Jacob Anderson Slogvik

By Margaret (Peggy) Wheeler

Published in Vestlandet, Vol. 100, Winter 2004, pp. 8-9, Austin, MN.

Vestlandet is a publication of "Vestlandlag" representing the "lags" of western Norway:

Hardangerlag; Møre og Romsdalslag; Nordhordland/Sunnhordlandslag; Rogalandslag; Sognalag; Vosselag.


This is the story of a Slooper, a man of great fortitude, pioneering spirit, and Norwegian perseverance. It is also the story of efforts underway to acknowledge and pay tribute to his role in Norwegian-American immigration history.   Jacob Anderson Slogvik was barely 18 when the Sloop Restauration sailed out of Stavanger Harbor on July 4, 1825.  He had been a Quaker sympathizer and was joining others seeking the promise of religious freedom in the new world.  The Quakers had sent Cleng Peerson to America to investigate the possibilities of moving there.  Cleng’s reports were quite encouraging, and consequently, Jacob joined the party of 52 immigrants aboard the “Norwegian Mayflower.”  The Restauration, however, was only a quarter the size of the Plymouth Mayflower, and yet was two and a half times as crowded.

To comply with navigation laws, 5 of the immigrants were registered as crew.  Thus, Jacob was listed as “apprentice” and may or may not have felt what Rosdail claimed, that  Parting from friends, country, and parents was like death – that never again would they see the sights and hear the sounds that meant so much to them.“ It was understood that probably none would return. 1 (p. 21) 

The difficulties and discomforts of the voyage about which so much is written, did pass and have become the stuff of history.  Jacob, however, suffered a most serious loss while disembarking in New York on October 9, 1825 .  His box of tools slipped and fell into the waters of the harbor.  His trade was file making and carpentry, and his tools must have meant a great deal to him.  One wonders what he had to endure to replace them. 

With their advance scout, Cleng Peerson who had met them in New York and the rest of the Sloopers, Jacob traveled to Kendall in upstate New York where Cleng had purchased land for their new homes.  Initially, he probably worked for others, but eventually he was able to buy his own farm.  About this time he changed his Norwegian farm name of “Slogvik” to his patronymic name of “ Anderson.”  He was an American now, and he needed an American sounding name.

              Early in 1831 when he was 23 years old, he married Serine (or Serena) Tormodsdatter Madland who had been a 12 year old passenger on the Sloop with her parents, Tormod and Siri Madland.  Serine’s father had died the first summer at Kendall.  He was 47.  Her mother died four years later at age 58.  Serine was now 16, orphaned and living with her older sister, Gurine and her husband Gudmund Haukaas.  Whatever else the marriage was or was not, it is safe to say it was appropriate and timely. 

Three years later, in 1834, the young couple was among the first settlers at Cleng Peerson’s newest venture, the famed Fox River Settlement in Illinois that became the hub and destination for the future wave of Norwegian immigrants.  More than a million people left Norway for a better life in the U.S. during the 19th century, and it is estimated that there are currently over six million of us who have Norwegian heritage.  The present population of Norway is four and a half million.4

It was at Fox River that the first 5 of Jacob and Serine’s children were born:  Sarah in 1834, Martha 1836, Isabelle 1839, Andrew 1842, and Jacob 1844.3  Jacob and Serine worked this land for 14 years.  It is unclear whether Jacob was responding to the Mormon influence of the environment or something else, but Jacob and Serine were the first Sloopers to leave Fox River for the west, never to return.  They sold their 280 acres for $2020.1

In 1848, the family moved near Kanesville, Iowa, (now Council Bluffs) at that time a stopover for the Mormon’s Trail to Utah.  Deciding not to continue on the Mormon Trail, Jacob took up 640 acres of farmland in the Wheeler Grove area, making theirs one of the first five families in the township.  This was rich, rolling land, with good water and soil as well as healthy timber stands.  Again Jacob began farming.  Here, sadly, their oldest daughter died the first year.  Jacob continued to farm this land for another few years, and while he may have given in to “California fever” it is also quite consistent with his penchant for starting over in undeveloped territory, that he moved the family yet again.  This time the trip was in a covered wagon drawn by oxen to a place just north of San Francisco called Soscol in Napa County.  On this wagon train, en route to California, Jacob and Serine’s oldest surviving daughter, Martha, married Augustus Wheeler, a cousin of the Wheeler Grove Wheelers. 1 

The first year in Soscol saw an eighth child, a daughter, Julia, born to Jacob and Serine.   By 1857, they had acquired over 555 acres of “swamp and overflowed” land as well as another 50 acres of the Ranch of Soscol.  By 1861, Jacob had also set up his two sons with tule and swampland.  Despite its disagreeable sound, this overflow land, under Jacob’s hand was prosperous and fertile.  He raised grain and livestock.2  It has been suggested that dairy ranching also would have been possible. 

To answer the question of why Jacob so frequently moved to new territory and began over again each time, we can turn to a quote from a California historian:  

To an unusual degree he possessed the tastes of the pioneer.  In the opening up of new lands and the reclaiming of the virgin soil he found his chief enjoyment.  The round of pioneer existence, wearying to many, brought him the satisfaction following a duty well-done.  The spirit of fearlessness and independence which led him to leave his native land in search of greater opportunities brought him, after numerous changes,  to California,  the home of his later years, where he enjoyed the comforts secured by habits of persevering industry.2

Jacob died in 1864, one month short of his 58th birthday and was buried at Tulocay Cemetery in Napa.  His daughter, Martha had buried her 31 year old husband, Augustus, two years earlier.  (Martha Anderson and Augustus T. Wheeler were my husband’s great grandparents.)

That Jacob Anderson Slogvik died farther from his native Norway than any other who came over on the Sloop, is not disputed.  That the history of this pioneering family is a significant piece of Norwegian, American, and Californian history, is a notion likewise not disputed.  Therefore, we are excited to inform everyone that something is being planned to pay a fitting tribute to Jacob and Serine.  It is:  THE SLOOPER MONUMENT PROJECT. 

The current owners of the Slogvik ancestral farm in Tysvær, Rogaland, Norway are Einar and Rotraud Slogvik (they kept their farm name).   In cooperation with the kommune (municipality) cultural officer, and the local history lag, they have sent a true Viking bautastein (monument stone) to California.  The stone was taken from the farm where Jacob was actually born and spent his youth.  It made the same ocean voyage in the summer of 2003 as did the sloop Restauration in the summer 1825.  It weighs a mighty one and a half tons and is 9 feet tall, 3 feet wide, and 10-12 inches thick.  On May 15, 2004, it will be dedicated at Tulocay cemetery next to Jacob’s final resting place.   It is currently in the able hands of a Norwegian-American family-owned business: Turlock Marble and Granite Works in Turlock, California.  They are carving a bas-relief rendition of the sloop Restauration at the top of one side along with some explanatory remarks.  It promises to be an elegant and symbolic tribute.

Nearly 20 friends, family, cousins and other dignitaries from Norway have purchased airline tickets from Stavanger to San Francisco and are planning to be at the dedication ceremony and following banquet.  We hope to have local Sons of Norway lodges and other interested folk there to welcome these visitors and to be involved with us in the ceremony.  Ultimately, we just wish to honor these good people, these Slooperfolk who epitomize all that is the best of the Norwegian character, American courage and California soul.

                To learn more, you can visit the Wheelerfolk web site at: click on Slooper Monument Project.



1.  Rosdail, J. Hart, The Sloopers: Their Ancestry and Posterity, Broadview, IL:  Norwegian Slooper Society of America, 1961.


2. Guinn, J. M. History of the State of California and Biographical Record of the Sacramento Valley.  Chicago: Chapman Publishing Co. 1906. p.1469


3. Naseth, Gerhard B.  Norwegian Immigrants to the United States: A Biographical Directory 1825-1850. Volume one.  Madison, WI 1993.


4. Vestlandet, Vol. 99, Fall 2003, “Mondale Prepares for 2005”


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