Iver Anderssen Venn (1846-1929)
Near Trondhjem, Norway
 
The following recollections regarding our grandfather, Iver Venn, came from his daughter Anna Venn Petersen, in March 1932 at Twig, Minnesota.
 
Iver Venn was the son of Anders and Gunhild Rummet Venn. (Anders parents were Hans and Gjertrude Venn).  Iver Venn had three brothers, Ole, Hendrick and Peter, one sister Gundhild. Iver was born August 27, 1846 near Trondhjem, Norway. His wife was Bergethe Snustad Venn, the daughter of Iver Snustad and Anne vegin Snustad; she was also born in 1846.She was one of a family of nine children: John, Ole, Karen, Jonette, Caroline, Nella, Anna , Bergethe and Beret. Iver and Bergethe had six children. They were Julia, Alfred, Hannah, Anna, Christian and Bernard. Christian and Bernard were twins born March 17, 1882. Their mother Bergithe died May 1, 1882 of blood poisoning connected with the birth of the twins.
 
Two of Iver and bergithe's children , Alfred and Hannah, died at an early age. Iver Venn and and his wife Bergithe and children lived on a place called "Finn's Place". It was located near a lake called "Fold Lake". Finn's Place was named after it's former owner. Fold Lake, perhaps so named because it was located in a fold between two mountains.. The Venn mountain overlooked the lake.
 
Iver Venn learned his trade , blacksmithing, while serving in the King's Army. According to his daughter, Anna Venn Petersen, Iver came from a family of sturdy Norsemen of strong physique. The story was told of Iver's father, Anders, wrestled with a mountain bear to free one of his sons (Peter) from the bears grip. Mother related that Grandpa Iver Venn knew no equal when it came to daring and confidence. When no one would venture out in the stormy lake he would take his boat  (which was designed and built by him) and head out into the waves until he disappeared in the hollow of the waves and then ride the next wave crest while his family and friends stood breathlessly watching.  He was a "jack of all trades" and master of all of them as well. While a relatively young man he learned ten different trades including blacksmithing, cutlery making, tool making, trunk making, shoe making, boat building, contracting, furniture making and toy making. He used to travel from home to home making shoes for families. In Church he was a tenor soloist and a choir director. He was also a contractor and builder of one of the largest Churches in Norway at that time, located in Selbo, Norway. He was an athlete. At age 45 he won first place in a ski-jump meet near Trondhjem, Norway.
 
After the death of his first wife, Bergethe, the home was without a mother for four years until Iver married his second wife, Ella Anna Dahl in 1886. Two years after that marraige (May 1888) the family left Norway for the fertile plains of Northern Iowa. Here, Iver built a blacksmith shop in Kensett, Iowa. At Kensett Iowa he became active in the Norwegian Lutheran Church where he sang solos in his beautiful tenor voice. He also acted as the choir director. One elderly lady in the congregation stated that if it was not for his singing she could find no reason to be attending Church.
 
In 1900, Iver's second wife died of Typhoid Fever. Iver and Ella had two children, Alfred and Signe.
 
After the death of his second wife Iver sailed for Norway for a short visit returning that same year. In 1903, Iver moved to Bergen, Minnesota where he was married to his third wife, Kjersti Lie. He also built and operated a blacksmith shop in Bergen, Minnesota. In 1906 this marriage ended when his wife was stricken with Typhoid Fever and died. (Kjersti Venn was buried at the Kensett Cemetery). After her death, Iver moved back to Kensett, Iowa where he engaged in contracting and building until his last trip to Norway in 1917. The spring following his last trip to Norway, Iver suffered a paralytic stroke which crippled his left side but left him with enough strength to hobble around with the use of a cane. One reason given for his stroke was the fact he had over-exerted himself the previous day by running a foot race with a young boy of the town. After the stroke and until his death on January 2, 1929, he seldom left Kensett except to see his children and grandchildren.
 
According to natives of Kensett, Iowa, Grandpa Venn at one time owned most of the business property in downtown Kensett, including his blacksmith shop, a hotel, hardware store, grocery store and a photographers shop. He once owned land near Barnesville, Minnesota in the Red River Valley. It is said he lost most of his money in an  investment in a Cement Factory in Mason City, Iowa which went bankrupt.
 
Iver Venn's nickname was "Curley". He also was well known for his handwriting.  
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OBITUARY- Northwood Anchor & Index  January 10, 1929
 
Iver Venn passed away last Thursday following an extended illness with double pneumonia. Mr Venn had been a resident of our city for many years being engaged in the blacksmith business until he suffered a stroke several years ago when he sold his business to C.M. Peterson. He is survived by 3 sons, Ben of Duluth, Minnesota, Alfred of Long Island, New York, Christ of Coleraine, Minnesota; 2 daughters, Mrs Anna Petersen of Duluth and Signa of Winnipeg, Canada also survive him. The funeral was held Monday afternoon in Bethany Church, Rev T. Sigmond in charge with burial in the Kensett Cemetery.

Contributed by Dave Naugle <naugle@theriver.com>

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29 Aug 2001 03:29 PM

Copyright 2001 Linda K. Schwartz
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