Guide to the Hagen Family Papers,​ 1879-​1899

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Summary Information

Title: Hagen Family Papers

Inclusive Dates: 1879-1899

Creator: Hagen Family

Call Number: Eau Claire Mss CC

Quantity: 0.2 c.f. (1 archives box)

Repository: Housed at the Area Research Center, William D. McIntyre Library, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire; owned by the Wisconsin Historical Society, Library-Archives Division

Archival Locations:  UW-Eau Claire McIntyre Library / Eau Claire Area Research Ctr. Portions of this collection are also available online at:, choose “Browse Wisconsin Pioneer Experience” and see the listings under Hagen Family: Lian, Anders; Sende, Elling Andersen; and Solem, Anders 

Abstract: Family histories and typed translations of letters from several Norwegian immigrants to the Eau Claire, Wisconsin, area. The correspondents are ancestors of the donor, Harold Hagen, and include Anders (Andrew) Pedersen Solem (Hagen's maternal grandfather); Elling Anderson Sende (Hagen's paternal great- grandfather); and Anders Lian (aka Andrew Lee), Hagen's maternal grandmother's cousin. Elling Anderson Sende arrived in Eau Claire in 1879 and assisted the others to immigrate. They all worked primarily in sawmills during the summer and in lumber camps during winter.

Language: English

Search Terms/Subject Terms

  • Norwegian Americans—Wisconsin
  • Sawmills—Wisconsin
  • Eau Claire (Wis.)—History—Sources  
  • Lian, Anders
  • Sende, Elling Andersen
  • Sende, Guruanna
  • Solem, Anders P.


Biography of Anders Pedersen Solem 

Anders Pedersen Solem was born on October 18, 1862 in Soknedal, Norway. He was orphaned as a young child and raised by his grandparents. He completed the required public education of the day, which was the age of confirmation in the Lutheran Church (generally fourteen or fifteen years old). When Anders was 16 years old, he was encouraged to immigrate to America with an older neighbor who was leaving with a group from the same area. Former neighbors had already immigrated to the Eau Claire and Menomonie area. With only four percent of Norway's land being arable, the rural culture had a dismal future to offer its youth. Moreover, Anders was the youngest of his siblings and his oldest brother inherited the farm in Norway. The family legend also notes that the grandparents were concerned because of the interest that Anders had expressed in their young servant girl. It was improper for a farm-owners son to marry from the class beneath him. However, it should be noted that the girl, Marit Larsen Oien (1862-1926), immigrated to Eau Claire three years later and she and Anders were married on September 29, 1883 in the parsonage of the First Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church.

Andrew sailed from Trondheim, Norway on May 6, 1879 to Hull, England on the ship Tasso, took a train to Liverpool, leaving for the United States on May 17 on the ship Ohio. He landed in Philadelphia on May 28,1879 and was in Eau Claire by May 31. Anders worked at sawmills and lumber camps his first ten years in this country. He was then employed by Phoenix Manufacturing. After the manufacturing of traction vehicles for the lumbering industry came to a standstill, he worked as a chauffeur and gardener before obtaining employment at A. A. Cutter Co., which made shoes and boots. Anders and his wife were very anxious to learn English and, shortly after arriving in America, Anders began signing his name by the American version, Andrew, and Marit by the American version, Mary. He and Marit had nine children, born between 1884 and 1902. After Marit died in 1926, Andrew moved in with his eldest daughter, where he lived until his death on April 26, 1945.

Biography of Elling Andersen Sende 

Elling Andersen Sende, the son of a farmer, was born in 1832 in Vaerdal, NordTrondelag County, Norway, about forty miles north of Trondheim. He married Guruanna Johannesen (1839-1914) on July 12, 1864. They had six children, the oldest dying at six months and another at six years. Although Elling had inherited a small farm in Norway, he decided to follow his wife's brothers and sisters and immigrate to Wisconsin. Elling and his eldest daughter, Anna (born July 18, 1867), departed from Trondheim, Norway on May 11, 1880 and travelled to Hull, England on the ship Tasso. They took a train to the other side of England, where they boarded an American or English ship bound for New York. They arrived in Jackson County, Wisconsin in June of 1880 and resided with a brother-in-law in Osseo. In August of 1880, Guruanna, their two sons, Karl (1871-1902) and Gustav (1874-1890), youngest daughter, Emelie (1876-1883), Guruanna's sister's family and mother all made the trip to Wisconsin. By October of 1882, the family had purchased a house at 725 Water St. in Eau Claire. Elling worked in the sawmills in the summer and in the lumber camps in the winter. By 1890, the family had Norwegian immigrant boarders in their house who worked in the sawmills. Daughter Anna married George Hagen, one of the roomers at her parents' house, on October 22, 1887 in Eau Claire. They were the grandparents of the donor, Harold 0. Hagen.

Biography of Anders Lian/Andrew Lee 

Anders Lian, nephew of Elling Andersen Sende, departed from Trondheim, Norway in April of 1890 on the steamship Hero. He travelled from Hull, England to Liverpool by rail. On April 25, 1890, Anders travelled from Liverpool to New York, via Chrocston, Ireland, on the ship Arizona. Upon his arrival on May 6, 1890, he travelled by rail, via Sault Ste. Marie, arriving in Eau Claire on May 9, 1890. He initially lived with his Uncle Elling at 725 Water St. until he went to work in the lumber camps that September. By January of 1891, Anders began referring to himself as Andrew Lee. Besides working in the sawmills and lumber camps, Andrew spent some time, beginning in 1891, working on a farm in North Dakota and for the railroad in Montana. A month before the war ended, in July of 1898, Andrew enlisted in the Spanish-American War, drilling near Minneapolis. By the year's end, Andrew was in Augusta, Georgia for training. By the end of 1899, he had been discharged and was back in Wisconsin, working in the lumber camps.

Scope and Content Note

The collection is organized by writer (Anders Solem, Elling Sende, or Anders Lian) and letters are arranged chronologically. Following the translations are photocopies of the original handwritten letters and a typed transcription in Norwegian.

The correspondence are personal letters, written by the immigrant to family members in Norway. Letters by Anders P. Solem are directed to his grandfather in Norway. In them he describes his experiences working in sawmills and lumber camps, comments on labor conditions, including a strike for the ten-hour day, and offers various observances regarding life in America. Letters by Elling Anderson Sende and his wife Guruanna relate family matters and further detail life in Eau Claire. Letters written to Anders Lian and his family concern arrangements for bringing him to America.

The largest group of letters in the collection are written by Anders Lian to his family in Norway. They also document work in the lumber industry and discuss current events, and the economic and political climate in 1890s America. Also of interest are Lian's experiences enlisting and in military training camps as a volunteer soldier at the time of the Spanish-American war.

The family histories included in the collection were compiled by Genevieve Hagen and include biographical details as well as genealogical information for each of the correspondents.

A copy of The Solem-Oien Connection by Genevieve Hagen is in the Special Collections Department at McIntyre Library, UW-Eau Claire. It provides helpful background information on the ancestors and descendants of Anders and Marit Solem.

Administrative/Restriction Information

Acquisition Information 

Presented by Harold O. and Genevieve Hagen, Eau Claire, Wisconsin, 1992. Accession Number: M94-104

Processing Information 

Processed by Cindy Knight, 1994.

Contents List

Box/Folder 1/1Translations of Anders Solem letters (Eau Claire), 1879- 1883
Physical Description: 16 lettersBox/Folder 1/2Translations of Elling Andersen Sende letters (Eau Claire), 1883, 1886-1890
Physical Description: 11 lettersBox/Folder 1/3Translations of Anders Lian/Andrew Lee letters, 1890- 1896, 1898-1899
Physical Description: 49 letters
Scope and Content Note: Includes two letters from Liverpool, England; many from Eau Claire; some from Sawyer County, Hayward, Glen Flora, Drummond, and Phillips, Wisconsin; some from St. Paul, Minneapolis, and Hamline, Minnesota; four from Augusta, Georgia; and one from Grafton, North Dakota.Box/Folder 1/4Photocopies of Anders Solem original letters, 1879-1885, 1910
Physical Description: 19 lettersBox/Folder 1/5Photocopies of Anders Lian original letters, 1890 and 1898 Physical Description: 3 lettersBox/Folder 1/6Transcription of Andrew Lee (Anders Lian) letter from Camp Mackenzie, GeorgiaBox/Folder 1/7Family history data on Anders Solem, Elling Sende, and Anders Lian