age of 18 and was the daughter of Agrim and Ragnhilda Lee (the name was Lioien in Norway). Ingeborg and Halvor were married 16 Mar 1877. Both were from the same part of Norway. Ida, Hazel’s mother, was born in Yellow Medicine Co. in southwest Minnesota. Ida’s for-bearers had immigrated to this country from the Svalestuen (means “House of Swallows”) farm near Nordagutu, Telemark, Norway.

Elmer and Hazel were married in 1936, so they will have been married 60 years in June 1996. They made their first home upstairs in the house on theTollefson farm. Ellend and Martha Wangsness lived with Martha's brother, Albert Tollefson, downstairs. There was no running water or central heat, so all the water, wood and coal had to carried upstairs. The “swill pail” containing all the garbage, dishwater and wash water was carried back down. The toilet was out back. Wayne and his sister Kathleen were born while Hazel and Elmer lived there.

One day in 1942, just after Elmer and Hazel had purchased their new farm in Sec. 21, Springfield Twp., Elmer saw one of his fat hogs come staggering out of the woods. When he checked on the rest of the hogs, he found many of them were becoming sick. It was cholera and he lost the whole herd except for the old boar. It was not a good start!

One of Wayne’s first memories was riding in the truck moving to his new home on March 1, 1943. It was a blustery day and there were ruts in the road. The previous operator of the new family farm had farmed up and down the hill. Some of the ditches were so deep they had to be plowed in before it was possible to drive a horse across. Elmer laid out strips on the contour and started grass waterways. Soon the ditches were a thing of the past and the farm became productive. Ellend and Martha moved too and lived in the west part of the house. Wayne, his brother and his sister loved to visit their grandparents. Their grandmother, Martha, always had cookies with white frosting on top. She was ready to play checkers and had stories of the “olden days" to tell.

A couple of stories stand out. As a child, Martha had attended the schoolhouse that now stands on the Vesterheim Museum grounds in Decorah. One day Martha and her siblings were walking to school when they spotted a small black and white animal that could not run very fast. They decided they would catch it for a pet. When they got to school the teacher sent them home because they smelled too bad to stay in school. Another time, the teacher made them hide quietly under their desks as Indians hunted berries along the old Indian trail that ran by the school. Martha said that the berries were blue and that she had not seen them since she was a girl. She called them Indian berries.

By this time Elmer had purchased a tractor. He decided to purchase it after long hours of calculating the feed for the horses and the relative speed with which he could do his work. He decided upon an Oliver 70 after watching at the Winneshiek Co. Fair as the dealer sat a Coke bottle on the hood of the display tractor. When the bottle sat there instead of vibrating off, Elmer decided a tractor which ran that smoothly would last longer than one that shook all the time. When the new tractor came, it had lights on it. Since they cost an extra $50, Elmer asked the dealer to take them off. He thought he needed the $50 worse than he needed to work at night.

The years after the war were good years on the new farm.Another son, Neil, was born. Elmer dug all the ditches and holes by hand to put running water in the house. In 1950 central heat replaced about 7 stoves in heating the house. Those were significant improvements to say the least!

Hazel earned grocery money by keeping hens and selling the eggs. She kept them in the lean-to on the west side of the barn until it blew down in the fall of 1952. The next year the Valland boys from Ossian helped build the chicken coop in the east hay mow of the barn. This coop was built of home sawed oak which dried out and became very difficult to pound nails into. Sivert Valland sawed off the handle of an axe and used it to drive in the nails. The Valland brothers returned in 1954 to build the hog house and corn crib, again out of our own lumber.

Elmer and Hazel’s 3 children - Wayne, Kathleen and Neil - now have families of their own. Their oldest son, Wayne married Cheryl Lee from Des Moines. They now live on the home farm and have 4 children: Amy, Ryan, Karin and Philip. Kathleen married Leonard Hartl. They have 2 children: Julie and Daniel. Kathy lives in Calmar. Neil married Carol Schissel. They have a daughter, Tami. Neil lives in HesperTwp.

Wangsness, Ervin and Lorraine (Bergland) Anderson

(Ervin and Lorraine Wangsness)

Ervin Tilman Wangsness (b. 27 Jun 1918) has lived in Winneshiek Co. all his life. He is the youngest son of Hannah and Herman “Hank” Wangsness. His brothers are Theodore and Clifford and his sisters are Viola (m. Arthur Blegen), Elva (m. Wallace Roney) and Beatrice (m. Joseph Estrem) (deceased).

Ervin attended the Springfield District No. 4 school in Springfield Twp. On 5 Jun 1985 he graduated with the G.E.D. class at Northeast IA Technical Institute, Calmar, IA. He was baptized and confirmed at Calmar Lutheran Church, Calmar, where he and his wife are still members.

On 12 Jun 1965 Ervin married Lorraine Maxine (Bergland) Anderson, widow of the late Rev. Lloyd C. Anderson, Calmar. Lorraine is the daughter of Ada and Elmer Bergland of Lake Mills, IA. Ervin and Lorraine now reside in Calmar.

Family members include Lorraine and Lloyd’s 5 children: Luther, LeRoy, LaVerne, Lisa and Lowell and Lorraine and Ervin’s daughter LuAnn. Luther Clement Anderson married Karen Lee Dehning 22 Jan 1983 at Calmar Lutheran Church. They have 4 children: Michele; Lucas; Kevin ; and Alyss. LeRov Milton Anderson married Susan Dietz 3 Oct 1992 at Springfield Lutheran


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