The Olson-Johanson (Johnson) Family
(Donald's paternal grandparents, aunts and uncles)
Top left: Anna Louise Olson Johanson. Born August 2, 1847, in Trondhjem, Sor Trondelag, Norway, and baptized there. She married Jens Johanson in Gudbransdalen, Norway, in 1869 and they immigrated to Wisconsin, where their seven children were born. She was widowed in 1894 and later married Ole T. Larson. She died in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, September 22, 1928, age 81, and was buried in West Salem, Wisconsin.
Top right: Anna Louise Olson Johanson, daughters Inga, age 11, and Olga, age 6. (Circa 1890)
Bottom: Jens Johanson with son George and daughter Olga. April 1890. Jens Johanson was born January 22, 1817, in Hedermarken, Norway, near Butterud (Buttrud) Farm. In 1869, at age 52, he married Anna Louise Olson, 22 , his second wife, in Gudbransdalen, Norway, and immigrated to the U.S.A., entering through the Port of Detroit in 1869. They homesteaded near West Salem, Wisconsin, where their three sons and four daughters were born. He died May 22, 1894, age 77, and was buried in Wet Coulee (near Mindoro, in LaCrosse County), Wisconsin. (One document puts Anna's age at marriage as 26; George said Jens had been married before, in Norway, but no one knows whether there were children there. Per Thelma Borreson Surdam and Ardelle Johnson Blazeski.)
NOTE: Various documents spell Jens's last name Johnanson, Johanson or Johansen; it was pronounced Jo-hahn'a-son. Everyone eventually settled on Johnson. There are various Norwegian and English spellings for many names for the next generation or two.
Excerpt from Donald B. Johnson manuscript:
"My Norwegian grandparents got married in Norway when he was 52 and she was 22. He was born in 1817. They got on a sailing ship as soon as they were married and sailed to America. I never heard much about the Norwegian background except that some of the relatives there lived to be really old, like over 100 years. I sure wish I had asked more questions." [1.1-4]
"My grandparents on my father's side settled near West Salem, Wisconsin, on a farm that was all sidehill and woods with a little field up on top of the hill and the buildings down near the bottom. They had to haul their hay down on sleds, as the horses couldn't hold a load back on wagons.
"The Norwegians homesteaded the hills because it was like Norway and they were homesick. Pa said the Germans settled on all the good valley land and plowed the rich, black soil with big, fat horses and the Norwegians had to eke out a living in the woods and hills with skinny horses, and cut wood and posts for the Germans for almost nothing." [1.1-5 ]
"All of our relatives on that side are a generation older than us, on account of my grandfather getting married when he was so old." [2.4-2]