John Swenson Aas
Tydal, Sor Trondelag, Norway
Norman County History Book
John Swenson Aas Family History
John Swenson Aas was born in Tydal Norway on April 8, 1836. His parents
were Sven and Elizabeth Swenson. In 1860 at the age 24 he was united in
marriage to Anna Elizabeth Olson, born in Trondheim, Norway on September
26, 1837. After their marriage they lived in Trondheim in the county of
Aas. Before leaving their native land the name Aas was added to their
In 1866 they immigrated to this country with their three sons, Ole, Sam,
and Engebright. The ocean voyage was rough but with their strong faith
and trust in God they come to Lansing, Iowa where they resided until
1874. They then moved to Lake Park, Minnesota and lived there a short
time before coming to Flom Township, Norman County. Here they
homesteaded in Section 32 where they lived the rest of their life. A
daughter Lena was born in this country.
John Swenson was an ardent pioneer worker with a strong and rugged
constitution. As time progressed he built a home for his family, and
then helped build a church. Before the church was built, they held
services in their homes, often without a pastor. A pastor was called to
serve their new church.
With the coming of more settlers it was easier for Anna, his wife, to
get together with other women to help sew, and shoulder each other's
trials and hardships, of which there were many. The Indians settled
there also, and when treated kindly, proved to be friendly neighbors.
Anna was the first Ladies Aid President of the Immanuel Church in 1880.
A group of ladies from the surrounding neighborhood came in lumber
wagons, walked, and carried their children, or pushed them in
pushmobiles to the Swenson home. Mrs. John Nysetvold was
secretary-treasurer, with Reverend Nykrem as their pastor. The first
twenty-five cents was given by John Homervick of Lake Park, Minnesota.
From this time the Ladies Aid met regularly at homes and school houses.
The afternoons were spent knitting, crocheting and quilting. These
articles later were sold and the money used to further the work of the
John's and Anna's eldest son Ole, born in 1859, never married and died
at an early age in 1896. Sam, born in 1861, married Josephine Skofstad.
They had five sons, Ernest, Clarenc, Arthur, Sidney and Orin and one
daughter Edith. Sam died in 1930, Lena, born in 1877, married Edward
Syverson of Ulen, Minnesota. They lived in St. Paul, Minnesota and had
one daughter, Evelyn. Lena died in 1944.
Engebrigt (Ed), was born September 1, 1865. His boyhood days were spen
in Lansing, Iowa and Lake Park, Minnesota, where he began confirmation
instructions. Later they moved to Flom Township where he continued his
instruction, but often had to walk from Flom to Lake Park crossing the
Buffalo River to get there. He was a member of the first confirmation
class held in Ulen, Minnesota in 1881. It took place in Arne Evan's log
cabin located on a farm on the river bank a short distance northwest of
As a boy, Engebrigt and his brothers made friends with the Indians. The
Indians would often pitch their tents on the farm and come to the house
to ask for food. Most of them were friendly and when the boys' parents
went for supplies, which sometimes took several days, they visited with
Engebrigt (later known as Ed) returned to Norway because of ill health,
but came back in 1902 and was united in marriage to Katherine Veum.
Katherine was born in Aurland, Norway March 14, 1884. She was the eldest
daughter of Torsten and Ann Veum. Katherine came from a family of five
girls and three boys. She was sixteen years old when she came to America
with an uncle, aunt, and cousins. She worked for some of her cousins
until her marriage to Ed. They made their home with Engebrigt's parents
and cared for them. Engebrigt's father reached the age of ninety-eight
lacking only ten days of his ninety-ninth birthday. He died in 1935 and
Anna in 1923.
Katherine and Ed had nine children. Mrs. Eddie (Anna) Erickson of Twin
Valley, Minnesota, Mrs. Art (Cora) Olson of Santa Cruz, California, John
of Ulen, Minnesota, Mrs. Victor (Mabel) Brabender, Mrs. William T.
(Selma) Meyer, and Arnt all of Moorhead, Minnesota. Lawrence of Twin
Valley, Minnesota. Norman of Dilworth, Minnesota and Mrs. Lester (Alpha)
Gunnerson of Ada, Minnesota.
Katherine was a very devoted and busy mother, bringing up a large
family, canning, sewing, knitting, and helping with outdoor chores,
besides being a good friend and concerned neighbor. She was active in
church work, the president of her Ladies Aid, and on many committees.
In 1943 Katherine and Ed retired from the farm and moved to Moorhead,
Minnesota. Their oldest son, John, bought the farm: and he and his wife
Bernice, still live there.
After moving to Moorhead, Katherine received her Life Membership from
the Womens Missionary Federation of the N.I.C.A. In 1952 they celebrated
their Golden Wedding anniversary with an open house at the Immanuel
Church, where they were Charter Members.
Ed Swenson died March 29, 1956 at the age of ninety-one. Katherine lived
alone doing little favors for friends and her children. She loved to
help others and this is what made her most happy. In 1967, she became
ill and spent some time in the hospital. After that, she was unable to
live alone and is now residing at the Lutheran Memorial Nursing Home in
John Swenson Aas Obituary
With the death on Tuesday, March 26th of John Swenson Aas, of Flom
township, the county loses not only one of its pioneer settlers, but a
resident whose age of 98 years, 11 months and 21 days, at the time of
his death, is believed to be greater than that of any other resident of
the county now living.
John Swenson Aas was born in Tydal, Norway April 8th, 1836 and he spent
his years of childhood and youth in Norway. In the year 1860 he was
united in marriage to Miss Elizabeth Olson. Six years later they
emigrated to America, settling in Iowa. they came to the state of
Minnesota in 1874, making their home at Lake PArk for two years before
taking a homestead in Flom Township where he resided until his death.
His wife and two sons, Ole and Sam, have preceded him beyond. One
daughter Mrs. Ed Syverson of St. Paul and one son Ed Swenson of Flom are
now living to mourn the loss of a dear father. There are also 16
grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren.
Mr. Swenson had been in his usual good health until a few minutes before
his death when he had complained of felling faint. He passed away on
Tuesday morning, March 26, and had he lived until April 8th he could
have celebrated his 99th birthday.
Funeral services were conducted on Saturday March 30 at the Immanuel
Church of which he was a charter member. Many were present to pay their
last repects. Rev. A.H. Amundson officiated and preached an impressive
funeral sermon in both the Norwegian and English languages. The Aspelund
choir sang beautifully, "Jesus Keep Me Near the Cross" and "Softly the
Daylight Fadeth". A number of memorial gifts were given by relatives and
neighbors in his memory.
Six grandsons, Ernest, Clarence, Arthur, John, Arnt and Lawrence Swenson
acted as pallbearers.
Those from a distance who attended were Mr. and Mrs. Ed Syverson of St.
Paul, Mr. and Mrs. Curfman of Detroit Lakes, Minn., Mr. and Mrs.
Clarence Swenson, Mr. and Mrs. Albert Asleson and Charley Syverson of
Ulen and Mr. and Mrs. Victor Brabender of Ada.
Contributed by Margit Bakke
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13 May 2001 11:30 AM