Immigrant Women and the American Frontier
Three early "America letters" translated and edited
By Theodore C. Blegen (Volume V: Page 14)
Though much is said in general terms about the role of women in making of America, historians have tended to leave to novelists the important task of exploiting this theme in detail. Even in the history of the westward movement little place has been given to the achievements and influence of women, though a well known historian recently wrote that "no proper conception of the subjugation of the wilderness by the forces of civilization can be gained without an appreciation of the part that the women pioneers played."
The preoccupation of American historians with political development and the comparative neglect, until recently, of the domain of social history account in part for a "pall of silence" that historians have permitted to rest over the role of women in the American epic. It is possible, however, that there has been a scarcity of contemporary documents yielding the information necessary for a realistic handling of the subject.
The three documents herewith published date respectively from 1847, 1850, and 1866. They are translations of letters written by three Norwegian immigrant women in America to relatives in Norway. The originals were found by the present writer during the winter of 1928-29 while he was engaged in a search for materials in Norway bearing on American
history. They are published as a slight contribution to the understanding of the part of the immigrant women in that great movement which subjugated the wilderness and laid the foundations for the subsequent building of the mid-American domain.
They are simple documents, written with no art save that which the simplicity of utter truth stamps upon them. Because of that very simplicity, however, they possess a peculiar value as authentic contemporary records of the experiences of pioneer women.
Jannicke Sæhle, who tells of her emigration from Norway in 1847, emerges from the record as a sprightly girl, cheerful, brave, with a sense of humor, undaunted by the experience of making her own way in the new world thousands of miles away from her old home. She evinces keen enjoyment of the American scene and proves herself alert and adaptable. She journeys to America as a maid, or caretaker, for an emigrant family, and is paid by receiving the products of three acres of land for a period of three years. In Wisconsin she leave the log cabin at Koshkonong Prairie and makes her way to Madison, where she receives employment at wages of one dollar a week, with prospects of rising to $1.25 and eventually to the munificent figure of $1.50.
The experience of Henrietta Jessen, an emigrant of 1849, is much harder than that of Jannicke Sæhle. She comes to America as a wife and mother. Her heart is torn by homesickness but she comforts herself with thoughts of the future. Her husband is taken seriously ill, and for seven weeks, while
nursing him and caring for him, she does not lay off her clothes for sleep. She is sustained by a deep faith in God, by her own courage, and by her hopes for her children. She chronicles in simple language the friendliness and helpfulness of other immigrants to her in her trials. She does not neglect to discuss the prospects for Norwegians planning to come to American and she offers sound advice. From her letter one gets a clearly etched portrait of a brave woman, worthy of the best traditions of the women of the American frontier.
Over the grave of Guri Endreson stands a monument erected by the state of Minnesota in commemoration of her heroism at the time of the Sioux Massacre in 1862.
The story of what she did after an attacking party of Indians has slaughtered her husband and one son, wounded another son, and carried off two of her daughters as captives has been told and retold many times and is familiar to thousands of people.
Particular attention has be devoted to the tale of how she aided two severely wounded men from a settler's cabin to an ox-drawn wagon, after dressing their wounds and attending to their wants; then started with them, her small daughter, and her wounded son for Forest City, about thirty miles distant; guarded the party through an all-night vigil; and doggedly pushed on the next day until the haven of safety was reached. Though much has been published about these and other details of the saga of this frontier heroine, her own story of the events of 1862 has not been known. Indeed, it has been altogether unknown to historians that she every wrote
anything about the tragic happenings of that summer. She has been regarded as on of those inarticulate spirits who have left a legacy of courage expressed in action alone. The truth is that Guri Endreson did write her own story -- but she waited four years, and then set it down in the form of a letter to her relatives dwelling thousands of miles away in a lonely district of western Norway. The letter was treasured and preserved in the family circle.
A few discrepancies between Guri Endreson's own narrative and the well-known tale of her deeds will be apparent, and the reader will be struck by her omissions. Her story, it must be remembered, is written in the language of simplicity and sorrow and comes from a woman who would perhaps naturally understate or avoid mention of her own services to other people. Meanwhile, the letter supplies something that has been lacking from the familiar tale: a picture of a very human woman, with no inkling that she is a heroine, sustained in her sorrow by a pious faith in God, taking up the tasks of life again in the reconstruction period that followed the early sixties in Minnesota, retaining ownership of her land with a view to resumption of farming, and looking with courage to the future. For those who like to interpret human actions in the glowing terms of heroism, the spectacle of Guri Endreson four years after her harrowing Sioux War experience, making 230 pounds of butter from the summer product of her cows, writing encouragingly about America to her daughter in Norway, and holding aloft the promise of her faith, is not less impressive than that of the same woman helping others in the August days of 1862, when she was carrying the burden of fresh agony in her heart. Her letter is of interest not only for the light it sheds upon the character of Guri Endreson but also for the picture that it gives of the resumption of normal conditions in the area that had been visited by the horrors of the Sioux Massacre. It should be noted that the surname of the Endresons was Rosseland.
Lars Endreson Rosseland was the full name of Guri's husband. She signs her own name simply as "Guri Olsdatter."
JANNICKE SÆHLE TO JOHANNES SÆHLE, September 28, 1847
[Translation. Ms. In possession of Mr. John Sahle, Windber, Pennsylvania. Transcript, NAHA archives, Northfield, Minnesota. Copied through the courtesy of Mrs. Gran-Hendricksen, Slemdal, V. Aker, Norway]
KOSHKONONG PRAIRIE, September, 28, 1847
It seems to me that in my last letter to you, written from my former home in the old world, I hoped that from my new home in the new world I should be able to write to you with even greater happiness and contentment, and God has fulfilled this wish. As I wrote you, we did not leave our dear native land until April 24, as we had to remain eight days at Holmen in Sandvigen waiting for a number of passengers who had not yet arrived.
We sailed in the morning at seven o'clock, with fair wind and weather, and we had lost sight of the shores of our dear fatherland by half-past three, when the pilot left us. I remained on deck until six o'clock in the evening, but as the wind was sharp and cold I was not able to stay there any longer, but had to go down to the hold, where general vomiting had been going on for a long time. And after five minutes my turn came, also, to contribute my share to the Atlantic Ocean.
Still, what can I say? Not in all eternity can I sufficiently thank God, for the America journey was not for me what it was for many others. It seems now like a faint dream to me and as if through God's providential care I had been carried in protecting arms, for I was sick only four days, and even on these I went on deck now and then. I was not afraid, but slept just as peacefully as I had in the little room that I so recently had left behind. My traveling companions were just as lucky as I, but a number of passengers had to keep to their beds nearly the whole journey, for the weather was stormy almost the entire voyage and besides, it was so cold that there were few days when we could remain on deck of the whole day. But the wind had a good effect on the conditions in the hold, which was well aired,
and warmer weather would have been less desirable. So, as we went steadily forward we hoped for the best, and our hopes were not disappointed. By the fourteenth of May we had already reached the Banks, where the captain and the skipper caught nine great cod, and for dinner on the Seventeenth of May we ate fish, though it was such a stormy day that we had to steady our plates with our hands, and not infrequently we were jerked backwards with our plates in our hands. In naming the skipper I can greet you from an old friend of our younger days, John Johannessen, who used to be in the service of Captain Fischer and once worked in his little fishing vessel. He is now much more alert as a seaman and looks much better than in the old days, but he is plagued by a long-standing malaria which he cannot get rid of, despite all the medicines which he is said to have used. His wife is dead. He has one married and three unmarried daughters. This was his fourth trip to this country, -- and this one the fastest. As the wind continued favorable, the general opinion was that we would reach Staten Island, one mile from New York, by Whitsunday; but late in the evening before Whitsunday there came a calm, and a thick fog covered everything, so that it was necessary to keep up a constant ringing and shooting in case other sailing vessels should be in the vicinity. Later the fog lifted and we saw several vessels, and in the afternoon, about four o'clock, the captain saw a sailboat that resembled a pilot's vessel, and when he looked at it through his glass, it turned out to be so, to our delight, for the captain had not expected to get a pilot so late in the day. It was not long before the man was on board, and the next day near dinnertime we anchored on American ground. The foggy weather continued and we were able to see only the delightful island, with its many lighthouses, pretty forts, and buildings, which stood out majestically among the charming stretches of woods.
After the good old doctor had come on board and we had all had the good fortune of being able to walk smartly past him, he gave his permission for the vessel to proceed immediately into New York, where we arrived in the evening at five o'clock. The next day we made ready to go up to the town on the following day to look about, but as we had the children with us
and that day was very warm, we did not get very far. The skipper accompanied us as a guide who knew that place and as an interpreter. First we came to a large and beautiful park for pedestrians, outside of which were a great number of fruit dealers, and pleasant carriages for hire. We immediately took possession of one of these and had ourselves driven for a mile through the streets, for which we paid six pennies each, about the same as six Norwegian skillings. The next day we went to the museum, which we thoroughly enjoyed. Here we saw animals and birds, from the largest to the smallest, and many things, some of which I understood, some of which I didn't, portraits of all the generals that there have been in America, and finally an old man with a richly braided uniform who stood on a table without a head. After we had looked about us at this place, we were informed that a drama was being played, and when we reached the theater there was a representation of Napoleon's funeral, which was very beautiful to see. This came to an end at half-past five. A play was to be presented again from seven to ten, but we were already satisfied. We paid about thirty skillings (Norwegian).
On May 20 we left our good ship "Juno," with its brave crew, who said goodbye to us with a three-times-repeated hurrah. The captain accompanied us on board a steamer which was to carry us to Albany. He took us about to see things. It was like a complete house four stories high, and very elegantly furnished, with beautiful rugs everywhere. He now parted from us with the best wishes. Captain Bendixen treated us more like relatives than like passengers. He was very entertaining and was courteous in every respect.
The later journey was good beyond expectation. Things went merrily on the railroads. Once in a while the passengers, when we neared some of the noteworthy sights that we rushed past on the trip, would stick their heads out of the windows so that they might see everything, but one after the other of them had the misfortune to see his straw hat go flying away with the wind caused by the speed of the train.
On the third of June, after we had passed several cities which for lack of space I cannot tell you about, we reached Milwaukee,
where we remained three days. We left Milwaukee on the seventh and come to Koshkonong on the ninth. Torjersen, after having made the acquaintance here of a worthy family named Homstad, from Namsen, who settled here last year and found this land the best after long travels, has now bought a little farm of forty acres of land, with a fairly livable hog house and a wheat field of four and a half acres. This has brought him forty-five barrels of winter wheat, in addition to potatoes, beans, peas, more than a hundred heads of cabbage, cucumbers, onions in tremendous amounts, and many other kinds [of vegetables]. For this farm he paid $250, and with the farm followed respectfully four pigs.
After having lived here and having been in good health the whole time, I left on the sixteenth of August for Madison, the capital of Wisconsin, which is situated twenty-two miles from here. There I have worked at a hotel for five weeks, doing washing and ironing and I enjoy the best treatment, though I cannot speak with the people. I have food and drink in abundance. A breakfast here consists of chicken, mutton, beef, or pork, warm cakes, the best coffee, tea, cream, and sugar. For dinner the best courses are served. Supper is eaten at six o'clock, with warm biscuits, and several kinds of cold wheat bread, cold meats, bacon, cakes, preserved apples, plums, and berries, which are eaten with cream and tea and coffee -- and my greatest regret here is to see the superabundance of food, much of which has to be thrown to the chickens and the swine, when I think of my dear ones in Bergen, who like so many others must at this time lack the necessaries of life.
I have received a dollar a week for the first five weeks, and hereafter shall have $1.25, and if I can stand it through the whole winter I shall get a dollar and a half a week, and I shall not have to do the washing, for I did not think I was strong enough for this work. Mrs. Morison has also asked me to remain in her service as long as she, or I, live, as she is going to leave the tavern next year and live a more quiet life with her husband and daughter, and there I also could live more peacefully and have a room by myself, and I really believe that so far as she
is concerned I could enter upon this arrangement, provided such a decision is God's will for me.
I am well and so far I have not regretted my journey to this country. I have now been with the Torjersens for four days and written to Bergen and to you, and tomorrow I shall journey up to the Morisons', where I find myself very well satisfied. I have had the honor of sitting at their daughter's marriage dinner, and I ironed her beautiful bridal gown. She was in truth a lovable bride, beautiful, and good as an angel, and she has often delighted me with her lovely singing and her playing in the piano. She was married on the sixteenth of September and left on the seventeenth for Boston with her husband to visit her parents-in-law. And now, my dear Johannes, I must say farewell for this time. God bless you. Do not forget, I shall give you Torjersen's address, so that you may write me here. I greet you affectionately. Do not forget to thank God, on my behalf, who has guided me so well. I cannot thank Him enough myself.
[Written in margin:]
I have now received from Torjersen for my services, three acres of land for cultivation for three years, and it is now planted with winter wheat -- if God will give me something to harvest.
Mr. J. Sæhle, Copyist, Army Department, Christiania, via Hamburg, Norway, Europe.
Hamburg 15/11 1847. Hamburg 16/11 1847. Harve 11/11 1847. Paid to Christiania W [isconsin] T [erritory] Oct. 1
HENRIETTA JESSEN TO ELEONORE AND "DOREA" WILLIAMSIN,
February 20, 1850
[Translation. Ms. In possession of Mr. M. Hansen, Stavanger, Norway. Transcript, NAHA archives Northfield, Minnesota.]
MILWAUKEE, February 20, 1850
MY DEAR SISTERS DOREA AND NOREA:
Fate has indeed separated me from my native land and all that was dear to me there, but it is not denied my to pour forth my
feeling upon this paper. My dear sisters, it was a better cup for me to drink, to leave a dear mother and sisters and to part forever in this life, though living. Only the thought of the coming world was my consolation; there I shall see you all. Of the emigrants from Arendal, I think, probably none went on board with a heavier heart than I, and thanks be to the Lord who gave me strength to carry out this step, which I hope will be for my own and my children's best in the future. So I hope that time will heal the wound, but up to the present I cannot deny that homesickness gnaws at me hard. When I think, however, that there will be a better livelihood for us here than in poor Norway, I reconcile myself to it and thank God, who protected me and mine over the oceans waves and led us to a fruitful land, where God's blessings are daily before our eyes.
When you have received these lines, dear No and Do, I must ask you to write my dear mother as quickly as possible and to tell her that I have had the joy of receiving her letter by the post. That was the greatest day of happiness I have had since I came to America. Greet Mother and Ma and Georgia and say that they must not expect any letter from me before midsummer. Tell Mother that I have not received the letter she sent by the brig "Juno." Since we came to America neither my children nor I have been sick abed a day, for which God is to be thanked, who strengthens my body and my poor soul. I have not had so pleasant a winter as I might have had. My husband fell ill in the middle of September and had to keep to his bed until eight days before Christmas. Then he began to sit up a little and now he is up most of the day, but he is so weak that he cannot think of beginning to work for two months and perhaps not then. The doctor calls the sickness dysentery. Yes, my poor Peder has suffered much in this sickness. The doctor gave up all hope of his life and we only waited for God's hour, but at twelve o'clock one night his pulse changed and the doctor said that now it was possible that he would overcome the sickness, but he said that it would be very stubborn and [the recovery] slow. That sickness I can never forget. Think, in one terrible day and night my husband lost eight pots of blood, that was the night before he was near death, and I was alone with him and my children. But
afterwards there were a few of the Norwegians who were so kind as to help me for a time watching over him, the one relieving the other. For seven weeks I was not out of my clothes. From these lines you will see that I have experienced a little in America; but now that the worst is over, I thank the almighty Father from my innermost heart, who has cared for us and met our daily needs. We have lacked nothing. Good food and drink we have had daily. I believe I may say that even if I had been in my own native town I would hardly have received the help I have had here and I receive two dollars a week (that is, in goods). I will not speak of my own kind family, what they would have done for me, but I mean the public. There are four Norwegian families quite near where we live who have been very sympathetic with me in my misfortune and have proved their faith by their works; they have given me both money and articles for the house. Among these four families there is a man named Samuel Gabrielsen, who has been like a rare good brother to me. I will not say how much that kind man has given us, for he has told me that I should not tell anyone. "I give to you now because I know that it will be a help to you, but I do not give to be praised." He knows my brother-in-law well; in fact, Gabrielsen says that Williamsin is the best man he knows in the world and all the Norwegians whom I talk with say the same.
There are a large number of Norwegians here from the vicinity of Farsund, most of the seamen. It is the sailors who are paid best in America and all the sailors get rich. Here an ordinary seaman gets from eighteen to twenty-five dollars a month. Clerks have gone without work here this winter and carpenters and shoemakers are the artisans that are best paid. Glass workers and tailors are not able to make a living for their families. This is easy to understand when you know that you can get window panes of any size and at small cost, and it does not take much intelligence to put in a pane.
My dear sisters, when I last wrote to Farsund it was farthest from my thoughts that I ever should be departed so far from my native land and my home. How often I think of you and of your innocent angels, whom I never have seen and never shall in this life; but in my thoughts I seem to see your innocent little
ones. From Mother's letter I learn that all is well with my dear ones in Farsund, and this gives me much happiness. I hope that you all, with God's help, will be strong and in good health when these lines reach you. Your butter tub, Norea, I have used daily since I came to America, but it has not held butter since I left my native land. It would not be well if I should lack needed articles in a foreign country where I have neither mother nor sisters to comfort me in dark times such as this winter when my dear Peder was sick, and I suppose I have often wished that I were surrounded by my dear ones. I suppose it is a little strange to receive a dress in Norway and not to thank [the giver] for it before one comes to America, but better late than never. I will therefore, dear Dorea and your husband, thank you both for the dress that you gave me last summer for my Georgine S. She still has it in good condition and when it can no longer be used it will be put away as a remembrance of Uncle Perneman and Aunt Dorea in Norway. The greatest pleasure I have is talking with the children about their grandmother and aunts and uncles in Norway; that is our daily talk, and what pleases me so specially is that from the smallest to the largest they answer me with a happy smile as soon as I begin to talk about home in Norway, about grandmother and aunts.
Seval greet "Aunty" Norea, but he says he cannot remember Aunty. He received the blue socks from Aunt Norea, and is so glad to look at them when I unlock the chest, when he is quick to ask if he may see his little socks. I shall not praise my own child, but I surely believe that if I live he will give me happy days, as he is so tender and understanding for me. And Søren is an unusual little fellow for his age; he has kept us supplied with wood this winter and works like a little horse. George is a little rascal; Georgine is large for her age; everybody asks if they are twins.
Tell Mother that I long since looked up Christiane Lydeman. She is well off and greets Aunt. I am often with Christiane; she is kind and pleasant to me.
The winter here in America is just as long as in Norway and much colder, but the nights are not so long. At Christmas time we had light until five o'clock in the afternoon. Ask Margaret
to tell Peder Mekelsen that I advise him to go to New York and from there by canal boat to Buffalo and then by steamboat here to Milwaukee. Nels Klaapene, the sail maker, lives here in the vicinity; his wife's name is Ingebaar. I am writing with a pen and the paper says stop. And now in conclusion I ask God's blessing upon you all. God guard you from all evil in your peaceful homes. A thousand greeting to you, Norea, with you husband and children, and you, Dorea, with your husband and children, from me, my husband, and my children.
Your devoted sister,
Greet my dear Mother a thousand times, M. and her children, and Mrs. Hal and Mrs. Ramble, with their husbands and children. Goodbye, goodbye, all my dear ones. God bless you.
Madm Eleonore Williamsin, Hetland, pr Farsund, Norway, Europe.
Milwaukee, Wis. Feb. [?]. Hamburg 22/2/1850
HARRISON P.O., MONONGALIA CO., MINNESOTA
December 2, 1866
DEAR DAUGHTER AND YOU HUSBAND AND CHILDREN, AND MY BELOVED MOTHER:
I have received you letter of April fourteenth, this year, and I send you herewith my heartiest thanks for it, for it gives me great happiness to hear from you and to know that you are alive, well, and in general thriving. I must also report briefly to you how things have been going with me recently, though I must ask
you to forgive me for not having told you earlier about my fate. I do not seem to have been able to do so much as to write to you, because during the time when the savages raged so fearfully here I was not able to think about anything except being murdered, with my whole family, by these terrible heathen. But God be praised, I escaped with my life, unharmed by them and my four daughters also came through the danger unscathed. Guri and Britha were carried off by the wild Indians, but they got a chance the next day to make their escape; when the savages gave them permission to go home to get some food, these young girls made use of the opportunity to flee and thus they got away alive, and on the third day after they had been taken, some Americans came along who found them on a large plain or prairie and brought them to people. I myself wandered aimlessly around on my land with my youngest daughter and I had to look on while they shot my precious husband dead, and in my sight my dear son Ole was shot through the shoulder.
But he got well again from this wound and lived a little more that a year and then was taken sick and died. We also found my oldest son Endre shot dead, but I did not see the firing of this death shot. For two days and nights I hovered about here with my little daughter, between fear and hope and almost crazy, before I found my wounded son and a couple of other persons, unhurt, who helped us to get away to a place of greater security.
To be an eyewitness to these things
I must also let you know that my daughter Gjærtu has land, which they received from the government under a law that has been passed, called in our language "the Homestead law," and for a quarter section of land they have to pay sixteen dollars, and after they have lived there five years they receive a deed and complete possession of the property and can sell it if they want to or keep it if they want to. She lives about twenty-four American miles from here and is doing well. My daughter Guri is away in house service for an American about a hundred miles from here; she has been there working for the same man for four years; she is in good health and is doing well; I visited her recently, but for a long time I knew nothing about her, whether she was alive or not.
My other two daughters, Britha and Anna, are at home with me, are in health, and are thriving here. I must also remark that it was four years on the twenty-first of last August since I had to flee from my dear home, and since that time I have not been on my land, as it is only a sad sight because at the spot where I had a happy home, there are now only ruins and remains left as reminders of the terrible Indians. Still I moved up here to the neighborhood again this summer. A number of families have moved back here again so that we hope after a while to make conditions pleasant once more.
Yet the atrocities of the Indians are and will be fresh in memory; they have now been driven beyond the boundaries of the state and we hope that they never will be allowed to come here again. I am now staying at
the home of Sjur Anderson, two and a half miles from my home. I must also tell you how much I had before I was ruined in this way. I had seventeen head of cattle, eight sheep, eight pigs, and a number of chickens; now I have six head of cattle, four sheep, one pig; five of my cattle stayed on my land until February, 1863, and lived on some hay and stacks of wheat on the land; and I received compensation from the government for my cattle and other movable property that I lost. Of the six cattle that I now have three are milk cows and of these I have sold butter, the summer's product, a little over two hundred and thirty pounds; I sold this last month and got sixty-six dollars for it. In general I may say that one or another has advised me to sell my land, but I would rather keep it for a time yet, in the hope that some of my people might come and use it; it is difficult to get such good land again, and if you, my dear daughter, would come here, you could buy it and use it and then it would not be necessary to let it fall into the hands of strangers. And now in closing I must send my very warm greeting to my unforgettable dear mother, my dearest daughter and her husband and children, and in general to all my relatives, acquaintances, and friends. And may the Lord by his grace bend, direct, and govern our hearts so that we sometime with gladness may assemble with God in the eternal mansions where there will be no more partings, no sorrows, no more trials, but everlasting joy and gladness, and contentment in beholding God's face. If this be the goal for all our endeavors through the sorrows and cares of this life, then through his grace we may hope for a blessed life hereafter, for Jesus sake.
Always your devoted
Write to me soon.
<1> Arthur M. Schlesinger, New Viewpoints in American History, 132 (New York, 1922). Mr. Schlesinger devotes a chapter to "The Role of Women in American History." See also a notable passage in Frederic L. Paxson, History of the American Frontier 1763-1793, 114-115 (Boston and New York, 1024).
<2> In an article entitled "The First Lady of ' Restaurationen,'" published in Souvenir "Norse-American Women' 1825-1925, 12-18 (St. Paul, 1926), Miss Hanna Astrup Larsen tells about Martha Larson, the wife of Lars Larson, who led the "sloopers" of 1825. She also discusses two types of pioneer Norwegian-American women- the wives of the ministers who came out from Norway to the frontier settlements of the West, and the farmers' wives. The story of Elisabeth Koren, a minister's wife who accompanied her husband from Norway to Iowa in the fifties, is admirably told in Fra Pioneertiden: Uddrag af Fru Elisabeth Korens Dagbog og Breve Femtiaarene (Decorah, Iowa, 1914).
<3> The Endreson letter was brought out by the writer in Minnesota History, 10: 425-430 (December, 1929). In reprinting it some changes have been made in the introductory material and in the translation.
<4> See Victor E. Lawson, Martin E. Tew, and J. Emil Nelson, compilers, Illustrated History and Descriptive and Biographical Review of Kandiyohi County, Minnesota, 24, 110, 146 (St. Paul, 1905); Solon J. Buck and Elizabeth H. Buck, Stories of Early Minnesota, 217-223 (New York, 1926); and Agnes C. Laut, "Daughters of the Vikings -- Guri Endreson," in Outing, 52:413-423 (July, 1908). Miss Laut's article is one of a series on "Pioneer Women of the West."
<5> The northern half of the present Kandiyohi County constituted Monongalia County from 1858 to 1870.
<6> For a brief account of Lars Endreson, see Lawson, Tew, and Nelson, Kandiyohi County, 110.
<7> Solomon R. Foot, one of the two men whose heroic rescue is attributed to Guri Endreson, tells the story himself in great detail in Lawson, Tew, and Nelson, Kandiyohi County, 106-110. He, like his comrade, Oscar Erikson, had been badly wounded. Of Mrs. Endreson he writes: "She washed our bodies, bandaged our wounds and gave us every possible comfort. Fortunately my wagon stood so near the cabin that the Indians had not ventured to take it. She drew this as near the door as possible, put into it bedding, blankets and other things we might need. She assisted us into it, propped us up in a half reclining position, placed my gun by my side, hitched the young unbroken oxen to it and started." At night "Mother Endreson supplied all our wants and again bathed our wounds" and she "spent a sleepless night watching over us, ever on the lookout for the savage foe." In view of this evidence, Guri Endreson's statement that she found two persons, unhurt, who helped her to escape, seems inexplicable.
<8> The resumption of farming in this region started on a small scale in 1864. "In the summer of 1864 a few settlers ventured beyond the soldiers' patrol lines into Kandiyohi county, where they sowed and harvested a crop during the summer." Lawson, Tew, and Nelson, Kandiyohi County, 33.