Big note:  I am pasting this from my previous website and will update it in the future.  There is now additional information to add, but I need to have time to do it.  This was written about 7 years ago.

Please note: Much, if not most, of what follows (at least on the “Hawley” side of the family) is research originally done by Gladys Olivia Lenning (12-29-11 to 9-8-93) and published by her in a book she titled “Our Home in Dakota: 1882-1982” The amount of research she did was astounding, and most of what follows is directly taken from her book. I didn’t see any copyright, and I don’t believe that she would mind it being saved on the Internet for future generations, so I am going to just use it with a resounding “Thank You!” to her memory and her family.

Legend for new genealogists (including myself!): b. = “born”, d. = “died”, m. = “married”. Children are listed in numerical order with parenthesis (1), (2), etc. In addition, I have added editorial content in italics, and my Grandma Marie’s notes in parenthesis and in bold type.


The Hawley Side

In the beautiful scenic country, Norway, with its mountains, valleys, fjords and where the cranberries and blueberries grow among the colorful wild flowers and green grass are the areas Ringsaker and Hedemarken.

On the Spikdalen gaard (farm) in Furnes, Hedemarken on January 6, 1830 Mikkel Mikkelson was born to Mikkel and Maria Bjorke Larssen. [Justin’s note: My grandma Marie said that the difference in last names was Norwegian culture at the time. I have noticed how the children took on their fathers first name and added “son” after it for their new last name. Cool!]

Spikkaedale was first on record in 1313 and has always been a gard (farm). Spikdalen was a quarter gard in 1593-94, a half gard in 1602 and a full gard in 1616. In 1759 there were 46 buildings on the gard plus houses on five smaller gards. From 1834 to 1865 many acres of the vast Spikdalen gards were divided into smaller gards (farms) and sold. The night of March 10 to 11 in 1831 the main house burned at Spikdalen. A new larger house was built and not completed by 1849. In the chamber of this large new house school was held for awhile.

It is still remembered and talked about the day Mrs. Spikdalen and Mrs. Lunde got into an argument about who had the biggest house. Mrs. Spikdalen took off her shirt and they measured the two houses by the hem of the shirt. Mrs. Lunde won as her house was a half shirt tail longer. That settled that!

Lars Mikkelson, b. 11/27/1768, d. 6/1/1809, took over the Spikdalen gard 7/5/1791. Lars m. 4/13/1791 to Olive Pinnerud b. 2/23/1755 d. 12/11/1836. She operated the gard fourteen years before her son took over. The children were (1) Sedsel b. 10/5/1793 married a Kolstad in Ringsaker. (2) Mikkel took over Spikdalen. [Justin’s note: Gladys frequently left birth and death dates and other information out when she was going to go into more information in following paragraphs. In this instance, the next paragraph talks extensively, including birth and death dates, about Mikkel who took over Spikdalen. In times where I did not add information, I left her format.]

Mikkel Larssen Spindahlen b. 7/27/1797 d. 12/3/1881 farmed the gard until age fifty two years, then turned it over to his oldest son. But first he would sell Odegaarden and Hagelund in 1850. Mikkel married Maria Nilsdatter (daughter) Bjorke from Veldre b. 1792 d. 5/16/1867 (Mikkel Mikkelson’s Mom and Dad). They had seven children (1) Olave b. 6/26/1823 m. Anders Mikkelson Rydingsbakken (2) Lars took over the gard (3) Nils b. 1/10/1827 went to America but returned to live at Almerud, m. Berte Lunner from Hadeland. (4) Marte b. 10/30/1828 d. 2/16/1829. (5) Mikkel b. 1/16/1830 went to America (Julia’s Dad). (6) Sedsel b. 7/27/1833 m. Nils Lunde at Enger in Ringsaker. (7) Johannes b. 12/22/1835 went to America.

Lars the oldest son b. 12/17/1824 d. 5/7/1883 took over Spikdalen on 6/4/1849. During the time he operated the gard (farm) he sold much of the vast acreage divided into the smaller gards as Hestvolden, North Bakken, Nerenga, Rydingsbakken, South Bakken, North Sveen and South Sveen. On 6/17/1851 Lars m. Maria Olsdatter Feiring from Biri b. 1825 d. 6/23/1891. They had eight children.

Taken from the Furnes Bygde bok (book of records of a part or district in Norway) and contributed by Liz and Walter Spidahl.

We can be proud of our sturdy hardworking Norweigian Spikdalen decendents. In our family heritage is Agnes Haakensdatr. b. about 1292 (daughter of King Haaken V b. 1276 d. 1319), so it is most interesting but too much to write at this time.

Coming: Picture of Spikdalen Gard

Mikkel grew to manhood in Norway, worked for the wages at the time which were $12.00 a year, one pair of shoes and a few clothes. It was a law in Norway then that all men at the age of twenty years must go to Gardemoen for a year of military training. Mikkel did not want to go to this training so chose to go to America. He left by sailboat on a rough and stormy sea which took three months. His father retired and decided a part of the Spikdalen gard was to be sold. Mikkel inherited enough money for his ticket, about thirty dollars to make the trip to Wisconsin.

Mikkel used his Homestead right in Wisconsin for one quarter of land in Trempealeau County and bought an extra forty acres of trees. The land sold at $1.25 per acre and was purchased from the government. His brothers Johanes, also Nils and his wife lived in Hardies creek, Wisconsin.

Coming: Picture of Smestuen Gard

On October 17, 1841 Karen Saagen (or Saugen) was born on the Smestuen gard (farm) in Ringsaker, Hedemarken. She grew to womanhood in Norway and then journeyed by sailboat to America to become Mikkel’s bride. (Don Saugen, Pine Island, MN. Bob Saugen, Minneapolis, Mn. Brothers. Grandpa was Cris Saugen.)

Coming: Pictures of Mikkel Mikkelson and Karen (Saagen). Julia’s Dad and Mom.

Mikkel and Karen were married at Galesville, Wis. in about 1858. Mathia Norman Bouschene was bridesmaid, we are told, and his brother was best man.

Mikkel and his brother Nils, a cabinet maker and carpenter, built a log cabin on the Homestead for Mikkel and Karen. Nils built the black walnut cupboard, table, chairs, benches and beds for their home. To Karen and Mikkel were born the following:


  1. Mathia b. Dec. 6, 1860 d. March 1, 1861.
  2. Martin b. May 21, 1862
  3. Johanes b. May 15, 1864 d. Dec. 7, 1866
  4. Johanes b. Sept. 14, 1867 d. Oct. 8, 1867
  5. Julia b. Feb. 21, 1869 (Eugene’s Grandma, Mabel’s Mother. Married Wm. Pollard.)
  6. Henry b. April 21, 1874 (Cora Sommervold’s Dad)
  7. Ole b. Feb. 5, 1878 (Gladys Father)

Three of the children are buried in the old Hardies Creek cemetery.

By this time each family had a team of oxen, a few sheep too, so that necessitated the building of fences. Hogs were welcomed as available meat. Salt pork took its place as a delicacy on the table. Log stables were built to house the cattle and oxen. Cows wandered over the unbroken land when they were turned out to pasture so Martin and his mother, Karen, went to bring the cows home in the evenings. They listened to hear the bell on the one cow. Julia was told to stay home in the log cabin to care for her younger brothers, Henry and Ole.

During the years 1859 to 1863 several Norweigian families located in this valley were a little stream of water meandered through and emptied into a larger stream which flowed through the Hardies farm so the Norwegians named their settlement, Hardies Creek. This name has stuck to this community for more than a century.

Karen’s brother, Nils Saagen b. 1823, his wife Johanna b. 1826 and children Ole, Christian, Karen, Mary, Helen, Sever and Julia lived in Hardies Creek. Nils was known to be a tease and jolly person who could make anyone laugh and be happy. One evening their son, Ole, dressed to go someplace but no one was to know where. When Ole returned late that night he stepped out of his shoes inside the kitchen door so he would not disturb anyone. The next morning as Nils was to go outdoors to do chores, he noticed his son Ole’s shoes and put one shoe in his jacket pocket. Nils did some chores and returned into the house. Ole was in the kitchen and noticed somebody walking up the road. He asked his father, “who is that walking up the road?”

“Oh,” Nils replied, “that is Mrs. Throndsen she was here to bring back your shoe,” as he pulled the shoe from his jacket pocket.

Ole hastily replied, “Oh, that ol’ fool.”

Then they knew Ole had been to Throndsens, and all had a good laugh. Nobody ever knew who walked up the road that morning. Ole Sagen and Ella Throndsen were married in a log cabin in 1873.

In about 1871, they built a school house for the children to attend and learn reading, riting and rithmatic. Then in 1862 they organized the Hardies Creek Lutheran Church, and three of the charter members were Mikkel Spidalen, Andreas Throndsen and Amund Kvisselstuen Emerson plus eight additional families. In 1876 the church was built. They also made roads to replace the muddy trails, a stage became a reality to make two trips a week to deliver mail to the settlers and then March 30, 1873 the Glasgow Post Office opened its doors.

In 1879 Mikkel got the urge and decided they must go west to Dakota Territory to get more land for himself and his sons. Mikkel went by railroad to Gary and came to the Even Norman farm. Mrs. Even Norman and Mikkel were cousins and so were acquainted from Norway. He also visited at the Amund Emerson home and the Thronson’s. Now Mikkel took a Tree Claim on a quarter land and ten acres of maple trees were planted here by the Emersons. Mikkel returned to Wisconsin and sold his Homestead quarter of land and forty acres of trees to Simon Sagstuen Johnson.

Coming: Picture of Johan and the log cabin.

Simon and his son, Johan, built onto the log cabin and lived there. Simon paid $800. in gold for this land. By this time Johanes Spidahlen had gone to Minnesota, in the Fergus Falls area to make his home. He had worked various places and earned some money before he left Wisconsin.

Coming: Picture of Johannes Spekdalen and wife Mina.

Johannes Mikkelson Spekdalen b. Dec. 22, 1935 married at age 44 years to Mina Johannesdtr. Holte. They had a family of seven sons and one daughter. (1) Martin (2) John (3) Molli (4) Louis (5) Ole (6) Julius (7) Alfred and (8) Benjamin.

Nils Spigdahlen did like to live in America but his wife wanted to return to Norway so they left to live there.

In the Spring of 1882, Mikkel and his wife Karen and family Martin, Julia, Henry and Ole came by train on the new railroad into Brookings. They brought with them a few items of machinery and their homemade furniture. At the depot they were met by their friends, Amund and son, Lawrence Emerson with their teams of horses and lumber wagons to bring the Mikkelson family and their possessions to the Emerson farm. They bounced and rumbled along riding in the lumber wagons across the vast Dakota prarie on the trails, no roads, and occassionaly saw a sod house or a small frame house, a shed barn and a few cattle grazing in the tall grass. They did stay with the Emersons until Mikkel and Martin got the new frame house built on his Tree Claim. The lumber was gotten in Brookings. He did not pay any taxes for ten years on the Tree Claim, and then received his deed on the land in 1889. On the additional 80 acres he bought, according to the 1884 Assessment book, his real estate tax was $5.29 and personal property $2.62. Not bad, was it?

Karen’s health was failing fast due to aesthma. She would say to Henry and Ole, “Do not play rough, be quiet, as I am not going to live long.” She passed away on Oct. 28, 1883. There was no Toronto, no church nor cemetery nearby on the prarie. A minister, Rev. R.O. Brandt and his bride had come to serve the Lutheran congregations in this area, and they came to the Mikkelson home the evening Karen died. She was the first person he saw die and the first funeral sermon he preached. Mikkel gave one acre of land for a cemetery and here Karen was buried. This is the Mikkelson cemetery.

After his Mother’s death, Ole was taken to live in the Louis and Hilda (Rose) Norman home west of Brandt. He was young but trotted to school with their son, Eddie, and his sisters, Ella, Oliva and Lula to the Norman school. Ole lived there one year, but then Mikkel wanted him back to attend the Mikkelson school and live at home.

Mikkel and his family joined the Leganger Norweigian Lutheran Congregation when they came to Dakota and were faithful members. On Nov. 23, 1878 the Leganger congregation was organized but the sod houses and shanties soon became too small for services so in 1883 the Emerson school house was used until 1888. The first new church was built in 1888 and the first service held on Christmas Day. The Ladies Aid was organized in May 1885 and Kristine was an active member. Records tell Kristine Mikkelson bought and installed the first Mason Hamilton organ in the new church in Nov. 1906. Julia was confirmed in Leganger in 1883, Henry in 1888 and Ole in 1893.

Now Mikkel was also concerned about a school for his children and gave one acre of land for the Mikkelson school house built in 1883. John Thronson was the first teacher and there were four months of school that year. Long remembered was Jan. 12 1888 when O.C. Halvorson, the teacher, and all the pupils spent the night in the schoolhouse due to the terrible blizzard. The following morning, they all walked over the snowdrifts to the Mikkelson home and Kristine prepared breakfast for them. Mikkel had secured a few cows, calves and horses so realized the need for a barn. In 1888 a new barn was built.

Mikkel served as a County Commissioner and on church and school boards which he enjoyed as he always liked to talk and visit.

Coming: Picture of the Mikkelson Farm

Kristine and Mikkel thought they needed more room in their house so in 1892 two small bedrooms and a living room addition was built onto the east side of the house.

Kristine, born in Norway, was the daughter of Iver and Elizabeth Iverson. She came to be the hired girl in the Mikkelson home as Julia wanted to work away for wages. She worked at various places as Evensons, Tolruds and Pollards. Kristine was a hard worker and cared for all the family. Kristine and Mikkel were married Oct. 23, 1888 and lived on the farm. Mikkel passed away on Oct. 12, 1899 from pipe cancer in his lip and throat and was buried in the cemetery on the Tree Claim, beside Karen.

Coming: Picture of Kristine Mikkelson

Kristine was sick for a long time and until her last spell of sickness Henry and Martin, her stepsons, cared for their kind Mother the best they could. She was taken to the home of Mrs. Louis T. Norman who cared for her for several weeks. On Dec. 19, 1907 Kristine Mikkelson gave up the struggle for life and passed away at the Norman home from cancer of her toe and foot at the age of 62 years. Funeral was held at 12:30 on Saturday Dec. 24 in the Lelanger Synod Church and buried beside her husband on the Mikkelson cemetery.

Coming: Picture of Martin Mikkelson

Martin Mikkelson, the oldest son of Mikkel and Karen Mikkelson was born May 21, 1862 in a log cabin in Hardies Creek, Trempealeau County Wisconsin. He completed his country grade school in Wis., was baptized and confirmed in the Hardies Creek Lutheran Church. In the Spring of 1882, at the age of 20 years, he came with his parents, sister Julia, and brothers Henry and Ole to Dakota Territory.

On April 16, 1891 Martin Mikkelson purchased from Solomon Allen, 320 acres for $1760. The land is located five miles west and one mile north of Toronto.

Martin plowed his land with a walking plow and two horses. He built a granary on the southeast quarter but could not find water, he did get a good well on the southwest quarter. He moved his granary near the good well and built on one room in which to live, cool, eat and sleep.

Martin was a tall and strong man. He proved his strength one day as he became disgusted with his David Bradley, 2 – 14 inch gang plow. He unhitched the horses and with one hand threw the plow onto the plowed ground, walked home with his horses and relaxed. Martin was a man of few words, never swore, but did much thinking and was a good carpenter. He drove a 1915 Model T Ford car and when the weather was rainy or cold he would snap on the side curtains. He was kind and good to help when needed.

In 1897 his brother Ole came to live with him and Martin built on a small bedroom. In the next few years he built a new barn, hog house and a chicken house.

On March 23, 1906 at the home of Martin Mikkelson occured the wedding of his brother Ole and Anna Lysthaug. They lived here until in 1910 when they moved to their farm and Martin moved to live with them. He continued to farm his land a few years but then decided to rent it. He built on a two story addition, two rooms downstairs and two bedrooms upstairs, on the south of his house to make it better for his renters and their families.

Coming: Picture of the Martin Mikkelson Farm

When Ole Mikkelson and his family moved into Toronto in 1917, Martin went to live with his brother, Henry, and his family.

In 1926 Martin became ill and was taken to the Lutheran Hospital, now Memorial, in Watertown and had cancer surgery. Martin had been kicked by a horse when a young man and Doctors said this could have caused the cancer in his stomach. Ole and Anna cared for him for eleven months, until he passed away Jan. 13, 1927 at age 64 years. Martin never married.


Julia’s parents, Karen Saagen and Mikkel Mikkelson were born in Norway. They first settled in Wisconsin before coming to Deuel County. Her father came by railway in 1879 and took a tree claim. Julia was born in Hardies Creek, Wisconsin on Feb. 21, 1869. She passed away May 28, 1948 in the Estelline Hospital from pneumonia.

Coming: Picture of Julia Pollard (maiden name Julia Mikkelson) and the Pollard Farm.

Julia Mikkelson and William Pollard were married June 8, 1892. They lived on the farm on which he had taken a homestead, in a sod house. Later they lived in the granery before building the house (This house is still the house my Grandma Marie currently lives in). They told many times of the Indians walking by and sometimes stopping and asking for food. You could see the trail for many years. They lived here all their married lives except for a few years that they lived in Estelline. They had a farm in the north east part of town, where a grandaughter, Frances Saathoff now lives.

They had a son that died at birth. He was buried in the tree claim south of the homestead. A daughter was born March 9, 1895 named Mabel Viola. She attended country school one mile west of home, and high school in Estelline. She also attended college in Brookings. She married Herbert Hawley May 1, 1920 in Brookings.

William was born in Wisconsin in 1854. He came to Deuel County with his widowed mother, Sarah and family. His mother took homestead on what is now the Kaiser farm. His brothers and sister took claims in the surrounding area. He passed away August 21, 1928 in Estelline. He suffered from cancer of the throat and died from a hemorrhage.

Mabel Viola Pollard was born March 9, 1895 to Julia Mikkelson and William Pollard. She attended a country school one mile west of her home and high school in Estelline. She also attended college in Brookings. She enjoyed music and played the piano for church and other activities. Mabel was confirmed in the Lutheran Church. She married Herbert Hawley May 1, 1920 in Brookings. They lived with his parents in the house at the north end of main street in Estelline. Later moving to a farm north of town. From here they moved to her mothers farm in Grange township, they lived here for several years. They purchased their own farm in 1940 where they lived until their deaths.

Coming: Pictures of Herbert & Mabel, and the Hawley Farm.

Herbert Chester Hawley was the only child of Eleanor Durland and Charles Hawley, born March 21, 1890. He attended school in Estelline, Business School in Winona, Minn. and one term at St. Thomas College. He was in the army in France in 1917 – 1918. He also worked with his father who operated a Hardware store in Estelline. His mother was crippled from arthritis and spend many years in a wheel chair, she taught Mabel how to cook, sew and care for her family. She passed away in 1928. Charles lived with his son and family most of his life. He passed away June 23, 1943.

Herbert passed away Christmas Day, Dec. 25, 1953 from a heart attack. Mabel passed away Dec. 29, 1968.

Coming: Picture of Herbert and Mabel Hawley family

Mabel and Herbert have five sons and two daughters: Eugene, Dale, Glen, Lyle, Dean, Frances and Geneva.

Eugene Hawley, oldest son of Herbert and Mabel V. Pollard Hawley, was born Oct. 23, 1921 in the same house as his mother on the Wm. Pollard homestead in 1889. It is the S.E. 1/4 29-113-50, Grange township Deuel County, 3 miles east and 1 mile south of Estelline, S. Dakota. After graduating from Estelline High School he entered the U.S. Navy Feb. 19, 1942. Trained at Great Lakes, Ill. and Navy Pier in Chicago and Alemeda, California. Stationed at Saipan for 16 months, was discharged Nov. 28, 1947. He started farming with his brother Glen on this 200 acre farm. Glen moved to Brookings where he was employed. Eugene still lived on the homestead until his death raising small grains and pigs and sheep. The granery and house are the only 2 buildings left on the homestead. A newer barn was moved from the Pollard place in Estelline where Frances Saathoff now lives. A hog house was built in 1961. Some improvements have been made inside the house, it still stands on the same stone foundation. The granery is in the same place, but has been repaired. Eugene was always mechanically minded, when he was a young boy he would make toys for his brothers. He did all his own machinery repairing and over-hauling engines.

Eugene married Marie Amerson Erickson (daughter of Clarence O. Amerson) on Dec. 22, 1954, who was born Nov. 21, 1918 at Castlewood, S.D. west of Lake Poinsett.

Marie had 2 children by a former marriage, Judy Carol born June 14, 1947 and Alan David born March 20, 1951. Both were born in Detroit, Mich. Judy graduated from Dakota State College at Madison with a B.A. degree. She taught grade school in Estelline. Married Roger Oines of Estelline, Feb. 1, 1969. They adopted a 9 month old Korean boy March 22, 1976, his birthdate is June 7, 1975. They named him Ryan Richard. They moved to Gillette, Wyo. in 1977. Judy and Roger divorced June 1981. Judy was a diabetic all her life. (Judy re-married to Dennis Brown of gillette, Wyo. May 16, 1982. Judy died Oct. 9, 1985.)

Alan graduated from Vocational-Technical, a 2 year school in Watertown, S.D. as a machinist. He married Barbara Blocker of Watertown July 1, 1972. Divorced Jan. 1979.

Coming: Picture of Marie and Eugene Hawley

Eugene died July 1, 1995 at Sioux Valley Hospital, Sioux Falls, S.D. He had heart surgery March 30, 1995. Died of pulmonary fibrosis. He was short of breath and had to have oxygen the rest of his life.

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