On to Florida!

 Moving South 1925!

They stayed in Minnesota for 14 years. Unfortunately, they were not as successful as they had wished. Additionally, the climate in Minnesota did not agree with Martin so they decided to move to a warmer climate. (According to Ray's information, he had something called "rheumatism of the stomach"). One of the boys also had a goiter. Apparently Martin and Kamilla thought that there were more opportunities in California and Florida and after some discussion, they decided on Florida where Martin thought he would readily find work building homes. In 1925, they packed up a used 7-passenger Lexington (car) with 7 kids, a chest for food, and a few household items including a tent and themselves, and left Minnesota, It is unclear what happened to their furniture in Duluth or how they furnished their homes in Florida.

The move to the Tampa area took 6 weeks. They stopped in Chicago to stay with someone in Kamilla's family and in camps along the way - using tents - and stayed a few days at each campground so the kids had a chance to play. (This is the sister who lost her life during a tornado while the rest of the family was at church. Ray kept in touch with this branch of the family and visited them in California.) Mildred remembers that "we took our time" on the trip. Norman remembers that the roads were all dirt, not hardtop.

Brandon FL

The family arrived in the Tampa area in 1925 when Mildred was 9 and originally stayed in Plant City for a short time. Because they were interested in their children having a good education, Martin and Kamilla decided to settle in Brandon because they heard about the good schools. (The Elementary and Junior High schools were already built and the high school was completed in a few years.) Initially, Martin worked to setup a business building houses. One day he had an unusual cause for illness. It seems that he did not have a good sense of smell and could not tell that some of his lunch food had "gone off" and suffered from food poisoning.

Mildred had been in 2nd grade in Duluth but probably because of an ear problem, she had to repeat 2nd in Florida where she was in the same class with Norman as he was only a year and 5 months younger than Mildred. In 6th grade, Mildred remembers reciting a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and being an Indian Princess in a play. She really enjoyed recitation and drama and seemed to have a flair for it. At the age of 84, she still recalls some of the songs that she sang in school particularly one about state capitals.

Martin bought a plot of land in Brandon and built a house for his family on this land. This house had at least 2 bedrooms and a sleeping porch. Martin and Kamilla had one bedroom, Helen and Margaret, the other and the rest of the kids slept on the sleeping porch. He also bought a truck and had his business information painted on the side. Later, he built another house next to the first and moved his family into the second one and rented the first. Kamilla still had her hands full with her family and all the household tasks but found time to join the Brandon's Women's Club.During this time, Kamilla probably suffered from what is now called depression. In Brandon, Mildred remembers helping her mother do the laundry by using a scrub board.

The arrival of their first piano is a very special memory . Martin bought it as a surprise and called all of them in to see it when it arrived. This was very special because all of the family loved music. It is not known if either Martin or Kamilla had any musical training in Norway. Martin played chords on the piano and he could also play the guitar. Mildred remembers spending several Sunday afternoons singing around the piano. All of the children were encouraged to play musical instruments. On Sundays, the family would go for rides in their car and sing songs from song books. Mildred rally enjoyed those "sing-a-longs, especially when her mother harmonized by singing alto.

Other special memories are the visits to Bullfrog Creek for swimming and attending the Brandon Methodist Church where Helen, Margaret and Mildred sang in the choir. (The children always attended church.)

Mildred remembers completing 9th grade in Branden before they moved on to the Hardware store. This would put the year at the Summer of '32 and Mildred at 16 years old.

First Trip Back to Norway, 1930

Apparently, Martin promised himself that he would return to Norway after 25 years. And what a return it was! They visited with both families and were welcomed everywhere. Some people that they saw were Martin's sister Sigrid and her family in Trondheim. With Sigrid's daughter, Signe, they went to a family owned mountain cabin. In Oslo, they visited with, Arthur Holman and his family. He was Kamilla's step-nephew even though he was only 2 years younger than she was. How long was their trip? Where did they sail from? NY? If so how did they get there, by train? What did they bring back? How expensive was this trip? Did it use up all of their savings? How long did they stay?

Unfortunately Kamilla's mother died in 1929, just before their trip. He father was alive for their visit and died in 1937. DID KAMILLA INHERIT ANYTHING FROM HER PARENTS?

While Martin and Kamilla traveled, the children stayed in Florida. During this trip, a man stayed with the family. Helen joked about the way he dried the silverware. He took the whole bunch in his hand and slung it. Mildred remembers the older girls taking care of the younger children. Helen and Margaret cooked and a neighbor, Annie Wilder, checked in frequently.

The Depression Era

Mildred remembers completing 9th grade in Branden before they moved on to the Hardware store. This would put the year at the Summer of '32 and Mildred at 16 years old.

Hardware Store


WHEN WAS THIS MOVE? IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE RETURN OR LATER? Martin and Kamilla decided to branch out into the hardware/building supply business. The construction trade boom was probably drying up and with a family of seven children, something had to be done. Perhaps this move came about because of the Depression and it was a way to combine a business with living quarters for the family.Was it financed through the sale of the homes? They selected a plot for the business that was located out of town with the closest streetcar, 2 miles away. First, Martin built a small building for the family (very cramped space for a family of 9) while a Hardware and Lumber store was being built. During this time Martin drove an Essex. The family moved to the second floor where the when it was completed. Initially the business was called Broadway Building Supply and Carpentry Work. After the family moved, Martin used first small building as a workshop. Later Martin added a large shop and a lumber storage building. Kamilla worked in the business. Although there was a grocery store across the street, they added a small grocery area In the hardware store because they could buy the food wholesale. Martin provided well for the family and Mildred remembers that there always was enough food and she does not remember any problems with money. Many people in Tampa were not as fortunate.

After the move, through a friend at the YMCA, the older girls, Helen, Margaret, and Mildred found live-in positions caring for children. In the European tradition, the money that the girls earned went to their parents to help support the rest of the family. All four girls married during the 1930's. None had adowery. Perhaps this wasdowry perhaps because the family had become more "Americanized" or because of the depression.

2nd Trip to Norway

 The second trip was made after World War II and Norway had not recovered from the war. It was on this trip that Martin brought a number of items back from Norway that were to become the basis for his "Norway Room". Among the items were a set of chairs made by his father. Martin's woodworking seemed to be limited to paneling and finish work, not furniture making.

The Children

Other images

See other images of from Tampa and some trips that were taken during this time.

Tampa Story:


  >The Trip to Norway The Trip to San Antonio

Woldhagen Family Site

Norway's Story

Kamilla's Story

Martin's Story

Family Images


Duluth area

Tampa area

San Antonio

This page was last updated by Carolynne White March 30, 2001


Helen married Milton Harding of Limona FL, on 12/3/1933 so it is unclear if she worked long or not. She met him because he lived with his sister in Brandon on their street. Apparently he socialized with the family because there is a great picture of him playing with Ray (as a toddler) at Bullfrog Creek in 1931. In 1934, they went on a honeymoon to Minnesota and visited Helen's first home, Sunny Hill Farm . Mildred remembers that Milton had a very good job and that Helen did not have to work. By the time she had Barbara, she could employ someone in the house to help with the baby. WHAT did they do? Factory when, where?Their second daughter, Shirley was born 10/17/1942. When and why did they move to FW? What did Milton do there? Was he in WWII? If so where?


Margaret worked for the Sharp family (of the Sharp & Smith Cadillac Company) taking care of children and cooking. Later Margaret worked for a cafeteria. Margaret, Mildred, and Esther enjoyed dancing went to dances at the American Legion Club where Margaret met her future husband, Walter. On the 5th of December, 1937, Margaret married Walter Shaw in Tampa. Clifford was born 9/5/1938, Wanda, 4/18/1941, and Loretta, 11/17/1943.


Mildred remembers attending Hillsborough High School while her father was building houses nearby. She rode to the school with a teacher who lived near the business. The teacher had a daughter who was Mildred's friend. At 16, Mildred worked for Dr. Lowery's family taking care of their children, a little girl, and a baby boy. The Lowery's agreed to let Mildred continue her high school education at Plant High School and even bought her a typewriter to learn typing. Later Mildred remembers staying with Helen, attending Brewster Tech, and working at a restaurant with Esther. Mildred attended dances with her sisters. One afternoon, outside a corner drug store a friend introduced her to Cecil. At that time he was working as a wrecker driver. He went to the dance that evening and she was wearing a pink sharkskin suit. They married August 28, 1938. At that time Cecil was working a Sinclair Gas Station on Lafayette across from Tampa Terrace. Did Mildred quit work when she married? Mildred's husband was drafted and spent the war years in the USA working as an MP.


Esther married Walter Macon 1/26/1939. Where did they live? Their children were Judy, Ronnie, and Carol Sue. Walter and Esther moved to SA and Walter was involved in the building business.

The Boys

The boys had an ice shop out in front of the store. Norman remembers starting to smoke by picking up the cigarette butts from the Masonic Lodge next door. He also remembers tearing into Palmer and Raymond when they did the same. As the business grew, the name changed to Broadway Roofing, Builder's Supply, Grocery, Lumber, Ice.

As his sons grew older (and taller), they towered over their Dad. After the girls left home there was more room for the "boys" and more $$. What is the date of the car photo? The three boys enlisted in the armed forces during WWII. schooling, cars, etc worked for Dad



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