The strong, independent Charlotte Rose

Sometimes one comes across women in the family tree, which has performed outstanding despite obstacles in life. Such a woman was Charlotte Cathrine Christine Rose born October 22nd 1788 in Copenhagen. She was - as many locals was then - the daughter of German-born parents. Johan Rose was born around 1742 in Hessen and married Anne Dorthea Dreisse born around 1751. They had a large family of nine, of which Charlotte was the eighth in the herd.

In 1787 the couple lived on Gothersgade 216 in Copenhagen with seven of the children, and Johan was a musketeer at the royal regiment, 2nd bataillon under Captain Cruy's company. It must have been a very good environment to grow up in for the young Charlotte, but at some point between 1787 and 1801 - during Charlotte's childhood - Johan had quit the military and instead becomed a publican. It may have been of need, if he had been fired, but I don't know the reason. It has given Charlotte a completely different environment to grow up in, but the family held together. All family members were baptized and confirmated in the German Reformed Church in Copenhagen - possibly the parents were also married there. In 1802 it was Charlotte's turn to confirmation, and this at the age of 14, where the young girls usually came out to work a couple of years before after the teens were married well off. For Charlotte, it went differently.

Charlotte's older brother Johan Heinrich (b. 1775) was a sailor in the navy, and her brother Carl Friederich (b. 1780) was a tambour. At the same time, the bachelor Friederich Andersen Espensen Bloch (b. 1785) had become a carpenter in the navy and probably good friends with Johan Heinrich - both of German descent. The families lived on either side of the King's Garden, as Charlotte has undoubtedly met Friederich through his older brother and gone on romantic promenades through the garden, which was common philandering at the time. It is certain at least that she became pregnant and that they managed to get married in September 1803 - just two months before she gave birth to their son Johan Andreas on December 4th 1803. At that time, Friederich was 18 and Charlotte just 15 years old! To serve as a young girl in the house was not her destiny. Instead, between 1803-1820 she gave birth to no less than 10 children in the happy marriage.

Between 1801 and 1834 there were not held any censuses in Denmark, but via Nyboder Housebooks for the military at the National Archives, I have been able to find information on family matters. They lived among others in Hindegaden and Ulvegade 25 and moved to Elsdyrgaden in 1816. Friederich lived there until his death which happened already on May 6th 1838, so Charlotte was a widow until her death in 1855. However, she had not been living with her husband for some years. She moved with the daughter Agathe to Caninlængen 1832 just a few meters from him. It is not for me to say why she did this, but I can see that the other children have left home before that, and she moves when she has the means to support her only remaining child. Perhaps she has been thinking about it for years but did not want to leave her children behind. She has not had a safety net from home since her father, John Rose, died in 1815 as a pauper with this testament:

"Anno 1815 on February 11th ... for dividings after pauper and former laborer Johan Rose, who died the 9th this month. The deceased's widow Anne Dorthea Marie was present and stated that the deceased leaves 4 fathered children: 1 son Henrich painter; 1 son Carl Rose, shoemaker by profession and here present; 1 son Johan carpenter at Holmen; and a daughter Charlotte Amalia married carpenter Friderich Block at Holmen. She indicated together with the present ... that estate nothing is worth that the Registration and Evaluation ... as the deceased and the widow ... logeret at be ... their son, and as so nothing was to take during treatment so the business was hereby closed."

How then, did Charlotte get by in a man's society in the 1800s? The children left home, and in the census of 1840, she is listed as a fisherman's wife, as she was starting to make a living of her own and staying as a renter in the house of bachelor ans constable Peter Unger. He had previously been a renter on Elsdyrgaden at Friederich and Charlotte, and therefore he felt that he owed her to reciprocate the hospitality. Furthermore lived a foster child "Thora Camilla" on the address, possibly one that Charlotte had taken in herself. In 1845 and 1850 she still lived with Peter Unger, but further up the street. She was still a fisherwoman, and by judging by period paintings of fisherwomen at Gammel Strand in Copenhagen, it had been hard work. In 1845 Thora is not mentioned, but in 1850, she lives again as a foster child in the house of the two friends - 14 years old. For a fisherwoman life was hard with lots to do. These women were also called "shrimp females" and "skovserhoveder" (since many came from fishermen in Skovshoved). The women could be recognized by their distinctive white headgear, which in the winters was pulled down low over their heads, while the dress was stopped out with isolating newspapers. In Charlotte's time, the majority of the catch, however, was eaten in the fishing communities themselves, as the market did not grow before the turn of the century. Despite these conditions, she lived as a fisherwoman until her death on October 16th 1855 from a brain haemorrhage and was buried in Holmen's Churchyard - now as true Dane.

She was a strong woman, whom I and several descendants believe that we can be proud to be descendants of!