The Norwegian Crop: Tobacco Raising in Wisconsin

  • 277 W. Main St.
  • Stoughton, WI 53589
  • Phone: (608) 873-7567

Long before the days of anti-smoking campaigns, tobacco raising was not only a matter of Norwegian pride in some Wisconsin communities, but also a crop that enabled immigrants to make hard-to-come-by cash and their descendants to thrive or a t least survive on the farm. (Tobacco raising was in Glenn’s own family for five generations.) Norwegians adopted the crop early upon their arrival in Wisconsin.

Two Ohio transplants, Ralph Pomeroy and J.J. Heistand, were the first farmers to plant tobacco in Wisconsin. The location of that first tobacco field in 1844 is in some dispute — it was either in Walworth or Rock county. What isn’t in doubt is that the major influx of Norwegians moving to southern and southwest Wisconsin at the time, saw tobacco as a crop they could raise profitably. Although Norwegians had no history of raising the crop in their homeland, they became known for their adoption of the crop as their own.

Our speaker is Glenn Borreson, a return presenter to Livsreise. He is a retired Lutheran minister now living in Holmen, Wisconsin. Four generations of his father’s family have raised tobacco in Trempealeau County, Wisconsin.

  • Times: 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM
  • Admission: FREE