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Johannes Nordboe and Norwegian Immigration {1}
An 'America Letter' of 1837
Edited by Arne Odd Johnsen (Volume VIII: Page 23)

In 1931 the writer, while traveling through Gudbrandsdalen, Norway, collected a number of "America letters," of which the oldest and most interesting is one written on April 30, 1837, by Johannes Nordboe from Ottawa, La Salle County, Illinois. {2} The superior handwriting and composition of the document raise it above the general level of its class; it is apparent that Nordboe was an educated man rather than a common bonde. The contents give the letter its significance, however, for they throw new light upon the early history of emigration from Norway. The letter is virtually a miniature emigrant's guidebook, of which one of the most interesting features is its description of the flora and fauna of the New World. {3} Johannes Nordboe's significance in early Norwegian emigration has been recognized, but relatively little has been known about him. This document, supplemented by other evidence, furnishes new information about the story of his life.

Nordboe was born in 1768 in the parish of Venabygd, Gudbrandsdalen, the son of Peder Nordboe and Abelone Engebretsdatter. {4} When he was confirmed in 1783 the minister wrote of him: "Johannes Pedersen Norboe, 14 years of age. Reads well. Knows the entire catechism and explanation." {5} He seems, however, to have ranked only number ten at the church catechization.

Nordboe was a man of varied abilities, possessing not only a good mind, but also manual skill. In Norway he was a house painter as well as a farmer. {6} He seems to have desired to become a physician, and it is said that he practiced as a self-educated community doctor, although it was illegal to do so. Apparently he was skilled in many ways, a man who sought to lift himself above his low estate by being useful and industrious.

To such an able individual the burden of restrictive Norwegian laws and conventions seemed a strait-jacket. Five years after Nordboe had emigrated, an extract from one of his "America letters" was published in Statsborgeren for July 13, 1837. Henrik Wergeland, editor of the paper, remarked that one could learn in this letter where the shoe had been pinching for the Norwegian common people. {7}

"Here no restrictions are placed upon the right to earn one's living. Here no monopolies and privileges reign. The farmer can sell his produce freely without being accused of forestalling the market. Nor can one be charged for four driving horses when only one has been used. . . . Any person who is able to do so may manufacture goods of any kind, and may dispose of his goods in town or country without complaint, for there are no guilds to place restrictions upon diligence and industry. One may press wine or burn brandy --- no one will come to seal up or confiscate the apparatus. One may sell one quart or as little or as much as one wishes without being fined or being deprived of one's goods."

The letter is an interesting expression of Norwegian agrarian opposition to the official classes. It also reveals that Nordboe had become angered by the arrogance of the Norwegian clergy:

"Religion is free [in America] as it was when the Creator made man. Every man believes what he thinks right, and neither monks nor ministers have any influence in such matters. In the districts where I have been, an agreement is made between the pastor and the congregation whenever a vacancy occurs, and, as there are plenty of candidates, the demands of the ministers are moderate. Usually they are humane men; they never abuse anyone from the pulpit, though he should never go to church. A poor man need never work for a minister without pay; such things belong only to the old world. Tithes do not exist." {8}

Other progressive aspects of the New World that Nordboe mentioned were the freedom of the press and the advantages of the American jury system. His opinions evidence an exceptionally clear judgment; he could doubtless have served ably as a member of the bonde opposition party in the Storthing, had he gone into politics and won a seat in that body.

It is possible that there was some unpleasant factor connected with Nordboe's emigration to America in 1832. It seems unlikely that a man of sixty-four would have had the courage to leave his district and his country, to travel across the ocean to establish himself in a new and strange world, unless there was a pressing reason for his departure. In the letter published here Nordboe states: "I should write a separate letter to Ivar. . . . I owe him for the Løken place that I sold for him. This was the rich man's fault." How much this vague statement conceals it is impossible to say, but it is clear that distressing economic difficulties must have been an important factor in Nordboe's emigration. For two generations' time in Norway hindrances had been placed in the way of his personal advancement, and he was burdened with debt. Without doubt it was to insure good opportunities for his children that he went to the New World. His purpose was to secure a good farm for each of his three sons.

The psychological factor also played its role. Nordboe believed that God had revealed to him, long before he left Norway, that he would not cease his travels until he had reached the westernmost part of Missouri. This belief, however, was assuredly a secondary influence. Had Nordboe lived in comfort and happiness in his home district, God probably would not have revealed himself in this manner.

In 1832 Nordboe, his wife, and their four children, who ranged in age from seven to seventeen years, set out on the long and arduous journey to the unknown Promised Land. They traveled by way of Fredrikshald to Gothenburg, the nearest port at which passage to America might be secured. South of Svinesund they were permitted to board an open lumber vessel, on condition that they give some assistance to the crew. In Gothenburg they were able to secure ship accommodations, but the ocean voyage proved an unfortunate one for them. The ship suffered damages off the Portuguese coast, {9} consequently the voyage proved to be long and costly and the Nordboe family arrived in New York nearly penniless.

In New York misfortune still followed them. Nordboe, poor and burdened with children, found that he could earn but little; no one wanted to employ an old man. Possibly the family obtained aid from some of their countrymen; at any rate, they soon reached the Kendall settlement in New York state, which had been founded seven years before by the pioneers who came on the "Restauration." There Nordboe seems to have worked for his neighbors; he practiced medicine as a side line, while his wife acted as a midwife. They did not remain there long. Possibly the Nordboe family, natives of eastern Norway, did not feel at home among the west Norway families of the Kendall settlement. In the letter published here Nordboe suggests that there was a deep-seated temperamental difference between the people of eastern and western Norway. R. B. Anderson says that the Gudbrandsdal family migrated to the Fox River region in Illinois because Cleng Peerson wished to prevent Nordboe from securing the fine piece of farm land in the Kendall settlement that he had selected for himself. {10}

Anderson's chronology of Nordboe's various journeys in America is usually accepted. {11} Anderson determined, on the strength of oral tradition, that Nordboe first went to the Fox River region in 1836. The letter published here indicates that Nordboe's first visit to La Salle County, Illinois, was in 1834. The chronology of his first few years there may be established from his own letter of April, 1837:

"Even though it was in the wilderness, the piece of land I selected [1834] was the best and most desirable I have ever seen. During the winter [1834-35] I returned to the place. With the help of my son and son-in-law, {12} I cut and hauled timber for a house, but in as much as we could not begin to live in it until late in the spring [1835], and I became ill in the fall and continued ill through the winter [1835-36], we had to sell our rights to the large and beautiful farm for four hundred dollars. This occurred last year [1836], and not until then had we begun to get ahead a little."

It is evident from Nordboe's statement made in the same letter, "It was because of me that the Norwegians came here," that he considered himself the founder of the Fox River settlement. He gives the impression of having been an honest and sober man, and he could scarcely have been writing of any other Norwegian settlement in La Salle County, Illinois, at that time. It must therefore be accepted that he played at least an important part in the establishment of the large Fox River colony. {13}

The letter also explains the Nordboe family's departure from La Salle County as early as 1837. It was not, as Anderson seems to believe, because Nordboe was an unsociable person. His long illness and the subsequent sale of all claims to his farm forced him to seek a place where cheap land could still be had. Nordboe's earlier reference to a friend in Missouri suggests the possibility that he had made an exploring trip there during the autumn of 1836 or the following winter. If Nordboe did not make such a reconnaissance, we know that Cleng Peerson, early in 1837, was employed to investigate possibilities for a new settlement and that he recommended the place in Missouri. {14}

In May, 1837, the first group, which included Sjur Jørgenson Haaeim, started for Shelby County, Missouri. Nordboe, writing April 30, stated that he intended to leave in a few weeks, and it seems likely that he accompanied Haaeim and the others. For various reasons the Shelby County settlement never became popular with Norwegian immigrants; most of them went elsewhere after a few years. The Nordboe family settled in Texas about 1841. {15} There Nordboe finally prospered; he secured 1,920 acres for himself and his family --- a colossal estate compared to those in Norway. As far as is known, no Norwegians had settled in Texas earlier. The Nordboe family lived for a long time in Dallas and then, presumably toward the close of the fifties, moved to Tarrant County. There Johannes Nordboe died during the sixties. He was then over ninety years of age.

The period of Nordboe's life after his departure from Norway at the age of sixty-four acquired some of the aspects of an Odyssey without parallel. In 1857, while he was living in Dallas, he visited some Norwegians who had gone to Texas in 1845: the Wærenskjolds who lived at Four Mile Prairie. Mrs. Elise Wærenskjold later described Nordboe as a man well versed in history and general knowledge, and she stated that he was talented at drawing and as a sculptor. She spoke of him, moreover, as a very congenial person. One cannot help admiring this self-educated octogenarian who was able to make such a favorable impression upon an intelligent and cultured woman. Mrs. Wærenskjold's reports confirm the impression one receives from a study of the few writings that remain from Nordboe's hand. He is one of the most remarkable and interesting figures in the history of early Norwegian immigration. The earlier characterization of Johannes Nordboe as an immigrant has not done justice to his significance. Even if one sets aside the fact that he took an active part in the establishment of the Fox River settlement, it must be recognized that his example and his letters had a stimulating influence on early emigration from eastern Norway. In the minds of many people of Gudbrandsdal, he has been regarded as the great pioneer emigrant. A remark written by a Gudbrandsdal immigrant in Muskego, Wisconsin, in 1843, indicates that Nordboe was known among the people of Gudbrandsdal, ". . . and old Nordboe has gone to Texas and that is a terribly long distance southwestward in America." {16}

Nordboe sent many letters home to Norway. {17} Encouraged by these letters, one of Nordboe's friends, Lars Holo, emigrated with his family from Ringsaker in 1839, accompanied by a man named Lauman, from Faaberg. Some years later Holo's brother, Anders Johannesen Tømmerstigen, from Vardal, also left for America. Of Nordboe's own relatives, Emort Nordboe followed to America in the early forties; in 1845 he was living in Milwaukee. Gulbrand Emortsen Tullien, who emigrated in 1845, must also have been influenced either directly or indirectly by the example of Nordboe. {18}

Nordboe's letters necessarily stimulated emigration greatly. They were terse; they exposed the shortcomings of Norwegian society, and against this background the advantages of the New World were thrown into relief. Concerning the disagreeable conditions in Norway Nordboe wrote ironically: "They are welcome to them, those who are satisfied with them." {19} Of opportunities in America he wrote simply and soberly: "Here a young but poor man can soon become a well-to-do farmer, if he works hard and uses good sense. He can look forward to becoming rich without usury, a difficult task in Norway." It was words like these that brought the America fever to the point where Wergeland called it the "national plague." {20}

NORDBOE TO HANS LARSEN RUDI, April 30, 1837

[From a manuscript in the possession of Arne Odd Johnsen. A copy is in the files of the Norwegian-American Historical Association]

OTTAWA, LA SALLE COUNTY, ILLINOIS,
April 30, 1837 {21}

To HANS LARSEN RUDI, {22} MY SINCERE FRIEND:

Your honored letter of August 25, 1835, was received with joy and heartfelt pleasure on October 28, 1836, it having been delayed almost two years in Stavanger. {23} A man who returned to Norway from here brought it back with him. Had he returned here at once I would have received the letter sooner, but he delayed until he had assembled about 180 persons, both young and old, most of them being from the Stavanger region, the group coming in two brigs from Stavanger. {24} The cost of passage for each person amounted to thirty-two dollars. They were packed together so closely and had such slight realization of the importance of good ventilation that almost all became ill of diarrhea, seasickness, and so forth.

A few took passage from Gothenburg on American ships. These arrived in good health after a six weeks' voyage. Therefore, when Norwegians wish to move here, they should go by Gothenburg, but not too many on each ship. Ships depart from Gothenburg during the entire summer, from April to October. For people of eastern Norway it is best to go to Fredrikshald and thence to Svefesund. {25} A short way south of there one meets many large open boats which are constantly going southward along the coast to Gothenburg with cargoes of lumber. One can go along for nothing by helping the two men on one of these boats in hoisting sail or in rowing a little when necessary. They speak the Baahus dialect and are easily understood.

When one arrives at the custom house quay of Kloppan at Gothenburg, one should go eastward through the suburb into the city proper and there search out ship broker Strøm. When you have found him, greet him from me, J. Nordboe, and ask him if he would be so kind as to help with the exchange of money, and so forth, in the same way that he helped me. When this has been done, one should return to the customhouse. At the far end of the pier is a small house where there are several customs officers who can speak English and who usually have a small boat. For a few shillings one of the officers will let you accompany him out to the American ships that lie close by. There they will ask twenty specie dollars for passage, but one can haggle with them and say that one is poor and has too little money. If you can get your board included in the passage, well and good, although it costs more. If not, you will have to supply yourself. If a ship to New York cannot be had, it is possible to go to a port farther north in America, such as Boston. Many go there and there are also ships to Nybelport [New Bedford], Ny-Bariport [Newburyport], and other places. When one arrives in America, one takes a southwesterly route. People who live in the interior of the country usually travel by land. The emigrants from western Norway do not care to go by land and prefer to travel by boat as they are accustomed. N. B. The people of eastern Norway are afraid of the water; those of western Norway fear the land.

After one has thus arrived in New York, one should go down to the shore where the riggings of ships will be seen, and one should then call out: "Svedisker Norveisk Mand." Soon there will be someone to talk with, and inquiry should then be made for Bekmann, master rigger; Østerberg, baker; the Norwegian Fr. Wang, {26} merchant, a son of the minister in Waage; and also for Tybring, the son of a minister in Drammen, Johnsen of Laurvig, the Norwegian Williamson, and others. A person from eastern Norway who is not altogether too tenderfooted will be well advised to go by road inland. He should obtain an axe to indicate that he wants work, and a couple of shirts for change, two combs to keep himself clean, and a cloth to wrap up some food if he so wishes. This is all that should be taken along if one does not have enough money for passage by water. In the evening, when he asks for lodging, he should offer to cut some wood; this is always well received. He will then also get supper and breakfast before he leaves, and for dinner he should do the same. In this manner he can travel through the entire country --- and he will make us happy by coming out here. When he has rested a while with the Norwegians who live here, {27} he may continue his course to Qvinny [Quincy], cross the Mississippi River there, proceed thence to the town of Franklin where he may cross the Missouri River to the town of Bon-Olivet [Boonville]. There he will find my Danish friend, E. Bidstrup, and through him he can locate me.

We intend to move there from here within a few weeks. We must first sell eighty acres of land which we have here, and we will auction off a ten-acre field of wheat, together with our live stock, which includes seven oxen, four cows, and one mare. Last summer we were so unfortunate as to lose, by accident, a large and expensive driving ox (thirty-six dollars), a hog, and four calves. The seven oxen, four cows, one mare, four swine, and twenty hens, together with the eighty acres, all of which must be converted into money, should net us two hundred dollars, and the wheat field one hundred dollars. With as much as three hundred dollars to begin with when we come to the state of Missouri, we hope with God's help to do well.

This western country is far different from the eastern states. Perhaps you will recall what I said the last time I had a talk with you --- that I would not stop in my travels until I had reached the westernmost part of Missouri. I am convinced that God revealed this to me long before I left Norway. That we have been unable to reach our destination before this must be laid to our poverty, as well as to the unfortunate sea voyage. Had we arrived without any mishaps, we would have come far enough the first year. But I am glad and thank God for things as they are. If God grants my children life and strength, and if they themselves are willing to work, they will be far more fortunate here than in Norway. N. B. It is very easy to raise cattle here and likewise to cultivate the soil. This year as well as last year we have had nothing with which to feed the cattle except what my two sons have cut on the prairie, amounting to about thirty tons (a ton is two thousand pounds). We have had no stable for the cattle this winter, since such are not used here, and that is very unfortunate. The winter here is very cold, and this second winter has again been very long.

The land in the state of Illinois consists largely of prairie, with little of woods except along the rivers and creeks. The summers are extremely beautiful. Then the whole country, both woodland and prairie, is bedecked with grass and flowers of all colors, which bloom from earliest spring to late autumn. When some fall, others come up again. Some varieties of big, yellow ones in the autumn have stalks three and one-half yards high. The summer may be compared to an earthly paradise, but the winter, on the contrary, may be likened to "Brieflaaen [?].

The fields here are prepared in the following manner: the sod, two and one-half inches thick, is turned over by a large plow that cuts strips sixteen, eighteen, twenty, and in some cases twenty-four inches wide. The plow is drawn by five and sometimes six pair of oxen, but most frequently by five pair. The land that is broken in the spring is ready by August to be harrowed and sowed with wheat for the next summer, but usually it is allowed to lie until the following spring. It is then plowed with one or two pair of oxen, and corn or wheat is planted, oats, or whatever one desires. The field is then in fine condition without the need of any fertilizer. Cabbages can be planted anywhere, and they grow rapidly. There are many varieties of pumpkins - I do not know how many kinds there are. They are usually planted with the corn and grow on long tendrils, round or oval objects of both large and small size, the largest being about fifteen inches in diameter. Cucumbers belong to the same class and grow equally well here. The same is true of potatoes, which give generous yields wherever planted. Tobacco and pumpkin are native products of this country. Other products are imported and thrive here.

Of Indian corn or maize there are also many varieties. There is much to write about here, but space will not permit. Deer are plentiful here. They are mostly hunted by Indians, for others do not have time for such things. My son Peder is now away chopping cordwood. As he is not yet full-grown, he cannot earn more than a dollar a day. Wages for labor are very high here. A full-grown man can earn from $150 to $160 in wages in one year. Here a young but poor man can soon become a well-to-do farmer if he works hard and uses good sense. He can look forward to becoming rich without usury, a difficult task in Norway.

There are many prairie wolves here, but they are small and are not dangerous. However, the sheep must be protected from them now. There are also a great many prairie chickens which somewhat resemble heathcocks in size and are about the same color. The male is larger than the female and similarly colored, but is shaped differently. At this time of the year they give calls every morning which resemble those of a male dove. They do damage to the corn, wheat, and so forth, and so also do the migratory pigeons, the thrushes, the squirrels, and others. The wolves damage the sweet pumpkins. There are also bears here, but they do no harm. There are not many skunks, but there are some raccoons and polecats. There are many varieties of squirrels, as well as weasels. Some kill chickens. The wildcats are as large as half-grown dogs, are of a brown striped color, are shy, and keep to the mountains and caves and thick underbrush. There are many kinds of fish in the streams, but there is little time to catch them. Fishing and hunting are Indian occupations, but most of the Indians have now departed from here. There are mud turtles in almost all the rivers and creeks, and also snakes of many kinds. The rattlesnake is not as dangerous as reported. It is no more poisonous than the one in Norway. It is about the same length, but somewhat thicker, brownish-yellow in color with black spots. In its upper jaw are four fangs, two on each side, and at the end of its tail there are some small balls, the size of peas, which are rattled against each other and make as loud a sound as a fly. Since the coming of so many settlers, the rattlesnake has largely disappeared. Some other kinds of snakes are almost worse, especially the so-called copperhead. Last summer we lost a large calf. Had it been at home we could have saved it, but it was in the woods. The woods are composed largely of oak trees, three varieties of walnut, and small hazel bushes. They all bear large quantities of nuts that are good for human beings, and swine benefit greatly by them. They may be sold in town for a dollar a bushel. There are plenty of gooseberries and they are good. Some cedar trees grow on the dry slopes of sandy hills near rivers. The wild apples are sour, and also the cherries, but some of the plums are sweet and good. There is much sandy rock here but it is too soft for grindstones except in emergency.

N. B. When we arrived in New York, I found myself aged and poor, with small children. I could not earn much, for they did not wish to employ old people for work. If I had had twenty dollars for a deposit, I could have obtained land at five to six dollars per acre, with interest at seven per cent. Other Norwegians who secured land made a profit from their labor of $200, others $300 to $400, and so on. Some made $1,500 to $1,600, depending on how poor they had been, and one, who has not yet arrived here, had only three dollars when he came, newly married, healthy, and strong, in 1825. When he sells his improved farm, he will have $2,000. The others who came here bought land and are already well established. Those who had already come from Ohio and other states are now wealthy.

It was because of me that the Norwegians came here. I have always been of service to others, but never for myself. When we came here, the land had been surveyed for some time but was not settled, except by a few who are now rich. Then it became known that the land was to be sold at auction. The other Norwegians each purchased the piece of land they had claimed at the Congress price of ten shillings --- $1.25 --- per acre. It is the low price that has enriched so many. I had to go forty miles to the northward where there were no human beings to be seen except a few Indians. Even though it was in the wilderness, the piece of land I selected was the best and most desirable I have ever seen. During the winter I returned to the place. With the help of my son and son-in-law, I cut and hauled timber for a house, but in as much as we could not begin to live in it until late in the spring, and I became ill in the fall and continued ill through the winter, we had to sell our rights to the large and beautiful farm for four hundred dollars. This occurred last year, and not until then had we begun to get ahead a little. Within half a year the entire region was fully settled. There is now no more land to be had in the entire state, and therefore we must move southwestward to Missouri. Land can still be had there at Congress prices. It is not as cold there as here, and the climate is said to be healthful. If I live until we have become settled there, I shall write to you again. I should write a separate letter to Ivar, but I hope that you will read this to him. N. B. I owe him for the Løken place that I sold for him. This was the rich man's fault. I do not know how I shall be able to send money to him, nor is he able to come here. I wish very much that both you and he could come. But alas, I do not suppose I shall ever see either of you again. Greet all the people who have known me and all who wish me well. I wish God's blessings upon all of you.

JOHANNES NORDBOE

The soil consists of gray clay mixed with marl, which, when turned to the air, becomes a fertile, dark loam. Through the ages it has become pulverized and is called prairie soil. Its depth varies from one, two, to two and one-half, yes, three feet. It contains a little fine sand and perhaps a little rosin and turpentine. When the tops are broken off certain kinds of tall grass, a clear juice is exuded which smells and tastes like turpentine. Later it dries and becomes a pleasant-smelling gummy substance somewhat resembling mastic or incense. Almost all the grasses seem to contain some of this substance. Consequently the prairie grass burns more readily than other grass. It is burned every autumn and spring because it is troublesome and in order to improve the hay and pasturage. It is impossible to mow where dead grass remains. It is also as sharp as scouring grass and quickly wears out shoes and stockings. It is difficult to walk through the grass where there is no path. The Indians have always burned the forests [?] for amusement, and this has hindered the growth of woods. If I am fortunate enough to find satisfactory and good land where we are now going, I shall take four claims, each of 160 acres, which is a farm large enough for one family. N. B. One for me, one for each of my three sons, perhaps, if possible, one for my brother. If not, he might have one of the four if he could come here. If only you and he with your families could be here now, even though you had no one else with you but your wife and youngest daughter! It would be better, however, to have as many as possible along, even though it took more money for the trip. It is best not to take too much baggage although I should like to get some spruce seeds. Our daughter will remain here. They have done well, have 130 acres, have worked on it for two and one-half years, and paid $150 for the farm. If he would sell his farm now, he could get $1,400 to $1,500. They have two pair of oxen, three cows, six sheep, many swine, four geese, and a great many chickens. Last year they got a son, a sound and healthy one. I am afraid that this is scarcely readable, for I see so poorly and have no suitable spectacles. I hope you will excuse me. I am now 69 years old, my wife 36, my daughter 22, my oldest son 17, the second 15, and the third 12 years of age.

Notes

<1> This document, with its Introduction and notes, was translated into English by Professor C. A. Clausen of Wittenberg College, Springfield, Ohio. In preparing it for press the editor also had the valued assistance of Mr. Canton C. Qualey of New York. Mr. Johnsen is bringing out the original of the Nordboe letter, with introduction and notes in Norwegian, in the periodical Heimen, the organ of "Landslaget for Bygde og Byhistorie." T. C. B.

<2> The author wishes to acknowledge the kindnesses shown him during his trip by Kristofer Tiflet, president of Gudbrandsdalens Historielag; Ivar Kleiven, student of folklore; the Reverend G. F. Gunnersen, and many others.

<3> Nordboe's observations are in part more detailed and comprehensive than those of Ole Rynning, written a year later about the same conditions. See Theodore C. Blegen, ed., Ole Rynning's True Account of America, ch. 10 (Norwegian-American Historical Association, Travel and Description Series, vol. 1 - Minneapolis, 1926).

<4> In the common parlance of Gudbrandsdalen, the name becomes "n' Jehans Naarbu."

<5> The data as to Nordboe's birth and confirmation are to be found in Kirkbog for Ringebo', II, 1734-l780, and III, I781-1820. These sources were examined for the author by Leif Widthaug at Statsarkivet in Hamar.

<6> Statsborgeren; en Tidende for Norges Vel (Christiania), July 13, 1837; Ivar Kleiven, Ringbu, 249.

<7> That an excerpt from a Nordboe letter was published in Statsborgeren, July 13, 1837, was brought to the writer's attention by Dr. Blegen. Wergeland, the editor of Statsborgeren until December, 1837, must have been instrumental in the publication of the excerpt.

<8> Statsborgeren, July 13, 1837

<9> Statsborgeren July 13, 1837

<10> Rasmus B. Anderson, The First Chapter of Norwegian Immigration (1821- 1840): Its Causes and Results, 138 (Madison, Wisconsin, 1895).

<11> Dr. Blegen has proved unacceptable Anderson's assertion that Nordboe went to Texas in 1838. See Norwegian Migration to America, 1825-1860, 185 (Northfield, Minnesota, 1931).

<12> Rasmus B. Anderson himself states that Nordboe's son-in-law, George Johnsen, went to the Fox River in 1835.

<13> Although this is the oldest written report we have concerning the establishment of the Norwegian settlement in La Salle County, Illinois, it does not necessarily deprive Cleng Peerson of the honor of having been the founder of the settlement. Nordboe's account, however, and especially the fact that R. B. Anderson's chronology has been demonstrated to be in error, should sharpen our skepticism and critical faculties as to oral traditions about the first period of immigration.

<14> Gunnar J. Malmin, ed., "The Disillusionment of an Immigrant: Sjur Jørgensen Haseim's 'Information on Conditions in North America"' in Studies and Records, 3:4 (Northfield, Minnesota, 1928).

<15> Blegen, Norwegian Migration, 185.

<16> The quotation is from one of the "America letters" collected by the writer in Gudbrandsdalen in 1931.

<17> See Statsborgeren July 13, 1837, and Anderson, First Chapter of Norwegian Immigration, 355.

<18> From a letter secured by the writer in 1931.

<19> Statsborgeren, July 7, 1837.

<20> For Arbeidsklassen, June 22, 1843 See also Blegen, "The America Letters" in Avhandlinger utgitt av. Det Norske Videnskaps-Akademi i Oslo II. Hist. Filos. Klasse. 1928. No. 5, p. 4 and 12.

<21> The number seven 15 superimposed on a previously written eight.

<22> The name evidently came from the gaard Upper Rudi in the district of Venabygd. Cf. O. Rygh, Norske Gaardnavne, IV Bind, Kristians Amt, I Halvdel, 140.

<23> The dates are so given in the manuscript.

<24> The man was Knud Anderson Slogvig, who in 1886 led the emigrant party that sailed on the brigs "Norden" and "Den Norske KIippe." See Henry J. Cadbury, "Four Immigrant Shiploads of 1836 and 1837," in Studies and Records, 2:20-52 (Northfield, Minnesota, 1927).

<25> He undoubtedly means Svinesund.

<26> Cf. ants, note 13, and Malmin, ed., in Studies and Records, 3:3.

<27> I. e. the Fox River settlement, La Salle County, Illinois.

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