Sjur and his wife Magdele emigrated to Winneshiek Co. in the mid-1850's, where Sjur’s brothers, Ole, Johannes, Hans and Anders, and his sister Anna, all settled. According to one detailed account, Sjur, Ole, Hans and Johannes sailed together from Bergen to Quebec on the Haakon Adelsten, a large brig that carried emigrants from Norway to America during the 1850’s and 1860's. In Bergen, Captain Simonsen told them they would have to leave their barrel of sour milk behind, and Sjur threatened to withhold part of their fare of 49 “daler” and 3 shillings. During the loading of their baggage a trunk was dropped and damaged and their lefse fell into the water. They managed to dry it out, but had to crumble most of it and mix it with fat. The transatlantic voyage was not without its dramas. They sailed for a week through heavy fog, nearly colliding with an iceberg, and once, during a fierce gale, Sjur showed his sea legs and helped the crews rescue the sails. They arrived in Quebec on 18 Jul 1854 after nearly 8 weeks at sea. From Quebec they traveled on a small paddle-wheeler as far as Montreal, then by Great Lakes steamer to Detroit, by rail to Chicago, and by ox cart to their final destination in Winneshiek Co.

Bio Photo

Stinson family about 1900. Coeur d'Alena, Idaho. Mother Magdela Haavik Stinson, S. John, Emma, Albert (67"), Maren Josephine, Britanna Stinson Koontz with her 2 children.

In the spring of 1856 Sjur bought land in Highland Twp., and their first child, Steen, was born there the following August. In Nov of 1857 he sold his property, and the following June he applied for citizenship. According to some accounts he then worked on homesteads on the Great Plains, did some mining in Colorado, and eventually homesteaded, together with his brother, Johannes, near Yankton, SD. In the fall of 1862 they were driven from their farms in the wake of the Santee Sioux uprising in southern Minnesota. On 8 Nov 1862 he was granted United States citizenship at the county court in Decorah, at which time he was again living in Highland Twp. as a member of the Big Canoe Lutheran Church. In 1865 he moved his family to Orleans Twp., settling on land purchased near Plymouth Rock. Their remaining children were born and christened in the Orleans Lutheran Church. In 1881, after having resided for nearly 25 years in Winneshiek Co., they moved to Ransom Co., ND, where new land had recently been opened for settlement. In 1890 they pushed further west to Kootenai Co. Idaho. Sjur died there 22 Mar 1891.

Magdele homesteaded in Idaho. Her home was a log cabin near Lake Coeur d’Alene. Engel, Carrie and Jacob Larsen, and S. John also lived in Idaho. In 1906 Matilda moved to Spokane, WA and lived in a house her son, S. John, had rented at E. 2028 Pacific Avenue. Magdele died 3 Sep 1907 in Spokane and is buried in Greenwood Cemetery in an unmarked grave.

Bio Photo

Sjur Stinson

Sjur and Magdele had 11 children: Steen, Mathilde, Engel, Britanna, Erik Olai, Harry O., Karin Gurine, Syvert Johan, Albert M., Emma and Maren Josephine. Steen was born 7 Aug 1856 at Locust, IA. He married Barbara Hansdtr Nordvik on 19 Mar 1877. They lived in Winneshiek Co. until 1918 when they moved to Warwick, ND. Steen and Barbara had 5 children: Henry S., Sever, Delia, Mina and C. Benjamin. Steen’s oldest son, Henry Spencer Stinson, was the County Recorder in Winneshiek Co. from 1905 to 1910. All of the children except Steen moved to the West Coast to live. Steen died 16 Mar 1921; Barbara died in 1942. They are both buried in Fargo, ND. Mathilde was born in 1859 in Winneshiek Co. Engel Q. was born March 1862 in Iowa. He married Mathilda G. Langlan. Stinson, Idaho was named after Engel, an early postmaster there. Britanna Severine was born 12 Sep 1863 and baptized 11 Nov 1863 at Big Canoe Lutheran Church, Winneshiek Co., IA. She married George B. Koontz and then W. Wilson. Britanna died 6 Dec 1927 at Lake Elsinor, CA. Erik Olai was born 26 Oct 1866 in Orleans Twp., Winneshiek Co. He was confirmed at St. Olaf Church, Enderlin, ND. Harry O. was born in 1867 and died in 1915. Karin Gurine (aka Carrie) was born 15 Apr 1868 in Orleans Twp., Winneshiek Co. She married Jacob Larsen on 8 Nov 1885. Karin died Oct 1942 in Seattle. Syvert Johan (aka S. John) was born 13 Oct 1870 in Orleans Twp., Winneshiek Co. He was christened at the Orleans


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