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Home: Regional: U.S. States: New Hampshire: Coos County

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Posted by: Jacklyn Nadeau (ID *****6825) Date: August 07, 2002 at 20:02:28
In Reply to: OLESON'S OF BERLIN by eric jon oleson of 451

The Brown Company paper mill in Berlin, NH used to print a monthly newsletter called the Brown Bulletin. In the November and December 1928 issues I found a history of the Scandinavians in Berlin by Thorvald Andresen. Exerpt:
The first Scandinavians came to Berlin in 1854. These people were John L Oswald, Carl Olesen and John Gilson. They came here with an outfit of men employed by the Grand Trunk (railroad) for the purpose of laying a spur track to the Winslow & Company's sawmill. Whatever reason there was for them to leave the Grand Trunk and begin work for the Winslows is not now known, but coming from Norway that year they must have been looking for a place to settle. Berlin, with its surroundings, has much resemblance to parts of Norway...
John L. Oswald, being a shoemaker by trade in Norway, opened up a shoe shop in Berlin in 1858, and as late as 1865 the New England Business Directory listed him as the only shoemaker in Berlin...
Carl Olesen, the father of George, Billy, and Fred Olesen, must also be mentioned. In asking one of the sons about thier father's life, he said, after a few moments reflection, "There is not much to say, he reared a family, took hard lifts and turns in life, but kept it to himself. One thing I know, he taught us to respect the honesty in men, and to be ourselves." ...
Of John Gilson, the last of the three men that invaded Berlin in 1854, the writer has been unable to obtain any information outside of the fact that he came here with John L. Oswald and Carl Olesen...
Fouteen years passed before any other Scandinavian came to Berlin. the next man that arrived here was Nelson Evans.... He came from Oslo, Norway, and had been occupied there as a cutter of stone monuments....
When the Congregational Church became a factor in Berlin the writer finds that several Norwegians became charter members....(one was Herman E. Olesen, the first clerk of the Congregational Church, in 1881)
The first religious services in the Norwegian language, and by a minister of their own faith, were held in 1875 in the home of Paul A. Gade, by Rev. N. J. Elstad of Portland, ME. In 1887 Rev. George A. P. Rygg, organized the present Congregation under the name of "St. Paul's Norwegian Lutheran Church." (again Herman E. Olesen served as the first treasurer)...(one of the first trustees was) Hans Olsen.
In the July 1928 Brown Bulletin, there is a photo of a house built in 1878 for M. Danielson and Guldbrand Oleson.
The 1903 City Directory for Berlin lists about 38 Olesens Among them are; Carl R. & Elsie Olesen(widow of Herman) at 292 Main Street; Fanny & Fred R. Olsen at 278 Main Street; Herman E., Otto, and Emile H. at 234 Main Street; and Willie J. Olesen, leader of the City Band, at 236 Main Street.
I hope this helps you some. Will post again if I get more information.
-Jacklyn Nadeau
Berlin & Coos County Historical Society

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