Monday, October 31, 2011

Anna Mikalsdatter Hornnes "Store Anna"

Anna Mikalsdatter Hornnes, (d.e.), ca 1898
[photo courtesy of Inger Frøysaa]

Quite often in large families one of the children will end up as the “keystone” who keeps track of all the others, whose home is where the extended family meets for special occasions, who takes care of the others when necessary, a gathering place for the whole group. I do not know for certain but I think Anna who was born on Christmas day (25 December) 1866 in Hornnes, Aust Agder, Norway, the third child of Mikal Alfsen and Anne Gundersdatter, was that person in this particular family group. Hers is the home where the extended family met when the youngest daughter, also named Anna, came home to Norway from America in 1907 bearing gifts for everybody in the family. Hers is the home where many of the nieces and nephews went for their first employment away from home. She is the one who was the kindest to her sister, Marie, who had three children out of wedlock, she is the one of the sisters that Anna, Sadie and Gunie most remember in their journals and letters.

Osmund Bårdsen Gåseflå, ca 1898
[photo: courtesey of Inger Frøysaa]

Anna married Osmund Bårdsen Gåseflå, 25 October 1895. He was a widower with four children and 13 years older than she was. She was 29 when they married in 1895 and became an instant mother to the children Baard, 13, Ragnhild, 11, Gunhild (Gunie) 8, and Marie (Mari), 6. Osmund and Anna had an additional 5 children together, Mikal, born 1896, Ragnvald, 1898, Arne, 1900, Ragna, 1903 and Olga, 1905. One of her grandchildren,
Inger Frøysaa, shared the cute stories about the rascal boys from Gåseflå that appeared in an earlier post.

The house at Gåseflå was large, and they did hire a couple of farm boys to help out including Sadie’s brother, John Steen (Stean), as well as having both Lil Anna and Sadie help in the house from time to time so I think they were better off financially than Sadie’s family. Lil Anna mentions going to help when her sister had a new baby but I don’t think this was employment so much as just helping out the way family members are expected to do in a situation like that. The oldest boy, Mikal, remembered Lil Anna’s visit and all the presents that were passed around. He would have been about 10 or 12 years old at that time (1907/1908).

Anna and Osmund were present when her brother, Torkjel married in 1907 to his second wife, Ingeborg Gundersdatter Tveit, and this photograph was taken.

Lil Anna, Osmund, Ingeborg, Torkjel, Store Anna, and an unknown friend, 1907
[photo courtesy of Alf Georg Kjetså]

Osmund Bårdsen Gåseflå and Anna are sitting on either side of the small table. One of Marie's granddaughters, Ellinor Johannesen, asked me if I noticed Anna’s eye and I looked carefully to see what she was talking about. She told me that Anna had been poked in the eye by a cow’s horn and that was why it looked strange. I asked her what had been done when that accident occurred and she said “Nothing.” Today I think to do nothing in such a situation would be shocking and horrifying as well.

Anna was remembered with great fondness by her nieces and nephews and her kindness to her sister, Marie, was spoken of by Marie’s grandchildren with love and appreciation. I think she must have been a lovely woman and as I can see a little bit of a smile on the faces of both Osmund and Anna it leads to like both of them very much.

Anna Mikalsdatter Hornnes Gåseflå, ca 1907
[photo courtesy of Alf George Kjetså]

Osmund Bårdsen Gåseflå, ca 1907
[photo courtesy of Alf Georg Kjetså]



Osmund died in 1921. Anna died in 1942.

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