Jens-Ancher Sonne contributed these excerpts from a diary written by his grandmother's sister, Ellen Thuesen. Ellen came to the United States from Denmark in 1906, and worked as a maid in Chehalis, Lewis Co., Washington from 1906 to at least 1909. "She worked for families in Chehalis like Kure, who was a stonemason, for Gingrich, who was a rich woman, and Erichson, who was a foreman at a lumber company. Her brother worked for a while at a lumber mill in Raymond. The diary tells about an armed robbery at a pension or hotel on the 28th January 1907, when masked robbers entered the building and people had to hold their arms above their heads while the robbers searched their pockets. While Ellen did not experience the robbery first hand it took place in the very house where she was taken on her first night upon her arrival in Chehalis - she was lured to this house by a man who was lying."

Jens-Ancher has translated excerpts from his great-aunt's diary from Danish into English. They are taken from different parts of the diary, so there are jumps in time (marked with "***").

Ellen Theusen moved to Seattle, and is found in the 1910 census for Seattle, King Co., Washington, working as a servant in a hotel at 310 - 19th Ave. N, owned by Ellen Thompson. Ellen Thuesen was 25 years old and single at the time of the 1910 census. (Microfilm series T624, Roll 1660, p. 76, sheet 8B, Enumeration District 127).

Ellen returned to Denmark, but then came back to North America, settling in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, where she died. Her younger brother, Thue Thuesen, emigrated to Canada. Jens-Ancher writes, "In 1915, he enlisted in the 54 Kootenay batallion in the Canadian army. In august 1916 he was sent to Ypres in Belgium and on the 9th of September that year he died on the barbed wire of the trenches of World War I. He was just commemorated along with all other Canadians lost in WWI. He was 23 years old and a cook, and although I am not certain, I think he is the guy standing behind the others with his back to the barrack on this picture of the batallion cooks."

Jens-Ancher is looking for a photo of Ellen Thuesen. In her diary, Ellen wrote that she and her brother Carl had their photo taken together on 13 May 1909 in Chehalis.

Journey to America 1906
by Ellen Thuesen

I had hardly been so happy during the past 17 years in Denmark as I was during this trip. It was a wonderland through forests and valleys and lovely landscapes. Finally the conductor took my ticket and replaced it with a paper slip. A young man received a similar slip. Then I thought. "He is also getting out at Chehalis. I was not able to hear if they announced Centralis or Chehalis; but when the young man got up to get off, I also got off. It was weird for me to go out, since I was not certain it was Chehalis. I thought that Hedvig or her husband Kure had to be at the trin, they knew I was coming. When I jumped down from the trin a gentlemen came and reached out for my travelling clothes. "Are you Mr. Kure? I asked. "Yes, he said in good Danish. Then I went with him, what else could I do, it was so dark that I could not determine the facial features clearly. He lead me to a large house with a broad stairway , and the I got suspicious. When the light fell on his face, I said: "Are you really Mr. Kure? "No, he replied. "Is this then not Chehalis Station that I got off at? "No, he said, "This is Centralia. Oh, what was I to do? "Don't you know any man, who has a marble store here in town. "No, the man replied, "I have been here for many years and know all stores. There are none here with the name of Kure. What was I to do? "Stay here tonight, the man said. "Come in and have some soup, stay here tonight, then tomorrow you can look for your relatives. I refused to go inside, but remained in the hall and argued with him for a long time. I did not want to go in, and I couldn't walk about in the streets. Police were nowhere to be seen. Finally the young man, who got the same as as I did in the train, came through the door. The I went to him and asked if he was Danish. Yes he was. "Do you know a Danish man, Kure, who owns a marble store and is a stonemason here in this town? "Yes, I know him well. "Oh, won't you please be so kind as to tell him, that here is a young girl from Denmark, and if Kure would come to fetch me and my clothes? "Yes, he said. "If you do not come back within half an hour, I will go out into the street and look for myself, I said in a firm voice. I did not dare go with the young one, he could be an accomplice of the false one and maybe make me loose my way. Shortly afterwards the real Kure came to fetch me. The false one said. "Good evening Mr. Kure. He knew him well. "Is this Miss Thuesen, then let us go to Hedvig now. Soon we got to cousin Hedvig's happy cosy home.


On Sunday the 20th Karl (Ellen's brother) and a cabinet-maker from Denmark and I went on a trip to see a magnificent reform school for neglected children. On the way home we saw a group of people gathered in the grass around a man, who had a living bear. It ran after a boy, who had been provoking it, up into a tree with astonishing ease. The boy climbed out on a branch and jumped down. The bear jumped after him. It was half tame, but could not be trusted. A little while later it ran towards me and put his jaws around my one leg. I dared hardly breathe or move, that it should not bite too hard. When the man yanked in it, it soon let go and I got away unharmed.


On Christmas Eve I got a pair of expensive cups from Mrs. Gingrich. Mr. Rogers gave an expensive paint-box and embroidered handkerchiefs and ties. On the 28th a rich Jewish woman visited and Mrs. Gingrich said I should show her my drawings. Then the Jewish woman ordered a picture from me. January went quietly. My drawing progressed. Early February a family sent a box of chocolate to the daughter of a doctor. There was a contagious disease in the home of the sender . Then the little girl, who ate from the box got diphtheria and died. An epidemic came. The school was closed and meetings cancelled. During this troubled time I thought. "God, thankyou for all that you are and give to me. On the 24th of February I gave notice about the position at Gingrich's, since Hedvig needed my help. On the 1st of March I moved to Kures again. Vi took turns being ill with colds, our neighbours on both sides of the house each had a son with diphtheria. On the 23rd. Doctor Dow arrived and took bacteria of our throats in little glass tubes. None of us had the disease. The days went on with good and bad, joy and sorrow and much work. On the 1st. of May I thought, that this month if God willing I had to finish my drawing course. On the 5th of May I got ill, I had almost never before been in such pain, but the worst pain only lasted a few hours. I had overstrained myself several times at Gingrich's and when I overstrained myself this way I got very severe pains. Otherwise I had the joy of selling more drawings to the finest ladies in the town. Saturday on the 6th of June was one of the happiest days of my life, when the certificate for the well passed exam as an illustrator arrived.



A snowstorm came, a thing one isn't prepared for at all, one could hardly get outside the door. My warm winter clothes was at Kures and I couldn't get it. Then I froze too much. One day one of my shoes was frozen firmly to the kitchen floor. At the furniture factory, where Mr. Erickson was a foreman 4 workers fell ill due to the coldness.

A Dane I knew (namely the cabinet-maker who was with us, when Carl and I saw the bear) got typhoid fever to a high degree, and was taken to the hospital. He was almost dead when he arrived Dr. Dow said. The hospital was situated on the hill across Erichson's, so we could watch when the seek carriage went there and back again. Mr. Rogers moved from Gingrich's down to Kures in the large attic room, where I used to live. Later the snow melted and the n came rain and flooding. Since Mr. Erickson's house was situated very low, the water stood around the 3 sides and lapped up the street stairs. That was not nice. I couldn't wade to the nearest neighbour houses, then the water would have stood above my boots. At the same hospital, where the Danish cabinet-maker was, a young beautiful girl, Agnes Johnson, arrived, who served with the rich Jewish woman, when I was at Gingrich's. Then we used to compete over who would be the first to get her laundry on the clothes-line. Agnes was 17 years old and of Danish descent. She used to sing this song in English.

When he comes, when he comes,
And gather his precious jewels once in his arms
Like the sun the bright we will then shine
In his kingdom forever and praise his name.

She was taken to hospital with typhoid fewer near Christmas and dies up there shortly afterwards. The cabinet-maker lay there for 3 weeks and struggled with death. I went up there once, but was not allowed to get in for the nuns, since it was a catholic hospital. On the 20th of January Ericksen came home and was bandaged on the head. A man had been so careless as to throw a shovel down. It fell 10 feet before it hit the foreman and went through his hat. He fell to the ground, but did not appear to have sustained any serious damage. He went to work every day anyway. Mrs. Erickson has had typhoid fewer 2 times and a Danish wife Mrs. Becker even 3 times. It is a very common disease over here.