Matt Hemmingsen (1876-1867) Memoirs: Intermission For Updates; From Bad To Worse.

We interrupt delivery of Matt Hemmingsen’s Memoirs to offer updates on the story we have told so far. They have been graciously provided by formerly “long-lost” kin discovered through our genealogical pursuit.1,2 That is always our hope, and their information is treasured, even when it proves uncomfortable. These new details and photos concern his half-siblings Grace and Clarence, youngest sibling George, as well, step-brother Torger. The nature of each event was strong enough for lasting impression, family wide.

Now we can even better appreciate Matt’s deepest feelings, when he reflected on his mother’s early demise – which we know was immediate to his wretched immigration – and wrote this of her mothering:

These teachings have been with me – ever my guidance – having formed the basis of my ethics – indeed a saving grace in all my wanderings throughout the vicissitudes of life.

Memoirs Of Mathias Hemmingsen – Victoria, B.C. Circa 1956


Here is our Previous Report:3 Grace was born 4 Mar 1901 in Mason, Bayfield County, WI of Ole Hemmingson and Aletta Ingebrightdtr. Grace was Aletta’s second daughter, and Ole’s fourth. She died 27 Sep 1905. We gave reason to question if the cause were tuberculosis.

UPDATE: Grace died of a gunshot wound, accidentally inflicted by Clarence.1


Here is our Previous Report:3 We detailed the complex person, Clarence, from his childhood to successes and difficulties as a Union steam fitter who was rendered unemployable in view of his radical activism in the Proletariat Party. We presented transcript and audio tape of interviews taken later in life.

CLARENCE UPDATE 1: This shooting incident is added to Clarence’s experience base of his formative years. Its impact on his journey likely dwarfed all others.

Poor Aletta! Her Clarence was just a boy of 10. who had lost his father at 8 – now this! Imagine the two-year widow, mourning wee Grace, while trying to comfort Clarence against self-ruin. Poor Clarence!

Here they are in 1906, the widow and the boy, with the rest of Aletta’s children of Ole Hemmingson. 1 Her teenaged son, Torger, is not pictured.

Left to right: Mildred, Clarence, Aletta holding Paul, Ole aka Earl, Henry and Arthur.

CLARENCE UPDATE 2: Here are photos of Clarence at work, disseminating Marxism. The commanding voice delivery heard in the audio tapes takes on new dimension when imagined coming from the man shown at the microphone.

Additionally, the log cabin photos put new color into Clarence’s retreat to abandoned rural log house with Edna, to escape revenge he expected from Union leadership.


Here is our Previous Report:3 George was born in Mason, Bayfield County, Wisconsin in October 1887 of Ole Hemmingson and Berith Hass Mathisdatter. He was the couple’s fourth son; their sixth and last child. His only census, that of 1900, listed him under the care of his sister, Henrietta Church in Sanborn, Ashland County. We reported that he died of appendicitis, under Henrietta’s care.

UPDATE: George died during an emergency appendectomy conducted under the light of a kerosene lamp, on Pauline Rued’s kitchen table.1 She was Ole’s sister. US Census 1900 showed that Lars and Pauline Rued lived next door to Ole Hemmingson, in Mason.4


Here is our Previous Report:3 Torger Hemmingson was born 2 Feb 1887 in Hatfjelldal Norway to Aletta Ingebrightdtr. and Arne Tollefson. He was last noted in the 1905 State Census of Wisconsin, living in his mother’s household and engaged in farm labor. We reported him dead of unknown cause in 1911, and buried in the family plot in Mason.

UPDATE: Torger’s body was found in a river, conjectured to be consequent to an unidentified accident.1 Additionally, it turns out that Torger was second cousin to Ole’s children with Berith, through her father’s sister, Luissi Bentsdtr/Bendigtsdts.

Thinking of Mildred Hemmingson 1897-1987: We featured her in our homestead piece3, but have yet to detail her amazing story. The shooting would be an equal opportunity crusher. Yet, we must never overlook the special impact of the loss of little Grace, on Mildred. The only sister in the household at the time of the incident, she was the big sister, aged eight. With Paul coming after Grace, and Aletta, a widow, we know with all our hearts, that Grace was Mildred’s charge. All big sisters know that one must hold Mildred dear, and weep.

General Update: Ole had 14 children. Three married with no surviving issue: Henrietta, Henry, and Clarence. Arthur never married. Four died by accident: Harry, Grace, Torger and Earl. Health issues took two: Marie and George. Only four were married with children who survived infancy: Matt, Ed, Mildred and Paul.

In a run of untimely death, Marie died in 1899 of TB, Harry by logging accident in 1900, George of appendectomy in 1901, father Ole in 1903, Grace by gunshot in 1905, Matt’s wife, Caroline, of “galloping consumption” in 1907, and Torger by drowning in 1911. As previously reported, drowning would also take Earl in 1953, in the sinking of the SS Henry Steinbrenner.


Despite all, and not to be too glum, each family member of adulthood proved to be remarkably resilient. In fact, the next episode of Matt’s Memoirs will be “Logging Horse Billie Gets the Last Laugh; Sunny Days Ahead”‘

Please leave comments, questions and corrections below.

COPYRIGHT: Posts authored by Doublegenealogytheadoptionwitness are copyright © 2018-2019. All rights reserved.

Notes and Sources

1, Chat with Mildred’s daughter, Pat on 11 Oct 2019.

2. Chat with Belva Hemmingson Shelhamer’s husband on 13 Oct 2019.

3 Notes and Sources for “Previous Reports” are given at the end of the actual previous report readable by clicking the link provided that is entitled “Previous Report”.

4 “United States Census, 1900,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 5 August 2014), Wisconsin > Bayfield > ED 22 Mason town > image 19 of 25; citing NARA microfilm publication T623 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).

6 thoughts on “Matt Hemmingsen (1876-1867) Memoirs: Intermission For Updates; From Bad To Worse.

  1. Wow! That is some family history – I thought my ancestors were adventurous/nefarious. Their politics fascinate me too. I reckon that my American folks were mainly conservative although I have just found a new male cousin with a husband. My college lecturer in Economics was the local Communist party candidate for Glasgow. All my thoughts on Economics have a left leaning. 😁


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