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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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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: 7

children—four boys and one girl; also his mother who is nearly seventy years of age. The children's names were Ole, eleven years; Halvor, nine; John, coming seven; Sivert, five; and Mary, three years, and named after the grandmother.

Next we get acquainted with Halvor Hevle, a man also of about forty-five, but because of a terrible affliction of rheumatism, was bent over so that his face is toward the ground. He is accompanied by his wife, Marit, but they have no children.

Then there is Thore Fossem with his wife, his mother and one little girl, Marie, named after the grandmother. It should be explained here that while this last named family was not present in the above group just at this point of the story but came a little later, yet because Mr. Fossem belongs by every other circumstance to this group, and in spiritual kinship and motive particularly with the above two, we include him here. With Thore Fossem came Ingebricht Satrum with one of his boys, I believe, but most of his family came over a year or two later.

The above three men had all been owners of small or medium sized farms and had advanced money for transportation to most of the others in the party from the recent sale of their properties. The remainder of the party, as we shall see, was largely composed of middle aged tradesmen, young unattached men and girls, practically all of them without means of their own to make the long journey. Most of these middle aged men of trades had left large families behind and expected to earn enough money in the new land to repay their own passage and also to send for their families as soon as possible. But more of this later, for the when and the how of the repayment of some of these transportations would be out of place here, tho not without some very interesting features.

One of these men who was master of a trade and who also belongs, in the sense of an absolutely kindred spirit, to the above three, was Iver Sneve. He left wife and five children, taking with him his two older boys, Ingebricht and Ole.

In much the same economic relation was Anders Ellingson Loe, a shoemaker by trade. Also Arne Loe, who was a mason and left wife and three children behind until he could send for them.

To this class should also be added Ingebricht Brenden, having left his wife and five children—Ingebricht, Knut, Elli, Sigrid and Kjerstine.

Among the younger married men were John Lien with wife and one boy, Esten, as also his mother, who was another member of the considerable group of grandmas in the party.

Here should be mentioned also Lars Hansen Almen with wife and two boys—Hans and Olaus as also Mrs. Almen's mother, who makes the fourth member of the remarkable grandmother class in this group of pilgrims to a faraway country.

Then there were the following young and middle aged unmarried men and women: Ildri Loe, now Mrs. Sneve of Inwood, Iowa; Kari Rathe; Marit Myren; Haakon Mellemsether or Haagenson; Sivert Aalbu; John Riskaasen; and Jens Rise.

In all there were fifty-two passages bought on the same boat for the same place in America; viz., Yankton, South Dakota. One or two of the group, I believe, went to Brookings, South Dakota, including Mr. Haagenson.

We left these people, while making this digression, on the king's highway severing forever the strong ties that bound them to the land and the people of their birth. As we now resume our journey with them, especially if we have not made the trip before, we are irresistibly attracted by the wild and rugged manifestations of nature along our route. Both the way and its surroundings were prophetic of the much further stretching way to be traversed, often with weary feet, by these people, could they have foreseen it.

The road, tho well built, winds endlessly and often in sharp turns thru the narrow valley between the mountains which in places almost form a gorge. In many places the road is cut out of the solid rock of the mountain side so that on one side is the high and nearly perpendicular cliff; on the other, and only a few feet away, the almost perpendicular descent to the raging, roaring river hundreds of feet below. The sun is only now (April) beginning to reduce the eight months' snow on the mountains. This turns the river in the main valleys, as well as the hundreds of smaller streams coming down the mountain sides, into whitefoamed, tumultuous torrents rolling great stones before them and resounding thru the adjacent valleys and mountain sides with a deep and deafening roar—beware! beware!

Looking up the mountain sides we see pine and evergreen creeping up well toward the top. But while the sides are thus robed in beautiful green, the tops are crowned with the pure white of the "eternal" snows. So here was both music and raiment fit for kings and the sons of Vikings, and these sounds and sights those people never forgot nor could forget.

After a two-day tramp thru the snow and slush we reach the railway station, Storen, fifty miles from our starting point. Here the drivers return and more sad partings and some tears. Fortunately the new sights and experiences now begin to crowd upon the consciousness of these people and help them forget for the time being, just what they most need to forget, what lies behind, if they are to successfully march forward. Most of these people had never before been out of the parish in which they were born or seen a railway or locomotive, not to speak of riding behind one. And being naturally intelligent and forward looking men and women, they took a deep interest in the new world which continually unfolded to them as they journeyed on toward their faroff destination, covering nearly a month of time.

We must now turn to the causes or motives which led these people to undertake this long journey, so full of perils and uncertainties, and also of hardships which can better be imagined than described in detail. Transatlantic travel, forty years ago, was about as different from what it is now as the ox team was different from the automobile.

The causes of this emigration, as one might almost surmise, were both economic and religious. The religious motive was especially apparent as far as the leaders were concerned.

Some years before this migration, a traveling evangelist had come thru Opdal and had held meetings from house to house in the neighborhood where these people lived, the state church building not being open for that sort of religious exercises. His name was Hans Remen, or as he was often called, Hans Romsdalen. He was a giant in physical proportions and also had a moral courage and religious ardor to match his body. He denounced the dead forms of religion current in the Lutheran State Church as of no avail, and worse than nothing, in that they caused people to rest their salvation on a false foundation. He testified by reference to the Bible, and to personal experience, that the only basis of salvation for man was a personal, vital relation to Jesus Christ, entered into by faith; and that in Him alone could man find forgiveness of sin, peace with God, and a good conscience.

The ground was somewhat ready for this sort of seed in that there was a considerable number of people who had come to feel about the State Church, much as the evangelist expressed it. Among them were the leaders of these emigrants, Berhaug Rise (or as the name came to be spelled, Reese), Halvor Hevle, Iver Sneve and Thore Fossem. A revival of religion resulted and there came to be a considerable group of people who sought a more vital religion than what was manifested in the State Church. Thru worship and preaching in private houses, however, they could find an open door and they continued this movement. This religious movement thus gained more and more adherents, so that not only had most of the members of this exodus been touched

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