way in 1969 and 1993 with concert tours. As a member of the National Norwegian Singers of America Veteran Chorus, he will celebrate 30 years as a Luren member in 1996 when Decorah will serve as the site for the National Sangerfest.

In 1996 Maynard will receive his 50th anniversary Monarch pin for 50 years as a member of the Lions International. He has served in various Lion capacities, as President of the Kenyon Lions Club and Decorah Lions Club. In 1994 he was honored by the Decorah Lions and Lions International with the Melvin Jones plaque and pin, the highest award given in Lionism.

Maynard served on Luther College's Board of Regents (1960-1967) and has been a member of Symra Society since 1967. He served as president of the Luther Alumni Association in 1961 and was president of the Decorah Chamber of Commerce in 1978. He was a charter member of Decorah’s Sons of Norway, Valdres Chapter 503.

Maynard and Minerva are members of Decorah Lutheran Church where they both have served in various capacities. Maynard sings in the church choir.ln 1983 the Aakers purchased a home in Sun City, AZ where they are members of the American Lutheran Church of Sun City and where Maynard sings in the choir during their 6 month winter stay. He is past President of the 450 member Sun City Scandinavian Club and a member of Sun City Torske Klubben.

Aakre, Ole and Helga (Thoe)

(Jim Skurdall)

Bio Photo

Helga Thoe Aakre (1816-1895)

Ole Anonsen Aakre was born 26 Aug 1814, on the South Aakre farm high on the slopes overlooking Hjart Lake in Hjartdal, Telemark. His father was Anon (Amund) Olsen Aakre. His mother, Anne Hartvigsdtr., died hours after Ole was born. From 1831 to 1837 Ole served in the military in Kristiansand. On 31 May 1837, one month after returning to Hjartdal, he married Helga Olsdtr. Thoe.

She was born 20 Feb 1815, on the Thoe (Thoestrand) farm near Hjart Lake. She was one of 8 children of Ole Olsen and Torgon Olsdtr. Thoe. Seven of the children immigrated to America in the mid-1800's.

Ole and Helga owned and worked the Aakre farm from 1837 to 1843. There was only a little rocky hillside acreage for planting; growing seasons were short and winters harsh. Two sons, Anon and Ole, were born in 1838 and 1840. On 19 May 1843, just one week after the birth of a third son, Kittel, the names of all the family members were entered in the church register. They were leaving the parish. Their destination: America. Inspired by Ole Rynning's book, The Truth about America, and letters written by emigrants and circulated from parish to parish, the Aakres were among the first five thousand of their countrymen who left Norway in search of a better life across the Atlantic.

They made their way to Le Havre, France, from where they sailed on the ship Argo arriving in New York City 26 Jul 1843, after a voyage of many weeks. They continued by canal boat and steamer up the Hudson River, through the Erie Canal and across Lake Erie, reaching Chicago some time in August. Here a man with a team of oxen and a wagon persuaded them to follow him to the Jefferson Prairie settlement in northern Illinois. They lived there for the next 11 years, during which 4 children were born: Anne (b. 1845); Kittel “Charles” (b. 1847) named for the infant Kittel who died; Torgun (b. 1849); and Johannes (b. 1851).

Little is known about their lives in Illinois. In 1854 they sold most of their possessions and traveled with a team of oxen and a wagon to the home of John and Torgon Odden in Winneshiek Co. Ole then continued on to southern Minnesota, where he staked a claim on government land at Greenfield Prairie. However, 21 Jul 1854, one day after returning to his family, he died of cholera. Helga, who was 2 months pregnant with her eighth child, bought 80 acres in Glenwood Twp. and had a log house built. On 10 Mar 1855, a daughter, Marie Gurine, was born.

Helga was a member of the Washington Prairie Lutheran Church, and her children born in America were confirmed by Rev. Vilhelm Koren. When Luther College was dedicated in 1865, Helga’s youngest son, Johannes (John), who was a member of Rev Koren’s confirmation class, gave twenty-five dollars. Helga had earlier pledged one hundred dollars to the building fund; although it took many years, she paid it all from her meager resources.

Ole is buried at the Old Pioneer Cemetery in Glenwood Twp. Helga died 27 Apr 1895; she is buried at Washington Prairie Cemetery. Some time after moving to Iowa they changed their name to Anderson. Their descendants number in the hundreds. (See Charles (Kittel) Anderson story.)

Akre, Martin and Lena (Peterson Eide)

(Sylvia Akre)

Martin John Akre was born 2 May 1867 at the Akre farm near Sattre. He was the son of John J. and Martha Margrete (Saervold) Akre. John J. was born 15 Jun 1827

Partial OCR transcription, some sensitive personal information such as birth dates of people that maybe living was not transcribed. See the associated scan to compare with the published information.

Please, contact the County Coordinator to submit additions or corrections.

Winneshiek IAGenWeb Home

Copyright statement

Please read the IAGenWeb Terms, Conditions & Disclaimer
~all of which applies to the Winneshiek Co. website. ~
this page was last updated on Sunday, 28 March 2021