Among the early Norwegians to settle in Allamakee county is
Peter Paulson, who has done much toward promoting the
agricultural growth of his district, still owning a valuable farm
of three hundred and five acres on section 32, Center township,
although he has for the past twenty years lived retired. Nearing
the age of eighty-five, he is among the patriarchs of the
Norwegian race who settled in this part of the state, and is one
of those few remaining pioneers who have done so much towards
bringing about the present prosperous conditions. Mr. Paulson was
born at Nordre Land, Norway, on August 19, 1828, and is a son of
Paul and Elizabeth (Hanson) Halverson. In 1853 the parents came
to America and made their way to Allamakee county in 1854, where
the father passed away in the same year. The mother attained the
extraordinary age of one hundred and three years, ten months and
Peter Paulson came to the United States in 1852, empty in pocket but rich in resources and possessed of industry and energy to realize on them. He even owed for his passage after coming to America. Making his way inland he worked for one year on the first railroad running west out of Chicago, at the end of which period he drove a team to Rock county, Wisconsin, there engaging in lumbering until 1854, when he came to Allamkee county. Denying himself all pleasures, he had acquired the means to purchase one hundred and twenty acres of wild land in Center township, and thereon he made his home for twelve years, devoting his labors to breaking the land and putting it under cultivation. He subsequently came to his present farm, eighty acres of which he had previously acquired. He has since made his home here and has passed his years in improving the property, adding substantial buildings and bringing his acres to the highest state of fertility. From time to time he added to his land, his farm now comprising three hundred and five acres. For the last twenty years he has turned over the active cultivation of the farm to his sons and in the evening of life enjoys rest from arduous labor,-a rest well merited by reason of many years of close application.
On November 19, 1862, in Allamkee county Mr. Paulson was united in marriage to Miss Sophia Bakkum, a daughter of Erick Bakkum, of whom a sketch appears elsewhere in this volume and who was one of the early Center township farmers. Mrs. Paulson was born in Nordre Land, August 10, 1844, and passed away at the age of nearly sixty-eight years, on July 1, 1912. In their family were seven children: Mrs. Peter Hagen, of Paint Creek township; Gustav and Gilbert, at home; Mrs. Ole Storla, of Paint Creek township; Mrs. Oscar Hesla, deceased; and Pauline and Emma, at home.
Mr. Paulson has been a lifelong member of the Lutheran Synod church, helped to organize the society and assisted in building their house of worship here, which stands on his land. He has ever borne his share of time and money in promoting public welfare and is highly respected and esteemed by all who know him. In his political views he is a republican, staunchly upholding the candidates of that party. He is influential among his countrymen, among who he is a Nestor, and great credit must be given him for directing the steps of many of Norways sturdy sons to this part of the state. Nature has been kind to him, for he has never abused her laws. One usually thinks of old age as a period when mental as well as physical powers weaken, but there is an old age which grows stronger and brighter mentally and morally as the years go by and gives out its rich store of wisdom and experience for the benefit of others. Such has been the life of Peter Paulson, who is not only one of the most venerable but also one of the most honored citizens of Allamakee county, respected wherever known and most of all where best known.
-source: Past & Present of Allamakee County; by
Ellery M. Hancock; S. J. Clarke Pub. Co.; 1913
-transcribed by Diana Diedrich
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