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Wisconsin My Home

Thurine Oleson; As told to her daughter Erna Oleson Xan; Introduction by Odd Lovoll

Publication Year: 2012

Wisconsin My Home is the story of Thurine Oleson, born in Wisconsin in 1866 to parents who had emigrated from Telemarken, Norway. This much-loved book was first published in 1950 when Thurine was a spry octogenarian. In it she not only vividly recalls the pioneer life of her childhood in a Norwegian American settlement, but also tells her parents’ stories of their life in Norway and their reasons for emigration. This new edition restores the twenty-nine photographs that appeared in the original 1950 hardcover edition and includes an introduction by emigration historian Odd Lovoll.

Published by: University of Wisconsin Press

Series: Wisconsin Land and Life


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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-vi


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pp. vii-viii


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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xviii

“Wisconsin, Wisconsin! This is my home.” This is how the book’s raconteur Thurine Oleson depicted how the young people in her family, in spite of hardships, viewed their circumstances and future prospects as landowners in the mid- nineteenth- century American...

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pp. 3-34

ONE OF MY earliest memories is of Mother rocking by the window in the old log house, smoking her clay pipe and crying about Norway. In the deep window sill near by was the polished maple tobacco box with brass hinges, which she had brought with her across the sea...

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pp. 35-48

EVEN THOUGH things were not what my parents had dreamed they would be, there was no time to sit and mourn. Mother and Anguline had to get busy and clean up the log house and make it livable. Father bought a few cows, and now Mother had milk...

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pp. 49-60

WE HAD SO MUCH company in those early days that Mother had to spend a great deal of her time cooking. She had to be prepared at all times for a visitor, and no one ever went away without a meal or a "treat" of some sort. Though the folks were...

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pp. 61-78

THE LUTHERAN CHURCH at Winchester was on a high hill about two miles away from our farm, and Sunday would find all of the grownups and children there, except the little ones who could not walk that far. Our folks were always there. They had been...

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pp. 79-100

IN MY CHILDHOOD home I never knew what worry or trouble was. I was a strong, healthy child and loved to help my parents with everything I could possibly do, both indoors and out. I could milk cows, feed calves, and work in the fields like a man, although...

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pp. 101-116

IT IS HARD TO beat the Scandinavians for hospitality. Not only did the young folks have parties, but the old folks, too. They used any old excuse for a party. When there was work attached, it was called a bee, and there were many of these-plowing bees, husking bees...

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pp. 117-140

I HAVE MENTIONED several times that the families of my mother, Thorild, and my husband's mother, Tone, were greatly attracted to each other. The two sides were not in the least related, but lived near each other in the Old Country. Now Winchester Township...

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pp. 141-158

I HAVE NOW TOLD you about my folks and my husband's folks, and all the old people from Norway. Now I am going back and tell you about the young folks and the fun they had in their youth, and their struggles in settling down...

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pp. 159-180

EVEN IF IT HAD been the style to take a wedding trip in those days, I am sure John would have just taken me on that nice long ride in the double-seated buggy back to Tone's farm. As the days wore on, and we did not get back to John's job in Oshkosh...

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pp. 181-196

My SISTERS AND brothers had just as many ups and downs as John and I. Anguline, whose real Norwegian name was Ingrid, was the first to marry in our family. Her husband, the tall, full-bearded, honest, hard-working Sam Thompson...

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pp. 197-214

JOHN'S AND MY last big move was to the farm in Waupaca in 1911. It was seven miles from the city, and three miles from the Wisconsin Veterans' Home, where there were many "boys in blue" still hobbling around with their canes....

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Golden Wedding

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pp. 215-224

IN THE SUMMER of 1935, when the children came home, they began to talk about our golden wedding. It was right in the middle of the depression and drought, and we wondered if any such kind of celebration would be successful, since all our relatives and old friends lived...

Genealogical Tables

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pp. 225-230

Index of Folklore / Folklife Forms and Themes

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pp. 231-234

E-ISBN-13: 9780299288730
E-ISBN-10: 0299288730
Print-ISBN-13: 9780299288747
Print-ISBN-10: 0299288749

Page Count: 272
Illustrations: 29 b/w photos, 5 genealogical tables
Publication Year: 2012

Edition: Second Edition, Expanded
Series Title: Wisconsin Land and Life

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Subject Headings

  • Oleson, Thurine, 1866-.
  • Frontier and pioneer life -- Wisconsin.
  • Norwegians -- Wisconsin.
  • Wisconsin -- Social life and customs.
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