May 17th, 1782 -- Pioneer Norse colonist born
On this day in 1782, Cleng Peerson (Kleng Pedersen), who championed the immigration of Norwegians to the United States, was born in Tysvær, Norway. He came to the New World as a result of hardships in his native land, including the high price of farmland, the high number of drownings among fishermen, and drought. He arrived at New York City in 1821. Between 1825 and 1847 he helped establish communities for Norwegian Quakers and their compatriots in New York, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, and Missouri. He moved to Texas in 1850 and lived with friends near Dallas until 1854. Then he moved to newly organized Bosque County and urged other Norwegians in East Texas to follow him. Peerson died in 1865 and was buried at the cemetery at Norse, Texas. King Olav V of Norway visited Norse in 1982 in celebration of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Cleng Peerson.