Johnson family reunion, 1934.
Four children were born to Jan and Iverine in Norway: Nicoline Andrea (14 Jan 1871), Engel Marie (24 Aug 1877), Pauline Elisabeth (30 Sep 1880) and Iver (12 Jun 1883). (See separate article for each.)
John Johnson (as his name was Americanized) decided to come to the Untied States because he felt there was a better future for his family here. Many Norwegians had already come to Decorah, IA. It had become well-known to Norwegians in Norway and the USA because of the Augsburg Publishing House (now in Minneapolis), Luther College, and the Norwegian language newspaper, the Decorah Posten. Iverine’s cousin, Mrs. Thompson, lived with her family on a small farm south of Decorah, which was to become the Johnson’s home place. Plans were made by letter for the Johnson family to come to the Thompson home until other living arrangements could be made.
Preparations for the trip were made carefully and plans were laid long before the journey took place. The family left Norway in May 1885 from Stavanger, sailing across the North Sea to Hull, England, across England by train to Liverpool, then sailing to America on the City of Rome, one of the largest ocean-going passenger vessels at the time.
John worked on the Mott (Holland) farm. The old Mott house was very old and roomy and the family lived there at the time son Jan was born 14 Aug 1886. Johnny” was born with an enlarged heart and was never well. He developed dropsy and had to be tapped periodically to remove the excess fluid. He died 18 Jan 1902 at age 15.
John worked for other farmers around home and chopped cord wood for Motts and later on for Roneys at the site of the Trout Run Mill. He got seventy-five cents a cord—a day’s work. The round trip was at least a 3 mile walk.
On 26 Sep 1892 Jan Johannes Jansen became a U.S. citizen named John J. Johnson. Later on he added the name Oakland to any important papers. This was never done officially but was added to help to get the mail since there were so many John Johnsons.
When the Thompsons moved to Minnesota John bought their house and the family moved into the home near Siewers Spring where the rest of the children were born: Johanna (14 Jul 1889), Leon Bernhard (25 Jan 1892) and Gerhard (26 Feb 1896). (See separate articles for each.)
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this page was last updated on Sunday, 28 March 2021