My great-great-grandparents, Anders and Agnette (Lien) Roberg, are buried in the South Branch Cemetery amidst rolling hills outside Newman Grove, Nebraska. Agnette’s half of the tombstone is detailed and written in Norwegian; Anders’s is simpler and lists only his dates of birth and death.
Both Anders and Agnette were born in Norway – Agnette in Biri, Oppland, on November 30, 1844, and and Anders, eleven years later, in Innvik, Sogn og Fjordane. Agnette married a Mr. Martin, and they had a son, Emil, on January 12, 1871. It appears Mr. Martin died, and in May 1878 Agnette and her young son sailed to America, arriving in Winona, Minnesota.
On December 3 of that year Agnette married Anders in Rushford, Minnesota. She was 34 and he was 23. He had emigrated to America in June 1875 along with his brother Arne. In May-June 1879 Anders, Agnette, and Emil traveled to Nebraska by covered wagon. The 1880 census finds the small family in Shell Creek , Boone County, Nebraska, joined now by the first of three children.
All three children were born in Boone County, Nebraska: Severin on February 17, 1880; Sophie Christine (my great-grandmother) on November 5, 1881; and Sena on June 2, 1884. In 1900 and 1910 Anders and Agnette were enumerated in Midland Precinct, Boone County. Agnette died of liver cancer on February 18, 1919. I have yet to find Anders in the 1920 census, but in 1930 and 1940 he was living in Newman Grove. He moved to the Newman Grove “Old Peoples Home” in May 1942 and died of chronic myocarditis on New Year’s Day 1943.
Genealogy puts one in direct connection with times and places long gone. It can be interesting to look back and imagine oneself in a generation other than the current one. Where would I have been in, say, 1900?
None of my grandparents were alive yet in 1900; Grandpa Montgomery would be born the following year. His parents, Charles William and Laura Maud (Walker) Montgomery, were living in Holdrege, Nebraska (Grandpa’s birthplace) that year, with their other six children: Myrtle, Mamie, Bessie, Alta, Walter, and John (Ward). Charles was working as a butcher and was 39 years old; Laura, 37. The children were 16, 13, 11, 10, 2, and 7 months old. Charles and Laura had been married for 17 years.
Carl Wilson, father of Grandma Montgomery, turned 15 in 1900. In that year’s census he appears in Lincoln, Nebraska, a boarder and farm laborer in the home of Jonas and Maggie Misler (maybe…the handwriting is difficult to decipher).
It would be seven years before Carl would marry Sophie Roberg. Three years his senior, Sophie was also “working out” in 1900. She can be found in Shell Creek, Nebraska, a housekeeper in the household of Mons Knudson, a 43-year-old widower with six children between the ages of fourteen and two. His mother, 76 years old, lived in the household as well.
Paul Hoffmann, Grandpa Hoffmann’s father, was 22 years old in 1900, the eldest child still living at home on the farm in Fountain Creek, Illinois; he would marry two years later. Paul and his parents, Jacob (age 63) and Christine (age 50), are listed as having emigrated to America in 1883. Christine had given birth to 7 children, of whom 6 were still living. In addition to Paul, those still at home were Andrew, 16; Maggie, 11; Sammie, 8; and Louisa, 6. Paul and Andrew have “farm laborer” listed as their occupation; the other children were attending school.
Paul’s future wife, Emma Slagel, was 20 years old and living at home with her parents in Indian Grove Township, Livingston County, Illinois. Samuel Slagel, then 50, and Mary, 45, had been married for 24 years. Mary had given birth to 4 children, three still living (and all at home): Emma, along with brothers Daniel (22) and Joseph (18). Also living with them was Mary’s niece, Lena Demler, twelve years old.
In 1900, Grandma Hoffmann’s father was still using the old German spelling of his name. He appears as “Albert C Schwing,” in Ash Grove, Iroquois County, Illinois. Another farming family, his parents were Albert, Sr., age 40, and “Kathrine,” age 38. They had been married for 16 years, and Catherine had given birth to 10 children, all still living, and all still at home: Martha, 15; Charles, 14; Lena, 12; Albert C., 11; Soloma, 9; Joseph, 7; Katey, 6; Anna, 3; Harry, 2; and Paul, 3 months. A further three children would eventually be born to the family.
The final and youngest of these ancestors, Lena Hunkler, was seven years old and living in Washington, Illinois. Her parents, George J. (age 37) and Mary (age 40), had been married for 13 years, and George is listed as a farmer. All five children are at home: Bertha is 13 and listed as Berty (?). Matilda is 11; John G. is 8; “Lenie,” 7; and Hulda, 4. All but Hulda had attended school in the previous year.