In 1846 Svend Christensen Haug, son of Christen Gundersen Aaraas and Ingebor Svensdtr. Haug, born in Sauherad, Telemark, Norway 12 Dec 1824, came to America on the Bowditch.

Sven and Signe met in Koshkonong, Wl and were married there 15 Oct 1848. They “Americanized” their name to Sven and Signe Christen. They had 2 children born in Wl: Ingeborg Caroline, born 1849, and Clarence, born 1852.

Sven and Signe then moved their young family to Winneshiek Co., IA where they farmed land in and around Bluffton,Orleans and Madison Twps.

Daughter Bertha and sons, Samuel, Albert and Walter, were born in Winneshiek Co. over the next 10 years.

In 1868 Sven died in Winneshiek Co. Sven always resembled a typical Civil War soldier, although I have no knowledge of any military service for him. Ingeborg Caroline married Torger Nelson in Winneshiek Co. in 1871. They had 8 children: Stella, Jessie, Charles, Joseph, Eva, Bertha, Nels and Mahlon.

Clarence married Elizabeth Walton in 1876 in Iowa. They had 4 children: Josephine Mae, Charlotte, Lloyd and Myrtle.

Bertha married James William Mott in Iowa in 1878. They had 4 children: William Roy, Anna Signa, Walter, and Wallace. They owned and operated the Mott Co. Store in Decorah for many years.

Samuel married Ella Sophia Hanson in 1885 in Iowa. They had 3 children: Elmer, Leonard, and Wallace. Ella died in 1895. Leonard, my grandfather, moved to North Dakota when he was a teenager.

Albert married Letitia McMullen in 1892 in Iowa. They had 4 children: Grace, Frank, Earl, and Albert, Jr.

Walter moved to North Dakota in 1883 with a relative named Charley Christen. Walter married Julia Aftret in 1888. They had 6 children: Syrus Perry, Wallace, Stella, Ina, Norman, and Winfield Jay. Julia died in 1901 and in 1902 Walter married Miss Julia Edahl. They had 3 children: Gladys, Cora, and Ray, plus one adopted girl, Opal, and 2 foster children, Beatrice and Grover Drengson.

To my knowledge, all of Sven and Signe’s children lived and died in Winneshiek Co. except for Walter. In 1906 Signe died in Winneshiek Co.

Most of Sven and Signe Christen’s children and some of their grandchildren are buried in Phelps Cemetery, Decorah, Orleans Church Cemetery and Madison Church Cemetery in Winneshiek Co. Some of the Walter Christen and Charley Christen families are buried in the West Union Lutheran Cemetery at Northwood, ND.

Christensen, Lowell Thomas and Diane Ruth (Butt)

(Diane Ruth Christensen)

Lowell Thomas Christensen was born in Mason City, IA, the second child of Gene Robert Christensen (20 Sep 1921 - 25 Oct 1971) and Mary Jane (Russell) Christensen. Gene was the son of Herman Christensen and Margaret (Lytzen) Christensen of Mason City. Mary Jane was the daughter of Harry Bryon Russell (b. 3 Apr 1896) and Netta Leona (Valentine Grow) Russell (b. 14 Feb 1898). After being separated for many years, Mary divorced Gene on 20 Aug 1960. She married Kenneth Ralph Nesset on 30 Aug 1960. While Ken was in the Navy, they resided on the Navy base in Millington, TN. Ken served in the Navy for 21 years. After his discharge, in March of 1961, they moved to Decorah where Ken was born and raised with brothers Raymond (b. 1910) and Arnold (b. 5 Jan 1914) and sisters Hazel (b. 7 Oct 1912) and Dorothy, the children of Henry and Mathilda (Anderson) Nesset. Mary Jane Russell was discharged from the Army on 20 Dec 1945 after serving for three years. Mary has one sister, Bette Lee (Russell) Madsen Gehring who currently resides in Prescott, AZ with her husband Carl, and one brother Harry Byron Russell, Jr. who currently resides in Newark, DE with his wife Evelyn (Sharp) Russell.

Bio Photo

Megan, Diane, Lowell and Ryan Christensen, 1996

Lowell lived with his mother, Mary and step-father, Ken on Twin Springs Road when they moved to Decorah in 1964. He graduated from Decorah High School in 1971.

On 11 Aug 1973, Lowell married Diane Ruth Butt in McFarland, Wl. Lowell met Diane at Jack & Jill while he was Assistant Manager and she was working part-time to help pay for college expenses. For reasons still unknown to her, Lowell would loan Diane his car (so she could get it stuck in the mud a few times!), work her hours ( so she wouldn't miss those college keggers!) and just be an all round good guy until she finally realized she wanted to keep him around. Diane attended Luther College from 1970-1974, majoring in English. In 1978, Lowell bought his first grocery store - Meyer’s Superette - in Calmar, IA. He later purchased the IGA store in Calmar and sold both in 1983. What an experience! Starting in 1985, Lowell was a non-traditional student at Luther, graduating in May 1988 with majors in Economics, Accounting and International Management. Today, Jan 1996, Lowell is Manager for Swenson’s True Value and Diane is Assistant Cashier and Assistant Trust Officer at Security Bank & Trust, both in Decorah.

Lowell and Diane have lived next door to Ken and Mary Nesset since their wedding. The first house was a 12 X 48 trailer which in 1983 they moved down in order to build

Partial OCR transcription, some sensitive personal information such as birth dates of people that maybe living was not transcribed. See the associated scan to compare with the published information.

Please, contact the County Coordinator to submit additions or corrections.

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this page was last updated on Sunday, 28 March 2021