Ogie (Aage) Enevoldsen Enwall Oral History Interview, 1981  PDF  XML

Overview of the Collection

Enwall, Ogie (Aage) Enevoldsen
Ogie (Aage) Enevoldsen Enwall Oral History Interview
1981 (inclusive)
2 file folders
1 photograph
1 sound cassette
2 compact discs
Collection Number
An oral history interview with Ogie (Aage) Enevoldsen Enwall, a Danish 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
Access Restrictions

The oral history collection is open to all users.

Additional Reference Guides

Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Ogie Enwall was born on November 22, 1899 in Troldhede, Denmark to Jens Enevoldsen and Johana Mickelsen. Jens was a butcher, and Johanna was a housewife. Ogie had twelve siblings: Jenssine, Mette, Enevold, Jens, Peder, Niels, Sofus, Axsel, Harry, Arthur, Rudolf, and Oda. Ogie attended school until he was fourteen, and then began working on farms to pay for high school, which you had to be eighteen to enter. In March of 1924, Ogie immigrated to the United States, where he took the train from New York to Yakima, Washington. Ogie soon found a job on a farm in Roy, Washington and worked in exchange for ten cows. With his cows, he rented a farm and stayed there for ten years. In 1932, Ogie bought a farm in Eatonville, Washington and began dairy farming. He married Mary Shaw the following year, and they had three daughters: Doris, Evelyn, and Mary Ellen. Through the years, Ogie has been a member of Ohop Mutual Light Company's board, Fire District 15, which he helped start, and the Danish Brotherhood. He has also attended Bethany Lutheran Church on Mountain Highway. Ogie has returned to Denmark three times and does not think he could live there again. He is proud of his home country but is also proud to be an American citizen.


Full Name: Aage Enevoldsen. Father: Jens Enevoldsen. Mother: Johana Mickelsen. Brothers and Sisters: Jenssine Enevoldsen, Mette Enevoldsen, Enevold Enevoldsen, Jens Peter Enevoldsen, Peder Weslev Enevoldsen, Niels Jul Enevoldsen, Sofus Enevoldsen, Axsel Otto Enevoldsen, Harry Enevoldsen, Arthur Enevoldsen, Rudolf Enevoldsen, Oda Enevoldsen. Spouse: Mary Shaw. Children: Doris Enwall, Evelyn Enwall, Mary Ellen Enwall.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

This interview was conducted with Ogie Enwall (Aage Enevoldsen) on May 13, 1981. It contains information on family background, emigration, dairy farming, marriage and family, community involvement, and Danish heritage. The interview also contains a photograph of Ogie. The interview was conducted in English.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

There are no restrictions on use.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Custodial History

The Oral History collection project was started during an experimental course on Scandinavian Women in the Pacific Northwest. Students in the course were encouraged to interview women and learn about their experiences as immigrants to the United States. The project was continued and expanded with support from the president's office and by grants from the L.J. Skaggs and Mary C. Skaggs Foundation, from the Joel E. Ferris Foundation and the Norwegian Emigration Fund of the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The project was directed by Dr. Janet E. Rasmussen. The collection was transferred to the Archives and Special Collections Department.

Acquisition Information

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Processing Note

The interview was conducted by Morrene Nesvig using a cassette recorder. A research copy was also prepared from the original. To further preserve the content of the interview, it is now being transferred to compact disc. We deliberately did not transcribe the entire interview because we want the researchers to listen to the interviewee's own voice. The transcription index highlights important aspects of the interview and the tape counter numbers noted on the Partial Interview Transcription are meant as approximate finding guides and refer to the location of a subject on the cassette/CD. The recording quality is good

The collection was transcribed by Mary Sue Gee, Julie Peterson and Becky Husby.


Rasmussen, Janet Elaine. New Land New Lives: Scandinavian Immigrants to the Pacific NorthwestTacoma, WashingtonUniversity of Washington Press1993

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
Name - Ogie Enwall. Name at the time of immigration - Aage Enevoldsen. Born on November 22, 1899 in Jylland, Troldhede, Denmark. Ogie changed his name when he got his citizenship papers so that it would be easier. Where he was born in Denmark was a farming community, which was inland.
55, side 1 060: PARENTS
Jens Enevoldsen was a butcher. Mother - Johana Mickelsen was a housewife who sometimes helped out in the slaughterhouse.
55, side 1 073: BROTHERS AND SISTERS
13 in the family including two sets of twins. Ogie is a twin. (See attached family tree for names). Ogie worked on other peoples' farms where he would live too.
55, side 1 092: GRANDPARENTS
Maternal Grandfather - was a farmer, Justice of the Peace, and the chairman of the Hede Selskabet which broke up new land and planted trees on it. They were trying to create more productive land. This was very hard land.
55, side 1 122: FIRST TRIP TO DENMARK
They were developing trees (see counter II-343). Now there are big trees with deer around too.
When the missionaries came to Denmark many of the old records were burned. He talks about how they used names in Iceland. In Iceland, they refused missionaries.
School furnished until age 14. High school you had to be 18 to enter and you had to pay for it. Ogie worked on farms. One of Ogie's teachers was from Iceland. Ogie worked on the Island of Sjaelland which is where Copenhagen is.
55, side 1 213: ARRIVED U.S.
Was on the last boat to go under the old quota. Came when he was 24 in March of 1924. The quota was going to move from about 2,000 people a month to 300-400. After high school, he got a job on the Island of Bornholm in the Baltic Sea. Ogie wrote a Christmas card to the people he had worked for there and they were the ones to get him interested in coming to the US. They invited him to go with them.
55, side 1 263:
Intended to go to Minnesota. Went to Yakima instead. Had to have about $100 to go as far as Yakima, Washington. He got money from a friend.
Left from Copenhagen on a passenger boat, "Frederik VIII." There was a mix of Scandinavians aboard. They were all surprised when they came into New York because there came guards at every door and a whole bunch of Gypsies got off. They must have been way down in the hold of the ship. Trip took nine days. Two days of rough weather.
Excited about the trip. Hadn't seen much of the world. Transportation by walking and bicycle. Had to have a permit from the Army to travel. Expected to go for 2-3 years. They got numbers in the service to see who would go. Ogie had five brothers in the service. The war ended, so Ogie didn't have to go in, but he was on call.
55, side 1 363: WWI
Fourteen years old at the time. Talks about how it affected lives. All the young people were in the service. They didn't have any rubber for their bicycle tires, so they used straw.
55, side 1 381: ELLIS ISLAND
Being processed. Checklist for disease and money. Met a black man who spoke Danish. He was from St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands, which the US purchased. This man told him about how it was before and after the US purchased the Islands. They had made their money selling Rum and Cognac but the US was under prohibition so everything stopped. Had to have a place to go. Was planning on going to Tyler, Minnesota.
55, side 1 435: HEADED WEST
More people on the east. They needed workers in the West. First Impression of US - New York.
55, side 1 450: CATCHING THE TRAIN
Experience across the country. They got in a good car, but many other immigrants were in cars, which were practically like cattle cars. They were covered with coal dust. Went through Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Washington DC. Remembers seeing the Rocky Mountains and compares them to a hill, Himmelbjerg, (The hill close to Heaven) in Denmark. Came into Yakima, Washington and it was warm. He thought it was the most beautiful town he had ever seen.
Didn't speak English when he came. Took some time to learn. A man suggested that he go west of the mountains to work on a dairy.
55, side 1 530: EMPLOYMENT
Farm work at Roy, Washington. Farmer paid the man who was helping him. Was surprised by all the timber going to waste in Washington compared to how they work in Denmark. This was a medium sized dairy farm.
Neighbor rented the land to them for 99 years.
55, side 1 609:
Worked in exchange for ten cows. Rented a farm for improvements on the land. Stayed there for about ten years. Bought a farm in 1932 in Eatonville, Washington during the Depression Days. No one else wanted the farm. He took over the farm and the payments on the mortgage. One year later, you buy a farm better than this for $5,000 (he paid $10,000), but they stayed.
55, side 1 653: MET WIFE
She was a clerk in the Mercantile store in Roy, Washington. She was born in Colorado and then her family moved out here. Married January 1933.
55, side 1 675: LIFE AS A DAIRY FARMER
(see counter II-009): Long hours. In 1936 bought out a small farm in Eatonville… (Tape ends abruptly).
55, side 2 008: LIFE AS A DAIRY FARMER
Started bottling milk. Sold out to Sanitary Cloverleaf Milk in June of 1969 and went back to shipping milk.
55, side 2 016: OHOP VALLEY, WASH.
Scandinavian community. Was included in this community through the Ohop Grange and the Ohop Mutual Light Company, etc.
Talks about the changes with automatic washers and machines. The changes are for the good. Couldn't make it farming the old way today. Had 260-300 head of cattle at the most. Has been milking cows since January 9, 1909 when he got his first job. Sold out three years ago but still has some of the land.
55, side 2 073:
Member of the Ohop Mutual Light Company's board for twenty years. Sued the City of Tacoma because their lights cost too much. Tacoma won the second time after seven years. Five companies went together to become one.
55, side 2 106:
Member of Fire District 15. Helped to start it. Was on the board for 25 years and was the chairman for 20 years. Honored by the Fire District.
55, side 2 122: CHILDREN
Doris went to Pullman for two years and graduated from PLU. Mary Ellen lives in Los Angeles, California. She is a schoolteacher. Evelyn lives in Snohomish. She works for the state in child protection. Wife: Mary Shaw.
After three years, he had a farm. He likes the climate. Production went up 2.5 times during the years he worked in dairying and labor was cut about 60%. Too busy to think about Denmark.
55, side 2 177:
Kept up correspondence with his relatives in Denmark.
55, side 2 185: LEARNING ENGLISH
Practice by reading the newspaper and talking to people.
55, side 2 202: CHURCH LIFE
Member of Bethany Lutheran Church down on the Mountain Highway. Had a Danish pastor Svint (?). Had relief pastors from PLU - Dr. Elkhound and Dr. Govig. In the beginning, they didn't have a minister they only had Sunday School. A pastor would come only for special occasions. Now they were talking about building a new church. He talks about the area and how it is growing. He talks bout the Missouri Lutheran Church wanting to build too. Talks about the problems of getting water in this area.
Christmas Eve - That's the big time. A few Danish dishes.
55, side 2 330: SWAN LAKE DAIRY
This was the name of their dairy. Tells about this name was derived. Used to be a lake called Swan, which is know called Krager (?) Lake. There used to be a Swan Lake School District.
55, side 2 343: TRIPS TO DENMARK
First trip forty-one years later in 1965. It was like going into a foreign country, because of all the changes. Visited Herning, Denmark where his parents were buried. Different to see the country by car too. Visited relatives. Ogie has a brother in Argentina. He immigrated there. Made another trip in 1971 or 1972. Has made three trips in all. Talks about why he goes to Denmark travel.
55, side 2 414: DENMARK TODAY
Couldn't live there today. Would take too long to get used to again. Likes the pension system and hospital system. Doesn't like that they have so much public assistance, no incentive to work. Talks about unions in Denmark first time that they are lowering their standards to compete with foreign goods.
55, side 2 523: STILL SPEAKS DANISH
In Denmark, they learn English in school. Talks about learning other languages.
Some came and worked on the farm for awhile (see counter II-630).
55, side 2 582:
Member of the Danish Brotherhood for fifty years. Talks about a family that came over and joined the club, Pete Rasmussen from Esbjerg, Denmark.
55, side 2 613: CITIZENSHIP
As soon as he could. Applied one year earlier.
(see counter II-562) Youngest brother and nephew who is an airline pilot for SAS and a distant cousin.
Proud of country, but proud to be an American citizen too. Wanted to be a citizen so that he could vote. This is what he told them and he got his citizenship papers right away. He talks about a Greek man who was trying for the fifth time. Glad that he immigrated to the US.

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Bethany Lutheran Church (Spanaway, Wash.)
  • Danish Brotherhood in America (Tacoma, Wash.)
  • Danish-Americans--Interviews
  • Danish-Americans--Northwest,Pacific--Social life and customs
  • Denmark -- Social conditions -- 1945-
  • Emigration and immigration
  • Naturalization
  • Railroad travel
  • World War, 1914-1915

Personal Names

  • Enevoldsen, Aage
  • Enwall, Doris
  • Mickelsen, Johana
  • Enevoldsen, Jens
  • Enwall, Evelyn
  • Enwall, Mary Ellen
  • Enwall, Ogie (Aage) Enevoldsen--Interviews (creator)
  • Shaw, Mary

Corporate Names

  • Ellis Island (N.J. and N.Y.)
  • Frederick VIII (Steamship)
  • Ohop Grange (Eatonville, Wash.)
  • Ohop Mutual Light Company (Eatonville, Wash.)
  • Swan Lake Dairy (Mont.)

Family Names

  • Enevoldsen family
  • Enwall family
  • Mickelsen family
  • Shaw family

Geographical Names

  • Eatonville (Wash.)
  • Roy (Wash.)
  • Troldhede (Denmark)

Form or Genre Terms

  • Oral histories


  • Butchers
  • Farmers