If you remember, a few weeks back I told you about a book I found called “Pioneer Memoirs” — a home-published item made by some of my relatives on my dad’s side. I’ve been having fun looking through it and I’ll probably be sharing a few things with you as the mood strikes me. (Consider yourself warned.)
In the back of the book is a “pedigree chart” that ends with the birth of my grandmother, whom I was named after. So that’s cool. (I’m feeling a little like a show dog at the moment, what with my pedigree and all.)
Included with the “pedigree” are some short bios for the earliest ancestors, at least the ones they could find something about. The farthest back they were able to trace the family is listed as Generation I. It’s a guy known only by the name Anders, as his son was named Jakob Andersen (Andersen: son of Anders) and since the son lived during the early 1500s, they’re guessing Anders lived in the late 1400s.
Personally I think this is cheating a bit, genealogy-wise, but whatever.
Okay, so in Generation II, that’s where we meet Jakob Andersen. Old Jake was the minister of the Fyrisdal parish in Telemark County in southern Norway in the years 1532 to 1557. Interesting detail: in 1532 he was a Catholic priest. According to the records of the Fyrisdal church, Jake was “the last Catholic priest and the first Lutheran minister in Fyrisdal.”
He switched over to Lutheranism in 1537, got married, had a baby, and yada-yada-yada, here I am. Lovely how that turns out, don’t you think?
Anyway, this family history doesn’t really get smoking until Generation III. That’s where we meet Jakob Hansen Morland, born in 1619. According to the bio, he served as a parish pastor from 1653 to 1672, then as a parish pastor and dean from 1683 to 1697.
Notice the break from 1672 to 1683? The break in his ministry, we are told, was due to his “suspension from clerical duties because of a violation of church regulations, involving marital irregularities.”
Now what do you suppose is meant by “marital irregularities”?
According to the bio, he was married twice. His first wife died, they think in 1670, but no date is given for his second marriage. Was remarriage considered an “irregularity” in the late 1600s, or was something else afoot?
Interesting. Highly interesting.
Reading on, we learn the names of Jakob Morland’s children: Sivert, Hans, Susanne, Barbara, and Alhed. We get an extra tidbit on Alhed. It tells us, “she married out of her class, her husband, Jon Norby, being a peasant in Nissedal.”
You know what this means, don’t you? Alhed married for love!
I can see it now: Alhed, youngest daughter of the wealthy parish minister, is walking to the village of Nissedal. She crosses the lane and there by the mill is the young peasant boy with piercing blue eyes, Jon Norby. 💕
We learn nothing more about Alhed, though I want to believe they were a happy couple. Do you suppose her father approved? Somehow I have my doubts.
The bio continues:
“After having lived in retirement at Utabjaa in the Børte district, Morland became pastor of the Vinje parish in 1676 by royal appointment, but his peasant parishioners refused to accept him and locked the church door.”
Picture this: the proud minister arrives in town on a snowy Sunday morn, wearing his splendid robe. His wife by his side, they walk through the quiet village and approach the church. He has no suspicion anything is amiss. He takes hold of the large church door and pulls. It won’t budge — it’s bolted from inside! Are those voices he hears? He pounds on the door… What’s that they’re chanting?
Morland no more, Morland no more!
Oh, the impertinence!
What do you think their main gripe was? Did they get wind of his “marital irregularities? Did they hear how angry he got over his daughter’s marriage to their good man, Jon Norby?
Or maybe it was the fact they had no choice in who their pastor was, and these peasants were tired of being pushed around!
Power to the peasants!
Sadly, this mini-peasant revolt was short-lived:
“However, after the authorities had imposed fines on them for their temerity, Morland was installed in his pastorate, and in 1683 he was promoted to the office of dean.”
Well, dang! First the peasants aren’t allowed to choose their own pastor, then they get fined for trying to take a stand.
“Of Morland it is said that he was thrifty, aggressive and strong-minded, so that at his death left several farms in both Upper and Lower Telemark.”
I don’t know about you, but I’m totally siding with the peasants on this one. My great-great-great-etc.-grandfather sounds like a real jerk.
But that Jon Norby sounds like a hunk. 😍