Martin is in Chicago!

Martin at 16 or 17 years

At the age of 17 or 18, Martin arrived in Chicago. When he arrived in Chicago, he did not have money to buy land so he looked for work and stayed with his brother. He was turned down when he applied for a job as a streetcar conductor, because he did not speak English well enough .

Martin's brother Nils

Nils initially came to the United States on March 21, 1901 at the age of 26. He left behind his wife, Anna (Swensdatter) and their children. His trip went through England and his arrival port was Boston and the ship was the Saxonia. His profession was "carpenter" and he listed a cousin, T Quiaas, as his American contact. Apparently, he returned to Norway and took over his father's farm in 1902 or 3. After a couple of years, they mortgaged the farm for 1000 Krone and he returned to America. Nils must have been approximately 33 years old. Anna and their children (Signy, 9, Harold, 6, Sverre, 4, Johanne, 2, and Thora, an infant, arrived in Ellis Island on Oct 2, 1906. Nils studied at the University of Chicago to be a Baptist minister and later moved to Tacoma, Washington where he continued as a Baptist minister. His motivation for emigration may have been religious freedom. At the time of Martin's immigration, Nils (b.1875) was in Chicago. Martin stayed with Nils.

an image of a Kimball Player Piano

Although, his profession was listed as "laborer" on the ship manifest, he had had some carpentry training in Norway. Fortunately, this carpentry training enabled him to find work as a journeyman cabinetmaker for the Treiber Piano Co., and later the Kimball Piano Co., making piano cases. This is an image of a Kimball Player Piano.

In 1907, when his sister, Olga arrived, he was living at 202 N. Ohio Street, Chicago, Illinois. When Signe arrived in 1910, his address was 1512 N. Rockwell St., Chicago.

Picture of flags from Norwegian/American Club

In his free time he joined a Norwegian Social (Dance) club (The Eidsvold Club named for the Eidsvoll Convention of 17 May 1814). He was very popular and ultimately was elected President of the social club.

Although he was not a big man, he was such a fine dancer that he became a dance instructor. Mildred remembers that he taught his daughters to dance.

It was at the social club that he met Josephine Kamilla Karlsen, known as Kamilla. She and Martin entered and won a waltz contest during which the heel of the feet could not touch the floor. Chalk was placed on the heels of the participants' shoes and any contestants who left a chalk mark were disqualified.

Norwegian Lutheran Church in Chicago

Martin and Kamilla married in Chicago on March 17, 1911 at the Norwegian Lutheran Church in Chicago on the northwest corner of Logan Square. (Den Norsk Lutherske Mindekirke).

Other images

See other images of Martin. Note: One interesting custom arose sometime during this immigration period. Many people had their photos taken and printed on postcards, which were mailed to their families in Europe. Several of these photos exist in the Woldhagen family, some of which were mailed to family in Norway.

Martin's Story:  

Melhus, Norway

Melhus area map
Martin's Family Tree
to the USA
Boston
Chicago
Martin's Relatives

Woldhagen Family Site

Norway's Story

Kamilla's Story

Martin's Story

Family Images

Chicago

Duluth area

Tampa area

San Antonio

This page was last updated by Carolynne White April 27, 2008


Nils

Nils had married Anna Swensdatter and taken over his father's farm in 1902 or 3. After a couple of years, they mortgaged the farm for 1000 Krone and went to America. Nils must have beenapproximately 30 years old. He studied in Chicago and later moved to Tacoma, Washington where he was a Baptist minister. His motivation for emigration may have been religious freedom. Jerry Woldhagen has Nils Hansen Woldhagen's diploma from the University of Chicago, Dano-Norwegian Seminary dated 13 May 1908.

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