Meroa, Iowa - 1977

by Gertrude Crowell

Part 4 of 7


Transcribed by Deidre Badker



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Christiansen, Carl -- 200 Acres

Carl H. and Myrtle (Hanson) Christiansen moved to this farm in 1940, having bought it in 1939 from the Federal Land Bank. They have five children: Paul of Mt. Vernon, Iowa; Nancy (Mrs. Dale Folkerts) of rural Rudd; Dorothy (Mrs. Frances Schmidt) rural Nora Springs; Helen (Mrs. Charles Stalker) Rockford; and George. They built the present home in 1948.

Transfers include: Charles H. Abbott 1855; John Aurand 1866; Frederick Gratias 1869; Hugo Gratias 1875; Emil Gratias 1877; Gustave Gratias 1899; Oscar Gratias 1919; Federal Land Bank 1935; Carl Christiansen & wf. 1939.

The Oscar Olson family also lived here around 1924, son Alverne lives in Osage.

John Gratias writes: Probably one interesting happening I remember was the winter Harold and I attended the Dahley school - we had just been let out of the sled at Elmer Dahley’s farm and had put on our skis and the wind blew us across the hard packed snow. When we got to our grove, we tried to work our way over to the trees to stop, but me, being the young one and not so fast at such maneuvering, I missed the grove and went on past the tress, a quarter of a mile, laughing through it all and finally falling down. I realize now I could have done that earlier. Harold had to come after me in the blizzard to help me get back home, against the northwest wind. It was fun. It never happened again, the year was 1928. My parents’ names were Oscar and Hazel (Frisbie) Gratias. They had four children: Edna (Mrs. Don Dorroh) La Crescenta, California; Harold of Granada Hills, California; myself, of Sacramento, Calif. - my wife, Eileen, died in March 1957; and Charles who lives in Newport Beach, Calif. I am a floristand have my own business with a second cousin from Nora Springs (Alta Spotts), for the past 27 years. Alta’s husband Don was originally my partner but he died in June 1976. Charles sells insurance. Edna and Charles never attended the Meroa school but Harold and I did in 1927 & 1928.

Herman and Minnie (Paulus) Heinzerling rented the farm four years, probably 1934-38, from the Federal Land Bank. Their children are Helen (Mrs. Joe Firsching), McIntire; Elmer, Lake Mills; Anna (Mrs. Keith Adams), Stacyville; Betty (Mrs. Duane Vaage), Osage and Barbara of Mason City, Iowa.

Carl and Myrtle had a farm sale this year (1977) and now Donald Sponheim rents their land.


Dahley, Elon -- 160 Acres

Elon and Eileen (Zuehlke) Dahley moved here in 1971. They have one daughter, Stephanie May. They bought the farm from Erling and Janette (Forslund) Dahley in 1976.

Erling and Janette Dahley moved here in 1951 when they traded farms with Elmer and Ida (Torblaa) Dahley. Elmer and Ida moved here after their marriage in 1912. They had three children: Erling of North Bend, Oregon; Ilene (Mrs. Ardeth Smith ) of Coos Bay, Oregon; and Marcella, deceased. The present house was built in 1938 by Elmer after fire destroyed the old one.

Ole I. And Ellen (Knutson) Dahley were living here before Elmer and Ida.

This is taken from the story of my Norwegian ancestry by Stanley Klemesrud prepared while he was a student at S. Olaf - “John and Ellen Shoger had five children, three of whom grew to adulthood. Two years after John’s death, Ellen married Ole Dahley, the year then was 1866. When Ole was about 16, he plowed up 40 acres of prairie on what is now the Martin Field farm. There were rattlesnakes lying in the grass, and the snakes would roll out into the furrow. The horses would often step on them and the snakes would get plowed under. He carried a bottle with him and after the day’s work was done, he’d often have a bottle full of rattles which he had cut off from the snakes he had killed.”

Ole and Ellen were parents of four children: Elmer, Ira, Cora and Adella, all deceased.

A transfer shows Ole I. Dahley & wf. To Elmer O. Dahley in 1937. Knud E. Knudson (who was Ellen Shoger Dahley’s brother) bought it from a Julia Barnhart in 1878. Then it went to John F. (Hans) Shoger in 1880 (Ellen’s husband). Then it went to Ole and Ellen Dahley.

The farm west was added to this and was originally a Knudson place also, possibly Ellen’s brother. Before that, in 1880, Hans F. Shoger owned it. Hans and Ellen’s children were: Cornelius (also known as Colonel), Ella (Mrs. Syver Klemesrud), Oscar and Henry.

An abstract Erling has, shows that Alexander T. Guy got the first mentioned farm from the U.S. Government in 1855, then a Charles H. Abbott in 1859 from Guy.

From the Mitchell County History of 1883: “In 1880, Hans F. Shoger purchased the farm of his brother-in-law, Knut E. Knutson in Cedar Township”. Evidently he built a new house as Knut’s wife Eli and daughters continued to live in the old house for a while. Knut and Eli’s daughters were: Clara (Mrs. Albert Nelson); Ida (Mrs. Lofgren); Lizzie (Mrs. Ole Hylden). Ellen Shoger was owner after her husband’s death. Ole Dahley owned 40 acres which had been a part of the Cornelius Shoger farm. Claude and Peggy Dickson purchased the Shoger farm in 1932 - 120 acres. They had one daughter, Betty Dickson Graverson. The Dicksons sold to Erling Dahley.

Colonel and Nettie (Johnson) Shoger’s children were: James of Nora Springs; Fred, Effie (Mrs. Alvin McKee); and Clifford.

Some remember that Knut Knutson became a roamer and did oyster fishing, looking for pearls. He did find a large one said to be worth $1600. At Lottie Knutson’s auction there was a box of little pearls which may have been Knut’s, also, 7 pictures of a white object which may have been his one big pearl. A ring with a pearl setting was also sold. Nellie Knutson had given this to Lottie and some think it was one of his pearls which she had made into a ring.

A little more history of the old house: it was purchased by Carl Wamstad and he moved it to the Lars Wamstad (now Stroberg) place which he, Carl, had purchased from John Berge. John had went to Dakota to live. Carl also moved a building from Sponheims farm which he used for a barn. He did not have the farm long.


Docken, Galen -- "Shady Nook Farm" 100 Acres

Thidemand T. Docken was born in Hedalen, Norway in 1821. Gunhild Asleson was born in 1840, at the same place. They, together with others, left their native Norway in the spring of 1858. After a long voyage in a sailboat, they came to Osage the latter part of June. The tired travelers proceeded on foot nine miles southwest through a new and strange country to Rock Creek to find a former friend, Ole C. Haraldson, who lived on what is now known as the Albin Krueger farm. Since Mr. Haraldson was hoeing corn at the time, Mr. Docken offered to hoe the corn while his good friend went to the railroad station to get the baggage and his young companion. Here, they stayed for some time.

In the fall, they decided to be married. They walked the ten mile distance to St. Ansgar where the pastor lived. But what a disappointment it was to them when they learned that they needed a license. They had been misinformed as to the necessity of one. They immediately procured a marriage license, and in September, 1858, they were married at St. Ansgar by Rev. Preus. Their future home was purchased from B. Bergsager on Section 1-97-18 in Cedar Township. He had built a two-story log dwelling house in a wooded area on the banks of Rock Creek. The farm consisted of 100 or more acres, 60 acres of tillable land and 40 or more of timber land; e.g., oak, walnut, and elm trees. This was later known as The Walnut Grove with Rock Creek separating it from the other land. With much hard work this woodland furnished the fuel for cooking and heating. During the first few years the land was worked and crops were planted with a yoke of oxen. Later, the oxen were replaced by horses. Sheds and stables furnished shelter for their cows and other stock. Through the summer months the cows were milked out in the barnyard--a custom they brought with them from their native homeland. The milk was kept cool in a natural spring in Rock Creek, a short distance from the home, until a well was drilled.

Through the generosity and kind hospitality of the Dockens, a temporary home was given to families coming to this new land. Among these family names were Knud Klemesrud, S. J. Fosholdt, Ole O. Moe, Knud Berget, Chris Gopleurd, Ole Aspeholdt, Simon Erickson, Torkel Olsen, and Ole Hagen. Seven births and four deaths occurred among these families while residents there. Martin Moe (well known in the Rock Creek area) was born in the log house as was Malla Fosholdt (Mrs. Ole Christian Christianson). Her mother passed away that same night.

Eleven children were born to Thidemand and Gunhild Docken: Guri (Mrs. J. Schoger), Karine (Mrs. G. O. Brager), Mathia (Mrs. Anton Iverson), Antoinette (Mrs. S. J. Maakestad), Olava (Mrs. Nicholai Peterson), Ole (a business man who married in North Dakota), Gabriel T., Inger Marie, Christine G., Thea, and Elvin J., all deceased.

At the time of Mr. Docken's death in 1887, four older children were married and lived in homes of their own. Seven were still at home, the youngest being six months old. Together, they took care of the home and farm. In the surrounding woodland, wild gooseberries and red and black raspberries grew in abundance. These items contributed much to the livelihood for the big family. In addition, friends and neighbors were often invited to pick fruit for their own use. Throughout the years, this place, situated on the banks of Rock Creek, was a wonderland of wholesome recreation: ice skating, tobogganing, and skiing on the hills and bluffs of Rock Creek in winter and fishing, swimming, and boating in summer. Many friends joined the fun on Sunday afternoons. The ladies enjoyed gathering the wildflowers that grew in profusion in the grove.

Mrs. Docken served as midwife in this area. Often, she went to homes where she did not understand their language or they hers. But, with motions and signs, they managed. When the roads were snow packed, she often walked to the bedside of her patient. Sometimes it was necessary for her to take her own baby along with her. The pay for her task as midwife was meager. Instead of money, she often received goods for an apron, a piece of meat, or other food for the family.

As time went on, the family at home became smaller: two daughters, Antoinette (Nettie) and Olava, married; three daughters were teachers. Inger Marie and Christine G. passed away in early womanhood, leaving Miss Thea, Gabriel and Elvin at home with the mother, who later died in 1924. During Thidemand and Gunhild’s time, Rock Creek Lutheran Church was built within walking distance from the Docken Homestead. Thus, they witnessed the founding of the congregation and the construction of the church building. Also, they experienced the hardships of Civil War times with its low prices and scarce money.

Gabriel took over the responsibilities at a very early age. New buildings replaced the old ones. In 1895 a new frame house was built on the site. The log house was moved to the side. For many years, it served as a granary. Later, it was reconstructed. Still kept as a relic of pioneer days, it is used as a shop. (Note, in 2003, Galen and Kathleen Docken have restored this log cabin, furnished it with many of the original furnishings, and Kathleen has entertained visitors with teas, luncheons and tours.) In the early 1900’s, a new barn was built by a local carpenter. Wages were not high at that time. Some of the helpers received $2 and others, $1 per day.

During the winter months Gabriel (Gabe as he was known among his friends) helped the neighbors by doing their butchering. He was also custodian of the Rock Creek Lutheran church for 19 years. Gabe was a self-educated musician. His violin was heard at the husking bees and squares the young folks of the neighborhood enjoyed.

Beatrice Gast remembers their yard as being so clean and neat. They would put the horses out on the grass at night and the next day they would clean up after the horses.

Elvin called himself the eleventh child and Thea the tenth.

Elvin married Olga Odden in 1923. After living 10 years in California, they moved back to this area to the Lloyd Odden home (Lloyd was Olga’s brother). There they helped with the farm work and with the care of their aged mother, Johanna Odden. Two children were born to them in California: Galen James and Emily Olene (Mrs. Clarence Brimmer of Cheyenne, Wyoming). Gabriel and Miss Thea remained on the old homestead all their life. After Gabriel’s death in 1950, and Miss Thea’s in 1953, Elvin and Galen became the owners of the Docken estate. Elvin died in 1964 and Olga in 1976.

Galen married Kathleen Goergen in 1953, and settled on the Docken Homestead; Galen is also a carpenter. Two children came to bless their home: Lorraine Diane of Minneapolis and Elaine Marie (Mrs. Daniel Hanson) of Waverly, Iowa. - by Mrs. Gertie (Maakestad) Sponheim.


Gast, Clyndon -- 200 Acres

Clyndon and Beatrice (Olsen) Gast moved here in 1942. They operated the Gast Upholstery Shop here; and also sell Northrup King Seeds. They have five children; Gerald of Kansas City, Missouri; Ann (Mrs. Earl Voelker), of Medford, New Jersey; Gail (Mrs. Tim Graham, Cedar Falls, Iowa; Mark, rural Osage; and Jill at home.

Mrs. Delphine Indra owns the farm, having purchased it from Sam Woods. Mert Woods and family lived here a while. The house stood empty for a while.

Howard and Mae (Enfield) Tingelstad lived here from 1937 to 1942.

Chester and Mae (Denner-Billings) Williams lived here from 1928 to 1936. They had three daughters: Betty (Mrs. Birney Gast) of rural Osage; Evelyn (Mrs. Lawrence Dieterich) of St. Ansgar; and Beverly (Mrs. Gordon Allison) of Mesa, Arizona.

The different families that have lived here include: Sorben (an early settler), Lars Sorlie; Lee Hobb; Jim Anderson; and Adolph Amundson. The Hobbs family worked for Halvor Tingelstad. The corn crib here was moved from the Woods farm which was on the Rudd blacktop north of Marvin Norbys.

Note: (Added by the transcriber in 2003). Clyndon Gast was the feature of a news article that appeared in the Osage Press News, December 9, 1998, written by Betty Jo Lack. Excerpts from the article follow:

"Sometimes our best of times were really the worst of times, only we just didn't know it. We made the best of most everything, although there were times I'm not sure quite how we did it. I've been farming for 58 years and have seen a lot of changes."

Clyndon is one of few Mitchell County farmers that still live on the farm, semi-retired, but with no intentions, as of now, of moving from the country. He is 79 years old, and has seen changes of farming with horses to present day custom farming by the neighbors with huge, modern day, state-of-the-art equipment. He's a remarkable man who always has time to have a cup of coffee and visit with friends. Most important, he has kept his great sense of good humor through many years of ups and downs of farming.

"I was born in Mitchell County on the home place where my nephew still lives, and have farmed on this farm where I now live for 56 years. I was one of five children and went to rural Cedar #4 school. After 8th grade, I went to a couple years of high school at Nora Springs, but I soon lost interest, and went back home to farm with my Dad and eventually with my father-in-law, Lawrence A. Olsen, for a couple of years. I married Beatrice Olsen and we moved here in 1942. This farm was owned by Ed Indra, then passed down through their family, now to the third generation. When I rented the place, Ed told me the deal would be crop share, and he didn't see any need for a lease, so we never had one. We trusted each other. Ben and Carm Indra were my next landlords, and now I work with their children, Pete, Nick, Mary and Lawrence. I always told them I would stay until I got kicked off or carried off, whichever came first."

"Our house was originally a log cabin. We sheet rocked the walls, added on the kitchen, then added on the living room, laundry room and remodeled the bathrooms. But the original walls were logs. You should of heard the guys that came out to redo the wiring-they had quite a time as the walls were so thick."

"One of my special interests has always been horses. We either walked or rode a horse to school and usually kept a few around for riding pleasure. Eventually, we traded in the farm work horse team for a John Deere B tractor. We had a 1936 John Deere B, a 1941 JD "B", and then two 1941 JD "A's". In 1953, we bought a new tractor-which was quite a milestone in my farming career."

"I raised corn and beans, and a little oats and alfalfa like everyone else. We had a dairy herd until the 1960's, when milk got so cheap the smaller farmer couldn't produce it and make a profit. We seemed to always have a few beef around, since this farm has quite a bit of pasture land. We also raised hogs, only not in confinement like they do now, but out in the hog pasture in A-houses. After we quit milking, we remodeled the dairy barn into a chicken house and raised 1000 laying hens. The chicken business was great for quite awhile, but they too went by the wayside as big laying houses owned by poultry companies forced out the little guy. The cycle seems to be much like today with guys having so much trouble raising hogs. I remember during the great depression years of the 30's when I was a kid, dairy farmers were paid so poorly, or not at all, that, in protest, they dumped milk in the ditches. The government got wind of this, and sent out the National Guard to put a stop to this. Our corn was absolutely worthless, except to feed to our own livestock, so we shoveled off a wagon load into the coal bin and burned it in our stoves to keep warm. I hope things never get that bad again."

"We continued to crop farm, but eventually gave up on the livestock. In the winter, I worked at the sugar beet plant in Mason City, IA. and we also began our upholstery business which my wife, Beatrice, was really good at. We sure kept busy with this. Beatrice died in 1981, I miss her. I soon learned to cook a little for myself, do my laundry and in general take care of myself. I can even make a pretty good meal in the crock pot."

"During all those years together, we always remembered to have fun. I played a lot of baseball with my brothers and neighbors and played on Al Christiansen's ball team. In the winter, we bowled a lot. We visited our neighbors, did a lot at the Rock Creek Lutheran Church, had lots of fun with our family and never got bored. My Dad told me two things about life. I'm sure he told me a lot more, but these are words that seem to stick with me - first of all, keep a good attitude and you will have a good life. Secondly, don't drive over 50 miles an hour and stay on your side of the road. This seems to be a really good idea!"

"I still live on the farm, do the mowing and upkeep, but the Norby family custom farm the land and do a great job. I go to Osage and visit my friend, Gert Dieterich and we have supper together. I feel bad for the way farming is going today, but it's been an up and down thing for a lot of years and I feel confident it will turn around for the better."

"I have a son, Jerry, who lives in Kansas City; a daughter Ann in New Jersey, married to Earl Voelker and two children; a daughter Gail lives in Ankeny, I. with her husband, Tim Graham, they have two sons; a son, Mark, married to Peggy, they have 2 daughters and Mark has 2 older daughters also; and daughter, Jill, married to Brad Balsley, and their two sons. My refrigerator and cupboard doors are pasted full of pictures of smiling faces of my family, grandchildren, neighbors, friends, and relatives. It gives me a lot of pleasure to look at them everyday."


Gast, Mark -- Acreage due south of RCLC Church

Mark & Connie (Crosser) Gast moved into this house beside the Rock Creek Lutheran church after their marriage in 1976. Mark is employed by the Gast Upholstery Shop and Connie is a hair stylist at the Wittenburg Barber Shop in Osage.

(Note: In 2003, at the time this was transcribed, Mark and Connie had had two daughters, Laura and Lacey. After they were divorced, Mark married Peggy Kisner and they had two daughters, Emily and Natalie.)

Lawrence and Clarice (Williams) Olsen built this house in 1952 and lived there until their deaths in 1972 and 1973, respectively. Beatrice Olsen Gast, their daughter, received the house, according to Lawrence’s will, the house sits on the Lawrence Olsen (now LaVerne Olsen) farm, north of the original farm house.


Finsand Brothers -- 5 Acres in the Walnut Grove Woods

Tosten and Margrethe Finsand originally came from Ringerike and Hadeland, Norway in 1868 and settled near Monroe, Wisconsin. They were married in 1870 and came to Iowa in 1872.

The following was taken from the Osage Press News (Obituary) in 1906:

Tosten Finsand, born in Norway 1836, died 1906. He married Margrethe Halvorsdatter. Seven boys and five girls were born to them. He has resided in Meroa area 33 years. For nearly 31 years he has been janitor of the church and sexton at the cemetery.

A daughter, Olava (Mrs. George Moe) was born in Wisconsin. They lived some place north of Tingelstads when they came here. Then they bought the 5 acre tract of land along Rock Creek, on the east side of the creek, also east of RCLC church. It has remained an estate until Oscar Finsand became the owner. He passed away in 1976 and now it belongs to his son Omer Finsand of Walnut Grove, California.

The family consisted of Olava (Mrs. George Moe), Hans, Peter, Christian, Martin, Theodore and Mary. Some of the children died in infancy.

Margrethe Finsand was a mid wife and Tosten was a laborer. Some of the neighbors remember the Finsand boys crossing the creek by jumping from one ice chunk to another in the early spring. Not much of the house remains. - Thanks to Mrs. Herbert Norby.


Greiner, Bud -- 80 Acres

William R. and Dorothea Greiner and son Bud moved on this farm in 1954. Mr. & Mrs. Greiner have now retired to St. Ansgar.

In 1941 Kenneth and Vera (Dunbar) Chehock bought the farm. Chehocks had four children: Clyde in Atlanta, Georgia; Jean (Mrs. Paul Barland) of Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Barbara (Mrs. Richard Berner) of Mason City, Iowa; and Frances (Mrs. Jim Nielsen) of South St. Paul, Minn.

When Ken and Vera left the farm they moved into Plymouth and Slim Stroberg and his mother moved on the farm. They rented the farm from Geilenfeldt Realtor until Greiners purchased it in 1954. In 1959, Ken and Vera purchased an acreage at the southern edge of Osage.

Transfers show that in 1919 V. M. McIlnay & husband sold to John Erbe. John and Mabel (Wherry) Erbe’s daughter, Avis was born when they lived here. Their son’s name is Dale Erbe, he resides in Mitchell, IA.

Also in the transfers at the Court House in Osage it shows that in 1928 John Erbe sold to Rob Roy Cerney; Cerney to F. C. Donahue; in 1929, Donahue to Federal Surety Co.

Transfers show in 1915 Georgia Olava Moe, unmarried, to W. A. Wright and T. W. Jackson; 1916 Wright and Jackson to V. M. McIlnay.

This farm was home for Ole and Elsie Marie (Fjeld) Moe and daughter Georgia. Elsie was born in Valdris, Norway and emigrated to Mitchell County in 1888. She married Ole Moe in 1892. She died in 1912 on this farm and was survived by Georgia and two brothers, Martin and Harold Fjeld.

The Andrew Christianson family also lived here.


Harms, Carleton -- 130 Acres

Carleton and Karen (Hatch) Harms moved here in 1973. They are parents of five children: Christian, Wayne, Renata, Renee, and Roy. They are employed by Dean Kleckner.

Ed and Bertha Nelson and family lived here from 1968 to 1973 and were also employed by Dean until Ed’s health failed and they moved to Scarville.

Dean and Natalia (Kitzmann) Kleckner bought the farm from Mrs. Matilda Norby in 1968 but they continued to live in their home north of Rudd.

Glenn and Gertrude (Norby) Crowell and their two daughters, Carolyn, Iowa City and Judy (Mrs. Mark Winegar) of Davenport rented the farm from 1945 to 1967. In 1967, they moved into Osage, having bought a home there.

Harvey and Mary (Champion) Norby operated the farm following their marriage in 1943. They had one son, Laurence, of Iowa City, born to them while here, and since then have a daughter, Colette, (Mrs. Randy Slycord), of Ames. Harvey and his mother operated the farm after his graduation from high school.

Hjalmer and Matilda (Olsen) Norby moved to the farm shortly after their marriage in 1912, and lived there all of their married life. Hjalmer died in 1928 and Matilda continued living there with her children: Gertrude (Mrs. Glen Crowell), Osage; Lorraine (Mrs. Richard Creager) of Sumner; and Harvey of Osage. Matilda’s father, Lars Iver Olsen and her sister Clara also made their home with her for a time after Hjalmer’s death.

Hjalmer and Matilda bought the farm from her father Lars Iver Olsen in 1913. A new house was built in 1928.

Lars Iver Olsen bought this land from Levi Olson. He built the old house in 1900, and he and his children lived there after his wife died, later moving east to the next farm.

After Hjalmer’s death several people lived in the old house who helped with the farming or rented the land. Don and Gwendolyn (Crowell) Palmer and son, Terry, were the last family to live in the old house. In fact it was being used for chickens and was cleaned and painted so they could live there.

Melvin and Adelaide (Betts) Lindley and daughter Barbara (Mrs. Paul Christiansen) of Mt. Vernon, lived there in 1936 to 1941. They were employed by Lawrence Adolph Olsen who was renting the land. Melvin and Adelaide are now living in Osage.

Odin and Esther (Maakestad) Sorose and daughter Marilyn (Mrs. Clarence Van Grevenhof) of McIntire rented the land from 1933 to 1935. Odin and Esther are both deceased.

Ed and Thelma (Norby) Jellum rented the farm from November 1929 to March 1935. Their daughter Loras Mae (Mrs. Tres Goddard) of Minneapolis was born here. Ed and Thelma now live in Osage.

Between 19286and 1928, Jim and Lucille Anderson, Leland and Evelyn also lived there. Tom Wamstad of Mona, an immigrant from Norway, also worked there, as did Chris Brenden, Orin Krogstad and Oscar Hoven.

At one time there was a house real close to the road just east of the driveway. Ted Christiansen’s parents lived there once and had a shop and did carpenter work.


Iverson Farm -- 165 Acres

Located in the field north of the Ronald Jellum farm.

Gilbert Iverson owned 165 acres with his brother Ole, who died in 1923. The mother, Mrs. Gilbert Iverson, died in 1900. Their children were: Caroline (Mrs. Lars Wamstad), Oliver, who died in 1968, he remained on this farm all his life except the two years in service during WW1. Peter, who after two years in the service, returned to the farm and later married Ella Olson and they moved to their present farm. Oscar left the farm in the early 1920’s. Carl was graduated from St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minnesota, after a short time in the Army ROTC. After spending many years in New York and Chicago, he is now a resident of the Manor House in Mason City.

This farm was divided in two equal parts to Peter Iverson who passed away in 1975 and to Carl Iverson who recently sold the 80 acres to Kathan Real Estate. The buildings on the place burned to the ground last summer. - Thanks to Ethel Wamstad Guyette.


Jellum, Ronald -- 160 Acres

Ronald and Dixie (White) Jellum moved here in 1976 along with their two daughters, Michelle and Jennifer. Ronald’s parents, Edwin and Thelma (Norby) Jellum moved here in 1935. They have two children: Ronald and Loras Mae (Mrs. Addison Tres’ Goddard) of Minneapolis.

Edwin and Thelma are living in Osage. Edwin bought the farm in 1946 after Thelma’s parents, Lauritz and Rachel (Nubson) Norby died. Thelma also has a sister Katherine (Mrs. Clifford Larson), a brother Ronald died at a young age.

Lauritz Norby bought the land in March 1904 from Taren Norby and others. Their name was Iverson then and was changed to Norby in 1911.

The owners of the farm previous to Lauritz Norby were:

Entry 1: U.S. of America to Claus Clausen, Land Grant, year 1856.

Entry 2: Clausen & wf. To William Larabee, 1857.

Entry 3 to 6: (all this in 7 months in 1852) John Bishop (a land dealer from out East) to Henry Shipman; Shipman to Crowell; Bishop to Arnold; Arnold to Bean.

Entry 7: William Larabee to Halstein Everson (Norby), 1878. Halstein Iverson died 1895, then to Taren I. Everson (or Iverson). All children used Everson, then in 1904 changed to Iverson on affidavits of Entry in abstract. Then in 1911, changed name to Norby on all members of the family.


Johnson, Benny -- 60 Acres

South, across the road from the Clyndon Gast Farm.

Benny’s real name was Bernt Johnson. He was born on this farm in 1875 to Gilbert and Julia Johnson. John and Andrew Johnson, Benny’s half-brothers, were also born here. Mrs. Gustie Amundson, who lives in Osage, was also a daughter of Mrs. Julia Johnson. Gilbert Johnson had a blacksmith shop on the farm and did work for the neighborhood.

There were two houses on this farm. One was real close to the road and as built by Gilbert Johnson, Gustie’s Grandpa; it was just a one room house. Gustie remembers a couple that they called Christopher and Mary Halvorsen. living there after they came from Norway. Gustie thinks the other house was also built by Grandpa Johnson. Gustie’s mother later married Hans Erickson. Andrew Anderson and family lived there also.

Adolph and Gustie (Erickson) Amundson and family lived on this farm possibly in 1923 because some of their children were enrolled in the Meroa school then. Their family is Alvin, Osage; Hilmer, Waterloo; Marian (Mrs. Vernon Cockrum). Alice (Mrs. D. W. Nack), Osage, was born when they lived across the road on the farm now rented by Clyndon Gast. Vernon is the youngest member of the family.

This land was sold to Halvor Tingelstad in 1926. The house was moved to the Tingelstad farm and used as a shed for the threshing machine.

From Press News, 1912: Mrs. Karen Johnson, born in Hadeland, Norway in 1839, died in Meroa 1912. She came to this country in 1863. Married G. Johnson in 1868. Ben survives. (Her Obituary)


Johnson, Dean and Marvin -- 308 Acres

Dean and Mary (Collins-Haase) Johnson were married in 1970 and have lived here since with two children, Helen and David. This has always been Dean’s home, he lived here with his parents and brother, Marvin. Marvin bought a trailer house to live in that sets west of the farm house. Thomas Vhvikiel lived on the old Johnson Homestead at one time.

Herbert and Frances (Smith) Johnson moved here in 1924, after they married. They bought the farm in 1941 from Caroline (Norby) Johnson. They were parents of 4 sons: Norbert, of St. Ansgar; Merrill, Marvin and Dean of Meroa. The house here was built in 1893.

The original Johnson farmstead was located about a half mile south of the present buildings. Nick and his parents, brothers and sisters lived there. Part of the grove still remains at that site.

Taken from the History of Mitchell County 1883, page 298:

Nels Johnson, one of the pioneers of Mitchell County was born in Norway, in 1822. He was raised on a farm, but when a young man learned the trade of stone mason. He was married in 1840 to Annie, daughter of Nels Nelson. In 1850 they emigrated to America and located in Columbia County, Wisconsin, where he bought a quarter section of land. He remained there working at his trade and farming until 1854, when he came to Mitchell County and settled on S24-T98-R17. He died here in 1855, leaving a widow and six children to mourn his death. The children were: John N.; Martha; Nels; Marth; Tom and Mary. In 1856 the family moved to S1-T98-R18. Their oldest son, John, was born in Norway in 1841. He made his home with his mother until 1862, when he went to Wisconsin and lived one year, then returned to Mitchell County. He was married in 1863 to Jane Nelson, and at that time settled on his present farm on Section S12-T97-R18. They were parents of five children: Nicoli, Edward, Isabella, Caroline, and Martin.