Happy Birthday Bennett Nils Christianson

Bennett Nils Christianson (1902-2000)

This week of each year is always a little tough. For so many years, we got to celebrate Grandpa’s birthday in mid-October. And my son Philip’s birthday was just two days after Grandpa’s, so one time we got to celebrate them together. I like to think that they now celebrate together in heaven.

Bennett Nils Christianson (1902-2000) and Philip David Krueger (1990-1992), celebrating their birthdays, 13 Oct 1991.

Bennett Nils Christianson (1902-2000) and Philip David Krueger (1990-1992), celebrating their birthdays, 13 Oct 1991.

Bennett Nils Christianson was born on 14 Oct 1902 in Newry, Freeborn, Minnesota as the third child of Christian Bennett Christianson and Bertha H Stemson. He had ten siblings, namely: Blanche Birgithe, Hilda Bertine, Charles Bernhard, Inez Ruby, Lawrence Richard, Merril Clifford, Clifford Selmer, Orville Byron, Ivan Gilmer, and Arnold Raymond. Bennett Nils Christianson was baptized on 23 Nov 1902 in Red Oak Grove Lutheran Church, Austin, Mower, Minnesota and confirmed there on 11 Nov 1917. When he was young, his family moved across the county line and farmed in Udolpho Township, Mower, Minnesota.

Older children in the C.B. and Bertha Christianson family. Bennett Nils is standing, back, left.

Older children in the C.B. and Bertha Christianson family. Top, from left, Bennett Nils, Hilda Bertine, and Blanche Birgithe. Bottom, from left, Charles Bernhard, Lawrence Richard, and Inez Ruby.

Bennett graduated from the University of Southern Minnesota in Austin. But, before settling down into farming, he and a couple friends took a year long journey throughout the United States. They started out just going to Humboldt, Iowa to find work picking corn. But, there was an early snowstorm there, so they continued south to Des Moines. But, there was a snowstorm there too, so they continued south into Missouri, Arkansas and eventually found themselves in Texas. In Houston, they found work laying concrete for a new road between Houston and Galveston. After working there most of the winter and saving up quite a bit of money, they moved on to California, but found that the work there didn’t pay very well. They didn’t want to end up not being able to afford eventually getting back to Minnesota, so they moved on. They took jobs harvesting wheat in pre-dust-bowl Oklahoma. The friends followed the wheat harvesters back north, working in Kansas, South Dakota, North Dakota and the Red River Valley of Minnesota. They returned home in the fall of 1929, just in time for the start of the Great Depression.

Bennett (top) and friends, in San Antonio, Texas.

Bennett (top) and friends, in San Antonio, Texas.

Not long after his return to Minnesota, Bennett married Margaret Olga Aldahl, daughter of Lars Olson Aldahl and Caroline Hilson, on 21 May 1930 in Red Oak Grove Lutheran Church, Austin, Mower, Minnesota. Eventually, as a married man, Bennett moved back across the county line and farmed in Newry Township, Freeborn, Minnesota.

Bennett and Margaret Christianson, 21 May 1930.

Bennett and Margaret Christianson, 21 May 1930.

Bennett Nils Christianson and Margaret Olga Aldahl had three sons:

  1. Merlin Bennett Christianson. He married Bertha Ann Becher.
  2. David Jerome Christianson. He married Donna Rae Estes.
  3. LaVern Charles Christianson. He married Carol Marie Hewitt.

Bennett farmed, raised chickens, and milked cows. He was active in Red Oak Grove Lutheran Church.

Bennett and LaVern, 1956.

Bennett and LaVern, 1956.

He was a wonderful grandpa! He was a quiet guy, but always had a sense of humor and joked around a lot. When we were little kids, he always offered us grand-kids coffee making us giggle. And then there is the story about the boysenberry pie…

Bennett and Darrin, 24 Dec 1969.

Bennett and Darrin, 24 Dec 1969.

Bennett became a widower when Margaret passed away in 1972.

Bennett, Darrin, David, 24 Dec 1981.

Bennett, Darrin, David, 24 Dec 1981.

Bennett and Denise, 22 Sep 1984.

Bennett and Denise, 22 Sep 1984.

Bennett Nils Christianson died on 14 Nov 2000 in Albert Lea, Freeborn, Minnesota a month after his 98th birthday. He is buried at Red Oak Grove Lutheran Church Cemetery.

Where is he in the tree?

Christianson-Tree-1

How can I learn more?

If you want to learn more, the Christianson book will be of interest. The book covers Bennett’s paternal lineage and he and Margaret are covered in their own chapter.

ChristiansonBookCover

If you want to know more about his mother’s family, then the Stemson book will be helpful.

The_Stemson_Family-book_cover

 

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