Meroa, Iowa - 1977

by Gertrude Crowell

Part 6 of 7


Transcribed by Deidre Badker



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Norby, Mrs. Helen -- 200 Acres

Ole J. Maakestad was born in Hardanger, Norway, in 1826. Then he came to Mitchell County, Cedar Township in 1861. Ole bought 200 acres of government land and 20 acres of timber in the Walnut Grove on the banks of Rock Creek. That same year he built a house on this farm where he lived until his death in 1885. The main part of the house was of logs, hewn from the grove. More buildings were added later: granary; small barn for horses with haymow above; sheds for cattle, hogs, and chickens; and a milk house.

In 1861, Ole was married to Kjersti, daughter of Engebret and Ingeborg

Nelson (Qvisle), also natives of Norway. She was born in Sigdal, Norway in 1834. With her parents she immigrated to America in 1853, coming by the sailboat Sjofna to Quebec and then on to Dodgeville, Iowa County, Wisconsin. There were several from Sigdal in this company. Here, she attended school so as to learn to speak the language of the new country. In 1859 the family, including a sister and a brother, came to Cedar Township to the home of another sister who was already settled in America. Seven children were born to Ole and Kjersti: Martha (Mrs. Peter Motland): Ingeborg (Mrs. Harold Klemesrud); one son, Syver Johan; Oline C. (Mrs. Hans Odden); and Anna K. (Mrs. Theodore Fagre), all deceased. Twin daughters died in infancy. After the death of Ole 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. All the daughters were school teachers. Kjersti, the mother, passed away in 1925 at the age of 91.

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.

The Post Office was in the Maakestad home for a number of years. Two older daughters, Martha and Ingeborg, took care of the mail that came in two times a week.

In 1890, Syver J. and Antonette Docken were married. To bless their home, six children were born: Oliver, deceased; Gertie C. (Mrs. Arthur Sponheim); Theodore, deceased (he married Mabel Koch); Myron, Osage, (married Pearl Olsen); and Stella A., deceased, (she married Knud Klemesrud). A daughter Stella died as a small child in 1900.

A new set of outbuildings replaced the old ones during the time Syver and Antonette lived on the old Homestead. In 1940 they retired and moved to their home in Osage. Syver J. passed away in 1956. His widow Antonette died in 1966, at the age of 96.

Hermand and Minnie (Paulus) Heinzerling, now of Osage, rented the farm during 1938-1939. Their family includes Helen (Mrs. Joe Firsching); Elmer; Anna (Mrs. Keith Adams); Betty (Mrs. Duane Vaage); and Barbara.

Carl Norby became the owner of the farm in the early 1940's. The family worked the farm along with hired help that lived on the place. Among these families were : Donald and Ruth (During) Hutzell whose family included Phyllis (Mrs. Dean Gunsallas); Donald; Russell; Curtis; Shirley; Barbara; Richard; Ronnie and Jim. This family lived here from 1943 to 1947.

Ervin (Bud) and Hazel (Weaverling) Betts and daughter, Karen (Mrs. Dennis Tesch) of Osage, lived there about 1947-48.

The Rudy Guttman family also lived there and worked for Kenneth and Herbert while Kenneth was in the service. Herbert rented the land when Kenneth was in the military.

When the son, Kenneth Norby, came home from service, he took over the farm with his wife, Helen Klinger Hartwig and her two sons, Terry and Jim Hartwig. Kenneth and Helen were blessed with two daughters: Cheryl and Carol. A lovely new house was built in the early 1950's. Kenneth passed away in January 1959. Helen continues to live on the farm, renting out the land. - Thanks to Gertie Sponheim.

The following is added by Ruth Klemesrud:

Ole earned money to come to the U.S. in a successful fishing expedition. He joined some friends on the voyage to America. After 10 1/2 weeks on the ocean by sail ship to Quebec, and thence by the usual mode of travel, they reached Illinois. He paid $1.25 an acre for the land, 40 acres had been broken prior to Maakestad's acquiring it, and sown to wheat, barley and oats. His brother, Stewart, helped him split 1200 rails to fence the land.

Ole and Kjersti's first home was a log house, 18'x20' which they built themselves. Ole cut all the logs. They moved into it in the spring of 1862. During the winter, they had lived with Tidemand Docken's in the log cabin he bought from Bjorn Bergsager, who moved to Chicago.

All the Maakestad children were born in this house.

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; and Jane (Mrs. J. N. Johnson) and husband; and her brother Nels Nelson and wife Bertha Hansdatter Nelson. Maakestad was a charter member of the Rock creek Lutheran church, signing his name "Ole Johnson" at that time.

The four Maakestad sisters taught school 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 snow banks that were waist high. Then a fire was to be built in the cold schoolhouse from chunks of wood. Once they had to wear hip boots when the water was high and one told of putting newspapers inside her coat as a windbreak on blustery winter days. Martha used to milk cows for her board while teaching.


Norby, Herbert -- 140 Acres

Carl Norby bought the farm from the John Olsen Estate in 1931. Herbert and Alice (Moe) Norby moved here after their marriage in 1933 and are still living there. They are parents of four children: Joan (Mrs. Frank Jacobs); Marvin and Dean, and Marlys (Mrs. Will Smith).

Herbert bought the farm from his father, Carl Norby, in 1946. He sold it to his son, Dean, in 1976.

John Olson moved into town and rented out the farm to Myron Maakestad and family, Gilbert Anderson and family, and Curtis Bisbee, who was a brother to Bradford Bisbee of Osage. John moved out on the farm again. His widow and two children, Edna and Lester, lived here for a time after his death.

Lars Sorlie and family lived in the house awhile after the Bisbees moved off.

Others who farmed it were Albert and Nels Hegg, Chris Brenden and Lars Berge. Peter Iversons lived there at some time also.


Norby, John -- 163 Acres

John and Bonnie (Schmidt) Norby moved here in 1960. They have four children: Pamela (Mrs. Maurice Johnson) of Floyd; Dana; Steve and Randy. John, Bonnie and Dana are employed by Richards Sales & Service.

Harold and Roberta (Ethington) Norby lived on this farm from 1955 to 1960. They have three daughters: Linda (Mrs. Larry Streb); Debra (Mrs. Duane O'Banion); and Robin.

Olga Field owns the farm, John and Harold are her nephews. Olga lived here from childhood until she moved to Osage in 1955. Her parents, Martin and Gunhild (Moe) Field bought the farm in 1888 from his father Ole Fjeld. They had four children: Olga and Gea (Mrs. T.J. Norby) of Osage; Mina (Mrs. Milton Wamstad) and Oscar both deceased.

The original house was a two story log and was just south of the driveway. Ole Fjeld and his wife, Gunhild (Haugerud) came from Norway together. Besides Martin their other children were Harald, Ole, Erick, and Elsie Marie. Ole left from Norway but never arrived, his family felt he was lost at sea.

The following is copied from a Press News story, April 10, 1958 when Martin was interviewed on his 100th birthday:

Martin was born on a little mountainside farm at Norde Aurdal in Valders, Norway on April 15, 1858, which was three years before the Civil War broke out in the U.S. When he was 10 years old, he and his parents and three brothers migrated to this country, his sisters having remained several years longer in Norway with their grandparents. The family arrived in Dane County, near Stoughton, Wisconsin in 1868. The following year they took a train to Adams, Minnesota and by team and wagon came to Mitchell County. They chose to settle in the Rock Creek community in 1869.

Their first home in the new land was constructed of sawed lumber and consisted of two rooms. This was their home for almost five years. In 1873, Mr. Field's father bought his first tract of land on Rock Creek. The house on the property was rebuilt and served until Mr. Field built the present home in 1894.

His father built his own grist mill on Rock Creek, a custom from Norway where mills were constructed on small streams. It was built to make their own livestock feed, and he also ground the meal for his neighbors as well. Mr. Field remembers that the first president his father voted for was Ulysses S. Grant.

Mr. Field's teacher was Paul Myer.

He does not remember any Indians in the vicinity, only on infrequent occasions when they passed through. As a young man, he worked for $18 per month as a hired hand on a nearby farm for one year and assisted his father until Martin began farming for himself.

In 1892, he married Gunhild Moe who was also an emigrant from Norway. His most vivid memories of his early life in Norway are of the mountain scenery, their one horse, and the lefse room, a special room where their popular food was made and stored.

The first car Mr. Field and his son bought was in 1915 but he never learned to drive it.

Mitchell County Courthouse transfers show:

1873: George Burth & wf. To Ole A. Olsen Fjeld.

1875: C. Schneider to Ole A. Fjeld.

1877: Ole O. Haugerud to Ole A. Fjeld.

1881: Ole A. Fjelde & wf. To Erik O. and Martin O. Fjelde.

1887: Ole A. Field & wf. To Martin O. Fjeld.

1906: Ole O. Field & wf. To Martin O. Fjeld.


Norby, Marvin -- 85 Acres

Marvin and Edna (Amundson) Norby moved here in 1955. They bought this farm from Avilla and Olvin H. Moe in 1957. They have three children: James, Sharon and David.

Harold and Roberta (Ethington) Norby moved here in 1949 and stayed until 1955 when they and their daughters Linda and Debra moved 1/2 mile south to the Olga Field farm.

Melvin and Adelaide (Betts) Lindley moved here in 1947. In 1948, they moved to the Kenneth Ahrens farm. They had one daughter, Barbara (Mrs. Paul Christiansen).

This was Avilla's home, she inherited it when her father, Tom Larson died. His wife Olia Haugen had died in 1949. Avilla was their only child. They lived in the old house which stood north of the chicken house. The old house may have been built by Pete Hovind and his wife, Mary. Pete and Mary Hovind were parents to: Henry, Oscar, Ella, Lovena and Julia.

The present house was built by John Abenson, Tom's brother-in-law from Austin, Minnesota and by Oscar Haugen in 1926.

This Obituary was found in the Press News:

Tom Larson was born in Norway in 1859 and came to the U.S. in 1887. He was employed as a blacksmith in Nebraska. He married Lena Haugen in 1891 and they moved to Superior, Wisconsin and lived there six years. Following this they moved to Little Falls, Minnesota and lived there for 17 years until moving to a farm southwest of Osage in 1914. They owned and operated that farm until 1947.

Tom Larson and Harry O. Haugen bought this farm from Louis Savre and wife in 1914. Savre bought it from Ralph, Elmer and Clarence Isaac. The Isaac Brothers bought it from Peter Hansen Hovind about 1910-12. The Hovinds moved to Kensett.

Transfers show:

Hovind from William H. Charles E. and John A. Rogers. Rogers from William H. Coulthurst and wf. 1906. Coulthurst from Anton Klinger 1892.


Nubson, Alma and Lena -- 120 Acres

House is gone.

Alma and Lena Nubson were the last people to live here, the house was torn down in 1950. Alma and Carl Field purchased the farm in 1942 and Carl has operated it since.

Alma, Alfred and Lena lived here together for many years when Alma was teaching school in Nora Springs and she came home on the weekends.

After Alfred's death in 1935, and their mother, Marit's death in 1942, Lena and Alma lived here in the summer and in Nora Springs during the school year. In 1949, they both permanently moved to Osage.

Christopher and Marit (Lindelien) Nubson moved here in 1871. Marit was born in Aadslen, Valdris, Norway in 1850, daughter of Anders and Ragnhild Lindelien. In 1869, at 18 years of age, she emigrated to America with a brother and sister, remaining in Otter Creek, Wisconsin for almost two years. Then they moved to Mitchell County, Iowa.

After her marriage to Christopher Nubson, she lived on the home farm. Her husband died in 1893, yet she continued to live on their homestead, for a total of 70 years.

Chris and Marit had 10 children: Lena; Martha (Mrs. Carl Field); Rachel (Mrs. Lauritz Norby); Alfred; Gunia (Mrs. Rudolph Ask); Marie (Mrs. Harold Fosholdt); Nels C.; (afore mentioned, all deceased) and Alma. Two other infants died from contagious diseases.

Taken from the Mitchell County History book, 1851-1973: (Blue Book)

Christopher Rustabakke Nubson was born in 1842 in Valdres, Norway. He migrated to America in 1861 with his parents, Olaug and Nuub Rustebakke, and for a time, they lived in Dane County, Wisconsin.

Mr. Nubson with his brothers attended school in Wisconsin. Young boys then thought the name "Rustabakke" was too long, too old fashioned and not Americanized enough and therefore, like many other family names, changed it to "Nubson".

Christopher and Marit Nubson settled in Cedar Township, Mitchell County, where they raised a family of eight children. It was after a short trip to North Dakota that Mr. Nubson contacted typhoid fever which caused his death at the age of 51 years.

After that time the farm was operated by the eldest son who was only 16 years of age. The farm is still owned and operated by members of the family. The mother, Marit Nubson, passed away in 1942 at the age of 91 years. Throughout the years she made her home on the farm in Cedar Township.


Olsen, LaVerne -- 235 Acres

LaVerne and Daisie (Ketelsen) Olsen bought this farm from his father, Lawrence Adolph Olsen's, estate in 1975. They have four children: Deidre (Mrs. Bernie A. Badker); Lon; Lance; and Danell. LaVerne was born here. Daisie and he married in 1951, he served in the US Army, being sent to the Korean War. After this, they moved back to Meroa and started farming. They were also caretakers of the RCLC church for 30 years. LaVerne also does carpenter work.

Lawrence and Clarice (Williams) Olsen, both deceased, bought the farm from his father, Lars Iver Olsen in 1935. They had three children: Beatrice (Mrs. Clyndon Gast); Lowell and LaVerne. Lawrence built a second house that he and Clarice moved into when LaVerne started farming.

Beatrice and Lowell remember during the depression years that their father would trade wood from their grove across the road for groceries. They traded with Sam Melson, the grocer on West Main St. of Osage, across the road from the greenhouse. Their father also traded for a Monarch cook stove and a Maytag washing machine from the Hanson Hardware in Rudd, Iowa.

Men who emigrated from Norway were called "newcomers" and were given work very often at the Olsen farm. At the dinner table, these men were not so familiar with the foods served. One time a bowl of gravy was eaten by a newcomer, he must have thought it was a soup. Dark cake, meant as a dessert, was mistaken for bread.

Some of Lawrence's hired men included: Chris Brenden, Rudy Anderson, Kenneth Berkvam, the Finsand Brothers, Haakon Rohne, Pete Erickson, Lloyd Gillerman, Marshall Betts, Andrew and Budd Betts and Melvin Lindley.

Lars Iver Olsen bought this farm in 1913 from Knud O. Haugen and wife. Lars and Anna Regina (Larson) Olsen had eight children, four of whom lived to adulthood. Their names were: Klara Annette (died at age 2); Ida Bertina (Mrs. Carl Norby); Clara Annette (never married); Mathilda (Mrs. Hjalmer Norby); Lawrence Adolph; Iver Bertinius (died at age 2); and Irvin Bert (died at 2 months). Anna Regina died in 1900, while they were living in second ward in Osage. She died from complications of childbirth. The family sent the baby, Irvin, to relatives to be cared for (this family also had a baby) but, sadly, he did not live.

Lars Iver cared for his four children on his own. When Lawrence married in 1921, Lars Iver and Clara moved to Osage, on the corner of Mechanic and 6th streets.

Many men from Norway were hired over the years to work for Lars Iver. Some of them were: Lars Oppedahl, Tom Synsby, Bernt Johnson, Ole Haakenson and Otto Green.

Taken from page 308 of "History of Mitchell County):

Lars Iver Olsen settled in Mitchell County in 1874. He bought land on Section 2 of Cedar Township. He was born in Hardanger, Norway on March 2, 1850. At the age of six, he emigrated with his parents, Iver and Katherina (Opheim) Syse to Dane County, Wisconsin. Iver bought a farm near Lodi, Wisconsin and they lived there nearly 20 years. One of Iver's older brothers became homesick for Norway and returned to his birthplace, he never married. Lars Iver grew to manhood, working on his father's farm, then moved to the Meroa area. Years later his parents also moved to the area, choosing to live with their daughter, Mrs. Martha Torblaa. Iver Syse was born on the Syse farm in Hardanger, Norway. After his family, they modernized their name to "Olsen".

Transfers from the county courthouse for the farm, show:

1855: U.S. Government to Edmond T. Berry.

1875: C. Schneider & wf to Ole O. Haugerud.

1879: Gabriel O. Lunde to Ole O. Haugerud.

1879: Ole O. Haugerud & wf. to Knud O. Haugen

1880: G. G. Gilbertson & wf. to Knud O. Haugen.

Knud O. Haugen was born in Aadalen, Norway in 1842 and came to America in 1852 with his parents. They settled in Green County, Wisconsin. After marriage, he and his wife moved to Cedar Township in Mitchell county.

Knud O. and Gertrude (Leverson) Haugen had 4 sons: Olaves, Oscar, Carl and Oliver. In 1902, Knud and wife moved to Clear Lake and the 4 boys lived here alone. Nettie Brenden kept house for them. Nettie was Mrs. Myrtle (Anderson) Counsell's mother.

Oliver K. and Alma (Teslow) Haugen moved here after their marriage in Hayward, Minnesota. They had two daughter who were born here: Iva (Mrs. Kenneth Tordowff), Nora Springs and Mildred (Mrs. Dan Hummel) of Osage. Gordon of Osage is also a brother who was born after they moved to Osage. Mildred remembers her parents telling that Mr. Teslow gave them a cow as a wedding gift and how hard it was to move that cow to Meroa from Hayward.

Oliver and family later moved to the heart of Meroa where he built the house now occupied by Mrs. Mildred Williams and a blacksmith shop which he operated.

The original house on the farm was south of the present driveway. It served as the Norwegian post office for a few years. A new home was built, typical L-shape with the usual front porch, covered with gingerbread, a bay window and the separate summer kitchen. This house was built by Knud Haugen.

In the early evening of May 5, 1965, a tornado, approaching from the southwest, hit the farm and did much damage. Everything was repaired or rebuilt although most of the beautiful trees in the three large groves were destroyed. The family had to gather up their cows, who were carried into the woods by the tornado, and the sheep that were killed and scattered around.


Olson, Julius -- 104 Acres

Julius and Inga (Linstead) Olson moved here in 1940. In 1942 they bought the farm. Julius and Inga had 4 sons: Melvin, Jean, Robert and Keith. Jane Ryerson (Mrs. Otis Tollefson of Decorah) and Marjorie Ryerson (Mrs. Lawrence Klukow of Albert Lea, Minn.) made their home with the Olsons for several years. Julius farmed but was admired for the beautiful work he did on refinishing antique furniture.

Julius was born in Rock Township on Mrs. Alice Nack's farm. Inga as born in Norway and arrived in Meroa on April 9, 1912 at eleven years of age. She came with her two older brothers, Harold and Axel, three cousins and a neighbor from their Norway home. She was the youngest of the travelers. Behind in her homeland stayed her parents, two brothers and a sister. She came by train to Osage and then she was taken to the home of Mr. & Mrs. Halvor Tingelstad and started to school in the first grade. By the time she was ready to quit school, she was 14, an eighth grade student. She obtained a job as a domestic. She married Julius in 1920. Inga and Julius have returned to visit in Norway several times, the last being in 1976.

Sever Moen got this farm from Levi Olson in 1898. Sever's wife was Tarina Olson. Johan Olson, Julius' uncle bought it in 1902. Johan had never married.

The following people rented the farmland: John and Agnes (Johnson) Christiansen; Gust and Tina (Torblaa) Olson, their daughter Gladys (Mrs. Fred Shoger) was born here; Clarence and Alma (Olson) Huset; Gust and Anna (Framstad) Anderson, Dorothy and John.

Also Carl and Carrie Lee (Carl came from Norway, he was a brother to Gilbert Lee and his sister was Mrs. Randi Hvattum. Carrie died while they were living here, also a baby. Carl later married Della Framstad.

Other tenants or owners were: Mr. & Mrs. Christ Erickson of Norway; Carl and Cora (Kindschuh) Lindley; Edwin and Helen (Klemesrud) Maakestad; Mr. & Mrs. Emrey Baker; Adolph and Gustie (Erickson) Amundson, Alvin, Hilmer and Vernon, Marion and Alice.

These people were hired as help for Julius over the years: Mr. & Mrs. John Brock and daughter, Georgia; Ralph and Laura (Lindley) Wherry and their sons: Darrell and Marvin; Hilmer and Pauline (Applehorns) Amundson and their daughters, Arla (Mrs. Marvin Wherry and Patricia (Mrs. Ronald Thompson).

Sever Moen built the present house in 1898. Also the stable, which is now the hog house and the granary. The stable was south of the house but was moved. Johan Olson built the barn in 1909. Lumber for the corn crib and granary was hauled from Meroa, obtained from a building that had been torn down.


Olson, Keith -- 333 Acres

Keith and Delores (Taylor) Olson moved on this farm in 1963. They are parents of four children: Cheryl, Carol, Cynthia and Kris.

Paul and Emily Pike and their children Paula and Damian lived here from 1961-1962.

The Harold Pike family moved here probably in 1939 and stayed until 1958. Harold's wife was Pearl and the children were Darrell, Dean, Loy, Roy, Paul, Sharon, Patsy and Shannon.

Garrett George Naber Sr. and wife Katie lived here from 1931 to 1938. Their children were Orma, Orville, Marian and Wally.

Bradford and Edna (Decker) Bisbee moved here in 1929, staying till 1930. Their children are Neil Harland and Beverly (Mrs. Merrill Gaarder).

Myron and Pearl (Olson) Maakestad lived here 1927-28, with daughter, Ardis (Mrs. Fred Dieterich).

Gilbert N. Haugen bought this farm from Christopher C. Goplerud in 1897. Christopher C. and Anna (Hundeby) are parents of Gerhard of Osage, he was born here. Christopher C. was born in Norway, emigrating to America at the age of six.

Transactions found at the Mitchell Co. Courthouse show:

1856: U. S. Government to John Dutton

1856: John Dutton to Sarah Homes

1858: Sarah Holmes to John S. Meyer

1875: Mrs. John (Mary) Meyer to Alfred Merrill

1877: Alfred Merrill to Levi Olson

1878: Levi Olson to C. Goplerud

1895: Charles Goplerud to Christopher Goplerud

Gilbert Haugen was Congressman from the old 4th Congressional District from 1899 to 1933. This was one of the longest continuous services of anyone who had ever been in the house of representatives. Gilbert Haugen died in 1933. The farm was inherited by his son, Lauritz G. Haugen. Lauritz died in 1973 leaving the farm in trust to Richard Haugen and children. In 1963 the farm was enlarged by buying the Lindley farm to the north.


Onken, Dwight -- 160 Acres

Dwight Onken bought this farm from the John Maakestad Estate in 1975. He tore down the old red brick house and replaced it with a trailer home.

John Maakestad had bought this farm from his father, Martin, in 1927, living here his entire life until his death in 1974. This was the Maakestad homestead, where Johannes and Katherina (Wambiem) Maakestad had lived. They were parents of Gurina Sorose, Lydia Haugen and Martin Maakestad. There were also two half brothers, Joseph and Peter.

Martin and Emelia Maakestad lived here until they moved to the Eliason place which is just across the road. There were several families who lived here and worked for Martin or others in the neighborhood.

Edwin and Helen Maakestad lived here for a while and their first child, Dorothy was born here in 1923. The Jim Forbes family moved here from Nick Johnson's in 1915, staying one year. Odin Sorose operated a garage near the road for a time.

Martin bought some of the land at different times. Some came from the Martin Johnson farm in 1910, some from the Halstein Norby Estate in 1917. The land was divided into three farms later: Maurice, Edwin and Onken, each 160 acres and a fraction.

The following is from the 1911 Mitchell Co. Atlas:

Johannes Peterson Maakestad, known as John Peterson, came to Mitchell County in 1857 with his wife and two children, driving a yoke of oxen with a wagon containing their belongings. His wife drove the three or four head of cattle. They walked on foot from Illinois.

Johannes' wife died in August after their arrival here. Hers was the first funeral in Cedar township. Of their four children, only one son, Peter, grew to manhood.

In 1857, Johannes was married again to Katherina Wambiem and they had four daughters and a son. They were Gurina, Jane, Lydia, Elizabeth and Martin H. (born in 1871). Johannes was a charter member of the Rock Creek Lutheran Church.

A family named Karlstad lived here and worked for Martin, later moving to the Halstein Norby farm.

Kenneth and Nora Klemesrud and Kathleen lived here around 1934.

Leonard and Josie Maakestad and Franklin lived here about 1938, Frank was born here.


Sponheim, Donald - formerly Elmer Dahley -- 80 Acres

Donald and Peggy (Hart) Sponheim bought the building site which was five acres the year of their marriage, 1977. Krista Johnson had rented the home before this.

Elmer and Ida (Torblaa) Dahley had received the farm in a transaction when Erling and Elmer traded farms in 1962. It was home for Elmer and Ida from 1951 to 1975. Elmer Dahley died in 1976, his wife Ida in 1977.

The new house was built in 1951. The kitchen on the old house was the original log cabin. Merrill Johnson tore it down after the 1965 tornado with hopes to re-erect it in Meroa.

Erling and Janette (Forslund) Dahley moved to this farm in 1938. They are parents of five children: Marlene (Mrs. Bob Frein); Corinne (Mrs. Ronald Gambach); Richard; Elon; and Wayne.

Ole Torblaa bought this 80 acres from the Olson Estate in 1930. Ole and wife, Martha, spent their summers here. They willed the estate to their daughter Clara in 1943. Olaf and Alice (Amundson) Olson also lived here before they moved to Rock Township. Erling and Janette bought the acreage from Clara in 1950.

Ben C. (Bernt) and Helene (Antonson) Olson bought it from John and Kari Olson in 1897. John and Kari had eight children: Carl, Ole, Oscar, Clara (Mrs. Clarence Miller), Laura (Mrs. Claude Wayne), Alma (Mrs. Clarence Huset), Martha (Mrs. John Timmerman) and Alfred.

Bernt and Helen Olson both emigrated from Norway but were married in North Dakota. Alma, Oscar and Laura were born in N.D., then Bernt decided he wanted to return to Norway to live. They did, staying in Norway about six months, when he changed his mind again and decided to return to the U.S. They came back to rural Meroa, settling on the farm just south of the RCLC cemetery and living there until they sold it in 1930. Carl, Martha, Clara, Ole and Alfred were born on this farm.

Carl and Doris (Ebert) Olson lived here from 1928-1930. Their oldest son, Carl Jr., was born here. Their other children are Gordon and Carol (Mrs. Allyn Milton).

Bernt passed away in 1915 and Helene in 1924. Carl took over the farm in 1925. Clara, Ole and Alfred were still living at home until Carl married Doris in 1928 and they continued to live there till the place was sold in 1930.

The original entry on the abstract was made in 1855 from the U.S. Government to Zenai H. Upham. Next to Abel Putnam, Jr.; then to John Olsen and wife, Kari; then Bernt C. Olson bought it. - Thanks to Leona Estal, Martha Timmerman and Al Olson.


Sponheim, Norman -- 160 Acres

Norman and Mildred (Johnson) Sponheim have five children: Joyce, Ann, Donald, Dean and Mary. Norman was born here and continued living here after his marriage in 1949.

Norman's parents, Ingvald and Alice (Klemesrud) owned the farm until 1964. They also have a daughter Margaret (Mrs. Charles Melson). Ingvald was born here and lived here after his marriage to Alice in 1922. They moved to Osage in 1950. Ingvald bought the farm from his father Magnus in 1933.

Magnus and Guro (Bergo) Sponheim were the parents of five children: Ole, who died from the Spanish Influenza epidemic in 1919; Sena (Mrs. Malvin Lunde); Arthur; Ingvald; and Mina (Mrs. M.E. Lee), deceased. Sena lives north of Nora Springs and Arthur in Rock Township.

Magnus and Guro both were natives of Ulvik, Hardanger, Norway, coming to America in 1882. Guro came to live with relatives, the Sven Borsheims, near Northwood and Magnus came to his brother's, Knut, who then lived on the Eidnes farm. They were married in 1887. They, together with Sam and Kari Ellingson, rented the David Hylden farm and lived together there until 1890 when Magnus bought the east 80 acres from Ole Torblaa.

Charles Abbot was the first owner of this 80 acres, getting a patent from the U.S. Government. In 1894, Guro's widowed sister, Anna Bergo and her five children arrived from Norway. They occupied the second story until they found work and made other arrangements. In 1896 Magnus purchased the west 80 acres from William H. Cannon. William's daughter, Mrs. Walter Baughey, lives near Rudd.

After erecting a barn in the spring of 1897 the family moved to this place. However the old place served as a home for several families. Again, Anna Bergo and children: Lars, Anna, John Paul and Inger lived here. Also Jorgen Christianson and family. His son Chris later became the husband of Olga Haugen. For a time Nels Peterson lived here with his children Anna, Selma and Nels.

The improvements on the farm include a new house built in 1908. Rock for the foundation was hauled from the Klemesrud quarry and Havigs were the carpenters. A granary was built in 1914. Two cattle sheds were built and a Martin corn crib replaced the one which burned in 1949. A machine shed was added and of the three silos, the last one was erected in 1973. - Thanks to Alice Sponheim.


Staff, Hans -- 120 Acres

Hans and Biodegrade (Troge- Anderson) Staff and Jody live here in the house that was built in 1937 by the Kraubetz Constuction Co. of Manly, IA. Hans and Jody have been operating the repair shop until 1977 when they sold out. Hans repaired all sorts of motors.

Lloyd Staff, Hans' brother, owns the farm, having purchased it in 1948.

John W. Staff was married to Clara Winner and they bought the farm from his mother Anna (Hove) Staff in 1909. They had four children: Hans, Mina (Mrs. Henry Reams); Lloyd; Jean and Olaf.

Hans L. Staff bought the farm from Andrew Johnson in 1868 for $950. Hans was married to Anna Hove and their children were : Carl, who never married; Haaken, who made violins, he died young; Betsy (Mrs. Halvor Tingelstad); John and Laura (Mrs. Oscar Krogstad). All the children were born on the farm.

The stone shop was the first home for the family. John was born there. John farmed and also operated the bicycle and repair shop, starting the shop in the late 1890's.

Andrew Johnson bought the farm from Dexter Bartlett in 1867. Nathaniel Stetson got it from the U.S. Government in 1855.

The Staff family came from Norway, settled in LaCrosse Co., Wisconsin and later came to Cedar Township, Mitchell Co., IA.