Seattle 1978

Seattle 1978

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Maren Nielsen Andersen & the Rev. Dr. Mark Allison Matthews

I met Maren (née Nielsen) Andersen in the early 1980's - she was born March 20, 1889 in Varde, Næsbjerg, Denmark so she was in her early 90s at the time. She was my fiancée's maternal grandmother. Maren was very sweet to me - I figured at her age she had met countless people and that it must be difficult to keep track of details of newcomers. I was delighted that she joked with me that I belonged in the family since my name begins with J so I fit in with several current family members Judy, Jolene, Jane, Jean.

Maren Dorthea Nielsen arrived in the United States October 30, 1907 (age 18). On her issued inspection card she wrote, " there never was a doktor to see me when i was so sick and laid in the bunk all the way to New York. How could a Dr. sign for everything as it shows he did on other side. I weighed 90 lbs landing on the dock." Shortly after arriving in the states, she got a job working as a domestic for the Rev. Dr. Mark A. Matthews in Seattle.
From Maren Nielsen Andersen's album

"Miss Gwladys Matthews" This is one of the Matthews' children. Maren wrote, "I have combed her hair many times and dressed both her and Mark Allison when he was a Baby."

Maren appears to have had a lot of respect for Rev. Dr. Matthews. She clipped and saved many newspaper articles about him.

Dr. Matthews was quite active in early 20th century Seattle politics and religion as a Presbyterian minister. According to History Link he "pastored Seattle’s First Presbyterian Church for 38 years, from 1902 to 1940. He built his congregation into the denomination’s largest, with nearly 10,000 members at its height" "He spearheaded social projects and helped create new institutions such as Seattle Day Nursery, which evolved into Childhaven, one of the state’s most successful institutions to treat child abuse. He helped lead the effort to establish Harborview Hospital." The article goes on to describe his controversial efforts as well.

The Reverend and his wife gave a lovely carving set to Maren upon her marriage to Hans Andersen in 1910. 

When I married her grandson in 1983 Maren thought we should have this beautiful gift and I will treasure it always.
From Maren Nielsen Andersen's album
She died in 1985 at age 96, a few years after I met her.  Of course I wish I had asked for more stories and found out more about her.

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