Iverine had always been a good storyteller. Andrea remembers that while in Norway her mother, endowed with a good memory, upon reading a book could relate it so well that it was as if it were being read aloud. She knew many of the old Norse fairy tales and sagas. As the children grew too old for fairy tales, more serious stories took their place and neighbor youth gathered to hear them. Andrea remembers them all knitting, listening eagerly to the tales, thoroughly enjoying the fun.

Before John's death he had the house painted, had a woven-wire fence around the yard and orchard, a cement floor in the basement, etc. It was a comfortable place and the couple was at a time of life when they should have been able to take life easy, but things did not work out for that. John died 22 Apr 1922 from injuries suffered in a fall, and the family rallied to help their mother. Iverine lived with Iver and Ella in Chicago for some time, then with Johanna and Albert in Decorah, and one winter with Marie in Chicago. She spent her last years with Pauline in Decorah but moved to Johanna’s shortly before she died 15 Oct 1942. Rev. Schmidt told someone that she was the kindest person he had ever known.

The Johnson home farm was to have future Johnson family members as tenants when the farm was purchased by Walter and Eleanor Womeldorf in 1940. Later the buildings and a small surrounding acreage belonged to Albert and Johanna Womeldorf when Walter moved to the Womeldorf home place on Middle Calmar Road. Erlin and Lilly Womeldorf also lived for almost a year on the Johnson home place, Jun 1957 to Mar 1958.

Johnson, John L. and Rosella (Vangsness)

(Dorothy Crabtree)

Bio Photo

John and Rosella Johnson

John L. Johnson was born Oct 1899 in Springfield Twp., Winneshiek Co. to Ludvig and Margrethe (Strand) Johnson. John was baptized and confirmed at Washington Prairie Lutheran Church, rural Decorah, and attended rural school near his home.

Rosella Vangsness, born 26 Jan 1906 in SD, was the daughter of Edgar and Minnie (Ransey) Vangsness. When she was a small child her father died and her mother moved back to Iowa with her 2 small children, Rosella and Elrick. Several years later Minnie married Ole Sersland in Winneshiek Co. where they lived the rest of their lives.

John Johnson was married to Rosella Vangsness 9 Dec 1925 at the home of the bride’s parents by the Rev. Paul Koren of Washington Prairie Lutheran Church. They were the parents of 4 children: Marion, Dorothy, Edgar and Ronald.

Marion was born 27 Apr 1926 and died at age 10. She is buried at Washington Prairie Lutheran Church Cemetery.

Dorothy married N. Keith Crabtree. They had 3 children: Kenneth (deceased), Alan and Roxanne. There are 3 granddaughters and one great-grandson.

Edaar was born 27 Jul 1930 and married Marylou Casey in 1953. They had no children. Edgar retired after 20 years in the Air Force. He died in 1976 and is buried at Fort Sam Houston A.F.B. in Texas. His wife died in 1987. She was cremated and her remains are buried with Edgar’s.

Ronald married to JoAnne Bensley. They have 3 children, Kevin, Kendall and Diane as well as one granddaughter. Ronald was in the Navy and the Air Force. He worked on refrigeration on trucks and then for a trucking company. They live in Council Bluffs, IA.

John farmed and also worked for other farmers nearby. In the 1950’s they moved to Decorah where he worked in construction during the building of the dikes through Decorah. He then worked at Luther College as a night watchman for 20 years. He enjoyed watching baseball games on TV and traveling. Rosella was a homemaker and worked at Wapsie Produce about 30 years.

Rosella died 23 Nov 1985 and John passed away 17 Aug 1990. They are buried at the Washington Prairie Lutheran Church Cemetery.

Johnson, John O. and Martha (Thomsdtr Tufte)

(Arthur and Audrey (Johnson) Helgeson)

John Olsen Sanden was born 7 Feb 1832 in Telemark, Norway, the son of Ole Jonsen Sanden and Kari Olsdtr. Tveito. The Sanden farm where John was born is located about 50 miles west of Oslo on the west side of a long, narrow lake called Tinnsja. About 11T miles to the northeast and across the lake is the Hovin Church. The Tveito farm where John’s mother was born is about IT mile northeast of the Hovin Church.

Ole Jonsen Sanden and his 3 children: Gro (14 Mar 1826), Jon (or John) and Ole (22 Feb 1834) left Norway on the ship the Washington and arrived in New York in July 1842. In the U.S. Ole Jonsen Sanden decided to use the name ‘Johnson", so John Olsen Sanden became John O. Johnson in America. John's maternal aunt, Ingeborg Olsdtr. Tveito and her husband, Halvor Halvorson Brenna left Norway on the ship Clarissa and arrived in New York 15 Aug 1842. John’s paternal aunt, Asne Jonsen Sanden and her husband, John Jonsen Busnaes left Norway on the ship Tuskina and arrived in New York 5 Sep 1842.

Ole Jonsen Sanden filed a declaration of intention 5 Apr 1847 in Milwaukee Co., Wl. Nothing more is known


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