Immigrant Trunks

I have new favorite artifacts! (OK – I have many favorite artifacts, but this is a great story, so please indulge me as I share this with you.)

Like most local historical societies, we have MANY immigrant trunks in our collection. MANY. No doubt each one was a treasured item to someone who packed up their belongings and traveled to the opposite side of the world in search of a better life, but for it to really be valuable to us, we want to know the story.

003Two of the trunks with no museum documentation had names painted and carved on the front. We did some research to see if there was any way we could connect them to Pope County history or if they really belonged in a different historical society.

The first trunk read: “Ole Petersen Leirmigen Madelia P.o. Watonvien C.O. Minisota Nort Amerika”004
Clearly, Mr. Ole Petersen wanted his trunk to be delivered to Madelia Minnesota in Watonwan County, should he and his luggage get separated. Judging from the spelling of North America, we could tell that he traveled from Scandinavia, most likely Norway.

I searched through our extensive files for every Ole Petersen or Peterson. We have several early settlers by that name. In each case, we were able to track their progress through North America on their way to Pope County. None of them came through Madelia. I also looked for anyone with the last name Leirmigen, with no success.
Eventually, I e-mailed the fine folks at the Watonwan County Historical society to see if they would like the trunk for their collection.

005While waiting to hear from them, I turned my attention to another mystery trunk in our museum. This one had the name and destination carved into the front. “Margit Pederson (illegible) til Faribault Po. Rice Co. Minesota Nort Amerika.” There were no Margit Pedersons or Petersons in any of our records that could match the trunk. I began to think that this trunk really should go to the Rice County Historical Society.

There were two words under her name that I couldn’t make out. I tried making a pencil rubbing, and could still only make out the letters of one of the words: “glitre”. I can read some Danish/Norwegian, but that word did not make any sense to me. I asked Merlin, who can also read Norwegian, if it made sense to him. He pondered a moment and said, “There is a family with the last name Glittre in the Lake Johanna area of Pope County.”

So – back to the family files we went and discovered a file for John Glittre. The family took their name from the farm in Norway that was named for the glittering rocks on the hillside.
In John Glittre’s file was an obituary for his sister Margit Lerhaug, who had been the wife of Ole Peterson Lerhaug! I had misread Leiraugen as Leirmigen. Leiraugen was later shortened to Lerhaug.

Suddenly, everything fell into place! Needless to say, the trunks will not be relocating to Watonwan and Rice Counties, as they definitely have Pope County stories.

So now, between information gleaned from our family files and, I can tell you the story of Margit and Ole and their trunks.

Margit Glittre

Ole and Margit Lerhaug

Ole Pettersen / Petersen / Peterson / Leirhaugen / Lerhaug was born January 11, 1855  and baptized February 11 in Gol, Norway as Ole Pettersen.

According to family lore, he (and his trunk) immigrated to the United States in 1883. He became a citizen while residing in Goodhue County.

Margit Pederson/ Petersdatter/ Glittre was born February 11, 1860 and baptized March 4 in Gol, Norway as Margit Pedersdatter.

She (and her trunk) traveled to the United States with her sister Anna aboard the ship “City of Berlin” and arrived in New York in June of 1885. She made her way to Minnesota and was married to Ole October 29, 1885 in Kenyon Minnesota.


The ship that brought Margit to America.




Passenger list for “City of Berlin”










I was not able to determine with certainty if Margit and Ole knew each other in Norway, but since they came from the same town, it is quite likely.  The fact that they were married in October, only four months after Margit’s arrival in New York is another indication that perhaps they knew each other and planned to be married upon her arrival.


The marriage record of Margit and Ole.

They lived in Rice and Goodhue Counties for several years before settling in Pope County in 1889.

They farmed in Lake Johanna area and were founding members of the Lake Johanna Lutheran Church. They had 10 children together.

Ole passed away in January of 1939 and Margit (or Margaret as she was sometimes known), passed away in January of 1943. They are both buried in the Lake Jonanna cemetery.


Posted in Collection Notes, Local History | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Silent Auction Items Available

Here is the current list of baskets / items for bidding. More items are being added each day. There are photos of many of the items following the list. Stop in and see us and place your bids.

Donor Title Description Value
1 Terry and Jim Elsey Jelly Basket #1 Wild Plum, Grape & Chokecherry Jelly Priceless
2 Kathy Jacobs Small Christmas Village Set of 5 smaller scale buildings with figurines
3 Urban Threads T-Shirt Girls Run The World – size large $35 Value
4 Urban Threads Cardigan Black lace “Pom” cardigan – size large $70 Value
5 Matt Pederson MN Twins Greats Baseball cards for Rod Carew, Harmon Killebrew, and Tony Oliva
6 Matt Pederson MN Lynx Superstars Maya Moore, Lindsay Whalen, Seimone Augustus
7 Jerry Larson Bird House Wine Cork Birdhouse, Suet, Birdseed, Picture
8 Terry and Jim Elsey Jelly Basket #2 Wild Plum, Grape & Chokecherry Jelly Priceless
9 Wendy Zander Vintage Dishes White dishes with 8 cups & saucers, 7 lunch plates, 7 bowls, 8 dinner plates. There are a few chips.
10 Johnson Chiropractic Chiroflow Water Pillow $50 Value
11 Terry and Jim Elsey Jelly Basket #3 Wild Plum, Grape & Chokecherry Jelly Priceless
12 Midwest Machine Model Tractor  2520 Diesel $30 Value
13 Midwest Machine Model Combine 5680 Combine with Draper Head $40 Value
14 Karen Kirckof Cookie Assortment Will be at the Museum on Saturday for the winner to take home. $25 Value
15 Minnewaska Bait & Tackle / Minnewaska Marine Fishing Package Crossfire 3000 Fishing Reel from Minnewaska Bait and Tackle+ Gift Certificate for $35 off a $50 Purchase at Minnewaska Marine $53  Value
16 Starbuck Telephone Company Cordless Phone System 2 Handset System $50 Value
17 Janet Beckwith & Bonnie Krueger Norwex & Dishtowel Basket Scrub Mitt, Spray Bottle, Cloths, and 4 Hand embroidered Dish Towels $90 Value
18 Karen Kirckof Kransekake Will be at the Museum on Saturday for the winner to take home. $30 Value
19 Terry and Jim Elsey Jelly Basket #4 Wild Plum, Grape & Chokecherry Jelly Priceless
20 The Emporium – Todd Gyslen Geodes 2 with mining sculpture
21 The Emporium – Todd Gyslen Geode
22 Isdahl Hardware Life Jacket Stearns Personal Flotation Device $30 Value
23 Minnewaska Liquor & The Emporium Wine and Platter
24 Ace Hardware Circular Saw & Drill and Driver Kit 5.5 Inch Circular Saw AND Lithium Ion 1/2″ drill/driver set $150 Value
25 Glenwood State Bank Cozy Blanket Mugs, Napkins, Peanut Brittle, Cocoa and Trivet $40 Value
26 Peddler Dan’s Golden Gopher Set History of Gopher Football $50 Value
27 Eagle Bank Christmas Truck Minnesota Items: Coffee Mug, Napkins, Cocoa, Potholder
28 Brenda Flemal Vintage Doll #1 Ballerina
29 Brenda Flemal Vintage Doll #2 Porcelain Doll from Dynasty Collection. It has a mended foot.
30 Samuelson’s Drug Store Canvas Print Route 66 themed wall art $30 Value
31 Kathy Jacobs & Kadejan Market First Snowfall $25 Gift Certificate to Kadejan Market and 4 Dinner plates, 4 mugs, 4 salad plates, platter, salt & pepper, serving bowl, dip bowl & spreader
32 Phyllis Sorensen Hand Vacuum Black & Decker Cordless Lithium Hand Vacuum $40 Value
33 Appy Mikel – Edina Realty Cheesecake 6″ Chocolate Cheesecake from Honeypot Cheesecake
34 Custom Comfort Beds $250 Gift Certificate Good for $250 off a queen or king mattress or and adjustable bed $250 Value
35 Custom Comfort Beds $250 Gift Certificate Good for $250 off a queen or king mattress or and adjustable bed $250 Value
36 Custom Comfort Beds $250 Gift Certificate Good for $250 off a queen or king mattress or and adjustable bed $250 Value
37 Canary Beach Resort Mini Vacation Gift Certificate for a 2 night stay in their new lake-front, two level, two bedroom (sleeps 6) cabin. Must be used prior to May 17, 2019.
38 Creative Images Salon – Starbuck $50 Gift Certificate $50 Value
39 Bobber’s Marine $25 Gift Certificate $25 Value
40 Minnewaska Marine Gift Certificate Good for $25 off a $50 purchase $25 Value
41 Grand Casino Mille Lacs Weeknight Stay One Free Night (Sunday-Thursday) and $30 dining credit at Grand Casino Mille Lacs $100 Value
42 Minnewaska Golf Club 18 holes for 4 people Free Foursome for 18 holes of golf. $144 Value
43 Prairie’s Edge Casino Resort Weeknight Stay One Free Night (Sunday-Thursday) and $25 dining credit at Prairie’s Edge $100 Value
44 Palmer Creations $50 Gift Certificate $50 Value
45 Affordable Floor Covering Flooring 12′ x 9′ 7″ “Fresh Start Clearwater Oak” Vinyl flooring $155 Value
46 Dave & JoAnne Pederson Yeti Cooler The Most Amazing Cooler $450 Value
47 General MacArthur Vintage Doll
48 Jeannie Olson Stereoscope and cards The cards feature golfer Bobby Jones
49 Jody Greeley Map of the World
50 Jody Greeley Map of the United States
51 Eco Water Water Basket Contains gift certificates good for 4 bags of softener salt.
52 Eco Water Water Basket Contains gift certificates good for 4 bags of softener salt.
53 Dental Health Service Sonicare Toothbrush Phillips Essence+ Sonic Toothbrush $75 Value
54 Mary Boyle Mayme Kalina Painting Thistles Priceless
55 Karen Kirckof Mayme Kalina Painting Woodland Scene Priceless
56 Street Sign Minnesota Avenue
57 Street Sign Franklin Street
58 Carole Lofquist Stamp Set Vintage Children’s Printing Set
59 Water’s Edge $25 Gift Certificate and T-Shirt (size L) $40 Value
60 Clyde Machines Skol Vikings
61 Clyde Machines Skol Vikings
62 Brenda Flemal Tupperware Basket 6 pieces of Tupperware
63 Merry and Bright Basket Beanie Babies from Brenda Flemal, Puzzle, Necklace from Kathy Jacobs, $10 Gift Certificate from A&W, and 2 Adult Punch Cards for Activities at Minnewaska Area High School.
64 Napa Auto Parts 1958 GMC Straight Truck
65 Minnewaska House $50 Gift Certificate Plus a bottle of wine. $60 Value
66 Stivland Gardens & Bremer Bank, Starbuck Jelly and Jam & Stainless Steel Water Bottle
67 Stivland Gardens & Bremer Bank, Starbuck Jelly and Jam & Stainless Steel Water Bottle
68 Barb Schliesman “Cheep Seeds” Birdfeeder made by “Grandpa Krogstad” and Sunflower seeds.
69 Nancy Gandrud Snowmen 7 hand-embroidered dishtowels & a Snowman Priceless
70 Marian Pladson Snowman Standing snowman figure
71 Nancy Gandrud Butterflies 7 hand-embroidered dishtowels & a Clifford Ogdahl Butterfly pin Priceless
72 Night Out Candy Dish, Wine, and $25 Gift Certificate to Duffy’s Roadhouse $50 Value
73 Bob Gandrud Wind Chimes Hand-made Wind chimes + a $25 Gift Certificate from Fleet Supply Priceless
74 Beach Day! Beach chair from Donna Sandmeyer, beach bag with 2 towels, vintage beach cover-up and $25 gift certificate from Minnewaska Liquor
75 Bicentennial Coins Eisenhower Dollar, Kennedy 50 Cent and Bicentennial Quarter all from 1976
76 Susan B. Anthony Proof Coin
77 Chippewa Valley Ethanol Company Vodka & Glasses
78 Chippewa Valley Ethanol Company Gin & Glasses
79 Chippewa Valley Ethanol Company Gin + Crystal Pitcher
80 Cozy Basket Jam and Jelly from Stivland Gardens, Travel Mug from Gather Bistro, Snowmen Napkins $50 Value
81 Snow Globe & Gift Certificates Snow Globe from Brenda Flemal, 6′ Sub Gift Certificate from Subway, 2 $10 Gift Certificates from A&W $35 Value
82 Central Square Wine & Concert 2 tickets to the December 7th Kat Perkins Concert $80 Value
83 Necklace & Matching Earrings
84 Holiday Treat Basket Jams from Stivland Gardens, Holiday Plate from Kathy Jacobs and a bottle of wine
85 Vintage Trunk Priceless
86 Vintage Trunk With 45″ Square Lap Blanket by Eunice Peterson Priceless
87 Vintage Tool Chest With Pick Axe from Orlean Dougherty and Free Oil Change from Brownie’s Priceless
88 Vintage Tool Chest / Trunk Priceless
89 Vintage Trunk Blue Trunk with Hinges Priceless
90 Vintage Trunk Brown with green bands Priceless
91 Wendy Zander Original Art Painting by Della Conroy $250 Value
92 Wendy Zander & Glacial Ridge Growers Metal Planter & 18 Plants Gift Certificate for 18 native plants in 4″ pots. Great for a butterfly or rain garden! $60 Value
93 Kathy Jacobs Snow Village MANY Pieces
94 Mary Smith Snowman Planter With succulent plants
95 Mary Smith Woven Star
96 Lakeside Vest Ladies XL
97 Tom’s Market Thumper Pond Getaway For one night stay in King or Double Queen Suite at
Thumper Pond with 4 waterpark passes and $25 at Willy T’s Tavern.
$250 Value
98 Gift Certificates $10 Gift Certificate from the Office Sports Café, $25 Gift Certificate from Villard Cenex and bottle of American Crew from Hair Mix $58 Value
99 The Hatchery PARTY FOR 40 Pulled pork, Potatoes, Slaw and Buns to serve 40 people. Pick up at the Hatchery. $400 Value
100 $10 Gift Certificate from Minnewaska Meats, American Crew from Hair Mix, and hat from Minnewaska Insurance $53 Value
101 Neil and Connie Lageson Lake Minnewaska Getaway Gift Certificate for up to 7 night stay at Twin Spruce Inn, Starbuck. Oct. 1-April 30 or $400 off any other stay. $400 Value
102 Minnewaska Insurance Hat, $25 off a $5 purchase from Minnewaska Marine and a Gift Certificate for Oil Change from Brownie’s Tire Service $60  Value
103 Matt Pederson 1956 Basket Ball Program State High School Basketball Tournament Program from 1956 featuring Glenwood High School.
104 Matt Pederson Baseball Hall of Fame Yearbook 2018
105 Ann Grandy Hand Printed Scarf
106 $10 Gift Certificate to the Office Sports bar, $25 Gift Certificate to Cenex in Villard, and a bottle of wine. $45  Value
107 Glacial Ridge Growers Gift Certificate for 18 native plants in 4″ pots. Great for a butterfly or raingarden! Plus a garden book. $50 Value
108 Mug with 2 Minnewaska Area High School Adult Punch cards, $10 to Minnewaska meats and free 6″ subway sandwich from Glenwood Subway.
109 Mug with 2 Minnewaska Area High School Adult Punch cards, $10 to A&W and free 6″ subway sandwich from Glenwood Subway.
110 Grand Casino Mille Lacs One Free Night (Sunday-Thursday) and $30 dining credit at Grand Casino Mille Lacs $100 Value
111 Northern Print Co. $50 Gift Certificate $50 Value
112 Eunice Peterson & Wendy Zander Cozy Basket 45″ Square Lap Blanket, Tea set, books and tea.
113 Wendy Zander Wall Hanging Original Art
114 Extreme Auto, A&W, Subway Oil Change, $10 Gift Certificate to A&W, free 6″ Sub. $40 Value
115 Glacial Ridge Growers 18 Plants Gift Certificate for 18 native plants in 4″ pots. Great for a butterfly or rain garden! $45 Value
116 Glacial Ridge Growers 18 Plants Gift Certificate for 18 native plants in 4″ pots. Great for a butterfly or rain garden! $45 Value
117 Mangle Vintage Mangle
118 Eunice Peterson Lemon Pie Pie will be available to take home on Saturday after the auction. Priceless
119 Starbuck Locker Jerky Sampler
120 BK Towing Get Out of Trouble Free Card Good for one free tire change, jump start, winch-out, unlock, or tow up to 20 miles.
121 Meco7 and the Valley Troll Christmas Basket $20 Gift Card, Christmas Soda, Candy, Cookies & Napkins $40 Value
122 Janice Freels Dish Towels with Crocheted edges $20 Value
123 Hair Unlimited / Cheryl Danielson Quilted centerpiece and dish towel with crocheted edge. Priceless
124 Shopko $25 Gift Certificate
125 Pope County Tribune 1 Year Subscription In County Only $47 Value
126 Starbuck Times 1 Year Subscription In County Only $37 Value
127 Stoen’s Hydrostatic Service Skid Loader Rental Includes trailer. 4 Hour Rental. $150 Value
128 Rose Evenson Original Art Watercolor painting Priceless
129 Dorothy Vold Toy Tractor 4020 Tractor with lights and sounds
130 Eunice Peterson Lemon Pie Pie will be available to take home on Saturday after the auction. Priceless
131 Eunice Peterson Apple Pie Pie will be available to take home on Saturday after the auction. Priceless
132 Eunice Peterson Apple Pie Pie will be available to take home on Saturday after the auction. Priceless
133 American Solutions For Business Cuddle Basket Cuddle Dud sofa throw, $30 gift certificate to Duffy’s, 2 Tervis hot/cold mug, 2 bluetooth wireless earbuds $125



Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Silent Auction Has Begun

Twas a month before Christmas and throughout the museum
the baskets were waiting – you just gotta see ’em.

The baskets were wrapped by staffers with care
in hopes that the bidders soon would be there.

The Board had been busy, the volunteers too
getting the baskets all ready for you.

Please come in and see them, they’re all though the hall,
The party is Saturday – come one and come all.

Yes indeed – the baskets are scattered throughout the museum and ready for bidding. Stop in any time during the week – we are open 10-5 Tuesday – Saturday. The official Open House is Saturday, December 1 from 1-3. The bidding will end at 3:00. We’ll have goodies to eat and  fellowship to share.

There really is something for everyone. There are fresh baked goodies, toys, works of art, wine, tickets to upcoming events, clothing, hand made items, and gift baskets. There are gift certificates for parties, oil changes, dinners, bowling, lodging, and more. We hope you’ll stop in and see us.

All proceeds benefit the Pope County Museum.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Archaeology Lecture Nov. 4

Over the last year, Archaeo-Physics, a team of archaeologists, conducted a survey of known and potential Pope County archaeological sites.  A public presentation of survey findings will be held on Sunday, November 4, 2:00 pm at the Villard United Methodist Church, 540 Lincoln Avenue, Villard, MN.

At the start of the survey, there were 35 recorded sites in the county, plus unverified reports of 20 more sites.  As a result of the survey, Archaeo-Physics confirmed 40 new sites.  Several of these are significant enough to warrant further study.  A full archeological dig is being planned for one of these sites in the next year or two.

The Pope County survey identified sites of interest using Lidar topography maps.  The survey team then walked through fresh plowed fields, dug small test excavations, surveyed lakeshores and river banks by canoe, and by walking below the ordinary high water marks.  At some sites, the archaeologists  used ground penetrating radar, electrical resistivity tests, and related “remote sensing” technology to examine subsurface features.

This survey is part of an ongoing effort by the Office of the State Archaeologist and the Minnesota Historical Society to improve our understanding of the long-term history of the state.  Results will inform our understanding of Pope County’s past, guide land management decisions, and help prevent impacts to places of human burial.  The Pope County survey was conducted by archaeologists from Archaeo-Physics LLC, including Dave Maki, Sigrid Arnott, Kent Bakken and field crew members.


Test hole near Lake Pelican


Stone point

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Collection Available On-Line

MALHM Screenshot 2We are thrilled to announce that  you can now access our collection on-line.
There are over 13 THOUSAND items from the Pope County Historical Society available at

Over 90% of the three dimensional objects can now be researched from the comfort of your home! We are adding photographs and archival objects all the time.

The website is still under construction, so you may notice a few glitches that will be smoothed out in the next month, but we are so excited that we couldn’t wait to share the link with you.

I welcome your feedback as we work with the Minnesota Alliance of Local History Museum and the web designer to make MNCollections as user-friendly as possible.

We are a pilot site for the project, and more museums are being added all the time – so soon you will be able to search through collections across the state for objects, records and photographs of your family or other Minnesota topics. The Stevens County Historical Society is another pilot site, so we can easily search for families that live just over the border.

While the site is under construction and a bit tricky to use at first, here is a little guide to get you started.


Getting Oriented

Welcome to Minnesota Alliance of Local History Museums’ public website MNCollections! This website lets you explore the collections of museums from across Minnesota. You can browse through objects to see what there is to find, or search to see specific records. Return to the home page at any time by clicking on Minnesota Alliance of Local History Museums in the top left corner.


Perform a basic search of all the collections on MNCollections by using the search bar. The search bar appears by clicking the magnifying glass in the top right corner of every page. A search in this box will look through every field in an object’s record. Once you perform a search, you can click on “Full Results” and filter the results for more specific results.

You can search in specific fields by using the Explore function, For example, if you type dress in the basic search, you will get every record with the word dress. If you use the Advanced Search form, you can type “Dress” in the Object Name field and only find records for dresses.

You can see all the collections found on MNCollections by clicking Browse. There will be filters along the right hand side that will help you narrow your search. You can search by a person’s name or a very specific type of object.

You can change the way you view your results by using the icons on the right side of the blue bar on the results screen. The timeline will order objects by the date they were created.


Filters let you make your search more specific by narrowing down your results. You can add filters by selecting them from the column on the right-hand side of your screen. Applied filters will appear in a row at the top of your search results. To remove a filter, simply click the “X” next to the filter’s name.

If you want to see only objects from our collection, select Pope County Historical Society as the first filter.

Registering with MNCollections

This is your chance to get involved! Registered users can create Galleries of artifacts. These Galleries can be kept to yourself, or published to the site so that others can enjoy them.

Once you are registered, we encourage you to comment on object records. Share your stories and expertise about that artifact or ones like it. Correct errors you see. Help us enrich our history by telling us what you know.

MALHM Screenshot

Posted in Collection Notes, Museum updates | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The Shed Update

IMG_4110Finishing touches on the outside of our new building, “The Shed,” continue this week with sidewalks.  John Whittemore’s concrete crew is replacing the ramps to the main building and placing new sidewalks.  The design calls for sidewalks that create outdoor exhibit spaces for durable machinery.  The exterior wall of the building will be a sturdy backdrop for signs and description too.

A few personalized imprints were left in the concrete.  The date of the work is a frequent message left in building projects.  We imprinted a few leaves and flowers near the fossil rock too.  Minnewaska Schools Sixth Grade will be here next week to put the latest work to the test!IMG_4117

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

New Building Update

The interior of the new building is finished. Three walls have a section of “Slat Wall” where we can easily hang items from movable hooks. One wall has a high shelf for displaying small items.

We had a reception for donors this spring in the empty building.

Then started moving in artifacts. Most of the artifacts had been stored in a shipping container next to the museum. Staff and volunteers carefully unpacked, cleaned and photographed each object before carrying it into the new building.


Now the building is filling up with artifacts. Out next steps are to sort which items belong in the Agriculture Building, and which should move into the main building. Then staff will plan and construct exhibits.


Today we started adding the concrete around the building. We will have all new sidewalks soon!

Posted in Museum updates | Tagged , , | Leave a comment