Mabel Christianson Iverson

Honored by:Roger and Ona Lee Iverson
Brick location:A:28  map

My mother Mabel Christianson Iverson was born on April 20, 1903 on a farm near Leland, Iowa to Olaf and Ingeborg Qualley Christianson who were native-born children of early Norwegian immigrants. She was the third eldest child in a family of two daughters and five sons. Like most farm children of her day Mabel attended a one-room country schoolhouse where she excelled in her classes. She eventually won the Winnebago County Spelling Contest after walking ten miles to attend the event. She graduated from Lake Mills High School in 1920 also receiving a Normal Training certificate eligible to teach grades 1-8. Mabel taught country school for 2 years walking 62 miles a day stoking the pot-bellied stove cleaning the schoolroom etc. as well as conveying the 3 R's to students from 6 to 16. Always a swiftly moving person she was often reminded throughout her life that she had passed teams of horses on the road as she walked back and forth to school!

A local young farm lad a friend of her brother John soon won Mabel's hand and on Dec. 27, 1922 she was married to Adolph C. Iverson and they rented a farm near Scarville, Iowa where they began their life together. Hard times hit rural areas before the stock market crash of 1929 and Mabel and Adolph were forced to live very frugally during the first two decades of their marriage. Mabel loved to work outside could hand-milk a cow faster than most men and could husk 70 bushels of corn a day at harvest time.

Meanwhile she cooked for large groups of threshers at harvest time carried water into the house from an outside pump and did without all the conveniences that later came to farms with the advent of REA. Mabel and Adolph first became parents in 1924 with the birth of a daughter Frances and I their first son followed in 1927. Helen and Orion (Jim) were the two younger children. During the Depression years of our childhood with money always a scarce commmodity Mother (herself an avid reader) always made certain our home was well-supplied with books. Reading was always one of her greatest enjoyments along with sewing and handwork.

Her hands were usually busy and through the years she produced innumerable beautiful quilts crocheted and knitted pieces. Her Norwegian hardanger pieces were a work of art. She loved playing cards and working crossword puzzles. Mabel's grandchildren were a never-ending source of pleasure and entertainment for her. Their antics when young provided her with many chuckles through the years and she was supportive and proud of their later achievements as adults. The nine grandchildren loved their visits at "the farm." All being raised in towns or cities they found untold delights in the old hay barn chasing the cows or pigs and generally being nurtured by "Grandma Mae."

Along with reading and handwork Mabel loved to refinish furniture paint and wallpaper. Often these tasks were done to help out a neighbor friend or relative rather than for herself. She was always willing to lend a helping hand wherever she saw the need. Mabel excelled in cooking and baking Norwegian delicacies which were a special treat at Christmas. She could roll out a thin and perfect lefse or pie crust faster than anyone in the neighborhood! She spent long hours gardening raising flowers canning vegetables fruit and meat. Her Norwegian bachelor farmer brothers were often recipients of her willingness to do for others - cleaning their house patching their clothes etc.

Church activities were important in her life. She served as president of Immanuel Lutheran Ladies Aid in Scarville, Iowa several times helped organize numerous church suppers and gatherings and often acted as Bible study leader. After being tenant farmers for nineteen years Mabel and Adolph purchased a nearby 200 acre farm in 1941 in Mansfield Township Freeborn County Minnesota where Mabel lived until after Adolph's death in 1977.

She then moved to Lake Mills, Iowa where she remained active quilting sewing and attending events she enjoyed at the senior center almost daily. She was still driving about town giving rides to "elderly" friends (she was 89!) until 3 days before her death in 1992. Her life was one of service to her family and others. In her loving memory we place her name and this brief history in the archives of Carrie Chapman Catt Hall at Iowa State University where I (her son Roger) and our 3 children (her grandchildren) have all received degrees.

-Roger and Ona Lee Iverson

January 2002