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The Oksendahl families in America

The emigrants from Yksendal bruk #2


Content: [all at one page] [printable page] Introduction, by Kaare Trefall

In 1868 the first of those who grewn up at Yksendal, in the valley of Eksingedalen on the west coast of Norway, went to America. This was Ragnhild Andersdotter b. 1837, 31 years, from bruk #2. She was married to Anders Davidson Gullbraa, b. 1816, and was at the time of emigration living at Tistelen, Vik in Sogn. Their story are not told here.

Ragnhild's brother, Herlaug Anderson Yksendal (1832-1903), was farming at bruk #2 in Yksendalen. He was married to Ingebjørg Torbjørnsdatter Fjellanger (1830-1879).

20th of March 1883 two of Herlaugs sons went, the two brothers Thorbjørn Herlaugson b. 1862, 21 years, and Andreas Herlaugson Yksendal b. 1865, 18 years, both unmarried. In America Torbjørn took the name Tom, and Andreas the name Andrew. Their first stop was Grand County, Minnesota, then they went further west to the Dakota territory.
One year later, 24th of April 1884, another brother, Johan Karl (Carl) Herlaugson, b. 1867, 17 years, went. First to Minnesota, then further west to his two brothers. Later to disappear, either fallen in the Spanish American War on Cuba, or as a deserter in the American war against the Indians.

15 years later, 4th of march 1902, also the sister Dordei Herlaugsdotter, b. 1872, 27 years and unmarried, went. She took the name Dina.

In the stories told here you can read about the new life "ower there" for these four siblings. Andrew and Tom were active politican in their new homeland.

Their mother died in 1879, and Herlaug married to Sigrid Knutsdatter Trefall (1847-1931).
On 4th of march 1902, together with Dina, also 3 of Herlaug's children from the marriage to Sigrid went: Ingebjørg Herlaugsdotter b. 1880, 22 years (she took the name Ingeborg), Knud Herlaugson b. 1883, 19 years, and Lars Herlaugson b. 1885, 17 years, all unmarried.
Dina's brother, and half brother to the other bruk #2 siblings, was also on the passanger list that day. He had now become an American citizen, and had been back in Norway to bring more siblings iand half siblings to America.

On the same boat there also were two siblings from bruk #1: Lars Nilson b. 1885, 17 years and Borghild Nilsdotter b. 1882, 19 years, both Yksendal. So there were 7 Yksendal on the Boat leaving Bergen this late winter day 1902.

One more of the siblings, Nils Herlaugsson b. 1886 (took the name Nels), son of Herlaug and Sigrid, went after 11th of march 1905, 19 years and unmarried.

Also some about the siblings Ingeborg, Knut, Lars and Nels in their new homeland are told here.


In USA about 1903-04. Back left: Lars, Dordei (Dina), Knut, Ingebjørg (Ingeborg). Front left: Torbjørn (Tom) with his thre oldest children Ingvold, Mabel and Ruby, Andreas (Andrew) with his wife Sophia and son Arthur. Of the siblings told about her, Johan Karl and Nils are missing on this picture.



The farm Yksendal in mid 1920s. The main house at bruk #2 in the far back. Photo from Karen Windheim.



Yksendal today. The main house at bruk #2 in front. Foto by © Svein Ulvund, VossNow

Thes pages about "Yksendal bruk #2 to America" had not been written without Hugo Solhaugs contributions, from his material collected fom relatives in America, ancesters of they who left Norway!!


[1] The same farm but different 'bruks'. A Farm could be divided into parts, each called a "bruk".

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Torbjørn (Tom) Herlaugson Oksendahl

Written by Arthur (Arth) Oksendahl b. 1903, son of Torbjorn's (Tom's) brother Andreas (Andrew).
Collected by Hugo Solhaug

Introduction:
In America Torbjørn called himself Tom.
See also the page "Oksendahl bruk #2 in America", the Introduction.
Here morea about the brother Andreas (Andrew), here more abot the brother Johan Carl, about his sister Dordei (Dina), here about the half sister Ingebjørg, here about the half brother Knut, here about the half brother Lars, here about the half brother Nils.
The story:
Torbjørn (Tom) Herlaugson Oksendahl was born November 17, 1862, and died September 29, 1931.
He came to the United States from his native Norway in 1883 with his brother Andrew, settling in Grant County, Minnesota.
Warked as a farm laborer, and also taught school a cuple winters. Came to Pierce County where he was eventually to make his home, in the spring of 1886, driving overland from Hillsboro, N. Dak. with four oxen and a wagon. He took a clame sout of Rugby, built shanty and lived there several years; farmed with oxen. By 1895 he had had a good sized farm of 320 acres. He then spent several weeks looking over Alberta, and the Northwest Territory in Canada,but came back to Rugby and then purchased a hardware store. Sold it again in 1901.
In 1897 he married Julia Hiller. Three children were born to this unio, Ingvold, Ruby and Mabel. In 1902 his wife passed away, and in 1909 he remarried. This time to Kirsten Scherven.

Six children was born, Emelia died a few days after birth, Thomas, Earl, Roland, Kermit and Ruth. He made two trips back to his native land. First in 1901, and again in 1912. Also lived a short while at Everett, Washington. Came back to North Dacota and in 1918 moved to the towen of Rugby where he lived until his death. Kirsten died May, 1951.

Prominent in political affairs since the early days, he held various offices throughout his lifetime. He served as clerk of the state senate, and house of representatives. Served as representative one term. Was also Deputy Register of Deeds, Deputy Sheriff, Village Marshall and County Judge.

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Andreas (Andrew) Herlaugson Oksendahl

Written by Arthur (Arth) Oksendahl b. 1903, son of Andreas (Andrew).
Collected by Hugo Solhaug

Introduction:
In America Andreas called himself Andrew.
One of Andreas's grand children, Robert Finnegan, has written a message in the guestbook.
See also the page "Oksendahl bruk #2 in America", the Introduction.
Here more about the brother Torbjørn (Tom), here more about the brother Johan Carl, here about the sister Dordei (Dina), here about the half sister Ingebjørg, here about the half brother Knut, here about the half brother Lars, here about the half brother Nils.
The story:
Andreas (Andrew) Herlaugson Yksendal was born Feb. 5, 1865, died March 7, 1953.

He came to the United States from Norway in 1883. At that time he got as far west as Grant County, Minnesota. Spent a couple of years throughout there, then pushed on westward to North Dacota or wat was then Dakota Territory. Came to what is now Pierce County in 1886 driving overland from Hillsboro, North Dakota with oxen. Took about a week to make the trip. Squatted on a preemption claim.
Among other things, he worked for a time down in Mississippi and Tennessee on the levees. Also worked on the railroad. taker in 1900.
Assisted in surveying the townships etc. like his brother Tom. He was an active politican, held various offices in school and townshipas well as state. Served as representative in 1917, also as senator in the 1919 and 1921 sessions. He was Pirce County's first sensus

He married Sophia Gustavson of Varmeland, Sweden, Nov. 1901.

Andrew and fam. about 1915, house on the farm at back
Thei got eight children, Emma (stillborn), Arthur, Ester, Selma, Alice (died when an infant), Viola, Victoria and Justin Ferdinand.

Lived on farm south of Tunbri dge until 1939, when they moved to Rugby where they lived until their deaths. Mrs. Oksendahl died Des. 1945.

Harvesting at Andrew's farm early in the 1920s.

Newspaper article from the Pierce County Tribune June 5th 1952

There are those who consider themselves pioneers who came to this country 40 or 50 years ago. And we think they are right. But there is a difference among pioneers. Few, if any in this area, can top Andrew Oksendahl. Now approaching .fourscore and ten., he is living out his remaining time moving about among his children. But his health loses a little ground with the passing years, he is spending more and more of his time in Rugby with his son and daughter-in-law's family, Mr. And Mrs. Art Oksendahl. Don't anyone get the idea he is an invalid. Far from it, for a man of his years, his mobility is good indeed.

Born in Norway
Oksendahl was born in Norway and came to Herman, Minnesota when only 17 years of age. He came over with his brother Tom whom many of the people here will readily recall. They knew people at Herman, Jacob Leraas, for one, father of Louis Leraas , himself a pioneer in this community.

But Andrew stayed at Herman only two years. After that he came to Hillsboro, N.D., and worked on a large farm. This was in 1886 and this year also marked the time when Oksendahl first came to this community! That's 66 years ago.

He didn't stay here then, and he came because his employer and his relatives wanted Andrew to come up here to improve land on which they had filed. I believe it was in the Barton vicinity.

Oksendahl and his brother Tom made the long trek from Hillsboro with 4 oxen, some equipment and supplies. The supplies consisted mostly of guns and ammunition with which to rustle wild game for food. All kinds of game were very plentiful then, he says.

But even in 1886 there were some people in the area. He recalls that Welcome Holbrook and a man named Mendennall were already set up at Pleasant Lake. Pam Cruden, Sr., Billy Hamilton and a man named Williams were in the Barton area.

To build a shack, lumber had to be hauled from Minnewaukan which was the closest town.

A good team of oxen, Mr. Oksendahl recalls, was better in some than horses or mules. Feeding them was a cinch. You relieved them of their yokes at the end of the day and they made out for themselves. Unless somebody scared them away. That happened once to the two brothers. A small souled neighbor didn't want the oxen on his land and chased them off. They retrieved them miles away, where Rugby now stands. Oksendahl says he broke about 40 acres with the oxen for the first year 1886. He squatted on land for himself the first year up. The second year, he had only two oxen.

Indians Friendly
Often on his trips, Indians camped near him at night, but they never bothered him and he was in no hurry about getting sociable with them.

Oksendahl explained the difference of tree claims, homesteading and pre-emption, but it didn't register too well with us. At any rate, by a combination of two such privileges, a man could get a half section of land. But there was a time limit and a man had to make some improvements.

He was farming here in 1888 to 1891. The years were dry so he practically sold out for nothing to Emil Seel. He went to Minneapolis planning to work in the woods, but because of the heavy snows, no men were being hired. So Oksendahl ended up working on the levees in Mississippi.

In 1895 he went to Roseau County, Minnesota, and the Red Lodge Indian Reservation. He fished and hunted and all the while also looked for land to homestead. The law was that all swamp land belonged to the state. In the dry spring of that year, settlers moved into the lowland and contested the state's definition of swamps. Then the heavy June rains flooded out the would-be homesteaders, including Andrew. He walked a mile to dry land. After that experience he came to this community again and homesteaded land in Tuscorora Township. This was 1896.

Married in 1901
In 1901 he was married to Sophia Gustafson, who herself had come here to homestead land in 1899. The couple had 8 children, 4 girls and 2 boys living. The sons still live here but the girls are scattered over a wide area. Mrs. Oksendahl passed away in 1945.

Oksendahl had serious operation at 74 and another about 7 years ago. On the last deal, he almost didn't make it. He was in a Bismarck hospital for 6 days. Said he didn't know what all they had done with him but a lot of it he didn't know about until he got his bill. He complained of illnesses he suffered more than 50 years ago. He doesn't feel in the pink now either, but it could be that some of his trouble is due to not being used to North Dakota's variable weather.



His Obituary

His cause of death was cancer and pneumonia. He was a former state legislator, serving both the house and the senate. He served in the house at the session of 1917, and was a member of the senate at the 1919 and 1921 sessions. Andrew Oksendahl was born in Exingdalen, Voss, Norway Feb 5, 1865. He came to the US in 1883 with his brother Tom.

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Johan Carl Herlaugson Oksendahl

Written by Arthur (Arth) Oksendahl b. 1903, son of Johan Carl's brother Andreas (Andrew).
Collected by Hugo Solhaug

Introduction:
See also the page "Oksendahl bruk #2 in America", the Introduction.
Here more about the brother Torbjørn (Tom), here more about the brother Andreas (Andrew), here about the sister Dordei (Dina), here about the half sister Ingebjørg, here about the half brother Knut, here about the half brother Lars, here about the half brother Nils.
The story:
Johan Carl Herlaugson Yksendal was Born in 1867.

He immigrated to America i 1884, and came to Minnesota first. Stayed there for a short time, then left to go further west and join his brother Tom and Andrew in the Dakota Territory.
Since then not much more is known concerning him.

Some say he enlisted in the Spanish-American war, and was killed fighting Cuba.
Others say that he joined the army. And that his regiment was sent out into the Indian country on the western frontier, to quell an uprising. He tried to desert camp, and was drowned swimming across a river.
Some also say he changed his name. All attempta to gain more information concerning him have so far failed.

Not married, as far as we know.

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Dordei (Dina) Herlaugsdotter Oksendahl

Written by Arthur (Arth) Oksendahl b. 1903, son of Dordei's (Dinas's) brother Andreas (Andrew).
Collected by Hugo Solhaug

Introduction:
In America Dordei called herself Dina.
See also the page "Oksendahl bruk #2 in America", the Introduction.
Here more about the brother Torbjørn (Tom), here more about the brother Andreas (Andrew), here about the brother Johan Carl, here about the half sister Ingebjørg, here about the half brother Knut, here about the half brother Lars, here about the half brother Nils.
The story:
Dina (Dordei) Herlaugsdtr Oksendahl, born on Feb. 16 1872, and died July 6, 1937. Came to the U.S. with her brothers and sister in the spring of 1902.
Worked in the Rugby vicinity until her marriage Dec. 10, 1904 to Andrew Stromme born 1886.
They got tree children: Carl f. 15/12-1905, Arnold f. 23/9-1910 d. 23/3-1927, and Ella f. 6/8-1913.
They lived on a farm southwest of Rugby until the time of her death. Andrew Stromme (Andreas Nilsson Straume) Was born on Straume farm bruk #1 Modalen, a neighbor valley to Eksingedalen

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Ingeborg (Ingebjørg) Herlaugsdotter Oksendahl

Written by Arthur (Arth) Oksendahl b. 1903, son of Ingeborg's half brother Andreas (Andrew).
Collected by Hugo Solhaug

Introduction:
I America Ingebjørg called herself Ingeborg.
See also the page "Oksendahl bruk #2 in America", the Introduction.
Here more about the half brother Torbjørn (Tom), here about the half brother Andreas (Andrew), here about the half brother Johan Carl, here about the half sister Dordei (Dina), here about the brother Knut, here about the brother Lars, here about the brother Nils.
The story:
Ingeborg (Ingebjørg) Herlaugsdotter was born July 14 1880, and died March 24, 1950.
Immigrated to the US with her brothers and sister Dina, in the spring of 1902.

Lived in this vicinity until her marriage to Louis Leraas March 19, 1904. They settle don a farm south of Tunbridge, and lived there until they sold the farm and moved to Rugby in 1946.
They got 7 children Mabel born oct.20-1904, Harold born apr 3-1906, Lillian born jul 27-1908, Evelyn born sep 1-1909, Ethel born jan 2-1915, Theresa born aug 11-1918 og Loretta born 1925.

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Knut Herlaugson Oksendahl

Collected by Hugo Solhaug

Introduction:
See also the page "Oksendahl bruk #2 in America", the Introduction.
Here more about the half brother Torbjørn (Tom), here more about the half brother Andreas (Andrew), here about the half brother Johan Carl, here about the half sister Dordei (Dina), here about the sister Ingebjørg, here about the brother Lars, here about the brother Nils.
The story:
Knut Herlaugson Oksendahl was born in 1883.

Knut's farm was about 5KM southwest of Rugby, across the road from his brother Tom (Torbjørn). It is farmed today by Tom's grandson and grategrandson.

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Lars Herlaugson Oksendahl

Written by >Leland Andrew Oksendahl, grandchild og Lars's half brother Andrew.
This comes from the history of Pierce County and Rugby. The book is by no means complete
Collected by Hugo Solhaug

Introduction:
See also the page "Oksendahl bruk #2 in America", the Introduction.
Here more about the half brother Torbjørn (Tom), here more about the half brother Andreas (Andrew), here about the half brother Johan Carl, here about the half sister Dordei (Dina), here about the sister Ingebjørg, here about the brother Knut, here about the brother Nils.
The story:
Lars Herlaugson born 1885, emigrated in March of 1902, together with his brother Knut, and sisters Ingeborg (Mrs.Louis Lerraas and Dina (Mrs. Andrew Stromme). He worked as a farm laborer for a while then homesteaded on land in Ness township.

Later he sold it and returned to Norway for a years visit. On the boat he met his future wife, Karen Thorson of Chicago IL. She was also going back to visit her family.
When he returned he purchased a farm about 2 KM. from Andrew's farm. He married Karen in 1914. Two children were born to them, Sigrid and Thelma (Mrs. Vernon Fjellanger). And Lars' grandson still operates the farm.

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Nils (Nels) Herlaugson Oksendahl

The story is told by Nels LeRoy Oksendahl, son of Nils (Nels).
"I will attempt to tell you some of my fathers story about coming to America."
Collected and edited by Hugo Solhaug

Introduction:
In America Nils called himself Nels.
Im my gjestebok you can find a message from the author of this article, LeRoy Oksendahl, which is son of Nils, and from one of LeRoy's sons, Eric.
See olso the page "Oksendahl bruk #2 in America", the Introduction.
Here more about the half brother Torbjørn (Tom), here more about the half brother Andreas (Andrew), here about the half brother Johan Carl, here about the half sister Dordei (Dina), here about the sister Ingebjørg, here about the brother Knut, here about the brother Lars.
The story:
Nels (Nils) Herlaugson Oksendahl born 1886.

When he was sixteen his brothers Tom and Andrew came back to the farm in Norway and took Lars and Knute, Ingiborg and Deana with them back to Rugby North Dakota. They decided against taking my Dad because he was too young.
I think this made him angry, although he never said so. Anyway he got a job herding goats for a crown (27cents) a day. At the end of two years he bought a suit of cloths a shot gun and a ticket to Rugby North Dakota. We still have the shotgun, I gave it to my oldest son to keep.

When he arrived in New York he had to go through Ellis Island, where millions of immigrants came. some of the Oksendahl that came through there had there name changed to Oksendahl because that's the way some clerk thought it should be spelled.

When Dad arrived in Rugby he worked for his brothers for a dollar a day (big wages compared to Norway) he saved enough from this to go to a Lutheran college in Grand Forks North Dakota to study English and study for his citizenship.

When he had learned enough he went to Hettinger South Dakota and worked for a Standard Oil company. His job was driving a wagon with a tank full of Kerosene and selling it from farm to farm to the homesteaders. He found what he thought was an abandon homestead and filed on in it. The owner showed up a few months later and they went to court. Dad lost. he often said that was the luckiest thing that happened because it hasn't rained there since!

He found his way to Sheridan county in extreme Northeastern Montana where there was land open for homesteading. Dad worked for a man named Olaf Berg who had a big ranch and a store in Redstone. The railroad only came as far as Plentywood so Dad's job mostly consisted of hauling freight from Plentywood the twenty miles to Redstone. He did this for over two years saving enough for a grubstake to homestead with. He filled on a homestead in 1911 15 miles south of Redstone. I often wondered how or why he stuck it out.

He said in 1918 and in 1919 he thrashed 196 bushel of wheat each year. He made more money working on a thrash crew than he did farming and he said he made more money playing poker under a bundle wagon than he did both.

The homesteading came to and end about 1923 when the farm population in Montana peaked. Every years since then there are less farmers in Montana.

He had a heart attack in 1951 and I took over the farm. Dad died in 1959


Copyright © kaare@trefall.com 2004-2019 (pgp)
Last updated 17th of August 2019

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