decided on a location at Washington Prairie, south of Decorah. Ole waited for the arrival of Kari and his daughter Ingeborg from Norway. They arrived and Ole and Kari were married 26 Sep 1850 in Koshkonong. Ole and Knud Bergan along with Jorgen Lomen and Johannes Evenson then left to join the earlier party in Winneshiek Co. It is presumed that Kari and Ingeborg stayed at Koshkonong with Haaver and Berte (Bergan) Hoyme over the winter. In the spring of 1851 the Hoymes came with a party to be the first Norwegians to settle in the Locust area, Pleasant Twp., Winneshiek Co.

Bio Photo

Kari Knudsdatter Bergan (1828-1903)

A story about the Viste family coming to Winneshiek Co. in 1853, printed in the Decorah newspaper in Nov 1931, tells a little about Ole’s character. The Vistes reached the vicinity of Decorah, traveling by covered wagon drawn by oxen. They were unable to cross Trout Run as the stream was swollen due to heavy rains. They camped on its banks for several days. Ole Bergan and Anders Lomen urged the Vistes to remain and buy land here. Mr. Bergan helped them select the farm. The Vistes lived with the Bergan family until Mr. Viste had built his own log cabin on his farm. Mr. Bergan knew the language of his adopted country and could read and write it. Therefore he acted as interpreter, secretary and general advisor to these and many other newcomers.

Ole had originally purchased 120 acres. He then added 40 acres in 1875 when Knud Bergan sold his farm and moved west to Mower Co., MN. Ole and Kari built a successful farm on the Iowa prairie. Their son, Martin C. Bergan, purchased the farm 4 Apr 1896. His son Orval S. Bergan took over operation of the farm in 1946 later purchasing the farm in 1962. Orval's son Daryl C. Bergan and his wife Donna purchased the farm in 1978. In 1979 Daryl purchased another 100 acres adjoining the farm.

Ole and Kari had 12 children, six died in infancy: Ingeborg (b. 1848) married Anders O. Odegaard.(They homesteaded near Marshall, ND in 1909); Ragndine (1852-1856); Betsy (1853-1853); Lisa (b. 1855) married

K. I. Haugen of Decorah (Lisa died in 1880 after only 4 years of marriage); Lars (b. 1857) married Elvina Sandemoen (Lars homesteaded in 1880 in the Red River Valley and went to Saco, MTin 1908); Knud (1859-1862); Ole Christian (1861-1862); Ragndine (b. 1863) married Rev. Jacob Edw. Jorgensen (Ragndine died in 1894 after 4 years of marriage); Knud (1866-1867); Martin (b. (1868) married Mary Barlow (Martin farmed the home farm in Winneshiek Co.); Klara (b. 1870) married Ed Carson (The couple homesteaded near Marshall, ND about 1909); and Adolf Christian (1875-876).

Ole and Kari lived out their lives on their farm in Spring-field Twp. Kari died Dec 1903 and Ole died Oct 1905. Many descendants of Ole and Kari still live in Winneshiek Co. Many others are spread throughout the Midwest and California. Ole and Kari were typical of many early immigrants in their struggles and successes. Their hard work was necessary for survival and provided their reward in this land of opportunity.

Bernatz, George and Elizabeth (Shook)

(Howard Bernatz)

George Bernatz was born in Rochester, NY Mar 1847, the son of Michael and Martha Bernatz. Michael was born 4 Oct 1815 in the city of Sheaverstadt in the kingdom of Bavaria, Germany on the Rhine River. Martha was born in 1817 in Bavaria in the same vicinity. Michael and Martha were married in 1842 in Bavaria. George had 3 brothers: Anthony, born in Bavaria in 1843; John, born at Guttenberg, IA in 1848; and Michael, Jr., born at Prairie du Chien, Wl in 1853. Tragedy struck in early 1854 when Martha stricken with a fever passed away on a river packet enroute to Galena, IL where she was being taken for medical aid. It was not long before Michael realized that his 4 sons needed the love and guidance of a mother.

in Sep 1854 at Dubuque, IA Michael married Veronica Bonzer. She was from the territory west of McGregor near Monona. To this second marriage 8 children were born: Matthew “Matt” born 1856 in McGregor, died 1943 in Cedar Rapids, IA; Charles died in infancy; Mary “Maria” (b. 1859-d. 1926) married Phillip Gross, Elma, IA; Regina (1860-1927) married Albert Elvidge; Jennetta (1861-1927) married Herb Perry, Jackson Junction, IA; Frank (b. 1863-d. 1927 Dixson, Mt) married Nellie Sweets, Butte, MT; Louis (b. 1865-d. 1937 Ossian, IA) married Sophia Gleisner, Festina, IA; Josephine (b. 1856 in Eagle Mills, MN-d. 1914 Jackson Junction) married Sam Twonley. Michael Jr. died in 1886 at Ft. Atkinson, IA and is buried there. Anthony and John are buried in Phelps Cemetery, Decorah, IA.

George married Elizabeth Shook, daughter of Jacob and Mary Shook, natives of Germany in 1873. Jacob Shook was in the hotel business in Brownsville, MN, LaCrosse, Wl, Riceford, MN and Hokah, MN. His demise occurred in Hokah 1881 and his wife passed away in South Dakota in 1886. George and Elizabeth Bernatz had 8 children: Nellie (m. Henry Gisen, Calmar, IA); George, Jr was in the milling business, Eldorado, IA; Bert, a railroad man in Calmar; Frank, in business with his father;

Complete OCR transcription. 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