Elen Johanna Lie

The northernmost memorial in Trondheim, located at the extreme north end of Ladeneset, was erected to honour Elen and Peter Lie, who were crofters.
Elen and Peter (1835-1917) cleared the forest for a place in Festberget, under the farm Spannet in Østmarka. In the census for 1865 Peter is listed as "Crofter with land", but in the census ten years later "with" is replaced by "without". This is clear evidence that the two of them and their four daughters made a living from the fjord and fishing. The fish were caught in Strindfjorden, and later sold as first-class fresh fish in Ravnkloa.
At this time the fjord provided a living and served as a means of transportation in a completely different way than today. People from Frosta and Stjørdal would use their small, open boats to commute to Trondheim.
From their house, Elen and Peter had a view of the fjord and would quickly observe if something out of the ordinary was happening. And such events were not out of the ordinary, particularly when the sea was swelling from the north or east. Even if their working day had been long and arduous, they would never hesitate when they observed someone in trouble. Peter, often assisted by Elen, would set off in their boat. Due to their excellent seamanship and deep local knowledge they could avert potential tragedy. Svend Hagen, who was one of Elen's brothers, would also often take part in these unselfish rescue missions.
Their efforts were also recognised by the public authorities. After a particularly bold rescue mission in 1879 Peter was awarded the silver civic service medal, while Elen (typical of the time) was granted a monetary reward. Later they were also given a state pension.
Long after Peter and Elen had passed away, a memorial stone was erected in 1937 on Festberget, or "Ararats Berg" as people would call it. The initiative was taken by "Holstguttene på Østmarken" [The Holst boys from Østmarka], the well-known industrialist and politician Throne Holst and his brothers. The inscription on the stone says that Peter saved 34 persons from certain death, and that Elen had been with him on 19 of these incidents. Since Peter received most attention while they lived, Elen may be the main character on this occasion. It would appear, however, that they lived together as a team throughout their long lives, and they have streets named after them, one each, in close proximity to each other, of course, in Østmarka.
Recommended reading: Marte Mona: Berømte og gløymde trondheimskvinner [Famous and forgotten women from Trondheim]. Samlaget 2004

Author: Einar Rædergård