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Ole J. and Maggie Rodne

Husband's Full Name:  Ole Johan Rodne

Husband's Place of Birth:  Rodne, Imsland, Rogland, Norway

Husband's Father's Name: Lars Olsen Hebnes

Husband's Mother's Name: Sigrid Ølsdatter Vormestrand

Husband's Siblings' Names: Karen (Ivan Rodne); Sevrin (Anna Finvik); Haldor (Delia Ring); Ole L. (Anna O. Lunde)

Wife's Full Name:  Margit Ølsdatter Knutson Rodne

Wife's Place of Birth:  Vinje, Telemarken, Norway

Wife's Father's and Mother’s Name: 

Wife's Siblings' Names: 

Children's Names: Louis, Sarah (Lawrence Georgeson); Mabel (Ole J. Skiftun); Lilly (Perry Anderson); Lloyd (Ida Watlund); Henry S., Clarence, Caroline (Severt Dovre); Norma (Jacob Rogness)

Ole J Rodne family.jpg

Ole J. and Maggie Rodne Family

from left:  Clarence, Sarah, Ole J. Henry, Caroline,

Mabel, Lloyd, Maggie, Lilly, Norma

After coming to America as a young and working on farms near Buxton, ND for several years, O. J., as he was known, dreamed of having his own farm. This dream came true when he traveled west to Wells County and filed on land north of Manfred in 1893.  After making arrangements for a claim shack to be placed on this land he returned to Buxton for his wife and young child.  After loading all their belonging and piling them high into a horse-drawn wagon, they made their way westward across the prairie.  Their journey came to a joyous conclusion when they saw the claim shack, in place, ready to serve as their first home. The Ole J. Rodnes' life had roots in the early days of pioneering in North Dakota.

"O. J." as he was often known was a young man when he came to the United States from his home in Norway. He first came to Buxton, N.D., where he worked on farms for several years.

Maggie, his wife immigrated form Norway with her parents as a young girl, settling on a farm near Callender, Iowa.

In 1892, O.J. had visions to go to a new settlement. He filed land in Wells County in what was then known as the Manfred area and their closest town.

Maggie remained in Buxton, while Ole J. went to make arrangements for a claim shack to be placed on his land. He bought a building from an earlier settler, with provisions that he was to move it to a certain plat that had been chosen on the barren prairie land. After these arrangements were made, Ole then returned to Buxton to make preparations to bring his wife and young child and possessions to the homestead. All the belongings were loaded into a horse drawn wagon piled high with goods. Maggie was spared this wagon journey. She rode out with friends in a more comfortable spring wagon. There were no roads, only trails. The prairie was full of dips and stones and they were jolted and swayed as they drove along. When they reached their destination they were pleased to see the claim shack standing just where O. J. wanted it. He had worried about where he might find the building, after leaving it to a stranger in his absence.

All around in the early days there was nothing but grassy prairie spreading in every direction as far as the eye could see.
They lived on the homestead for some time before other homesteaders began settling in the area. As time went on and the country became more populated and settled, small towns sprung up. In the flat open country mirages were often present. On sharp cold wintry mornings, these little towns would appear tall and visible for miles away. There were no weather forecasters in those days. They would check out the clouds in the distance and try to determine the weather for the coming day by their own judgment.

Ole was always an ambitious and industrious man who would rise at daybreak and go to work. Braving the elements of the new country, O.J. wrested his land from the stubborn prairie into productive ground. In the early pioneer days, there was sod breaking to be done on his land. He also broke sod for his neighbors. No four-wheel drive tractors were used in those days. He hitched his cow and oxen to the plow. As time moved along, they kept tilling the soil, buildings were constructed, fences built, and also a larger house became a necessity.

Ole J. and Maggie were blessed with nine children, the first-born died in infancy. Their children were namely: Sarah (Mrs. Lawrence Georgeson), Heimdal; Mabel (Mrs. Ole Skiftun), Big Fork, MT; Lilly, (Mrs. Perry Anderson), Harvey; Lloyd (Ida Watland), Seattle; Henry, Manfred; Clarence, Manfred,; Caroline (Mrs. Severt Dovre), Fessenden; and Norma (Mrs. Jacob Rogness), Manfred.

The hardships the pioneers met with cannot be interpreted here in a few words. There were many inconveniences and difficulties to be overcome and conquer that were never brought to light. The winters were severe and cold. The sharp wind and snow sliced across the wide-open prairie, but invariably, there was a compensation, the spring season that always followed. When the meadowlarks broke into song, they were joyful that a new season had come and were looking ahead to the future.

The Rodnes prospered on the homestead they filed on and in time the number of acres had increased to 640. After many years of toil, they retired from the farm and moved to Heimdal to spend their retirement years in leisure. As time moved on, the years brought separation. Ole died in 1947 at the age of 87. Maggie reached the age of 95 and died in 1964 after a long useful life. Their remains are laid to rest in the Bethel Lutheran Cemetery.


Growing With Pride

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