My Family

        My aunt Christa wrote these details some years ago,
for my american cousins!

Click on links to see photos added by me!

Niels Herborg Pedersen


Niels Herborg Pedersen, our ancestor, was born in 1887, August 19th, at Troldhede in the parish of Nørre Vium.

He was one of seven children, four sons and three daughters: Anders, Peder, Niels, Knud, Ida, Jensigne, and Christiane. His parents were Mette Pedersen, born Andersen, and Karsten Pedersen, a smallholder and village postman. Only Niels was also christened Herborg, probably because his father's mail route was close to the village Herborg.

As a young man Niels served his apprenticeship with a master painter Hansen at Troldhede. Niels would rather do woodwork, but was told that he was too tiny to become a cabinetmaker or a joiner!

As a skilled painter he was hired by the master painter at Bramminge where he took part in painting the new home in Ribe for the mentally deficient. He went to Haslev folk high school in Sjælland, too.

In 1907-08. About 1914 he went to Skjern where he married Karen Anine, called Ninna Bødker (: Cooper) because her father, Søren Chr. Pedersen, was a concreter and a cooper. They were married in 1915, September 17th, in the nonconformist chapel on Kjærs-Alle, as the church was under repair.

Herborg - as he was called by Ninna as well as by neighbours and customers - was among the first painters to establish a workshop at Skjern. He began in a shack on Skolegade, entered into partnership with painter Rostrup on Mellemvej, and later he built his workshop on Nylandsvej where he entered into partnership with painter M. Hansen. The company had no telephone, so the customers had to go to the workshop or to contact mother Ninna in their private residence.

The Herborg couple had already moved from Bredgade to Østergade and to Skolegade when in the late twenties they built a house on Kjærs-Alle 14. Over the years six children were born, Svend in 1916, Lis in 1919, Ella in 1925, Meta in 1928, Christa in 1929, and Agnes in 1933.

The company was busy from the very start. Painted bedroom fumiture was fashion, so from Emil Jensen, the carpenter, one handcart after another arrived with bedroom suites. The dairy also sent its milk floats for a white or cream-colored coating, and Herborg especially was called for to whitewash ceilings. He was praised for his ability to work without spattering floors or walls, practical indeed before the invention of plastic covering.

When a new building had been painted and papered, it was properly cleaned and we, the painter' s daughters, were entrusted with scrubbing the floors for vanishing.

The painter's bills were not always paid cash, so we had accounts with the grocers and retailers who granted us credit until our debts were recovered.

Herborg worked outside, too, and once he fell off the ladder from a height of the third floor of photographer Graversen's house. Nevertheless, he refused to go by the ambulance to the hospital, he crept home and just stayed in bed for a week or so.

Most of his limited free time in the evenings and weekends he would spend in his allotment in the orchard. He was very interested in fruit growing. During the German occupation of Denmark he had to make a long detour because the Germans had digged trenches around the town, and I had to go to the SS-office for an "ausweiss" for him so that he could have access to his garden.

He was very generous, and we were often sent to neighbours and friends with a bag of apples or a bunch of dahlias. On Sundays he would take us to the garden or on a drive, if not for a tour then for a trip to Tarm and back. We went to many Christmas parties for children, since he was a member of the church guild, the trade guild, and the local society of citizens. Besides, he was a member of the Liberal party' s political association.

Herborg was very handy with tools, and over the years he did a lot of woodwork for us, such as bedroom furniture, dolls' houses, a cowbarn with hayloft, a caravan with bunks for the dolls, sleds, skis, stilts, swings, children' s bureaus, bookcases, and, last but not least, a lovely summerhouse in the allotment with a cellar for fruits.

In winter evenings he would play the accordion for us, old melodies such as "Se, nu danser bedstefar" and "Det er rokken, der spinder i stuen". He was also a kind companion to church when we went to confirmations classes.

Our father took on the task of cutting our hair, too, i.e. till we reached the school age. However, once when we were sent to Karen Thomsen on Skolegade to be fine for a Christmas party. She asked us who had last cut our hair. When told that our father was responsible she told us to give him her regards and her opinion that he was a better painter than a hairdresser!

Our father was not a great talker, but a good and gentle father of the family, well liked by everybody who knew him in the trade and privately.

He died of cancer in 1957, June 1st, was buried four days later, the Danish Constitution Day, so he missed a celebration of his 70th birthday which would have been a few months later.

Christa Herborg

Certificate of baptism - Note! wrong date of birth, it is 1887, August 19th.!
Also note, that in these days certificates was all in handwriting!