to accompany the animals, to check paper work and to tend to their feed and water to avoid weight loss. He was an avid reader of the Chicago Daily paper stock markets. On such trips he often took one of his boys along to introduce them to a bit of “city life.”

Bio Photo

Caroline Larson Wennes

Daughter of Nels Larson and Jorund Kjome Larson

In 1912 a 7-passenger auto was purchased, but being absolutely “non-mechanical” himself, he sent his oldest, son, Peter, to an auto-school in Minneapolis, to learn how to properly maintain this "machine,” as he called it. He never wanted to drive it himself. His sons joked that “he didn’t know which end of a tool to hold.” But he how knew to buy, sell and invest.

The whole family’s hardest year came in 1916 when Caroline died on May 2.. Lewis lived on at home. In 1917 he represented his church at a synod merger in Minneapolis while serving on the board of Luther College in Decorah. Lewis took his oldest daughter, Jennie, with him to the meeting. Along with other fathers in 1918 he saw his son, Edgar, off to World War I in France, from which he returned unscratched, after 5 battles. For this there was praise to God.

One on-going interest now was being director, then president of The National Bank of Decorah. But he would not leave his comfortable rural home, thus he commuted as needed to the bank. He often drove with horse and buggy, coaxing Caroline along for prolonged stays and shopping. The tender respect he showed her and her family left a pleasant memory on many. One momento of his banking days came in 1929 when the U.S. Treasury Federal Reserve Bank issued a $10.00 bill to The National Bank of Decorah with his signature on it as its president. One of his sons paid a Decorah merchant $20.00 for one such $10.00 bill, as a family souvenir.

He enjoyed travel and visited his parental home in Norway. He spent “Pearl Harbor Winter” 1941-42 with his daughter’s family in Los Angeles, enjoying their church, the ocean and the sights, joking, telling his sons he had SEEN HOLLYWOOD. His sense of humor was still intact at 85. From his many board sessions, the family learned the need for taxes and never felt that sting as much because he explained how taxes helped others and built up the community. The offices cited here, served by “O.L.” and others, indicate the type of facilities needed to establish order and provide for families in a young county...Winneshiek County.

O.L. Wennes faced 33 lonely years after his wife died. He once wrote: “It is not good for a man to grow old alone.” He died 26 Nov 1949, age 93, at the Spring Grove, MN Hospital and is buried in the Highland Lutheran Church Cemetery beside Caroline and his parents.

Wennes, Peder and Tarine (Gjerstad)

(Thilda Wennes Egertson)

Peder Larsen Wennes was born in Stod Parish, NW of Steinkjer, North Trondheim, Norway 11 Jun 1819. His parents were Lars Pederson Wennes, a fisherman and farmer, and Elen Pedersdtr Wennes, born 10 Aug 1800 who died when Peder was 7 years old. Lars later married Beret who was a good stepmother to Peder. He grew up in a large home with spacious lawns by a lake on the Wennes farm and left home at age 17 as a carpenter. His father died in 1841 of a contracted disease on a mountain side during the war with Sweden.

Bio Photo

Peder L. and Tarine Wennes

The Lutheran Church was the State Church in Norway so when Peder wanted to emigrate to America for better opportunities he needed the permission of his congregation to leave the country. As the first one to leave his church, the older folks discouraged him. One old man even said: “You may as well go to Hell as to go to America.” Peder replied “Well I can go there from here as well so that is no argument.” It sounds like Peder could think for himself. He arrived in America in 1850 and went to the Milwaukee-Muskego, Wl area.


Complete OCR transcription

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