The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 65, July 1961 - April, 1962 Page: 203
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Early Norwegians in Northeast Texas
milling purposes.28 Soon the settlers inevitably began to think of a
When the state legislature created Bosque County out of the
northern part of McLennan County on February 3, 1854, the
setting was laid for the third and most important of the Norwegian
settlements in Texas. Ole Canuteson had been living near Dallas
and was influenced by Cleng Peerson, who lived there with him
from 1850 to 1854, to found a settlement in the new county. The
northeast Texas settlers also began plans to migrate from Kauf-
man to Bosque County. Peerson was now too old to be the
leader, but he followed Canuteson to the new land. The area was
hilly, fresh water and timber were plentiful, and there was enough
clear land for farming. Promising reports from the area led family
after family from the Kaufman County settlement to the highly
Reiersen, the leader of the original settlers to Northeast Texas,
died in Prairieville on September 6, 1864. In the fall and winter
of 1867 an epidemic hit the Prairieville settlement and twelve
people died among the thirty-three families remaining there. In
the spring of 1868 twelve of the families joined the others in
Bosque County.24 By 1870 there were 716 Norwegians in Bosque
County, although Norwegian immigration to Texas had been
almost nil during the Civil War.25
In 1961, the Norwegian descendants are assimilated into the
farming communities at Brownsboro and Prairieville. Only a few
Norwegian names may be seen on mailboxes.
A vivid reminder, though, still stands about three miles east
of the village of Prairieville. A Lutheran church, founded more
than loo years earlier by Mrs. Waerenskjold, remains the gather-
ing place of those who have retained their religious ancestry.
Behind the neat frame church is the old cemetery full of Nor-
wegian names on moss-covered tombstones. The simple church
and cemetery are the only physical remains of the hardy pioneer
23Unstad, "The First Norwegian Migration Into Texas," Norwegian-American
Studies and Records, VIII, 53.
24Interview with W. T. Tergerson, Cranfills Gap, Texas, November i2, 1946, cited
in Pierson, Norwegian Settlements in Bosque County, Texas, 7o.
25Norlie, History of the Norwegian People in America, 175.
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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/m1/233/: accessed May 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.