Ole Larson's Folks

We are examining a magazine article by one Oluf Erickson, about his father, also named Olof (var. Olaf, Ole) Erickson, an early pioneer (1868) in Norwegian Valley, aka Brush Creek, Wisconsin.

mag cover

Besides the tornado incident quoted in the previous post, the essay mentions the Ole Larson family several more times. As a young man, Oluf traveled to eastern North Dakota for a summer’s work, tagging along with his older friends Ole Samuelson and Anton Pederson, Ole Larson’s brother-in-law and nephew, respectively. And in 1903 or thereabouts, Oluf sold his Wisconsin farm to a “good friend,” Axel Larson. This would have been about three years prior to Axel’s marriage, and seven years before he and three brothers removed to their North Dakota homesteads. The articles end with Oluf’s father’s death in 1918, just before Oluf and his family joined the Larson “boys” in western North Dakota.

But wait, there’s more (ha): when I showed the articles to Uncle Ivan, he sent me a different version of the same essay!

Cover art

Cousin Norma Samuelson Haakenstad found the manuscript in her parent’s effects (Sidney and Mona Samuelson), re-typed it, and added an introduction and cover art, in 1998.

Norma’s is an earlier version of the essay, dated 1945 (I think), and probably intended for distribution to Oluf’s family members and close friends, who included Norma’s grandfather, Ole Samuelson. Many passages are identical or nearly so, but Norma’s version has several extra pages at the beginning, plus occasional anecdotes throughout that are not in the magazine version. The opening pages deal with Oluf Erickson’s grandparents, and his father’s childhood in Sweden. It is a fascinating yarn, and I will post some excerpts as soon as I get permission from Norma.

If you were curious, you may have found the biological connection between Larson and Erickson. It is the marriage of John Erickson to Anna Caroline Hanson in 1890. Anna was a daughter of Ole Larson’s sister Mari Larsdatter (1834-1911) and Hans Hanson (aka Stigen). John was, as you may have guessed, a brother of the author Oluf Erickson. Given the closeness of the two families over a 70-year period, I half-expected to find more intermarriages, but so far I have not.

Next-up: a memoir of the Dakota farms by Oluf’s daughter, Esther Erickson Sizer, long-time school teacher at Squaw Gap, and close neighbor and friend of the Larson families. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

The Erickson Connection, part 1
The Erickson Connection, Part 3