Skip to content

Wedding gift for Ellen Bonde: Letter from Norway

March 3, 2015

SCN_0061This is aunt Margaret’s sister, Karoline, probably in the early 1900s.

My grandmother’s aunt Margaret Wichstrom remained in Oslo, Norway, until her death in 1935 at age 81.  My grandmother, Ellen Wichstrom Bonde, and she exchanged letters.  I have a copy of one from her aunt that Ellen wrote with a blotchy black fountain pen.  When I was in high school I remember seeing grandma writing things out while sitting in our living room in Dillon.

Here is a transcript—as exact as possible—of a letter Aunt Margaret sent to grandma Ellen in 1907, the year she married Carl T. Bonde in Sheyenne, North Dakota.

To Ellen Wichstrom,

About the family in Norway from Aunt Margaret.  Kristiania, 25-10-07


Your grandfather was born 1812 and the 11-12 1883 died.  He was your great-grandfather and great-grandmother’s only son, but they have two children, a daughter too.  Aunt Karoline and I, we have neither knew our grandfather and grandmother.  They were dead long before we were born.

But your grandmother told us children that your grandfather’s parents, they were old, amiable man and woman and both they were old.

Great-grandfather, he was born in Sweden.  He came to Norway as young man so the family on your grandfathers side, descend from Sweden.

But your great-grandmother was Norwegian.  Great-grandfather, he was mechanic, notable and high standing, master joiner in our town.  So you see, it is that, I can tell you about your “great-grandfather and great-grandmother.”

Your grandfathers sister, our old aunt, she is dead for many years age 1872 [sic.  I have been careful not to correct any apparent typos DRS].

We children, we be glad her and she be glad us, I can recollect.


He was a man of classical education, study “Jura” and grandfather in department, revisions-department.  Grandfather working very hard for his family, he always working.  It does honour to his memory.

Grandfather and grandmother

they had 13 children, many children, not true?  It was their richness.

They had no money, I will tell you, more poor than rich, but they were “very happy” nevertheless.  And I will tell you too, Ellen, about your grandfather and grandmother, they both were notable man and woman, humane parents, love and amiable, laborious, they went never weary of his pains, the great work, to provide his large family.  We loved our parents and they were loved of all other too.


she was born 1823 and died the 8-6 1896.  Grandmother was the eldest of 12 children.  Grandmothers parents name was “Nielsen.”  They had hotel here in our city, hotel “Copenhagen,” very good knew, but it is any more now.  This your great-grandfather and great-grandmother we their children—brothers and sisters knew, I recollect them very well.  We  be very glad them.  Great-grandmother, she be 80 years old, she died 1880.

Your grandmothers brothers and sisters, they all are dead, only a sister and an brother lives again.  Our old aunt Karoline, we call her aunt “Lina,” she is not married; she is 68 years old.  And uncle Oscar—my brother-in-law too—it is curious, not true?  But, do you see; he was aunt Maries’ husband and he is your uncle too.  I can tell about them that it was childhood love and they were of the same age.  Your grandmother be married 18 years old.  And uncle Oscar, he is the youngest of your grandmothers brothers and sisters.

Yes, dear Ellen, seeing that, this was about your grandfather and your grandmother as I recollect with love.  And I find, we children, we never can thankful enough for all good they have done.

God bless their memory!

Now I will enumerate us—grandfathers and grandmothers large family after age: (But only 11 in that two children died as little baby.)

1.Uncle Anton…born 1843 …..dead the 6-5-1907


3Aunt Marie ….1846……the 24-8-1900

4.Uncle Nils….1848…..1-12-1879


6.Your father…..1852…..13-10-1893

7.Aunt Margrete……1854


9.Uncle Julius…….1860

10.“Edward……1862……….died 7-6-1893

11.Aunt Sophie…….1864………10-7-1889

Ya Ellen!  It is not many of us again—and is an old allsamen.

Uncle Anton, the oldest of us, he was in department too.  His wife, aunt Eli, and their children, only two, Thorbjorn and Elise.

Thorbjorn is 34 years old, he is commercial agent and he is married, his wife, Tally, and they have three children:  Tystein, Rigmar, and little Harriet.  They are sweet children.  Your cousin Elise is 30 years old.  She is not married and she is a teacher.  Uncle Karl he is clerk and do you know, he and aunt Karoline and I, your undersigned Aunt Margaret, they have home together—grandmothers and grandfathers home.

Aunt Marie is dead.  But her husband, uncle Oscar, lives and their two children, Maggi and Peter.

Uncle Oscar is organist and song-master, he is 62 yr. old.  Maggi, she working at home but she is going to be married soon.  Her betrothed name is Marsius Nielsen.  He is young man ag very clever.  Marquis has trans-missions-business-forwarding-agent or forwarder.

Enough droll, you, Maggi, she keep his own name as mistress in that they have same name.

Your cousin Maggi she is 23 years old.

Mr. Peter, he is 21 years old the 12 8 and he is work-jeweler as jeweler “Tostrup,” the first in our town.

Peter is a clever, brave young man and he is very good son for his old father, in all respects.

Uncle Nils  He was student, he study; but he was theater director up in “Bergen,” and he died after three years expression.  He was a friend of the scenic art—with heart and soul—himself was artist too.  His name will live in our scenic history in Norway I will tell you.

His wife, aunt Kristine, and their only child, a daughter, your cousin Borghild, 26 years old, they live up in Bergen, where aunt Kristine is born.  Aunt Kristine is teacher.  Cousin Borghild, she draw-art-of-drawing but she is going to be married soon, her husband name Hans Ledekam, he is officer, captain, Bergen.

Uncle Adolph.  He is office bearer, “judge” in Alben, Finmarken.  Very clever, notable man.  His wife, Aunt Helga, and their children:  Sverre, Tin, Syrind.  But they have had 8 children on the whole.  There is dead 4 children as little baby and our dear Bjorne, he dead as young man 23 years old 1902.  I am very glad him.  Your cousin Sverre, is officer, captain, but he has study “jura” too as his father.  He is very clever man, can you think, and only 29 years old.  Sverre is married, his wife, Ingeborg, a sweet young mistress; they were married last year the 21-8-1906, and they have get a little baby now, little “Else,” a sweet little girl, they tell us in letter now. last letter from them.  They live up in Alben.  Tin is seaman, “second mate,” very clever son and very brave young man, he will enough with time be captain of a ship.  Tin is betrothed with a young, pretty girl, her name Ragnier Darbo, she is telefonist and aunt Karoline is her superior.  Syrian is going to Amerika—last year, I have told you this in letter, do you know, and I have sent you Syrind’s photograph too, but I should like to know, if you have received that.  I hope so.  Syrind has it good where he is, but he must working very strict, yet it is good for him.  Syrind was a good boy but he was very lazy here at home.  Syrind know very well to you, his cousin in Amerika, I can tell you.

Uncle Julius.  He is merchant—now he has own business—colonial.  His wife—aunt Ragnar and their children:  Ragnar 12 years old, Bergljot 10, little Gunvar 7 years old.  They are very sweet, frisky and clever children, and “Ragnar” is very begard, I will tell you, in all respects.   They are all three our best friends and they are very glad us, can you think.  But see, this, do you know, I have told you about them before and you have heard that of them.  Lapnar too.

Uncle Edward.  He was in the bank here, but he died only 31 years old.

Aunt Sofie.  She was governess a few years and after that she gave instruction in music, in hvilk she was very clever.  She too died very young, only 23 years old  How near the young of us is you see above.  — And lastly, my dear Ellen, a few lines about your father too, your dear father.  Do you remember your father:  Hardly, I think.

My dear brother Kristian, he went to Amerika 21 years old, the 25 June 1873 and we saw him never more again.  He dead young too, as you know from your dear mother, children and his “dear” in Norway Yes!  It was a hard blow for you, likewise for us here, “Grandmother,” can you think, in that uncle Edward died in the same year too.  Your father came to “commerci,” he had commercial “spirit” and he was a very begard young man I will tell you.  Here he was not pleased with his situation—therefore he moved to Amerika, he did it for his god.  Yes, dear Ellen, I remember your dear father as young and very pretty man and very clever, yes ver well, and we have him allsamen — “your dear memory”!  We were good friends—always—and it was or it is good to remember in that we saw him never more again.  I will hope and wish, Ellen, too you children recollect your parents:  but you remember best your dear mother, as your father died when you were “little”; yet sister Elise remember his father too, she was 12 years old.

Yes, your dear mother!  She was a good and love mother for you—I knew therefore I say too:  God bless her memory!

Now finally!  I have done my best with the “generic description”—and not true—now or you know a little to the family in Norway—in that I hope, do you understand me, my dear Ellen!

Aunt Margaret

According to my Aunt Corinne this is my grandmother's aunt Karoline ("Lena"), sister of the author of the letter.

According to my Aunt Corinne this is my grandmother’s aunt Karoline (“Lena”), sister of the author of the letter.

From → Uncategorized

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: