Held at Severt Charleston's Residence,
June 23, Letter From Absent Ones
Originally published in the Fox River Enterprise, Jun 30, 1915.
Transcribed by Jane Willey-Fey
In the year 1855 two brothers, Vier and Thor Knutson Vikedahl, and their families, came to this country from Bergens Stift, Skaanevig, Prestegjeld, Holmedahls Sogn, Norway, followed two years later by their two other brothers, Torris and Knut and their families. Vier settled in Iowa, the other in Kendall county, Ill., near Newark. These four brothers had twenty-one children, nearly all of whom grew to manhood and womanhood and had children and grandchildren of their own, so that the living descendants of those four brothers are now quite numerous in Illinois and Iowa. The surname or place name in the old country was Vikedahl, but here was changed to Weeks or Wicks.
Severt Charleston, a mile or so southwest of Millington, Ill., is a grandson of Thor Weeks. At his residence, June 23, 1915 there was held a large family reunion of the Weeks clan. None of the Iowa branch attended this year, but they sent their greetings and best wishes. A famous dinner was served under the shady trees in the front yard. Among the non-relatives in attendance were Rev. A. O. Mortvedt, for fifteen years pastor of the Newark Lutheran Church and his wife and daughter, Rev. L. Harrisville, wife and daughter of Chicago, and Alfred L. Browne of Big Grove, a friend of _______ Wicks. The Harrisvilles sang several appropriate selections, short addresses were made by Mr. Mortvedt, Mr. Browne and Mr. and Mrs. Harrisville, and Earl Weeks recited a couple of amusing pieces. The day was fine and the affair was a success in every way. It was voted to hold the next reunion on (unreadable)...
Cambridge, Iowa, June 19, 1915,
To the Weeks Clans in conclave assembled in Illinois, come these greetings from the wandering descendants of the tribes of Vier and Torris, scattered throughout Iowa. As the sturdy sons and fair daughters of the Vikedahls on next Thursday, June 24, 1915, gather upon the classic banks of the mighty Fox River, and in the shadows of the historic villages of Newark and Millington, to nourish those tender sentiments of family sympathy, love, interest and good fellowship, we pray that a kind Providence may grant you a day in which nature herself may smile upon you with her benign beams of sunshine and waft her cooling, balming breezes to fan the rose-tinted cheeks of the graceful daughters of the Weeks.
In fancy we can behold auto load upon auto load rolling in stately grace in upon the lawns of the Charleston's place. Each load with its full quota of stalwart manhood and noble womanhood, with its clean, strong youth, and beautiful, blushing maidens. Last but the best, with its laughing, merry boys and first that have come to bless your homes with their cheer and sunshine.
Our mouths fairly water as, in fancy, too, we behold the heaping, bulging, bursting baskets, the mothers bring, with every conceivable delicious good thing to satisfy the inner man. (Oh, you Joe Boyd and Severt, remember your failings, and do as Newt Weeks does, quit swallowing when you can hold no more). It is positively painful to dwell even in thought upon that feast, knowing we cannot be there. Those of us who had the pleasure of being with you last year have the most delightful pictures hung upon memory's walls of the kindly, free and open-handed hospitalities, which you all showered upon us, from first to last. And those memories are ever fresh and green to cheer us even when the snow drifts up under the eaves and the storm howls its dismal moaning down the chimney as we sit benighted upon the bleak wilds of Iowa.
As the faces of the followers of Mohammed are turned to Mecca and the faces of the Hebrew children are turned to Jerusalem, so are our faces turned towards the East, to Illinois. It is our hope that we might see the happy faces of some of our kinsmen coming to see us in Iowa. Our men would rob a hen-roost, a melon patch, or a cellar, if you come; our women will scrub the kitchen sink, shake up the spare bed, and dust the parlor table if you come. Since we were down with you, your praises have been sung so loud and so long that our younger generation is over anxious to see and meet you, thinking that Illinois Vikedahls must be half-human and half angel.
While we must forego the pleasures of being with you again this year, we are fondly planning for next year. If Providence is willing and the Lincoln Highway passable, we will be down in automobiles and Fords, mostly Fords. The lost tribe of the Vikedahls that strayed into the jungles of Iowa will be with you next year stronger than Horse Radish.
We laugh with the merry and weep with the sorrowing for while today we may be feasting and merrymaking, tomorrow we may be thrust into the company of suffering and sorrow. Life has its gloom as well as its sunshine. Since our last annual meeting, the death angel has visited the home of Mr. and Mrs. C. J. Thompson at Eagle Grove, and plucked the sunshine from the lovely home, by transplanting their only daughter, Tilla, a most lovable and beautiful young Christian character, from this earth to bloom in the heavenly paradise. It was indeed a sad blow to the bereaved family, which only their Christian fortitude could sustain them through. Tilla had endeared herself to all that knew her.
One has also been added to our number in the past year, as Deloris Beatrice came into the home of George and Mabel Heggen of Des Moines, the first born to bless that union.
As amid the shifting scenes of life we meet and pass on, let us scatter sunshine along our path. Let us be strong, clean and noble. And never lose that fervid faith in the unseen realities of the higher life, which so largely animated our forefathers. May we meet and part here, in such a way that none of us shall be missing at those greater reunions, we shall hold in the heavenly land above.
Again, we repeat our greetings to you and express our best wishes for another year, till we meet again.
Affectionately your kinfolk scattered over Iowa.
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