NameSevrin Olsen Steen
Birth20 Jun 1850, Dombesten, Norway
Immigration1870, By sailing ship to Quebec, then by train & boat to near LaCrosse, Wisconsin
Death15 Apr 1918, Clinton, Minnesota
BurialClinton, Minnesota
MiscellanyDombesten is on the south side of the Nordfjord just below the confluence of Eidsfjorden and Hundsviksfjorden.
Flags#Steens, Error, Immigrant, Linked, Thumbnail, [FamLabel], [Gen11], [GenYes]
FatherOle Peder(son) Orem (1820-1895)
MotherKristi Johansdatter Aardahl (1818-1880)
Birth17 Jun 1837, Isene, Norway
Immigration1870, By sailing ship to Quebec, then by train & boat to near LaCrosse, Wisconsin
Death12 Dec 1934, Clinton, Minnesota
BurialClinton, Minnesota
MiscellanyIsene is 4 km east of Dombesten on the sourth side of the Nordfjord at the mouth of Hundsviksfjorden.
FatherAbel Rasmussen (1808-1845)
MotherMarie Eliasdatter (?1806-1880)
Marriage17 Apr 1870, Norway
ChildrenMarie (Mary) Christine (1871-1952)
 Olai (1873-1961)
 Abel (1876-1958)
 Ida Petrine (1878-1937)
 Dena Rasmine (1881-1893)
 Sem Paul (1884-1967)
Biography notes for Sevrin Olsen Steen
During his childhood and youth, Ernest B. Steen knew his grandfather Sevrin, and writes his memories in “Family Tree:”

“I recall very vividly some of the personal characteristics of Sevrin Olsen Steen. One may surmise that he was an impulsive man. He married when he was but 20 to a lady who was his senior by 13 years. Though their departure for the United States had undoubtedly been planned for some time, yet they left Dombesten just a week after the wedding to sail to a new land. The trip took seven long weeks. I remember grandmother telling about her husband’s restless energy as he climbed the rigging of the ship and paced the deck in impatient anticipation of reaching the new land.

“His sturdy build and aggressive action and speech, as I well recall, made me think that he was the most powerful man physically in Big Stone County. He reminded me of “The Village Blacksmith,” the poem by Longfellow: Under a spreading chestnut tree/The village smithy stands;/The smith, a mighty man is he,/With large and sinewy hands;/And the muscles of his brawny arms/Are strong as iron bands.

“However, it is no contradiction to describe him as a deeply religious man. He was the leader in establishing a congregtion in the community. My father Olai, although he was only about four years of age at the time of the organizing of the [St. Pauli] congregation, presented a brief speech at the 80th anniversary of the congregation in which he related what happened:

"Two pastors, Hartman and Reque, had come from Benson, Minnesota, to assist in the proceedings. The house was small, possibly 14 x 18 feet—only one room dug into a side hill. Only the front was built of lumber with one door and two small windows. The other walls were of sod. The two pastors discussed the situation that the room might be too small. 'But, said one, why not have the meeting over in the new stable (barn) just built but not yet used? Lots of room in that stable'. The stable, too, was built of sod. The sod was laid like brick, with a roof composed of rails cut near Bigstone Lake, a layer of very coarse hay on top of the rails, and sod on top of the hay to hold it from blowing off. The house was built the same way. These were the living situations of most of the charter members at the time the St. Pauli congregation was organized."

Out of such humble beginnings has emerged a strong congregation which recently celebrated its 100th anniversary.

“It does seem strange that a man of such vigor, strength, and enthusiasm should be sricken at a comparatively young age with pernicious anemia. He suffered terribly in the later stages of this illness. Those were days when medical science provided llittle for such illnesses, and practically nothing to alleviate pain.”

Further reference: “Reminiscences” by Sevrin’s wife Malene Abelsdatter Isene Steen.
Notes for Sevrin Olsen Steen
According to Ernest Steen (as recounted on p. 11 in Ernest and Inez Steen’s 1981 “Family Tree,”) when Sevrin came to the United States he intended to use the surname Olsen (son of Ole, his father). However, because the name Olsen was so common, he thought about Dombesten, the name of his ancestral home, a settlement along the Nordfjord in Norway. (Dombesten means “judgement rock,” so named because a large rock in the village was used as a place of assembly to settle disputes.) To simplify the name, Sevrin decided to use only the last syllable “sten,” but he modified it slightly by adding an “e”. Whence Steen. “This name,” continues Ernest, ”became the accepted name for many who came from Dombesten to live in Big Stone County in Minnesota.

Ernest visited Dombesten in 1952 and met an old person who knew Sevrin before he emigrated. This person reported that Sevrin had lived in a hollow very close to the shore of the fjord. He was, therefore, called “Sevrin i Hölene.” By contrast, continues Ernest, “a man that we knew as Ole I. Steen in the United States was called ‘Ole on the Hill ‘ (Haugen) because he lived on one of the high places in Dombesten.
Last Modified 18 Mar 2013Created 6 Sep 2014 using Reunion for Macintosh