Caroline Marie Mortensen and the Greeshauge Family Name

Marie's Denmark Baptism Record
Caroline Marie Mortensen (known as Marie) was born 12 Jan 1864 to unwed parents Jens Mortensen and Ane Christensdatter in Ersted, Aarestrup, Denmark (Hornum District of Aalborg).  On 25 Mar 1864, Marie was baptized in Aarestrup Church. According to her baptism record, Jens father was bricklayer Morten Nielsen and Ane was living as a lodger with a man named Thomas Otte of Stubberup.

Marie was raised in Ersted, a small village about 2 km northeast of Aarestrup in what is now the region of Nordjylland. While Marie was born to a single mother, by the time Marie turned 7 in 1871, her mother Ane met and married Peder Nielsen Munkholm, also of Aarestrup. Over the next five years together the family would welcome Marie’s 3 step-siblings: sister, Ane Kathrine, brother, Niels Christian, and sister, Maren.

Marie's 1880 Denmark Census
By the time the 1880 census rolls around Marie is 16 years old. She is living at what is documented as Ersted Farm #2, unmarried and working as a maid for the Erik Christensen family. The family employed 2 other maids and 3 men as laborers. Marie is listed under the name "Karoline Marie Mortensen".

Baptism of Ane Petrea in 1883
On the 27 Feb 1883, at the age of 19, Marie gives birth to her first child, Ane Petrea Mortensen, in Ersted. Petra, as she would be known, was baptized 22 Apr 1883 in Aarestrup Church. The baptism records the father as Martinius Christensen from Lindenborg and notes that couple was not married.

Baptism of Villiam John in 1888
Within the next 5 years Marie would move to the city of Aalborg, about 33km north of Aarestrup. It’s here on 27 Feb 1888, at the age of 24, that Marie would welcome son Villiam John Mortensen into the world. Marie was living in Budolfi Parish (Fleskum District) at the time. Villiam was baptized on 2 Apr 1888 in Budolfi Church. Marie is noted to be unmarried and this time the father is listed as Arendt Klensmann of Damhaven.

Marie's 1890 Denmark Census
It appears that Marie was not afforded the luxury of being able to care for her own children. By the year 1890, at 26 years of age, Marie is living in the Aalborg Købstad Parish and working for the Louis Wilhelm Staun family as a cook. Her position in the house is listed as a "service servant". I assume this occupation made her a live-in servant, though it's possible she lodged with someone else. (Similar to her mother on her birth record.) The building is said to be "Nytorv front building 1", floor F-2, at Aalborg m-kort 1588. She is unmarried and her children are not present.

Munkholm's 1890 Denmark Census
Her children can be found back in Ersted, Aarestrup, Denmark under the care of Marie’s mother and step-father Ane & Peder Munkholm, and this is where we find them on the 1890 census. Petra, now 6, and Villiam, 1, are living at with Peder, Ane, and step-aunt Maren at Ersted house 22, #142 and their status in the house notes them as being in “childcare”. (How often would Marie have been able to take that 66km round-trip to see her children?)

Johannes Edvard's Baptism in 1890
Soon after, on the 13 Sep 1890, Marie gives birth to another son, Johannes Edvard Mortensen, in Aalborg. He is baptized on 29 Oct and 2 Nov 1890, the first of which appears to have taken place at home and the second at Vor Frue Chruch in Aalborg. Marie is again noted to be unmarried and now living at L-Nygade 9 in the parish. No father is listed.

Baptism of Elna Wilhelmine in 1893
On 30 Sep 1893, at the age of 29, Marie’s fourth child, Elna Wilhelmine Mortensen, is born in the Budolfi parish. The baptism takes place on 03 Dec 1893 at Budolfi Church. Marie is still unmarried, but is now noted as living at "Reberbane 42". This time, a father, carpenter Edvard Christensen is noted.

Baptism of Nathalie Marie in 1898
5 years later, on 22 Sep 1898, Marie, now 34, has given birth to another daughter, Nathalie Marie Mortensen. According to record, she was baptized on 29 Nov 1898 back at Vor Frue Church and is living at Sture-Nygade, no. 14. She is still unmarried and again, no father is listed.

This is the last record we have of Marie in Denmark as our next information places Caroline Marie as departing Copenhagen, Denmark aboard the S.S. Norge under the name "Marie Mortensen Greishauge".

Greishauge/Mortensen Arrival Manifest
It is now 17 May 1899 and Marie, 34, is listed as the "wife" of John Edvard Greishauge, a 34 year old Joiner (carpenter), traveling to America with children Johannes, 9, Elna, 4, Marie, 6 mo., and Petrine (Petra) Mortensen, 16, who is listed as “servant” instead of child.

On 02 Jun 1899, Caroline Marie and her family arrive in America at Ellis Island in New York. John notes that their final destination is Chicago, Illinois to stay with “my brother Glasbick”. From there they are permitted to join the millions of other immigrants making a new life in the USA.

If you're wondering what happened and where this came from, join the club. But, I will explain what I know, and what all my research has concluded the best I can…

While there are still questions, it seems Marie, like so many other immigrants, wanted to start a new, better life in America. Her half-siblings Ane Kathrine and Niels had already left for America in 1892 & 1894, and mostly likely had written to Marie of the opportunities for that "better life" and wonders that were America. The problem however, was in the late 1800's and early 1900's single unwed mothers were not permitted to immigrate to the USA (along with criminals, mentally unfit and diseased). Unwed mothers and their children were turned away and sent back on the ship they came in on. So to fix the problem, it seems Marie found just the man to help her in John Edward Greishauge.

In 1899, John by all accounts of Denmark public records was already married to Inger Oline Weedfald. It’s likely he was looking for a way out and decided to pose as Caroline Marie's husband and escort her and the family to America. This seems to be confirmed one year later on Denmark’s 1901 census when Inger is listed as still being married but notes that her husband had left her for America.

Greeshauge 1900 Census in Racine
The first record we have in America places Marie in Racine (Ward 6), Racine, Wisconsin on 14 Jun 1900, for the 1900 census. Here Marie is listed as 35 years old and living at 1613 Packard Ave. with John, stated to be her husband of 11 years, and children Edward, Edna, & Mary. This is our first, and will be our only record showing that John ever lived in a house with Marie and the Greeshauge / Mortensen children.

Petrea's 1900 Census in Chicago
Petra is not living with the family in Racine on the 1900 census. Instead, it appears that while the family moved on to Racine, Petra stayed back in Chicago, IL. On the 4 Jun 1900, Petra is listed as working as a servant doing housework for the John Glambeck family. This is the same “Glambick” family that was noted on the arrival manifest. Interstingly enough, it is Marie that is related to the Glambeck’s, not John as the manifest said. Kate Glambeck, as she is listed on the census, is actually Marie’s step-sister Ane Katrine Nielsen. (It would make sense that if Marie stated she was staying at her brother-in-law's place, that the person documenting passengers would assume John's brother and not sibling's in-law.)

During Marie and John time in Racine, Marie gives birth to her next two children, Emily Caroline on 14 Jun 1901 and Anna Christina on 23 Sep 1902. While we have no records to confirm or deny, it's highly probable that John Greeshauge is the father of Emily and Anna.

Not long after Emily is born, on the 27 Sep 1901, parents Peder and Ane Munkholm arrive in America aboard the S.S. Germanic, from Liverpool, and make their way through Ellis Island. Peder states that their last residence was in Esbjerg, Denmark and they are on their way to Chicago, Illinois to be with their children.

Pg.1 of J.E. Greeshauge's
The Munkholms didn’t stay in Chicago long, because two years later in 1904, Racine county court records place John Edward Greishauge in Racine, Wisconsin where he is naturalized and granted citizenship. These documents are dated between 30 Oct 1900 and 12 Jul 1904. Witnesses to John’s naturalization are father-in-law Peder Nielsen (as H.P. Nelson) and brother-in-law Niels Christian Nielsen (as N.C. Nielsen).

The Munkholms are listed in Mount Pleasant, Racine, Wisconsin on the 1905 Wisconsin State Census. Here they are living with their son Niels and granddaughter Petra Mortensen (who like her mother Marie and the rest of her siblings appear to have taken the Greeshauge name.)

Munkholm 1905 Wisconsin Census
John and Marie do not appear on the 1905 Wisconsin State Census. I believe this is because shortly after gaining citizenship, they relocated to Euclid, Ohio on Cleveland’s east side. We don’t have an exact date, but we do know that the relocation would have happened sometime between being naturalized in Racine on 12 Jul 1904 and 01 Jun 1905, when Wisconsin takes their state census.

The biggest factor in their relocation would have been the birth in 1904 of Marie’s eighth child, son Thomas E. Greeshauge. We don’t have an exact date of birth, but we know he was born in Racine and relocation wouldn’t have happened until a few months after his birth.

On 01 Oct 1906, a ninth child would follow. Daughter Dorothy Greeshauge was born to Marie (and presumably John) in Euclid, Ohio.

The next records we have are painful ones. First, 3 year old Thomas E. dies of diphtheria within 12 hours of its onset on 13 Nov 1907, and is followed shortly after by Mary in 1908.

Collinwood School Fire Headlines
Cleveland Plain Dealer (1908)
Daughter “Mary”, born Nathalie Marie, was killed on 04 Mar 1908 at the age of 10 in the Collinwood School Fire. The fire, sometimes known as the Lake View School Fire, claimed the lives of 172 school children, including Mary. This fire, which was started when wooden joists in the basement were overheated by the boiler, was one of the worst school fires in history and caused world-wide reform in the way public buildings were constructed (fire safety) and schools and fire departments were operated (drills, equipment & better organization). NOTE: a common myth was the school doors opened inward, this was false. However, this myth gained so much ground that the myth itself spawned reform in many public buildings that did have doors opening inward and led to the invention of “crash bars” on public exit doors.

Collinwood Fire Memorial
Nathalie "Mary" Greeshauge
Mary is listed on the memorial plaque at the Collinwood memorial in Lakeview Cemetery in Cleveland. A majority of the known and unidentified victims of the tragedy are buried there, but Mary is buried around the corner at East Cleveland Cemetery with brother Thomas (and later, sister Anna). In the state auditor’s 1909 report, mother "Marie Greeshauge" is listed as being paid $100 as part of a state relief effort to help cover funeral expenses for victims of the fire.

Marie is listed by the Ohio State Auditor on the 1909 report as being paid out $100 from the revenue fund on 26 Mar 1908 towards the “Relief of Collinwood Sufferers.” The purpose of this relief effort was to help cover the costs of funeral expenses for the families that lost children in the fire.

By 26 Apr 1910, Marie Gresshauge (as she’s listed) is living as a single mother with 1 son and 3 daughters in Euclid, Cuyahoga, Ohio on what was at the time Clyde Ave. The 1910 census does not list John Edward Greeshauge as living with the family in Cleveland. Marie seemed to keep up appearances however by stating on the census that she has been married to John for 21 years (just long enough to account for all children in the house) and that she was naturalized when “husband” John obtained his naturalization in 1904.

By 1920, Marie is again listed as living with her children Emily and Dorothy in Euclid, but now she's listed as being divorced and living on [18744] Abbey Rd. This, changes in the 1922 Cleveland City Directory when Marie is listed as the widow of "John E. Greshauge".

Marie Greshauge Death Record
Caroline Marie Greshauge dies on 16 Sep 1925 at her home 18744 Abbey Ave. in Euclid of carcinoma of the liver. She was 61 years old. Her certificate of death is filed under "C. Marie Greshauge" and signed by son "J. E. Greshauge". She is again listed as widow of "John Greshauge".

Marie was buried on the 18 Sep 1925 in Euclid Cemetery in Euclid, Cuyahoga, Ohio. Her headstone reads “Mother Marie C. Greshauge 1864 – 1925”. Her obituary states “beloved mother of Edward, Dorothy, Mrs. Edna Rogers, and Mrs. Emily Morgan, entered into rest at her home, 18744 Abbey avenue, Euclid, O., Sept. 16. Funeral at late residence, Friday, 2 p. m.”

Now…Wondering what ever happened to John Edward Greeshauge after Dorthy's birth in 1906? Well, I've spent quite some time asking myself the same question… and I have found some answers.

About 1907, Peter and Anne Munkholm made the decision to follow their son Niels to Alberta, Canada (Niels had left the previous year). This most likely left granddaughter Petra with a choice to make, go to Canada with her uncle Niels and grandparents, or join her mother in Cleveland. Petra made the decision to come to Cleveland and I believe she moved in with John and Marie.

John & Petra's Return from Denmark
From that moment, it was less than a year. John and Petra would run off together and return to Denmark by late 1908. Why, I’m not sure. Regardless of the reasoning, the first record of John after naturalization places him departing again from Denmark on 8 Apr and returning to America on 21 Apr 1909 as “Johan” and wife "Petrea", both US citizens. Oddly enough, their stated intention was to go to Hoboken, NJ. At this time Petra is almost 7 months pregnant with their first child Arthur Emil Greeshauge, who would be born 24 Jun 1909. (It should be noted that all this coincides with the death of son Thomas E., the only son with Marie, Nov 1907 & Mary in the school fire Mar 1908.)

John & Petra's 1910 Census in Erie
The next year we find John and “Petra A.” listed as married and living in Erie, Erie, Pennsylvania (even though in 1910 Marie will still list him as her husband). They have a 10 month old child Arthur. Both confirm they immigrated in 1899 and are from Denmark.

On the 1920 census, John and wife “Anne P.” (Petra) are living in Amity, Erie, Pennsylvania. (2 hours from Marie in Euclid.) By this point John and Petra have 7 children, 5 boys and 2 girls.

Greishaw 1930 Census in Erie
By the 1930 census John and his family have officially changed the spelling of their last name. The family is now listed under the name Greishaw* and they live on Kimball Hill Road in Union, Erie, PA. Union is only a few miles from Amity. John and Petra, as she's listed, have added another daughter Dolly. John states his first marriage was 44 years prior (confirming marriage to Inger in Denmark) and "Petra" married John about 24 years prior (abt 1906). (Might the new spelling be why Marie believed him to be dead?)

*Greishaw family story says that the name changed from Greeshauge to Greishaw following numerous altercations between John’s children and their peers over the name being distorted to “grease-hog”.

The last record I have of John is the 1940 census where, like the 1930 census the family is listed under their new last name Greishaw. He is still in Union, PA at the age of 76 with wife Petra, age 57, and 5 children between 26 and 17 years of age.

John died 5 Aug 1945 in Union City, Erie, Pennsylvania. He was a finished carpenter and taught the trade to his oldest son Art. He owned his farm and worked the land up until he died. He was 81 years old.

Petra lived in Union City until she died on 05 Apr 1959 at the age of 76 years old. She is buried in Evergreen cemetery in Union City next to John.

Children of Caroline Marie Mortensen Greeshauge

1.           Ane Petrea Mortensen Greeshauge, 27 Feb 1883 – 05 Apr 1959
2.           Villiam John Mortensen, 27 Feb 1888 – ?1890-1899?
3.           Johannes Edvard "John" Greshauge, 13 Sep 1890 – 08 Oct 1963   
4.           Elna Wilhelmina “Edna” Greshauge, 30 Sep 1893 – 09 Jan 1993
5.           Nathalie Marie “Mary” Greeshauge, 22 Sep 1898 – 04 Mar 1908
6.           Emily Caroline Greshauge, 14 Jun 1901 – 21 Feb 1937
7.           Anna Christina Greshauge, 23 Sep 1902 – 03 Mar 1913
8.           Thomas E. Greeshauge, abt 1904 – 13 Nov 1907
9.           Dorothy Greshauge, 01 Oct 1906 – 06 Sep 2003

*If you’re wondering why some children are spelled Greeshauge and others Greshauge, it seems the family officially dropped one of the “E”s from the family name between the years of 1915 - 1920. The children with the extra “E” in their last name died before 1915.

Caroline Marie Family Note:

Family belief is that even though Caroline Marie Greeshauge's children say their father is John Edward Greeshauge, John is not truly their father. This can be proven, more or less, for the first 5 children by their baptism records, but not for any of the children born here in America. It doesn’t help prove or disprove matters that all the Greeshauge children officially list John as their father. This was all part of the ruse however, knowing that this "marriage" is what allowed Marie into the country to begin with and John's naturalization provided Marie her own citizenship. I'm sure there was a feeling for Marie that if it was discovered they were never officially married, she could be deported. This would be why the children adamantly claim J.E. Greeshauge as their father regardless of his standing in their lives.

Conversations with the grandchildren of Elna / Edna confirm the belief that John never lived with the family and although Edna carried the Greeshauge name, she knew John Edward was not really her father. Based on the evidence, this was most likely a lie originated by Marie and the children to diffuse any questions regarding John.

Children of John Edward Greeshauge / Greishaw and Anna Petrine / Petra Mortensen

1.            Arthur Emil Greishaw, 24 Jun 1909 – 12 Jul 1975   
2.            Marion J. Greishaw, 08 Aug 1913 – 16 Oct 2009
3.            Verner M. Greishaw, 1914 – ?
4.            Elsie M. Greishaw, 1915 – ?
5.            John Edward Greishaw Jr., 29 Apr 1916 – 21 Jan 2002
6.            Clarence H. Greishaw, 09 Dec 1917 – 16 May 1968
7.            Martin Roy Greishaw, 17 Dec 1919 – 13 Nov 1988
8.            Dolly Greishaw, 1922 – ?

Ane Petrea Family Note:

Neither family talked much about life before 1907, but according to grandchildren of John and Petra, there were a few rare times where the children were able to pry out some information about their early lives. Family belief is John was a politically active member of the guild in Denmark. Apparently, his politics got him to the point where he was asked to leave Denmark. (It's likely that if there is any truth behind this story it's would have been more of a "forceful suggestion" by opposition or a form of extradition by the community.)

While the two Greshauge/Greishaw families never met Petra had made mention at some point that there had been a falling out between her and her family. Her grandchildren knew she was said to have sisters, but she never shared more than that.

Note on the Greshauge / Greishaw Family Name (originally pronounced Grass – ow): 

Throughout the family's history you will see the Greeshauge name listed many different ways on documents. This could be in part because, for the Mortensen children, it was never officially the family name so the lack of familiarity with its spelling (and the person who did never seemed to be around long). But it is most likely a lot of the misspellings are transcription errors or others not know how to spell it such a strange sounding foreign name.

Originally in Denmark, it seems the family spelled it Griishauge on a majority of documents, but it too uses the “e” and “i” interchangeably, also seeing Greshauge too. Since the immigration to America there have been many different spellings, misspellings and some complete failures found on documents. Here are a few I’ve seen: Griishauge, Greishauge, Greeshauge, Gresshauge, Greshauge, Gresshande, Greeshouge, Greeshange, Greeshougi, Greeshaugl and Greeslauge. Transcription errors normally find the “u” mistakenly replaced with an “n” on any number of the above spellings.

Caroline Marie Greshauge's headstone at Euclid Cemetery in Euclid, Ohio


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