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Knute Nelson (no. 3 from right) at Kvilekvål in 1899.

Knute Nelson (no. 3 from right) at Kvilekvål in 1899.

The story of Knute Nelson is like the story of Jack the Dullard. From narrow and poor conditions in his home country he worked his way up to become governor and senator in the US.

Knut was born in 1842 in the house at Kvilekvål in Evanger. His mother, Ingebjørg, was unmarried and had to provide for the boy on her own. When he was seven years old, she borrowed money and took the son with her to America.  Despite difficulties and adversity Knute Nelson, as he now called himself, acquired an education as lawyer, and practiced as an advocate beside his farming activities. He was elected governor of Minnesota in 1892, and senator in 1895, as the first Scandinavian. He was later re-elected time after time and sat in the Senate in Washington for 28 years. He was greatly involved in the law-making processes, and for many years he was the chairman of the law committee in Congress.

Outside the congress building in St. Paul, Minnesota a large monument has been erected to Knute Nelson, and similarly a memorial to him has been erected at Evanger. Knute Nelson never lost his interest in his native country and visited the community twice. The house in which he was born is still in good condition.

  • Kvilekvål, Voss

Kvilekvål with the house where Knute Nelson was born. (Svein Nord)

  • Knute Rockne

The emigration to America

  • Dyrvik, S. & Kolle, N. red. (1986) Eit blidare tilvere? Drivkrefter og motiv i den tidlegaste utvandringa frå Hordaland og Sogn og Fjordane. Voss.