Oly Johanson left his home in Segle, Norway at age 24 and never returned to his homeland.
Upon arriving in the U.S., Oly went to Minnesota, and then at age 29 moved west to Tacoma, Washington. In Tacoma he met a fellow Norwegian, Anna, and they were married in 1901. Together, they purchased 20 acres of land on today's Wollochet Lane. They had difficulty receiving their mail so Oly changed his last name to "Segle" after his hometown Segle, Norway because there were just too many Johansons in Gig Harbor. We learned in a previous blog for the Alvestad family that it was a common practice to take the name of your hometown in Europe for your surname if you decided, for reasons like Oly's, to change your name.
Oly and Anna had five children: Esther, Clara, Ruth, Herbert, and Nora. Clara, Nora, and Herbert left us a brief written document from the time they lived in Gig Harbor.
Clara's reminiscence covered the period 1907 to 1965, Nora's 1912 to 1930, and Herbert's the logging activity at Sleepy Hollow when he was a schoolboy.
I thought it would be interesting to let their own words explain the memories of living in East Cromwell.
Clara Seglem Attlesey:
"Lived on 20 acre farm - we walked 1 mile to school at Cromwell 8 years. Many happy days spent at school. Had play and social time at Hall at Sunny Bay - where we played games and danced to a small orchestra. We walked to all these affairs. Our school had 2 rooms. 1-4 grades 5-8 grades. We also had 9th grade for a couple years.
|Cromwell Community Hall|
"Mrs. Kellogg who was post mistress at Cromwell and she had many social gatherings for her 2 sons and included all the upper grades. She played the piano. We all could sing very well. We had bon fires on the beach in this days. We could go any where on beach, no one objected. Lots of good times - we picked strawberries & cherries for the neighbors, sometimes for money, sometimes just to get the crop picked. We were all good tree climbers. Just as good as monkeys. I think we ate as many as we picked.
"The Bay Island, a steamer, picked up all freight & passengers to go to Tacoma every day where we met neighbors and friends, and the not so friendly. It was an all day trip - there were docks along the whole water from (missing)…. What fun it was.
"Our school picnic end of year was held at Pt. Defiance Park. In May when school was out. That was a highlight for us all - everyone came & brought lots of food. And to spend a day at Park was an occasion we didn't want to miss. It was real cool & sometimes fog & rain. No matter we should go if possible. There was no other way to get there.
"Our church also had many doings we all could go to - good musical programs all local talent, and there were some very talented people amongst us Norwegians, Swedish, Italians, French, and mixtures of a kind. There were large families, medium and small - no children in some. We had good times & sad ones. When the flu hit in the winter 1918 many we knew did not make it. But somehow everyone comes out of the tragedies unharmed and go about the business of living.
|Cromwell Lutheran church|
"I was ten...and came back in 1974. We built a new home near where we lived for so many years. And my brother still has a few cattle & farms. And it always seems nice to go down to his house on Wollochet Bay - I have a sister living here also."
Herbert J. Seglem:
"When I was going to school they were logging Sleepy Hollow with horses and they had their barn and house just below the hill. They had two teams, one they used to haul the logs to the bay and the other to skid the logs out of the woods. They dump the logs at Bay view and I used to play and swim off the raft. The names of the men that logged the land were Max Landen and Felps. We built our house in 1907 and it cost us about 2500 dollars."
|Horse-drawn logging wagon|
Nora Seglem Anderson:
"One of the few things I remember about my days at Cromwell school is one Valentine's Day we had about two feet of snow, but I insisted on going to school because our teacher always had a nice party for us - with a lot of goodies and valentines. That day (and I was real small in those days) my sister Ruth had to walk in front of me and make a path in the snow so I could get through - and was I wet and tired when we got to school because it was a mile from our home.
"Another thing - coming home from a dance or program at the Old Community Hall (we had no rides) we were scared - so we took our shoes off - and ran as fast as we could down, through "Sleepy Hollow". We were always afraid someone was hiding in the woods and would jump out and scare us."
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