Guide to the Gabriel Aanensen Fedde Autobiography, 1912-1914  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Gabriel Aanensen Fedde and Gabriel Bernhard Fedde
Guide to the Gabriel Aanensen Fedde Autobiography
1912-1914 (inclusive)
1 File (1 folder)
Collection Number
This manuscript is an autobiography written by Gabriel Aanensen Fedde who was born in Fedde, Norway, in 1843. In 1881 he immigrated to New York. He died in 1917 at age seventy-four.
Pacific Lutheran University, Archives and Special Collections
Archives and Special Collections
Pacific Lutheran University
12180 Park Avenue South
Tacoma, Washington
Telephone: 253-535-7586
Fax: 253-535-7315
Access Restrictions

This collection is available for research.


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Gabriel Aanensen Fedde was born in Fedde, Norway, on 10 January 1843. His father was a carpenter, house builder, and for awhile, a sawyer. Work was unsteady, however, and the family was poor. Gabriel had five siblings. He learned to read and write and memorized Luther’s catechism, or, the “Explanation.” He went to school, but sometimes had to skip to help his father at work. He was confirmed about age fourteen during which he was sick with typhoid. After his recovery, he went to higher common school on a scholarship of ten dollars quarterly. The second school year he was converted and saved. He graduated from higher common school in 1859. His passion was to teach, but, in need of money, he took a job at the post office. Later, in 1860, he was able to get a teaching job near Lillesand, Norway. He eventually saved enough to go to seminary at Holt Seminary and graduated valedictorian. He again taught at a school in Lillesand. Gabriel was married in 1866 to Birgitte Stiansen. She died from an outbreak of nerve fever after giving birth to their first child. The child also later died an infant. Gabriel resigned from his teaching post and took to the sea. In the spring of 1868 he signed on with his brother-in-law, who skippered the Syria. He eventually became First Mate and then Skipper. He got his skipper certificate on 10 June 1874 and was put in charge of Syria to sail to Skellefteå to load timber for Antwerp. On the way back the ship sank and the crew had to bail out. He then skippered the Eros. He was married again in the summer of 1875 to Anne Marie Elene Andreasdatter. He continued to sail. In 1881 he decided to head West to America. He received money from his captain and was able to sail to New York where he tried to do business with the Norwegian sail-ship captains. In 1881 he and another ex-captain went into business together. Gabriel’s wife and two young boys (ages two and four) joined him in New York that summer. The partnership ended and he continued with his own ship-chandlery business which became lucrative when his biggest competitor went out of business. They were able to buy a house and had a grocery store added on. His sons did well in school and all earned university diplomas. Around 1895 the sail-ship traffic was low and the grocery business had fallen off. He therefore gave up his business and began building barges with a carpenter from their congregation. He did this for twelve years, building about fifty barges as well as making repairs. With the Panic of 1907, he quit at age sixty-four and worked to become debt-free. He died on 23 February 1917 at age seventy-four.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

This manuscript is an 85 page autobiography written by Gabriel Aanensen Fedde and translated and annotated by his grandson, Gabriel Bernhard Fedde. Fedde discusses his childhood in Norway, his schooling and helping his father out with work. He also discusses his faith and conversion experience and his studies at seminary and teaching jobs. The manuscript includes portions of Gabriel’s journal from his sailing days. He discusses his life in New York as a businessman. Other chapters include information about Norwegian Church life in Brooklyn, a discussion of the Separatists and Perfectionists movements in New York, breaks with the Synod Pastor, struggles with the Labor Unions, Norwegian deaconness activity in Brooklyn, and an epilogue by Gabriel’s grandson, Gabriel Bernhard Fedde. There is also information from the register of the ships Syria and Kepha that Gabriel was on and information about the city of Fedde, Norway.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

Property rights reside with Archives and Special Collections Department at Pacific Lutheran University. Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs. All requests for permission to publish or quote from (the collection) must be submitted to the University Archivist. The reader must also obtain permission from the copyright holder.

Preferred Citation

Gabriel Aanensen Fedde Autobiography, SIEmss_127, Archives and Special Collections, Pacific Lutheran University, 12180 Park Avenue South, Tacoma, WA 98447

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Lutherans
  • Norway--Emigration and immigration
  • Norwegian Americans
  • Religion
  • Ships
  • Personal Names :
  • Fedde, Adolf Samuel
  • Fedde, Anne Marie Elene Adreasdatter
  • Fedde, Bernhard Andreas
  • Fedde, Gabriel Aanensen
  • Fedde, Gabriel Bernhard
  • Fedde, Nathanael
  • Pické, C.L.C.W.
  • Stiansen, Brigitte
  • Corporate Names :
  • Holt Seminary (Norway)
  • Family Names :
  • Fedde family
  • Geographical Names :
  • New York (N.Y.)
  • Norway
  • Vest-Agder fylke (Norway)
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • Autobiographies
  • Essays
  • Family histories
  • Occupations :
  • Sailors
  • Teachers
  • Titles within the Collection :
  • Pennestrøg-Oplevelser