Kristen Isakson Garte must have been the instigator and "architect" behind the start of the emigration from the Stangvik/Surnadal region.

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«HISTORY OF EMIGRATION FROM NORDMØRE - Stangvik and Surnadal parishes»
* For disclaimer, please see end of text.

 

THE FIRST

Kristen Isakson Garte must have been the instigator and "architect" behind the start of the emigration from the Stangvik/Surnadal region. He ran a shipping business along the European coast and may have operated as far as the Mediterranean region. His boat was called the "Synja" and, according to Ida Edahl in Northport, was sold in order to buy Gartrønningan.

One can still see the sailboats which his oldest son, Isak, carved on the barn door at Gartrønningan. The lad must have surely been fascinated by his father's long sea voyages to foreign lands.

Kristen Isakson Garte seems to have been an exceptional man for his time. In his son Isak's obituary it states: "His father was a seaman and fisherman and considered to be one of the best read men of his time where he lived. His favorite subjects were navigation, philosophy and astronomy - including astrology. At the same time, he was a devoted Christian who attempted to educate his children to the best of his ability. He was Lutheran in religious practice, inclined towards Calvinism where mysteries of life and death were concerned. This also seems to have influenced others in the family."

From the remark about Calvinism, we clearly see the influence of other lands. The style of thinking at Gartrønningan must have been cosmopolitan!

His father's second marriage to Gjertrud Steinberg, characterized as "contentious" by Hans Hyldbakk, certainly contributed to hastening Isak's emigration plans. It is also a fact that his father had remarried just one year after his mother's death, and it is a frequent pattern that children of the first marriage went to America when their surviving parent remarried. This is often observed.

John Mikkelsen of Gartrønningan says that when Isak departed, he bounded down the path and leapt in the air, slapping his heels and shouting: "I'm never coming here again!" John Mikkelsen heard this from the dairymaid at Gartrønningan - "Ska-Kari" (née Sjøasæter).

The path down from Gartrønningan has been a part of the author's exercise trail during this work. Many ideas have arisen walking there - just as while collecting mushrooms around Isak's farm in Northport.

Isak's obituary states: "When Isak was 18 years old, he was 6'2" and weighed 240 lb. - about 190 cm and 110 kg. In a test of strength before leaving Norway, it was said he was as strong as a Norwegian horse. At the time, he had been seriously injured by a load of wood that had toppled over on him on a steep hillside. This was the cause for his hunched back."

The obituary says that Isak landed in Northport, Michigan in July 1867. His sister Ane, Tory (Tore?) Melkild and Staale Johnson were in the same group. Tore Melkild appears to be from Surnadal. Staale Johnson went by the nickname, "The Dane", in Northport. Church records in Northport, however, indicate he was born in Flekkefjord and got the nickname "The Dane" because the Nordmøre folk in Northport thought he was almost speaking Danish.

Family lore in Northport says that Isak and his group left Norway in the spring of 1867 by steamship and landed in New York. From there they traveled up the Erie Canal and then by boat on to Northport.

In his book, "Norwegian Settlements in the United States", Carlton C. Qualey (Kvaale?) says that the boat "City of Freemont" stopped to pick up cordwood at Northport in 1867 on the way to Chicago. Several received offers to work in the woods, but they continued eagerly on to Chicago and, finding no work there, returned to Northport.

Qualey refers to H. R. Holand who says that Leelanau County became the largest Norwegian settlement in Michigan. It was established in 1867 by a group of 29 men, women and children under the leadership of Staale Johnson. Nearly all were from Nordmøre. This was the group onboard the "City of Freemont".

Holand says that one of the pioneers, Ole Hagen, wrote home about the settlement, and this led to others coming in 1868 and later. (See Holand's article farther on in the book.)

None of these individuals are listed in the emigration records, for these were not yet to be found for Trondheim, Kristiansund, Ålesund and Bergen.

Photoreference 76/1: Isaac Garthe - The first emigrant from Surnadal | Photo: H.S. Spencer, Cape Girardeau Mo. (Missouri) | Belongs to: Randa Fredrickson | Copy: Bud Palin.

 

THE DRAMATIC CROSSING OF THE NEXT GROUP

The next group from here departed in the spring of 1868.  From several sources come accounts of a frightful passage on the sailing ship "Jonas" or "Johan", which left Namsos on a course for Quebec. The first time this story appeared was in the 'Annals of the Nordmøre Historical Society - 1981', page 71, written by Jon Snekkvik on the basis of material submitted by Randi Fredrickson in Northport, with Lars E. Bæhle in the leading role. Later, a letter arrived from the grandson of Lars L. Sogge, Tilmore Meium, of Jackson in southwestern Minnesota.

This is the version from Maria Bæhle's obituary: "At the age of 21, Marie emigrated to the USA along with her brother Lars. They paid $15.00 apiece for tickets from Kristiansund to Quebec, Canada  They brought along bedding and all the food needed for the crossing. They left Norway at the beginning of April and did not reach Northport until August 20, four months' travel with 53 days spent on the sailing ship "Jonas" (Johan). There were 400 Norwegians onboard the ship, all sleeping in a large room on the first deck. This room ran the entire length of the ship. Eleven passengers were buried at sea during the crossing. They slept two to a bed and there were three tiers of beds, one above the other. Six stoves were bolted to the deck where passengers could cook. The ship was on route to Montreal for a cargo of planks bound for Liverpool.

The ship had a stormy passage. One storm lasted 3 weeks, culminating in a hurricane lasting three hours. The ship was tossed hither and thither, up and down, and the passengers thought "all the demons in the world had united with the waves" to destroy the ship. Lars Bæhle later wrote that he couldn't describe how it was, but he had thought that it was going to be the end for everyone.

The captain decided to saw off the mast, as the entire gunwale lay constantly under water. Passengers had to climb up to their bunks. One couldn't cook any food on deck, except during rare moments when the storm briefly abated. The sight of "The Promised Land" was assuredly a memorable experience after this.

The trip continued in boxcars with benches nailed along the sides. The cars reeked of cattle. The people sat on the benches, slept and ate, for the train trip lasted the next four days.

When they reached Port Huron, Marie and Lars Bæhle took a cargo ship up to Dames Landing in Northport. They arrived August 20.

Lars Bæhle's obituary says they were met by Ole Hagen who took them to Thor Mikkelsen's.

*

The other major source telling of this passage is, as mentioned, Tilmore Meium. He writes: "My grandfather Lars Sogge emigrated from Surnadal. On April 15, 1868, he left with his brother Nils onboard a ship in Namsos. After 9 weeks and 3 days on the Atlantic Ocean, they reached Quebec. The crossing on the sailing ship, "Johan", was unusually stormy and the winds were severe the entire time. There were 365 passengers, with no lifeboats or rescue gear of any sort. There were 12 deaths and 5 births on board.

Lars met Hannah Sether from Verdal on board and they became engaged. Hannah was on her way to the Midwest with her parents, a brother and three sisters. Several on the "Johan" had the same destination and they traveled together to Minnesota, joined by Lars and his brother Nils.

They went up the St. Lawrence by steamboat and across Lake Ontario to Hamilton. The trip continued to Sarnia in boxcars, by boat across the river to Fort Hudson, by boxcar to Grand Haven on Lake Michigan and across Lake Michigan by steamboat to Milwaukee, a train to La Crosse in Wisconsin and a flat-bottom steamer up the river to Red Wing, Minnesota.

More about them under Jackson, Minnesota.

*

The not so different accounts in these sources, and the gradual realization that this must have been the next group leaving here, made it imperative to obtain the passenger list. The "Johan" was so damaged after this trip that it was condemned, never again to set to sea, and cut up and burned piecewise. It should therefore be possible to find evidence of this drama in harbor shipping records in the Quebec archives. It was Professor Naeseth in Madison who would provide the list: (August 1985)

Photoreference 78/1: Signature on the passengerlist belonging to the sailing ship "Johan" - 12 May 1868 by H. Hansen.

Emigrants from "Surendalen" listed on the passenger manifest for the sailing ship "JOHAN", signed by H. Hansen, May 12, 1868:

No.
222 Nils L. Sogge - unmarried - 28 - Surendalen
223 Ingebrigt Sogge - unmarried - 20 - Surendalen
250 John Estenson Vasli - unmarried -  22 (21?) - Surendalen
270 Lars L. Sogge - unmarried - 26 - Surendalen
292 Knud Evensen Tellesbø - unmarried - 24 - Surendalen
293 Sivert Sivertsen Glærem - unmarried - 22 - Surendalen
294 Henrik Isaksen Størseth (?) - unmarried - 29 - Surendalen
295 Mareth Estensdatter - married - 36 - Surendalen
296 Anne Olsdatter - 13 - Surendalen
297 Nils Olsen - 7 - Surendalen
298 Einar Olsen - 5 - Surendalen
299 Ole Olsen - under 1 - Surendalen
300 Guro Eriksdatter - married - 66 - Surendalen
301 Nils Sandnæs - married - 30 - Surendalen
302 Elen Larsdatter - Married - 22 - Surendalen
303 Lars Esten Bæhle - unmarried - 19 - Surendalen
304 Marie Estensdatter Bæhle  - unmarried - 21 - Surendalen
305 Christen Isaksen Garte - married - 60 - Surendalen
306 Stener Christiansen Garte - 13 - Surendalen
307 Ildri Christiansdatter - unmarried - 19 - Surendalen
308 Ingri Christiansdatter - unmarried - 17 - Surendalen
309 Marith Christiansdatter - unmarried - 13 - Surendalen
310 Gudmund Stenersen Garte - unmarried - 30 - Surendalen
311 Gunder Isaksen - unmarried - 25 - Surendalen
312 Thore Isaksen - unmarried - 20 - Surendalen
422 Eli Olsdatter  ¾ - Surendalen

There were three more from Surnadal, but the microfilm copies make it very difficult to find names matching the home district. Both the names, which Næseth believes agree, and the author thinks correct, appear unfamiliar.

78-80: Andreas Olsen Nerle(?), Peder Andersen Folme(?), Anne Mathiasdatter Folme(?)
142-144: Jørgen Andreas Ingebrigtsen Barstad, Henrik Pedersen Almaas, Johanna Mathiasdatter Almaas
284-286: Sara Olsdatter(?), Ole Lathiassen, Georg Mathiassen
356-359: Ole Iver Tygesen, Karen Olsdatter Bakken, Gurine Larsdatter Krudtaagen(?), John Aagesen(?)

There were just Surnadal folks from Nordmøre on the "Johan". In addition, there are other passengers from Tromsø, Vefsn, Kolvereid, Rana, Vesterålen, Nærø, Overhalla, Mallangen, Brønnø, Grong, Fosnæs, Namsos, Værdalen and a place where the writing on the lists is hard to read.

The Ole Hagen who met them on the dock in Northport must be Ole Nilsson Brøskehagen from Stangvik. All the children named Olsen must be his and it appears that Marit Estensdatter is their mother. Although this doesn't agree with what Hyldbakk says in his book on Stangvik, it is confirmed by the 1870 census.

She seems to have had twins after Ole left, but the census contradicts this, with Eli 3/4, becoming Ella 5 years old. 3/4 on the passenger list must mean 3-4 years old. The infant Ole is not found in the census. Perhaps he was one of the children who didn't survive the crossing, dying on the "Johan" or immediately afterward. For Mareth, the "Johan" must have been pure hell.  In that she was not alone.

Lars and Marie Bæhle are Ole's first cousins. Their mothers were sisters from Torestua in Bæverfjord. Both came later. We find Ole's mother, Eli, and father, "Big Smith" Nils, his brother Lars, and son Ole in the Trondheim records for March of the following year, 1869. Marith and Esten Bæhle with daughters Mali, Elisabeth and Marith are listed under the name Bævra in the 1870 records for Trondheim.

Isak Garthe was probably also on the dock when the group from the "Johan" arrived. He would have met his father, brother and three sisters. He would also have met his cousins Gunder and Thore from Garte, and neighbors Gudmund from Yttergeilen, Garte and Sjur (Sivert) from Oppigard, Glærum.

***

We see that the people who first left are primarily from the major coves in the fjords here: Stangvika, Glærumsvika and Snekkvika. They settled in the harbors there: Northport, Suttons Bay, and later Betsie Bay between Elberta and Frankfort farther south.

Apart from Lars Sogge who became betrothed aboard and went with his in-laws to their relatives waiting in Jackson, the others settled here, some for just a time, most for good. Isak Garte and his family became the nucleus of the Northport settlement, and Lars Estenson Bæhle became the leader among the founders of the settlement several miles farther south, Suttons Bay.

 

WHY MICHIGAN?

From the index of old photographs at the cultural affairs office in Surnadal, it became clear that a great many people from our area had settled in the northwestern portion of the lower Michigan peninsula. Nearly all the photos were labeled Traverse City, Suttons Bay, Northport, Empire or Frankfort.

The hypothesis that the first emigration wave had gone precisely here was the basis for a 3 months stay, with Northport the base for investigation of emigration to this region. It became clear that this hypothesis was correct.

The first wave of emigrants settled here, at least the majority of them. Moreover, the area became a stepping stone for folks on their way farther west. They came here and quickly found opportunities for immediate income as farmhands, lumberjacks, sawmill workers or miners. The first ones quickly managed to gather the money to buy land. Local Northport historians said Norwegians were uncommonly quick at acquiring land and getting started at farming in comparison with other nationalities.

Many of our people also found work on the boats on the Lakes, in the lighthouses and with the Coast Guard. Some fished, and shoemakers and tradesmen are also to be found.

A goodly portion of our people were successfully tracked down during these three months. Some of those who settled permanently are still not taken into account, while those who used the region to provide themselves with money and equipment for travel farther westward, pass only as an invisible stream through the Norwegian settlements. They were not "captured" by either censuses or church records. Their tombstones stand farther west, their obituaries in other newspapers.

One listed in the census: Sivert Glenn and wife Alice. They prove to be Sivert Sivertsen (Sjur) Glærum and his wife Eli Kaarvand (Oren, Stangvik). However, she is called Alice in local historical transcripts. In the original census copy she is Alie. Their tombstones stand in Willmar in western Minnesota, and then she is Ella.

Our hostess in Northport, a descendant of Ingri Garte, was astonished to learn that Glenn was the same as Glærum. This illustrates the imagination needed, with regard to both the written and spoken languages, to "spot" the right people at the right place.  It wasn't a simple matter for census takers, when new emigrants pronounced their names in their Norwegian dialects, and the poor Americans had to set it down on paper correctly. A little bit of everything in the names was changed. One must also be alert to same thing in exit records, with people standing in lines and all sorts of dialects going in the ear of the registrar while youngsters were crying and folks dawdling about. To understand which name is which, one must be familiar with both English and the dialect in Norway, and then apply one's ideas and imagination to the information at hand.

Several factors combined leading Norwegians to settle in Michigan:

Nordmøre folk happened to travel into America via a route over the Great Lakes and Northport, such as it was, offered work in the woods. This was work familiar to them.  Land sales and large-scale activities in the forests were just starting up at the time. One source has it that Isak Garte and the others did not want to go to Chicago and find jobs there but, to the contrary, wanted to get off at Northport immediately. However, they had tickets through to Chicago and the captain would not let them off before their destination, for he had the responsibility for taking them where they were headed. See Holand's article where he corrects this source.

The activity in the forest led to the construction of sawmills. This, in turn, led to a vigorous rise in shipping on Lake Michigan. Much timber and wood for construction were needed in the large cities of Chicago and Milwaukee. The boats were also fueled with wood.

The 1871 conflagration in Chicago accelerated lumbering activity in Michigan, again increasing shipping traffic. There was also the increasing shipment of agricultural and mining products from upper Michigan.

The Michigan settlements were now 10-20 years old, so there were jobs to be had in a variety of fields. Moreover, the landscape on the Leelanau peninsula is quite like Nordmøre's, apart from the lack of high mountains. The climate is also similar. The farms they bought or tilled were similar in size to typical Nordmøre farms, and hilly or located in small valleys. The landscape resembles Nordmøre in miniature. The woods are also very reminiscent of those in Nordmøre. The majority thought it both homelike and contenting.

For the most part, the farms had 5-8 cows, a pair of horses, some chickens and a few pigs. A few even had some sheep. They sold cream or butter they had churned. Potatoes gradually became the cash crop. This continued for several decades before the entire region gradually went over to growing cherries. Today this is the world's largest sweet and sour cherry region. The reason behind these changes is that the soil is very uneven in quality, often just a thin layer of humus on a base of sand. Some had to give up farming after a short time because of the poor quality of their soil. For example, this happened to Olaf Bæverfjord (Torestua).

Today the region is a thriving resort area for tourists during the summer, with emphasis on water sports. Steiner Garte's family was among the first to consider tourism. They built a restaurant and cabins on "Garthe Farm" in the 1920's with a view facing the sunset over Lake Michigan from "the bluffs", where sand cliffs drop straight down to the lake.

Today vineyards are also under development in the region. The vines Sivert Baver (Utistua, Bævre) planted 50 years ago are still bearing abundantly after 50 years! His daughter, Pauline, furnishes grape juice from them for communion at the Norwegian Church in Frankfort.

The first group of emigrants had come to the right place at the right time. Patterns of development had converged at the appropriate time for Nordmøre folk, as confirmed in the following article by Isak Garte.

Photoreference 81/1: Aerial photo southward on the Leelanau-peninsula.

We let Isak Garthe himself describe the region in which he settled:

Letter to the newspaper "Norden" - Thursday, September 23, 1875:
Northport, Michigan, September 1875

Dear Editor!

Your esteemed paper has, since its inception, been a dear and welcome guest in my home and, as it has become the custom and practice to contribute reports from the different Norwegian settlements about agriculture as well as conditions and circumstances among our countrymen in general, may I take the time to request space in your esteemed paper for the following lines regarding the Norwegian settlement here in Leelanau County. As the map shows, Leelanau County lies in the northern portion of Michigan with Lake Michigan to the north and west and Traverse Bay to the east, while in the south it adjoins Grand Traverse County. With large lakes on three sides and vast forests to the south, the county has an even temperature throughout the year, so the ground seldom freezes more than 2 inches deep and often not at all when early snowfall occurs. The climate is one of the healthiest and, by and large, the scenery and climatic conditions here seem to have more in common with the more fertile coastal regions in Norway, apart from the absence of mountains, although the land is generally rolling and often elevations reach 100 feet or more; woods are found everywhere and they are of the best sort for construction, fuel, and carpentry and, only where the pioneer's axe has felled these giants of the forest, does one see clearings; good water is to be found everywhere without need to dig deeply and springs abound; in the Lake whitefish, trout, bass, etc. are to be found and in the small brooks, speckled trout. The soil is fertile and consists for the most of a limestone-rich sort of sand, easily worked, and seems, with reasonable cultivation, to grow better with each year giving larger and larger yields instead of deteriorating; all manner of grain, for instance wheat, barley, rye, oats, corn, etc., yield many crops which are considered, with regard to quality, as the best of their kind; the usual yield of wheat here is 25 bushels per acre, while yields often are as high as 40 bushels. For potatoes as well as for all kinds of root vegetables, the land here has proved itself to be the best; moreover, all the valued fruits are grown here, apples, pears, peaches, grapes, plums etc., making it rather certain that in time this county must become the orchard of Michigan, if not the west. Chinch bugs and destructive hailstorms are not known here. At present, the closest railroad is the Grand Rapids and Indiana Line, which runs to Traverse City, 30 miles from Northport, but the country is still far from lacking means of communication; postal and county roads intersect criss-cross each other in all directions at short intervals and, with Lake Michigan as well as Traverse Bay and Lake Huron, the county has a better and cheaper means of communication than any railroad could offer; during the summer, large steamships run daily between Northport and Chicago, Milwaukee and Detroit, and communication with Traverse City goes on in the same manner. In Northport, the county seat, outstanding harbors are found along with all the necessary shops, workshops, merchants and craftsmen needed for a new land; for everything that the earth can produce, an exceptional market is found locally and, if one wishes, one can send his products directly to the large cities at no great expense. At present the county numbers just 6000 inhabitants, but most of the land is already taken and homestead land is no longer to be had. A relatively insignificant portion of the land is now under cultivation, for the Indians have kept large tracts under a special agreement since the year 1854 and speculators are holding a large part. Poor John, as the Indian is called, holds miles upon miles of land along Traverse Bay; but he is not interested in farming and when taxes are to be paid, it often happens he sells out for a spot price or, at other times, when he is in a pinch; then he generally demands a large sum per acre, but most often accepts the best offer made him right away without the least dickering. The number of Indians here about is steadily declining, as white men become acquainted with the characteristics of the land and the climate, and Poor John most often goes to his happy hunting ground without child or heir, so the white settlers, who all look covetously upon Poor John's dominions since land came on the market here in the county, which didn't happen until last year, will soon probably become absolute monarchs over everything. As concerns the price of uncleared land, it varies according to location; in our neighborhood it is 5 to 12 dollars an acre.  The timber on the land generally pays for both the land and its clearing. With regard to the Norwegian settlement here, it presently consists of just 14 families, all being quite well-off which they, like myself, accomplished in a few years of coming hither with nothing more than two empty hands; several families are expected here in the fall from other settlements in America as well as from Norway and, as there is room here and the best of opportunities for hundreds, it would be desirable if many of my countrymen in the west and in Norway would examine the conditions here before taking land in other locations. The settlement may be said to lie in the best part of the county, from my house to Northport and Traverse Bay is just one English mile, and the land is as good as any to be found here about. The settlement has formed a congregation and is served by Pastor Ruh from Alpena; during the winter, steady work and good wages are to be earned in the forest and, for the well-to-do as well as the not so well-to-do, the settlement offers advantages, with everything taken into consideration, hardly surpassed by any state in the Union. Wishing you and your esteemed paper health and prosperity, I sign myself

Respectfully
I. Garthe.

 

THE LUMBER CAMPS

Because lumber camps and sawmills were the beginning for so many, all the available photographic material is presented here to give an impression of the life many had.

As the frontier gradually moved westward, lumber operations and sawmills moved at the van of the advance. Lumber gangs cleared the forest, sawmills furnished raw materials for home construction and the towns being established.

The working period for Michigan white pine went from 1840 to 1910. Michigan became stripped bare, and afterwards nothing has been done in the woods. They have grown wild since then.

Photoreference 83/1: Sivert Baver (Utistua Bævre) to the left. Around 1900. | Belongs to: Pauline Baver.

Photoreference 83/2: Lumberjacks in Elberta Michigan | Negative borrowed from Allan Blacklock | Copy: Bud Palin.

Germans and Irish first came to the camps. Scandinavians came in the 1880's, according to the lumberjack museum at Hartwick Pines. Our people who came as early as 1867 must have been among the first Scandinavians.

When Isak Garte arrived in 1867, only axes were yet being used around Northport. He wrote his father and asked him to bring saws. Kristen came with several saws on the "Johan" in 1868.  These saws were without rip teeth ("rakers" in the technical terminology in Michigan). Kristen's son-in-law arrived with ripsaws the next year. (Hans Peterson from Helgeland.)  Nordmøre folk modernized lumbering!

Income from lumbering was enough to pay for land, when they bought a region for cultivation and cleared off the timber.

Very often the cabins in the woods were small and cramped. Many men were crammed together so tightly that it was impossible to dry clothing until the next day. They slept with bad ventilation, in the stench of wet wool, wet leather, pipe smoke and perspiration. As a rule the lamp was extinguished at 9 o'clock. The cook began his day at 4-5 o'clock, and breakfast was consumed in total silence.

Many developed tuberculosis under these conditions. Nils Sivertson Glærum (Oppigard) was one of them. Later in his life he was on a health trip to Arizona, but nevertheless he died just 50 years old.

Work morale in the camps depended on the caliber of the cook. Cooks could be either men or women.

The museum at Hartwick Pines indicates that 100 men in a large camp ate the following in one week:

300 kg flour
110 kg salted meat
110 kg saltpork
12 kg pickles
50 kg sugar
20 kg lard
2" kg tea
7" kg coffee
25 kg butter and margarine
8 bushels onions
+ dried fruit/mustard/ketchup/salt, pepper etc.

The menu was:

Breakfast: Pancakes, roast potatoes, saltpork, bread, tea/coffee, pastry, doughnuts.

Lunch: Meat stew, beans, raisin or dried-apple pie, doughnuts, bread, pastry, tea/coffee.

Supper: Beans, potatoes, rice pudding, crackers, cake or pie, leftovers from lunch, meat stew or corned beef, brown-sugar cookies, doughnuts, tea/coffee.

Pistols and hard liquor were forbidden in the camps. Even with these prohibitions, it could certainly still be a tough job being foreman.  Usually the foreman had his own room - when the camp was large enough for that.

Probably the lumber camps in Benzie and Leelanau Counties were smaller and more simply equipped than that illustrated by the camp reconstructed at Hartwick Pines.

It is interesting to see that the tools used are identical with lumbering tools here, except for what is shown in the pictures taken at Hartwick Pines.

The big wheels were invented around 1850 to avoid economic catastrophe if the winter became snowless. They hung logs beneath and sat atop. Two horses were used in front. The majority of these big wheels were made in Manistee.

The supporting devices have unfamiliar dimensions for people from here.  In one picture it can be seen what enormous loads they moved. At night they were out spraying the road with water, so it should freeze and the base would support the load the next day. One may really wonder why they did not make more trips with lesser loads. They would certainly haul out just as much timber per time period if they had done that. Most lumbering trails had their "Dead Man's Hill". More than one of these massive loads broke loose during hauling. Now, for the most part, the terrain is rather flat, but not where our people settled. The loads presumably increased because of competitive factors.

Life would not have been very easy for women in the camp. Isaac Martinson, son of Ole Martinson Halle and Isaac Garthe's daughter Gjertrud, said his parents lived in lumber camps 16 years near Gills Pier and on Beaver Island west of Northport. Gjertrud and Ole had just one room, and Ole had to carry food to Gjertrud from the camp kitchen. She was never out. It is said she was very intelligent and used the time reading books. Their first boy was large and well formed, but died. The doctor said it was because of "rocking-chair syndrome". She had sat inside on a chair her entire pregnancy.

Living indoors must surely have had its reasons.

Photoreference 85/1: Untouched White Pine forest within the museum area at Hartwick Pines, Michigan, southeast of Gaylord. This type of forest covered all of Michigan when the Nordmøre people came there in 1867.

Photoreference 86/1: Lumber camp at Betsie River | Belongs to: Allan Blacklock | Copy: Bud Palin.

Photoreference 86/2: Lumber crew in Elberta, Michigan | Negative borroved from Allan Blacklock | Copy: Bud Palin.

Photoreference 87/1: "The horses pulled this load for 2 1/2 miles", it says on this postcard, sent to G.C. Hopkins, Benzonia Michigan, from Mamie Case | Belongs to: Pauline Baver | Copy: Bud Palin.

Photoreference 87/2: Log driving crew in Betsie River. They lived 2-3 days on each farm. This is Senset Farm - in "Norwegian Valley" by Frankfort. Ole Senset to the right. He had a boarding-house here | Negative borrowed from Allan Blacklock | Copy: Bud Palin.

Photoreference 88/1: Log driving on Betsie River | Belongs to: Allan Blacklock | Copy: Bud Palin.

Photoreference 88/2: Glarum & Classen Store in Elberta shipped forest related products, mainly bark. Here we see one of the boats being loaded. The tall man with a stick in his hand is Nils Glarum | Belongs to: Allan Blacklock | Copy: Bud Palin.

The museum in Hartwick Pines

Photos show lumber-tools used in Michigan around the turn of the century.

Photoreference 89/1: Water sprinkler. Used to sprinkle water onto the snow to make the ground more solid and thus easier to travel on.

Photoreference 89/2: A snow roller. Used to make the ground more solid and thus easier to travel on.

Photoreference 90/1: Lumber sledge. A great deal larger than the sledges used in Nordmøre.

Photoreference 90/2: A loading crane. This piece of equipment explains how they managed to load the enormous sledge loads.

Photoreference 91/1: "Big wheels". During snowless  winters, the three trunks were fastened under the driver's seat and hauled out of the forest wit hthe help of this device. It was also used in wetland areas. | Magne A. Skuggevik og Harold Mead posing. Harold is the son of  Margaret Mead, born Baver. (Utistua Bævre. See under Elberta / Frankfort.)

 

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* Copyright Dordi Glærum Skuggevik 1986 - ISBN 02-991394-0-6. Please note: The original text and photo captions in Norwegian – and any digitisation and translation thereof - contain information from public, private and personal sources and may contain unintended errors, inaccuracies or omissions. The author - and as applicable: the digitiser and translator - accepts no liability for any such errors, inaccuracies or omissions. To continue, the reader must accept all limitations of liability and the text ‘as is’ - or should refrain from further reading.

The above content is from the book "Utvandringshistorie fra Nordmøre - Stangvik og Surnadal Prestegjeld" (History of emigration from Nordmøre – Stangvik and Surnadal Parish (Norway)) - published in 1986 by Dordi Glærum Skuggevik - and is used by the author's kind permission. All photos are used by the owners' kind permission.

The English text - except for part VII and photo captions - is a private translation from Norwegian by Sjur Sivertson, used with his kind permission (copyright Sjur Sivertson).

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