The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 65, July 1961 - April, 1962 Page: 197
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Early Norwegians in Northeast Texas
heard of the congressional resolution advocating the annexation
Before leaving New Orleans Ole Reiersen, father of J. R.
Reiersen, bought a land patent for 1,476 acres in Texas with the
assurance that he could choose any unclaimed land he wished.4
Most of the group departed for the new home by way of Natchi-
toches and Nacogdoches to San Augustine, where they purchased
wagon teams and were cheated in the trade.5 Others, led by
Grogaard, traveled by way of Marshall.6
The area they had selected was in Henderson County, in the
northeastern part of the state. They named their settlement Nor-
mandy, which later came to be called Brownsboro as it is today.
Although this was the first Norwegian colony in Texas, a lone
Norwegian by the name of Johannes Nordboe had drifted from
the upper Mississippi colonies in 1838 to become the first Nor-
wegian settler. Nordboe, who practiced medicine although he was
not a licensed doctor, settled on a 1,92o-acre farm just south of
After settling at Brownsboro Reiersen returned to New Orleans
to welcome a larger group of expected settlers. But many of them
were unable to get away from Norway that year. Most of those
who did come decided to go on up the Mississippi River, so the
little colony at Brownsboro barely increased in size that year.
In 1846 a large group of immigrants from Norway landed in
New Orleans. These travelers, headed for the Texas colony, met
early misfortune when their boat on the Red River sank with all
their belongings.' But they forged through the unfamiliar land
to Brownsboro, where events were not going too well either.
Grogaard, a favorite among the settlers, had died. Grogaard had
been their teacher and preacher, and his death was a mortal blow
sTheodore C. Blegen, Norwegian Migration to America z825-z86o (Northfield,
Minn., 1931), 182.
4Unstad, "The First Norwegian Migration Into Texas," Norwegian-American
Studies and Records, VIII, 42.
5Axel Arneson, "Norwegian Settlements in Texas," Southwestern Historical Quar-
terly, XLV, 127.
6Unstad, "The First Norwegian Migration Into Texas," Norwegian-American
Studies and Records, VIII, 42.
7Arneson, "Norwegian Settlements in Texas," Southwestern Historical Quarterly,
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 65, July 1961 - April, 1962, periodical, 1962; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101195/m1/227/: accessed April 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.