Ancestry of the Ole Jonsen Negård Family 1595 – 1940
from Rindalsskogen, Møre og Romsdal, Norway

Jon Lille-Tiset born in 1595 was the owner of part of gaard Nestua Lille-Tiset.  He was recorded as a farmer in 1625 and 1645 and in 1657 a census shows he owned a herd of three horses, six oxen, 12 cows, 10 youngsters, five goats, and 12 sheep. Jon had one recorded son Anders b. abt. 1645

RA, Sogneprestenes manntall 1664-1666, nr. 29: Nordmøre prosti, 1664-1666, s. 101-102

Anders Jonson Lille-Tiset was a farmer in 1688 and 1701. He had one son Tore b. 1685.
RA, Manntallet 1701, nr. 11: Nordmøre fogderi og Romsdal fogderi, 1701, s. 2-3

Tore Andersson (Nestua Lille-Tiset) married widow Illdrid Kristensdatter Lille-Tistet, from Oppistua and took over her lease on the farm later called Ødegården Litjåsen on October 12, 1712.  Illdrid had previously married Hallvard Hallvardson who is listed as a third user at Lille-Tiset in 1701. Tore and Illdrid had Anders Toreson b. 1712. Tore died before 1740 and the widow Illdrid was to Marry Paul Andersson, but they had not lived together.  Illdrid died in 1740 with an inheritance of 35 riksdaler.

SAT, Nordmøre sorenskriveri, 2/2Ca/L0003: Mortgage book no. 1a, 1731-1740, p. 129

Anders Toresen inherited Nestua Stor-Tiset on July 14th, 1740. On December, 19th 1741 the deceased Tore Andersson Stor-Tiset's lease on Ødegården Litjåsen was transferred to his son Anders and the farm changed its name to Litjasen Tiset and was used for breeding and pasture. The farmer renting the land Ola Erikson, moved and took over Asphaugen.  In 1755 a legal document mentions Litjasen and roughly said "The farm had been sitting for 20 years and for the last 10-12 years owned by Anders Tiset the owner of Store Tiset." Anders bought the farm from Minister Ole Irgens for 350 thalers and recorded the deed in 1761.  This is the current info on Litjasen. "Litjasen was a farm that was extant around 1740 and which was later used by Lille Tiset and other gardens. The house on this garden stood in a sunny slope or as a piece of land attached to Oppistua Lille-Tiset"

Anders Toreson b. 1712 married Gjertrude Jonsdatter (Austistua) Store-Tiset, daughter of Jon Toreson b. 1724.  Anders and Gjertrude had; Ildrid b. 1741, Tore b. 1748, Brit b. 1751, Marit b. 1753, Marit b. 1755, Ingeborg b. 1758, Brit. b. 1760, Jon b. 1763, Gjertrude b. 1765, Hallvard b. 1768, and Randi b. 1771.  Through marriage Anders took over Austistua Store-Tiset and became owner of both farms of the Tiset Gaard, Austistua Store-Tiset and Nestua Lille Tiset. Anders was an ambitious man and cleared part of the forest of Austistua Stor-Tiset. The cleared part of the forest was named Gaard-Negård (lower-farm) and it was split into two separate farms and one farm he gave to 2nd eldest son Jon. Hallvard the 3rd eldest son, received another part of the same farm called Utistua Negård. After Anders died, Jon received All of Stor-Tiset. Tore the eldest, took over another farm from his marriage and did not need to inherit his father’s land. Litjåsen later came to follow the two farms on Negård.

Anders sold one half of the farm to son Hallvard and the other half to son Jon, both of which paid 150  dollars.  The two brothers kept their land under Negård, and Litjasen became a field and breeding farm.

SAT, Ministerialprotokoller, klokkerbøker og fødselsregistre - Møre og Romsdal, 595/L1039: Ministerialbok nr. 595A01, 1750-1796, s. 109

Jon Andersson Tiset (Negård) b. 1763 married Anne Olsdatter Asphaug and Jon owned Austistua Stor-Tiset and Negård. They had; Gjertrude b. 1798, Ola b. 1799, Anders b. 1803, Ildrid b. 1805, Ane b. 1808, Ingeborg b. 1811, Ola b. 1817. Jon kept the name Tiset since he owned both Lille-Tiset and the Negård farms. John died in 1824.

SAT, Ministerialprotokoller, klokkerbøker og fødselsregistre - Møre og Romsdal, 595/L1040: Ministerialbok nr. 595A02, 1797-1819, s. 215
SAT, Ministerialprotokoller, klokkerbøker og fødselsregistre - Møre og Romsdal, 595/L1040: Parish register (official) no. 595A02, 1797-1819, p. 44

RA, Folketelling 1801 for 1566P Surnadal prestegjeld, 1801, s. 731b-732a

NOBA, Norges Bank/Sølvskatten 1816*, 1816-1819, s. 69

SAT, Ministerialprotokoller, klokkerbøker og fødselsregistre - Møre og Romsdal, 595/L1041: Ministerialbok nr. 595A03, 1819-1829, s. 192-193

Ola Jonson Tiset b. 1800 married Marit Larsdatter Bolme b.1801. Ola and Marit had; Jon b. 1829, Gjertrude b. 1832, Ane b. 1835, Lars b. 1838, and Marit b. 1844. Jon the eldest took over the Negård Farm. It was at this time (abt. 1820) the farmhouse was built. It seems either Jon or Ola may have sold both the Austistua and Lille-Tiset farms to raise money to finance the new farmhouse and make improvements on the Negård farm.

SAT, Ministerialprotokoller, klokkerbøker og fødselsregistre - Møre og Romsdal, 595/L1042: Ministerialbok nr. 595A04, 1829-1843, s. 7

SAT, Nordmøre sorenskriveri, 2/2A/L0036: Mortgage register no. 36, 1822-1868, p. 13-14

Jon Olson Negård b. 1829 married Ingeborg Jonsdatter Aunebakk b. 1828 and they had one son, Ola b. April 16th, 1859. Ingeborg died in 1863 while Ola was a toddler and her widow Jon remarried to Eli Rolvsdatter Bolme b. 1848 in 1866. Jon and Eli had; Lars b. 1867, Jon b. 1870, Ingeborg b. June 23rd, 1872, Marit b. 1876, Nils b. Apr 8th, 1880, and Peder b. Nov 28th, 1882. Ola being the eldest would have taken over the farm but as this time in Norway, families were immigrating to the States because of plentiful land and poor economic conditions.

SAT, Ministerialprotokoller, klokkerbøker og fødselsregistre - Møre og Romsdal, 595/L1044: Ministerialbok nr. 595A06, 1852-1863, s. 173

SAT, Ministerialprotokoller, klokkerbøker og fødselsregistre - Møre og Romsdal, 598/L1067: Parish register (official) no. 598A01, 1858-1871, p. 11

RA, 1865 census for Rindal, 1865, p. 30
.RA, 1865 census for Rindal, 1865, p. 30

SAT, Folketelling 1875 for 1567P Rindal prestegjeld, 1875, s. 2060

Negard Tree 1

Ola Jonson Negard

Ola Jonson Negård married 16-year-old Gjertrude Jonsdatter Storholdt May 10th, 1880 in Trondheim, Norway. Gjertrude was the daughter of John Johnson Storholdt and Marit Olsdatter Løset. The very next day Ole and Gjertrude left Norway from Trondheim with Ingeborg Nilssen and sailed to Hull, England on the ship “Pacific” under the American Line. In his declaration of intent to become a US citizen in Douglas County, WI, Ola states that he arrived in the US through the port of Philadelphia in June of 1880. According to the website “Norway Heritage” the only connecting ship scheduled from the Pacific that arrived in Philadelphia is the SS Lord Gough. It is also the only ship that is with the American Line. Lord Gough arrived in Philadelphia late on May 30th and the passengers departed on the 31st. The normal journey to America was from Trondheim to Hull, England then a train across England to Liverpool. Family history also states that he lived in Duluth, MN after his arrival for a very short time which is right next to Superior in Douglas county.
SAT, Ministerialprotokoller, klokkerbøker og fødselsregistre - Sør-Trøndelag, 602/L0119: Ministerialbok nr. 602A17, 1880-1901, s. 236

SAT, Trondheim politikammer, 32/L0004: Emigrantprotokoll IV, 1878-1880

Wisconsin, County Naturalization Records,  Jackson Co. WI,  Naturalization index 1853-1941 Vol 1
Wisconsin, County Naturalization Records, Douglas Co. WI, Declaration of intention index 1855-1906 Vol 3, slide 51

Ola and Gjertrude first settled in Norseville at Ola Johnson Rommundstad's farm, an what is now called the Rommundstad Valley sometime around August of 1880. This area is southeast of Strum, close to the borders of Eau Claire, Trempealeau, and Jackson counties in west-central Wisconsin. Gjertrude’s sister; Eli, married Peder Jonsen Sneen and her sister Marit, married Ola Johnson Rommundstad.  Most of the settlers in the vicinity were from Rindal and had a common bond back to their home country. Ola and Gjertrude are recorded in the 1880 Census living with Ola and Marit on June 17th and were witnesses to a christening of Marit and Ola Rommunstad’s child, Marit (named after her mother), their niece; on Dec, 19th 1880. On April 30th, 1881 Ola and Gjertrude had a son Gunerius Negaard. Gunerius was baptized on March 2nd at Spring Brook Lutheran Church in Meridian, Wisconsin. Both of Gjertude's sisters and husbands were listed as witnesses.

1880; Census Place: Pleasant Valley, Eau Claire, Wisconsin; Roll: 1425; Page: 545C; Enumeration District: 141

Birth of Gunerius, U.S., Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Church Records, 1781-1969 - Congregational Records, Wisconsin, Elk Mound, Spring Brook pgs. 12-13

Gjertrude and Gunerius, unfortunately, died sometime between 1881-1883, and no records have been located to pinpoint the exact date. A couple of short years later tides had turned for Ola and he met someone else.  Ola married his second wife, Mathilda Johnson on April 20th 1884 in North La Crosse, WI.  Mathilda was the the daughter of John Christanson Johnson from Vermund, Aasnes, Hedmark Norway. and Mary Kristiansdatter from Stange, Hedmark, Norway.  John's family initially lived in Dane County, Wisconsin and he and his brothers Arne, Gunnerius, Halvor eventually settled in Jackson and Trempeleau County.  John's father Christian Henricksen Vermund also moved to Jackson County and died in 1902 at 95 years of age. This side of the family has Swedish and Finnish Roots.

One of John's grandparents, Daniel Andersen Tyskeberget "the Bear Hunter" b. 1774 Gransjøen, Sødra Finnskoga, Sweden was a local legend.  Daniel  supposedly helped the Norwegian army against the Swedes.  A local story goes as follows (translated to English) “Daniel Andersen, born in 1774, lived here in Tyskeberget. His grandfather, who was Finnish, cleared and built the Finnish village. Daniel shot, according to local tradition 99 bears. He was often sent to Sweden to shoot bears on many dangerous, challenging and little lucrative trips. The payment was only the bear meat. Daniel was a skilled skier. In the Dano-Swedish War of 1808 he discovered Swedish troops on his way into Norway.  He left skiing until Sønsterud and notified the Norwegian forces and Daniel joined as a volunteer in the battle of Trangen, for the effort he got a new gun.

Daniel Andersen Tyskeberget's modified flintlock at the Anno Norsk skogmuseum  and gravestone.

On Oct 9th, 1884, Ola was living with his new wife in York at his father-in-law’s farm. It was at this time that John Christiansen Johnson (Mathildas’s Father) offered to sell Ola part of his farm that was once owned by his brother Arne Christiansen (Johnson). Ola did not have the money to purchase the farm and wrote a letter to his brother-in-law, Ola J. Rommundstad asking for money that he had lent to him. Ola Johnsen Negard was at the time employed by The Jack Ball & C. W. Culbertson timber mill located North of Augusta on Bridge Creek. Otis Emory, Ola’s first son was born on Jan 28th, 1885 in Eau Claire, County. On Nov 28th, 1888 Ola purchased the aforementioned farmland from his father-in-law John C. Johnson and his wife Mary for the sum of $800. The deed is located at the Jackson County register of deeds in Book 39 page 108.

Jackson Co. WI Register of Deeds Book 39 page 108

John Christianson Johnson and his Wife Maria Kristiansdatter

Ola expanded the farm January 30th 1902 by Purchasing 40 acres from his brother in law William Johnson for $900.  This land has once owned by  Christian Henricksen John Christiansen (Johnson's)  father.

1878 Jackson County, WI Land Map

Atlas and Farm Directory Northfield, Jackson, Co. WI, 1914 pg. 10

Ola J. Negard and Mathilda had; Otis Emory b. Jan 28th, 1885, John Robert b. Aug 24th, 1886, Earl Mossephien b. Dec 13th, 1890, Mabel Geneva b. Feb 5th, 1890, Vivian Blonden, b. July 16th, 1893, Vernon Lamont b. Oct 6th, 1896, Virgil Raymond b. Jan 26th, 1897, Opal Virginia b. Sept 22nd, 1899, Murial Virginia Vegas b. April 11th, 1903, & LaVerna Viola Maine b. Sept 11th, 1905.

Ole J Negard and Mahtilda Johnson

T. LaVerna & Vivian, Otis Emory B. La Verna and Vivian

1900; Census Place: Northfield, Jackson, Wisconsin; Page: 9; Enumeration District: 0055; FHL microfilm: 1241792

1910; Census Place: Northfield, Jackson, Wisconsin; Roll: T624_1713; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 0087; FHL microfilm: 1375726

Tragedy struck the young family early in the 20th century. Earl, Muriel (Merle) Mabel, Vernon, Virgil, and Opal all died from diphtheria and scarlet fever outbreak right after Christmas from Jan 3rd to Jan 11th. Since it was the coldest part of winter the ground was frozen the kids were not interred until April 18th 1903 according to the records of the Beef River Church. During the epidemic, a neighbor brought over old milk with moldy separated cream to give to the family. Ola and Otis were also sick and believe the cream saved them from dying and it was not till later that they discovered this was an early form of penicillin.

U.S., Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Church Records,Congregational Records, Wisconsin, Osseo, South Beef River Lutheran Church, pg. 153

Photo Taken at South Beef River Church, Osseo, Trempeleau Co. WI

Ola’s four half-brothers; Lars, Jon, Nils, and Peder were all much younger and eventually ended up in America. According to family history, Ola sent money to Norway so all of his brothers could come to America. Lars and Jon came to the US on May 10th, 1888 with a destination of Augusta, Wis. Nils came in 1901 with his wife, Hanna Jonsdatter Rindal with a destination of Eau Claire, Wis. Peder the youngest, arrived about 1902. All four Negard brothers ended up residing in Duluth, MN. Peder somehow ended up in prison or in an asylum in 1940. Ingeborg, the only child of Jon Jonson Negard left in Norway, inherited the Negard Farm. Ingeborg married Ole Nilsen Hermundsli b. 1864, who changed his name to Negard to take legal ownership of the farm. Ole and Ingeborg had; Eli b. 1893, Gjertrude b. 1895, John b. 1897, Nils b. 1899, Ola b. 1901, Marit b. 1903, Ingeborg b. 1905, Peder b. 1908, Jon b. 1910, Olav b. 1909, and Ragna b. 1915. Peder b. 1908 took over the farm and it is now owned by his grandson Per Kåre Negård b. 1964.

1888; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Line: 1; List Number: 584, May 10th 1888, slide 12

U.S., Atlantic Ports Passenger Lists, Portland, Maine, March 21st 1901, slide 55

Nils, the only half-brother who married and had a family in America, moved to Duluth, Minnesota with Hanna Jonsdatter Rindal and they had; James b.1909, Lilian b. 1910, Howard b. 1913, Helen b. 1917, Katherine b. 1918, and John b. 1921.

1930; Census Place: Duluth, St Louis, Minnesota; Page: 11A; Enumeration District: 0067; FHL microfilm: 2340862

What was life like in York in the early days? Luckily, we have a few written stories that can bring us back to the past. From excerpts of Eleanor Mull Negard, written in 1996. “The farmhouse was large and the front door was facing west, when entering we could go to either side of the house or up the stairway. The stairway was a fun place for the kids and they would run up and bump, bump our way down and then do it all over again. My siblings and cousins helped make quite a bit of noise. We were told to stop, we did for a few minutes and then start all over again. We liked wading in the creek, walking in the woods, picnics, and playing games. We had work to do also, took lunch to the men in the fields, picked berries, peas, beans, and gathered eggs on occasion.

Negard Farm, York WI Ole J. and John Robert

There was a six-foot heavy cyclone fence around the yard with the house in the center. There were four entrance gates. The cats and dogs were not allowed in the beautiful well-kept yard. Grandma Negard had a vegetable and flower garden and a berry patch. Outside the big yard was another huge area that led to the barn, garage, machine shed, sheep pen, pigpen, granary, chicken coop and the like; all painted white. In the center of this area was a tall light pole. We could tell when it was time for the Delco plant to be regenerated as the lights would go dim. The yard was also mowed and well kept.

We had fun at the farm. It was very up-to-date and for many years, the Negard farm was the only one in the valley with running water and plumbing. The farm also had a wood-burning furnace, and Delco plant for electricity, both in the house and all the outbuildings. I have pictures of my father and grandfather helping the plumbers with installations of pipes, etc. when putting in the water and plumbing in the early 1900s.

A.C. Delco System

We liked to play outside and there were always enough kids around so we could play most any game. In winter, we had fun sledding and skiing. There was never a dull moment. We usually stayed for supper at my grandparents. My father would say “let’s get ready to go home” (John Robert Negard) and Grandma would say, “why leave now, it is not going to get any darker”. Many times, we arrived home at midnight and we had school the next day. The kids usually fell asleep on the way home and my dad carried us into the house.

Negard Farm, York WI

Grandpa and Grandma Negard celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 1934 at the farm and this was a big affair. Relatives and friends came from far and near. Your Grandfather Emory and Grandmother Charlotte brought the beautiful wedding anniversary cake. My father's cousin, Howard Negard lives in Duluth, Minnesota. His father, Nils Jonson Negard, was born in Norway the year after my Grandfather Ole J. Negard came to America. “My grandfather always accepted his half-brothers as full brothers.”

Excerpts Written by Virginia Bresnehan c. 1998. "In 1936, my Grandmother, Mathilda Negard (Johnson) was ill, so my mother La Verna brought my twin brothers (born in 1935) and me to the Negard farm for that school year, leaving my father (John Taylor) back at our rented home in La Crosse, Wisconsin where he was the manager of the La Crosse Milk Producers Association.

After attending kindergarten, first and second grades in La Crosse, third grade at the one-room Timber Creek School was quite a transition. Previous to that year, we had spent a great deal of time during the summer up at the farm where mother helped with the cooking for threshers and other farmworkers.

In the early 30's the Negard farm was the most modern and most envied farm in the valley. Both house, barn and several outer buildings had Delco lighting. Both house and barn had water powered by a windmill on a hill, east of the buildings. The house had four bedrooms upstairs. One was the teachers room when it was the Negard turn to board and room the teacher. The other small room off the hallway to the left of the stairway was the hired man's room. The bathroom at the head of the stairs had a four-legged tub, sink and toilet, luxuries unheard of in most rural homes at that time.

The house was really divided by the central staircase. The other two bedrooms were on the other side of the stairs of a hallway. 1 remember that the bedroom to the right of the stairs, where my family slept, had a pot-bellied wood-burning stove.

Downstairs to the left of the staircase was what was considered Grandma and Grandpa's quarters consisting of a dining or all-purpose room off of which was a pantry with sink with cold running water. In the sink were put dairy products or meat sealed in jars or cans with tight lids to keep cold under the cold water. The kitchen to this side of the house had a sink for dishwashing and another sink for hand washing, a wood-burning stove and crude curtained cupboards. Off the kitchen was a sun porch or summer kitchen with lots of windows filled with geraniums and other plants. There was a counter for cleaning vegetables or preparing foods for canning.

1 will always remember Grandma's white lace curtains and pretty dishes with violets in the dining room. The other side of the house had the dining (all-purpose) room with the large dining table, fainting couch and big upright piano. Many an evening was spent around the piano with relatives and hired hands joining in with fiddle, guitar or singing.

Negard Farm, York WI.

Off this room was another bedroom with a closet containing toilet. The large kitchen on this side of the house also had a wood-burning stove with a reservoir on the side to heat water, a sink for dishes and dairy utensils and a handwashing sink. The table in the kitchen was always used for breakfast and family meals. Off this room was the traditional mud porch for barn shoes or coats. Outside the house, not far from the doors was a pump where we got rainwater for washing our hair.

Back to the Timber Creek School, Fern Amundsen was the teacher that year and I can't remember the exact number of pupils that year in 1936 or 37. I do believe there were less than fifteen. The teacher arrived early, either by walking, or by horse-drawn sleigh if the snow was a factor. The people who boarded her provided transportation when necessary.

The seventh and eighth-grade boys, I think there were three of them (there were no girls in those grades that year), brought wood in and helped get the fire going in the furnace in the basement. If it had snowed the night before, those same boys were relegated to shoveling a path to the out-house a ways back from the school. Believe me, there were no unnecessary trips out there in the winter.

When we arrived at school in the morning we hung our garments in the cloakroom outside the main room. If our shoes or socks were wet, we laid them over the furnace grate toward the front of the room near the teacher's desk. I guess she needed that warmer spot after her cold start each day. We removed our jars of cold left-overs from supper the night before from our lunch pails and also set them on the register so they would be warm at noon. The aroma of wet socks, shoes, and mittens permeated the air most of the day. Because we didn't have enough books, I had to share with my cousin, Marjorie Negard (Hogenson) who was in the fourth grade. We came to school together, as Marjorie and her family (V.B. Negard) were living and farming at the Dahl farm at the time. The Dahl farm was about 3/4 of a mile away and they passed the Negard farm when they brought Marjorie to school. It was too far for her to walk from there and often she came home with me when she had studying to do. We always walked back to the Negard farm.

Negard Farm, York WI.

When I returned to La Crosse for the next school year, I was advanced a half a year, due to having much of the fourth-grade work at the Timber Creek School. It seemed we did a lot of singing those days at the Timber Creek School. The teachers mouth organ started us out in the right note. I'm still very fond of the old songs from the little Golden Songbook.

When Grandpa Ole J. Negard died in May of 1939, his body was laid in a coffin in the dining room (all-purpose room) on what I always called Aunt Inez's (Negard) side of the house. We were living back in La Crosse at the time and we drove up to the farm in my Dad's '36 Plymouth. The roads were always deep ruts from York through Timber Creek.

I don't know if we had to walk partway or not, as this often happened in the spring. Neighbors and relatives came in large numbers. Ole was highly respected in the community. The funeral was held at Beef River Lutheran Church. Although May, I remember the church was very cold. My cousins Eleanor, Vergene, and Marjorie Negard and I were the flower girls dressed in white dresses with baskets of flowers (almost like a wedding). We shivered and giggled, not realizing the seriousness of the event. I'll always remember the closing hymn, "Abide With Me". Perhaps this will give you some insight into the way I saw things in those early days, Grandpa joined six of his children in the Beef River Cemetery."

Negard Farm, York WI.

Negard Tree 2

John Robert Negard “Bert”

John Robert Negard "Bert"

In the early 1900’s John went to the Hyland Park Engineering school in Des Moines for a short while. In 1907 John got a job with the La Crosse Water and Power Company as a cook in Hatfield, Wisconsin. This project included a three-mile canal; the oldest and longest in use in Wisconsin, a dam over the Black River, and a hydroelectric powerhouse. It cost $1,500,000 and it required 700 men and three steam dredges and was Wisconsin's largest power project in the early 1900s.

John’s (Bert) wage was $40 a month including meals. Excerpts from an article in the Banner Journal on Bert’s experience of being a cook on the project. “Bert admitted he didn't know enough to ask for more money, but perhaps that was wise because he related how he replaced a cook who was earning $100 a month. A Chicago man had the contract for feeding construction men and Negard served as one of three cooks in one of the three Hatfield construction camps. There were 165 men in the camp Negard worked in. He and other cooks dished up “lots of pork, steak, and salmon every Friday. The 30-inch long fish came in whole, as did the 4-5 ft. beef quarters when steak was on the menu. Workers who were earning $1.75 a day for a 10-hour workday had .22 cents a meal deducted for food.” Every other day it was his job to bake 65 pies; of the nine varieties, “apple and pumpkin were most popular”, he pointed out. All cooking for the crews was done on a nine-foot-long wood-fired stove. When 165 steaks were fried, they were kept warm in a solution of melted butter and coffee that Negard said the men liked so well they kept calling on him to "give us some more of that delicious gravy, Bert.” The food, he said matter-of-factly, was well received by the workers because “we (cooks) were good at what we were doing.” Negard said his mother told his father she needed one of the children to help her in the home and he was chosen. "I was baking bread all by myself by the time I was 12," he recalls. The construction camp dining room was quite unlike today's restaurant. Negard remembers that most of the construction workers ate only with their jack-knives distaining the usual table silverware, "They even ate all their food together, piling apple pie right on top of mashed potatoes and gravy.” Negard also marveled vast quantities of macaroni consumed by Italian crewmen brought up from Chicago and from New York to work on the canal. He speculates many were newly arrived immigrants because some could not speak English. "They kept to themselves, bought meat from us but liked to soak hard bread in hot water wash it down with beer. They were slower working, but they never caused a bit of trouble. They liked to sing and dance a lot” Negard recounts. Two years after canal work ended, Negard left for northern Montana and homesteaded a half-section near Havre, Montana where he raised wheat.

In 1909, James J. Hill the president of the Great Northern Railroad was advertising a big opportunity for young men with little money to Homestead land NW of Havre Montana. Bert’s Uncle, William Johnson had ventured out to Montana in March of 1910 with four others; Henry Johnson, Jay Buzzell, Albert Irish, and Oscar Sedahl, all from York, WI to look at Homesteading this part of Montana. The men filed their claims and went back to York to pack and head back West. Bert’s Grandfather, John C. Johnson, decided to head west with his son William after he returned. John died only two weeks after he arrived in Montana and on Nov. 11th, 1910 and his remains were shipped back to York and he was buried at South Beef River Cemetery.

The trip to Montana was quite an ordeal and a short write up of the journey to Montana and living at cottonwood was written by Oscar Sedahl. “We arrived in Havre arrived with our Emigration cars early in the morning. and started to unload. It took us most of the day to assemble our wagons and to get some of it loaded. At last, we started late that day. We had twenty miles to our destination, and we had two cows trailing behind our wagons. By the time we were to leave the Wildhorse Trail, a total Eclipse or the moon was on. How we managed to find the claim, I don't know, but Bill Johnson seemed to have his bearings. At least we found out later that we camped on his claim.' The next morning a problem that confronted us was water for our stock, as we had 12 horses and two cows. Bill Johnson and Jay Buzzell started for the Milk River with a team and a wagon with some empty water barrels, but they could get only to the breaks or the river Oat, as there was no trail to the river Oat. Later in the day, some of us drove toward the Amos Trail, where a Mr. Butler told us about a well he had recently dug. "What a relief!" About the second day, we started to look for our cornerstones to locate our claims, but my brother-In-law got homesick and did not bother to look for his claim. He took his team and wagon and a few belongings, and left for Havre and on to Wisconsin.

Cottonwood, MT.

In the fall of 1910, I managed to build a shack, 12xl4 feet. Bill Johnson was the architect of the mansion. It still stands on the homestead with two additions built on to it. The rest of that fall, I was with Bill, helping him build and dig coal in Red Rock Coulee. The winter or 1910-11 was a long cold winter, with a lot of snow. In the spring of 1911, I managed to hire 25 acres broke, which was laid over to 1912 and was then seeded to wheat. That year we had a good crop, but didn't have enough acres at harvest time. We had our first rodeo sponsored by Long George Francis and Jack Maybe, in 1912. This was also the year that Hill County was created by Dan MacKay. ln the fall of 1913, I got the Title on the homestead, signed by President Woodrow Wilson. The summers of 1913 and 1914 were hot and dry and little crops those years. But the two following years, 1915 and 1916 were good crop years, but after those two years it was drought, grasshoppers and worms.

On Dec 16th, 1914 A Land Patent was issued to John Negard for 32 acres in Cottonwood, Hill County, Montana just south-west of Josephine Johnson Lewis and her husband Gilbert. The exact address was the South half of Section 8 in township 34N of Range 14E of the Montana meridian about 9 Miles NW of Havre. This is currently off of Road 100 N just east of Little Dam Coulee. John Robert tried his hand at raising wheat like the rest of his extended family, must have wintered back in Black River Falls for a few years because on the 13th of Jan 1915, he married Emma Hagen the daughter of Ingwald and Bertha Hagen (Erickson)in Black River Falls.  Ingwald Pedersen (Melgardshagen) was fom Sor-Fron, Gudbrandsdal, Norway and died in 1903.  His Brother Ole Pedersen marrried Bertha after Ingwald died.  Bertha Erickson was the daughter of Ereck Olsen and Anne Pedersen of Disco, Jackson Co. WI who came from Bakken, Hundorp, Norway.

BLM General Office Land Records, Patent No. 449105, Montana, 12/16/1914

Emma Hagen and her sisters

On June 15, 1917, John Robert registered for the World War I draft and declared he was working for himself as a farmer in Cottonwood, Mt. By 1920 John was renting a house on North First St in Havre, Montana and was employed by the Great Northern Railroad as an Acetylene welder. Shortly afterward John Robert and Emma’s third child Roger was born March 12th, 1921 in Havre. Vera, the 2nd eldest born Sept 15th, 1917, recalls her father working in Casper, Wyoming, and how he loved it there. Oscar Sedahl, one of John Robert’s neighbors in Cottonwood stated that he worked at an oil refinery in 1918 in Casper so maybe John Robert worked there too.

World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918, Montana; Registration County: Hill; Roll: 1684040, slide 33

John in his car and the Negard's with the Johnson's and Sedhal's in Montana c. 1918

Emma, John and Vera Negard c. 1919

In 1925, John moved back to Black River Falls because his wife Emma was homesick and missed her family. My Grandmother, Vera Quick (Negard), fondly remembered the ride back from Wyoming in their Model T. The journey was almost all dirt roads, and the family had picnics along the way, and Vera remembers sitting on a trunk in the back with her brother Roger and getting flat tires every few hours. It was an open rag top and when it rained they all got wet.

T. Vera, John, Emma, John Robert B. Roger, B. Roger, Emma, John, Vera, John Robert and La Verna (sitting) c. 1926

In the 1930 census, John Robert was recorded renting at 230 S 3rd St, Black River Falls, WI, and working as a carpenter and cabinetmaker. During the depression, everyone was poor and John did handyman jobs for trade. He would come home with food and he did a lot of carpentry work for a local tailor in trade. My grandmother informed me they all had new clothes and her father was the “best-dressed man in town.” John Robert’s slogan for doing work was “JR Negard, No Job too small”. By 1940 John Robert had purchased his home at 356 Main St across from the public Library that he owned till he was in his 90’s.John Robert and Emma had,  John D. b. April 16th 1916, Vera Elaine Sept. 15th 1917, Roger Warren b. March 12th 1921, Eleanor J b. Nov. 25th 1925, and Vergene Joanne b. June 27th 1929.

T.  Emma, John Robert, Cora Hagen (Hoagenson), Melvin Hoagenson B.  John Robert, Emma, Vivian or Otis Negard with wife on violin.

L-R John Robert, Vergene, Emma, Eleanor, Hilldegarde Toptine , Vera, John D, and Elwood Quick. c. early 40's

What happened to the Negrård farmhouse in Norway? It has now been moved to the village of Rindal as a bed and breakfast and is called Negarslånna.

Translated from the website of the bed and breakfast. “This was the farmhouse on Negård in Rindalsskogen. It is unknown when the house was built, but there is probably an old smoking room that is built both in length and in the høgda. But surely that half is from the 1820s. The original house is a daily cabin which currently serves as a bedroom. It was a farmhouse in the garden until 1980 when the family built a new house. Later it was bought by Saga Trollheimen Hotel and moved to Rindal.


  1. My grandfather was Willard J. Negard, born to Nils 1912 in Duluth, Minnesota. He had two sons Larry and Billy who both married and hard children.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts