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«HISTORY OF EMIGRATION FROM NORDMØRE - Stangvik and Surnadal parishes»
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Peder and Christian Øien et al.
From the western side of the Leelanau peninsula near Northport, one can see the large islands North and South Manitou, the Fox Islands, and Beaver Island.
Here there were once boatyards, fisheries, and lumber camps. A goodly number of our folks worked out here initially.
We know, moreover, that L. E. Bahle worked at a boatyard on the Manitous, that Einar Garthe was a lumberjack on South Fox Island, and that Louis Stangvik of Suttons Bay was a fisherman. Eli Satter née Holten cooked for a summer camp. Three of the Brøskehagen children, Lars, Johannes, and Mildred were also here.
Peder (Pete) Øien from Hjellan (Øye) in Todalen worked as a farmhand on North Manitou. It is reasonable supposing that the number here from Nordmøre must have been quite large, for all the jobs were familiar ones from home.
Peder arrived in 1913. Jonas Gillnes in Suttons Bay brought him over and he worked a while on the Gillnes Farm. He met his wife Eleanor, whose mother (Ildrid Nerland) was from Kristiansund, on Manitou. They moved to Traverse City in 1945 and he worked in a factory there for eleven years.
Children: Pearl, Marcus Christian, and John Olav.
Nine grandchildren and sixteen great-grandchildren.
His brother Christian Øien came over before Peder did, also to the Gillnes Farm. He was in the army, stationed in Detroit during the First World War. He was a cook on the Lake boats and lived for a time in Chicago. He married Christine Blacken from Suttons Bay, the daughter of John Blacken, but they were separated. Christine raised two of her sister's children.
Peder and Christian Øien are buried beside each other in Traverse City. Christian was twice home to Todal, Peder once.
Today there are no permanent dwellings on the islands. Only vacationers visit these places, with few traces remaining of the island communities.
Sources about the Øien brothers: Eleanor and Marcus Oien.
Photo reference 142/1: Peder (Pete) Øien plowing on North Manitou Island - Stormer's farm | Belongs to: Eleanor Øien | Copy: Bud Palin.
Our folks in East Jordan weren't numerous and all lived on Norway Road, Norwegen Road according to the road sign, directly southeast of the town of East Jordan.
Photo reference 142/2: Norway Road has become Norwegen Road - just south-east of the town East Jordan.
Henning Waagbø was the first from Nordmøre to settle here. He was the brother of Jacob Waagbø of Northport. He first had a farm there, purchased from the Indian An-Me-Quam in 1878, 100 acres for $205. Henning married Mary Alice Gagnon of a French-Canadian family and they had four children. Olga Waagbo, who told us this story, said that Alice must have had enough of the rigid, ceremoniousness of Norwegian society (she was Catholic), and took the children and left Henning. But her new husband quickly became fed up with this bunch of children and threatened to drown the youngest one. Henning got his children back, but had a nasty time of it finding them foster parents. He wasn't able to take care of them. His daughter Elizabeth has since said that she remembers her father carrying Mary on his back and leading her and her brother Jacob (Jake) through the woods east of Traverse Bay, begging people to take the children. Her mother placed the smallest child with a French family when she left husband number two.
Eventually he found foster homes for all of them. Henning worked in the woods in East Jordan and homesteaded on land bought from the railroad company. He built up a fine little farm, planted fruit trees, berry bushes, and flowers, and remarried, this time with Maria from Suttons Bay. She would have been the aunt of the Larsen children from Bæverfjord-Øran. Maria longed to return to Suttons Bay, so they sold the farm to Henning's nephew Ole. Henning repented in the interim, took the money in the strongbox, and set out to buy back the farm in East Jordan. What he didn't know was that Maria had taken the money out of the strongbox and hidden it in a "safe" place. He got to East Jordan and, before going into his nephew's, looked for the money in the box. He panicked, believing he had been robbed, and saw all his life's efforts destroyed. Ole and those on the farm had heard footsteps outside during the evening, but then they vanished. Later Henning was found in the woods, hanged. It was Ole's brother Jacob who discovered him. Suicide was a mortal sin, and Henning was not buried in the cemetery. Henning died June 29, 1901. His nephew Ole was so haunted by this tragedy that he moved to Oregon and later wrote this poem:
Thou, Norseman there at home,
Stay contented where you be,
Let no foreign siren call
However fine it be,
Lure you away from old Norway.
No, of this you may be sure,
That no place here on earth
Is like that sacred north.
For many years now passed,
I've lived in foreign lands,
And much have I endeavored,
Some luck but more the worse.
So trust me when I say,
That were I young again,
I'd travel back to Norway
And find me there a home.
Photo reference 143/1: Henning Waagbø's farm in Norway Road in East Jordan. Easter 1985.
Ed and Fred Larsen
Maria Waagbø's nephew, Ed Larsen of Bæverfjord-Øran, discussed under Northport, became the owner of Henning's farm. It lies farther up Norway Road. We were there on an overcast day in early spring, the day after Easter in '85, and the stories connected with the place made a very special impression.
The large farm of Ed's brother, Fred Larsen, lies several hundred yards farther up the road. Fred is discussed in the chapter on Northport. His son Alfred named the farm "Dad's Clearing" in honor of his father who laid the foundations for this grand farm.
Sverke first came to stay with the Smiseths in Suttons Bay, and from there he went to the lumber camps in East Jordan. There he wed the widow Agnes Blair who had both a farm and children from her first marriage. Their son Sam Ulvund married Selma Vingsness from the Lee Point settlement near Suttons Bay, the daughter of Mattea and Sven Vingsnes.
Sam and his family worked on the farm together with Sverke and Agnes. They had 20 to 30 dairy cows. There were five hired hands on the farm. Sam became a professional mechanic and his son Jim (James) took over the farm.
Sverke and Agnes had one additional child, but it died as an infant.
Sverke was called Pat in the USA. He was home on a visit in 1931 and died in 1951.
Sverke received a letter of clarification for emigration from the Stangvik minister Thor Grøner. It appears he was born in 1873, confirmed in 1889, and came to the USA in 1893.
Selma's daughter-in-law Dona, who was not a full-blooded Norwegian, adopted the traditions of her children's Norwegian roots. She prepared herring balls every Christmas Eve! Moreover, the younger ones in the family also picked up the herring ball tradition!
Their farm lies west of the crossroads where Norway Road begins. Today it is no longer in the family.
There were a couple named Jacob and Mary Settem who lived in East Jordan for a time, and then went to Henly Falls, Minnesota when the sawmill in East Jordan shut down. Jacob died of influenza in 1918. Mary returned to East Jordan and worked where she was needed, preferably as a cook with a very good reputation.
It is claimed that Jacob was from Oslo and was called Anderson when he arrived, and that Mary was from Tingvoll. They took the name Settem while living in East Jordan. Was, perhaps, Mary named Maret Settem? Olga Waagbø characterizes them in this way: Jake and Mary were solid and independent Norwegians, a spectacular and splendid pair!
Olga Waagbø mentioned a Mr. and Mrs. Hockstad. He was in charge of keeping the saws sharpened at the Red Mill Sawmill in East Jordan. She says they were divorced and their children were named Gertrude and Raymond. Because she knew the children's names, it became clear that Mr. Hakstad was the son of the Lars Hakstad who married Helga Walseth, who lived in Bingham near Suttons Bay. See the chapter on Suttons Bay.
Although the settlement was small, today's descendants are strongly influenced by their Norwegian heritage. The author encountered a parade of people through Selma Ulvund's apartment for several hours the day after Easter, 1985. There were probably a good many who worked in the woods or the sawmills and went westward when the lumbering days were over.
Also see the section about church life among our people in the chapter on the organization of the churches.
Sources: A paper written by Olga Waagbo, Selma Ulvund, and Jerry Hockstad.
Ola Drøpping and Lisbet Heggem
Ola Drøpping worked at the smelter in Elk Rapids, between East Jordan and Traverse City.
Ingeborg and Anna were born in Norway, in 1894 and 1896. Pauline, called Lena in the USA, was born in 1903, the year after their arrival in the USA.
Their mother Lisbet died in May and the oldest daughter in September 1905. Anna, who was then nine, received the responsibility for her two-year old sister. Their father died in 1910, when they were 14 and 7 years old. All died of TB.
Anna was sent to live with Anna Christianson in Suttons Bay, not to relatives. It isn't known where Pauline was placed, but it was in the area.
Anna married the French-Canadian, William Couturier, and had seven sons and five daughters. At first they lived in Suttons Bay and then for eighteen years in Northport. Anna had already lost two children by the time she died. Her obituary says the following about the other children: Milton, discharged from the army in Pennsylvania; Leonard, sergeant in the army in Japan; William Jr., in China; Donald, in the merchant marine; Norman, at home; Alfred, in junior college; and Jean, Patty, and Irwin, still in grade school.
Anna was buried from the Catholic Church in Suttons Bay.
Lena married George Anderson in Grand Rapids, Michigan. No children.
Anna died in 1945 and Lena in 1977.
Photo reference 144/1: Ola Drøpping (Heimstad) married to Lisbet Knutsdatter Husby, according to HH. The family says her name was Elizabeth Heggem from Bøfjorden. This is confirmed by a family photo with the following text: 'Lisbeth was born 15/9 - 1870 on the farm Hæggem in the parish of Halse - Bøfjorden, Norway. Emigrated to the USA in 1902 and died 9 May 1905. May the Lord bless her memory.' This is probably Lisbet born 1869 at Knuthagen, Heggem in Bøfjorden. She is here clearly marked by the tuberculosis as is the daugter, Ingeborg. | Ola's brother Peter at the back left. | In front of him: Ola's daughter Ingeborg, on the right daughter Anna, and daughter Pauline on the lap. | Belongs to: Jean Gibson.
Photo reference 145/1: Ola with Anna (at the back) and Pauline after the passing of Lisbet and daughter Ingeborg. | Belongs to: Jean Gibson
Since Peder appears in a picture that must have been taken in 1904-5, it's reasonable to believe he was also worked at the smelter. He came to the USA in 1887. He married Bertha Christopherson in Wisconsin in 1897 and settled as a farmer in Jenkins, Minnesota.
Children: Edwin Phillip and Inga Marie. They were born in 1898 and 1900, so was Peder perchance on a visit when his picture was taken in Elk Rapids?
Inga's children were Gerald Hawley and Marlys Bernice.
Sources: Jean Gibson, Esther Vert, and Anna's obituary.
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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).