Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Marie Mikalsdatter Hornnes

Marie Mikalsdatter Hornnes, born 1875
[photo courtesey of Alf Georg Kjetså]

Just as in each large family there is one like Store Anna who becomes the glue, the magnet, whose home becomes the gathering place for the extended family so too do large families often have one child who remains unmarried, takes care of the aging parents or the widowed parent. In the family of Mikal Alfsen and Anne Gundersdatter that appears to have been their eighth child, Marie, who was born 9 September 1875 in Hornnes, Aust Agder, Norway. Marie did not marry she remained with her widowed mother at Espetveit and helped to run the small mountain farm there. She was 15 when her father died in 1890 and her mother was left with the four youngest of her eleven children to take care of including Marie. It must have been a lot of hard work. From time to time they found it necessary to hire a man to help with the heavy farm work. Espetveit was in a fairly remote mountain area so Marie would not have had many opportunities to meet other young people her own age.

Although Marie did not marry she did have three children with three different men, Mikal Pedersen Espetveit born 2 February 1896, Martin Olsen Espetveit born 7 July 1900, and Lily Ladousdatter Espetveit born 23 June 1903. It is impossible to know now why or what happened but from what one of her granddaughters said Marie was not treated kindly by most of the people. Part of it must certainly have been her illegitimate children but I also wondered if a little bit of it was jealousy since her picture shows her to be quite a lovely, beautiful woman. It must have taken a lot of courage and determination to live under those circumstances. Aside from her mother, her sister Store Anna was the only one who loved her unconditionally and never treated her poorly always welcoming her at Gåseflå. The granddaughters said that both Marie and her children considered Store Anna a saint and an angel. Marie’s son, Martin, spent a lot of time at Gåseflå with his cousins.

The front of the house at Espetveit as it was in 1982 with the couple who lived there and Ruth & Odd Svanstrøm

There were two small houses and a barn at Espetveit in 1982. I do not know if this is the original house where Marie, her mother and siblings lived, but the couple, a brother and sister, living there did say that the front porch step was made of the old mill stone from the original farm house. We did not learn the woman's name but we did learn later that the man was named Martin Espetveit though I do not think he was Marie's son who was said to have passed away in 1973. It was an interesting conversation since they did not speak English and we did not know any Norwegian. Odd Svanstrøm acted as guide and translator apologizing because it was difficult for him to understand the rural dialect and he had not used any English either for a number of years. Martin was very excited to meet us because he had known so many people who had left for America but none who had returned. We felt a little like celebrities. Unbeknownst to us, Else Marie Roland was watching from the second house and did not come out and talk to us at that time. She did know English and we lamented later via letters that we did not have the chance to meet. Else Marie was one of Marie's granddaughters.

Looking between the two houses at Espetveit, 1982

Mikal Espetveit died at age 23 years 22 November 1919 in St. John, Newfoundland, Canada. Martin died in October 1973. Lily married Rolf Norman Jakobsen. They had five daughters: Else Marie, Arnhild, Ellinor, Bjørg, and Ann Berit. Lily died 11 July 1985.

Marie died at age 44 ½ years 23 February 1920. After Marie died her mother, Anne Gundersdatter, moved to Gåseflå where she lived until her death in 1922.

I do not have pictures of Mikal or Martin but Lily’s daughter, Else Marie Roland sent me this photo of her mother taken in the 1970s.

Lily Espetveit, ca 1970s
[photo courtesy of Else Marie Roland]



Since I originally posted this I have found that Martin Espetveit married Anna Olsdatter Dåsvand who was born 1898 and died the same year as Martin (1973). They had one daughter Klara Marie Espetveit.

Lily married a second time to Gunvald Heien Jonsgård following the death of her first husband Rolf Norman Jakobsen

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A park bench for Bopa


As some of you know we have been thinking about donating a park bench dedicated to Bopa. A month or so ago my brother initiated the process to donate a bench honoring our parents. That bench will be located on the Burke-Gilman trail at the NE 60th public access or about five houses north of the house my Dad built. I contacted the Parks Department and asked if there were any other sites in that general vicinity along the trail that might be available for a bench and they sent me three suggestions. A few days ago I walked down the trail and visited all three places. The one I liked the best is near the National Archives building and has the added advantage of several bat and/or bird houses on posts and trees as well as new evergreen seedlings planted near where the bench would be situated. We can put a ten-word message on the plaque that includes his name and the date the bench is installed. It is a way to honor him on the trail he used to bike to and from the University for all those years with the added benefit of being a place for other bikers and walkers to rest if they would like. It will be easy to walk to and I can sit there in the quiet of the urban forest for a few minutes whenever I like. Much nicer than a headstone in a cemetery I think and more practical too.

One of several bat houses attached to tree

The Burke-Gilman Trail is the longest, narrowest park in the city stretching for slightly more than 12 miles. It is a great place to ride a bike or walk. It is so quiet and woodsy, almost all you hear are birds, and it is hard to believe you are in a city when you are walking along the path. I have seen little kids on tricycles and people walking dogs besides the usual assortment of walkers, joggers, runners, rollerbladers and bikers recreationists and commuters. Bopa used to call the groups of speed bikers “spandex warriors” and we see those too. Most users are polite and bikers warn with bell or voice when they are about to pass with “On your left.” Most people using the trail are friendly and greet one another with a casual hello or good morning, good afternoon, even if they are complete strangers.

Looking south from the proposed bench site

In the last year Friends of the Burke-Gilman Trail have been working along the trail removing brambles and diseased trees, scraggly undergrowth and replacing with native trees and bark chips on the ground. They will eventually plant flowers and smaller shrubs as well. Here and there are signs proclaiming the site to be the future home of a healthy forest.

Proposed bench site

It appears that the Parks Department is placing the benches where the trail has public access, which makes sense, but those places are not very woodsy. The location by the Archives has a woodsy area adjacent to it and the bat/bird houses were just a bonus. Bopa had a book on bats telling how to construct a bat house and was always interested in anything like that.

Looking north from bench site

A sign explaining about the trail and the current re-forestation project.

I am excited about being able to donate a bench, help enrich the park, and provide a place to sit and think about him. There will probably be squirrels there too. He didn’t care much for the squirrels until a couple of years ago when we had two baby squirrels in the yard and they were so cute. He generally tended to think of squirrels as unwelcome, destructive rodents and pests mostly because they chewed on our roof. It will take about three months for the bench to be erected but after it is I’ll put a picture up for the blog.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

G gallery part 2

G at one week two days, taken earlier today
G just passed her one week mark so here is one picture from today and a few more that were taken by the wonderful photographer from Bella Baby Photographers when she was 4 days old. The pictures turned out so well. Used with permission of Bella Baby Photographers.

So tiny and sweet,

tiny little fingers

and tiny little toes.

Tiny little yawn,

tiny little eyes and tiny little nose,

tiny baby in a tiny baby pose.

Where am I? Who are you?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 27

Life saving station at the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition, 1909

This scene is near where the University of Washington canoe house is now located and not far from the stadium. As previously mentioned there were several live displays at the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition held in Seattle in 1909. This postcard shows the United States life saving station with a crowd of people watching the demonstrations. It is hard to see but there is a simulated ship’s mast on the right side of the card with a man standing near it, a boat in the background. There was a “Breeches Buoy line” attached to the mast. As part of the general demonstration a person was dunked in the water then retrieved via the buoy line.

There were two types of boats used in life saving demonstrations both were supposed to be self-righting. In other words, if they capsized they were supposed to turn right side up. One of the boats was a Dobbins oar powered boat manned by eight men plus a man at the bow. The other type of boat was a new gas powered motorboat called the Conqueror staffed also by eight men. In addition to the gas powered motor it had oars suggesting that gas power was not yet fully trusted.
All of the live displays were well attended. It seems particularly fitting to have water safety demonstrations in a city that is more or less surrounded by water.

More photographs and information about the life saving station can be found at:

Norway day Viking ship arrival

Throughout the run of the Fair commemorative days were held to honor countries, professions, states, and organizations. These dedicated days were very popular so more and more were added often several groups for each day. In this photo we see another water related event with the arrival of a reconstructed Viking ship seen here for Norway Day held on 30 August 1909. The ship was complete with armor-clad shield carrying Viking warriors. This photo is part of the newspaper clipping collection of Didrik “Dick” Thompson who worked as an honor guard during the Fair.

For a list of all the commemorative days see Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition special days at:

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Day 3 update

Mother & child

I'm not sure how many people besides family look at this blog but for family and close friends here is an update on the new mom and baby.

For those asking for photos here are a few more pictures from day 3. We have been trying not to use a flash however that makes the pictures a little dark. The hospital uses Bella Baby Photographers and they got some really good pictures of G. Check with Mrs. Gimlet or Bee for the link. Their photos will be up until March 3rd.

G day 3

Curly is doing better. She has had several complications including pre-eclampsia and H.E.L.L.P. as well as an infection and losing a lot of blood because one of her clotting factors isn't working. All of these things are/were life threatening issues. She will most likely have to stay a little longer in the hospital and will need lots of help once she gets home. It is a good thing that her mom and dad are here for a week or more and Mrs. G. and I are here after they leave.

Napping again

This entire experience has made all of us so thankful for modern medical care. Bee keeps telling Curly that he is NOT going to be a single parent, she has to get better. G is doing great. She does not have the infection and her IV was removed. She is beautiful, sweet and healthy.

Curly & G

Saturday, February 18, 2012

G day 2

We are all so tired . . .

Some of you have been asking for more pictures. Yesterday both Curly and Bee needed breaks and sleep but I don't know how much they got even though I went down to the hospital and held the baby pretty much all day. It was such a hardship! Not. I would happily do it again today but Curly's parents should be there by now. I had my time yesterday and will have more time later. G is a beautiful, sweet baby.

Here are a couple more pictures from yesterday (day 2).

Things are looking a little better . . .

Curly, Bee & G

New dad with his tiny baby girl

This labor & delivery story is unbelievable. Too long, too many unexpected complications. Things like this are not supposed to happen in 2012! In case you have wondered about the bandage on G's hand it is an IV connection for antibiotics. Day 2 had some (not expected nor welcome) complications too but things are generally much better and getting still better.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

G gallery day 1

G says hello to the world today

Today a new grandchild arrived. Just a few pictures for aunts, uncles, cousins & friends . . .


Aunt Heather gets to hold her while her Papa looks onNew Mama and babe

Open your eyes, please

That's the way
Hello baby, G

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 26

Voss, Tvindefos, Hordaland, Norway, ca 1900

This postcard is another from Axel Eliasson printed around 1900 in Stockholm, Sweden. It shows a small mountain cabin or hytte at Tvindefos near Voss, Hordaland, Norway with a magnificent waterfall in the background. The girl stands with her milk pail at the doorway. The fenced area could be for goats or perhaps a small kitchen garden. This is near where Petra and Maggie Landaas tended goats and sheep during the summers when they were girls. It is also near where John and Lydia Hornnes lived at the time of the census before they left for America.

Even today many people still have small mountain cabins. These cabins typically do not have running water or electricity. They are small (suitable for 2 to 4 people) and not easily accessible. Eldbjørg and Hans Lefdal sent some photos of their hytte, which is located in the mountains above the main farm at Lefdal in More og Romsdal in western Norway north of Bergen and Voss. It takes 20 minutes by tractor or 45 minutes walking to reach the cabin.
Eldbjørg is a descendant of Mikal Alfsen and his first wife, Ragnhild Nottosdatter Hornnes. Her brother, Bjarne Nordbu, had the farm Lunnen until his recent death. That farm has now been sold but Eldbjørg still owns the smaller red house located near the church in Hornnes where her mother lived. She and her family visit regularly and it does have modern conveniences unlike the mountain cabin.

Hytte or mountain cabin near Lefdal
[photo courtesy of Eldbjørg Lefdal]

Tractor transportation to Lefdal cabin
[photo courtesy of Eldbjørg Lefdal]

Lunch for four at the cabin
[photo courtesy of Eldbjørg Lefdal]

Notice the kerosene or gas lantern hanging from the ceiling and the candles on the table. I like the pine paneling too. My father made a children's playhouse when I was a girl and the inside looked very much like this. That playhouse was probably about this same size and did not have running water but it did have electricity.


Here is another view of cabins near Voss from the 1900 era. They look about the same size as the cabin at Lefdal but not quite as comfortable. The scenery is beautiful but the bridge looks a little scary not to mention the mode of transportation used at that time. Instead of the modern tractor pictured above one would have to ride in a cart similar to this shown on another Eliasson card from about 1900.

Transportation mode of early 1900

The stretch of road on the card at least has a guard rail. Many of the roads in the mountains are extremely narrow with turnouts for oncoming traffic but no guard rails, just straight down the mountainside hundreds of feet. I'm sure I would prefer the modern tractor and a wider road!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

John Mikalsen Hornnes

John Mikalsen Hornnes, ca 1895
[photo courtesy of Alf Georg Kjetså]

The seventh child of Mikal Alfsen and Anne Gundersdatter was John Mikalsen Hornnes. John was born 23 July l874 when his father was 69 years old and still working the farm Lunnen at Evje og Hornnes, Aust Agder, Norway. He was almost 16 years old when his father died in 1890. I think he had what might be termed a “hard life.” He worked at all sorts of different jobs probably beginning from about the time he was 14 or 15. As a younger son in a second family he had little hope of inheriting anything that might have given him a boost starting his own life and family. He worked on farms, in the mines, and finally for the railway line. Working for the railroad appears to have provided the steadiest employment but it meant moving frequently. We find him living in Aust Agder, Vest Agder, Rogaland, and Hordaland. All located in southern Norway but at a distance from the rest of his family who stayed mainly in either Aust or Vest Agder.

John & Lydia Hornnes, ca 1900
[photo courtesy of Alf Georg Kjetså]

John met Lydia Gabrielsdatter Marstad while he was working on the railroad. She was born 23 April 1876 in Hitterø, Vest Agder the daughter of Gabriel Sivertsen Marstad and Olene Elisabeth Olsdatter. They married in Flekkefjord, Hidra, Vest Agder on 5 April 1899 and then moved first to Aarestad, Helland, Rogaland and then shortly after to Voss in Hordaland where they were living at the Føderaadhus at Lassehaugen the time of the 1900 census. While they were in Aarestad their only child a son, Mikal Alfred, was born 2 June 1900 and died the same year probably very shortly after birth. I think the Føderaadhus was some sort of residence mainly for railway workers as there are many of them and their families living at the same place for the census.

In 1901 John and Lydia left Norway for America intending to settle in the farmlands of Minnesota. We know that John’s uncle Torkel and some of John’s cousins were either already living in Minnesota or would soon be, therefore, the couple had family to be close to when they arrived. However, Lydia became ill with tuberculosis and they decided to move to Boston, Massachusetts to be closer to her sister. John and Lydia were living in a suburb of Boston called Melrose when Lil Anna arrived in America a year later. They provided her with a place to live and she was able to help them a little by paying for her room and board.

By the time Sadie and Anna Stean and Gunnie Osmun arrived in America around 1908 it was obvious that Lydia was seriously ill and not expected to survive the disease. She died not too long afterwards. John was devastated. Following her death he worked mostly as a day laborer moving from here to there. He began drinking. He came west and spent some time in Seattle then moved north to Alaska. Eventually he ended up in Seattle where he lived in hotels. He never remarried. He died 4 April 1943 in a fire thought to have been started as a result of smoking in bed while drunk. A tragic end to a man who had a difficult life.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 25

Bandstand, 1909

Music played an important part in most activities of the early 1900s especially at events such as the 1909 Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition. There were several songs written and performed just for the Fair including a grand triumphal march and another favorite march entitled “Gloria, Washington” composed by Frederick N. Innes. There were various songs like “Won’t You Stroll With Me on the Pay-Streak?” “Meet Me in Seattle, Dearie, in 1909,” “Hip Hip Hurrah for Seattle,” “The Seattle Spirit,” and others. No CDs for sale but the songs were printed up then made available for purchase by Fair attendees who could then go home play the piano, guitar, "squeeze box," or fiddle and sing along.

Looking north on Pacific Avenue showing Forestry Building & Bandstand, 1909

Several structures that were smaller than the big buildings were scattered here and there on the grounds. One of these was the Bandstand. It was located in front of the imposing Forestry Building. In the postcard above it is just barely visible on the upper left side of the card. The card shows a couple of other small structures. The white kiosk in the center of the card contained a display by the Paraffine Paint Company. Other small not-quite buildings were used as lemonade stands, peanut vendors, what might be termed fast food stalls and small entertainment venues that often included some live music.

Forestry Building and Bandstand, 1909

Outdoor music concerts and other community activities are still held in Seattle during the summer months at selected parks in the city. So even though we have entered the 21st century we are still carrying on some of the traditions of the 1909 Exposition.

For more information see:

Monday, February 6, 2012

Winter afternoon with the ducks

Ducks just off the east point of Union Bay

Saturday I noticed a post in one of the local neighborhood blogs concerning the sightings of a rare Tudu Eurasian tufted duck in the water near the wetlands by the Urban Horticultural Center at Union Bay. The duck was seen on Friday and then again on Saturday when the notice appeared in the Wedgewood blog. For a picture of the Tudu, please see

I texted Mrs. Gimlet since we had about an hour before sunset and Union Bay is close. We decided to go. The duck was supposed to be swimming off the east point of the Montlake fill (Union Bay) so it would be easy to park at the Urban Horticultural Center and walk a little way to the lake. The blog said all we would have to do once there was to find the group of birders and blend in. We tried. There were a few people clustered along the shoreline with binoculars, tripods and cameras but the duck was either gone for the day or out so far in the lake we couldn’t get a look at him. We had neglected to bring binoculars (silly us) and even Mrs. G’s fancy telephoto lens was not quite big enough to zoom in on the “barge” of ducks out in the lake. I'm not sure "barge" is the correct term but that is what it looked like. It was a pretty good test for my new little digital camera. Sadly it does not have the zoom lens capacity that my big, heavy old EOS Canon film camera does but it does take good photos. I did over hear someone mention that the duck had been away from the main group but even so it would have been very difficult to pick him out.

To make matters worse a clueless Kayaker paddled by sending the ducks and coots quacking, hooting and flying then resettling even further out in the bay. We stayed until the sun started setting and then left intending to come back with binoculars in the next day or two if the weather held. But today is Monday and we haven’t gone back yet.

In addition to the normal group of Mallards and coots there were Widgeons, Golden eyes, Mergansers, and a few geese. The sign at the beginning of the trail said a swan had been sighted earlier. We will walk down there again even if there is no hope of seeing the elusive Tudu since it is quite a pretty place and a very nice walk on a sunny day.

“Barge” of ducks and coots moving further out into the bay.

The Mountain is out!

Part of the wetlands trail

We heard lots of Red-wing blackbirds but didn’t see any. There were crows but we didn’t see many of those either just the few in the sky of this picture. Right around sunset the crows often fly to a common roosting area. It is quite the experience to see them, hundreds it seems, flying together and making such a racket.

Robin taking a rest on the porch

I had to come home to see a bird close up enough to get a picture with my new camera. Just a robin but made me feel that winter may be turning a corner toward Spring.