Asle & Lottie – Dakota Pioneers

It was hot. Really hot. But it was 9:30 in the morning, so I figured it couldn’t be that hot. We had ended up in Valley City, North Dakota, in an unexpected rerouting of our motor home trip. Other than the heat, this was a sweet little town with a small motor home park run by the city, a Carnegie Library and an Historical Society. A genealogist’s dream!

I had come totally unprepared as I hadn’t planned to visit here on this trip. I began to rack my brain about what information I had and what information I still needed. I carry my database on my laptop but am not always the best at updating it as information becomes available. And what about the information I knew I had at home? And that new box from my cousins? Well, I knew I didn’t have burial information for the Sanders who died there, so that was a starting point. I also hoped I could find some additional information about the photography studio and maybe some old photographs that had been taken by my great granduncle. Asle and Charlotte Sanders had settled here in 1884 after emigrating from Norway and spending a short time in Iowa. Our great grandfather had joined them there when he arrived in Dakota Territory, before continuing west to Washington Territory. I wanted to know more about Asle and their family.

IMG_20160721_182629703The evening we arrived I visited the library. One of the few remaining Carnegie Libraries, I might add. It was about ½ mile from the RV Park and only about 90 degrees at 6 pm. The clerk there was very nice and helped me with all kinds of chores, like getting books down from up high and copying. It was air-conditioned there, so I spent as much time as possible. I was able to find a book that contained information about the cemeteries in the area: Cemeteries of Valley City, Barnes County, North Dakota Compiled by George L. Barron. Our Sanders folk were listed – at least Asle and Lotta –  with information about the cemetery location and even the grave location. Nice!

The next morning we packed up and drove the couple miles to the road to Hillside Cemetery. As we drove up the road a sign appeared: Road Closed. What?! I walked around the sign and this was all I could see: P1030693

So I kept walking. And walking. It was hot and I didn’t intend to walk far, but doesn’t that look like a cemetery at the crest of this hill? See how those trees look different than the others?


Well, it wasn’t. There was a sign, however, which encouraged me. Sometime in the next half hour of walking I nearly turned around but I reminded myself of how long I had wanted to come here and I was sooo close. The gate was about a mile from where I had started so I was pretty hot and thirsty when I finally arrived. It was cooler there, among the trees, but a sign warned not to drink the water. Thanks to the book pages I had brought along I found Asle’s grave in about 15 minutes.

Asle headstone

The inscription read: Asle M. Sanders Solem Holi Hallingdahl I Norge Mar 4. 1859 – Feb 17, 1891. I’ll need to get a translation of the remainder of the inscription: “Fred mit dil Slov val signet vare dit Minde”. Also inscribed: Din (wife I imagine) Lolla Sanders. Her name is spelled differently nearly every time I come across it.


Lottie and Asle ca 1889

I looked for a grave for Lottie, but found no stone, as was noted in the book. I later verified this fact with the sexton. At the time of her death from a terrible accident, I doubt that the children had the resources to place a stone for her. Or perhaps they thought her name on Asle’s stone was enough. She is buried in the same plot with him. After learning more about her, I feel she should also be memorialized, perhaps putting more information on Find a Grave will help others learn what a courageous woman she was. The cemetery is quite lovely, and had the road not been closed, an easy drive from the town.


Business card

During his short life and even shorter time in Valley City, Asle made quite a name for himself. His photography studio is noted in the history of Barnes County. He applied for citizenship there in 1884 and was naturalized in October of 1890. He was a member of several organizations, including the Odd Fellows, who even made a resolution and mourned his passing in the newspaper. I had hoped to find more examples of his work by visiting the local antique stores.

After searching the photographs at the first place I stopped, I thanked the woman and was about to leave when she asked me who I was looking for. When I told her she smiled and said “always pays to ask” and took a photo down off her wall. It was a picture, taken by Asle about 1889 at a festival in Valley City. She had it on her wall as it was a photo of her building.

It was tough to photograph this - see the trademark on the right

It was tough to photograph this – see the trademark on the right

I stopped at the Barnes County Historical Society with two goals in mind: learning if they had more information about Asle and his business and to meet and thank the Director, with whom I’d emailed a year or two ago regarding the Sanders family. There didn’t appear to be much more information readily available but Wes, the Director, enjoyed showing me the exact spot where the photography studio used to be. It was a 25 foot square of the current Historical Society! He also helped me determine that the former home of Asle and Lotta was now a parking lot.

For an unexpected trip to a long anticipated site, it all turned out pretty well. Now I’d like to connect with some cousins from that part of our family.

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Seattle: Then and Now

This morning I listened to an archive edition of Local Wonder  on KUOW – one of our local public radio stations – and it got me thinking about our Seattle ancestors.

The commentator was discussing the original settlers and their descendants: progeny of Denny, Yesler and Maynard, as well as Chief Seattle. It was fascinating, of course, to the genealogist who is always working to bring the past into the present.

Our ancestors who first arrived in Seattle are Carl and Anna Telquist, their children, and Frank Robert Gollofon <Spelled variously, Golofong, Goldfon, Gollofond> who married their daughter Caroline.  The Telquists are first documented in Seattle in 1889 but the date of arrival for Gollofon is still a mystery. We first find an individual who we believe is him in 1892 working as a laborer at NY Kitchens in Seattle, according to the Seattle Polk Directory. More about him and his family in a later post.

The Telquist migration and arrival is easier to trace. They began in Tanumshede, Bohuslan, Sweden and ended up in Eau Clare, Wisconsin where their youngest son was born in 1886. They continued west and we find them in Seattle in 1889 on Plummer Street – wish we knew if they came before or after the Great Seattle Fire – June 6, 1889. The actual location is no longer, having fallen to the Dearborn Regrade of 1907-11.

Seattle Now and Then: Suburbia on Dearborn gives a lot of background on the process of the regrade and has some great pictures.

From the Plummer Street address, Gerda Caroline Telquist, 18 years old, our great grandmother, and third daughter of Carl and Anna, married Frank Gollofong, 23, who was a neighbor, in 1893. For the next several years the families clustered around the Plummer area.

The school-aged Telquist kids attended South School. And at least one of the sons was on the football team: south school with Telquist circled

The other Telquist children, some of whom were adults or young adults, arrived in Seattle with their parents and went on to be remembered in various ways: one was a streetcar conductor, another a postal carrier who wrote poetry and entertained us as children with his verses. Uncle Oscar is the Telquist best remembered by me.

Oscar Telquist Retirement_1Oct1953SeattlePI to email

Several of the family moved north to Bothell/Kenmore and many descendants live near there. I am forever indebted to our Telquist cousin Norma Telquist Chapman, who compiled information on much of the Telquist family. Sadly, Norma passed a a few years ago but left a rich legacy that has helped with further research.

After moving from the regrade area Anna and Carl lived at 2923 East Harrison Street in 1910. Perhaps it was quite a stretch for them to purchase their house, which was built in 1908, but conceivably they built it themselves with help from the family. The house must have been well constructed as it is still standing in a very desirable neighborhood and just sold for over $650,000. Amazing!

Telquist house 1910

2923 East Harrison Street in 2016

Our great grandmother, Gerda Caroline Telquist Gollofon died at the age of 27 from septicemia, when our grandmother was less than 3 years old. I wish I had a picture of her! Caroline’s sisters cared for our great uncle, aunt and grandmother when their mother died in 1901. Caroline is memorialized in Mount Pleasant Cemetery on Queen Anne Hill in Seattle along with her parents, a sister and her husband.

Caroline headstone

As I sit here today in Port Townsend, north and across Puget Sound from Seattle, I realize that many of my grandmother’s descendants live in the Pacific Northwest: several less than 20 miles from where the family first settled. There are 31 of us living and as of today only a handful reside out of the Seattle Metro area. I, for one, am glad the Telquists settled here!

Telquist descendant fan

Telquist Descendant Chart





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Halloween, Sauerkraut and Chocolate

6 Qt crockBorn either on October 30 or 31st, in 1900, our grandma Marie Catherine Munshausen always claimed Halloween as her birthday. As the 9th of 11 children, her parents might or might not have remembered exactly which day it was. Devout Catholics in those days, all of their children were baptized in the church so perhaps they thought that All Saints Eve would be easier to remember. It certainly helped the rest of our family to remember and gave our “ReeRee” a certain cachet. She always struck me as far from spooky, but my sisters may think differently. As Halloween approaches she is on my mind.

Marie Birth AnnouncementImmigrating to New York from Luxembourg in 1891 the family quickly settled in Hastings, Minnesota, home of the Ketter family – Margarethe’s  family. One can imagine that the letters home from this branch of the family helped to encourage Charles and “Maggie” Munshausen to make the change. After all, at that time, they had just three children.

Not long after, the enterprising family found a boarding house to run in the college town of River Falls, Wisconsin, across the Mississippi. Close to the Normal School, which trained teachers, there appeared to be a steady stream of boarders. Charles worked as a barber and a bartender during those years. Marie grew up in that boarding house. Life was likely quite difficult for the younger Munshausen girls during their adolescent years. Her father left the home around the time she was becoming an adolescent and she retained a very goal oriented and work focused mentality. Her 3 older sisters, Mag, Lena and Jo, left home around that time as well, so many tasks likely fell to Marie and her two younger sisters, Sophie (Betty) & Suzy (Pat).

Marie with borderMarie met her first husband, Fred Collins, in Seattle after the girls, their mother and new stepfather moved to Seattle from St. Paul about 1919. Her oldest sister, Mag, had moved there with her husband Ted. Betty married in April of 1920 at the age of 17, with Marie as witness. One wonders if this helped Marie see marrying Fred as an appropriate rite of passage for a 19 year old. They married that July. Our mother was born in April of 1922 and they were divorced by 1927.

Marie soon remarried Charles Craig, who was known by us as “Granddaddy”. Grandpa Fred (Collins) remarried also in 1930, to Irene Dahlgren, our “Auntie”.  Although it was strange for their grandchildren in the 1950s to have so many grandparents, we made the most of it. Christmas was a real bonanza! We also gained two uncles – one from each marriage – who are still vibrant members of our family.

The time I spent with Marie was generally busy: we walked down Highway 99 to the Poodle Dog Restaurant in Fife – I thought she was really brave! And we filled days with domestic things like making cookies and sauerkraut. It seemed that there was always a crock fermenting in the garage and we would periodically check it. I remember the aroma was very strong and evokes those years when I smell it now. I learned to love it then and think of our Reeree fondly when I prepare or eat a dish that contains it – like a Costco hotdog. Not quite the same as homemade, but good.

A ritual that never failed to entertain and satisfy us was the Saturday morning trip to the Brown and Haley factory in Tacoma where Granddaddy would get the “broken pieces” to share. They apparently sold them by the pound and inexpensively. georgeWe would also make a stop at “George’s Store” – the Washington State Liquor Store – called that for the picture of George Washington on the window.

washerOne of the things I remember about domestic chores was the wringer washer in the garage. .This was before dryers, so we would wring out the clean clothes and hang them on the line. I still love the smell of clothes that have been dried on a clothesline..

Granddaddy worked for the Telephone company (I suspect this is where he and Reeree originally met, she did also) and going to visit him in the exchange where he worked was a wonder. Lots of floor to ceiling machines and things that clicked and buzzed and rang nonstop – this was how the phone system worked in those days and, despite his attempts to explain it to me, it stayed pretty mysterious. See it here:

Marie became ill in about 1958 and when her husband died in 1959 she took a turn for the worse and began to have serious memory problems. She lived with us for a time, but caring for her became too much for our family and she entered a nursing home where she died in July of 1962. I think of her with love every Halloween.

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Never Know What You’ll Find in Storage Or Welcome to a Treasure Chest of Memories!

I am very fortunate to have two sweet, family oriented sisters. Although neither are as obsessed with family history as me, they are very supportive. My youngest sis found a box that she’d had in storage while out of the country and began to try to identify some of the pictures. The pictures were all mixed up and many not labeled, so she called me, hoping I might be able to figure some of it out. I was delighted to help and really excited when I began to look at the contents.

My Nana, Mildred Caroline Gollofon Sanders, was a great scrapbooker and labeled photos…unless the contents seemed obvious to her. Not always obvious nearly 100 years later to her myopic granddaughter, but my detective skills improve with time. One of the treasures is an “Autograph” book which is filled with pictures. The pictures below are on the first two pages after the title page which is inscribed: Mildred Gollofon, Christmas 1913. I have no idea who the person on the left is, but hope I will one of these days. In the picture to the right is the only picture that I have ever seen of our great-grandfather, Frank Robert Gollofon <labeled Dad in the picture>. My fingers are crossed for more.

Nana's "Autograph Book"

Nana’s “Autograph Book”

The picture of “Irene’s House” on Alki Boulevard brings back memories of the huge landslide that pushed her house nearly off the foundation and filled her back porch with dirt and debris. I remember going there with my parents and marveling at the amount of dirt piled up in the back. There may be pictures of that event somewhere among the family pictures, too.

Some of the pictures in the box are familiar but there were many that I’ve never seen before. Just as wonderful are the various news clippings, scrapbooks and letters that answer some questions and fill out the lives of many of these folks who may only have been names and dates to us before this. I’m only part way through.

In addition to interesting articles and pictures of family  and friends in the box – they range from pre 1900 to 1960s so far – there are some pictures of the subject of this post that I’ve not seen before now. Here’s an especially lovely one:

Mildred Gollofon 1918

Mildred Gollofon 1918

When I was a small child we lived next to our Sanders grandparents. I have some wonderful memories of playing at my grandma’s and was very upset when we outgrew our house and moved to the suburbs for “better” schools and a bigger house. Our father was an only child and Nana honed her spoiling skills on him and continued with me. Imagine I was quite the handful by the time we moved. One of my earliest memories is of the 1948 earthquake in Seattle which we spent in my Nana’s backyard. I remember the path and the Irises moving in waves. I thought it was quite wonderful so she must have stayed calm.

Needless to say, I’m having a great time with this box. I understand there’s yet another to come!

By the way, this is what the site of the house pictured above looks like today. Wonder what our Aunt Rene (Lily Irene Gollofon), Nana’s sister, would think of it now? I bet she’d like it! I bet they both would.

Alki address

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White Pine Thieves and Family Rascals

whitepine11It’s the Fourth of July and I’m spending my time researching New England records. Today it’s the elusive Collins clan…just too many of them to easily pin down the right ones in the record deficient period. Fun to look, though, and I learn a lot in the process. Our Collins – Timothy Gilbert – married Theodocia Dean, daughter of William Dean and granddaughter of Captain William Dean.

So to the rascals. Our ancestor, Captain William Dean, purchased land in the Windsor (now), Vermont township in 1766. This area was controlled by the New Hampshire Colony government, as administered by Governor John Wentworth who was also the “Surveyor of the King’s Woods for all of North America”. Clearing the land for farming was one of the improvements that was wanted, as well as selling timber that was not designated for masts for British sailing ships. No matter who owned or cleared the land, the white pines on the land belonged to the King George III of England. Once a surveyor was designated, he would make marks on the suitable trees to claim the large white pine trees as masts for the Royal Navy. Cutting additional timber for other purposes was then permitted.

For reasons not clear, and despite his neighbors getting surveys when requested, Captain William Dean wasn’t able to get his land surveyed. At the time, New York authorities and New Hampshire leaders were in conflict over who controlled what; and it’s surmised that since Dean purchased his land through the New York authority that his affinity was for them. Perhaps that was one of the roots of his trouble.

Captain Dean is described as an upstanding citizen. Having gotten verbal permission from a deputy surveyor, he advised his sons they could begin cutting any trees not appropriate for masts. Not being satisfied with the verbal permission he traveled to Portsmouth to obtain written permits to that effect and was told a surveyor would soon arrive to mark his trees. When he returned home he found his sons had begun cutting trees and knew he could be in trouble. His neighbors had sent word of the cutting to Portsmouth and the Governor came in the dead of winter to investigate. The Deans, Captain William, William, and Willard were arrested and set to be tried in Admiralty Court.

The Governor’s attention to this matter had deep roots. <smile> His animosity rose from conflicts over jurisdiction between New Hampshire and New York – the boundaries had been changed by the King in 1764 – and the fact that some of the Dean land had previously been granted to the governor’s father. He hoped to bring attention to New Hampshire and extend their jurisdiction by prosecuting the Deans for their felonious behavior. New York partisans had the last word: they supplied funds to defend the Deans and although they were convicted they spend very little time in jail and the Captain’s lands were not confiscated.

Flag_WEB_1024x1024The Wentworth’s era of authority ended in 1775 when Governor John Wentworth fled his post under pressure from the Revolutionaries. Captain William Dean spent the rest of his life in Windsor and is buried there.

William, Jr., Theodocia’s father, moved to Weathersfield, Vermont soon after his father’s land titles were confirmed and eventually died in New York.

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Mother’s Day Memories 2015

Our first picture together

Our first picture together

It has been just 23 years since I last saw my mother. I remember when I saw her last very clearly, as it was a few days after Mother’s Day 1992. She had beaten <we thought> throat and mouth cancer but had some lingering problems that seemed to be caused by her chemotherapy treatment. Her memory would fail from time to time and she couldn’t seem to gain back the weight she had lost during treatment. I called her on Mother’s Day and she sounded somewhat down so I asked her if she’d like to visit. It warmed my heart to hear her enthusiastic yes to my suggestion and I hopped in the car to drive the few hours to pick her up. After spending some time with her it was clear to me that she wasn’t functioning very well and so became concerned about leaving her alone when I went to work. She stayed with my daughter for a bit and then went to stay with a friend for a day or two until I drove her home again. As I left her house she came out into her driveway to wave goodbye to me – an unusual occurrence – her reflection in my rear-view mirror is still in my memory. I wondered if that would be my last sight of her, and it was. She died a few weeks later from lung cancer and was cremated.

My mother was a very courageous woman. She held our family and my father together through his late stage alcoholism and then married another to take his place. He outlasted her however. She never let up on us girls <there were four of us> during our growing up, and always expected our best. I can thank her for that – and damn her as well. I’m very thankful that she made me a woman who doesn’t give up easily and sad that she failed to nurture the soft side of my personality. Several years before her death we became friends and I still miss her.

Since this is to be a genealogy post, my mother was born Florence Winifred Collins in 1922 to Marie Catherine Munshausen and Frederick Silas Collins and adopted the name Craig when her mother remarried in the late 1920s. She married my father Arthur Oliver Sanders, Jr (1921-1967) and they had four daughters, three of whom are still living.

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Death on the Highway

A view along Highway 530

A view along Highway 530

I’ve been horrified and saddened by the recent landslide on our Highway 530 near Oso in Snohomish County, Washington. I’ve driven on that highway a number of times going to places to hike. I learned a few years ago that our great grandfather Collins died there in a car accident just a few miles from the landslide that’s captured our attention on the news.

When A.D.L. Collins died, the news was on the front page of the Everett Daily Herald. One of his sons was a councilman and well known in the county. Several members of the family had moved to the Everett area from Wisconsin and Iowa, the first around the turn of the century. See his obituary in the earlier post about his Civil War service.

Evergreen Cemetery, Everett, WA May 2005

Evergreen Cemetery, Everett, WA
May 2005

A.D.L. wasn’t buried until the 22 of September, 1907. Notice of the funeral also appeared in the Herald:

The funeral of A.D.L. Collins, which has been postponed for some time to await the arrival of his son, Councilman Mert Collins, from the East, will be held tomorrow afternoon from Jerread’s chapel at 2:30. The services will be under the auspices of the John Buford post of the G.A.R. Rev. W.E. Randall will conduct the services at the chapel, after with the body will be taken to Evergreen cemetery to be interred with the ritual of the Grand Army.

A.D.L. Collins served in the 7th Wi. Inf. Co. “C” in the Civil War.

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