Sec. 33. He had to use dynamite to blast stumps to clear the fields on the farm. When the tractor came into use, Grandpa rejected it and wanted to continue using horses. My father also worked the farm with Grandpa when I was young. Grandpa and his sisters Carrie and Lai la lived in the old farm house next to our house. He had a television we watched many evenings. When the yard light came on, it was time for us to go home to bed. Grandpa relaxed by sitting in his rocker and chewing snuff or smoking a pipe. I now own this rocker. Grandpa could be “grumpy." He sometimes swore when the cows would not go in the barn for milking. Grandpa also had a gentle and loving side. For many years he cared for his sisters, Carrie and Lalla. He always respected their opinions. Lalla was deaf and her speech hard to understand. Grandpa was very tolerant and took care of her until she died. Grandpa farmed until in his 80's. He then retired to West Decorah. One day shortly after moving to town he decided to take a walk. When he returned home he felt sick. He laid down to rest, had a stroke and died. It seemed he was not happy with town life; his days were not full without the farm.”

Lee, Lars A. and Julia (Dahlen)

(Dr. Arthur Lee, Jr)

Lars A. Lee was born 3 Aug 1856 on a small farm 4 miles east of Laerdal, Norway. Laerdal is located in central Norway near the end of the Sognfjord. The Lee farm was located on the side of a hill/mountain. The farm consisted of 2 separate parts totaling 11 acres, one part called Li; the other Lioien. The word “li" means “wooded slope" in Norwegian.

In Norway people took the name of the farm they lived on. A move from one farm to another meant a different name. Some Norwegians kept the name of the last farm they lived on when they came to America. Lars had the choice of either the “Li” or “Lioien” name. He eventually settled on the “Li” name and at some point the spelling was Americanized to “Lee."

Lars was the son of Agrim Jacobson Breistol Lioien (1817-1880) and Ragnhilda Knutsdtr Bo (1816-1906). Agrim and Ragnhilda had 8 children: Sila A. (1845-1926), Knudt A. (1846-1931), Jacob A. (1847-1890), David A. (1850-1910), Ole A. (1853-1939), Ingeborg A. (1855-1939), Lars A. (subject of this history) and Agrim A. (1860-1943). All but 2 of their children emigrated to America and eventually settled in Iowa. Sila and Jacob remained in Norway. Sila married, but did not have any children. Jacob never married.

In Norway letters from individuals who had emigrated to America were posted on the village bulletin board for everyone to read. These ‘American Letters” as they came to be known praised the virtues of the good life in the new land and encouraged their families and friends to join them in America. The letters were often written partially in Norwegian and partially in English. This sometimes caused some confusion. In later years Lars told of one letter where the writer said his barn had burned, but added this was not a problem because the barn could easily be replaced. In Norwegian the word barn means children. Lars would walk to the village and read the “American Letters." These letters influenced his decision to emigrate to America. In addition, 2 brothers had already emigrated and were farming near Decorah.

Lars came to the United States in 1878. He left Bergen 14 May 1878 on a ship (name unknown) from the State Line. Lars homesteaded 160 acres in northwest North Dakota (close to the Montana/Canadian borders). He built a sod house and lived there for 2 years. He then decided to move to Iowa where he eventually bought a farm (84 acres) from his brother, Ole, in Glenwood Twp., Winneshiek Co. Lars received the deed to the farm 15 Mar 1889.

Bio Photo

Lars Lee and Julia Dahlen

Lars was a tall man (6' 1"). He was described as being “as strong as a bull." He conversed with his wife and son in Norwegian, but found it difficult to speak to his 4 grandchildren because of his limited English. Lars was an avid reader, but only read books written in Norwegian. He was remembered by his family as “a very kind man.”

On 12 Oct 1891 Lars married Julia Dahlen (b. 12 Oct 1861). While Lars was over 6 feet, Julia was barely 5 feet tall. Julia was the daughter of Ole and Ingrid Dahlen who had emigrated to America in 1861. (In Norwegian Dahlen was spelled “Dalen”; it means “valley.”) Ole and Ingrid had 7 children: Andrew (1859-1949) - m. Dora Rosvold (1861-1944) in 1882; Sophia - m. Albert Olson who changed his name to Holkesvik; Julia (of this history); Nellie - m. Jens ‘James” Ramsey; Minnie - m. Charles Hexom; Emma - m. Daniel Hexom, M.D.; and Otto - m. Millie Krogsund. Only their oldest child was born in Norway. The Dahlen’s moved to a farm in Glenwood Twp. in 1883. This farm was about 3 miles from Lars Lee's farm.

Lars and Julia’s only child, Arthur Ophelius, was born 17 Sep 1893. Most Norwegian immigrants considered 8 years of school to be enough for their children. Arthur was the first child in the area who went beyond the eighth grade. He first attended the Luther College Preparatory School and then Luther College itself, graduating in 1917. The decision to send Arthur to school was based in part


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