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Full text of "A history of the Norwegians of Illinois; a concise record of the struggles and achievements of the early settlers together with a narrative of what is now being done by the Norwegian-Americans of Illinois in the development of their adopted country .."

UNIVERSITY OF 

ILLK-^19 LIBRARY 

AT U;. ^CHAMPAIGN 

ILL HIST. SURVEY 



A HISTORY OF 



THE NORWEGIANS 



OF 



ILLINOIS 



A Concise Record of the Struggles and Achievements of the Early 

Settlers together with a Narrative of what is now being 

done by the Norwegian-Americans of Illinois in the 

Development of their Adopted Country 



ILLUSTRATED 



WITH THE VALUABLE COLLABORATION OF 
NUMEROUS AUTHORS AND CONTRIBUTORS 



COMPILED AND EDITED BY 

A. E. STRAND 



PUBLISHED BY 

JOHN ANDERSON PUBLISHING COMPANY 
CHICAGO 



Entered According to Act of Congress, in the year 1905, by 

JOHN ANDERSON PUBLISHING CO. 
in the Office of the Librarian of Congress at Washington, D. C. 



_ . 



PREFACE 



In this work the reader will find recorded the achievements of a 
people, men and women, who by their enterprise, industry and honesty 
have helped to bring those counties, townships, cities, and villages, where 
their work was and still is being done, to rank second to none among 
those comprising this great and noble State. From their own lips we 
have the story of their lives and struggles. In this volume will be found 
the names of many whose lives are worthy the imitation of coming gen- 
erations. It will tell how most of them, commencing life in poverty, by 
industry and economy have not only accumulated wealth, but by integrity 
and sterling character attained the highest standing in their communities. 
It will tell how others, 'with very limited advantages for securing an edu- 
cation, have become learned, with an influence extending throughout the 
land. It will tell of people in every walk in life, who have striven to 
succeed, and records how that success has usually crowned their efforts. 
It also will tell of many, very many, who not seeking the applause of the 
world, have pursued the even tenor of their way, content to have it said 
of them, "They have done what they could." It will also tell, how many 
left the plow and the anvil, left every trade and profession, and at their 
adopted country's call went forth to do or to die. 

Coming generations will appreciate this volume and preserve it as 
a sacred treasure from the fact that it contains much that else would 
never have found its way into public records. Great care has been taken 
and every opportunity possibly given to those represented to insure cor- 
rectness in what has been written. 

The faces and biographical sketches of many will be missed in this 
volume. For this the compiler is not to blame. Not having a proper 
conception of the work, some refused to give the information necessary to 
complete a sketch, while others were indifferent. 

Occasionally some members of the family would oppose the enter- 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



prise, and on account of such opposition the support of the interested one 
would be withheld. 

In the biographical sketches we have allowed each individual to 
spell his name, both given and surname, according to his own custom. 
We tried at first to correct the spelling of the Norwegian given names 
in order to get them more uniform, but met with objections, and were 
obliged to give up the attempt. 

Considering the large number of contributors it is but natural that 
the style of the book as a whole should be -somewhat uneven, and we do 
not claim much literary merit for it. That some errors and fallacies 
will be found, we have no doubt. Errare humanum est. Our solace 
is that we have done the best we could. 

In addition to the historical part strictly in conformity with the ob- 
ject of this book we also present a few articles, which in our opinion add 
greatly to its historical value, such for instance as, "Our ancestors," 
"Glimpses of Norwegian history," "Beginnings of Chicago," etc. This 
we do for the benefit of our. younger generations. As there can arise 
no question as to the intrinsic value of these chapters, we did not hesitate 
making them parts of the book. 

A glance at the pages of this volume will, no doubt, convince the 
reader that we have been painstaking in gathering data and facts. While 
we regret to say that in many instances we have not met with the as- 
sistance and encouragement expected, we can on the other hand gladly 
acknowledge that many intelligent men have devoted both time and labor 
in order to assist us in obtaining such information as we needed for 
the book. 

A most valuable and complete part of the volume will be found in 
the detailed sketches of the various church denominations. 



PART I. 



HISTORY 



A people that take no pride in the 
noble achievements of remote ancestors 
will never achieve anything worthy to 
be remembered by remote generations. 

McCanley. 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 



Page 

Our Ancestors, by Kristof er Janson 17 

Glimpses of Norwegian History i 33 

The Norwegian Pioneer, by Rev. A. Bredesen 38 

The First Colony of Norwegian Immigrants 40 

The Sloop Party 41 

The "Sloopers" who came to Illinois 43 

Porter C. Olson 45 

The First Farm owned by a Norwegian west of the Great Lakes 50 

Claims and First Improvements 50 

In What Condition did the First Norwegian Settlers find the Tract 

on which they settled ? , 54 

Shabbona 55 

Kleng Peerson 59 

Kleng Peerson's Dream 61 

Prairie Fires 62 

A Prairie Blizzard (Related by a Norwegian Pioneer) 63 

A Cloudburst 64 

The Bandits of the Prairies 64 

Indian Character and Customs 65 

One of the Old Pioneers (Wier Sjurson Weeks) 67 

The Third Norwegian Settlement 70 

Mission and Miller Townships 73 

Miller Township 76 

Adams Township 77 

The Village of Leland 78 

Ottawa 79 

Norway 80 

Sheridan 81 

Big Grove Township 81 

Newark 83 

Nettle Creek Township, Grundy County 83 



10 A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



Page 

Capron and Jefferson Prairie 84 

Lee County 

The Pontiac and Rowe Settlement 88 

The Beginnings of Chicago, by Edwin Erie Sparks, Ph. D 92 



Norwegian Churches in Illinois 

The Norwegian Synod, L Page 

by Rev. Alfred O. Johnson 98 

Our Saviour's Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church of Chicago 103 
The Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church of Lee County, 111., 

by Rev. J. Nordby 148 

The United Church, 

Rev. George Tailor Rygh, Editor 104 

Zion Church, Elgin, 111., by Miss Aagot Rovelstad 104 

Aurora, 111., by Miss Anna Bj^rseth -. . . . 107 

Covenant Church, Chicago, by Rev. C. O. Solberg 108 

Pontoppidan Church, Gardner, 111., by Rev. Chr. Christiansen 109 

Bethania Church, Gardner Prairie, 111., by Rev. Chr. Christiansen 110 

Bethlehem Church, Morris, 111., by Rev. T. Aarrestad 112 

Hauge's Church, Grundy County, 111 113 

Trinity Church, South Chicago, 111., by Rev. Olaus Qualen 114 

Pontoppidan Church at Gibson City, 111., by Rev. J. L0nne 115 

Bethel Church, Chicago, 111., by Rev. C. E. Tiller.. 115 

Freedom, 111., by Rev. P. P. Hagen 116 

Big Indian Creek, 111., by Rev. P. P. Hagen 119 

St. Timothy Church, Chicago, 111., by Rev. Lyle Halvorsen 121 

St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Rowe, 111., by Rev. C. Michaelsen 537 

Zion Church, Chicago, by Rev. C. K. Solberg 125 

Emmaus Church, Chicago, by Rev. O. N. Nelson 126 

Bethlehem Church, Chicago, by Rev. George T. Rygh 127 

Nazareth Church, West Pullman, 111., by Rev. Olaus Qualen 127 

Evanston, 111., by Mr. C. Hendricksen 128 

Lisbon, 111., by Rev. N. G. Peterson ; 128 

Leland Congregation, Leland, 111., by Rev. Henry I. Noss 130 

Pleasant View Luther College, Ottawa, 111., by Prof. L. A. Vigness 132 

Trinity Congregation, Ottawa, 111., by Prof. L. A. Vigness 135 

The Norwegian Lutheran Deaconess. Home and Hospital, Chicago, 

111., by Rev. H. B. Kildahl '. . . 135 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 11 



Hauge's Synod, Page 

By Rev. K. O. Eittreim 140 

Trinity Church, Chicago 142 

Hauge's Norwegian Evangelical Church, at Norway, 111 144 

Capron, 111 144 

The Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church near Creston, 111.... 144 

Rooks Creek Evangelical Lutheran Church, Pontiac 145 

The Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Congregation of the Unaltered 

Augsburg Confession, Platteville 145 

The Newark Evangelical Lutheran Church 145 

The Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Immanuel Church, in Chicago 146 

St. Paul's English Church, Chicago 146 

St. John's Church, Creston 146 

E'benezer Church, Chicago 147 

Elirn Church, Chicago 147 

Hauge's Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church, Chicago 147 

Joliet 147 

Sandwich, De Kalb County, 111 148 

Norwegian Methodism in Illinois, 

By Rev. H. P. Bergh 149 

Norway 150 

Leland 151 

First Church, Chicago . 152 

Evanston 152 

Maplewood Avenue Church, Chicago 152 

Bethel, Chicago 153 

Moreland, Chicago ' 154 

Immanuel, Chicago 154 

Kedzie Avenue Church, Chicago 154 

Dwight, 111 154 

Emmaus, Chicago 155 

Bethany, Chicago 155 

The Norwegian-Danish City Mission 155 

The Camp-meeting 156 

Statistics 157 

The Norwegian-Danish Theological Seminary at Evanston, 111.... 157 

The Norwegian-Danish M. E. Book Concern 158 

The Young People 159 

Doctrines 159 

The Ministry of the Church and Church Government 159 

Biographies of Some Prominent Norwegian-Danish Methodist 

Pioneers 160 

Rev. O. P. Petersen, Founder of Methodism in Norway 160 

J. H. Johnson 162 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



Page 

H. H. Holland 164 

O. J. Sanaker 

O. A. Wiersen " 164 

Norwegian Baptists, 

By Rev. C. W. Finwall 165 

The Theological Seminary, Morgan Park, 111 167 

Brief Sketches of Some Norwegian Teachers at the Baptist School, 

Morgan Park, 111 16d 

Prof. H. Gundersen 168 

Prof. C. J. Olsen 169 

Rev. E. L. Myrland 160 

Prof. Edward Olsen, Ph. D 170 

Rev. J. A. Ohrn I 71 

The Congregationalists, 

By Prof. R. A. Jernberg - 171 

The Seventh Day Adventist Church, 

By Rev. L. H. Christian 176 

The Lutheran Free Church, 

By Prof. H. A. Urseth 177 

Christ Norwegian Lutheran Church 178 

The Church of the Veritans, 

By B. C. Peterson 179 

The Norwegians in Chicago 18 

Early Norwegian Settlers in Chicago 181 

What You may find in an old Directory 182 

The Norwegian Old Settlers' Society 184 

Early Norwegian Printers in Chicago 186 

The Scandinavian Typographical Union 187 

The Norwegian Old People's Home Society, 

By Dr. N. T. Quales 187 

The Norwegian Lutheran Children's Home, 

By Mrs. Sophie Michaelsen 191 

The Hope Mission and Scandinavian Girls' Home, 

By Mathilda B. Carse 195 

The First Norwegian Total Abstinence Society, 

By Mrs. U. F. Bruun 196 

International Order of Good Templars, 

By Henry Weardahl 197 

(and in the supplement). 

Scandinavian Young Men's Christian Association 199 

Scandinavian Young Men's Christian Association of Chicago, West 

Division 199 

The Norwegian National League, 

By Andrew Hummeland . 201 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 13 



Page 

The Nordmaendenes Sangforening 203 

The Sleipner Athletic Club / 206 

Court Normania No. 174, I. O. F., of Illinois 207 

The Norwegian Sick-Benefit Society "Nordlyset" 209 

Scandinavian Women's Burial Benefit Association 211 

Sick and Aid Society of the Bethlehem Congregation 213 

Enigheden 213 

Liberty Band 214 

Biographical Sketches 

of a few Chicago Norwegians departed from this world. 

Andrew Nelson Brekke 215 

Mrs. Laura Anderson 215 

Jens Olsen Kaasa 216 

Iver Lawson , , . 217 

Dr. G. Ch. Paoli 217 

Captain Christian Erickson 217 

C. L. B. Stange 218 

Canute R. Matson 219 

(and in the supplement)' 

Knud Langland 219 

Rev. John Z. Torgersen 221 

Captain William Johnson 221 

Christian Jevne 222 

Bj0rn Edwards 223 

Ole A. Thorp 223 

Iver Larsen 224 

Ulrich Daniels 225 

Albart J. Elvig 225 

Louis J. Lee 226 

Berent M. Wold 227 

Some Memorable Events in the History of the Norwegians in Chicago. 

Dr. Fridtiof Nansen's Visit 228 

The Viking Ship at the World's Fair 231 

Norway at the Chicago World's Fair 233 

Norway's Pavilion 234 

Norway's Building at the World's Fair 236 

Leif Erikson 238 

The Norwegian Student Singers 238 

Norwegians in the Industrial and Financial Fields. 

Johnson Chair Company 241 

Torris Wold & Company 244 

C. Jevne & Company 244 

The Central Manufacturing Company 245 

A. Petersen & Company 245 



u A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



Page 

Sethness Company 

The Independent Cracker Machine Company 

Architectural Sheet-Metal Ornaments 248 

State Bank of Chicago ' - - 

Ottawa Banking & Trust Company 250 

Lee State Bank, Lee, 111 

The First National Bank of Leland 250 

Farmers & Merchants Bank, Leland 250 

Lee Advertising Company 251 



List of Illustrations 

(Other than individual Portraits.) 

Page 

Vikings attacking the fortifications of Paris 19 

Vikings landing in Southern Europe ; . . . . 21 

Vikings in action 21 

Viking dragons approaching the coast of Italy 25 

Emperor Charlemagne observing the Vikings 26 

Northern Vikings approaching a southern fortress 27 

Old Viking castle 29 

Russians (Slavs) paying hommage to Rurik, the Founder of the Russian 

empire 30 

A Bard singing to the warriors 31 

Monument of Col. Porter C. Olson 49 

Shabbona 55 

Shabbona's Daughter, her husband, Chief Kick-Kock, and their Daughter 56 

Dedication of the Monument erected in 1906 at Freedom, near Ottawa, 111. 57 

W. S. Weeks' homestead 68 

St. Paul's Church, Chicago 102 

Our Saviour's Church, Chicago 103 

Group of Ministers of the United Church 105 

North Lisbon church at Helmar, 111 Ill 

The Lutheran Church at Leland, 111 129 

Pleasant View Luther College, Ottawa, 111 133 

The Norwegian Lutheran Deaconess Home and Hospital, Chicago 136 

A Group of Diaconesses 137 

Deaconesses in Foreign Mission Work 138 

Group of Sisters, Norwegian Lutheran Deaconess Home 139 

The Norwegian-Danish M. E. Conference 150 



PORTRAITS IN THE HISTORICAL PART 15 



Page 

First Methodist Church, Chicago 151 

Maple wood avenue M. E. Church, Chicago 153 

The Methodist Tabernacle, Desplaines, 111 156 

The Norwegian-Danish Theological Seminary at Evanston, 111 157 

The Norwegian-Danish M. E. Book- Concern 158 

Logan Square Norwegian Baptist Church, Chicago 166 

The Theological Seminary, Morgan Park, 111 168 

The Danish-Norwegian Department of Chicago Theological Seminary.. 172 

Chicago Theological Seminary 173 

The Hammond Library 175 

Interior of Christ Chapel 178 

Four generations 181 

John Amundsen's House 186 

The Norwegian Old People's Home at Norwood Park 188 

The Norwegian Lutheran Children's Home, Chicago 192 

Harmony Hall 196 

Scandinavian Young Men's Christian Association Building, Chicago.... 200 

The Viking Ship at the. World's Fair 232 

Norway's Building at the World's Fair 236 

The Artist's Model of Leif Erikson 237 

The Leif Erikson Monument in Humboldt Park 239 

The Johnson Chair Company's first building 242 

The Johnson Chair Company's new buildings 243 

C. Jevne & Company's building 244 

The Central Manufacturing Company 245 

A. Petersen & Company 246 

Sethness Company 247 

The Independent Cracker Machine Company 247 

William Thoresen's new building 248 

State Bank of Chicago 249 

Building of Ottawa Banking & Trust Company 250 



Portraits in the Historical Part 



Page 

Berg, Mrs. Anna . , 212 

Christophersen, Mrs Christina 212 

Daniels. Ulrich 325 

Elvig, Albart J 226 

Erickson, Capt. Christian 218 



16 A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



Page 

Flage, Anders I.arsen 182 

Flage, Mrs. Anders Larsen 182 

Hilleson, Amund 87 

Hilleson, Mrs. Amund 87 

Jevne, Christian 222 

Johnson, Rev. J. H 163 

Johnson, Capt. William 222 

Kaasa, Jens Olsen 216 

Langland, Knud 220 

Langland, Mrs. Knud 220 

Larsen, Iver 224 

Lee, Louis J 226 

Matson, Canute R 219 

Michaelson, Thorstein 183 

Myrland Rev. E. L 170 

Nansen, Dr. Fridtiof 229 

Olsen, Prof. Edward 171 

Olson, Col. Porter C 46 

Petersen, Rev. O. P 161 

Thorp, Ole A 224 

Torgersen, Rev. J. Z ..... 221 




OUR ANCESTORS 



A Lecture, by Kristofer Janson. 



I here speak of the weather-beaten Vikings of 
the North, the Scandinavians, the Germans, the 
Anglo-Saxons; in short, the forefathers through 
whom we are mutually related, whether born on 
the American prairies or in the rocky valleys of 
Norway. I do not intend to boast of olden times 
compared with modern. I am one of those who 
believe in the eternal progress of humanity, and 
therefore I assert that man is happier, more civ- 
ilized, and in many regards better now than of 
yore. Nevertheless I sometimes wish to revive 
some of the rich though violent natural powers, 
the strong impulses and feelings, the energetic 
actions of that time and of that proud race. 

The modern comfortable life in luxury and 
amidst all conveniences is more agreeable, it is 
true, but sometimes it enervates the race and 
makes the young people lazy and sluggish. And 
still I would not like to exchange our cozy rooms, 
with carpets and rocking chairs, stoves and crys- 
tal panes, gas chandeliers or electric lights, for 
our forefathers' dirty shanties, or for their large 
halls with the damp earthen floors, without win- 
dows, the fire burning in the middle of the room 
and the smoke scorching the eyes. Let us look 
into their life. They cook, eat and sleep in the 
same room; the warriors and laborers step in 
with their damp clothes, throw them off, and 
warm their wet backs at the fire, so that you are 
nearly stifled in the close air. The food is served 
in wooden vessels; they grasp slices of meat 
with their fingers, and cut it with the knife which 
always hangs at their belt. They spice their 
meal by telling how many they have killed in 
the last slaughter. In the old Norse sagas we 
have descriptions of festivals at the royal court; 
and it looks pretty rough there. The guests eat 
and drink terribly. Intemperance in the pleasures 
of the table and disgust at peaceful labors 
these were the chief sins of our ancestors. I 
still think that we men from the North eat too 
much. In Italy I saw working people toiling as 



hard as might be done under a burning sun, and 
yet they were satisfied with some bread, an onion, 
and a glass of wine, while Scandinavian sailors 
who had not worked at all stuffed themselves 
with pea soup and corned beef as much as they 
could. I have seen Englishmen eat roast beef 
and drink porter, and I have wondered how their 
stomachs were constructed. Martin Luther says 
of his countrymen, "We Germans drink till we 
nearly burst." And Misson, in his travels from 
1700, says, "As you know, the Germans are very 
fond of liquor; to drink in Germany is to drink 
always." An old poet, who would tell what re- 
markable change in customs took place by the 
introduction of Christianity, says, "Then the 
Danes ceased drinking." I do not think the old 
poet was right; they have not yet ceased 
neither have the other Scandinavian peoples. 

Our ancestors felt a disgust at peaceful work 
because it was considered a shame to till the 
soil, this being a work for thralls and women, 
not for free men. The only occupation becoming 
a free warrior was to fight and ravage. And out 
they dashed in their boats made of hides, or in 
their war galleys with the gaping dragon head at 
the prow; landed where it rri5ght happen; burned, 
murdered, and dragged along with them cattle 
and people. The world belonged to those who 
could take it with fist or sword. Such were the 
common ideas of that time. Yet it is inspiring 
to read about those, old vikings, because there 
breathes such a defiant courage, such a vital 
power from each page; but their life was often 
horribly wild. Sometimes they raged as tigers 
and lions coming direct from the woods. We all 
know the prayer in the French Litania of that 
time, "Lord, deliver us from the fury of the 
Normans!" 

"Of all the barbarians these are the strongest 
of body and heart, the most formidable," says 
an old author (Zozimos III., 147). Vikings were 
found "who had never slept under the smoky 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



rafters of a roof, nor ever drained the ale horn 
by an inhabited hearth." They laughed at wind 
and weather, and sang, "The blast of the tempest 
aids our oars; the bellowing of heaven, the howl- 
ing of the thunder hurt us not; the hurricane is 
our servant, and drives us whither we wish to 
go." A saga about King Half and his warriors 
gives a lively picture of this youthful, swelling 
defiance. The young king (he was only 12 years 
old) would not take on board his ship anyone 
who was not able to lift a certain big stone in 
the palace yard. Strong men were searched for 
through the whole country, but only twelve were 
found who could perform that feat. The king 
himself gave laws for his party, and among his 
commandments were the following: Nobody was 
allowed to carry a sword longer than two feet, 
that he might be compelled to go close to his 
enemy; nobody should groan with pain; nobody 
should dress his wounds before the day after the 
battle; they should never shorten sail when in a 
storm, never seek harbor during a hurricane, never 
hurt women or children, never attack peaceful 
merchants. Once the ship sprung a leak, and 
one of the men proposed that some of them 
should jump overboard to lighten the vessel. 
The king said they might cast lots; but it 
proved unnecessary. The men jumped overboard 
with a merry joke on their lips. With such men 
you can conquer. And they conquered. The 
Scandinavian vikings went like a consuming flame 
through Scotland, England, Ireland, France and 
Spain. They burned Bordeaux, they besieged 
Sevilla; the French kings were at last obliged to 
hire some of them to defend the kingdom against 
their fellow-countrymen. 

The idea that this wild warfare was the only 
proper occupation for a free man had seized on 
their minds to such an extent that the women 
too shared it. When young Egil, son of Grim, 
will take a seat near the daughter of a Danish 
earl, she repels him with scorn, saying: "You 
can not sit here at my side. Seldom have you 
provided the wolves with hot meat, nor have you, 
through the whole autumn, seen raven croaking 
over the carnage." But Egil seized her and 
sang: "I have walked with bloody sword, and 
the raven followed me. Furiously we fought; the 
fire passed over the dwellings of men; we sent 
to sleep those who kept the gates." And then 
she felt satisfied. Such was the conversation at 
table at that time. 

To die on the sick-bed was considered a shame. 
Feeling dangerously ill, a man ought to dedicate 
himself to Odin by "writing blood runes on his 
breast," i. e., running a sword through his body. 



It was impossible for them to thrive by peaceful 
labor. Having settled in foreign countries, they 
looked around for war, and, unable to find any, 
they fought among themselves. Christianity 
could not check their love of strife. Wild and 
cruel deeds took place as often after its intro- 
duction as before. And through the medieval 
ages the gloomy castles with their loopholes and 
moats and drawbridges bear witness that people 
always were compelled to live on a war footing. 
One evil followed in the tracks of our ancest- 
ors' contempt for peaceful work slavery. As 
they did not till the soil themselves, they were 
compelled to get others to do so. Therefore 
they captured or bought thralls. In a biography 
of Bishop Wolstan we are told that at Bristol, 
at the time of the conquest, it was the custom 
to buy men and women from all parts of Eng- 
land, and to carry them to Ireland for sale in 
order to make money. "You might have seen 
with sorrow," says the old author, "long lines of 
young people of both sexes, and of the greatest 
beauty, bound with ropes .and daily exposed for 
sale." Many highborn people were in that way 
sold as slaves, and compelled to drag on their 
existence in a foreign country as the meanest 
servants. In the old Norwegian "Laxd01a Saga" 
we are told of an Irish princess, Melkorka, who 
was sold to an Icelandic nobleman, and was made 
his servant and concubine. Ashamed of her piti- 
ful fate, she acted as if dumb, and only by chance 
was it discovered that she was able to talk. 

But let us not speak too loudly of the dis- 
grace of slavery among our ancestors, we who 
have tolerated this infamy among ourselves up 
to so late a day, and made it lawful in the name 
of Christianity! Let us not do our ancestors an 
injustice! When we shudder at thinking of the 
red stream of blood unceasingly winding its way 
through the old sagas we ought to remember 
that the olden times were rough; that the views 
and nerves and manners of men were different 
from ours. What we would call politeness and 
gentleman-like behavior they would have called 
weakness and cowardice; and when we read 
about the more civilized nations of the same 
time, the Roman? and the Greeks, for instance, 
we find that they were not better at all; but 
cruelty and moral corruption and vice were with 
them often hidden under a cover of hypocrisy 
and smoothness. We must always remember to 
mete the past with its own measure, else we 
shall do injustice toward it. Under the crude 
crust of raw instincts and wild actions our an- 
cestors possessed many virtues, many noble dis- 
positions which it would be a benefit to revive 



OUR ANCESTORS 



1!) 




Vikings attacking the fortifications of Paris. 



20 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



nowadays, and which enabled them to infuse the 
Roman world with fresh, healthy blood and 
moral strength. 

OUT ancestors were trustworthy. Their en- 
emies said of them that they were reliable. If 
they said "Yes" they meant yes; if they said 
"No" they meant no. The moving forces of their 
life were an intense desire for independence and 
a faculty to give themselves entirely to the choice 
of their hearts or mind. At the time when they, 
like other nomads, still moved along with their 
wives and children and servants and cattle, they 
settled for a while near a spring or a wood which 
struck their fancy, and where they felt most in- 
dependent. They, hunted the beasts and defended 
their goods with the sword. Increasing in num- 
ber, they gathered together in small societies and 
made laws. But the character of these laws is 
thus described: "Each in his own home, on his 
land and in his hut, is his own master, upright 
and free, in no wise restrained or shackled. If 
the common weal received anything from him, 
it was because he gave it. He gave his vote in 
arms in all great conferences, passed judgment 
in the assembly, made alliances and wars on his 
own account, moved from place to place, show- 
ing activity and daring. If he bends, it is be- 
cause he is quite willing to bend; he is no less 
capable of self-denial than of self-independence. 
Self-sacrifice is not uncommon; a man cares not 
for his blood or his life." In the Norse sagas 
are preserved some speeches made by peasants 
before their king, and all of them breathe a 
manly frankness and independent feeling. When 
King Hakon the Good would force Christianity 
upon the Norwegian people, one of the peasants, 
Asbj^rn from Medalhus, answered him before 
the whole court: "When we peasants chose thee 
our ruler, King Hakon, and thou gavest us back 
our old freedom, we believed that we had em- 
braced heaven; but now we do not know how it 
is: whether we have real independence or thou 
wilt try to make us thralls again; and that in a 
peculiar way, proposing that we shall reject that 
creed which our parents and all our forefathers 
had before us. They were much stouter than 
we, and still this creed was sufficient for them. 
We have bestowed upon thee so great a con- 
fidence that we have allowed thee to write laws 
for our country. Now it is the will of all us 
peasants to keep the laws thou gave us, as we 
promised; we will all of us follow thee and retain 
thee as OUT king as long as any of us peasants 
here present are alive, if thou, king, wilt use 
some moderation and ask of us but what we can 
fulfill and what is possible. But if thou wilst 



carry this case through with such a vehemence, 
and use force ?nd violence against us, then we 
peasants have agreed altogether to depart from 
thee and choose another ruler, who will assure 
u's that we undisturbed may have what creed we 
like. Now, king, thou shall choose either of 
these terms before the court is through." That 
is an independent man's speech. In the time of 
Olaf the Saint there was a conflict between him 
and the king of Sweden. The Norwegian leaders 
applied to the Swedish peasantry for assistance, 
and the chieftain of the peasants, Thorgny, spoke 
to his king in the the following way: "The kings 
of Sweden think otherwise now than in olden 
times. Thorgny, my grandfather, could remem- 
ber King Eirik Eimundson, and told me that he 
every summer went to war and conquered many 
realms in eastern countries, but still he was not 
so arrogant that he would not listen to people 
who had important matters to lay before him. 
Thorgny, my father, was for a long time at King 
Bjfirn's court an'd knew his way of behaving. 
During his reign they proved powerful and suf- 
fered no loss, and he was a good man to care 
for the wants of his friends. I myself remember 
King Erik the Victorious, and followed him on 
many war expeditions. He extended the bound- 
aries of Sweden, defended them with valor and 
still took advice of us. But the king we now 
have will not allow any man to speak to him 
about other matters than those pleasing him. 
Such questions he urges with all his might, but 
loses his colonies from want of celerity and ac- 
tivity. He desires to subdue Norway, a feat no 
Swedish king before him aspired to accomplish, 
and all our troubles are caused thereby. Now it 
is OUT will, the will of the peasants, that thou, 
king, shall make peace with Olaf, the king of 
Norway, and give him thy daughter, Ingeborg, 
for a wife; and if thou wishest to re-conquer the 
eastern provinces which your relatives and fore- 
fathers once possessed, then all of us will help 
thee thereto. But if thou wilt not agree to 
what we propose, then we will attack thee, and 
kill thee, and nut bear any disturbance or unlaw- 
fulness from thee. In a similar way our fore- 
fathers have acted in times of yore. They took 
five kings and plunged them into a well, because 
they were too insolent, just as thou art at pres- 
ent. Tell u's now, on the spot, which of these 
conditions thou preferest." And the king was 
obliged to give way. It is the descendants of 
those peasants who now fill our western prairies 
and forests. I think that they must carry with 
them good materials for independent republicans. 
What our ancestors could tolerate least of all 



OUR ANCESTORS 



21 



was a coward or a man shrinking from pain. 
Among the laws of King Half was one com- 
mandment that nobody should keep fellowship 
with a man who would groan with pain. There- 
fore we find that parents always tried to train 
their children to endurance, and warriors die 
singing and jesting at their lacerated bodies. In 
the Saga of the V01sung family (the German 
Nibelungen-Lied) it is narrated that Signe 
sewed the shirts of the male children to their 
bodies and then tore them off, bringing the skin 
also, in order to harden them. It is told of the 
bard Tormod that, after the battle of Sticklastad, 
he went into a hut where the wounded had been 



pair of nippers, but could not, the body was so 
swollen round the wound. "You take the knife 
and cut and sive me the pincers," Tormod said. 
She did so, and Tormod pulled out the iron. 
There were barbs on the arrow, so that red and 
white shreds of flesh hung upon it. Tormod 
smiled. "The king has given us plenty of food," 
he said; "we are fat round the heart," and with 
these words he dropped down dead. 

The old warrior Starkad lies on a stone, quite 
cut to pieces, with bowels protruding from his 
wounds, but still he will not receive help, and 
scolds every passer-by who is not a free man and 
can use weapons. 




Vikings landing in Southern Europe. 



carried, with an arrow through his body. "Please 
walk out and bring an armful of wood," said the 
female surgeon who attended the injured, and 
who had not observed how pale he was. Tor- 
mod went out and came again, throwing the 
wood in the corner. Then she looked at him. 
"You are pale," she said. "Well," Tormod an- 
swered, "I do not think that wounds make rosy 
cheeks." The woman wished to give him some 
porridge made of onions, that she might smell 
whether the wound had reached the hollow of 
the chest or not, but Tormod answered, "No, 
thank you; I suffer not from porridge disease!" 
The woman then tried to reach the iron with a 



In the old country I once spoke with a physi- 
cian about these stories, and expressed the opin- 
ion that such horrible accounts were exagger- 
ated. "No," he said, "I do not think so, because 
I have met similar things in my own practice. 
There was a farmer here who went to the forest 
to chop wood. He slipped on the moss, fell 
against the edge of his ax, and cut a hole in his 
belly so that his bowels protruded. He was 
many miles from help, and alone. He then crept, 
dragging his bowels after him, to a hut built for 
woodchoppers, and lay down on the bench, pati- 
ently waiting for somebody to come. For two 
days and nights he lay in that condition. Then 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



two other wooclchoppers happened to come, and 
they immediately sent for me. I was obliged to 
clean his wound and open it again with a knife, 
and press the bowels through- the hole; but he 
did not utter a groan of pain. A month later I 
met him. He was all right and worked with the 
others in the field. Such people are physically 
so strong and hardy that they do not seem to 
have any nerves " 

Perhaps those nerves of steel and that bodily 
strength are indicative of undeveloped brains, a 
sign of a lower level nearer to the animals. Be 
that is it may, I would nevertheless wish that 
our young people had more of that soundness of 
body which is the distinguishing mark of our 
Northern race. With that body of iron our an- 
cestors had strong and tender feelings. They 
were ardent and faithful in their love, as in their 
friendship. There was none of the old nations 
that had such respect for woman as the Teutonic 
race. She associated freely with men at festivals 
and on the playground. She uttered her opinion, 
and trie men listened to her. The woma"n was 
among them a person, not a thing. The law de- 
manded her consent to marriage, surrounded her 
with guarantees, and accorded her protection. 
Among the Anglo-Saxons, at least, she might in- 
herit and own property, and bequeath it to whom- 
soever she would. She was allowed to appear 
in courts of justice, and to carry on a lawsuit. 
In the Icelandic sagas it is very often the women 
who, with their cold counsels, stir up their hus- 
bands to atrocities and revenge. 

Marriage was pure among our ancestors. 
"Amongst the Saxons adultery was punished by 
death; the adulteress was obliged to hang her- 
self, or was stabbed by the knives of her com- 
panions. The wives of the Cimbrians, when they 
could not obtain from Marius assurance of their 
chastity, slew themselves with their own hands. 
The men thought there was something sacred in 
a woman. They married but one and kept faith 
with her." When we read of King Harald, the 
Fairnair, that he married nine or ten women, one 
for almost every province he conquered, it must 
be considered an exception, done mostly for 
political reasons. And besides, kings are never 
to be taken as a pattern in this matter. Tacitus 
writes about marriage among the Germans: "The 
wife, on entering her husband's home is aware 
that she gives herself altogether; that she will 
have but one body, one life with him; that she 
will have no thought, no desire beyond; that she 
will be the companion of his perils and labors; 
that she will suffer and dare as much as he both 
in peace and war." The Anglo-Saxon King Al- 



fred portrays a mistress of the house in the fol- 
lowing way: "Thy wife now lives for thee 
for thee alon?. She has enough of all kinds of 
wealth for this present life, but she scorns all 
for thy sake alone. She has forsaken them all 
because she had not thee with them. Thy ab- 
sence makes, her think that all she possesses is 
naught. Thus, for love of thee, she is wasted 
away and lies near death for tears and grief." 

Reading such words as these, we can under- 
stand the saga of Hjalmar and Ingeborg, of 
Sigrun and Helge. Ingeborg sits waiting for her 
lover Hjalmar to return from the fight with An- 
gantyr and his brothers. She hears footsteps out 
on the porch; she pulls the door open it is 
his comrade coming alone. He shows Hjalmar's 
ring. Then she understands all, and drops dead 
on the floor. Or Queen Sigrun, who has been 
married to the most glorious of all kings, Helge; 
he is murdered by his own brother. She becomes 
paralyzed from sorrow; she curses her brother, 
and sits like a marble statue in her palace. Then 
one day her maid servant comes running to her, 
telling her that she has seen the dead king, and 
that he waits he; in his barrow. Sigrun springs 
to her feet, and hurries to the tomb, where the 
dead husband sits. She flings her arms round 
his neck and says: "I will kiss you, dead king, 
before you 1 throw off your bloody cuirass. Your 
hair, Helge, is covered with wine; my king is 
sprinkled all over with the dew of battle; the 
hands of the bold warrior are cold; how shall I 
repair your injury?" Then he answers: "You are 
the cause, Sigrun from Seva Mountain, that Hel- 
ge is sprinkled with the dew of grief; when you, 
golden-robed, sunfair maiden from the south, 
shed cruel tears before you go to bed, every 
tear drips like blood on my breast, cold as ice, 
heavy with sorrow. But now nobody shall sing 
mourning songs if he sees bloody wounds on my 
breast, now women have come into the barrow, 
daughters of kings to us dead men." And Sig- 
run leaned her head upon his breast and said, 
"Now I will sleep in your arms as I did when 
you were alive." And she remained in the bar- 
row until dawn. Then she saw the king mount 
his shadowy horse and vanish away in the sky. 
The following night she started for the barrow 
and gazed, and waited; but he did not come. 
The next night she went there again, and looked 
and looked to see whether the pale horses would 
appear, but no one came. Every night she 
walked to the mound, waited, and gazed, but he 
did not come. One morning she did not return 
she sat on the barrow dead. Her heart was 
burst with grief. 



OUR ANCESTORS 




M 
I 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



We find the same violent passion when they 
love as when they fight. The love is so strong 
that it kills. We find similar traits in many of 
the old sagas for instance, in the story of Hag- 
barth and Signe; of Bendik and Aarolilja; of Tyra, 
the queen of Olaf Tryggvason, who mourned 
herself to death after the battle of Svolder, where 
her hero and husband fell. The remark of Taine 
is true: "Nothing here like the love we find in 
the primitive poetry of France, Provence, Spain 
and Greece. There is an absence of gayety, of 
delight; outside of marriage it is only a ferocious 
appetite, an outbreak of the instinct of the beast. 
It appears nowhere with its charm and its smile; 
there is no love song in this ancient poetry. The 
reason is that with them love is not an amuse- 
ment and a pleasure, but a promise and a devo- 
tion. All is grave, even somber, in civil rela- 
tions as well as in conjugal society. The deep 
power of love and the grand power .of will are 
the only ones that sway and act." If you read 
the saga of Gisle Surson you will find a picture 
of a woman who can both love and will. She 
is the wife of the hero; Aud is her name. Her 
boundless confidence in her husband is beauti- 
fully shown in her simple words, "I go to Gisle 
with everything that is too heavy for me to bear 
alone." As her hu'sband is sentenced as an out- 
law, she flees from all people and settles down 
on a barren shore of a rocky fiord, in order to 
assist him. Only once in a while can he visit 
her, and then she must hide him in a subter- 
ranean dwelling. In that way she lives year 
after year. Once his persecutors seek to bribe 
her to betray her husband. She acts as if will- 
ing, and lifts the bag, heavy with silver coins; 
but suddenly she plants it straight in the face 
of the man, so that the blood streams from his 
nostrils, and asks him whether he believes that 
Icelandic women will betray their husbands. And 
at last, when they have found the homeless fugi- 
tive and he fights his last combat, then Aud 
stands at his side upon the mountain top, and, 
wanting a sword, defends him with a stick. 

This power to give one's self entirely up to 
another person appears not only in the relations 
between man and woman; it seems to be still 
stronger and more frequent between man and 
man. There is ho race that has been stronger 
in friendship than the Teutonic. It was a com- 
mon custom for friends to mix their blood to- 
gether to signify that the same fate should strike 
them both, and when one died the other should 
follow him in death. We are told in Vatsd01a 
saga that the old Icelandic chief Ingemi.'nd had 
entered into friendship with a man called Sae- 



mund. To this Saemund came a relative named 
Rolleif; but he behaved so badly that it was im- 
possible for Sremund to endure it. Then Sae- 
mund went to his friend Ingemund, and told him 
how it was, and begged him to take Rolleif, "be- 
cause you succeed with all people you take care 
of." Ingemund answered that he did not like 
to do it, because his sons were grown up and 
u'nruly, "but if you still desire it I will try, as 
you are my friend." So he tried; but his fore- 
boding proved true; there was a daily quarrel 
and fight between his sons and the rascal Rol- 
leif, and he used all occasions to tease them and 
do them harm. Ingemund built a house for Rol- 
leif and his mother far off; but it was the same. 
There was a river belonging to Ingemund's 
property, very rich in salmon. He had allowed 
Rolleif to fish there at times, when his own sons 
did not use their nets; but Rolleif did not care 
for this permission, but fished whenever he 
pleased. Once Ingemund sent out his servants 
to spread their nets; but Rolleif was at the river 
and hindered them. They quarrelled with him 
about it, and at last he called them thralls and 
rascals, and threw stones at them, striking one 
of them senseless. The servants came running 
home as Ingemund sat at table. He asked why 
they hurried so. They told him how Rolleif had 
treated them. Then Jakul, the second son of 
Ingemund, exclaimed, "It seems as if Rolleif were 
the chieftain here in the valley, and will ill treat 
us as he does all others, but never shall that 
scoundrel bring us under the yoke." Torstein, 
the oldest son of Ingemuwd, said, "I think it is 
going too far now, but still it is best to act 
quietly." The father advised them to do so, but 
Jakul jumped to his feet and said, "I would like 
to try whether or not I am able to drive him 
from the coast." Ingemund said, "Son Torstein, 
please follow your brother. I have most con- 
fidence in you." Torstein answered, "I do not 
know as I can keep Jakul back, and I will not 
promise to stand still if he fights with Rolleif." 
Coming to the river, the brothers saw Rolleif 
fishing there on the opposite shore. Jakul cried 
at a distance, "Begone, rascal! else we shall play 
with you in a way you do not like." Rolleif 
laughed, "If there were three or four such spar- 
rows as you, I would continue my work in spite 
of your piping." "You rely upon the windcraft 
of your mother/' cried Jakul, and" jumped out 
into the river, but the water was too deep there; 
he could not wade across. "Do your duty," said 
Torstein, "and let there not be any quarrel be- 
tween us." But Jakul cried, "Let us kill that 
wretch!" Now Rolleif commenced to throw 



OUR ANCESTORS 



25 



stones at them, and the brothers responded in 
the same way. Jakul tried another ford farther 
up. Ingemund sat quietly at home, when a man 
came running, telling him that his sons and Rol- 
leif were stoninsr each other. Ingemii'nd said, 
"Make ready my horse; I will ride to them." He 
was then very old and nearly blind. He had 
cast a blue cloak over his dress. One of his 
servants led the horse. When Torstein dis- 
covered him he said, "There comes father! let us 
retire; I am anxious for him here." Insremund 
rode down to the shore and cried, "Rolleif, go 
away from the river and think upon your duty." 
But at the same moment Rolleif got a glimpse 
of Ingemund he flung his lance at him and hit 
him in the middle of the waist. When Ingemund 
felt he was stabbed, he turned his horse and 



light any candle before his sons came home. 
The servant hurried back to Rolleif, and said to 
him: "You are the meanest wretch in the world. 
Now you have killed old man Ingemu'nd, the 
best man in Iceland. He begged me to tell you 
that you ought to leave to-morrow, because his 
sons doubtless will seek your life. Now I have 
advised you; but telling the truth, I should 
rather have seen your head u'nder the ax of the 
brothers." Rolleif answered, "If you had not 
brought those tidings, you would never have 
gone hence alive." When the brothers entered 
the hall it was dark. Torstein groped his way 
forward, but suddenly he recoiled, "Here is 
something wet!" he said. The mother answered, 
"It has dripped from the cloak of Ingemund; I 
presume it rains." Torstein cried, "No; it is slij>- 




Viking dragons approaching the coast of Italy. 



said to his servant, "Lead me home!" Arrived 
home, it was late in the evening. Dismounting 
his horse, he said, "I am stiff now; that is the 
way with us old folk; we get tottering feet." 
The servant supported him, and then he heard a 
peculiar sound, and he discovered the lance 
through his master's body. Ingemund saith, 
"You have been a faithful servant; now do as 
I want. Go immediately to Rolleif, and tell him 
to leave before dawn, because to-morrow my 
sons will demand the blood of their father on 
his hands. It is no revenge for me that he shall 
be killed, and it is my duty to protect the man 
I have taken into my house as long as I can." 
With these words he broke off the spear shaft, 
and leaning on his servant he went in and sat 
himself in the high seat. He forbade them to 



pery like blood. Light the candles!" They did 
so. There sat Ingemund in his high seat, dead. 
The lance still pierced his body. Jakul was first 
to break the silence: "It is dreadful to know that 
su'ch a man as father is killed by that rascal; let 
us go and stab him." But Torstein answered, 
"You do not know our father, if you have any 
doubt that he has warned the wretch. Where 
is the servant who followed father?" They said 
he was not at home. "Then neither is Rolleif at 
home," answered Torstein; "but that must be our 
comfort, that there was a great difference be- 
tween our father and Rolleif, and that will be to 
his benefit before Him who has created the sun 
and the whole world, whosoever it is." But 
Jakul was so furious that they cou'ld scarcely re- 
strain him. Ingemund was laid in his own boat, 



26 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 




Emperor Charlemagne observing the Vikings, the only warriors he ever feared. 



OUR ANCESTORS 



and there was made a mound over him. But 
when the sad tidings came to Ingemund's friend, 
Eyvind, he said to his fosterson: "Go and tell my 
friend Gant what I am doing;" and at the same 
moment he drew his sword, threw himself on the 
point, and died. When Gant heard of this he 
said, "When such a man leaves us it is best to 
keep his company," and with these words he 
stabbed himself with his sword. 

The same dovotedness to friends our ancestor 
showed also toward his chief. "Having chosen 
his chief, he forgets himself in him, assigns to 
him his own glory, serves him to the death." 



honest men. I will sink down at the head of my 
lord; thou, Hjalte, lie down at his feet. It is 
nothing that ravens and eagles will peck our 
corpses, when we fall as bold and valiant war- 
riors on the battle field beside our king." To fol- 
low their chosen chieftain and die for his sake 
was the most glorious life they knew. This view 
of life saturates their whole religion. God Odin 
would not receive in his abode of Valhalla other 
than those who had sunk down with wounds on 
their breast, and beyond the grave they live the 
same wild life again. They were to meet with 
their friends and chiefs, and fight at their side, 




Northern Vikings approaching a Southern fortress. 



Tacitus says, "He is infamous as long as he lives 
who returns from the field of battle without his 
chief." It was on this voluntary sirbordination 
that feudal society was based. Man in this race 
can accept a superior; can be capable of devo- 
tion and respect. "Old as I am," says one of 
their old poets, "I will not budge hence. I mean 
to die by my lord's side, near this man I have 
loved." In the saga of Rolf Krake, as it is told 
by the Danish historian Saxo Grammaticus, Bod- 
var Bjarke, the Norwegian warrior of the king, 
says to his Danish champion Hjalte, when they 
fight their last fight: "Let us, while the blood 
still runs warm through our veins, try to die like 



just as here on earth. The Greek heathen put 
all weight upon this life, and urged the enjoy- 
ment and happiness of earth. But the Scandi- 
navian heathen raised the life of man from the 
dead, and let it grow still stronger and greater 
on the other side of the tomb. To him death 
was only the entrance gate to a more glorious 
life than the present, and, therefore, they could 
die singing; could laugh at their wounds; mingle 
in the bloodiest fight with cold contempt of in- 
juries and death. Their harshest enemies, the 
Romans, stood in wondering reverence before 
that peculiar trait of character, and the Latin 
poet Lucan sings of these barbarians: "Where 



\ 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



we see only pale shadows through the foggy sky, 
there the spirit builds before your eyes a new 
hall. If we may reckon after your songs, death 
only divides the stream of life, which in the next 
world swells with new powers through every 
limb. Question the people that live in the North; 
are they in error in regard to this matter? They 
have got rid of the worst fear on earth, the fear 
of death. They have heroic courage; they are 
the conquerors of death; they deem it paltry to 
chaffer about a life they shall regain." And this 
idea of the warrior's life under the standard of 
a glorious chieftain as the most desirable life of 
man was not extinguished by Christianity. 
Rather obtained nobler aims and stronger vital- 
ity. Jesus Christ was made the most powerful 
chieftain that ever lived greater than both 
Odin and Thor, but carrying on the same fight 
as they, the fight against the evil spirits, the 
Jotuns, Satan and his angels. He broke down 
the walls of death and hell, and rose as the glori- 
ous victor on the third day, and his faithful fol- 
lowers we shall be, suffering and fighting under 
his banner, dying with him in order to be raised 
with him. It was the same train of ideas as in 
the heathen days,, only changed to a Christian 
foundation, with Christian names. That our an- 
cestors preferred to look at Jesus Christ as the 
valiant hero we may see from the poems of 
Caedmon, the oldest religious poems we have in 
any northern tongue. Caedmon lived in North- 
umberland, in the last part of the seventh cen- 
tury. When he sings about the death of Christ 
on the cross, it is not the suffering Christ, drag- 
ged about the streets of Jerusalem to Golgatha, 
powerless, bleeding, nearly sinking. No; it is 
Christ as a young and vigorous hero, who volun- 
tarily ascends in order to liberate us. He sings 
thus; it is the holy cross itself which is speaking: 
"The young hero, God Almighty, bold and val- 
iant, girded himself and ascended the high gal- 
lows courageously before many eyes, because he 
would unbind the chains of the world." And un- 
der the same aspect of vikings who are on the 
warpath they looked upon the apostles. In an 
old poem of Andreas the apostles are described 
in the following manner: "Once in olden times 
there lived twelve glorious champions, the thanes 
of the Lord. When they struck their helmets 
they never grew tired. They were famous men, 
bold chieftains, courageous in warfare -when hand 
and shield fought for the lord on the battle field." 
Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea are called 
"the heroes of Hild;" that is, the goddess of bat- 
tle. Abraham and Lot roam about as vikings, 
taking land where the country seems to be most 



pleasant; Moses is "the famous chieftain" who 
leads out the Hebrew warriors; their ramblings, 
their encounter with Pharao are described as one 
of their heathen bards would describe a war ex- 
pedition of the old vikings. Thus Caedmon 
writes: "They encamped and the tired warriors 
threw themselves into the grass. The helpers in 
the kitchen brought them food, and the men re- 
covered their strength. They pitched their tents 
on the hill-slopes, while the war-bugles sounded; 
it was the fourth camp. Round the Red Sea 
rested the shieldbearers." Then Pharao comes 
persecuting them. "Look how it shines, yonder 
by the forest! Banners wave, people march, the 
spears are sharpened, the shields twinkle, war is 
over our heads, trumpets sound. The coarse 
voracious birds of battle, the black ravens, have 
chosen their field and cry for corpses; wolves 
howl their ugly evening song; they expect battle- 
food. The breath of death blew wildly over the 
people, and they were stopped." So the old poet 
describes how the Egyptians perish: "The folk 
were affrighted; the dread of the flood seized on 
their sad souls; with a roaring came the ocean; 
it bellowed death, it foamed gore, and the water 
spouted blood on the mountain sides. The waves 
filled with weapons, with screams, all wrapped 
in fogs of death the Egyptians rushed round, 
fled trembling from fear and anguish; but against 
them, like a cloud, rose the fell rollings of the 
waves; nobody was saved; from behind fate 
closed the gates with the billows; where roads 
once lay, sea raged. The air was mixed with 
smell of corpses; the breakers burst and rolled 
and killed in their embrace. No one was spared; 
not a single one of the numberless thanes re- 
turned with the sad tidings to the castle to tell 
their wives about the fall of their chiefs." 

This description reminds us of the wild war 
songs which the Scandinavian vikings sang three 
hundred years later, when they ravaged the 
coasts of Ireland and England: 

"Come and weave, come and weave 

The texture of battle; 
Of entrails of man 

Is taken the warp, 
With the skulls of man 

It is strongly stretched out. 
Bloody spears 

Shall become the shuttles, 
The beams are steel, 

The reeds are arrows; 
Make thus with the sword 

The web of victory tight." 

Now we may understand why Bishop Ulfila, 



OUR ANCESTORS 



29 



the first translator of the Bible into the Gothic 
language, did not dare to include the Books of 
the Kings, because he feared that his countrymen 
would become too excited and too eager for 
war. Now we may understand why the beauti- 
ful and characteristic story of Saint Kristofer has 
grown among his race the giant who, strong 
himself, would serve the strongest, and first ap- 
plied to the emperor, but, discovering that he 
feared the devil, went to him, and, seeing that the 
devil was scared by the cross, went to the master 
of the cross and served him humbly and patient- 



lage? I may be a god like him. Stand by me, 
strong companions, who will not fail me in the 
strife. Heroes, stern of mood, they have chosen 
me for chief; renowned warriors! With su'ch may 
one devise counsel, with such capture his ad- 
herents; they are my zealous friends, faithful in 
their thoughts. I may be their chieftain, sway 
in this realm; thus to me it seemeth not right, 
that I in aught need cringe to God for any good; 
I will no longer be his vassal. He is overcome, 
but not subdued. He does not repent. He is 
cast into the place "where torment they suffer, 




Old Viking Castle. 



ly till his death. It is the faithfulness to the 
chosen chieftain which emerges in this legend 
too; and they take with them into Christianity 
all the heathen terms and names, so that they 
dare call Christ the "Frey of the World," the 
"Loving Balder" and the "King of Victory." 

This swelling defiance and power, this endless 
desire for becoming independent and rulers, 
which is characteristic of our ancestors, has its 
strongest poetic expression in the picture of Sa- 
tan, Csedmon's masterpiece. He puts the follow- 
ing words into the mouth of Satan: "Why shall 
I for his favor serve, bend to him in such vasal- 



burning heat in the midst of hell, fire, and broad 
flames." At first he is astonished; he despairs, 
but it is a hero's despair. Proud he looks 
around: "Is this the place where my Lord im- 
prisons me? It is most unlike that war that we 
ere knew, high in heaven's kingdom, which my 
master bestowed on me. Oh, had I power of my 
hands and might one season be without be one 

winter's space then with this host I! But 

around me lie iron bands; presseth this cord of 
chain. I am powerless! Me have so hard the 
clamps of hell so firmly grasped." 

In a poem, "Christ and Satan," he depicts Sa- 



30 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



tan in hell, lamenting, "Never with my hands I 
heaven reach, never with my eyes I upward see, 
never with my ears I hear the sweet tunes from 
the trumpets of the angels, never in all eternity 
never! never!'' "As there is nothing to be done 
against God, it is his new cre'ature man he must 
attack. Vengeance is the only thing left him, 



This strong, refreshing and encouraging view 
of Christianity that Jesus Christ, the chieftain 
of the church is a hero who has burst open the 
road to heaven, who has liberated us out of our 
chains and leads us under his victorious stand- 
ard maintained its position until the church of 
the pope came with its Latin and destroyed the 




Russians (Slavs) paying hommage to Rurik, the founder of the Russian empire. 



and if the conquered can enjoy this, he will find 
himself happy; he will sleep softly even under 
his chains." 

Beside this old poet Milton grows pale. But 
they are related to each other, and they have 
had their originals from the same race Csed- 
mon in the wild obstinate vikings of the North, 
Milton in the sturdy Puritans. 



national song and whipped the people with its 
dogmatic rods. Today we have not yet shaken 
off this yoke; orthodoxy has taught the descend- 
ants of that proud race to 'walk along sighing 
and looking at the dust, dragging along with 
them their inherited guilt. It has taught them to 
look at Christ as bleeding, suffering and dying, 
hanging there on his cross, but not so much as 



OUR ANCESTORS 



31 



the risen, victorious, leading, progressive human- 
ity, moving forward round the whole earth, loos- 
ening the chains and doing good. The old, 
healthy view of Christianity is an inheritance 
from our ancestors, and we have not yet taken 
possession of it. 

What a singular people those old ancestors 
were! What a natural power! What an imagi- 
nation! W r hat desire for adventures! What in- 



the sweetness of enjoyment and the softness of 
pleasure? Endeavors, tenacious and mournfu'l 
endeavors such was their chosen condition. 
Strife for strife's sake such is their pleasure. 
With what sadness, madness, destruction, such 
a disposition breaks its bonds, we see in Shake- 
speare and Byron; with what vigor and purpose 
it can limit and employ itself when possessed by 
moral ideas, we can see in the case of the Puri- 




A Bard singing to the Warriors. 



tense feelings! What a childlike mind! As the 
French king Clodwig listened to the story of 
the suffering of Christ he exclaimed, "If I had 
only been there with my Francs!" 

How strange to see them place their happiness 
in battle, their beauty in death! Is there any 
people Hindoo, Persian, Greek or Gallic 
which has formed so tragic a conception of life? 
Is there any which has peopled its infantine 
mind with such gloomy dreams? Is there any 
which has so entirely banished from its dreams 



tans. "When we see traveling English people 
nowadays," says Carlyle, "we know the race." 
"To climb all the mountain tops where nobody 
else has been, to risk their lives in crawling over 
precipices, to vie with each other in walking, in 
rowing, in swimming yes, in eating too, that 
is an inheritance from their ancestors, the race 
of bodily strength, of tenacious will and defiance, 
of contempt of death." 

There is one thing more that should be men- 
tioned in this connection, and that is the.'r love 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



of music and song. The bard must never fail, 
either under the banner of the king, in the battle 
or at the table in the hall, when the wine or 
mead warmed their blood, the harp went round, 
and they sang of the wild noise of war and of 
faithful woman's love. The bard was a dear 
guest. Where he went the gates flung open to 
him, he was placed in the high seat and purple 
cloaks and golden chains were presented to him. 
Before the battle of Sticklastad, King Olaf asked 
the bard Tormod to awake the sleeping camp 
by an old war song, and in the battle of Hastings 
the bard Toillifer rode before the army of Wil- 
liam the Conqueror, sang and threw the first 
lance toward the enemy. At the time of Charles 
the Great it was the law in one of his countries, 
"that the man who wounded a harpplayer in his 
hand should pay one-fourth part more in fine 
than if he had hurt another man:" The preacher 
Oldhelm, when he could not get people to listen 



to his sermons, dressed himself as a bard and 
took his place on a bridge where the crowd 
passed and repeated warlike and profane odes, 
as well as religious poetry, in order to attract 
and instruct the men of his time. The bard was 
the teacher in religion, in history, in all sciences. 
Even into the monasteries the bard-song passed. 
"In King Edgar's time," says an old historian, 
"you heard mu'stc, song and dance from the mon- 
asteries till midnight." They must have been 
merry monks! This taste for music and poetry 
gives reconciliation to the drinking parties; it 
breathes spirit into the rough and brutish talk. 
And we may proudly say that a society where 
woman is respected, where marriage is holy, 
which is founded on faithfulness and truth, on 
devotedness to what is held dear, is a society fit 
for development, a society destined to have 
something to do in the world. 




GLIMPSES OF NORWEGIAN 

HISTORY 



While the Norwegian citizens of Illinois have 
adapted themselves to their new surroundings, 
and have become as much Americanized as any 
of the State's foreign population, they all look 
with peculiar fondness on the land of their birth. 
They can not forget that country toward the 
far North with its rugged mountains and deep- 
blue fjords; its long, crisp winters and balmy 
summers; its wealth of poetry; its honest, sturdy 
men and its fair women. They are all fond of 
recalling the time when the bold and adventurous 
Norsemen played an important role in the his- 
tory of the world, founding and destroying great 
kingdoms. 

The Norwegians, like other Germanic tribes, 
are supposed to have come from Asia, near the 
head of the River Oxus. The most hardy and 
adventurous of these tribes penetrated to the far 
North and West and populated Norway, prob- 
ably several centuries before the Christian 
era. Of their history during the first thousand 
years we know but little. Each valley was an 
independent state, with its own king' or earl and 
with its own "fylkesthing," or lawmaking as- 
sembly, in which every man capable of bearing 
arms for the defense of the community had the 
right to be heard. The Norsemen, even in those 
times, recognized the people themselves as the 
source of authority. War was considered the 
most honorable of all undertakings and the war- 
like spirit was kept alive by the belief, which 
was the cardinal principle of their religion, that a 
man who fell in honorable battle was certain of 
a welcome in "Valhalla," the home of the gods. 
The history of Norway may be said to begin 
with the last year of the eighth century, when 
the hordes of Norse vikings began to sweep like 
cyclones down upon the countries of western Eu- 
rope. They made their way even to Rome and 
to Constantinople, and everywhere the priests 



prayed in their litania, "Deliver us, O Lord, from 
the fury of the Norsemen." 

The first king of all Norway was Harald Haar- 
fager (the Fairhaired), who in the years 860-872 
subdued all the other chieftains, and created a 
united Norway to take her place among the na- 
tions of the world. From him there descended 
a long line of mighty kings. 

* * * 

Harald Haarfager in his old age gave each of 
his many sons a province to govern and gave 
to all the title of king, with Erik Blod0xe (Blood- 
Ax) as over-king. He was a cruel man who, 
spurred on by his evil-minded wife, slew many 
of his brothers. But his bloody reign lasted only 
five years. The people, tiring of his cruelty, 
gathered around Haakon, the youngest son of 
Harald, who ruled for 26 years with great wis- 
dom. He restored some of the most prized 
rights of the people that had been taken from 
them by his father, codified the laws of the north- 
ern and western parts of the country, created an 
admirable military system and introduced many 
other reforms. He made an attempt to christian- 
ize the people, but failed. He lives in Norwegian 
history as Haakon the Good. 

* * * 

In 995 Olaf Tryggvesson, a great-grandson of 
Harald the Fairhaired, became king. He is Nor- 
way's great national hero. Of him, as of the 
earlier kings, we have minute and trustworthy 
accounts in "Heimskringla," or the "Sagas of the 
Kings of Norway," the great historical work of 
Snorre Sturlason, an Icelander of the thirteenth 
century. The deeds of the heroes of these times 
have also been immortalized by contemporary 
poets or "skalds," notably so by Egil Skalla- 
grimson, who flourished during the reigns of 
Erik Bloodax and Haakon the Good. 

Olaf Tryggvesson's youth and early manhood 



(33) 



34 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



had been a series of the most romantic adven- 
tures in Russia, Greece, England and Ireland. 
He was 31 years of age when he returned to 
Norway to claim his paternal kingdom. He is said 
to have been the strongest and most handsome 
man anybody had seen and to have borne a strik- 
ing resemblance to Harald the Fairhaired. He 
won all hearts and was made king of Norway 
without striking a blow. In England he had be- 
come a Christian, and the great aim of his life 
was to persuade or compel his people to forsake 
their pagan gods and accept "Christ the White." 
In this he succeeded after a fashion, although 
many who allowed themselves to be baptized, be- 
cause to refuse was to be slain, remained pagans 
at heart. 

The year 1000 is an eventful one in Norwegian 
history. In this year Olaf Tryggvesson sailed 
with sixty ships to Wendland, the present Baltic 
provinces of Prussia, to claim the estates of his 
queen Thyra. On his return he was attacked by 
a large fleet under the Danish king Svein Tvse- 
skjaeg (Fork-beard), and the Swedish king, Olof 
supported by a large number of Norsemen under 
Erik Jarl, who had been driven out of Norway 
and had his possessions confiscated. These allies 
lay in wait for the Norwegian king behind the 
little island of Svolder. 

When the greater part of the Norwegian fleet 
had sailed by, the attack on the king's ship Or- 
men Lange ("The Long Serpent") began. King 
Olaf lashed his eleven ships together and fought 
desperately. The Danes and the Swedes were 
each in turn repulsed, but finally Olaf was at- 
tacked in the rear by Erik Jarl and was over- 
powered by his foes. When the king, who was 
himself severely wounded, looked over his ships 
and found but nine men besides himself alive he 
threw his last spear against the nearest of his 
foes and then leaped overboard and was drowned. 
There is, however, a legend according to which 
he succeeded in swimming ashore and making 
his way to the Holy Land, where he lived many 
years as a hermit. 

* * * 

It was also in the year 1000 that America was 
discovered by a Norseman. Of the chieftains 
who in 872 had left Norway rather than submit 
to the rule of Harald the Fairhaired many had 
found their way to Iceland. It was Leif Erick- 
son, a descendant of one of these men, who in 
the year 1000 sailed to the new world, which 
fourteen years earlier had been seen by Bjarne 
Herjulfsson, and landed on the coast of the pres- 
ent state of Massachusetts. 



In 1006 a second expedition was undertaken 
and a number of Norsemen sojourned for three 
years in "Vinland the Good." 

* * * 

Another chieftain who left Norway during 
the reign of Harald the Fairhaired was Gange 
Rolf (Rollo the Walker), 'who became duke of 
Normandy, and one of whose descendants, Wil- 
liam the Conqueror, in 1066 became king of Eng- 
land after having vanquished the last Saxon king, 

Harold. 

* * * 

After Olaf Tryggvesson's death the work of 
christianizing Norway was continued and com- 
pleted by Olaf den Hellige (the Saint). He was 
a strong but rather arbitrary ruler and did much '', 
to strengthen the crown and decreed that there 
should be no more petty kings in Norway. He 
founded cities, improved the administration of 
justice and organized the church. But he won 
hosts of enemies at home and abroad and was 
compelled to leave the country. In an attempt 
to regain his crown he fell at Stiklestad July 29, 
1030. The people soon came to regret that they 
had slain the great king, and legends wove a 
saintly halo about his name. Around his shrine 1 
in Nidaros (Trondhjem) .rose the mighty cath- I 
edral, and churches were built in his honor in I 
Sweden, Denmark, England, and other countries. I 
He was canonized, and great pilgrimages were I 
made to his shrine on Olaf Mass Day (July 29), I 
raising Nidaros to the most important religious I 
center in the northern lands. 

His son, Magnus the Good, ruled also over I 
Denmark until his death and repelled an attack I 
on Denmark by the Wends defeating them in the 
great battle of Lyrskog Heath in Schlesvig. 

* * * 

The youngest brother of Magnus, Harald 
Haardraade, the founder of Oslo (Christiania), 
was a giant of will and body. He had won fame 
and power as a viking chieftain in wars in the 
Mediterranean countries, and his reign as ruler 
was stormy and warlike. He tried to hold Den- 
mark, but failed, although he always won in bat- 
tle. In 1066 he set out to conquer England, and 
had all but defeated the English king Harold at 
Stamford bridge when his army, too eager to 
pursue, broke their formation and was defeated, 
and there fell Harald, "the last of the vikings." 

Olaf Kyrre (the Peaceful), the founder of 
Bjcfrgvin (Bergen), made improvements in the 
houses and social customs of the people; stoves 
(of stone) came into use in Norway during his 
reign. Magnus Barefoot conquered the isle of 



GLIMPSES OF NORWEGIAN HISTORY 



35 



Man. Sigurd Torsalafar went to the Mediterran- 
ean with a strong fleet, destroyed heathen rob- 
ber fleets galore, captured the city of Sidon, and 
visited Jerusalem and Constantinople. Upon his 
death followed a long period of tumult and in- 
cessant wars between rival pretenders to the 
crown. * * * 

One of the greatest of the kings of Norway 
was Sverre Sigurdson, who died in 1203. He de- 
feated rival claimants to the throne and, leaning 
upon the common people, curtailed the privileges 
of the barons. He gave Norway many wise laws, 
and broke the power of the priesthood, which 
had become paramount. He was excommunicated 
by the Church of Rome, but was a brave and wise 
man, and defied all public opinion of his time. 
He also distinguished himself by his work for 
the promotion of temperance, a virtue which at 
that time was almost unknown. Sverre was at 
his death 50 years old, and it is a rather sig- 
nificant fact that but one other Norwegian king 
after Harald Haarfager had reached so great 

an age. 

* * * 

Haakon Haakonson (the Old), a grandson of 
Sverre, reigned 46 years (1217-1263). He was a 
wise and progressive ruler, loved at home and 
respected abroad. He wrought many reforms 
and brought Iceland and Greenland under Nor- 
way. The pope tendered him the crown of the 
Holy Roman empire, but he declined it. His 
reign is the golden age of Old Norway. 

His son, Magnus Lagabjzfter (Law-mender), in- 
troduced a common code of laws for the whole 
country, which remained in force for 300 years. 
Erik Magnusson, the Priesthater, curbed the 
bishops, fought the Hanseatic league to a stand- 
still and made long wars upon Denmark. Mag- 
nus Eriksson was elected king of Sweden in 1319, 
and then Sweden and Norway became united; 
the union was dissolved in 1363. In 1349 Nor- 
way was ravaged by the Black Death, which de- 
stroyed over one-third of the population and 
crippled the country for centuries to come. 

* * * . 

Haakon Magnusson (died 1380) was married to 
Margrete of Denmark; their son, Olaf, inherited 
the crowns of both countries, and then Norway 
and Denmark became united. Olaf died 1387 and 
was succeeded by his able mother, who defeated 
king Albrecht of Sweden in 1397, and united all 
three of the Scandinavian countries by the so- 
called Kalmar union. By the terms of the union 
each country was to constitute a separate king- 
dom; but Denmark, as the seat of the union gov- 



ernment, soon came to exercise a leading influence, 
especially after Sweden cut lose from the union. 

In 1537 Christian III abolished the Norwegian 
council of regency and abridged the liberties of 
the people. His reign was notable as marking 
the time when the Lutheran reformation was in- 
troduced. The union with Denmark exposed 
Norway to many needless and bloody wars with 
Sweden. Apart from these regrettable wars there 
is not much to say about this period of the his- 
tory of Norway. Yet the people grew in strength 
during their apparent sleep, and when a new day 
dawned they were ready to face its problems and 
take full advantage of its opportunities. 
* * * 

As one of the results of the Napoleonic wars, 
the French Marshal Bernadotte was elected heir 
to the Swedish throne, and by the treaty of Kiel, 
Jan. 12, 1814, Denmark was obliged to cede Nor- 
way to Sweden. This roused the old independ- 
ent spirit of the Norwegians. They admitted 
that the union king could lawfully surrender his 
own rights to the crown of Norway; but main- 
tained that his attempt to transfer the country 
and its people to another power was a clear vio- 
lation of the law of nations and hence of no 
effect. The vice-king, Prince Christian Fredrik, 
seconded their protest and called a council at 
Eidsvold to consider a plan of action. He 
claimed that he was the rightful heir to the 
throne, but finally, on advice of Prof. Sverdrup, 
waived all claims. 

On May 17, 1814, the council at Eidsvold, re- 
presenting the people of Norway, adopted a wise 
and liberal constitution, which is still in force, 
elected Prince Christian Fredrik king of Norway, 
and prepared for war with Sweden, which they 
foresaw was imminent. Bernadotte invaded Nor- 
wav but after a few unimportant skirmishes an 
armistice was concluded at Moss, Aug. 4. The 
storthing or parliament was called together and 
negotiated a peace, by the terms of which Swe- 
den and Norway should form a union under a 
common king. The king of Sweden, Charles 
XIII, was chosen king of Norway as well, on 
condition that he recognize the independence of 
the country and agree to respect the constitution 
which the Norwegians had given themselves at 
Eidsvold. The relations between the two coun- 
tries were defined and regulated by the "Act of 
Union" of 1815, which states that the union was 
brought about not by force of arms, but by mu- 
tual good will for the purposes of safeguarding 
the crowns of the united countries, and that the 
union should be for all time. 

Since -this date, Nov. 4, 1814, Norway has 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



steadily progressed by even stages of orderly 
development. All titles of nobility were abol- 
ished in 1821, notwithstanding the vigorous op- 
position of the king, and the liberties of the peo- 
ple were gradually enlarged, and the Norwegians 
are to-day the most democratic of all peoples. 

The political development of Norway during 
the union with Sweden was, however, marked by 
stress and struggles. The people were deter- 
mined to make their liberal constitution a living 
reality; at every stage their efforts were stub- 
bornly resisted by the crown; but by courage, 
wisdom and patience the storthing always won 
out. There were also many disputes between the 
united countries, but such controversies were 
gradually adjusted and the relations between the 
"brother peoples" were constantly improving. 

In 1886 Sweden made a change in her constitu- 
tion, which brought the so-called "consular ques- 
tion" to the fore. By the Act of Union the man- 
agement of all foreign relations was left in the 
hands of the union king; as he was as much the 
king of Norway as the king of Sweden, Norway, 
by this arrangement, had an equal influence with 
Sweden, at least in law, upon the administration 
of foreign affairs. But in 1886 Sweden, without 
consulting Norway, changed the character of the 
minister of foreign affairs from being a mere 
clerk to the union king to a constitutional officer 
responsible to the parliament of Sweden. This 
important step, however justified from a Swed- 
ish point of view, deprived Norway of any con- 
stitutional voice regarding the administration of 
the common foreign relations of the two coun- 
tries. This injustice was especially felt within 
the field of the consular department, which deals 
mainly with shipping and trade. Inasmuch as 
the merchant marine of Norway was about four 
times larger than that of Sweden, and Norway 
consequently contributed much the larger share 
for the support of the common consular service, 
Norway with growing unanimity and force de- 
manded a "new deal." 

Sweden did not deny the justice of the Nor- 
wegian view; on the contrary, it was freely ad- 
mitted by the official spokesmen of Sweden that 
Norway had just cause for complaint. But the 
Swedish government held that the remedy pro- 
posed by the Norwegian government, separate 
consular services, would dangerously weaken the 
bond of union, and insisted that other changes in 
the Act of Union must be made at the same time. 
It is not necessary to follow these negotiations 
in detail; the position of the union king was, of 
course, extremely difficult, as he was required to 



agree with both sides. Finally the task of work- 
ing out a settlement was intrusted to a union 
committee, of which Dr. Sigurd Ibsen and the 
Swedish minister of foreign affairs, Lagerheim, 
were alternating chairmen. The committee 
worked earnestly and well and agreed upon a 
new arrangement which received the support of 
both the Swedish and the Norwegian govern- 
ments. The people of the two countries hailed 
these tidings with joy, as the end of all unpleas- 
ant bickerings was now in sight. 

In the fall of 1904 Lagerheim was forced to 
resign by Prime Minister BostrcSm and replaced 
by Count Gyldenstolpe. The Swedish ministry,' 
as reconstructed, repudiated the joint consular 
agreement and submitted a new proposition that 
was altogether unacceptable to Norway; and the 
negotiations were discontinued. The Hagerup 
ministry, which had fathered the conciliatory pol- 
icy, resigned and was followed by the Michelsen- 
L0vland cabinet. The storthing selected a spe- 
cial committee, which drafted a consular law for 
Norway. This bill met with the unanimous ap- 
proval of the storthing and of the enthusiastic 
people, whose demand was immediate action. 

When the king stated that he would have to 
veto the bill, the cabinet immediately resigned. 
The king tried to form another cabinet but found 
the' task was impossible and so stated. The 
country being then left without a responsible 
government it became the duty of the storthing 
to act; and on June 7th, 1905, the storthing unan- 
imously adopted the following historic resolu- 
tion: 

Whereas, all the members of the government 
(cabinet) have resigned their offices; and 

Whereas, his majesty the king has declared 
himself unable to provide another government 
for the country; and 

Whereas, the constitutional royal power thus 
has ceased to exist; be it 

Resolved, that the storthing hereby empowers 
the members of the government that resigned 
to-day to assume, until further, as the Norwegian 
Government, the powers vested in the king by 
the constitution of Norway and laws now in 
force with such modifications' as are made 
necessary by the fact that the union with Sweden 
under one king is dissolved in consequence of 
the king having ceased to function as king of 
Norway." 

What followed later, the meeting of the Swed- 
ish and Norwegian delegations at Karlstad, the 
final agreement concerning the dissolution of the 
union, the ratification of the Norwegian peoplft 



GLIMPSES OF NORWEGIAN HISTORY 



37 



of the action of the storthing on Aug. 13, 1905, 
and the election of Prince Carl of Denmark as 
king under the name of Haakon VII, his accept- 
ance, the coronation ceremonies in Trondhjem, 
etc., are so recent events that we do not deem it 
necessary to describe them in detail in this lim- 
ited space. 

Throughout the whole controversy Sweden as 
well as Norway exhibited remarkable calmness 
and self-restraint, and both nations won the 
esteem and applause of the whole civilized world 
for their success in settling so grave differences 
without a resort to war. 



Norway has of late years contributed much to 
science and literature and has won new laurels 
in this for her comparatively new field. One 
need only mention the historians, Munch, Key- 
ser and Sars; the philologists, Ivar Aasen and 
Sofus Bugge; the astronomer, Hansteen; the mu- 
sicians, Ole Bull and Grieg; the painters, Tide- 
mand, Gude and Thaulow; the mathematicians, 
Abel and Lie; and the explorers, Nansen, Sverd- 
rup and Amundsen, who recently relocated the 
magnetic north-pole and cleared the northwest 
passage; and the poets Bj^rnson and Jonas Lie, 



and notably Henrik Ibsen, who was by some con- 
sidered the foremost literary man and intellect- 
ual giant of the age. 

The valleys of Norway seemed during the past 
century to become too narrow for the increasing 
population, and many Norwegians have found 
homes in Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, 
the Dakotas, and other states. It was on July 4, 
1825, that the first party of Norwegian emi- 
grants left the city of Stavanger for the United 
States. Hosts of others have followed these 
pioneers, until now the Norwegians in America 
and their children must number about 1,000,000 
souls. Nearly all of them belonged in Norway 
to the poorer class, and they emigrated with the 
purpose of bettering their condition. The hard 
struggle for existence had taught them habits of 
industry and rigid economy, and this has been 
of immense benefit to them in their new home. 
Many of them have become wealthy, and nearly 
all of them have won at least a comfortable 
competency. They have built a large number of 
churches and higher institutions of learning, and 
they teach their children to fear God, respect all 
rightful authority, cherish the memory of the 
dear old fatherland, and love liberty as the most 
priceless earthly boon. 




THE NORWEGIAN PIONEER 



By Rev. A. Bredesen. 



I have not the honor to have written the his- 
tory of the Norwegian pioneers, but I may say 
that I have lived that history. My earliest rec- 
ollections cluster around men and things in a 
struggling frontier settlement in central Wis- 
consin, more than fifty years ago. I have known 
the Norwegian pioneer long and well, and -in my 
appreciation of him and regard for him I yield 
to no one. 

It is meet and proper that the Norwegian 
pioneer have recognition. _ We all owe him a 
great debt of honor and gratitude. Who was it, 
for instance, that forty-five years ago, in a 
frontier hamlet, called our alma mater, the 
Luther College, into existence? Not, I trow, 
some multi-millionaire in the East, some mer- 
chant prince, coal baron or oil king, but the 
horny-handed Norwegian pioneer on the prairies 
and in the backwoods of Wisconsin, Iowa and 
Minnesota. And who but the Norwegian pio- 
neer has been the best friend and patron that 
our alma mater ever had? His good will was 
for many years her only endowment. Very 
little of material or moral support did the strug- 
gling college receive from any other source. The 
Norwegian pioneer of the past and the present 
has contributed cheerfully and liberally from his 
hard earnings to establish, equip and support our 
alma mater, and has sent hundreds and thou- 
sands of his brightest boys to fill her classes. 
Luther College is the college of the Norwegian 
pioneer, and stands today, and will ever stand, 
a noble monument to his sincere devotion and 
heroic endeavor in the cause of scientia vera et 
fides pura (true science and pure faith). 

The Norwegian pioneer deserves honorable 
recognition, and at the hand of the whole Amer- 
ican people, for the splendid service which he 
has done in the advancement of civilization 
throughout the Northwest. If there is anything 



to which Americans of Norwegian birth may 
well "point with pride" it is the Norwegian 
pioneer and his achievements. I do not know 
that the Norwegian-American has been a con- 
spicuous and dismal failure in any respect un- 
less it be as a democratic campaign shouter. 
His record as a thrifty, law-abiding, intelligent 
and patriotic American citizen is very good. His 
percentages of pauperism and illiteracy are as 
low as the lowest. In the trades, in the learned 
professions, in business and in politics he has 
been reasonably successful. He has dotted the 
whole Northwest with his churches, schools and 
charitable institutions. He is an excellent farmer. 
He is "the American sailor" of today, and when- 
ever Uncle Sam wants to beat the Britishers in 
a sailing match he calls on his Norwegian sailor 
boys to do it for him. If, perhaps, in some re- 
spects the Norwegian-American has done only 
passably well, as a pioneer he has certainly, as 
was to be expected, been a splendid success. 
The typical Norwegian is a born pioneer. With 
his passion for ownership of land and a home 
and his -decided liking for adventure, combined 
with physical stamina, courage and endurance, 
he is the stuff that pioneers are made of. And 
of this he has given abundant proof. Eighty 
years ago when immigration from Norway set 
in Chicago and Milwaukee were rough frontier 
towns, and the great Northwest was an almost 
unbroken wilderness, the haunts of wild beasts 
and wilder men. As by a miracle, in the brief 
space of eighty years, this vast wilderness has 
been transformed into a splendid galaxy of 
wealthy, enlightened and progressive states. In 
the face of bloodthirsty savages and prowling 
beasts and blizzards, and droughts, and dangers, 
and difficulties, and hardships of every descrip- 
tion, a grand army of brave and sturdy pioneers, 
men and women, has advanced civilization from 



(38) 



THE NORWEGIAN PIONEER 



the shores of the great lakes to the Puget Sound. 
To that noble army the Norwegian-American 
has fu'rnished far more than his quota of men 
and women, and they have not been camp-fol- 
lowers, but have marched in the forefront and 
borne more than their just share of toil, hard- 
ships and dangers. On our western and north- 
ern frontiers, after the fur-trader, with his "In- 
dian goods," or the prospector, the timber thief 
and the cowboy, the first settlers to come, as the 
harbingers of civilization, were usually some 
brawny descendant of the Vikings, with his 
worthy helpmate and half a dozen tow-headed 
children. The history of every state from Illi- 
nois and Wisconsin to Washington will bear 
me out in this; and the last national census 
shows that the Norwegians have been least 
given to huddling together in villages and in the 
greater centers of population, and that, though 
newcomers compared with other nationalities, 
as owners of farms and homes they already out- 
rank all other elements of the population, the 
native American included. 

In 1890, according to the national census, more 
than 322,000 natives of the kingdom of Norway 
were then living in the United States. To-day 
the Americans of Norwegian birth or parentage 
number probably not far from 750,000, or nearly 
one per cent of the total population. Half a 
century ago the number was probably somewhat 
more than 5,000, of whom about four-fifths had 
domiciled in southern Wisconsin and northern 
Illinois. The oldest of these settlements was 
that on Fox River, near Ottawa, 111., dating from 
1834. The first Norwegian settlement in Wis- 
consin was doubtless Jefferson Prairie, in Rock 
county, and Ole Nattestad, who settled there in 
1838, seems to have been the first Norwegian 
settler in Wisconsin. The Koshkonong, Muske- 
go and Rock Prairie settlements all seem to have 
had their inception in 1839. The three strong- 
holds of our people fifty years ago were Kosh- 
konong, with 700 or 800 souls; Muskego, in Ra- 
cine county, with about 600, and the Fox River 
settlement, with about 450. Wisconsin, now 
populous and wealthy, was in those early days 
still a territory and almost an unbroken wilder- 
ness, the happy hunting ground of the Red Men. 
There was not a mile of railway within its bor- 
ders, and even passable wagon roads were few 
and far between. Horses were scarce. I am 
told that the seven or eight hundred Norwegians 
on the Koshkonong prairies had one horse among 
them, and that a poor one. "Buck and Bright" 
and a Kubberulle or other primitive wagon were 
about the only means of transportation, and Mil- 



waukee or Chicago was the nearest market. Mil- 
waukee was a city of about 7,000 inhabitants, and 
Madison, the beautiful capital of Wisconsin, was 
an ambitious village of 700, while the total popu- 
lation of the state was about 35,000. 

Our Norwegian pioneers were poor, but they 
were not paupers. They had not come here to 
beg or steal, ncr to sponge on their neighbors. 
It was not their ambition to be organ grinders, 
peanut venders or ragpickers. They had come 
to make by the sweat of their brows an honest 
living, and they were amply able to do so. They 
possessed stout hearts, willing hands and robust 
health, and nearly all had learned at least the 
rudiments of some useful trade. And the women, 
our mothers and grandmothers, God bless them! 
were worthy consorts of the men who laid low 
the giants of the forest and made the wilderness 
blossom as the rose. They girded their loins 
with strength. They were able to stand almost 
any amount of privation and toil. They were 
not afraid of a mouse. They were in blissful 
ignorance of the fact that they had nerves. They 
knew nothing of "that tired feeling," and did not 
need the services of the dentist every other 
week. They did not have soft, velvety hands, 
as some of us who were bad boys had reason 
to know; but for all that they had tender, moth- 
erly hearts. They could not paint on china, or 
pound "The Mocking Bird" on the piano, but 
they could spin, knit and weave. The dear souls 
could not drive a nail any better than their 
granddaughters can, but they could drive a yoke 
of oxen, and handle the pitchfork and the rake 
almost as well as the broom and the mop. Our 
mothers and grandmothers did not ruin our di- 
gestion with mince pie and chicken salad, but 
gave us wholesome and toothsome flatbrpd and 
mylsa and brim and prim and bresta, the kind 
of food on which a hundred generations of Nor- 
way seamen and mountaineers have been raised. 

Our Norwegian pioneers were ignorant of the 
language, the laws and the institutions of their 
adopted country, and in this respect were indeed 
heavily handicapped. They had not a single 
newspaper, and, outside of a few struggling 
frontier settlements, there was not a soul with 
whom they could communicate. But though our 
pioneers were ignorant of the English language, 
they were not illiterates. They had books, and 
could read them, and by and by astonished na- 
tives were forced to confess, that "Them 'ere 
Norwegians are almost as white as we are, and 
they kin read too, they kin." If in those early 
Norwegian settlements books were few, a family 
Bible and some of Luther's writings were rarely 



40 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 






wanting, even in the humblest homes. If the 
people were not versed in some of the branches 
now taught in almost every common school, they 
were as well grounded in the Catechism, the 
Forklaring and the Bible History as all their 
bright and good grandchildren are to-day. 

The houses of our pioneers of seventy years 
ago were log cabins, shanties and dugouts. Men 
and women alike were dressed in blue drilling 
or in coarse homespun brought over from the 
old country in those large, bright-painted chests. 
In 1844, I am told, not a woman on Koshkonong 
prairie was the proud possessor of a hat. Some 
of the good wives and daughters of those days 



sported home-made sunbonnets, but the majority 
contented themselves with the old-country ker- 
chief. Carpets, kerosene lamps, coal stoves or 
sewing machines, reapers, threshing machines, 
top-buggies and Stoughton wagons were things 
not dreamed of. 

Among these pioneers of Norwegian immigra- 
tion were also the pioneers of our Norwegian 
Lutheran Church. 

It is safe to say that this country never saw, 
and never will see, more hardy, pushing, plucky 
and successful pioneers than the sons and daugh- 
ters of old Norway. 



The First Colony of Norwegian Immigrants 



Just as the Puritans had their Mayflower, in 
1620, and the Swedes their Kalmar Nyckel, in 
1638, so the Norwegians had their little sloop, 
called Restaurationen, in 1825, in which the first 
party of emigrants was carried to America. 

Lars Larson of Jeilane was born near Stavan- 
ger, Norway, Sept. 24, 1787. He became a ship 
carpenter, and during the Napoleonic wars, in 
1807, the Norwegian ship on which he was em- 
ployed was captured by the English, and he and 
the rest of the crew remained prisoners of war 
for seven years. Together with the other prison- 
ers he was released in 1814, whereupon he spent 
a year in London, stopping with a prominent 
Quaker widow, Mrs. Margaret Allen, whose two 
sons held positions at the English court. During 
his sojourn in England Lars Larson acquired a 
good knowledge of the English language and 
became converted to the Quaker faith. Some of 
his Norwegian fellow-prisoners also joined the 
Quakers. Having returned to Norway in 1816, 
they all immediately proceeded to make propa- 
ganda for Quakerism and to organize a society 
of Friends. Two of them, Halvor Halvorson and 
Enoch Jacobson, went to Christiania and made 
an unsuccessful attempt at starting a Quaker so- 



ciety there. Lars Larson returned to his native 
city, Stavanger, and there he and Elias Tastad, 
and Thomas and Metta Hille became the founders 
of the Society of Friends in Norway. This so- 
ciety is still in existence, and, according to the 
latest statistics, numbers about 250 adult mem- 
bers. The first Quaker meeting in Norway was 
held in Lars Larson's home, in 1816. He was 
not a married man at the time, but his sister 
Sara, who was a deaf-mute, kept house for him. 
In 1824, at Christmas-time, he married Martha 
Georgiana Persson, who was born on Oct. 19, 
1803, on Fogn, a small island near Stavanger. 

At that time religious tolerance could not be 
counted among the characteristics of Norway, 
where also some separatism from the Evangelical 
Lutheran Church began to show itself. In Stav- 
anger amt the Haugeans were numerous, and also 
the Quakers had quite a few followers. The lat- 
ter differed so much from the teachings of the 
established State Church that its officials began 
a persecution of the dissenters. On complaint of 
the Lutheran ministers the sheriff (Lensmand) 
would come with his men and take the Quakers' 
children by force, bring them to the regularly or- 
dained minister, and have them baptized or con- 



THE FIRST COLONY OF NORWEGIAN IMMIGRANTS 



41 



firmed, as the case might be. They even went 
so far as to exhume the dead in order that they 
might be buried according to the Lutheran ritual, 
and if the Quakers did not partake of holy com- 
munion as did the regular members of the church 
they were fined; and they were assessed taxes to 
the support of the State Church, whether they 
visited it or not. 

These cruel facts are perfectly authenticated, 
and there is not a shadow of doubt that this dis- 
graceful intolerance on the part of the officials in 
Norway, as in the case of the Puritans in Eng- 
land, was the primary cause of the first large ex- 
odus to America. Of course there were eco- 
nomic reasons also; the emigrants hoped to bet- 
ter their material as well as their religious con- 
ditions. 

It should also be remembered that the common 
people in Norway were displeased with and sus- 
picious of the office-holding class. There were 
many unprincipled officials, who exacted exorbi- 
tant, not to say unlawful, fees for their services, 
and with such officials ordinary politeness to the 
common man was out of question. They were, 
on the contrary, intolerably arbitrary and over- 
bearing. Thus poverty, oppression and religious 
persecution co-operated in turning the minds of 
the people in Stavanger amt toward the land of 
freedom, equality and abundance in the far West. 

The man who gave the first impetus to the 
emigration of Norwegians to America was, ac- 
cording to all evidence, verbal and written, Kleng 
Peerson from Tysvaer parish, of Skj^ld's preste- 
gjeld, Stavanger amt, Norway. In the year 1821 
he and his bosom friend, Knud Olson Eie, from 
the same parish, left Norway and went by the 
way of Gothenborg, Sweden, to New York to 
make an investigation of conditions and oppor- 
tunities in America. There is every reason to 
believe that they were practically sent on this 
mission by the Quakers. It is nowhere stated 
that they were Quakers themselves, but it seems 
to be established that they were dissenters from 
the State Church. After a sojourn of three years 
in America, which time they presumably spent in 
the city of New York and in New York state, 
they returned to Norway in 1824. 

When Kleng Peerson's report about the new 
country became known, many were caught by a 
desire to emigrate. Lars Larson in Jeilane, the 
man in whose house the first Quaker meetings 
had been held in 1816, at once started to organ- 
ize a party of emigrants. Being successful in 
finding a number of people who were ready and 
willing to join him, six heads of families con- 
verted their worldly possessions into money and 



purchased a sloop, built in Hardanger, which 
they loaded with a cargo of iron. Also the skip- 
per and mate were interested in this speculation. 
Besides iron, they also carried whiskey. 

The largest share in the enterprise was held by 
Lars Larson, who with his thorough knowledge 
of the English language became in all respects 
the leader and had the general supervision of the 
preparations for the voyage in his skillful hands. 
The captain (Lars Olson) and the mate (Erick- 
son) were engaged by him. 

This little Norwegian "Mayflower" of the nine- 
teenth century was named "Restaurationen" (the 
Restoration), and on the American day of inde- 
pendence, July 4, 1825, this brave little company 
of emigrants sailed out of the harbor of the an- 
cient city of Stavanger. The company consisted 
of the following fifty-two persons, chiefly from 
Tysvaer parish, near Stavanger, as mentioned 
above: 

The Sloop Party. 

Lars Olson, the captain. 
Nels Erickson, the mate. 

The following six families were the owners of 
the sloop: 

Lars Larson, from Jeilane, with wife. (Dtir- 

ing the voyage a daughter, Margaret Allen, 

was born to them, Sept. 2, 1825.) 
Cornelius Nelson. Hersdal, with wife and four 

children. 

Thomas Madland, with wife and three children. 
Johannes Stene, with wife and two children. 
Oyen Thompson (Thorson), with wife and three 

children. 
Daniel Stenson Rossadal, with wife and five 

children. 

The other passengers were: 
Knud Anderson Slogvig. 
Simon Lima, with wife and three children. 
Jacob Anderson Slogvig. 
Nels Nelson Hersdal and wife (Bertha). 
Sara Larson, a deaf-mute sister of Lars Larson. 
Henrik Christopherson Harvig and wife. 
Ole Johnson. 
George Johnson. 
Gudmund Haukaas. 
Thorstein Olson Bjaadland. 
Endre (Andrew) Dahl, the cook. 
Halvor Iverson. 
Nels Thompson (Thorson), a brother of Oyen 

Thompson. 

Ole Olson Hetletvedt. 
Andrew Stangeland. 

When they landed in New York, at 10 o'clock 
in the forenoon on the second Sunday in October 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



(Oct. 9), they numbered fifty-three, Mrs. Lars 
Larson having given birth to a girl baby on the 
2d day of September. 

Their fourteen weeks' journey across the ocean 
was both romantic and perilous. When they 
passed through the English Channel they ran in- 
to a small port, Lisett, on the English coast, 
where they took in fresh drinking water and 
started to sell whiskey, which it was then pro- 
hibited to import there. When they found out 
how dangerous a business they had engaged in, 
they speedily set sail and escaped. Either through 
the ignorance of the captain or adverse winds we 
next find them altogether out of their course, as 
far south as the Madeira Islands. Here they 
picked up a cask containing Madeira wine, which 
was floating in the sea. They commenced to 
pump and drink of its contents. The whole com- 
pany was pretty well filled up, nobody steered the 
sloop, and it came driving into the harbor like a 
plague-smitten ship without commander and 
without any flag hoisted. A skipper of Bremen, 
whose ship was anchored in the harbor, advised 
them to hoist the flag instantly, or they would 
have the guns of the fort trained on them. Those 
were in fact already made ready for action. One 
of the passengers, Thorstein Olson Bjaadland, 
got hold of the flag, and with the assistance of 
others, ran it up to. the top of the mast, thus 
averting the danger. Two custom-house officers 
then came on board the sloop and made an in- 
vestigation, finding everything in good order. 
Much attention was paid to the sloop party in 
Madeira. The American consul increased their 
store of provisions and gave them also an abund- 
ance of grapes, and before their departure he in- 
vited the whole party to a grand dinner. They 
arrived in Madeira on a Thursday and left on the 
following Sunday, July 31, and as they sailed out 
of the harbor, the fortress fired a salute in their 
honor. Having experienced the above and many 
other perils, they finally reached New York on 
October 9. The voyage had lasted fourteen weeks 
from Stavanger. However, all were in good 
health when they landed. It caused a sensation 
in New York when it became known, that the 
Norsemen had risked their lives in so small a 
vessel. Through ignorance or misunderstanding 
the sloop carried more people for its tonnage 
than the American laws permitted, and on that 
account the skipper, Lars Olson, was arrested 
and the vessel and its cargo of iron confiscated. 

Whether the government officials out of con- 
sideration for our good countrymen's ignorance 
and childish behavior raised the embargo and re- 
leased the captain from arrest is not known. More 



likely their American co-religionists, the Quakers, 
exercised their influence in their behalf. The fact 
is that the skipper was liberated from prison and 
the owners got back their ship and cargo. In 
the sale of the cargo they were unfortunate, as 
the ship and cargo did not bring more than $400. 
The New York Quakers took up a collection with 
which to help them on their way farther into the 
country. Two families settled in Rochester; the 
others bought land five miles northwest of Ro- 
chester, in Morris county. Land there was held at 
$5 per acre, but as they had no money with which 
to buy, they got it on the installment plan, to be 
paid in ten years. Each one got forty acres. The 
land was heavily wooded and hard to clear up, 
wherefore they had a very hard time of it during 
the first four or five years. Not seldom they 
were in real want and wished to be back in Nor- 
way. But there was no means of getting there 
except by sacrificing their last penny, and they 
did not want to get back as beggars. Liberal- 
minded neighbors, however, lent them a helping 
hand and through their own diligence and fru- 
gality they finally conquered their land and got 
it in such a shape that they could make a living 
indeed much better than they ever could in 
the old country. Kleng Peerson, instead of com- 
ing in the sloop, had again gone by the way of 
Gothenborg and was already in New York ready 
to receive his friends. He had doubtless found 
Quakers in New York, who were prepared to give 
our Norwegian pilgrims a welcome and such as- 
sistance as they needed. These Quakers showed 
themselves in this case, as everywhere in history, 
to be friends indeed. 

The captain, Lars Olson, remained in New 
York, while the mate, Nels Erickson, returned to 
Norway. The leader of the party, Lars Larson, 
also remained in New York to dispose of the sloop 
and its cargo. Having been a ship carpenter in 
Norway, he moved with his wife and daughter 
to Rochester, N. Y., where he settled as a builder 
of canal boats. He prospered, and when he died 
in 1845 he left a handsome fortune. Thousands 
of Norwegians on their way to Illinois and Wis- 
consin during the following years, 1836-1845, 
called at his hospitable home, bringing him news 
from Norway and getting valuable advice in re- 
turn. He went into business for himself, and 
already in 1827 he was able to build a house in 
Rochester, which house still stands on the origi- 
nal site, and which probably is the oldest house 
now in existence in America built by a Nor- 
wegian. 

(From R. B. Anderson's "First Chapter of Nor- 
wegian Immigration.") 






"THE SLOOPERS" WHO CAME TO ILLINOIS 



43 



The "Sloopers" Who Came to Illinois 



Lars Larson had eight children by his wife 
Martha Georgiana. Their oldest child was born 
on the sloop "Restaurationen" in the middle of 
the Atlantic Ocean, Sept. 2, 1825. This was a 
girl, whom they named Margaret Allen, after the 
Quaker widow with whom Lars Larson had 
lived in London, and through whose influence 
he had been converted to the Quaker faith. 
Margaret Allen was in 1875 married to Mr. John 
Atwater, at Rochester, with whom she afterward 
moved to Chicago, where her husband became 
a prominent lawyer and died in the '80's. The 
famous "sloop-girl", Mrs. Atwater, who is now 
in her 82nd year, is still alive and resides at 
Western Springs, Cook county, 111., surrounded 
by her family. Her son John has a printing 
plant, and also serves as pastor of one of the 
churches at Western Sorings. 

Another daughter of Lars Larson, Martha 
Jane, was married to Mr. Elias C. Patterson, who 
died in Rochester, N. Y., in 1879. She thereupon 
moved to Western Springs, 111., where she is 
still living. To Martha Jane Patterson belongs 
the honor of being one of the first Norwegians 
to teach in America's public schools. After hav- 
ing taught school several years in the state of 
New York, she came west in 1857, and became 
a teacher in the public schools oi Chicago. 

As we have to deal only with' jlhose of the 
sloop party who came to Illinois, we do not 
mention Lars Larson's other children. 

Cornelius Nelson Hersdal, born 1789, and his 
wife Caroline (Kari), a sister of Kleng Peerson, 
both from Tysvaer, Skjp"ld, Stavanger amt, set- 
tled in Kendall, N. Y., where he died in 1833. 
They had seven children: Ann, Nels, Inger and 
Martha, born in Norway and passengers on the 
sloop; and Sarah, Peter C. and Amelia, who were 
born in Kendall. In May, 1836, the widow, Kari, 
came with her children to Mission township, 
La Salle county, Illinois. She died there July 
24. 1848. The oldest daughter, Ann, died ten 
years later. The oldest son, Nels, was born 
1816, and became a farmer in La Salle county. 
He married Knud Iverson's daughter, Catharine, 
and they had twelve children, of which seven 
reached maturity. Nels died Aug. 29, 1893, at 
Sheridan, 111., and was the last male survivor of 
the sloop party. Inger was born in Norway, 
Dec. 11. 1819, and was married in 1836 to Mr. 
John S. Mitchell, of Ottawa. 111. On another 



page we present a portrait and biography of her 
son, Mr. Harley B. Mitchell, the prominent pub- 
lisher, of Chicago. Martha was born in Norway, 
1823. She was married to Beach Fellows, who 
in 1855 was elected county treasurer; afterward he 
moved to Ottawa, where both of them died. 
Sarah was born in Kendall, N. Y., in 1827. In 
1849 she was married to Canute Peterson Mar- 
sett, who came from Norway in 1837 and later 
became a Mormon. She seems to have been the 
first one of Norwegian immigrants and their 
descendants to teach public schools in America. 
During the years 1845 and 1846 she taught district 
school in the Fox River Settlement. Peter C. 
Nelson, the youngest son, was born in Kendall, 
N. Y., in 1833. He moved from Illinois to 
Larned, Kan., where he became a farmer, and 
had nine children. One of his daughters, Carrie 
Nelson, whose portrait and biographical data 
appear elsewhere in this volume, is the wife of 
Ex-Judge Henry W. Johnson, of Ottawa, 111. 
Another daughter is married to Banker J. A. 
Quam, of Sheridan, 111. 

Oyen Thompson vyas born near Stavanger in 
1795 and died in Rochester, N. Y., 1825. His wife, 
Bertha Caroline, was born near Stavanger in 
1790. The year following her first husband's 
death she married his brother, Nels Thompson, 
also a "Slooper," and in 1828 they moved to Ken- 
dall, N. Y. In 1835 they came to Mission, La 
Salle county, 111., where she died in 1844 in the 
village of Norway. With him in the sloop Oyen 
Thompson had three daughters. The oldest, 
Sarah, was born 1818. With her family she came 
to La Salle county, where her parents settled. 
In 1837 she was married to Mr. G. Olmstead, 
who died in 1849 from cholera. Until 1855 she 
remained in Ottawa, 111., and was then married 
to Wm. W. Richey, her sister Anna Maria's 
widower. They moved to the neighborhood of 
Marseilles, 111., and after eighteen years bought 
a farm in Brookfield township, from where they 
nine years later moved to Iowa. She was finally 
divorced from Mr. Richey. She had eight chil- 
dren four boys and four girls; five by her first 
husband and three by her second. One of Oyen 
Thompson's daughters, Caroline, died in Ro- 
chester. Another, Anna Maria, born 1819, was 
married to the above-mentioned William W. 
Richey, and departed this life in Mission, La 
Salle county, in 1842. 



44 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



Nels Thompson and Berthe Caroline had three 
children a daughter, Serena, died in Mission, III., 
1850; a son, Abraham, died at Marseilles, 111., 
1866; and a daughter, Caroline, died in the same 
township, 1858. Nels Thompson died in 1863. 

Daniel Rosadal (Rosdal) with wife and children 
came first to Kendall, N. Y., and in 1835 moved 
to Fox River Settlement, where both he and his 
wife died in 1854. They had five children with 
them in the sloop Ellen, Ove, Lars, John and 
Hulda. In Kendall one child, Caroline, was born 
to them. The son, Lars, was the first Norwegian 
buried in the Fox River Settlement. This hap- 
pened in 1837. One daughter, Ellen, was mar- 
ried to Cornelius Cothrien. Ove died in Iowa, 
but his remains were buried in Mission, La Salle 
county. In the same township John died in 1893. 
Ellen, Caroline and Hulda are also dead. Hulda 
was married to Rasmus Olson, who died in 
Sheridan in 1893. Caroline was married to Jens 
Jacobs. They moved in 1865 to Rowe, near 
Pontiac, in Livingston county, 111., where Jacobs 
had bought 240 acres of land. He died in the 
fall of the same year, and his widow in 1894. 
They had six children five sons and one 
daughter. The Rosadal families were Quakers. 

Thomas Madland was born in Stavanger, Nor- 
Norway, in 1778, and died the year after he came 
to America, in 1826. He left three children in 
Norway and brought his wife and three daugh- 
ters with him in the sloop. These daughters were 
Rachel, Julia and Serena. Julia, born in 1810, 
married Gudmund Haukaas in Kendall, N. Y., 
and died in Mission, La Salle county, 111., in 1846. 
Serena was born in 1814. She was married to 
Jacob Anderson Slogvig, in 1831, in Kendall. She 
came first to the Fox River Settlement and later 
moved to San Diego, Cal. Both she and her 
husband are dead. 

Nels Nelson Hersdal stayed in Kendall from 
1825 to 1835, when he went out to the Fox River 
Settlement. He did not take his family there, 
however, until 1846. Nels Nelson was known in 
the Fox River Settlement as Big Nels. A number 
of stories are related about his enormous 
strength, and his language and manners are said 
to have been somewhat lacking in refinement. 

Jacob Anderson Slogvig and Knut Anderson 
Slogvig were brothers. Jacob Slogvig came 
from Kendall to the Fox River Settlement in 
1835. He married a daughter of Thomas Mad- 
land, and during the gold fever went to Cali- 
fornia, 1850, where he became rich and died. 

Knud Anderson Slogvig went back to Norway 
in 1835 and married a sister of Ole Olson Hetlet- 
vedt. He was instrumental in bringing about 



the great emigration from Norway in 1836. He 
returned from Stavanger in that year and in 1837 
he is said to have gone with Kleng Peerson to 
Missouri, where the latter tried to form a Nor- 
wegian settlement, but things down there do not 
seem to have pleased Slogvig, so he returned to 
Fox River immediately. He later settled in Lee 
county, Illinois, where he and his wife both died. 
Gudmund Haukaas came to Kendall in 1825. 
There he married Thomas Madland's daughter 
Julia. They went to the Fox River Settlement 
in 1834. He was a man of more than average 
education and intelligence. The couple had ten 
children. The wife died in 1846, and later Gud- 
mund was married to Miss Caroline Hervig. In 
Illinois he joined the Mormons and became an 
elder of the Latter-Day Saints. He was also a 
self-made physician and is said to have been of 
great help to his countrymen who were suffering. 
He died on his farm, near Norway, 111., from 
cholera, in 1849. One son, Thomas, became a 
minister in the Mormon Church in La Salle 
county, and Caroline, a daughter by his second 
wife, is married to Dr. R. W. Bower, of Sheridan, 
III. This couple had a son, Dr. G. S. Bower, who 
was a physician in Ransom, about ten miles 
northeast from Streator, La Salle county. Mrs. 
Isabel Lewis, of Emington, Livingston county, 
111., was a daughter of Gudmund Haukaas. 

Thorstein Olson Bjaadland was born in Haa, 
south of Stavanger, Norway, about 1795. He 
lived five years in Kendall, N. Y.; went to Michi- 
gan, where he learned the trade of a shoemaker; 
returned to Kendall, and in 1834 joined the party 
that went to the Fox River Settlement with 
Kleng Peerson. Here he bought a few acres, 
built a small loghouse, and prospered until the 
Indians set fire to the prairie grass. The fire 
consumed his loghouse together with all its 
contents. He built another log house and re- 
mained in Illinois until he moved to Dane county, 
Wisconsin, in 1840, where he died a poor man 
in 1874. 

George Johnson came from Kendall to the 
Fox River Settlement in 1835. He died from 
cholera in 1849. He was married to a daughter 
of "Dr." Johan Nordboe, who had taken up a 
claim in De Kalb county, not far from Sycamore, 
and which is still called Norwegian Grove after 
him. George Johnson left four children. 

The cook on the sloop, Andrew (Endre) Dahl, 
first settled in Kendall, N. Y., and in 1835 came 
to Mission, La Salle county, 111. There he mar- 
ried Sven Aasen's widow. Later he went to 
Utah, where he died. 






"THE SLOOPERS" WHO CAME TO ILLINOIS 



45 



Ole Olson Hetletvedt was born north of Stav- 
anger. He went first to Kendall, thence to 
Niagara Falls, N. Y. He dropped his surname 
Hetletvedt in this country, and became plain Ole 
Olson. When he came west he settled in La 
Salle county, and about 1841 in Newark, Kendall 
county, 111., where he died in 1849. He was the 
first Norwegian settler in Newark. The next 
ones were Knud Williamson and Herman Os- 
monsen. He was an ardent Haugian and success- 
ful lay missionary. Two of his brothers came 
to America in 1836. One of them, Knud Olson 
Hetletvedt, settled as a farmer in Mission town- 
ship and died there from cholera in 1849. His 
other brother, Jacob Olson Hetletvedt, went to 
Iowa, where he died in 1875. His widow was 



married to Sven Kjylaa, and with him she moved 
to La Salle county, Illinois. 

Ole Olson had four children, three sons and 
one daughter. The sons were Porter C., S0ren 
L. and James Webster. The daughter's name was 
Bertha. When the Thirty-sixth Regiment of the 
Illinois Volunteers was formed, Porter C. got 
together Company F., consisting mostly of Nor- 
wegians. His two brothers enlisted in same, and 
Porter C. Olson became its captain. He soon 
advanced to the colonelcy of the regiment, and 
at the time when he was killed in the battle of 
Franklin, Tenn., he was acting brigadier-general. 
His brother, S0ren L. Olson, was killed by a 
shell at the battle of Murfreesboro. Their young- 
est brother James came through the war scot free. 



Porter C. Olson 



Porter C. Olson, having been the most remark- 
able soldier from Illinois of Norwegian descent 
during the Civil War, we are going to give a 
more explicit account of him. . 

As already mentioned, he was the oldest son 
of Ole Olsen, the Slooper, and was born at 
Manchester, near Niagara Falls, in 1831. His 
mother was an American. When Porter C. was 
a lad, his parents moved to Newark, Kendall 
county, this state. His education was advanced 
in the county schools, and he attended Beloit 
College, Wis., during two years, 1856-58. 

He then became a teacher of the district school 
at Lisbon, 111., but when the war broke out, he ex- 
changed the quiet of the county school house for 
the strenuous life of the military camp. Through 
his efforts a company was recruited among 
the Norwegians around Newark, Helmar, Lisbon, 
Norway, Sheridan and other places. A few of 
the survivors are still living, among whom are 
B. Thompson, a merchant at Sheridan, and Tor- 
ris Johnson, a retired farmer at Newark. Arn- 
old Schlanbusch died in March, 1906. The bi- 
ographies of the latter two appear elsewhere in 
this volume. The company was designated as 
F and incorporated in the Thirty-sixth Regiment 
of the Illinois Volunteers. They first camped on 
the west side of Fox River, about two miles from 
Aurora, at Camp Hammond, and started for the 



seat of war on the 24th day of September, 1861. 
Porter C. Olson followed his regiment and partic- 
ipated in all of its bloody battles to the fatal one 
at Franklin, Tennessee. 

The above-named members of his company 
were unanimous in expressing their appreciation 
of and affection for their captain. They say he 
was a modest and unassuming man of excellent 
character. Major L. G. Bennett, who has written 
the history of the Thirty-sixth Regiment, testifies 
that "next after the lamented Miller none stood 
higher or had a warmer place in the affections 
of the men than Lieutenant-colonel Porter C. 
Olson." 

The records of this regiment state that Mr. 
Olson commanded the regiment with great brav- 
ery in the battle of Stone River, in December, 
1862, and in January, 1863. In this battle General 
Sill was killed, on Dec. 31, 1862. Colonel Greusel, 
of the Thirty-sixth Illinois, took command of the 
brigade, and Major Miller of the Thirty-sixth hav- 
ing been wounded, the command of the regiment 
devolved on Porter C. Olson. Captain Olson 
made a full official report of the movements of 
the regiment during those eventful days, and we 
deem it both proper and interesting enough to 
be preserved among the records of our early 
Norwegian settlers, inasmuch as both Major 
Bennett's history of the Thirty-sixth Illinois and 



46 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



Prof. R. B. Anderson's First Chapter of Nor- 
wegian Immigration, in which work the report 
is copied, are out of print and consequently not 
available for the present generation of descend- 
ants of Norwegians. Captain Olson's report is 
certainly a most precious historical document for 
Norwegian-Americans. It reads as follows: 




Col. Porter C. Olson. 

"Headquarters 36th 111. Vols., 

Jan. 9, 1863. 

"The 36th Illinois regiment, Col. N. Greusel 
commanding, was called into line at four o'clock 
on Tuesday morning, December 30th, 1862, and 
stood under arms until daylight, to the left of 
the Wilkinson pike, our right resting upon it, 
five miles from Murfreesboro. At nine o'clock 
a. m. we moved forward to Murfreesboro. Two 
companies were deployed as skirmishers to the 
right of the road and were soon engaged with 
the enemy's skirmishers. When two miles from 
Murfreesboro, the regiment was deployed in a 
cornfield to the right of the pike and two com- 
panies were sent forward as skirmishers, as 
ordered by Gen. Sill. The regiment lay in line 
in this field until 2 o'clock p. m. at which time 
the whole line was ordered to advance. The 
skirmishers kept up a sharp fire the enemy's 
line retreating and ours advancing. We drove 



the enemy through the timber and across the 
cotton field, a low, narrow strip stretching to the 
right into the timber. A rebel battery, directly 
in front of the 36th, opened a heavy fire upon 
us. Our skirmishers advanced to the foot of the 
hill near the cotton field and here kept up a 
well directed fire. We were ordered to support 
Capt. Bush's battery, which was brought into 
position in the point of timber where our right 
rested, and opened fire with terrible effect upon 
the enemy. We remained as a support until 
nearly dark, when Capt. Bush went to the rear, 
the enemy's battery, or rather its disabled frag- 
ments, having been dragged from the field. In 
this day's engagement the regiment lost three 
killed and fifteen wounded; total eighteen. We 
occupied the hill during the night, and our 
skirmishers were in line at the edge of the cotton 
field. 

"On the morning of December 31st, soon after 
daylight, the enemy advanced in strong force 
from the timber beyond the cotton field opposite 
our right. They came diagonally across the field 
and upon reaching the foot of the hill made a 
left half wheel, coming up directly in front ofj 
us. When the enemy had advanced up the hill 
sufficiently to be in sight, Col. Greusel ordered 
the regiment to fire, which was promptly obeyed. 
We engaged the enemy at short range, the lines j 
being not over ten rods apart. After a few] 
rounds, the regiment supporting us on the right 
gave way. In this manner we fought for nearly 
half an hour, when Col. Greusel ordered the regi- ' 
ment to charge. The enemy fled in great confu- 
sion across the cotton field into the woods op- 
posite our left, leaving many of their dead and 
wounded upon the field. We poured a destruc- 
tive fire upon them as they retreated until they' 
were beyond range. 

"The 36th again took position upon the hill 
and the support 'for our right came forward. 
At this time Gen. Sill was killed, and Col. Greusel 
took command of the brigade. A fresh brigade 
of the enemy advanced from the direction that! 
the first had come and in splendid order. We I 
opened fire on them with terrific effect. Again 
the regiment on our right gave way and we were 
again left without support. In, this condition 
we fought until our ammunition was exhausted 
and the enemy had entirely flanked us on our: 
right. At this juncture Major Miller ordered 
the regiment to fall back. While retreating, 
Major Miller was wounded and the command 
devolved on me. We moved back of the corn 
field to the edge of the timber a hundred rods 
to the right of the Wilkinson pike and two milei 



PORTER C. OLSON 



from Murfreesboro, at eight o'clock a. m. Here 
I met Gen. Sheridan and reported to him that 
the regiment was out of ammunition and that 
I would be ready for action as soon as I could 
obtain it. We had suffered severely in resisting 
the attack of superior numbers. I had now only 
one hundred and forty men. The regiment 
fought with great obstinacy and much is due to 
Col. N. Greusel for his bravery in conducting 
the regiment before being called away. Adjutant 
Biddulph went to find the ammunition, but did 
not succeed. I then informed Quartermaster 
Bouton, that I needed cartridges, but he failed 
to find any except size fifty-eight, the caliber of 
most of the arms being sixty-nine. I was ordered 
by Major General McCook to fall back to the 
rear of Gen. Crittenden's corps. I arrived there 
about ten o'clock a. m. I here obtained ammu- 
nition, and disoatched the adjutant to report to 
Col. Greusel the condition and whereabouts of 
the regiment. He returned without seeing the 
Colonel. lieutenant Watkins soon rode up and 
volunteered to take a message to Col. Greusel, 
or Gen. Sheridan. He also returned without find- 
ing either officer. I now went in search of Gen. 
Sheridan myself; found him at 12 o'clock, and 
reported to him the regiment (what there was 
left of it) ready to move to the front. He or- 
dered that I should hold the regiment in readi- 
ness and await his commands. 

"At 2 o'clock p. m. I received orders from 
Gen. Sheridan to advance to the front to the left 
of the railroad and connect my command tem- 
porarily with Col. Leibold's brigade. We were 
here subject to a very severe artillery fire. A 
twelve-pound shell struck in the right of the 
regiment and killed Lieutenant Sdren L. Olson, 
[a brave and faithful officer, commanding Com- 
pany F and a brother of Col. Porter C. Olson], 
Corporal Riggs, and wounding three others. At 
dark we were moved by Liut. Denning one 
quarter of a mile to the rear, where we remained 
for the night. At three o'clock in the morning 
of the first of January, 1863, by order of Gen. 
Sheridan, we marched to his headquarters on 
the Nashville pike, a distance of half a mile, 
where at daylight I reported to Col. Greusel. 
As ordered by him we took position to the right 
of Capt. Bush's battery, fronting west. We built 
a barricade of logs and stone and remained 
through the day ready to receive the enemy, but 
no attack was made. On the morning of the 
second, the regiment was in line at four o'clock; 
stood under arms until daylight. We remained 
ready for action through the day until four 
o'clock p. m., when, by order of Col. Greusel, 



we moved to the right on the line formerly oc- 
cupied by Gen. Davis. During the night con- 
siderable skirmishing occurred on our front. On 
the morning of that 3rd instant the regiment 
stood under arms from four o'clock until day- 
light. At eight o'clock a. m., by order of Col. 
Greusel, we changed position to the right and 
somewhat to the rear, letting our right rest upon 
the Nashville pike. On the morning of the 
fourth we were under arms at four o'clock. No 
fighting occurred on our part of the line during 
the day. In the action throughout, the regiment 
behaved in the most gallant manner. The offi- 
cers, with only a single exception, distinguished 
themselves for bravery and coolness. The men 
with unflinching courage were always ready, 
and met the enemy with determination to con- 
quer. I tender my thanks to Adjutant (George 
G.) Biddulph for the gallant and efficient man- 
ner in which he assisted me, and also to the 
other officers for their gallant action through- 
out the strong conflict, which resulted in victory. 
I append to this report a list of casualties. 

(Signed) Porter C. Olson. 

"Captain, Commanding 36th Illinois Volunteers." 

General Rosecrans writes in his report of the 
battle: "The firing was terrific, and the havoc 
terrible. The enemy retreated more rapidly than 
they had advanced. In forty minutes they lost 
two thousand men." And General P. H. Sheridan 
writes of this bloody engagement: "I refer with 
pride to the splendid conduct, bravery and ef- 
ficiency of the following regimental command- 
ers, and the officers and men of their respective 
commands: Major Silas Miller, 36th Illinois, 
wounded and a prisoner; Capt. P. C. Olson, 
36th 111." This regiment suffered more than 
any other in that battle, and the list of the dead 
and wounded fills two whole closely printed 
pages in Bennett's History of the Thirty-sixth 
Illinois. 

From the condition of his health, Colonel N. 
Greusel, on Feb. 9, 1863, felt constrained to 
tender his resignation, and Captain Jenks, of 
Company A, Cavalry, was promoted to take his 
place. "He was a man of excellent abilities, of 
fine taste and culture, a man whom to know was 
to esteem," says Mr. Bennett; "but unfortunately 
he found himself in a position equally unpleasant 
for himself and the regiment. It was felt that the 
two companies of cavalry attached to the 36th 
Illinois, being so distinct in organization and 
service, ought not to be reckoned in the line of 
promotion, but that the regiment officers should 
be taken from the regiment itself. This feeling 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



was so intense that neither kindness nor discipline 
could overcome it. At one time it seemed so 
high that it almost threatened mutiny, when 
Colonel Jenks wisely resigned and returned to 
his profession, in which he proved himself so 
successful." The result was that Captain Porter 
C. Olson again took command of the regiment. 

On the llth of May, 1863, Olson was regularly 
appointed lieutenant-colonel, and took command 
of the regiment for Silas Miller, who had re- 
ceived a commission as colonel, but was still a 
prisoner at Libby and did not return till May 
22. "The promotion of Olson was," says Ben- 
nett, "highly honorable to that worthy officer, 
whose fidelity 'and courage, tested both in camp 
and field, had won the confidence of the regi- 
ment. The appointment, too, will never cease 
to be equally honorable to Major George D. 
Sherman, who, though himself a ranking officer 
and entitled to the position, recommended Capt. 
Olson." 

In the battle of Chickamauga the Thirty-sixth 
Illinois also suffered terribly. It was in that 
battle that the gallant Colonel Hans E. Heg was 
shot on the 19th of September and died on the 
following day. We again quote in regard to 
Olson from Bennett's History: "In the mean- 
time the fiery conflict grew more desperate and 
deadly. Col. Miller, on whom the command of 
the brigade devolved, gallant as ever; Lieut.-Col. 
Olson, brave to a fault, and Major Sherman, 
true and unflinching, were everywhere conspicu- 
ous, encouraging the men by their example to 
wring from unwilling hands of fate the victory 
which was denied." 

At the battle of Mission Ridge Colonel Olson 
again commanded the regiment and led it into 
the thickest of the fight. 

On Feb. 2, 1864, the regiment returned to 
Chicago, and a few days later to Aurora, where 
it was reorganized and started for the South 
again on the 19th of March, with Miller as 
colonel and Porter C. Olson as lieutenant-colonel. 

How popular Olson was may be gained from 
the fact that the ground on which his regiment 
camped near Cowan, Tenn., was called- Camp 
Olson. From June until August 24 Olson was 
absent from the regiment on account of sick- 
ness, but upon the death of Colonel Silas Mil- 
ler he returned and resumed command. On the 
23d day of September, 1864, one hundred and 
twenty-seven men and one officer, whose three 
years of service had expired, were mustered out 
and took leave of their comrades. Being drawn 
up in line, they were addressed in a speech by 
Colonel Olson who "reviewed their connection 



with the regiment, honored their fidelity, and 
exhorted them to be true to the country, as 
citizens at home, while their comrades continued 
to bear the hardships of camp and field." 

The bloody fight and slaughter at Franklin, 
Tenn., occurred on Nov. 30. For his successful 
resistance and victory in this battle General 
Scofield was in a large measure indebted to the 
unflinching courage of Colonel Olson and the 
gallant Thirty-sixth in checking and delaying 
the march of Hood's army until the works at 
Franklin were strengthened. It was a delicate 
and dangerous duty to clear the pike and hold 
it open to enable the troops from Columbia to 
pass without interruption, and Colonel Olson 
with his regiment was selected to do this. 

In the battle of Franklin Colonel Olson was 
everywhere among his men with words of cheer 
and encouragement, and utterly regardless of 
his own life and safety. Shortly after reaching 
the works he was struck by a musket ball, which 
entered his breast and passed through his body 
in the region of the heart. He fell instantly, 
but in falling he requested Lieutenant Hall of 
Company E to take him to the rear. Assisted 
by Sergeant Yarnell of Company G, they carried 
him to the shelter of a brick house standing 
near the works, when, perceiving that he was 
failing fast, the lieutenant called to Captain Bid- 
dulph to attend to the regiment as the colonel's 
wound was mortal. Yarnell wrenched a window 
shutter from the house, and on this the bleed- 
ing body of their commander was placed and 
hurriedly borne to the rear, while musket balls 
and cannon shot were striking around them in 
fearful quantities. 

They were none too soon in reaching the river 
to secure the last vacant place in an ambulance 
in which he was tenderly placed by the side of 
the wounded color-bearer, Mr. Zimmer. Then 
taking a last look at their dying chief, they hur- 
ried back to the trenches, resumed their position 
in the line and fought bravely to the end. The 
colonel's life ebbed rapidly away and in a half- 
conscious state the pious, God-fearing soldier 
feebly whispered: "Oh, help me, Lord!" These 
were his last words, and his heart was still. His 
noble spirit had taken its flight to rest. L. G. 
Bennett closes the chapter on Colonel Porter 
Olson's death with these eloquent and striking 
words: "When brave Olson fell, a cold tremor 
thrilled along the line. At any other time than 
in the face of the enemy and under a murderous 
fire the men would have sat down and cried like 
children over his untimely fate. Brave, generous, 



PORTER C. OLSON 



49 



earnest and faithful, none had stood more honest- 
ly by the men or been more true to the country 
than he. Always present in the perils and hard- 
ships of the 36th, he had shared them all and 
won his way into the hearts and affections of 
the men, making a record of glory that will 
never be closed up or forgotten, though his 



mild, intelligent and thoughtful face. This grand 
life resulted from the immigration of his father, 
Ole Olson Hetletvedt, in the Sloop, in 1825, and 
the first settler in what is now the village of 
Newark. 

Colonel Olson's remains rest in the little 
cemetery on the ridge near Millington, a station 




Monument of Col. Porter C. 

mangled remains may moulder and lay hidden 
from sight in an unknown and unmarked grave. 
The name of Porter C. Olson will live forever, 
and be handed down along the imperishable 
ages, indissolubly linked with the fame of the 
immortal Thirty-Sixth." 

Colonel Olson's portrait shows a peculiarly 



Olson, Millington Cemetery, 111. 

on the C, B. & Q. Railroad's Fox River Branch, 
between Yorkville and Sheridan. Through the 
courtesy of one of the men who fought by his 
side, Mr. Torris Johnson of Newark, we are 
enabled to present a picture of the monument 
erected on Porter C. Olson's grave as well as 
an image of the Colonel himself. 



50 A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 

The First Farm Owned by a Norwegian West of 

the Great Lakes 



The last couple to survive of those who em- 
barked in the sloop on July 4, 1825, were Nels 
Nelson Hersdal and his wife Bertha. Mrs. Nel- 
son died in 1882 and Mr. Nelson in 1886. The 
last male survivor was Nels Nelson, Jr., a son of 
Cornelius Nelson and nephew of Kleng Peerson. 
He was born in Tysvaer parish, Norway, June 
29, 1816, and died at Sheridan, 111., Aug. 29, 1893. 
His wife, Catherine Evenson, died in Sheridan, 
July 24, 1906. Mr. J. A. Quam is now adminis- 
tering her estate, and her son, Cornelius, is liv- 
ing on and owns the old homestead. Her father, 
Knut Evenson, came to America in 1831. He set- 
tled in Kendall, N. Y., and both he and his wife 
died there. Catherine came with friends to La 
Salle county, Illinois, in 1839. Nels Nelson was 
usually styled Jr., to distinguish him from Nels 
Nelson Hersdal, Sr. Nels Nelson, Jr., and his 
wife Catherine had ten children, four of whom 
are now living, three daughters and a son. The 
son, whose name is Cornelius, lives on the farm 
in Mission township, La Salle county, purchased 
for his grandmother, Carrie (Kari) Nelson, the 
widow of Cornelius Nelson, by Kleng Peerson, 



before she moved to Illinois in 1836. On this 
farm which is the W. half S. W. quarter S. 33, 
T. 35, R. 5 E., 3 P. M. she built a log house 
shortly after her arrival and made her home 
there until she died, July 24, 1848. This farm be- 
came the property of her son, Nels Nelson, Jr., 
the last male survivor of the sloop party, and 
now his son, Cornelius, has it. The original log 
house still stands, but has been sided over and 
a larger frame building; has been added to it; it 
still serves as a home for a grandchild of a 
Slooper. We speak thus fully of this farm because 
it is beyond all doubt the first farm selected by 
a Norwegian in America west of the Great 
Lakes, and it would not be out of place to com- 
memorate the event by a small monument in 
honor of Mrs. Carrie Nelson's brother, Kleng 
Peerson, of Hesthammer, Tysvaer parish, Skjjzild 
district, Stavanger county, Norway. Perhaps it 
was on this land he lay down and rested and had 
his memorable dream, mentioned on another 
page. At all events this is the first piece of land 
selected by a Norwegian in the great North- 
west. 



Claims and First Improvements 



Future generations will inquire not only how 
this country appeared before the hand of civilized 
man had marred its virgin beauty, but how the 
first comers managed to live, to protect them- 
selves from the elements and to procure the 
means of subsistence; how they met the varied 
requirements of civilization to which they had 
been accustomed, and with what resignation they 
dispensed with such as could not be had. 

If correctly told, it would be a tale of intense 
interest; but it would require a master hand to 
draw a picture that would show the scene in all 



of its details personal experience alone could 
fully unfold the tale. When a new-comer ar- 
rived, he first selected a location where he could 
make his future home; and the question natural- 
ly arises, of whom did he get permission to oc- 
cupy it? The answer might be given in the lan- 
guage usually used when defining political or 
civil rights everyone was free to do as he 
pleased so he did not interfere with his neigh- 
bor. When the government had extinguished the 
Indian title the land was subject to settlement, 
either before or after survey. The settler had 






CLAIMS AND FIRST IMPROVEMENTS 



51 



no paper title, but simply the right of possession, 
which he got by moving onto and occupying it; 
this gave him the right to hold it against all others 
till some one came with a better title, which bet- 
ter title could only be got by purchasing the fee 
of the government, when surveyed and brought 
into market. The right of possession thus ob- 
tained constituted what was called a claim. These 
were regarded as valid titles by the settlers, and 
were often sold, in some instances for large 
amounts. Pre-emption laws were passed at dif- 
ferent times by Congress, giving to claimants 
who had made certain specified improvements 
the exclusive right to purchase the premises, at 
the minimum price of $1.25 per acre; provided, 
they would prove their pre-emption, and pay for 
the same before they were offered for sale by 
the government. The conditions required were 
possession or cultivation, and raising a crop, the 
amount of the crop not being specified. A rail 
fence of four lengths was often seen on the prai- 
rie, the ground inclosed spaded over and sown 
with wheat. 

When settlers, by mistake, got a pre-emption 
on the same quarter section, they were entitled 
to a claim on eighty acres more, to be selected 
by themselves; they received a certificate of such 
claim, it being called a float, and was frequently 
laid on improvements, doing great injustice. 

But there was always an understanding among 
the settlers that each claimant should be pro- 
tected in his claim if he had no pre-emption, pro- 
vided he wouid attend the sale when advertised, 
by proclamation of the President, bid the mini- 
mum price, and pay for it. The settlers usually 
attended the sale in a body, and although any 
person had a legal right to bid on any claim not 
pre-empted, and it had to be sold to the highest 
bidder, it was not considered a safe thing to bid 
on a settler's claim, and it was seldom done. 
When attempted, the bidding speculator usually 
got roughly handled, and found discretion the 
better part of valor. Eastern speculators often 
complained of this, claiming that they were de- 
prived of their legal right to compete in the open 
market for the purchase of these lands; but the 
settlers replied that they had left the comforts 
and luxuries of their Eastern homes, braved the 
dangers and privations of a new country, and 
here made their homes, cultivating and reclaim- 
ing these wild lands and preparing the way for 
advancing civilization, and that they had a sacred 
right to the improvements, and the right to pur- 
chase the fee of the land, as the land and im- 
provements must go together. And they were 
right. 



The fault lay in the government ever selling 
the land in any way except by pre-emption and 
to actual settlers. The government gained noth- 
ing by offering it at public sale, as the average 
price obtained, during a long term of years, was 
only $1.27 per acre, only two cents over the mini- 
mum price which would have been paid by ac- 
tual settlers, not enough to pay the additional 
cost; and the purchase by speculators enhanced 
the price and retarded the settlement of the 
country, forcing the settler to live isolated, with- 
out society, schools and churches; and it made 
the honest immigrant pay from $300 to $1,000 
more for each eighty acres than the government 
price, and this went to the man who did noth- 
ing for the country, but sat in his Eastern home 
and pocketed the amount. 

The claim question had a morality of its own, 
and while at a distance, and from a certain stand- 
point, it had the appearance of mob law, and was 
so stigmatized, here where it could be properly 
understood and appreciated it was sustained by 
the purest and best of men; not only so, but an 
actual settler was never known to oppose it. If 
ever an equitable and just right existed, it was 
that of the claimant pioneer to the land he occu- 
pied. 

The nomenclature was peculiar and expressive. 
When a man made a claim he was said to squat, 
and was called a squatter, and from that came 
the phrase "squatter sovereignty." When the 
claimant left his claim the first occupant could 
have it. If he left it temporarily to visit his 
friends, or on business, and another embraced 
the opportunity to possess it, the latter was said 
to jump the claim. Each settlement usually had 
an association where such disputes were settled; 
and the state enacted laws making claims trans- 
ferable, notes given for claims valid, for protect- 
ing the claimant from encroachment of others, 
and ousting jumpers. A claim jumper often 
fou'nd his way a hard road to travel. 

This nomenclature was often expressively ap- 
plied to other matters. If a young man paid 
marked attention to a young lady he was said 
to have made :i claim; if it was understood they 
were engaged he was said to have a pre-emp- 
tion and if another cut him out he was said to 
have jumped his claim. 

When the settler had selected his location, or 
made his claim, his first attention was directed 
to procuring a shelter for himself and family. 
If in the vicinity of others already provided he 
was readily welcomed to share their scanty ac- 
commodations, two and frequently three families 
together occupying a cabin with one room, per- 



52 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



haps 12x14 feet, more or less. But if far re- 
moved from neighbors he had to occupy his cov- 
ered wagon in which he came, sleeping in or 
under it, and cooking and eating in the open air, 
or some other rude contrivance, frequently a tent 
made of blankets, till a shelter could be provided. 
This was usually a log cabin, for raising of 
which help was needed. When help was not 
available, his cabin must be built of such logs or 
poles as could be handled with the aid of his 
family. In raising a log cabin strength as much 
as skill is required. What were termed corner 
hands one at each corner, or where hands were 
scarce, one for two corners should have some 
experience. The bottom log must be saddled or 
cut to a sloping edge, or angle, to receive the 
cross log, which must be notched to fit the sad- 
dle. A failure, requiring the log to be taken out 
to be refitted, was SUTC to bring some pleasant 
raillery on the culprit. If well done, a door or 
window can be cut, and the parts of the logs will 
remain firm in their place, but if not a perfect 
fit, when a space is cut for the door, the accumu- 
lated weight from above will bring the logs not to 
fit at the corner and throw the ends at the cut- 
ting wide from their place. When the walls were 
completed, or about ten feet high, the gables 
were carried up by laying on logs, each short- 
ened in succession, to give the proper slope for 
the roof, and held by straight logs, or large 
poles, placed about three feet from and parallel 
with the plate, rising upward to receive the shin- 
gles, resting on and holding the short logs at the 
gables, and terminating with a ridge pole at the 
center of the building and top of the roof. On 
these were placed long shingles or boards, four 
feet long, laid double, so the top course broke 
joints with the first, on which was laid another 
log. or pole, held by a pin at each end; this pole 
held the shingles in place without nailing, and 
each succeeding course was laid and fastened in 
the same way. The floor was made of split logs, 
hewn on the split side, and spotted onto the 
sleepers on the round side, so as to make a tol- 
erably smooth surface; these were called punch- 
eons. 

The chimney was built outside the building at 
one end. A hole was cut through the logs for a 
fireplace. This was made ,of timber, lined with 
stone or clay for four .or five fe.et, and then with 
a crib of sticks plastered inside with clay mor- 
tar. The spaces between the logs were filled 
with pieces of split timber, called .chinking, and 
plastered inside and out with clay mortar, mak- 
ing a warm and comfortable house; but .snow 
and rain, when falling with ,a high wind, would 



get inside through the clapboard roof and 
where leisure and means justified, a roof of 
boards and short shingles was substituted. 

A one-post bedstead was made as follows: 
Bore a hole in a log four feet from the corner of 
the room, and insert a rail six feet long; then 
bore a hole in the log on the other side o{ the 
room six feet from the same corner, and insert 
the opposite ends of these rails where they meet, 
in a post, which completes the frame; then lay 
slats crosswise from the side to the log opposite, 
or to a rail pinned on the log at the proper 
height, and the one-post bedstead is complete, 
on which the weary pioneer slept as sweetly as 
on the most costly one. 

These rough buildings were quite comfortable, 
and, as most of our old settlers could testify, 
witnessed much of real enjoyment. Some of 
America's greatest men were born and raised in 
such a dwelling. 

A shelter provided, the next thing was to pre- 
pare to raise whereon to su'bsist. The prairie 
region offered advantages for an occupant far 
superior to a timbered country; in the latter an 
immense amount of labor had to be done to clear 
the timber, and for years the stumps prevented 
free cultivation; while on the prairie the sod had 
to be turned, and the crop put in. 

At an early day the sod was turned by an ox 
team of six to ten yoke, with a plow that cut a 
furrow from two to three feet wide. The plow 
beam, which was from eight to twelve feet long, 
was framed into an axle, on each end of which 
was a wheel sawed from an oak log; this held 
the plow upright. It was a heavy, unwieldy- 
looking apparatus, but it did good work; and the 
broad black fu'rrow, as it rolled from the plow, 
was a sight worth seeing. 

The nice adjustment and filing of the coulter 
and broad snare required a practised hand, as aj 
slight deviation in the tip of the share, or even 
filing the coulter, would throw the plow on a 
twist and require a strong man to hold it in 
place; but if nicely done the plow would run a 
long distance without support. 

This was the primitive American plow, but 
Yankee ingenuity soon found that a smaller plow 
and less team did cheaper and better work. 

It was found that the best time to break the 
sod was when the grass was rapidly growing, as 
it would then decay quickly, and the soil soon 
be mellow and kind; but if broken too early or 
top late in the season, it would require two or 
three years to become as mellow as it would be 
in three months when broken at the right time. 



CLAIMS AND FIRST IMPROVEMENTS 



58 



Very shallow plowing required less team, and 
would mellow much sooner than deep breaking. 

The first crop was mostly corn, planted by 
cutting a gash with an ax into the inverted sod, 
dropping the corn, and closing it by another 
blow alongside the first. Or it was dropped in 
every third furrow and the furrow turned on; if 
the corn was so placed as to find the space be- 
tween the furrows, it would find daylight; if not, 
it was doubtful Corn so planted would, as cul- 
tivation was impossible, produce a partial crop, 
sometimes a full one. Prairie sod turned in June 
would be in condition to sow with wheat in Sep- 
tember, or to put in with corn or oats the spring 
following. Vines of all kinds grew well on the 
fresh-turned sod, melons especially, though the 
wolves usually took their full share of these. 
After the first crop the soil was kind, and pro- 
duced any crop suited to the climate. But when' 
his crops were growing the settler was not re- 
lieved from toil. His chickens mu'st have shelter 
and Ee closed at night to protect them from the 
owls and wolves; his pigs required equal protec- 
tion; and although his cows and oxen roamed 
on the wide prairie in a profusion of the richest 
pasture, still a yard must be made for his cows 
at night, and hit* calves by day. The cows were 
turned in with the calves for a short time at 
night, and then the calves turned on the prairies 
to feed during the night. In the morning the 
calves were turned in and the cows turned out 
for their day's pasture; this was necessary to in- 
duce the cows to come up at night, for if the 
calves were weaned the cows would fail to come. 
And the stock all heeded some protection from 
the fierce wintry blast, though sometimes they 
got but little. Add to this the fencing of the 
farm, the outbreedings, hunting the oxen and 
cows on the limitless prairies through the heavy 
dews of late evening and early morning, going 
long distances to market and to mill, aiding a 
newcomer to build his cabin, fighting the prairie 
fires which swept over the country yearly, and 
with his family encountering that pest of a new 
country, the fever and ague and other malarious 
diseases, and the toil and endurance of a settler 
in a new country may be partially, but not fully 
appreciated. 

A visitor from the Eastern states has often 
taunted the toiling pioneers with such remarks 
as these: "Why do you stack out your hay and 
grain?" "Why don't you have barns, comfortable 
houses, stables for your cattle, and other con- 
veniences as we have?" He should have been an- 
swered: "You are enjoying the fruits of the la- 
bor of generations of your ancestors, while we 



have to create all we have. We have made nec- 
essarily rude and cheap shelters for ourselves 
and animals, have fenced our farms, dug our 
wells, have to make OUT roads, bridge our 
streams, build our schoolhouses, churches, court- 
houses and jails, and when one improvement is 
complete another want stares us in the face." 
All this taxed the energies of the new settler to 
the extent of human endurance, and many fell 
by the way, unable to meet the demands upon 
their energies. 

The wonder is that so much has been accom- 
plished; that so many comforts, conveniences and 
luxuries have crowned the efforts of our people; 
that we have reached a point for which two cen- 
tu'ries of effort might well have been allowed. 
Political and financial theorists have tauntingly 
told the farmers of Illinois that they know noth- 
ing of finance except what wiser heads have told 
them; that they have made nothing by farming, 
and would be poor except for the advance in 
price of their farms. 

These Solons should be told that it is the toil 
of those farmers that has made their farms in- 
crease in price; their toil has clothed them with 
valuable improvements, planted orchards and 
fruit gardens, made roads and bridges, converted 
a wilderness into a land of beauty, and made it 
the happy abode of intelligent men. All this had 
to be done to make these farms advance in price, 
and those who have done this and raised and 
educated their families have done well; and if 
the advance in the price of their farms has given 
them a competence it is what they anticipated 
and nothing but the most persevering industry 
and frugality would have accomplished it. 

In addition to the labor and multitude of cares 
that beset the newcomer he had to accomplish 
all of it under disadvantages, and to encounter 
dangers that of themselves were sufficient to dis- 
courage men not of stern resolve. Traveling un- 
worked roads and crossing streams without 
bridges was often a perilous adventure. Many 
were the hairbreadth escapes which most of the 
early settlers can recall and which in later years 
were never referred to without a thrill of emo- 
tion. Up to the time of building the first bridge 
over the Vermillion there was a record of twen- 
ty-five persons drowned in that treacherous 
stream within a distance of ten miles all 
drowned In attempting to ford the stream. It 
was a common remark that when a man left 
home in the morning it was very uncertain 
whether his wife's next dress would be a black 
one or of some other color. 

Crossing the wide prairie at night with not 



54 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



even the winds or stars for guides, was a very 
uncertain adventure, and often the wayfarer 
traveled till exhausted and encamped till the 
morning light came to guide him on his way. 
In warm weather, although an unpleasant ex- 
posure, this was not a dangerous one; and al- 
though the sensation of being lost is more irk- 
some and the lonely silence in the middle of a 
prairie, broken only by the howl of the wolves, 
is more unpleasant than one inexperienced would 
imagine, and the gnawing of a stomach innocent 
of supper adds much to the discomfort, it all 
passes with the night and a brighter view and 
happier feeling dawns with the breaking morn. 
But crossing the trackless prairie when covered 
with a dreary expanse of snow, with the fierce, 
unbroken wintry blasts sweeping over its glis- 
tening surface, penetrating to the very marrow, 
was sometimes a fearful and dangerous experi- 
ence. No condition could inspire a more per- 
fect idea of lonely desolation, of entire discom- 
fort, of helplessness and of dismal forebodings, 
than to find one's self lost on the snow-covered 
prairie, with no object in sight in any direction 



but the cold, undulating snow wreaths, and a 
dark and tempestuous winter night fast closing 
around his chilled and exhausted frame. His sa- 
gacious horse, by spasmodic efforts and continu- 
ous neighing, shows that, with his .master, he 
appreciates the danger, and shares his fearful 
anticipations. With what longing the lost one 
reflects on the cosy fireside of his warm cabin, 
surrounded by his loved ones, which he fears he 
may never see; and when the dark shadow of 
night has closed around and shut in the land- 
scape, and chance alone can bring relief, ? joy- 
ous neigh and a powerful spring from his noble 
horse calls his eye in the direction he has taken, 
he sees over the bleak expanse a faint light in 
the distance, toward which his horse is bounding 
with accelerated speed, equally with his master 
cheered and exhilarated by the beacon light, 
which the hand of affection has placed at the 
window to lead the lost one to his home. Nearly 
every early settler had some such experience, 
while some never reached the home they sought, 
but, chilled to a painless slumber, found the 
sleep that knows no waking. 



IN WHAT CONDITION DID THE FIRST NORWEGIAN SETTLERS FIND THE 
TRACT, ON WHICH THEY SETTLED? 



The close of the Black Hawk war in 1832 
found the settlers in embarrassed circumstances. 
In the north part of La Salle county the crops 
had been destroyed by the Indians, and all the 
farms had necessarily been neglected, while the 
owners were in the army, or seeking shelter in 
the fort. Still some raised tolerable crops, and 
there was not much suffering. In 1833, the year 
before the first Norwegians under the leadership 
of Kleng Peerson arrived, as it was understood 
that the Indian troubles were fully settled, im- 
migrants came in rapidly. The demand for pro- 
visions of all kinds, and for everything raised by 
the settlers was fully equal to the supply, and 
for some articles in excess, the deficiency being 
supplied by the boats in the river trade. Prices 
were high as they always are where the demand 
exceeds the supply, and were everywhere becom- 
ing inflated as the speculative times of 1835-37 
were approached. 

The farmers of Illinois have hardly seen more 
prosperous times, excepting for the last few 
years, than the settlers enjoyed from the close 
of the Black Hawk war to 1837 that is, those 
who had farms under improvement, and produce 
to sell. Those who were making improvements 
had to buy at such prices as the older settlers 



saw fit to ask. This fact throws light upon the 
easiness with which our Norwegian newcomers 
could secure work. Wheat was about $2.00 a 
bushel; corn and oats, $1.50; though the prices 
varied in different neighborhoods, as the propor- 
tion of old and newcomers preponderated. 

All newcomers were consumers, and not pro- 
ducers for the first year or two, unless they 
could buy an improved farm, and that reduced 
their dependence upon the means they brought 
with them. But a poor man could always find 
employment, and if he arrived without money 
he could get provisions for his family and pay 
in labor, as labor was the great need of the coun- 
try. He could buy anything the country con- 
tained with labor. Building houses, stables, pens 
and yards, making rails, fencing, and breaking 
prairie, called for stout and willing hands. A 
good worker, such as our Norwegians, was a 
great acquisition, but a drone had no place 
among the hardy pioneers. 

Many subjects connected with the occupancy 
and settlement of a new country are not con- 
tained in the narrative of passing events. In the 
next chapter we narrate the deeds of that great 
"White Man's Friend," the Indian chief Shab- 
bona. 



SHABBONA 



Shabbona 



Shabbona shares with Shakespeare the distinc- 
tion of. having his name spelled in an endless 
number of ways. We intend to accept the one in 
which it is spelled in the official records of today, 
where places are named after the great chief, as 
for instance Shabbona Grove, a station on the 
Chicago & Northwestern Railway, and Shab- 



of his life in La Salle county, and often visited 
Ottawa and other parts of the county. He was 
a chief of the Pottawatomie Indians, whrt lived 
in the vicinity, and was well known to the early 
settlers. His kindness and friendship for the 
whites, and the timely warning he gave them to 
escape from the murderous fury of Black Hawk 




Shabbona. 



bona, a village of 1,000 inhabitants with a station 
on the Chicago. Burlington & Quincy Railway. 

Most of the early Norwegian settlers and 
many of their descendants in La Salle and 
Grundy counties remember the large and manly 
form of Shabbona. He spent the last few years 



and his tribe, endeared his memory to the early 
pioneers and their descendants. And it is but 
fitting that the history that perpetuates the mem- 
ory of the whites of that day should carry with 
it some recollection of their Indian friend. 

Shabbona was physically a noble specimen of 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



his race over six feet in height and large in great Algonguin family, which embraces the 
proportion; erect, and commanding in his bear- Winn'ebagos, Chippewas, Pottawatomies and 



ing, he at once inspired respect. 

He had been a distinguished warrior, but 
evidently was disposed to the more quiet pur- 



others who had a common origin and similar 
language. 
When a young man Shabbona emigrated with 




Shabbona's Daughter, her husband, Chief Kick-Kock, and their daughter. 



suits of peace. He was honest, truthful and 
trustworthy, and exhibited most of the virtues 
and a few of the vices of the red man when 
brought in contact with civilization. He was 
of the Ottawa tribe, and was born on the banks 
of the Ottawa River, in Canada, about 1775. 
The Ottawas were the leading tribe of the 



a part of his tribe to Michigan; was a friend and 
companion of the great Tecumseh, was his aid, 
and was fighting by his side when that great 
warrior was killed at the battle of the Thames, 
in 3813. Shabbona said that when Tecumseh 
fell he looked about and saw the British all run- 
ning, the Indians all running, and then he ran 



SHABBONA 



57 




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A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



too. From that time he forsook the alliance of 
the British and became the friend of the United 
States. 

All of the Algonguin tribes were under French 
influence, and took sides with them in all their 
wars with Great Britain and her colonies, and 
when the French possessions, by the treaty of 
1763, passed into the hands of Great Britain, they 
mostly took sides with Great Britain against the 
United States, and their defeat at the battle of 
the Thames partially, at least, separated the 
Northwestern Indians from British influence. 

Shabbona became peace chief of the Potta- 
watomies, from which tribe he is said to have 
procured his wife. He opposed Black Hawk's 
proposed war on the whites, and prevented the 
Pottawatomies from joining the Sauks; and when 
he found the war inevitable he lost no time in 
warning the settlers of La Salle and adjoining 
counties of their danger, and thus saved many 
valuable lives. The settlers at Indian Creek were 
warned by Shabbona in ample time to reach a 
place of safety, but his advice was unheeded, and 
they paid the penalty with their lives. He ef- 
fectually aided the whites in that contest, and 
in consideration of his services the government 
reserved a tract of land for his use at Shabbona's 
Grove, in what is now De Kalb county, and gave 
him a pension of $200. 

In 1837, when the last of his tribe moved onto 
a reservation west of the Mississippi, Shabbona 
went with them, but was not satisfied, and re- 
turned with his family children and grand- 
children, thirty persons in all to his reserva- 
tion. At the solicitation of his tribe he again 
went west; but his residence there was an un- 
quiet one. His favorite son was killed in a dif- 
ficulty with some of the Sauks, who had a res- 
ervation in the vicinity. The difficulty is said 
to have grown out of the aid Shabbona rendered 
the whites, in the Black Hawk war, which was 
remembered by the Sauks in true Indian fashion. 

With his family he returned to Illinois in 1855, 
and remained till his death, in 1859, aged 84 
years. 

During Shabbona's absence some speculators 
represented to the government that he had aban- 
doned his reservation, and it was sold. He felt 
hurt at this injustice and said: "Shabbona has 
nothing now." George E. Walker, an old friend, 
and his companion in the Black Hawk war, said 
to him: "Shabbona, while I have a bed and a 
crust you shall share them with me;" and Shab- 



bona always made Walker's home his home, 
when in Ottawa. The citizens of Ottawa raised 
by subscription an amount sufficient to purchase 
twenty acres of land near Seneca, in Grundy 
county, and erected comfortable buildings on the 
same, where Shabbona and his family lived till 
his death, July 17, 1859.*) His squaw, Poka- 
moca, who was enormously fleshy, weighing 
about 400 pounds, was drowned in Mazon creek, 
Nov. 20, 1864, aged 86 years and was buried by 
his side. She was born, where Chicago now is, 
about 1778. 

In 1861 subscriptions were taken up in many 
of the river towns, to erect a monument over the 
remains of Shabbona, but, the war breaking out, 
the enterprise was abandoned. Only a large 
stone marks the resting place of this friend of 
the white man. 

Over the victims who were massacred on 
the Indian Creek in 1832, during the "Black 
Hawk" war, the state of Illinois caused a fine 
granite monument to be erected, which was ded- 
icated on Aug. 27, 1906. We present here a 
picture of the monument taken on the day of 
dedication. It is located in a little park between 
Ottawa and Freedom which, in honor of the 
"White Man's Friend," has been named Shab- 
bona Park. 

The persistent friendship of the old Indian for 
the whites, under injustice from the government, 
shows strongly the firmness of the Indian char- 
acter; while their hates are bitter, vindictive and 
cruel, their love and gratitude are equally last- 
ing. 

The story of Shabbona is a severe commentary 
on the barbarism of civilized man, who would 
sweep the Red Man from existence, and who says 
"there are no good Indians but dead ones." That 
vindictive cruelty which characterizes the savage 
under real or fancied provocation actuates, with 
increased intensity, those pretended sharers of 
our boasted Christian civilization who would 
strike with remorseless effect a fallen race, and 
extinguish at a blow the sad and melancholy 
remnant of a once powerful people, brought to 
the verge of extinction by the diseases, vices and 
wrongs of a pretended Christian people. 



*) Shabbona's remains were laid in lot 59, block 
7, in the Morris cemetery with elaborate ceremony 
and grateful regard of the whole county. Here 
rest also eight of his family, five of whom were 
his children or grandchildren. 



KLENG PEERSON 



59 



Klcng Pccrson 



We will now consider the career of that re- 
markable man, Kleng Peerson Hesthammer. He 
was born on a farm called Hesthammer, in Tys- 
ver parish, Skjold district, Stavanger amt, Nor- 
way, May 17, 1782. That date thirty-two years 
later became remarkable in the history of Nor- 
way, as it was on May 17, 1814, that that country 
adopted its constitution as a free and independ- 
ent kingdom. In his earlier years he became a 
dissenter and inspired the organization of the 
sloop party in 1825. With the aid of Jos. Fellows 
and other American Quakers he selected Kendall, 
Orleans county, N. Y., as the location of the first 
Norwegian settlement. From 1825 to 1833 there 
is no record of his whereabouts, but he probably 
spent much of the time in Kendall and Rochester, 
N. Y. In 1833 we find him in company with a 
Quaker from Tysver, Ingebret Larson Narvig, 
who had come from Norway in 1831, and another 
man, whose name we do not know, on his way 
to the far West. Ingebret Larson Narvig left 
him at Detroit and went to work for a farmer in 
Michigan. Kleng continued the journey west- 
ward until he reached La Salle county, Illinois, 
and there selected the location of the second 
Norwegian settlement. The Kendall and Fox 
River settlements are his everlasting glory. But 
he was a restless fellow. The records of La 
Salle county show that he bought 160 acres of 
land (of which 80 acres were for his sister), but 
he never settled on it. Many of the early set- 
tlers in La Salle county were his relatives. He 
did not care to work. But little he needed for 
his support, and this he got largely from his rel- 
atives and friends. He was a man of strict in- 
tegrity and performed any matter entrusted to 
him with scrupulous honesty. He considered 
himself as the pathfinder and father of the Nor- 
wegian immigration. At the homes where he vis- 
ited he would ask the housewife for her knitting 
work and request her to make coffee. He would 
then lie down on the bed and knit and drink 
coffee and talk about his extensive travels. He 
was an excellent storyteller and consequently a 
welcome visitor everywhere. 

In his domestic relations he had been unfortu- 



*) The compiler gladly takes this opportunity of 
acknowledging his obligations to Professor Rasmus 
B. Anderson's remarkable book, "The First Chapter 
of Norwegian Immigration", both for this chapter In 
toto and other valuable extracts and quotations. 



nate. A veil is spread over the details, because 
the ones who knew did not wish to tell. It is 
known, however, that he was married in Norway 
to a woman by the name of Cathanne, before he 
went to America in 1821. She was much older 
than he and had considerable property, but they 
did not pull together well under the marital yoke. 
At any event, he abandoned her, and Catharine 
probably did not lose her sleep on account of his 
departure. In 1847 we find him in the well known 
Swedish Bishop Hill Colony, in Henry county, 
Illinois, where he married a Swedish woman by 
the name of Charlotte Marie, belonging to Eric 
Janson's colony. In the same colony lived at the 
same time Lars Tallakson, whose hat Kleng bor- 
rowed for the wedding. It is, however, due to 
Kleng to add that he stated before marrying 
Charlotte Marie, in 1847, that his first wife Cath- 
arine, in Norway, was then dead. Charlotte Marie 
died from cholera in 1849. 

Kleng Peerson was a proud man and essen- 
tially an adventurer. He married the woman in 
Norway probably more on account of her means 
than for love, as he desired very much to get 
into possession of her property. As he did not 
succeed, he left her, declaring he would get along 
without either her or her property. She must 
have been one of the strong-headed and determ- 
ined kind, and she is said to have told him that 
he could have his dear America for himself, if 
he only left her alone. The writer must admit 
that, notwithstanding Kleng's own testimony, he 
is not satisfied that Kleng's Norwegian wife Cath- 
arine really was dead when he married the Swed- 
ish woman, Charlotte Marie, at Bishop Hill. 

According to a letter from his niece, Mrs. 
Bishop Sarah A. Peterson, of Ephraim, Utah, a 
daughter of the Slooper Cornelius Nelson, to 
Prof. R. B. Anderson, in 1895, Kleng Peerson 
spent all his time trying to do good to the stran- 
gers that came, and was always colonizing and 
finding homes for orphans. He carried children 
on his back for miles to get good places for them. 
If he secured a place for them and they were 
not treated well he took them away. In this way 
he made both friends and enemies. He was not 
a man that did menial work. He traveled and 
kept busy trying to do good to others for very 
little thanks. Mrs. Peterson adds: "For my own 
part, I shall always feel thankful to him for be- 
ing the means of getting my parents to come to 
this splendid country, and particularly for the 
fact that I am in Utah." Mrs. Peterson's hus- 



60 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



band was Canute Peterson Marsett, who came 
to America in 1837 and afterward became a Mor- 
mon bishop of Ephraim, Utah. 

It is said of Kleng that he spoke English flu- 
ently, could read French, and was able to make 
himself understood among the Germans; thus 
with the Norwegian he had the command of four 
languages. He was a most interesting talker. To 
the Americans he was able to describe the land- 
scapes and life of Norway; to his countrymen 
he could give an account of soil and climate in 
various parts of the far West. People gathered 
around him wherever he came, to listen to his 
reports and stories, and when Kleng came to a 
neighborhood the day was usually turned into a 
holiday. Under such circumstances it is easy to 
understand that he did not need to work, and 
that his few necessaries were supplied without 
his being a mendicant, and he was satisfied with 
very little. He was a carpenter by trade, and 
what he earned, when he occasionally did work, 
he gave freely to his countrymen who needed as- 
sistance. 

The next glimpse we get of Kleng Peerson, 
after he had founded the Fox River Settlement, 
is in Shelby county, in the northwest corner of 
Missouri, in the year 1837. There he also started 
a Norwegian settlement, but it not only did not 
receive any important accretions, but many of 
the settlers left it a few years later and founded 
another settlement called Sugar Creek, in Lee 
county, Iowa, about eight miles west of Keokuk. 
Kleng must have been across the Mississippi be- 
fore 1837, because he had already selected the 
location for the settlement when, in 1837, in 
company with Jacob Anderson Slogvig, Anders 
Askeland and twelve others, he went from La 
Salle county to Missouri. Writers have com- 
plained that Shelby county was badly chosen, 
but Andrew Simonson, who was one of the party 
and was still living in 1879, wrote in a Norwegian 
newspaper that "no settlement ever founded by 
Norwegians in America had a better appearance 
or better location than this very land in Shelby 
county, of which the Norwegians took possession 
at that time, and which they in part still own." 

It should be remembered that Missouri was a 
slave state, a fact which was very distasteful to 
the Norwegians, and Shelby county was far from 
any market. It being reported that there was 
good land to be had in Lee county, Iowa, Kleng, 
at the request of Andrew Simonson and others, 
went there to inspect it, and the result was that 
Simonson and the majority of the settlers in 
Shelby county moved to Lee county, for the sake 
of nearer market, but Mr. Simonson maintains 



that they did not get as good land as they left 
in 'Missouri. At all events, Kleng became the 
founder both of the settlement in Shelby county, 
Missouri, and of that in Lee county, Iowa, the 
former in 1837, and the latter in 1840. Kleng pur- 
chased eighty acres of land in Shelby county. 
To recruit the colony there, he went to Norway 
in 1838, and in 1839 we find him bringing back 
with him a lot of immigrants. He did his re- 
cruiting in the neigborhood of Stavanger, and on 
arriving in New York he proceeded with them 
to Cleveland, where he decided to take them by 
way of the Ohio River to Missouri. His reason 
for so doing was that Anders Askeland and the 
well known Jacob Slogvig had gone back to La I 
Salle county, dissatisfied, and Kleng feared that 
if he went by way of the Fox River Settlement 
his recruits might be persuaded not to proceed 
with him to his settlement in Missouri. 

In 1842 Kleng made a third visit to Norway. 
He carried letters from America to various per- 
sons in Norway. In May, 1843, we find him a 
passenger on board the bark Juno, which sailed 
from Bergen for New York with eighty pas- 
sengers. 

In 1847 he sold his eighty acres of land in1 
Shelby county, Missouri, and joined the Swedish 
Bishop Hill Colony, in Henry county, Illinois. 
The money he got for his farm he contributed to 
Eric Janson's communistic society. Here he mar- 
ried the Swedish woman mentioned before, but 
he soon got disgusted with the peculiar life in 
that colony, and, as he said, "robbed of all he 
possessed, and sick in body and mind," he went 
from Henry county back to his old Fox River 
Settlement, where he remained until his health" 
was restored. 

In 1849 during the cholera epidemic from which 
his Swedish wife in Bishop Hill died, he made 
his first visit to Texas. He went there evidently 
at the suggestion of Dr. Johan Nordboe, who 
had then for several years lived five miles south 
of Dallas. Kleng visited Johan Nordboe, made 
some explorations in various parts of Texas, went 
as far west as within a few miles of Fort Worth, 
and returned to the Fox River Settlement in 
1850, full of enthusiasm for Texas. The rest of 
his life is best told in a letter to Prof. Anderson 
from O. Canuteson: "In 1850 my father, with his 
family, came to my uncle, Halvor Knudson, in 
Illinois. My mother had died from cholera on 
the way from Chicago to Ottawa. In Ottawa we 
found Kleng Peerson, just back from Texas, and 
on his advice, and on his promise to be our 
guide, we concluded to go to Texas. He stayed 
with us the three years we lived in Dallas county, 



KLENG PEERSON 



61 



and when we moved to Bosque county, in 1854, 
he came with us, not as the leader then, bufas 
a follower, being too old to undertake leadership 
any more. The last years of his life he had his 
home with O. Colwick (Kj01vig), but would, of 
course, go around among his neighbors, where 
he was always welcome and felt at home. He 
died December 16, 1865. One of his neighbors 
and I were with him the last hours of his life. 
,1 closed his eyes in the long sleep of death. He 
was buried in the Lutheran cemetery opposite 
the Norwegian church near Norse P. O., in Bos- 
que county, and the Norwegians in Texas after- 
ward put a small stone monument on his grave, 
with the following inscription, written both in 
Norwegian and in English: 

'CLENG PEERSON, 

The First Norwegian Immigrant 

Came to America in 1821. 
Born in Norway, Europe, May 17, 1782. 

Died in Texas, December 16, 1865. 

Grateful countrymen in Texas erected this 

monument to his memory.' " 

Mr. Canuteson contributed $15 to this monu- 
ment, and superintended the matter of collecting 
funds and having it made. 

In Texas Kleng Peerson owned half a section 
of land and a few cows, and all this property he 
gave to O. Colwick, the latter agreeing to take 
care of him the rest of his life. 

Kleng Peerson was a dissenter from the church 
of Norway, and although he did not personally 
join the society, he was in sympathy with the 
Quakers. He was "grub-staked" by the Friends 
in Stavanger for his first journey to America, in 
1821, and by the help of- the Quakers in New 
York he not only selected Kendall as the place 
of the first settlement, but also secured financial 
aid to transport the sloop people from New York 
to Kendall. He also had the help of Quakers in 
securing land in the second settlement, in La 
Salle county. While he admired the Quakers, he 
gradually drifted more and more away from all 
churches, and the fact is that before he died he 
had lost all faith in the Christian religion. O. 
Canuteson, who lived in the same house with him 
for many years in Texas, who was with him in 
his dying hours, and who closed his eyes in death, 
says: "I was intimately acquainted with Kleng 



Peerson from' 1850 until his death in 1865. He 
was the most pronounced free thinker I have 
ever known. I remember his having an old Dan- 
ish free-thinking book, translated from the Ger- 
man. He believed little or nothing of the Bible, 
especially of the supernatural part thereof. 
Whether he at any time had belonged to the 
Quakers I can not say positively, but time and 
again I heard him talk about them as models in 
religious, and temporal matters, and I heard him 
talk about getting assistance, aid and comfort 
from Elias Tastad of Stavanger, Norway, he be- 
ing their leader in that city." 

Kleng Peerson was thoroughly unselfish in his 
character, and he devoted his life largely to the 
service of his countrymen. While he never had 
what may properly be .called a home after he left 
Norway, he spent his time and his scanty means 
in getting homes for others. In Kendall and in 
Illinois he secured land for his relatives and 
friends. When he had nothing of his own to 
give away he begged from the rich and gave to 
the poor. 

His -great services to Norwegian immigration 
deserve to be remembered and appreciated, and 
with all his eccentricities and shortcomings his 
countrymen will look upon him as a benefactor 
to his race and as an honest and benevolent man. 

Kleng Peerson's Dream. 

Kleng Peerson stated that when exploring in 
La Salle county the land which was afterward 
occupied by his countrymen, becoming weary, he 
lay down under a tree, slept, and dreamed, and 
in his dream he saw the wild prairie changed to 
a cultivated region, teeming with all kinds of 
grain and fruits, most beautiful to behold; that 
spacious houses and barns stood all over the 
land, occupied by a rich, prosperous and happy 
people. He awoke refreshed, and, nerved anew 
by his dream, went back to his countrymen in 
New York and persuaded them to emigrate to 
Illinois. Kleng's dream may have been dreamed 
awake, but it has been fully realized. The early 
days of the Norwegian settlement were days of 
poverty and toil, and repeated suffering from 
the Asiatic cholera; but they have surmounted 
their trials, and are now, as seen in Kleng Peer- 
son's dream, a wealthy, prosperous and happy 
people. 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



Prairie Fires 



The yearly burning of the heavy growth of 
grass on the prairie, which had occurred from 
time immemorial, either from natural causes or 
from being set by human hands, was continued 
after the white settlers came in and was a source 
of much annoyance, and frequently of severe loss. 
From the time the grass would burn, which was 
soon after the first frost, usually about the first 
of October, till the surrounding prairie was all 
burnt over, or, if not all burnt, till the green 
grass in the spring had grown sufficiently to 
prevent the rapid progress of the fire, the early 
settlers were continually on the watch, and, as 
they usually expressed the idea, "slept with one 
eye open." When the ground was covered with 
snow and during rainy weather the apprehension 
was quieted, and both eyes could be safely closed. 

A statute law forbid setting the prairie on fire, 
and one doing so was subject to a penalty and 
liable in an action of trespass for the damage 
accruing. But convictions were seldom effected, 
as the proof was difficult, though the fire was 
often set. 

Fires set on the leeward side of an improve- 
ment, while very dangerous to the improvements 
to the leeward, were not so to the windward, as 
fire progressing against the wind is easily extin- 
guished. 

Imagine the feelings of the man who, alone in 
a strange land, has made a comfortable home 
for his family; has raised and stored his corn, 
wheat, oats and fodder for stock, and has his 
premises surrounded by a sea of standing grass, 
dry as tinder, stretching away for miles in every 
direction, over which the wild prairie wind howls 
a dismal requiem, and knowing that a spark or 
match applied in all that distance will send a sea 
of fire wherever the wind may waft it; and con- 
scious of the fact that there are men who would 
embrace the first opportunity to send the fire 
from outside their own fields, regardless of whom 
it might consume, so it protected their own. 

Various means were resorted to for protection; 
a common one was to open with a prairie plow 
several furrows around a strip, several rods wide, 
outside the improvements, and then burn out the 
strip; or wait till the prairie was on fire and then 
set fire outside, reserving the strip for a late 
burn, that is, till the following summer, and in 
July burn both old grass and new. The grass 
would start immediately, and the cattle would 
feed it close in preference to the older grass, so 
that the fire would not pass over it the following 



autumn. This process repeated would soon, or 
in a few years, run out the prairie grass, and in 
time the land would become stocked with blue 
grass, which will never burn to any extent. But 
all this took time and labor, and the push of busi- 
ness on the hands of a new settler, of which a 
novice has no conception, would prevent him 
doing what would seem a small matter; and all 
such effort was often futile; a prairie fire driven 
by a high wind would often leap all such barriers 
and seem to put human effort at defiance. A 
prairie fire when first started goes straight for- 
ward with a velocity proportioned to the force 
of the wind, widening as it goes, but the center 
keeping ahead; it spreads slowly at the sides, and 
if the wind is moderate and steady the fire is not 
difficult to manage; but if the wind veers a point 
or two, first one way and then the other, it sends 
the side fire beyond combat. The head fire in 
dry grass and with a high wind is fearful, and 
pretty sure to have its own way unless there is 
some defensible point from which to meet it. A 
contest with such a fire requires an engineering 
skill and tact which can be learned only by ex- 
perience, and a neigborhood of settlers called out 
by such an exigency at once put themselves un- 
der the direction of the oldest and most exper- 
ienced of the number, and went to work with the 
alacrity and energy of men defending their homes 
and property from destruction. 

The usual way of meeting an advancing fire 
was to begin the defense where the head of the 
fire would strike, which was known by the smoke 
and ashes brought by the wind long in advance 
of the fire. A road, a cattle path or a furrow 
was of great value at such a place, if there were 
none such, a strip of the grass could be wet, 
if water could be procured, but it was usually 
scarce at the time of the annual fires. On the 
outside, or side next the coming fire, of such road 
or path, the grass was set on fire, and it burned 
slowly against the wind till it met the coming 
conflagration, and then stopped of course for 
want of fuel, provided there had been time to 
burn a strip that would not be leaped by the 
head fire as it came in. This was called back- 
firing; great care was necessary to prevent the 
fire getting over the furrow, path or whatever 
was used as a base of operations. If i\ got over 
and once under way there was no remedy but to 
fall back to a more defensible position, if there 
was one. 

If the head of the fire was successfully checked, 



PRAIRIE FIRES 



(58 



then the forces were divided, half going to the 
right and half to the left, and the back-firing con- 
tinued, to meet the side fires as they came up; 
this had to be continued till the fire was checked 
along the entire front of the premises endangered, 
and the sides secured. 

Various implements were used to put out a side 
or back fire, or even the head of a fire in a mod- 
erate wind. A fence board, about four to six 
feet long, with one end shaved down for a han- 
dle, was very effective, if struck flat upon the nar- 
row strip of fire. A bundle of hazel brush did 
very well, and a spade or shovel was often used. 
The women often lent their aid; their weapon 
was usually the kitchen mop, which, when thor- 
oughly wet, was very efficient, especially in ex- 
tinguishing a fire in a fence. When the fire over- 
came all opposition, and seemed bound to sweep 
over the settlement, a fear of personal loss would 
paralyze, for the moment, every faculty; as soon 
as that fact seemed imminent united effort ceased, 
and each one hastened to defend his own as best 
he could. It is due to historical truth to say that 
the actual losses were much less than might have 
been expected, though frequently great. The 
physical efforts made in extinguishing a danger- 
ous fire, and in protecting one's home from the 
devouring element, were very often severe, and 
in more than one instance resulted fatally. 

The premises about the residences and yards, 
being tramped by the family and domestic ani- 
mals, after a year or two, became tolerably safe 
from fire, but the fences, corn and stubble fields 
were frequently burnt over. When the prairie 
was all fenced and under cultivation the denizens 
of the prairie were happily released from the con- 
stant fear and apprehension which for years had 
rested like a nightmare on their quiet and happi- 
ness, disturbing their sleep by night and causing 
anxiety by day, especially when called from 
home, knowing that on their return they might 
look on a blackened scene of desolation instead 
of the pleasant home they had left. And when 
returning after a day's absence the sight of a fire 
in the direction of home, although it might prove 
to be several miles beyond, would try the mettle 
of the team by putting them to a speed propor- 
tioned to the anxiety of the driver. And here 
it may be well to throw a little cold water over 
the thrilling and fearful stories, got up to adorn 
a tale, of hair-breadth escapes of travelers and 
settlers from prairie fires. Such stories are not 
told by the old settlers, who know whereof they 
speak. It is true, a family might encamp in the 
middle of a dense growth of dry grass and let a 
fire sweep over their camp, to their serious in- 



jury. But with ordinary intelligence and caution 
a traveler on the prairie needed to have no fear 
of a fatal catastrophe, or even of any serious 
danger. If the head of a fire were approaching it 
was usually an easy matter to get to one side of 
it until it had passed and then pass over the side 
fire onto the burnt prairie, which can easily be 
done by getting on a spot of dry, rolling prairie, 
where the grass is seldom more than eight or 
twelve inches high. Or, if the head fire is too 
wide, and its speed too great to allow of getting 
around it, then at once set a fire to the leeward, 
and when it has burnt a short distance put out 
the fire on the windward side of the place of 
setting and pass onto the burnt prairie and fol- 
low the fire till far enough from the dry grass 
to be out of danger. There were places on low, 
moist prairie bottoms, or sloughs, where the 
grass and weeds were much heavier than on dryer 
land, and their burning was terrific and danger- 
ous. But these places could be avoided, as an ap- 
proaching fire could be seen a long distance, giv- 
ing time to prepare for its coming. 

The early settlers have a vivid recollection of 
the grand illuminations nightly exhibited in dry 
weather, from early fall to late spring, by num- 
berless prairie fires. The horizon would be lighted 
up around its entire circuit. A heavy fire, six 
or seven miles away, would afford sufficient light 
on a dark night to enable one to read fine print. 
When a fire- had passed through the prairie, leav- 
ing the long lines of side fires, like two armies 
facing each other, the sight at night was grand; 
and if one's premises were securely protected he 
could enjoy such an exhibition hugely, free of 
cost; but if his property were exposed his enjoy- 
ment of the scene was like a very nervous per- 
son's appreciation of the grand and majestic roll 
of thundei the sublimity of the scene lost in the 
apprehension of danger. 



A PRAIRIE BLIZZARD. 

Related by a Norwegian Pioneer. 

We had loaded our sleigh with wood and 
started for home when a big storm came up. 
We knew that a newcomer had recently settled 
near where we were, and, knowing that it would 
be impossible to get home in such a storm we 
set out to find him. With our load of wood 
and the oxen we tumbled around in the snow 
until we ran into a haystack of about three loads. 
Adjoining the stack was a hole in the ground 
where a cow stood, fairly well covered with 
brush and hay. We took our oxen up to the 



64 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



stack and went to look for shelter for ourselves. 
We finally located another hole in the ground 
on a little knoll, where a few windows and 'a 
door indicated that it was a human habitation. 
It was indeed a miserable home, but we were 
glad for having found it, and went in. The wife 
was home alone, her husband having started out 
for the nearest neighbor to borrow a little meal, 
for they had nothing to eat in the house. We 
warmed up a little and asked her what we could 
do with our oxen. She said she knew of no 
place unless we could get them into the cellar 
where we were, but added that the door was 
probably too small. We measured the door and 
went out to the haystack, but found our oxen 
gone. We thought that they were lost to us 
forever. Heartbroken, we returned to the cellar. 
There was not a stick or piece of wood to burn, 
and it was uncomfortably cold. As a last resort 
we broke the cradle to make a little fire, and 
with this 'the woman baked a few pancakes out 
of middling meal and divided them between us 
and the children. I asked her whether she and 
the babies were not very hungry. She said they 
were, but that it had been worst the first day, 
for afterward they became so weak that they did 
not mind it much. But it was worst for the chil- 



dren. They begged and implored for something 
to eat; and besides it was so cold that they had 
to keep to their beds most of the time. 

Water was all they could get, and this had to 
be melted from snow, and for fuel there was j 
nothing but the furniture. We were there for I 
three days before the storm moderated enough 
to enable us to go out and look for our oxen. 
We found them frozen to death a distance from ! 
where we had left them. We were thankful to 
God that he had led our footsteps to a shelter, ', 
for many a man lost his life in that storm. 

* * * 
A Cloudburst. 

Another catastrophe happened to us the fol- | 
lowing summer. A rain which came down in ; 
sheets swept the barren prairie, and my sod i 
house had not been built to withstand such angry j 
elements. The water poured in through the roof. : 
In fact I believe more came in to us than did ' j 
outside. 

It gradually rose so high that wife and chil- 
dren had to get into bed and I stationed myself 
in the door with a bucket and bailed it out. In- 
deed, the newcomer's experience during those , 
early days was not a pleasant one. 



The Bandits of the Prairies 



The settlements in northern Illinois became 
in the year 1837 infested with a band of desper- 
ate characters familiarly known as the "Bandits 
of the Prairies." Their favorite pursuit was 
horse stealing. The scattered population was 
mostly confined to the edge of the timber, while 
the broad prairie was unoccupied. This fact gave 
them an opportunity to travel with their illgot- 
ten steeds unmolested to Missouri, Kentucky and 
Iowa. Their success in the horse ling soon em- 
boldened them to try other branches, and bur- 
glary, robbery and murder were not unfrequent. 
If a settler had money in his house it would in 
some way become known to the gang, which 
would go after it. In one instance a settler had 
$700 in a trunk under his bed; the robber en- 
tered the house and took out the trunk while the 
man and his wife were conversing; the robber 



afterward told the conversation as proof that he 
had heard it. It was done during a violent thun- 
der storm, and when the thunder rolled heavily 
he would draw the trunk, and when it ceased, 
hold on till another thunder crash, and thus he 
got the prey without attracting notice. The 
thieves became a terror to the settlers, especially 
to the female portion. It is a part of the relig- 
ion of a new country never to refuse shelter to 
a benighted traveler; and at the time named it 
was impossible to discriminate between the 
worthy stranger and the bandit of the prairie. 
And the stranger taken in, instead of proving 
an angel, often broke the slumber of his host by 
appearing at his bedside with a pistol, demand- 
ing his valuables. The civil authorities seemed 
entirely indifferent, or at least inefficient; in 
many instances they were suspected of complic- 



THE BANDITS OF THE PRAIRIES 



65 



ity with the gang. If arrested, they would break 
jail, or by some technical quibble escape the 
meshes of the law. They became very bold in 
some localities, stealing cattle or anything they 
could lay their hands on. The gang seemed to 
pervade all branches of business. The grand jury 
of La Salle county found several true bills 
against a butcher in Ottawa for stealing cattle, 
and it was conclusively proved that the citizens 
of Ottawa had, although unconsciously, lived for 
months on stolen beef. The jury were very cau- 
tious, in presenting the bills, to have a warrant 
issued before the butcher could suspect their ac- 
tion; but he knew it as soon as they did, and 
left for parts unknown. 

The murder of Mr. Davenport, at midday, on 
the Fourth of July, alarmed the whole country. 
One of the gang, by the name of Birch, a shrewd 
man, but an accomplished scoundrel, was ar- 
rested for being concerned in the murder, and 
was identified as the man who, a short time be- 
fore, in the guise of a Methodist preacher, stayed 
over night with Jeremiah Strawn, a wealthy 
farmer of Putnam county; attended prayers with 
Brother Strawn, and a night or two after went 
through his house, taking all his valuables, while 
an accomplice held a pistol to Strawn's head to 
keep him quiet. Birch was brought to Ottawa 
as a witness, but not used. He shrewdly offered 
to expose the gang and his trial was put off for 
several months, to get his testimony. He sub- 
sequently broke jail, stole the jailer's horse, rode 
him about a hundred miles, and left him ruined. 
He wrote back to the sheriff, apologizing for his 
rudeness in not taking formal leave, after so 
much kindness shown him while an inmate of 



his family; said he only borrowed the horse, but 
believed he had ruined him, and hoped he would 
be excused for both offenses, as his business 
was urgent. 

That was the last heard of Birch. Exasperated 
beyond measure, smarting under the loss of 
property, and living in continual fear, the people 
came to the conclusion that self-preservation is 
the first law in nature; that they had a right to 
protection from the law; if that could not be 
had, then they must have it in some other way. 

Vigilant societies for arresting criminals and 
bringing them to punishment were formed, and 
deep mutterings were heard, indicating a feeling 
that was destined to reform the state of society. 
One of these societies .was formed in the north- 
ern part of the state, and a man by the name 
of Campbell was chosen captain. Campbell was 
a Canadian, a man of great energy and decision 
of character. The gang were alarmed, and re- 
solved to dispose of him. One Sunday after- 
noon two men by the name of Driscoll called at 
Campbell's front gate, and inquired of Campbell's 
daughter for her father. Campbell came to the 
gate, when, without saying a word, they shot 
him through the heart, and coolly rode off. The 
next day the people assembled, took three of the 
Driscolls, tried them by a jury of their own, 
found two of them guilty, gave them an hour to 
say their prayers, and shot them. They then re- 
solved to serve every thief they caught in the 
same way. The effect was most salutary. It 
struck terror to the gang, and many_ of them 
sought a healthier clime. Prompt and sure pun- 
ishment will ever cause the law to be respected. 



Indian Character and Customs 



Accounts of Indian warfare, trade and treaties 
do not give an inside view of Indian character. 
One of the earliest settlers said that Indians were 
fond of athletic sports, and of contests with the 
whites in jumping, running, hopping, wrestling, 
etc. In wrestling they never tripped, and com- 
plained of unfairness when the whites did so. 
In all such contests they proved inferior to the 
whites in both strength and agility. This might 



indicate less vitality, and one cause of their rapid 
decadence. They were very fond of a trial of 
skill in shooting at a mark, and very proud of 
being the victors. They would resort to a vari- 
ety of devices to accomplish that object. When 
their opponent was taking aim they would com- 
mence the most savage and unearthly yells for 
the purpose of unsteadying his nerves an ob- 
ject they frequently accomplished. There was 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



no trick they would hesitate to perpetrate. If 
they could get their competitor's rifle they would 
secretly strike the sight with their knives, mov- 
ing it to one side, so as thereby to win the stake. 
They were not addicted to stealing, but would 
sometimes fall into temptation in that direction. 

A Mr. Grove tended mill, and frequently sold 
flour to the squaws. His practice was to sell by 
the handful, and after delivering the number 
agreed for, the squaws would invariably grab one 
handful more, for which he would sometimes box 
their ears; they would be very angry and curse 
him roundly in the Indian jargon, when he would 
give them another handful to appease their 
wrath. They would at once call him good, good, 
and become the best of friends. They gleaned 
in the wheat fields, and, like Boaz of old, the 
owners would drop a little now and then for the 
gleaners. They frequently bought a few bun- 
dles, but always came back dissatisfied, saying, 
"Big straw, little wheat." They were seldom 
satisfied with a trade, but would come back 
wanting something more. There is no proof 
that this was innate; it doubtless resulted from 
being generally overreached in the bargains they 
made with the whites. 

They were usually fast friends, and never for- 
got a kindness. They were on the best of terms 
with the settlers; would sometimes come into the 
settlers' houses in the night and lie down by the 
fire, where they would be found in the morning. 

A settler of Freedom stated that the first win- 
ter he was on Indian Creek he was engaged in 
cutting and hewing timber for building purposes. 
The Indians would be around nearly every day, 
watching the process with apparently the deep- 
est interest. They would speculate on the direc- 
tion the tree would fall, while being cut, and 
when it fell would seem to enjoy it hugely; they 
would then go to the stump and appear to ad- 



mire the nice, smooth cutting of the white man's 
ax, so different from their rude instruments; they 
would imitate with the hands the motion made 
with the ax, and the throwing of the chips by 
its action, which their instruments never did. 
They seemed to appreciate a fact, which from 
habit we fail to notice, that the Yankee ax is onq 
of the most efficient instruments ever invented 
by man. In the hands of experts it has cleared 
a continent and prepared it for civilized occu- 
pancy and that with a speed and facility that no 
other agency could effect. The rapid and nice 
work of this tool could but attract the attention 
of these simple savages. 

It may be added that the settlers left their 
tools at night where they stopped work, and 
they were never molested, although the Indians 
were almost constantly there. If a kind, concili- 
ating and just course had in all cases been pur- 
sued in our intercourse with this people, may we 
not suppose their ultimate destiny would have 
been different? 

Yet a few of these friendly Pottawatomies, 
though the tribe was held in check by Shabbona 
and other chiefs, doubtless did join the Sacs in 
their war on the settlements, though this was 
said to have been confined to a few bucks who 
had intermarried with the Sauks. Their passion 
for war and blood was almost uncontrollable, and 
their vindictive hate of an enemy led them to a 
course of extermination. 

When Shabbona accompanied the army under 
General Atkinson, and an attack was expected 
soon to be made on the Sauks, Shabbona asked 
permission to spare a certain squaw, a friend to 
him. The general told him to spare all the wo- 
men and children, but Shabbona dissented, say- 
ing, "They breed like lice; leave them, their chil- 
dren will kill our children." That was Indian 
philosophy and morality too. 



ONE OF THE OLD PIONEERS 



WIER SJURSON WEEKS 

Was born in Skaanevig, Bergens stift, Norway, 
Oct. 24, 1812. His parents were poor, and as 
his mother died when he was but a young boy, 
he was compelled to get out and shift for him- 
self at an early age. He chose the carpenter 
trade, by which he hoped to gain a livelihood. 
Being very quick to learn and endowed with a 
mechanical bent of mind, he soon had the trade 
learned, so that while yet a young man he was 
known as the best ship builder in his locality. 
His educational advantages were limited; in fact 
there were no public schools in Norway at that 
time, so that his knowledge consisted of what 
he was able to pick up in the school of life. 

On Dec. 27, 1842, he was married to Miss 
Synneva T. Sunde, who proved to be a true help- 
mate to him. Early in 184fi they took passage 
on a sailship for America, embarking at Bergen. 
It took them thirteen weeks to cross the Atlantic, 
and then about four weeks up the canal and over 
the Great Lakes before they were set ashore, 
with other passengers, at Muskegon, Mich. Here 
in the bright and burning summer sun stood 
our subject with his wife and two little daugh- 
ters, "a stranger in a strange land." Like most 
newcomers from Norway, however, he had an 
unshaken faith in the Triune God and firmly 
believed, as the poet expresses it, 

"God never will forsake in need 
The heart that trusts in him indeed." 
His first aim was to get a place where his 
wife and children could be sheltered and pro- 
tected. There were no houses to be rented or 
bought in the little town. The only chance to 
get any kind of house was to buy forty acres of 
land with a house. This particular forty, with 
a log hut 12x14 ft., was held at $10 per acre. 
Money was scarce, but finally four families club- 
bed together and managed to make a small pay- 
ment to bind the bargain and were thus allowed 
to move in. After providing this temporary 
home for his family his next step was to find his 



old friend from the same parts of Norway, Mr. 
Rasmus Tungisvik, who had arrived here a few 
years earlier. Rev. Elling Eielsen, one of the 
pioneer Norwegian missionaries, heard of the 
newcomers at Muskegon and soon visited them. 
As he knew Mr. Tungisvik, he offered to take 
Mr. Weeks to him, and one bright July morning 
the two started out in Rev. Eielsen's one-horse 
wagon, driving west by way of Rock, Jefferson 
and Long Prairie and south over the endless 
tracts to Lisbon, Kendall county, 111. 

Mr. Weeks relates that this was a great trip, 
and it certainly was an initiation into the pioneer 
life of this country. There were no hotels or 
wayside inns; not even a comfortable farmhouse 
to get lodging in. When night overtook then* 
the horse was "staked out" and their blankets 
were spread under the wagon for their bed. In. 
due time, however, they reached Mr. Tungisvik,. 
who most heartily received his old friend. He 
insisted that Mr. Weeks return to Muskegon, 
bring his wife and children, and make his home 
with him until he could do better elsewhere. 
This was done. Rev. Eielsen returned to Muske- 
gon with Mr. Weeks. On their return they 
found the log house to be a hospital, as all but 
two of the inmates were sick. Mrs. Weeks was 
one of two that were well, but her two little 
girls were very sick, and died within two weeks. 
Mr. Weeks also took sick after this bereavement, 
so they could not return to Lisbon for some time. 
Malarial fever and ague was the prevailing sick- 
ness. 

Arrangements were then made with a German, 
who was the proud owner of a yoke of oxen and 
a lumber wagon, to take them to Lisbon (or 
$40. Having put all their means into the forty 
acres of land, they had no ready money; but as 
three of the families who had joined in the 
purchase of the land were going, they managed 
to exchange their undivided interest in the land 
(which by the way had ten acres of promising 
wheat nearly ready for harvest) for transporta- 
tion to Lisbon. After many trials and hard- 



(67) 



68 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



ships they reached Lisbon and their friend Tun- 
gisvik. 

Although shaking with the ague every other 
day, our subject was not only hopeful but brave 
in the face of almost insurmountable difficulties. 
He was finally able, with the co-operation of 
his friends, to secure lumber to build a house 
large enough to- accommodate his family. 
He then turned to the carpenter trade, accept- 
ing work wherever he could get it, building 
houses most of the time. In 1848 he built the 



was sick when he left Ottawa, but, not knowing 
the symptoms, he continued his journey, reach- 
ing home at midnight. He then knew that he 
had cholera, and told his wife so. She got him 
to bed and gave him what they had been advised 
to use in such cases. Early Sunday morning a 
cousin of his came to his door and asked whether 
he.could stay a day or two, as he was sick and the 
person he had been working for had told him to 
leave his premises, as he had the cholera. Weeks, 
having only two rooms in his house and only 




W. S. Weeks and Wife. 



first header that was used around Lisbon, and 
in 1849 he built the first reaper that was run 
there. This machine was drawn by four horses 
and carried one driver and one man to rake off 
the grain. This reaper he bought later when he 
began farming for himself. 

For a year or more he worked at Ottawa, 111., 
building canal boats, but always made it a rule 
to be with his family over Sunday, walking the 
distance, about twenty-five miles. Once when 
he came home he was hardly able to walk. He 



one bed, told him that if he was sick and cou' 
get no better place he could get a few blankets 
and lie down in the shavings in the room which 
had been used as a carpenter shop. Amland 
(that was his name) accepted this; but in two 
days he died. Mrs. Weeks notified the neigh- 
bors, but none came to bury the dead. Mr. 
Weeks, sick as he was, managed to get up, 
made a coffin, put the corpse in, and got it out 
of the house, but was not strong enough to 
bury it. Word was sent to several neighbors 



ONE OF THE OLD PIONEERS 



69 



and two men finally took the body away and 
buried it. Mr. Weeks got well and none of his 
family got the dreadful disease. In 1848 he 
bargained for eighty acres of land about five 
miles north of Lisbon, for which he was to pay 
$1.25 per acre. The next year he built a house, 
which was the first house built on what was 
called the North Prairie. He moved into it and 
was the first actual settler in that direction from 
Big Grove. It was not before the '50's that he 
commenced farming, as he rented the land to 
John Sjurson, who broke it on shares. Of the 
first crop of wheat he raised Sjurson took a 
load to Chicago, with his yoke of oxen, hauling 
what was considered at that time a big load. He 
was told to bring back a set of knives and forks 
and the rest in cash. It took him two weeks to 
make the trip, and after paying his expenses on 
the way and $2 for the knives and forks there 
was nothing left of the money received for the 
load of wheat. The distance is about fifty miles. 
It happened frequently on such trips that the 
parties would find themselves in debt, losing both 
time and money in trying to market what they 
had raised. 

In 1856 we find Mr. Weeks on his farm, culti- 
vating it himself, having put up the necessary 
buildings to make home comfortable. He also 
added several tracts of land to his first purchase, 
so that when in the '80's he turned the farm over 
to his youngest son he had about 200 acres, all 
in one body. 

Mr. Weeks was baptized and confirmed in the 
Lutheran Church, a true and sincere Christian. 
In 1849, when he moved into his new home on 
North Prairie, he donated his first house, built 
on Mr. Tungisvik's land, to the Norwegians 
around Lisbon for a meetinghouse, as there was 
no church at that time. When there was talk of 
starting a congregation he was one of the first on 
the list of incorporators, both of what is now cal- 
led the South Congregation and what is known as 
the North Congregation, which was started some 
years later. He was a warm friend of Rev. P. 
A. Rasmussen. who was the pastor for these 
congregations for nearly fifty years. Mr. Weeks 
was always ready to help any project put forward 
by Rev. Rasmussen; for he knew it was for the 
best interest of both Christianity and humanity. 
He was a liberal donor to church and schools 
and always ready to help where help was needed. 
He was naturally diffident and retired. He filled 
many responsible positions in the church. Politic- 
ally he was always a republican and a friend and 
admirer of Abraham Lincoln. The writer heard 
him offer up many a sincere prayer for President 



Lincoln and the salvation of the country during 
the Civil War. 

After losing at Muskegon the two girls that 
were born in Norway, Mr. and Mrs. Weeks 
raised a family of four. Alice W. was born 
March 25, 1847. She was first married to Joe 
Johnson, who died while they lived at Roland, 
Iowa. She is now married to Oscar Sampson. 
They are well to do and live a retired life at 
Roland, Iowa. Thomas W. was the first white 
child born on North Prairie, having been born 
about a month after his parents moved out on 
the farm in 1849. He lived to be a successful 
farmer, owning 160 acres adjoining the old home- 
stead. He was married to Miss Sarah Mathre, 
Aug. 5, 1885. He was an active republican and 
filled several township offices. He was a faith- 
ful member of the Lutheran Church and served 
as trustee for many years. He was accidentally 
killed by being caught in the belt of a thrashing 
machine. He left a wife and five children,- who 
are living at Newark, 111., in comfortable circum- 
stances. Sjur W. was born Jan. 12, 1852. At 16 
years of age he was sent to Luther College, 
Decorah, Iowa, where he entered the Normal 
class in the fall of 1868, but he was obliged to 
abandon his studies for a time in the fall of 
1870 on account of ill health. In 1871 he attended 
the Fowler Institute at Newark, Kendall county, 
111., for a term or two; and taught the Norwegian 
parochial school for several months, and also 
two terms of the English district schools. He 
then took up his studies at Luther College again, 
graduating from the Normal course in 1873. That 
fall he commenced as teacher, for the Norwegian 
congregation at Lee, 111., teaching both the Nor- 
wegian and the English school for six or "seven 
years. In 1878 he was married to Thorbj^r J. 
Rogde, of Lee. In 1879 he engaged in business, 
first in grain at Steward and later in hardware 
at Lee. In 1885 his store burned, and having 
but little insurance, he lost everything he had. 
He then worked as manager for several years with 
A. H. Johnson & Co., at Lee, in the grain busi- 
ness. After several changes, including the assist- 
ant postmastership at Rochelle, 111., he opened a 
feed business there, which he conducted until his 
death, which ocurred April 13, 1907. While 
at Lee he was twice elected justice of the 
peace, served on the village board, and acted at 
different times as its president and secretary. 
He has always been an active worker in the 
Lutheran Church, having held the position of 
secretary and treasurer for the Congregation at 
Rochelle, 111., since 1893, and has also been leader 
of the Sunday school. Mr. and Mrs. S. W. 



70 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



Weeks have been blessed with nine children. 
Elsie S. is a stenographer at Rochelle; Synneva 
C. is a primary teacher at Lee, 111.; W. Alfred 
has opened up a coal business at Sterling, 
111.; and Jacob Marshall has just graduated from 
the Rochelle High School. The younger children 
are attending school. Lewis W., who was born 
in 1856, and the youngest child of our subject, 
remained on the old homestead, and when he 
was of age rented the farm and started in for 
himself. He was married in 1882 to Miss Caroline 
B. Thompson, of Slater, Iowa. He has been 
very successful in his undertaking. He bought 
several smaller farms adjoining the old home- 
stead, and in 1894 bought the home place, with 
the understanding that the parents were to live 
with him in their house during the rest of their 
natural lives. He is now the owner of 320 acres 
or more of just as nice and good land as there 
is in Illinois, and has it better housed and im- 
proved than most of the neighboring farms. He 
is very handy with tools and can build to suit him- 
self. He is a republican and takes an active part 
in township, county, state and national politics. 



He has a large family. In church matters 
he is a leader and worker, having served his 
congregation as trustee for many years. When 
the question of building a new church at Helmar 
for the North Prairie Congregation came up he 
was placed at the head of both the financial and 
building committees, and many a day's work and 
many a dollar of which no account was kept 
went into this undertaking. 

Feb. 3, 1900, the main subject of our sketch, 
Mr. W. S. Weeks, was laid to rest, having passed 
his 87th birthday tired, no doubt, from all the 
strife he had passed through, but glad and ready 
to be removed to the home from whence there 
is no moving. His wife, who was two years older, 
lived until Jan. 14, 1904, reaching the unusual age 
of over 94 years. She was totally blind for over 
twelve years, but bore it patiently to the e^d. 

Thus ended the lives of two venerable pioneers, 
honored and respected by all who knew them. 
They left one daughter and two sons and twenty- 
three grandchildren to mourn the loss and cherish 
the memory of loving mother and father. 



The Third Norwegian Settlement 



In regard to the company of immigrants who 
came to that most unfortunate of Norwegian 
settlements at Beaver Creek, in Iroquois county, 
we have good and reliable information in Knud 
Langland's book. Mr. Langland here speaks of 
his own experiences both in regard to the in- 
troductory preparations and some of the causes 
that led many peasants from Bergenshus amt 
to leave the land of their fathers for an uncertain 
future full of privations and hardships in a new 
country. 

Mr. Langland relates how he accidentally, 
while visiting a friend in Bergen, found in his 
library a book written by a German and entitled 
"Travels in America." At the age of sixteen a 
boy's power of imagination is as a rule very 
strong, and when he in this book found a mim- 
ber of glowing descriptions of the far away coun- 
try, its free institutions and its enterprising peo- 
ple, he read it with an interest as absorbing as 
if it had been a novel of adventures. Here he 



found the German emigration completely and 
minutely described. He borrowed the book, and 
with it in his pocket wandered on one early sum- 
mer morning away to the other side of the bay 
of Solem and up the steep Lyderhorn. There he 
sat down and read and dreamed of the new, won- 
derful world across the ocean. The mist had sunk 
down over the fiords and the islands in the inlet 
to Bergen, but here on the top of the mountain 
the sun was sending forth its bright rays. "It 
was the first time I had ever enjoyed this view, 
characteristic for a mountainous country and most 
enchanting. If ever my prosaic self had been 
impressed with poetic inspiration and rapture, it 
. was at this never forgotten moment, when my 
mortal eye was taking in from above the level 
of the mist illuminated by the sun and in the 
distant West saw the North Sea hold out its 
glittering silver shield, which seemed to heave 
to an even height with the mountain. Why is it 
such moments occur so seldom to the average 



THE THIRD NORWEGIAN SETTLEMENT 



71 



human being? And in the far West, thousands 
of miles away, is the land of which I now read, 
the great and as yet little known world with all 
its secrets and wonders. With this enchanted 
morning of my life's Springtime associate my 
earliest recollections of America, of the land that 
for more than a half a century has been my 
adopted country. From then on I eagerly 
searched all descriptions and books of travel 
about America, and together with an uncle I 
commenced to gather information from books, 
letters and verbal narrations from Stavanger peo- 
ple, which now were circulated all over the coun- 
try, since Kleng Peerson's return from his visit 
to America, although as yet we were not think- 
ing in earnest of emigrating. A sacrificing friend 
helped me in 1834 to a six months' sojourn in 
England, and here I had a good chance to col- 
lect a number of pamphlets and books on Amer- 
ica and the English emigration. In this manner 
better and more reliable information about Amer- 
ican conditions and how to get there were cir- 
culated in our neighborhood. A number of ridic- 
ulous and unreasonable stories which had been 
spread among the people thus found a pretty 
good counterbalance, and were more and more 
discredited. Slowly but surely grew the idea of 
emigrating. The little flock of people who in 
earnest began to consider emigration as a pos- 
sibility near at hand was by and by increased by 
others, who commenced preparing to dispose of 
their land holdings preparatory to emigrating. 
It was now that the bishop of Bergen wrote his 
epistle to the Bergenshus farmers over the text, 
'Remain in thy country and support thyself 
honestly!' Whether he did not think of it or 
else did not deem it meet for the occasion, he 
omitted to cite another injunction of the Holy 
Scriptures: 'Vorder frugtbare, formerer eder og 
opfylder jorden.' The latter the farmers had 
complied with; most of them had large families, 
and when they came to think that the land of 
their fathers was more than well filled up, and 
heard that the new world was almost barren of 
people but rich in soil that could be had almost 
for the asking, they concluded to ignore the 
bishop and set out for the new Canaan which 
was flowing with milk and honey. 

Causes of this Exodus. 

"While visiting Knud Slovig we received a full 
and satisfactory confirmation of what we had 
read and heard before. This was in the winter 
of 1836. In the autumn of that year a Captain 
Behrens of Bergen returned with his bark /Egir 
from a freight trip to America; and when he 



heard that several well-to-do farmers in different 
parts of the amt had sold their land holdings and 
were looking for transportation to America, he 
decided to change the interior of good ship 
^igir (which he owned) for passenger traffic, and 
made contracts for sailing in the next spring, 
1837. Captain Behrens had in the harbor of New 
York seen German and English emigrant ships 
and was familiar with the requirements of such, 
both as to the fitting of the ship's interior and 
the American laws and harbor regulations in re- 
gard to the immigrant traffic. To Bergen he was 
accompanied by two German ministers, who were 
on their way home to solicit funds for erecting 
church edifices in America, and from them he 
had gained still more information in regard to 
the German emigration, which had been going on 
during many years on a large scale, and was 
conducted mainly via Baltimore and Pennsyl- 
vania." 

The information thus gained regarding Amer- 
ican conditions would not alone have sufficed to 
instigate this exodus from Bergen. More potent 
factors were at work, and such were hard times, 
limited means of support and enormously large 
poor-taxes. For several individuals also collateral 
reasons were deciding. The old educator, N. P. 
Langland, who sacrificed almost everything in 
the interest of popular education, had originally 
chosen the "learned" way for a profession, but 
on account of lack of means was obliged to stop 
half-way and take up teaching farmers' children 
for a living. By a superstitious and ignorant 
peasantry he had been treated and judged very 
unjustly. The clergy also thought that this radi- 
cal thinker was not a fit man as a popular edu- 
cator in this very conservative part of the coun- 
try, and his work became both thankless and un- 
pleasant. He was supported in his efforts by a 
little number of reliable and liberal-minded 
friends, but persecuted by a larger number of 
ignorant bigots who interfered with his valuable 
work. Seeing his noblest efforts and unceasing 
work rewarded with meanness and malice, it 
might have been expected that the ties which 
held him fast to the mother country would loosen. 
As far as he was concerned those were certainly 
reasons for turning his back on so thankless a 
fatherland, and many of his friends and admirers 
persuaded themselves to do the same. 

It must not, however, be forgotten that the 
strongest incentives for the emigration were the 
improved economical prospects that were open 
for the families in the rich and sparsely popu- 
lated America with the mild climate and fertile 



72 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



soil, and that hardly any of this company would 
have risked the change except for those reasons. 
Besides N. P. Langland the following are men- 
tioned in Knud Langland's book: Mons Aadland, 
Nels Frjziland, Anders Norvig, Anders Rosseland, 
Thomas Bauge, Ingebrigt Brudvig, Thorbj^rn 
Veste, Erstein Sanderson Bakke and others, who 
all had large families, and a number of single 
persons, among whom were D0vig, Rosseland, 
Bauge, Lars Fr^Iand, a son of Nils Frjrfland, 
(whose sketch is found elsewhere), Norvig, His- 
dal, T0sseland. Very few are still living in Il- 
linois, but a number of their children and grand- 
children are well-to-do farmers in Illinois, Iowa 
and the Dakotas. The whole company numbered 
eighty-four. For their transportation to New 
York they paid 60 speciedaler for grown-up per- 
sons and 30 for each child under 12 years. The 
ship was eight weeks in crossing the Atlantic and 
collided in midocean with an American packet. 
No damage, however, was done to either vessel. 

Ole Rynning. 

Among the passengers of the JEgir was also a 
young student, Ole Rynning, who turned out to 
be the most remarkable of them all. It was after 
the contract had been made with Captain Beh- 
rens and the hulk of the ship refitted and ar- 
ranged for carrying passengers that Ole Rynning 
came from Snaasen, Trondhjem's amt, to Ber- 
gen and wanted to join the company of emi- 
grants. He was born April 4, 1809, on Dusgaar- 
den in Ringsaker, where his father, Jens Ryn- 
ning, was a clergyman. His mother was Seve- 
rine Catharine Steen. In 1825 his father had been 
promoted to a more lucrative position as rector 
of the parish of Snaasen. Ole Rynning passed 
examination for admission to the University in 
1829, and returned to Snaasen in 1833, where he 
kept a private school until he emigrated to Amer- 
ica, March 2, 1837. 

When the immigrants arrived at Chicago, most 
of them intended to go to the Fox River Settle- 
ment, but Bj0rn Anderson, the father of Rasmus 
B. Anderson, had just come from there and gave 
a very unfavorable description of the colony in 
La Salle county, and advised his countrymen not 
to go to that settlement. 

Two Americans with whom Ole Rynning had 
a talk in Chicago counseled him to go with his 
countrymen to Beaver Creek, but others advised 
against that place. Finally it was decided to 
send four of their party to look at the land and 
the country. The persons selected were Ole 
Rynning, Nils Veste, Ingebrigt Brudvig and Ole 
Nattestad. The last with his brother Austen had 



arrived via Gothenborg and Massachusetts, and 
joined the others in Detroit, from 'which place 
they accompanied them to Chicago. 

Nattestad did not like the sandy and swampy 
land, but others did, and so it was agreed that 
Nattestad and Nils Veste should remain and build 
a loghouse, as a first shelter for the immigrants, 
while Rynning and Brudvig returned to Chicago. 
Some of the party had in their absence, and 
against his advice, but in Bjjzirn Anderson's copi- 
pany, left Chicago for the Fox River Settlement, 
but most of them went to Beaver Creek. Al- 
though the most of the newcomers were well sup- 
plied with money, they could hardly procure the 
necessaries of life, there being no settlers in the 
immediate vicinity. All took up claims and be- 
fore winter set in they had put up a sufficient 
number of log houses. The settlers numbered 
about fifty. 

During the first winter everything went well, 
but with the coming of spring the whole settle- 
ment was flooded and turned into a swamp. 
During the summer the miasma produced malar- 
ial bacilli, and in a short time the malaria had 
killed about fifteen of the settlers, among them 
Ole Rynning, whose death was a great loss to the 
colony. The rest of the people fled for their 
lives, leaving farms and houses. The majority of 
the survivors made their way to Fox River. A 
few remained about two years longer. Mons K. 
Aadland, a half-brother of Knud Langland, the 
first editor of Skandinaven, was the last to leave. 
He exchanged his farm for some oxen and cows, 
with which he went to Wisconsin and settled in 
Racine county. Most of the above data are to be 
found in Knud Langland's and Rasmus B. An- 
derson's books, but we have had them confirmed 
by Mr. Lars Fr^land (Fruland), one of the sur- 
vivors, who with his wife, is still living at New- 
ark, 111. 

Except Kleng Peerson there is probably no 
man who has done so much to promote Norweg- 
ian immigration to America as Ole Rynning. 
This he did by writing a little book in the Nor- 
wegian language: Sandfaerdig Beretning om 
America, til Oplysning og Nytte, for Bonde og 
Menigmand forfattet af en Norsk, som kom der- 
over i Juni Maaned 1837. The author's name is 
not given on the title page, but after the preface, 
thus: "Illinois, 13 Feb., 1838. Ole Rynning." 

The book is divided into thirteen chapters, 
answering the following questions: 

1. In what direction is America situated, and 
how far is it thither? 

2. How did this land become known? 

3. What is the nature of this country, and 



THE THIRD NORWEGIAN SETTLEMENT 



what is the reason why so many people go there 
and expect to make a living there? 

4. Is it not to be feared that the land will 
soon be overpopulated? Is it true that the gov- 
ernment there is going to prohibit immigration? 

5. In what part of the land have the Norweg- 
ians settled? Which is the most convenient and 
cheapest route to them? 

6. What is the nature of the country where 
the Norwegians have settled? What is the price 
of land? What is the price of cattle and of the 
necessaries of life? How high are the wages? 

7. What kind of religion is there in America? 
Is there any sort of order and government in the 
land, or is everybody permitted to do as he 
pleases? 

8. What provision is there for education of 
children and for the care of the poor? 

9. What language is spoken in America, and 
is it difficult to learn? 

10. Is there danger of disease in America? 
Is there reason to fear wild animals or the Indi- 
ans? 

11. What kind of people should be advised to 
emigrate to America? Advice against unreason- 
able expectations. 

12. What dangers may be expected on the 
ocean? Is it true that those who are taken to 
America are sold as slaves? 

13. Advice to those who wish to go to Amer- 
ica. How they are to get a vessel; how they are 
to exchange their money; what season and route 
are the most convenient; what things should be 
taken along on the journey. 

We have used Rasmus B. Anderson's transla- 
tion of the chapter headings. 



The questions were to the point, and they are 
all answered in a most intelligent manner. 

Ole Rynning never lived to see a copy of his 
book printed. Austen Nattestad carried the man- 
uscript to Norway and had it printed in Chris- 
tiania. The book was sold in thousands upon 
thousands of copies in Norway. 

Mr. Lars Fruland speaks of Ole Rynning in the 
highest terms of praise, and how he was always 
willing to help and comfort those in distress and 
sorrow. He was contented with very little and 
suffered with patience. It is told how he used 
to make long exploring excursions with only a 
little hard-tack and bacon for grub. One time a 
heavy frost had set in during his absence, and 
his shoes were cut to shreds by the cracking ice 
on the swamps. With his feet frozen he re- 
turned to the colony. They presented a terrible 
sight. He had to be put to bed, and it was while 
confined there that he wrote his book. After 
some time, however, his feet got well and he 
resumed his charitable work among his coun- 
trymen. 

In the fall of 1838 he took sick again, and died 
soon after of pneumonia. His death caused a 
great sorrow in the colony. Some pieces of 
timber were fixed together in a kind of rough 
casket, in which his remains were put, hauled out 
on the prairie, and buried there. Beaver Creek 
was later settled by Americans and others who 
had the means to drain the marshes and plow the 
fields, where the Norwegians were buried. It is 
now a prosperous settlement, but nobody can 
point out the graves of Ole Rynning or the other 
unfortunate settlers. 



Mission and Miller Townships 



The townships had not been surveyed when 
the first Norwegian settlers, led by Kleng Peer- 
son, arrived in 1834. They were not even divided 
in their present form, but went officially under the 
name of Mission. Mission township was organ- 
ized in April, 1850, including what is now Miller 
township until 1876. By the influence of Neb 
Nelson, a son of Cornelius Nelson, and others, 
they became divided for the reason that Mission 



was very much out of proportion, being over 
thirteen miles in length and only about six miles 
in breadth in the widest place. Together with a 
part of Rutland township they formed what for a 
number of years has been known as the Fox 
River Settlement, the stronghold for our Nor- 
wegian immigrants in this state. 

There seems to have been a difference of opin- 
ion in regard to the time when the first Norweg- 



74 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



ians came to the Fox River Settlement. Some 
writers fix 1835 as .the year for their arrival, Knud 
Langland states it was in 1836, but Prof. R. B. 
Anderson argues that they came in 1834. We 
agree with him entirely. He gives as his source 
of information a Mr. John Armstrong, with whom 
he had a personal interview, and who informed 
him that some Norwegians had worked for him 
on his claim in 1834. The fact that the land had 
not been surveyed into sections and put on the 
market before 1835 makes no difference, because 
the newcomers upon their arrival could select 
land, or make a "claim," and "squat" on it, until 
it came into the market. This is made plain in 
the chapter on "Claims" in this volume. The two 
splendid works, History of Grundy County and 
Elmer Baldwin's History of La Salle County, 
the former published in 1882 and the latter in 
1877, both give 1834 as the year during which the 
first Norwegians arrived. 

The first party of the "Sloopers" to come from 
Kendall under the guidance of Kleng Peerson, ac- 
cording to Prof. Anderson's First Chapter of Nor- 
wegian Immigration, consisted of: Andrew (En- 
dre) Dahl, Jacob Anderson Slogvig, Gudmund 
Haukaas, Nels Thompson (Thorson), and Thor- 
stein Olson Bjaadland, who had been in Michigan 
but returned to Kendall. 

Elmer Baldwin's History of La Salle County 
gives the following list, which we offer for com- 
parison: 

Oliver Canuteson came to New York, in 1825; 
to Illinois in 1834; died in 1850; he left two sons 
and one daughter; one son died in the army in 
1863. 

Nils Thompson, to New York in 1825; came 
here in 1834; died about 1856. 

Gjert Hovland, to New York in 1825, and to 
Illinois in 1834; died at Ottawa in 1870. 

Oliver (Olav) Knuteson, to New York in 1825, 
and to Illinois in 1834; died in 1848, leaving four 
children. 

Christian Oleson, from Norway in 1825, to Il- 
linois in 1834; died in 1858, leaving three children. 
Thorstein Oleson, from Norway in 1825, and 
came to Illinois in 1834; went to Wisconsin. 

George Johnson, one of the first from Norway, 
came here in 1834; died in 1846; had four children. 
Ole Olson (Hetletveldt), "Slooper," came to 
Illinois in 1834. 

Ove Stenson Rosdal, and wife, Miss Jacobs, 
from Norway in 1825, and came to Illinois in 
1835; moved to Iowa. 

Daniel Stenson Rosdal came at the same time, 
with wife; died in 1860. 
John Stenson Rosdal came at the same time, 



married Miss Pierson, and settled on Section 3; 
had five children. 

The book referred to says that those three were 
brothers, but Daniel was the father and Ove and 
John his sons. 

Iver Waller came from Norway in 1835, and 
bought a claim of Jesse Pearson. 

Thorkel H. Erickson, from Norway to Ottawa 
in 1837; to Rutland township in 1840; then to 
California and Australia, and back to Miller town- 
ship in 1866; married Helen Pierson; had eight 
children. 

Nels Nelson, Jr. (a son of Cornelius Nelson), 
to New York in 1825, and came to Illinois in 1836; 
had seven children. 

Austin Baker came from Norway to Illinois in 
1839; died in Minnesota. 

Canute Williamson came from Norway to Illi- 
nois in 1838. 

Nils Fruland came from Norway to Illinois and 
the Beaver Creek Settlement in 1837; to the Fox 
River Settlement in 1839. 

Canute Olson came from Norway to Illinois 
in 1836; died in 1846. 

Lars Brenson came from Norway to Illinois in 
1836. 

Nels Nelson, Sr. (Hersdal), "Slooper," and 
wife, Bertha Harwick, came to Illinois in 1835, 
purchased a farm, and moved his family in 1846; 
had eleven children. 

Andrew Anderson, from Norway to New York 
in 1836; came to Illinois in 1838, with his wife, 
Olena Nelson; he died of cholera in 1849; his 
widow died in 1875; the children were two sons 
and two daughters. 

Ener Anderson came with his father; he mar- 
ried Margaret Gunderson, and settled on Sec. 16, 
T. 34, R. 6; had eleven children. 

Andrew Anderson, Jr., also came with his 
father; had several children; Susan married John 
Hill; Elizabeth married Henry Doggett. 

Lars Nelson came from Norway in 1838; died 
in 1847. 

George Nicholson came from New York in 1839, 
and settled on Section 16. 

Lars B. Olson came from Norway in 1837; went 
first to Beaver Creek; thence to the Fox River 
Settlement. 

Michael Olson came from Norway to Illinois 
in 1839; died in 1847. 

In most cases we have spelled the names as 
found in Baldwin's History. 

The records at Ottawa reveal the following 
Norwegian purchasers of land in the townships 
of Mission, Miller and Rutland in 1835, when the 
Innd was put on the market: 



MISSION AND MILLER TOWNSHIPS 



75 



In Rutland township:. Jacob Slogvig, June 15, 
80 acres; same date, Gudmund Haukaas, 160 
acres. Jacob Anderson and Gudmund Haukaas 
were the first Norwegians to acquire land in Il- 
linois.) 

In Mission township: Kleng Peerson, June 17, 
80 acres; Carrie Nelson, widow of Cornelius Nel- 
son, June 17, 80 acres. The land was bought for 
her by Kleng Peerson. On June 25, Kleng Peer- 
son bought 80 acres more for himself. 

In Miller township: Gjert Hovland bought 160 
acres, June 17, and same date Thorstein Olson 
80 acres; June 17, Thorstein Olson bought 80 
acres more, which he sold, Sept. 5, to Nels Nel- 
son Hersdal; June 17, Nels Thompson (Thorson) 
bought 160 acres, and on Jan. 16, 1836, Thorstein 
Olson 80 acres more. 

As mentioned before, Mission township was 
organized in April, 1850. Its first justice of the 
peace was Lars Larson and its first constable 
Nels Nelson. Other public officers of Norwegian 
birth during the following time have been: J. 
Rosedal, constable, 1851; O. Rosedal, collector, 
and Peter Nelson, constable, 1852; Lars Larson, 
justice of the peace, 1854; E. Olson, commissioner 
of highways, 1855; P. C. Nelson, collector, 1856; 
P. C. Nelson, commissioner of highways, 1859 and 
1860; Nels Nelson, commissioner of highways, 
1861; John Thorson, constable, 1862; P. C. Nel- 
son, collector, 1863; P. C. Nelson, commissioner 
of highways, 1864; E. Thorson, constable, 1870; 
E. Thorson, justice of the peace and Nels Ander- 
son, commissioner of highways, 1871; P. C. Nel- 
son, commissioner of highways, 1872; Nels Nelson, 
collector, and Lars Lewis, commissioner of high- 
ways, 1873; Nels Nelson, supervisor, P. C. Nel- 
son, assessor and collector and A. Robertson, 
constable, 1874; William Williamson, collector 
and T. H. Erickson, commissioner of highways, 
1875; T. Schlanbusch, collector, W. Williamson 
and O. A. Quam, commissioners of highways, 
1876; B. Thompson was clerk from 1873 to 1878. 

We repeat here that the names are spelled as 
they appear on the official records, from which 
we have copied them. 

After the separation from Miller township in 
1876 the following Norwegians were officeholders 
in Mission township: 

1877 Assessor, P. C. Nelson; collector, B. Thomp- 
son; constable, Nels Nelson. 

1878 W. H. Robertson, assessor. 

1879 Assessor, P. C. Nelson; commissioner of 
highways, A. Anfinson. 

1880 Assessor, P. C. Nelson. 

1881 Clerk, J. A. Quam; assessor, P. C. Nelson; 



collector, S. P. Nelson; constable, Nels 
Anderson. 

1882 Clerk, J. A. Quam; collector, W. C. Rosen- 
quist; constable, Christ J. Walseth. 

1883 Clerk, J. A. Quam; assessor, P. C. Nelson. 

1884 Clerk, J. A. Quam; assessor, P. C. Nelson; 
collector, C. J. Walseth. 

1885 Clerk, J. A. Quam; assessor, P. C. Nelson; 
collector, John Anderson; commissioner of 
highways, Nels Anderson; justice of the 
peace, W. C. Rosenquist; constable, C. J. 
Walseth. 

1886 Clerk, J. A. Quam; assessor, Peter C. Nel- 
son; commissioner of public highways, Ole 
Nordbye. 

1887 Clerk, J. A. Quam; collector, Joseph Sebby. 

1888 Clerk, J. A. Quam; assessor, Peter C. Nel- 
son; collector, Peter Swenson; commis- 
sioner of highways, Andrew P. Dall. 

1889 Supervisor, J. A. Quam; collector, Jacob 
Jacobson; constable, Knute Ugland. 

1890 Supervisor, J. A. Quam; assessor, Bergo 
Thompson; collector, Jacob Jacobson; 
commissioner of highways, John Anderson. 

1891 Supervisor, J. A. Quam; assessor, Ole An- 
finson; commissioner of highways, Barney 
Anderson. 

1893 Supervisor, J. A. Quam; commissioner of 
highways, A. P. Dall. 

1894 Assessor, C. D. Twait; collector, Aron Sol- 
ven; commissioner of highways, Omund 
Omundson. 

1895 Supervisor, J. A. Quam; assessor, C. D. 
Twait; constable, Andrew Jelm. 

1896 Assessor, Bergo Thompson; collector, 
Knute Ugland. 

1897 Supervisor, J. A. Quam; assessor, Barto 
Thompson; collector, K. Ugland; commis- 
sioners of highways, G. Torkelson, O. 
Omundson. 

1898 Assessor, B. Thompson; collector, Nels E. 
Jacobson; commissioner of highways, G. 
Torkelson; constable, B. Thompson. 

1899 Supervisor, J. A. Quam; assessor, B. Thomp- 
son; collector, Nels Jacobson. 

1900 Collector, Nels Jacobson; commissioner of 
highways, Osmun Ness. 

1901 Clerk, Andrew Gaard; assessor, Bergo 
Thompson; collector, Nels Jacobson; com- 
missioner of highways, Andrew P. Dall; 
constable, B. Thompson. 

1902 Clerk, Andrew Gaard; assessor, Bergo 
Thompson; collector, Burt M. Thompson. 

1903 Assessor, Bergo Thompson; collector, Sal- 
ve Ugland; commissioner of highways, 
Bergo Orstad; constable, C. Fatland. 



76 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



1904 Assessor, Bergo Thompson. 

1905 Supervisor, Jonas R. Jorstad; assessor, Ber- 
go Thompson; collector, Henry J. Norvig; 
commissioner of highways, Thomas Thor- 
son; constable, Bergo Thompson. 

1906 Assessor, Bergo Thomp'son; collector, O. 
A. Sebby; commissioner of highways, Ber- 
go Orstad. 

MILLER TOWNSHIP. 

Miller township was a part of Mission town- 
ship until 1876, when by the influence of Nels 
Nelson, Jr., and also others the two were sepa- 
rated. From 1876 we find these Norwegians 
holding public offices: 

Nels Nelson, Jr., supervisor, 1876-81, 1885. 

T. H. Erickson, Jr., assessor, 1871-81. 

Lars Hayer, supervisor, 1894-1901; commis- 
sioner of highways, 1877-78, 1894; collector, 1877; 
assessor, 1891-93. 

Nels Nelson, Jr., supervisor 1876, 1877, 1878, 
1879, 1880, 1881 and 1885. 

T. H. Erickson, assessor, 1876, 1877, 1878, 1879, 
1880 and 1881. 

Isaac Classon, collector, 1876. 

C. B. Erickson, commissioner of highways, 1876. 
Trustee of schools, 1877, 1878 and 1879. 

Lars Hayer, supervisor, 1894, 1895, 1896, 1897, 
1898, 1899, 1900 and 1901; commissioner of high- 
ways, 1876, 1877, 1878; collector, 1877; assessor, 

1891, 1892 and 1893; commissioner of highways, 
1892 and 1893. 

Lars Fruland, commissioner of highways, 1892 
and 1893. 

Ole A. Olson, commissioner, 1878, 1879 and 
1880. 

Austin Anderson, collector, 1879; commissioner 
of highways, 1879 and 1880. 

W. E. Williamson, town clerk, 1880 to 1906; 
collector, 1884 and 1895; school treasurer, 1884 
to 1906. 

Jacob Larson, commissioner of highways, 1879. 

Erasmus Olson, commissioner of highways, 
1880. 

A. H. Anderson, trustee of schools, 1880, 1881, 
1882, 1883, 1884, 1886, 1887, 1888, 1889, 1890, 1891, 

1892, 1893, 1894; collector, 1881. 

Austin Hayer, trustee of schools, 1879, 1880, 
1881, 1882, 1883, 1884, 1885, 1886, 1887, 1889 and 
1890; collector, 1886, 1888, 1889, 1890, 1891, 1892 
and 1893. 

Oliver Elefson, collector, 1883. 



Samuel Johnson, commissioner of highways, 
1884. 

Geo. W. Erickson, trustee of schools, 85-86, 87- 
88, 89-90, 91-92. 

Erasmus Thorson, justice of the peace, 1885. 

Thomas Haugas, commissioner of highways, 
1892, 93-94, 98-99, 03-04, 05-06. 

G. L. Hayer, trustee of schools, 1895, 96-97; 
collector, 1880. 

Jeremiah Anderson, collector, 1887; commis- 
sioner of highways, 1892, 93-94; trustee of schools, 
1902, 03-04, 05-06. 

Hans Hendrickson, collector, 1888; assessor, 
1889, 1890. 

Cyrus Jackson, collector, 1889. 

John O. Johnson, commissioner of highways, 
1890,. 1891. 

Oliver Hodney, commissioner of highways, 1890, 
1891. 

Wm. E. Jelm, collector, 1892. 

Lewis J. Erickson, collector, 1893. 

M. J. Danielson, assessor, 1894, 1895.' 

Tobias Satter, collector, 1894. 

Elias Hayer, assessor, 1896, 97-98, 99-1900, 1901- 
02, 03-04-05. 

Ole Erickson, commissioner of highways, 96- 
97, 98-99, 1900, 01-02, 03-04, 05-06. 

Elias Larson, commissioner of highways, 1895, 
1896. 

H. H. Hogensen, commissioner of highways, 
95-96, 97; trustee of schools, 98-99, 1900, 01-02, 
03-04, 05-06. 

Oscar Rasmusson, commissioner of highways, 
1903. 

John Anderson, collector, 1899. 

Ira Knutson, commissioner of highways, 1898. 

Lorenzo Hayer, trustee of schools, 99-1900, 1901. 

Andrew Burdall, commissioner of highways, 
1899-1900. 

Daniel Danielson, commissioner of highways, 
1900. 

Silas Rasmusson, collector, 1903. 

Knut Knutson, collector, 1902. 

Frank Solberg, collector, 1904. 

H. I. Hogenson, collector, 1906. 

Andrew Duvick, constable, 1886, 1887. 

Ephraim Danielson, collector, 1898; constable, 
1898, 1899. 

Andrew Knutson, commissioner of highways, 
1901, 1902. 

David H. Hanson, collector, 1901. 

Henry C. Pearson, commissioner of highways, 
1904, 05-06. 



ADAMS TOWNSHIP 



77 



Adams Township 



Adams embraces congressional township 36 
north, range 4 east. DeKalb county bounds it 
on the north, Northville township on the east, 
Serena on the south, and Earl on the west. It 
is a prairie township and is drained by Little 
Indian creek. The township had a slow growth 
until the C, B. & Q. Railroad was built across the 
northern part, in 1853, when its resources began 
to be rapidly developed, and it is now thickly set- 
tled and in a very prosperous condition. 

The first settlement was made by Mordecai 
Disney and his son-in-law, Sprague, who settled 
on sec. 27, in 1836. They claimed the whole town- 
ship and sold land to all who came, for a year or 
two, and then left the county. 

The first Norwegian settlers were Andrew An- 
derson, Ole T. Oleson and Halvor Nelson. They 
came from Norway in 1836 and located in La 
Salle county. The following spring, 1837, they 
settled on sections 21 and 22, Adarns township. 
Thove Tillotson and Paul Iverson came in 1837 
from Norway, and in 1839 came Hans O. Hanson 
and Osman Thomason. 

Adams was organized as a township April 2, 
1850. Among its principal officers up to 1906 we 
find the following Norwegians: 

1851 Commissioner of highways, N. Anderson. 

1852 Commissioner of highways, J. Johnson. 

1854 Commissioner of highways, C. Olson. 

1855 Commissioner of highways, O. M. Han- 
son. 

1856 Commissioner of highways, N. Anderson; 
collector, A. A. Klove. 

1857 Commissioner of highways, O. M. Han- 
son; collector, A. A. Klove. 

1858 Collector, A. A. Klove; commissioner of 
highways, C. Halverson; justice of the peace, A. 
A. Klove. 

1859 Assessor, A. A. Klove; collector, A. Sat- 
ter; commissioner of highways, H. Halverson. 

1860 Collector, A. F. Satter; commissioner of 
highways, R. Halverson. 

1861 Collector, A. F. Satter; commissioner of 
highways; R. Halverson. 

1862 Assessor, N. Anderson; collector, Thos. 
Iverson; constable, T. Iverson. 

1863 Collector, A. F. Satter. 

1865 Collector, T. Iverson. 

1866 Collector, O. H. Valder; justice of the 
peace, E. M. Konne; constable, A. Vatter. 

1867 Commissioner of highways, J. B. Har- 
mon. 



1868 Clerk, D. Richolson (who was Mrs. Isa- 
bella Matson's first husband); assessor, A. A. 
Klove. 

1869 Clerk, D. Richolson. 

1870 Justice of the peace, D. Richolson. 

1871 Supervisor, A. A. Klove; collector, J. C. 
Jackson. 

1872 Supervisor, A. A. Klove; collector, E. H. 
Nelson; commissioner of highways, K. Halverson. 

1873 Supervisor, A. A. Klove. 

1874 Supervisor, A. A. Klove; constable, E. H. 
Nelson. 

1875 Supervisor, A. A. Klove; constable, Thos. 
Thompson, Jr. 

1876 Supervisor, A. A. Klove; collector, H. T. 
Thompson; justice, E. M. Kinne. 

1877 Supervisor, A. A. Klove; collector, N. J. 
Nelson; clerk, E. M. Kinne. 

1878 Supervisor, A. A. Klove; clerk, E. M. 
Kinne; collector, A. N. Anderson; commissioner 
of highways, P. A. Peterson. 

1879 Supervisor, A. A. Klove; clerk, E. M. 
Kinne; collector, Ole G. Edvinson. 

1880 Supervisor, A. A. Klove; clerk, T. F. 
Thompson; collector, Sam Thorson. 

1881 Clerk, T. F. Thompson; collector, T. F. 
Thompson; commissioner of highways, J. A. 
Johnson. 

' 1882 Clerk, T. F. Thompson; collector, T. T. 
Thompson. 

1883 Clerk, T. F. Thompson; collector, T. T. 
Thompson; commissioner of highways, Ole M. 
Hanson. 

1884 Clerk, T. F. Thompson. 

1885 Supervisor, A. N. Anderson; clerk, T. F. 
Thompson; assessor, Ole J. Hill; collector, T. T. 
Thompson; commissioner of highways, C. Farley. 

1886 Supervisor, A. N. Anderson; clerk, T. F. 
Thompson; assessor, Ole J. Hill; collector, T. F. 
Thompson; commissioner of highways, Ole H. 
Hanson; constable, K. W. Knudson; school 
trustee, A. A. Klove. 

1887 Supervisor, H. W. Johnson; clerk, T. T. 
Thompson; assessor, Ole J. Hill. 

1888 Supervisor, H. W. Johnson; clerk,. T. F. 
Thompson; collector, C. B. Jacobson; commis- 
sioner of highways, C. Farley; assessor, T. T. 
Thompson; on Dec. 5, same year, A. N. Anderson 
was appointed supervisor, H. W. Johnson having 
resigned. 

1889 Supervisor, A. N. Anderson; assessor, T. 
F. Thompson; collector, J. B. Jacobson; justices 






78 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



of the peace, A. A. Klove and Albert Brunson; 
constable, Arthur Brunson; school trustee, A. A. 
Klove. 

1890 Supervisor, A. N. Anderson; assessor, T. 
T. Thompson; collector, Joseph Hanson; clerk, 
T. F. Thompson; commissioner of highways, A. 
H. Dale; school trustee, P. A. Pederson. 

1891 Clerk, T, F. Thompson; assessor, John 
Wallem; commissioner of highways, Chris. Far- 
ley. 

1892 Supervisor, J. C. Jacobson; clerk, T. F. 
Thompson; assessor, A. H. Dale; school trustee, 
A. A. Klove. 

1893 Clerk, T. F. Thompson; assessor, A. H. 
Dale; commissioner of highways, O. M. Daniel- 
son; justice of the peace, A. A. Klove; constable, 
A. Brunson; school trustee, C. A. Anderson. 

1894 Supervisor, J. C. Jacobson; clerk, T. F. 
Thompson; assessor, A. H. Dale; collector, Willis 
Farley; commissioner of highways, C. Farley; 
school trustee, Oscar Wallem. 

1895 Clerk, T. F. Thompson; assessor, T. T. 
Thompson; school trustee, A. A. Klove. 

1896 Supervisor, L. F. Thompson; clerk, T. F. 
Thompson; assessor, T. T. Thompson; collector, 
Charles Larson. 

1897 Clerk, T. F. Thompson; assessor, T. T. 
Thompson; commissioner of highways, A. A. An- 
derson; justice of the peace, A. A. Klove; school 
trustee, C. K. Halvorson. 



1898 Supervisor, L. T. Thompson; clerk, T. 
F. Thompson; assessor, T. T. Thompson; school 
trustee, A. A. Klove. 

1899 Clerk, T. F. Thompson; assessor, T. T. 
Thompson; collector, Elias Josephson; commis- 
sioner of highways, Ole Edvinson. 

1900 Supervisor, C. B. Jacobson; clerk, H. R. 
Thompson; assessor, W. C. Farley; collector, K. 
W. Knutson; commissioner of highways, A. A. 
Anderson; justice of the peace, S. O. Thompson; 
school trustee, C. K. Holmson. 

1901 Clerk, H. R. Thompson; assessor, T. T. 
Thompson; collector, Conrad Hanson. 

1902 Clerk, H. R. Thompson; assessor, T. T. 
Thompson; collector, Thomas Edvinson; commis- 
sioner of highways, A. H. Dale. 

1903 Clerk, H. R. Thompson; assessor, A. B. 
Anderson; collector, Thos. Flattre; commissioner 
of highways, Oscar Wallem; school trustee; C. ; 
K. Halverson. 

1904 Clerk, H. R. Thompson; collector, Peter 
Paulson; school trustee, George Hanson. 

1905 Collector, Jacob R. Jacobson; clerk, Geo. 
O. Grover; commissioner of highways, A. H. 
Dale. 

1906 Supervisor, A. M. Klove; clerk, Geo. O. 
Grover; constable, Ole Edvinson; school trustee, 
C. K. Halverson. 



The Village of Leland 



The earliest settlements within the immediate 
vicinity of the village of Leland were made as 
early as 1837. There were, however, few persons 
located here prior to the opening of the C., B. & 
Q. Railroad. This was due mainly to the flat, 
swampy condition of the country, which at that 
time, owing to the absence of drainage, was often 
under water. The town, like almost all others 
throughout this part of the state, was originated 
with the survey of the railroad. Its location is 
rather above the surrounding country, and this 
fact, coupled with the fact of the railroad, induced 
the owners of the land comprising the town site 
to survey and lay out a town. These persons 



were Christopher Fuerborn, who owned south of 
the railroad, east of Main street; his brother 
Henry, who owned that quarter-section immedi- 
ately south of the railroad tracks; while west of 
both was the land of Lorenzo and Alonzo Whit- 
more. All these persons had entered their land, 
but only one, Christopher Fuerborn, was living 
on the land. He was the main one to move in the 
location of the town, and the original site com- 
prises only his and his brother's quarter-section. 
They had come there some time during 1852, 
and Lorenzo was occupying a house the only 
one on the town-site when the plat was made. 
The survey was made by J. H. Wagner, and is 



THE VILLAGE OF LELAND 



recorded June 24, 1853. The town was then called 
Whitfield, and to it the Whitmore brothers made 
their addition soon after its survey. When the 
railroad company erected their freight and pas- 
senger houses they named the station Waverly, 
and under that name a postoffice was established. 
There was, however, another office by that name 
in Morgan county, and mail matter for these of- 
fices would often get mixed and go to the wrong 
office. This led to a petition from the residents 
about Waverly Station, asking the authorities for 
a change of name. The postmaster at Waverly 
was John Leland Adams. It was proposed to call 
the town and office "Adams", in compliment to 
Mr. Adams. There was another office by this 
name in Illinois, and the name was refused by the 
department. Not to be frustrated in their wishes, 
the name "Leland" was proposed and accepted, 
and the town and office is now known by that 
name. 

The railroad was opened in 1853. In the same 
year the first store was opened by Abraham Skin- 
ner. The first mechanic in town was our country- 
man Elias Hanson, who opened a blacksmithshop 
in 1854. In the year 1859, Nov. 16, a notice was 
given that an election would be held on Nov. 26 
for the purpose of voting on the proposition to 
incorporate Whitfield as a village. The vote 
resulted in 37 for and 13 against incorporation. 
On the 3d day of December an election was held 
for officers of the village. Among those elected 
we note two Norwegians. The names of Ole T. 
Satter and A. A. Klove are among the trustees. 
In 1885 we find Henry W. Johnson as police 
magistrate (this is the ex-judge, now the bank 
president, H. W. Johnson of Ottawa) and A. A. 
Bjelland as clerk. The village took the name of 
Leland about 1864. 

The postmistress at Leland is now, in 1907, 
Mrs. Carrie Hovda, whose biography appears on 
another page. The village at present has two 
banks, both controlled by Norwegians. The First 
National Bank of Leland was opened in the fall 
of 1905. It is run by some young men of the 
Grover family. The other bank is ruled by T. 



F. Thompson, president, and Andrew Anderson, 
cashier. 

Among the business men up to 1886 we find the 
following Norwegians: General stofes: J. A. 
Hovda, J. C. Jacobson, O. Simonson and K. John- 
son; clothing: Peterson & Klove; druggist: A. A. 
Bjelland; hardware: J. A. Hovda; restaurant: A. 
E. Amundsen; milliner shops: Mrs. P. H. Peter- 
son and Misses Jacobson; furniture: T. W. Thor- 
son; boots and shoes: George Gunderson and H. 
Anderson; barber: T. Pederson; wagon maker: 
E. Erickson; blacksmith: Elias Hanson; carpen- 
ters: K. Baker, John Baker and A. Bringadal; 
painters: Ole R. Pederson and T. W. Thorson; 
coopers: H. Simonson and J. J. Tarket; mason: J. 
Abrahamson; hotel: J. B. Johnson. 

In 1907 the following Norwegians are engaged 
in business at Leland: Elias Josephson, meat- 
market; The Erickson Studio (Erickson & Sister), 
photographers; Levi Warn, coal, cement and 
feed; M. B. Pederson, barber; J. C. Jacobson & 
Son, general merchandise; S. O. Thompson, gro- 
cer; Larson & Grover, general merchandise; E. 
Erickson's Sons, wagon makers, blacksmiths and 
dealers in farmers' implements; O. Simonson, 
general merchandise; Joe Jacobson, candies and 
cigars; E. A. Danielson, hardware, wagons and 
implements of all kinds; Martin Fossand, shoe- 
maker; John Mossness, contractor and builder; 
Ole R. Pederson, painter; Jacob R. Jacobson, con- 
tractor and builder; Alfred Anderson, contractor 
and builder; Peter Satter, hardware and furnaces; 
the Farmers' Elevator, run by Ed. Farley; W. A. 
Grover, manager of the Neola Elevator Co.; N. 

G. Klove, publisher of the Leland Times; Conrad 
Hanson, blacksmith, son of Elias Hanson; Nels 
Logland, housemover; K. W. Knutson & John 
Thoreson driving and expressing; Miss Martha 
Walder and Miss Anna Kloster, dressmakers; 
Miss Anna Simonson, milliner; John Abraham- 
son, mason; Walter Abrahamson, harnessmaker. 

The board of trustees, elected April 17, 1906, is 
composed as follows: Wm. A. Grover, A. H. Dale, 
A. B. Anderson, George Gunderson and Charles 
Kittleson. Charles A. Erickson is the village clerk. 



Ottawa 



Ottawa is the county seat of La Salle county, 
eighty-four miles from Chicago, at the junction 
of the Illinois and Fox Rivers. Its business streets 
are paved and the city lighted by electricity. It 



enjoys a perfect sewer system, waterworks with 
pure artesian water, and a low tax rate. The city 
has local electric roads and interurban lines, and 
twenty-four passenger trains in and out every day. 



80 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



It boasts three banks, whose combined assets are 
over $4,000,000; two building associations; two 
colleges; high school; six public schools; public 
library and hospital, and thirteen churches. Ot- 
tawa has excellent shipping facilities; four good 
hotels; B. P. O. E. club house and business men's 
club. It is located in the heart of the northern 
Illinois coal fields; has the finest glass sand in 
the United States and extensive fields of clay of 
all kinds. Such are the cold facts. 

We shall not attempt to write a sketch, much 
less the history of Ottawa. It has been a trad- 
ing place for our countrymen since they first came 
to the Fox River Settlement, but there never 
were many of them who chose that city for their 
abode. A few retired farmers and widows have, 
however, of late chosen to spend their declining 
years there, so that its directory contains about 
one hundred Norwegian names, which is not 
much for a city of over 12,000 inhabitants sur- 
rounded by a farming country largely populated 
by Norwegians and their descendants. 

There are, however, a number of professional 
and business men located here, and Ottawa is the 
only place outside of Chicago that can boast of 
having a newspaper in the Norwegian language. 
This paper is Illinois Posten and was transferred 
there in 1896 in order to help in pushing the 
Pleasant View Luther College and as a local 
paper for old people in La Salle and surrounding 
counties. The paper has also helped the Norweg- 
ians in politics, so that since it came to Ottawa 
the Norwegians have secured several important 
political offices; such as one county judge, one 
member of the legislature, one sheriff, four super- 
visors and one city attorney, and it has been rec- 
ognized by national, state and county commit- 
tees. Its publisher and editor is Mr. P. A. Olsen. 

Here we print a list of the present professional 
and business men of Norwegian descent at Ot- 



tawa: Owen Anderson, lawyer; Benson Bros., 
sands for foundries; B. O. Berge, lawyer; J. A. 
Edmunds, dry goods; H. O. Evenson, M. D.; 
Hans Gulbranson, piano tuner; Axel Heiberg, 
pharmacist; Hon. H. W. Johnson, banker; Nelson 
& Johnson, clothiers; Hans Ohme, cement con- 
tractor; O. G. Olson, merchant tailor; P. A. Ol- 
sen, publisher and printer; Harald Richolson, 
lawyer, city attorney; Dr. G. P. Stordock, dentist ' 

We have another- list of names to present, one 
which is both thrilling and sad, and that is the 
one on the soldiers' monument in the little beau- 
tiful park right in the heart of the city. It gives 
the names of those brave and stouthearted fel- 
lows who did not hesitate to respond when Abra- 
ham Lincoln sent out his call for men, but gal- 
lantly shouldered their guns and gave their lives 
for .their adopted country's honor. We will not 
undertake to correct the misspelling of some 
names, as they were probably all copied from the 
army rolls. Ole K. Halverson 

Gens Oleson J. H. Pederson 

Geo. B. Matson Oliver Lars 

Yance Oleson Soren Sorenson 

John Oleson H. Holverson 

John Johnson Nels L. Nelson 

Philander Z. Peterson R. M. Phuland 
M. E. Osmanson Peter Olson 

Geo. Matson Col. Edw. Munson 

Lars T. Egerness Capt. D. C. Rynlarson 

Loren Lawson Obed Sanderson 

B. Davidson Ole O. Anderson 

J. S. Johnson D. R. Johnson 

Chas. Johnson J. D. Johnson 

J. F. Pearson Sergt. J. Thorson 

L. M. Thompson Osman Larson 

Lieut. R. Anderson Jacob Nilson 

Henry Johnson Petter Oleson 

H. R. Halverson L. H. Thorson 

Iver Edwinson 1st Lieut. O. S. Davidson 

Jacob Hanson Loren Larson 



Norway 



Norway is a flourishing little village situated in 
the prosperous Norwegian settlement in the south- 
ern part of Mission township, La Salle county. 
Andrew Osmundson came from the old country in 
an early day and settled on sec. 33. Mr. Hejer- 
dal erected a small building in 1848, in which he 
placed a small stock of goods. Mr. Nitter, the 



father of David Nitter, built another little house 
and C. J. Borchsenius erected a two-story build- 
ing, the lower story being used as a store room 
and the upper one for a dwelling. From that time 
the village has not grown in number of houses, 
but in business, as it is surrounded by a large and 
rich farming country. Norway at present has 



NORWAY 



81 



two general stores, kept by David Nitter and 
George Borchsenius; one drug store, kept by 
Borchsenius in connection with his other store; 
two wagon, blacksmith and implement shops, by 
John Larson and A. Ryerson. The Lutheran is 
the oldest church. It was erected in 1852 and 
rebuilt in 1875. Its first minister was Rev. Ole 
Andrewson. The postofHce was established about 
the time the village was founded. The first post- 



master was C. J. Borchsenius; the second, Nets 
Tjzlsseland; the third, E. Solberg (now a merchant 
at Seneca); the fourth and last, David Nitter, who 
was postmaster from 1889 to May, 1906, when the 
office was discontinued on account of the rural 
free delivery system, the mail matter now being 
sent out from Sheridan. In the late fall of 1906 
Mr. Nitter sold his store and moved to Minne- 
sota. 



Sheridan 



In 1834 Robert Rowe, a Scotchman, came from 
Cincinnati, Ohio, and settled on the northern 
part of section 8 and southern part of section 5. 
The first improvement made where the beautiful 
and flourishing village of Sheridan now is situ- 
ated was made in the autumn of 1869. Alfred 
Rowe built a small frame house and John Mora- 
han moved into a shanty from the country near- 
by. In the winter of 1869-70 a hotel and store 
building was erected by S. M. Rowe and Delos 
Robinson. Eli Robinson was the first proprietor 
of the hotel. The first store was established by 
S. M. Rowe and Delos Robinson. The depot 
building was erected in 1871, the C, B. & Q. R. R. 
having been completed Jan. 8, 1871. The first 
agent was Frederick Frank. 

The postoffice was established in 1866 and was 
located about a mile east of the present site of 
the village. The first postmaster was John M. 
North. In 1870 it was moved to the village. 

The village was incorporated under the gen- 
eral corporation law, June 24, 1872. S. M. Rowe 
was the first president of the board. Among the 
members of the board in 1885 we find our coun- 
tryman, Mr. J. A. Quam, who now is a banker at 
Sheridan, but then kept a clothing and gents' fur- 



nishing store. His sketch is found elsewhere in 
this volume. Another of our countrymen, Mr. 
A. Schlanbusch, was village treasurer for the 
year mentioned. He died in 1906. The village 
has almost always until now been strictly tem- 
perate. 

S. M. Rowe dedicated to the village two blocks, 
in which in 1874 an artesian well was sunk at a 
cost of about $1,500. It had a depth of 475 feet 
and at the start had a flow of about six feet of 
water. Now the water must be pumped up. The 
grounds have been decorated with shade trees, 
so that the village has a beautiful little park. 

Among Norwegian business people in Sheridan 
in 1907 we notice: Farmers & Merchants' State 
Bank, the president of which is Mr. J. A. Quam; 
Thompson & Callagan, general store, H. L. 
Thompson being a Norwegian; A. Gaard, general 
store; W. T. Schlanbusch, dry goods and grocer- 
ies; T. J. Thompson, barber; C. T. Fatland, horse- 
shoer and blacksmith; Bert Thompson, meat 
market; Miss Gertrud Mosey, school teacher; 
Avon Solvin, wagon maker; Bergo Thompson, 
real estate and insurance; Nels Ugeland, carpen- 
ter and builder. Enoch Pedersen is representing 
the district in the state assembly. 



Big Grove Township 



Big Grove Township is located in the south- 
ern part of Kendall county. There is only one 
village, Newark, within its boundaries. It is in- 
teresting to see, not only what material prog- 
ress our countrymen have made here as else- 



where in the Fox River Settlement, but also 
how they acquired influence in public affairs 
as the years passed on. As soon as the land 
was pretty well taken up by settlers, the first 
common necessity was to build roa'ds and high- 



82 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



ways. In the records of the township we have 
picked out the following list of the inhabit- 
ants liable to work on the highways in the dif- 
ferent road districts. In district 3: Thos. Howse 
(Huus), Thomas Olson, Buren Olson, Larse Ol- 
son, Vier Ceveson (Severtson), Christopher Lar- 
son and Charles Vier. In district 4: Loss (Lars) 
Tunswick, Raynard Poleson, John Munson and 
Ingebrit Olson. In district 6: John Shureson, 
Oliver Larson and Seve Larson. In district 8: 
J. F. Hill and E. M. Hill. In district 9: Larse 
Larson, Osman Osmanson, Holiver (Halvor) 
Osmanson, Urin Ofinson and Jacob Jacobson. 
In district 10 the record simply mentions: "A 
Norwegian." In district 11: John Hill and Chas. 
Aman. In district 13: Osman Johnson. In dis- 
trict 14: Errick Lawson and Ole Canuteson. In 
district 17: Henry Monson. In district 19: 
Christian Olson. 

At an annual town meeting at the Red School- 
house, April 3, 1866, Nels S. Nelson was elected 
road overseer. In 1867: Lars Larson for district 
1. In 1870: John Fatland, district 3; E. S. Hol- 
land, district 10; Osten Osbjornson, district 11; 
Tor Johnson, district 17. In 1871: Chris Larson, 
district 3; E. S. Holland, district 10; Jacob An- 
derson, district 11; Ole Johnson, district 15. In 
1872: Chris Larson, district 3; Jacob Anderson, 
district 11; Ole Johnson, district 15. In 1873: 
Chris. Larson, district 3; Jacob Husen, district 
10; H. Halverson, district 11; Lars Likness, dis- 
trict 12; Ole Johnson, district 15; Hans H. Ol- 
son, district 18. In 1874, C. Larson, district 3; 
H. Halverson, district 11; Hans H. Olson, dis- 
trict 18. 

In 1875 Nels S. Nelson was elected collector, 
and in 1876 he was re-elected to the office. 

In 1879 E. S. Holland, assessor; Olaf Larson, 
constable. 

In 1880 E. S. Holland, assessor; Torris John- 
son, highway commissioner. 

In 18'81, 1882, 1883, 1884 E. S. Holland, asses- 
sor. 

In 1883 T. W. Weeks, collector; Austin O. Os- 
mond, highway commissioner. 

In 1884 N. S. Nelson, highway commissioner. 

In 1885 John Lawson, constable. 

In 1886 Austin Osmond, highway commission- 
er; Nels S. Nelson, school trustee. 



In 1888 Nels S. Nelson, assessor; G. G. Knut- 
son, collector. 

In 1889 Nels S. Nelson, assessor; Gunnar 
Overland, collector; Austin Osmond, highway 
commissioner; Tom Weeks, school trustee. Since 
then Gunnar Overland has been re-elected col- 
lector every year to the present time and he also 
serves as clerk of the village of Newark. 

In 1890 N. S. Nelson, assessor; Ole Anderson, 
highway commissioner; E. S. Holland, justice of 
the peace. 

In 1891 N. S. Nelson, assessor; Tom Weeks, 
school trustee. 

In 1892, 1893 Nels S. Nelson, assessor. 

In 1893 Ole Anderson, commissioner of high- 
ways; E. S. Holland, justice of the peace. 

In 1894 Tom Weeks and E. S. Holland, school 
trustees. 

In 1895 Ole J. Ness, constable; E. S. Holland, 
school trustee. 

In 1896 Ole Anderson, commissioner of high- 
ways. 

In 1897 Charles Udstuen, constable; Nels S. 
Nelson, school trustee. 

In 1898 E. S. Holland, justice of the peace; 
Ole Anderson, school trustee. 

In 1899 Ole Anderson, commissioner of high- 
ways; Torris Johnson, school trustee. 

In 1900 Nels S. Nelson, elected supervisor for 
two years; Arnt Sampson, commissioner of high- 
ways. 

In 1901 Ole Anderson, school trustee. 

In 1902 Nels S. Nelson, supervisor for two 
years; Austin Thompson, assessor; Ole Ander- 
son, commissioner of highways; Gilbert Torkel- 
son, constable; Torris Johnson and John Ander- 
son, school trustees. 

In 1903, 1904 Records not accessible, being 
kept by the county clerk at Yorkville. 

In 1905 A. M. Thompson, assessor; Louis 
Gravely, commissioner of highways; C. F. John- 
ston, constable. 

In 1906 Nels S. Nelson, supervisor; A. M. 
Thompson, assessor; A. R. Thompson, commis- 
sioner of highways; Halvor Ness, constable; John 
Anderson, school trustee. 







NEWARK 



83 



Newark 



The first Jforwegian settler in Newark was Ole 
Olson Hetletvedt. We have this from Mrs. Lars 
Fruland, Hetletvedt's niece, who as well as her 
husband are still living in Newark. Mr. Fruland 
was a son of Nels Fruland, one of the party that 
was misguided to the unfortunate Beaver Creek 
Settlement. 

As we have mentioned on another page, Ole 
Olson Hetletvedt was a "Slooper." He will be 
remembered as being the first to conduct Luth- 
eran religious services in America. He was a 
farmer's son from the neighborhood of Stavanger, 
but had acquired a little better education than the 
others of the sloop party and had been a school 
teacher in Norway. From the Kendall settlement 
in New York he went to Niagara Falls, where he 
worked in a paper mill and was married to a Miss 
Chamberlain. He is said to have conducted re- 
ligious services on the sloop during its voyage 
and then in Kendall Settlement. When he came 
to the Fox River Settlement he started religious 



meetings according to the Haugean custom. He 
is said to have been a very mild tempered but 
ardent Christian, and he traveled in all the Nor- 
wegian settlements, preaching and acting as 
agent for the American Bible Society. 

The next settlers in Newark were Knut Wil- 
liamson and Herman Osmonsen. 

Newark is now a thriving town of some 600 in- 
habitants, the population being largely made up 
of retired farmers from the surrounding country. 
The place has several stores, a postoffice and one 
bank. Osmond Brothers keep a well equipped 
furniture store and conduct an undertaking estab- 
lishment. Ed Hextel keeps the only hotel and 
restaurant. He has lately added a livery stable. 
The village is handicapped in its development by 
being located two miles from the nearest railroad 
station, at Millington, but both a steam road and 
an electric road are now under consideration and 
may be realized in the near future. 



Nettle Creek Township, Grundy County 



About 1845 the Norwegian element began to 
come into this township, and it is astonishing how 
rapidly they have supplanted the original settlers. 
Among the earliest of this class of foreigners 
were John Peterson, Ben Thornton, Ben Hall, 
Lars and Rasmus Shelldal, John Wing, G. E. 
Grundstad and others. In 1849 the Norwegians 
were settled on the sections as follows: On sec- 
tion 4, Lars and Rasmus Shelldal, John Wing 
and G. E. Grundstad; on section 7, John Peter- 
son, Ben Thornton, and Simon Fry; on section 
8, Lars Likeness and Ben Hall; on section 9, 
Hugo Mossman; on section 22, Samuel Hoge; on 
section 25, William Hoge. This is not to be un- 
derstood as if each person mentioned owned the 
whole of a section, as there were men of other 
nationalities interspersed among them. 

During the early history of this community, the 
nearest store and postoffice was at Ottawa, and 
the nearest market at Chicago. As the country 
settled up Morris was founded, and with Marseilles 



on the southwest divided the local trade, so that 
Nettle Creek could not afford sufficient patronage 
to justify a store here. A log sawmill was con- 
structed by Williams Hoge on Nettle Creek and 
did a moderate business for some ten years, but 
the dam washed out one winter and the mill was 
allowed to rot down. The only approach to a 
store was attempted in 1876, when Zacharias Sev- 
erson added to his boot and shoe shop, on sec. 
8, a small stock of groceries. This was too late 
a date for success, and it was discontinued. 

Among the Norwegians who have held public 
office the present township clerk, Mr. Thor Tes- 
dal, has furnished us the following names from 
the public records: 

Olen O. Johnson, justice of the peace twenty 
years, and besides supervisor and county treas- 
urer. 

S. S. Marvick, supervisor for a number of years, 
is now engaged in the land business at Morris, 
Illinois. 



84 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



Joseph H. Osmon, supervisor, now prominent 
farmer. 

Ami Markeson, supervisor, town clerk seven 
years, commissioner of highways. 

Hactor P. Wicks, commissioner of highways 
during many terms. 

Austin Oswood, commissioner of highways. 

Henry Torkilson, commissioner of highways. 

Albert Peterson, justice of the peace. 



Abraham Anderson, commissioner of highways. 

Torris Larson, commissioner of highways. 

Ole S. Johnson, assessor. 

Andrew Rand, school trustee, commissioner of 
highways. 

C. E. Cassem, town clerk. 

Thor Tesdal, elected town clerk in 1902 and 
every year thereafter; school director ten years. 



Capron and Jefferson Prairie 



Surrounding the little town of Capron, Boone 
county, not far from the Wisconsin boundary 
line, is to be found a large settlement of pros- 
perous Norwegian farmers. The first immigrants 
to settle there were Thor Knutson Traim and 
Olson Kaasa, with their families. They came 
from Telemarken and arrived in 1843. 

The following year a number came from Sogn 
and settled there. The most prominent of those 
were Lars Johnson Haave, Ole Aavri, Iver Inge- 
breitson Haave, Anfin Seim, Ole Orvedahl, Ole 
Tistel, Ingebreit and Ole Vange, all with families 
except Ole Vange. In 1845 a third party came, 
among whom were Elim Ellingson, three brothers 
Andres, Ole and Endre Hermundson (Numedal), 
of whom Andres and Ole were married; Johan- 
nes Olson Dale and Hans Simpson Halron, both 
with families, and finally Endre Olson Stadem 
and Johan Olson F01e with families. From Tel- 
emarken arrived in 1844 Bj0rn Bakketoe, Johan- 
nes Kleiva and Ole Thorson Kaasa, all with fam- 
ilies. 

The first congregation in Capron was started 
in 1844 by Rev. J. W. C. Dietrichson, who was 
born at Fredriksstad, Norway, April 4, 1815, and 
died at Copenhagen, Denmark, from a stroke of 
paralysis, Nov. 14, 1883. His remains were taken 
to Norway and buried at Porsgrund, 1883. He 
was educated and ordained for the ministry in 
Norway. A dyer by the name of P. S0rensen in 
Christiania induced Mr. Dietrichson to come to 
America and preach the gospel for his country- 
men. It is said that he was encouraged not only 
by words but also with a snug sum of money for 
the mission. He finally concluded to accept, and 
with this in view he was ordained in the Oslo 



Church by the bishop of Christiania stift, 1844. 
He arrived in Milwaukee, Aug. 5, 1844, and from 
there went first to Muskego, and_ in the last days 
of August, 1844, he arrived in Koshkonong prai- 
rie, where he held service in a barn. 

The church in the neighborhood of Capron, 
111., was the second house of worship to be start- 
ed by Dietrichson, but was completed first, and 
was dedicated Dec. 19, 1844. The other one was 
in Wisconsin in the town of Christiana. Elling 
Eielsen had, however, built a "meeting house" in 
the Fox River Settlement in 1842. 

Rev. Dietrichson was an ardent Christian mis- 
sionary, full of energy and pluck, but was lack- 
ing in that most important Christian virtue, for- 
bearance. He often lost his mental equipoise. It 
must, however, be taken into consideration that 
he was brought up and educated, as were most of 
his confreres in the old country, to look down 
on the farmers as an inferior race that could be 
and was disciplined to obey without asking ques- 
tions. That kind of despotism is still partly pre- 
vailing in the country parishes of Europe. When 
the farmers have breathed the exhilarating air of 
this free country they must be treated differently, 
as Dietrichson soon found out. 

We will cite some instances illustrating the 
case in question. In one of his flocks he had a 
farmer by the name of Funkelien, who was one of 
those foolish and irritating individuals that con- 
sider it great fun to embarrass their pastors by 
asking them to solve scriptural conundrums or 
explain apparent contradictions. He was well 
read in the Scriptures and in constant controversy 
with Dietrichson, who finally became so impa- 
tient with him that he told him he was excom- 



CAPRON AND JEFFERSON PRAIRIE 



85 



municated from his church and forbidden to ap- 
pear at the service. When Funkelien, neverthe- 
less, attended the church on the following Sun- 
day, Dietrichson called on the men present to 
eject him, and when he found them hesitating, 
remaining in their seats, his ire knew no bounds, 
and he rushed down from the pulpit to throw 
Funkelien out with his own hands. Funkelien, 
however, nothing daunted, met force with force, 
and a lively fight ensued. Of this Dietrichson, 
being the heavier man, got the better, and suc- 
ceeded in ejecting his obstreperous adversary. 
The latter had his energetic shepherd arrested, 
and Dietrichson was fined for disorderly conduct 
and battery. Another newcomer had sent his 
wife to Dietrichson on some errand, at which he 
took offense. He grasped her so hard by fhe 



arm in order to shove her out through the door 
that his fingers left blue marks. For this he was 
arrested and fined $50. 

This goes to show not only that Dietrichson 
believed in the "church militant" but also that 
the "ecclesiastical strife" among the Norwegians 
of America commenced at an early period of their 

history. 

In Capron our enterprising countryman, Ex- 
Alderman A. J. Olson of Woodstock and Chicago, 
has bought and renovated a factory for the ex- 
ploiting of milk products. The farmers in the 
surrounding country will here have a good and 
steady market for their milk, so it is presumed 
that they will devote their attention to the rais- 
ing of milch-cows. 



Lee County 



The first Norwegian immigrant to settle in 
Lee County was Amund Helgeson Maakestad, 
whose name after his arrival was- Americanized 
to Ommon Hilleson. By his countrymen his 
memory is held in such regard as to suggest the 
attributes of the Scandinavian deity Frej. He 
came to America in 1835 and for a few years 
was a coast sailor. When tired of being tossed 
by the ocean waves he set out and walked all 
the way from New York to Chicago. From the 
latter place he started on foot for the Norwegian 
settlement on Fox River, but being overtaken by 
a covered wagon (prairie schooner) filled with 
men, women and children, and being invited to 
ride with them, got in. He was by this time 
able to understand English fairly well, and when 
two of the men got out and walked behind and 
talked together about his money their real 
character and intentions were revealed to him. 
He had some money, and no doubt his situation 
was uncomfortable, until a man and a woman 
driving a team overtook them. He leaped out, 
and as the charmed bird flies when the spell is 
broken, sprang into the other wagon without a 
word of parting to the one or of introduction to 
the other. His leap in the dark had brought 
him to good footing, for this time he had not 
fallen among thieves, but among some of his 



own people going home to Fox River, and his 
journey thither was happily relieved of further 
unpleasant incident. It has a singular seeming, 
but is nevertheless a verity, that with his limited 
knowledge of the English language he left his 
countrymen behind and pushed forward to Lee 
Center among strangers, not in habit, sentiment 
arid nationality only, but in language also. This 
shows him to have had the truly pioneering 
spirit; he could not have been less than a pioneer. 
Having obtained work there, it was not long 
till lie was able to start independently, and he 
settled in Bradford township, where he at first 
built a sodhouse. A little later he put up a frame 
house, which was quite conspicuous in those 
early days and was seen over the naked prairie 
by a' German family (Reinhart) at Melugin's 
Grove on their wav out from Chicago. Their 
young daughter, Miss Catherine E. Reinhart, fell 
in love with the sturdy Norwegian, and with 
the approval of her parents they were married. 
Their wedded life was passed on his homestead 
in Bradford township, which was too early de- 
prived of his services by his untimely death. Two 
children were born to him and his wife: Henry 
W. and Betsy J., the latter of whom is the wife 
of Conrad Brandau. Mr. Henry W. Hilleson 
was married in 1873 to Miss Elizabeth Roth, 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



born in Germany, Feb. 18, 1853. Her parents, 
also of German birth, came to the United States 
in 1860. Henry W. Hilleson has been supervisor 
several years and for several terms a member 
of the county board. 

Ommon Hilleson, having found the country 
good, wrote his relatives in the old country to 
dispose of their possessions, and come over and 
join him here. They responded and left S0fjor- 
den in Hardanger for Bergen, where they em- 
barked in the stanch sailing vessel Juno, which 
after a journey of one month's duration landed 
them in New York in June, 1847. The party 
consisted of the following grown up members: 

Lars L. Risetter, 

Lars Helgeson (Hilleson) Maakestad, 

Helge Helgeson (Hilleson), his brother, 

Ingeborg Helgesdatter, their sister, married to 

Lars Olson Espe, 

Sjur Arneson Bly, 

Torgels Knudson Maakestad, 

Lars Larson Bly, and 

Gertrud Helgesdatter Ljzinning. 

From New York the journey was by steam- 
boat to Albany and from there by railroad to 
Buffalo. From Buffalo to Chicago they traveled 
by steamer on the lakes. 

In Chicago the party was met by Ommon Hille- 
son. There being no direct trail and no railroad 
west of Chicago, they were guided by an ox 
team out to the Fox River Settlement, where 
the town of Norway is now located. Oxen were 
used in preference to horses for the reason that 
they were cheaper and could feed on the grass 
of the prairie. Horses were expensive and had 
to be fed on oats, an expensive article in those 
early days. 

After a rest at Norway our immigrants went 
north by the same means of transportation, 
their belongings in the wagon and the men walk- 
ing. 

One of the party, Lars Larson Bly, found 
Chicago more alluring than a strenuous walk 
across the prairies, so fie concluded to remain 
there. He did not grow rich by so doing. 

Ingeborg Helgesdatter remained at Norway, 
La Salle county some time, and came to Lee 
county later on. 

At first the newcomers obtained work from 
earlier settlers, and then scattered out, many 
going to Sublette township. The first one to go 
was Lars Larson Risetter, who was the second 
Norwegian to settle in Willow Creek township. 

The land where they settled was part of the 
wild prairie, which at that time was mostly un- 
settled; deer, wolves and other wild animals were 



frequently seen where now are rich farms and 
flourishing villages. The settlements were made 
mostly in the timber, as the value of the prairie 
land for farming purposes had not yet been 
realized. As mentioned before, there were no 
railroads west of Chicago, and the communica- 
tion with the outside world was by the way of 
rough roads or over the trackless prairies. Our 
colonists were witnesses of the many wonder- 
ful changes that the years brought, and were 
potent factors in developing their sections from 
the wilderness. 

Having no means of support, the newcomers at 
first worked for Irishmen and Americans who had 
been earlier on the ground, but when they by 
great effort had saved a little money they bought 
land. Besides the reason already mentioned for 
taking to the timber, there was another not less 
important. They could cut it down and build 
log cabins, which were frequently erected in a 
single day, the colonists helping each other. 

It is mentioned that Ommon Hilleson was the 
first Norwegian to build a farmhouse in Lee 
county. The second was Lars Olson Espe. He 
got ahead of the third one, because he was a car- 
penter by trade, and consequently knew how to 
handle the tools better. The third Norwegian to 
build a dwelling in Lee county was Lars L. Ris- 
etter, whose log house was put up in one day. 
Mr. Lars L. Risetter is also still living, and his 
sons (Lewis and Holden) now live with their 
father on the original homestead in Willow Creek 
township. 

Lars Risetter gave his one-half section to his 
sons, who have since acquired and added more 
land to their possessions, until they now own 
a whole section. 

The first Norwegian settler in Willow Creek 
township was Amund Hilleson L0nning. He 
was the second son of Helge and Ingeleif Amund- 
son, and was born in South Bergen stift, Nor- 
way, June 20, 1821. His father died when 
Amund was six years old, and his mother being 
left in destitute circumstances with six children, 
the latter were bound out according to the custom 
of that country in regard to the poor; that is, 
each farmer takes one in his turn for a length 
of time corresponding to the amount of property 
he owns; while sometimes the poor are bid off 
at auction, the keeper being paid for their care 
and trouble. Mr. Hilleson was provided for ac- 
cording to the former method. When 16 years 
old he was able to take care of himself, and 
hired out the first year for $5 and his clothing, 
and so on gradually but very slowly increasing 
until he had worked thirteen years, the last 



LEE COUNTY 



87 



years receiving as high as $10 and a little cloth- 
ing a year. Four years before he had enough 
money saved to emigrate he began to turn his 
thoughts wistfully toward America, and from 
that time worked with the sole object of coming 
at the earliest time when he could be ready. 
That time arrived in 1850, and he came directly 
to Sublette township, where his brother-in-law, 
Lars L. Risetter, was living, and worked the first 
year in the employ of Thomas Fessenden through 
haying and harvest for $11 a month. In 1852 he 
bought the N. E. qr. sec. 15 in Willow Creek for 
$1.25 per acre, and continued to hire out as a 
laborer until he had been there five years. In 




Amund Hilleson. 

1855 he began to improve his land, keeping house 
for himself two years, and then, in 1857, he was 
married to Ingeborg Larsen Maland, who was 
born May 8, 1822, and emigrated to Sublette in 
1855. Two children were born to them: Helge 
A., born 1859, and Ingleif, who died in 1866. Mr. 
Hilleson contributed liberally toward the erec- 
tion of a house of worship, having given to that 
object some $600. In 1875 he bought the N. E. 
qr. sec. 15 for $8,150. His was one of the best 
improved and most desirable farms in the county. 
He was a republican and one of the solid men in 
means and character in Willow Creek township. 
He died June 25, 1896, having willed his farm 



to his son and $1,000 to each of his four grand- 
children. Mrs. Hilleson, who died Dec. 16, 1866, 
gave to the three grandchildren born after her 
husband's death $1,000 each. Ommon Hilleson 
had accumulated $12,000 cash besides his farm. 
A better lesson on the possibilities of this coun- 
try could rarely be found: growing up in a poor- 
house and ending his days a wealthy man. 

The same year and in the same ship with Om- 
mon Hilleson came two other unmarried men 
Ole Vasvig from Odda and Bryngel from Gra- 
ven, Hardanger. They lived together in a log 
cabin many years, worked hard and saved money, 
which they kept in a chest under their bed. One 




Mrs. Amund Hilleson. 

night two men came around and asked them for 
shelter over the night. This was willingly grant- 
ed. But our countrymen were poorly rewarded. 
During the night they were killed with their own 
ax and their savings carried away by the mur- 
derers. This happened in 1850. 

During the years from 1847 to 1851 the colony 
uid not get any increment by immigration to 
speak of, but in 1851 we can record the follow- 
ing arrivals: Haldor Nelson Hovland, Jacob Ol- 
son Rogde (see his sketch), Hakon L. Risetter, 
a brother of Lars L. Risetter, and wife, and 
Agatha Olsdatter Espe, sister of Lars Olson Espe. 

We have not been able to trace any other ar- 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



rivals until in 1854, when the colony was in- 
creased by Amund O. Kragsvig, Wiglik P. Pe- 
derson Akre, Helge Pederson Maakestad, Johan- 
nes Pederson Maakestad and Agatha Maakestad. 

In 1855: Jacob Pederson Blye, Helge Peder- 
son Blye, Elsa Pedersdatter Blye and Christopher 
C. Kvalnes (Qualnes). 

In 1856: Sjur Qualnes, Jens C. Qualnes, Martha 
Qualnes, Brita Olsdatter Kvaestad, John Johnson 
Maakestad and Christen Sexe. 

In 1857: Elias O. Espe, Peter O. Espe, Thos. 
Helgeson L0nning with wife (Synva), Amund 
Sexe, Haeldur G. Maakestad, Viking G^sendal, 
and Einar Winterton. 

In 1858: Ingeborg Olsdatter Eide, E : nar Ein- 
arson Buer and wife (Johanna), Lars Salomon- 
son Risetter and wife (Ragnilda), Sven Isberg, 
Einar Vasvig, Margrethe Sandven, Osmond O. 
L0nning, Ole O. Ljzinning and wife (Christie) and 
Hans Strand. 

In 1859: Ingebrigt Qualnes, Gyrie Qualnes, 
Sigri Qualnes, Christopher Ingebrigtson Qualnes, 
Gyne Qualnes and wife (born Rogde) and Peder 
Tjoflaat with a large family. 

In 1860: Rasmus Hill (a brother of Peder O. 
Hill) and Ole Hill. Those were from the neigh- 
borhood of Stavanger. 



In 1861: Nels Pederson Maakestad, brother of 
Helge and Johannes, who came in 1854. 

During the three years following we have not 
been able to trace any newcomers; but 

In 1864: Ole J. Prestegaard, Lars Pederson 
Maakestad with family, Nels Johnson Maakestad, 
Jacob Opheim, Arne Opheim, Lars Aga, Ole 
Aga, Daniel Wignes and Viking Winterton. 

All of them came from S0fjorden, Hardanger, 
except the Hill brothers, from Stavanger, and 
Daniel Wignes, from Ullvig. 

In 1865: We find Peder P. Hill and Kleng Os- 
monson, from Stavanger. 

In 1866: Conrad Knudson and Peder O. Hill, 
also from Stavanger. Hill later went to Ogle 
county. 

All of those so far mentioned may be classed 
as pioneers, because they all broke new ground 
with plow and hoe in Willow Creek and Alto 
townships of Lee county and also in Mailand 
township of De Kalb county. 

In this connection we wish to express our sin- 
cere thanks to Mr. Ole J. Prestegaard, of Lee, 
III, who has spent much time in helping us to 
trace these pioneers and in many other ways 
shown his interest in this work. 



The Pontiac or Rowc Settlement 



The data for the sketch of the Norwegian set- 
tlement in Livingston county were partly fur- 
nished us by Mr. Rasmus Aarvig, of Pontiac, and 
are based upon information given by Mrs. John 
Mitchell, widow of John Mitchell, and from other 
sources, such as the History of Livingston Coun- 
ty, 1878, and Biographical Record of Livingston 
County, 1900. 

The part of Livingston county which first re- 
ceived immigrants of Norwegian birth was in the 
vicinity of Rowe, known'as the Pontiac or Rowe 
Settlement, including parts of Pontiac, Esme.i, 
Amity and Rooks Creek townships. Rowe post- 
office, four and one-half miles northwest of Pon- 
tiac, was really the center of the settlement. 

The first know settlers of Norwegian birth were 
as follows: 

John Mitchell was the first Norwegian immi- 



grant to settle in Livingston county. He was 
born in Tysvaer parish, near Stavanger, Norwav, 
in 1819 (or 1823?). When old enough he went on 
the ocean as seaman on merchant vessels and 
was in port in America twice before he came here 
to settle. He also visited other ports in different 
countries, sailing for nine years. In 1847 he came 
to America, locating at no particular place, but 
going from Chicago to New Orleans, working foe 
two years in Lousiana and adjoining states. He 
also ran a boat from La Salle to Chicago, on 
the canal. His first location was on Otter Creek, 
in La Salle county. In 1850, on December 1, he 
was married to Miss Bertha Oakland, in Ottawa. 
She was born in Norway, in 1831. They had six 
children. In 1853 he came to Amity township, 
Livingston county, and took up forty acres. When 
he came, he had only horses and wagon, and the 



THE PONTIAC OR ROWE SETTLEMENT 



third year he was taken sick, not being able to 
work for two years, and was obliged to sell every- 
thing he had in order to pay doctor bills; but 
through hard, honest, persistent industry he ac- 
cumulated around him 760 acres, all in good cul- 
tivation and with some of the best buildings in 
the township. He also owned in Iowa 150 acres 
besides personal property. For many years he 
was called "the Norwegian king," a name given 
by his generosity to his fellow countrymen. 

His children are: Isabelle C, Albert N., John, 
Elizabeth M., James Murry and Joseph D. Mr. 
Mitchel died in 1896. 

Ole Olson Eikjeland came with Mitchell. He 
was drowned in Wolf Creek while hauling rail- 
road ties for the Chicago & Alton Railroad, which 
was then being constructed through the city of 
Pontiac. 

1855 Knut Mitchell, John Mitchell's brother, 
and John Q. Johnson Qualevaag, from Kobervik. 
The latter was born Nov. 1, 1835. He was mar- 
ried to Miss Caroline Mitchell, a sister of Knut 
and John, and they have had seven children. The 
homestead is on sec. 29, Esmen township. Mr. 
Johnson served one year as road commissioner 
and was a member of the school board three 
years. 

1857 Eiven Rasmussen Kaltvedt and Torger 
Thompson. 

1858 Ole Lugland or Laugaland (Fossene); 
Ole H. Olson and John H. Olson. The latter's 
homestead is on sec. 30, Esmen township. He 
was born in 1850, and when seven years of age 
was brought into the United States by his father, 
Ole H. Olson, who first settled in La Salle county 
and later came to Livingston county. John H. 
Olson was married in 1874 to Miss Isabel High- 
land, who was also born in Norway and came to 
America with her father, Ole Highland, when 6 
years of age. John H. Olson and wife have five 
children: Elsie, wife of Benjamin Peterson, of 
Livingston county; Cordelia, wife of Oscar Het- 
land; Ida, wife of George Thompson; Clara and 
Obed. Mr. Olson has served as school director 
in his district. 

1859 Lars Johnson, Christopher Lyse, John 
Rasmussen Aardal, Ole Boland, Hans Boland 
and Engel Boland. 

1860 John Groven, Elling Evenson. 

1861 Nels Thompson Floten; Andrew Erik- 
son. 

1862 Gunner Oakland, from Skj01d; Ole Erik- 
son Sonnenaa, Ole Sampson, Nels Olson Kirk- 
hus. 

1864 John Vignaes, Ole Soppeland and Tore 



H. Thompson (Hetland). In the Biographical 
Record of Livingston County Thompson is called 
Thomas H. Thomson. The former is, however, 
the correct name. He was born near Stavanger, 
May 3, 1826, and sailed from that city, May 17, 
1849. His father was Tore T. Iverson and his 
mother Malinda Thompson. With his two 
brothers, Iver H. and Richard H., he first went 
to La Salle county, where, after several years of 
hard toiling, he bought forty acres of land, which 
he cultivated until 1864, when he sold it at a fair 
price and removed to Livingston county. Here 
he bought 100 acres in sec. 4. Rooks Creek town- 
ship, and has since looked upon this as his per- 
manent home. In La Salle county Mr. Thomp- 
son was married (in 1855) to Isabella Johnson. 
Of ten children who blessed their union, two 
daughters have passed away. The sons, six in 
number, are successful farmers. Thomas M., Ole 
A., T. E., E. J. and A. S. are residents of Livings- 
ton county, while M. J., the second son, is a 
farmer in Clay county, Minnesota. Anna M. is 
the wife of E. P. Friest, of Hardin county, Iowa, 
and Christina S. is the wife of J. C. Munson, of 
Amity township, Livingston county. The two 
younger sons are at home aiding in the work on 
the farm. 

1865 Endre Ytrevold, Rasmus Anderson Ids0. 
John Soppeland, Osmund Riskedal, Ole Tysdal, 
Eleiv Holta. 

1866 Thomas Ryerson (Jismervig) was born 
near Stavanger, Sept. 8, 1834. In company with 
an older brother he emigrated to America in 1855 
and came to La Salle county, where he worked 
on farms until, on Aug. 14, 1862, he enlisted in 
the defense of his adopted country, becoming a 
member of Company F, One Hundred and Fourth 
Illinois Infantry, which was placed in the Army 
of the Tennessee. At the first severe engagement 
in which Mr. Ryerson was engaged he was 
wounded by a shell in the right hip, and being io 
disabled, was sent to the hospital at Gallatin, 
Tenn. Subsequently he was transferred to the 
hospital in Nashville, and thence to one in Chi- 
cago. When he was convalescent he was honor- 
ably discharged from the army and returned to 
La Salle county in April, 1863. In 1866 Mr. Ryer- 
son came to Livingston county. Here he first 
bought eighty acres in Amity township. A small 
cabin served as a home for a period, but in time 
this was supplanted by a large and pleasant 
house. He also built barns, sheds and fences, 
and planted an orchard and fine shade trees. As 
he could afford it he invested in more land, and 
to-day he is the owner of 470 acres. With his 
wife he is now spending his declining years in 



90 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



Pontiac. He was married to Lizzie Larson in 
1863. Two of their children died in infancy; nine 
survive. Louis is married and is a prosperous 
farmer in this district. Anna Belle is the wife of 
Rasmus Aarvig, whose sketch appears in the bio- 
graphical part. Theodore is the station agent for 
the Illinois Central Railroad at Pontiac. Oliver 
is the telegraph operator for the same road at 
Gibson City, 111., and the younger children 
Adolph, Mildred, David, Clara and Mabel are 
at home. 

1868 Lars Engelson, a successful farmer, on 
sec. 10, Esmen township, was born in Norway, 
July 12, 1845. Came to America with his widowed . 
mother in 1857. He was married on the 14th of 
February, 1865, to Miss Anna Dora Engelson, 
who was born and reared in Norway. By this 
union were born six children, who are still living, 
namely: Engle B., a resident of Iowa; Elmer T., 
of North Dakota; Joseph E., in Livingston coun- 
ty; Milton L., Bertha E. and Ellen M., are at 
home. Four children died while young. 

1874 Ole Tj0nsland, pastor of the Lutheran 
church, Rowe postoffice, was born in Norway, 
March 13, 1836. He came to this country in 1872 
and settled in La Salle county. From there he 
removed to Esmen township, Livingston county, 
in 1874. His wife was Anna Margaretha, born in 
Sweden. Previous to coming to America Mr. 
Tj0nsland was a missionary in South Africa for 
nine years. He was really the first settler in the 
vicinity of Rowe station and was the pastor of 
the Esmen church. 

Arriving during the same period of time may 
be mentioned Henrik Larson Hovda, Thore 
Thompson Troe, Christopher Holta, Elias Holta, 
Ole K. Olson, Ole H. Aarvig, Nels Thompson, 
Ole Dyvig, Knute Knudson, John Jermeland, 
John Dyvig, Sr., John Dyvig, Jr., Ole Ejenes, C. 
L. Aygarn, and others. 

Some of the settlers came direct from Norway, 
but the first ones came from La Salle county 
down to Livingston county, which was known 
among the Norwegian people of La Salle county 
as the "country of the frogs," due to the great 
amount of lowlands and swamps; but the land 
was cheap, as low as $1.50 per acre, government 
price, and the grass and pasture were plentiful. 
Markets, however, were poor and money was 
very hard to get. The principal markets, which 
they visited at times, were St. Louis and Chi- 
cago, which were reached mostly by boats 
through the' Illinois and Mississippi Rivers and 
the Illinois and Michigan Canal. The local mar- 
ket was at Ottawa and the milling was done at 
Dayton, La Salle county. This distance was 



traveled by oxen over the prairies and around 
the swamps as best they could. They usually 
went to La Salle once or twice each year to do 
their trading and milling. Later Pontiac became 
their local market, and still later Rowe, Gray- 
mont, Cornell, etc. 

Owing to the great amount of swamps and 
stagnant water evaporating the country was un- 
healthy, especially for those coming from the 
far north, and a great deal of malarial disease, 
with consequent hardships, was encountered by 
the Norsemen. It was a very common thing for 
the farmers to be taken down in the midst of 
their summer work with what they called the 
"ague" and other malarial diseases. These low- 
lands are now all drained out by tile drainage, 
they have a healthy climate, and are supposed 
to be of the best land in the world, worth from 
$125 to $200 per acre. A considerable number 
of the Norsemen and their descendants have 
managed to retain a good portion of it. 

In politics, with few exceptions, they are re- 
publicans; a large number have served and are 
now serving in different capacities as township 
officers, and, as far as known, with honor and 
integrity, but no county or higher office has yet 
been held by a Norseman in this locality. The 
reason is perhaps that nearly all who have set- 
tled here have come from country districts in 
the old country where a liberal education was 
hard to get, and the younger generation has not 
availed itself of the opportunities afforded here 
for higher education. However, a few have 
achieved the professional life. Joseph M. Mitch- 
ell, son of the first settler, is a practicing at- 
torney in Oklahoma. James Mitchell, his brother, 
is a practicing physician in the city of Pontiac. 
Others have been engaged in commercial pur- 
suits, of whom can be mentioned C. L. Aygarn, 
in the grain and elevator business, but the ma- 
jority follow farming, which pf late has proved 
the most independent and profitable to the com- 
mon people. 

The first church work that was done among 
the Norse settlers in Livingston county was in 
Amity township by a Methodist by the name of 
John Brown. He baptized a number of children 
and preached among them with good success un- 
til the year 1862, but without having organized 
any congregation. About that time a Lutheran 
congregation was organized and they called a 
pastor, by the name of Peter Asbj0rnson, be- 
longing to the Lutheran Augustana Synod. The 
work went on nicely for some time and a wealthy 
American by the name of Murry offered to give 
them 40 acres of good land on which to build 



THE PONTIAC OR ROWE SETTLEMENT 



91 



a parsonage, but while this was pending a dif- 
ference of opinion concerning the church liturgy 
caused a division, as some adhered to the old 
State Church of the Norwegian Synod, and the 
Murry offer was withdrawn. 

The remnant proceeded, however, and built 
what was known as the Augustana Church in 
the western part of Esmen township. Later the 
others, known as the Norwegian Synod people, 
somehow connected with the Missouri Synod, 
built a church at Rowe Station. Both of these 
congregations have lately been merged, forming 
the St. Paul Lutheran Church at Rowe, 111., now 
belonging to the United Lutheran Church, and 
under the charge of Rev. Mickelson. 

In 1872 a preacher by the name of Herman W. 
Abelson became known by some families and was 
engaged to take up the pastoral work in the 
locality. Being a resident of La Salle county at 
the time, he came to Amity quite frequently and 
preached, anrl performed pastoral work between 
the years 1872 and 1880, but no organization was 
effected by what was called the Hauge people 
until Feb. 3, 1880. On that date a congregation 
by the name of Abel's Evangelical Lutheran 
Church was organized. Pastor H. W. Abelson 
was called and the congregation adopted form- 



ally a Lutheran Creed as accepted and set iorth 
in Hauge's Evangelical Lutheran Synod, and a 
subscription was taken up for its school in Red 
Wing, Minn. About the same time the pastor 
took up the work in a small settlement near Mud 
Creek, which was kept up a number of years by 
him and his successor, Rev. Theodore Hansen, 
and later taken up by a minister from Rowe, and 
which is now under the charge of Pastor Mickel- 
son of the United Lutheran Church. 

Pastor Abelson about the same time, or a lit- 
tle later, took up work in what was known as 
the Rooks Creek settlement, a congregation be- 
ing organized there in 1880, known as the Rooks 
Creek Evangelical Lutheran Church, which later 
joined the Hauge Synod, but owing to poor 
health he had to resign shortly afterward, and 
as his successor Pastor Theodore Hansen was 
called and served about eleven years. After him 
other ministers of the same synod have con- 
tinued the work in the congregation, which now 
also has a church and services in Pontiac. The 
Abel Evangelical Lutheran Church above refer- 
red to, having diminished in number, later on 
joined in with the Rooks Creek Church, which 
at present is under the charge of Rev. O. O. Ris- 
wold, of Hauge's Synod. 



THE BEGINNINGS OF CHICAGO 



By Edwin Erie Sparks, Ph. D., of the University of Chicago. 



The city of Chicago owes its existence pri- 
marily to the river bearing that name and to the 
fact that the river empties into the head of the 
most southwesterly of the Great Lakefc. The 
history of this city, because it is situated at the 
mouth of one waterway and the head of another, 
is similar to that of other inland cities. The 
waterways were the ready-made highways of the 
interior. Up and down them passed the ex- 
plorer, the missionary, the trapper, the trader 
and the pioneer farmer, tracing the way for 
future lines of commerce. At various obstruc- 
tions along these ways perhaps the head or 
mouth of a river, a portage or a natural harbor 
the products of adjacent regions were col- 
lected, to be forwarded in bulk to the Atlantic 
seaboard. The manufactures which were sent in 
return came to these inland points for distribu- 
tion. Thus what had been in turn a camping 
ground for the Indian, a halting place for the 
explorer, a post for the trader and a rendezvous 
for the pioneer became a commercial center 
which grew to a city. The mouth of the Chi- 
cago River was marked by nature to serve such 
a purpose. 

Extending in a crescent sweep about the head 
of Lake Michigan is a low flat plain not over 
fifteen miles wide, reaching from Winnetka on 
the north through La Grange on the west to 
Dyer, Ind., on the south. Its concave side is 
occupied by Lake Michigan and its convex side 
is bounded by the great Valparaiso moraine. It 
was formed by the melting and retreat of the 
great ice cap which came down from the north' 
in the Ice Age. At one stage the water was 
dammed up by the moraine, creating what is 
known to geologists as "Lake Chicago." At the 
bottom was deposited a flat plain of sand and 
clay which became dry land after the water had 
retreated to its present position to become Lake 
Michigan. The northern part of the plain is 
drained by the Chicago River and its two 



branches, one coming from a northern and the 
other from a southwestern direction. 

So flat is the Chicago plain that the south 
branch of the river rises less than twelve miles 
from the mouth. Beyond the head of this branch 
is the outlet through which the pre-historic "Lake 
Chicago" was drained into the Desplaines River. 
The summit of this divide, between the drainage 
basin of the Great Lakes and that of the Mis- 
sissippi valley, is the old Chicago portage, un- 
known and unimportant in this railway age. 
Here the land is only fifteen feet above the level 
of Lake Michigan. If the lake level had been 
sixteen feet higher it would have drained into 
the Mississippi. The slight elevation of the 
watershed suggested the possibility of the pres- ' 
ent Drainage Canal. 

Upon the plain described above, the city of 
Chicago has been built. The groutid is made up 
of bowlders, sand and clay a mixture com- 
monly known as "glacial drift." The excavation 
for a building in any part of the city will show 
the unstable character of the soil. Beneath it at 
varying depths lies the solid Niagara limestone 
which may be seen in the stone quarries in many 
localities just outside the limits of the plain. The 
bedrock is not level, but has many undulations, 
which cause the varying depths shown by bor- 
ings in different parts of the city. The deepest 
point yet found is about one-half mile north of 
the junction of the two branches, where the bed- 
rock lies 124 feet below the level of Lake Michi- 
gan. The average depth is estimated to be about 
fifty feet. Because of the instability of the soil, 
few localities could have been found more un- 
suitable for building a city. But the demands 
of commerce have slight regard for topography 
or for good building sites. The most recent 
method employed by builders to overcome the 
inherent difficulties of the unstable plain is to 
sink caissons to the bedrock and fill them with 
concrete. We can thus imagine our great build- 



THE BIGINNINGS OF CHICAGO 



93 



ings standing upon gigantic stilts which rest upon 
the bedrock far beneath. 

In such a soil and on such level ground the 
river would naturally flow sluggishly and would 
cut a deep channel, carrying the .washings to be 
deposited in a bar at the mouth. It would in 
this way form a natural harbor for lake com- 
merce, extending two or three miles inland. 
However, the his-tory of Chicago dates back to 
a' time when a harbor for vessels of large burden 
was not dreamed of. It began during the days 
of the French missionaries, when the utility of 
a river as a highway was the important con- 
sideration, especially if there was only a short 
portage from Us head to a stream flowing in the 
opposite direction. The Chicago River was al- 
most ideal in this respect, since it led by its 
south branch of the Chicago portage and thence 
into the Desplaines and the Illinois, being the 
connecting link between the Great Lakes and 
the Mississippi. Like all rivers in level coun- 
tries, the sluggish waters of both streams al- 
lowed navigation far up toward the portage, 
especially in the rainy and melting seasons. It 
was possible, according to the accounts of the 
early explorers, to take a boat at certain times 
of the year over the Chicago portage without 
unloading it. 

The French explorers and the Jesuit mission- 
aries at first reached the Mississippi by Green Bay 
and the Wisconsin River. But they soon learned 
in returning to come up the Illinois to the Kan- 
kakee and thence to cross the portage to the St. 
Joseph River, now in Michigan, with empties 
into the southeast bend of Lake Michigan. At a 
later time they found the still shorter way by 
the Chicago River and portage. No satisfactory 
evidence has been left to show when this route 
was first used. Marquette and Joliet may have 
passed this way on their return journey from the 
Illinois Indians to the mission at Green Bay in 
1673. La Salle and Tonty used the Chicago route 
before 1680. La Salle spent a part of the winter 
of 1682 in the first house built by white men at 
the portage. The following year he headed a 
report: "Du Portage de Checagou, 4 juin, 1683." 
When the easy route by the "Garlic River," as 
the stream was sometimes called because of the 
foul-smelling wild plant growing on its banks 
became fully known, it was one of the principal 
thoroughfares of the French during their pro- 
longed journeys through the Illinois country. 

Permanent . French settlement, however, ap- 
proached Illinois not by the Chicago portage, 
which the Jesuits and explorers had used, but 
came up the Mississippi after the founding of New 



Orleans. The French villages of Kaskaskia, Ca- 
hokia and others which were founded in Illinois 
soon fell into decay because of the advance of 
the conquering English and Americans. Even 
the stronghold of Fort Chartres, built to protect 
these villages, was torn down by the invaders to 
obtain building stone. Only the ruins of a 
powder magazine remain to show where the fort 
once stood. 

After the French had been driven out of the 
Mississippi valley the Chicago portage lay in ob- 
scurity for nearly forty years, until the onward 
march of the American people across the con- 
tinent brought waterways and portages again 
into prominence. It was the policy of the United 
States government to plant forts along the front 
line of people to protect them and to increase 
the sales of the public lands. These forts were 
erected on the highways of commerce, where 
protection was most needed. Among the sites 
occupied in the middle West may be named the 
point where the French Fort Duquesne and the 
English Fort Pitt once stood, now occupied by 
the city of Pittsburg; Fort Mclntosh, where 
Beaver, Penn., now stands; Fort Harmer, at the 
mouth of the Muskingum; Fort Washington, at 
the mouth of the Miami, near which Cincinnati, 
Ohio, is now located; Fort Industry, at the 
mouth of the Maumee, about which Toledo, Ohio, 
grew; Fort Renault, now Detroit; Fort Wayne, 
still bearing the name, and Fort Mackinac, which 
is now surrounded by Machinaw city. 

As the people advanced, the government was 
accustomed to quiet the Indian claims to the 
land by making treaties with the savages. By 
the treaty of Greenville in 1795 a line was drawn 
from east to west across what is now the state 
of Ohio and thence south to the Ohio River. 
Beyond this line the whites agreed not to make 
settlements, and the Indians agreed not to molest 
any one living east of it. An exception was made 
to the first part of the bargain by the Indians 
giving to the United States certain reservations 
at important points where forts could be erected 
to protect traders. Among the sixteen reserva- 
tions provided for by the treaty of Greenville 
was one for "a space six miles square at the 
mouth of the Chicago river where a fort formerly 
stood." This reference to a fort was no doubt 
to the traditional French fort erected in 1685 as 
an outpost to Fort St. Louis. It was probably 
nothing more than a barricaded hut. 

By 1803 trade had increased along Lake Michi- 
gan to such an extent that the erection of a fort 
at some point on its shore was felt to be im- 
perative. It is said that the mouth of the St. 



94 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



Joseph River was first contemplated; but there 
was no reservation at that point, as demonstrated 
on the map made by Morse in 1796. Hence 
Secretary of War Dearborn chose the reservation 
at the mouth of the Chicago River as a proper 
site. Fort Renault, at Detroit, had long been 
garrisoned by several companies of the First In- 
fantry. One of these was selected to proceed to 
the Chicago River and to erect the proposed 
fort. Captain John Whistler, with some of his 
officers and the women, came around the lakes 
by boat to the mouth of the St. Joseph and 
thence crossed the lake by way of Fort Wayne. 

One may faintly imagine the appearance of the 
mouth of the river when these troops arrived in 
August, 1803. Scrub oaks dotted the sandy 
shores, replaced by trees of a larger growth out 
toward the fertile prairies on the westward. The 
river flowed sluggish and silent between low- 
lying, sedgy banks. Evidences of Indian encamp- 
ments and huts of traders could be seen on all 
sides. Indeed, the soldiers found a French trader, 
Le Mai, living in a small cabin near the mouth 
of the river. Nearby dwelt Ouilmette (Wil- 
mette), a half-breed Indian. Before the snows 
of winter covered the drifting sands the soldiers 
and artificers had constructed two blockhouses, 
quarters for the officers and barracks for the 
privates, and had surrounded the whole by a high 
connecting stockade, with a second lower palisade 
outside. A subway was dug through the sand 
to the river to supply the fort with water in case 
of a siege. Near the fort was built the log house 
or "factory," as such adjuncts to forts were 
called, where the government trader exchanged 
his stores for skins brought in by the savages 
and private traders. 

Not only were the general surroundings of the 
mouth of the river different from those of the 
present day. The river itself has been so changed 
in its course that a map is necessary to show 
it as the troops found it. A sandbar had accum- 
ulated across the mouth, possibly caused by 
that mysterious current in Lake Michigan which 
deposits bars en the north side of obstructions 
on the west shore. The bar had pushed the 
mouth as far south as the Madison street of the 
present city. This is well illustrated on a govern- 
ment map issued when the first proposition to 
convert the river into a harbor was being con- 
sidered by Congress. In the bend of the stream 
the fort was located. The drifting sand had made 
a kind of hillock or high ground at this point. 

Between 1803 and 1812 the history of Fort 
Dearborn, as the fort gradually became known 
through compliment to the Secretary of War 



who established it, is almost a blank. There was 
always one company stationed here, but it must 
have been a dreary and monotonous life on the 
sands along the shore. From time to time the 
"factor" made his report to the government, 
showing a prosperous trade. A few houses were 
built near the fort, that of Mr. Kinzie, just across 
the river, beinij the most prominent. The poplar 
trees in front of his house figure in all early 
sketches of Fort Dearborn, looking northward. 

The year 1812 found the entire Northwest 
alarmed over the Indian rising under Tecumseh. 
Burning cabin and scalped settler warned the 
whites to fly to the nearest fort. Even the 
safety of Fort Dearborn was questioned, lying 
so far in the Indian country. Orders were given 
to the commandant to evacuate and retreat to 
Fort Wayne if he deemed it best to do so. At- 
tempting to carry out these orders, the body of 
troops and settlers was attacked by the Indians 
near the present foot of Eighteenth street. Twen- 
ty-six of the fifty-four regulars were killed, to- 
gether with twelve militiamen, two women and 
twelve children. Five more regulars, it is said, 
were put to death after surrender. The prison- 
ers were then distributed among the various 
tribes for service. Eventually nearly all were 
ransomed or made their escape. For many years 
a tree known as the "massacre tree" stood near 
the lake and presumably near the scene of the 
attack on the women in the wagons. It has been 
replaced by a spirited group in bronze repre- 
senting the rescue of Mrs. Helm by a friendly 
Indian, Black Partridge. 

At the close of the war of 1812 the fort was 
rebuilt on the same site, but of different design. 
One block house was now felt to be sufficient. 
Settlers and traders gradually reoccupied their 
old quarters. The fearful experience of the mas- 
sacre was never repeated: So peaceful were the 
savages that in 1823 the troops were withdrawn 
from Fort Dearborn to garrison posts further 
west. However, in 1828, owing to the uneasiness 
of the Winnebago Indians, a company of regu- 
lars came up from St. Louis to reoccupy the old 
fort. The commanding officer was annoyed to 
find that the sandbar across the mouth of the 
river prevented him getting his supply boats 
into a place of safety from the storms on the 
treacherous lake front. He employed his men 
in digging a temporary channel through the bar 

a prophecy of the later Chicago harbor; buf 
the currents soon filled it up after the troops 
were withdrawn. 

In 1832 the Black Hawk war brought General 
Scott and a large body of troops to rendezvous 



THE BIGINNINGS OF CHICAGO 



95 



at the deserted Fort Dearborn. Once more the 
attention of Congress was called to the fact that 
vessels on Lake Michigan could not approach a 
fort which had been built to protect that body 
of water. Shipping must lie in the offing and 
discharge their cargoes by lighters. Various re- 
ports from engineers connected with the troops 
stationed at the fort had called attention to the 
same obstacle, and also to the ease with which 
the mouth of the river might be converted into 
a harbor. It needed only two parallel piers out 
into the lake and dredging between them. No 
other point in the vicinity offered such possibil- 
ities. The value of the property, destroyed in 
one season by the storms on that portion of the 
lake, it was declared, would go far toward mak- 
ing a harbor. Frequently auctions were held to 
dispose of the cargo of unlucky vessels caught 
on the unprotected shore. 

Such arguments brought from Congress in 1833 
the first appropriation for straightening, deepen- 
ing and widening the Chicago River and con- 
verting it into a magnificent harbor. These ap- 
propriations were small at first, aggregating only 
$486,000 in nearly forty years; but were increased 
from time to time with the increased demands 
of trade until they have now passed the four 
million dollar point for the Chicago River and 
harbor alone. It is interesting to note that al- 
most contemporaneous with the first appropria- 
tion an enterprising trader killed and packed 
meat for shipment to Detroit instead of sending 
the cattle and hogs on foot, as had been the 
practice. About the same time small elevators 
began to appear on the banks of the river. 
Grain was hauled to them in wagons from the 
prairies and lifted by rope and bucket to the 
top of the building, to run through chutes on 
the other side to the hold of a waiting vessel. 

Fort Dearborn, near the mouth of the stream, 
formed one of the centers of growth of the em- 
bryo city: the junction of the two branches, 
commonly known as "Wolf's Point," became an- 
other. A sketch made at the latter place in 1832 
shows on the left the Wentworth tavern or 
trading house, and on the right the Miller house, 
which was also used as tavern and residence. 
Between them ran a log bridge across the north 
branch of the river. Only by comparing the 
scene with a modern photograph taken from the 
same standpoint is the change in the river and 
surroundings appreciable. Passing down the 
main stream to the right, one reaches a point on 
the bank opposite to that once occupied by the 
old fort and beholds a similar transformation. 
Where the rope ferry was once poled across the 



river a great bridge now swings noiselessly to 
allow magnificent vessels to pass to docks be- 
yond. Wharves line the shore where rushes 
formerly flourished in the swampy margins. The 
sand between the fort and the river has been 
dredged away to allow great floating hotels to 
lie at dock and await the coming of passengers. 
A large part of the site of the old fort is now 
under the Chicago River. 

The lake traffic, which gave the first impetus 
to modern Chicago, increased enormously be- 
tween 1830 and 1870. The appearance of steam 
vessels and ths harbor imorovements were largely 
responsible for this growth. The exact time of 
the coming of the first steamer is in dispute, al- 
though it must have been near 1830. At the end 
of 1836 it was recorded that 212 vessels had been 
able to get inside the river. In 1854 there were 
forty-six vessels plying regularly between Chi- 
cago and other ports. In 1871 more than twelve 
thousand vessels entered and cleared from the 
Chicaeo harbor. 

About 1830 railways, instead of canals, were 
advocated in the United States to connect navig- 
able waterways. Few imagined that the rail- 
ways could ever supplant the canals. A railway 
from the head of Lake Michigan to the Missis- 
sippi, or even to the Rock River, was for many 
years a Chicago vision. By 1848 it had been 
realized to some extent. The problem of con- 
veying lead from the mines at Galena to the 
lake caused that city to be made the proposed 
western terminus. The locomotive "Pioneer," 
now preserved in the Field Columbian Museum, 
was brought to Chicago by steamer and was put 
to work on the few miles of strap iron laid on 
stringers placed end to end on piling driven into 
the wet prairie between the Chicago and the 
Desplaines rivers. This was the Galena & Chi- 
cago Union Railway, whose frame passenger 
station stood for many years just west of and 
across the North Branch from the present North- 
Western station on Wells street. 

By the middle of the century the rival rail- 
ways between Lake Erie and Lake Michigan, 
the one constructed through "Central" Michigan 
and the other through "Southern" Michigan, 
rounded the head of the lake and came into the 
city simultaneously. The Michigan Central and 
the Illinois Central came along the lake front on 
piling driven into the water, which carried them 
as far north as the foot of the nresent Randolph 
street. Between this piling and the beach, now 
Michigan avenue, pleasure boats were sailed and 
rowed, giving the people of Chicago the use of 
a lake front which they have not since known. 



96 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



The railroads soon began to fill in the lake front, 
compelling the public to go beyond them in a 
park made by artificial means. Michigan ave- 
nue, formerly the beach of the lake, is now far 
inland, and the mouth of the river at the foot 
of Madison street exists only in tradition. Term- 
inal yards and tall buildings occupy that part of 
the former site of Fort Dearborn which has not 
been dredged away in straightening the river. 
The old mouth is now a part of the new Lake 
Front Park. 

After the finrl evacuation of the fort the prop- 
erty was put in the care of the engineer in charge 
of the river improvements. The reservation of 
six miles square made by the treaty of Green- 
ville was a transaction with the Indians and was 
distinct from the United States reservation for 
the fort. The latter, amounting to about seventy- 
five acres, lay in the shape of a triangle having 
its apex at the fort. The base line crossed 
diagonally from the river near the foot of Dear- 
born street to the lake shore near the foot of 
Madison street. Under the law of 1819, which 
gave permission to the Secretary of War to dis- 
pose of military sites no longer needed, that of- 
ficial yielded to petitions from the citizens of 
Chicago and in 1839 divided the reservation into 
town lots to be sold at auction. Certain por- 
tions were reserved for public use. One of these 
became Dearborn Park and is now occupied by 
the Chicago Public Library. 

The fort reservation will account for only a 
small portion of the land occupied by the city 
of Chicago. The remainder of the site, lying 
along the river and both branches, was included 
in the 290,000 acres of lan,d given by the national 
government to construct a canal over the Chi- 
cago-Desplaines portage. The streets, much as" 
they are to-day, were laid off at right angles to 
each other across this proposed town site and 
the lots were sold at auction in 1830 for the 
benefit of the canal fund. Certain reservations 
were made for school purposes, as well as a 
square for a courthouse. The latter ground is 
now occupied by the county and city buildings. 
At the sale the lots along the south branch near 
the junction brought the highest price. The 
average price of all the lots was about three 
hundred dollars. The site of the present Sher- 
man House brought forty dollars. 

Much of the ill repute of. Chicago in early days 
can be traced to the topography of the city. 
Water would not drain naturally from the low 
plain on which it was built. Cellars were almost 
impossible. Deluded purchasers found their lots 
under water. Between 1855 and 1860 the grade 



of the entire city was raised, in some places 
more than ten feet. An old painting in the Chi- 
cago Historical Society's building shows the 
comical appearance presented by the city during 
this period of elevation. Entire rows of build- 
ings rested temporarily upon blocks and jack- 
screws. Pavements were on different levels. 
The conditions of things must have conduced to 
sobriety, since the late return home of the typ- 
ical club man would have been an impossibility. 
The streets were filled to the new level and 
the old warped planks, which bespattered the 
pedestrian when a vehicle chanced to pass. 

About this time the little courthouse, which 
had done service since 1837 in the public square 
on the corner of Washington and Clark streets, 
was replaced by a two-story stone building, to 
which was added a third story in due time. A 
lawn both at the front and back of the build- 
ing afforded space for public meetings. The 
leading statesmen of the day graced the rostrum 
of the old courthouse steps. 

The beginnings of Chicago may well close 
with her re-baptism in the fire of 1871. With- 
out this blessing in disguise it would have taken 
years to clean out the unsightly buildings due 
to the growth of the city from a frontier post. 
The easiest way to be rid of having to wear the 
clothing which one has outgrown is to burn it. 
Wooden pavements and frame buildings are 
stages of development, Chicago was done with 
both in the business district at one direful 
stroke. Only those who passed through the ex- 
perience of the fire know its horrors. Only those 
who study a map of the "burned district" realize 
the space which it swept over. 

The chief problem the Chicago of today must 
deal with is the river. How to provide for inter- 
urban movement with water traffic across the 
principal streets has claimed the attention of en- 
gineers and experts. Few other cities face the 
same problem. Generally the river or harbor is 
to be found at one side of the city proper, or it 
is not so long and narrow as the one which 
penetrates into the very heart of Chicago. How 
essential the river was to the founding and the 
growth of the city it has been the endeavor of the 
foregoing pages to show. Without the river 
there never would have been a Chicago. Can the 
prosperity of the city continue without the free 
use of the river for commerce? We have tried* 
nearly every conceivable manner of crossing that 
stream and yet not interfering with traffic. We 
have crawled under it in tunnels. We have gone 
around it in belt lines. We have made bridges 



THE BEGINNINGS OF CHICAGO 



97 



that turn, that open, that lift, that slide any- 
thing to reconcile land and water traffic. 

The history of Chicago falls naturally into 
three periods. The French occupancy two hun- 
dred years ago, interesting though it is, has no 
real connection with the modern city. The sec- 
ond stage, that of Fort Dearborn and the troops, 
which covered nearly thirty years, is only re- 
motely connected with the modern commercial 
center. Industrial Chicago began with the open- 
ing of the harbor in 1833. Yet the building of 
the fort marked the beginning of continuous gov- 
ernment under the United States. The stars and 
stripes, once raised on the staff near the middle 
of the fort, have floated over the city to this 
day. The protecting hand of the United States 
government, represented in the troops a century 
ago, in the land given for digging the old canal, 
and in the appropriations for the improvement 
of the harbor, has never been withdrawn. 

No city in the United States can excel Chi- 
cago in the picturesqueness of her past. No city 
has had such a succession of varied and striking 
types. Above her busy streets and lofty build- 
ings pass in historic shade the Jesuit, the trap- 
per, the trader, the pioneer, the soldier, the land 
speculator, the promoter each contributing his 
unconscious part to the making of an American 
city. The canal, which Joliet wished to cut 



across the Chicago portage but to which La 
Salle objected because the stage of water would 
make it serviceable during only a small portion 
of the year, was realized nearly two centuries 
later by the Illinois and Michigan Canal. It has 
now been practically abandoned and superseded 
by a parallel artificial waterway designed for a 
ship canal. 

That this service will ever be rendered by the 
Drainage Canal is unlikely because three great 
trans-continental lines of railways traverse the 
length of the portage. An electric trolley has 
been added as if to make a prophecy of the 
future. Where the Jesuit and his donnes once 
dragged their sledges by head bands and straps, 
where the coureur du bois tied his bright-colored 
sash about his embroidered hunting shirt and 
set afresh his pudding-bag cap before bending to 
the burden of his boat, giant locomotives now 
drag mile-long freight trains or whirl portable 
hotels over the old Chicago portage. 

Some day when all this is materialized on a 
commemorative column or historic arch, when 
it stands in enduring pageantry on a memorial 
bridge, Chicago will mean more to one class of 
its citizens than a place to make a fortune and 
to another than a place of securing daily bread. 
Civic as well as national pride rests most se- 
curely on veneration for the past. 




NORWEGIAN CHURCHES IN 

ILLINOIS 1 



The Norwegian Synod 



By Rev. Alfred O. Johnson. 



I. ORGANIZATION. 

When the pioneers of the Norwegian emi- 
grants left their native shores for the broad 
plains of America, they took little with them 
but their families, their determination and their 
faith in God. Like Norwegians in general, their 
character was religious. There were two factors 
in the life of the Norwegians of those years 
which tended to bend the character in a deep 
religious channel. So far as the majority of 
them was concerned, the conditions of life were 
hard on the western coast of Norway. Life was 
spent between the beetling mountains and the 
roaring waves. Almost every male was obliged 
to buffet the waves for a livelihood. In the 
eastern half of the country, life was perhaps not 
so precarious, but even there the livelihood was 
wrested from a strip of land that would be con- 
sidered quite inadequate in this land of plenty. 
Then again, every one though his schooling in 
secular branches was ever so meagre, had re- 
ceived a thorough drill in the elements of relig- 
ion. The devout mothers were their first teach- 
ers, afterwards came the school master and last 
of all the pastor. These conditions had much to 
do with molding the character of the early pio- 
neers. It is but natural that such characters, 
encountering the dangers of a long voyage, the 
difficulties and hardships, the privations and toil 
of pioneer life on Uie western frontier, should 
turn for strength to Him whose love had been 
instilled into their minds from childhood. 

It is not strange that the first regularly or- 
dained pastor, who ventured into the West to 
bring the comforts of the Gospel to his country- 



men, should be accorded a welcome such as 
might be given a prince and should find such an 
exceptional eagerness to join the congregations 
which he organized. 

During the interim that elapsed between the 
first settlement in the Northwest in 1834 and the 
coming of the pioneer clergyman, J. W. C. Diet- 
richson, the religious instruction had been mea- 
gre and unorganized. In most cases that ideal 
condition existed where every father is priest in 
his own household. Under these circumstances 
the logical development was that certain laymen 
would feel themselves called upon to minister to 
their brethren. Among those who assumed this 
work in the different settlements are mentioned; 
Ole Hetletveit, Jorgen Peterson, Bjjzirn Hatles- 
tad, Ole O. Omdal, Endre and Herman Osmund- 
son Aaragerbae, Kleng Skaar, Even Heg, Aslak 
Aar, Peder Asbj0rnson Mehus, John Brakestad 
and Knu'd Peterson. None of these, however, 
attained such general importance in the early 
pioneer religious life as Erling Egilson Sunven 
or as he is more generally known Elling Eielsen, 
who came to America in 1839. He was born in 
Voss and exhibited very early in life an intensely 
religious character. While yet young he began 
to travel about as a lay preacher and gained 
quite a reputation as an earnest, forceful speaker. 
At the age of 35 he emigrated to America and 
four years after his arrival was ordained to the 
ministry by Rev. F. A. Hoffman of Duncan's 
Grove, 111., and labored ceaselessly as such 
among his countrymen. Until his death in 1883 
he continued to be an important factor in the 
history of the Norwegian church of America. 
These were all laymen whose education was of 
the most meager description. It is said of Eiel- 
sen that he could not write. Many of them, 
however, were well versed in their Bibles. They 
were all Lutherans, at least, in name. There 
were others who labored amongst the new- 
comers in the different settlements representing 



(98) 



NORWEGIAN CHURCHES IN ILLINOIS 



various sects but who generally attempted to 
work under Lutheran colors. 

John G. Smith, a Swede, came to Koshkonong 
in 1841. He worked with considerable success, 
but is was finally discovered that he was a Bap- 
tist, and he was obliged to leave. 

Ole Hanson, nicknamed Ole "The Consul" was 
a Methodist lay preacher whose field was chiefly 
Rock Prairie and Highland, Wisconsin. Another 
man, who for a time seemed to succeed was G. 
Unonius, a Swedish Episcopal minister, who or- 
ganized a congregation at Pine Lake, Wis., con- 
sisting of both Norwegians and Swedes and later 
on one in Chicago. 

Up to this time it might be said that there 
had been an abundance of preaching, such as it 
was, but there had been no worship after the 
ritual and customs of the Mother Church. Most 
of the lay preachers were followers of Hans 
Nielsen Hauge and held the forms of the state 
church in disrespect. Meetings had been held in 
the different settlements but as yet no congre- 
gations were organized. 

The first regular Norwegian Lutheran Congre- 
gation to be organized in America was at Mus- 
kego, Wis., in 1843. Rev. J. W. C. Dietrichson 
tells of the events connected with its organiza- 
tion in his book, "Travels among the Norwegian 
Immigrants." 

In the fall of 1843, steps were taken towards 
the organization of a congregation here Mus- 
kego, Wis., with Clausen as pastor. As it is of 
considerable importance and interest touching 
the religious condition among the Norwegians, I 
must here speak more of this man. Claus Laurit- 
zen Clausen, at that time about 26 years of age, 
was born on the Island of Ar0 in Denmark. In 
his yauth he was awakened to a realization of 
the truth of Christianity but for some years was 
effected by pietistic and partly by Baptist errors 
until God in his mercy gradually lead him to a 
firm churchly stand. He was greatly aided by 
his acquaintance with several Christian preach- 
ers in Sjaslland, particularly P. A. Fenger, F. 
Boiscn and Grundtvig, and the latters' writings. 
For some time a burning desire had filled his 
heart to be an instrument in the hands of God 
to proclaim the word of Life to his fellowmen. 
This desire received new life when he heard of 
Rev. Schroeder's determination to go as a mis- 
sionary to the heathens. He went, therefore, to 
Christiania and spoke to Schroeder about going 
with him, but through the many difficulties that 
presented themselves, he believed that he saw an 
indication from the Lord that he was not to be 
led that way. During his stay in Norway, he 



received a request from a merchant, T. O. Backe 
in Drammen, a prominent follower of Hauge, to 
go to America and labor as a school teacher 
among the Norwegians. This request, he thought 
on account of several reasons, he ought to fol- 
low. When he came to Wisconsin in 1843 to the 
Norwegian colony at Muskego, he soon under- 
stood that it would be a mistake to labor as a 
school teacher under conditions which, ecclesiasti- 
cally, were so unsettled as they were among the 
Norwegian immigrants. He soon saw that the 
school in which it was his intention to labor 
could ha_ye no solid backing so long as it had no 
church upon which it could lean and under whose 
authority and in whose interest it might work. 
He, therefore, confined himself to the work of 
reading sermons from different postils for sucl* 
circles as gathered themselves about him for this 
purpose. The desire to have a minister amongst 
them developed more and more clearly, particu- 
larly in certain of the leaders of the settlement. 
Believing that there was no prospect of getting 
a minister from Norway, they talked the matter 
over with several of the pioneers and sent Clau- 
sen a written call to become the pastor of the 
colony. Clausen clearly saw that he dared not, 
even though he was called in regular order, as- 
sume the responsibility of the sacred office un- 
less he had been examined and regularly or- 
dained by an ordained pastor of the Lutheran 
Church. The colony then went to one of the 
German Lutheran ministers, Rev. L. F. E. Krause,. 
who was then serving a German Lutheran con- 
gregation in Washington county not far from 
Milwaukee. Although Clausen had not taken a 
regular course in theology, Krause considered it 
his duty, under the conditions, to comply with? 
the request of his Norwegian brethren. He there- 
fore examined Clausen, and found, according to 
his written testimony, that he had a thorough 
knowledge of the Word of God and particularly 
of Church history, and ordained him on the 18th 
of October, 1843, for the settlement of Muskego, 
according to the ritual for ordination of ministers 
of the Norwegian church. By this call from the 
settlement of Muskego to Clausen and by his 
subsequent ordination, the first steps were taken 
toward a regular organization of religious work 
among the immigrants. From now on, Clausen 
preached the Word of God and administered the 
sacraments. 

The year after a constitution was drafted and^ 
the ritual of the Church of Norway was adopted. 

The next ordained laborer among the Norweg- 
ians was the above mentioned J. W. C. Dietrich- 
son. In the summer of 1843, Dietrichson had 



100 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



made the acquaintance of an earnest Christian 
man in Christiania, P. S0rensen, a dyer by trade, 
who has the h^nor of having given the first im- 
pulse to the mission among the Norwegian im- 
migrants in America. During their acquaintance 
. they talked of Schroeder's mfssion to the heath- 
ens in Africa and naturally turned to the breth- 
ren in faith in America, and S0rensen, who had 
thought seriously of the matter, asked Dietrich- 
son if he did not feel called upon to undertake a 
visit to America to investigate the religious con- 
dition of the Norwegians and help to organize 
congregations and lay the foundation for a regu- 
lar church amongst them. Mr. S0rensen offered 
to defray the expenses of the trip. This request 
and offer touched and interested Dietrichson be- 
cause it came from a man, who, though well to 
do, was not wealthy. Dietrichson says: "I had 
often thought with anxiety of the brethren in 
America, exposed to all manner of errors, but it 
had never occurred to me that I should be sent 
to labor amongst them. I became more and 
more interested in their condition and as I saw 
the importance of such an undertaking, I pon- 
dered over the matter and consulted several (Chris- 
tian men, whose judgment I placed above my 
own, as to their opinion in the matter. Encour- 
aged by them I concluded, in faith in God who 
is powerful in the weak, to heed the request, pro- 
vided I was given the ordination of the Norweg- 
ian church. It was clear to me as well as to 
those I consulted, that if I was to accomplish 
anything among the immigrants, it was necessary 
for me to labor with the authority which the or- 
dination of the church alone can give in such 
matters, and only when this had been granted 
me, could I have the courage to accept the call. 
I applied, therefore, for ordination as minister, 
and my request was granted on October 4, 1843." 
Dietrichson left Norway May 21, 1844, and 
landed in New York July 9, together with about 
900 immigrants. He went from New York over 
Albany and Buffalo to Milwaukee where he ar- 
rived Aug. 5. The next day he traveled the 
twenty miles to Muskego. Here he immediately 
found Clausen who knew that he had left Nor- 
way and had been waiting patiently for him. 
Dietrichson immediately began his labors. He 
traveled from settlement to settlement preaching 
and taking the preliminary steps toward the or- 
ganization of congregations. The first congrega- 
tion organized in this manner with a regularly 
ordained minister from Norway as its pastor was 
on Koshkonong Prairie in 1844. It is between 
the months of August, 1844, and May, 1845, that 
we hear the first reports of organized religious 



work in Illinois. During this time Dietrichson 
visited settlements in Illinois as well as in Wis- 
consin and congregations were organized at 
Long Prairie, 111., Stevenson and Winnebago 
counties, 111., and at Chicago. During the years 
that followed, several new ministers from Nor- 
way had arrived in response to calls sent them 
by newly organized congregations. From 1851 
to 1853 several meetings were held by the pas- 
tors and delegates from the congregations for 
the purpose of effecting a general organization 
but not until October 4, 1885, at Luther Valley, 
Wis., was the organization completed of what 
has since been known as the Norwegian Synod 
of America. The size of the Synod at its organi- 
zation can not be ascertained. We have, how- 
ever, a paragraph in the report of the Temporary 
Church Council from February, 1853, which says 
that the church body consisted of thirty-eight 
congregations, three in Illinois, four in Iowa, and 
thirty-one in Wisconsin. 

II. DEVELOPMENT. 

One of the characteristics of the Norwegian 
Synod has been its strict and uncompromising 
adherence to, the Word of God. On this account 
it has been obliged to defend itself against the 
attacks of enemies. It has passed through a 
number of bitter controversies but never has it 
been the originator of one. It has always been 
on the defensive. 

(a) Controversy Regarding Lay Workers in the 
Church. 

One of the first controversies which shook the 
foundation of the young organization was re- 
garding the work of laymen. Elling Eielsen and 
a number of other followers of Hauge had 
brought with them from Norway disrespect for 
church order. He used every opportunity to rid- 
icule the church and its pastors, calling them 
"ministers of the State Church with long gowns" 
and the congregations that had called them he 
designated "the great throng of the world, Babel, 
etc.," while he called his own followers "the lit- 
tle flock of God's true children." 

Eielsen differed widely with the Synod in re- 
spect to the work of laymen in the church. He 
considered an inner desire to preach the word of 
God as sufficient call and that such a person 
should be permitted to preach the word of God 
as _he felt moved by the Spirit. The Synod, on 
the contrary, held that God has instituted the 
public ministry for the edification of the Chris- 
tians and that He has instituted no other office 
to exist side by side with it; that when any one 



NORWEGIAN CHURCHES IN ILLINOIS 



101 



assumes public preaching of the Word, he as- 
sumes the office of public ministry, which it is a 
sin to assume without a regular call. It is both 
the right and the duty of any Christian who can, 
in case of distress, to preach the Word of God. A 
case of distress exists either when there is no 
minister or when the minister does not rightly 
serve his congregation, so that its members are 
obliged to suffer from want of spiritual care. 
Such distress, however, should always be allevi- 
ated in an orderly and Christian manner. The 
standpoint of the Synod upon this question is 
still the same. It believes, as it always has be- 
lieved, in utilizing the lay abilities which may be 
found in the congregation but always in an or- 
derly manner subservient to the welfare of the 
church. 

(b) Controversy Regarding the Third Com- 
mandment. 

The first congregations had not been in exist- 
ence long before the Seventh Day Adventists be- 
gan laboring among them to deprive them of 
their Christian liberty and bind them to the let- 
ter of the law. Their point of attack was the 
doctrine of the Third Commandment, and they 
insisted on the necessity of keeping the seventh 
day holy. They succeeded in arousing confu- 
sion in the minds of many who called themselves 
Lutherans and while the Synod at first was 
obliged to defend itself against the attacks of the 
Seventh Day Adventists, it was later on com- 
pelled to meet the attacks, accusations and false 
doctrine of the so-called Lutherans who had been 
aroused by the Adventists. The controversy was 
waged with considerable bitterness. The Synod 
defended its doctrine contained in five points set 
forth by the Rev. Ottesen: 

1. When the Third Commandment says, re- 
member the Sabbath Day to keep it holy, "Sab- 
bath Day" has not for us Christians any such 
definite reference to a certain day as it has for 
the Jews. (Col. 2-13; Rom. 14-5, 6; Gal. 4-9, 10.) 

2. For us Christians by Sabbath Day in the 
Third Commandment is meant every day, our 
whole life, which is to be for us a spiritual Sab- 
bath Day for Christ. 

3. This spiritual Sabbath Day which accord- 
ingly is a Christian's whole life, we shall, accord- 
ing to the Third Commandment, keep holy, and 
this is done by diligent and right use of the word 
of God. This is the moral part of the Third 
Commandment, which is binding for all times. 

4. That which in the. present time binds us 
Christians to keep. Sunday is therefore, (a) the 
rule and practice of the Christian church that we 



are to follow for the sake of peace and love ac- 
cording to Phil. 4-8, 9; Rom. 14-13; 1 Cor. 33; 
(b) the law of our government regarding Sun- 
day which we must obey for the sake of God 
according to the Fourth Commandment and 1 
Peter 2-15. 

5. Therefore we sin by performing unneces- 
sary labor on Sunday (a) against the Third Com- 
mandment by transgressing the law of the gov- 
ernment; (b) against the Third Commandment 
if we thereby neglect and despise the word of 
God; (c) against love because we, without rea- 
son, break ths rule and practice of the Christian 
church and create offense. 

(c) Controversy Regarding Slavery. 

It was but natural that in the days preced- 
ing the Civil War the public mind should be 
full of suspicion and jealousy toward every event 
or utterance that seemed to imply a defense of 
the slavery of the South. When Prof. Laur. 
Larson, in the spring of 1861, returned from St. 
Louis where he had been stationed temporarily 
as a professor for the Norwegian students fre- 
quenting Concordia College, he was asked by the 
paper "Emigranten" whether or not it was true 
that th professors of the college sympathized 
with the South. That he did not answer the 
question immediately was construed as an ad- 
mission of the truth of the accusation implied, 
and he was attacked publicly for his belief. He 
responded by showing that the Bible nowhere 
condemns slavery, . and that slavery in itself, 
stripped of all its evils and abuses, is not sin. 
This led to a controversy in which the majority 
of the pastors of the Synod took the side of 
Prof. Larson, while the opposition was led by 
Rev. C. L. Clausen. 

In the heat of the controversy, the standpoint 
of the Synod was taken as a defense of the 
slavery of the South and subjected it to much 
misunderstanding and abuse. That the belief in 
slavery, if it could be separated from its con- 
comitant evils of abuse and cruelty, did not mean 
sympathy with the South, is best proven by the 
fact that many who held that view took up arms 
and fought in the ranks of the Union army to 
abolish the slavery of the South. This disagree- 
ment led Rev. Clausen to withdraw from the 
Synod in 1868. The congregation at Lee, Illinois, 
had severed its connect : on with the Synod on 
account of this question in 1863 but was reac- 
cepted in 1868. 

(d) Controversy Regarding Predestination. 
The controversies that hitherto had been waged 
in the Synod were often bitter and their conse- 



102 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



quences sad to behold but the Synod had yet to 
experience the controversy that was most bitter 
in its intensity and most far reaching in its ef- 
fects. Brothers became estranged, fathers stood 
pitted against sons, and relatives looked askance 
at one another as they took opposite sides in the 
great question of predestination. 

In the year 1881 Prof. F. A. Schmidt, of the 
theological Seminary of the Synod located at 




St. Paul's Church, Chicago. 

Madison, Wis., accused his fellow teachers and 
co-laborers of teaching dangerous doctrines re- 
garding predestination. These accusations were 
met by vigorous denials. The standpoint of the 
two parties in this controversy is perhaps most 
clearly set forth in the statements of the parties 
themselves. Prof. Schmidt condemned as un- 
godly teaching what his opponents in their "Re- 
degj0relse III: 21" said: "We denounce the 



synergistic doctrine that salvation, in a certain 
sense, does not depend upon God alone." In op- 
position to this Prof. Schmidt declared: "I believe 
and teach, now as before, that it is not a syner- 
gistic error but a doctrine clearly taught in the 
word of God and in our Lutheran confession thai 
"salvation in a certain sense does not depend 
upon God alone." 

Kirketidende, the official organ of the Synod, 
spoke of this in the following manner: "He 
(Schmidt) does not adduce any proof from the 
word of God or from the Lutheran confession. 
On the contrary he applies his customary deduc- 
tions of reason and claims, that if salvation de- 
pends upon God alone, then damnation depends 
upon God alone also and then his grace must be 
irresistible. Because it really is impious to teach 
an irresistible grace and to give God the blame 
for damnation, therefore it is also impious doc- 
trine to claim that when a person is saved, it is 
effected by God alone. What do we mean when 
we say that salvation depends upon God alone? 
We mean that it is God alone who effects a per- 
son's salvation and that he who is saved is in- 
debted to God alone therefore and not in the 
slightest degree to himself. This Prof. Schmidt 
condemns as an impious doctrine." 

From this question of predestination the de- 
bate grew to involve also the question of God's 
universal grace, of conversion and of the right 
of the faithful to be certain of salvation. 

For about eight years this controversy was car- 
ried on with intense bitterness. The lines be- 
came more and more clearly drawn and in the 
years 1887 and 1888, the followers of Schmidt 
gradually withdrew from the Synod. The effects 
of this greatest and saddest of the controversies 
between the Norwegian Lutherans of America 
are still felt all over the North-West. Where one 
pastor might serve a large and flourishing con- 
gregation, there are often two struggling con- 
gregations, each trying to support a pastor, 
separated by the controversy of predestination. 
Sometime in the future, when the bitterness and 
struggle is forgotten, a merciful Providence may 
reunite on the firm basis of his Word that which 
has been severed and make the Norwegian Luth- 
eran Church what it ought to be, a power for 
the salvation and elevation of the Norwegian 
Americans. 

Just previous to the separation, in 1886, the 
Synod comprised 193 pastors, 723 congregations 
and 143,885 souls. In 1889, after the separation 
had been effected, it consisted of 138 pastors, 512 
congregations and 93,891 souls showing that the 
number of those who left the Synod on account 



I 



NORWEGIAN CHURCHES IN ILLINOIS 



103 



of the controversary was approximately 55 pas- 
tors, 211 congregations and 49,994 souls. For 
further information the interested are referred to 
"Festskrift," published by the Luth. Pub. House, 
Decorah, Iowa, from which this sketch is culled. 
At present the Synod comprises 18 congrega- 
tions in Illinois. The history of the most im- 
portant one follows: 

OUR SAVIOUR'S NORWEGIAN EVANGEL- 
ICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH OF 
CHICAGO. 

Our Saviour's Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran 
Church of Chicago was organized by the Rev. 
Gustav F. Dietrichson, Jan. 18, 1858, at North 
Market Hall in Chicago. A large number of 
people had gathered at the call of Rev. Dietrich- 
son and Rev. J. S. Munch on the second Sunday 
after Epiphany of that year. After the service 
those who were interested in the organization of 
the congregation were asked to meet on the day 
following. An organization was effected and a 
constitution adopted, signed by 52 charter mem- 
bers. After the organization of the congrega- 
tion, it was decided to build a church; $504 were 
subscribed and the size of the church determined, 
70x40 feet, to be built on the N. W. cor. of N. May 
and W. Erie streets. Rev. G. F. Dietrichson was 
called as the newly organized congregation's 
pastor for one year. He was to conduct twelve 
services during the year and receive $150 and 
two offerings as remuneration. The church was 
dedicated March 27, 1859. In the years 1859 to 
1863 Rev. A. C. Preus seems to have served as 
the temporary pastor. In 1873 Rev. Krohn, who 
at that time was a student at St. Louis, was 
called as pastor of the congregation and was in- 
stalled the following summer. As early as 1860 
we find the congregation conducting a parochial 
school. 

The congregation gre\y and prospered and it 
soon became apparent that the frame structure 
in which they had worshipped was too small and 
that it was necessary to build a larger edifice. 
It was decided to build a brick church 116 feet 
long and 68 feet wide with a 48-foot chancel, a 
tower 190 feet high and a seating capacity of 
1,000 to cost $24,000. Work was begun in the 
summer of 1871, but the basement was scarcely 
completed when the fire of October 9, 1871 swept 
the city. 

As a consequence labor was postponed on the 
church and the basement temporarily occupied. 
In the meantime the price of building material 
and labor advanced so that when the church was 



finally completed in 1873, the cost was $42,000 
instead of $24,000. 

In 1876 Rev. Krohn, after having served the 
congregation for thirteen years, accepted a call 
to Filmore Co., Minnesota, where he died in 1889. 
He was succeeded by Rev. O. Juul. previously of 
New York City, who served the congregation 
until the autumn of 1893. It was during his pas- 
torate that the great controversy swept the 
Synod. Our Saviour's Church was also effected. 
After several years of unquietness about twenty 
families withdrew from the congregation. In 
1889 the congregation received into membership a 
large portion of the congregation whose church on 
the corner of E. Erie and Franklin streets, owing 




Our Saviour's Norwegian Lutheran Church. 

to conditions, had been sold and its pastor, Rev. 
Daniel Kvaase served between the years 1889 
and 1893 as co-ordinate pastor with Rev. Juul. 
In the summer of 1893 Kvaase accepted a call 
to Menominie, Wis., and Rev. Juul a call to 
Brandon, Minnesota. From 1893 to 1895 the con- 
gregation was served by Rev. Christian Preus, 
whose congregation in Dane and Columbia coun- 
ties, Wis., kindly granted him leave of absence 
until Our Saviour's Church should have secured 
a pastor. In 1895, the present pastor then serv- 
ing as vicar in Rev. Preus's congregations in 



104 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 






Wisconsin, accepted a call as pastor of the con- 
gregation and was installed June 16, 1895. 

The congregation has had a steady growth and 
has been blessed with peace and good under- 
standing barring the years 188G to 1888. If all 
those who are technically members of the con- 
gregation were counted, that is: all those who 
have become members of the congregation either 
by transfer, confirmation or profession and have 
not formally withdrawn their membership, the 
number might conservatively be placed at be- 
tween 2,000 and 3,000 souls. Counting, however, 
the live members, the congregation comprises 
about 700 souls. 

During its existence there have been in the 
congregation, baptized 4,235, confirmed 1,453, mar- 
ried 1,849 couples and buried 2,174. 

The congregation is at present in a flourishing 
condition and, in spite of the migration to the 
North-West of the city, hopes with the blessings 
of God to hold its own for some time to come, 
against the encroachment of adverse conditions 
and continue to wield its influence for the truth 
of God. 



The United Church. 

Rev. George Taylor Rygh, Editor. 
Introduction. 

The United Norwegian Lutheran Church of 
America was organized in Minneapolis, Minn., 
in June, 1890. The parties to the organization 
were the Anti-Missourian Brotherhood, the Dano- 
Norwegian Conference and the Augustana Synod. 

At present (1906) the United Church consists 
of 1,325 congregations. Its pastors and profes- 
sors number 453; its confirmed members, 152,- 
843; its total membership is 267,120. During the 
year 1905, 30,407 public services were conducted 
in Norwegian and 1,542 in English. There are 
4,065 teachers and 49,312 children in the Sunday 
schools. Parochial schools are conducted by 806 
teachers. 

During 1905, $92,000 were expended in mission- 
ary activity $40,000 for missions in the United 
States and Canada and $42,000 for missions in 
Madagascar and China. There are 97 missionar- 
ies in the home field, of whom 12 labor in Canada; 
in the foreign field 9 are in Madagascar and 13 
in China. A missionary is stationed at the state 
institutions for the deaf and dumb, the blind and 
epileptic, at Faribault, Minn. 

The United Church maintains a missionary for 



the immigrants in New York City; also a mis- 
sionary in Chicago. 

The United Church has children's homes at 
Beloit, Iowa; Lake Park, Minn., and Wittenberg, 
Wis. At Wittenberg the church also sustains a 
home for the aged. . The Deaconess Home and 
Hospital in Chicago is a United Church institu- 
tion. Private hospitals conducted by members 
of the United Church are located at Crookston, 
Minn.; Northwood, N. D. ; Grafton, N. D.; Fergus 
Falls, Minn.; Madison, Minn.; Zumbrota, Minn., 
and Austin, Minn. Hospitals are being planned 
for Minneapolis and Duluth, Minn.; Minot, N. 
D., and Eau Claire, Wib. 

The theological seminary at St. Anthony Park, 
Minn.; St. Olaf College at Northfield, Minn., 
and the normal school at Madison, Minn., are 
United Church schools. Augustana College, at 
Canton, S. D. ; St. Ansgar Institute, at St. Ansgar, 
Iowa; Waldorf College, at Story City, Iowa; 
Concordia College, at Moorhead, Minn.; Scan- 
dinavia Academy, Scandinavia, Wis.; Pleasant 
View Luther College, Ottawa, 111., are all con- 
trolled by members of the United Church, and 
with one exception, they receive an annual ap- 
propriation from the church. A college is in 
building in Spokane, and another at Everett, 
Wash. 

The net valuation of Augsburg Publishing 
House -in Minneapolis is $108.305.31. From the 
publishing house issues each week "Lutherane- 
ren'', the official organ of the church. Two Sun- 
day school papers, one Norwegian and one Eng- 
lish, as also a missionary journal, are published. 

The value of all property owned by the United 
Church is $725.193.18. 



ZION CHURCH, ELGIN, ILL. 
By Miss Aagot Rovelstad. 

On the 9th of October, 1882, some Norwegian 
and Danish people in Elgin, calling themselves 
a church society, met in a hall on Douglas avenue 
for the purpose of organizing a church. Andrew 
Rovelstad was made chairman and Gunnar Kors- 
moe, secretary. A committee of three men and 
three women was appointed to obtain members. 

The next meeting was held in the Swedish 
Lutheran Church, at which Rev. N. C. Brun, then 
of Chicago, presided. The committee on mem- 
bers reported fifty names of persons who wished 
to join the church. Each man, married or un- 



NORWEGIAN CHURCHES IN ILLINOIS 



105 



v 

a 

o 



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a 
o 



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ftlW 



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Oi t) 

Khn 
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a W 



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1015 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



married, was asked to pay 50 cents, and half this 
amount was asked from each of the unmarried 
women. Another committee was appointed to 
form a constitution. It was decided to have the 
same constitution as that of the Bethlehem Nor- 
wegian Lutheran Church of Chicago; this was 
read and approved at a meeting where Rev. 
Brun, and Rev. Omland, then of Jefferson Prairie, 
Wis., were present. The name was finally decided 
upon "Zion Norwegian-Danish Evangelical Lu- 
theran Church of Elgin". Three deacons were 
elected, namely, Peder Rovelstad for three years, 
P. C. Andersen for two years and P. Andersen 
for one year. Three trustees were also elected, 
namely, J. Espersen, three years; O. M. Rud, two 
years, and I. Larsen, one year. 

The church was organized on the 27th of Nov- 
ember, 1882, at a hall on the corner of Douglas 
avenue and Chicago street, which had been rented 
by the church for its meetings. Most of the 
members worked in the Elgin watch factory. The 
church, from the beginning, has had many dif- 
ficulties to contend with. Many of the members 
and some of the most faithful workers have 
moved to other towns where they have either 
engaged in business or accepted positions. 

The leaders in the organization were Rev. 
Omland, Rev. Brun, Mr. Peder Rovelstad, An- 
drew Rovelstad, Edward Holth, P. Undhjem and 
G. Korsmoe. 

At one time the membership reached close to 
one hundred, but at the present time there are 
about fifty members who pay regularly toward 
the church. 

In the spring of 1884, the purchase of a lot was 
considered. Hon. G. P. Lord, one of Elgin's 
oldest and most prominent citizens, gave to the 
congregation a lot on Griswold street, on the 
west side of the river. It was at once decided 
to build a church, and a committee was appointed 
to collect money to pay for its construction. Mr. 
and Mrs. Lord headed the list, each contributing 
$25. The church was built at a cost of $2,582.41, 
and was used first in October, 1884. Of the cost 
price there was paid $1,874.93, leaving a balance 
of $707.48 as a debt. 

Each minister received $10 for the Sunday he 
preached. Rev. Strand, of Elliott, 111., visited the 
church during the year 1885. 

Most of the Norwegian-Danish people live on 
the west side and near the church. The street 
car line is but a half block away. There are 
four rooms and a gallery in the church a large 
room in the basement, used for Sunday school, 
Wednesday prayer meetings and for the young 



people's society; a dining room, a kitchen and 
the auditorium. 

In the beginning, meetings were held when 
there was no minister. On these Sundays one 
of the deacons would lead in prayer and read 
the Scriptures. Peder Rovelstad was almost al- 
ways the leader at these meetings. A collection 
was always taken. 

In 1887 Rev. Gerhard Rasmussen accepted the 
call to preach every two weeks. Beginning the 
year 1888, he also preached in Carpentersville on 
the afternoon of the Sunday on which he visited 
Elgin. 

Andrew Rovelstad was sent as delegate to the 
United Church Convention in Minneapolis, Minn., 
in 1890. It was at this time that the United 
Church was organized and the church in Elgin 
joined it. 

In 1890 it was decided to have the minister live 
here, and a call was sent to Rev. William Ras- 
mussen, brother of the former pastor, Rev. Ger- 
hard Rasmussen. He lived in Elgin and served 
as pastor two years, after which he accepted a 
call to Waterford, Wis. The church was with- 
out a minister for some months. Rev. N. Arve- 
sen, of Chicago, visited- the congregation during 
this time. In 1893 Rev. Baker, of De Forest, 
Wis., came, preaching every third Sunday. 

A gallery for the organ and seating of the 
choir was built in 1893. This same year the 
Elgin church joined with the Norwegian-Danish; 
Church of Aurora in having the same minister. 
Rev. William .Eckmann, then of Chicago, was 
called to serve as minister and to preach at each 
place every other Sunday, both morning and 
evening. He made his home in Elgin. Rev. 
Eckmann remained in Elgin seven years. 

Thanksgiving Day evening, Nov. 27, 1902, a mis- 
sion meeting was held, when the twentieth an- 
niversary of the organisation of the church was 
celebrated. This was a most interesting meet- 
ing and largely attended. Rev. N. J. Lockrem 
was chairman for the evening. The congrega- 
tion was very sorry to have to accept Rev. Eck-- 
mann's resignation. He left for Norway in 
March, 1903. 

Rev. Ditman Larsen was then called, and is 
now the pastor. 

The officers at the present time are Ole Kors- 
moe, secretary, and E. Rovelstad, treasurer. The 
organist is Miss Kate Jevanord. 

The Sunday school has an average attendance i 
of about fifty children. Mr. Hyltoft, who for 
years had been organist of the church, also 
served as superintendent and organist of the 



NORWEGIAN CHURCHES IN ILLINOIS 



107 



iSunday school. There are now (1906) nine 
.teachers six girls and three men; superintend- 
ent, Mr. Stange; treasurer, Julius Johnson; 
pianist, Inga Knudsen. Miss Olga Christopher- 
sen resigned as organist and pianist this year, 
having filled this position since 1896. She and 
!Mrs. Stange have instructed the children in sing- 
ing for each Christmas festival and children's 
(day for many years. 

The Norwegian language is used altogether in 
our Sunday school. The idea of having English 
was once considered, but was not adopted, be- 
cause of the inability of getting enough capable 
teachers. 

In 3891 the church had a summer parochial 
school, with Miss Dina Nilsen as teacher. This 
school lasted but eight weeks. 

A girls' sewing society was organized by Mrs. 
Greenhill and Mrs. Andrew Rovelstad in 1898. 
They taught the children sewing; the meetings 
were held at the homes of the members. Mrs. 
Stange, Mrs. Ackerman and Mrs. Healy were 
afterward leaders. The society exists no longer, 
but another has been organized, composed of 
young ladies. The small girls' society did much 
for the church in a financial way. In 1899 it put 
in electric lights, and has also improved the 
church in other ways. 

The new society was started last year and 
has had one bazaar; the money earned was given 
to the church. It has three officers, a president, 
a vice-president, and a treasurer. 

The church, it can almost be said, owes its 
existence to the ladies' aid society which was 
organized in the same year as the church. It has 
paid nearly all of the church's debt and each year 
pays toward the minister's salary and general 
expenses. This society meets every two weeks, 
and has about twenty-five active members. 

The young people's society was organized by 
Rev. O. C. Baker, one of the pastors, Jan. 5, 1894, 
at the home of E. Rovelstad. The meetings are 
now held in the church basement. There is at 
present an enrollment of forty-four members. 
The meetings are well attended, being held 
every third Monday. A committee is appointed 
each meeting to arrange the programme. The 
society has had but little literary work. At dif- 
ferent times it has had debates and has dis- 
cussed Luther league topics, but the meetings are 
mostly social and devotional. The committee 
sometimes serves refreshments, and these ex- 
penses are paid by it. The young people's soci- 
ety joined the Fox River Valley District Luther 
League North, five years ago, and has entertained 



the district league twice in the Swedish Lutheran 
Church. 

Several of the organizers and most earnest 
workers in the church have been taken away 
by death. Among those are Peder Rovelstad, P. 
Undhjem, and J. Greenhill. 

Mr. Rovelstad died in the year 1891, having 
worked faithfully for the church since its organ- 
ization. He was for a few years organist and 
superintendent of the Sunday school. On the 
Sundays, when there was no minister, he was the 
leader. 

P. Undhjem was a man of devout religious 
character. He did a great deal of work in the 
Sunday school, and in the church as well. 

J. Greenhill served as secretary of the church 
for eleven years, from Jan. 2, 1894, until his 
death, April 24, 1905. He was also a teacher in 
the Sunday school, having charge of the con- 
firmation class until a week before his death. 



AURORA, ILL. 
By Miss Anna Bjtfrseth. 

On the 14th of September, 1888, a meeting, 
composed of Norwegians and Danes, was held 
in Reising's Hall, Aurora, for the purpose of 
organizing a Lutheran congregation. The con- 
gregation was organized under the name, "The 
Norwegian-Danish Evangelical Lutheran Con- 
gregation of Aurora, Illinois." 

On Oct. 7, of the same year, Rev. N. E. B0e, 
of Leland, 111., preached his first sermon to the 
congregation, and he continued to preach to 
them twice a month. The meetings were held 
in the Swedish Methodist Church. 

From the 2d of June, 1889, when Rev. Bjzfe 
closed his services as temporary pastor of the 
congregation, until Sept. 1, of the same year, the 
congregation was served by various pastors. On 
Sept. 1, 1889, Rev. J. C. Reinertsen began his 
ministration as the permanent pastor in charge. 

At a congregational meeting held May 28, 1891, 
the congregation voted unanimously to ask for 
admission into the United Norwegian Lutheran 
Church of America. 

In August, 1892, a building lot was purchased 
and the congregation began the erection of a 
church. The church was dedicated by Rev. P. 
A. Rasmussen, deceased, of Lisbon, 111., during 
a meeting of the Chicago District Conference, 
in March, 1893. 

In August, 1893, Rev. J. C. Reinertsen resigned 
his charge, and the 30th of January, 1894, Rev. 



108 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



N. A. Stubkjaer, of Piano, 111., was called to serve 
the congregation at Aurora. When Rev. Stub- 
kjaer closed his pastorate in 1894 the congrega- 
tion remained without a pastor until 1896, when 
Rev. William Eckman accepted the call of the 
congregation. After serving for seven years he 
resigned and went to Norway. 

The congregation thereupon issued a call to 
Rev. Ditman Larsen, of Chicago, 111.; and he is 
still (1906) the pastor of the church. 

Aurora congregation has a membership of 100, 
with a voting membership, male and female, 
of 40. The cost of the church property is $3,000. 
There is an active young people's society and a 
ladies' aid society, which aid very materially in 
the support of the church. The young people's 
society is educating a native of Madagascar, who 
was given the name Eziah in baptism. This 
society also helps to support the local mission 
work and United Church children's homes. 



COVENANT CHURCH, CHICAGO, ILL. 
By Rev. C. O. Solberg. 

Covenant Evangelical Lutheran Church is lo- 
cated on the North-West Side in Chicago at the 
corner of N. Robey and Iowa streets. This con- 
gregation is connected with the United Norweg- 
ian Lutheran Church of America, but conducts 
all its work in the English tongue. In fact, 
this congregation was the first English mission 
among the Norwegian people in this land. To 
quote, "The necessity of organizing an English 
Lutheran Church, in order that the faith of the 
fathers might be preserved and the doctrines of 
our church be preached to the rising generation 
of the young people in the language which they 
best understand", seemed apparent. The first 
step in its organization was taken by the young 
people's society of Bethlehem Norwegian Lu- 
theran Church of Chicago, Rev. J. N. Kildahl, 
pastor, at a regular meeting of the society, held 
Dec. 1, 1891. The chairman of the society, Mr. 
S. H. Holstad, was authorized to appoint a com- 
mittee to have the matter in charge. The com- 
mitteeconsisting of Rev. J. N. Kildahl, Messrs. 
L. B. Johnson, Jens Mathieson, Peder Nielsen, 
John Peterson, S. H. Holstad, M. C. Olson, Louis 
Skielvig, and Otto Peterson brought the matter 
before the congregation June 6, 1892, at a regular 
meeting, and at another meeting, held Aug. 8 
in the same year, a motion originally made by 
Mr. Hakon Thompson authorized the with- 



drawal of such members as desired for the for- 
mation of an English Lutheran congregation, 
with the consent of the mother church. The 
congregation began its official existence by 
organizing at a meeting held in the basement of j 
Bethlehem Church, March 20, 1893, in the pres- 
ence of Rev. J. N. Kildahl, who acted as chair- 
man, and Rev. N. J. Ellestad, missionary super- 
intendent of the United Norwegian Lutheran 
Church. The beginning was made with a charter 
membership of 19 adults and 4 children. This 
membership has steadily though slowly grown 
until now the confirmed membership is 173, thei 
number of souls 215, and the voting membership 
43. This membership is largely out of the mother 
synod, composed of Norwegian-Americans, but, 
like all English churches, it draws other nationali- 
ties as well. 

The first definite place of meeting was Harm- 
ony Hall, corner of W. Huron and Noble streets. 1 
This remained the place of worship except for 
a time when the Adventist Church at 269 W. 
Erie street was used. On May 2, 1899, two lots 
on the southwest corner of N. Robey and Iowa 
streets were secured, and in June, 1899, thq 
congregation was incorporated. On July 15, 
1900, a brick chapel was dedicated. It was built, 
across the rear of the lots, at a cost of $2,000. 

In this pastorate the following persons have 
served: Rev. J. N. Kildahl from May, 1894 to 
Dec., 1895, officially the pastor, while an assis-j 
tant, Mr. William Evans, had charge of the 
active work. Previously to this services had been 
held at the homes of the various members. Mr. 
William Evans was ordained by the United 
Church and served as pastor from February, 1896,- 
to October, the same year. To May, 1897, Stud-l 
ent Frank E. Jensen. To October, 1897, Mr. SJ 
S. Hookland. To May, 1898, Student C. M. Wes-| 
wig and Rev. P. C. Wike. Mr. Weswig, being 
ordained, served from December, 1898, to May-^ 
1900. He was succeeded by Rev. H. B. Kildahl, 
who served from July 15, 1900, to November, 
1902. After an interval, during which, among 
others, Dr. G. H. Gerberding chiefly supplied 
the pulpit, Rev. C. O. Solberg took charge, and '. 
serves to the present time (June, 1906). 

The congregation is now actively engaged in 
preparations for the erection of a more suitable 
place of worship. With the accomplishment of 
this desired end it is hoped that the work will 
start out upon a new and vigorous growth. 

Among its auxiliary organizations the congre- 
gation has a Sunday school enrolling 226, of 
which Mr. L. B. Johnson has served as super- 



NORWEGIAN CHURCHES IN ILLINOIS 



109 



intendent from its first organization. The school 
has seventeen classes and three departments. 
The textbooks chiefly in use are the Bible His- 
tory, used generally in the United Church, with 
Luther's Small Catechism, and Laache's Explan- 
ation. An efficient ladies' aid society of thirty- 
eight members, a young ladies' organization 
called the "Daughters of the Covenant," a young 
men's club, are all active in the work and 
greatly assist. These organizations are social 
and practical and to some degree literary. There 
is also a Luther league of forty-five members 
which has greatly assisted the spiritual work and 

! life of the congregation. 

The congregation is still receiving aid from 

| the mission treasury of the United Church, which 
in its liberal and steadfast support has shown 
its material interest in the work of the transi- 
tion. It has chiefly contributed to the welfare 
of the church at large from among its members. 
Rev. Jens Mathieson and Rev. John Peterson 
and wife were among the charter members. 
Likewise Sister Caroline Williams, prominent in 
the Deaconesses' Home and Hospital. Mr. Mar- 
tin E. Anderson, recent graduate of Chicago Uni- 

| versity, will enter the ministry in the General 
Synod. Sister Jorgine Mjovik, of the United 
Church mission in Madagascar, was a member 
here. Mr. . S. H. Holstad, well known in the 
Luther League works of Minneapolis, was a 
charter member. Likewise Mr. Martin C. Olson, 
prominent in several capacities in the state and 
national work of the Luther League. 



PONTOPPIDAN CHURCH, GARDNER, ILL. 

The Norwegians who lived at Gardner had no 
Lutheran church nearer than that at Gardner 
prairie of which church some of them were mem- 
bers. But this was very inconvenient indeed, as 
it was about five miles to the church, and but 
few owned a horse. 

After having talked the matter over privately, 
a meeting was called on the 7th of January, 1891, 
where, after some discussion, it was decided to 
organize a church. Mr. Iver Nilsen was elected 
chairman and Ole Chally, clerk. Mr. T. Gangstee 
was requested to procure a constitution. The 
next meeting was held January 12th, when Mr. 
Gangstee presented a copy of the Gardner Prai- 
rie church constitution, which was adopted as 
read. Officers were then elected as follows: 

Trustee, Thomas Thorsen and G. Chally, Clerk, 



T. Gangstee. Chorister, Thomas Thorsen. They 
were in hopes of having the pulpit supplied by 
the pastor of the Gardner Prairie and Grand 
Prairie churches, but this was so strenuously ob- 
jected to that they gave it up and called Rev. 
Skaret of Rowe to preach to them every fourth 
Sunday. On February 8th, 1892, they again 
turned toward the charge of Gardner Prairie and 
Grand Prairie, and called Rev. P. J. Reinertsen 
to preach to them on the afternoon of every 
fourth Sunday. He accepted the call. 

The struggle for a settled pastor was now 
ended, but there was another difficulty to deal 
with that of a house of worship. 

The services had been held first in the Pres- 
byterian church, then in the Baptist church, but 
the members were few in number and poor also, 
so the prospect was not very bright for a church 
of their own. But there was already a Ladies' 
Aid Society, which had it in mind to assist. It 
was decided to buy two lots in block seventeen 
for $100.00. These were paid cash. At a meet- 
ing of April 4th, 1893, it was decided that the 
church should be built 30x44 and 14, but not 
until March, 1895, was anything done as to 
building. A subscription list was circulated every 
month for this purpose. At said meeting it was 
moved by some one, "That we, in the name of 
the triune God, with prayer and with faith in 
Him, commence to build a house of worship." 
The motion was adopted by a unanimous yea. 
But the size of the church building was reduced 
to 28 x 40 and 14. A great and regrettable mis- 
take! The end of reducing was not yet. At a 
meeting of March 18th, 1894, the size 26 x 40 
and 14 was finally decided upon. In July, 1896, 
it was reported that the church was as far com- 
pleted as circumstances would allow. 

Mr. Lars Tofty, a farmer, but not less a car- 
penter, made and presented a fine pulpit to the 
church. The other furnishings were very plain 
indeed, and the seats were home made and with- 
out a "back rest." 

Rev. P. J. Reinertsen had now resigned and 
Rev. N. J. Lockrem became the pastor tem- 
porarily until the spring of 1897, when the un- 
dersigned took charge of the church. 

Together with the Gardner Prairie church a 
parsonage was bought which was found to be an 
absolute necessity. 

The membership had gradually increased and 
by the aid of friends commodious seats were 
procured, an altar was built, and the interior 
painted. 

An altar painting was presented by a merchant, 



110 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



Mr. J. C. Lutz. A tower was built by the 
Ladies' Aid Society, and a good bell placed in 
the belfry by Mr. John Edmundsen. 

The church has a Sunday school but no young 
people's society, which certainly is to be re- 
gretted. 

The membership has. gradually increased and 
a large number of its members are members of 
the Total Abstinence Society and active work- 
ers for this cause. 

There are weekly prayer meetings, well at- 
tended, and the pastor has quite a number of 
helpers for these meetings. 

As this is a coal mining field a number of the 
members are coal miners, but of late years a 
number of retired farmers are making Gardner 
their home and they are uniting with the church. 

The present membership is about 125. 

Chr. Christiansen. 



BETHANIA CHURCH, GARDNER 
PRAIRIE, ILL. 

On the 18th of April, 1876, a number of Nor- 
wegians came together at the home of Mr. Gun- 
der Hansen, on the so-called "Scully Prairie", 
Greenfield township, Grundy county, 111., to con- 
sider the possibility of getting Rev. J. C. Welo, 
of Chicago, to preach to them. Some of them, 
being members of the Norwegian-Danish Lu- 
theran church at Dwight, were not ready for an 
immediate organization of a new church. But 
in the same year, on the 5th of June, they had 
another meeting, in Bockman's German church, 
where the organization took place, and the fol- 
lowing officers were elected: Chairman, Rev. 
Welo; clerk, Ole Axland; deacons, Mikkel Mon- 
sen, Sjur Stangeland, Tjaerand Tjaerandsen; 
chorister, Gunder Hansen; assistant, Anders 
Paulsen; church warden, Sten Stensen. 

At' the next meeting, July 23, of the same year, 
Mr. Sjur Stangeland was appointed Sunday 
school teacher, and the pastor promised to do 
whatever possible for the class of catechumens. 
The services were to be held at the Bockman 
church (which is now a part of Mr. Lars Sy- 
vertsen's residence). 

At the annual meeting Jan. 22, 1877, the pas- 
tor reported: 9 services, 11 baptized, 76 com- 
municants; 1 couple married. . 

A committee, consisting of the following per- 
sons, was elected to draft a constitution: Mik- 



kel Monsen, Sjur Stangeland, Tjaerand Tjaerand- 
sen, Jens Mortensen. 

The first trustees were elected at this meet- 
ing, namely: Halvor Monsen "for the Norweg- 
ians" and Jens Mortensen "for the Danes." 

The constitution was adopted at the meetings 
of April 20, and Oct. 28, 1877. 

The books to be used by the confirmation 
class should be "Pontoppidan's Sandhed til Gud- 
frygtighed," or if this prove to be too difficult 
for some, "Den Dobbelte Forklaring." 

The parochial school question was brought up 
for discussion, but as there was no suitable place 
for holding it, the matter was dropped. (But 
in 1881 Erick Ericksen taught school for one 
month). 

The treasurer's report at the annual meeting 
Jan. 7, 1878, gives the following: Subscribed by 
the Norwegians, $86.50; paid subscriptions, $62.50; 
balance, $24.00. Subscribed by the Danes, $24.00; 
paid subscriptions, $20.50; balance, $3.50. Full 
amount subscribed for 1877, $110.50; paid up 
subscriptions, $83.00. Rev. Welo having re- 
signed, Rev. A. G. Helgesen took charge of the 
church Nov. 1, 1879. Having received a call 
from La Crosse, Wis., to be the assistant of Rev. 
J. B. Frick, Rev. Helgesen's resignation was ac- 
cepted at a meeting of Feb. 13, 1882, and Rev. 
N. J. Ellestad, whose charges were Fox River and 
Stavanger churches, supplied the pulpit every 
fourth Sunday. 

The following year Cand. Theol. Nils Arve- 
sen accepted a call from Pontiac, Gardner and 
Brookfield. 

Two different hymnbooks had been in use up 
to this time, but it was now decided that the 
book of the synod should be used exclusively. 
At the same meeting, Sept. 17, 1883, the matter 
of organizing a ladies' aid society was brought 
up for consideration and a request was made that 
a part of the money received for butter and eggs 
be laid aside for missionary purposes. The peo- 
ple were poor. The "Scully land" was under 
water much of the time, and it was very dif- 
ficult to raise even a small crop in those days. 
But the people had a heart to give not of their 
abundance, for they made a sacrifice every time. 

The charter members were: Sjur T. Stange- 
land, Mikkel Monsen, Jens Mortensen, Tjaerand 
Tjaerandsen, Mons Monsen , Gunder Hansen, 
Lars Syversen, Halvor Monsen, Sten Stensen, 
Ole Knutsen, Erick Ericksen, T. J. Hovland, 
Axel Johnson, Gert Larsen, Torris T. Sandenow, 
Knudt T. Ryan, Torkel Olsen, Mads Olsen, Ole 
Hill, Ole Axland. Other prominent members 



NORWEGIAN CHURCHES IN ILLINOIS 



111 




North Lisbon Church at Helmar, 111. 



112 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



who shared the burdens of the early days were: 
Henry Larsen, Lars F. Hill, John Hill, Knud, 
Peter and Mat Matheson. The well known lay- 
man, Amund Amundsen Hauge, was also con- 
nected with this church until his death. 

In October, 1885, a missionary offering ($50), 
the first of which there is any record, was sent 
to the Norwegian Foreign Mission Society. 
Money was also sent to the "suffering people at 
Aalesund." But while they did this they did not 
forget to engage a teacher at $20 per month and 
board for four months of the year, to teach in 
the parochial school. The minister's salary had 
been raised to $200 per annum and three offer- 
ings. An acre of land had been bought from 
Halvor Monsen for a cemetery for which $50 
was paid. 

In 1886 Rev. Arvesen resigned and Rev. O. 
Saue accepted the call. In the second year of his 
pastorate, a church was built on a lot donated 
by Halvor Monsen. The cost of this church 
building was $1,640.77. 

On the 12th of March, 1890, the church was 
visited by Rev. J. N. Kildahl, who preached to 
them; on this occasion the church decided to 
unite with the United Norwegian Lutheran 
Church of America. 

In August, 1890, Rev. Saue resigned and Rev. 
P. J. Reinertsen was called. He served till 1896. 
Temporarily the pulpit was now supplied by Rev. 
N. J. Lockrem until the spring of 1897, when 
the undersigned accepted the call. 

The church building has been improved with 
tower and gallery, and in the belfry the young 
people have placed a large bell. A parsonage 
was purchased . by.-' this congregation and the 
Gardner church, at Gardner. It is valued at 
$1,500. 

The church has a young people's society, Sun- 
day school and ladies' aid society. 

The membership 'is now 200. Since 1874, 405 
have been baptized, 193 confirmed, 48 couples 
married, and .40 deaths have occurred. 

Chr. Christiansen. 
* * * 

BETHLEHEM CHURCH, MORRIS, ILL. 
By Rev. T. Aarrestad. 

On the 6th day of July, 1880, a very small 
Norwegian Lutheran congregation was organized 
in Morris, 111. The original members were: 
Mrs. Anna Endresen and her sister, Mrs. Susan 
Armbruster, both of Tjeldberg, Norway. Miss 
Anna Samuelsen was also one of the original 
members. Mrs. Armbruster had three children. 
The original membership was six souls, all told. 



The name of the congregation was "Skandina- 
via Evangelical Lutheran Church, of Morris, 111." 
"Skandinavia" was changed to "Bethlehem" in 
1902. At the time of organization very few Nor- 
wegian families had settled in Morris. Some of 
them had already indentified themselves with 
other churches; others did not care to belong to 
any church. 

A number of Swedish families lived in Morris 
at that time, and Swedish preachers began to 
visit the town. These were not Lutherans. When 
the Norwegians who went to hear them found 
that they were Baptists they severed their con- 
nection with them. Being very few, it was a' 
brave deed. They were not afraid to show their 
colors. 

Some time later these women started a small 
Sunday school. The services were held in pri- ' 
vate houses. In 1881 F. Melby joined the con- 
gregation,^ and in 1883 Jacob Olsen, S. P. Carl- 
son, Karl Karlsen, John F. Nelson, Berger Mar- 
tin Jonasen, Henry Hansen and others became 
members. As the congregation commenced to 
grow the question of getting a church home was 
mooted. An old church was bought in 1884. Thej 
price was about $1,200. This church had been 
built by the Methodists and afterward sold to ; 
the German Lutherans. On account of a split 
among the Germans they terminated their ser- 
vices and for a while rented, and later on sold ' 
their church property to the Norwegians. This 
church was used for a number of years, but 
when the congregation grew stronger and more 
Norwegian Lutherans moved into Morris they 
began to plan for a new church. The old one 
becoming almost unfit for use, it was deemed 
wiser to erect a^new building than to patch the 
old one. The congregation, although not strong, 
thought of the future and decided not only to 
build a new church edifice, but also to secure a 
more advantageous location. This was wisely 
done. A very desirable location was secured; in 
fact the very best in the town, and a two-story 
structure was put up. Prominent laymen in the 
construction of the church were: Austin Os- 
mon, M. Melby, S. P. Carlson, Svend Bakke, 
Henry Hansen, John Thorsen, A. C. Johnsen, S. 
Marvick and Thomas Ostrem. The church was 
dedicated on April 12, 1896. Rev. .G. Hoyne, 
president of the United Norwegian Lutheran 
Church of America, preached the dedicatory ser- 
mon. Other ministers present were: P. J. Rei- 
nertsen, Gardner; J. H. Stenberg, Leland; N. J. 
Lockrem, Norway; L. A. Vignes, Ottawa; L. S. 
Marvick, Hatton, N. Dak.; and T. Aarrestad, 



NORWEGIAN CHURCHES IN ILLINOIS 



113 



Morris. In the evening Rev. L. S. Marvick and 
Rev. A. C. Andersen of Bethel church, Chicago, 
preached. The lot and building cost about $7,500. 
There was a heavy debt on the property till Jan., 
1902, when every cent was paid and the church 
improved. At the time of dedication the debt 
was over $3,000. It was rather hard work to 
keep it going with so heavy a debt, but the 
ladies' aid society was a great help in those days. 
At that time it was almost impossible to help in 
general missionary work; but since the debt was 
paid the congregation and the different societies 
have given money to children's homes and char- 
itable institutions. To home and foreign mis- 
sions it has given about $180 per year. 

The Swedish Baptists worked hard for some 
time in order to persuade the Lutherans to join 
their church, but with very few exceptions they 
did not succeed. The present membership is: 
souls, 315; confirmed, 202; voters, 58; average 
attendance at worship, 175; 564 have been bap- 
tized and 203 confirmed during the history of the 
church. Both Norwegian and English have been 
used. The congregation has not yet taken any 
stand regarding secret orders. Parochial school 
has been taught for several years. The enroll- 
ment of the Sunday school is 87, with an aver- 
age attendance of 76 and a teachers' force of 12. 
Money raised by the Sunday school is sent to the 
different children's homes. A young people's 
society that is literary, devotional and social has 
been a good help to church attendance and work. 
Money raised by this society has been used in 
various ways, but especially for the benefit of the 
local church. The average attendance is 40. 

The first pastor of this church was B. P. 
Strand. Rev. Strand preached his farewell ser- 
mon on April 9, 1882. After a vacancy of fifteen 
months Rev. N. G. Nilsen became the pastor. 
He served the congregation for nine years. Sev- 
eral ministers, and among them Rev. N. J. Lock- 
rem, served the congregation during the vacancy. 
He also installed the present pastor, Rev. T. Aar- 
restad, on the 26th day of November, 1893. 

This congregation was connected with the 
conference of the Norwegian-Danish Evangelical 
Lutheran Church in America until the conference 
in 1890 was merged in the United Norwegian 
Lutheran Church of America. Since that tin\e 
Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church of Mor- 
ris, 111., has been connected with this body. 
* * * 

HAUGE'S CHURCH, GRUNDY COUNTY, ILL. 

Was organized on the 8th day of July, 1876, 
in Saratoga, Grundy county. Leaders in this 



movement were: Halvor Osmonsen Rygh, O. H. 
Osmonsen, Knut M. J. Granville, Halvor Grun- 
stad, Ole Thompsen Sorem, Wier Pedersen, Tol- 
lef Hauge, Ole Charles, Erick Grunstad, John 
Fatland and John J. Enger. 

A few months later Erick Johnsen, Tobias Hel- 
gesen, Anders Sorem and Anders C. Iversen 
joined the church. The majority of these men 
previously belonged to the Lisbon church, Rev. 
P. A. Rasmussen, pastor. But when East Prai- 
rie, as it is called, became more thickly settled 
the people who lived there wanted a church of 
their own. This, in connection with some dis- 
agreement, caused these people to leave the Lis- 
bon church and organize a congregation on East 
Prairie. Rev. Lars Oftedal, of Stavanger, Nor- 
way, visited East Prairie in 1875, and it may be 
that his visit had a little to do with the organiza- 
tion of this congregation later on. The original 
membership was 62, and at the end of the year 
1876, 97 souls belonged to the church. The pres- 
ent membership is: souls, 285; confirmed, 207; 
voters, 68. The average attendance of worship 
is about 100. During the history of the church 
525 have been baptized and 327 have been con- 
firmed. 

When the congregation was organized it was 
found necessary to get a house of worship as 
soon as possible. The work of building a church 
was started in 1876, and a neat and spacious 
house was erected at a cost of $4,000. The church 
has a very advantageous location, five miles north 
of Morris, county seat of Grundy county. Mr. 
Halvor Osmonsen Rygh donated the building 
ground, and he and the men above named were 
the most prominent in the construction of the 
church. The dedication of the church took place 
on the third Sunday after Easter, 1877. Prof. 
S. Oftedal, of Augsburg Seminary, Minneapolis, 
Minn., preached the dedicatory sermon. M. F. 
Gjertsen, T. J. Solberg and other ministers were 
also present and assisted. 

From its very inception the congregation was 
connected with the Conference for the Norweg- 
ian-Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church in 
America. Since 1890, when the conference was 
merged in the United Norwegian Lutheran Church 
of America, the congregation has been connected 
with this body. 

Several ministers visited the congregation dur- 
ing the first year. Among these were: S. Of- 
tedal, M. F. Gjertsen, R. O. Hill, P. J. Solberg 
and Elling Eielsen. Rev. N. C. Brun, pastor of 
Bethlehem Norwegian Lutheran Church of Chi- 



114 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



cago, was the first regularly appointed pastor of 
the Hauge church. He served this congregation 
in connection with his Chicago church for two 
years. On October 13, 1879, Rev. B. P. Strand 
was installed as pastor. He served the congre- 
gation about two years and six months and 
preached his farewell sermon on the 16th day 
of April, 1882. 

During a year's vacancy different ministers 
visited the congregation. On the first day of 
July, 1883, Rev. N. G. Nilsen was installed. He 
served the congregation for nine years and 
preached his farewell sermon May 29, 1892, being 
the sixth Sunday after Easter. 

After a vacancy of eighteen months Rev. T. 
Aarrestad, the present pastor, was called, and ac- 
cepted. He was installed by Rev. N. J. Lockrem 
on the 26th day of November, 1893. Rev. Lock- 
rem had had charge of the work during the 
vacancy. Occasionally representatives of other 
denominations have visited the settlement, but 
without exerting any marked influence. 

The congregation has not taken any stand to- 
ward secret orders. 

For many years the congregation as such has 
not had any parochial school. The members 
have sought a more private way to give their 
children Christian instruction. In the Sunday 
school the average attendance has been about 
twenty, with two or three teachers. 

For many years the ladies' aid society has been 
a great help to the home church, but especially 
to the different missions. The congregation has 
contributed to home and foreign missions for 
the last five or six years an average of $200 
per year. 

The Norwegian language has been used al- 
most exclusively. Very few of the older orig- 
inal members are still with us. Among these 
we may mention: Halvor Osmonsen Rygh and 
Wier Pedersen. The majority of the older set- 
tlers were born in Etne and Skaanevik, Norway. 

* * * 

TRINITY CHURCH, SOUTH CHICAGO, ILL. 
By Rev. Olaus Qualen. 

The Trinity Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran 
Church of South Chicago, 111., was organized 
March 18, 1900, by Rev. J. H. Meyer, who served 
the congregation as its pastor for nine or ten 
months. In the beginning the place of worship 
was at the Swedish Lutheran church, Houston 
avenue, near Ninety-first street, but as it was 
the desire of both pastor and congregation to 
commence a Sunday school, and this could not 



be done at the present quarters, it was decided 
that the church seek to secure some other place 
for the services. Sherman Hall, on Commercial 
avenue, was rented. Here a Sunday school was 
also commenced, but on account of a contagious 
disease, it was closed after a short 'existence. 

During the winter of 1901 Rev. Otto Schmidt 
was called as the regular pastor for the church. I 
He accepted the call, and served the congrega- I 
tion for more than six months. 

In the summer of 1901 Rev. Olaus Qualen, the i 
present pastor, was called, who took up the work 
immediately after his predecessor had left. The 
church still held its services at Sherman Hall, 
and considering that it was only a hall, it was 
about as good a place as could be found. But 
a hall, that is used for nearly all purposes, is not 
the most appropriate place for divine worship. 
So the congregation decided to go back to the 
Swedish Lutheran Church, providing it could be 
had. An answer to the request of the congrega- 
tion was given in the affirmative, and the con- 
gregation moved back to the place of its organ- 
ization. It was also possible to commence a 
Sunday school there, and it was begun as early 
as possible. But as this was not a church home 
for the congregation in the true sense of the 
word, and as it is the desire of an organization 
as well as of an individual to have one's own 
home, it was the wish of this congregation to 
get something of their own, where they could 
gather to worship the one common Father. 

At a business meeting of the church held dur- 
ing the winter of 1903 it was decided that the 
congregation proceed to buy lots for the erec- 
tion of a church edifice. After. some struggle 
two lots on Sherman avenue near Eightieth 
street were purchased for the sum of $600. The 
property is 50 x 120 feet. 

At another business meeting, during the winter 
of 1905, it was unanimously agreed that the 
church be incorporated under the laws of the 
state of Illinois. This was done. It was further- 
more decided that the congregation proceed to 
raise the necessary funds for the erection of a 
church building on the property. The money 
was raised. A real estate firm made a loan of 
$500; the church extension fund of the United 
Church made another loan of $500; the remainder 
was raised by subscriptions and collections from 
various sister congregations. 

This put the congregation in position to com- 
mence the work on the new edifice, which was 
begun in the summer of 1905 and completed in the 



NORWEGIAN CHURCHES IN ILLINOIS 



115 



fall of the same year. The church was dedicated 
Sept. 10, with appropriate ceremonies. 

During the summer of 1900 the congregation 
was admitted into the United Norwegian Lu- 
theran Church of America, and has since that 
time been a joint congregation with Nazareth 
Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church of West 
Pullman, the two constituting one charge. As 
these have both been small and unable to sup- 
port a pastor, the Home Mission Board has 
contributed annually to the support of the pas- 
tor. 

Trinity Church was organized with 51 souls. 
The present membership is 67. Progress has 
: been slow for the reason that only a few of our 
i country-men reside in that part of the city. 

The Sunday school, that began with very few 
children, has now an enrollment of thirty-five 
children and five teachers. 

During the history of the church, fifteen have 
been baptized and seven confirmed. 

The ladies' aid society, which has a member- 
ship of about eleven, has done a very good work 
from the beginning. The money raised, which' 
has amounted to several hundred dollars, has 
been invested in the new church edifice. 

Although the church is not rich in money, its 
object has been to take part in the noble cause 
of extending the borders of God's kingdom. Thus 
it has often given to the home and foreign mis- 
sions and many of the institutions connected with 
our church. ,. 

* * * 

PONTOPPIDAN CHURCH AT GIBSON 
CITY, ILL. 

By Rev. J. Lonne. 

Pontoppidan Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran 
Congregation in Ford county, 111., was organized 
Aug. 20, 1876. It consisted of twenty-one fam- 
ilies and two unmarried persons. The first pag- 
tor was Rev. N. Iversen, who served the con- 
gregation temporarily. 

On July 14, 1877, Student of Theology Omland 
was called as permanent pastor. He entered 
upon his pastoral duties in 1878, and served the 
congregation until Oct. 1, 1880. 

Rev. B. Strand was called as temporary pastor 
when Rev. Omland had retired. Rev. Strand 
served temporarily, but later as the regular pas- 
tor, until Jan. 1, 1888. 

The congregation now had temporary supplies 
until it called Candidate of Theology Framnes 
on May 27, 1888. Rev. Framnes served the con- 
gregation until in 1896. Rev. Helge HoVerstad 



was called as pastor Feb. 22, 1897, and served 
until May 1, 1904. The writer was chosen pastor 
on July 4, 1904. 

The congregation has now (1906) about 670 
members, two churches and a parsonage. 



BETHEL CHURCH, CHICAGO, ILL. 
By Rev. C. E. Tiller. 

Bethel Lutheran Congregation, on Humboldt 
street, near Armitage avenue, Chicago, was orig- 
inally made up of two separate congregations. 
These two were Bethel congregation and Salem 
congregation. Bethel congregation was organ- 
ized by Rev. N. C. Brun, Dec. 29, 1889, and wor- 
shiped most of the time in Scharlau's Hall, on 
the corner of North and California avenues. 
This congregation was admitted into the United 
Church at the first meeting of that body in 1890. 
In the spring of 1891 the present church building 
was bought from the German Lutheran congre- 
gation on Humboldt street and moved on the 
two lots already purchased on Humboldt street, 
near Armitage avenue. 

Salem congregation was organized in 1891 by 
Rev. N. J. Ellestad, who at that time was mis- 
sion superintendent of the;'United Church. This 
congregation worshiped in Merrick's Hall, corner 
of Milwaukee and Hofman avenues. As the 
distance between these two congregations was 
only about half a mile, and as both received 
financial aid from the Board of Home Missions 
of the United Church, a movement was begun 
for the union of the two into one body. After 
several meetings it was agreed that Salem con- 
gregation should dissolve its organization and, 
in a body join Bethel congregation. This union 
was entered upon New Year's day, 1893. 

Salem congregation had up to this time been 
served by Rev. Nils Arveson, who also had Zion 
congregation in charge. Rev. N. Arveson re- 
mained in charge of Zion congregation and Rev. 
N. C. Brun remained as pastor for the new Bethel 
congregation. 

After a short time Rev. N. C. Brun resigned 
and Rev. A. C. Anderson, from Albert Lea, Minn., 
was called. He accepted and was duly installed 
by Mr. A. Larson, chairman of the board of dea- 
cons, on Sunday, May 6, 1894. During the three 
years' labor of Rev. Anderson the congregation 
had a rapid growth both spiritually and financi- 



116 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



ally. Rev. Anderson's health failed, and, after a 
lingering illness, he was called away from his 
labors in the church militant to his reward in the 
church triumphant in heaven. 

Rev. A. Oefstedahl, who- was called as pas- 
tor after Rev. Anderson, entered upon his duties 
Sunday, Oct. 10, 1897. He was installed by Rev. 
J. N. Kildahl. He served the congregation faith- 
fully until Nov. 4, 1900, when he preached his 
farewell sermon, and entered upon his new field 
of labor at Fertile, Minn. 

Rev. C. E. Tiller, the present pastor, was in- 
stalled by Rev. N. J. Ellestad on Sunday, June 
30, 1901. 

The congregation now numbers 797 souls, 612 
confirmed members and 136 voting members. 
The finances are ably taken care of by a board 
of trustees consisting of nine members. A board 
of deacons consists of six members together with 
the pastor as chairman. 

A Sunday school, numbering 550 children, is 
taken care of by about sixty teachers, who every 
Sunday morning at 9 o'clock endeavor to comply 
with the Master's command, "Feed my lambs." 

The Luther League numbers over 100 members 
and is doing good work in the congregation. 

The ladies' aid society has a membership of 
about ninety. This society is one of the most 
active in the congregation, and contributes every 
year a large amount to the upbuilding of 'the 
congregation. 

The Dorcas, a society of young ladies, is at 
the present working hard to raise funds for a 
pipe-organ for the new church. 

A "Do What We Can" society, consisting of 
small girls, has every year added a neat sum 
in the coffers of the church. 

A mission society meets every last Wednesday 
evening of the month. It has every year contrib- 
uted to the foreign and Jewish missions, besides 
supporting a parish sister, who works among the 
sick and poor in the congregation and vicinity. 

The congregation also has a committee for the 
poor, which endeavors to help the poor and 
needy of the neighborhood. 

On May 10, 1905, the congregation purchased 
58 2-3 feet by 156 feet on the northeast corner 
of Humboldt boulevard and Dickens avenue for 
a consideration of $5,000, on which in the near 
future they hope to erect a new and modern 
church edifice. 

Carl Edward Tiller. 



FREEDOM, ILL. 
By Rev. P. P. Hagen. 

"The First Norwegian Free and Independent \ 
Congregation," near Leland, 111., comprised all 
the Norwegian Lutherans from four or five miles 
north of Leland to the southern boundary of : 
Freedom township. This locates it in La Salle { 
county,, in the townships of Freedom, Earl and I 
Adams. 

The congregation was one, but consisted of 
three local units, with equal rights and privileges, 
and a church building at each place. This con- 
gregation, with a few changes of greater or less ! 
consequences, stood the severe tests of pioneer 
life, and the disrupting tendencies of the ill- i 
fated controversies between the larger bodies of 
the church. 

In 1847, on the 18th day of November, it was ; 
organized, and in 1904, on the 4th day of August, , 
it was dissolved, and reorganized into three in- 
dependent congregations, "Freedom" in Freedom, 
"St. Peter," near Baker, and "Batavia" at Leland. 

Freedom and St. Peter congregations, the sub- 
jects of this sketch, have gone through the same ' 
steps of historical changes to such an extent that 
they can, in the main, more conveniently be 
treated under one head. Yet, each locality, or 
preaching place, which has in many respects con- 
stituted a unit in itself, has presented peculiar 
phases of development that warrant specific con- 
sideration. 

Not far from the Big Indian Creek, in the 
humble residence of Holje Bakke, the organiza- 
tion of the congregation was effected. This his- 
torical event took place on the 18th day of No- 
vember, 1847. Be it said, in parenthesis, that Mr. 
Holje Bakke was the grandfather of Mr. Henry 
Kittelson, a trustee of St. Peter's congregation. 
The old house, in which one of the first Norweg- 
ian Lutheran congregations in America was born, 
stood where Mr. H. Kittleson's residence now 
stands, and it is yet to be seen, though not used 
as a residence, at Mr. Seward Anderson's place, 
not far from the original location. 

The name given to the congregation was "The 
Scandinavian Evangelical Lutheran Church near 
Indian Creek, La Salle County, 111." This is 
a longer name than strictly necessary, but con- 
sidering the combination of ideas it conveys, it 
amply repays its production. It stands for the 
nationality, the confession and the definite loca- 
tion of the congregation. It defines it geograph- 
ically, ethnologically and theologically. 



NORWEGIAN CHURCHES IN ILLINOIS 



117 



Rev. Ole Andrewson, who served the congre- 
gation the first year, presided at the first meet- 
ing. Hellek Early was the secretary. The first 
board of deacons was composed of four, who 
were: Halvor Knudtson, Hellek Farly, Knudt 
Halvorson and Knudt Gutormson. The original 
membership was 23. The congregation was des- 
tined to grow, however, and on the 4th day of 
June, 1848, 31 members were added, raising the 
roll to a total of 54 souls. Again, on the 5th 
of April, 1849, 22 more were admitted, making 
the number 69. The 5th of May, 1853, the first 
confirmation class was entered upon the roll of 
membership, increasing it by 22; 30 more applied 
for admission, raising the membership to a total 
of 119. 

It appears that Ole Andrewson served the 
congregation the first year only, and was suc- 
ceeded by Andreas A. Scheie. The latter was 
again succeeded by O. I. Hatlestad. Rev. Hatle- 
stad came to Leland in 1852 or 1853, and stayed 
there until in the fall of 1859. Peder Pederson 
was the name of Hatlestad's successor; his stay 
did not exceed two years. Omond Johnson 
served the congregation as pastor during the 
Civil War until 1865. 

Now follows a period of vacancy for about 
two years, during which time neighboring and 
itinerant ministers made the congregation occa- 
sional calls. Among those who called were T. 
H. Dahl, the president of the United Church, O. 
Iverson, and others. Falk M. Gjertson, upon fin- 
ishing his theological course at Madison, Wis., 
accepted a call and entered upon his first field 
of labor as minister at Leland, where the par- 
sonage was located, in 1867, and remained in 
charge for six years, until in 1873. 

The division of the old "Augustana" into "Au- 
gustana and Konferensen" had its doleful influ- 
ence upon the individual congregations. So also 
here. In the year 1872 the congregation divided; 
one part adhered to that branch of the old Au- 
gustana Synod which was called "Augustana" and 
the other part followed "Konferensen." The Au- 
gustana, however, had no following in Freedom 
and very few at Baker, their weight being in Le- 
land. The "Konferensen," on the other hand, 
had quite a strong and active community in Free- 
dom, which by this time had grown into a power 
for good, both in point of numbers and in spir- 
itual and churchly interest and intelligence. At 
Baker, however, with reference to synodical af- 
filiations, they were divided between the two, 
and owing to unavoidable friction some energy 
was dissipated. In course of years, however, 



with the growth of the community, the church 
made strides of progress numerically and materi- 
ally in spite of discouragements and drawbacks. 
Spiritually, the congregation did not keep pace 
with the external progress. Rather the reverse. 
Such is church history. 

During the period of separation Mr. Tjoms- 
land, who died about a year ago (1905) at Mt. 
Vernon, S. D.; Mr. C. J. Roseland, the secretary 
of the United Church, and P. J. Reinertson, at 
Elk Point, S. D., served in succession the Au- 
gustana branch of the congregation. F. O. Iver- 
son, of the Free Church, at Battle Lake, Minn., 
and N. E. Bjzie, at Northwood, Iowa, respectively, 
filled the pulpit of the other division. Iverson 
1872-1879, B0e 1879-1889. 

In 1890 the two were made one and all 
was well. At that time Harold Erickson came 
directly from Augsburg Seminary, Minneapolis, 
Minn., to be the leader of the united whole, and 
he immediately showed himself to be master of 
the situation. He was a true pastor and an able 
leader for a Christian Lutheran congregation. 
He became endeared to all, young and old, rich 
and poor. He enjoyed the love and respect of 
all, and his future career in his Master's service 
seemed hopeful and bright. But it was fraught 
with sadness and gloom. The exceeding sadness 
and the mystery unspeakable, which are open to- 
the unsearchable wisdom of God alone, is that 
such an industrious and consecrated young man 
was not allowed to continue in the work he dearly 
loved. "It is the Lord's doing, and it is marvel- 
ous in our eyes." Erickson was permitted to 
enter into his eternal Sabbath of rest after only 
about two years of service. But when in the 
army of the Lord of Hosts one soldier falls out 
of the ranks a new one is ready to step in and 
fill the vacant place. Another young man, gifted, 
industrious, interested and consecrated, took up 
the work where Erickson left it. It was H. 
Stenberg, now at Duluth, Minn. He immediately 
took up the work with zeal and won the people's 
hearts. In 1894 he entered upon his first call, 
and in 1904 he resigned for his new charge in 
Duluth, Minn., to the regret and sorrow of the 
whole congregation. 

In the meantime, the immigration has been 
pouring in year by year and enriching this lo- 
cality of Freedom, 111., and neighborhood with 
honest and law-abiding citizens and good and 
faithful followers of the Lutheran Church. This 
has added strength both materially and spiritu- 
ally to the congregation. The result is that the 
church membership is counted by the hundreds 



118 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



and the wealth of the members is measured by 
the tens of thousands. 

The original founders of the congregation are 
all dead and gone, but their work continues to 
live after them. The hard and persevering strug- 
gles, with the adverse conditions of the times, 
have indeed not been in vain. Their lot was, as 
is the case with the pioneers, not to enjoy, but 
to fight and fall. The succeeding generations 
reap the rich fruits of the labors of the hardy 
and faithful fathers. 

The pioneers among the Norwegians in the 
congregation in Freedom were Torbj0rn Arnt- 
son, Vig and Knudt Mosey. The former im- 
migrated and settled in New York state in 1839 
and came to Freedom, 111., in 1844. The latter 
immigrated and came directly to Freedom in 
1846. Mr. Arntson was an interested church 
worker, and became one of the leaders of the 
Lutheran congregation. He was originally, how- 
ever, a Methodist. But he was always a devoted 
church member and Christian. His wife was a 
firm Lutheran from the beginning. Mr. Arntson 
died in 1889, his wife having gone to rest the year 
before. Their family counted five children, three 
sons and two daughters, who are all interested 
and industrious church workers. Their grand- 
children, and even great-grandchildren, are found 
on the present roll of membership. Knudt Mosey 
was from the first a faithful adherent of the 
Church of the Reformation. 

Knudt Mosey's son, Thomas, was a deacon 
and the most prominent man in Freedom church 
work for over forty years. He won and enjoyed 
the respect of his neighbors, as well as in more 
distant circles, in a pre-eminent degree, on ac- 
count of his sincere piety and true devotion to 
his church. He was born in 1827 and died in 
1901, at Leland, where he lived a short while be- 
fore his death. His wife survives him and is a 
member of Batavia congregation, Leland, and 
will be mentioned in another place. His family 
numbers eight, two sons and six daughters. Two 
daughters are married to ministers F. M. 
Gjertson, Minneapolis, Minn., and O. Guldbrand- 
son, Blair, Wis.; one is married to Dr. Laws in 
Minneapolis, Minn.; one is Mrs. A. M. Klove, 
Leland, 111., and two are living with their mother 
at Leland. They are all Lutherans and have the 
interests of the church at heart. 

Sivert Jameson came to America in 1866, and 
after a brief stay in Leland, settled on his home- 
stead in Freedom, 111., where he lived till his 
death in 1903. He was kind to the poor, warm- 
hearted, liberal, and always truly interested in the 



church. His wife, a true helpmate, was a kind 
mother and faithful wife. She is now in her 80th 
year, yet is able to attend church, which she has 
always loved, and freely mingles with the neigh- 
bors. Their children number nine two sons 
and seven daughters. They are active members 
of the church of Freedom. 

J0rgen Johnson lived in Freedom, was a leader 
for years, and served as deacon of the congrega- 
tion. Nels Nelson, Brandaberg, also lived here 
a while, and identified himself with the church. 
He moved away. O. K. Olson, now at Des 
Moines, Iowa, was a staunch Lutheran and able 
supporter of the church. He. was highly re-, 
spected and rendered valuable services in the 
congregations for many years. He succeeded 
himself as trustee for a number of terms. Louis 
Sampson was also an active member in Freedom 
for many years, but moved to Iowa. 

Among the oldest that now survive in Free- 
dom are Ole Albertson, Ole Thorson, Barto 
Thompson and Ole Eastegaard. Barto Thompson, 
who is a younger son of Knudt Mosey, came with 
his father in 1846, while he was yet a boy. He 
was confirmed and grew to manhood in the con- 
gregation. Mr. Thompson, though not so prom- 
inent in public as his older brother, Tom Mosey, 
has always been a faithful and interested mem- 
ber of the congregation. Ole Albertson joined 
the church here in 1854 and is one of those who 
speak not so much, but think more, and feel the 
most. He has loyally contributed according to 
his means. Ole Thorson, one of the pillars of 
the congregation, has been a deacon for twenty- 
five or thirty years, has served faithfully in posi- 
tions of importance and trust, and has always 
given close attention to the welfare of the con- 
gregation. Ole Eastegaard has served as trustee 
for a number of years, and with his experience in 
practical pedagogy as a young man in Norway he 
has rendered faithful and efficient services in 
various positions in the congregations. Both Mr. 
Thorson and Mr. Eastegaard have always with 
warm and consecrated hearts contributed liber- 
ally of their substance in the service of the 
church, and in charity generally. Mr. Jakob Ol- 
son served faithfully for over twenty years as 
janitor at Freedom church. He is no longer able 
to be around, but is confined to his bed. He is 
making his home at Knute Fosse's. 

Of the younger generations that are coming to 
the front in the congregation may be mentioned 
Gabriel Jameson, son of Sivert Jameson, who 
has served ably and conscientiously as deacon, 
Sunday school superintendent and trustee; Henry 



NORWEGIAN CHURCHES IN ILLINOIS 



119 



Mosey, son of Tom Mosey, a loyal supporter of 
the church; Knute Fosse, who now serves as 
deacon, and promises well for the future of the 
church in Freedom, with his earnest forethought 
and ready means of support; Joe E. Thompson, 
a good and interested member, who has served 
the congregation as trustee he is Barto Thomp- 
son's son, and Knudt Mosey's grandson; Louis 
Chally, a new member of the congregation 
but from services rendered, from his gifts and ac- 
complishments, and from his earnest and sincere 
devotion to the congregation which he now serves 
as a deacon, the church may well depend for 
its future growth and prosperity upon his sin- 
cere devotion, whole-hearted consecration and 
efficient services and support. Several others 
might be mentioned, but time and space do not 
allow. 

The church building in Freedom has under- 
gone changes. In 1854 or 1855, the Lutherans 
built a house of worship together with a few 
Baptists and a few Methodists. Each was too 
poor to build alone. This house was used until 
in 1883, when the present church building, with 
the exception of a later addition, was built. The 
first one was a building of about 16 x 24, and the 
present one is about 30x60 feet. 

In 1885, in the month of September, the ladies 
of Freedom organized the ladies' aid society. 
In the earlier years they prepared articles of 
clothing, and sold at sales, but in later years they 
have contributed money at each monthly meet- 
ing. The money thus gathered is given to for- 
eign missions. 

A Luther league has been in existence for many 
years in Freedom. The meetings have been al- 
most altogether devotional in character. The 
young people have not been trained to take much 
active part in the meetings. The programme has 
consisted so far chiefly of songs by the choir and 
.audience, and a talk or sermon by the pastor. 

The funds of the congregation are collected 
by assessment, by free subscriptions and by col- 
lections. To place the money on the altar in the 
form of an offering has never been introduced 
in these congregations. The minister's salary is 
collected by means of free subscription. The 
janitor's fee is collected by means of assessment. 
Money for the home and foreign missions and 
for charitable institutions at home is gathered 
by means of free-will collections. 

The congregation has about six weeks of paro- 
chial school every year, and has had school dur- 
ing the last ten or twelve years. Previous to 
that time, however, there was little or no such 
school. There has been regular and earnest at- 



tention given to Sunday school work. The- con- 
gregation has called into action its best and 
choicest talents, and marked results have been 
obtained from the work. 

The language question has also claimed due 
attention. Freedom, as well as St. Peter, were 
not at all vexed and annoyed by the question 
until within the last decade or so. Norwegian 
was spoken, Norwegian was understood and 
Norwegian was loved. But conditions have 
changed. The rising generation feels differently, 
thinks differently and speaks differently. Those 
who were born and grew to manhood and wo- 
manhood in the old country had the feelings of 
the old country, thought the thoughts of the old 
country, and spoke the language of the old 
country, but those who grow up to manhood and 
womanhood in this country, on American soil, 
put away those things of the old country. The 
result is that English has been introduced. The 
Sunday school has English classes, some chil- 
dren in Freedom and St. Peter are being con- 
firmed every year in English, and a good share 
of the Sunday evening services are being con- 
ducted in English. 

* * * 

BIG INDIAN CREEK, ILL. 
By Rev. P. P. Hagen. 

At Big Indian Creek, which is now called St. 
Peter congregation, there are not very many, 
only two or three men, who have served in any 
important position for any length of time. The 
original founders, some of whom lived near 
Baker such as Holje Bakke, Hellek Farley and 
others did not count anything too costly for 
the welfare of the church. Many were the strug- 
gles they had to go through and the burdens 
they hau to carry, and mainly for the good of 
posterity. All honor to their memories! 

Still, the younger generation did not prove 
less industrious in doing its duty, nor less 
faithful to its trust. Among those who car- 
ried the weight of the burden in St. Peter from 
the '60's, and down to the present may be men- 
tioned: Holje Pederson, Mathias Sawyer, Nils 
Erickson, A. B. Anderson and Nels Halvorson. 
Mr. Holje Peterson was for forty years or more 
the mainstay of the congregation from .that part, 
and especially as trustee; his services were emi- 
nently efficient. 0sten Sanderson, who is now 
living at Leland, is one of the heaviest land- 
owners .around Baker, and also figures prom- 
inently in church affairs at that place. Mr. San- 
derson has contributed liberally to the church 
for the various funds of the congregation, and 



120 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



especially in the erection of the local church- 
building. Two of his nephews, Henry and Knudt 
Kittleson, are prominent and active members of 
St. Peter congregation. Mathias Sawyer was for 
many years a leader, and served during several 
terms as deacon of the congregation. His son 
and family are now interested and industrious 
church workers. Nels Halvorson was for sev- 
eral years a leading member of the Big Indian 
locality, and rendered very valuable services for 
the maintenance of the church at that place. A. 
B. Anderson is one of the earliest, if not the 
earliest member of the Leland church still living. 
While Mr. Anderson now resides at Leland and 
will .be more fully treated under that head, yet 
he has spent most of his days at Big Indian, and 
a few reflections upon his work are appropriate 
here. Mr. Anderson came here in the "50's and 
made the Big Indian locality his home for 
rather more than half a century. The church 
was his all-absorbing interest. He served in dif- 
ferent positions in the congregation and never 
spared efforts or means to make it prosper and 
grow. His sons, who are at present faithful 
members of St. Peter, take after their father in 
that respect. Mr. Nels Erickson is undoubtedly 
the oldest member of St. Peter who is in at- 
tendance and service. Mr. Erickson is now past 
fourscore, and retains a wonderful degree of vi- 
tality, both physical and mental. The only 
marked effect of old age is a serious lack of 
hearing. This is a very burdensome defect and 
deprives him of much benefit and blessing which 
comes from the hearing of the preaching of the 
Word of God. Mr. Erickson arrived at Leland 
from Stavanger, Norway, in 1859, and immedi- 
ately afterward settled on his homestead not far 
from Baker. In less than two years after his 
arrival he became a deacon of the congregation, 
and filled that position until less than five years 
ago. It was only with regret that the congrega- 
tion could not keep him any longer with his 
modesty, care and devotion in that important of- 
fice of the church. But he was unable to serve 
any longer. Mr. T. H. Pederson has been living 
at Big Indian since 1864 and has been an active 
member of the congregation since. Mr. Henry 
Kittleson, grandson of Holje Bakke, one of the 
original founders of the Leland congregation, 
was born in the house in which the congregation 
was organized, in the year 1850. He has lived 
near Baker all his life with the exception of a 
few years near Newark, 111. He has served as 
trustee of the congregation for many years. He 
is now assisted in that position by Mr. Endre 
Ohme, a successful young farmer devoted to the 



welfare of the church, and John A. Johnson, an 
equally sincere and interested worker of the con- 
gregation. Among those who have served as 
deacons at Big Indian since the days of the ser- 
vice of Mathias Sawyer and Nels Erickson may 
be mentioned: Bendik Fr0nik, Ole Watland, 
Benjamin Henrickson, John Erikson (son of Nels 
Erikson) and Enevold Stangeland. 

For the first twenty years the Big Indian wasj 
not in possession of any church edifice, but made 
use of school-houses and residences. About thir- 
ty-five years ago the present church building was 
erected. It measures about 30x40, with gallery, 
and seats a fair-sized audience. 

About thirty years ago "The Western Ladies' 
Aid" was organized, and has been in operation 
ever since. It has worked for missions, home 
and foreign, and other church institutions. A fev 
years later, about fifteen years ago, another, called 
"The Eastern Ladies' Aid," was formed, also 
aiding the church at home and abroad with its 
work and money. A few years ago a Luther 
league was organized, but can hardly be said to 
have kept up the work in any organized form, 
the members having in the meantime married and 
moved away, thus reducing the membership. 
Services, however, are being conducted especi- 
ally for the young, and these meetings are prin- 
cipally of a devotional nature. The young people 
here, as in Freedom, have not been sufficiently 
trained to take active part in the meeting. 

The funds here in St. Peter are raised in vari- 
ous ways, as in Freedom partly by free sub- 
scription, partly by assessment and collection. 
Offering, a.s used in most of our churches, is not 
used here. Three or four years ago the young 
people of the congregation formed a society to 
work for the congregation. The name of this 
society is "Helping Hand." Their main object 
was to fix up the church building. First they 
bought a church bell, then they furnished the 
church with light, and at present they are at work 
to furnish the church with new pews. 

The English language is used exclusively in 
the evening at St. Peter. In the Sunday school 
both languages are used. The English language 
has gradually increased in use and in due time 
it will undoubtedly supplant the Norwegian alto- 
gether. 

Both St. Peter and Freedom have by consti- 
tutional enactment taken a very firm and positive 
stand against secret orders. They recognize 
lodgism as diametrically opposed to the Chris- 
tian religion and contrary to the best interests 
of the state. The very essence of the Christian 
religion is the doctrine of salvation by grace of 



NORWEGIAN CHURCHES IN ILLINOIS 



121 



God through faith in Christ's vicarious atone- 
ment; the religion of the lodge is salvation by 
man's own efforts. These two are incompatible. 
One can not hold both these religions at the 
same time. The lodge is contrary to the best 
interests of the state, because the natural tend- 
ency of its oaths and obligations is to hinder or 
defeat the execution of justice. 



ST. TIMOTHY CHURCH, CHICAGO, ILL. 
By Lyle Halvorson. 

In the year 1899 Rev. Ellestad, superintend- 
ent of the home missions of the United Church, 
visited the suburb Hermosa, lying in the north- 
west outskirts of Chicago, with the object of es- 
tablishing a mission Sunday school. He then 
reported to the congregation of Bethel Lutheran 
Church, which is located about two miles east, 
that there were good prospects for establishing 
a mission. He asked Bethel congregation to be 
sponsor for this new mission, promising them 
that they would not have to bear any of the ex- 
penses, but simply see to it that the work was 
carried on. 

In the fall of that year Rev. A. Oefstedal, of 
Bethel Church, made a thorough canvass of this 
suburb. Mr. A. Larson, Sr., assisted him in this. 
On Oct. 13, Mr. Larson rented a small frame 
store at 1639 Armitage avenue, and also sent 
around hand bills announcing that a Lutheran 
Sunday school would be started on Sunday, Oct. 
22. This was the beginning of St. Timothy 
Church. Rev. A. Oefstedal and Mr. A. Larson 
were present that Sunday and organized the Sun- 
day school. There were present also twelve 
girls, eight boys, three visitors and four teachers, 
making a total of twenty-seven. Mr. Larson 
acted as superintendent for the school for the 
remainder of that year. The teachers of the 
school were all members of Bethel Church, with 
one exception, Miss Anna Magnussen. 

The place where this. Sunday school was first 
held was not inviting, but still the children came, 
and we were able to hold our first Christmas 
festival that year. The tree and all its trimmings 
were brought from Bethel Church, Mr. Larson 
and Miss Magnussen doing nearly all the work. 

At the beginning of the year 1900 Mr. Larson 
was unable to continue longer with the school, 
and Bethel congregation elected Mr. Lyle Hal- 
vorson as superintendent. He continued in that 



capacity until the mission became an organized 
congregation, Mr. Leth acting as assistant. 

The school was now no longer a novelty, and 
the people of Hermosa began to realize that it 
had come to stay. Those who had come at first 
to assist us, perhaps out of mere curiosity, drop- 
ped off one by one, and finally only three of the 
teachers from Bethel Church remained. They 
were Mr. D. Leth, Miss M. Leth and Mr. Lyle 
Halvorson. These three, with Miss Magnussen 
from Hermote, were the only teachers the Sun- 
day school had until the fall of 1903. 

The school was conducted in two languages. 
Miss Leth, although not yet confirmed, had the 
class of smaller ones in English; Miss Magnus- 
sen, the smaller ones in Norwegian; Mr. Leth, 
the older boys; and Mr. Halvorson, the older 
girls. Miss Mabel Leth also acted as organist, 
and continued in that capacity until the fall of 
1903, when she, together with Mr. Leth, were 
called back to their own church. But the troubles 
of the mission had just begun. April 8 was 
Easter Sunday, and the school had planned for a 
special service, but during that week the party 
who was the owner of the place had rented the 
store to some one else without notifying the 
mission, and when the scholars came to their 
Sunday school that Easter afternoon they found 
a tea store in the place where the Sunday before 
had been their Sunday school. All this had been 
done through a misunderstanding, and as no 
other place could be had to hold the school, after 
a search had been made that Sunday morning, 
permission was had to hold the school in the 
kitchen back of a delicatessen store. It was also 
necessary to hold the school in the same place 
the next Sunday. Permission was then received 
from Mr. Nirison, a real estate man, to use the 
vacant house on the corner of Forty-third avenue 
and Cortland street. This house was in a very 
poor condition; canvas was spread over the walls 
in some of the rooms in place of plaster, and 
in other rooms there was nothing but the bare 
scantlings. The school paid no rent for the 
place and stayed there until Sept. 30. This was 
a most unfavorable place for a Sunday school, 
and the attendance diminished until we had only 
about eighteen or twenty during the summer of 
that year. During the month of September this 
house was invaded and some of our property de- 
stroyed. On Sunday, Oct. 30, when we came to 
hold the Sunday school, we found people living 
in the place and all our things stored up in the 
garret. This was the second time we had been 
thrown out without warning. That Sunday after- 



122 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



noon we gathered the children together on a 
street corner, distributed the papers, took up the 
collection, and dismissed the scholars with the 
promise that we would send them postals during 
the week notifying them where our next service 
would be held. That afternoon Mr. Leth and 
Mr. Halvorson canvassed the neighborhood for 
a new place for the Sunday school. 

Although these were severe trials, God was 
with this, school. On that afternoon, after a 
search, a German mission was located in a cot- 
tage at 1075 Tripp avenue. Permission was se- 
cured to hold the Sunday school there the next 
Sunday afternoon, as they held their school and 
services on Sunday mornings. This was only 
temporary, but Mr. Koepke, a trustee, promised 
to bring it before his congregation. They agreed 
to rent the place to us for $5 a month. The cot- 
tage was supplied with a pulpit and altar, and 
was the best place the school had had so far. 
Here the school remained until Sept. 1, 1902, 
when the store just across the street, at 1602, 
was rented from Mr. August Patsky. 

During the year 1901, and while the school was 
yet in the cottage, the Germans built a church 
of their own and the school had to bear the ex- 
pense of the cottage alone until April 15, 1902, 
when the school rented the rear rooms to a fam- 
ily by the name of Nelson. Some of the neigh- 
bors objected to this; as the husband was sick 
with consumption, they said that the house was 
not in proper condition. Some of the parents 
also objected to sending their children. Then 
the school again diminished. This affair also 
caused a great deal of trouble and worry, and 
the school was obliged to look for new quarters, 
which were found in the home of Mr. Patsky, 
three doors west. Again the school moved to 
the cottage, and stayed there until arrangements 
were made to move into a vacant store building 
across the street. 

The first church service was held September 
29, 1901. Ten people from Hermosa and some 
visitors from Bethel Church were present. Rev. 
C. E. Tiller conducted the service. After the 
service, a short meeting was held and nine per- 
sons promised to support the mission. These, 
together with a few others, continued to contri- 
bute thereafter. They were: Mrs. Ramstad, Mrs. 
Johnson, Mrs. Bergsgo, Mrs. Lydia Christiansen, 
Mrs. Joel Hanson, Mrs. Claus Amundson, Mrs. 
E. Hansen, Mrs. Grant, Mrs. T. Gunderson, Miss 
Anna Magnussen, Mr. A. Evanson, Mrs. Olsen. 

A few more services were held that fall. All 
these were in the Norwegian language. An Eng- 



lish service was announced for December 8, but 
as Mr. Meyers, of the Seminary at Lake View, 
did not come, the service was not held. 

In the first part of the year 1902 a few Eng- 
lish services were held. Rev. Tiller conducted 
most of these services. He was assisted by J. 
Liaboe, Adolph Larson and J. P. Hovland. 

In the year 1902 the mission board of the 
United Church took over the mission and sent 
Rev. Ditman Larsen to take charge. He also 
had charge of Emmaus Church, about a mile and 
a half south. Rev. Larsen conducted the first 
service Sunday evening, July 6, 1902, in the Eng- 
lish language. The attendance was small. 

In the afternoon of July 28 a formal opening 
of the mission took place; for it now had a pas- 
tor in charge and was supported by the mission 
board. The store had been made to resemble a 
church, being fitted up with a pulpit, altar, altar 
railing, etc. Much of this work had been done 
by Rev. Larsen himself. About fifty were pres- 
ent that afternoon. Rev. Ditman Larsen presided 
Rev. C. E. Tiller, Rev. G. T. Rygh and Mr. A. 
Larson spoke. The superintendent of the Sunday 
school also said a few words in regard to the 
mission's past. 

A confirmation class was now started. The 
members of this class were Mabel Grant, Amy 
Grant, Josephine Olsted and Emily Halvorsen. 
They were confirmed May 10, 1903, together with 
the class from Emmaus Church, the confirma- 
tion being held in that church. This was the 
first class confirmed in the mission, although Ar- 
thur Thoreson and Herbert Olsted had been con- 
firmed in Bethel Church and Clara Hansen and 
Anna Larson had been confirmed in Saron Swed- 
ish Lutheran Church the year before. Another 
member of the Sunday school, Harry Olsen, was 
also confirmed in Saron Swedish Lutheran 
Church in 1903. 

Rev. Ditman Larsen now accepted a call to 
Elgin, and preached for the last time May 31. 
Then followed another gloomy period for St. 
Timothy, as no organization had been effected, 
no more services were held, and the mission had 
no means of support except the Sunday school 
collections and a little money that was volun- 
tarily contributed by its friends. 

When Mr. Leth and Miss Mabel Leth left to 
go back to their own church in the fall of this 
year the Sunday school was reorganized and 
more classes were formed. The new teachers 
were young ladies who had grown up in the 
Sunday school, with two others, Miss Agnes El- 
lison and Miss Ella Ellison, who came from 



NORWEGIAN CHURCHES IN ILLINOIS 



123 



Bethel Church. Miss Agnes Ellison also acted 
as organist for some time. Miss Mabel Grant, 
one of the members that had grown up in the 
Sunday school, was the first to act as treasurer 
of the mission. Miss Emily Halvorsen was the 
first secretary, she having been doing some of 
that work before she was confirmed. 

In the latter part of this year those who had 
been interested in the mission's welfare began to 
discuss plans for the organization of a congre- 
gation. Jan. 14, 1904, was finally set as the day 
for organizing. 

Rev. C. E. Tiller had now secured the services 
of Mr. Andreas M. Skindlov, who was to hold 
services and to do some visiting. He called for 
the first time Sunday morning, Dec. 20, and ad- 
dressed the Sunday school. He also spoke at the 
Christmas festival, Dec. 30, and held service on 
New Year's day, which was well attended. On 
Sunday, Jan. 10, Mr. Skindlov preached to seven- 
teen grown persons and two children. The next 
Sunday there were thirty persons present. Mr. 
Skindlov preached in the morning, went visiting 
in the afternoon, and attended Luther league in 
the evening. He was a zealous worker and was 
well liked by the people, and had good success, 
especially with the Norwegian services. 

A special meeting was now announced for Jan. 
14, with the object of organizing a congregation. 
Seventeen persons, including Rev. C. E. Tiller 
and B. D. Larson from Bethel Church, were pres- 
ent. Mr. Lyle Halvorsen, the Sunday school 
superintendent, called the meeting to order. Rev. 
C. E. Tiller was elected temporary chairman; 
Mr. Lyle Halvorson was elected temporary sec- 
retary. After the report for the past year was 
read an organization was effected. Sixty souls 
were enrolled, nine of whom were voting mem- 
bers. Women were given the right to vote at 
the meeting. A committee of five consisting 
of Mr. Emil C. Hanson, John Riiser, P. M. 
Grant, Martin Halvorsen and Anton Christen- 
son was appointed to draw up a constitution. 
Mr. B. D. Larson also acted as advisory member 
of this committee, the superintendent of the 
Sunday school also being present. It was voted 
to retain the old name of St. Timothy Evangelical 
Lutheran Church, this name having been adopted 
by members of the Sunday school. The charter 
members were: Emil C. Hanson, wife and five 
children; Martin Halvorsen; P. M. Grant, wife 
and four children; Sadie Mabel Grant; Amy 
Marie Grant; Anfind Olsen, wife and seven chil- 
dren; John Riiser, wife and five children; Andrew 
H. O. Stavoe, wife and three children; Lewis 



Hansen and wife; Anton Christensen, wife and 
four children; John Hansen, wife and three chil- 
dren; Anna Magnussen; Ella Hansen; Mrs. Han- 
na Eidem and six children; Rodney Eidem; M. 
Lyle Halvorsen. 

Meetings were held Jan. 28, and Feb. 11, at 
which Mr. A. Larson presided. Mr. Skindlov 
presided at the meetings held Feb. 25 and March 
10. At these meetings the work of organizing 
was continued. 

The first board of deacons consisted of Mr. 
Martin Halvorsen, chairman; Anton Christensen, 
secretary; Miss Anna Magnussen. The board of 
trustees consisted of Louis Hansen, chairman; 
Emil Hansen, secretary; Mrs. Hanna Eidem, 
treasurer; Mr. A. H. O. Stavoe; P. N. Grant. 
The first secretary elected was Mr. A. H. C. 
Stavoe. Mr. Halvorsen was elected as superin- 
tendent of the Sunday school and Mr. A. M. 
Skindlov was elected to serve the congregation. 

A committee of three Martin Halvorsen, 
Lyle M. Halvorsen and Mr. A. H. O. Stavoe 
was elected to represent the congregation before 
the meeting of the mission board at the home of 
Mr. Adolph Larson. This committee pleaded the 
cause of the congregation before the mission 
board. 

From May 1 to Oct. 1 Mr. Skindlov gave all 
his time to the work of the church, for which he 
received $60 per month. He canvassed the neigh- 
borhood thoroughly and succeeded in inducing 
a great many people to join. Many of these had 
not attended any of the services before they 
joined, and dropped off after Mr. Skindlov left. 
A parochial school was conducted during the 
summer and a confirmation class was also start- 
ed. Mr. Skindlov preached his farewell sermon 
Sunday, Oct. 2, and in the evening Rev. C. E. 
Tiller held communion service, which was largely 
attended. Mr. Skindlov left to continue his 
studies at St. Paul. When he left the congrega- 
tion had a membership of 127 souls. The Nor- 
wegian services during the summer while Mr. 
Skindlov was there were well attended, there be- 
ing about twenty-five present. The English ser- 
vices were also fairly attended, but most of these 
were young people and children. 

But God had again taken care of his people, 
for Rev. C. E. Tiller had secured the services 
of Mr. R. O. Sigmond, a student at Chicago Lu- 
theran Seminary. Mr. Sigmond preached for the 
first time Oct. 9. 

The mission board now sent Rev. O. N. Nel- 
son from Meckinock, N. D., to take charge of 
both St. Timothy and Emmaus churches. He 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



preached his first sermon to St. Timothy Church 
Sunday evening Jan. 22, 1904, and was installed 
the next Sunday morning by Rev. C. E. Tiller, 
of Bethel Church. He remained with St. Tim- 
othy until June 25, 1905, and then took charge 
of Emmaus Church only. While he had both 
congregations, Mr. R. A. Sigmond assisted him 
by preaching alternately at Emmaus Church and 
St. Timothy Church, thus giving both congrega- 
tions two services each Sunday. 

After Rev. O. N. Nelson left, the congregation, 
at a meeting held May 22, called Mr. Sigmond 
to take charge until a pastor could be secured. 

Lots located on the northwest corner of Forty- 
third and Dickens avenues, 50 feet front by 117 
feet deep, have been purchased for a church 
building. 



The Luther League was organized Jan. 9, 1903, 
Rev. Ditman Larsen acting as temporary chair- 
man and Miss Mabel Grant as secretary. The 
following officers were elected: Mr. M. Lyle Hal- 
vorsen, president; Miss Mabel Grant, secretary; 
Miss Mabel Leth, treasurer. Meetings were held 
Sunday evenings, as there were no services at that 
time. These meetings were fairly well attended. 
Later the meetings were changed to a week day 
and the league became more of a young people's 
society. The membership at the beginning of 
the year 1906 was thirty-two. The average at- 
tendance at the meetings was eighteen. This 
society gave $25 to the purchase of the church 
lots, aided in decorating the church for Christ- 
mas, Easter, etc., and also assisted in other ways. 



On Saturday, Feb. 24, 1906, another auxiliary 
society, composed, of girls, known as the Busy 
Bees, that have for their object the raising of 
money for the church building, was organized at 
the home of Mrs. Eidem. The officers were Dor- 
othy Ramstad, president; Mildred Eidem, vice- 
president; Ragnhild Johansen, treasurer; Jennie 
Gunderson, secretary. 



During the summer of 1904 an English choir 
was organized. A Norwegian choir was attempted 
a little later, but was not successful. Mr. Abra- 
hamson became the instructor. In February, 
1905, Rev. Nelson led the choir himself. After 



he left, Mr. Leth was called back to St. Timothy 
and took charge of the choir, Miss Mabel Leth 
being organist again. At a concert given Sept. 
16 of that year over $40 was raised for the 
church lots. 



The first auxiliary society organized was the 
Alpha Club. It was organized April 9, 1902, and 
was composed of girls. Its first officers were: 
Miss Mabel Leth, president; Miss Mabel Grant, 
secretary; Miss Attie Amundson, treasurer. The 
first meeting was held at the home of Miss Anna 
Magnussen, 1085 N. Forty-first court. The first 
entertainment of any kind for the benefit of the 
mission was given by this society, June 18, at the 
home of Mr. and Mrs. Cressman, an American 
family belonging to the Congregational Church. 
Mr. Cressman, being in sympathy with our Lu- 
theran mission, often aided us in this manner. 



The Ladies' Aid Society was organized Thurs- 
day, Sept. 6, 1902, at the home of Mrs. Emil Han- 
sen. The officers elected were: Mrs. Eliza John- 
son, president; Mrs. Maren Hansen, treasurer; 
Mrs. Gertrude Gunderson, secretary. The soci- 
ety has been a great help to the church. It has 
often aided in paying the rent of the mission. 
In like manner it also assisted the congregation 
to meet its current expenses when first organized. 
It gave $300 to the purchase of the lots for the 
church. 

About the first of June, 1905, the Ladies' Aid 
Society lost one of its first members, in the per- 
son of Miss Anna Magnussen, as she moved to 
Lake Bluff with the Cressman family, with whom 
she lived. Not only this society, but also the 
congregation, and the Sunday school especially, 
lost one of its best members, as she had been 
with the congregation from the very beginning 
and had perhaps done more than any other one 
person in the building up of St. Timothy. She 
seemed to know every child in the Sunday school. 
Whenever she knew of any one being absent she 
would visit the child; she also visited the sick 
in the congregation and did whatever she could 
to relieve them. She never failed of an oppor- 
tunity to bring a new child to Sunday school or 
some one to church when it was within her 
power to do so. All the good she has done and 
the sacrifice she has made probably no one will 
be able to estimate. 



NORWEGIAN CHURCHES IN ILLINOIS 



125 



ZION CHURCH, CHICAGO. 
By Rev. C. K. Solberg, Pastor. 

Zion Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church 
is located in Chicago, on the corner of Potomac 
and Artesian avenues. The congregation is af- 
filiated with the United Norwegian Lutheran 
Church of America. Following is a brief state- 
ment of the circumstances and events leading up 
to the organization of the congregation: 

A large number of the Norwegian Lutherans 
having settled east of Humboldt Park, steps were 
taken in 1891 to hold preaching services there 
occasionally. Shortly after New Year's Rev. J. 
N. Kildahl, who at that time was pastor of Beth- 
lehem Norwegian Lutheran Church, on Huron 
street and Center avenue, began these services. 
In March of the same year, together with Rev. 
N. J. Ellestad, mission superintendent of the 
United Norwegian Lutheran Church, he estab- 
lished a mission. A vacant store on the corner 
of Washtenaw avenue and Crystal street was 
rented and equipped with the most necessary 
furniture. Here the mission held its first regular 
morning service on the last Sunday in March, 
Rev. Ellestad preaching the sermon. At 3. p. m. 
the same day Rev. Kildahl, with nine of his 
Sunday school workers, started an English Sun- 
day school with thirty-one pupils. Mr. L. B. 
Johnsen, now a member of Covenant English 
Lutheran Church, this city, was elected superin- 
tendent and served for four years. Revs. Kildahl 
and Ellestad served the mission alternately till 
the month of June. In that month the mission 
had to give up its quarters. Two lots and a 
cottage were then purchased on the corner of 
Artesian and Potomac avenues. In this cottage 
the mission held its services and Sunday school 
till in the fall, when the Church Extension Fund 
erected a chapel on these lots for the use of this 
mission. Rev. N. Arvesen was then called by the 
mission committee of the United Church to have 
charge of the Zion Mission. He entered upon 
his duties the second Sunday in January, 1892. 
On February 15, Zion Norwegian Lutheran Con- 
gregation was organized, with Rev. Arvesen as 
pastor. The charter members were: Oswald R0s- 
ler, Jacob Conrad and Carl Sommerschield. The 
total original membership was sixteen souls. 

The congregation has in the course of time en- 
joyed a steady and vigorous growth. Its present 
membership is 508 souls, of whom 305 are con- 
firmed members and 110 voting members. The 
membership is fairly local, with but a few fam- 



ilies scattered in other parts of the city. Though 
the members have come chiefly from our own 
synod, yet quite a number have come from the 
Scandinavian Lutheran sister synods. 

The chapel erected by the Church Extension 
Fund of the synod was later purchased by the 
congregation. 

In the year 1901 the present house of worship 
was completed, a beautiful red brick structure, 
at a cost of $19,000. It has a seating capacity of 
400. The old cottage was moved to the rear of 
the lot and remodeled and equipped as a two- 
story flat building. The entire church property 
is valued at $36,000. 

Preaching services are held regularly every Sun- 
day, Norwegian in the morning and English in 
the evening. Regular mid-week prayer meetings 
are also held every Thursday evening. The aver- 
age attendance of services every Sunday fore- 
noon is about 275, and about 200 at the evening 
services. 

During the history of the church 440 have been 
baptized and 195 confirmed. 

The congregation has been served by the fol- 
lowing pastors: Rev. N. Arvesen, from January, 
1892 to June, 1893; Rev. O. Guldseth, from 1893 
to 1897; Rev. J. H. Meyer, from July, 1897, to 
September, 1904; in May, 1905, Rev. C. K. Sol- 
berg, the present pastor, took charge. 

Sunday school meets every Sunday morning at 
9:15. It has now an enrollment of 325 pupils and 
30 teachers and officers 16 men and 14 women. 
The average attendance of pupils is 225. Three 
classes receive their instruction in Norwegian; 
twenty-two classes in English. 

The other organizations of the church are as 
follows: The Luther League, with a membership 
of 100 young persons, holds weekly devotional 
meetings every Wednesday evening. Its main 
object is to aid the congregation in caring for the 
young people after their confirmation and train- 
ing them for intelligent, active and useful mem- 
bership in the church. It is affiliated with the 
State Luther League of Illinois. The Ladies' Aid 
Society, with a membership of fifty-four, holds 
monthly meetings. By monthly dues, sales, ba- 
zars and socials, between $500 and $600 is realized 
annually. The Helpers, a young ladies' society, 
also gives valuable financial aid to the congrega- 
tion. It has a membership of twenty-four and 
meets once a month. The Busy Bee, a girls' 
society, with eighteen members, meets every 
month and works exclusively for the support of 
the children's homes. The Young Men's League 
meets every second and fourth Monday in the 



126 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



month and by literary and social meetings aims 
to develop in its members intelligent citizenship, 
sociability and good fellowship, and also tends to 
bring the young men into the church to its var- 
ious devotional gatherings. It has a membership 
of thirty-seven. 

No parochial school is maintained. After the 
child has been instructed in the catechism and 
Bible history 1 in Sunday school it is at the age 
of fourteen or more admitted into the pastor's 
catechetical class, and after a course of religious 
instruction lasting eight months is received into 
communicant membership of the church by con- 
firmation. After confirmation the young people 
enter the Bible class, which is taught by the pas- 
tor every Sunday morning at 9:30. 

The congregation has in the past struggled 
hard to pay for its new house of worship, and be- 
cause of its heavy financial burdens at home it 
has not been able to contribute much to the mis- 
sions and charitable institutions of the synod. 
Four missionary services are held every year and 
offerings are taken for home and foreign mis- 
sions and charitable institutions. 

In the year 1905 the congregation raised by 
subscription, offerings, donations and through the 
efforts of the various aid societies, a sum of 
$2,051. Of this sum $1,323 was used for current 
expenses of the church, $639 for paying debts and 
$89 for the missions and current expenses of the 
synod. Besides, the Busy Bee society realized 
$90 that was divided among several orphanages. 

Located as it is in the heart of a large Nor- 
wegian I-utheran community, Zion Lutheran con- 
gregation has promising prospects of vigorous 
growth and effective work. 



EMMAUS CHURCH, CHICAGO. 
By Rev. O. N. Nelson. 

Emmans Evangelical Lutheran Congregation 
was organized in the year 1892. The leaders in 
this movement were Prof. J. N. Kildahl, president 
of St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minn., who at 
that time was pastor of Bethlehem Church of 
this city, and Rev. N. J. Ellestad, of Kenyon, 
Minn., at that time superintendent of home mis- 
sions in the United Lutheran Church of America. 

The congregation was organized with only ten 
families as charter members. The first perma- 
nent pastor was Rev. John Hetland, who served 
the congregation for six years. The present pas- 
tor, Rev. O. N. Nelson, took charge of the con- 
gregation Jan. 20, 1905. The congregation then 
had a membership of 73 souls. At present it has 



a membership of 130 souls 83 confirmed and 28 
voting members. The average attendance is 
about 90. During the history of the congrega- 
171 have been baptized and 80 confirmed. 

The church, which is located on the corner of 
Springfield avenue and Iowa street, was erected 
in 1892 and dedicated to the service of the Lord 
in 1893. It has a seating capacity of 200. 

The congregation looks forward with great 
hope. Scandinavians who are interested in church 
work are moving into the neighborhood. Many 
have joined the congregation the last year. The 
younger element is taking an active part. The 
young people are the hope of the church. 

The Sunday school has at present an enroll- 
ment of 175, with 14 teachers and officers and an 
average attendance of 120. Classes are conducted 
in both English and Norwegian. 

The Bible class, which is English, is led by the 
pastor of the church. 

Children's services have since the beginning of 
1905 been held on the second Sunday of each 
quarter, under the auspices of the Sunday school 
board. These services have proved a great bless- 
ing both to the church and Sunday school. A 
free-will offering is alwavs taken at these ser- 
vices, which in turn is given to the United Church 
missions, both home and foreign, and the congre- 
gation with which the Sunday school is con- 
nected. 

Another organization which adds much to the 
upbuilding of the congregation is the Luther 
League. 

The young people had tried to organize a young 
people's society with literary and social meetings, 
but had failed until they organized as a Luther 
league, with devotional meetings every week, ex- 
cepting the first meeting each month, which is 
a business meeting. The Luther league started 
about two years ago with only 15 members. At 
present it has a membership of 50, with an aver- 
age attendance of about 35 at each meeting. This 
society is a great help to the church, both spir- 
itually and financially. 

Another society lately organized is "The Daugh- 
ters of Emmaus." They are, as the name implies, 
supporters of the church. They meet twice a 
month and prepare useful articles to be sold for 
the exclusive benefit of the church. The mem- 
bers are girls from the confirmation age and up- 
wards. The members are very enthusiastic and 
ardent workers. 

The Ladies' Aid Society is also a great help to 
the church, bringing the church an average of 
$300 a year. 



NORWEGIAN CHURCHES IN ILLINOIS 



127 



The Bethesda Aid Society is an organization for 
the purpose of helping the poor and needy in 
that part of the city. This society has also done 
a good and noble work. 

A small church in a large city has its hardships 
to endure. But the future for this church looks 
brighter than ever before. 



BETHLEHEM CHURCH. 
By Rev. George T. Rygh. 

The Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Congre- 
gation of Chicago was organized in 1870. Its first 
pastor was Rev. S. M. Krogness, who served the 
congregation from 1870 until the summer of 1874. 
He was succeeded by Rev. C. B. Jacobsen, who 
preached his first sermon to the congregation 
Oct. 18, 1874. His successor was Rev. O. Bostad, 
who served the congregation as temporary sup- 
ply, from the fourth Sunday in Advent, 1876, un- 
til the third Sunday in Trinity, 1877. Thereupon 
Prof. S. R. Gunderson served the congregation 
for a short term. Rev. N. C. Brun delivered his 
introductory sermon as pastor on Sunday, Sept. 
30, 1877. 

In December, 1888, Zion congregation, which 
was made up of people who had left Our Savior's 
Church on account of the predestination contro- 
versy, joined the Bethlehem congregation. 

Rev. N. C. Brun delivered his farewell sermon 
the 30th of June, 1889, the second Sunday in Trin- 
ity, and was succeeded by Rev. J. N. Kildahl, who 
began his ministrations on July 7, 1889, the third 
Sunday in Trinity. Rev. J. N. Kildahl delivered his 
farewell sermon to the congregation the 28th of 
August, 1899, the thirteenth Sunday in Trinity. 
His successor was Rev. George T. Rygh, the 
present pastor, who delivered his initiatory ser- 
mon Sept. 3, the fourteenth Sunday after Trinity. 

At present (1906) the congregation numbers 
809 souls, of whom 617 are confirmed members. 
One unique feature of this congregation is the 
constitutional provision granting women the right 
of suffrage, the result being that there are 326 
voting members. There are 446 Sunday school 
children and 40 teachers. Parochial school has 
been conducted on Saturdays during the fall and 
winter seasons. 

Among the various agencies of the church may 
be mentioned the mission meeting, once a month; 
the Ladies' Aid Society which meets twice a 
month; the Sewing Society, which meets once a 
month; the Dorcas Society, which meets twice a 
month; the Luther league, which meets once a 



week, and the Norwegian Young People's Society, 
which also meets once a week. 

The church is located at the corner of W. Hu- 
ron street and N. Center avenue. The parsonage 
and the janitor's residence are immediately back 
of the church building, on Center avenue. The 
net value of all the church property is $19,768.17. 

* * * 

NAZARETH CHURCH, WEST PULLMAN, 

ILLINOIS. 
By Rev. Olaus Qualen. 

The Nazareth Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran 
Church of West Pullman, 111., was organized dur- 
ing the summer of 1896 by Anton Lea, who was 
then a student at the seminary at Minneapolis. 
The congregation applied for admission into the 
United Norwegian Lutheran Church of America, 
and was admitted. 

In the beginning services were held in private 
houses; but seing that this was inadequate, and 
not altogether well for the development of the 
church, an old school house, located on Michigan 
avenue, near the Chicago & Eastern Illinois 
tracks, was bought for a very small sum of money. 
Mr. A. Lea was at that time serving the con- 
gregation. Having received the information that 
the building on Michigan avenue was for sale, he 
lost no time in availing himself of the opportun- 
ity to buy it. He called on Rev. J. N. Kildahl, 
who was then a member of the Church Extension 
Fund Board, and presented the matter to him, 
asking for aid for the congregation to purchase 
the school house. This was promised, and in a 
short time the building was in possession of the 
church. 

The school-house was moved to its present lo- 
cation on Yale avenue, near One Hundred and 
Eighteenth street, and overhauled and remodeled, 
so as to make a Sunday school room out of the 
first story and the auditorium out of the second. 

At the beginning the church consisted of about 
70 souls, principally people from Piano, 111., who 
moved to West Pullman when the Piano Har- 
vester Works moved, and located not far from 
here. The progress since that time has been 
slow, due to the fact that not many Norwegians 
are to be found in this part of our great city. 

Rev. Otto Schmidt, who served the church from 
1897 to 1901, was an earnest and zealous worker, 
and did a great deal to put the church on a good 
financial basis. He also organized a young peo- 
ple's society, put the Sunday school on a good 
footing, and labored diligently for the welfare of 
the church. 



128 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



As his successor came Rev. Olaus Qualen, the 
present pastor. During the earlier part of his 
activity some new members were added to the 
church, but for two years there has been a de- 
cline, as some of the families, have moved toother 
places, because of slack work here. The present 
membership of the church is a little below one 
hundred. 

During the history of the church there have 
been 86 baptisms; 40 have been confirmed. 

As to the various organizations within the 
church, it can be said that in all respects they 
have been an aid and not a hindrance to the 
growth of the church. The ladies' aid society has 
done a great deal in defraying current expenses; 
but for this organization the church would not 
have seen the success that it has. 

The young people's society, which consists of 
19 members, has done its work to retain the 
young people for the church. They meet every 
other Wednesday evening in the Sunday school 
room of the church. The meetings are of vari- 
ous kinds devotional, literary and social. The 
first mentioned are the most largely attended. 

The Sunday school has an enrollment of about 
sixty children. Most of these are children from 
families belonging to the church, but also from 
homes that have no church connection. The pas- 
tors have up to this time taught parochial school 
during summer vacation. Although the term has 
been of three or -four weeks' duration only, it has 
been of great help to the children. Both the Nor- 
wegian and English languages have been used. 

Although this church has been a mission 
church, receiving quite a sum annually from the 
home mission funds, nevertheless it has always 
been its desire to contribute to the various 
branches of church work, such as home and for- 
eign missions, orphans' homes and the current 
expenses of the United Lutheran Church. 



EVANSTON, ILL. 
By Mr. C. Hendricksen. 

The Norwegian-Danish Lutheran Church of 
Evanston, 111., whose place of worship is at the 
corner of Greenwood street and Sherman avenue, 
was organized July 29, 1891, in the home of Mr. 
Carl Magnusen, corner of Church street and 
Sherman avenue. The congregation is a mem- 
ber of the United Church of America. The mem- 
bers of the congregation at the time of its or- 
ganization were mostly laboring people, and 
money was scarce. The leaders in the organiz- 
ing movement were Rev. J. N. Kildahl, Rev. N. 



J. Ellestad, C. Magnusen and C. Hendricksen. 
There were thirty-five charter members. 

In the year 1895 the membership was seventy- 
five; today (1906) the congregation has fifty vot- 
ing members. The average attendance upon di- 
vine worship is seventy-five. Fourteen have been 
confirmed during the years of the congregations' 
existence, and twenty-four have been baptized. 

The original home of the congregation was 
Union Hall on Davis street, and this continued 
to be the meeting place until 1898. In that year 
the congregation purchased the Swedish Luther- 
an church and moved it to its present site. The 
total cost of the church as it stands to-day, to- 
gether with the ground, is $1,900, all paid. The 
church' is centrally located. The congregation 
has no parsonage, nor does it sustain a parochial 
school. There is a small Sunday school (fifteen 
children), but few families belonging to the 
church. The membership is composed largely of 
unmarried young people in domestic or other 
service. The congregation disapproves of secret 
orders. The Ladies' Aid Society has very mater- 
ially assisted in paying for the church property 
and in defraying current expenses. The total ex- 
penses of the congregation during the fifteen 
years of its existence is about $8,000. The board 
of home missions of the United Church has also 
lent a helping hand. Occasionally the congrega- 
ation has rendered assistance to various children's 
homes. 

The Young People's Society holds literary, so- 
cial and devotional meetings, and has assisted the 
congregation financially. 

At various times the congregation has sent 
contributions to home, Jewish, and foreign mis- 
sions. 

The various pastors serving the congregation 
have been, Rev. J. N. Kildahl, N. Arvesen, L. S. 
Marvick, John Hetland, Ditman Larsen, and T. 
S. Kolste. In large measure the congregation has 
been served by students attending the Lutheran 
Theological Seminary in Lake View, Chicago. At 
present Student Westberg is in charge. 



LISBON, ILL. 
By Rev. N. G. Peterso'n. 

The Lisbon Norwegian Lutheran Church was 
begun in the early '50's by Rev. Elling Eielson, 
who made several visits here. In the year 1852 
he brought with him a young man, Peter Andreas 
Rasmussen, well educated and highly gifted as a 
speaker. He served as teacher in the school and 
on Sunday preached to the congregation. The 



NORWEGIAN CHURCHES IN ILLINOIS 



129 




The Lutheran Church at Leland, 111. 



130 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



congregation, being without a settled pastor, ten- 
dered a call to Rasmussen to become their pas- 
tor. After having taken a course in theology of 
one year at Ft. Wayne, Ind., he was ordained by 
the Missouri Synod on Palm. Sunday, 1854. Rev. 
Rasmussen served this church for about forty- 
four years, when the present pastor took charge 
in 1898. Under the pastorate of Rev. Rasmussen 
the church grew to be one of the strongest and 
most prosperous churches among the Norweg- 
ians in this country, numbering about 1,200 souls. 
It consists mostly of a farming community, sit- 
uated in the southern part of Kendall county and 
the northern part of Grundy county. The con- 
gregation has two church edifices, one near Lis- 
bon and one at Helmar, called the North Lisbon 
Lutheran Church. 

The congregation has maintained parochial 
schools in each parish, v and still gives thousands 
of ' dollars every year to missions and other 
works of mercy. It 

The church was without arijis'ynodical connec- 
tion until the organization ori^fhe United Nor- 
wegian Lutheran Church of America, in the year 
1890. Since then the Lisbon Lutheran Church has 
proved one of the most faithful churches in said 
body. It represents "the old orthodox, pietistic 
element in thfti Lutheran church. 

The present pastor is Rev. N. G. Peterson, who 
was born in Freeborn county, Minnesota, Nov. 
2, 1857. He graduated in 1887 from Red Wing 
Theological Seminary, at Red Wing, Minn. He 
served churches in Hamilton county, Iowa, and 
at Chicago, Ill.y from whence he came to Lisbon. 



LELAND CONGREGATION, LELAND, ILL. 
By Henry I. Noss, Pastor. 

A meeting was held at the home of Helge 
Bakke on Nov. 18, 1847, where Rev. Ole Andrew- 
son organized the Leland congregation under the 
name of the "Scandinavian Evangelical Lutheran 
Congregation" in the Town of Adams, La Lalle 
county. 111. Before this time they had been vis- 
ited occasionally by Rev. Elling Eielsen, a lay- 
man, who was ordained the third day of Oct., 
1843, by Rev. F. A. Hoffman, a German Lutheran 
minister of Chicago. 

The constitution adopted at a conference held 
at Jefferson Prairie, Rock county, Wis., the 13th 
and 14th of May, 1846, together with the by-laws 
added at a meeting held at Mission Point the 
14th and 15th of June, 1847, were sanctioned and 
undersigned by the twenty-three charter mem- 
bers of the congregation. Besides the pastor, the 



other leaders of the movement were Halvor 
Knudsen, Hellik Farley, Knut Halvorsen, and 
Knut Gutormsen, who constituted the church 
council. Mr. H.' Farley was the first secretary 
of the congregation. 

Until the year 1850 they, conducted their ser- 
vices in private houses throughout the country. 
In those days people were more than willing to 
walk as far as eight miles to hear a sermon. At 
a meeting held on the 16th day of Dec., 1850, 
the Lutherans and the Baptists decided to join 
hands in erecting a house of public worship. The 
project seemed very plausible until the church 
was just about ready; then, owing to some minor 
dissensions, the two denominations decided to dis- 
solve partnership on the 20th day of Aug., the 
year following. By mutual agreement, the prop- 
erty then fell into the hands of the Baptists. As 
a relic of olden days, that old church building 
can be seen relegated to the rear in one of Le- 
land's most prominent streets, serving the pur- 
pose of a wagon shop and a general store house 
for sundry articles. 

The Lutheran^ were then without a church 
building until the year 1858. During that lapse 
of time they conducted the services at the homes 
of the different members, occasionally making use 
of a school-house in that neighborhood. At a 
meeting held the 29th day of Oct., 1856, it was 
decided Unbuild a church fifty feet long, thirty- 
two jfeefi wide and eighteen feet high. But owing 
to pecuniary circumstances, it .seems as if noth- 
ing was accomplished until the year 1858. Then 
the. building was erected in ^ few months and 
dedicated on the llth day of Dec. the same year. 
This was a great event. Besides Rev. Hatlestad, 
pastor loci, Rev. Martin and Rev. Peterson frdm 
Chicago were also present. It is to be noted in 
this connection that Rev. Martin conducted ser- 
vices in the English language. Even at that early 
date the Norwegian community at Leland had a 
taste for English, which at the present day has 
almost entirely supplanted the mother tongue^ 

On the 28th day of May, 1860, during the ps- 
torate. of Rev. Peterson, the congregation with- 
drew from the Northern Synod of Illinois, with 
which it had been affiliated since the day of the 
organization of the synod in 1851. It then re- 
mained outside of any synodical connection until 
shortly after when it joined the Scandinavian Au- 
gustana Synod, organized June, 1860, at Jefferson 
Prairie, Wisconsin, under the leadership of the 
Swedish professor L. P. Esbjetrn. 

In the year 1867, the church building was moved 
into the village of Leland, having up till that 



NORWEGIAN CHURCHES IN ILLINOIS 



131 



time been located a couple of miles south of the 
town. 

Beginning with the year 1862, and continuing 
during the pastorates of the Revs. Peterson, 
Johnsen and Gjertson, there was a bitter struggle 
between two factions in the congregation as to 
the use of certain portions of the Norwegian 
"Alterbog." After a series of long discussions 
the agitation finally subsided and a peaceful agree- 
ment was the outcome. Some disagreement was 
also manifest at one time as to the question of 
having sponsors in baptism; but the real rupture 
came in the year 1873, when the congregation 
was divided into the Free Church and Augustana 
Synod factions. The Augustana people, under the 
leadership of the well-known eminent layman, A. 
A. Klove, retained their half of the church prop- 
erty, although they were decidedly in the minor- 
ity. But in spite of the division, the two parties 
had a common Sunday school, and their two pas- 
tors conducted services every alternate Sunday in 
the same old church building until about the year 
1880, when the Free Church congregation erected 
a little brick church a few blocks from their old 
house of worship. 

The one who figured most prominently in the 
various church activities of the Free Church con- 
gregation was Mr. O. Simonsen, a venerable old 
gentleman, who is now serving in the capacity 
of secretary and deacon of the present congrega- 
tion. His church never joined the "Conference," 
which was organized at St. Ansgar, Iowa, in 1870, 
but ministers from that synod always served 
them. Among those may be mentioned, Rev. N. 
Iversen 1873-1879, and Rev. N. Boe, 1879-1889. 
In this connection may be mentioned the names 
of all the ministers who have served at Leland: 
O. Andrewson, 1847; A. A. Scheie, 1848-1854; O. 
J. Hatlestad, 1854-1859; P. H. Peterson, 1859- 
1861; Amon Johnsen, 1862-1865; M. Falk Gjert- 
son, 1868-1872; O. O. Tjomsland, 1873-1874; O. 
Andrewson, 1875-1882; J. E. Roseland, 1882-1885; 
P. Reinertson, 1885-1890; N. Iversen, 1873-1879; 
N. Boe, 1879-1889; Erickson, 1890-1893; J. Sten- 
berg, 1894-1904; and Henry Noss, the present pas- 
tor, who entered upon his duties as a minister at 
Leland the 16th of July, 1905. 

The 13th day of June, 1890, marks the birthday 
of the United Norwegian Lutheran Church of 
America. The three factions, the Conference, the 
Norwegian Augustana Synod, and the Anti-Mis- 
sourians, were on that occasion amalgamated in- 
to that one great body. The Leland Free Church 
was then admitted into the United Church, and 
the Leland Evangelical Lutheran Church, belong- 



ing to the Norwegian Augustana Synod, was nat- 
urally merged into that same body. By this act 
the two Leland congregations were finally 
brought under one head again and this renewed 
the old friendly relationship which eventually re- 
sulted in the union of the two congregations in 
the year 1902, during the pastorate of Rev. Erick- 
son. 

At that time the only property belonging to 
the Evangelical Lutheran Congregation was the 
old church building which was in a somewhat 
dilapidated condition. But the Free Church had, 
during the short time of its existence, built two- 
branch churches and a parsonage, property valued 
at about $9,000. This fact necessitated a com- 
promise. After some deliberation it was at last 
agreed that the Evangelical Church should pay 
the Free Church a sum of $800 in cash and give 
over the church bell and other inventories, be- 
sides selling their old church with the under- 
standing that it should never be used for that 
purpose again, and hand the money over to the 
trustees of the Free Church to be deposited into 
the common treasury. The two factions now 
worked harmoniously together. Seeing the neces- 
sity of a larger house of worship, they erected 
a beautiful $10,000 brick edifice in the year 1898. 
That is now the present Lutheran Church, of Le- 
land. It presents a very neat and handsome ap- 
pearance both externally and internally, and is- 
certainly an ornament to the city of Leland. With 
the slanting floor and the opera chairs arranged 
in a semi-circle in front of a high platform it 
makes it an exceptional church acoustically. The 
language transition has already taken place, and 
it is only a question of time when the English 
will be the church language exclusively. Three- 
fourths of the preaching is now conducted in the 
English language and one-fourth in the Norweg- 
ian. The twenty-nine members of the catechism 
class all use English. There is no Norwegian 
in the Sunday school with its eight teach- 
ers and an average attendance of 100 scholars. 
About forty young men and women are regular 
attendants of the Bible class. The Luther league 
with an enrollment of seventy-six, meets every 
other Thursday evening and discusses the Luther 
league topics. The attendance is good and the 
young people take an active part in the work. 
There is an excellent choir in the church under 
the able leadership of Fritz Noel, editor of the 
"Leland Times." The ladies have three socie- 
ties, the ladies' aid for the old gray-haired 
women; the Bethany society for the middle aged 
women; and the Dorcas society, consisting of 






132 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



only young women. The church membership is 
about 375, of whom 250 are confirmed, and of 
those 120 are voters. The average attendance at 
the church services is about 300. Over $300 was 
sent out from this congregation for missionary 
and other benevolent purposes during the year 
of 1905. As to the number of confirmed and bap- 
tized during the history of this church it is very 
difficult to give any satisfactory report as the old 
church records are very incomplete. During the 
last ten years, however, 241 children have been 
confirmed and 549 have been baptized. 

By dividing the call in 1904, the Bethany con- 
gregation of Leland, 111., was readmitted into the 
United Lutheran Church of America at the yearly 
meeting of said conference in session at Minne- 
apolis, Minn., June, 1905. 

Only one charter member is still living; if Mr. 
Nils Halvorsen lingers until the 18th day of No- 
vember, 1907, he will have been a member of the 
Leland congregation for sixty years. 

A. M. Klove, Frank Hill and Lewis Peterson 
are the trustees of the present congregation, and 
O. Simonsen, C. Halvorsen and B. Anderson 

deacons. 

* * * 

PLEASANT VIEW LUTHER COLLEGE, 

OTTAWA, ILL. 
By Prof. L. A. Vigness. 

On the Fourth of July, 1893, a large gathering 
of Norwegian Lutherans had met in Stevens 
Grove, Kendall county, to express their patriotic 
feelings and their admiring memory of the his- 
torical events commemorated on the day of In- 
dependence. On this occasion an address was 
delivered by Rev. N. J. Lockrem, at that time 
pastor of the Fox River and Stavanger charge. 
The speaker took occasion to urge upon his hear- 
ers the educational needs of the rising genera- 
tion. The burden of his address was an appeal 
to the people to take active steps toward realizing 
a long cherished plan to establish in some suit- 
able location in Illinois a school for the Christian 
education of their children. Other influential men 
rallied about the cause, and the proposition, which 
had in a more quiet way been agitated for some 
time, began to shape itself into more vigorous 
action. 

When the semi-annual meeting of the Chicago 
District of the United Norwegian Church was 
held at Stavanger in September of the same year, 
1893, the movement had assumed such propor- 
tions that its advocates considered it safe and 
wise to bring it up for discussion on the floor 
of the convention. It found so ready a response 



that the convention at once decided to take active 
steps toward realizing the proposed plans. Ac- 
cordingly, a committee was elected to take the 
matter under more definite consideration, and, as 
far as possible, to mature definite plans. This 
committee consisted of the following members: 
Rev. N. J. Lockrem, Rev. J. N. Kildahl and 
Messrs. A. A. Klove, H. O. Rygh, Mikal Mon- 
son and E. S. Holland. 

After this committee had, in the course of the 
following months, held several meetings and in- 
vestigated carefully all the chief matters that 
would present themselves in this connection, it 
issued a call for a meeting of the people of the 
Norwegian Lutheran Church in Illinois, to be 
held on the 17th of April, 1895, in Bethlehem 
Lutheran Church, Morris, 111., Rev. T. Aarrestad, 
pastor. 

The substantial result of this meeting was the 
careful selection, through a committee on nom- 
inations, of thirty-two leading men from different 
parts of the Chicago District of the United 
Church and the Hauge's Synod. These men, con- 
stituting a well balanced representation of the 
district, were instructed to form a corporation to 
take control of all the details connected with the 
enterprise of establishing the proposed college. 

After adjournment of this meeting the thirty- 
two men formed a temporary organization by the 
election of Rev. N. J. Lockrem as chairman and 
Rev. P. J. Reinertson as secretary. 

After the appointment of a committee on in- 
corporation consisting of Rev. N. J. Lockrem, 
Rev. J. H. Stenberg and Mr. A. A. Bjelland 
the assembly adjourned to meet in Ottawa, on 
the approaching first day of May. 

Pursuant to this resolution the College asso- 
ciation assembled in the courthouse at Ottawa on 
the appointed date. The substantial results of 
the work of this meeting are as follows: 

1. Articles of incorporation were adopted. 
"Illinois Lutheran College Association" became 
the corporate name. 

2. The following persons were elected as the 
first board of trustees: Rev. N. J. Lockrem, Rev. 
O. Andresen, Rev. O. R. Sletten, Rev. P. J. Rei- 
nertson and Messrs. A. A. Klove, Adolph Nilson. 
E. S. Holland, H. O. Rygh, S. E. Bergeson. 

3. It was decided that the board of trustees 
shall elect their own officers, who shall also be 
the officers of the association. In a separate ses- 
sion the board elected the following: Rev. N. J. 
Lockrem, president; Mr. A. Nilson, vice-presi- 
dent; Rev. P. J. Reinertson, secretary. Later 
Mr. E. S. Holland was elected treasurer. 






NORWEGIAN CHURCHES IN ILLINOIS 



133 



4. Following committees were elected: On sub- 
scriptions Rev. N. J. Lockrem, Messrs. Mikal 
Monson and S. Myraboe. On buildings Messrs. 
A. Nilson, A. A. Klove and E. S. Holland; later 
were added Rev. N. J. Lockrem and Prof. L. A. 
Vigness. On by-laws Rev. J. N. Kildahl, Rev. 
J. H. Stenberg and Mr. A. Nilson. 

5. It was decided that the association proceed 
to raise by subscriptions the sum of $20,000 for 
a building fund. 

6. The following resolutions were adopted: 
Whereas, A first-class institution of learning 



city which shall offer the best and most advan- 
tageous inducements. 

Resolved, That the school shall be in all re- 
spects an American institution employing only 
such teachers as have been trained under Amer- 
ican educational influences and art entirely cap- 
able of imparting instruction in the English lan- 
guage; that the school shall be fully abreast of 
the times in its equipments, in its faculty and in 
all its work and methods of instruction. 

Resolved, That it shall be a Lutheran school, 
which means, not adherence to foreignism, but 




Pleasant View Luther College, Ottawa, Illinois. 



has been a long felt want among the Scandinavi- 
ans of Illinois; and, 

Whereas, The movement to establish an insti- 
tution of that kind in our midst has now pro- 
ceeded to such an extent that active measures 
may be taken; therefore be it 

Resolved, by the Illinois Lutheran College As- 
sociation, That it proceed to gather in its own 
name $20,000 for the beginning of such an in- 
stitution. 

Resolved, That the school be located in that 



an earnest, thorough training to loyal American 
citizenship under the influence of those prin- 
ciples which have been embodied in that type of 
Christianity. 

A meeting of the Association was held again 
on July 2, 1895. The progress made at this time 
is indicated by the following resolutions: 

1. After considerable discussion upon the 
merits of various locations, it was decided by a 
large majority that Ottawa be selected as the 
place in which to build the school. The vote on 
this resolution was then made unanimous. The 



134 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



bonus offered by the citizens' committee of Ot- 
tawa consisted of about thirteen acres of land 
on a high and beautiful elevation in the south 
part of the city; and besides this somewhat more 
than fifty lots located in various parts of the im- 
mediate vicinity. 

2. The association elected as president of the 
college Rev. Prof. L. A. Vigness, then president 
of Jewell Lutheran College, Jewell, Iowa. 

During the autumn and winter of 1895-96 the 
committee on subscriptions was engaged in se- 
curing funds. 

On March 10, 1896, the association held a meet- 
ing to devise further measures in the cause. The 
sessions were held at the courthouse in Ottawa. 
By unanimous vote instructions were given to the 
committee to take steps at once looking toward 
the erection of a building. The sum of $15,000 
was placed at the disposal of the committee. 

To indicate the disposition of this movement 
to our public schools, the association at this meet- 
ing adopted the following resolutions: 

Whereas, In the recent past the action of cer- 
tain parts of the Lutheran Church in regard to 
certain educational measures pertaining to the 
public schools has placed the attitude of the 
Lutheran Church at large toward these schools 
in a false light before the Amerian public; there- 
fore be it 

Resolved, by the Illinois Lutheran College As- 
sociation, That we regard with great apprecia- 
tion the privileges of our American citizenship, 
that we are not only willing but happy to add 
our share as citizens toward the support of the 
public schools and to utilize for our children the 
opportunities offered by these schools; and 

Resolved, That in establishing and maintain- 
ing the school contemplated by this association 
there lies no element of antagonism to the public 
schools, but only an intention in good faith to 
avail ourselves of the valued privilege accorded 
by our government the privilege to train our 
sons and daughters to loyal and patriotic citizen- 
ship in this great and liberal country under the 
influence of that form of the Christian faith 
which we have received from our fathers. It is 
our design to stand in most friendly relation to 
the public schools and to co-operate with them 
in their great and noble purpose. 

After this meeting the building committee pro- 
ceeded to carry out its duties. Based on plans 
and specifications prepared by the architect, Mr. 
Jason F. Richardson, of Ottawa, the bid of San- 
ders Bros. Manufacturing Company, general con- 
tractors, was accepted. Ground was broken on 



the 18th day of April, 1896, for the new building. 

In the course of the summer of 1896 the board 
of trustees elected the following additional teach- 
ers: Prof. C. O. Solberg, to have charge of Latin, 
Greek and English; Prof. W. Guy Rosebery, as 
principal of the commercial department; Dr. J. 
N. Downs, to have charge of the work in physi- 
ology and act as college physician; Miss Carrie 
Scott, as teacher of piano and organ; Miss Mar- 
guerite Osman, as teacher of stringed instru- 
ments. 

Thus organized, the institution was opened in 
the new building on Sept. 19, 1896. It has co.n- 
tinued its work uninterruptedly and has in this 
time graduated from its various departments 174 
young men and women. Of these some have en- 
tered the ministry, some law and some medicine; 
some have gone into business pursuits, some are 
teaching and others are farming. 

It does not come within the purpose of this 
sketch to trace all minor changes that have been 
made in various matters pertaining to the or- 
ganization of the practical educational work. 
Suffice it here to state that the institution has 
arranged its work with the following distinct 
aims in view: 

1. To prepare students for entrance to col- 
leges and universities. 

2. To prepare teachers for our common and 
parochial schools. 

3. To give efficient training to those who de- 
sire to enter upon practical business pursuits, 
including stenography. 

4. To afford opportunities to those who wish 
to obtain a thorough training in .the art of music. 

No strictly collegiate work is attempted as yet. 

Pleasant View Luther College is fully aware of 
the superior claims made by much of the recent 
thought in the sphere of religion even the 
Christian religion. It has not been able to find 
in these so-called progressive views a sufficient 
amount of truth to justify it in departing confes- 
sionally from the great principles of faith which 
are the consentient product of the universal con- 
sciousness of the church in its study, its labor, its 
suffering, its prayer, through all the centuries of 
its history. The institution believes in conserva- 
tive reformation. It accordingly makes its offt- 
cial statement of purpose in the following words: 

The Lutheran Church is conservative in faith 
and doctrine. It is judiciously progressive in 
matters of education and practice. Doctrinally it 
adheres strictly to the teachings of the Word of 
God, understood in accordance with the general 
creeds of early Christianity and with the Lu- 



NORWEGIAN CHURCHES IN ILLINOIS 



135 



theran confessional writings. Educationally, it 
seeks to utilize the best results of modern peda- 
gogical research. 

To give the rising generation a thorough train- 
ing on a basis doctrinally conservative, educa- 
tionally progressive, is the purpose of Pleasant 
View Luther College. 

* * * 

TRINITY CONGREGATION, OTTAWA, ILL. 
By Prof. L. A. Vigness. 

Trinity Congregation in Ottawa, Illinois, was 
organized by the Rev. J. C. Reinertsen, while he 
was pastor resident in Aurora. As only a few 
Norwegian families have settled in Ottawa this 
congregation is one of the smaller congregations 
among our people in Illinois. After the resig- 
nation of Rev. Reinertsen, this congregation was 
served for several years by Rev. N. J. Lockrem, 
who at that time was the pastor of the Fox 
River and Stavanger churches. Later, a call was 
issued to the Rev. A. C. Barron, who accepted 
the call, moved to Ottawa, and served the con- 
gregation two years. During the vacancy caused 
by the resignation of Rev. Barron, Prof. L. A. 
Vigness, president of Pleasant View Luther Col- 
lege, was elected on the 22d of October, 1901, to 
serve the congregation temporarily as its pas- 
tor. This call was later made a permanent call. 
Prof. Vigness is still (October, 1906) the pastor 
of this congregation. Thus the congregation 
stands in connection with Pleasant View Luther 

College. 

* * * 

THE NORWEGIAN LUTHERAN DEA- 
CONESS HOME AND HOSPITAL, 
CHICAGO, ILL. 

By Rev. H. B. Kildahl. 

In the fall of 1885 Rev. A. Mortensen, of 
Christiania, Norway, preached a sermon on the 
subject "The Female Diaconate" in Bethlehem 
Church, corner Centre avenue and Huron street, 
Chicago. The effect of this sermon was that a 
mass meeting of Norwegians, mostly women, 
was held Nov. 3, 1885, and resulted in the organi- 
zation of the Norwegian Lutheran Tabitha So- 
ciety. So great was the enthusiasm for the dea- 
coness cause that the members of the society im- 
mediately began actual deaconess work by col- 
lecting money, food and clothing for distribution 
among the poor and sick. Gradually a building 
fund was collected, as it became evident to those 
interested that if the work was to become perma- 
nent and effective it would be necessary to pro- 
vide a deaconess home. 



As the society grew in membership it became 
evident that there existed two distinct tenden- 
cies one of which favored the hospital phase 
and the other favored the deaconess home phase 
of the work. This division became so pronounced 
and painful that the charter members who fav- 
ored the deaconess-home idea withdrew from 
the society; but not from their purpose. 

These members soon organized another so- 
ciety and called it "The Original Norwegian 
Lutheran Tabitha Society," whose object was 
"the establishment and maintenance of a dea- 
coness home and hospital"; and in the spring of 
1891 they had carried the work so far that they 
had secured the services of three sisters from 
the Norwegian Lutheran Deaconess Institute, 
Minneapolis, Minn. Their names were Sisters 
Amalia Kittelson, Martha Berg and Marie Lang- 
aunet. These three 'sisters began the service in 
the form of parish work. 

Nov. 3, 1891, six years after the organization 
of the first society', a house on Humboldt street, 
which the society had bought, was dedicated as 
the Deaconess Home and Hospital. 

The first patient was received in this home De- 
cember 7, 1891, and the work was carried on 
with moderate success until August, 1893, when 
the home was destroyed by fire. 

Interested men and women both in and outside 
of the two societies labored for the union of the 
two societies. At the invitation of twelve promi- 
nent men, who were not members of either so- 
ciety, a meeting was held, June 7, 1892, of these 
twelve men and the boards of directors of the 
two societies in Our Savior's Church, corner May 
and Erie streets, and resulted in the election of 
a committee to settle the differences between the 
two societies. This committee finally agreed that 
both the existing societies should disband, and 
that a new society should be organized. This 
proposition was favorably received. The old so- 
cieties disbanded and a new one was organized, 
retaining the original name, "The Norwegian 
Lutheran Tabitha Society." 

The enthusiasm for the work was great. Funds 
were collected and the Tabitha Deaconess Home 
and Hospital, Francisco and Thomas streets, was 
erected. The cornerstone was laid June 3, 1893, 
and the work was begun on the new building 
that fall. Prosperity and success seemed to at- 
tend the work. The new home was completed 
and funds were readily subscribed; but it soon 
became more and more evident that, while there 
was only one society, the two old conflicting ten- 
dencies still existed. The articles of union and 
the constitution of the united society provided 



180 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



that the newly erected building should be a 
"deaconess home and hospital." But a faction in 
the society insisted that it should be a Nor- 
wegian national hospital. 

A division in the society was inevitable. This 
came in 1895. The Norwegian Lutheran Tabitha 
Society consisted of twelve branches. At the 
annual meeting of the society Jan., 1895, seven of 
these branches protested against this breach of 
the articles of union, and when it was found that 
a friendly agreement could not be effected, an 
effort was made on the part of the seven branches 



aged, one branch proposed establishing an or- 
phanage, and only a few members of one branch 
still clung to the deaconess-home idea, and for 
the third time they began to work for the dea- 
coness cause. 

After a number of meetings "The Norwegian 
Lutheran Deaconess Society" of Chicago was 
organized Feb. 17, 1896, in Bethel Church, Hum- 
boldt street and Armitage avenue. The society 
was small, of limited means, and after repeated 
defeats did not feel very enthusiastic. The new 
society was incorporated by Dr. N. T. Quales, 




The Norwegian Lutheran Deaconess Home and Hospital, Chicago. 



for a division of the assets, over half of which 
the seven branches had provided. The seven 
branches offered to buy out the five branches, or 
to sell their share of the institution to them; but 
in spite of the fact that the property was worth 
at least $25,000 the seven left it all rather than 
go into court over it. 

During 1895 the seven branches held a number 
of meetings for the purpose of organizing a new 
society. . A committee was elected for the pur- 
pose of proposing a constitution. When this 
committee reported it appeared that five branches 
favored the establishment of a home for the 



Rev. A. C. Anderson and Mr. Adolph Larson, 
Sept. 17, 1896. A two-flat house on the corner 
of Artesian avenue and Lemoyne street was 
rented the 1st of May, 1897. This house, to- 
gether with the rear house, contained twenty- 
five rooms. 

The first board of directors was Rev. A. C. 
Anderson, Dr. N. T. Quales, Mrs. A. P. Johnson, 
Mrs. J. P. Hovland, Rev. J. N. Kildahl, Mr. 
Adolph Larson, Mrs. S. Dahl, Rev. Olaf Guld- 
seth and Mrs. Adolph Larson. 

The first officers were Rev. A. C. Anderson, 
president; Mr. Adolph Larson, vice-president; 



NORWEGIAN CHURCHES IN ILLINOIS 



187 



Rev. Olaf Guldseth, secretary; Mrs. S. Dahl, 
treasurer. 

The first question that confronted the new so- 
ciety was to secure a deaconess to head the in- 
stitution. Rev. Olaf Guldseth, being in Norway 
on a visit, was instructed to try to secure one 
from the Motherhouse in Christiania, Norway. 
He did secure Deaconess Anna Tofte, but on ac- 
count of ill health she resigned and left the in- 
stitution in November, 1897. 

Finally arrangements were made with Sister 
Ingeborg Oberg, formerly of the Norwegian Lu- 



the United Norwegian Lutheran Church of 
America. 

Nov. lj 1902, the new building was completed 
and taken possession of by the sisters and pa- 
tients. 

The dedication of the new building took place 
the 24th of May, 1903, by President T. H. Dahl 
of the United Norwegian Lutheran Church of 
America. 

This building, which is one-half of the pro- 
posed structure, is 125 by 85 feet. It is four 
stories high besides basement, and is fitted up as 




A group of Deaconesses of the Deaconess Home. 



theran Deaconess Institute, Minneapolis, Minn., 
to take charge of the new institution in Chicago. 
She took up the work in November, 1897. 

April 25, 1899, the society purchased four lots 
on the northwest corner of Haddon avenue and 
Leavitt street. Later another lot was added. It 
was decided to proceed to the erection of a build- 
ing on this land. Ground was broken October 
28, 1901. 

The cornerstone of the new building was laid 
May 11, 1902, by Rev. T. H. Dahl, president of 



a first-class modern hospital. The accompanying 
cut represents the building as it will appear when 
completed. 

Nov. 1, 1902, when the society took up the 
work in the new building, Deaconess Ingeborg 
Oberg, having resigned as acting sister superior, 
left the service, and Deaconess Marie Larson 
was called to take her place. 

The work had grown to such an extent that it 
became more and more evident to the board of 
directors that it was necessary to call a rector 



138 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



for the institution. Several pastors in the United 
Norwegian Lutheran Church of America were 
called or approached, but declined. Finally Rev. 
H. B. Kildahl, pastor of Covenant Lutheran 
Church in Chicago, was called. He accepted the 
position, and entered upon his new duties Nov. 
1, 1902. 

The United Norwegian Lutheran Church of 
America, at its annual meeting in 1900, appointed 
a committee to propose a plan by which the 
church could assume control of the institution. 
This committee consisted of Consul Halle Stens- 
land, Rev. G. G. Krostu and Rev. S. Gunderson. 



which the institution could be deeded to the 
church. Such a plan was proposed and accepted 
both by the church and the institution, and on 
the 9th' of November, 1904, in Minneapolis, Minn., 
Mr. Adolph Larson, who had been the president 
of the Norwegian Lutheran Deaconess Soci- 
ety since Rev. A. C. Anderson died, Dec. 21, 
1896, gave the board of trustees of the United 
Church a deed to all the property of the society. ' 
The present board of directors are Mr. Adolph 
Larson president; Rev. N. J. Lockrem, vice-pres- 
ident; Rev. C. E. Tiller, secretary; Mr. Hakon 
Thompson, treasurer; Hon. Halle Stensland; Rev. 




Deaconesses in Foreign Mission Work from the Norwegian Lutheran Deaconess Home. 



The board of directors of the Deaconess So- 
ciety elected Mr. A. P. Johnson, Dr. N. T. Quales 
and Mr. Adolph Larson as a committee to work 
with the committee from the church. 

Acting on the recommendation of this com- 
mittee, the church instructed its board of trustees 
to accept the property of the Norwegian Lu- 
theran Deaconess Society in Chicago under 
deed of trust when the new building was com- 
pleted. This transfer was effected in June, 1903. 

At its annual meeting in Minneapolis, Minn., 
1903, the church appointed Revs. M. H. Hegge, 
N. J. Lockrem, S. Gunderson and Mr. Adolph 
Larson as a committee to propose a plan by 



M. H. Hegge; Rev. O. R. Sletten; Rev. G. O. 
Belsheim; Rev. H. B. Kildahl, rector; and Dea- 
coness Caroline Williams. 

The United Church at its annual meeting in 
1905 called Deaconess Ingeborg Sponland to the 
position of permanent sister superior. The pres- 
ent acting sister superior is Deaconess Caroline 
Williams, Deaconess Marie Larson having been 
giving leave of absence for four months from 
Jan. 1, 1906. 

In 1899 the institution had 9 sisters; in 1900, 
15; in 1901, 22; in 1902, 25; in 1903, 26; in 1904, 31; 
in 1905, 42; and in 1906, 55. 

Of these, 2 are serving Bethesda Hospital, 



NORWEGIAN CHURCHES IN ILLINOIS 



139 



Crookston, Minn.; 2, the Deaconess Hospital, The first year of its existence the institution 

Grafton, N. D.; 2, Ebenezer Hospital, Madison, cared for 102 patients; in 1899, 142; in 1900, 149; 

Minn.; 1, the Deaconess Hospital, Northwood, in 1901, 146; in 1902, 192; in 1903, 268; in 1904, 

N. D.; 1, St. Olaf Hospital, Austin, Minn.; 1, in 378; in 1905, 503. 




Group of Sisters, Norwegian Lutheran Deaconess Home. 



the mission field in Madagascar; 2, in the mis- The accounts of the institution show that from 
sion field in China, and the rest are at the Moth- Oct. 1, 1903, to May 1, 1905, $38,787.51 had been 
erhouse in Chicago. received and disbursed. 



140 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



Hauge's Synod 

By Rev. K. O. Eittreim. 

The history of that body of Norwegian Luther- 
ans in America, popularly called Hauge's Synod, 
has its beginning in our fatherland, Norway. 

Different ^tendencies have at all times existed 
i-n the Christian church and have finally led to 
'the formation of new denominations. Not only 
in the Christian church at large and in these 
general bodies do we find differences, but also 
within each denomination and that to such an 
extent that they have led to the formation of 
new synods. Could we carry this thought down 
to the bottom we should probably find few, if 
any, congregations even in which all members 
fully agree on all points of Christian doctrine 
and practice. 

Whether this state of things in the church is 
excusable, or inexcusable; whether it is a sign 
of weakness, or of strength; of life, or of death, 
it is not our purpose here to discuss. -We simply 
state that so it has been and so it is. So we 
find it also in the Norwegian Lutheran Church. 

In the mother church, on account of her or- 
ganization and union with the state, such different 
tendencies have hitherto had little chance to de- 
velop into recognized parties. In this land of 
religious liberty each tendency has been free to 
form itself and develop according to its own bent. 

In Norway in the latter part of the eighteenth 
and beginning of the nineteenth centuries, Hans 
N. Hauge, a layman extraordinarily gifted, began 
to preach against the rationalism and secularism 
so prevalent at that time among the Norwegian 
clergy, and consequently among the people. He 
laid stress upon an experimental Christian life 
and the spiritual priesthood of all Christians. 
He won many followers who were called "Read- 
ers", or "Haugeans." Neither Hauge nor his 
followers by word or example incited to separa- 
tion from the state church. They have on the 
contrary the reputation of being the most faith- 
ful members of the church. 

When the Norwegians began to emigrate to 
America some of these Haugeans also were 
among them. 

The first one was Ole Olson Hetletveit who 
came on the "sloop" in 1825, and is said to have 
been the only one of that company who remained 
true to the Lutheran faith. In Norway he had 
been a schoolmaster and in America he went 
about as a lay preacher. 



The father of Hauge's Synod, however, is Elling 
Eielsen. He was born in Vos, Norway, Sept. 19, 
1804. His parents were Haugeans. As a young 
man he traveled through many parts of Norway 
as a lay preacher. In 1839 he came to America. 
Arrived in Chicago he gathered a few Norweg- 
ians who lived there together in a house owned 
by an English woman, and there he preached 
his first sermon in America. He did not remain 
long in Chicago then, but together with one 
Christen Olson traveled about 70 miles south- 
west to the Fox River Settlement. Here Eiel- 
sen became the religious leader of his people, 
and soon built a meeting house which no doubt 
must be considered the first meeting house for 
religious worship, which was built by the Nor- 
wegians in America. 

He soon began to look up his countrymen in 
Wisconsin and other places where they had settled, 
gathering them about God's Word, which he 
preached in a simple and straightforward man- 
ner, laying great stress upon repentance and 
faith and a pious life. 

His work bore fruit, and had he laid more 
stress upon properly organizing his converts into 
well ordered congregations, this early and im- 
portant part of our church history would not 
now be so obscure as it is, and perhaps also 
many unpleasant things would have been averted. 

In 1843 the people in Fox River district called 
Eielsen to be their pastor, which call he ac- 
cepted and was accordingly ordained to the min- 
istry Oct. 3, 1843, by Rev. F. A. Hoffman, D.D., 
a German Lutheran pastor. The ordination was 
performed in Chicago. Eielsen was the first 
Norwegian Lutheran pastor in America. 

As the work progressed he began to see the 
necessity of having an outward form. A meet- 
ing was accordingly held April 13 and 14, 1846, 
on Jefferson Prairie, Rock county, Wis., where 
representatives were present from his followers 
in Illinois and Wisconsin, and a synod was or- 
ganized bearing the name, "The Evangelical 
Lutheran Church in North America." The con- 
stitution of this body was dictated by Eielsen 
and written by O. Andrewson, one of Eielsen's 
converts, who was later ordained to the min- 
istry. How many were present at this first 
meeting we are not informed. The same con- 
stitution was again adopted by a larger meeting 
at Koshkonong, Wis., Oct. 15 and 16, 1850, and 
was then subscribed to by thirty-five men. 

The pastors who soon after Eielsen came from 
Norway and were trained by the mother church 
represented a different type of Christian life from 
Eielsen and his followers who were of a de- 



NORWEGIAN CHURCHES IN ILLINOIS 



141 



cidedly pietistic type. They claimed to be 
orthodox, but it was found that they were more 
or less infected with the peculiar views of Grundt- 
vig. Still the Christianity on either side would 
certainly not have necessitated such a breach be- 
tween them, but the "Old Adam" was struggling 
for a place. Eielsen in spite of his piety was 
by nature very headstrong, and was not disposed 
to be ruled by any one. This he showed through 
his whole life, and not the least when he long 
after separated himself from his own followers 
because they found it necessary to improve upon 
his work. The others were also perhaps equally 
headstrong in their way and did not meet Eiel- 
sen in the most charitable manner. Having a 
superior education, and the moral backing of the 
mother church, they of course did not feel dis- 
posed to prostrate themselves under the thumb 
of a layman, which we can not wonder at. It 
was thoroughly human. The only thing possible 
seemed to be to separate, and so it went. Eiel- 
sen continued in the way he had begun and the 
others organized their own synod. Perhaps it 
was better so. Perhaps each had their own mis- 
sion, but if so have they not soon performed it 
so we could join hands again in our common 
cause? 

Hauge's Synod still stands for the pietistic 
type of the Lutheran faith in theory at least. 
Whether we now have more of true piety than 
our sister synods may be questioned. 

As the synod grew the need of more ministers 
became more and more apparent. This need was 
met from time to time by calling and ordaining 
pious men from their own midst. Though un- 
learned many of these men were highly gifted 
and did excellent work. Still it was from the 
very beginning realized that this method of sup- 
plying workers was not adequate to the needs. 

Hence the question of erecting a school for 
training pastors soon became a leading issue with 
them and remained so for many years. Before 
they finally succeeded four different attempts 
were made to begin such a school: in Lisbon, 
111., 1855, Deerfield, Wis., 1865, Red Wing, Minn., 
1868, and in Chicago, 1870. No doubt the peo- 
ple learned something from these many failures, 
but some of them at least were very expensive. 
It is a strong proof of how determined these 
people were to have a school, that after all these 
disappointments they did not give up. 

Another bone of contention for many years 
was the constitution of the synod. As might be 
expected and is more or less the case with all 
human productions, it did not prove to be in 
all things adequate to the requirements. After 



much discussion a thoroughly revised constitu- 
tion was adopted at the annual meeting held in 
Fillmore county, Minn., June 5-13, 1875. 

The preamble and first article of this consti- 
tution are in a literal translation as follows: 
"That church body which by Hauge's friends was 
organized April 13 and 14, 1846, on Jefferson 
Prairie, Rock county, Wis., and which hitherto 
has been called, 'The Evangelical Lutheran 
Church in America,' hereby adopts 

The Name 

( 1) "Hauge's Norwegian Evangelical Lu- 
theran Synod in America." 

Thus while the synod itself dates from 1846, 
the present name dates only from 1875. 

The school question was still a live issue and 
was now soon to be settled more satisfactorily 
than hitherto. In 1878 an appropriate school 
property was purchased in Red Wing, Minn. 
Sept. 17, 1879, Red Wing Seminary was ded- 
icated and opened its doors with two professors 
and thirteen students. Instruction was offered 
in two departments, a preparatory and a theo- 
logical. Rev. I. Eisteinson was the first princi- 
pal of the school and instructor in theology, and 
G. O. Brohaugh was at the head of the prepar- 
atory department. The standard of instruction 
has been gradually raised and extended until they 
now have an academical course of three years, 
a collegiate course of five years and a theological 
course of three years. Instruction in the theolog- 
ical department is now also offered in both the 
Norwegian and English languages. The faculty 
at present numbers seven and the usual attend- 
ance about 140. From the college department 
202 young men have graduated, and from the 
theological department 118. Of the 129 pastors, 
professors, and missionaries, now in the synod 
ninety-six are graduates from the theological de- 
partment of the seminary. Prof. M. G. Hanson 
is the principal. Our property in Red Wing is 
valued at $121,000. 

The synod also has a college in Jewell Jet., 
Iowa. This college was founded in 1893 by the 
"Jewell Lutheran College Association." In 1897 
it was transferred to the Iowa district of Hau- 
ge's Syno^., and in 1905 it was again transferred 
to the synod at large. Here an average of about 
115 young men and women are being trained in 
the usual college studies, besides being under the 
influence of Christian surroundings. Rev. Prof. 
N. J. Lohre, B. L., is the principal. The property 
is valued at $35,000. 

A printing establishment and a book depart- 
ment are operated in connection with Red Wing 



142 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



Seminary. Here are issued the official organ of 
the synod, "Budbsereren," a weekly paper, now 
in its thirty-eighth year; "Bjzirnevennen," a weekly 
Sunday school paper, in its twenty-ninth year; 
and "The Little Messenger," an English weekly 
Sunday school paper, in its second year. During 
the school year the students of Red Wing Semi- 
nary issue a monthly paper called "Hemnica." 

At Beresford, S. D., the synod owns and oper- 
ates "Bethesda Orphans' Home." Here from 
50 to 60 children are cared for and trained in 
secular and religious knowledge. Three hundred 
acres of land are owned by the home, and the 
whole property is valued at $35,000. 

In 1905 Severt K. Rong of Wanamingo, Minn., 
gave to the synod by a last will his whole estate 
consisting of 578 acres of land and personal 
property together valued at about $28,000 on the 
condition that the synod shall within 5 years after 
the settlement of the estate establish hereon and 
thereafter maintain an orphans' home. At the 
annual meeting in 1906, the synod resolved to 
accept the gift on the conditions named in the 
will. Prof. M. G. Hanson is holding the property 
in trust for the synod, until the provisions of 
the will shall have been fulfilled. 

For about fifteen years the synod has carried 
on missionary work at Fau Cheng, China, and 
vicinity. Four main stations with twenty-four 
outlying stations have been opened. Fifteen mis- 
sionaries are at present active in the service and 
sixty-five native workers are employed. They 
have children's schools with thirty teachers and 
about 900 children, a boarding school for girls 
with forty-one girls attending and a high school 
for boys with attendance of twelve. A medical 
mission is maintained and does much to open the 
way for the gospel message. Nearly $150,000 
have been expended on our China mission thus 
far and the demands have been steadily growing. 
Still the necessary amounts are being raised with 
comparatively little effort. Last year alone an 
amount of $26,871.20 was received for this mis- 
sion. Other missions such as among the Jews, 
to Madagascar, etc., are not forgotten, but are 
more or less liberally supported. This shows a 
commendable missionary spirit in Hauge's Synod. 
The property value of the China mission is esti- 
mated at about $15,000. 

Home missionary work is carried on with in- 
creasing zeal every year. A permanent mission- 
ary superintendent is employed who constantly 
travels within the synod in the interests of mis- 
sions, home and foreign. 

A matter of much interest and great import- 
ance to the synod is the language question. 



The demand for English grows year by year, 
while the demand for Norwegian continues and 
in many places holds its own. These demands 
are being met by preparing candidates for the 
ministry as far as possible with ability to work 
in both languages. An effort is now being made 
to give theological instruction also in the English 
language, at our own seminary, but heretofore 
many of our students and pastors have found it 
necessary to attend English Lutheran seminaries 
in order to get their training. Quite a number 
of our pastors have spent from one to three years 
at the English Lutheran Seminary in Chicago. 
A permanent "Board of Directors for English 
Work," consisting of five members, whose term 
of office is three years has been established. An 
English conference is held once a year, and one 
or .two sessions of the regular annual meeting is 
usually set aside for English work. 

The synod at present consists of 121 pastors 
and 290 congregations with a total of 36,000 
members. 

The bulk of Hauge's Synod is found in Illi- 
nois, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, and the Da- 
kotas, but we also have members as far south 
as Texas and Louisana, west to the Pacific coast, 
north to Alberta, Canada and east to Michigan. 

For convenience the synod has been divided 
into districts. These districts are governed by 
district rules made by the synod in common for 
all but they hold their own conferences and have 
jurisdiction over such affairs as are purely local. 

The Chicago District of Hauge's Synod em- 
braces Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, and southern 
Wisconsin. It consists of fourteen pastors, nine 
of whom are in Illinois, and twenty-seven con- 
gregations, fifteen of which are in Illinois. A 
short sketch of each of these fifteen congrega- 
tions will here be given. 



Trinity Church, Chicago. 

It has before been mentioned that Elling Eiel- 
sen preached his first sermon on American soil 
in Chicago, in 1839. He returned later, and the 
flock he gathered about him was the beginning 
of Trinity Church. Meetings were held in pri- 
vate houses on Ohio, Erie, and Desplaines streets 
and vicinity. They also for a while worshipped 
in a hall on the North Side. The congregation 
was thus in existence already in the early '40's. 

In 1857 Trinity Church was formally organized 
adopting a constitution and making a list of 
members. They built a frame edifice on Indiana 
and Peoria streets, which caused some ill feeling 



NORWEGIAN CHURCHES IN ILLINOIS 



143 



because it was so far out on the "prairie." Kiel- 
sen was the first pastor, and after him Paul An- 
derson served them. Rev. Krohn, pastor of Our 
Saviour's Church, also served them a short time 
Rev. P. A. Rasmussen from Lisbon, 111., was 
their pastor some years, and Rev. Widding a 
short time. Rev. Krognes then became their 
pastor. Some disagreement arose between Rev. 
Krognes and the congregation, though quite a 
number of the members sided with him. The 
result was that his friends left Trinity Church 
and organized Bethlehem Church. 

The exact dates of the various changes up to 
this time I have been unable to ascertain, nor am 
I sure that they are here given in their chrono- 
logical order as the sources from which the facts 
have been gathered vary slightly. 

In 1869 Rev. J. Z. Torgersen, a gifted, energetic 
and well trained young man became pastor of 
Trinity Church and during his pastorate the 
church flourished. The parochial reports from 
his time show that the membership rose to more 
than 1,200 souls. The old church became too 
small, and the building of a larger one became 
necessary. 

A movement was now started to unite with 
Trinity Church, the college and theological semi- 
nary which the synod was endeavoring to get 
started. The church was accordingly built to ac- 
commodate both.- The first story was fitted out 
as class rooms for the school, and the upper 
story as church. The. basement, the old church, 
and one or two other buildings belonging to the 
church property were to be rented out and thus 
help to defray the expenses. The corner stone 
of the new structure was laid Aug. 27, 1871, on 
which occasion Rev. E. Eielsen delivered the 
main address. The outlook was bright and 
hopes ran high in all those who were in favor 
of this double undertaking. But throughout the 
west there was from the beginning a strong op- 
position to the location of the school, and hence 
they did little to support it. The great Chicago 
fire which occurred in the fall made it hard for 
the Chicago people to carry their end, though it 
must be said that they did well. After seven 
years of heated discussions and hard attempts 
to keep the school going the whole undertaking 
was abandoned by the synod and the property 
turned over to Trinity Church on condition that 
it assume the whole indebtedness. The property 
had cost about $34,000 and the debt was about 
$13,000. 

Thus the church was left with a larger financial 
burden than they had anticipated. Notwithstand- 
ing this, the prospects of the church were good. 



The church, large as it was, was too small to 
accommodate the audiences which Pastor Torger- 
sen by his eloquence drew. There was a strong 
agitation to build an addition to the length of 
the church, and this would no doubt have been 
done, but for the sad disruption which soon after 
took place. 

The pastor began to entertain and advocate 
some doctrines which did not agree with the 
confession of the congregation and the synod of 
which they were a part. In 1879 or 1880 he left 
the church and synod and with his friends who fol- 
lowed him organized Bethany Church on Indiana 
and Carpenter streets a few blocks from Trinitv. 
Bethany Church and its pastor remained inde- 
pendent, though calling themselves Lutherans. 
He was popular even unto his recent death, and 
his church enjoyed considerable progress so long 
as he was young and vigorous, but as by reason 
of age -feebleness crept over him, his church be- 
came equally feeble, and when he died, in 1905, 
his church died with him. 

Trinity Church was of course very much 
weakened, its membership being cut down to 
about half of what it used to be. Rev. M. Nel- 
son was its next pastor but stayed only a very 
short time. Rev. C. O. Brohaug was called to 
the pastorate in 1880 and remained about thir- 
teen years. 

The pastors who have served since that time 
are: I Eisteinsen, 1893-1894; N.G.Peterson, 1895- 
1898; H. A. Hanson, 1898-1901; S. C. Simonson, 
1902-1905; and the present pastor is again H. A. 
Hanson. 

During all these years the congregation has 
been struggling along, and but for her former 
glory and the thought of what she might have 
been, would be considered a prosperous church 
still. And indeed none of our other churches 
in the city has so far been able to measure itself 
with Trinity. 

In 1900 a number of families residing in the 
northwest part of the city left Trinity Church 
and organized "Hauge's" Church, Central Park 
and Waubansia avenues. 

The church debt was not materially reduced 
during all these years, and the value of the 
property decreased. As the city grew, the Nor- 
wegians moved away from this neighborhood in 
large numbers, and all these things worked to- 
gether to make it necessary at last to offer the 
old church property which on account of its as- 
sociations was so dear to many of us, for sale. 
In 1899 it was sold to an independent Italian 
Catholic congregation who dedicated it to their 



144 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



use, but complications arose among them so that 
they could not pay for it, and the Trinity peo- 
ple had to take it back after a short time. They 
now worshipped in it another four years when it 
was again sold. This time to orthodox Catholics. 
The purchase price was $21,900. This together 
with a testamentary gift amounting to several 
thousand dollars from Mrs. O. Nelson, an old 
member of the church, enabled the congregation 
to purchase a smaller edifice at Huron a id Noble 
streets and still have enough money left over 
to make necessary repairs and alterations. They 
now have a cozy and inviting place of worship. 

The present membership is said to be about 
525 and of late has been on the increase. Active 
work is carried on in all the different branches 
customary in our churches at this time. About 
half of the work is done in the English language. 

Trinity Church deserves honorable mention in 
the history of the Lutheran church in Chicago. 
Several of the Norwegian Lutheran churches 
there are the direct offspring of Trinity, and in 
many, if not all, of the Norwegian churches, and 
the English Lutheran as well, may be found 
former members of old Trinity. She deserves 
to be called the mother church. 



Hauge's Norwegian Evangelical Church, 
at Norway, 111. 

This congregation was organized Nov. 20, 1847, 
by Elling Eielsen with about 50 members. It 
was here he first settled and here he built the 
first church, before mentioned. A frame edifice 
30 x 40 feet was built in 1847 and is still used. 
It is located in. the village of Norway, has 1% 
acres of land with it and is valued at $3,000. 
The congregation also owns a half interest in a 
parsonage at Newark, about five miles from Nor- 
way. The congregation has never been very 
large. The highest membership according to 
statistics at hand was, in 1902, 166 members. The 
present membership is 140. 

Several of the important meetings in the early 
history of the synod were held in this church. 

The pastors who served them from the begin- 
ning up to 1870 were E. Eielsen, A. Scheie, Ole 
Andrewsen, Peter Mehus, Iverson, Endre Johan- 
neson, and Johnson. Rev. H. W. Abelson served 
from 1871 to 1886, Rev. Theo. Hanson 1886 and 
1887, Rev. O. Andrewsen 1887-1899, and the pres- 
ent pastor, Rev. A. O. Mortvedt, from 1900. 

They have a Sunday school of about forty 
members, a ladies' missionary society, and a 
young ladies' missionary society. Being a part of 



a larger parish they have preaching services only 
every third Sunday morning. The language is 
mostly Norwegian, but occasionally English is 
used. 



Capron, 111. 

Among our oldest congregations in Illinois is 
one near Capron in Boone county. It was or- 
ganized by E. Eielsen in 1858 and served by him 
for some time. Who their other early pastors 
were, the writer has been unable to ascertain. 
From about 1870 to 1898 they were served by the 
pastors from Lee county, Revs. R. O. Hill, J. N. 
Sandven, and C. E. Tiller. From that time what 
preaching they have had has been mostly by Chi- 
cago pastors, but now for several years they have 
had no regular services. The congregation has 
never been very strong. The parochial reports 
from 1874 to 1894 which are the only ones avail- 
able to the writer show an average membership 
of about ninety. Very few of these are now left, 
some having died, some moved away and some 
joined other churches. 

The sad effects of the church partisanship 
among our people may here be seen to perfec- 
tion. No less than four Norwegian Lutheran 
churches have here been built within a radius 
of about one mile, all of them struggling for ex- 
istence and none of them able to support a pas- 
tor. The Hauge church can plead the excuse of 
being the first one in the field. 

They own a little red brick church which is 
one of the landmarks of the neighborhood, and a 
cemetery where many of the pioneers rest. 



The Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church, 
near Creston. 

This congregation was organized in 1870 and 
was temporarily served by Rev. J. Z. Torgersen 
for about a year. Rev. R. O. Hill who was a 
farmer in the neighborhood, but had prepared 
himself for the ministry, was called and took up 
the work as permanent pastor in 1872. He served 
until his death in 1887 though he did not reside 
in the congregation all the time. For a number 
of years he lived in Wisconsin, where he also 
served several congregations. Rev. J. N. Sand- 
ven was pastor from 1888 to 1893, Rev. C. E. Til- 
ler from 1894 to 1898. After Rev. Tiller left they 
were without a pastor nearly two years. The 
present pastor, Rev. K. O. Eittreim, was installed 
July 1, 1900. 



NORWEGIAN CHURCHES IN ILLINOIS 



145 



Their church, which is a frame structure about 
40x60, was built in 1870 and enlarged with an 
addition and a tower some years later. Value 
about $3,500. 

Every summer from two to four months a 
parochial school has been held and a Sunday 
school is conducted about six months during the 
summer. The young people have a Luther league 
which meets every other Sunday evening. A 
large ladies' aid societv meeting every other 
Thursday works for missions. Preaching services 
are held in the church on every Sunday in the 
year except six. 

The English language has come into use more 
and more for many years. Every third Sunday 
morning the regular services are English. The 
Sunday evening services are nearly all so. The 
Sunday school, parochial school, catechetical in- 
struction, and young people's society are all 
conducted wholly, or nearly so, in the English 
language. 

The exact number of members at the organ- 
ization of the congregation I do not know, but 
four years later the report shows 250. A steady 
growth has been enjoyed ever since and the 
membership now numbers 457. 



Rooks Creek Evangelical Lutheran Church, 
Pontiac. 

Rev. H. W. Abelson preached the gospel and 
administered the sacraments in the neighborhood 
of Pontiac, as far back as 1873 but no organiza- 
tion was effected until 1880 when Rooks Creek 
congregation was organized with about fifteen 
communicant members and "Abel's" congrega- 
tion with eleven families. "Mud Creek" congre- 
gation was also organized about the same time. 
In 1882 these three joined together in one call 
to be served by the same pastor. About 1890 
"Mud Creek" joined the United church, and a 
little later "Abel's" congregation disbanded and 
joined in with Rooks Creek. 

A frame church was built about ten miles 
northwest from Pontiac in 1878, and in Pontiac, 
where several of the members now reside, a frame 
church 38 x 60, valued at $3,000, has been bought. 

After Rev. Abelson Rev. Theo. Hanson was 
pastor from 1882 to 1892. Rev. O. Andresen re- 
siding at Newark then served them for about 
two years after which Rev. A. J. Krogstad was 
their resident pastor from 1894 to 1896. During 
the last ten years their pastoral service has been 
somewhat unsteady, Rev. C. Harrison, Rev. O. 



O. Risvold, Rev. L. H. Chally, and others having 
served them during this time. At present Rev. 
O. O. Risvold, residing in Joliet, is their tempor- 
ary pastor. The work in this place has now 
gone over almost exclusively to English. The 
present membership is about 100. 



The Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Congrega- 
tion of the Unaltered Augsburg Confession, 
Platteville. 

This congregation is situated in Kendall county 
and was organized by Rev. P. A. Rasmussen 
with eighty-two members in the year 1881. They 
joined Hauge's Synod in 1890 when the member- 
ship had grown to one hundred and eleven. Rev. 
Rasmussen served as pastor till 1884; Rev. N. 
G. Nelson 1884 to 1889. After a vacancy of a 
year or more Rev. O. Andresen, of Newark, took 
charge and served till 1899, since which time 
Rev. A. O. Mortvedt, also residing at Newark, 
has been their pastor. This congregation has 
had a steady growth and the report for 1905 
shows a membership of 215. 

A frame church 26 x 34 was erected in 1882 and 
about five years ago the length was extended to 
50 feet and an addition 16 x 26 feet was built to 
the rear end for a school house. The property 
is valued at $3,000. 

A Norwegian Sunday school with four teach- 
ers and twenty-five scholars and a Norwegian 
parochial school are conducted. The ladies have 
a missionary society. Preaching services are held 
every third Sunday in the Norwegian language 
except occasionally in the evening when English 
is used. 

* * 

* 

The Newark Evangelical Lutheran Church, 

at Newark, Kendall county, was organized Dec. 
8, 1886, having only thirty-five members to begin 
with, but it has prospered and steadily grown in 
numbars now having a membership of 280. They 
joined Hauge's Synod in 1884. Their first pastor 
was Theo. Hanson who remained two years. 
Rev. O. Andresen was their pastor from 1887 to 
1899 and Rev. A. O. Mortvedt from 1900 to the 
present time. 

A frame church 36 x 60 feet built about 50 years 
ago by Congregationalists was bought and put 
in substantial order twelve or thirteen years ago. 
Before that a chapel 22 x 34 feet was used for a 
church, and has since been used for Norwegian 
parochial school, Sunday school, and other small 



146 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



gatherings. The church property is valued at 
$5,000. A parsonage 16 x 24 and 22 x 28, one story 
high with half a block of land, the whole valued 
at $2,000, was built in 1894 and is owned jointly 
by the congregations at Norway and Newark. 

A Sunday school with five teachers and thirty- 
five scholars is conducted in the Norwegian and 
English languages and a Norwegian parochial 
school with thirty-five scholars is taught by P. 
Oakland for a while every summer. The ladies, 
old and young, have each a society for the cause 
of missions. They have preaching services every 
third Sunday morning in Norwegian and evening 
in English. 



The Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Immanuel 
Church, in Chicago, 

was organized in June, 1888, by twelve families, 
mostly from Trinity church. Peder Helland, a 
theological student, served them a few months 
as pastor but their first regular pastor was Rev. 
J. J. Breidablik who was installed Jan. 27, 1889, 
and served till 1896. Rev. C. C. Holter ministered 
to them from Dec., 1896 till April 14, 1899; Rev. 
G. O. Paulsrud from May 14, 1899, till the fall of 
1901; and the present pastor Rev. J. A. Quello 
was installed April 27, 1902. 

In 1890 a handsome frame edifice was erected 
at Maplewood avenue and Cherry place and is 
now valued at $12,000. 

They have a flourishing Sunday school with 
twenty-five teachers and 300 scholars where Nor- 
wegian and English are both used. A Luther 
league is conducted in the English language. 
Other organizations within the church are a 
ladies' aid society, a young ladies' sewing circle, 
a missionary society and an efficient choir. They 
have three regular services every Sunday, of 
which two are in Norwegian and one in English. 

The present membership is 347. 



St. Paul's English Church, Chicago. 
Exact data have not been received from this 
congregation but the facts we have been able to 
gather are about as follows: The church was 
organized by Prof. R. F. Weidner, D.D., of the 
English Lutheran seminary about fifteen years 
ago and was served by general council pastors 
till 1899 when Rev. L. Harrisville of Hauge's 
Synod was called and took up the work. His 
first report to the synod shows a membership of 
183. He has increased this every year, and for 
1905 he reports 496. 



In 1902 they joined Hauge's Synod and have 
the distinction of being the first English con- 
gregation in the synod. It has hitherto been 
made up largely of young people of various na- 
tionalities though many of them are Scandinavians. 
They have a Sunday school with forty-two teach- 
ers and 700 scholars which according to the re- 
ports is more than twice as large as any other 
Sunday school in the synod. They also report 
the largest catechetical class in the synod. If 
these children and young people remain faithful 
to the church a large and substantial English con- 
gregation may in time be built up here. 

The church which was built when they began 
is now said to be too small and a new one is 
being built which according to plans will no 
doubt when finished be one of the largest and 
finest churches among us. A flat building cost- 
ing about $9,000 has also recently been built and 
a part of it is used as a parsonage. These un- 
dertakings are made possible mostly by gifts 
solicited by the pastor from outsiders. 

A church paper called "The Reminder" is is- 
sued monthly. Work is carried on actively in all 
the branches customary among our city churches, 
and all in the English language. 

Rev. Harrisville has from its start been very 
active for the Norwegian Orphans' Home in Chi- 
cago and has for several years been its president. 



St. John's Church, Creston. 

The Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran St. 
John's Church in Creston, Ogle county, was or- 
ganized by Rev. C. E. Tiller in 1897 and the 
building of a house of worship was begun. As 
Rev. Tiller left soon after and the charge was 
vacant about two years, the work stood at a 
standstill. Considerable discord had arisen be- 
tween some of the members too, and the outlook 
was rather discouraging when the work was 
taken up by the present pastor, K. O. Eittreim 
who was installed July 1, 1900. The building of 
the edifice was continued and finished in the fall. 
December 6, it was dedicated. It is a cozy little 
church valued at $2,500 and was paid for in full 
about three years ago. The membership in 1900 
was 73. This has been gradually increased and 
the report for 1905 shows 143. 

A ladies' aid society has worked with com- 
mendable zeal for the church and now that the 
debt is paid and the church handsomely furnished 
they are beginning to give their attention to the 
call from the mission fields. Sunday school and 
young people's work is carried on. Preaching 



NORWEGIAN CHURCHES IN ILLINOIS 



147 



services are held every other Sunday afternoon 
and six Sundays in the year, in the morning. 

The prospects for the church have brightened 
every year and are now encouraging. 



Ebenezer Church, Chicago. 

Ebenezer Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran 
church was organized as a Hauge's Synod mis- 
sion in November, 1900, and for about a year was 
served by the Hauge's pastors in Chicago with 
such aid as they could get from the students at 
the English Lutheran Seminary in Lake View. 
From 1901 to 1904 Rev. S. S. Westby was their 
pastor and then for about a year they were 
served by student S. J. Brekke. The present 
pastor, Rev. K. M. J. Mjaanes, has been there 
since 1905. All of these men have also attended 
the seminary, during their pastoral labors, in 
Chicago. 

The membership at the beginning was about 
five families and is now reported at fifteen famil- 
ies. 

They have a frame church on South Fifty- 
second street and Fifth avenue valued at $3,000. 
They have a Norwegian Sunday school number- 
ing two teachers and eighteen scholars, and a 
Norwegian parochial school is carried on a short 
time each summer with the same number of 
scholars. The young people have a society and 
carry on the work in their mother tongue. The 
preaching is also in the Norwegian language every 
Sunday. The congregation formally joined Hau- 
ge's Synod in 1902. 



Elim Church, Chicago. 

Elim Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran congre- 
gation is a Hauge Synod Mission in Avondale, 
Chicago, started with forty-two members in 
1900. It has been served temporarily by the 
Chicago pastors and regularly by Revs. Theo. J. 
Lund, S. S. Westby, L. J. Odland and M. L. 
Dahle, and of late by Student Henry Thompson. 
All of these with the exception of Rev. Lun.d have 
also attended the English Lutheran Seminary 
at the same time. 

In 1903 which is the last report at hand the 
membership is given at eighty-five. The work 
during the last year has been carried on in the 
English language exclusively. They joined the 
synod in 1901. 



Hauge's Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church, 
Chicago. 

This church was organized by twelve families 
from Trinity church in 1900. They had lived in 
the northwest part of the city and paid their 
carfares regularly to get to the old mother church 
for a number of years. A Sunday school for 
their children had been carried on in their own 
midst, but now they considered it best also to 
build a church and organize a new congregation. 
Rev. Theo. J. Lund was their first pastor and 
continued till 1903 when he accepted a call to 
Madison, Minn. The present pastor Rev. J. J. 
Sharpnes took up the work in 1904. 

This congregation, though few in numbers to 
begin with, was composed of an exceptionally 
even lot of active workers, and they put their 
hearts and hands to the work. Their labor has 
not been in vain. They now have a membership 
of 158 and carry on prosperous work among 
young and old in the various branches custom- 
ary among us. They have built a cozy church 
and adjoining it a brick flat, one floor of which 
is used for parsonage. While they had some help 
from the mission treasury in the beginning they 
are now self-supporting. 



Joliet. 

A congregation existed in Joliet a number of 
years ago and was served by Rev. Theo. Han- 
son who resided there, and later by Rev. O. An- 
dresen from Newark. Most of the church mem- 
bers were laborers in the factories of that city, 
and when some years ago on account of hard 
times many of those had to shut down, or reduce 
their forces and wages, most of our people moved 
out of the city and hence the church work had 
to be discontinued. 

As good times have returned, Norwegians have 
moved in again and church work has been re- 
sumed. Rev. O. O. Risvold, residing at Pontiac, 
took up the work in 1901, and Sept 29, that year 
a new organization was made under the name 
"The Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Congrega- 
tion at Joliet". The following year a handsome 
frame church with stone basement was built at 
a cost of $5,000. About this time the pastor 
resigned from his charge in Pontiac, moved to 
Joliet and devoted his whole time to the work 
there. A heavy church debt has no doubt re- 
tarded their growth considerably so far but the 
debt is being gradually reduced. 

The Norwegians are quite numerous in Joliet 



148 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



now and this church being so far as we know 
the only Norwegian church there it seems to 
have excellent prospects for the future. 

A Norwegian Sunday school has four teachers 
and thirty scholars. The young people have 
organized a Luther league and the ladies have 
an aid society. The membership of the congrega- 
tion is 105. 



Sandwich, DeKalb County. 

At Sandwich "/crk has been carried on by the 
Hauge pastors from Newark nearly twenty years, 
but no organization was effected until May 10, 
1904, when thirty-nine members organized "Our 
Savior's Evangelical Lutheran Congregation". 

Rev. A. O. Mortvedt who is their pastor 
preaches there every third Sunday afternoon in 
the Norwegian language. The ladies have a 
missionary society. 

A small church valued at $750 has been bought 
and remodeled and was dedicated Jan. 20, 1907. 

It is the only Norwegian church in this thrifty 
town, but there are only a few of our country 
men there so there is at present no large field 
to work in. The present membership is thirty- 
five. 



Summary. 

We have seen that the very first beginnings of 
Hauge's Synod transpired on Illinois soil, and 
that for many years this state took a leading part 
in our history. Yet not any of the general institu- 
tions of the synod have been permanently planted 
here. This is accounted for by the fact that for 
a generation or more a constant migration of 
our people westward has been going on and the 
inflowing stream of immigrants from Norway 
has passed by us, seeking the cheaper lands 
farther west. Still our synod has grown and 
continues to grow and extend itself also in this 
state. 

Our fifteen congregations have a total member- 
ship of 3,154 and the total value of their church 
property is about $85,000. 



The Norwegian Evangelical 
Lutheran Church 



Of Lee county, 111., was organized by Rev. G. T. 
Dietrichson, Oct., 185S. The charter members 
were mainly immigrants from Hardanger, Nor- 
way. *) 

The congregation was at first supplied from 
Chicago by Rev. A. C. Preus, Rev. C. J. P. Peter- 
sen and others. Then some years Rev. O. G. 
Jukam, from Clinton, Iowa, was its pastor. In 
1864 the first church was built 1^4 miles south- 
west of Lee station, where the new church, built 
in 1896, now stands. In 1866 it was incorporated. 
Since 1868 is has always belonged to the Nor- 
wegian Evangelical Lutheral Synod of America 
and always liberally supported the missions and 
institutions of that body. 

In 1869 the congregation got its first settled 
pastor, Rev. J. J. Tackle, who remained here till 
1880. Since Jan., 1881, its present pastor, Rev. J. 
Nordby, has been working here. In 1881 the 
Norwegian schoolhouse for the southern district 
was built, where parochial school is being taught 
yearly. 

In 1885 we got the first organ in our church. 

The church bell was bought in 1879. The 
beautiful altar painting was furnished by the 
young people in 1891. In 1890 the old school- 
house at Lee station was bought and fitted up 
for a chapel, where divine services are being 
conducted for the special benefit of members 
residing at Lee station. Twice has the Synod 
had its yearly meeting here, in 1879 and in 1891. 

A Ladies' Aid Society has for many years been 
working for the missions, both heathen and home 
mission. 

A young people's society has also been started. 
Its meetings have been held in the homes of the 
members. It has also had several lecture courses 
in the church. The present members of the 
whole congregation number about 500, and gen- 
erally speaking, the condition of the congrega- 
tion is flourishing. 

"The Synod-church", at Capron, Boone county, 
111., or Long Prairie Lutheran congregation, is 
one of the oldest congregations of our Synod. 



'This sketch belongs under the Norwegian Synod, 
but having come In too late, we had to place It 
here. 



NORWEGIAN CHURCHES IN ILLINOIS 



M9 



It was organized in 1849 and one of the 28 con- 
gregations, that from the beginning constituted 
"The Synod for the Norwegian Evangelical Lu- 
theran Church in America," organized in 1853. 
From its start this congregation belonged to 
the Rock Prairie parish and had for its pastors 
Revs. G. F. Dietrichson, C. L. Clausen and C. F. 
Magelsen. After the division in 1870 our con- 
gregation at Capron, although but a little band, 
without a minister and deprived of its church, 
remained faithfully with the Synod. It was sup- 
plied by men like Rev. H. A. Preus, Prof. Dr. 
Stub and others, whose good services the older 
members never will forget. Later on in 1887, 
when the controversy about "election" split the 
Synod, our congregation at Capron again showed 
itself loyal to the Synod and refused to with- 
draw from it. In 1889 Rev. J. E. Jjzirgensen, of 
Madison, Wis., became its pastor, Long Prairie 
being one of the three congregations composing 
his parish. In 1891 Rev. J. Nordby at Lee, 111., 
took charge of the congregation and is still its 
pastor. Services are being held every 3 or 4 
weeks. In 1893 a church was built and dedi- 
cated by President H. A. Preus, who died the 
following year. The congregation has been grow- 
ing and is at present in a flourishing condition. 
Over thirty families are members of it. The 
services are conducted in the Norwegian lan- 
guage. 

This congregation has always very liberally 
supported the missions carried on by the Synod 
and also the various institutions of learning built 
and supported by the Synod. 

A ladies' aid society has been at work for sev- 
eral years. 

"The first Scandinavian Lutheran church of 
Rochelle, Ogle county, 111.", was organized by 
Rev. J. Nordby May 10, 1885. Its members are 
Norwegians, Danes and Swedes. The congrega- 
tion is not large, and at times it has consisted of 
only a dozen families, as a good many of the 
members have "moved west." Formally it does 
not belong to any synod or conference, but it 
always had the same pastor, being supplied from 
the Synod congregation at Lee. Collections have 
also been taken for the support of the Synod. 
It has not as yet had a church edifice of its own, 
but rents the German Lutheran church, where 
its meetings are held every other Sunday after- 
noon. Occasionally the young people have lec- 
tures on Sunday evenings. The services are 
conducted in the Norwegian and English lan- 
guages. 

By Rev. J. Nordby. 



Norwegian Methodism 
in Illinois 

By Rev. H. P. Bergh. 

(Editor of "Den Kristelige Talsmand" and 
"Hyrdestemmen.") 

The Norwegian and Danish Methodists in the 
United States are united into one work that is 
included in the Norwegian and Danish Confer- 
ence, between the Allegheny and Rocky Moun- 
tains, the Western Norwegian-Danish Conference 
on the Pacific coast and the Norwegian-Danish 
churches belonging to the New York East and 
the New England (American) Conferences on 
the Atlantic coast. 

Norwjgian and Danish Methodism in Illinois 
is now fifty years old. 

At Norway and Leland, 111., two of the oldest 
Norwegian settlements in America, located about 
18 miles apart in La Salle county, about 70 miles 
south-west of Chicago, as early as in 1853, a 
Danish local preacher commenced preaching. 
His name was John Brown. He was converted 
as a sailor and afterward became connected with 
the Swedish Methodist Bethel Ship Mission in 
New York, whose pastor, Rev. O. G. Hedstr^m, 
the first Scandinavian Methodist preacher in ihe 
world, sent him to the Leland settlement, where, 
by his earnest preaching, many souls were con- 
verted. Rev. Jonas Hedstr^m, a brother of O. 
G., was presiding elder of the Swedish district 
in Illinois, and the Norwegian Methodists at Nor- 
way and Leland belonged to his district. Rev. 
H. Holland, a Norwegian who was converted 
among the Haugeans in Haugesund, Norway, and 
afterward became a Methodist, started preaching 
in the Leland settlement in 1854 with good suc- 
cess. In 1857 he organized a church in Norway, 
a little village in the Fox River settlement, and 
was then (1857-58) appointed to the Leland set- 
tlement, where, in 1858, he succeeded in building 
a church edifice, which later was moved into the 
village of Leland. These churches were in 1872 
transferred to the then formed Norwegian dis- 
. strict, and from this time the Norwegian work 
was separated from the Swedish both in Illinois 
and Wisconsin, where, in 1851, at Cambridge, 
Dane county, the first Norwegian-Danish Meth- 
odist church in the world had been organized by 
Rev. C. B. Willerup, a Dane. 

At Lee, Stavanger Sandwich, Harpster and 
other places much work has been done, and 
houses of worship have been erected at the two 



150 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



first named places. The Norwegian-Danish Meth- 
odist churches in Illinois are the following, in 
chronological order: 

NORWAY, 

Organized in 1857, by H. H. Holland. The church 
was built in 1859, and a parsonage was added 
later. 



John H. Eckstrand (Swede) 1866-69. 

J. M. Knudson 1869-72. 

C. Hansen 1872-73. 

P. Jensen 1873-76. 

B. Johansen 1876-77. 

Otto J. Sanaker (with his brother James San- 

aker as helper) 1877-80. 
Oluf A. Wiersen (with M. L. Kjelstad as 

helper) 1880-82. 



vif * a 

^si"!' _l*e%".T'j!t' w\ 




The Norwegian-Danish M. E. Conference. 



The pastoral appointments have been: 

John Brown (Dane) 1853-54. 

Halvor H. Holland, founder of the church, 

1854-59. 
Nels O. Westergren (Swede) 1859-60. 

(He built the church). 
Erick Carlson (Swede) 1860-62. 
Nels O. Westergren (Swede) 1862-63. 
Loth Lindquist (Swede) 1863-65. 
Ole Gundersen 1865-66. 



Fredrick W. Ericksen 1882-83. 

Johan C. Tollefsen 1883-85. 

Eliot Hansen 1885-86. 

H. C. Munson 1886-87. 

J. A. Jacobsen 1887-88. 

Andrew Erickson (Dane) 1888-89. 

A. C. Pederson (Dane) 1889-91. 

H. Danielson 1891-93. 

J. J. Petersen (Dane) 1893-96. 

(J. H. Carlson y 2 year, 1893.) 



NORWEGIAN CHURCHES IN ILLINOIS 



151 



A. W. Rosness 1896-97. 
Chas. J. Johnson 1897-98. 
Carl W. Hanson 1898-1902. 
Carl J. Josephson 1902-03. 
Carl W. Hanson 1903-05. 
Arnt M. Anderson 1905-07. 

LELAND, 

Organized in 1858 by H. H. Holland. The church 



was built the same year 
moved into the village. 



and years afterward 



J. A. Jacobsen 1888-1890. 

H. Danielson 1890-1893. 

A. Johnsen and J. J. Petersen 1893-1894. 

A. Johnsen 1894-1895. 

R. Wilhelmsen 1895-1896. 

H. P. Nelsen 1896-1898. 

J. P Andersen 1898-1900. 

K. Hansen 1900-1906. 

R. Levin 1906. 

In Lee the work was first started in 1871 by 

Chr. Oman 1887-1888. 




First Methodist Church, Chicago. 



Pastoral appointments: 

H. H. Holland 1858. 

(And after him probably all those ennum- 
erated under Norway, until 1880, when the 
Norwegian and Danish Conference was or- 
ganized, from which time the conference 
minutes show the names). 

O. J. Sanaker 1877-1880. 

O. H. Wiersen 1880-1882. 

A. Johnsen 1882-1885. 

O. L. Hansen 1885-1887. 



O. L. Hansen while he was a student in Evan- 
ston. A. Johnsen assisted him, many souls were 
converted and a class was organized. This place, 
located about 20 miles north of Leland, has all 
the time been connected with that place. Ex- 
ceptionally a student has had charge of the work 
in Lee separately, as in 1892-1893 (A. Hessen) 
and in 1895-1896 (Oscar Knudsen). 

At Norway, Leland, Lee and vicinity there was 
a remarkable revival in 1877-1880 under the earn- 
est preaching of O. J. Sanaker and his brother. 



152 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



FIRST CHURCH, 
Cor. Grand Ave. and Sangamon St., Chicago. 

Organized in 1868 by O. P. Petersen. The church 
was bought from the American Methodists in 
1869, and there is also a parsonage besides the 
church. The work in this church has been car- 
ried on during the past 39 years with wonderful 
success. The revival spirit has manifested itself 
in this church from the beginning, especially un- 
der the fervent preaching of J. H. Johnson in 
1869-1871 when hundreds of precious souls were 
converted and added to the church. This was 
the greatest revival up to this date in Norwegian 
and Danish Methodism. Also during the pastor- 
ates of C. F. Eltzholtz, A. Haagensen, M. Han- 
sen, O. A. Wiersen, Fr. Ring and J. C. Tollefsen 
great ingatherings have been done, and during 
Ring's first pastorate the old church debt that 
had been hanging on for years $2,400 was paid 
in one year. From the First Church, directly or 
indirectly, the other seven Norwegian-Danish 
Methodist churches in Chicago, as well as the 
one in Evanston have sprung, and about 40 
preachers have come out from this church and 
are now, or have been, pastors of churches among 
us. Members from this church, who moved to 
the Pacific coast after the great Chicago fire, in 
1871, started Norwegian-Danish Methodism out 
there. In later years, however, very many of the 
old members have died or moved farther west 
or northwest in the city; Italians and other na- 
tions have moved in and from this and other 
reasons it has been deemed wise to unite the 
First Church and the Immanuel Church, sell the 
property of both these churches and erect a 
church in a better location, the preliminaries of 
which work already have been completed. 

The pastoral appointments at the First Church 
have been: 

O. P. Petersen 1868-1869. 

(He was also presiding elder of the district.) 
J. H. Johnson (2 ! / 2 years) 1869-1871. 
O. P. Petersen (2 years) 1871-1873. 
C. F. Eltzholtz (Dane) (2 years) 1873-1875. 
A. Haagensen (2 years) 1875-1877. 
J. H. Johnson (2*/ 2 years) 1877-1880. 
M. Hansen (2^ years) 1880-1883. 
Chr. Treider (I 1 /, years) 1883-1884. 
O. A. Wiersen (3 years) 1884-1887. 
O. Jacobsen (3 years) 1887-1890. 
Fr. Ring (4 years) 1890-1894. 
J. H. Johnson (2 years) 1894-1896. 
Chr. Treider (1 year) 1896-1897. 
J. Sanaker (5 years) 1897-1902. 



J. C. Tollefsen (3 years) 1902-3905. 
C. F. Eltzholtz (1 year) 1905-1906. 
Fr. Ring from 1906. 

EVANSTON. 

The work was begun by a local preacher, Karl 
Schou, a Dane, then a student at the Northwest- 
ern University. The church was organized in 
1870 by J. H. Johnson, pastor of the First Church, 
Chicago. A church, the very first one ever built 
in Evanston, was bought in 1871 from the Amer- 
ican Methodists and moved over to the south- 
east corner of Church street and Sherman avenue, 
where it was used till the present church was 
built in 1896, one block farther north, during P. 
Haugan's pastorate and with him as architect, 
and dedicated under his successor, G. Mathisen, 
in 1897, by the presiding elder, F. Ring. 

Pastoral appointments: K. Schou, 1870-1873; 
B. Johansen, 1873-1876; M. Nilson, 1876-1877; C. 
F. Eltzholtz, 1877-1879; Chr. Treider, 1879-1880; 
M. Hillerud, 1880-1881; A. Haagensen, 1881-1884; 
'B. Smith, N. E. Simonsen, 1885-1887; M. Rye, 
1887-1888; E. M. Stangeland, 1888-1889; G. Gun- 
derson, 1889-1890; N. E. Simonsen, 1890; Chr. 
Arndt, 1890-1891; H. P. Bergh, 1891-1893; A. An- . 
dreassen, 1893-1895; P. Haugan, 1895-1897; G. 
Mathisen, 1897-1901; C. J. Johnson, 1901-1906; 
P. M. Peterson from 1906. 

MAPLEWOOD AVENUE CHURCH, 
Corner Le Moyne Street, Chicago. 

"Second Church Mission," as it then was called, 
was started in a German Methodist church on 
Holt and Division streets, east of Milwaukee ave- 
nue, by O. L. Hansen, then a local preacher in 
the First Church. Later a lot was bought on the 
N. W. corner of Maplewood avenue and Le 
Moyne street, and a little church was built in 
1873, under Chr. Treider's pastorate. This church 
was replaced by the present fine edifice in 1891, 
under the pastorate of O. L. Hansen, who also 
was the architect and leader of the whole work. 
There is also a parsonage belonging to the 
church. The church was dedicated by the pre- 
siding elder, J. H. Johnson, Sept. 6, 1891. 

The Maplewood Avenue Church has developed 
in a powerful way and has had a great influence 
for good in Chicago and vicinity. 

Pastoral appointments: Chr. Treider, 1872- 
1873; C. F. Eltzholtz, 1873-1874; O. J. Sanaker, 
1874-1875; Chr. Treider, 1875-1876; C. F. Eltz- 
holtz, 1876-1877; J. L. Thompsen, 1877-1879; J. 



NORWEGIAN CHURCHES IN ILLINOIS 



153 



Sanaker, 1879-1880; M. Nelsen, 1880-1883; O. L. 
Hansen, 1883-1884; O. Jacobsen, 1885-1887; O. P. 
Petersen, 1887-1888; S. E. Simonsen, 1888-1889; 
O. L. Hansen, 1889-1892; L. C. Knudsen, 1893- 
1895; O. P. Petersen, 1895-1897; L. A. Larson, 
1897-1900; Fr. Ring, 1900-1906; P. Haugan from 
1906. 



cine, 1880, N. E. Simonsen reported a congrega- 
tion of seventeen members. Since its start this 
church has had different names Hyde Park, 
South Chicago, Grand Crossing and now Bethel. 
The first church was built on Adams street, near 
Parkside railroad station and dedicated 1886 by 
the presiding elder, A. Haagensen, under Isak 




Maplewcod Avenue Methodist Church, Chicago. 



BETHEL, 

Corner Seventy-second street and Ingleside ave- 
nue, Chicago. 

The first week in December, 1879, N. E. Si- 
monsen, then a student at the Northwestern Uni- 
versity, commenced preaching at Hyde Park 
(52nd street), but most of the families were liv- 
ing at Grand Crossing and Parkside. Before 
Christmas he had founded a society of 12 mem- 
bers. Rev. J. H. Johnson held two quarterly 
conferences there before his departure for Nor- 
way in 1880. At the annual conference in Ra- 



Johnson's pastorate. This church was used about 
twenty years, when the present fine edifice was 
built and dedicated by the presiding elder, L. A. 
Larson, under Edw. Erickson's pastorate, Oct. 
22, 1905. There is also a parsonage. 

Pastoral appointments: N. E. Simonsen, 1879- 
1882; E. Stangeland, 1885; Isaac Johnson, 1886; 
P. Haugan, 1886-1887; R. Wilhelmsen, 1888-1890; 
A. Erikson, 1890-1891; A. Andreassen, 1891-1893; 
E. Gjerding, 1893-1895; C. H. Johnson, 1895-1897; 
J. J. Petersen, 1897-1899; O. I. Bagne, 1899-1900; 
C. J. Johnson, 1900-1901; N. H. Nyrop, 1901-1902; 
M. O. Block, 1902-1903; Edw. Erickson, from 
1903. 



154 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



MORELAND, 
Corner 51st avenue and Ontario street, Chicago. 

This church was formed by, members belong- 
ing to the First Church during the pastorate of 
O. A. Wiersen who incorporated the Moreland 
church April 8, 1886. A lot was donated to this 
church by the First Church, and a church build- 
ing was erected and dedicated by Wiersen in 
August, 1886. The society in Moreland has 
grown steadily and especially during the eight 
years'- pastorate of O. A. Wiersen had a great 
upswing and progress. The old church was 
raised, extended and materially changed and ded- 
icated for service on December 24, 1905, by 
Bishop W. F. McDowell, under G. Mathisen's 
pastorate, and the eldership of L. A. Larson, 
who also participated in the dedicatory services. 

Pastoral appointments: O. A. Wiersen (also 
pastor of the First Church), 1886; Isaac John- 
son, 1887-1889; P. Haugan, 1890-1891; H. P. Nel- 
sen, 1891-1893; H. Danielson, 1893-96; O. A. 
Wiersen, 1896-1904; G. Mathisen, from 1904. 

IMMANUEL, 
Corner W. Huron and Bickerdike sts., Chicago. 

The work here was commenced by Christian 
Treider, while he was editor of "Den Kristlige 
Talsmand," and the church was organized May 
23, 1886, by O. A. Wiersen, pastor of the First 
Church. No church was built, but two were 
bought, the first one on the corner of W. Ohio 
and Noble streets, dedicated Nov. 14, 1886, by 
Isaac Johnson; the second (the present church) 
was dedicated in August, 1888, by N. Christoph- 
erson. The society also has built a parsonage 
and besides that a three-story double flat build- 
ing which is rented out. From this church many 
members have moved farther northwest in the 
city and other nationalities are moving in. The 
church property is going to be sold and the so- 
ciety will, in connection with the First Church, 
build a new house of worship in a better local- 
ity. 

Pastoral appointments: O. A. Wiersen (also 
pastor of the First Church), 1886; E. M. Stange- 
land, 1886-1887; N. Christophersen, 1887-1889; O. 
A. Wiersen, 1889-1892; A. Johnsen, 1892-1893; P. 
Haugan, 1893-1895; M. L. Kjelstad, 1895-1897; H. 
C. Munson, 1897-1901: G. Mathisen, 1901-1904; 
O. L. Hansen, 1904-1905; C. W. Hanson, 1905- 
1906; F. Ring, from 1906. 



KEDZIE AVENUE CHURCH, 
Chicago. 

This church 'originated in the work commenced 
by professor N. E. Simonsen at the home of 
shoemaker Andersen on West North avenue, 
near Kedzie avenue on Sunday, February 7, 1902. 
Previous to this, however, there had been con- 
ducted a Sunday school for some time in a hall 
on Wabansia avenue, west of Kedzie avenue by 
members of the Maplewood Avenue Church. 
Prof. Simonsen continued his work till the close 
of the school year in May, when student H. 
Christensen was appointed by the presiding 
elder J. H. Johnson to work there. In Septem- 
ber of the same year he was regularly appointed 
there -as a supply, and the church was organized 
December 26, 1902. A store fronting west on 
Kedzie avenue, between Wabansia avenue and 
Bloomingdale road, was rented and used as a 
hall, until the church was built during H. P. 
Bergh's pastorate and dedicated by presiding 
elder J. H. Johnson on Sunday, September 2, 
1894. The Kedzie Avenue Church is well estab- 
lished and in a prosperous condition. 

Pastoral appointments: H. Christensen, 1892- 
1893; H. P. Bergh, 1893-94; A. Hansen, 1894-1898; 
H. P. Nelsen, 1898-1903; O. Jacobsen, 1903-1904; 
J. C. Tollefsen, 1904-1907. 

DWIGHT. 

During the summer of 1901 student R. F. Wil- 
helmsen, then in charge of the society at Harp- 
ster, came to Dwight in order to inquire about 
the number of Danes living there and their spir- 
itual condition. Between Christmas and New 
Years he and student J. J. Petersen (Dane) held 
the first meetings. R. F. Wilhelmsen continued 
to preach occasionally at Dwight in the Ameri- 
can Methodist church, until July, 1902. Student 
J. Andersen (Dane) assisted in holding meetings 
during the vacation. A Sunday school was or- 
ganized, and Andersen became its first superin- 
tendent. In September, Wilhelmsen was ap- 
pointed to Dwight, a class was organized in Oc- 
tober, and in April, 1903, the church was organ- 
ized. A church building was bought the same 
year and dedicated August 3. A parsonage also 
has been bought. The work at Dwight is ham- 
pered very much by the members moving to 
other communities, but there is hope of ultimate 
success. 

Pastoral appointments: R. F. Wilhelmsen 
(Dane), 1892-1895; A. Johnsen, 1895-1896; J. J. 
Petersen (Dane), 1896-1897; C. A. Andersen, 



NORWEGIAN CHURCHES IN ILLINOIS 



155 



1897-1900; P. M. Petersen (Dane), 1900-1902; R. 
P. Petersen (Dane), 1902-1904; H. S. Haver, 
1904-1905; J. F. Petersen, 1905-1906; O. R0hr- 
Staff, from 'l906. 

EMMAUS, 

Forty-first Court and Pierce avenue, one block 
south of North avenue, Chicago. 

This work originated in a Sunday school or- 
ganized on North avenue, near Forty-second 
avenue by the members of the Kedzie Avenue 
Church. Christian Treider who had been a su- 
perannuary for several years, was nominally ap- 
pointed pastor at the Forty-second avenue mis- 
sion as it was then called, while student C. J. 
Johnson, his assistant, did the pastoral work, 
preached there regularly and went around visit- 
ing from house to house and gathering the peo- 
ple. No missionary money was appropriated 
for this place, and Johnson received only very 
little pay from the people. At the end of the 
year, however, he had a society of nineteen mem- 
bers in full connection and two on probation, 
and a Sunday school of seventy-five children in 
a rented hall, with seats and an organ. The 
church was, organized, by the presiding elder, Fr. 
Ring, in October, 1895, during Christian Treider's 
nominal pastorate, Charles J. Johnson being his' 
assistant. The cornerstone of the church was 
laid on Thanksgiving. Day, 1900, and the base- 
ment made ready for use and dedicated by the 
presiding elder, L. A. Larson, on Easter Sunday, 
April 7, 1901. M. L. Kjelstad was then pastor. 
The church was completed successfully through 
the untiring efforts of the pastor, and dedicated 
by presiding elder Larson on Sunday, May 4, 
1902. 

Much good and faithful work has been done 
at this place, especially during the six years' 
pastorate of M. L. Kjelstad, and the outlook is 
good. 

Pastoral appointments: Christian Treider 
(with student C. J. Johnson as assistant), 1895- 
1896; H. G. Smeland, 1896-1897; B. E. Carlsen, 
1897-1899; K. Hansen, 1899-1900; M. L. Kjelstad, 
1900-1906; R. F. Wilhelmsen, from 1906. 

BETHANY, 

On N. Albany street, one block south of Irving 
Park avenue, Chicago. 

During the summer of 1895, A. Hansen, pastor 
of the Kedzie avenue church, commenced holding 
open air meetings in Avondale. During the next 
summer the local preachers L. Syversen and G. 



Hansen, together with pastor A. Hansen and 
students from our school in Evanston, held meet 
ings there, and July 16, 1896, pastor A. Hansen 
organized a Sunday school of five teachers and 
thirty scholars. 

Members of "North Avondale Mission," as it 
was called, met with pastor A. Hansen as presi 
dent at No. 2235 N. Sacramento avenue on Oc- 
tober 5, 1897, and organized themselves as a cor- 
poration under the laws of the state and assumed 
the name of "Bethany Scandinavian Methodist 
Episcopal Church of Avondale, Chicago, 111.'' 
At this meeting Joseph Johnson, George Erick- 
sen and Anton Larsen were elected trustees. The 
organization of the church was further com- 
pleted by the presiding elder, Fredrik Ring, 
March 27, 1897. The church building, erected 
the same year, was dedicated by Ring September 
5th. The society is small but has an unusually 
large and promising Sunday school, and the 
prospects are very good. 

Pastoral appointments: F. Larsen, 1898-1899; 
O. T. Field, 1899-1900; M. L. Olsen, 1900-1902; 
C. W. Hanson, 1902-1903; John Pedersen, 1903- 
1904; A. Haagensen, 1904-1905; T. A. Thorson, 
1905-1906; O. M. Locke, from 1906. 

THE NORWEGIAN-DANISH CITY 
MISSION. 

The first flat in a house on the northwest cor- 
ner of N. Centre avenue and Sinnott place was 
rented and fixed up as a hall which was dedi- 
cated with appropriate services Sunday after- 
noon, January 6, 1907, as a result of the efforts 
of C. W. Hanson, who received his appointment 
as the first city missionary among the Norweg- 
ian and Danish Methodists at the conference in 
Moreland, Chicago, in September, 1906. 

The special object of this mission is to do 
Evangelical and rescue work among the poor 
and destitute, the slum people, the sick, the im- 
migrants and those who do not attend church. 
Religious services are being held every Sunday 
afternoon at three o'clock and during the week- 
day evenings. Besides this the missionary is 
carrying on his work by clothing the poor, the 
clothing being furnished by the people interested 
in the mission, by providing tickets for lodging 
for the night for the homeless and penniless, by 
visiting hospitals, by meeting immigrants at the 
railroad stations and helping them in different 
ways, by caring for sick and helpless families 
and families of drunkards, and by inviting peo- 
ple to the meetings, etc. The readine room 
of the mission is open every evening from 6-8, 



158 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



and by and by other things will be added to the 
work. The missionary is paid partly by the 
home missionary society of our church, and 
partly by our churches in Chicago, the mission 
being directed by a board consisting of all our 
ministers in Chicago and Evanston and one lay 
representative from each church. The presiding 
elder of Chicago district is president of the 
board. 

THE CAMPMEETING. 

At Desplaines, 111., 17 miles N. W. of Chicago 
on the North-Western railroad, the American 
Methodists have conducted revival meetings for 



to live in for those who can spend the whole 
time or a part of the time out there, and meals 
may be had at the restaurants at very reasonable 
prices. 

Through the whole campground which, by its 
great number of cottages and tents, arranged 
in rows so as to make streets for passage, the 
best of order prevails, even on Sundays, when 
five thousand or more people are teeming there 
like ants in a hill, to listen in the different places 
for service to preaching either in English, Swed- 
ish or Norwegian-Danish by some of the best 
preachers in the country, the whole day, except 
the morning, noon and evening inter-missions 




.The Methodist Tabernacle, Desplaines, 111. 



two weeks during the latter part of July every 
summer for almost fifty years. The Norwegian 
and Danish, as well as the Swedish Methodists 
also started revival meetings there in the sixties. 
We at first used a little frame building for the 
meetings, then for many years a tent, and in 
1905 a fine Tabernacle with seats for several 
hundred people was erected. The campmeetings 
at Desplaines have been wonderfully blessed to 
the salvation of souls, to the refreshing of God's 
people and to the furtherance of religious work 
in the different churches, and they have been an 
inspiration to the preachers. 

Small cottages, tents or larger houses are used 



for meals, being used for preaching, or prayer 
meetings in the English, Norwegian-Danish and 
Swedish Tabernacles, or in tents for the young 
people. None will regret spending the whole 
time, or a part of the time, out there in the fine 
grove among the beautiful sound of fervent pray- 
ers, powerful singing and earnest preaching of 
a full and free salvation through Jesus Christ by 
men who have themselves experienced its reality 
and power. During these two camp meeting 
weeks Desplaines campground is like a heaven 
on earth. Thousands upon thousands have there 
found salvation and blessing by faith in Jesus 
Christ. 



NORWEGIAN CHURCHES IN ILLINOIS 



157 



STATISTICS. 

When the Norwegian and Danish Methodist 
work was organized into an annual Conference 
in 1880, the statistics for Illinois were as follows: 
Members on probation, 51; members in full con- 
nection, GOO; local preachers, 4; churches, 6; 
estimated value, $20,900; parsonages, 3; estimated 
value, $7,500; Sunday schools, 7; officers and 
teachers, 77; scholars, 540; missionary collections, 
$441.27. 

In 1906 the statistics show: Members on proba- 
tion, 89; members in full connection, 1,231; 
churches, 13; estimated value, $78,600; parson- 
ages, 8; estimated value, $34,500; present indebt- 
edness on church property, $20,375; Sunday 
schools, 12; officers and teachers, 164; scholars, 
1,357; missionary collections, $1,032.00. 



tember of the same year Brother Schou com- 
menced his work as a teacher by organizing a 
class of young men, and he continued in this 
work until the winter of 1872-1873 when he was 
sent by the Church as superintendent of the mis- 
sion in Denmark. 

His successor, Rev. C. B. Willerup, did not 
remain long in Evanston, and did not get a 
chance to do much work as a teacher. Rev. B. 
Johannesen then became teacher for a couple of 
years. These three brethren also had charge of 
the Norwegian-Danish church in 'Evanston. After 
this the theological chair for a few years was 
connected with the pastorate of Rev. Marcus 
Nilson, Evanston, and Rev. Martin Hansen of 
the First N.-D. Methodist Church in Chicago. 

Nothing was then done for the school during 
several years, until in 1884, the Conference in 




The Norwegian-Danish Theological Seminary at Evanston, 111. 



THE NORWEGIAN-DANISH THEO- 
LOGICAL SEMINARY AT 
EVANSTON, ILL. 

In the summer of 1870 the first school board, 
consisting of Revs. A. Haagensen, J H. John- 
son and P. H. Rye, and the laymen, Ole Wigdal 
and O. M. Oren, resolved that Karl Schou, then 
a student at the Northwestern University, should 
start a school in Evanston for those who desired 
to enter the Norwegian-Danish work. In Sep- 



Forest City, la., resolved to call Rev. N. E. 
Simonsen, then in Norway, as president and pro- 
fessor for the school. He had taken a full course 
at the Northwestern University and at the Gar- 
rett Biblical Institute and graduated from these 
institutions and was now in Norway taking a 
post graduate course, in the meantime serving 
as pastor in Christiania. About ten years ago 
his alma mater conferred upon him the degree 
of D. D. By the Norway Conference he was, in 
1885, chosen to take charge of the Theological 



158 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



Institute at Christiania, but later on in the same twenty more have attended the school for a 

year, at the annual conference in Cambridge, shorter or longer period. The present number 

Wis., he was appointed principal of the school of students is 18. At first the curriculum was 

and pastor of the church at Evanston, 111. The three years; now it js four years, 
work was started January 18, 1886, and alone he Professor Simonsen has done a great work in 

has served as president and professor of the preparing so many young men for the ministry, 




The Norwegian- Danish M. E. Book Concern. 



school all the time since, except in 1891-1892, 
when Rev. H. P. Bergh was assistant teacher. 
The school building is located on University 
Place and Sherman avenue. The work on it was 
commenced Aug. 27, 1887, and it was completed 
in 1888 and occupied the same year. It was ded- 
icated in the spring of 1889. Previous to this 
time the school had been conducted in the par- 
sonage. The school building is well built and 
well equipped, heating apparatus having been in- 
stalled recently. It costs $12,000 and is paid for. 
The money for the erection of the building was 
raised by subscriptions among our people, and 
especially the older preachers have been work- 
ing hard for the school cause from its beginning. 
About forty-five students have graduated from 
the school up to the present time. Fifteen to 



and the school has contributed very much to the 
progress of the Norwegian and Danish Method- 
ism in America. 

THE NORWEGIAN-DANISH M. E. 

BOOK CONCERN. 
272 Grand Avenue, Chicago. 

On November 21, 1876, a committee was ap- 
pointed with O. B. Jacobs as chairman, and 
Christian Treider as secretary, and it was then 
resolved to start a plant with composition room 
and book concern on the 1st of December ensu- 
ing, which resolution was carried out. At first 
a rented room on the second floor of the build- 
ing on the northwest corner of West Indiana, 
now Grand avenue and Green streets, was used, 



NORWEGIAN CHURCHES IN ILLINOIS 



159 



until in 1880 a little stone building was erected 
on Sangamon street, in the rear of First Church. 
From this place the concern moved in 1893 to 
its present location where two houses were 
bought, one of which is being used for the con- 
cern, the other rented out. The book concern 
was run as a stock company, until in 1881 it was 
turned over to the directors of our theological 
school in Evanston as its property. The stock 
was later redeemed, and the same year the an- 
nual conference took charge of it, and it was 
later on wholly turned over to the conference as 
its property. 

The managers of the Concern have been: 
Christian Treider, 1876-1880; A. Haagensen, 1880- 
1884; Christian Treider, 1884-1891; C. Hansen, 
1891-1897; Christian Treider, 1897-1900; H. P. 
Bergh, 1900-1905; O. L. Hansen, from 1905. 

The first church periodical among the Nor- 
wegian and Danish Methodists in America, the 
monthly paper Missionaeren, was started in 
January, 1870, A. Haagensen and J. H. Johnson 
being its first editors. Later K. Schou also be- 
came an editor. From 1877 the name of the pa- 
per was changed to its present, "Den Kristelige 
Talsmand." The editors have been: Christian 
Treider, 1876-1880; A. Haagensen, 1880-1884; 
Christian Treider, 1884-1891; A. Haagensen, 
1891-1897; C. F. Eltzholtz, 1897-1905; H. P. 
Bergh, from 1905. 

The Sunday school paper, "Hyrdestemmen," 
was started in 1874 and has had the following 
editors: Christian Treider and C. F. Eltzholtz, 
1874-1880; A. Haagensen, 1880-1884; Christian 
Treider, 1884-1892; H. P. Bergh, 1892-1898; Chris- 
tian Treider, 1898-1900; H. P. Bergh, from 1900. 

Our books and papers have been and are in- 
dispensable to our work, and have done much 
good to the cause of God in general and to the 
cause of the Methodism in particular. They 
have spread knowledge of earnest Christianity 
and of Methodism and defended our church 
against many attacks and misrepresentations 
from other Norwegian and Danish churches in 
this country. 

THE YOUNG PEOPLE. 

In almost all our churches have been organ- 
ized young peoples societies, Epworth Leagues, 
so-called after the birth place of John Wesley, 
the founder of Methodism. Good religious in- 
struction is provided for the children in the Sun- 
day schools in every church, and by special in- 
struction by the pastor in the catechism and 
Bible history until at the age of fourteen this 



special class of children thus instructed by the 
pastor, at the regular Sunday morning service 
in the church, is by him examined in their reli- 
gious knowledge in the presence of the congrega- 
tion, the children, during this act, not giving any 
vows, not being confirmed, in the prevalent 
meaning of the word, and not being entered as 
members of the church. Like the grown up peo- 
ple, they can only become regular members of 
the church by showing their serious desire to live 
a Christian life, and by being received, first on 
probation, and then into full membership, if 
qualified thereto. 

DOCTRINES. 

In common with other Evangelical churches 
the Methodist Episcopal Church, to which we 
belong, believes in the Bible as the word of God, 
its authors being men especially fitted and in- . 
spired by the Holy Ghost for their work. We 
believe in a Three-Une God: the Father, the 
Son, and the Holy Ghost. We believe in the fall 
of man, and in the redemption and salvation 
through Jesus Christ who is the Way, the Truth 
and the Life, it being the will and purpose of 
God to save all who believe in Jesus as their only 
Savior. We believe in justification and salvation 
by faith only, not by works; in regeneration and 
sanctification by the Holy Ghost; in the witness 
of the Spirit in the hearts of true believers, as- 
suring them of forgiveness of sin and accept- 
ance as children of God; in the holy sacraments 
of baptism and the Lord's Supper; in the gen- 
eral resurrection of the dead and the final judg- 
ment of the world by Jesus Christ; in everlast- 
ing punishment of the wicked, and eternal happi- 
ness of the righteous. 

THE MINISTRY OF THE CHURCH 
AND CHURCH GOVERNMENT. 

Our church believes in a distinct call of God 
to the ministry and that no unconverted man 
ever was called by God to that holy position. 

Our church government is Episcopal, and the 
bishops are elected by the Church Conference, 
the highest tribunal arid the legislative assembly 
of the church, and have no special diocese, but 
by mutual agreement between themselves at 
their biennial meetings, they perform in turn the 
supervision of the different fields of the home 
church, and in visiting the mission fields in for- 
eign countries they supervise these fields in con- 
nection with the different missionary bishops 
there appointed and living there for a certain 
period of time. 



160 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



until in 1880 a little stone building was erected 
supervision of the different districts in the con- 
ferences, visiting every church four times, while 
the bishops execute their supervision mainly by 
presiding at the annual conferences and by de- 
ciding the annual appointments of the preachers 
and directing and adjusting the work in the 
whole field. 

The government of the local churches is exe- 
cuted by the pastor in connection with the quar- 
terly conference and the leaders' and stewards' 
meeting, which local church authorities also en- 
force the discipline and expel worldly or negli- 
gent members who will not be reproved and 
who do not improve their Christian life. All 
church property, is held by trustees, not in the 
name of the local church, but in the name of the 
denomination ,or church at large. 

BIOGRAPHIES OF SOME PROMINENT 

NORWEGIAN-DANISH METHODIST 

PIONEERS. 

In the biographical part of this volume will 
be found: sketches of now living and active Meth- 
odist preachers. But I think 'it proper to pre- 
serve for future generations the biographical 
sketches of some of the hardworking pioneers 
who have gone home to their reward. I regret 
not to be able to devote more spa'ce to the lives 
of those prominent men of God. 



REV. O. P. PETERSEN, 
Founder of Methodism in Norway. 

Ole Peter Petersen was born in Fredrikstad, 
Norway, April 28, 1822. His father, Peter Han- 
sen, died shortly thereafter, and his mother, 
Kathrine died when he was only six years old. 
He then was taken care of by a good family and 
grew up as a naturally good and diligent boy. 
The good Lord began early to work in him, and 
the little boy was often taken up with deep 
thoughts about God and spiritual things. Early 
he showed a great desire for reading and- study, 
and before long, by self-study as well as in the 
common school, he had acquired considerable 
knowledge; but he lacked money to enter a 
higher school. Twenty-one years old he went 
to America, in 1843, and for five years he became 
a sailor with American ships and as such he 
went far and wide in the world and saw and 
learned much that became useful to him later 
in life; but he never dreamed of ever becoming 
so widely known and renowned as he afterwards 



became. He was still the same unconverted 
man, but he lead a moral and orderly life, and 
was so far a good example to those around him. 
But this did not bring to his heart the peace that 
he missed and that is missed by all unconverted 
people. During a class meeting among Ameri- 
can Methodists he was awakened to insight and 
acknowledgment of his unconverted condition by 
the hearty testimony of a woman about the sal- 
vation she had found by faith in Jesus Christ. 
Petersen left this meeting with the resolution, 
that if any such thing was attainable, he would 
not give up before he had found it. 

At the meetings of the renowned sailor mis- 
sionary, Father Taylor, in Boston, he also was 
much impressed by his preaching, but the final 
impulse that brought him over on the Lord's side 
he received in the Swedish Methodist Bethel- 
ship, "John Wesley," in New York, when, dur- 
ing the last week of February, 1846, he was list- 
ening every evening to the powerful sermons of 
Rev. O. G. Hedstr0m, the founder in 1845 of 
Swedish Methodism, and on Sunday evening the 
distress of his soul became so great that he stood 
up and asked to be prayed for. The following 
day, Monday, the 1st of March, the Lord spoke 
peace to his soul out on the ocean not far from 
New York, and on Tuesday, the 2d of March, 
his inner assurance about salvation became still 
clearer, and he felt immense joy and happiness. 
The salvation and peace that he then experienced 
became his possession for life, until after more 
than fifty years of faithful work for the Lord he 
went to rest on Friday evening Dec. 20, 1901, in 
Brooklyn, N. Y., nearly eighty years old. As 
he had been living, so he died, happy in the 
Lord, and has now as we believe met those of 
his beloved ones who had gone home before 
his dear wife and four children. His oldest 
daughter. Alvina, is still living and married to a 
Dane, Rev. Charles H. Johnson, a graduate of 
Harvard, and superintendent of the Children's 
Home at Dobbs Ferry, N. Y. O. P. Petersen 
was buried side by side with his wife and son at 
the Forest Home cemetery, at Milwaukee, Wis., 
Dec. 26, 1901. In 1906 a fine monument was 
placed on his grave by his friends. 

We can here only give a brief review of tho 
great work of this man of God. In 3849 he went 
back. from America to Fredrikstad to marry his 
sweetheart and to visit with his friends. His 
letters to his sweetheart had been of such reli- 
gious character, that they were sent from house 
to house, were read like a gospel message and 
touched many hearts, and the first day after his 
arrival at Fredrikstad a revival broke out though 



NORWEGIAN CHURCHES IN ILLINOIS 



161 



he was not yet a preacher but only testified 
about the great salvation that he himself had 
found by faith in Jesus Christ. 

His intention was to return soon with his wife 
to New York but the wonderful work of the 
Lord continued and spread like a fire and his 
return was delayed almost a year. Upon his ar- 
rival in New York he soon was licenced to 
preach and sent by the Missionary Society of 
our church, in 1851, to Iowa, where, at Washing- 
ton Prairie (now Nordness) he organized the 
first Norwegian Methodist church west of the 
Mississippi river. 

The new converts in Fredrikstad were anx- 
ious to get a leader and sent urgent requests to 
the Missionary Society. In answer to this Bishop 
Waugh recalled Petersen from Iowa and sent him 
as a missionary to Norway, where he arrived a 
little before Christmas in 1853 and again took 
hold of the work which he had started four years 
earlier. He found, however, many obstacles in 
his way. The Mormons had invaded the field 
during his absence and bewildered some of the 
new converts, and the opposition on the part of 
the ministers of the state church and the Luth- 
eran lay preachers which the nature of his first 
occasional and private visit had not elicited, was 
now at once aroused, and he had to contend not 
only with prevailing sin and ungodliness, but 
also with prejudice, bigotry, hatred and misrepre- 
sentations of Methodism, which, according to the 
ignorant view of many, even well educated peo- 
ple, at that time was not much better than Mor- 
monism. The doctrinal points most frequently 
discussed at this time and more or less during 
the whole period since Methodism was introduced 
into Norway, were baptism, the Lord's Supper, 
Christian perfection (or entire sanctification) and 
the witness of the Spirit. There was also much 
prejudice against -kneeling during worship, class 
meetings, prayer meetings, woman's testimonies 
at the meetings, altar services, Sunday schools, 
Methodist hymns, etc. In the course of time, 
however, a great change has taken place. Meth- 
odism has had a great influence on the whole 
Norwegian population. It is now better known 
and understood, and by and by the old prejudice 
and hatred is disappearing and our Lutheran 
friends have come to understand that there is 
much in Methodism worth imitating. We can 
now find traces of Methodistic influence in al- 
most all directions, as well in doctrine as in mode 
of work. The first Methodist church in Norway 
was organized, according to the laws of the 
country, September 11, 1856, at Sarpsborg, and 
from that time Methodism has spread all over 



Norway, there being Methodist churches now in 
almost every city or town, and in several country 
places, and the outlook for further progress is 
good. 

Some have made strong objections to the Meth- 
odist church sending missionaries to Norway, 
a Christian country. Statistics as well as a gen- 
eral knowledge of the religious conditions of the 
country show, however, that besides all the work 
which the state church forces possibly are able to 
do, there is still ample room for, yea an urgent 
need of all the work that the Methodists and 
other dissenters can do for the salvation of souls 
and the general uplift of the people. Thinking 




Rev. O. P. Petersen. 

and broadminded religious Norwegians admit 
this more willingly than ever, and so a liberal and 
friendly spirit is growing between the state 
church and the other evangelical denominations, 
and the religious work is carried on without the 
old friction on every side. Father Petersen lived 
to see this and he was glad for the change. 

Petersen remained in Norway until 1859, when 
he returned to America and was appointed pastor 
of the Bethel Ship Mission in Brooklyn. After 
that time he served as pastor and presiding elder 
in Wisconsin and in Illinois until 1869, when, fol- 
lowing the call of the church, he again went to 
Norway as superintendent of the work there for 



162 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



two years, his family remaining in Racine, Wis. 
On his return, in 1871, he became pastor of the 
First Church, Chicago, for three years. After 
that his appointments were Brooklyn, where he 
organized the church, Wisconsin, where he was 
presiding elder a second time, and after that as 
pastor in Racine, Wis., Maplewood avenue, Chi- 
cago, Minneapolis, Minn., Maplewood avenue, 
Chicago, Racine, Wis., and finally Brooklyn, Sec- 
ond Church, which he organized and where he 
died triumphant in the Lord after only a few days 
sickness, and after half a century's faithful work 
for his Master, ten minutes before eight o'clock 
Friday evening, Dec. 20, 1901. 

In 1896 he visited Norway for the fourth time 
and there participated in the fortieth anniversary 
of Methodism in Norway, at Sarpsborg. He vis- 
ited several churches during this trip and he 
preached to the great edification of the people. 

Petersen was in many respects a remarkable 
man and deserves a conspicuous place in the re- 
ligious history of the people whose son he was. 
He was a powerful preacher and revivalist, a 
faithful pastor, a wise administrator as pastor 
and presiding elder, a thorough student of the 
Bible and theological works in general, a deep 
thinker and theologian, a clear and concise writer 
and an invincible debater on theological ques- 
tions, always ready with striking arguments and 
biblical logic. In his Christian life in the home 
and everywhere he was an illustrious example 
without blemish all through his long religious 
career. 

Petersen was a leader in all kinds of church 
work and was a member of numerous committees, 
as for instance, committees on the hymn book, 
the periodicals and the book concern. He was 
very modest in all his relations and it was a bless- 
ing to have intercourse with him. In 1883 when 
the Norwegian and Danir.h Conference elected its 
first delegate to the General Conference, he would 
have been elected but declined, though nobody 
would have been more fit for the position than 
he. Petersen was quite active as a writer and 
wrote numerous articles and essays for the reli- 
gious press. Of his pamphlets and books may be 
mentioned "Daabslaeren i et N0ddeskal" and "Et 
Blik paa Adventismen," but his main work was 
"Betragtninger over Bibelens Hovedla^rdomme," 
in which, in fifty-one well written chapters, he 
treated all the main points of Christian theology. 
The clear thinking, the Biblical contents and the 
deep earnestness that pervade the book, and the 
plain language in which it is written, makes it a 
highly instructive as well as edifying book both 
to common readers and to younger and older 



preachers. O. P. Petersen was a wonder of a 
self-educated and self-made man and an honor to 
his church and to his nation. His memory is 
blessed. 

As mentioned earlier in this sketch, O. P. Pe- 
tersen, was married in Fredrikstad in 1849 to 
Miss Anne Marie Amundsen with whom he had 
five children. Having for thirty-four years been 
his faithful wife, advicer and helpmate in his di- 
versified work, she died peacefully in the Lord at 
Milwaukee in 1883. 

J. H. JOHNSON. 

John Henry Johnson was born on the Fj0sne 
farm at Etne, south of Bergen, Norway, July 18, 
1837. His parents were Johan Vogt and Suzanne 
Torbj0rnsdatter. When he was through with 
the common school and had been confirmed, he 
was for three years clerk in his uncle's store at 
Etne, and 1857 he emigrated to America, where 
at first he lived and worked with his brother-in- 
law at Perry, Wis. 

Possessing good natural faculties and being well 
versed in the common branches of knowledge he 
attended English school at Perry and soon made 
rapid progress in English and other studies. Al- 
ready next year we find him as a teacher. About 
the same time he was very much influenced by 
an old Christian blind man's prayer, but the com- 
plete transition from darkness to light did not 
take place until in 1860 during a campmeeting 
among the Norwegian Methodists at Primrose, 
Dane Co., Wis., conducted by Rev. A. Haagensen 
and other preachers. He joined the Methodist 
Church and soon after was licenced as a local 
preacher. Being sure of his calling to work in 
the Lord's vineyard, he tried to prepare himself 
for the work by studying for some time at Law- 
rence University, Appleton, Wis. In the mean- 
time the civil war broke out, and Johnson en- 
tered as a volunteer in the Fifteenth Wisconsin 
regiment, and as a sergeant took part in several 
engagements on the battlefield. During his three 
years' service he preached the word of God to 
the soldiers and to the negroes in their huts. 
After Rev. Clausen's resignation he was installed 
as chaplain of the regiment, did excellent service, 
and was loved and esteemed by both officers and 
soldiers. 

At the close of the war he returned to Wis- 
consin, where by presiding elder O. P. Petersen 
he was appointed pastor, the first year at Coon 
Prairie, the second year also at Richland. At 
Richland he met her who was to become his dear- 
est and best friend on earth, Miss Anne Fryden- 



NORWEGIAN CHURCHES IN ILLINOIS 



land, with whom, till his death, he lived in a 
happy marriage, and in whom he had a faithful 
supporter and help in all things. They were 
blessed with five children three sons and two 
daughters all grown and in good positions, 
Cyrus being engaged at the State Bank of Chi- 
cago, Edwin in the International Harvester Com- 
pany's service, Wilbur as a physician, Ida, mar- 
ried to Dr. Green, a druggist, all in Chicago, and 
Mathilde, married to Professor Alb. C. Knudson 
of Boston University. 

J. H. Johnson was received into Wisconsin 
Conference in full membership in 1869, after com- 
pleting his conference studies, in which he 
showed great proficiency. His appointments have 
been: Coon Prairie and Richland, Sheboygan 
and Racine, Wis., First Church, Chicago, three 
times; Milwaukee, at the same time being presid- 
ing elder of the district. In 1872 he was ap- 
pointed presiding elder of the new Norwegian- 
Danish district in Minnesota, and from then on 
he served as presiding elder in different districts 
the unusually long time of twenty-two years, of 
which eight years in Norway. 

When the first official organ among Norwegian 
and Danish Methodists, "Missionaeren," was 
started in 1870 he was for a time one of its edit- 
ors, and he has been a member of committees for 
periodicals, hymn books and the book concern, etc. 

In 1880 he was elected delegate from the Wis- 
consin Conference to the General Conference, 
and in 1881 he was a delegate from Norway to 
the First Ecumenical Methodist Conference, 
which was held in London, England. 

In 1888 he was a delegate from Norway, and in 
1892 from the Norwegian and Danish Conference, 
to the General Conference. Our beloved John- 
son was an ardent and zealous worker, putting 
all his heart and strength and enthusiasm into his 
responsible and often hard work, to which God 
and the church had called him, and the result was 
a great multitude of saved souls on both sides of 
the ocean and the edification and quickening of 
the church of God in truth and holiness. In 1879 
he paid a visit to his native country, and this visit 
was followed the next year, 1880, by his exchang- 
ing position with Rev. M. Hansen, then presid- 
ing elder and superintendent of the work in Nor- 
way, where by the urgent request of the people, 
Johnson remained as presiding elder four years 
longer than he had expected when he left 
America, and by his eloquent and inspiring 
preaching and his good judgment and impartial 
management of the affairs performed much valu- 
able work. His best, time in the service of the 
church he loved so well he had, however, during 



his first term as pastor of the First Church, Chi- 
cago in 1859 to 1871, when hundreds of precious 
souls were converted and added to the church, 
and the whole neighborhood was stirred up and 
swept, as it were, to the cross in the greatest 
revival that Norwegian and Dan'sh Methodism 
has ever experienced. Johnson was a kind hus- 
band and father, a faithful friend, a genuine 
Christian, holy in life, a diligent student of the 
Bible and other good literature, a hearty, elo- 
quent and influential preacher, a faithful pastor 
and a beloved and successful presiding elder. As 




J. H. Johnson. 

a writer he was clear, concise and instructive. 
As his life, faculties, powers and influence was all 
consecrated to the Lord, so his whole personal- 
ity, preaching and work had a wonderfully stir- 
ring, uplifting and sanctifying influence. 

He died after two weeks illness from cancer of 
the stomach during his third pastorate at the 
First Church, Chicago, October 8, 1896, and was 
according to his own request, buried at Rich- 
land, Wis., where in front of the church on the 
hill, his dear wife and children have erected a 
beautiful monument on his grave. Though dead 
he is still living in his work and example which 
are kept in blessed remembrance by thousands. 



164 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



H. H. HOLLAND. 

Halvor H. Holland was born in Norway, and 
while young he was converted among the "Haug- 
eans" at Haugesund, Norway. He emigrated to 
America while young and join-ed the Methodist 
church at Leland, 111., while Jonas Hedstr^m was 
presiding elder in the Swedish District of Illinois, 
and started the work in the Leland settlement. 
In 1854 he was licensed to preach. He preached 
with great success both in Leland and in the Fox 
River settlement, where he organized a church at 
Norway, in 1857. From 1857 to 1859 he supplied 
the Iceland settlement where, in 1858, he built a 
church which later was moved into the village of 
Leland. In 1859 to 1861 he was appointed to 
Newburg, Minn., where he held the first meeting 
in a hotel room. The church there was organized 
at a meeting at Mr. 'H." Walter's threshing floor, 
May 20, 1860, and a church was built the same 
year. He was received into the Minnesota (Eng 
lish) Conference on probation in 1860 and in full 
connection the following year and ordained elder. 
In 1861 to 1862 his appointment was Big Canoe 
(now Locust), la., and later he was appointed to 
St. Paul and Candiyohi, Minn. His health failed 
him and he was obliged to withdraw from active 
service in the conference, and since then he was 
a superannuate. As such he was transferred to 
the Norwegian and Danish Conference at its or- 
ganization in 1880. 

Holland was a pious and zealous man who, 
even as a superannuate, preached and worked for 
the Lord whenever he had an opportunity and 
the condition of his health would allow him. 

With his family he lived several years in Min- 
nesota, but later moved to Leland, 111., where he 
at first started as a preacher, and where he died 
April 12, 1897. His dear wife who also was far 
advanced in years, survived him .only five days 
'-' '' '' ' '' 



17,' 1897/ /Their only .ch'ild, a son, 
died many years earlier. Both Holland and his 
wife were buried at Lela'nd. 

O. J. SANAKER. 

O. J. Sanaker was born at Lier, near Drammen, 
Norway, in 1849. Nine years old he was con- 
verted to God, but lacking knowledge and light 
in spiritual things he backslided. 

In 1867 he emigrated to America together with 
his father and two brothers and settled at Orion, 
Wis. The same year he was converted to God 
during a revival in the American Methodist 
church there, and soon after he joined the Nor- 
wegian Methodist church on Washington Prairie, 
la., but his home being six miles from the church, 



he shortly afterwards joined the American Meth- 
odist church at Freeport, la., where he lived. 
After some time he was licensed to preach and 
was recommended to the school in Evanston, 111. 
where he studied with such ardor, that he com- 
pleted the three years' study in two years, though 
at the same time he had charge of the Second 
(now Maplewood avenue) Church in Chicago. 
God blessed his work here so that fifty-two souls 
were converted and added to the church during 
this period. His next appointment was North 
Cape, Wis., where he worked faithfully one year. 
In 1877 he was appointed to Leland, Norway, and 
Lee, 111. Here he was an instrument in the Lord's 
hand to lead many souls from darkness to light 
in one of the greatest revivals that ever occurred 
in our mission in this country. The whole region 
there was stirred up in a wonderful way. In 
1880 he was appointed to Cambridge, Wis., the 
cradle of Norwegian Methodism, and commenced 
his work there with the same zeal and enthusi- 
asm as before; but in the midst of his work he 
took sick on Tuesday, Nov. 30, and though very 
weak, he preached three times the following Sun- 
day, Dec. 5, without taking any nourishment dur- 
ing the whole day. His illness increased until 
Friday, Dec. 10, when he ended his earthly life. 
During his sickness he sometimes was tempted 
hard, but early Friday morning he exclaimed: 
"Now my soul is free! To-day I shall be with 
Jesus!" His father and brothers asked him, if 
there was anything he wished; he answered: 
"That all of you may come to Jesus." 

He was buried in our cemetery at Cambridge. 

Sanaker was a powerful, eloquent and enthusi- 
astic preacher, and as a Christian he was careful 
in all things and meek and lowly of heart.. He 
was very much esteemed and loved by all who 
knew him. 

Though dead, he speaketh. 

O. A. WIERSEN. 

Olaf Amandus Wiersen was born at Pors- 
grund, Norway, Nov. 3, 1844, to Ole and Wil- 
helmine Wiersen, and he died happy in the Lord, 
in his home at Moreland, Chicago, March 26, 
1904, over 59 years old. 

After having attended the best schools in Pors- 
grund he passed the examination required for a 
mate. Thereafter he learned sailmaking at Ber- 
gen. Afterwards he went to France to acquire 
a knowledge of the French language and re- 
mained there about one year. Then the time 
came when his hope of becoming a sailor was 
realized. Young, strong, fearless and well 



NORWEGIAN CHURCHES IN ILLINOIS 



165 



equipped for sea life he went out on the stormy 
ocean; but God had destined him for something 
better. 

After having been a sailor for some time, he 
set out for America, and landed in Milwaukee, 
Wis., in 1867, 23 years old. 

In the fall of the same year he and another 
young man left Milwaukee with the intention of 
spending the winter in the country, and thus he 
came to Ashippun, Wis. Here he was truly con- 
verted to God through the ministry of Rev. P. 
Jensen, and joined our church. He soon felt a 
call from God to preach, but he did not go wholly 
into this work until some years later. At Aship- 
pun he married Miss Annie C. Isaacson, a young 
Christian woman, with whom he lived happily 
for three years. When the Lord took her home, 
she left her husband with tw,o small children, a 
son and a daughter. Prompted by presiding 
elder A. Haagensen he gave himself entirely over 
to the work for saving souls and worked for 
some time at Oconomowoc, Wis., .with good -sue--' 
cess. Later he was appointed assistant ;tp.^'A !_ 
Haagensen at Milwaukee . y " CM 

He then made a trip to Norway visiting with 
his family, relatives and friends. He remained 
there about one year, and preached with great 
power in our churches in Norway to much .bless- 
ing for God's children and to the salvation of 
many souls. 

On May 34, 1876, he married Miss Ingeborg 
Thorsen, of Porsgrund, Norway, who was his 
faithful assistant in all his sacrificing work for 
the cause during all the ensuing years. This 
marriage was blessed with one son and six 
daughters, of whom three little' daughters had 
gone ahead of their father to glory. 

In 1877 Wiersen was received into the Wis- 
consin Conference, and was in 1880 transferred 
to the then organized Norwegian and Danish 
Conference. Besides being A. Haagensen's as- 
sistant at Milwaukee for two years his appoint- 
ments were as follows: 

Manitowoc and Sheboygan, one year; Sturgeon 
Bay, Fort Howard and De Pere, Wis., three 1 
years; Leland, Lee, and Norway, 111., two years; 
Racine, Wis., two years; First Church, Chicago, 
three years; St. Paul, Minn., two years; Imman- 
uel, Chicago, three years; Milwaukee, Wis., four 
years; Moreland, Chicago, seven and a half years. 
In all these places many precious souls were 
won for God and the church during his indefatig- 
able and arduous efforts for the progress of God's 
kingdom on earth. 

He also was a member of many committees 
and always did good and faithful work. He was 



an ardent, powerful and enthusiastic preacher, a 
real revivalist. Now he rests from his labors. 
His memory is blessed. He was buried at Mount 
Olive Cemetery, Chicago. 



Norwegian Baptists 

By Rev. C. W. Finwall. 

The First Norwegian Baptist Church on Ame- 
rican soil was organized by Rev. Hans Valder in 
La Salle county, 111., Jan. 1848. 

Mr. Valder had arrived from Norway about 
ten years previously, at the age of 26, and with 
his young wife and other sturdy pioneers recently 
from the "land of the midnight sun," began culti- 
vating the prairies of what is now La Salle 
county. 

Mr. Hans Valder and his wife were converted 
to ,God in 1840 and baptized by Elder Harding, 
'"pastor .of an American -Baptist church in La Salle 
county, June . 22, 1842,; and thus, so far as we 
know, becafne .the first. Norwegian Baptist on this 
continent. . 

Mr. Valder. was soon, singled out as a leader 
among his people, demonstrating arduous zeal 
for the salvation. of his own people, and success 
in winning.-souls,.,he..was, after having received 
some training, recommended to a council of 
Baptist ministers and ordained as the first Bap- 
tist preacher among -the Norwegian people in all 
the world in August, 1844. 

Rev. Hans. Valder was a man of strong relig- 
ious convictions, aggressive, a keen observer, hon- 
orable and above reproach in all his dealings, and 
was naturally gifted as a vivid and winsom 
speaker. 

In spite of much prejudice and opposition on 
the part of his own countrymen, Mr. Valder, 
with meager resources at .his ^command, dividing 
''his, time , and' strength bcUyeen farming and 
pYcachitm. o*ga%e;d flic Norwegian Baptist 
'Church 6f La Salle cbun'ty^'ifensisting of seven 
adults recently converted a$d baptized in Jan- 
uary, 1848. I 

The little church called Mr. Hans Valder as 
its pastor, and from its records we find that al- 
though some of its members had to split cord 
wood at 25 cents a day, the following subscrip- 
tions were taken during February, 1848, for the 
support of their pastor: Ole Thompsen, $1.00; 
Esten Estensen, $1.00; Mark Johnson, $1.00; 
Jacob Johnson, $1.00; Lars Richolson, $2.00; Oden 
Jacobsen, $1.00; Helge Olsen, $2.00; Nils Nilsen, 



166 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



$3.00; and Peter Nilsen, $1.00. Total, $13.00. Be- 
side these we find the following names on the 
records, presumably unable to give financial sup- 
port at the time: Ole Hansen, Nils Olsen, Ole 



We find from the same records that Rev. Val- 
der decided to apply to the American Baptist 
Home Missionary Society for an annual assist- 
ance of $50 from its treasury. 




Logan Square Norwegian Baptist Church, Chicago, 111. 



Hansen, Jr., Nils Ericksen, Lars Petersen, Made 
Madersen and Asbjjzfrn Arentsen a total of six- 
teen men. 



Dr. H. L. Morehouse, D. D., of New York, rec- 
ognized this fact, and adds: Mr. H. Valder's ap- 
plication was granted, and he thus became the 



NORWEGIAN CHURCHES IN ILLINOIS 



167 



first Norwegian Baptist missionary of the Ameri- 
can Baptist Home Mission Society. This first 
Norwegian Baptist church in America, after about 
four years of interesting history, was finally ab- 
sorbed by an English speaking Baptist church in 
the neighborhood. Pastor H. Valder moved to 
Minnesota in 1852 and died in that state in 1902, 
about 80 years of age. 

One of Rev. H. Valder's sons is at the head 
of the Valder's Business College of Decorah, la. 

Since Mr. Valder's days hundreds of Norweg- 
ians have united with English speaking Baptist 
churches in the state of Illinois. But aside from 
this fact specific organized efforts, more or less 
successful, have been made by Norwegian Bap- 
tists. 

These efforts, however, have mainly been made 
in union with the Danish Baptists, and today it 
is difficult and undesirable from our point of view 
to speak of the one nationality without speaking 
of the other. 

The First Scandinavian Baptist Church, since 
the days of Valder, was organized in Chicago in 
the year 1864, and consisted of Norwegians, 
Swedes and Danes. 

In the year 1866 the Swedish Baptists with- 
drew, organizing the First Swedish Baptist 
Church of Chicago in order to do more direct 
and concentrated work in the interest of the 
Swedish people in Chicago. 

The Norwegian and Danish Baptists have since 
continued their work separated from the Swedish 
Baptists. 

After forty years we have five churches and 
two missions, one of which bids fair to soon be- 
come an independent Baptist church. Four 
churches Logan Square Norwegian, The First 
Danish, Bethel Scandinavian, and the Kankakee 
church are well housed, representing a value of 
more then $30,000. The Waukegan church does 
not as yet own a building. Aggressive mission 
work is maintained at West Pullman and on 
Centre avenue and Ohio street by the Logan 
Square Church and by Norwegian theological 
students from our school at Morgan Park, 111. 

The largest church is the Logan Square Nor- 
wegian, with only a little more than two hundred 
members, representing perhaps about 500 adults 
and children. 

Among the men whose personalities have made 
perhaps the most lasting impression upon the 
Danish-Norwegian Baptist work in Illinois since 
1866 we mention Rev. H. A. Reichenback, Prof. 
N. P. Jensen, Rev. P. H. Dom, Rev. Julius Jen- 
sen, Rev. J. B. Sundt, Rev. E. S. Sundt, Prof. 
Edw. Olsen, Ph. D., Rev. E. L. Myrland, Rev. 



J. A. Ohrn, Prof. H. Gundersen, M. A., and Prof. 
C. J. Olsen. 

The Dano-Norwegiah Baptist Theological 
Seminary at Morgan Park, 111., was opened in the 
fall of 1884 with Prof. N. P. Jensen as dean and 
Dr. Edw. Olsen as professor in Greek, philos- 
ophy and kindred studies. Dr. Olsen accepted 
the presidency of the State University of South 
Dakota in 1887, and Prof. H. Gundersen, who had 
graduated from the University of Christiania, 
Norway, was called to the vacant professorship 
at Morgan Park. Professor N. P. Jensen died 
May 14, 1895, and Prof. H. Gundersen was 
elected dean. With him Profs. C. J. Olsen and 
N. L. Lawdahl have continued as associates since 
1896. About 175 students have enjoyed the priv- 
ileges of this school, and many of these are still 
serving Baptist churches in America, Norway, 
Denmark and in other lands. 



The Theological Seminary, Morgan 
Park, Illinois 

Morgan Park is a beautiful village 14 miles 
south from the business center of Chicago on 
the Chicago & Rock Island R. R. The greater 
part of Morgan Park is located on a wooded long 
hill or ridge, perhaps the highest natural point 
for more than twenty miles south of Chicago. 
Here we find the Morgan Park Academy, and the 
Dano-Norwegian as well as the Swedish Baptist 
theological seminaries. 

The Dano-Norwegian school as well as the 
other schools referred to are now in organic 
connection with the University of Chicago, each 
with a dean or head. 

Prof. Henrick Gundersen is the present dean 
of the Dano-Norwegian Baptist school. He came 
from Norway in the year 1887, to take up the 
work as an associate of Prof. N. P. Jensen, then 
dean of this school. When Prof. N. P. Jensen 
died, Prof. H. Gundersen was made dean in 1895, 
after having served as acting dean for two years 
during the illness of Prof. N. P. Jensen. 

The history of this school dates back to 1884. 
when Prof. N. P. Jensen was appointed head and 
Prof. Edw. Olsen, Ph. D., associate, of a Dano- 
Norweerian Baptist Seminary, by the faculty of 
the Baptist Union Theological Seminary. 

The school opened October 1, 1884, with the 
following students: Anton Brandt, P. W. Niel- 
sen, N. Nyrup, August Broholm, C. J. Olsen, 
Gunder Nesse, Andrew Sorensen, C. H. Hen- 



168 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



ningsen, A. C. Nesby, E. L. Myrland and C. W. 
Finwall. 

Since then one hundred and seventy (170) Nor- 
wegian and Danish young men have enjoyed the 
privileges of this school. Twelve of the gradu- 
ates of this school are now actively engaged as 
pastors in Norway, one in Africa, several in Den- 
mark, and more than fifty (50) in the United 
States and Canada. 

At the present time the school has enrolled 
about thirty (30) students with Prof. H. Gunder- 
sen as dean, and Profs. C. J. Olsen and N. L. 
Lawdahl as associate teachers. 

The course mapped out extends over a period 
of four years and must be thoroughly covered if 
a diploma shall be handed the student at the end 



by men who are well versed in subjects valuable 
to the students. 

Beside this the students have for many years 
kept up a very efficient literary and debate club 
themselves, for the proper development of their 
mental and speaking possibilities. 



Brief Biographical Sketches of some Norweg- 
ian Teachers at the Baptist School, 
Morgan Park, 111. 

Prof. H. Gundersen. 

Henrick Gundersen was born in Tromsjzf, Nor- 
way, in 1857, the only son of Mr. and Mrs. O. 
Gundersen. Henrick's father conducted a flour- 




nfflWHt 




The Theological Seminary, Morgan Park, 111. 



of the fourth year. The first two years the stu- 
dent is required to take up and reach to a cer- 
tain standard in English and Dano-Norwegian 
grammar, geography, Bible chronology, history 
and elementary Greek. During the last two years 
at school, the student must attain a certain stand- 
ing in systematic theology, New Testament 
Greek, exegetics, philosophy, logic, church his- 
tory, church polity, pastoral theology, homiletics 
and antiquity. 

To aid the students quite a library kept well 
up to date with English and Dano-Norwegian 
works of literary and practical value is placed at 
the disposal of the students in "Walker Hall." 
Frequent lectures are also given to the students 



ishing merchant tailoring business for many 
years, and did what he could to give his only son 
all the educational advantages possible. As quite 
a young man he was converted to God and joined 
the Baptist Church in Troms^f. 

He felt strongly called to give himself to the 
gospel ministry, and in order to better qualify 
himself he decided to take a three years' course 
at the theological Bethel Baptist seminary in 
Stockholm, Sweden, inasmuch as there was not 
a Baptist school in Norway. Henrick Gunder- 
sen graduated with honor from the Bethel Sem- 
inary in 1882, and then returned to Christiania, 
Norway, where he studied at the university, grad- 
uating in 1885. 



NORWEGIAN CHURCHES IN ILLINOIS 



169 



He accepted a call from the Baptist church in 
Trondhjem, Norway, and served with great ac- 
ceptance until 1887, when he received a call to 
a professorship at the Baptist school at Morgan 
Park, 111. 

In the fall of 1887 Rev. Henrick Gundersen 
came to Morgan Park, and remained with the 
school until the close of the spring term of 1889, 
when he made a trip to Norway, preaching at 
Bergen from Sept. 1889 to April 1890. 

Meanwhile Rev. H. Gundersen had married 
Miss Hansine Hansen of Trondhjem, and with 
his wife he returned to Morgan Park, 111., during 
the summer of 1890, and has since continuously 
served the best interests of the Baptist seminary 
at Morgan Park. From 1890 to 1893 Prof. Gun- 
dersen was associate to the able Danish Prof. 
N. P. Jensen, whose health then began to fail 
rapidly, and when Prof. N. P. Jensen left for 
California that year, Prof. Gundersen was ap- 
pointed acting dean. After two years' illness 
Prof. Jensen died, and since then in 1893, until 
the time this sketch was written, Prof. Henrick 
Gundersen has proved to be an able and honor- 
able leader, and has secured for himself an abid- 
ing and large place in the minds and hearts of 
all who have sat in his class rooms, and in all. 
the Norwegian and Danish Baptist churches in 
America, in Norway and Denmark, and in other 
parts of the world. 

Prof. H. Gundersen resides in his own home 
at Morgan Park, where he now is happily sur- 
rounded by wife, four sons and one daughter, as 
well as his venerable old parents who are spend- 
ing their declining years with their only son. 



PROF. C. J. OLSEN. 

Christian J. Olsen was born in the vicinity of 
Trondhjem, Norway, in the year 1856. 

When he was two years of age his parents 
moved into the city of Trondhjem, where he re- 
sided until he came to the United States in 1881. 

Christian Olsen finished the seventh grade and 
graduated from the public schools in Trondhjem 
when he was only 12 years of age, and then took 
a post graduate course until he was about 14 
years of age. He then secured a position with 
the Trondhjem Mechanical Works, where he re- 
mained for nine years, and from time to time 
was promoted. While at the mechanical works 
Mr. Olsen attended evening courses especially in 
drawing and mathematics at the technical or sci- 
entific school of Trondhjem. 

In 1879 he was converted and that same year 
he joined the Baptist church in Trondhjem. 



Mr. Olsen was an ambitious and studious 
young man and soon prevailed upon his pastor 
to give a homiletic course to five young men (in- 
cluding himself). This course he pursued during 
the winter of 1879 to 1880, and the following 
summer he took a course under his pastor in 
exegetics. 

He was married and in 1881 left his native land 
with his wife and settled at Minneapolis, Minn. 
Having received some training and being an 
earnest Christian man, he was urgently pres- 
sed into gospel service, both in Minneapolis 
and St. Paul. Yielding at last to an inward as 
well as an outward call to the gospel ministry, 
Mr. Olsen finally gave up a promising position, 
and in order to obtain still more training he final- 
ly went to Chicago, and in the fall of 1884 en- 
tered the Union Theological Seminary at Mor- 
gan Park. Having completed his studies there, 
he served two pastorates, one in Oconomowoc, 
from 1887 to 1890, and one in Eau Claire, Wis., 
from 1890 to 1894, when he accepted the position 
offered him as editor of "Vsegtereh" ("The 
Watchman") the Dano-Norwegian Baptist pa- 
per. It was while he was serving in this capacity 
that he, in 1895, was pressed into service as teacher 
at the Baptist school at Morgan Park, and as 
such he has since 'served with assiduous effici- 
ency. Prof. C. J. Olsen has now for several 
years past taught grammar, church polity, pas- 
toral theology, homiletics and Bible antiquity. 
In 1896 his devoted wife died, leaving him alone 
with four daughters and one son. 

In 1898 Prof. C. J. Olsen was married to' Miss 
Emma Christensen, who was _then serving as 
lady missionary in connection with the PilgYim 
Baptist Church, Chicago. The 'second marriage 
has been blessed with one daughter. 



REV. E. L. MYRLAND. 

Among the Norwegian Baptist ministers, who 
have served in Illinois, there is hardly a man who 
has worked so valiantly or accomplished more 
than Rev. Eli L. Myrland. 

He served as pastor of the so-called Pilgrim 
Baptist Church on the N. W. corner of Carpen- 
ter and Ohio streets from March 1892 until April 
1, 1897, when he went to Christiania, Norway, to 
erect the beautiful and substantial Baptist edifice, 
known as "Tabernaklet," in the capital of Nor- 
way. 

Pastor Myrland came to Chicago and took 
charge, when the Pilgrim Church had tried in 
vain to secure a responsible pastor, at a time 



170 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



when some sixty members left the Pilgrim 
Church to start another church nearer their 
homes in the vicinity of Humboldt Park. Weak- 
ened as the church was, with a heavy debt hang- 
ing over it, Rev. Myrland took hold, and with 
the blessings of God, he not only held the field, 
but during some of the hardest times Chicago 
has experienced since the great fire, Rev. E. L. 
Myrland decreased the debt considerably and re- 
ceived about one hundred (100) new members 
into the church. 

Endowed with a grand physique, with a genial 
and courageous temperament and a will strong 
as iron, Pastor Myrland came, saw and con- 
quered. 




Rev. E. L. Myrland. 



Although at the time of this writing ten years 
have passed since Rev. Myrland laid down his 
pastorate in Chicago, there are hundreds until 
this date, who look upon that energetic and gen- 
erous man as their providential benefactor both 
in temporal and spiritual things, in a larger 
measure than any minister has ever meant to their 
lifes in Chicago. 

Eli L. Myrland was born at North Cape, Ra- 
cine county, Wis., in the year 1851. 

Mr. and Mrs. Lars Olsen Myrland, Eli's father 



and mother, came from Voss, Norway, and ar- 
rived in Chicago in 1846. E. L. Myrland's mother 
was a sister of Elling Eielsen, a well known per- 
sonality in church circles of the early Norwegian 
settlers on the westside of Chicago. Eli seems 
to have inherited the best features of his mother's 
strong personality. 

After attending the public schools near his 
home in Wisconsin he attended for a year or two 
the Wayland Academy at Beaver Dam. Wis. In 
1877 Eli Myrland was converted to God while 
visiting in Racine, Wis., with his father. He al- 
most at once felt a burning desire to lift his peo- 
ple to God, and his natural gifts soon found a 
helpful highway in his dedication of all he had 
to the preaching of the gospel of Christ, and in 
general Christian service. 

He married a Miss Landmark near Madison, 
Wis., and with his wife, who since has proved 
to be a source of great strength to Rev. Myrland, 
he moved to Morgan Park, 111., in 1881 and for 
two years he enjoyed the educational advantages 
of the Union Theological Seminary, before there 
existed a Dano-Norwegian department. Later 
he returned and finished his theological course 
after having served the Scandinavian Baptist 
church in Racine, Wis., as pastor in 1884 and 

1885 with a wonderful degree of success. In 

1886 to 1891 he served as pastor the Scandinavian 
Baptist church of La Crosse, Wis., with marked 
efficiency. 

In the year 1891 he made a trip to Norway, 
and from March 1892 until April 1, 1897, he 
served the Pilgrim Baptist Church in .Chicago. 
At the close of his Chicago pastorate he again 
made a significant trip to Norway, returning to 
Chicago in 1900. He has since been actively en- 
gaged in general mission work among the Baptist 
churches in Iowa, Wisconsin and Illinois. Rev. 
and Mrs. Myrland have three daughters and one 



PROF. EDWARD OLSEN, Ph. D. 

Without exception Dr. Edw. Olsen of all the 
public men among the Norwegian Baptists in 
the state of Illinois won for himself the highest 
esteem and love of all who knew him. 

He was born in Norway, near Hammar, Aug. 
29, 1843. He came with his parents, a brother 
and a sister to the United States in the year 
1858, and settled near West Salem, Wis. Here 
he attended the public schools. Later he gradu- 
ated from the high school and then went to the 
old University of Chicago from which he gradu- 
ated with the distinction of a B. A. in 1873. 



NORWEGIAN CHURCHES IN ILLINOIS 



171 



He then went abroad and studied at Halle 
and Goettingen, Germany, and in Paris, France, 
from 1873 to 1875, and returned to Chicago, 
where he received his B. D. in 1877. He was in- 
structor in Greek at the University of Chicago 
from 1875 to 1878. Professor in Greek from 
1878 to 1885. Got his Ph. D. from Kalamazoo 




Prof. Edward Olsen, Ph. D. 



College in 1886. Was instructor and profes- 
sor at the Bethel Union Theological Seminary 
from 1884 to 1887. He then became president of 
the University of South Dakota. While in this 
position he lost his life on a visit to his brother, 
S. E. Olson, in Minneapolis, Minn., in the Trib- 
une fire of Nov. 30, 1889. 

REV. J. A. OHRN. 

Jacob A. Ohrn who served with great accept- 
ance as general missionary among the Norwegian 
and Danish Baptists of Illinois and Wisconsin 
from 1894 to 1897, and then as pastor of the Pil- 
grim Baptist Church from 1897 until 1899, was 
born in the province of Sogn, Norway, Aug. 11, 
1863. 

As a young man he came to the city of Bergen, 
Norway. Here he yielded himself to Christ and 



joined the Baptist church of that city. This 
church licensed him to preach, and encouraged 
his natural ability, which today cultured and 
well employed, makes him one of the strongest 
Norwegian Baptist preachers. He served the 
Baptist church in Langesund, Norway, from Sept. 
1884 until Sep.t. 1885 when he determined to leave 
Norway in order to enjoy the privileges offered 
at the Morgan Park seminary, near Chicago, 111. 
Here Jacob A. Ohrn took a full three years' the- 
ological course, and graduated in May 1888. 
While pursuing his theological studies he served 
as pastor of the Raymond Baptist Church, Ra- 
cine county, Wis., where a gracious revival was 
enjoy.ed. He married Miss Nellie Christensen, 
a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Thos. Christensen, 
of Racine, Wis., in 1888, and in 1889 he resigned 
from his pastorate at Raymond Centre, to go to 
Norway. He soon returned and upon his return 
took charge of a church in Neenah and another 
in Oshkosh, Wis., for one year, when he ac- 
cepted an urgent call from the Raymond church 
for a second pastorate. He worked here and in 
Milwaukee until October, 1894, when he took up 
general missionary work in the states of Illinois 
and Wisconsin, resigning in March 1897 in order 
to take the pastorate urged upon him by the 
Pilgrim Baptist Church of Chicago. 

In spite of great difficulties and hard problems 
always attending church work where the popu- 
lation is so shifting as was and is the case with 
the field of the old Pilgrim Baptist Church, Rev. 
J. A. Ohrn always preached to good and appreci- 
ative audiences. Since he resigned his pastorate 
in Chicago, he has done great work for the Bap- 
tists both in Norway and in the United States. 
Rev. Ohm's home is at present in Christiania, 
Norway, where he resides with his charming 
wife and two promising children, one son and 
one daughter. 



The Congrcgationalists 

This name has a long and honorable history in 
the annals of the Christian church in England 
and America, even though it had a strange and 
unfamiliar sound among the Norwegians until 
twenty years ago. In the political and religious 
history of America no denomination has had a 
more powerful influence in shaping the ideals of 
the nation than the Congregationalists. They 
were the Pilgrims, who in 1620 landed on Plym- 
outh rock in Massachusetts after having been 
driven out of England to Holland for their sepa- 



172 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



ration from the state church, and who afterward 
in the new world sought that freedom of con- 
science which had been refused them in the old. 
Here they have grown to be one of the foremost 
of the Protestant denominations, with a member- 
ship of nearly 700,000, expending annually for 
home and foreign missions more than two mil- 
lions of dollars, besides the $7,000,000 used for the 
work in their own churches. In proportion to 
their numbers they spend more money for mis- 
sionary work than any other denomination in 
America, and possibly in the world. 



America. Unlike some other American churches 
that have organized missions in Norway, Sweden 
and Denmark, the Congregationalists have re- 
peatedly declined invitations to take up mission- 
ary work in those countries, but they have been 
very generous in helping the Scandinavian Pil- 
grims who have settled in America. 

The religious movement in Norway, which has 
found expression in the free mission churches 
there and in the Norwegian Congregational 
churches in America, may be traced back to the 
revival started early in the nineteenth century by 




The Danish-Norwegian Department of Chicago Theological Seminary. 



When, therefore, these descendants of the Pil- 
grims learned of the great religious movements 
which in the latter half of the nineteenth century 
had taken place in Scandinavia, it was only nat- 
ural that they should see in them a repetition of 
their own history in England in the seventeenth 
century and extend to the separatists from the 
Scandinavian state churches a hearty welcome 
and a helping hand when these exiles landed in 



Hans Nielsen Hauge, and continued later in the 
work of Pastor Lammers in Skien and P. P. Wet- 
tergren in Arendal. Undoubtedly the great awak- 
ening in Sweden during the 70's also exerted its 
influence, although it was long after the organi- 
zation of Norwegian Congregational churches in 
America that the influence of the free churches 
in Norway began to be felt here. There was a 
Norwegian Congregational church organized in 



NORWEGIAN CHURCHES IN ILLINOIS 



178 



connection with the Tabernacle church in Chi- 
cago early in the 80's, and one in Tacoma, Wash., 
a little later. These soon died, however, and the 
present system of Congregational churches really 
had its beginning as a result of the work originat- 
ing in Chicago Theological Seminary, which was 
opened to Scandinavian students in 1884, with 
Pastor P. C. Trandberg as their teacher. Trand- 
berg was not a Congregationalist, but a Lutheran, 



following year, 1885, R. A. Jernberg, a graduate 
of Yale University, and then a student in the 
English seminary, was appointed as Professor 
Trandberg's assistant. When Trandberg left the 
seminary, in 1890, Jernberg was appointed his suc- 
cessor, and was inaugurated as a professor in the 
seminary in 1895, after an endowment for the 
chair of Biblical and Practical Theology in the 
Danish-Norwegian Department had been provided 




Chicago Theological Seminary (Congregational.) 



although in his native land (Denmark) he had 
fought a good fight for the principles of a church 
with only a converted membership, or as he 
called it "a holy congregation." The Danish- 
Norwegian department of Chicago Theological 
Seminary opened with two students O. C. 
Grauer, who is now a professor in the seminary, 
and Carl F. Blomquist, a Swedish student. The 



by Mrs. D. K. Pearsons. This position he still 
holds. Rev. O. C. Grauer was called from a pas- 
torate of the American Congregational Church 
in Washburn, Wis., as an associate professor in 
the department, in 1891, and has continued since 
that time in this capacity. 

Chicago Theological Seminary was organized 
by the American Congregational churches of Illi- 



174 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



nois and the neighboring states in 1854, and be- 
gan its work in 1858. The constantly increasing 
immigration into this territory from northern Eu- 
rope prompted the directors of the seminary to 
open its foreign departments, for the Germans in 
1882, for the Danes and Norwegians in 1884, and 
for the Swedes in 1885. These departments were 
reorganized as institutes of the seminary in 1903, 
each with its governing board or council, on 
which, besides the faculty of the seminary, the 
German and Scandinavian churches are repre- 
sented, and these churches have more and more 
assumed the support of the institutes since this 
arrangement was made. The seminary has ex- 
pended in this foreign work not less than $125,- 
000 since its inception, and still continues to bear 
the responsibility for this work. It gives to all 
the students free rooms, charging only the actual 
cost of light and heat. All instruction is free, and 
so is the use of a fine gymnasium, recitation 
rooms, reading: room and the Hammond library, 
containing a collection of more than 30,000 vol- 
umes of theological literature. Besides these great 
opportunities the seminary gives to the students 
in the foreign institutes, as well as to the Ameri- 
can students, liberal assistance from its scholar- 
ship funds, so' that every man who feels called of 
God to preach the Gospel in his native tongue 
has here an opportunity to fit himself for this 
work. 

Since its opening in 1884 the Danish-Norwegian 
Institute has had 123 students,. 52 of whom have 
completed their full course of study and gone out 
into all the world to preach the gospel. 'It is re- 
presented on the foreign missionary fields of 
Japan, China, Africa and South America by its 
former students, and several of them have re- 
turned for a longer or shorter time to their native 
lands to preach for a season to their brethren ac- 
cording to the flesh. The larger number, how- 
ever, are engaged in the work among their own 
people in this country, and as pastors of churches 
and general missionaries are scattered in nearly 
all the northern states from the Dakotas to the 
Atlantic coast. Many of them have found' con- 
genial work among the Americans as Sunday- 
school missionaries or as pastors of churches that 
are quick to recognize the value of the training 
these men have received for the pastoral office. 
A large part of the instruction in the foreign in- 
stitutes in the seminary is carried on in the Eng- 
lish language and thus the men are generally 
fitted for work in the American churches as well 
as in those of their own people. 

An important factor in the Norwegian Con- 
gregational work has been the publication of the 



religious weekly paper, Evangelisten, (The Evan- 
gelist), the first number of which was issued 
about Christmas time, in 1889. For many years 
it had a home in the seminary; one of the pro- 
fessors for ten years being its editor and pub- 
lisher, and several of the students his willing and 
diligent helpers. When in 1899 he surrendered 
the paper to the ministers in Vestens Frikirke- 
Forening, the Evangelisten Publishing Society! 
was organized and became responsible for the 
publication of the paper. It has made a great 
success of the enterprise, as Evangelisten now 
has about 5,000 subscribers. This publishing so- 
ciety has recently issued a new hymnbook of 
more than 500 hymns with music anthems for 
choirs. 

Evangelisten and the young men going out 
from the seminary soon began to put into touch I 
with each other a number of groups of independ- 
ent Christians scattered in different parts of the 
country, and soon a desire was felt on the part 
of these churches to unite into some bond of fel- 
lowship. This desire found expression in a meet- 
ing at the seminary in Chicago, where an asso- 
ciation was organized in May, 1891, called "Ves- 
tens Frikirkeforening." The following year the 
free churches in the East organized "0stens Fri- 
kirkeforening" at a meeting in Shawmut Congre- 
gational Church, Boston, where the Norwegian 
free church was worshiping at that time. The 
free churches in the East had already united in 
a missionsforbund, but this was dissolved at that 
meeting and 0stens Frikirkeforening was organ- 
ized after the pattern of the free churches in the 
West the year before. These associations have 
not the least authority over the churches or min- 
isters belonging to them. They are really not 
denominational in character, though a number 
of the churches and ministers belong to the Con- 
gregational denomination, while several of them 
have no other affiliation than with these associa- 
tions. There are about forty of these churches, 
besides twenty or thirty mission stations con- 
nected with them. The larger number of these 
are in the interior and the northwestern states. 
Still there are about a dozen in the principal 
cities of New England and in Brooklyn, N. Y., 
and Jersey City and Hoboken, N. J. 

The primary purpose of the associations was 
to unite the independent and Congregational Nor- 
wegian and Danish churches in a common fellow- 
ship and to secure concerted action in the home 
and foreign missionary work. This purpose has 
been largely realized in the organization for the 
home work of the Gospel Home Missionary So- 
ciety, which was organized at the annual meeting 



NORWEGIAN CHURCHES IN ILLINOIS 



175 



of Vestens Frikirkeforening in Winona in 1898. 
The income of the society the first year of its 
existence was only $200, but year by year this 
has increased so that now the society is able to 
support six missionaries during the summer 
months, besides giving partial support to the pas- 
tors of various churches not yet able to bear that 
expense alone. The president of this society is 
Rev. C. T. Dyrness, who for many years has been 
the efficient pastor of Salem Free Church on Point 
street, Chicago. The. foreign missionary work of 



supported by the American churches, and 
during the last few years have been generous in 
their gifts to the work of their school in Chicago, 
from which they receive their pastors and mis- 
sionaries. 

In all this work it has never been the purpose 
of the American Congregational churches to build 
up a new denomination among the Norwegians 
in America, or in any sense to proselyte from 
other churches. The aim has rather been to com- 
bine the scattered Christian forces which are 




The Hammond Library of the Chicago Theological Seminary. 



these free churches is done through the Scandi- 
navian Alliance Mission, a society that has about 
ninety missionaries and expends about $30,000 
annually in its foreign missionary work. The 
secretary and treasurer of this society is one of 
the Swedish professors in Chicago Seminary, Fri- 
dolf Risberg, S. M. C., a graduate of Upsala Uni- 
versity and professor in the seminary since 1885. 
The Norwegian Congregational churches gen- 
erally also contribute to the benevolent societies 
found often in distant localities without any con- 



nection with other Christians or other churches. 
Many have been found literally in the desert 
sheep having no shepherd. They have been gath- 
ered into a united force in the manner here de- 
scribed and are blessing others in their combined 
efforts for the uplifting of their fellowmen at 
home and abroad, themselves being blessed in 
the consciousness of having a work intrusted also 
to them as a part of that kingdom which is com- 
ing, wherein dwelleth righteousness. 

R. A. Jernberg. 



176 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



The Seventh -Day Ad- 
ventist Church. 



It is about sixty years since the commence- 
ment of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church. It 
owes its rise to a new and lively interest awak- 
ened all over the world in the study of the Pro- 
phetic Scriptures relating to the second coming 
of Christ. The church has over 900 ministers, 
528 missionary licentiates and 826 colporters. 
Its membership has doubled every ten years and 
at present is about 17,000. They have 78 local 
conferences, 13 union conferences, 48 missions 
and 2 union missions. 

They have a large publishing house in Battle 
Creek, Mich., the largest in the state. Here is 
published a weekly journal called The Advent 
Review and Sabbath Herald; also The Youth's 
Instructor, for the young people and Life and 
Health for the home. In 1903 this book concern 
was removed to Washington, D. C., in order 
that they might be more centrally located for 
their world-wide mission work. In Oakland, 
Cal., they have another large printing estab- 
lishment, from which is issued The Signs of the 
Times, that has printed as many as 500,000 of 
one issue. They also have publishing concerns 
in Nashville (Tenn.), in Lincoln (Neb.), in Aus- 
tralia, South Africa, London, Christiania (Nor- 
way), Hamburg and Basle. 

The Seventh-Day Adventists are earnest ad- 
vocates of very thoroughgoing Christian tem- 
perance. No one is allowed to use tobacco or 
liquor in any form. Very few use tea or coffee. 
Many of them are strict vegetarians. There are 
no rules among them in regard to these matters, 
only this: that if any uses tobacco or intoxicat- 
ing drinks he is turned out of the church. They 
have been foremost in true hygienic and dietetic 
reform. More than forty years ago they started 
a "health retreat," which gradually increased till 
it became the now famous "Battle Creek Sana- 
tarium." They have sanatariums all over the 
world to-day. Of these the one near Copenha- 
gen, Denmark, and one near London, England, 
may be mentioned. They have one or more 
sanatariums in Mexico, South America, Africa, 
and even in India and Japan. In this country 
they have sanatariums in nearly every state. 
In Illinois there are three: one at Moline, one 
at Hinsdale, one in Chicago. The object of 
every sanatarium is to help the sick, especially 
the poor and needy. In these health homes 



there are many Norwegian nurses and several 
Norwegian physicians. 

The Adventists are engaged in active mission 
work at home and in foreign lands. Their home 
work is divided into many separate conferences. 
The foreign is under the direction of a mission 
board located at Washington. They have mis- 
sionaries in Matabeleland, Africa; in India, China, 
Japan, Turkey, Egypt, Spain, Rome, Russia, Mex- 
ico, South America, Cuba, and several other 
pagan and Catholic lands. In connection with 
these they are printing their literature in forty 
different languages. They believe .in paying a 
tithe of all their income to the advancement of 
the Gospel at home and abroad. This tithe, to- 
gether with their freewill offerings, supports 
their missions and missionaries. 

Those connected with the Seventh-Day Ad- 
ventist Church believe and teach that there is 
one living God, who made "heaven and earth 
and the sea" (Acts 14, 15); that Christ is the 
Divine Son of the living God, begotten from 
eternity (John 1, 1-3; 3, 16); that the Holy Spirit 
is the Third Person of the Godhead (Matt. 28, 
19); that the entire Bible is the inspired word 
of God (2 Peter 1, 21); that men are saved 
only by grace through faith (Eph. 2, 8); that 
the true Christians will honor and obey the 
holy law of God, the very ten Commandments 
given on Mount Sinai (1 John 2, 3, 4; James 2, 
8-10); that Sunday is not the Christian restday, 
but that the seventh day, Saturday, is the right 
Sabbath (Ex. 20, 8-11; Luke 4, 16); that the sec- 
ond advent of Christ will be literal, visible and 
personal, and that he will come in this genera- 
tion (Matt. 24, 34); that when he comes he will 
raise all the righteous dead, change the righteous 
living who will be caught up to meet the Lord 
in the air" (1 Thes. 4, 16, 17); that after the 
second coming of Christ there will be a thou- 
sand years' reign of Christ and his saints, not 
' on this earth, but in heaven (Rev. 20, 4-7) ; that 
after this reign, at the final judgment, all the 
wicked will be totally annihilated, die the sec- 
ond death (Rev. 21, 8), and forever cease to ex- 
ist as conscious beings; that the earth will be 
renewed and filled with the glory of God, when 
it will become "the kingdom of heaven," to be 
possessed eternally by "the saints of the Most 
High" (Dan. 7, 22); that then will be fulfilled 
the saying of Christ: "Blessed are the meek, for 
they shall inherit the earth" (Matt. 5, 5); and 
the vision of John, who said: "I saw a new 
heaven and a new earth" (Rev. 21, 1); and so 
from time onward, eternally, there will "be no 
more death, neither sorrow nor crying, neither 



NORWEGIAN CHURCHES IN ILLINOIS 



377 



shall there be any more pain; for the former 
things are passed away" (Rev. 21, 4). They 
hold that men are entirely unconscious between 
death and the resurrection; that "the dead know 
not anything" (Eccl. 9, 5); that when "the 
breath of life" is taken away from man, "in that 
very day his thoughts perish" (Ps. 146, 4); that 
immortality is a "conditional gift," to be sought 
for "by patient continuance in well doing" (Rom. 
2, 7); and obtained by the saints when Christ 
returns, "when this corruptible must put on in- 
corruption and this mortal must put on immor- 
tality" (1 Cor. 15, 53); that there will be a res- 
urrection of the dead, both of the just and the 
unjust: one to eternal life; the other to eternal 
death. 

They believe that in order to be a Christian it 
is essential that one be a partaker of the divine 
nature through the power of the Holy Ghost. 
They reject infant baptism, but teach that in- 
fants will be saved in harmony with the teach- 
ing of Christ where he said that "of such is the 
kingdom of heaven." They teach and practice 
only immersion as baptism, and make it a test 
of church fellowship. They believe in partaking 
of the Lord's supper of bread and wine at least 
four times a year. They think that the bread 
and wine are memorial emblems of Christ's 
body and blood. They believe and practice foot- 
washing as one of the Christian ordinances. 
(John 13, 1-17). They have no formulated creed, 
but where they organize churches they sign a 
covenant to "keep the commandments of God 
and the faith of Jesus" (Rev. 14, 12). 

The Seventh-Day Adventist Church has sev- 
eral large colleges and academies in this coun- 
try and in other lands. Their largest school in 
America is at Lincoln, Neb.; the largest abroad 
is at Fredensau, Germany. Aside from these 
they have intermediate schools in nearly every 
state and church schools in the local churches. 
When they can avoid it, they do not send their 
children to the public schools; not that they are 
opposed to education but they are opposed to 
the evolution and pantheism taught in many 
schools. The reason why they do not patronize 
the public schools is that there is no religious 
instruction in these. 

We have given the teachings and practices of 
this church quite fully, as very little is known 
about it by many well read Christians. This 
church has quite a following among the Scandi- 
navians. It has a conference in each of the 
Scandinavian countries in Europe, together with 
a large publishing house at 74 Akergaden, Chns- 
tiania; several sanatariums, schools and other 



institutions. In America there are some 3,000 
Scandinavian Adventists enrolled as church mem- 
bers. They print two weekly papers and many 
books and tracts. The first Norwegian Adventist 
church in Chicago was organized by Elder J. G. 
Matteson in 1870. They have built a small 
chapel at 269 W. Erie street. This church is 
still owned by a thriving little company of Ad- 
ventists. In 1901 they organized another and 
larger church near Humboldt Park, Chicago. 
Since then mission work has been begun in an- 
other locality. There are at present nearly 300 
Scandinavian Adventists in Chicago. They meet 
for worship every Saturday morning and spend 
the remainder of the day in spiritual rest and 
recreation. Although they do no secular work 
on the seventh day, and pay a tithe of their in- 
come to the missions, they are a prosperous and 
contented people. 

L. -H. Christian. 



The Lutheran : Free 
Church. 

By Professor H. A. Urseth. 

The history of the Lutheran Free Church in 
Illinois is a brief one; for its history has merely 
begun. The antecedents of the Lutheran Free 
Church must be sought largely in the Norwegian 
Lutheran Conference, wnich in 1890 became 
merged, by a formal union agreement with two 
other bodies, into the United Norwegian Luth- 
eran Church. The elements that from 1895 and 
onward became separated from the United Church 
ffad formerly constituted a conspicuous and pro- 
gressive free church party in the old Conference. 
But the Conference was not by any means strong- 
ly represented in Illinois. The Norwegians in 
this state seem'early to have formed other church 
affiliations to which they largely adhered after- 
wards. When the free church movement began 
to take form during the years following 1895, 
therefore, it was found that no Illinois congre- 
gations of the former Conference had become 
affiliated with this movement, as congregations. 
The Free Church developed strength north and 
west of Illinois, where the Conference had been 
strong, and in new fields. 

The Free Church, however, has maintained two 
missions in Chicago, on the west side and in 
Moreland, and also in Capron. The work in 
Chicago was begun about 1899, by Rev. M. A. 
Pederson, latter missionary to Santhalistan, In- 



178 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



dia, and was continued by his brother, Rev. A. 
Pederson. Later Rev. J. M. Halvorson became 
pastor of the Moreland church. The pastorate 
in Capron was held by Rev. C. Morgan from 
1903; later this church was served by the Chi- 
cago pastor. 

While the free churches in Illinois are numeri- 
cally few there exists in the other Norwegian 
churches of the state considerable Free Church 
sentiment, judging from the support which indi- 
viduals in these churches have been giving to the 
institutions of this body. 



other two lots for the church proper, which the 
congregation hopes to erect in the future. 

In every respect the congregation has had a 
marked growth. It now (spring 1907) has a 
membership of 150 persons. It has already paid 
for the three lots, and started a building fund for 
the new church. It has received no help from 
any synod. The pastor is a member of the United 
Norwegian Lutheran Church, and the congrega- 
tion works in line with that synod, although not 
formally connected with it. 

This church has a most hopeful future as it is 




Interior of Christ Chapel, near Logan Square. 



Christ Norwegian Luth- 
eran Churck 

Kedzie and Milwaukee avenues, Chicago. 

This church was organized June 29, 1905, with 
twenty-eight persons. Rev. J. H. Meyer was 
called to become its pastor. He accepted the 
pastorate. 

Three lots were purchased and on one lot a 
two-story brick house was erected, the first story 
to be used for a temporary chapel, now called 
"Kristus-Kapellet," (Christ Chapel), and the sec- 
ond flat to be used as the parsonage, leaving the 



located in one of the most populous Norwegian 

settlements, the Logan Square. 

Following is a list of the officers of the church: 
Rev. J. H. Meyer, pastor; Prof. J. Rode-Jacob- 

sen, organist; Martin Thon, secretary; Gabriel 

Tobiassen, treasurer. 

Following is the board of trustees: 

Johan H. Meyer, president: Louis Lawson, 
vice-president; Harald Heglund, secretary; Mar- 
tin Thon; Olaf Brynildsen; Hjalmar Jacobsen; 
Andrew Olsen; Gabriel Tobiassen; Louis Iversen. 

The illustration shows part of the interior of 
the temporary chapel, which is located at 1509 N. 
Kedzie avenue, near Milwaukee avenue, where 
also the minister resides. 






NORWEGIAN CHURCHES IN ILLINOIS 



179 



The Church of the 
Veritans 

Was organized July 15, 1901, by members of the 
Order of the Magi the most ancient of all the 
secret orders on our planet. The church society 
was instituted for the purpose of extending to 
the public, through its open meetings, such teach- 
ing as could properly be brought before the un- 
initiated, showing the variety of the most ancient 
philosophy in the light of the most advanced 
modern science; also explaining the various 
phenomena of occultism as necessary factors in 
the development of the religion of the future 
the 'religion pf science. 

Through the able and well-directed efforts of 
Mr. B. C. Peterson who is a charter member 
and holds the office of secretary of the society 
many a progressive mind among the Scandinavi- 
ans of Chicago, as well as from the country at 



large, have gravitated towards this temple of 
knowledge, which, founded upon the divine law 
of evolution, has thus become a firm stepping 
stone from the infinite and obscure past to the 
likewise infinite and invisible future a place 
where those who have sought enlightenment 
upon the great subjects of origin and destiny, 
humanity and divinity, have found an opportun- 
ity to worship Truth itself, without the usual 
attachment of intermediary personal deities and 
without all creeds or dogmas, ancient or modern. 
Based upon the principles of mathematics and 
chemistry, astronomy and geology, the aims and 
object of the society are probably best explained 
as set forth in its constitution, article II: "The 
purpose of this society shall be to teach demon- 
strable truth and to deal with logical deduction 
drawn therefrom, 'regarding the universe, the 
continuity of life, the laws governing the phe- 
nomena of nature, and to promulgate a veritable 
religion." 

B. C. Peterson. 




THE NORWEGIANS IN 
CHICAGO 



Christiania is the only city in the world that 
has more Norwegians than Chicago. Seventy 
years ago there were just two Norwegians here. 

We have mentioned in another place that the 
first Norwegians reached here in 1836, when Jo- 
han Larsen and Halstein T0reson (Thorstein- 
son) settled in the small hamlet which was 
grouped about the Chicago River where the 
North-Western depot is now. From that time the 
Norwegians in this city increased rapidly, and by 
1848 over fifty of the immigrants from Norway 
had settled here and the colony had begun to 
build a Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran church. 
Of these early comers very few are alive. Jens 
Olsen Kaasa was perhaps the oldest. He came 
in 1839^ and died in 1907. 

Ever since then the Norwegians in Chicago 
have grown steadily in numbers, . in wealth and 
in influence. They began by gathering together 
in one section of the city. The first comers set- 
tled on the North Side, where the water works 
are, on Chicago avenue. Their homes were 
clustered between what is now Orleans street 
and the lake, south of Chicago avenue. As the 
section where the Norwegian pioneers had made 
their homes increased in value many of these 
thrifty people sold their homes and moved farther 
west. Some of them clung to their homes, but 
the greater part moved across the river into the 
cheaper and comparatively unsettled district just 
west of Milwaukee avenue, where they still hung 
together. The more wealthy and aristocratic 
Norwegians gathered around Wicker Park. There 
they quickly purchased land for blocks in every 
direction. This district soon became distinctively 
Norwegian. The Norwegians themselves ap- 
preciated their monopoly of this region and 
called it among themselves Hommansbyen, after 
the fashionable residence suburb of Christiania. 
Further south, in the neighborhood of N. Peoria 
street and Milwaukee avenue, the poorer classes 



of Norwegians found homes. This section be- 
came their business center too, they having es- 
tablished shops, stores, banks and factories in 
this district. 

During the later years most of the Norwegians 
who have been able to dispose of their residence 
properties in this district have done so and 
moved west to the neighborhood of Humboldt 
Park, Humboldt boulevard or Logan Square, and 
their business center, if we can speak of such, 
is along W. North avenue. The district west of 
Milwaukee avenue as far as California avenue, 
along Grand avenue, has been invaded by the 
Italians, who are quick to pick up cheap proper- 
ties. 

In spite of the fact that probably 65,000 Nor- 
wegians are grouped in three wards, they have 
not achieved much success in securing political 
prominence in Chicago. The early Norwegian 
settlers held comparatively more official posi- 
tions than their children and later comers hold. 
Iver Lawson, the father of Victor F. Lawson, 
came here about 1840 and grew very wealthy out 
of lucky real estate investments. Was elected 
city marshal, and in 1869 state representative. 
A. B. Johnson, the lumber dealer, served in the 
important post of chairman of the board of sup- 
ervisors throughout the period of the Civil War. 

Canute R. Matson entered politics as clerk of 
the police courts and in 1875 was chosen justice 
of the peace. In 1880 he was elected coroner and 
in 1886 he was chosen sheriff. It was to him 
that befell the hazardous duty of hanging the 
anarchists. Lauritz Thoen served twice as West 
Side collector. Sivert T. Gunderson has been 
elected alderman and appointed a member of the 
board of education. A. P. Johnson, of the John- 
son Chair Company, has also served as alder- 
man. 

During recent years the Norwegians have been 
more active in politics. At the present time therf 

(180) 



THE NORWEGIANS IN CHICAGO 



181 



are three aldermen, two justices of the peace, 
one member of the board of education, one state 
representative, one secretary of the board of 
education, and many holding minor offices. 



Early Norwegian Set- 
tlers in Chicago 



The first Norwegian to build a house in Chi- 
cago was Halstein Torrison, who arrived with 
wife and children from Fjeldberg, Norway, Oct. 
16, 1836. He built a two-story framehouse of 
no mean size and appearance on Wells street 
where the Chicago and North-Western depot 
now stands. He worked as a gardener for Wal- 
ter L. Newberry until 1848, when he moved to 
Calumet, south of Chicago, and cultivated a 
garden-truck farm. He died in the early "80's. 




Four Generations Nils Baker, Mrs. Hallenbeck, 
her Son and Grandson. 



From Voss also the first immigrants arrived in 
1836, among them Nils R0the and Svein Lothe 
(the last named from Hardanger). In 1837 came 
Baard Johnson with wife and five children. An- 
drew Nilsen and Anders Larsen Flage, with 



families, arrived in 1839. Endre Iverson R0the 
came in 1840, and about the same time Lars 
Davidson (who later moved to Liberty Prairie, 
Dane county, Wis.), Ole Gilbertsen and Anna 
Bakkethun. The latter was first married to a 
Mr. Nicholson (Nicolausen) who died from the 
cholera in 1849, and then to a Mr. Olson. She 
died in 1902, 85 years old. Her brother, Nils 
Bakkethun, called himself Baker. He was born 
near Bergen, March 4, 1825, and came to Chicago 
in 1843. He worked mostly for railroads, and by 
and by drifted away from his countrymen, so 
that, when he died, in June, 1906, only a few of 
the Chicago Norwegians were aware of it. With 
his wife, Anna Swensson, he had nine children, 
of whom six are still living, all but one in Chi- 
cago. Baker was one of the charter members of 
Rev. Paul Anderson's church. In her first mar- 
riage Anna Bakkethun had two sons, Henry 
Nicholson, who served his country throughout 
the war, and John G. Nicholson, who is still liv- 
ing on Orchard street. He is a piano tuner by 
profession. She also had one daughter (Sarah) 
who was married to J. A. Anderson, the camera 
manufacturer. Andrew Nilsen contended that 
Johan Larsen, from Koppervig, had visited Chi- 
cago many times earlier as a sailor from Buf- 
falo, but did not settle before 1836 together with. 
Halstein Torrison. 

We do not doubt that a good many other Nor- 
wegians came to Chicago between the years 1836 
and 1840, and mention these among the first ones 
only because we know them, says Knud Lang- 
land. 

The writer visited Nils Baker in 1906, shortly 
before his death. The old man was very feeble 
then, but still able to give a fairly good account 
of himself. His biographical sketch appears else- 
where. 

In those days it required courage and pluck to 
settle in Chicago. One had to try to eke out a 
living by chopping wood and doing all kinds of 
menial work. Langland visited Anders Larsen 
Flage in 1844 he had first met him in New 
York in 1843, where Flage had gone to meet his 
two daughters who had just then come over from 
Norway and he then had a garden-truck farm 
on the canal land and was doing a thriving busi- 
ness raising and selling vegetables. One of 
Plage's daughters was later married to Rev. 
Paul Anderson. 

Since then a good many early settlers in Chi- 
cago have accumulated wealth, not a few as 
much as a half million dollars. Among the most 
widely known Norwegians in Chicago was Rev. 



182 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



Paul Anderson, the first Norwegian minister, 
whose long and valuable services in promoting 
the cause of the Lutheran Church deserve to be 
kept in kind remembrance also among coming 
generations of that faith. 

The Episcopalians, led by their Swedish min- 
ister, Gustavus Unonius, made some rather strong 
efforts to establish their church among the first 



call several of them now worth over $500,000. 
It took the Scandinavians a long time to be- 
gin to enter public life. The first Norwegian to 
do so was Iver Lawson (father of Victor F. 
Lawson, the publisher of the Daily News); 
among the Danes Geo. P. Hansen; and among 
the Swedes John Nelson. Martin Paulscn, father 
of William A. Paulsen, Paulsen & Sparre, the 





Anders Larsen Flage. 



Mrs. Anders Larsen Flage. 



Norwegians in Wisconsin and Chicago. They 
induced Jenny Lind, when that Swedish Night- 
ingale visited Chicago, to donate $1,000 towards 
the erection of an Episcopalian church edifice, 
which was later built on Franklin street near 
Michigan street, on the North Side. Unonius 
removed from Pine Lake, Wis., to Chicago and 
acted as its minister. But the little frame church, 
which Rev. Paul Anderson built on Superior 
street and in which he now commenced to hold 
services, attracted the larger part of the Nor- 
wegians. 

Those among our countrymen who, during the 
earlier days of Chicago, were able to look into 
the future, and had sense enough to invest their 
savings in real estate, became rich while sleep- 
ing during this city's marvelous growth. We re- 



notorious banking firm, was a justice of the 
peace for many years. 



What you may Find in 
an Old Directory 

The ordinary person would hardly think that 
an old directory would contain any interesting 
matter. Sometimes it may, though, and for that 
reason the Chicago Historical Society has been 
very diligently gathering all the directories of 
Chicago that have ever been published. 

The first directory of Chicago was published in 



THE NORWEGIANS IN CHICAGO 



183 



1839 by a printer by the name of Fergus. It is 
not a big book in comparison with the Chicago 
directories of the present day. But it should be 
remembered that the population of Chicdgo in 
1839 did not exceed 3,000', all told. 

While looking through the pages of Fergus' 
directory we were naturally eager to see whether 
any Scandinavian names were to be found in the 
same, and we were not disappointed in this re- 
spect. We had read in other books about a Hal- 
stein Torrison, who came here with wife and chil- 
dren, Oct. 16, 1836, in company with a sailor, 
Johan Larsen of Koppervig, and was the first 
Norwegian to build a house in Chicago, but we 
had not been able to find out what was his busi- 
ness or occupation. Fergus' directory, however, 
dispelled all doubt about this question, although 
the name is a little distorted. The directory 
gives 

Holstein T0reson, gardener, with Walter L. 

Newberry. 

We think this is plain enough. The name should 
correctly have been written Halstein Thorstein- 
son. A little later it was Americanized to Torri- 
son, under which name Rev. P. Anderson found 
our subject, when he visited his farm in 1848. 
After having taken care of Newberry's garden- 
ing for some years, Halstein moved out of Chi- 
cago and bought land in Calumet, south of Chi- 
cago, where he started a truck farm and pros- 
pered. He came from Fjeldberg, Norway. He had 
built his house on Wells street, where the Chi- 
cago & North-Western R. R. station is now lo- 
cated. His "house" was a very modest structure, 
in fact a mere shanty. But at that time our 
countrymen could not afford to be particular 
about their dwellings, not even in the towns. It 
almost startles one to reflect over what Hal- 
stein's shanty and building lot would fetch to- 
day. 

For the younger generations of Norwegian de- 
scent it may be of interest to know that the 
Walter L. Newberry in question was a heavy 
real-estate owner who donated a large sum of 
money for the building and maintenance of the 
grand Newberry Library on the Ncrth Side. 

While Halstein Torrison was gardening for 
Newberry, 'another Norwegian from Voss, Thor- 
stein Michaelson came to Chicago and found 
employment as assistant gardener to Torrison. 
Torrison having left Newberry's employ, Mich- 
aelson remained as chief gardener and worked 
for Newberry altogether for about thirty-five 
years. He was born Nov. 24, 1808, and died 
May 29, 1885. His first wife died from the chol- 
era in 1849. 



Thorstein Michaelson had one daughter by his 
first wife. She was married to Nicolai Gunder- 
son, who is now dead, but Mrs. Gunderson is 
still living at Austin, 111., where she celebrated 
her sixtieth birthday, July 14, 1906, surrounded 
by her relatives. 

When Michaelson entered married life a sec- 
ond time his mate was a sister of Andrew Nel- 
son Brekke., They had two children one son 
and one daughter. The son, Carl, was born in 
1852. He went to California long ago; has not 
been heard from during the last ten years. The 
daughter, Julia, who was born in 1862, was mar- 
ried to a Swede, Mr. Peter Johnson, with whom 
she has had two sons Walter Theodore Johnson, 
born in 1880, and Clarence Michaelson Johnson, 
born in 1882. Both are engaged in the electro- 
typing business, Walter as a molder and Clar- 
ence as a photographer. Mrs. Julia Johnson lives 
in her own comfortable residence at 1341 Maple- 
wood avenue. We reproduce here a portrait of 
her father. 




Thorstein Michaelson. 



In the same directory we also note Anfin John- 
son, a tailor, employed by Simon Doyle on Kin- 
zie street. The given name Anfin settles John- 



184 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



son's nationality beyond doubt, as does Sivert 
Davidson's. Mr. Davidson was a carpenter and 
lived in the Cass street Dutch Settlement. There 
was another Davidson, Lars, who was a fireman 
on the steamboat "Geo. W. Dole." and still a 
third, Peter D., a hostler with John H. Kinzie. 
Those three Davidsons were brothers, although, 
of course, the directory gives no information up- 
on that subject. Lars Davidson later moved to 
Wisconsin and settled on Liberty Prairie, Dane 
county, where he was_still living in 1889, accord- 
ing to Knud Langland. 

Although the directory does not mention it, 
we are able to state upon no less authority than 
Rev. Paul Anderson that Baard Johnson, with 
wife and five children, came here in 1837. The 
tailor, Anfin Johnson, was his son. He had two 
other sons, John and Andrew, among the five 
children. 

In looking for the names of other countrymen 
in the directory we may without many chances 
of error enlist Asle Anderson, musician, North 
State street; Endre Anderson, laborer; and Eric 
Anderson, pressman. Nobody would mistake the 
given names Asle and Endre for anything but 
Norwegian, and, as the three lived in the same 
hquse on North State street, we may rest reason- 
ably sure that they were brothers or otherwise 
related. 

Looking a little further forward, we find three 
Lawsons Iver Lawson, laborer, boarded at 240 
Superior street; Canute Lawson, city street car- 
penter, same address. Canute was probably mar- 
ried, and his brother Iver boarded with him. 

We have mentioned before that Johan Larsen, 
a sailor, arrived at the same time as Halstein 
Torrison, and we find the name in the directory 
all right, but without address, as he, of course, 
lived on board the vessel in which he sailed. 
Jqhan Larsen, who lived in Chicago as late as 
1890, had visited this place many times before 
he, settled here, he having sailed on the lakes 
with Buffalo as headquarters for several years. 

There is also a laborer by the name of Andrew 
Larson, Cass street Dutch Settlement. Mr. Peter 
M. Balken informs us that this man was Andrew 
Larson Flage, whose daughter Ragnild was mar- 
ried to Rev. Anderson, the first Norwegian min- 
ister in Chicago. 

Captain George Peterson, Canal street, was 
the first Norwegian sea captain to sail on the 
lakes with his residence in Chicago. 



The Norwegian Old Set- 
tlers' Society. 

It is a well known fact that Mr. Peter M. 
Balken was the first man to whom the happy 
thought occurred of getting the old Norwegian 
settlers in Chicago together. He also took the 
first step toward the realization of the idea by 
sending out an invitation on post cards to fifty 
old settlers to meet on a certain evening, in 1879, 
at the residence of Canute R. Matson. 

Of the fifty so invited forty-eight responded 
by presenting themselves on the appointed even- 
ing and meeting place. 

Considerable enthusiasm was manifested over 
a proposition that the ones present then and 
there form the nucleus for The Norwegian Old 
Settlers' Society, everyone present becoming a 
charter member. 

The constitution and by-laws of the society 
give as its objects to establish an intimate ac- 
quaintance between the members, to give them 
a chance of comparing notes of pioneer days, 
foster friendship and provide wholesome social 
amusements. 

Applicants for membership must show that they 
have lived at least fifteen years in the United 
States, that they are useful and reputable citi- 
zens, and at the time are living in Chicago. 

The entrance fee is only 15 cents, and persons 
wishing to become honorary members pay five 
dollars. The officers of the society are one pre- 
sident, one vice-president, one secretary, one 
treasurer, and an executive committee of five 
members. 

The annual meeting of the society is held on 
the first Thursday in September, when the' of- 
ficers for the ensuing fiscal year are elected. 
The duties of the officers are about the same as 
in other societies of a similar nature. 

It has been customary to hold two festive 
gatherings anually, a picnic in the summer and a 
banquet in the winter. On these occasions the 
stories of the good old days are retold in toasts 
and tete-a-tetes which grow in loquacity and gos- 
sipy details with the imbibing and consuming of 
genuine Norwegian beverages and delicacies. 

Proud of fatherland, the Norseman is no less 
proud of being an "old settler" of Chicago. This 
sentiment has made itself manifest at every cele- 
bration of the Norwegian Old Settlers' Society 
of Chicago. 

At such occasions the members of the society 



THE NORWEGIANS IN CHICAGO 



185 



and their guests would sit down to a sumptuous 
repast, "at which fish, the beloved dish of all 
Norsemen, cuts no small figure, served in many 
appetizing ways. Other viands and wine served 
to make each celebration a notable one and well 
fit the orators of the evening to pronounce prose 
pzeans upon the viking and the "Land of the Mid- 
night Sun." 

As examples of the subjects of the toasts at 
such occasions we will quote those at the cele- 
bration of the fifteenth annual banquet. Mr. R. 
Henderson was then president of the society and 
first extended a hearty welcome. At its conclu- 
sion the following toasts were given, and the fol- 
lowing Chicago Norsemen acquitted themselves 
eloquently in responding to them: 

"Norwegian Old Settlers of Chicago," John 
Gittelson. 

"The Political Influence of the Norsemen on 
Chicago and the Northwest," C. R. Matson. 

"Norwegian Navigation on the Great Lakes," 
S. T. Gunderson. 

'.'Norse Sailors of Chicago," Halvor Michelson. 

"Norwegian Industries of Chicago," A. P. 
Johnson. 

The constitution and by-laws of the society 
were not adopted until April 30, 1882. 

In the course of time as the oldest settlers have 
had to journey to the undiscovered country, from 
whose bourn no traveler returns, and so many 
other societies, fraternal and others, have sprung 
up, the interest in the Old Settlers' Society has 
been diminishing, until there is now hardly any- 
thing left of it. Instead the interest has been 
centering itself on the Norwegian Old People's 
Home, which through the unceasing efforts of 
Dr. N. T. Quales and others has grown to pro- 
portions of which its founders could hardly have 
dreamed of at its inception. 

At the last annual meeting of the Norwegian 
Old Settlers' Society, whenever that was held, Mr. 
Peter M. Balken was elected president and Captain 
John Anderson secretary. It seems, however, to 
have reached such a state of decadence that no- 
body knows where its records are to be found. 
The only record we have been able to locate is 
a book containing the constitution and by-laws 
together with a list of its members, which we 
present here and which also gives the years of 
each member's arrival and the place in Norway 
from which he came. 



John Anderson, 1845, Voss. 
J. C. Anderson, 1842. 

John Anderson, Captain, 1856, Fredriksstad. 
Peter M. Balken, 1849, Stavanger. 
Mrs. Carrie R. Balken, 1850, Stavanger. 
John Balken, 1849, Stavanger. 
Ole Bendixon, 1863, Christiania. 
John Blegen, 1869, T0nsberg. 
O. T. Birkeland, 1851, Egersund. 
John C. Camberg, 1852, Soggendal. 
John Christianson, 1866, Trondhjem. 
H. L. Dahl, 1864, Tromsjl 
Elef Danielson, 1861. 
T. Engebretson, 1852, Haugesund. 
Paul F. Eckstorm, 1849, Skien. 
Albart J. Elvig, 1855, Bergen. 
Andreas Erickson, 1864, Bergen. 
Milian Engh, 1871. 
Jonas Ellingson, 1871, Stavanger. 
Peter Ellefsen, 1864, 0rskon. 
Christian Erickson, 1859, Bergen. 
Daniel Erickson, 1861, Bukken, near Stavanger. 
Johannes Gullacksen, 1864, Bergen. 
John Gittleson, 1850. 
Andrew Gunderson, 1848, Farsund. 
C. J. Gullackson, 1864, Bergen. 
Martin Gunderson, 1848, Farsund. 
John O. Gilbo, 1868, Gudbrandsdalen. 
Bryngel Henderson, 1844, Voss. 
Mrs. Martha Henderson, 1844, Voss. 
Rognald Henderson, 1849, Voss. 
Thomas G. Hanson, 1857, Hardanger. 
Hans Hansen, 1848. 
John Hanson, 1865. 
Enock Halverson, 1852, Stavanger. 
Peter Halvorson, 1869. 
Helge A. Haugan, 1861, Christiania. 
H. G. Holtan, 1864, Telemarken. 
M. B. Hanson. 

Hans Iverson, 1850, Hardanger. 
Louis Iverson. 
Knud Iverson. 
A. B. Johnson, 1837. 
John C. Johansen, 1864, Bergen. 
Mrs. Sophia Johansen, 1868, Stavanger. 
Andrew P. Johnson, 1850, Voss. 
Alfred Johnson, 1850. 
Ida Johnson, 1854. 
Nels Johnson, 1850, Voss. 
Peter Johnson, 1861, Trondhjem. 
Capt. William Johnson, 1855. 
Fred Johnson, 1866. 
Neils Johnson, 1853, 0vre Romerige. 
S. Knudson, 1853. 



186 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



Andrew G. Krogstad, 1868, Krogstad, Furnaes, 

Hedemarken. 
C. G. Krogness. 
Christian Lee, 1845, Gausdal. 
Edw. S. A. Lahlum, 1863, Bergen. 
Hans T. Mauritzon, 1850, "Stavanger. 
C. R. Matson, 1848, Voss. 
G. C. Meyer, 1864, Bergen. 
Ben Moe. 

Capt. Halvor Mickelson, 1854, Stavanger. 
C. R. E. Munson. 
Kittil Nirison, 1845, B0 Prestegjeld, Telemar- 

ken. 

Mrs. Ingeborg Nirison, 1848, Farsund. 
Andrew Nelson, 1830, Voss. 
Mrs. Julia Nelson, 1844, Voss. 
Jettee B. Nordhem, 1859, Voss. 
Charles M. Netterstrjzim, 1852, Stavanger. 
E. B. Nordhem, 1865, Voss. 
J. C. Netterstr0m, 1852, Stavanger. 
Hans Nordal, 1866, Odalen. 
Peter Nelson, 1841, Skien. 
N. Nelson, Dentist, 1867, Christiania. 
Arthur N. Nelson, 1853, Laurvig. 
Edward Olson, 1858, Hamar. 
Peder Olson, 1850, Voss. 
Mrs. Sophia Olson, 1846, Voss. 
Gilbert Olsen, 1866, Christiania. 
Jens Olsen, 1843, Siljord, Telemarken. 
Anthon Oien, 1861, Trondhjem. 
R. Olson, 1853, Stavanger. 
John Olson, 1854, Egersund. 
Martin Olson, 1864, Christiania. 
Peter Olsen Skaaden, 1867, Gudbrandsdalen. 
Tom Olson, 1866, Porsgrund. 
Julius Pedersen, 1855, Stavanger. 
Johanna Pedersen, 1856, Stavanger. 
H. S. Paulsen, 1864, Solor. 
Zakarias Peterson, 1848, Lyngdal, Farsund. 
Sjziren M. Peterson, 1862, Skien. 
Dr. Niles T. Quales, 1859, Hardanger. 
John Reyerson, 1857, Slidre, Valders. 
Gulbrand Roberg, 1856, Nordre Land. 
Susan Roberg, 1849, Voss. 
Christian R. Rasmusson, 1864, Soudland, Flek- 

kefjord. 

M. H. Ryerson, 1855, Krager0. 
Berthe S. Ryerson, 1849, Lyngdal. 
Axel Stubergh, 1867, Christiania. 
Nets Sampson, 1849, Voss. 
Ellev G. Seavert, 1844, Vossevangcn. 
Nils B. Str0m, 1868, Drammen. 
O. L. Stangeland. 
Charles Sampson, 1861, Haugesund. 
G. A. Wigeland, 1843, Stathdle. 



Early Norwegian Print- 
ers in Chicago 

It might be of some interest to publish in this 
work a complete list of the Norwegian printers 
in Chicago, but it would take too much space 
even if it were possible to give the names of all 
of them. Consequently we shall have to confine 
ourselves to the earliest ones. 

It may be a surprise to a good many of the 
craft to learn that the first pressman in Chicago 
was a Norwegian. He was not only the first of 
our own nationality, but there was no other 
pressman before his arrival. His name was David 
Johnson, and he came here in 1834. 




John Amundson's House. 
Corner Erie and Halsted Streets. 



The proprietor of the first paper in Chicago 
was Mr. Calhoun. He published the Chicago 
Democrat. The paper prospered and he could 
not very long supply the demand by printing it 
on one of the old-time hand presses. Conse- 
quently he bought a second-hand cylinder press 
from New York with an order to the seller to 
let a man who could run the press accompany.it. 

David Johnson was a young sailor. He came . 
from Norway to New York as a sailor boy. 
When the ship in which he sailed was moored 
there he got his regular leave of absence. But 
he never returned to the ship, which sailed away. 
When his means gaVe out he looked around for 
a job and in very short time secured one as a 
press-feeder. He worked at this for two years, 
when Mr. Calhoun's order for the cylinder press 






THE NORWEGIANS IN CHICAGO 



187 



came. He was then asked whether he would like 
to go West with the press, and consented. In 
due time he arrived with the press in Chicago, 
where he put it up and ran it, nobody knows 
how long. 

In his autobiography Mr. Calhoun mentions 
this, but does not give the pressman's name. But 
the Chicago Historical Society has among its 
possessions Mr. Calhoun's account book for 1834, 
and in it we have found David Johnson's name. 

The next Norwegian printer after David John- 
son, as far as we have been able to trace, was a 
pressman, Eric Anderson, in 1839. In 1844 came 
John Amundson, who learned his trade with the 
next proprietor of the Chicago Democrat, John 
Wentworth (Long John), and the next one is 
called in the account books William Iver. His 
Norwegian name was, however, Iver Vikingson. 
In 1850 we find Hans Kjos; in 1851, Ole Gulliver; 
in 1852, John Anderson (the founder and still the 
publisher of Skandinaven) ; in 1853, Lars Lee and 
Lewis Knudson; and in 1855, Peter M. Balken, 
who then came to the Chicago Journal, where he 
remained for over forty years as pressman. Mr. 
Balken is still living, active, and at the present 
time engaged in the county clerk's office. 



The SkandinavianTypo- 
graphical Union 

Was organized in 1883, after many unsuccessful 
attempts to consolidate the labor interests of 
Scandinavian-American printers in Chicago. On 
April 15 of that year Emil Ljunggren called a 
meeting of Scandinavian printers at the Hotel 
Dannevirke, to discuss the question of forming a 
union. Steps were then taken which terminated 
in the organization of the society ten days later, 
the original founders being: Emil Ljunggren, 
Olaf A. Rasmussen, J. J. Engberg, O. Lund, A. 
Johansen, C. Koch, M. Gttldbrandsen, C. J. Chris- 
tiansen, Allan Soetre, J. Newbold, J. Hansen, G. 
C. Shervey, Edward Lund, A. A. Andersen, 
Charles Ericksen, H. Ariansen, T. Bj0rgelfsen, 
Samuel Lyckberg, J. Dahl, John Hansen, and 
L. E. Aslund. 

A. Morck was elected president; J. A. Nyberg, 
vice-president; Olaf A. Rasmussen, recording 
secretary; Ernest Younggren, treasurer; Tormod 
Manson, financial secretary; Emil Ljunggren, 



sergeant-at-arms. The total membership was 
thirty-six. 

Semi-annual meetings in January and July were 
arranged for, and at the third regular meeting 
the membership was forty-nine. The presidents 
for 1884 were A. Morck and Ernest Younggren; 
for the first half of 1885, C. O. Wiliiamson. On 
May 1, 1884, the sick fund was established and 
twenty-eight members of the association sub- 
scribed for its benefits. This branch of the so- 
ciety was reorganized on Aug. 23, 1885, with 
Charles J. Sward as secretary and treasurer, and 
twelve members, $105 being paid out for sick 
relief during the first six months of 1885. On 
Sept. 1, another fund was established, whereby 
unemployed members were to receive $3 per week. 
The officers elected for the second term of 1885 
were: A. Morck, president; J. F. Ellefsen, vice- 
president; Alexander Sward, recording secretary; 
O. Lund, financial secretary; J. Dahl, treasurer; 
Emil Lindberg, sergeant-at-arms; C. O. William- 
son and Hilmer Hesselroth, trustees. At that 
time the association had forty-nine members. 



The Norwegian Old 

People's Home 

Society 

By Dr. N. T. Quales. 



Shortly after the great fire, in 1871, the Chicago 
Relief and Aid Society endowed the Old People's 
Home, located on the corner of Indiana avenue 
and Thirty-ninth street, reserving to itself the 
right of as many free places, to be occupied by 
worthy old people, as the Relief Society might 
choose to admit. 

This home, with a capacity of housing seventy- 
two inmates, was intended for old people in gen- 
eral, and not for any particular creed or nation- 
ality. It was at that time the only old people's 
home in the city, and it was a mere matter of 
chance or preferment to obtain admission, and 
as far as I have been able to ascertain only four 
women of our nationality -had been admitted up 
to the year of 1896. But the difficulty of obtain- 
ing admission was not the only drawback. The 
language, the customs, the religious exercises, 



188 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



etc., were foreign to our people, so that they 
could not find themselves entirely at home in 
this institution. Hence the need of a home of 
our own was the more keenly felt. 

During the thirty or more years in which I 
had been going from house to house in the pur- 
suit of my calling as a physician, I often met 
with persons whom I was at a loss to know what 
to do with. They were men and women gener- 
ally well up in years, persons who by hard work 
and by saving had managed to lay aside a few 
hundred dollars. They had now come to that 
stage of life when their working days were at 



he has no other income. He must rent a room, 
which will cost him $4 per month, or $48 a year. 
His living would cost him $5 per month, or $60 
a year; together, $108. To this must be added 
incidental expenses, such as medical attendance, 
nursing, medicine, besides clothes, etc. At this 
rate his capital would not last him much over 
four years. A person of 65 years, in ordinary 
good health for that age, is likely to live ten? 
years. Here then comes the sad part of it. After 
having battled through life independently for' 
three score years and ten, we find him now about 
to end his days in an almshouse, and to be buried 




The Norwegian Old People's Home, Norwood Park, 111. 



an end, and when they had to look out for a 
home in which to spend the remainder of their 
days. They had no one in particular to depend 
upon, and there was no family who was willing 
to give them a permanent home for the few hun- 
dred dollars which they possessed. Not being 
sick, they were not subjects for a hospital, neither 
were they yet paupers, hence could not be sent 
to the poorhouse. Their small capital would not 
last them long if they should subsist on that, a 
fact that can readily be demonstrated. We will 
take as an example a person 65 years of age, and 
we will suppose that he has laid by $500, and that 



in a potter's field. Does not this seem cruel? 
And yet there appeared to be no other way out 
of it. The only remedy that I could think of 
was to establish a home for this class of persons. 
Their condition impressed itself so forcibly upon 
my mind, that I resolved to do what I could for 
them. And the opportunity came. In 1892, when 
the Tabitha Society was reorganized, a commit- 
tee was elected to draft a constitution and by- 
laws for the society, and as I happened to be a 
member of that committee I urged this matter 
strongly upon the other members, with the result 
that it became embodied in the charter of the 



THE NORWEGIANS IN CHICAGO 



IS!) 



society, as one of the objects thereof, to estab- 
lish a home for the aged. But as the main object 
of the leaders of that society was hospital work, 
the home for the aged, as well as orphans, and 
deaconesses' home, were set entirely aside. This 
action, or rather non-action, on the part of the 
so-called majority of the Tabitha Society caused 
grievous disappointment and general dissatisfac- 
tion; so much so, that a very large number of 
the members withdrew from the Society the 
very members who had been most active in pro- 
moting the cause and contributing to the success 
of the object for which the society was organ- 
ized. 

These members who thus withdrew from the 
Tabitha Society were determined to go- on with 
the work of charity, namely, deaconess work, 
home for the aged and orphan home. After fully 
considering the matter they came to the con- 
clusion that it would not be best to carry on the 
various branches of the work under one and the 
same head. They therefore divided up the work, 
so that one part took up deaconess work, an- 
other home for the aged and still another or- 
phan home. 

The Tabitha Society had been divided into 
branches, and that part of the membership who 
withdrew, who took up the work for an Old 
People's Home, retained the branch organiza- 
tino, hence the Bethlehem, Concordia, Trinity, 
Wicker Park and Zion branches organized them- 
selves into a society under the name of the Nor- 
wegian Old People's Home Society of Chicago, 
Illinois. A constitution and by-laws were drafted 
and adopted and the society was formally ot> 
ganized in the chapel of Trinity Church on the 
31st day of March, 1896, and incorporated under 
the laws of the state of Illinois on the 24th day 
of April, 1896. 

The articles of incorporation provide that the 
name of the society shall be the Norwegian Old 
People's Home Society of Chicago, Illinois, and 
that the object is to erect, maintain and manage 
a home for old people, and that the society in 
its work shall be governed in conformity with 
the principles of the Lutheran Church. 

The constitution provides that the control of 
the affairs of the society shall be vested in a board 
of directors, consisting of one male member from 
each branch having from fifteen to fifty mem- 
bers, and one for each additional fifty members. 
It further provides that each branch at its De- 
cember meeting shall nominate candidates for 
directors, who are to be elected at the annual 
meeting of the society and serve for three years; 



that the directors elected are to organize by 
electing from their own members a president, 
vice-president, secretary and treasurer, who are 
to hold office for one year. 

The constitution further provides for a ladies' 
auxiliary board, to consist of two ladies from 
each branch. They are to be nominated and elect- 
ed in the same manner as the members of the 
board of directors and serve for two years. The 
organization of the ladies' board to be similar to 
the board of directors, and their particular duties 
are to look after the domestic affairs of the home, 
arrange for and have charge of festivals, enter- 
tainments, etc. 

The first board of directors consisted of Abra- 
ham Johnson and Conrad de Lange from Bethle- 
hem Branch; Anton A. Melum from Concordia 
Branch; Adolph Nelson and Anton Petersen from 
Trinity Branch; A. P. Johnson and N. T. Quales 
from Wicker Park Branch, and John Jersin and 
John Anda from Zion Branch. The board of 
directors met April 8, 1896, at the residence of 
Dr. N. T. Quales, 52 Fowler street, and organ- 
ized by electing Dr. Quales president, Anton A. 
Melum vice-president, John Jersin secretary and 
Anton Petersen treasurer. 

The ladies' board consisted of Mrs. H. Samu- 
elsen and Mrs. B. Amundsen, from Bethlehem 
Branch; Mrs. A. Johnson and Mrs. Belle Nelson 
from Concordia Branch; Mrs. R. Jorgensen and 
Mrs. H. Johnson from Trinity Branch; Mrs. 
Henry Olsen and Mrs. H. L. Anderson from 
Wicker Park Branch, and Mrs. Minnie Anda and 
Mrs. Margrethe Rosier from Zion Branch. The 
board organized by electing Mrs. Belle Nelson 
president, Mrs. Margrethe Rosier vice-president, 
Mrs. Minnie Anda secretary and Mrs. H. L. An- 
derson, treasurer. 

In 1898 two new branches were added to the 
society, namely, Moreland Branch and United 
Branch; of these two, the United Branch dis- 
banded in the early part of 1899 and the More- 
land Branch in 1901. In 1905 a new branch, the 
Young People's Branch, was admitted into the 
society. 

In the latter part of 1900 a "young ladies' aid 
society" was organized. The society, consisting 
of young ladies, has taken great interest in the 
work and has been a very valuable addition to 
our society. 

They were the first to set apart money for a 
reserve fund, and by adding to this fund year 
by year they have now $800 saved up for this 
purpose. 

At the meeting in Trinity Church, when the 



190 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



Society was organized, the directors were in- 
structed to begin the work at once, and either to 
buy or to rent a suitable place for an old peo- 
ple's home. 

For various reasons the board of directors pre- 
ferred to buy, and was fortunate in finding a 
beautiful piece of property in Norwood Park, 
comprising about four acres of land planted to 
park. On the ground was a three-story building 
with basement, containing between twenty-five 
and thirty rooms. With some changes this build- 
ing could be made to serve our purpose. 

The cost of this property was $20,000, but from 
this amount the owner agreed to donate $1,500. 
As the property was very desirable, and having 
fully satisfied ourselves that the price was rea- 
sonable, the board of directors decided to buy. 
The bargain was closed on the 18th day of May, 
1896; on the 15th of June we got possession of 
the property by making a payment of $3,500, and 
in 1897 we made the second payment of $3,500. 
Similar payment was made every year until 1901, 
when we made our last payment. Besides the 
cost price of the property, between $2,000 and 
$3,000 had been expended on the building and 
on the grounds. In the year 1901 the society 
purchased a parcel of ground in the Union Ridge 
Cemetery and some of the departed inmates 
have found there their resting place. 

The property in our possession, applications 
for admission came from all parts of the coun- 
try, from California and from the far East, even 
before the house was ready for occupancy. Mrs. 
Caroline Osterberg was the first permanent in- 
mate, and at the time of the formal opening and 
dedication festivities, August 8, 1896, seventeen 
old people had already found refuge within its 
walls. 

When the branches now constituting the Old 
People's Home Society withdrew from the Tab- 
itha Society, they left everything in the posses- 
sion of that society, so that when we took up 
this work it was with absolutely empty hands. 
However, our hearts were interested in the cause 
and we went at it with earnestness and full of 
faith, and surely our efforts have been crowned 
with success. 

We were all agreed to do charity, but when we 
came to the practical part of it we differed as to 
what constituted charity. Some held that it could 
only be charity when we took in persons abso- 
lutely without means; others thought it would be 
charity when a few were admitted free. Others 
again held that it was charity indeed when we 
undertook to care and provide for old people, 



even if they paid a comparatively small amount. 

After the work was begun, and especially after 
we had more fully investigated the work and 
management of similar institutions elsewhere, it 
became clearly apparent that the plan and pur- 
pose of the societies having the care and man- 
agement of these private or semi-public institu- 
tions were not to establish poorhouses. Public 
paupers must be cared and provided for by the 
county and state authorities. Homes similar to 
ours were intended for old people who have never 
been puplic paupers, and who never ought to be 
treated as such. 

Inmates of these homes should be made to feel 
that they are part owners, as it were, in the in- 
stitution, and that they are in their own home. 
As far as their age and health would permit they 
should have every inducement to enjoy life truly 
and peacefully. 

The question of doing charity has been brought 
up time and again. It has been laid up against 
our society that so long as we do not admit per- 
sons free into the home we do no charity. In 
my annual reports I have demonstrated clearly, 
I think, that our work is truly charitable work, 
and it has been my experience that those who 
are anxious to do charity when it can be done 
with other people's money, and who cry the 
loudest, are not, as a rule, the ones to head the 
subscription lists for charitable purposes. 

When societies like the one having charge of 
the Old People's Home at Indiana avenue and 
Thirty-ninth street, whose property is valued at 
nearly $300,000, the Altenheim Society, with a 
reserve fund of about $80,000, or the German 
Missourians' Old People's Home at Arlington 
Heights, supported by thirty or forty congrega- 
tions, cannot afford to admit persons free, it 
seems queer that our poor society, which has no- 
stated income and no reserve fund, should be 
expected to do so. It is said that by admitting 
persons free we shall be blessed; people will open 
their hearts and money will come in abundantly. 
But can you bank on this? It is a trite old say- 
ing, that the Lord helps those that help them- 
selves. 

While I believe in doing charity, and have 
practiced according to this belief as far as I have 
been able, and while I would be only too glad to- 
admit persons into the home free, I cannot in 
this case overlook the fact that a great responsi- 
bility is resting upon us. We founded this home. 
We have admitted into the home old men and 
old women. We have taken their last dollar and 
we have agreed to provide for them and to take 
care of them for the rest of their lives, and to 



THE NORWEGIANS IN CHICAGO 



191 



give them a Christian burial. What I sai3 in my 
first annual report I repeat here, that just now it 
may seem a very simple task to feed and take 
care of some worthy men and women, minding 
themselves and their own affairs. But if in im- 
agination we permit ourselves to be carried for- 
ward for five or ten years, what do we find? 
Why, the old people have grown older, and with 
the advance in years, helplessness has resulted, 
together with sickness and impatience. They 
have been compelled to remain in bed, are fret- 
ful and difficult to care for, and demand atten- 
tion day and night. They have to be nursed; 
must be lifted in and out of bed. They must be 
kept clean. Extra help is needed. They can- 
not, as in a hospital, be discharged as cured, im- 
proved in health or incurable. No; they are there 
for life. They are under our care and in our 
keeping, whether their days be few or many. 
There will be no question as to whether they 
have paid much or little; all demand the same 
care and attention. And when at last their time 
shall have come 

When death's sad shadow is densely cast 
Upon the dim and the lustreless vision; 

When nature's beauty and charms have past, 
Life's joy they hear, but it bears no mission 

then it is that a loving, a tender and helpful hand 
is needed to make the bed soft and moisten the 
parched lips. A loving hand to wipe away the 
salt tears and the cold perspiration from pale, 
wrinkled cheeks. A loving hand to close the 
broken eyes when the angel of death shall have 
recorded the last breath. And finally loving hands 
and kind hearts are required to carry and escort, 
in a worthy and Christian manner, the soulless 
body to its last resting place. 

This is the object of our society. This is the 
magnificent thought. This is the lofty aim. This 
is the noble purpose of our work. And can there 
yet be anyone among us with such evil thoughts 
in his heart as that this is not intended for a 
work of love, of benevolence, of charity? 

For the reason given I have been and am now 
firmly of the opinion that we should not under- 
take to admit anyone free until there may have 
been created a special fund for this purpose. 
They who can see no charity in the work we are 
now doing will hardly think it charity if one or 
two persons are admitted free, and I doubt very 
much whether they would consider it charity, in 
the way they understand it, even if all were ad- 
mitted free. And how would it be possible to 
discriminate and do justice where all applicants 
had the same rights and qualifications? 



In order to show what it means to found and 
maintain the home I shall give in round numbers 
the income and expenditures for each year as 
they appear in the treasurer's annual reports: 

Income. Expenditures. 

First year $8,932.25 $8,094.87 

Second year 12,063.31 11,596.91 

Third year 8,354.56 8,100.49 

Fourth year 11,648.66 11,054.57 

Fifth year 11,025.11 10,128.38 

Sixth year 5,110.57 4,041.19 

Seventh year 6,400.02 5,497.86 

Eighth year 5,281.21 5,597.50 

Ninth year 5,781.59 5,244.13 

Tenth year 18,561.36 12,997.66 



Total $93,158.64 $82,353.56 

At the home quite extensive improvements 
were made in 1905. A wing was added to the 
main building. This addition consists of a two- 
story building with brick basement. Each story 
has eight rooms provided with modern improve- 
ments, and in the basement are located apparatus 
for steamheating, coal room, janitor's room, etc. 
The old building was repaired from cellar to 
garret, the dining room was enlarged and re- 
paired, new barn was erected, etc. The expenses 
of these various improvements amounted to 
about $8,000. The inmates of the home at pres- 
ent number forty-eight, and since the home was 
founded eighty-four old men and women have 
been admitted into the institution as permanent 
inmates. The hired help are a matron, a janitor, 
a cook and three girls. The cost for each in- 
mate during the year amounts to about $120. 



The Norwegian Luth- 
eran Children's 
Home 



It is now over twenty-five years since the 
Norwegians of Chicago began to discuss the 
necessity of a Children's home. Pastor Eielsen 
favored the movement, and at his death provided 
in his will for $1,500 as a nucleus, providing 
only that the three church organizations namely 
Hauges Synod, Augustana Synod and Konfer- 
encen should jointly build and maintain the 
home. The subject was carefully considered, but 



192 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



Rev. Eielsen's noble plan of united action on 
the part of the churches could not be realized. 
The matter was dropped for a few years, when 
it was taken up again, with Mrs. Eielsen and 
Mr. and Mrs. Sand in the lead. This effort 
proved as fruitless as the first. The society died, 
and there was fear of losing the money gener- 
ously set aside by Rev. Eielsen. Mrs. Michael- 
sen, who was a member of this society, was 
greatly disappointed in the fact that no further 



in its constitution a clause providing for a chil- 
' drcn's home or asylum. 

She then laid her plans before one of these 
meetings, but no action was taken. However, 
Rev. Brun, who was chairman of the association, 
was interested, and after an interview with him, 
and after having shown him the rules she had 
prepared, he approved of the idea and promised 
his support. The rules, briefly stated, were as 
follows: 




Norwegian Lutheran Children's Home. 



meetings were called, but continued to study 
the subject with a view of avoiding the partisan 
feeling which so far had frustrated every effort. 
A plan of organizing little children into clubs 
and societies to solicit subscriptions for such a 
home suggested itself to her, and she accordingly 
wrote down a few rules to govern such societies, 
planning to make the effort systematic; the chil- 
dren should be provided with printed subscrip- 
tion books for the purpose. In the meantime she 
had been elected a director of the original Nor- 
wegian Tabitha Association, and found that it had 



Rules for the Little Shepherds' Society. 

1. At every place where six young ladies will 
unite as teachers for the following mentioned 
purpose a society may be formed, to be num- 
bered in the order in which it is organized as 
society one, two, and so on. 

2. The six young ladies to organize as teach- 
ers, by electing one of their member as treas- 
urer. The other five to gather five children 
each, and each child to receive a subscription 
book with room for ten contributors, the book 



THE NORWEGIANS IN CHICAGO 



193 



to be so ruled that the contribution from each 
person may be entered each week during the 
year. 

3. Once each month the teachers will gather 
the children to a meeting or party, where each 
teacher will receive the money from the five 
children appointed by her and turn it over to the 
treasurer, who also receives any money collected 
at the meeting. At such parties the teachers shall 
join the children in their play, read to them, or 
teach them some handiwork. 

4. Once each summer the society shall hold 
a picnic, and each fall a children's bazar, where 
the children's work can be displayed and sold 
for the benefit of the society. 

5. The .object of the society shall be to buy 
a piece of land and build and maintain a chil- 
dren's home under the control of the Original 
Norwegian Lutheran Tabitha Association. 

6. With this object, the treasurer for. each 
society shall turn over the collections each month 
to the person designated by the Original Nor- 
wegian Lutheran Tabitha Association to receive 
the same. Said person to give receipts for same 
and annually publish the status of t such fund. 

With this, however, the association was not 
organized, as section 2 of the rules was not easy 
to carry out. The question was: who would 
permit their children to do this, and who would 
undertake to serve as teachers. It began to 
trouble Mrs. Michaelsen; she looked upon the 
plan as impossible and childish. Common sense 
advised her to give it up, but another voice said: 
You have placed your hands to the work; stand 
to it, even if it seems impossible. It is God's 
work, and He will provide for the results. 

Mrs. Michaelsen says: 

I presented the matter before a woman's club. 
Here I found several who were willing to allow 
their children to join. Mrs. August Johnson, 932 
Kedzie avenue, who was very near to a few chil- 
dren who had lost their mother and were left to 
a careless father, gave us a powerful argument 
for the necessity of a home. She was the first 
to permit her three little girls to join in the 
work. After her example others volunteered at 
the same meeting. Misses Marie and Bella John- 
son, 56 Bingham street, announced their willing- 
ness to act as teachers. Later others volun- 
teered. On Jan. 14, 1892, I held a meeting in 
my own home, where I met those who had 
agreed to join in the work, but there were only 
four teachers, namely: Marie and Bella Johnson, 
Thora Elleson and Jensine Skaar. After singing 
the verse, "I Jesu navn skal al vor gjerning ske" 
and reading the 25th chapter of Matthew, with 



a prayer to God for his guidance, the proposed 
rules were adopted. 

On Feb. 1 the Little Shepherds held their first 
meeting, at the same place, where twenty-six 
children and the following teachers were pres- 
ent: Marie and Bella Johnson, Thora Elleson 
(now Mrs. Dr. Hegland), Constance Hanson 
(now Mrs. Syvertson) and Nettie Thorsen (now 
Mrs. Oneby). They elected Miss Constance 
Hanson as secretary and Thora Elleson as treas- 
urer. The children then received their sub- 
scription books. Thus one society was organ- 
ized, and we were very hopeful of forming 
others. But here we met with other difficulties. 
We found the interest in the Children's Home 
very small, though everybody was interested 
in the hospitals. We had one hospital and 
another was building under the management of 
two different associations, and everybody was 
seen in the interest of one or both of these 
praiseworthy institutions. Naturally these activ- 
ities affected our feeble charity, the Little Shep- 
herds' Society. 

When the directors representing the two 
hospitals united in their efforts, paragraphs 5 
and G in our rules for the Little Shepherds were 
dispensed with. Again, when these two bodies 
drifted apart and broke the tie, on account 
of their respective principles, ande we fore- 
saw that trouble was brewing, we decided, as 
the Little Shepherds' Society, to work quietly 
until the storm had blown over, in the hope 
that the Lord would lead us. It was not long 
before it was clear to us that we did not need 
to look to any other society for protection, but 
that we could in God's name sail by ourselves. 
We had now arrived at a point where we rec 
ognized the importance of reorganization. In 
considering this step we consulted several per- 
sons who we were confident would not work 
against the principle of union or "Faellesskab." 
Rev. Hetland was one of the first invited to our 
meetings. He was very much pleased with our 
decision to reorganize, approving it heartily. A 
committee of four consisting of Rev. Hetland, 
Mr. and Mrs. Michaelsen and Mrs. Syvertson 
(nee Hanson) was then appointed to prepare 
a constitution for the society. 

On Sept. 21, 1896, the Little Shepherds' So- 
ciety held a meeting at Mrs. Christine John- 
son's, 56 Bingham street, where the new consti- 
tution was adopted and a board of directors 
elected. These were the directors: Rev. Het- 
land, Mr. and Mrs. Michaelsen, Mrs. August 
Johnson, Mr. Holm, Mr. Rude and Mr. Liab0. 
Rev. Hetland was elected president, Mr. Micha- 



194 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



elsen vice-president, Mr. Liab0 secretary, and 
Mr. Rude treasurer. The constitution is sum- 
marized as follows: 

1. The name of this association shall be The 
Norwegian Lutheran Children's Home Society. 

2. The object is to care for and educate poor 
and neglected children. To do this the society 
will build and conduct a children's home in Chi- 
cago. 

3. Any one of good character can become a 
member, by signing the constitution and paying 
dues of one dollar annually. Members behind 
in dues for one year are not allowed to vote. 
Members paying $10 at one time become life 
members. 

4. New members may be admitted at any 
regular meeting, providing a majority of those 
present vote favorably on the application. 

5. The annual meeting shall be held on the 
first Wednesday in November, at 7:30 p. m., in 
Chicago, 111., the place to be designated by the 
management. The order of business shall be 
prayer, reading the minutes of last meeting, re- 
port by the chairman, secretary, cashier and 
committees; unfinished business; election of of- 
ficers and standing committees; admission of new 
members; new business; adjournment. Extra 
meetings can be called by the management as 
often as necessary, on request in writing by fif- 
teen regular members. Annual and extra meet- 
ings must be published in a Norwegian news- 
paper in Chicago in time for such meeting. The 
board of directors shall meet regularly once 
each month. A majority of the board shall con- 
stitute a quorum. 

6. The board of directors shall consist of nine 
members who subscribe to the Lutheran faith. 
Their term of office shall be three years. They 
shall elect from their own number a chairman, 
vice-chairman, secretary and treasurer, who shall 
hold their offices until their successors have been 
elected and qualified. If a member is absent from 
three successive meetings, except for sickness or 
absence from the city, his seat shall be declared 
vacant, and a member of the society shall be 
appointed in his place. All other vacancies shall 
be filled in the same manner. The duties of all 
officers are those usually assigned in regularly 
incorporated associations; the treasurer to fur- 
nish a good and sufficient bond. 

7. At the annual meeting a committee of 
three members shall be elected for one year. 
who shall examine and verify all reports and 
accounts. 

8. Fifteen members shall constitute a quorum 
at all meetings. 



9. Rules. Children received should as a rule 
not be under two nor over ten years old. After 
having been accepted they hold the same rela-.-i 
tion to the home that other children do to their 
parents, and remain under the care of the home 
until they are confirmed. Money due or which 
may become due to the child, to the amount of ; 
$200 or less, belongs to the home. If the amount 
be greater, the society can demand up to $75 
per year. 

In the fall of 1897 the Norwegian Lutheran 
Children's Home Society was incorporated. In 
November, 1898, the society bought the property 
on Irving Park boulevard and Fifty-eighth ave-, 
nue, previously known as Martin Luther College, 
consisting of a three-story building and six lots.] 
The price paid was $4,000, $1,000 cash, with ai 
mortgage for the remainder. The purchase had 
no more than been closed when applications 
for the acceptance of children poured in upon 
the managers, indicating that they could not 
long keep the doors closed. 

In F'ebruary, 1899, Miss Annie M. Abraham- 
sen was appointed matron for the home. In 
April the ladies of the society made an inventory 
of the home and set about to provide necessary 
supplies, as it had been decided to open the' 
home on the 1st of May. It was not an easy 
matter to provide the supplies, for the treasury 
was nearly empty, but the Lord, who had helped 
us thus far, would not abandon us at this crit-, 
ical moment. Skandinaven, which had always 
been willing to publish short articles in relation 
to the home, gave timely assistance now. We 
were allowed to publish calls for what we needed 
most, in order to open the home at the time set, 
and it was surprising how the necessities came 
to. us as gifts. A chain letter was sent out by 
one of the directors and brought in $220. This 
money was truly a great help just before the 
opening. "Bo'rnevennen," which was started ini 
the interest of the home, was also a great help 
to the committee in charge. 

On the llth of May, 1899, the home was open- 
ed for the reception of children. Many friends 
of the management met at the home, glad and 
thankful to God for the day that they had for 
so many years looked forward to. Rev. Het- 
land read from the Scriptures and encouraged 
those present to trust in God and not forsake 
the good work, even though at times the future 
might look dark and foreboding. 

A little girl, Ella Hazel Mjzfrk, who had been 
accepted, was taken in as the home's first in- 
mate. On June 18, the same year, the home 
was dedicated in the name of the Triune God by 



THE NORWEGIANS IN CHICAGO 



195 



Rev. Kildahl. On that day six children were ac- 
cepted and received, four having been accepted 
previously, making in all ten inmates on dedica- 
tion day. 

After this the interest in the home began to 
grow, as was clearly evidenced by the money 
and useful articles continually sent in by friends. 
Small societies were organized for the benefit 
of the home. "B0rnevennen" which was or- 
ganized March 1, 1898, with Mrs. Andrew John- 
sen, 1412 Sawyer avenue, president; Mrs. Nord- 
lie secretary, and Mrs. Lindholdtz treasurer 
was the first. These societies, of which there 
are now ten, have been of great financial benefit 
to the- home. In 1902 large improvements were 
made on the premises, costing in all $3,503. The 
means the society has employed to raise funds 
have been annual bazars, picnics, concerts and 
social gatherings. After the formal opening of 
the home the management requested Rev. Het- 
land to undertake the raising of funds from 
other Lutheran congregations, preferably in the 
country. This he did, and during four months' 
time raised $1,500. Money has since come in in 
larger sums, among which we can mention that 
from Mr. Bessesens' will and testament, $6,000, 
and from Mr. A. P. Johnson, $1,000. The debt 
on the home now is only $500. This obligation, 
however, the above-mentioned societies have 
pledged themselves to take care of. 

During the last year the number of children at 
the home has increased from sixty to seventy. 
If there are more than sixty there are too many; 
in fact it has been realized for a long time that 
the home is too small to accommodate the mer- 
itorious applicants. It has been impossible for 
the management to lock out all of the worthy 
applicants, however, though there has been some 
crowding. But now there is a promise of a 
change for the better. Last fall the society 
bought a tract of land, eighteen acres, at Edison 
Park, 111., where it expects to build as soon as 
the needed money is provided. The property 
was secured for $6,480, of which $6,000 has al- 
ready been paid. 

At present the management of the home is in 
the hands of the following board of directors: 
Rev. C. K. Solberg, president; Christian Petter- 
sen, vice-president; Rev. O. K. Espeseth, secre- 
tary; N. M. Norman, financial secretary; M. T. 
Christoffersen, treasurer; Rev. L. Harrisville, 
Mrs. J. P. Jensen, Mrs. J. B. Johnsen, Mrs. A. 
Johnson, Mrs. Reque, Miss Hulda Miller and 
Miss Anna Michaelsen. Miss Annie Abrahamsen 
has been matron since the home was opened. 

The society has a membership of four hun- 



dred, and there is at this writing seventy-three 
children at the home. 

Mrs. Michaelsen adds in closing the statement 
and data for this sketch: "In reading these lines 
over and reverting in my memory to the time 
when the society was started I must exclaim: 
It was God's work, and is wonderful before 
my eyes. 

May His blessings always rest over the Chil- 
dren's Home." 



The Hope Mission and 

Scandinavian Girls' 

Home 

By Mathilda B. Carse. 



In 1888 Mrs. U. F. Bruun, an earnest-hearted, 
gifted Norwegian, came to the president of the 
Chicago Central W. C. T. U. and pleaded with 
her to do something for her countrymen to save 
them from the allurements of the saloon. She 
said: "The young men of my country emigrate 
to Chicago in great numbers. Most of them are 
ignorant of the ways of a large city. They grow 
homesick in cold, dingy rooms in cheap boarding 
houses. The saloon, with its brilliant lights and 
gay company, is more inviting to them; thus they 
take the first step in the downward path to ruin.- 
If your union will only help me open a Scandi- 
navian reading room in a small way where I can- 
welcome my people when they come to this city 
as strangers, and where I can hold gospel tem- 
perance meetings, I will give my services free." 

Although the Central W. C. T. U. was over- 
taxed with other reform and charitable work, it 
could not turn a deaf ear to the earnest plea of 
this unselfish and devoted Norwegian. An empty 
store in the midst of the foreign population, 
flanked by saloons on every side, was rented and 
furnished for a reading room; the Central W. C. 
T. U. paid the rent for several years, until the 
hard times of the last decade forced them to 
stop. Since then it has been kept up through the 
untiring efforts and great self-denial of Mrs. 
Bruun, who has been nobly assisted by Miss 
Muhlhausen. 

The Hope Mission has been truly a Bethel to 
souls for eighteen years; thousands have fre- 
quented the reading room yearly, and large num- 



19C 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



bers of drinking men have been converted at the 
evening and Sunday gospel temperance meetings. 

From this mission sprang the Scandinavian 
W. C. T. U., the Scandinavian Prohibition Club 
and a Loyal Temperance Legion. They each hold 
weekly meetings in Harmony Hall. 

The association was incorporated by the laws 
of Illinois in May, 1905. The incorporators were: 
Rev. S. C. Simonsen, Dr. Horace Somers, Mrs. 
Matilda B. Carse, all of Chicago, and Mrs. Ma- 
rion H. Dunham of Burlington, Iowa. The ob- 
ject was "to establish in Chicago and maintain, 
a gospel temperance mission, with free reading 
room and temperance lunchroom for men; a 
separate reading room, dining room and rest 
room for wo.men; also to establish and main- 
tain a home for working girls, especially Scan- 




Harmony Hall. 

dinavians, to afford a safe and cheap stopping 
place and bring them under Christian influence." 
The administration of this work is to be carried 
on by eleven trustees. These trustees have been 
appointed. Mrs. U. F. Bruun was elected presi- 
dent, Miss Louise Muhlhausen vice-president, 
Mr. Carl A. E. Droisum secretary, Mr. H. A. 
Haugan (president State Bank of Chicago), 
treasurer. 

The trustees have purchased Harmony Hall, 
on the corner of Ohio and Noble streets, for 
$5,000. The lot is 125 by 29 feet. The hall was 
built fifteen years ago by the Harmony Total 
Abstinence Society. The founder was Lamit Carl- 



sen. His young manhood was ruined by drink, 
but he reformed and became a Christian. A few 
years ago he died. After his death the society 
broke up. There, was a mortgage on the prop- 
erty and it was foreclosed. It was about to be 
rented for a beer and dance hall, had not Mrs. 
Bruun five years ago rented it for "The Hope 
Mission." The building is of brick, with a stone 
foundation, strong enough to erect upon it three 
more stories. It is the intention of the trustees 
to enlarge it for a Scandinavian girls' home, 
which is greatly needed, and for other purposes 
above enumerated. 

When it is considered that there are about 
250,000 Scandinavians in Chicago, and that Har- 
mony Hall is the center of this vast foreign popu- 
lation, the strategic position of this building for 
the ' work contemplated for God and humanity 
cannot be overestimated, especially as this part 
of the city swarms with saloons and every other 
iniquity that degrades the people. 



The First Norwegian Total 
Abstinence Society 

By Mrs. U. F. Bruun. 

Not long after the W. C. T. U. crusade in 
1874 a few Norwegian men interested them- 
selves in the temperance cause and began to 
consider the organization of a Scandinavian 
temperance union. It was, however, uphill 
work, and it was only after persistent agitation 
that they ventured to call a meeting. A meeting 
was held, however, and though only four or five 
responded they were earnest workers and friends 
of the cause and kept up the agitation until they 
succeeded in organizing the First Norwegian 
Total Abstinence Society, and appointed them- 
selves as its first officers. The meetings were 
held at the home of Mrs. Christ Wilson, who 
then lived at 286 W. Erie street. Those pioneers 
of the first society were Messrs. C. Wilson, M. 
F. Hammer, P. Seim, P. S. Diihring and Tallack 
Ellingson. Mr. Ellingson while in Norway was 
a co-worker with the famous and beloved As- 
bj0rn Closter. 

In 1876 the society began to hold meetings in 
the Lutheran church at the corner of Peoria 
street and Grand avenue, under the presidency 
of Lauritz Carlsen, a converted inebriate who 
was an exceedingly enthusiastic and eloquent 
pleader for the cause. The membership grew to 



THE NORWEGIANS IN CHICAGO 



197 



900, and among them were some of the best 
business men in the city. In 1878 there arose 
a discussion as to the religious part of the meet- 
ings, together with other matters, and resulted 
in a split in the ranks. President Carlsen and 
seventy members went out of the union and 
started the Harmony Total Abstinence Society, 
which held meetings in different places. In 1888 
they built the Harmony Hall at the corner of 
Noble and Ohio streets. 

Mr. Carlsen was president most of the time 
until 1893, when he died. The late Mr. Ole Br. 
Olsen, editor of Reform, was won over to the 
temperance cause at one of Mr. Carlsen's meet- 
ings and proved an efficient helper. For a time 
he was president of the society. Mr. Olsen aft- 
erward started the Scandinavian Prohibition 
Club in Chicago -in 1887. The Harmony So- 
ciety dissolved in 1902 and the Hope Mission 
and the Scandinavian W. C. T. U. took up the 
work and have held weekly gospel temperance 
meetings in Harmony Hall for the past five 
years. The First Norwegian Total Abstinence 
Society broke up in 1883; but though of short 
duration it educated our people and brought to 
light talent which might have remained unrec- 
ognized. 

The best temperance workers among our peo- 
ple to-day, those who are now carrying on the 
work both in the Hope Mission and the Scan- 
dinavian Good Templars and Templars, were 
once members of the First Society. So, even if 
the temperance unions are no more, the good 
seed they have sown is bearing fruit unto eternal 
life. 

"Live for self you live in vain; 

Live for God and truth, you live again." 






International Order of 
Good Templars 



By Henry Weardahl. 

As an introduction to this little historical 
sketch of the temperance movement in our local- 
ity, Mr. Tallak Ellingsen should be mentioned 
as the very first of the worthy workers in Chi- 
cago. O. G. Horton, another of the pioneers, 
held for many years honorary positions in the 
first Norwegian total abstinence society of 
Chicago, as well as in the I. O. G. T. and the 



T. of T. Hans Larsen, a well known tailor of 
Chicago, has been an active worker for over 
thirty years, spending both time and money in 
the cause. L. D. Oftedahl is also an old-time 
temperance worker who for many years has 
offered his talent and held prominent positions 
in the T. of T. 

The first Norwegian I. O. G. T. lodge was 
organised in Chicago by C. A. Vannatta, Nov. 

28, 1879, as Norden Lodge No. 65. Among the 
first members were O. G. Horton, Fred Nelson, 
Swan Carlson, Wm. Hillestad and Mr. Olsen (a 
tailor now residing in Brainerd, Minn.), all of 
whom were. members of the first Norwegian total 
abstinence society. Two other pioneer members 
of the Norden Lodge were Ole Johnson (a street- 
car conductor of Chicago, now deceased) and C. 
A. Dahl, a jeweler. Norden No. 65, was in active 
operation for eight years and a half. In the 
August-October quarter, 1881, it reached its high- 
est membership about 250. This lodge pos- 
sessed its own banner as well as a good library. 

In the fall of the year 1880 the Jail Resque 
was organized by Norden members, and worked 
in the English language. Associate members 
from Norden were O. G. Horton, C. A. Dahl and 
others, Mr. Dahl being chief templar. The Jail 
Resque, of which state senator Niels Juul was 
also a member, existed for about three years. 

Leif Erikson No. 176, Springfield, 111., was 
organized Feb. 9, 1889, by O. Odelius, the greater 
part of the membership being employes of the 
Illinois Watch Co., Springfield. First L. D. was 
Sivert Sve (now watchmaker and jeweler at 
Pana, 111.). 

Enighed, No. 262, was organized Oct. 29, 1890, 
by Senator Niels Juul. First L. D. was Chr. 
Nicolaisen. 

Nordlyset No. 572, was organized Aug. 2, 1891, 
by Arvie Queber. First L. D., H. A. Johnson. 

Det Code Haab No. 660 was organized March 

29, 1892, by Senator Juul. First L. D., Rasmus 
Olsen; C. T., Jorgen Carlsen; V. T., Mrs. A. 
Rasmussen; Sec., Hans Johannesen; Fin. Sec., 
A. Rasmussen; Treas., Ingebrigt Ingebrigtsen; 
M., Tonnes Christensen; P. C. T., John Nelson. 
The following were also charter members: Th. 
Gransted, T. T. Obrestad, S. C. Michelson, Peter 
Vallem, Mrs. Louise Hansen, Mi'ss Bertha Han- 
sen. This lodge worked for seven years, and its 
highest membership about 150 was reached in 
the May-July quarter, 1894. Possessed library 
and banner. 

A juvenile temple, under the name of Good 
Hope No. 173 was instituted March 25, 1893, 
and reacher a membership of about 200. Organ- 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



izer and Superintendent Hanna Grimm (now 
Mrs. Stevens). 

Nordkap No. 262 was organized Feb. 2, 1893, 
by the amalgamation of Nordlyset No. 572, and 
the Norden No. 262, the latter being a reorgani- 
zation of Enighed No. 262, and chartered Oct. 
9, 1892. First L. D., Annie Pedersen; C. T., C. 
Nicolaisen; V. T., Chas. Olsen; Sec., Geo. Bil- 
ling; Asst. Sec., Augusta Scholberg; F. S., Lau- 
ritz Hoist; Treas., John M. Pederson; M., Bernh. 
Johnson; D. M., Alma Ecker; G., Geo. Olsen; 
Sent., T. Tonnesen; S. J. T., Marie Lange; P. 
C. T., H. Svee. This lodge was in active opera- 
tion for about seven years. 

Tordenskjold No. 221 was organized April 1, 
1894, by Geo. Billing. First L. B., Mauritz Ris- 
ing. 

Northern Star No. 440 was organized April 4, 

1894, by C. A. Vannatta. First L. B., A. G. Ten- 
neison; C. T., John M. Pederson. Worked with 
English as well as Norwegian rituals, alternat- 
ing. 

Fremtids Haab No. 779 was organized June 
25, 1895, by Henry Weardahl. L. B., Jens Jen- 
sen; P. C. T., Hans P. Pedersen; C. T. H. P. 
Jensen; Sec., Chr. J. 0stergaard. 

Aurora No. 782 was organized Sept. 1, 1895, 
by Bateman Ganley. First L. B., Br. Henry M. 
Oyen; C. T., S. C. Michaelsen; Sec., Thw. Gran- 
sted. 

Midnatsolen No. 812 was organized Bee. 1, 

1895, by Henry Weardahl. First L. B., Minnie 
Billing; C. T., Haftor Svee, Sr.; P. C. T., Olaf 
Sundt; V. T., C. Stefansen; Sec., Nettie Sundt. 

Viking No. 859 was organized at Evanston, 
111., April 12, 1896, by Henry Weardahl. First 
L. B., Tillie Hansen; P. C. T., Anton Andersen; 
C. T., Chr. Kjelsoe; S. J. T., Anna Kjelsoe; Sec., 
Knud Olsen. The Viking Lodge existed for seven 
or eight years and had a large roll of members, 
the majority of whom, after its dissolution, organ- 
ized themselves into the English lodge Venus. 

Success No. 966 was organized in September, 
1898, by members of Bet Code Haab, Aurora and 
Nordkap. The organizer as well as first L. B., S. 
C. Michaelsen: C. T., O. K. Olsen; V. T., R. Op- 
stad; Sec., G. Kloster; F. S., Nils Oftedahl; 
Treas.; Olaus Christensen; P. C. T., -Hans Lar- 
sen. 

Norr^na No. 113 was organized June 28, 1903, 
by Ch. Kjelsoe. First L. B., Henry Weardahl; 
C. T., Einar Kristiansen; V. T., Mrs. Christianna 
Svee; Sec., Haftor Svee; F. S., Carl Jorgensen; 
M., Hans Edw. Olsen; P. C. T., Chr. Ludvigsen; 
Treas., Izac Michaelson; G., Arnt Grotle. Nor- 



r0na possesses its own banner. In the Grand 
Lodge Report of June, 1905, the Norrjzfna is said 
to enjoy the distinction of having done more edu- 
cational work than any other lodge within the 
jurisdiction. Every other meeting night during 
the winter quarter had been set aside for this 
work, and a number of lecturers were engaged 
and at these meetings addressed the members on 
various subjects, all centering around the liquor 
question. And not only this, the lodge has been 
instrumental in the organization of another lodge 
working in the Norwegian language. The regu- 
lar visitations between the two lodges have 
strengthened both, and the most promising re- 
sults of the work are expected in the future. 

Tordenskjold No. 137 was organized Feb. 11, 
1905, by Bistrict Lecturer G. Lindgren, with the 
assistance of ten associate members from Nor- 
r0na Lodge. First L. B., Hans Olsen; C. T., 
Tom Benton Kleve. 

Kamp og Seir No. 157 was organized Sept. 10, 

1905, by A. Ronberg and Chr. Hestnes. First L. 
B., Albert Lie; C. T., Hans Lie; V. T., Jann Byb- 
dal; S. J. T., Miss Rose Krembull; Sec., Oscar 
Olsen; Financial Sec., S. Setlikmann; Treas., Ole 
Olufsen; M., Olaf Osmundsen; Chap., Mrs. Marie 
Lie; Sent., Miss Helga Bybdahl; G., Alfred Lie; 
P. C. T., H. Lie. 

Henrik Ibsen No. 101 was organized August 5, 

1906, by Chr. Ludvigsen under the auspices of 
the Norwegian Bistriktcirkel of I. O. G. T., Chi- 
cago. L. B., Albert Metzke; C. T., Henry 0de- 
gaard; V. T., Oscar Olsen; S. J. T., Mrs. Oscar 
Olsen; Sec., Chr. Hestnes; Treas., Hans E. Ol- 
sen; M., Albert Lie; Chap., Miss Herdis Chris- 
tiansen; Guard, Thorwald Hansen; Sent., K. Mor- 
tensen; B. M., Miss Nelly Johnsen; P. C. T., Mrs. 
A. Metzke. 

January 1, 1907, a Scandinavian Grand Lodge 
was organized in Illinois. About 1,500 Scandi- 
navian members of the English speaking Grand 
Lodge resigned and organized their own Grand 
Lodge. Of the 1,500 members that organized the 
Junior Grand Lodge were 1,300 Swedes and 200 
Norwegians. Notwithstanding the fact that the 
Norwegians were in the minority a good deal of 
notice and consideration was given them on ac- 
count of the energy they had put forth in estab- 
lishing the Scandinavian Grand Lodge and the 
splendid work for the good of the Order general- 
ly. The result was that in two of the highest 
offices were placed Norwegians; namely, Grand 
Counselor, Henry Weardahl, of "Norr^na" lodge, 
and P. G. C. Templar, Richard Nilsen of "Tor- 
denskjold" lodge. 

February 17, 1907, the Norwegians organized 



THE NORWEGIANS IN CHICAGO 



199 



their own district lodge under the Scandinavian 
Grand Lodge. It was organized by Henry Wear- 
dahl with jurisdiction in Lake, Cook, Will and 
Du Page counties with privilege to put all Nor- 
wegian lodges, organized in the state, under their 
jurisdiction. 

The'following were the first officers of the Nor- 
wegian District Lodge: D. C. T., Chr. Ludvig- 
sen, of "Norr^na"; D. Coun., Aksel Gundersen, 
of "Henrik Ibsen"; D. V. T., Lu'dvig Hagen, of 
"Kamp og Seier"; D. S. J. T., Mrs. Ingeborg 
Ludvigsen, of "Norr0na"; D. S., Henry 0de- 
gaard, of Henrik Ibsen"; D. Treas., Sam Stivens, 



Skandinavian Young Men's 
Christian Association 

On Oct. 28, 1872, a society was organized in 
Chicago called "De unge Maends kristelige For- 
ening of den Norsk Evang. Trefoldigheds Me- 
nighed i Chicago, 111." The soul and originator 
of this commendable enterprise was the lamented 
Rev. J. Z. Torgersen, who devoted all his 
strength and energy to promote it until, in 1876, 
he was obliged to give it up in dismay. 

The first officers of the association were: Rev. 
J. Z. Torgersen, president; H. P. Hansen, first 
vice-president; B. O. Thompson, second vice- 
president; O. C. Erickson, corresp, sec'y; Thos. 
Monsen, recording secretary; M. Olsen, treas- 
urer; C. M. Jevne, librarian; assistant librarians: 
T. Christransen, O. Jensen, John A. Olsen, S. 
Sivertsen. 

By perusing the records for the following 
troublesome years one will find most of those 
names at the front. The first and greatest dif- 
ficulty encountered was in financing the enter- 
prise, and the next arose from overestimating 
the society's own resources in the zeal of its 
members to attain something great for the cause 
of the Lord. During the first struggles to get a 
footing one capital mistake is apparent. A veri- 
table craze for appointing committees seems to 
have prevailed, for at almost every business meet- 
ing some new committee was appointed, in conse- 
quence of which the same names were frequently 
found on half a dozen different committees. This 
procedure caused strife and discord instead of 
harmony and unity. Another weak spot of the 
society was its adherence to one definite branch 
of the church to the exclusion of other denomi- 
nations. Several attempts were made later on 



to sever this connection and to build on a broader 
Christian basis, but they only caused more strife 
and a bitter animosity in the contending fac- 
tions. 

At almost all of the business meetings the 
question came up regarding the relation of the 
society to the Trinity Congregation, until in De- 
cember, 1874, a voice was heard, that "something 
must be done in order to save the society from 
its present dying condition." Prominent and 
active members threatened to resign if a better 
condition of things were not at once inaugurated, 
and the dissolution became practically a fact at 
the meeting on Jan. 5, 1875. To be sure, the 
regular meetings were still held, and a committee 
was appointed to revise the constitution, but no 
real work was accomplished, and the indifference 
of the members became more evident as time 
passed, the intervals growing longer between 
the business meetings, until the society finally 
arranged its accounts and was formally dissolved. 



SCANDINAVIAN YOUNG MEN'S CHRIS- 
TIAN ASSOCIATION OF CHICAGO, 
WEST DIVISION. 

On June 13, 1876, a meeting was held at the 
Tabernacle Church, corner Morgan and Indiana 
streets, at which an earnest effort was made by 
Scandinavian men to start a young men's Chris- 
tian association which would be able to give 
signs of a stronger vitality than the one igno- 
minously departed. Fifteen persons among those 
present agreed in writing to unite their forces 
and work in harmony to this end. A committee 
of five was appointed to get up a constitution 
and by-laws, the members being S. C. Hansen, 

B. O. Thomsen, L. Ross, O. E. Erickson and E. 
Johnson. At the next meeting this committee 
reported and further arrangements were made, and 
thus was born the present strong and healthy 
Young Men's Christian Association. 

The first association was, however, not yet 
absolutely dissolved, and it needed more time to 
liquidate its business before it finally closed its 
doors. 

Wise by its earlier experience, the new asso- 
ciation adopted this paragraph in its by-laws: 
"It shall be absolutely, prohibited to discuss de- 
nominational differences of the various churches 
in this association." 

As the first officers of the association the fol- 
lowing were elected: E. Johnson, president; B. 

C. Hansen, vice-president; O. Erickson, corre- 
sponding secretary; P. A. G. Moe, recording sec- 



200 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



retary; P. Pedersen, librarian; L. Ross, treas- 
urer. 

The records from that time make it evident 
that the work from the beginning was started in 
dead earnest. Prayer meetings, bible classes, 
Sunday evening entertainrrjents, singing exer- 
cises, etc., were of the weekly occurrences. 



available, and as a consequence two members were 
expelled and one (the accused) resigned. All of 
them had been very enthusiastic and active work- 
ers for the association. 

One great step in the right direction was 
taken when the association bought the library of 
300 volumes which had belonged to the older 







Scandinavian Ycur.g Men's Christian Association of Ch'.cago, West Division. 



The proportions of this book do not admit of 
a more extended record of the activities of the 
society. Suffice it to mention here that already 
before the first year of its existence had expired 
serious dissensions began to arise about the 
doctrine of the atonement. No man of sufficient 
authority to explain or settle the difficulty was 



association. Later on lectures were given in 
favor of the association by such men as Prof. R. 
B. Anderson, P. Fisk and Peter Hendriksen, 
and a bazar, held in the fall of 1879, showed a 
net result of $158.00. This and other incomes 
were badly needed, as the association not seldom 
was in a debt of more than $100 for rent alone, 



THE NORWEGIANS IN CHICAGO 



201 



and compelled to move from one locality to an- 
other. 

No wonder, therefore, that the idea of a build- 
ing for the association ripened under such cir- 
cumstances, and here, as at many other times 
before and since, one of the oldest and truest 
friends of the association, Ole L. Stangeland, 
"put his shoulder to the load" with a substantial 
subscription. ' 

The first step now was to get the association 
incorporated under the laws of the state. This 
was done on April 14, 1888, with three members 
as a board of directors. These three were Stan- 
geland, Pihl and A. K. Melu'm, who seem to have 
been the only members that were naturalized 
citizens. As members of the building committee 
were elected: O. L. Stangeland, L. Blix, S. 
Swenson, H. Bakke, K. J. Hall, A. K. Melum and 
P. Theel. 

The committee now went to work gathering 
subscriptions holding bazars and giving musical 
entertainments, etc., so that the association at 
its sixteenth annual festival in June, 1892, could 
show a building fund of $2,564. Two years later, 
on a similar occasion, the committee was able 
to report that the building lots on W. Erie street 
had been bought, and here finally the building 
was erected. It was dedicated with festivities 
Nov. 5, 1899. This year consequently may be 
put down as the banner year in the annals of 
the association. The lots at No. 315%-317 W. 
Erie street cost $3,300, and the building and lots 
$11,500. It was encumbered to an amount of 
$7,700. 

At the annual election of officers in 1906, 
which was their thirtieth aniversary, the follow- 
ing were chosen: Iver Olsen, president; Tarald 
Thorp, vice-prcs-dent; S. G. Nilsen, recording 
secretary; John Person, financial secretary; John 
Olsen, corresponding secretary; O. L. Stange- 
land, treasurer; Gus. Nilsen, librarian. At this 
time a valuable addition to the association's li- 
brary was also made. Rev. Torgersen had left a 
well selected library of nearly a thousand volumes, 
and as his widow could not make any use of it 
she offered the association the first opportunity 
to buy it at practically their own price. A price 
was agreed upon and Mr. Iver Olsen started out 
to see what he could do in raising the needed 
money. He called upon Paul O. Stensland first, 
who, after having heard Mr. Olsen's explanation, 
handed him the full amount, saying, "Let that 
be my contribution to your association." They 
have now a very good selection which proves of 
great interest to visitors and members. The fol- 
lowing regulations may be of interest: 



The reading room is open every day from 
9 a. m. to 9 p. m., with free admission to all. 
Newspapers and magazines in different lan- 
guages can be found on the tables. 

From the library, which numbers over 1,000 
volumes, books are loaned under certain rules. 

Regular meetings every Sunday at 4 and 8 p. m. 
Bible classes every Tuesday, except the' first 
Tuesday in the month, which is -set aside for the 
business meeting. The association appoints 
seven committees, of three members each, which 
look after details and report to the board of 
directors. These committees are: revivals and 
missions, employment and boarding houses, 
finance, library and printing, admission of mem- 
bers, selection of reading, and hall. 

The association has a choir of well trained 
voices. 



The Norwegian Natio- 



nal League 



By Andrew Hummeland. 



(Det Norske Nationalforbund i Chicago) is a 
central delegate organization, formed by Nor- 
wegian societies, clubs and lodges of Chicago 
as their joint organ in matters of common in- 
terest. It is composed of two delegates, elected 
respectively for one and two years, from such 
Norwegian societies in Chicago as desire, repre- 
sentation. Twenty-five organizations, being the 
principal Norwegian societies of the city, are 
now represented. 

The league is strictly non-sectarian and non- 
political. The main thought in founding it was 
the establishment of a central organization, rep- 
resentative of the Norwegians of Chicago, pre- 
pared and equipped to take the initiative and un- 
dertake the management when joint action on 
part of the Norwegians of Chicago in matters of 
interest to our nationality would seem necessary 
or desirable. The aim is to make the league as 
representative of our people as possible. To 
that end every Norwegian society or organiza- 
tion having a membership of at least twenty 
may send delegates. It has also been the policy 
of the league to secure the co-operation of such 
of our Norwegian citizens as are not represented 
in the various Norwegian organizations, by in- 



202 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



eluding on its committees for special national 
undertakings representative Norwegian-Amer- 
icans not directly affiliated with the league. 

The league was formed in 1899. On June 26 
in that year delegates from twenty-three Nor- 
wegian societies met in response to a call issued 
by a number of representative men, among 
whom were Dr. Karl F. M. Sandberg, Birger 
Osland, L. Johansen, Julius Jaeger and Ferdinand 
Nelson. The desirability of, and necessity for, 
a central organization had long been recognized. 
It was felt that many occasions would arise, 
as they had arisen in the past, calling for joint 
action by all Norwegians in Chicago in matters 
of common interest. The existence of a central 
body, which when occasion should arise might 
serve as the framework for a strong and active 
organization ready and capable of doing effective 
work when concerted action is desirable, would 
tend to unify Norwegian-Americans and give 
prestige and strength to common interests and 
undertakings. With this in view the league was 
formed. The organization was completed at a 
meeting held August 7, 1899, at which the fol- 
lowing officers were elected: President, Dr. K. 
F. M. Sandberg; first vice-president, L. Johan- 
sen; second vice-president, Mrs. M. Monsen; 
third vice-president, Julius Jaeger; corresponding 
secretary, Ferdinand Nelson; recording secre- 
tary, Birger Osland; treasurer, C. H. Lee. 

The league was founded by the following Nor- 
wegian societies: The First Norwegian Wo- 
men's Burial Society; the women's societies 
"Thora" and "Minde"; the Norwegian Women's 
Industrial Society; Nora Lodge R. H. K.; the 
Tabitha Hospital Society; North Star Lodge 
137, I. O. M. A.; the Norwegian Singers' Soci- 
ety; Singing Society Bj0rgvin; Nordfaelles Su- 
preme Lodge; the Norwegian Turners' Society; 
the sick-benefit society "Nordlyset"; the Nor- 
wegian Club; the Norwegian Quartet Club; Leif 
Erickson Lodge No. 9, R. H. K.; the society 
"Nordlasndingen"; "Tordenskjold" Lodge No. 15, 
R. H. K.; Leif Erickson Monument Society; 
Athletic Club "Sleipner"; the Scandinavian- 
American Prohibition Club; Court I. O. F. Nor- 
mania No. 174 I. O. F.; the Norwegian Sharp 
Shooters' Society; the Norwegian Old Settlers' 
Society; Normania Band; the Norwegian Glee 
Club; Dovre Lodge No. 18, R. H. K.; the Scan- 
dinavian Painters' Union; Scandia Lodge No. 80, 
K. of P.; and the Scandinavian Shoemakers' 
Society. 

The league was incorporated under the laws 
of Illinois on Sept 4th, 1899. 

Within a few months after its organization 



proof was strikingly afforded of the utility of 
the organization. In the fall of 1899, in a fear- 
ful storm, 173 Norwegian fishermen lost their, 
lives at R0vser, Norway, bringing distress and 
want into as many homes. The situation of the 
widows and orphans called for immediate relief ; 
from kinsmen on both sides of the sea. The 
league was found equipped and ready to take 
hold of the matter so far as Chicago Norweg- 
ians were concerned. At a meeting of the league 
on December 3, 1899, it was decided to render 
aid, and a committee was appointed to arrange 
a benefit entertainment and concert at the Au- ] 
ditorium, which was held on December 20, with j 
the result that the net proceeds thereof, amount- 
ing to $1,100, were sent to the proper local au- 
thorities in Norway for distribution. 

On many other occasions the league has rend- 
ered its financial assistance to alleviate distress 
as well as in aid of Norwegian charitable insti- 
tutions. Among its contributions may be men- 
tioned: To the Norwegian Tabitha Hospital in 
Chicago, proceeds of bazar under the auspices 
of the league, $2,300; to the famine sufferers in 
Norway, Finland and Sweden, proceeds of a 
notable Auditorium concert, etc., $2,700; to the 
Norwegian Children's Home in Chicago, $450; 
to the fire sufferers at Aalesund, $550; to aid in 
the erection of the Leif Erickson monument in 
Chicago, $250. About $11,000 in the aggregate 
has been contributed by the league in these and 
like worthy causes. 

As part of the purpose of its organization, as 
declared in its constitution, the league has for 
years undertaken the arrangement for the cele- 
bration of the 17th of May in Chicago. These 
patriotic celebrations under the auspices of the 
league have become annual events among the 
Norwegians of Chicago. The attendance has 
reached ten thousand, and United States senators 
and the governor of the state have been speak- 
ers on these occasions. 

Among other undertakings of the league may 
be mentioned: A series of lectures given in the 
spring of 1904 with a view to encouraging inter- 
est in Norwegian literature; the giving of sum- 
mer festivals in 1902 and 1903 discontinued in 
later years as more properly coming within the 
province of the individual societies; and the re- 
ception in .1905, conjointly with the Norwegian 
Singers' League, of the Norwegian student 
singers. 

The crisis in 1905 in Norway found the league 
fully prepared to do whatever would seem nec- 
essary or advisable in aid of the cause. A great 
mass-meeting was arranged at the Auditorium in 



THE NORWEGIANS IN CHICAGO 



203 



Chicago by the league within ten days after the 
famous 7th of June resolution, at which meeting 
; the Norwegians of Chicago pledged their sup- 
port to the old fatherland, if support was needed. 
A stirring address of congratulation, with the 
assurance of material aid if it became necessary, 
was adopted at the meeting and cabled to the 
Norwegian government and Storthing. When 
the situation later threatened to become acute, 
the Norwegian National League took steps to 
redeem its pledges of material aid, and at a 
closed meeting appointed a central committee of 
representative men to form a relief organization 
designed to embrace the entire country. This 
committee was composed of the following Nor- 
wegian-Americans: A. Anderson, John Anderson, 
C. J. Backer, F. Ferdinandsen, Ommund Harve- 
land. A. Hummeland, Rev. A. Johnson, Marius ' 
Kirkeby, Hans Nordahl, H. P. G. Norstrand, O. 
C. S. Olsen, A. Opstad, Birger Osland, Paul O. 
Stensland and John A. Wold. The venerable 
John Anderson, publisher of the Skandinaven, 
was elected its chairman, Paul O. Stensland its 
treasurer, and Birger Osland its secretary. Ow- 
ing to their position as citizens of another coun- 
try, and in order to cause no unnecessary irri- 
tation among fellow-citizens, the members of 
the committee unanimously decided to take no 
public action until demanded by the situation, 
although it was held a sacred right to all Amer- 
ican citizens of foreign birth or extraction, and 
clearly permissible under international law, to 
render aid to the non-combatants and widows 
and orphans of the land of their fathers, in case 
of eventual hostilities. However, the organiza- 
tion was fully completed in a discreet manner, 
and preparations made to organize branches 
throughout the United States, at a moment's 
notice. 

To convey its congragulations to the New 
Norway the league appointed a delegation to at- 
tend the coronation celebration at Trondhjem in 
1906, which was cordially and courteously re- 
ceived by the king and authorities of Norway. 

The names of the officers of the league from 
its organization to the present time are as fol- 
lows : 

President, 1899-1901, Dr. K. F. M. Sandberg; 
1902, C. H. Lee; 1903-4, A. Hummeland; 1905, 
Ommund Harveland; 1906, A. Abrahamsen. 

First vice-president, 1899, L. Johanson; 1900, 
Olaf Ray; 1901, Mrs. E. Brown; 1902, J. M. 
Blackstad; 1903-1904, O. Harveland; 1905-1900, 
A. Anderson. 

Second vice-president, 1899, Mrs. M. Monsen; 
1900, Peder Olsen; 1901, F. Ferdinandsen; 1902, 



Mrs. E. Brown; 1903-1904, Mrs. K. M. Hagland; 

1905, Mrs. Valborg Lund; 1906, Mrs. K. M. Hag- 
land. 

Third vice-president, 1899, Julius Jaeger; 1900. 
Mrs. Elise Brown; 1901, J. M. Blackstad; 1902, 
Gus. G. Martin; 1903-1904, F. Ferdinandsen; 1905, 
John A. Wold; 1906, Carl Bauer. 

Corresponding secretary, 1899, F. .Nelson; 

1900, K. Drolsum; 1901, L. H. Stehnson; 1902, 
K. M. Hagland; 1903-1904, Ben Blessum; 1905, 
F. Asche; 1906, John Malmstrom. 

Recording secretary, 1899, B. Osland; 1900, F. 
Asche; 1901, A. B. Lange; 1902, Chas. Nergaard; 
1903, Gus. G. Martin; 1904-1905, O. J. Backer; 

1906, Albert Johnson, resigned; H. Jentoft. 
Treasurer, 1899, C. H. Lee; 1900, P. Balken; 

1901, C. H. Lee; 1902, F. Ferdinandsen; 1903, H. 
B. Hanson; 1904-1905, O. Gullicksen; 1906, C. J. 
Backer. 



The Nordmaendenes 
Sangforening 



Was organized on October 30, 1870. Some few 
months previous to this time eight or ten mem- 
bers of the Scandinavian Turners' Society, who 
had maintained a male chorus within that or- 
ganization, becoming dissatisfied with their con- 
ditions, seceded, and for a few months main- 
tained an independent organization called the 
Scandinavian Singing Society. 

Mr. Johan S. Lindtner, who had recently come 
from Norway, had been engaged as their in- 
structor. All of the members of this singing 
chorus except two being Norwegian, Mr. Lindt- 
ner began an agitation to make the Society 
purely Norwegian. At a meeting held at 204 
N. Desplaines street, on the date above given, 
his efforts were crowned with success; a reor- 
ganization took place, the name "Nordmaendenes 
Sangforening" was adopted, and Mr. Younge was 
elected its first president. 

The first public appearance of any note which 
the Nordmaendenes Sangforening made was on 
June 16, 1871, when it, together with Freja, a 
Swedish singing society, with Mr. Lindtner di- 
recting, tendered a serenade to Christina Nelson 
at her concert at the Germania Hall on the 
North Side. 

During the spring of 1872 the Nordmaendenes 
Sangforening began to lay plans for a celebra- 



204 



A HISTORY OK THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



tion of Norway's one thousand-year anniversary, 
and to that end endeavored to interest other 
Norwegian societies in the undertaking, but with- 
out success. Not daunted by being refused co- 
operation, the Nordmaendenes Sangforening pro- 
ceeded alone, and on July 18, 1872, made the 
grandest Norwegian demonstration which up to 
that tirqe had ever been made in America. In 
the morning a procession marched through the 
streets of the West Side and ended at the Chi- 
cago & North-Western Railway Station, where 
trains were taken to Haas' Park, which was lo- 
cated at or near the present site of the Con- 
cordia Cemetery. Fully five thousand persons 
attended the celebration at the park, where the 
day was spent listening to speeches and songs 
by a mixed chorus of one hundred and twenty 
voices. A cablegram was sent to Haugesund, 
Norway, where the principal celebration in Nor- 
way was taking place. A banner was presented 
by the Norwegian women of Chicago to the 
Nordmaendenes Sangforening, and is still one of 
its cherished treasures. At 6 o'clock the mem- 
bers returned to town and gave a concert in the 
evening. 

The success and popularity of this celebration 
had the effect of placing this young society in 
the front rank of the Norwegian societies in 
Chicago, a place which it has always kept. It 
also demonstrated to its members a useful 
lesson in later days that the Nordmxndenes 
Sangforening could accomplish anything which 
it undertook. 

In December, 1872, Ole Bull, then in the zenith 
of his fame, came to Chicago. He was met at 
the train by a large delegation from the Nor- 
wegian colony in Chicago and escorted to the 
hotel, where he was serenaded by the Nordmaen- 
denes Sangforening as he was also upon the fol- 
lowing day. These serenades so pleased Ole 
Bull that he presented the society with a dona- 
tion as a token of his appreciation. This gift 
was used as a foundation for the library of the 
society, which now numbers over 500 volumes. 

A few months later Mr. Lindtner, the instruc- 
tor, removed to California, where he still resides. 

Mr. A. Larson was then engaged as instructor, 
but remained only a few months. 

In September, 1873, Mr. August Uhe was en- 
gaged as instructor, and held the position until 
July, 1874. On August 9, 1874, Mr. John W. Col- 
berg became its instructor and remained such for 
the succeeding twenty-five years. 

Prior to 1874 the Nordmaendenes Sangforening 
had simply rented rooms at various places for 
holding rehearsals, but in that year it toojc a 



lease on a hall at 107 Milwaukee avenue, where 
it remained until 1878, when it moved into the 
Vindette Parlors (Erickson's .Hall), at 228-230 
Milwaukee avenue, which it also leased, and in 
which it remained until May 1, 1894. 

During the intervening years the Nordmaende- 
nes Sangforening had outstripped all of the other 
Norwegian societies, and numbered some four 
hundred members. It had also during this time 
giv^n two or three concerts each year, and had 
sung for a number of societies, which were al- 
ways eager to get its assistance and to use its 
reputation as a drawing card for their celebra- 
tions. 

On April 28, 1877, the Nordmaendenes Sangfor- 
ening was incorporated under the laws of the 
state of Illinois. 

In 1880 the Nordmaendenes Sangforening sere- 
naded Bjo'rnstjerne Bj0rnson, at his hotel, which 
won for them some warm words of appreciation 
from the Norwegian poet and author. 

In 1881 the first down-town concert was held 
in Central Music Hall, and in the same year a 
concert was held at the North Side Turner Hall 
for the relief and benefit of the sufferers at Fin- 
marken, which concert netted $350, which was 
sent to Norway. 

In 1883 a sick and funeral fund was established 
by the society for the benefit of its members, 
to which the society made a donation of $100; 
a funeral benefit of $60 is paid; also sick benefits 
of $6 per week; and although the dues of this 
department are but $4 per year, the fund has 
now upward of $1,000 in its treasury. That it 
has proven to be a "friend in need" can be at- 
tested to by its many beneficiaries during the 
past twenty-three years. 

In 1885 the Nordmaendenes Sangforening made 
an excursion to Madison, Wis., and gave a 
concert there, which was followed, in 1886, by a 
similar trip to St. Paul and Minneapolis; a trip 
to La Crosse, Wis., for the following year had 
been planned, but was abandoned on account of 
an invitation to attend the Sangerfest of the 
United Scandinavian Singers of America, to be- 
held in Philadelphia. The Nordmaendenes Sang- 
forening participated with forty-three singers, 
and was the only western singing society that 
was represented there; it also had a larger rep- 
resentation than any other society present. No 
prizes had been arranged for this sangerfest, but 
the Nordmaendenes Sangforening aroused so much- 
enthusiasm that is was presented with a silver- 
mounted drinking horn. The members were so 
well pleased with the reception accorded them in 
the Quaker City that they remained there for a 



THE NORWEGIANS IN CHICAGO 



205 



week, and the participants have not yet grown 
tired of recounting the experiences of that trip. 
This sangerfest was the first which had been 
held by the Scandinavians in this country, and 
the Nordmaendenes Sangforening at once took an 
active interest in the association. It took upon 
its own shoulders the burden of arranging the 
sangerfest in Chicago in 1889, and made a suc- 
cess of it; but it was at the expense of its own 
treasury, which it almost bankrupted. At this 
sangerfest more than ten additional societies 
joined the association. Sangerfests of this asso- 
ciation were held in Minneapolis in 1891, and 
again in Chicago in 1893, in both of which the 
Nordmaendenes Sangforening participated, after 
which the association disbanded. 

The" Northwestern Scandinavian Singers' As- 
sociation, of which mention is made hereafter, 
is a direct outgrowth of the United Scandinavian 
Singers of America. 

In 1896, at an international competitive singing 
contest, held at the Auditorium, the Nordmaende- 
nes Sangforening received a gold medal as a 
trophy. 

On October 30, 1895, the Nordmasndenes Sang- 
forening celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary by 
a banquet in Normania Hall, to which hall it had 
removed the previous year, and five years later 
it celebrated its thirtieth anniversary by a similar 
banquet at Wicker Park Hall. 

In the fall of 1899, a benefit concert was tend- 
ered to Mr. John W. Colberg on the completion 
of his twenty-fifth year as musical director, and 
shortly after this he resigned his position. Mr. 
Kristian Nilsson was engaged as director, re- 
maining until December, 1903. 

Prior to the year 1900, the government of the 
Normaendenes Sangforening rested in the hands 
of its members, the officers being elected directly 
by them semi-annually; and monthly business 
meetings were held in which the members par- 
ticipated. 

In 1900 the constitution and by-laws were 
thoroughly revised. The new revision provided 
that the government of the society should rest 
in a board of directors consisting of twelve mem- 
bers, who should be elected annually, at the 
yearly meeting of the society. All of the of- 
ficers of the society, except the revision commit- 
tee are elected by the board of directors. At the 
monthly directors' meetings the members have 
the right of speaking upon any subject before the 
meeting, but only the directors can vote. 

The revision committee, consisting of three 
members, is elected at the annual meeting, and 
in addition to auditing all the accounts they have 



the privilege of calling a special members' meet- 
ing, if, in their opinion, the directors are. not 
performing their duties properly. This preroga- 
tive has not yet been availed of, and the govern- 
ment by the board of directors has been found, 
after six years of experience, to be more satis- 
factory than the old system. 

The Nordmasndenes Sangforening had partic- 
ipated in no sangerfest since the dissolution of 
the United Scandinavian Singers of America; 
but in 1902 it received an invitation to attend a 
sangerfest to be held that year by the North- 
western Scandinavian Singers' Association, in 
Sioux Falls, S. D. In connection with the other 
singing societies belonging to the Norwegian 
Singers' League of Chicago, sixteen men from 
the Singers' League attended this sangerfest, and 
in 1904, under the same conditions, thirty-two 
men from the Singers' League (eleven of whom 
were from the Nordmaendenes Sangforening) 
participated in the sangerfest at Grand Forks, 
N. D. 

On Oct. 15, 1905, at a concert held at Wicker 
Park Hall, the society introduced to Chicago Mr. 
Harold Heide, the young Norwegian violinist, 
who has since that time made a successful tour 
through the Northwest. 

On Oct. 30, 1905, the thirty-fifth anniversary 
of the society was celebrated by a banquet at 
the Boston Oyster House, which surpassed the 
previous banquets given. 

In addition to the banquets given every five 
years, the other anniversaries are celebrated by 
stag parties, where old times are- recalled and 
plans for the future discussed. 

The Nordmaendenes Sangforening has prob- 
ably done more than any other single agency 
to keep alive in the hearts and minds of the 
Norwegian people of Chicago the memories 
of "gamle Norge," at its concerts given two or 
three times each year, and upon the countless 
other occasions where it has rendered its songs, 
it has quickened the pulse and warmed the hearts 
of its hearers. Its chorus singing has always 
been uniformly good, and in addition thereto it 
has always been fortunate enough to have in its 
ranks one or two solo singers who as amateurs 
have ranked high among the Norwegian singers 
of Chicago. 

All of the other singing societies now in the 
Norwegian Singers' League of Chicago were or- 
ganized by members of the Nordmaendenes Sang- 
forening, and in addition, by its precept and ex- 
ample, it has been indirectly instrumental in the 
organization of all of the Norwegian singing so- 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



cieties in the Northwest, so that it can truly be 
said to be the mother of them all. 

In addition to the singing societies referred to 
above, the Norwegian Relief Society was organ- 
ized by a committee appointed by the Nordmsen- 
denes Sangforening for that purpose. This relief 
society afterward organized the Norwegian Lu- 
theran Tabitha Hospital Society. 

Interest in sangerfests having been rekindled 
by the members who had attended those held 
in Sioux Falls and in Grand Forks, the Nord- 
masndenes Sangforening, in 1905, joined the North- 
western Scandinavian Singers' Association. 

In July, 1906, the Nordmaendenes Sangforening, 
with twenty-five singers, participated in the sang- 
erfest held at La Crosse, Wis. Though no of- 
ficial judgment was pronounced, it was conceded 
by the press of La Crosse and Minneapolis to 
have easily carried off first honors. 

Mr. Gustaf A. Carlson has been musical direc- 
tor since January, 1904, and Mr. Hans L. Ofte- 
dahl is the present (1906) president. 

The rehearsals of the chorus are held every 
Wednesday night, and the directors' meetings on 
the first Friday night of each month. 

The Nordmxndenes Sangforening has been lo- 
cated at Schoenhofen's Hall since 1898. It still 
has the largest membership among the Norweg- 
ian societies in Chicago. The membership as 
now constituted consists of three classes, viz.: 
active members (singers), passive or associate 
members and honorable members (yEresmedlem). 

When a member has been in good standing for 
twenty years, or has rendered exceptional ser- 
vices to the society (in the latter case it requires 
a three-fourths vote of all members present at 
the annual meeting to elect), he is created an 
honorary member. At a stag party arranged for 
the occasion the member, with suitable cere- 
monies, is decorated with a solid gold emblem. 
There are now some twenty honorary members 
of the society. 

The Nordmsendenes Sangforening, although its 
chief aim has been the fostering of Norwegian 
song and music in America, has also been a so- 
cial club. In addition to its many public enter- 
tainments it also holds two or three private 
parties for its members and their families each 
year, one of which is the Christmas festival, 
where each child receives a gift. 

It has also been the custom of the Nordmsen- 
denes Sangforening to serenade its members up- 
on the occasion of their marriage, and upon such 
anniversaries thereof as are celebrated. 

When a member has gone upon his last long 



journey, the Nordmasndenes Sangforening can 
always be relied upon to show its last homage 
and respect for the departed. 



The Sleipncr Athletic 
Club 

In the summer of 1894 a few young Norwegi- 
ans between the ages of 19 and 25 met in the] 
center of the Norwegian settlement, Centre 
avenue and Ohio street, for the purpose of or-j 
ganizing a Norwegian ball club to play Norweg- 
ian baseball. 

August 15, 1894, the club was started at the 
home of T. Wold, 98 N. Centre avenue. Fourteen 
members were present, namely: H. Rolseth, pres- 
ident; T. Young, secretary; S. Huseby, treas- 
urer, and A. Thorsen, T. Lund, L. Huseby, E. 
Wold, N. Nilsen, A. Nilsen, H. Wold, B. Knud- 
sen, K. 0ien, H. Hoel and A. Brodahl. The 
club was named "The Norwegian Baseball Club 
Sleipner." The meetings were held at first in 
the homes of the members and afterward in the 
basement at the corner of Grand avenue and 
Morgan street. The club, however, did not seem 
to prosper until the fall of 1895, when the few 
members who were left decided to hold an an- 
nual ball for the benefit of the club. This proved 
a success, and since then the club has been gain- 
ing both in membership and finances. In the 
latter part of the same year they concluded to 
make it an athletic club for the Norwegians of 
Chicago. On July 25, 1896, the club was incorpo- 
rated as "The Norwegian Athletic Club Sleipner." 
The charter members were O. Dahl, E. Helge- 
sen, Louis Andersen and E. Nystrom. In July, 
1897, a five-mile foot-race was run and one of 
the members of the club, E. Wold, lowered the 
Chicago record by six minutes and thus made 
the club known in athletic fields. The club grew 
so' fast that the place of meeting was too small, 
and they rented Scandia Hall. Here they took 
up the bicycle sport and the Sleipner boys were 
soon recognized as good riders. A ladies' class 
was also started and developed into one of the 
best features of the club, but disbanded in 1904. 
In the winter of 1900 the club held a skating 
contest for the championship of Illinois. This 
proved of unusual interest to the public; for it 
attracted over 25,000 spectators. A member of 
the club, J. Langh, won the race. Ever since 
the club has 'won the Illinois and Northwestern 



THE NORWEGIANS IN CHICAGO 



207 



champion races. All skaters and those inter- 
ested look to the Sleipner club to promote skat- 
ing. They are the most prominent in the skating 
ranks, and every year has seen an increase in 
competitors and visitors. There were fully 50,000 
present at the races in 1904. The Governor De- 
neen medal was won by C. L. Christopherson, 
a member of the club in 1895, for the champion- 
ship of Illinois. He also took the champion- 
ship of the Northwest. Annual balls and picnics 
are held by the club, and at the festival held 
last May the governor of the state was an hon- 
ored guest. 

In January, 1905, a permanent home for the 
club was decided upon and a committee selected 
to find a suitable location. A lot at 759 N. Fair- 
field avenue was bought, and in May of the same 
year they moved into, their new home, where 
they are comfortably housed with the latest ath- 
letic appliances, enthusiastic members, and in ex- 
cellent financial circumstances. 

In 1906, at the Illinois Athletic Club meet, the 
Sleipner tug-of-war team took two cups as first 
prizes one for light weight and one for heavy 
weight. In May of the same year, at the Young 
Men's Christian Association in Chicago, a wrest- 
ling match was held, sanctioned by the A. A. U., 
where members of Sleipner Athletic Club took 
second prize in the 115-pound and second prize 
in the 158-pound contest. 

The club teaches turning and all indoor and 
outdoor sports. 

The officers are: P. Becker, president; O. 
Sather, vice-president; J. C. Johnsen, recording 
secretary; O. Hagen, corresponding secretary; 
J. Wold, financial secretary; C. Becker, treasurer; 
C. Nelson, turner instructor; C. Magnusen, ath- 
letic manager. Trustees: O. Hendricksen, H. 
Hansen and C. Hendricks. The presidents of the 
club since its organization have been as follows: 
H. Rolseth, N. Nilsen, H. Stromsen, E. Helge- 
sen, Ed. Hansen, J. Wold, L. Langley, H. Han- 
sen, C. J. Becker, H. Wold and P. Becker. 



Court Normania No. 174, 
I. O. F. of Illinois 

Court Normania was organized October 6, 1888, 
by A. F. Johannessen, Fred. Ferdinandsen, and 
Lars Christiansen. These three men were mem- 
bers of Court Greeley of the same order and were 
desirous of organizing a subordinate branch with 



exclusively Norwegian members, and for that 
purpose organized a club with F. Ferdinandsen 
as chairman, A. F. Johannessen as secretary, and 
L. Christiansen as treasurer. After three months' 
labor they were able to present a charter member 
list as follows: O. M. Aasmundsen, A. T. Ander- 
sen, C. M. Andersen, Hans Andersen, T. O. An- 
dersen, Elias M. Berg, John Bergesen, Halvor 
Bjornson, Carl Christiansen, Lars Christiansen, 
Carl Christophersen, Carl Carlsen, Hans Ellefsen, 
Fred Ellis, Geo. Enger, Anton Engh, E. Erick- 
sen, F. Ferdinandsen, Chas. Foss, H. Gasman, 
Adolph Hansen, John Hansen, Thos. Holland, H. 
Hartwig, Theo. Jacobsen, Jens C. Jensen, A. F. 
Johannessen, Johannes Johannessen, Charles H. 
Johansen, C. M. Johnson, Aug. Kraft, Peder 
Knudsen, John M. Knudsen, Gunnar Larsen, John 
Larsen, Lorentz Larsen, Olaus Larsen, C. M. 
Madsen, John A. Malum, M. Michalsen, Martin 
Mickelsen, Adolph Moore, John M. Nelson, Chas. 
Nergard, Jacob Nilsen, Olaf Olsen, Martin Olsen, 
Theo. Olsen, O. T. Olsen, H. C. Olsen, J. A. D. 
Olsen, Chris Sangstad, D. M. Svensen, Ole Solem, 
C. Westby, B. Winnan. 

These charter members were all Norwegians, 
and conducted their business in the mother lan- 
guage, admitting as new members only Norweg- 
ians and those of Norwegian descent. The court 
took a prominent part in all Norwegian national 
affairs, parades and festivals; the 17th of May 
festivals always received a very strong support 
from this society, and the members are still proud 
of their achievements in the parade of the Nor- 
wegian societies to Kuhn's Park on May 17, 1891, 
when the court was awarded the prize for the best 
appearing body in the procession. The prize was 
presented by Mayor Carter H. Harrison, Jr., and 
consisted of a solid silver gavel with the follow- 
ing inscription: "In remembrance of May 17, 
1891. Presented to Court Normania, No. .174, I. 
O. F., as the best appearing body in the Proces- 
sion." 

When a call was made upon the Norwegian so- 
cieties for delegates to organize the Norwegian 
National League, Court Normania responded 
cheerfully, and its delegate, Mr. J. T. Johnsen, 
was a member of the committee to draw up a 
constitution and by-laws. 

While Court Normania's history was a glorious 
one, it was also a short one. It was subordinate 
to the Independent Order of Foresters of 
Illinois, a fraternal insurance organization, 
and subject to the rules and regulations of 
that order. It conducted its business on the 
"current cost" plan, collecting just enough to 
pay the claims as they came along and not 



208 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



providing for a higher death rate, which was sure 
to come when the members grew older; and 
it came even sooner than expected. To meet the 
increased number of claims an extra assessment 
was called now and then; then extras became 
more frequent, and, as they were objectionable to 
the members, the regular assessments were in- 
creased. An increase was made several times, and 
each time it was attended with a falling off in the 
number of members. The natural consequence 
was an increased death rate, and extra assess- 
ments were necessary again. Court Normania 
stood it nobly until it became evident that in a 
very short time the order would be placed in the 
hands of receivers, and then, at the regular meet- 
ing held on November 1, 1899, the court decided 
to dissolve and return the charter to the High 
Court. 

The following held the office of chief ranger 
(president) : A. F. Johannessen, Fred. Ferdinand- 
sen, Adolph Moore, Olaf Olsen, Lorentz Larsen, 
Chas. Nergard, B. Winnan, John I. Johnsen, John 
Hansen, Elias M. Berg and John Malmstrom. 

Previous to the dissolution the members, still 
desirous of holding together, had been looking 
around for other headquarters. At a mass meet- 
ing held on Sept. 15, 1899, Mr. Chas. Nergard 
presiding, the past history and experience were 
reviewed and the prospects of other fraternal so- 
cieties discussed. A committee of nine was ap- 
pointed to investigate the standing of other so- 
cieties. This committee, with Mr. John Malm- 
Strom as chairman, covered a large field, going 
into the history and financial standing of about 
a dozen of the prominent fraternal insurance so- 
cieties. A meeting, held on Oct. 3, 1899, to which 
this committee reported, decided almost unani- 
mously to apply to the Knights of the Maccabees 
of the World for a charter. This being granted, 
Normania Tent, No. 264, K. O. T. M., was or- 
ganized on Oct. 13, 1899, with the following char- 
ter members: A. Alfreds, Andy Andersen, C. E. 
Anderson, Frank Anderson, Herman Andersen, J. 
Oscar Andersen. Oscar R. Anderson, Elias M. 
Berg, Martin Bruhn, Halvor Bjornson, O. A. 
Bensen, John Bomengen, Hans Brons, Garl Chris- 
tiansen, Alex. Danielsen, Anton Engh, A. Enge- 
bretsen, A. Ferdinandsen, Fred. Ferdinandsen, D. 
M. Hansen, Emil Hansen, Gilbert Hansen, Hans 
Hansen, John Hansen, Henry Hansen, Severin 
Halvorsen, Axel Horn, John Horn, John Hauge, 
Julius Jensen, Anton Johnson, Otto E. Johnson, 
John T. Johnsen, Chas. H. Johansen, A. F. Jo- 
hannessen, Jens Kjer, Hilmer Korsan, Peter S. 
Lauson, Carl Lund, Adolph Moore, Alfred Moore, 



John Malmstrom, Thos. Madland, Nic. Morten- 
sen, Jacob Nelson, Chas. Nergard, Peder Oppe- 
dal, Marius Olsen, Sigw. G. Olsen, Anton Olsen, 
H. C, Olsen, J. A. D. Olsen, Jorgen Olsen, Olaf 
Olsen, Harry Rundquist, Kittel Sandsteel, John 
J. Sonsteby, Ole Solem, Oskar Sandberg, Elias 
Sunde, Albert Scorvoll, Andrew Thompson, A. 
Westby, John Weberg, B. Winnan, J. O. Win- 
nan. 

The tent, through the Knights of the Macca- 
bees of the World, to which it is subordinate, 
furnishes life insurance from $250 to $3,000. The 
rates are paid monthly, are graded according to 
age at admission, and are sufficiently high to take 
care of future obligations. The tent also furnishes 
sick benefits of $5 per week to its members when 
sick or disabled. Since its organization in 1899 
it has paid in sick benefits $1,435, and three of 
its members have died: Hans Hansen, after a 
membership of nine months; Henry Bendt, after 
a membership of one year, and Marius Madsen, 
after a membership of four years. It has now 
a membership of 120, the oldest one being 57 
years and the youngest 18 years of age. The 
average age of the members at the time of organi- 
zation was 38J^ years, but owing to a large in- 
flux of young members the average age is now 
36% years. 

The social affairs of the tent have not been 
conducted with a financial profit in view, but 
merely for the entertainment of its members and 
their friends. These "socials" have never been 
advertised and no tickets have ever been sold 
to strangers, but nevertheless they have been re- 
warded with great attendance, especially during 
the last two or three years. 

The tent naturally takes a great interest in 
Norwegian national affairs. On Oct. 12, 1900, in 
spite of a heavy rain, it turned out strong in the 
procession from Scandia Hall to Humboldt Park 
at the unveiling of the Leif Erickson monument. 
The Norwegian National League is strongly sup- 
ported by the tent, and its delegates always an- 
swer the roll call at the league's meetings. One 
of its delegates has held the offices of vice-presi- 
dent and treasurer, and another is now corres- 
ponding secretary of the league. 

Officers of Normania Tent, No. 264, Knights of 
the Maccabees of the World: 

Past Commander, 1899, John Malmstrom; 1900, 
J. T. Johnsen; 1901, Olaf Olsen; 1902, Olaf Olsen; 
1903, S. G. Olsen; 1904, Sam'l Olsen; 1905, H. 
Brons; 1906, J. J. Sonsteby. 

Commander, 1899, J. T. Johnsen; 1900, Olaf Ol- 
sen; 1901, Sigw. G. Olsen; 1902, Sigw. G. Olsen; 



THE NORWEGIANS IN CHICAGO 



209 



1903, Sam'l Olsen; 1904, H. Brons; 1905, J. J. 
Sonsteby; 1906, A. Scorvoll. 

Lieut. Commander, 1899, Olaf Olsen; 1900, J. 
J. Sonsteby; 1901, A. F. Johannessen; 1902, J. O. 
Andersen; 1903, H. Brons; 1904, W. B. Muench; 

1905, A. Ferdinandsen; 1906, S. G. Olsen. 
Record Keeper, 1899 and 1900, C. Nergard; 

1901 to 1906, J. Malmstrom. 

Finance Keeper, 1899 to 1905 (after which year 
that office was consolidated with the office of 
record keeper), F. Ferdinandsen. 

Chaplain, 1899, A. Moore; 1900, P. S. Lauson; 
1901, A. Ferdinandsen; 1902, A. Scorvoll; 1903, A. 
Lenzer; 1904, Theo. Masset; 1905, A. Scorvoll; 

1906, Theo. Masset. 

Sergeant, 1899, B. Winnan; 1900, S. G. Olsen; 

1901, A. Scorvoll; 1902, M. Johnson; 1903, F. A. 
.Ferdinandsen; 1904, G. W. Moore; 1905, P. S. 

Lauson; 1906, P. S. Lauson. 

Master-at-Arms, 1899, John Hansen; 1900, Hans 
Hansen; 1901, A. Thompson; 1902, H. Brons; 
1903, G. Osmundsen; 1904, C. J. Vevang; 1905, C. 
Andersen; 1906, C. J. Vevang. 

First Master of the Guards, 1899, Carl Christi- 
ansen; 1900, A. Westby; 1901, H. Brons; 1902, 
T. Christophersen; 1903, P. S. Lauson; 1904, B. 

D. Bank; 1905, C. J. Vevang; 1906, Rud. O. Sme- 
stad. 

Second Master of the Guards, 1899, C. H. Jo- 
hansen; 1900, H. Bjornson; 1901, Elias Sunde; 

1902, M. Monsen; 1903, A. Ferdinandsen; 1904, 
A. Lenzer; 1905 and 1906, Olaf Schow. 

Sentinel, 1899, E. M. Berg; 1900, A. Scorvoll; 
1901, H. Bjornson; 1902, E. Popp; 1903, C. Chris- 
tiansen; 1904, E. Knudsen; 1905, Rud. O. Sme- 
stad; 1906, L. H. Johnson. 

Picket, 1899, M. B. Olsen; 1900, H. Brons; 1901, 

E. M. Berg; 1902, C. Scorvoll; 1903 and 1904, M. 
Monsen; 1905 and 1906, C. Scorvoll. 



The Norwegian Sick-Benefit 
Society "Nordlyset" 

Was organized Jan. 22, 1893, as Branch No. 10 
of Den Skandinaviske Arbeiderforening af Nord- 
Amerika. The object of the society was, in ad- 
dition to that of the central organization, to 
establish a sick-benefit fund, and by socials, lec- 
tures, books and newspapers to work for the en- 
lightening of its members. The first officers 
were: O. A. Hedvig, president; H. E. Thorp, 
vice-president; J. Johnsen, recording secretary; 



A. Melsnes, financial secretary; F. Stang, treas- 
urer; S. Fredrichs, marshal; J. Stensrud, sergeant- 
at-arms; trustees: Charles Larsen, J. E. Dahl- 
strom and J. H. Haugen. Dr. Thomas Warloe 
was the society's first physician. Following were 
the charter members: Johan Andersen, H. C. 
Bierman, Hans Borger, Ole C. Brown, Olaf Bry- 
nilsen, Anthony Christensen, Oscar Fredrik 
Claussen, John E. Dahlstrom, Anthony Falk, 
Edward Finholt, Sigurd Fredrichs, Anton Hagen, 
Ole A. Hedvig, John Johnsen, Michael Kolberg, 
John A. Levin, Jjzirgen Lund, Adolf Melsnes, 
Oscar Martins, John Fr. Ollanqvist, Hakon I. 
Pedersen, Chas. G. Schiller, Fredrik Stang, Jakob 
Stensrud, Hans Edv. Thorp, S. A. Thorsen, Thos. 
Warloe, Ole Mikalsen Wold. A committee of 
five Messrs. J. Johnsen, A. Melsnes, J. H. Hau- 
gen, H. Pedersen and S. Fredrichs was ap- 
pointed to draft the by-laws. 

March 1, 1893, the organization festival was 
held in Scandia Hall. May 8, 1893, delegates 
were elected to the 17th of May arrangement 
committee of the central organization. This 
celebration, in which "Nordlyset" took part, was 
held in Jackson Park, at the time of the World's 
Fair, and was very successful. 

The officers for the second term, 1893, were: 
President, O. A. Hedvig; vice-president, J. H. 
Haugen; recording secretary, H. E. Thorp; 
financial secretary, O. Hoitomt; treasurer, E. 
Falk; marshal, J. Lund; sergeants-at-arms, J. 
Stensrud and O. M. Wold; trustee, A. Melsnes. 

Officers of the first term, 1894, were as follows: 
President, J. Johnson; vice-president, H. J. Pe- 
dersen; recording secretary, C. T. Birck; finan- 
cial secretary, C. G. Schiller; treasurer, A. Nokle- 
bye; marshal, S. Fre'drichs; sergeants-at-arms, M. 
S0hol and A. Hagen; Dr. T. Schroeder was elected 
to serve as the society's physician. The officers 
of the second term, 1894, were: president, J. 
Johnson, re-elected; vice-president, H. J. Peder- 
sen, re-elected; recording secretary, J. H. Hau- 
gen; financial secretary, O. Hoitomt; treasurer, 
A. N. Noklebye, re-elected; marshal, Ole C. Nil- 
sen; sergeants-at-arms, H. C. Knudsen and S. 
Fredrichs. 

August 16, 1894, "Nordlyset" withdrew from 
the Scandinavian Workingmen's Association. For 
one month it was undecided whether "Nordlyset" 
should join another organization. This question 
was finally decided on Sept. 20, 1894. Several 
members were not willing to unite with a new 
organization, and withdrew. The members that 
remained loyal to "Nordlyset" in this crisis were: 
John Johnson, Olai Hoitomt, S. Frederichs, Edw. 



210 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



Finholdt, Frank Ollanqtiist, C. G. Schiller, Christ. 
Ellertsen and John H. Haugen. 

October 24, 1894, "Nordlyset" affiliated with 
the United Scandinavians of America, and be- 
came Branch No. 1. The following officers were 
elected: President, O. Hoitomt; recording secre- 
tary, J. H. Haugen; financial secretary, Fr. El- 
lertsen; treasurer, C. G. Schiller; marshal, O. C. 
Nilsen; sergeant-at-arms, G. Olsen. Dr. Ur- 
heim was selected to serve as the society's phy- 
sician. Installation of these officers took place 
Nov. 15, 1894. 

June 4, 1895, it was decided to withdraw from 
the United Scandinavians of America and con- 
tinue as an independent society. On June 18 a 
committee was appointed to draft constitution 
and by-laws. On July 2 the new constitution 
and bv-laws were adopted, to go into effect Aug. 
7. Under the new constitution "Nordlyset" be- 
came a sick-benefit society, and also established 
a burial fund. On Dec. 17 officers were elected 
as follows: President, O. Hoitomt; vice-presi- 
dent, P. L. Jones; recording secretary, J. H. Hau- 
gen; financial secretary, O. B. Johnsen; treasurer, 
Gustav Olsen; marshal, J. Hoitomt; sergeant-at- 
arms, N. Olsen. 

"Nordlyset" was incorporated under the laws 
of Illinois, April 13, 1896. Incorporators: Olai 
Hoitomt, Nils Olsen, Hjalmar M. Fossum, Ove 
B. Johnsen and Ole Thoresen. Officers for the 
second term of 1896 were: President, O. Hoi- 
tomt, re-elected; vice-president, J. H. Haugen; 
recording secretary, Hjalmar Fossum; financial 
secretary, J. Hoitomt; treasurer, G. Olsen, re- 
elected; marshal, O. Thoresen; sergeant-at-arms, 
P. G. Swanson. 

Officers for the first term, 1897: President, 
O. Hoitomt; vice-president, J. H. Haugen; re- 
cording secretary, Hjalmar Fossum; financial 
secretary, O. C. Nilsen; treasurer, G. Hansen; 
marshal, Henry Jansen; sergeant-at-arms, E. 
Johnsen. Officers for second term, 1897: Presi- 
dent, O. Hoitomt; vice-president, Ed. Johnsen; 
recording secretary, Hjalmar Fossum; financial 
secretary, J. Hoitomt; treasurer, G. Hansen; 
marshal, Henry Jansen; sergeant-at-arms, O. 
Thoresen. 

Officers for first term, 1898: President, J. Hoi- 
tomt; vice-president, G. Olsen; recording secre- 
tary, H. Olsen; financial secretary, John Thore- 
sen; treasurer, Henry Jansen; marshal, E. Sal- 
vesen; sergeant-at-arms, Thomas Sorensen. 

Dec. 15, 1897, the name of the society was 
changed to "Den Norske Sygeforening Nordly- 
set" (the Norwegian Sick-Benefit Society "Nord- 



lyset"), and as such only Norwegians by birth or 
descent, and able to speak the Norwegian lan- 
guage, could become members. 

The officers for the second term, 1898, were: 
President, O. C. Nilsen; vice-president, Gustav 
Olsen; recording secretary, John H. Haugen; 
financial secretary, John Thoresen; treasurer, 
Henry Jansen; marshal, Jens Hoitomt; sergeant- 
at-arms, John S0rensen. 

Officers for first term, 1899: President, Jens 
Hoitomt; vice-president, Hans Hansen; record- 
ing secretary, John H. Haugen; financial secre- 
tary, Louis Tallaksen; treasurer, Henry Jansen; 
marshal, John Hansen; sergeant-at-arms, Gustav 
Hansen. 

March 7, 1899, O. Hoitomt was elected a del- 
egate to work with the Norwegian Tabitha Hos- 
pital's officers for the arrangement of a 17th of 
May celebration. This celebration was held in 
the Auditorium and was a great success. 

June 20, 1899, O. Hoitomt was elected a dele- 
gate to represent "Nordlyset" in a conference of 
the various Norwegian societies for the purpose 
of organizing a Norwegian national league. 

The officers for the second term, 1899, were: 
President, Jens Hoitomt r vice-president, Gustav 
Olsen; recording secretary, Wm. Sandberg; finan- 
cial secretary, Thomas Sdrensen; treasurer, H. 
Jansen; marshal, John A. S^rensen; sergeant-at- 
arms, Gustav Hansen. 

The officers for the first term, 1900, were: 
President, O. A. Hedwig; vice-president, John 
H. Haugen; recording secretary, Wm. Sandberg; 
financial secretary, Thos. Sorensen; treasurer, 
Gustav Hansen; marshal, John A. S0rensen; 
sergeant-at-arms, H. C. Hansen; delegate to the 
Norwegian National League, O. Hoitomt. Offi- 
cers for the second term, 1900; President, Jens 
Hoitomt; vice-president, L. Tallaksen; recording 
secretary, Edw. Johnsen; financial secretary, J. 
P. Wiik; treasurer, O. B. Johnsen; marshal, 
John A. S0rensen; sergeant-at-arms, Gustav Ol- 
sen and O. Andersen. 

Officers for the first term, 1901: President, J. 
Hoitomt; vice-president, H. C. Hansen; record- 
ing secretary, J. Nelsen; financial secretary, J. 
P. Wiik; treasurer, Gustav Hansen; marshal, 
Thos. Sorensen; sergeant-at-arms, O. Andersen 
and Andrew Larsen. At the annual meeting, Dec. 
18, 1900, it was decided to withdraw from the 
Norwegian National League. Officers for second 
term, 1901: President, John Hansen; vice-presi- 
dent, L. Tallaksen; recording secretary, O. A. 
Hedwig; financial secretary, John A. S0rensen; 
treasurer, Gustav Hansen; marshal, J. P. Wiik; 



THE NORWEGIANS IN CHICAGO 



211 



sergeants-at-arms, Ole Orum and Andrew Lar- 
sen. 

Officers for first term, 1902: President, J. 
Hoitomt; vice-president, John Hansen; recording 
secretary, William Sandberg, financial secre- 
tary, John A. SoYensen; treasurer, Gustav Han- 
sen; marshal, Thomas SjzSrensen, sergeant-at- 
arms, O. Iversen and H. C. Hansen; John H. 
Haugen and Jens Hoitomt were elected dele- 
gates to the Norwegian National League. Of- 
ficers for second term, 1902: President, Jens 
Hoitomt; vice-president, John Hansen; record- 
ing secretary, Olaf Oppedale; financial secretary, 
John A. Sjzirensen; treasurer, Gustav Hansen; 
marshal, Adolf Moore; : ergeants-at-arms, Oscar 
Iversen and Edw. Orum. Sept 17, 1902, "Nordly- 
set" decided to contribute to the bazar given 
by the Norwegian National League for the ben- 
efit of the Norwegian Tabitha Hospital. 

Officers for first term, 1903: President, Jens 
Hoitomt; vice-president, John Hansen; record- 
ing secretary, O. Oppedale; financial secretary, 
John A. S^rensen; treasurer, G. Hansen; mar- 
shal, Ole Moe; sergeants-at-arms, Oscar Iver- 
sen and Edw. Orum; delegate to the National 
League, M. Bjzirresen; physician, Dr. Wm. Hans- 
hus. Officers fpr second term, 1903: President, 
Jens Hoitomt; vice-president, A. Abrahamsen; 
recording secretary, Olaf Oppedale; financial 
secretary, John A. S0rensen; treasurer, Gustav 
Hansen; marshal, Martin B0rresen; sergeants-at- 
arms, H. Bjerke and Edw. Orum. 

Officers for first term, 1904: President, Olaf 
Oppedale; vice-president A. Abrahamsen; re- 
cording secretary, Hjalmar M. Possum; financial 
secretary, John A. S0rensen; treasurer, Gustav 
Hansen; marshal, John Hansen; sergeants-at- 
arms, Edw. Orum and Severin Nilsen; delegate 
to the Norwegian National League, Jens Hoi- 
tomt. Officers for second term, 1904: President, 
Olaf Oppedale; vice-president, A. Abrahamsen; 
recording secretary, Hjalmar M. Possum; finan- 
cial secretary, John A. S^irensen; treasurer, Gus- 
tav Hansen; marshal, Thomas Sjzirensen; ser- 
geants-at-arms, H. Bierke and Aslak Abraham- 
sen; delegate to the National League, A. Abra- 
hamsen. 

Officers for first term, 1905: President, O. 
Oppedale; vice-president, H. Bjerke; recording 
secretary, Hjalmar M. Possum; financial secre- 
tary, John A. Sjzirensen; treasurer, Gustav Han- 
sen; marshal, Edw. Orum; sergeants-at-arms, M. 
Frogner and Paul Andersen; delegate to the 
National League, Hjalmar Possum. Officers for 
second term, 1905: President, -O. Oppedale; 
vice-president, H. Bjerke; recording secretary, 



Hjalmar M. Possum; financial secretary, John' 
A. Sjzirensen; treasurer, Gustav Hansen; marshal, 
Edw. Orum; sergeant-at-arms, Ole Orum andi 
John Andersen; physician, Wm. Hanshus. 

Officers for first term, 1906: President, Hjal- 
mar M. Possum; vice-president, H. Bjerke; re- 
cording secretary, John Thoresen; financial "sec- 
retary, John A. Sjzirensen; treasurer, Gustav Han-, 
sen; marshal, Edw. Orum; sergeants-at-arms, 
Ole Orum and John Possum; delegate to the 
National League, A. Abrahamsen; physician, Dr. 
Wm. Hanshus. 

"Nordlyset" has held annual picnics and balls. 

Although not as strong in membership as some 
of the Scandinavian lodges in Chicago, it is very 
strong financially and has always been prompt 
in paying burial and sick-benefits to its members. 
It has always been willing to take part and assist 
in national undertakings. 



Skandinavian Women's 
Burial Benefit As- 



sociation 



The Scandinavian Women's Burial Benefit As- 
sociation of Chicago was organized Feb. 12, 1879, 
by Mrs. Christina Christophersen and eight other 
ladies. The object was to be of mutual help to 
each other and also to be able to give their 
members a respectable burial. In organizing 
they started with the idea of making the terms 
and conditions so reasonable that any one- 
would be able to join. The initiation fee was- 
fixed at 10 cents, 2 cents per week as dues and! 
2 cents per month for extra expenses. At the 
first meeting the receipts were 90 cents. Others 
joined at each meeting. After two years the in- 
itiation fee was raised to 50 cents, and shortly 
afterward to $1, with 25 cents additional for each 
death. When the association was four years 
old it paid its first death loss, amounting to $40. 
Since then the association has increased in mem- 
bership year by year until now (1906) it has a 
membership of 700. It has again increased the 
initiation fee, to $2, leaving the other dues as 
before. In the meantime the funeral benefits 
have increased from year to year until they now 
pay $200, which is paid to a surviving member 
of the family on the same day the death occurs. 

The management prides itself upon its prompt 
payments, and also upon the fact that it has 



212 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



helped many of its members in the way of pri- 
vate loans in case of sickness or urgent neces- 
sities. The members are mostly Norwegian 
women, but each member has a right to take in 
her husband and sons as members, though they 
have no vote in its management. The associa- 
tion has never been divided against itself, for 
under the management of Mrs. Christophersen 
it has always been united, although it had, dur- 
ing its early period, to weather many hard 
storms. It has never organized any branches, 
Mrs. Christophersen always having opposed such 
action. When she, after serving as organizer 



The members recall with great satisfaction 
that they were ridiculed and nicknamed as the 
two-cent society in the early days. Now, how- 
ever, they can help themselves, for the members 
have already paid 185 death benefits, loaned to 
its members about $600, sent $50 to the bereaved 
widows of fishermen at R0ver in Norway in 
1899, and have donated $100 to the Dr. Quales 
fund for the Old People's Home. Those who 
have seen this society grow from a feeble in- 
fancy to strong and vigorous age have every 
reason to thank God and be glad that they have 
been enabled to do good to others, who grate- 






Mrs. Christina Christophersen. 



Mrs. Anna Berg. 



and president of the association for twenty-five 
years, withdrew from the active management, 
other members could look up to something ac- 
complished for the benefit of fellow-men, for 
God had crowned their effort with success. The 
association has grown to be big and strong, in- 
deed rich. Aside from Mrs. Christophersen as 
president the society has been officered by eight 
others and by three trustees. The officers are 
elected every six months, but as a rule the same 
officers have held their places for years. After 
Mrs. Christophersen retired from the presidency 
the vice-president, Mrs. Anna Berg, was elected 
president and has held the office since. 



fully will recall the aid accorded them in the 
hour of need. The society hopes that it may 
be blessed with many such members as Mrs. 
Christophersen, who was 56 when she organ- 
ized this association. She is now over 82, but 
attends every meeting with the same intense 
interest for its welfare. She is seen in her best 
element when she is in the midst of the mem- 
bers of the society. She is the mother to them 
all. Fortunate is the society that has such a 
management; for here all strive to do right and 
fear no one. The present officers are: 

Past protector, Mrs. Christina Christophersen; 
president, Mrs. Anna Berg; vice-president, Mrs. 



THE NORWEGIANS IN CHICAGO 



213 



Solly Heole Solley; treasurer, Mrs. Marie Man- 
sen; first financial secretary, Margerethe Berg; 
second financial secretary, Dorothea Hendrick- 
son; secretary, Marie Fossum; marshal, Mrs. 
Sjulstad; door keeper, Mrs. Ottesen. 



Sick and Aid Society of 
the Bethlehem Con- 
gregation 

Was organized November 27, 1893; incorporated 
March 22, 1897. 

This society was the outcome of a meeting 
held in the church on Oct. 30, 1893. A few mem- 
bers of the church and also a few outsiders were 
present. Rev. T. N. Kildahl was selected as 
temporary chairman and Abraham Johnson was 
made secretary. The chairman then read a previ- 
ously prepared draft for a constitution and by- 
laws, which was adopted. 

The next meeting was held on Nov. 13, to com- 
plete the organization. It was then a question 
of members before completing the organization. 
Twenty-three of those present enrolled them- 
selves. 

The next meeting was on Nov. 27, when eigh- 
teen applications for membership were received 
and enrolled. An election was then held for 
permanent officers and resulted in the choice of 
the following for the first year: Rev. T. N. 
Kildahl, president; Hans Twdt, vice-president; 
Hakon Thompson, treasurer; Abraham Johnson, 
secretary. The members then paid their initia- 
tion fees, and as a result $66.50 was placed in 
the treasury. 

Objects and Rules of the Society. 

To aid and help members in case of sickness 
or death. 

All men and women of good moral character, 
between 18 and 50 years, living in Chicago, are 
eligible but must pass medical examination. 

There is an initiation fee of $1.50; and 35 cents, 
dues for the first month, must be paid in advance. 

A membership of three months entitles one to 
benefits. 

Sick benefits are limited to $5 per week for 
twelve weeks, and the funeral expenses to $70. 
In case of the death of a member who has not 
contributed to the society for the necessary three 



months his heirs are entitled to $50 for funeral 
benefit. 

A woman is not eligible for the office of presi- 
dent or vice-president. 

All officers are elected by ballot. The regular 
monthly meetings are held at 8 p. m. on the last 
Monday in each month. A majority vote decides 
all questions. 

All officers of the society must be members 
of Bethlehem Church. 

Cash Statement for 1905. 

Cash on hand Jan. 1, 1905 $387.36 

" received during the year.... 600.25 



$987.61 
Sick benefits paid during the year 466.90 



$520.71 
Funeral benefits paid during year. 140.00 



Balance, Jan. 1, 1906 $380.71 

The association has paid out since its organiza- 
tion $5,740.71, being $4,970.71 for sick benefits and 
$770 for funerals. The membership is 128 79 
women and 49 men. The present officers are: 
President, Hakon Thompson; vice-president, 
S0ren Hansen; treasurer, M. T. Christofferson; 
secretary, Conrad de Lange. The auditing com- 
mittee consists of N. C. N. Juul, Ludvig Morten- 
sen and Andrew Petersen. 

The annual meeting is held on the last Mon- 
day of January of each year. 



Enigheden 



Is a woman's club composed of Norwegian wo- 
men for mutual benefit and pleasure. 

It was organized in September, 1905, and has 
now a membership of over sixty. The first 
meeting was held at the home of Mrs. Kristine 
Berg, 80 Ogden avenue, Chicago. The objects 
are: First, to visit each member on her birth- 
day; second, to help and aid each other in case 
of sickness, to attend each other's funeral, and 
also to distribute flowers to all members. Their 
meetings are held on the first and third Mondays 
of each month, at the home of Mrs. Kristine 
Berg. On the first Monday they attend to the 
regular business of the club, and on the third 
Monday they hold a social session interspersed 
with song, music and reading. They also have 
one picnic and a dance each year, the receipts 



214 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



so received going toward paying the expenses 
of the club. They are entitled to two delegates 
to the National League, as they are always in 
on everything that is "Norsk." 

The officers are: Mrs. Kr-istine Berg, presi- 
dent; Mrs. Rachel Dorow, secretary; Mrs. Tora 
Smith, vice-president; Mrs. Emma Ellefsen, cash- 
ier; Mrs. Ragna Arvesen, trustee; Miss Marge- 
reth Sorley, recording secretary; Mesdames Elsie 
Brown and Kristine Berg are delegates to the 
Norwegian National League. They promise to 
fight unitedly for the objects they believe to be 
best. 

Here is their song, composed by Mrs. Berg 
especially for Dameforeningen Enigheden. We 
shall have to give it in the original: 

Air: "Shall We Gather at the River?" 

H0it i aften lyder sangen 
Fra vor sisters jubelkor; 
Det, som binder os tilsammen, 
Er til en hjaelp saa stor. 

Kor: 

Altid enig vi skal stande, 
Med venner her vi m0der frem, 
Langt fra vore Nordens lande 
At stedse mindes dem. 

2. 

Vasr velkommen, vaer velkommen 
Til vor kjzre s0sterkreds. 
Vi vil kjaempe med hverandre 
I det Maal vi ser er bedst. 



Liberty Band 

Liberty Band of Chicago was organized in the 
latter part of the year 1904, receiving its charter 
Dec. 15, 1904. Its objects are purely musical and 
sociable. The officers are elected for a term 
of six months, in January and July. 

Officers first half of 1905: L. Hanson, presi- 
dent; J. Wennberg, secretary; M. Wennberg, 
financial secretary; Oscar E. Gray, treasurer; H. 
M. Gassman, manager; O. Enger, leader; C. 
Wangberg, librarian. 

Officers second half of 1905: J. Wennberg, pres- 
ident; C. Wangberg, secretary; M. Wennberg, 
financial secretary; Oscar E. Gray, treasurer; H. 
M. Gassman, manager; O. Enger, leader; C. 
Christofferson, librarian. 

Officers first half of 1906: Oscar E. Gray, presi- 
dent; C. Wangberg, secretary; H. M. Gassman, 
financial secretary; M. Wennberg, treasurer; H. 
M. Gassman, manager; O. Enger, leader; C. 
Christofferson, librarian; Math. Pedersen, direc- 
tor. 

Officers second half of 1906: Oscar E. Gray, 
president; J. Wennberg, secretary; C. Christof- 
ferson, financial secretary; M. Wennberg, treas- 
urer; H. M. Gassman, manager; O. Enger, leader; 
W. Enger, librarian; Math. Pedersen, director. 



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES 

Of a Few Chicago Norwegians Departed from This World 



ANDREW NELSON BREKKE, 

one of the earliest Norwegian settlers in Chi- 
cago, died at his residence, in July, 1887. His 
death was sudden and resulted from overheat- 
ing and exhaustion. He had taken a trip to 
Yellowstone Park with a friend, and on the re- 
turn journey was overcome by the heat at St. 
Paul. He was brought to his home and died the 
evening of the same day. His funeral was an im- 
posing affair. Large numbers of the old settlers 
were in attendance, while the Norwegians were 
present en masse. Rev. F. C. C. Kahler of the 
Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church delivered a 
feeling address on the life and virtues of the 
deceased, and incidentally highly lauded the Nor- 
wegians of Chicago, of which the deceased was 
a representative member. 

Mr. Nelson was born at Brekke, Voss, Nor- 
way, Feb. 12, 1818. He came to Chicago in 1839, 
and worked as a laborer for Mathew Laflin and 
John Wright. He laid the foundation of his 
future fortune in 1845, when he purchased some 
property on Superior street, on part of which he 
built the residence where he resided until his 
death. From time to time he purchased other 
real estate, shares in car lines, bank and railway 
stocks, the natural increase of value afterward 
making him a wealthy man. His total posses- 
sions were at the time of his death estimated at 
over $500,000. Mr. Nelson in 1848 was elected 
North Side street commissioner, and a little later 
was chosen trustee of the First Norwegian Evan- 
gelical Lutheran Church. In 1866 he was elected 
North Town assessor, and in 1869 Lincoln Park 
commissioner. All these offices were filled by 
him with honor, and his integrity and honesty 
were never impeached. In the great fire his 
losses, as compared with his means, were very 
heavy, and it was only by great perseverance and 
the excercise of his financial ability that he was 
enabled to surmount them. Mr. Nelson was twice 



married. The first time was in Norway to Miss 
Inger Nelson, who bore him three children, all 
dead long ago. His second wife, Mrs. Julia K. 
Williams, who survived him, he married in Chi- 
cago in 1849. Three daughters out of a family 
of seven, the result of his second marriage, are 
still living. One is married .to J. A. Waite, of the 
Anchor Line Steamship Co. 

MRS. LAURA ANDERSON, 

Mother of John Anderson, publisher of Skandi- 
naven, was one of the first Norwegians to settle 
in Chicago, and behold its marvelous growth 
from a struggling town to one of the world's 
greatest cities. 

Mrs. Anderson was born in Norway, Sept. 22, 
1812, and died in Chicago Aug. 8, 1897. She left 
her native land with her husband and three sons 
in 1844, coming direct to Chicago. One of her 
sons died and was buried at sea, and another 
died on the journey from Albany to Buffalo, and 
was buried at the latter place. A daughter, the 
wife of H. L. Dahl, was born in Chicago. Mrs. 
Anderson's husband was carried away in the 
cholera epidemic which prevailed in 1849. She 
was prominently identified with the Norwegian 
Lutheran Church, of which the late Rev. Paul 
Anderson was the first pastor, taking particular 
interest in all its activities along charitable, 
educational and social lines. She exhibited all 
the vigor and sturdiness of her race, and, until 
in recent years afflicted with dropsy and com- 
plaints incident to old age, she led an active life. 
Within two months of her death she was able 
to attend the christening of her great-grand- 
daughter, the child of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Eilert, 
and the wedding of her daughter's daughter, 
events in which she took a keen interest. The 
funeral was held from her son's residence, 646 
Cleveland avenue. She is buried in Graceland 
Cemetery. 



215 



216 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



JENS OLSEN KAASA, 

Who died Febr. 16, 1907, was one of the earliest 
Norwegian settlers in Chicago. He was born 
April 12, 1824, at Kaasa in Siljord's prxstegjaeld, 
0vre Telemarken, Norway. ,In the spring of 
1840 the family moved to Bamle prastegjaeld, 
where they lived for three years. In 1843 Jens 
Olsen together with his parents and their eight 
other children emigrated to America and arrived 
in Milwaukee in Ausrust after a voyage of twelve 
weeks' duration. October 20, of the same year, 
he arrived in Chicago where he at the time of 
his demise had resided nearly 64 years. 




Jens Olsen Kaasa. 

He was married Jan. 6, 1853, to Miss Martha 
Andersen, the ceremony being performed by Rev. 
G. F. Dietrichson in the Long Prairie Church, 
111. His wile was born April 28, 1827, at St0k- 
keb0, Levanger's praestegjaeld, Bergen's Stift, 
Norway. Of their children only three are living: 
Mrs. Rosa Bothne, wife of Rev. Johannes Bothne, 
Hitterdal, Minn.; Albert Olsen, Poplar Grove, 
111., and Olandina, who has been living with her 
father. An adopted daughter, now Mrs. Charles 
J. Schroeder, of Chicago, is also a survivor. Mrs- 
Jens Olsen departed this life Oct. 16, 1895. 

As significant for the times and circumstances 
can be mentioned that the family walked all the 



way from Milwaukee to Chicago. Jens Olsen 
later on accompanied by some other Norwegians 
went to New Orleans and from there to Cuba 
with the purpose of starting a colony there, but 
the plan was soon abandoned and he returned to 
Chicago. During the cholera epidemic Jens 
Olsen lost his father, mother and a sister on the 
same day. 

He had learned the trade of mason and brick- 
layer and had the contract to build Our Savior's 
Church at the corner of Erie and May streets. 
Jens Olsen and Rev. Krohn were the leading men 
in pushing that splendid house of worship to 
completion. Jens Olsen charged the congrega- 
tion only for his actual expenditures, spending his 
own work and time for nothing, and contributing 
a good deal of money besides. It was Jens Ol- 
sen's greatest ambition to build a church for his 
countrymen which would surpass everything that 
had been attempted in that line among them in 
this country. He was for many years a member 
of the council of the Norwegian Lutheran Synod. 
His residence on Erie street was a home of hos- 
pitality for visiting ministers and other travelers, 
to whom he extended "the glad hand." Those 
days formed the brightest period in Jens Olsen's 
life, and even after his memory commenced to 
be veiled and his body strength to fail him, the 
old man was still able to narrate anecdotes con- 
nected with such visitors as Muus, Bi0rn, 
Schmidt, Koren and others. While visiting in 
Chicago, the lamented Rev. P. A. Rasmussen took 
sick and was for many weeks a welcome patient 
in the hospitable home on Erie street. 

Ever since the death of Mrs. Olsen, which oc- 
curred in 1895, it commenced to look as if the 
ebb tide in Jens Olsen's life was breaking in. 
From 7 that day. he seemed to dwindle until he 
passed away. She had been a true and loving 
helpmate to him, and when she died, his sun com- 
menced to set. Five years ago he addressed, in 
Skandinaven, a last farewell to all his old friends 
and acquaintances, realizing that his time-glass 
would soon have run through. During the last 
years he was unable to attend the services in the 
Bethlehem Church of which he was a member. 
He spent his last days sitting in an easy chair 
waiting for the last great summons. As long as 
the daughter "Junie" was at home, he was ten- 
derly cared for by her and her sister Dina; but 
when Junie was married, her place was taken by 
Mrs. Nilsen, of Morris, 111., a sister of Jens Ol- 
sen's departed wife. His favorite hymn was 
"Christi Blod og Retfaerdighed er alt, hvad jeg 
vil smykkes med" and in this faith and hope he 
passed to his reward. 



THE NORWEGIANS IN CHICAGO 



217 



IVER LAWSON 

Was born at B0e, Voss, Norway, Dec. 21, 1821, 
and came to America before he had attained his 
majority. He was one of the pioneer Norwegian 
residents of Chicago, making his home on the 
north side where he lived all the rest of his life. 
With his brother Knut he engaged in any kind 
of work to be had in those days and finally turned 
his attention to real estate. By making shrewd 
investments in vacant property he soon acquired 
a competence and before his death in 1872 was 
accounted one of the successful men of the city. 
The fire in 1871 destroyed a number of buildings 
owned by him in various parts of the north side 
and also rendered valueless much of the insur- 
ance stock and other securities held by him but 
he left his family in very comfortable circum- 
stances, the fine homestead in Lake View having 
escaped destruction and the real estate proving 
profitable. 

Mr. Lawson was one of the organizers of the 
First Evangelical Lutheran Church which in 1848 
and a number of years after was located on Su- 
perior street between Wells street and La Salle 
avenue. He was a strong republican and served 
as alderman from the old 15th ward on the north 
side from 1864 to 1867. Prior to that time and 
durino- the last year of John Wentworth's admin- 
istration he was city marshal. While a member 
of the city council he took a prominent part in 
carrying out plans for purifying the Chicago river 
and improving the general health conditions of 
the city. In 1869 he was a member of the house 
of representatives in the state legislature and was 
closely identified with the legislation which gave 
to Chicago its splendid park system. The crea- 
tion of Lincoln park in particular was owing in 
great part to his efforts. 

Iver Lawson was also one of the founders with 
John Anderson and Knud Langland of the "Skan- 
dinaven," in the success of which he took a deep 
interest. He died Oct. 3, 1872, leaving a widow, 
two sons and a daughter. The widow, Malinda 
Lawson, died in Chicago, Oct. 16, 1896. The 
eldest son, Victor F. Lawson, is the editor and 
proprietor of The Chicago Daily News. The 
other son. Iver Norman Lawson, is a resident of 
San Diego, Cal., and the daughter, Carrie, is Mrs. 
H. William Harrison Bradley, whose husband is 
now in the United States consular service in 
England. 

DR. GERHARD CHRISTIAN PAOLI, 

An ardent follower of Thomas Paine, was born 
at Trondhjetn, Norway, June 23, 1815. The pecu- 
liarity of his name was owing to the fact that 



his father, who was the ambassador to the island 
of Corsica from Norway, was named after Pascal 
Paoli, at that time governor of the island, who 
was godfather to the elder Paoli. 

In 1832 he entered the University of Christi- 
ania and studied for six years, paying particular 
attention to chemistry. After a year in London 
hospitals and three years at the Carolingian In- 
stitution in Stockholm, Paoli came to 'America in 
1846, landing at New York after a three months' 
voyage. He first followed his countrymen to 
Wisconsin and settled at Milwaukee. Then he 
went to Madison, and later came to Chicago, 
which was then a town of 12,000. He stayed 
here but a few weeks, going to Springfield, Ohio, 
remaining there for a time, and coming back to 
Chicago in 1853. 

His reading led him to espouse the abolitionist 
cause, and his first vote was cast for John P. 
Hale and free soil. He followed the profession 
of medicine, and his love for experimental chem- 
istry resulted in his discovering a method of 
forcing out of spirits the poisonous oils that are 
found in them. This method was applied to the 
manufacture of beverages, but was used a great 
deal in the manufacturing of perfumery. 

While in Ohio he was chosen an honorary 
member of the Ohio Medical Society. Twice 
he was elected president of the Chicago Medical 
Society, and twice was its vice-president. He 
assisted in the establishment of the first woman's 
medical college in Chicago, and was chosen pro- 
fessor emeritus of the same. He also organized 
the Scandinavian Medical Society. He was also 
appointed the first physician to the mail carriers. 

In his social life he was especially active, and 
took part in the deliberations of the free thinkers 
of the city. He was a warm personal friend of 
Ingersoll and entertained the lecturer several 
times on his visits to Chicago. Ole Bull was 
numbered among his friends, and among those 
whom he entertained was BjfSrnstjerne Bjffrnson, 
who was also a correspondent of Paoli. 

Paoli was married twice. The first wife died 
in 1847. In 1881 he was married to Mrs. Sara 
Corning Magnusson. Mrs. Paoli is well known 
as a writer. In the first marriage Mr. Paoli had 
one son; his second wife had two daughters and 
one son in her first marriage. 

Dr. Paoli died Jan. 29, 1898. 

CAPTAIN CHRISTIAN ERICKSON 

Was born May 7, 1839, in Bergen, Norway, and 
was the son of Erick and Bertha Christensen. 
He received only a limited education, but learned 



218 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



bookkeeping in Norway. At the age of 20 years 
he came to the United States, and, anxious to 
acquire a better education, he attended the Lake 
Forest College. 

After two years' study he' came to Chicago and 
obtained a position in the dry goods store of J. 
B. Shay. In March, 1862, he enlisted in Com- 
pany I of the Eighty-second Illinois Volunteer 
Infantry, as a private, and soon after was' pro- 
moted to orderly sergeant. Shortly after enter- 
ing the field in Virginia he was promoted to 
second lieutenant; after the battle of Chancellors- 
ville, to first lieutenant, and as such took com- 
mand of the company until after the battle of 
Gettysburg. The next year he took part in the 




Captain Christian Erickson. 

battles of Lookout Mountain and Missionary 
Ridge, under the command of General Hooker. 
Later he went to Knoxville, but arrived too late 
for that battle. He was with Sherman's Army 
in the campaign to Atlanta and the glorious 
"march to the sea," participating in the battles 
on the way. On that march he was on the regi- 
mental staff as quartermaster, and after being 
honorably discharged was given a captain's com- 
mission, signed by President Johnson, for gallant 
and meritorious services during the war. 

His company was nearly all from Chicago, and 
composed of Scandinavians. The regiment was 



known in the army as the "Hecker Boys," who 
could always be depended upon in a fight. He 
took part in not less than fourteen battles and 
many minor engagements. 

Captain Erickson was a temperate man in all 
things, and during the war saved enough money 
to enable him to start in business in Chicago. 
He engaged in the dry goods business on Mil* 
waukee avenue, and later he started a branch 
store on Division street, which later was de-^ 
stroyed by the great fire. In 1882 he built a 
four-story brick building at 1190-92 Milwaukee 
avenue, where he continued the dry goods busi- 
ness till 1896, when ill health compelled him toi 
retire. 

Sept. 11, 1870, he married Miss Agnete Jevne, 
whose portrait appears on another page, where 
we also give an account of their four children. 

Captain Erickson was a member of the G. A. 
R. and the Loyal Legion. He died Jan. 20, 1900.3 

CHRISTOPHER LORENTZ BUCK STANGE 

Was born at Flekkefjord, Norway, Aug. 29, 1843.J 
His parents were Merchant Jacob Stange, ofj 
Flekkefjord, and Dorothea Christine Buck, of 
Molde. After passing through the "Borgersko- 
le" he was apprenticed with the apothecary of' 
the place, where he remained the time fixed be- 
fore he could enter the University at Christiania 
and pass through the required course for grad- 
uating as a druggist. He graduated with honors 
and held positions as pharmacist at Farsund, 
H(Z(nefos and Skien. In 1867 he was offered the 
position of medical attendant on the emigrant 
sailing vessel "Rjukan" for a passage to America, 
and accepted, intending at the time to return to 
Norway. 

From New York he made a trip westward vis- 
iting several cities, including Chicago. Here he 
was offered and accepted a very promising posi- 
tion as chemist with the Granger Chemical 
Works, located at 206-210 Illinois street. This 
business was soon after reorganized under the 
firm name of Roemheld & Co., Manufacturing 
Chemists, with Mr. Stange as the manufacturing 
partner. The firm did a profitable business, en- 
larging the plant up to the time of the great fire, 
in which the factory buildings and all stock were 
destroyed, leaving the firm unable to re-establish 
the business. Mr. Roemheld now started a drug 
store at Canal and Barber streets, with a small 
manufacturing chemist's laboratory attached, and 
Mr. Stange entered his employ. In 1873 Mr. 
Stange established his own business as a drug- 
gist and manufacturing chemist at Larrabee and 



THE NORWEGIANS IN CHICAGO 



219 



Division streets, but later moved his business to 
iic West Side, where he was for many years 
i.-stahlished on the corner of Grand avenue and 
Jarpi'iiter street. With his excellent business 
'.ibility he met with success and later enlarged 
ind built his own factory, on Kinzie street, near 
Elizabeth. He now sold his drug store and con- 
fined himself to the manufacturing business, with 
his office and salesrooms at Grand avenue and 
Carpenter street, where he continued until his 
death in 1889. 

Mr. Stange was married in 186.9 to Wilhelmine 
Moeller. Five children were born to them 
William Jan, Alfred Christopher, Christopher L- 
B., Minnie and Olive. Mr. Stange was a leader 
among the Norwegians and a member of several 
of their societies. He was a man of excellent 
mental capacity and well learned not only in his 
own branch but in all modern sciences. 

CANUTE R. MATSON. 

Former Sheriff Canute R. Matson died Jan. 12, 
1903, at his residence, 609 Cleveland avenue. Heart 




Canute R. Matson. 

disease was the cause, and the end came after an 
illness of ten days. His death marked the pass- 
ing of a once prominent factor in local republican 



politics. From 1869 until his election as sheriff, 
in 1886, Mr. Matson took a leading part in the 
councils of the republican party. When he re- 
tired as sheriff of Cook county, in 1890, he also 
retired from politics. In 1899 he was appointed 
superintendent of the Lincoln Park postal sta- 
tion, succeeding General Herman Lieb. Mr. 
Matson at the time of his death was senior mem- 
ber of the law firm of Matson & Edwards. Mr. 
Matson was born in Voss, Norway, April 9, 1843, 
and came to America with his parents, when 6 
years old, or in 1849. The Matsons settled in 
Walworth county, Wisconsin. Mr. Matson re- 
ceived his early education in the common schools 
and at Albion College, and later he studied law 
at Milton College, Wis., until in 1861, he enlisted 
as a soldier in the Thirteenth Wisconsin Infantry, 
during the Civil War. He served four years and 
four months, and was promoted first as 'sergeant 
and later to higher positions, and when at the 
close of the war he was honorably discharged he 
was a first lieutenant. As a member of the gov- 
ernor's staff and the G. A. R. he was promoted 
first as major and finally as colonel. 

KNUD LANGLAND. 

Though a resident of Wisconsin during the 
greater part of the time after his arrival in Amer- 
ica, Knud Langland spent some of the most 
active years of his life in Illinois as editor of 
Skandinaven, and it was during the period from 
1866 to 1872 that he did the work which firmly 
established his reputation as a thinker and writer. 
It is quite proper, therefore, that a brief sketch 
of his life appear in this volume.^ 

Knud Langland was born Oct. 27, 1813, in 
Samnanger, Bergen stift, Norway. Though obliged 
to work hard for a living even in his early youth, 
he managed to secure a good education through 
his own efforts. He went to Bergen, where he 
pursued his studies for a time, and then became 
a school teacher. Afterward he was appointed 
public vaccinator. In 1835 he made a short visit 
to England, and on returning home he engaged 
in business in Bergen. An elder brother, Mons 
A. Adland, emigrated to America in 1837, first 
settling at Beaver Creek, 111., and then going to 
what at that time was known as Yorkville Prai- 
rie, in Racine county, Wisconsin. Knud Lang- 
land followed him in 1843, making his home in 
the same place in Wisconsin. Two years later 
he went to the southern part of Columbia county, 
but returned to Racine county in 1846 and con- 
tinued farming until 1849 when he bought Nord- 
lyset, the first Norwegian paper published in 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



America. He changed the name to Demokraten, 
and with his brother-in-law, O. J. Hatlestad, ran 
it for a year. The venture was not a financial 
success and publication was suspended in 1852. 
The next year he issued the Maanedstidende, in 
Janesville, Wis., but soon sold out and returned 
to the farm. In 1856 he was editor for a short 
time of Den Norske Amerikaner, published in 




Mr. Knud Langland. 

Madison, Wis., but the pro-slavery views of its 
proprietor caused him to resign the position. 
In 1860 he was a member of the Wisconsin state 
assembly. The postoffice, where the old York- 
ville Prairie settlers received their mail, was 
named North Cape at his suggestion. 

In 1866, when the Skandinaven was established 
by John Anderson and Iver Lawson, father of 
Victor F. Lawson, Mr. Langland was asked by 
them to become its editor. He consented and 
came to Chicago, to which place he moved his 
family in 1868, and was connected with that 
paper, which proved a remarkable success, until 
a year or two after the great fire of 1871. Per- 
haps the most notable of the editorials contri- 
buted by him to Skandinaven were those in de- 
fense of the American public schools and in op- 
position to certain views entertained by a part 
of the Norwegian Lutheran Church in regard to 



slavery. It was in recognition of his attitude on 
the school question that one of the public schools 
of Chicago was named after him some years 
later. With the exception of a brief connection 
with a new Norwegian paper, the Amerika, which 
was subsequently consolidated with Skandinaven, 
all the editorial work performed by him until he 
was compelled by ill health to retire from jour- 
nalism was for Skandinaven. After some years 
spent on his farm at North Cape he moved to 
' Milwaukee. There he wrote Nordmaendene i 
Amerika, which is partly historical and partly 
autobiographical. His original intention was to 
make it a comprehensive work on the early set- 
tlements of Norwegians in America, but illness 
and the loss of a portion of the manuscript ill 
the mails, compelled him to modify his plans. 
He died at his home in Milwaukee, Feb. 8, 188fl. 
Mr. Langland was married April 10, 1849, to 
Anna M. Hatlestad, daughter of Jens and Anna 




Mrs. Knud Langland. 

Hatlestad, who came to America in 1846 and 
settled at Yorkville in 1847. The ceremony was 
performed by Rev. H. A. Stub, one of the pio- 
neer Norwegian clergymen in America. Mrs. 
Langland was born in Skjold, Kristiansand stift, 
Norway, Jan. 12, 1831. She is still living, in Mil- 
waukee, where three of the children also reside. 
Two others live in Chicago and four are dead. 



THE NORWEGIANS IN CHICAGO 



221 



REV. JOHN Z. TORGERSEN 

iVas a native of Bergen, Norway, where he was 
>orn March 1, 1841. When 6 years old, he came 
:6 America with his parents. They settled in Dane 
:ounty, Wisconsin, but five years later moved 
o near Scandinavia, Waupaca county, and later 
:o Winnebago county. Up to this time John had 
ittended the public schools regularly, and here 
ic studied at the Neenah high school and then for 
bur terms attended the Lawrence University at 
Vppleton. Previous to this and during inter- 




Rev. Torgersen. 

vals he taught public schools in the vicinity. 
He took a course in the Illinois State University, 
then under the control of the General Synod, 
where he studied theology and finished with a 
two-year course in the old University of Chi- 
cago, the beginning of the present world-re- 
nowned institution on the Midway. After com- 
pleting his education he was connected with the 
Chicago Bible Society as colporteur. While en- 
gaged in this work he visited over fifteen thou- 
sand homes personally during a period of two 
years. In February, 1869, he began preaching in 
the Norwegian Church, corner Indiana street, now 
Grand avenue, and Peoria street, and in June 



was ordained to the gospel ministry by the Hauge 
Synod. About seven years afterward he with- 
drew from the synod and organized the Inde- 
pendent Evangelical Lutheran Bethania Church 

He was a son of Ole Tobias Torgersen, who 
passed away at his son's home in thij city in his 
85th year. His mother, Ingeborg, of Bergen stift, 
Norway, died in Michigan in her 81st year. 

Mrs. Trina Torgersen is from Wardel, Hede- 
marken, Norway. They were married on Oct. 
27, 1869. Six children were born to them, of 
whom two are now living Mrs. L. E. Wilson, 
of Milwaukee, Wis., and Oscar A., who is with 
John M. Smyth & Co. 

Rev. Torgersen was called to his reward in 
the fall of 1905. 

Deceased was highly esteemed by all who 
knew him. Educated and refined, an able 
minister and a convincing and forceful teacher, 
he was agreeable and pleasant in all his asso- 
ciations with others. There were none so high 
in mental attainments or worldly position but he 
could take his place beside them; nor none so 
lowly or poor but he would mingle with them, 
always putting forth some helpful suggestions 
and an encouraging word. Direct in his lan- 
gu'age, upright and honorable in all his deal- 
ings, he acquired a following of true friends 
who deeply and sincerely mourn his loss. We 
may mention also that he was very popular with 
young people, having joined in holy wedlock 
fifteen thousand couples. 



CAPTAIN WILLIAM JOHNSON. 

Few, if any, of the pioneer lake captains and 
vessel owners had a wider or more extended ex- 
perience on the great lakes than Captain Johnson. 
From the age of 14 he had been a sailor or been 
closely identified with vessel interests. He was 
born near Arendal, Norway, in 1836, and when 
14 years of age he went as a cabin boy from 
that place and for five years sailed on the Baltic, 
the North Sea, and the Mediterranean; also sail- 
ing from Christiania. During one of those trips 
he came pretty near losing his life by drowning, 
in the harbor of St. Tubas, Portugal, but" was 
saved by a Portuguese who peddled fruit and 
wine among the vessels. 

In 1855 he came to Chicago and at once en- 
tered the employ of George Steele, who owned 
a number of vessels. So attached had Mr. Steele 
become to the young sailor that Johnson made 
his home with his employer during the seven 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



successive winters, and was regarded as one of 
the family. 

From the time that he entered the employ of 
Steele, in 1855, Captain Johnson's career on the 
lakes was a successful one. He first sailed on 
the schooner St. Lawrence, where he remained 
two seasons, and then became a vessel owner by 
the purchase of the schooner Fish Hawk, which 




Captain William Johnson. 

he sailed from Chicago and which was engaged 
in the coasting trade. Two years later he bought 
the schooners Traveler and Richard Mott, and 
engaged in the grain trade. During the same 
season he sold the Mott and purchased the 
schooner D. O. Dickenson. This vessel he sold 
in 1860, and the same season bought the schoon- 
ers Paulina, Magnolia and Rosa Bell. To this 
fleet he afterward added the schooners Cecilia 
and Ida, and was largely engaged in the grain 
trade, besides carrying lumber. In 1870 he built 
the schooner Lena Johnson, and later the schoon- 
ers Clara, Olga, Alice and William O. Goodman. 
In those early days freights on the lakes were 
much higher than now. He once took to Buffalo, 
in the Magnolia. 9,000 bushels of corn in one 
cargo, and received for carrying it 27 cents per 
bushel. It was a large cargo for that time. 
Captain Johnson was married, in 1872, to Miss 



Eline Theodora Shoemaker, who was also born \ 
in Norway. Her portrait appears elsewhere in 
this volume. They had five children, of whom 
three are living. Capt. Johnson built a fine res- 
idence for his family on Hoyne avenue, near 
Wicker Park, and invested largely in other real 
estate. At the time of his death, in 1902, he 
was considered the wealthiest Norwegian in Chi- 
cago. 

CHRISTIAN JEVNE, 

A pioneer and one of the leading wholesale gro- 
cers of Chicago, died March 17, 1898, at his res- 
idence, 640 La Salle avenue. He had been a 
sufferer from kidney trouble for a long time' 
Notwithstanding his illness, he continued to at- 
tend to his business, visiting the office at least 




Christian Jevne. 

once a week, until a sudden change for the worse 
confined him to his bed. 

During his residence of thirty-four years in 
Chicago Mr. Jevne never figured in public life. 
He was strictly a business man, made successful 
by his own untiring efforts. He came to this 
country a poor man, and was enterprising enough 
to engage in business for himself at the end of 



THE NORWEGIANS IN CHICAGO 



his first year in America. The big fire of '71 
cleaned him out, but with a little insurance and 
1 his "try again" spirit he soon started again and 
did business at the old place. 

He was born Sept. 13, 1839, at Vang, Norway, 
and was the son of Hans and Martha (Rommen) 
Jevne. He attended both public and private 
schools and received a liberal education. He 
entered commercial life at the age of 13 years, 
in Norway, as a clerk for his uncle, while he 
still continued his studies. He remained there 
eleven and a half years, becoming successively 
bookkeeper and business manager of the house. 

He came to the United States in 1864. His 
entry into business here was as a clerk for the 
firm of Knowles Bros. He remained with them 
only until the latter part of 1864, when he formed 
a partnership with Henry Parker and established 
himself in the grocery business. After one year 
he bought Parker's interest and established him- 
self at 110-112 Madison street. In 1892 he pur- 
chased the property at 109-111 Wabash avenue, 
where he opened a branch store, but did not con- 
tinue long. 

In 1870 he was married to Miss Clara Kluge. 
His widow, two daughters (Alma M. and Clara 
C), and a son (Henry M.) survive. He also left 
two brothers and three sisters to mourn his death 
Hans Jevne, a prominent merchant of Los 
Angeles, Cal. ; Charles M. Jevne, the well known 
tea merchant on Milwaukee avenue, Chicago; 
Mrs. Anna Berg and Mrs. Karen Hoff, of Dai- 
ton, Minn., and Mrs. Christian Erickson, of Wic- 
ker Park, widow of Captain Chr. Erickson. 

BJ0RN EDWARDS, 

Publisher, and builder of the Lincoln Park Palace, 
was killed July 31, 1895, by falling from the roof 
of that partly finished structure. His tragic death 
was an abrupt ending of a romance in a work- 
aday career. 

His ambition was to build the finest apartment 
house in the world. The construction of Lin- 
coln Park Palace was to be the realization of 
that ambition, but he never lived to see it. The 
building rears its somber, majestic proportions 
above its surroundings, and it is a monument to 
the struggles and trials and the pride of the man 
who conceived its plans. Edwards was the editor 
and publisher of the American Contractor. In 
1892 he began the work of building this apart- 
ment house. The site is in the midst of a fashion- 
able residence district, just north of Lincoln Park. 
The neighbors objected and did everything they 
could to prevent the erection of an apartment 



house in propinquity to private mansions. Ed- 
wards kept at work, however, and as construc- 
tion progressed his rich neighbors looked on in 
wonder. He built in jasper of two shades. The 
walls within and without were made of steel and 
stone. When they were finished, tight stories 
in height, they proved too heavy for the founda- 
tion, and the two arches over the doorways were 
broken by the settling of the structure. This 
was the beginning of his troubles with the build- 
ing, on which he had been at work over two 
years. 

The neighbors who watched the progress of 
construction said that soon afterward he began 
to act in a queer way, and they concluded it was 
evidence of a disturbed mind. The work con- 
tinued in a halting manner. Edwards was always 
about, watching every detail of the work. On 
the day mentioned, as usual, he was going about 
among the workmen, making suggestions here 
and there. He went to the roof, and when he 
approached the ladder to descend stepped on a 
loose scaffolding board, which gave way under 
him and he fell to the basement, eight stories 
below. He was picked up unconscious and taken 
to the Alexian Brothers' Hospital, where he died 
two hours later. 

Edwards was born in Norway. He came to 
America when a boy and worked on a Wisconsin 
farm. Afterward he came to Chicago and did 
manual labor until he had saved enough to go to 
school. He spent several years at theological 
seminaries of the Lutheran Church in Iowa and 
elsewhere. Then he became a book agent. In 
1886 he bought the plant of a trade paper and 
started it under the name of the American Con- 
tractor and made a success of it. He left a wife 
and three children. He was 45 years old at his 
death. 

Since then similar apartment buildings have 
been built by the hundred in Chicago. But Ed- 
wards was the first man to undertake such a 
work on a large scale. By comparing his build- 
ing, with the first one built by a Norwegian in 
Chicago, that by Halstein Torrison, in 1843, 
where the Chicago and North-Western Railroad 
depot now stands, we can see what tremenduous 
strides Chicago has made in sixty years. 

OLE A. THORP, 

Founder of the firm O. A. Thorp & Co. and for 
twenty years its head, died Jan. 25, 1905, at St. 
Mary's Nazarite Hospital, after an operation for 
an abscess. Mr. Thorp had been confined to his 



224 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



bed. at the hospital for over a week, but had be- 
gun to improve, and his death was a surprise to 
his family and friends. With his wife he had 
two daughters. 

Mr. Thorp was born at Eidsberg, near Chris- 
tiania, Norway in 1856. He came to Chicago in 
1880 and started in the provision importing and 
exporting trade. For twenty-five years he was 




Ole A. Thorp. 

closely associated with the business life of Chi- 
cago, a member of various public bodies, and a 
well known citizen. Early in his career he con- 
ceived the idea of shipping cargoes of merchan- 
dise between Europe and Chicago direct, and 
finally, in 1892, succeeded in bringing the Werge- 
land from Norway with a cargo of fish, which 
was landed at Chicago, and the ship returned 
loaded with provisions. Since then the Xenia 
and the Craig have sailed from Europe through 
the St. Lawrence river and the great lakes and 
landed at Chicago direct. 

On account of having first demonstrated the 
feasibility of making Chicago a port for Atlantic 
vessels, Mr. Thorp was made a member of the 
deep waterways commission. King Oscar of 
Sweden and Norway made him one of the com- 
missioners to the World's Columbian Exposition 
at Chicago, in 1893, and decorated him with the 
Order of St. Olaf in 1899. 



For three years he was a member of the Chi- . 
cago board of education, and as chairman of the 
buildings and grounds committee was responsible 
for many important acts of that body. He was 
a member of the board of trade, and served on 
its arbitration committee for several years. 

Mr. Thorp interested himself in charitable pro- 
jects and contributed to all manner of charities 
in a quiet way. He paid particular attention to 
the welfare of his countrymen, and his residence 
at 59 Columbia place was known to nearly-every 
Norwegian in the city. 

When a young man Mr. Thorp was made 
traveling agent for a mercantile house in Chris- 
tiania and traveled all over the Scandinavian 
peninsula. He came to New York when 24 years 
old, and less than a year later to Chicago. 

IVER LARSEN, 

The well known mechanic and pattern maker, 
was born at Bollstad, Norway, Nov. 2, 1829. He 
learned the trade of a millwright and miller in" 




Iver Larsen. 

Skien and came to America when twenty years of 
age, aniving in New York after a stormy voyage 
of ten weeks on a sail ship. 

He came to Chicago via the Erie Canal and the 



NORWEGIAN CHURCHES IN ILLINOIS 



225 



Lakes, and has made this city his home since. 
Being an expert wood turner he found employ- 
ment immediately upon his arrival with the Phil- 
lips Chair Company. Subsequently he was em- 
ploved by the H. A. Pitte Company, the invent- 
ors of the tracing machine, with whom he re- 
mained for nearly a quarter of a century or until 
the Chicago fire, in 1871, when the whole plant 
was wiped out. 

When the Pitte Company removed to Mar-, 
seilles, 111., Mr. Larsen preferred to remain here 
and in the following year, 1872, engaged in busi- 
ness for himself, as a pattern and model maker, 
at 9 S. Jefferson street. 

In 1880 the firm of Iver Larsen & Son was 
formed, his son Lauritz becoming a partner. 

Mr. Iver Larsen was married in Chicago to 
Miss Maren Nelson from Skien, Nov. 12, 1853. 
They had five children: Lauritz, born in 1854; 
Edward, in 1858: Albert, in 1862; Alba, in 1865; 
and Charles, in 1867. Of these Albert and Alba 
have passed away. Edward was married to. Miss 
Minnie Miller of Chicago in 1881. 

Our subject departed this life Nov. 16, 1905, at 
the age of 76. 

Since that time the business has been con- 
ducted by his two sons, Lauritz and Charles 
Larsen, at 62-64 W. Lake street, under the firm 
name of Iver Larsen's Sons. Their brother Ed- 
ward is superintendent with the Robert Tarrant 
Machine Works. 

Iver Larsen was one of the charter members 
of the old Nora Society, and was at the time of 
his death the oldest survivor. 



ULRICH DANIELS, 

Assistant cashier of the Milwaukee Avenue State 
Bank, is a native of Norway. He was borri at 
Stavanger, Oct. 1, 1868. His father was Captain 
Aanon, his mother Anna (born Nielson) Daniel- 
sen. 

His first place in the working world was as 
messenger for the Stavanger Foundry and Dock 
Company, in 1884; from 1885 to 1889 he was em- 
ployed with R. N. Ball & Rustad, ship brokers, 
Riga, Russia, as clerk. From January, 1889 to 
June, 1890, he was clerk with Consul W. J. H. 
Taylor at Key West, Fla. 

He came from Key West to Chicago the same 
year and secured a position as book-keeper with 
Paul O. Stensland & Co., which firm was later 
incorporated as the Milwaukee Avenue State 
Bank. He remained with the bank and was 
promoted from time to time until 1901, when he 
was made assistant cashier, which position he 



still holds. Mr. Daniels was a member of the 
Norwegian Relief Association; for a long time a 
member of the Tabitha Hospital, and acted as 
cashier for the Northwestern Branch. He made 




Ulrich Daniels. 

many friends while in Florida. He is a Mason, 
being a member of Oriental Lodge, No. 33. 

Since the above sketch was set in type, Mr. 
Daniels visited Norway where he died, in 1906. 

ALBART J. ELVIG 

Was born in South Bergen, Norway, April 13, 
1842, where he was reared until 17 years old. 
At the age of 16 years he graduated with honor 
from the schools of his native city, and the fol- 
lowing year, alone, and without friends, he crossed 
the Atlantic to America and located in Boston, 
where he secured employment as a clerk. As he 
had been reared on the coast and had been dur- 
ing his early life constantly connected with ad- 
venturous seafaring operations, he was from ex- 
perience quite a seaman. Owing to this fact and 
his natural adaptability and good character he 
was appointed a subordinate officer on the Mas- 
sachusetts, at anchor in the harbor and used as 
a reform school for boys. In this position he 
served with credit until the breaking out of the 



226 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



rebellion, when he promptly enlisted and was or- 
dered on board the United States frigate Mis- 
sissippi and sent to Kev West, Fla. Here he 
was transferred to the gunboat South Carolina. 
He continued to serve the Federal Government 
in the naval service until 1863, when he was hon- 
orably .mustered out for disability. 



He 



participated in many severe engage- 




Albart J. Elvig. 

ments along the gulf coast, especially at New 
Orleans and Galveston. By reason of his naval 
education he was often placed in charge of prize- 
ships. He was severely wounded several times, 
and to his death bore deep and ragged but hon- 
orable scars. He took a gallant part in the war 
and lived to learn how righteous was the cause 
for which he fought. 

In 1863 he came to Chicago and began the 
study of law in the office of Kenney, Peck & 
Kenney, in which he continued until 1869, when 
he was admitted to the bar. He immediately 
opened an office, and from that day to his death 
continued to practice with ever increasing suc- 
cess, giving his attention chiefly to chancery pro- 
ceedings, though at the same time conducting- a 
large and lucrative general practice. 

In 1866 he married Miss Charlotte Smith, a 
native of Pennsylvania, who died in 1879. Mr. 



Elvig accumulated considerable property and re- 
sided at Western Springs. He died Febr. 16, 
1907. 

LOUIS J. LEE. 

The organizer and senior member of the Lee 
Advertising Company, Chicago, was born in 
Voss, Norway, Dec. 8, 1845. The names of his 
parents were Joseph and Brita, old residents of 
Voss. Mr. Lee spent his youth in the country, 
attending school, graduating later from the high' 
school at Vossevangen. His first active work! 
in life was as a member of the assessing board 
in Voss in 1876, and later as a member of the 
school board and the council. He was for 9 
number of years, or until he left for America, 
cashier for the uifferent branches of the Voss I 
commune. 

On June 24, 1870, he was married to Inger J. 




Louij J. Lee. 

Lee, a distant relative. They have had five chil- 
dren, all living; Birdie (Mrs. F. J. Asche), 
Joseph, Iver, Nels and Anna. Joseph married 
Miss Hulda Halvorsen in 1896. His three sons 
Joseph, Iver and Nels Lee are now actively 
associated with him in the advertising business. 
Mr. Lee came to America in 1887, coming direct 
to Chicago. He secured a position on Skan- 



THE NORWEGIANS IN CHICAGO 



22T 



dinaven and was for seven years connected 
with that paper in various capacities, the last 
three years as cashier. He then, with his three 
sons, organized the Lee Advertising Company, 
now located in the Unity Building, 79-81 Dear- 
born street, Chicago, and referred to more fully 
in another part of this history. 

Mr. Lee has never sought or .held any pub- 
lic office in this country. He is a member of the 
Lutheran Church and contributes occasionally 
to worthy charities. The family resides at 1302 
Winona avenue. 

Since the above was written Mr. Lee died, Dec. 
11, 1906. 



BERENT M. WOLD 

Was born at Bergen, Norway, in 1840. He was 
a cabinetmaker by trade and came to Chicago in 
1861 working his passage as steward on the sail- 



ing vessel "Sleipner," which was the first ship to 
sail directly from Norway to Chicago. 

Arrived in Chicago he at first worked at his 
trade and later went into the undertaking busi- 
ness, first on the North Side and then on Grand 
avenue. He continued with this for about forty 
years, or until in 1904, when he sold the business 
to his son Bennie and nephew Albert Wold and 
retired from active work. 

He was first married about 40 years ago to- 
Miss Josephine Hansen, also a native of Bergen. 
Of their children the following are living: Mrs. 
Charles Kling, Mrs. P. Madsen, Mrs. J. W. 
Hertz, Mrs. H. A. Hauge, and one son Bennie 
Wold. Mrs. Wold died about 29 years ago and 
three years later Mr. Wold was married to Miss 
Margarete Stange who survives him. 

Mr. Wold departed this life August 29, 1906, 
and was buried on Mount Olive Cemetery. He 
was a brother of Messrs. Torris Wold and Chris- 
tian Wold, Chicago; and Miss Marie Wold, 
Bergen. 







SOME MEMORABLE EVENTS IN THE 
HISTORY OF THE NORWEGI- 
ANS IN CHICAGO 



A commendable trait of the Norwegian is his 
love for his forefathers' land and ever since the 
first emigrants established themselves in Chicago, 
Norway's day of independence has been faith- 
fully celebrated. On May 17, 1814, Norway 
adopted its present constitution and again tool? 
its place in the world's family of nations. This 
day thus carries a sacred significance to the 
American citizen of Norwegian descent, which in 



importance is outshone alone by the Independ- 
ence day of his adopted country. But May 17th, ! 
"Syttende Mai," has not been the only day upon 
which the Norwegians of Chicago have had good 
cause to display enthusiasm. They have had 
other good reasons for celebrating. Events in 
their progress have occurred which are really 
memorable and of which we are able to relate 
only a few in our limited space. 



DR. FRIDTJOF NANSEN'S VISIT 

Furnished the Norwegians of Chicago with a 
splendid opportunity to exhibit their patriotic en- 
thusiasm. After his return from the Polar re- 
gions the great explorer was induced to make a 
lecture trip throughout the United States, and he 
came to Chicago at 5 o'clock p. m. on Nov. 
17, 1897. 

Even a more prosaic man than the Norwegian 
scientist might have been lifted to exhilarating 
mental heights by the events of the reception ac- 
corded him. When he alighted at the Illinois 
Central depot he was met by his own people of 
the Norseland, and a king might have envied him 
his reception. In few lands, indeed, and in none 
of the Western hemisphere, would a monarch 
have been honored as was the simple, sailor-ap- 
pearing man who seemed to stand almost in awe 
before the surging, jubilant human throng, and 
who diffidently removed his cap of beaver fur at 



the first sound of a cheer. Pride and love were 
in the welcome pride of a race in its own 
achievements; love for the man who was the in- 
strument of national renown. The first ardor 
found its vent in song, and with sturdy, patriotic 
volume the chorus flung forth into the space of 
the depot rotunda: "Ja, vi elsker dette Landet." 
The man whose polar exploit was the cause of 
the burning enthusiasm flushed as the song con- 
tinued, but his eye kindled and his frame seemed 
even to grow higher than his 6 feet 2 inches 
which it can claim of right. He felt the spirit 
of the song and of the singers and he tasted the 
joys of adoration. The proof that he was not 
spoiled by them came later, when after his lec- 
ture he stood at Battery D in the center of a 
crowd which almost equaled that of the depot 
and of the lecture, and shook hands courteously 
with each one who approached him. The modesty 
of the man was displayed too in the lecture itself. 



228 



MEMORABLE EVENTS 



229 



Few times during its whole course did he speak 
of himself, and often he spoke of his comrades 
by name. 
The welcome at the depot had besides its indi- 



on time the visitor was to have been escorted 
through the down-town streets at the head of a 
procession, but, owing to the delay, he was taken 
immediately to the Auditorium Hotel. There, in 







Dr. Fridtjof Nansen. 



vidual genuineness more than a tinge of ceremon- 
ial. The Norwegian societies of the city were 
there in uniform, with standards, and there were 
marshals and committees. Had the arrival been 



the lobby, Dr. Nansen spoke his first public 
words within Chicago's precincts. His brief ad- 
dress of thanks came in response to words of 
welcome extended him in behalf of the Norweg- 



230 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



ians of Chicago by H. O. Oppedahl, and in 
thanks for the freedom of the city tendered him 
by Dr. Howard G. Taylor as the representative 
of Mayor Harrison. The phrases that fell from 
the explorer's lips were sweet to his fellow coun- 
trymen. 

"I thank you, my countrymen," he said, "for 
the welcome you have given me in this great 
Western city. I know that your sympathy has 
gone out to comrades and myself in our endeavor 
to carry the colors of Norway northward, and I 
am proud to have the feeling. I am proud, too, 
to know that in this country and ci.ty you form 
so large a part of the people, and I am prouder 
still to know that you are good citizens.' I thank 
you and the mayor and all who stand before me 
for the warmth of your welcome." 

Dr. Nansen spoke from the elevation of a stair- 
way, towering also above those who stood on his 
own level. He looked the explorer, for his coat 
was of the sailor peajacket kind, chinchilla in 
cloth and trimmed at the neck and about the 
wrists with beaver fur. He was seen at that 
close distance to far better advantage than when, 
in the evening he appeared on the lecture plat- 
form in conventional evening dress. He looked 
more than 36 years, for the arctic clime had 
wrinkled his face and thinned his hair. A mo- 
ment he stood silent when his response was done 
and in that moment the repose of his countenance 
was displayed at true advantage, sober, thought- 
ful, not quite stern. At the salvo of cheers, the 
hearty American three times and a tiger, the face 
lightened and traces of fatigue vanished. He lis- 
tened with eagernes to the song "America," which 
was sung at the last, and the student in him 
recognized it as the national hymn before the 
first strain echoed back from the pillars. 

The Auditorium presented at 8 o'clock a ser- 
ried vision of human forms, stretching away tier 
on tier from parquet to gallery and from gallery 
to highest balcony. Nowhere was there a vacant 
seat. Dr. Nansen, accompanied by his secretary, 
Lionel Claphau, and by President W. R. Harper 
of Chicago University, appeared upon the plat- 
form at 8:15 o'clock. 

The lecturer proceeded with the telling of how 
his plans matured, of how the expedition started 
on June 13, 1893, and of how the ship was finally 
locked in the ice fields north of Siberia. The 
labors of the men on board and their pleasures 
were described, the former being chiefly scientific. 
Not a man of the crew ever suffered a day's 
sickness during the three years of absence. Of 
colds they knew nothing, for germs do not thrive 
in arctic temperatures. The poet and the dreamer 



of the explorer's nature showed in his word por- . 
trayal of the atmospheric scenes and colorings of 
the long polar day and the longer polar night. 

What he said was illustrated with stereopticon 

views that sent cold chills down the backs of all 

who saw them. Dreary expanses of white, rugged 

ice floes, moons that looked like a hopeless in- 

.'jebriate's vision, variations of the aurora borealis, 

shaggy dogs, ferocious bears, unwieldy walruses, 

and all that goes to make up the charm of polar 

"exi'jtence, were :.vividly portrayed, and the com- 

"fortably dressed, well fed people who listened 

shuddered as they thought of all the hardships 

that the intrepid explorer must have experienced. 

The tale was simply told. There was no attempt 

to magnify the perils of the hazardous journey, ' 

and there was little need. The barest recital ! 

would have been considered harrowing enough. 

The various Norwegian societies had been mak- 
ing arrangements for the reception of their coun- 
tryman for weeks. The most prominent Nor- 
wegians in the city took the matter in hand. 
The immense Battery D hall was festooned with 
flags and flowers. Norwegian flags were put up 
in a hundred places. An immense painting, rep- 
resenting a ship betwe'en icebergs, stood con- 
spicuously on the stage. 

It was 11 o'clock when Dr. Nansen made his 
appearance. He finished his lecture at the Audi- 
torium and drove immediately to the hall. His 
appearance in the doorway was the signal for 
shouting. The band played the Norwegian na- 
tional air, cries of "Brayo Nansen!" came from 
5,000 throats, and then, after silence had been 
secured, the arctic explorer was introduced. 

He spoke in Norwegian for ten minutes and 
thanked his countrymen for their welcome. It be- 
ing very late, he complained of being tired, and 
begged his audience to be lenient with him and 
forgive him for not speaking at greater length. 
More than twenty speakers followed. 

Nansen left the next day for Milwaukee, but 
returned on the following Tuesday to attend a 
banquet given at the Auditorium Hotel in his 
honor. On this occasion he was the guest of 
nearly 200 enthusiastic fellow-countrymen. Nor- 
wegian -patriotism and sentiment filled the ban- 
quet hall with eloquence and song. Mayor Har- 
rison was among the prominent citizens present. 
The sons of the Norsemen had gathered from 
many states to meet and dine with their coun- 
try's hero. 

Dr. Nansen's final lecture was given at the 
Auditorium on Nov. 27. 

As it may be interesting for future generations 
to read about this great reception for Dr. Nan- 



MEMORABLE EVENTS 



231 



sen, we also give the names of the members on 
the reception committee 

The Reception Committee. 



Rev. Mr. Kildahl 
Rev. Torgersen 
Rev. Treider 
Rev. Torrison 
Rev. Haakonson 
Rev. A. Johnson 
H. Nordahl 
M. Losby 
Anton Krog 
Capt. Erickson 
O. A. Thorp 
C. R. Matson 
K. B. Olson 

0. C. Ericksen 
P. O. Stensland 
H. A. Haugan 

1. Andersen 
A. Bruun 

S. Thorson 
N. Arneson 
H. L. Dahl 
John Anderson 
N. Grevstad 
K. Edwards 
John Blegen 
S. T. Gunderson 
Fr. Asche 
O. Severson 
S. Asbjornsen 
Emil Bjorn 
Dr. A. Doe 
Dr. B. Meyer 
Dr. Urheim 
Dr. Sandberg 
Dr. Quales 
Dr. Lee 
Dr. Lawson 
Dr. Hektoen 



Dr. Torrison 
Dr. N. Nelson 
Dr. Lindos 
Dr. Warloe 
Dr. Oyen 
Dr. Holmboe 
Olsen Skaaden 
J. Gullakson 
Tom Olson 
M. Kirkeby 

A. P. Johnson 
Nils Johnson 
C. Jevne 

Capt. W. Johnson 
Atty. Richolson 
Atty. Elwig 
Atty. Torrison 
Atty. A. Johnson 
Atty. F. H. Gade 
Chr. Ilseng 
Capt. Michelsen 
O. C. Hansen 
H. L. Andersen 
John Jersin 
H. B. Hanson 
O. C. S. Olson 
Knud Larsen 
Mr. Holt 
Mr. Holmboe 
Mr. Bodtker 
E. L. Heidenr'eich 
Hans Olson 

B. O. Kindley 
E. A. Smith 
John Ovresat 
A. Petterson 
Torris Wold. 



THE VIKING SHIP AT THE WORLD'S 
FAIR. 

Although there is hardly to be found in the 
United States or elsewhere a Norwegian who 
has the least doubt that one of their countrymen 
really had settled in America about five hundred 
years before Columbus ever saw these shores, 
still the Yankees and others considered the nar- 
rative of Leif Erickson's famous trip in the light 
of a saga which had sprung up in the fertile 
brain of some ultrapatriotic skald. This fact 



nettled the Norwegians of this country, and, 
through the press, their countrymen at home, 
and it appears that they were only waiting for 
a chance to prove their assertion with deeds, 
which of course would be the best and most 
convincing way to treat the practical but skep- 
tical Americans. A great Viking ship had been 
found in a mound at G^kstad and preserved in the 
Museum of Christiania. Here was a model as 
good as could be desired, and the chance to 
prove what could be done with such a vessel 
occurred when the directors of the World's Fair 
asked the Norwegian Government to lend it as 
an exhibit for this grand occasion. 

The Norwegian Government, however, did not 
look with favor upon parting with such a na- 
tional treasure, but then the bold Captain Mag- 
nus Andersen came forward with the proposition 
that a national subscription be taken up in Nor- 
way to defray the expense of building and fitting 
out an exact counterpart of the Gizfkstad ship. 
He offered to sail the sa^cne when ready across 
the Atlantic and by the canals and Great Lakes 
.to the World's Fair at Chicago, thus demonstrat- 
ing that the Norwegians were not preposterous 
nor exaggerating in their claims to have been the 
first Europeans to discover this continent. 

The necessary amount was subscribed, the 
vessel built, and Captain Andersen set sail for 
Vinland. 

As the Viking ship was one of the most re- 
markable exhibits at the World's Fair, far ex- 
ceeding in interest the three Spanish caravels, 
which were counterparts of the flotilla in which 
Columbus sailed, and as the Norwegians all over 
the United States took more pride in their Vik- 
ing ship than in all the other splendid exhibits 
of their mother country combined, we feel just- 
ified in giving a more explicit account of it than 
would else be proportionate in this volume. 

Captain Andersen's life from boyhood was a 
romance of the sea. He was born in 1857 in the 
little fishing village of Laurvig. His father was 
a master marine and he received only a common 
peasant's education. Even that was hard to get, 
for when Magnus was 4 years old his father left 
presumably for the United States and was never 
heard of afterward. Then the care of the family 
fell upon the mother. Shi had an inherent hor- 
ror of the sea and of America, as it was sup- 
posed that the father of Andersen had enlisted 
in the Federal Navy and had suffered death. 
When young Andersen was 15 his mother had 
him apprenticed as a stable boy in the hope that 
he would follow the horses instead of the sea. 
But the boy was made of sterner stuff, and after 



238 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



four months' service he shook off the- cares of 
a sedentary life and ran away to sea in the ship 
Harald, a general merchantman bound for China 
and the East India trade. Andersen made the 
voyage, and upon his return passed perfectly an 
examination in seamanship before the Norweg- 
ian Navigation Board. Then he remained another 
year before the mast, after which he received his 
first appointment, as second mate. When 19 he 
was made first officer of the same vessel, and 
when only 22 he was placed in command. 



hands to depend upon. He shipped as second 
mate aboard the Mary Lank, of Philadelphia. 
She was a threemasted schooner and little to the 
taste of the Norseman, so he soon resigned to 
go on board the Iceberg, Capt. Canter, of Sears- 
port, Me. On this vessel he made several trips 
to China and the Orient, and distinguished him- 
self for personal bravery as well as seamanship. 
Upon his return to Boston, in 1886, he decided 
to give up seafaring. But he also had a pet 
theory that he determined to demonstrate prac- 




The Viking Ship at the World's Fair. 



About this time young Andersen felt an ir- 
resistible longing to journey to America, there 
to search for his long absent father. His mother 
died about the same time, and, having no longer 
any ties to bind him, he left with his brother 
for New York. Together they tried to find their 
father. Failing in this, the brother took passage 
for the Bering Straits upon a whaling voyage, 
but never reached the fishing grounds, as he was 
eaten by a shark while bathing at Valparaiso. 
This left Captain Andersen with nothing but his 
forefather's reputation for adventure and his two 



ticaily before bidding a final farewell to the briny 
deep. Capt. Andersen had noted that the average 
sailor put little dependence in the lifeboats with 
which their vessels were supplied. The men held 
the opinion that once the vessel sank it was 
useless to place any hopes of being saved in 
the ship's small boats. Capt. Andersen felt that 
this was an error. He held that a properly built 
boat was as capable of living in as much sea as 
even the largest vessels. With this project in 
his mind he organized an expedition from Nor- 
way to America in an open boat. It was the 



INDUSTRY AND FINANCE 



233 



first trip of the kind ever undertaken. Open 
boats had passed from America to Europe be- 
fore, but never vice versa, against wind and cur- 
rent. Taking with him seaman Christiansen, who 
later became second mate of the Viking, he 
started in a thirty-foot boat across the Atlantic. 
It took them sixty days to reach the banks of 
Newfoundland. They were capsized three times 
en route. After this Captain Andersen quit the 
sea. He went to New York and founded the 
Norwegian Sailors' Home, which has grown to 
such an extent that it contains over 150 beds. 

In 1890 he originated the idea of the Viking 
ship and went over to Norway and started the 
movement, at the same time founding the Nor- 
wegian Shipping Journal. He left Bergen April 
30, 1893, on the Viking with a picked crew, and, 
as is well known, sailed that vessel safe to Chi- 
cago. The sailors had a great trip: no accidents 
or mishaps of any kind. Everywhere along tjie 
route the Viking met with great demonstrations. 
The Americans were more enthusiastic than the 
Norwegians in their interest. That seems a little 
strange, but was nevertheless true. 

When the Viking was approaching Chicago 
she was met by a flotilla of pleasure yachts and 
excursion steamers near Evanston. On the 
steamer City of Duluth were a city council com- 
mittee headed by the elder Mayor Carter H. 
Harrison, and on the Ivanhoe were members of 
the reception committee with Commissioner- 
General Ravn and the Norwegian World's Fair 
commissioners. Norwegian societies were of 
course present in force. They filled half a dozen 
steamers. 

When the Chicago flotilla reached the waiting 
Viking there was a mighty roar of salutes. Flags 
were dipped and the Norsemen brought their 
boat alongside the Ivanhoe, where they were 
welcomed by Mayor Harrison and Commissioner- 
General Ravn. After an interchange of courte- 
sies the fleet started southward, the dragon ship 
in the place of honor. The columns were formed 
as follows: 



Restless 
Thistle 
Volanta 
Zero 



Adele 
Peerless 
Comanche 
Grace. 



The Viking 

Michigan 

Argo 

Buena 

Cudahy 

Catherine 

Gryphon 

Hindo 

Glad Tidings 

Mino 

Ruinart 



Blake 

Tvanhoe 

City of Duluth 

Cyclone 

Gordon 

Chief Justice Waite 

Music 

International 

Romeo 

Post Boy 

Josie Davidson 



When the fleet arrived off Van Buren street 
Mayor Harrison and the council committee 
boarded the little Viking ship, and Mayor Har- 
rison gave Captain Andersen and his gallant 
crew the freedom and hospitality of the city. 

In half an hour the journey to the Fair was 
resumed, the Viking manned with oarsmen whose 
great muscles made her skim through the water 
at a wonderfully rapid rate. 

At the World's Fair hundreds of little electric 
launches and pleasure boats came out to wel- 
come the sturdy Viking. Cannon boomed, whis- 
tles blew, and, the thousands of sightseers who 
had gathered along the shore cheered vigorously. 

Director-General Davis and a number of 
World's Fair officials took the Captain and the 
crew off the Viking ship and welcomed them to 
the Fair. This was followed by a reception in 
the Administration Building, to which the chiefs 
of departments and other officials were invited. 

Captain Andersen was in port. 



During the following days Capt. Andersen and 
his gallant crew were the most celebrated visit- 
ors at the Fair. It was only natural that their 
own countrymen were the most generously en- 
thusiastic. They demonstrated their elated feel- 
ings in banquets, receptions and all kinds of 
festivities without number. 



After the Fair the question arose what dis- 
position should be made of the Viking ship. 
That it ought to be preserved in some manner 
was the opinion of every Norwegian-American. 
Consequently a subscription of $5,000 was taken 
up, the ship bought for the amount and donated 
to the Field Columbian Museum in Jackson 
Park, where it still can be seen. 

NORWAY AT THE CHICAGO WORLD'S 
FAIR. 

It may be recalled that the various countries 
and states which were exhibitors at the World's 
Columbian Exposition each had a day set aside 
for celebration within the grounds. As Nor- 
way's representatives could choose their own 
date for "Norway's Day," it was but natural that 



234 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



they selected May 17, which they have every- 
where celebrated as their national holiday. "Den 
syttende Mai" (May 17) is to the sons of Nor- 
way what the Fourth of July is to all true and 
patriotic Americans, both natives and naturalized. 
Thousands of the flaxen-haired, ruddy-cheeked 
Norsemen with their wives and children were on 
the ground. Before the gates were opened on 
the 17th of May, 1893, a great crowd of impa- 
tient people were waiting to pass through the 
turnstiles, and all day long they were pouring 
into the park in streams. The dedication of the 
Norwegian building and exhibit was the chief 
attraction of the day, but the fact that the 17th 
of May is their national anniversary lent addi- 
tional interest to the occasion. Many prominent 
Norwegian-Americans from Wisconsin, Minne- 
sota, the Dakotas, Michigan and" other states 
joined with their brethren in Illinois in making 
the event one long to be remembered and talked 
of. 

Under the direction of Chief Marshal E. C. 
Christensen a procession of societies was formed 
at the north end of the terminal station and 
marched north past the Transportation Building 
to Festival Hall, where the exercises were held. 
The procession was made up in the following 
order: 

Platoon of police. 

Bicycle club. Fifty members. 

Band. 

Scandinavian Workingmen, No. 1, 700 strong. 

Scandinavian Workingmen, No. 10. 

Norwegian Rifle Club. 

Band. 

Nora Lodge, No. 1, R. H. K. 

Leif Erikson Lodge, No. 15, R. H. K. 

Tordenskjold Lodge, No. 15, R. H. K. 

Band. 

Northern Light K. & L. of H. 

Freia Lodge K. & L. of H. 

Nordfaelles Supreme Lodge. 

Court Normania. 

Band. 

Good Templar Lodge. 

Scandinavian Carpenters' Union. 

Carriages with invited guests. 

At two o'clock Festival Hall, which had a seat- 
ing capacity of 8,000 and standing room for 2,000 
more, was literally packed to the doors, and 
thousands of disappointed Norwegians were left 
outside, unable to hear or see anything of the 
interesting proceedings in the hall. The cele- 
bration began with the singing of the Norwegian 
national hymn, "Ja, vi elsker dette landet (Yes 



We Love This Land). As every Norwegian 
knows the song by heart, its singing by the as- 
sembled thous-ands made such music as the walls 
of Festival Hall had not before echoed. Prof. 
Julius Olsen of the University of Wisconsin then 
made an address on "Our Day of Independence," 
which was received by the great audience with 
every evidence of enthusiasm. Americans all, they 
were for the time being patriotic Norwegians. 

More music was then in order, and Mrs. Anna 
Smith Behrens appeared to sing some of the 
songs- of the fatherland, accompanied by Mrs. I 
Dr. Karl Sandberg. Her selections included 
"The Boy and the Fairy" (by Otto Winter- 
Hjelm), "Wandering in the Forest" (Edward 
Grieg), and "On the Mountain" (Halfdan Kje- 
rulf). Then Hon. Rasmus B. Anderson appeared 
to speak of "Norway" from the standpoint of a 
loyal and patriotic son, and when the applause 
which greeted his eloquent periods had subsided, 
the Exposition orchestra, under the leadership of 
Theodore Thomas, played several selections 
from Grieg's "Peer Gynt." 

Hon. Nils P. Haugan was the next speaker in- 
troduced, and his topic, "Norwegians in the 
United States," was handled very cleverly. Miss 
Signe Hille then sang, "To My Heart's Queen" 
(Agathe Backer-Gr^ndahl), "My Treasure" (Kje- 
rulf), and "A Vision" (Grieg). Ingolf K. Boyesen 
followed with a talk on "America and the Expo- 
sition." The orchestra closed the program with 
a collection of Norwegian folk songs and rhap- 
sodies by Johann Svendsen. The exercises 
seemed to be thoroughly enjoyed by the great 
crowd which remained in attendance to the last 
and was unstinted in its applause. After the cere- 
monies the Norwegians and their friends scat- 
tered through the grounds and buildings, which 
were kept open that night until eleven o'clock. 
The Court of Honor was illuminated, and Direc- 
tor Burnham had ordered the electric fountain 
to play. 

NORWAY'S PAVILION. 

On account of a midocean accident to the 
steamer Hekla, the formal opening of Norway's 
Pavilion in the Manufactures Building was de- 
layed. Ten cases of goods, containing among 
other things all the flags, were known to be on 
the road, but no trace could be found of them 
when they were most wanted. The barriers 
were, however, taken down for the formal open- 
ing of the exhibit, at which among others the 
following were present: 

Chr. Ravn, royal commissioner-general. 



MEMORABLE EVENTS 



235 



Anders C. Berle, secretary royal commission. 

Torolf Prytz, commissioner of manufactures 
for Norway. 

Mrs. G. Emerson, manager. 

James Allison, chief of Manufactures Building. 

Frank P. Williams, assistant chief of Manu- 
factures Building. 

Willard A. Smith, chief of Transportation 
Building. 

The 9,000 square feet occupied by Norway 
were on the east side of the main aisle near the 
south entrance. 

The exhibit was dual, for the liberal arts as 
well as manufactures were represented. In the 
rear of the section an elevated platform was 
built. On it was a full-sized stabur or provision 
house. On each side were large paintings of 
Norwegian scenery, and hundreds of photo- 
graphs formed a border around the platforms. 
The ski (Norwegian snow-shoe), used for climb- 
ing mountains and shooting down the steep in- 
cline with racehorse speed, was shown in great 
variety. Some were elaborately carved; others, 
used by athletes and sportsmen, were narrow, 
long and highly polished. 

Three wax figures of skaters, dressed in the 
costumes used in Norway, added to the attrac- 
tiveness of this feature. Various forms of push- 
sleds, narrow sleighs and hand sleds were shown, 
as well as the Norwegian kariol. This is a two- 
wheeled vehicle, something like a western road- 
cart, with a long skeleton body and an extra seat 
behind. A dozen wax figures of men and women 
were dressed in peasant costurfies. Two repre- 
sented women from the neighborhood of Bergen, 
the headgear showing one to be married. Both 
costums had the accordion plaits, which Amer- 
ican women used not very long ago, but which 
the peasant girls of Norway have worn for sev- 
eral centuries. 

As interesting as the ski collection was the 
showing of ancient and modern Norwegian skates. 
Paulsen, the famous Norwegian skater, aston- 
ished New Yorkers by his skates when he raced 
on Hudson River, for they were unlike anything 
seen or used until then in this country. Those 
shown in the Manufactures Building had the look 
of speed in their low, straight, narrow runners, 
but according to the American idea they had 
one objection, for they were nailed to the shoe 
and not clamped or strapped. A stuffed reindeer 
attached to a canoe-shaped sled (akja), a harpoon 
gun with the wicked looking triple-pronged 
whale-catcher, and a fine collection of furs, em- 
phasized the characteristic features of the exhibit 
from the land of the midnight sun. 



To those who thought that snow, ice, bleak 
mountains and fish make up all Norway, the 
silverwork exhibit came with a shock of pleasure 
and surprise. Nothing like it was seen in any 
other section except the Mexican. It formed a 
curious parallel that the tropical and polar coun- 
tries should find a common art in filigree silver 
work. The resemblance, however, is only in the 
work, for the designs of Norway and Mexico are 
widely at variance. In delicacy, grace and in- 
genuity the silversmiths of Christiania and the 
jewelers of Mexico are peers. Many fine exam- 
ples of filigree silver were shown. The feature, 
however, which made the silver exhibit unique 
among similar displays was the silver and enam- 
eled work done at Bergen and Christiania. Two 
magnificent silver lamps., beautiful in model and 
exquisite in design, were notable exponents of 
this art. The framework of the design is first 
made in filigree silver. Then the enamel, in vari- 
ous colors, is filled in and the whole burned. The 
silver is afterward heavily gilded and polished. 
The vase-shaped shade had translucent enamel, 
which gave a soft, tinted glow when the light 
was burning. Jewel cases, trays, spoons and 
toilet articles were made of the same combina- 
tion. Many spoons were decorated with Nor- 
wegian scenes painted and burned in the enamel. 
Some of the spoons were copies of ancient origi- 
nals kept in the museum of Christiania. Odd 
drinking cups in odder designs were placed near 
the originals, some of them 260 years old. In 
another case was an old drinking horn with the 
royal lion in gold on the lid, and ancient scent 
boxes, which prove that the old Vikings were 
not above tickling their olfactory nerves. 

Norway ships to this country a large amount 
of wood pulp and sulphate for paper making, and 
this important industry had a display to itself. 
Boats, tapestries, books, school exhibits, various 
liquors (as Aquavit), with some very fine wood 
carvings, were other x interesting features, while 
a variety of marble and granite showed the value 
of Norway's quarries. 

The pavilion was built out of native Norwegian 
pine, which Has a reputation the world over. It 
admits of the most delicate carving, in which the 
Norwegians are skilled. Some of their work in 
this line was shown in the framework of the 
facade, which was without other ornamentation 
except a few designs in colors. The wood was 
left purposely without oil or paint. The facade 
did not show to good advantage under the high 
roof of the Manufactures Building, with the lofty 
structures of Russia on one side and Denmark 
across the avenue. But this was not the fault of 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



the Norwegian architect. Instructions were sent 
out by the exposition authorities originally limit- 
ing the height of structures within the Manu- 
factures Building, and when they were modified 
there was no time to do the -elaborate work over 
again. 

NORWAY'S BUILDING AT THE WORLD'S 
FAIR. 

The Norwegian building in Jackson Park was 
not large, but people looked at it twice as they 
passed by. 



there was some little friction over the matter. 
But the Norwegians had been in hard luck. They 
had prepared the timbers for their building at 
Christiania and the work had been much de- 
layed. Then the framed timbers were put aboard 
the steamer Hekla, which usually made the run 
to New York in about twelve days. But on this 
voyage the Hekla had an accident and reached 
New York first on April 9, nearly two weeks late. 
She had been twenty-eight days on the passage. 
When the consignment finally reached Chicago- 
the workmen at once began setting up the house. 




Norway's Building at the World's Fair. 



Norway was assigned a generous slice of 
ground early in the show. It was the space at 
first allotted to Russia, a nice site just south- 
east of the art annex. The Russians found it 
impracticable for their use and it was given to 
Norway. But the Norwegians did not seem to 
build upon it very fast. Other buildings were go- 
ing up on all sides, but Norway's space remained 
desolate. Director Burnham fretted and found 



The style of the building's architecture was 
what in Norway is called "Stave-kirke." It is 
distinctly and unmistakably Norwegian. Indeed, 
the Norwegians have been erecting church edi- 
fices that look like this ever since the twelfth 
century. It had a high lower-story and a low 
upper story, and over all a high-gabled roof pic- 
turesquely irregular in design. A fine flagstaff 
topped the whole. But what most gave a Norse 



MEMORABLE EVENTS 



237 



aspect to the little building, which was only 26 
x 40 feet in size, were the decorative figures pro- 
jecting over the gables,. heavy beams that curved 
upward and were graven in grotesque shapes 
like the heads of dragons or serpents. These 
resembled more than anything else the ancient 
prows of Viking battleships. 



home in ships than in houses, patterned even 
their houses of worship after their ships. 

The building was constructed of the best of 
Norwegian pine. It was chiefly used for the of- 
fices of Royal Commissioner Christian Ravn and 
his aids and as a rendezvous for Norwegian vis- 
itors at the Fair. The Norwegian exhibits were 




The Artist's Model of Leif Erikson. 



That is exactly what they were intended to be 
like. When the "Stave-kirke" type of architect- 
ure was originated the Norse were the boldest 
navigators in the world. Their high-penned gal- 
leys, with hideous figureheads, ventured where 
none others dared to go. Those were the days 
of the Vikings. So the Norsemen, being more at 



made in other buildings, such as the Fisheries 
and Manufactures. There were some really good 
ones, too. Norway had been stirred up by all 
that Columbus hubbub to the remembrance that 
it was a Norseman after all who really discov- 
ered America by a daring chance. 



238 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



LEIF ERIKSON, 
The Norse Discoverer of America. 

The Chicago Norwegians had another great 
occasion for celebrating when the statue of Leif 
Erikson, the Norse-Icelandic discoverer of the 
American continent, A. D. 1000, was unveiled on 
the 12th of October, 1901. The accompanying 
picture, which shows the bronze image as it 
stands in Humboldt Park, Chicago, represents a 
man of physical beauty, strong and supple 

"Trained for either camp or court, 
Skillful in each manly sport, 
Young and beautiful and tall" 

the head and face noble, that of the skald (bard) 
as well as the daring explorer. In spite of the 
drizzling rain the faces of many thousands of 
sons and daughters of Norway and their de- 
scendants beamed with joy and enthusiasm, and 
while they sang the national hymn of their fa- 
therland the monument to Leif Erikson, one of 
Norway's most famous discoverers and naviga- 
tors, erected from their own earnings, was for 
the first time presented to their view. 

With the words and melody of "Ja, vi elsker 
dette landet" echoing throughout the park, and 
with flags and banners of Norway and America 
waving on all sides, O. A. Thorp, one of the 
originators of the Leif Erikson monument plan, 
signaled to Miss Inga Ferdinandsen and she 
pulled the tri-colored.cord and formally unveiled 
the monument to the public view. 

Norwegian-Americans from all parts of the 
city and from difierent states throughout the 
Northwest were present to witness the deremony 
for the fruction of which they had worked since 
1892. Preceding the unveiling exercises at Hum- 
boldt Park, Norwegian-American organizations 
including the turner, singers', educational and 
trade societies met at Scandia Hall and pro- 
ceeded in carriages to the scene of the unveiling. 
The spirit which caused the mariners with Leif 
Erikson to brave the rough and uncertain seas 
swayed his Chicago descendants that day and 
caused them to disregard the dismal weather 
while paying their tribute to the one who first 
found this great country. 

O. A. Thorp, on behalf of the Leif Erikson 
Monument Society, which had charge of rais- 
ing the funds for the erection of the monument, 
and of which he was the founder and first presi- 
dent, made the unveiling oration. President L. 
E. Olson of the Monument Society made the for- 
mal speech presenting the monument to the west 
park officials. The exercises were in charge of 



A. J^rgensen, vice-president of the society; C. 
H. Lee, treasurer; A. C. Thorsen, secretary, and 
the directors, L. Hansen, Charles Nergard, Fred. 
Asche and F. Ferdinandsen. P. A. Sj^lie was 
grand marshal of the turnout of the societies and 
Albert J. Elvig was in charge of the arrange- 
ments in the park. 

The day's celebration closed with a banquet at 
the Sherman House in the evening, at which 
Paul O. Stensiand was the toastmaster. Prof. 
R. B. Anderson, Nicolai Grevstad, Oscar M. 
Torrison, John Blegen, Prof. Julius E. Olson, 
Birger Osland, O. A. Thorp, and Mayor Carter 
H. Harrison, Jr., were among the speakers. Mr. 
Sigvald Asbj^rnsen, the sculptor of the monu- 
ment, was the guest of honor at the banquet. 

The monument consists of the bronze statue 
representing Leif Erikson standing upon a gran- 
ite bowlder. The statue is 9% feet high and the 
granite bowlder is 12 feet in diameter, half of 
which is -imbedded in the high grass mound, 
which is 6 feet high and 30 feet in circumference. 
The monument is placed in one of the choicest 
.spots of Humboldt Park, near the new pavilion 
and lagoon. It cost over $10,000. 

In this connection it may be mentioned that 
monuments to Leif Erikson have been erected 
in Boston and Milwaukee. 



THE NORWEGIAN STUDENT SINGERS. 

It was in the afternoon on May 20, 1905, that 
sixty members of the Norwegian Student Sing- 
ers, the famous male chorus of Christiania, show- 
ered with flowers and greeted with welcoming 
song from their countrymen and women, arrived 
in Chicago. The Michigan Central train on 
which they came was nearly an hour late, but 
their tardy arrival did not dampen the enthusi- 
asm of the 500 persons who crowded the Park 
Row Station to meet them. As the members of 
the chorus entered the door into the waiting 
room the local Norwegian Singers' Union began 
Grieg's "Song of Welcome," which next to the 
national anthem is the great song of the Norse- 
men. 

Leaving the station, the crowd surged toward 
the Auditorium, where the chorus remained the 
20th and 21st. There was a call for a song, and 
visitors and local singers lined up on the broad 
stairway leading from the lobby of the hotel and 
sang, "Ja, Vi Elsker Dette Landet." As the clear 
voices of the tenors lingered on the last strain 
there was tumultuous applause. In response to 
the encore the visiting singers rendered "The 



MEMORABLE EVENTS 



239 




The Leif Erikson Monument in Humboldt Park. 



240 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



Star-Spangled Banner." The rest of the first day 
was spent in sightseeing, and on the following 
day most of the chorus were the guests at the 
homes of various Norwegian residents. 

Arrangements had been completed for the con- 
cert by the chorus, which was given at the Au- 
ditorium on the first evening. The committee of 
arrangements was composed of H. A. Haugan, 
John Anderson, Paul O. Stensland, Nicolai Grev- 
stad, N. Arneson, Dr. Karl Sandberg, Thomas 
Kolderup. Ben Blessum and Dr. Th. Warloe. 

This musical organization was formed about 
sixty years ago by Johan Behrens, the "father 
of Norwegian song." It is composed of students 
and alumni of the University of Christiania and 
is a semi-national institution, the director, O. A. 
Gr^ndahl, one of the foremost leaders and com- 
posers of Scandinavia, being paid out of the na- 
tional treasury. Since its inception the chorus 
has been a leader in Norwegian choral music, 
having had the nation for its patron and num- 
bering among its most prominent supporters the 
foremost Norwegian composers, such as Grieg, 
Reissiger, Selmer and Kjerulf. Many of the 
latter have written compositions expressly for 
the chorus. 

The singers were headed by Rolf Hammer, 
tenor, and Johannes Berg-Hansen, basso, as solo- 
ists, both of whom are members of the National 
Opera. The president of the Student Singing 
Society, Dr. Henrich Thomsen, was with the or- 
ganization. 

A large advance sale of seats for the concert 
insured an attendance of gratifying proportions 



and the concert was a great success from both 
an artistic and a material point of view. A great 
banquet was given in honor of the singers at 
the Sherman House, when many persons of 
prominence made speeches. 

After leaving Chicago the chorus gave con- 
certs in about twenty cities of the Northwest and 
returned east via Chicago on June 14, 1906, at 
which time another concert was given.' On the 
evening of the 13th five hundred representative 
Norwegians of Chicago and the Northwest as-i 
sembled at the home of Paul O. Stensland inj 
Irving Park, ostensibly for the purpose of enter- 
taining the Norwegian student singers, but the 
real purpose of the monster reunion was to form- 
ulate plans preliminary to presenting a signed 
petition to President Roosevelt, urging him toj 
recognize the independence of Norway. The af- 
fair, which was in the form of an outdoor dinner 
party, on the spacious grounds of Mr. Stensland, 
was one of the most notable events in the his- 
tory of Norwegian society in Chicago. Hundreds 
of incandescent lights were strung throughout 
the grounds, dinner being served under a canopy 
of red, white and blue, from the dome of which 
hung the flag of Norway and the Stars and 
Stripes, made up of a colored array of electric 
lights. 

The musical features of the evening were the 
patriotic solos rendered by Mrs. Grace Nelson 
Stensland, the daughter-in-law of Paul O. Stens- 
land. Her efforts inspired the Norsemen with 
political enthusiasm, one of her songs being sug- 
gestive of a political appeal. 



NORWEGIANS IN THE INDUSTRIAL 
I AND FINANCIAL FIELDS 



JOHNSON CHAIR COMPANY. 

It affords us great pleasure to present a con- 
densed history of one of Chicago's greatest furn- 
iture enterprises and to record the fact that it is 
controlled by men of our own nationality. Were 
we living in the fabled days of old, the sketch, 
even though but the recounting of hard, dry facts, 
would seem more like romance than reality. 
Probably in no other country in the world would 
so great and rapid development be possible, and 
certainly in no city in the land have so small be- 
ginnings grown to so magnificent proportions in 
so brief a time. The great factory and business 
of the Johnson Chair Company stands as a monu- 
ment to the wise and prudent, yet enterprising 
and energetic management of the men who have 
been at its head. Commencing with very little 
capital, and but a limited experience, the manage- 
ment has grown and expanded from year to year 
with the business it has faithfully and persistently 
pushed to the front. Each year has brought with 
it new ideas, new methods and new customers, 
until to-day their trade extends to nearly all 
parts of this country and a number of European 
countries, and their name is a synonym of integ- 
rity, reliable goods and prompt attention to the 
wants of their thousands of customers. 

The founders of this great institution were 
Thompson & Crawford, who occupied a small 
building (the corner building in the first picture) 
at the corner of N. Green and Phillips streets, 
in 1867. These gentlemen manufactured cane- 
seat chairs, and continued in business until 1868, 
when they sold their plant to F. Herhold, A. P. 
Johnson, Anton and Adolph Borgmeier, who 
changed the line to wood-seat chairs, and con- 
tinued the business under the name of Herhold, 



Johnson and Borgmeier until 1870, when Anton 
Borgmeier sold out, and the name was changed to 
Herhold, Johnson & Co., Mr. Adolph Borgmeier 
being the "Co." In 1877 Mr. Herhold sold out. and 
the name of the firm was changed to A. P. John- 
son & Co., and Mr. Nels Johnson was admitted 
as active partner. Two years later the factory 
received a great change by the tearing down 
of the corner frame building .and the erection in 
its place of a large five-story brick building. 
It seemed then as though the limit of capacity 
had been reached, and that no further building 
or increase of facilities would be needed for many 
years. This building, which stands at the corner 
of N. Green and Phillips streets, is 40 x 136 feet, 
and its five floors gave them 27,000 feet of floor 
space. This was a very large chair factory for 
those days, although but for a few years. Busi- 
ness continued to grow, and in 1883 the firm was 
incorporated under the name of the Johnson 
Chair Co., the plant was enlarged by the erec- 
tion of a five-story brick building, and the of- 
fices, salesrooms and shipping room were moved 
into it. This building was 42 x 136 feet, and con- 
tained at the time 28,560 square feet. But even 
this addition soon became cramped, and five 
years later, in 1888, the frame building between 
the two brick buildings was demolished to make 
room for the magnificent six-story brick, which 
is 50 x 206 feet and fills all the space. This 
building contains 61,800 square feet of floor. 
When this great building was completed they 
took a long breath and said: "Surely we have 
done with building expenses, for it will be a long 
time before we shall need more room than is 
afforded by our present facilities." The show 
room and private offices were moved into this 
building, and everything ran along smoothly un- 



241 



242 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



til 1890, when the necessity for more room again 
became pressing, and the office building received 
another story the sixth. Although this gave 
them 5,712 square feet more, increasing the space 
in that building to 34,272 square feet, it proved 
to be but a temporary relief, and in 1891 we see 
them with another giant building, extending 
from the office building clear through to Halsted 
street, 112 x 60 feet and seven stories high, add- 
ing nearly 50,000 more square feet. This is the 
most ornamental building in the group, as shown 
in the large picture. In addition to the above- 
mentioned buildings there are the dry-kilns, 
25 x 75, three stories, and the engine house, 50 x 50, 
three stories, the two having a total of 13,125 



For a number of years the company manufac- 
tured a line of bureaus, but the rapid increase 
of the chair trade made it necessary to discon- 
tinue them. More than 500 styles of chairs, 
from the cheap wood-seat kitchen to the large 
solid mahogany office and clubhouse chairs, are 
manufactured by this company. Their line of 
oak dining chairs in among the finest in the land. 
They give employment to between 500 and 600 
hands at the factory. 

Until his health commenced failing him last 
year, Mr. A. P. Johnson, the president, used to 
superintend the factory and do the buying of 
materials, having a competent foreman in every 
department. Secretary Nels Johnson, a brother 




The Johnson Chair Company's First Building. 



feet. Thus we see a total of 180,245 square feet, 
besides lumber sheds, stables, etc. 

Besides the erection of the seven-story Hal- 
sted-street building in 1891 they have added a 
new 150-horse-power engine to one of the same 
size; and have increased their electric lights from 
150 to 500, which practically affords them day- 
light throughout the twenty-four hours, if they 
desire it. At the right-hand upper corner of the 
picture may be seen a view of their 'lumber yards 
on Ogden Island, with two vessels at the docks, 
in the north branch of the Chicago River, dis- 
charging cargoes of lumber. This yard is not 
more than fifteen minutes' drive from the factory 
for the lumber wagons, and so isolated as to be 
almost out of danger from fires. 



of A. P., now has charge of the office, salesmen 
and credits. Until his death, which occurred 
Dec. 14, 1905, Mr. Borgmeier attended to the 
shipping, with over a score of packers and ship- 
pers under him. His place was taken by Mr. 
Joseph F. Johnson, treasurer of the company. 
The head bookkeeper is Mr. Geo. A. Boedeker, 
who started in with them in the shipping room 
in 1879. He has half a dozen or more assistants, 
among whom Mr. A. M. Heiberg and Mr. S. O. 
Severson are of Norwegian birth. Among the 
workingmen the following Norwegians have risen 
to higher positions: S. N. Hallenger is foreman 
in the factory, with B. N. Saue as assistant. A. 
J. Breda is foreman in the finishing department 
and Christ Olson in the lumber yard. A son of 



INDUSTRY AND FINANCE 



243 




o. 
o 



5 

B 
O 



o 
ji 
f-" 



244 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



A. P. Johnson, Mr. Arthur L. Johnson, is super- 
intendent of the factory, and Mr. Walter J. John- 
son, a son of Nels Johnson, is .assistant in the 
office. 

Their goods are shipped to nearly every nook 
and corner of the country and also to foreign 
countries. Mansion and cottage, club house and 
hotel, farm house and city home alike are fur- 
nished from this, one of Chicago's greatest fur- 
niture factories. They have won success, and 
they deserve it. 

TORRIS WOLD & CO. 

The founder of this firm is Mr. Torris Wold, 
whose biography can be read in another part of 
this book. 

After Mr. Torris Wold left the employ of the 
Crosby Co., where he had charge of the die de- 
partment, he bought about twenty years ago a 
half interest in the firm of Sivertsen & Jensen, 
located in the Edison Building on Market street, 
and changed the firm name to Jensen & Wold. 

About six years later Mr. Wold bought out 
Mr. Jensen and operated under the name of Tor- 
ris Wold, which again some ten years ago was 
changed to Torris Wold & Co. After the busi- 
ness left the Edison Building it was moved to 11 
S. Jefferson street, and thence to the present 
quarters at the corner of Fulton and Jefferson 
streets. 

Twenty years ago the canning industry in this 
country was just beginning, and naturally also 
the can making. Thus Mr. Wold prides himself 
on having made the first dies for cans used in 
Chicago. Since then the canning as well as the 
can-making industry has grown fast, the can- 
making fast enough to offer inducement, enough. 
to form one of the largest trusts, the American 
Can Co. In spite of this trust the. growing de- 
mand for cans has led a number of independents 
to start can companies the last three or four years, 
and as far as the output of cans is concerned 
it is about six to four, with the odds still in 
favor of the trust. Torris Wold & Co. have in 
a way grown up with the industry in which they 
are engaged, that of can-making .machinery. In 
the beginning, when cans to a great extent were 
made by hand, they did a large and good busi- 
ness in dies, presses, small hand tools, etc. Later, 
small hand tools had to be replaced by small 
power machines, and these again were replaced 
by automatic machinery. The last two or three 
years the firm has made it their aim to push to 
the front with an absolutely complete line of au- 



tomatic machinery for all kinds of cans, and the 
motto "Everything for can makers" has been fol- 
lowed out to the letter, until the firm now stands 
at the head of the industry with complete au- 
tomatic machinery for anything in the line. Mr. 
H. H. Lyche is. the secretary, treasurer and gen- 
eral manager for the company. 

C. JEVNE & CO. 

The next cut shows the home of C. Jevne & 
Co., at 110-112 Madison street, Chicago, prob- 
ably the greatest retail distribators of good things 
to eat in the world's fourth city, and of all such 
concerns west of Boston and New York. 

The business was started by Christian Jevne 
at 41 E. Kinzie street, near the North branch of 




C. Jevne & Co. 

the Chicago River, in 1865. His capital was about 
$200. The present president of the company. 
Mr. Otto Christian F.ricson, was appointed cash- 
ier and bookkeeper in 1868 and has since been 
actively and continuously connected with the 
firm. In 1870 the business was moved to Nos. 
1 and 3 N. Clark street, right at the bridge, where 



INDUSTRY AND FINANCE 



345 



they met with an unexpectedly large increase in 
their business. The great fire in 1871, however, 
wiped it all out with the exception of $5,000 in 
bank and about $4,000 in outstanding accounts. 
About two weeks afterward the business was 
started on Halsted street, where it remained 
until 1874, when it was moved back to N. Clark 
street. 

It was a busy place in Chicago at that time, 
and especially a gathering place for farmers and 
lake shipping interests. The firm was then doing 
a business of $375,000 a year and had to seek 
larger quarters. They built their present build- 
ing, at 110-112 Madison street, and moved in in 
1878. 



and manned by Norwegians, with the exception 
of two. 

Four ships are employed each year for the 
handling of coffee, which is bought direct from 
the government of Holland, which conducts four 
annual auctions for the sale of coffee. It is these 
large deals, increasing every year, that cause the 
direct communications with foreign countries. 
Three years ago the company was incorporated 
and Otto Christian Ericson was elected as the 
first president. The authorized capital is $200,- 
000, to which can be added a snug sum as un- 
divided profits. They conduct a retail grocery 
store that is the pride of Chicago and a credit 
to its managers. 



7*" 




The Central Manufacturing Company. 



Christian Jevne died in 1898. Mr. Otto C. 
Ericson was taken in as a member of the firm 
in 1887 and has continuously increased the busi- 
ness. They employ from 100 to 125 men, fourteen 
of them being drivers, looking after forty horses. 
They are large importers, getting their coffee 
direct from Sumatra and Arabia; tea from Japan, 
China and Ceylon; wine from Europe; cheese, 
fish, canned goods and aquavit from Norway, 
Sweden and Denmark. The company deals direct 
with every country in the world, and it is inter- 
esting to note that for the past fifteen years 
every ship freighting coffee from Sumatra in the 
East Indies has been a Norwegian one, officered 



THE CENTRAL MANUFACTURING COM- 
PANY. 

The Central Manufacturing Company are the 
largest manufacturers of office desks in Chicago 
and made up entirely of Scandinavians. The 
president, Mr. Nils Arneson, has been engaged 
in the manufacturing of furniture for the past 
forty years; in fact he is one of the pioneer fur- 
niture manufacturers of Chicago. The secretary, 
Mr. Alf. Normann, has been connected with the 
company since 1899. 

Nowadays furniture making constitutes so big 
an item in Chicago's industrial output, and Chi- 



246 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



cage's big enterprises in that trade are so many 
and so strong, as to bar from special notice ai^y 
concern not exceptional either in magnitude or 
character, which is not either very large in its 
output or whose output is not unusual in quality 
and standing. Exclusion of this sort, however, 
does not touch the Central Manufacturing Com- 
pany, whose huge factory at 37 to 41 Armour 
street produces what is popularly reckoned the 
most complete and salable assortment of roll-t,op 
and flat-top office desks and office furniture in 
the West. From this fine plant, with its acre 
of floor space, its $90,000 outfit of machinery and 
its corps of more than six score expert artificers 
in wood, the Central Manufacturing Cbmpany 



partner was taken in, a man by the name of John 
H. Mengis, and The Chicago Desk Mnfg. Co. 
was organized, with L. L. Skielvig as president; 
John H. Mengis, secretary and treasurer; and A. 
Petersen as superintendent. The business was 
conducted under this firm until 1884. A. Peter- 
sen then sold out his interest and moved to 15 
to 21 Armour street, and 456-460 Austin avenue, 
a property containing nearly 17,000 feet of ground 
and 39,000 feet of floor space. From that time 
to the present date he has conducted a manu- 
facturing business of the same line as originally 
started under the name of A. Petersen & Co. The 
company is only the style of title, Mr. Petersen 
being sole proprietor and manager. 



jfPfllfllll 

iijiiiiiili 




A. Petersen and Company. 



turns out a line of business furniture, including 
sixty styles of desks, twenty of library tables, 
and a long list of other specialties.. 

A. PETERSEN & CO. 

Commenced business in 1879, manufacturing a 
line of desks and office furniture in rented quar- 
ters at the corner of Jackson and Clinton streets, 
under the name of Skielvig, Petersen & Co., of 
which the associated partners were L. L. Skiel- 
vig and John Thompson. The business was con- 
ducted in this style for one year, when a new 



SETHNESS COMPANY 

Are manufacturers of flavoring extracts and col- 
ors, essential oils and chemical specialities as 
used by confectioners, bakers, ice-cream makers, 
sodawater dispensers, perfumers, rectifiers, brew- 
ers, syrup refiners, cider and vinegar makers, 
picklers, preservers, etc. They also handle bot- 
tlers' machinery and supplies. 

The accompanying cut of their office, laboratory 
and factory, located at 262-268 N. Curtis street, 
Chicago, will give an idea of the room it requires 
to conduct such a business. They employ eight 



INDUSTRY AND FINANCE 



247 




Sethness Company. 



traveling men, who cover every state in the 
Union and Canada; have an office force of ten 
and a regular force in the factory of twelve, not 
counting teams and drivers. It is an incorpor- 
ated company with C. O. Sethness as president 
and manager. It is the largest concern of its 
kind extract and color manufacturing in 
America. 



THE INDEPENDENT CRACKER MACHINE 
COMPANY 

Was organized and incorporated by H. M. L. 
Anderson in 1894 and was first established at 
58-62 N. Jefferson street, but is now located at 
137-147 Fulton street. They manufacture all 
kinds and the latest improved machines for bak- 




The Independent Cracker Machine Company. 



248 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



ers and confectioners such as ovens, dough 
mixers, cake machines, dough dividers, pan racks, 
flour sifters, candy furnaces; and also deal in 
electric motors, gas and gasoline engines, etc. 
The above cut shows a part, of the shop and the 
help employed. Mr. Anderson himself sits on a 
stool in the foregrounds. Successful and prog- 
ressive enterprices of this kind are indeed a 
credit to our nationality. 

ARCHITECTURAL SHEET-METAL ORNA- 
MENTS. 

The above cut shows the new factory home of 
William Thoresen, the manufacturer of sheet- 
metal ornaments, signs, etc. It is located at 419- 
421 W. North avenue, near Robey street and 
Milwaukee avenue, Chicago. Those interested in 




Architectural Sheet-Metal Ornaments. 

such work will find a large and varied selection 
of new and attractive designs for all building 
purposes, and signs. Mr. Thoresen was formerly 
a cornice-maker, but took up Lhe metal ornament 
work when he engaged in business for himself 
in 1893. 



STATE BANK OF CHICAGO. 

The day has passed when banks are looked 
upon as unnecessary luxuries and as oppressors of 
the people. With a more complete understand- 
ing of the functions of banks, it has become ap- 
parent that, for the development of a nation, they 
are as necessary as railroads and good govern- 
ment and that, far from being enemies of the in- 
dividual, they are, when properly used, a friend 
in every time of need. 



It was inevitable that among the Scandinavian 
residents in the United States there should ulti- 
mately arise a demand for Scandinavian banks 
and bankers. In response to this demand, in all 
parts of the United States there have sprung up 
Scandinavian banking institutions, managed and 
owned wholly or in part by Scandinavians. At 
the head of these institutions, in the point of age, 
standing and size, we find the State Bank of Chi- 
cago, or, as it is popularly known among Scandi- 
navians, Haugan & Lindgren's Bank. 

This institution was founded Dec. 8, 1879, by 
H. A. Haugan, a native of Norway, aged thirty- 
two, and John R. Lindgren, aged twenty-four, 
born in Chicago of Swedish parents. With a 
modest capital they began the business of bank- 
ing in a very small way, soliciting at first depos- 
itors among Chicago's Norwegian, Swedish and 
Danish population. At the end of one year's 
business, the deposits of the new bank were $34,- 
000 and at the close of the second year, $67,000. 
On these small beginnings, the broad foundations 
for the present large institution were laid. 

On October 1, 1884, Haugan & Lindgren, Bank- 
ers, announced that the capital stock of their in- 
stitution had been increased to $100,000, and that 
Mr. H. G. Haugan of Milwaukee, land commis- 
sioner of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul 
Railway Co., had been admitted into the partner- 
ship. Shortly before this date, the bank had 
moved from its original quarters at 59 La Salle 
street, to larger quarters in the Marine Building, 
at the N. E. corner of Lake and La Salle streets, 
a location which, with enlargements, remained 
the bank's home from May 1, 1883, to May 1, 
1897. With this new connection and its increased 
capital, and with the prestige and confidence 
earned by five years of successful business, the 
bank continued in growth and influence, and its 
total deposits, which in 1883 were $89,000, had 
grown to $242,500 in 1885, and $346,500 in 1887. 
Gradually it was acquiring additional business 
among non-Scandinavians and was extending its 
clientage among the Swedish, Norwegian and 
Danish population of Chicago and the Northwest, 
and these nationalities soon began to look upon 
Haugan & Lindgren's bank as an institution 
which they had fostered, one eminently worthy 
of their confidence and representing in a way 
their own financial stability. 

In 1891 the capital stock of the bank had grown 
to $200,000 and its deposits to $1,000,000 and the 
members of the firm concluded that the time had 
arrived to place their business on a broader basis 
by incorporating. For this purpose a charter was 
obtained for the State Bank of Chicago with a 



INDUSTRY AND FINANCE 



349 



capital of $500,000 and on Feb. 8, 1891, the busi- 
ness of Haugan & Lindgren, Bankers, was trans- 
ferred to the State Bank of Chicago, the presi- 
dent of which was H. A. Haugan and the cashier, 
John R. Lindgren. Associated with them in the 
management of the bank was a board of direc- 
tors, including among others, Theodore Freeman, 
A. P. Johnson, A. Jurgens and P. S. Peterson, all 
Scandinavians of large means and high standing. 
Many other Scandinavians became, interested in 
the new institution as stockholders and as a re- 
sult, the business of the bank received a great 




State Bank of Chicago. 



stimulus, so that at the close of the year 1892, 
the deposists had grown to $2,100,000. 

During the ensuing three or four years of hard 
times, the growth of the bank was slow and de- 
posits had risen in December, 1896, only to $2,- 
200,000. 

Brighter times came, however, in 1897, and 
since then the progress of the bank has been un- 
interrunted and even phenomenal. The published 
report of the bank's condition Dec. 4, 1899, 
showed a capital of $500,000 and surplus and un- 
divided profits of $333,000, with total deposits of 



$4,700,000. On May, 1897, the bank had grown 
to a size which demanded larger quarters and 
these were found on the S. E. Corner of La Salle 
and Washington streets, in the thoroughly mod- 
ern Chamber of Commerce Building, in which the 
bank is still located. Its original offices have 
been expanded from time to time, until now the 
bank occupies almost the entire first floor of the 
building. 

On January 2, 1900, the paid in capital of the 
bank was raised from $500,000 to $1,000,000. The 
growth in deposits has continued and is best evi- 
denced by the following table, showing total de- 
posits at the dates indicated: 

Jan'y 1, 1902 $ 9,255,546 ' 

July 1, 1902 9,779,967 

jan'y 1, 1903 10,385,799 

July 1, 1903 11,062,552 

Jan'y 1, 1904 11,265,091 

July 1,1904 11,827,800 

Jan'y 1, 1905 12,838,995 

July 1,1905 14,586,853 

Jan'y 1, 1906 15,200,982 

July 1,1906 16,134,338 

Jan'y 28, 1907 16,623,219 

To handle this volume of business, the State 
Bank of Chicago now has a staff of eighty-seven 
officers and employes. Its work is divided among 
different departments, such as the Commercial 
Department, which handles checking accounts 
and loans and discounts; the Savings Depart- 
ment, which has 23,500 depositors, the Trust De- 
partment, which handles estates, wills and agen- 
cies of many kinds; the Real Estate Loan De- 
partment, which makes loans on real estate and 
sells mortgages to investors; the Bond Depart- 
ment, which buys and sells high grade investment 
bonds; and the Foreign Department, which is- 
sues letters of credit and sells drafts on all parts 
of the world. At the present date, the bank has 
a capital of $1,000,000, a surplus and undivided 
profits of $965,000 and total deposits of $16,500,- 
000. It pays its stockholders dividends at the 
rate of 8 per cent and its shares, of a par value 
of $100 each, sell in the open market for $275 a 
share. The business of the bank is, of course, 
not exclusively Scandinavian, but it continues to 
be the leading depository of the Scandinavian 
people in the United States. Its management is 
still in the hands of the men who founded the 
bank twenty-seven years ago, its active head be- 
ing Mr. Haugan, the president, associated with 
whom is Mr. Lindtrren, who .also acts as vice- 
consul for Sweden at Chicago. 

Henry S. Henschen. 



250 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS. 






OTTAWA BANKING & TRUST COMPANY, 
OTTAWA, ILL. 

This bank was chartered by the auditor of the 
state of Illinois on the 29th day of January, 1903, 
and opened its doors for business in the city of 
Ottawa, La Salle county, on the second day of 
February, 1903. 

Hon. .H. W. Johnson, who is the subject of a 
sketch elsewhere in this volume, was elected its 
first president, and has been continuously re- 
elected since. He is the chief executive officer 
of the institution, having exclusive charge of the 
trust and credit departments. Mr. Johnson is 
known as a safe and conservative man in all his 




Building of Ottawa Banking & Trust Co. 

business affairs, and as a result of the manage- 
ment which has prevailed the success of the bank 
in all its departments has been almost phenom 
enal, so that at this time it is considered one 
of the most safe and reliable banks in northern 
Illinois. 

During the summer and fall of 1906 this bank 
erected a new building on one of the most prom- 
inent business locations in the city of Ottawa, 
which it is now occupying as its permanent home. 
It is one of the best equipped banking rooms 
anywhere to be found in the West, outside of 
Chicago. Its Chrome steel safety vault is the 
largest in La Salle county and thoroughly mod- 
ern in every respect. 

LEE STATE BANK, LEE, ILL. 

The Village of Lee is a busy town situated 
on the county line between the counties of Lee 
and De Kalb in northern Illinois, almost in the 



very center of the Norwegian settlement of that 
part of the state. One of the most substantial 
business institutions of the place is the local 
bank known by the above name, which was 
chartered by the state of Illinois and opened for 
business in the month of November, 1903. It is 
capitalized for $25,000 and has been a success 
from the very start. The corporation owns its 
building, which is a very creditable structure, 
well equipped with modern fixtures, including 
safety vaults and one of the best fire and burglar 
proof safes of its kind manufactured. 

The following well known persons are the 
principal stockholders: H. A. Hilleson, John Ben- 
son, E. R Johnson, O. T. D. Berg, R. Young- 
gren, T. O. Berg, O. A. Johnson, Henry Kittle- 
son, J. E. Johnson, H. L. Risetter, S. M. San-' 
derson, Halvor Kittleson, Ole J. Prestegaard and 
H. W. Johnson. 

The present officers are as follows: Hon. H. 
W. Johnson, Ottawa, 111., president; H. A. Hil- 
leson, vice-president; S. M. Sanderson, cashier; 
F. A. Bach, assistant cashier. The two last- 
named gentlemen are the active officers of the 
bank. 

THE FIRST NATIONAL BANK OF LE- 
LAND, ILL. 

Was organized on August 9, 1905, with a capital 
of $30,000. 

The promoters were Willis C. Farley, Ole Ben- 
son, Enoch C. Grover, Charles Kittleson and 
Noah G. Klove. The bank opened for business 
on Nov. 1, 1905. Its directors are: Willis C. 
Farley, A. H. Karn, Stephen Hum, Ole Benson, 
Charles Kittleson, John A. Olson and Harry W. 
Watts. 

The officers are: Stephen Hum, president; Wil- 
lis C. Farley, vice-president; George O. Grover, 
cashier. 

Although comparatively new, the bank seems 
to prosper and gain confidence. 

FARMERS & MERCHANTS BANK, 
LELAND, ILLINOIS. 

The Farmers and Merchants State Bank of 
Leland, Illinois, was organized June 4th, 1902, 
with a capital stock of $25,000 by being success- 
ors to the Leland Bank, Thompson and Ander- 
son proprietors, who opened same during the 
year 1895. 

The new bank has been very successful and 
every year since the first year has declared a 



INDUSTRY AND FINANCE 



251 



satisfactory dividend. It has been well patron- 
ized by the people, and has taken its place in the 
financial world with the confidence of the public 
and been conducted by sound and conservative 
banking methods. 

Its officers are: T.'F. Thompson, president; 
A. M. Klove, vice-president; A. N. Anderson, 
cashier, and H. R. Thompson, assistant cashier. 



LEE ADVERTISING COMPANY, 

Chicago, is the only Norwegian advertising con- 
cern in this country doing a general advertising 
business. 

The business was started by L. J. Lee and his 
three sons in 1895. The first year they occupied 
offices in the Times Building, but since 1896 their 
offices have been in the Unity Building, 79-81 
Dearborn street. The. business was first confined 
to the Scandinavian papers published in this 
country, but the other foreign language papers 
were soon added to the list, and gradually the 
newspapers and magazines published in the Eng- 
lish language in the United States and Canada 
were added. 

The Lee Advertising Company is publishing 
annually one directory of newspapers and maga- 
zines in the foreign languages and another direc- 
tory of newspapers and magazines in the English 



language. A monthly list with current rates and 
circulation ratings of the leading newspapers and 
magazines of the United States and Canada is 
also published. 

Their foreign language newspaper directory is 
the only one of its kind published in this country 
and is recognized by advertisers as the standard 
directory for this class of papers. 

The advertising business of this country has 
been growing very fast during the last 10 years, 
and the Lee Advertising Company has been 
growing with it. 

They are now, placing advertising for a large 
number of advertisers from various parts of the 
country. They also frequently receive advertis- 
ing orders from Europe, especially from the Scan- 
dinavian countries and they also place advertising 
in papers in the European countries. Their offi- 
ces occupy the north wing on the eight floor of 
the Unity Building and they employ a large force 
in their offices. The three sons have each charge 
of a separate department in the office, for which 
their father L. J. Lee up to the time of his death 
in December, 1906, was general manager. 

Amoner their staff are several well known Nor- 
wegians, O. M. Peterson, Martin N. Seehuus and 
Alfred A. Solum. Mr. Peterson is known as an 
accomplished linguist and when foreign language 
advertising is made up and placed, his accom- 
plishment comes in good stead. Mr. Seehuus 
and Mr. Solum are among their best advertising 
solicitors. 



PART II. 



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES 
AND PORTRAITS 



Biography is the only true history. 

Emerson. 

The history of a country is best told in a 
record of the lives of its people. 

Macauley. 



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES AND PORTRAITS 




HAUMAN G. HAUGAN. 
His biographical sketch appears in its alphabetical order. 



258 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



REV. TORLEIF AARRESTAD, 

Of Morris, was born at Thime, Jederen, Norway, 
April 12, 1860. His father was Torger and his 
mother Serina (Undemi Aarrestad. He attended 
the public country schools from his 7th to 
his 14th year, when he was confirmed, in Octo- 




w\ 




Rev. Torleif Aarrestad. 

ber, 1874. He attended a high school at Sandnes 
during the winter of 1877-78, and in August of 
that year was admitted to a teachers' Seminary 
in Christiansand, from which he graduated in 
July, 1880. He taught school in Eide and Grim- 
stad from January, 1881, to July, 1884, when he. 
came to America. Here he entered Augsburg 
Seminary, at Minneapolis, Minn., Oct. 1, 1884 and 
graduated in May, 1888, when he took up a the- 
ological course and passed the final examination 
in May, 1891. He was ordained as a minister of 
the United Norwegian Lutheran Church at Ken- 
yon, Minn., in June of the same year. He took 
up pastoral work in Chicago in July. 1891, and re- 
mained for over two years, when he accepted a 
call to Morris, 111., where he serves two congre- 
gations, the Bethlehem and Hauge's. During this 
period he also attended the Lutheran Theological 
Seminary at Lake View. 



Rev. Aarrestad married Barbara Olsen, June 
24, 1896. They have had four children, namely: 
Thorvald, Olga, Karl Johan and William, the' 
latter having passed away. 



OLAI MARTIN AARVIG, 

Of Pontiac, 111., was born on the Atlantic Ocean 
on June 22, 1870. His father, Ole Aarvig, of Stav- 
anger, Norway, and his mother, Rachel New- 
gaard, from the same place, came to America irR 
that year, and it was on this voyage that the sub- 
ject of our sketch was born. They settled ia' 
Livingston county, near Pontiac, where they lived 
until 1905, when they bought a farm in North 
Dakota. Olai is the oldest child of six. He was 
educated in the district schools and worked on- 
the farm until attaining his majority. 




Olai Martin Aarvig. 



Being of a studious nature he took a course in 
electrical light and power engineering from a 
correspondence school and received a diploma as 
electrical engineer in 1905, having averaged 97-99 
in his studies all the time. Before he entered 



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES AND PORTRAITS 



259 



said course of study he had been employed as a 
superintendent of the Rock Falls municipal light 
and power plant for six years. He was offered in 
1905 a position as electrician with the Pontiac 
Light and Water Company at an increased sal- 
ary, which he accepted and is still holding. This 
plant is the largest one in Pontiac, furnishing 
electric light and water to the city and also 
power to the Bloomington, Pontiac and Joliet 
Electric Railroad. 

Mr. Aarvig has made several inventions and 
improvements along his profession, on which he 
holds patent rights and for which he draws roy- 
alties. When he took the correspondence course 
he was not hampered by any great amount of 
scientific learning, but he had the advantage of 
practical experience. He is a self-made man and 
a splendid example of what Norse energy can do 
when transplanted to the fertile soil of America. 
Being a single man, he resides with his uncle at 
Pontiac. 



RASMUS OLSON AARVIG, 

The real estate dealer and farmer at Pontiac, 111., 
was born in Tysvser parish, Stavanger amt, Nor- 
way, July 21, 1861. His parents were Ole Olson 
and Bertha Knudsdatter Aarvig, farmers in Nor- 
way. He attended the common schools and was 
confirmed in Tysvser Lutheran Church. At 19 
years of age he came to America, coming via New 
York and Chicago, direct to Pontiac, where he 
arrived on June 2, 1880. 

Mr. Aarvig commenced his career in America 
by working for different farmers in Livingston 
county until 1883, when he began farming for 
himself, at first renting the land. 

During this time he' bought, as a speculation, a 
farm in Swift county, Minnesota, which he sold 
at a profit two years afterward. In 1890 he 
bought a farm of 160 acres in Livingston county, 
Illinois, and settled upon it, but was soon offered 
a good price and sold again, buying next a farm 
in Lee county, Illinois, which he kept for four 
years, but never moved upon the place. 

Selling his Lee county farm, he bought one in 
Rock Creek township, Livingston county, which 
he still owns. 

Mr. Aarvig married Miss Anna Ryerson, of the 
same township, Livingston county, Jan 12, 1888. 
They have five children, all living, namely: Bes- 
sie Lillian, Truman Obed, Anna Ruth, Harold 
Enok and Bernard Orvel. 



Mrs. Aarvig passed away Dec. 14, 1904. The 
children are having the advantages of the best 
schools in Pontiac, the oldest having graduated 
from the Pontiac High' School. Our subject is a 
faithful church worker, being a member of Hau- 
ges Church and Synod. The loss ot his wife was 
a severe blow to Mr. Aarvig, but with his chil- 
dren about him he nobly works for their progress 
in the memory of his devoted helpmate. 

He is a member of the Rook Creek Lutheran 




Rasmus Aarvig. 

Church, of which he has been trustee, secretary 
and superintendent of the Sunday school. He 
has also been secretary for the district board of 
school directors and a member of the township 
board of trustees. He is a staunch republican, 
having often been a delegate to its conventions. 

He is liberal in his contributions to church and 
charitable causes, especially locally. He is also 
a member of the Y. M. C. A. 

The family resides 1 in Pontiac. 



ANDREW ABRAHAMSEN, 

The hustling housemover at 114 N. Ashland ave- 
nue, Chicago, was born in Moland, South Undal, 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



Norway, Sept. 5, 1844, his parents being Abraham 
and Anne Tonette Evenson. He attended the 
public schools in Norway and when 17 years old 
began in a butcher shop in Christiansand, where 
he remained for ten years. 

He came to Chicago on May 22, 1872, and 
worked in the C. & N. W. Ry. freight house for 
one year. He then learned the method of house- 




Andrew Abrahamsen. 

moving, and has been engaged in that business 
in his own name for over twenty-four years. He 
served in the Norwegian army for five years. 
He is a member and trustee of the Chosen 
Friends Lodge No. 170, Knights of Pythias. 

He married Anna Gustava Larson July 16, 
1874. They have had four children, three boys 
and one girl, but all died before reaching their 
7th year. 



ANDREW ADAMS 

Was born in Langeland, Tysnaes, Norway, Aug. 
9, 1859, his parents being Andrew Johannesen and 
^Lyneva Langeland. He worked on his father's 
farm and vessels until 25 years old, when he 



emigrated to America, in 1884. Upon arrival here 
he worked on farms in 1884-5. After that he 
planted tobacco on shares for one year. He 
then went to Minnesota and Dakota, where he 
worked on farms, also at painting and railroad- 
work, until 1887. He then returned to Chicago, 
where he was employed in various ways until 
1895, when he started in the hoisting-machine 
business for himself. 




Andrew Adams. 

Mr. Adams is a 32d-degree Mason; belongs to 
the Oriental Consistory and the Medinah Temple 
Mystic Shrine. He is also a member of the Mac- 
cabees, and the North American Union. 

He was married to Emma Matson on Dec. 11, 
1897. 

They have three children, namely, Emil An- 
drew, 7 years; Gustav Adolph, 5 years; Theodor 
Edward, 2 years old. The family attends the 
Lutheran Church. 



JOHN ANUA 

was born at Engesund, near Bergen, Norway, 
Oct. 30, 1863. He came to America in 1880, in 
advance of his parents and brothers. He worked 
for different parties and was connected foi fifteen 



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES AND PORTRAITS 




John Anda. 

years with Earl Bros., the Commission Mer- 
chants. He engaged in the same business for 
himself in 1898 and is continuing it >n the Ogden 
building, where he first located. 

He married on July 4, 1885, Miss Anna Mon- 
sen, of Hardanger, Norway. They have six chil- 
dren, all living. Mr. Anda is a member of the 
Independent Order of Odd Fellows and he and 
his family attend the Norwegian Lutheran 
Church. 



AXEL HAROLD ANDERSON 

Was born at Helger0n, near Laurvig, Norway, 
March 28, 1856. His father, Frederick Otto An- 
derson, was a shipbuilder in Norway. His moth- 
er's maiden name was Judith Hansen. He at- 
tended the common schools in Norway, but came 
to America with his parents in 1868, when only 12 
years old. They landed at Quebec and came 
direct to Chicago. Here Axel attended school 
for a time and was confirmed in Krohn's Church, 
May and Erie streets. At the age of 14 he was 
apprenticed as a moulder with David Humphry, 
in the Lind Building, at Randolph and Market 
streets. He remained until 1874 and then worked 




A. H. Anderson. 

in other brass foundries until he was 20 years old, 
when he started in business for himself, and has 
kept at it since. At the present time he occupies 
two buildings, one at 52 No. Ann street and the 
other at 339 Fulton street. The Ann street place 
is used for assembling and machine work; the 
other for moulding and foundry work. 

Mr. Anderson married (in Chicago) Vena Sto- 
veland, from Mandal, Norway. She is a daughter 
of Evan and Elizabeth Stoveland. They have 
three children Maud Judith, born Nov. 16, 
1891; Irene Mary, Nov. 6, 1893; Frederick Ray- 
mond, Nov. 26, 1895. Mr. Anderson's father died 
in 1870, his mother in 1884. The family resides 
at 779 North Fairfield Ave. 



AUGUSTUS GORDON ANDERSON. 

Born at Tvedestrand, Norway, <\ug. 27, 1859. 
His father's name was Andrew Anderson. His 
mother's name, Anna Thorine Anderson. His 
father was a sailor. His parents came to this 
country in 1862 and located at Milwaukee, Wis. 
He attended public school there about two years. 
His early education was very limited. He started 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



to learn the carpenter trade when 15 years old. 
Worked at the trade until 20. Left Milwaukee 
for Chicago when 18, and worked at his trade 
in Chicago for two years. Having accumulated 
some money, he concluded to obtain an educa- 
tion. In the fall of 1879 he 'entered the prepar- 
atory department of the University of Chicago. 




A. G. Anderson. 



He was then 20. Graduated from this department 
in the spring of 1882, and in the succeeding fall 
he entered the freshman class of the university. 
Received a degree of bachelor of science from 
the University in the spring of 1886. Afterward 
he read law in the law office of Alonzo A. Ex- 
line, in Chicago, and was admitted to the bar in 
1888. He has pursued the general practice of 
law since then. In 1890 he formed a partnership 
with Frederick W. Proudfoot, under the firm 
name of Anderson & Proudfoot, with offices in 
the Bryan Block, which partnership was dissolved 
in 1896.' Since then he has been practicing alone. 
His office is at 145 La Salle street, suite 712 and 
713. 

Mr. Anderson has been actively engaged in 
politics for the past eleven years, under the 
leadership of Governor Charles S. Deneen. Was 
in 1897 appointed by Judge Carter appraiser un- 



der the inheritance-tax law of Illinois, which po- 
sition he has held ever since. He has been actively 
engaged in all movements for political and civic 
improvements in Chicago. Was in January, 1905, 
appointed by the Englewood charter committee, 
with four other attorneys, to look into the munic- 
ipal court bill, which had been introduced in the 
legislature at Springfield, and suggest amend- 
ments and changes if necessary. They suggested 
and prepared several changes and amendments 
which were incorporated in the measure, which 
was passed by the legislature. He has never held 
an elective public office. He is a member of the 
Masonic, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows 
and the Knights of Pythias fraternities. He has 
held the office Of noble grand in the Odd Fellows' 
lodge and of chancellor commander in the 
Knights of Pythias lodge. 

He was married in August, 1895, to Ferdinanda 
Knopp, daugther of William Knopp, of Chicago. 
They have one daughter, Lorna Elizabeth An- 
derson, 9 years old. The family are at present 
living at 325 W. Garfield boulevard. 



ANDREW N. ANDERSON. 

Mr. A. N. Anderson was born in Adams town- 
ship, La Salle county, March 17, 1855. His par- 
ents were Nelson and Ann (Quam) Anderson, 
both natives of Norway. 

His father came to this country in 1845 and his 
mother in 1842. They were married in De Kalb 
county, where they lived for some time and then 
moved to Adams township, La Salle county. 
Nelson Anderson was a farmer and died in 1864, 
at the age of 44, leaving his wife with six chil- 
dren, namely: Sophia B., Mattie S., Andrew N., 
John N., Nelsey M., and Lorinda S. All are now 
deceased except our subject and John N., who 
farms the old homestead. His mother, at the 
age of 75, is still living, at Leland, having built 
herself a home there in 1900. 

Mr. Anderson of this sketch was raised on the 
farm and educated at Leland. He continued 
farming until 22 years of age. In the fall of 1883 
he and Thomas F. Thompson formed a partner- 
ship, he buying out Thompson's former partner, 
Mr. Buland, in the grain business, from which 
time the firm name was Thompson & Anderson, 
Bankers and Grain Merchants. In 1896 they 
established the Leland Bank which in 1902 was 
incorporated as the Farmers & Merchants' State 
Bank, of which Mr. Anderson is cashier. 



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES AND PORTRAITS 



Mr. Anderson has been a resident of Leland 
since 1883. He has served as. supervisor, first 
appointed to fill the vacancy upon the resigna- 
tion of ex-Judge H. W. Johnson and afterward 
elected for a full term. He was a trustee of the 
village board for two years, and its president. 




A. N. Anderson. 

In 1884 he married Anna Vald, who died in 
1897, leaving three children Vira A., Nelson 
C. and Nieda J. 

Mr. Anderson is a republican politically, and 
has held many responsible offices aside from 
those already mentioned. He and his family are 
members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. 



HANS MARTIN LOUIS ANDERSON 

Was born in Christiania, Norway, May 20, 1848. 
His parents were Lars and Maren Torina (nee 
Hakenson) Anderson. His father was a saw- 
mill master -in Norway, and from him our sub- 
ject inherited his love for machinery. He attended 
the common school and was confirmed in Nor- 
way, but at the age of 12 years he began work 



in a cotton mill in Wesfossen. After the age of 
15 he worked as gun-maker in Drammen for five 
years, during which time he also studied ma- 
chine designing at evening schools. He served 
seven years in the infantry with the Norwegian 
Army and worked in different machine shops in 
Norway until 1880, when he came to America, 
reaching Chicago on June 12. He was married 
to Miss Jennie Emelia, daughter of Andres and 
Bertha Olina Munson, in Christiania, Norway, 
May 19, 1874. They have two children, Axel 
Olaf, born in Norway, and Arthur Mathews, born 
in Chicago in 1883. The elder son is married to 
Caroline Heppler, of Chicago. In September of 
the year in which our subject came to Chicago he 
was appointed superintendent for the Roth Mc- 
Mahon Machine Company and was placed in 
charge of the department of bakery machinery. 
He remained with this firm for fourteen years, 
or until 1894, when he engaged in the same busi- 




H. M. L. Anderson. 

ness for himself, under the firm name of the In- 
dependent Cracker Machine Company, of which 
Mr. Anderson has been president since. He has 
patented a few appliances, such as breadmould- 
ing and cracker machinery. He is a Mason, a 
member of the Royal League, and a trustee of 
Alsian Lodge, Knights and Ladies of Honor. 



264 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



His father died in Norway in 1860. His mother 
is still living in Eidegaarden, Vestre Aker, Nor- 
way. 

Mr. Anderson's machine shop, which will be 
referred to in another part of this history, is at 
147 Fulton street. The family resides at 470 
Austin avenue. 



MRS. ISABELLA ATLANTA ANDERSON 

Divides the distinction of having been born on 
the Atlantic Ocean with the renowned "Sloop 




Mrs. Isabella Anderson. 



Girl," Mrs. Atwater, mentioned in the first part 
of this volume . This fact also explains her some- 
what unusual middle name, Atlanta. 

Mrs. Anderson was born. on board the Nor- 
wegian steamer "Norge," May 21, 1861, while her 
parents were on their way to America. Her 
father is Mr. K. B. Olson, a well known manu- 
facturing tailor, of this city, and her mother's 
maiden name was Miss Susan Stene. 



Mrs. Anderson received her education in the 
Chicago public schools and was confirmed in the 
first Norwegian Lutheran church on the North- 
side by Rev. Mikkelsen. 

When twenty years of age she was joined in- jj 
holy wedlock to Mr. Hans Ludvig Anderson,. 
May 24, 1881. Her husband hailed from Fossen, 
Norway, and became a very prominent business 
man in Chicago, being engaged in the wholesale i 
booth and shoe business, at his death, which oc- 
curred Feb. 4, 1903, leaving his family amply 
provided for. 

This marital union was blessed with three 
children; one son and two daughters: Cyrus A.,, 
born March 4, 1884; Irene Harriet, Febr. 3, 1888, 
and Grace Susette, Febr. 17, 1892. 

Mrs. Anderson's mother departed this life on * 
July 19, 1906, but her father is still living and' 
active in business. 

Mrs. Anderson has never cared much about 
social clubs or distinctions, her inclinations hav- 
ing been more toward the duties of a good house- 
wife and mother. When it came to charitable 
work, she has, however, been very much inter- 
ested. She was one of the first two lady mem- 
bers on the board of directors of the Norwegian- 
Old People's Home Society, on which she has 
served for a number of years. She has also been 
interested in the Norwegian Lutheran Children's 
Home Society and other charitable work among 
her countrymen. 

With her family Mrs. Anderson attends the 
Wicker Park English Lutheran Church and re- 
sides in her own home at 98 Fowler street. 



JONAS ANTON ANDERSON, 

The manufacturer of cameras and photographic 
specialties at 65 E. Indiana street, Chicago, was. 
born Nov. 28, 1840, to Peter and Margrette Ander- 
son, of Christiania, Norway. The parents came to 
America, with the subject of our sketch, in 1852, 
locating in Detroit, Mich., where they landed in 
July. Jonas had attended school in Norway and 
for some time went to school in Detroit, but at 
the age of 14 he was apprenticed to learn the 
carpenter trade. After five years in Detroit he 
came to Chicago, in 1857. Here he continued ta 
work at his' trade until 1862, when he engaged in 
the building business on his own account. In 
1869 he started the making of cameras and other 



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES AND PORTRAITS 



265 



photographic supplies, which he has followed 
since with great artistic and financial success. He 
is credited with having made the largest camera 
in the world, which at the time attracted the at- 
tention of experts and photographers everywhere. 
He has repeatedly been favorably written up in 




J. A. Anderson. 



trade papers, magazines and journals in all lan- 
guages of the civilized world. He was awarded 
a gold medal at the St. Louis Exposition in 1904 
for a camera which did photo-mechanical work. 

Mr. Anderson was married to Sarah C. Nichol- 
son, of Chicago, May 24, 1864. They have had 
six children, namely: Sadie M., born March 21, 
1865; John A., Nov. 8, 1867; Annie I., Jan. 8, 1869; 
Arthur P., Aug. 8, 1872; Walter E., Nov. 8, 1875; 
Christine, May, 1881. John A., died in San Fran- 
cisco, Cal., Nov. 4, 1903, and Christine in July, 
1881. His youngest son, Walter E. Anderson, 
has mastered his father's business and is now as- 
sociated with him. The family resides at 2612 
Lowell avenue. 

Mr. Anderson's mother died in Detroit in 1853 
and his father in Chicago in 1889. 

Mr. Anderson is a Mason and a Knight Temp- 
lar. 



CAPTAIN JOHN ANDERSON 

Was born at Hafslu'nd, near Fredriksstad, Nor- 
way, April 17, 1837. His father, Christian An- 
derson, was a gardner. His mother's maiden 
name was Elizabeth Mathilda Widding. His 
father died when John was 7 years old and his 
mother when he was in his llth year. The sub- 
ject of this sketch was the youngest of six chil- 
dren. After his mother's death his oldest broth- 
er, Carl, married and took care of John, bringing 
him to Fredriksstad, where he attended the pub- 
lic schools and was confirmed at 14 years. At 
that age he was sent to sea as cabin boy on a 
sailing vessel, the Celeritas, Captain Stang, of 
Fredriksstad, in charge. The first voyage lasted 
nine months, the vessel returning from Buenos 
Ayres at Christmas time. The next voyage was 
to Paris, France, with a cargo of ice. He after- 
ward sailed with various vessels to many ports, 




Capt. John Anderson. 



and once was' shipwrecked in the North Sea. 
The ship was abandoned and the crew rescued 
by a passing vessel from Krageroe. The following 
sprint" he went to England, and from there sailed 
to the Philippines and the East Indies. After 
unloading a cargo of coal they took on a cargo 



266 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



of earth oil consigned for England, but had to 
abandon the ship on the east coast of Africa, 
the crew being picked up by a Bark from Breh- 
men and landed on St. Helena, whence they 
sailed for England and finally got home to Nor- 
way. That winter the Captain spent at a school 
of navigation, and the following year, 1857, he 
came to America, arriving in Chicago June 7. 

He sailed on the lakes until 1860, when he was 
placed in command of the steamer Hercules. In 
1868 he bought the brig Montezuma, and later a 
controlling interest in the schooner Hanson and 
the A. N. J. Stronock, all of which he sold two 
years later. He was then appointed harbor mas- 
ter by Mayor John A. Roach. Later he was con- 
nected with Peabody, Houghteling & Co. in the 
real estate business, and three years later opened 
an office for himself, at Erie street and Center 
Avenue. In 1897 he was elected Alderman for 
the Fifteenth Ward and served one term. 

Nov. 1, 1857, he married Miss Maria Olson, 
born at Skien, Norway, April 11, 1838. They 
have had nine children- six sons and three 
daughters all, with the exception of one 
daughter, living. 

His children are all married and have families, 
one son, Henry C., being employed in the county 
clerk's office. Martin J. has been in Alaska for 
over ten years. The other, four are engaged in 
the tailoring business under the firm name of A. 
E. Anderson & Co., at 16 Adams street. 

Capt. and Mrs. Anderson are members of Our 
Savior's Church. 



JOHN ANDERSON, 

The publisher of Skandinaven, was born at Voss, 
Norway, March 22, 1836. His father was An- 
drew and his mother Laura (Sampson) Ander- 
son. He came to Chicago with his parents in 
July, 1845, and attended Wilder!s school at ir- 
regular intervals during a period 'of about two 
years. The elder Mr. Anderson was taken sick 
with the cholera and died in 1849, whereupon 
young John, then at the age of thirteen, had the 
burden of supporting a mother and a baby sister 
placed upon him. Nothing daunted, however, he 
went cheerfully to work, peddling apples, work- 
ing in a butcher shop and carrying newspapers. 
The first lesson in his long newspaper career he 
received as carrier for Father Dutch's Commer- 
cial Advertiser, when the whole edition of that 



publication was handled by two delivery routes, 
John Anderson distributing on the South and 
West Sides. He recalls with considerable inter- 
est that he had one subscriber as far west as 
Halsted and Randolph streets. After about six 
months of this work he was made "printers' 
devil" and thereby secured an opportunity to 
"learn the case" and study the art of distribut- 
ing and setting type. It was also his task to 
cart the seven-column forms from the office at 
77 Lake street to Zebina Eastman's press room, 
near the corner of Randolph and Clark streets, 
where he carried the forms up the three flights 




John Anderson. 

of stairs. He later secured employment in Ben 
Seaton's job office, which was then a part of the 
old Argus plant. 

A year later the Argus and Seaton's job of- 
fice were sold to Scripps & Bross, who were 
publishers of The Democratic Press. Mr. An- 
derson was included in the transfer and worked 
under William H. Austin and later under Cyrus 
Bradley Langley as foremen, when The Demo- 
cratic Press and The Tribune consolidated under 
the hyphenated name of The Press-Tribune, with 
John L. Scripps as managing editor and moving 
spirit. 



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES AND PORTRAITS 



267 



By this time Mr. Anderson had become a 
journeyman printer. He continued in this capac- 
ity, holding the "ad" case, working early and 
late, until in 1866, when, on May 2, he com- 
menced the publication of Skandinaven, which 
has grown under Mr. Anderson's guidance and 
watchful care until it today is the most influential 
Scandinavian newspaper in America, being issued 
daily, Sunday and semi-weekly. 

In the great fire in 1871, Mr. Anderson lost his 
whole plant, but he borrowed money and re- 
established the paper. 

Mr. Anderson has always been a consistent 
republican, and has loyally supported the party 
ticket, excepting where a candidate with an un- 
clean record has been nominated. He has never 
sought nor would accept public office except oc- 
casionally going as a delegate to conventions. 
He was five successive terms treasurer of the 
Chicago Typographical Union and president of 
the Old-Time Printers' Society for three terms. 

Mr. Anderson has been married twice, first in 
1859 to Maria C. Frank, of Racine, Wis., who 
died in 1874. Two children were born to them, 
a son, Franklin Seward, Aug. 18, 1860, now man- 
ager of the advertising department of Skandina- 
ven, and one daughter, who died in infancy. 

In 1875 Mr. Anderson married Julia Sampson, 
his present wife. Four children were born of 
this union, three of whom are living: Maria 
(Mamie), born March 1, 1876, married to Mr. 
Arthur Eilert, with the American Trust and 
Savings Bank; O. Louis M., born Aug. 14, 1883, 
working in the office of Skandinaven, and John 
A., born March 8, 1890, who is attending the 
Thomas Hoyne Manual Training High School. 

The good and valuable services which Mr. An- 
derson has rendered his countrymen, both in 
America and, when need existed, in Norway, 
have been recognized on several occasions. One 
was when Skandinaven completed one-third of a 
century, on May 2, 1899. Prominent Scandinav- 
ians in Chicago came together and deemed it be- 
fitting that the occasion should be celebrated in 
the honor of the paper as well as its creator. 
A committee of arrangements was appointed to 
invite prominent Norwegians all over the United 
States to join in a banquet at the Sherman 
House, Chicago, in honor of John Anderson and 
Skandinaven. 

The invitation was eagerly responded to, and 
on May 2, 1899, representative Norwegians, 
Swedes, Danes, and Americans numbering 470 
persons sat down to a sumptuous banquet. The 
chief speaker of the occasion was United States 



senator Knute Nelson, of Minnesota, from whose 
splendid oration we glean a couple of paragraphs: 

"If I were to point out one man of our na- 
tionality who has done more than any other to 
educate and enlighten his compatriots, my first 
choice would without hesitation be the guest in 
whose honor we have gathered this evening, 
Mr. John Anderson." 

"Skandinaven is today one of those broad, 
sober and intellectual papers to which we look 
for leaders of our people. It is the largest 
Scandinavian paper both as to size, contents and 
circulation, and we certainly have every reason 
for being proud of the fact, that it is the largest 
Norwegian paper in the world." 

Another occasion, when John Anderson's good 
work was recognized, occurred in 1903, when 
King Oscar conferred upon him the order of 
Sankt Olaf. At that time the Norwegian Old 
Settlers' Society published the following congrat- 
ulation in the Chicago daily papers, which speaks 
for itself: 

"We, the Norwegian Old Settlers' Society of 
Chicago, hereby extend to our beloved fellow 
member, 

Mr. John Anderson, 

our sincere congratulations upon the fact that 
His Majesty, King Oscar of Norway and Sweden, 
has recently conferred upon him the distinguished 
Order of St. Olaf. We recognize in the con- 
ferring of this distinction upon Mr. Anderson a 
fitting tribute to him for his services during a 
period of many years in the interests of our 
countrymen in the United States, and for his 
efforts for the alleviation of suffering among his 
countrymen in the land of his adoption as well 
as in his native land beyond the sea. 

We also extend to him our sympathy in his 
present illness, and hope for him a speedy re- 
covery and many years of continued usefulness 
in our midst. 

Peter M. Balken, Pres., 
Capt. John Anderson, Sec." 



NILS ANTON ANDERSON 

Was born at Westra Barum, near Christiania, 
Norway, Jan. 2, 1852. His father was 0sten and 
his mother Christine Anderson. After having 
been confirmed he learned the trade of a shoe- 



263 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



maker and also served in the army, where he rose 
to be a corporal. After some years he opened a 
shoe-making establishment of his own. This 
business did not prove as satisfactory in a pecun- 
iary way as Mr. Anderson had expected, so he 
concluded to try his fortune in America. In Nor- 
way he had been married to Miss Dorothea Ol- 




N. A. Anderson. 



sen, of Christiania. Mr. Anderson left Chris- 
tiania alone in May, 1882, but in September of the 
same year he had saved up enough money to send 
for his wife and their two children, who arrived 
in October of the same year. The family settled 
in the little town of Millington, in Kendall Coun- 
ty, and remained there for two years. During 
this time two more children were born to them. 
They now moved to Chicago, where Mr. Ander- 
son worked in the Ludlow shoe factory, and af- 
ter several years, when the same was moved to 
Elgin, he also went there and was employed in 
the same factory, which now belongs to Selz, 
Schwab & Co., until in 1905, when in the spring 
he was appointed janitor of the City Hall of El- 
gin. 

The family has been on the increase all thj 
time and the number of children is now ten: 
Inga A., born 1880; Carl H., 1882; Mathilde P., 
1883; 0sten O., 1885; Arthur D., 1887; Sophie G, 



1889; Hannah K., 1891; Louis A., 1893; Morris E. r . 
1894; Mabel D., born 1895. 

Notwithstanding the expense such a family of 
necessity must entail, Mr. Anderson has been able 
to build his own home, at 678 Congdon avenue. : 
The two oldest daughters are married, but the 
other eight children live with their parents. Mr. 
Anderson is a member of the Royal Arcanum and 
Knights of Pythias, and the family attends the 
Norwegian Lutheran Church at Elgin. 



OSCAR CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN 

Was born in Christiania, Norway, March 2, 1847. 
He mastered the trade of a painter and decorator 
in the old country and came to America with his 
parents in 1865. They first settled in Vermont, 
but later came on to Chicago, where Mr. Ander- 
sen has resided since. 




Oscar Andersen and niece, Stella. 

He engaged at once in the painting and decor- 
ating business and has continued in it, but during 
the past five years he has given much time to 
real estate and similar transactions. He mar- 



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES AND PORTRAITS 



tied Albertina Jensen, of Drammen, in 1S67. He 
owns and occupies a cozy home at 957 Carmen 
avenue, in Argyle Park. 

Mrs. Andersen died in 1906. 






OWEN ANDERSON, 



Of Ottawa, 111., was born in Serena township, La 
Salle County, 111., July 30, 1865. He is a son of 
Ole and Anna (Helgeland) Anderson, farmers. 




Owen Anderson. 

He attended the public schools until 17 years of 
age, was for one term a student at the normal 
school at Morris, 111., and then took a four-year 
course at Luther College, Decorah, Iowa. His 
youth was spent in farming, going to and teach- 
ing school. 

He began his active work as a school teacher 
in Nettle Creek township, Grundy County, Illi- 
nois, in September, 1887, and has been a practic- 
ing attorney-at-law in Ottawa, Ills., since Sep- 
tember, 1897. 

He was married to Belle Nelson, of Morris, 111., 
July 5, 1891. His wife is a daughter of Erick C. 



and Ingeborg Nelson, of Morris. Our subject 
was elected secretary of the Fox River Valley 
District Luther League of Northern Illinois in 
May, 1897, and has been re-elected each year 
since. He is president of the board of trustees 
of the Trinity Lutheran Church of Ottawa. His 
father died in Ford County, 111., Sept. 13, 1872, 
and his mother in Serena township, Sept. 17, 1897. 
Mr. and Mrs. Anderson have been blessed with 
three children, all living, namely: Oscar Elmer, 
born Sept. 7, 1892; Ella Anna, Nov. 14, 1896; 
Olive Irene, Oct. 2, 1903. The family resides at 
621 Marcy street, Ottawa, 111. 



NILS ARNESON 

Was born on a farm (Steensmyhren), near Dram- 
men, Norway, in 1840. His parents were Arne 
and Anna Nilson. He went to school until he 




Nils Arneson. 

was confirmed. He learned his trade as a wagon- 
maker in Christiania. Came to America on a sail- 
ship in 1861. Worked in Chicago to the fall of 
the same year. Enlisted in Co. A., Fifteenth Regi- 



270 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



ment, Wisconsin Volunteers. Served three years 
and two months in the Civil War. Came back to 
Chicago in 1865. Worked at his trade to 1868, 
when ne began the manufacture of furniture on 
Canal street, but was burrted out in the Great 
Chicago Fire. From that time the firm was Ar- 
neson & Co. In 1880 it was changed to Johnson 
& Arneson. In 1884 he with others started the 
Central Manufacturing Company, a corporation 
chartered under the laws of Illinois to manu- 
facture office desks. He is president and treas- 
urer. He is also director of the Union Bank of 
Chicago. In 1870 he was married to Hilda Toft- 
ner, from Christiania. They have had one son 
and one daughter; only the daughter is living; 
she is married to Alf. Normann, secretary of the 
Central Manufacturing Company. 

Mr. Arneson is a director of the Chicago Man- 
ufacturers' Association and a member of Lyons 
Post No. 9, G. A. R. Office: 37-41 Armour 
street. Residence: 672 N. Hoyne avenue. 



Tobias Tobiason and his wife Mary, nee Hen- 
drickson, of Decorah, Iowa. Their marital union 
has been blessed by nine children, eight sons and 
one daughter, all living. The children's names 
and dates of birth are as follows: Theodore Nor-' 
man, born May 17, 1879; Olaf Henry Morton,,* 
March 8, 1882; Clarence Bernhardt, Febr. 17, 
1884; Frederic William, Nov. 21, 1886; Robert In-j 
geman, May 24, 1888; Arthur Herman, and Alice! 
Margerite, twins, Jan. 12, 1893; Joseph Bertram, 
Aug. 24, 18'95, and Edward Eugene, April 27, 1897.] 
The oldest son, Theodore N., is married to Miss 
Clara Beers, of Decorah, Iowa. 

With his family Mr. Arneson attends St. John's jj 
Norwegian Lutheran church, Chicago, being its 
secretary and Sunday school teacher, and resides' 
at. 720 Haddon avenue. 



OLE T. ARNESON 

Was born in Highland township, Winnesheik 
county, Iowa, May 4, 1853, to Tollef Arneson 
and Margrete Olson (Rudringen) Sanden, farm- 
ers. 

Mr. Arneson attended the common school un- 
til he was confirmed in the Lutheran church. He 
then took the elementary course at the state nor- 
mal school, Winona, Minn., from where he grad- 
uated Dec. 31, 1871. 

He now commenced teaching school in his 
home district and later continued teaching in 
various places. For three years he was principal 
of the graded school at Spring Grove, Minn. In 
the spring of 1879 he moved to North Dakota 
and took up a homestead near Hatton, Traill 
county. Here he taught school part of the time 
while holding the claim, which he proved up in 
1884 and sold in 1886, when he moved to De- 
corah, la. He was then employed in the mailing 
department of "Decorahposten" until Sept. 1887, 
when he accepted a position as shipping and 
mailing clerk with the Lutheran Publishing 
House. . With this institution he remained 17 
years. In October 1904 he accepted a position 
as manager of "Skandinaven's" Book Depart- 
ment, of which he is still in charge. 

July 7, 1877, Mr. Arneson was joined in holy 
wedlock to Miss Inger Tobiason, a daughter of 



SIGVALD ASBJ0RNSEN, 

The sculptor, was born in Christiania, Norway, 
Oct. 19, 1867. He is a graduate of the Royal Art 
school of Christiania and a pupil of the great 
sculptors, Middelthun, Bergslien and Skeibrok. 
At the age of 16 he was granted a royal stipend 
to help him along in his studies. This he re- 
ceived for five years. 

When Mr. Asbjjzfrnsen was a lad of 16, it en- 
tered into his head to model a bust of King Os- 
car II. Unfortunately he had only a poor wood 
cut picture of the king and no ready money 
wherewith to buy the necessary photograph. But'] 
he knew a way out of his trouble. He went and 
looked at the desired picture in, a photographer's 
case, carried the impression home with him, and 
started on his self-imposed task. 

From an artistic point this bust did not amount 
to much. Nevertheless it was a very eloquent 
bust. Not necessarily by its persuading the king 
to contribute a few hundred kroner toward As- 
bjfirnsen's artistic education, but chiefly by its il- 
lustrating the two main traits in the artist's 
makeup: his passionate love of his art that makes 
him conquer all difficulties and his acute power 
of observation. 

Those first artist days in, Christiania, where he 
was born, were not exactly cloudless. But his 
art and his undaunted courage carried him 
through everything. No doubt Browning's fam- 
ous lines, changed a little, would describe the 
kind of life he and his companions led in those 
days: 



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES AND PORTRAITS 



271 



"They sighed deep, laughed free, 
Starved, feasted, despaired were happy." 

Before Mr. Asbj0rnsen's departure for this 
country in 1892, he had modeled a bust of his 
friend. Bertram, the talented painter, who died at 
a young age; a statuette of the actor Clausen, and 
two deservedly popular busts of Fru Agathe 
Grp'ndahl and Fru Erika Nissen besides many 
Other things of less value. 

Arrived in this country, he went to Michigan, 
where he made several busts for members of the 
moneyed classes. He came to Chicago during 
the World's Fair, making this city his permanent 
home. 




Sigvald Asbj0rnsen. 

During his stay in Michigan he made a bust 
of Grover Cleveland and one of Blaine, the latter 
eminently striking. Mr. Asbj0rnsen's public 
works embrace: Leif Erikson, statue, Humboldt 
Park; Louis Joliet, statue, in front of the public 
library, Joliet, III.; Hon. Robert William Moore, 
statue, Memphis, Tenn.; "Defiance of the Flag 
a group of three soldiers," Decatur, Ills.; Penn- 
sylvania State Monument, Andersonville, Ga. ; 
Illinois State Monument, Chattanooga, Tenn.; 
John Monaghan Monument, Spokane, Wash.; and 
finished the Group of War and Soldiers' Statue 



for the Sherman Monument, Washington, D. C. 
He has also made the following busts in bronze: 
John Anderson, Prof. H. H. Boyesen, Walter 
Gresham, Benjamin Franklin, Edwin Westgaard, 
and a marble bust of Paul O. Stensland. He has 
also made some striking medallions, particularly 
one in bronze of Bjdrnstjerne Bj^rnson, on the 
Bjfirnson Bauta, Fargo, N. D. Also medallions 
of Ibsen, Grieg, Robert Ingersoll and others. 

Mr. Asbj0rnsen married Margaretha Stuhr, of 
Christiansund, Norway. They have three chil- 
dren, Leif, Borghild and Helen. The family re- 
sides at 1075 Wabansia avenue. 



CHRISTOPHER L. AYGARN, 

Of Pontiac, 111., was born in Avaldsnes, Hauge- 
sund, Norway, on Sept. 4, 1850. His parents were 
Lars and Martha (Heliekson) Aygarn. He at- 




C. L. Aygarn. 

tended school in Norway until 15 years old, when 
he was confirmed in the Lutheran Church. He 
came to America, with an older brother, when 16 
years, going to Ottawa, 111., where he arrived 



272 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



Nov. 23, 1866. Here he worked on a farm for 
three years and then went to Minnesota, where 
he spent one year 1870. 

He now came to Livingston county, 111., where 
he married Miss Isabelle -C. Mitchell, daughter 
of Mr. and Mrs. John and Bertha (Oakland) 
Mitchell, on Feb. 11, 1872. He then rented some 
land in Livingston county and cultivated it for 
three years. Having saved some money, he pur- 
chased a ]60-acre farm in 1874. The three fol- 
lowing years were almost complete crop failures, 
compelling him to let the title revert to the 
original owner, with the loss of the amount he 
had paid upon it. Still believing in the "hold- 
fast" doctrine, he continued to farm the same 
land until 1886, when he re-purchased the farm, 
and after two years_sold it at the handsome pro- 
fit of $19 per acre. 

In 1S88 he went to Rowe, a small station near 
Pontiac, and established a general merchandise 
and grain business, and with it he built and oper- 
ated a large drain-tile and brick factory, employ- 
ing a big force of workmen; his annual output 
running as high as 250,000 drain tiles and a mil- 
lion of brick. He is practically the founder of the 
town, having built two elevators there, besides 
his business blocks and residences. In 1900 Mr. 
Aygarn sold out his tile and brick interest intend- 
ing to devote his attention to the grain business 
exclusively. He had much opposition, the grain 
buyers of that section, in connection with the 
railroads and Chicago commission men, having 
combined to limit Mr. Aygarn's field of opera- 
tion. He was then doing business both at Rows, 
and Pontiac. This injustice was fought, out in 
court, however, and ou'r subject won in a fight 
which was begun in the interest of the farming 
and business community rather than in his per- 
sonal interest. He now operates two grain 
elevators with a capacity of 20,000 bushels each, 
the railroads giving him the same facilities ac- 
corded larger corporations in v the same line of 
business. 

Mr. and Mrs. Aygarn have three children 
Lewis Oliver, born July 18, 1873, and married to 
Anna Nelson; Martin Gustav Melanchton, born 
Dec. 3, 1879, and married to Mabel Lillian Mitch- 
ell; Christian Thomas Millard, born Aug. 4, 1886. 

The family are members of the English Luth- 
eran Church on Rook Creek, of which Mr. Ay- 
garn was the organizer and has served alternately 
as chairman and secretary for the last fifteen 
years. Mr. Aygarn is a highly respected man 
and enjoys a well earned reputation for industry 
and integrity. 



EINAR BAGGE, 

The son of Ole and Ovidia Bagge, of Christiania, 
Norway, was born in Fredrikshald, Oct. 30, 
1871. His youth was spent in Christiania, where 
he graduated from the cathedral school in 1887, 
That same year he commenced learning the in- 
tricacies of watch-making, as an apprentice, with 
T. I. Thorstad, Christiania, where he remained 
for three years. 

He left Norway in August, 1890, and came to 
Chicago, where he obtained a position with C. 
D. Peacock, the jeweler, first as watch-maker for 




Einar Bagge. 



five years. He was then given charge of the 
clock department, in which he remained for 
eight years, or until June, 1903, when he resigned 
to take a position as material clerk and watch 
missionary with Robbins & Appleton, General 
Agents for the Waltham Watch Company. Here 
Mr. Bagge entered a new field, going into the 
commercial line and at the same time having a 
chance to develop his knowledge in the horolog- 
ical art, as he will be in close touch with the 
largest and most modern watch factory in the 
world, and when traveling will get the different 
watch-makers' views and ideas. He was awarded 
the bronze medal of the Swedish Watch-makers' 



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES AND PORTRAITS 



273 



Society, April 28, 1901; the silver medal March 
19, 1904, and the gold medal March 18, 1905. His 
gold medal was the first gold medal ever awarded 
by the Society. He is a member of the Swed- 
ish Watchmakers' Society of Chicago, and is its 
treasurer. 

Mr. Bagge married Miss Christine Prytz, Oct. 
2, 1901. They reside at 1190 West Division 
street. 



PETER MAGNUS BALKEN, 

The son of Johan Andreas and Isakine Botella 
Balken, of Stavanger, Norway, was born there 
April 24, 1837, and came to America with his 




Peter M. Balken. 



parents in 1849. They came over on the brig 
Favoriten, Captain Westergaard in command, 
and landed in New York. Thence to Chicago 
the route was via the Erie Canal to Buffalo and 
steamers over the lakes the rest of the way. Our 
subject was baptized in the Cathedral at Stav- 
anger and confirmed by Rev. Ole Andrewson in 



the Lutheran Church in Muskego, Racine Coun- 
ty, Wis., in 1853. 

When 12 years old he went to work at the 
home of John H. Kinzie; afterward he worked in 
Lars Harrisville's shingle shop, in Mears' lumber 
yard, then located at Kinzie street and the river. 
In 1855 he went to work as an apprentice in the 
pressroom of the Chicago Journal, where he 
worked for forty years, having been made fore- 
man of the pressroom in 1865. When the own- 
ership of the Journal changed hands in 1895 Mr. 
Balken concluded to retire too, not that the sale 
of the paper had anything to do with it, but 
that he had decided to retire for some time, at 
least, for rest and recuperation. 

Mr. Balken has been married twice. His first 
wife was Maren Johanna Jensen, born in this 
city; his second wife, Carrie Regina Reimers, 
was born in Stavanger. They have one daughter,. 
Harriet Regina, now Mrs. Serwich, with whom 
our subject makes his home in River Forrest, a 
suburb of Chicago. 

Like most Norwegians, he was born a repub- 
lican. He was a doortender in the wigwam when 
Abraham Lincoln was nominated in 1860, and 
has voted for every republican candidate for the 
presidency since. He says he would like to have 
another opportunity to vote for President Roose- 
velt. 

Mr. Balken is the organizer of the Norwegian 
Old Settlers' Society, which was founded in 1878, 
and was its second president. Our subject is 
now employed in the county clerk's office, hav- 
ing been appointed by Mr. Peter B. Olsen, then 
county clerk, and reappointed by the present 
county clerk, Mr. Haas. 



OLE W. BENDIXON, 

Of Morris, 111., was born in Christiania, Norway, 
Nov. 16, 1838. His parents were Bendix and 
Elizabeth (born Torgerson) Ol^en. Our sub- 
ject's early life was passed in Christiania, where, 
while attending school, he also worked in a to- 
bacco factory until he was confirmed. At this 
age he entered the navy as an apprentice, but on 
account of weak eyes remained only one year. 
He sailed on the seas and ocean from 1853-56. 
In 1856, he entered the regular Norwegian ar- 
my, serving in the cavalry for five years, during 
vvliich time he also studied theology. He then 
sailed again from 1862-66, when he located in 
New York as a seaman missionary, where he 



274 



'A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



remained for two years, again pursuing at the 
same time his theological studies, now under 
Rev. Dr. Murphy, and was ordained to the min- 
istry March 28, 1868. He worked in the post- 
office department from 1873 to 1883, was United 
States storekeeper in 1884-85, and did minister- 
ial and missionary work at different times. 

His military career was prolonged one year in 
the naval school and five years in the regular 
army in Norway; one year in the First Regi- 
ment Infantry, I. N. G., and six months in the 
cavalry for the same regiment, here in Chicago. 
He was one of the organizers of the Scandinav- 



interest in all worthy charities, and belongs to 
the Umversalist Church. He moved to Morris 
a few years ago, and makes his home with his 
daughter, Mrs. Hattie N. Callan. 




O!e W. Bendixon. 

ian regiment, organized before the great fire, and 
was its adjutant. It did good work in preserv- 
ing peace and order after the fire. He organized 
the Scandinavian Working Mens' Association 
and was its president; belonged to the Norweg- 
ian Singing Society, and was an honorary mem- 
ber of many societies. He took an active inter- 
est in politics, and was in great demand on the 
stump in presidential campaigns in many states. 

He was a forceful speaker and was always 
called upon at public meetings or celebrations. 

Mr. Bendixon was married to Christine Knud- 
son on Nov. 8, 1858. They have had nine chil- 
dren, four now living. Mr. Bendixon takes an 



VICTOR FLEMMING BENDIXEN, 

Of the Standard Architectural Iron Works, at 
627-643 Bloomingdale avenue, is the son of John 
Bendixen, a manufacturer in Christiania, Nor- 
way, his mother's maiden name being Catharine 
E. Flemming. Victor was born in Christiania, 
Dec. 1, 1865. He had a college education idP- 
Norway, graduated from the Christiania Art 
School, and worked as an apprentice for Henrik 
Nissen, architect, in Christiania. After his ar- 
rival in Chicago he took a course at a business 
law school, from which he graduated. His youth 
was spent in school, excepting one year in which 
he sailed. He came to America in 1888, coming 
direct to Chicago. He began work here as a 
draftsman at the stock yards. After six months 
there he was employed by Winslow Bros. & Co. 
as designer and draftsman, where he remained 
for three years, the last year as general superin- 
tendent. He took a trip to Norway in 1902, -ajnd 
upon his return accepted the position as chief 
engineer for Beers, Clay & Dutton, architects, in 
Chicago. 

In 1903 he started the present firm, the Stand- 
ard Architectural Works, first locating at No.; 30 
Clinton street; then moved to 181 Newberry 
avenue, and from there to his present location 
on Bloomingdale avenue, corner of Winnebago. 
Here he has erected a substantial two-story 
brick building especially adapted for the busi- 
ness. The company, of which our subject is 
president and treasurer, manufacture iron work 
for building and also do general foundry work. 

Mr. Bendixen was married to Lilian Olesen, 
of Chicago, on July 9, 1902. They have one child, 
Kathryn Josephine, born April 11, 1903. Mr. 
Bendixen's parents died in Norway and Ing- 
wald Olesen died here in Chicago, the widow 
still living here. Mr. Bendixen is a Mason. The] 
family resides at 20 Evergreen Avenue. 



THOR J. BENSON, 

Was born on his father's estate, known as Ege- 
land, in 0vre Bygden, Birkrem Sogn, Norway, 



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES AND PORTRAITS 



275 



Sept. 22, 1857, his parents being J0rgen Bj0rnson 
Egeland and Berthe Thorsdatter (nee Holmen). 
Thor attended the public school in Norway be- 
fore he came to America with his parents in 1871. 
An older sister had preceded the family to 
America, and as she had had difficulty in get- 
ting English-speaking people to pronounce her 
name, Bj0rnson became Benson; and as she se- 
cured a place for her brother on his arrival here 
with one of her acquaintances, Thor's name be- 
came Benson also, although against his protest. 
Egeland of course was the name of the farm 
or homeplace in Norway, and many of his near- 
est relatives go by that name. 




T. J. Benson. 

Mr. Benson has b'een married twice, his first 
wife, whom he married Jan. 20, 1880, was Mary 
Jane Ross. Second time married to Clara So- 
phie, youngest daughter of his father's brother, 
Kydle Byrnson, of Jefferson township, Vernon 
county, Wisconsin, where he settled in the early 
'50's, having arrived in America in 1850. There 
are five children George W., born Dec. 12, 1880; 
William T., Aug. 6, 1885; Kittel Bj0rnson-Ege- 
land (stepson), born Jan. 22, 1897; Bertha Ra- 
chel, March 27, 1900; Guri Theodora, April 5, 
1902 (died Feb. 13, 1903). A nephew, Theodore 



Olaf Hall, son of a favorite sister (who died 
April 12, 1883, a week after the boy's birth), 
lives in his family and attends the Wendell Phil- 
lips High School. 

Mr. Benson, after his arrival in this country, 
first worked for different farmers in Minnesota. 
He then studied telegraphy at Janesville, Wis., 
in 1876, and on Sept. 4 of that year came to 
Chicago. Here he studied law in the law de- 
partment of Lake Forest University in 1893-95, 
receiving his diploma. He also studied at the 
Chicago Theological Seminary of the Lutheran 
Church in 1896-97. He has held different offices 
in the county and city. Was assistant county 
collector in 1891, assistant city prosecuting at- 
torney in 1891-92, and has served as clerk, super- 
visor and judge of elections continuously for 
years. 

Mr. Ben.son is a member of the Old-Time 
Telegraphers, the Historical Association, the 
Walhalla Society and the Jefferson Club. He 
was the regular democratic nominee for alder- 
man of the Third Ward in 1905, receiving 2,dll 
votes, a' very creditable showing considering that 
his opponent, Milton J. Foreman, had had six 
years' experience in' which he had made a good 
record. The family attend St. Stephen's Dan- 
ish Lutheran Church arid reside in their own 
home at 3228 Forest ayenue, which Mr. Benson 
purchased in 1882. 



OLE E. BENSON, 

The popular sheriff of La Salle county, was born 
at Fogen, Norway, Jan. 23, 1866, to Ole R. Ben- 
son and his wife Bertha Runestad. He received 
his education in the common schools and was 
confirmed in the Lutheran church. In 1871 he 
came to America remaining in Minnesota until 
1876, when he v moved to Ford county, 111., finally 
settling down in La Salle county, where he has 
remained since 1878. 

Mr. Benson was married to Miss Louise John- 
son, of Mission township, Dec. 24, 1890. She 
was a daughter of Solomon and Martha John- 
son. After having given birth to four children 
Mrs. Benson died May 16, 1899. The names of 
the children, who are all living, are as follows: 
Floyd Leroy, born Oct. 14, 1891; Bessie Gertie, 
Dec. 25, 1892; Erma Myrtle, Oct. 16, 1894, and 
Pearl Naomi, July 12, 1897. 



276 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



In November, 1906, Mr. Benson was elected 
sheriff of La Salle county with a majority of 988 
votes. By one of the daily papers of Ottawa he 
was recommended for the office in the following 
manner: 

"One of the strongest candidates in every 
respect on the republican ticket is the nominee 
for sheriff, Mr. Ole Benson. It will be recalled 
that at the primary election he received a majori- 
ty of votes over all competitors, a fact which 
conclusively shows his popularity among the 
republican voters of the county. The reasons 
for this popularity are many. First, his wide ac- 




O. E. Benson. 

quaint'ance, fbrme'd when serving as deputy sher- 
iff; second, his competency, shown throughout 
that term of service; third, his sterling manhood 
and affability. Few candidates combine so many 
excellent qualifications and popular traits quali- 
fications and traits which attract and win the 
confidence of men. Mr. Benson is a Norwegian 
by birth and an American by natural selection 
bhd "education. His boyhood and manhood were 
spent in La Salle county and he is familiar with 
its history, its industries, the workings of its 
courts and the haunts of its criminals. He un- 
derstands how to care for men and boys con- 



victed of crimes and committed to the custody 
of the sheriff. He is a good judge of men and 
their motives and cannot be swayed from the 
path of duty by influences brought to bear upon 
officers of the law. He has made an excellent 
campaign and won hosts of friends. No charge 
affecting his integrity or fitness has been made 
against him by the friends of his democratic op- 
ponent." 

Mr. Benson is a member of the Benson Bros.' 
Sand Co., which operates at Twin Bluffs west of , 
Ottawa. 



MARTIN BERG, 

Of Gunderson & Berg, the grocers, at 1647 Ar- . 
milage avenue, was born in Leir, Norway, Aug. ; 
16, 1874. His father, Bernt Larson, was a shoe- 




Martin Berg. 

maker in Leir, where our subject learned the 
trade, but shoemaking did not appeal to him, 
and after coming to Chicago he did not follow 
it. He attended school in Leir and was con- 
firmed in Sylling Church. In the spring of 1893 



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES AND PORTRAITS 



he came to Chicago via New York, and has lived 
here since. His first work was in an organ fac- 
tory, for two years, and then for three years 
as a bakery driver. In 1898 he formed a part- 
nership with Mr. G. A. Gunderson and the two 
opened a modern grocery and meat market at 
the corner of Armitage and Forty-third avenues, 
under the name of Gunderson & Berg. They 
have continued at the same location and are do- 
ing a large business. 

Mr. Berg was married on Nov. 15, 1905, to 
Miss Karen Grenlie, who was born in Hedemar- 
ken, Norway. Mr. Berg's father died several 
years ago, but his mother is still living on the 
farm in Norway. 

He is a member of the White City Lodge, 
I. O. O. F. 



OLE HANSEN BERG, M.D., 

Was born in Tromsjzf, Norway, Dec. 5, 1867. He 
is the son of Revenue Collector Jacob H. K. and 
Marcelie Marie (born Buck) Berg. In Norway 
he attended "Middelskolen" and was confirmed 
in Stavanger. He came to Chicago in 1883, when 
16 years old, and was apprenticed in a drug store. 
He also studied pharmacy in the Northwestern 
University, and in 1886 passed his examination 
as a registered pharmacist. He worked in the 
capacity of a druggist until 1896, in the mean- 
time having taken a medical course at the Illi- 
nois University, from which he graduated in 
that year. He then began the practice of medi- 
cine, which he has followed since, with an in- 
creasing and extensive general practice. 

Dr. Berg was attending physician to the Nor- 
wegian Tabitha Hospital from 1896 to 1904. 
He is a member of the Scandinavien Medi- 
cal Society and of Lincoln Lodge 108, Knights 
of Pythias. His father died in Vadso", Norway, 
in 1878. 

He was married on June 29, 1900, to Aslaug, 
the daughter of Eilert and Hariette (nee Bruun) 
Tigenschou. The family resides at 565 No. Cali- 
fornia avenue, where the doctor also has his 
office. 



Bertha Torstensdattef Berg. He came to Amer- 
ica on the sailing vessel Christina in 1854, ar- 
riving in Quebec, Canada, July 16, without a 
dollar. He worked his way as far as Chicago 
and got here during the cholera epidemic. He 
worked for six weeks with the sick as nurse, but 
escaped the disease. 

He left for Leland a little later, and secured 
work as a farm-hand. In a short time he 
secured two yoke of oxen, with which he broke 
prairie for two years, and then purchased a pair 
of horses and followed teaming for some time. 
He then rented a farm and worked on shares 
for six years, when, in 1864, he bought eighty 




THEODORE OLSON BERG, 

Of Malta, DeKalb county, 111., was born on 
Gaarden Berg, in Urskog's Prestegjeld, on 
Nov. 23, 1833, his parents being Ole Olson and 



T. O. Berg. 

acres at his present location, paying $15 per acre. 
He has kept adding to his holdings, paying as 
high as $75 an acre for part of it, until he now 
owns 560 acres in one body. 

He married Maria Danielson, May 26, 1858. 
Mrs. Berg was the daughter of Daniel and An- 
drina Magnussen, and was born near Christiania, 
Norway, in 1829. She came to America the same 
year as her husband, going direct to Leland, 
where she met and married Mr. Berg four years 
later. They have had five children Carolina, 
Oscar, Carolina Bertina, Amelia Augusta, and 
Oscar Theodore Didric. The two first named 



278 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



died in infancy; Carolina Bertina attained the 
age of 36 years. There are sixteen living grand- 
children and one great-grandchild, all living on 
the old homestead, it having been divided into 
four farms. Mr. Berg's first vote was for Pres- 
ident Lincoln, and he supports the same party 
today. The family attends the Lutheran Church. 



BERNHARD OLAUS BERGE 

Is a son of Reier and Theodora O. Berge, of 
Finn0, near Stavanger, Norway. He received a 
good common school education in Norway, and 
in 1890 left the home of his parents and came to 
La Salle county, Illinois. Here he obtained em- 




B. O. Berge. 

ployment as a farm laborer. During the winter 
seasons of the years 1894-1896 he frequented 
Brown's Business College in Ottawa, 111., gradu- 
ating at that institution in May, 1896. In the 
fall of the same year he was employed as teacher 
of stenography at Pleasant View Luther College, 
Ottawa, 111., it being the first year of that insti- 
tution. But the practical use of a knowledge^ of 



stenography was far more remunerative than 
teaching, and a young man must be pardoned if i 
he chooses among honorable occupations that 
which will afford the best pay, especially if he 
has nowhere but to his own hands to look for 
the necessaries of life. In connection with the 
work of stenography in a law office, the study of 
law suggested itself as a useful and proper thing. 
However, when the Spanish-American War broke 
out in the spring of 1898 Mr. Berge could not! 
resist the temptation to be a soldier, and he en-j 
listed in Company C. (Captain Blanchard's com- 1 
pany of Ottawa, 111.), Third Illinois Infantry, 
and served through the campaign until mustered 
out with said company in January, 1899. There- 
upon he entered the office of the county judge 
of La Salle county, as stenographer, where he 
remained employed as such until the autumn of 
1903. In the spring of that year he completed 
the academic course at Pleasant View Luther 
College, and graduated from that school. - For 
the purpose of receiving a more thorough gen- 
eral education, and to complete his law studies, 
he entered the University of Michigan, law de- 
partment, in September, 1903, and in June, 1905, 
completed the law course and obtained a degree 
of bachelor of laws. During the months of July, 
August and September, 1905, he worked with the 
board of review of assessments of La Salle 
county, as clerk, which position he also held dur- 
ing the years 1902, 1903 and 1904. At the present 
time Mr. Berge is practicing law in the city of 
Ottawa, 111. 



REV. HANS PETER BERGH. . 

Rev. Hans Peter Bergh was born in Eidsberg, 
Norway, on the 19th of January, 1846. His 
birthplace was called Berg, and from that the 
whole family took their name. His father, Pe- 
der Andersen Berg, a thrifty farmer, born in 
1808, was prevented from continuing a well 
started military career in Christiania by his 
young wife, who preferred to live in the country. 
With her he had seven children: Sedsel Andrea, 
Andreas, Johan, Anthon, Johanne Marie, Hans 
Peter and Ole. The three first-named sons 
graduated from the normal school (Seminariet) 
in Asker and became teachers; the oldest, An- 
dreas, later studied for the ministry, graduated 
from the University of Christiania, and became a 
minister in the State Church of Norway. 



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES AND PORTRAITS 



279 



P. A. Berg's first wife died and he married 
again, and with his wife and their little son, 
Alexander, he emigrated to America in 1866, liv- 
ing first on North Manitou Island, Michigan, and 
then for some years at New Centerville, Wis., 
where another son, Anton, was born to them, 
the first Anton having died in 1862. 

After that he lived for many years at Deer 
Park, Wis., in both places farming, and in 1894 
lie died at his youngest son's home in Duluth, 
Minn., 85 years old. His wife died in the same 
son's home, then in Superior, Wis., in 1899. Both 
in Norway and in America P. A. Berg was active 
in the political as well as in the religious life, and 
wrote occasionally for the papers, both in pros? 
and verse; he was an ardent advocate of tem- 
perance. All the Berg family, parents and chil- 
dren, have been religious, and nearly all of them 
have been religious workers. 

Hans Peter gave his heart to God in his early 
years. With his father, stepmother and young- 
est sister he left the Lutheran State Church and 
joined the Methodist Episcopal Church when he 
was 14 years old. Beginning at 18 years of age, 
he was an exhorter and a school teacher in the 
Methodist Church for four years, and while 
teaching school in Sarpsborg he began to study 
German, French, Latin and Greek and other 
branches, partly private and .partly at the high 
school (Realskolen). At Sarpsborg, in 1867, 
he also received license as a local preacher from 
the mission superintendent, Rev. C. Willerup, 
who also had given him license as an exhorter. 
Afterward he studied for three years at Gjert- 
sen's College (Latin school) in Christiania, only 
his impaired health preventing him from gradu- 
ating at the University. While studying in Chris- 
tiania he became a helper to the pastor, Rev. M. 
Hansen,' of the First Church; editor of Den lille 
B0rneven (now B0rnevennen), the first Method- 
ist paper in Norway, at its start in October, 1871; 
editorial assistant of Evangelisk Kirketidende 
(now Kristelig Tidende), the official organ of the 
Methodist Church in Norway, at its beginning, in 
January, 1872; from 1872 to 1875 also a sailor mis- 
sionary, appointed by the American Seamen's 
Friend Society of New York; pastor in Brevik 
and Drammen, and from 1879 to 1885 editor of 
Kristelig Tidende at Christiania. After complet- 
ing his> conference study he was ordained deacon 
by Bishop Matthew Simpson in 1875, and elder by 
Bishop Thomas Bowman in 1878. 

In 1885 he married Miss Kristiane Georgine 
Johnsen, of Brevik, and with her emigrated to 
America in the same year. 
His appointments in America have been Wash- 



ington Prairie Circuit, Iowa; Deer Park, Wis., 
where his wife died, leaving him with a little 
son, Samuel (Paul having died in infancy); 
Grand Forks, N. D.; Evanston, 111., where, be- 
sides his pastoral work, he also was assistant 
teacher at the Norwegian-Danish Theological 
School; New Centerville, Wis., and ' Superior, 
Wis. For five years he was also editor of Hyr- 
destemmen, the Sunday-school paper of the Nor- 
wegian and Danish Conference. In 1900 he was, 
by the conference, elected manager of the con- 
ference book concern on Grand avenue., Chi- 
cago, and also editor of Hyrdestemmen, in which 
position he remained for five years, until in 1905 





Rev. H. P. Bergh. 



he was elected editor of the official organ of the 
conference, Den kristelige Talsmand, and ' also 
re-elected editor of Hyrdestemmen, which posi- 
tion he is still holding, and is thus in his 22nd 
year as editor in Norway and America. 

In 1891 he was married to Mrs. Ella Cornelia 
Thoen (nee Knudsen), of New Centerville, Wis., 
with whom he has a daughter', Ella Christiane, 
now 14 years. The son, Samuel, is 19 years old. 

Mr. Bergh also has been active in other liter- 
ary pursuits. In 1876 he made the first Norwe- 
gian translation of the Discipline of his church, 



280 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



and he has translated other books. In 1900 he 
was one of a committee to translate the then 
latest edition of the Discipline, and in 1901 he 
was selected to write and publish a historical 
sketch on the occasion of the fiftieth annivers- 
ary of Norwegian and Danish Methodism. He 
also was one of a committee to prepare and 
publish a spelling book, and from his youth he 
has been writing hymns. In 1882 he was a 
member of a committee of three in Norway to 
meet, at Gothenburg, Sweden, similar commit- 
tees from Sweden and Denmark to consider the 
advisability and possibility of establishing a joint 
theological Methodist school for those three 
countries. He was for many years secretary of 
the conference in Norway, and in America he 
has been assistant secretary of his conference 
for fourteen years. He also served for four years 
as chairman of the conference board of examin- 
ers. In 1904 he was a conference delegate at 
the international Sunday Rest Congress at the 
World's Fair in St. Louis, where he read a paper 
that was well received. 



JOHN CARL BJERKE, 




The druggist at 821 W. Wrightwood avenue, was 
born in Christiania, Norway, Oct. 23, 1868. He 
is the son of Hans Hansen Bjerke, a tailor in 
Christiania. His mother was Karen Olea Borge. 
He attended middelskolen in Norway and 
was confirmed in Aker's Church. He came to 
America in 1886, reaching Chicago on May 6.3 

The following year he was apprenticed to * 
Dr. Dahlberg's Pharmacy in Chicago, to learn'' 
the profession from a practical standpoint, at 
the same time taking a course in the North- 
western University School of Pharmacy. After j 
his graduation he traveled extensively and filled 1 
important positions with the leading drug stores] 
in Willmar and Minneapolis, Minn.; Des Moines, 
la.; Hillsboro, N. D.; and Great Falls, Mont. He 
then returned to Chicago, where he continued 
to -work for others until he opened a store of 
his own at 821 W. Wrightwood avenue, where] 
he is now located and doing a good business.. 
His store is modern in every way and he car-j 
ries a well supplied stock. 

He was married to Miss Alma Olson, of Chi- ] 
cago, June 12, 1895, her parents being John and 
Anna Olson, of Chicago. They have had onej 
child, Karen; it died in infancy. 



J. C Bjerke. 



EMIL BI0RN, 

The musician and artist, was born in Christi- j 
ania, Norway, June 7, 1864. His parents were j 
Christian Ludvig Bi0rn and Karoline Agnete I 
(born Heyerdahl). 

His youth was passed in Christiania, where 
he received his education. He intended at first j 
to take an academic course, but abandoned that, I 
as his interest in fine arts appealed to him. Con- .^ 
ditions being unfavorable in the Old Country, I 
with a youth's desire to see the world, he left 
Norway after having finished his first year of 
military service and came to America, arriving 
in Chicago in 1887, where he soon attracted at- 
tention in the Norwegian colony, as he was an 
able arrangeur and musician. Mr. BijzSrn has 
written several local compositions and his music 
has been published and played both in Norway 
and the United States. In later years Mr. Bi0rn 
has given up music as a means of a living, em- 
ploying himself most of the time as an illustrator 
and artist. For many years he has been con- 
nected with the Barnes-Crosby Company, one of 
the largest engraving houses in the country. 



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES AND PORTRAITS 



281 



He studied art in Christiania Royal Tegneskole, 
Chicago Art Institute, and in Paris. He has had 
paintings in public exhibitions both in Norway 
and the United States. Music, however, is near- 
est his heart, and as a musical director he still 
works among our singers, who all consider him 
an interested and popular leader. At the con- 
vention of the Northwestern Scandinavian Sing- 
ers' Association, in La Crosse, Wis., in 1906, he 
was chosen chief for their next singing festival. 
He has acted as musical director for both or- 
chestras and singers at several important Nor- 
wegian affairs at the reception to Frithjof 



cozy home with an interesting little collection of 
Norwegian curiosities at 815 North Oakley 
avenue, Chicago. 




Emil Bi0rn. 



Nansen, the arrival of the Viking Ship for the 
World's Fajr, the tour of the Norwegian. Student 
Singers, who later conferred upon him their dec- 
oration as knight of their order. He has as- 
sifted many times at church festivals, concerts 
and entertainments for the benefit of different 
charitable institutions. He is a member of the 
Chicago Palette and Chisel Club,' the Norwegian 
Quartette Club, Bj0rgvin's Singing Society and 
the Norwegian ski club "Nor." 

Mr. Bi0>n was married in Chicago on Dec. 
23, 1891, to Miss Sigrid Lowum. They have a 



KRISTIAN KNUDSEN BJ0RSETH 

Was born at Bj0rseth, near Molde, Romsdalen, 
Norway, Jan. 30, 1852. His father (Knute Lar- 
sen) and his mother (Gjertrude Olsen Storvig) 
were also born on Bj^rseth. His father was a 
carpenter by trade, but times were hard, so that 
when our subject was 11 years old he went to 
live with an uncle at Otter^en, where he was 
confirmed in Aker0 Church. Until he was 20 
years old he alternated his work between the 




K. K. Bj0rseth. 



farm and fishing on Har0en. In 1872 he re- 
turned home, and the same year came his first 
real grief, the death of his father. The next 
year he went to Trondhjem, where he worked 
for Trolla Brug as a founder, but after five years 



232 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



he changed to the department of machinery, 
which he took up as his life work. 

Here he also met and married Miss Gusta Ja- 
cobine Railing, on April 15, 1877. 

In 1880 he took his first trip on a steamship, 
the Agn, as i machinist, the boat having been 
bought from the celebrated whalefisher, Sven 
Fyen, as an express boat in Varanger fjord. 
The fjord was navigable in the summer months 
only, and during the winter he returned to 
his work in the machine shop. In 1882 he 
was again employed on a steamship, the Caro- 
line, of Christiansund, as first machinist, un- 
der Captain S. Bottner, going to Portugal and 
Spain, cod fishing and trading, having been 
hired by the ship's owner, Nicolay Knudson. 
Here he had an opportunity to see many fine 
cities and traversed the Mediterranean Sea from 
Gibraltar to Barcelona, but his interest was 
centered at home, and after two years he re- 
turned to Trondhjem and his old place in the 
machine shop. In the meantime his brother 
Peter had migrated to America. He wrote back, 
calling attention to the favorable opportunities 
offered in this country for practical machinists. 
In consequence of this letter Kristian came to 
Aurora with his family in April, 1887. 

He immediately secured a position in the C. 
B. & Q. Ry. shops and remained with them un- 
til 1895, when he was offered and accepted the 
position of chief engineer for the Chicago and 
Aurora Smelting and Refining Company. He re- 
mained with this firm until they went out o! 
business in 1899, when he went to the Aurora 
Automatic Machine Company with whom he is 
still engaged. 

Mr. and Mrs. Bj0rseth have seven children, 
namely: Anna Davida, Conrad Marius, Gustav 
Christian, Oscar Ludvig, Edda Johanne, Alfred 
Otto and Signe Gunnelie Bjjzirseth. Our subject 
is a member of the North Star Club, a Norweg- 
ian political society, and Ben Hur. 

He and his family attend the Norwegian Luth- 
eran Church of Aurora, and resides at 399 So. 
Broadway. 



CONRAD MARIUS BJ0RSETH, 

Of Aurora, 111., was born in Throndhjem, Nor- 
way, April 23, 1879, his parents being Kristian 
and Augusta (born Hoene), Bj0rseth. He came 
to America with his parents in the fall of 1887 
and settled in Aurora, where he attended the 
public schools until 15 years old. His first work 
was as clerk in a grocery store in Aurora for 



two years, when he entered the services of S. S. 
Sencenbaugh & Co.'s department store, where 
he worked from 1898 to 1902. At this time he 
engaged in business for himself, opening a first- 
class grocery store at 68 S. Broadway, one of 
the principal business streets in the city. He en- 
joys an extensive trade and employs five clerks 
besides himself to look after his customers' 
wants. 

He has twice been elected president of The 
North Star Club, a local Norwegian organiza- 
tion with a membership of ninety in good stand- 




C. M. Bj0rseth.. 

ing. The purpose of the Club is two-fold po- 
litical and social -to urge the Norwegians to 
study political questions, to become citizens, and 
to take active interest in political affairs in their 
adopted country; and socially to promote har- 
mony and good fellowship among their nation- 
ality. He is also a member of the Yeomen of 
America, the American Star of Equity, and the 
young peoples society of the Norwegian-Danish 
church of Aurora. 

On Oct. 10, 1900, he was married to Alma So- 
phie Anderson. They attend the Norwegian- 
Danish Church, of which Mr. BjeYseth was 
treasurer in 1901. The family resides at 483 S. 
Lincoln avenue, Aurora. 



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES AND PORTRAITS 



283 



PETER BJ0RSETH 

Was born in Bols0 prestegjeld, Romsdal's amt, 
Norway, Nov. 12, 1856. His parents were Knut 
Larsen and Gertrud Olsdatter Storvig. Mr. 
Bjfirseth received his education in the public 
school and at 17 he went to work in Trondhjem's 
Mek. Vaerksted (machine shop). He emigrated 
to America in 1882 and arrived April 12 of the 
same year in Aurora, where he has remained 
ever since. Most of the time he has been work- 
ing in the C. B. & Q. shops, but he has also 
cultivated a farm in the neighborhood of Aurora. 




Mr. and Mrs. Peter Bj0rseth. 



Mr. Bj^rseth was married June 16, 1883, to 
Miss Guri Malene Udstad, a daughter of the well 
known blacksmith A. Udstad in Trondhjem. 
This union has been blessed with eight children, 
of whom the following are living: Gertrud Sophie, 
born May 11, 1884, is a trained nurse; Conrad 
Sverre, born Feb. 9, 1886, is a farmer; Sara Lou- 
ise, born March 1, 1888, is a music teacher; Lil- 
lie Annette, born June 8, 1891; Sigrid Mathilde, 
born Sept. 3, 1893; Arnt P. G., born Nov. 12, 
1895, and Raymond Gerhard, born June 11, 1900, 
are at home or attending school. 



JOHN BLEGEN 

Was born in T0nsberg, Norway, May -23, 1842. 
He received a good public school education and 
immediately entered mercantile pursuits. In 1863 
he entered Griiners Commercial College, in Co- 
penhagen, Denmark, for two years tuition. He 
came to -Chicago in the summer of 1869 and se- 
cured employment as traveling agent for the 
Anchor Line of steamers. He afterward went 
with the State Line, for which company he sub- 
sequently became the general Western agent. 
He remained with them for twelve years, when 
the company went into liquidation and sold out 
to the Allan Line, paying all creditors dollar for 
dollar. Mr. Blegen has since been engaged in 
a general brokerage business and acted as sec- 
retary for commercial and fraternal organiza- 
tions. About fifteen years ago he was unsolic- 
itedly nominated for member of the board of 
county commissioners by the republicans, but 
met defeat at the polls with the party, running, 
however, away ahead of his ticket. 




John Blegen. 

Mr. Blegen has never aspired to political pre- 
ferment or office of any kind. He has held vari- 
ous positions of social and fraternal trust. He 



284 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



was for two years president of the Scandinavian 
Workingmen's Association, has held almost all 
the official functions in the local branch of the 
A. O. U. W., and is one of the founders of the 
Norwegian Old People's Home Society. Owing 
to his position for many years as a general agent 
for the State Line of steamers and as a publisher 
of several mercantile books, his name is widely 
known throughout the United States. He has 
been singularly exempt from criticism in his of- 
ficial positions and has never been connected with 
any kind of litigation. 

Mr. Blegen was married when he arrived in 
America and has a large family of children who 
are all grown and well connected. Four of them 
are married. 



ALFRED NILS BOB, M. D., 

The physician and druggist at 845 Sheffield ave- 
nue, Chicago, was born in Vossevangen, Norway, 
July 2, 1860. He came to America with his par- 




Alfred N. Boe. 

ents in 1869, going first to Norway and then to 
Sheridan, 111., where they settled. He attended 
the public school at Sheridan. While a young 



man he came to Chicago and clerked for six 
years for the John Anderson Publishing Com- 
pany, and afterward worked for six years in the 
Chicago postoffice. During this time he had de- 
voted his evenings and spare moments to study, 
and in 1887 he graduated from the Chicago Col- 
lege of Pharmacy as a registered pharmacist and 
opened his drug store at Sheffield avenue and 
Wellington street, where he is now located. He 
then took a three years' medical course at the 
Harvey Medical College and one year's course at 
the National Medical University, graduating in 
1896 with the degree of M.D. 

He was married to Miss Minnie O. Larson, a 
daughter of Martin Larson, of Chicago, Oct. 15, 
1894. They have three children, namely: Ethel, 
Russell and Chester. 

His parents both died a few years ago at their 
home in Sheridan. His home and office is at 
1412 Wellington street, half a block from his 
drug store. 



O. M. BORCHSENIUS, 

The grocer, 1949 Thirty-sixth street, was borr* 
to Chas. J. and Martha M. (nee Schlanbusch) 
Borchsenius, in Chicago, April 14, 1861. 




O. M. Borchsenius. 



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES AND PORTRAITS 



285 



Our subject graduated from the public schools 
and then from a normal school in Wenton, N. J. 
He spent some time in his father's grocery store 
in Norway, 111., and afterward engaged in the 
same business for himself at Thirty-sixth and 
South Rockwell streets, in Chicago. 

He was married to Miss Carrie B. Cousin on 
July 11, 1883. They have three children 
Alice, born Jan. 23, 1885; Charles J., March 14, 
1887; Otto Floyd, Dec. 10, 1890. His father died 
in 1889, but his mother is still living, hale and 
hearty, visiting around with her children. 



NICOLAI BRUUN, 

Druggist, was born in Kongsberg, Norway, Feb. 
7, 1837. His pharmaceutical education was com- 
menced in 1851 as disciple under Prof. I. F. Pe- 
tersen, of Sarpsborg. He graduated as assistant 
pharmacist in 1855, and became examinatus phar- 




Nicolai Bruun. 

macist at the University of Christinnia in 1860. 
He was steadily employed as pharmacist in 
Fredriksstad and Kongsberg, and three years be- 



fore emigrating to America he was private pro- 
fessor at B. A. Maschmand's drug store in Chris- 
tiania. He was also for some time president of 
the pharmaceutical association there. 

On April 12, 1868, Mr. Bruun left Norway on 
the sailing ship Hannah Parr, which was ship- 
wrecked off the coast of Ireland. The pas- 
sengers and crew drifted to Limerick, where 
they remained for two months pending repairs 
to the ship. He finally arrived in Chicago with 
300 other emigrants on Aug. 19, having been 
four months on the way. After a fortnight in 
Chicago he secured employment as clerk in Dr. 
Tone's drug store, corner State and Eighteenth 
streets. In February, 1869, he started the drug 
store on the present site, 282 Grand avenue, un- 
der the firm name of Bruun & Burt. In 1872 the 
partnership was dissolved, another drug store 
having in the meantime been established by the 
firm at Grand avenue and Paulina street, Mr. 
Burt taking charge of the latter and leaving Mr. 
Bruun at the old stand. 

Now, at the age of 70, after fifty-four years of 
conscientious attention to his profession, Mr. 
Bruun has partially retired from active service, 
having turned the management of the store over 
to his son, Harald N. Bruun, a registered phar- 
macist, who for the last sixteen years has been 
engaged in the drug business. 



MRS. ULRIKKA FELDTMAN BRUUN, 

The organizer for the National W. C. T. U. among 
the Scandinavians in America, was born on an 
island on the west coast of Norway, two miles 
from Christiansund, Feb. 1, 1854. Her parents 
were Knudt and Petrene Hassel0, who owned the 
island. They had four sons and five daughters, 
of whom our subject was the youngest daughter. 
She was baptized Ulrikka Randine Felcltman, the 
last name being that of her great grandfather, 
Major U. F. Feldtman of Opdal, Norway. Our 
subject was a most studious child and every 
spare moment was given to her books. She be- 
gan to write verses and rhymes when only eight 
years old. She was confirmed when 15 years old 
and stood at the head of her class. She was thert 
appointed as assistant teacher in three districts 
and longed for a better education, but this was 
denied her in Norway. When 21 years old she 
came to America, landing in Chicago, June 30, 
1874. The struggle that followed prepared her 



286 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



for the great work she has since accomplished. 
She managed to enter Kalamazoo College in Mich- 
igan for one year. The turning point in her 
life came in Evanston in 1876 when she became a 
cross-bearer for Christ and jwent to work to win 
souls for his Kingdom. 

Ever since her life has been devoted to this 
work. 

In 1881, she married Mr. J. N. Bruun. Mrs. 
Brutin has been a widow for many years. Mrs. 
Bruun is the author of three books, all religious 
temperance stories printed in the Scandinavian 
language, as well as three sacred song books, 
together with articles and stories for the press. 




Mrs. U. F. Bruun. 

In February, 1899, she began the publication in 
Chicago of Det Hvide Baand, the only Norwe- 
gian-Danish Christian temperance paper published 
in this country by a woman. It is a bright il- 
lustrated monthly at 50 cents per annum. Her 
greatest work has been the founding of the Hope 
Mission, now on West Ohio and Noble streets, 
Chicago. With the assistance of Mathilda B. 
Carse, president of the Central W. C. T. U., she 
was first able to open a small Scandinavian read- 
ing room in October, 1888. For eleven years the 
W. C. T. U. paid the rent for this room and Mrs. 



Brutin gave her services entirely free. From this 
Mission sprang the Scandinavian W. C. T. U., of 
which Mrs. Bruun is president, the Men's Scan- 
dinavian Prohibition Club, a local of the Loyal 
Temperance Legion, and a Sunday school. For 
seven years a free dispensary was maintained. 
Thousands have frequented the reading room* 
during each year. 

Mrs. Bruun's sympathies have also gone out 
to the young and friendless girls, who have come 
from her own land to Chicago to better their 
condition. In 1900 she opened a Scandinavian 
working girls' home and employment bureau in 
connection with the Mission. In 1895 Miss Fran- 
ces E. Willard secured Mrs. Bruun's appointment 
as National organizer among the Scandinavians 
for the W. C. T. U. She has traveled and lec- 
tured in Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Nebraska, 
and the Dakotas, everywhere lifting up the banner 
of Christ and temperance. She is a most forceful, 
eloquent speaker and spends . about five or six 
months each year in the lecture field. All money 
saved goes to her Chicago work. 



DANIEL DANIELSON BUE, 

The well known member of the merchant tailor- 
ing firm Kindley & Bue, suite 825 in the Unity 
Building on Dearborn street, was born at Bue, 
Ulviks prestegjeld, S0ndre Bergenshus amt, Nor- 
way, June 25, 1868, to Daniel Haldorsen Espe- 
land and his wife Torbj0r Odmundsdatter Hildal 
from Ullensvangs prestegjeld. Young Daniel 
was educated in the public schools and con- 
firmed in the Lutheran Church at Eidfjord. At 
the age of 17 he was apprenticed to learn the 
trade of a tailor in his native country with the 
tailor Ole Engebrigtson Bakke in Jondals Sogn. 
After one year he went to the city of Bergen in 
order to acquire a more thorough training for his 
selected calling, securing employment with the 
well known merchant tailor of that place, Mr. C. 
J. Nelson. 

Having finished his apprenticeship and being 
a full fledged master tailor he returned to his 
native parish and established himself in the tailor- 
ing business continuing with same for some time. 

In 1888 he decided to seek a wider field for his 
activities and came to America making his first 
stop at Stoughton, Wis., where he secured em- 
ployment with the tailoring firm of Johnson & 



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES AND PORTRAITS 



287 



Melaas working for them about one year and a 
half. 

On Aug. 3, 1889, he came to Chicago, where 
he has resided since plying his trade with almost 
all of the prominent merchant tailors of. this city, 
until Sept. 1, 1900, when he accepted a partner- 
ship with Mr. B. O. Kindley, and the merchant 
tailoring firm of Kindley & Bue was established. 




D. D. Bue. 

Mr. Bue was married in Chicago by Rev. A. 
O. Johnson of Our Savior's Church Dec. 30, 1899, 
to Miss Anna So"rum, a daughter of Amund and 
Anna Sjzirum of Christiania. Their happy union 
has been blessed with two children, both boys 
of whom one, Harald Daniel, is living. The fam- 
ily resides at 1197 W. Division street. 

Mr. Bue is a member of the Columbia Yacht 
Club. 



LARS CALLECOD 

Was born in Tysvaer prestegjeld, near Stavan- 
ger, Norway, July 14, 1833. His father (Nils 
Sampson) and his mother (Kari Nelsdatter) were 



both born in the mentioned neighborhood. Lars 
stayed at home until 14 years old, when he was 
confirmed. He then went tp sea and between 
voyages worked on his father's farm. 

In June, 1863, he was married to Miss Carina 
Olsdatter, with whom and their first child he 
emigrated to America in 1865, landing in Que- 
bec. From Quebec he went through Chicago to 
Leland, 111. Here he worked on a farm for a 
short time and then by the day at odd jobs in 
Leland for seven years. He then moved to Cham- 
paign county, where he rented a farm and re- 
mained five years. In 1876 he went to the vicin- 
ity of Paxton and bought a farm eight miles 
south of the town. There his first wife died. 
The union had been blessed by six children, of 
whom two died in infancy. 




L. Callecod with wife and child. 



Four years later Mr. Callecod married Mrs. 
Carina Thompson, a widow with three children, 
only one of whom is now living. In the second 
marriage there have been four children, all liv- 
ing. ' The family attends the Lutheran Church 
in Dix township, three and a half miles from El- 
liott. Of his children one son and one daughter 
are married, the son, Rev. Mathew Callecod, 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



having joined the Congregational Church, is a 
minister of that faith in Williston, N. D. 

Mr. Callecod sold his farm several years ago 
and lives with his wife, youngest daughter and 
youngest son in Paxton, 111. One daughter re- 
sides in Chicago. 



EDWARD CHRISTIAN CHRISTENSEN 

Was born in Skien, Norway, on March 30, 1845, 
his father, Christopher Christensen, being a police- 
man. Our subject attended the common schools 
and in 1859 entered as an apprentice to learn the 
trade of a baker. After mastering the trade he 
went to several towns in Norway, working at 
his profession, and two years later returned to 
Skien, where he had charge of a large bakery 
until 1868, when he emigrated to America. 




E. C. Christensen. 



After two years' residence in this country he 
engaged in the bakery business for himself, 
which he conducted for eight years, when he 
sold out and engaged in the flour business here 



in Chicago with John W. Eckhart & Co., with 
whom he has been for twenty-five years, and is 
yet filling the position of creditman and sales- 
man. 

On July 14, 3872, he was married to Inger Ma- 
rie Hansen. They had three children born to 
them, but all have passed away. 

Mr. Christensen while very young was a drum- 
mer in the Norwegian Army. He is a member 
of Nora Lodge No. 1, in which he_has held many 
offices; belongs to the republican club, of which 
he has often been president. He resides at 186 
West Erie street. 



WILHELM FREDRIK CHRISTIANSEN, 

Of the Tobey Furniture Company and manager 
of their factory, was born in Trondhjem, Nor- 
way, May 1, 1847, his parents being Nils Lauritz 
and Marie Lorin (Kraft) Christiansen. He at- 
tended public school in Trondhjem. After his 
confirmation he became an apprentice in the 
cabinet shop of his uncle, Mr. Kraft. During the 
four years as an apprentice he attended the even- 
ing public technical school, from which he re- 
ceived a diploma and, in 1866, a certificate as a 
full-fledged cabinetmaker. 

In 1868, when 21 years or age, he left Norway 
for America. From Trondhjem to Hull, Eng- 
land, the trip was made by one of the old steam- 
ers carrying copper ore from Ytter^en to Eng- 
land. The sleeping compartment was arranged 
on top of the ore in the hull. From there the 
trip was continued by rail to Liverpool. From 
there he sailed across the Atlantic by an old 
steamer t'o Quebec, where he arrived 18 days 
later. From Quebec to Chicago it took 6 more 
days. Arriving on a hot July day, all of the party 
who were not met by friends or relatives were 
stored in a big warehouse belonging to the 111. 
Central railroad at the corner of Randolph street, 
near Michigan avenue, and the subject of our 
sketch says, his first sleeping place in Chicago 
was on the top of a lot of oil barrels in this 
warehouse. The next day he with other home- 
less newcomers was invited to come to a Swed- 
ish Mission immigrant house on the North Side. 
He spent a couple of weeks here, when an old 
school mate from Trondhjem found him and 
helped him to secure quarters at a boardinghousc. 
Counting his cash aft'er his arrival in Chicago, he 



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES AND PORTRAITS 



289 



found it to be 50 cents in U. S. currency, not 
much to buy luxuries with. He soon found work 
at Irs trade as cabinetmaker, but unfortunately 
took sick and was sent to the Cook County Hos- 
pital at Eighteenth and Clark streets, where he 
remained for seven weeks, before being able to 
return to his work. 

November 4, 1869, his future wife, Miss Emer- 
entia Ohlin, came to the United States from 0re- 
bro, Sweden, and Mr. Christiansen went with his 
father to the railroad station to meet her. The 
next day Mr. Christiansen and Miss Ohlin had 
made up their minds to "sail their ship together" 




W. F. Christiansen. 



and six months later, on May 1, 1870, they were 
married. They have been blessed with nine chil- 
dren: five daughters and four sons. One of the 
girls died when six months old and another when 
eight years old. Two are married: Gurley to 
state's attorney E. R. Singler of Grafton, N. D., 
and Leontine to Rev. T. S. Kolste, Howard, S. D. 
The youngest, Ida, is still at home. Three of the 
boys are confirmed and ready to leave the nest 
to take up the battle of life. The youngest, 14 
years old, is still attending school. 



The family attends the Norwegian Bethlehem 
Lutheran Church of Chicago. Mr. Christiansen 
has taken an active part in organizing the Nor- 
wegian Old People's Home and served as a mem- 
ber of the board of directors for a number of 
years. He is also a member of the Deaconess 
Home and Hospital Society in which he also has 
served on the board of directors for a number of 
years. He is also a member of the Children's 
Home Society. He has been a member of the 
Knights of Pythias and the Scandinavian Work- 
ing Men's Society. 

With their daughter, Ida, Mr. and Mrs. Chris- 
tiansen made a trip to Europe three years ago, 
visiting many of the different countries. Last 
year Mr. Christiansen visited Old Mexico accom- 
panied by his daughter Ida. She was seriously 
ill, when she left Chicago, but her seven months 
stay in Cuarnaraca in the beautiful semi-tropical 
climate did her so much good that she came back 
perfectly restored to health. The family resides 
at 1630 West Byron street, Chicago. 




H. S. Christiansen. 



290 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



HALFDAN SCHUEBELER CHRISTIANSEN 

Was born at Fredrikstad, Norway, June 2, 1883, 
his parents being Bernhard and Louise Schiibeler 
Christianson. He attended the public schools 
at Fredriksta3 and afterward graduated from the 
technical college at Porsgrund as mechanical and 
electrical engineer. Was engaged as assistant to 
the chief engineer of Fredrikstad for a year and 
a half. He then came to America where he se- 
cured employment with the Western Electric 
Company of Chicago as draftsman, and he is 
still employed there. 



ELIAS S. CHRISTOPHERSEN, 

Of Rockford, 111., was born at Furrevik, in the 
parish of Sulen, Nordre Bergenhus amt, Nor- 
way. His parents were Christopher R. and An- 
na Furrevik, farmers. 




E. S. Christophersen. 



At the age of 17 our subject went to Bergen 
and learned the trade of a tailor. In 1880 he 



went to Throndhjem and worked at his trade 
there for a year and a half. 

In September, 1881, he came to America and' 
stopped in Chicago. In March, 1882, he went 
to Whitewater, Wis., where he worked at his 
trade for over four years. In 1886 he moved 
to Rockford, where he has resided since. In 
March, 1896, he was appointed general organizer 
for the Journeymen Tailors' Union of America, 
and has served in that capacity for four years 
and three months. He was the first general or- 
ganizer appointed by that organization, has 
served long and traveled extensively. He has 
been in every state, province and city on the 
North American continent. In September, 1900, 
he engaged in fire insurance, and has established 
a very profitable business. He owns his own 
home, is a member of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church, Masonic lodge, and the Modern Wood- 
men of America. 

He keeps in touch with current events among 
the Norwegians in this country and his native 
land, being a regular reader of several Scandi- 
navian publications. His hospitable home is al- 
ways open to his countrymen. Our subject is a 
typical Norwegian, broad shouldered, weighs 
230 pounds, and feels best at home when sur- 
rounded by the sons and daughters from the 
Land of the Midnight Sun. Mr. Christophersen 
is also a good singer, having sung on several oc- 
casions in public. 

On Feb. 23, 1882, he was married to Anna R. 
Anderson, born at Ibestad, Tromsjzi stift, Nor- 
way. They have no children but an adopted son 
Fred. 



MARTIN H. CHRISTOPHERSON, 

The general superintendent in Chicago of the 
Otis Elevator Company of New York, was born 
in Horten, Norway, June 6, 1866. He came to 
Chicago with his parents June 6, 1870. His par- 
ents, Johan and Martha Christopherson, are at 
rest in the family lot in Mount Olive Cemetery. 
Martin was apprenticed with Crane Bros. Manu- 
facturing Company for four years to learn the 
trade of a machinist. After having learned his 
trade he remained with the Crane Elevator Com- 
pany as foreman of construction from 1885 un- 
til 1890. He was with the Standard Elevator Co. 
in the same capacity from 1891 to 1896, and again 



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES AND PORTRAITS 



291 



with Crane & Co. as superintendent of construc- 
tion from 1896 to 1898, and held the same posi- 
tion with the Otis Elevator Company from 1898 
to 1902, when he was made general superintendent 
of manufacturing and construction. 

In 1889 lie married Miss Ida Hanson. They 
have four children Grace, Marvin, Robert and 




M. H. Christopherson. 



Harald. Mr. Christopherson is a member of the 
Oriental Consistory, a Shriner, a director of 
the Norwegian Old People's Home Society and 
a member of the Irving Park Country Club. 
The family resides at 1101 Warwick avenue. 



of janitshar and musical sergeant. In this cap- 
acity he served during many years, until the 2nd 
Brigade in the sixties was separated from the 
"Jaegerkorps." He remained with the latter as 
"Korpshornblseser" and instructor of music and 
singing from 1867 to 1870. That Mr.. Colberg filled 
his position to the satisfaction of his superior regi- 
mental officers can be ascertained from a testi- 
monial issued in his favor by General N. Hoff, 
whose command included the "Jxgerkorps." 
Among other things the general writes, that Mr. 
Colberg had proved himself a reliable, punctual 
and energetic officer who had spared no effort in 

order to drill his band. "In appointing Mr. Col- 

l 




J. W. Colberg. 



JOHAN WILHELM COLBERG, 

The oldest and best known musical director of 
Norwegian birth in the United States, was born 
at Christiania, Norway, Sept. 27, 1837. At the 
age of 15 he joined the band of the 2nd Akers- 
hus Brigade as apprentice. Here he progressed 
rapidly and was soon promoted to the position 



berg we certainly harbored great expectations 
and it is with the greatest pleasure I attest that 
we were not disappointed. Without compensa- 
tion and with very limited resources he has 
drilled the music band of the "Jsegerkorps" to a 
high degree of proficiency." 

Mr. Colberg did not limit his activities to mili- 
tary music alone. He was also the originator and 
organizer of the Sagenes Singing and Music So- 
ciety and at times he was a member of the or- 
chestra of the Norwegian National Theater. This 
theater having been consolidated with the Chris- 



292 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



tiania Theater Mr. Colberg became a member of 
the Christiania Brass-Sextette. 

In 1870 Mr. Colberg came to America. He 
settled in Illinois, where he was appointed leader 
of the Champaign and Urbarra bands. His abil- 
ity soon became known and recognized and he 
was appointed instructor and teacher of music at 
the Illinois Industrial University, choirleader at 
the Universalist Church in Urbana, and he or- 
ganized and instructed music bands at Toledo, 
To'ciio, Philo, Mansfield and Yankee Reeds. 

On account of unfavorable climatic conditions 
Mr. Colberg came to Chicago in 1872 whre he 
immediately* was chosen leader for the Norweg- 
ian Music Corps. Two years later he received 
and accepted a call as instructor for "Nordmaen- 
denes Sangforening", which position he filled with 
great proficiency during 25 years, or from 1874 
to 1899. This fact tells better than words of 
Prof. Colberg's rare ability, popularity and devo- 
tion to duty. With "Nordmaindenes Sangforening" 
he participated in the first Scandinavian singing 
festival at Philadelphia, in 1887. Here he was 
elected Director in chief and President for the 
"United Scandinavian Singers of America," and 
he acted in this double capacity at the singing 
festival of that society in Chicago in 1889. He 
also participated with his Chicago singers in the 
3rd singing festival of the U. Sc. S. of A. at Min- 
neapolis in the summer of 1891. At that occasion 
Prof. Colberg was again honored by being 
elected director-in-chief. There were many com- 
petitors for the honor, but Colberg was the can- 
didate of the instructors present and was elected 
by a considerable majority. He was also direct- 
or-in-chief at the great Scandinavian singing 
festival which was held in Chicago during the 
World's Fair, 1893. At that occasion he con- 
ducted a combined chorus of 1,000 singers, who 
in connection with the Thomas orchestra among 
other works executed "Landkjending" and."Vol- 
rnerslaget." At the close of the festival Prof. 
Colberg was unanimously elected sole honorary 
member of the United Scandinavian Singers of 
America. 

His great success as instructor and leader has 
to a certain extent been due to the unruffled state 
of mind and cock-sureness which are character- 
istic for his leadership. Among his singers and 
musicians he has always been a good, jovial 
friend and comrade. 

When the Norwegian student singers visited 
America in 1905 and were given a banquet at the 
Sherman House, Chicago, two great veteran sing- 
ing leaders were simultaneously honored. One 



of them was Prof. O. A. Gr0ndahl, leader of the 
student chorus; the other was the subject of this 
sketch, Prof. J. W. Colberg. 



HANS LAURITZ DAHL 

Was born at Enga, in the parish of Mel0, Nor- 
.way, Aug. 7, 1841, his parents being George 
Fredrik and Ingeborg Maria (born Klabo) Dahl. 
His boyhood was passed in the country, but in 
the fall of 1858 he went to Tromsjzi to learn the 
trade of a tailor. Mr. Dahl came to Chicago in 




H. L. Dahl. 



1864 and immediately found work at his trade, 
continuing until August, 1870, when he engaged 
in the business for himself, at 202 S. Clark street. 
Here he was burned out in the great fire of 1871. 
He has had several locations since and is now at 
140 Dearborn street. He was president for two 
terms of the Chicago Drapers' and Tailors' Ex- 
change, now extinct. 



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES AND PORTRAITS 



293 



He married Louisa Anderson Kierland, Nov. 6, 
1873. They have four children Ella, Ida Ma- 
rie, Florence Adele and Harold Louis. Ella 
Dahl Rich, accomplished pianist, having studied 
with the best masters in this city and abroad, 
has attained a high reputation as an artist. She 
married, in 1899, Herbert G. Rich, publisher of 
the Western Brewer. Florence Adele married, 
in 1897. William Bradly Walrath, an attorney in 
this city. Harold Louis, the youngest, is at pres- 
ent a student at .Cornell University. Mr. Dahl 
and his family reside at 634 La Salle avenue. 
They attend an independent religious society. 



9JJJ9 



not at school up to this time. After leaving 
school he taught for two years in Norway be- 
fore .coming to America in 1882. Upon his ar- 
rival in this country he went direct to Paxton, 
Ford county, 111., but located later at Elliott, in 
the same county. He taught the Norwegian 
Lutheran Church school for the Pontoppidan 
congregation at Elliott from his arrival in this 
country until 1903, since which time he has been 
in the general merchandise business at Elliott. 

On Jan. 26, 1903, he was married to Miss Mary 
A. Bergeson,d aughter of Ole and Rachel (born 
Uhr) Bergcson. He has been secretary of the 
Pontoppidan Lutheran Church for many years. 
He is also a life-member of the Deaconess Hos- 
pital of Chicago. 



PETER K. DAHL, 

Of Elliott, 111., was born in Fister sogn, Hjelme- 
land prestegjeld, Norway, Jan. 6, 1861. His par- 




P. K. Dahl. 



ents were Kleng Peterson ?.nd Anna G. (born 
Knudsvig) Dale, farmers in Norway. Our subject 
graduated from Koppervig teachers' school in 
1880, having worked upon his father's farm when 



OSCAR DANIELS, 

President and treasurer of the Oscar Daniels 
Company, of New York, was born in Christiania, 




Oscar Daniels. 

Norway, Sept. 5, 1869. His parents died before 
Oscar was 14 years old, and at this age he left 



294 



A HISTORY OF THE NORWEGIANS OF ILLINOIS 



Norway as a sailor before the mast. In this way 
he visited nearly every country in the world, and 
from his observation he decided to locate perm- 
anently in the United States. He came to Chi- 
cago in 1890 and has since made this his home. 
He organized and incorporated the Oscar Dan- 
iels Company tinder the laws of New York, for 
the purpose of erecting steel buildings and 
bridges, retaining a majority of the stock in his 
own name. Associated with him in this com- 
pany are Albert E. Dennis, vice-president and 
secretary, and Charles L. Ostenfeldt, C. E., chief 
y engineer. Chicago, with offices at 531-35 Unity 
Building, is their headquarters, with branch of- 
fices at 38 Park row, New York, and 1102 James 
Flood Building, San Francisco, Cal. The Com- 
pany has had great success and is now doing a 
business second to none in this country. They 
have erected a great many of the finest and most 
substantial steel buildings in every large city in 
the United States, and these now stand as endur- 
ing monuments to the skill and ability of the 
management. 

Mr. Daniels is a 32-degree Mason, a Mystic 
Shriner, and a life-member of the Columbia 
Yacht Club of Chicago, of which he served one 
year as commodore. He is also a member of the 
Chicago Athletic Association and the Royal 
League. He travels a great deal, and gives per- 
sonal attention to the business of his three widely 
separated offices. 



In 1885 he was married to Miss Anna Olsen, 
of Odalen, near Christiania, Norway, with whom 
he has had six children: Carl, Christian, Albert, 



CHRISTIAN DANIELSEN 

Was born in Bergen, Norway, Nov. 27, 1862. 
His father is Carl Danielsen, a merchant at Ber- 
gen, and his mother Sibertine Methlie. Both are 
still living. Mr. Danielsen learned his trade 
with Iver Iversen, of Bergen, receiving his di- 
ploma as a master watchmaker at the age of 19, 
in 1881. After that he worked for the same firm 
about one and a half years, whereupon he con- 
cluded to migrate to America, where he arrived 
in 1883, in Chicago. There he worked for John 
Levin, Chicago avenue, two years. Then he went 
to Elgin, 111., and worked for Rovelstad Bros, 
about five years. Later worked at the Elgin 
watch factory a sho