By Richard J. Fapso
In 1838, Ole Nattestad staked a claim on the Jefferson Prairie in Rock County, becoming the first Norwegian settler in Wisconsin. By the late nineteenth century, when Norwegian immigration largely came to a close, more than 30,000 natives of Norway had settled on Wisconsin soil.
Read about the causes that impelled Norwegians to come to Wisconsin, their dangerous Atlantic voyage, and the establishment of Norwegian communities in the state. Featured are the letters of two Norwegians: Ole Munch Raeder, a Norwegian scholar who toured the state in the 1840s and wrote articles about the state for newspapers in Norway, and Anders Jensen Stortroen, an immigrant farmer who corresponded with family in Norway in the late 1850s.