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Fra Norge til Amerika

Peder Pedersen Teigen was born in 1840 in Hafslo parish, Sogn og Fjordane, Norway. He was the eldest of six sons, and the first of three who would emigrate to America.

Peder (upper right) was the eldest child and first in his family to emigrate (1861), followed by Hans (1864) and Lars (1882). I received this photo from my family in Norway. As far as I know, it is the only one that exists of him. The family members who currently reside on the farm are descendants of Anders. Notice how Peder is resting his arm on the shoulder of Anders.

He departed his home parish on April 13, 1861 (#43 on this page of outgoing records), then likely made his way to Bergen, where he boarded The Balder (Captain Chr. Olsen). The Balder left Bergen on April 18, 1861 and arrived in Montreal, Canada on June 19, 1861.

After arriving in America, Peder made his way to Wisconsin and joined the Union cause of the Civil War. He was enlisted under the name Peter Peterson in Company B of the 15th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry by Captain Ole C. Johnson on October 16, 1861 for a 3-year term of service.

Note: While the video above is meant to focus on Danes in the Civil War, it gives a nice overview of the Wisconsin 15th (if you can stay awake to the narrator's voice).

The Wisconsin 15th was an all-Scandinavian regiment of the Civil War and the men of Company B called themselves the "Wergeland Guards" in honor of the famous Norwegian writer and poet Henrik Wergeland.

"Do not complain beneath the stars about the lack of bright spots in your life." - Henrik Wergeland
A statue of Colonel Hans Christian Heg stands at the King Street corner of the Capitol Square in Madison, Wisconsin. Heg was a Norwegian American who was best known for leading the “Wisconsin 15th”, an all-Scandinavian volunteer regiment in the Civil War. The bronze statue depicting the Union soldier and abolitionist was torn down during protests in Madison in June 2020. The original statue was restored and reinstalled in September 2021, just two days before I left for Norway. Between final preparations for departure, I visited the restored statue and rubbed Heg's right boot before I left - not for good luck, but for courage.

Once I learned that Peter had been a member of the Wisconsin 15th, I connected with Dee Grimsrud, a Madison-based genealogist who has researched the 15th extensively. With her help, I was able to further build the timeline of Peter's Civil War experience.

Peter began his training at Camp Randall in Madison on November 16, 1861 - just seven months after leaving his home in Norway. On March 2, 1862, after 3 and a half months of training, Private Peterson left Camp Randall with his company and regiment to join the war.

You can read more about his Civil War service here.

After serving three years, one month and fifteen days in the war, Peter was mustered out of service (he is #17 on this document).

He returned to Wisconsin in 1865 and settled near West Prairie, in the western region of the state (now widely referred to as the "Driftless Region"). He married Britha Eriksdotter (Betsey Erickson) and together they took up farming in Freeman Township, Crawford County (the small cabin I bought in 2020 is located in Freeman Township, about ten minutes from where the farm was located and close to where I grew up).

Peter and Betsey raised 10 children, including my great grandfather Erick.

On November 13, 1883, at age 43, Peter became a naturalized citizen of the United States of America. According to the Certificate of Naturalization, he was to "RENOUNCE FOREVER all allegiance of fidelity to any foreign Prince, Potentate, State or Sovereignty whatsoever, and particularly to the King of Sweden and Norway*, of whom he was at that time a Subject."

*The United Kingdoms of Sweden and Norway was a personal union of the separate kingdoms of Sweden and Norway under a common monarch and common foreign policy that lasted from 1814 until its peaceful dissolution in 1905.

When they retired from farming in Crawford County in 1902, Peter and his wife moved from Freeman to Chaffee, North Dakota, to live with their son Peter O. Peterson. Later they moved into the Old Soldiers Home, where he received a $75 per month veterans pension from the government.

Betsey died in 1931, and Peter died in 1932. Both are buried in Lisbon, North Dakota.

One of my family's pages from the bygdebok, the Norwegian farm books. My gt gt grandfather Peder Pederson is #2 under Peder Pederson Teigen (a child was born before Peder, but died at age two). Under Peder is Erick (b), my great grandfather.
This is the only original structure from the 1800s that still exists on the Teigen farm. This photo was taken in the summer of 2016, on my first visit (I've returned twice since). I'm pictured with Arthur Teigen, descendant of Anders. The farm is located in Marifjøra, Sogn og Fjordane - at the end of the longest fjord in Norway.


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1 Comment

Dee Grimsrud
Dee Grimsrud
Jul 17, 2023

Hi Marla! You've done a terrific job of writing up your family and making it accessible online!! (I need to use you as a role model and get my ancestors written up, but I don't know where to start...I have so much info on them that it seems quite overwhelming.) One small suggestion: It would be more accurate to say that Peder left his home farm (Teigen) or birthplace (Hafslo) on 13 April 1861, instead of Norway, because 13 April was the date he "checked out" with the parish pastor to leave to travel to the he port he actually departed from a few days later. I can't look for Peder on's website; their passenger name search is down right now. Bu…

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