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Jensens, Part 7: Homesteading

It was 1870 and Jacob and Ingeborg were finally at their destination - their very own land in South Dakota in a very Norwegian community. Ingeborg may not have ever learned English, as all correspondence I have that was written to her is in Norwegian, but Jacob learned English quite early, based on business correspondence he had with people. In fact, Ingeborg may not have learned to read or write until she had been in Dakota Territory for awhile. Early documents have an X where her signature should be instead of her actual signature. Illiterate people would often make their mark with an X. It's quite probable that she wouldn't have been educated in Norway as she would have been needed at home to care for her younger siblings and help with the work.


Jacob built a fine house and farmed his 160 acres. Meanwhile, they ended up having 8 children from 1870-1884- Johanna, James, Julia, John, Anna, Louise, Hilda and Gerhard. All of their children were educated in the local school and attended Norwegian Lutheran Church nearby.

Ingeborg was a member of the Ladies Aid for her church. There are accounts of how she would walk 7 miles to bring food to a church member in need, and 7 miles back home.


In a very rare occurrence for the time, all 8 of their children lived long lives. They didn't have a single child die before age 60.



Photo: Jacob, Ingeborg and children circa 1885

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