Mr Niels Rasmus Jensen 1, was born on 13 February 1864 in Hårslev, Odense, Denmark, the son of a butcher, Lars Peder Jensen and wife Ane Margrethe Jensen. He was baptised on 16 May 1864 in Hårslev parish, Odense County in the Church of Denmark tradition.
His parents were Lars Peder, a master butcher b. 30 July 1832 at Simmerbölle, Svendborg, and Ane Margrethe (nee Pedersen; b. 19 August 1837 at Svendborg) Jensen. His parents had married 21 February 1862 at Simmerbölle in the Church of Denmark tradition. His known brothers and sisters were Marie Katrine, b. 22 July 1862 at Haarslev, Maren Birgitte, b. 24 April 1866 at Haarslev, Hans Kristian, b. 30 March 1870 at Haarslev, Laurine Martine, b. 6 November 1879 at Haarslev, and Mads Peder Marius, b. 8 October 1882 at Ubberud, Odense.1
In 1887, when he was 23, Niels had a daughter Julie Margrethe Olsen, he was not married to her mother Hansine Marie Olsen. Before Margrethe was born Niels emigrated to Portland, Oregon. Perhaps he was compelled to leave the area, or possibly the ambitious carpenter and coachbuilder simply sought a better life attracted by the large forests, expanding industry and population in the Oregon town where many other Scandinavians had settled.
Niels' mother was widowed in 1894 and lived in Søllinge near Svendborg, Denmark. Niels did not return home until 1908. He stayed with his brother, butcher Hans Christian Jensen in Eskildstrup, Odense County and took the opportunity to be united with his daughter, Margrethe whom he had not seen since he emigrated 21 years earlier.
At the time, Margrethe was living with her mother Marie in Uhre, Hover parish, Jutland. Marie had married in 1887, and Margrethe had 5 step siblings. She also had a boyfriend, Georg Vilhelm Gertsen, from Lemvig. But apparently they were not on good terms at the time and Margrethe decided to go return to Portland with her father. In Portland Margrethe found work as a housemaid and Niels resumed his old work as a carpenter making ladders. Sometime later the boyfriend Georg decided to leave Denmark to work in Europe as a coachbuilder and ended up living in Paris.
Niels Jenson and his daughter in Portland c. 1910
George's sister, Marie, meanwhile had kept in touch with both George and Margrethe and after 3 years apart managed to reconcile them. In 1911 Margrethe left Portland to travel to Paris, where she met George once again. They would marry in Denmark on the 23rd December 1911, Margrethe’s birthday. The wedding took place in the church at Hover where Margrethe’s now widowed mother was living. Niels decided to return to Denmark for the wedding but although he made the transatlantic crossing it seems that the Margrethe's mother Hansine Olsen, may have objected to Niels Rasmus Jensen’s involvement and prevented him attending.
Niels initially planned to remain in Denmark and start a new life using the money he had earned in America. After the wedding he visited his daughter and son-in-law, who were now living in Lemvig. Whilst there Niels sought to persuade George to start his own coachbuilding firm. For some reason this plan did not succeed and Niels ultimately chose to return to America. His nephew and niece, Svend Jensen and Karla Andersen and her boyfriend Hans Jensen decided to go with him.
The group left on 6 April from Pederstrup Station via Esbjerg – Harwich to Southampton. They boarded the Titanic on 10 April as 3rd class passengers.
Niels died in the disaster, his body was never found.
The Daily Telegraph Fund gave his mother £20 and the Mansion House Fund paid £60.