| Among our
early settlers was Mrs. Grethe Paulson who came from Winneconne, Wisconsin in
1883. Having been a member of the Ladies’ Aid Society in that vicinity,
she related how much she missed that organization and suggested to her neighbor
ladies that a similar organization be started in our congregation. So,
with the assistance of Pastor E.T. Sherping, this Jerusalem Lutheran Ladies’ Aid
of Lunds was organized in 1889, at the home of Mrs. Thrine Hanson.
This Ladies’ Aid was called
“Syforeningen” (Sewing Society) and the meetings were conducted in the Norwegian
Meetings were held twice a
month. After devotion and hymn singing the afternoon was spent with
spinning, knitting, sewing, or making quilts, which were later sold to make
money for mission or other church needs. Stockings were sold for about
forty cents a pair, children’s dresses, etc. Were made. Articles were
handstitched, since machines were uncommon at that time; however, considerable
amounts of money were made through the sale of these handmade items.
Tables were set family
style but as membership increased, cafeteria style became the more practical
means of serving. Refreshments consisted of bread and butter, sauce, cake
and coffee, the latter being very important among good Norwegians! In
those days money was scarce but yarn, wool or cloth would be donated.
There was no charge for the lunch. Authoritative sources have informed us
that some of the first proceeds were contributed toward the construction of the
STYLES OF CLOTHING
The women wore a
full-length skirt which required about six or seven yards of material. It
had a lining, stiffening, and binding at the bottom. A deep pocket was
usually sewn in the seam on the right side. The tight basque waist was
trimmed with buttons or lace; sleeves were full and wrist length; skirts were
long and touched the floor. Shawls served the purpose of a coat.
families lived in two or three room cabins. The walls were whitewashed,
and windows were curtained with while muslin, or newspapers cut in fancy
designs. Homes were lighted mostly with homemade candles. Later,
some had lamps, however these were usually saved for “company.” Mrs. Sam
Peterson (daughter of a charter member) has related she recalled when they were
short of candles, improvised ones were made from a tin can, with tallow and a
cloth over the edge. It gave a little light but smoked badly. She
also remembers one day her mother stopped Mr. Al Hammond, Sr. As he was passing
by and gave him an empty bottle, hoping he might understand that she desired
kerosene. She could not speak English and Mr. Hammond was not Norwegian;
however, he pulled the cork from the bottle and said something she did not
understand. When he came back, however, the bottle was filled with
Mrs. Celia Cornelius,
another daughter of a charter member, recalls her mother using a stave churn
with a dash handle sticking through the top. She recalls also her mother
and other neighbor ladies carrying a basket of eggs or homemade butter to
Shawano, walking both ways -- a distance of sixteen miles round trip. On
one of these occasions she asked a neighbor girl, Georgia Olson, if she cared to
go along to town. Georgia answered she had no particular reason for going
but would go along “just for a walk.”
These pioneer women
usually wore their hair parted in the center or combed straight back and pinned
up in a “pug” in the nape of the neck.
These women often walked
several miles to attend their meetings, as the men used the oxen in the fields.
As they walked along, more women would join them and there would be quite a
number when they reached their destination. Because the homes were small
and families rather large, “trundle beds” which were shoved under the big bed
during the day were used as space savers. Occasionally, furniture had to
be moved out for the day because the mistress was going to entertain
“Syforeningen” (Sewing Society).
There were no modern
devices to lessen the work of these pioneer women. Large family washings
were done by using a “scrubbing board” as there were no washing machines.
Floors were scrubbed by hand as there was no linoleum which made cleaning
easier. Bread was homemade as there were no bakeries.
Mrs. Grethe Paulson, President
Mrs. Rackel Olson
Mrs. Karen Larsen
Mrs. Thrine Hanson
Mrs. Jacobine Pedersen
(Mrs. Paulson and Mrs. Pedersen were
sisters, as were Mrs. Olson and Mrs. Larsen, while Mrs. Hanson was their