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Published January 28 2003

Bob Lind column: Neighbors: Move to Wisconsin brings 2 Norweigans together

They lived only 40 or so miles from each other in Norway when they were kids. But Peder Rice didn't meet Emma, his future wife, until both had moved with their families to Wisconsin in the 1880s.

There they met, courted, married and did their part in populating this new land of theirs: They had 11 children -- 10 sons and one daughter.

Neighbors recently carried another story about a family in this area that had its roots in Norway, a family with 10 children -- nine sons and one daughter.

That hit home with J. Donald Rice, Moorhead, because of the similarity with his own family. He is a grandson of Peder and Emma, and he relays their story.

After farming and having their children in Wisconsin, Peder and Emma took a train to White Earth, N.D., in 1910 and homesteaded.

"I can't imagine that, traveling with 11 children by train," Don says.

But they did it. Furthermore, at White Earth, between Tioga and Stanley, the family lived in a "very small house," Don says, although it's possible some of the older children moved out.

Some of the family members managed to stay in the same area over the years. When they were older, five of the boys moved to Everett, Wash. One of them was Clarence; Don is his son.

Later, Clarence and two of his brothers moved to Kalispell, Mont.

That, in brief, is the story of another family with overseas roots. But it's a family tree which a family member has traced to the Viking era … and we're not talking Minnesota Vikings; we're talking back to about 970 A.D.

And a quick note about Don: He is a former regent of Concordia College who went on to become its director of church relations for 14 years before retiring.

Today he is the visitation pastor of Our Savior's Lutheran Church, Moorhead, meaning he's come full circle; he interned as a pastor at Our Savior's in 1954, almost 50 years ago.

If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107; fax it to (701) 241-5487;

or e-mail rlind@forumcomm.com