77 Peter Holger Magarus Christian Dornonville de la Cour

Peter was born on 21 April 1852 at Jægergården, a house near Aarhus, to Lauritz Ulrik la Cour (no. 52) and Ellen Kirstine la Cour. He received his first lessons at home, taught by his oldest sisters and an old grocer by the name of Madsen, but later, in 1861-62, attended his uncle Peter’s boarding school at Margrethelund farm. Afterwards, he went to the grammar school* in Randers from 1862 to 1867 and in Aarhus from 1867 to 1869, graduating from upper secondary school in 1869. Peter learned farming from his brother Christian at Havmøllen farm in 1869-70 and studied at his brother Jørgen’s Landboskolen agricultural college in 1870-71. After working as a farm apprentice at Skærsø manor and then Frisenfeldt manor, he was deputy farm-bailiff* and drainage manager for his cousin Albert la Cour (no. 80) at Sædingegård manor from 1871 to 1873. He spent his term of conscription as an infantryman in Copenhagen in 1873 and was promoted to lance corporal in 1874.

Peter’s first wife was Kristine Sjarlotte Birkedal Barfod Dornonville de la Cour (née Gote Birkedal Barfod), and they were married on 17 September 1875. Born on 24 April 1852 at Mosedal, a farm near Copenhagen, Kristine was a daughter of Povl Frederik Barfod and Emilie Birkedal. She worked as head teacher at the Natalie Zahle school from 1871 to 1873 and as a teacher at her brother Frederik’s girls’ school from 1872 to 1875. She died on 16 March 1877, after nearly seven months of illness. It was said about her that her entire short life consisted of nothing but love, faithfulness and self-sacrifice, and nothing but peace and joy in the Lord.

Peter’s second wife was Henrikgine Skafte Dornonville de la Cour (née Skafte), whom he married on 3 July 1879. Henrikgine was born on 10 December 1854 at Trollelundsgården, a farm near the town of Nakskov, and her parents were gentleman farmer Jens Peter Jensen Skafte and Bolette Birgitte Buch. She was tutored by, among others, Pastor Immanuel Barfod in Karleby, in whose home she became acquainted with her husband’s first wife, Kristine. When Kristine married Peter la Cour, Henrikgine went with them to Havmøllen farm to help with the housekeeping in 1875-76. She then moved to her parents’ home in Vester Karleby until the spring of 1878, when she moved to Nakskov to live with her widowed sister, whose last name was Larson, in their childhood home. Henrikgine lived with her sister until she became Peter’s second wife on the very day of her parents’ golden wedding anniversary.

Having first managed Havmøllen on behalf of his brother Christian, Peter leased it in 1875 and then purchased it in 1880. He built a small lime kiln in 1882, revived lime mining in Arnak and operated the lime kiln. In 1884 he founded a small cooperative centrifuge dairy and was in 1887 elected as secretary of the newly created agricultural association for Ebeltoft, Trustrup and Rønde. In 1891 he swapped Havmøllen (valued at 70,000 kroner) for the Holmegaard farming estate outside Nakskov (valued at 200,000 kroner), where he built a new barn, calf stables and a garbage room in 1893; horse stables, farmhands’ quarters and a carriage gate in 1901; and a pigpen in 1902. He was a founding member of the western Lolland farmers’ union in 1899 and chaired it until 1912. In 1901 he stood for election to parliament as the Sakskøbing constituency candidate for the Højre party but was not elected.

In 1902 Peter purchased the island of Enehøje in Nakskov Fjord for 71,300 kroner. There he set up a motorised dairy, built a pier and purchased a motor boat, all between 1903 and 1906. In 1907 he swapped Enehøje (valued at 100,000 kroner) for the Gammelbygård farming estate (valued at 50,000 kroner), which he then sold later that same year. The following year he bought a number of farms and houses, but usually sold them again, just as he assisted many family members with advice and assistance in purchasing farms. He installed electrical light and power at the Holmegaard farming estate in 1913-14. Peter was a member of the Branderslev parish council* in 1902 and chaired it in 1906, and he served as a member of the board for the western Lolland sugar beet society from 1891 to 1896 and again in 1902-03. Additionally, he was on the board of a thrift society for domestic servants and farmhands in western Lolland from 1908 to 1911, as well as a member of the local Lolland diocese* board for the national Danish church organisation and a member of the national board for the same organisation in the autumn of 1913. On 1 May 1920 he leased the Holmegaard estate to his youngest son and moved to Hellerup.

Peter died on 4 June 1926. In 1940, Henrikgine published her memoirs, which can be found in the la Cour family archives. She died on 25 January 1952. (Six children: the Holmegaard Line.)