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Settlers on "Indian Land" in Wisconsin

Pioneer list submitted by Helen Steele


In the 1850s emigrants from Telemark, Norway settled in the area west of Stevens Point, Wisconsin called Indian Land. Indian Land included Waupaca County,Wisconsin's Indian Lands Winnebago County, Waushara County to the south, and Portage County on the east. It was so called because the Indians lived in this wooded area with small plains, streams, and lakes. It was a paradise for hunting and fishing.


Torkel Oftelie, founder and sogawriter for Telelaget visited Indian Land in the early 1920s. You can read the account of his visit in Telemark to America, Volume II- Settlements on pages 33 to 38. He documented entertaining stories told to him by the settlers from Telemark in Norway living in this area. He listed names of many of these earliest Telemark settlers.


Following is a list of the names that Torkel gathered during his visit:

Thor Helgesen (from Tinn) - teacher and writer
Ole Gullickson (from Heddal) - settled in Iola
Olav O. Vraalstad (from Tørdal) started the Vraalstad Mill, later became Northland
Ole A. Buslett (from Gausdal) - writer
Eiliv Herbjørnson (from Hovin) -settled in Iola
Sondre Løberg (from Tinn)
Eiliv & Aase Tinndøl (from Tinn) - played the fiddle
Samuel Paulsen Ormeli (from Søndeled)
Lars & Berte Knutson (from Holt)
Karen & Olav Reiarson Nes (from Holt) - lead singer
Torbjørg & Olav Paulsen Ormeli (from Søndeled)
Kristen & Lars Nilson (from Tromøya)
Ingeborg & Nils Jørgensen (from Tromøya)
Bertine & Torbjørn (from Gjerpen)
Aamund Draland (from Farsund)
Signe Draland (from Nissedal)
Kristian Hanson (from Skien) - master dancer
Helvig Hanson (from Gjerpen)
Kjetil Tubaas (from Heddal)


The following Telemark names are listed in History of the Norwegian Settlements by Hjalmar Rued Holand.

Østen Flaten and Knut Luraas (from Tinn), Jacob Rosholt, Jacob Listul, Torkel Listul, Ole Christianson Gunholt, Ingebret Erikson Tveitan, Andreas Waller, Bjørn Tollefson, John Hartvig, Aslak Moe, Ole Moe, Peder P. Kjær (all from Gjerpen & Slemdal in Telemark), Lars L. Løberg, Anders Steensrud, Nils Anderson Tholdness, Nils O. Walderdalen, Lars Gorden, Simon Løberg, Johan Løberg and Simon Aamodt and Simon's sons - Nils Simonson Aamodt, and Simon Simonson Aamodt (all from Skien in Telemark), Mathias Lia, Anders Siljord, Halvor Sutenje, and Gregor Holla or Holden, (all from Heddal) - They settled north of Iola.


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