Doris was very active in Decorah’s First Methodist Church until about 1993 when as a result of several strokes she had to reduce her activity. She now resides at the Aase Haugen Home in Decorah. Robert still lives in their home near the hospital.

Although the Rucker family has only been in Decorah since 1976 the family has had quite a history of patriotic service for the United States. The line of descent to Robert is —(1) Peter Rucker who came to colonial VA about 1690. (2) Thomas, (3) John who is referred to as an Ensign in 1780 and is listed in the DAR patriot index, (4) Joel, (5) Minor, who served as a Captain of the Orange Co., VA Militia in the War of 1812 and moved his family to Missouri, (6) Dr. Minor, who served as a medical officer in the Confederate Army in the Civil War (7) Jackson, (8) Harvey, who served as a Sergeant in the US Army in WWI, and (9) Robert who served in the US Navy in WWII.

Ruden, Christian and Mari (Halvorsbolle)

(Randi D. Ruden)

Christian Gulbransen Ruden and his wife Mari Elensdtr Halvorsbolle were among the Norwegian pioneers of Winneshiek Co. Christian, son of Gulbrand Christensen Ruuden and Marthe Iversdtr Biella, was born in Hadeland, Norway 30 Oct 1818. Mari, the daughter of Elland Andersen Elness and Goro Olsdtr Halvorsbolle, was also born in Hadeland 16 May 1822. They married in Grans Church 25 Oct 1842 and had 4 children born in Norway: Made (b. 10 Dec 1844); Gulbrand (b. 30 Nov 1846); Erik (b. 24 Dec. 1848); and Iver (b. 16 Jun 1851).

The family departed from Hadeland 9 Apr 1853. According to Ruden lore Old Gulbrand Ruuden came out of his house, took his children by their hands, and said “We will never again see each other in this world.” He was, of course, correct for on 19 Apr 1853 Christian, Mari and their children left their homeland forever. Sailing aboard the Tegner they arrived in Quebec 1 Jan 1853. From there they traveled to Lafayette Co., Wl where they were met by Torger Onsager from IA. It was Torger Onsager, who was later to marry Christian’s sister Randi, who took them to Decorah. They arrived there 25 Jul.

Buying 80 acres in Section 4, Glenwood Twp., the Rudens lived in Winneshiek Co. about 7 years. Martha, the oldest child, died of typhoid fever 20 Aug 1855 and was buried at Washington Prairie. Another son Martin was born 17 Jun 1857. He was baptized 23 Aug 1857 by Reverend Koren at John Sivesind’s farm. In 1860 the family sold their farm to Ole Blegan and moved to Freeborn Co., MN.

Like many Norwegian-Americans, Christian fought in the Civil War. As a member of the Wisconsin Regiment of Infantry Volunteers, Company K, he served under Colonel Hans Hegg and Captain Mons Grinager (who also resided temporarily in Winneshiek Co.). Christian was appointed drummer for his company.

Christian and Mari’s sons all achieved success in North America. Gulbrand became the first elected clerk of Norden Twp., SD. He married Anna Hendrickson by whom he had 2 children: Haakon Christian and Agnes Marie.

After Anna’s death he married Hanna Hammer by whom he had 2 more children: Egeberg Anton and Gilbert Ingval. Erik married Josefine Olsen and moved to Canada. Iver, who served as Register of Deeds in Hamilin Co., SD, married Martha Fjerstad. They had 5 children: Johanna, Mary, Kristian, Gurina and George. Martin, who is said to have been of a “poetic nature," and whose writings furnished much of the information for this biography, worked as a clerk in an Albert Lea, MN grocery store. He married Mary Sanderson by whom he had one daughter Mabel.

Today the descendants of Christian and Mari Ruden live throughout the United States. Yet their roots in Hadeland, Norway and Winneshiek Co., IA have only been reinforced by the family’s history as Americans. To cite a single example: one of the couple’s great-grandsons, Ernest Berg Ruden, married Ada Irene Orton. Ada’s grandparents were Thorsten G. Hvalby (Thomas Volby) and Margrethe Haavelsdtr Olerud (Margaret Gulstine). Like the Rudens, both the Volbys and Gulstines came from Hadeland to settle for a time in Winneshiek Co. Thomas and Margaret were married there 10 Dec 1877. In the spring of the following year they moved to Lake Co., SD where they homesteaded.

Rude, Leslie G. and Marion (Bjerke)

Bio Photo

Marion and Leslie Rude

(Leslie and Marion Rude)

Marion E. Rude came to Decorah in the fall of 1948 from near Albert Lea, MN to attend Luther College. She majored in the two-year elementary education program and graduated in 1950. She decided to enroll again to pursue a four-year degree in science and mathematics. Marion finished her four-year degree in 1952. Her parents were Melvin and Alma (Overland) Bjerke. Melvin came from a Norwegian family originally from near Nannestad, Hadeland. Alma came from a family originally from Seljord, Telemark. Melvin was a successful


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this page was last updated on Monday, 29 March 2021