The "Sloopers" Who Came to Illinois

Originally published in A History of the Norwegians in Illinois, by Strand, A. E., Chicago: John Anderson Publishing Co., date unknown.

Transcribed by Jane Willey-Fey

Lars Larson had eight children by his wife Martha Georgiana. Their oldest child was born on the sloop "Restaurationen" in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, Sept. 2, 1825. This was a girl, whom they named Margaret Allen, after the Quaker widow with whom Lars Larson had lived in London, and through whose influence he had been converted to the Quaker faith. Margaret Allen was in 1875 married to John Atwater, at Rochester, with whom she afterward moved to Chicago, where her husband became a prominent lawyer and died in the '80's. The famous "sloop-girl", Mrs. Atwater, who is now in her 82nd year, is still alive and resides at Western Springs, Cook county, Ill., surrounded by her family. Her son John has a printing plant, and also serves as pastor of one of the churches at Western Springs.

Another daughter of Lars Larson, Martha Jane, was married to Mr. Elias C. Patterson, who died in Rochester, N. Y., in 1879. She thereupon moved to Western Springs, Ill., where she is still living. To Martha Jane Patterson belongs the honor of being one of the first Norwegians to teach in America's public schools. After having taught school several years in the state of New York, she came west in 1857, and became a teacher in the public schools of Chicago.

As we have to deal only with those of the sloop party who came to Illinois, we do not mention Lars Larson's other children.

Cornelius Nelson Hersdal, born 1789, and his wife Caroline (Kari), a sister of Kleng Peerson, both from Tysvaer, Skjold, Stavanger amt, settled in Kendall, N. Y., where he died in 1833. They had seven children: Ann, Nels, Inger, and Martha, born in Norway and passengers on the sloop; and Sarah, Peter C., and Amelia, who were born in Kendall, NY. In May, 1836, the widow, Kari, came with her children to Mission township, LaSalle county, Illinois. She died there July 24, 1848.--The oldest daughter, Ann, died ten years later. --The oldest son, Nels, was born 1816, and became a farmer in LaSalle county. He married Knud Iverson's daughter, Catherine, and they had twelve children, of which seven reached maturity. Nels died Aug. 29, 1893, at Sheridan, Ill., and was the last male survivor of the sloop party. Inger was born in Norway, Dec. 11, 1819, and was married in 1836 to Mr. John S. Mitchell, of Ottawa, Ill. On another page we present a portrait and biography of her son, Mr. Harley B. Mitchell, the prominent publisher, of Chicago.--Martha was born in Norway, 1823. She was married to Beach Fellows, who in 1855 was elected treasurer; afterward he moved to Ottawa, where both of them died. --Sarah was born in Kendall, NY in 1827. In 1849 she was married to Canute Peterson Marsett, who came from Norway in 1837 and later became a Mormon. She seems to have been the first one of Norwegian immigrants and their descendants to teach public schools in America. During the years 1845 and 1846 she taught district school in the Fox River Settlement. --Peter C. Nelson, the youngest son, was born in Kendall, NY in 1833. He moved from Illinois to Larned, Kan., where he became a farmer, and had nine children. One of his daughters, Carrie Nelson, whose portrait and biographical data appear elsewhere in this volume, is the wife of former Judge Henry W. Johnson, of Ottawa, Ill. Another daughter is married to banker, J. A. Quam, of Sheridan, Ill.

Oyer Thompson was born near Stavanger in 1795 and died in Rochester, NY in 1825. His wife, Bertha Caroline, was born near Stavanger in 1790. The year following her first husband's death she married his brother, Nels Thompson, also a "Slooper," and in 1828 they moved to Kendall, NY. In 1835 they came to Mission, LaSalle county, Ill., where she died in 1844 in the village of Norway. With him in the sloop, Oyen Thompson had three daughters. The oldest, Sarah, was born in 1818. With her family she came to LaSalle county, where her parents settled. In 1837 she was married to Mr. G. Olmstead, who died in 1848 from cholera. Until 1855 she remained in Ottawa, Ill., and was then married to William W. Richey, her sister Anna Maria's widower. They moved to the neighborhood of Marseilles, Ill., and after eighteen years bought a farm in Brookfield township, from where they nine years later moved to Iowa. She was eventually divorced from Mr. Richey. She had eight children --four boys and four girls: five by her first husband and three by her second. One of Oyen Thompson's daughters, Caroline, died in Rochester, NY. Another, Anna Maria, born 1819, was married to the above-mentioned William W. Richey, and departed this life in Mission, LaSalle county, in 1842.

Nels Thompson and Berthe Caroline had three children --a daughter, Serena, died in Mission, Ill., 1850; a son, Abraham, died in Marseilles, Ill., 1866; and a daughter, Caroline, died in the same township, 1858. Nels Thompson died in 1863.

Daniel Rosadal (Rosdahl) with his wife and children first came to Kendall, NY, and in 1835 moved to Fox River Settlement, where both he and his wife died in 1854. The had five children with them in the sloop--Ellen, Ove, Lars, John, and Hulda. In Kendall, NY one child, Caroline, was born to them. The son, Lars, was the first Norwegian buried in the Fox River Settlement. This happened in 1837. One daughter, Ellen, was married to Cornelius Cothrien. Ove died in Iowa, but his remains were buried in Mission, LaSalle county. In the same township John died in 1893. Ellen, Caroline and Hulda are also dead. Hulda was married to Rasmus Olson, who died in Sheridan in 1893. Caroline was married to Jens Jacobs. They moved in 1865 to Rowe, near Pontiac, in Livingston county, Ill., where Jacobs had bought 240 acres of land. He died in the fall of the same year, and his widow in 1894. They had six children --five sons and one daughter. The Rosadal families were Quakers.

Thomas Madland was born in Stavanger, Norway, in 1778, and died the year after he came to America. He left three children in Norway and brought his wife and three daughters with him in the sloop. These daughters were Rachel, Julia, and Serena. Julia, born in 1810, married Gudmund Haukaas in Kendall, N. Y., and died in Mission, LaSalle county, Ill., in 1846. Serena was born in 1814. She was married to Jacob Anderson Slogvig, in 1834, in Kendall. She came first to Fox River Settlement and later moved to San Diego, Cal. Both she and her husband are dead.

Nels Nelson Hersdal stayed in Kendall from 1825 to 1835, when he went out to the Fox River Settlement. He did not take his family there, however, until 1846. Nels Nelson was known in the Fox River Settlement as Big Nels. A number of stories are related about his enormous strength, and his language and manners are said to have been somewhat lacking in refinement.

Jacob Anderson Slogvig and Knut Anderson Slogvig were brothers. Jacob Slogvig came to Kendall to the Fox River Settlement in 1835. He married a daughter of Thomas Madland, and during the gold fever went to California, 1850, where he became rich and died.

Knud Anderson Slogvig went back to Norway in 1835 and married a sister of Ole Olson Hetletvedt. He was instrumental in bringing about the great emigrations from Norway in 1836. He returned from Stavanger in that year and in 1837 he is said to have gone with Kleng Peerson to Missouri, where the latter tried to form a Norwegian settlement, but things down there do not seem to have pleased Slogvig, so he returned to Fox River immediately. He later settled in Lee county, Illinois, where he and his wife both died.

Gudmund Haukaas came to Kendall, NY in 1825. There he married Thomas Madland's daughter Julia. In 1834, they moved to the Fox River Settlement. He as a man of more than average education and intelligence. The couple had ten children. The wife died in 1846, and later Gudmund was married to Miss Caroline Hervig. In Illinois he joined the Mormons and became an elder of the Latter-Day Saints. He was also a self-made physician and is said to have been of great help to his countrymen who were suffering. He died on his farm, near Norway, Ill., from cholera, in 1849. One son, Thomas, became a minister in the Mormon Church in LaSalle county, and Caroline, a daughter by his second wife, is married to Dr. R. W. Bower, of Sheridan, Ill. This couple had a son, Dr. G. S. Bower, who was a physician in Ransom, about ten miles northeast of Streator, LaSalle county. Mrs. Isabel Lewis, of Emington, Livingston county, Ill., was a daughter of Gudmund Haukaas.

Thorstein Olson Bjaadland was born in Haa, south of Stavanger, Norway, about 1795. He lived five years in Kendall, NY, went to Michigan, where he learned the trade of a shoemaker; returned to Kendall, and in 1834 joined the party that went to the Fox River Settlement with Kleng Peerson. Here he bought a few acres, built a small log house, and prospered until the Indians set fire to the prairie grass. The fire consumed his log house together with all its contents. He built another log house and remained in Illinois until he moved to Dane county, Wisconsin, in 1840, where he died a poor man in 1874.

George Johnson came from Kendall, NY to the Fox River Settlement in 1835. He died from cholera in 1849. He was married to a daughter of "Dr." Johan Nordboe, who had taken up a claim in De Kalb county, not far from Sycamore, and which is still called Norwegian Grove after him. George Johnson left four children.

The cook on the sloop, Andrew (Endre) Dahl, first settled in Kendall, N. Y., and in 1835 came to Mission, LaSalle county, Ill. There he married Sven Aasen's widow. Later he went to Utah, where he died.

Ole Olson Hetletveldt was born north of Stavanger. He went first to Kendall, thence to Niagara Falls, N. Y. He dropped his surname Hetletveldt in this country, and became plain Ole Olson. When he came west he settled in LaSalle county, Ill., where he died in 1849. He was the first Norwegian settler in Newark. The next ones were Knud Williamson and Herman Osmonsen. Two of his brothers came to America in 1836. One of them, Knud Olson Hetletveldt, settled as a farmer in Mission township and died there from cholera in 1849. His other brother, Jacob Olson Hetletvedt, went to Iowa, where he died in 1875. His widow was married to Sven Kjylaa, and with him she moved to LaSalle county, Illinois.

Ole Olson had four children, three sons and one daughter. The sons were Porter Chamberlain, Soren Luther and James "Webster." The daughter's name was Bertha. When the Thirty-sixth Regiment of the Illinois Volunteers were formed, Porter C. got together Company F., consisting mostly of Norwegians. His two brothers enlisted in same company, and Porter C. Olson became its captain. He soon advanced to the Lt. Colonel of the regiment, and at the time when he was killed in the battle of Franklin, Tenn., he was acting brigadier-general. His brother Soren L. Olson, was killed by a shell at the battle of Murfreesboro. Their youngest brother James came through the war without injury.



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