The following story is the Ostby family tree. It was copied from a document prepared by cousins in the late 1960's or early 1970's. It is obviously a synopsis of the tax records, court proceedings, and census records of that area of Norway from which the Ostby's originate. The picture of the people is their 'official' appearance to courts of Norway. It doesn't reflect on the true personality of these people but may give an indication of what they were like. Sometimes what isn't said is as revealing as what is said.
Joseph D. Harlan 1/24/1983
1. Gjermund Halvorsen Hammersgaard, b.ca. 1634, wife unknown
Hammersgaard is named after Rauhammer mountain raising behind the farm.
The farm is not among the oldest in the area, even if it is much older than the name, according to written sources. It originally was part of Sorby, and in the beginning that was its name - only Sorby the first hundred years, later from time to another Hammersgaard, and then alternately Sorby and Hammersgaard. In 1528 there are only two Sorby farms mentioned. It is difficult to determine if Hammersgaard did not yet exist or if it was one of the two Sorby farms mentioned. The first alternative is probably the correct one. But already in 1577-78 there are three Sorby farms, two paying 4 skillings each in forest tax, while the third one pays 3 skillings. In 1624 Embret and Bjorn Rohne each owns 1 hide, 1 1/2 calf hide of Sorby. This most probably is Hammersgaard which as long as can be determined had a property tax of 2 hides and 3 calf hides.
In 1657 judge Christen Jensen owns the same estate which after him was taken over by his son-in-law Werner Nielsen, his son Niels Wernersen and his son-in-law Jens Christian Stud at Road in Tune - for some time it was also owned by Israel Larsen in Tune, a son-in-law of Jens Wernersen. The tax was all the time undivided, but soon comes in addition 20 whitefish based on the old whitefish fishing in the Enger. One finds that the twenty whitefish corresponded to 1 1/5 calf hide.
The first Hammersgaard farmer is Ola (Oluf) who had a part of Sorby in 1621, living there to 1633. Then in 1634 the name Martin (Morten) appears. In 1551 (1651? jh) we hear the last about him. At the same time comes a new farmer, Torgal. But it looks like there was an interruption while he was there. Several times Hammersgaard disappeared from the tax lists or the information is scanty. At other times, as in the important census of 1657, the name Torgier Hammersgaard is only mentioned in brackets, nothing more. In 1659 - 1661 too nothing is found. But with the census if 1664 the information is satisfactory. Then there are the farmers, Torgal, 38, and Gjermund, 30, each paying not mentioned. The same goes for 1667. Then in 1675 Torgal's part cease to exist. No reason is as usually given, but for a time the area is the hands of the enemy, as the judge states. At the same time, however, new people take over after Torgal, so there might have been another reason for the interruption.
In 1672 there is one Simen Hammersgaard owing taxes for about 1 dollar on the whole farm. It is mentioned that the farm formerly belonged to Hammers-Torger, one year by a brass smith who has escaped, one year the farm was not run at all, and Simen now has lived there for 5 years. Neither Simen nor anyone else running the farm were regarded as solid taxpayers, which had to be paid by the owner, Christen Jensen.
One does not know whether Torgal was related to the previous farmers, or not. It is of minor importance. Those following him seem to belong to other families.
One does also not know when Hammersgaard was divided into two farms. The first time two farmers are mentioned is in the census of 1664, and the part run by Gjermund is the main one.
I. We do not know where Gjermund Halvorsen (#1) or his wife came according to the census he was born around 1624, and at the time there were many by the name of Halvor in Trysel who could have been his father, one for example at Sondre Sorby. Later another farmer came from there to run the other half of the farm, and it is very possible that Gjermund Halvorsen came from the same place. He has half the farm - 1 hide, 1 1/2 calf hide and 10 whitefish, and in 1675 he pays in grain tax 2 1/2 lb.. barley. He has a mill at the Grind-brook together with the farmer of the other half.
In 1703 Israel Larsen on behalf of Christen Moystad puts the whole farm up for sale at the Trysil Thing. If anybody wanted to buy it he had to go to the Christiania Fair. But nobody showed up.
On Feb. 6, 1727 (deeded Jan 23, 1726) Ola Gjermundsen buys the farm part former of the other half.
III. Gjermund Olsen (#3) received the deed for the farm-part on Dec. 8, 1731 and the tax was 6 3/4 calf hides and 7 whitefish. The assessment was 70 dollars. The farmer had a hard time with his debt for a long time, but many shared his fate. The years after 1740 were extremely difficult. In 1741 he was sued by Jens Gregersen in Christiania for 23 dollars which he owed for an unpaid mortgage by Collett & Lauch for 40 dollars and 17 skillings, for 38 dollars and 1ngs he owed Captain Anders Eliesen and for an undetermined amount that he owed the estate of Johan Pehlsmann. In most cases the debtor promised to pay with lumber, but it must have been a very rough time when one finds that the debts were greater than the assessment of his total property and that he in many ways was a pioneer. But it looks like he managed to overcome the problems and even came out ahead. When his first wife died and he had the estate probated in order to remarry the estate value amounted to 178 dollars and he had paid all his debts and paid the probate costs in cash. Gjermund Olsen must have cut down quite a lot of timber during these years and with the net profit after extensive expenses to get the timber across to Osen or to the Trysil River at the Ulv Lake in order to reduce his debts. He was, however, accused of stealing lumber by a Vestby man. How this turned out one does not know as the case did not show up in the court records. Gjermund Gjermundshaugen might have been a difficult man. In 1763 he was sued by Jens Evensen Groenaasen for slander and by Per Persen Hagen for insults. Both cases were however, settled out of court.
IV. Gjermund Olsen sold in 1767 (deeded 12/17/1768) half of the farm to the oldest son Ola, who, through deed from his siblings dated 12/18/1780 took over the whole farm. But before he came that far he had borrowed extensively. In 1773 he took out a mortgage with Collett & Leuch for 155 dollars for the property and cattle and accepted the Christiania Thing as the proper court, and witnessed by Engebretsen in the suburb of Vaterland. To the same parties in 1775 the mortgage had increased to 232 dollars against security in furnishings and cattle. His two sons guarantors. Both mortgages were paid in full in 1786 and the debts paid.
Like his dad Ola Gjermundsen was married twice. At the probate after his first wife in 1793 he had 389 in gross assets, 371 dollars net. The farm assessment was then 200 dollars. Ola Gjermundsen was the assistant to the pastor.
V. Now his son Gjermund Olsen received the deed by paying to his siblings 142 dollars and give his father pension according to this contract: He was annually entitled to a 3 year old cow of 4 calves; 4 barrels of barley, 2 lb.. salt, or 3 lb.. good malt and 10 dollars cash.
VI. The son, Ola Gjermundsen, received the deed at the probate in 1828 and ran the farm to 1855. At that time he sold only Osterhaug, which was taxed for 28 shillings.
VII. Gjermund Olsen obtained the deed on 9/26/1855 and the parents became pensionists. The new farmer took in 1863 a mortgage from Consul Rohs & Co in Goethenburg for 1000 dollars, and in 1863 he sold the Haugen forest, 4 parcels, the Eltsmyra, Gjermundsronningen, Flenoya, and Striarholmen, to the Forest Company, properties which were taxed 3 orts and 7. But the Gjermund died six years later, only 45 years old, his estate still bankrupt, showed 2242 dollars, while debts amounted to 3870 dollars.
VIII. A/B Molnbacka-Trysil now took over Haugen and this company traded with the owner of East Nordby, Olaus Myhuus who moved here. When he died his widow sold it to her brother Per Olsen Skjaerstad (IX). Olauus Myhuus' deed was certified 8/2/1880 and Per Skjaerstad's 7/1/1897. He formerly the owner of the neighbor farm Mehagen, and these two farms were combined and since run together. The Gronberg chalet and the Korsberg chalet and some other parcels were gradually made separate units.
Per Skjaerstad moved to Mehagen and the houses at Gjermunghaugen closed. The lodge Home Protection brought the old main building and has their meeting place there. Given the name Breidablikk (Wide View) became its own parcel in 1899.
Per O. Skjaerstad was one of the finest violinists in Trysil at the time. Very often he played at dances and other festivities there.
Animals and seed at Hammersgaard, Haugen
Horses Cattle Sheep Goats Grain Potatoes
1667 * 2 16 3 barrels
1723 * 5 38 34 40 3 1/3
1765 2 8 9 8
1808 3 24 60
1843 ** 2 14 48 11 11 barrels
1864 2 12 13 2 3
1875 1 1 2
* The whole Hammersgaard farm, Haugen 1/4 of it.
28. Jens Gjermundsen Hammersgaard 7/4/1753-7/18/1834,
II. Jens Gjermundsen Hammersgaard took over in 1772, as mentioned above, East Ostby after Halvor Olsen, and had the farm alone until he gave half of it to his brother-in-law Embret Embrretsen, which is documented in 1782. Afterwards Jens remained at Soahaugen which was later name Jens' after him. Jens Gjermundsen was married to Gjertrud Olsdatter Moen from Innbygda, sister of Ole Olsen Moen at Roenningen. Haugen changed hands in 1816 and Jens Gjermundsen became a pensionist.
III. His oldest son Gjermund Jensen the Older (Jens had two sons named Gjermund) who in the year mentioned married Inger Jonsdatter Eidet, sister of Johanne Roenningen, received the farm from pastor Bassoe in 1816. He died in 1837 and his estate shows an estate of 227 dollars. The estate did not have ant outstanding debts and the widow took back half of the furnishings. The farm then had a herd of 2 horses, 8 cows, 3 bulls, 2 calves, 1 goat, 3 sheep, and 16 ewes. Gjermund Jensen had 3 barks, 3 rifles, 1 shotgun, 21 old scythes, 5 buckets, 24 trays, and 24 milk cups. He had 2 gray homespun vests, and one gray homespun jacket with leather, blue homespun pair of pants, also a dress, homespun socks and a red and green scarf.
IV. His son, Jens Gjermundsen received Royal deed 1844 (certified 3/4/1845) and the party had a tax of 1 calf skin or 5/6 lb.. tongue translated into 4 ort and 8. The price was 300 dollars and the annual soil tax of 5 lb.. barley to the pastor. The buyer took a mortgage for the whole amount. In 1848 he sold to his nephew Jens Jensen Kilden the Younger the place Kilden, which Jens Jensen's father Jens Gjermundsen had tilled in 1824, and in 1852 he sold some out-parcels to Per Eriksen Oestby (Bjoerset). Jens Gjermundsen, who was married to Gjertrud Mortensdatter from Mortens in Ljoerdalen, moved from Trysil in the spring of 1861 after having sold his farm some years earlier. But when the deed was issued he called himself Jens Gjermundsen Straete.
V. The buyer was Jens Gjermundsen's brother John Gjermundsen, who received the deed from assistant judge O. Nyhuus 1/25/1865. He was married to Inger Olsdatter Roenningen who died early, and John Gjermundsen was later married to Pernille Embretsdatter Oestby (Pers).
In 1864 the farm was described as follows: 2.7 acres grainland, 5 acres of drymeadow, seeding 2 barrels of barley and 5 barrels of potatoes, 15 1/2 lb.. of straw, 37 1/2 lb.. of hay, 18 lb.. at the chalet, 45 at Rismyra, 5 at Myra and 22 lb.. of hay at the out-parcels. Two horses, 12 cows and 34 small animals. John Gjermundsen was an able farmer and received the rare appreciation from the tax commission that the farm is exceptionally well run, particularly in the outlying areas. The forest comprises 3,000 acres, estimated at dozens. The annual net for the farm and forest comprises 133-3-14, tax 4 orts and 12. In 1871 John Gjermundsen sold a forest parcel to Erik Olsen Lutnaes and Per Olsen Bustad, taxed for 14 shillings.
VI. John Gjermundsen sold the farm in 1872 (dated 1/20, certified 1/28) to Johan Olsen Roenningen for 4000 dollars and the same year he build Berg. Johan Roenningen also owned Oers at Oestby and did not have Jens' long. In 1874 (certified 1/21) the Tandanes parcel, Svartlasskjell parcel and some of Ramsa were sold to the Sawmill Association in Fredrikshald, Nygjerdinger, a grain parcel, the grazing field Ormmyrroenningen and some forest were sold to Isak Embretsen Oestby. Johan Olsen Roenningen retained a piece of the land, Bratebekkroenningen and two forest parcels (taxed as farm no. 15, East Oestby). The main property, farm No. 7, was sold to the brother-in-law of Johan Roenningen, Carl Christoffersen Presthus, for 700 dollars, and finally the place Kjeldmoen (farm No. 11) was sold to Per Jensen Moren.
VII. Carl Christoffersen who received the deed for what was left of Jens' on 1/21/1874, is from Presthus at Oestby and married to Johanne Persdatter Flermoen (West). Jens' had in 1939; .06 acres of grain, 0.4 acres of potatoes, 1 horse, 8 cows, 16 sheep, and 18 goats.
For a long time the Oestby Trading Store was housed at the Kallestunga and when the store moved to the main road the Kallestunga was also moved there.
Rev. P. G. Ostby Gone to His Reward After Long Life of Service for God.
Rev. P. G. Ostby was born in Trysil, Norway, August 12, 1836. He attended the common school and when he attained the age of twelve years his teacher insisted the boy had learned all there was to learn in this school. This closed his school work and study until he was about twenty years old when he accepted a position as instructor in a school at Vaalor, in Solor and here he continued until 1859 when he entered Asker Seminary, studying two years and demitting with a deportment of excellent character and highly complimented on the aptness shown in his study of religion and history. He resumed his position as teacher at Vaalor until the year 1868, when on strong persuasion of his friends he decided to leave for the United States and study for the ministry. His first course of study in his new line was at a school at Paxton Ill. and he later graduated from the Theological Seminary at Marshall, Wis., in November, 1870. Rev. C. L. Clausen, of St. Ansgar, tendered the young pastor a call as chaplain. During his first year's service Rev. Clausen's call, which consisted at the time of several congregations, was divided in two, giving Rev. Ostby the congregation at Little Cedar, Austin, Red Oak Grove, and Blooming Prairie, Minn. He began his service as pastor of these congregations on New Year's day, 1872, with his residence at Austin, Minn. Aside from these, Rev. Ostby had some time previous organized a congregation at Mason City, and a little later also became pastor for a small congregation at Albert Lea.
In this early day preachers were few and their duties in caring for the religious welfare of the rapidly settling community gave opportunity for a young enthusiastic pastor of Rev. Ostby's type to occupy his entire time. He saw the need of organizing congregations in the new Scandinavian settle-ments in upper Iowa and south Minnesota and set about organizing at Hartland, Straight River, Grand Meadow, in Minnesota; Clear Lake, Hampton, Ackley, Aurdia, in Iowa. From his home in Austin Minnesota to Aurdia, Iowa was a distance of 200 miles and scarcely any railroad facilities, but nevertheless he served them all to the best of his ability until the time came when more pastors were available and today we find large congre-gations of Lutherans, owning fine church building, progressing and self-supporting.
Rev. Ostby has also served as pastor in Ridgeway, Iowa River and Clairmont, Iowa; Housten and Loamy Valley, Minn., and Bastwick, Valley, Wis. During all his early years he served ten and twelve congregations at one time which necessitated traveling from place to place all the time. This continued until 1877 when it became evident that this strenuous life could not be continued, furthermore his congregations enlarged and needed better service than he could give them with so much work on his hands. On redesigning his duties as above mentioned, Rev. Ostby was called as pastor of the Lime Creek and Lake Mills congregations, taking charge on New Year's day, 1878. He then removed to his farm home near Emmons, Minn. and has made it his home until the time of his death. Later on he served again as pastor at Austin, Minn., Albert Lea, Oakland, and Round Prairie congregations.
At the time of organizing districts in the conference, Rev. Ostby was elected as district president and was re-elected for a number of times until he resigned. When the conference voted favoring "Visitasordningen" and divided the territory into four "Visa-tats" districts, Rev. Ostby was elected vistator for the southwest district which included all Lutheran congregations west of the Mississippi river and south of the Winona and St. Peter Railroad, making his travels extend clear out to the James river and Yank-ton, S. D. and south again as far as Adams county Iowa. As such he served the confer-ence five years and was re-elected by the United church as visatator for the St. Ansgar district which he faithfully and conscien-tiously performed until the time of his resignation, his last visit being made to the Lake Mills congregation, Sunday May 17, 1908, closing his 12th year of work by his visit here or seventeen years continuous service as visatator.
As busy as his life may seem to have been from the above sketch, yet he found opportunity to make several trips as home missionary. As such he organized a Dane congregation in Park county, Wis. one in Douglas county, Minn., and two in the western part of Ottertail county crossing into Becker county, where he preached at the various places, officiating at baptisms, etc. (This was the year the Northern Pacific railway built its grade through Becker County.) His trip continued through clay county to Buffalo River, crossing the Red river to Georgetown and stopping to organize a congregation a few miles south on the Dakota side. This was the first congregation to be organized in the Red River Valley and Rev. Ostby was the first pastor to pay a visit to this territory. If all the experiences and hardships endured in all these trips could be written it would be more suitable for book form than a newspaper description. But the - the salary of a man fulfilling the duties such as related of Rev. Ostby must have been amply renumerative. Yes the salary. The church treasury in those days was empty. Rev Ostby labored and looked forward to his pay "When the Roll is Called Up Yonder" and now he has gone to receive and to hear his Savior say, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant."
Rev. Ostby had been in poor health the last two or three years but he had been active in attending church meetings in this neighborhood, not until just the few last moments was he taken sick so that he was confined to his bed.
The arduous work and the weight of years began to tell and in 1915 he retired from active work as a pastor, being succeeded here by Rev. R. M. Fjeldstad.
Goro Thornby. To this union nine children were born, four of whom have died. The mother died in 1908. He later married Ranvei Gavle, who died in 1912.
The surviving relatives are one brother and one sister in Norway; five sons, George, of Forest City, Iowa, Bernhard and Selmer of St. Paul, Minn., James of Crane Oregon and Paul of Emmons. There are also 22 grand-children.
Death came Friday noon, June 15, 1917 and the funeral services were held at the Lime Creek church Tuesday afternoon, June 19. Rev N. C. Brun, of Lake Mills, preached the funeral sermon. Rev. Brun was a classmate at Paxton with the deceased. Several other visiting pastors were present and made short talks but we were unable to get the names of all. Interment was made in the cemetery adjacent to the church.
It was one of the largest, if not the largest funeral in point of attendance, ever held at this church. The capacity of the church did not begin to meet the demands on it this day. People came from far and near to pay their last respect to one who had labored faithfully and well in the Lord's vinyard and they had learned to love him for his unselfish labor.
55. Paul Irgens Dybdahl Ostby 10/27/1876-9/16/1951,