Hans Nissen and Marie Rasmudatter Store Owners in Chicago

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Hans L. Nissen (1838-1913) & Marie Kristine Rasmudatter (1838-1905)

Life in Denmark

Hans Lorezen Nissen was born in Kasso Jaskjer Soyn, Denmark, on 12 January 1838. His wife, Marie Kristine Rasmusdatter, was also born in Kasso Jaskjer Soyn, Denmark, just a little over a month later — on 26 February 1838.

Hans and Marie were married in Kasso, Denmark, on 10 May 1861, when they were both 23 years old. They had ten children, all of them born in Denmark before they immigrated to the United States. They are believed to be:

The Nissen Sisters, from left to right: Marie Christine Mary, Maran "Maggie', Katherine Marie, Helene.

Immigration to the United States in 1882

Hans, Marie, and six of their children immigrated to the United States in 1882, according to the 1900 U.S. Census. They settled in Chicago, Illinois and lived there for the remainder of their lives. Both were 44 years old when they immigrated; based on the photograph below, it is presumed that the seventh child eventually joined them in America.

Hans (first row, second from left) and Marie (first row, second from right) with their two sons (who almost look like twins), and some of their daughters, perhaps one or two daughters-in-law. (Date of this photograph is unknown but it must be before 1905 since Marie died in 1905.)

Owning a Store

Either after retirement, or while he also worked as a carpenter, Hans also owned a general store which Kristine operated. It is also possible that it was Kristine's store entirely.

There are two photographs. In the first one (below), Kristine is inside the store, working behind the counter and serving a customer. Above the photograph, her daughter, Katherine Marie, has written, "Mother Kristine Marie Nissen in her store."

In the other photograph (below), Kristine is outside the store. H.L Nissen's name is clearly visible on the store front awning. Kristine Marie is standing beside the door with a dog. Beside her is a younger woman, identity unknown, perhaps someone who worked in the store or one of her daughters. Since Marie Kristine died in 1905, these photographs have to date from around 1900. To the left is a door which advertises “Rooms.” Perhaps they also rented rooms or lived there themselves.

Marie died on 28 May 1905; she was 67 and was buried in the Mt. Olive Cemetery in Chicago.

Hans was a widower for seven years, and died at the age of 75 on 13 Nov 1913. He was buried beside Marie in the Mt. Olive Cemetery. (Mt. Olive Cemetery, originally intended to be a Scandinavian cemetery, is still being used today. You can find them online.)

[This page researched and written by Susan Overturf Ingraham, a descendant of Hans and Marie. Page Updated on May 24, 2019.]

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  2. For more about Katherine's life, click on her name. ↩︎