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                                                                      Rural Plot

                                                             Akan Township,  Richland County, Wisconsin  USA
                                          
                                               HERE THEY SLEEP Narrative
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EARLY SETTLERS' GRAVES MARKED
                                           a  Richland Observer July 12, 1979 article by
by Mona Owens

RURAL PLOT - AKAN

Information gathered throughout late 1974 will now further substantiate and perhaps add to what has already been recorded in book form by the Five Points Lutheran Church. It all began in 1851 when a number of Norwegian immigrants came to Wisconsin. Within a few years they had become quite firmly settled in Richwood and Akan Townships. Even two years before the first church was built (1857) the first recorded death occurred, that of Ole Jansen (1855) .  The actual site for the church had been thus far undecided upon. In that interim, Mr. Jansen and two other neighbors, Torkel Evenhaugen and Mons Monson, were laid to rest in a wooded area in the northwest corner of section 35, Town of Akan, about 1 1/2 miles south of Five Points on County Trunk X. Plans are being made for an enclosure to be installed during the coming year (1975). The plot lies within a farmed area and would be accessible from the farm entrance, by permission only. Some marker for identification will need to be decided upon at a later date. This farm is presently owned by Mr. and Mrs. Lyle Rognholt. No further data is presently available however, the writer has at hand a military record plus a land transaction which might add to any wanted information related to the first settlers of this section. Mons Monson was the son of Christian (Kristian) Monson. On November 10, 1863 one Christian Munson (recorded spelling) conveyed to his brother Morten Munson, 80 acres ($100) in Sec. 35, south  1/2 of the northwest 1/4, Town of  Akan. The following February 29, 1864, Christian was enlisted into the Union Army at Port Andrew, Town of Richwood. He served with Co. B, 25th Wis. Infantry. He died of sickness at Rome, Georgia on August 7, 1864 and was buried in the Marietta Cemetery out of Atlanta, Georgia, Section C, Grave 294. This is now a national cemetery.


RURAL PLOT - EARLY SETTLERS' GRAVES MARKED  (Richland Observer July 12, 1979  by Mona Owens)

Ole Jansen, Torkel Evenhaugen, and Mons Monson each died in 1855. Until recently their graves lay unmarked in Section 35 of Akan Township beneath a ridge laid out in strips of hay and corn. Theirs were the first burials in the parish of the Emmanuel Lutheran Church. And it was not until two years later that the parish's 'first log church was completed on a site several miles to the south along what today is County Trunk Highway X. The year the three men died Richland County was only beginning to be settled and their final resting place was located in a wooded area. The trees are long gone and until recently the three Norwegians lay in unmarked graves on the farm of Lyle and Mary Rognholt. It was Mary who decided that the gravesite should be commemorated in some way. To that end, a granite marker bearing the early Norwegian settlers' names has been erected just off the road and within a few yards of the gravesite, which is under land that is being cultivated. The stone was provided by Gilman Johnson, a representative of the Krause Monument Company, Viroqua, while Lyle and his son, Mark, erected a white fence around the marker. Herb Dieter, known for his 1976 book, "Here They Sleep," which researched Richland County burial sites, coordinated the marking of the grave out of what he described as "personal interest, " and, " It was done for the benefit of church history and to preserve the site of the first burials." In years past, Dieter's family farmed in Akan Township in the area that was for many years predominantly Norwegian. His family is buried in the church yard where the Emmanuel Lutheran Church once stood. There were two Lutheran Churches just three miles apart, the Emmanuel Lutheran Church and the Five Points Lutheran Church. The former served what was known as the south ridge, and the latter, the north ridge. Gradually attendance at the church on the south ridge dwindled, Dieter said. "The church life moved north because most of the people did."  The Norwegian settlement along the ridge that County Trunk X follows was once some four miles long. Interestingly, Norwegians who settled along the "left ridge," as Dieter called it, were Methodists. Norwegian settlers came first to LaFayette County and gradually moved northward into Richland County. One cannot but speculate that the ridges in Akan and Richwood Townships reminded them of their homes in Norway.


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