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Ole Arntson Samdahl
Horg, Norway

Excerpted from the History of Dunn County, Wisconsin. H.C. Cooper, Jr. & Co, Minneapolis, 1925, p. 860-861
Note: there is a picture of Mrs. and Mrs. Ole A. Samdahl in between pages 860 and 861.

Ole Arntson Samdahl, a pioneer citizen of the town of Red Cedar (Dunn Co, Wis), now deceased, but who in his day was a prominent farmer here, was born in Horig, Trondhjem, Norway, March 25, 1844, son of Arnt Halverson and Bereth Lund. He was one of a family of ten children, eight sons and two daughters. After completing his early education he entered a seminary in Norway.  He was a good penman and also had musical ability, which he demonstrated by making a "salmodikon" on which he practiced hymns, singing to the accompaniment of the instrument. He also spent five years in the government military service.

For six years he was employed by the "lensmand" (sheriff) of Horig, his wages amounting to six dollars a year. During that time many of his friends were leaving for America, and he on learning of the wonderful country decided to come also. He had saved the money earned in the lendsman's employ and also some which he had got from selling ryper, which he shot at early dawn. The total amount was not enough,, however, to purchase his ticket; so he borrowed the amount needed -- $13 -- from his brother-in-law. The gun he then used and always had for hunting, is still preserved as a relic by his family.

He left his home and native land on May 8, 1872, from the port of Trondhjem, Norway, sailing on one of the vessels of the National American line, and reaching New York on June 10, 1872. His ticket was bought for Mankato, Minn., but aboard the ship some of his friends persuaded him to come to Menomonie, Dunn County, Wis., with them, they having friends here, so he decided to follow them. it took the party five days and nights to travel from New York to Chicago, in which latter city young Samdahl changed his ticket for Menomonie, receiving a difference in cash of two dollars and 60 cents. They arrived at Menomonie Junction June 15, 1872, and as at that time there was no railroad from the Junction to the village of Menomonie, they made the distance on foot. The road was lined on both sides with timber, chiefly pine. On arriving in Menomonie Mr. Samdahl found he had only two dollars in Norwegian money left; yet he did not spend it all before earning more, as some of the actual money is still in possession of the family.

Three days after his arrive here he began work in the sawmill of Knapp, Stout & Co, but shortly afterwards went to work as a blacksmith, as there was a greater demand for blacksmith's work and better wages were paid for it.  He worked at that trade in the employ of the company for about 20 years and was considered one of the best steel blacksmiths in this region. In the spring of 1879 Peder Larson came to the Knapp-Stout people and offered his farm for sale. Mr. Samdahl thought very little of farming at that time, but went out to look at it. It was an 80-acre farm and Mr. Samdahl decided to buy it, which he did; two years later he purchased the adjoining property from the railroad company, which together comprises the whole farm. Thee were two small buildings on the place and 20 acres of land under cultivation when Mr. Samdahl began improving the place during his spare time, for he still remained in the employ of the company.  For a while he operated by means of hired help, whom he paid partly from his own wages earned as a blacksmith, for the income from the farm was not sufficient for that purpose and the prices of farm products were not high. In was in the fall of 1892 that Mr. Samdahl took up his residence on the farm and from that time on he attended personally to it and with such help as he needed, did the land clearing, building, and other work in the line of improvements.

He served as director for several years of the school board of his district, and was widely known as an industrious, useful and successful man.  He was a member of the Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church, now known as Our Saviour's Lutheran Church. On Dec. 5, 1921, he was suddenly taken ill and died of Pneumonia on Dec. 10.  he was a man whom the community could ill afford to lose.

Ole A. Samdahl was married May 15, 1878, to Clara A. Bakke, daughter of Erick Jonassen and Anne Melby Bakke. Her paternal grandfather, Jonaas Bakke, who was a tailor in Ringerike, Norway, died in Norway, in 1858, leaving a wife and six children. In 1959 this family left Norway on a two-masted sailboat and after a voyage of five weeks and three days, landed at Quebec, whence they came to River Falls, Wis., where they lived eight years, subsequently moving to Fillmore County, Minn.  The material grandparents of Mrs. Clara A. Samdahl, Christian and Bergette Melby, owned and operated a brandy distillery in Aasnes, Soler, Norway. They spent their lives in their native land. Her father, Erick Jonassen, was born March 26, 18134, in Ringerike, Norway.  When  18 years old, he enlisted and served five years in the government military service. In June 13, 1859 he married Anne Melby.

To the union of Ole A. and Clara A. Samdahl were born 14 children, 11 of whom are living, namely: Oscar Krafting, born Dec. 1, 1880; Harold Arnold, born July 6,1882; Edwin Selmer, born April 22, 1886, Clara Olivia, born Nov. 11, 1889; Nathalia Almira and Albertina Miranda (twins), born Oct. 22, 1892; Eilert Albin, born May 21, 1894; Carl Frederick, born Oct. 10, 1897; Agnes Stephania, born March 25,1900; Alvin Olger, born May 27, 1903, and Effie Adelia H., born March 30, 1909.


12 May 2001 01:06 PM

Copyright 2001 Linda K. Schwartz