This chest was brought from Norway in 1859 by Gregor Halvorson. Halvorson was one of the first settlers in Pope County. He and his family settled in what is now Lake Johanna township in the spring of 1862.
Warned by a group of horsemen sent out to bury settlers killed in nearby Kandiohi County, the family fled to the stockade at Paynesville, leaving the chest behind.
When the Dakota came, they chopped a hole in it looking for something interesting.
Once Col. Sibley and his troops put an end to the conflict, Halvorson and his family returned to the area. The trunk was patched and used for many years by the family before it was donated to the Pope County Museum.
We consider this trunk to be one of the most important artifacts in the collection. It tells the story of early immigrants who packed a few belongings into large trunks and left their home and families forever to start a new life across the ocean; It connects Pope County with the Dakota conflict; And it shows the perseverance of the settlers to return and make Pope County their permanent home.