Marker 2: Jefferson Prairie Settlement

© Photographed August 13, 2013
Erected 1951 by the Wisconsin Historical Society
Clinton, Rock County, Wisconsin
42° 29.618′ N, 88° 51.791′ W
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JEFFERSON PRAIRIE
SETTLEMENT
Ole Knutson Nattestad, first Norwegian settler in Wisconsin, came to Clinton Township, July 1, 1838. In his native Numedal, Nattestad had been a farmer, peddler, and blacksmith. In 1836 he and his brother Ansten visited Stavanger and there heard for the first time about America. Early the next year they secured passage to Massachusetts and a few months later had worked their way to Chicago.

In the spring of 1838 Ansten returned to Norway while Ole “explored” northward, eventually reaching Clinton Township.

Ansten organized more than a hundred emigrants and led them to Wisconsin the following year. Some joined Ole Nattestad on Jefferson Prairie: others went west to Rock Prairie (Luther Valley).

Although the groups organized different church congregations and were separated by settlers of different nationality, they are usually regarded jointly as the first Norwegian settlement in Wisconsin, and the fourth in America.
The marker is located on southbound State Highway 140,  at its intersection with East State Line Road, at a turn-off near the Wisconsin/Illinois state line, Clinton, Wisconsin 53525.

Wikipedia: Ole Knudsen Nattestad

Wikipedia: Jefferson Prairie Settlement


Signage leading up to marker

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