Peder Barsness

Mr. and Mrs. Peder Barsness

Peder Barsness came to the Roseglen, North Dakota community from Cyrus, Minnesota in the spring of 1906. In an immigrant freight car, he brought his horses, cattle, machinery, and other household supplies. His son, Oscar, who was eleven at the time, came with him.

Hauling lumber from Garrison, Barsness put up a small barn and a two-room tarpaper house, with a ladder-style stairway to the low upstairs, where the children slept. In June, Mrs. Barsness and their other four children joined him. They arrived by train to Garrison, where Mr. Barsness and Oscar met them in a horse-drawn lumber wagon.

Earlier pioneers had organized a congregation with occasional worship services that were held in various homes. At that time, those services were conducted by a minister who would travel to the area from Turtle Lake.

Barsness, however, feeling the need of a Sunday School for his own children, set about organizing the first Sunday School of what was to become the Immanuel Lutheran Church of Roseglen.

He secured the use of a vacant homestead shack belonging to Karl Kvale as a meeting place. Here, as the supervisor and the only teacher, Barsness and his four older children met regularly, weather permitting, with children of other nearby families. Only families within walking distance were represented in this first early Sunday School, namely the Rostads, Granheims, and Barsness's. Those who attended were taught subjects as diverse as the ABCs, Luther's Small Catechism, and The Explanation, all in the Norwegian language.

In the summer of 1907, Oscar met instant death in a runaway accident, a hard blow to the parents. In the years to come, four more children were added to the family.

One Sunday noon in 1917, Papa Barsness, with the family home from church, had something on his mind. "De agar ikke an go snore paa raaden me hester langere," he announced suddenly. "Me maa fell kjobe os en automobile like dan some andre folk." And so one day, he brought home a car, a Model T Ford.

Papa Barsness was born in Sogn, Norway, and died in 1938, at the age of seventy-four. Mama (Marit) Barsness, born in S. Fron, Gulbransdalen, Norway, died in 1939 at the age of sixty-nine.