Early Norwegian Immigration
Written by Mrs. Orrie Dunbar, Newark, Illinois. Published in the Kendall County Record in four parts: Jul 29, 1925; Aug 8, 1925; Aug 12, 1925; and Aug 19, 1925.
Edited and compiled by Elmer Dickson. A portion of this series was impossible to read. These sections were omitted to avoid making errors in their interpretation.
The "Sloop" party will always be of interest to all Scandinavians or descendants in America. The names of the fifty-three passengers and history of each follows. Cornelius Nelson Hersdal was born in 1789. His wife Caroline was the daughter of Kleng Peerson. They settled in Kendall, NY where he died in 1833. He and his wife had seven children, Nels, Inger and Martha, were passengers on the sloop. In May 1836, the widow Carrie came to Kendall County, Illinois with her children. She died in Mission Township July 24, 1848. Their daughter Ann died in Illinois. The oldest son, Nels settled in LaSalle County and became a prosperous farmer. He married Catherine, daughter of Knud Iverson. There were twelve children in this family. He was the last male survivor of the "Sloop" party. He was buried on the farm where he died near Norway, IL. Nel's daughter, Inger, was born December 11, 1819. In 1836, she married John S. Mitchell of Ottawa.
_____ Serean was born in 1814. In 1831, she married Jacob Anderson (Slogvig) at Kendall, NY. The moved to the Fox River valley and later to California where Anderson died in 1864.
Simon Lima and family resided in Kendall, NY but no further knowledge is learned of them.
Nels Nelson Hersdal (brother of Cornelius Nelson) was born in Trysver in 1800. His parents were Nels and Susanne Hersdal. His wife Bertha was born in 1804. She was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Christopherson Harvig. Nelson settled in Kendall, NY in 1825. In 1835, he moved to LaSalle County and purchased 640 acres of land from Joseph Fellows in exchange for 100 acres he owned in Kendall, NY. Nelson and his family did not settle in LaSalle County until 1846. It is said Nelson walked from Kendall, NY to Buffalo, NY. He worked his way on a steamboat to Chicago. He returned to New York by working his way on a steamboat to Detroit and then walking to Buffalo. His nickname was "Big Nels." His wife died in 1882. Nels died in 1886. There were eleven children in their family.
Jacob Anderson was born in 1807. Jacob Anderson Slogvig and Knud Anderson were brothers. Jacob moved from Kendall, NY to LaSalle County in 1834. In 1835, he went to Norway and married a sister of Ole Olson Hetletvedt. He actively promoted immigration to America and is credited for being the main cause of the great exodus in the two Kohler brigs from Stavanger. He returned to America in one of these ships. In 1837, he went with Kleng Peerson and others to found a new settlement in Shelby County, IA, and later Lee County, IA where they both died.
Henrich Christopherson (Harvick) never came west. He lived the remainder of his life at Kendall, NY where he died in 1884. His wife and children had passed away several years before. It is said that Mrs. Martha Harvig walked from Kendall to Rochester, NY in one day, a distance of 32 miles.
Ole Johnson went back to Norway in 1826. In 1827, he returned to America with his wife and spent a few years at Rochester, NY. Sarah Olos Larson, deaf and dumb sister of Lars Larson died at her brother's home in Rochester.
Gudmund Haugees [Haukaas] settled in Kendall, New York in 1825. He married Julia, daughter of Thomas Madland. In 1834, he was one of the first Norwegian settlers who came to LaSalle County. There were ten children in this family. Julia died in LaSalle County Dec 24, 1846. Gudmund married second, Caroline Harvig (sister of Henrick and Bertha Nelson Hersdal.) Gudmund was an educated man. He became an elder in the Latter Day Saints Church. He also practiced medicine and was one of the first preachers and teachers among the Norwegian immigrants in America. He was building a house between Norway, IL and Ottawa, IL when a call came to help in an Asiatic cholera outbreak in the Fox River Settlement. He labored unceasingly among the sick, After spending a night in this manner he returned home and became very ill with the dreaded disease. He came down with the disease at nine o'clock in the morning and passed away at three o'clock the same afternoon. He died Jul 27, 1849.
His house was never completed. His burial took place in the Norwegian cemetery on the Ottawa Road. His second wife, Caroline Harvig died in April 1852. A daughter was born to Gudmund and Caroline, Feb 4, 1850. She became Mrs. Caroline Bower of Sheridan, IL. At the death of her mother, she was taken into her mother's sister and husband's home. They were Mr. and Mrs. Nels Hersdal who lived near Norway, IL. She lived with her aunt and uncle until she married Dr. Bower of Ohio, Nov 18, 1867. Dr. Bower enlisted twice during the Civil War. He died at Sheridan, IL Jun 10, 1915. There were four children in this family: George of Galesburg, IL; Dr. H. Bower of Sheridan, IL; Cora who died in 1821; and Lila who died in 1896.
Thorstein Olson Bjaadland was born near Stavanger, Norway. The exact date of his birth is unknown although it was about 1795. He spent five years as a letter carrier in Norway before he came to America. He resided a few years at Kendall, NY. In 1834, he joined those who went with Kleng Peerson to LaSalle County where he purchased a farm and built a log house. He said the Indians set fire to the prairie grass and the flames spread burning his farm and house. He rebuilt and remained in Illinois until 1840. At that time he moved to Albion County, WI where he died on Rasmus B. Anderson's farm. (Rasmus was the author of Norwegian Immigration, published May 17, 1874. From which most of the information given here was obtained.)
Thorstein married Guro Olson in Norway. They had six children. Their eldest son, Ole Thorsteinson served in the 15th WI INF Regiment. He was postmaster at London, WI for several years.
George Johnson came to LaSalle County in 1835. He married a daughter of Jahn Jahan Norshoe. George died in 1849 during the cholera epidemic.
Andrew (Endre) Dahl settled in Kendall, NY and then came to LaSalle County, in 1834. He married the widow of Sven Aasen. He will be remembered as the cook on the "Sloop." His sons became residents of Newark, TX. In the early 1850's Dahl went to Salt Lake City where he died.
Nels Thompson (brother of Oyen Thompson) came to LaSalle County in 1843. He married his brother Oyen's widow. She died in LaSalle County in 1863.
Andrew Stangeland purchased land in Kendall, NY in 1825. He married an American girl named Susan Cory. Andrew sold his land and bought a tract in Noble County, IN where he died.
Lars Olson, the Captain of the "Sloop" married Rachael Madland, daughter of Thomas Madland. They settled in New York where they both died.
No accurate account of the mate, Mr. Erickson is known.
Lars Larson was born in Stavanger, Norway Sep 24, 1787. He served on board a Norwegian merchant vessel. In the war of that period, the British captured the ship he was on. He and the rest of the crew were held captive for seven years. In 1814, after the treaty of Kiel, they were released. He spent a year in London and was converted to the Quaker faith. In 1824, he married Martha Georgiana Peerson who was born in Stavanger in 1803.
Lars Larson accidentally lost his life in 1845 while on his way to New York with a canal boat. There was suspicion of fowl play and it was though he was pushed overboard. His widow died in Rochester, NY in 1887. Lars and his wife had eight children, Margaret Allen, born on the voyage. She married John Atwater of Rochester who later became a prominent publisher in Chicago. She resided at Western Spring in Lee County, IA for a time. Another daughter, Martha Jane who died in 1879, married Elias Patterson of New York. She has the honor of being one of the first of the Norwegian immigrants known to have taught in our public schools. She began teaching in Rochester, NY in 1844 when only 12 years of age. She had twenty scholars who each paid her ten cents a week. She continued teaching for many years. In 1857, she taught in the Chicago public schools.
Ole Olson Hetletvedt was born at Stavanger, Norway. When he came to America he settled in Kendall, NY. Later he moved to Niagara Falls, NY where he found employment in a paper mill. While residing there, he married an American woman named Miss Sarah Chamberlain. After coming to America he dropped the name Hetletvedt and signed his name Olson. He came west and first settled first in La Salle County. Later he moved to Newark, IL where he died Jan 17, 1853. His first wife Sarah died in 1840 at Newark. Ole was widely known as a Bible agent and a preacher of the Haugian School.
Ole Olson purchased 80 acres of land in section 6, from the federal government. The land extended from the eastern part of the village of Newark and as far west as the place now owned by A. M. Sweetland.
Ole Olson, the "Slooper" had four children, three sons and one daughter: Porter Chamberlain; James "Webster"; Soren Luther; and Bertha A. The sons all enlisted in Company F, 36th IL INF Regiment.