In early February 1946, the Maynard News in Chippewa County, Minnesota ran the article below in honor of my maternal great grandparents' 60th wedding anniversary. Ole Benhardt Berge, born October 20, 1864 in Gudbrandsdalen, Norway, and Anna Marie Slaaen (Sloan), born June 20, 1868 near Swan Lake in Nicollett County, Minnesota, were married on February 6, 1886. They celebrated their golden anniversary in the very same county where they had begun married life sixty years before. Their daughter, Esther Agnes Berge, was my grandmother.
Mr. and Mrs. Ole Berge Honored By Friends
and Relatives at Lutheran Church
and Relatives at Lutheran Church
A large number of friends and relatives of Mr. and Mrs. O. B. Berge gathered at the Maynard Lutheran Church Sunday afternoon, Feb. 2, the occasion being the 60th or golden wedding anniversary of this esteemable couple. A fine program was given and enjoyed. The wedding party entered the church to the strains of a wedding march played by Mrs. Thurman Overson of Minneapolis and the party consisted of Mr. And Mrs. Berge [and] as many of their children and grandchildren as could be present The ushers were four grandchildren, Verona Berge, Howard and Odell Edwardson and Chester Berge, Jr. The following program was given:
Scripture Reading, Rev. M. B. Erickson
Solo, Mrs. J. M. Sweiven
Talk, Rev. M. B. Erickson
Solo, "Perfect Day," Verona Berge
Duet, Mr. and Mrs. T. Overson
Talk, Rev. O. J. Erickson
Solo, Mrs. Ted Dyshaw
Talk, Mrs. Victor Larson
Solo, Winifred Erickson
Song, Ladies Choir
On behalf of the Lutheran Ladies Aid Society, Mrs. S. M. Dahleen presented Mrs. Berge with a boquet [sic] of flowers. The wedding dinner was served in the church parlor which was decorated appropriately for the occasion. The table was set for the guests of honor and relatives. The large gathering of guests were served cafeteria [-style].
Rev. M. B. Erickson, acting in behalf of the friends, presented Mr. and Mrs. Berge with a purse of money which was accepted by Mr. Berge with a few fitting remarks.
Out of town guests present at the event were Mr. and Mrs. Chester Berge and family of Alvord, Iowa, Harry Berge of Taylor Falls, Mrs. Andrew Edwardson and children of Willmar, Mr. and Mrs. Harold Carlson of Garretson, S.D., Mr. and Mrs. Rudolph Schuster of St. Paul, Misses Hattie and Florence Carlson of Willmar, Mrs. Gunda Overson of Granite Falls, Mr. and Mrs. Thurman Overson of Minneapolis, Mr. and Mrs. Bastian Hanson, Mrs. Alma Hanson and Randolph, Mr. and Mrs. Mandrud Hanson of Canby, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Erickson and daughter Winifred of Litchfield, Ardys Erlandson of Minneapolis, Rev. and Mrs. O. J. Erickson of Granite Falls and Mr. and Mrs. Carl Skrukrud of near Granite Falls.
The observance of a golden wedding anniversary is a most notable occasion and when it comes to such an esteemable couple as Mr. and Mrs. Ole Berge it is worthy of special mention. The News has made this an opportunity to pry into the private history of these two and while we find that their story reads very similar to those of an early day in this community it is of interest and we pass it along to our readers.
[Mrs. Ole B. Berge (Anna Marie Slaaen/Sloan)] was born in a covered wagon in the vicinity of St. Peter June 20, 1868, her parents being then on their way from Wisconsin to a homestead in Leenthrop Township [Chippewa County]. We are inclined to suspect that theirs was a childhood romance as their acquaintance dated from an early day and their romance culminated in their wedding at Granite Falls on Feb. 6, 1886. Witnesses were Edward Erlandson and John Sloan. The young married couple lived on the groom's mother's farm in Leenthrop until in 1896 when they moved to Maynard. After moving to Maynard Mr. Berge engaged in the hotel business for a couple of years, was rural mail carrier on Route No. 2 and conducted the meat market. In 1910 the family moved to Leonard, Minn., where they engaged in farming. In 1917 they returned to Maynard and have resided here since. Mr. Berge has held numerous public offices of trust and has enjoyed the friendship of the community during all these years. To this union was born twelve children, nine of whom are living and are: George of Maynard, Harry of Taylor Falls, Chester of Alvord, Iowa, Mrs. Edwardson, Willmar, Bennie of Baraboo, Wis., Mrs. Finch of Brainerd, Mrs. Carlson of Garretson, S.D., Clarice of Maynard and Mrs. Schuster of St. Paul.
Mr. and Mrs. Berge have taken an active interest in the affairs of the village and its people and have been faithful members of the Lutheran Church. They have a multitude of friends who are happy with them on this most momentous occasion and who join the News in wishing them many happy anniversaries in the future.
Ole and Anna Marie (Mary) Berge with a golden wedding anniversary cake in front of their Maynard, Minnesota home. February 1946.
Mrs. Victor Larson is the author of the following which she gave at the Berge's golden wedding anniversary:
Their Golden Wedding
Fifty years ago this week,
A sweet-faced young girl, young in years,
Giving no thought to life's joys and sorrows, its hopes and fears,
Promised the bright-eyed eager lad standing there by her side,
That some day soon, she would become his gentle, loving bride,
Promised, that together, they would walk down the pathway of life.
Fifty years ago in Granite Falls Town,
He straight and tall, she in her wedding gown,
Promised each other to be loyal and true,
Said those two little, yet faithful words, "I do."
Gave, he to her and she to him, each a heart,
Promised solemnly, "Till death do us part."
Two witnessed there were who stood up with them,
One was a relative, both of them were men.
Edward Erlandson was one witness there that day,
Carl's father, who but recently passed away.
John T. Sloan, it was, who stood on the other side,
Our own beloved Petra Later became his bride.
A horse-drawn chariot was theirs that day,
Two horses and a blanket-filled bob sleigh,
Six miles an hour was probably their rate of speed,
Those days, of traffic rules and laws, there was no need.
But they were tucked in snug and warm with robes and blankets and all,
He probably wore ear muffs, she surely was wrapped in a shawl.
Thus they journeyed back to her home in Leenthrop Town,
He, proud and happy, she, still in her wedding gown,
Their friends and neighbors gathered together and waited,
To see their wedding day properly celebrated.
They wished for them a long life, filled with joy and gladness,
Wished for them those things far removed from sickness and sadness.
Twelve children came to bring them happiness and good cheer,
Five boys and seven girls, to them precious and so dear,
Nine are still living, only one remains at home,
Some live near and others chose farther away to roam.
George, in Maynard; Harry, Taylor Falls is home to him,
Chester, in Alvor, Iowa, was born a twin.
Esther, his sister, has gone on to that other shore,
Where she waits to be with her loved ones forever more.
Mabel, Mrs. Edwardson, east of here in Willmar lives,
Baraboo, Wisconsin, is the address that Bennie gives.
Cora, Mrs. Finch, in Brainerd doth abide,
Mildred, herself, was but recently a bride.
Garretson, South Dakota, she claims as her home,
Our own Clarice says, "Number, please," on our telephone.
Stella, Mrs. Schuster, makes her home in St. Paul,
There are also eighteen grandchildren, both large and small,
A pleasant family, loving and kind to each other,
Obeying God's Word: "Honor thy Father and thy Mother."
To you, Father and Mother, we bring greetings today,
Greetings from those who are near, and those who are far away.
The best of all the best things in life we wish for you,
Peace, happiness, contentment, with your loved ones so true.
May you have many more years of happiness together to share,
May God, in His wisdom, guard and keep you and yours, in our prayer.