The Story of the Ole Holters' Pilgrimage to America

The Story of the Ole Holters' Pilgrimage to America

Delores Holter

January 1943

On the Holter gaard in Ringsaker, Norway, lived Ole and Pauline Holter, with Ole's mother, Carrie, and their six children Karen, Ole, John, Peter, Lena and Severt.

Two hams were stolen from a neighbor and the people accused Ole Holter of taking the hams. Ole tried to tell everyone that he did not swipe the hams but no one would listen to his story. Filled with grief because of his friends' disbelief in him, he decided to take his family and journey to America. So he purchased tickets for his entire family, including his mother, for the trip. However, before they were able to depart for America, Carrie fell and broke her hip.

In order that the tickets could be used, Ole Jr. [20], and Karen [22] packed their bags and left for the new land. It was winter and they crossed the frozen Lake Mjoesa at night, with their sleds, bearing their baggage. Breaking through the ice, the flat bread, which they had in their food supply to eat aboard ship, became wet and before continuing their journey, they had to stop and dry it.

In June of 1870, after having spent seven weeks and two days on the ocean, on the ship "Anadelius", they arrived in America, landing at Quebec, Canada. From here they traveled to Milwaukee, [Wisconsin] where Ole Brown, a companion, knew a few people. They left Milwaukee to go northwest for La Crosse, [WI].

One evening they camped on the North La Crosse prairie. Karen told later of her fear of snakes, which was so great, that she spent the night standing in the road while the men slept. They spent the next night at the Engen home, friends of Ole Brown. These people lived on what is now the John Berg farm in Long Coulee [North of Holmen, WI]. Ole Brown stayed here, but Karen and Ole Holter Jr. went on to Hans Tolvstad's, cousins of Pauline, their mother.

In November of that year, after an ocean voyage of fourteen weeks and two days, on the sailboat "King Oscar", the rest of the family arrived at the Tolvstad home. They were very disappointed in what they found, for Helena (Mrs. Tolvstad) had written back to Norway of the abundant crops and the number of chickens they possessed. The family later went to Stevenstown [WI] where they lived in a small house owned by the Brown family across the road from the church. However, they later purchased what is now the John Holter farm in Council Bay [West of Stevenstown] from Even Ustby.

In speaking of the stolen hams in Norway, Ole Holter Sr. told his friends, "Although I have the shame I have not the sin". Having a bothered conscience, the neighbor who had stolen the hams confessed to the theft on his deathbed, stating that Mr. Holter was innocent. This is proof that Ole Holter Sr. was not guilty of committing the crime.


(Larry Borchert, July 1994)

Holter gaard, the home of Ole and Pauline Holter before they came to America, is in the Ringsaker district of the Hedmark province of Norway. Ringsaker church, one of the oldest stone churches in Norway, is on a peninsula in Lake Mjoesa, five miles west of Brumunddal, a city of 6,400 at the head of Furnes Fjord, a bay on Lake Mjoesa. Lake Mjoesa is 40 miles north of Olso. Holter gaard is one mile west of Kvarbervika, a village across the fjord from Brumunddal.

Today, Holter gaard is owned by Harald Holter. He is not a relative of the emigrant Holters, nor has the farm been in continuous family ownership. Harald Holter is familiar with the tale of the stolen hams because his father told him of it when Harald was a boy. An apple tree, planted by Kari Holter, Ole Holter's mother survived on Holter gaard until 1987.

Ole and Pauline Holter are buried in Long Coulee Cemetery, Holmen, WI, surrounded by many of their children.