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Hans Clausen Sr. 1844-1923


Posted By: Merllene Andre Bendixen (email)
Date: 4/10/2014 at 22:00:43

Two People Burned To Death
Mr. and Mrs. Hans Clausen Burned in Fire Three Miles North of Gruver
Were At Home Alone At Time
Couple Were Well Along in Years and Had Resided in This County For Many Years
A terrible accident occurred last Monday [Wednesday, March 28, 1923] afternoon at the Claus Clausen farm three miles and a half north of Gruver. Mr. and Mrs. Clausen came to Estherville and left his parents who were living with him at the farm home. Their son also remained there. Hans Clausen, the father and the wife were both aged people. They had formerly lived in Dolliver and finally came to the sons to make their home. Hans Clausen had some peculiarities and at times was said to be inclined to insanity.

No one knows just what happened at the farm home; and the truth will never be known. One of the neighbors saw the home in flames and rushed to the rescue of the aged people. Mrs. Clausen could not be located in the house. Mr. Clausen was, however, was found in a room which was then in flames but his body was not badly burned. The neighbor managed to drag Mr. Clausen from the burning building and with the assistance of the son he was pulled away out of danger. The fire was beyond control, and with a heavy wind blowing, the fine home was soon burned to the ground. Later a few charred bones, the only remains of Mrs. Clausen, were found in the ashes of the burned home.

An inquest was held and the verdict was that these two aged people were suffocated in the burning building. Mr. Clausen was burned about the head and about the limbs. He had a small gash in his throat. The accident was a terrible shock to the Claus Clausen family on their return from the city to find their fine home destroyed and their aged parents burned to death.

Hans Clausen was born in Germany on July 18, 1843 [Per cemetery records 1844] and his wife Christina Clausen was also born in Germany November 16, 1843. (Estherville Enterprise, Estherville, IA, April 4, 1923)

Old Couple Meet Tragic Death By Fire
Mr. and Mrs. Hans Clausen Burned to Death
Were Living With Their Son Clause Clausen When Residence Was Burned
One of the worst tragedies, if it may be called a tragedy, that has ever happened in Emmet county, occurred last Wednesday afternoon, when Mr. and Mrs. Hans Clausen, an aged couple, lost their lives by suffocation when the home of their son, Claus, three miles north of Gruver, was destroyed by fire.

Mr. Clausen was eighty years of age and his wife was seventy-six. They had been left alone in the home when their son and wife had gone to Estherville to do some shopping. That was Wednesday afternoon. A son of Mr. and Mrs. Claus Clausen and a Mr. Mahan were shelling corn at an adjoining farm about sixty rods from the Clausens home where the aged couple were living.

At about four o’clock smoke was discovered coming from the side of the building by Mr. Mahan and he and the young Mr. Clausen at once ran to the residence and found it on fire and beyond human control. They forced open the outside door and found the old gentleman dead in a chair near the register. A door to a bed room that was found locked, was found locked, was broken open but the smoke was so dense and the fire so intense that they were able to enter it and had to leave the building. The body of the man was taken from the building before it had been burned to any extent.

After the building was burned the remains of Mrs. Clausen were found in the basement under the bedroom that was found locked and it is presumed that she was in there when the fire started.

A coroner’s jury was summoned on Thursday and after hearing the evidence – brought in that they both came to their death from suffocation.

Thus was the curtain lowered on the tragedy enacted in which two lives met an awful death.

Mr. and Mrs. Clausen had apparently lived happily together until a few years ago when through some sort of mental aberation Mr. Clausen believed that his wife was unduly intimate with one of Emmet county’s most highly respected citizens. At that time the couple were living by themselves in Dolliver. Matters grew from bad to worse until the neighbors last fall fearing that Mr. Clausen would commit some bodily injury on the person of his wife, notified Sheriff Nivison and he had him brought to Estherville for examination before the insane commission. Instead of having him sent to the asylum it was decided to have them go to the children, the old gentleman with his son north of Gruver an dhis wife with another son near Dolliver. They were not satisfied, it seems, to live alone and so the old lady went to live with her husband at the son’s home where they met their death.

There are all sorts of rumors afloat concerning the tragedy, but there was no evidence before the coroner’s jury to warrant a verdict other that the one returned and so it is well to pay no attention to the gossip that is current other than to say that it is absolutely certain that there is no one except the victims that were in any way mixed up in the dreadful affair.

Christine Krues was born in the neighborhood of Schleiswig, Germany, November 16, 1846 [per cemetery records 1848]. She was married to Hans Clausen a little more than 54 years.,

Hans Clausen was born July 18, 1843 in Flensburg, Germany. He brought his wife to America January 1890 and they made their first home in Tuscola, Ill. They moved to Emmet county just thirty years ago where both died at the home of their son, Claus, March 28, 1923.

To this union six children were born: Claus, Marie, Hans, John and Otto. Besides these children they have thirteen grandchildren and three great grandchildren to mourn their loss; also many friends.

Both were confirmed in the German Lutheran church in Germany.

The funeral service was held at the Dolliver Community M.E. Church and was conducted by the Rev. Herbert Marsh; the text used as the basis of his sermon was Psa. 90:12. Interment was at the Dolliver cemetery. (Vindicator and Republican, Estherville, IA, April 4, 1923)

Lives Lost in Fire – Clausen Farm House
Aged Couple Meet Death by Fire and Suffocation
Parents of Claus Clausen
Left Alone For Short Time and House Soon in Flames – Nothing Saved
A terrible tragedy occurred at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Claus Clausen, living three and one half miles north of Gruver, Wednesday afternoon, when their home and entire contents was consumed by fire, resulting in the death of their aged parents, Mr. and Mrs. Hans Clausen. Mr. and Mrs. Clausen had come to Estherville that day to do some trading and their son, Alfred, had gone to a neighbor, Mr. Morans about a quarter of a mile away to help shell corn, thus, leaving the two old people home alone. It is not known how the fire started, but it was about 4:30 o’clock in the afternoon that the son happened to look towards home and saw smoke coming out of the windows. Rushing home with all speed he and Mr. Moran arrived to find the whole interior of the house in flames. Mr. Moran succeeded, however, in forcing his way into the living room, crawling on his hands and knees, and was only able to perceive through the dense smoke, the feet of Mr. Clausen resting on a chair. Seizing those members he dragged Mr. Clausen into the outside air where it was found that life was already extinct. Nothing was found of Mrs. Clausen until after the fire when a few charred pieces of bones was all the evidence that remained of her untimely death. Mr. and Mrs. Clausen were notified over the phone of the fire and hurried home, the distance of eight or nine miles, to find themselves bereft of father and mother and their home gone.

Coroner Dr. J.B. Knipe, of Armstrong, was notified of the deaths and took charge of the remains and had them brought to the Mahlum & Anderson undertaking room in this city. An inquest was held Thursday at the office of County Attorney, S.G. Bammer. The jurors were W.P. Galloway, W.H. Biedermann and A.T. Stockdale. The verdict of the jury was that death was caused by suffocation and burning in a burning house.

Hans Clausen was seventy-nine years of age at the time of his death and his wife, Christina, was seventy-six. They were natives of Germany but had farmed in this county for the last twenty-five years. Of late years they had given up farming and were living with their son, Claus Clausen. About a year ago Mr. Clausen began showing signs of mental derangement and he was taken before the insane commission, who intrusted him to the custody and care of his son, Claus. From that time he has been more or less erratic and at one time attempted suicide. The fact that he was taken before the commission seemed to prey on his mind. While it will never be known just how the fire started it is possible that he may, in a spell of insanity, destroyed his wife and himself. It is an extremely sad and lamentable affair and Mr. and Mrs. Clausen have the deep sympathy of their friends and neighbors in their great bereavement and loss.

The home that was destroyed was a modern farm home and was built only a few years ago. The loss of home and contents is a severe one for Mr. and Mrs. Clausen, being only partially covered by insurance.

The funeral was held Sunday afternoon from the Dolliver church, Rev. Herbert Marsh, officiating and interment made in the Dolliver cemetery. (Estherville Democrat, Estherville, IA, April 4, 1923)


Emmet Obituaries maintained by LaVern Velau.
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