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More nephews

23 Sep 2011

Why Sharon Station? Hans HANSEN and Johanna JENSEN were living there in late 1889, according to their marriage record. Sharon Station, NY, barely a hamlet, sits pretty close to the line between the towns of Amenia and North East in Dutchess County, about 80 miles NNE of New York City and about 60 miles SSE of Albany.

I can imagine a young man, mid 20s in 1888, getting on a boat alone and heading to America to find his fortune. But… in Sharon Station? What brought him there?

I have a harder time imagining a young woman doing the same. Seems like Johanna must have either travelled with someone or met someone who’d emigrated earlier when she arrived: Most likely parents or brothers, but conceivably cousins or uncles or friends. Or it’s a possibility that she travelled as the servant of some other emigre.

So it seems likely to me that in 1889 before marrying Hans, she must have been living with someone else in Sharon Station — most probably family. Almost certainly someone from Denmark.

Hans, of course, might have done likewise.

Two witnesses signed the marriage record: Peter HOFFBECK and Emelie HOLST. Emelie turns up as Amelia HOLST in Sharon in 1910. She and her husband Frederick HOLST were born in Germany and immigrated in 1884. Apparently the HOLST surname means someone from Holstein, which borders Denmark, and there are many HOLSTs in Denmark.

I can’t find Peter C. HOFFBECK (or HOFFLUCK according to familysearch) in the US census (in any state) until 1910 even though it says he immigrated in 1888 — the same year as Hans and Johanna.

My mother said she thought she had some relatives “in the Poughkeepsie area”. Were there more HANSENs who stayed in Dutchess County?

From the 1892 and 1920 censuses it seems there was a Peter HANSEN, laborer, living in North East, who was born in Denmark ca. 1869. He does not appear to have been living with any family in 1892. By 1920 he was married to a woman named Carrie (from Denmark); no immigration date is shown but they had a son Albert, 27, born in New York, so they both must have immigrated no later than 1893. Peter’s estimated birth date matches that of Peder Carl Christian HANSEN, Hans and Hansine’s brother from the 1880 Denmark census.

Also in 1920 in Dutchess County, and again in 1930, is another Peter HANSEN, b. New York ca. 1897; his parents were born in Denmark. Going back to, I found the younger Peter’s obituary (15 Oct 1964) as well as that of his wife Helena (23 Apr 1987):

Reading between the lines it appears they were divorced or separated. Shocking! Anyway, what’s really interesting is the parents: Peter is a son of the elder Peter and Carrie, while Helena is the daughter of Peter C HOFFBECK and Marie SORENSEN. So one of the witnesses at the wedding of Hans and Johanna had a daughter who married the younger Peter HANSEN!

As mentioned above, Peter and Carrie also had a son Alfred; he died in Poughkeepsie in 1982. It’s looking likely that he and the younger Peter are two more nephews of Hans.

I have not found an obit for the elder Peter (or his wife). Nor have I turned up anyone who looks likely to have been a relative of Johanna… though of course the HOFFBECKs could have been. Still digging.


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