Featured Artifact — Horse-Drawn Cutter

25 Jan 2022 1:53 PM | Anonymous

Christen Pedersen (b. 1865—d. 1945) emigrated from Denmark to America in 1888 at the age of 23. Seven years later on April 18, 1894 Christen Pedersen married another Danish immigrant, Marie Lauritsen (b. 1873—d. 1953).

Marie was born to parents Eli Lauritsen (b. 1843) and Karen Hansen (b. 1845) in Tranderup Kirke, Denmark. Marie immigrated to America in 1890 at the age of 17 with her family. The family moved to Shelby County, where Christen and Marie met.

After their marriage, Christen and Marie had four children: Miller (b. 1895), Eli (b. 1898), William (b. 1900), and Rose (b. 1909). The family farmed in Jackson Township located in eastern Shelby County. To help transport the family during Iowa winters Christen Pedersen built this horse-drawn cutter in the 1890s. A cutter is a lightweight, open sleigh. Most cutters only had one seat that would hold two people; however, the Pedersen's needed more room in their sleigh so everyone could ride at the same time.

The family hired George Jensen, a Danish immigrant, in 1920 to help with daily activities on the farm. Rose and George fell in love and got married on August 11, 1936. George donated the handmade sleigh to the Shelby County Historical Museum in the 1970s.

This 135 year old horse-drawn cutter is still being used! Christen Pedersen had no idea when he made this sleigh that it would be a highlight of a holiday event, but we are glad that it is! At Santa in the Cabins visitors were able to take family pictures in the cutter.

The Shelby County Historical Museum is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization founded in 1964. This four building complex is located at 1805 Morse Avenue Harlan, Iowa 51537.

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