Olsen, Ragnhild - I1057

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First Class Passenger 
Ragnhild Olsen
16 Dec 1821 – 3 Sep 1867
Nationality  Norwegian
Born 16 Dec 1821
Died 3 Sep 1867
At sea, Lat 28° 34' Long 31° 34'
Genealogy Data
Person ID I1057
Marriage Family/Families
Opdal Family - F102
Spouse Otto Carl Opdal 
(b. 28 Feb 1821)
Nationality Unknown
Married 21 Oct 1852
Korskirken, Bergen, Hordaland, Norway
Voyage Data
Voyage to Adelaide in 1867
Personal role First Class Passenger
Name on list Mrs. Opdahl
Joined place At sea - ex 'Lina'
Left place Died at sea

From The South Australian Advertiser of Tuesday 15 October 1867:[1]

A very melancholy, but interesting incident of the passage is thus described in a letter sent us for publication:—"Amongst the vessels spoken and sighted during our passage, the following is worthy of some remarks. The Lina, a new ship, built in Bergen, in Norway, sailed to North Shields for a cargo, from which port she started about the middle of July for Hongkong. There were on board the captain, his wife, three first-class passengers, and crew. After being out three weeks, August 12, at early morn we sighted her some distance ahead; by breakfast, 8.30, we were within signalling distance, when she hoisted her ensign. We quickly replied. Believing our's was a passenger ship, he asked if we had a doctor on board. We replied in the affirmative. She soon launched a boat, which was quickly alongside us. (Here I may remark how pretty a sight it is to see ships manoeuvreing at sea, as those did to come close by.) When the chief mate of the Lina came aboard us we learned that the captain's wife was ill. The doctor put off immediately, and after about two hours' absence returned, telling us she was very ill, and that he feared without proper medical assistance she must die. The two captains arranged to keep in sight of each other that night, as the wind was light and favorable. Our captain took in sail, our's being the faster ship, and each burned a white light at the ship's stern. Next morn at 6 o'clock the Lina signalled 'much worse,' so the doctor put off again, and before he left gave her some relief. We kept still together. At 3 p.m. same day she signalled again for the doctor. He went across, followed in a short time by Mrs. Brewster, of Kapunda, who kindly volunteered her services, as there was no female on board. After a while, the idea suggested itself to take the poor lady on board our ship, as the weather was beginning to change, and the doctor said she must die if left without medical attendance. Captain Opdahl, with much earnestness, and eyes filled with tears, begged, if we possibly could, to take her with us. After a consultation with our captain and passengers, it was agreed to do so, Mr. Wells so kindly giving up his cabin in the saloon. With every care we launched her into a boat and brought her over, and at 7.30 had her comfortably settled on board the City of Adelaide. At 10 p.m. her husband bade her a last farewell, and parted, ne'er again believing to see her on this side eternity, but comforted and cheered that she was not left to die without every available means being put in force for her. I may here state, that the day before our ship was sighted, Captain Opdahl had ordered the helmsman to steer for St. Antonio to get a doctor; but so soon as he went below and told his wife, she made him revoke the order, telling him she would not go in amongst strange people and foreigners, and that 'the Lord God would be her doctor.' The captain therefore ordered his course to be resumed. Mrs. Opdahl was the eldest daughter of a captain of a merchant ship, a Norwegian by birth, and had but one sister. She had not herself any family—was married 16 years, which time she spent with her husband at sea. She was possessed of a fine constitution and great nerve. About three years ago when walking with her husband in Bergen she received a blow in the right breast, by accident, from a man who was passing by. It gave her pain at the time, but she look no special notice of it. After some months, she felt a hard lump in same breast, which gave her pain. Her medical attendant in Bergen advised her to have it extirpated. Anxious not to undergo the operation she went to Christiania and consulted one of the first medical men there, who also advised its removal. She returned to Bergen and submitted to the operation; after which, she rose from the table and walked to her bed room. About five months after this she took cold by sitting on damp grass, and from this she dates her present illness, which, day by day, gained ground on her. She was under the care of a surgeon in North .Shields, who, after treating her for some time, without much relief, ordered her to try the effects of a warm climate. She was carrying out his directions when we fell in with her, and now nothing remains but to speak of her short sojourn with us. Her own steward remained with her here, a man whose faithfulness, attention, and kindness, words can never express. Our captain, doctor, and passengers all did what lay in their power. For the first week we were sanguine our efforts would be blessed, and so were able during the day after her coming on board to signal to her husband, who still kept in sight, though gradually falling off to leeward, that she was somewhat improved; but at the end of the first week she got a bad change, and though she somewhat rallied, yet so as not to please the doctor, and slowly but surely travelled onwards to that doom which awaits all. At first she was not happy about dying, but as day after day passed on, and under the kind attention of our worthy friend, Mr. Prince, of Adelaide, she was led to trust in Christ, and at last to ask Him to take her from this body of sin and sorrow. About a week before her death she asked Mr. Prince to administer the Sacrament, which she received with much humbleness and gratitude. By Sunday evening, September 1st, she got decidedly worse—Monday and Tuesday still worse. The evening of the last, at 7.15, she breathed her last. A gloom more easily felt than described was cast over our ship, but with it a spirit of deep thankfulness for that we were able to administer some consolation and comfort in her last hours, and perhaps spare her from a death of agony, which seemed at first impending. Next morning she was buried, her coffin being filled with sand to sink it. The funeral service was read by Mr. Prince; all on board joining to pay her this last, though solemn token of respect. The following Sabbath evening Mr. Prince preached a most impressive funeral sermon, thus closing a scene which one may travel many times o’er the deep without meeting with a similar. Mrs. Opdahl’s steward continues his journey with us to Adelaide, from thence by mail to Hongkong to join his own ship, which is expected to arrive there about Christmas.”

From The Register of Thursday 31 January 1924:[2]


From A. T. SAUNDERS:— Capt. John Bruce first arrived here in command of the ship City of Adelaide on Sunday, 13/10/67, and reported a sad occurrence during the voyage. The Norwegian barque Lina, Capt. Opdahl, sailed from Newcastle, England, 18/7/67, for Hongkong, and after clearing the English Channel the captain's wife became so seriously ill that surgical aid was required. On August 11 the Lina fell in with the City of Adelaide, and signalled to her for medical advice. Capt. Bruce at once hove his ship to, and had Dr. S. Orby-Carey- who, fortunately, was a passenger by the City— conveyed to the Lina, and remained for some time in company with the Lina. Ultimately, finding that no amendment was taking place, and medical attention being, if possible, more necessary on board the City, the request of Capt. Opdahl was complied with, and the sick lady was, with an attendant, transferred from the Lina to the City, and the ships parted. The lady was most carefully attended to on board the City, but after surviving for three weeks she sank under her complaint, and died 3/9/67. The attendant of the dead lady was sent on to Hongkong from Port Adelaide, to join the Lina there at the first opportunity. Cap't. Opdahl did not learn for some months how his wife had fared, or if she was alive or dead. In 1867 the City of Adelaide was an Elder liner, and Elder Smith, & Co, were her agents, but subsequently Harrold Brothers were agents for her. Capt. David Bruce had given up the City in 1867 to command the new ship South Australian, which was christened by Miss Martin (who was born in Australia) a daughter of one of the owners. Register, 14/4/68, p. 2, c. 1. Capt. John Bruce married (I think) a daughter of George French Angas, and became harbourmaster of Newcastle-on-Tyne.

Capt and Mrs Opdahl?

A Captain O. C. Opdahl was master of the SS President Christie, Hamburg to New York, which arrived 21 June 1852.[3]

Otto Carl Opdal [sic] (b.28 Feb 1821) and Ragnhild Olsen (b.16 Dec 1821) were married in Korskirken, Bergen, Hordaland, Norway on 21 Oct 1852,[4] which agrees reasonably well with the details given in the 1867 newspaper account above.



  1. "SHIPPING NEWS.". The South Australian Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1858 - 1889) (Adelaide, SA: National Library of Australia). 15 October 1867. p. 2. Retrieved 21 October 2013. 
  2. "THE SHIP CITY OF ADELAIDE.". The Register (Adelaide, SA : 1901-1929) (Adelaide, SA: National Library of Australia). 31 January 1924. p. 11. Retrieved 4 June 2011. 
  3. "Immigrant Ships, Transcribers Guild, SS President Christie". Retrieved 22 October 2013.
  4. "Norway, Marriages, 1660-1926", index, FamilySearch, Otto Carl Opdal and Ragnhild Olsen, 21 Oct 1852. Retrieved 22 Oct 2013.