Peder and Regina LERFALD’s 50th Anniversary


Source: 50th Anniversary of Peter and Regina Lerfald. Photograph. 7 June 1931. Original in the possession of Troy Midkiff [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Vancouver, Washington. 2008.

The couple sitting on the bench are my husband’s great-great-grandparents, Peder Johnsen LERFALD (1855 – 1936) and Regina Olasdotter LERFALD (1859 – 1943), celebrating the 50th anniversary of their marriage, which took place 7 June 1881, probably in Goodhue Co., Minnesota. The photograph was likely taken at their home in Woodville, St. Croix Co., Wisconsin. Peder and Regina are not only husband and wife; they are also first cousins. But not, despite their surnames, are they both related on their fathers’ sides.

Peder was born 25 April 1855 to John Nilssen LERFALD and Sigrid Lassesdotter LERFALDBJØRG, near Trondheim, Norwary. He was the fourth of seven children (one died in infancy) in a family that immigrated to America in 1866. His mother appears to have died shortly after they arrived, and his father remarried to Randa [–?–].

Regina was born 2 Apr 1859 to Ola Pedersen FORDALSHAUGEN and Ane Nilsdotter LERFALDHOLMEN, also near Trondheim. In fact, both Peder and Regina likely were born in or around the community of Lerfald, to the east of Trondheim. Regina was the sixth of nine children and her mother and siblings immigrated to the U.S. in 1874 after her father’s death two years previously.

Peder’s father John and Regina’s mother Ane were brother and sister. You can see they both had the patronym “Nils…”, meaning of course, their father’s name was Nils. But they had different surnames because Norwegians at that time and place used the surname for the location in which they lived or the farm on which they worked. Their surnames would change with their location. When they immigrated to the United States, sometimes they used their latest surname, and other times they used their patronyms. The ladies often used the masculine version of their patronyn, becoming Ane “Nilssen” instead of Ane Nilsdotter, even though it didn’t make sense. Americans were used to names ending in -son or -sen, not -dotter. I’ve found Regina in records where she used Lerfald as a surname and at other times used Olsen. Because of the many different names that were used, I’ve actually had a harder time finding my husband’s ancestors after they arrived in the U.S. Their family histories in Norway have been very easy to trace using bygdebøker, a unique combination of census, family histories and farm histories within a parish.

Peder and Regina had six children: Sofia, John, Anna, Ole, Rena (my husband’s great-grandmother), and Nannie, who died in infancy. John and Ole never married and are pictured in the photograph above. The woman is probably Anna, who lived nearby in Eau Claire, Eau Clair Co., Wisconsin with her husband and family. Sofia lived in Montana and Rena lived in Washington State – both with their respective husbands and families, so it’s unlikely they were present for this celebration. We have a few other photos from this day, and neither Rena nor Sofia appear in them. The photos were probably sent to the daughters to share with them the celebration.
——————
We’ve had some interesting conversations at my home regarding this photo:

“Norm, do you realize you’re your own 5th cousin to yourself, and to your siblings? And our kids are 6th cousins to themselves and each other. You and the kids aren’t just father and children, you’re 5th cousins, once removed!”

“Look at the size of Peder’s hands! Holy cow!”

“Wonder what the dog’s name was?”

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Postcard from Unknown Sender to R. LERFALD, 17 Mar 1908

Recently, my father-in-law loaned us a pile of postcards that had belonged to his maternal grandparents, George Rice WESTABY, III and Rena LERFALD. Actually, the majority of them belonged to Rena. I hope my readers will forgive me, but I have found several scanned postcards out of date order! Here is one of them:


(front)


(front)


You can see that this postcard is postmarked from Minneapolis, Minnesota. The date was very difficult to make out for certain, because the card is embossed, causing the ink to not adhere to the back of the card very well. I believe the date is 17 March 1908, although it could be any date between the 10th and 19th of March. I don’t know who lived in or near Minneapolis, but I wonder if it was one of Rena’s older siblings. The handwriting does not match her sister Anna’s or her brother John’s. I’ll check later to see if it matches any other family member’s. Too bad that Rena didn’t mark this postcard with the sender’s name later, but perhaps she didn’t remember who it was!

Source: The Westaby-Lerfald Postcard Collection. Privately held by Troy Midkiff, Vancouver, Washington.

Postcard from Unknown Sender to R. LERFALD, 17 Mar 1908

Recently, my father-in-law loaned us a pile of postcards that had belonged to his maternal grandparents, George Rice WESTABY, III and Rena LERFALD. Actually, the majority of them belonged to Rena. I hope my readers will forgive me, but I have found several scanned postcards out of date order! Here is one of them:


(front)


(front)


You can see that this postcard is postmarked from Minneapolis, Minnesota. The date was very difficult to make out for certain, because the card is embossed, causing the ink to not adhere to the back of the card very well. I believe the date is 17 March 1908, although it could be any date between the 10th and 19th of March. I don’t know who lived in or near Minneapolis, but I wonder if it was one of Rena’s older siblings. The handwriting does not match her sister Anna’s or her brother John’s. I’ll check later to see if it matches any other family member’s. Too bad that Rena didn’t mark this postcard with the sender’s name later, but perhaps she didn’t remember who it was!

Source: The Westaby-Lerfald Postcard Collection. Privately held by Troy Midkiff, Vancouver, Washington.

CRAPSEY Photos…and a Rollerskating Bear

A week and a half ago, I posted some transcribed news clippings about my ROBBINS ancestors and their extended family who lived in Southbrook Township, Cottonwood County, Minnesota from the mid-1870s to the early 1880s. These were sent to me by Mike Kirchmeier of Windom, Minnesota, who is working on a genealogical project of Southbrook Township citizens. He also sent me some photographs, as well as some genealogical information on these family members. I was very excited to get all of this. These have helped to “flesh out” some of the people in my family tree who were little more than names, dates, and locations to me.

First a little background: one of my paternal 4th-great-grandmothers was Lura Ann JACKSON (1826 – bef. 1900), whose earliest residences I’ve found have been in Potter County, Pennsylvania. She first married my ancestor, Nelson H. PECK (c. 1819 – 1849), and they had one child, my 3rd-great-grandmother, Viola Gertrude PECK (1848 – 1918). After Nelson died, Lura Ann married a widower, the Rev. John CRAPSEY (1816 – 1903), who had one child, Angelo M. CRAPSEY (1842 – 1864), by his previous wife. The family moved to neighboring McKean County, Pennsylvania, to land adjoining that of the ROBBINS family in Liberty Township. Angelo’s best friend was Charles H. ROBBINS, and the two signed up together after Fort Sumter was fired upon, and served in Company I of the First Pennsylvania Rifles (a.k.a. the Bucktails). Angelo was captured during a battle and spent some time in Libby Prison, the infamous Confederate prisoner-of-war prison in Richmond, Virginia. Although released later, he was there long enough to lose his mind, and tragically committed suicide after several unsuccessful attempts, at the home of a family friend, Laroy LYMAN, in Roulette, Potter County, Pennsylvania.

Charles and Viola were wed at the war’s end, married by her step-father, the Reverend CRAPSEY (see the photograph likely taken at that time, here). First, the ROBBINSes accompanied Charles’ parents to Oceana County, in Western Michigan, but later removed to Cottonwood County, Minnesota, where Viola’s mother, step-father and half-siblings were living. Angelo and his friend Laroy had purchased some land in Minnesota before his death, and that may have been what prompted the CRAPSEYs to move to that state. Charles and Viola lived about eight or nine years in Cottonwood County, on land neighboring her parents and also some of her adult half-siblings. By 1884, the ROBBINS had returned to the Oceana-Newaygo County area in Western Michgian. They named one of their sons Angelo, after their friend/step-brother. He is Angelo Merrick ROBBINS, Sr., the father who is mentioned in the “Polar Bear posts” I have been writing.

Viola’s younger half-siblings (John CRAPSEY and Lura Ann JACKSON’s children) were:

  • *Alice (CRAPSEY) HANDY McBAIN (1855 – 1905)
  • *William “Willie” Merrick CRAPSEY (1858 – 1946)
  • *Harriet “Hattie” or “Suky” (CRAPSEY) HARDY (b. 1860)
  • *George Bayard CRAPSEY (b. 1863)

Below is a photo of Willie in 1940:

SOURCE: Crapsey, William “Willie” Merrick. Photograph. 1940. Digital image. Privately held by Michael Kirchmeier, Windom, Minnesota, 2007.

Here is a photo of George and his wife Carrie [–?–]. She’s the one in the skirt!

SOURCE: Crapsey, George Bayard with wife Carrie [–?–] and trained bear. Undated photograph. Digital image. Privately held by Michael Kirchmeier, Windom, Minnesota, 2007.

Mike tells me that George found this bear as a cub while living in Wisconsin. He trained the bear and used to travel all over the country–possibly the world–to feature him in shows. Now isn’t this some fun information to add to my family history? Seems like the Robbins family and bears are destined to go together…first the rollerskating bear with my Great-great-great-grandma Robbins’ half brother; then my Great-grandfather Robbins’ experiences as a Polar Bear in Russia; and, oh yes! the bear that kept raiding my parents’ Alaskan farm back in 1975…but that’s another story…maybe even another blog altogether.

CRAPSEY Photos…and a Rollerskating Bear

A week and a half ago, I posted some transcribed news clippings about my ROBBINS ancestors and their extended family who lived in Southbrook Township, Cottonwood County, Minnesota from the mid-1870s to the early 1880s. These were sent to me by Mike Kirchmeier of Windom, Minnesota, who is working on a genealogical project of Southbrook Township citizens. He also sent me some photographs, as well as some genealogical information on these family members. I was very excited to get all of this. These have helped to “flesh out” some of the people in my family tree who were little more than names, dates, and locations to me.

First a little background: one of my paternal 4th-great-grandmothers was Lura Ann JACKSON (1826 – bef. 1900), whose earliest residences I’ve found have been in Potter County, Pennsylvania. She first married my ancestor, Nelson H. PECK (c. 1819 – 1849), and they had one child, my 3rd-great-grandmother, Viola Gertrude PECK (1848 – 1918). After Nelson died, Lura Ann married a widower, the Rev. John CRAPSEY (1816 – 1903), who had one child, Angelo M. CRAPSEY (1842 – 1864), by his previous wife. The family moved to neighboring McKean County, Pennsylvania, to land adjoining that of the ROBBINS family in Liberty Township. Angelo’s best friend was Charles H. ROBBINS, and the two signed up together after Fort Sumter was fired upon, and served in Company I of the First Pennsylvania Rifles (a.k.a. the Bucktails). Angelo was captured during a battle and spent some time in Libby Prison, the infamous Confederate prisoner-of-war prison in Richmond, Virginia. Although released later, he was there long enough to lose his mind, and tragically committed suicide after several unsuccessful attempts, at the home of a family friend, Laroy LYMAN, in Roulette, Potter County, Pennsylvania.

Charles and Viola were wed at the war’s end, married by her step-father, the Reverend CRAPSEY (see the photograph likely taken at that time, here). First, the ROBBINSes accompanied Charles’ parents to Oceana County, in Western Michigan, but later removed to Cottonwood County, Minnesota, where Viola’s mother, step-father and half-siblings were living. Angelo and his friend Laroy had purchased some land in Minnesota before his death, and that may have been what prompted the CRAPSEYs to move to that state. Charles and Viola lived about eight or nine years in Cottonwood County, on land neighboring her parents and also some of her adult half-siblings. By 1884, the ROBBINS had returned to the Oceana-Newaygo County area in Western Michgian. They named one of their sons Angelo, after their friend/step-brother. He is Angelo Merrick ROBBINS, Sr., the father who is mentioned in the “Polar Bear posts” I have been writing.

Viola’s younger half-siblings (John CRAPSEY and Lura Ann JACKSON’s children) were:

  • *Alice (CRAPSEY) HANDY McBAIN (1855 – 1905)
  • *William “Willie” Merrick CRAPSEY (1858 – 1946)
  • *Harriet “Hattie” or “Suky” (CRAPSEY) HARDY (b. 1860)
  • *George Bayard CRAPSEY (b. 1863)

Below is a photo of Willie in 1940:

SOURCE: Crapsey, William “Willie” Merrick. Photograph. 1940. Digital image. Privately held by Michael Kirchmeier, Windom, Minnesota, 2007.

Here is a photo of George and his wife Carrie [–?–]. She’s the one in the skirt!

SOURCE: Crapsey, George Bayard with wife Carrie [–?–] and trained bear. Undated photograph. Digital image. Privately held by Michael Kirchmeier, Windom, Minnesota, 2007.

Mike tells me that George found this bear as a cub while living in Wisconsin. He trained the bear and used to travel all over the country–possibly the world–to feature him in shows. Now isn’t this some fun information to add to my family history? Seems like the Robbins family and bears are destined to go together…first the rollerskating bear with my Great-great-great-grandma Robbins’ half brother; then my Great-grandfather Robbins’ experiences as a Polar Bear in Russia; and, oh yes! the bear that kept raiding my parents’ Alaskan farm back in 1975…but that’s another story…maybe even another blog altogether.

The Robbins Family in the Windom [Minnesota] Reporter

Late last week I received an e-mail from Mike Kirchmeier of Windom, Minnesota. He has been working on a genealogical project on Southbrook Township of Cottonwood County of that state, and we’ve corresponded in the past about my Robbins family who lived there in the 1870s and 1880s for a brief time. Mike found mention of the family in the Windom Reporter, and e-mailed the transcription to me.

The “players” are my 3rd-great-grandfather, Charles H. ROBBINS; his wife’s step-father, John CRAPSEY; his wife’s half-sister’s husband, Charles HANDY; and the husband of another half-sister of his wife, John HARDY.

Excerpts from the Windom Reporter of Windom, Minnesota:

March 19, 1874
Supervisors, Ole Rued, chm, John Kane, Chas. Robbins; Clerk, Chas. Vickers; Treasurer, M. McDevit; Assessor, Wm. Snure; Justices of the Peace, John Crapsey, John Vanbuskirk; Constables, Wm Secrest, Roswell Densmore.

October 1, 1874
Chas Robbins was the Southbrook representative to the County Republican Convention.

November 12, 1874
We under stand from Mr. Robbins that there was a pleasant party at the house of Mr. Lindquist, in the Talcott lake settlement.

January 14, 1875
County Commissioner Meeting – January 5, 1875

Charles Robbins, 40 miles travel making election returns town of Southbrook, $4 allowed.

October 1875
Representatives to the Republican Convention for Cottonwood, Jackson, Murray, Pipestone, Rock, and Jackson Counties included Chas. Robbins and F. H. Moon [both of Southbrook].

November 1875
Election returns of Southbrook:

Republican Ticket, 7; Democratic Ticket, 8.

January 6, 1876
Chas. Robbins of Southbrook called last week [at the reporter’s office].

July 6, 1876
John Benson and Chas. Robbins of Southbrook called last week [at the reporter’s office].

July 24, 1876
Chas Robbins, Southbrook, was over in Martin County looking to take a job breaking, but couldn’t find the man who wanted it done.

August 31, 1876
We last week mentioned the loss of Charles Handy’s barn by lightning. Charles Robbins writes us: The barn of Chas. Handy was destroyed by lightning with all of its contents including two horses belonging to D. Hand(y), thirty bushel of shelled wheat, twenty tons of hay, harness etc. The loss was a severe one.

April 12, 1877
Charles Robbins of Southbrook will work this summer for Ross Nichols.

December 13, 1877
Charley Robbins has ploughed nearly 100 acres with ox team.

January 17, 1878
New Years – a social party at Chas Robbins. Had a good time and picnic supper.

August 25, 1878
The farmers have commenced threshing. Chas. Robbins and J. Crapsey’s wheat averaged 14 bushels per acre. Some of it has been ground and makes good bread.

May 22, 1879
Messrs. Robbins and Hardy will furnish farmers with a thrasher this season.

February 5, 1880
Dundee. Charlie Robbins recently had the misfortune to crush his hand in J. T. Smith’s hay press.

February 12, 1880
Charles Robbins of Southbrook, Cottonwood County, while working at Hersey, [Township, Nobles County] on the hay press, belonging to Mr. J.T. Smith, at this place, had his hand badly crushed, a few days ago. Dr. Force, of this place, was telegraphed for, but the freight train coming along about that time Mr. Robbins, in company with Jack Woolstencroft, and Eli McLaughlin, came to Heron Lake where they met, at the train, Dr. Force who took charge in the case. After carefully dressing the hand, stopping the flow of blood and removing the lacerated flesh and tendons. Mr. Robbins was removed to the residence of R. A. Nichols. –We are glad to learn from his attending physician that he is doing well, with prospect of saving the whole hand.

March 4, 1880
Charlie Robbins went home to Cottonwood County. He has been at the house of R. A. Nichols for 5 weeks.

April 29. 1880
Charlie Robbins, of Southbrook, was in town Tuesday.

July 7, 1880
Charles Robbins, Preemption Declaratory Statement No. 16836 for the E½, SE1/4, section 30,T.105, R.38W. made final proof in support of his claim. Witnesses to his continuous residence and cultivation of said land were listed as John Crapsey, Ole Rued, George Knott, and Peter Olson, all of Southbrook.

September 9, 1880
Messrs Robbins and Snure, two representative men from Southbrook, called Saturday together with J. H. Weldon of Highwater.

I knew Charles had smashed his hand in a thresher, because it was mentioned in an interview conducted near his death; and also appeared in some census information. It was interesting to get the details of the accident via this newspaper account.

The Nichols name leaped out at me, because Charles’ brother, Benjamin Leander “Lee” ROBBINS, had a son-in-law named Benjamin J. NICHOLS. I’m wondering if there’s a connection

Mike also sent me some photographs of the half-brothers of Viola (PECK) ROBBINS, my 3rd-great-grandmother, which I’ll be posting later. He was able to give me some names and dates I was missing, and some sources, so I’ll be able to look up the records myself and add them to the family tree. Very exciting, this!

The Robbins Family in the Windom [Minnesota] Reporter

Late last week I received an e-mail from Mike Kirchmeier of Windom, Minnesota. He has been working on a genealogical project on Southbrook Township of Cottonwood County of that state, and we’ve corresponded in the past about my Robbins family who lived there in the 1870s and 1880s for a brief time. Mike found mention of the family in the Windom Reporter, and e-mailed the transcription to me.

The “players” are my 3rd-great-grandfather, Charles H. ROBBINS; his wife’s step-father, John CRAPSEY; his wife’s half-sister’s husband, Charles HANDY; and the husband of another half-sister of his wife, John HARDY.

Excerpts from the Windom Reporter of Windom, Minnesota:

March 19, 1874
Supervisors, Ole Rued, chm, John Kane, Chas. Robbins; Clerk, Chas. Vickers; Treasurer, M. McDevit; Assessor, Wm. Snure; Justices of the Peace, John Crapsey, John Vanbuskirk; Constables, Wm Secrest, Roswell Densmore.

October 1, 1874
Chas Robbins was the Southbrook representative to the County Republican Convention.

November 12, 1874
We under stand from Mr. Robbins that there was a pleasant party at the house of Mr. Lindquist, in the Talcott lake settlement.

January 14, 1875
County Commissioner Meeting – January 5, 1875

Charles Robbins, 40 miles travel making election returns town of Southbrook, $4 allowed.

October 1875
Representatives to the Republican Convention for Cottonwood, Jackson, Murray, Pipestone, Rock, and Jackson Counties included Chas. Robbins and F. H. Moon [both of Southbrook].

November 1875
Election returns of Southbrook:

Republican Ticket, 7; Democratic Ticket, 8.

January 6, 1876
Chas. Robbins of Southbrook called last week [at the reporter’s office].

July 6, 1876
John Benson and Chas. Robbins of Southbrook called last week [at the reporter’s office].

July 24, 1876
Chas Robbins, Southbrook, was over in Martin County looking to take a job breaking, but couldn’t find the man who wanted it done.

August 31, 1876
We last week mentioned the loss of Charles Handy’s barn by lightning. Charles Robbins writes us: The barn of Chas. Handy was destroyed by lightning with all of its contents including two horses belonging to D. Hand(y), thirty bushel of shelled wheat, twenty tons of hay, harness etc. The loss was a severe one.

April 12, 1877
Charles Robbins of Southbrook will work this summer for Ross Nichols.

December 13, 1877
Charley Robbins has ploughed nearly 100 acres with ox team.

January 17, 1878
New Years – a social party at Chas Robbins. Had a good time and picnic supper.

August 25, 1878
The farmers have commenced threshing. Chas. Robbins and J. Crapsey’s wheat averaged 14 bushels per acre. Some of it has been ground and makes good bread.

May 22, 1879
Messrs. Robbins and Hardy will furnish farmers with a thrasher this season.

February 5, 1880
Dundee. Charlie Robbins recently had the misfortune to crush his hand in J. T. Smith’s hay press.

February 12, 1880
Charles Robbins of Southbrook, Cottonwood County, while working at Hersey, [Township, Nobles County] on the hay press, belonging to Mr. J.T. Smith, at this place, had his hand badly crushed, a few days ago. Dr. Force, of this place, was telegraphed for, but the freight train coming along about that time Mr. Robbins, in company with Jack Woolstencroft, and Eli McLaughlin, came to Heron Lake where they met, at the train, Dr. Force who took charge in the case. After carefully dressing the hand, stopping the flow of blood and removing the lacerated flesh and tendons. Mr. Robbins was removed to the residence of R. A. Nichols. –We are glad to learn from his attending physician that he is doing well, with prospect of saving the whole hand.

March 4, 1880
Charlie Robbins went home to Cottonwood County. He has been at the house of R. A. Nichols for 5 weeks.

April 29. 1880
Charlie Robbins, of Southbrook, was in town Tuesday.

July 7, 1880
Charles Robbins, Preemption Declaratory Statement No. 16836 for the E½, SE1/4, section 30,T.105, R.38W. made final proof in support of his claim. Witnesses to his continuous residence and cultivation of said land were listed as John Crapsey, Ole Rued, George Knott, and Peter Olson, all of Southbrook.

September 9, 1880
Messrs Robbins and Snure, two representative men from Southbrook, called Saturday together with J. H. Weldon of Highwater.

I knew Charles had smashed his hand in a thresher, because it was mentioned in an interview conducted near his death; and also appeared in some census information. It was interesting to get the details of the accident via this newspaper account.

The Nichols name leaped out at me, because Charles’ brother, Benjamin Leander “Lee” ROBBINS, had a son-in-law named Benjamin J. NICHOLS. I’m wondering if there’s a connection

Mike also sent me some photographs of the half-brothers of Viola (PECK) ROBBINS, my 3rd-great-grandmother, which I’ll be posting later. He was able to give me some names and dates I was missing, and some sources, so I’ll be able to look up the records myself and add them to the family tree. Very exciting, this!