Hemmingson Homestead Photos: 1880s WI US vs. 1914 BC CA

As a result of pursuing great grandfather genealogically, we are given a glimpse of what Ole Hemmingson (1851-1903) built! As well, his son, Matt. titleonlywidget

Matt was born in 1876 to Ole’s first wife, Berith. Mildred followed in 1897, to his second wife, Alette. Matt moved to Vancouver Island, British Columbia before Mildred was teenaged. Mildred and her descendants remained in the northern Wisconsin area of their youth. Matt’s granddaughter recently connected with Mildred’s, who shared parts of a scrapbook, including some photos. 

Here then is a snap at the homestead that was built by Ole in Mason, Bayfield County, WI in the 1880s and another, built by Matt on Vancouver Island, about 1914. 



Mildred Dybedal (Hemmingson) (1897-1987) is pictured on the porch in 1908. She looks older than her eleven years.

We encountered Mildred on previous posts and more on her shall come.  Like her half-sister Etta, she stayed true to homestead experience and farm life.  She was lovingly known as “Ma Dyb”, an extraordinary woman, who managed her own homestead, because “Dad Dyb” travelled much. 

Mildred was creative and musical; a wonderful seamstress. She was an elementary school teacher whose students included her grandchildren. They hold her on a well-deserved very high pedestal. 

Although we have but one corner to view, the rough beam on which the porch rests, looks old enough to assure Ole put it there himself. We can imagine Granddad and Mildred sharing a rock on that old-fashioned chair. Feet in the Wisconsin snow.

We do have Matt’s words, that probably pertain to the building of this home. GranddadOnOleBuild A small structure is perceptible through the chair. The field looks vast. Much to attend. 

It was 1908; five years after Ole passed, and two years in front of the census that showed Alette moved her family to a rented home. All Alette’s children, except little Grace, were resident of this home, in 1908.  Recall, the census said Torger was early 20s, and doing “odd jobs” probably helping in that field, before his 1911 demise. The teenagers, Henry and Clarence were working the sawmill to return home, exhausted. Arthur remained in school, and we would come to know he suffered hunchback. 

That left three younger students; Mildred, Earl and Paul. Of them, it said “none” for occupation. HA! We just know what Mildred did, as the only daughter!  Toil! So, hands in pockets on the porch was just a breather. She must have made her dress – precursor to the clothes she would make her children. Good job, Mildred!


“Circa 1914” could put the photo at Chemainus or Cowichan Lake.  The three children, in age order were Margaret, Marie and our father, John. HomesteadBC1914

Matt’s first wife was Caroline Dybedal She was sister to Mildred’s husband.  She died soon after the marriage.

Matt’s second wife was our dear Granny, Margaret Naysmith Alexander. Two more children would come; William and Robert. 

Just as we have grandfather’s own words on great grandfather’s build, so we have father’s words around grandfather’s build.  The passage below comes from the Family History Dad wrote in 1999. The picture above may not have been in his possession or he would have included it in the book, but the dates in his narrative are relevant to determining where the family was at the time of the photo. Besides, it shows Grandad’s devotion to family. He was a most successful man, but they came first. 


So, the Cowichan home was a float house, making the photo likely of Chemainus.

On the other hand, a “hoist n roll” of a structure over logs to a raft would not have been more daunting to the logger than a “cut n paste” of words by the granddaughter, today. 

It occurs that calling Matt’s build a homestead may have been too kind. True, he cleared the land, as had his father, but it lacked the many accouterments of self-sufficiency.  Maybe, even, it was on water. 

It is a wonderful thing to know co-descendants!


Posts published on this blog by Doublegenealogytheadoprionwitness are copyright © MarileeWein.com 2018-2019. All Rights Reserved 
1 The Hemmingsen Family Collection including “John O Hemmingsen / Mary Margaret Hemmingsen (Dickson)” authored 1999 by John Oliver Hemmingsen. All materials posthumously published here are copyright © Marilee Wein 2018-2019.  All rights reserved.
2 The Kofal-Dybedal-Hemmingson Family Collection at MarileeWein.com copyright  © 2019.
3 The Matt Hemmingsen Family Collection “Memoirs” at MarileeWein.com copyright © 2019

4 thoughts on “Hemmingson Homestead Photos: 1880s WI US vs. 1914 BC CA

  1. Like the photos, I thought it was you standing in period costume! ha ha Are you aware that there is a Hemmingsen park, a safety area for a Marbled Merlot near the Jordan River? (named after Matt). I have a picture of Lauren standing on the road Hemmingsen Main, once again near Jordan River along with a photo of Lauren holding Granny Hemmingsen’s father’s watch. It is in the Nanaimo Museum and stopped at the moment he was killed in the mine disaster.


    1. I think you refer to the watch of Nana’s father – see my post “Robert McArthur and Mary Hay Gray…” it shows the newspaper account of the watch – would have been fun to include Lauren. Murrelet and Marmots both awesome endangered! Glad Hemmingsen Park is looking after one of them


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