Copyright: Ærø Genealogy.
In Tranderup Parish on Aero, there is a location known as Borgnaes. According to an old legend there is supposed to have been a fortress which in Danish is called "Borg". The name of this fortress was "Stylteborg". According to the legend Stylteborg was a robber chief's fortress, or perhaps more correctly a viking chief's fortress. Further the tale says that when the church in Tranderup was built (around 1150-1200), many of the granite boulders used for the church were taken from Stylteborg. Today nothing remains of this fortress, and even the exact location is unknown, although there are remains of a fortification on the other side of the bay, which may or may not be Stylteborg.
Farm no. 97, Tranderup Parish.
In Borgnaes one of the farms is known as "Kammerraadgaarden", old farm no. 97 and land rigister no. 74. This farm was originally one of the farms in Tranderup, but it was moved after the land reforms in 1774.
On this farm in Borgnaes we find farmer Erik Clausen b. 1796 d. 7.03.1847. He was married on March 18, 1814 to Karen Pedersdatter b. 1797 d. 22.05.1861. Previously the farm had been owned by a relative of Karen.
Karen and Erik had 2 children:
1. Hans Madsen Clausen b. 4.07.1814 d. 28.02.1864. He was married to Anne Cathrine Lauritsdatter b. 2.04.1810 d. 22.07.1878, and they had 8 children. Hans took over his fathers farm in 1834.
2. Claus Lauritsen Clausen b. 3.11.1820 d. 15.11.1892. Claus emigrated to USA, and it is about him that I want to write a few words.
Claus Lauritsen Clausen:
As far as we know Claus never received any education except from the local primary school, but his oratorical gifts were exceptional.
Claus was married in 1842 to Martha Rasmussen b. 1815 d. 15.11.1846 from Havelundgaard in Langeland, and soon after the wedding they went to Wisconsin in USA. Soon after arriving in the USA Claus joined the Norwegian community as a teacher for their children. Apparently he did quite well as a teacher, and since the community had no vicar, they asked their teacher who had a good knowledge of the Bible, if he would act as their vicar. He was later ordained and remained a vicar for some years.
Several year later Claus was elected a Superintendent of the Norwegian - American church, and before long he gathered a group of Norwegian immigrants and went to Iowa, where they established the community St. Ansgar. Claus purchased land for a farm and as the community grew so did his wealth.
During the Ciwil War 1861 to 1865 Claus joined the Union Army as an army chaplain. I do not know which regiment he joined but it consisted mainly of Scandinavians.
In 1867 Claus went to the World Exhibition in Paris as a representative of Iowa State, and after the exhibition he went back to Denmark and Aero, where he visited his family. Some family members wanted him to speak at the church in Bregninge where he had been confirmed at the age of 14, and others wanted him to speak at Tranderup church where he had been baptized. Eventually he went to both churches and gave a long, thought-provoking and serious sermon delivered without a manuscript. Both churches were full as everyone wanted to hear the famous and wealthy Danish-American.
Soon after returning from Denmark Claus and another Dane established a community in Virginia, at a place he had visited during the Civil War, and liked for it's mild climate. Unfortunately the area was infected with malaria and other serious deceases, and many of the settlers left their homes and lost everything they owned. Although Claus helped where he could, and nearly lost his entire fortune, many still blamed him for their misfortune.
Claus and his wife left Virginia and for some years he had several small appointments, but he was now a tired and disapointed man.
He lost his wife and his health deteriorated. In 1892 he went to visit a son in Washington State, and this is where he died.
Claus and Martha had one son:
1. Martin Clausen. He took an engineering degree in Copenhagen and later he operated a logging company at Puget Sound near Seattle.
After Martha died, Claus was married to a Norwegian women called Berit, and they had at least 3 children. I do not have the names of these children.
During the 1940's a memorial stone was erected for Martha Clausen at her home of birth in Langeland, and this spurred some people on Aero to collect funds for a memorial for her husband Claus Lauritsen Clausen. A committee was formed and money was collected in USA and on Aero, and finally they received the permission from the local authorities to erect a memorial at Olde Molle. The Stone was a gift from Aeroskobing Municipality, and it was carved by Rasmus Hansen from Marstal.
The inscription reads:
The Reverend and Pioneer Claus Lauritsen Clausen born 1820 in Borgnaes, died 1892 in Washington State. Erected by friends in USA and on Aero.
The stone stands at a place with a beautiful view over the island and the surrounding sea, as a memory over one of the emigrants from the Island.