Ole Johannes Eide Oral History Interview, 1982  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Eide, Ole Johannes
1982 (inclusive)
3 file folders
3 photographs
1 sound cassette
Collection Number
An oral history interview with Ole Johannes Eide, 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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Biographical NoteReturn to Top

INSERTJohn Eide was born Ole Johannes Eide on April 20, 1900 in Brathammer, Sørstokke, Karmøy, Norway. Brathammer was his grandfather's home and Karmøy is an island between Stavanger and Haugesund. John's parents were Ole Mandius Eide, also known as Johannes Løberg, and Gertrud Brathammer. John's father immigrated to America before he was born and became an American citizen. Ole then returned to Norway to marry Gertrud, whom he took back to America. However, Gertrud became sickly and lonesome and returned to Norway to care for her family and run a store at Brathammer. Ole continued living in both America and Norway, and he and Gertrud had four children in addition to John: Adolph, Amanda, Carl, and Tom. John went to the Christian school when he was younger, but believes he was truly saved when he was seventeen. He and a neighbor were coming home from a dance on New Year's when "a spirit came upon them." They used to call Karmøy "Hellige Øy," which means Holy Island.

In an attempt to make a better living, John immigrated to Anaconda, Montana in 1923. There, he lived with his older brother Adolph and met his first wife Mary Eastman, who was of Swedish descent. They both attended church at the Salvation Army Hall. John originally did not think he was going to marry her and returned to Norway in 1926. He later re-immigrated to the United States, and after staying in Brooklyn, New York for a month, he returned to Anaconda and married Mary. John worked on the smelter in Anaconda, and they bought a small four-room house. The Eide's had four children: Ruth (Nelson), Charles, Kenneth, and David. In Anaconda, John was also very active in the Lutheran Church and started a mission, which later became an Assembly of God Church. In 1968, John and Mary moved to Spokane, Washington, where Mary later passed away. In 1979, John moved further west and met his second wife, Lois, in Des Moines, Washington. John has returned to Norway four times and continues to sing religious songs in Norwegian as well as English.


Full Name: Ole Johannes Eide. Father: Ole Mandius Eide Johannes Løberg (His name in Karmøy). Mother: Gertrud Brathammer. Paternal Grandfather: Tormo Løberg. Paternal Grandmother: Margaret Løberg. Maternal Grandfather: Tøres Brathammer. Maternal Grandmother: Martha Brathammer. Brothers and Sisters: Adolph Eide, Amanda Kvalevag, Carl Eide, Tom Løberg. Spouse: Mary Eastman Eide, Lois Eide. Children: Ruth Nelson, Charles Eide, Kenneth Eide, David Eide.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

This interview was conducted with John Eide on October 15, 1982. It contains information about family background, becoming a Christian, emigration, return to Norway and re-emigration, marriage and family, and church involvement. The interview also contains a paper by John regarding baptism, a photograph of John and his siblings in Norway, and two photographs of John at the time of the interview. Mr. Eide speaks Norwegian fairly often during the interview.

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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
192, side 1 020: PERSONAL BACKGROUND
Name is Ole Johannes Eide. Born on April 20, 1900 in Brathammer, Sørstokke, Kopervik, Norway. Brathammer was his grandfather's home and his mother had a store on that place. This is now owned by Audun Brathammer (?) who is the boss of the North Sea oil project. Karmøy is the island he was raised on. This is between Stavanger and Haugesund.
192, side 1 195:
He talks about drinking and driving in Norway and the stiff fines.
192, side 1 230: PARENTS
Father lived in America and his mother took care of the business in Norway and also helped take care of her father. His father's name was Ole Mandius Eide and his mother's name was Gertrud Brathammer. His father was born at Eide on the same island.
192, side 1 280: PARENTS IN THE U.S.
His father was a citizen of the U.S. before he was born and worked in smelter work and all kinds of jobs. John was a naturalized citizen because of this. His father came to the U.S. and then he returned and married John's mother. Then they returned to the U.S. but she became sickly and lonesome and returned to Norway. They had been living in Illinois. His father said the water was bad there and liked it much better in Montana where he later moved. His mother stayed in Norway and cared for the rest of the family.
192, side 1 340: BROTHERS AND SISTERS
There were four boys and one girl. All the boys were in the U.S. Carl had a dry cleaning shop in Olympia and Bremerton, Washington. Thomas Magnus was the youngest and when their father died while in Norway Tom went back to take care of their mother because John had a wife and family then. He took care of the farm and did some fishing. Adolph was the oldest and worked in Anaconda, Montana, Butte, Montana, and Great Falls, Montana at different types of jobs. This was the brother who sent him the money to come to the U.S. Amanda Kvalevag stayed in Norway.
192, side 1 454: GRANDPARENTS
Maternal grandparents were Toeres Brathammer and Martha. She came from Åkre, which is on the other side of the island. He did some fishing. Brathammer was kind of a poor place.
192, side 1 485: GROCERY STORE
His mother went to Kopervik to get supplies for the store in a horse and buggy.
Tormo and Margaret.
192, side 1 530: SCHOOL
They had school on the island. It was a good Christian school.
192, side 1 550: CHURCH
It was in Kopervik. They didn't go to church much but they went to revival meetings. Sometimes these traveling evangelists would be at the church and other times at the Bedehus. There was a Salvation Army at Kopervik too.
192, side 1 575: AUTOMOBILES
He remembers when the first care came to Karmøy, a doctor owned it.
192, side 1 605: KARMØY
A lot of people lived on that island. There were some large towns, Kopervik, Skudenes, and Åkrehamn. They lived about a half hours walk from Kopervik or ten minutes by car. Now it's almost like a little city where he grew up.
192, side 1 635: WATER
Now they get the water to the place from one of the lakes up in the hills. Before they got the water from a well.
192, side 1 657: CHRISTMAS
It was a religious time. They had a Christmas tree party at the Mission House. They would hold hands and sing around the tree. Now Christmas is more Americanized. Went to church on Christmas. There couldn't be any clothes on the clothesline and no work on Sundays there. It was a five-day holiday. He says in Norwegian that Karmoey isn't as Christian as it used to be.
192, side 1 724: CHRISTMAS FOOD
Some would have lutefisk. They would have all different kinds of fish and were healthy.
192, side 1 748: CHILDHOOD
His mother took care of them because his father was gone so much. They started calling him Johannes Gertrud. They bought a little ranch in the middle part of Stokkestrand and they could see out over the water.
192, side 1 783: WORK
He did a little fishing sometimes for some spending money. Otherwise he helped his mother on the farm or in the store.
192, side 1 793: MOTHER'S STORE
It was a little grocery store. They had a girl that worked for them. They used to take the mail.
192, side 1 810: AUDUN BRATHAMMER
He talks about him again. He is the grandson of Toeres Brathammer.
Tried to make a living. Didn't really want to come to America. After the war, there was a depression, so he was glad when his brother sent him a ticket.
192, side 1 845: SCHOOL
Went to Bible school in Stavanger otherwise he stayed at home and helped. He would go to dances, but didn't do any dancing after he was saved.
192, side 1 870: TELLS ABOUT BEING SAVED
It happened when he was 17 in Norway on New Years Night 1918. They were coming home from a dance and the spirit came upon them. They used to call Karmøy Hellige Øy (Holy Island). You couldn't buy drinks there. He and a neighbor boy were saved outside that night. In the summertime then he went to Bible school in the wintertime he would sometimes sing with an evangelist.
192, side 1 974: CHURCH LIFE IN NORWAY
There were no Sundays there; you worked everyday.
192, side 1 977: TRIP TO U.S.
About April of 1923 when he was 23. His mother was glad for him to go. He came on the Norwegian-American Line Bergensfjord. There was one stormy day out of the 6-7 day trip. He didn't know that he was a U.S. citizen and took out his first papers. He didn't have to go through Ellis Island. He bought a third class ticket, but it was full so he got to stay with the first class and ate with the second class. He came with his brother's wife's sisters and her husband who escorted him to Montana. Their names were John and Hilda Kohlstad (?).
192, side 1 1065: TRAIN TRAVEL
Took the train from New York to Anaconda, Montana.
192, side 1 1067: ANACONDA, MONTANA
Lived with his brother and had board with his brother's wife's sister. There were a lot of Norwegians there.
192, side 1 1078: LANGUAGE
His wife was a very good teacher and the American language came to him very easily.
192, side 1 1088: FIRST WIFE
Met her at Anaconda, Montana. Her name was Mary Eastman. She was born of Swedish parents. They met at the Salvation Army Hall. They would go to church there. On a return trip to Norway, the Lord told him to marry her, but he didn't think he would ever go to the U.S. and if he didn't he wouldn't go to Montana.
Came to Brooklyn, New York and stayed there for about a month. In 1926, he had returned to Norway.
192, side 2 025:
It is difficult to follow at this point, he seems to be talking about his girlfriend in Norway and how their relationship ended.
192, side 2 064: BROOKLYN
Worked for a contractor and it was so hot that people were dying from heatstroke. He could never satisfy this man so he quit.
192, side 2 100: MARRIAGE
It wasn't long before he married Mary Eastman in Anaconda, Montana. The wedding was in the pastor's office. She had been working for ten years.
192, side 2 140: HOUSING
They rented a house for one year and then they bought a small four-room house. Later his son Charlie built an upstairs on it.
192, side 2 158: WORK IN ANACONDA
He was working on the smelter.
192, side 2 166: CHILDREN
Three boys and one girl. Ruth Nelson is the pastor's wife at the Assembly of God church. David, the youngest, is a pastor in Slaten, MN (?), at a Pentecostal. Kenneth is a CPA in Billings, Montana. Two of his grandchildren are going to Northwest Bible College. Charlie has children and has a good Christian wife.
192, side 2 260: CHURCH LIFE
Was active in the Lutheran Church in Montana. Gave $1 a month. He started a mission because Mary's grandfather was a heavy drinker. She went into the saloon and took him out and brought him to the mission and he was saved. He started in an old saloon. Later it became an Assembly of God Church. He didn't preach but he did do some singing. He talks about the institutions in the areas for TB, mentally ill, and a penitentiary. He had played his guitar and sung at these places. His wife plays the piano.
192, side 2 377: ANACONDA
Now they are tearing down the smelter because it costs too much to run it. Now there is nothing there. He worked at the smelter until 1968 when he moved out to Washington because he had three children out here.
192, side 2 412: MOVE
They thought they might move to Salt Lake City, Utah because they have a place out there. They also thought about moving to Everett, Washington but ended up in Spokane, Washington close to their family. His wife died there. He moved to this side of the mountains about three years ago.
192, side 2 466: SECOND WIFE
Met her in Des Moines, Washington. He sang some songs to her. Her name was Lois. They lived together for two years. She gave her place to Ruth's family.
192, side 2 543: VISITS TO NORWAY
He and his daughter went back. He saw how the island has grown. There is an aluminum plant there. John had returned four times. His wife saved her money.
192, side 2 592: ORGANIZATIONS
Only active in church.
192, side 2 605: SPOKEN NORWEGIAN
He sings the song, "I Fell in Love" in both English and Norwegian.
192, side 2 690: RELIGIOUS SINGING
He plays a guitar and sings "Jesus I Love You (?)," "I Fell in Love," and "A Lily." Then he sings a song with a piano accompaniment.

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Christmas
  • Church attendance--Norway
  • Emigration and immigration
  • Family--Norway
  • Marriage service
  • Norway--Social conditions--1945-
  • Norwegian-Americans--Northwest, Pacific--Interviews
  • Norwegian-Americans--Social life and customs
  • Return migration--Norway
  • Personal Names :
  • Eide, John--Interviews (creator)
  • Eastman, Mary
  • Eide, Charles
  • Eide, David
  • Eide, Lois
  • Løberg, Margaret
  • Nelson, Ruth
  • Brathammer, Gertrud
  • Brathammer, Martha
  • Brathammer, Toeres
  • Eide, Kenneth
  • Eide, Ole Mandius
  • Løberg, Tormo
  • Corporate Names :
  • Assemblies of God
  • Bergensfjord (Steamship)
  • Salvation Army
  • Family Names :
  • Brathammer family
  • Eastman family
  • Eide family
  • Løberg family
  • Geographical Names :
  • Anaconda (Mont.)
  • Des Moines (Wash.)
  • Karmøy herad (Norway)
  • Spokane (Wash.)
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • Oral histories
  • Occupations :
  • Miners