Ole Hadlesson Noram
- Born: 18 Sep 1847, Norheim, Etne, SkÃ¥nevik, Hordaland, Norge 1
- Baptized: 27 Sep 1847, Grindheim Kirke, Etne, Hordaland, Norway
- Marriage: Guro Nilsdatter on 30 Oct 1874 in Grindheim Kirke, Etne, Hordaland, Norway
- Died: 15 Mar 1896, Morris, Grundy, Illinois at age 48 1
Another name for Ole was Ola Hadlesson Norheim.
Ole Hadlesson was an illegitimate child. His mother, Siri Olsdatter Norheim, seems to have been living at the Norheim farm, which was owned by a cousin, when Ole was born. His father married another woman a year later. His mother moved to Vikedal around 1850 and married a farmer there. She emigrated to America and visited Ole on at least one occasion. Ole was raised by relatives, possibly by a grandparent. According to family tradition, Ole was a sailor for seven years before he married and took up farming in Etne. This is very possibly accurate, as he was married at the age of 27. Ole is listed in the 1865 census as being an unmarried 19 year old farmhand at the Skjeldal farm in Etne.
Ole and Guro Olsdatter Tesdal were married at Grindheim Church on 30 Oct 1874. They lived at Norheim (husmannplass Staurnes) that first winter and moved to Sande the following spring. Ole entered into a contract with the owner of Sande, Torbjørn Torbjørnsson, to rent the husmannplass Midttun. According to the contract, Ole had the right to use the outer fields to graze 2 cows and 6 smaller animals (goats and sheep). He was obligated to work for the farm owner for 6 days during the planting season, then 3 days per week for 6 weeks and finally 2 days during harvest. He also paid a fee of 50 speciedalar.
Ole, his wife, and four children left Sande in the fall of 1881 and went to Bergen where they took passage on a ship of the Cunard line which seems to have sailed on 14 October 1881. It appears they were sponsored by Guro's brother. According to Grandma Olson, Ole did not want to leave Norway, but he was persuaded to go by his wife. Ole never learned to speak English and often in later years expressed a desire to return to Norway. But this course of action was impossible economically for a family with 9 children. The family initially settled on one of the Nelson farms in Saratoga Township, Grundy County. A few years later they moved to Coal City, and rented a farm from another relative. Ole had always had trouble with his wife's relatives in Saratoga Township, but got along very well with the Coal City branch of the family.
The Nelsons eventually persuaded Ole to move back to Saratoga Township to take over their farm again. On 22 December 1894, Ole filed an intention to become a U.S. citizen at the Grundy County courthouse. But within a few years Ole Nelson was trying to get Ole Norem to move off the farm so his son could run it. This situation was the cause of the tragedy that followed. Guro's relatives had always looked down on Ole because he was illegitimate. This appears very strange as they originally sponsored the emigration of the Norem family and even persuaded them to move back to Saratoga after they had moved to Coal City. It is also strange that the Nelsons would have such a discriminatory attitude towards illegitimacy since the mother of Guro and her brother (Ole Nelson) was, herself, illegitimate.
The incident which eventually ended with tragic results for Ole Norem and his family, started in 1894 or 1895. Even though Ole Nelson had rented one of his farms to Ole Norem for a number of years, it appears that he wanted Norem to move off the farm so one of his sons could take it over. Norem refused all inducements to move in 1895, but said he would move the following year if he were left alone. Apparently the bad blood between Nelson and Norem festered and they remained at odds into early 1896. On 12 March 1896, Nelson secured a writ of eviction from the local court and county officials attempted twice to serve it on Norem that day. The first attempt failed when Ole Norem "got the drop" on the officers as they approached the house and they were forced to retreat. The officers returned to Morris and got a state warrant for Norem's arrest. They returned later in the day and the bailiff of the circuit court, Charles Johnson, attempted to approach the house to talk to Norem. But Ole fired a shot at him and Johnson and his companions were forced to withdraw.
The next day a neighbor, Storey Matteson, attempted to reason with Ole about moving off the farm, but to no avail. Ole had been pushed too far and declared that he would not move and apparently stated, "No sir, no sir. I'll stay here and the man who tries to put me off will get shot." Later that morning as Ole was negotiating the sale of some cattle with another farmer near the barn, Deputy Sheriff Derenzy and two other officers approached the farm. Interestingly enough, Derenzy was married to a daughter of Ole Nelson. When Ole saw them he started to run towards the house, followed closely by Derenzy. At this point the story diverges and it is not really certain what actually transpired. The officers later testified that Derenzy fired a warning shot just before Ole reached the house and ordered him to surrender. They further stated that Ole had a revolver and pointed it at Derenzy after he tried and failed to open the door to the house. Derenzy then fired two shots, the second one hitting Ole in the abdomen. Ole managed to get inside the house where he collapsed on the kitchen floor.
Family members who were present during the incident always swore that Ole was not armed at the time of the shooting. Ole and his eldest son, Henry, were arrested and taken to the Grundy County jail, where he was examined by doctors upon arrival and was told he would probably die. The bullet appeared to have punctured his intestines. The doctors wanted to operate, but were forbidden to do so by the family and Ole
himself. A further examination seemed to indicate that the wound might not be so serious and that Ole might recover. Ole was able to sit up in bed and even move around somewhat. That night he was placed in a rocking chair, but died about 6:45 AM on 15 March 1896. His son Henry, and daughter, Belle, were with him when he died. The post-mortem showed that his liver and gall bladder had both been perforated and that the bullet lodged in the liver. Death was caused by internal hemorrhage and damage to the liver. The newspaper accounts of the entire incident were very much prejudiced against Ole Norem, which is not surprising considering the social prominence of his brother-in-law, Ole Nelson. The attitude of most of the local population, on the other hand, seemed to support Norem and the newspaper even chided this popular attitude in its account of the incident in its 16 March 1896 issue.
The truth will never really be known. The inquest exonerated the Deputy Sheriff and the other officers involved. Henry Norem was fined $25 and court costs for resisting arrest, but the sentence was suspended. Deputy Sheriff Derenzy seems to have lost a great deal of public respect over the incident and he shortly afterwards left the area. The outcome of this tragic episode had just the opposite effect of that intended by the
"bad" Nelson. Since Ole Nelson had sponsored the emigration of the Norem family from Norway, he became responsible for them following Ole's death. He was forced to leave his widowed sister in possession of the farm for the remainder of her life and she lived another 37 years. Ole's grandson, Otto Hagen Jr, was born in the house where his grandfather was shot and often stayed with his grandmother during his childhood. In later years one of the Nelsons, perhaps trying to salve the family's conscious, attempted to give Ole's daughter, Helen, a gift of $5000. She told him to keep his blood money. 1
Notes in his life were:
• Tombstone, 1849-1896, Saratoga Cemetery, Morris, Grundy, Illinois.
Noram, Ole, 1849-1896, father; marker NORAM [lot owner; Lot 25]
• Tombstone: Saratoga Cemetery, Morris, Grundy, Illinois.
Noram family marker.
Ole married Guro Nilsdatter, daughter of Father Nilsdatter and Mother Nilsdatter, on 30 Oct 1874 in Grindheim Kirke, Etne, Hordaland, Norway. (Guro Nilsdatter was born on 31 Mar 1846 in Tesdal, Etne, SkÃ¥nevik, Hordaland, Norge 1, baptized on 5 Apr 1846 in Grindheim Kirke, Etne, Hordaland, Norway, died on 21 Feb 1933 in Saratoga, Grundy, Illinois 2 3 and was buried in Saratoga Cemetery, Morris, Grundy, Illinois.) The cause of her death was Arteriosclerosis, hypertension and cranial hemorrhage. Contributory causes are right sided parotitis and old age.