Christoffer Christoffersen and Thora Marie Haugen

Christoffer's baptism record - line #15
Christoffer Christoffersen was born on 21 Nov 1889 to Cornelius Christoffersen and Birthe Marie Andreasen in Svelvik, Vestfold, Norway. He was baptized on 22 Dec 1889 in Svelvik. His Godparents were Mathea Kristensen (Grandmother), Julie Andreasen (Aunt), Annette Andreasen (Aunt), Barnet Fuder ..., and Johan Albert Olsen. 

Christoffer about 1 year
in Svelvik, Norway (1890)
Christopher grew up in a farmhouse on street Tømmeraas Gade (which has since been renamed Brinchs gate) in Svelvik with his parents, brothers Oscar & Rudd, sisters Marie & Cora, a nanny and her daughter.

1900 Norwegian Census of Christoffersen's
Christoffer was confirmed on 02 Oct 1904 in Svelvik, Vestfold, and took to the sea immediately after where he learned to sail like his father and worked his way up to the rank of first mate.

Christoffer and his family departed from Christiania, Norway on 08 Feb 1907 aboard the S.S. Hellig Olav under the name Christoffer Christoffersen, bound for America.  He arrived at Ellis Island, New York on 20 Feb 1907. From there, the family went to stay with Christoffer’s Uncle Martin Christiansen at 225 Superior in Cleveland, OH.

Christoffer at 12 years old
in Svelvik (1901)
Christopher's Declaration of
Intention (27 Dec 1909)
By 27 Dec 1909 Christoffer started the naturalization process in the Federal District Court in Cleveland and listed his address at 2064 West 55th Street, Cleveland, Ohio. It took Christoffer almost 4 and a half years to become officially naturalized. The official date was on 08 Apr 1914 in Cleveland where he was listed as living at 2275 E 74th Street. At the time of naturalization, Christoffer petitioned and officially changed his name to Christopher Lowe.

The Lowe family name came from an Americanized version of Christopher’s Grandmother Mathea Gulliksdatter Loe’s farm name. A “farm name” is part of a naming pattern associated with Norwegian families in the old days to ascertain where they came from and identify them from someone else with the same name.

Whether using the Lowe name was Christopher’s idea or not is unclear. What I do know is while Christopher is the first to use the name here in America, his younger brother Oscar also was listed under the name Oscar Lowe-Christoffersen and his younger sister Anna Marie joined her brothers and took the Lowe name as well.

Christoffer Christoffersen in
an undated photo (abt 1910)
Petition for Naturalization
shows Chris changing his
last name to Lowe
The naturalization paperwork provides us a bit of a description of Christopher. He is listed as having white skin with “ruddy” complexion, standing 5'9" tall, weighting 160 lbs, with blonde hair and blue eyes. He speaks English and can read & write. He was employed as a first mate on steamship 25 for Hutchinson & Company, the operating end of the Pioneer Steamship Company.

Thora Marie Haugen was born on 21 Dec 1897 in Haugesund, Rogaland, Norway to father Thorvald Hansen Haugen and mother Thoraline Marie Olsen.  She was baptized in Haugesund on 20 Feb 1898. Her godparents were listed as her father Thorvald, S. Troudsen, Mikal Feakiko, Lina Feakiko, and Sikka Troudsen.

Thora's baptism record - line #15 (1898)
Thora grew up in Haugesund, Norway at “Sørhauggade 121b - Farmhouse” with her parents, 3 brothers Karl, Olaf & Adolf, and sister Anna. Her father was a sailor and engineer in the Norwegian shipping industry which put him at sea for long stretches of time while her mother stayed at home raising the children.

Haugen family on 1900 Norwegian census
When Thora was 9 years old her mother passed away. Whether her mother happened to pass away while her father was home or at sea was unknown but, the need for someone to raise the children was certainty. Her widowed father would remarry Sofie Sorensen just shy of a year later in 1908.

Haugen family on 1910 Norway Census
By 1910 Thora and her new family were renting an apartment for $150 on the street Hasseløen in what the census referred to as “Seahouse Apartment #3” on a farm owned by Laurits Pettersen. The new family consisted of father Thorvald, step-mother Sofie, brothers Olaf and Adolf, sister Anna, and step-brother Trygve. This was where the family continued to reside when Thora was confirmed on 12 May 1912. 

On 23 Jan 1914, Thora boarded the brand new S.S. Kristianiafjord and departed from Stavanger, Rogaland, Norway. Final destination: America.

The S.S. Kristianiafjord was built by Cammell Laird & Co. in Birkenhead, England the previous year. It weighed 10,669 gross tons, was 530 feet long, 61 feet wide and carried 1,200 passengers (100 first class, 250 second class & 850 third class) at a speed of up to 15 knots.

Page 1 of Thora's Ellis Island Arrival
Manifest - Line #2 (1914)
The journey across the Atlantic took 15 days and Thora arrived at Ellis Island, New York on 07 Feb 1914. Thora came over with $25 to her name and at the time, she was described as being 5'5.5" tall, with a light complexion, fair hair, and blue eyes.

Her passage over was paid for by her sister Anna Haugen who had already arrived in Cleveland. Her first residence was with her sister Anna, at 2045 W 25th Street in Cleveland. Once in America, Thora decided to go by her middle name Marie, probably because it sounded more “American” than Thora did.

We're not certain how Christopher and Marie met but, by 1917, Marie had moved and was living at 6609 Linwood Avenue which was only about a mile north on 71st street from Christopher's family at 2275 East 74th Street.

Christopher and Thora's
Wedding (02 Jan 1918)
Christopher Lowe married Thora Marie Haugen on 02 Jan 1918 in Cuyahoga County, Ohio. They were married by Rev. Oscar A. Strom, who performed many of the Andreasen/Anderson family weddings in Cleveland.

Christopher & Thora's filed Marriage
Application (29 Dec 1917)
After Christopher and Marie’s marriage, they moved into a rental property at 1915 West 73rd Street. In 1921 they moved to 4214 Trowbridge Ave. and in 1922 they moved the family again where they were found at 2045 Spring Road, all in Cleveland. About 1924 the

Christopher was able to finally purchase a house at 3343 Lincoln Avenue in Parma where he would raise his family.

Christopher at work on a
steamship (left) undated
Christopher became ill while working as a First Mate for the Steamship W.C. Atwater, and about May of 1928, it was determined through clinical findings that Christopher had a carcinoma of the lung, better known as lung cancer. Things went from bad to worse about March the next year when the doctors had more troubling news: they had discovered that the lung cancer was metastatic, meaning that it wasn't the originating form of cancer, just a secondary location the cancer had spread to. They had now discovered that Christopher had a carcinoma of the Nasophpharynx.

Hand-tinted photo of Christopher
Lowe (abt 1920)
The Nasopharynx is the area located behind your nose & above the back of your throat. This type of throat cancer is extremely rare in the US today and hard to diagnose, meaning it was very advanced by the time they were able to diagnose it. Cancer had no treatments or cures in the 1920s as radiation and chemotherapy had not been invented yet. All Christopher could do was return home and continue living his life.

Christopher's certificate of death (1929)
Christopher officially fell ill 6 months later on the 5 Sep 1929 when he was admitted to the U.S. Marine Hospital in Cleveland. At 2:40 PM on 2 Oct 1929 at the age of 39, Christopher passed away at the marine hospital.

Christopher was buried on 05 Oct 1929 at West Park Cemetery on 3942 Ridge Road in Cleveland in Section 21, Lot 219 near his brothers.

Lowe family on the 1930 US Census with
Thora's siblings living at residence
After Christopher's death, Marie's brothers Karl & Olaf and sister Anna Morley moved in with Marie to help support her and possibly to take care of her and her children Robert and Virginia during this difficult time. Olaf owned a repair garage in town; Anna managed a knitting mill; and Karl worked as a night watchman at Anna’s mill while visiting. The support helped, but it wasn’t enough and Marie eventually lost the family house on Lincoln Avenue.                                                          

Things would get better as Marie would find a new home for the family and would eventually remarry Henry Theodore Hanson. The two of them enjoyed many years together before Henry's passing on 14 Aug 1959.

Marie died on 11 Oct 1992 at 06:20 PM in Middleburg Heights, Ohio of cancer at the age of 94.  She was laid to rest at West Park Cemetery on Ridge Road, Section 21, Lot 219, Grave 3, between Christopher Lowe and Henry Hanson. 

Children of Christopher & Thora Lowe
1.             Robert Kenneth Lowe, 7 Sep 1918 – 26 Feb 1999
2.             Virginia Marie Lowe, 5 Jun 1921 – 14 Sep 2005


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