67 Dorothea Siegumfeldt (née la Cour)

Born on 4 October 1834 at Skærsø manor, Dorthea was a daughter of Lauritz Ulrik la Cour (no. 52) and Ellen Kirstine la Cour. For a number of years, she studied with her uncle Peter (no. 53), with whom she also spent the winter before her church confirmation in 1849. In 1852-53, she managed the Skærsø household while her father worked on a construction project and her mother, whose health was fragile, stayed with Dorthea’s siblings in Aarhus.

Dorthea married Markus Anton Siegumfeldt in Dråby on 25 September 1860. Born on 14 January 1827 in Aarhus, Markus was a son of Lieutenant Christian Anton Siegumfeldt, a tobacco spinner and later a customs assistant in Ebeltoft, Hjelmdrop. After graduating at the upper secondary level from the Aarhus school in 1846, Markus volunteered as a soldier in 1848 for the First Schleswig War*, as a conscript from 1850, and fought in the Battle of Isted. Having earned a master’s degree in theology in 1855, he worked first as a teacher and then a journalist with the newspaper Dagbladet. Markus became stipendiary curate* in Lyngby and Albøge in 1857 and in 1860 was appointed an assistant teacher at the Lyngby teacher training college that had been founded by H.P. Barfoed in 1813.

The following song (here: translated) was sung for the first time at the wedding of Dorothea la Cour and Markus Anton Siegumfeldt at Skærsø on 25 September 1860. For more than 50 years, it was a staple at all important occasions held by many circles of the la Cour family.

Sung to the melody of the Grundtvig* hymn Alt staar i Guds faderhånd

Sing, my soul, the Lord God be praised.
The hind dances lightly in the woods,

The fish plays on his fin,
The winged bird sings joyous songs;
Sing, my soul, be happy like them!

The Lord is the fortress of your strength;
The Lord sends you joy and sorrow,
But measures your lot in life
By your needs and your strength,
So sing his praise like a child.

He will even in pleasure and hardship,
He will even in life and death
Carry carefully and gently
The child so its feet don’t slip,

So its soul doesn’t have to be afraid.
my soul, the Lord God be praised:
The hind dances lightly in the woods,
The fish plays on his fin,
The winged bird sings joyous songs;
Sing, and praise be to God the Father.

“[Markus Siegumfeldt] was highly regarded there by his students, who remember him with great affection, and on many of whom he had a lasting influence in the direction of religion, as he himself was strongly influenced by Grundtvig,” according to the 14 January 1902 edition of the daily newspaper Nationaltidende. In 1865 he became the resident curate* at the Hjørring, Sankt Hans and Sankt Olai churches. He began work as pastor for Sneum and Tjæreborg in 1873, Hasle-Skejby-Lisbjerg in 1879, and Søften-Folby in 1884.

In 1885, when Markus was called upon to be pastor for the Søften and Foldby congregations, he wanted to get to know the people residing in the various towns in these parishes, so he had an older and somewhat run-down spring cart readied for him, sat up beside the driver and took a tour around the parishes. One of the people he wanted to introduce himself to in Norring was an older farmer’s wife. She was standing in the living room looking out the window when they arrived and took them for a couple of travelling salesmen or butchers, quickly opening the door and somewhat cheekily shouting, ‘No, ain’t got nothing to sell to the butcher t’day!’ ‘Hey, no, I’m the new pastor,’ said the stranger, as he climbed down off the seat of the cart. The woman became quite flustered and apologised profusely for her mistake. For the pastor, it wasn’t exactly flattering that she should see the cart and mistake him for a roving butcher. The deeper reason behind her mistake was undoubtedly the contrast between the appearance and behaviour of the former pastor, Kieler, who was a rural dean*, and the current Pastor Siegumfeldt. Kieler was old-school: aristocratic, distinguished and august; it would never occur to him that he should sit up beside the driver of an old spring cart and drive out to see his flock. The new pastor represented a kind of systemic change, with less distance between a pastor and his congregation and a relationship less formal and more equal than it had been before. The old way was how the woman expected a pastor to look and act, an image that was a far cry from the strange vehicle she saw driving up to her door, and how she could never have imagined that one of the two men was the new pastor.

The 1890 census registered Dorthea and Markus as living at the Søften parsonage with two of their daughters and Dorthea’s niece Ellen Kirstine Poulsen la Cour (no. 71-4). The family also had eight servants at the time, including a dairymaid.

Dorthea died on 15 June 1894 in Søften and was buried in Hasle cemetery at her own request next to her youngest child. Markus resigned on 1 January 1903 and moved to Copenhagen. In 1907, he moved to Askov, where he lived until his death on 26 April 1913. (Nine children: the Hjørring Line.)