental in organizing “woman suffrage” in American Fork. “On October 2, 1890, tragedy struck [Phoebe and Niels’ family] suddenly. Their daughter, Phoebe Helen, a charming, dark-haired beauty of sixteen, died. The sorrow of the family was intense. [Helen, as she was called, was the oldest child. Bernard came next in the family.] Much of Bernard’s grieving at the loss of his sweet sister was dispelled because of a marvelously realistic dream he had the following night. In that dream, he stood with Helen at the foot of the bed where her body lay and once more, as a big sister would, she told him they would meet again and it would not seem long. That certainty never died out of Bernard’s life. Interesting, is it not, that this sweet spirit of assurance was given on the night of October 3, the fourteenth anniversary of Bernard’s birth? “[Phoebe] . . . remained unconsoled over her namesake daughter’s death. Despite the [fact that the family was in an] extraordinarily diffi[#$@^!]lt financial situation, Phoebe made a trip to Manti, Utah where, on October 21, 189l, she did Phoebe Helen’s temple work. Perhaps within those sacred walls a sense of peace came.” During the summer of 1893, Niels had several financial setbacks and Phoebe [40 years of age] was not well. “[The following summer] July 14, 1894, was a warm summer afternoon. Bernard was riding his little black mare. He was starting for Utah Lake to go for a swim when he met his mother coming out of a neighbor’s gate. She greeted him with a smile and, with the usual caution to be careful, turned and went up the street. Bernard watched her go. He had a strong urge to go with her, but turned his horse south and went for the swim. Upon his return he found a crowd of people in front of the family home. Bernard’s mother was dying. She had stood with the choir to sing the closing hymn at a funeral and had fallen unconscious, probably the result of a massive cere[#$@^!]l hemorrhage. “Among those gathered in the room where Phoebe lay was a Mrs. Tilleck, a convert to the Church from Australia. After Phoebe died and the crowd had disbursed, Mrs. Tilleck said quietly to the family, ‘Just before your mother died, I saw a short, dark-complexioned, very beautiful woman come in he door. She crossed the room and held her arms out over the bed. I saw Phoebe’s spirit rise out of her body and they left the room arm in arm.‘ There were many questions asked of Mrs. Tilleck about this remarkable woman she had never before seen, but Niel knew from the clear description which had been given that she was his mother-in-law.” Phoebe’s early death kept her from accomplishing some of the fine and helpful things she was capable of doing. “Adversity had come again to the Christensen family. Yet its refining hand molded in them a deep loyalty and love for each other. Bernard [at 17] now felt that his duty was at home. Someone had remarked that the Christensen children were such a handsome lot and so full of life, that with an easygoing father they would all go to the bad. In Bernard’s soul there burned a fighting resolve that they would not, and that intense resolve never diminished in his life. [Bernard had the greatest respect for his father, but said in later years that his father did not recognize the hazards which young people then faced.] When their mother died, John, Homer and Marie were all younger than twelve years of age. Mable was but thirteen. Edith, who assumed the burden of the housework, was only fifteen.” Knowing more of the history of Niels and Phoebe Christensen’s family life makes it easier to understand Bernard’s decisions, especially the one he made two or three years later to delay his mission. Yet he was true to himself and his resolve and when the time was right, he left his sweetheart, Maud Rosalie Driggs behind and served a mission to New Zealand. All quoted material is from the book, The Christensen Family of Soro, Denmark and American Fork, Utah, USA, by Allen C. Christensen, 1994, pp. 45-58.

Ellen Poulsdatter Christensen

Contributor: JamesAnderson Created: 11 months ago Updated: 11 months ago

Peder Christensen & Ellen Poulsdatter How did we come to be Christensens? The story begins in the early 1800’s in Vedbysonder, Soro, Denmark. But it doesn’t end there. Niels Christensen’s father was Peder Christensen, so according to Danish custom, he was born Niels Pedersen. The events that transformed him into Niels Christensen make an interesting and important read. Bernard Christensen’s father was Niels. Niels Christensen’s father was Peder Christensen who was born 19 May 1808 in Vedbysonder, Soro, Denmark. Niels’ mother was Ellen Poulsdatter who was born in Ottestrup, Soro, Denmark, on 5 December 1810. Allen C. Christensen, in his book, The Christensen Family of Soro, Denmark and American Fork, Utah, USA, tells of Peder and Ellen’s beginnings. Soro is a thickly wooded area. Its homes and cottages appear to have stone walls. In 1810 most of them must have had thatched roofs for some still remain today. Ellen was her parents’ first child and only daughter. She had four brothers. “In St. Peder’s Church in the town of Slagelse on 30 June 1843, Ellen married Peder Christensen. He was 35 and she was 32. Peder was also a carpenter. . . . Two sons were born to Peder and Ellen. Poul Pedersen was born 22 August 1843 and his younger brother, Niels Pedersen, [our ancestor] was born 4 August 1844, both at Nykobbel. “Peder Christensen was a large man. Part of the time he was a steward for government land, some of which he was apparently permitted to use as a small farm. One day he was kicked in the groin by a cow. A few days later, on 18 December 1847, he died. This left Ellen with two small sons and the necessity of finding a husband; if she were to retain custodianship of the government’s land, it was required that she be married. This stewardship was apparently awarded by the Danish crown and had been a part of her ancestry’s inherited rights for several generations. According to family tradition, Ellen’s grandfather, Anders Jensen, had been an officer in the Danish Army. As a reward for gallantry, he received from the government a section of beautifully wooded land to be held by him and his descendants. At his death, Poul Andersen [Ellen’s father] inherited the land. Poul’s daughter, the eldest child, next fell heir. Four months [after Peder Christensen died] on 28 April 1848, Ellen married Hans Christensen. He was nine years younger than she. Hans lived with Ellen only a short time when he was taken into the army in a time of war with Germany. . . “Ellen had a difficult time during the three years Hans was in the army. Poul and Niels, though small boys, were compelled by circumstances to assist their mother in caring for the government-owned forest lands and in operating the small farm allotted to them. Ellen’s two sons had some interesting differences. Niels loved to tramp the woods with the gamekeeper and to watch him shoot foxes. He wanted to be a gamekeeper himself when he was grown. Niels also loved climbing to the tops of the very tall oak trees in the woods. He had a wonderful sense of balance all of his life. . . .Poul was more of a schoolboy than Niels. Niels did not much care for the teacher who would box his ears when he did not do his lessons well. A weekly trip to the nearest town to buy bread was quite an event; the two-five-pound loaves carried home by each boy made walking no easy task. “When the war was over, their stepfather, Hans Christensen, returned. He had fought on the mainland against the German cavalry. [The sword that had protected him and saved his life he kept with him even when the family moved to the United States and it became a family heirloom.] Ellen was about forty and beyond the childbearing years when Hans returned. “In 1855 the Christensens were visited by missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. On May 11 of the following year they were baptized members of the Church. The details of their conversion have been lost. However, they did go at night to a pond to be baptized, so one can safely surmise that their decision to become Mormons was probably not greeted with kindly expressions by neighbors and churchmen. The choice, no doubt, resulted in great soul-searching and personal sacrifice, but it was a decision from which they never looked back.” (pp. 1-2) The following year [1857 when Poul was 14 and Niels was 12] they left Denmark and sailed from Liverpool and spent the next five weeks crossing the North Atlantic. They landed in Philadelphia where they took the train [not a passenger train but in a box car] to Iowa City. From there they went two or three miles distant to Clear Creek, a staging area for the handcart trek, where they stayed with others in a large tent. “The Christensens had enough money remaining to outfit themselves with team, wagon and provisions. But there were others in their company who had nothing. In the spirit of true religion, the Christensens divided their substance with those who were destitute. Preparations were then made to take handcarts and to make the remainder of the journey on foot.” (pp. 2-6) The Christensens became part of the 7th Handcart Company. Allen Christensen has written a full account of their trek in his book, Before Zion: An Account of the 7th Handcart Company, 2004. There are also wonderful details of their trip in his “blue book”--referenced above. Near the end of the trek “Poul took sick and nearly died on the way west. For three days his mother and another woman half led, half carried him--there was no stopping. He was never strong enough to pull the handcart again. The last hundred miles Niels and his stepfather pulled the handcart alone for the others were too worn out to help. . . . “On Sunday, September 13, people were just coming out of church services when the ragged, hungry, sunburned weary pioneers came into Salt Lake City. They had walked 1300 miles. It was the happiest day of their lives. They had been ninety-three days on the way from Iowa City. . . . A ragged blanket, a ragged shirt, and ragged overalls were all that Niels had of this world’s goods. . . .His mother gave him a little bucket and directed him to go ask for some milk. The first house had none but a lady at the second home gave him some milk and asked if he had any bread. When he replied no, this kind woman gave him half of her only loaf. “During the winter of 1857-58, the Christensen family was compelled by circumstances to separate and live in various homes where they each worked for their board. That first winter Niels stayed with a family in Cottonwood. The family of six with whom he boarded lived in a two-room dugout. Niels shared this humble home with three women, two girls, and a little boy of about six years of age. It was the boy who helped Niels learn to speak English. The father of his host family was . . .serving with the Utah Militia in its successful blockade against Johnston’s Army. Niels chopped wood and herded and milked cows . . . . and [lived mainly on] potatoes and pumpkin butter.” (pp. 14-15) It would be almost two years before they settled in American Fork in a situation where they had sufficient to eat and a bright future. In the meantime “Niels and Poul had but a month in school, their only formal education in America. During this period they adopted the American custom of using their father’s surname as their own. That is why today we are the Christensens rather than the Pedersens. At this same time, Poul began spelling his name Paul.” (p. 15) Source: The Christensen Family of Soro, Denmark, and American Fork, Utah, USA, Allen C. Christensen, 1994.

Hans Christensen's Big House

Contributor: JamesAnderson Created: 11 months ago Updated: 11 months ago

Hans Christensen’s Big House Clare B. Christensen and other family sources Perhaps the most curious house ever built in American Fork stood at about 138 South First West. It was a monument of massive masonry and bore four big chimneys and a pyramid-shaped roof. On a long red sandstone lintel over the front door was the inscription, “H. CHRISTENSEN 1873.” It was common knowledge among the town folk that the house had been built to stand through the Millennium, and there was much comment and concern when it was torn down in 1912. Later eighty thousand of it’s bricks went into the walls of the American Fork High School. Some of the big granite blocks that made the foundation went to decorate the cemetery lot of Joseph Moyle, the one-legged man who hauled them from the granite mountain north of Alpine. William Hurbert, the mason who built the house, spent much of six years on it. The walls below ground were three feet thick; made of quarried rock, mostly quartzite, and set in lime mortar. The foundation above ground was of granite blocks, some weighing more than one thousand pounds. The outside walls on the first story were five bricks thick. The partition walls and all second story walls were four bricks thick. Floors were covered with double flooring of 1 1/3 tongue and groove boards of choice native lumber; supported by joist three inches by fourteen inches in both stories and attic. A stairway of like construction ran from basement to attic. Over each of the windows, front and back doors was a red sandstone lintel. Inside, there were three big ties to support the masonry over each doorway. Because the walls were so thick, the rooms were small and made to seem even smaller as the ceilings were twelve feet high. There were four rooms on each floor. Each room was connected with the middle hall where the stairway ran. There was also a small hall room on the second floor. No windows or doors were in the north or south walls. They were solid brickwork except for two sets of lintels in each. This was purposely arranged so that more rooms could be added as the family grew. Hans had two wives. His first wife, Ellen Poulsen Christensen, lived on one side of the house with her two sons, Paul and Niels–sons of her first marriage to Peder Christensen. His second wife, Maren Jorgensen, and her family lived on the other side. Hans Christensen died on the 24th of July in 1880, not many years after the house was completed. Ellen died in 1896. Then it was vacant for a number of years. Bernard Christensen, a son of Niels, purchased the home intending to remodel it; but a building contractor told him that it would be completely impractical. Bernard and Maud had married in 1904 and lived in the north side of Niels Christensen’s home. They needed a home of their own so in 1912 Bernard began the enormous job of tearing down the Big House. William D. Baxter, or “Billy Baxter,” helped to take the chimneys and roof off. He said in after years that it was a crime to tear that house down - “just like tearing down the pyramids in Egypt.” Along the side of the street was a row of lombardy poplars, like a row of giant sentinels guarding the entire block. On the winter morning in January when the demolition began, most of the folks who passed along the walk between the trees and the picket fence, stopped to look and comment. Chris Beck, an acquaintance of the family, stopped in his horse drawn carriage. “O Bernard,” he called with much concern, “do you know what you are doing?” “I hope so,” was the reply. “Why?” “The ‘Old Man’ built that house to stand until the Millennium.” Chris had earlier said he didn’t believe in religion or a hereafter. “Do you believe in the Millennium, Chris?” Bernard asked. Chris grunted, kicked the brake, and drove up the street. The big house furnished brick for Bernard and Maud Christensen’s home and several others. The solid door frames made good material for bridges on the farm. Stacks of the lumber and timbers went into homes for people and barns and sheds as well. All the kids in the neighborhood were entertained for years helping to build play houses. A picture of the house can be seen in Allen Christensen’s book called The Christensens of Soro, Denmark and American Fork, Utah, p. 329 Submitted by Karen Christensen Luthy

Information on the life of Phoebe Davis

Contributor: JamesAnderson Created: 11 months ago Updated: 11 months ago

"Phoebe Davis was a convert from England who migrated to New Orleans with her parents arriving there in April 1849. They joined with the other saints at Council Bluffs in June for the march toward the Rocky Mountains under the direction of Orson Spencer. The family located at Millcreek, where Phoebe met Stephen Chipman. She died, a widow, in her 44th year leaving four young children in the care of her oldest daughter, Phoebe Adelade, who married Niels Christensen three months later." "Stephen Chipman Pioneer," by Dean Whitaker Chipman, p. 15.

Life timeline of Neils Christensen

1844
Neils Christensen was born in 1844
Neils Christensen was 15 years old when Charles Darwin publishes On the Origin of Species. Charles Robert Darwin, was an English naturalist, geologist and biologist, best known for his contributions to the science of evolution. He established that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestors and, in a joint publication with Alfred Russel Wallace, introduced his scientific theory that this branching pattern of evolution resulted from a process that he called natural selection, in which the struggle for existence has a similar effect to the artificial selection involved in selective breeding.
1859
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Neils Christensen was 17 years old when American Civil War: Fort Sumter surrenders to Confederate forces. The American Civil War was a war fought in the United States from 1861 to 1865. As a result of the long-standing controversy over slavery, war broke out in April 1861, when Confederate forces attacked Fort Sumter in South Carolina, shortly after U.S. President Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated. The nationalists of the Union proclaimed loyalty to the U.S. Constitution. They faced secessionists of the Confederate States, who advocated for states' rights to expand slavery.
1861
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Neils Christensen was 30 years old when Winston Churchill, English colonel, journalist, and politician, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1965) Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill was a British politician, army officer, and writer, who was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945 and again from 1951 to 1955. As Prime Minister, Churchill led Britain to victory in the Second World War. Churchill represented five constituencies during his career as Member of Parliament (MP). Ideologically an economic liberal and British imperialist, he began and ended his parliamentary career as a member of the Conservative Party, which he led from 1940 to 1955, but for twenty years from 1904 he was a prominent member of the Liberal Party.
1874
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Neils Christensen was 45 years old when The Eiffel Tower is officially opened. The Eiffel Tower is a wrought iron lattice tower on the Champ de Mars in Paris, France. It is named after the engineer Gustave Eiffel, whose company designed and built the tower.
1889
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Neils Christensen was 49 years old when Electrical engineer Nikola Tesla gives the first public demonstration of radio in St. Louis, Missouri. Nikola Tesla was a Serbian American inventor, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, physicist, and futurist who is best known for his contributions to the design of the modern alternating current (AC) electricity supply system.
1893
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Neils Christensen was 59 years old when The Wright brothers make their first attempt to fly with the Wright Flyer at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. The Wright brothers, Orville and Wilbur, were two American aviators, engineers, inventors, and aviation pioneers who are generally credited with inventing, building, and flying the world's first successful airplane. They made the first controlled, sustained flight of a powered, heavier-than-air aircraft on December 17, 1903, four miles south of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. In 1904–05 the brothers developed their flying machine into the first practical fixed-wing aircraft. Although not the first to build experimental aircraft, the Wright brothers were the first to invent aircraft controls that made fixed-wing powered flight possible.
1903
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Neils Christensen was 70 years old when Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg, were assassinated by a Yugoslav nationalist named Gavrilo Princip in Sarajevo, sparking the outbreak of World War I. Archduke Franz Ferdinand, Archduke of Austria-Este was a member of the imperial Habsburg dynasty, and from 1896 until his death the heir presumptive (Thronfolger) to the Austro-Hungarian throne. His assassination in Sarajevo precipitated Austria-Hungary's declaration of war against Serbia, which in turn triggered a series of events that resulted in Austria-Hungary's allies and Serbia's declaring war on each other, starting World War I.
1914
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Neils Christensen died in 1923 at the age of 79
BillionGraves.com
Grave record for Neils Christensen (1844 - 1923), BillionGraves Record 5987 American Fork, Utah, Utah, United States

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