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Big Canoe Lutheran Cemetery
Winneshiek County, Iowa
Uploaded 6/27/2003

Biography by: Martha Jane (Schliesser) Hicks

Seborg was the second of six children born to her parents, Tosten Finkelsen Alvstad and Guro Aslaksdatter Snorteim. She was born at the Jørstad farm in Øystre Slidre, Oppland (county), Norway on January 28, 1820. When she was about three years old, her family moved to the Ulven farm in nearby Vestre Slidre.

Seborg Tostensdatter acquired the following surnames during her lifetime: (1) Jørstad (which is the name of the Norwegian farm where she was born), (2) Ulven (the name of the Norwegian farm where she grew up after age three), (3) Skildeim (the name of the Norwegian farm where she lived during her first marriage), and (4) Børsheim/Burshem (spelled various ways, which was the surname of her second husband in America).

In 1843, Seborg married her first husband, Christopher Nitter Pedersen Skildeim, and moved to the Skildeim farm in Luster, Sogn og Fjordane (county), Norway. She and Christopher had five children: Øllegard ("Ellen Sheldon"-1842), Kirstine ("Christine Sheldon"- 1843), Peder ("Peter Christoperson"- 1845), Christoffer ("Charles Sheldon"- 1848), and Mari ("Mary Sheldon"- 1850). They immigrated in 1851, and Seborg became a widow with five young children shortly after arrival.

On September 11, 1852, Seborg married her second husband, Ole Olsen Børsheim (Bórsem/Burshem). Ole had immigrated in 1850 and was a widower with two young boys: Ole (1842) and Amund ("Amos O. Bursheim" 1848).

About 1854, Ole and Seborg moved from Dane County, Wisconsin to Canoe Township in Winneshiek County, Iowa, where they lived
out their lives. Ole was a farmer. During their marriage, they had two more children, Tosten ("Thomas O. Burshem"- 1853) and *Synneva* ("Susan O. Burshem"-1857).

I (Martha Hicks) determined Seborg's estimated death year by examining church records. I believe that she either died in the second half of 1864 or in 1865. This is based on the fact that she was a baptismal sponsor for a grandchild in 1864, but she does not appear in the church's death records that start in the year 1866. Therefore, I have estimated her death year to be 1865. Her husband was known to have been a widower at his death a few years later in early 1868.

A descendant of Seborg's brother, Tosten, told me (Martha Hicks) that the story passed down in their branch of the family is that Seborg died due to injuries she sustained while trying to move a fallen horse out of a ditch. She reportedly died the following day. Her husband Ole Olsen Børsheim (Bórsem/Burshem) died a few years later in 1868, supposedly in a snowstorm. Ole is believed to be buried at Big Canoe Lutheran Cemetery in an unmarked grave.

One or more children from Seborg's first marriage arranged for her name engraved on her tombstone to be the surname that she had from her first marriage. For this reason, the gravestone lists her by the name "Skjeldheim" rather then Børsheim. The tombstone says "Herunder Hviler støvet af" (Here lies the dust/remains of) "Sebborg Tosttens datter Skjeldheim fød" (born) "20 Jan 1819." This birth date on her gravestone is incorrect. I (Martha Hicks) found her Norwegian baptismal record, which clearly gives her birth date as January 28, 1820, and her baptism ceremony took place the following month. (In fact, both the pastor and pastor's assistant recorded the same birth and baptism dates for her in separate church books.)

Biography/Research by:Martha Jane (Schliesser) Hicks

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