Source; The Story of my life by Charlotte Ritland Andersen.
My maternal grandmother, Christine Sagaard was born on the Sagaard farm near Tau, Norway, in 18J4, just over the mountain from Ritland, Her father, my great grandfather, was Peder Bjornsen
Sagen, born in 1807, and her mother was Ingeborg Christine Rasmusdatter Vasstveit, also born in 1807.
Christine was the eldest of 6 sisters. She and her sister Ingeborg came to America; the other four remained in Norway. Their names are: Berta Sagaard,
Anna Tjosheim, Anna Marie Jorpeland and Rachel Leite. Berta's descendents are still on the Sagaard farm.
Karen and I had a nice visit on the farm that summer in Norway, and it was truly a thrill to be there, to walk on the very ground on which she had
walked, to gaze on the mountains that she loved, and to see the same fertile valleys and beautiful fjords.
I can only imagine the pain and sorrow they must have felt when they bid their dear ones "farvell" and set their faces toward America never to
see their parents and sisters again. There must have been an irrestible pull to draw them to America, the land of golden promise.
For those who went there was some degree of excitement and anticipation of a new adventure, but it must have been excruciating
for the parents and others left behind. It has been said that my grandmother was very lonesome for Norway and cried bitter tears, but she was never to see Norway again.
Karen was anxious to know more about her great grandmother but Iàm sorry
I do not know very much about her. She died in 1906 3 years before my mother was married. I do know she was a strong person. Her father was a farmer and a fisherman. As the eldest of the sisters, she was her father's helper
rowing the boat in the heavy
North Sea and during the summer, taking the herds up the mountains to the seter. Here the goats, sheep and cows grazed all summer on the lush grass and grandma made cheese and butter for the long, cold winter ahead.
I am told she had a very sweet singing
voice and I can just visualize her singing as she went about her work. She was a woman of deep religious faith. She lost J children in their tender years at least one to the dreaded diptheria. In spite
of her grie~ it is said that as one of her babies
was lowered into the grave she burst forth in a hymn of praise to her God. In later years Cousin Rolf Stage berg came upon a letter she had written in Norwegian to her children. He had it translated into English and it was full of concern for her dear
I wish I could have known her. What an inspiration she would have been in my life.
It was a great privilege for me to be on the Sagaard farm. As I shook hands with my 3rd Cousin Goodvin, who now lives there, I felt I had completed a journey.
I had come back to the land where my roots were and I felt a strong kinship with the family there. We had more in common than names in the family Bible. we had a common heritage.
Norway had welcomeJ me to her shores. I had come full circle. I am sorry
we have lost track of Grandmother's sister, Ingeborg, who came to America with her. She married a man by the name of Johnson. We have a picture of Christine and Ingeborg with their husbands.
My mother was just a little girl and she and Uncle Syvert are
on the picture as well as their cousins, Lena and Isaac Johnson. All four are young children. I remember once as a little girl I was with my parents when we visited Isaac Johnson near Whalen, Minnesota. I seem to remember a large white house on a farm, but
haven't heard about them for many years.
My great grandparents on the Williamson side were Siri (Sarah in English) Tysdal, born in 1805, and Vellom Meland. They were married in 1834 and their son, Ole, was born in 184o, near Hjelmeland,
Norway. He was Vellom's son, thus he took the name of Vello~son, which in America became Williamson.
That was the custom of Norway. I have stated how much it meant to me to be on the Sagaard farm, it was equally thrilling to be on the Meland farm. The
old house where the family lived is still standing, a very small frame house, now protected by law as a historical place to be preserved.
Curtains were still at the windows but we did not see the inside. We talked to an elderly couple living in an adjacent
house and he told us there was a plot of ground known as Vellom's Field. This valley was simply beautiful with white farm houses, red barns, green fields with mountains
in the distance. They were drying hay hay on fences which added to the pastoral scene.
Although My Grandfather and Grandmother Williamson lived only a mountain away from one another in Norway they did not know one another in the old country. In those days the mountains were a tremendous barrier. Many· Norwegians were born, Married,
died and were buried in the same valley,
never venturing over the mountain to the next valley. My grandparents met the the boat that took them from their homeland to the new life they shared in America. They sailed from the harbor at Stavanger in 1863.
We think they came down the St. Lawrence
River waterway to the Great Lakes, to Chicago, and thence to the Fox River settle ment in I linois, which was a Norwegian settlement. They were married in the fall of 1863. After 6 years in Illinois they went
by prairie schooner to Webster County, Iowa, with their 3 small children and all their possessions.
They were early pioneers and suffered the hardships of that time. While fording a river on their hazardous trip to Iowa the wagon tipped over, dumping
everyone and all their earthly belongings into the swift current.
The following is an interesting excerpt from The Biographical Record of Webster County, Iowa, published by S. J. Clark Publishing Co., Chicago,Ill, 1902: "Their home, as it is with marks
of culture on every hand, such as music, books and flowers is an interesting one. The efforts of Mrs. Williamson deserve s.pecialmeDtion. She has not only reared a large family, which aloneto the modern woman appears a Herculean task, but as a pioneer wife/she
has ever been ready with strong and willing hands to see that chores were done, grain in the stack and hay in the mow. The fortitude and heorism of a pioneer's wife in the midst of hardships and privations cannot be too fully realized and appreciated.
his political views Mr.Williamson is a staunch Repmblican, having supported every presidential nominee of that party since casting his first vote for General Grant in 1868. He has never sought official preferment, but gives his entire attention to his farming
He has met with well deserved success in all his undertakings, and is today one of the welltodo and substantial farmers of his community. Grandpa became well known as a horseman and had beautifully matched teams. He would often loan
his teams to pull the funeral carriages.
He became welltodo and built a large comfortable home on the farm south of Badger. I remember the house very well. Johansons lived on that farm taking care of Grandpa in his old age, and we often visited
there when I was achild.
There was a long lane leading up to the farm buildings and we would honk the car horn the whole length of the lane to herald our coming. What fun we had~ There was a one room country school house on the corner and once I
visited school there with Charlotte and Oline. In her youth Aunt Anna taught school there and was known as an outstanding teacher.
Christine and Ole Williamson had 10 children, 3 died as infants as I mentioned before. This was a remarkable gifted,
tal, in April, 1906 at 71 years of age. Seven children grew to adulthood nd they are as follows:
Isabelle (Ingeborg), William, Peter, Syvert, Susie, Anna, and Ina.