When Sigard Susag, Alfrida and Marie’s older brother, was 20 years old, he went to North Dakota to haul grain for the 25 year old Helmer Johnson. Johnnie also lived and worked with Helmer off and on in North Dakota.
Alfrida’s mother suggested that she go help those bachelors in North Dakota and soon Alfrida was cooking for the group. A short time after that, Alfrida and Helmer were married in Cooperstown, North Dakota. The date was August 1st, 1912. Helmer was 26 years old and Alfrida was 18.
Two Brother Marry Two Sisters
Alfrida and Marie
Photo courtesy of Norwegian Migrants
During the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, more than 600,000 Norwegians migrated to the United States in search of better job opportunities. No other country except Ireland has provided the United States with so many immigrants in proportion to population.
Helmer and Alfrida
on their wedding day
August 1, 1912
Alfrida Ingmarine Susag
Photo taken 1912
Alfrida and Helmer Johnson are the parents of Walter Edwin Johnson.
Johnnie and Marie are the parents of Cecelia (Johnson) Haglund
Alfrida and Marie were sisters. Their father, David Susag. grew up in Namsos, Norway. He was born January 30th 1866. In 1888 when he was 22 years old he left Norway to move to the United States to the Rutland/ Abercrombie, North Dakota area. At this time Abercrombie was known as Fort Abercrombie. David borrowed money from his brother John to sponsor his childhood sweetheart, Julianna, in her journey to America. In 1890 when David was 24 years old he married Julianna Michaelson (Mikkelson). Julianna was the only one from her family to come to America.
Jakobine and Johan Andreas Martinussen's Children
Oline Andrea Johansdatter b. June 21, 1885 - d. unknown
Helmer Marcellus Sevald Johansen 'Johnson' b. June 28, 1886 - d. April 6, 1973, age 87
Johan 'Johnnie' Martin Johansen 'Johnson' b. January 8, 1889 - d. 1947, age 58
Helmer & Alfrida's Children
Johnnie Donald Anton Johnson b. March 20, 1913 - d. April 28, 2011, age 98
Nina Elisa Johnson b. August 27, 1914 - d. May 24, 2005, age 90
Arnold Leroy Johnson b. March 18, 1916 - d. April 10, 1992, age 76
Lester Elmer Johnson b. October 17, 1918 - d. February 20, 1981, age 62
Walter Edwin Johnson
Hillard Alvin Johnson b. August 31, 1922 - d. November 9, 2010, age 88
Eleanor Doris Johnson
Levi Grant Johnson b. July 13, 1926 - d. October 20, 2012, age 86
Helen Irene Johnson b. June 26, 1928 - d. October 9, 2009, age 81
Norris Everett Johnson b. May 17, 1930 - d. May 27, 1930
Mencer Helmer Johnson
Alfrida was about 13 years old when Helmer Johnson first visited the Susags at the Franklin Place with his friend, Gulstad. Lake Park was about 20 miles away, so the meetings were few and far between.
In 1910 Helmer had quit his job at the railroad and had gone to North Dakota to work and help with the wheat harvesting. This proved very profitable as Helmer was soon renting a farm of his own. He had procured four horses, some machinery and he planted wheat. These were the boom days. It was easy to get started. Especially when people helped each other.
In 1907 Helmer, age 21, left Norway. He boarded a ship to the United States to stay with his Aunt Sophie Bentson who lived in Lake Park, Minnesota. However, Sophie and her family had already moved to Culbertson, Montana, outside of Plentywood on July 30th. According to Walt Johnson Helmer possibly stayed with Aunt Sophie’s in-laws as they were still in Lake Park, MN. Nick Bentsen, Sophie's father-in-law) could have helped Helmer get a job on the railroad where Ole (Sophie’s husband) had worked and Nick was possibly still working on at the time.
Sophie was Johan Martinson’s half sister. The Bentson’s eventually moved to Plentywood, Montana where a group of relatives currently reside. Helmer worked for the railroad after arriving in Lake Park, MN. Helmer had become good friends with a man the same age by the name of Gulstad. The Gulstad family lived next door to the David Susag family. The Gulstads along with Helmer and his brother, Johnnie, visited often with the Susags at their Franklin Place near Lake Franklin, MN.
David and Juliana's Children
Sigurd Susag b. November 19, 1891 - d. November 5, 1985, age 93
Alfrida Ingmarine Susag b. January 26, 1894 - d. August 16, 1971, age 77
Marie Susag b. November 30, 1896 - d. December 2, 1987, age 91
Josephine L Susag b. April 4, 1898 - d. February 12, 1995, age 96
Alfred Susag b. August 7, 1901 - d. February 1987, age 85
Deline Jorgine Susag b. October 21, 1903 - d. March 23, 1973, age 69
Emilie Alvilde Susag b. September 28, 1905 - d. 1996, age 91
Ragna Sophie Susag b. December 14, 1907 - d. June 9, 2005, age 97
Jakobine and Johan Andreas Johansen's Children
Jenny Amanda (Johansen) Slotnes b. September 26, 1892 - d. June 14, 1943, age 50
Elfrida Sofie Johansen b. 1896 - d. 1935, age 39
Thorvald Peder Johansen b. April 1, 1898 - d. September 30, 1984, age 86
Almar Ovald Johansen b. June 24, 1901 - d. December 22, 1967, age 66
Margrethe Eline Oluffa Gundersen b. March 4, 1904 - d. February 4, 2003 , age 98
As told by Walt Johnson and Cecelia Haglund
Brothers Helmer and Johnnie Johnson grew up in Norway during the 1890’s. Their parents were Johan Andreas Martinssen and Jakobine Antonsdatter. They had an older sister Oline who was born in 1885. Helmer Marcelius Sevald was born June 28, 1886 in Hadsel of Vesteraalen, Norway and three years later brother Johan (Johnnie) Martin was born on January 8, 1889. Helmer and Johnnie grew up not knowing their real father as Johan died the same year Johnnie was born in 1889. Their father had been out fishing when a terrible pain came over him and he was taken to a hospital near Vesteraalen. He died days later from peritonitis. (Peritonitis is a bacterial or fungal infection of the peritoneum, a silk-like membrane that lines the inner abdominal wall and covers the organs within the abdomen.)
Note from Kristin:
I remember what Marie and Johnnie’s daughter, Marian (Sundholm) Ahlverts, said at a family reunion in the 1980’s,
“Did you know that your Dad and I have the same first cousins. You have first cousins from your Mom’s side and other’s from your Dad’s side, but your Dad and I have the same First Cousins. Double Cousins.”
The information in this story was gathered during a visit at Harold and Cecelia Haglund’s in December 2002. Notes were taken by Kristin (Granquist) Peterson of conversations of Walt and Vi Johnson and Harold and Cecelia Haglund. Dates were later added from records of Vi and Walt Johnson.
Two Brothers and Two Sisters
When Helmer and Alfrida’s second child was born in 1914, 18 year old, Marie went to help her sister.
Johnnie was also living in North Dakota at the time. Marie had known of Johnnie for many years and on December 9, 1916, they were married in Cooperstown, North Dakota. Thus was the beginning of reunions many years later when the double first cousins would get together. That was the result of two brothers marrying two sisters.
Helmer and Johnnie
In 1891 their first son, Sigard, was born. Three years later Alfrida Ingmarine was born on January 26th, 1894. When Alfrida was three a baby sister named Marie was born on November 30th, 1896. The family continued to grow with Josephine in 1898, Alfred in 1901, Deline in 1903, Emelie in 1905 and Ragna born in 1907. The family moved to Minnesota in the early 1900s and homesteaded the Franklin Place. This area is near present day Vergas, Minnesota.
A Step Family
Later, their mother, Jakobine married Johan Andreas Johansen and five more children became part of the family.
The first child was a girl, Jenny, who eventually married and had eleven children. The second child, Elfrida, grew up and moved to New York where she married, but had no children. Third child, Thorvald, stayed in Norway and lived to age 86. Fourth child, Almar (Elmer), lived to age 66 in Norway. Margrethe (Margit) was the fifth child. She stayed in Norway and married Herman Gundersen and lived to age 98.
When Helmer and Johnnie were young children, the family moved to Sildpollen, Norway where the boys spent their youth.
Johnnie and Marie
on their wedding day
December 9, 1916
Johnnie & Marie's Children
Cecelia Jeanette Haglund b. May 30, 1918 - d. Feb 7, 2011, age 92
Marian Deline Johnson b. February 7, 1920 - d. November 29, 2013, age 93
Norman Victor Johnson b. November 22, 1923 - d. March 4, 2016, age 92
Lillian Florence Johnson b. September 6, 1926 - d. July 28, 1984, age 57
Hartvick 'Bud' Theodore Johnson
Carl Hillard Johnson
Pearl Esther Johnson
Myrtle Mae Johnson
Harold LeRoy Johnson
Johnnie went to Sweden in his late teens to work in the ore mines in Sulitjelma, Sweden. About 1911 when Johnnie was 22 years old, he returned to Valfjord, Norway. That same year he boarded a ship that took him to the United States where he moved in with his brother Helmer who was now living in North Dakota. Aunt Sophie may have sponsored Johnnie to come to the United States as she had done for Helmer.