Norwegian immigrants Hans Bardahl and Anna Elton had a family of seven - sons Steve (Ostenson), John and Ole Bardahl and daughters Sarah, Susan, Hannah and Ella, all born between the years of 1868 and 1890 in Renville County, Minnesota.
|Hans and Anna Bardahl Family c.1898 - Back left to right: Hannah, Ole, John, Susan|
Front row: Sarah, Hans, Ella and Anna
In the census of 1900, the youngest five children are living with Hans and Anna in Elk Lake, Grant County, Minnesota.
|Susan Bardahl Estergren|
At the time of the 1910 census, Carl and Susie were living next to another Estergren family (probably Carl's brother) and Susie's parents lived on the second farm away. At this time, Susie was 24 and Carl 27. Susie had given birth to 2 children of which one remained alive - Carl Vernon, just under 2. Living with them was Carl's mother (age 67) also named Susie Estergren (and, to add to the confusion, she was also Susie's aunt, being a sister to Anna). They owned their farm, which was mortgaged at that time. (It should be noted that sometimes parts of the family spelled the name as Estergreen with an extra "e".)
Carl and Susie had another son, Arnold, born in 1912.
Carl and Susie's lives were probably going along well in their predominantly Norwegian farming community. They were active members of the Immanuel Lutheran Church near Barrett, MN. Little is known of any specific details or stories of their lives in those years. We don't know exactly how Susie contracted the infamous Spanish flu, but it was highly contagious. We do know that she came down with the flu on 4 November and died on 9 November 1918 at the age of 32, leaving a widowed husband and two young sons aged 6 and 10.
|Stone for Susie Bardahl Estergren courtesy T Burt of Findagrave.com|
She was buried the following day at Immanuel Lutheran cemetery near Barrett, Minnesota.
|Immanuel Lutheran Church photo by Elinor Bardahl|
It was fortunate that Carl's mother was living with them as she no doubt took over the household duties and helped Carl to raise his young sons. The 1920 census shows the household with widowed Carl who now owns his home outright, sons Carl V.D. age 11, Arnold age 7 and widowed mother Susie age 78.
Still in shock from the death of one young daughter, Hans and Anna and the extended family were in for more bad news. Nine days after Susie's death, her spinster sister Hannah also succumbed to the flu. Hannah was just 30, having been born 26 November 1887. Had she perhaps gone to look after her sister and sister's family when Susie was ill? She was just 8 days shy of her 31st birthday. Reverend Ivar Sandberg conducted funeral services at the Bardahl house and interment was also in Immanuel cemetery. (Hans and Anna would ultimately also be laid to rest in this same cemetery.)
|Hannah Amelia Bardahl|
|Bardahl stone courtesy T Burt of Findagrave.com|
|Hanna's stone courtesy T Burt of Findagrave.com|
|Immanuel Lutheran Church death records 1918 - |
Susie and Hannah (#6 and #7) among just a handful (all far too young) who succumbed to the flu
The obituary for Hannah gives a sense of the horrible tragedy to the family: "He who spares neither age nor sex in the relentless toll of death has again entered a happy home and called away another dear daughter, sister and friend. Hannah Amalia, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Hans Bardahl of Lien, answered the final summons Monday, Nov. 18th, after a four day illness of influenza-pneumonia. She was a sweet winsome young lady, and held a warm place in the hearts of all she met on life's pathway. She was earnestly interested in the church and all its activities, and will be greatly missed by all. Her sister, Mrs. Ed. Estergren, passed away Nov. 9th. Death has indeed laid its hand heavily upon this family, and the bereaved ones have the heartfelt sympathy of the whole community in their sad hour of affliction."