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Peder Helgeson was born in April 1815 in Harestad, Skjold Parish, Haugesund, Rogaland, Norway and died June 1871 in Riceland Township, Freeborn County, Minnesota. He is buried in the East Freeborn Lutheran Cemetery, Freeborn County. His death is officially attributed to consumption. His parents were Helge Helgeson and Alberta Betsy Nilsen who immigrated to America from Norway before 1850 with their family. On November 7, 1854, Peder was married to Olive Thomasdter in Decorah, Winneshiek County, Iowa (Olive was born August 4, 1824 in Norway and died February 15, 1917, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota). Peder and Olena had three children: Helga Pederson (Mrs. Anton Christopherson), Thomas Pederson, and Charles (Carl) Pederson.
Peder enlisted for three years on December 18, 1861 at the Town of Bancroft, Freeborn County, Minnesota and was mustered into Company K of the 15th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry at the rank of Private on February 11, 1862, at Camp Randall, near Madison, Wisconsin. He left there on March 2, 1862, with his company and regiment to join the war. At the time, he was 44 years old and married and his residence was listed as Freeborn County, Minnesota. The 15th Wisconsin was an all Scandinavian Regiment, made up of volunteers from Wisconsin and Minnesota (additional information regarding this regiment may be found at http://www.15thwisconsin.net).
He was recorded as being present with the 15th in March and April when it was involved in the siege of Island No. 10, on the Mississippi River in Tennessee, and the raid on Union City, Tennessee. That summer Private Helgeson was listed as absent sick in hospital at Island No. 10 since June 3, '62. For July and August, 1862, he is recorded as absent sick since June 12, '62. He is next listed as entering a Union Army hospital in Columbus, Kentucky, on August 5, 1862, and being present there on October 1, 1862.
Private Peder Helgeson was honorably discharged from the Army due to disability on October 16, 1862, at Columbus, Kentucky. His discharge certificate states that he had blue eyes, sandy colored hair, a light complexion, stood 5 feet 4 inches tall, and was a Farmer. After being discharged, Peder returned to Freeborn County, Minnesota. According to documents filed for a widow's pension after his death nine years later, Peder Helgeson had contracted Chronic Rheumatism at Island No. 10 and consumption...by reason of being exposed and taking cold from such exposure and had never fully regained his health.
Photograph and information submitted by Peder Helgeson's great great granddaughter, Connie Julien.
Tintype taken circa February 1862, at Madison, Wisconsin