Skriv ut

Romundstad Valley, Its Beginnings

Romundstad Valley is about 4 miles north of Strum, Wisconsin. In this picture, we look southeast up the valley. The Norseville school would have been behind us.

Four men of Romundstad Farm in Rindal, Norway settled this valley. Frederick Olsen Romundstad, from the same Norwegian farm, and related, was already in the area with his wife and children, just south of the valley.

Frederick Olsen Romundstad

Frederick was born in 1829 to Ola Olsen Romundstad & Sigrid Larsdatter Stomprud of Oppistua. He was the seventh of eight children by his father. His mother died and his father remarried to Gertrud Kroken.

Frederick left Oppistua for Strinda, near Trondheim, in 1853. In 1861, He & Serianna Halvorsdatter and 4 children (twins, Beret and Siri born 1856, Gjertine Gurine born 1858 and Nora, 8 days old) headed for the USA and Norseville north of Strum, Wisconsin.

The Frederick Olsen Romundstad family, in the USA, use the last name Olson. Chester Olson, a local farmer, is a grandson. Frederick & Serianna Olsons farm was the stopover place for many from Rindal who came to the Norseville area.

Ole Olsen Romundstad [Fredericks Nephew]

In 1870, Fredericks nephew, Ole Olsen Romundstad, came to the USA. Ole, known as Big Ole was born in 1849. His mother, Eli Olsdatter Kvam, died in 1862 at age thirty-nine while giving birth to her 7th child.

Their father did not remarry and in about four years, he, too, died. The children sold off Oppistua in parcels and continued to live with relatives at Austistua of Romundstad.

In 1874, Big Ole, already married in Norway, but in the USA, sent for his wife. Big Ole was the first known to have the first farm on the right coming up Romundstad Valley, the farm you see in the above picture.

Big Ole and his wife Marit Maria Jonsdatter Storholt from Ustistua farm unit of Romundstad Farm in Rindal, had ten (10) children. Several of these died young of diphtheria. Their son, Oscar, was the next to work the farm. Oscar and Ragna (Bogen) Rindal had five (5) children: Ruth, Hardin, Arline, Jeanette and Virginia.

Three (3) brothers from Austistua of Romundstad Farm, Rindal, More og Rmsdal, Norway also settled in Romundstad Valley. The brothers came to the USA at the same time in 1869.

Jon Pedersen Roen & Marit Olsdatter Romundstad, lived on Austistua of Romundstad. Jon bought Austistua and then married Marit of next door Oppistua. Marit is the mother of the following three boys and also aunt to Frederick Olson.

Even J. Romundstad

Even Jonsen Romundstad, the oldest of these three brothers who settled Romundstad Valley, found his homestead in 1870. His is the second farm on the right hand side of the road going east. Even was born in 1835 to Jon Pedersen Roen & Marit Olsdatter Romundstad while they lived on Austistua of Romundstad Farm in Norway.

It wasnt long until Even realized it was not good lacking a woman in the Romundstad Valley house. He wrote a letter to a friend he had known back home, asking her to come over to marry him. He said she should think about it. The lady was Gjertrude Negaard from Ytgaard farm unit of Romundstad Farm.

One hundred years later when an old farm house was being torn down there in Norway, a damaged letter was found between the walls. It was the letter Even had written to Gjertrude asking her to come to America to marry him. Translated, very roughly, the gist of it is--he explains how he now had a home and how much better things were here in America. He goes on to say that even a woman can earn as much as $1 and $2 dollars a week, doing things like cleaning, cooking, washing, and baking bread.

Gjertrude did think it over..for ten years before she finally came to the USA in November 1880! It cost Even $47 dollars for her ticket to La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Even and Gjertrude had four (4) children, three of whom died young, likely from diphtheria. Daughter Kristine, born in 1883 married Lars O. Romundstad from Ytgaard of Romundstad Farm in Norway. Lars was to take over the Romundstad Valley farm after her father Even died. But as soon as Even died in 1920, Lars sold the farm to Mikal Rindal. Lars was deathly afraid of thunderstorms. He sold the farm as it stood and headed to Washington State cold turkey with everything they could get into a Model T plus their son, two-year old Erling. They later had two (2) more children, Borgny and Reidar.

Mikal Rindal, from Bogen in Rindal, came to the USA with his family in 1911 at age fifteen. Less then seven years later, he and twin brother, Peter, were drafted into the U. S. Army and sent to France in WWI. Peter died over there and Mikal came back after the war was over in 1918 and worked for Mikkel Romundstad for room and board and $100 a year until he bought the farm from Lars O. Romundstad in 1920. Mikal Rindal bought the farm as is with a couple of horses and some cows and the house furnished as it was. Even was a good carpenter, most furnishings were hand made.

Mikal also needed a woman in the house. He sent to Norway for his childhood sweetheart, Hanna Torset. Mikal and Hanna met when they were ten years old when they both worked at the same farm, he as a herdsboy, she in care of children.

So in 1925, being apart for fourteen years, Hanna came to the USA and they were married. Mikal and Hanna lived on their Romundstad Valley farm until they were ninety-two years old. Then they lived at the Strum Nursing Home until they died in 1995, both 99 years old, Hanna being just a few weeks short of one hundred years! Mike (Mikal) and Hanna had four (4) children: Norma, Joseph, Victor and Edwin.

Ole J. Romundstad

The second Romundstad brother who came over in 1869 was Ole Jonsen Romundstad. He was born in 1839 while his parents lived on Austistua of Romundstad Farm.

Ole J. had the fourth farm up Romundstad Valley. That farm is right on the boarder of Eau Claire County, township of Clear Creek, and Trempealeau County, township of Unity. Actually the house is in Trempealeau County and the barn is in Eau Claire County.

Ole J. and his wife Gjertrud Olsdtr Romundstad born 1847 from Oppistua, had nine (9) children all who lived to adulthood. Most of their children left the area. Some went to Montana and some to Minnesota.

Ole J. & Gjertruds son, Mikkel, ultimately took over the Norseville area, Romundstad Valley farm. Mikkel and wife Marie had four (4) children: Olive, Muriel, Astrid and Gjermund, severely wounded in WWII, married and lived in Tennessee. The farm was later sold to Bjarne "Bud" Norheim and then to Marvin and Alice Shlomer who still live there.

In 1874, with sister, Gjertrud and brothers, Big Ole and Lars, already in Romundstad Valley, Wisconsin, Lil Ole returned to Norway to escort his three younger siblings to America and the valley: Mali age 18, Peder age 15 and Johanna age 12. At least five of the seven lived and died around Strum, Wisconsin. Peter went to Fergus, Montana where other Romundstad, including Ole J.s son, Odin, went. Peter wrote to family from about 1881-1886 but then disappeared. Odin married the Fergus Ranch owners daughter and stayed in Montana.

Anders J. Romundstad

Anders J. Romundstad was the third Romundstad brother to settle in Romundstad Valley. He farmed the second farm in Romundstad Valley, the first and only one on the left (north) side of the road.

Anders Jonsen Romundstad was born in 1849 while his parents lived on Austistua of Romundstad Farm in Norway. He married Karen Imislund of a neighboring Wisconsin farm. They had two daughters, Nora and Mildred. Nora married John Wiedenbauer. They were next to work the farm. Nora and John had three (3) children: Margaret, Irene and John (Armin). Mildred married Wilhelm Madson and they had 3 children: Romund, Jorgan and Cherisma.

Some years later John Wiedenbauer sold the farm to Joseph Rindal. In early 1980, Norma (Rindal) and Sam Pire bought the house and 5 acres from Joe. In 1997, their son Jim Pire, bought the home and acreage and he and his wife, Marge, still live there.
This (above) is a recent view of the valley, looking south. The old Norseville school location and west entry to Romundstad Valley is far right.
Left to Right, we see the properties of Rindal, Fendry and Pire. Schlomers to the far left, cannot be seen.

Norma (Rindal) Pire February 2011