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Abel and Ragnhi/da Hjelmeland.

houses on the homestead of 15-18-18W, one for himself and his family and one for his parents.

In 1903, Abel acquired a herd of ten cows and two horses. By 1905, the herd had increased to fourteen cows two horses and two hogs. In 1905, two and a half acres of land were broken and in the spring of 1906 this land was in crop. By 1907, thirteen more acres were broken making a total of 15 1/2 acres that was cropped. '

On December 12, 1908, Abel purchased N.E. 6-18- 18W and thus increased his holdings to a half section. This land was then given to his daughter, Lena, who was already married to Peter Paulsen.

On April 29, 1916, Abel and Ragnhilda celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. To this celebration came a guest who had the good fortune to be driving in the latest mode of transportation, a car. Of course, there were those who were skeptical and dared not ride in this "horseless carriage" that was definitely not safe to ride in. However, for those more daring, a ride down the road, for a minimal fee, could be had just for the asking.

A 90th birthday celebration was held for Abel in June 1924. One year later, in 1925, Abel passed away at the ag~ of 91 years. In 1923, Ragnhilda passed away at the age of 88 years.

Being of the Lutheran faith, both Abel and Ragnhilda were laid to rest at the Bethel Lutheran Church cemetery.

From their native land of Norway, to the United States and Canada, Abel and Ragnhilda Hjelmeland travelled with their family to begin a new life in a new land, that has carried on in the Danvers district, with their descendants, for five generations.


by Ida Wickdahl, Anna Mcinnes and Val Wickdahl

Rasmus, son of Abel and Ragnhilda, was born at Nordfjordeid, Norway, in December, 1871, and came to the United States with his parents in 1888 at the age of 16.

On June 16, 1897, Rasmus married Ingeborg Marie Weltzin in Donnelly, Minnesota. Ingeborg was born at Vanylen, Norway, in October, 1871, and came to the United States with her parents at six years of age.


In March of 1899, Rasmus, Ingeborg and first-born, Adolph, moved from Donnelly, Minnesota to Canada. Rasmus obtained the N.W. 1O-18-18W in the Danvers district for $10.00 on condition that ten acres must be broken every year. From Minnesota, they came as far as Minn~dosa, Manitoba, by train, and the rest of the way to their homestead by horse-drawn wagon. As it was still new territory north of Minnedosa, the trails up to the Erickson area were short of desirable. That first trip from Minnedosa to their new homestead encountered trails so narrow in places that the wheels of the wagon would get caught in behind the trees that lined the trail. Ac­ ~ommodation for the Hjelmelands, after their long Journey, was found at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Enoch Berg. Here they stayed until the late spring of 1899, when Rasmus had finished building a two-storey, two-room house on his new homestead.

As Rasmus had come to his new homestead with only the bare essentials, a garden fork was used to break up a plot for a garden. Supplies had to be bought in Min­ nedosa, as this was the closest settlement. A number of times Rasmus walked to Minnedosa to purchase a hundred pound bag of flour and walked back to his homestead carrying the flour on his back.

As the family kept expanding, their first home was becoming too small. Rasmus' father obtained the S.W. 15-18-18W in June, 1902, and it was here Rasmus built a larger house for his family and a smaller house for his parents, Abel and Ragnhilda, who came to the Danvers district in March, 1903. With the combined efforts of father and son, these newly acquired homesteads started to provide a livelihood for these two families which lasted for many years.

The difference in generations showed up a number, of times during their farming years together. During haying time, Rasmus would use the more modern method ofthe time, that being the horse-drawn mower. However, Abel clung to the "old country" method of cutting hay with a scythe. Those in the family who were old enough to handle a pitchfork raked the hay into "coils", or miniature haystacks. These coils were then lifted onto a r.ack for piling at home.

Ingeborg Hjelmeland, mother, had her work cut out for her as well. With a family of eleven children, bread was baked twice a week, 10 to 12 loaves at a time. Flour and sugar were bought by the 100 pound bag, lard was melted from the butchered pigs that were raised on the farm. All meat was smoked or canned in the springtime or put in salt brine. Wild fruit, picked in the spring and fall, provided extra food for her family as well.

The Hjemelands were one of the first families to help establish the Bethel Lutheran Church, and so it was that their social life centred around the church. A yearly summer picnic in July became one of the memorable events of their time. Arriving by horse-drawn wagon, families and friends gathered for a busy day of visiting, games, baseball and races for all ages. Two plentiful meals, which were donated by all those who attended, topped off the day.

One July 1st picnic that was held on the adjoining properties of Louis Strand and Peter Paulsen ended with a freak snowstorm when it was time to go home. Of