A Guide to the Reierson (Johan Reinert) Family Papers, 1819-1891
Colonist and writer Johan Reinert Reierson (1810-1864) was born to to Ole and Kirsten Gjerulfsdatter Reiersen in Vetsre Moland, Norway. After briefly attending the University of Oslo, he pursued a literary career in Denmark and Germany. In the 1930s, Reierson found work as a Norwegian translator and editor for numerous magazines and books. In 1843, Reierson traveled to the United States to compile information for a handbook on the nation. After traveling to New Orleans, Reierson came to Austin, Texas, where he met President Sam Houston, who invited him to bring Norwegian settlers to the republic and promised aid in the establishment of a colony. A year later, Reierson he wrote and published Pathfinder for Norwegian Emigrants to the United North American States and Texas, the most comprehensive book at that time about America published in Norway. With his family, including his wife Henrietta Waldt and brothers Christian and George, a son Oscar, and a small group of Norwegians, Reierson established the first Norwegian colony in Texas in 1848 on 1,476 acres of land purchased in Henderson County. Several years later, Reierson established a second colony in Van Zandt County, named Four Mile Prairie, later Prairieville.
Source: Hart, Brian. “Reiersen, Johan Reinert.” Handbook of Texas Online.Accessed February 22, 2011. http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fre25
Correspondence, business and legal papers comprise the Johan Reinert Reierson Family Papers, 1819-1891, primarily documenting Reierson’s business and legal activities prior to his settlement in Texas in 1850. Materials dated before 1850, such as 1830s letters to his wife Henrietta, newspaper clippings, poetry, and his business and legal documents are in Norwegian. Written in English are letters to his son, Oscar Reierson in Virginia, noting the conditions of the Reierson family in Texas and the troubles caused due to the Civil War. Additionally, the collection includes confederate currency and an 1867 Virginia Loan and Trust Company shared certificate.
This collection is open for research use.
Reierson (Johan Reinert) Family Papers, 1819-1891, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.
Detailed Description of the Papers