The first white man to settle in Northport was the Lutheran pastor, George Nelson Smith, in 1849. He purchased his first apple trees in Omena Point from the Indian chieftain Shabwasung, chief of the Chippewas.

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«HISTORY OF EMIGRATION FROM NORDMØRE - Stangvik and Surnadal parishes»
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The first white man to settle in Northport was the Lutheran pastor, George Nelson Smith, in 1849. He purchased his first apple trees in Omena Point from the Indian chieftain Shabwasung, chief of the Chippewas. (The author lived on Shabwasung Street in Northport.) On April 25, 1850, he bought five trees for a total of $1.38, and paid $2.00 for one large tree on May 10.

He also purchased his first seed potatoes from the Indians in 1849. Three bushels yielded fifty. Accordingly, the Indians laid the foundation in the region for the cultivation of fruit and potatoes, guided by agricultural advisors sent by the government.

Before the white man arrived, there were a few scattered Indian villages on the Leelanau Peninsula, where the Indians engaged in gardening in communal plots during the summer. They spent fall and winter farther south on Lake Michigan, down by Grand Haven. The Indians belonged to the Chippewa and Ottawa tribes.  Historically only one murder is attributed to these Indians and that was settled through negotiations, in other words peacefully resolved.

When Pastor Smith began his work among them, they already acknowledged that the Great Spirit and Christ were one and the same. Smith "converted" them from Catholicism, not from heathenism. French priests had previously worked among the Indians. At the same time as Smith, a Slovenian Catholic, later to become Bishop Baraga, was working with this tribe farther north. He wrote a grammar, textbook, and dictionary for both languages. Smith also spoke the Indian's tongue fluently. The Indians were recognized as fantastic singers of hymns. One can still hear this in the Catholic Church in the Indian town of Peshabetown, between Northport and Suttons Bay, where songs are, in part, still sung in the Indian language.

In 1849, there were also two other white families who had settled in Waukazooville, as Northport was originally called, named after Smith's close friend, the chief of the Ottawa tribe. No Indians had previously lived here. Smith tried to keep the Indians contented at this place, for he believed no whites would bother coming there as there was neither a major harbor or river mouth at the site. Moreover, the forests were so thick that even the Indians avoided traveling through them.

Smith was minister, teacher, judge, doctor, and, now and then, midwife to this community, but it wasn't easy establishing a permanent Indian society. As an ancient nomadic tribe, they were on the move enough that instruction and religious life were rather difficult, even though they were very motivated and had reached an agreement with Smith about accepting him as their minister and teacher.

The Indians had sold their land near Grand Haven to some Dutchmen. They became American citizens with full rights in 1850 and relinquished their tribal holdings. So, when the sale of land opened in Leelanau in 1850, they were able to purchase land in the usual manner. They had saved up money from payments they had received from the government over a number of years.

Smith had hoped that his Indian society would manage to live quietly here, but his influence with the Indians gradually weakened as the land purchasers arriving steadily influenced them more and more.

It was Joseph Dame who was responsible for the growing influx of land buyers. He wrote glowing descriptions of the region in the New York Tribune. He founded Northport next to Waukazooville in 1852, built a dock, started trading, etc. The name became Northport when the two places grew together.

The first marriage in Northport was contracted between Smith's daughter, Mary Jane, and the Indian, Payson Wolfe. They had 13 children and their only daughter was well known as an able newspaper reporter!

This community had existed for 18 years when the first folks from Nordmøre arrived in 1867. Smith lived until 1881, so they must have known him well.

When Northport celebrated its centennial in 1949, the Surnadaler, Guri Holten née Hommelstad (Hommelstad-Dalen), was crowned centennial queen by Michigan's governor - as the town's oldest resident.

Sources: local listory of Leelanau Township / Smith's diaries / centennial report for Northport.

Photo reference 092/1: Kathy Holton (Holten) f. Hommelstad. «Centennial Queen of Northport» (100th anniversary queen.) The spinning wheel (rokk) was brought from Norway. Photo taken in 1947. | Belongs to: Dick Hanson.


Map of Northport and vicinity - 1900

All the Norwegian holdings are marked in gray. Nearly all are from Nordmøre. (Some Swedes may be included. The Swedish farms lie northwest of Bass Lake.)

Photo reference 093/1: Map of Northport and the region - 1900.


Road signs in Northport

It is strange seeing road signs with familiar names such as Garthe in Northport.

The road through the little valley where the farm of Isaac Garthe lies by itself, still occupied by his descendants, is called Garthe Road. Not far away runs Waagbo (Vågbø) Road, named after Jacob Waagbo, who married Isak's sister Maret Garthe. Now it is Waagbo Road only on the map. People call it Peterson Park Road, because it runs to Peterson Park, named after the husband of Ildri Garthe. Peterson Road also runs through the center of Northport.

On the road from Northport to Leland, we find Holton Road. Close by lies Johnson Road.  It is uncertain whether it is named after Fredrik Johnson Hommelstad, but it runs right past the farm he had. Perhaps Nelson Road is named after another Nelson, but Anders "Swede" Nelson from Todalen lived in the area.

Photo reference 094/1: Road signs in Northport.


What Became of the Garthe Family

Isak worked both in the woods and as a farmhand for Edmund Taylor. He bought 55 acres of land in 1873 and ended up with 147 acres after several more purchases.

He erected several substantial buildings and had a fine dairy herd. In addition, he had sizable crops of potatoes for market. He started a creamery (a dairy making butter) and sold agricultural machines.

Isak married Synnøve Øien (Lille-Øien in Øksendal) in September 1872. She arrived in April of the same year. They had ten children: Gjertrud, Randi, Carl, Stanley, Christine, John, Carl, Arndt, Anna, and Laura - three died as infants.

The family lived in a log cabin before their large house was built.

Quoted from his obituary: "Isaac always had high ideals. In the beginning when he was farming, he foresaw that farmland would come to cost $50 an acre here in Northport, and they laughed at him. He was the first farmer to raise 1000 bushels of potatoes a year. He had a late start as a farmer and labored against many obstacles, but used all his energy for constructive ventures that eventually gave results. He took part in all the progressive activities of the community. The Farmer's Creamery was in large part his doing. Only lack of time prevented him from accomplishing yet more. He had many plans." ... "Isaac suffered for several years from sicknesses of different sorts. At the end, he was so sorely afflicted that he went to the University Hospital in Ann Arbor. He was operated on for a prostate condition, but more properly for its symptoms. The principal operation was not performed because the patient was too weak.

After twenty-six days at the hospital, his son John came to get him, but they got no farther than Jackson. Isaac died at the railroad station while waiting for their next train, February 28, 1916. His funeral was held at the Congregational Church. (The church he belonged to was probably too small for the number of people.) Pastor Maakestad presided. Virtually everyone who knew him was there to pay their last respects to a citizen of the town and a fellow worker. Some of us feel that we have lost more a relative than a friend, but all know they have lost the most progressive spirit in our community."

Isaac said that one doesn't make progress without taking chances. He even went as far as buying an automobile, and driving it right through his garage while roaring "whoa-whoa"!

Isaac had 22 grandchildren when he died.

Photo reference 095/1: The house of Isaac in "Garthe Road". It is built from 2'' x 6'' "Linncoln Logs" with cement inbetween. (Isak in front by the porch.) | Belongs to: Carol Hagen.

Photo reference 095/2: The Garthe-farm.


Ane came over with Isak in 1867. She may therefore also be considered as the "first emigrant from Surnadal", but she would hardly have gone without her brother. Isak was the initiative taker.

Ane first worked as a domestic in Traverse City, but she married John Jacobson from Kloppan, Grytskogan in Stangvik, in 1872. They lived on a farm west of Northport. Ane died in 1916.

They had three children: Maria, who died when barely one year old, Christen, who died of influenza in 1918, just 36 years old, and Jacob, who married Oline Olsen. They had six children. Jacob was a carpenter and part-time preacher.

He is probably the John listed under the name of Søiseth in the large group leaving Stangvik and Bøfjorden in March 1869. Eli Ohren, who married Sjur Glarum in Northport, was also in this contingent. This entire group of 21 presumably landed in Northport.


Ildri worked as a domestic for two to three years on the other side of Lake Michigan, south of Milwaukee. She married Hans Peterson in October 1871. He is listed in the 1870 census as a worker, living at Sivert Glenn's (Sjur Glarum). As mentioned previously, Hans Peterson was the one who brought saws with "rakers" (planing teeth) to Northport. He was known as an exceptional lumberjack of the best sort. He is also reputed to have been a bit of a character for that matter. One source has it he was from Hammerfest, another that he was born on Helgeland, Moe it's said.

His family lived at first in a log cabin.

Their daughter Ida lives at the old family home in Northport and reached the 100-year mark on August 1, 1985. When she speaks Norwegian, it is with a Finnmark accent. She speaks quite differently from the other Norwegian speakers in the region, all of whom have the inner Nordmøre accent. Clearly she has inherited her father's disposition for inflection and style, with a trace of Swedish. We include here her charming Christmas poem as a description of the ambience in the Norwegian hamlets west of Northport.


Ida Edahl - the daughter of Ildri Gartrønningan:
To Waagbo Farm we are now traveling hence,
On Christmas Day with our kin and our friends.
There Auntie and Gjertrud and Lars await,
And thither we ride at a lively gait.
We bring as a gift, a bottle of wine,
To keep Christmas merry, or so we opine.
Pancakes and soft cheese we all shall share
With cookies and cakes, when we get there.
Coffee with cream and some sugar also
Everyone's glad coming hither you know,
To talk about days which ne'er more shall be,
And make all the best of what we've presently.
Many more days we hope grandmother receives
To spend here on earth as time here proceeds,
In perfect health with a lively pace,
A tap in her toe and a smile on her face.
Many more times may we here hither meet
For pancakes and cookies and coffee to eat.
May all things good be the future containing
For the only aunt that we still have remaining.

Dedicated to Marit Kristensdatter Garthe who was married to Jacob Waagbo and lived on the Waagbo farm near Ida. (The poem is reproduced without corrections.)

Ildri and Hans Peterson had a farm in Northport. Hans Peterson was also involved in fishing. They lived close to the shore on the western side of the peninsula. He left the family to look into areas farther west, but returned to Northport. Ildri died in 1928.

They had seven children: an unbaptized infant, Oscar H., Charles, Anne, Gertrude, George, George William, and Ida.

Photo reference 096/1: Ida Edahl celebrates her 100th birthday in Peterson Park, 1 August 1985 - with two great-grandchildren and two other young relatives. Ida has known all the inhabitants of the Nordmøre-hamlet at Peterson Park. | Photo: Martin Melkild.


Ingri, born in 1848, is listed by HH as Anne. Anne is unfamiliar to the family in Northport and they believe there is a mistake in the names.

Ingri almost immediately married Christian Blacken in Northport in 1968. The family claims he was from Øksendalen. The author's suspicion about a connection with the Blækkens of Halsa was confirmed after reading Holand's article printed later in this book.

His father, Ole (Nervaagen) Blækkan, was owner of Nervågen in Torjulvågen from 1841 to 1850. He sold Nervågen to the brother of Esten Bæhle of Sutton's Bay, and thereafter was owner of Utistua Blækken from 1850 to 1865. His son Kristen, born in 1847 ('48 according to the family), is listed under Nervågen. During the period at Utistua Blækken, these children are found: Nils born in 1852, and Ole and Marit born in 1855. The family names these children: Christian, John, Karen (Cora), Nils, Peder, and Anna '65. The family believes their mother was Maret Taalge (Talgø?) who died in 1867. Ole was married a second time to Amelia O. Hanson. Amelia died in 1910 and Ole in 1914 at the age of 94.

For a time, Ingri and Christian lived west of Northport in the Nordmøre area, but they moved to Traverse City where Christian became Chief of Police. His son and his grandson inherited the position. The strength and size of these Blacken lads clearly shows their Øksendal origins!

The children of Ildri and Christian are: Maret, Gjertru, Ole, Clara, Ingri, John Magnus, Anna Marguerite, and Abigail.

Ingri died in 1926, Christian in 1902.

John Blacken was first married to Marie Halseth, and then to Lena Halseth. Nils married Helg Husby. Nils and his father Ole both have farms appearing on the 1900 map of Northport. John's farm is on Solem Road, Sutton's Bay. Tena Hayes says that John's father was named Bersvein Blacken, but there may have been a son by that name.


When Steiner, as he was called in America, arrived in Northport, he was hired by a farmer as a farmhand for food and lodging, laundry included, and $150 a year. He never saw the money, and after this he worked as a hired hand on the farm during the summer and as a woodcutter during the winter. Along with others, he is mentioned in the book about South Fox Island as one of the woodsmen out there.

In 1872 Isak turned 40 acres over to Steinar. He started farming and gradually purchased more land. He was particularly interested in growing fruit and invested in that. His son Jim, who owns the farm today, brought the author a sack of apples while she was collecting information in Northport in 1985!

He married Lisabeth Estensdatter Bahle in 1878. They had ten children: Christoffer, Gertrude, Esten, Maret, Christine, Seth, Anna, Charles Edward, Isaac Ludwig, and James Hendrik.

Steinar lived in a haystack his first summer, together with a domesticated pig. The first family dwelling was a log cabin, and today its framework still stands on the farm that eventually developed.

Steinar joined the town council, sitting there for 15-16 years. He was then elected Probate Judge, a judge in civil and inheritance cases involving estate settlements, trust cases and the like. He had this assignment until dying in 1912. He had an office in Leland and was home only on weekends when a judge.

Steinar was one of the first Freemasons in Northport and his son Jim still has a quite special and interesting edition of the Bible intended for Freemasons.

Steinar's funeral was held at the Congregational Church for the Norwegian Church was too small to hold all those participating in the ceremony. His casket was carried by members of the I.O.O.O. lodge.

Photo reference 097/1: "Newly created American" and a link between the Garths of Northport and the Bahles in Suttons Bay: Esten Garthe. Mother: Elizabeth B. - Father: Steinar G. | Belongs to: Randa Fredrickson | Copy: Bud Palin.

Photo reference 097/2: Steinar Garthe's farm, Boxing Day 1984. Today, his son Jim resides alone on the farm.


Maret had a job as a maid in Northport. She also went to school there for two years. She then found work in the home of a banker in Traverse City and moved with this family to Chicago, where she was confirmed in a Danish Lutheran church (the same church in which Marie Bahle was confirmed). She then moved from Chicago, with this same family, to Cleveland, Ohio. She was like a daughter to this childless couple and, when the bank headed by the master of the household failed after the Civil War, he was able too protect her savings. Maret returned to Northport and shortly thereafter, in October 1875, married Jacob Waagbo. They cleared a farm for themselves in the Nordmøre settlement west of Northport. (To identify Jacob Waagbo, his parents were Jacob Dahl and Marit Sannes.  Jacob was born in 1846 and came to Northport in 1873.)

They had nine children: John, Maret, Gertrude, Carl, Caroline, an unbaptized infant, Herman, Anette, and William.

Today, their daughter's son, Robert Lee, owns the farm.


The father Christen
Christen worked as a hired hand for Staale Johnson, as well as in the woods.  He died at the home of his daughter Ingri Peterson in 1872.  No pictures of Christen are to be found.  The family says he had a harelip, so perhaps that's the reason he never let himself be photographed.


Gjertrud Tronsdatter (Steinberg) Garthe
Hyldbakk says, as mentioned earlier, that Gjertrud was reputed to be a "contentious soul" and that one and all planned on leaving her behind in the old country.

The explanation for Gjertrud's temperament perhaps may be that, when she was 22 years old, she had a son John by a neighboring boy who was 17. They never married. Gjertrud lost the social position she would have had and her son never received inheritance rights to his father’s farm. Gjertrud and John stayed with her family until her son was nearly full-grown and Gjertrud married the widower of Gartrønningan.

Gjertrud asked for traveling expenses in 1869 and received $60. According to the Garthes in Northport, she gave Gartrønningan to John. She certainly never lived with her husband in Northport, but was Steinar's housekeeper until he married in 1878. She lived mostly with Maret and Jacob Waagbo in her old age.

Steinar was presumably past the stage of living in a haystack with his domesticated pig when Gjertrud became his housekeeper!

Sources: Randa Fredrickson, Carol and Frank Hagen, Jim Garthe, and obituaries.


The Son, John Hommelstad, follows
John married a widow, Karen of Hommelstad-Dalen. She already had two marriages behind her when she was 32 years old, with children from both. “Quite a lady!", says Hyldbakk.

John's stepdaughter Guri (the centennial queen of Northport) and his son Martinus left for America in 1882. John and Karen and the other children departed the following year, except for Ola who went in 1886. Hyldbakk says that stories circulated for a long time about the auction at Hommelstad-Dalen. When the auction was over, they danced until the floor collapsed!

At the time John married Karen in 1863, he had twins by Brit Olsdatter Bæverfjord (Øran). When the twins were five years old, Brit married Karen's brother Lars and had a new set of twins. John's twins were named Ole and Elisabeth, and the second pair was Fredrik and Petrine. Petrine was sent to a foster home in Larsstua at Sæterbø. They had three more children: Sivert, Edvard, and Trine. Everyone came to America except the father and Trine, who died in Norway. We find Brit, age 50, together with Petrine, Edvard, and Sivert in the emigration records for 1886.

It was quite a complicated family group that followed in the wake of Gjertrud Gartrønningan. All settled in the area around Traverse Bay, in Northport, Sutton's Bay, Elberta, and East Jordan.

At first John had 60 acres in Port Oneida. Karen died there. He traded for 60 acres closer to Northport in 1902, to be nearer the others. The cabin he first lived in is still standing, and his daughter's son, Norman Nielson, has restored the main house and planted cherry trees on the property.

John married his housekeeper Nikolina Mathewsen (?). The family says her parents were Peter and Anna Brusethagen or Brøskehagen. Nikolina arrived in 1889 with her daughter Alma, 3« years old. Her son Andrew came two years later. She was 20 years younger than John and had not been previously married. John and Nikolina had three children:  Carrie (Karen), Julie, and Gertrud. John died in 1914, Nikolina in 1939. They were married in 1890.

Photo reference 099/1: The Gartrønning siblings in Northport | Back row from left: Steinar, Elizabeth b. Bahle, Synnøve m.t. Isaac, b. Lilleøien. | Middle row from left: Isaac, Maret m. Waagbo, Ane m. Jacobson | Front from left: Ingri m. Blacken, Ildri m. Peterson | Belongs to: Randa Fredrickson.

Photo reference 100/1: John Anderson (Steinberg) Hommelstad and Nikolina. | Belongs to: Norman Nielsen | Copy: Bud Palin.

Photo reference 101/1: John Hommelstad first lived in the cabin on the right. His daughter's son, Norman Nielsen, has restored the main house that was built later.


Ola Bendikson Hommelstad and Johanna Sivertsdatter Prestgardsplassen
Karen's son by her first marriage, Ola, married Johanna Sivertsdatter from Prestgardsplassen. Children: Sivert, John, Sophia, Carl, and possibly one more. They were married in 1881, emigrated in 1886, and had a farm on Solem Road, northwest of Sutton's Bay. They took the name Bendikson. Ola was also a seaman on Lake Michigan. He became an invalid.


Guri Einarsdotter Hommelstad and John Nilsson Holten
Guri married John Nilsson Holten, later changed to Holton. Their daughter Nora Swenson says he was from Øvre Surnadal and spoke much about Vindøldalen. Their son Harold claims that Holten became Holton when John was adopted by a rich Englishman who thought the boy neglected, thus the change in the name. No one in the area has so far been able to confirm this. Holten is the spelling in the children's hymnal.

John Holten was sawmaster at the Gill's Pier sawmill. Later, they homesteaded on 30 acres lying between John Hommelstad's place and Northport, near the road to Leland.

Children: Clara, Gjertrud, Marie, Anna, Nora, Nils J., Harold J., Elisbeth, and Esther, who died as child.

Guri was 93 years old when Northport celebrated its centennial in 1949.

According to Hyldbakk, she was 91. The name Guri was changed to Julia in the USA. She was called Guri Hoilta within the family.


Letter to John I. Telstad (Kleiva) from John Nilsson Holten:

To J. I. Tilstad and wife
Esteemed Friend:

Sutton's Bay 3 October 1882

The long silence must finally be broken. You have certainly been waiting a long time for a letter from me and at last the time has come. I reached America in the month of June and found work immediately in a shipyard at this place. I have had satisfactory and steady earnings, but it has also cost me a lot for wares and clothes and the like. As to my health, I have been healthy both since arriving here and on the journey, although we had a hard trip. We were on the Atlantic Ocean nearly 16 days. Storms, fog, and icebergs delayed us for many days, and the large steamer had to run at half-speed for many days and nights to avoid icebergs, for the fog was often so thick at mid-day that we could hardly see the foremast from the afterdeck. We arrived at Boston on Thursday morning at 10 o'clock. By 5 o'clock we had got our things in order and boarded the train and we arrived at Grand Rapids on Saturday at 5:30 p.m., where we waited until Monday. Monday evening we reached Traverse City, the destination on our tickets. There I met a Norwegian from Sutton's Bay, which is an hour away, and the same night rode out to Nils Sæterbø's.  Tired and dulled by the trip, it was satisfying meeting the old Bæverdalen folks here. The first week was mostly spent visiting ... Martinus and Guri Hommelstad were in the group with us from Kristiansund to Traverse City, as well as a girl from Halsa whose father lives in Northport. He had received news of her arrival and had consequently come to Traverse City to meet her, so Guri and Martinus got a convenient escort.

For the last three weeks, I've hung out with three friends and we rented a team of two horses and drove to Northport when we had an urge to see the town and surrounding area. There are a large number of Norwegian farmers in the area and visiting them was a pleasure for me.

I also spoke with Guri and Martinus, who are doing well.

The ship I was engaged in building belongs to a Norwegian, Lars Behle, and a month ago it set to sea. Sunday evening, October 7, it returned from its first trip to Milwaukee. I and my friend, Einar Iversen Bæverfjord, are staying for a while at the house of a Norwegian farmer here. In the winter we plan, along with Arnt Holten and Knud Sæterbø and his sons, to get wooden beams for railroad cross-ties (spread under railroad tracks) for L. Bæhle, if we can agree with him about the price.

You must write me as soon as you can and then I'll tell you about this and that in America.

J. Nelson Holten

Greetings to your wife and mother. I am doing well.
Greetings to all my friends in Surendalen, and I will respond to everyone writing to me.


Gill's Pier 3 June 1888

Mr. John Telstad

I received your welcome letter of 28 April yesterday, 2 June, and I see from it that your old mother has passed on. Additionally, I sense you are thinking of coming here this summer, which will truly be a pleasure for us, as I believe that this country has more to offer, particularly for people in your position. You should be successful here, for conditions are far more favorable for industrious, free people than in Norway. Yet it is always true that newcomers here for the first time feel the differences in the circumstances somewhat. One is always accustomed to having preconceptions about the nature of America before leaving Norway, about the journey's many difficulties, etc., which all evaporate before one reaches his destination. The trip here is not as difficult as one is ready to believe before starting out. The entire matter depends only on adapting oneself and accordingly surrendering oneself to the respective authorities, particularly after reaching this country. Put yourself in the hands of the railroad officials, for they take care of everything.

Regarding what you asked about, it's no bother. We are ready to meet you whatever the time of the summer.

There is nothing to be concerned about regarding work here. I live in the vicinity of a large sawmill company, in addition to a large settlement of farmers. So there is work here both in the summer and the winter, equally, and thousands of acres of fine forest are for sale at good terms.

Regarding those items most necessary for you to bring, woolen goods are particularly important. Woolens are expensive in this country. All your sheepskin bedding would be good for you to have here. But as to cotton goods, it isn't necessary for you to do anything - bring what you have on hand. Cotton fabrics, clothing of all types, and calico are made just as well here and are far cheaper than in Norway. Your wife must bring her spinning wheel. Besides, you are urgently beseeched to buy and bring with you a new wheel for the wife of one of our neighbors. They will repay you well for your inconvenience.

Regarding your wife's sewing machine, I shall offer my thoughts accordingly. I advise you to sell it provided you can get something for it in Norway. It is very hard keeping it in an undamaged condition and would only serve to make your baggage too heavy. The sewing machines here are first rate. They are just as cheap as in Norway and are found in nearly every home. My wife has a new Singer machine, remarkably good, with complete accessories which remain to be used until further notice - mind, this is only my opinion of the matter.

You say you are thinking of starting your trip at the end of August, but I advise you not to delay one day longer than necessary. It is only throwing away time. Try to leave Norway by the middle of July so you will arrive in the middle of August and harvest time. That will ensure you good earnings. For company and comrades, you will find all you desire on the trip. In addition, I advise you to look up the Thingvala Line's agent in Kristiansund and buy your tickets. You will then be sent by postal steamer to Stavanger or Kristiansand. You will find out that you are far better off onboard one of the Thingvala Line's ships than going to England, where the emigrants must let themselves be driven like a herd of goats shackled together, without understanding a word of what is being said. When the Thingvala ship reaches New York's harbor, the Scandinavian Service takes emigrants and their baggage to the railroad station and everything is most securely taken care of and sent westward. After traveling about two days on the railroad, you will reach the town of Traverse City, the last station and the one closest to here. Then you are on your own. But there are many Scandinavians in Traverse City and some are almost always to be found at the station, so you will find people there to help you. Traverse City lies at the end of Grand Traverse Bay, which is a large fjord of Lake Michigan that cuts into the land from north to south. A steamboat runs from Traverse City to Northport and its surrounding towns every day. Also try to get onboard one of the steamboats and buy your ticket to Northport, it costs about one dollar per person. Then you will at last be here.

My advice to you is, get ready to travel as soon as you can, the sooner the better for yourself.

When you receive this letter, write back as soon as you can and decide as far as possible the date when you are leaving Norway so I can attend to your reception in Northport at the steamship dock. I live half a Norwegian mile near the highway west of Northport, or 3½ English miles. Greetings to our old friends in Surendalen. Many greetings to Schoolmaster Ole Øye as well.

John N. Holten
Gill's Pier P.O.
Michigan, U.S.A.

Guri must also bring a spinning wheel for it will come in handy in the future.

(The letters from John N. Holten lay together with the letters of Johanna Olsdatter Øye, married name Raknes - sent to Telstad-Kleiva, and now are owned by Aslaug Grimsmo.  As per today, the author doesn’t know which Guri was going to America, and who John really is.)


Eli Einarsdatter Hommelstad
Guri's daughter Nora didn't know of any aunt Eli (pronounced with a "thin L"), until the name was pronounced in Surnadal fashion with a "thick L"!

Eli married Nels Olsen. Look under the section "Brøskehagen I and II" and under Sutton's Bay.


Martinus Johnson Hommelstad
Martinus lived, unmarried, in Sutton's Bay and Gill's Pier.  He owned land next to Guri.  It was Guri who took care of him when he became an invalid, later dying of TB.

Gjertrud Johnsdatter Hommelstad
Gjertrud was called Gertie in the USA. She married a Bronson and died at a young age of a nail in her hand. She also had TB. The Skillets of Buckley adopted her son Frank.


Fredrik Johnson Hommelstad
Fredrik took the name Anderson. His father John did likewise, but Hommelstad is written on his tombstone.

Fredrik married Ellen Eines of Aure. (The sister of Dr. Eines.) She came to America when 23 years old, and they met each other in Traverse City. They first had a farm in Port Oneida and then in Northport, next to Guri and John Holton. Children: John Clarence, Ole Gilbert, Maria Elsie, Paul Gerhard, Emma Pauline, Paul Gerhard, Ana Mathilda, Eda Christine, and Fredrick Erling.

Fredrik frequently played the accordion at dances. Now and then he would dance while holding the accordion behind the lady's back!

His son Paul (9) and his daughter Eda (5) danced "The Old-Fashioned Waltz" at a wedding in Gill's Pier to the great delight of the guests. Often Fredrik would gather his own and other children for dancing instruction during the evenings. One of them could waltz before learning to speak. That was Emma, and she has occasionally been on visits to Hans Hyldbakk's at Kleiva. She called him the "Man on the Mountain". Above all, Emma was not sparing the time when she took over when the cook became sick and she made sour cream porridge by herself!  Marie was with her (1970).  Sour cream porridge, herring balls, doughnuts and much more were constantly prepared in the family.

Fredrik was proud of his children's dancing and his son Ole taught himself to play the fiddle. Eda played the organ in church after six lessons. Anna Mathilda played the accordion at dances when only ten years old! Fredrik was a light-hearted man. His wife didn't dance, but had a fine singing voice.

Their daughter Eda, who told us this, also said that everyone in the area spoke Norwegian and that she was confirmed in Norwegian in 1917.

Photo reference 103/1: Fredrik Hommelstad and family in Northport | Belongs to: Eda Olsen | Copy: Bud Palin.

Photo reference 104/1: Today, nobody lives in the farm buildings that once belonged to Fredrik Hommelstad. The wind whistles through a crack in the planking, and a loose piece of wood slowly bangs on the barn wall. The anticipated journey from the great team of horses and the new wagon sadly didn't quite develop as planned. Never is the silence and the past so close to heart, as among old and abandoned houses.


Ane Johnsdatter Hommelstad
Ane died unmarried at an early age.


The Bæverfjords
Ole Johnson
Ole first worked at the sawmill and in the woods, and then homesteaded in Sutton's Bay with Anders Husby, buying 90 acres which he cleared himself. He left the stumps to rot in the fields. Initially it was probably customary to sow crops between the stumps. He settled in Elberta.

Ole was first married to Anna Jacobsen.

Children: John, Ben, Tom, Bessie, and William.

His second wife was Randa Petersen.

Children: Pete, Annie, Louis, and two dead infants.

The first marriage was so tempestuous that John had to live at the home of Ole's sister Elisabeth in Sutton's Bay for a time. One of his wives was from Oslo, one from Kristiansund. Ole was adept at playing the accordion.

Ole and several of his sons became prosperous fruit growers. The son William was adopted by a family in Empire when his mother died.


Elisabeth Johnsdatter
Elisabeth's group landed at Gill's Pier.  She later told what a nasty experience Ellis Island had been.  It was like being in a sheep pen, and people were treated like animals.

(Ellis Island was the reception center for immigrants in New York.)

At first Elisabeth was a serving girl, and then she married Anders Olsen Husby, presumably from Aure (Oksendal?).

Anders first worked in a logging camp, and then he homesteaded with his brother-in-law Ole in Sutton's Bay. Ole moved out when Anders and Elisabeth were married. Their first home was a log cabin with two rooms. They always planted a lilac bush in front of their home, and the lilacs, which stood before the home of Anders and Elisabeth, still stand where their cabin was, continuing to bloom after nearly 100 years. The house they later built was moved 20 miles back from the road on log rollers several years ago and rebuilt into a nice, contemporary house. When Esther, who told us this, was 6 years old, her father died and her brother Ole, then 21, took over the responsibility for the family.

Children: Ole, Minnie, Trena, Molly, Mary, Esther, twins Mandon and Leonard, and Molly.  All except the last three were born in the log cabin.

The farm lies 2 miles south of Sutton's Bay.


Fredrik Larson
Fredrik came over first and paid for the tickets of the others. For a while he lived in Sutton's Bay. He then moved over to East Jordan, on the other side of Traverse Bay. He lived in town for two years while working in the logging camps. He bought 80 acres from the railroad and was very lucky with the quality of the soil, neither clay nor sand. He continued on as foreman in the logging camps. Later he purchased 80 additional acres, and his son Alfred bought 60 more, so the farm became one of the largest in the region. They first had 45 dairy cows, and later also 80 livestock for market.

Fred, as he was called, cleared all the land he bought. He first sold cream and later milk.  Cash was earned selling potatoes. Later it was from green beans and beets for the canning industry.

Fred married Mary Thorsen from Molde.

Children: Bertha, Ludvig, Selma, Trina, and Alfred.

It was Alfred's wife, Leatha, who told us this.  It was interesting hearing that she, who was of Dutch extraction, had gone completely over to Norwegian traditions on the farm, baking flat-bread and making herring balls, egg-pancakes, and lutefisk.  She stopped baking flatbread when her husband died, but she still makes herring balls - with ham!

Fred first came to East Jordan to visit his Aunt Mary, who married Henning Waagbo.  See the section about East Jordan.


Petrine Larsdatter and Ola Johnsson Sæterbø
Petrine married Ola Johnsson Sæterbø, who came to Sutton's Bay in 1883. He arrived with Anders Pedersen Hyldbak and Erik Arntsen Stangvig. Ola was from Nyenga, Sæterbø. His sister Johanna went to Washington on the West Coast, but his sister Gunnild became a dynamic businesswoman in Sutton's Bay.

Ola and Petrine were probably married in Sutton's Bay in 1889.

Children: Sena, John, Laura, Oscar, Julius Thorvald, twins Alice and Mabel, and twins Raymond and William. William died.

Ola first worked in the woods and lived in a log cabin, even after his marriage. His son Julius, who tells this, is uncertain whether they owned or leased a small farm next to the one that later became their farm. All of the first six children were born in the log cabin. There was a shed, entrance, two rooms below, and a loft above. They lived at the home of or together with a Hans Hansen.

They had one cow and one horse. In 1900, the bought an adjacent farm for $1000 and Ole built a twelve room house! They now had ten cows, two to four horses, pigs, chickens, and, for one year, some sheep.

They sold butter and cream, and planted 10 acres of potatoes for market every year. In addition, they raised wheat, oats, corn, rye, and buckwheat. In 1930 they planted 20 acres of sweet cherries and also grew grain and potatoes.

Ole and Petrine both died in 1932, she on St. Patrick's Day, March 17, he June 6.

Petrine worked in Traverse City before she was married. Julius now lives alone on the farm, a widower with one adopted son.


Sivert Larsson
Sivert lived between Northport and Sutton's Bay. From there he moved to East Jordan, and later to Minneapolis, where the family lost contact with him. He was married and divorced, and had these children: John and Ingvald.


Edvard Larsson
Ed Larsson became the owner of the Henning Waagbo farm in East Jordan, next to Fredrik's farm. It was a small farm. He married Gusta Johnsen and had an only son, Ralph. Today the farm lies fallow.


The mother, Brit Olsdatter Bæverfjord
For a time Brit lived with Fredrik in East Jordan, but for the most part she lived with her daughter Elisabeth in Sutton's Bay, where she died.

Brit was the "half-aunt" of the Ola, Sivert, and Brit listed under Øran, who settled in Elberta. Their stepbrothers and -sisters also went to Elberta. (Hakstadbukta.)

Sources for Hommelstad-Dalen and Bæverfjord-Øran: Harold Holton, Eda Olsen, Esther Kesner, Julius Thorvald Johnson (Sæterbø), Leatha Larson, Louis Johnson, Norman Nielsen, Nora Holton Swenson, and Randa Fredrickson.


The Jakobsens from Kloppan, Grytskogan
Except for the oldest son, Ola, all of this clan lived in the Northport area.

Randa Fredrikson of Northport still speaks of "Old Ainn", who spun and carded wool every week at the home of her great-grandfather, Steinar Garthe. (Thus we know Steinar also raised sheep!)


The sons John and Ola
John must have been the first to depart. He is listed in the emigration records of 1869 as John Jakobs Søiseth, age 29, destination Sarnia. He married Ane Garthe and is discussed there. HH says that both John and his brother Ola went to the USA in 1872.  The records correct the year for John, but Ola hasn't appeared in any of the registries.


The father Jakob, wife no. II - Ane, and daughters Maria - I and II
HH lists Jakob's daughter by his first marriage, Maria, born 1843.  She married Nils Einarson Sæterbø and is discussed under Sutton's Bay.

Jakob, age 60, and wife Anne, age 50, are listed in the records for 1874 with a child Maria, age 9. They also have a Maria with them named after Jakob's first wife. This Maria is not mentioned in the Stangvik book. "Little Maria" married a Gagnon, the same French-Canadian family that Henning Waagbo married into. (The Gagnon family were founders of the St. Gertrude Catholic Church in Northport.)

There is no information about Jakob or how he lived.


The daughter Anna
Anna is reported to have married Peder Lien in Northport. Children: Eda and Alvin. Whether or not Peder is from Lia in Stangvik isn't clear. In any event, it is unlikely that he is the Peder, born in 1871, emigrating, and married to Anna Jakobsen from Møkkelgjerdet. Is Anna, the mother of Ida and Alvin, from Kloppan or Møkkelgjerdet? That's the question.


The Son Anders and Anne Toresdatter Bø
Anders, age 40, and wife Anne Grytskog, age 35, appear in the 1882 emigration records, together with the children Tommine 11, Maria 9, Kristian 6, Anna 4, and Oline 2. Anne was from "Tuvå" in Bøfjorden.

This family lived in Omena, between Northport and Sutton's Bay. Business unknown.


The son Elias
HH indicates that Elias should have emigrated with Ola and Jo in 1872. In Northport it was said that he married Kristi Borsvensen from Øksendalen, who died in 1937. Otherwise, no information.


Old-Ane's children: Ole P. Kvande and Elizabeth Iverson (Kragnes)
It isn't easy keeping track of all the Marias and Anes in the Jakobsen family. Old Ainn's son, Ole Pedersen, is mentioned by HH but Elizabeth pops up in Northport. Both Ole P. and Elizabeth are listed in the 1876 emigration records, together with Marie Jakobsdatter from his first marriage. Marie uses the name Grytskoug even though listed as being married (Einarson - Sæterbø), and the foster-children use Kvande.

For a while, Ole lived at "Talgø Place", as it later was called, but then lived near Mount Vernon, north of Seattle.

Photo reference 106/1: Ole (P?) Kvande, son of "Gammel-Ane" Jacobsen. M.t. ? | Belongs to: Randa Fredrickson | Photo: La Conner, Washington, Hingren's studio | Copy: Bud Palin.

Elizabeth married Peder Olson Halseth.


The Halseth Brothers
Peder Olson Halseth
In Northport Peder is listed as being born in 1847, but the Stangvik book says 1846. He was a farmer in Northport and died in 1912.

He and Elizabeth Iverson (Kragnes), "Old Ainn's" daughter, had one daughter and the sons Hans and Iver. Peder was a neighbor of Steinar Garthe. (One may recall that Steinar Garthe's mother was from Ansneset, adjacent to Hegerneset where Peder was born.)

The Smith Peder Olsen Halseth, emigrating on the same date as "Old-Ainn", is presumably her future son-in-law. Perhaps he was already engaged to Elizabeth who came two years later.

When Peder became a widower, he remarried Tomina Jakobson, "born in Kristiansund in 1868?" - it's said in Northport. This Tomina must be the granddaughter of the first wife's stepfather. Complicated, but simple! Tomina became the stepmother of her step-aunt's children!

Tomina Andersdatter Grytskog and Peder had the following children: Elizabeth - named after Peder's first wife, Nils (Nels), Arthur Clarence, Oline Josephine, Alfred, Stanley Paulus, Anna Margrethe, Thelma, and Janet.

Photo reference 106/2: Peter Olsen and his wife Tomina Jacobsen and some of their children | Back row from left: Ole (?) and Iver | Middle: Julia | Front from left: Nels, Josephine? | (Additional children: Alfred, Anna, Jeanette and Thelma) | Belongs to: Randa Fredrickson.


Torstein Olson Halseth and Anna Sophia (n‚e Olsen?) and Ole Johnsen (Røv?)
Torstein, Peder's brother, is said in Northport to have arrived from Norway in 1872. The following year he married Anna Sophia, who Northport sources say was born in Surnadal in 1841 and married Ole Johnson (from where?) in 1867. They came to Northport in 1870.  Ole Johnson was a tailor. He was killed by a falling tree. In 1873 Anna remarried, to Torstein.

Children: Margrethe, Oline, Ole, John, Anna, and Guri, born during the period 1876-87.

Torstein died in 1923, Anna Sophia in 1926.

Ole Johnson is presumably the Ola, born 1835, from Melatrøa, Røv. The year of emigration 1869 agrees with both HH and the emigration records, and his being a tailor prior to emigration.

His Wife Ane Olsdatter Røv, listed in the 1870 records as married and 29 years old, is probably Anna Sophia. Her sister Gertrude, born 1837, also came to Northport, married Martin Peterson, and then John Peterson. Presumably these are people from Nordmøre.


Nils Halseth and Randi Øien (Reitann)
The third Halseth brother, Nils, also came to Northport. The family says he and Randi came over immediately after being married in 1880.

There are many versions of how Nils met his end in 1883. The prevailing version is that he went out in a boat to fetch his brother-in-law from a schooner in a storm, and that he fell overboard and drowned. Randi was left with Ole, born 1881, and Theodore, born 1882. In 1886 she married:


Anders (Andrew) Fredrickson Søiset (Borterøra)
Anders came to the USA in 1882, landed at Castle Garden in New York, and traveled by train to Traverse City. He took the name Fredrickson in the USA. Anders and Randi had the children: Fredrick, Nels, Christine, and Magnus.

The family lived on a comparatively large farm near the other Halseth brothers and Steinar Garthe, and the farm is still in the family. It is still called the Fredrickson Farm, and the owner also manages the land on Steinar Garthe's farm, where Jim Garthe lives alone today.

Anders and Randi's son Nels married Marit, the daughter of Steinar Garthe and Lisabeth Bahle. Their daughter Randa Fredrickson has been the primary source for all information about Northport. She knows the Todal book and the Stangvik book almost by heart, and has also been the main source and the chief collaborator behind the local history book on Northport published in 1983. She is directly descended from Nordmøre pioneers on all sides. Today she lives in the retirement home her parents built, together with her sister Norma. Norma married Pastor Fretheim, who served Norwegian congregations in this region for many years. Randa has been a gardener for the villa owners at Northport Point, for the most part out-of-state millionaires.

Anders' brothers and sisters settled farther west. They are mentioned under North Dakota.

(Just as this book was going to press, it was announced that the local historian, Randa Fredrickson, died on August 30, 1986.)

Photo reference 107/1 - Andrew Fredrickson (Anders Borterøra Søyset) and Randi Øien (Reitan) and their children | Back row from left: the twins Frederick and Nels | Magnus in front | Christine on the right | Belongs to: Norma Fretheim / Randa Fredrickson.


Ole A. Moe
In Northport, Ole Moe is reported to be the half-brother of Elisabeth Holden, who married Elling Talgø in Northport. The Stangvik book says nothing about a half-brother for Elisabeth. Ole is said to be the uncle of Anna Gjeldnes of Sutton's Bay, and he was also related to the family of Nils Torsletta of Sutton's Bay. Ole was born in Stangvik in 1837. He died in 1925.

Ole Moe came to Northport in 1882 with his wife Elisabeth Fagerlie and their daughter Marie, 8 years old. They traveled with Anders Grytskog of Kloppan. Elisabeth Fagerlie Moe is said in Northport to be from Kristiansund, marrying Ole in 1871. John Edvard Larsen, who married their daughter Marie, was also from Kristiansund. (Their first daughter, also Marie, died in Norway.)

Ole and Elisabeth had 120 acres north of Fredrik Hommelstad and Guri "Hoilta". They had eight to ten cows and sold cream to the dairy near the Fredrickson Farm which produced butter. They also sold chickens and eggs, and raised potatoes for market. In addition, they grew oats, wheat, hay and corn.

Their daughter and son-in-law continued running the farm, but now it is out of the family and has become an orchard. Marie had eleven children.

Ole's mother (Ingeborg?) died in 1905 at the age of 97, at the home of Anna Gillness in Sutton's Bay.

Sources for Moe: His granddaughter Hilda Nelson (who married into the Torslett family), Randa Fredrickson, and Ole's obituary.

Photo reference 107/2: Ole and Elizabeth Moe (b. Fagerlie.) | Belongs to: Randa Fredrickson.


Elling Talgø (Talgøyholet) and Elisabeth Holden
Elling came to Northport in 1886 and married Lisabet there in 1896. Their daughter Christine married Seth Garthe, the son of Steinar Garthe. Their son Albert stayed on the farm where he died unmarried.

Christine had no children. Christine was a very knowledgeable person where local history of Northport was concerned. The author went through her scrapbook with a fine-tooth comb. Randa Fredrickson owns the book today. Christine said that Jim Garthe, Christine's brother-in-law, who lived with her and her husband, stayed on alone in the house after Seth died.

Lisabet came to Northport in 1893. She died on the farm in 1949 after 45 years there. Elling died in 1942. On the map one sees that Elling owned land jointly with Ole Martinson Halle who accompanied him to the USA. He later became owner of the farm next to Jakob Waagbø, which Ole P. Kvande had had before going to the west coast. Today the farm is owned by Steinar Garthe's great-grandson, the son of Steinar Jr., who owns the farm between Old Steinar's farm and the Fredrickson Farm. This illustrates that this cluster of farms is still strongly marked by Nordmøre folks.

Photo reference 108/1: Elling K. Talgø and Elizabeth b. Holden | Belongs to: Randa Fredrickson.


Ane Holden and Ole Anderson Sjøeseth (Søiseth?)
Ane, the sister of Elisabeth (Holden) Talgø, came at the same time as her sister. They first lived at the home of Ole Moe.

As newlyweds, Ane and Ole lived outside Sutton's Bay, on the farm that today belongs to Eda Olsen, near the road to Lake Leelanau.


Magnus Talgø
Magnus Talgø, from Talgøy-Trøa, was a frequent guest in Northport. He probably emigrated in 1903. He had a large family but apart from that there is no further information.

Source for Jacobsen, Halseth, Søiset, Moe, Talgø, and Holden: Randa Fredrickson.


The Melkild Family
Tore I. Melkild
Tore, born in 1822, came to Northport with Isak Garthe and his contingent in 1867. It is claimed in Northport that he was born in Surnadal. He lived on a small farm near Northport, worked as a shoemaker, and lived unwed. He died in 1900, 78 years old.


Ivar Olson Melkild and Brynhild Indergaard
Ivar was Tore's nephew. The family claims Ivar was also born in Surnadal, in 1847. He emigrated in 1880. His wife Brynhild Indergaard arrived in 1881 from Batnfjord, together with three children, Olavus born in 1871, Ole '74, and Marit '78. Their son Martin was born in 1884. Some say he was born while they lived in the loft on the Talgø Farm, in the room that is now a pantry. Henning Waagbø was then living with his family on the first floor.  Others claim that Martin was born in a log cabin next to the Fredrickson Farm that had belonged to Indians. The family had a small farm on 20 (40?) acres there, which they managed in addition to Ivar's working on the ferries. Ivar disappeared on a ferry trip in 1907. Brynhild died in 1917.

Marit lived alone in the Indian cabin for many years. She was a seamstress in Traverse City. When she died in 1959, the farm was sold to George Fredrickson, and Martin's son, Martin Arnold, donated the cabin to an Indian museum. Today cherry trees cover the farm.

Ivar was called Gaupset when he came to the USA. For a while he used the name Olsen, but then took the name Melkild.

Brynhild's parents also came to Northport. The family thinks that Brynhild's father, Ole Olsen Indergaard, was born in Surnadal in 1820. Her mother, Marta Jensine Olsdatter Løvold (?), was born in Tingvoll. Batnfjorden then belonged to Tingvoll. Brynhild's brother Ole also came to Northport. Martin, born in 1884, his and wife Inga Amelia Sivertson, born of a Trøndelag family in Wisconsin, spoke Norwegian until their children began school. They celebrated a Norwegian Christmas Eve, and lutefisk was on the Christmas Eve menu. In addition, Norwegian pancakes, flatbread, and cream porridge were much in evidence.

Sources: Martin A. Melkild and Randa Fredrickson.


Maret Tronsdatter Øien and Anders Nilsson "Swede" Ørsalgeilen
In the Todal book, we encounter Anders Nelsson "Swede", giving poetic expression to a flight from love's sorrow in Sweden. Anders came to Oppdal when 17, married in Todalen when 26, and eventually emigrated to Northport with his entire family in 1881.

Maret was the sister of the Randi who was first married to Nils Halseth, then Anders Borterøra Søyset, in Northport.

In addition to the children Ildri, Kristine, Teodor, and Brita mentioned in the Todal book, they had a son Knut in 1877. Brita's year of birth is 1880 according to information in Northport. Their son Nils was born in the USA in 1884.

The family settled in the region where the Hommelstad family lived, near the road to Leland, bounded by the Bohemian settlement on the west and the Swedish farms to the south.

Anders, Andrew in Northport, had the farm between John Hommelstad and Guri "Hoilta".  Maret died in 1923, Andrew in 1933, 88 years old. They then had twelve grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Photo reference 109/1: Marit Tronsdatter Øien and Andrew (Anders) T. Nelson "Svensk" | Belongs to: Randa Fredrickson | Copy: Bud Palin.


Nels had a farm near his father's but, for most of his life, lived at Point Betsie, Frankfort, and must have been with the Coast Guard at the lighthouse there.


Knut had a store and post office in the building where the "Happy Hour" in Gill's Pier is today. They are famous for serving America's largest hamburgers as their specialty, and large and small, young and old, come from Northport to gather there on Friday evenings.

Knut became postmaster when he was 21. He ran the store, sold insurance, and was a real estate broker. He was also assistant lighthouse keeper at Gill's Pier for ten years. He was a member of the I.O.O.F. lodge, which bore his casket to Northport when he died in 1916.

Knut married Jennie Peterson in 1903 and they had three children.

For a time, his father Anders also lived at the "Happy Hour". While there, he added on the front part of the store where hamburgers are sold over the counter today. The place isn't far from Anders' farm.


Ildri and Hans P. Halseth
Ildri (Ida in the USA) and Hans lived in the "Happy Hour" from 1928 until they died in 1934, after Hans retired from the Coast Guard. The Bohemian, Joseph Korson, opened a tavern in the building in 1936.

Hans was born in 1867 and emigrated when 21 years old. He married Ildri on New Year's Day in 1892 and they spent their wedding night at Isak Garthe's home.

Hans worked for thirty years in the Coast Guard on South Manitou Island until retiring to Gill's Pier. They both died in 1934. They raised Ildri's nephew, Alden Nelson, and an adopted daughter, Anna Margrethe Halseth. Hans was buried with military honors.

His obituary says that Hans' brothers and sisters were: Ole, Iver, Nels, Alfred, Julia, Josephine, and Telma.  Where they lived isn't stated.


Kristine (Clara in the USA) married George Burdo. He was born in Bohemia in 1864 and emigrated with his family when eight years old. They were married in Sutton's Bay, but lived most of their lives in Gill's Pier. Surely George was from the Bohemian settlement, so it's likely they were married in Sutton's Bay because of the Catholic Church there.  Children: May, Irene, Edward, Julius, Amelia, and Oscar. Kristine had eight grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren when she died in 1960 at the age of 87 (born in 1873). She was Northport's first gold-star mother in W.W.I, something of a dubious honor when one realizes it means losing a son in the war. She was a member of the aux

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