On December 28, 1833 Maren Christiansdatter Wenstob, 19, daughter of Christian Halvorsen was united in marriage to bachelor Peder Amundsen of Solum, age 30, son of Amund Sorensen. The marriage took place in the Gjerpen Church in Telemark. Following their marriage, they settled on the Gaasodden farm south of Skien. To this union were born eight children, namely:

Soren Pedersen Gaasodden, b. Nov. 28, 1835

Christian Pedersen Gaasodden, b. May 1, 1838

Andreas Pedersen Gaasodden, b. Dec. 10, 1840

Anne Gurine Pedersdatter Gaasodden, b. April 8,1843

Sina Marie Pedersdatter Gaasodden, b. Jan. 22,1848

Halvor Pedersen Gaasodden, b. Jan. 24, 1850

Inger Karine Pedersdatter Gaasodden, b. Dec. 22,1854

Jens Pedersen Gaasodden, b. March 21,1857.

On July 15, 1841, the family was saddened by the death of Christian, 3 years, 2 1/2 months old.

In late 1840, Soren and Andreas left the Solum Church to immigrate to America. As most of the emigrants from Norway at that time, they entered America through the port of Quebec, Canada. The state of Wisconsin had an agent stationed in Quebec to steer immigrants to the state. Soren and Andreas ended up in Menominee which was the center of lumber production in the United States. On September 6, 1862, the brothers enlisted in the 5th Wisconsin Regiment of the Union Army. They proceeded To Camp Randall(Madison) to join other recruits before leaving for Washington, D.C. on the 24th. Whether the immigration authorities or the enlistment officer did it, their names were anglicized to Samuel and Andrew Peterson. The 5th Wisconsin became part of the VI Corps of the Army of the Potomac under the command of Gen. John Sedgwick. The Corps wintered in Virginia and in 1863, participated in several minor engagements before being called to Gettysburg, PA. The Corps marched an incredible 45 miles in an 18-hour span; arriving at Gettysburg the afternoon of July 2nd. Held in reserve, the Corps provided backup for other units actually engaged in battle. The 5th Wisconsin with one regiment from Maine and one from Pennsylvania occupied Big Round Top on July 3rd.

Following the battle, the VI Corps, being freshest, pursued the retreating confederate army under Gen. Robert E. Lee into Maryland and eventually into Virginia. Several minor battles occurred in late 1863 until the armies went into winter quarters. U. S. Grant took command of the Army of the Potomac in 1864 with an increase in military activity. The Wilderness campaign claimed the life of General Sedgwick, with General Horatio Wright assuming command. After Spotsylvania and the battle of Cold Harbor, the VI Corps was detached to defend Washington D. C. as it was being threatened by Confederate forces. After the emergency was over, The Corps was sent to the Shenandoah Valley joining the Army of the Shenandoah under the command of Gen. Phil Sheridan.

Earlier in 1864 many of the 3-year enlistment's of the original 5th Wisconsin regiment formed in 1861 were up and left the Corps resulting in a reorganization of the regiment. Soren and Andrew were put in company B along with other seasoned veterans to form a nucleus of battle hardened men to provide leadership to the newer, greener recruits.

The main purpose of the Shenandoah campaign was to prevent supplies getting to Lee's forces. In late 1864, the VI Corps rejoined Grant's army to spend the winter in the siege of Petersburg. In early 1865, Lee's army broke out and retreated towards Lynchburg. Grant pursued with several battles of attrition occurring. At Appomattox, Lee was surrounded and forced to surrender. The 5th Wisconsin as part of the VI Corps were one of the blockading units. The surrender took place on April 9th, subsequently the 5th was transferred to Louisville, KY where the regiment was mustered out of service, returned to Camp Randall and was disbanded on July 20, 1865.

While Soren and Andrew were in service, they received as compensation $13.00 per month, and upon mustering out the sum of $250. This no doubt was sent back to Norway providing the means for the rest of the family to come to America. That they came through the nearly 3-year ordeal unscathed, was in a large part due to their having as commanding officers; Generals Sedgwick and Wright. They were leaders who were dedicated to their men and very responsible to their duties.

On April 8, 1866 Peter Amundsen and his wife Maren along with their five children plus a son-in-law, Halvor Nielson (married to Anne), and a granddaughter Anne Marie, one year, old left Skien Telemark aboard the sailing ship Tamworth. They arrived in Quebec on May 24 and then boarded a ship to sail the Great Lakes to probably the port of Milwaukee. At Milwaukee, they probably went by rail to join Soren and Andrew somewhere in southwest Wisconsin. Peter and his family moved to Freeborn County in Minnesota in July, 1868.

In 1868, another family from Telemark arrived and settled near the Amundsen family. This was Anders Svenningson from the Lindem farm, his wife Anlaug Svenningsdatter and five children namely:

Anne b. 1848,

Erick b. 1852,

twins Aslaug and Svenning b. 1854,

Svenning(Svenum) b. 1858.

Note that there are two boys named Svenning. In the old traditions of Norway in naming children, it is common for two male children to have the same first name. On August 3, 1869, Anne was united in marriage to Soren Peterson in Bancroft Township.

The Svenningson family lived in Manchester Township next to Bancroft Township just north of Albert Lea. They joined other Svenningsen families there.

On December 8, 1872, Peter Amundsen, age 69 years and 10 months, lost his life in an accident when a tree supposedly fell on him. After the death of Peter Amundsen, Maren, the mother, moved in with Soren and Anne as Soren was the eldest son. Anne had given birth to a son, Peter in 1871.

By 1876 Andrew had also married, and in that year Soren and Andrew along with their families left Freeborn County to homestead in Vineland Township in southwestern Polk County near the present day village of Climax. Their post office was Neby on the Red River due west of Eldred. They also at this time took the name of Elseth after the community in Norway that they left. Peterson was probably too common a name, and the Elseth name sounded more American.

Meanwhile, back in Freeborn County, Sina Peterson married James Jensen, also a Norwegian immigrant. Most of the Jensens in that area were Danish. Sina and James farmed in Manchester Township. They had seven children of which only four lived to adulthood. The four were Emma, Ella, John, and Johanna. Sina and James lived in the area for the remainder of their lives.

Aslaug Anderson (Svenningsen) and Halvor Peterson were united in marriage in 1876 or 77. Although marriages were required by law to be recorded, many were not. They were probably married by a pastor who failed to notify authorities. It was not until later that a marriage license was needed before the marriage took place. On May 11, 1878, a daughter Amanda was born. Aslaug's twin brother Svenning passed away on November 12, 1878. His death, as recorded, was due to consumption.

In 1879, Halvor, Aslaug, and Amanda, together with Aslaug's mother, Anlaug, and brothers Erick and Svenum joined Soren and Andrew in Vineland Township of Polk County. Halvor also took the Elseth name and Anlaug, Erick, and Svenum took the name of Lindem. This was the farm name in Norway from which they came. From this point on we shall refer to them as Elseths and Lindems. Soren, Halvor, and the Lindems were served by Sand Hill Lutheran Church which is still in existence today.

Erick and Svenum Lindem both married and stayed in the area. Anlaug lived with Erick until Erick passed away in 1899. Erick's second wife had passed away the year before leaving six children. The oldest was able to live independently. The youngest was taken by a relative of the mother. The remaining four were taken by Soren and Anne Elseth. Svenum and his wife had six children; two boys and four girls. The oldest boy lost his life in World War I; the youngest served in World War II but never was married. Svenum passed away in 1943. Anlaug also lived with Soren and Anne until her death In September of 1900. All are buried in Sand Hill Cemetery.

Several families in the area moved to Canada in the late 1880's, and I suspect that Andrew Elseth and his family was among them. Peter, his oldest son stayed in the Crookston area.

Soren and Anne had only the one son Peter. In 1895, Soren was living in Lowell Township west of Crookston. His mother Maren still resided with him. Sometime between 1895 and 1900 Maren moved to the Albert Lea area to live with her daughter Sina Jensen. Maren passed away in February of 1903 and is buried in the Norwegian Lutheran Cemetery in Bancroft Township. She was 87 years of age.

Soren moved back to the Vineland area, and the 1900 census records show that in his household lived ten people. Soren, his wife Anne, son Peter, mother-in-law Anlaug Lindem, the four children of Erick Lindem, plus a hired girl, and hired man. Anlaug passed away in September of 1900, and in 1902, Soren, Anne, Peter, and the four Lindems moved to Tacoma, Washington. He is supposed to have purchased farms, divided them up, and built houses on them for resale. Son Peter passed away in 1906, and Soren passed away in 1920 at the age of 85. Anne died five years later in 1925. John Lindem still lived with them. The house they lived in at 611 East Morton is still in use.

Back in time to 1880, Aslaug and Halvor Elseth, living in Vineland Township, welcomed the birth of a son on April 14. The boy was baptized Peter Alfred. Later, he used the name Alfred Peter. On June 13, 1881, another boy was born. As so often happened in those days, Aslaug, the mother, passed away. The boy, Adolph Severin, survived. Aslaug is also buried at Sand Hill near her mother Anlaug. A young woman was hired to help care for the three young children.

Halvor married Ingeborg Berg in 1882. They left the Vineland area to homestead on the sw 1/4, sec. 28 in West Valley Township, Marshall County, west of the present day village of Newfolden. To this union were born ten children. Ingeborg passed away in 1909(?). Halvor later married Freda Gustafson. They had two children.

Halvor, Freda, and the younger children moved to Tacoma, Washington (c.1915). He worked with Soren, but after Soren's death in 1920, returned to West Valley. Halvor passed away in October, 1926. According to the death records, Halvor died of yellow jaundice. He rests in Bethania Cemetery west of Newfolden next to his second wife Ingeborg.

To the reader: Like a jigsaw puzzle, there are some missing pieces and some that may not fit too well. This is an ongoing project and as more information is received, it will be updated. Any corrections or pertinent information will be gratefully received. Thank you for you patience in reading this report. I am indebted to Bonnie Elseth Larson for the information about Soren during his stay in the Tacoma area.

Halvor Peterson Elseth & Aslaug Lindem Elseth

Amanda Martha b. May 11,1878

Alfred Peter b. April 14, 1880

Adolph Severin b. June 13, 1881

Halvor Peterson Elseth & Ingeborg Berg Elseth













Halvor Peterson Elseth & Freda Gustafson Elseth



Adolph Severin Elseth & Bergetta Mathilda Hjelle

b. 6-13-1881 b. 7-26-1883

d. 5-6-1931 d. 5-1-1976

m. 4- -1907 West Valley Township, Marshall Co.,


Harold Ellsworth Elseth b. 3-27-1908 d. 8- -1978

Edmund Clarence Elseth b. 8-21-1910 d. 10-2-1987

Cora Adeline Elseth b. 5-18-1913

Edythe Florence Elseth b. 11-21-1915 d. 3-15-1916

Kennth Mervin Elseth b. 9-9-1917 d. 10-4-1983

Elma Mae Elseth b. 10-5-1920

Orville Arthur Elseth b. 12-12-1924



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