N.P. Christensen and Maren Pederson (early settlers)

Anton Jensen and Family & NP Christensen and family, August 1917, Mud Lake
Anton Jensen and Family & NP Christensen and family, August 1917, Mud Lake

Guest blogger Bob Walter gives us some background on Eatonville’s early settlers, Pete and Maren Christensen.

N.P. (Nels “Pete”) Christensen and Maren Pedersen, both born in Denmark, met in the United States and were married in Neenah, Wisconsin in 1889. Awhile after reaching Tacoma in 1890, they walked all the way to Ohop Lake, N.P. carrying their baby, Katie, in his arms. They settled there but found they were on railroad land, so had to relocate; they moved several times before buying property in the town of Eatonville, where they remained. They raised five children, Katie, Anne (Haynes), Henry, Edward and Dan.

In 1912 Mr. Christensen bought the fledgling Mashell Telephone Company from Dye and Biggs; the Christensen family and descendents have been primary owners of the communications company ever since. It is now called Rainier Connect. There were about 30 telephones in Eatonville when he purchased the two-year-old company.

Maren Christensen
Maren Christensen

Pete Christensen was a key figure in the early days of Eatonville Schools, building the first school building with a furnace in it, then building another of the exact same design when the first one burned down barely a year after it was built. Pete was also a member of the school board that hired B.W. Lyon.

They were determined to have a school system second to none. Pete was on the school board from 1911 to 1917, and was re-elected to the board in 1936. He was a volunteer fireman and was part of the team pulling the hose cart to fires in 1920, at around 50 years of age.

Pete liked to drink one shot of whiskey each evening and smoke on his cigar. Maren sent him outside for that ritual.

5 responses to “N.P. Christensen and Maren Pederson (early settlers)”

  1. Imagine Great Great Grandpa Pete Christensen’s surprise when he won a small telephone company in a game of Pinochle. It was 1912 and Pete was a young carpenter from Denmark with a little bit of luck and the moxie to work hard. Even in the beginning we were a family business with Pete’s daughter, Annie Christensen Haynes, working long hours at the small, wooden, Kellogg switchboard that could handle up to 10 calls. We began our family business by gaining the trust of our local customers by simply providing rural Eatonville customers reliable telephone service.

    In 1919, Henry Christensen purchased the Mashell Telephone and Telegraph Company from his father Pete and assumed leadership. In 1929, Henry moved to Olympia and Pete’s younger son Dan took the reins. Dan passed away suddenly in 1954 and leadership of the company was given to Pete’s grandson, Arne Haynes.


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