by Gary Gauer

edited August 2017 and February 2017

August and Frida Erickson

Lake Lillian

August Erickson and Frida Sebulonsen were married on Dec 13, 1904.

August and Halfrida in 1904

At first they lived on a farm in northern Renville County, Kingman Township,5 miles south of the Lake Lillian Lake. Their children Elvina, Elder, Vivian, Stanley, Evangeline, Irene, Dolores, Jeanette, Luverne, Eileen, and Norma were born there. Irene died in 1921 at age 5. In the early days they attended the Christina Lutheran Church in Lake Lillian Township 4 miles NW of the farm. It was torn down in 1925 and the congregation used the lumber to build the First Lutheran Church in the new town of Lake Lillian.

farm in Kingman Township

The Case Model 15 - 27 tractors were made beginning in 1919 and featured a 4 cylinder cross mounted motor running at 900 rpm. Later the same tractor was rerated to 1000 rpm and sold as the Model 18 - 32 until 1928. Case sold 27000 0f these by 1927. These photos were most likely from 1928 or earlier.

December 18 1929 Silver Wedding at Lake Lillian
The friends of Mr and Mrs August Erickson, and especially Mrs Josie Erickson, remembered that they had been married twenty five years last Friday. Such an event could not pass by unnoticed. Those who are used to take the initiative got together and planned for a celebration in honor of Mr and Mrs Erickson, and some celebration it was. The stepmother of Mr Erickson had gotten several members on the program.

The festivities were held in the First Lutheran church of which the Erickson family are members, and commenced at 8 o'clock in the evening. The church was filled with friends and relatives.

Miss Rachel Berg played the wedding march. Mr and Mrs Erickson and their 10 children cqme in procession to the front, led by the pastor. The bride carried a bouquet of carnations, a gift from the Ladies Aid.

The following program was rendered: Song, Hymnal 532; then scripture reading by the pastor; piano duet by Eleanor Strom and Alice Mae Erickson; A poem by Lars Erickson; song "Silver Threads Among the Gold" by Elaine Bergstrand; address , J E Leeberg; duet " O Happy Home," by Mr Ralph Tatting and Rev Bergstrand; remarks by pastor; and presentation of a gift from the guests consisting of a silver service set; song by the Men's Chorus.

Mr and Mrs Erickson expressed their thanks and appreciation of friendship and gifts.

The church parlors were beautifully decorated for the occasion and a delicious lunch was seved to all those present. It was a most enjoyable event for all and especially for the bridal couple and their ten children who were all present.

May their years together yet be many and blessed. The words of the 128th Psalm can indeed be applied to Mr and Mrs Erickson and family.

December 23, 1936 The wedding of Dolores Lucille Erickson to Ervin Henry Kienholz

with attendants Jeanette Erickson, (17, my mother) and Marfred Kienholz

The August Erickson family to Lake Lillian Township on the north side of Section 5 before the 1937 crop year. My mother, Jeanette, attended high school in Bird Island but dropped out before the junior year.

August and Halfrida in 1938

1938 was the year that my parents married.

Jeanette Erickson and Otto Gauer

My 3 Erickson uncles became farmers in Kandiyohi County and Aunts Eileen and Vange married farmers and lived south of Hector. All of my aunts and uncles married. Vivian, Stanley and Vange did not have children. Photo below is of my mother and her siblings.

All born in America with roots in Sweden and Norway

siblings of Jeanette

I am one of 26 Erickson cousins.


My Grandmother, Halfrida Sebulonsen, was born in Norway, Nov 9 1886.
She left Tromsø and came to Kandiyohi County in 1900 at the age of 13. She never got back to her homeland and died in Willmar MN, Dec 23 1960.

The first permanent settlers in Lake Lillian came from Tromsø Norway and arrived in 1864. Tromsø is surrounded by fjords, near the polar sea, above the Arctic Circle and warmed by the Gulf Stream.

My grandmother Frida was one of 4 Sebulonsen sisters who emigrated separately from Tromsø Norway and arrived in East Lake Lillian, MN in the years from 1897 to 1910. They were the daughters of a sea captain and small farmer named Ludvig Sebulonsen and his wife Anna who lived along the east side of the Balsfjord at a place called Andersdal, just south of the island city of Tromsø.

Ludvig Bernard Sebulonsen

1846 - 1921

He was an Arctic explorer and one of two Norwegian sealing captains,

Johannes Nilsen and Ludvig Bernard Sebulonsen

who discovered Victoria Island on 20 July 1898.

Ludvig and Anna had 6 boys and the 4 girls. Two of the boys died as infants and another died at age 24 before any of the girls left for a new life in America.

the 4 Sebulonsen sisters from Tromsø Norway:

three sisters

Annie and Karl Hanson

Annie and husband Karl Hanson

Gunhilda born 1875 was the first and oldest of the girls to come in 1897 with her husband Anton Hanson and daughter Jenni. Anton came to Lake Lillian because his brother Hans Pete Hanson was already here since 1884. Anton and Hilda settled on section 15 East LL just 1.5 miles east of Hans Petes farm and lived there until 1906

in East LL 1906

when Anton left to homestead in Slope county near New England ND. Hilda and the girls traveled to North Dakota at a later time. Anton and Hilda completed their family of 5 girls and 2 boys there.

Sigvarda born 1878 came next in 1900 with her husband Bernt Nickolai Hansen and daughters Leoda age 3 and Helen age 1. They went back to Tromso in 1901 or 1902 until 1907 or 1908 and returned to stay in MN after son Haukon was born. Sigvarda died in childbirth when her fourth child a son Sigurd was born in 1913.

Halfrida born 1886 came also in May 1900 at age 13. She married August Erickson on 13 December 1904 when he was 27 and she was just 18. He was born in 1877 at Lake Lillian of parents from near Gagnef, Dalarna, Sweden. They had 11 children including my mother, Jeanette.

Annie born 1884 came in 1910 still single until 1916 when she married Karl Hansen in New England ND. Karl was a brother to Hans Pete and to Anton. She cared for her sister Sigvarda's children for a time after Sigvarda died. Karl and Annie moved from New England ND in 1936 to Brownsville OR with daughter Adeline where they lived out their lives.

The Sebulonsen house was in Andersdal Balsfjord Troms Norway.

The 3 summertime pictures were taken by my Aunt Marion Bomstad Erickson on a trip to Norway and Sweden in 1989. The 3 wintertime pictures are 2013 street view screen shots using Google Earth. The location is along a rural road south of Tromsø on the east side of the Balsfjord at Andersdal.

 Sebulonsen house 1989  Sebulonsen house 2013


 Balsfjord 1989  Balsfjord 2013


Sebulonsen place 1989 Sebulonsen place 2013

See more recent photos in my story of our trip to Norway in 2014.

In Norway, the family of Hans Andersen, son of Anders Andersen, lived at Svartnes not far south of the Sebulonsens at Andersdal. So we have Hans Pete Hansen, Anton Hanson and Karl Hansen. Bernt Nickolai Hansen was also from Tromso but not related to Anton or Hans Pete or Karl Hanson, Note that the naming systems were changing in those days. The Sebulonsen sisters would have been known as Ludvigsdtr under the older system.

Still farther south along and at the tip of the Balsfjord is Nordkjosbotn and East of there is the Bomstad place where the Rev. Johannes Andreas Johannessen came from.

Johannes A. J. Bomstad led a group of his relatives and state church dissenters that left Norway in 1862 and got as far as St Peter along the Minnesota River. They were held up there in the Norseland community because of the Indian uprising.

After 2 winters, it was safe to move on 75 miles northwest to the unsettled frontier at Lake Lillian in 1864. For shelter they built dugouts and log cabins as they established homesteads near the east side of Lake Lillian. A small number of other settlers had already been farther north in Kandiyohi and Meeker counties before the Indian Uprising of 1862. Read more about this in the story of St Peter to Lake Lillian 1862 to 1864 on these pages.

The Tromsø connection continued for many years as more Norwegians came to settle in East Lake Lillian and it was 36 years later when Frida came.

Steam Power was the way to travel in 1900

Travel from Tromsø to Trondheim in those days was by unknown coastal ship. In 2014, we traveled overnight by train from Trondheim to Bodø followed by 24 hours on a ship of the Hurtigruten line from Bodø to Tromsø because there is no train North of Bodø.

Halfrida emigrated at the age of 13 from Trondheim on 30 May 1900. The steam ship was the Salmo new in 1900. Travel from Trondheim to America was arranged by Richard Solem, an agent of the Allan line. The Salmo was a feeder ship of the Wilson line and one of those that gathered passengers at ports in Norway to deliver them to Hull on the east coast of England.

The Salmo:


At Hull the passengers would travel overland by train to Liverpool where they could board ships of the Allan line destined to Quebec. Halfrida boarded the Tunisian at Liverpool on June 14 1900 and arrived in Quebec 9 days later on June 23 1900.


The timing and route from Quebec to Atwater is not known but the last leg of the trip was most likely by train from St Paul or Minneapolis to Atwater.

Train in 1900

She traveled with widowed Martha Johnsen (44) and her 2 daughters and 2 sons. The girls were Pernella (16) 1884 and Helga (21) 1879. The boys were Johan (13) 1887 and Magnus (11) 1889.

Christopher Johnson was the contact person at the destination of Atwater Minnesota. He lived in East Lake Lillian Township at the location of the Norwegian Lake Lillian Baptist Church. Halfrida's sister Gunhilda married to Anton Hanson lived (section 15 of East LL ) less than 2 miles away from the place of Christopher Johnson in those days until 1906.

August Erickson

My grandfather, August was an American born Swede, Aug 1 1877, and died, Mar 1 1947, when I was 8 years old.

August Erickson

John Erickson

August's parents, John Erickson and Anna Olson came separately from Moje, Gagnef, in Dalarna Sweden.

The first of many Swedish immigrants came to settle just to the west of Lake Lillian Lake in 1869 when the railroad was built to Atwater and Willmar. Note that the Norwegians from Tromso had arrived in 1964 and settled mostly north and east of the lake.

John Erickson family

John Erickson was born in Gagnef Dalarna Sweden

January 13 1852

John Erickson, emigrated in 1873.

John also had a brother and two sisters emigrate from Sweden to settle in Lake Lillian.

One of his sisters, Kerstin Jansson, married Peter Anderson and their family became well known in Lake Lillian. Their story is chronicled in three volumes entitled "The Anderson Sisters" issued in 1988- 1990 by Wendell Lundquist.

John married Anna Olson in 1874 in Lake Lillian and they had 7 children including my grandfather August.

And when August was 15.....

Oct 7 1892 /Alliance Standard/ Willmar MN
A sad accident happened in Lake Lillian last Wednesday. Mrs. John Erickson, while out driving, was thrown from the carriage and sustained injuries that, in spite of the best medical attendance proved fatal. The heartfelt sympathies of the entire community go out to the bereaved family.

John went on to marry Anna J Bomstad and they had 4 more children.

July 28 1896 (from June 1 1988 report of Wendell M Lundquist)
An enjoyable social was given at the home of Mr and Mrs John Erickson on the 21st, the occasion being the celebration of Mrs Erickson's 27th Birthday. Anheuser busch, chocolate cakes, dancing, etc, kept the crowd happy until morning when, as they all went home secretly vowed never to wait for a second invitation to birthday parties. May they live to celebrate many more such days.

May 2, 1928

 Obituary of the Late John Erickson

            John Erickson was born in Gagnef Parish, Dalarna, Sweden, January 13, 1852. He was one of the pioneers of this community, coming here from Sweden in 1873, thus being a resident of Lake Lillian Township for 66 years. In 1874, the year alter his arrival, he married Anna Olson of this place. To this union seven children were born, of which six are still living, a daughter Josie hating died in infancy.

His first wife passed away in September, 1892.

On January 27, 1894, he entered into marriage with Anna Josephina Bomstad, also of Lake Lillian. Four children were born, of which three are living and one son having died in infancy.

He leaves to mourn his departure, his wife and nine children as follows: Lena of Lake Lillian, August Erickson and family, Mrs E.J. Strom and family, Mrs Oscar Lundahl of Aberdeen, S.D., Oscar of this place and Roy of Aberdeen, Marvin, Mrs Lundblad and Quentin, all of Lake Lillian, 22 grandchildren and three great grandchildren, together with other relatives and a host of friends.

Deceased passed peacefully away on Tuesday morning, April 24, at the age of 76 rears, 3 months and II days He was a member of the First Lutheran church of this place. Loyal and faithful to the church, always attending the services as long as health and strength would permit him to do so.

Funeral services were held on Friday, April 27, at 10 o'clock from the home and at 10:45 from the church. In the home the pastor read the 90th psalm and offered a prayer. Mrs Clarence Anderson sang; a song in Swedish. The services at the church began by singing; Hymn 612, 1-2. After which Mr Walner sang a song, in Swedish. The pastor spoke in English, using: as his text Hebr. 9:37. The male chorus sang, 'In the Glow of Some Glad Morning.' The obituary was read by the pastor who also spoke briefly in Swedish. Mr Leeberg sang a song after which the benediction was pronounced by the pastor.

Interment was made in the First Lutheran cemetery. May he rest in peace.


The First Lutheran cemetery is out where the Christine church was in section 21. The LL community cemetery was established just south of town later in 1940.

Anna Olson's father was Larsved Olof Matsson

The first 3 Swedish settlers in the township of West Lake Lillian came in 1869.

Larsved Olof Mattson came from a small neighborhood called Larsved at the North shore of lake Moje and the Moje area is just east of the small town of Gagnef on the Dal river. There is a large and beautiful church there in Gagnef with a cemetery holding the remains of ancestors of Lake Lillian people.

See much more about this place in the story of our 2014 trip to Sweden and Norway .

They found land to claim near several Norwegians who had arrived starting in 1864. My Swedish great great grandfather Lars Olof Mattson arrived in Minnesota in July 1869 and filed on his section 2 homestead on November 15th that fall.

My great grandmother, Anna (Olsdottor) Olson, had emigrated in May of 1869 at the age of 11 with her father, Larsved Olaf Mattson, born 20 nov 1827, and mother, Halvars Brita Olsdotter.

Larsved Olof Mattson family

Three of their children were born in Sweden and one in Lake Lillian:

The first threshing machine in the town of Lake Lillian was a horse powered rig purchased by L. O. Mattson.

Case had the horsepower in its catalog from 1878 to 1917.

Anna's Mother, Halvars Brita Olsdotter died in Jan 1885 followed by father, L O Mattson in Nov 1885. They are buried in the Christina Cemetery at Section 21 of Lake Lillian Township. The stone has iron bars on the back to attach an upper half to the lower portion. The Lake Lillilan Township Map of 1886 showed Mattson estate land in portions of sections 2, 3 and 11.

The Willmar Argus, Thursday Jan 29 1885, Lake Lillian
Lars O. Mattson’s wife died last Friday of consumption.
The Willmar Argus, Thursday December 8, 1885
L.O. Mattson of Lake Lillian died last week, and was buried Saturday.  By his death Kandiyohi county loses one more old settler, as he was among the first to locate here.  Deceased was a widower and leaves three daughters and one son to mourn his loss.


The Find a Grave web pages for the Christine cemetery has the names and dates of all the markers and monuments that can be found.

Brita was the first adult person buried in the cemetery with a monument. Some persons were buried without permanent markers; Including our Great Grandparents Anna Olson Erickson in 1892 and John Erickson in 1928.

The Christine congregation was organized March 8 1875 and they established the cemetery and met in homes and schools before the church exterior was built in 1886. The inside of the church was completed in 1889 and dedicated on Nov 21 1889.

Shelter and barns and community roads and schools had priority over church buildings as the frontier prairies became settled. Time leads us to wonder if a better obituary existed or can be found. They lived 16 years here and died young at ages 58 and 55.

I have many photos to add to the Erickson story as time permits.

More information about the Peter Lindquist family will also be a part of the next edition .