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Full text of "The Kensington rune stone"

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THE KENSINGTON RUNE STONE. 



Preliminary Report to the 
Minnesota Historical Society by its Musuem Committee. 




Published by the Society 



THE VOLKSZEITUNG COMPANY, 
ST. PAUL, MINN. 
DBCEMBEB, 1910. 



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THE KENSINGTON RUNE STONE. 



Preliminary Report to the 

Minnesota Historical Society by its Musue.m Committee. 
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Published by the Society 



the volkszeitung company, 
st. paul, minn. 
december, 1910. 






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CONTENTS 



The Discovery 1 

The Inscription 6 

References to the Topography of the Region 7 

Where was Vinland 1 10 

Tlie Slight Weathering of the Rune Stone 13 

^Discussion of the Authenticity of the Rune Record 17 

Other Rumors Concerning Mr. Ohman 20 

The Tree That Grew on the Rune Stone 25 

Review of the Finding of the Rune Stone 26 

Notes on the Record (jiven by the Inscription. . . .■ 20 

Linguistic Objections 84 

Collateral Evidence 47 

Resolutions Adopted by the .Museum Committee 47 

APPENDIX. 

Professor Flom 's Investigation 50 

Pronunciation and Spelling 50 

Inflexions 51 

Meaning of Certain Words 51 

The Runes 52 

Discussion of these Objections 52 

Investigation of the Rumor Relating to Sven Fogelblad. . 57 

Bibliography 61 



ILLUSTRATIONS. 



Plate I. The Kensington Rune Stone, Edge View and Face 
View. 
II. Map of the Vicinity of Kensington and Pelican Lake, 
and of the Farm where the Rune Stone was 
found. 
III. Sections of Poplar Trees, Showing the Estimated Size 
and Age of the Tree Growing Above the Rune 
Stone. 
IV. Sections of Pojilar Trees of a Stunted Growth, Sim- 
ilar to the Tree (Growing Above the Rune Stone. 
V. Smith's Chart of the Northmen's Routes. 



Minnesota Historical Society. 



Plate Ii. 




LARGEd 



HxPLANAfTION. 

A- A -. Ice -formed Boulder Bench 
B-B. Ancient Boulder BeacA 

C. Lagoon. 

D. Sand Spit. 




Olof Ohmmi's Farm (38 Acres) 



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MAP OF THE VICINITY OF KENSINGTON AND PELICAN LAKE. AND 
OF THE FARM WHERE THE RUNE STONE WAS FOUND. 



THE KENSINGTON RUNE STONE. 



Preliminary Report to the Minnesota Historical Society 
by its iniusedm committee. 



As the jMuseuni Committee is charged with the responsi- 
bility of making a recommendation to the Society respecting 
the authenticity or the fraudulent origin of the Kensington 
Rune Stone and its inscription, it is thought best to review 
somewhat carefully the facts as to the discovery of the stone. 
For this purpose the results of the three visits made to that 
locality by Prof. N. H. Winchell, investigating the subject for 
this Committee, will here be cast into one statement. 

The Discovery. 

The stone was found on the farm of Mr. Olof Ohman on 
the southeast quarter of section 14, Solem township, Douglas 
county, about three miles northeast from Kensington station on 
the ' ■ Soo Line, ' ' on November 8, 1898. The owner of the farm 
was having a j:)atch of land cleared of timber preparatory to 
plowing, and his men were grubbing out the stumps. There 
were present at the finding, or immediately thereafter, the fol- 
lowing persons : t)lof Ohman, his sons, Olof Emil Ohman, 12 
years of age, and Edward Ohman, 10 years of age, and Nils 
^lof Flaaten, owner of the adjoining farm. 

The exact location was on the southern slope of one of two 
knolls which together form the higher part of what has been 
called an ' ' island, ' ' because formerly surrounded by a lake and 
now surrounded by a grassy marsh. These knolls have an 
extreme height, above the surface of the marsh, of fifty-five 
feet, the smaller knoll rising about fifty feet. The stone lay 
forty four feet above the marsh. (See the map, Plate II.) 

When the stone was found, its inscribed side was down, and 
about six inches of soil covered it. A poplar or aspen tree 



2 MINNESOTA HISTORICAL SOCIETY COLLECTIONS. 

grew above it, and spread its principal roots about it, running 
into the ground on opposite sides. On being cut away the 
stump carrying the roots lay adjacent for some weeks and was 
seen and noted by several visitors. Estimates as to the size 
and I'ge of the tree vary somewhat, some stating that it was at 
least ten years old and others that it was from twenty to thirty 
years old, and one estimating it as probably forty years old. 
According to Mr. Sam Olson, of Kensington, this tree was about 
four or five inches in diameter at about fifteen inches above the 
stone, and about ten inches in diameter at six or eight inches 
above the stone. The roots of the tree, especially the largest 
one which spread over the surface of the stone, were flattened 
by contact with the stone during the period of their growth. 
The flattening of the roots is an important feature, as it denotes 
that the tree had been in contact with the stone during the 
whole time of the life of the tree. 

In the spring subsequent to the finding of the stone Mr. 
Samuel Olson and a party visited the place and made some 
excavations where the stone was found, having the idea that 
the rnen who were massacred had been buried there, and that 
the s^one was designed to mark their burial place. He saw,, 
and i'll his party saw, the stump of the tree that grew on the 
stone. The members of this party, besides Mr. Olson, were the 
following: Cleve Van Dyke, executive clerk to the late Gov- 
ernor Johnson, then superintendent of schools of Douglas 
county; J. P. Hedberg, now at AVarroad; John M. Olson, who 
furnished a team, now at Alexandria; Albert Larson, now in 
Canada ; John E. Johnson, of Kensington ; Emil Johnson, now 
at Warroad; Gulick Landsvark, living two miles east of Ken-* 
sington ; and Lars Goldberg, now at Bowbells, N. D. 

Mr. Samuel Olson and Mr. John E. Johnson signed a joint 
statement that the tree must have been at least ten years 
old, and more likely twenty or thirty years old. The rest of 
the partj'^ have not been consulted,^* but Mr. Joseph Hotvedt 



*Letters were written later to each of those named. Answers were 
received from several of the party, all of them confirming the descrip- 
tion of Mr. Olson. Letters to others were not answered, or were re- 
turned unopened. 



THE KENSINGTON RUNE STONE. 3 

stated that he saAV the roots and verified the description of their 
flatness, "such as would be caused by lying against a stone." 

Mr. Olson made a draAving to show the appearance of this 
stump when in contact with the stone. He thinks the largest 
root ran over and across the stone, but Mr. Olof Ohman was 
positive that the largest root ran down into the ground at the 
edge of the stone, and that a smaller root ran across the upper 
face of the stone. This smaller root he thought was about 
three inches in diameter. 

For the purpose of ocular illustration ]\Ir. Holand later 
procured on the spot from Mr. Ohman four sections cut across 
some poplar trees growing on Mr. Ohman 's farm, viz., sections 
shown in Plates III and IV, marked a, h, <■, <1. The certificates 
of Olof Ohman and of his son Edward, as well as of Mr. Samuel 
Olson, are given also. The annual rings of growth on tht^se 
sections can be counted as follows : On a, 37 annual rings ; 
on 6, 42 annual rings; on e, 38 annual rings; on rf, 31 annual 
rings. From three to five years should be added for the de- 
cayed centers. 

A'jcording to JMr. Ohman the tree had the appearance and 
rougli bark of a stunted growth, illustrated by sections c and d, 
on Avhich are about as many growth rings as on the larger sec- 
tions a and 6. If these sections a and h fairly represent the size 
of the tree, and if it still had an annual growth illustrated by 
c and d, which certainly were from stunted trees, the age of 
the tree was probably nearer fift.y years than ten years. 

Statement of Olof Ohman. 
[Translation.] 

Kensington, Minn., July 16, 1910. 
The sections a, b, c, d, were all cut on my property in the vicinity 
of where the rune stone was found, under the same timber conditions. 
The section a is of the same size as the tree which grew over the 
stone; but both a and b are from much more luxuriant trees than that 
which stood over the stone. Sections c and d are from a tree which in 
its growth is more comparable with the rune stone tree, but are about 
three inches less in diameter than that. 

Olof Ohman. 



4 MINNESOTA HISTORICAL c50CIETY COLLECTIONS. 

Statement of Edivard Ohnian. 

July 16, 1910. 

The section marked a is of exactly the same size, as far as I can 
remem^er, as the tree under which the rune stone was found. 

Edward Ohman. 

Statement of Sam,uel Olson. 

Kensington, Minn., July 18, 1910. 

Having seen the four sections cut by Olof Ohman to show the 
size of the tree under which the rune stone was found, my impression 
is that the rune stone tree at its base was a little longer in its oval 
diameter than section b, and that it tapered so as to have about 18 
inches above the base a diameter a little larger than section c. 

S. Olson. 

It should be stated here that Professor Flom's account of 
his interview with Mr. Olson carries a misapprehension of what 
.•ir. Olson said as to the size of the tree. ]\fr. Olson says that 
he said that the tree tapered so that at 15 or 18 inches above 
the stone it was about four or five inches in diameter. 

The topography of Mr. Oilman's farm and the adjoining 
country is inorainic, the elevations rising sometimes somewhat 
abruptly to the height of fifty or seventy-five feet, or even a 
hundred feet, above the adjoining lowlands. The material of 
the drift is clay of a limonitic yellow color, but at a depth of 
fifteen to twenty feet this clay is blue. There are very few 
boulders in the clay, yet on the tops of some of the drift hills 
granitic and other boulders are numerous, and sometimes they 
are found in numbers near the bases of the hills and in the 
swamps. They are sometimes large and conspicuous, and fre- 
quently have been gathered into heaps in the fields. About 
seventy-five in a hundred of the boulders are of granite ; about 
five in a hundred are of limestone ; about five in a hundred 
are of gabbro or of gabbroid rocks; five in a hundred are of 
Keewatin greenstone, including Ogishke conglomerate ; about 
five in a hundred are of dark nondescript rock, sometimes 
quartzose ; and the other five in a hundred may be compared 
with the rock of the rune stone, being some of the various 
forms of graywacke. 



II. 



Minnesota Historical Society. 



SECTIONS OF POPLAR TREES, SHOWING THE EST 

SECTION A. 



Plate III. 






5IZE AND AGE OF THE TREE GROWING ABOVE THE RUNE STONE. 
SECTION B. 



THE KENSINGTON RUNE STONE. 5 

The extreme length of the Kiine Stone is 36 inches, the 
width across the face 15 inches, the thickness 5V2 inches, and 
its weight is about 230 pounds. It is of graywacke, but its 
sha|»e and dark color suggest that it is trap. Its flat surfaces 
and angular jointage are due apparently to long continued 
heating and slow cooling in contact, or near contact, with 
igneous rocks. On its inscribed face is a layer of calcite cov- 
ering a part of the area in which the inscription was engraved. 
This calcite was deposited in a jointage-opening, probably 
when the rock was in its native place ; and it has been revealed 
by the removal of an adjoining parallel mass, the joint plane 
itself causing the even face on which the engraving was made. 
The reverse of the inscribed side is not so regular and has evi- 
dently been through the rough experiences of glacial action, 
since it bears a number of distinct glacial striae. 

The men who found the stone are plain and simple farmers, 
working hard to derive a subsistence for themselves and fam- 
ilies from their land. The honesty and candor of Mr. Olof 
Ohman become evident to anyone who converses with him.* 
He does not speak English readily, but seems to understand 
English when he hears it spoken in common conversation. He 
states that his education comprised six terms of school in 
Sweden, of six weeks each, in an elementary country school, 
where the children gathered for instruction, first at one farm 
house for a week and then at another, six weeks in all mak- 
ing one term. I was told that Mr. Ohman came to his farm in 
1890, and on consulting the register of deeds at Alexandria I 
found lands deeded at four different dates, now constituting 
the Ohman farm, from 1890 to 1898, from Halvor Stenson, Ole 
Amundson, and E. J. Moen. , 

After finding the stone, it was exhibited for a time in the 
drug store at Kensington. It was later sent to IMinneapolis 
and was examined by Prof. 0. J. Breda, also to Evanston, 111., 
and was examined by Prof. George 0. Curme. As they pro- 
nounced it fraudulent, it was returned to the finder in March, 



*Not one of all who have interviewed Mr. Ohman, whether believers 
or non-believers in the authenticity of the inscription, has seen any 
reason to question his veracity. 



b MINNESOTA HISTORICAL SOCIETY COLLECTIONS. 

1899, who placed it carelessly in his yard, where it served as 
a stepping stone near his granary for eight years, without fur- 
ther notice. In 1907 Mr. Hjalmar Rued Holand obtained it of 
Mr. Ohman, and has brought it again to notice and wider 
study. By Mr. Holand it was brought to the attention of the 
Minnesota Historical Society; and the Museum Committee was 
directed to investigate its authentic or fraudulent record, and 
to report their recommendation to the Executive Council. Mr. 
Holand has since exhibited it in Chicago, 111., Madison, "Wis., 
and Northfield, Minn., giving in each place a lecture. This 
has brought out various criticisms, pro and con, and the bur- 
den resting on the committee has considerably increased. 

The members of this committee appreciate the great im- 
portance of the question which is in their hands, and they 
know, collectively and individually, that it is due to American 
history, before they stamp the stone with their approval or 
their rejection, to make an exhaustive investigation and an 
impartial discussion of all the circumstances. 

The Inscription. 
The runic inscription, shoAvn by Plate I, has been translated 
as below and published by Mr. Holand in Harper's Weekly, 
October 9, 1909. 

On the face of the stone : 

8 goter ok 22 norrmen po opdhagelse fardh fro Vinland of 
vest vi hadhe laeger vedh 2 skjar en dags rise norr fro dheno 
sten vi var ok fiske en dhagh aeptir vi kom hem fan 10 man 
rodhe af blodh og dhedh A V M fraelse af illy 

On the edge of the stone : 

har 10 mans ve(d) ha vet at se aeptir vore skip 14 [ ?] dhagh 
rise from dheno oh ahr 1362 

No one has called in question the correctness of this trans- 
lation. In explanation of the transliteration j\Ir. Holand 
writes: "The runic alphabet had only one character, \>, to 
indicate three, or what became three, different sounds, th, dh, 
and d. Out of 2,000 runic inscriptions we find only about a 
half dozen having a separate sign, t, for d. This character, 
\>, was later supplemented by 6, which was used medially and 



THE KENSINGTON RUNE STONE. 7 

finally. This however was used only in the literature written 
in Roman characters, and was never used in runic inscriptions. 
In most cases this \> has now been superseded by d, but 
there is reason to believe that in the fourteenth century it had 
a soft sound. I have therefore translated it with dJi." 

The English translation is as follows: 

''Eight Goths [Swedes] and twenty-two Norwegians upon 
a journey of discovery from Vinland westward. We had a 
camp by two skerries one day's journey north from this stone. 
We were out fishing one day. When we returned home we 
found ten men red with blood and dead. A V M [Ave, Virgo 
Maria], save us from evil. 

[We] have ten men by the sea to look after our vessel four- 
teen [or forty-one?] days' journey from this island. Year 
1362.'' 

REFERENCES TO THE TOPOGRAPHY OF THE REGION. 

There are two or three references to natural objects to 
which we should give special attention: 

(a) Their camp was near two rocks in the water (skerries), 
one day 's journey north from the stone ; 

(b) The location of the stone was on an island; 

(e) The sea was fourteen days' journey from the stone 
(doubtfully forty-one). 

(a) Professor Fossum and Mr. Holand searched about lake 
Christina, Pelican lake, and other lakes, lying about one day's 
journey (twenty miles) toward the north. The former found 
no rocks about the shores which could be accepted as the rocks 
mentioned in the inscription. Mr. Holand, guided by Rev. O. 
A. Norman of Ashby, found several large boulders standing 
in the water about 300 or 400 feet from a sharp point on the 
southwest shore of Pelican lake, which seemed to him to an- 
swer the description. There are twelve or thirteen of them 
and hence they are too numerous, and for the purpose of locat- 
ing a camping-place they would hardly be referred to, and 
certainly would not be at all in accord with the number "two." 
Mr. Norman remarked, on occasion of a late interview, that 
the term "skerry" is applicable to one rock or a series of rocks, 
and that there are two lines or series of boulders which run 



8 MINNESOTA HISTORICAL SOCIETY COLLECTIONS. 

not exactly parallel, and that those lines might be called the 
skerries referred to in the inscription ; but such lines are not 
distinguishable from the land. 

There are, however, on the point itself, at the water's edge 
and at the extremity of the point, two enormous boulders. One 
is of red porphyritic granite, cut by a coarser red dike, three 
inches wide, with dimensions of 6 feet by 4 feet by 3V2 feet, 
with rounded contours. The other is of gray gneiss, banded 
with light reddish laminae, 6 feet by 4^/^ feet by 4 feet, irreg- 
ularly and bluntly angular, showing some brecciation and a 
pegmatyte vein about an inch wide. These boulders are in the 
most exposed position, and are very conspicuous objects to 
anyone standing on the land a few rods farther back. Some 
small boulders and sand form the immediate breakwater of 
the beach, and also compose the point itself for some distance 
inland from the boulders. 

This part of the point is liable to destruction by ice and by 
waves and winds of every season. That it is transitory is 
proved by the fact that the roots of a small oak are uncovered 
to the height of fourteen inches above the present surface, and 
this oak must have started to grow when the surface on which 
it sprouted was so much higher than now. Under such condi- 
tions, at times when the adjoining beach may have been 
washed away, the large boulders would be surrounded by 
water. It is also very certain that 548 years ago the lake level 
was somewhat higher than it is now, and that circumstance 
alone, without the removal of the stones and sand lying now 
about the big boulders, would have brought these stones into 
the water, and would give them exactly the characters required 
to compl}^ with the inscription. The present beach line is 
parallelled, on either side of the point, by a higher beach com- 
posed of boulders, gravel, and sand, which could have been 
formed only when the lake was about two feet higher than 
now. This upper l)each fades away into the mainland of the 
point, but betAveen its arms embraces a small lagoon. If the 
explorers' camp was on this point, near its extremity, the two 
big boulders would be chosen very naturally as reference 
points in the inscription. 



Minnesota Historical Society. 




SECTIONS OF POPLAR TREES 01 
THE TREE GROWING > 
SECTION C. 



Plate IV. 




JNTED GROWTH, SIMILAR TO 
THE RUNE STONE. 

SECTION D. 



THE KENSINGTON RUNE STONE.. \) 

(b) The stone is said to have been located on an island, 
but when found it was not on an island. It was on a morainic 
hill which is now surrounded by a grassy marsh, and which 
may have been an island in a small lake prior to the desicca- 
tion of the country which has converted many lakes into 
marshes and many marshes into meadows. This gradual dry- 
ing up of the country is a well-known feature throughout 
the western part of the state. It has been known and many 
times noted during the last fifty years throughout the North- 
west. If the stone be genuine, therefore, the present disagree- 
ment with the facts, as with the skerries, is due to physical 
change in the surface of the country. 

(c) The stone was fourteen days' journey from the sea. 
At no place could the sea be reached in that space of time, 
with their means of travel, other than Hudson bay. There 
is some doubt whether this figure should be 14 or 41, and if 
it be 41 it would allow the supposition that the party pene- 
trated the country by way of the Great Lakes. There are, 
however, insuperable objections to such an idea. It is a very 
improbable suggestion that from any place which may have 
had the name of Vinland a party would penetrate North 
America by that route, by sail and by foot, to encounter the 
natives in a tragic death only in western ]\Iinnesota. That 
suggestion need not be further considered; and the more so, 
since the route of possible travel, or at least most probable, as 
shown by the accompanying map (Plate V) of the regions 
north to Hudson bay and of the proximity of Minnesota 
through a well known water route, would have been from 
Vinland to Hudson bay, and to lake Winnipeg via Nelson 
river, and thence up the Eed river of the North. This map 
is based on the chart of J. T. Smith, published in 1839 at Lon- 
don, in a work entitled "The Discovery of America by the 
Northmen in the Tenth Century." By this map it appears 
that the entrance to Hudson bay is directly west from West- 
bygd and Eastbygd, the chief settlements of Greenland, and 
could hardly fail of being well known. It is the route which 
the ships of the Hudson Bay Company followed for about 



10 MINNESOTA HISTORICAL SOCIETY COLLECTIONS. 

three hundred years in reaching the region of furs tributary 
to Hudson bay. 

WHERE WAS VINLAND? 

It will be noted that, according to Smith's map, Vinland 
was eastern Massachusetts; and it is customary, in writings 
dealing with the Northmen's discoveries, to mention three 
parts of the coast of North America, namely, Helluland, Mark- 
land, and Vinland, the last being farthest south. But that 
there was confusion in the application of these geographic 
terms there seems no room to c[uestion. It seems to be a mere 
assumption that Helluland was north of Markland, for it is 
sometimes said to be northeast of Greenland, and even to be 
duplicated, one to the northeast and one to the southwest, 
while Rafn has placed one at Labrador and one at Newfound- 
land. This last made it reasonable to place Vinland much 
further south (Nova Scotia). 

That Vinland was not exclusively Nova Scotia, but still less 
exclusively Massachusetts, is evident from Joseph Fischer's 
work, ''The Discoveries of the Norsemen in America" (St. 
Louis, 1903), at page 8, wiien, in quoting from Adam of Bre- 
men's oldest work, Fischer states that the objections to Adam's 
tales consisted mainly in a statement like the following: 

"After Wineland there is no habitable land in that ocean, but all 
that emerges is icebound and wrapped in impenetrable mist." 

Adam was the earliest, according to Fischer, who called 
attention to the arctic and North American discoveries of the 
Northmen, having written in A. D. 1067. Perhaps the objec- 
tion to Adam's account of Vinland was based by Fischer on 
an idea of Vinland which grew up afterward without suffi- 
cient warrant, and it is necessary to inquire to what land 
Adam's original description was intended to be applied. It 
could not apply to the region south of Labrador, but it is ap- 
plicable to the country north and west, i. e., adjoining Hudson 
strait and extending into Hudson bay ; and it seems to indicate 
that from the first the Northmen knew something of the rug- 
gedness and inhospitable nature of at least the northern part 
of Hudson bay. It is perhaps reasonable to presume that at the 



THE KENSINGTON RUNE STONE. 11 

first the term Vinland was applied to the whole known coast 
of North America, and that it was only at a later epoch that 
it was localized and restricted to Nova Scotia or to Massachu- 
setts. But that would discredit the story of the discovery of 
grap(-'S by the enthusiastic German, unless it can be shown 
that grapes grew spontaneously as far north as Labrador. 

Note.— Since the foregoing was written, the important 
researches of Prof. M. L. Fernald on the "Plants of AVineland 
the Good" have been printed (Rhodora, February, 1910), which 
show conclusively that the "grapes" referred to by the trans- 
lators of the sagas, were not the fruit of the grape vine (Vitis), 
but some form of currant (Ribes), or the wine-berry of north- 
ern Europe (Vaccinium Vitis-Idaea), and that the last named 
species is common in northern Labrador. As the so-called 
"grai)es" were gathered so abundantly as to fill their after- 
boat in the spring of the year, it seems certain that the fruit 
so gathered was that which is now well known as wine-berry 
(Vaccinium Vitis-Idaea), which is so abundant in the spring 
as to constitute the food supply for birds when they return 
from the south. Professor Fernald also shows that the "self- 
planted wheat," mentioned as one of the products of Vinland, 
was the strand wheat (Elyraus arenarius), having a similar 
northern distribution. The tree which the Norsemen pro- 
cured in Vinland, as identified by Fernald, was not maple, but 
some form of curly birch, probably the canoe birch (Betula 
papyracea). These researches not only confirm the descrip- 
tion of Adam of Bremen, but render it probable that the people 
of Vinland were acquainted with more or less of Hudson bay. 
It is well known that students of Norse records have found 
difficulty in reconciling the statements respecting Vinland, not 
only as to the name of the discoverer, but as to the nature of 
the country and its products. It occurs to this Committee that 
possibly these discrepancies can be reconciled by the supposi- 
tion that two different eastward-facing coasts have been con- 
founded and considered as one. The earliest accounts are per- 
fectly applicable to the west coast of Hudson bay. The Flatey 
book states that in Vinland were glaciers, and these are well 
known about the northwestern confines of Hudson Bay, but are 



12 MINNESOTA HISTORICAL SOCIETY COLLECTIONS. 

not found in Nova Scotia nor in Massachusetts, and only 
scantily in Labrador. The description by Adam of Bremen, and 
the earlier dates given by the Flatey book, giving Bjarne as 
the discoverer of Vinland, seem to point to the west coast of 
Hudson ])ay. After the lapse of about fifteen years (985 to 
1000) Leif 's accidental voyage to Vinland took place, and there 
is reason to suppose that he and his successors visited points 
on the Atlantic side of North America, but supposed they had 
visited the country which had already been named Vinland. 
From his and Karlsefne's sagas, there rose the geographic dis- 
tinctions of Ilelluland, Markland, and Vinland, so much spoken 
of by all later accounts. The Committee has not taken the time 
necessary to verify or to disprove this hypothesis, and desires 
merely to call attention to it as a possible solution of contra- 
dictions that appear in the historic records, avoiding the neces- 
sity of rejecting either as untrustworthy. 

Dr. Henrik Nissen, of jMinneapolis, has called attention 
to "characters" described as engraved on the rocks of the 
shore of Hudson bay, not far from Fort George, and suggests 
that they may be runes made by the Norsemen. 

There certainly was no permanent colonization of Vinland, 
and according to Fischer all arguments hitherto brought for- 
ward to support the idea of colonization by the Norse have 
proved to be fallacious. The definite history of the vo.yages 
to Vinland ends at A. D. 1121, but there is sufficient account to 
show that until the year 1362 voyages from the Scandinavian 
settlements in Western Greenland were occasionally made to 
Vinland. The western settlement in Greenland was about that 
time attacked by Eskimo and destroyed, and probably within 
a half century later the eastern settlement suffered a similar 
stroke. The year A. D. 1406 is the last date given in the Ice- 
landic annals for the arrival of a foreign vessel in Greenland. 
A colony in Vinland, if it existed, therefore must have perished 
about the same time as the destruction of the Greenland colo- 
nies. In the absence of other evidence, the statement of the 
Kensington Kune Stone, that a party of thirty men started 
from Vinland on an exploring tour westward, may be under- 
stood to refer merely to a winter spent by the party in Vin- 



Minnesota Historical Society. 



60 



SO 



SMITHS CHART 

or THE 

NORTHMEN 5 ROUTES 

WITH REFERENCE TO THE LOCATION 

OP THE 

KENSINGTON RUNE STONE 



Track of Naddodd (eei) ==^ === 

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B torn Asbrandson(99S) ===== 

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Men of NordisetoL (/266) ^^== 
Adelbra-nd &Thorva.ld(i2dS)-^ — 







Pl.ATE V. 




THE KENSINGTON RUNE STONE. 13 

land, or even to a temporary landing there, rather than to any 
previouslv existing settlement or colony. 

According to Storm's "Studier over Vinlandsreiserne " 
(pages 76, 77), an expedition was sent by King Magnus from 
Bergen in 1355, under the command of Paul Knutson, into 
American waters, the purpose of which was to defend the 
Greenland settlements against the Eskimo. It has been sup- 
posed that this expedition, or a part of it, returned in 1364. 

THE SLIGHT WEATHERING OF THE RUNE STONE. 

It may be assumed that, if this stone was erected, as it 
claims, by explorers in 1362, it was set up on end, and that the 
lower 'end, where no runes are engraved, was buried m the 
ground. When it was found, according to the testimony of 
Mr Ohman, its inscribed face was downward. Now the lower 
end of the stone is not cut ofe squarely, l)ut is roughly beveled 
on one side. Gravitation alone acting on a beveled stone 
would cause the base to be diverted to one side, in the same 
manner as a single-beveled stake when driven into the ground. 
In settling into the ground, owing to the direction of the bevel, 
this stone naturally would fall with its face side upward. Its 
position therefore was determined by some other force than 
gravitation. Either it was purposely placed with the rune in- 
scription down, which is not reasonal)le to suppose, whatever 
its age, or it was acted on by some other force which caused it 
to fall over forward. We cannot of course state how many 
forests have grown and been thrown down by tornadoes within 
the 548 years through which it may have been in the spot; nor 
how many forest fires have devastated the region; nor how 
many buffaloes have rubbed against it; nor, finally, to what 
acts of violence the native Indians may have resorted to coun- 
teract its evil influences. Numerous works of the mound-build- 
ing Indians are known in the immediate neighborhood, and 
they certainly would have discovered the monument. If they 
participated in the massacre of the ten men at the camp, they 
would quite certainly look upon the stone as a retributive 
threatening reminder of their pale-face victims. 



14 MINNESOTA HISTORICAL SOCIETY COLLECTIONS. 

The interior of the stone is dark or dark gray. On close 
inspection it can be seen to contain many grains of quartz 
wliicii are roundish, showing a sedimentary detrital origin. In 
a thin-section, prepared for microscopic examination, it shows 
not only rounded quartz grains but also feldspar grains, and a 
fjner matrix consisting chiefly of quartz and biotite. The dark 
color of the stone is due to much biotite, mainly, but also to an 
isotropic green mineral (chlorite?), magnetite, and hematite. 
The cpiartz has become mainly re-formed by secondary growths. 
There is a crypto-gneissic elongation prevalent in the mica, 
and also to 'some extent in the larger quartzes. 

The weathered surface is somewhat lighter, and j^et it is firm 
and wholly intact. It is evident that the surface color has been 
acquired since the Glacial period, and therefore that some 7,000 
or 8,000 years may have elapsed since its face was first exposed 
to the elements. The reverse of the inscribed side is more 
altered by weathering and carries evident older glacial stria- 
tions. 

The first impression derived from the inscription is that it 
is of recent date, and not 548 years old. The edges and angles 
of the chiseling are sharp, and show no. apparent alteration by 
weathering. The powder of the stone when crushed is nearly 
white. None of this powder is preserved in the runes on the 
face of the stone, and it is necessary therefore to allow it some 
years of age, but it is quite impossible to draw a decisive infer- 
ence of the age of the inscription from that alone. The edge 
of the stone differs in this respect from the face, since most of 
the rune letters show the white powder formed by crushing 
the stone. This difference was said to be due to the fact that 
the runes on the edge had been filled with mud and had been 
cleaned out by scraping them wdth an iron nail. Indeed in the 
runes in some places on the edge can be seen with a pocket 
magnifier small quantities of fresh metallic iron evidently 
derived from that process. 

The freedom of the face of the stone from glacial marking 
is to be noted. It seems probable that the smooth jointage sur- 
face on which the inscription is made was of more recent date 
than 7,000 or 8,000 years. It is plain that the calcite deposit 



THE KENSINGTON RUNE STONE. 15 

that covers a part of it was formed in a joint-opening before 
the stone was separated from its neighbor, and that it has had 
approximately as long direct exposure to the elements as the 
rest of that surface. The well preserved condition of this cal- 
cite, as a whole, no less than the non-glaciation of the face of 
the stone, indicates a period of exposure less than 7,000 or 8,000 
years. Marble slabs in graveyards in New England are more 
deeply disintegrated than this calcite, when they stand above 
the surface of the ground. 

The immediate surface of the calcite, especially the edges 
formed by cutting the runes, is smoothed by a recent friction of 
some kind, much more than the surface of the graywacke ; and 
this IS attributable to wearing away when the stone served as 
a stepping-stone at the granary. 

If the engraved face of this stone was separated from its 
neighbor since the Glacial age, as seems certain, it must have 
been in some way protected from the action of the elements ; 
and consequently the calcite is comparable with the white, fine- 
grained limestone boulders and pebbles that are common in the 
body of the drift in that part of the state. Such boulders when 
freshly taken from the till in deep excavations are not rotted, 
but are fresh and firm and smooth as marbles, and show dis- 
tinctly the fine glacial scratches which they received during the 
Ice age, which ended about 7,000 or 8,000 years ago. AYhen, how- 
ever, they are found exposed at the surface of the ground, they 
have lost this smoothness and all the glacial marking, and their 
surfaces afford a fine white powder of natural disintegration. 
As there is nothing of this on this calcite (which is also the 
principal ingredient of the limestone boulders), it is evident 
that either the calcite has but recently been exposed or has 
been protected from the weather. If the slab was separated 
from its neighbor 548 years ago, it must have lain with its face 
side down during the most of that period, and if separated 
earlier it must have been covered by drift clay. If it was so 
separated fifteen or thirty years ago, it may have lain with its 
face side up and probably would show no more weathering than 
it now evinces. In short, there is no possible natural way to 
preserve that calcite scale from general disintegration for 548 



16 MINNESOTA HISTORICAL SOCIETY COLLECTIONS. 

years except to bury it beneath the surface. If it were not 
thus buried and still is intact, it must have been exposed and 
the inscription must have been made less than a hundred years 
ago, and probably less than thirty years ago. 

The general "mellow" color of the face of the graywacke, 
and of the whole surface of the stone, is also to be noted. This 
is the first apparent effect of weathering. GrayAvacke may be 
estimated to be fifty to a hundred times more durable in the 
weather than calcite, some graywackes being more resistant 
than others. 

There are six stages of the weathering of graywacke which 
are exhibited by the stone, and they may be arranged approxi- 
mately in a scale as follows : 

1. A fresh break or cut . . . - . 

2. Break or cut shoAvn by the runes of the face - 5 

3. Edge-face, which has not been engraved, but was 

apparently dressed by a rough bush-hammering 5 

4. The inscribed face of the stone ... 10 

5. The finely glaciated and polished ])ack side and 

the non-hammered portion of the edge - - SO 

6. The coarse gouging and the general beveling and 

deepest weathering of the back side - - 250 or 500 

These figures are but rough estimates and are intended to 
express the grand epochs of time through which the stone has 
passed since it started from the solid rock of which it formed 
a part prior to the Glacial period ; and to a certain degree they 
are subject to the errors of the personal equation of the person 
who gives them. Prof. AV. 0. Hotchkiss, state geologist of 
"Wisconsin, estimated that the time since the runes were in- 
scribed is "at least 50 to 100 years." If the figures in the fore- 
going series be all multiplied by 100, they would stand : 

. (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) 

000: 500: 500: 1,000: 8,000: 25,000 or 50,000 

Since 8,000 years is approximately the date of the end of the 
latest glaciation (5), the numbers may all be accepted as the 
approximate number of years required for the various stages 



THE KENSINGTON RUNE STONE. 17 

of weathering. Hence stages (2) and (3) may have required 
each about 500 years. 

The composition of the stone makes it one of the most dur- 
able in nature, equalling granite, and almost equalling the dense 
quartzyte of the pipestone quarry in the southwestern part of 
Minnesota. On the surface of this quartzyte, even where 
exposed to the weather since they were formed, the fine glacial 
scratches and polishing are well preserved, and Avhen covered 
by drift clay they seem not to have been changed at all. 

Discussion of the Authenticity of the Rune Record. 

Owing to the existence of the belief with some that the in- 
scription was made by Mr. Ohman, and the rumors that seemed 
to confirm that suspicion, a member of the Committee has made 
three separate visits to the locality, and has examined into all 
the facts that have a bearing on such supposed origin of the 
stone. There is no need to rehearse the details of this search. 
A summary review, however, seems to be called for in order 
that the result reached by the Committee may be seen to be 
based on a thorough investigation. 

There was a rumor that a man of the name of Ohman had 
taken part, about fifteen years ago, in the exploitation of a so- 
called ''fossil man" found in Marshall county, in the Red river 
valley. As the owners of this wonderful specimen disagreed 
and went into court to settle their dispute, the facts were made 
a matter of record. On consulting Judges Andrew Grindeland, 
of Warren, and William Watts, of Crookston, it was found that 
one of the parties was named O'Brien, and that his name had 
been confounded with Ohman. 

It was rumored that Mr. Ohman had rune books, was fam- 
iliar with rune characters, made runes on the sidewalk, on win- 
dow casings and granaries, and was generally regarded as a 
''queer genius," resembling Uriah Heap, of Dickens. These 
rumors came to the committee in letters from different direc- 
tions, and on occasion of the third trip to Douglas county were 
met with not only at Kensington, but also at Elbow Lake, at 
Brandon, Evansville, Moe, and sometimes at intervening farm- 
houses. In order to find the truth of these rumors the whole 

Form 3 



18 MINNESOTA HISTORICAL SOCIETY COLLECTIONS. 

region was pretty thoroughly canvassed, and a record was 
made of all information obtained. These rumors will be 
treated of separately. 

Rune Books. It was found that Mr. Ohnian had a Swed- 
ish grammar, published in 18-10, the author of which was 
C. J. L. Almquist, issued at Stockholm. This rumor was en- 
countered by Mr. Holand, when he was in the neighborhood 
in 1907, when he procured the stone of Mr. Ohman. He saw 
the book, when Mr. Ohman was absent, as he asked Mrs. 
Ohman the privilege of examining Mr. Oilman's "library." 
He considered that it had nothing to do with the rune stone 
and discredited the rumor. AVhen, more recently, interest in 
the stone became more active and the rumor became wide- 
spread, it was thought necessary to procure this "library," 
or at least to get the historical facts about the "rune book." 
It was purchased from Mr. Ohman for fifty cents, although he 
reluctantly parted with it, and would be glad to have it re- 
turned to him. On the front fly-leaf is written 

Sv. Fogelblad, 
Stockholm, d. 16 Nov. 1868. 

It is a duodecimo volume, and has 472 pages. On pages 
117 and 118 are shown sixteen rune characters in vertical 
column, with their corresponding names and Roman equiv- 
alents. 

Mr. Ohman, when asked where and when he obtained this 
book, stated that he got it from Mr. Anderson, who obtained 
it from a preacher. This was on the occasion of our second 
visit to Mr. Ohman 's house. On occasion of our third visit he 
also stated that, after the rune stone was found, Mr. Anderson 
had suggested that he should take it home for the purpose of 
reading the rune record by means of the rune alphabet con- 
tained in it ; that he did so, but found more characters on the 
stone than in the book, and could not translate the record, and 
that he had not returned the book. It transpired later that 
Mrs. Anderson and Mrs. Ohman are cousins. 

Sven Fogelhlad. When asked about the name on the fly- 
leaf at the front of the book, Mr. Ohman said that it was that 
of a broken-down preacher who used to be at Anderson 's farm- 



THE KENSINGTON RUNE STONE. 19 

house, and who was then well known in the surrounding region, 
as he got a precarious living amongst the farmers, partly by 
teaching their children in little school-gatherings, by binding 
books, and by little light jobs, but principally by charity. He 
was always poor, by reason of his fondness for intoxicating liq- 
uor. He had his home, so far as he could claim one, at Mr.. 
Anderson's farmhouse, and when he died, which was at the 
age of about seventy years, in 1895 or 1896, his books were 
left in the possession of Mr. Anderson. Mr. Samael Olson, of 
Kensington, said he never saw I\rr. Fogelblad, and is of the 
opinion that he died prior to his going there fifteen years ago. 
These points were verified by others. They were carefully fol- 
lowed up, because it had been intimated by some that Mr. 
Fogelblad may have traced out the runes for Mr. Ohman to 
carve on the stone, and that the ''rune book" formerly 
owned by Mr. Fogelblad had been the source of the necessary 
knowledge. (See the Appendix for more concerning Mr. Fo- 
gelblad.) 

Mr. John A. Holvik, a student of the United Church Semi- 
nary, St. Anthony Park, St. Paul, had begun a search for the 
book which Fogelblad left at Mr. Anderson's at the time of his 
death, said to have been at the house of Mr. Ohman and to 
have given aid to the engraving of the rune inscription. After 
the book was obtained in the investigation by this Committee, 
he examined it at leisure for two or three days, and wrote the 
following letter concerning it. 

Letter of John A. Holvik. 

St. Anthony Park, Minn., April 20th, 1910. 
Prof. N. H. Winchell, St. Paul, 
Dear Sir: 

After comparing in detail the Kensington inscription with the book 
bearing the name of Sv. Fogelblad, I am prepared to make the follow- 
ing statements. 

1. The book is a grammar of modern Swedish, published in 1840. 

2. It contains some material on the development of the language: 

(a) A system of runes; 

(b) Noun declensions of Old and Middle Swedish; 

(c) Verb conjugations of Old and Middle Swedish; 



20 MINNESOTA HISTORICAL SOCIETY COLLECTIONS. 

(d) Short Selections to illustrate the language at different periods 
from A. D. 1200 to the present time. 

(e) Selections to illustrate different dialects. 

3. The rune system is the Futhork of sixteen characters. The 
runes of the inscription are the later "punctuated" (stungne) runes. 

4. The declensions give the four cases for nouns in Old and Mid- 
dle Swedish. The inscription has only nominative and genitive forms. 
Furthermore, the word for ship, used as a type word in the fifth de- 
clension. Is spelled s k e p in Middle Swedish. The inscription has 
skip. 

5. The conjugation gives plural inflection for all verbs in Old and 
Middle Swedish. The inscription uses singular verb forms with plural 
subjects. 

6. A selection from the fifteenth century gives the constructions: 
"wi ware .... wi hafwe " The inscription has "vi var 

..... vi har." 

7. A selection from the year 1370 gives the preposition "a." The 
inscription uses the proposition "po" (which is objected to by some 
linguists). 

8. Some of the rune characters indicate (according tc some runol- 
ogists) that the author of the inscription must be from Dalarne in 
Sweden. A selection in the book shows the characteristic diphthongs 
of the dialect of Dalarne; but a characteristic feature of the inscrip- 
tion is the lack of diphthongs. 

To summarize: the difference in rune systems, and the so-called 
"errors" in the inscription, with some parallel correct forms in the 
book, make it evident that there is no connection between the inscrip- 
tion on the Kensington Rune Stone and the book bearing the name Sv. 
Fogelblad. 

Yours truly, 

J. A. HOLVIK. 
OTHER RUMORS CONCERNING MR. OHMAN. 

It was rumored that Mr. Ohman was a stone mason, and 
hence that he might be skillful in cutting rune letters. There 
seems to be no truth nor basis for this rumor, other than the 
natural desire to explain a puzzle. It may have been suggest- 
ed by some one, asked by another whether true or not, inti- 
mated by another, and affirmed by the fourth. Once stated 
as a fact, it was hence additional evidence, united with the pos- 
session of the rune stone and the alleged possession of "rune 
books," that Mr. Ohman made the inscription on the stone. 
Mr. Ohman is a carpenter. No one was found who knew of 
his working as a stone mason, though several were asked. 



THE KENSINGTON RUNE STONE. 21 

The rumor that Mr. Ohman made rune characters on the 
sidewalks, on fences, and on granaries, asking people if they 
could read them,* was apparently a very easy one to verify 
or disprove. And so it proved to be. Everywhere, whenever 
this statement was made, the question was asked whether the 
person making it ever knew of Mr. Ohman 's making rune 
characters. The answer was, "No, but Mr. So-and-So can give 
you the facts. He lives at Brandon, or near Brandon." On 
arriving at Brandon, where the rumor was prevalent, I was 

directed to Mr. , who was said to know more of the 

peculiar mental processes of Mr. Ohman "than any man on 
earth.'' He at once declared that Mr. Ohman was in the habit 
of making rune characters, as a joke, and "knew all about 
runes." Asked to state whether he himself ever saw Mr. 
Ohman make runes at any time, disregarding the rumor, Mr. 
0. said he never had himself known of his making runes, but 
that Mr. Gunder Johnson, about four miles farther south, had 
known of his making runes. We drove then directly to Mr. 
Gunder Johnson's farm. The following is copied from our 
note book, written at the time of the interview : 

"Mr. Gunder Johnson says his little testimony is not worth any- 
thing one way or the other. He knew Mr. Ohman, who built his house, 
about 26 or 27 years ago. Mr. Ohman and he were talking about old 
Norsk one day, and Ohnian said there were old letters which were 
called runes, and Mr. Ohman took a pencil and made some on a board, 
saying they were runes. Mr. Johnson never knew of his making runes 
at any other time, nor of any preacher living with Ohman who made 
runes, nor any living in this country who could make them, nor any- 
one passing through here who could make them." 

Later, when Mr. Ohman was told that people said he made 
runes on sidewalks and on granaries, etc., he indignantly de- 
manded. "AVho said it?" When he was told that Mr. Gunder 
Johnson stated that he had made them on a board when he 
worked for Mr. Johnson 26 or 27 years ago, he denied it, but 
added that he "could not recall any conversation with Mr. 
Johnson about runes," and that if at any time he had said 



♦According to Professor Flom, it was Mr. Fogelblad who thus amused 
himself, and he mentioned also evidence that Mr. Ohman thus carved 
runes. He expresses his confidence in Mr. Ohman's veracity. 



22 MINNESOTA HISTORICAL SOCIETY COLLECTIONS. 

anything to Mr. Johnson about runes, "It was because he had 
learned it in school in Sweden. Every school boy, and every 
Swede and Norwegian, knows something about runes, but not 
so as to use them." 

So far as we can see, therefore, the common rumor that Mr. 
Ohman made rune characters on the sidewalks and on fences, 
in hours of idleness,and was familiar with runic literature, was 
derived from the simple fact that 26 or 27 years ago, accord- 
ing to Mr. Gunder Johnson, though forgotten by Mr. Ohman, 
he had made some rune characters for Mr. Johnson with a 
pencil on a board when he was working on Mr. Johnson's house 
as a carpenter, in order to show him the kind of letters form- 
erly used by the Scandinavians. The following is also ex- 
tracted from our field book, bearing on the existence of this 
rumor. 

"I found Mr. Gunder Johnson a very talkative man. I recall it 
now, and record it for its bearing on the existence and spread of the 
idea that Mr. Ohman knew runes long ago, had a number of books 
on runes, and made runic characters on the walks, window casings, 
and the granary doors about the country. I have traced up, under 
the direction of those who believed and repeated this story, all the 
promising lines of evidence, and I have found the report especially 
prevalent and detailed about Brandon, where Mr. Ohman lived 26 
or 27 years ago. I have asked, not for the story, but for positive state- 
ments as to whether the parties affirming the story actually knew of 
Mr. Ohman's making runes. They said they did not, except Mr. 
Gunder .Johnson, and some of them said they knew nothing about it 
except what emanated either from Mr. O. of Brandon oi Mr. Gunder 
Johnson. 

"The incident which seems to have given origin to the rumor was 
probably dormant until Prof. Breda and Prof. Curme pronounced the 
stone a fraud, and the stone had been returned to Ohman's farm. 
Then all the people began to speculate as to how the stone was in- 
scribed. All minds turned to Mr. Ohman. Eight years passed. The 
knowledge of Mr. Gunder Johnson about Mr. Ohman's niaking runes, 
and the fact that he retained the fraudulent stone, were coupled 
together and seemed to explain each other, springing at once into 
importance, I have no doubt, through Mr. Johnson. The idea was, 
very naturally, given broadcast. There was no other possible ex- 
planation of a fraudulent rune stone found on Mr. Ohman's farm and 
kept by him, however indifferently. 



THE KENSINGTON RUNE STONE. 23 

'Mr. Ohman is a rather taciturn man, and he took no pains to coun- 
teract the report that he was the impostor. One man said that if 
the rune inscription were genuine, it was a very valuable historic 
document, and any man would have made it well known as a valuable 
possession, the inference being that, as Mr. Ohman did not make it 
notorious, he must have known it was fraudulent. His neighbors 
made sport of him for keeping, or even for having made, a fake in- 
scription. Mr. Gunder Johnson's knowledge was amplified, as such 
rumors grow in a farming community, and some intimated that, as 
Fogelblad was a scholar, he was the man who traced out the runes 
for Mr. Ohman to cut on the stone. 

"More lately, as it became known that Mr. Ohman had "rune 
books," the story was credited by many who had no knowledge of 
the case nor any personal acquaintance with Mr. Ohman; and during 
the last few years, when the recent renewal of inquiry about the 
stone became known by the people of this region, of course all the 
rumors, however increased in detail, were revived also, and there is 
no doubt that some have innocently spread the story, on the assump- 
tion that what was reported and was not denied must be true. In its 
exaggerated form it was sent in letters to members of this Committee, 
and these letters prompted this thorough investigation."* 



*The following' correspondence, received after this Report was first 
written, bears upon the recollection of Mr. Gunder Johnson as to Ohman's 
writing runes for him. 

Clip j)ing from the "Becorah Post." 

Rumor relates that Mr. Olof Ohman was accustomed to amuse him- 
self with scratching runes. It happened that Prof. Winchell found the 
originator of this rumor in Gunder Johnson, of Brandon. Ohman main- 
tained that he knew nothing about runes; but Gunder Johnson related 
that when Ohman, 26 or 27 years ago, built a house for him, he made 
some runes on a piece of wood to show what kind of writing was used 
in the old days in the Scandinavian lands. Ohman would not maintain 
that he had not done this, but said that he could not remember it. 

Letter from Hans Voigt, Mcintosh, Polk County. Minn. 
[Translation.] 
Mr. Olof Ohman: 16 May, 1910. 

I clip this from the Decorah Post, and send it with the following 
remarks. Is the Gunder Johnson, in Brandon, who has started this 
rumor, that you used to amuse yourself with writing runes, the same 
as the Gunder Johnson, Hojbergsner, from the town of Mo? If so then 
the house referred to was built for him by you in 1882, and I was there 
and painted it; and if this is so, then I believe you remember me. I 
had, in fact, a wedding down there, and you were present. At that time 
I made on a piece of wood some marks which were, after a fashion, to 
represent runes, as he says. So it seems to me that it is this incident 
which has popped up in Mr. Johnson's memory. If this is right, then 
let me hear from you. I had a long time ago forgotten your name. 

Hans Voigt. 



24 MINNESOTA HISTORICAL SOCIETY COLLECTIONS. 

Ohman is not a thrifty farmer. His premises are in disor- 
der. His cattle, pigs, chickens, and his children, have a com- 
mon way of approach to his front door, and when it is muddy 
the floor of his house is also muddy. There is no grading, no 
sidewalk, no fence, to make his home pleasant ; and it is plain 
that the farm is not at its best. This listlessness has its influ- 
ence in estimating the causes of the apparent neglect of Mr. 
Ohman to make the most of his discovery. After the rune 
stone had been pronounced a fraud by two professors (Breda 
and Curme), his interest in it extended no further than to in- 
sist on its return to him. A Swede farmer, in ignorance of the 
ways and means to have the inscription further investigated, 
not fully knowing the English language, and having no spare 
money to use in a doubtful quest, he was obliged to let the 
stone rest in his yard uncared for. 

It should not be inferred from the foregoing discussion of 
"rumors," as to Mr. Oilman's agency in fabricating the rune 
inscription, that there is a prevalent opinion connecting him 
with it. Most of the people, and especially his neighbors, be- 
lieve that these rumors are baseless, and affirm their confidence 
in Mr. Ohman as w^ell as in the genuineness of the rune stone. 
It is chiefly at a distance from Oilman's farm, and. among 
strangers, that these rumors are sustained by those who have 
curiosity enough to form opinions about the discovery. The 
pastor. Rev. Mr. Saethre, of the church where Mr. Oilman's 
children were confirmed, said that Mr. Ohman came to that 
vicinity, to his knowledge, later than himself, whieli w.is 
twenty-five years ago. He is confident that Mr. Ohman, whom 



Letter from Olof Ohman. 

[Translation.] 

Prof. N. H. Winchell, St. Paul: 

Today I received a letter from northern Minnesota, which in part 
clears up the reported rune scratches that I have been said to have made 
at Gunnar Johnson's when I built his house. I do not remember that I 
wrote any runes, either there or anywhere else. And as to Gunnar 
Johnson saying I know Old Norse, he is mistaken. I have never learnt 
the Icelandic language. Sincerely, 
« ■ Olof Ohman. 

This shows that Mr. Johnson's recollection is at fault, rather than 
Mr. Ohman's. 



THE KENSINGTON RUNE STONE. 



25 



he has known ever since he came to his farm, ''is utterly in- 
cappMe of making the inscription." He has never heard that 
Mr. Ohman traveled about and made runes on the sidewalks and 
granaries in idle hours, nor has he ever heard of a clergyman 
in that region who did so. 

THE TREE THAT GREW ON THE RUNE STONE. 

As it is well established that a poplar tree grew in the soil 
above the stone, it is plain that the size of the tree has a direct 
bear-mg on the possible fabrication of the inscription by Mr. 
Ohman, or by any person since Mr. Ohman located on the farm. 
Mr. Samuel Olson, of Kensington, who was of the party that 
excavated in the earth where the stone was found, in the 
spring of 1899, expecting to find the remains of those who 
were massacred, made from memory a pencil sketch of the 
stump and roots of the tree as they appeared at that time, which 
is reproduced below. 







Fig. 1. The Poplar Tree and the Rune Stone. 

a, the largest root; h, the smaller roots that went down perpendic- 
ular; e, end of the stone; d, the tree 4 or 5 inches in diameter; e, 
the foot of the tree, 10 inches in diameter. 

Note. — Mr. Ohman and his boy said that the main root went down 
the side instead of over the top. 

No one w^as found who questioned the existence of this tree, 
nor the flatness of the roots caused by long contact on the 
stone. Indeed, one man who regarded Mr. Ohman as the pos- 
sible maker of the inscription stated that he saw the roots 
and that they were flattened on one side. 



26 MINNESOTA HISTORICAL SOCIETY COLLECTIONS. 

The shortest time that has been assigned to the growth of 
the tree is ten years. Mr. Ohman took the tirst part of his 
farm in 1890. The stone was found in the fall of 1898 on that 
portion of his farm which was the earliest deeded to him, and 
which he received by warranty deed from Halvor Stenson. 
If Mr. Ohman is responsible for the stone, he must have buried 
it with its face downward in sufficient soil at once to support 
a young tree, and the tree would have had the period of eight 
years to attain the size which it had in 1898 ; and if the tree 
were as large as most of those who saw it have testified to, 
its growth in eight years is put entirely outside of possibility. 
It would then be possible still to presume that the stone was 
put there during the ownership of the land by Mr. Stenson. 
The Committee has taken no steps to ascertain the truth that 
might be in such a hj'-pothesis, nor to learn anything of the 
antecedents of the land earlier than the record of the deeds to 
Mr. Ohman. 

Review of the Finding of the Rune Stone. 

The foregoing sketch of the facts of the finding of the stone, 
and of the attendant conditions, embraces everything of im- 
portance that has come within the scope of our inquiry. It 
may be well, before leaving this part of the subject, to call at- 
tention to some obvious inferences which bear on the question 
of the authenticity of the stone. 

1. The inscription was made upon a boulder of graywacke 
found in the near vicinity. 

2. The inscribed face of the stone has not passed through 
even the latest glaciation, but the opposite side shows such 
glaciation that it may have witnessed two iee-epochs. The 
boulder had been split along an old jointage plane, and the 
inscription is mainly on the resultant even face. The inscribed 
edge was also, doubtless, caused by a jointage plane, but ap- 
pears to have been shaped by hammering. 

3. The inscribed face appears weathered so as to indicate 
that it was separated from its companion piece perhaps sev- 
eral thousand years ago (but has not been glaciated), or was 
affected by water that entered along the joint-opening for a 



THE KENSINGTON RUNE STONE. 27 

long time before such separation. The preservation of the cal- 
cite scale shows that since its separation it has been protected 
from the weather. 

4. Two remarkable boulders are at the end of a sharp 
point, at the southwestern side of Pelican lake,* and though 
they are not now surrounded by water, they probably were so 
548 years ago, and may stand for the "skerries" referred to 
in the inscription. If the inscription is modern, the engraver 
could hardly refer to these boulders as "skerries." They are 
about twenty miles north of the place where the stone was 
found. 

5. The stone was found on an elevation surrounded with 
a swamp, and it is in keeping with a slow known physical 
change to suppose that the elevation was formerly surrounded 
by water, and that the term "island" was applicable. If the 
inscription is modern, the engraver must have known that 548 
years ago this elevation was an island. 

6. The sea was said to be fourteen days' journey distant 
from the place of the stone. t The sea at Hudson bay is about 



*Professor Flom has carelessly adopted a "Pelican lake" which lies 
in northern Otter Tail county, about 48 miles farther toward the north- 
west. 

fit has been suggested by Mr. Holand that the inscription should be 
translated "forty-one days" instead of fourteen days; but such a use 
of the characters for 1 and 4 would require a similar use of the charac- 
ters for 1 and 3 in the final date (1362), which would be impossible. 

Keating- says that the journey from Fort Douglas, which was one 
mile north of Fort Garry (now Winnipeg), to York Factory, required for 
canoes loaded with furs, 15 to 20 days, and in returning with supplies 
30 to 35 days. Unloaded canoes usually traveled much faster, and prob- 
ably made the journey in about half that time. Long's Expedition, Vol. 
II, p. 79. 

Oliphant says (Minnesota and the Far West, p. 223) that he made 
80 miles per day in descending the Mississippi river from Fort Ripley 
to Fort Snelling, and that in higher water 100 miles have been passed 
over in 8 hours. 

Hennepin, in defending his asserted voyage to the mouth of the 
Mississippi in 1680, says it was not impracticable, that he had time 
enough and to spare, since canoes have been known to go 90 miles a day 
upstream. 

Duluth, when he rescued Hennepin, declared that he travelled 80 
leagues, or about 240 miles^ in two days and two nights and till the 
next day at ten o'clock A. M., which was somewhat more than 100 miles 
per day. (Shea's Translation of Hennepin's Description of Louisiana, 
Appendix.) 

Prof. Andrew Fossum first suggested the route from Hudson bay, 



28 MINNESOTA HISTORICAL SOCIETY COLLECTIONS. 

that distance from Douglas county, for a canoe party descend- 
ing the Nelson river. If parties reached Minnesota by that 
route they must have brought boats with them by way of lake 
Winnipeg and the Red river of the North. It is not easy to 
see any reason for their leaving the regular watercourse and 
taking their boats across the country to Pelican lake, but if 
they were fishing on Pelican lake they must have had boats. 
At Pelican lake they would have been about twenty-five miles 
from the nearest point of the Red river of the North. 

7. "When found, the face of the stone was down. On any 
supposition as to the maker of the inscription it seems to be 
necessary to assume that it was not originally placed in that 
position. Owing to the easy disintegration of calcite in the 
weather, it is evident that the inscription is either recent or 
the stone was so placed (or was overturned) as to protect 
the inscription from the weather. 

8. The age of the tree which was growing on the stone 
seems to show that the inscription was made prior to the occu- 
pancy of the farm by Mr. Ohman. 

9. Mr. Fogelblad, whom rumor has associated with the 
stone, died in 1895, three years prior to the^finding of the stone. 
The tree must have started to grow on the stone at least as 
early as 1888, according to the shortest estimate of its age. 
The committee has not learned the date of Mr. Fogelblad s 
coming to the region, not deeming it important. The relation 
of the rune stone to the Swedish grammar owned by Mr. Fogel- 
blad at the time of his death is expressed by Mr. Holvik. Ac- 
cording to his opinion, the book could not have been the source 
of the information necessary to construct the inscription. 

and calculated that the downward trip could be made in about fourteen 
days. For the purpose of reaching more definite data the Committee has 
measured, on maps, the route in question, with the following result: 

Prom Pelican lake to Pembina 35 1^ townships, right line - 213 miles. 

Pembina to lake Winnipeg, 1% deg. lat. ----- 103 miles. 

Across lake Winnipeg, 1 2/S deg. lat. ----- 115 miles. 

Lake Winnipeg to York Factory, 4i^ deg. lat. - - - 311 miles. 

Add for crookedness --------.-_. 200 miles. 

Total traveled distance --------- 942 miles. 

The trip therefore could be made in canoes in 14 days by travelling at 
the rate of about 67 miles per day. 



THE KENSINGTON RUNE STONE. 29 

10. If the stone is fraudulent, it seems necessary to ex- 
onerate both Mr. Fogelblad and Mr. Ohman from the imposi- 
tion. (See the Appendix.) 

Notes on the Record gwen by the Inscrh'tion. 
The inscription has been acceptably translated as below : 

Eight Goths and twenty-two Norwegians upon a journey of 
discovery from Vinland westward. We had a camp by two sker- 
ries one day's journey north from this stone. We were out fish- 
ing one day. When we returned home, we found ten men red 
with blood and dead. A. V. M., save us from evil. 

Have ten men by the sea to look after our vessels fourteen days' 
journey from this island. Year 1362. 

Without reference at this time to the language used, and 
not considering the peculiarities of the grammatical inflections, 
it may be worth while to take a general view of the record. 

One is struck first with the simplicity of the statements and 
the omission of non-important details. This simplicity, unfor- 
tunately for the historical value of the record, goes so far as to 
omit the name of the leader of the party, as well as that of the 
patron or king who may have sent it out. 

It is a mixed party, of Swedes and Norwegians. By reason 
of the order in which these are mentioned it is probable that 
the scribe was a Swede, since he names them first, although 
composing only about one quarter of the whole party. 

The party started from Vinland, a very remarkable state- 
ment in the light of the fact that it is not known, even at this 
day, that a permanent or even a temporary colony was estab- 
lished in Vinland. The expression "from Vinland" may mean 
in a direction westward from Vinland. In the light of the 
results of Professor Fernald's studies on the "Plants of Wine- 
land the Good," it is remarkable, if the stone is fraudulent, 
that the location of Vinland, by the statements of the record, 
should agree with the location of that country by Fernald, 
since all modern (and even earlier) descriptions of Vinland 
have placed Vinland either in Nova Scotia or in Massachusetts. 
Could it have been a random and accidental coincidence, that a 
fraudulent record should correct the current historical belief 



30 MINNESOTA HISTORICAL SOCIETY COLLECTIONS. 

of the times? How could an impostor come to the knowledge 
that Vinland was nowhere except in Labrador or at least in 
the region about the entrance to Hudson strait? What credit 
could be given to his record by going counter to the accepted 
history of his time? This agreement with the latest research 
as to the location of Vinland is a very suggestive fact. 

They went "westward" from Vinland, and they had their 
ships till within fourteen days' journey of the end of their 
exploration, when they left them "at the sea," with ten men 
to guard them. If the record be fraudulent, what reason could 
there be for saying that their camp was fourteen days' journey 
from the sea? How much more probable it would be to say 
that their camp was forty days or even two months' journey 
from the sea, especially if Vinland was where it has been 
thought to be ; and how much more probable that an impostor 
would not attempt to make a definite statement. If the record 
is fraudulent, the impostor was very foolish not only in giving 
the distance of their camp from the sea, but also in saying how 
far it was north from the stone. Not only so, but he attempted, 
more foolishly, to give guides to the exact location of the camp 
by saying it was "near two skerries." If the stone had been 
noticeably more than one day's march from those skerries, or 
if the camp had been noticeably nearer or more distant than 
fourteen days' journey from "the sea," there would be much 
doubt thrown upon the record by such a discrepancy. 

The exactness with which the location of the camp is de- 
scribed can be attributed to the probable burial of the ten 
men at the camp, and the natural desire to describe geograph- 
ically the place of the bloody massacre of ten of their com- 
rades ; while the agreement of this exactness with the facts in 
nature shows how improbable it was for a faker runologist to 
have made the inscription. If the record be fraudulent, it is a 
remarkable fact that those two skerries exist, and at the right 
distance, and that there are no others.* 

It is still more remarkable, on the hypothesis that the stone 



*Other lakes in the vicinity, ■within a possible range of twenty miles, 
have been searched over by Prof. Fossum, Rev. O. A. Norman, and Mr. 
H. R. Holand, without finding anything that could be called "two 
skerries." 



THE KENSINGTON RUNE STONE. 31 

is fraudulent, that within modern times they could not be 
called skerries, as they are not now surrounded by water. 
Hence the impostor-scribe was not only a runologist, but he was 
able to look backward through the physical change that has 
come over the region, and to describe those boulders as they 
were 548 years ago, when there is no doubt that the water of 
the lake was so high as to surround them and thus warrant the 
description which he made of them. He must have been a 

geologist. 

If the record is fraudulent, it is also remarkable that the 
impostor could see that 548 years ago the hill on which the 
stone was placed was surrounded by water so as to warrant 
the application of the term "island." He must have known, 
and must have made allowance for the fact, that within recent 
time the country has dried up considerably, and that what 
are now marshes were then lakes. 

If the stone be fraudulent, it is singular that the impostor 
ran the risk of all these details and violated none of them. A 
well considered fraud is usually characterized by the omission 
of details. Here was a recklessness and a fearlessness amongst 
details which betoken honesty and truth. The very discre- 
pancies, where the details diverge from present geographic 
knowledge, when correctly understood are turned to so many 
points of confirmation. 

"AA^e were out fishing one day." That is a remarkable 
and rather singular statement, especially if the stone be fraud- 
ulent, since the fishing was on a lake twenty miles distant 
from the place at which the inscription was made. Again, they 
must have had boats. There is no reference to them. Where 
could they have got boats? Not a word is said as to how they 
reached the place where they were encamped, nor as to the 
direction to the sea. Such links as are necessary to make a 
connected and reasonble story would certainly be given by an 
impostor. But here the briefest statement is made of the lead- 
ing facts, and the reader is left to connect them as best he can. 
We are not at a loss to supply the links. The boats must have 
been birch bark canoes, used to this day by the northern 



32 MINNESOTA HISTORICAL SOCIETY COLLECTIONS. 

Indians, easy to propel in the water and easy to ''portage" 
over the land. 

"We found ten men red with blood and dead." That is a 
remarkable statement. Why should the fact of the gory -ap- 
pearance of the dead men be stated at all? and especially why 
should it be stated before stating the fact of death? The mur- 
derers are not mentioned nor indicated. These peculiarities in 
the record may be explained by attributing the massacre to 
Indians, with whom they may have had some dealing. The 
appearance of the bloody corpses implies the scalping knife. 
The appearance of the bodies is stated before the fact of their 
death, and must have made a deep impression on the explorers, 
although it is probable that the men were dead before they 
were scalped. If the stone is fraudulent, it is singular that, 
within modern times, when the scalping of white men by In- 
dians is a familiar fact, the massacre should be described in 
that manner. An impostor would hardly observe the nicety 
of the significance in inverting the terms of description, or 
that of mentioning the bloody appearance of the dead at all. 

Then comes the most remarkable feature of 'this remark- 
able inscription, " A. V. M. ' ' Hail, Virgin Mary ! or Ave Maria. 
This is a distinctly Catholic expression. According to Arch- 
bishop Ireland, no modern Scandinavian would utter it, as they 
are Lutherans. It would be strictly appropriate in 1362. If 
the stone be fraudulent, the impostor artfully employed a term 
suitable to the date of the inscription ; but we would hardly 
expect an impostor, such as this man must have been, to be so 
religious as to call on Mary, or on any of the gods of the 
Vikings, or on any of the saints of Christianity. On the sup- 
position that the stone is fraudulent, this is a decided ana- 
chronism and would hardly be introduced by an impostor. 

If the stone is fraudulent, the base perpetrator was artful 
enough to make use of rune characters appropriate to the date 
1362. The ancient runes are sixteen in number, according to 
the grammar of Almquist. The inscription contains several 
characters not found in the old runic alphabet, and some that 
are peculiar to itself or to some locality. 

Rev. 0. A. Norman, of Ashby, called our attention to a sin- 



THE KENSINGTON RUNE STONE. 33 

gular coincidence, viz., the frequency of the expression calling 
upon Mary, in Scandinavia, at the time of the "black death," 
which prevailed in the fourteenth century. A poem or song, 
entitled "Fornesbronen, " was recited at the burials of the 
many dead, and appears to have become well known. It was 
lately reprinted in a brochure at' Fergus Falls, Minn., entitled 
' ' Telesoga. ' ' Each verse ends with an appeal to Mary to grant 
help and freedom from evil. The sudden and bloody death of 
ten of their comrades seems to have impressed the living in a 
manner similar to the mysterious death of the black plague. 
If the stone be fraudulent, the impostor seems to have been 
aware of the prevalence of that prayer in the fourteenth cen- 
tury, and very shrewdly appended it at the proper place in this 
inscription. 

It appears, from several considerations, that the scribe was 
a rather illiterate Swede. If the stone be fraudulent, it is 
singular that sucli a man should prove himself capable of such 
literary and historical knowledge, and of such artful cunning. 
If the stone be fraudulent, it seems necessary to suppose that 
a non-educated Swede should be able to make the inscription 
and to accomplish the following : 

1. A simple, straightforward record. 

2. Correct the prevalent notion as to the whereabouts of 
Vinland. 

3. Refer to two skerries, which could not have existed 
when the record was made but did exist 548 years ago. 

4. Refer to an island, which was not an island when the 
stonu was inscribed, but was so 548 years ago. 

5. Define exactly the location of the camp with reference 
to the seaside and with reference to the stone. 

6. Describe the massacre in such a way as to indicate that 
the men were scalped by Indians, although no mention is made 
of Indians. 

7. Make the prayer to the Virgin IMary common in Scan- 
dinavia in 1362, but anachronistic in the nineteenth century. 

8. As an impostor, utter the common prayer of a devout 
Catholic of the fourteenth century. 

Form 3. 



'34 MINNESOTA HISTORICAL SOCIETY COLLECTIONS. 

9. Use in part some ancient runic characters instead of 
those common in later centuries. 

10. All this deceit and laborious cunning, without any 
ascertainable motive, perpetrated in an unpopulated, or at most 
only a sparsely inhabited, region amongst a wilderness of 
forests. * 

Linguistic Objections. 

Notwithstanding these considerations, which point toward 
the genuineness of the Kensington Rune Stone, there are lin- 
guistic objections, which, it is claimed, are insurmountable. It 
is claimed by those who are expert in the Scandinavian lan- 
guages, and who present those difficulties, that linguistic evi- 
dence is paramount in importance, and that other considera- 
tions are pertinent only after the linguistic objections are re- 
moved. 

A summary statement of these objections is about as fol- 
lows: 

Certain words not in use in Sweden at the date given the 
inscription, viz. : 

opdagdsc. It is pointed out that this word is not in Soder- 
vall's dictionary, nor in that of Kalkar, the latter being a dic- 
tionary of the old Danish (and Swedish) language covering the 
years 1300 to 1700, and that in modern Swedish the word 
opdage is nppdaga; that "opdagelse"'' is made by adding to the 
root the suffix else, which in the form Usl is not found in Swe- 
dish or Danish prior to 1300; that ''opdage" itself is a bor- 
rowed word, allied to the Dutch opdagen and the German cnt- 
decken; and that, if it had existed in 1362, its only meaning 
could have been daicning. 

po, which appears twice in the inscription. This Avord, 
derived from npp a becomes pa and paa, and in Sodervall's 
dictionary is said to date from about 1400, and to have, in the 
older Swedish, only the active sense, ''to designate an action 
by some one, or a condition or state of a person, ' ' Avhich is not 
the sense in which it is used here. 

hieger is objected to as a word in Swedish at the date of 
1362, on the ground that it shows a Germanic influence, dating 



THE KENSINGTON RUNE STONE. 35 

from the sixteenth century or later, its earliest date in Kalkar 
being 1534. 

dag is, on the stone, tJiag (or dJiag), meaning day, but in 
1362 d had supplanted dh and should have been used. The 
use of ''the thorn" (the rune |d for dh or th or d) indicated a 
modern Swede runologist. The same objection lies against dh 
in opdagelse, Vinland, and ded, and other words. 

vore skip should have been written vorum sJcipum, to agree 
with the language of Sweden in 1362. 

har, var, kom, and fan, are first person plurals, as used, and 
should have the ending om, viz., hafthom (or hathom), rarom, 
komoni, and funnom. These would have been found in the 
"Mariaklagan, " had any first person plurals been used in the 
part with which comparison is made, since in the third person 
plurals found in it the full inflectional endings are used. 

ded (or tJicth, or dhcdh) should have been d0dh, and is 
apparently a reflection of the English word "dead." 

from is English. 

mans is an incorrect plural English word for men. 

is written with e rune inside an o. o appears for the first 
time in Swedish in 1495. 

In short, the language of the stone, it is claimed, is a mix- 
ture of modern Swedish, Norwegian, and English. 

It is fortunate for the cause of historic truth, no less than 
for linguistic criticism applicable to the inscription of this 
stone, that quite a number of American as well as some Euro- 
pean experts in runes and in Scandinavian literature have 
given close attention to this stone, and have afforded their 
aid to the Committee in their efforts to reach a warrantable 
conclusion as to the authenticity of the record for the date 
which it claims. The Committee has also taken advantage of 
the published opinions of others, so far as we have learned of 
them, whenever such opinions have been based on specific and 
critical linguistic points. A mere "opinion," pro or con, has 
been passed by without consideration; for it is plain that not 
only the labor would be practically endless should the Com- 
mittee entertain unsupported opinions, but that in the end the 
result would be based on others' opinions and would not be a 



36 MINNESOTA HISTORICAL SOCIETY COLLECTIONS. 

creditable and judicial consideration of the problems with 
which the Committe is charged. 

The following eminent and critical scholars have aided the 
Committee, and to them the thanks of the Historical Society- 
are due : 

Helge Gjessing, University of Christiania, Norway ; 

Hjalmar Rued Holand, Ephraim, Wis. ; 

0. J. Breda, Christiania, Norway, formerly of the University 
of Minnesota ; 

George 0. Curme, Northwestern University, Evanston, 111. ; 

Chester N. Gould, University of Chicago, Chicago, 111. ; 

Rasmus B. Anderson, Madison, Wis. ; 

Dr. Knut Hoegh, Minneapolis, Minn.; 

Gisle Bothne, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis; 

John 0. Evjen, Augsburg Seminary, Minneapolis; 

Andrew Fossum, St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minn.; 

P. P. Iverslie, Minneapolis, Minn. ; 

George T. Flom, University of Illinois, Urbana, 111. ; 

Julius E. Olson, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wis. ; 

J. A. Holvik, United Church Seminary, St. Anthony Park, 
St. Paul, Minn. ; 

Olaf Huseby, Norwegian journalist and author, Fosston, 
Minn. ; 

J. J. Skordalsvold, Minneapolis, Minn., formerly professor 
of Norwegian Literature in Augsburg Seminary ; 

0. E. Hagen, Meridian, W^is., formerly professor in the Uni- 
versity of South Dakota, Vermilion, S. D. 

It is needless to say that among these there is divergence 
of testimony, and sometimes contrariety, not only in the re- 
sults which they have reached, but sometimes in their esti- 
mates of the value of the linguistic peculiarities of the lan- 
guage of the inscription. 

AVith one exception, the members of the Committee are all 
linguistic scholars and are capable of judging the force of 
linguistic arguments, pro or con, and we have attempted to 
compare judicially the evidence that has been adduced. 

It should be remarked at the outset that the argument 
against the rune inscription is like this : As the translation of 



THE KENSINGTON RUNE STONE. 37 

the Bible in King James' version does not employ the words 
loy or girl, but instead uses lad and damsel, if a book pur- 
porting to be a copy of the King James version were found to 
contain the words hoi/ and girl, it would at once be classed as 
fraudulent. Likewise if words are found in the Kensington 
rune stone inscription which were not in use in 1362, the in- 
scription is fraudulent. But it is evident at once that such a 
comparison of these cases involves a possible error. Two books 
actually in print can be compared with preciseness, and one 
can be pronounced a fraud with positiveness when it does 
not agree with its prototype. In the case of this stone, a 
definite inscription is to be compared with a "usage," and it is 
the wide uncertainty of that usage that gives rise to the vari- 
ety of evidence and opinion. 

It should be remarked also that the usage with which 
the stone may be compared may be that of a considerable 
period of time, say a whole century; it may be that of high- 
class and dignified literature, or that of common or ordinary 
writing, or that even of everyday speech. It is plain therefore 
that it is important to determine the standard to which the 
inscription ought to show a conformity. It should also be re- 
membered that, as in English, these standards change from one 
into the other with lapse of time. A usage which was preva- 
lent only in common speech, say in the fourteenth century, 
might be found in literature in the fifteenth century, and in 
the more dignified language of legal documents not till the 
sixteenth century. As our slang words creep slowly into litera- 
ture, and finally are recognized in the standard dictionaries, 
so the colloquial terms and usage of the Swedish gradually 
came into use in the higher type of literature. 

It is agreed by all, so far as we have learned, that the 
inscription, whether false or genuine, was made by a Swede 
and a rather unlettered man, a good mechanic, and probably 
from ancient Gothland, now the south part of Sweden, or from 
Visbv on the island of Gothland, where foreigners were numer- 



38 MINNESOTA HISTORICAL SOCIETY COLLECTIONS. 

ous from all commercial points in Europe.* In such a city the 
influence of foreign languages would be apparent and more 
pronounced than in any other part of Sweden, except perhaps 
Stockholm. If the engraver of the inscription were an unlet- 
tered Swede, it appears that the standard with which it should 
be compared is not that of high-class standard literature, 
whether legal documents, educational treatises, or poems, but 
more reasonably the colloquial vernacular of Gothland. It 
would be necessary to allow for some effect of German and 
perhaps English contiguity. Hence, as the stone claims to date 
from the fourteenth century, it is reasonable to compare it 
with the colloquial usage of that centur3^ 

Here arises another important consideration, viz., the four- 
teenth century was a period of change and confusion, arising 
from the introduction of Christianity. Here was in full swing 
the transition to the modern forms and usages. Indeed the 
language of Sweden and Denmark in the fourteenth and fif- 
teenth centuries "was much like that of the present. "t and, 
"to that degree agrees with the new that nothing except an 
occasional business or law expression will stop a reader of the 
present. ' ' t This change was not accomplished without much 
irregularity, and perhaps this is most apparent in the four- 
teenth century. The German language made a powerful im- 
press on the Swedish. Dahlerup declares, "Never has our lan- 
guage received so great influence from abroad (especially Mid- 
dle Low German) as it received in the fourteenth and fifteenth 
centuries." || Those irregularities consisted in a more or less 
prevalent dropping of case endings, disregard of grammatical 
agreements, especially in common speech, and differences of 
spelling. 



*The present city of Goteborg- was founded in 1619. An earlier town 
of the same name, on the island of Hisingen, not far from the present 
site, had been destroyed by the Danes during- the Calmar war (Enc. 
Brit.); but as that had been founded within twenty years before the 
new town (History of Sweden, by Victor Nilsson, 1899, pp. 188, 189), it 
appears reasonable to consider the scribe to have been a native of Visby 
on the large island of Gothland, which was an important commercial 
city from the twelfth century to the seventeenth. 

fDahlerup, Det Danske Sprogs Historie, 1896, p. 31. 

JKalkar, Ordbog, p. xxxii; also f. n. to p. xxxi. 

llOp. cit., p. 26. 



THE KENSINGTON RUNE STONE. 39 

With these facts in mind, we will examine in succession 
the difficult linguistic points which we have already mentioned. 

opdagdse is claimed to be a modern word. It is a serious 
objection to this word that it is not found in two standard 
dictionaries, Sodervall's and especially Kalkar's, the latter pur- 
porting to be a dictionary of the old Danish (and Swedish) 
language, covering the years 1300 to 1700. The root of the 
word was known, also the prefix op {upp), and the suffix else 
(Use). It was a neuter verb, signifying to appear, to dawn. 
In the inscription it has an active signification, to discover. 
Yet Kalkar gives a quotation dating from 1634 in which this 
word appears in its active sense, viz., "Et sMh med rofoere for 
landit var opdagcV (A vessel tvith pirates ivas discovered oft 
shore). The fact that the date of this quotation is 1634 does 
not show that this signification of this word was not in earlier 
use, for Kalkar gives numerous other quotations with dates 
showmg similar German influence, dated later than their 
known earliest use, as follows : 

understanda is dated 1610, but is found in Den Jydske 
Lov of 1241. (Brandt, Gammeldansk Lasebog, 1856, p. 29, line, 

15.) 

ophange in dated 1575, used in a provision of Waldemar 
Seier of 1250 (ditto, 41, 3, as nphengia). 

opladha, dated hy Kalkar 1550, used in a diploma of 
1329 (ditto, 77, 5, as uplader) ; and numerous others. 

Kalkar's dictionary was not complete. He is now com- 
piling a supplement, which will contain hundreds of words 
missed by him in his first edition. The following, similar to 
opdagelse, may be mentioned, in use about 1400, which were 
omitted by Kalkar: opfostre, upfodde, ophrande, opraet- 
tilsae, forymmels, paamindelse (ditto, 98, line 23; 169, 8; 168, 
6). This shows simply that opdagelse may have been one of 
the common words omitted by Kalkar, and therefore that the 
absence of this word in Kalkar's Danish dictionary is not cer- 
tain evidence that it was not in use in Gothland in 1362, at 
least in common speech; for, as has been remarked already, 
the standard dictionaries of any language are the last to rec- 



40 MINNESOTA HISTORICAL SOCIETY COLLECTIONS. 

ognize innovations, such as this appears to have been, from 
other languages. 

We fail to see the force of the objections to opdagelse in 
the fact that the modern Swedish for opdage is nppdaga. 
The use of the older word seems to us rather to be a difficulty 
in assigning the inscription to modern invention. 

The difficulty with po in the inscription consists of two 
parts: (1) It is used earlier than is recognized by Sodervall's 
dictionary; and (2) it is used correctly to designate ''an ac- 
tion by some one, or a condition or state of a person," which is 
thought to be not the sense in which it is used here. 

The fact that Sodervall's dictionary assigns this word to 
"about 1400" is in some degree an objection to its use in 1362 ; 
yet, if it be recalled that in common speech many words are 
in use long before they are recognized in standard literature 
and in dictionaries, and that the difi^erence of time here 
amounts to only thirty-eight j'^ears, it appears to the Commit- 
tee that the word po was more likely than not to have been 
known and used at the date assigned to the rune stone. In 
the middle of the fourteenth century, moreover, we find pa, 
po, and upa, used side by side. 

As to the significance of the word po (on), used as a prepo- 
sition before the word opdagelse, its force, as defined by the 
objectors, is to be inferred from the connection. "On a jour- 
ney of discovery" implies a verb such as going, and if that 
be supplied the phrase reads "going on a journey of discov- 
ery, ' ' which gives the preposition exactly the sense required. 

Again, it is quite likely that in pronunciation po, the orig- 
inal word which became paa, was sounded so nearly like po 
that the unlettered scribe preferred po to. any other spelling. 
Further, as there was no rune character for aa, this sound 
was commonly expressed by the rune for o. 

laeger. The original Norse form was legr, but in Swedish 
the e became a, and under the influence of German contact the 
word took the form of laeger, or lager. It is assumed by the 
objectors that this final form was due to the sixteenth cen- 
tury and hence could not have been used in 1362 ; but Falk and 
Torp state that in Swedish-Danish the transition from e to a 



THE KENSI^TGTON RUNE STONE. 41 

took place about 1200 (Lydhistorie, Kristiania, 1898, page 11, 
No. 2). 

It is further objected to this word that in the sense here 
employed (camp) it was not employed in 1362, but meant bur- 
ial place or li/ing together; yet Kalkar illustrates it in the 
sense used in the inscription, viz., "The angels of the Lord built 
their camp round about them: Herrins engel slaar I'dgre 
omkring thennom'" (date of this writing, 1524?). This diction- 
ary covers the period from the fourteenth to the seventeenth 
century. 

dliag, opcUiagelse, Tinlandh, dhed, and other words in the 
inscription, are spelled with the rune character \> (called 
thorn). It is claimed that the more modern character for d 
(^) had supplanted the "thorn" in 1362, and ought to have been 
used. The thorn was usually used at this time for both th and 
dli; but it appears that t was gradually supplanting th, and d 
was taking the place of dh. It is plain from all sides that the 
thorn (|d), used exclusively on the inscription, was warrant- 
able as a character either for that dental which was sounded 
th, or for that which was sounded by dh. At the same time, 
so far as we can learn, the distinct character for d (f ) had a 
recognized existence ; but whether there was any rule or regu- 
lated practice, in 1362, as to the use of ^ for d, we have been 
unable to find out. No one has referred to any regulated prac- 
tice, and it seems to us that any criticism demanding the ex- 
clusive use of the character for fZ (f) in 1362 where the in- 
scription shows dli, should be supported by such a rule. There 
is not a word in the inscription which calls for the dental 
sound th, and it is hence plain that where the thorn sign (|d) 
is used it was intended to take the place of the sign for dh 
(or for d). 

Further, while the character f was used at the time, it occurs 
so rarely that it seems most runesmiths were ignorant of its 
existence or ignored it. For instance, it does not occur a single 
time in the twenty-six Swedish and Danish runic inscriptions 
from the middle period quoted by Yigfussen on pages 447-449 
of his "Icelandic Reader and Grammar." The thorn however . 
occurs 142 times in these same inscriptions. It appears also 



42 MINNESOTA HISTORICAL SOCIETY COLLECTIONS. 

that there was great latitude in the use of this character \), in 
that it not only commonly represented th and dh, but also fre- 
quently (/, and even t. In inscription No. 4, on page 448, we 
find I'istii spelled with |d instead of the t. Therefore, while 
^ (or d) might have been accessible in elementary text-books, 
the writer of the inscription has shown a close agreement even 
with written usage in Sweden in the middle ages, by using \> 
exclusively. Had ^ only been used, that character, as it seems 
to the Committee, would have constituted a greater objection 
than the exclusive use of \>. 

hadhe, liar, var, koni, and fan. These are unquestionably 
verb forms of the first person plural, past tense {Jiar is pres- 
ent), used by the rune-maker, and purporting to be from the 
date of 1362. The validity of these forms is questionable. It 
is evident that if fraudulent these abbreviated terms might be 
those which the inscriber of the stone would employ in the 
nineteenth century. The Committee are of the opinion that 
if these five verb forms cannot be satisfactorily explained, the 
stone will be suspected as a forgery. They have therefore 
given particular attention to the question whether such abbre- 
viations were warrantable in the year 1362. 

The statement has been made already, in general terms, 
that this was a period in the history of the Danish-Swedish and 
Danish-Norse languages when great confusion prevailed, be- 
cause of a tendency toward the modern usages, and it would 
be possible to assign such verb changes to that general state- 
ment. The Committee, however, have thought that, owing to 
the sweeping character of this difficulty, it would be well to 
disregard the general principle, and to find, if possible, exam- 
ples in practice dating from the fourteenth century, of such 
verb changes as are here shown by the rune stone. 

Dahlerup, commenting on this period, says: "Numerous 
verb forms, especially in documents showing Jutland influ- 
ences, show that the speech undoubtedly in many parts [of the 
country] had given up the logical use of the plural forms" 
(Det Danske Sprogs Historic, p. 33). As an example of this 
he quotes: ^'Alle fugle som hedder volncres pa Latin,'''' "the 
faar," "the gUc,'' "the lean,'' "I seer," etc. In all these illus- 



THE KENSINGTON RUNE STONE. 43 

trations we find singular verbs with plural subjects. We have 
other examples of this, as in a letter of 1340, which begins, 
"Allae men thettae href 'ser eller h0r" (Brandt's Lasebog, 
p. 79, line 1). Similarly a letter of 1329 begins, Allae maen 
thettae href ser aeldaer h0raer (ditto, 77, 1). This shows at least 
that the old classic rule, that the inflectional ending of the verb 
must agree with its subject, was not maintained in the four- 
teenth century. The third person plural preterite for hafa is 
Jwfdu; but as early as 1200 we find Witherlax men Miodhe 
honum uraet giorV (Kong Knuts Viderlagsret in Brandt's 
Lasebog, p. 39, line 1). Gamle Kong Eriks Kronike, written 
about 1320, says, ''The hado updtith therra moat'' (Svenska 
Medeltidens Rim-Kronikor, G. E. Klemmings's edition, Stock- 
holm, 1865, first part, line 1514; see also line 2581). Upsala 
Kronike, of the fourteenth century, reads, "hadae m0ss [plural] 
aedet opp 0xen som var af osth giord (Hunde Kongen og 
Snio in Hallenberg, No. 51, also quoted in Brandt's Lasebog, 
p. 72, line 1). In Mandevilles Reiser, of about 1400, we simi- 
larly find hadhe: "iJccae hadhae vy frem kommit" (Brandt's 

Lasebog, 123, 10); "ta wy hadae gongit hoos tho milae," etc., 
(ditto, 122, 16). See also the frequent use of "the hade,"' 
they had, in Svenske Medeltidens Rim-Kronikor. 

As to the form har, here used in place of the regular full 
inflectional haffvom, we find that in many, perhaps in most, 
writings of the fourteenth century, the termination of the first 
person plural, vom, had largely disappeared. It is retained, 
however, in an important work dating from 1320, Gamle Eriks 
Kronike, where also nearly all the old endings are preserved. 
Instead of haffvom, we find the modern forms have or haver; 
but, according to Falk and Torp, for a long time the v was 
elided in pronunciation, making ha and har, or was replaced, 
even in the fourteenth century, by u, the following e being 
dropped. Thus: "lak hour af herrana hort" (Gamle Eriks 
Kronike, 1320, Klemming's ed., line 4404) ; "Thet haur konung 
Bierge giort" (ditto, line 4480). The rhythm also shows that 
it was pronounced as a single syllable. Similarly in a diploma 
of 1386 we read, "Wi hawe unt oc lathet tcore kerae hijmdn 
(Brandt's Lasebog, p. 79, line 18). In a letter of Queen Mar- 



44 MINNESOTA HISTORICAL SOCIETY COLLECTIONS. 

garet, of 1393, we read: "3Ieth al thene rat som hari off Jionnes 
fatJiir tlier til haive haft og haive." In the last two instances 
u (or v) is w, which also illustrates the confusion which has, 
in all modern languages, attended those half consonants. In 
the next, u is plainly and simply used for v. In a book of 
remedies, about 1360, we read ''Wi hana nu talet ok sagt oc 
screwdt thet som tJtarffekt ar^' (Molbech's Ordbog, xlix) ; also, 
'^ Thorn ther haver hoiceth ivdrk,'' etc. (ditto, xlix). 
Summarizing our inquiry on this word, we find : 

(a) that the plural hafvom had been largely, dropped in 
the fourteenth century; 

(b) that the singular for haver had largely superseded it; 

(c) that according to Falk and Torp, eminent philologists, 
this V has long been dropped phonetically; 

(d) that haur, the immediate phonetic predecessor of har, 
occurs sporadically in Gamle Eriks Kronike, the ablest literary 
work of the times, written in 1320. 

If we add to this a probable advance in phonetic and grani- 
matic development in the region of Gothland, there seems to 
,be no longer remaining any valid objection to the use of the 
spelling seen on the stone. 

It should further be borne in mind that the author of this 
inscription, if it be genuine, would be extremely unlikely to be 
an educated literary man, but rather a plain man of action. 
As such he would write as he spoke. On the contrary an im- 
postor of today, trying to reproduce the language of an ancient 
period, could only be a philologist, and would try to follow the 
literary usage of the time, instead of employing forms adapted 
to his own day. The apparently modern, but defensible, use 
of the word har, is therefore, in the opinion of this Committee, 
good evidence of the phonetic authorship of the record in the 
fourteenth century. 

var is the first person plural, used for the old and reg- 
ular form varum. The discussion of har applies largely to 
this word. In the fourteenth century it was the common form. 
In the chronicle of the Danish kings, written about 1250 and 
1300, we find the singular and plural forms struggling side 
by side. In line 12 we read, Hialti oJc Birghi var i hans fima.'^ 



\ 



THE KENSINGTON RUNE STONE. 45 

while in line 15 we read, " Slenge ok Vege rani i hans tima.^' 
After this time the singular rar is dominant. ]\Iany illustra- 
tions could be given of plural subjects used with the sin- 
gular var. Var is frequently seen in the form rare, as '^tha 
rare «•/ act/ fradstc aff helrcdis nmW (devotional poem from 
about 1425, Brandt's Lasebog, p. 262, 8). 

kom is used for komom, the plural ending, like others al- 
ready discussed, having been dropped off in the period under 
discussion. 

fan. This form, although we have no examples to quote, 
may be assumed to have been used for the old plural form, 
analogous to kom, rar, and har. 

dliedli (or dedh). The use of e for or ae, in th-e four- 
teenth century, or vice versa, was frequent. Hence the un- 
critical maker of the inscription did not pass beyond the war- 
rant of his time. The Danish dialect had dcd in 1390. It is 
evident that the thorn {\>) must have been intended here to 
express the symbol dh (th as in this, and not th as in thistle), 
which in English found its equivalent in d, and in German in 
the word todt. The spelling of this word may have been in- 
fluenced somewhat by a knowledge of the English pronuncia- 
tion of the same word, and by the Danish dcd. 

from in its form is English. It is given, however, by Falk 
and Torp's Etymologisk Ordbog, as occurring sporadically in 
the old Swedish, meaning from. The easy phonetic substitu- 
tion of for long a or aa is so apparent in this word that it 
needs no effort at explanation. The letter m, however, is in 
this place quite antique, unless it is adopted directly from the 
English, and seems to furnish an argument for the authen- 
ticity of the stone rather than against it. 

In the old Aurland's church in Sogn, Norway, completed 
in the Catholic time, about 1300, there was a pair of very small 
panes of glass. The two panes were a present to the church 
''from" so-and-so. When the church was razed, the panes 
were bought by an enlightened gentleman in the district, and 
they may be found safely treasured there yet. 

The work entitled "Gamle Eriks Kronike" was the product 
of some writer living in that part of Sweden known as Vest- 



46 MINNESOTA HISTORICAL SOCIETY COLLECTIONS. 

gotland, written about 1320. This work contains, a great many 
of the words of the inscription, used in the same meaning. 
This was perhaps the home of the Goter mentioned in the in- 
scription. 

This inquiry might be extended so as to include several 
other words that have been criticised, but as we have brought 
under review the chief of the objections from a linguistic point 
of view, we deem it unnecessary to go further into details. 

From the examination of the language of the stone the 
Committee think that they are warranted in making the fol- 
lowing conclusions : 

1. It cannot be the work of some unlettered amateur of 
the present day. 

2. It is either the uncritical record of an exploration of 
the fourteenth century, or the fabrication of a consummate 
philologist familiar with the dialect of Vestgotland in the four- 
teenth century, which was essentially the Dalske dialect of 
Dalarne of the sixteenth century. 

3 No expert philologist would make the blunder of writ- 
ing ded for dod. A modern philologist familiar with the evolu- 
tion of from au would hardly make such an error, but such 
phonetic mistakes were common among the uncritical people 
of the fourteenth century. 

4. The peculiarity of spelling "and" as both ok and og 
is abhorrent to the scientific precision of a modern philologist, 
but was very natural in the fourteenth century, when the 
sounds of k, t, and p, were frequently confounded with those 
of g, d, and h. 

5. The use of the phrase, "ri I'ar ok fiske,'' belongs in 
the same class of colloquialisms as skullen for skulde han, 
haden for liavde han, etc. These phrases are all on the lips 
of the people in common speech, but no well informed person 
would suffer them to appear in a serious narrative in writing. 
But m the fourteenth century, with its greater phonetic free- 
dom, they were all common. 

6. Several obsolete words, which were in use in the four- 
teenth century, such as laeger, rise, skjar, af illy, and from, 
as well as the peculiar numeral characters, strongly indicate 



THE KENSINGTON RUNE STONE. • 47 

that no modern impostor made the inscription, as the works of 
scholars proving that they were in use at that time have mainly 
been published since the stone was found. 

7. The linguistic internal evidences of the genuineness of 
the stone coincide with and confirm the indications that come 
from the finding of the stone and its attendant condition. 

8. The numeral which expresses the number of days' jour- 
ney distant from the seashore is more probably meant for 
fourteen than fortij-one. 

Collateral Evidence. 

Attention should be called again to the stone found by 
Verendrye and sent by him to Paris in 1737-40. The charac- 
ters could not be read by any parties in Quebec, but were be- 
lieved to be of Tartarean origin, there being then a belief en- 
tertained by many scholars and archeologists that America 
was peopled by Asiatics. The particulars of this finding, so 
far as they are known, are given by the Swedish botanist 
Kalm, who traveled in America in 1748-51. 

Again, there was evidently European blood in the Mandan 
Indians. All travelers who visited them reported instances 
of light-colored hair and skin, and blue Qjes. Catlin presumed 
that the party of Madoe, a Welsh prince, had reached them, 
and that their descendants would account for the remarkable 
physiognomy. It is doubtful, however, that the mixing of the 
dark Iberian complexion of the Welsh with that of the Indians 
would ever produce blue eyes, while it seems certain that the 
blond complexion of the Northmen of Europe would produce 
them. 

These facts constitute an a priori affirmative case indicating 
that people from northern Europe mingled with the Mandan 
Indians. 

Resolutions Adopted by the Museum Committee. 
The following resolutions, which were adopted unanimously 
by this Committee April 21, 1910, are not expected to terminate 
the investigation, but to show the present belief of its members. 



48 • MINNESOTA HISTORICAL SOCIETY COLLECTIONS. 

Resolved, That this Committee renders a favorable opinion of 
the authenticity of the Kensington rune stone, provided, that 
the references to Scandinavian literature given in this Com- 
mittee's written report and accompanying papers be verified 
by a competent specialist in the Scandinavian languages, to be 
selected by this Committee, and that he approve the conclusions 
of this report. 

Resolved, that this action of the Committee be reported to the 
next meeting of the Executive Council, and that Mr. Holand be 
so informed. 

E. C. Mitchell, Chairman. 

F. J. SCHAEFER, 

0. D. Wheeler, 

N. H. WiNCHELL, 

Warren Upham, Secretary. 

In the next monthly Council Meeting, May 9, 1910, this sub- 
ject was introduced hy Rev. Edward C. Mitchell, chairman of 
the Committee, and large parts of this Report were read by 
Professor Winchell, followed by his presentation, for the Com- 
mittee, of these Resolutions. After much discussion by the 
President and several members of the Council and others of 
the Society, the Council voted that the Report and Resolutions 
of the Museum Committee be received and printed, with a state- 
ment that the Council and Society reserve their conclusion until 
more agreement of opinions for or against the rune inscription 
may be attained. 

Subsequently Professor Botline, having been selected by 
the IMuseum Committee, in accordance with its resolutions, for 
verification of references and a statement of his opinion, sent 
to the committee the following letter. 

The University of Minnesota, 
Minneapolis, July 19, 1910. 
Prof. N. H. Winchell, 

Dear Sir: I am going away tomorrow, and cannot attend 
your meeting next Saturday. I have examined your report 



THE KENSINGTON RUNE STONE. 49 

carefully, have visited Kensington and neighborhood, and have 
read most of the papers and articles relating to the rune stone. 

I have always believed with the great authorities of Nor- 
way and Sweden, Magnus Olsen, Moltke Moe, M. Hogstad, 
Bugge, Noreen, Schrick, Montelius, that the language is too 
modern, besides being faulty ; and a more careful study of the 
words has not changed my opinion. In some places where the 
rune \> (thorn) is used, it is not used properly. But I shall not 
enter into details at this time. 

That the Norwegians discovered Vinland is a fact. That they, 
in the fourteenth century, may have penetrated into the coun- 
try as far as the present Kensington, is possible. But what 
has been testified to about the finding of the stone is not con- 
vincing, and I do not consider the Kensington stone authentic. 

It seems to me that the stone should be brought to Norway 
to be examined by expert runologists, and, in my opinion, 
nothing else will dispose of the matter. 

Yours respectfully, 

• (tisle Bothne. 



Form i. 



50 MINNESOTA HISTORICAL SOCIETY COLLECTIONS. 



APPENDIX. 



Professor Flom's Investigation, 



Since the foregoing was written, a learned contribution has 
been made to the subject by an eminent philologist, Prof. 
George T. Mom, of the University of Illinois, who reaches an ad- 
verse decision. This Avas courteously furnished to the Com- 
mittee in manuscript, but has since been revised and pub- 
lished in June, 1910, by the Illinois Historical Society, entitled, 
"The Kensington Rune Stone, a JModern Inscription from 
Douglas Count}", ]\linnesota." His objections can be classified 
as follows : 

PRONUNCIATION AND SPELLING. 

1. liadhe. hafthe should have been used; that is, the dis- 
appearance of / or V before a consonant had not yet taken 
place. 

2. vcdh should be vklh. The change to c begins about 1400. 
vi\ in the third line from the end, is an attempt to use the mod- 
ern Swedish-Norwegian vc. 

3. fro should be fra, as fro and from never occur in Middle 
Swedish. 

4. of cannot be compared with the sense "too," which 
would be beside the point; and of rest is as impossible as "too 
west" in English. 

5. o// would liave been in ^liddle Swedish, in the regular 
way, ol't. 

6. (ilir. The same error occurs here as in uh. These spell- 
ings belong to a much later time. 

7. dhufi, op(JJin<icIsc, landh, dlicdh. There was no need for 
the Swedish scribe to employ the rune |d for (?, as well as for dh 
and //( ; for d then had its own symbol (f ). 



THE KENSINGTON RUNE STONE. 61 

INFLEXIONS. 

8. rar, koni, fan, har. The transference of the singular 
form to the plural is comparatively recent. 

9. man, as plural, is irregular. 

10. vi hadhe. The modern scribe here employed his own 
speech, Avith an antiquarian effort shown in introducing h after 
the dental. 

11. fra dheiho sten should be fra fjaessom stcn (variant of 
fyaemma stcn) ; "later fra may also govern the accusative, which 
would give the form fra fjaenna sten.'^ 

12. at se acptlr rore sMp should be, regularly, at se aeptir 
raroin sl-ipiim. The rune stone's inscription is that of present 
speech, Norwegian rather than Swedish, except for the word 
aeptir. 

13. from dlicno oh. oh is feminine in Old Swedish, and the 
feminine form of dhcno should have been used, i: e., fra fjaenna 
0. (Compare /"/•« dhcno sten above.) 

MEANING OF CERTAIN WORDS. 

14. po, then just forming from upp a, up pa, could not be 
used in this way (i. e., with an activity), but only as a preposi- 
tion meaning upon. The use here is modern (in Swedish com- 
paratively recent). 

15. opdhagelsc must have dated from after the Refor- 
mation. It is Dutch, and its meaning as here employed is from 
High German entdecken. 

16. laer/er is a loan from the German. The Old Swedish 
word was lacgher, which also was used differently. 

17. rise should be in Old SAvedish rcsa, which came into 
Swedish from German in the fifteenth century. 

18. Two quotations are given, from the fourteenth century 
and the fifteenth century, to show how consistent the language 
was at that time. One is from Sjalinne Throst, 1370, MS. 1430,^ 
the other from ^Margaret's Chronicle, late fifteenth century, 
MS. 1514-1525. 



52 MINNESOTA HISTORICAL SOCIETY COLLECTIONS. 

THE RUNES. 

19. Examination shows that the runes employed are not 
those of the Mariaklagan, Middle Swedish of about 1400, which 
are the same as in the Scanian Law (1300). The Kensington 
scribe therefore did not use the regular Norwegian and Middle 
Swedish runic alphabet, but employed characters either in- 
vented by himself or from some other dialect, "a different 
alphabet. ' ' 

20. This paper shows use and knowledge of runes ''until 
the last century." Hence there is some likelihood of some- 
one having skill enough to write runes in the latter half of the 
nineteenth century. 

21. It finds that the particular alphabet of the Kensington 
stone was in use in the sixteenth century in Elfdalen ; and it 
infers that the sixteenth century is "modern," yet in important 
respects quite different. For instance, the thorn, \>, was used 
by the Kensington scribe for th, dli, and d, whereas at the date 
claimed for the stone d had its own cliaracter,f. He must 
therefore either have been ignorant of 1, or, in modern style, 
used \i for d. 

Discussion of these Objections. 

Most of these critical objections have been presented by 
others, and are referred to in the body of the foregoing report. 
There are 21 items, as numbered, and they will be reviewed 
here in numerical order. Numbers 1, 3, 7, 8, 10, 14, 15, and 16, 
have been shown to be either invalid or at least of questionable 
character adverse to the record. 

No. 2. re is undoubtedly the phonetic for vedh, which is 
spelled in full (vedh) in the fourth line, but probably pro- 
nounced as sj)elled here (re). If the rune scribe were perpe- 
trating a fraudulent record of 1362, and was acquainted with 
the word vcdJi, he would scarcely introduce a modern spelling 
of that word (ve). 

No. 4. The translation far to the wcstirard is not required. 
The use of of for af is an instance of the phonetic confounding 
of a, aa, with o. 



THE KENSINGTON RUNE STONE. 53 

No. 5. oh. The difference in sound between this word and 
do was so slight that the rune scribe was phonetically at liberty 
to use either. 

No. 6. ahr. Dahlerup says that "as early as in Old Danish 
[1050-1350], the original long a had begun to approach the 
sound of Off" (Det Danske Sprogs Historic, p. 31). This in- 
creased length of sound was indicated also by the spelling a/tr. 

No. 9. man. The common form for the plural was m'enii, 
or man. The form here used is irregular for any date and can 
hardly be justitied, although in Gamle Eriks Kronike (1320) is 
the expression "10,000 man them forslo" (Klemming's edi- 
tion, 326). 

No. 10. vi hadhe. If the faker scribe knew the antiquarian 
style, it is hard to explain why he used his own speech at all. 
(Compare No. 2.) 

No. 11. fra dhcno stcn. The error of not distinguishing the 
gender of nouns in the application of the demonstratives was, 
and is, common. The final letter (o) was frequently substi- 
tuted for a ; but as sten is masculine, this form of the adjective 
is quite allowable. The final letter o, being unaccented, was 
frequently substituted for a, and vice versa. 

No. 12. at sc aptir vorc skip. This illustrates the con- 
fusion of inflexional usage of the fourteenth century. Ac- 
cording to Falk and Torp, about this period e was changed to a 
in the word eptir and others in the Swedish language ; but the 
change Avas not permanent, the letter e being restored, and a 
century later we find dptir, eptir, and dftthir, and eftir, used side 
by side (Svenska Medeltidens, Rim-Kronikor, third part). 
As the scribe employed dptir, it seems that, unless he was a 
learned linguist, he must have been contemporary with this 
temporary change. 

Professor Flom contends that a writer of the fourteenth 
century would have written varom skipum. We find however 
that case endings were not so invariably respected as is com- 
monly supposed. Even in the Icelandic sagas, which show a 
far more precise literary practice than the Swedish of the 
fourteenth century, the case endings are sometimes violated. 
For instance, in the Vinland saga (A. M. 552) we read: ''Lata 



54 MINNESOTA HISTORICAL SOCIETY COLLECTIONS. 

their i liaf fraiii tvennum skipiim thegar tlieir eru hunir'' (Vig- 
fusson's Grammar, p. 123, line 23). haf is there nominative 
and should be dative, while trennum sldpum is dative and 
should be accusative. 

Such disregard and confusion of case endings is still more 
common in the Swedish of the fourteenth century. Molbech 
says of this period : ' ' The old mother tongue 's declensions 
and endings, which in the fourteenth century but meagerly 
remained, almost completely disappeared at the close of the 
century" (Molbech 's Ordhog, p. xlvii). "We find therefore that 
the expression in the inscription is not out of harmony with 
fourteenth century usage. 

No. 13. This shows the same irregularity of declension 
as we find above to be characteristic of the period. 

No. 17. rise. Kalkar gives this spelling as an Old Swed- 
ish noun (meaning journey) of the middle ages. The modern 
form, reise or reysa, occurs more commonly in the literature 
of that period. 

No. 18. These quotations from the standard literature ex- 
hibit the usage of scholars, among whom there was great 
dissimilarity of standards. The Kensington stone shows rather 
the usage of the common people, and, as already stated, the 
two cannot be expected to agree in detail. 

No. 19. The runes used are not precisely like those com- 
mon in 1362, as illustrated by the Mariaklagan and the Scanian 
Law, these being of about that date, but embrace novel char- 
acters, thirteen in number (including punctuations). It can- 
not be understood why an unlettered Swede of the nineteenth 
century, attempting a fraud of 1362, should invent, or import, 
thirteen characters not in common use ; since this variation 
from the common use would hardly be expected to further the 
acceptance of the fraud. The proper comparison would be 
with other inscriptions of West Gothland, which the two runic 
documents referred to are not. 

No. 20. It is certainly true that a scant and waning knowl- 
edge of runes continued till the nineteenth century. 

No. 21. This particular alphabet, according to Professor 
Flom, appears to have been in use in the sixteenth century in 



THE KENSINGTON RUNE STONE. OD 

Elfdalen, in central Sweden, though with some divergences. 
How much earlier it was used, we do not know ; but as people 
from Gothland ("8 Goths") were of this party and also used 
this alphabet, it is evident that it was used in Gothland or West 
Gothland. 

This energetic discussion brings out important new facts 
which every one wlio is seeking only the truth will welcome ; 
but every one will be at liberty still to make such apj^lication 
of the facts as his own judgment dictates. There are curious 
anomalies in the arguments of the author, such that the facts 
presented seem not to be used in their logical sequence, nor in 
the bearing which they have on each other and on the main 
issue. 

The rune character \) (thorn) is confounded by Flom with 
a similar character having the upper and lower ends of its 
semicircle continued somewhat to the left of the vertical bar. 
This form is said to have taken the place, in part, of \) in the 
modern Dalecarlian runic alphabet, when, on the disappear- 
ance of the sounds dh and th, a special character was required 
to represent the sound of d, which grew into prominence and 
persisted. The character thus used does not appear on the 
Kensington stone, but [d only; and hence only the sounds that 
|d represented can be fairly ascribed to the stone. Professor 
Flom's new transcription, on pages 25-26 of his address, seems 
to be based wholly on his confusion of these rune forms. In 
1362 the thorn ([?) must also haA^e represented the sound of d 
in those cases where the d sound in spoken language had sup- 
planted dh or th, though it had not yet been given a special 
character in written language. The modern runic alphabet, 
according to Flom, employs onl.y the new form which repre- 
sents the sound d. 

On the stone the rune \> occurs fourteen times, distinctly 
cut, without any suggestion of the modern rune character rep- 
resenting d. Yet notwithstanding this the author assumes 
that the scribe, a man of the latter half of the nineteenth cen- 
tury, as he supposes, and hence familiar with that modern 
rune for the sound of d, ignorantly inscribed p (the thorn) in 
these fourteen places. It is not intimated that the use of the 



56 MINNESOTA HISTORICAL SOCIETY COLLECTIONS. 

old character was due to the scribe's cleverness, to make the 
inscription seem ancient, although that would be a consistent 
view for Professor Flom to take, but he says distinctly that 
the scribe was ignorant of the character used for d. As a mat- 
ter of fact, the modern sound of d was only beginning to be 
used in spoken language in 1362, and was very rarely recog- 
nized then in runic script by f, the character for t punc- 
tuated and thus changed to indicate the d sound. 

Professor Flom shows that a rune system was used in Da- 
larne in the sixteenth century and later (page 24), but fails 
to show how much earlier. Doubtless runes were well known 
there in 1362, since their use seems to have prevailed through- 
out Scandinavia from a much earlier time. To except Dalarne 
would be without reason, unless some special conditions can 
be shown to have operated against runes in that district. The 
inference therefore is that they were the ancestors of the Da- 
larne system of 1600. It remains to ascertain how the ancient 
runes used there differed from those of 1600 or those of more 
recent time, and whether they manifested those characters that 
do not agree with the modern Dalarne system, nor exactly 
with that of the Scanian Law. Finding important divergences 
of the Kensington stone from modern runes, Flom abruptly 
attributes them sometimes to the ingenuity and sometimes to 
the ignorance of tlie scribe, not even considering the i^ossibility 
of their being due to their archaic date. 

It is unlikely that a faker with the keenness necessary to 
guide him in injecting into the inscription certain ancient 
forms of language should so far forget himself as to leave off 
the old inflections of the verbs (o/», mn, etc), thus giving his 
work a decidedly modern look. It is more probable that in 
1362 those endings had already been dropped in speech, but 
that a skillful impostor, familiar with ancient literature, would 
retain them in his inscription. 

The conclusions of the appendix (page 43) seem not to be 
based on the facts brought out by Professor Flom's address. 
No. 1 is deficient because his address does not treat of "the 
language as spoken at the time." He only discusses it as writ- 
ten and especially its inflexions, which were dropped much 



THE KENSINGTON RUNE STONE. 57 

later in the written than in the spoken language. No. 2 is 
faulty, for he does not at all discuss "the runic series of the 
time" (1362). He finds that the Kensington inscription agrees 
substantially with the recent Delecarlian system, and where it 
shows discrepancies (which may arise from greater age) he 
regards them as evidences of forgery by the scribe. No. 2 is 
further faulty because of the uncertain significance of the word 
"modern." Some things that are modern, say of the nine- 
teenth century, began to exist in the fourteenth, but are still 
"modern," which indeed may be the case of the Delecarlian 
rune system as a whole. The verdict of the committee who 
reviewed Flom's arguments, being founded on evidence not 
proven, or only assumed, is therefore not conclusive. 

The genuineness of the Kensington rune stone must be de- 
termined, if Professor Flom's identifications be accepted, by an 
investigation directed to the question whether the Dalecarlian 
system of runes existed at the date 1362 ; for the linguistic ob- 
jections are largely swept away, and the runic objections 
appear to be turned into probable evidence in favor of the 
stone. 



Investigation of the Rumor relating to Sven Fogelblad. 



The following article, reporting an investigation of an 
alleged forgery of the Kensington Rune Stone, contributed by 
Mr. H. R. Holand, is reprinted from the Minneapolis Journal, 
in which it was published August 9, 1910. 

Since the famous rune stone of 1362 was found near Kensington, 
Minn., twelve years ago, It has been subject to a close scrutiny, and 
many persons have been accused of having forged it. These have, 
however, been acquitted one after another until now only one remains. 
This man is one Fogelblad, who was formerly a Swedish Lutheran pas- 
tor. 

According to the statements of Professors R. B. Anderson and G. T. 
Flom, the leaders of the opposition against the genuineness of the in- 
scription, Fogelblad was a Lutheran clergyman who later was deposed. 
He is said to have turned against his former faith and written books 



58 MINNESOTA HISTORICAL SOCIETY COLLECTIONS. 

against Christianity, among wtiich was one entitled "Age of Reason." 
He made his home at Kensington, where he is reported to have carved 
runes on window casings and doors, etc. One of his favorite subjects 
of discourse was a strange narrative of how "Scandinavian explorers 
had visited that region (around Kensington) hundreds of years ago." 
When he suddenly died, "Fryxell's famous book on the Runes of East 
Gothland" was found in his trunk. This book was later given by one 
Andrew Anderson, in whose home Fogelblad died, to Olof Ohman, the 
finder of the stone. According to Flom and R. B. Anderson this book 
is a complete commentary on the inscription of the stone. 

Such is the rumor published in several newspapers, and now latest 
in a pamphlet published by the Illinois State Historical Society. It 
must be admitted that, if this is true, it is serious circumstantial evi- 
dence against the truth of the inscription. 

Although I have made four or five earlier trips to Kensington and 
vicinity, I had not heard this rumor, and I have therefore just made a 
special trip thither to see what could be learned of this man's life and 
character. 

I have spent a week in following the trail through Douglas, Grant, 
Pope, Meeker and Carver counties. I have talked with persons who 
knew him in Sweden, with farmers who entertained him for years, 
with men and women whose entire schooling has been received from 
him, and, finally, with those who were with him when he died. Al- 
though I have interviewed more than a hundred persons, there has 
been perfect harmony in all their accounts, especially concerning his 
character. 

The following is a summary: 
Sven Fogelblad was born about 1820-25 in Sweden. He studied 
theology and the necessary classic studies that went with it in Upsala. 
His first public appearance is some time before 1860 when we find 
him as a jolly curate under Rev. Mr. Rolander in Tomberg parish in 
Westgothland. 

He resigned his pastorate and came to America. Here he was al- 
most persuaded to re-enter the ministry as pastor of a Swedish con- 
gregation at Litchfield. But at the critical time his old enemy, drink, 
tripped him up. 

He made his first appearance around Kensington about 1885-90. He 
is described as a short, thickset man of about 70 years of age, always 
cheerful and neat. He must have overcome his drink habit, for none 
of the people around Hoffman and Kensington ever saw him drink or 
under the influence of drink. He had no permanent home here, but as 
itinerant schoolmaster used to sojourn for a few weeks at different 
farmhouses, getting 50 cents per month for each child taught. His 
classes used to number six to eight pupils, giving him an income of 
$3 to $4 per month, which was all he needed for clothes. When the 



THE KENSINGTON RUNE STONE. 59 

times and the seasons were inconvenient for schooling he used to quar- 
ter himself upon a farmer. He was extremely lazy, and was never 
known to have assisted in the harvest or carried in a pail of water 
or an armful of wood. He preferred to repair old pipes, bind books, 
make kitchen knick knacks, etc. 

In spite of his laziness the farmers were always glad to see him 
because of his wealth of local news. He knew of births and deaths and 
other doings far and wide, and was the forerunner of the village news- 
paper. Moreover he was always absolutely reliable in all his gossip, 
conscientious and kindhearted in all his narratives, and clean and 
agreeable in person. He was without any ambition and never studied. 
He wrote neither books nor pamphlets, his literary efforts consisting 
of humble doggerels, which rarely If ever were printed. He, however, 
boasted to several that upon one illustrious occasion long ago in Swe- 
den he had written an article for which a paper had paid him ten 
kroner (about $2.50). 

Although he always seemed contented, there was an undercurrent 
of melancholy in him, and those who know him best say he was never 
happy after he left college. Those days evoked his liveliest memories, 
and his eyes always overflowed with tears when he told of the times 
when he with 300 or 400 other students used to sing the stirring Swed- 
ish songs. On the whole, he appears to have been a tenderhearted, 
superficial person in general, with a deep conscientiousness which pre- 
vented him from squaring his creed with the doctrine of the church, 
wearing his sorrows as well as his joys upon his sleeve, inspiring con- 
fidence in all by his openhearted ways. 

He had been visiting for a year with a nephew in Scott county, 
when he in 1895 returned to Kensington to visit friends. On approach- 
ing the house of one Andrew Anderson, he suddenly felt ill, where- 
upon he went in there and died after a three days' attack of an un- 
known malady. 

Those who knew him best in Grant and Douglas counties are Messrs. 
Oslund, Thompson and Simonson of Red Rock Lake, Hendrickson of 
Hoffman, Ekberg of Herman, and Moen, Carlson, Benson, Ohman and 
Oberg of Kensington, all among the most respected farmers of that 
section. To these persons and many others I put the following ques- 
tions: 

Did you ever see or hear of Fogelblad making runes on window 
casings, doors, or elsewhere? Did he ever speak of American discovery 
or of Scandinavians having visited this section long ago? Do you be- 
lieve he could have had a hand in making the Kensington inscription? 

To all of these questions I received an invariable and unequivocal 
"no." Not one had seen him make runes, not one had heard him speak 
of Scandinavian explorers in Minnesota, not one believed he could pos- 
sibly have had anything to do with the Kensington stone. Many of 



60 MINNESOTA HISTORICAL SOCIETY COLLECTIONS. 

these persons doubted the stone's genuineness, but, no matter who 
had chiseled it, they said, they were sure Fogelblad was innocent. He 
was, they said, too honest and conscientious to have perpetrated such 
a fraud; he had no aptitude whatever for practical jokes and decep- 
tions; he was too lazy to have executed it, and too garrulous to have 
concealed it if he had. Furthermore, it is plain from the limitations 
of his early training and later opportunities that he was entirely igno- 
rant of the fine runological and linguistic points involved in this in- 
scription. Finally, he did not make his appearance around Kensington 
until many years after the tree above the stone had wound its roots 
around it. 

As to "Fryxell's famous book on the Runes of East Gothland," 
which, according to Professors Fiona and Anderson, contains all the 
material for this inscription, I assert Fogelblad never possessed or saw 
this book, for one excellent reason — such a book never existed except 
in the overwrought minds of these gentlemen of imaginary rune lore. 
Fryxell never wrote any book whatsoever on runes. For information 
on this, see every Swedish encyclopedia. The only nut of truth in this 
entire bag of husks is that Andrew Anderson in whose house Fogelblad 
died, found an old Swedish grammar (by Almquist) among his books. 
On page 34 are two lines of runes to illustrate the development of ihe 
language. This book he gave to Olof Ohman, the finder of the stone, 
who by its help tried to make out the inscriptions, but without suc- 
cess. Three years ago I looked over Ohman's books in his absence and 
found this work, but saw at once that it had nothing to do with the in- 
scription, as the runes are different. Last spring this book was agitin 
brought into the discussion by suspicious persons, and I then asked 
Professor Winchell, the state archaeologist, to send for the book, which 
he did. He then laid it before Norse scholars, who said it would be 
quite impossible to have constructed the inscription from this alphabet. 

The small collection of books left by Mr. Sven Fogelblad 
at his death, at the home of INIr. Andrew Anderson, was found, 
on inquiry by the INIuseum Committee, to have been disposed 
of in part to Rev. M. A. Nordstroem. of Riverside, California. 
In order to push the investigation of this question still further, 
inquiry was made of Mr. Nordstroem as to the existence of 
any works on runes, and especially by Fryxell on runes, in the 
collection owned by Fogelblad. Mr. Nordstroem replied, after 
some delay due to change of residence, that the books got 
by him were on philosophy, that Fogelblad had no work by 
Fryxell, and added that, in his opinion, Fogelblad could not 
have made the inscription. 



the kensington rune stone. gl 

Bibliography. 



The chronolog-ic order is followed, as showing best the devel- 
opment of discussion of this subject. The time included ex- 
tends to September, 1910, giving a considerable number of 
references later than the date of this Report by the ]\Iuseum 
Committee, but preceding its publication. ]\Iany minor articles 
and comments in magazines and newspapers are omitted. 

Breda, Prof. O. J. An interview giving an account of the dis- 
covery of the Rune Stone. Minneapolis Journal, Feb. 22, 1899. 

News Report, the first announcement of this discovery published in 
the Norwegian press, Skandinaven, Chicago, Feb. 22, 1899. 

Aaberg. E. E. Further account of the discovery, written by a 
local resident acquainted with its details. Skandinaven (semi-weekly), 
Chicago, March 1, 1899. 

CURME, Prof. G. 0. Interview presenting in a brief paragraph 
his objection to the use of the decimal system in the inscription. 
Skandinaven, March 1, 1899. 

KiRKEBERG, Rev. O. L. Ah able translation of the inscription, 
with argument in favor of the genuineness of the stone. Skandinaven, 
March 1, 1899. 

CuRME, Prof. G. O. A lengthy interview, favoring the genuineness 
of the inscription, but objecting to the apparently English word /?"Oto. 
Skandinaven, March 3, 1899. 

CoNRADi, P. A. Detailed discussion of the inscription, presenting 
arguments for and against its genuineness. Skandinaven, March 10, 
1899. 

Editorial Article in Skandinaven, March 15, 1899, summarizing 
the objections of Prof. Oluf Rygh as published in Morgenbladet, Chris- 
tiania, Norway. These are the supposejd English words, from. of. cled, 
and unusual runic characters. 

Flom, p. L. Communication showing that from was in use in Nor- 
way in the middle ages. Skandinaven, March 24, 1899. 

Breda, Prof. O. J. Interview giving a cablegram from professors 
of Christiania University, discrediting the inscription chiefly because 
of its numerous supposed English words. Minneapolis Tribune, April 
16, 1899. 

This opinion silenced all who had been interested in the Rune Stone, 
and we find nothing further printed about it until 1908. 

Holaxd, Hjalmar Rued. First account of the stone in the 
revival of the discussion, containing a detailed defense of its genuine- 



62 MINNESOTA HISTORICAL SOCIETY COLLECTIONS. 

ness and a full translation. Skandinaven, Jan. 17, 1908; printed also 
in several other Scandinavian newspapers. 

HoLAND. H. R. The second chapter, pages 8-22, in his "De Norske 
Settlementers Historie" (Ephraim, Wis., 1908), gives an account of 
the visits to America by the early Norsemen between the years 1000 
and 1362, and concludes with a description of the Kensington Rune 
Stone. A view of the stone is presented from a photograph, and its 
inscription is printed in the rune characters, with a manuscript trans- 
literation. 

HoLAND, H. R. Notes of correspondence with Prof. Magnus Olsen 
and Helge Gjessing, of Christiania University, giving Mr. Gjessing's 
objections to the inscription and answers to them. Decorah Posten, 
Decorah, Iowa, May 14, 1909. 

Gjessi^'g, Helge. Runestenen fra Kensington. The full publica- 
tion of his objections, in Symra, Decorah, Iowa, Vol. 5, No. 3, pp. 113- 
126, Sept., 1909. 

IVERSLiE, P. P. Kensingtonstenen. An able support of Mr. Hol- 
and's arguments in favor of the stone and in opposition to Mr. Gjess- 
ing's conclusions. Kvartalskrift,'Eau Claire, Wis., July, 1909, pp. 13-21. 

Editorial Article in La Nature, Paris, France, Aug. 14, 1909, 
giving the history of the discovery of the stone and discussions of it, 
and presenting the probability of its genuineness. 

HoLAND, H. R. "An Explorer's Stone Record which antedates 
Columbus: a Tragic Inscription unearthed in Minnesota, recording 
the Fate of a Band of Scandinavian Adventurers." Harper's Weekly, 
Oct. 9, 1909, p. 15. 

FossxJM, Prof. Andrew. "Hudson Bay Route to Solve Prob- 
lem." A defense of the inscription by an able presentation of the 
feasibility of the explorers' route by the way of Hudson bay, the 
Nelson river, lake Winnipeg, and the Red river. Norwegian American, 
Northfield, Minn., Oct. 22, 1909. This article was printed also in Nor- 
wegian in Skandinaven, Oct. 26. 

HoLAXD. H. R. "The Skerries Discovered." An account of the 
author's discovery of the skerries mentioned in the inscription. Nor- 
wegian American, Nov. 19, 1909. The same account in Norwegian, 
accompanied by a map of Pelican lake, showing the position of the 
skerries and probable location of the camp of the explorers, was 
published in Skandinaven, Nov. 29. 

Odlaxd. M. W. "The Kensington Rune Stone is Genuine." Min- 
neapolis Journal, Nov. 29, 1909. 

Norman. Rev. O. A. "More about the Rune Stone, by 

one who was associated in the Discovery of the Skerries." Ashby 
(Minn.) Post, Dec. 3, 1909. 

News Report of a meeting of the Minnesota Historical Society, 
Dec 13, 1909, giving synopses of addresses by H. R. Holand, Prof. N. 



THE KENSINGTON RUNE STONE. o3 

H. Winchell, Prof. Andrew Fossum, and Dr. Kniit Hoegh, all in defense 
of the genuineness of the inscription. Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minn., 
Dec. 14, 1909. 

News Repokt, noting resolutions by the Council of the Minnesota 
Historical Society, requesting the Governor of Minnesota to institute 
a search in Paris for a supposed rune stone found in the Northwest by 
Verendrye in his expeditions of 1738-43, related by Peter Kalm 
in his "Travels into North America" (London edition, 1771, 
Vol. Ill, pp. 124-128). The Dispatch, St. Paul, Dec. 14, 1909, 

News Reports, more detailed, of the addresses on Dec. 13, in the 
meeting of this Historical Society, including nearly all of Professor 
Winchell's address. Norwegian American, Dec. 17, 1909. 

Hoegh. Dr. Knut. Report by the chairman of a committee 
appointed by the Norwegian Society of Minneapolis to investigate the 
discovery of the stone. The report shows that it had lain where it 
was found since about 1860, at least, and strongly favors the genuine-, 
ness of the inscription. Symra, Vol. 5, No. 4, pp. 178-189, Dec, 1909. 

HoLAND, H. R. A reply in Symra, Vol. 5, No. 4, pp. 209-213, to the 
arguments of Mr. Gjessiug in its preceding number as before cited. 

Upham, Warren. "The Kensington Rune Stone, its Discovery, 
its Inscriptions, and Opinions concerning them." Records of the Past, 
Washington, D. C, Vol. IX, Part 1, pp. 3-7, Jan.-Feb., 1910; with prints 
from photographs showing the inscriptions on the face and edge of 
the stone. 

Daae, Dr. Anders. Concise summary of the discussion up to 
date, concluding that the opponents of the stone have not properly 
investigated the subject before forming their conclusions. Aften- 
posten, Christiania, Norway, Jan. 18, 1910. 

News Report of a meeting of the Chicago Historical Society, 
Feb. 3, 1910, in which an address relating to the probable genuineness 
of this Rune Stone was delivered by H. R. Holand, followed by argu- 
ments of Dr. Chester N. Gould, of Chicago University, and Prof. 
George T. Flom, of the University of Illinois, against it. Skandinaven, 
Feb. 5, 1910. 

Anderson, Prof. Rasmus B. "Prof. Anderson calls it a Fraud," 
a sharp attack on the Rune Stone and Mr. Holand's integrity. Wis- 
consin State Journal, Madison, Wis., Feb. 7, 1910. 

HoLAND, H. R. Rebuttal of the arguments presented in the pre- 
ceding article. Wisconsin State Journal, Feb. 8, 1910. 

HoLAND, H. R. An interview entitled "Wed with Indians," present- 
ing the probability that the blue-eyed Mandan Indians are the result of 
intermarriage of the explorers of 1362 with the Indians of that region. 
Pioneer Press, Feb. 15, 1910. 

Anderson. Prof. R. B. Editorial attacks against the Kensington 
stone and Mr. Holand. Amerika, Madison, Wis., Feb. 18, 1910. In 



64 MINNESOTA HISTORICAL SOCIETY COLLECTIONS. 

the next issue of Amerika, Feb. 25, are a letter by Warren Upham, 
Secretary of the Minnesota Historical Society, concerning that society's 
investigation of the stone and its inscriptions, and Professor Ander- 
son's editorial reply. 

Gates, Rev. Horatio. A summary of the discovery and discus- 
sion, with numerous references supporting the genuineness of the 
inscriptions. Republican Gazette, Willmar, Minn., March 24, 1910. 

HoLAND, H. R. "A Fourteenth-Century Columbus," noting that a 
Norse expedition under the command of Paul Knutson sailed from 
Bergen to Greenland in 1355 and returned in 1364, and that probably 
they went into Hudson bay and thence advanced inland to the site of 
the Kensington stone. Harper's Weekly, March 26, 1910. 

Hagen, Prof. O. E. "Ad Utrumque Parati Simus." An interesting 
discussion of the credentials of this Rune Stone, with the conclusion 
that the runes and the language of the inscription will yield "its own 
vindication or condemnation." Amerika, April 1, 1910. 

Huseby, Olaf. a defense of the language of the stone, particu- 
larly of the word from. Skandinaven, April 9, 1910. 

HoLAND, H. R. A reply to Professor Fiona's objections to the 
inscription, as presented by him at the meeting, Feb. 3, of the Chicago 
Historical Society. Skandinaven, April 21, 1910. 

HoLAND, H. R. "The Oldest Native Document in America;" the 
address delivered before the Minnesota Historical Society as before 
noted, Dec. 13, 1909, giving a narration of the finding of the Rune 
Stone, with affidavits relating thereto, and a full statement of the 
arguments, general, runic, and linguistic, on both sides of the contro- 
versy, showing the probable reliability of the inscription as a his- 
torical record. Journal of American History, Vol. IV, No. 2, pp. 1G5- 
184, April, 1910. 

Breda, Prof. O. J. "Rundt Kensington-stenen." A satirical arti- 
cle, noting the improbabilities of an exploration so far inland, and 
reminding the reader of the adverse opinions uttered by Norse scholars 
when the stone was found. Symra, Vol. 6, No. 2, pp. 65-80, May, 1910. 

DiESERUD, JuuL. "Holaud og Kensingtonspogen." Detailed objec- 
tions against the language of the inscription. Skandinaven, May 4, 
and Amerika, May 13, 1910. 

WiNCHELL, Prof. N. H. News report entitled "I believe the Stone 
is Genuine." Norwegian American, Northfield, Minn., May 13, 1910. 
This article and others in the St. Paul and Minneapolis newspapers. 
May 10-12, contain extracts from the Report of the Museum Committee 
of the Minnesota Historical Society, read by Professor Winchell at the 
society's monthly meeting. May 9. 

HoLAND, H. R. "Kensington-stenen." Lengthy replies to Mr. Dies- 
erud's objections stated in the foregoing article. Skandinaven, May 
18 and 23, 1910. 



THE KENSIXGTOX RUNE STOXE. 65 

Andeksox. Prof. R. B. "The Kensington Rune Stone once 
more: Draw jour own Conclusions." Tliis article claims tliat one 
Andrew Anderson practically admitted to the writer that he and Olof 
Ohman, the finder of the stone, assisted a former preacher named 
Fogelblad in forging the inscription. Amerika, May 27, 1910; reprinted 
also in the Democrat, Madison, Wis., of the same date. 

WixcHELL. Prof. N. H. "Letters from Rune Suspects." Letters 
of Andrew Anderson and Olof Ohman, denying and disproving the 
preceding accusation, and showing the impossibility of any collusion 
between them. Norwegian American, June 10, 1910. 

Anderson, Prof. R. b., and Prof. N. H. Wixchell. "Opinions 
differ on Rune Stone." An interview with the former, accusing Rev. 
Sven Fogelblad of making the inscription, and letters from the latter 
and from Andrew Anderson, refuting that statement. Minneapolis 
Journal, June 10, 1910. 

IvERSLiE. P. P. Rebuttal of the arguments against the inscription 
presented by Mr. Dieserud as before noted. Amerika, June 10 17 and 
24, 1910. ' ' 

Daae, Dr. Anders. "Var Normandene i Amerika i 1362?" Re- 
view of recent developments in the discussion, including a signed invi- " 
tation from professors at Christiania University that the stone be 
brought • there for renewed investigation. Aftenposten, Christiania 
Norway, June 12, 1910. 

Flom, Prof. George T. "The Kensington Rune Stone; a Mod- 
ern Inscription from Douglas County, Minnesota." This address, 
delivered to the Illinois State Historical Society at its Annual Meet- 
ing, May 5-6, 1910, is a very elaborate array of arguments, from many 
points of view, against the genuineness of this rune inscription, with 
intimation that Mr. Fogelblad may have been its author. Publication 
of the Illinois State Historical Library, No. 15, June, 1910; 43 pages, 
with a large plate view of the rune stone, showing separately the 
records on its face and edge, and a plate of the runic alphabets used 
m the Scanian Law, the Lament of the Virgin, and this Kensington 
inscription. 

ScHAEFER, Rev. Francis J. "The Kensington Rune Stone." 
Narration of the discovery, description of the stone, with a plate from 
Ithotcgraphs, and discussion of the inscription, concluding that it 
probably is genuine. Acta et Dicta (published by the St. Paul Catholic 
Historical Society), Vol. II, No. 2, pp. 206-210, .July, 1910. 

Dieserud. Jx-itl. Restatement of his arguments against the 
stone. Skandinaven, July 11, 1910. 

HOLAND. H. R. Reply to the article last cited. Skandinaven July 
29, 1910. ' ^ 

HoLAND. H. R. Report of a thorough investigation 6f the rumor 
relating to Sven Fogelblad, entirely exonerating him from complicity 
Form . 



66 MINNESOTA HISTORICAL SOCIETY COLLECTIONS. 

in authorship of the inscription. Skandinaven, Aug. 4, and the Min- 
neapolis Journal, Aug. 9, 1910; reprinted in the preceding pages 57-60. 

IVERSLiE, P. P. "Comments on the Rune Stone," in support of its 
genuineness. Norwegian American, Aug. 12, 1910. 

Grevstau. N. a. Editorial review of Professor Flom's address, 
before noted, the reviewer's conclusion being that the arguments in 
favor of the stone are stronger than its opponents admit. Skandi- 
naven, Sept. 5, 1910. 

HoLAM), H. R. "Mere om Kensington Stenen." Statement of the 
geological features of the stone, and notes of the opinions of experts 
concerning the antiquity of the inscription. Skandinaven, Sept. 17, 
1910. 

Petterson. a. E. An interesting summary of Icelandic traditions 
of late voyages to Vinland, supporting the genuineness of the stone. 
Skandinaven, Sept. 24, 1910. 

HoLAND, H. R. "Are there English Words on the Kensington Rune 
Stone?" An investigation of the supposed English words (the most 
common objection), showing them to be of ancient Norse usage, 
exhibiting philological features practically impossible for a forger. 
Records of the Past, Vol. IX, Part V, pp. 240-245, Sept.-Oct., 1910. 



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