Elna Wilhelmina Mortensen


Baptism of Elna Mortensen (1893)
On 30 Sep 1893 in Aalborg, Denmark in the parish of Budolfi, Elna Vilhelmine Mortensen was born to mother Caroline Marie Mortensen (better known by just Marie) and boyfriend at the time, Edvard Christensen. Elna was baptized under that name by Pastor Clansen on 03 Dec 1893 in Budolfi Church in Aalborg.1, A

Elna's baptism lists that her mother was unmarried and 29 years old. Father Edvard Christensen is listed as a carpenter and both of them appear to be noted as living at Reberbane 42, the same residence where Elna is said to be born. (Reberbane 42 was about 1500 ft west of the church and appears to be demolished for a business college.) Witnesses were fireman Simon Simonsen, "house girl" Katinka Haack (in 1890 worked with Caroline in Staun Home as nanny), and Anders Christian Paulsen, all of Aalborg.1

While it is not known for certain, it's assumed Elna was raised, along with her brothers and sisters, by her grandparents Ane Christensdatter & Peter Nielsen Munkholm at their home on Ersted farm in Aarestrup, Denmark (20 miles south of Aalborg).2, B


S.S. Norge (ca. 1881)
On 17 May 1899, when Elna was 5 years old, mother Caroline Marie packed up the family and with her husband John Greeshauge they left for America. They sailed out of Copenhagen aboard the S.S. Norge. On the arrival manifest she is listed as Elna Mortensen Greeshauge, age 4 years 9 months, female, from Aalborg, unable to read & write, and traveling to Chicago, Illinois.3

The family stayed in Chicago only for a short time to visit with mother Karoline's half-sister Mrs. Kathrine Glambeck and her family.3, 4 From there the Greeshauge's moved to Racine, Racine, Wisconsin.

Racine is where we find the family on the 1900 census. Elna has changed her name and now that she's living in the states she's going by Edna (Even though she went by Edna, to avoid confusion with her daughter, here, I will continue to refer to her as Elna). Elna is noted as living at 1613 Packard Ave. in Racine, now 6 years old. Shes living with with her parents John & "Marie" (Caroline), brother "Edward" (normally goes by John) and sister Mary.5


George and Edna (abt 1913)
After step-father John Greeshauge receives his naturalization to become a U.S. citizen in 1904, the family moves to Cleveland, Ohio. In 1910 we find Elna on the federal census living at 10307 Franklin Court as a private servant for the Harley Newton family. Now written as Edna Greeshauge, Elna is again noted to be from Denmark, age 16, can read & write, yet has not attended school within the previous year.6

It appears that the family Elna was housemaid/servant for lived on the west side of Cleveland about a mile or two north of the butcher shop. It is reasonable to assume that either George would make deliveries to the Newton home where Elna worked or the Newton family would send Elna out to pick up the produce from the butcher shop. Either way, it seems that this, in all likelihood, was how George and Elna would have met.

On the 1 Jun 1913, Reverend E.T. MacMahon of Nottingham Congregation Church in Nottingham Township, Ohio (just east of Collinwood) married George Rogers and "Edna Greeshauge". George was a 22 year old butcher, living at 9741 Lorain Ave. (the butcher shop) and Elna was 19, not working (or not listed as working, which was common), and a resident of Nottingham, Ohio.7

After marriage, on the 21 Jun 1914, their first child, daughter Edna Marie Rogers was born in Cleveland, Ohio.8 Cleveland city directory says George & Edna were living above the butcher shop at this time while George was still listed as a clerk in Mr. Mueller's store.9


Rogers Family (abt 1917)
The family can be found at 3134 West 99th Street in Cleveland City Directories from 1918-1921.9, 10 We also find them here on the 1920 census where George is said to own the residence free of a mortgage (pretty remarkable considering he didn't even own a pair of shoes 10 years prior). Here, in what's listed as Ward 1, George & Elna are both said to be 26, able to read & write, and living with child, Edna M., age 5 who is attending school.11

On 10 Jun 1922 in Cleveland, George and Elna welcome their second child, son George Frederick Rogers, Junior into the world.

Based on the 1922 Cleveland City Directory, the family moves 3051 West 101st Street. They can be found here all the way though the 1930 census to 1935. When they are counted on the 1930 census George is again marked as a butcher, living in a residence he owns that is valued at $8000 (around the median for the area). He and Elna are both listed as 36, with daughter Edna M, 15, and son George F, 7.12

By 1934 George entered into a partnership with Mr. Mueller and Mueller's Meat Market became Mueller & Rogers Foods which is how the butcher shop is listed on the 1934 Cleveland City Directory. 13

George saved every penny he could while working for Mr. Mueller. When hard times hit and the economy tanked, many customers and friends found themselves in the same position George's parents were in when George was growing up: poor, having a hard time feeding their families and close to losing their homes. George would hear about a family's trouble, go to the bank and purchase their house outright. The family would then have a place to stay without worrying about losing their home. All were extremely grateful for such generosity shown by George. Many families would eventually be able to pay George back, and when done so George returned them the deed to their house, but some never could. These homes, became rental properties for the family. George acted as landlord for these properties, managing and maintaining them over the years.


George and Edna (abt 1940)
On the 1940 census, George & family are living above the butcher shop at 9741 Lorain Road. George and Elna are listed as 46 years old, Georgie (Jr) is living with them and is 17 years old. The whole family is employed at the butcher shop. George is the butcher and is noted as working a 60 hour week, Elna is a saleslady and worked 12 hours, and Georgie is working as a delivery boy for the "retail meat market."14

Sometime around 1943 George would take all that money he saved working for Mr. Mueller, buy out his partner and officially purchase the butcher shop, changing the name to Rogers Foods.15 George would continue the partnership with Mr. Mueller keep him on as an employee until he was ready to officially retire.

In mid-late June of 1942 Georgie (Jr), now 20, ran away from home and against his family's wishes, and joined the Army on 22 Jun 1942 at Fort Benjamin in Harrison, Indiana.16 This greatly upset the family because, as member of the "food service industry", George and Georgie (Jr) were both exempt from the draft and neither were required to serve their country. The government determined that their efforts were better served at home, providing the service his family supplied to the public.

Georgie was assigned to the 91st Calvary Recon Squadron, an infantry division of the Army.17 Here he saw action in Africa and was part of the capture and occupation of Rome, Italy where he was wounded on the 10 Jan 1944.18 After Georgie's recovery he again went back into service.

On the 8 Jul 1944 Georgie and his unit were on patrol somewhere in the vicinity of Montecatini, Italy when they took small arms fire. Georgie, who had achieved the rank of Corporal by the time, was struck and killed.19 It took a long time for Georgie to be brought home and buried at the family plot at Columbia Cemetery in Columbia Station, Lorain, Ohio. Temporarily, Georgie was buried at US Military Cemetery in Follonica, Italy until his body was able to be returned home.20


George and Edna (abt 1963)
The news of Georgie's death nearly destroyed the Rogers family. George and Elna went into deep depression and were unable to do much of anything except mourn the loss of their son. If it weren't for the efforts of their daughter Edna and her husband Ralph Schnell, the family would have lost the butcher shop. Ralph quit his job as a chicken farmer and with Edna's help, the two of them took over the business' day to day operations.

The affects of Georgie's death got so bad that Ralph and Edna thought the two would never recover. They made plans and started construction on a pair of houses, side-by-side, sharing a single driveway at 19608 & 19610 Westwood Drive in Strongsville, Ohio. This was to be where George and Elna could move to and be cared for by Ralph and Edna.

This wasn't to be the case however and one day, George and Elna crawled out of their depression. While they were able to carry on, they never fully recovered. Georgie was never talked about. He became a ghost that loomed over the family, causing grief and pain at just the mention of his name. (Even some 20 odd years later, grandchildren & great grandchildren would have to discuss Georgie with Ralph or other members of the extended family if they wanted to find out about him.)

After the family got back on their feet again, George and Elna returned to working and living above the butcher shop. George worked here with his family the rest of his life, even raising his grandchildren and great grandchildren in the butcher shop.


50th Anniversary Clipping
George and Edna never moved to Strongsville.

In George's later years, the maintenance on all the properties he owned became too much for him to handle alone. George would eventually pass landlord responsibilities onto his son-in-law Ralph Schnell and they stayed in the family until the late 80's when they were sold off. By this time the neighborhoods were becoming less than desirable and the homes were of the age where there was always something that was broken and needed fixing.

George sold Rogers' Foods in 1968, retiring after 55 years as operator, according to his obituary (a newspaper noting his hire at the butcher shop marks retirement after 58 years in business).21 After retirement, George kept ownership of the building he ran the butcher shop from and rented out the storefront to other businesses. At one point the place even became the home of a florist. George and Edna continued to live above "the butcher shop" and stayed there the rest of George's life.


Rogers Family at Busch Gardens (1970)
George passed away on 12 Sep 1972 at St. John's Hospital in Cleveland. He was 78 years old.22, 23, 24

After George passed, Elna moved out of their home above the butcher shop and into an apartment in Parma, Cuyahoga, Ohio across from Parma Town Mall. Elna had always loved the idea of living in an apartment and seized the opportunity to do just that.

She would stay in those apartments for almost another 15 years until she was unable to care for herself. At that point, Elna was moved to an assisted living facility in Brunswick where she could be provided the care she needed. Her daughter Edna M. would visit her daily.

Elna lived to be 99 years old and see 3 great-great grandchildren brought into this world. She died on the 9 Jan 1993, just 8 months & 21 days shy of her 100th birthday.25, 26

Both Elna and George were buried at Columbia Center Cemetery at 13699 County Highway 60 in Columbia Station, Ohio next to their son Georgie.

Attached Images: 

FATHER:

Edvard Ferdinand Christensen, 02 Oct 1872 - ?

MOTHER:

Caroline Marie Mortensen, 12 Jan 1864 - 16 Sep 1925

SPOUSE:

George Frederick Rogers Sr., 30 Mar 1894 - 12 Sep 1972

CHILDREN:

  1. Edna Marie Rogers, 21 Jun 1914 – 22 Sep 2006
  2. George Frederick Rogers Jr., 10 Jun 1922 – 08 Jul 1944

Footnotes: 

A Edna Greshauge was born Elna Wilhelmina Mortensen. Even though Elna was know for the majority of her life as Edna Greshauge, I will continue to refer to her throughout as ELNA so as not to create any confusion between her and her daughter who was named Edna by birth. So if Elna is stated, it's the mother Edna Wilhelmina, if Edna is stated, its the daughter Edna Marie.

B There is no physical evidence found to support this, only circumstantial. Elna's mother Caroline worked in the city as a maid. This was a lifestyle which did not support raising a family or children. This was confirmed by Caroline's parents raising her children per the 1890 census in Aarestrup, 30 kilometers south of Caroline. I cannot say for certain if the children born after 1890 continued in this trend, but I've also seen no evidence to the contrary.

Locations / Farms

Sources:

1 Denmark Parish Registers, Baptism Records about Elna Vilhelmine Mortensen; Danish State Archives; Copenhagen, Denmark; Collection: Kirkebøger; Ålborg, Fleskum, Ålborg Budolfi; Book: Fødte; Date Range: 1892-1896; Scanned Image: 239; Page: 238; Entry No.: 143.

2 Denmark 1890 Census about Ane Christensen; Danish State Archives; Copenhagen, Denmark; Collection: 1890 Census; Aalborg county, Hornum parish, Aarestrup; Source entry: B1311; Record No.: 652-656.

3 New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 about Elna Mortensen; Year: 1899; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715; Microfilm Roll: 67; Line: 28; Page Number: 41.

4 1900 United States Federal Census about Petra Mortensen; Year: 1900; Census Place: Chicago Ward 31, Cook, Illinois; Roll: 285; Page: 5A; Enumeration District: 0981; FHL microfilm: 1240285.

5 1900 United States Federal Census about Edna Greshauge; Year: 1900; Census Place: Racine Ward 6, Racine, Wisconsin; Roll: 1814; Page: 17A; Enumeration District: 0044; FHL microfilm: 1241814.

6 1910 United States Federal Census about Edna Greshauge; Year: 1910; Census Place: Cleveland Ward 26, Cuyahoga, Ohio; Roll: T624_1175; Page: 16A; Enumeration District: 0363; FHL microfilm: 1375188.

7 Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Marriage Records and Indexes, 1810-1973 about Edna Greeshauge and George Rogers; Cuyahoga County Archive; Cleveland, Ohio; Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Marriage Records, 1810-1973; Volume: Vol 84-85; Page: 319; Year Range: 1913 Mar - 1913 Sep.

8 Ohio, Deaths, 1908-1932, 1938-2007 about Edna Marie Schnell; Certificate: 74478; Volume: 35456. Ohio. Division of Vital Statistics. State Archives Series 3094. Ohio Historical Society, Ohio.

9 Cleveland City Directory 1914-1915 about George Rogers; Cleveland, Cuyahoga, Ohio; Cleveland Public Library, History Department. Cuyahoga County, Ohio; Identifier: F499.C6 A17X 1914-15; Published: Cleveland Directory Co., 1914; Printed volume, 2271 pages; Page: 1355.

10 Cleveland City Directory 1921-1922 about George Rogers; Cleveland, Cuyahoga, Ohio; Cleveland Public Library, History Department. Cuyahoga County, Ohio; Identifier: F499.C6 A17X 1921; Published: Cleveland Directory Co., 1921; Printed volume, 3304 pages; Page: 2284.

11 1920 United States Federal Census about George Rogers; Year: 1920; Census Place: Cleveland Ward 1, Cuyahoga, Ohio; Roll: T625_1359; Page: 24A; Enumeration District: 8; Image: 958.

12 1930 United States Federal Census about George Rogers; Year: 1930; Census Place: Cleveland, Cuyahoga, Ohio; Roll: 1762; Page: 9B; Enumeration District: 0012; Image: 524.0; FHL microfilm: 2341496.

13 Cleveland City Directory 1934 about George Rogers; Cleveland, Cuyahoga, Ohio; Cleveland Public Library, History Department. Cuyahoga County, Ohio; Identifier: F499.C6 A17X 1934; Published: Cleveland Directory Co., 1934; Printed volume.

14 1940 United States Federal Census about George Rogers; Year: 1940; Census Place: Cleveland, Cuyahoga, Ohio; Roll: T627_3204; Page: 1B; Enumeration District: 92-48.

15 Cleveland City Directory 1946 about George Rogers; Cleveland, Cuyahoga, Ohio; Cleveland Public Library, History Department. Cuyahoga County, Ohio; Identifier: F499.C6 A17X 1946; Published: Cleveland Directory Co., 1946; Printed volume.

16 U.S. World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946 about George F Rogers of Cleveland, Ohio; Electronic Army Serial Number Merged File, 1938-1946 [Archival Database]; ARC: 1263923. World War II Army Enlistment Records; Records of the National Archives and Records Administration, Record Group 64; National Archives at College Park. College Park, Maryland, U.S.A.

17 Gravestone of Cpl. George Frederick Rogers Jr., Columbia Center Cemetery, Columbia Station, Lorain, Ohio.

18 Wounded in Action Notice for PFC. George F. Rogers Jr.; The Cleveland Plain Dealer Newspaper; Saturday, 26 Feb 1944; pg. 9; Section: Wounded.

19 War Department Details Georgie's Death; Correspondence from Robert H. Dunlop, Brigadier General at the War Department, Adjutant General's Office, Washington 25, DC to Mrs. Edna Rogers 9741 Lorain Ave., Cleveland, OH; 2 November 1944; Document held by Carol Straka, Niece of Georgie.

20 Army Service Forces of Temporary Burial, 1945; Correspondence from Mayo A. Darling, Lt. Colonel Q.M.C., Assistant at the Army Service Forces, Office of the Quartermaster General, Washington 25, DC to Mrs. Edna Rogers 9741 Lorain Ave., Cleveland, OH; 10 January 1945; Document held by Carol Straka, Niece of Georgie.

21 Obituary for George Rogers; The Cleveland Plain Dealer Newspaper; Thursday, 14 Sep 1972; pg. 9-G.

22 Ohio, Deaths, 1908-1932, 1938-2007 about George Rogers. Certificate: 067645; Volume: 21007. Ohio. Division of Vital Statistics. State Archives Series 3094. Ohio Historical Society, Ohio.

23 Death Notice for George Rogers, Sr.; The Cleveland Plain Dealer Newspaper; Thursday, 14 Sep 1972; pg 5-E.

24 U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-Current about George Rogers; Number: 288-30-8317; Issue State: Ohio; Issue Date: 1951-1952.

25 Ohio, Deaths, 1908-1932, 1938-2007 about Edna W Rogers; Certificate: 004622; Volume: 29271; Ohio. Division of Vital Statistics. State Archives Series 3094. Ohio Historical Society, Ohio.

26 U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-Current about Edna W. Rogers; Number: 278-42-8945; Issue State: Ohio; Issue Date: 1963.

* Any information here that does not have a specific source provided for it came from conversations with my family, whether that was George & Edna’s grandchildren or my mother, a great grandchild.