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Notes for Endre Gulbrandson

The Family of Endre Gulbrandson & Marit Hansdatter Gravli

Endre Gulbrandsen was born in 1812 on the Oimoen farm in Aadalen, neighboring the Lunde farm. Endre Gulbrandsen & family left Norway in 1852, following the same route and having almost the same experiences as Peder Lunde. Along with Peder Lunde, was one of two first permanant settlers in Hayward, Freeborn, MN.

1857 State Census Township 102, Freeborn, Minnesota
Andrew Gulbranson, age 40, b. Norway, Farmer
Marit Gulbranson, age 42, b. Norway
Gulbran Gulbranson, age 17, b. Norway, Farmer
Gonor Gulbranson, male, age 14, b. Norway (listed as male but this is an error)
Hans Gulbranson, age 13, b. Norway
Veger Gulbranson, age 11, b. Norway
Karee Gulbranson, age 8, b. Norway (listed as male but this is an error)
Mary Gulbranson, age 5, b. Norway
Elsie Gulbranson, age 3, b. Norway
Ole Hanson, age 68, b. Norway, Farmer (Ole Hansen Rustand Haugerud)
Peter Lund, age 37, b. Norway, Farmer
Elsie Lund, age 37, b. Norway
Asle Lund, age 12, b. Norway

1860 census Hayward, Freeborn Co., MN
Andrew Gilbransen (Endre), age 47, b. Norway
Maryett (Marit), age 46, b. Norway
Gilbran (Gulbrand), age 19, b. Norway
Julia (Gunner), age 17, b. Norway
Hans, age 15, b. Norway
William (Veggar), age 14, b. Norway
Caroline (Kari), age 11, b. Norway
Mary (Maria), age 7, b. Wisconsin
Elsie L. (Else), age 5, b. Wisconsin
Edward, age 1. b. Minnesota
Living next door to Peder & Else Lunde and family

1870 census Hayward, Freeborn Co., MN
Peter Lund, age 51, farmer, Real estate 3000, Personal Estate 900, b. Norway
Elsie, age 49, keeping house, b. Norway
Asle, age 24, b. Norway
Ole, age12, b. MN
Endre Gulbranson, age 57, farmer, Real estate 2000, Personal Estate 1000, b. Norway
Marit, age 55, keeping house, b. Norway
Gilbert, age 28, farmer, Real estate 3000, Personal Estate 300, b. Norway
Julia, age 27, lives at home, b. Norway
Hans, age 26, farmer, Real estate 1900, Personal Estate 250, b. Norway
Viger, age 23, farmer, Real estate 1900, Personal Estate 250, b. Norway
Maria, age 17, b. Wisconsin
Elsie, age 15, b. Wisconsin
Edward, age 11, b. Minnesota
Nils Gulbranson, age 42, farm laborer, Personal Estate 300, b. Norway
Gury, age 46, keeping house, b. Norway
Carrie, age 19, b. Norway
Erick, age 15, b. Norway
Gulbrand, age 12, b. Norway
Thorwald, age 8, b. Norway
Maria, age 4, b. Norway
Ole, age 1, b. Wisconsin

1880 United States Census Hayward, Freeborn, Minnesota Page Number 56A
Moriat GULBRANDSON Wife M Female W 65 NORWAY Keeps House NORW NORW
Edward GULBRANDSON Son S Male W 21 MN Farm Labor NORW NORW
Mary MALQUIST Other S Female W 18 NORWAY Servant NORW NORW

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, August 09, 2004 8:36 PM
Subject: Gulbrandson Notes #1


Albert Lea, MN Newspaper


The family and descendants of Endre Gulbrandson have so long been a part of the Albert Lea scene that it is sometimes forgotten that he was one of the early settlers of Hayward.

He was born December 4, 1812 in Aadahlen, Norway, and married Marit Hansdater Gravli in 1840.

They had eight children, at least some of whom were born, also, in Norway.

A brief, but comprehensive family history written by Endre's great granddaughter, Ruth Gulbrandson, hints at some of the difficulties the family had in establishing a new home.

In 1852, Endre walked from his home at Aadahlen to Christiana (Oslo), 21 miles, to obtain permission from the king of Norway to emigrate to America.

Permission having been granted the painstaking preparations began. As the travelers had to feed themselves and cook their own meals en route, large quantities of flat bread (Flat-brod) were baked and packed into wooden chests. Other food, provided for the voyage, included potatoes, salt pork and herring.

The family came by sailing ship in the spring of 1852 embarking at Drommen. The voyage from Drommen to Quebec took about nine weeks. From Quebec the family went by canal boat and sail boat through the St. Lawrence River and Great Lakes to Milwaukee, Wis. and on from there to Wingville, Wis. where they first settled.

In the spring of 1856 Endre visited his two brothers, Gulbrand and Amund, who had settled in Fillmore County. He and his family then moved on to Rock Creek, Iowa, where he encountered a good friend from Norway, Peter Lunde.

The two men and their families set out by covered wagon into unexplored territory and arrived in Section 8, Township 102, Range 20, later Hayward Township.

They left their families in the covered wagon and walked west along the Blue Earth Trail to the East Chain lakes, south to what is now Fairmont in Martin County. Finding it no more promising than their first choice they returned to Freeborn County.

They had no reason to return thanks for their choice when the following year the East Chain Lakes settlers were massacred by Indians.


Not that life was easy in the Hayward area. They lived with constant anxiety and hunger was more often than not a reality. In the winter of 1856-57, Endre - not neglecting to take his musket - directed his steps toward what is now Bancroft in quest of some corn.

Unable to find any he stopped on his way back at the Ole Indahl home. Indahl had no corn either but took him to another neighbor, Ole Christenson.

Christenson had corn, but did not want to share it. But Indahl insisted adn Endre happily carried the corn home in a sack on his back, ground it in the coffee mill and thus fed the hungry family.

The family accounts of Endre's wife, Marit, picture her as a warm and loveable woman and an excellent homemaker.

Their children were Gunnor, Gilbert (who fought in the Civil War, started the Hardware business and was first president of the First National Bank at Albert Lea), Hans (who was also in the hardware and implement business), Veggar (who was in the hardware business for a short while but who eventually found politics more interesting), Maria (later Maria Anderson), Kari (later Kari Lunde), Elsie and Edward (died young but not until after he had married and fathered two children).

As the children began to marry and have families of their own they enjoyed coming home for reunions and formed what they called the Cousins Club.


The family was always noted for its strong religious felling. They needed their faith. In the fall of 1857 or 1858, when Endre had his hay all stacked by his stable a prairie fire driven out of bounds by a strong south wind burned stable and hay.

Earlier the first cow he had been able to acquire in America had falled into an abandoned lead mine at Mineral Point in Wisconsin and was killed.

He had acquired land for the Hayward Cemetery from D.C. Armstrong, Albert Lea, and it was there he was buried after his death March 22, 1886.

Marit lived until February 21, 1898, and was also buried at Hayward.


Hans Gulbrandson was eight years old when he came with his parents, Endre and Marit to settle first in Wisconsin and then in Hayward Township.

As a young man he was sent to Nora Springs, Iowa, to work for his room and board as there were times when the early settlers didn't have enough to feed their children.

Before he joined his brothers in Albert Lea in the hardware business he walked from Hayward to Austin and worked for a year in a hardware store there.

In 1870 he started selling farm machinery and implements in Albert Lea.

He married Olive Elizabeth Nelson on July 4, 1878. The daughter of Mathias and Agnetha Rood Nelson, she was one of five children. her father had been born in Hedemark, Norway. Her mother was born in Land Prestegjeld, Norway. She was of aristocratic heritage and her family was in the ship building and shipping business.

Her brother's family donated the ship that is in the museum at Luther College.


Mathias and Agnetha were married in Norway, but like the Gulbrandsons had migrated, locating first in Lafayette County, Wis., and then coming on to settle not far from St. Nicholas on Albert Lea Lake.

Their daughter, Olive Elizabeth, was another in the Gulbrandson family who made a name for herself for her hospitality and her neighborliness.

In addition to the more mundane tasks of home she tatted, pieced quilts, crocheted, knitted, and enjoyed her plants and flowers.

Her daily devotions were always an important part of her life whether she was alone or the family was present. Hans, too, was known as a God fearing man and accepted whatever misfortune fell him as "God's will" and not to be complained of.


His implement building was located at that time on Broadway across form the corner of Pearl and Broadway. A shipment of machinery, worth $10,000 had been loaded into it and on January 24, 1908, the building burned with a complete loss of the uninsured machinery.

The next day, Sunday, found him in church, confident that God still "had charge over all." Shortly afterward a building was build on Broadway and housed Gulbrandson Implements throughout his lifetime. He also did business in a frame building a bit south of what was later Gulbrandson Hardware, erected in 1882. He and his sons, Einar and Edmund worked there together.

He also had a daughter, Martha Agatha, who was later wed to a Lutheran minister. Now in her 90's, she lives at the home built for the Hans Gulbrandson family, 124 East Third Street.

Always religious, Hans Gulbrandson bought and gave to a group of Lutherans the church that later became Our Savior's Lutheran, often referred to as Hans Gulbrandson's Church.

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, August 09, 2004 8:37 PM
Subject: Gulbrandson Notes #2



Endre Gulbrandson, a sturdy old pioneer of Freeborn county, now deceased, assisted in the development of the county from the earliest days, and left a heritage of honor and integrity which has been held untarnished by his large family of children. He was born in Aadalen, Norway, December 4, 1812, son of Gulbrand and Kari Gulbrandson, descended from many generations of Norsk ancestors. He grew to manhood in Norway, was there married, and there spent his early manhood.

In 1852 he brought his family to America, and located for a time in Iowa County, Wisconsin, later moving to Wingville, Grant County, in the same state. May 8, 1856, the family started for Minnesota. Endre left his family in Houston County, and walked to Mitchell, Iowa, where he met his relative, Peter Lunde. The two men stalked out claims in Hayward township, this county, and then returned for their families, the Gulbrandson family arriving about the middle of the summer. For a time the family lived in a dugout on a claim of 160 acres in section 17, but later they moved to a claim in section 8, and there lived in another dugout. In 1863 a log house was built, 20x30 feet, two stories high. Mr. Gulbrandson prospered with the years, and his agricultural operations proved so successful that he increased his holdings until he owned 280 acres of good land. Although a true American, he never forgot the scenes of his childhood and early manhood, and in 1885 he made a trip to the old country, spending six months in visiting friends and relatives. Mr. Gulbrandson exerted a great influence in his community, and participated actively in political life. He was interested in everything which he believed to be for the betterment of his town, and wwas in every way a good citizen. In his home, he was a loving husband and devoted father, and in the community he was a staunch friend. Thoroughly trained in the tenets of the Lutheran church, he possessed a true Christian character, and was an active promoter of religion in this county. He lived until his death in the log house, which he erected in the early days. The house is still preserved and is owned by his son Vegger Gulbrandson. Endre Gulbrandson died March 27, 1886, and his wife Marit Hanson, who was born in Aadalen, Norway, September 2, 1814, and whom he married in 1840, died February 21, 1898. This worthy couple had a family of eight children: Gilbert, deceased; Julia, deceased; Hans, of Albert Lea; Vegger, of Albert Lea; Kari, now Mrs. Lars Lunde, Hayward; Maria, deceased; Elsie L., of Albert Lea, and Edward, deceased.

Vegger Gulbrandson, banker and retired business man, is one of Albert Lea's most useful and active citizens, having taken a vital interest in the business, agricultural, financial and educational development of the county since his arrival here with the earliest settlers in 1856. He was born in Aadalen, Norway, November 4, 1846, son of Endre and Marit (Hanson) Gulbrandson, and with them came to the United States in 1852, locating in Iowa county, Wisconsin, and later in Grant county in the same state. In 1856 the family came to Freeborn county, and took up their residence in Hayward township. Vegger attended the common schools for a brief time, but the larger part of his education has been received from close observation and keen reasoning, as well as by deep reading. He worked out for a time, but spend most of his youth on the home farm in Hayward township. While on the farm he became interested in the sale of farm machinery, and after a time decided to devote his entire time to that business. Accordingly, in 1876, he came to Albert Lea, and engaged in that line in partnership with his brothers, Gilbert and Hans. Subsequently Gilbert sold his interest. In the course of time a hardware department was added, and Hans and Vegger conducted the business for nearly twenty-five years, erecting suitable buildings, maintaining a large volumn of trade, and enjoying the confidence and trust of the entire community. A few years ago, Vegger retired to the extent of giving up his active interest in the business, but he is still busily engaged in looking after his various holdings. He is vice-president of the First National Bank, of Albert Lea, and the owner of 300 acres of which bears the signature of no less a personage than Abraham Lincoln. For many years, Mr. Gulbrandson labored for the upbuilding of Luther Academy, at Albert Lea, as one of its most active directors, ad he is still one of the trustees of Luther College at Decorah, Iowa. A Republican in politics, he has done the city of Albert Lea excellent service as a member of the charter commission, and as an alderman of the third ward. He has also been prominently mentioned in connection iwth several important state offices. As an historicla investigator, Mr. Gulbrandson is painstaking and accurate, and his serviecs have been invaluble in establishing beyond a doubt the story of the first permanent settlement of Freeborn county. He was also instrumental in having the first cabin built in Freeborn county moved to the fair grounds. On August 26, 1880, Vegger Gulbrandson was united in marriage with Anna Marie Knutson, of Winnebago county, Iowa. This union has been blessed with seven children: Eskeld H. is a hardware merchant in Ellendale, Minn.; Ina lives at home; Victor M. is a traveling salesman for Deere, Webber & Co., of Minneapolis; Amos B. is a hardware merchant in Hayward, Minn.; Cleon D. is a student at Luther College, Decorah, Iowa; Freemont G. and Kathinka L. are at home and attend the public schools. The family residence is at 218 East William Street.