Christensen Family Papers, 1806-1999 Selected Chronologies

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Extent: 11.25 linear ft. (9 cartons) + 4 oversize folders
Location: PU-4J

Reuben G. Holmes, 1820-1906


1820 Reuben Holmes was born to Peter and Olive Graves Holmes in West Bolyston, Massachusetts, on December 26th.
1831 Moved to Paxton, Massachusetts, to learn the tanning trade from his sister Olive's husband, David Harrington.
1833 Family moved to wilderness of Michigan.
Ca 1838 Reuben moved back to Massachusetts with his ill mother. Settled in Hopkinton Spring.
Ca 1840s Established a farm; used profits to go into business with a partner who ran a grain store in Westboro, Massachusetts.
1845-58 Taught Sunday school to boys at the Lyman School (Westboro State Reform School), the nation's first reform school.
1848 Married Rebecca Winch.
1852 Daughter, Abbie Mandana Holmes, was born on January 28th.
1855-56 Appointed Westboro Fence Viewer and Sealer of Weights and Measures.
1857 Economic depression depleted economic resources of the family. Family moved to the city of Worcester, Massachusetts, where Reuben found work. Reuben and Rebecca became involved in abolition efforts in Worcester.
1860 Reuben patented two inventions: a wheel-and-paddle-driven butter churn and a rubber-covered clothes ringer. Second daughter, Georgiana Rebecca Holmes, was born.
1862 Reuben obtained work as a traveling salesman in New Jersey. The family home in Worcester burned during his absence. Reuben moved the family to New Jersey.
1864 Reuben and Rebecca volunteered to take part in a missionary experiment at Port Royal, South Carolina. Reuben moved and Rebecca stayed behind with the children. After suffering from typhoid fever, Reuben briefly returned to the North. During the fall of 1864, the whole family relocated to Port Royal.
1867 Rebecca was admitted to Bellevue Hospital in New York City during the summer.
1868 Reuben was appointed a delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1868.
1868 Rebecca died in Bellevue Hospital, New York City, on February 27th.
1869 Married Charlotte Keith, a missionary teacher from Massachusetts. They had two daughters, Almeda (Alma) and Charlotte (Lottie).
Ca 1870 Founded the town of Almeda, South Carolina.
Ca 1874 Charlotte Keith died.
Ca 1874 Married Sarah Keith, Charlotte's sister.
1906 Died in Providence, Rhode Island, on January 30th.

Rebecca Winch Holmes, 1824-1868


1824 Rebecca Winch was born to James and Sally (Kilbourn) Winch in Holden, Massachusetts.
ca 1840 Attended Leicester Academy, a prestigious co-educational school in Massachusetts, founded just after the American Revolution. Upon completing educational training, Rebecca became a teacher.
1848 Married Reuben Holmes.
1852 Abbie Mandana Holmes was born on January 28th.
1860 Georgiana Rebecca Holmes was born.
1867 Rebecca admitted to Bellevue Hospital in New York City during the summer.
1868 Rebecca died at Bellevue Hospital on February 27th.

Niels Christensen, 1840-1909


1840 Born on January 31st in Denmark to Frederik and Marie Baker Kristensen.
1862 Niels immigrated to America where he enlisted in the Union Army as a private in the 145th New York Infantry of Volunteers.
1864 Niels mustered out on January 14th and was honorably discharged as 1st sergeant at Tullahoma, Tennessee. Mustered into service on February 23rd as a private of Company B, 102nd New York Infantry Volunteers. Honorably discharged as sergeant on December 29th at Savannah, Georgia.
1865 Mustered into service on January 19th as captain, Company H, 44th United States Colored Infantry. During the year, Niels was stationed in Chattanooga, Tennessee; Huntsville, Alabama; Tuscumbia, Alabama; and Nashville, Tennessee.
1866 Mustered out on April 30th and honorably discharged as captain.
1865-66 Passed examination and received appointment to serve as captain in the 44th U.S. Colored Infantry. Served in Alabama and Tennessee.


1867-1870 Served in peacetime army at Fort Wayne in Detroit, Michigan. Honorably discharged as sergeant major.
1870-76 Passed civil service exam and accepted position as keeper of the National Cemetery in Beaufort, South Carolina. Cared for graves of more than 8,000 black and white Union soldiers.
Ca 1876 Founded hardware store/lumber yard and became a general contractor in Beaufort, South Carolina.
1878 Niels, a Republican, was chosen by Democrat Wade Hampton to serve as Commissioner of Elections for Beaufort County.
1886 Niels elected Acting Intendant at Beaufort, South Carolina.
1895 Diagnosed with Bright's Disease.
1909 Niels died on February 4th. He had been in declining health for several months.

Abbie Christensen, 1852-1938


1852 Abbie Mandana Holmes was born on January 28th to Reuben and Rebecca Holmes in Westboro, Massachusetts.
1864 Abbie moved with her family to Beaufort, South Carolina.
1866-68 Abbie attended Ipswich Female Seminary in Ipswich, Massachusetts.


1868 Rebecca Holmes died on February 27th in Bellevue Hospital.
1870 Abbie commenced work as a teacher in an African American school in Beaufort.
1872-74 Attended Mount Holyoke Female Seminary in South Hadley, Massachusetts.
1874 Returned to Beaufort after stepmother's death. Met Niels Christensen. First folklore tale published inThe Springfield Daily Republican on June 2nd: “De Wolf, De Rabbit An' De Tar Baby.” Second story, “The Story Aunt Tilda Told,” was published in theNew York Independent on November 5th.
1875 Married Niels Christensen on April 13th in Beaufort's Charles Street Baptist Church. Published “A Story-teller” on October 28, 1875. Published “The Rabbit, the Wolf, and the Keg of Butter” on November 18, 1875.
1876 Gave birth to Niels Christensen, Jr. on April 21. Published “The Rabbit Desires a Long Tail” on March 9, 1876; “The Reason Why Brother Rabbit Wears a Short Tail” was published on June 1, 1876.
1877 Gave birth to Frederik Holmes Christensen on December 9th. Published “The Rabbit and the Wolf Plant Potatoes and Hunt Honey” on November 1st.
1880 Gave birth to James (Jamie) Winch Christensen on September 5th.
1882 Arthur Olaf Christensen was born. Abbie inherited $17,000 from deceased uncle, Alden Winch, former director of the American News Company of New York.
1883-84 Used a portion of inheritance to help establish interdenominational “Union” church in Beaufort named the Carteret Street Church.
1884 Gave birth to Andrea Rebecca Christensen.
1885 Jamie Christensen died of diphtheria. Buried at the National Cemetery. Carteret Street Church construction completed.
Ca 1886 Developed an interest in “Mind Cure.”
1887 Gave birth to Abbie Winch (“Winnie”) Christensen on January 28th.
1888 Joined the Women's Christian Temperance Union. Around same time, Abbie became involved in the suffrage movement.
1890-92 Abbie was elected to board of directors of Women's Temperance Publishing Association.
1892 Afro-American Folk Lore Told Round Cabin Fires on the Sea Islands of Georgia was published.
1893 Hurricane hit Beaufort; Abbie became involved in relief efforts from Boston.
1900 –01 Port Royal Agricultural School was founded. Abbie assumed role on administrative board.
1902 Port Royal Agricultural School received its charter.
1928 Abbie began participating in the Rosicrucian Order of Christian Mystics through correspondence courses.
1932 Named Elector at Large for the Socialist Party in South Carolina as delegate for presidential candidate Norman Thomas.
1938 On September 21st, Abbie died at daughter Andrea's home in Greenville, South Carolina, after a brief illness.

Niels Christensen, Jr., 1876-1939


1876 Niels, Jr., was born to Niels and Abbie Christensen on April 21st.
1896 Joined Niels, Sr. and brother Frederik at N. Christensen & Sons.
1901-04 Elected a member of the Beaufort County Board of Education.
1903 Purchased the Beaufort Gazette and assumed roles of publisher and editor.
1905-25 Elected State Senator from Beaufort. Served for twenty years.
1908 Served on the South Carolina Senate Commission on Education.
1912 Married Katharine Wales (“Nancy”) Stratton on December 3rd at Kings' Chapel, Boston, Massachusetts.
Ca 1912-19 Served on the Senate Finance Committee. Elected Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. Served as a member of the South Carolina State Budget Commission.
1915 Served on the Senate Printing Investigating Commission.
Ca 1915 Enlisted as an ensign in the Navy based in Charleston.
1916 Served as Chairman of the Joint Committee on Printing.
1920-22 Served as President of the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce.
1921 The offices of the Beaufort Gazette burned. Niels left the newspaper business.
1922 Chairman of the Joint Committee on Printing, General Assembly of South Carolina.
1925 N. Christensen & Sons entered bankruptcy and went out of business.
1931-32 Founder and President of the South Carolina Farmers' and Taxpayers' League


1938 Nancy died on September 28th after a battle with cancer.
1939 On August 19, Niels died as a result of injuries sustained in a car accident.

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