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Peder P. and Kjersti Flaa
Stjordalen, Norway

Peder P. Flaa came from Stjordalen, Norway, in 1873 to Goodhue County, Minnesota. In 1876 he was joined by his wife Kjersti and 3 yr. old daughter Gjertrude. Grandma Kjersti was quite disappointed to think it took Peder 3 yrs. to earn enough money for their passage over here! Their other 3 children were born in Goodhue county—Martine, Paul and Carl.

In the early 1880's they moved to Norman County in Waukon Township living on land now owned by the-Norman Nystads. From 1885- 1887, Peder Flaa was a trustee in the Faith Lutheran Church. He filed his claim for land in Section 10 in Fossum Township in 1886. His brother Mathias P. Dahl took claim in the same section in 1887 and his father Peder P. Dahl filed his claim in section 10 in 1896. His brother, Ole P. Dahl, and Peder's daughter (Gjertrude) filed their claims in Waukon Township in section 26 and 24 in May of 1896. Peder and Kjersti Flaa alternated their homes between Waukon and Fossum Townships.

Peder's family name was Dahl, but he took his wife, Kjersti Flaa's name when they were married. Evidently the average Norwegian placed little or no importance on his last name. His parents name was Pederson, hence the 'P' after the first name of his brothers, and the Dahl came from Stjordalin, where they lived in Norway.

Their old home still stands in Fossum Township and so does the old granary where the grain was threshed out by putting the sheaves on the floor and stomping or pounding on them. Their milk and cream was kept sweet and cool in a spring close to their home—it is still there.

The storms the early settlers went through must have been severe and frightening. Kjersti was struck by lightning twice, once in the barn while milking cows. The cows were struck down and stunned, too. The second time she was sitting by the stove in her kitchen when a bolt of lightning came down thru the chimney and stove, tearing off her shoe and burning nail prints from the sole of her shoe on her foot. Her two sons were also struck by lightning while herding cattle on the prairie.

Whenever you came to visit the Flaas Kjersti would quickly stir up a cream cake and bake it in a bundt-like pan. How delicious it was; and her sugar lumps made from brown sugar and cream boiled until it was sugary— cooled and broken into pieces. Um-m-m good!

They used the healthful exercise of walking. Peder often walked down to fish in the river at Faith, and Kjersti could often be seen walking to visit her children and grandchildren, five or six miles away.

Their four children married:

Gjertrude to Sivert Tranholt—12 children: Clara, Henry Gina, George, Morris, Helma, Bertha, Mable, Harry, Alice, Selma and Violet. None of them living in Norman County;  Martine to Thor K. Olson—3 children: Clara, Carl and Martin; Paul to Pauline Lystne—five children: Louise, Gladwin, Inez, Vernice, and Francis Carl to Bella Wold—one daughter: Bertha.

Source: Excerpted from "A History of The People of Norman County Minnesota", by the Norman County Heritage Commission and the Norman County Historical Society, Dallas: Taylor Publishing Co., 1976.

Contributed by Margit Bakke

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25 Nov 2003 03:27 PM

Copyright © 2001 Linda K. Schwartz