St Croix River Road Ramblings

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Thursday, July 5, 2012

My Norwegian Emigrants II

Continued from last post -- Great Grandpa's cousin's story of the Norway to America journey and life.  Note:  .Family members left the Vikna area starting in about 1864 coming to northwest Wisconsin in the area around Baldwin and Barron.  The Vikna book by Rovik and others in about 1930 details most of this.

Louise M Olson story continued in her own words

The church was the center of society in those times.  Casper says that they would leave home on Sunday morning at 7:00 am, walk a mile, row five miles, and then walk four miles arriving at Garstad Church at 11 am.  They would sit in the unheated church until about 12:30 when they could start their journey back.  They would walk back the four miles, arriving at their boat about 4 pm.  Then they would eat and row, walk again, and arrive at 7 pm.  This trip to the church totaled 12 hours.  Casper said that in the winter, they made this same trip by sled over the frozen lakes.  The church was built in 1592 and was foremost in the minds of the Vikna and Leka folks.  It was struck by lightning and burned to the ground.  It was rebuilt but fell to down.  They used a house for worship until 1856.  Then it was rebuilt and it is still standing today.  Martin was born on June 5, 1886, and was baptized in the Garstad church.  By the way, he used this baptismal certificate and his father’s naturalization papers to get a passport to Cuba in 1921 when he made the trial run of the U.S.S. Tennessee ship to Cuba.  I’ll tell you about that later.

Now I am going to tell you about Casper’s trip from Norway to America.  Martin was only ten months old when his folks, Casper’s brother Albert, and their tow mothers, Anton Taraldson (won was married to Casper’s mother) came over.  This was in 1887.  John Johnson, a friend of Casper’s, had emigrated to America in 1884, and he had written to Casper, telling him that he would loan the money to them all for the tickets.   I neglected to tell you that at this same time mother’s sister Lina, also came with them.  Casper said that each ticket would cost s$40.00 at that time.  They left Vikna about April 17, 1887 by steam-boat to Trondheim.  Then another steam-boat took them to Hull, England.   From there, they went by railroad to Liverpool.  He said that it took them about three weeks to make the trip by steamboat.  From Liverpool they went to Philadelphia.  This trip took twelve and a half days.  Then they came through Chicago and Madison and then to Baldwin where Norway acquaintances took them in.   John Johnson had advanced them the money for the tickets as neither Casper or Albert had the money.  John gave up his place on the Nils Nordby’s section crew for Casper [railroad building] and they moved to Roberts in the next few months.

Until we moved to Roberts, my Dad, used to walk the railroad tracks from Baldwin to Roberts twice on the week-ends, back and forth, in order to visit with mother.  Mother stayed at Nils Nordby’s home in the meantime, until they moved to Roberts.  My dad did this for a couple of months.  Martin said that John Johnson went to work on the Great Northern [railroad] out of Minneapolis, for a couple of years on a section crew.  Martin also told us that John lost the sight of one of his eyes in a fist fight while working there. 

Martin also said that Uncle Albert worked on a section crew at Marine on the St. Croix in Minnesota, on the Soo Line – so Albert got his start on the railroad too.  Nils Nordby was transferred to Baldwin as a section foreman, when he gaveup his job to Casper. 

Albert Cornelius was my Dad’s brother.  You remember I told you Dad, Albert, their tow mothers, Anton Taralson (who married mother after her husband was drowned on Christmas eve), Martin who was only ten months old, and my mother’s sister Lina, all came to America in 1887.  And you remember John Johnson loaned them money for their tickets as they didn’t have the money to pay for them themselves.  Dad went to Roberts to work on the section. Albert and his mother and her husband Anton Taralson, went to Barron, Wisconsin and became farmers.  They lived close to each other.  Albert and Casper’s sister Lina, had married Ole Olsen form Norway.  They also had a farm close to Albert Cornelius and Anton Taralson.  Lina had two children, Chris and Anna.  When Chris was seventeen, his mother had contracted T.B [tuberculosis].  On her death-bed she asked my father, Casper, if he would take Chris home with him and raise him.  Dad brought him to Roberts.  Being seventeen, Dad managed to get him work at the Roberts train Depot.  He learned telegraphy in the depot. He was transferred to Deer Lodge, Montana, where he was the chief train dispatcher, for twenty years.  Chris was born in Lysø in 1885, came to America with his parents in 1888. His mother died in 1902. His father took Anna, his sister back to Norway; where he married again. His sister is still living and lives in Madison, WI  She never married.  [hand written comment by Dena Paulson Pedersen—Not current—this was her copy of the book and I will include annotations made by her].

There is something else I want to tell you about Albert Cornelius.  I don’t knokw when, but he donated an acre of his farm to the Maple Grove Baptist Church; also an acre of gorund to the church to be made into a Cemetery.  The cemetery is called the Maple Grove Cemetery.  I’msure that he emigrants from Norway built up the church, being Norwegian, as they talked mostly Norwegianinit. He was a religious man, as well as his brother Casper.  And I will add this; when the members either died ormoved away, they decided to tear down the church, but the cemetery is still being used.  Most of those buried there are relatives of mine.  When they tore down the church,tghey elected new people to take care of the cemetery.  They elected Gunner Jackson as the head man; and they elected me, Louise M. Olson, as Secretary and Treasurer.  When I had to retire andmove here to Dorise’s home in Oconomowoc, I retired from the job and Mrs. Nina Wagner has it now. 

Now I’m going to talk about John Paulson [Russ Hanson’s great grandfather].  His wife was a cousin of Albert and my dad, Casper Cornelius, which makes Dena Paulson my second cousin.  Mr. Paulson lived on a farm amongst the ones who emigrated form Norway.  This was in Maple Grove township, Barron County, Wisconsin.  John Paulson and his wife are both dead now [wife died in April 1929  tornado and John a few months later from injuries], but I’m going to start by telling you  that John Paulson’s father was Johan Edvard Paulsen, born March 3, 1852 on Harldsøy in Vikna.  [Dena, John’s daughter has written over this:  Wrong—the  name and date are actually for John Paulson, not his father].  John’s father and two other men were drowned at sea in 1869. Johns was supposed to go with them, but he had been sick for several days so they told him to stay home.  John’s father and the other two men drowned at sea in Gjaeslingen in 1869.  That was the last time he saw his father.  Dena’s mother was Olianna, born Oct 12, 1845.  John’s half brother [Ole Mikelsson] had been in American and John and his wife Olianna and her four children went to America with the half-brother when he returned to America. [Dena has written—incorrect, John and Olianna were married in Baldwin, not Norway] [the confusion here is likely that Gurine, John’s mother and her four children came to America and Louise mixed that up with John and Olianna].   John bought a small farm and lived there for 20 years.  Then he bought another farm in Maple Grove Township and worked that farm for 30 years.  Part of the time he worked on the railroad.  He was also a school clerk and school treasurer and a very religious man. 

Olianna and John Paulson had three children.  [incorrect:  Olaf, Hannah, Edwin and Dina].  One child Olaf died [in middle age].  The third child was Edwin, who became a missionary in China for seven years.  After he came back he was in Minneapolis where he was a teacher.  The fourth child was Dena.  Later in life, Dena married Andrew Pederson, and they lived Hillsdale, WI. Andrew is now dead and Dena is living with one of her sister’s sons.  She is now 88 years old – in 1977. [she lived with Russ’ parents until she died at a few months past her 100th birthday]  John and his wife Oliana, as well as Dena’s husband Andrew Pederson, are all buried in the Maple Grove Baptist Cemetery in Barron, WI.   I might as just as well tell you that Seaver and Hannah are buried lthere too.  Roya and I are going to be buried there too, when we finally pass away. Also, our children too. 

Continued next time