Monday, August 13, 2012

Jens Johansen, father of David Jensen

Jens Johansen, who was the son of Johanes Nielsen, was born in East Toten, Norway, 21 February 1773. Toten is one of the most beautiful farming sections of Norway. The valley that is situated on both sides of the small river that runs through East and West Toten is known as Ramdal. It is interpreted as Ramvalley. All of the farm houses are very large containing from 8 to 10 rooms. They are all painted white and built so that double windows can be put in during the coldest part of the winter. Most of the farm houses are equipped with a reception room that can accommodate about one hundred people. Their barns are also built very large. They must house all of their cattle, sheep and hogs, and also the hay and grain that is necessary to feed them from the first of October until the first of April. Nothing is allowed to run out during the winter. One reason for this is that they must save everything that comes from the barnyard to fertilize their farms. The land has been farmed for so many hundreds of years. The crops chiefly consist of oats, barley, hay, potatoes and mangels for the cows. There is a very good market for milk and cheese. Each farmer owns a few sheep which supply them with wool. From this they spin yarn to knit their men's socks and the women's stockings. There are no silk stockings used on the farms, only the home knit heavy woolen stockings. The home weaving of their clothes is almost a thing of the past. Jens was a miller by trade. He owned a small mill down on the river that was run by water power. It was just a short distance southeast of the village now known as Lens. Lens did not exist in the days of grandfather, but has been built since the railroad was built into East Toten. The farm from which he leased the land on which the mill and the small log house was built is only about one half mile from the railroad station at Lens. The farm is known by the name of Evangor, in English Avang. The place where grandfather lived was known as Evangseie. It was a small piece of land that they had a lease upon as long as they lived. When they died, the land and all reverts back to the landlord. During the life of the leasee, he must give to the landlord so many day's work each year to pay the rent on his little tract of land he is using. Jens was married 3 January 1796 to Dorthea Gudmundsen. He had the following children by Dorthea before she died: Maria Jensen, Agnethe Jensen, Johanna Jensen, Gulina Jensen, Helene Jensen, Elene Jensen. Father always told me that he had seven half sisters. They were all married and had families when he was a small boy. I have been able to find six of them as you see from the above. We haven't the date of the death of Dortha Gudmundsen Johannsen, but according to the will of 1830, she was dead. We find that widower Jens Johansen, 64 years old, and Miss Gulia Olsen, 37 years old, were married 2 March 1836. Three children were born to them as follows: David Jensen, Johannes Jensen (who lived only a few hours after birth), Anton Jensen. Gulina had a child before her marriage to Jens Johansen. He was born 15 August 1825. He was christened Ole Olsen. His father's name was also Ole Olsen. He became the father of Emile Petterborg. Anton left Toten and went down to Oslo. There he got work as a dock hand. He never married and continued in this class of work until his death. In Lena, a little village in East Toten, there is a river which runs east. In one section are a grove of trees not far from the place where the little house stood that belongs to Grandmother Gulina. She was not known as Gulina Olsen or Gulina Johansen, but as Gulina Groten. Upon a hill is the Hoff Church where grandfather Jens and grandmother Gulina lie buried. In another church in West Toten, lie buried hundreds of our progenitors because most of our people come from West Toten. The people on Jens' line were of the poorer class. That is they were the renters from the landlords. They would get a small tract of land that in many instances had not been brought under cultivation. They would work it up by clearing off the timber or stones that may have been on it. For the use of this land besides the clearing of it, they would have to give the landlord a certain number of days work each year to pay the rent. At their death, the land as well as the improvements would revert back to the landlord. In this way, the land owners would get their land brought under cultivation. Grandmother Gulina was a descendant of the land owners of Toten and not of the class that had to rent, therefore it is easier to trace her line.

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