Erik Helgesen Gulset

Utreist med/Emigrated on: "CLAUS THOMMESEN", departed from Skien May 25th to New York. Arrived Aug 11, 1849 with 158 passengers.

Utreist til/Emigrated to: Oconomowoc Township, Waukesha Co., Wisconsin

Erik Helgesen was born April 26, 1801 on Kausanrød under Grini farm in Gjerpen. Parents were Helge Eriksen and Jøran Svendsdatter. Helge and Jøran married Sep 18, 1793 in Gjerpen.

Erik married Anne Kirstine Pedersdatter June 8, 1826. Helge lived then on the place Kåsa under Gulset and Anne Kirstine also lived under Gulset. She was born March 9, 1806 and her parents were Peder Halvorsen and Clarine Andersdatter. They had married April 17, 1805.

In 1825 we find Helge Eriksen, age 55, living as a cottager under Gulset. His wife Jøran was 51 years old, and they had the children Erik, age 23, Anne, age 22, Gunnil, age 17, Hans, age 10 and Lars, age 7.

Helge had moved to Gulset in 1807, when he got a lease for the place Hasledalen under Gulset. In 1849, when he emigrated, Erik sells his small cottage, Ebbes plass, to Knud Pedersen for the sum of 400 Speciedaler.

Erik and Anne Kirstine had the following children:
1. Karen Gurine, b.
Aug 3, 1827. Dead July 3, 1910.
2. Georgine, b.
Oct 10, 1831.
3. Helge, b.
June 22, 1835. Dead 1916.
4. Peder, b. 1838. In the census of 1845 he is listed as “insane”.
5. Carl, b.
Dec 23, 1840. Dead Jan 3, 1935.
6. Anne Karine, b.
Apr 4, 1847. Dead Jan 4, 1929.

The following information has been given me by David L. Johnson.




Erik Helgeson (1801-1851)

Anne Kirstine Pedersdatter (1805-1852)


The Helgeson family can be traced back to Erik Helgesen’s parents in the Gjerpen parish in Telemark in the 1801 census.  Helge Eriksen was living on the Grinie Søndre gård with his wife, Gjøran Svendsdatter and three oldest daughters, Hedevig, Torine, and Guri.  The next record of the family is in the 1825 Gjerpen census with the family living on a cotter’s farm named Kaasa (in the valley Hasledalen) that was part of the Gulset farm.  That cotters farm seemed to remain in the family until the last son left for America in 1865.  In 1826, Erik Helgeson married a young woman named Anne Kirstine Pedersdatter who also lived with her parents and a younger sister on a cotter’s farm under the Gulset farm.  Anne’s parents were Peder Halvorsen and Gurine Gulleksdatter, and her sister’s name was Gurine Pedersdatter (Gurine was 13 years younger than Anne).


According to census information, by 1835 Anne’s parents were living with Anne and Erik on a cotter’s farm named, Moen under the Gulset farm.  By 1845, Erik’s parents were living on the family farm with the younger brother, Svend Helgeson and Erik and Anne lived on another cotter’s farm under Gulset (Nyhuus).  By 1845, Anne’s parents had died (Gurine in 1836 and Peder in 1843) so they were no longer living with the couple.  Erik’s parents lived until after the Erik and Anne had left for America, with his dad dying in 1852 and his mother in 1860 (both died in Gjerpen).


Erik’s siblings and their birth dates were: Hedevig (1795), Turine (7 Dec 1796), Guri (1799), Anne (1803), Gunnild (1808), Svend (25 Mar 1812), Hans (23 Aug 1815), and Lars (1817).  Lars died at 12 years of age in Gjerpen on 30 Jan 1830.  Turine married a man named Torkild Johnsen (after her first husband died when a tree fell on him in Aug 1818) and in 1843 Torkild Johnsen Listul, his wife Turine, and their children came to America and settled near Pine Lake (their married daughter Ingeborg remained in Norway).  They traveled on the bark Salvator with the Hans Gassman party.  There is much written about this family (see Rosholt’s book pages 13 – 15), and family members from this line have done extensive writings on the Listul / Bestul genealogy.  It appears that the Listul family was the magnet that drew the rest of the family originally to the Pine Lake area.  There is also evidence that Erik’s sister,  Gunild Helgesdatter, and her husband, Anders Christensen, came to America around 1851.  Not much else is known about them.  Erik’s brothers, Svend and Hans Helgeson, also immigrated to America a few years later.  Svend came over in 1865 on the frigate Laurdal and Hans immigrated the following year.  Svend settled in Pierce County and he had a grandson named Elmer Helgeson (Hans Peter’s son) who, for many years, owned and operated a small hardware store and gas station in the town of Martell.  Hans also settled in Pierce County and his family is found in the 1880 census in Ellsworth Township.


Erik Helgeson and Anne Kirstine Pedersdatter had five children that came with them to America on the ship Claus Thomesen in 1849:



Karen Gurine          (3 Aug 18273 Jul 1910)

Jørgine (Gina)         (10 Oct 1831 - ?)

Helge (Henry)        (22 June 1835 – 1916)

Carl                         (23 Dec 18423 Jan 1935)

Peder                      (1838 - 1853?)

Anne Karine           (4 Apr 1847- 4 Jan 1929)       * author’s note: my great grandmother


After arriving in America they lived in Oconomowoc in 1850 (census), and it appears that Erik Helgeson died in a timber accident in the logging woods in the Upper Michigan in the spring of 1851 or 1852.  Records at the Pine Lake Lutheran Church show that his widow, Anne Pedersdatter, died on 30 Nov 1852 and is buried in the St. John’s cemetery (Stonebank).  After the Helgeson parents died, the family split up.  The two youngest children were taken in by their older sister (Karen Evenson) and raised in Scandinavia.  Jørgine (who went by the name Gina) married a Norwegian immigrant from Kragero (named Jacob Johnson) in 1854 in Oconomowoc.  Jacob and Gina Johnson moved to a farm in Martell Township in Pierce County around 1858.  According to the book by P. M. Wiff, “Is There Any Lutefisk and Lefse Left” - which is the history of Martell Township (Helmer Printing, Inc. Beldenville, WI; 1994), the family moved to River Falls in 1883 and little is known of them after that.  It is known that Jacob and Gina Johnson had 11 children (Edward, Herman, Melvin Cornelius, Curtis Harmon, Maria, Anne Permilia, Syvert, Inanda, Gunda Josephine, Laurine, and Elvine).  This family grew up in the River Falls and Hudson areas of Wisconsin.


Henry Helgeson was the last member of this family to remain in Oconomowoc (he was recorded there in the 1860 census).  On 22 Sep 1864, Henry enlisted with Company E of the 13th Wisconsin Infantry during the Civil War and remained with that unit until mustering out on 13 Jun 1865.  He later moved to the River Falls area (apparently drawn there by his sister Gina’s family) and married a woman named Thorbia.  They had five children (two died young) – with the last child being born in 1875.  Thorbia died that same year (1875 - possibly in child birth) and Henry is next seen living with his brother, Carl and family in River Falls in the 1880 census.  Henry’s two young daughters (Sara and Annie) were also living with them in 1880.  Henry later moved to the Iola area and most likely lived with his son, Gustav Helgeson; but he returned later to Pierce County and died in 1916.  He is buried next to his wife and two young children in the Rush River Cemetery in Pierce County.


Henry’s daughter, Sara married her first cousin, Joe Evenson, and they ran the Harald Evenson farm mentioned earlier.  Henry’s daughter, Annie married Oscar Omit of Iola and they ran an automobile repair shop in Iola and are buried in the Zion cemetery in Iola.  It is believe that Oscar also was a partner in a Case car dealership with John Frogner (his brother-in-law) for a short time.  Henry’s son, Gustav, married an Olina Bersing and their daughter; Tilla Helgeson in turn married her dad’s cousin, Adolph Helgeson (mentioned above).


Elias Johnson and family. Photo taken in 1890.

Carl Helgeson married a Nicoline Pemmer in Hudson, WI and he ran a livery business there for a few years.  In 1909 Carl and his family moved to the Iola area to live with their oldest son, Adolph, who owned the farm near Iola.  Carl and Nicoline had four other children; Marie Ann who married an Albert Swenson, William Erick (Willie) who moved to Minnesota, Clara Nicoline who married a man named Wallace Halvorsen, and John Edmond (called Ed) who married one of Thor Helgeson’s daughters (Clara Rosena).  This is the same Thor Helgeson who was the educator and raconteur and whose earlier books of the area were the basis for Malcolm Rosholt’s book, “From the Indian Land”.  Ed changed the family last name to Helgerson (added an R) in 1916 (while he was living in the Dakotas) and he later returned to Iola where he worked as butcher for Abe Katz.  Ed Helgerson can be seen pictured on page # 148 of the book “A History of Iola, Wisconsin” by the Iola Historical Society, (Worzalla Publsihing Co., Stevens Point, WI; 1978).


The youngest Helgeson daughter, Anne Karine, married the farmer living next door to the Evenson farm - Elias Johnson (Indlæggen).  Elias Johnson (1842 – 1914) was an 1857 immigrant from Gausdal, Norway, a Civil War veteran (42nd Wisconsin, Co. A), and a shopkeeper in the village of Scandinavia (1874-1900).  He also owed what would later be known as the Sylvan Ridge Farm, a 160-acre tract located immediately south of the village limits of Iola.  In 1905, Elias sold a small plot in the northeast corner of his farm to the Our Savior’s Lutheran Church to be used as a cemetery (which is located today on Highway 49 just south of the Iola limits).  Anne K and Elias Johnson’s children included John Elvin (Elvin), Alfred and Alma (twins), and Henry Curtis (Curtis).  Alfred (b. 1882) later took over the Sylvan Ridge farm in 1917 and ran it until his death in 1949.  Alma Johnson married Anton Dahle, who once ran an electric company in Iola, and Elvin remained a rather reclusive individual who lived in a small house on the Johnson farm.  Curtis (b. 1890) attended Rush Medical School (Chicago) and married another doctor from his medical school class named Eva Frazier.  They were physicians in Madison, WI for many years, and Curtis also belonged to the Army reserve and served in both WW I and WWII.  He retired at the rank of Lt. Colonel, and at one time during his military service, he was General Douglas MacArthur’s family physician while they were in Australia - after the retreat from the Philippines and during the planning for the final assault on Japan.  In retirement, Dr. Curtis Johnson later moved to Eugene, Oregon from which his wife’s family was well known as original pioneers.  He died in 1967 and the home he owned with Dr. Eva Frazier Johnson is now a museum in Eugene (see web site -


Anne Karine Helgeson (Johnson) can be seen pictured on Page # 6 of Malcolm Rosholt’s book, “From the Indian Land”.  She is the woman seated in the center of the front row.  In addition to Anne K. Helgeson in that picture, the last four people on the far right in the back row of that same photograph are related as well.  The fourth from the right is Alma Johnson (Anne Ks daughter), then to her right is Clara Frogner (Anne K’s niece), then Clara’s husband, John Frogner, and finally Karen Gurine Evenson (Anne K’s sister and Clara’s mother).



2003 - Skien Genealogical page - by Jan Christensen