Lately I’ve been researching the family of Andreas Borreson, our grandfather Emil’s uncle who came to America in 1870 and homesteaded in South Beaver Creek (Ettrick township, Trempealeau County). Upon learning that he had descendants after all (when I thought there were none), the really big surprise was discovering that one of these descendants – to me a third cousin, once removed – was living just four blocks from us in Holmen.
Another surprise to me was the significant connection this family came to have with the city of Winona, Minnesota. In 1900 all of Andreas’ family was residing in South Beaver Creek, as best I can tell, but two or three decades later, several were calling Winona their home, at least temporarily. I wonder why this took place.
In 1914, Amelia – the only child of Andreas and Maria to have children – married James Bryant of Minnesota. They had twins in 1915 and were residing in Winona no later than 1916. How they met I have no idea, but it appears this marriage may have initiated the Winona connection. By the 1930 census, however, Amelia was divorced and had gone back to the surname Mitchel. Residing with her were her 14-year-old twin son and daughter – and her sister Anna Borreson who was a cook.
In the meantime, Adolph Borreson – Amelia’s son born in 1899 by Harry Mitchel – married a Herbertine (surname unknown) by 1920. After renting land in South Beaver Creek for a couple years or so – maybe his grandfather’s farm – Adolph and Herbertine were residing in Winona in 1922. In fact, I found a residence listing for an Adolph Borreson several times between then and 1934 – unless there’s another Adolph B. In July 1924, there was a court case “Herbertina Borreson vs. Adolph Borreson” so I suspect they were divorced. The same question about the correct Adolph re-appears as he is listed as a “grader” in the 1921 City Directory, a helper at the J. R. Watkins Co, in 1924, and a helper at Foot, Schulte & Co. in 1927. His name was also on a newspaper listing of “Trappers Licenses” in October 1922. In 1934 he was a laborer at Interstate Pkg co. Again all this is in Winona.
Anna Borreson – who appeared in the 1930 census with her sister Amelia in Winona – showed up other times as well. In 1927 she and Adolph were residing at the same address, where she had been in 1923 also. In 1934, a Winona City Directory still had her as a cook in the city. Sometime between then and 1940, she returned to South Beaver Creek to farm with her sister Josephine. I’m guessing this may have happened after Josie’s husband Ole Anderson died in late 1937.
A third child of Andreas ended up in Winona too. Ole Borreson farmed with his father until Andreas died in 1907. He may have continued on for some years, but by 1929, he too was in Winona. In 1934 he was working as a laborer, and in 1937 an Ole “Borson” received $24 in Old Age Assistance from Winona County. (The right Ole?) I didn’t know about his death (nor did Aunt Clara in Homestead) until I inadvertently came across a 1950 Winona news item. The sound of a dripping faucet in a renter’s flat had led a neighbor to call the police to investigate. In that room Ole was found, dead of natural causes for several days. I find it sad to think that he died alone and in the same room that had been his home still at least 1934.
With Ole’s death the family connection to Winona, Minnesota, appears to have come to an end. Leaving South Beaver Creek, three of Andreas and Marie Borreson’s four children had found their way to this river town for a time. Only Josephine remained in South Beaver Creek. These four would have been our grandfather Emil’s first cousins.