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Notes for Nils Olsen Viker

The Family of Ole Nilsen Viker & Margit Nubsdatter Onsgaard

1856 census Osage Twp., Mitchell Co., IA
Household #84
Levi Olson, age 31, b. Norway, In Iowa 6 years
Isabel Olson, age 20, b. Norway, In Iowa 6 years
Peter Lund, age 36, In Iowa 6 years. (Had actually been in US for 6 years, in Iowa for 4.)
Else Lund, age 35, In Iowa 6 years
Esly P. Lund, age 10, In Iowa 6 years
Household #85
Ole Nelson (Viker), age 26, b. Norway, in Iowa 2 years
Marg Nelson, age 37, b. Norway, in Iowa 2 years
Nels Julius Nelson, age 8, b. Norway, in Iowa 2 years
Nels Ole, age 2, b. IA, in Iowa 2 years
Isabel Ole, no age listed (infant), b. IA Note: This is Ingeborg Viker who later married Ole Lunde
1854 to 1857 - Farmed in Mitchell County, IA. 1856 Iowa State census lists Ole Nelson, age 26. Living with wife Mary (37),children Nels Julius(9),Nels (2) and Isabel (no age given - probably less than 1. Born in 1855) Living next door to Peter and Else Lunde. Listed as having lived in Iowa for 2 years.

1857 to 1862 - His parents homesteaded in Madelia, Brown (now Watonwan) County, MN until fleeing from Sioux uprising in 1862.( Listed in one account as part of group who settled there in 1858.) Others from Aadalen in settlement included Ole Palmeson Kjella and his brothers Gulbrand Palmeson and Helge Palmeson. Ole and Gulbrand Palmeson were both killed in the 1862 uprising.

Fall 1861 to about 1872 - Fillmore County Minnesota

November 1861 - sister Karoline born and baptised at the Elstad Lutheran Church in Fillmore Co., Minnesota
Birth records of the Elstad Lutheran Church, Lanesboro, Fillmore Co., Minnesota
Karoline, born 3 Novbr 60 (error, should be 61), baptised 17 Novbr 61, Parents Ole Nielsen & Marit Nubsdatter, Witnesses: Jan Evenson, Nils Torsen, Valborg Aasmunsdtr & Anne Semmen, Elstad church.

Biography of his sister Caroline states:
Caroline Wicker was bom Nov. 3, 1861, youngest daughter of Margaret (Onsgaard) and Ole Nelson Wicker of Highland Prairie, near Spring Valley, Minn. Her father, a farmer, had been in the Norwegian Navy before coming to America. Her mother had many relatives living in southern Minnesota who had preceded her to the United States. Many of them lived around Albert Lea and Austin. Shortly after Caroline's birth, her father joined the Union Army and was in the service for several years. Caroline was raised in the Lutheran church, educated in the country schools. Between school terms she often visited her many relatives around the area and in Wisconsin. In her early twenties, she took up land in Minnesota and worked at Crookston. There she met 0. M. Omlie to whom she was married at Fargo. Aug. 27.1883.

Is this his father Ole N. Viker??
MN 4th Inf Co H. Residence not shown. Born in Norway. Civil War: Age 32. Substitute. Mustered 21 Dec 1864 (or 19 Dec 1862). Private. Discharged from the service with his regiment, 19 Jul 1865. Sources: (MINN p213) (MCIW p237)

July 25, 1865 - Nils was killed by his brother Julius in a farming accident (family story says he was killed with a scythe during harvest. Nils was age 11 and Julius was age 18. According to family story, Nils was hidden by the tall wheat in the field and Julius didn't realize he was there. He hit him with a scythe in the stomach. his is based on things his younger sister Ingeborg Lunde overheard adults in her family saying later (They did not talk about it with her as she was too young.) There is a death record for Nils Olson Wiger at the Elstad Lutheran Church in Lanesboro, Fillmore Co., Minnesota

1865 census Holt, Fillmore Co., Minnesota
Census probably taken after harvest, late July or early August. This is also when the 1860 and 1870 censuses were taken in Fillmore County.
Household #61
Ole Nelson

From: Kari Northup []
Sent: Tuesday, March 19, 2013 12:24 PM
To: 'Julie Dragvold'
Subject: RE: Nils Olsen Viker

I spent some time this morning looking at this, and here are some comments so far.

I am convinced you have the right Nils. The 1865 death record is at a church that his parents attended as his sister Karoline was baptised there in 1861, and they were still living there in 1865 because they are on the 1865 & 1870 census. The Nils who died in 1865 was named Nils Olson Viger, was born the right year, and the date of death is consistent with the family story that he died when they were harvesting wheat. I think the part my g-grandmother only heard snatches of adult conversation about was the fact that Julius was the one who killed Nils. I don't know if they tried to cover that up with everyone, or just the children, but I'm sure the adults talked about it when they were alone, and that they stopped talking about it when 10 year old Ingeborg walked in. The story that Julius killed Nils when Nils was young would still fit if Nils was 11, also that he short enough that Julius did not see him in the wheat. It actually makes more sense that Nils might have been old enough to have gone along with them to try to help harvest, then that somehow at age 3 he wandered into the field.

Unfortunately, Nils is not listed with the family in Holt Twp, Fillmore, Minnesota on the 1865 census, but I think that is also explainable. lists the 1865 census as being dated June 1, 1865, but there is no date on the actual census. In 1860, I don't find Holt Twp, but the census that year in Preble Twp was dated July 18th, the one Norway Twp was July 30th and the one in Amhurst Twp was August 9th. Ole, Margit and family are listed on the 1870 census in Holt Twp, and that year it was dated July 27th. I think the 1865 census was probably taken after the harvest - and by then Nils was no longer alive as he had died on July 25th.

This is an excerpt from another researcher on the census records in Fillmore County during that time period. It applies to more states than Minnesota of course! One of the worst ones I have in another family line was an 1870 census in Illinois, just unexplainable.


(W.M.?) Braden had a limited time to count people in Fillmore County. He spoke English, but he had to gather information from people who spoke Norwegian, German, Swedish, etc. He would knock on a door and whoever was home would provide the information ---could be a child, a hired man, or if no one was home, he asked a neighbor. I think they were paid by the number of people they counted. Inger Marie was never with the family even though she was not married until about 1876. She could have been the 7 year old Mary in 1870 and the age was wrong. Several other ages were wrong as well. Isabel was listed as 13 in 1870, but in 1875 she was 11 years old when the census was taken by Henry Ellingson who spoke Norwegian.

In 1870 the next family counted after Gilbert Gilbertson was Christian and Betsy Iverson. He was Christian Iverson (Hauske) born 13 Feb 1828 on Rennesøy, came to U.S. 1853, single. She was Berthe Karine Aslagsdtr. Hauske, born 20 May 1828 on Finnøy, came to U.S. 1855, single. He was a half brother of your Lars Larson Hauske, she was a sister of Rasmus A. Houske who married Kari G. Lunde. In 1870 Christian was 40, Betsy 35, both born in Norway. Listed below them are Samuel 19, Mary 16, Christopher 15, and Christian 15 --all born in Norway ---I have no idea who they were as they are only mentioned on that census report and they could not have been children of the family! Next are listed three children born in Minnesota who were their children: Andrew 12, Edward 11, and Daniel 9. Missing are Syvert (Daniel's twin brother), and Ellen, 2 yrs.

The 1860 census for Fillmore Co. is much worse.

I finally located the Gilbertson family in 1865 --they were listed in Newburg Township, which may not necessarily mean they lived there as the census taker may have strayed over the border. The 1865 Minn. census only lists names and sex. It reads Gilbert Gilbertson -male, Ann -female, Gilbert -male, Andrew -male, Ole -male, Ellin -male, Caroline -female, Ann -female, Elizabeth -female.


I also looked some at families in my file who spent time in Fillmore County. Here are some more I found.

Gulbrand Gulbrandson Lunde & Anne Putten - I have made a family page for this couple on my website at:

Scan through it and let me know if you have questions/additons/corrections/etc. All their children lived in Fillmore County at least for awhile. One of their daughters, Kirsti, who died before age 1 is buried in the Spring Grove Lutheran Old Cemetery in Spring Grove, Houston Co., Minnesota according to online records, so they may have attended church there and not at Elstad, although the cemetery records do not exactly match the information I have for Kirsti from a book written about the Lundes.

We already listsed Hans, Nub, Ole de, Ole dy Viker as being in Fillmore, but they also had a sister Gunhild who married Elling Haugen who was living in Racine, Mower, Minnesota in 1870, post office listed as Hamilton, Fillmore, Minnesota.

Endre Gulbrandson (Lunde), who was a relative and longtime neighbor of my ancestor Peder Lunde in Hayward, Freeborn, Minnesota, also stopped in Fillmore County to see two of his brothers,Gulbrand & Amund, who were living there in the Spring of 1856. Gulbrand was the one who married Anne Putten above, and Amund was living in Wilmington (post office Spring Grove) in 1860 & 1870.

That's all for now, didn't have much luck on the baptism records except to wonder if Nels Tosten in Nels Torsen as there were two of those in Fillmore in 1860 who were old enough and born in Norway.


-----Original Message-----
From: Kari Northup []
Sent: Monday, March 18, 2013 12:25 PM
To: 'Julie Dragvold'
Subject: RE: Nils Olsen Viker

Hello Julie!

I was very glad to hear from you, we were on a cruise last week and I didn't get back to my email until now.

You are very right about this story being handed down and open to corrections. The way the story was told to me was that my g-grandmother Ingeborg Viker Lunde, who was born in 1855, would sometimes walk into a room and hear the adults talking about a brother who had been killed in the farming accident by her older brother Julius, but the adults would all stop talking about it when she came into the room so she only heard bits and pieces of the story. She would have been age 10 in 1865 so you would think she would have remembered the accident if it had happened then, but who knows. Maybe she knew he had died then, but the adults who were present when it happened were trying to cover the fact that Julius had killed him, so that's the part she only overheard.

Interesting, interesting, interesting.

I would LOVE to have a digital photo or scanned copy of ANY records you have there about this family. They moved around a lot in that time period, and anything you have would help. And no, I don’t have them on the 1860 census. I have from family story and also records from Brown (now Wantonwan) county that they were there at that time, but fled the area due to rumors of an upcoming Indian attack, which did later happen. But they are not listed in that community on the 1860 census, although one of the families that they were friends with was listed twice - and I think it was an error and one of them should have been Ole & Margit and family. And yes, lots of variations in name spelling. They also went by Nelson/Nilsen on many early records. It was a big surprise to me to find that they are buried in Moscow, Minnesota, in a community that knew them well, under the name WIKER. We have always said and used the spelling Viker.

Thanks again for contacting, let me know if I can help you with anything you want to know about this family. They also had lots of relatives in Fillmore County, and maybe I can help with some of those, too.


-----Original Message-----
From: Julie Dragvold
Sent: Wednesday, March 13, 2013 8:54 AM
Subject: Nils Olsen Viker

Hi Kari,
I am the historian for Elstad Lutheran Church. I am in the process of researching every family that has passed through Elstad in its 150+ years as a church. So naturally Ole Nilsen Viker is one of the families I have in my database, because one of his daughters was baptized there.
I was thrilled to find your website so I could have accurate information on their origins and where they lived and died. Thank you!!
But imagine my surprise--no shock!--when I was doing the burial records and came upon the name of Nils Olsen Viger!!! As you probably know from your excellent and extensive research, the "g" and "k" are often interchanged because of the Danish-Norwegian and new Norwegian usages. So what were the chances of TWO Nils Olsen Viger/Viker names at Elstad??! Well, the chances were astronomical!!! But it got worse.
This Nils that died at Elstad, died in 1865 and he was 11 years old.
That means he was born in 1854--the exact same year that you had for your Nils!!! But to top it all off, Nils Olsen Viger died on July 25--exactly when we harvest our small grains around here, like wheat!!!! I just couldn't ignore all of these amazing coincidences.
I just have two problems with it. First there is your story that was handed down. I myself have had an instance in my family where my relatives told me my ancestor was the captain of the Maine. After investigating, I found that he was only a sailor on board a ship that eventually brought the bodies of the sailors that died in the Maine explosion back to the US. The story had been corrupted down through the years. And I have several other stories like this. My theory is that Nils, not Julius, was 9 or 10 (or 11?) years old when the tragic accident happened.
The other problem I have with it is that I am assuming you have the 1860 census of Ole's family and Nils is not listed with them.
But my gut tells me that this Nils Viger that died in 1865 and your Nils Viker are one and the same person.
I'd be happy to hear what you have to say about my theory. I want to be able to prove or disprove it so I can either link this Nils up with your family or start searching for another family that had a Nils Viger. Anything you have to contribute or comment about this would be greatly appreciated.
Sadly, there is no gravestone for this boy.
Julie Dragvold
Elstad Historian