Andrew (Anders) Monsen Tjugum Oral History Interview, 1984  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Tjugum, Andrew (Anders) Monsen
1984 (inclusive)
3 file folders
1 photograph
1 sound cassette
Collection Number
An oral history interview with Andrew (Anders) Monsen Tjugum, a Norwegian immigrant.
Pacific Lutheran University, Archives and Special Collections
Archives and Special Collections
Pacific Lutheran University
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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

Andrew (Anders) Tjugum was born on October 17, 1904 in Skoger, Drammen, Norway, which is in the southern part of the country. His parents were Mons Tjugum and Andrine Gjerde, and there were nine children in the family: Anna, Hans, Anders, Magnus, Synnøve, Marie, Arne, Kari, and Sigurd. After confirmation, Andrew began working for neighboring farms, and in 1926, he decided to immigrate to Montana, where an old neighbor had a homestead. After earning enough money, Andrew eventually bought his own 320-acre homestead near Scobey, Montana, which is in the northeast. In 1956, Andrew made a return trip to Norway and was married to Ruth Magnusson there in 1958. Ruth and Andrew continued to live on the farm in Montana until 1960 and then moved back to Norway permanently. They had no children, and Andrew continued to remain in contact with his friends back in America.


Full Name: Andrew (Anders) Monsen Tjugum. Father: Mons Tjugum. Mother: Andrine Gjerde. Paternal Grandfather: Hans Monsen Tjugum. Paternal Grandmother: Mette Menes. Maternal Grandfather: Anders Ese Gjerde. Maternal Grandmother: Synnøve Ulvestad. Brothers and Sisters: Anna Tjugum, Hans Tjugum, Magnus Tjugum, Synnøve Tjugum, Marie Tjugum, Arne Tjugum, Kari Tjugum, Sigurd Tjugum. Spouse: Ruth Magnusson.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

This interview was conducted with Andrew (Anders) Tjugum on June 25, 1984 in Andebu, Norway. It contains information on family background, emigration, settling in, homesteading, marriage, return to Norway, and contact with America but has not been fully translated. Also available are papers entitled "Slekten 'Losna' Gjennom 700 AaR" and "Tjugum" and a black and white photograph of Andrew at the time of the interview. The interview was conducted in Norwegian.

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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
272, side 1 007:
Anders Tjugum. Used Andrew as his first name in U.S., but retained his last name.
272, side 1 012:
Tells a story about an episode where his name lead to some complications.
272, side 1 017:
Born in Skoger, Drammen, October 17, 1904.
272, side 1 020: PARENTS
Mons Tjugum (father) and Andrine Gjerde (mother). They were from Balestrand, Sogn. Bought a farm in Skoger in 1901. They decided to move away because there were too many people living in Balestrand and not enough space for everyone.
272, side 1 030: BROTHERS AND SISTERS
There were nine children. Andrew was number three, the second boy.
272, side 1 039:
Talks about the time when people had no problem with money. But then came "the crack" and things went downhill.
272, side 1 044: WORK AND SCHOOL
Worked at the neighbor's farms during summer vacation. The school year was "designed" with farm work in mind, so the children could help at home. School was every other day (three days a week). Two months of summer vacation plus Christmas and Easter.
272, side 1 054: WORK
Finished school in 1919 after 7 years. He was 15 and was confirmed. He wasn't sorry that he was done with school. He liked to work more than attending school.
272, side 1 061:
He did all kinds of work but mostly logging with horse.
272, side 1 064:
Moved away from home after confirmation. He couldn't get along with his brothers and sisters. His parents said he was something else because he always had different opinions than the rest of the children.
272, side 1 072:
He didn't move very far. He was in the same village as the parents, so he went to see them on Sundays.
272, side 1 077:
He was a manager and supervisor over the others and he worked on one of the big farms, so he had a very good salary. The first summer he made 100kr a month plus food and a place to stay. After that he earned 150kr a month.
272, side 1 083: REASON FOR EMIGRATION
In 1925 he met a neighbor (Didrik Joul) who was home visiting from Montana. He had lived there for 13 years and spoke well of it (lots of land, easy money). Andrew thought America sounded interesting plus there were "bad times" in Norway, nothing for a young guy to do.
272, side 1 100:
Was hard to get all the papers required to go to the U.S.. But if you could work on farms, then you could get permission outside the quota. But the neighbor that he was going to work for had to guarantee for him for 5 years.
272, side 1 107:
When he turned in the application between Christmas and New Years Eve, they told him it would take two years before he could go, but when he told them he was a farm worker it went faster. He needed to get papers from vassal, priest and school, to see if he had a "clean record" everywhere (See tape counter I-126).
272, side 1 122: TRIP
He could have left in March but wanted to stay for Easter. So he left two weeks later than he could have. Left from Oslo on April 10th, 1926.
272, side 1 130:
Ticket cost 1200kr from Oslo to Montana ($61 from New York to Montana). 1200kr was what a normal farm worker would earn in one year. But Andrew had saved the money, so it was no problem for him.
272, side 1 140:
He didn't tell anyone that he was going to America until he had all the papers in order. He had mentioned a couple of years earlier that he was thinking about going to America but his parents didn't approve.
272, side 1 153: BOAT TRIP
The trip took 17 days from Oslo. Went from Oslo to Bergen, where he boarded the ship "Bergensfjord" which took the immigrants to Halifax and then New York, Chicago, and Minneapolis. The boat they traveled on was used as a transport ship during the war. There they [the immigrants] where placed on a train to their destinations. Anders had two stopovers, Chicago and Minneapolis.
272, side 1 190: TRAIN TRIP
He didn't know a word English when he arrived, so there was not much communication with others since he didn't know anyone either. When he needed to know what to do next, he just showed his ticket and received the information he needed.
272, side 1 204:
He didn't get much to eat on the trip, but he managed.
272, side 1 209:
There was no one to meet him on the train station when he arrived, but a lot of Scandinavians were there so he had no problems with communication. He paid a man $3 to take him out to the farm.
272, side 1 219: WORK
The farm was located 17 miles from the town. There were no roads.
272, side 1 225:
The farm had some facilities, but it was still primitive. There was a small house, 16x24 ft. where the farmer's wife and five small children lived. He had two servants who ate in the house, but slept out in a shed.
272, side 1 241: SIZE OF FARM
He used horses to do the work, but had just bought a tractor. Anders remembers that they harvested 800 acres. Anders used the six horses to sow, while the farmer and the other worker did the plowing. Anders sowed 25 acres per day. They had started the work April 10th and they were done by the end of May.
272, side 1 256:
He had very little contact with other people in the beginning. The farmer he worked for was one of the few people he knew who spoke Norwegian. His wife, a third generation Norwegian, understood some.
272, side 1 268:
When they harvested the crop, twevle men worked there. They came from all nations including a couple of men from Sweden, so then he had contact with other people.
272, side 1 277: WORK
During the winter he left to work for a Danish farmer. They always had neighbors visiting, so he picked up some English there. After that it was easy to learn more.
272, side 1 286: BOUGHT LAND
Anders bought some land next to the farm he originally worked for. So he lived at that farm while he built his farm and harvested his own crop. Then he helped the farmer he stayed to with to build a bigger house, as repayment for food and housing.
272, side 1 302:
He bought was 320 acres. It was land someone had bought and then left, so the bank owned it and wanted to sell it. He paid $10 per acre on contract with 10 percent interest, to be repaid in 5 years. But it was not that important, as long as you paid the interest. The bank was happy someone took the land.
272, side 1 315:
He had bought six horses to use on the farm. The horses were cheap, only $25-50 per horse. With those he was able to produce a crop of 100 acres the first year, which was a record on that land. (This was in 1927)
272, side 1 336:
He had no problem selling everything but it was a problem to get the produce into town. But you had to take whatever the buyers would give for it.
272, side 1 341:
They used horse and wagon to get everything into town. There were some cars around but no roads.
272, side 1 366:
He didn't go into town more than necessary. He could go about 5-6 weeks between each trip, but they had get food, mail and other things. If neighbors went into town they would pick up the mail for the others too.
272, side 1 373: MAIL
He received the "Skandinaven", a Scandinavian newspaper, the local newspaper and occasional letters from home. The newspapers came out once a week.
272, side 1 384: LEARNING ENGLISH
He learned to read English from some Norwegian girls who attended school there. So he knew enough to understand what the newspapers were talking about.
272, side 1 406:
When asked if he had planned to stay in America, when he left , he says he had not planned anything. He quickly realized that money did not grow on trees in America in 1929 and after they had some hard times with bad crops and no pay.
272, side 1 415: DEBTS
He incurred debts for 13 years, but he wasn't the only one. This happened to everyone. But the banks didn't take their farms away because no one else wanted it. They were glad someone kept it going. This period lasted until 1939 when the war broke out. Then things changed.
272, side 1 424:
Since they couldn't get any profitable prices on their crops, they couldn't pay their debts and then the banks went bankrupt one after another. There were two banks where Anders lived. Luckily the one he used managed to stay alive, but he didn't give out loans. The other went bankrupt. However, the farmers got paid to let their land lie fallow and that's what they lived on.
272, side 1 439: ROOSEVELT
: They also received "seed-corn loan" from Roosevelt. Anders did not vote for Roosevelt the first two times, but he did the next two times. He thinks there would would have been a revolution if Roosevelt hadn't been elected in 1932. Anders wonders who people appreciated the most, Roosevelt or God.
272, side 1 459: CITIZENSHIP
He did not vote for Roosevelet the first time because he could not vote, he did not have citizenship. He did not get that right until 1935. Then his opinion was that he had a choice of either taking citizenship or being sent home.
272, side 1 477:
In order to get a citizenship he had to take an examination. He had to study on his own because there were no courses for him to take first.
272, side 1 490: BUYING LAND
Due to the bad times, everyone wanted to sell their land, but Anders wanted to expand. He bought cheap land from counties, who had taken the land as tax from people who couldn't pay their taxes. Anders got the money from making and selling coal.
272, side 1 510:
In the end Anders had 4,480 acres, which were used for corn and grazing land.

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Education--Norway
  • Emigration and immigration
  • Family--Norway
  • Marriage service
  • Norwegian-Americans--Northwest, Pacific--Interviews
  • Norwegian-Americans--Social life and customs
  • Ocean travel
  • Railroad travel
  • Return migration--Norway
  • Personal Names :
  • Tjugum, Andrew--Interviews (creator)
  • Gjerde, Andrine
  • Magnusson, Ruth
  • Tjugum, Mons
  • Corporate Names :
  • Bergensfjord (Steamship)
  • Family Names :
  • Gjerde family
  • Magnusson family
  • Menes family
  • Tjugum family
  • Ulvestad family
  • Geographical Names :
  • Drammen(Norway)
  • Scobey (Mont.)
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • Oral histories
  • Occupations :
  • Farmers