Bio Photo

Ellend and Martha (Tollefson) Wangsness family
Sitting is Martha and Ellend Wangsness.
Left to right: Edith and Henry Wangsness, Hazel and Elmer Wangsness, Marie and Valder Meyer, Bertha and Richard Arness.
The picture was taken at Tollefson farm about 1938.

children are: Brenda, Eric, John and Lesa. Brenda married Leonard Eisner III 22 Jul 1995. Henry (1902-1985) married Edith Thompson from Spillville. They farmed in Decorah Twp. and later moved to Decorah. Marie (1905-1987) married Valder Meyer. They farmed near Castalia. They had 3 sons: Nanferd, Kenneth and Kelly. Nanferd is a farmer and horse trader and lives near Castalia. He married Beverly Krambeer. They are the parents of: Vicky, Kim, Kevin, Kalen, Kenton and Valerie. Nanferd later married Nancy Gager. They have a son, Kasey. Vicky married Dennis Osmundson. They have 3 children: Darin, Joy and Nathan. Kim married Sandy Timp. They live on the home farm and are the parents of: Carissa, Andera and Calvin. Kevin is a coach at South Winneshiek Schools and works for the Fayette Co. sheriffs office. He is married to Kristy Schot. Kalen married Dawn Diercks. They have 2 children: Amanda and Garret. Kenton is known as Jake”. He married Lori Balik. They have 2 children: Ben and Malissa. Valerie married Rick Elsbernd. They have 2 daughters: Katie Jo and Kylie. Kenneth, an insurance adjuster in Calmar, married Nancy Billings. They have 3 children: Jeff, Elizabeth and Anne. Elizabeth married Curtis Mills 29 Aug 1992. Kelly drives a United Parcel Services truck. He was married to Judith Halverson and Jeanne Hauer. He has a farm in Springfield Twp. Elmer (b. 1908), cream hauler and farmer in Springfield Twp., married Hazel Lee. They have 3 children: Wayne, Kathleen and Neil, (see separate story)

Wangsness, Ellend H. and Britta (Ellendsdtr) Foss

(Hazel Wangsness and her son Wayne Wangsness)

Ellend H. Wangsness (24 Dec 1821-30 Dec 1871) left Norway with his wife Britta Ellendsdtr Fosse (18 Aug 1819-3 Feb 1900) and their 4 sons in 1856. Ellend and Britta had been married on 13 May 1847 in Balestrand, Sogn, Norway. Behind them was the ancestral village of Vangsness on the Sogn Fjord in the province of Sogn, Norway.

They first made their way to Norway Grove Parish, near DeForest in Dane Co., Wl. They were accompanied to Wisconsin by Ellend’s brother, Sjur and his family.

After about 6 years in Wisconsin, Ellend and Britta moved briefly to Ludlow and Ridgeway areas of northeast Iowa before moving to Vermilion, SD in 1862. They left Vermilion later that year when the white people were driven from the area by the Indians. They spent the winter of 1862-63 in Sioux City and moved to Burr Oak Springs near Ridgeway that spring and finally to a farm on the dead end going north from U.S. Highway 52 between Ossian and Calmar later in 1863. They spent the first months living in a dugout, and then built a log cabin which is still standing. Ellend grubbed and cleared more than 300 acres for their new farm. Much of this farm remains in the possession of a branch of our family.

Ellend and Britta’s children were: Ellend (1844-1866), Herman (1847-1936), John Joe (1850-1866), Johannes (1854-1923), Lassie (1857-1940), Christian (1859-1923) and Eli (1861-1947). The first 4 children were born in Norway; the last 3 in Wisconsin. Herman, Lassie and Christian eventually had farms next to each other east of Calmar.

Wangsness, Elmer and Hazel (Lee)

(Wayne Wangsness and his mother Hazel (Lee) Wangsness)

Elmer Wangsness (b. 4 Nov 1908) was the youngest of the 4 children of Ellend and Martha (Tollefson) Wangsness. Among the places Ellend and Martha lived was a log cabin with a dirt floor that stood in the ravine west of the Springfield Church Cemetery. Elmer would run down to the creek to meet the other children as they walked home from the Nerlie school. The school no longer stands, but it was located north of the Springfield Lutheran Church on the Middle Calmar Road.

One of the things that is still remembered from those years is the gift of a Holstein heifer calf to my dad and his siblings by the father of Carl Lien. It helped them get a start.

Elmer Wangsness purchased a cream route and hauled cream to the Nordness creamery for 20 years. The teacher in the Nordness school was Hazel Lee born 2 Jun 1913, the daughter of John Lee (1879-1957) and Ida (Wilson) Lee (1882-1981). John and Ida met in Thief River Falls, MN, where Ida was working in her parent’s hotel for railroad workers and John was homesteading. John and Ida were married 16 Feb 1908. Hazel grew up on a farm in Frankville Twp. that her folks purchased upon returning to the county in 1910. John’s parents, Halvor E. Lee (1848-1915) and Ingeborg Lee (1855-1915) had settled on a farm in Frankville Twp. Halvor had immigrated to this country at the age of 9 with his parents, Mr. & Mrs. Einar Lee. Ingeborg Lee had come to this country at the


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.

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this page was last updated on Tuesday, 30 March 2021