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Notes for Ole Hansen Rustand Haugerud

The Family of Hans Olson Rustand & Kari Olsdatter Storoydgarden

!Marriage: Film 124053, Page 384, #28. On 29 Mar 1815. Also on film: 124056,
Page 388, #17. 24 March 1815, at age 26. Ole Hanson Rustand married Guri Torgrimsdtr Holte, at age 27.


1801 census Buscherud, Nordrehoug, Rustan farm, Norway - Hans Olsen (57), Kari Olsdatter (46), Barbro Hansdatter (25), Kari Hansdatter (20), Ole Hansen (17), Sigri Hansdatter (14), Ole Hansen (11), Niels Hansen (8) and Simen Hansen (4). First marriage for Hans & Kari, all children listed as theirs. Hans listed as "Bonde og Gardebeboer" of Rustan farm, first family listed on that farm.

In Ringerike (1983) the article on page 37 "Litt mere om Elsrud-aetten." On page 41 tells about Ole Hansen Rustand born in 1789 died in 1861 in Iowa, USA. Married Guri Torgrimsdatter from Hole who was born in 1789 and died in 1882. They had 7 children. He took over his fathers farm of Rustand and also kept Haugserud when he where he lived for a time and then in 1852 emigrated to America at the age of 63. He had a divorce from Guri Torgrimsdr and married Berit Rodningsand. Berit and Ole had no children.
Ole Hansen (Haugerud) Rustand
Transcribed by Deidre Badker -- Feb 2003
Ole Hansen Rustand and His Sons:
Ole the Older, Erik, and Ole the Younger,
Who Emigrated to America.
Ingeborg and Wilhelm Elsrud

(As translated from the Norwegian)

The following is a copy of the Norway letters that were found in the Norwegian-American Historical Association, located on the lower level of the Rolvaag Memorial Library on the St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. They are a sub file under the Sanford K. Fosholt (1915) #1311. Ron and Jean Hendrix of Apple Valley, Minnesota were told of these letters while traveling in Norway in the fall of 1997. The letters were found in one of the buildings on the Elsrud farm about a hundred miles north of Oslo, Norway. They were written to friends or family in Norway by people living in America. The Hendrixs are not related to these people. Thanks to them for compiling this report.

Note: One of the farms lived on by the emigrants was located in Meroa, Mitchell County, Iowa, just south of the Rock Creek Lutheran Church. It is owned in 2003 by LaVerne Olsen and was before that owned by his father, Lawrence Olsen, and before that his grandfather, Lars Iver Olsen.
Until Elling O. Elsrud some years ago found about 130 American letters in the insulation space below the attic floor in the building for the pensioner (former owner) at Nordre Elsrud farm in Adal, Norway, Wilhelm's great-great-grandfather, Ole H. Rustand and his three sons were nearly unknown to us. Most of these letters were from these four relatives as well as Iver Elsrud, who emigrated later on and lived for some years with his mother's brother, Ole the younger. The letters told a fantastic story, which inspired us to find more material. The other information that this narrative is based on is partly provided by Ole the younger's grandchildren, Lloyd Peterson in Saskatchewan, Canada, and Sanford K. Fosholt, Muscatine, Iowa. Fosholt had grown up on a farm in the same area of Iowa as the Rustand family settled on. Sanford Fosholt and his wife, Wilma, were the gracious hosts and guides during a trip we made in Minnesota and Iowa in September of 1991. When the emigrants came to America, they bought or were allotted square pieces of land called "sections". Each section was divided into four equally large parts called "quarters". One section is 640 acres, and one quarter is 160 acres. One acre equals 4.047 "mal".
Ole Hansen Rustand (1789-1861) and Guri Torgrimsdatter Holte (1789-1882) from Vestre Holte, Norway, had seven children:

1. Kari, born 1816. Married first time to Nils Sand, second time to Erik Gullerud.

2. Olia, born 1817, died 1909. Married to Elling O. Elsrud, Nordre Elsrud.

3. Hans, born 1819. Married to Inger Finsand. Took over Rustand farm.

4. Torgrim, born 1822, died 1913. Took over Haugerud, which he sold in 1870. Married first time to Ingeborg Holte, second time to Kjersti Blakstvedt.

5. Ole the Older, born 1824, died 1869. Emigrated to America in 1851.

6. Erik, born 1827, died 1888 in New Zealand. Emigrated to America in 1851.

7. Ole the Younger, born 1831, died 1915, in Canada. Emigrated to America in 1851.
Ole and Guri got married in Viker Church 24, March, 1815. In 1832after all the children had been born, he purchased Haugerud in Adal, Norway and moved there. It appears that most of the children gradually also moved to Haugerud. The youngest ones later used Haugerud as their family name. Even Ole was called "Haugeruden" (the Haugerud) in every day speech in the settlement.

It might seem strange that many of the children moved with their father from Rustand to Haugerud. It has been said that it was difficult to live with Guri, and perhaps that is part of the explanation. But certain stories told about Haugeruden might indicate that he also had a strong willed personality. One time he was supposed to have rowed across Sperillen with Lang-Ola Nesmoen and some other fellows. Haugeruden bragged that he was good at fighting. "It is a real wedding for me to fight", he said. "Row to shore, fellows!" said Lang-Ola. "It is a pity that Haugeruden won't come to the wedding." Lang-Ola was known to be especially strong, and Haugeruden fled as fast as he could when the boat got to shore.

In any case, it is certain that the relationship between Ole and Guri got to be very bad as time went on. Their life together ended with divorce, and Ole confirmed this in a document which was signed at Skagnes 15, May, 1852.

On the holding named Olshullet belonging to Haugerud, there lived at that time a young girl called Berit. She was born 18, July, 1813, and was about twenty years old when the new farmer came to Haugerud. Olshullet is now vacated and the fields overgrown, but the house is still standing. After a while, Berit moved down to Haugerud as Ole's housekeeper. On the 13, July, 1839, Berit had a daughter who was baptized Kirsti. The baptismal records show that the father was Jacob.

At that time it was not unusual that parents who did not want to acknowledge paternity of "illegitimate" children simply "bought" a father for the child. Although we have not found conclusive proof, it is a natural thing to believe that Ole was Kirsti's real father. This might also explain why Ole, Berit and Kirsti traveled together from Adalen to America at the end of May, 1852. For what other reason would he want to leave? He was a rich man, owned two large farms, the four oldest children were married and well off on nice farms, three of his sisters were married on the farms of Rognerud, Granum, and Vasenden, his brother Nils had bought Viker, and his youngest brother, Simon, lived at Sorum in Bjonroa. At that time, it would have been a scandal for the well-to-do farmer at Haugerud to have had a child with the cotter's girl from Olshullet. Besides, at that point of time he was still not divorced from Guri. In the emigration papers, he is listed as Ole Hansen Haugerud and she as Berit Rodningssand.

It is likely that they went by sailskip via Liverpool to Quebec in Canada and from there across the Great Lakes in North America to Milwaukee in Wisconsin. This was the usual route at the time. In any case, we know that they arrived in a little town by the name of Muskego just southwest of Milwaukee late in the summer of 1852. This town was a gathering place for the Norwegian emigrants. Immediately after their arrival, Ole and Berit were married by Pastor Claus L. Clausen.

Pastor Clausen was a very well known person among the immigrants and got to be of great importance to the Haugerud family. He was born in Denmark in 1820 but had been in Norway for a while before traveling westward. When Ole with his new family arrived, Clausen had been the "first minister of Muscego" for several years. During this period, among other things he had received the Heg family from Lier. Hans Heg came as a young boy to Muskego during the 1840's with his mother and some siblings.

He developed into a tall, beautiful and an unusually capable man. During the Civil War (1881-1885), he served as the leader of the Fifteenth Wisconsin Regiment, where he became famous for his courage. In 1863, he was hit by a bullet from a sniper but continued advancing for more than one English mile before he fell. He died the following day.

During the summer of 1851, Pastor Clausen had traveled around in Wisconsin and Minnesota to find suitable land to settle on, but he did not find any. In the spring of 1852, he left again with two scouts and came westward in Minnesota to Albert Lea Lake. The land was quite wet there, and they decided to go southward. After having crossed the Iowa border, they found a little creek in a wooded area. They gave the creek the name of Deer Creek. They followed the creek until it emptied into the big Cedar River, which is a tributary to the Mississippi. They had then found the place they sought, and they hastily returned to Wisconsin with the good news.

In the fall of the same year, Clausen set off for Iowa again, but this time with Ole Hansen Haugerud who had just arrived. In the group were also Levor Lindelien, Hans H. Smesrud and others. They found the place to be just as nice as it had been in the spring, and to make sure that they would get the land, each one of them built a log house with one room. All of them built close to the place which today is called St. Ansgar, except for Haugerud and Smesrud who built by Deer Creek. After that they returned to Wisconsin for the winter.

In May of 1853, a strange group left Muskego heading westward. There were about 75 men, women and children, 30 prairie schooners, presumably pulled by oxen, three horses, one vehicle and 150 cattle. In the group were Ole Hansen Haugerud, 64 years old, Berit Olsdatter Haugerud, 40 years old, and Kirsti Jacobsdatter Haugerud, 15 years old. It is difficult for us today to imagine how strenuous and difficult this trip was. They crossed the Mississippi River by ferry at McGregor, wandered across the prairie of Iowa, through forests, crossed smaller rivers and boggy areas, either without or on poor roads. The leader of the group was Pastor Clausen, who had his whole family with him.

When they arrived, it turned out that other people had moved into the log houses that were built the fall of 1852. Hans H. Smesrud had dug down his carpenter chest in the dirt floor, but after some discussion he was permitted to retrieve it. All of them had to build new log houses closer to Cedar River.

Most of them settled near the present St. Ansgar. They were the first pioneers in this area of Mitchell County. Pastor Clausen founded the town of St. Ansgar and baptized it in memory of the Benedictine monk Ansgar (801-885), who was nicknamed "The Apostle of the North".

The miles south of St.Ansgar there was also a smaller river which flowed into Cedar River. The name of this river was (and still is) Rock Creek. Six of the families in the group continued southward and took land at Rock Creek as the first settlers in this area, which as time went on would become very important to the Haugerud family. One of them was Levor Olsen Lindelien from Nes in Adal, Norway.

The chosen area was probably one of the best to be found in the Midwest. The soil is today considered to be the best in America, they got water and fish from the rivers, and the forest gave building materials, firewood and game. The forest consisted only of different species of leaf trees, mostly oak, and they were used in the construction of the log houses.

Ole and Berit settled down and took land approximately on mile southwest of St. Ansgar. The Cedar River flows between the town and their farm, and the family had to cross the river by boat every time they were going to the post office or had other errands in town. According to an old map, it appears that the property was somewhat more than one quarter or about 800 mal.

We have in the collection of letters four letters from Ole Hansen written during the period of 1857-1859. In the first one, he wrote that two years earlier he had gotten a letter from his brother Nils Viker, in which he voiced the wish of emigrating. Ole advised against his coming and said that he probably would do better in Norway. (Nils sold Viker anyway some years later and emigrated with his children. Viker farm can be found in Dakota and is still in the hands of the family)

He wrote further: "The winter is also very cold here, therefore, especially the last two winters, I have never known such a biting cold at any time in Norway, and the driving snow here across the big prairies is so strong; at no time is it stronger across the large mountain areas in Norway, and during the last two winters several people have lost their lives."

Finally, in a letter three pages long, he came up with a little piece of information that he probably did not figure the family in Norway was especially interested in : "My wife died ("changed time with eternity") last 25, July, following only two days of illness; for that matter she had poor health the last two years she lived." Berit died, in other words, in 1857, 44 years old.

When Berit died, Ole and Kirsti were left alone on the farm. Ole's three sons had probably to some extent lived with their father during the first years, but Erik had gone to Australia in 1854, Ole the younger to California in 1855, and Ole the older had left to find his brothers during the summer of 1857. But the loneliness did not last long. The summer and fall of 1857 turned out to be a very eventful time. About the time that Berit died and Ole the Older left, Kirsti got married to Andrew Erickson, and Ole Hansen sold the farm to Kirsti and Andrew who he called his son-in-law.

No money exchanged hands. Instead he arranged it so that he could live and get his food there.

In the fall of 1857, Ole visited his friends, Peder Lunde and Endre Oymoen, who had taken land at Hayward, east of Lake Albert Lea in Minnesota. This was before the time of the railroad, so it is likely that he walked all the way, which he stated to be 26 miles. At home in Norway, Ole had fished a lot in Sperillen, and this place at Lake Albert Lea probably was to his liking, because there was so much fish in the lake. He wrote that in the course of 14 to 15 nights, he got three barrels of fish by having used two nets, and that the fish on the average weighed about four "merker" or one kilo.

During his stay, Ole took claim again to a section of land, which was located between the farms of Peder Lunde and Endre Oymoen. Here he again built a house, and the last years of his life he mostly stayed on his new farm.

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

In a letter from Gulbrand Jonsrud to Ole's sister, Olia Elsrud, dated 29, January, 1859, Gulbrand reported that Ole got married for the third time to an old widow from Nes in Hadeland. Her name was Anne Hansdatter Svensrud, Anne had no children in her first marriage. Gulbrand also wrote that Ole had $800 coming from Kirsti and her husband. Although Ole the younger in a letter also stated that his father was married, it is somewhat unclear that this marriage was properly entered into.

Gulbrand Jonsrud and Gjertrud Elsrud from Sondre (Southern) Elsrud with their family emigrated from Adal in 1857, and Gulbrand worked as a teacher in the Hayward area during the years of 1860-1863. In 1863 they took land in Bancroft a few miles north of Albert lea. The family has many descendants in America.

In a letter dated 23, December, 1861, from Albert Lea, Freeborn County, Minnesota, Ole O. Haugerud the younger wrote: "I want to notify you that our Father has left this sinful world. He passed away the night of 2 July, this year, following illness of only two days. In his last days he was just like a different person, because he thought too much about the errors he had committed, that he had committed against his wife and children."

Ole had not prepared a written will. When he noticed that death was drawing near, he summoned two men and announced that all of his assets should go to his surviving wife. One of these men was Gulbrand Jonsrud. This was the introduction to a dispute about the inheritance, which was to last for many years and create big problems in the family.

Ole's coffin was taken down to St. Ansgar, where it was interred next to Berit. The burial site was Mill Road Cemetery, right next to Cedar River beyond his old farm. This burial site is now discontinued, and in addition to a couple of unknown graves, only the grave stones of Ole, Berit, and one of Kirsti's children are preserved. On Ole's grave stone appears in Norwegian: "Herunder hviler stovet af afdode Ole Hanson. Dod I Freeborn County, Minnesota, July 22, 1861, I en alder af 72 aar. Fred med hans Stov og velsignet vaere hans minde." (Under here rests the dust of the departed Ole Hanson. Died in Freeborn County, Minnesota, July 22, 1861, at an age of 72 years. Peace with his dust and blessed be his memory)

Kirsti and Andrew Erickson had eleven (or maybe 12) children and have many descendants in America.