NORWEGIAN EMIGRATION - THE DEBORA EXPEDITION
The Debora Expedition sailed from Bergen in 1879 to establish a Norwegian colony on an Indian Ocean atoll called Aldabra. The organisers endeavoured to find practical and Christian people to create a settlement based on the teachings of the Norwegian preacher Hans Nielsen Hauge (1771 -1824). The expedition was aborted in Madagascar - a few of the participants remained in Madagascar and the rest settled in the British colony of Port Natal (Durban). They were the first group of Norwegian emigrants to settle in Port Natal.
The forty-seven persons who took part in the Debora Expedition were:- Captain Tobiassen and wife, mate Berentsen and wife, mate Oftedal, A Olsen and wife, I Iversen and wife, O Heidalsvig and wife (Høidalsvig - Heidalewig), J Finsen and wife, K Bang and wife with three children (Amanda, Severin and Knut), F Larsen and wife with six children (Angel, Emil, Sigvart, the three sons of the late Sivert Andersen Hordnes, and Petra, Ludvig and Karl), H Johnsen and wife with three children (Sina, Josefine and Karl), A Andreassen and wife with three children (I don't remember their names), R Andersen, R Rasmussen, K Jensen, Hesselberg, Grang, O Fosdal, E Eriksen, P Bang, E Ellingsen, widow Egelandsdal and Miss Serene Larsen. Two children were born on the voyage: a son to Mr and Mrs F Larsen and a son to Mr and Mrs Andreassen.
FAMILY HISTORY FOR CHILDREN OF RAY AND ING GORVEN
ANDERS GJ0RVEN (1857 or '58 to 19O5)
The farm called Gjörven lies in the Stryn valley of Nordfjord, Norway. Just exactly where Anders was born we don't know but we do know that he came from Stryn, and it is most likely that he, like his sister, was born on that part of Gjörven called Ekrebruket. We know that he sailed from Bergen in 188O in the company of Messrs. Kjöde, Reim, Lange and Beichmann who formed a group under the wing of the Rev. Nils Braatvedt who was coming to serve in the Norwegian Mission Society in Natal/Zululand. Durban was the destination of the five men.
It is on record that Pastor Johan Moe, who was helping the Scandinavian Lutherans in Durban spiritually, called a meeting on 26th December 188O, and a congregation of Norwegian Lutherans was formed. Both Kjöde and Gjörven were elected to the council, which held its first meeting that same evening. It was decided to launch a building fund for a Scandinavian Church. Another person elected that same evening was a certain Norgaard, and we wonder if that was, in fact, the Hans Norgaard who had married Daniel Nielsen's eldest daughter, Sofie, after the Zulu War, in which he had served as a lieutenant on the side of the British. We don't know for sure.
The above historic meeting was recognized as the first general meeting of the Norwegian Lutheran congregation, and the congregation of St. Olav in St. Thomas Road held its Centenary in 1980 on this basis.
On 1886-O3-14 the constitution of the congregation of the Scandinavian Lutherans was amended, and all references to the Augsburg Confession and to the Evangelical Lutheran Church were deleted. The name was changed to The Scandinavian Christian Congregation, and Anders continued to worship as one of the members. (The first recorded christening was that of Daniel Cornelius, his firstborn, 1885. Listed in the centenary book of St. Olav's congregation.)
In 1890 those who were definitely Lutherans left the Scandinavian Chapel to worship in the Oddfellows' Hall in Point Road. In due course they built a lovely church in the Norwegian Gothic style of architecture in Winder Street, and inaugurated it on Whit Sunday in 1892-06-05. (Christian Fredrik Rödseth, paternal grandfather of Ing Gorven, was its first treasurer.)
Anders Gjörven boarded with Sofie and Hans Norgaard, and there met Sofie's younger sister, Keta (christened Katrine Martine) Nielsen, five years her junior. They became engaged in March 1882, when she was 19,5 years old. They were married in March 1884. Keta was the fourth daughter of Daniel and Caroline Nielsen who had ten daughters in all, and nary a son, but she was the second eldest of the seven who reached adulthood. (Sofie and Hans emigrated to USA in about 1906, after having tried pioneer life in Southern Rhodesia.)
DANIEL AND CAROLINE NIELSEN (1828-01-28 to 1911- 02-09) & (1835-03-06 to 1908?-04-04) respectively.
They were from Remö, Herö in Sogn, Norway, and arrived in Durban in August 1860 with two little girls, Sofie 2,5 years old and Malle about 15 months old. Sofie was born 1857-12-01. They continued their journey to Entumeni Mission Station, some 20 km from Eshowe, to build for the Norwegian Mission Society under the direction of Bishop Hans Palludan Schreuder who had begun mission work in 1844. (This was before Schreuder had left the NMS and sought support from the American Lutheran Mission). Schreuder had worked at Mapumulo, as close to the Tugela River as possible in Natal, while waiting to be allowed to enter Zululand. Having proved his medical skill in helping Zulus, he was sent for by King Mpande, and as a result of his helping the latter, he gained access to Zululand.
Daniel was on a ten-year contract to build for the NMS. He built a church at Entumeni, he built at KwaMondi (Eshowe), and at Empangeni. Their third daughter was born shortly after their arrival. By 25 August 1862 when Katrine Martine (Keta) was born, they had already been at Empangeni a short while. Three little daughter died there, and were buried there. They had ten daughters in all. Seven grew up and married Norgaard, Gorven, Hagemann, Theunissen, Bang, Johanson and Wilson.
At the end of the ten-year contract, Nielsen was entitled to a free
return passage to Norway. On his way to Durban to arrange the trip
he was persuaded by a certain farmer to buy his farm near Darnall, which
he did, and settled there. They called it Entembeni, the Place of
ANTHON BERTINUS GORVEN (TONY) Born 1886-07-14, died
Tony married Lavinia Grace Inglethorpe on 9 December 1913. She was an orphan with an older sister. Grace as she was called was born on 22 April 1890 and died on 19 January 1969. Her sister Connie married Willy Tonkin and had two children, both of whom died childless. Grace had worked at the Ethelbert Children's Home at Malvern for three years, and known as Sister Grace.
Grace was of 1820 Settler stock and was born and grew up in the Seymour
area of the Cape. Her mother was born Emma Lina Whittle, and married
William Cadwalle Inglethorpe, who died while his two little girls were
still small. They were looked after by their Granny Whittle and her
spinster daughter, Hettie, at Seymour, while their mother went to work
in East London. In due course Emma re-married and she and Mr. Hall
made a home for Constance and Grace for some years, until Emma died.
When Mr. Hall re-married, his wife didn't want the girls in the home.
Connie married, and Grace, at the suggestion of a Methodist minister, went
to work at the Ethelbert Home. This was presumably in 1910, when
she was 20. We don't know if Connie and Grace came to Durban with
their mother and stepfather, or with their stepfather and his second wife.
Nor when that was.
Raymond married Ingeborg Rödseth (the name was never legally changed to Rodseth). He was born on 2 September 1917, and she on 1 December 1920.
CHRISTIAN FREDRIK AND MARGRETHE CHRISTIANNE RÖDSETH
Christian was born on 11 November 1840 and died on 11 May 1932. His wife was born Lund on 12 September 1839 and died on 21 August 1921. They were married in Aalesund, Norway on 28 May 1868. They left Volda, Sunnmöre, on board the Tasso on 14 July 1882, taking their four children with them to settle at Marburg, Port Shepstone, in Natal, under a scheme sponsored by the British Government. Their eldest, Peder Aage, always called Aage, turned 13 on 18 July, and that day the Norwegian emigrants were in England, travelling by train from Hull to London, according to the book called The Norwegian Settlers. He was born on 18 July 1869. They arrived in Natal on 29 August 1882. His sisters were Anna, Elisabeth and Marie Magdalena. There had been two little brothers but they had died young.
They were given a 100 acre smallholding in the Marburg area and tried to make a living, but it was difficult as Christian was a silver- and goldsmith by trade. After the discovery of gold on the Witwatersrand, he and the eldest daughter Anna made a trip to the tent town that was the mining camp of Johannesburg, but he decided against moving there. He moved to Durban before June 1892. One of his reasons for leaving Norway was that there was a depression, and as he was in what would be considered a luxury trade, he was affected more than many others. Ing's eldest brother, Fred, said that Christian's father was opposed to his emigrating to Natal.
Anna married Alfred Höyer in Durban in 1893, and had a son Anton; she divorced Alfred for adultery. In 1907 she married Sigfried Friis-Nielsen, also in Durban. They had three children - Rene (christened Randi but later legally changed), Fred and Leif. Elisabeth married a Dane, Jörgen Philipsen, in Durban in 1896. After their third child was born they went to Denmark in about 1906 so his parents could meet his wife and see his children, but they didn't ever return to South Africa. Jörgen ran a business (factory?) in Copenhagen. They had three more children. In 1975 when Ing was in Copenhagen she stayed with two of the children who never married and were sharing a home - Thelma (born in 1901) and Victor (born in 1905). Both have since died. Maria Magdalena born on 1 January 1874 became a schoolteacher and taught mostly Class i, at Doonside, and never married. She was our beloved and only spinster aunt, and was called Tante Maia. She died in Eshowe on 10 October 1961.
Some time before 1886 Peder Aage rode on horse-back from Marburg to Zululand and saw something of the work of the NMS, and decided to apply to the NMS Misjonsskole (Mission School) in Stavanger to be trained as a misjonsprest (missionary priest). He studied there for over 5 years and was ordained in 1892 during the celebration of the Fiftieth Jubilee of the NMS, which had been established in 1842. When Aage returned to Natal in 1893 he had become engaged to be married to Ragnhild Hærem , daughter of Rasmus Olai Hærem, a leading shipbuilder in Stavanger. She was born on 26 February 1872. She followed him to Natal and they were married in the Norwegian Lutheran Church in Winder Street, Durban, in September 1894. They went to live and evangelise at Patane in the lower Umfolosi district of Zululand, where the Mission had placed Aage about a year earlier. In 1898 or 1899 they were moved to KwaMondi, Eshowe. Their children Esther and Fredrik were born at Patane, and possibly Helga, too. Peter, Ragnar and Aage Junior were presumably born at KwaMondi. Margrethe Christiane (always affectionately called Gigi, pronounced Giggie) in Stavanger on 21 March 1907 while the family were in Norway on furlough and deputation work. Claus and Haakon were presumably born back at KwaMondi.
In a heartbreakingly tragic drowning accident on Easter Day 8 April 1917, Ragnhild, Esther, Helga and a Mrs. Howell were drowned simultaneously in quicksand in the lagoon at the mouth of the Amatikulu River on the North coast of Natal. Fred rescued a Mrs. Cheeseman who was in the group of drowning women, and was given recognition for his bravery by the Royal Humane Society.
Aage was left a widower with seven children ranging in age from 20 down to Haakon who was three months short of 5 years old.
LARS AND INGEBORG ELLEFSDATTER SÖDAHL, born HOLDEN.
Lars was born on 2 May 1844 and died on 17 September 1934. Ingeborg was born on 16 May 1853 and died on 10 October 1926. They were married in 1874 and lived on the farm Lian in Hemne in Southern Tröndelag, Norway. Lars was the local schoolteacher, but farmed as well. They had eleven children of whom nine reached adulthood. The eldest, Ellef, became a schoolteacher but died of TB after teaching for only four years, and before he could marry his fiancee. The remaining 8 children all reached a good old age.
Their nearest village was Kyrksæteröra, and that was where all were christened and confirmed, and many of them married. To this day the village is full of descendants of Lars and Ingeborg.
Their sixth child was Marit born on 28 September 1885, who died on 25 February 1985. After some nursing training and an NMS course for women candidates in Oslo, she was sent by the NMS to Madagascar (Malagasy) in 1914 to nurse in Tulear. There she took ill in August 1915 (after barely 15 months in the work) and was sent to Durban for treatment. The doctors advised against a return to the west coast of Madagascar which was very unhealthy, and so the NMS transferred her to their Zululand mission field, and she was placed at KwaMondi where Aage and Ragnhild were also stationed. The mission conference had decided that Marit was to help Dorthea Tvedt, the matron of the hostel for Zulu school girls, and to study Zulu under Aage. This was in 1916.
PEDER AAGE AND MARIT RÖDSETH, born SÖDAHL
(1869-07-18 to 1945-08-30) and (1885-09-28 to 1985-02-25)
In Trondheim, Norway on 31 March 1926 Nils was born. Back at Eshowe Lars Södahl was born on 24 July 1928. Aage fathered 15 children in all.