Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Happy Birthday, Kirsten!

Kirsten Larson was born in Sweden in June of 1845. Her family arrived in America almost 10 years later in 1854. Kirsten would be celebrating her 171st birthday today, and while that isn't possible, it is very likely that her many greats grandchildren would recognize the birth of the brave pioneer girl that brought their family to America so many years ago. In fact, I quite like the idea of Little Kirsten standing in front of her class one day in the 2000's giving a report on her Great-Great-Great-Great-Grandmother, Kirsten, who was one of the first pioneers in America and born on June, 8th, 1845...

Kirsten and her family arrived in Minnesota before Minnesota was even a state. She probably would have celebrate Minnesota becoming the 32nd state in 1958, less than a month before her 13th birthday, along with the rest of her family in their cabin. The Dakota War of 1862 would have probably hit Kirsten's family closer to home than the acts happening in the Civil war further East.

Much of Kirsten's life experiences would be different from those of girls her age who were living in established cities back East. She would possibly have become a school teacher once she came of age and before she was married. I can see Kirsten taking the newer, shy students under her wing just as she was when she was new to America. When she married Kirsten might have settled on a homestead close to her family or she might have raveled West with her new husband who could have been eager to join in the Gold Rush with thousands of other families. Either way, the life of a pioneer was a hard one, though I have no doubt that Kirsten had the grit and gumption to make it through whatever the New World threw at her. She might have even met and taught a young Laura Ingalls if their family happened to cross paths with hers.

Disagreements and war between settlers and Native Americans would be a real concern in Kirsten's lifetime. I like to think that she would have seen the horrors being inflicted on the Native people and done her best to help, but many in her position did not. Freezing winters and blizzards, parched summers, dying crops, illness and injury...all of these and more are things Kirsten would have faced as a woman living as a pioneer.

Happy birthday, Kirsten!

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