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While it is too much to expect of art to reflect from canvas the exact living and speaking picture of Professor Mack which is carried on the walls of our memory, by his art reënforced by his love and close friendship Mr. Morton Grenhagen has painted a picture.
As representing the many friends who have contributed to the fund, and the many more who have not had an opportunity to contribute, I have the honor to present to the Wisconsin State Historical Society this portrait of John Given Davis Mack.
AN ACCOUNT OF THE NORWEGIAN SETTLERS
TRANSLATED FROM THE NORSE BY KNUT GJERSET
As already known the first Norwegian settlers came twentyone years ago from Stavanger in a sloop which they had purchased there, and in which they sailed across the Atlantic, visiting also the island of Madeira. These immigrants settled in the state of New York. A few of them are still found here and there in the country. One of them, Torstein Olsen Mjæva, settled at Koshkonong. The next immigrants, among whom were the student Rynning and Mons Knutson Otland, settled at Beaver Creek in Indiana, about the year 1837. Rynning, as well as most of the other settlers, died, as that region was very unhealthful. The survivors became so panic-stricken that they abandoned their lands and houses, and hastened away.
The next settlement was founded at Fox River of Illinois in the neighborhood of La Salle County, where a few of those who came from Stavanger with the sloop still live, among others Andre Gudmund Haugaas, high priest of the order of Melchizedek among the Mormons.2 Later Norwegian immigrants settled at Jefferson Prairie. This settlement is located east of the town of Beloit, which is as yet very insignificant. But considering the rapid growth of towns here when they are well located, we may
1 From a report by Consul General Adam Løvenskjold to the Norwegian government, October 15, 1847, describing his visit the preceding summer to the Norwegian settlements in the western districts of the United States. Printed in Bergen, Norway, 1848.
2 As is well known, there are two orders among the Mormons: the order of Melchizedek, and that of Aron.
suppose that the newly founded town of Beloit, situated on the little river Piscatonica [Pecatonica], which flows into the Fox River just below it, will become in a few years an important trading center, especially since there is already some talk of building railways and canals by which Beloit will be brought into communication with Lake Michigan and the Mississippi.3
1839. Luther Valley, hitherto called Rock Prairie, west of Rock river, a few miles west of Beloit. The settlement numbers at present about two hundred families from Numedal, Hallingdal and Land, and consists partly of clearing-land, and partly of prairie with groves here and there. The soil is rich, but water is partly wanting. Small brooks are found in a few places, but most of the settlers have to dig wells to the depth of twenty to forty feet. Many well-to-do people are found in this settlement. As usual there are only log houses; but those who have settled on the prairie dwell, to a large extent, in sod huts almost under ground, with only the roof projecting above the surface.
1839. Koshkonong Prairie stretches northwest from Lake Koshkonong to about eight or ten miles from Madison. This settlement is the largest in Wisconsin, and numbers about four or five hundred families from Telemarken, Voss, and Numedal. It consists mostly of prairie with a little timber. Only a few Norwegians live on the prairies, which are mostly inhabited by Irish and Americans. The Norwegians have bought their land in such places that they have a little of the timber which fringes the prairies—that is, clearing-land. At present even those who live on the prairies are not in want of fuel, as there is still government land, where they can cut as much wood as they need. But when this land is sold, there may be dearth of fuel, though the Norwegians claim that they need only to plant trees, which in six or eight years will be large enough for both fuel and building material. The tree which grows so fast is called Louis-wood, and resembles the locust. The soil is very fertile, but according to the statements of experienced and reliable people it will not be long before the soil must be carefully tilled and fertilized. On the
This refers to the practically abandoned scheme of the Milwaukee and Rock River Canal, and to the then active plans of the Milwaukee and Mississippi Railroad Company, chartered in 1847.
prairies the soil is not so deep as many have claimed, and below it, in many places, there is limestone, which some of the Norwegians have begun to quarry for the erection of houses. Others, who live near Madison, burn lime from it, which they sell there, and from which they derive a considerable income. Water is partly wanting here also, so that people have to dig wells from twenty to a hundred and fifty feet deep before they can get good water.
1839. Rock River, west of Beloit, numbers about fifty families, chiefly from Numedal. The soil is said to be fertile.
1840. Muskego, about twenty miles southwest of Milwaukee, on Lake Muskego, numbers about two hundred families from Telemarken and Voss. The settlement has the reputation of being unhealthful, as there are many lakes and large swamps. Some of the settlers live on timber land covering a region of sandy hills. Some government land is found here, but few wish to buy it, as it consists chiefly of swamps.
1840. Hamilton, or Wiota. South of Mineral Point, about fifty miles southwest of Madison, there is now a little settlement of about ten or twelve families from Voss and Sogn.
1841. Pine Lake, on Pine Lake, and Nashotah, north of Deerfield, number about thirty families from different districts in Norway. Unonius from Sweden was the first settler. He is now the clergyman in the settlement. There is some timber and clearing-land, and the soil is fertile. In 1842 some Swedes settled here. Some of them are prospering, especially a couple of blacksmiths, but many of them are very poor.
1844. Ashippun, northwest of Pine Lake, about twenty miles northwest of Milwaukee, numbers about thirty families, mostly from Gjerpen in Sogn. This settlement consists exclusively of densely wooded areas, the cultivation of which requires a great deal of labor, and as the settlement is new, only a small area is yet under cultivation. As I was personally acquainted in Norway with many of the settlers here, I had an opportunity to observe how quickly they have grown old in a few years, due, no doubt, to sickness and toil in a hot climate. But the homes here are cleaner and better than in most of the other settlements. Some varieties of wild fruit are found in the forests, especially good plums and cherries; also the maple tree, from the sap of which the settlers
make sugar, not only for their own use, but also for the market. This sugar has a fine taste, though it tastes different from ordinary sugar. Water is difficult to obtain, and is seldom found except at a depth of twenty to thirty feet.
1844 or 1843. Rock River, east of Watertown, a few miles west of Ashippun, numbers about fifty families from Modum, Sætisdal, and Gausdal in Gudbrandsdal.
1844 or 1843. Skaponong, five miles northeast of Whitewater, numbers twenty or thirty families from Voss and Telemarken.
1844. Heart Prairie, five miles southeast of Whitewater, numbers fifteen or sixteen families from Holden in Telemarken. The settlement consists of clearing-land and prairie.
1844. Long Prairie, in Illinois, numbers ten or fifteen families from Sogn and Telemarken.
1844. Sand-, or Spring Prairie, numbers fifty or sixty families from Sogn, Telemarken, and Voss.
Besides the settlements already mentioned some settlers from Numedal and other parts of Norway are found at Dodgeville and Mineral Point, forty miles southwest of Madison. Most of these settlers are working in the lead mines.
Blue Monts [Mounds], twenty-five miles west of Madison, numbers about eight or ten families from different districts. Washington County, twenty miles south [north?] of Milwaukee, numbers seven or eight families.
It will accordingly be seen, by comparing the number of families in the different settlements, that there are about 1500 in all; and if we suppose that each family numbers five persons, there must be about 7500 people. To this total must also be added a number of Norwegians who live scattered partly in the country and partly in the towns throughout the western states; also a settlement of some size in southern Michigan. The immigrants go thither by steamboat from Buffalo to Chicago, and thence across Lake Michigan to Grand River, which they ascend for a distance of about thirty miles to the place where the settlement is located. Many Norwegians are also found in Chicago, Illinois, as well as in Indiana. The Norwegians in the western states of the United States may therefore be assumed to number about 10,000 or 12,000.
In matters pertaining to the church, conditions are unfortunately very complicated in the Norwegian settlements, and there is reason to believe that unless drastic measures are taken the Norwegian settlers will within a short time be lost to the Evangelical Lutheran Church. There are three ordained ministers: the Lutherans, Dietrichson and Clausen; and the Episcopalian, Unonius. Dietrichson resides at Koshkonong, which is his chief parish, to which are annexed Rock River, Watertown, Skaponong, near Whitewater, and Heart Prairie. He also conducts services at times in Muskego. Clausen resides in Luther Valley, his principal parish, to which are joined Rock River, Hamilton, Jefferson, Long Prairie, and Dodgeville, near Mineral Point. Unonius is the regularly established clergyman in Ashippun, to which is joined the Pine Lake settlement. The settlers in Muskego are at present negotiating with a theological graduate in Norway, whom they wish to call as their minister. On Koshkonong prairie there are two so-called churches, six miles apart. On the outside they resemble barns, but inside they present a neat and tasteful appearance. I attended religious service in one of these churches. Many people were assembled, and the service was conducted by Rev. Dietrichson in a very stately manner. Through devoted self-sacrifice he seems to have gathered a very devout congregation. The settlement has many upright and right-minded men who are actuated by the highest principles; but hitherto Rev. Dietrichson has not been able, in spite of the noble self-sacrifice attributed to him by the most upright part of the congregation, to establish that unity and order which is so necessary if the Christian church is to prosper. But it seems that this is not to be ascribed so much to any lack of good-will on the part of the people as a whole, but rather to a few wicked and intriguing persons in the settlement who from personal motives have resisted the pastor's earnest efforts to further the cause of religion. They have so far succeeded in their evil purpose that credulous people harbor a distinct ill-will against Rev. Dietrichson. But a more just and enlightened view prevails among the greater number, and the evil-minded have had to beat a retreat. Recognizing Dietrichson's earnest good-will the better part of the public must realize that it is due to his efforts that they now have two churches and