Sunday, November 1, 2015

Christian Ferdinand Gotsche, Caroline Jensen, and their children

Christian Gotsche and Caroline (Jensen) Gotsche were my great-great-grandparents. Their son Elmer Gotsche was my great-grandfather.

Christian Ferdinand Gotsche
born August 4, 1865 in Tersløse, Sorø Municipality, Region Sjælland, Denmark
died May 19, 1925 in Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin

Caroline Mary (Jensen) Gotsche
born January 5, 1867 in Sorterup, Slagelse Municipality, Region Sjælland, Denmark
died July 5, 1926 in Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin


Christian Gotsche was the son of Ferdinand Gøtsche and Ellen Larsen. His parents were not married, but Ferdinand acknowledged that Christian was his son. Christian was baptized as a Lutheran on September 10, 1865, and confirmed on October 5, 1879. When Christian was three years old, his mother married a man named Kristen Kristoffersen, and they had two children. Kristen was a blacksmith, the same profession that Christian later followed. In 1880, when Christian was 15, he was no longer living with his mother and stepfather.


Caroline Jensen was the daughter of Jens Poulsen and Sidse (Larsdatter) Poulsen. She was baptized on June 16, 1867, and confirmed on April 24, 1881. By age 13, she was living apart from her parents, although in the same town, and working as a servant.

Caroline & Christian Gotsche
Caroline arrived in the United States aboard the ship Geiser on May 16, 1882, along with her parents and most of her siblings. Her husband Christian arrived alone aboard the Thingvalla on June 3, 1885. Both of them settled in Racine, and they married on April 12, 1890 in Racine. Christian worked as a blacksmith and they had seven children. They lived on 12th Street until 1917 or 1918, when they moved to Quincy Avenue. At the time of Christian's naturalization in 1914, he was described as five feet and four inches tall, weighing 143 pounds, with gray hair and gray eyes. Although both were baptized as Lutherans, they attended First Baptist Church in Racine. After Christian's death in 1925, Caroline lived with her son Elmer until her death a year later. Christian and Caroline were buried next to four of their children at Mound Cemetery in Racine.





Their seven children:
  1. Elmer Ferdinand Gotsche (1891-1941)
  2. Harvey Gotsche (1894-1895)
  3. Martha Margaret (Gotsche) Smith (1896-1969)
  4. Irving James Gotsche (1900-1936)
  5. Florence Gotsche (1902-1903)
  6. unnamed infant Gotsche (????-1908)
  7. Paul Gotsche (????-1910)
1. Elmer Ferdinand Gotsche
born November 10, 1891 in Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin
died September 25, 1941 in Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin
Elmer Gotsche

Elmer grew up in the family home on 12th Street in Racine. He worked as a telegraph operator for Western Union for several years before going to dental school at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Milwaukee County, Wisconsin. He joined the U.S. Army Dental Corps on August 25, 1917 and was stationed at Camp Funston in Manhattan, Riley County, Kansas until his discharge on January 6, 1919, after the end of World War I. During this time, he was described as tall, with a slender build, blue eyes, and light hair. After the war, Elmer opened a dental practice in Racine, where he worked for the rest of his life. Elmer met nurse Elizabeth B. Blake and they were married on May 11, 1921 in Ashland, Ashland County, Wisconsin, after originally scheduling their wedding for the previous day in Madison, Dane County, Wisconsin. They adopted one daughter. After Elmer's death due to a heart attack, Elizabeth returned to work as a registered nurse. She died in Racine on February 13, 1953. Elmer is buried next to his parents, brothers Irving and Paul, and his unnamed infant sibling at Mound Cemetery in Racine. Elizabeth is buried at Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery in Caledonia, Racine County, Wisconsin, next to her granddaughter and son-in-law's parents.

2. Harvey Gotsche
born February 1894
died March 19, 1895 in Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin

Harvey was thirteen months old when he died at the Gotsche family home on 12th Street in Racine.

3. Martha Margaret (Gotsche) Smith
born April 29, 1896 in Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin
died July 8, 1969 in Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin

Martha grew up in Racine and worked as a stenographer before her marriage to Raymond James “Ray” Smith in June 1920. Ray worked as a sales clerk for Massey-Harris Company in Racine. Martha and Ray had one daughter, Margaret. Ray was described in 1942 as five feet and eight and a half inches tall, weighing 138 pounds, with blue eyes, brown hair, and a light complexion. Martha died in 1969, and Ray died on August 27, 1977 in Racine. Both are buried at Mound Cemetery in Racine, though in a different section than Martha's parents and siblings.

4. Irving James Gotsche
born March 25, 1900 in Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin
died July 14, 1936 in Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin

Irving worked as pattern maker for Wisconsin Pattern Works in Racine. He married Ethel Elsie Davis in Dubuque, Dubuque County, Iowa on July 2, 1927 and they had two children, Irving Jr. and Virginia Karen. In 1918, Irving was described as tall, with a medium build, blue eyes, and light hair. Irving died in 1936 and is buried next to his parents and siblings at Mound Cemetery in Racine. After Irving's death, Ethel worked as a teacher at Janes Elementary School in Racine. She died at Lakeshore Manor in Racine on July 16, 2003, at the age of 102. She never remarried, outliving her husband by exactly 67 years and two days. Ethel is buried in a mausoleum at West Lawn Memorial in Mount Pleasant, Racine County, Wisconsin.


5. Florence Gotsche
born September 23, 1902 in Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin
died January 9, 1903 in Racine, Racine County, Wisconsin

Florence was born at the family home on 12th Street in Racine and died of spina bifida at the same place. She is buried at Mound Cemetery in Racine.

6. unnamed infant Gotsche
born ????
died April 1908

This unnamed child was buried at Mound Cemetery in Racine on April 30, 1908, in the same grave where siblings Paul and Elmer were later buried.

7. Paul Gotsche
born ????
died 1910

Paul was buried at Mound Cemetery in Racine on June 3, 1910, in the same grave as Elmer and his unnamed infant sibling.

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