36 Niels Peter Georg Dornonville de la Cour

Born on 23 August 1834 on the Thimgaard farming estate to Otto August la Cour (no. 12) and Ane Cathrine la Cour, Niels Peter enrolled at the cadet academy in 1850. After his promotion to second lieutenant in 1853, he served with the First Jaeger Corps until 1861, but also in the artillery from 1 January 1860 to 10 April 1862, first in Copenhagen, then in Rendsburg.

Niels Peter married Christine Charlotte la Cour on 23 April 1862 in Dråby. Christine was born on 7 October 1836 at Skærsø manor; her parents were Lauritz Ulrik la Cour (no. 52) and Ellen Kirstine la Cour. She managed the household at Jægergården for her three elder brothers in 1853-54. At Niels Peter and Christine’s wedding, H.P. Birkedal Barfod had written a song “the toast of the newlyweds” of which the following is a translation of the first verse.

It’s such a lovely little spot
In between the high hills of Jutland,

Where the woods lightly wind around the
lake And the stork struts over in the marsh;
Where the sky’s cheerful, glad chorus of
singers Live in the gentle crowns of the beech forest,
Where woods and meadow ring
with birdsong From dawn to evening long.

When the newlyweds left Skærsø manor, on Saturday, 26 April 1862, the bride’s father, Lars la Cour, gave her a piece of paper in a wrapper with these words written on it: “You have so often pleased me by singing, but especially when you sang the song ‘Now the fair small flowers peek at each other”. I’ve written new lyrics to that melody, a little morning song you can sing, but no peeking at it until you get to your new home, and don’t show it to anyone else.” No one except his wife and a couple of their children even knew this song existed until after he died. It went like this [translated]:

Now in the east the bright, clear sun rises,
Pushing away the gloom of night;
Now my soul rises to reach its greatest goal
In thanks and praise, out above the zenith of stars.

Oh, Father of love, oh God eternally great!
Grant mercy so that I might really learn
To follow your commands in faith and
hope and love And therein to be your dear and happy child.

Oh, most beloved redeemer, who suffered death for us,
Who can ever comprehend such a heavenly goodness!
In the dust at your feet I throw myself humbly
And in praise and glory treasure your love.

Oh, Holy Spirit, dear one who often intervened for me
And touched my heart, captured my conscience,
Pour ever your strength into my soul and my mind,
That I might find my way to heavenly peace.

Oh, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, receive my worship,
My thanks for baptism and communion also,
For the words of faith in the Covenant, the upright heartbeat,
That beholds the world’s saviour in his realm.

Niels Peter served with the 6th Battalion (garrisoned in Schleswig) from 2 December 1861 to 30 September 1867 and fought in the Second Schleswig War* in 1864. Promoted to the rank of lieutenant on 28 April 1864, Niels Peter was garrisoned in Aarhus and then Viborg. From 1867 to 1873, he served with the 29th Battalion (garrisoned in Viborg). He achieved the rank of captain on 6 June 1873, serving with the 28th Battalion (garrisoned in Aarhus) from 1873 to 1876 and then with the 14th Battalion (garrisoned in Aarhus) from 1876 to 1886. He purchased Mayor Hertz’s farm in Aarhus on 24 May 1876. After being made a Knight of the Order of Dannebrog* on 28 February 1883, Niels Peter was promoted to captain in the reserves of the 33rd Battalion in 1886 and served in the infantry reinforcement until 1887. For several years, Niels Peter chaired the central Jutland chapter of an association for officers outside active service; he was president of a language club in Aarhus for a few years as well. In 1900 he drew and published a wall map of the city of Aarhus.
After selling his farm in 1899, he and his family moved to Copenhagen in October 1900. Recruited as barracks commander of the Citadel in December 1900, Niels was discharged as a colonel on 29 October 1902. In 1904, he was appointed commander of the Korsør coastal defence battery, and he and his family lived there until 1908, when they moved to Odense. Niels died on 24 July 1911 and Christine on 28 April 1913, both in Odense. (Nine children: the Thimgaard Line.)