By Gudrun Bergh
I will start with my father's family, although I know you said you had quite a little on him.
His father - Martinius Mathisen Ager
Born - September 12, 1834
Died - March 4, 1896 - 63 years old
He was one of five brothers and they all chose different names, which they went by. They were:
1. Hans Peter Mathisen Berg
2. Alexander Mathisen
3. Martinius Mathisen Ager
4. John Mathisen
5. Ole Jorgen Mathisen
It makes it a little confusing to try to figure out what really was the family name. At that time it was customary to take the father's name and add a son to it. Many also took the name of the family farm or property as their name. Martinius also had a sister, Elizabeth, who was married and had several children. If Valborg was living she might have heard more about the family when she and my father went to Norway in 1934. I remember my father talking about a Tante Kaja, but I have no idea how she fit into the family.
Martinius Ager, (our Grandfather) was an officer in the Army in Norway and also a tailor by trade. He was married to Fredrikke Marie Mathea Johnsdatter Stillaugsen, on October 25, 1857. She was born May 26, 1835 and died November 4, 1913. She was 79 years old.
Children of Martinius Mathisen Ager and Fredrikke Marie Mathea Johnsdatter
|1. John Martinius Comfield||B - March 31, 1858||D - January 2, 1924||66 years old|
|2. Anna Ager||B - February 17, 1861||D - November 9, 1861||Died of Scarlet Fever|
|3. Valdemar Ager||B - April 15, 1864||D - 1865||1 year old - Accidental death|
|4. Camilla Marie Ager||B - October 6, 1866||D - February 16, 1961||Died in Florida|
|5. Valdemar Theodor Ager||B - March 23, 1969||D - August 1, 1941||Died in Eau Claire, WI|
|6. Anna Ager||B - May 27, 1871||D - May 27, 1871||Died at birth|
|7. Anna Ager||B - September 9, 1872||Died a few days later|
|8. Ferdinand Julius Ager||B - May 17, 1874||D - December 1884||Died in Chicago of Diphtheria|
Martinius Ager left Norway in 1878 and went to his brother Hans Peter Mathisen Berg, who lived in Clinton, Iowa. Grandmother, sons John and Ferdinand came in 1881. They then went to Chicago and settled there, which was where Grandfather had a tailor shop. My father Valdemar and Camilla came in 1885. According to information I have, they never saw their brother, Ferdinand, again after he left Norway. We heard that Ferdinand choked on a fish-bone, but later I found a newspaper clipping, which states that he had diphtheria. I think it might be the earlier Valdemar who died accidentally.
Note - Thought this is interesting, so I will pass it on. I heard the same story both from my father and from aunt Camilla. Seems that Grandma took care of a little boy for a young girl, in Norway. His name was Valdemar. They thought so much of him, so when they had their next little boy, they named him Valdemar. When he died, they then named their next little boy Valdemar, too. he was our father. Interesting, isn't it?
Grandma Ager was a small attractive lady, did much reading. She was very active in her Church, "Norwegian Methodist." I have clippings about both her death and Ferdinand's. I went to her funeral with my father, which was in Chicago. According to the time of her death I must have been nine years old, and probably could ride FREE on the train. I remember I got a new coat, brown furry material, and when I got to Chicago, my girl cousins took me shopping and they gave me a beautiful white fur collar and a muff to match. The muff had a little purse attached and they even filled it with pennies and nickels. I also had a white furry (I suppose it was angora) hat to wear, and I really loved my outfit.
When Barb and I were in Norway in 1983, we went to Fredrikstad and also to Gresvik, where they lived. We went to see the house and met the people who lived there, also went to the Army Barracks, saw the river where he went fishing, also the old bridge which he had told us about. The street has been named for him "Ager's Gate". It was interesting to go there but wish we had more time to spend.
Father's Family (continued)
Brother - Johan Martinius Ager Comfield
When he came to the United States he no doubts wanted to be American, and somebody told him that Ager meant field, maybe they even said cornfield, which they later changed to Comfield. He married Alida Hanson in Chicago, on Nov. 2, 1882.
1. John - Sept. 12, 1883All of the cousins lived in the Chicago area, most of the time, and are buried at the Mt. Olive Cemetery. Einar is the only living cousin we have. Eyvind, Einar and I keep in touch with each others mostly through letters, etc.
2. Martha - Feb. 17, 1885
3. Esther - March 31, 1887
4. May - 1889
5. Lillie - January 1891
6. Rose - May 21, 1892
7. George - 1894
8. Frances - May 8, 1898
9. Einar - Feb. 11, 1901
Father's sister Camilla
Born Oct. 69 1866 D- Feb. 16, 1961 She was a nurse and was married three times, one daughter with her first husband. Her first husband's name was Hans Christianson. He died seven weeks after they were married. She then married a man by the name of Rogde, but they were divorced shortly afterwards. Then a few years later she married a Canadian by the name of Douglas MacArthur Cameron. They were married for many years, lived in St. Petersburg and Tamps, Florida, most of the time. One day he just walked out on her, so when she was alone, she spent much of her time with her daughter Hannah.
1. Hannah B - March 10, 1887 D - Sept. 199 1975She was married to Arthur Sylvester. I think they had five children. Camilla, Ida, Belva, Arthur and Leroy.
MOTHER'S FAMILY - The Blestrens
Sivert Jensen Blestren
B - July 9, 1831 D - April 25, 1916 He was born in Ledje Norway, which is located in Gudbrandsdalen, in the central part of Norway. It is mostly farmland, very pretty countryside, with pretty rolling hills and valleys. He left there and went north to Tromso, where he worked in a store. There's no doubt this is where he met Hansine Krogh, and married her on March 23rd, 1865. They were married in the Tromso Domkirke, which is a large Church in that area. Tromso is a large city. We were there and it is very much business in fishing and oil industries now. We stayed in a motel near the airport - when we went to eat in the morning before we left, the dining area was just packed with men in business suits, etc. I think there was one or two other women there, and they seemed to be with the men. On our trip on the train, we rode along the shoreline on one side and the high black mountains on the other side. The mountains were big black boulders with a tree here and there growing right out of the side of black rock. I could just imagine all the trolls who could hide there in the caves and caverns. I think much of the fighting during the wars was done there, also it no doubt was the place where the Vikings had their battles too. Note - I never heard my mother's Aunt or grandmother say they wanted to go back. Of course, Mom and Aunt Jo were so young when they left there, I don't think they ever thought much about it.
Grandpa was 34 years old and Grandma was 22, when they were married. Grandpa left Norway in 1882. He came right to Eau Claire because he had a sister who lived here, also a brother who lived in the Woodville area, where he farmed. Grandma and the four children came the next year. The children were:
Hans Markus Gunerius
B- Jan 17, 1866 D-April 17, 1896 M - Lenora Mae Shaw on Nov. 23, 1892 She was born Jan 22, 1862 and died March 7, 1931 Children:
1. Milton William Shaw B - Feb. 27, 1894 D- July 31, 1895Karen Margrette Katrine Blestren
Note - They are all buried at Lake View Cemetery - Blestren Lot
Gurolle Johanne Blestren Ager
B - Feb. 21, 1873 D - Dec. 25, 1951 Born in Tromso, Norway. Died in Eau Claire, Wis. Married to Waldemar Theodor Ager on July 5, 1899 at the home of her parents, on 533 Lake St., Eau Claire, Wis. The house is still there and has not been changed much except for modern conveniences etc. After they were married they left for a trip to New Orleans, La, and as my father was very much interested in the Civil War events, they did go to Vicksburg, Gettysburg, etc. They traveled by train and Mom said it was dirty and hot, and I guess they were glad when they got back to Wisconsin. Mom was a small person, not much over five foot tall and very thin at that time. She was a loving, caring person and her children and other members of the family meant a great deal to her. Cousin Einar came to stay with my parents for a few weeks after his mother died and he told me that she was just like a mother to him. I have often wondered how she could be as compassionate as she was with everyone. The family was large without any extras, but when Grandpa Blestren needed help (it was difficult for Grandma to care for both him and Tante Karren) mom and Pop took him and he lived with them for about three years, until his death. When Tante Karren became so ill it made it hard for Grandma, she spent much of her time at Grandma's house, helping out. Also when Grandma couldn't stay alone (she had been in the hospital) they took her in, and cared for her until her death. Whenever one of us children happened to be sick, she carried food to bed to them, spent time just amusing them, etc., etc. So much patience, I for one, don't know how she did it.
In those days we had a lot of company, too. It was not all unusual for Pop to call her to see if it would be all right to bring somebody (from out of town) for dinner, and because many of the men he knew through his work lived out of town and would come to Eau Claire on either Speaking Engagements, or other business reasons, especially newspaper editors, ministers, etc., etc., it would happen real often. I remember she would usually have whatever we were going to have for our family meal. Quite often it would be Kjotsuppe (vegetable soup) Labskaus (Stew) Kjotkaker (Meat-balls) Fiskeboller (Fishballs) Sotsuppe (Sweet-soup) oh, I could mention many, many others, too. Nothing too fancy, but the people who came, really liked everything, and she really was a good cook. Not much fancy food, but good puddings and extras like that.
Besides being a good cook, she was a good nurse (at one time she told me that she wished she could have been a nurse). She really would have been a good one, I am sure. But she was a good mother and we were so fortunate to have her for OUR mother.
She even loved to sew and was a good seamstress. She did not have time to do much sewing, mostly mending and hemming diapers for the new arrivals. That's how I would know there would be a new baby. She would buy yards and yards of "Birdseye Diaper material" out it up and I would sit and hem diapers by hand for the new arrival. We would also feather-stitch around navel-bands which they don't even use now. Also we made little slips, tresses, gowns from outing flannel, etc., etc. So, whenever I was told to help with these things, I knew we were going to have another baby. I honestly don't think I even knew where it was coming from, I was so innocent at that time, and so were all my friends. Mom would sit and sing to the baby, when she nursed it or fed it, and we children would sit on the floor, and listen while she sang and told us little "made-up" stories about cats, dogs, rabbits, squirrels, etc. She was great at doing that, and I can still remember some of the fancy little things she would tell us, also the little songs she would sing to us. I can remember the one about our cat translated like this:
Where did you sleep last night?
Did you sleep on Solveig's dress?
Have you eaten Bookin's (Booky's) food?
If you did, I will spank you plenty"
As time went on, and we had our children, she had enough patience and love to give them too. I think all of the cousins remember her with maybe a few cherished memories. You asked if she belonged to any groups, etc. She was a member of the Church Women's Ladies Aid, Luther Hospital Guild, Norden's Daughters, (temperance group) also W.C.T.U. Also, she was a member of the E. C. Women' s Club for a short time, but dropped that. I know there were other groups she had membership in, but not very active in any of them in later years.
Waldemar Ager - Gurolle Blestren Ager Family
|1. Eyvind Blestren||B - December 19, 1900|
||Inga Louise Peterson||M - August 18, 1927|
||1. Roald Andreas||B - May 4, 1928||D - July 30, 1969|
|2. Waldemar Theodor||B - August 23, 1933|
|3. Borgny Louise||B - June 27, 1936|
|4. Fredrick Eyvind||B - May 24, 1939|
|2. Gudrun Fredrikke||B - January 5, 1904|
||Milo Bergh||M - August 14, 1929||D - December 8, 1974|
||1. Karren Johanna||B - December 13, 1930|
|2. Barbara Marlene||B - May 28, 1934|
|3. Trygve Martinius||B - January 23, 1906||D - March 10, 1975|
||Elvira Lucille Gullickson||M - April 20, 1939||D - November 5, 1990|
||1. Trygve Andrew||B - June 4, 1941|
|2. Ella Blestren||B - April 19, 1943|
|3. Rolfe Knatvold||B - June 4, 1946|
|4. Valborg Hansine||B - December 26, 1907||D - May 26, 1968|
||Arnt Oyen||M - June 13, 1942||D - April, 3 1982|
||1. Hildur Marie||B - March 1, 1943|
|2. Waldemar Ager||B - July 19, 1946|
|5. Solveig Camilla||B - June 4, 1909|
||John Wesley Best||M - July 3, 1935|
||1. John Wesley, Jr.||B - September 10, 1936|
|6. Magne Oterbak||B - September 13, 1910||D - December 20, 1963|
|7. Roald Sneve||B - October 4, 1913|
|8. Hildur Johndine||B - December 10, 1915||D December 22, 1992|
||Albert Bernard Nicolai||M - May 20, 1939||D - October 22, 1973|
||1. Marilyn Hildur||B - January 26, 1943|
|2. Richard Albert||B - July 21, 1946|
|3. Fredrick Bernard||B - August 27, 1950|
|9. Borghild Gurolle||B - October 2, 1917||D - July 6, 1981|
||Richard Henry Derge||M - July 20, 1943||D - September 23, 1988|
||1. Frank Richard||B - September 20, 1953|
I think I have most of the cousin's children listed, in case that would be of interest to anyone. Note - Father and Mother are both buried at Lake View Cemetery in E.C. Roald Andreas is also there, Milo Bergh, Trygve and Elvira, Magne, Valborg and husband Arnt Oyen, are buried at Poulsbo, Washington. Hildur and Albert Nicolai are at Hatfield Cemetery at Black River Falls. Borghild and Richard Derge are buried in Colorado Springs.
The Gabrielsen Family (Blestren)
|Jondine Hasine Blestren||B - July 29, 1876||D - March 4, 1965|
||M - May 6, 1903
At parent's home, 533 Lake St.
|B - April 24, 1879 He was born in Stavaager, Norway.||D - May 24, 1945|
||1. Helmik Blestren||B - February 7, 1904||D - September 4, 1990|
|Married: Agnes Hysen in 1955||Buried at Lake View Cemetery on Hysen Family lot.|
|2. Alf Helmik||B - June 3, 1908||D - Jan 25, 1974|
|Note - Alf and his parents are all buried at Lakeview on the Blestren lot.|
|3. Birger Vilhelm||B - August 23, 1909||D - January 25, 1974|
|Married: Dorothy Stubenvold||Had two daughters - Carolyn Jo and Faye Charlotte|
|Birger is buried on their own lot, Lakeview Cemetery (not far from our lot).|
Hansine Johanne Krogh Blestren
B - November 7, 1842 in Tromso, Norway D - March 2, 1927 in Eau Claire, Wis. Married to - Sivert Johson Blestren in Dom Kirken, in Tromso March 23, 1865. My memories of Grandpa and Grandma Blestren are good. They were always happy to see us children come to visit them. We usually stopped there after Sunday School, and gave them one of our Sunday School papers to read. This was when we had Norwegian Sunday School and the Church was just a block from their house. Grandma always had "fried-cakes" doughnuts or cookies, and then she would make lunch for us. She gave us coffee with lots of milk in it. She made the best doughnuts that I have ever eaten or perhaps it was because I was always hungry. Sometimes she would make a BIG BATCH of them and walk up to our house with them early in the morning. Usually we weren't even up when she came and she would leave them on the back porch. I also remember when we went there to visit she would tell us about the place she worked when she was a young girl. It was at "Fru Dreier's Home". I think she was the "Barne-Pike" there. (Took care of the children). When Barb and I were in Tromso we were on Dreier-Gate, and we tried to find out what he did, that they would have a street named for him. Not any of the people we asked seemed to know anything about him. I also remember the nice china dishes she would use when we were there. She had a whole set of Mary Gregory Glassware, which she would let us drink from. The glasses had little figures in painted enamel, of boys and girls, and she would give us milk in them. Her kitchen was so cozy, wood stoves wooden benches to sit on (skammels) pink walls , wooden floor covered with handmade rugs, lamplight, white curtains on the two little windows (shutters on the outside) and a cute little three legged table in the corner, with always a plant on it. I remember, too, the little house in the backyard, where there was a little box on a shelf, with pages from newspapers or catalogues, all carefully torn into pieces about 6 x 9 inches carefully piled up. There also was a woodshed, where the wood was chopped and piled in the neatest piles, floor was swept clean and Grandpa had his tools and saw-horses, etc. Then there was the chokecherry tree by the back door, and how our lips would puff up when we ate them. Such good, good, memories. Thanks to Grandpa, Grandma and Tante Karen.
P.S. Another little tidbit I want to add about Mom - We were not always
the best children on Earth, there were times when we were naughty, quarreling,
yelling, tattling, etc., etc. Then when she had scolded and her patience
ended, she would go to the little closet, underneath the front stairway,
and take her suitcase out, pick up the baby (if there was one) and say
that she was leaving. When she did this we all changed and cried and clung
to her, begging her to stay And we would behave ourselves. Then she would
put the suitcase back, and things were taken care of. Good trick!