Christensen, Minnie (Granum)

(1882 - 1958)

Minnie Adeline Granum was born to Caroline and Isaac Granum, June 9, 1882 in Little Sauk, Minnesota. From her mother, Minnie learned to cook, clean, wash and iron as well as knit, crochet, make braided rugs and sew. She completed high school and mastered the piano.

When she finished her education, Minnie became a teacher. After teaching for a few years in a small country school built by her father, she met and married Louis Mjolsness on December 26, 1902. Since most of the land near Crookston was occupied, they immigrated to Canada in 1907.

A few days later, the young couple left for their new home located six miles southwest of Sundre in the McDougall Flats area. They raised cattle, chickens and pigs; milked cows and sold cream to the Sundre Creamery and butter to the Great West Lumber Company. Minnie grew wonderful garden vegetables, picked and canned the local berries and baked a weekly supply of bread, buns, cakes, jelly rolls, cookies and pies.

The young couple joined in the community entertainment of picnics, visiting, baseball games, skating and the annual Christmas concert. Occasionally, they drove to Bergen to attend the Scandinavian Evangelical services conducted by Louis' father.

She had four children, Gladys Irene, Lloyd Granum, Chester Jerome and Marian Doreen. Minnie's days became even busier as she cared for her growing children, preparing school lunches and in winter, heating irons to warm their feet on the 3 ½ mile (5.6 kilometres) sleigh ride to school at McDougall Flats.

Grandma Granum, Ken ThomasGrandmother Granum came to live with Minnie and Louis when her grandfather was killed in a farm accident. Her husband Louis died September 16, 1930 due to liver cancer. It was a crushing blow to Minnie, who was left on her own with four children and her mother, all depending on her to provide an income from a farm heavily in debt.

Minnie, with the help of her two young sons and a hired foreman, ran the farm. She kept very detailed records so that she knew to the penny what was earned, owed and spent. The foreman, Carl Christensen, and Minnie concentrated on raising pigs and milking cows, selling the cream to the creamery in Sundre.

With Carl's help, the boys' hard work, her daughter's financial contributions and her own careful managing, Minnie paid off the debt and raised her children.

Minnie and her mother moved into Sundre in 1943. She decided to take on a new challenge and bought the Hagen home and opened a boarding house for teachers and students. She also volunteered with the Sundre United Church, when she and Alice Ellithorpe organized the Ladies' Aid to assist in the spiritual, social and financial welfare of the church.

In 1944 Minnie and Carl were married. The Christensens continued to be a vital part of the town until Carl's death, October 27, 1956. Two years later, Minnie suffered a stroke and on May 28, 1958 she died.

Category: Sundre