Where They Lived in 1901

Recently I stopped by the library in Blair, Wisconsin, and I made the happy discovery of a plat book from 1901 that included the Borreson and Estensen farms in Fitch Coulee. The very large book had a very long title too: Standard Atlas of Trempealeau County, Wisconsin, including a Plat Book of Villages, Cities, and Townships of the County (compiled and published by Geo. A. Ogle and Co., 134 Van Buren Street, Chicago, 1901). The book was published the year Emil and Gina’s second child, Mabel, was born.

If you look at a point about center, you’ll find the name of Emil Borreson, and to the right of that, B(ertinus) Estensen. According to Clara’s Homestead (p. 36), Emil purchased this land from his father Elias in 1898. If I read Clara’s history correctly, Bertinus and Maria sold their farm to Ole Foss and his wife in 1904, and “bought a smaller farm in Pigeon Falls where they lived a comfortable life for 17 years” (15). [Did you notice that preposition: a farm in Pigeon Falls?! This was a different era.] Here’s a look at the plat book page.

Isn’t it interesting to walk your eye around the Borreson and Estensen farms, and then realize you are getting acquainted with their neighbors from about 110 years ago? Hallingstad, Viverstad, Simonson, Stendahl, Kjos, Nelson, Bensrud – all those names remind us what a Norwegian-American community this was. Enjoy the tour!

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2 Responses to Where They Lived in 1901

  1. Sandy Kretlow says:

    Very interesting! Did you notice how Borreson is spelled. (Borason)

    • Yes, I noticed the spelling. Census takers are sometimes notoriously poor spellers. Sometimes, so I have read, they even misspelled immigrants’ names deliberately to insult them (though I can’t determine that in this instance).

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