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Mads and Sigrid Nertrost

Husband's Full Name:  Mads Nertrost

Husband's Place of Birth:  North Aurdahl, Norway

Husband's Father's Name:

Husband's Mother's Name:

Husband's Siblings' Names:

Wife's Full Name:  Sigrid Strand Nertrost

Wife's Place of Birth:  North Aurdahl, Norway

Wife's Father's Name: Nils Strand

Wife's Mother's Name: Sennev Hande

Wife's Siblings' Names: 

Children's Names: Bertha Myhre, Mads Jr., Sennev Whipple,  Anna Smith, Nels Nertrost

Nertrost Mads.jpg

Mads Nertrost

Nertrost, Sigrid.jpg

IAmerica, believed to be the "Land of Promise", beckoned so Mads and Sigrid decided to try their luck in the new world. In the spring of 1880, they sailed via the White Star Line bound for New York. After a voyage of six stormy weeks they arrived at the port of entry, Castle Garden, in the harbor of New York City.


Daughter Sennev wrote - I have reconstructed a scene, as described to me, when my parents with two small children disembarked. I can visualize my father plodding down the gangplank carrying heavy baggage and with my two-year-old sister riding "piggy-back." My mother, hopeful and courageous, was following clasping her six-week-old son to her breast. They spent two years in Northfield, Minnesota. Then they decided to go to Dakota Territory to file on a Preemption claim of 178 acres, traveling by train as far as Valley City, where the railroad ended. From here, on a June day in 1882, a covered wagon caravan started out in the direction of the setting sun, en route to what now is Jessie, nine miles northwest of Cooperstown, Griggs County, Dakota Territory.


In this company were several families who became our neighbors. The June weather was mellow, the virgin prairies filled with flowers under a star lit sky, on a feather bed spread on the ground, in the leeway of the covered wagon. First came the task of building a shelter. A small patch of virgin soil was broken up. The turf lay glistening in the sun for a few days, and then it was cut up and shaped into convenient sizes. These were built up like bricks; creating a humble one room "home". It had one window, a door, and the floor just the good old earth. Main articles of furniture were a small wood-burning stove, a bedstead, a table, several chairs and a huge iron bound chest brought from Norway. In this container were mother's prized Norwegian articles - linens, silverware, a large leather bound Bible, several hymn books, Luther's enlarged Catechism, readers for children, Hans Christian Anderson's Fairy Tales, and The Arabian Nights. Our bedding and a feather bed were also included.


It was in this little sod house that I was born the following October, in 1882. Parents and three children lived in this single turf abode until spring, when a one-room frame house was erected and sodded up to the eaves. In half a dozen years two more children were born, and we were five. Accommodations had to be arranged for the growing family. I recall an extra bed, a box like affair, a foot high - made of boards, low enough to be pushed under the big bedstead in the daytime. This was furnished with a straw mattress and blankets, a feather quilt for covering, and the three of us slept soundly.


Although poor, as the common lot of all pioneers, we were rich in the love that held us together as a family. In those early territorial days there were no places of worship except the home family altar. A mission minister held services in some far distant schoolhouse twice a year. It was on such an occasion, when I was nine months old, that my father and mother took turns carrying me to baptism as they walked to a school house six miles distance, on a hot July day in 1883.


It was the coming of the Soo Line Railroad that brought home seekers to Wells County. We arrived at Manfred in1894 where father made use of his Homestead right establishing permanent residence on a quarter section of land four miles northeast of Manfred.


Five children were born to this couple, Bertha, Mads, Sennev, Anna and Nels. They were active members of the Vang Lutheran Church and the Manfred community. Mads died in 1898 while the children were still very young. Sigrid died in 1926.

Source:  Sennev Nertrost Whipple, daughter

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