Nils Hansen Gran & Sophia Graverholt

Submitted to the Dixon Co., NE, GenWeb Pages by: Cathy Logue, great, great, great grand daughter.

This information comes from a family history book that Cathy had written for a family reunion and is uneditied. If you have any questions or connections you can contact Cathy at

Nils Hansen Gran was born December 15, 1815 in Eidsvoll, Agershus County, Norway. Nils may have been the son of Hans, of the Gran gaard (farm). This would follow Norwegian naming practices, but has not been confirmed. In Norway, there are two farms, Gran and Graverholt, near a village called Setskog. They lie right next to each other on the western border of Norway.

Sophia Graverholt was born March 30, 1816 in Graverholt gaard, Setskog, Agershus County, Norway. Sophia's parents were Nils (Zypriansen) Syprianson and Ellen Marie Jorgensdatter Settsmoeck. Nils (Zypriansen) Syprianson's ancestors have been traced back several generations to the 1600's in Sweden and Finland. Sophia had four brothers: John Heggedahl, Sven Stenby, Christian Graverholt and Marcus Graverholt. Sophia also had one sister, Gunhild Marie Nilsdatter. She married Andreas Brynildsen. Gunhild died in 1864.

( From the "Marcus Nelson Graverholt and His Descendants" history by Carl W. Tvedt ), comes the following information: "The names of the first two brothers are from farms which they owned (Heggedahl and Stenby). Marcus and Christian were to have Graverholt. Graverholt is a large place, almost seven miles long. It extends from the house to the Swedish border. It is valuable for its timber which is used for pulp wood."

Graverholt farm is located in the Høelands Parish, Agershus County, Norway. The 1801 census indicates there were seven families living on Graverholt, with a total of 33 people ranging in ages from 3 to 55. Sophia's grandparents and three of their children are noted on the census. Sophia's father, Nils Zypriansen, the oldest child of his family is not on the census. He would have been about 17 years of age. At the time of the census he may have been serving a military obligation or possibly learning a trade.

The census indicates Graverholt may have been subdivided. The following is noted in the comments section of the census: "plads steenbye," "plads hage," "plads slora," "plads galeholtet," etc. Steenbye and hage are probably where Sophia's two older brothers lived. Sophia's sister and her husband lived on "slora." These are all subdivisions of the Graverholt farm. Originally there may have been only one family on each main farm, but as the population increased, the land had to be subdivided between many families. Most of the Norwegians who immigrated before 1900 were born in Southern Norway. There the population growth made it more and more difficult to get a farm big enough to feed a family.

Sophia and her brother, Marcus Graverholt (known as Marcus Nelson in the United States) were the only siblings from their family to immigrate to the United States.

Specific information regarding Nils and Sophia's trip to the United States is not available but it may have been similar to the trip of Sophia's brother, Marcus.

Marcus was a widower with 5 children ranging in age from approximately 1 to 10 years of age when they immigrated in approximately 1869. There were others from the community who also went. Among them was Bolette Johnson Galgeholt (who had worked at Graverholt since she was nine year old) and her twin sister Christian Johnson. Bolette would later marry Marcus.

Some of the people of this region walked to Oslo where they took the ship; others went in wagons which their neighbors or relatives provided. The journey took three weeks and they landed at Castle Garden in New York. We suppose that they came west by railroad but they might have come on the Erie Canal and on the Great Lakes by boat; at any rate they wound up in Red Wing, Minnesota. That was in May 1870. They followed the same route that many other immigrants from Norway followed. They did not stay long in Red Wing but went by boat down the Mississippi to St. Louis, Missouri, and then up the Missouri River to Omaha, Nebraska. They settled in Florence, Nebraska a short while before they went to homestead in Dixon County. Marcus and Bolette were married in Florence.

This may have been the same route that Nils and Sophia followed. Nils and Sophia had 8 children. It appears that 6 of the 8 children immigrated to the United States, although not all at the same time. Andrew Gran, the second oldest son, immigrated in 1868. Nils and Sophia and their youngest son, Syverin immigrated in 1870. It is not know when the other family members immigrated.

A brief summary of Nils Hansen and Sophia Graverholt's children:

Karoline Nilsen born in 1837. No information available. Believed to have stayed in Norway.

Halvor Gran born about 1841. Immigrated to the U.S. Went to the west coast early in his life. Lived in Ellensburg, Kittitas County, Washington in 1923 at the time of his sister's, Mattie Gran Gilbertson, death according to Mattie's obituary.

Andrew Nilson Gran born in 1843. My great-great grandfather. Immigrated to the U.S. in 1868. Married Anna Maria Olsen Lund in Trempealeau, Wisconsin, 1869. Lived in Dixon County, Nebraska.

Mattie Gran Gilbertson born in 1845. Immigrated to the U.S. Married Peter Gilbertson in Oslo, Norway, 1868. Lived in Dixon County, Nebraska.

Julianna Gran Johnson born in 1848. Immigrated to the U.S. Married Christian Johnson (a brother to Bollette Johnson who was married to Marcus Nelson Graverholt). Lived in Dixon County, Nebraska.

Emil Gran born in 1852. No information. Believed to have stayed in Norway.

Rebecca Gran born in 1855. Possibly immigrated to the U.S. May have been married to R.N. Bull and lived in Ellensburg, Kittitas County, Washington in 1923 at the time of her sister's, Mattie Gran Gilbertson, death, according to Mattie's obituary.

Syverin N. Gran born in 1859. Immigrated to the U.S. in 1870. Married Mathilda (Tillie) Lund (believed to have been a niece to Anna Marie, Andrew's wife). Lived in Dixon County, Nebraska.

Nils and Sophia's children who immigrated stayed near their parents throughout their lives in Dixon County, Nebraska, except for Halvor and Rebecca who may have went directly to the west coast.

Nils and Sophia homesteaded in 1871 in Dixon County, Nebraska. Helga Severson Anderson said she remembered Sophia as "a little, very busy hard working woman. Always wearing an apron, used it to pick gooseberries into."

Nils died on December 17, 1889 and Sophia died on July 18, 1900. They are buried in Lime Creek Cemetery south of Maskell, Dixon County, Nebraska. Excerpts from:

History of Dixon County, Nebraska, by William Huse, Ponca, Nebraska, 1896

page 223


Is situated in the northwest corner of the county. It adjoins Ionia and New Castle on the east, Daily on the south, Cedar county on the west, and the Missouri river bounds it on the north. It contains about fifty square miles. Hooker has now no village, and thought the ancient villages of Concord-Dixon-North Bend were once prominent on the map of the town, they have not been in existence for nearly thirty-five years. The face of the country in Hooker is somewhat rough, but the soil is excellent and along the river timber is abundant. Stock raising was for many years a leading enterprise, but as the population increased, the stock business has given place to general farming.

A few of those who have been prominent as citizens or early settlers of

Hooker are the following:

A.N. Gran and S.N. Gran and their father Nels H. Gran came from Norway. A.N. Gran in 1868 and S.N. Gran and their father in 1870, and located on homesteads in Hooker in 1871. A.N. Gran and his brother now occupy the same claims first taken by them; his father lived on his until his death in 1889. Both the brothers are successful and enterprising men and have large farms which are well improved and profitably worked. A.N. Gran has 250 and S.N. Gran 240 acres. The former has a wife and four children living and the latter has a wife but no children. Both are prominent in township affairs, and A.N. Gran has been Hooker's member of the board of supervisors several years, his term ending in October, 1895, on the reorganization under the new law. His portrait will be seen with the rest of the board on another page.

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