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1873 Controversy, Moisie Iron Works -- Norwegian "Carl Johnson"

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1873 Controversy, Moisie Iron Works -- Norwegian "Carl Johnson"

Jon Noring (View posts)
Posted: 1077168061000
Classification: Query
Surnames: Johnsen, Johnson, Johansen, Johannesen

I've been trying to trace whatever happened to my great-uncle who emigrated from Norway to Canada. According to sparse family anecdotes he took the name of "Carl Johnson" (or some variant, both first and last name, such as Karl, Johnsen, Johannsen, etc.) He supposedly had three children, Clifford, Herbert, and Christine. Christine supposedly became a trained opera singer and then married someone from Italy and moved there.

For the rest of this message I'll spell his Canadian name as "Carl Johnson", but that may not be how he ended up spelling it in Canada.

It appears Carl was in the midst of a fairly major legal controversy involving Canada and Norway in 1873. Let me explain:

Carl was born as Karl Edvard Johansen on 27 Feb 1857, and by his teens was living at the Nordengen farm in Aas. He apparently emigrated to Canada as shown in the following Norwegian emigration record. The year of emigration is in alignment with other family anecdotes:

#28480; Havn:Oslo; Number:153; Aar:1873; Manod:notgiven; Dag:22; Fornavn:Carl Edvin; Etternavn:Johannesen; Kjoenn:m; stand:u; Yrke:Kurvboedker; Alder:16; Bopel:Aas; Bestemmelsessted:Moisie; Merknad:475; Utlendinger:Norsk; Frakt:Spd. 15; Linje:Concordia

Notice that Moisie, Quebec, is the destination and the liner is the "Concordia". Moisie is a *highly unusual destination*, as will be seen. The date is the 22nd of some month in 1873 (I believe it is early in the year.)

The Canadian passenger list for the arrival of the ship "Concordia" directly at Moisie, on May 29, 1873, includes "Carl Johanessen", age 16, and traveling alone.

Now, for the controversy: a web site describing the "Concordia" which took Carl to Canada is found at:

Here is the interesting text from the above site, explaining the controversy:

"In 1873 the Concordia departed Christiania on Apr. 23rd. She was mastered by Capt. Christiansen. None of the passengers had paid for their ticket. They were supposed to pay the fare by labor when they arrived to Canada. This was very unusual, and it was against the Norwegian Passenger Act of 1869. The representative of an ironworks in Moisie, Mr. Molson made arrangements for 50 families, or 215 persons, to pay their fare by labor in Canada. He had been helped to arrange the voyage by agent Sharpe in Christiania, who was later sentenced to pay a 50 Speciedaler fine for his involvement by a Norwegian court. "Moisie" where the emigrants were going is near "Seven Islands". This is in Eastern Quebec, and the place is called Sept Ile [French for seven islands] close to Moisie. There were 3 deaths [babies] and one birth on the voyage. There is a note at the bottom of the passenger list which says "Captain Christiansen has debarked two hundred and seventeen Norwegian passengers from Christiania, also the Doctoress for the passage, he has left here at Moisie Ironworks all in apparent good health ... signed .... Thos. Darling J.P. Manager, Moisie Ironworks" The doctor was a woman and she had her two daughters with her. Olave Frits 42, Charlotte 13 and Amalie 9. It looks like they landed right at Sept Ile, not going through Quebec. When the immigrants arrived to Moise, they had to rent their houses from the company they were supposed to work for. The ironworks company owned everything, including the land miles around. The rent for the houses and the costs of living in the companies "town" was so high that the immigrants would have had to work for many years to be able to pay for the voyage, as all of their earnings went to pay for the accommodation. After a while they had all disappeared, but some of them were caught and put in prison. The Norwegian government was engaged in solving the case for the imprisoned Norwegians, and there was a lot of attention to the case in Norway."

I've done a Google search to see if the Moisie incident is mentioned anywhere else on the Internet, and it appears not to be mentioned!

O.k., I have a few questions to ask here:

1) Who in Canada (if anyone) has done further historical research on this incident? I'd certainly like to contact them.

2) Of the Norwegians who "escaped", who were arrested? Was Carl one of them?

3) Any one here interested in helping me locate the whereabouts of "Carl Johnson's" family and living descendents? I've tried to find his whereabouts looking in the various censuses (and he may have not stayed in Quebec), but no luck so far.


Jon Noring
SubjectAuthorDate Posted
Jon Noring 1077168061000 
Pembroke64 1334613263000 
andrechalut21 1385688135000 
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