| Among our early settlers was Mrs.
Grethe Paulson who came from Winneconne, Wisconsin in 1883. Having
been a member of the Ladies’ Aid Society in that vicinity, she related
how much she missed that organization and suggested to her neighbor ladies
that a similar organization be started in our congregation. So, with
the assistance of Pastor E.T. Sherping, this Jerusalem Lutheran Ladies’
Aid of Lunds was organized in 1889, at the home of Mrs. Thrine Hanson.
This Ladies’ Aid was called “Syforeningen”
(Sewing Society) and the meetings were conducted in the Norwegian language.
Meetings were held twice a month.
After devotion and hymn singing the afternoon was spent with spinning,
knitting, sewing, or making quilts, which were later sold to make money
for mission or other church needs. Stockings were sold for about
forty cents a pair, children’s dresses, etc. Were made. Articles
were handstitched, since machines were uncommon at that time; however,
considerable amounts of money were made through the sale of these handmade
Tables were set family style but as
membership increased, cafeteria style became the more practical means of
serving. Refreshments consisted of bread and butter, sauce, cake
and coffee, the latter being very important among good Norwegians!
In those days money was scarce but yarn, wool or cloth would be donated.
There was no charge for the lunch. Authoritative sources have informed
us that some of the first proceeds were contributed toward the construction
of the church steeple.
STYLES OF CLOTHING
The women wore a full-length skirt
which required about six or seven yards of material. It had a lining,
stiffening, and binding at the bottom. A deep pocket was usually
sewn in the seam on the right side. The tight basque waist was trimmed
with buttons or lace; sleeves were full and wrist length; skirts were long
and touched the floor. Shawls served the purpose of a coat.
These pioneer families lived in two
or three room cabins. The walls were whitewashed, and windows were
curtained with while muslin, or newspapers cut in fancy designs.
Homes were lighted mostly with homemade candles. Later, some had
lamps, however these were usually saved for “company.” Mrs. Sam Peterson
(daughter of a charter member) has related she recalled when they were
short of candles, improvised ones were made from a tin can, with tallow
and a cloth over the edge. It gave a little light but smoked badly.
She also remembers one day her mother stopped Mr. Al Hammond, Sr. As he
was passing by and gave him an empty bottle, hoping he might understand
that she desired kerosene. She could not speak English and Mr. Hammond
was not Norwegian; however, he pulled the cork from the bottle and said
something she did not understand. When he came back, however, the
bottle was filled with kerosene.
Mrs. Celia Cornelius, another daughter
of a charter member, recalls her mother using a stave churn with a dash
handle sticking through the top. She recalls also her mother and
other neighbor ladies carrying a basket of eggs or homemade butter to Shawano,
walking both ways -- a distance of sixteen miles round trip. On one
of these occasions she asked a neighbor girl, Georgia Olson, if she cared
to go along to town. Georgia answered she had no particular reason
for going but would go along “just for a walk.”
These pioneer women usually wore
their hair parted in the center or combed straight back and pinned up in
a “pug” in the nape of the neck.
These women often walked several miles
to attend their meetings, as the men used the oxen in the fields.
As they walked along, more women would join them and there would be quite
a number when they reached their destination. Because the homes were
small and families rather large, “trundle beds” which were shoved under
the big bed during the day were used as space savers. Occasionally,
furniture had to be moved out for the day because the mistress was going
to entertain “Syforeningen” (Sewing Society).
There were no modern devices to lessen
the work of these pioneer women. Large family washings were done
by using a “scrubbing board” as there were no washing machines. Floors
were scrubbed by hand as there was no linoleum which made cleaning easier.
Bread was homemade as there were no bakeries.
Mrs. Grethe Paulson, President
Mrs. Rackel Olson
Mrs. Karen Larsen
Mrs. Thrine Hanson
Mrs. Jacobine Pedersen
(Mrs. Paulson and Mrs. Pedersen were sisters, as
were Mrs. Olson and Mrs. Larsen, while Mrs. Hanson was their sister-in-law.)