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Immigrant Dynamics-The Jacobson Farmstead
    by Steven L. Johnson and Marion J. Nelson (Volume 32: Page 93)

In May, 1977, the Jacobson farmstead seven miles southeast of Decorah, Iowa, was donated by Charlotte, Constance, and Eugene Jacobson of Northfield, Minnesota, and Henning Jacobson of Bayonet Point, Florida, to Vesterheim, the Norwegian-American Museum, as a coherent material record of a Norwegian immigrant family from shortly after its arrival in the mid-nineteenth century to the present. The physical evidence of the farmstead itself as well as the written and pictorial documents remaining on it or with the family reveals an interplay of conflicting forces ó the traditional versus the new, the agrarian versus the urban, the mundane versus the spiritual and intellectualó typical of much in Norwegian immigrant culture. Though no conclusions will be drawn regarding the entire immigrant group, the farmstead and its family are presented here as a case study in the dynamics of Norwegian immigrant life.

The farmstead is completely the work of the Jacobson family. It was chosen as the dwelling site on a plot of land claimed by Jacob and Gro (Eggerud) Abrahamson and their three children, who came as one of the first sixteen Norwegian immigrant families to the Decorah area in 1850. {1} It remained in the possession of Jacobís descendants, who followed Norwegian custom by taking his first name to become Jacobson, until transferred to Vesterheim 129 years later. It had then already been twenty-five years since intellectual and urban pursuits had claimed all the living descendants in the line through which the farm had passed, but familial piety and an awareness of the farmís historic significance had prevented the family from selling it. Having the farmstead go to the Museum as an academically maintained example of agrarian immigrant life was a fitting solution to a conflict that had marked the farmís entire history.

Jacob and Gro Abrahamson

Jacob and Gro Abrahamson shortly after their arrival in America in 1848.


Presumably "Stenbole" as it appeared in 1898, fifty years after Jacob and Gro left.
The log house with a partition near one end facing a barn with a large central doorway corresponds to the early arrangement at the farmstead in Iowa.

The specific circumstances which led Jacob and Gro to leave their cotterís farm in Vestfjorddalen, Tinn, Telemark, in 1848 are not known, but the name of their farm, Stenbøle (stony place), gives a clue, as does a photograph of the farm from 1898. {2} There was need for more and better land. A letter written home by Jacob while settled temporarily in Muskego, Wisconsin, just after arriving in America indicates that greater opportunities in general also contributed to the lure of the New World. After dwelling at length on the availability of work, the high wages, and the low cost of living in America, Jacob writes, "I am sure I will live better in America without a farm than I would in Norway with one of the largest farms." {3} The possibility of making a living in America without working the land returns like a leitmotiv in the Jacobson story.

In spite of his praise of opportunity in America, Jacobís own aims remained ultimately agrarian, and his conception of farming remained fundamentally Norwegian. Moving with the vanguard of Norwegian families who left southeast Wisconsin to cross the Mississippi and claim land in the newly opened territory in northeast Iowa, Jacob spent the rest of his life on the farm he obtained there.

The basic elements of the Jacobson farmstead as it stands today were established by Jacob before his death in 1879. The farm was then 173 acres, the size it would remain. The log house, which is the core of the existing dwelling, follows essentially the traditional Norwegian three-room house plan. A close look at illustration no. 2 indicates that this is what the family was used to in Norway. Having doors in both the front and the back is unusual, but the placement of both has prototypes in the rural dwellings of Telemark. One door goes directly into the large room, as in the so-called Akershus plan, and the other (here on the back) goes into one of the two small gable-end rooms, as was typical in older three-room houses. {4} The half story above the ground level does not have a long tradition in rural Norway, but it was far from unknown there when Jacob Abrahamson and his family left in the middle of the nineteenth century. {5} The fact that the wall dividing the gable-end rooms from the main room is only in the upper story and not in the lower is also an unusual feature that may have some incidental rather than traditional explanation. {6} The logs are not tightly fitted as in Norway, but this feature was, for reasons not completely understood, also abandoned immediately by most other immigrant builders. {7}


The placement of the house higher than the barn on a slope leading down to a stream is also in line with Norwegian tradition, although it has a logic so obvious that tradition need not have entered in. Loosely enclosing the space between the house and the barn by placing storage buildings at both ends is more specifically traditional, as is the placement of the blacksmith shop (now gone but clearly documented) well outside this enclosure. {8} Some of the actual buildings in this secondary group may date from slightly after Jacobís death, but the placement of the earlier ones serving their function would most likely have been the same.

The Jacobson farmstead

The Jacobson farmstead as viewed from the northeast in 1913.
It had arrived at this state in 1908 and no new construction occurred afterward.

The portion of the barn remaining from Jacobís period deviates from Norwegian tradition in being of stone, but its placement along a steep embankment with the wagon entrance to the hayloft in the middle of the long wall on the upper side has numerous prototypes in rural Norway. Placing the cow barn below the hay loft, on the other hand, is a more American feature. The shift from log to stone was common in large buildings around Decorah because long straight timber was scarce and sandstone with cleavages appropriate for cutting building blocks was readily available. Expertise for its use must also have existed in the community because stone barns from the 1850s and 1860s are found on many surrounding farms.

Assessor records reveal that the livestock on the farm during Jacobís period also corresponded approximately to that on a small Norwegian farm: about seven head of cattle and two or three horses, sheep, and pigs. These would have provided little more than the needs of the household. Most cash had to be obtained by work in the lumbering industry or other day labor, as was also true in the inner valleys of Norway at the time. {9} Because of the greater tillable acreage, there could have been a greater surplus of grain and potatoes for sale than in Norway.

Jacob and Gro had little assistance on the farm. Their one daughter, Helga, if her obituary is correct, married in 1858 and apparently left the farm, moving eventually to Rock county, in extreme southwestern Minnesota. {10} Niels (1844ó1925), the younger of the two sons, left home two years later at age sixteen to become one of the first pupils at Augustana College in Chicago. From there he enlisted in the 6th Iowa Cavalry for service against the Indians. Niels, too, eventually settled on a farm in Rock county, Minnesota, but devoted much of his time to community endeavors. In 1903ó1904 he served as a member of the Minnesota State Legislature. His early intellectual pursuits apparently freed him from the most mundane aspects of agrarian life. At sixty-one he retired to the town of Hills, Minnesota, in Rock county, as his sister and her husband had done ten years earlier. {11} There they lived comfortable small-town existences until their deaths in 1925.

Abraham (1836ó1910), the older son of Jacob and Gro, the one most expected to assist his parents, was the first to leave the farm. Only two years after the family settled in the Decorah area, when the boy was a mere sixteen years old, he headed for Springfield, Illinois, where he entered the so-called Illinois State University, a school founded and maintained by Lutherans. He remained there for eight years, supporting his studies by working as a custodian and librarian in the courthouse where Abraham Lincoln was making his reputation as a defense attorney. {12} Jacobsonís personal connections with the future president were few, but he was a schoolmate and friend of Lincolnís son, Robert. {13} The Springfield period in the lives of both Abrahams ended in 1860, when Lincoln became president and Jacobson left for Chicago to teach and preach in the Augustana Synod. He was functioning in this capacity at Augustana College when his brother Niels arrived there in 1860. {14}

Abraham Jacobson

Abraham Jacobson, probably around 1900.

Although Jacob Abrahamson, the father, chose to remain in a vocation appropriate to someone of his status in Norway, he allowed and possibly even encouraged his children to make use of the opportunities in America of which he had written so glowingly upon arrival. Their early departure from their aging parents ó the mother was crippled with arthritis from the late 1850s until her death in 1884 ó appears to have led to no breach in family relations even though it was not in keeping with rural Norwegian custom. {15}

A pull between the agrarian and the urban, the mundane and the intellectual, existed in the Jacobson family well before its arrival in America. Several generations back, the Jacobsons were connected with the prominent Quisling family of pastors that entered Norway from Denmark in the 1600s. The quality of Jacobís letter from 1848 and the fact that the home at Stenbole had apparently been a favorite one of the local schoolteacher indicates that a certain regard for culture had been part of the Jacobson family tradition. {16} This does not mean that the family was exceptional among rural immigrants from Norway. One finds the meeting of peasant and official strains in many immigrant family histories.

Abraham is the figure in whom the cultural dynamics were most apparent. He began to show inclinations toward the American, the urban, and the intellectual soon after his arrival from Norway at age twelve. During his first two years in America, while the family was temporarily settled in Wisconsin, he hired out to an American hotel- and store-keeper at Little Muskego Lake. He was so well received that his employer, a Mr. Taylor, gave him lessons in English, got him started in an American school, and even wanted to adopt him. {17} The adoption was resisted by both him and the family, but Abrahamís experience with the Taylors undoubtedly prepared the way for his remarkable move two years later when he entered Illinois State University as the first Norwegian at that institution and one of the first children of Norwegian immigrants to enter any American institution of higher learning. {18}

Another indication of Abrahamís rapid Americanization was his marriage in 1860 to Mary Hannah OíConnor. Little is known about her because of her death the following year in Decorah, but the name indicates that she was of Irish-American origin, and a photograph suggests that she was a woman of culture and sophistication.

Although Abraham had been in a primarily non-Norwegian environment during his eight years in Springfield, he was ready to reestablish connections with the Norwegian-American community and his own background after the death of Mary. In 1861ó1862, he traveled as a missionary to the Norwegians in the newly organized Dakota Territory and to the Scandinavians in the ill-fated colony at Gaspé near Quebec, Canada. In 1863 he remarried, this time to a nineteen-year-old Norwegian-American girl, Nikoline Hegg, from Lier, near Drammen, who lived with her parents on a farm adjacent to that of his family. He actually remained at home as a farmer for three years before heading out again, this time for post-graduate study at Concordia Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri, where pastors for the Norwegian Lutheran church in America were then being trained. After another missionary journey, which took him to west-central Minnesota, he accepted a call to the Norwegian parish at Perry, Wisconsin, in 1869. {19}

While firmly rooted in a rural Norwegian immigrant community, Abraham and his family developed at Perry a gracious style of living, more in line with that of the old official class in Norway than with that of the American farmer. This was very evident to his daughter Clara, who begins her "minder fra Perry prestegaard" with reference to Gustava Kiellandís and Elise Aubertís stories of life in the old Norwegian parsonages. {20} It was at Perry that the familyís interest in music revealed itself in a material way when the pastor bought a small cabinet organ for the parsonage even before there was an organ at the church. Victorian furniture was purchased from a Norwegian merchant, Gabrielsen, in Milwaukee, and other fine pieces of furniture were made by a local carpenter from Valdres, Aslak Lie. {21} Modern technology was also introduced. The Jacobsons were among the first in the community to have a sewing machine, and the pastor is credited with being the first person to use one. In line with the ministers of the enlightenment period in Norway, Jacobson assisted the parishioners in practical as well as spiritual matters. He instructed others in the use of sewing machines and helped keep their machines in repair.

Jacobson with family and hired help

Abraham Jacobson with his family and hired help as photographed in the yard of Perry parish parsonage by Andrew Dahl about 1877.

Another indication of Jacobsonís ongoing fascination with the new and the cosmopolitan while devoting most of his attention to the rural Norwegian community at Perry was his trip with his wife to the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia in 1876. At that time he also visited New York and Washington, calling on President Grant at the White House. His interest in expositions was ongoing. Even after returning to farming he attended the world expositions in Chicago, St. Louis, and Portland, possibly a record in worldís fair attendance for a Norwegian American. {22}

The parlor

The parlor in Perry parsonage as photographed about 1877 by Andrew Dahl.
All the newly obtained furniture and many of the accessories seen here were taken back to Iowa in 1878 and are still on the farm or with the family.

But the pendulum swung back to the farm. In the mid1870s, Abraham Jacobson bought the home farm in Iowa, perhaps to assist his parents financially and probably with the intent of returning there. Exhausted from the ministry, he and his wife and seven children left Perry in 1879 and settled again in Iowa as the owners and operators of the farm he had left as a sixteen-year-old boy twenty-seven years earlier. The years of exposure to American ways had apparently not allowed Abraham to forget the Norwegian tradition that gave the oldest son responsibility for the family farm. Nature recognized the fate that was directing Abraham as he turned from regular involvement in the ministry to the agrarian life of his immediate ancestors. While the wagons were loading to leave Perry parish, a sudden cyclone swept over the area, removing the roof and upper walls of the parsonage and demolishing the church. The life of a visitor from the poor farm at Verona, Wisconsin, stopping to say farewell to the Jacobsons was claimed by the storm. "Asgårdsreien," the turbulent celestial ride of exiled spirits from the pagan world, still hovered over the Jacobsons even after leaving the deep valleys of Telemark.

Jacobson family

Abraham Jacobson with his wife, children, mother (directly in front of him), and possibly his mother-in-law photographed about 1883 at the old homestead in Iowa. The pastor is here in the farmerís traditional log chair rather than in the more urban captainís chair of the Perry parish photo.

During the thirty-year regime of Abraham from 1879 to his death in 1910 that the Jacobson farmstead acquired those characteristics that most clearly reflect the dynamics at play in Norwegian immigrant life. He is to the second phase of the farmsteadís history what his father had been to the first. The original log house, in which the functions of kitchen, dining room, and living room were all combined in the one large space, was expanded immediately to include a frame-construction parlor for the fine furniture brought from Wisconsin and, several years later, a frame-construction summer kitchen. The family was used to both at the parsonage in Perry. {23} All additions to the basic log house ó the back lean- to, the parlor, and the summer kitchen ó could originally be entered only by going out of doors, a continuation of the early Norwegian tradition of having various functional units of the farmstead in separate buildings. These were soon linked by simple frame structures which allowed internal communication between all units, making it, in other words, an American house. By 1908, the summer kitchen had been expanded to include a year-round kitchen, a dining room, and two second floor bedrooms. The farmstead had reached the full extent of its physical development two years before Abrahamís death in 1910 {24}

three generations

When this photograph of three generations was taken in 1912, the house had reached the full extent of its development and convenient interior connections had been established between all units of the house except the second stories of the oldest unit far back on the right and the latest unit to the left. Charlotte, one of the donors of the farmstead to Vesterheim, stands between her grandmother Nikoline and her mother Minnie, who holds a new Abraham, born shortly after his namesakeís death. The rider is Olaf J., son of Isaac.

saying farewell

The pastor-farmer is here saying farewell to his guests at the old farmstead around 1890. He walked with a cane after a fall on board ship while on his only trip to Norway, in 1888.

Unlike his father, Abraham was a gentleman farmer. His grandchildren say that he did not do farm work, and photographs showing him in his top hat by the buggy or writing at his desk help to confirm this. {25} During his later life he served for over fifteen years as president of the Norwegian Mutual Life Insurance Company of Winneshiek county. {26} From 1903 to 1905 he was a member of the 31st General Assembly of Iowa. {27} For a period he traveled as an overseer for the Mandt wagon factory in Stoughton, Wisconsin. {28} He often served as a substitute pastor in local congregations and even returned to Perry parish in Wisconsin in 1890 to serve in this capacity. {29} At this same time he was also involved in the church controversy that led to the founding of the North Washington Prairie Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church, a congregation of the United Church to which he remained faithful until his death. {30}

Abraham Jacobson

During the decade before his death in 1910, Abraham Jacobson spent much of his time writing historical articles and columns for his agricultural series in Decorah Posten. He had previously cut a large opening in the wall of the old log part of the house and installed the bay window by which he is sitting.

In many ways, however, the move to Iowa did represent a serious return to agrarian interests and Norwegian cultural roots. One should not belittle Abrahamís ability as a farmer. Assessor records show that the amount of livestock on the farm almost tripled after his arrival in 1879, while the acreage remained the same. He devoted much attention to rationalizing farm methods and experimenting with new crops and technology. He is credited with having introduced clover to Winneshiek county, a possible reason for his naming the farm Cloverdale. For fifteen years toward the end of his life he edited a column in the Norwegian-language newspaper Decorah Posten entitled "Farmen og haven" (Farm and Garden). {31} The probate record at the time of Abrahamís death in 1910 includes a gas engine. {32} Although his wife and children did most of the work, an aspect of Norwegian tradition which Abraham never abandoned, he must have been a good farm manager.

That the return also did mark a renewed interest in his past is evidenced by Abrahamís trip to Norway in 1888, a trip on which a fall led to permanent lameness. {33} He was among the founders of the Norwegian Pioneer Association of Winneshiek county, led the erecting of a monument to pioneer Norwegians at the Washington Prairie Pioneer Cemetery in 1887, and did considerable writing about his past and about local history in general. {34} Visitors from Norway were welcome at the Jacobson farm, one being the distinguished Hardanger violinist, Knut Dahle, who appears with his violin in snapshots from Cloverdale. {35}

It was possible for Abraham to keep the complex cultural strains which were part of his background and nature in balance. This was more difficult for the generations that followed and the imbalance generally favored the urban and the intellectual. A grandson of Abraham says that the children were oriented toward college from the time they were young. {36} He was probably speaking of his own generation, but it was undoubtedly true of the one preceding it as well. When Abraham approached his last days in 1910, the options for retaining the farm in the family of eleven children were few. His oldest child, Clara (1863ó1949), was a schoolteacher, a distinguished writer of local history, and the family photographer. She never married. {37} The next child, Mary (1865ó1954), had become a college music teacher and in 1895 had married Professor I. F. Grose of St. Olaf College. The oldest son, Jacob (1868ó1942), did indeed live on a farm, but it was in the second center of concentration for the family, Rock county, Minnesota. {38} Signe (1870ó1961) was married to Rev. Knute E. Bakken. Isaac (1872ó1925) was originally oriented toward a career in music but was making his living as a sign painter in Minneapolis. David (1875ó1955) was a graduate of the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy who was practicing his profession in Minneapolis. Helga (1877ó1948) was a college teacher of English who in 1909 had married Lars W. Boe, later president of St. Olaf College. Otto (1879ó1959) was farming in North Dakota but was more inclined toward public service. He had attended St. Olaf College and held the position of Registrar of Deeds in Adams county, North Dakota, where he lived. He was soon to enter Luther Seminary and be ordained as a pastor. Christianna (1884ó1948), a graduate of St. Olaf College, was teaching English in high school and was still single. Ragnvald (1888ó1949) was attending Waldorf College and could not originally have been interested in farming because he joined the United States Navy and served through World War I. He eventually did settle on a farm in Glenwood township near Decorah. The lot fell to Carl (1881ó1949), who had attended Valders College in Decorah and was, according to his family, as interested in intellectual and cultural pursuits as in agriculture. The old sense of obligation to the family and its property, a lingering heritage from Norway, was probably what determined his fate as it had previously determined his fatherís.

Clara Jacobson

Clara Jacobson, perhaps on a visit home from teaching around 1890, is dressed in urban high fashion. Since she had already begun photography at this time, the camera being used is probably hers.

Jacobson family

Abraham Jacobson and his wife Nikoline are surrounded in this photograph from about 1890 by all eleven children. Carl, the little boy in the lower right, was destined to assume responsibility for the farm through another generation. It may be Claraís camera that is again at work for this photograph. The intention has been to create the ambiance of a studio picture, but the piece of furniture to the right and the uneven light indicate that the photograph must have been made at home. The exaggerated twists and angles of bodies and heads are probably an attempt to create a professional look that becomes almost a caricature. A meeting of the traditional and the modern is revealed by the fact that the four oldest girls are wearing brooches of the rural Norwegian folk type on dresses in the latest American fashion.

With his mother remaining for fourteen years as owner of the farm and the guardian of her husbandís tradition and with his own skepticism about agricultural innovation, Carl retained the status quo on Cloverdale to a remarkable degree. It is popularly said that nothing stands still, everything goes backward or ahead. This was not true at the Jacobson farm. Nothing went into decay, nor was anything substantial added. The practices of Abraham were adequately sound and up-to-date to carry the farm for three decades, but the prospects for its future became increasingly uncertain.

The interest in the intellectual, the urban, and the cosmopolitan must have been as strong in Carl as it was in his father. While a tractor was not used on the farm until the 1940s, the house had a radio in 1927. Both Carl and his wife, Minnie Moen Jacobson, were fond of classical music, and the family would gather around the radio on Saturday afternoons to listen to the Metropolitan Opera. {39} Minnieís brother, Carl Moen, who was to live on the farm after no direct descendants were available to operate it, recalls that there were radios on both the first floor and the second. Reading was also a favorite pastime of the family, certainly of the father. {40}

All of Carlís six children attended college. Three held teaching or service positions in educational institutions. One became a scientist at the Dupont Laboratories in Wilmington, Delaware. Vincent, who had attended St. Olaf College and spent some time in the Navy, was the member left with the responsibility for the farm after Carlís death. Because of personal conflicts, which may or may not have been related to those discussed above, Vincent made his exit from this life on September 30, 1954, {41} as had his brother Abraham fifteen years before him.

The agrarian strain in the Jacobson line was coming to an end. Paternal devotion and lingering regard for the farm led the now urban owners to retain the homestead while the land was rented out. The one direct descendant in whom the duality of his father and grandfather remained most marked was Eugene, who assisted with the operation of the farm while holding a position at St. Olaf College. When illness interfered with Eugeneís involvement in the late 1970s the time had come for the Jacobsonsí ancient connection with the land to be severed. They had experienced what Jacob had foreseen in 1848 when he told his father in a letter that one could live better in America without a farm than in Norway with one of the biggest.

Bay window, 1940

By 1940 the bay window, which half a century earlier was cut through the log wall of the original house, formed the backdrop for the latest and finest radio-phonograph. Constance, another of the donors of the farmstead, is looking at an album of Richard Straussís "Till Eulenspiegelís Merry Pranks." The old and the new, the rural and the urban, are here still in harmony, but the scale is weighted in favor of the new and urban.

The fact that an intellectual strain in the Jacobson family ran parallel with an agrarian strain had at times created a precarious situation for the farm. Ultimately it was this intellectual strain that led to its preservation. Without it, the family would scarcely have donated the farmstead to be maintained as an example of the agrarian base on which it and much in Norwegian-American culture rest. This strain also contributed to the importance of the farmstead as a visual record of immigrant life. In addition, there is an extensive collection of letters from many members of the family, historical writings from Abraham and Clara, and photographs from Clara and Eugene. {42} The family not only had the ability and made the effort to produce these things, but it had the foresight to preserve them.

The farmstead stands as an accumulative material record of a family caught in the dynamic interplay between inherited conceptions and the budding aspirations nourished by the possibilities in the New World. On the framework of a traditional Norwegian farmstead transplanted to America and still actually including objects brought from Norway or made here according to Norwegian tradition, one finds the addition to the house of a parlor and a bay window, both apparently from the 1880s; a nook for a grand piano (now lost) from only a short time later; a painting by Herbjørn Gausta obtained in 1883; {43} fine American Victorian furniture of urban production purchased around 1870; a bookcase with classic literature and major reference works; and a knickknack shelf with mementos of travels to most parts of the United States, to Canada, and to northern Europe. The dynamics ended when the new elements which put strain on the old structure drew the actors off this stage to a more completely American existence in urban scenes. But the stage remains as a set against which the drama of immigrant life can be better understood than without its visual props.


<1> Abraham Jacobson, "Springfield Township, Reminiscences of Pioneer Norwegians," in Standard Historic Atlas of Winneshiek County, Iowa (Davenport, Iowa, 1905), Sec. 2,11.

<2> Illustration is assumed to be a photograph ordered by Abraham Jacobson, Decorah, from Knut Dahle, Vestfjorddalen, Norway, and referred to by him in a return letter dated October 8, 1898, in Vesterheim Archives.

<3> Jacob Abrahamson, Muskego, Wisconsin, to his father, Vestfjorddalen, Norway, September 27, 1848, translated by Charlotte Jacobson, in Norwegian-American Historical Association Archives.

<4> Johan Meyer, Fortids kunst i Norges bygder, Telemark I (1913, reprinted Oslo, 1977), 5, fig. 1, and 6, fig. 4.

<5> The fig. 4 referred to in note 4 shows a building of this type which appears to be of some age.

<6> According to family tradition as presented in an interview conducted by Steven Johnson with Henning Jacobson, in Vesterheim Archives, the house was originally one story and was later raised to its present height. If this was the case, the old one-story house with its roof may have become the upper story. Not including the dividing wall in the new lower story would have simplified the raising process and given more flexibility to the utilization of space. The problem with this theory is that no evidence of two stages in production can be found on the building itself.

<7> The lack of close fitting between logs in immigrant building has been explained in several ways. One is that the early houses were looked on as temporary and therefore constructed with a minimum of work. The other is that the irregular shapes of the logs made close fitting difficult. The immigrant type is standard for most American log building. See Reidar Bakken, "En solungs amerikanske hus, tilpasninger til kultur- og naturmiljø," in Nytt om gammalt, Yearbook of the Glomdal Museum (Elverum, 1986), 75,

<8> Arne Berg, Norske gardstun (Oslo, 1968), 69ó72.

<9> Standard Historical Atlas, Sec. 2, 12.

<10> Crescent-Garretson (South Dakota) News, July 26, 1925.

<11> Decorah Posten, August 21, 1925.

<12> Typed obituary of Abraham Jacobson, possibly from the Annals of Iowa, in the file of his brother Niels Jacobson, in NAHA Archives. Also Abraham Jacobson, "Personal Reminiscences of Abraham Lincoln," an unidentified clipping in NAHA Archives.

<13> Robert Lincoln, Washington, D. C., to Abraham Jacobson, Decorah, November 5, 1883, in NAHA Archives. Also Henry O. Evjen, "Scandinavian Students at Illinois State University," in Norwegian-American Studies and Records, 11 (Northfield, Minnesota, 1940), 23.

<14> Decorah Posten, August 21, 1925.

<15> Decorah Republican, March 10, 1884, and interviews by the authors with Groís great-grandchildren.

<16> O. Knudsen, Tinn, Norway, to Abraham Jacobson, Decorah, Iowa, October 11, 1909, in Vesterheim Archives.

<17> Abraham Jacobson obituary.

<18> O. M. Norlie, History of the Norwegian People in America (Minneapolis, 1925), 217.

<19> Abraham Jacobson obituary. Most of the above biographical information is from this source.

<20> Symra (Decorah, 1912), 12. These memoirs were published in English translation in Norwegian-American Studies and Records, 14 (1944), 139ó158. The information about life at Perry which follows is from this article and the far more detailed account titled "Childhood Memories" still in manuscript at NAHA.

<21> Clara Jacobson does not mention Aslak Lieís name, but the identification has been well established by the research of John O. Holzhueter of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin. Without referring to the Jacobson furniture, Holzhueter writes about Lie in "Aslak Lie and the Challenge of the Artifact," in Wisconsin Magazine of History, 70 (Autumn, 1986), 3ó20.

<22> Abraham Jacobson obituary. This is the only source for the visit to Portland. Jacobsonís descendants were not aware of the trip.

<23> The most complete description of the parlor is in Clara Jacobsonís manuscript "Childhood Memories," 66b.

<24> The chronology of physical changes on the farmstead has been arrived at by checking information from early letters and interviews with family members against evidence on the site itself.

<25> Interview by Steven Johnson with Charlotte, Constance, and Eugene Jacobson, Northfield, Minnesota, March 28, 1981.

<26> "Abraham Jacobson," in Past and Present of Winneshiek County, Iowa, 2 (Chicago, 1913), 85.

<27> Decorah Public Opinion, May 18, 1910.

<28> "Malla" Jacobson, Decorah, to Clara Jacobson, Beaver Creek, Minnesota, April 30, 1884, in Vesterheim Archives.

<29> Abraham Jacobson, Perry, Wisconsin, to Osten Olsen (Rollag), Christiania, Norway, May 10, 1890, in Vesterheim Archives.

<30> The original Articles of Incorporation of the church dated December 8, 1890, with Abraham Jacobsonís signature as secretary, were found in papers on the farmstead and are now at Vesterheim. A letter from Elizabeth Koren, daughter of Reverend U. V. Koren, to Mary Jacobson, daughter of Abraham, August 3, 1889, in Vesterheim Archives, deals touchingly with the personal consequences of the controversy.

<31> O. M. Norlie, Norsk lutherske prester i Amerika, 1843ó1913 (Minneapolis, 1915), 106. In English the column is referred to as "Practical Farming."

<32> The records were with material preserved on the farm and are now at Vesterheim.

<33> Abraham Jacobson obituary; Abraham Jacobson, Rotterdam, Holland, to Osten Olsen Rollag, Christiania, Norway, June 9, 1888, in Vesterheim Archives.

<34> Abraham Jacobson obituary; Decorah Posten, August 30, 1887. Among historical writings by Abraham Jacobson is the essay on the Norwegian settlement of Winneshiek county, Iowa, which appeared in slightly different versions in Standard Historical Atlas, in Decorah Public Opinion, August 25, 1909, and in Norwegian in Hjalmar Holand, De norske settlementers historie (Ephraim, Wisconsin, 1909). Others are "Personal Reminiscences of Abraham Lincoln," known only through an unidentified newspaper clipping at NAHA, and "A Pioneer Pastorís Journey to Dakota in 1861," in Norwegian-American Studies and Records, 6 (1931), 53ó65.

<35> In the collection of Charlotte and Constance Jacobson. Dahle appears to have lived at Stenbøle, since Abraham wrote to him for photographs of it in 1898. Those that arrived have Knut and other members of his family in them.

<36> Undated interview by Steven Johnson with Henning Jacobson, in Vesterheim Archives.

<37> The information on the children of Abraham Jacobson was supplied by his granddaughter Charlotte Jacobson. Where this has been supplemented, separate documentation has been given.

<38> Martin Ulvestad, Nordmændene i Amerika, 2 (Minneapolis, 1913), 509.

<39> Interviews by Steven Johnson with Henning Jacobson and with Charlotte, Constance, and Eugene Jacobson.

<40> Interview by Steven Johnson with Carl Moen, fall, 1979.

<41> The Decorah Journal, September 30, 1954, and Decorah Public Opinion, October 4, 1954.

<42> Important historical works by Clara not referred to earlier are "A Journey to America in the Fifties," in Norwegian-American Studies and Records, 12 (1941), 60ó78, and "Memories from Motherís Childhood in Norway and from the Pioneer Days in America," published in Norwegian in Reform (Eau Claire, Wisconsin), but known to the authors through a typewritten translation in the archives of NAHA.

<43> This Norwegian-American artist also came from Vestfjorddalen, but there is no indication of early contact between the families. This seems to have come through the Korens, but it continued to the artistís death. "Malla" Jacobson, Decorah, to Clara Jacobson, Beaver Creek, Minnesota, March 8, 1883, and Isaac Jacobson, Minneapolis, to Clara Jacobson, Decorah, January 12, 1920, and December 31, 1921, in Vesterheim Archives.

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