Skip to main content

View Diary: Remembering Gettysburg, 150 Years On (76 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  My Only Civil War Ancestor (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    All of my ancestors came from Norway. Seven of my eight great grandparents came to America between about 1890 and 1910, which was after the Civil War, of course.

    However, one guy, Seymour Hansson Johnson, was a private in Company A, 32nd Wisconsin infantry, which was involved in the siege of Atlanta and Sherman‘s March to the Sea. Seymour was my father’s mother’s mother’s father. So, he’s my great great grandfather.

    I wrote about some of my ancestors in this DKos diary: My Norwegian Ancestors. Here’s a little about Seymour (taken from that diary, but edited slightly):

    Seymour was born 29 Dec 1841 near Ringerike, Norway, and died 14 Nov 1915 (or possibly 1911?). Married Lena Jacobson. Four children (of which two died as infants).

    Seymour’s parents, Hans and Ingeborg, came to Wisconsin from Norway in 1854. Incidentally, if you’ve ever wondered why so many Norwegians went to Wisconsin and Minnesota, here’s the answer. It was cheaper to go to Canada and then follow the Great Lakes to the Midwest than it was to go to New York City and get on a train to the Midwest. Quebec is closer to Norway than NYC. The boat fares were cheaper.

    Seymour was 13 years old in 1854 when his parents brought him to Wisconsin. Six years later, in 1860, he’s 19 years old and the Civil War begins (but he is listed with his family in the 1860 Wisconsin census). He joined the 32nd Wisconsin Infantry, Company A. I can’t imagine that he spoke very good English, but they gave him a uniform and a gun and he ended up in Sherman’s march to the sea. He didn’t get killed and he returned to Wisconsin to marry his sweetheart, Lena. His older brother, John Johnson, died in 1864 (I don’t have the details, but I’m pretty sure he died in the war).

    Seymour ended up selling farm implements (and he got a U.S. patent for a cleverly designed plow for breaking up prairie land). Seymour’s daughter Stella Johnson married Olav H. Hegge (great grandparents of mine). Olav was a medical doctor who founded both the hospital and the savings and loan in Austin, Minnesota (home of the Hormel Spam factory!). O.H. Hegge was also a friend of the Mayo brothers (who founded a famous clinic in a neighboring town). When I was young, I remember meeting the grandchildren (or maybe they were great-grandchildren) of the Mayos.

    So that’s my story. I’ve done quite a lot of work on my family tree. One of these days, I’ll delve into the details of exactly what Company A of the 32nd Wisconsin did during the war. Google has lots of links.

    I have a photo of Seymour in his later years (I’m guessing he’s about 50 or so). I haven’t scanned it into the computer yet. With family trees there’s always a long list of things to do and things to do more research about.

    "Stupid just can't keep its mouth shut." -- SweetAuntFanny's grandmother.

    by Dbug on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 09:45:22 PM PDT

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site