Edward Flones Oral History Interview, 1981  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Flones, Edward
1981 (inclusive)
3 file folders
8 photographs
1 sound cassette
Collection Number
An oral history interview with Edward Flones, a Norwegian immigrant.
Pacific Lutheran University, Archives and Special Collections
Archives and Special Collections
Pacific Lutheran University
12180 Park Avenue South
Tacoma, Washington
Telephone: 253-535-7586
Fax: 253-535-7315
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Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Edward Flones was born on April 8, 1907 in Hustad, Romsdalen, Norway to Markus Flones and Ellen Erikson. Markus was a fisherman and had changed his name from Peterson to Flones, "flo" meaning the tides and "nes" meaning front. Edward had fourteen siblings, many of which passed away. Edward attended school through the age of fifteen, and then he began fishing from fall through spring. In the summers, he went into the country and worked on various farms. In December 1929, Edward decided to immigrate to America, where two of his brothers were already living. His brothers liked America because the weather and fishing were better. Edward met one of his brothers in Seattle and stayed with him for the first year. The following year, he began fishing on a 10-11-man boat in Alaska. Edward fished on a boat called the "Nort" for fifteen years, and when the skipper died, Edward did the navigating himself. Eventually, Edward bought his own boat and began fishing by himself. By the time he retired, he owned six boats.

In 1932, Edward married Inga Haugen, whom he met in Seattle at a card party given by the Sons of Norway. Inga was from Stanwood, WA, and her father, Pete Haugen, was from Norway. They were married in Everett and after renting for awhile, they bought a house in Stanwood. Edward and Inga had four sons: Melvin, Magnar, Richard, and Peter. The family was active in the Lutheran Church, and all of the children were confirmed there. After attending night classes in Everett, Edward obtained his American citizenship in 1942. He and Inga returned to Norway in 1962 and 1971, and Edward thought the Norway that he left and the Norway he returned to were like "night and day."


Full Name: Edward Flones. Father: Markus Flones. Mother: Ellen Erikson. Brothers and Sisters: Edward Flones, Severine Flones Nerland, Eddy Flones, Ole Flones, Sophia Flones, Yngeborg Flones, Lars Flones, Martin Flones, Sverre Flones, Hans Nerland. Spouse: Inga Haugen. Children: Melvin Flones, Magnar Flones, Richard Flones, Peter Flones

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

This interview was conducted with Edward Flones on October 29, 1981 in Stanwood, Washington. It contains information on family background, work, emigration, marriage and family, church, community activities, and Norwegian heritage. The interview also provides photographs of Hustad, Edward's brother's house, Ed and Eddie Flones when they first came to America (1930), Edward's first and last boats, a fishing boat with a Caterpillar Diesel D342 Marine Engine (1956), and Edward at the time of the interview. The interview was conducted in English.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

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There are no restrictions on use.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

The partial interview transcription highlights important aspects of the interview. Numbers may be used as guides to important subjects. Two numbers separated by a slash indicate that the first number is for cassette and the second for CD.

Container(s) Description
109, side 1 005: FAMILY BACKGROUND
Born in Hustad, Romsdalen, Norway on April 8, 1907.
109, side 1 017: PARENTS
Father was Markus Peterson. Father put the name Flones on the farm when he bought it in Norway. Farm was by the ocean. "Flo" means the tide goes in and out. "Nes" means front sticking out in the water. Father's name was Markus Peterson Flones.
109, side 1 036: FISHING
Father was a fisherman in the summer and caught cod, herring, and goldfish. Big fishing village where they lived. Mostly fishing along the coast.
109, side 1 046: FAMILY FARM
Five acres, had one cow, and raised vegetables for the family.
109, side 1 050: FISHING
Father fished with another man. Went out in the morning and came back in the evening. Used sack nets. No motorboats. Used sailboats. Didn't go far out in the ocean, 2-6 miles.
109, side 1 064: FATHER
Quit fishing and began repairing fishing nets and making nets.
109, side 1 072: DEPRESSION AFTER WWI, 1920
When he left Norway in 1929 it was hard to get work.
109, side 1 080: GRANDPARENTS
Maternal, Erikson. Paternal died long before he was born.
109, side 1 088: MOTHER
Ellen Erikson from Hustad, Norway.
109, side 1 095: BROTHERS AND SISTERS
Fourteen. Many passed away. Oldest brother died before Edward was born by drowning. A sailboat capsized and sank.
109, side 1 111:
Sister Severine lived in Hustad and married Stephen Nerland. He was a fisherman.
109, side 1 134:
Brother Eddy came to the U.S. in 1910. He was a fisherman. Died in 1952.
109, side 1 145:
Brother Hans Nerland came to the U.S. Nerland is the name of the place. He changed his name when he came to the U.S. He also fished. Lived in Seattle. Died in 1971.
109, side 1 160: BROTHERS AND SISTERS
Most are dead now. One brother left, Martin. All brothers fished in Norway. Lars did some sailing, big oil tankers. Martin lives on the home place.
109, side 1 183: SISTERS
Sophia died. Yngeborg died, her husband was a fisherman.
109, side 1 195: CHILDHOOD HOME
"Liveable," Never home all at the same time so there was enough room.
109, side 1 212: SCHOOL
Eight years, through the age of 15. No high school, only grade school. First year went five times a week for 4-5 hours a day. After this they went every other day for two weeks then one week off. Teacher had many classes. Big classes.
109, side 1 235: TEACHERS
Had many different teachers. Many died of the flu epidemic (Spanish Flu).
109, side 1 250:
Edward had the flu when he was 10.
109, side 1 259: CHURCH
Big, confirmed in church. Parents went to church every other Sunday. Shared a preacher.
109, side 1 273: CHRISTMAS
Celebration not in church. It was in another place Berihus. Many missionaries in the church.
109, side 1 304: CHRISTMAS DAY
Had a service in the church. Had a tree in the house but not in the church.
109, side 1 307: CHRISTMAS
Describes what they do in the Berihus. Christmas in Norway lasted three weeks. Something going on everyday, visiting, singing.
109, side 1 330: PRESENTS
Mostly homemade, socks and clothes.
109, side 1 335: CHRISTMAS EVE
Ate meatballs, gravy and bread. Lots of Christmas cookies. Not much lefse or lutefisk. "Didn't want to spoil fish." Julekake.
109, side 1 358: CHRISTMAS DAY
Special dinner. "Went no place except church," stayed home. Made decorations and candles for the tree. Place to put the tree called "ungdomshus."
109, side 1 385: FOLK TALES
Not many folk stories. Some about Julenissen roaming around during Christmas Eve.
As young kids of 17-18 they went dancing after Christmas programs. Danced in big warehouses. Someone playing the accordion. Could only do seven dances in one place. Government put on this restriction.
109, side 1 440: FISHING IN NORWAY
Big boats 70-80 feet went up and down the coast. When they were through with herring fishing they went to Lofoten and Finmarken in the northern part of Norway for cod fishing.
109, side 1 457: 17TH OF MAY CELEBRATION
Many people from southern Norway up north in a small town. 10,000 fishermen up in a small town. Three policemen to keep order.
109, side 1 494:
Harbor full of boats, dance hall full, fighting, and drunk fishermen.
109, side 1 564:
Edward fished with another guy named Tommer Sander. The name of their boat was the Havguller. They used nets and hook and line. Thirteen men on the boat. Didn't fish in the summer.
109, side 1 585: SUMMER WORK
Went to the country and worked on farms.
Two brothers in U.S. They liked the U.S. Better weather. Fishing better. Made more money. Too many fishermen in Norway. No system or union in Norway like in the U.S.
109, side 1 632: LEFT NORWAY
After Christmas 1929, Edward had the home place in Norway. Father had given it him when he died. Brother Lars lived on the home place too.
109, side 1 670:
Edward gave to place to Ole, his oldest brother 15 years ago.
109, side 2 SIDE II :
109, side 2 011: LEAVING NORWAY
Sailed from Oslo. Took a passenger boat from home to Trondheim then took the train to Oslo. Passenger boat to New. It was called the Olaf Den Helge. It cost over $200. It was a Danish boat.
109, side 2 019: BOAT TRIP
Nice, good food, entertainment, and no seasickness. Edward was 20 years old.
109, side 2 028:
Took the train from New York to Seattle.
Could only say "yes" or "no." Describes an experience on the train when transferring in Chicago. Got on the wrong train. Met a Swede that explained to him the situation. Met a waitress that understood the language but couldn't speak it.
109, side 2 135:
Didn't go through Ellis Island when he landed in New York. Went through the American Consul in Oslo. All set to go.
109, side 2 139: TRAIN TRAVEL
Nice train, same as in Norway.
109, side 2 144:
Met brother in Seattle. Met many people on the train, "wasn't bashful." A man on the train that understood Norwegian helped Edward out. Norwegian loggers to talk to.
109, side 2 166: IMPRESSIONS OF THE U.S.
Nice place, never was homesick. Liked Seattle.
109, side 2 172: U.S. RELATIVES
Had an aunt in Poulsbo. Edward stayed with his brother in Seattle on 20th Ave., which is a little way from the bus depot.
109, side 2 187:
Brother fished. Edward did fishing in Seattle the first year. The second year he fished on a 10-11-man boat up in Alaska, a schooner.
109, side 2 198:
Bought own boat. Fished himself. Had 5,6,7 boats.
109, side 2 200:
Liked fishing better here. Had to cook on the boat here. Mostly bread and butter in Norway. One main meal. Better money in the U.S. Made $2000 a season which was from March-November.
109, side 2 220:
Brother took him out with him.
109, side 2 234: WINTER FISHING
Fished for halibut and black cod.
109, side 2 241: GEAR
"Gear rigged different here" on the boats, hook and line. Brother helped him learn. Norway used mostly net fishing.
109, side 2 261: FISHING IN ALASKA
On a boat called the "Nort." The skipper was Nils Rorvig and his partner was Johnny Johnson who was the chief. Edward fished 15 years on this boat.
109, side 2 270: PAY
Paid in shares by how much fish was caught. Skipper died and Edward did the navigation. Ten men on the boat.
109, side 2 295:
Edward wanted to buy his own boat. Others learned to navigate from YMCA navigation school in Seattle.
109, side 2 332:
Bought a bigger boat. Wound up with six boats when he quit fishing.
109, side 2 340:
Lived on a farm in Stanwood, Washington when fishing. Lived in Seattle for two and a half years until married. Met his wife in Seattle at the Sons of Norway card party. Her name was Inga Haugen.
109, side 2 353: WIFE
Worked at Broadmoor, a place where rich people lived. She was a cook for a family. Inga was from Stanwood. Her father, Pete Haugen was from Norway.
109, side 2 371:
Married in Everett at the pastor's house. Pastor's name was Norvernd. Inga's brother and wife were witnesses. Married in 1932. Moved to Stanwood after married. Rented a house in East Stanwood.
109, side 2 388:
Bought a farm in Stanwood, Washington.
109, side 2 395:
Learned languages by listening to people talk.
1942 went to night school in Everett.
109, side 2 406: CHILDREN
Melvin is logging and has two boys and two girls. One son is logging and the other drives feed truck. Melvin lives on a farm in Stanwood, Washington.
109, side 2 420:
Magnar lives in Sedro Woolley, Washington and is married. He fished with his father for 13 years. Bought a service station in Sedro Woolley, sold that. He repairs cars now. Takes one fishing trip each year on his father's first boat.
109, side 2 441:
Magnar had three boys. One works on cars and the other is a player for the Seahawks, Brian Flones. David goes to school in Sedro Woolley.
109, side 2 462:
Richard works for the phone company as an engineer. Lives in Kansas. Peter works for Ohio Oil Company. Lives in Walnut Creek, California. He is an engineer. Describes in some detail what Peter does.
109, side 2 524: CHURCH
Active in the Lutheran church. The children were confirmed.
109, side 2 531: SONS OF NORWAY
Involved in this organization while in Seattle.
109, side 2 535: TRIPS TO NORWAY
1961 and 1917. Took Inga. Changes "night and day." Modernized, new houses, torn down old and built new. Family house still standing.
109, side 2 576: NORWEGIAN LANGUAGE
Keeps up the language. "Never forget your mother language." Children didn't know Norwegian.
109, side 2 588: SPOKEN NORWEGIAN
Edward speaks Norwegian. Describes an incident while back in Norway.

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Anniversaries -- Norway -- 17th of May
  • Christmas
  • Emigration and immigration
  • Family--Norway
  • Fishing -- Norway
  • Fishing -- Alaska
  • Norway--Social conditions--1945-
  • Norwegian-Americans--Northwest, Pacific--Interviews
  • Norwegian-Americans--Social life and customs
  • Ocean travel
  • Personal Names :
  • Flones, Edward--Interviews (creator)
  • Flones, Peter
  • Flones, Richard
  • Haugen, Inga
  • Haugen, Pete
  • Erikson, Ellen
  • Flones, Magnar
  • Flones, Markus
  • Flones, Melvin
  • Corporate Names :
  • Olaf den Hellige (Steamship)
  • Sons of Norway (U.S.) Leif Erikson Lodge No. 1 (Seattle,Wash.)
  • Family Names :
  • Erikson family
  • Flones family
  • Haugen family
  • Peterson family
  • Geographical Names :
  • Hustad, Romsdal(Norway)
  • Romsdal(Norway)
  • Seattle (Wash.)
  • Stanwood (Wash.)
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • Oral histories
  • Occupations :
  • Farmers