Historical Markers - Rock Co., WI

Jefferson Prairie Settlement

Located on Hwy. 140, about 5 miles south of Clinton in Bergen, Clinton Township (east of Jefferson Prairie Cemetery)

 
Courtesy of Rhonda McNurlan
 
    Ole KNUTSON NATTESTAD, first Norwegian settler in Wisconsin, came
    to Clinton Township, July 1, 1838.
    In his native Numedal, NATTESTAD had been a farmer, peddler and
    blacksmith. In 1836, he and his brother Ansten visited Stavenger and there heard for the first time about America. Early the next year they secured passage to Massachusetts and a few months later had worked their way to Chicago.
    In the spring of 1838, Ansten returned to Norway while Ole "explored"
    northward, eventually reaching Clinton Township.
    Ansten organized more than a hundred emigrants and led them to Wisconsin
    the following year. Some joined Ole NATTESTAD on Jefferson Prairie; others went west to Rock Prairie (Luther Valley).
    Although the groups organized different church congregations and were
    separated by settlers of different nationality, they were usually regarded jointly as the first Norwegian settlement in Wisconsin, and the fourth in America.
 

 

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