Inga and Lars Borreson family
(Donald's paternal uncle and aunt)
Top left: Inga Johnson and Lars Borreson (wedding photo, 1901).
Top right: Inga and her daughter Stella [Resimius], Velva, North Dakota, circa 1921.
Bottom: Inga and Lars Borreson and their children. Front, from left: Laila Inga [Vollrath], Thelma Borreson [Surdam] standing beside her father, Lars, with Stella [Resimius] in lap; Inga; Ole. Thoralf (left) and Leonard in rear.
Lars Borreson, 22 years older than Inga, was a widower with four children (Ben, Carl, Levi and Belinda) when he married Inga. (She kept house for him for a time after his first wife died.) They homesteaded near Antler, Saskatchewan, Canada, living at first in a sod house, and raised six children of their own. Inga kept a personal diary at that time (1902-1903) now in the possesion of her daughter Thelma Borreson Surdam. (The family moved to Velva, North Dakota, in 1916.) Inga contracted multiple sclerosis in her early 20s, shortly after Thelma was born (1913), and thereafter she was in a wheelchair. Offspring of Lars Borreson's first family put together a book, Footprints In the Sands of Time, that is a history of the Antler area. A May 1979 National Geographic article describes the area during the dust bowl era.
The Borreson children: Leonard Alfred 8/15/1902-(deceased); Thoralf Victor 5/30/1905-3/23/1943; Laila Inga 8/25/1908-; Ole Rudolph 2/21/1911-9/1988; Thelma Borgil 9/1/1913-; Stella Ingaborg 11/17/1916-.
Thelma remembered that when the bottom photo was made (circa 1916) "that man crawled under a black blanket and told us not to move. It was taken right before Ole was taken away" [to a home for the mentally retarded, first in Grafton, North Dakota, then in Hettinger, North Dakota, where he died in September 1988.]
Excerpt from Donald B. Johnson manuscript:
"My Aunt Inga married a widower with some kids and they moved to Canada. Inga ... had to sit in a wheelchair and was 'frail,' but she had some kids after that, anyway. [Thelma said it would have been called multiple sclerosis in later years.]
"One year Pa rode a bicycle up there to visit them. He rode across North Dakota; in some places, there was no road. He had to follow the section lines, which were only marked by a pile of rocks on the corners, a mile apart. [2.4-3]
"He got so thirsty when his water bottle went empty that he rode over to a slough that had a little water. The water was so full of bugs and things that he strained some of it through his shirtsleeve and drank it. He came to a settler's cabin and asked the settler's wife for a drink. She said she didn't have any water, but she had some sweet milk he could have. She gave him all of it but wouldn't take anything for it, so he gave her little kid a dime." [2.4-4]