CHICKASAW COUNTY
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ATLE JENSSON

Atle Jensson (1819-1889), the progenator of the Attleson family in Chickasaw County, Iowa, was born on the Ylvisaker farm in Sogn og Fjordane, Norway. The following is a translation of an article that appeared in the Decorah Posten in July and August 1945.

NAVNET ULVISAKER

....Under this heading I read lately a piece in the Posten of Lars Tronsdal, Burlington, Washington. His guess, that it is an original name of a farm, probably the only one of that name in Norway, is correct. The spelling in other names has been different, sometimes with U or 0 as the first letter.
....The farm lies not quite in Sogndal, but in a different shore hamlet by Norefjorden, which goes northeast into Sogndal and through a narrow sound in towards Hafslo. The small arm past the sound is called Barsnesfjorden.
....The hamlet is called Norum. It has been said that before the Black Death there were 20 farms there, and there was also a church with a pastor. Even the only farm on the other side of the fjord, Fimreite, had its own House of God, st. Albans Kapellet (chapel).
....In 1352 the Bishop in Bergen promised all the near resident sinners 20 days of credit it they would visit the St. Albans Chapel at certain Feast Days.
....As was known, it was at Fimreite that King Sverre with his Birkebeiners and 12 ships won the last battle over King Magnus, who with more ships and men had blockaded Sverre in the little fjord so he had to fight. Both Magnus Erlingson and the many big important followers from south and west Norway all were killed or drowned during this fight over the power to rule Norway in 1184. It is possible the many gravestones (BAVTASTEINER) at the flat Nornes across the fjord from Fimreite was set up after this battle. It is what I thought, when I was fishing with my grandfather in the fjord between Nornes and Fimreite when I was growing up.
....Some distance inside Nornes between the water and a mountain that rises straight up, lies Ulvisaker on the pretty narrow strip of land. Long before was 17, when walked through the yard on my road in to Sogndal I had heard stories about Ulvisakerhella or "Paulshedlav", which was hanging so threateningly dangerous over the farm.
....The following citation is from a "Tingprotokol" dated 1735. Even though the words are difficult and old fashioned, I will recite word for word the citation, but not in the original spelling: --
....About 50 or 60 years ago, when from high up a big stone fell on the farm, and out of fear from more of that loose mountain might fall every year, have the owners of Ulvisager since about 60 years ago, as mentioned before, given a yearly gift to Stedje and Kaupanger churches, namely one "Laup" butter natural, which was one "Bog" butter, and now for some time instead of butter have given in equal value in money. Namely "2 Riksdaler, 1 Mark and 8 Skilling", so that God in his Godly might and wisdom free the farm of Ulvisager from the beforenamed mountain's downfall.
....This mentioned fall of part of the mountain must have happened about 1675. But following tradition, which may be doubtful, the stone fell in the' year when the folks at the farm refused to pay that gift which was promised and had been paid through the years. It is for certain, however, that this gift to the two churches in time was a tax on the farm that had to be paid every year, and probably still is in effect. ,;
....We can from this be sure that the religious sense at Ulvisaker was very much alive. The threatening mountain above the farm has been a serious reminder for the people for several hundreds of years before Hans Nielsen Hauge visited Sogndal and other hamlets in the inner Sogn where he found good territory for his learning and made many friends. . .'
....As far as I can remember, we have here in America not just 6 but 12 pastors whose roots go back to the couple Thorbjoern and Sigrid Ul visaker. That is certainly outstanding in Norwegian-American church history. One of the family who is still living, and has written several religious books, ought to write his family's history. It could become a historic work and have great influence for all who now or in the future would like to learn about growth of and work of the Norwegian church group here in America.

L. T. Njus
McIntosh, Minnesota
Decorah Posten, August 2, 1945.
Translated by Toven and Delores Haraldsen June 9, 1989

Contributed by James H. Johnson

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