My understanding is that Lisabet had another child out of wedlock, Laura, 1879 (I've been told that she also had the "uaegte" designation when she was born), and then Lisabet married Martin Anderson, a watchmaker, in 1880 (Mette was 3). I am not sure but Martin might be Laura's biological father? After Lisabet was married to Martin she sent Mette to live with her mother's parents, Od Knudsen Bakke (1824-1890) and Mette Halvorsdottar Lillerod (1825-1904), I think in Askedalen.
|[Mette with her grandparents, Odd and Mette, probably in the 1880's]|
Lisabet had 5 children with Martin Anderson. At least 2 of them, Matilda "Tillie" and Magnus Loritz, came to the Kendall/LaSalle county area, and along with Laura have descendants in the US. I would like to know the relationship between them, Laura, and Mette Karine.
|[Mette (left), Tillie (in back), and Laura (right), in an undated photo]|
|[A later picture of Lisbet Oddsdotter, Mette's (Mary's) mother]|
According to Census records Mette came to the US in either 1892 or 1893, when she was 16 or 17. I cannot find her immigration record.
At this point I will call her Mary, as she was known in the US.
|[Mette/Mary about the time she got married]|
When she was 17 (almost 18) she married Berdines Rasmussen aka Benjamin Fister, October 18, 1894, in Norway, Mission Township, LaSalle County, Illinois.
|[Wedding photo for Berdines "Ben" and Mette "Mary" Fister]|
|[Mary (bottom right), with Ben (bottom left) and Ben's brother Frank Fister and Frank's wife Olive, probably about 1895]|
Her first child, Roy Alexander Fiester (1895-1972) (notice that he was the only child who used this spelling), was born September 6, 1895 (Mary was 18).
|[Ben, Mary, and little Roy]|
Until recently we had thought that Ben and Mary had only 12 children, but another Fister researcher recently uncovered a baptism date for both Myren and a Gladys Fister at the Fox River Church in 1905 in Norway, LaSalle, Illinois. The researcher believes that Gladys was subsequently adopted by relatives, John Duvick and Randa Svelland Nelson, apparently relations of Ben and Mary, although a relative/descendant of John and Randa's son refutes her being adopted (comment section on Glady's profile on Ancestry has this discussion). Either I'm barking up the wrong tree or Gladys was adopted, and I am not sure why she was given up, although maybe it was just too much for Mary? This is still up for speculation. At any rate, Mary did not count Gladys toward her children in the 1910 Census.
Mary was 19 when her son Lyle Fister was born June 28, 1897.
In late 1897, possibly early 1898, Ben went back to Norway. He came back in early March 1898. I wonder who Mary stayed with during his trip, as it seems unlikely that a 20 year old woman with 2 small children under 2 was living on her own. Her sister Laura (abt 18) was likely in the US already, but was yet unmarried. Mary's younger siblings Tillie and Magnus did not come to the US until the early 1900's. I think it is likely Mary was staying with Ben's widowed brother Faltin "Frank" Fister. Tragedy had struck Frank's young family, with his wife Olive dying November 24, 1896, and their young son Corvin Orville Fister, who died on his 2nd birthday, November 1, 1897. I have a picture of Ben and Mary and Frank and Olive around the time they all married, and I have to wonder that the tragedy was also felt strongly by Ben and Mary. Frank's surviving daughter, Ruby, was living with her grandparents, Ole and Caroline Paulson, and Frank was nowhere to be found, until his death record in 1938 in Ottawa, LaSalle, Illinois.
Alvin Reginald Fister was born July 12, 1899, when Mary was 22.
In the 1900 Census 23 year old Mary was living with Ben and their 3 children in Sheridan village, Mission Township, LaSalle County, Illinois, in a rented home.
|[Roy, Lyle, and Alvin Fister]|
Lyla Marie Fister was born June 29, 1901, when Mary was 24.
Tragedy struck when her 2nd child, Lyle, died a few months later, August 18, 1901, when he was 4 and she was 24. Now she had 3 children, Roy (5), Alvin (2) and Lyla (2 months).
Russell Gayhardt Fister was born August 14, 1903, when Mary was 26.
Myren Benjamin Fister and Gladys Mae Fister were born August 20, 1905, in LaSalle County, Illinois. 3 months later, and 5 days after Mary's 29th birthday, the twins were baptized in the Fox River Church in Norway, Mission Township, LaSalle County, Illinois. She now had 6 children: Roy (10), Alvin (6), Lyla (4), Russell (2), and the twins Myren and Gladys (3 months). As mentioned above, there is a possibility that Gladys was adopted out to relations. Alternately she may have died before 1910, but it is interesting to note that Mary did not count Gladys toward total children born in the 1910 Census (has had 8 children, 7 still living). I am not sure why they would adopt out a child, although I speculate that the twins put too much of a burden on Mary.
Fern Evelyn Fister was born December 4, 1907, when Mary was 31. It is believed Mary's mother Lisabet came over around this time and lived a few blocks away from Mary's sister Tillie in Sheridan, LaSalle, Illinois. It is then thought that she moved back to Norway, remarried (this husband's name is unknown to me) and never returned. I would like to know when she died.
Sometime between December 1907 and February 1910, Mary and Ben moved to Emerald Township, Fairbault, Minnesota. Daughter Edith Olina Fister was born there February 20, 1910, when Mary was 33. The April 15, 1910 Census reveals that they were living in a mortgaged farm, and Ben was listed as a farmer. He had worked as a carpenter but perhaps thought he's make a go of being a farmer. My understanding is that that house tragically burned down after one of the boys accidentally set fire to it. By the time my grandmother, Margaret Alvira Fister was born, May 12, 1912, they had moved to Kendall County, Illinois. Mary was 35 when Margaret was born.
Ival Sven Ingvald Leonard Fister (not entirely sure about all those names), was born April 4, 1915. Mary was 38.
|[Ival and Margaret (my grandmother) toddle about while Mary looks on, about 1916]|
Alvira Ruth Fister was born January 29, 1918, when Mary was 41.
By the 1920 Census they were living in Newark, Big Grove Township, Kendall County, Illinois. The census taker was uncertain if the house was owned or rented. Mary was 43. The census taker was also unable to determine if she was a naturalized citizen. I'm starting to think she may never have gone through with the process. A month after the census her oldest son Roy married Marie Erath (1901-1997).
Her first grandchild, Roy's daughter Carolyn, was born in Feb 1921. 7 months later her last child, Doris, was born September 12, 1921. Mary was 44.
|[Mary with her youngest child, Doris, probably about 1930]|
Tragedy struck again on July 9, 1924, when her second youngest daughter, Alvira Ruth, 6, died of whooping cough in Plano. Either my father or my grandmother mentioned her a few times while I was growing up, and I remember how sad I felt when I was told she said she was ready to go to Heaven when she died. This must have been a terrible blow for the family. Mary was 47.
By the 1930 Census Mary, 53, and Ben owned a house on 207 Center Ave in Little Rock Township, Kendall County, Illinois, worth $3800 (no radio though) (address number derived from his later death record). He worked as a carpenter for buildings. I'm not totally sure, but I think it is possibly the same property as today's 207 S Center Ave, Plano, which was built in 1900 and was a TV and appliance store for a while.
|[Mary and Ben, 1930's]|
|[Ben and Mary, 1930's]|
Ben Fister, her husband for almost 40 years, died May 2, 1934, age 69, in Plano, Kendall, Illinois. He was buried in the Little Rock Township Cemetery 2 days later. Mary was 57.
Mary died 7 months later, at age 58, on January 7, 1935. Her Illinois death record has "11 years of this place, 50 years in U.S." She is buried with her husband in the Little Rock Township Cemetery, where they share a headstone.
A big Thank You to my cousin Tom Cairns for the all the images.
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