Martin & Augusta Bredalen

Martin Bredalen was born in Vaaler, Solon, Norway, to Morton and Theodora Knuosen Bredalen in 1851. He received his education in Norway, and was baptised in the Vaaler Lutheran Church. At the age of twenty-eight, he left Norway and emigrated to Larimore, in Grand Forks County, arriving in the spring of 1880.

Martin worked in a logging camp there, and filed a homestead claim on a quarter of land in Lakeville Township, Grand Forks County. He had planned to send for the woman who was to become his wife the following year, but the logging camp boss skipped out without paying his crew, so Martin had to work another year in order to save up the money necessary to send for her.

Augusta Loken was born in 1857 to Ole and Kassi Jevne Loken. She was baptised and confirmed  in the Elverum Lutheran Church, receiving her early education in Norway.

She came to Larimore, Grand Forks County, in February of 1882, and was married to Martin shortly after her arrival.

She worked for the Mikkel Jorde family in Lakevillel Township, Grand Forks County, saving enough money to buy the family's first milk cow.

The land that Martin had filed on was flooded each spring, so he sold it for a yoke of oxen, a covered wagon and a walking plow. Martin and Augusta left the Turtle River on June 7th. On their way in search of a new home, they met the Erick Espeseth family, who were also looking for a new home. Together, they traveled two hundred miles before taking up residence again, this time in the Mouse River area. The date was June 18, 1883.

The Bredalens settled in Township 154N, Range 77W, Section 7, an area that was given the name of Villard.

The families lived in their covered wagons all summer while building homes of logs, mud and stone. These homes were known as dug-outs, or cellars.

A terrific hail storm hit on August 18, 1883, doing a great deal of damage, and killing lambs and wild game. In January of 1884, a blizzard completely covered their dug-outs. The door opened inward, so when Martin opened it, he could see a very small opening where the sun was shining through. In order to get out, Martin had to shovel the snow into the room, then shovel it out again.

There were three families living in the area. They were Mr. and Mrs. Martin Bredalen, Mr. and Mrs. Anton Jevnager and family, and Mr. and Mrs. Marius Stutrud and two children. Mrs. Jevnager was a sister of Martin Bredalen, and Mrs. Stutrud was a daughter of the Anton Jevnagers.

The men went to Devils Lake and into Minnesota looking for work harvesting and threshing, while the women and children would stay together at night for fear of Indians.

In late fall, the men would return with enough groceries to last the winter. Only the staples were purchased however, because the families lived mainly on fish, wild game, and milk products.

One winter, they were completely out of flour, and some Indians from the Turtle Mountains came with three small sacks of flour, which was divided between the families.

In July of 1884, Mr. and Mrs. Martin Bredalen helped to organize the Norway Church, and Martin served as one of the first trustees. The Rev. O.A. Aaberg of Grand Forks County was the first pastor. A church built of logs was constructed in 1886, which served until 1890 when it was dismantled, after which services were held in homes, and then in school houses until a new church was built in 1907.

Augusta Loken Bredalen passed away in 1901, and was buried at the Norway Cemetery. Paul Stutrud, a nephew of Martin's, came from Norway in 1901, helping with the housework and doing the baking, as he had been a baker in Norrway. He filed on a homestead west of the Bredalen home in 1902, but lived with his uncle until 1912, when he moved to Canada.

Norway Church

In 1907, the Norway congregation decided to build a new church building, and Martin Bredalen was one of five appointed to serve on the building committee. As Balfour had built a Lutheran church the year before, the five men drove to Balfour to see the new church, deciding to build their church just like the one in Balfour. Since many of the early settlers had a share in the Denbigh Brick Plant, they decided to use Denbigh brick.

Louis J. Markusen donated the land for the church, and the Rev. William Coll accepted the call to pastor the congregation, preaching the first sermon on November 17, 1907.

Martin Bredalen passed away at the age of seventy-eight on August 27, 1929. He and Augusta were the parents of six children, the two oldest dying in infancy. The others were Lottie, Alexander, Theodore, Olga, and Martha.

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