The following family outline and life story was written by Thora (Tuftin) Miller around 1970. Photocopies have been passed on to relatives, and eventually to me. I've "corrected" some spelling and ideosyncracies, and left others in, but you can always see the original pages by clicking the camera icons by each page number. The story is a wonderful look into the lives, not only of Thora, but her parents and siblings as well.(1)
Family Tree of Thora Miller
My mother Gulbjørg Anderson was born at Hadeland, Norway. Her mother and dad's names were Kari and Nels Anderson. My mother's brother and sister were Anders and Anne. Anders went by the name Torebrothen - lived at Paalerud - Hen til his death at an age of 104 yrs. His wife Marthe passed away at 96 years. His children live around Hen, some in this Country.
My father was Gulbrand Knutson Tuftin. His parents were Inger and Knut Tuftin Odda
Mother and dad had 12 children of which 2 died in infancy.
Christ, Andrew, Ingval, Olava, ^Karoline, Gena - Nils - Gustava - Inger, Carl and me.
My father's grandma was Ollaug Aasterud, Valdres Norway. (2) My Grandfather Knut was a shoemaker. So was my dad. My mother was a dressmaker. My dad was also a good violinist. Grandfather Knut had many children. Karoline, Edward Whitmyr, Torstein - Ed Tuftins Dad, Paul, Anders. There were more, but I did not know them. One daughter and family burnt up in Hinkley fire.(3)
A little story of my life,
I was born in a little log cabin in Aadalen, Norway. The first thing I can remember about that home was a big cherry tree by the house and our cow and cat. When I was 4 yrs old we moved over to a bigger farm and bigger house too. But I cried when I had to leave our home. I guess I was kind of lost as everything was taken out of the house.
My sister Gustava and I were the last ones to leave. She had to carry me partways as it was a little path as we went across the woods. The others went the main road which was was about 3 miles from the little cabin. We met an old lady, that was moving in to where we left. She was so kind looking and she gave me a big lump of (4) sugar and I told her she had such pretty blue eyes. We got to be good friends after I got big enough to go see her. She always gave me a big cup of coffee and sour cream and a big slice of bread. That tasted so good, but the coffee was awful strong.
Anyway we had many things to look over on our new place. We had a big berry garden and vegetable garden. We had 4 cows, 1 horse, 10 sheep and chickens. We always had good food too, and Mother made all our clothes and knitted stockings for us all.
I started school and liked my teacher very much. In winter my brother Carl and I was sleding and skiing and in the summer we kept busy helping mother (5) and sometimes neighbor children came over and we had lots of fun.
There were 11 children in our family. Chris, Andrew, Olava, Gina, Ingval, Nels, Gustava, Inga, Carl and I. Caroline passed away at 13 years old. Christ and Andrew went over here many years before I was born.
My father was a shoemaker and the boys learned the trade as they grew up. In the summer all the men worked on timber going down the river to a mill at Hen. From there on it went by train to a factory where they made it in to paper and also planed lumber.
The later years I lived in Norway we bought a house in a little village called Paalerud. It was nice for mother and me there as we had (6) no cows. Nels, Gustava and Inga also left for America, so it was only Pa, Ma, Carl and me at our house
My other sisters lived just a few miles from us and my brother Ingval too. He came every 2 weeks and then my Dad, Ingval and Carl played violins and chello. But then Nels and the others wanted us to come to US, so finaly we left mother Norway and came here. Nov. 1907
I have to write a little more about Norway. When Christmas came, my dad always helped ringing in Christ- mas Eve at the church. And my mother and Gustava made our evening meal. Rømmegrøt, lutfisk, Spare- ribs, potatoes and fatigman. The christmas tree was lit and we all went around the tree and sang. (7) My dad was a good singer. All our family usually was there during Christmas.
Then came the Christmas fools about the 3rd day. Dad playd the violin and there was a few happy ????. Mother treated wine and fatigman to them all. That would go on for many evenings.(8)
We left Olava and fam, Gena and fam and Ingval, in Norway. That was sad for us all, as we knew we would never see each other again.
The school I went to always had a Christmas tree and we sang and all went around the tree. There was about 200 of us at that school. We had a very good Choir leader - so we really sounded nice. During winter we had a ski tournament on the biggest hill we had. I won 2nd price in one of them. I liked to go over the jumps high up in the air. (Wish I could do it now).
We had a big (water)fall at Hønefoss and it furnished electricity a long ways.
Then we left Norway and we got so sick on the North Sea. Came to England I though the floors in the Hotel still was vavie. Was in the Hotel 3 days and nights. Saw a lot of hungry children (9) there. They all hurried to the big garbage cans after our tables were cleaned off and grabbed what they could get in a hurry. That was terrible, after the kids had got what they could, the big rats came and got what they liked.
The third day we left for US on a ship called (Monetoba) an old rickety thing. Took us 2 weeks to get to Quebec, Canada. Then they shoved us on to an old train. Just wooden seats. Went to Montreal after that, more wooden seats till we got to Barron, from Barron to Almena we had plush seats. We met my brothers Andrew and Nels, and also uncle Paul there. They had a team of horses and a wagon, as we had a big (10) trunk and many satchels and other things to carry. They took us in to a little hotel to get dinner. Then we went to Christ and Oleanna. There we had a very good supper. Stayed there over night. It was really a nice thing to sleep in a bad again.
Next day we went to Andrew. We stayed there for a couple weeks, then we got to live in Ole Johnson's house where Alvin and Ollie has lived for many years. We thought it was nice to live by our self again. People were good to us, gave us a table, chairs and beds to sleep in. We lived there till spring.
Uncle Paul & Olava gave us 2 cows - so we had milk & butter. We also had plenty meat. My dad bought a steer from Mrs Gunderson (11) and butchered and Andrew gave us a big Ham. Ma was happy again when she could cook and bake again.
I had to start school. That was a terrible thing, as I only knew the Norwegian Language, but I soon learned. I read a lot after I learned what the words meant. Also got many new friends. They were all good to me.
Nels was a cook - so he was out cooking a lot in the woods in winter and on Saw Mills in summer.
Dad started up a shoe fixing shop in Arland. So him and ma settled there till they pased away about 10 years later. They were happy too.
Carl, Christ and Uncle Paul left for Canada and Nels went later. (12) Gustava had left for Canada before we came from Norway, so I never got to see her again. Carl and Christ came back here after a few years.
I was confirmed at Arland Church by Rev Thoreson. Then I went out working. When I was 17 I started working for Uncle Sam at Minnesota Old Soldiers Home in the Dining Hall. Inga (13) worked there too. My job was slicing bread and stacking them on plates for the Waitress. Took a lot of bread 5 plates for each table, 7 tables, each table seated 48 men. They gave me tips as I passed more bread around. I liked it there. Then after a year we quit.
Went home to brother Nels over winter (14) and helped him as he was alone after my folks went to Arland.In the spring we went back to the city, I worked at G?? Br Laundry. Then I went home and helped Nels again as he was cooking for a saw mill near by. He used to come home with a big bag of good raised dough and nuts once in a while.
Then in the fall I married a fellow by (15) the name Peder A Miller Sept 20 / 1913. We were happy most of the time. We lived with his folks for 2 years. Then Grandpa Miller passed away. Then we bought the farm & grandma stayd with us for 20 years. We had 6 Children. Gena, Peter, Edna, Lillie, Evelyn and Mildred. Every body liked to come to our (16) house, as the children grew up. We had lots of kids every sunday. I always gave them lunch and let them play & have fun.
But as time went on they all left home except Peter - him & Pa farmed together and it went good. We had 5 grand- Children that came to see us every day. Pa lost his health & we had to quit farm work. We lived in Pete & Dotties house & they bought the farm. Then we moved to Barron. Pa worked 8 years for Jerome till he was 68 years - I worked at many jobs - but we were happy.
We lost a little granddaughter first year we lived in Barron Little Carol Ann, Edna & Howards girl. We missed her a lot, every one else did too. Specialy her mother and Dad. 10 years later our Daughter (17) Lillie passed away at the age of 36 - 4 months later my husband died.
It was hard to lose so many at once. But Earth has no sorrow that Heaven can not heal. I have many Grand- Children & soon will have 11 great grandchildren. They are all good to me.
I have to write a little more about Norway. We lived close by a big river called Begna elven. There were 2 big boats there. The names of the boats was Sperillen and Begna. They came & went many miles every day. One little boat called Telegraf. It hauled a ferry or big bunch of logs to the mill not far from us. Many men had jobs there from spring till late in the fall. Then (18) the men had to go to the woods and make more logs for next year.
One spring my dad was digging a ditch from the hiway to the river and he worked with a short handled shovel. As he was digging away something moved by his side - it was a big sea- serpent. He said it had a head nearly as big as a horse head and about 20 feet long - he had no choice so he killed it with the shovel. I always thought he was telling fibs, but about 40 years later another man had killed one with an ax. He thought it was a long rail or part of a tree so he chopped into it and it started to move - than he finaly got it killed. So they printed it in the paper and it said one like that had not (19) been seen since Gulbrand Tuftin killed one many years back, then I had to believe it was true.
My first grandchild was Ruth then Rose Wallberg. then came Frankie, Terry, Randy, Jody & Rochelle Miller. Then Carol Ann. Steven, Roger, Jon McCombs. Then came Connie, David, Robert, Richard & Kevin Olson. And I have Great grandsons Norlan Deno & Wilbur McCoy. And Brian, Bradly, Thonia, Frankis Millers & Lisa Marie Randy Millers & Andrea Louise Terry Millers. (20) They all call me Grandma. That's about all of our family.
Little bit more about Christ & Andrew. They left for America in the early spring. When they got to Oslo they went to the ships that was to take them to England. and they went on board - but I guess Andrew thought he would do a little sight seeing - so (21) he went off & walked around a while. Mean time the ship left & Christ had all the papers & money - Christ hunted all over the ships for Andrew. So Andrew had to walk 90 miles back home - and didn't get going again till in the fall - as papers & ticket had to be sent to him again.
After we had been in this country a short while we joined the Concordia Church at Arland. We had many Basket parties in the Luther ??? and the meetings were mostly held in the homes. We had readings & singing at the meetings & we also played games. Then for other fun we went to Gl?? Hall. We had maskerades & Basket socials. (22) once a year - Also had hard time dance. The ones dressed worst got a 50 ¢ price. Once it was Hans Erickson & I. We also had to march around the Hall showing off you know - It was all for fun thos. We all went to Mrs. Gilbertson for supper around 12.00 o'clock Fourth of July was a big celebration them days. We all gathered at Scandia for a picnic dinner. All the families (23) around the community was there. Ice cream & limonade was sold all afternoon & then we went home and milked the cows and back to Arland again. Music was mostly August Olson with his harp & Andrew Hanson with Violin or anyone that could play the instruments. We had lots of fun. Next day we were pretty tired - but then the haying took full swing - after that the harvest. Then plowing & also making wood for the winter. It was a lot of hard work - but it kept everybody out of mischief.
We done a lot of singing & playing guitar. After the Children grew bigger and Carl & Ginas children. Gina used to come over with her kids & then they told her to play a Hopwalls - and they jumped around & had a lot of (23) fun. I don't think they ever got mad at each other - and the Tuftin girls & boy were good actors. Casper he was a clown if there ever was one.
I think this finishes my story.
Will add a little more. Our children had to go get the cows at night for ilking in the summer time. Pete usually went horse-back on Quin, a little Broncho. She was good at gathering the cows. But little to fast for the girls. So Lillie took old Grant - an older horse, a long legged one & a stiff built one. Lillie got as far as up to the cow pen - then he turned around and came back to the barn - she tried 3 times in succession but all ways went back to the barn. Guess he knew he was to tall. Spouse she would have got hung up in some trees out in the woods. Well I think that's all now.