any thanks   to Ken Benson from California for sharing his family story with us.   His father's parents immigrated to Waukechon Township, Shawano County, from Norway in the late 1880's.  When Ken sent in the items, I noticed SHIP COLLIDED... now, this really caught my eye!  Seems when Magnus and his wife Julia and their children left Norway, they were onboard the SS Thingvalla, a passenger flagship of the Danish "Thingvalla Line". While the Benjaminsen's were enroute to the US, their ship was involved in a collision with its sister ship the SS Geiser in the Atlantic Ocean, 30 miles south of Sable Island, Newfoundland, early on the morning of August 14, 1888.  This has been listed as one of the greatest maritime disasters ever... the Thingvalla (outbound to New York) collided with the Geiser (home-bound for Copenhagen) and in less than 10 minutes, the Geiser sank, taking 105 souls with her.  The Thingvalla was fearfully damaged, but the crew managed to get her back to the port for repairs...backing up most of the way. The survivors from the Geiser and all the passengers of the Thingvalla were taken onboard the German mail steamer Wieland to continue on to New York City.  As you can see in the pictures below, a LARGE section of her hull was missing!  SS Thingvalla was eventually repaired, and then collided with an iceberg 2 years later -- again she survived!  If you would like to read more, I've put links on the bottom of the page to the pictures and articles written -- very detailed articles on the Norway-Heritage site.  What a story Magnus's family would have to share about their voyage to Amerika!  Thanks for sharing this with us, Ken.

Now, back to Magnus and his family... they lived for 11 years in the Waukechon area on a farm owned by the husband of Ken's grandfather's older sister. Ken has put together a timeline to show the main points in Magnus's life:


1862 Born 10 February Meby Farm, Sec. 1, farm 48, Velfjord, Brønnoysund, Norway
1874 Moved to Vassbotn farm to be with sister Mine and husband when his mother died
1884 17 October 1884 married Julie Steffensdtr Naustvik Kirke, Velfjord, Norway
1885 27 January Ivarna (Verna) born
1888 23 June Berge (Bert) born
1888 Immigration 17 August from Christiana, Norway via Copenhagen to New York with wife Julie (28 Feb 1862 - 9 Mar 1891) and children Ivarna and Bert.  Ship was “Thingvalla” collided 14 August with steamship “Geiser” off Cape Race, Sable Island, Halifax, Canada.  Survivors were picked up by German steamship “Weiland”
1888?     Waukechon, Wi. Lived on farm of Rasmus Paulson and sister Alette
1891 9 March Julie died - buried in the Jerusalem Cemetery, Waukechon, Wisconsin 
1894 13 January married Hermina Josephine Iverson
1894 9 March Palma (Polly) born in Waukechon Twp.
1896 11 March Carl born in Waukechon Twp.
1898 11 June John born in Waukechon Twp.
1899 Moved from Waukechon to Peshtigo Point, Marinette County, Wisconsin
1900 30 September Adolph born in Peshtigo Point, Marinette County.
1903 Viola born in Peshtigo Point, Marinette County.
1905 15 June Henrietta born in Peshtigo Point, Marinette County.
1908 3 April Dewey born in Peshtigo Point, Marinette County.
1910 31 August Roy born in Peshtigo Point, Marinette County.
1921 Died 12 November Marinette, Wisconsin
1921 Buried 16 November  Forest Home Cemetery, Marinette, Wisconsin

Waukechon Twp., Shawano County
(click on any picture to see a larger view)
And more on the SS Thingvalla...
Before... During... After...

Rescue Ship SS Wieland SS Thingvalla Manifest

Ship Poster

Newspaper clippings and articles...
Cambridge Jeffersonian Dunkirk Observer Weekly Fort Wayne Sentinel
Fort Wayne Gazette NY Times Norway-Heritage Page