|A History of STRUM
and the TOWN OF UNITY by Roy Matson
|No one at this time can furnish any information as to which of the following families
followed Wenberg first. Hiram Johnson, a lifetime resident furnished the names: Olec
Skytterud, Johannes Skytterud, Reier Paulson, Ole Paulson, Julius, Jon and Martin
Halvorson, Erik Larson, Julius Lee, Thorstein Holstad, Gustav Voldsness, Pauder and
Carl Risberg and a Haakenson. Many of these men had families, many others arrived and
In Bruce Valley we have the Amund Amundson and Ole Halvorson families, locating prior
to 1870. With them came the Gunner Gunderson family later settled in Chimney Rock.
Only 3% of Norway’s rugged land is used for agriculture. One-half way up the west coast
of Mjosa, the country’s largest inland lake, the rough, rocky timberland levels out to the
rolling acres of Toten appearing in the west. Three or four small villages serve the needs
of several hundred people, most of them employed as a result of the high productivity of
the many fine gaards. One can speculate just why would people leave a place like this? But
a one time over-population, gaard owners who kept the husman a husman, and young men
who yearned for land with no hope of obtaining it here.
From the garden spot in the old country came early settlers Johannes Christianson in 1857,
Hans Paulson, Johannes Frodal, all with wives and families. Following these came the
Holtes, Chris and Matt, brothers, and even and Martinus, brothers. The latter was killed in
a timber accident. About 1880 or just later, Sever Matson and Hans Frodal arrived.
Just about 1900, Harold and John Johnson of the Klavestad family came. Later Johannes
Klavestad, his wife and four grown sons and daughters arrived. Mads Hanestad, wife and
a daughter, and Martin Bjorklund, wife and son and all of the same family followed.
There may have been several others in early days that tarried awhile and left. Marcus and
Paul Gjestvang came here during the mid-twenties and returned. Bjorn Skoyen the
skijumper did likewise. His brother Ralph Skoyen lived here awhile and then moved to
other parts of the state at various times.
The Viking Ski Club
Probably no activity brought more healthy publicity to Strum than its skiers and their
sponsors, the Viking Ski Club. The year was 1931 and winter snows lay deep when Bjorn
Skoyen, a recent arrival from Norway, received his heavy 8-foot jumping skis from home
and began sliding down what was then known as Eide hill. Local authorities of this sport
acknowledged his good form and the long leaps attracted much attention.
About the same time Torval Rustad, another recent arrival from that country, was
working at the Jacob Myhers farm about four miles east of town. The men were cutting
wood and he at once recognized a certain steep hillside as having a good contour for a ski
jumping site. Stumps were sheared off close to ground level. During winter snow was
packed into place and before spring a jumping competition took place, the first of many
such events through future years.
Experienced jumpers from Eau Claire were invited, Skoyen took part and for the first time
most locals became aware that several brothers of the Nelson family from Hale were ski
jumpers of no ordinary ability. Older Eau Claire athletes competed in class A. Skoyen and
the Nelsons, three of the, were entered in B class and outdistanced the older skiers in the
long standing event. Auctioneer Ing Mhyers was announcer for the afternoon. The meet
was run off without a hitch and enthusiasm was high.
There was no move the next winter, the first of the depression months, except that Ingvald
Myhers erected a 20-foot scaffold and ran a contest to pay for its construction. It was
during the latter part of the following winter that a meeting was held at the Myhers farm
where a decision was made to organize a club. Ing Myhers was elected president and
William Kromroy secretary. Rolf Skoyen suggested