Biography of Terkel Jensen

Terkel Jensen. Few business men in Southern Kansas have a better record of substantial accomplishment than Terkel Jensen, who had been successfully identified with the wholesale produce business in this state for more than a quarter of a century, and is president of the Emporia Ice and Cold Storage Company, a large enterprise which is a direct outgrowth of his extensive operations as a produce commission man.

Mr. Jensen came to Kansas in 1889, and since that date had had his home in Emporia. He had been in this country only 2½ years, but he had the energy, the ability and the push which make a successful American, and he had been steadily enlarging the field of his operatioons until he and his associates now conduct plants at Emporia, McPherson, Marion, Eureka and Madison. The plant at Emporia is situated at 212 Commercial Street. About nine years ago, in order to furnish better facilities for the handling of produce there was organized the Emporia Ice and Cold Storage Company, which had a large plant at the corner of Third Avenue and Commercial Street.

Terkel Jensen is a native of Denmark, born August 18, 1863, in that province known as Schleswig-Holstein, which at that time was a part of Denmark but which soon afterward was wrested away in the war with Germany and is now part of the German Empire. His father, C. Jensen, was born in the same locality in 1832 and died there in 1880. He fought as one of the Danish king’s body guard in the war with Germany in 1864. His business was that of a dealer in horses and cattle, and he operated on a large scale. He and his family were members of the Lutheran Church, and in that faith Terkel Jensen was reared. C. Jensen married Marion Therkelsen, who was born in Schleswig-Holstein in 1841 and died in 1913. A record of their children is: Catherine, who died in the old country; Terkel; Peter, who is in partnership with his brother Terkel at Emporia and is vice president of the Emporia Ice and Cold Storage Company: C. Jensen, also one of the partners and manager of the company’s house at McPherson; Christine, wife of Jens Otte, proprietor of a creamery in Schleswig-Holstein; and Mary, wife of Jens Christiansen, a merchant in Schleswig-Holstein. At the last accounts both Mr. Otte and Mr. Christiansen were fighting for Germany in the Imperial army.

Terkel Jensen gained his early education in the public schools of Schleswig-Holstein and spent one year in the more typically German parts of the empire in order to learn the language. He then took up the horse and cattle business, but in 1886, at the age of twenty-three came to the United States. For 2½ years he worked on the farm of his uncle, J. P. Therkelsen, at Lake View, Iowa. After that experience he moved to Emporia, where his business career had been briefly described. Mr. Jensen is also a director in the Emporia National Bank and in the Mutual Loan Association.

He had not only made himself a factor in business life of Kansas, but also in public affairs. In 1903 and again in 1913 he served as representative from his home county in the State Legislature, serving on the assessment and taxation, the cities of second class and other important committees. He is a democrat in politics. He is a member and for a number of years was treasurer of the Emporia Commercial Club. He also belongs to Emporia Lodge No. 633 of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks.

In 1894, at Emporia, Mr. Jensen married Miss Frances Perrear, a daughter of John Perrear, a retired citizen of Emporia. Their nine children are: John, who is taking the business course in the State Normal School at Emporia; Bernard Francis, a freshman in the University of Kansas; Ernest, a sophomore in the Emporia High School; Catherine, Emma, Jennie, Marguerite, Louise and Helen, all of whom are attending the parochial schools of the Lutheran Church.



Connelley, William E. A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans. Chicago : Lewis, 1918. 5v. Biographies can be accessed from this page: Kansas and Kansans Biographies.

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