Tag Archives: Walsted

A Mother and Her Sons

Kathrine (Christensen) Walsted had lived in America for nearly thirteen years when she was photographed with her two young sons in 1919.1 She had immigrated from Denmark at the age of twenty; now in her early thirties, she resided with her husband and children in a small rental house in Sioux City, Woodbury County, Iowa.2

Kathrine (Christensen) Walsted with sons Roy Louis Walsted and James Herman Walsted, circa 1919, Sioux City, Iowa; digital image 2010, privately held by Melanie Frick, 2019.

It is a bit puzzling why her husband of nine years, Jens Jacob Walsted, known as James, was not photographed with her. Although James registered for the draft in September of 1918, it is not believed that he ever served in World War I.3 However, as he was a bricklayer by trade, it is possible that he traveled at times to work on building projects. Perhaps his wife wanted to surprise him with a portrait to keep with him when away. This may also be why Kathrine alone was photographed with her eldest son when he was an infant, several years prior.

Of course, James may simply not have enjoyed having his photograph taken! Although he lived to the age of seventy-five, only three informal photographs of him have been uncovered.4 One gives a glimpse of him as a young man, while the other snapshots were taken in his later years.

In any case, in this photograph, Kathrine appears elegant yet warm, with a faint smile at her lips and a hint of a dimple at her cheek. Her thick hair is pinned up in a bun, the trend of the bob having not yet swept America, and soft curls escape at her temples. She wears what might have been a white cotton voile waist.5

Her eldest son, Roy, seven or eight years old here, wears a dark suit and tie.6 His hair is neatly trimmed and combed to the side, and his expression is wide-eyed and solemn. Young James, named for his father, looks to be about a year and a half old, his fair hair in a bowl cut.7 His loose-fitting garment appears to feature some embroidery; as Kathrine was known to have been a member of a local needlecraft club, perhaps this was her own handiwork.8

Notably, Roy had barely recovered from a life-threatening brush with polio when his brother was born in November 1917. In September of that year, the Sioux City Journal had reported, “Roy Walstead [sic], 6-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. James Walstead [sic], 406 South Helen avenue, Morningside, is expected to recover completely from an attack of infantile paralysis, according to the attending physician. The boy is able to walk alone now and in six months he is expected to have recovered entirely. If recovery is complete it will constitute one of the few cases on record, according to the physician.”9

Roy did indeed recover, although he always walked with a limp, and it has been said that his younger brother was his staunch defender against bullies. However, Kathrine was surely grateful to have both of her sons by her side and in good health when, one hundred years ago, she dressed them in their finest clothes and ventured with them to the portrait studio.

Copyright © 2019 Melanie Frick. All Rights Reserved.

Continue reading

A Danish Marriage in Sioux City

It was 09 December 1909 when Jens Jacob “James” Walsted and Kathrine Christensen were married by Reverend Julius A. Larson of the Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church in Sioux City, Woodbury County, Iowa.1 Both James and Kathrine had been born in Denmark; both had left their native country several years prior, James in 1902 and Kathrine in 1906.2 At the time of their marriage, James was twenty-nine years old and Kathrine was twenty-three.3

Sioux City’s sole Danish church, located at 1113 12th Street, was organized in 1890, and met in a former Norwegian Lutheran Church that was moved to this site in 1892.4 While what may well be this original building, a modest one-story frame structure situated in a residential neighborhood, still stands to this day, it is now the Iglesia de Dios Evangelio Completo Pentecostes. At the time that James and Kathrine were married, however, it was home to a congregation of nearly two hundred and sixty Danish Lutherans, and it seems quite likely that it was through this immigrant community that James and Kathrine had the opportunity to meet.5 There is no known account of their marriage, nor any known photographs.

The couple settled in Sioux City, where in 1910, within a few months of their marriage, they could be found rooming at a property on the corner of 7th and Pearl Streets in downtown Sioux City, a location that is now a parking lot across the street from a children’s museum.6 James worked as a bricklayer, and family lore suggests that he may have helped lay the brick for St. Boniface Catholic Church at this time.7 Kathrine, who before her marriage had been a servant at a house that stood on what is now the campus of Bishop Heelan Catholic High School, was at home.8 The couple’s first child, Roy Louis Christian, would be born in 1911.9

Kathrine (Christensen) Walsted and son Roy Walsted, Sioux City, Iowa, 1911; digital image 2010, privately held by Melanie Frick, 2018.

The congregation of the Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church eventually outgrew their space on 12th Street, and in 1922 a new church, located at 1924 Jones Street, was dedicated.10 In 1930, the church was renamed Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, and within a few years, Danish language services ceased.11 Some seventy years later, the church once again introduced bilingual services, this time in Spanish, but soon after, in 2009, the church closed its doors.12

At the time that James and Kathrine married, Sioux City’s population was nearly forty-eight thousand, and included a diverse immigrant population represented in its many foreign-language churches.13 For recent immigrants James and Kathrine, it must have been a great comfort to find there a close-knit Danish community that shared their native language and cultural heritage.

Copyright © 2018 Melanie Frick. All Rights Reserved.
Continue reading

A Woman on Horseback

Just two years apart in age, Ellen Eskeline Walsted and Jens Jacob Walsted were the youngest of eight children born in Denmark to Christian Jens Jacobsen Walsted and his wife Johanne Marie Larsdatter.1 Ellen and James, as he was known for most of his life, were the last of their surviving siblings to immigrate to America, with Ellen arriving in New York aboard the aptly-named New York in 1900 and James arriving in Boston aboard the Saxonia in 1902.2

James Walsted, Juanita Hansen, unknown, Clifton Walsted, and Ellen (Walsted) Hansen, Iowa or Oklahoma, ca. 1907; digital image privately held by Paul Hansen, 2018. Provenance of the original unknown.

The siblings soon reconnected in Sioux City, Woodbury County, Iowa, and were by all accounts close; James witnessed his sister’s wedding to fellow Dane Hans John Hansen in 1904, and later joined the Hansens on their move to New Hampton, Chickasaw County, Iowa.3 Eventually, Ellen and Hans moved on to Oklahoma, while James returned to Sioux City and married there to Kathrine Christensen, also a native of Denmark.4 

Although numerous photographs survive of Ellen, who was once noted to be “a lady of fine appearance” in a local newspaper, until this photograph was uncovered, only two snapshots, both taken in his later years, were known to exist of James.5

In this photograph, dated circa 1907-08, James and Ellen may both have been in their late twenties; Ellen would celebrate her thirtieth birthday in 1908, while James would turn thirty in 1910.6 Pictured, from left, are a young man in a bowler hat with a pipe between his teeth, believed to be James Walsted; a girl in a knee-length dress, believed to be Juanita Hansen, stepdaughter of Ellen; an unidentified boy perched atop a cellar door, perhaps a nephew of Ellen and James; a small boy standing before a horse, identified as Clifton Hansen, son of Ellen; and on horseback, an elegant young woman identified as Ellen (Walsted) Hansen.7

Ellen sits with poise on horseback, a hat with a broad upturned brim atop her head. While not a small hat, it is of a more modest size than those of the Merry Widow style which exploded in popularity after one was worn by actress Lily Elsie in 1907’s The Merry Widow.8 Ellen’s bodice appears to be pigeon-breasted, her skirt reaching her natural waist, and long riding gloves cover her hands and forearms.9 Horseback riding may have been a skill that she acquired in America, rather than during her upbringing in Denmark, where her father alternately worked as a baker and shoemaker.10

The provenance of the original photograph is currently unknown, and until it is recovered and the reverse checked for any possible inscriptions, questions about it remain. Where were James and Ellen when this photograph was taken? The group poses casually outside of a house with wood siding and a stone foundation; a cellar door and the corner of a porch are also visible. Two narrow windows, one open, offer a glimpse of fluttery ruffled curtains. It is possible James might have visited Ellen in Oklahoma, where she spent several years; alternately, it might have been taken at the Iowa homes of their sisters Jensine (Walsted) Winther or Anna (Walsted) Johnsen, both of whom had young sons who could be candidates for the little fellow seated on the cellar door.11 Regardless of the location, however, this informal outdoor photograph gives more insight into the personalities of these immigrant siblings than most studio portrait ever could.

Copyright © 2018 Melanie Frick. All Rights Reserved.
Continue reading

Brotherly Love

It might have been a late summer’s day when brothers Roy and James Walsted of Sioux City, Woodbury County, Iowa posed for this snapshot circa 1924. Six years apart in age, Roy was perhaps twelve and Jim perhaps six when this photograph was taken some ninety years ago.1 The park-like setting and the blanket at their feet suggest that the occasion may have been a picnic. Classic car aficionados could likely date the vehicle parked behind the boys.

SCAN0323 - Version 2

Roy Louis Christian Walsted (back) and James Herman Walsted (front), Sioux City, Iowa, ca. 1924; digital image 2015, privately held by Valene Petersen, 2015.

Roy suffered from polio as a child, which resulted in a limp as one leg was left shorter than the other. His younger brother was said to have come to his defense when Roy was bullied or was the last to be chosen for a neighborhood baseball team.2 Even in this photograph, it appears that Jim stands guard in front of his brother, his arms protectively curved back around Roy’s legs as Roy clasps his hands atop his brother’s head. Both boys wear short pants and newsboy caps; Jim is in a sailor suit, a style that remained popular for young boys in the post World War I era.3

I have to wonder who the man off to the side of the photograph could be. I have only seen two small snapshots of Roy and Jim’s father, both of which were taken late in his life. (I suppose there is a third if I count a postmortem photograph of him at his own funeral.) From those, I know that he was a man of slight build, but beyond that, I have no way of telling whether this gentleman in a straw boater hat and rolled shirtsleeves is in fact James Jacob Walsted or not. If this picnic was a family affair, perhaps the boys’ mother, Kathrine, was behind the camera.

This charming snapshot is one of a handful of photographs that I have in my digital collection of the Walsted brothers and their parents, both immigrants who came to Iowa from Denmark in the early twentieth century. For more photographs of the family of James Jacob Walsted (1886-1956) and Kathrine Christensen (1886-1971), check out my new Walsted Family Album

Copyright © 2015 Melanie Frick. All Rights Reserved.

Continue reading

The Trailblazers

Jensine Kathrine and Lars Marinus Walsted were the first of their siblings to leave Denmark for America. Sine (also spelled Sena) was eighteen and Lars Marinus twenty when they arrived in Boston on 19 April 1886 aboard the Catalonia and made their way to Council Bluffs, Pottawattamie County, Iowa.1 It would be seven years before they would see another member of their family, although eventually, all of their surviving siblings would make their way to America.


Lars Marinus “Charles” Walsted, 21, and Jensine Kathrine “Sine” Walsted, 19, half-siblings, Council Bluffs, Iowa, 1887; digital image 2014, privately held by Dianne Anderson, 2015.

This 1887 cabinet card photograph was likely taken outside in the summertime, as real grass appears in front of the outdoorsy backdrop. In addition, Sine poses with a parasol, certainly a warm-weather accessory. Both are smartly dressed, Lars Marinus in a light-colored three-piece suit and Sine in a plaid dress with a straight skirt and snug sleeves that, as was typical of the time, do not quite reach her wrists.2 A flower is pinned at her throat. Their hats – Sine’s quite elaborate – rest at their feet. Lars Marinus parted and combed his hair neatly, while Sine’s hair is pulled back tightly and does not seem to be styled in any special way. Iowa summers can be hot and humid, rather unforgiving to the curled fringe often worn by young women of the era!

At nineteen and twenty-one, these fair-complexioned half-siblings had their lives ahead of them. Having become established among a community of Danes in the Council Bluffs area, Sine and Lars Marinus may have wanted to have their picture made so that their parents could see how well they were doing after a year away from home. As the eldest children and trailblazers for life in America, they may also have hoped to encourage their five siblings to join them when they were able. While this photograph remained in Sine’s possession until she gifted it to her daughter in 1932, it’s easy to imagine that another copy may very well have accompanied a letter home to Denmark.

Copyright © 2015 Melanie Frick. All Rights Reserved.

Continue reading

Tombstone Tuesday: Johanne Marie Larsen

Johanne Marie (Larsen) Walsted of Aalborg, Denmark was sixty-three years old when she immigrated to America in the spring of 1900.1 She traveled alone; her husband of thirty-two years had passed away the year before,2 and most of her children had already left Denmark for brighter opportunities in Iowa and Wisconsin. They had paid for her passage aboard the Norge, and she carried fifteen dollars.3


Grave of Johanna M. Walsted, 1836-1914, Graceland Cemetery, Sioux City, Woodbury County, Iowa; image date 2001, privately held by Melanie Frick.

Johanne was christened on 28 September 1836 in Bolle, Nordjylland, Denmark, the daughter of Lars Jensen Bak and Ane Cathrine Christensdatter.4 At the age of thirty, she married Christian Jens Jacobsen Walsted,5 a widower with two young children, Jens Jacob and Lars Marinus Walsted. The couple went on to have seven more children together: Jensine Kathrine, Eskild, Lars Peter, Mandrup, Anna Kathrine, Ellen Eskelline, and Jens Jacob Walsted.6 All but two of the children, the elder Jens Jacob and Eskild, survived to adulthood.7 Christian was a shoemaker, and eventually moved with his family from rural Dronninglund to the city of Aalborg,8 where he died in 1899.9

By the time Johanne made her journey to America, six of her seven surviving children and step-children awaited her arrival. Only her youngest son remained in Denmark; he was to follow two years later.10 In the years to come, Johanne moved between the homes of her children, some of whom she hadn’t seen in more than a decade. She was enumerated in the 1900 U.S. census less than two months after her arrival in the country, at which time she resided with a daughter in Iowa;11 she later joined another daughter in Oklahoma City.12

Johanne’s health may have been poor in her later years; a notation on the ship manifest suggests that she had a deformity of some kind,13 and her death record stated that she suffered from senility.14 Johanne Marie (Larsen) Walsted died at the age of seventy-eight on 3 November 1914 in Sioux City, Woodbury County, Iowa. Services were held at the Danish Lutheran Church, and she was buried at Graceland Cemetery.14

Continue reading

A Mystery Solved: Identifying a Family Photograph

Last year, my cousin’s wife and I embarked on a combined research effort to track down the descendants of Christian Jens Jacobsen Walsted (1833-1899) of Aalborg, Denmark. Christian, a shoemaker,1 married twice, first to Mariane Jensen,2 and later to Johanne Marie Larsen.3 In all, seven of his children survived to adulthood, and all eventually immigrated to America. In 1900, less than a year after Christian’s death, Johanne joined several of their children in western Iowa.4

This unidentified photograph was shared with my cousin’s wife by one of the many helpful descendants with whom we made contact.5 In all of our hours of research, we had never thought that we might come up with a photograph of our central subjects! Given that this photograph was taken in Aalborg, we immediately felt that it could be Christian and his second wife, Johanne. A librarian at the Museum of Danish America thoughtfully suggested that it might have been taken to commemorate their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. This would date it to 1892.6


Christian Jens Jacobsen and Johanne Marie (Larsen) Walsted, ca. 1892, Aalborg, Denmark; privately held by L.V. [personal information withheld], 2013.

At the time of their anniversary, Christian would have been fifty-eight years old,7 and Johanne would have been fifty-five.8 These seem to be plausible ages for the couple in the photograph, particularly given the gray in the man’s beard. The woman wears a flattering black dress and a headpiece over her hair. Her sleeves are puffed, but not in an exaggerated fashion.9 The man wears a three-piece suit and what appears to be a watch chain. He sits in a finely carved chair at a studio, which, according to the photograph, was located at Slotsgade 15 in Aalborg. A photographer allegedly operated at this location from 1891-1910.10

Later, I would hear from another descendant who possessed an identified copy of this same photograph,11 verifying our suspicion that it was, indeed, a photograph of Christian and Johanne (Larsen) Walsted. Success!

If you have a mystery photograph, be sure to find out if any of your relatives also have a copy. If you are able to locate a copy that is identified, and if the identification matches the clues in the photograph, you’re in luck. However, even if you come across a copy that is not identified, you may be able to narrow down who is in the photograph based on the branch of the family that held it, or who initially passed it down.

1 Abbey of Our Lady Parish (Aalborg, Denmark), Christian Jens Jacobsen Valsted (1899).
2 Dronninglund Parish (Dronninglund, Denmark), Christian Jens Jacobsen Valsted and Mariane Jensen (1863).
3 Dronninglund Parish (Dronninglund, Denmark), Christian Jens Jacobsen Valsted and Johanne Larsen (1867).
4 “New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957” digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 6 December 2013), manifest, S.S. Norge, Copenhagen to New York, arriving 1 May 1900, Johanne Walsted; citing National Archives microfilm T715, roll 119.
5 J.W. [personal information withheld], to Melanie Frick, e-mail, 27 May 2012, “Photo,” Personal Correspondence, Walsted Family, Frick Research Files; privately held by Frick.
6 M.M. [personal information withheld], The Danish Immigrant Museum [now Museum of Danish America], to Melanie Frick, e-mail, 30 May 2012, “Danish Wedding Photograph,” Personal Correspondence, Walsted Family, Frick Research Files; privately held by Frick.
7 Dronninglund Parish (Dronninglund, Denmark), Christian Jens Jacobsen Valsted and Johanne Larsen (1867).
8 Dronninglund Parish (Dronninglund, Denmark), Christian Jens Jacobsen Valsted and Johanne Larsen (1867).
9 Joan Severa, Dressed for the Photographer: Ordinary Americans and Fashion, 1840-1900 (Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press, 1995), 458.
10 “Fotografer,” Aalborg Leksikon (http://aalborgleksikon.dk/Fotografer.htm : accessed 6 December 2013).
11 D.A. [personal information withheld], to Melanie Frick, e-mail, 1 June 2012, “Walsted Photo,” Personal Correspondence, Walsted Family, Frick Research Files; privately held by Frick.

Wedding Wednesday: “A Very Pretty Wedding”

On 17 January 1934, Roy Lewis Christian Walsted and Frances Marie Noehl were married in Sioux City, Woodbury County, Iowa.1 Roy was Lutheran, the son of Danish immigrants; Frances was Catholic, the daughter of German immigrants. While Roy was raised in the city, Frances had grown up on a farm. Both had settled in Sioux City apart from their families, seeking employment. Roy worked as a clerk at the Sioux City Gas and Electric Company,2 and Frances was employed in the household of Richard Mullins.3 She provided companionship to his teenage daughter, who was confined to a wheelchair.4 One can’t be sure how Roy and Frances met, but their modest wedding ceremony was described in detail in a local newspaper:

Miss Frances Noehl is Married at Sioux City, Iowa, Recently

Is a Daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Matt Noehl of South of New Hampton.

Bride of Mr. Roy Walsted of Sioux City.


Frances Marie (Noehl) Walsted photograph, ca. 1934, Sioux City, Iowa; digital image ca. 2001, privately held by Melanie Frick, 2013.

A very pretty wedding was solemnized at the Church of the Blessed Sacrament at Sioux City, Iowa, Wednesday morning, January 17, 1934, when Miss Frances Noehl, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Matt Noehl of New Hampton, became the bride of Roy Walsted, Sioux City, son of Mr. and Mrs. James Walsted of Chicago. They were married at 7 a.m. by Reverend Leo Berger. The couple was attended by Mr. and Mrs. Harold McDonald, friends of the couple.

They entered the church and advanced to the alter to the strains of Lohengrin’s wedding march played by Mrs. R. J. Mullins.  Mr. R. J. Mullins sang a solo accompanied by Mrs. Mullins at the piano and Dr. Meis playing the violin.

The bride wore an ankle-length gown of light green crepe, with accessories to match. She carried a beautiful bouquet of American Beauty roses. The bridesmaid wore a dress of black chiffon velvet with accessories to match.

Both the bridegroom and best man wore dark gray suits.

After the ceremony they motored to the home of Mr. and Mrs. John P. Hansen at Morningside, an uncle and aunt of the bridegroom, where a lovely three course breakfast was served to the bridal party and immediate relatives of the couple. After breakfast the newlyweds left on a brief wedding trip to Omaha after which they will make their home at Morningside. Mr. Walsted is employed at the Sioux City Gas and Electric Company.

Mr. and Mrs. Leo Buscher and children, Lillian and Richard, of LeMars, Iowa, were present at the wedding ceremony. Mrs. Buscher is a sister of the bride.

The bride is well and favorably known here, and her many friends in this community join us in congratulating her and extending wishes to her and her husband for a happy future filled with success and contentment.5

What did your grandparents wear when they married? Did they take a honeymoon? And, most importantly, did they marry at 7:00 in the morning?

1 “Miss Frances Noehl is Married at Sioux City, Iowa, Recently,” undated clipping, ca. January 1934, from unidentified newspaper; Adam Family, privately held [personal information withheld].
2 “U.S, City Directories, 1821-1989,” database, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 9 October 2013), entry for Roy Walsted; citing “Polk’s Sioux City Directory, 1933 (R.L. Polk & Co., 1932),” 332.
3 “U.S, City Directories, 1821-1989,” database, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 9 October 2013), entry for Frances Noehl; citing “Polk’s Sioux City Directory, 1933 (R.L. Polk & Co., 1932),” 248.
4 Kay (Walsted) Adam, conversations with the author, 2003; notes in author’s files.
5 “Miss Frances Noehl is Married at Sioux City, Iowa, Recently,” undated clipping, ca. January 1934, from unidentified newspaper.