Peder and Kristine Opdahl
Husband's Full Name: Per Opdahl
Husband's Place of Birth: Vang, Valdres, Norway
Husband's Father's Name: Eirik Ivarsson Strandaeiga
Husband's Mother's Name: Torø Persdatter
Husband's Siblings' Names: Ivar, Marit, Thomas, Ingebjorg, Guro
Wife's Full Name: Kristine Maria Rustad
Wife's Place of Birth: Hurdal, Norway
Wife's Father's Name: Andreas Christiansen
Wife's Mother's Name: Kristine Larsdatter
Wife's Siblings' Names: Johan
Children's Names: Mathilda (m Knut Dovre); Emma (m. Anton Aasand); , Edwin (m Sophie Rogness); Marie (m. Clyde Stickney)
Peder was born on August 2, 1859, in the Vang district of Valdres, Norway. He was born Per Eirikson, son of Eirik Ivarsson Strandaeiga of Øye (1820-1890) and Torø Persdatter of Vestre Slidre (1822-1909) who married in 1850. Eirik and Torø had six children, five of whom moved to America: Ivar b.1850 to America in 1874, Marit b.1854 to America in 1874, Thomas b.1856, Per (Peder) b.1859 to America in 1883, Ingebjørg b.1862 to America in 1886, Guro b.1867 to America. Peder grew up on a tenant farm (husmannsplass) on Opdal called Turen, and later on, another tenant farm on Opdal called Hølten. The records of Vang Church (kirke) of Norway show that Peder emigrated from Norway as a bachelor (ungkar.) His last name was listed as Opdalseiet, indicating that he was a worker on an Opdal farm, carrying the farm name, but he was not related. It was a normal practice for people to use the farm name as their family name.
Kristine Maria Andreasdatter Rustad was born February 9 and baptized March 2, 1856, in Hurdal, Norway to Andreas Christiansen and Kristine Larsdatter married in 1855, tenant farmers at Rustadbrug Saugbygning. Parents of Andreas were Christian Pedersen and Dorthe Maria Pedersdatter.
Historical research is ongoing, and little is known as yet of the early years for Peder and Kristine in America. We can envision what life might have been like for them, and what adventures they encountered in their new homeland. For Peder, it is believed that he had worked on the John Opdal farm in Norway, perhaps traveling to America together. Peder’s name is listed next to their names in the Exit Records (Udflytnings-attest) of Vang Church in Norway. How might he and Kristine have met in America? This is not known. However, it is interesting to note that after immigrating, Kristine attended cooking school in Iowa and then became the cook for the governor of Iowa.
Based on family records, we are able to join their story at the point when Peder and Kristine settled in Grand Forks County at Northwood, North Dakota where their first two children were born, Mathilda on September 20, 1889, and Emma on March 20, 1891. In 1896, they moved with their young family to Forward Township in Wells County where their third child Albert Edwin was born on October 3, 1896, and then their fourth child Marie was born on December 4, 1899.
Here then is where Peder and Kristine lived the remainder of their lives, a little over three miles west of Manfred. They started farming, and built a house remembered by family members as “containing four rooms downstairs and two rooms upstairs all heated by the cookstove in the kitchen and a big iron stove, with mica windows in the living room.” Peder had also filed on land in Canada. The wonderful resource of the old Manfred News from the Wells Country Free Press reports the following entries relating to their land in Canada:
July 07, 1905
Pete Opdahl and G. Rortvedt returned from across the line Thursday morning.
The latter came from Stavely, Alberta and the former from Wetaskiwin. He filed on a chunk of King Edward’s land about 130 miles east from that point.
May 6, 1915
Peter Opdahl returned from Canada, where he was looking after his farming interests.
Peder and Kristine’s active life took a turn when Peder fell seriously ill with spinal meningitis and became an invalid. Their son Edwin, who was enrolled in business college in Fargo, ND, had to quit school and come home to farm for his dad. A news entry tells about Edwin attending school at Fargo:
January 6, 1916
Olaf Roble, Conrad Hedahl, Edwin Opdahl, and Conrad Shefveland left for Fargo Sunday to attend the winter term of the A. B. College (Aakers Business College.)
Kristine died May 31, 1928, and Peder died March 6, 1930, in Manfred Township. Both are buried in Vang Lutheran Cemetery, Manfred, ND. (From the New Manfred News, May 2005, page 4)