furnished by Lavonne 2019

posted by Gary  Oct 2022

corrected 1900 wedding photo names Nov 4 2022

This story is about Gjertina Johnson who married Emil Hanson Jr. son of Emil Hanson Senior. We will begin with Gjertina’s parents and grandparents and then tell about Emil Hanson’s family. They both have pioneer ancestors who settled at Lake Lillian.

Story written with information from 1905 Kandiyohi County History, Tromso Lutheran Church records, Lake Lillian “First 100 Years,” Margaret Fairchild, Alexis Reed, Margarethe Buxton, Gregg Hanson, LaVonne Bomsta Hookom, newspaper clippings and Internet.

Gjertina’s Mother Lavina Ingebrigtsdatter Forskognes

Lavina Ingebrigtsdatter Forskognes, a granddaughter of Johannes Andersen, (Anders Andersen’s first son with Marie Mortensdatter) immigrated to the USA in 1884 with her husband Ingebregt Johannessen (Johnson) and two young children. Lavina died December 17, 1918 when she contracted influenza during the epidemic.


Gjertina was the only child who had children of her own. She married Emil Hanson Jr. (whose parents were from the Troms area, also) in 1900. They had 9 children and 20 grandchildren. Rumor has it that Gjertina’s family had cautioned her against marrying Emil, as it was known he did not enjoy farming. Her family was concerned about his ability to provide an adequate living for her and their family. In 1916, Emil, who was looking for a better product to store silage for his livestock, founded Hanson Silo Company, which grew into a very large multi-generational owned and operated industry that is still in existence today. Hanson Silo Company has provided jobs for people in the Lake Lillian area which has helped boost the economy.

Ingebregt’s parents –

Johannes Mosesen (1809-1888) from Seljelv, Balsfjord, Troms, Norway and Siri Gjermundsdatter (1818-1899) from Thomasjord, Balsfjord, Troms, Norway. (Photo can be seen in the Balsfjord & Malangen History Book.)

Lavina and Ingebregt Johnson

Lavina and Ingebregt were married November 27, 1880 and lived on the farm Seljelv on Balsfjord where Ingebregt was born and lived until he and Lavina immigrated to America in 1884. Gjertina would have been 3 years old when they left Norway. The first stop was in Quebec, Canada. Their next stop was St. Peter, Minnesota and after dodging Indians, finally settling at Lake Lillian.

before being rebuilt after tornado of 1933

Ingebregt was a founding member of the "Norwegian Lake Lillian Baptist Church." It was organized via a traveling missionary in 1898 and he, Lavinia and Gertie are the first names on the roll. He served as treasurer for the church board. The church and cemetery were located in East Lake Lillian Township. Ingebregt and Lavina are buried in the church cemetery.

(Note from Margaret Fairchild) One piece of interest Nina DeKock and I learned from a distant cousin who is related on both the Hanson and Johnson side...met him in Tromsø in 2004, is that Gjertina's heritage goes into the Sami people....deer herders in the arctic circle....related to the "Laplanders".

Ingebregt Johnson Story from the 1905 Kandiyohi County History

Ingebregt Johnson was born at Balsfjord, Troms, Norway on July 9, 1855. His parents were John Mosesen, born at the same place in 1815 and Siri Jormons (Gjermundsdatter), born at the same place in 1820. Johnson grew to manhood at the old home and for several years was alternately employed in farm work or fishing. On Dec. 1, 1879 he was united in marriage to Lavina Furskognes. She was born at Balsfjorden, September 2, 1857. Her parents were Ingebregt Olson, born March, 1820 and Gjertrud Anna Johnson, born September 29, 1830. In 1884, Mr. Johnson and family came to this country, landing in Quebec on July 20, and going from there to St. Peter, Minnesota. On March 13, 1885, they came to Kandiyohi County. In addition to the usual trials of immigrants, Mr. Johnson had the misfortune the first year in this country to have his left hip bone fractured in an accident, which laid him up for some time. In November, 1886 he purchased land from Bryngel Neilson and C. Song in East Lake Lillian and Lake Elizabeth including 280 acres. He has made his home there since that time. The farm is four miles from Thorpe post office and creamery and fourteen miles from Atwater. In the spring of 1904 he purchased from Ole Furskognes a lot with buildings amounting to 80 acres. Mr. Johnson devotes his attention to raising grain and hogs and to dairying. This farm, with large, comfortable buildings, acquired and improved in a few years without capital, is a conspicuous example of what industry and thrift as accomplished upon the Lake Lillian prairie.

Seven children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Johnson: Gjertina, Hans O., Josie, John C., Odin L., Chester M., and Eri J. The oldest daughter is married to Emil Hanson Jr., and lives in the town of Fahlun; the others are all living at home.

The Ingebregt Johnson Family c. 1899

Ingebregt Johannessen (Johnson) and Lavina Ingebrigtsdatter with their children.

(Back row) Odin, Gjertina, Josephine,

(middle row) Hans, Lavina, Ingebregt, John,

(front) Chester and Eri.

Flu 1918 articles in the Atwater Republican Press

found by Gary Gauer

Dec 27 1918 ARP / Front Page
Ingebright Johnson family loses mother and son within two weeks from pneumonia.
Jan 3 1919 ARP
The board of health and village council have consented to allow the churches to open for service Sunday January 5th and the public school Monday January 6th. No places of amusements, however or public gatherings of any kind will be allowed until further notice.
/Cosmos/ Quite a number around Thorp have the flu.
The Matt Gauer family is down with the influenza. Mrs. Cederburg is employed as a nurse.
Jan 10 1919 ARP
Chester M Johnson, son of Ingebright Johnson of Lake Lillian was born August 1 1892, took ill with influenza December 12, but seemed to recover so that he could be up until December 28, when a sudden relapse came and after great suffering passed away January 4th at 4 p.m. The family and friends are grief stricken beyond words as this is the third death in the home within the last three weeks. Internment was made in the Baptist Cemetery in Lake Lillian, Rev D.R. Largergen officiating.
Jan 17 1919 ARP / ELL
School opened Monday after being closed 5 weeks.

Emil Sr. & Karen (Carrie) Hanson Story

Karen (Carrie) Olson & Emil Hanson Sr. Wedding 1867

Emil was the youngest son of a prosperous Tromsø merchant, John Peder Hansen, who trained Emil as a silversmith because the oldest son would inherit the business. Emil’s brother was named Johan Schjelderup Hansen, which indicated that they were related to the Schjelderups, a prominent Norwegian family. This background must have caused Emil to feel frustrated that there really was no place for him in Tromsø. He decided to come to America and settled in Minnesota. There, at age 27, he married Karen Carrie Ovedia Hanson on November 6, 1867 in Greenleaf Township, Meeker County when she was a few days short of being 16 years old.

Carrie Hansen, (Karen Ovidia Angus Olsdatter on her baptism record) was born in 1851 in Balsfjord. Her parents were Lars Olsen and Lorentine Augustinusdatter married February 17, 1850. Lorentine born 1827, Ramfjord, Norway died shortly after they came to America from tuberculous, hardship and poverty. She was buried in an unknown location.) Actually, Carrie was descended from one of the Schjelderups herself, her father Lars Olsen was the son of Ole Eriksen, son of Erik Schjelderup, a musician. In America she used the name, Carrie (pronounced Kahri.) She was a charter member of Tromso Lutheran Church. Her husband, Emil Michael Hanson Sr. was not an original member of Tromso Lutheran Church but he joined later. Most of their children were baptized or confirmed at Tromso Lutheran Church. Emil Sr. and Carrie are both buried at Tromso Memorial Cemetery.

Emil Sr. and Carrie lived on a farm in Section 1, Lake Lillian Township and later moved to Section 23 in Fahlun Township. After Emil died in 1904, Carrie and her younger children moved to Atwater.

Emil Sr. was involved in getting a school started and in the early days of government for Lake Lillian Township. He served on the District 43 school board as treasurer and he served as a road overseer, justice and trustee for the township board

Carrie found her neighbor, Anna Johanna Anderson (wife of Andrew Anderson) to be an ally, both young wives and mothers, both uprooted from the fjords and towns of North Norway to this empty land with such cold winters. They probably helped each other in their numerous childbirths, and Anna's mother Kirsten delivered some of Carrie's children. Carrie had a talent for making beautiful clothes, and she worked long and hard to keep her daughters dressed like dolls. The Hanson girls must have looked very fine at church on Sundays. Anna and Andrew Anderson’s oldest son, Ben married Emil Sr. and Carrie’s daughter Abbie. Another son, Chris was the best man at Emil Jr. and Gertie’s wedding.

Tromso Lutheran Church

Death Announcement for Emil Hanson Sr.

DEATH OF OLD SETTLER (Jan. 1904) Emil Hanson, of Lake Lillian, succumbs to Bright’s disease. An invalid for many years last Friday morning at three o’clock, death relieved all early suffering for Emil Hanson, who had been an invalid for the past eighteen years at his home in the township of Lake Lillian. The immediate cause of death was Bright’s disease with which the deceases had been confined to his bed for about two weeks, during which he suffered intense pain. Dyspepsia and a complication of diseases had contributed in the undermining of the health of the deceased until his last and fatal attack.

Mrs. Carrie Hanson - Obituary

After two months of patient suffering Mrs. Carrie Hanson passed away on September 7, 1918 at the Norwegian Lutheran Deaconess Hospital, Minneapolis. She met death with a glad smile on her face and fell asleep with the assurance she was safe in the arms of Jesus.

Mrs. Hanson was born at Tromsø, Norway, November 30, 1851. She was the oldest child of Lars and Lorentine Olson. At the age of 11 years she came to this country with her parents and sisters where the family arrived at St. Peter, Minnesota, in July 1862. Here the family were among the early settlers that had to flee the massacre in the Sioux Indian uprising a few weeks later. In 1866 the family moved to Green Leaf, Minnesota where Carrie was united in marriage to Emil Hanson, Sr., in November, 1867. The same fall they moved to Lake Lillian where they proceeded to make their home on section 1, where they were among the first to settle in this township, and consequently experienced many of the hardships of the pioneer settlers in the county. In 1902 they moved to section 23, Fahlun. Here her husband died January 23, 1904.

The following children were born to bless their union: Ida, now Mrs. L.S. Johnson of Litchfield; Abbie, now Mrs. B.E. Anderson of Elbow Lake; Laura Elsie, deceased; Emil Hanson Jr. Fahlun, Walter and Willie Hanson both of McIntosh, South Dakota; Elvin Oscar, deceased; Hattie, now Mrs. Chris Mohn, Ferndale, Washington; Evelyn and Esther of Atwater; Florence, now Mrs. W.J. Larson of Chicago; Elvin L., now in the U.S. Army, Camp Grant, Illinois.

In 1904 Mrs. Hanson moved to Atwater with the younger children. Here they continued to reside up to the present time.

Besides her children she is also mourned by the following sisters: Mrs. P.P. Olson, Renville; Mrs. Nels Peterson, Fischer; Mrs. J.W. Hanson, Lake Lillian; her aged mother, Mrs. Lars Olson, and two brothers, Lewis and Emil Olson of Atwater. She is mourned by39 grandchildren and a number of relatives and friends.

Funeral services were held on Thursday at the Norwegian Lutheran Church at Atwater at one o’clock, Rev. Holfjeld officiating, rendered a very touching sermon using as his text Luke 10:42, “One thing is needful” for Mary hath chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” Mrs. Morris Nelson sang two solos, “Someday the Silver Cord will break,” and “Mor.”

The funeral procession then proceeded to the Tromso church in Lake Lillian where a short impressive service was held by Rev. Holfjeld. A duet was rendered by Florence and Gladys Nelson. The remains were laid to rest besides those of her late husband in the cemetery.

Willmar Tribune (Willmar, Minnesota) 13 August 1895

Lars Olson Obituary (Carrie Hanson’s father)

Lars Olson died at his home in Lake Lillian, Minnesota, August 7, 1895, of cancer in the stomach, at the age of 73 years and 3 months. He was born in Vardalen, Norway, May 4th, 1822. He came to this country in 1862. He and his family reached St. Peter, Minnesota in July the same year, where he rented a farm. At that place, three weeks later when the Sioux Indian outbreak occurred, he had a very narrow escape, as the horse on which he rode was shot through the neck but fortunately not killed, so he escaped. His family had taken another team before.

After some time he moved to Greenleaf, Meeker County, this State, where he resided until 1868, when he and his family came to Kandiyohi County, and settled on his homestead in Town of Gennessee. In 1873 he moved to Lake Lillian, where he has remained ever since.

He leaves a wife and eight children to mourn the loss of a kind and loving husband and father. He was married twice and had four children with each marriage, five girls and three boys, all full grown.

The funeral was held August 8th, all of his children being present, with the exception of Mrs. Nels Peterson, of Fisher, Minnesota, and Mrs. C.M. Johnson, of Grantsburg, Wisconsin May he rest in peace.

CENTENARIAN HAS PASSED ON (Carrie Hanson’s step mother)

Mrs. Oliva Olson Would Have Been a Hundred Years of Age October 7th Next

Mrs. Oliva Segelson Olson passed away January 19, 1931 at her home in Lake Lillian at the age of 99 years, 3 months and 12 days. Mrs. Olson had been confined to her bed for two years but was seriously sick for a few days. A cold developed into pneumonia, which with old age, caused her death.

Funeral serviced were held Januarys 21 from the home at one o’clock and from the Lake Lillian Methodist church at 1:30. At the home Mrs. Floyd Summerlet and Mrs. Gerald Bomstad sang “Rock of Ages.” At the church Mrs. Clarence Peterson sang “When I Get to the End of the Way” and the Misses Alice and Evangeline Petterson sang a duet. Interment was in the East Lake Lillian M.E. church cemetery. Three grandsons, James I., John, and Russell Hanson, and three great-grandsons, Buell Gunner, Newell Hanson and Correl Nielson were pallbearers.

The following friends and relatives from a distance were present at the funeral: Mr. and Mrs. P.P. Olson and Simon Olson of Renville; Mrs. Arthur Lind of Minneapolis, Misses Olive Hanson and Pearl Nielson of Minneapolis; Mr. and Mrs. Amos Loven of Wayzata, Louis Peterson and son Victor of Gennessee; Mrs. Casmer Foss and daughter, and Mrs. Applegren and daughter of Atwater.

Oliva Segelson was born October 7, 1831 at Sellerud Parish, Varmland, Sweden, where she spent her youth, moving to Norway in 1854, where she remained until 1866, when she came to the United States, coming to St. Peter, Minnesota. She had very little education attending school but for a few days. Later she read considerably to become confirmed in the Lutheran church, which in those days was compulsory. She lived in St. Peter in 1866 and 1867, being married in the latter year to Lars Olson, a widower, with five young daughters, by a former marriage. Mr. and Mrs. Olson lived in Greenleaf, Meeker County, in 1867 and 1868, and for the next five years, until 1873, they lived in Gennessee Township. In 1873 they moved to Fahlun, where Mrs. Olson lived for 40 years, until 1913, moving to Atwater and remaining there until 1921.

In July 1868, when Mr. and Mrs. Olson moved from Greenleaf in Meeker County to Kandiyohi County to settle upon a homestead in Sec.28, township of Gennessee, they made the trip by ox team. Owing to an accident to the team early in the spring, they had no roof on the dugout, as was then used by most of the early settlers. The family was forced to camp in the open, using the wagon box as a shelter from the rays of the hot sun and when it rained one of the young girls or the mother had to hold an umbrella over the five-week old child for protection. The nearest railroad at that time was at Howard Lake, so it was necessary to go to Forest City or Greenleaf to get flour ground or groceries and other supplies. The hardships through which the early settlers were forced to pass, can hardly be realized by the present day people. At that time Kandiyohi was little more than a barren wilderness

In 1921, Mrs. Olson moved to West Lake Lillian, where she resided until her death. Mr. Olson died in 1895. Surviving are the following children: Laura (Mrs. P.P. Olson) of Renville; Gertie (Mrs. Nels Peterson) of Fisher; Ida (Mrs. James W. Hanson) Emil C. Olson and Lewis Olson, all of Lake Lillian, A son John Ludvick Olson died June 10, 1903. Nine grandchildren, 12 great grandchildren and one great-great granddaughter survive. Two nephews, Alfred Segelson and Edwin Segelson of Minneapolis, also survive.

Mrs. Olson lived the life of a true Christian and possessed an absolute faith in Jesus Christ as her Savior until the end. During the past two years of her life, when she was continuously confined to her bed, she spent much time in prayer. The last words she was heard to utter were “Lord” and “God.”

In her childhood, Mrs. Olson was brought up a member of the Lutheran faith, in which she remained until sometime after her marriage, at which time she joined one of the Christian Free churches, but as long as her health permitted she often attended the services of other denominations.

Emil Jr. & Gertie Hanson Family

Wedding Photo – Emil Hanson Jr. and Gjertina Johnson – November 30, 1900

They were married at the Johnson residence in the town of East Lake Lillian, Minnesota

Back: Hattie Hanson, Walter Hanson, Jennie Vick, Hans Johnson. Sitting: Chris Anderson (best man), Emil Hanson, Gjertina Johnson, Nettie A. Johnson (maid of honor)

Emil & Gjertina Hanson – Wedding 1900

Some of the Hanson/Johnson family on Easter Sunday, 1918 at the Johnson’s farm

. Hans and Odin Johnson, Doris Haroldson, Ruby Hanson, Lavina Ingebrigtsdatter Johnson, Gjertina Hanson, John Johnson, Gjertina’s first son, Carter. In front two year old Vernal and 4 year old Donald Hanson.


Gjertina was always known for her hard work and Christian values. She was “honest to a fault,” as she demonstrated during a vacation trip in the late 1930s. Family vacations were rare because of the demands of the silo business and farming. Gjertina cut the trip short by her honesty at the Canadian border when a Mountie asked if everyone in the car was an American born citizen. She, who immigrated at age three, told the Mountie that she was born in Norway! Not having the proper documentation, the Hanson family was refused entry into Canada. That ended her long awaited holiday as they returned home to resume their regular work routine.

District #43

The Hanson children attended District #43 in Fahlun Township. The teacher was responsible for teaching eight grades, plus all kinds of other work to keep the school building clean and warm. There were barns at school in those days for the horses. On occasion the teacher would be late and the boys would open a window, climb in and start a fire in the wood stove. Students would have to stay after school as punishment for poor behavior. Wilton Bomsta told this story. He had to stay after school several times but one time he and Vernal & Donald Hanson were walking home after their detention time was finished when they came to the aid of their teacher, Mrs. Miles Peterson, who had a flat tire. The boys fixed her tire. She never kept him after school again and she gave each boy a nice new pencil.

Emil and Gjertina Hanson Family, April 1938 – Back: Donald, Mabel, Newell, Carter, Irma, Willard, and Ruby -- Front: Alloys, Gjertina, Emil, Vernal

Children of Emil Jr. and Gertie Hanson

Irma 1901-1951, married to Enoch Johnson

Carter E. 1903-1984, married to LaVerna Barr

Ruby G. 1905-1995, married to Paul Elliott

Willard J. 1907 – 1992, married to Muriel Jones

Mabel 1908-1992, married to Lyman Woods

Newell B. 1910 – 1991, married to Rosella Gilbertson

Donald 1912 – 1995, married to Ethna Norling

Vernal E. 1916 – 2006, married to Audrey Roisum and Darlene Hanson

Alloys 1919 – 2008

Hanson Silo Company

Hanson Silo was founded in Lake Lillian, Minnesota, in 1916 by Emil Hanson Jr., a local farmer who envisioned a better silo product for himself and for his neighbors. His goal: manufacture an improved silo at the best price with the lowest upkeep. For over 100 years and through four generations, the Hanson family has been involved with agriculture and has grown to symbolize quality, economy and dependability.

Solid silos

In the late 1800s, silos were primarily made of wood or stone in Minnesota. In the early 1900s they were built with concrete. Sometimes the quality of that concrete wasn’t good and silos failed. Emil noticed that the sand was full of dirt and clay, which resulted in poor concrete for silos. According to family history, Emil Hanson used washed lakeshore sand near the farm to make his brand of silos that had staying power in an era when the growth of dairy farms in Minnesota resulted in the need for more silos.

Hanson Silo was founded by Emil Hanson in 1916, on the family farmstead in rural Lake Lillian. At the time, Emil was unhappy with the poorly constructed silos in the area, and so he set out to build his own using the washed sand from the shores of Lake Kandiyohi as a base for his concrete mix, now used by concrete manufacturers around the world.

In the 1940s the company invented and patented the first self-propelled chopper to unload feed from silos, which pushed it ahead of its competitors, said Gregg Hanson.


Preparing for the centennial festivities has given the Hanson family an opportunity to dig into the archives and re-tell the history of the company. Photo albums with classic black-and-white photos from those early years show the company’s founder, Emil Hanson, who put his heart, hands and hard work into the task of building a better silo. Emil brought his sons into the business — including Willard, who was Gregg’s father.

The business grew so large it became a little village known locally as “Hansonville” that provided housing, a grocery store, fire department, clothing store, drug store and a shoe repair shop for the employees and their families. Employees were also fed in the company mess hall. Gregg Hanson said his grandmother, who was a “frail little thing,” cooked three meals a day to feed 60-100 people who were kept busy building silos in the region. The mess hall closed in 1986.

Since it began a century ago, Hanson Silo Company has employed some 6,000 people. Many worked for decades and some were third-generation employees who followed in the footsteps of their grandparents and parents.

The final houses from Hansonville were removed in 1992 to make way for a broadcast tower for a local Christian radio station.

In 1962 they made 1,100 upright silos — the most they’d ever made in one year. They’ve built a total of 40,000 traditional tower silos in the past century.

At one point the company had around 350 employees and plants in four locations. During the farm crisis in the 1980s the company built the Shuttle Craft Golf Carts in Willmar to diversify their products. Now, all business takes place at the home site in Lake Lillian, with 60-80 employees and a product line that has expand well beyond silos. It was a necessity since the market for traditional silos “has been going south” for the last 50 years, said Gregg Hanson. “We lost 29 competitors that were alive-and-well in 1979 in this region,” he said.

Demand skyrocketed for Hanson's new silo. Newell Hanson, Emil's son, designed and patented the first automatic silo stave machine, powered by gasoline, to increase production to meet market demand. Newell saw problems with silo roofs being constructed of wood so he designed, patented and built machinery to manufacture the first steel dome silo roof. Before this, carpenters were building hip-style roofs for the tops of silos.

Farmers needed a better way to dig their frozen silage to unload feed from silos. Willard and Newell Hanson invented and patented the first self-propelled frozen silage chopper. Then farmers demanded a machine that could not only dig loose frozen silage, but handle all different conditions of silage and do it year round. Willard and Newell developed their own surface drive silo unloader primarily for Hanson's customers.

Hanson Silo expanded their manufacturing plants to Southern Minnesota and Central Iowa.

Notes from Gregg Hanson’s talk at Hanson’s Silo during the Anders Andersen Family Reunion tour.

My grandfather Emil Hanson struggled on the farm for many years after arriving from Norway when he had to subsidize his farm income to raise a family of 9 children. He started selling farm tower silos for a company in Willmar, Minnesota. After that company went out of business, he started his own silo manufacturing company on the family farm. The Hanson family has been operating the company consistently for 103 years now. (2019)

In 103 years the Hanson have had to reinvent ourselves many times and get into different product offerings. Today on our brief tour of the Hanson Silo manufacturing facility we are going to see some of the product mix we have now.

The first building complex is around 95,000 square feet. In this facility we manufacture steel products and equipment for Hanson Silo to sell primarily in the midwest. We also have 2 large powder coating production lines that both run 2 shifts. In addition we have contracts with outside customers to make and powder coat paint products for them.

The concrete operation makes only proprietary products for Hanson Silo: We design and produce concrete tip up buildings and deliver and erect on site

Agriculture corn and bean flat storage bunkers, (with sizes up to 4 million bushels capacity)

Landscaping block

Bunkers for feed mills

Bunkers to hold sand for the oil field

Bunkers to hold fertilizer (our crew just came back from building 3 large fertilizer buildings in Texas…99 semi-truck loads of concrete)

Explosion proof blast walls surrounding for an Air Force base in Florida and Louisiana.

Our newest venture and last on our tour today is last fall we purchased and installed at Hanson Silo a state of the art cattle and hog slat manufacturing factory. The slat is the concrete modular floor that the animals live on in a building over the top of a pit for manure storage. (The EPA is recommending this type of manure storage due to the elimination of manure run off getting into streams and rivers.)

More information is found in the about tab of the very impressive company web site of the Hanson Silo Company


More Photos