Minnie (Granum) Christensen
Life and Work
Minnie Adeline Granum was born to Caroline and Isaac Granum, June 9, 1882 in Little Sauk, Minnesota. From her mother, Minnie learned to cook, clean, wash and iron as well as knit, crochet, make braided rugs and sew. She completed high school and mastered the piano.
When she finished her education, Minnie became a teacher. After teaching for a few years in a small country school built by her father, she met and married Louis Mjolsness on December 26, 1902. Since most of the land near Crookston was occupied, they immigrated to Canada in 1907.
A few days later, the young couple left for their new home located six miles southwest of Sundre in the McDougall Flats area. They raised cattle, chickens and pigs; milked cows and sold cream to the Sundre Creamery and butter to the Great West Lumber Company. Minnie grew wonderful garden vegetables, picked and canned the local berries and baked a weekly supply of bread, buns, cakes, jelly rolls, cookies and pies.
The young couple joined in the community entertainment of picnics, visiting, baseball games, skating and the annual Christmas concert. Occasionally, they drove to Bergen to attend the Scandinavian Evangelical services conducted by Louis' father.
She had four children, Gladys Irene, Lloyd Granum, Chester Jerome and Marian Doreen. Minnie's days became even busier as she cared for her growing children, preparing school lunches and in winter, heating irons to warm their feet on the 3 ½ mile (5.6 kilometres) sleigh ride to school at McDougall Flats.
Grandma Granum, Ken ThomasGrandmother Granum came to live with Minnie and Louis when her grandfather was killed in a farm accident. Her husband Louis died September 16, 1930 due to liver cancer. It was a crushing blow to Minnie, who was left on her own with four children and her mother, all depending on her to provide an income from a farm heavily in debt.
Minnie, with the help of her two young sons and a hired foreman, ran the farm. She kept very detailed records so that she knew to the penny what was earned, owed and spent. The foreman, Carl Christensen, and Minnie concentrated on raising pigs and milking cows, selling the cream to the creamery in Sundre
With Carl's help, the boys' hard work, her daughter's financial contributions and her own careful managing, Minnie paid off the debt and raised her children.
Minnie and her mother moved into Sundre in 1943. She decided to take on a new challenge and bought the Hagen home and opened a boarding house for teachers and students. She also volunteered with the Sundre United Church, when she and Alice Ellithorpe organized the Ladies' Aid to assist in the spiritual, social and financial welfare of the church.
In 1944 Minnie and Carl were married. The Christensens continued to be a vital part of the town until Carl's death, October 27, 1956. Two years later, Minnie suffered a stroke and on May 28, 1958 she died.
Letter of Appreciation for Minnie Christensen from Mary Mjolsness
Minnie Adeline Granum Mjolsness Christensen can be recognized as a pioneer person who, with her husband Louis, opened up life and land with courage and serenity. She can be remembered as a loving and caring head of the household. With her tower of strength, kindness, tolerance, patience and understanding, she created an influence in her family in a very distinctive way. Her positive attitude, strong will, quiet manner, sense of responsibility and hard work as a mother, father and teacher proved a good and gracious influence. She left a legacy of sweet and gracious memories to her family and all who knew her.
Layman J. Rae Jackson, spoke of Minnie Christensen, explaining that if ever he had known a saint, it was Minnie Adeline Mjolsness Christensen.
Poem by Minnie Christensen
There had always been great affection between Minnie and her mother which continued as she became part of the immediate family. The following poem written by Minnie 12 years after Grandma Granum came to live in her house expresses that bond.
DEAR MOTHER OF MINE
All thro' the years you have been to me
Dearest and best that one e'er could be;
In joy or sorrow, in rain or shine
You have given me a love divine
And now tho' your hair is white,
The light in your eyes is still so bright.
A love which could be so true as thine
Could only be found in Mother of Mine.
None in the world could take your place.
None ever showed such love and grace:
It shines on high while years go by;
Your love is the same, it can never die.
All thro' my life I pray to be Worthy of all you have done for me;
And tho' I may dwell thro' endless time,
Love me and guide me, Dear Mother of Mine
God bless you always.
Religion and Memories
Following the principles learned from her mother, Minnie raised the children with a loving Christian hand. Only the occasional exclamation of 'Woofda' when someone really made a mess of things disturbed her cheerful, quiet manner. When asked about Minnie today, her children all say, "She was a wonderful mother."
Alone, Minnie drove the horse and cutter to town to deliver cream as usual, only to discover when she arrived that the temperature was 60 degrees below zero. She still had to make the six and a half mile drive back, which she did without mishap except that the horse was so covered with frost that Chester, watching for his mother's return, couldn't tell what color it was.
Written by Edna Bakken from information supplied by Chester Mjolsness, Gladys Thomas, and Mary Mjolsness.