Bård Jonson Stora Rokne was the eldest son and child of Jon Bårdson Rokne and wife Sygni Arnfinsdatter Rogne. He had five other siblings. He was born in 1794 and bapitzed on 1 Jan 1975 at Voss. His lineage goes back to the Losna family to Filip Erlandson of Odensland who was born about 1290. Bård’s father owned the Rokne farm and his mother owned the Rogne farm. On the 24th of Jun 1817 he married Inger Andersdatter Kyte (1793 – ) at the Voss Kirkke. She was the first of Anders Torsteinsen Kyte and Brita Olavsdatter Gjejak’s five children and was baptized on 14 Jul 1793 at Voss. When he married Inger he inherited the Rogne farm from his mother and in 1824 he got the Rokne farm. He lived at bruk 1 at Stora Rokne until 1828 when he traded it with Lars Mikkjelson for Lassehaugen. In 1837 he sold Lassehaugen to Eirik Magneson Rykke for 760 spd. and came to America with his wife and his wife and 7 children. In “The History of the Norwegians of Chicago” it is mentioned that Bård, his wife, and 5 children arrived in 1837. This is either an error or they lost two children along the way. The same publication also mentions Rev. Paul Anderson as having mentioned that Bård and his wife arrived with their five children in 1837. I have not been able to find anything on Marta or Inger so that may have been the case.
Bård’s family had a long-standing history in Chicago. In the beginning they lived on Cass Street and Bård found work as a labourer in the Dutch Settlement and by 1840 he had greatly improved upon his beginnings. Anders Flage reported on Bård that after renting a house for a time, he had his own house built. For a time Mads N. Sonve and Knut E. Rokne lived with him. In 1843 Bård’s son Anders, who was very involved with prohibition wrote that his father had become totatlly abstinent. That same year Bård sold his house and moved into the country. His sons John and Anders had purchased 320 acres of land and he and his wife and younger children Arnfin and Syngi moved on to this land. John and Anders had good jobs, running their own lumber business in Chicago; and stayed there. Later the family moved back to Chicago. It is possible that Inger, Bård’s wife died while in the country.
In Norway they were also known as Rokne and Lassehaug. The family used Johnson as their name in America. They had 7 children:
- John B. (1819 – ), m. to Synva Andersdatter Buland (c. 1823 – ), a daughter of Anders Buland. In 1839 John was a labourer in Chicago and by 1843 he was a store clerk. His brother, Anders tells in a letter that John earned ten dollars a month and he, nine. In 1860 his occupation is recorded as a teamster. Later he and his brother Anders had started a lumber business, which they ran together until 1871. In 1860 his home was valued at $5000 and he had personal assets of $400. He lived next door to his brother Anders. John and Synva had 6 children.
- Brita (26 Sep 1920 – Dec 1842) m. to William Frank. William was of German descent. He and Betsey, as she was known; had two children. Their daughter Maria married the well-to-do Vossing and Chicago publisher John Anderson. Their son Frank lived in Racine, Wisconsin.
- Andrew B. (17 Aug 1823 – 11 Jun 1890); m. Laura Anderson (c1827 – 1897), a daughter of Anders Buland. Anders was a waiter for John H. Kinzie in 1839 Chicago. In 1843 both he and his brother John were employed as store clerks. Seventeen years later he had become a very succesful businessman in Chicago and held a number of respected positions. He was a member of the Board of Supervisors and the Board of County Commissioners. For a time he was president of the County Commissioners. He was also a member and for a time president of the of the Board of Education. He and his brother John ran a successful lumber business in Chicago. In 1880 he was dealing in real estate. He is buried in Grace Cemetery in Chicago. He and Laura had 7 children, 5 sons and 2 daughters.
- Martha (16 Apr 1826 – )
- Arnfinn (3 Jun 1829 – ). He was also married to a daughter of Andes Buland. They did not have children. In 1839 Arnfinn was working as a tailor for Simon Doyle on Kinzie Street in Chicago. That apparently became his trade. He and his wife later moved to California.
- Sygni (14 Jan 1832 – ), m. to John Gittleson (c1835 – 7 Jan 1897). John was a Norwegian immigrant. He was a sailmaker and businessman in Chicago. He and Sygni had 4 children; 1 son and 3 daughters.
- Inger (28 Sep 1834 – )
SOURCES: 1850, 1860, and 1870 US Census Records; A History of Norwegian Immigration [Flom]; A History of the Norwegians of Illinois; Fergus Directory of the City of Chicago 1839; History of the Emigration from Voss [Rene]; Illinois Deaths and Stillbirths 1916 – 1847; Migrants from Voss (Digital Archives); Norwegian Immigrants to the United States, Vol. I; Norwegian Sailors on the Great Lakes (Gjerset); Voss Parish Records (Digital Archives); Vossaboki, Vol. I, III
Have you checked out Ancestors from Voss? We are looking for people to share and submit their stories. We also love to help those with research questions.