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The Coming of the Telemarkings - Chippewa County, Minnesota

J. K. Johnson, The History of Big Bend Township, Chippewa County, Minnesota, 1929, pp.11-13.

Submitted by Helen Steele


Hans P. Blom emigrated with his family from Kviteseid,Telemarken, Norway, in the year 1854, arriving at Whitewater, Wisconsin during the latter part of August the same year. Two years later he, with several other families moved into Minnesota and bought a farm at Highland Prairie in Fillmore County.

In May 1869, having had glowing reports of the fertile lands in the Minnesota Valley then open to homestead entry, he sold his Fillmore county farm and prepared to move westward again. Several of his neighbors, having been smitten with Horace Greeley's advice "to go west," decided to make the trip in company with Mr. Blom. Accordingly a caravan consisting of several covered wagons, or prairie schooners as they were called, was made ready for the trip to the "Promised Land."

One bright, sunshiny day in June the start was made: they "gee'd" and "hawed" and swung the whip over the oxen and made up the motive power for the trip. Eventually the crooked trails that had been followed for several miles became less and less noticeable and soon they were out on the treeless and trackless prairie wigwagging their way westward, and ever westward. The land seeking company consisted of the following persons with their families: Hans P. Blom, Gunder H. Blom, Paul H. Blom, C. T. Blom (Christopher), Anders Ness, Andreas, Ness and Ole H. Blom, the minor son of the first named.

On America's Independence Day-July 4th -the caravan came to a halt near the east bank of the Chippewa River "somewhere several hundred miles from the old home in Fillmore." The next day a reconnoitering party was made up and the quest for homes began. Hans P. Blom bought the "rights" to a quarter section in 34, held by Sondov Aleckson for his brother. Gunder Blom staked a claim-the SW¼ in section 26, Paul Blom the SE¼ in section 22, C. T. Blom the SE¼ of section 26, Anders Ness the NW¼ and Andreas Ness sold to Isaac Syftestad. Ole Blom, being too young to make homestead entry at that time, returned in the fall to Forest City, Iowa, where he remained till in the fall of 1871 when he again came to Big Bend. In the meantime C.T. Blom had relinquished 80 acres of his holdings as 80 acres was all that anyone could get under the homestead laws at that time. Although only 20 years old at the time, Ole Blom filed on the N½ of the SE¼. But nobody knew his age and he "got by" with it. Tollef Storaaslie filed in the NE¼ of section 22, but traded his claim in 1872 to John Folkestad for a farm in Freeborn county and went back there to make his permanent home. Jens Oftelie located on the NW¼ of section 22, but sold a few years later and went to Waseca county, his original American home.

In 1871 Ole Storaaslie located on the NE¼ of section 14, but sold his claim the same year to Lars Halvorson who had just arrived in Big Bend. Mrs. Storaalie was also from Highland Prairie in Fillmore county. John Toxen and Henry Olson located in section 24 in 1871. John Sandland Located in section 24 in 1873. G .(Gilmore) P. Blom, a brother of Hans P. Blom, located in section 32 ( he was a Civil War vet), Kjostov Knutson in 28, Hans Nordby and Frans Carlson in section 20. All these were from Highland Prairie and came in the early part of 1870.

The above make up almost all of the "Telemarkings" that came to Big Bend in the later part of the Sixties and the early part of the Seventies. Most of them had been neighbors in Norway, where they were born, and they had been neighbors in Fillmore county before coming to Big Bend. In the "Bygd" of Kviteseid, Telemarken, their ancestry can be traced back many hundreds of years.


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