Washburn Co. WIGenWeb


Florence (Bloom) Pedersen's Memoirs

Donated by Karen Kelsey

Born: 6/18/1894
Died: 10/3/1991
Buried: Madge Evergreen Cemetery
Florence’s father:      Oscar A. Bloom
Florence’s mother:    Anna Marie Ahlgren Bloom
Florence’s sister:       Eda Marie Bloom Rosengren
Florence’s brother:   William (Bill) Bloom

The story below was told by Florence to Karen Pedersen Kelsey, a granddaughter, in the 1970s:

My family lived in Rockford when I was a little girl.  I had an older brother, Bill, and a younger sister, Eda.  Bill was my stepbrother; my father had been married previously and his wife had died.  He and my mother met in Rockford, married in 1893, and lived there for a few years.  Mother had been a seamstress [probably at the Nelson Stocking Factory in Rockford, Illinois], and Dad was a tool and die maker.

Around 1904 my father decided to move the family to Long Lake, Wisconsin.  He helped manage the building of summer homes on the lake, primarily built for people from Rockford.  He lived with us during the summer, but in the winter he returned to Rockford to work.  He left us alone in our home on Long Lake.

He and Mother built a two-story house on the lake, but we did not immediately live in it.  While the home was being built, we lived in a large log bunk house, abandoned by the lumber company after logging had been completed.  [Florence said they lived in this log house from 1904-1906, however, her brother, Bill Bloom, said that they lived at the Hotel Rockford and stayed at the bunkhouse only occasionally].  Our house was built by the same crew of carpenters who built cottages up and down the lakeshore.

Finally we moved into the house, and Mother ran a hotel to earn money.  It was a two-story frame house with a large screen porch, and it looked out over Long Lake.  The carpenters who were building cottages continued to rent rooms from Mother, and she cooked and cleaned for them.  We had people living with us for many years [refer to photo of the family with boarders standing outside their porch].

It was a hard and lonely life, and Mom didn’t appreciate the fact that Dad left her alone for so much of the year.  I didn’t like living so far away from a city either.  Mother and Dad helped form the Madge Evergreen Church and cemetery, and she was active in the ladies aid society.  This was her greatest joy, and it let her meet people.  [Florence’s funeral and burial was at this Evergreen Church cemetery in 1991; the church was opened for the first time in many years.]

I spent many years at the Long Lake farm [located somewhere between the Hotel Rockford and what is the golf course today].  Sometimes, when we dated, the men would row long boats to our pier.  There would be three couples in the boat and the men would be in their black suits, and they would do the rowing.  We would row to a dance, and then in the dark they would row us back home, dropping the girls off at their family’s dock.  Lanterns hung from poles on the boat, and it was always so much fun to have a date and go to a dance this way.

After the logging company cleared the land around Long Lake, a company grazed cattle on the land across the lake from our house.  Nels worked for that company, so that is how I met him.  After we married, Nels became a crew chief of a dairy.  He was the youngest one there, but he was the manager.  Nels knew how to command people and he knew how to make money!   Eventually he became a grocer in Chicago, buying stores and converting them into Scandinavian delicatessens.  We had four children.

Nels loved Long Lake.  We often spent summers at the lake because my parents lived there until 1920, and I knew so many people from around our end of the lake.  We rented cabins before we had our own land.  One year  (around 1927) we rented Houts’ cabin, next to Duffy’s, because I had tuberculosis and needed a long rest.  Nels hired a nurse and a babysitter for me, and I recuperated up there.  Tina was a lady who helped me with the children; they loved her.

I had grown up in that area, so I had no desire to spend too much time at Long Lake.  There were other places to go that were more exciting.  However, Nels secretly bought a piece of property [around 1927], and eventually built a cabin on it.  I did not take an active role in the plans, but it is good that he did build this place because it has been my home for many years, and it is where the children love to come. [The family continues to own the property.]

The depression hit us hard.  Nels had bought too much real estate – grocery stores and a big apartment building.  He did not want to put people out on the street when they couldn’t pay their rent, but he couldn’t continue to make the mortgage payments.  He lost pieces of real estate, but he got some back. Life became very bad during those years, and finally we all moved up to the lake.  We spent about two years in the cabin, and the children loved it.  They were outside most of the time, and they met all of the local families.  They ice skated in the winter and swam in the summer.  We all have wonderful memories of those years. 

Nels lived at the cabin during the 1940s, even during the winter.  Jack and Bud went off to war, and Jean, Bob and I lived in Chicago on Keeler Avenue.  We were all very worried about Jack and Bud.  Nels wrote us many letters from the lake.

Nels Pedersen died in 1952:  buried in Madge Evergreen Cemetery
Florence Bloom Pedersen died in 1991:  buried in Madge Evergreen Cemetery
Jack Pedersen (their third child) died in 1978: buried in Madge Evergreen Cemetery
Oscar (Bud) Pedersen (their second child) died in 1988: buried in Madge Evergreen Cemetery


The pall bearers at Nels Pedersen’s funeral were all neighbors from the Madge Township area: Ralph Curtis, Walt (Red) Randall, Ernest Weideman, Harold Hines (who ran the Hines grocery store on hwy. B on Long Lake), Lenice Bates, and R. Davidson (Duffy of Duffy’s Tavern).  The Curtises, Randalls, and Weidemans are buried at the Madge Evergreen Cemetery.
See the Washburn Co. Photo Album for photos associated with many of the above named people.


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