Compiled by Bruce Wiland (November, 1999)
Ole Pedersen, the son of Peder Olsen and Astri Knudsdatter, was born about 1795 on a subfarm (bruk) of the Hove main farm (gard) in Rogne, Østre Slidre, Oppland1. Hove is geographically located in Valdres, a large valley in the middle of southern Norway, northwest of Oslo. The Hove gard has been variously written as Hovi, Hovie, Haavi, and Haave. The Hove main farm was once long ago a very large farm, but it had been subdivided into 32 subfarms by 1886 and 145 subfarms by 1950. Farm, as it is used hereafter, will refer to a bruk or subfarm of Hove gard unless otherwise indicated.
Following the history of the family farm is somewhat confusing, but it appears that the the original family farm came into being sometime in the mid-1600's and was called Nigarden Høve (Gnr 45, Bnr1)2. Ole’s grandfather took possesion of the farm in 1752 but had financial difficulties and eventually had to sell. Somehow, Ole’s father Peder managed to reestablish ownership to a portion of the property and it became known as Skogen (Gnr 45, Bnr 28). Ole was mostly likely born on this farm. The 1801 Norway census for the entire Hove gard (spelled Haavi in the census) shows Ole (age 6) and parents Peder Olssen (age 36) and Astri Knudsdotter (age 39). Ole took over the Skogen farm from his parents and lived out his entire life on the farm. He also owned the farm Mørsengbraaten (Gnr 45, Bnr 29), but it is not clear whether Mørsengbraaten was purchased separately or formed from part of Skogen. Over the years Ole sold parts of Skogen and those part became their own subfarms. Ole was living on Mørsengbraaten in the 1820's.
Ole’s wife Rangdi Olsdatter, daughter of Ole Knudsen and Ragnild Monsdatter, was born around 1799 on the farm Røn Søndre in Ron Parish. Rangdi was a widow when she married Ole. The name of Rangdi’s first husband or whether she had children in her first marriage has not yet been determined. Ole and Rangdi married on 11 Oct 1821 at the Rogne church. Ole (age 71) is listed in the 1865 Norway census as living on Hove-Skougen (Lnr 316a)3 with son Peder, daughter Mali, and their respective families. Ole’s wife Rangdi is not listed and must have died by this date.
Ole and Rangdi had at least seven children: Peder, Knud(I), Ragnhild, Knud(II), Mali, Rangdi, and Marit. These children emigrated to the United States. Ole and Rangdi may have had at least two other children that either died young, did not emigrate, or emigrated without that knowledge being passed down. Ole's mother's name was Astri and Rangdi’s father’s name was Ole. It is strange that none of Ole and Rangdi’s children have these names as would have been typical. The 1865 Norway census shows an Ole Olsen on Hove-Skogen who is 43 years old. This would be about the correct age for a child between Peder and Knud(I), but no record has yet been found of his birth to Ole and Rangdi in the parish records, so he likely belongs to another family.
1. Peder Olsen
Peder Olsen, the oldest child, was born 26 Apr 1822 (FHC film12558, bk.4, p.133, #20). Peder or Per as he was also called was apparenly a wild, undisciplined person. He took over Skogen in 1857 and appears to have immediately sold part of Mørsengbraaten to the owner of Søre Haugen. This newly combined farm became known "Haugen med Mørsengbraaten og Skogen" (Gnr 45, Bnr 26). The following passage is a translation from Valdres Bygdebok: Gardar og slekter I Øystre Slidre, Vol. B describing Peder’s character and personality.
Peder Olsen took over from his father in 1857. And Peder or Per, often called "Kute-Per", was a distinctive enough person that some extra lines must be spent on him. He was born in 1822 and stood out from the time he was a little boy. He was accomplished at school, resourceful, handsome, and strong. His humor tended toward the coarse. He started his military service in the middle of the 1840's, and the officers judged often that Per exhibited foolish behavior. It happened he got arrested. As an example, when he had seduced a girl that was going to America. He did this so thoroughly that the ship left without her -- and upon the boat was the young man she was engaged with, quite in dispair! He had, moreover, a "good scuffle" from the womenfolk, this he-man. In addition, he was inclined to distilled spirits, and in 1855
he was fined for distilling. He had then married with Marit Ellingsdotter Bekkevol from Hallingdal. In her family were several sharp brains, among other things she had a brother who was a well-known scientist in chemistry over in the USA. There came also Peder or Per in 1874. But he continued to get with himself much tomfoolery before he left. The last he made, was some brawl with a pair of retarded girls. The vicar had to step in, and Per left apparently from his hometown in disgrace. After he came to America, he improved himself somewhat -- quitting drinking and acquiring himself a large farm, which of course he named Skogen.
Peder married Margit Ellingsdatter Bækkestad on 09 Apr 1852. She was born on 14 Jun 1817 at Ål parish, Buskerud fylke. The 1865 Norway census lists Peder (age 44), his wife Marit (age 50), and three children, Rangdie (age 14), Ole (age 11), and Elling (age 8), as living on Hove-Skougen (Lnr 316a) in Rogne parish, Østre Slidre. Living with them at this time was Peder’s father Ole and Peder’s sister Mali and her family. Margit had an illegitimate son (by Erik Hansen) named Hans Eriksen Bækkestad before she married Peder.
It is said that Peder's daughter Rangdi left Norway and sailed for Quebec on 10 Apr 1871 and arrived at Valders, Manitowoc County, Wisconsin on June 6, 1871. For the next two years, she was a maid at the home of a Lutheran minister, Rev. L.M. Bjorn. While working there, Rangdi met and married Berswend Berswendsen, and they settled on land in Lessor Township, just north of Landstad. Rangdi wanted to have her parents nearby, so she persuaded her father Peder and the rest of her family to join her in the United States. Based on the preceeding passage, there appears that there was also another reason for Peder to emigrate.
Peder sold the rest of Mørsengbraaten in 1873, but did not leave until 1874 or 1875. It is said Peder, his wife, Margit, and two sons arrived in Manitowoc on May 14, 1875. The name of the ship is currently unknown. Upon arriving, Peder and Margit took Skogan as their last name. However, sons Ole and Elling used Peterson as their last name. Ole first settled in Mishcott, Wisconsin where he married Andrea Bergsbakken. Ole and Andrea later moved to Oregon. Elling settled in Lessor Township where he married Marit Eriksen Braekken. Peder’s wife Margit died in 1880 at the age of 64 and was buried in Lessor Township, near Lansted, Wisconsin. Peder remarried Anne Bergsbakken, his son’s mother-in-law. Anne died in 1898 and was buried in Welhaven Cemetery in Lansted, Wisconsin. Peder died in 1902 at the age of 81 and was buried in Appleton, Wisconsin.
2. Knud(I) Olsen
Knud(I) Olsen, the second known child, was born 25 Dec 1824 (FHC film 12558, bk.4, p.173, #1). He was the elder of two sons named Knud. Knud married Karen Helene Jensdatter of Drøbak. Drøbak is a small seacoast town on Oslofjorden, about 20 miles south of Oslo. They had seven known children. The 1865 Norway census lists Knud, his wife Helene, and five children, Anne (age 17), Ole (age 15), Jens (age 10, later known as John), Peder (age 4), and Rangdi (age 2, later known as Amanda), living on Hove-Skougen (Lnr. 316d) in Rogne parish, Østre Slidre. Oline (later Lena) is missing from the census for some reason. The seventh child, Ragnilde (later known as Nellie), was not born until 1867. Knud, his wife Helene, and six children set sail for Quebec, Canada from Bergen on the Valkyrien in May, 1869. The ships passenger manifest listed Knud (age 44), Hellene (age 42), Ole (age 17), Oline (age 13), Jens (age 11), Peder (age 9), Randi (age 4), Ragnhilde (age 3/4). It is not known what happened to their other daughter Anne. She may have died or was married prior to the family’s emigration. She may have also emigrated to America separately.
The crossing took 49 days and was extremely rough. Knud’s daughter Lena often spoke of having been sick all the way. Knud and his family took the last of Hovie when they arrived in America and settled near Knud’s younger brother Knud (now known as Knud O. Rea) in Gibson Township in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin. Knud cleared forty acres, part of which was swamp, and he got the nickname of "Knud i svampen" (Knud in the swamp). The family never prospered and Helene was said to have felt it particularly because she supposedly came from a well-to-do, refined, and well-educated family in Drøbak. The boys Ole, John, and Peder pioneered in Lessor Township, Shawano County, Wisconsin on 80-acre tracts covered with dense timber.
The girls Lena, Amanda, and Nellie, one by one, left for Chicago where they worked as domestics and eventually got married. Lena first married a sailor named Hans Hanson who drowned in Lake Michigan and then Robert Stone. Amanda married Thomas Jackson. Nellie married Peter Mickels. They girls might have stayed in Chicago had not Lena’s health been threatened by tuberculosis. As homestead land was available in Nebraska, Lena and Robert decided to take their two children and try a drier climate. Lena and Robert left their Lake Forest, Illinois home in 1884 or 1885 and traveled by train to a railhead (perhaps Omaha) and completed the last leg of the journey in a covered wagon. Their first home in Valley County, near where Comstock is now, must have been a sod house. Lena’s two sisters and their husbands followed later. While Lena had a large family, Nellie had just two daughters and Amanda was childless.
Helene died at the age of 59 and is buried in Jambo Creek Cemetery in Gibson Township, Manitowoc County, Wisconsin. The only picture of here shows her aristocratic face set off with dangling earrings and a collar pin of gold. Her doctor supposedly told her that wearing the gold jewelry would cure her cancer. Knud died on a visit to Comstock during the Depression of 1893. His granddaughter Nettie Stone Haynes was then very young, but she related, "Grandpa and Father were coming from Arcadia and Grandpa insisted in getting out and walking home in the snow. He chilled and died of pneumonia." Lena recognized his act for what it was, a form of suicide and grieved all her life for this kindly man. Knud had earlier stated that his usefulness was over and his presence only a burden on the family in those hard times.
3. Ragnhild Olsdatter
Ragnhild Olsdatter, the third known child, was born 26 Mar 1826 (FHC film12558, bk.4, p.283, #12). Although it hasn’t been absolutely confirmed yet, it is believed she may have married Halsten Fredriksen of Nord-Aurdal and be the one living on the Gottenborg farm in Skrutvold parish, Nord-Aurdal in the 1865 Norway census. This census lists Halsten Fredriksen (age 42), Ragnhild Olsdatter (age 39), Ole Halstensen (age 15, possibly a son of Halsten by a previous marriage), Ole Kristensen (age 13, possibly illegitimate but more likely a son of Ragnhild from a previous marriage), Marit Halstensdatter (age 6), and Rangdi Halstensdatter (age 3). No record of emigration for Rangdi Olsdatter or her husband Halsten has yet been found, but it is believed they did emigrate based on anecdotal information as described subsequently.
An address in papers of Knud Olsen Rye contained an address for a Mrs. Rangnild Gottenberg, Sheford Post Office, Ransom County, Dakota Territory. The 1885 Dakota census lists a Ragnild Gottenborg (age 58, mother, born in Norway) and Ola Gottenborg (age 18, brother, born in Norway). This is probably our Ragnhild. and would confirm that she did emigrate. Ola would be a son of Ragnhild born around 1867 after the 1865 Norway census. Just above Ragnhild in the Dakota census is listed Hans Sandvold (age 44, born in Norway), Marit Sandvold (wife, age 25, born in Norway), John H. Sandvold (son, age 5, born in MN), and Carolina Sandvold (daughter, age 2, born in Dakota). This Marit is probably Ragnhild’s daughter Marit. Therefore, Ola would be Marit’s brother (hence the designation as brother in the Dakota census). Ragnhild’s younger sister Rangdi married a Bernt Sandvold in Minnesota. Hans Sandvold is probably Bernt’s younger brother. Hans and Marit’s son John H. Sanvold was baptized as Johan Herman at the Lands Lutheran Church in Zumbrota MN. This is the same church attended by Ragnhild’s sister Rangdi. In church records, the name of Halsten Gottenborg can be found adjacent to the names of Ragnhild’s sister Rangdi and Rangdi’s husband Bernt. This suggests that Ragnhild’s husband Halsten also emigrated. Since Halsten does not appear in the Dakota census, he must have died before 1885, either in Minnesota or Dakota. The location of birth of Marit’s children indicate the move from Minnesota to Dakota must have taken place between 1880 and 1883. It is not currently known what happened to Ragnhild and her family after the 1885 Dakota census.
4. Knud(II) Olsen
Knud(II) Olsen, the fourth known child, was born 14 May 1830 (FHC film 12558, bk.4, p.322, no.11). He was the younger of two sons named Knud. Knud married Astri Knudsdatter Hilmen of Ulnes parish, Nord-Aurdal on 19 Mar 1854 at the Ulnes church.. Knud probably left the Hovi farm shortly before his marriage. Knud and Astri lived on several farms in Norway: Bø, Rognaas, Oppen, and Rye. Knud and Astri eventually settled on the Rye farm in Svenes parish, and Knud became known as Knud Olsen Rye. The 1865 census lists Knud (age 36), his wife Astri (age 34), and five children , Ole (age 12), Tidemand (age 10), Peder (age 4), Rangdi (age 7), and Knud (age 1), living on the Rye farm (Lnr 204a / Gnr 72,9) in Svenes parish, Nord-Aurdal. Knud, Astri, and their five children set sail for Quebec, Canada from Bergen on the Nordcap on April 24, 1867. On the same ship was his sister Mali and her family. There is a record of the birth of another child named Guri to Knud and Astri. Guri did not emigrate with the family and is presumed to have died before they left Norway. Knud and Astri settled in Gibson Township, Manitowoc County, Wisconsin and had four more children: John, Gelena, Emma, and Clara. All of the children except Peder and Clara eventually moved to Texas and raised families. Ole ( O.K.) and Tidemand (T.K.) eventually settled in Hamiliton County near Pottsville, Rangdi settled in Cleburne (Johnson County), John and Gelena settled in Clifton (Bosque County), and Emma settled in Comanche (Comanche County). Clara died young and was buried in Wisconsin. Peder moved to Illinois and married but had no children.. Astri died of burns on 08 Feb 1886 at Pottsville, Texas while visiting her son Ole when cattlemen upset with his sheep business set fire to Ole’s home. Knud died in Manitowoc on 23 Mar 1900. His body was shipped to Texas where he was buried next to his wife at Our Saviors Lutheran Cemetery in Norse, Texas.
5. Mali Olsdatter
Mali Olsdatter, the fifth known child, was born 16 Sep 1834. She married Haldor Haldorsen Berge on 09 Jul 1859 at the Rogne church. The 1865 census lists Mali, her husband Haldor, and two children , Anne (age 5) and Rangdi (age 3) as living on Hove-Skougen (Lnr 316a) in Rogne parish, Østre Slidre. Living on the same farm at this time was Mali’s father Ole and Mali’s brother Peder and his family. Mali, her husband Haldor, and their three childen set sail for the United States from Bergen on the Nordcap on April 24, 1867 along with her brother Knud(II) and his family. They are listed on the ship’s passenger manifest as Haldor Haldorsen Monengbrotten (age 36), wife Mali Olsdatter Monengbrotten (age 30), daughter Anne (age 6), daughter Rangdi (age 3), and daughter Marit (age 3/4). On the same ship was Mali’s brother Knud(II) and his family. The Øystre Slidre parish register of emigrants lists Mali, Haldor, and daughters Anne and Marit as leaving the parish for America on April 9, 1867. Daughter Rangdi is not listed for some reason.
An address in papers of Knud Olsen Rye contained an address for Mali Haldorsen, Mayville Post Office, Traill County, Dakota Territory. The 1885 Dakota Territory census lists Haldor Haldersen (age 54), Mrs. Haldor Haldersen (age 51), Henry (age 19), Oline (age 14), Julia (age 12), Petter (age 8), and possibly Martine (age 5). All of these children are listed as being born in Minnesota except Martine who is listed as being born in Dakota. Martine’s last name is given as Halvorson, but this may be an error as she is in the sequence with the rest of the family. The fact that the oldest child was born in Minnesota indicates that Mali and Haldor went to Minnesota shortly after arriving in America (perhaps with Mali’s youngest sister Rangdi). Mali may have been living in the vicinity of her sisters Rangdi and Ragnhild near Zumbrota,Goodhue County, Minnesota or her sister Marit in Freeborn County, Minnesota. Both Mali and her sister Ragnhild seemed to have ended up in Dakota although in different counties. It may be that Mali and Ragnhild left Minnesota at the same time. It is not currently known what happened to Mali and her family after the 1885 Dakota census.
6. Rangdi Olsdatter
Rangdi Olsdatter, the sixth known child, was born 07 Sep 1838. This date is from the parish emigrant list where Rangdi Olsdatter Hovi, a maiden, is listed as leaving Østre Slidre for America on 19 Feb 1867. Rangdi has not yet been found in the 1865 Norway census. Rangdi would have been 28 when she emigrated. She may have been on the Nordcap with her brother Knud and sister Mali, but this cannot be confirmed from the passenger manifest. She could possibly have left Norway before Knud and Mali. A story passed down about Rangdi is that she married a Swede named Sandvold in America and lived in Minnesota. This story is partially incorrect based on new information.4 She did not marry a Swede, but a Norwegian named Bernt Sandvold. Thus, the scandalous rumor that she married a Swede can be put to rest.
The obituaries of Rangdi and Bernt give as much information as we are ever likely to have for Rangdi since Rangdi and Bernt had no children. Rangdi came to America in 1867. She lived with friends until her marriage to Bernt Sandvold in 1870, the ceremony being performed by the Rev. Nels Ylvisaker. Bernt was born April 24, 1836 in Os Parish in Hedemark Norway and had emigrated to America from the Sandvold farm in Tynset Parish in 1866, first living in Pierce County Wisconsin and later Goodhue County Minnesota. Since Ylvisaker was pastor of both the Lands Church in Zumbrota and the First Norwegian Evangelical Church in Red Wing at the time, it is not clear in which church Rangdi and Bernt were married. Bernt lived at one time in Red Wing, but the obituaries conflict on when he moved to Zumbrota (either in 1870 or 1872). In any case, by 1872, Rangdi and Bernt were in Zumbrota living on a forty acre farm just west of the Lands Church. For over twenty years, Bernt served as janitor of the Lands church. Rangdi and Bernt were active members of Lands Church. Bernt’s health was strong until 1891 when he was afflicted with "la grippe" from which he never fully recoverd. Bernt died Sunday, February 10, 1895 at the age of 59. Funeral services were conducted by Rev. L.M. Bjorn. In the fall of the following year, Rangdi sold the farm and purchased a home in the southwest part of Zumbrota. A 1903 directory of Zumbrota lists Rangdi as a widow and seamstress. Rangdi died at her home Wednesday, January 14, 1914 at the age of 75. She had been ailing for several weeks, but had not been confined to her bed. Tuesday evening some of her friends called on her and wanted to stay but she did not deem it necessary. The next morning she was found dead in bed. The cause of death was cancer.
Some other records from Lands Church seem to indicate that Rangdi’s sister Ragnhild and Ragnhild’s husband Halsten must have lived near Rangdi and attended the Lands Church as well. Rangdi and Ragnhild’s sister Mali apparently lived in Minnesota at one time and may have lived near here Zumbrota as well, but this has not yet been confirmed.
7. Marit Olsdatter
Marit Olsdatter, the seventh known child, was born 07 Aug 1841. This birthdate is based on a Lena Hovie Stone letter that says Marit 72nd birthday was the same day as Lena’s 60th birthday (07 Aug 1913). Marit has not yet been located in the 1865 Norway census. Marit may have been on the Nordcap with her brother Knud and sister Mali, but this cannot be positively confirmed from the passenger list. She would have been 25, and there is a Marit Olsdatter Hof, age 25, on the Nordcap passenger list. Marit married Lars Bottlesen in America, probably in Wisconsin or Minnesota. The last name was later shortened to Botler and then Butler. Lars and Marit were later known as Lewis and Mary. The 1880 census for Minnesota lists Lars and Marit as Lewis (age 52) and Mary (age 38) living in London Township, Freeborn County, Minnesota with six children: Martha (age 11), Randina (age 10), Ole B (age 8), Betsy (age 6), Edward (age 4), and Pennela (age 6 mo). An address in papers of Knud Olsen Rye contained an address for Lars Butler, Northwood Post Office, Worth County, Iowa indicating that they may have lived in Iowa at one time. By 1894, they were living in Spokane, Washington based on a letter from Marit to her brother Knud Rea. It has been reported that Marit and Lars lived in the Dakotas, but no evidence has yet been found supporting this assertion. However, it is possible that they traveled to Dakota with Marit’s sisters before moving on to Spokane. The son Ole Bertinius worked for the City of Spokane. One of the daughters married a P.A. Peters and lived in Seattle. Lars died in 1906 in Spokane,Washington. Marit died 30 Apr 1915 in Spokane, Washington at the age of 73 when struck by a Great Northern train while walking. It is not currently known what happened to Marit’s family after her death. An obituary from the Spokane paper, if it exists, might provide some clues.
-------------------------------------------------- Footnotes --------------------------------------
1 Norway has two separate systems of administrative units, one secular and one church related. The largest secular administrative unit is the fylke (county). There are 19 fylker or counties in Norway. A fylke is divided into a number of smaller local units, each known as a kommune. Earlier in history, the fylke was known as "amt" and the names were different. The kommune was previously known as a "herred" or "herad". The largest church administrative unit is the bispedømme (diocese). There are 10 dioceses in Norway. At the local church level is the prestegjeld (head parish). In some cases, the head parish is divided into smaller annex parishes known as sokn. In general, although not always, the kommune and prestegjeld have approximately the same geographic boundaries. Rogne is a sokn in Østre Slidre prestegjeld, Hamar bispedømme and is in Østre Slidre kommune, Oppland fylke (formerly Christians amt). Ulnes and Svenes are sokn in Nord-Aurdal prestegjeld, Hamar bispedømme and are in Nord-Aurdal kommune, Oppland fylke.
2In Norway, there is an identification system called the Matrikkel (Land Register) which assigns a number to each farm. Under the current numbering scheme, each main farm or "gard" within a kommune has a unique gårdnummer (abbreviated G.nr). Most of the main farms have been subdivided over the years, and each subfarm or "bruk" within the main farm has been given a bruknummer (abbreviated B.nr.). It is not uncommon for more than one bruk within the same gard to have the same name, although each bruk will have a unique bruknummer within that gard.
3Under an older numbering system now discontinued, farms were given a serial number known as a løpenummer (Lnr).
4The story of finding what happened to Rangdi and discovering her sister Ragnhild may be of some interest. Originally, the birthdate of Rangdi was confused with that of her sister Ragnhild. In fact, the existence of Ragnhild as an altogether separate person had not yet been discovered. While trying to figure out who the Ragnhild Gottenberg (with a Dakota address) in K.O. Rye’s papers was and how she fit into the family, a search of the 1885 Dakota census on the internet produced her name. This led to the discovery that Rangdi’s birthdate was actually Ragnhild’s. This meant Rangdi was not the same age as previously thought. Further searching of records produced a Rangdi Olsdatter Hovi in the Øystre Slidre Parish emigration list and a new birthdate. A postscript to a letter written by Lena Hovie Stone (which was among the belongings of Knud Olsen Rye when he died) states that her Aunt Randy Sandvold "died Jan 14 last" in Minnesota and that she was about 74 years old or more. The context of the letter indicates it was written either in 1913 or 1914. A search of a partial list of cemetery records for southeastern Minnesota that happened to be found on the internet produced an entry for a Randge Sandvold and Bernt Sandvold buried in Lands Church Cemetery in Zumbrota, Minnesota. Based on the assumption that this Randge was Aunt Randy and with the date of death narrowed to one of two dates, a search of local papers was conducted for the obituary of Rangdi. The obituary was located in the Zumbrota News and the birthdate in the obituary matched that in the parish emigration list confirming that this was Aunt Randy. The obituary also had her husband’s name and date of death which allowed the location of his obituary and the discovery that he was a Norwegian and not a Swede.