CHRISTEN ERIKSEN PUTTEKÅS
Utreist med/Emigrated on: the "SALVATOR"
Utreist til/Emigrated to: Oconomowoc township, Waukesha Co., Wisconsin
Christen Eriksen Puttekås: He was born November 26, 1810 un the farm Puttekås under Rising søndre. His parents were Eric Christensen (dead 1812) and Maren Margrethe Henningsdatter, who re-married Thor Larsen in 1814. Christen married Birte Gurine Kittilsdatter, who was baptised June 12, 1808 in Gjerpen church. She came from the farm Stulen under Rising søndre, where her parents Kittil Nielsen and Guri Olsdatter (married 1802) lived. Christen died July 18, 1878 and was buried at Stone Bank Luth. Cem. His wife Birte died June 20, 1860. They had the following children: Erik b. Nov 6, 1833 on Puttekås Kittil b. Oct. 2, 1835 on Puttekås Ole b. May 21, 1840 on Puttekås Halvor b. March 8, 1843 on Puttekås Ole b. Febr 2, 1846 Mari b. ?? 1849 Gunhild Marie b. Jan 17, 1854
(1) Part in Italics submitted by Roger Johnson of the Ashippun settlement in Dodge County, Wisconsin.
This following story has also been given me by Roger Johnsen of Ashippun.
A FUNERAL IN PIONEER TIMES by Ole Amundson Buslett
Ingebret Tveitan from Slemdal had a remarkable memory and was a good story teller. He could tell many stories from the times of the first Norwegian settlers in Wisconsin, and when he came to an important point in the story, he would punctuate it by spitting. I have been at a good many of the gatherings in the early settlements, old Ingebret said, --I have been at weddings, funerals, Christmas parties, and many other kinds of parties. You can just bet that they were often lively, with dancing and other kinds of fun. And we always had a little whisky because it was cheap in those days and cost only 20 cents a gallon. Tvi! During some funerals we had almost as much fun as at a wedding. On the day of the funeral they conducted the service with proper weeping and sorrow and songs, but in the evening it sometimes happened that the whole funeral procession would gather at the house of mourning and sing songs, drink whisky, and play cards. We would also tell tall tales and other stories and sometimes carry on this way until morning. Ja, I have heard about a Klokker who was so crazy about card playing that he would pack up his playing cards in one pocket and his hymn book in the other Tvi! But theres an old proverb that says that folks scarcely get something into their skulls before their hair bristles. But when we are old and gray, we begin to get a little common sense, they say. Tvi! Old Ingebret bit off another chaw and took up his story again--As I was saying, I have been along with many of these celebration, both here in America and in the Old Country. But in the settlement where I first lived in this country, I was at a funeral, the likes of which I have never seen before or after, that is for sure! Tvi! At that time there lived a strange fellow in our neighborhood by the name of Kristen Puttekaasen--a good fellow who wouldnt harm a flea, good for work and good for drinking whisky. One could say the same about him as the man said about his mare, Shes good at pulling, but shes also mighty good at eating. This Kristen believed that liquor was good for everything, and, of course, he wasnt the only one with that belief. On a crackling cold day in the winter, a snort was especially good, he said, because it warmed and invigorated both body and soul. Also on a roasting hot summer day, it was especially good because it cooled a fellow off so wonderfully well, he said. Tvi! There was boy by the name of Ola, if I remember correctly, who was a nephew to Puttekaasen and made his home with him. This boy took sick and died, and Kristen wanted to give him a proper burial. It was so curious and strange, Kristen said, that Ola, who was such a stout and strong and healthy lad, should be so short-lived. There are a good many other young fellows who are not as healthy as Ola was. Some of these others had the same sickness, but they managed to scrape through. Well, thats the way it goes--some stand and some fall. But Ola was such an unusually good boy. He is my own blood relation, and he shall have a proper Christian burial. I have arranged both for the preacher and for the liquor for the funeral. And I think that Ola Haugen, the Klokker, can sing him to the grave, there were no organized preachers. Well, maybe Ditriksen had come to Kaskeland. He was organized properly in Norway, but he had not come our way yet. But there was a Swedish lay-preacher that the Piskopalen had organized. The Norwegians sometimes called him Piskopalen and sometimes the Swedish preacher. He was the one who should serve for Olas burial. Tvi! Some of the older Norwegians who remembered the Swedish war and were angry with the Swedes thought that a Swede should not have the funeral sermon for a Norwegian. That the preacher was Piskopalen was bad enough, but it was much worse that he was a Swede. But some of the others didnt see it this way, and Puttekaasen himself said that as far as the dead person was concerned it didnt matter whether the speaker was Norwegian or Swedish, layman or preacher. Puttekaasen was saying about the same thing that Pastor Ottesen of Kaskeland once said--Any blockhead can become a preacher--he said. He really did say that! Tvi! So the funeral day came and the funeral liquor came, and the whole neighborhood came with their horned horses (oxen), for other horses were not to be found in the entire settlement, as far as I know. The Swedish preacher told that the Canal Lands would soon come on the market. A company had received a land grant from the government to build a canal--I believe that it was between Rock River and Fox Lake, if I remember right. Many Norwegian and Swedish families had settled upon these lands which were called Canal Lands. But the Canal came to nothing, and so the lands were to be put up for sale. Right after the funeral the Swedish preacher was planning to go to Milwaukee, and so he promised these folks who had settled on the Canal Lands that he would find out if the lands would soon be for sale. While the Swedish preacher and the others stood and talked about the Canal Lands, Puttekaasen had been preparing a suitable punch for serving during the funeral. Tvi! And so he went up to Piskopalen and said, Mr Pastor! We Norwegians are used to taking a little drink before we begin this kind of business. Yes, we must follow your custom, said the pastor. Skaal, Herr Pastor! Puttekaasen said, and drank to his health. Thank you very much, but I will not imbibe, the Piskopalen said. So they sang a hymn and Piskopalen had a sermon, which really wasnt so bad. Jacob Rosholdt should carry the coffin because he had the best oxen and the best sled in the neighborhood. Piskopalen and Puttekaasen took their places in one of the rear sleds. The procession was bout to start when Puttekaasen yelled out at the top of his lungs, Whoa! Stop, Jakob! Dont be in such a terrible hurry. We must have a drink for the road. And so he turned to Piskopalen and said: Herr Pastor! We Norwegians are used to taking a good bracer before we start out. Tvi! We will follow your custom, said Piskopalen/ So Puttekaasen went up to Jakob, who was driving in the front, and treated him first, and then worked his way back to the others. There must have been six or seven teams of oxen, I suppose, and finally the procession got underway. But when we had come about halfway, we saw Puttekaasen running and stirring up a cloud of snow. He ran up forward to Jakob and yelled, Whoa! Whoa! Stop! We must have a drink now on the road! Tvi! And so he ran in a great hurry to the Swedish preacher and said, Herr Pastor! We Norwegians have a custom of taking a snort on the road also. We will follow your custom, said Piskopalen again. When they all had their drinks, they drove on again, and finally they came to the cemetery. Tvi! But this was not the end of it because Puttekaasen had more in his jug, and so he went up to Piskopalen and said, Herr Pastor! We Norwegians have the custom of taking a swig before we begin this business. We will follow your custom, said the Swede. When we had the last drop out of the jug, we had to let down the coffin, but it happened that two of the least stea into the grave before the coffin was in place. But now the coffin came down anyway and was standing on end for a while. We had to haul it up again, and then we finally got it set down properly, and the preacher conducted the commital and had a short prayer. The Klokker and Puttekaasen, who stood next to the preacher, joined in singing very loudly, Hvo vet hvor naer mig er min ende (Who knows how near is the end). When they had come to the middle of the verse, Puttekaasen said, Herr Pastor! You must remember to see how it is with the Canal Lands And then he sang along with the rest of the verse. The preacher answered only with a nod. Tvi! It looked as though the Swedish preacher was embarrassed by the Norwegian funeral. He excused himself, saying that he had to travel on. They could take care of the rest of the funeral as well as they could, he said. And with that, he left. Tvi! The Swedish preacher had not gone many paces before the Klokker ran after him with his hymnbook in his fist. He also wanted to give the preacher a reminder about the Canal Lands. But Puttekaasen, who was an orderly fellow and wanted everything to go just right, could not put up with that kind of interruption to this solemn business. He grabbed the Klokker by the neck and led him back to the grave again and said, Tend to business now! Is it the habit of Christian folks to run off in the middle of this business? Tvi! When the Swedish preacher some time later met some Norwegians, he asked them if it was a common custom among the Norwegians to drink so much at funerals. They answered that the Norwegians did usually have a few swigs on such occasions. Then I will not come to a Norwegian funeral again. No, I will never do it again! said the Swedish preacher. Tvi!
© 1997 - Skien Genealogical page - by Jan Christensen