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قراءة كتاب Some Pioneers and Pilgrims on the Prairies of Dakota Or, From the Ox Team to the Aeroplane

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‏اللغة: English
Some Pioneers and Pilgrims on the Prairies of Dakota
Or, From the Ox Team to the Aeroplane

Some Pioneers and Pilgrims on the Prairies of Dakota Or, From the Ox Team to the Aeroplane

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دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
الصفحة رقم: 6

fortunate in getting these memoranda directly from him. We regret that he was cut off before he could finish them.

"We reached our destination in Yankton county on a Sunday. That day there was church service at the home of Mr. and Mrs. O. Bjerke, conducted by pastor Nesse of Brule, Union county.

"There was no possibility of getting work in the neighborhood, so a number of us went up to Fort Randall, where we obtained work cutting cord wood for steamboat use. We remained there until fall, when Halvor Hinseth and myself homesteaded in Turkey Valley township and were the first to settle there.

"We lived in Iver Furuness' house that winter, and in the spring of 1871 we moved to the place belonging to Christian Marendahl, whose field we rented that season. That fall we moved onto our own homesteads on Turkey Creek.

"Life was often dreary for us in those first years, for neighbors were few and far apart. However, we had occasional visits from Rev. Elling Eielsen, whom we knew from the time he visited our part of the country in Norway, and we were very glad of those visits. We also had pastoral visits from Gunder Graven, whom we later called, and who served us for many years during our pioneer days. Throndhjem's congregation became organized, I believe, in 1871. We belonged accordingly to the Evangelical Lutheran Synod, or, as it was also called, Eielsen's Synod, and still later became known as Hauge's Synod. This in turn became merged, in 1917, in the Norwegian Lutheran Church of America.

"In 1877, I believe, Throndhjem's congregation became divided into what are now Zion's and Throndhjem's. This latter, in distinction from the northern congregation, which kept the name Throndhjem, at first took the name Throndhjem's Free Congregation and later Zion's.

"This division arose from a disagreement as to the site for the proposed church building. The site at first chosen was on Peder Engen's farm, or practically where the Zion's church building now stands. This seemed too far south for those living in the northern part of the original parish, so they formed the present organization of Throndhjem's and built on the present site in the early '80's.

"In 1901 a terrible storm swept over the whole state, and in this storm, in common with many others, these congregations lost their church buildings. Also the buildings of Meldahl's and Salem's, which congregations were organized considerably later than the above, were destroyed. This was a great loss. However, under the energetic leadership of Rev. C. Olberg, then pastor of all four congregations above named as also of Salem's, the people rallied with splendid loyalty and sacrifice so that soon the buildings were not only rebuilt but in a more modern and substantial form than the structures destroyed."

Mr. Henseth also tells of the makeshifts for stables and granaries in those first years. As lumber could not be afforded they would make a grain storage by laying a square of rails after the fashion of a rail fence, then they would line this with hay or straw to fill in the large spaces between the rails and put the grain inside.

Stables were made from a little frame work of rails, for roof at least, and this was covered with hay or straw. The walls were usually the same materials and were eaten up during the winter as a general occurrence and had to be restored in the fall.

We have heard Halvor Hinseth and other pioneers in these settlements tell of their experiences in going to mill in the first ten years or more. As the grasshoppers destroyed most of the small grain in '74 and '76 the settlers had barely enough for flour and a little seed. The nearest mill was three miles south of St. Helena, Nebraska. As this was south of the present Gayville they would either have to go by Yankton to cross the river or else cross on the ice in the winter. Mr. H. Hinseth relates one trip, vivid in his memory, when they with their loads got into deep snow out on the bottom; got lost in the brush south of Gayville; were refused shelter when they at last found a light from a cabin in the brush; how their horses gave out and the sleds broke down and the men themselves were about used up. Sometimes they would be overtaken by a snowstorm on their trip and be snowed in for several days, so these mill trips would often take a week's time and more toil and hardship than we can describe. But they managed to get back sometime and with flour for the family.


The Great Immigration of 1880—Cause of

If a man had stood by the king's highway leading from Opdal, Norway, to the seaport town of Trondhjem, in the month of April, 1880, he could have witnessed a strange and significant scene. Here comes a procession of twenty or more sleds, each drawn by a single small horse. The sleds were heavily loaded with large, blue-tinted chests, as also trunks, satchels and numerous smaller articles of household and family use. Riding on top of these loads are mothers with little children as also a number of grandmothers, the latter upwards of seventy years of age. A number of lighter sleds, or cutters, are also in the procession. These belong to friends of this pilgrim procession, who are accompanying them part way and are now about to say, or have already said, their final farewell and Godspeed to these pilgrims—their friends and relations. This may explain in part the fact that the men walk by the side of their loads in silence, with downcast eyes and a lump in their throats, while the women show clear traces of recent tears. Nor can we blame them for succumbing for the moment to their emotions when we come to understand the meaning of this strange scene.

These people, about sixty in number, this day were leaving that spot on God's earth most dear to them; leaving the birthplace and the resting-place of a hundred generations of their ancestors, they were looking for the last time on their former homes and on the dear familiar spots so well known from their childhood. They had just looked for the last time upon the faces of their friends and near relatives and spoken the last words, and soon they were to see the receding outlines of the mountain peaks of their beloved fatherland, nevermore to see them again. For they were on the way to America, and America was very far off in those days, and to most people going there the way back was forever closed. So to these people these last glimpses and handshakes and words were the final, as far as this world went, and they were all too well aware of it.

But let us pause in the journey at this point, while still under the influence of the nearby majestic mountains, robed in evergreen and crowned with the snows of generations, so as to get acquainted with the individuals of this company and also to learn the causes which could lead these people to an undertaking so fraught with momentous destiny for all of them and for their descendants to the end of time. As we have already surmised, these people were not light-minded adventurers or people who had nothing to risk or lose. On the contrary, they were deeply rooted where they were and they did not pluck up their life by the roots to be transplanted in a far-off, unknown soil without careful consideration and a great motive.

First we meet Berhaug Rise (later written Reese) who seems to be a leader in this particular group we have before us. He is a man of about forty-five, of spare build and medium height. He has a family consisting of wife and five