Making every inch count
North of the village of Onsbjerg on Samsø lies a listed site strewn with terraced walls - a witness of the hard work of smallholders. When the land at Onsbjerg was redistributed in 1794 as part of the agricultural reforms, smallholders were given a parcel of land for …
Fought for the weak, lost his land
In the late 1850s, Peder Madsen rented a house and accompanying plot of land in Onsbjerg from Brattingsborg Manor. The 1870 census also lists Peder Madsen as a stonemason, indicating that the family was unable to make a living from farming alone. Madsen was conscious of his social status and was politically active. In 1886, he was voted to become an elector, representing Onsbjerg Parish, for candidates in parliamentary elections. Ageing Count Danneskiold-Samsøe of Brattenborg Manor rewarded Madsen for his political activity by stripping his plot of land from him and renting it out to a cobbler also by the name of Madsen. But Peder Madsen was determined. In 1888 he became one of the founders of the Samsø Smallholders Association. He was elected as its first president and fought for the rights of society's oppressed.
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