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OLESEN (OLSEN), William (Vigleik) Reisaeter


Posted By: Deidre Badker (email)
Date: 1/17/2015 at 10:58:59

Vigleik (William) Reisaeter Olesen was born October 7, 1816 at Reisaeter, Ullensvang, Hordaland, Norway to Ole Vigleiksen (b August 17, 1769, d August 19, 1823 both at Hordaland, Norway) and Guro Olsdatter Bleie (b January 19, 1775, d February 23, 1856 both at Hordaland, Norway), the eighth of their nine children. His siblings were: Marthe, Cecilia, Knut, Ole, Guro, Cicilia, Vigleik and Guttorm.

Vigleik was baptized on October 19, 1816 at Kinsarvik, Ullensvang, Hordaland, Norway. His birth name was Vigleik Olesen of Reisaetter. After coming to America, he was known as William Olesen (Olsen).

Vigleik married Gjuri (Gjori) Gundersdatter on April 5, 1854 at Ullensvang, Hordaland, Norway.
Marriage record found in the Norwegian Digital Archives for Ullensvang, Hordaland, 1854-1866, pg. 157, entry #4. There were 5 weddings on April 5, 1854 to couples who were friends or relatives and who planned to immediately leave Norway:
4. Vigleik and Gjuri's
5. Samson Olsen Sandvin age 23 1/12 to Begga Maakestad age 21 3/4 (daughter of Helje Ommundsen Maakestad).
6. Helge Maakestad age 24 1/6 to Torbjorg Vigeliksdatter Skare age 25 7/12. His father: Peder Larsen Maakestad, hers Vigleik Olsen Skare
7. Lars Rogde age 25 and Ambjor Sandven age 22. His father: Nils Nilsen Rogde, hers Vigeik Gundersen Sandven
8. Nels Wintertherm (sp?) age 25 7/12 and Anna Sandven age 19 5/12. Her father Vigleik Gundersen from Sandven. (she and Ambjor are sisters)

Despite conflicting records showing Vigleik marrying Gjuri a week after another record says he had left Norway, the couple did leave with a group of friends and relatives in early April 1854.

Emigration record found in the Norwegian Digital Archives on-line for Hordaland, Ullensvang in Ullensvang, 1854 - 1866, pg 303, entry #5-13:
#5 Jacob Johansen Maakestad (b April 7, 1827) heading to North America
#6 Johannes Pedersen Maakestad (b March 21 (or 27), 1818) with Gjoa Olsdatter (b April 18, 1831); children: Peder Johannesen (b August 9, 1852) and Guri Johannesdatter (b August 14, 1853 (or 1854))
#7 Ole Johannessen Maakstad (b Dec 25, 1826)
#8 Helgesdatter Maakestad (b June 20, 1822)
#9 Vigleik Olssen Reisaetter (b July 16, 1816) and Gjuri Gundersdatter Eie (b March 10, 1831)
#10 Helge (Holden) Pedersen Maakestad (b January 18, 1830) and spouse Torbjor Vigleiksdatter (b August 8, 1828)
#11 Lars Nilsen Rogde (b Jan 4 1829 (or April 1) and Ambjor Vigleiksdatter Sandven (b April 4 or 6, 1832 (or June 4)
#12 Johannes and Anna Vigleiksdatter (b Dec 29, 1834)
#13 Ole Johannesen Wijtetheis? ( b 1831)

The trip took about 10 1/2 weeks by sea. Family lore said that there were 10 couples and that a spouse of each couple became ill on the voyage, died and maybe buried at sea. This story can't be proved. But, some of the surviving spouses did pair up with each other after arriving in the U.S. Most of the group settled in a Norwegian settlement at Lee County, Illinois.

Excerpt from "History of Lee County Together with Biographical Matter, Statistics, Etc." Chicago by H.H. Hill and Company Publishers 1881 - Norwegian settlers at Willow Creek township, Lee County, Illinois:

The third Norwegian settler was Edwin 0. Winterton, who improved the N.W. 1/4 Sec. 15; the fourth was Amund Cragowick; the fifth was Thomas Hilleson; the sixth was Lars Salmonson, who began his home in the center of Sec. 16 in the winter of 1860-1; the seventh was Ole Olson; then came Edwin Edwards in the spring of 1862, and bought the N. 1/2 of N.E. 1/4 Sec. 11; Lars Oleson in the spring of 1863, and settled with his family on Sec. 10, where he at present resides.

Christopher Oleson came about the same time, and in 1864 Jacob Oleson began to improve the N.E. 1/4 Sec. 1. Heldor Nelson came to the N. E. Sec. 2, and William Oleson to Sec. 16. Later arrivals, without regard to date or order, were Edwin Edwards, N.E. Sec. 11; Heldor Eden in the same location; Lars Hilleson, S.E. Sec. 14; and Nels Oleson, Peter Johnson, Allen Johnson, Andrew Eskland, Lewis P. Boyd, Lars Knutson, Tick Winterton, Thomas Oleson, Christ. C. Alsager, Hans Johnson, Jacob Edwards, Hawkin Risetter, Newt Boyd, and Thomas Nelson.

While living in Illinois, illness killed many, including Vigliek's bride, Gjuri. The illness and new settlements further west prompted some of the group to leave and move to Cedar, Mitchell, Iowa in the summer of 1856. William Olesen was in the group who moved as well as the Pedersen Maakestads. William bought land to farm across the road from John Pedersen (Maakestad).

Found in the 1860 census living at Cedar, Mitchell, Iowa:
1860: single man living with or next to John and Catherine Pedersen (Maakestad) and their children Peter and Maria. William's real estate was worth $160. William Oleson age 43. (He was counted twice in 1860; once living alone and once living w/ John Pedersen)

On May 7, 1860 William became a naturalized citizen at the district court located at Osage, Mitchell, Iowa.

William's second marriage was to Sigri (Sarah) Gundersdatter on March 10, 1866 at Mitchell County, Iowa. Sigri was the eighth child of Gunder and Liv (Pedersdatter) Gundersen. (Sigrid was born March 8, 1838 at Buskerud, Norway and died November 10, 1913 at Fisher, Polk, Minnesota). She may have been married before as she had a son before marrying William Olesen.

William and Sigrid had 5 children together. William also raised Sarah's son, Helleck Pedersen Benson (1861-1946). (The five children first used the surname Williamsen and then shortened to Williams, none used Olesen.)

The five children were all born at Cedar, Mitchell, Iowa:
- Laura Gurina (b April 23, 1867, d December 24, 1950 Fisher, Polk, Minnesota);

- George Ole Wilhelm (b1869, d 1893 Cedar, Mitchell, Iowa);

- Gustav Moller (Millard) (b January 16, 1872, d February 28, 1933 Osage, Mitchell, Iowa);

- Peter (b September 13, 1874, d January 4, 1962 Crookston, Polk, Minnesota);

- Carl (b April 15, 1878, d June 15, 1926 Crookston, Polk, MN).

Family found in the 1870 - 1885 censuses at Cedar, Mitchell, Iowa:
1870: William 50, Sarah 30 and Alex (Helleck) 9, George 1 , Laura 2 and Henry Andersen age 30, hired man.

1880: William Olieson 63, Sarah Olieson 41, George Olieson 11, Millard Olieson 8, Laura Olieson 13, Peter Olieson 5, Carl Olieson 2, Halleck Peterson 19.

1885: William Olson 60, Sarah Olson 47, Laura Olson 18, George Olson 15, Gust Olson 13, Peter Olson 10, Carl Olson 6.

Found in 1892 Osage, Iowa Newspaper: "William Oleson's flax yielded 10 bushel per acre."

William Reisaetter Olesen died January 27, 1895 at Cedar, Mitchell, Iowa from a accidental fall.
He is buried at the Rock Creek Lutheran Cemetery, Meroa, Cedar, Mitchell, Iowa.

Obituary from the Osage Iowa News, January 31, 1895:
Monday morning the people in this community were shocked by the serious news that William Olsen (sometimes known as William Roisetter) had come to his death suddenly by falling down the stairway the previous night. As far as your correspondent has been able to learn, it seems that Mr. Olsen and his daughter were the only ones at home. At about 8:30, or possibly a little later, he was going outdoors and in going through an entry, or hall, where an open door led to the cellar stairway which was built of stone, he must have lost his way and stumbled towards the stairway and fell over going down head first. His daughter heard the noise and ran to see but soon found her father dead, having broken the skull and otherwise injured himself. The neighbors were soon summoned, but too late, for life was already extinct.

Mr. Olsen was one of the early settlers in this township having come here about forty years ago. he was a quiet and always helping neighbor, and an industrious and well-to-do farmer. He was past 78 years when he died. This is surely a hard blow for the remaining family and the entire community sympathizes with them. The remains will be buried Friday at the Norwegian Lutheran church cemetery.

There is a memorial for him at Find a Grave #43029252 with photos.


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

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