When Mr. Didriksen
died in 1873, Karen brought her four children to Kearney to join her
Mary who had married William Schramm, a druggist in the new town. She
a one-room house and took in boarders to support her family. Here she
Charles L. Larsen, a Norwegian who, in addition to farming, dug wells
freighted to the Black Hills. They moved Karen's house to Larsen's
on the tableland southwest of Riverdale. Soon they built a lean-to and
another room to accommodate four more children born to the couple.
On a Sunday in November of 1877, Mrs. Larsen sent her 8 year old son, Will Didriksen, to drive home the cattle. By evening many of the cows had straggled in but the boy didn't return. The Larsens hunted most of the night in an area of steep ridges and canyons; by morning word of a lost child had reached Kearney where many closed their businesses to search for him. No trace of the boy was found through Tuesday when 150 people had joined the hunt. About noon on Wednesday, W. J. Perkins and William Schramm saw a figure walking on a high ridge in a remote area west of Riverdale. When they reached the boy he was emaciated and completely exhausted. He said he had eaten bird eggs, but he called repeatedly for water. He was lifted to the back of his uncle's horse and they began the tedious journey to his home miles away. Although somewhat disoriented for a few days, Will recovered and later moved to Kearney where he had a truck farm and later started a peony garden. He was also a member of the city council. Many years later the peony gardens were continued by his daughter Marguerite and her husband Gilbert Carver.
married Ida Erickson, they had eight children. Rikke married Fred
and had nine children. Chris and his wife built a new home in 1894 to
their seven children. It was at one of the community dances held in
home that Chris' daughter Eliza met her future husband, Ed Shovlain.
he retired Chris sold the home place to his son Carl who pioneered in
in that area. Carl's son, Frederick, now farms the place. When Chris
to Kearney in 1904 he went into the cement contracting business. The
of Jacobson-Edwards still appear on many sidewalks in Kearney. Mrs.
died in July, 1911. In 1914 Chris married Mary Kellam, a native of
England, who was organist of the Episcopal church for years.
(1)Sven Peterson came to the Green Hill area about 1877. His son John married Othelia Bronborg, also a native of Sweden. John gave land for a school which was named Green Hill, the English translation of Gronborg.
The Sorensens had thirteen children. Those surviving are Caroline (Randolph), May (Sear), Grace (Asay), and Blanche (Frederick) all of Kearney; Annie (Sear) of Lexington, Martha (Frederick), Coverdale, California and Carl of Hastings.
In 1916 he
married Elena Staab of Grand Island, whose parents were both Danish. In
1923, after the partnership was terminated, John came to Kearney to set
up an office. The Hellebergs had four children, Angelene (Camp), John
Jr., Rex, and Christine (May). Mrs. Helleberg died in 1943. In 1945
married Edna Anderson of Hastings, who was also of Danish ancestry.
John, Jr. and Rex entered into practice with their father in the firm of Helleberg and Helleberg, Architects. They designed many schools and churches throughout Nebraska. After fifty years of practice, Mr. Helleberg retired in 1964. He died July 1, 1980. Survivors are his wife, Edna, and son, Rex of Kearney, and daughter, Mrs. Christine May of Fresno, California.
In 1878 he took a pre-emption on a farm in Cedar
northeast of Kearney. The next year he married Clara J. George who had
come from Massachusetts to Gibbon with the Soldier's Free Homestead
in 1872. The couple farmed until 1886 when Emil, who had always wanted
to be in the lumber business, took a position with the C. N. Deitz
Co. After working for the firm in Omaha for eighteen months he took a
with the F. H. Gilchrest Lumber Co. in Kearney. In 1889 he was
as manager of the Deitz yard in Lincoln. During the five years he
there he studied law in the office of William Jennings Bryan, and at
Central Law School. When the school was incorporated with the
of Nebraska he was a member of the first graduating class of the Law
After the Lincoln lumber firm was sold, Emil operated the Gilchrest yard in Gibbon, and later in Kearney where he remained until 1917. At that time he bought in with the W. L. Stickel Lumber Co. which later became the Tollefsen-Elliott Lumber Co.
The Tollefsens had six children. Edward D. Tollefsen succeeded his father, Albert, as operator of the lumber yard. Other grandsons of Emil living in Kearney are Emil and Gaylord Tollefsen.
In 1879 he married Abalone Jensen, also a native of
and they moved to Kearney in the spring of that year. Mr. Knutzen built
a small square house at 318 West 30th, later adding a second floor. The
home is now owned by Grete Sandberg (also a Norwegian) and her husband,
Dr. Thomas B. Murray.
The Knutzens had five children. Walter became a
contractor and builder, with many public buildings in Colorado and
to his credit. Among those in Kearney were Longfellow High School and
Lukes Episcopal Church. His son Henry later joined him in the business.
In 1908 they bought the Downing Saddlery from
Downing. They also bought a house at 706 West 25th. The Olsons had four
boys and four girls. The four daughters surviving are Helen Kring and
Norris of Kearney; Vergie Murphy, Seattle; Doris Beshore, Pinehurst,
Carolina. The Olsons were married for 68 years.
Some Scandinavians, in their desire to become "real,Americans" soon discarded many of their old customs, while others have cherished them to this day -- something the reader might want to ponder during that most prevalent of all Scandinavian traditions -- the coffee break.
Buffalo County Historical Society Home Page
edited 3/10/2003/3 p.m.