New Denmark

It Is This Our Heritage -  Teresa Madore


um had spent all last evening quizzing me on the details of the stories for today’s Reading Test.

It certainly paid off as I knew the answer to every one of the twenty questions.

When the teacher handed me my test, I expected 20/20. I couldn’t believe my eyes - the mark was 19 ½ out of 20.

As I scanned down the page, I saw a big red circle around the answer to, Who was the author of The Ugly Duckling?’

I had written, Hans Christian Anderson.

Now if I had been one of the children attending the school in New Denmark, I would have known that the last syllable in Andersen was ‘sen’ not ‘son’.

In 1872, the families of Anders Carlsen, Neils Christensen, Lars Clausen, Sigurdt Johansen and Ferdinand Neilsen made the decision to leave Denmark and move to New Brunswick.

In Canadian history these twenty-nine people are recorded as “the First Canadian Danish Settlers”.

They left a Denmark starving from crop failure and ravaged by war.

The New Brunswick government promised each male over 18 years of age, farm land with accessible roads, and that a shelter be available for the families upon their arrival until their own could be built.

After arriving in Halifax, they transported their goods on a smaller vessel to come to Saint John.  A steamer took them to Fredericton. By paddle-wheeler they continued their journey until reaching Whitehead Flats on June 19, 1872.

The group found their land to be in a hilly desolate area of North Western New Brunswick. To their astonishment those dreamed about farms were still covered with virgin forests.

In August four more families arrived. The following year, an additional seventy-five people came.

In 1889, seventeen years after the first group left Denmark, Peter Neils Petersen came across the Atlantic Ocean on the ‘Scandinavian’ accompanied by three daughters, one son and son-in-law Christian Christensen.

With the influx of immigrants, the settlement began to spread out, forming the present day, six adjoining separate communities, Foley Brook, Salmonhurst, Blue Bell, Lake Edward, Hilldale and New Denmark, united in purpose, language and background.

The old New Denmark school house no longer calls the children to learn their lessons, instead, as a museum, it beckons those from near and far to come to learn of the days when the communities were growing. It houses ancient implements and utensils brought from Denmark as well as some of the primitive and innovative aids fashioned by the settlers themselves. The walls are lined with photographs of the new people and the stump-filled lands of those early days.

In the publication, “It Is This Our Heritage”, Teresa Madore tells about living together in New Denmark after a group of Danes responded to a Canadian call to come and help colonize this vast country. She states,”There is a history here, not surrounded by bright city lights or large shopping malls, but quiet farm homes, where we can trace the footsteps of the early settlers; where we can sit on their front doorsteps and where we can ponder the marvels of God.”

Reprints of the book may be ordered from Teresa Madore, 2430 Route 380, Anderson Road, New Brunswick, Canada, E7G 4C6. Telephone 506-356-2393.

By the way, Founder’s Day in New Denmark will be held as usual on June 19 and the Museum will also be open.

Visit Allen Crabtree’s site at to learn about his grandmother, Lena Petersen who kept her connection to New Denmark a secret from her family for nearly fifty years.


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