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Posted By: Deidre Badker (email)
Date: 9/30/2014 at 16:25:54

Ole Johnsen (Johnson) Maakestad was born December 25, 1826 at Maakestad, Ullensvang, Hordaland, Norway to Jon Mikkelsen Maakestad (1788 - 1850) and Marithe Jonsdatter (1793-1881), the third of their eight children.

He was baptized soon after his birth at Ullensvang. Birth/baptismal record found in the Norwegian Digital Archives on line at Ullensvang, Hordaland, Norway, 1825-1853, page 8, entry #121. Sponsors listed. He was confirmed at Ullensvang.

Ole lived in an area of Hordaland known as Hardanger. He earned money to come to the U.S. in a successful fishing expedition.

Emigration record for group leaving Ullensvang, Hordaland, Norway found at Digital Archives on-line for Ullensvang, Hordaland, Norway 1854-1866, page 304, #'s 5 - 13: Signed out of church March 30, 1854.
#5. Jacob Hansen Maakestad (born July 4, 1827)
#6. Johannes Pedersen Maakestad (born March 27, 1818), wife Gjoa Olsdatter (born April 18, 1831); son, Peder Johannesen (born August 2, 1852) and Guro Johannesdatter (born March 14, 1854)
#7. Ole Johnsen Maakestad (born December 25, 1826)
#8. Helgesdatter Maakestad (born June 20, 1822)
#9. Vigleik Olesen Reisaetter (William Olesen) (born October 7, 1816), wife, Gyrid Gundersdatter (born October 3, 1831)
#10. Helge Pedersen Maakestad (born January 18, 1830), wife, Torbjorg Vigleiksdatter (born August 8, 1828)
#11. Lars Nilson Rogde (born April 1, 1829), wife Ambjor Vigleiksdatter Sandven (born June 4, 1832)
#12. Johannes (?) (born September 15, 1828), wife Ana Vigleiksdatter Sandven (born December 28, 1834 (or 1837))
#13. Ole Johannesen Winte? (same last name as #12) (born 1831).

After 10 1/2 weeks on the ocean by sailing ship to Quebec, Canada, the group then traveled by land and settled at Lee, Illinois where a Norwegian settlement was established. Illness in the area took the lives of some of the group members and most made plans to leave after living there only a year. Those who left Illinois in 1856 for Mitchell County, Iowa had to walk and had a couple oxen and a wagon.

After arriving in Mitchell County, Ole worked for Thomas Wardall of Mitchell, Iowa, earning enough money to buy 200 acres of government land and 20 acres of timber in the Walnut Grove on the banks of Rock Creek, Iowa in 1857. This land was west of Meroa, Iowa on Section 11-97-18, Cedar Township, Mitchell County, Iowa. 40 acres of land were broken (plowed & planted) on his farm in 1858. Ole paid $1.25 an acre for the land and planted crops of wheat, barley, and oats.

Ole's brother, Stewart (Szurr), helped him split 1200 rails to fence his land. Stewart served in the Civil War, was injured and died as a result.

Ole Johnson married Kjersti Engebritsdatter Qvisle Nelson on September 30, 1861 at Cedar, Mitchell, Iowa. (Kjersti b April 17, 1834 Kvisle, Sigdal, Buskerud, Norway, d July 3, 1925 Cedar, Mitchell, Iowa).

The couple had 7 children:
Martha (b April 29, 1863, married Peter Andreas Ingemundsen Motland March 31, 1889, d September 13, 1937 Mitchell, Iowa);

Ingeborg Severine (b November 12, 1865, married Harald Knudsen Klemesrud May 25, 1890 Meroa, Iowa, d April 16, 1958 Mitchell, Iowa);

Syver Johann Maakestad (b February 20, 1868, married Antonette Docken November 9, 1890, d July 21, 1956 Osage, Iowa);

Christine Maakestad (b November 22, 1870, d August 29, 1871 both at Cedar, Mitchell, Iowa);

Oline Maakestad (b November 22, 1870, d September 2, 1871 both at Cedar, Mitchell, Iowa);

Oline Christine Maakestad (b April 4, 1872, married Hans Andreas Odden June 28, 1896 Cedar, Mitchell, Iowa, d October 2, 1957 Osage, Mitchell, Iowa) and

Anna Karine Maakestad (b May 15, 1875, married Theodore Peterson Fagre May 15, 1898 at Meroa, Iowa, d December 15, 1971 Primghar, O'Brien, Iowa).

All of the daughters were school teachers in Mitchell and nearby counties. They told they walked to school and had to leave early in the morning. In winter, they often had to struggle through snowbanks waist high. Then a fire was to be built in the schoolhouse from chunks of wood. One told of wading through flood waters, lining her coat with newspapers (to break the wind), and having to milk cows to help pay her board, while teaching.

An orchard was added to the place in the late 1870's, 100 apple trees were planted. Later, gooseberry and currant bushes were added. The family shared these fruits with friends and neighbors. Wood was the only fuel used, trees from the timber were cut, sawed, and split into firewood lengths for heating and cooking.

Ole was appointed Post Master on February 28, 1882. The Post Office was in the Maakestad home, being moved from Meroa, Iowa. Ole was the postmaster the last three years of his life. Two older daughters, Martha and Ingeborg, took care of the mail that came in two times a week. Maakestad was a charter member of the Rock Creek Lutheran church, signing his name "Ole Johnson" at the time. He taught Sunday School. He was the director of the Meroa country school (Walnut Grove) in 1882.

After his death in 1885, the mother and son, Syver, continued the care of the farm with some hired help until Syver took over the farm when he became 21 years of age.

Mrs. Maakestad's brother and two sisters lived in the area. Her sister, Kristi (Mrs. Ole Torgerson Fagerbakke, later changed to Fagre), and her husband; Jane (Mrs. J. N. Johnson) and husband; and her brother, Nels Nelson and wife Bertha Hanson Nelson. Kjersti, the mother, passed away in 1925, at the age of 91 years.

In the 1950's, Kenneth Norby, his wife, Helen Klinger Hartwig Norby, and their 4 children lived on the farm. Helen raised her family there after Kenneth's death and sold the farm about the late 1980's.

Found in the 1860 census at Cedar, Mitchell, Iowa: not yet married: Ole Johnson age 34.

Found in the 1870 - 1885 censuses at Cedar, Mitchell, Iowa:
1870: Ole Johnson 45, Christy Johnson 34, Martha Johnson 7, Isabel Johnson 4, Lever Johnson 2, Peter Leverson 21, Ingbert Nelson 70.

1880: Ole O. Johnson 53, Christie Johnson 46, Martha Johnson 17, Isabel Johnson 14, Siever Johnson 12, Oliena Johnson 8, Anna Johnson 5, Tom Johnson 19, John Levan 27, Ingebret Nelson 80.

1885: Oley M Johnson 58, Christe Johnson 50, Martha Johnson 21, Isabelle Johnson 19, Sever Johnson 17, Lena Johnson 12, Anna Johnson 9, Peter Motland 24, Tunis Johnson 23.

There are photos of Ole and his wife in the 1911 Mitchell County, Iowa Atlas, Section 3 page 30.

Ole Johnson Maakestad died May 14, 1885 at Cedar, Mitchell, Iowa and is buried at the Rock Creek Lutheran Cemetery, Meroa, Cedar, Mitchell, Iowa. There is a memorial for him at Find a Grave # 49692474.

Some information found in the booklet "Meroa" by Gertrude Crowell. Some info. provided by family members.


Mitchell Biographies maintained by Sharyl Ferrall.
WebBBS 4.33 Genealogy Modification Package by WebJourneymen

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