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Norwegian Immigrants in Wisconsin

            During the mid-to late-Nineteenth Century, Wisconsin became home to many immigrants that immigrated to America to start a new life. In particular, a large Norwegian community settled in Wisconsin. The Norwegians, who numbered only 8,600 in Wisconsin in 1850, became the second largest foreign-born nationality by 1900. According to Robert Nessbit, Norwegian immigrants of 1830-1860 that usually came from a farming background sought a place on the land here . Most immigrants came from Norway to have a better life. They came to Wisconsin to start a farm life that would that would be better than in Norway. In the book Wisconsin My Home, the story of Thurine Oleson as told to her daughter, the family left because of economic troubles and not enough farmland in Norway. In 19th Century Norway, it was a not the ideal place to be a middle-class family. Farmland in Norway was scare because of the explosion of the European population in the Eighteenth Century. The industrialization and massive population made it even more difficult to thrive and therefore immigrated to America. Norwegian immigrants retained the parts of their culture that they held in high regard and assimilated the parts of their culture that no longer were relevant.
             Religion was one aspect of culture that immigrants were able to keep in their new life in Wisconsin. The Norwegians were parochial and tended to settle in colonies representing their own districts and dialects in. The majority of Norwegians were of the Lutheran religion, which was the center of all their social interactions throughout the Norwegian Community. As Oleson states, in Wisconsin, as in Norway, people were very faithful to their church. Religion and faith are what reminded them of their past in Norway as well as their ancestors. The Oleson family attended church because of the importance it had to them. Their Father went to church as long as he was able to walk up the steps to it.

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