Christian Jensen was born March 26, 1833, as Christian Jensen Smedsrud. Prior to emigrating, he lived in Gran, Oppland County, Norway. He was 28 years old in 1861 when he emigrated. Upon arrival in the U.S., his name was anglicized to Christian Johnson. He met and married Kari Torstensen Rossum. She was born August 11, 1834, and passed away August 22, 1884. Together they had ten children: Tilda (Mrs. Olof Wahler, 1861-1942), John Campbell (1862-1940), Anna Maria (Mrs. Tom Thompson, 1865-1929), Emma Julia (Mrs. John Gralin, D.C., 1867-1946), Clara Alvida (1869-1960), Olianna (1870-1889), Charles (1872-1913), Bertha Louisa (Mrs. Olaf I. Paulson, 1873-1955), Nellie (1874-1877), and Minnie (1876-1888). All the children were born on the family's farm, which was located a half mile north of Argyle, Wisconsin.
Christian Jensen enlisted February 15, 1865, with Company A of the 46th Wisconsin Infantry. He was honorably discharged September 27, 1865. His main occupation was as a carpenter and cabinet maker. He also designed the Argyle Lutheran Church building. Christian Jensen died January 30, 1916, in Argyle, Wisconsin, at the age of 83.
The Christian Jensen Papers consist of a translated journal Jensen kept during his journey from Christiania, Norway, to the U.S. on the boat Dröbak. Also included is a short biography of Jensen and a list of offspring. These documents are all photocopies of originals.
Jensen's journal of his trip begins April 20, 1861, the day he boarded the Dröbak. The ship did not depart from the harbor at Christiania until two days later. The main entries in the journal include travel details such as the wind, storms, the direction of the ship, and landmarks. Births and deaths that occurred during the voyage were also noted. Of the 14 deaths he reported, all but one of them occurred on the ship. Most of those who died were children, including all infants born at sea. During the third week of the trip, the first mate of the ship also died. The ship arrived July 3 in Canada and, after a period of quarantine which the journal briefly describes, Jensen continued by train from Quebec to Wisconsin. Along with the journal is a detailed list of his travel expenses from Norway to where his sister, Kjersti Larson, lived in Mud Branch, Wisconsin.
The list of children born to Christian and Kari includes, where applicable, nicknames and married names, and the years of birth and death, and the ages at death. Also included are brief notes about the translation of the journal. The journal was translated from the Hadeland dialect by two of his grandchildren in 1971. Lastly, there is a photocopy of an old family photograph.