Delivering tragic immigrant news about the 1862 Sioux Uprising 114 years later
By Deb Nelson GourleyMonday, November 12, 2001
When I found the Hjørnevik farm near Evanger i Voss, in the Bergan area of Norway in 1976, I felt like I was really home. There were no roads leading to Hjørnevik, so it meant taking a train to the station, between the two mountain tunnels.
It was customary for Norwegians to use their farm name in Norway as their last name in America. Knowing only that my great-great-great-grandparents last name was Hjørnevik, it was possible to locate the one and only Hjørnevik farm in Norway.
I climbed up the steep mountainside path until I came to a quaint white and blue house with a breathtaking view of the valley and the Evangervatn, a lake-like passage that leads to the fjord. Two Hjørnevik sisters, Torbjørg, 88, and Maria, 83, answered the door. Never having seen me before, they took one look at me and said in Norwegian, "You are a Hjørnevik, but who are you?"
At that moment, a great sense of pride came over me, as I realized that I was the first person in my family to return to Hjørnevik from America. Torbjørg and Maria, speaking in their local dialect, began asking questions faster than I could understand.
I quickly dug out my genealogy chart from my backpack and began delivering the tragic immigrant news from America, 114 years after the events had occurred. It was the story of my family immigrating from Hjørnevik in 1860 and the parents being brutally murdered in 1862, in the Belmont Massacre during the Sioux Indian Uprising, near Jackson, Minnesota.
The next day I visited Torbjørg and Maria's brother, Salamon, 90, the Hjørnevik family genealogist. He was so excited he kept repeating, "slekt, slekt," (relative) over and over again. Salamon remembered being told how my family had immigrated to America and that they were never heard from again.
Salamon Hjørnevik's family genealogy records dated back to 1654. He traced my great- great-great-grandfather to a cousin of his grandfather.
Immigration to America, 1860
Once in America, the Hjørnevik's went first to Big Canoe, Winneshiek County, Iowa and then pushed on westward to Jackson. They settled in a Norwegian community, along the upper Des Moines River, called Belmont.
According to the history book Inkpaduta and the Sioux Indians, these Norwegian settlers who arrived in the early 1860's understood an .....[Read the Rest]