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About my grandparents

February 16, 2015

Grandma travelled from Valley City, North Dakota, to Sheyenne, North Dakota.  What was transportation like in 1907?

Here’s some history.  Probably I’ll start with her family in Kristiania later Oslo, Norway.  Both of her parents immigrated from Norway and I recently received a family history from one of her cousins, Bjorn Wichstrom, from Oslo.  I also have a family history from her Aunt Margaret Wichstrom from Norway, written in 1907.

Grandpa was born in Nerstrand, Minnesota, one of…I don’t know, maybe 14 children(?).  Three or four died in an epidemic.  I’ll get information from another cousin, a descendent of one of grandpa’s brothers.  Grandpa and grandma met in Sheyenne.

Certain people in the tree seem notable for the way they endured.  My grandma is most notable because of her courage in the face of being orphaned as a young adolescent.  My maternal great grandpa lived near Chicago in the 1850s and he rallied his friends and walked to Missouri to fight against slavery in the Civil War.  His parents immigrated from Germany.

My mother’s life shattered in 1953 when her husband died a horrible death from a brain tumor.  She started teaching right away, raising us 3 children by herself.  She had courage.

One of grandma’s great nephews on her mother’s side, Kjell Nielsen, fought in the resistance in Norway against the Nazis.  Educated in Paris, Kjell was a metallurgical chemist who helped blow up a shipment of deuterium oxide that Hitler intended to use to build a hydrogen bomb.

My mother had scores of cousins, but I was friends with Earl and Harold Bonde who inherited the old farm at Nerstrand.  They survived WW II and served their country by farming.  Working incredibly hard for many, many years.  They are the toughest men I have ever met.  Their story stands out for me.

I’ve already documented my father’s life, except I didn’t know of his work helping to form one of the first newspaper unions in the country in Great Falls.  In fact minutes of meetings in the early 1940s Montana Newspaper Guild showed he was friends with A.B. Guthrie, Joseph Kinsey Howard and Frank Bird Linderman; gigantic figures in journalism even today.

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