Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Three Enger Pioneers
Palme, Mari (Borreson) and Aase (Liudahl)
     Sometimes we who live in this day and age think we have it tough.  Our automatic washer breaks down, or the dishwasher goes on the fritz, or maybe we have a flat tire on the way to the mall.  When we start feeling sorry for ourselves the best thing to do is to go to the history books and learn what our forefathers (and mothers) were up against.
     As a little girl, what fascinated me most about my Grandma Hannah's stories was imagining what it would have been like to live back in the "olden days."  Having to heat water on the wood stove (first you had to chop the wood) to take a bath or wash dishes.  Carrying the water in a bucket from a pump outside, or in some cases even from a nearby creek or river.  Walking or going by horseback or buggy everywhere.  And worst of all, going outside to the "outhouse" instead of into your nice warm bathroom with a flush toilet.
     One of the best sources we have for learning about the live's of our ancestors are the obituaries and stories that are written about them after death.  When I was visiting my brother a couple of years ago he brought out a box of keepsakes that he had saved from my parents, and among the contents was an old newspaper from Kindred, North Dakota dated January 4, 1932. My brother had no idea why that newspaper had been saved, but right away a name in a front page headline caught my eye, "Mrs. Aase Liudahl Answers Final Summons."
     I knew that Aase Liudahl was one of the daughters of Peder and Aase Enger and a sister of Elling Enger, my great-grandfather.  I knew that she immigrated to America as a child with her parents in 1861.  I did not know some of  details of her life until I read  the obituary:
     "At 1:30 p.m. last Wednesday, January 6th, another beloved pioneer of this community, Mrs. Aase Liudahl, received the final call of her Master, that her life's worst was finished and she could enter into her eternal reward.  She had been ailing off and on with ailments incident to old age and the last three weeks she was bedridden."
    "Born in Sigdahl, Norway, Sept. 28, 1849, of the parents Peder and Aase Enger, she came with them and five brothers and sisters to America in 1861. This voyage in a sailboat took 9 weeks."
      "They went directly to Spring Grove, Minnesota where the family home was made.  Here in 1874 she was married to Nils A. Liudahl.  In 1880 with their three children they came to Dakota territory, traveling overland in a covered wagon drawn by oxen, and settled on their homestead near Davenport which is now the farm home of their son, Oscar.  During the first year of their pioneering, a diphtheria epidemic claimed all their three children."
     "Later 4 children were born to them, one of them died in infancy, and the three who survive are Oscar on the home farm, Gilbert and Nora (Mrs. M. Mickelson) both on nearby farms.  Besides them, Mrs. Liudahl is survived by 11 grandchildren, one sister, Mrs. Ole Borreson (Mari Enger) of Caledonia, Minnesota, and one brother, Palmer Enger of Davenport."
      "In 1920 Mr. and Mrs. Liudahl moved to the farm home of their daughter, Mrs. M. Mickelson and family, and there they both received their final summons.  Mr. Liudahl passed in 1927."
     "This is briefly the life history of this pioneer woman who in much adversity and hardship proved herself capable, willing and true to God and the work he gave her to perform.  Devoted to her family and home she labored hard to obtain comfort for them in their home, but she served actively in the upbuilding of the church and other community activities. She and her husband were among the earliest members of the Christiania congregation and remained faithful members of it till their deaths."
     "A kind and thoughtful neighbor and friend, and a woman of lovely character and pleasant disposition, Mrs. Liudahl endeared herself to all who knew her and her presence will be sadly missed.  But her departure will cause the deepest sorrow to her family members to whom she was a wise counselor and teacher of the Masters wishes. Her memory will always be an inspiration for good to them and all who knew her."
     "Funeral services over her remains were held from the home at 1 p.m. Monday and later from the Christiania church.  Rev Endresen officiated and paid a most glowing tribute to the life of the departed.  Floral offerings were profuse as well as memory wreaths. the Men's Chorus rendered 'Jesus Still Lead On.' Active pall bearers were nephews of the departed, Peder, Henry and Alvin Borreson; Peter, George and Melvin Enger.  Honorary pallbearers were Gust and John Nettum, Albert Myhre, Carl Vangerud, Matt Simensen, and Ingolph Sandbeck. Interment was made in the Christiania cemetery."  Deep sympathy is extended to the family in their bereavement."
     I love the flowery language in the old obituaries, but the amazing thing to me is the casual reference to "traveling by covered wagon drawn by oxen" from Spring Grove, Minnesota to Dakota Territory as though it were just an ordinary, everyday occurrence.  I have driven that route on beautiful paved freeways and thought it was a grueling trip!  And imagine losing all three of your children in a year's time, which I have found from my family research was not all that unusual in the days before vaccines and modern medicine.

Nels and Aase Liudahl and their three surviving children
Norah, Gilbert and Oscar
      A granddaughter of the Liudahl's, Margaret Mickelson Drake, expanded on Nels and Aase Liudahl's trip from Spring Grove to Dakota Territory.  She wrote:  "The journey to North Dakota was made with oxen and a home made covered wagon.  Aase's sister Mari Enger (later Borreson) accompanied them.  She walked most of the way driving the cattle.  Hard tack, the dried bread, was the main food.  The story has been told that the three children were so tired of the dried bread that when they passed through a village and saw some children eating fresh bread and butter, they had to be restrained to keep them from rushing out and grabbing it."
     "When they arrived at their future home in June of 1880 they found the only building on their farm was a sod shanty.  The prairie grass turf was cut into squares and plastered together with mud to form the walls on the outside. Rough boards covered with newspaper were the inside walls.  In spite of the dreary aspect of such a house the three children were so joyous about the journey being over that they said they wanted to spend the rest of their lives in that sod shanty, which it proved they would do. The family lived that summer and the following winter of 1880-81 in that sod house."
     "Exactly a year after the Liudahl's arrival in North Dakota a neighbor's child became sick and died. No one had any idea what the illness was. As was the custom in those days, Grandmother Liudahl went to the neighbors to be of comfort and to prepare the child's body for burial. Several days later Albert complained of a sore throat.  At once the parents became alarmed and one after the other the two children were stricken.  There were no doctors to be summoned and no way whatever to help the poor suffering children who were literally choking to death.  Because of the extremely sore throat, diphtheria was suspected. Within a week Albert died, and in a few days the baby, Peter. Two days later the daughter was taken.  The three children of Nels and Aase Liudahl had all passed into the arms of the Almighty Father. Now the grief stricken parents were left in a strange land without even one of their beloved children.  The brave parents consoled themselves with the Bible verse from the Book of Job in the Old Testament,  'The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.'  The dreadful lonesomeness that was felt was expressed by Aase Liudahl when she said, 'When I was in the shanty it was so terribly quiet I could not bear it. When I went to the outdoors, I thought I heard the children crying for me."
     Margaret Drake concluded, "I heard this sad story many times from Grandma Liudahl, and each time I would cry with her.  Even so I did not fully appreciate the sorrow they must have felt until I myself became a parent."

Palme and Marie Enger of Davenport, North Dakota
50th Anniversary 1934
     Another Enger pioneer was Aase Liudahl's younger brother Palme who was born in Sigdal in 1855 and came with the family to America in 1861.  His grandson Keith "Skip" Enger wrote of him, "Grandfather Palme went to school in Spring Grove, and to earn extra money for the family was a 'herdsman' as there were no fences to keep the cattle from wandering off."
     "Palme left Spring Grove on May 10, 1870, (age 15) as he was hired as a herdsman at 25 cents a day for a caravan of three families, Ramstads, Bjerkes and Reitans, who were obtaining homestead claims in the Red River Valley of Eastern Dakota Territory.  The caravan consisted of three covered wagons drawn by oxen, a few sheep and seven head of cattle, including two heifers that father Peder had given Palme to sell in case he did not find work. Palme did however find work as he was hired by the Bjerke family at $8.00 per month."
      "Palme always remembered that he enjoyed the adventure of the trip.  He walked most of the way shoeless and slept under the wagons at night.  His job was to find food for the animals and generally care for them. At St. Cloud (Minn.) they ferried across the Mississippi River and went north to Alexandria, then on to Elizabeth just north of Fergus Falls. It took the caravan 22 days to move from Spring Grove to their final stop in the Kindred area of Dakota Territory."
       After two years Palme went back to Spring Grove and worked for the Ingval Muller family, and in 1876 at age 21 he went to the Kindred area again and filed his claim for 160 acres of public domain where he had to live and make improvements. At the end of 5 years, if the land was not abandoned, improvements were made, and payment of a small fee the land would become Palme's.  He filed his claim on the NW quarter of Section 14 in Davenport Township, Dakota Territory. 
        Palme built a claim shack on the eastern edge of his land where he lived just across the property line  from his sister, Nels and Aase Liudahl.  Skip Enger writes: "The Bjerke farm was located a few miles east of Palme's claim where he worked for the five years while improving his property. He planted cottonwood trees on the north side of the claim to act as a wind break and also a few gooseberry bushes.  One day he heard that 'squatters' were coming in the area. He hitched up Bjerke's team of horses and galloped to his claim, yoked up his two oxen and with a 'walking plow' began to till the soil which would prevent squatters from taking his land.  In 1883 Palme received the deed for his 160 acres of land in Davenport Township signed by President Chester Arthur."
     Palme married Maria Jensen, a seamstress he met at the Ingval Muller home in Spring Grove.  She had immigrated from Hadeland, Norway at the age of seven and went to dressmaking and tailoring school in Decorah, Iowa.  In 1884 Palme went back to Spring Grove and a job with the Mullers where he continued his relationship with Maria, and on March 16, 1884 they were married  at the Spring Grove Lutheran Church. That spring the couple returned to take up permanent residence on Palme's 160 acres in Dakota Territory where they lived the rest of their days. 
      Palme and Maria raised nine children on that farm and celebrated their 50th anniversary on March 16, 1934.  Palme and Maria were also founding members of the Christiania Lutheran Church of rural Davenport and are buried in the church cemetery--Palme passing in 1937 and Marie in 1944.
      These are stories of just two of the pioneers in my family tree.  These stories can be duplicated and multiplied among the many thousands of  immigrants and pioneers who built and settled this land we call America.   Now it's our turn.  How are we doing?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Anna Lee Ellingsdatter Enger, AKA Bestemør, 1845-1928

 Anne Lee Enger on her 80th birthday, 1925 
 My great-grandfather Elling Enger died in 1900, and his wife Anne (Anna),  nine years younger, lived on as a widow for 28 years thereafter.  Anne was born in 1845 at Aadalen Parish, Ringerike, Buskerud, Norway.  Her heritage dates back on her father's side to Hallvard pa Gulsvik born in the 1200's, and on her mother Ingeri's side to the 1500's.
Ingeri Østensdatter, Anne's mother, is buried
in Hanley Falls, Minnesota under the name of Ingri Enger.
     When Ingeri Østensdatter married Elling Fredericksen Ringerud in 1842 it was the second marriage for both of them.  Ingeri had previously been married to soldier Asle Clemetsen Lien in 1830 and had two children, Christian and Gunhild.  Elling Fredericksen had previously married Berit Pedersdatter who drowned in the Grythe River in 1837.  They had four sons, Peder, Ole, Knut and Frederick, and four daughters, Gertrude, Ragnhild, Marie and Berte. The marriage of Ingeri and Elling produced two daughters, Berit born 1842, and Anne born 1845. 
     After Elling Fredericksen's death I can only imagine that it was a hard life for Ingeri and her two young daughters, and in 1861 they emigrated from Ringerike to America on the ship Askur, the same ship that carried Peder Enger and family.  Four years later in 1865 Anne married Elling Enger, Peder's eldest son.
Bestemør, 1845-1928
Anna Lee Ellingsdatter Enger
     After Elling's death, Anna lived with one or another of her children for the rest of her days. My father had many stories about his Bestemør (Norwegian for Grandmother) who was somewhat of a character.  Anne lived with Ed and Hannah Enger for some time when my father was a little boy.  He slept in her bed and she would tell him stories about the "little people" which she herself totally believed.  The little people would sometimes come and do good things around the house when the residents were away, or sometimes they would  do mischievous things that could not be explained any other way. 
     One story she told  was that she had left some unfinished sewing on the sewing machine at a time when she had to leave for a few days.  When she returned home all the sewing had been completed by the "little people" who had come in while she was gone.  She also told ghost stories which would scare the children, but she really believed them!  When my Dad was older and Bestemør was staying at their house she would sneak into his room at night to visit with  him, and she would let him smoke and not tell his parents. Sometimes she would take a few puffs herself!
     Anne was a midwife and country doctor of sorts, and she would go to homes of people who were sick to administer home remedies or to help deliver babies.  She herself believed in using a blood-letting tool to relieve pressure and release sickness from the body.  The instrument was a small spring-loaded knife which would be used to cut into the vein and let out some blood.  When she was older she would get my grandfather Ed to use the blood-letter on her when she wasn't feeling up to par.
Blood-letting instrument known as a lancet
         In her later years Bestemør lived with her youngest daughter Lena O'Connor (Jim) and family in Granite Falls, Minnesota, the county seat of Yellow Medicine.  Jim and Lena's oldest daughter Myrtle recalled the blood-letting incidents in a letter written in 1976; she wrote: 
      "Now about the little blood instrument.  I well remember that.  Every so often we would have to write to Uncle Ed (my grandfather Edward Enger) and tell him to bring it with him the next time he came. Then all of us kids would be ordered out of the house.  We wanted so to be in there and watch but 'No.'  Mother would have all kinds of nice white rags on hand and when we got to come in Bestemør would be on the couch with her leg all bandaged up.  Bestemør told me one time that she could tell when her blood thickened up and then Uncle Ed would use this instrument to cut into a vein to draw blood out.  After that she would feel just fine! I know she was real limber.  She could crawl under a fence faster than us kids!"
    Probably the best eye-witness account of  Bestemør, through the eyes of child, came from a story written by her youngest granddaughter, Irene O'Connor (Navarre), as she recounted her memories of her grandmother.  I will quote, verbatim:
     "It was Irene's tenth birthday and no one was paying attention.  Feeling carefully of the package of modeling clay on her lap, Irene sat quietly between her older sisters in the back seat of her father's 1928 Model T Ford Sedan. No one spoke."
     "The family was returning from Granite Falls, a small Minnesota town, where her father had handed her a dollar bill and had told her to choose her own birthday present. The other members of the family had gone into the mortuary to make arrangements for her grandmother's funeral.  Bestemør, which is Norwegian for grandmother, had died at the age of eighty-four after a lingering illness.  Irene's mother and father had converted the library into a bedroom where Bestemør had lain ill for a month.  The night before, Dr. Sanderson had been called out to their farm and, after a time at Bestemør's bedside, had come slowly out, gently pulling the sliding doors shut. He said, 'She is gone.'  He added that it was simply old age and that, because bodies wore out like anything else, hearts just stopped beating.  Irene's mother cried, and father patted her cheek and held her hand."
     "The funeral for Bestemør was to take place in two days.  Irene had never been to a funeral. Her mother explained that a funeral was a church gathering for relatives and friends where the pastor told all about the departed one who was going to her reward in heaven.  Irene wanted her Bestemør to go to heaven.
but, to tell all?"
      "What if Pastor Wrolstad told all those people that Bestemør was cruel to little children?  Hadn't she forbidden Irene and her sister the pleasure of skating and sledding on Sunday with a stern lecture that they keep the Sabbath?  And on Halloween!  Their tears and coaxing were of no avail.  Bestemør said that 'trick or treating' in scary costumes was the devil's work and that it only taught children to be beggars! Imagine! How cruel!"
     "Bestemør also said that the devil was in your feet if you didn't sit still at the table.  She seemed to be on familiar terms with Odin and Thor, who Irene was told, were ancient Norse gods---and Irene knew that the first commandment said there should be only one God.  Oh, wicked Bestemør!  Did all-knowing Pastor Wrolstad know?"
     "Also, Bestemør was unfair. She demanded that Irene walk upright with toes pointed straight ahead. Anyone could see that Bestemør was stooped shouldered and her pigeon-toed walk was evident despite the long unfashionable skirts she persisted in wearing.  Irene's mother and her friends wore short dresses.  Bestemør wore her hair parted straight down the middle, braided tightly, sometimes wound into a  little ball in the back.  On top of that she often wore a funny black bonnet with a bow tied under her chin. The bonnet had a black satin rosette over each ear. Now really! If only Bestemør would try to be like other grandmothers and mothers.  Furthermore, it was embarrassing to see her take out her false teeth and put them in a little china box. She looked funny without her teeth, but Bestemør said her false teeth hurt her, and she refused to wear them. She was stubborn, too, thought Irene."
     "Irene felt the outline of her second purchase with her birthday money. This was a pipe that blew soap bubbles.  Soap reminded her of how Bestemør scrubbed Irene's neck and face when Irene was small.  Sometimes soap got in your eyes and soap brought tears. She recalled one time during this uncomfortable ritual her mother had returned from a trip wearing a new hair style.  She had the very first bobbed hair in Yellow Medicine County!  Well, Bestemør just scolded her about it; and further, told Mother to go and wash off the white powder she had on her face. So she treated Irene's own mother badly, too!  How would Pastor Wrolstad explain that to everyone?  Irene continued to worry for two days."
    "And now the day of the funeral was here. Only an hour from the time of the funeral. Once again Irene was sitting between her sisters in the car on the way into town.  Wishing someone would say something, Irene looked at her sister Evelyn who was looking out the window. Evelyn liked to count telephone poles.  Irene looked at her older sister, Myrtle, who was staring straight ahead at their father.  Myrtle was eight years older than Irene and often acted like a mother. She was 'papa's big girl' and spoke only to their father most of the time. She would hurry to meet him and tell him the events of the day. She was Sooooo grown up! She even had a boyfriend!"
     "Despite the quiet, Irene had heard that most of  Bestemør's relatives were coming to the funeral.  Certainly Pastor Wrolstad wouldn't tell all the relatives about Bestemør!  Irene sighed and tried to think of something good.  Bestemør did read a lot and kept up on current events. Her reading glasses, 'her brille,' always rested on her forehead. She would wait for the mailman's cloud of dust as he drove down the state road a quarter of a mile away. Then she would order Irene or Evelyn to go to the mail box for the mail. Sometimes they would loiter and pick tiger lilies and buttercups near the slough on the way back. They would get a scolding for that!"
     "On the day the Decorah Posten, a Norwegian weekly newspaper was delivered, she would send them early to wait for the mailman. That would be her best day, settling in her rocking chair to read the paper from page one straight through to the funnies on the back page, where 'Han Ola' and 'Han Per,' Norwegian immigrant men, struggled with the new language and new ways of American life. Irene guessed Bestemør saved the best til last, the comic strip was her favorite.  She would rock and chuckle, reading and re-reading the comical problems of the immigrant families. The cartoonist, Bestemør said once, grew up in Spring Grove, Minnesota where she and grandfather Elling Enger once lived."
      "Bestemør used to talk about their grandfather, Bestefår, coming to America. She said he came in 1854, a boy of eighteen, from Eggedal, Norway. She told of his travels across the United States by ox-drawn wagon to the Midwest and to California in search for gold.  He returned by stagecoach to homestead in Minnesota when the Homestead Law was passed. Then he married Bestemør. She told of the many hardships they shared, the infant deaths, the terrible blizzards, prairie fires, and Indian uprisings."
     "Irene felt that her Bestemør treated her as if they were still living on a frontier. She gave Irene many daily chores. One was gathering eggs in the hen house. She insisted that Irene take the eggs from the hens before the hens left their nests 'to avoid damage or soil.' That was cruel. The upset hens would cluck and peck at Irene. But Bestemør wanted fresh clean eggs. Irene had a stick to press the hen's head down while she cautiously removed the warm eggs from beneath the resisting feet and flapping wings."
     "Irene also picked vegetables, shelled peas, cleaned lamp chimneys, filled the kitchen stove reservoir with water, and removed soot from under the fire box. She hated cleaning the stove; even worse than that was emptying the chamber pot each morning.  Bestemør said that all  these daily chores were good for developing character, whatever that was!"
     "And all this was ordered in the Norwegian language!  She did not learn English because she could speak in her native tongue to Irene's mother and aunts and uncles! Yet she insisted that her grandchildren study, learn, and get good marks in school.  Bestemør was terribly unfair, and a scold, too!"
     "Irene looked about her and saw that the church was filled. She was very uncomfortable having been seated in the first pew directly in front of the pulpit. She looked up toward the altar. Only Bestemør's face showed in the open casket. Irene raised up in her seat and stretched forward to see a small book in Bestemør's hands. It was a book of hymns. That was nice!  One could hardly see her gnarled and bent fingers, which Irene had always compared to her mother's attractive hands. But then, Bestemør always seemed to get ahead of Mother in doing the heavy work in their home."
     "Oh! Bestemør was wearing her teeth! And look at all those flowers around her!  Irene could smell the scent of the lilies. She looked past the coffin to the painting of Jesus in back of the shiny, varnished altar rail with its padded red velvet for kneeling.  Jesus' face had a kind expression, she thought. Maybe he would forgive Bestemør her wicked ways!  Irene felt terribly guilty for some unexplained reason. She shut her eyes tightly and said a prayer for Bestemør."
     "There were hymns, a lady sang a song, and then Pastor Wrolstad stepped up in the pulpit to speak. To Irene, the terrible moment had come! 'Please don't tell all those people everything about Bestemør!'  Pressing back in her seat, Irene shut her eyes again and said another prayer."
     "In her anxiety, she missed the pastor's opening remarks. She gradually became aware of his words.  "...a dear mother and grandmother of noble character.'  (That very word that Bestemør said so often.)  '... her courage in facing life on a frontier, braving the elements, loving and caring for her family in adverse conditions...'  '...in later years aiding in rearing her grandchildren during her daughter's illness...'  'all here today can be proud of being related to or knowing Anne Lee Enger, who now is leaving behind her the results of her wisdom, teaching, and industry, a legacy more precious than gold...'  '...a blessed soul...deserving of a place in heaven.' "
     "What was the pastor saying?  Why, he was not blaming Bestemør for anything!  Irene could scarcely believe her ears! She pressed back into the pew in confusion; and she vowed that no one would ever know what she had been thinking.  Then Pastor Wrolstad stepped down, and a lady ended the service with a sad  song about someone going into a garden alone and walking with Jesus."
     "After saying the Lord's Prayer, the relatives and friends passed by the coffin to say 'goodbye' to Bestemør. Everyone seemed very loving.  Irene felt her sister take her by the hand, and as they paused to say farewell, Irene looked closer than she ever had at that still face.  Except for her teeth, Bestemør appeared the same as she always had.  Pastor Wrolstad didn't know Bestemør very well after all, Irene decided.  She glanced up at the all-knowing face of Jesus. He would answer Irene's prayers and forgive Bestemør for her sins and let her enter heaven.  Irene hesitated before the coffin. She would have liked to pat her Bestemør's wrinkled face, but chose not to do so, and she walked outside into the August sunshine."
     "Once again, Irene was in the back seat of the Model T Ford, sandwiched in between her sisters. Again, silence. Then her mother began to cry and to blow her nose. Evelyn was looking out the window. Irene guessed she was counting telephone poles. Myrtle had nothing to tell, because they had all shared the details of their mother's sorrow the past days.  Silence."
     "Irene closed her eyes, and suddenly a wave of relief and happiness came over her. She smiled as she imagined heaven's gates opening. Beyond the gates she saw a  beautiful garden with angels flying overhead. And there was Bestemør, bent shoulders and pigeon-toed, carrying her beloved hymnal, walking firmly through the golden gates of heaven.!"  THE END

Irene O'Connor Navarre in Albuquerque 2004
    That's all for now. No one could have said it better! Irene O'Connor Navarre is now a gracious lady of 95 years, living in Albuquerque, New Mexico. More about her remarkable life in a later blog session!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Elling Pedersen - My First Enger Immigrant

The First Enger Immigrant
Elling Pedersen Enger, born 1836 immgrated 1854
Elling Pedersen Enger was the passage to America for my particular Enger clan.  If not for his adventurous soul leaving Norway for the New World in 1854 I wouldn't be where I am and who I am today.  Elling was my great-grandfather and the first immigrant of my direct Enger ancestors to leave the homeland, where his forefathers had been deeply ensconced in the Eggedal Valley for hundreds of years.
      Elling Enger was born in September 1836 in Eggedal.  At the time his parents, Peder Ellingsen Enger and Åse (Aase) Ellevsdatter Tveiten were living on a section of the Engar-Søre farm called Øygarden Nedre. Aase had acquired it from her parents, Ellev Olsen Tveiten and Siri Pedersdatter Velstad, after her mother was widowed and remarried to Peder's brother Palme Ellingsen Enger.
Peder Enger family in America
Front:  Ellev, Peder, Aase, Elling
Rear:  Gunhild, Mari, Palmer, Aase, Sigrid
Peder and Åse were sixth cousins once removed  to begin with, and then became further related through the marriage of Peder's brother with Åse's mother.  Their children were Elling Pedersen, 1836; followed by Ingeborg 1839; Sigrid 1841; Ellev (1) 1844; Joran 1846; Åse 1849; Ellev (2) 1852; Palme 1855; Mari 1857; all born on Øygarden, and Gunhild, born 1861 in Drammen, Norway while the family was awaiting passage to America.  Peder and Åse actually sold Øygarden to Knud Kundsen Juvet in 1849 but continued living there until they left for America in 1861.
     The year 1854 was a time in Norway when "America Fever" was spreading throughout the land.  Those were lean years for Norway which had always been an agrarian society of farming, fishing and timber, where residents were born, lived and died in the same community.   In a country with a small percentage of arable land and an increasing population, it was becoming more and more difficult for families to live off the land.  Young people were forced to look for other sources of income rather than taking over the family farm, and many of them were tenant farmers, or "cotters", with even less chance of ever making a good life for their families.  
     The first immigrant ship "The Restauration" had left Norway for America in 1825 and by 1854 the prospect of  millions of acres of land available for the taking was becoming increasingly attractive. Also, the ship companies which were transporting the emigrants were advertising with enticing stories of success and riches for those that had gone before.  I don't know the reasons Elling Pedersen Enger opted to leave his home and family for the "land of opportunity" but I can only imagine that as a single man of 18 he was eager for adventure.  He left behind his parents and younger siblings, including three who were yet to be born.
     I haven't been able to find for certain the ship that Elling Enger came on, but written in his Bible in his own handwriting, he stated that he left for America on April 18, 1854 and arrived in America on June 20.  On the awesome website norwayheritage.com those dates are a close match with the brig "Urda" which departed from Stavanger, Norway on April 20 and arrived in Quebec on June 22.  Borge Solem writes: "When he (Elling) writes that he came to America on June 20 you should keep in mind that the ship probably called at the Quarantine station on Grosse Isle a few days before arriving in Quebec."  Since there are no surviving passenger lists for Quebec before 1865 it is not possible to confirm his passage.
     Family lore states that Elling Enger came to America with a cousin named "Rustan" and thereafter they traveled to the gold fields of California and carved their initials on Independence Rock in Wyoming.  So far I have not been able to verify this story but I do know that by 1857 Elling had settled in Houston County, Minnesota near Spring Grove.  He built a pioneer cabin there, and in 1861 helped to pay for the passage of his parents, Peder and Aase, and seven younger siblings to join him in America.  Three of the siblings had been born after Elling emigrated:   Palme 1855, Mari 1857, and Gunhild 1861.  The other children were Sigrid 1841; Joran 1846; Aase 1849; and Ellev 1852.  Their eldest daughter Ingeborg, born 1839, was already married to Ole Jokstad in 1861 and remained in Eggedal although some of her descendants later came to America also. 
This is an example of a Svartebok. Peder did not bring his to America
but reportedly buried it on the Enger farm before he left Norway.

      A note of interest, Peder Enger is chronicled in several history books as having the gift of healing and owned a "Svartebok" (Black Book) which was a book of remedies only possessed by a select few.  In the translation of  his story in "Sigdalslaget 1932" it states:
     "It is told about Peder Enger he was supposed to know a little more than his 'Our Father.'  It was supposed that he knew how to stop blood when someone had cut or chopped off an artery and was in danger of bleeding to death.  Enger only had to know that the person in question was bleeding.  The stream of blood stopped without the need to go to him.  He could also heal several other complaints by just reading over brandy and salt and giving it to the invalid, it is told.  These remedies no doubt helped when one believed in it, but they must believe, otherwise it did not work. It was told about him that he had the 'black book' and could cure this and that malady. But Peder Enger did only good towards his fellow man, in any case, he could not do the devil's work;" or in another publication,  "his work was not of the devil."
Elling Enger family circa 1890
Front:  Elling P., Lina, Elling E., Anna, Ingri (Anna's mother)
Back:  Helmer, Peter, Edward, Sophie
     Elling Enger took up farming in Houston County and was married to Anna Ellingsdatter on June 2, 1865, in La Crosse, Wisconsin.  Anna was born May 26, 1845 at Aadalen Parish in Ringerike, Norway and immigrated to America in 1861 with her widowed mother Ingri and sister Berit.  
     Elling and Anna's first child, Peder Ellingsen, was born on May 31, 1866, followed by daughter Jorand Elise on July 18, 1868, but tragedy was soon to strike.  Young Peder died on October 15, 1869 and Joran a few days later on October 19, 1869.  The cause of the children's death is unknown to me, but I have heard two versions, one being a fire and the second being a diphtheria epidemic. One of those mysterious SUI's of genealogy; (Still Under Investigation.)
     A second son was born to the Elling Enger's on August 4, 1870, and in the Norwegian tradition of giving the same name as a deceased child, was also called Peder with the middle name of Julius.  My grandfather Edvard Ellingsen was born March 12, 1873, followed by Aase Sofie, March 16, 1876; Helmer E., April of 1878; Elling E. April 12, 1881 and the last, Lina Otelia, January 7, 1884.   Two more of the sons were to meet untimely deaths; young Elling in 1891 of diphtheria at age 10, and Helmer at age 20 after freezing his legs while hunting in 1898. That left four of the eight children of Elling and Anna Enger who survived to marry and have families of their own,  not an unusual scenario for those hard pioneer times.
     As an aside, my father told me that Helmer contracted gangrene in one leg after the freezing episode which required amputation to try to save his life.  The operation was performed by laying him on the kitchen table and giving him large doses of alcohol as an anesthetic!  A desperate measure that was tragically unsuccessful.  His death certificate cites cause of death as "blood poison."
     All of their children were born in Spring Grove, but sometime circa 1885 Elling and Anna left for a new start in Yellow Medicine County, Minnesota. They first settled at Wood Lake near Hanley Falls and on October 27, 1886 Elling took out a lumberman's lien to build a house on the "NW quarter of the NW quarter of Section 6 in the Town of Wood Lake in said County."  The lien further states that "said Elling P. Enger was at the time said contract was entered into and said material was furnished, the owner of said land on which the building was to be erected."  The balance due was $96.79 and an additional $27.68 had been previously paid. This lien was marked "Paid in Full" on Nov. 21, 1890.
     A deed dated on October 17, 1890 shows that Elling P. Enger purchased from John A. Willard for $772.00 an 80 acre parcel which I am assuming is when the family moved from Wood Lake to the township  of Lorne.  (I wonder what that 80 acres would sell for today?!) This deed was recorded on Nov. 21, 1890, the same date that the above lien was satisfied.
     Elling Pedersen Enger died on May 31, 1900 of cancer.  The death certificate gives the cause of death as "chronic inflammation of the bladder."  He is buried in Hanley Falls West Cemetery as is Anna's mother Ingri while sons young Elling and Helmer are buried in Hanley Falls East Cemetery.
    Anna lived on for another 28 years and passed away on August 1928 in Granite Falls, Minnesota where she lived with her youngest daughter Lina and her husband James O'Connor. To make things more complicated in the family history department, Anna is not buried with her husband but is in the O'Connor family plot in Granite Falls. (More about  my 2011 grave-hopping experiences in Minnesota later!)
   That's enough for this time.  I have told everything I know about Elling Enger the man, but I will have more to say about Anna in a later blog session.   

Pioneer plaque for Elling Enger - Minnesota Sesquicentennial 2008

Enger cousins Dianne Snell, Shirley Augustine and Irene Navarre
by the gravestone of Elling and Anna's first two children,
Peder E. and Jorand in the Spring Grove cemetery.