From the Hans Christian Andersen biography "The Life of Hans Christian Andersen. Day By Day", written by DPhil Johan de Mylius:
1816Death of HCA's Father
HCA's father dies. HCA does not attend school at this time and his mother could not keep him at home. Driven by poverty, she was obliged to go out washing clothes for people; consequently the boy goes out to work. Firstly for a short time at Koch and Hirschfeldts' cloth mill in Klaregade, then at Laurids Ørnstrup's tobacco factory in Vestergade.
After this he once again spends some time at home, but in either late 1816 or early 1817, he is once more placed in the charity school (where he is taught religion, writing and arithmetic) so he is out of the way when his mother goes to work.
During these years, HCA makes connections which will be significant in the future. It is via Bishop Plum, for example, that he gets to know Colonel Christian Høegh-Guldberg.