and many relatives had gone to acquire land. She lived in a shack on her homestead claim over the weekends and rode horseback into Camp Cook, a distance of 18 miles, to work as a housemaid for the banker in town.

Melvin decided to go to South Dakota also, and he acquired a claim adjoining Josephine’s. On 11 Aug 1914 they were married in St. John’s Lutheran Church in Gustave, SD. They moved their two shacks together and had a two room house where their two eldest daughters, Esther and Marcella were born. In the fall of 1918 they decided to return to Iowa and that winter lived in Decorah. Melvin worked on the section crew for the railroad and hauled coal for Ingvoldstad Lumber Co. From the spring of 1919 until fall of 1925 he was a farm hand in the county. In Oct 1925 he purchased an acreage in Decorah on Winneshiek Ave. He also bought a cream route together with an old Ford truck and a pair of mules. He hauled cream for the Decorah Ice Cave Creamery. To supplement his income he bought and sold cordwood, plowed gardens, spliced hay ropes for farmers and trimmed trees. He was never idle.

Josephine and Melvin had four daughters: Esther (b. 23 May 1915) married Frank Miller: Marcella (b. 20 Jun 1918) married Rev. Richard Bey and 12 years after Bey’s death married Ed Norgard; Evelyn and Vernell married Merlin Haugen.

In 1942 Melvin and Josephine bought the Buer home on East Main Street where they lived until Melvin's death. Josephine continued living in the area — on Center Street, at Viewlawn Apartments, in the Frank Miller home on Middle Calmar Road and lastly at the Aase Haugen Home until her death in 1987.

While the couple lived in Decorah they were active members of Decorah Lutheran Church, he as usher for many years welcoming people from all walks of life and she in Ladies Aid and Sunday School.

Stevens, Eric and Regina (Anderson)

(Esther Miller)

Bio Photo

Stevens Family

Left to right, back: Arthur, Clarence, Albert, Melvin and Simon. Left to right, front: Selma, Emma,

Father Eric, Anna, Mother Regina. Martha and Ella.

Eric Stevens (also known as Eric Gulsjolia, Eric Stephanson, and Erick Stephens) was born 29 Aug 1863 and died 12 May 1931. He was the son of Torsten Gulsjolia and Marie Ensbakken of Hadeland, Norway on the shores of Gulsjoen. His parents came to America in 1862 and Eric was born the next year. The family came to Glenwood Twp, Winneshiek Co, IA and lived there until they died. Many of the family members are interred in the Glenwood Lutheran Cemetery.

Eric married Regina Anderson (25 Sep 1864-5 Nov 1946), the daughter of Rasmus Anderson-Vik and Jensine Nilsdtr, who had emigrated to America in 1857 and also settled in Glenwood Twp.

The couple had 12 children and struggled for a living on a small farm. Eric was sometimes known as “Eric Gulsjolia fra Skrukklia” which made an interesting play on words—Gulsjolia translated means hillside by the golden sea (Gulsjoen being a beautiful lake in central Norway) and Skrukklia means a very wrinkled, wooded hillside, a very apt description of the land Torsten, Eric's father, had acquired for his family in Glenwood Twp.

Eric and Regina's children were: Melvin Theodore (1885-1960) married Josephine Buer: Edwin (1886-1907): Albert (1889-1942) married Emily Skaraud: Simon Bernard (1890-1971) married Gertrude Borseth: Emma Charlotte (1893-1961) married George Carlsborg: Julius (1895-1895); Ella Regina (1897-1940) married Martin Borseth; Anna Mathilda (1899-1981); Arthur Julius (1899-1989) married Clara Ronglien; Clarence Milton (1901-1942) married Veda Rooney; Martha Gennetta (1903-1979) married Carl Jacobson; and Selma Caroline H 905-1993) married Oscar Bergland.

Eric and Regina were members of Glenwood Lutheran Church and their home was a haven for their children and grandchildren despite the privation they so often suffered.

Their first home was on the bank of the Upper Iowa River, a site selected by Torsten, Eric's father, probably because the river provided water and a route of travel, and the heavily wooded hills provided shelter, lumber and wood for fuel. Unfortunately near by was a “draw” or dry creek which drained the high bluffs above the homesite. In 1908 for a second time a major flood devastated the little home. Crops were ruined and livestock washed down the river. The little summer kitchen was swept away. The next morning this building was found moored on a sandbar with bread which had been baking in the oven safe, dry and baked perfectly. Later the cabin was moved to higher ground and joined to another cabin making a four room house.

Grandchildren loved to come and stay. They could hunt squirrel, pick strawberries or wild plums in season; listen to grandfather’s stories and dance to his accordion music; turn the cream separator or the churn. It was exciting to go with grandmother to the cellar where milk, cream and other perishables where kept in containers in the spring located there.

The farm passed to Anna and Arthur Stevens at the death of Eric. Arthur married and moved to an adjoining farm and Anna stayed and cared for her mother. Later she and her mother moved to Waukegan, IL. Esther Stephens Miller bought the farm. She later conveyed it to Stanley and Mary Jo (Miller) Finholt who after enjoying the place for a number of years sold it to David and Candice Arp.


Partial OCR transcription, some sensitive personal information such as birth dates of people that maybe living is not included.

See the associated scan to compare with the published information.

Please, contact the County Coordinator to submit additions or corrections.

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this page was last updated on Monday, 29 March 2021