My mother, Christine Lerohl Berger, was born in Olivia,
Minn., Renville County, June 26, 1886, to Knute and Ingeborg
Elton Lerohl, where my grandparents immigrated from Vang,
Valderes, Norway, in 1883. There were two other children,
Ragnild, born in Norway, and Ole born in Olivia, Minn. After
living there for five years near grandfather's brother, they decided
to move further west to Vesta Township in Walsh County where
they lived with the Ole O. Elton family, my grandmother's
brother. A short time later, grandfather filed claim on a
homestead in Dewey Township, section 10, and moved his
family into a sod house. Here a daughter, Minnie Nordbye, was
born January 9, 1890.
In 1892, grandfather bought a quit claim deed and moved
his family into another sod house. This land was one mile south
and three miles west of what is now Adams. Here a daughter,
Hilda Nelson Demoray, was born September 27, 1897. On this
farm my mother, her twin sister, Olene Aardahl, brother Ole and
three sisters, Ragnild, Millie and Hilda, grew to adulthood. All
obtained their elementary education at the Omdahlen School.
Hilda continued into high school at Adams. All the children were
confirmed in the Mountain Lutheran Church. Mother's oldest
sister, Ragnild, was a member of the first confirmation class of
1896. Rev. Thorvald Larson was the pastor.
In 1909, grandfather sold his farm to Andreas Hogi and
moved into the town of Adams, N. Dak. Here he used his talent
doing masonry work.
In 1906, my mother married Christian Berger of Edmore,
N. Dak., with Rev. M. O. Silseth performing the ceremony on the
farm place. Her attendants were sister and brother, Bretta and
Sherman Bjorg, and a sister, Minnie Lerohl.
My mother and father moved into the new town of Adams
where my father worked for the Soo Line railroad. Shortly after,
he was sent to the terminal point, Thief River Falls, Minn., to be
trained in a skilled trade as boilermaker so was then able to
service steam locomotives when tied up at the roundhouse. He
was promoted to roundhouse foreman and lived here for twenty
years before being transferred to Overly, N. Dak., and
Mahnomen, Minn., when he retired in 1947 after forty-three
years of service. They moved to Grand Forks, N. Dak., and
celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 1956.
My father passed away from a stroke Feb. 10, 1957, and is
buried in the Mountain Lutheran Church West cemetery. At this
write up, my mother is almost 95 years old and able to care for
herself and is living in her home in Grand Forks.
To this union were born three daughters and six sons in
Adams and one son in Overly. Nine were baptized and two
confirmed in the Mountain Lutheran church and eight began
their elementary school education in Adams before the family
moved to Overly where two completed high school. The rest
attended in Mahnomen (Minn.) High School.
I can readily recall my first grade teacher, Pearl Gemmil.
Perhaps it is because of my vivid recollection of receiving a box of
chocolate candy from her. Getting a nickel once in a while to buy
candy from Mr. Bue at the Heen Mercantile was a big treat. So
imagine the joy I felt getting a box of chocolate candy. I also
remember my 8th grade teacher, Miss Burbidge. We really had
to learn our lessons for her. Our high school principal, Jean
Smith, inspired me to further my education.
Many times winter blizzards would appear out of nowhere
and how we dreaded opening the heavy double doors of the
school house to venture out into the storm. What a relief it was to
see our dads waiting to guide us home, or Mr. William Geary,
with his two big horses adorned with sleigh bells. How fast we
piled on that big flat sled and soon were safely home. Thank you,
Mr. Geary.
My father was born May 16, 1881, to Mr. and Mrs. Iver
Berger in Bjonroa, Hadeland, Norway. He had two sisters, one
moving to Canada and two brothers, Andrew immigrating to
Edmore, N. Dak., and one to LaCrosse, Wis., later to Nash N.
Dak. Their father, a carpenter, was killed in a building accident,
so at an early age, my father had to fare for himself by working on
fishing vessels. When he had saved enough money to pay his
fare to the United States, he and his cousin, Ingvold Strand,
immigrated to Grafton, N. Dak., about 1899, where they had
relatives. My father returned to Norway for a visit in 1901. When
he returned, he went to his brother Andrew's homestead near
Edmore to work. Andrew Berger had married mother's oldest
sister, Ragnild Lerohl, and that is how my mother met my father.
Herman Ingvald, the fifth child of Olaf and Olivia Bjerke, was
born March 7, 1909, in Silvesta Township, Walsh County.
Herman had five brothers, Otto, Carl, Joseph, Magnus, and
Knute; and four sisters, Anna, Amanda, Stella and Alice. Herman
was about three years old when the family moved to a farm
southwest of Edinburg, N. D. There he attended a country
school. The family were members of the nearby Odalen Church,
where Herman was confirmed. He had been baptized in Silvesta
Township when the family lived there.
In 1935, Herman married Merna Vigen. Merna Alvida, the
oldest child of Nils and Gina Vigen, was born March 28, 1914.
She had two sisters, Gilma, and Eunice; and four brothers,
Glenn, Vernon, Albert, and Lloyd. Merna attended a country
school, Silvesta District 100. She was confirmed at the Mountain
Lutheran Church, Adams. Merna attended the New York
Hairdressing Academy in 1934 and worked in a beauty salon in
Grafton until her marriage to Herman on November 19, 1935.
Herman and Merna purchased a farm from Annie
Gunderson, located in Adams Township, two miles north of
Adams. They farmed here until 1952, when Herman passed
Herman and Merna Bjerke
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