Björn Christianson Rukke (1841-1932)
Björn Christianson Rukke was born on 11 Nov 1841 on the Rukke farm in Nes, Buskerud, Norway as the fourth child of Christian Oleson Rukke and Ragnild Bjornsdtr Skolt. He had six siblings, namely: Ole (who died at age 15 months), Ole , Jorand, Kari, Randi, and Margit. Björn Christianson Rukke was baptized on 17 Mar 1844 in Nes i Hallingdal, Buskerud, Norway.
When he was a few years old, his parents decided to leave Norway and cross the ocean to America. He wasn’t quite three years old yet when they made the trip. I wonder if he and his two siblings were excited to make the journey. I wonder how they managed to remain well-behaved once the boat ride extended weeks longer than was originally expected. They would have been expected to be helpful and well-behaved though, especially since their mother gave birth to their little sister, Kari, during the voyage. The family lived their first years in America in Wisconsin, so that is where a good deal of Björn’s childhood was spent.
In the summer of 1855, when Björn was thirteen years old, the family left Wisconsin looking for greener pastures. Well, maybe not greener land, but more land anyway. Björn’s dad hoped to settle in a place with more opportunity to purchase land so that his sons would be able to have their own farms. So, they and several other families, sold what they had acquired in Wisconsin, packed up their households, and set off for new territory. They originally intended to settle near St. Ansgar, Iowa, but the good land there was already taken. Hearing about better opportunities north of St. Ansgar, they moved on and ended up settling in Udolpho, Mower, Minnesota. I’m always a bit in awe when I think about the fact that there was nothing there when these people arrived. There were no homes or barns or roads or wells or, well anything. It was just virgin prairie land. When they arrived in Minnesota, it wasn’t even a state yet. Minnesota didn’t achieve statehood until 11 May 1858. Thirteen year old boys of 2016 are probably thinking about their PlayStations or computer gaming or playing sports, but Björn was helping with things like building shelter for the family, plowing fields, and taking care of the family livestock. He and his older brother, Ole, no doubt had to help their father with whatever needed to be done. Their younger sisters would have been expected to help their mother with the endless work of a pioneer woman.
There was not a church to attend right away either, but their family and others helped organize Red Oak Grove Lutheran Church. Originally, a minister would visit occasionally and services were held in the log cabins on various farms. They had an organized congregation though and Björn Christianson Rukke was confirmed in the first confirmation class of Red Oak Grove Lutheran Church on 23 Oct 1859.
In America, Björn Christianson Rukke was also often known as Bennett Christianson or Ben Christianson.
When he was 28, Björn married Barebo Engebretsdtr Torset, daughter of Engebret Asleson Torset and Berget Ingvalsdtr Grondal, on 10 Jul 1870 in Mower, Minnesota.
Björn Christianson Rukke and Barebo Engebretsdtr Torset had the following children:
- Ragnild Christianson was born on 03 Jun 1871 in Udolpho, Mower, Minnesota. She married Anton A Dalager on 27 May 1893 in Red Oak Grove Lutheran Church, Austin, Mower, Minnesota. She died on 06 Feb 1969 in St. Mark’s Nursing Home, Austin, Mower, Minnesota at age 97.
- Mary Christianson was born on 30 Oct 1872 in Udolpho, Mower, Minnesota. She married Andrew Ole Erickson Basness on 16 Jun 1906 in Mower, Minnesota. She died on 10 Apr 1964 in Austin, Mower, Minnesota at age 91.
- Christian Bennett Christianson was born on 28 Sep 1874 in Udolpho, Mower, Minnesota. He married Bertha H Stemson on 05 Mar 1898 in Red Oak Grove Lutheran Church, Austin, Mower, Minnesota. He died on 01 Jan 1961 in Austin, Mower, Minnesota at age 86.
- Ingebret B Christianson was born on 31 Oct 1876 in Udolpho, Mower, Minnesota. He married Betsy Egtvedt on 17 Mar 1905 in Austin, Mower, Minnesota. He died on 28 Jul 1968 in Sacred Heart Hospice, Austin, Mower, Minnesota at age 91.
- Jorgine Caroline Christianson was born on 09 Jun 1879 in Udolpho, Mower, Minnesota. She married Martin Oliver Benson on 13 May 1905 in Red Oak Grove Lutheran Church, Austin, Mower, Minnesota. She died on 27 Jan 1956 in Blooming Prairie, Steele, Minnesota at age 76.
- Clara Bertina Christianson was born on 27 Apr 1881 in Udolpho, Mower, Minnesota. She died on 02 Jun 1959 in St. Olaf Hospital, Austin, Mower, Minnesota at age 78.
- Lena Randina Christianson was born on 22 Apr 1883 in Udolpho, Mower, Minnesota. She married George Bennett Benson on 18 Jun 1907 in Red Oak Grove Lutheran Church, Austin, Mower, Minnesota. She died on 27 Jan 1972 in St. Mark’s Lutheran Home, Austin, Mower, Minnesota at age 88.
- Maline Christianson was born on 28 Feb 1885 in Udolpho, Mower, Minnesota. She died on 19 Nov 1938 in Austin, Mower, Minnesota at age 53.
- Inga Oline Christianson was born on 25 Feb 1887 in Udolpho, Mower, Minnesota. She died on 07 Jul 1982 in St. Mark’s Lutheran Home, Austin, Mower, Minnesota at age 95.
- Bennett Marebo Christianson was born on 02 Mar 1889 in Udolpho, Mower, Minnesota. He married Arthina Kruger on 19 Mar 1919 in Red Oak Grove Lutheran Church, Austin, Mower, Minnesota. He died on 15 Dec 1990 in Prairie Manor Nursing Home, Blooming Prairie, Steele, Minnesota at age 101.
The family lived and farmed in Udolpho, Mower, Minnesota. Though he only attended school for two weeks while they lived in Wisconsin, Björn was active in forming the first school district in the Red Oak Grove community, served as its treasurer, and was an officer in the school district for 20 years. He learned to read English newspapers and books, but always preferred Norwegian. He served as township supervisor and was very active in Red Oak Grove Lutheran Church.
Bennett Christianson, a.k.a. Björn Christianson Rukke, died on 16 Oct 1932 in Udolpho, Mower, Minnesota. He was 90 years old. He was buried on 19 Oct 1932 in Red Oak Grove Lutheran Church Cemetery, Austin, Mower, Minnesota.
Where is he in the tree?
How can I learn more?
If you want to learn more, the Christianson book will be of interest.
- Publication date: September 2016
- See the Christianson Family page.