Biography of Jens J. Clausen

Jens J. Clausen, a progressive and successful stock and ranch man of Garfield county, who is now living in the city of Rifle, and who through hard knocks and diligent toil well applied has risen to consequence and won a substantial estate, is a native of Slesvig, Denmark, now a part of Germany. He was born on August 20, 1843, where his parents, Jens and Marelane (Raven) Clausen, were also born and reared, and where after long and useful lives, they were laid to rest in their natal soil, the mother dying in 1848 and the father in 1887. The father followed various occupations and both were devoted members of the Lutheran church. Two children were born to them, a daughter Christina, who died in early life, and their son Jens, the subject of this review, who is now the only survivor of the family. He received a common-school education and at the age of twelve became the builder of his own fortunes, beginning to earn his living by working on farms in the vicinity of his home, and doing whatever else his hand found to do, and doing all faithfully and with close attention to every demand of duty. In 1882 he emigrated to the United States, arriving in Colorado on March 27th, and stopping for a period of six weeks at Fairplay. From there he moved to Ashcroft, where he passed a month, and then located on the ranch of one hundred and sixty acres now owned and occupied by Joseph Luxem, which he pre-empted, some time later taking up forty acres additional. The country was very wild and its population was scant, Mr. Clausen’s nearest neighbor being George Yule, who lived at a distance of twenty-five miles from him. To this point Mr. Clausen brought the first wagon over the Indian trail from Fourmile, being accompanied on the trip by Mr. Starkey and the late Charles Kelma, and, aided by them and his wife, he built the first road in this neighborhood. There was nothing growing on the land for many miles around but wild brush, and the road makers were seriously handicapped for tools, having but one pick and two shovels. They were occupied two months in building the road, and then it was necessarily incomplete and somewhat rude, but it was a great improvement in the section for that time and proved very serviceable to themselves and later settlers. Mr. Clausen then devoted his energies to the improvement of his ranch, during the first two years of his residence on it selling its products at Aspen, seventy-five miles away. Later he turned his attention to raising cattle, in which he has been successful from the start. He had no money when he came to this part of the state, and he was confronted with difficulties in every enterprise he started. But by hard work, frugal living and continued shrewdness in business he has made gratifying progress and has become one of the substantial and influential men of the region. He is a stanch Republican in politics and gives his party loyal and effective service on all occasions. On May 24, 1866, he was married to Miss Augusta Fredericks Erhard, a native of Lygomskloster and daughter of August F. and Christina (Apel) Erhard, the former born at Brunswick and the latter at Lygomskloster, Germany. The father was a tanner and prospered at the business. Both parents were members of the Lutheran church. They had a family of ten children, but four of whom are living, Anna M., wife of August Steinberg, of Chicago; Mrs. Clausen; Augusta, living at home; and George H., of Washington, Utah. The father died on September 28, 1840, and the mother on June 11, 1893. Mr. and Mrs. Clausen belong to the Lutheran church. Mrs. Clausen was one of the first white women to settle in Garfield county.

Source: Bowen, A. W. Progressive Men of Western Colorado. Chicago: A. W. Bowen & Co., Publishers. 1905.

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