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1943: John, Gertrude Iverson make Hardwick their home

Bits By Betty
Lead Summary
Betty Mann, Rock County Historian

The following article is part of the Diamond Club Member group that began in the January 7, 1943, issue of the Rock County Star Herald. Members of this group consist of persons of age 75 and older.
The following appeared in The Rock County Herald on October 11, 1943.
Two of Hardwick’s oldest residents, and two of its most respected citizens are Mr. and Mrs. John B. Iverson. As business man and postmaster, Mr. Iverson has watched the progress of the village since its infancy, and as his wife, Mrs. Iverson, too, has noted many changes since she came to Rock county as a bride in the 1880’s.
Both Mr. and Mrs. Iverson were born in Norway, but it wasn’t until they came to the United States that they became acquainted and were married.
Mr. Iverson was born near Oslo, the son of Edward and Kristina Ulrang, on February 5, 1863. His father was a farmer, and as Norway had little to offer a farmer’s son in the way of opportunity, he and two neighbor boys decided to come to the United States. At that time he was 16 years old. Of the three, Mr. Iverson was the only one who remained to make Rock county his home. He worked for an uncle near Luverne for two years, earning enough money so that he was able to go to St. Olaf college. He had obtained a common school education in Norway, and in two years, had learned enough of the American language so that he felt fitted to attend school in this country. It was while he was at Northfield that he met Gertrude Oldre, and at Faribault, on March 9, 1885, they were married.
Shortly, thereafter, they came to Rock county and settled on a farm in Battle Plain township, living there for five years before moving to Hardwick. Hardwick, then, was hardly more than an overgrown farm place. For a number of years in the late 1880’s, there were no business places except a station where grain was purchased by Otter Otterson, and a blacksmith shop operated by Engebret Olson. In 1891 the first building of permanent character was erected. The following year several businesses were established, and the townsite was surveyed that fall. From that time on, Hardwick continued to be a prosperous town.
Mr. Iverson was one of the town’s first merchants, and operated a general mercantile store for 13 years. In 1902 he built a brick business block which he later sold so that he could devote his full time to his duties as postmaster. His appointment was made in the spring of 1897 by President McKinley, and he held the position until he retired in 1940.
When the village of Hardwick was incorporated in 1898, Mr. Iverson was elected the first president of the village council, an office to which he was re-elected for four terms. All in all, he served about 30 years in various capacities on the city council, and was clerk for 20 years or more of the Hardwick school district.
Mrs. Iverson was born at Valdres, Norway, in August, 1860. She attended the public schools there, and because she was the oldest of five girls in her family, it fell her lot to learn how to make clothing for the family. She could spin and knit at the age of 12, and also learned how to weave.
Every article of clothing worn by the family at that time, she states, was made by hand. Home grown wool was carded and spun, and later woven into cloth or knitted into garments of various kinds.
­She left home at the age of 20 to come to Northfield where an uncle and a brother lived. She was employed there until she was married.
Mrs. Iverson fell several years ago and fractured her hip. She is able to get around with crutches, and spends considerable time knitting for her friends and others. The trouble now, she says, is the difficulty of getting the yarn she wants.
Although there have been many changes throughout the world, Mrs. Iverson states she still retains one possession that she had when she left Norway. That is her faith in God. Mrs. Iverson and her husband are members of Immanuel Lutheran church in Luverne.
Mr. and Mrs. Iverson were the parents of seven children, five of whom are now living. They are E. U. Iverson, Pipestone; Howard Iverson, Groton, S.D.; Mrs. William Kartrude, Sioux Falls; Mrs. Rudolph Juhl, Luverne and Mrs. John H. Jensen, Luverne.
Two sons, Henry and Albert, died this year, the former at Jasper, late last winter, and the later at Wadena on August 12.
As far as Mr. Iverson knows, he has one sister living in Norway. She is two years older than he is. Mrs. Iverson, one of a family of nine, has one sister, Mrs. Inga Remme, Kenyon, Minn.
         Donations to the Rock County Historical Society can be sent to the Rock County Historical Society, 312 E. Main Street, Luverne, MN 56156.
Mann welcomes correspondence sent to

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