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 Elling Christophersen

Previous Generation
The Family Benkestok
Elling Christophersen
Jens Ellingsen
Christen Ellingsen
Abel Ellingsen
Abel's Missionary Call


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Charles Ellingsen, Slekten Ellingsen. Translated to English by Annette Dyer

Elling Christophersen [2nd great grandfather of Karren Mikkelborg Ellingsen] was born in 1676 at Nedre Valia [nameof a farm] in Meloy, Nordland- He is the progenitor of the abundant and widely-branching family Ellingsen in Nordiand, His parents were CHRISTOPHER OLSEN and KAREN JONSDATTER. His grandparents on his father's side were OLE and DORETHE CHRISTOPHERSDATTER, They lived on Kråmes [farm name] in Bronnoy. Through his mother, Karen Jonsdatter, Elling was the closest descendant of his great-grandmother, MARGRETHE BENKESTOKS.

Elling's mother was married two times and he was from the first marriage along with two full sisters Dorethe, born in 1674, and Berethe, born in 1678. When Elling's father died, Elling’s mother was married again to Hans Pedersen Berg, who was born in 1653, For unknown reasons, Elling left home at this point in time. In two articles in the Lofotposten [newspaper], July 26, 1941 and November 10, 1941, Mikal Jakobsen writes:

"In 1707 a 3 1 -year-old fellow came to Fiskevig in Salten [section of Nordland] by the name of Elling Christophersen, He was a fine man fearless, and with the courage of a bear (he was born in Trondelag). Like so many others, he left home with a danskcskute [Danish ship] under the pretense that he was a lot older than he was, he was actually 13 years old. He roamed around the world and was in privateer service. During a stop in the Netherlands, he hired on board a ship that was going to Norway for furs and lumber. For a long time the ship had brought the Dutch back and forth from Troms, more specifically Målselv, They had received permission from the Danes to do this, [The reason why they had to receive permission may have been because the Danes were ruling Norway at that time, in the 1700s.] It was a dreadful trip and because of the damages they did not get any further than Moskenes that year. In the spring of 1707 they finally came to the Dutch by the outlet of Målselven. By late summer they were ready to sail, but it seemed that everything bad followed the ship on the trip south. After many worthy attempts they had to take refuge in a port in the Vestfjorden and docked north of Bodø, By this time young Elling had enough, and it is also likely that he had acquired enough knowledge of the situation (sailing, trade, business] that he understood that there were possibilities in this area, He departed and in the late fall he docked in Fiskevåg. It was here that KAREN JENSDATTER, who was the widow of Lars Christensen was landlady and owner of the place. Karen and Elling quickly won each other's favor and during the Christmas season of 1708 they were married."

It is difficult to know how much truth there is in this account by Mikal Jakobsen. But it is not correct that Elling was born in Trondelag, and also not correct that Elling and Karen were married in the Christmas season of 1708. Elling was, as cited in the beginning, born on Valla in Meloy. Again his father was either born on Kråknes in Bronnoy or on Skjaggesnes in Alstahaug, where Elling's father's mother, Dorethe Christophersdatter, carne from.

Elling Christophersen and Karen Jensdatter also agreed on sharing bed and board and were married 25 July 1709. She was, as cited, the widow of Lars Christensen of Fiskevåg, who perished during the winter of 1706 in Lofoten. He was born in 1651 on the farm Langset in Saltdal and was the son of Christen Jensen who was the son of the parish pastor of Skjerstad, Jens Pedersen. Christen Jensen no doubt came to Skjerstad from Næmrøy, where he had been a priest earlier. He became famous because a large portion of the inhabitants in Saltdal and Skjerstad descended from him.

Karen Jensdatter was born around 1680 on Saksenvik in Saltdal. Her parents were Jens Pedersen of Saksenvik who was born around 1641, died in 1715, was buried on 26 May 1715, and his wife Anna Herdagsdatter born around 1657, and died on 10 May 1736.

At Fiskevåg Elling Christophersen was in a familiar environment, one he knew from his boyhood days in Meloy. His mother's father, Jon Olsen a skipper and an administrative official (Sheriff or balliff) in Meloy, had been a driving force both on water and land, Elling resembled him in this manner. There was both life and movement at Fiskevåg, which under young Elling Christophersen's management became a center for Jekt (small cargo boat with half deck and sails) operations and boat building. These businesses remained in this locality for a long time. Elling Christophersen quickly showed himself to be as strong a force as his mother's father. He set boat building into motion and was a Jekt cargo boat owner that he had built himself, and he transported goods to and from Bergen with it. Jekt’s were suitable boats, and he was one of the first in Saltdalen who began to transport cargo to Bergen. On the way south they carried products of Nordland such as fish, cod-liver oil, tallow, butter and other miscellaneous goods. On the way back north they carried flour and other necessary goods.

Elling Christophersen was a typical example of the Nordland's rich and powerful. He was enterprising and interested in business, and was praised as being an extraordinarily first-rate man. He was a people’s man; which is best exemplified by his good relationship with his mother.

When Elling became successful he began supporting his mother and his step father ,in every way, even though Elling's mother and her husband themselves had six grown sons and one daughter. When the children's father died (Elling's stepfather), Elling took his mother home with him and let her benefit of the earthly goods he had inherited in Meloy. These were inherited goods from his mother's family line, the original "Benkestok" goods. When his mother died, Elling wrote a poem to her which he read with her passing.

"I gave my mother much pain in my youth. The suffering and sorrow she has borne, I have to my best ability tried to do good again with all of the goodness I could manage."

He must have mostly been thinking of the fact that he left home when he was 13 years old.

Elling Christophersen did not live to an old age, only 54 years. On a trip from Bergen he was shipwrecked at Folda with one of his boats on 10 June 1730 and perished. In the course of his short life he had nevertheless managed to become a prosperous man, according to that time. He left a considerable fortune to his children and survivors.

At the settlement of his estate on 17 May 1731 it said, "The children's mother, Karen Jensdatter, takes the minor [not yet of age] inheritances of her good honor and consciousness? [udj sin gode Obagt and Tilsiun ... ]" The estate funds were 567 riksdallar, and 82 skillings. the indebtedness was 11 riksdalar and 48 skillings. In addition Elling owned the following eartly goods: Fiskevig in Saltdal and Nedre Valla in Meloy.

Elling was literate when only 23 years old, at a time when usually only government officials, priests and merchants could read and write. That says a lot about him. His descendants also were literate and they never employed the signature mark of an illiterate person.

Elling Christophersen and his wife, Karen Jensdatter, had six children in their marriage, five sons and one daughter. The sons all followed in their father's footsteps and became skippers, businessmen, and landholders. One son Christen Ellngsen became a citizen of Trondhjem, who in his time owned the rental property Grønøy in Meloy. Of the five sons, only Jens Ellingsen of Saltnes and Lars Ellingsen of Leivset are found to have descendants. Jens Ellingsen's male descendants all bear the name Ellingsen, but on the other hand Lars Elingsen's male descendants have changed the name. Karen Jensdatter died in 1744 and was buried in Saltdal on 16 August 1744.


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