Livsreise - Life's Journey


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The Story of Olaf Skye narrated by Jerry Stromberg

June 29 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm


Faithful Norwegian-American-Canadian Pioneer, Blacksmith, Prospector, Farmer, Citizen and Family Man.

The story:

Olaf  Skye born on a farm near Larvik, Vestfold municipality, in southern Norway in 1872. He came alone to the United States  in 1890 and learned blacksmithing from his uncle in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin.  He joined the circus which took him to central Wisconsin and then began blacksmithing in Waupaca, Wis. He next worked as a blacksmith in Scandinavia, Wisconsin, where he got caught up in the excitement of the Yukon Gold Rush in 1897. With five other local would-be prospectors, Olaf left for the Yukon in 1898. His description of the adventures and challenges of prospecting in the Yukon make for a story that draws in the audience. He returned to Scandinavia in 1900 and married Matilda Thorson. They had a child, Norma in 1904, and Matilda tragically died of tuberculosis in 1905. Olaf arranged for care for Norma and began a homestead farming operation in central Saskatchewan. From 1906 to 1921, Olaf divided his time between farming in Saskatchewan and blacksmithing in Iola, where he lodged at the Iola House and spent as much time as possible with his daughter. This arrangement continued until 1921, when he stopped farming in Saskatchewan and returned to Waupaca and married Alma Melby.

The presenter:

Jerry Stromberg is the grandson of Olaf Skye. His mother, Norma started the narrative of Olaf’s life in the late 1970’s. She had written Olaf’s life through 1951 when she died ion 1984. Norma’s daughter, Ann  typed up the hand-written manuscript, then made copies for family members.  Later her brother, Jerry took on the task of finishing up the last thirty years of Olaf’s interesting life. In 2022, once it was finished, Jerry decided to not just share it with his family but also with those who have an interest in Norwegian-American immigrant history.  We are so glad that he did!



June 29
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm


Norwegian Heritage Center
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277 W. Main Street
Stoughton, WI 53589 United States
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(608) 873-7567