My 3rd-great-grandfather Halvor Eriksen Otterholt was born on 28 June 1821 in Bø, Telemark, Norway, and was baptized on 1 July 1821. He was the son of Erik Halvorsen Sønstebø (also known as Erik Halvorsen Brenne) and Aaste Kittilsdatter. Erik was the sister of Kari Halvorsdatter Sønstebø; both are my 4th-great-grandparents through different lines of descent.
On 17 July 1845 in Bø. Halvor married Guro Hansdatter Askilt. They had seven children in Norway: Erik, born
25 April 1846; Hans, born 5 August 1847; Kittel or Kjetil (later known as Charles), born 11 September 1850; Torkel, born 6 September 1852; my 2nd-great-grandmother Aaste, born 3 February 1854; Anne, born 25 February 1858; and Kari, born 7 September 1861.
In 1865, Halvor and his family lived on the Otterholdt (or Otterholt) farm in Bø. He was listed as a Gaardbrgr og Selveier (farmer or owner, freeholder).
In 1867, Halvor and his family immigrated to the United States. In Boe (Bø) and Halvorson-Otterholt: Shared Roots in Telemark (compiled by Melvin and Alpha M. (Boe) Brodshaug, 1984; published by
Arlene (Boe) Christensen and Marjorie (Boe) Bergee; printed by Anundsen
Publishing Co., Decorah, Iowa), there is a quote from a letter written to Leland Otterholt by Aaste Lie: "The Otterholts were a prosperous people. Halvor loved the horses and bet on them but lost. Being proud, he decided to emigrate to America with his family." Although there may have been other reasons for the family's emigration, I suspect that there is at least a grain of truth to that statement. The family left Norway from Skien, Telemark on the Rjukan, and they arrived in Quebec, Canada on 30 May 1867.
Halvor and his family settled in Canisteo, Dodge County, Minnesota. About 1868, Halvor and Guro's last child, Johanna, was born. The family was enumerated in Canisteo in the 1870 United States census. Halvor was a farmer. His real estate had a value of $800, and his personal estate had a value of $340. In the United States, he was usually known as Halvor Erickson. Some of his children used the surname Halvorson, and some used the surname Otterholt.
By 1875, the family had moved to Swenoda, Swift County, Minnesota. In 1880, they lived in West Bank, Swift County, Minnesota. Halvor became a citizen of the United States on 18 May 1880.
Halvor applied for a land patent through the Homestead Act of 1862, for 80 acres of land located in the south half, northwest quarter, section 32 of Township 120 North of Range No. 41 west of the Principal Meridian, Swift County, Minnesota. He had settled on the land in June 1873 and built a house and a stable, and dug a well. His patent was issued on 25 July 1882. His son-in-law Jorgen Jorgensen Boe (my 2nd-great-grandfather) received his certificate the same day, for nearby land. Halvor later applied for an additional land patent, for 80 acres of land located in the east half, northeast quarter, section 31 of Township 120 North of Range No. 41 west of the Principal Meridian, Swift County, Minnesota. His patent was issued on 1 April 1892.
Halvor died on 14 January 1898. He was buried in Big Bend Lutheran Church Cemetery in Milan, Chippewa County, Minnesota.
Telemark county, Bø, Parish register (official) nr. 6 (1815-1831), Birth and baptism records 1821, page 100-101. http://www.arkivverket.no/URN:NBN:no-a1450-kb20051011061114.jpg
Telemark county, Bø, Parish register (official) nr. 7 (1831-1848), Marriage records 1845, page 289. http://www.arkivverket.no/URN:NBN:no-a1450-kb20051011050327.jpg
Telemark county, Bø, Parish register (official) nr. 9 (1862-1879), Migration records 1868, page 382. http://www.arkivverket.no/URN:NBN:no-a1450-kb20051011051208.jpg
Passenger list, Rjukan, 1867. Passenger Lists, 1865–1935. Microfilm Publications T-479 to T-520, T-4689 to T-4874, T-14700 to T-14939, C-4511 to C-4542. Library and Archives Canada, n.d. RG 76-C. Department of Employment and Immigration fonds. Library and Archives Canada Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Available from Ancestry.com. Canadian Passenger Lists, 1865-1935 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010.
Halvor Erikson naturalization, 18 May 1880. Swift County District Court, State of Minnesota. From Halvor Eriksen land entry case file no. 4485, 1882.
Halvor Eriksen, Swift County, Minnesota. Certificate no. 4485. United States Bureau of Land Management, 25 July 1882.