Ole Hjelle Ice Works & Threshing Homepage

My name is Larry Hjelle and I live in Baytown, Texas. I am rededicating this site to my Dad who for his love of family and history got me involved in tracing our family roots.

Here is a little history of my Great Grandparents who immigrated from Norway and settled in Barrett Minnesota. They proved that The United States was truly a land of opportunity. Except for a couple, all these photos were taken in the 1920's. Come back from time to time as I have been finding all kind of new information that I intend to add to the site. I have added a new guest book to the site as the other one was shutdown so please sign it and let me know what you think. It's on the bottom of threshing homepage (page 5) Thanks.

Click on pics for a larger view.

Click on the links in the colored text for added items of interest.

Ole Hjelle

Ole Olsen Hjelle was born in Sundalen, Norway on the 18th of June, 1864. The son of Ole Olsen and Gja Larsdotter. Took up mechanics in school in Norway, and was considered a mechanical genius. Emigrated to the United States in May of 1885 landing at the port of New York, the second of three brothers to come to Barrett. Three stayed in Norway. In 1889 helped build and was a charter member of the Bethesda Lutheran church in Barrett. Started the ice works in 1894. Became a US citizen on the 9th of November, 1898. He died on the 16th of January, 1929.

History of The Hjelle Farm

Hjelle House in Norway.

Read the history of the farm in Norway Ole grew up on before he came to America.

Olea Hjelle

Olea Hoaas Hjelle was born in Tellemarken, Norway on the 22nd of October, 1867. Came to America with her parents at the age 3, arrived in Goodhue County, Minnesota in 1870. Haven't been able to find anything on her father. In June, 1877 Nils Hoass married her mother (Ingeborg) in Red Wing, Minnesota. Olea moved with her parents to Lien township in 1878. She and Ole were married on the 8th of December, 1890 in the Bethesda Lutheran Church in Barrett, Minnesota. Ole had helped build the church the prior year. Their wedding was the first in the church register. They had seven children, three daughters (Ida, Selma, Fern) and four sons (Oscar-my grandfather, .Elmer, Norman, Clifford). She died on the 26th of August, 1924.

House on Hjelle hill.

Built by my great grandfather in the late 1890's on land given to him by his father-in-law. He worked alone and when the house was almost finished, a strong wind struck and blew it into Barrett Lake. As the story goes, Ole picked the lumber out of the water, hauled it up the hill, and rebuilt the entire structure. A carpenter working on the house in 1986 wondered at the enormous number of nails he had used. It is reported that he made up his mind to nail it so well that it did not blow down again, using perhaps twice as many nails as were really necessary. The house which sat on what was known as Hjelle hill no longer exists. After my dad passed away the house and property were sold in 2006. In July of 2008 the house was given a Viking funeral. In its place now sits a beautiful new home. I think Ole would of approved of that.

First Contract

Before Ole started the ice works he signed an agreement to cut ice for the Soo Railway on February 17, 1893. It read:

Party of the record, part agrees to furnish to the Soo Railway a party of the 1st party. What ice they need on the Minnesota division at $1.25 per cord delivered on cars at Barrett Minn. And party of the first part agrees to furnish party of the record part two cars daily for ice to be loaded in and if the said second party fails to full fill contract he shall forfeit half of the work he has done.

Updated on August 13, 2016