Her father invented the device that is still used in sugar mills to wash the sugar cane.
Alma Mae Johnson Bourke tells that she is the grandchild of John Johnson (Johannes Johansen) and his wife Mary (Maren Helena Martinsdatter Madsen). They both came to Hawaii on the Beta.
Johannes was born in 1844 in Eina, Toten, but when he was a child the family moved to Skarrud in Ådalen. He was 36 years old when he emigrated. Maren Helena was born on February 24, 1858 in Lier, and was 14 years younger than him. She grew up in a tenant farmer cottage on Tveten farm in Lier.
“My grandfather found work on Baldwin’s sugar plantations, while my grandmother worked in the house for the family. She was pregnant when they arrived in Maui, and Mr. Baldwin probably felt sorry for the young, fair-haired Maren”, Alma Bourke relates.
Mrs. Bourke tells us that her grandfather worked on the sugar plantations until 1914, when he reached the age of 70. This gave him a working career there of around 33 years. He died in 1929 at the age of 85, and is buried in the cemetery in Makawao, which has become the final resting place of many Norwegians.
“As far as I know, he was satisfied with his job there”, says Alma.
Unfortunately, after some years, Maren left him and took the children and moved to the island of Hawaii. There she married Sven Sivertsen, who had come on the same ship. They had three children.
Alma’s father, John Maurice, was Johannes and Maren’s second child. He had only four years of proper schooling, but studied further on his own to become a technical engineer.
“Aloha from Forgotten Norwegians in Hawaii”