It was in June 1884, that Lars and Britta Maurseth Miklethun and children, Jacob, John, Anna, Rena and Oscar bid their loved ones an emotional farewell in Eidfjord Hardanger, Norway (never to return).

This family then set sail on the "Thingvalla", braving the elements for a voyage to span the mighty Atlantic Ocean, bound for America and a new life.

What a reassuring sight the harbor of New York must have been to this weary, often seasick family after having been tossed to and fro on the ocean for 14 1/2 days.

After having been more properly fed, and duly processed by immigration proceedings, this family boarded a train westward, arriving in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, on July 15, 1884.  There they stayed with friends a few days and then again traveled by train to a cousin, Easten Rice at Bruce (Brookings County), South Dakota.  Here they filed for 80 acres and two years later sold it to buy 160 acres and established a permanent home.

John L. was 11 years old when he arrived in South Dakota and later enjoyed telling stories of early school days as a "Norwegian speaking" newcomer kid.  After completing some education at Brookings College in 1894, he migrated to North Dakota with a wagon driven by two horses.  He worked there for Barney Berlin until he could acquire land of his own.  Eventually, he purchased land, had a well dug and set about to gradually establish himself.

On January 1, 1899, he married Synva Pederson, daughter of Lars and Sigrid Pederson, Hannaford, North Dakota. To this union the following children were born.  Leonard, Blanche, Alvin, Lawrence, Hulda-Evelyn, and Rudolph.  On August 27, 1912, his beloved wife, Synva died as had the daughter to whom she had given birth (a still birth) two weeks earlier.  This was a most devastating event in the lives of this family.

On June 11, 1914, John L. married Bessie Pederson (Synva's sister).  Bessie had attended Valley City Teachers College and had received her certificate to teach while working for her board and room at a boarding house for students.  She then taught in a one-room rural school near Binford, North Dakota, arriving early each morning to get a fire started so the school would be warm when her students arrived.

John L. and Bessie also had children.  Synva Marjorie, Jeanette, Gordon, Clara and John Lynn.  John Lynn died in infancy when he was but three days old.

In November 1916, a cyclone destroyed their barn and a new one was built shortly thereafter.  The house which was built in 1910, and other buildings remain on the farm to this day, now owned and operated by James Michaelson, Omar's son.

John L. was instrumental in the establishment and functioning of the Dover Consolidated School and vitally supportive of Eidfjord Lutheran Church, which was located one quarter mile east of his farm.  All of his children were baptized in this church and seven were confirmed there.

John L. was intensely concerned with the conduct of government and spent much time at the capitol in Bismarck, North Dakota. He served there as State Senator for four years, as a State Representative for four years, representing Griggs and Steele Counties.

In the depth of the depression, after satisfying his creditors, John L. and his remaining family left this farm and moved to Valley City, North Dakota. While there, he again served as State Senator, representing Barnes County.

In later years, John L. and Bessie moved to Minneapolis, where they lived until John died, peacefully and of a sound mind July 21, 1955, at 82 years of age, as did Bessie on January 21, 1971, at the age of 84.

Two sons and four daughters survive, along with many grandchildren, great and great-great grandchildren.

Source:  Hannaford Area History North Dakota Centennial 1889 - 1989 Page 203

 

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