04 June 2016

Poulsbo AYPE Viking #6: Halvor Holte

Halvor O. Holte was part of the "Viking" contingent to represent his community in the Norway Day parade at the 1909 Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition (AYPE) in Seattle. See the explanatory blog entry for this series: Poulsbo Vikings at the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition, 1909.

It is not known whether or not Halvor Holte actually lived in Poulsbo, Washington, or how he was selected as a representative member of that community for the AYPE.  By 1913, the Seattle City Directory listed Holte as a watchmaker, so it is likely he was living in Seattle by 1913.

Holte was born on October 7, 1881 in Rindal, Norway.  Having immigrated from Norway in 1906, he was a more recent arrival than the other Poulsbo "Vikings" who participated in the 1909 AYPE Norway Day activities.  Holte, a naturalized citizen, was also younger than the others.  He was about 27 years old when the photograph to the left was taken.

Holte had the dubious distinction of having to register for two United States drafts in his lifetime.  His registration card for World War I lists his brother, Nils Holte, from Bellingham, as the next-of-kin, so it is assumed he was unmarried at that time.  Tall and slender, he had brown eyes and brown hair., and it is very probable that the mustache he sported in his Viking photograph was a real one.  By 1918, he lived at 921 Water Street in South Bend, Washington.
Holte registered for the World War II draft in 1942, when he was about 60 years of age.  At that time, he still lived in South Bend, with his wife, Dora, from Montana, and their son, George.  At some point in his professional career, he began advertising himself as a "jeweler" instead of "watchmaker," as the add from the 1958 Raymond High School yearbook shows.

Fortunate to be very long lived, Holte passed away at age 97 in Pacific, Washington.


--Seattle City Directory, 1913
--U. S. Federal Census, South Bend, Pacific, Washington, 1930
--U. S. School Yearbooks, 1880-2012, Raymond High School, Raymond, Washington, 1958
--U. S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918, Halvor Holte
--U. S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942, Havlor Holte
--Washington Death Index, 1940-1996
Chery Kinnick

Poulsbo AYPE Viking #8: John J. Twedt

John J. Twedt, of Poulsbo, Washington, was part of the "Viking" contingent to represent his community in the Norway Day parade at the 1909 Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition (AYPE) in Seattle. See the explanatory blog entry for this series: Poulsbo Vikings at the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition, 1909.

John J. Twedt was born in Norway on January 18, 1874, and came to Washington State by way of Iowa.  He immigrated to America in about 1888, and became a naturalized citizen.  In 1910, while still a single man, he rented a house along with his sixteen years-younger brother, Chris Twedt, who became known for being a player on the local baseball team.

On his World War I draft registration card for 1918, Twedt was noted as a man of medium height and build, with brown eyes and dark hair.  His occupation was listed as "auto driver."  An ad running in the Poulsbo Record on June 27, 1918  indicated that he would answer calls for driver service, day or night.

By 1920, Twedt was working as a barber in Poulsbo.  The family resided on Second Street, just a few doors down from Peter Iverson, a fellow AYPE Viking participant.  Twedt lived with his spouse, Amanda, and their two daughters:  Alice Aletta (Twedt) Seely, and June N. (Twedt) Davis.

Five years following Twedt's involvement in the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition, a fire devastated about a third of the Poulsbo business section, including his own barber shop.  The hardy town business owners did not take very long to re-establish themselves, by any means possible, with Twedt setting up his barber shop temporarily in A. N. Nelson's machine shop.

John Twedt reportedly died on June 24, 1958 in Bremerton, Washington.


--"Remembering the Great Fire of 1914."  Kitsap County Herald, September 15, 2014,  http://www.northkitsapherald.com/news/274914941.html?mobile=true (accessed June 2, 2016).
--U.S. Federal Census, Poulsbo, Kitsap, Washington, 1910, 1920, 1930, 1940.
--World War I Draft Registration Cards, U.S., 1917-1918, John J. Twedt, Ancestry.com, Registration State: Washington; Registration County: Kitsap; Roll: 1991652.
Chery Kinnick

Poulsbo AYPE Viking #1: Stener Thorsen

Stener Thorsen, of Poulsbo, Washington, was part of the "Viking" contingent to represent his community in the Norway Day parade at the 1909 Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition (AYPE) in Seattle. See the explanatory blog entry for this series: Poulsbo Vikings at the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition, 1909.

Stener [Stenar] Thorsen was born in about 1850 and immigrated to the U.S. from Heidalen, Gudbrandsdalen, Norway in 1869, together with his three brothers:  Iver, Paul, and Ole. Stener and his wife, Ragnild, were married in about 1879, the year after Ragnild arrived in America.

A Poulsbo pioneer, Thorsen was one of two earliest settlers in Big Valley, on Valley Road, about a mile north of the town of Poulsbo, Washington.  Deeds owned by a friend and neighbor, Fred Frederickson, show that Thorsen had his property as early as 1879.  Being in all probability the first settler in the valley, perhaps that is why he won the AYPE "Viking #1" position in the 1909 photographs.

Thorsen was a logging operator, and the land he chose was optimally situated near the head of Liberty Bay, which allowed easy access for loggers who needed to float out their logs.  He developed an extensive farming operation, and maintained a large market garden on his farm.  Thorsen's produce included an acre of oxheart carrots that were marketed at the company store in Port Gamble, or peddled to ships waiting in the bay to take on lumber.  He also raised potatoes, and picked from cherry trees on his property during market season.

Stener Thorsen was a community minded man, as many early Norwegian-American settlers were, and he often served as an official in precinct elections.  He also took an interest in the state of Poulsbo's schools, church, and roads.  He died on September 28, 1931, the day before his 81st birthday, and was buried at the First Lutheran Church Cemetery in Poulsbo, Washington.
Stener Thorsen farming (date unknown).  Image was uploaded
 to Ancestry.com by member "boggiedog7" on April 27, 2008.


--Driscoll, Judy and Sherry White.  Poulsbo, Images of America series (Arcadia Publishing:  Charlestown, South Carolina, 2013).
--Poulsbo Centennial Book Committee.  Poulsbo:  Its First Hundred Years, compiled and edited by Rangvald Kvelstad (Centennial Book Committee:  Poulsbo, Washington, 1986). 
--U. S. Federal Census, Poulsbo, Kitsap, Washington, 1910.
--U. S. Find-a-Grave, Stener Thorsen.
Chery Kinnick

Historical Societies: For the History in You

Here is a shout out to the historical societies far and wide; they make the rediscovery of our local roots possible.

If you live in a location that has a great state historical society, then you live in a place that values local heritage.  For the Nearby Norwegians, the Washington State Historical Society, located in the city of Tacoma, is a treasure.  The Society makes history readily available through a museum, exhibits, photographs, events and programs, as well as the increasingly popular History Day writing project for Washington middle and high school students.  The Society is also an education partner for HistoryLink.org, a free and ever-growing online encyclopedia of Washington State history.

The quarterly membership publication of the Washington State Historical Society, Columbia, serves as an indispensable venue for writers and historians by which to share their research, thus inspiring others to learn more about a wealth of local history subjects.

"COLUMBIA Magazine has a rich, 20-year history of producing scholarly and entertaining issues capturing the essence of Northwest history through engaging prose and striking image..."

Researchers are usually not users of just one historical society's offerings.  For the Nearby Norwegians, the search for Norwegian-American genealogical and historical information often reaches further afield to the offerings of the  Minnesota Historical Society, the Wisconsin Historical Society, and more.  Where would we be without these organizations?   ...All the poorer for facts and stories, to be certain, and less informed about the richness of culture and the effects of industry, infrastructure, and more, on local populations.

But, history does not just happen on a state level, so now we come to those small powerhouse organizations, often run by dedicated volunteers--the local historical societies.  How we love them!  It does not matter what area they are "local" to.  If you are researching history in that area, then it is your locality, too.  Our advice is to maintain membership in as many as you can afford, because you are not just helping to ensure that information access remains possible for yourself, but also for your descendants, and your friends and neighbors.

"We are not makers of history.  We are made by history." 
- Martin Luther King, Jr.

"History is philosophy teaching by examples."
 - Thucydides

"History is not a burden on the memory, but an illumination of the soul." 
 - Lord Acton

Chery Kinnick