Norwegian Jeweler in Hawaii (Book Excerpt)

One of the earliest Norwegian immigrants to settle in Hawaii was Herbrand Aasland (Harry Orsland in the USA) from Flesberg in Numedal.

When the Aasland family emigrated from Norway, Mrs. Aasland brought with her a copy of Erik Pontoppidans book about Christian doctrine. On the title page is written, “This book belongs to Herbrand Aasland, Søndre Aasland, 1837”.

In his younger days, Herbrand had been a trapper and hunter as far north as Michigan. He became an excellent marksman.

Around 1860 he and his Norwegian friend, Haldor S. Steen, went to California to dig for gold. Both of them later sailed to Honolulu where they became successful jewelers.

Judy Leafdale from Harrisburg, Nebraska, writes in Numbedalslagets Yearbook for 1916 that Herbrand’s son, Ole, had shown her a business card from those days. It announced that the firm Orsland and Steen, Jewelers was established in that location for the sale and repair of jewelry.

Orsland enjoyed a favored position with King Kamehameha IV, who gave him a silver service when he departed for the mainland.

In 1862, Herbrand volunteered to fight in the Civil War. He was a sharpshooter in a regiment until he was captured and taken to the gruesome Andersonville prison camp where he was imprisoned until the end of the war.

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“Aloha from Forgotten Norwegians in Hawaii”

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