Portrait And Biographical Record Of Northern Michigan
Containing Portraits And Biographical Sketches Of Prominent
And Representative Citizens
Record Publishing Co., 1895
|Emil Christophersen, senior member of a prominent hardware firm of Manistee,
is a striking example of a self-made man. About twenty years ago he landed
in the United States with only $20, and an aged mother dependent upon him
for support. He industriously set to work, taking whatever offered at first,
and as the years passed was at length prospered. He possessed just those
qualities which are necessary for a man to succeed in any direction, and
he owes what he attained entirely to himself. In May, 1891, he opened a hardware
stock at his present location. He carries a complete line of shelf and heavy
hardware, including stoves and all kinds of farm machinery. The firm of
Christophersen & Co. are exclusive agents in Manistee and Mason Counties
for the Deering Binders, and other farm machinery manufactured by leading
A native of Denmark, our subject was born in Copenhagen, August 3, 1852. On leaving the public schools he learned the carpenter's and joiner's trade, at which he was employed for seven years in his native land. His father, James Christophersen, was a merchant in Copenhagen, and died in that city in 1871, leaving a wife, whose maiden name was Minnie Hansen, and our subject. The mother has been a resident of our subject's family for many years, and is still living.
The principal reason of Emil Christophersen's leaving his native land was on account of his antipathy to the military system, which requires all able-bodied young men to spend four years in the service. Ambitious to make a start in life, and being inclined toward merchandising, he desired to lose no time, and therefore concluded to try his fortunes in the United States. Soon after setting foot on the shores of the New World, he continued his journey to Manistee, and for several years following worked in lumber-mills and at other hard labor. He was economical and industrious, and by these means he accumulated a sufficient sum of money to enable him to venture into business on his own account. For five years he worked for E.N. Salling, after which he secured a position in a hardware store, in order to learn the business. Afterward he was employed in a grocery store, and then became a partner in a meat-market concern, but at the end of three months the store was burned down and as there was no insurance it was a complete loss. This was in 1881, and though somewhat discouraged by losing his hard-earned investment, he commenced over again as a clerk in the hardware store of Russell & Ramsdell. At the end of three years his employers sold out, and then our subject went out on the road as land agent for the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad Company. His business was to conduct land-seekers to the company's farms in the West, to locate settlers, and to make sales. He was paid a salary, and a certain per cent on all sales effected. At the end of three years he was obliged to return home on account of sickness in his family. Soon afterward he was employed by the hardware firm of A.B. Leonard & Son, and was thus engaged until the summer of 1891. An opportunity presented itself, Mr. Christophersen then bought a bankrupt stock, and opened a store on First Street, under the present firm name. The following May the stock was transferred to its present location. During the season of activity for farming implements the proprietors have an excellent trade, and they do a large annual business.
In this city Mr. Christophersen was married, July 10, 1876, to Miss Annie Nelson, a native of Denmark, who came to this place with her parents in 1872. Four children were born to this union, two of whom died in infancy. Nicholay, the eldest, has been employed in his father's store for the last two years, and during the winters has attended the Manistee Business College. James is a student in the public schools. The family are members of the Danish Lutheran Church of this place.
In his political convictions our subject is independent, voting for men he considers worthy rather than for party machines. Socially he is a member of the Scandinavian Society, and has been President of the same for many years. He is now the only one of the original charter members residing here. The society has done much good in relieving the needs of unfortunate members, and has also laid aside a goodly sum for future use. A member of the Danish Brotherhood of America, Mr. Christophersen is one of the supreme officers of this order. He is also identified with the Ancient Order of United Workmen.