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Christ and Julia Arneson

Memories of Esther Harrop Van Dresser and Lonna Arneson

Christ did carpenter work for the Jones sisters, the Aunts of architect Frank Lloyd Wright, when he came to the USA. As they were teachers, he learned perfect English in about a year, and had a love of American literature.

He was well thought of and if there was a dispute in the area, he was called on to settle it - considered the judge of the area. Christ paid his mother’s passage from Norway, as well as Paul Olsen’s and Nels Johnson’s. He was known as 'Big' Christ, and elder brother Christopher was known as 'Little'.

Christ was a little gruff and Julia was meek and quiet. Naomi (Ole’s wife) adored her and said what a wonderful person she was.

The children liked to go down to the celar through a hole under the log house where milk and butter were stored. They would eat the soured milk with a spoon.

Christ made axe handles for neighbours, and his grandson, Thomas Arneson Sr., had the bench he used to sit on at one time. He had made a bentwood rocker, very comfortable. Tom’s daughter, Lonna was proud to have it in her home. It was destroyed in the Barneveld, WI. tornado of 1984.

An Irish neighbour lady would call for Trena to go berry picking. As she got closer to the log cabin she would call, “Trena, come Trena. Let’s go picking berries!” If it was hot the Irish lady would put leaves in the top of her hat to kelp keep her head cool.

Christ enjoyed experimenting with plants. He would graft apples, several kinds on to one tree. He stuck one in a crack in a rock. It grew and produced beautiful red apples. Jessie Harrop took some to the County Fair and labeled them Arneson Pride.

Esther Harrop, daughter of Julia Arneson Harrop, had a card sent to her by Grandma Julia Arneson. The handwriting was a mixture of English and Norwegian. Esther said Grandma Julia was a loving, giving person who continually worried whether her guests were “making out her dinner”. She was one of the most hospitable people one could find. She hovered over the table urging everyone to eat and neve sat down. When she cut her homemade bread she held it against her stomach and sliced toward herself, with the bread coming out in all sizes and angles.

She always had red salmon in the house so she was prepared to feed anyone who came (her daughter, Ellen, did the same thing and made the best chocolate cake and best pickles, according to Lonna Arneson). The coffee pot was always brewing on the back of the kitchen range ready for whomever came. Many times the grounds were a third of the way up the pot as she would add more coffee to the pot. It was a large blue enamel pot, probably holding 10-12 cups.

It is said that as many as fourteen people at a time slept in the log cabin. Anyone who dropped in was made to feel welcome. Everyone drank water from the ladle and fresh bucket of water - most delicious and cold.

Linked toChrist ARNESON; Gunhild Marie Thoreson "Julia" SPAANEM

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