The Friendly Fifth

Norwegian American History

Virtual History Course - Week 16

Week 16 of the Norwegian-American settlement history course had these participant presentations:
Koshkonong and Tobacco - Corey Olson (Norse Valley-Appleton WI) and Susan Slinde (Mandt-Stoughton WI) -

Milwaukee WI and its Norwegians - Erica Dial (Mandt-Stoughton WI) -

The Bergerud Family in America: Fergus Falls MN - Nancy Schick (Shawnee Skogen-Carbondale IL) -

Lanesboro MN and Hardanger Fiddle - Drue Fergison (Heimbygda-Lanesboro MN) -

Virtual History Course - Week 15

Week 15 - The Norwegian-American settlement history course had five presentations
from course participants this week. 
It gave them an opportunity to
share with the class details of Norwegian-American history which were of
special interest to them.  These presentations are:


Dunn County, Wisconsin - by Sandra Olson (Valkyrien - Woodville WI)

Norwegian-American Women - by Barb Johnson (Polar Star - Montgomery IL),
Connie Kross (Cleng Peerson - Norway IL) and Connie Weimer (Koshkonong
Prairie Historical Society) (50:46)


Immigrant Chest - by Kevin Podeweitz and Kim Cade. (31:47)

Waushara County, Wisconsin - by Sherrie Framness (Myrmarken - Marshfield
WI) (24:09)

Emma Cleven: Muskego and Koshkonong - by David K. Miller
(Nordlyset-Racine WI)and Chuck Johnson (Nordlyset-Racine WI) (34:30)

Virtual History Course - Week 14

Week 14 - Bill Injerd (Nordkap-Detroit MI), presented on Norwegian-American Religions and Dana Kelly (Mandt-Stoughton WI) presented on Evolution of Language from Norwegian to English.  Mike Palecek (Nordlyset-Racine WI) was interviewed about his interests in Norwegian-American history. 
Watch this presentation at: 

Virtual History Course - Week 13

Week 13 - Bill Injerd (Nordkap-Detroit MI), Louise Sherwood (Nordkap-Detroit MI), and Ralph Lund (Ulseth-Calumet MI) did an outstanding presentation on Norwegians in Michigan.  Topics covered included Ingebret Larson Narvik, a protégé of Cleng Peerson, who was the first Norwegian settler of Michigan; Nils Langeland, another early settler; settlers along the Lake Michigan shore in Muskegon and Ottawa counties; Louise's family in eastern Michigan; and Norwegian miners in the UP.  (1:30:45)

Virtual History Course - Week 12

Week 12 of the Norwegian-American settlement history course continues the discussion of the book "Sons of the Old Country."  Dana Kelly leads this conversation, where the nuances of the book are talked about. (1:15:18)

Virtual History Course - Week 11

Week 11 of the Norwegian-American settlement history course covers the first week of a two week "book club" format, on the historical fiction novel, "Sons of the Old Country."  Greg Kocken, Archivist from the UW-Eau Claire Area Research Center presents on the life of Waldemar Ager, who in addition to writing fiction was a Norwegian-language newspaper editor. Bill Injerd provides an overview of Norw-Am literature. Dana Kelly (Mandt-Stoughton WI) introduces the book's characters with an insightful discussion of Ager's play on words. (54:50)
View this at:

Virtual History Course - Week 10

In Week 10 of the D5 Norwegian-American settlement history course we covered Wisconsin’s northwest counties. Many of these pioneers worked the winters in the forests as lumberjacks. James Nelson (Scaniana-Chesterton IN) presented on his family’s settlement near Elk Mound WI. Glenn Borreson’s (Wergeland-La Crosse WI) excellent presentation on Norwegians in the Pineries was also used for the course. (1:04:55)


Virtual History Course - Week 9

In Week 9 of the D5 Norwegian-American settlement history course we covered La Crosse, Trempealeau and Buffalo counties, which have a rich Norwegian-Americans history. Dana Kelly gave a “primer” on early Norwegian settlements of Iowa and Minnesota and their importance to further D5 settlement. Dana “hit-the-ball-out-of-the-ballpark” with her outstanding and passionate presentation on agriculture and Norwegian-Americans.

Week 9 :

Virtual History Course - Week 8

In Week 8 of the D5 Norwegian-American settlement history course we covered Crawford, Vernon and Jackson counties, which have some of the highest densities of Norwegian-Americans anywhere in District 5. Dave and Ruth Amundson (Solvang-Westby WI), the founders of The History Alive project, interested us with a history of Westby, Wisconsin, which is the city with the highest percentage of people reporting Norwegian-American ancestry in Wisconsin. 

An interesting fact from the course was a list of the top 10 Wisconsin communities between 2,000- 9,999 population as a percentage of Norwegian-American ancestry:
1 Westby Vernon 3,802 45.99%
2 Blair Trempealeau 2,435 45.19%
Strum Trempealeau 2,030 44.29%
4 Osseo Trempealeau 4,503 40.57%
5 Viroqua Vernon 8,105 39.74%
6 Whitehall Trempealeau 3,635 36.99%
7 Eleva Trempealeau 2,766 36.71%
8 Woodville Dunn 2,026 29.70%
9 Galesville Trempealeau 3,556 28.98%
10 Mondovi Buffalo 7,019 28.12%-5-

Top 10 Wisconsin communities over 10,000 population as a percentage of Norwegian-American ancestry:
1 Stoughton Dane 19,371 24.24%
2 Black River Falls Jackson 10,271 24.06%
3 Eau Claire Eau Claire 75,487 19.60%
4 Edgerton Dane 10,906 18.66%
5 Menomonie Dunn 23,428 18.10%
6 New Richmond St. Croix 12,038 18.01%
7 Onalaska La Crosse 20,384 17.36%
8 Rice Lake Barron 15,405 16.92%
9 La Crosse La Crosse 63,530 16.85%
10 De Forest Dane 11,448 16.11%


Virtual History Course - Week 7

Week 7 - 3/5/2021

In Week 7, we went up the Lake Michigan shore, from Racine to Marinette, including the large Valdres settlement near Manitowoc, the Moravian religious colony which began at Green Bay and then moved to Ephraim on the Door County peninsula.  Sailing, shipbuilding and fishing by Norwegian-Americans at Wisconsin’s Lake Michigan seaports were discussed.  We covered the Great Fires of 1871, including the Peshtigo Fire, which affected pioneers, including Norwegian-Americans throughout Northeastern Wisconsin.  The Great Chicago Fire and its impact on the Norwegian- American community there was also discussed. (55:39)


Virtual History Course - Week 6

Week 6 - 2/27/2021

MOVING FURTHER INTO WISCONSIN.  Learn how Norwegian-Americans settled further into Wisconsin as government surveys were finished and land opened up for settlement.  You will learn about the development of the Wiota lead mining settlement (LaFayette co), and stories about the first pioneers and what they encountered in Green, Dane county (after Koshkonong), Columbia county.  Pine Lake (Waukesha), Ashippun (Jefferson), Wincester (Winnebago), Mount Morris (Waushara), Indianlandet (Waupaca/Portage).


Virtual History Course - Week 5

Week 5 - 2/23/2021
Week 5 topics focused on the first Norwegian-American settlements in Wisconsin: Jefferson/Rock Prairie (Bill Injerd), Muskego (Mike Palecek) and Koshkonong (Dana Kelly).  Dana Kelly (Mandt lodge – Stoughton WI) set the bar high with her outstanding presentation on Koshkonong, the Norwegian-American settlement in eastern Dane County.  Dana Kelly is on the board of directors of the Koshkonong Prairie Historical Society. (1:01:04)


Virtual History Course - Week 4

Week 4 - 2/18/2021
In Week 4, we cover Norwegian settlements in Illinois, including Cleng Peerson's Fox River settlement northeast of Ottawa (Bill Injerd), the ill-fated Beaver Creek settlement near Kankakee (Dave Johnson) and the large Norwegian-American community in Chicago (Dave Johnson).  Kirk Mies, vice-president of The Sloopers Society shares a short history of this group. (1:04:05)

Link: :

Virtual History Course - Week 3

Week 3 - 2/5/2021
In week 3, topics includes an overview of Civil War and Norwegian-American attitudes towards slavery (Bill Injerd), agricultural
change (Dana Kelly), lumbering and the Great Lakes (Mike Palecek), urbanization (Mike Palecek), generational and educational changes (Ruth Amundson), and surge of immigration (Bill Injerd) and how these issues affected the lives of Norwegian-Americans.  Jim Nelson, president of the Scandiana lodge presented Indiana Norwegian-American settlement history.  The history course's optional research project and book report project is also discussed. (1:05:15)

Virtual History Course - Week 2

Week 2 - 01/30/2021
In week 2, you will get an overview of Norwegian-American settlement in Wisconsin, Illinois, and to a lesser extend additional U.S. states. 
Mike Palecek and Dana Kelly talk about Wisconsin pioneer settlement. Dave Johnson discusses settlement in Chicago and at
the Fox River Settlement (Norway, Illinois, near Ottawa).  Bill Injerd presented on settlement in Michigan, which will be covered
in more depth in week 13. Bill Injerd then takes you through a quick review of N-A settlement in additional states, including Minnesota,
North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Utah, California, Oregon, Washington, Texas and Tennessee. (51:59)

Virtual History Course - Week 1

Week 1 - 01/23/2021 -
In week 1, you will learn about the scope of the D5 Norwegian-American settlement history course. 
Although there is no required reading for this course, the books and DVD are introduced this week.  Dave and Ruth Amundson explain conditions in Norway during the 1800s (push factors) and what made American so attractive to emigrate to (pull factors).  Bill Injerd talks about "The Sloopers" who created the first Norwegian-American colony in America in 1825.  He discusses their first colony in Kendall Township, Orleans County, New York and their move for better farmland to the "Fox River Settlement" in La Salle County, Illinois. (46:44)

Recommended Nordic News to watch for supplemental Norwegian-American history information:


04/28/2020: Norwegian Midwives in the Midwest (Glenn Borreson) (21:31)

06/02/2020: Coffin Ships -  Death on the Ocean Crossing and One Family’s Story (Glenn Borreson) (21:41)

07/21/2020: Erie Canal: Immigrant Gateway to the West - Daryl Wunrow (Fosselyngen-Milwaukee WI) (29:16)

10/20/2020: Tracing Norwegian Immigrant Journeys by Kayak - Dave Ellingson is a Sons of Norway member in Edmonds, Washington. (36:46)
Dave shared phenomenal views of two of his kayak trips, one on the fjords of Norway and the other on the Erie Canal and Hudson River to New York’s Statue of Liberty.

10/27/2020: Norwegian Naming Conventions by Carmen Collins Nordkap lodge in Detroit MI (26:44)
This is a must-watch presentation for anyone wanting to study Scandinavian naming conventions. It is great background information for genealogy or Nordic-American history studies.


10/13/2020: "The Sloopers" - Bill Injerd (Nordkap lodge - Detroit MI) (39:32)

06/30/2020: Norsk Museum - Norway IL - Dave Johnson (Cleng Peerson lodge - Norway IL)  (47:47)

12/16/2020: Sloopers First Christmas - Bill Injerd (Nordkap lodge - Detroit MI)


05/05/2020: Norwegian-Americans in Michigan: A Short History (Nordkap lodge)  (21:45)


07/07/2020: Norskadalen Norwegian-American Cultural Center (Lori Dubczek)  (38:10)

09/29/2020: Norwegians in WI logging (Glenn Borreson, Wergeland lodge) (20:12)

D5 virtual history class begins January 23 via Zoom - Norwegian-American settlement history

Learn fascinating details about Norwegian-American history to know more about your heritage.  In this 16-week course, we will start with three sessions which will give you a fast-paced overview of Norwegian-American history.  Weeks 4-10 will take you on a journey of Norwegian-American settlement of the District 5 area, beginning with the migration of the Sloopers (the first Norwegian colony in America) to a spot about 60 miles southwest of Chicago, then north to Chicago, radiating from far southern Wisconsin up the Mississippi River, Lake Michigan and inland onto Madison, Portage and new settlements near Waupaca, and on to the massive pine forests of northern Wisconsin and Michigan.  The course will briefly cover Michigan (week 13) and Indiana Norwegian-American history.

In weeks 11-12 we will explore pioneer life in a fictional lumber boomtown in northwest Wisconsin, written by writer/activist Waldamir Ager.  It is a very enjoyable read.

Our faculty are District 5 members who are expert in different areas of Norwegian-American history.  Bill Injerd, Dave Johnson and Mike Palecek have all published books on Norwegian-American history, Dana Kelly has worked on producing a documentary video, Dave and Ruth Amundson have created the HistoryAlive foundation to educate schoolchildren about their Norwegian-American ancestors past.

We have picked three books and a DVD, which will give you further insight in understanding Norwegian-American history.  You can download the "book correlation" showing what pages are recommended reading for each class.  Breakout sessions in each week's class will focus on discussion questions from the books/DVD.  If you haven't yet earned a SofN Cultural Skills Pin for Literature - Level 1, this is your chance!

To enroll, fill out the enrollment form and mail to Mike Palecek, D5 Nordic Legacy Foundation, 5747 Sandy Lane, Racine WI 53406, with your check.

If you have some of the books already, here are individual item breakdowns, with shipping and tax:
$20 - The First Norwegian Settlements in American, Palecek (ed.)
$32 - History of the Norwegian Settlements, Holand
$20 - Kaskeland DVD, Koshkonong Prairie Hist. Society
$28 - Sons of the Old Country, Ager
$25 - Course fee (D5 member)
$50 - Course fee (non-D5 member)

The Saturday course, beginning January 23 is from 9:00-10:30 AM (Central) / 10:00-11:30 AM (Eastern)
The Monday course, beginning January 25 is from 6:30-8:00 PM (Central) / 7:30-9:00 PM (Eastern)

Questions: email