IAGenWeb Project - Allamakee co.

Osten J. Sorum


Osten Johnson Sorum, deceased, was an honored pioneer and prominent agriculturist of Allamakee county, where he owned nearly five hundred acres of valuable land and made his home for a period of fifty-seven years. He reached the venerable age of eighty-five years, having been born in Norway in 1824 and passing away April 25, 1910. In 1850, when a young man of twenty-six years, he crossed the Atlantic to the United States and spent two years working on a log raft on the Mississippi river and at Monona. In 1852 he came to Allamakee county, Iowa, and purchased eighty acres of unimproved land in Makee township, erecting a log house, fourteen by sixteen feet, which remained the family home for many years. Coming here in pioneer times, he endured all of the hardships and privations incident to life in a sparsely settled and underdeveloped district. The nearest trading point was McGregor and in making the trip, which consumed two or three days, he usually went to Harpers Ferry and then down the river on the ice. While he was absent on one of these trips his family were driven from their log house by a fire which totally destroyed the little home. As the years passed and his financial resources increased, owing to his capable management and untiring industry, he purchased an additional tract of land on section 31, Center township, and erected thereon a frame dwelling, barns and outbuildings. Here he spent the remainder of his life, devoting his attention to general agricultural pursuits with excellent success. His holdings embraced nearly five hundred acres of land, which was divided among his sons a number of years prior to his demise. He was a man of powerful physique and was able to do a great amount of work, though for years he was handicapped by a broken hip which had been left to grow crooked. In his demise the community lost one of its respected pioneers and most esteemed citizens and one whose labors had been a potent element in the work of upbuilding and development here.

It was in Allamakee county that Mr. Sorum was united in marriage to Miss Gunhild Bakkum, a native of Norway, who passed away on the old home farm in October, 1909. They became the parents of three sons. Andrew, the eldest, inherited the original family homestead in Makee township and wedded Miss Bertha Marie Johnson. He is deceased but his widow still resides on the old farm. John and Christ Sorum were born in the log house in Makee township and now reside on the farm on Center township. Their property is well improved in every particular and they carry on general farming with gratifying success, having gained an enviable reputation as substantial and enterprising citizens of their native county. The religious faith of the family is that of the Lutheran church.

-transcribed by Linda Earnheart

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