HELMER AND JOHNNIE AS TOLD BY WALT JOHNSON AND CECELIA HAGLUNDIn the BeginningBrothers Helmer and Johnnie Johnson grew up in Norway during the 1890’s. Theirparents were Johan Andrias Oshoug Martinson and Jakobine Antonsdatter. They hadan older sister Oline who was born in 1885. Helmer Marcelius Sevald was born June28, 1886 in Hadsel of Vesteraalen, Norway and three years later brother Johan(Johnnie) Martin was born on January 8, 1889. Helmer and Johnnie grew up notknowing their real father as Johan died the same year Johnnie was born in 1889.Their father had been out fishing when a terrible pain came over him and he wastaken to a hospital near Vesteraalen. He died days later from peritonitis. (Peritonitisis a bacterial or fungal infection of the peritoneum, a silk-like membrane that linesthe inner abdominal wall and covers the organs within the abdomen.)A Step FamilyLater, their mother, Jakobine married Jo-han Johansen and five more children be-came part of the family. The first childwas a girl, Jenny, who eventually marriedand had eleven children. The secondchild, Almar (Elmer), died as a youngboy. Elfrida grew up and moved to NewYork where she married, but had no chil- Norway—the area in red isdren. Margeth (Margit) was the fifth Vesteraalen, Norwaychild. She stayed in Norway and marriedHerman Gunderson. When Helmer andJohnnie were young children, the familymoved to Valfjord, Norway where theboys spent their youth.
Helmer In 1907 Helmer left Norway. He was 21 years old. He boarded a ship to theUnited States. He went directly to stay with this Aunt Sophie Bentson who lived inLake Park, Minnesota. Sophie was Johan Martinson’s half sister. The Bentson’seventually moved to Plentywood, Montana where a group of relatives currently re-side. Helmer worked for the railroad after arriving in Lake Park, MN. Helmer hadbecome good friends with a man the same age by the name of Gulstad. TheGulstad family lived next door to the David Susag family. The Gulstads along withHelmer and Johnnie visited often with the Susags at their Franklin Place near LakeFranklin, MN.Johnnie Johnnie went to Sweden in his late teens to work in the ore mines in Sulitjel-ma, Sweden. About 1911 when Johnnie was 22 years old, he returned to Valfjord,Norway to board a ship that took him to the United States where he moved in withhis brother Helmer. His Aunt Sophie sponsored Johnnie to come to the UnitedStates as she had done for Helmer.Norwegian Migrants During the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, more than 600,000 Norwegians mi-grated to the United States in search of better job opportunities. No other countryexcept Ireland has provided the United States with so many immigrants in propor-tion to population.
ALFRIDA AND MARIE AS TOLD BY WALT JOHNSON AND CECELIA HAGLUND David Susag Alfrida and Marie were sisters. Their fa- ther was David Susag. David grew up in Namsos, Norway. He was born January 30th 1866. In 1888 when he was 22 years old he left Norway to move to the United States to the Rutland/ Aber- crombie, North Dakota area. At this time Aber- crombie was known as Fort Abercrombie. David Norway—the area in red is borrowed money from his brother John to spon- Namsos, Norway sor his childhood sweetheart, Julianna, in her journey to America. In 1890 when David was 24 years old he married Julianna Michaelson (Mikkelson). Julianna was the only one from her family to come to America.America In 1891 their first son, Sigard, was born. Three years later Alfrida Ingmarinewas born on January 26th, 1984. When Alfrida was three a baby sister named Mariewas born on November 30th, 1896. The family continued to grow with Josephine in1898, Alfred in 1901, Deline in 1903, Emelie in 1905 and Ragna born in 1907. Thefamily moved to Minnesota in the early 1900s and homesteaded the Franklin Place.North Dakota Alfrida was about 13 years old when Helmer Johnson first visited the Susags atthe Franklin Place with his friend, Gulstad. Lake Park was about 20 miles away, so themeetings were few and far between. About 1910 Helmer had quit his job at the railroad and had gone to North Da-kota to work and help with the wheat harvesting. This proved very profitable asHelmer was soon renting a farm of his own. He had procured four horses, some ma-chinery and he planted wheat. These were the boom days. It was easy to get start-ed. Especially when people helped each other.
Two Brothers Marry Two Sisters When Sigard Susag, Alfrida and Marie’s older brother, was 20 years old, hewent to North Dakota to haul grain for the 25 year old Helmer Johnson. Johnniealso lived and worked with Helmer off and on in North Dakota. Alfrida’s mother suggested that she go help those bachelors in North Dakotaand soon Alfrida was cooking for the group. A short time after that, Alfrida andHelmer were married in Cooperstown, North Dakota. The date was August 1st,1912. Alfrida was 18 years old. When Helmer and Alfrida’s second child was born in 1914, 18 year old, Mariewent to help her sister. Johnnie was also living in North Dakota at the time. Mariehad known of Johnnie for many years and on December 9, 1916, they were marriedin Cooperstown, North Dakota. Thus was the beginning of reunions many years lat-er when the first cousins would get together. That was the result of two brothersmarrying two sisters. Note from Kristin: I remember what Marie and Johnnie’s daughter Marian(Sundholm) Ahlverts said at a family reunion in the 1980’s, “Did you know that yourDad and I have the same first cousins while you have first cousins from your Mom’sside and other’s from your Dad’s side?” December 2002. This information was gathered during a visit at Haroldand Cecelia Haglund’s. Notes were taken by Kristin (Granquist) Peterson of conver-sations of Walt and Vi Johnson and Harold and Cecelia Haglund. Dates were lateradded from records of Vi and Walt Johnson