Sunday, January 27, 2013

What happened to Ingeborg?

Ingeborg & Torkjel Hornnes, ca 1907
[photo:  courtesy of Alf Georg Kjetså]

The wedding photograph above was taken in 1907 when Torkjel Mikalsen Hornnes wed Ingeborg Gundersdatter Tveit.  This was his second marriage and her first.  They had six children but the first child died so she had five children at home when Torkjel passed away.  I wondered what happened to Ingeborg after Torkjel Mikalsen Hornnes died in 1924.  The family had been living in Rødbyen, the company housing for the aluminum factory, Vigeland Brug.  Rune Jensen had sent pictures and told me about a family reunion that was held.  The story of what happened to Ingeborg as told by Lillemor’s daughter, Evelyn, was published in the Vennesla Historielag 2012.  

[photo: Vennesla Historielag cover, 2012]

Rune was kind enough to send me a copy and also translate the article.  I am posting it here mostly for the extended family members who migrated to America and elsewhere and would have no reasonable way to read it in English unless I did so.  Here follows the rest of the story . . .

In order for Ingeborg to remain in her home in Rødbyen after Torkjel died it was necessary for her to go to work for the company.  The job she found was sewing burlap sacks.  The two youngest children would have to be alone while the older ones were in school and Ingeborg would hurry home at lunchtime to tend the fire and make sure the children were fine.  The youngest child was only 2 or 3 years old at that time.  I have read of other accounts where a mother had to leave small children like this home alone when husbands were dead or not at home and she had to go to work so this situation must have happened every once and awhile.  Even though the work place was nearby it must have been a rather dreadful thing for a mother to have to do.

Meanwhile, there were two brothers, Olav and Knut Dalen, who jointly took ownership of their father’s (Jens Hansen Dalen) farm Dallen after he died in 1910.  They both also worked at the aluminum factory.   Olav was aware of the widow Ingeborg and her five children whose ages ranged from 3 to 13 years. 

It does not sound like a particularly romantic proposal but according to the story one day Olav said:  “You cannot sit here and sew, marry me and move up to Dallen.”

 [photo source:  Vennesla Historielag, 2012]

Ingeborg accepted the offer.  Knut and Olav set about to build a new house in Dallen.  In 1927 the house was finished, Olav and Ingeborg married and Ingeborg moved up with all her children.  In addition to her own five children she also had four step-daughters that were children of Torkjel and his first wife, Gunhild Olsdatter Engestøl.  

The children of Ingeborg and Torkjel:

1.    Mikal, born 25 May 1911 married to Olaug Johnsen from Drammen
2.    Gunnar, born 3 October 1913 married to Borghild Pettersen from Klepp
3.    Olga, born 18 June 1916 married to Thorvald Aabel from Vennesla
4.    Anna (Lillemor), born 19 March 1919 married to Knute Molde from Oslo
5.    Alf, born 4 October 1921 married to Sylvia Grundekjøn from Kristiansand

The step-daughters:

1.  Anna, emigrated to America
2.   Ellen married Høydal from Vennesla
1.    Mally, married Høydal in Vennsela
2.    Karen, married Løland from Birkeland

The step-daughters often came to visit Dallen.  Ingeborg and the children did well in Dallen.  Olav was a kind stepfather who was called “far” (grandfather) by everyone.  Knut was a good uncle.  They were patient and the children thrived.

In the winter Olav shoveled the way down to the village before he was to be at work at 6 am.  There was a narrow path, one shovel width, where the edges could reach one and two meter’s high.  The faces are not clear enough but since the photo was included in the story I think the people must be Ingeborg and Olav standing there in the trench.  Thinking about this makes me realize that Olav had to get up probably around 4 am in order to dig his way out and be to work on time. 

[photo source:  Vennesla Historielag, 2012]

Olav was said to have been a very strong man.  One incident involved an iron beam that needed to be moved.  The beam was so heavy that someone went to get help but by the time he came back the beam had been moved.  The weight was estimated to 300 to 400 kilos or about 700 lbs.  There were no horses at Dallen so Olav carried most everything on his back.  It was said that he carried a bale weighing 104 kilos or about 220 lbs from the Vikeland train station up to Dallen just by holding a wire. 

Evelyn provided some descriptive comments about Dallen also.  There was a long shed approximately where two small buildings stand today.  There was a toilet with two large and one small hole.  There was an attic, two stalls, barn and woodshed.  There was only room for one cow and one calf.  In addition they had chickens and cats.  There was a lot of fruit and berries in Dallen.  The garden and the soil were tended well.  There were many different varieties of apples, “warrior” plums and a variety of cherry trees.  In the cherry season there were many who went to Dallen to eat and pick.

As the children grew up and were married the grandchildren came visiting Dallen.  There were 16 grandchildren and they were always welcome.   Often they stayed overnight and Olav was “far (father or grandfather) in Dallen” for everyone.  On Christmas Eve the entire family gathered.  The best parlor was opened and gifts were under the sofa.  Santa Claus (or Julenisse) came and read out who was to get which gift and the gifts were sent down the long table to the recipients.  The Christmas tree had candles, cakes and candy in the baskets.  There was quite a lot of trouble with the candles when the family walked or danced around the tree singing.

World War II broke out in Norway on 9 April 1940.  Ingeborg and Lillemor were washing clothes by the washing pot just below the stairs.  They heard the planes as they went over and suddenly they saw a long track of people down the road.  There were families from the barracks in Vikeland who escaped and would seek shelter in Dallen.  They told of the war that had broken out.  There were also people from Kristiansand who were on the rise.   Later that day Thorvald Aabel came with a truck and drove his wife, children, mother-in-law and several others of the family up to Tveit in Vegusdal to Ingeborg’s childhood home.  There were about 30 people gathered.  They were there for two weeks then went home again in Trygve’s cab.  Knut and Olav were just at home and several families were to be in Dallen for a while.  Mrs. Vatne prepared food for everyone.

Knut Dalen died in 1950.  The following summer Alf and Sylvia got married.  Now that the attic was free the newly married couple moved in.  They lived there for a year.  Next came the family Skeggestad from Evje and they stayed there for two or three years.  They were very helpful to Ingeborg who had become sickly.

Olav was very fond of animals.  When he dug in the ground and saw an earthworm he lifted it carefully away.  One time a cow got a potato caught in the trachea.  A veterinarian was called but he did not know what to do so they massaged the cow until the potatoes came up.  It was horrible for Olav to do this and unfortunately the cow had to be put down anyway.

Alf got a great St. Bernhard’s dog while living at Dallen.   Olav was so fond of the dog that it remained in Dallen when Alf moved.  It was not a few meter’s of sausage that he bought from the butcher Fredriksen for the dog.  Olav was good at singing.  He had a deep voice.  He sang old songs, mostly folk songs and hymns.  He could recall many verses by heart.  He was also fond of reading.  When he was young he wanted to study medicine but he had no means to do so.  He bought some books and equipment and tried to study on his own.  Later he funded education for the son of an acquaintance who wanted to be a doctor.  It gave him a certain satisfaction. 

[photo source:  Vennesla Historielag, 2012]

Ingeborg got lung cancer in 1955 and became so ill that she needed extra care.  She then moved down to Lillemor and Knut Molde in Dalevein (the road up to Dallen).  Olav would not move from Dallen, but it was not long before he came down too.  He lived in Dalevein until his death in 1963.  He was 83 years old.

After Olav moved, Dallen was rented out to various families for several years.  Later around 1980 the daughter, Ellen Britt and Tor Husebø,  of Lillemor bought the property to make it into a resort.   Ellen Britt and Tor lived in Stavanger.  Today their son Roar and his wife Tao own the place.  Ellen Britt and Tor invited the family to Dallen several times for a reunion.  The current owner Roar and his sister Bente continue the tradition.  At these big family gatherings the main attraction is the baking in the big oven.  If all the descendants of Ingeborg in Dallen come to a reunion in 2013 there will be approximately 210 people.  

The photos and full story in Norwegian can be found in the Vennesla Historielag, 2012.  Thanks to Rune for sharing the article and the photos.

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