Lerbakken Family Emigrates to the United States
Before emigrating to the United States, the Lerbakken family lived on the Massing (or Masseng) farm near Kvikne, Norway, just west of the town of Vinstra. The Lerbakken family were "husmann" and took on the family name "Massingløkken". The Massing farm was, of course, own by the Massing family and the "Massingløkkens" lived and worked on the farm with several other husmann families.
The main farmhouse is still there with a family living in it. It is unknown where exactly the Lerbakkens were living on the farm, however a series of old foundations located on the property are one possibility.
In 1865, the family consisted of Amund Mortensen, his wife Karen Andreasdatter, and their two children Mathias Amundsen and Ane Amundsdatter. A second son, Amund Amundsen, had been born in March, 1864, but had died two weeks later. In April, 1867, a third son, Ammel Amund Amundsen, was born. Also living there was Amund's older sister Ragnhild Mortensdatter and her son Mathias Pedersen.
A couple years after the birth of Ammel, the family decided to emigrate to the United States. At this point in time, many Norwegian families were making the decision to emigrate and one of the ship lines that was supporting this emigration was the "Anchor Line". They may have seen an advertisement similar to this one:
This announcement for the Anchor Line Scandinavian service is from a 1869 booklet that was issued by the Henderson Brothers, general agents for the line. They were based in Christiania (Oslo). The booklet gives information about intended sailings from Christiania every Tuesday after noon at 5 o'clock, calling at Christiansand on Wednesday morning at 10 o'clock. The ships would sail for Edinburgh and Glasgow, to connect up with the line's transatlantic steamers which would be leaving out of Glasgow for New York twice a week. For steerage accommodation from Christiania, Christiansand or Gotenburg to New York, the fee was 33 Speciedaler (about 39$), 2nd class accommodation was 42 Spd. (about 49$), and 1st class was between 75 and 85 Spd.
(taken from the http://www.norwayheritage.com/)
On 6 July 1869, the Lerbakken family boarded the ship "Scandinavia" and sailed for Leith, Scotland. After disembarking at Leith, they would have taken a train across Scotland to Glasgow.
Sometime around the 19th of July, the family boarded the ship "Columbia" for the ocean voyage to the United States (Passenger list for Lerbakkens on Columbia). Traveling were Andreas Olsen Bakken and his wife Anne Olsdatter, Amund Mortensen, his wife Karen Andreasdatter (daughter of Andreas Olsen and Anne Olsdatter), and their three children Mathias Amundsen, Ane Amundsdatter, and Ammel Amund Amundsen. They docked in New York on July 24, 1869.
At this point, nothing is known about the period between
when the family landed in New York and when they arrived in Wisconsin.
Very likely they traveled on the railroads which were well established by that
We do know that the family was in the township of Washington in La Crosse County, Wisconsin, in August, 1870 since they are listed in the 1870 US (1870 Census for Lerbakkens and Andreas Bakken). At some point between the time that they landed in New York and when the census was taken in Wisconsin, Anne Olsdatter died since she is not listed on census. Family history lists her as having died during that winter in Westby, WI.
The following year, the family departed for Ottertail County, Minnesota. They traveled on the Mississippi for the first part of the trip and therefore very likely went on a side wheel river boat such as the Phil Sheridan or War Eagle, both of which were carrying passengers between La Crosse and Saint Paul during this time.
At some point during this trip up the Mississippi, 10 year old Mathias Amundsen fell into the river and drown.
After arriving in St. Paul, the family started their trip up to Oscar Township in Ottertail County.
The railroad was under construction, but was not completed to the Fergus Falls area at that time, they therefore traveled via ox driven cart.