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John and Berte Stove Hammarstrom 

 Written by Ella Stuedemann and Tor Kvien 1980 and 2004.


Berte_pic Jahn_pic

Berte Støve var født 12. april 1831 på gården Støyva i Breim i Nordfjord. Berte var bare 8 år gammel da faren døde.

Som vanlig den gangen, måtte Berte ut i tjeneste i ung alder. Hun kom til handelsfolk i Rugsund. Der møtte hun svensken Jahn Hammarstrøm som hadde arbeide med kirkegårdsmuren på Rugsundkirken.

I 1861 dro Jahn, eller John, til Amerika. I 1863 sendte han bud etter Berte. Hun kom med seilskute opp St. Lawrence elven til Duluth i Minnesota. Hun reiste med skyssvogn til St. Paul. Derfra reiste hun med båt opp Minnesota elven til Carver.

John skulle møtt henne i Carver, men det var indianere på krigsstien, og passasjerene gjemte seg i skogen. Etter seks uker dukket John opp og reddet henne. Vi vet ikke akkurat når, men vi vet at de ble viet av svensken, pastor Carlson i Carver, og de flyttet inn i John sin enkle hytte med bare ett rom. Reisen fra Norge til Plato i Minnesota tok 14 uker.

John ble innrullert i Nordstatshæren den 24. november 1864 for å delta i borgerkrigen. Dimmitert den 19. juli 1865 etter å ha blitt skadet i benet. Han ble utskrevet fra sykehuset 25. september 1865. Dokumenter viser at John mottok uførepensjon som veteran og medlem av kompani 1, Second Minnesota Infantry.

Sønnen Martin ble født mens John var i krigen. Den 17. mai spaserte en nabokone over jordene, og lot sin 8 år gamle datter bli igjen alene hjemme, mens hun hjalp Berte med ungen til hun var sterk nok til å klare seg selv.

Berte åpnet hytta si for å hjelpe andre innvandrere. Det ble hold både konfirmasjonsforberedelser og konfirmasjon i hjemmet hennes.
I rettshuset er det foretatt en registrering som ikke er nevnt i den gamle Hammarstrom bibelen: Pike Hammarstrøm, 11. januar 1874. Ikke noe mer informasjon. Dette er nok et barn som døde spebarnsdøden.

Det var fortsatt uro med indianerne. Arkivene viser at John overførte skjøte fram og tilbake, inntil sønnen Martin til slutt satt som eier. I følge den eldste nålevende personen i distriktet (1980), forlot John familien sin. Ingen visste på lang tid hvor han var. Det viste seg at han kjøpte land i Todd County, Eagle Valley Township nær Clarissa i 1891. Han flyttet dit og bodde alene i følge folketellingen. Senere bodde han sammen med familien Isakson, og da han døde 18. november 1908, 84 år gammel, fulgte Margaret Isaksen hans legeme på toget for at han skulle bli gravlagt i Bergen Kirke i Plato, McLeod County. Han ligger gravlagt på kirkegården som er rett overfor der hvor den norske kirken lå, men på veterangravstøtten hans er han kalt Holmstrøm, slik det også står i hans militære papirer. Enda et eksempel på at folk med utdannelse som gjorde papirarbeid ikke klarte å stave navn riktig.

Berte levde til hun ble 94 år gammel. Hun døde 9. oktober 1925, og begravelsen fant sted den 12. oktober. Hun er gravlagt på Cemetary #2, Norwegian Lutheran Church, Bergen Township, Mcleod County, MN, USA.
Berte Stove was born 12th April 1831 at the Stove farm at Breim in Nordfjord, Norway. She was only 8 years old when her father died.

Berte was working as a house maid at Rugsund, Norway, when she met John Hammarstrøm. John came from Sweden, and was at the time working with masonry work at the churchyard.

In 1861 John left for America in, and sent for Berte in 1863. Berte came by sail ship up St. Lawrence River to Duluth, Minnesota. A stage coach took her to St. Paul. A boat took her further up the Minnesota River to Carver.

John was to meet her there. Indians were on the warpath and passengers hid in the woods for six weeks until John arrived and rescued her. Date is unknown, but we do know they where married by Swedish Pastor Carlson in Carver, and John took her home to his one room cabin in Carver. The journey took 14 weeks from Norway to Plato, Minnesota.

John was mustered into army for Civil War 24th November 1864. He was discharged 19 July 1865. He was apparently wounded since he came home with a cane leg injury, and was hospitalised there. He was discharged from hospital 25 Sept 1865. Reports show that he received disability pay as veteran for rheumatism as member of Company 1, Second Minnesota Infantry.

His son Martin was born while he was gone. 17th May a neighbour walked across the field leaving her 8 year old daughter alone to be with Berte Hammarstrom until the baby was born and she was strong enough to be on her own.

Berte opened her cabin to help immigrants. Confirmation lessons and services where held in their home.

Baby listed in records in Court House not listed in Hammarstrøm bible: Female Hammarstrøm 11. 1. 1874. No other information. This baby probably died in her childhood.

Indians still roamed around occasionally. Record show that John transferred ownership back and forth, finally Martin owned the property. John left his family according to the oldest person around living at the time this was written (about 1980). No one knew where his was for a long time. He purchased land in Todd County, Eagle Valley Township near Clarissa in 1891, moved up and lived alone according to census. He later lived with the Isakson family and when he died, 18th Nov 1908, Margaret Isakson accompanied his body on the train to have the funeral in the Bergen Church, Plato, McLeod County. He is buried in cemetery which is across from where the Norwegian church stood, but his veteran tombstone lists him as Holmstrom as are all his Civil War Records. Another example of educated people who did the paper work, but could not get names spelled right.

Berte lived to be an old lady of 94. She died 9th October 1925, and was buried the 12th. She is buried at Cemetary #2, Norwegian Lutheran Church, Bergen Township, Mcleod County, MN, USA.


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Rugsund kirke/Rugsund Church about the time of John Hammarastrom.

(Scanned from J. Aalands "Bygdebok for Davik")

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Updated June 15, 2008

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