Steversen, Sigvald

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SIE 2-5-t275

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Steversen, Sigvald

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  • 1984-08-22 (Creation)

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This interview was conducted with Sigvald Stenersen on August 22, 1984 in Spokane, Washington. It contains information on family background, emigration, occupations, marriage and family, and Norwegian heritage. The interview was conducted in English with some Norwegian towards the end of the interview.

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Biographical Note

Biographical Information Sigvald Stenersen was born on March 15, 1912 in Sand Point, Idaho to Soeren Stenersen and Jensine Vik. Soeren and Jensine were both from Eiken, Vest-Agder, Norway, which is 45 km north-northeast of Farsund on the southern coast. Soeren worked for the Humbolt Lumber Company for 16-17 years in Sand Point, and after his third trip back to Norway in 1909, Jensine accompanied him back to America. Sigvald's sister Inga was also born in Sand Point, but in 1914, the Stenersen family moved back to Norway and bought Jensine's homeplace. In Norway, Soeren and Jensine had four more children: Ingeborg, Gunvald, Aasulv, and another boy who died when he was only a year old. Along with farming, Soeren and a neighbor also built a sawmill, which they operated part-time. The farm kept all of the children busy with chores, and Sigvald never had much time to play as a child. He began attending school when he was six and half and continued for seven years until he was confirmed. Under his father's encouragement, Sigvald also spent two winters at a 'fortsettelseskole' (continuing school), which is somewhat comparable to an American high school. From age 16 to 18, Sigvald worked on a county road crew and then decided that he wanted to immigrate to America. Sigvald originally planned on living with a cousin in New York, but there was no work for him there, and he went to stay with his aunts, (Soerine) Irene Johnson and Anne Morland, in Spokane, Washington. In Spokane, a neighbor put Sigvald in contact with a Norwegian farmer, Albert Owes, and Sigvald began working for him at harvest time. At the farm, Sigvald worked extremely hard and felt that Owes exploited the Norwegian immigrants as cheap labor. After two years, Sigvald left the farm in the spring of 1933 and went to Lewiston, Idaho. In Idaho, Sigvald got into the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), who were building roads in southern Idaho. In the CCC, Sigvald received on-the-job training in regards to compressors, blasting, and reading grade stakes on road construction. After 21 months in the CCC, Sigvald returned to Spokane and continued to work in construction until he retired in 1974. In the late 1930s, Sigvald met his wife, Edna Mae, who had come to Spokane to attend the Lutheran Bible Institute branch there. They were married in 1940 and had three children: Norma (Larson), Stanley, and David. Edna is Swedish-Dane, but the Stenersens have kept up with traditional Norwegian cooking in their home and the children can speak a small amount of Norwegian. Sigvald has also returned to Norway five times.


Lineage

Full Name: Sigvald Stenersen Father: Soeren Stenersen Mother: Jensine Vik Paternal Grandfather: Steiner Stenersen Paternal Grandmother: Ingerid Stenersen Maternal Grandfather: Gunleif Vik Maternal Grandmother: Inger Marie Vik Brothers and Sisters: Inga Marie Stenersen Gunvald Stenersen Ingeborg Stenersen Aasulv Stenersen Spouse: Edna Mae Stenersen Children: Norma Larson Stanley Stenersen David Stenersen

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