"Our Friends on the Acres"
Wettle T. Wettleson
To present the history of Wettle T. Wettleson we must go back about 90 years, which is nine years before Mr. Wettleson was born. Mr. Wettleson's father, Tov Wettleson, immigrated from Norway about the year 1852 with his brother, Lars Wettleson. They landed at Quebec, Canada, then journeyed to Wisconsin. As transportation in those days was in the infant state, Mr. Wettleson walked several hundred miles from Wisconsin to a site one mile northwest of where Gunder is now located. He was unable to speak or understand English at that time, but he learned quickly, and was soon able to converse with other pioneer settlers in the tongue of his new country. As he was located a short distance from the farm of Mr. and Mrs. Lars Sevelie, he soon became acquainted with their daughter, Miss Gurie Sevelie. A few years later, in 1857 to be exact, they were married by one of the first ministers in this territory - the Rev. U. Vilhelm Koren.
The Sevelie farm was located in Marion township, consisting of 160 acres with over 40 acres of timber. There was considerable work to be done, so the newlyweds moved into the Sevelie home, where the bridegroom helped with farm work. In those days grain was cut by hand. A great deal of grubbing and general breaking in of land was accomplished before any crops could be grown.
On March 26, 1859, Wettle T. Wettleson was born to their union. He grew to manhood on this farm, which eventually was purchased by his father after the death of Mr. and Mrs. Sevelie. Wettle T. Wettleson attended a pioneer rural school about a mile from his parents' farm. when he wasn't studying his ABC's he was devoting his energy to farming the land with his father. "I believe I've walked farther than anyone else in this vicinity, especially behind a team of horses," Mr. Wettleson remarked when explaining about his early years on the farm. "We grubbed land and did more work by hand in those days than the farmer of today has any idea of. I've always worked, but at my age (he's almost 81) you've got to ease up a little. I hate winter and during the past few weeks I haven't ventured outside very much. Last summer I helped a little during threshing time. For several hours I ran the grain binder."
On July 2, 1891, Mr. Wettleson was married to Miss Lena Alsaker, a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Rasmus Alsaker. She was a native of Norway, coming to this country alone when she was but 16 years old. They lived with Mr. Wettleson's parents until 1896. To their union were born seven children. Gunille (Mrs. Harold Opsand) passed away at her home south of Gunder on January 12, 1937; Theodore was killed in action during the World War. Five children are living today. They are Robert Wettleson, at home; Christine (Mrs. Marcus Rypestol), living south of Gunder; Valdine (Mrs. Martin Nelson), living at Clermont; Lillie (Mrs. Arthur Solberg) of Hawkeye; and Miss Julia Wettleson, at home.
In 1894, Mr. Wettleson purchased 82 acres of land in Marion township from the J.C. Rounds estate. As there were no buildings on the property, he purchased an additional 74 acres of adjoining land on the north side of the road from the estate of his aunt, Mrs. Emily Hendrickson. This additional 74 acres lies in Grand Meadow township. A fine farm house and other buildings were located on the property so Mr. Wettleson and his family "just moved in" during the year 1897.
Mr. Wettleson's sister, Miss Barbara Wettleson, is living on the old homestead in Marion township. The farm work is done by her cousin, William Olson, who is residing there with his two sons. Living with Mr. Wettleson on the farm he purchased from the Hendrickson estate, are his daughter, Miss Julia Wettleson, his son and daughter-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Wettleson and their children, Robert Wayne, Roger Dean (who is three weeks old), Mary Ann and Lois Jean. Mrs. Wettleson passed away August 22, 1903.
"Crops were exceptionally good last year," the aged farmer stated. We had 44 acres of corn which yielded at least 50 bushels to the acre. We also received a fine yield of grain, harvesting 2,400 bushels of oats." Many fine buildings have been erected on the farm, with a big barn, 40X70, being one of the best buildings.
Mr. Wettleson seemed to enoy talking about the early days of his life. He said, "I can remember when there wasn't any Gunder, and as far as that goes, I guess Postville and Elgin didn't amount to much in those early days. "It was quite a trip to Postville when I was a boy and I didn't get to visit Postville until I was 20 years old. I can remember father talking about some of the early settlers and business men. He often mentioned Hall, Scott and Frank Roberts.
"Gunder is about three miles from my farm as the crow flies. The Gunderson brothers, I believe, were the first men to settle there. The town was named after them. they ran a general store and quite a few houses sprang up in that vicinity afterwards. The town has changed around a lot since the, though. I've seen quite a few improvements in my day, but one of the most important, to my way of thinking, is being accomplished right now. I refer to the rural electrification program. My house has already been wired by REA men and inside of a few days we will be hooked up to a high line. That will really be a modern step, won't it? Just think, when it gets dark we won't have to use candles, lanterns, or lamps, like we have been using since I was a boy. All we will have to do is push a button and presto, the room will be as bright as day."
Mr. Wettleson's farms are located seven miles from Postville. the 160 acres which he owns with his sister, Barbara Wettleson, (the old deed of which shows only two transfers since it was procured from the government in 1852) is just southeast of the 156 acre farm on which he is living today. The two properties adjoin, the northwest corner of one property touching the southeast corner of the other.
~Postville Herald, January 31, 1940
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