first child, Carlton, was born in Frankville Twp. on the farm now owned by Albert Ashbacker. Later they moved to Clay Hill northeast of Decorah. In 1933 the Ruen’s returned to Frankville Twp. (then the Daubney farm, now the Elmer and Richard Matter farm) where their 2 daughters, Elaine (m. Donald Johnson) and Kathryn (m. Walter Roach), were born. In 1937 they moved to the Henry Ruen farm where they lived until moving to Decorah in 1970.

Art and Florence farmed in Winneshiek Co. for 30 years. They began their farming career on share-rent farms. They were among the first farmers to incorporate contour farming to improve the productivity of the crop land. They were instrumental in electricity coming to Frankville Twp. through the REA (Rural Electric Association). Their dedication to improved technology was well-known due to their outstanding herd of registered Holstein cattle. In 1978 Art became the 4th Pioneer Dairyman in Winneshiek Co. Special efforts were made by Art to help 4-H and FFA youth get a start with their Holstein projects.

Florence was a vital contributor to the success of the farm by her diligence and commitment to the improved technologies rapidly becoming a part of the modernization of farming. Her contributions included: drawing the markings of each animal in their registered Holstein dairy herd, lending a hand in the field at busy times, milking the cows and maintaining spotless dairy equipment in addition to caring for the chickens and hens as her own personal sources of income. Florence maintained a productive garden and canned and froze food for the winter. She also was a skilled seamstress.

Florence was the 4-H leader for the Bonnie Bluebirdettes plus serving on the Winneshiek Co. Girls’ 4-H Committee. She was a member of the Frankville Presbyterian Church where she served as a Sunday School Superintendent and was active in the Ladies' Aid. Later Florence became a member of the Washington Prairie Lutheran Church where she again was a leader in the Sunday School and taught in the summer Bible School program. She was active in Circle where she held many offices in addition to being a Bible Study Leader. Florence was an excellent pianist accompanying church groups when needed. She is a member of the Outlook Study Club. Florence does beautiful needlework sharing her skills at crocheting and embroidery with family and friends. She demonstrated the intricacies of Hardanger (Norwegian cut-work) at the Nordic Fest for many years. Finally, Florence provided the security necessary for raising their 3 children through the difficult years of the Depression and World War II.

After the dispersal of the Ruen dairy herd in 1957, Art became an active builder of barns and farm buildings in Winneshiek Co. He was available to his farm neighbors for the repair and maintenance of their machinery. He was a skilled harness maker, blacksmith, wood worker and cabinet maker. Art made many of the replacement ornaments plus repairing antique furniture at the Porter House Museum.

In Frankville Twp. he was a trustee and served on the Election Board. He was an active participant in the restoration and rehabilitation of the Pagin Cemetery begun in 1852. This cemetery has now regressed until it is near abandonment. He was instrumental in the establishment of the Frankville Volunteer Fire Department and the building that houses the fire department. At the Frankville Days Parade on Labor Day 1994, Art and Florence were honored as Parade Marshals.

Art served as chairman for Frankville and Springfield Twps. for the Winneshiek Co. Red Cross Chapter. He was an insurance representative for the Norwegian Mutual Insurance Company. He was on the boards of the Decorah Creamery and Naesseth Telephone Company.

Christmas was a favorite time for Art and Florence as each holiday season passers-by witnessed their animated home decorations which often were among the winners in the Decorah Holiday Home Decorating Contests. Each year he crafted gifts of wood for his wife, children and grandchildren. Among those gifts were Grandmother clocks, tilt top tables and cedar chests. Art was well-known for his wood-working skills, making and repairing pieces of furniture, miniature and special items both from patterns and his own creativity.

Art and Florence are members of the Washington Prairie Lutheran Church. Art served on their Board of Trustees. Many of his woodworking skills are evident in the Parish Hall in the form of cabinets and trophy cases. Other churches in Winneshiek Co. where his cabinetmaking skills are evident are: Frankville Community Church and Madison Lutheran Church.

Ruen, Hans and Ingeborg (Strandbakken)

(Mildred Redmond and Vernon Ruen)

Peder Hanson Ruen was born 3 Feb 1788 at Eggebraaten Gaard in Grans Prestegjeld, Hadeland, Norway to Mr. & Mrs. Hans Eggebraaten. His brothers and sisters were: Ole H. Eggebraaten, Iver H. Sonsteby, Anna H. Svensrud, Martha H. Strandbakken and Espen H. Ruen.

Peder and his brother Iver were called upon to fight in Norway’s war with Sweden in 1814. Their experiences were many and varied. The soldiers were poorly equipped, the weather was often bitterly cold and food was scarce. Peder and Iver returned home safe and sound and soon acquired gaards (farms) in their home neighborhood. Peder bought the Ruen gaard and thus adopted the name Peder Ruen. The name "Ruen” was originally “Runden" referring to a hill or bluff which was round in shape.

Peder’s first marriage was to Ingeborg. She died at the birth of twin sons born 21 May 1821. The one son was named Jens; the other did not survive. Peder later married Anne Kjos Elvestuen who was born in Hadeland. Peder and Anne were parents of 7 children: Iver, Ole, Hans, Peder (who died in childhood), Elina, Kjersti and Marthe. Besides his farming activities Peder was engaged in shoemaking. He prepared and tanned the leather himself and made excellent shoes for his family and neighborhood people.

News of the wonderful opportunities offered in the “New World” were reaching Hadeland, and in the winter of 1850 the Ruens, as well as others in the community, began to


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