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Peder J. Mahla (Mæhla)
Trondhjem, Norway

From the History of Dunn County Wisconsin, Comp. F. Curtiss-Wedge, et al. Minneapolis: H.C. Cooper, Jr. & Co. 1925. p. 725-726

Peder J. Mahla, who for a number of years was an active farmer in the town of Elk Mound, and one of its well known and respected citizens, but who is now deceased, was born in Trondhjem, Norway, Feb. 16, 1857.  It was in 1880 at the age of about 23 that he came to the United States, reaching Eau Claire, Wis., on May 23.  There he made his home until 1894, working in the mills during the summer and in lumber camps during the winters. 

The year 1895 was an important one in his life, for it was then that he married and began the building up of his farm. His marriage, which took place Sept. 8 united him with Gina S. Sorenson, who was born in a log house in the town of Elk Mound Dec. 14, 1863, on the farm of her parents Engebreth and Anna (Larson) Sorenson.  Mr. Mahla had already bought the land for his farm, consisting of 160 acres in Section 13, town of Elk Mound.  There were no buildings on it except an old corn crib.  He at once built a granary which he and his wife occupied for some time as a dwelling. When winter came, however, he had to go into the woods to cook in lumber camps, during which time his wife resided with her parents, such separations being part of the hardships of those who had to do pioneer duty in developing the wild lands of this county.

In the following summer - that of 1895 - Mr. Mahla built a house on his farm and continued the work of developing the soil, but had to cook in lumber camps for three more winters. After that, or from the year 1898, until his death, he gave his entire attention to his farm. he put up in time a fine set of buildings and brought his land into a good state of cultivation, becoming one of the representative farmers of the town of Elk Mound.  The buildings which he erected, in addition to the house, were: a fine basement barn of 34 x 56 feet, a granary, wagon shed, wood shed, and a silo of 12 x 34 feet in size. With an eye to making the place beautiful, he laid out a good-sized lawn and planted trees and shrubbery, showing that he was a man of modern ideas.  He was also a stockholder in the creamery in Elk Mound village.  He accomplished the work he set out to do, was honored in the achievement, and finally passed from this early life on Aug. 30, leaving a wife and two children to mourn his loss.  Mrs. Mahla, who had been her husband's faithful companion and counselor for 28 years has since carried on the farm with the help of her sons.  She and her husband had but three children, the first of whom, Anna Olena, born march 3, 1898, died Sept. 29, the same year, a little babe less than six months old.  The other two are John E., born March 21, 1899,and Paul G., born June 17, 1904.  Mrs. Mahla and her sons are carrying on general farming including dairying, keeping grade Guernsey cattle and Poland-China and Chester-White hogs. Lutherans in religious faith, they are members of what is known as the Baerum congregation, Mrs. Mahla being a member of the Ladies' Aid Society.

NOTE:  Peter J. Mæhla, age 23, residence: Nedre Størdalen, left Trondheim on April 28, 1880 on ship Pacifik, destination: Eau Claire, Wisc.  He was accompanied by Johan Skatvold, 24; Lorntz Holden, male, 21; and Riborg J. Mæhla, female, age 18 - all from Nedre Størdalen and all destined for Eau Claire, Wisc.

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08 Nov 2003 03:09 PM

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