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Iver Oksendal

Reverend Iver Larsen Oksendahl.
Written by Karen Windheim, Oregon, USA.
Introduction by Kaare Trefall

Iver (Ivar) Larson Yksendal (1861-1928) is brother of Nils Larson Yksendal (1846-1891). Nils is the father of Rasmus Yksendal. Iver left for America in 1882.
The story:

Iver. Photo by Karen
Iver Larsen 0xendahl [1] was born on the Yksendal [2] farm in Hordaland, Norway on February 9,1861. His parents were Lars Nilsson from 0vre Helland and Borghild Torbjornsdtr. of the Yksendal farm. They had eight children, Iver being the youngest. His oldest brother Nils took over the family farm and the care of his parents in 1880. Haldor and Torbjon the next two sons married and moved to their wife's family farms. Lars the fourth son had already left for America in 1875. His three sisters married and moved to their husbands' farms, leaving Iver at home to work for his brother Nils.
On April 22, 1882 at the age of 21 years Iver left the Oksendal home farm. He sailed for the United States landing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His trip ended in Minnesota were his older brother Lars had settled.

Iver unlike his siblings, turned to serve God instead, of farming. After attending Luther College in 1883 for two years, he was a teacher at a parochial school in Kasson, Minnesota from 1885 to 1889. He started his theological training at Luther Seminary in 1889 and finished as a 'candidate in theology' in 1892 [3]. The next year he declared, his intentions to become a citizen of the United States on May 13, 1893 in Eddy County, North Dakota and became a citizen, on August 20, 1901 in Ramsey County, North Dakota. Why he moved to North Dakota is not known. Iver was married to Tora ? in 1885,1 don't have a record of this but since he was taking his schooling in Minnesota, at the time I believe he was married there. After they moved to North Dakota they settled in the Antelope Valley area of Benson County.

Iver being a theological student was called to help serve for the then struggling congregation of Antelope Valley. In the spring of 1893 he was called to serve as pastor for the congregations of St. Olaf, Viking, and North Viking Churches.

The pioneer pastors in this section of North Dakota served a very extensive field covering three counties, namely Ramsey, Benson and Wells. Many were the difficulties encountered in serving the scattered congregations. Traveling was a problem at ail seasons of the year. The trails were deceiving, leading in every direction, and during the long winter months when continuous storms piled the snows into hug drifts, finding your way was hard because every landmark and even the settlers' homes were covered with the drift. Summer brought dust and ruts to the roads. In season and out of season, Iver ventured forth to break the bread o'f life to the sick and the dying, and bring comfort to the bereaved and the broken hearted. The pioneer pastor was indeed an itinerant preacher, pastor, and evangelist. He was faithful to his trust, uncomplaining about his hardships, and willing to share the trails of frontier life with the people who he served [4]. After serving 16 years Iver's health was gone, undoubtedly to the strenuous pioneering of his service. He was a quiet, unassuming person, who won the love and respect of all he served. It can be truly said of him that he gave himself as a loving sacrifice to this community and to the church [5].

While serving as a. pastor he also became a farmer. At Devils Lake land office on June 20, 1896 Iver Oksendahl of North Viking, Benson County, North Dakota, filed his first application for a homestead of E 1/2 of SW 1/4 and lots 3 & 4 of section 31 in township 152 of range 69, containing 157.63 acres of prairie land, for a fee of $14 [6]. On August 15, 1896 Iver settled on his land and began to cultivate it. He built a frame house 14 x 28 x l2; a framed barn 24 x ?6 x 14; a grainary 16 x 24 x 6 and put in a well. He valued the whole place at $1,650.0 in 1903 when he filed for proof On April 11, 1903 he gave notice of his intention to make final proof to establish his claim for the homestead. His witnesses were Lars O. Larson, Oie Holdale, Bemt and Christian C. Wesby all of Maddock. He states that he and his wife with their three children have continuously resided on the land. He also stated that he cultivated 10-140 acres and had raised 6 crops. The final certificate # 6944 was filed on June 1, 1903 at Devil Lake for the fee of $3.95. The patent (title) was issued May 5, 1904 [7].

Iver's' wife Tora lived two more years dicing on Nov. 4, 1906 and was laid to rest in the North Viking Cemetery. She left Iver with three small girls, the youngest being 6 years old. Two years later Iver married Marine? and moved the family to Livingston Bay, Island County, Washington. There he became a dairy farmer. In the North Viking Cemetery list is an infant Oksendahl born 1908 and dieing in 1909. On the 1910 census Iver and his wife note that a child was born to them but died, this might be their infant and if so they left for Washington sometime after the baby's death in 1909. Iver was found on the 1920 census but his wife was listed, alone on the 1930 census so we assume that Iver died sometime between 1920 and 1930. There is an Oksendahl headstone in "Our Saviour Lutheran Cemetery" in Stanwood, Snohomish Co., Washington, but no names or dates are on the stone.

Constance Oksendahl Iver and Tora's first child married Shelton Yates and lived in Seattle, Washington. She died in 1973 and Shelton in 1984. Constance willed the North Viking, Viking and St. Olaf congregations $25,000 at her death in honor of her father Iver.

[1] First USA spelling of Ms name
[2] Oksendal farm today
[3] School Calendar 1.824-1924 (Who's who among teachers in the Norwegian Lutheran Synods of America 1924 pg.547) and. Who's who Among Pastors 1843-1927 pg. 450.
[4] Taken, from "Yesterday, Today and Forever" North Viking 1888-1988 Book
[5] Taken from "Yesterday. Today and Forever" North Viking 1888-1988 Book
[6] Appi.ica.tion # /838
[7] Rec. Vol 164 page 394

The family Iver Oksendal in America. Photo by Karen

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Last updated 17th of August 2019


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