Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Northwoods, II

Superdad's family has, in some incarnation, owned the same plot of land for four generations. His great-grandfather came over from Norway with his family (father, mother and brothers) in the early 1900s hoping to be lumberjacks as they were in their home country. In Norway at that time farming was for women or sissies, not men (the reason for this being that farm work was simply something that had to get done along with the lumber jacking so while the men cut down trees, the women farmed).

Upon arriving in Northern Wisconsin they built a lean-to into the side of the hill and since it was more important to protect the animals from the elements than the humans, a barn was built first (three houses on various plots would come later). In that barn Superdad's grandfather was born, the first male Olson born in America.

The family cleared all the trees on the land they'd claimed but without buying more land with money they didn't have they were forced to turn to farming.

Superdad's grandfather eventually farmed that land, as would Super Grandpa and his brother (Superdad's uncle). Superdad lived on that farm for the first few years of his life in two of the three houses that were eventually built. In fact, he used the same nursery in the main house that his father had used before him and his father before him (the house was finished shortly after his birth in the barn).

Now most of the farm has been sold. The original homestead was bought by a questionable lot who later burned the house down. The barn, however, still stands.

The second house that was built, which was across the street from the homestead (and is also where Superdad lived) was torn down when the land was bought by another farmer so that a larger field of corn could be planted.

The third house, along with forty acres, is still in the family and is owned by Superdad's aunt. It's in the picture below, far across the field.

Superdad's grandparents lived in the homestead (the one that burned down) while raising their family (one girl, two boys) but moved down to the smaller house, the one owned now by Superdad's aunt, when their kids started reproducing (one son had four children, the other son had two).

To be continued...


Superdad said...

They came over in the 1880's - not the early 1900's. I think it was either 1886 or 1888. If the farm was still running today it would be the oldest continuing farm in Oconto County - as it was when Pa and Uncle Jimmy were still farming.

A corner of the haymow of the barn was walled as living quarters. As kids, we (my cousins, my brother and I) used to pretend we were the homesteaders. We built furniture out of hay bails and set up our own house in that corner. We even had a stash of candles - how smart was that, dry hay and candles.

There were three or four apple trees and a pear tree on the Homestead (that is what we called the main house) and another six apple trees at the Pederson Place (that is the other house I lived in that is no longer there – my great-great-grandpa’s name was Ole Pederson his son who is the subject of the post was named Charles Marcus Olson – they came over together). Oh how I loved all those tree-fresh apples and pears.

terri said...

I'm commenting on both II and III...

Yes, I. Love. Old. Barns. LOVE.

And I love the stories! Is this where you always go when you go "Up North?" Looks like a fabulous time.

it's me, Val said...

Having grown up on a farm, I understand the greatness of farms and farm life :) And I, too, LOVE old barns. What's the neatest about them to me is how unique and individual they each are on the INSIDE. One of ours, which was my favorite, had all these secret passages in it. My brother and I had the time of our lives there. And it was big enough, as big as your barn here, to hold a basketball "court" in the upstairs of it. Right before we tore that barn down, I had a huge party in it. All my friends came over and we painted it with our footprints and had games and even had a "dance" inside of it. It was a great time. Oh how I miss it. Thank you for sharing your experiences and history! :)