The history of Soren Frandsen is an illustration of the fact that it is under the pressure of necessity and the stimulus of opposition that the best and strongest in men is brought out and developed. Thrown upon his own resources at an early age, coming to America empty-handed and handicapped with a lack of knowledge of the language and customs of the people, he has nevertheless worked his way steadily upward and is today treasurer and general manager of the Ferguson Mercantile Company of Rawlins, which owns and conducts the largest mercantile house of western Wyoming. His record should serve to inspire and encourage others, showing what may be accomplished through determined effort when guided by sound judgment.
He was born in Esbjerg, Denmark, February 13, 1867. His father, Hans Clausen, was likewise a native of Denmark, where he spent his entire life, there following the occupation of farming. He was active in political affairs and exerted considerable influence over civic progress. He died in 1879, at the age of sixty-three years, while his wife, who bore the maiden name of Katrina Lauridsen, and was also born in Denmark, passed away in 1905, being at the time seventy-eight years of age.
Soren Frandsen was the eighth in order of birth in a family of nine children. In his native country he acquired a public school education and when a youth of nine years started out to earn his own livelihood. His early life was spent upon the home farm and in 1886, when a youth of nineteen, he bade adieu to friends and native country and sailed for the new world. After landing on American shores he made his way direct to Wyoming, arriving at Rawlins on the 25th of April, 1886. He was at the time a comparative stranger. His first employment was in the shops of the Union Pacific Railroad Company at Rawlins, his position being in the car department. He remained with the railroad company for about eight years or until 1894, when he resigned his position and became connected with commercial pursuits as an employe of P. Paulsen, a pioneer grocer, whose employ he entered as a delivery man. While there working he learned all branches of merchandising and the principles upon which this business is based, continuing in the service of Mr. Paulsen for four years. The latter then sold out the business to H. Hansen, who retained Mr. Frandsen in his service, the latter remaining an employe of Mr. Hansen for five years. He then took charge of the interests of the Cullen Commercial Company, general merchants, with whom he remained for four years, and on the expiration of that period he purchased the business of the Keefe Grocery Company of Rawlins. After conducting the business independently for about six months he incorporated his interests under the name of the Ferguson Mercantile Company, Mr. Frandsen becoming a stockholder and the general manager of the business, which was incorporated on the 6th of August, 1907. The president of the company was James Ferguson, now deceased, while James Hansen became the vice president, Soren Frandsen treasurer and general manager, and Charles H. Anderson secretary. The business was begun in a comparatively small way but is today the largest general mercantile concern in western Wyoming. They employ more than twenty people and their store covers a floor space of one hundred and thirty by one hundred and thirty feet. They carry an extensive and well selected line and the attractiveness of their stock, combined with their reasonable prices and thoroughly reliable business methods have succeeded in bringing to the company a continually growing success.
On the 30th of September, 1892, in Rawlins, Mr. Frandsen was united in marriage to Miss Anna Mortensen, a native of Denmark and a daughter of Laust and Christina Mortensen, both of whom have now passed away. Mr. and Mrs. Frandsen have become parents of two daughters: Katrina, who was born in Rawlins, November 22, 1894: and Christina, who was born in Rawlins, April 6, 1896. Five years after coming to America, Mr. Frandsen returned to Denmark to claim his bride and ten years later he and his family spent four months abroad, visiting the old home and the friends of his youth.
In community affairs Mr. Frandsen has ever taken a deep and abiding interest and he has served for the past six years as school trustee. For three years he was also a member of the city council, his term expiring on the 31st of December, 1916. He exercised his official prerogatives in support of many well devised plans and projects for the general good and always carefully studied the questions and issues affecting the welfare and progress of his community and his state. In politics he has always been a stalwart republican since becoming a naturalized American citizen and he has done much to further high civic standards. Fraternally he is connected with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks and he has membership in the Danish Brotherhood, of which he was one of the organizers, serving for twenty years as its treasurer. He belongs to the Methodist Episcopal church and his religious faith has been a dominant element in his life, guiding him in all his relations with his fellowmen.
His record is indicative of the opportunities offered to the foreign-born citizen in the new world, and his success is due to his own efforts and perseverance. Working his way upward, he has advanced step by step, wisely utilizing his opportunities and his talents, and he has never had occasion to regret his determination to come to the United States, to which he pledged his loyalty on crossing the Atlantic and of which he has ever been a faithful champion.