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An Ole Andreas Dravland and Anna Holum Story

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To view a picture of the ship that brought Ole, Anna and their twins Jonas and twin sister to America click Parisian

They docked in Quebec City with the intentions of going on to Chicago but they evidently when to Duluth, Minn. They immigrated to the USA via the port of Detroit, Mich.

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A Snasalaget was a gathering of people from Snasa, Norway.
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To view the barn click on Frost on Barn
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To view the effect of a Tornado on the Dravland Farm click on Tornado
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An Overview of the Gammle Jonas Dravland Family in America
To Bottineau County
The First House
Early Farming
About Ole
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An Overview of the Gammle Jonas Dravland Family In America

Written by Eunice Clara Vinge Dravland
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The following account was written in June, 1981 from information obtained verbally from Henry Sivertson, Albert Bendick Dravland, several members of the Jonas Dravland family, records from the churches in Norway and several history books from Norway. There are probably some inaccuracies both in information and in spelling.

Editors Note: Some minor changes have been made with information received since this article was written.

This all started in Norway. Anna Eriksdatter, born on November 13, 1769, and Andfin Nielson, born February 10, 1769 were engaged to be married. Their son, Nels Anfindsen (Sagbakken) was born on November 1, 1797.

Nels Anfindsen was married to Johanna Johnsdatter, born in 1799, on October 12, 1823. Nels and Johanna were parents of Anfin Nelsson (Flauget) Stindmoen, born August 13, 1825. They had another son, Jonas Nelsson Strindmoen or Oldernas or Klevmoen, born February 4, 1824.

Anfin married Barbroanna Johnsdatter (Jorstad),born June 24,1827. Jonas married An Storkersdatter Holum, born November 10,1822, on December 13, 1844. They lived on the Dravland farm near Snaasa, Norway where Jonas was husmand.

T0 view the house that Jonas and An raised Storker, Ole, Bernt and Kristen
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Jonas Oldernas, known as Gammer Jonas, and because of the custom of the husmand taking the name of the farm they had a contract with, also used the names of Nelsson, Strindmoen, and Klevmoen. Jonas was the father of Ole Andreas Jonasen or Oldernas who was born October 7, 1857.

Anfin was the father of Anna Edrika Holum, born November 22, 1858. Ole and Anna were married and because their fathers were brothers, they were first cousins. Anna died in 1926 and Ole in 1941. They are both buried at The Turtle Mountain Lutheran Cemetery situated about three miles north west of Carbury, North Dakota.

Jonas and Anna had four sons named Bernt, Ole, Storker, and Kristen. Anna died in Norway, the rest, except Bernt, emigrated to America. Gammer Jonas returned to Norway where Bernt had taken over the Dravland farm.

The Dravland history is a story of near slavery to freedom. Gammer Jonas was husmand on the Dravland farms and like serfs, they literally belonged to the landlord. They would get a small tract of land to raise their own food in return for their work on the farm. Jonas had life tenure on the Dravland farms which date back to ca.1500.

The eight Dravland Farms ranged in size from six to fifty acres. Five of these were more than forty acres and they were considered to be large. The area where the farms are located is over 5,000 acres with only 150 acres tillable.

Ole and Storker, sons of Gammer Jonas, emigrated to America in 1889 and 1896, respectively. Jonas came in 1893 and according to the sources proved up three quarters of land. He lived for awhile with Storker, who was pretty much an abstainer of alcoholic beverages, and Old Jonas would get in trouble when he drank 'Wards' liniment. Jonas sold his farm to his sons for $500.00 and returned to Norway. This money went a long ways back home. Jonas lost his life at Christmas, 1908, when he went for a walk after dark and slid down a slippery slope into the fjord. His body was never found.

It has never been proven that 'Gammer Jonas' actually did have land in America. The land in question was later settled by Henry Sivertson.

In Norway, Jonas had been a quack veterinarian. He told the story of how he had treated a pig for a farmer. When he returned to collect he had his grandson 'Little' Jonas with him. The pig laid on its back with its feet sticking straight up in the air. The farmer told Ole he was not going to pay for the treatment because the pig died. Jonas gave the pig a swift kick and the pig jumped and ran away. This must have impressed his five year old grandson and created a legend.

When Grandpa Ole came to America he entered through the emigration port in Detroit, Michigan. He then went to Duluth, Minnesota and worked on the streets of that city. He worked from 6th, Ave. East to the end of Duluth, now 60th. Ted remembers Grandpa Ole telling that he helped put in the street car tracks on Superior St. Ole took a contract for cutting timber near Duluth. When Ole used some swear words, the Englishman who wanted to hire him, "If you swear I won't believe you". This made an impression on Ole and he didn't swear until he was an older and then he used 'evil-minded, sex words'.

Ole moved to Starbuck, Minnesota. He left his family there and went on to Bottineau, North Dakota to file on a homestead. Albert, Mabel and Olga were born in Starbuck in 1893, 1895 and 1896 respectively. This would be during the years that Ole was establishing his homestead.

In the fall of 1891 Ole came to Bottineau, and worked for Charlie Gorder who had a farm one and one half mile south-west of Bottineau. The horses had to swim across ravines and Ole was worried the deep water would float the box off the wagon.

When Uncle Albert told about the early days he marveled that Ole had been able to establish himself so well. When he came to North Dakota to homestead he didn't have a thing. He bought three steers and broke them as oxen. He built a small house which still stands as the kitchen and room above it. He built a sod lean to entry. It is located in the south east forty of the south west quarter of section six in Pickering Township in Bottineau County, North Dakota.

He broke up the land and had two crop failures in a row. Ted reports that the first crop he raised was hauled to Rugby about forty miles away. They made one trip per week to the elevator. The next year the railroad came as far as Bottineau.

In 1895 there was a bumper crop of wheat which sold for the good price of 25 cents per bushel. Ole bought more land and broke it up and there were more good crops. In 1899 he bought another quarter of land in Peabody Township for $500.00 cash. It wasn't the best land but gave him good pasture and extended the farm.

Ole was longing for Norway. In the fall of 1899 he rented out their land and went on a trip 'home'. They were considering staying permanently in Norway. 'Little' Jonas 17, did not go along as he was working out. Ole cut timber that year and did some fishing. He became disenchanted with the life of a fisherman and as he looked on the shorelines of Norway and saw all the small huts around it, he wanted to go back to America. They returned in the spring of 1900.

In about 1903 there was an addition to the house. The floor joists and foundation for the kitchen, even now approaching the year 2000, are oak logs harvested east of Lake Metigoshe. There was a fire in the Turtle Mountains about 1885 which destroyed most of the oak trees in the mountains. Ole flattened them and used them for floor joists and foundation for the house. Ole’s grandson Ozzie moved the house including the oak log foundation onto a concrete foundation in the 1940's. The foundation logs showed very little effect of laying on the ground for fifty years. Only the log on the west side had to be replaced.

In the 1920's, Ole was driving from Bottineau in his Model T Ford. A new accessory called the 'foot feed' was installed on this car. It is now called the accelerator. Well, Ole stepped on the foot feed rather than the brake and speeded up as he went around the corner. He broke some ribs as the car rolled into the ditch. Herman Gorder pried the car up with a fence post. Later Ole went to Gorder with a gift he had bought for him. He gave him a shaving set and told him it had been 'missing in the mail'. Ole a proud 6' 6" man probably felt that he shouldn’t show gratitude.

Crops were good and Ole was getting out of debt. In the fall of 1926 Ole was hauling grain from the Ingvald Berg place, north of the farm, and he fell off the spring seat and landed on his head. He may have cracked his neck as he always had a lump on it. He may have passed out as after this he fainted easily, e.g. when he would sit by the stove on the wood box.

When Ole's fingernails were cut he would faint away and holler, "It's going to hurt. You're cutting into the 'quick'". His nails were always hard and dry.

Ole had a red dog, that he got from Iverson's, that would get the cows every time Ole picked up the milk pails. The cows would be home by the time Ole was ready to milk them. If Ole picked up the water pail the dog new the difference.

After Ole's wife died, in 1926, he stayed with Albert in Duluth for awhile but spent more and more time at the farm. The younger children of Jonas and Teresa especially, remember how they used to have to stay home and take care of Ole in his later years. Along with this they remember the hours they sat at his feet listening to his stories. Many of his stories about bears and trolls, spiced up with Norwegian swear words, usually featuring Ole as the hero.

A summary of four of his stories follows:

1. Ole had gotten into a fight with a bear. He followed the bear into a cave and a big battle followed. When he came out with the bear, Ole looked at it and said, "I'm sure it had a head when it went in".

2. Ole was cutting timber with another man when a bear came after them. Ole looked around for a tree the right size and got behind it as the bear tried to grab him. The bear wrapped his paws around the tree to get Ole and he shoved its claws into the tree trunk. He told his friend to hold the claws into the tree while he went home to get his gun. Ole went home, had a cup of coffee, and then went back with his gun.

3. A dog and a rabbit got into a fight. The rabbit kicked the dog and he rolled over. The dog was in pain and needed help as the rabbit had bitten him. "But then", said Ole "The dog had thin skin".

4. Ole also knew of a giant who had a goose that laid golden eggs. This was a Norwegian version and he spoke of it as the "Power in the egg". The giants strength came from the egg and he protected it carefully. Ole stole an egg and the giant came after him. When the giant got too close Ole snapped at the egg in his pocket and cracked the shell. This broke the giants leg and Ole got away.

The stories were always told in Norwegian and they lose a great deal in translation. Ole felt sorry for anyone who could not speak Norwegian. He said to his granddaughter Ann "Stakkars liten jente, du kan ikke snakke Norsk". This translates, "Poor little girl, you can't speak Norwegian".

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In the 1930s, because there was no hay to put in the barn, dances were held in the loft of the barn. The barn was 84' by 36'. It was not very good for dancing since the floor boards curled up. The barn was destroyed when hit by a Tornado in 1940. Ole had just cancelled the insurance the year before. Ted said they could never understand why the tool shed was left standing as the shed would sway in the slightest breeze.

To view the effect of a Tornado on the Dravland Farm click on Tornado

The storm downed the windmill which stood between the barn and tool shed. In 1942 a new barn, 30' by 60', was built.

When Ole was working in Duluth he found an old clock, with weights, that struck both the hour and half hour. A man was about to haul it out to the dump and Ole asked for it. Ted estimates that this clock was from the later 1700s. Ole had repaired the clock and had it with him when he lived with Jonas and Teresa at the farm. He wound it every night and when it quit working he was peeved that Jonas bought another clock so it went to Mable's in Montana. Winding the clock, like cutting shavings to start a fire in the cook stove in the morning had become a nightly ritual.

When Ole stayed on the farm he took off many times in his Model T Ford and drove to Duluth, Minnesota or Wolf point, Montana. He traveled 35mph. One time he took three-year old Ann along and, on the way home, she had fallen and was hurt and bleeding. Someone helped with Ann. This happened in Rock Lake, North Dakota. Even if 'Lis Ann' was his favorite, it is surprising that Teresa would let a little girl go off on such a trip.

Pastor Gilbertson, the local minister, came to visit at the farm. Ole asked the pastor if he had any children. The pastor answered, "Yes lots", and Ole said "De har ikke lakt paa lat siden", which means, You haven't laid on the lazy side, have you? Teresa was embarrassed as she was very modest.

Ole died in 1941 at the farm. Teresa had taken care of him night and day. She was very patient with him but he often complained about her

Ole's first child, Arne , died in Norway before they came to America. Alfred, birth date unknown, and Albert, born May 22, 1888, died in Duluth from the flu within three weeks of each other. Ann, a twin to Jonas also died in Duluth. The other children, beside Jonas, were Olga (Rothe), 1895- 1972, Mable (Dravland), 1896-1961, and Albert Bendick, 1893-1979.

To Bottineau County

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Ole kept his family in Duluth until the spring of 1891 when he moved to the Bottineau area. During his stay in Duluth he helped put in the street car tracks on Superior street. Little Jonas, who would have been in what was equivalent to little league baseball, was pitcher for a group that played ball on Superior street. He was a little guy but was quite a good pitcher.

Charlie and Jacob Gorder were instrumental in encouraging Ole to move to Bottineau County to take up a homestead. Ole and his family stayed with the Charlie Gorder family during the summer and winter of 1891-1892. The Charlie Gorder farm was located south, and across the road, from the old Jacob Gorder farm where Donald Orke now lives. Donald is a grandson of Jacob.

The First House

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To view a picture of the house on the farm in about 1903 click Farm House

According to the Homestead Proof-Testimony Of Claimant (see App.. A) Ole built a 14 ft.. by 16 ft. frame house, during May of 1892, on what was to become his homestead. This is the present kitchen and what previously was two bedrooms above the west wing of house on the farm. An examination of the upstairs floor above and in front of the present door leading upstairs should show frame work for a ladder entrance to the old upstairs. Vernon removed the partition between the bedrooms in the early 1940's. The size of the kitchen is 14' x 16'. The oak logs forming the floor joists have burn marks caused by the fire that ravaged the Turtle Mountains in 1887. Oak logs 10 to 12 inches in diameter formed the foundation for the house and laid directly on the ground.

Ozzie moved the house onto a concrete basement. Only the log on the west side of the house had to be replaced. The others are in excellent shape. The two story addition added to the east side of the homestead shack have higher ceilings; likely built during more prosperous times As a youngster, I remember going upstairs to the west bedrooms and stepping down into a small area called a vestibule from which two doors lead off to the two bedrooms. There were three doors in this small area. One door was on the east between the old and new addition. The area was about 4' wide on the east side with a short wall, of about 3' on the north and south. The west side had two doors set at an angle, one facing southwest and the other northwest. Part of this area, very likely, formed the landing for entrance to the upstairs in the homestead shack. A ladder from the first floor formed the access to the vestibule

The two bedrooms upstairs served as sleeping quarters for the boys in the south room and girls in the north room. There is also evidence of a trap door in the northwest corner of the kitchen floor. This can be seen from the basement. This door gave access to a dugout for storing potatoes and other vegetables. Ole and Anna likely slept down stairs on a bed that would be hoisted to the ceiling during the day.

Early Farming

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These must have been trusting times because Ole had not yet applied for this homestead despite having built his homestead shack. He made application for the homestead on December 23, 1892. He traveled to Devils Lake, North Dakota where the Land Office was located and made application on homestead entry number 4594. (see App. B) The description of the land is as follows: E1/2SW1/4 and Lots 6 and 7 in Township 162 of Range 76, containing 153.01 acres. This is much larger than the farm he served on in Norway. That Christmas of 1892 must have been a joyous time, however, Ole likely did not get back for Christmas Eve that year.

Ole and Anna and their family moved into their new home on May 5th. of 1893 and began their struggle to claim this land as their own. Imagine this man, all six feet four inches of him, standing there by his new home surveying this new land that was to be his own. It was several times bigger than the farm he was a servant on in Norway. He was a very proud and outspoken man.

The first year Ole was able to break only five acres which was seeded to wheat. It is likely that he also began construction of a wood frame barn and stone granary that summer. The barn was to be 54 x 32 ft and the granary 14 x 18 ft. One of the big back breaking jobs on any homestead in that area was to clear rocks from the fields. Many of these were hauled to the yard to form a foundation for the barn and build the granary. Some of these would be huge boulders. Many of them, using only hand tools, have had holes several inches deep drilled into them. This was done to help break them apart and shape them. This is evident on the rocks used for the deck on the east side of the house. The rocks for the deck came from the barn foundation.

Our father, Jonas, said he only had three years education so probably did not attend school after they moved to the homestead. He would have been eleven years old at that time so would have been considered valuable help on the farm.

During the summer of 1893 and spring of 1894 Ole and Jonas broke 25 acres. Thirty acres were seeded to wheat that spring. In 1895 42 acres of wheat were seeded and in 1896 70 acres of wheat and oats were seeded. In 1897 75 acres of wheat and 15 acres of oats were planted. In 1898 they seeded 90 acres and broke 10 acres. By this time they had also fenced fifty acres, built a 24 x 26 ft. machine shed and dug a well. All improvements were valued at $1000.00.(see App. A)

Vernon found this well, one hundred years later, in 1998. He was hunting gophers with a 22 caliber rifle. He was walking next to a path taken by farm machinery for maybe 75 years and also an area that had been mowed, as part of the yard, for many years. All of a sudden his left foot fell into a hole up to his knee. He sprawled forward falling on his rifle and sprained his thumb. Not knowing what he had found, he got a ladder and some lumber to lay across the area. When he looked into the hole it was about two feet deep. His shoe had come off and was laying at the bottom.

He was able to push, very easily, a nine foot long rod down this hole and pull it out again. The hole appeared to be about 18 to 20 inches in diameter. Vernon asked a local grave digger to come out with his backhoe to examine this hole. He dug down over nine feet and said it was still soft. Vernon put about two feet of concrete in the bottom and covered it up again. The well was located about 15 ft. northwest of the southwest corner of the present shop.

About Ole

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Ole was lame and we were told that he had an accident, when he was a young man, with a two edged ax. The ax slipped and hit him in the ankle. He refused to see a Doctor and took care of it himself. Consequently, his ankle healed bent at about a 45 degree angle and he walked on the side of his foot. He always had to rebuild his right shoe to make it fit.

His son and my father, Jonas, was a quite different man. Ole was much taller (6 ft..-4 in.) while dad was barely 5 ft. 7 in. tall. Dad was soft spoken while Grandpa was more outgoing. They were both very kind people, except for the way Grandpa treated Mother. Ole stayed on the farm and was a hero to the grand kids, but he was very demanding of our mother. When he stayed at his daughters for a week or two each summer he praised the way he was treated by them but, even though he was critical of Teresa, he was always anxious to get back to the farm.

Ole had a model T Ford that he used for transportation. He would make two trips just about every summer, one to Wolf Point, Montana to see his daughter Olga, married to Ted Rothe, and one to Duluth, Minnesota. to visit with Mable, married to her cousin Fred Dravland. The main and connecting rod bearings were made with a soft material called Babbitt. This material would sometimes melt, if the engine got too hot, and cause a delay in his trip. In a box in the back of his model T, Ole carried a coffee can half full of oil and soaking in that would be some old harness leather. When a bearing burned out he would drain the oil from crank case into a pail and replace the Babbitt bearing with a leather bearing. Many times he was seen beside the road, under his car, replacing a bearing. The leather bearings would last ,maybe, for one trip.

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