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Hjalmar Rued Holand

The following obituary appeared in the Milwaukee Journal on Thursday, August 8, 1963:

Runestone Reader Dies

Hjalmar R. Holand Sturgeon Bay, Wis. -- Hjalmar R. Holand, 90, of Ephraim, the translator of the Kensington runestone, died of old age complications Thursday at the Door County Memorial hospital, Sturgeon Bay. The Kensington stone was discovered in 1898 by a Minnesota farmer. In 1907, Holand translated the runes, symbols used by the Norsemen, found on the stone. He maintained that the inscription proved that Viking adventurers from Greenland discovered America long before Columbus' time and ventured as far west as Minnesota.

This interpertation has been challenged by other historians who believe the stone is fake.

Curiosity about the discovery of America, and noncomformity in standing his ground, brought Holand this disputed fame. Chief encyclopedias mention neither his name nor his stone.

Hjalmar R. Holand After the Kensington stone was discovered, Holand took it over. He later said the stone was a challenge to him and that he had spent 50 years and many thousands of dollars in travel, studying and writing to get to the bottom of the mystery.

Holand was a roving bookseller, map wholesaler and student at the University of Wisconsin. He roamed Door county on a bicycle when its roads were only trails.

He was born near Oslo, Norway, Oct. 20, 1872, but went to Chicago with an older sister in 1884. He received a bachelor of arts degree in 1898 and a master of arts degree in 1899 from the University of Wisconsin.

Funeral arrangements are pending at the Casperson funerl home in Sister Bay.

The obituary fails to mention that H.R. Holand was president of the Door County Historical Society, and was the author of several books on the subject of early settlement in northest Wisconsin:

  • "America 1355-1365, A New Chapter in Pre-Columbian History"

  • "Explorations In America Before Columbus"

  • "Norse Discoveries and Explorations in America, 982-1362"

  • "Old Peninsula Days - Tales and Sketches of the Door County Peninsula"
    Pioneer Publishing Company, Ephraim, Wisconsin
    Copyright © 1928

  • "Old Peninsula Days - The Making of an American Community"
    Pioneer Publishing Company, Ephraim, Wisconsin
    Copyright © 1946

  • "The Kensington Rune Stone: The Oldest Native Document of American History"

  • "Westward from Vinland: An Account of Norse Discoveries and Explorations in America"

  • "Wisconsin's Belgian Community"
    (I'm looking for a copy of this book.)

H.R. Holand also designed a 35 foot totem pole that was unveiled on Sunday, August 14, 1927 in Peninsula State Park by Chief Simon Kahquados, of Blackwell, Wisconsin. The totem pole featured carved panels depicting the history of the Potawatomi Indians, in whose honor and memory it was erected. At the ceremony, Chief Kahquados conferred upon Holand the Indian name of Kyagigesdonk (the sun in the fullness of its course), making Holand an honorary member of the Potawatomi tribe.

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De Pere, Wisconsin
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