Bernt in La Crosse

When I was in La Crosse recently, I drove the north side street with the address where our grandfather Emil’s uncle Bernt Borresen lived in 1895 with his wife Clara (Hanson) and their three daughters. Here’s the house at the 2132 Wood location today. (Roosevelt Elementary School is just to the north or left of it.) Whether an older original version of this house was Bernt’s in 1895, I don’t know.

2132 Wood in La Crosse

I have been unsuccessful, however, at finding a record of Bernt’s death. He doesn’t show up in the 1905 Wisconsin Census with his wife and daughters, in which census Clara is indicated to be a widow. I searched years of records of Trinity Lutheran Church on the north side of La Crosse where the couple’s daughters had been baptized in the early 1890s, but I found no record there of Bernt’s death. I really expected I would.

For a while I thought: Maybe Aunt Clara was right after all, that Bernt “went west and all contact was lost.” The status of Bernt’s wife Clara as a widow in the 1905 census, however, makes that seem an impossibility. She re-married in December of the same year, 1905, so perhaps Bernt had died a few year earlier. In any case, the answer still eludes me as I continue to ask, “Where in the world is Bernt?”

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