Helmer farmed in Springfield Twp until 1940 when he moved to Glenwood Twp. He continued farming until 1959 when he retired and moved to Decorah and became an avid fisherman. Helmer was active in church and community affairs. He was a charter member of the Winneshiek County Farm Bureau and Farm Bureau Insurance. He served on the board of Aase Haugen Home, Inc., Lutheran Credit Union and the Ossian Telephone Co. He was a Soil Conservation Commissioner from 1949-1956 and was one of the first farmers to start conservation practices on his farm. Helmer was a trustee and usher of the Washington Prairie Lutheran Church and on the building committee of the parish hall. Many hours were spent on the construction of the parish hall. He was a member of the Lutheran Brotherhood and the dart ball team. His church was very important to him. Helmer passed away 13 Apr 1989 at the Winneshiek County Memorial Hospital at the age of 95 years 3-1/2 months.
Cora Meredith, daughter of Holsten and Josephine (Nordheim) Stoen was born 23 Feb 1897 on a farm near Highlandville. She attended rural schools and the Albert Lea Academy. Cora was active in church circle and Ladies Aid. She loved sewing, crocheting and knitting and also enjoyed gardening and fishing. She made pieced quilts for each of her children and grandchildren. Cora passed away on 13 Jan 1995 at the age of 97 years and 11 months.
Berndt and Bertena Osmundson on their wedding day, December 14, 1898.
Osmundson, Bernt and Bertena (Anfinson)
Birthday party for Ben, 1943
Bernt (Ben) F. Osmundson, the son of Jeremias and Margit Osmundson, was born 12 Aug 1873 in Allamakee Co. He received his education in the rural schools of Allamakee Co. and attended Luther College 1889-1893.
On 14 Dec 1898 he married Bertena Anfinson and moved to the “home farm” of his parents where he assisted with the management of the farm.
Bertena (Tina) the daughter of Sjur and Brita Anfinson, was born 8 Dec 1875 on a farm near Sattre, in Pleasant Twp. She attended the rural schools there and was a member of Big Canoe Lutheran Church.
In 1903 they moved to a farm in Highland Twp, Winneshiek Co. Their first home was a log cabin with two large central rooms and an addition built on for a kitchen and bedroom. Ben, however, was anxious for a new home and soon was busy building, changing the plans as they went along, which was often done in those days. Tina, in her later years, confided that she always felt the house was bigger than they needed, however, she loved the location of the house as it provided a beautiful view of the sunsets. She would often go out the back door in the evenings and sit and watch the sky. She was an especially accomplished baker and extremely organized housekeeper, following the rule of the day, Monday, washday, etc. to the letter.
Her father-in-law, Jeremias, felt she was expert enough at baking to commission her to teach Ben’s three sisters. They would come to the house several times a week and Tina would teach them the art of making pies, cakes, breads, rolls and all the Norwegian specialties such as “shingle bread” (Flotbrod), krumkake and spritzkuchen and the sugar cookies he was especially fond of.
At Christmas there was a live tree in the center of the parlor with candles to be lit only on Christmas Eve. All the family would gather around the tree for gifts and then a special dinner of oyster stew and Flotbrod. Ben would bring out a special bowl of mixed nuts which he had been collecting and saving for this special time. Christmas Day the meal would be lutefisk and lefse and all the traditional sweet treats. Before the age of refrigeration jello could only be served in the winter and this was often included in the Christmas celebration dinner.
Big Canoe Lutheran Church played a big part in the life of Ben and Tina, providing religious guidance and a social outlet for the growing family. They in turn gave of their time and resources generously. Many of their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren have continued the relationship with Big Canoe.
Ben was especially fond and proud of his horses. Although the boys would ride the horses quite often, it was not something the girls were permitted to do. One day Ben’s daughter, Ruth, decided it would be fun to ride one of the new horses to get the cows instead of walking. She took care to get the bridle on just the way Ben did and used a big rock to climb onto the back of the horse. She nudged him in the flanks and off he went running at
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this page was last updated on Monday, 29 March 2021