Caroline (Christensen) Thomsen




Life and Work

Caroline was born on February 28, 1872 in Laven, Denmark, the third eldest of 10 children. A fractured elbow at age 16 left her with a handicap, but she never let this restrict her in any of her labours. Her mother's early death left her to care for her younger siblings.

In 1894, Caroline moved to Chicago where she worked as a seamstress. While riding a streetcar, Caroline read a large advertisement that made her wonder what kind of country she was living in. It read "Barn for Sale." What kind of person would sell his child she wondered as "Barn" in Danish means child!

In 1896, she married Thomas Thomsen and subsequently had seven children, Ruth, Ethel, Carl, Esther, Elmer, Harry and Gladys. They moved in 1905 to Dickson, Alberta, a Danish pioneer settlement in Western Canada because they believed that the city was not a place in which to raise their family. They left by train to Innisfail and from there made the rest of the journey by wagon.

Caroline wept often during the difficult first five years of pioneer life but she managed to persevere through the hailstorms and hard work necessary for survival. She was dedicated to her church (Bethany Lutheran) and its activities. Her Christian faith was complete and manifested itself in her attitude toward life and her love for family and friends. Her home was a place of hospitality, and once a family with seven children and their uncle was accommodated for several months while their house was being built.

Caroline was the community midwife and delivered many babies as the closest doctor was 25 miles (40.2 kilometres) away. At the age of 72 years she delivered he last baby when she delivered her youngest grandchild. She was "Aunt Carrie" to her nieces and nephews and her name continues in the family through five generations. Her children used to call her lille bedstemor - Little Grandmother - which she loved to hear because she was shorter then most of her children even though she was 5'8. She loved old gospel songs such as "Count Your Blessings."

Caroline passed away in June 1951 and her death left a deep void in her family and community.


  • Contributors: Ardis Bramall and Arla Hill/Dickson Store Museum