Bio Photo

Washington Prairie post office, Olaus Berge, bringing empty sugar barrels back to Waukon.

My grandparents, Iver Olson Berge (25 Jun 1825-1915) and Kari Elvestuen, both of Hadeland, Norway came to America in 1861 by a sailing ship and landed at Quebec. They traveled by boat to Lansing, IA and then on to Glenwood Twp. arriving at the home of Kari Elvestuen's uncle Peder Ruen where Iver and Kari were married under a big oak tree. They went north of the Glenwood Church where Iver had acquired some property for their home and where they raised 8 children.

Kari Elvestuen Berge was born in 1836 and died in 1925. A son Amund was born 1 May 1864 and died in 1954. Their son Olaus was born 25 Dec 1870 and died 12 Sep 1958. Olaus married Sophie Berge who was born 12 May 1875 and died 14 Jul 1960.

One by one the children of Iver and Kari migrated to North Dakota. In Jan 1902 the parents had a sale of their farming operation and joined the rest of the family in Northwood, ND where Iver Berge had acquired a department store. Olaus, brother of my aunt, worked at blacksmithing there and got some steel in his eye. He

Bio Photo

Left: Julius Moen and Paul Moen. Right: John Rogen and John Hoper at Washington Prairie Store when Olaus Berge was proprietor, also taken by Olaus Berge.

had to come to Davenport, IA to an eye specialist.

When he came back to the Decorah area Olaus became acquainted with Anne Sophie Ask, daughter of Jens and Andrine (Westby) Ask. Anne had worked for several years at the Washington Prairie Store and Post Office operated by Ole Ness, her step-uncle. A few years later Sophie Ask married Olaus Berge 12 May 1902.

The Washington Prairie Store and Post Office-including living quarters-was located 7 miles west of Waukon and 12 miles southeast of Decorah on the Old Stage Road. The stage delivered the mail between Waukon and Decorah and sometimes had passengers along this route.

Olaus and Sophie’s 8 children are: Thelma (3 Sep 1904-2 Feb 1907); Irvin (14 Apr 1906-21 Dec 1983) married Nora Nelson ( 21 Jul 1906-Dec 1983); Roy (21 Apr 1908-15 Sep 1971) married Ruth Monson (26 Jul 1914-17 Nov 1973); Carl (18 May 1910-Nov 1989) married Ella Ellingson who died 6 Feb 1968. He then married Jean Evans 11 Dec 1971; Stella (b. 7 Mar 1912) married Grant GRINNA (b. 25 Nov 1909) 12 May 1941; Norman (b. 9 Apr 1914) married Edna Nelson 15 Jun 1940; Walter (b. 6 Apr 1916) married Ellen Keefe 21 Sep 1949; and Otto (b. 10 Mar 1918) married Evelyn Berger (b. 28 May 1919) 18 Sep 1940.

Grinna, Gustav and Thea (Bentson)

(Donna Blumhagen)

Gustav Grinna was born 7 May 1875 and died 24 Dec 1954. On 31 Dec 1906 Gustav was married to Thea Bentson by Pastor Scarvie at the Glenwood Lutheran Church. Gustav was 31 and Thea was 22. Her parents were Gunder Bentson (b. 29 Apr 1853) and Marie Thorstenson (b. 16 Jul 1847). Thea had two sisters and a brother: Ingebor, known as “Aunt Belle’’ (17 Dec 1877-28 Dec 1958), Berte Maria (b. 4 Mar 1881) and Ole (died in 1892 when about age 10). Her father deserted the family when the children were all very young. Aunt Belle married a Heins from Minneapolis, MN. Mr. Heins worked for the railroad. Aunt Belle cooked in a hotel for many years. They had no children. Her second husband was a Thorsten. He was a stock broker. They lived in Oregon. Aunt Belle died and is buried in the Lutheran Cemetery in Decorah. Mildred and Lucille were her second husband’s children. They visited Decorah twice.

Thea lived with her aunt. She was raised by Goro and Julia Winger. They milked two cows and Thea carried milk to customers in town every day. Gunder Winger was the father of Randine (Dena) Winger and was married to Goro Winger. He was born 25 Aug 1851 and died 7 Aug 1936. Dena Winger was born 15 Mar 1882 and died 12 Jul 1974. She worked at the Calmar Bank for many years. Her brother Theodore was born 9 Nov 1889 and 13 Jul 1921. Three brothers and two sisters died in infancy.

Gustav and Thea's children were: Julian, Grant, Vernon, Helen, Marlin and Alden.

Julian Grinna was born 14 Jun 1907 and died 7 Nov 1986. Julian married Bernice Thorson on 19 Feb 1943 in Jackson, MS where he was stationed in the Army. They had two children, Tom and Betty

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

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

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this page was last updated on Sunday, 28 March 2021