- It all started in 1843.
- They had probably heard about America for some years, as farmers had left
Tinn parish already in 1837.
- The growing America-fever met with great concern from The authorities. A
report was already sent to the Treasury department in 1837, as a result of the leaving of
the first group from Telemark. But they soon realised that with reference to the law, they
could not stop the emigration. So the authorities restricted themselves to dissuading
people from leaving, as they emphasised the great difficulties one would certainly meet in
those distant and alien countries.
- So in December 1842, the landowner on the large farm
"Nordre Foss" in Gjerpen, Hans
Gasmann, made it public through the newspapers, that he intended to emigrate to
America with his entire family, wife and 13 children.
- The avalanche is let loose. A large number of people left towns and
parishes. From Gjerpen 105 people left in May 1843. Gasmann and his followers were taken
across the Atlantic on the bark
"Salvator" of Porsgrunn, with the landowner's own
brother, Johan Gasmann, as captain. The ship, with a gross tonnage of 157 kml
(kommerselester), equal to 326 gross reg. tons, sailed out the fjord on May 12, and
two months later, on July 13, the first emigrants from Gjerpen set foot on American soil
in New York.
Here you will find passenger-lists for the
vessels "Skien", "Rjukan", "Nordhavet" and
"Tamworth", which left with emigrants for Quebec and Montreal in Canada in the
years 1866 - 1873. Lots of names from all over Telemark.
- Emigration year-by-year
- I have tried to collect bits and pieces about the emigration from
my part of Norway and display it on a year-by-year sort of system. It's a bit incoherent,
but I hope you'll excuse it. I am adding information along the way. as I come across it.
- The information comes from old newspapers, especially
"Skiensposten" and "Bratsberg Amts Correspondent",
and also some interesting things have been found in various books and articles
written on this subject.
I'd like to emphasise a couple of books in English, which describe the conditions
for the early Gjerpen-emigrants extremely well, and also where you will find more
information on many farms and families.
- One book is "Gjerpen to Gjerpen" by Richard
C. Madson, issued in 1995. It describes the lives of the Madsen-family who emigrated
from the farm Aas in Gjerpen to Madison. Another book is "From the Indian Land"
by Malcolm Rosholt, issued 1985. Here you will find mentioned lots of
Gjerpen-families who settled in the Scandinavia township in Wisconsin. Also the book
"A history of Iola, Wisconsin" by Robert M. Poeschl, issued 1978
has interesting facts about Gjerpen-farms as Bestul, Frogner and Løberg.
A.Tiedemand: Emigrants saying farewell.