In 1906, Lars, brother Anfin and cousin Bert Schjeldahl came to America. They were sponsored by their Uncle Eric Schjeldahl who lived in America in Highlandville, IA -about 14 miles north of Decorah. Eric ran a grocery store in Highlandville.
They took the train from New York City and arrived in Decorah 8 Sep 1906 and were met by Oscar Schjeldahl, oldest son of Eric Schjeldahl.
Upon arrival in America, Lars went to work on farms around Highlandville (Charles Casterton and Isaac Fawcett). After two-three years of this, the three of them went to Buffalo, SD where Lars homesteaded for five years. He attended Concordia College in Moorehead, taking courses in architecture, but due to lack of funds could not continue. After five years in South Dakota, Lars went back to Highlandville and got a job as a carpenter for Gust Melby from Mabel, MN where he worked for two years.
While working in Madison, MN for Gust Melby, Lars received orders from the U.S. Army to report for service in World War I. His military training was received at Camp Lewis in Washington state and after two months at Camp Kearny in California, he left New York for France. For part of the war, he was stationed in Alsace-Lorraine, France as a military policeman.
After discharge from the U.S. Army, he returned to Decorah and worked for the A.R. Coffeen Construction Company. This he did for about five years.
On 7 Apr 1920 Lars married Sylvia Bidne and settled in Decorah where they lived until their deaths. They had three children: Ruth (d. Jun 1994) married Ernest Steneroden of St. Paul, MN; Kathryn married Gino Sovran of Troy, Ml; and Pauline of St. Paul.
In 1926 Lars became a contractor. He started his own construction business employing 20-30 men. He built homes not only in Decorah, but also surrounding towns as well as farm houses, barns, etc. In Decorah he built 70 homes. Lars also built approximately 30 homes in surrounding towns and rural areas, the outdoor movie theater in Decorah, the Piggly Wiggly food store, plus many other buildings. Remodeling was a substantial part of his work, such as the Winneshiek Hotel, Larson Hall at Luther College - remodeling it from an all male dormitory to a coed dormitory, re-shingled the tower on Old Main at Luther College, the Porter House inside remodeling as well as working on the famous stone wall outside the Porter House, and many more projects too numerous to mention. Lars was very proud to be an American citizen and, above all, felt very fortunate to have the opportunities he had during his lifetime in Decorah. He liked his hometown and the people.
Lars was a member of the Luren Singing Society beginning with Dr. Sperati as conductor and with subsequent conductors through the years. Lars and Sylvia participated in the Norwegian Singers’ Association of America festival held in Oslo, Norway in 1957. He was an invited member of the “Symra Society" - a group of professionally active and retired businessmen and college professors from Decorah. He also did substantial charity work for poor people who could not pay for the basic necessities in a home, never revealing his deeds. Lars was a well-liked, respected man in the community and remembered by many for his good sense of humor,
Lars and Sylvia were life long members of Decorah Lutheran Church with Pastor Glesne as pastor when they joined the church. Both of them contributed their time, talents and money to the church they loved and served.
Lars A. Seim died 8 Oct 1973. Sylvia Seim died 22 Jan 1969.
Seim, Lars N. and Sigre (Hakastad)
(Larry and Arlyne Seim)
Sigre Hakastad, daughter of Lars Knutson Hakastad and Ragnhild Borsheim Hakastad, married Lars Nelson Seim. Lars’ parents were Nils Person Istad Spildo Seim (1814-1885) and Hildaguna Seim (b. 28 Sep 1821). Hildagunda came to America with her son Lars in 1867 (he was 19 years old). They came directly to Decorah and resided in Winneshiek Co. continuously. Hildaguna died 22 Jul 1884 and is buried in Lutheran Cemetery in Decorah.
Lars Nelson Seim and Sigre Hakastad were married in the old Luther College building 16 Dec 1871 by Rev. Larsen. They resided on State Street in Decorah (now Montgomery Street).
Theodore (Ted), Lawrence Helge, Viking,
Julia, Lena, Clarence, Father (Lars N) Ruth,
Dehlia and Mother (Sarah).
Lars Seim (Larry’s grandfather), engaged in various occupations which included farming, teaming, livery work and operating an express line called The Overland Stagecoach’ between Decorah, Waukon and Lansing. A stopping off point for refreshments and a change of horses was at "The Landmark Inn.”
Lars and Sarah (Sigre) had 10 children of which 2 died in infancy - they being the first born Norman and the last born Henry or Hover. The other children were: Helena, Julia, Theodore, Viking, Lawrence, Clarence (worked at the Courthouse for many years), Delia and Ruth.
Seim, Lawrence Helge and Florence (Nelson)
(Larry and Arlyne Seim)
Lawrence Helge Seim (Larry’s father) was born 1 Apr 1884. He married Florence Nelson. Florence was born 4 Oct 1891 near Litchville, ND. She came to Decorah with
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this page was last updated on Monday, 29 March 2021