Pioneer Days in Norseville & Strum, Wisconsin
1860's-1911: Emigration From Rindal-Area Farm Villages to the American Midwest
See book entitled Livserindringer fra Surendalen og Aure (Memories of Life in Surendalen and Aure) by J. Mogstad from Surendalen and (Kandidat) Simonsen.
According to "Historical Bits" author F.L. Tronsdal, Mogstad & Simonsen's book has much history about the Rindal area, and Tronsdal briefly recounts some of the very intriguing stories.
Also Rindal Bygdeboks, by Hans Holdbaak
Rindal, Norway: Background
Rindal is a small Norwegian town 60 miles southwest of the city of Trondheim, and north of Trollheimen Mountain. The town is located where the Rinna River flows into the Surna River. Surrounding the town are many small farm villages called "Gaards" which have been divided and subdivided into smaller farms. Each farm village has a name and is home to a large extended family. Each farm village consists of one or more cluster of farmhouses, each also having its own name.
From the 1860's til 1910, many Rindalings emigrated to America, usually to the mid-west, primarily to the following areas:
- Norseville & Strum, Wisconsin
- Underwood, Minnesota
- Havanna, North Dakota
- South-Central Canada
Most of the people listed here went to the Norseville & Strum areas of Wisconsin, 25 miles south of the city of Eau Claire.
Romundstad Farm Village
Romundstad Oppistua Farmhouse: From here was the 1st Pioneer
Frederick Olsen Romundstad was the first in the Romundstad extended family to emigrate to America.
In 1829, Frederick Olsen Romundstad was born at the Romundstad Oppistua farmhouse. His parents were Ola Olson Romundstad (b.1794) and Sigrid Larsdatter Stomprød (b.1794) from the neighboring farm village of Stomprød. Frederick was the 7th out of 8 children in the family, and the youngest of the 3 sons. In 1830, when Frederick was 1 year old, his mother Sigrid died at age 36. The next year, his father Ola Olson Romundstad remarried Gertrud Kroken, age 31. In 1835 was the birth of the 8th and last child of this family, Sigrid Olsdatter Romundstad.
Norway used the system of primogeniture, which meant that the oldest son inherited a farm from his father. The oldest brother in the family at the Romundstad Oppistua Farmhouse, was Ola Olson Romundstad (b.1815) -- 14 years older than Frederick. In 1845 at age 30 Ola Olson married Eli Olsdatter Kvam, age 22, and from 1847-1862, they had seven children. In 1850 -- 5 years after marrying -- this oldest brother inherited the Romundstad Oppistua Farmhouse.
As the family's youngest brother, Frederick had little chance of ever coming into any other of the Romundstad Oppistua farmholdings. In addition, because the Rindal-area population was growing rapidly, there was little other available farmland anywhere in the area.
So in 1853, at age 24, Frederick Olsen Romundstad left the Romundstad Farm Village and went to the Trondheim-area settlement of Strinda. For a more complete account of his life in the Trondheim area, see Olsen Family History.
Eight years after Frederick Olsen Romundstad left his Romundstad Oppistua boyhood home, he & his family emigrated to America. They went first to areas of Wisconsin other than Norseville, where they ended up 8 years later, in 1869 (see Olsen Family History).
- Frederick Olsen (b.1829, age 32)
- Wife Serianna Halvorsdatter from Vardalen (b. 1831, age 30)
Their 4 children, aged 5 years to an 8-day old newborn:
- Beret (b.1856, age 5)
- Siri (b. 1856, age 5)
- Gjertine Gurine (b.1858, age 3)
- Nora (b. 1861, 8 days old)
Meanwhile, Back at the Romundstad Farm Village . . . .
Romundstad Oppistua Farmhouse
Back at Frederick Olsen Romundstad's Oppistua Farmhouse, all was not well. Shortly after Frederick Olsen Romundstad & family's 1861 departure for America, his oldest brother and farm inheritor, Ola Olson Romundstad and wife Eli Kvam had died young : In 1862, the mother Eli died at age 39 giving birth to their seventh child, Johanna.
In 1866 -- 4 years after his wife -- the father Ola Romundstad died at age 51. After their mother died, these seven nieces and nephews of Frederick Olsen Romundstad - - age newborn to 15 - - went next door to live with their cousins at the Romundstad Austistua Farmhouse. At the time, that household was then headed by Frederick Olsen Romundstad's 1st cousin, Peder Romundstad & wife Marit Løset. Peder Romundstad and Marit Løset already had 4 children, age 1-8. So it must have been quite a houseful: already over a dozen people living there, including Peder's younger siblings. ( See below for an account of the Romundstad Austisua Farmhouse.)
In 1867, the year after their father died, Frederick Olsen Romundstad's seven young orphaned nieces and nephews sold their Romundstad Oppistua farmhouse and lands to various relatives and neighbors. Then, over the 5-year period of 1869-1874, they all followed their Uncle Frederick to Norseville -- ranging in age from 23 down to 12 at the time they left. Included among them, ironically, was the oldest son and farm inheritor, "Big Ole" Romundstad (b.1849), who left in 1870 at age 21.
Romundstad Austisua Farmhouse
At the Romundstad Austisua Farmhouse, there were 6 brothers and 3 sisters. in 1859, at age the family's mother, Marit Romundstad (born 18__ next door at Romundstad Oppistua), had died when their youngest was 5. In18__, the oldest son in the family, Peder Romundstad (age 31, b.1828) - - over 20 years older than his youngest sibling - - had inherited the Romundstad Austistua farmhouse and lands. In 1864, he had married Marit Løset and they were having many children - - eventually 10. Peder Romundstad & Marit Løset were the primary farmholders and caregivers for this large extended family.
Also at the Austistua Farmhouse were living Peder's seven unmarried younger brothers and sisters. Also their widowed father, Jon Pederson Roen, born in 1800, and who had been raised at Romundstad Austistua as a foster son. In addition, since 1862, their seven young orphaned cousins from next door at the Romundstad Oppisua Farmhouse, had come to live with them - - age newborn to 15.
For the young people living at this farmhouose, the pressure of crowding must have become a strong incentive to go somewhere else. Seeing limited opportunities for finding good farmland in the Rindal area, the obvious choice was to go to America. Their cousin Fredrik Olsen from Romundstad Oppistua had opened the door to possibilities in the new land across the sea, and so they followed.
Romundstad Farm Village
Romundstad Oppistua Farmhouse (originally from)
The first of Frederick Olsen Romundstad's seven orphaned nieces and nephews emigrated to America:
- Ole O. Romundstad [the Younger (17) (b. 1852). See year 1874, below. (See also Olsen Family History)
Romundstad Austistua Farmhouse -- three of Frederick's 1st cousins:
- Even J. Romundstad (age 34, b.1835). In 1880 married Gjertrud Negard.
- Ole J. Romundstad (age 29, b.1839). In 1870 married Gjertrud Romundstad.
- Anders J. Romundstad (age 20,b.1849). In 1892 married Karen Imislund.
For more about these three brothers from Romundstad Austistua, see Olsen Family History and Life of Mildred Romundstad Madson: 1897-1992 -- daughter of Anders J. Romundstad
Elshaug Farm Village
- Erick Hanson Elshaug (age 36), who had been born in Rennebo but lived at the Elshaug Farm Village northeast of Rindal (see Olsen Family History)
Rindal Farm Village inside of the town of Rindal
Rindal Dalen Farmhouse
- Even J. Rindal (32) (b.1837) (see Hyldbakk, Vol 1, p.363)
Farm villages in the Surnadal Valley southwest of the town of Rindal:
Sande Farm Village
- John Sande, but lived in Rindal
- Ole Aune
Aune Farm Village
- John Aune (a Seminarist) from the________ Farmhouse
In Trondheim, this man joined the 1869 group who had come directly from Rindal :
Skjørmo Farm Village, Rindal area
- Peder Skjørmo [ In America, people from the Skjørmo Farm Village changed their name to "Shermo."]
Romundstad Farm Village
Romundstad Oppistua Farmhouse (see Olsen Family History)
The 2nd group of Frederick Olsen Romundstad's seven orphaned nieces and nephews:
- (1) Gjertrud Romundstad  (b. 1847). Later that same year, this sister married Ole J. Romundstad (age 30) -- her cousin who had come in 1869 from next door at the Romundstad Austistua Farmhouse.
- (2) Ole O. "Big Ole" Romundstad the Elder (age 20, b.1849). In 1874 he married Marit Storholt.
- (4) Lars Romundstad (age 16,b.1854). Died 1875 at age 21, in the Strum area. [ From what?? He shares a headstone (now broken) with sister Mali who died in 1878 at age 22. ]
Røen Farm Village - - north of Rindal
In America, this family changed the spelling of their name to "Rone."
Røen Hagen Farmhouse: all to the Norseville & Strum area
- Kristen Hanson Røen (53),
- Kristen's wife Ingeborg Romundstad (49)
The 5 unmarried of their 7 children :
- Brynhild Røen (24)
- Hans Røen (age 22)
- Lars Røen (age 19). He later married Frederick Olsen Romundstad's niece, Sigrid Stomprød (aunt to Esther Stomprud Olsen). Lars Rone & Sigrid Stomprød had a farm in Romundstad Valley, across the road from and east of Ole J. & Gjertrud Romundstad's farm. Their children were: Inga Rone, Geneva Rone, & Harold Rone, et al.
- Tollov Røen (age 16)
- Mali Røen (age 13)
A Group of Rindalings settled near Underwood, Minnesota -- in the west-central part of the state just east of Fergus Falls, where there are many small lakes:
Børnas Farm Village -- northeast of Rindal
- Ole Bjørnas and wife from the Bjørnas ___________ Farmhouse. Ole had been "udskiftsnigsformand" in Norway, and knew very well what was poor or good soil. Went first o North Dakota prairies, but thought they were too desolate to live in.
Nygaard Farm Village -- (location ____________________)
- Ole Nygaard from the Nygaard____________ Farmhouse
- John Nygaard and wife from the Nygaard____________ Farmhouse
Løset Farm Village -- neighboring the Romundstad Farm Village to the West
- Ole F. Løset from the Løset ___________ Farmhouse
- Ole O. Løset from the Løset ___________ Farmhouse
Stømprud Farm Village -- neighboring the Romundstad Farm Village to the East
- Ole J. Stømprud from the Stømprud __________ Farmhouse
Romundstad Farm Village
Romundstad Oppistua Farmhouse: the last three of the 7 orphaned siblings born there:
- Autumn 1873: A trip back to Norway by Ole O. Romundstad the Younger, be. 1852, age 21 -- who in 1869 at age 17 had emigrated to Wisconsin.
- Spring 1874: Ole O. Romundstad the Younger (b., 1852, then-age 22) returned to America, and brought along with him the last 3 of the 7 orphaned siblings from the Romundstad Oppistua Farmhouse. This is the list of these 4 siblings on this trip from Romundstad to Wisconsin:
- (3) Ole O. Romundstad the Younger (1852, agee 22) [After that trip, his life is unknown.]
- (5) Mali (age 18, b.1856). Died 1878 at age 22, in the Strum area. [ From what?? She shares a headstone (now broken) with brother Lars, who died in 1875 at age 21. ]
- (6) Peder (age 15, b.1859). Life unknown after this date. [ ?? ]
- (7) Johanna (age 12, b.1862). Johanna immediately went to live with her sister Gjertrud and husband Ole J. Romundstad. In 1887 she married F.L. Tronsdal from the Tronsdal Farm Village northeast of Rindal.
The man Johanna Romundstad married, F.L. Tronsdal, became a historian. Among his pieces was an article entitled "Historical Bits" about Rindal history and Rindal emigrants to the Strum area. Laura Olsen Brill extensively used Tronsdal's article in writing her Olsen Family History.
In 1874, along with these young brothers and sisters from the Romundstad Oppistua Farmhouse who emigrated to Norseville, was also this young woman:
Storholt Farm Village northeast of the town of Rindal
- Marit Jonsdatter Storholt (age 19, b.1855). Later that same year,1874, she married the eldest of Frederick Olsen's nieces and nephews in this family: Ole O. "Big Ole" (the Elder) Romundstad (age 24)
Stomprød Farm Village: Many relatives of Frederick Olsen Romundstad & of the rest of the extended Romundstad family
In American, members of this family changed the spelling of their name to "Stomprud."
Stomprød Troya Farmhouse
Three of seven 1st cousins of Frederick Olsen Romundstad and of the 3 Brothers from the Romundstad Austistua Farmhouse -- Even, Ole, and Anders Romundstad
- Jon Stomprød (age 28)
- Eivind Stomprød (age 19)
1878: More of this family also emigrated:
- Ole O. Stomprød (age 37) - - Jon and Eivind Stomprød's oldest brother, a shoemaker by trade
- Ole O. Stomprød's wife, Marit Nergaard (32)
- Any children they had
- Mali Romundstad Stomprød (67), born in 1811 - - these Stomprød brothers' widowed mother. She was from Romundstad Oppistua, and was aunt to Frederick Olsen and the three Romundstad Austistua brothers, Even, Ole, and Anders Romundstad. She was the only one of this older generation to emigrate.
Stomprød Holte Farmhouse
In the 20 years between 1881-1901, all four of Frederick Olsen Romundstad's nieces and nephews from the Stomprud Holtet Farmhouse also came to the Strum area. They were children of Frederick's sister Anne Romundstad and _______ Stomprød:
- 1881: Lars Stomprød (age 22) emigrated to Strum, married Johanne Rindal, and lived on the same gravel road as Frederick and Serianna Olsen. Their son Lunden Stomprud worked this farm, and their daughter Esther Stomprud Olson's son, Jerome Olson, now lives there. Lars Stomprud and Johanne Rindal also had Oliver, Rachel (Nelson), Lina (Haugen), and Manda (Johnson).
- 1886: Sigrid Stomprud (age 24) emigrated to Strum. She married Lars Rone who had come here in 1870 at age 19. They had a farm in Romundstad Valley across the road and to the east of Ole J. and Gjertrud Romundstad's farm. They had Annie, Otellia, Inga, Geneva, Cornelius, and Harold Rone.
- 1887: Ola Stomprød (age 22) emigrated to Wisconsin and worked in logging mills, then as a longshoreman on the docks in Duluth, Minnestoa. In Duluth, he met and married Jennie Hagestad from Strum, Wisconsin -- daughter of Frederick and Serianna's good friends and neighbors. Ola and Jennie raised a family in Duluth. In 1927, one of their daughters, Esther, returned to Strum and married her 2nd cousin Chester Olsen -- Frederick and Serianna Olsen's grandson. They live on Frederick and Serianna's farm. (See Olsen Family History.)
- 1901: Gjertrud Stomprød Ofstad (age 44 and a widow) emigrated with her three children. She married Andrew Holte, and they lived on Frederick and Serianna's road where it dead-ends, where now lives their great-grandson Robert Olson. Their grandson, Selmer Olson, lives on that gravel road across from Frederick and Serianna's farm.
Stomprød Negard Farmhouse:
Between 1881 and 1903, five of Frederick Olsen Romundstad's and Kristen Røen's 7 nieces and nephews from the Romundstad Negard Farmhouse also emigrated to the U.S. and Canada. They were children of Frederick Olsen Romundstad's sister Sigrid Romundstad and Kristen Roen's brother:
- (1) 1881: Lars Romundstad (age 21) went first to Havana, North Dakota. He married Marit Evenson (b.1866) from Numedal, Norway, and later they moved to Strum. They were parents of Helmer, Oscar, Laurits Romundstad and Clara Romundstad (Shermo).
- (4) Brynhild Romundstad (b. 1868) -- In 1894 married Lars Olson Loset. Lived in Havana, North Dakota
- (5) Hanna Romundstad -- married Henry Vang, and went to Canada;
- (6) Kristian Romundstad -- went to Duluth, Minnesota and married Anna Romundstad Yttgard Utistua;
- (7) Marit Romundstad -- married Knut Langro, to Duluth Minnesota.
One of Frederick Olsen's and Kristen Røen's grandnieces from this family, Sigrid, married Lars Loset, emigrated to Saskatchewan, Canada, and had 16 children.
Skjørmo Farm Village in Surnadal southwest of Rindal. (People from the Skjørmo Farm Village changed their name in America to "Shermo.")
In 1874, Erick Hanson Elshaug (who had emigrated to Wisconsin in 1969), returned to Norway. For complete story, see Olsen Family History.
In 1875, Erick Hanson Elshaug returned from Norway to the Norseville area, bringing with him his wife and two children :
- Maret Larsdatter Skjørmo (34) and their two children
- Hans (age 10)
- Mary (age 7)
Erick Hanson & Maret Skjørmo homesteaded a farm in Norseville, Wisconsin about one mile north of the Olsens -- north on Road "D" on the east side of the road -- and had another child, Lars.
Also along With Erick Hanson and Maret Skjørmo on the 1875 ship was Maret Skjørmo's brother and fiancee:
- Ole Larson Skjørmo (age 28)
- Lava Throndsdatter Ronningen (age 21) from the Ronningen Farm Village in Orkdal -- northeast of the town Rindal -- near the towns of Svorkmo and Lokken
Shortly arriving in Wisconsin,Ole Skjørmo & Lava Throndsdatter Ronningen were married, changed their name to "Shermo." They had a farm on Road "D" about one mile southwest from Frederick & Serianna Olsen's farm, where they had 11 children. In later years, their farm passed into the hands of their great grandson, James Shermo. Their many descendants are scattered through the Strum area.
Haltli Farm Village -- east of the Romundstad Farm Village
- Lars Haltli (age 25, b.1862)
Lars Haltli was the son of Ole J. Romundstad from the Austistua Farmhouse & Ingeborg Aune (or Tretten?). Lars was born in 1862 when Ole J. was 23, and Ingeborg was __. They weren't married, and Ingeborg died when Lars was two weeks old, and Lars was raised as a foster son at the Haltli Farm Village. He grew up at there, never knowing his father was Ole J. Romundstad who lived next door at the Romundstad Farm Village. In 1869 when Ole J. Romundstad (age 30) left for America, Lars was 7 years old. Nearly 20 years later in 1887, Lars himself left Norway as a young man of 25. He went to Norseville, still not knowing the identity of his father. He came here using Haltli as his surname, the name of the farm village where he had grown up. For more of his story, see Life of Mildred Romundstad Madson: 1897-1992.
Rindal Farm Village -- just south of the commercial area of the town of Rindal
Rindal Hagen Farmhouse
- 2 of the older children of widow Mali Rindal
Lars and Ellen Rindal went to Norseville and lived with Lars Haltli, their mother Mali's girlhood beau from Rindal -- and the man Mail would soon marry.
- Mali Rindal, and 6 of her 8 children who still lived with her, ages 8 - 23:
- Mikkal Rindal (b. 1896), age 15
For more of the story of Mali Rindal and family, see Life of Mildred Romundstad Madson: 1897-1992.
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