Mathea's Baptism Record (1831)Mathea Gulliksdatter Loe was born on 21 Mar 1831 at Loe farm in Konnerud, Vestfold, Norway to carpenter Gullik Petersen Loe and his wife Maren Christensdatter Wear. She was baptized on 09 Apr 1831 in Skoger Church. (A part of the county of Vestfold at the time, Skoger became a part of Buskerud county in 1964 when it was incorporated into the city of Drammen).6
For the first two years of her life Mathea lived with her parents on the Loe farm in what is now the town of Konnerud (frequently noted as being under Eikholt farm*). Family lore says following a gambling incident (discussed more in Gullik's biography), Gullik lost the family farm and had to move. The family story states that supposedly they spent a short amount of time at Bogen under Hov Farm in Hurum after losing the home. In November 1833, Mathea's father Gullik purchased Sondre Myhre Farm with help from his mother-in-law and relocated the family to Svelvik.
Mathea grew up at Myhre (also written as Myre) farm in Strommen, Vestfold, Norway (now Svelvik) with her older siblings Petronelle and Christian, and younger siblings Emanuel, Ingebor, and Gustavus. She was confirmed on the 20 Sep 1846 at the age of 15.
On the 29 Feb 1856, about a month before Mathea's 25th birthday, her father Gullik passed away at Myhre farm at the age of 62.
The following year, a young sailor named Christoffer Christensen relocated to the Myhre farm from his hometown of Sande and Mathea took a liking to him. By the end of September, the couple were engaged and church announcements of the impending marriage were made 27 Sep, 4 Oct and 11 Oct. The ceremony took place on 19 Nov 1857, where Mathea Gulliksdatter Loe married Christoffer Christensen at the Stromm Church in Svelvik, Vestfold, Norway. After marriage, the couple would continue to live on the Myhre farm.7
In 1859, Christopher had saved enough money that he was able to purchase Olaus Hellum’s house in Svelvik for $200 kroner (Norwegian currency). It was a small, yellow-painted one-story house with a kitchen, chimney, and a living room on one side and a long, narrow, yet small room on the other.8
Marriage of Mathea and Christoffer (1857)In 1865, the family consisted of Christopher, Mathea, 3 sons, and a lodger, who possibly sailed with Christoffer. They were living at farm 19a in Svelvik. Christoffer was working as a sailor and son Carl recalls “he was almost always at sea, often on long trips for 2 to 3 years. My father was an ordinary sailor (seaman, boatswain, and to some extent a sailmaker)... ".9
Christoffer Christensen died on 25 Oct 1878 at the age of 50. While working aboard the ship “Chatham” headed by ship captain Knudsen, Christoffer contracted yellow fever and never recovered. A telegram of Christopher's death was sent from Brest, France to the family parish priest. He was buried on 26 Oct 1878, the funeral was carried out by his Chatham shipmates on the Atlantic where his body was buried at sea.10
Death & Burial of Mathea (1905)In 1887, the great fire of Svelvik blazed through the southern part of the small coastal town. 52 houses were destroyed and more than 80 families lost their houses. One of the houses that burned to the ground was the house that Mathea and family had been living in for the last 18+ years.B
It was around this time that Mathea adopted the Christoffersen last name that her family was using in a transition away from the old world patronymic surname system at the request of the Norwegian government.C
Later in her life, Mathea had her own bakery business and enjoyed baking a unique type of sourdough bread from her house 19a on Storgaten where she was living with son Gustav Nikolai (now Christoffersen).11 Her son Carl said that the bread was very well received and enjoyed by the residents of Svelvik.
Mathea died of stomach cancer on 06 Apr 1905 at the age of 74 in Svelvik, Vestfold, Norway. She was buried five days later on 11 Apr 1905.12
Gullik Petersen Loe, 26 Jan 1794 - 29 Feb 1856
Maren Christensdatter Wear, 26 Oct 1800 - 17 Dec 1869
Christoffer Christensen Orhus, 19 May 1828 - 25 Oct 1878
- Gustava Josephine Christoffersdatter, 11 Aug 1858 – 11 Dec 1860
- Cornelius Christoffersen, 16 Sep 1860 – 28 Sep 1927
- John Emmanuel Christoffersen, 04 May 1863 – 15 May 1928
- Carl Marinius Christoffersen, 07 Oct 1865 – Jun 1949
- Gustav Nikolai Christoffersen, 30 Aug 1870 – 05 Apr 1942
* This is not entirely accurate as the Loe property was originally part of properties owned by Mathea's grandfather called Veierud & Knatholt. The Loe property was gifted to her father Gullik by his father. While Eikholt surrounded the family property, Gullik did not lease the Loe property from Eikholt as is usually the case with having a farm noted as being under another. While not confirmed, it's likely that the massive size of Eikholt farm and the growing number of houses within the borders of the original farmland had priests documenting the area more like you would a township or county than Gullik actually living on the farm itself. This answers the questions that arise from the many records stating Gullik was under Eikholt when we know he was at Loe which he owned.
B THE GREAT FIRE OF SVELVIK IN 1887 (as documented by the Svelviksposten Newspaper in Svelvik, Norway)
Fire Disaster in 1887 - Most wooden towns of Norway and beyond have been haunted by major fires throughout the ages, leaving large parts of the said towns in ashes, and Svelvik was no exception. On the night between 25th and 26th June 1887, after a prolonged drought, a storm raged from the north in the evening on June 25 when a fire broke out in cadastral (property/house) #49. Factory owner Antzèe was one of the first scene of the fire, but even after strenuously effort with the help of others, he was unable to extinguish the fire. Stretched out fire sails and fire equipment were deployed, but the strong wind spread the fire to both sides of the street pretty fast. A call for help was sent to both Drammen and Holmsbu, but this did not succeed. With insufficient help and means for the few fighters present to extinguish the fire, the damage became catastrophic. On the next morning of the 26th of June, bare pipes towered from the 52 burnt houses, while Antzèes and Brinch shipyards also went up in flames. The fire department had few firefighters available to man the hoses, because the fire raged during peak shipping season and all the sailor boys were at sea, also part of fire equipment was in sub-par condition.
C In Norway, women adopting their husband's surname wasn't a common practice until the late 1800's. and a law wasn't enacted until 1923 requiring that all families have a single, heritable surname. Mathea was only listed as Christensen on the 1865 census and then Kristoffersen after her husband died (per 1885 census and her church burial record). Whether this was a conscious decision on Mathea's part honoring her late husband or just a change made by officials on paperwork referencing her family is unknown for certain. Either way it was around this time that all documentation stopped calling her Mathea Gulliksdatter and started referring to her as Mathea Kristoffersen, født (born) Loe.