JUNEAU COUNTY, WISCONSIN

 

BYGDEBOK

 

A

 

GENEALOGY OF THE NORWEGIAN SETTLERS, 1850-1950

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BY

 

 

 

LAWRENCE W. ONSAGER

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LEMONWEIR VALLEY PRESS

 

Berrien Springs and Mauston, Wisconsin

 

January 2005

 


 

 

 

COPYRIGHT (C) 2005 by Lawrence W. Onsager. Online at http://home.no.net/sulsog/juneaubokhoved.htm

 

All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form, including electronic or mechanical means, information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the author.

Manufactured in the United States of America.

 

‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑Cataloging Data

 

Onsager, Lawrence William, 1944‑

            The Juneau County, Wisconsin Bygdebok, A Genealogy of the Norwegian Settlers, 1850-1950.  Mauston, Wisconsin and Berrien Springs, Michigan: The Lemonweir Valley Press, 2005.

 

1. Juneau County, Wisconsin

2. Norwegian-Americans--Wisconsin

3. Clifton Township, Monroe County, Wisconsin

4. Suldal Norwegian-American Settlement

5. Suldal Township, Rogaland County, Norway

6. Laerdal Township, Sogn og Fjordane County, Norway

7. Telemark County, Norway

I. Title

II. Series: Suldal Norwegian-American Settlement Families

 

 

 

            Tradition claims that the Lemonweir River was named for a dream.  Prior to the War of 1812, an Indian runner was dispatched with a war belt of wampum with a request for the Dakotas and Chippewas to meet at the big bend of the Wisconsin River (Portage).  While camped on the banks of the Lemonweir, the runner dreamed that he had lost his belt of wampum at his last sleeping place.  On waking in the morning, he found his dream to be a reality and he hastened back to retrieve the belt.  During the 1820's, the French‑Canadian fur traders called the river, La memoire ‑ the memory.

            The Lemonweir rises in the extensive swamps and marshes in Monroe County.  The river divides Juneau County into two topographic areas.  The region north of the Lemonweir River Valley, which comprises two‑thirds of the county, is a nearly level sand plain covered with marshes and swamps.  The southern one‑third of the county is a rugged, highland plateau, dissected in every direction by valleys and ravines.

            The river has given its name to Lemonweir Township, the East Lemonweir Lutheran Church, the Lemonweir Valley Press, etc.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Norwegians of Juneau County

 

            Ole Gjermundson Tveit from Upper Telemark, Norway must be considered the actual founder of the Norwegian settlement in Juneau County. A bachelor, he had come to Maughs Mill (Mauston) from the Norwegian settlement called Koshkonong to work in the sawmill for Milton M. Maughs. In his spare time, Ole explored the surrounding countryside looking for good land. During his rambles, he found an uncommonly beautiful valley a few miles west of Mauston. The valley was nearly round in shape, level, and protected against weather on all sides.

            The land was different at that time. The hills and bluffs were steeper, the creeks were wider with beaver dams and fallen trees. Virgin timber covered much of the area. Travel was difficult. Ole had to wallow through the marsh bottoms and ford the creeks. Many of the huge trees were hollow at the bottom because of the fires that the Indians set each spring to burn off the prairies and start the new growth. Both the Winnebago and Menominee Indians occupied the area.

            The Lemonweir River, which gives its name to the area, takes its rise from extensive swamps and marshes near the dividing ridge in Monroe County, and has a tributary called the Little Lemonweir, which unites with the main branch eight miles north-west of Mauston. For many miles on the head waters of the main river, the land was heavily timbered with white and Norway pines, which afforded a supply of valuable timber for the early settlers. The river is a very durable, permanent stream, at all times affording an abundant supply of water. The whole valley was abundantly supplied with hard timber, white and black oak, for fencing, fire-wood, etc., and good land for stock and grain farms was available.

            Tveit informed his acquaintances at Koshkonong of his discovery. The Koshkonong Prairie Settlement had been established in 1840 and took its name from Lake Koshkonong Lake and Creek. The lake is located in Jefferson County at the point where Dane, Jefferson and Rock counties meet. The most important and prosperous of the Wisconsin Norwegian‑American settlements, its name was applied to a general region that extended a considerable distance from Lake Koshkonong and included the southeastern portion of Dane County, the southwestern part of Jefferson County, and the northern part of Rock County. The region actually consisted of smaller settlements separated by short distances from each other. By 1850, Koshkonong had a population of 2,670 Norwegians. Tveit was a member of the Norwegian settlement near Sun Prairie in Dane County, Wisconsin which had been settled by immigrants from Telemark, Norway in 1843.

            The result was that in the spring of 1850, he returned with Nils Bjornson Farastad and Ole Johnson Magnushommen, brothers‑in‑law who were also from Upper Telemark. They took up claims in present Lindina Township about five miles southwest of Mauston. After breaking up some land and making hay for the winter, they returned to Dane County for their families.

            According to Joseph Hanson in his History of Juneau County, Ole Johnson seemed to have the idea that he wanted the whole country because he broke up land in several places. When they returned that autumn, Knut Ormson Mo from Suldal Township, Rogaland County, Norway and Knut Mikkelson from Roldal Township, Hordaland County, Norway came with them. Their homes that autumn were hay stack houses consisting of a log frame with hay for the roof and walls. The men soon completed their log houses and made a permanent settlement (Mauston Star, June 2, 1887, p. 1.)

            Most of the low land in both North and South Valley was under water when they arrived so they went out into the bluffs that reminded them of their homeland. Nils Bjornson (Benson) was the oldest so he had first choice of land. He took land in section 5 across the road from the present Suldal Cemetery. Knut Ormson chose the land which is now the Riley farm near the junction of the present Suldal and Felland roads because the soil was black as far as he could thrust his knife and in the creek was a spring that he called the "water of life". Ole Gjermundson said he would take the land in between where Allie Peterson now lives. The 1857 tax rolls for Lindina Township show that Ole Johnson owned land in sections 4, 5, and 9.

            Knudt Mikkelson settled in section 6 on what later became the Nelson and Steen farms. His brother Andres lived with him and his family.

            In the fall of 1852, Helge Oleson settled in the northern part of Plymouth township and at the same time Knudt Oland settled in the southern part of Fountain township. John Halvorson settled on a farm adjoining Knut Ormson in section 9. Lavrens Augenson Odegaarden from Vinje Township in Telemark County also came in 1852. Lavrens' sister, Margit, was the wife of Ole Johnson Magnushommen.

            Knut Ormson was the beginning of the connection between Suldal, Norway and Juneau County, Wisconsin. "America Fever" traveled through Norway in waves so that people within any given area might be expected to influenced by the urge to emigrate at the same time. Shiploads of people from the same old‑country region sailed together and sought land together. Later arrivals from the same part of Norway naturally gravitated to the settlements of their own people. Letters and prepaid tickets further encouraged this development.

            This was an important aspect of  Norwegian-American community building:

                        Religious observance was from the beginning, a fundamental aspect of life in Norwegian immigrant communities, providing social as well as spiritual solace, and it was often the source of the first emergence of a sense of community. These church centered communities often reflected strong provincial, parish, and neighborhood allegiances transported from the homeland as well. The intensely streamlike chain migrations of Norwegians from specific valleys and fjords in Norway to specific settlements in America created a kind of cultural homogeneity and sense of belonging in Norwegian immigrant settlements that was conducive to the implantation of a fervently supported parish church as a community focus (Legreid, Ann Marie, “Community Building, Conflict and Change; Geographic Perspective on the Norwegian-American Experience in Frontier America,” IN Wisconsin Land and Life, edited by Robert C. Ostergren and Thomas R. Vale, Univ of Wis Press, 1977, pp. 300-19).

            Gunder Johnson Braatveit, who emigrated from Suldal in 1852, came to Lindina in 1853. He stopped first with Odd Larson's father, Lars Olson Osteraa, another immigrant from Suldal, for a short time in Dane County. While there he learned about the Lemonweir Settlement through Nils Bjornson whom Lars Olson had bought out prior to Bjornson's coming here.

            By 1854, the small community had grown to 12 families and 43 individuals. On May 22, 1854, John Halvorsen, Knud Ormson, Ole Jhanson, Nils Bjornson, Gunder Johansen, Laurans Augondsen, and Andres Mikelsen sent a letter to Pastor H. A. Preus of Spring Prairie in Dane County, Wisconsin asking for a visit by a Norwegian clergyman once or twice a year. They wrote him that they were located twenty miles northwest of the Dells bridge in Lisbon Township, Adams County. They had begun to build a schoolhouse and had chosen the location of a churchyard which they wanted to have dedicated.

            Herman Amberg Preus was born on June 16, 1825 in Kristiansand, Norway. His grandfather was a Lutheran clergyman; his father, a college president; and his mother, a member of the prominent Keyser family. He attended the University of Norway from 1843 to 1848, receiving the degree of A.B. in 1843, and that of candidate of theology in 1848.

            In 1851, he accepted a call as pastor from three churches in the vicinity of Spring Prairie located in both Dane and Columbia counties, Wisconsin and was ordained before leaving for the New World. Upon his arrival at Spring Prairie there were no church buildings, and he had to enter upon his work as a minister by preaching in the small log cabin homes of the settlers. Being a hard worker, Preus soon extended his field of activity far beyond his original charge. He often would preach at places over one hundred miles from his home. During this pioneer period, Preus preached once or twice every day, or at least once every other day.

            Preus came the first time on July 25, 1854 and held church services in the home of Nils Bjornson. There was no bridge across Brewer Creek and Preus had to be carried across. Knut Ormson guarded the minister's horses and buggy during the night to prevent them from being stolen by the Indians.

            At the bottom of the letter from the congregation, Pastor Preus made notations concerning part of the distance from Spring Prairie to Lemonweir: 12 miles from Kingsbery's Tavern ‑ no road and 10 miles from Rodjers Mill ‑ is road. On Sunday, he held services in Roche a Cree, on Monday, he made the trip to Lemonweir, and on Tuesday, he held the first church services. On his return trip, Preus stopped and held services on Thursday at the Moe Settlement (Newport Township, Coumbia County). On Friday, he journeyed to Portage where he held services at 11 o'clock. On Saturday, he returned to Spring Prairie.

 

Creation of Juneau County, the Townships, Cities and Villages

            To help the readers of this bygdebok better understand the history of Norwegian settlement in Juneau County, I will try to explain the development of the county boundaries, the creation of the townships and provide a list of the present and defunct cities, villages, and rural communities with their post offices within the county.     Juneau County was created by the state of Wisconsin on January 1, 1857. Beginning with the formation of the Wisconsin Territory in 1836, the area included in Juneau County was part of Crawford County which stretched from the Illinois state border north to Lake Superior. Parts or all of Juneau were governed by Sauk or Adams counties in the late 1840s and early 1850s.

            The legislature of the new state of Wisconsin established Adams County in March 1848. All of this original Adams County was located west of the Wisconsin River and south of the Lemonweir River -- roughly the southwestern third of present-day Juneau County. The Sauk County board retained legal control of the sparsely settled new county until 1853. In 1849, this board organized the first and only township during that time period and named it Lemonweir. When the first Norwegian settlers arrived in 1850, their address was Lemonweir Township in Adams County. The township name was the source of the name given to the Lemonweir Norwegian Lutheran Church.

            The following townships are listed in order of their organization: 1849, Lemonweir (its original boundaries included all of present-day Juneau south of the Lemonweir River and a 15 mile wide strip on the north side of the Lemonweir); 1851, Dells (name changed to Kildare in 1852); 1852, Kildare (name changed to Lindon in 1854); 1853, Lisbon, Necedah, and Seven Mile Creek; 1854, Lindina, Lindon (name changed to Kildare in 1857), Plymouth and Waucedah (divided between Kildare and Marion in 1857); 1855, Fountain, Germantown, and Summit; 1856, Wonewoc; 1857, Clearfield, Lyndon (formed out of southern Kildare), Marion (formed out of part of Waucedah), and Orange; 1858, Armenia; 1876, Kingston; 1896, Cutler (formed from the western portion of Necedah); and 1898, Finley (proposed name of “Scandinavia” changed by Juneau County Board).

            The cities and villages of the county include: Mauston, New Lisbon, Necedah, Elroy, Wonewoc, Camp Douglas, Lyndon Station, Hustler, and Union Center.

            Official 1860 census statistics list 266 Norwegians in Juneau County. Of these 166 were born in Norway and 100 in Wisconsin. After carefully checking the 1860 census, I found 262 listed with 165 born in Norway and 97 born in Wisconsin.

                                                            Total    Born in Nor      Born in Wis

            Armenia Township                     46                    26                   20

            Clearfield Township                     6                      4                     2

            Fountain Township                   43                    27                   16

            Germantown Township                1                      1                     0

            Lindina Township                     93                   53                   40

            Lisbon Township                         1                      1                     0

            Village of Mauston                       6                      5                     1

            Necedah Township                      7                      7                     0

            Orange Township                        1                      1                     0

            Plymouth Township                  58                   40                   18

            TOTALS                                 262                  165                  97

 

The Civil War

            A number of the Norwegians who settled in Juneau County served in the Civil War. I have identified about 25 or 26 men who either lived in Juneau County at the time they enlisted or were closely associated with Juneau County. The reasons for enlisting were several. Some wanted adventure and travel. Some wished to serve their new country and were against slavery. The enlistment bonus, monthly pay, and a place to eat and sleep were important factors. At the beginning of the war, many people felt that the war would be over in three months. Many immigrants probably felt it was a quick way to get money for buying farm land and getting a start in America. It is difficult to identify many of these men. They used names like Ole Olsen with no farm designation.

            Several of the men were recruited in New Lisbon to join the 15th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry. The 15th was known as the Scandinavian Regiment because its officers and enlisted men were almost all from Norway, Denmark, and Sweden. These men were John Frederik Frodesen Bever, Daniel Danielson, Halvor Halvorsen, Martin Halvorsen, Ole Halvorsen, Christian Ingebretsen, Ole Jacobsen, and John H. Warp. All but Danielson who served in Company C were members of Company D. Company D called itself the Norway Wolf Hunters. “D” was mainly recruited from the Towns of Oconomowoc in Waukesha County, Waupun in Dodge Couny, New Lisbon in Juneau County, and Waterford in Racine County. Christian Ingebretsen died of disease in Madison in February 1862, Halvor Halvorsen was killed at Chickamauga in 1863, and Ole Jacobsen died at Andersonville prison in 1864/5.

            Following is a list of those Norwegians who have been identified as serving in the Civil War. Some were from neighboring counties who were working in Juneau County at the time (probably as lumbermen).

            Bever, John Frederik Frodesen, Co D, 15th Wis

            Bordalen, Soren, Co ?, died in service

            Christiansen, Christian, Co A, 17th Wis

            Everson, Peter A, Co K, 6th Wis

            Gunderson, Ole, 10th Wis Bat; transferred to 9th Bat.

            Halvorson, Christian Strand, Co D, 15th Wis

            Halvorsen, Halvor, Co D, 15th Wis, killed 1863

            Halvorsen, Martin Strand, Co D, 15th Wis

            Halvorsen, Ole, Co B, 38th Wis

            Hanson, Lars, Co I, 1st Wis; transf. Co G, 21st Inf Regt; Co G, 3rd WI Inf (see Howe,

                  Lars Hanson).

            Hanson, Ole, Co B, 49th Wis

            Helgerson, Nels O., Co H., 16th Wis

            Helgerson, Tideman, Co D, 43rd  Wis

            Howe, Lars Hansen, Co E, 1st Wis; Co G, 3rd Wis

            Ingebretsen, Christian, Co D, 15th Wis, d. dis. 1862

            Jacobsen, Ole, Co D, 15th Wis, d. 1864/5

            Johnson, Halvor Vindlos, Co E, 42nd Wis Inf.

            Johnson, John E., 8th Wis Bat; 10th Wis Bat.

            Johnson, John Lunde, Co G, 22nd Wis

            Johnson, Ole, 10th Wis Bat.

            Kittle, Cornelius B., 10th Wis Bat

            Knudsen, Knud, 10th Wis Bat

            Lawrence, Myron Avery, Co G, 37th Wis

            Lawrence, Ogen, Co E, 38th Wis

            Nelson, Lars, Co E., 38th Wis

            Nelson, Nils Stenbro, Co D, 47th Wis

            Nelson, Ole Andrew, Co F, 16th Wis

            Olsen, Johannes C, Co C, 16th Wis

            Olson, John, Co A, 34th Wis

            Oleson, John, Co C, 16th Wis

            Olsen, Julius O, Co B, 12th Wis

            Olesen, Nels, Co I, 29th Wis

            Olson, Ole, Co E, 18th Wis

            Oleson, Ole, Co U, 6th Wis

            Osmunson, Ole, Co E, 1st Wis

            Overson, Barney, Co B, 49th Wis

            Pedersen, Hans, Co D, 15th Wis

            Steen, John P., Co K, 50th Wis

            Steen, Oley I.,

            Tronson, Tron, 17th Wis

            Warp, John H., Co D, 15th Wis

 

Suldal

            Eventually the entire Norwegian settlement in southern Juneau County became known as Suldal. Einer Haugen described it in 1952 as " a small settlement mostly comprised with the triangle formed by the villages of Elroy, Mauston, and New Lisbon, in the townships of [Fountain], Lisbon, Lindina, and especially Plymouth. Plymouth church [located in Lindina], 5 miles west of Mauston, is known in everyday speech as 'Suldal,' because the overwhelming majority of the members came from that place in Norway. Other dialects seem to have been displaced by this one. The youngest generation does not speak Norwegian, but in the middle and oldest generation there are many who can and do. There are 8 Lutheran congregations in the area, divided among 3 pastors; very few Norwegian services are now held. There has been much intermarriage with neighboring Germans. Grain and tobacco are chief crops." (Haugen, Einer, The Norwegian Language in America, vol. 2, pp. 611‑12).

            Hjalmer Holand wrote in 1908, "All the blue‑tinted hills which a person sees to the south of Camp Douglas, New Lisbon and Mauston are crawling with Norwegians. The settlement includes some 500 people from Upper Telemark and 1200 from around Suldal in Rogaland." The settlement spilled over into Clifton Township in Monroe County. The settlement in Greenwood Township in Vernon County had close ties because they shared pastors with the various Norwegian Lutheran churches in Juneau County.

            The connection with Suldal, Norway began in 1850. A few more families came to Lindina during the 1850's: 1852 ‑ Gunder Johnson Bratveit and family; 1855 ‑ Gabriel Oddson Tornes, Lars Olson Austara and family; 1857 ‑ Askild Jacobson Mokliev and family; and 1858 ‑ Gabriel Johnson Lunde and family.

            During the Civil War era, a significant number of families from Suldal came to Juneau County. Some of those who have been identified with their dates of emigration include: 1860/1 ‑ John Johnson Lunde and family; 1861 ‑ Gabriel Haavorson Veka and family, Nels Nelson Steinbru and family, and Jon Tormodson Quammen; 1862 ‑ Even Evenson Austara and family, Halvor Halvorson Veka, Ole Nelson Kleiva and family, Bjedne Eivindson Austara and family; 1863 ‑ Ole Halvorson Kolbeinstveit and family, and Marta Nelson.

            In 1864, Lars Bakken Guggedal, a former school teacher, led a party of 50 people from Suldal. He was an all‑around man, good at composing verse and of a gay disposition. Snatches of songs he wrote could still be heard in Suldal in 1908. The group included ‑ Lars Osmundson Guggedal and family, Halvor Halvorson Steinbru, Tormod Albertson Oystad Hauen and family, Albert Johnson Kjetilstad, Ole Halvorson Kalhagen, Lars Thorsen Mokleiv and family, widow Kari Nelson and family, Nels Olson, widow Ingeborg Ormson, Odd Oddson Stuv, Osmund Vintrhus, and Bjedne Vintrhus and family. They came on the ships Hebe and Iris. The barks, Hebe, Capt. Olsen and Iris, Capt. Larsen, left Stavanger on May 4, 1864 and arrived in Quebec on June 2, 1864. Traveling from there to Chicago, they were settled in Juneau County by June of 1864.

            Other emigrants were: 1867 ‑ Tjerand Paulson Kolbeinstveit and family; 1868 ‑ Johannes Ormson and family; and 1869 ‑ Albert Larson Lofthus and family, and Lars Lofthus.

            In 1872, Kari Tjerandsdtr. Overskeid, the widow of Lars Albertson Moe (see), left Suldal and settled in Elroy. Together with her sons, Tjerand, Lars, and Ole, Kari operated a country store in Elroy. They also had an agency for an immigration line, NorgeUSA. Many of the Juneau County Norwegians from Suldal bought tickets from Kari's agency and sent them to relatives in Suldal. When these people emigrated, it was natural for them to find lodging in Kari's inn. The Moe home in Elroy, became, therefore, in the last quarter of the 19th century something of a center for immigrants from Suldal.

 

Laerdal Township, Sogn og Fjordane County

            Settlers from Laerdal Township came to Juneau County in 1856. Ole Olson Hillestad, his wife Brita Pedersdtr., and their five children came to Lemonweir in 1856 and settled in Fountain Township. Ole and Brita emigrated in 1852. They joined the Spring Prairie Church in southern Columbia County, which served settlers in both Dane and Columbia counties, in 1853. They probably became aware of land in Juneau County from their pastor, Herman A. Preus. They used the last name of Olson.

            Others in 1856 were Erik Einarson (Nedre Hegg) Nedre Kvame and his wife, Ragnhilda Baardsdtr. Nedre Kvame. They emigrated in March 1855 and joined the East Lemonweir Church in 1856. In 1880 they were living on a farm in Fountain Township and using the names, Erick and Rosa Anderson.

            Many more settlers came to Juneau County from Laerdal in the 1860s, 1870s, and 1880s. There was a connection with the settlement in Greenwood Township in Vernon County from the beginning. Many were related as cousins, brothers, and sisters. Over the years there were marriages back and forth and a number of the settlers in Greenwood moved to Juneau County.

 

Settlers From Other Parts of Norway

            Settlers from Telemark and Hordaland counties came from the beginning. A few settlers came from other townships in Rogaland County such as Sand and Sauda which bordered Suldal. Roldal in Hordaland County had a common history with Suldal and a few of settlers came from that area. Ole T. Olson came to Lindina Township in 1855. He emigrated with his family from Gran Township in Hadeland in eastern Norway.

 

Knut Hamsen

            Knut Hamsen, an eventual recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature, came to Elroy, Wisconsin in about February of 1882 where his brother Peter lived. Upon his arrival Knut worked briefly at the Moe family store. Knut, after spending the summer working for farmers named Loveland and Spear, returned to Elroy. He went to work for Edmund Hart and soon became a clerk in Hart's store. He lived in the Norwestern Railways Hotel, for a year, sharing a room on the top floor with William T. Ager, a grade school teacher in Elroy. Henry M. Johnston, the high school principal, taught him English. Svend Tveraas, a local farmer, was a friend. Knut began giving lectures on the Norwegian writer, Bjornstjerne Bjornson and made an enemy of Pastor M. P. Ruh. Ruh warned people against attending his lectures for the mild heresy that any defense of Bjornson at that time involved in the wake of Bjornson's attack on Christianity and the established church. In late 1883, Knut moved on to Minnesota.

 

Suldal Politics

            Gunder Johnson Braatvedt from Suldal was described by Hjalmar Holand as an influential man called the Norwegian king, patriarch and philosopher. Genial and talkative, he was also a clever lawyer for the newcomers. In those days, it was common to set up a shop at election time where whiskey was served free to several hundred voters. But Gunder and his people refused to be taken in by these blandishments. Said he, "Yes, we will drink your whiskey and smoke your cigars, but we will vote as we please." This became a favorite saying in the community.

 

Norway’s Independence

            The Mauston Star reported on April 3, 1902, that on May 17 a large crowd of Norwegians celebrated the anniversary of the independence of Norway at the picnic grounds on the Henry Robinson farm in Suldal. Speeches were delivered by Rev. John Granskou of Stanley; by James Thompson, a prominent lawyer of LaCrosse; and by District Attorney H. J. Mortensen of New Lisbon. This was followed by a program of music and the singing of Norwegian songs. The first two addresses were in Norwegian and the latter in English. A heavy rain in the afternoon drove the happy crowd to shelter.

 

Suldal Corners

            In 1892 George Winser of Wonewoc, who married a daughter of Jess Winsor, built a cheese factory in section 7 on the southwest corner of the crossroads of Suldal and Johnson roads. Seymour Ranney made cheese the first year. Two kinds of cheese were made, chiefly American. When the corn was growing, they squeezed juice from the green leaves and added to the cheese to speckle it green.

            By 1898 there was a feed mill on the northwest corner, Winser's North Valley Creamery, a store on the southeast corner, and a post office. The feed mill stood in Ed Johnson's marsh by a big spring in the creek. It was run by William Nelson and Will Felland. Minas Anason helped them many nights when they were so busy that they had to run night and day. Nelson and Felland charged by the sack to grind the feed. A favorite story is told about Hagen who brought in a big wool sack half full of grain. To get back at him, Nelson got into the sack and tramped it clear full of feed until it weighed about 1,200 pounds. They rolled it onto the wagon so that Hagen had to unload it when he got home.

            Minas Anason helped build the store when he was about 17 or 18 [1894-5]. Theodore Felland, Anason, and his half‑brother Ole G. Johnson ran the store. They sold groceries, common dry goods, coonskin coats, and took orders for suits. They had lots of trade.

            The name Suldal was given to the community when a post office was established in the store. When they couldn't decide on a name for the post office, Tveit wanted Felland or Moe, Pastor C. Schrive suggested "Suldal." They all agreed. The post office only existed from 1898 to 1901. Theodore O. Felland was the first postmaster. Gunder Tvedt, Knut Olson, and John L. Johnson carried mail from town to the store.

            An agreement had been made by George Winser and the farmers to stick together. Later he sold out to the Elgin Creamery Company (a sort of chain company) and moved out in the night to Hustler. Minas Anason met him that night while coming home from a courting trip. The store and creamery were discontinued in the 1920's. The creamery was torn down and the store moved across the road and made into a house [Knut Larson bought store building and cheese factory site, tore down factory and moved store across road onto that property.].

            By 1900, considerable tobacco was being raised by the Norwegians in Juneau County. Felland and Nevestvedt were the first to try tobacco growing and the crop brought considerable prosperity to the farmers. The following article appeared in the Mauston Star on Thursday, April 3, 1902, page 1:

THE TOBACCO INDUSTRY

Local Growers Shipped Five Car Loads Tuesday

            On Tuesday a buyer for the American Cigar Co., of Madison, was in the city and purchased five car loads of tobacco in Lindina. The Felland Bros. delivered the largest amount having nine loads which netted them the handsome sum of $1,500.

            Following are the names of the gentlemen who sold and the number of loads delivered by each: Dell Rider, 4; Ole Onsager, 3; Germanson & Tvedt, 4; Nels Johnson, 2; John Anderson, 2; P. O Stenrue, 5. There is still a large amount of tobacco left in this vicinity which will undoubtedly be sold and shipped before a great while.

 

Today, the Suldal name is commemorated by Suldal Road and the Suldal Cemetery in Lindina Township.

 

Lindina District Number 7 (Suldal School)

            The country school serving the settlers near Suldal Corners was last located on Johnson Road across from the present Plymouth Cemetery. A history of the school written by the district clerk, Mrs. Bert Johnson, in April 1948 has been published in Country Schools of Juneau County, Wisconsin; History, Location, Adaptive Reuses Compiled by William A. Schriver, [2003].

            “The History of Lindina District 7 (Suldal School) as taken from the records of the district clerk.

            The first teacher there is record of is Jennie Trency who taught three months or what was called the winter term beginning Dec. 11, 1866 for $24.00 a month. Board members signing this contract were Harvey L. Ward, clerk, and A. Cowles, director. Next Sarah Leonard beginning May 6, 1867, who taught 3 months for $20.00 a month. [Jermon Tvedt went to school in log school house at age of 7 (1863) and at present site at age of 11 (1867).]

            The first district meeting there are records of is dated September 30, 1867 with the following board members elected at this meeting: Jesse Winsor, clerk; John B. Wright, treas.; and Harvey L. Ward, director. They voted to raise $75.00 for teachers wages, $28.00 for books, and $5.00 for repairs. Wood was purchased at $1.00 a cord.

            At the meeting Sept. 28, 1868, it was voted to have seven months school, 3 months winter, 2 months spring and months fall terms. Odd Larsen was elected director. The next year they voted to have six months school again and in 1871 they had five months. In 1874 G. J. Foster was elected clerk.

            At the Sept 6, 1875 meeting, L. Howard, Halver Halverson and Jesse Winsor were chosen as a committee to fix a school house site. On Oct 18, the motion carried to have the board secure a site for school house on S. E. corner of Nels Nelson estate.

            Sept 25, 1876 they voted to pay the clerk a salary of $5.00. the board was instructed to buy school house site from Nels Nelson estate if price be reasonable and of clear title, if not; it was carried that they buy site where building then stood.

            Aug. 27, 1877 the board was instructed to proceed immediately to purchase site – described as (1/2 acre, fourty rods more or less north of the S. W. corner of the S. W. ¼ of the N. W. ¼ of section 8 on the section line between sections 7 & 8) from John Johnson – cost of which was $15.00. Jesse Winsor was appointed to inquire what the Chadwick school cost and how many it will accommodate and report at a latter meeting.

            Serving on the board at the time the new school house was arranged for and built were: L. Howard, director, 1874-77; J. B. Wright, director, 1877-1885; G. J. Foster, clerk, 184-76; Odd Larsen, clerk, 1876-1886; and C. H. Hayden, treasurer, 1875-78.

            Oct. 1, 1877 the district voted to raise $150.00 toward fund for building a new school house. Motion was made to apply to state trust fund for loan but there were not enough voters present to decide the matter according to law. At a meeting on Oct. 4 the motion was carried to apply to the state for $300.00 loan, 14 voters present and vote was unanimous, the amount to be borrowed for a period of six years.

            Teachers at this time were: E. G. Dodge for 3 months beginning Dec 3, 1877, $30.00 a month; Hannah Peck for 2 months beginning Apr. 29, 1878, $20.00 a month; and S. J. Denigan for 3 months beginning Dec 2, 1878, $23.00 per month.

            Much of the time during these years 22 days were called a month instead of the usual 20 days, and the teachers held third grade certificates.

            Also at this time J. W. Wightman was County Superintendent of Schools.

            Sept. 5, 1878, G. W. Robinson was paid $14.25 for laying the stone wall for the new building. Nov 30, 1878 to G. Cowee $20.85 for building and plastering. Nov. 30, 1878 to G. J. Foster $68.50 for building. Dec. 14, 1878 to F. Remington $14.00 for painting. Apr. 2, 1879 to France Remington $8.00 for laying floor and making blinds.

            The cost of building (labor) and materials for the new building were approximately $500.00.

            Sept. 2, 1878 the old building was sold to Nels Nelson for $3.25. Wood was purchased for 75 cents a cord.

            The first minutes written as Joint Dist. with Lisbon was in July 18??.

            In 1895 a well was drilled and pump put in, work being done by Micheal Bros. and Geo. Winsor was elected librarian for one year for the new library.

            In 1898 the district voted to buy a bell and build a belfry. Bell was purchased in Oct. at a cost of $10.00. The belfry was constructed by H. Benson, painted by Odd Albertson. [In] 1900, [the] school house was reshingled and interior ceiled and painted. In 1908 the decision was made to charge all persons over 20 years old, attending school, $2.00 tuition per term.

            In 1911 it was voted to buy a suitable desk and chair for the teacher, and a cement porch was to be built across the front of the building. Also hard wood floors put in the hall. Porch constructed by R. Herriot. In 1914 a 14 ft. extension was added to the building at the rear.

            Salaries were voted for both director and treasures positions at the 1917 annual meeting. Electric lights were installed in 1929, wiring being done by Carlton Steen and the first teacher to enjoy the use of them was Wilma Runke.

            In 1933 the stove we now have was installed and the following year they built on the present wood shed. The wall for this was constructed by L. J. Quamme and the remainder of the work on it was done by various members of the community.

            Joint District 7 Lindina and Lisbon became joint with Plymouth when the Knut Olson place was put into this district in Sept. 1934.

            In 1942 the school house was insulated.

            School Dist. No. 8 of Plymouth or Braund School as it was known, was abolished and made a part of our district on Aug 9, 1940 by order of State Supt. John Calahan because of there being too few children to maintain their own according to the new state laws. This building was kept in some repair according to state regulations until the 1945 meeting when the board was given power to dispose of it as they saw fit. In Oct of that year it was offered for sale by sealed bids and sold to the highest bidder, Otis Nelson for $157.85.”

 

Norwegian Parochial School

            To the west there was a log school house where the Norwegian school house now stands. The log school house had stood on the site of the Plymouth Church. After  the new Lindina District No. 7 school was built in 1878-9, it was put up for bids and sold to Nels Nelson for $3.25 and moved to the parochial school site. Jacob Quamme, the father of Lars, was teacher and precenter for the East and West Lemonweir congregations for 22 years beginning in 1882.

 


NORTHERN JUNEAU COUNTY

 

Armenia Norwegian Settlement

            Some of the first settlers in the Town of Armenia were Norwegians. Two of the first were Simon Aslogsen and Lars Larson. Next came Jacob Norsby, Martin Sparsby and his sons Ole and John, Nels Teigen, and later Otto Hustlegaarden and Lars Lee.

            The 1860 federal census for Armenia includes 9 households and 46 individuals. The heads of households were James Johnson, Goodbear Hanson, John Christie, Teman Oslockson (see Timon Aslogsen), Lars Johnson, Targer Oleson, John Peterson, Herman Botelson, and Andrew Andrewson. In addition, Knud Anderson (see) and his wife were living with Goodbear Hanson and John Peterson and his 10 year old daughter were living with Teman Oslockson. The breakdown was 23 males and 23 females; 25 were born in Norway and 19 were born in Wisconsin. The oldest child born in Wisconsin was 12 year old Knutson Thompson who would have been born in 1847/8. He was listed with Knud Anderson and may have been his son. On the 1876 plat map for Juneau County, this settlement was located in section 28 of northern Armenia. Only three names appear. T. Osloe owned 80 acres, J. Peterson owned 40 acres and L. Lewison (Lars or Louis Larson ‑ see) owned 80 acres. This was the beginning of the Norwegian settlement at Miner.

            Armenia is believed to have been named in 1856 for a group of immigrants from Armenia who settled on the east side of the Wisconsin River in present Adams County. At that time Juneau County was still part of Adams. The township was organized in 1858. Always one of the least‑settled parts of Juneau County, the large population increase that took place in the 1890s was due to the sale of cut‑over and drained land, most of which was later abandoned.

            New Miner in section 21 of northern Armenia Township was called Miner in the 1890s. The postmaster in 1898 was John J. Severson (see). The contiguous sections of 15, 20, 21, 22, 27, and 28 were owned predominantly by Norwegians in 1898.

 

Finley Norwegian Settlement

            Finley Township was organized in 1898 from parts of Armenia and Kingston townships. The original petition to form the new township called for it to be named Scandinavia because of the large number of Norwegians or Scandinavians in the township. The name was changed to Finley by the county board. Charleton H. Finley kept a store near one of the largest stretches of marsh in the county. He shipped carloads of wild blueberries harvested from the cut‑over, burned‑over land. The Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad ran a line from Necedah through Finley in the 1890's but it did little to stimulate development. Finley had a post office and a saloon, but never became a genuine village.

            The Norwegians probably bought land here in the 1890s after the drainage of the area. The 1876 plat map of Juneau County does not show any property owned by Norwegians. About 30 names on the 1898 plat map appear to be Scandinavian. Several of these can be identified as Norwegian. Part of the drainage district disaster and the Rural Resettlement Program, fully half of Finley became part of the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge.

 

Necedah Norwegian Settlement

            This settlement included farmers and those who lived in the village of Necedah. In the 1850's, many of the Norwegians worked for the Necedah lumber companies. The 1860 census lists 7 individuals in Necedah Township, 2 men and 5 women. The women were domestics either in hotels or individual homes. The two men were laborers living at a boarding house.

            On the 1876 Juneau County plat map, the Norwegian Ferry is shown on the Wisconsin River. The ferry was directly east of the village of Necedah about 1 and 2/3 miles south of the Petenwell Ferry. Rick Durbin, who researches the history of the Wisconsin River, wrote me on April 10, 1996, "I think I've solved your 'Norwegian Ferry' problem. The Adams County Board of Supervisors granted a ferry charter to Isaac Oleson for foot passengers (ten cents) on the section line between [sections] 15 and 22, T[ownship] 18, R[ange] 4. Granted Nov. 19, 1869 for 3 years. Oleson rowed a skiff across the river. Renewals were granted in 1872 and 5. No entry for 1878. However, after 1877 it didn't give any more charters to anyone, suggesting that either the towns or Juneau County had taken over the job.

            This ferry connected the Norwegians in northern Juneau County with the Roch A Cri Norwegian settlement in Strong's Prairie Township, Adams County. The ferry was directly west of the Roch A Cri settlement and Isaac Oleson was probably a member of the Roch A Cri settlement. About 10-15 farmers owned land in Necedah Township in 1876 who have possible Scandinavian names (Durbin, R., The Wisconsin River; an Odessy through Time and Space, p. 109).

            A increase in the number of Norwegian settlers occurred when the cut‑over lands were drained and sold in the 1890's. In the 1898 plat book, the northern part of Necedah Township had about 10‑13 Norwegian farmers between the railroad tracks and the west bank of the Yellow River spread south of Sprague Station about 10 miles. In the southern half of the township, A. Nelson owned 47.9 acres at the point where the former Norwegian Ferry was located. [Actually, E. C. Jorandby owned 240 acres in Sec 22 at the point in Juneau County where the former Norwegian Ferry was located.] About three other Norwegians had farms north and east of the village of Necedah. South of the village was a settlement of Danes. The Scandinavian Lutheran church in the village had 55 confirmed members in 1875 and 5 members in 1914.

 


CHURCHES

 

            When the church was established in America, it became the most influential and dominant institution in the Norwegian‑American communities. Often social and religious functions were combined. This was the time to exchange news of family and community affairs, to attend to urgent business, and to reminisce about times past. The immigrants satisfied their social needs on such occasions as picnics, conventions, weddings, and funerals.

 

East Lemonweir Lutheran Church

            The Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Congregation in Lemonweir was organized on July 25, 1854 by Pastor H. A. Preus of Spring Prairie in Dane County. Pastor Preus preached again in Lemonweir on November 16, 1854. On both occasions, it is believed that the church services were held in the home of Nils Bjornson.

            The church records list 13 persons that took communion on November 16, 1854: Knut Ormson and wife, Knut Mikkelson and wife, Nels Bjornson and wife, Andres Mikkelson, Gunder Johnson and wife, Anne Johnsdtr., John Halvorson and wife, and Thojer Thorbjornson.

            After church services on June 12, 1855, the congregation decided to affiliate with the Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Synod in North America and Gunder Johnson was elected delegate to the Synod meeting at Spring Prairie in October 1855. At that time the Lemonweir congregation was admitted to the synod.

            On June 12, 1855, 19 people took communion: Gunder Johnson and wife, Knut Ormson and wife, Niels Nielson and wife, Lars Olson and wife, John Halvorson and wife, Andres Mikkelson, Niels Bjornson and wife, Gabriel Oddson, Thorjer Thorbjornson, Lawrence Augundsen and wife, and Knut Mikkleson and wife.

            In 1856, the congregation decided to unite with the congregation in Roche a Cree across the Wisconsin River in calling a pastor from Norway. But this took time. The congregation was served for eleven years by Pastor H. A. Preus.

            The congregation's first log church was undoubtedly built in the summer of 1861. On December 6, 1861, the congregation incorporated under the name of "The Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Congregation near the Lemonweir River, Juneau County, Wisconsin." The first elected trustees were: Anders Arnesen Rosseland - for three years, Torstein Thorbjornsen - for two years, and John Halvorsen ‑ for one year. The Lemonweir church was dedicated by Pastor Preus on Tuesday, August 28, 1863.

            August 30, 1864, Candidate of Theology, Styrk Sjursen Reque was called as pastor for the Lemonweir, Roche a Cree, and Moe (Newport) congregations. Because the congregation in Lemonweir had increased three‑fold, the pastor's residence was to be at Lemonweir. On October 14, 1865, the three congregations entered into an agreement to purchase 80 acres of land in section 30 of Lisbon Township as a parsonage for their pastor. The land was purchased from E. Benedict Trowbridge and his wife. The Lemonweir Church contributed $350 and the Roch a Cree and Moe congregations each contributed $200 toward the purchase. The Lemonweir congregation also paid $50 to repair the dwelling on the premises. The trustees who signed the agreement were Gabriel Odsen, Endre Einarsen, Helge Hegesen, and Isaac Emmunsen from the Lemonweir Church; Andrew O. Hahn and S. H. Hilleboe from the Roch a Cree Church; and Martin Nilsen from the Moe Church.

            Reque, the son of Sjur Styrkson Reque (see) and Anna Pedersdtr., was born on November 27, 1836 in Voss Township, Hordland County, Norway. His parents brought him to the United States in 1845. On July 9, 1865, Pastor Preus officiated at confirmation and preached his farewell sermon. Pastor St. S. Reque was installed the same day. Pastor Preus served eleven years and conducted thirty‑four church services during those years (see Memoirs; East Lemonweir Lutheran Church, 1854‑1979 for a more detailed history).

 

West Lemonweir Church

            In the late fall of 1871, the Lemonweir congregation divided into the East and West Lemonweir congregations. Norlie gives 1873 for the division with 276 members in 1875 and 189 in 1910. The pastors were: B. Hovde, 1871‑75; G. A. Lunde, 1875‑80; M. P. Rue, 1880‑96; C. L. Schive, 1896‑06; C. A. H. Hjermstad, 1906‑‑.

            The West Lemonweir Church was built in 1874. The church was ready for use by May. The church was located near the tunnel in section 31 of Fountain Township. On August 3, 1924, the church was struck by lightning and burned to the ground.

            Luckily, services that were to take place in it had been cancelled by the pastor, Rev. C. Hjermstad or there might also have been loss of life. The loss was estimated to be from $8‑10,000, with insurance of $3,000. Twice before, lightning struck the building and during the tornado of 1907, it was considerably damaged.

            The congregation continued their services by renting the German Lutheran Church in Hustler for a few years. Then they bought a church building owned by a Baptist denomination. Today, only the cemetery remains on the original site in section 31.

 

Fountain Lutheran Church

            Whatever the specific cause, in 1878, some of the members of the West Lemonweir congregation decided to break away from their church. That their discontent was theological is suggested by a statement in the church history:

 

            The great objective of these families was to keep the word of God in its truth and purity.

 

The implication is that, in their minds, the congregation that they left had not done so.

            On July 4, 1878, fifteen families met on the farm of Helge Bratland (later owned by Roderick Benson). Osmund K. Ormson was chairman of this meeting and apparently a leader in the departure from the West Lemonweir Church. He was elected church treasurer, a post he held for forty years. He also had the honor of naming the church.

            The Fountain Lutheran Church was founded by O. K. Ormson, his brothers‑in‑law, Daniel Larson and John Benson, Andres Osmundson, Erik Standeness (Halverson), Paul Paulson, Helge Bratland, Sveinung Helgeson, Ole Tveiten, Ole Nilsen Kleven, Peter Erickson, Ole Boen, Bjedne Evenson, Ole Johnson, Lars Aarhus, and Kjostol Iverson.

            At first they met in the homes of members and in school houses. They received the help of the Reverend M. Falk Gjertsen, but it wasn't until 1880 that Fountain Church installed its first regular pastor, the Rev. Johannes E. Nord (see), who also served the Freeman and Franklin Churches in Vernon County and had to travel 50 miles to conduct services.

            The first child born in the congregation and baptized in the new Fountain Church was Ellen Benson, dau of John Benson and Angjer Ormson. She was born on February 23, 1881. The little girl was also the first member to die, at the age of 2 years, 9 months in November 1883. The first confirmation class included John O. Tveiten, Ole Helgeson, Bjaerne Bjaernesen, Kari Moklev, Oline Helgesdatter, and Elizabeth Martinson. The first couple to be married at Fountain were Lars Aarhus and Anne Jacobsen.

            The first church was built in 1881 by the members. It was 24 by 34 feet and was 14 feet high. Before it was half completed, services were held in it. The church was enlarged in 1887, and was dedicated by the district president, Rev. G. Hoyme, in 1888. By the late 1890's, it became apparent that the church was too small. In 1900, a drive began to finance a new church building. The building contract was let to John O. Johnson, who, reportedly, did the work for a "very reasonable fee." The new church was 32 by 56 feet, and 18 feet high, with an 84 foot spire. A team of horses owned by Olaus "Louie" Nelson raised the 1,240 pound bell to the belfry. The first service was held on Christmas day, 1900. The new church was dedicated by Rev. G. Hoyme in November 1901. There were renovations to the building in 1928 and 1952‑3. The original Fountain Church was moved to the farm of Bjedne Evenson, where it was used for years as a granary.

            In the three years the Rev. Nord served, the congregation doubled in size. He was succeeded by Rev. Ole H. Stenson (see) in 1884, who served until 1888, by which time the church rolls again had doubled. There was no regular pastor from 1888 to 1890. Succeeding pastors were Rev. Nils A. Giere (see), 1890‑1898; Rev. Lars Lund, 1899‑1912; Rev. John Madsen, 1912‑1921; Rev. O. M. Kleven, 1921‑1929; Rev. A. M. Rusten, 1930‑1948; Rev. Oscar Thompson, 1948‑1957; Rev. Ronald Nowland, 1959‑1962; and Rev. Gordon J. Hendrickson, 1962‑‑.

            Norlie disagrees in the date of organization, 1879, and lists the pastors and their dates of service differently. He has O. H. Stenson, 1884‑89; O. Barikimo, 1889‑91; N. A. Giere, 1891‑97; L. Lund, 1897‑11; and J. Madsen, 1912‑‑.

            In 1911, Fountain and the Plymouth Church constructed a parsonage near the Plymouth Church. In 1921 this parsonage was sold and a new one built at Elroy (Plymouth Township). The Greenwood Church in Greenwood Township, Vernon County was added to the parish in 1929. Bethany Lutheran Church in Mauston was established in 1944, and became part of the parish. Fountain purchased the hotel in Hustler (Fountain Township) in 1946, and converted it into the Fountain Lutheran Mission Home for the Aged, with a capacity of 18 residents. In 1948, the parish links with Plymouth, Greenwood, and Bethany were severed. The parsonage in Elroy was sold and a home was purchased in Hustler for a parsonage. The new parsonage was dedicated in 1950. At the end of 1952, the congregation entered a new parish alignment with Trinity Lutheran Church in Hustler.

 

Plymouth Norwegian Evangelical Church, Lindina Township

            The Plymouth Church was organized on August 26, 1896. Later in the year, a joint meeting was held with Fountain Church. It was agreed that those who found it more convenient might join the new Plymouth Church. The two churches issued a call to Reverend Lars Lund to serve the two congregations. According to tradition, the Plymouth Church was to be located on Goodenough Hill in Plymouth Township. However, before construction began, the members decided to move to a flat place in Lindina Township but retained the name Plymouth. By the end of 1897, the new church was built. The basement and the steeple with a bell were not added until 1905. Because so many of its members were from Suldal, Norway, it was called the Suldal Church. Many of the settlers took the Suldal, Norway farm names for surnames. They included Austara (Osteria or Osteraa), Bakka, Berge, Bleskestad, Haugen, Bratland, Braatveit, Borkjenes (Birkeness), Foss, Forland, Guggedal, Helganes, Kalhagen, Orevik (Erwick), Litlehamar (Lillihammer), Lofthus, Lunde, Meland, Mo, Teigen (Tien or Teien), Moklev, Nordmork, Ritland, Roalkvam, Kvamen, Sandvik, Steinbru (Stenbro), Straapa, Sukka, Sorestad, Vetrhus (Winterhus), Waarvik (Vaarvik), and Aahus. Plymouth merged with Bethany Church in Mauston in 1959.

            The pastors were: J. Granskou, 1896‑97; Lars Lund, 1897‑1912; John Madsen, 1912‑1921; O. M. Kleven, 1921‑1929; A. M. Rusten, 1929‑1948; Hobart Skilbred, 1948‑1953; Sven Tverberg, 1954; Burnell Lund, 1954‑1958; L. A. Benson, 1958‑1987; Herbert Lange, 1987; Glenn Borreson, 1988‑ .

 

Elroy Scandinavian Lutheran Church

            Norwegian Lutherans living in Elroy attended the East Lemonweir Church until 1897 when the Elroy Scandinavian congregation was incorporated and a church built. In 1944, the name of the congregation was changed to Our Savior's Lutheran and two years later it called its first resident pastor. In 1960, they merged with Peace Lutheran and chose the name Grace Lutheran.

            The first pastors were C. L. Schive, 1897‑1906 (1904?) and C. A. H. Hjermstad, 1906‑. (Pastor Schive returned to Norway in 1904.)

 

Necedah: Scandinavian Evangelical Lutheran Church

            Preaching took place in homes until the Norwegians in the Necedah area organized to form the Scandinavian Evangelical Church in 1874. The first regular pastor was Reverend Brynjolf Hovde. A frame building with a steeple and bell was erected and dedicated in 1876. The church became defunct in 1931. Two years later the building was sold to St. James Lutheran Church.

            Norlie gives the date of organization as April 18, 1875. There were 55 confirmed members in 1875 and 5 in 1914. The pastors were: Brynjolf Hovde (see), 1875‑78; G. A. Lunde, 1878‑80; Martin P. Ruh (see), 1880‑88; Ole Barikimo (see), 1888‑96; Hans H. Hagen (see), 1896‑14; Invald O. Thvedt (see), 1914 ‑ 1918.

            The church officers in 1915 were chairman, Carel Carelson; secretary, Hans Anderson; treasurer, Hans Anderson; and Hans Haugen.

 

Armenia Norwegian Lutheran Congregation

            Many of the earliest settlers in Armenia Township were Norwegians. Although the majority of them were members of the Necedah congregation, the distance to be traveled, 14 miles, meant that only on special occasions were they able to attend church. In 1892, Pastor Olaf Barikmo (see), from the Roche a Cree congregation in Arkdale in Adams County, agreed to hold services for eight or nine families in the area. When there was an opportunity to visit them, Pastor Barikmo held services in their homes or in school houses. When Barikmo left the parish in the spring of 1896, no services were held for several months. In the fall of 1896, Pastor Hans Hansen Hagan, the new pastor for the Roche a Cree congregation, took over the field. H. H. Hagen (see) served the Armenia congregation from 1896 to 1912.

            After worship services on August 17, 1896, the Armenia Norwegian Lutheran Congregation was organized. The following legally voting members were elected: John Norsby; John Norsby, Jr., secretary,; Al Norsby; Martin Sparby; Nils Teigen; Knud Gunderson; Lars Larson, Otto Hustlegaarden, Ole Sparby, and John Sparby.

            The church officers (Embedsmaend) in 1897 were Ole Norsby, secretary; Martin Stensberg, treasurer; trustees ‑ Lars Larson, Knud Gunderson, & Ole Sparby; Ole Norsby, pastor's assistant; and Jacob Norsby, Sunday school superintendent. In 1912, Ole Norsby was secretary.

            The additional members had come from Dane and Lafayette counties and Dexterville in Wood County. A building was constructed and dedicated on December 13, 1899 by Pastor O. Gulbrandson from Blair, Wisconsin. Others who joined the congregation were Paul Olson, Lars Lee, Lars Teigen, Martin Hensberg, Ole Enkerud and later E. Baeken and A. Battbe. The church disbanded in 1912 and the building was taken over by St. Paul's German Lutheran congregation of New Miner.

            The cemetery, now called St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Cemetery, is located on the northeast corner of section 22. From Necedah, take County G north through New Miner. About 2 1/2 miles beyond New Miner there is a sign a 6th Street, East and 19th Avenue, pointing the way to the churchyard, about a mile north on 19th Avenue. The cemetery includes the following markers that appear to be for Norwegians:

 

Charleson, Mrs.                                                Norsby, Anne, 1854‑1908

Christoferson, Mr.                                            Norsby, Jacob, 1820‑1910,

Gulbrenson, Mr.                                                    grandfather

Gulbrenson, Mrs.                                              Norsby, Marit, 1827‑1908,

Hendricks, Wilma E.,                                            grandmother

     1917‑1918                                                  Olson, Bertha, 1898‑

Huslegarden, Robert,                                        Olson, Hanna, 1887‑1903

     May 11, 1906‑Feb 9, 1907                         Sparsby, Alfred, Nov 5, 1901‑

Johnson, Eugene E.,                                              Aug 30, 1902

     1930‑1982                                                  Stensberg, Marie, Nov 20,

Knudson, Anna, 1867‑1946                                  1855‑Oct 22, 1918

Knudson, Anton, 1852‑1924                            Stensberg, Martin, Jun 21,

Knudson, Hans, 1872‑1951                                  1844‑Aug 7, 1907

Larson, Louis (Lewis),

     1829‑1914

Lunde, Sarah, Aug 15, 1849‑

     Apr 22, 1904

Myrold, Thorger S., 1848‑1907

Nelson, Marit, Mar 24, 1836‑

     Dec 20, 1916

Nelson, Nels, Feb 27, 1827‑

     Jul 2, 1902

 

Sprague Congregation

            Sprague Station, located on the railroad line in section 3 of northern Necedah Township, is the probable location of this church. It was organized in 1896 by Hans Hansen Hagen (see). Pastor Hagen served the congregation from 1896‑1912. I. O. Thvedt became the pastor in 1914. There were 42 confirmed congregational members in 1898 and 25 in 1915. Ole Enkerud (see) served as the church secretary in 1915. Information on when this church closed is not available.

 

Hickory Grove Congregation

            This church was probably organized in 1897. It was part of the Norwegian Synod. Paul Adolf Dietrichson (see) was the pastor from 1897 to 1901. There were 51 confirmed members in 1898. It is not known if the church was in existence after 1901. A resident of the area recalls that there was once a church near Dugar Hill in Finley Township that was called the Hickory Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod.

            The Hickory Grove or Dugar Hill Cemetery is located in Finley Township in the southwest corner of section 13, Township 20, north; range 3, east. It is located on Dugar Hill on 12th Avenue, north at a point where the road curves to the left. There were a lot of grave markers in the 1920's but only two old ones remain, Anna Christine Krogfoss and Benet Severson. The 1898 plat book for Juneau County shows the cemetery just across the line in section 24 on both sides of the road.

            In the 1878 Atlas of Wisconsin, Hickory Grove was a small community on the west bank of the Yellow River in section 23 of Armenia Township. On the 1876 plat map of Juneau County, the property where Hickory Grove was located was owned by S. B. Thompson. In 1898, the property was owned by Nils Waller. The Dugar Hotel was located 2 miles northeast in section 13. In 1876, that property was owned by A. B. Dugar and 1898 by Louis Larson.

 

Sources

            The church histories are taken from O. M. Norlie, ed., Norsk lutherske menigheter i America, 1843‑1916, Minneapolis, Augsburg, 1918.